Galloway to be suspended from Commons over Iraq by Robert Winnett and Holly Watt

Galloway to be suspended from Commons over Iraq

Dandelion Salad

From The Sunday Times
July 15, 2007

by Robert Winnett and Holly Watt

GEORGE GALLOWAY, the MP who campaigned against the Iraq war, is to be suspended from parliament over his links to the United Nations oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

The parliamentary standards watchdog will rule this week that Galloway failed properly to declare his links to a charitable appeal partially funded from money made by selling Iraqi oil under Saddam Hussein, according to a source close to the inquiry. The one-month suspension for Galloway, often referred to as “Gorgeous George”, is one of the most severe given to an MP.

Galloway, who was expelled from Labour, is now an MP for the Respect party. He may also be asked to apologise to the Commons for his behaviour but will launch a robust defence of his conduct. He denies any wrongdoing.

The UN oil-for-food programme was set up to allow Saddam to sell Iraqi oil to buy humanitarian supplies, but he corruptly awarded oil contracts to politicians and businessmen around the world.

In 1998 Galloway founded the Mariam Appeal, which campaigned for the lifting of sanctions on Iraq. The appeal, which paid Galloway’s wife and funded international travel for the MP, received almost £450,000 from Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian businessman who was also a trustee of the appeal. It subsequently emerged that more than half of this money came from the proceeds of Iraqi oil sales. An investigation by the American Senate alleged that the Mariam Appeal was used by the Iraqi regime to finance Galloway.However, the MP strenuously denies that he was complicit in any such arrangement and claims he is the victim of a smear campaign. He says he had no idea that the money donated had come from Iraqi oil sales.

The Mariam Appeal, which raised more than £1.4m, has never filed any accounts and the parliamentary authorities have been unable to account for some of the expenditure.

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Bush like Hitler, says first Muslim in Congress By Toby Harnden (updated: video)

Dandelion Salad

By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 1:14am BST 15/07/2007

America’s first Muslim congressman has provoked outrage by apparently comparing President George W Bush to Adolf Hitler and hinting that he might have been responsible for the September 11 attacks.

Addressing a gathering of atheists in his home state of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, a Democrat, compared the 9/11 atrocities to the destruction of the Reichstag, the German parliament, in 1933. This was probably burned down by the Nazis in order to justify Hitler’s later seizure of emergency powers.

“It’s almost like the Reichstag fire, kind of reminds me of that,” Mr Ellison said. “After the Reichstag was burned, they blamed the Communists for it, and it put the leader [Hitler] of that country in a position where he could basically have authority to do whatever he wanted.”

To applause from his audience of 300 members of Atheists for Human Rights, Mr Ellison said he would not accuse the Bush administration of planning 9/11 because “you know, that’s how they put you in the nut-ball box – dismiss you”.

Vice-President Dick Cheney’s stance of refusing to answer some questions from Congress was “the very definition of totalitarianism, authoritarianism and dictatorship”, he added.

Mr Ellison also raised eyebrows by telling his audience: “You’ll always find this Muslim standing up for your right to be atheists all you want.”

A convert to Islam who was previously linked to the extremist Nation of Islam, Mr Ellison, 42, has cultivated a moderate image since being elected last November, concentrating on issues such as health and education.

He is an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq. But he angered his own anti-war supporters by voting for a budget bill that aims to end the war over the next 18 months. His followers want an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

After his speech was reported, Mr Ellison said he accepted that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. But his demagogic comments threaten to plunge him in controversy.

Mark Drake, of the Republican party in Minnesota, said: “To compare the democratically elected leader of the United States of America to Hitler is an absolute moral outrage which trivialises the horrors of Nazi Germany.”

h/t: CLG

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Updated: July 16, 2007

Found a video: LINK

Only in Washington…Wrong Again! Bush’s Logic and Ours By Tom Engelhardt

Dandelion Salad

By Tom Engelhardt
July 15, 2007

Okay, it’s another lemon, the second you’ve bought from the same used-car lot — and for $1,000 more than the first. The transmission is a mess; the muffler’s clunking; smoke’s seeping out of the dashboard; and you’ve only had it a week. You took it, grudgingly, as a replacement for that beat-up old Camry that only lasted two months, but the salesman assured you it was a winner. No wonder you’re driving onto the lot right now. Before you can even complain, the same salesman’s there. He’s firm. It’s not his fault. You must have done something. Nonetheless, he’s ready to offer you a great deal. For an extra 2,000 bucks, you can have the rusted-out Honda Prelude right behind him, the one that, as a matter of fact, has just burst into flames — and, he assures you, it’s a dandy. It may not look so great today, what with the smoking hood and all, but it’s a vehicle for the ages.

Would you buy a used car from this man? (Hint: He looks remarkably like George Bush.)

Or try it this way:

When you first fell ill — nausea and gnawing stomach pain — you went to that new doctor in town. He diagnosed you with stomach flu, prescribed an acid blocker and vicodin, and told you not to worry a bit. After that, you started vomiting up brown gunk. So you dragged yourself back to the doctor, who added an anti-nausea drug and a cathartic to your regimen. Two days later, you blacked out. You wake up to find yourself in a hospital bed, blood transfusing into your arm. The same doctor is at your bedside, insisting that you be anesthetized and immediately operated on for a bleeding ulcer. He also has a form he says you must sign that relieves him of all responsibility for perforating your stomach or anything else that may occur in the course of the procedure.

Would you take the advice of this man? (Hint: He looks remarkably like Dick Cheney.)

In fact, no set of images from elsewhere in life can do real justice to the Bush administration and the Washington it exists in. In our normal lives, no one could get it so wrong so often and still be given the slightest credence.

And everything in the world of opinion polls points to Americans having reached exactly this conclusion about the President and his team. Call it the American consensus. Recent polls indicate that most of the public has simply stopped listening to George W. Bush and other administration figures who have proven incapable of predicting which policy foot will fall where in the next 60 seconds, no less what might happen, based on their acts, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, or anywhere else.

The polling figures also indicate that there are essentially no Democrats left to be moved from the presidential approval to the disapproval columns; that hardly an “independent” remains on the approval horizon; and that what’s always referred to as the President’s Republican “base” is delaminating by the week. The latest Harris poll, for instance, has the President’s approval ratings at 26% and so in a tie with Richard Nixon’s Watergate-worst Harris low; and the Vice President has hit his own new low at 21%; while, in the cumulative average of polls at, Bush’s approval rating has dropped under 28%. In the last six weeks, if you check out the long-term arc of such ratings, it looks as if George has taken a nosedive off a disapproval cliff.

The latest Gallup poll has, for the first time, breeched 30% on the twisting, downward road away from presidential approval and has also registered a record high in opposition to Bush’s Iraq policy. In addition, only 24% of Gallup’s respondents claim to be “satisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time” (27% in the latest Newsweek poll, and a mere 19% in the last NBC/Wall Street Journal poll). Other polls show similar results.

In fact, the American people have so stopped listening to this most chaotic and tin-eared of administrations — once proudly billed by the media (and itself) as the “most disciplined” in our history — that, according to a recent ARG poll, a stunning 54% of Americans now favor the launching of impeachment hearings against Vice President Cheney (only 40% oppose) and 45% favor it against the President (46% oppose). For an idea that was, nine months ago, on the frontiers of political discussion and the far edge of unmentionability, this is nothing short of remarkable. Now, outside of Washington, it’s evidently starting to look as American as apple pie for a public that has had it and may not care to wait for election 2008.

On the other hand, Washington, or that part of it made up of pols, inside-the-Beltway journalists, think-tank pundits, and assorted lobbyists, is quite a different story. The Washington consensus is now way behind the American one. In the rest of the country, the verdict is in on the President and his administration. He’s so long gone and Iraq should be so over that there’s a massive rush for the exits. In Washington, capital of the universe, where the imperial presidency and what passes for American “interests” abroad still hold sway, this administration, however tattered, continues to stagger along the heights of power. Remarkably enough, the President and his top officials, civilian and military, still manage to frame the Iraq “debate” inside Washington’s corridors of power, to define what issues should be at stake and which things are to be discussed.

As Peter Baker of the Washington Post put the matter last Friday, President Bush “still holds the commanding position in his showdown with Congress over Iraq. Even with Republican defections, as votes in both houses made clear this week, opponents do not have anywhere near the veto-proof majorities needed to wrest leadership of the war.”

Headlined “As the War Debate Heats up, Stagnant Air Is in the Forecast” and reflecting the political mood of the moment in the capital, the piece was littered with words like “stalemate” and “gridlock.” It described a President “pummeled yet defiant” and predicted “at least two more months of anger and posturing but no change in direction.” In all this it was typical. A New York Times front-page piece the same day had the headline: “A Firm Bush Tells Congress Not to Dictate Policy on War”; a Los Angeles Times headline went: “Bush Quiets Revolt over Iraq”; and U.S. News in a piece headlined, “Defiant Bush Holds Firm on Surge,” had the horserace line: “Most analysts believe the President gained little ground yesterday.”

Indeed, all of this is true, after a fashion. Congress is deep in the big muddy of whether the President’s surge plan in Iraq has met its “benchmarks” (suggested by the White House), of whether or not to wait for the President’s general, David Petraeus, to report back in September on “progress” before insisting on what is likely to be a relatively modest change of strategy, and about whether, by the President’s standards, there is, or is not, “progress” in Iraq.

When you think about it, that’s little short of a miracle for the Bush administration. After all, you have a President rounding in at 27% “approval” in a nation where about 70% of the public now believes we are on “the wrong track” and yet Bush and his people are still, however desperately, capable of setting the “benchmarks” for — and of framing — the debate in Washington.

Short, perhaps, of Jefferson Davis, has any American leader ever been more relentlessly wrong? Since September 12, 2001, hardly a single move this administration has made in foreign policy hasn’t turned out — and relatively quickly at that — to be the equivalent of a roadside bomb, exploding under the Humvee of American foreign policy.

For the benefit not of the public, but of our Congressional representatives who may have been in Washington a little too long and spent a little too much time reading the Washington-inspired press corps, here, at a glance, is the actual record of the President and his administration on Iraq (and allied topics) since 2001.

Top administration officials, the President, and/or Vice President claimed that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear program; that he was searching for yellowcake uranium in Niger; that the Iraqi dictator had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction (and that they knew where these were); that he had “mobile biological warfare labs”; that he had unmanned aerial vehicles capable of spraying the East Coast of the U.S. (hundreds of miles inland, no less) with deadly toxins, including anthrax; that he was allied with al-Qaeda; and that he had something to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

Top administration officials, the President, and/or Vice President claimed that the Iraqis — the previously oppressed Shiites, in particular — would welcome us as liberators (“I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators” — Dick Cheney); that they might strew “bouquets” of flowers at the feet of our troops; that the war would be a “cakewalk”; that the war and occupation would cost perhaps $40 billion or, at most, $100 billion (actual cost so far: at least $450 billion); that the occupation could easily be funded thanks to the “sea of oil” on which Iraq “floated”; that the neighbors in the region, especially Syria and Iran, would be shock-and-awed into submission or would fall before our might — as some neocons then put it: “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran.”; that, by August 2003, American troop strength in that country would be down to 30,000-40,000 troops.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

On September 14, 2001, George W. Bush stood on a pile of rubble in downtown New York City, a megaphone in his hands, and swore that “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon”; not so long after, he claimed that Afghanistan had been “liberated” from the Taliban and al-Qaeda; soon after, he ordered American military attention (and crucial forces) shifted from Afghanistan and those al-Qaeda remnants to Iraq, where plans for a much-desired invasion were already in progress; on May 1, 2003, speaking under a “mission accomplished” banner on the USS Abraham Lincoln, he proclaimed “major combat” in Iraq “ended”; in July 2003, he challenged the Iraqi insurgency (“bring ‘em on”).

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

In the ensuing years, the President promised “victory” in Iraq again and again, and he has indicated that “progress” was being made there in just about every speech or news conference he’s ever given on the subject. On November 30, 2005, the President announced that he had a specific “strategy for victory in Iraq” in a speech in which he used the word “victory” 15 times and “progress” 28 times; until the Golden Mosque in Samarra was bombed in late February 2006, he and his top officials and military commanders continued to insist that Iraq was not in a state of incipient civil war; throughout all these years, he and his Vice President have repeatedly indicated that the press was simply feeding bad news to the American public and avoiding the “good news” in Iraq.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

Top administration officials, the President and/or the Vice President claimed that the following were “milestones” and/or “turning points” in Iraq: the killing of Saddam’s two sons in July 2003; the capture of Saddam himself in December 2003 (The President even accepted Saddam’s pistol from some of the American soldiers who captured him as a memento and placed it in a study beside the Oval Office, near a bust of Winston Churchill. “He really liked showing it off,” according to a visitor); the official turning over of, as the President put it, “complete, full sovereignty” to an Iraqi “interim government” in June 2004; the “purple finger” election of January 30, 2005 that led to the writing of the Iraqi Constitution; the nationwide voting of December 15, 2005 that elected a national parliament; the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June 2006 (about which the President felt so strongly that he personally congratulated the pilot of the plane that killed him on a trip to Baghdad and returned home reportedly feeling “buoyant”).

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

When, before the invasion of Iraq, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki testified before Congress that “several hundred thousand troops” would be needed for an occupation of Iraq, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz called him “wildly off the mark” and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared him “far off the mark”; when a relatively small American force took Baghdad in April 2003 and stood by while the Iraqi capital and its cultural treasure houses were looted, the Defense Secretary declared “freedom’s untidy” and “stuff happens”; in June 2004, Wolfowitz denied that an insurgency was even taking place in Iraq (“An insurgency implies something that rose up afterwards … [This] is a continuation of the war by people who never quit…”); by that June, the administration’s viceroy in Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer III, had already officially dissolved the Iraqi military and issued 97 legal orders, “binding instructions or directives to the Iraqi people” (to remain in force even after any transfer of political authority), meant to control practically all Iraqi acts down to how you drove your car; in these years, the administration’s representatives refused to deal diplomatically with Iraq’s neighbors, Syria and Iran.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

The Pentagon arrived in Iraq with plans to build four vast permanent military bases; later, the administration embarked on the construction of the largest embassy on the planet (“George W’s Palace,” as Iraqis sardonically dubbed it) in the heart of Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone; American officials, handing out enormous no-bid contracts to crony corporations, promised that Iraq would be “reconstructed,” that electricity service would be suitably restored; that potable water would be delivered; that damaged sewage systems would be repaired; and that the oil industry would soar above the production levels of the end of the Saddam era.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

This January, in a speech to the nation, the President announced a “new way forward in Iraq” and assured Americans that his new “surge” plan would: “change America’s course in Iraq,” “help us succeed in the fight against terror,” and “put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad”; that “America would hold the Iraqi government to the benchmarks it has announced”; that “the Iraqi government plans to take responsibility for security in all of Iraq’s provinces by November”; that “Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis”; that “Iraqis plan to hold provincial elections later this year”; that “the government will reform de-Baathification laws, and establish a fair process for considering amendments to Iraq’s constitution”; that the administration plan would use “America’s full diplomatic resources to rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East,” “bring us closer to success,” and “hasten the day our troops begin coming home.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong again!

And the flood of misstatements, mistakes, missed predictions, and mistaken assessments of the Iraqi and global situations continue to pour in. To take just a few examples from the last week of news:

*Since 2005, the President has been repeating the ad-jingle-style mantra about the Iraqi military: “As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” In fact, $19 billion dollars has already been poured into training, advising, and equipping that military and the Iraqi police. Yet, according to the White House Progress Report, “Despite stepped-up training, the readiness of the Iraqi military to operate independently of U.S. forces has decreased since President Bush’s new [surge] strategy was launched in January.” Outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Peter Pace, in fact, claims that “the number of Iraqi army battalions that operate independently, with no assistance from U.S. forces, has dropped from 10 to six over the last two months.”

*The President promised in January that, in areas touched by his surge plan, American and Iraqi troops would begin to establish real “security,” end sectarian cleansing, and allow no place to be a “safe haven” for militias. However, Julian E. Barnes and Ned Parker of the Los Angeles Times, reporting from a militia-controlled Baghdad neighborhood, write: “[A]s the experience of the troops in Ubaidi indicates, U.S. forces so far have been unable to establish security, even for themselves. Iraqis continue to flee their homes, leaving mixed areas and seeking safety in religiously segregated neighborhoods. About 32,000 families fled in June alone, according to figures compiled by the United Nations and the Iraqi government that are due to be released next week.”

*The President began his global war on terror by swearing that the U.S. would be eternally “on the hunt” for al-Qaeda and has claimed ever since that U.S. forces have radically weakened Osama bin Laden’s organization (though, just recently, a frustrated Congress raised the price on Osama’s head from $25 million to $50 million). At his most recent news conference, Bush offered the slippery formulation: “[B]ecause of the actions we have taken, al Qaeda is weaker today than they would have been.” But a new administration intelligence report from the National Counterterrorism Center entitled “Al-Qaida Better Positioned to Strike the West,” reportedly claims that “the terrorist network is gaining strength and has established a safe haven in remote tribal areas of western Pakistan for training and planning attacks.”

*The President has constantly pointed to “progress” in Iraq. As Bob Woodward just revealed in the Washington Post, however, CIA Director Michael Hayden, offering an assessment of progress to the Iraq Study Group in a meeting last November, stated that “the inability of the [Maliki] government to govern seems irreversible.” He added that he could not “point to any milestone or checkpoint where we can turn this thing around…. We have spent a lot of energy and treasure creating a government that is balanced, and it cannot function.” Last week as well, a new intelligence assessment, a document signed off on by all 16 of the agencies in the U.S. Intelligence Community, offered significantly grimmer news than the already grim White House interim Progress Report on possibilities for Iraqi national reconciliation and so “cast new uncertainty about the chances of success for President Bush’s plan to contain the war through the deployment of an additional 28,000 U.S. troops, mostly in and around Baghdad.”

But why go on? Only in Washington would such a consistent record of woeful failure lead to “stalemate.” Only in Washington would a group of officials with such a record still be able to set the basic ground rules for debate. No individual would go back to the lot that sold you a string of automotive lemons, or let the doctor who had repeatedly misdiagnosed your disease (and maybe killed your neighbor with an overdose of anesthetic), operate on you.

In relation to Iraq, the situation can be summed up this way: The greatest gamblers in our history rolled the dice for a long-desired invasion, based on a dream of dominating the oil heartlands of the planet. This vision of a Pax Americana planet was based on the vaunted ability of the highest-tech military anywhere to dominate all in its path. (Domestically, a high-tech, well-oiled, utterly disciplined Republican Party was to establish political and lobbying dominion — a Pax Republicana — over Washington and the nation for a generation or more to come). On both imagined dominions, as on everything else, they were wrong. They were, that is, wrong in their expectations at the planetary level, and they have been wrong at every lesser level ever since. It has proven to be a cavalcade of stupidity.

If you take just the situation in Iraq in six-month increments, starting with the taking of Baghdad in 2003, any reasonable assessment would conclude that the American position has weakened and the country grown more chaotic, dangerous, and murderous in each of them. There is no reason to believe that, under the ministrations of this President, this Vice-President, these officials, and this set of military commanders anything could possibly change for the better as long as we remain stuck on the idea of occupying Iraq.

That’s the logic of recent history. If you prefer the logic of dreams and of an empire of stupidity, then do stick with the present “stalemate.”

Otherwise, it would make more sense to play an opposite’s game with whatever positions the President and his officials take. Your odds on being right are guaranteed to be phenomenally high. Why, in fact, listen to them for one more second? Why be forced to look back and say “Wrong again!” one more time?

Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute’s (“a regular antidote to the mainstream media”), is the co-founder of the American Empire Project and, most recently, the author of Mission Unaccomplished: Tomdispatch Interviews with American Iconoclasts and Dissenters (Nation Books).

Copyright 2007 Tom Engelhardt

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Gitmo’s Tangled Web – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Majid Khan, Dubious US Convictions and a Dying Man By ANDY WORTHINGTON

Dandelion Salad

Bastille Day Weekend Edition
July 14 / 15, 2007


In March, when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the most
high-profile al-Qaeda terror suspect in US custody, “confessed” during his tribunal in Guantánamo that he was the architect of 9/11 and had also played a part in 30 other plots (both real and conceptual), there were mixed responses. No one tried to deny Mohammed’s main claim to infamy–the 9/11 attacks–but those who had paid attention to his story knew that there were doubts about the veracity of all his claims, because he was a notorious show-off, and valid complaints were made that, by sidestepping the normal legal channels, the authorities had allowed him to portray himself as a “freedom fighter”–comparing himself to George Washington, who, he said, would have been considered an “enemy combatant” if he had been captured by the British–rather than revealing him for what he actually was: a vile, mass-murdering criminal. Other commentators, who bothered to scrutinize the 26-page transcript of his tribunal, were even more alarmed. In parts of the transcript (some of which was redacted), Mohammed mentioned that he was tortured by the CIA, and added that, as a result, he had made false allegations against other people in US custody:

Tribunal President: What I’m trying to get at is any statement that you made was it because of this treatment, to use your word, you claim torture. [Did] you make any statements because of that?

[The discussion then wandered, before returning to the issue].

Tribunal President: People made false statement[s] as a result of this?

Detainee: I did also.

Tribunal President: Uh-huh.

Detainee: I told him, I know him, yes This I don’t know him, I never met him at all.

With the administration refusing to declassify the redacted passages from Mohammed’s testimony, it’s impossible to come up with a comprehensive list of those accused by him, and to investigate whether or not there is any truth in allegations made by a man who was subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including the reviled torture method known as waterboarding, during the three and a half years that he was held in secret prisons by the CIA before his transfer to Guantánamo in September 2006.

Recently, however, I was reminded of these doubts when the human rights group Cageprisoners issued a press release after statements by one of the Guantánamo prisoners ensnared in KSM’s web–the 59-year old Pakistani Saifullah Paracha–were declassified by the US military. The press release made for bleak reading, revealing that the health of Paracha, who has suffered three heart attacks in US custody–two in Bagram, and one in Guantánamo–“has seriously deteriorated and could lead to his premature death if his pre-existing heart, prostatic and diabetic disease are not treated urgently.”

Paracha’s lawyer, Gaillard T Hunt, suggested that “his medical treatment is at best incompetent and at worst negligent,” and painted a distressing picture of his client’s prospects, pointing out that several of his brothers and sisters have died of cardiac problems before reaching the age of 65, and that Paracha himself “has been having fainting spells, so we know the problem is worsening.” Hunt went on to explain, “He couldn’t submit to a cardiac catheterization at Guantánamo because the rules require all prisoners in the hospital to be shackled to the four corners of the bed. The cardiologist said this was dangerous for a heart patient, but the prison administration would not compromise. The statements filed in court to assure us that Paracha is getting proper treatment are not signed by the doctors. We have to assume the doctors are as disturbed by the situation as we are. The doctors told Paracha that they were acting as military men first, as doctors second.”

This will come as no surprise to those who regard with skepticism the administration’s claims that the Guantánamo prisoners receive medical attention that is “as good as or better than anything we would offer our own soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines,” as Brigadier General Jay Hood, the commander of the Joint Task Force in Guantánamo, declared in 2005. As ex-detainee Moazzam Begg explained (and my own research has confirmed), “Often, as was the case during my time in US custody, prisoners’ level of medical treatment would be dependant upon their level of cooperation with interrogators. Simply put, failure to comply could mean failure to receive treatment.” What’s even more disturbing, however, is a comment by Hunt that could easily be overlooked. “Paracha is not the worst case,” he said. “There are people at GTMO literally dying from lack of treatment.”

Given that the recent suicide of a Saudi detainee, Abdul Rahman al-Amri, received relatively little press coverage–and nothing like the international outrage that greeted the deaths of three prisoners in June 2006–it may well be that the administration believes that it can weather a few more deaths without having to face a tsunami of criticism, but while this may be possible in terms of PR, morally it would be a disaster. Four men have already died in Guantánamo–their names besmirched in reports issued by the Pentagon after their deaths, even though they had never been tried or convicted of any crime–and the same process of demonization would undoubtedly occur were Saifullah Paracha also to die in Guantánamo.

The authorities would declare that he was an al-Qaeda member, who was captured by American operatives as he flew to Bangkok for a business trip on 5 July 2003, and they would assert–as they already have in his tribunal in Guantánamo–that he met Osama bin Laden, made investments for al-Qaeda members, translated statements for Osama bin Laden, joined in a plot to smuggle explosives into the US and recommended that nuclear weapons be used against US soldiers. They would also mention that the eldest of his four children, Uzair, was convicted by a US court in November 2005 on five charges, including providing material support to al-Qaeda (related to the supposed plot to smuggle explosives into the US, in which his father was also accused), and was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in July 2006, although they would fail to mention that one of his lawyers, Edward Wilford, told the court that the government’s claims stemmed from a false confession Paracha gave after he was “subjected to 72 hours of interrogation without being told that he could consult a lawyer or speak with his parents.”

What they would also fail to mention is that Saifullah Paracha is a philanthropist, who helped refurbish a 300-bed hospital and established secular schools rather than madrassas in Karachi–explaining to his tribunal that “We are emphasizing secular education, because you need a formal education to get a livelihood”–and a staunchly pro-American businessman, who studied at the New York Institute of Technology, lived in the United States in the 1980s and was running a successful clothes exporting business–with clients including K-Mart and Wal-Mart–at the time of his capture, in partnership with a New York-based Jewish entrepreneur. They would not point out that anyone with half a brain would realize that a genuine al-Qaeda member would never, under any circumstances, enter into a business deal with a Jewish entrepreneur.

They would also fail to mention that Paracha accepted that he did indeed met Osama bin Laden–on two occasions, at meetings of businessmen and religious leaders in Pakistan in 1999 and 2000, which had nothing to do with terrorism–and that after one of these meetings, when he made the mistake of thinking that it would be a good idea to ask bin Laden to contribute to a TV program about Islam, he was approached by KSM, and through him met Ammar al-Baluchi and Majid Khan, all of whom introduced themselves as businessmen. Also overlooked would be Paracha’s persistent denials of all the other allegations against him, and the fact that he unequivocally told his tribunal, “I believe in the Koran, that killing one innocent person is equivalent to killing all humanity. I believe in that, and practice that.”

The authorities would possibly acknowledge a chain of arrests that led from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (captured in Rawalpindi on 1 March 2003) to Saifullah Paracha, via Majid Khan, captured in Karachi on 5 March 2003, Iyman Faris, an American of Kashmiri origin, who was detained in Ohio on 15 March 2003, and Uzair Paracha, seized by the FBI in New York on 28 March 2003. No doubts, however, would be raised about the integrity of KSM’s initial tip-off, or the effects of coercion on all those ensnared in the web.

And yet there are, I believe, very real doubts that any of these men–apart from KSM–had any involvement with al-Qaeda or terrorism. In the case of Uzair Paracha, for example, the authorities secured a conviction on the basis that, as the Department of Justice described it, he “agreed with his father, Saifullah Paracha, and two al-Qaeda members, Majid Khan and Ammar al-Baluchi, to provide support to al-Qaeda by, among other things, trying to help Khan obtain a travel document that would have allowed Khan to re-enter the United States to commit a terrorist act.” Paracha did not dispute that, on the advice of his father, he had foolishly attempted to secure an immigration document for Khan, as a favor for a fellow Pakistani, and that as a result he “posed as Khan during telephone calls with the Immigration and Naturalization Service,” and also called Khan’s bank, attempted to gather information about his immigration paperwork via the internet, and agreed to use Khan’s credit card to make it appear that he was in the United States, when he was actually in Pakistan.

Crucially, however, he denied stating, as the DoJ attempted to assert, that he “knew from his father” that Khan and al-Baluchi “were al-Qaeda,” that the two men “wanted to give Paracha and his father between 180,000 and 200,000 United States dollars to invest in their company as a loan,” that he “knew the money was al-Qaeda money and that al-Qaeda wanted to keep the money liquid so they could have it back at a moments notice,” and that he “felt it was implied that he had to perform tasks” for Khan and al-Baluchi “on behalf of al-Qaeda because of the money being loaned to their business.” Although he was not allowed to call Majid Khan or Ammar al-Baluchi as witnesses (both men were, at the time, in secret CIA custody), they were allowed to present statements to the court, in which they both asserted that Paracha had no knowledge of any purported al-Qaeda connections, and before the trial another of his lawyers, Anthony Ricco, was so confident that he said that his client was manipulated into helping Khan and was looking forward to a trial to prove that he had no criminal intent. He described Paracha as “a very bright, but, I say, a very naive young man,” and added that he did not expect to have to contest the allegation that Paracha knew that Khan was in al-Qaeda.

Once Uzair Paracha was convicted–prompting Ricco to note that he had rejected a plea deal that would have led to a lesser sentence because he believed he was innocent, and to complain that it was difficult to clear defendants in terror trials because the US government “was at war with al- Qaeda”–his story was supposed to be forgotten, but the tangled web spun by KSM reappeared in March and April 2007 during the tribunals that were held to determine whether the 14 “high value” prisoners transferred to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006–including KSM, Majid Khan and Ammar al-Baluchi–had been correctly designated as “enemy combatants” and could be put forward for trial by Military Commission. After KSM’s electrifying testimony, the media largely lost interest in the transcripts that were subsequently released–waking up only when another of the prisoners, Waleed bin Attash, claimed responsibility for the attack on the USS Cole in 2000–but the story resurfaced in Majid Khan’s tribunal, and, almost incidentally, in the tribunal of Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of KSM who was accused of working with Khan on the explosives plot, but who explained that he was “just a person introduced through KSM.”

A legal US resident, whose parents live in Maryland, Khan had recently got married and his wife was pregnant at the time of his capture. He was seized in Karachi, just four days after the capture of KSM, at the house of his brother Mohammed, who was also captured, and later released, along with his wife and his baby daughter. In his tribunal, nine allegations were presented, all but one of which–a rather incomprehensible claim that a computer hard drive “seized from a residence where munitions were discovered contained linkages to media seized from the detainee’s residence”–came from the allegations relating to Uzair Paracha (as described above), and statements that were allegedly made by Iyman Faris, and Khan’s own father and brother.

Kashmir-born Faris, who became a US citizen in 1999, and had been living in Columbus, Ohio, where he was working as a trucker, was convicted of providing material support to al-Qaeda for his role in an alleged plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, and was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in October 2003. On the surface, his conviction seemed straightforward. With a failed five-year marriage behind him, and an attempt to commit suicide that involved him being counseled by an imam and given psychiatric evaluation, he appeared to be perfect fodder for terrorist recruitment. Arrested on 19 March 2003, by two FBI agents and an anti-terror officer, who reportedly confronted him with testimony from KSM and the results of an intercepted telephone call, it was alleged that he visited Pakistan and Afghanistan from 2000 to 2001, meeting Osama bin Laden at some point, and that, on his return to the US, he learned of a plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge, which involved cutting through its cables with blowtorches, and a second plot that involved derailing a train in Washington DC. According to the US government, Faris’ role in the plots went no further than asking a friend where he could purchase welding equipment, and researching the structure of the bridge on the internet. He apparently concluded that the operation was unfeasible, and sent a message to Pakistan to abandon the plots, stating, “The weather is too hot.”

Although Faris pleaded guilty to the charges, on 1 May 2003, it was not revealed until after the trial that, after his arrest, he had actually been recruited by the FBI as a double agent, and had been moved to a safe house in Virginia where he was instructed to stay in touch with his contacts in Pakistan. Another twist came on 25 September, just before Faris was due to be sentenced, when he attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, claiming that, although he had met Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Pakistan, he had refused to be recruited as a member of al-Qaeda, and had concluded that Mohammed had fed false information to the US authorities as revenge. The appeal was disallowed, but both of these issues raise uncomfortable questions about the nature of his conviction, and, specifically, about his part in the terror web spun by KSM.

Further doubts about Faris’ case–and that of Majid Khan–came in April 2007, when Faris was called upon by Khan to explain the allegations relating to him in the Summary of Evidence for his tribunal, in which it was alleged that, on a visit to Khan’s family’s home in Maryland, Faris stated that Khan “spoke to him about the fighting and struggle in Afghanistan,” and that on a subsequent visit Khan told him that he had met KSM in Pakistan, and that he referred to him as “uncle.” It was also alleged that Khan told Faris of “his desire to martyr himself against President Musharraf” by “detonating a vest of explosives inside a building.” In response, Faris explained that he had visited the Khan’s house to “invest in the family business,” and categorically denied all the allegations, stating, “There was no discussion other than religious duty and what he likes to do in life, like work in construction and not in his father’s [financial] business,” emphasizing that “there were never any discussions regarding the fight in Afghanistan–ever,” and responding to the allegation about the Musharraf plot by stating, “This is an absolute lie.” When asked, “Were you coerced, tricked or deceived into making any statements about Majid Khan?” Faris delivered his most devastating statement. “Yes,” he said, “by FBI. If I don’t tell them what they wanted to hear, they were going to take me to GITMO [Guantánamo].”

Writing from Guantánamo, Saifullah Paracha also refuted the claims against Majid Khan (and, by extension, against both himself and his son Uzair), confirming that he did not know that either Khan (or Ammar al-Baluchi, who introduced Khan to him in Pakistan) were members of al-Qaeda, insisting that he never discussed a loan with him–“I never discussed any financial matters with Majid Khan”–and reiterating that he only agreed to ask Uzair to help Khan as a favor to a fellow countryman: “I was told he had an issue with US Immigration and wanted to keep his bank account in the USA active, which I asked my son to assist him with as a fellow Pakistani.”

The only other allegations against Khan, as noted above, were reportedly made by one of his brothers, who, according to the US authorities, “stated the detainee was involved with a group that he believed to be al-Qaeda, and as of December 2002 was involved in transporting people across the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and points elsewhere,” and his father, who allegedly “stated the detainee recently began to be influenced by anti-American thoughts and became extremely religious in his behavior.” Although Khan’s brother had not responded by the time of his tribunal, his father Ali mounted a vigorous defence of his son, querying the statements that were supposed to have been made by himself and his son, asking, “Where and when did we make these statements that you claim we made? Who did we make these statements to, exactly? The government has refused to give us this information. Anything we may have said was simply out of shock because we knew [he] had disappeared and was pure speculation based on what FBI agents in the United States told us and pressured us to say.”

He continued: “If you think that he did something wrong, show me the evidence. Charge him with a crime and give him a fair trial in a real court. This tribunal is not a real court It is only for show and the outcome has probably already been decided.” Crucially, he added, “Anything that he may have confessed to, or that other prisoners may have said about him, should also be considered with suspicion because these statements were probably tortured or coerced out of them. Under these circumstances, how could anyone believe what the government says about my son?”

In passages, which, remarkably, were not redacted, Ali Khan then described Majid’s torture at the hands of US and Pakistani agents, explaining that “after eight days of interrogation by US and Pakistani agents,” his son Mohammed was allowed to see Majid, who “looked terrible and very, very tired,” and proceeded to explain to his brother that “the Americans tortured him for eight hours at a time, tying him tightly in stressful positions in a small chair until his hands, feet and mind went numb,” that they “re-tied him in the chair every hour, tightening the bonds on his hands and feet each time so that it was more painful,” and that they “beat him repeatedly,” subjected him to sleep deprivation, and, when not being interrogated, held him in a small, mosquito-infested cell, which was “totally dark, and too small for him to lie down in or sit in with his legs stretched out.” In Ali’s testimony, the most devastating statement was the following: “This torture only stopped when Majid agreed to sign a statement that he was not even allowed to read,” although he also noted that the torture resumed when he “was unable to identify certain streets and neighborhoods in Karachi that he did not know,” and critics of US behavior should read the whole of his testimony, as it also includes claims by Mohammed Khan that both he and Majid were held in a prison where two of KSM’s children, “aged about six and eight,” had been held before their father’s capture, where they were “denied food and water,” and had “ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding,” and that “Americans once stripped and beat two Arab boys,” aged 14 and 16, who were then “thrown like garbage onto a plane to Guantánamo” (it’s more likely that they were actually sent to Bagram), and also held women prisoners, including some who were pregnant and “forced to give birth in their cells.”

While this article only scratches the surface of the “tangled web” woven by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed while in CIA custody, I hope it illuminates the possibility that the plots and networks trumpeted by the US authorities may not be quite what they seem. It’s possible that everything the authorities claim is true, but my interpretation, reading between the lines, is that, through the informal social networks of the various business communities in Pakistan–which, as Saifullah Paracha pointed in Guantánamo, are based on traditional notions of hospitality, even though, in the political chaos of modern-day Pakistan, it is “very difficult for any civilian to determine who is who”–he, his son Uzair and Majid Khan were caught up in the orbit of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and that their subsequent torture, abuse and imprisonment are the result of naïve trust rather than any connection whatsoever with terrorism. Even murkier are the stories of Iyman Faris and Ammar al-Baluchi, and behind them all, towering like a malign colossus, and with fingers reaching into all corners of Pakistani society and its vast diaspora through his successful disguise as a legitimate businessman, is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and his many false allegations–made during his torture at the hands of the CIA–that the US administration would rather bury than acknowledge.

Note: The tribunal transcripts for all the “high-value” prisoners at Guantánamo are available at:

Andy Worthington ( is a British historian, and the author of ‘The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison’ (to be published by Pluto Press in October 2007).
He can be reached at:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

This is the story of the Rabbi and the Minister By Jake Siegel

Sent to DS by the author.

Please go to the original source to see the pictures for this story. ~ DS

By Jake Siegel
Guest writer on Dandelion Salad
The Missourian
July 14, 2007

It is the story of two men of different faiths whose friendship thrives in a world torn apart by religious strife, in a town that Neo-Nazis chose to visit with their message of hate.

The story of the rabbi, Yossi Feintuch, and the minister, John Yonker, began just a few years ago, when the rabbi’s son was hit by a car and badly injured. Yonker, of Columbia’s First Christian Church, picked up the phone to say his family was praying for the Feintuchs.

Continue reading

Invisible Children

Dandelion Salad

replaced video Nov. 30, 2012


This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole
55 min 8 sec – Apr 7, 2006

on Apr 20, 2010

In the spring of 2003, three young Americans traveled to Africa in search of such as story. What they found was a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them. A story where children are weapons and children are the victims. The “Invisible Children: rough cut” film exposes the effects of a 20 year-long war on the children of Northern Uganda. These children live in fear of abduction by rebel soldiers, and are being forced to fight as a part of violent army. Continue reading

John Pilger: Stealing A Nation (2004) + Interview with John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

John Pilger

‘Stealing A Nation’ (2004) is an extraordinary film about the plight of the Chagos Islands, whose indigenous population was secretly and brutally expelled by British Governments in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for an American military base. The tragedy, which falls within the remit of the International Criminal Court as “a crime against humanity”, is told by Islanders who were dumped in the slums of Mauritius and by British officials who left behind a damning trail of Foreign Office documents.

Before the Americans came, more than 2,000 people lived on the islands in the Indian Ocean, many with roots back to the late 18th century. There were thriving villages, a school, a hospital, a church, a railway and an undisturbed way of life. The islands were, and still are, a British crown colony. In the 1960s, the government of Harold Wilson struck a secret deal with the United States to hand over the main island of Diego Garcia. The Americans demanded that the surrounding islands be “swept” and “sanitized”. Unknown to Parliament and to the US Congress and in breach of the United Nations Charter, the British Government plotted with Washington to expel the entire population.

Continue reading

Olbermann: Special Comment: Michael Chertoff’s Gut + Gut Feelings (videos) (updated: transcript)

Dandelion Salad

July 12, 2007


Gut Feelings



Updated: July 15, 2007

Olbermann: All hail the prophetic gut!

Dandelion Salad

Explaining Michael Chertoff’s counterterrorism stomach
Transcript: Special Comment By Keith Olbermann

Broadcast 07/12/07


You have by now heard the remark — instantly added to our through-the-looking-glass lexicon of the 21st century, a time when we suddenly started referring to this country as “the homeland,” as if anybody here has used that term since Charles Lindbergh or the German-American Bund in 1940.

Michael Chertoff’s “gut feeling.”

Which, he took pains to emphasize, was based on no specific nor even vague intelligence that we are entering a period of increased risk of terrorism here.

He got as specific as saying that al-Qaida seems to like the summer, but as to the rest of it, he is perfectly content to let us sit and wait and worry — and to contemplate his gut.

His gut!

We used to have John Ashcroft’s major announcements.

We used to have David Paulison’s breathless advisories about how to use duct tape against radiation attacks.

We used to have Tom Ridge’s color-coded threat levels.

Now we have Michael Chertoff’s gut!

Once, we thought we were tiptoeing along a Grand Canyon of possible and actual freedoms and civil liberties destroyed, as part of some kind of nauseating but ultimately necessary and intricately designed plan to stop future 9/11s or even future Glasgow car bombers who wind up having to get out and push their failed weapons.

Now it turns out we are risking all of our rights and protections — and risking the anger and hatred of the rest of the world — for the sake of Michael Chertoff’s gut.

I have pondered this supreme expression of diminished expectations for parts of three days now. I have concluded that there are only five possible explanations for Mr. Chertoff’s remarkable revelations about his transcendently important counterterrorism stomach.

Firstly, Mr. Chertoff, you are, as Richard Wolffe said here the other night, actually referencing not your gut but your backside — as in, “covering it.” CYA.

Not only has there not been a terrorist attack stopped in this country, but your good old Homeland Security hasn’t even unraveled a plausible terrorist plan.

And you and your folks there have a different kind of stomach pain, knowing that with a track record that consists largely of two accomplishments — inconveniencing people at airports and scaring them everywhere else — your department doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing, and even you, Mr. Chertoff, know it.

Secondly, of course, there is the explanation of choice for those millions of us who have heard the shrill and curiously timed cries of “wolf” over the past six years — what we’ve called here “the Nexus of Politics and Terror” — that there isn’t anything cooking, and your “gut feeling” was actually that you’d better throw up a diversion soon on Mr. Bush’s behalf or something real — like the Republicans’ revolt about Iraq, and the nauseating “gut feeling” that we have gotten 3,611 Americans killed there for no reason — was actually going to seep into the American headlines and consciousness.

It’s impossible to prove a negative, to guarantee that you and your predecessors deliberately scared the American public just for the political hell of it — even though your predecessor, Mr. Ridge, admitted he had his suspicions about exactly that.

Suffice to say, Mr. Chertoff: If it ever can be proved, there will be a lot of people from Homeland Security and other outposts of this remarkably corrupt administration who will be going to prison.

Thirdly — and most charitably, I guess, Mr. Chertoff — is the possibility that you have made some credible inference that we are really at greater risk right now but that any detail might blow some sort of attempt at interruption. There is some silver lining in this one.

But the silver lining would have been a greater one if this National Counter Terrorism Center Report hadn’t leaked out the day after you introduced us to your gut, a report suggesting al-Qaida had re-built its operational capacity to pre-9/11 levels.

Not only did this latest hair-on-fire missive remind us that al-Qaida’s re-growth has been along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border; not only did it remind us that your boss let this happen by shifting his resources out of Afghanistan to Iraq for his own vain and foolish purposes, to say nothing of ignoring Pakistan; not only did it underscore the ominous truth that if this country is victimized again by al-Qaida, the personal responsibility for the failure of our misplaced defenses would belong to President Bush and President Bush alone, but on top of all of it, Mr. Chertoff, it revealed you for the phony expert you are — the kid who hears in confidence something smart from somebody smart and then makes his prediction that what the smart kid said confidentially is about to happen.

It reads just as you revised the “gut” remark this morning, sir — the “informed opinion.” The kid telling stories out of school.

The fourth possibility is a simple reversal of the third, Mr. Chertoff.

You shot off your bazoo, and then this National Counter Terrorism Center report was rushed out — even created — to cover you, to give you credibility, to cloud the reality that you actually intoned to the Chicago Tribune, the 21st-century equivalent of “by the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes.”

But the fifth possible explanation of your gut, Mr. Chertoff, is the real nightmare scenario.

And it is simple.

That you, the man who famously told us “Louisiana is a city that is largely under water,” meant this literally.

That we really have been reduced to listening to see if your gut will growl.

That your intestines are our best defense.

That your bowels are our listening devices, your digestive tract is full of augurs, your colon produces the results that the torture at Gitmo does not.

All hail the prophetic gut!

So there are your choices: bureaucratic self-protection, political manipulation of the worst kind, the dropping of opaque hints, a gaffe backfilled by an “instant report,” or the complete disintegration of our counterterror effort.

Even if there really is never another terror attempt in this country, we have already lost too much in these last six years to now have to listen to Michael Chertoff’s gut, no matter what its motivation.

We cannot and will not turn this country into a police state.

But even those of us who say that most loudly and insistently acknowledge that some stricter measures, under the still-stricter supervision of as many watchdogs as we can summon, are appropriate.

But you’re not even going to wring any of that from us, Mr. Chertoff, if we’re going to hear remarks about your “gut feelings.”

You have reduced yourself to the status of a hunch-driven clown, and it’s probably time you turned your task over to somebody who represents the brain and not the gut, certainly to somebody who does not, as you do now, represent that other part of the anatomy — the one through which the body disposes of what the stomach doesn’t want.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


Al Qaeda: The CI-A Team by Ignorance Isn’t Bliss + Barry Zweiker: Gulf War 1 lies: conspiracy to gain support for the Gulf War 1 (videos)

Don’t Laugh at Michael Chertoff By Frank Rich

Fib factory running full tilt By ERIC MARGOLIS

We’re All Gonna Die By William Rivers Pitt

Don’t Laugh at Michael Chertoff By Frank Rich

Dandelion Salad
By Frank Rich
The New York Times

Go to Original
Sunday 15 July 2007

Michael Chertoff, President Bush’s fallback choice for secretary of Homeland Security after Bernard Kerik, is best remembered for his tragicomic performance during Hurricane Katrina. He gave his underling, the woeful Brownie, a run for the gold.

It was Mr. Chertoff who announced that the Superdome in New Orleans was “secure” even as the other half of the split screen offered graphic evidence otherwise. It was Mr. Chertoff who told NPR that he had “not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who do not have food and water,” even after his fellow citizens had been inundated with such reports all day long.

With Brownie as the designated fall guy, Mr. Chertoff kept his job. Since then he has attracted notice only when lavishing pork on terrorist targets like an Alabama petting zoo while reducing grants to New York City. Though Mr. Chertoff may be the man standing between us and Armageddon, he is seen as a leader of stature only when standing next to his cabinet mate Gonzo.

But even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Last week, as the Bush administration frantically tried to counter Republican defections from the war in Iraq, Mr. Chertoff alone departed from the administration’s script to talk about the enemy that actually did attack America on 9/11, Al Qaeda, rather than Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the jihad-come-lately gang Mr. Bush is fond of talking about instead. In this White House, the occasional official who strays off script is in all likelihood inadvertently coughing up the truth.

Mr. Chertoff was promptly hammered for it. His admission of “a gut feeling” that America might be vulnerable to a terrorist attack this summer was universally ridiculed as a gaffe. He then tried to retreat, but as he did so, his dire prognosis was confirmed by an intelligence leak. The draft of a new classified threat assessment found that Al Qaeda has regrouped and is stronger than at any time since 2001. Its operational base is the same ungoverned Pakistan wilderness where we’ve repeatedly failed to capture Osama bin Laden dead or alive for six years.

So give Mr. Chertoff credit for keeping his eye on the enemy while everyone else in the capital is debating never-to-be-realized benchmarks for an Iraqi government that exists in name only. Just as President Bush ignored that August 2001 brief “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.,” so Washington, some of its press corps included, is poised to shrug off the August 2007 update “Al Qaeda Better Positioned to Strike the West.” The capital has been sucker-punched by the administration’s latest P.R. offensive to prop up the fiasco in Iraq.

The White House’s game is to create a new fictional story line to keep the war going until President Bush can dump it on his successor. Bizarrely, some of the new scenario echoes the bogus narrative used to sell the war in 2002: an imaginary connection between Iraq and the attacks of 9/11. You’d think the Bush administration might think twice before recycling old lies, but things have gotten so bad in the bunker that even Karl Rove is repeating himself.

Fittingly, one of the first in Washington to notice the rollout of the latest propaganda offensive was one of the very few journalists who uncovered the administration’s manipulation of W.M.D. intelligence in 2002: Jonathan Landay of the McClatchy newspapers.

This time around, he was ahead of the pack in catching the sudden uptick in references to Al Qaeda in the president’s speeches about Iraq – 27 in a single speech on June 28 – and an equal decline in references to the Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence at the heart of the Iraqi civil war America is powerless to stop. Even more incriminating was Mr. Landay’s discovery that the military was following Mr. Bush’s script verbatim. There were 33 citations of Al Qaeda in a single week’s worth of military news releases in late June, up from only 9 such mentions in May.

None of this is accidental. The administration knows that its last stated mission for the war – “an Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself” – is as doomed as the Iraqi army that would “stand up” so we could stand down. So now there’s a new “mission” – or at least new boilerplate. “Victory is defeating Al Qaeda,” Tony Snow said last week, because “Al Qaeda continues to be the chief organizer of mayhem within Iraq.” What’s more, its members are, in Mr. Bush’s words, “the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th.”

This is hooey, of course. Not only did Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia not exist before we invaded Iraq in 2003, but it isn’t even the chief organizer of the war’s mayhem today. ABC News reported this month that this group may be responsible for no more than 15 percent of the attacks in Iraq. Bob Woodward wrote in The Washington Post on Thursday that Michael Hayden, the C.I.A. director, told Mr. Bush last November that Al Qaeda was only the fifth most pressing threat in Iraq, after the insurgency, sectarian strife, criminality and general anarchy.

So what if the Qaeda that’s operating with impunity out of Pakistan, North Africa and other non-Iraq havens actually is the most pressing threat to America? This president is never one to let facts get in the way of a political agenda. That agenda is to avoid taking responsibility for losing a war, no matter how many more Americans are tossed into its carnage. From here on in, you can be sure that whomever we’re fighting in Iraq on any given day will be no more than one degree of separation from bin Laden.

Nor do the latest fictionalizations end there. To further prop up the war, Mr. Bush had to find some way to forestall verdicts on the “surge,” which commanders had predicted could be judged by late summer. He also had to neutralize last week’s downbeat Congress-mandated report card on the Iraqi government’s progress toward its 18 benchmarks.

The latter task was easy. The report card grades on a steep curve (and even then must settle for a C-minus average and a couple of incompletes). Deflecting gloom about the “surge” is trickier. It’s hard to argue that we’re on our way to securing Baghdad, the stated goal, when attacks on our own safe haven, the Green Zone, are rising rapidly, more than doubling from March to May, according to the United Nations.

But you can never underestimate this White House’s ingenuity. It turns out that the “surge,” which most Americans thought began shortly after the president announced it in January, is brand-new! We’re just “at the starting line,” Tony Snow told the network morning news shows last week, as he pounded in the message that “we have a new course in Iraq, and it’s two weeks old.”

Mr. Snow’s television hosts were not so rude as to point out that the Pentagon had previously designated Feb. 14 as the starting line of the surge’s first operation, and had also said that its March report on Iraq should be used as the “baseline from which to measure future progress.” That was then, and this is now. The Baghdad clock has been reset. July is the new February. As we slouch toward the sixth anniversary of 9/11, the war against Al Qaeda has only just begun.

Swamped with such fiction, Washington is unable to cope. Network newscasts are still failing to distinguish the Qaeda Mr. Bush talks about from the 9/11 terrorists. The Iraq dead-enders in Congress and the neocon punditocracy have now defined victory down to defeating Mr. Bush’s mini-Qaeda in a single Iraqi province, Anbar. Meanwhile, our ally Pervez Musharraf’s shaky regime in Pakistan lets Al Qaeda plot its next mass murder.

The capital’s entire political debate over Iraq – stay-the-surge versus “precipitous withdrawal” – is itself pure hot air. Even though felons and the obese are now being signed up to meet Army recruitment shortfalls, we still can’t extend the surge past next April, when troops for Iraq run out unless Mr. Bush extends their tours yet again. “Precipitous withdrawal” (which no withdrawal bill in Congress calls for) is a non sequitur, since any withdrawal would take at least 10 months. Rather than have the real debate about how to manage the exit, politically panicked Republicans hope to cast symbolic votes that will allow them to tell voters they were for ending the war before they prolonged it.

That leaves Mr. Chertoff, whose department has vacancies in a quarter of its top leadership positions, as the de facto general in charge of defending us from the enemy he had that “gut feeling” about, the Qaeda not in Iraq. Last week we learned from a sting operation conducted by Congressional investigators that this enemy needs only a Mail Boxes Etc. account, a phone and a fax machine to buy radioactive material from American suppliers and build a dirty bomb.

For all Washington’s hyperventilating about the Iraqi Parliament’s vacation plans, it’s our own government’s vacation from reality this summer that should make us very afraid.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


We’re All Gonna Die By William Rivers Pitt

Fib factory running full tilt By ERIC MARGOLIS

Olbermann: Special Comment: Michael Chertoff’s Gut + Gut Feelings (videos)

We’re All Gonna Die By William Rivers Pitt

Dandelion Salad

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist Friday 13 July 2007

We are all wired into a survival trip now.

– Hunter S. Thompson

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in May of 2002? Around about the middle of that month, details began to emerge about the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing that specifically warned Bush about Osama bin Laden’s determination to strike the United States.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because two days later, the Bush administration unleashed a blizzard of dire warnings about impending terrorist attacks. FBI Director Robert Mueller intoned such attacks were “inevitable,” and the Department of Homeland Security announced the imminent, explosive destruction of all American railroads, along with the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in June of 2003? Over the course of two days, reports emerged about serious doubts held by the CIA regarding the credibility of the administration’s claim Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. On the heels of this, Congress unfurled its 9/11 report, which criticized all levels of the Bush administration for its performance before and during the attacks.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because the Bush administration unleashed another blizzard of warnings about impending terrorist attacks. Specifically, the Department of Homeland Security warned terrorists were, once again, preparing to attack the United States with suicide missions using commercial airliners as bombs.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in December of 2003? 9/11 Commission chairman Thomas Keane declared the attacks of 9/11 should have been prevented. The next day, a Federal appeals court ruled against the administration on the case of suspected terrorist Jose Padilla, stating Padilla could not be held indefinitely without being charged.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because the Bush administration increased the terrorism threat level to Orange and claimed more suicide planes were about to come zooming out of the sky. Six international flights were diverted due to potential terrorist actions of some passengers who were later identified as an insurance salesman, an elderly Chinese woman and a five-year-old boy.

Who can forget the incredible scandal that erupted back in May of 2004? Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on Meet the Press and stated the intelligence on Iraqi WMD he’d been given for his UN presentation had been “inaccurate and wrong and, in some cases, deliberately misleading.” Horrifying new pictures of the torture, rape and murder of prisoners by Americans at Abu Ghraib prison became public. The American military accidentally bombed a wedding party in Iraq, killing 40 civilians.

Wait. Actually, everyone forgot, because FBI Director Mueller and Attorney General John Ashcroft announced they had reports from multiple sources of al Qaeda’s “specific intention to hit the United States hard.” The threat levels were not raised, but dire warnings of impending catastrophe were offered by the administration for the next several days.

The recipe is simple, like the directions on the back of a shampoo bottle. Damaging reports of Bush administration malfeasance emerge. Warnings of imminent terrorist-borne doom immediately follow, all spread far and wide by said Bush administration. Lather, rinse, repeat.

There are many more instances of this curious timing to be found, but apparently, no one in the administration is concerned this dubious pattern – spreading fear among the populace to change the subject, an act of terrorism itself – might start to wear thin.

Who is going to forget the incredible scandals of June and July of 2007? The Bush administration leaves Nixon in the dust by commuting the prison sentence of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. This action strongly suggests the existence of a quid pro quo between Libby and Bush’s people to cover up the criminal activities of powerful officials like Vice President Dick Cheney, who had recently claimed his office wasn’t part of the executive branch to avoid handing papers over to the National Archives.

The administration deploys spurious claims of Executive Privilege to avoid subpoenas regarding the patently illegal NSA wiretapping of American citizens. That privilege is extended to deny Congressional access to Harriet Miers, former White House counsel, regarding the issue of fired US attorneys. Contempt charges are threatened against Miers, and the NSA subpoena stonewall comes closer to getting openly challenged in court. Alberto Gonzales is exposed as having lied to the Senate in his testimony about FBI abuses of the Patriot Act.

Few of the benchmarks for success in Iraq are met. Desperate to halt a tide of GOP defections from his Iraq policy, Bush again coughs up the totally discredited link between 9/11 and Iraq, saying, “The same people that attacked us on September the 11th is a crowd that is now bombing people, killing innocent men, women and children.” The House again votes to withdraw American troops from Iraq. A new Harris poll on Bush’s approval rating is published. The number reads 26 percent.


Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff all but guarantees devastating new terror attacks against the United States this summer. He bases this warning on a “gut feeling.” White House spokesman Tony Snow threatens that withdrawal from Iraq would bring terrorism “to a shopping mall near you.”

Meanwhile, al Qaeda is alleged to be as secure in Pakistan and Afghanistan as they were before 9/11, yet no one in the administration connects this new security to the drain of resources happening in Iraq. Additionally, no one in the administration points out the fact that, if Chertoff’s gut is indeed correct, and we are indeed attacked again, responsibility for that attack will fall upon those who manufactured war in Iraq. Never mind the fact that if an attack is allowed to happen, even a minor one, more of our constitutional rights and protections will be eviscerated by the very same people who failed to stop it again.

Will everyone forget about the scandals of June and July 2007 amid these deadly warnings of coming death?

Lather, rinse, repeat.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn’t Want You to Know andThe Greatest Sedition Is Silence.” His newest book, House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America’s Ravaged Reputation,” is now available from PoliPointPress.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Fib factory running full tilt By ERIC MARGOLIS

Don’t Laugh at Michael Chertoff By Frank Rich

Olbermann: Special Comment: Michael Chertoff’s Gut + Gut Feelings (videos) (updated: transcript)

Fib factory running full tilt By ERIC MARGOLIS

Dandelion Salad

Sun, July 15, 2007

White House tells some whoppers in bid to depict wars as battles against al-Qaida


The latest whoppers from the White House’s fib factory came this week as President George W. Bush (A) claimed U.S. forces in Iraq are fighting “the same people” who staged 9/11, and, (B) withdrawing U.S. forces means “surrendering Iraq to al-Qaida.”

These absurd assertions mark the latest steps in the administration’s evolving efforts to depict the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as battles against al-Qaida.

When marketers want to change the name of an existing product, they first place a new name in small type below the existing one. They gradually shrink the old name, and enlarge the new one until the original name vanishes.

That’s what’s been happening in Iraq. When the U.S. invaded, Iraqis who resisted were branded “Saddam loyalists, die-hard Ba’athists, or dead-enders.” Next, the Pentagon and U.S. media called them “terrorists.” Then, a tiny, previously unknown Iraqi group appropriated the name, “al-Qaida in Mesopotamia.”

This was such a convenient gift to the Bush administration, cynics suspected a false-flag operation created by CIA and Britain’s wily MI6. Soon after, the White House and Pentagon began calling all Iraq’s 22-plus resistance groups, “al-Qaida.”

The U.S. media eagerly joined this deception, even though 95% of Iraq’s resistance groups had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden’s movement. Watch any U.S. network TV news report on Iraq and you will inevitably hear reporters parroting Pentagon handouts about U.S. forces “launching a new offensive against al-Qaida.”

Al-Qaida in Iraq didn’t even exist before 9/11, but that didn’t stop the president from trying to gull credulous voters. Polls show that in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, White House disinformation strategy has worked. Today, an amazing 60% of Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.


This faux war is now costing a mind-boggling $12 billion US monthly, reports the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. The Bush administration has spent $610 billion since 2001 on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, making them the second most expensive conflict in U.S. history after the Second World War.

This week, U.S. Homeland Security czar Michael Chertoff allowed he had a “gut feel” that an al-Qaida attack was imminent this summer. The 16 U.S. intelligence agencies spend $40 billion annually, with another $15-20 billion in their hidden “black budgets.” Homeland Security spends $44.6 billion.

After these gargantuan expenditures, the best intelligence czar Chertoff can come up with is “gut feel?”

One suspects Chertoff’s worried innards and leaks that al-Qaida has returned to full strength have far more to do with the growing Republican Party revolt against the president’s Iraq war than nebulous threats from Osama bin Laden’s loud but tiny group.

Polls show the only area where Republicans still command popular support is the “war on terror.”


So Bush/Cheney & Co are trying to use al-Qaida to scare Americans to vote Republican, just as they did prior to 2004 elections. It worked well last time and got Bush re-elected.

But Americans are increasingly leery of the White House’s crying wolf.

Many are also asking how Bush could claim “steady progress” was being made in his wars while U.S. intelligence was reporting al-Qaida movement is back to pre-2001 strength and Iraq is a bloody mess.

After six years of conflict, 3,600 dead and 25,000 wounded American soldiers, expenditure of $610 billion, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans, collapse of Mideast peace efforts, and a Muslim World enraged against the U.S., nothing positive seems to have been accomplished.

As the White House ponders an attack on Iran, recall the famed words of King Pyrrhus of Epirus, “one more such victory and we are ruined.”

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Olbermann: Special Comment: Michael Chertoff’s Gut + Gut Feelings (videos)

“Black Mass” and the Americanization of the Apocalypse by Chris Floyd

Dandelion Salad

Written by Chris Floyd
Sunday, 15 July 2007

I had planned on writing a review here of John Gray’s important new book, Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia, one of the most bracing and insightful things I’ve read in a long time. But now I find that acclaimed novelist John Banville has beaten me to it, with a review in Saturday’s Guardian that pretty much says it all. So without further ado, let’s turn it over to Mr. Banville, with these excerpts from Rocky Road to Utopia:

As John Gray demonstrates in his brilliant but frightening new book…Barbarism is rapidly on the rise, if it has not already re-established itself; religion is once again real blood and real sacrifice; and as for what used to be called culture, we find ourselves mournfully re-positing the question Shakespeare first asked in the sonnets: “How, with this rage, shall beauty hold a plea, / Whose action is no stronger than a flower?”

Gray sees most of today’s western politics as awash with spilt religion. “Modern revolutionary movements,” he writes, “are a continuation of religion by other means.” The Enlightenment, Gray’s big bugbear, imagined it was rejecting Christianity but “its eschatological hopes did not disappear. They were repressed, only to return as projects of universal emancipation.” The utopian right, as he calls it, led by America’s neoconservatives, is a modern millenarian movement, and its drive to impose western-style democracy upon the world, a drive towards utopia that came to a juddering halt in Iraq, was as deluded and foolhardy a project as any past scheme to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth….

Ironically, or so it might seem, radical Islam – in the ferocity and relentlessness of its advance into the past – owes, as Gray points out, a great deal to western millenarian and utopian thought. Like Christianity, “Islam has always contained a powerful eschatological element”…Yet the Islamists, knowingly or not, have also taken many of their methods and much of their conviction from Enlightenment revolutionaries. Radical Islam, Gray believes, can be best described as “Islamo-Jacobinism”. Robespierre would have recognised a soulmate in Osama bin Laden.

Gray writes a controlled, clean and unfussy prose, but here and there his anger and contempt knock flashes from the steely sheen of his reserve. He harbours a special animus towards American neoconservative theorists, the heirs of Karl Schmitt and Leo Strauss, such as Albert Wohlstetter, Irving Kristol and, Gray’s favourite dunce, Francis Fukuyama, who in 1989 famously announced the end of history and the triumph of western, liberal, market-driven democracy.

These zealots, whose “thinking is a mix of crackpot realism and chiliastic fantasy” and whose “catastrophic optimism” has wrought so much mischief in the world since the end of the cold war, hold to the Straussian view that the political high consistory must proceed according to “a modern variation of Plato’s noble lie: while philosophers may know the truth they also know that truth is deadly to the mass of humankind”. Thus George Bush and Tony Blair, when they present false evidence to support the invasion of Iraq, are not exactly lying, merely realigning the truth in accordance with their higher aims. “For these seers,” Gray writes, “victory was the same as truth – not truth of the ordinary kind, to be sure, but the esoteric truth that is concealed in the deceiving mirror of fact.”

Gray’s critique of the war on Iraq, and especially of Blair’s part in it, is devastating. His contempt is palpable in these measured and meticulously argued pages. As usual, it is the details that snag in the mind’s fabric. British security firms, he writes, are reported to have some 48,000 personnel in Iraq, “outnumbering British troops by a factor of six to one”. The war has been privatised, and “the ragtag army of crooks and shysters that followed in the wake of American troops is not greatly different from that which trailed behind the colonial armies of earlier times”.

Black Mass – “a sacrilegious ritual in which the Christian Mass is performed backwards”, as an epigraph informs us – is a limpidly argued and finely written synthesis of Gray’s thinking over the decade or so since False Dawn, his highly regarded and influential study of globalisation. It is not a cheering work, to say the least, and Gray’s conclusions, though never exaggerated or overstated, are bleak in the extreme. Yet the right expression of even the bleakest truths is always invigorating, and any half-sensible reader will come away from the book soberer and even, perhaps, wiser.

One need not agree with every single tenet or interpretation in of Gray’s book to echo Banville’s closing remarks. I would just add here that the two chapters at the heart of the book are alone worth the price of admission. “The Americanization of the Apocalypse” and “Armed Missionaries” provide a succinct yet thorough — and deeply disturbing — account of how the United States has degenerated into its current status as a warmongering, dysfunctional “illiberal democracy.”

I was especially pleased to the long section detailing how the neo-con architects of Bush’s war closely resemble the savage and destructive extremists in Dostoevsky’s great novel, The Possessed. This is particularly satisfying, as the neo-cons and their outriders often cite Dostoevsky as a guide to “understanding the world’s thugs and menaces,” as the New York Times’ shallow-foolish columnist David Brooks once put it, in a column cleanly skewered by Gray, who goes on to say:

The neo-conservative idea that one can understand terrorist violence by reading the novel of Dostoevsky is entertainingly ironic, since what Dostoevsky describes is the mentality of the neo-conservatives themselves… As the neo-conservative analyst Michael Leeden wrote soon after the 9/11 attacks, the “war on terror” is all of a piece with the “global democratic revolution”:

We should have no misgivings about our ability to destroy tyrannies. It is what we do best. It comes naturally to us, for we are the only truly revolutionary country in the world…Creative destruction is our middle name….In other words, it is time once again to export the democratic revolution.

Here a celebrated dictum of the 19th century Russian anarchist Bakunin — “The passion for destruction is a creative passion” — is restated in neo-conservative terms. Bakunin’s disciple, the divinity student Sergey Nechayev, applied this maxim in his “Catechism of a Revolutionary” (1868), where he argued that in advancing the revolution the ends justified any means — including blackmail and murder. A year later Nechayev murdered one of his comrades for failing to carry out orders…Nechayev had revealed the logic of Bakunin’s project. Terror followed from the goal of a total revolution.

Leeden’s project of militarily enforced democracy has a similar logic. Nechayev never doubted his was the cause of the people, and Leeden takes for granted that the countries that have regime change imposed on them will welcome the overthrow of their governments. If they do not, they must be purged of retrograde elements. Only then can there be any assurance that forcible democratization will be accepted for what it is: liberation from tyranny. Torture and terror are acceptable if they assist in the global war without evil.

The neo-cons as Nechayev: a perfect image for our times.

One could go on quoting passages from the book to good effect, but we’ll end with just one more — another succinct but damning précis of the current state of the Union:

By any internationally accepted standard of what constitutes torture, the world’s pre-eminent liberal regime has committed itself to the practice as a matter of national policy. Along with this, there has been a shift away from the constitutional traditions that curbed American government in the past. The vote by the Senate on 28 September 2006 that allowed the president the authority to determine what counts as torture also suspended habeas corpus for people detained as terrorist suspects, denying their right to know the offense with which they are charged and to challenge their detention in court. Henceforth, anyone charged with involvement in terrorism — not only foreign nationals but also US citizens — can be detained without charge and held indefinitely. Taken together with the Patriot Acts, which permit surveillance of the entire American population, the US has suffered a loss of liberty that has no parallel in any mature democracy…. The fact remains that [the US] has ceased to be a regime in which the power of government is limited by the rule of law. The checks and balances of the constitution have failed to prevent an unprecedented expansion of arbitrary power.

There is more, much more to the book, so check it out if you get the chance. It is indeed meat food to feed upon in these lean and hungry times.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.


Fatal Vision: The Strategy of Chaos and Ethnic Cleansing By Chris Floyd