Dennis Kucinich – Text for Peace (video)

Dandelion Salad

Also check out the Dennis Kucinich Action Center. Add me as a friend: Dandelion-Salad, thanks. ~ Lo


Send a message to the Whitehouse! Text for Peace!

Video by Chad Ely


Department of Peace Campaign Video

An Honest Answer – Dennis Kucinich (video; Iraq)

HR 676 Universal Healthcare: Don’t Stop Believin’ (video; Kucinich; 35 percenters)

TPMtv: High Crimes? + Senator Feingold Calls To Censure Bush & Cheney Over Iraq! (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) announced on Meet the Press that he would soon be introducing a censure resolution against the President of the United States. We take a look at how strong a case he’s got, with a little help from the other Sunday morning talk shows.

July 22, 2007 Meet the Press

C-SPAN caller cut off when he asked about Bush executive order (video)

Dandelion Salad

Bush outlaws war protest – citizens face full asset seizure

Well it has happened. This maniacal son of a bitch has outlawed all war protest against the Iraq war here in the United States. Passed into law July 17th. Since congress is too weak-kneed to stand up and do the right thing, perhaps it will be left to the American people.

July 23, 2007 C-SPAN Washington Journal


Bush Executive Order: Criminalizing the Antiwar Movement by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Message to the Congress of the US Regarding International Emergency Economic Powers Act + Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq by George Bush

Why Germans Supported Hitler by Jacob G. Hornberger

Dandelion Salad

by Jacob G. Hornberger
Posted July 16, 2007

It has long intrigued me why the German people supported Adolf Hitler and his Nazi regime. After all, every schoolchild in America is taught that Hitler and his Nazi cohorts were the very epitome of evil. How could ordinary German citizens support people who were so obviously monstrous in nature?

Standing against the Nazi tide was a remarkable group of young people known as the White Rose. Led by Hans and Sophie Scholl, a German brother and sister who were students at the University of Munich, the White Rose consisted of college students and a college professor who risked their lives to circulate anti-government pamphlets in the midst of World War II. Their arrest and trial was depicted in the German movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, which was recently released on DVD in the United States.

Of all the essays on liberty I have written in the past 20 years, my favorite is “The White Rose: A Lesson in Dissent”, which I am pleased to say was later reprinted in Voices of the Holocaust, an anthology on the Holocaust for high-school students. The story of the White Rose is the most remarkable case of courage I have ever come across. It even inspired me to visit the University of Munich a few years ago, where portions of the White Rose pamphlets have been permanently enshrined on bricks laid into a plaza at the entrance to the school.

A contrast to the Scholl movie is another recent German movie, Downfall, which details Hitler’s final days in the bunker, where he committed suicide near the end of the war. Among the people around Hitler was 22-year-old Traudl Junge, who became his secretary in 1942 and who faithfully served him in that capacity until the end. For me, the most stunning part of the film occurred at the end, when the real Traudl Junge (that is, not the actress who portrays her in the film) says,

All these horrors I’ve heard of … I assured myself with the thought of not being personally guilty. And that I didn’t know anything about the enormous scale of it. But one day I walked by a memorial plate of Sophie Scholl in the Franz-Joseph-Strasse…. And at that moment I actually realized … that it might have been possible to get to know things.

So here were two separate roads taken by German citizens. Most Germans took the road that Traudl Junge took — supporting their government in time of deep crisis. A few Germans took the road that Hans and Sophie Scholl took — opposing their government despite the deep crisis facing their nation.

Why the difference? Why did some Germans support the Hitler regime while others opposed it?

Each American should first ask himself what he would have done if he had been a German citizen during the Hitler regime. Would you have supported your government or would you have opposed it, not only during the 1930s but also after the outbreak of World War II?

After all, it’s one thing to look at Nazi Germany retrospectively and from the vantage point of an outside citizen who has heard since childhood about the death camps and of Hitler’s monstrous nature. We look at those grainy films of Hitler delivering his bombastic speeches and our automatic reaction is that we would have never supported the man and his political party. But it’s quite another thing to place one’s self in the shoes of an ordinary German citizen and ask, “What would I have done?”

What we often forget is that many Germans did not support Hitler and the Nazis at the start of the 1930s. Keep in mind that in the 1932 presidential election, Hitler received only 30.1 percent of the national vote. In the subsequent run-off election, he received only 36.8 percent of the vote. It wasn’t until President Hindenburg appointed him as chancellor in 1933 that Hitler began consolidating power.

Among the major factors that motivated Germans to support Hitler during the 1930s was the tremendous economic crisis known as the Great Depression, which had struck Germany as hard as it had the United States and other parts of the world. What did many Germans do in response to the Great Depression? They did the same thing that many Americans did — they looked for a strong leader to get them out of the economic crisis.

Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt
In fact, there is a remarkable similarity between the economic policies that Hitler implemented and those that Franklin Roosevelt enacted. Keep in mind, first of all, that the German National Socialists were strong believers in Social Security, which Roosevelt introduced to the United States as part of his New Deal. Keep in mind also that the Nazis were strong believers in such other socialist schemes as public (i.e., government) schooling and national health care. In fact, my hunch is that very few Americans realize that Social Security, public schooling, Medicare, and Medicaid have their ideological roots in German socialism.

Hitler and Roosevelt also shared a common commitment to such programs as government-business partnerships. In fact, until the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional, Roosevelt’s National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), which cartelized American industry, along with his “Blue Eagle” propaganda campaign, was the type of economic fascism that Hitler himself was embracing in Germany (as fascist ruler Benito Mussolini was also doing in Italy).

As John Toland points out in his book Adolf Hitler, “Hitler had genuine admiration for the decisive manner in which the President had taken over the reins of government. ‘I have sympathy for Mr. Roosevelt,’ he told a correspondent of the New York Times two months later, ‘because he marches straight toward his objectives over Congress, lobbies and bureaucracy.’ Hitler went on to note that he was the sole leader in Europe who expressed ‘understanding of the methods and motives of President Roosevelt.’”

As Srdja Trifkovic, foreign-affairs editor for Chronicles magazine, stated in his article “FDR and Mussolini: A Tale of Two Fascists”, Roosevelt and his ‘Brain Trust,’ the architects of the New Deal, were fascinated by Italy’s fascism — a term which was not pejorative at the time. In America, it was seen as a form of economic nationalism built around consensus planning by the established elites in government, business, and labor.

Both Hitler and Roosevelt also believed in massive injections of government spending in both the social-welfare sector and the military-industrial sector as a way to bring economic prosperity to their respective nations. As the famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith put it,

Hitler also anticipated modern economic policy … by recognizing that a rapid approach to full employment was only possible if it was combined with wage and price controls. That a nation oppressed by economic fear would respond to Hitler as Americans did to F.D.R. is not surprising.

One of Hitler’s proudest accomplishments was the construction of the national autobahn system, a massive socialist public-works project that ultimately became the model for the interstate highway system in the United States.

By the latter part of the 1930s, many Germans had the same perception about Hitler that many Americans had about Roosevelt. They honestly believed that Hitler was bringing Germany out of the Depression. For the first time since the Treaty of Versailles, the treaty that had ended World War I with humiliating terms for Germany, the German people were regaining a sense of pride in themselves and in their nation, and they were giving the credit to Hitler’s strong leadership in time of deep national crisis.

Toland points out in his Hitler biography that Germans weren’t the only ones who admired Hitler during the 1930s:

Churchill had once paid a grudging compliment to the Führer in a letter to the Times: “I have always said that I hoped if Great Britain were beaten in a war we should find a Hitler who would lead us back to our rightful place among nations.”

Hitler was a strong believer in national service, especially for German young people. That was what the Hitler Youth was all about — inculcating in young people the notion that they owed a duty to devote at least part of their lives to society. It was an idea also resonating in the collectivist atmosphere that was permeating the United States during the 1930s.

Hitler and anti-Semitism
While U.S. officials today never cease to remind us that Hitler was evil incarnate, the question is: Was he so easily recognized as such during the 1930s, not only by German citizens but also by other people around the world, especially those who believed in the idea of a strong political leader in times of crisis? Keep in mind that while Hitler and his cohorts were harassing, abusing, and periodically arresting German Jews as the 1930s progressed, culminating in Kristallnacht, the “night of the broken glass,” when tens of thousands of Jews were beaten and taken to concentration camps, it was not exactly the type of thing that aroused major moral outrage among U.S. officials, many of whom themselves had a strong sense of anti-Semitism.

For example, when Hitler offered to let German Jews leave Germany, the U.S. government used immigration controls to keep them from immigrating here. In fact, as Arthur D. Morse pointed out in his book While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy, five days after Kristallnacht, which occurred in November 1938, at a White House press conference, a reporter asked Roosevelt, “Would you recommend a relaxation of our immigration restrictions so that the Jewish refugees could be received in this country?” The president replied, “This is not in contemplation. We have the quota system.”

Let’s also not forget the infamous 1939 (i.e., after Kristallnacht) “voyage of the damned,” in which U.S. officials refused to permit German Jews to disembark at Miami Harbor from the German ship the SS St. Louis, knowing that they would be returned to Hitler’s clutches in Nazi Germany.

(The Holocaust Museum in Washington, to its credit, has an excellent exhibition on U.S. government indifference to the plight of the Jews under Hitler’s control, a dark period in American history to which all too many Americans are never exposed in their public-school training. See also my June 1991 Freedom Daily article “Locking Out the Immigrant” .)

Check out this interesting website, which details a very nice pictorial description of Hitler’s summer home in Bavaria published by a prominent English magazine named Home and Gardens in November 1938 Now, ask yourself: If it was so obvious that Hitler was evil incarnate during the 1930s, would a prominent English magazine have been risking its readership by publishing such a profile? And let’s also not forget that it was Hitler’s Germany that hosted the worldwide Olympics in 1936, games in which the United States, Great Britain, and many other countries participated. Ask yourself: Why would they have done that?

The Great Depression was not the only factor that was leading people to support Hitler. There was also the ever-present fear of communism among the German people. In fact, throughout the 1930s it could be said that Germany was facing the same type of Cold War against the Soviet Union that the United States faced from 1945 to 1989. Ever since the chaos of World War I had given rise to the Russian Revolution, Germany faced the distinct possibility of being taken over by the communists (a threat that materialized into reality for East Germans at the end of World War II). It was a threat that Hitler, like later American presidents, used as a justification for ever-increasing spending on the military-industrial complex. The ever-present danger of Soviet communism led many Germans to gravitate to the support of their government, just as it later moved many Americans to support big government and a strong military-industrial complex in their country throughout the Cold War.

Hitler’s war on terrorism
One of the most searing events in German history occurred soon after Hitler took office. On February 27, 1933, in what easily could be termed the 9/11 terrorist attack of that time, German terrorists fire-bombed the German parliament building. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Adolf Hitler, one of the strongest political leaders in history, would declare war on terrorism and ask the German parliament (the Reichstag) to give him temporary emergency powers to fight the terrorists. Passionately claiming that such powers were necessary to protect the freedom and well-being of the German people, Hitler persuaded the German legislators to give him the emergency powers he needed to confront the terrorist crisis. What became known as the Enabling Act allowed Hitler to suspend civil liberties “temporarily,” that is, until the crisis had passed. Not surprisingly, however, the threat of terrorism never subsided and Hitler’s “temporary” emergency powers, which were periodically renewed by the Reichstag, were still in effect when he took his own life some 12 years later.

Is it so surprising that ordinary German citizens were willing to support their government’s suspension of civil liberties in response to the threat of terrorism, especially after the terrorist strike on the Reichstag?

During the 1930s, the United States faced the Great Depression, and many Americans were willing to accede to Roosevelt’s assumption of massive emergency powers, including the power to control economic activity and also to nationalize and confiscate people’s gold.

During the Cold War, the fear of communism induced Americans to permit their government to collect massive amounts of income taxes to fund the military-industrial complex and to let U.S. officials send more than 100,000 American soldiers to their deaths in undeclared wars in Korea and Vietnam.

Since the 9/11 attacks, Americans have been more than willing for their government to infringe on vital civil liberties, including habeas corpus, involve the nation in an undeclared and unprovoked war on Iraq, and spend ever-growing amounts of money on the military-industrial complex, all in the name of the “war on terrorism.”

Crises versus liberty
While the American people faced these three crises — the Great Depression, the communist threat, and the war on terrorism at three separate times, the German people during the Hitler regime faced the same three crises all within a short span of time. Given that, why would it surprise anyone that many Germans would gravitate toward the support of their government just as many Americans gravitated toward the support of their government during each of those crises?

Even Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans eagerly joined the Hitler Youth when they were in high school. In the ever-growing crisis environment of the 1930s, millions of other ordinary Germans also came to support their government, enthusiastically cheering their leaders, supporting their policies, and sending their children into national service and looking the other way when the government became abusive. Among the few who resisted were Robert and Magdalena Scholl, the parents of Hans and Sophie, who gradually opened the minds of their children to the truth.

The three major crises faced by Germany in the 1930s — economic depression, communism, and terrorism — pale to relative insignificance compared with the crisis that Germany faced during the 1940s — World War II, the crisis that threatened, at least in the minds of Hitler and his cohorts, the very existence of Germany. That Hans and Sophie Scholl and other German students began circulating leaflets calling on Germans to oppose their government in the midst of a major war, when German soldiers were dying on two fronts, makes the story of the White Rose even more remarkable and perhaps even a bit discomforting for some Americans.

The most remarkable part of the movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days is the courtroom scene, which is based on recently discovered German archives. Sophie and her brother Hans, along with their friend Christoph Probst, stand before the infamous Roland Freisler, presiding judge of the People’s Court, whom Hitler had immediately sent to Munich after the Gestapo’s arrest of the Scholls and Probst.

The People’s Court had been established by Hitler as part of the government’s war on terrorism after the terrorist firebombing of the German parliament building. Displeased with the independence of the judiciary in the trials of the suspected Reichstag terrorists, Hitler had set up the People’s Court to ensure that terrorists and traitors would receive the “proper” verdict and punishment. Judicial proceedings were conducted in secret for reasons of national security, which is why Freisler threw Hans’s and Sophie’s parents out of the courtroom when they tried to enter.

At the trial, Freisler railed at the three young people before him, accusing them of being ungrateful traitors for having opposed their government in the midst of the war. His rant went to the core of why many Germans supported Hitler during World War II.

From the first grade in public (i.e., government) schools, it was ingrained in German children that, during times of war, it was the duty of every German to come to the support of his country, which, in the minds of the German officials, was synonymous with the German government. Once a war was under way, the time for discussion and debate was over, at least until the war was over. Opposition to the war would demoralize the troops, it was said, and, therefore, hurt the war effort. Opposing the government (and the troops) in wartime, therefore, was considered treasonous.

Keep in mind that at the time the Scholls were caught distributing their anti-war and anti-government leaflets — 1943 — Germany was fighting a war for its survival on two fronts: the Eastern front against the Soviet Union and the Western front against Britain and the United States. Thousands of German soldiers were dying on the battlefield, especially in the Soviet Union. Whether they agreed with the war effort or not, the German people were expected to support the troops, which meant supporting the war effort.

Lies and wars of aggression
One might object that, since Germany was the aggressor in the conflict, the German people should have refused to support the war. That objection, however, ignores an important point: that in the minds of many Germans, Germany was not the aggressor in World War II but rather the defending nation. After all, that’s what they had been told by their government officials.

An aggressor nation will inevitably try to manipulate events so as to appear to be the victimized nation — that is, the nation that is defending itself against aggression. In that way, government officials can tell the citizenry, “We are innocent! We were just minding our own business when our nation was attacked.” Naturally, the citizenry can then assume that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the war and will be more willing to defend their nation against the attackers.

That is exactly what happened in Germany’s invasion of Poland, which precipitated World War II. After several weeks in which tensions between the two nations were heightened, German soldiers on the Polish-German border were attacked by Polish troops. Hitler followed the time-honored script by dramatically announcing that Germany had been attacked by Poland, requiring Germany to defend herself with a counterattack and an invasion of Poland.

There was one big problem, however — one that the German people were unaware of: the Polish troops who had done the attacking were actually German troops dressed up in Polish uniforms. In other words, German officials had lied about the cause of the war.

Now, some might argue that Germans should not have automatically believed Hitler, especially knowing that throughout history rulers had lied about matters relating to war. But Germans took the position that they had the right and the duty to place their trust in their government officials. After all, Germans felt, their government officials had access to information that the people did not have. Many Germans felt that their government would never lie to them about a matter as important as war.

Also, keep in mind that under the Nazi system Hitler had the sole prerogative of deciding whether to send the nation into war. While he might consult with the Reichstag or advise it of his plans, he did not need its consent to declare and wage war against another nation. He — and he alone — had the power to decide whether to go to war. Therefore, given that Hitler was not required to secure a declaration of war from the Reichstag before going to war against Poland, there was no real way to test whether his claims of a Polish attack were in fact true.

After the German “counterattack” against Poland, England and France declared war on Germany. (Oddly, neither country declared war on the Soviet Union, which also invaded Poland soon after Germany did.) Thus, in the minds of the German people, England and France were coming to the aid of the aggressor — Poland — necessitating Germany’s defending itself against all three nations.

Loyalty and obeying orders
German soldiers, of course, were also expected to do their duty and follow the orders of their commander in chief. Under Germany’s system, it was not up to the individual soldier to reach his own independent judgment about whether Germany was the aggressor in the conflict or whether Hitler had lied about the reasons for going to war. Thus, German soldiers, both Protestant and Catholic, understood that they could kill Polish soldiers with a clear conscience because, again, it was not up to the individual soldier to decide on the justice of the war. He could entrust that decision to his superior officers and political leaders and simply assume that the order to invade was morally and legally justified.

Once troops were committed to battle, most German civilians understood their duty — support the troops who were now fighting and dying on the battlefield for their country, for the fatherland. The time for debating and discussing the causes of the war would have to wait until the war’s end. What mattered, once the war was under way, was winning.

Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo, explained the strategy:

Why, of course, the people don’t want war…. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship….

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Recognizing and opposing evil
Some might argue that Germans, unlike people in other nations, should not have trusted and supported their government officials during the war because it was obvious that Hitler and his henchmen were evil. The problem with that argument, however, is that throughout the 1930s many Germans and many foreigners did not automatically come to the conclusion that Hitler was evil. On the contrary, as we saw in part one of this article, many of them saw Hitler as exercising the same kind of strong leadership that Franklin Roosevelt was exercising to bring the United States out of the Great Depression and, in fact, as implementing many of the same kinds of programs that Roosevelt was implementing in the United States. (For more on this point, see the excellent book published last year Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933–1939, by Wolfgang Schivelbusch.)

Moreover, while it’s true that throughout the 1930s Hitler was harassing, abusing, and mistreating German Jews, many people all over the world didn’t care, because anti-Semitism was not limited to Germany but instead extended to many parts of the globe.

Don’t forget, for example, about how the Roosevelt administration used immigration controls to prevent German Jews from immigrating to the United States.

Even as late as 1938 U.S. officials refused to let German Jews disembark at Miami Harbor from the SS St. Louis, knowing that they would have to be returned to Hitler’s Germany.

Even after the outbreak of the war, when the severity of the Nazi threat to Jews skyrocketed, the constantly shifting maze of U.S. immigration rules and regulations prevented Anne Frank and her family, along with lots of other Jewish families, from immigrating to the United States.

Some might say that the German people should have ceased supporting their government once the Holocaust began. There are two big problems with that argument, however. First, the German people didn’t know what was going on in the death camps and, second, they didn’t want to know. After all, the death camps and the Holocaust didn’t get established until after the war was well under way and when Hitler’s power over the German people was absolute — and brutal.

How was the average German supposed to know about what was going on inside the death camps? Suppose a German walked up to a concentration camp, knocked on the gates, and said, “I have heard that you are doing bad things to people inside this camp. I would like to come in and inspect the premises.” What do you think would have been the answer? Most likely, he would have been invited inside the compound, as a permanent guest with a very shortened life span.

After all, what government is going to permit its citizens to know its most secret operations, especially during times of war? Not even the U.S. government does that.

For example, what do you think would happen if an American citizen today discovered the location of one of the CIA’s secret overseas detention facilities and then knocked on the front door, saying, “I’ve heard rumors that you are torturing people here. I would like to come in and inspect the premises to see whether those rumors are true.”

Does anyone honestly think that the CIA would let the person inside those supersecret facilities? Now, imagine a situation in which the United States is fighting a major war for its survival against, say, China on one side, and an alliance of Middle East countries on the other. Suppose also that the United States is almost certain to lose the war and that foreign troops are slowly but surely closing in on the U.S. president and his cabinet. What are the chances that the CIA would permit an American citizen to inspect the insides of its prisoner facilities under those circumstances? Indeed, what are the chances that any American is going to make such a demand under those circumstances?

Most Germans did not want to know what was going on inside the concentration camps. If they knew that bad things were occurring, their consciences might start bothering them, which might motivate them to take action to bring the wrongdoing to a stop, which could be dangerous. It was easier — and safer — to look the other way and simply entrust such important matters to their government officials. In that way, it was believed, the government, rather than the individual citizen, would bear the legal and moral consequences for wrongful acts that the government was committing secretly.

Of course, government officials encouraged that mindset of conscious indifference. Don’t concern yourselves with such things, they suggested; just leave them to us — after all, we are at war and these are things that are best left to your government officials.

No doubt that by the time World War II was well under way some Germans were thinking that the time for protesting had been during the 1930s, when Germans were reaching out for a “strong leader” to get them out of “crises” and “emergencies,” and when protests against the government were much less dangerous.

Patriotism and courage
All this, obviously, places Hans and Sophie Scholl and the other members of the White Rose in a remarkable light, one that even many Americans might find discomforting. After all, it’s easy for an American to look at Nazi Germany from the perspective of an outsider and one who has the benefit of historical knowledge, especially about the Holocaust. The interesting question, however, is, What would Americans have done if they had been German citizens during World War II? Would they have opposed their government, as the members of the White Rose did, or would they have supported their government, especially knowing that the troops were fighting and dying on the battlefield?

In one of their leaflets, the members of the White Rose wrote, “We are your bad conscience.” They were asking Germans to rise above the old, degenerate concept of patriotism that entailed blindly supporting one’s government in time of war. They were asking German soldiers to rise above the old, degenerate concept of blind obedience to orders. They were asking Germans to confront openly the rumors of what German officials were doing to the Jews in the concentration camps. They were asking German citizens, both civilian and military, to make an independent judgment on both the Hitler regime and the war, to judge both the government and the war as immoral and illegitimate, and to take the necessary steps to put a stop to both.

They were asking Germans to embrace a different and higher concept of patriotism — one that involves a devotion to a set of moral principles and values rather than blind allegiance to one’s government in time of war. It was a type of patriotism that involved opposition to one’s own government, especially in time of war, when government is engaged in conduct that violates moral principles and values.

The story of the White Rose is one of the most remarkable stories of courage in history. At the trial, Christoph Probst asked Freisler to spare his life, an understandable request given that his wife had recently given birth to their third child. Neither Sophie nor her brother Hans flinched. Sophie bluntly told Friesler that the war was lost and that German soldiers were being sacrificed for nothing, a statement that, from the looks on the faces of the military brass attending the trial in the film, momentarily hit home. She said that one day Freisler and his ilk would be sitting in the dock being judged by others for their crimes. She bluntly told him, “Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don’t dare express themselves as we did.”

Freisler quickly issued the preordained verdict — Guilty — and sentenced the defendants to death, a sentence that was carried out at the guillotine three days after they had been arrested. After all, as Freisler declared, Hans and Sophie Scholl and their friend Christoph Probst had opposed their government during time of war. In Freisler’s mind — indeed, in the minds of many Germans — what better evidence of treason than that?

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email.

This article originally appeared in the April 2007 edition of Freedom Daily. Subscribe to the print or email version of Freedom Daily.
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.

Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale By Mark Baard

Dandelion Salad

By Mark Baard
The Register
July 23, 2007

Perhaps your real life is so rich you don’t have time for another.

Even so, the US Department of Defense (DOD) may already be creating a copy of you in an alternate reality to see how long you can go without food or water, or how you will respond to televised propaganda.

Continue reading

Ubiquitous Privilege by Jayne Lyn Stahl

Dandelion Salad

by Jayne Lyn Stahl
Monday, 23 July 2007

Help me out here: which Woody Allen movie was it that depicted Allen’s mother flying over Manhattan like the Goodyear blimp?

Well, lest you missed it yesterday, the Washington Post reports the White House has now decided to replace her. Check out their new and improved version of executive privilege which now allows for blanket of immunity for anyone the president takes under his wing to protect from contempt charges for refusing to testify before Congress. It’s okay to defy Congress, the justice department, and wo knows — maybe even the Supreme Court as long as you do so while standing in the president’s shadow, or so the administration now claims. This isn’t your mother’s executive privilege; indeed, this is executive privilege on human growth hormones, and renders justice impotent when it comes to prosecuting anyone who falls under the umbrella of the unitary chief.

Congressman Henry Waxman is right to suggest that the president might as well disband the justice department altogether, and save taxpayers’ dollars. Some even suggest that this latest flexing of White House muscle “is saying the president’s claim of executive privilege trumps all.” (WaPo) Those who are astonished by this latest move to offer blanket protection to all those who play the game by White House rules are themselves rather astonishing. What have they beendoing for the past few years, watching re-runs of “Sex and the City?” One has only to look at the protection from being charged with war crimes given to Mr. Bush and his cronies by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which reversed the War Crimes Act.of a decade earlier.

This notion of ubiquitous privilege, and broadband immunity applies to any and all who follow the president’s commands to defy Congress by refusing to testify as we witnessed with White House aides, and former presidential counsel like Harriet Miers, is serious stuff. This is the stuff dictatorships are made of. One wonders if the unitary executive will next grant itself immunity from charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, as well as assert its overreach to entirely nullify whatever it wishes to nullify including Supreme Court rulings. This is one presidency whose hubris clearly knows no bounds.

Maybe it wasn’t an omnipotent Jewish mother that hovered over Manhattan like a bloated blimp, but instead a president measuring his circumference by the coattails that continue to elude him.

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.

Broader Privilege Claimed In Firings – White House Says Hill Can’t Pursue Contempt Cases By Dan Eggen and Amy Goldstein

Ira Chernus: Democratic Doublespeak on Iraq By Tom Engelhardt

Dandelion Salad

By Tom Engelhardt
July 22, 2007

Start with the simplest, most basic fudge. Newspapers and the TV news constantly report on various plans for the “withdrawal of American troops” from Iraq, when what’s being proposed is the withdrawal of American “combat troops” or “combat brigades.” This isn’t a matter of splitting hairs; it’s the difference between a plan for full-scale withdrawal and a plan to remain in Iraq in a different military form for the long term. American combat brigades only add up to perhaps half of the troops we presently have in that country.

There is, in fact, quite a gap between withdrawal from that embattled land and the withdrawal of some American troops, while many of the rest hunker down on the enormous, all-but-permanent military bases the Pentagon has built there over the last four years — while defending the largest embassy on the planet, now nearing completion (amid the normal woes that seem to go with American construction and “reconstruction”) in Baghdad’s heavily fortified but distinctly insecure Green Zone. And yet, thanks to the carefully worded statements of leading Democratic (and Republican) politicians now criticizing the Bush administration, as well as generally terrible reporting in the mainstream media, most Americans who don’t make it to the fine print or who don’t wander widely on the political Internet, would have no way of knowing that withdrawal isn’t withdrawal at all.

Ira Chernus, Tomdispatch regular and author of Monsters To Destroy, takes a careful look at the leading Democratic candidates for president and raises a few crucial, if largely unasked, questions about the nature of the positions they are taking on the Iraq War. Tom

The Democrats’ Iraqi Dilemma

Questions Unasked, Answers Never Volunteered

By Ira Chernus

Pity the poor Democratic candidates for president, caught between Iraq and a hard place. Every day, more and more voters decide that we must end the war and set a date to start withdrawing our troops from Iraq. Most who will vote in the Democratic primaries concluded long ago that we must leave Iraq, and they are unlikely to let anyone who disagrees with them have the party’s nomination in 2008.

But what does it mean to “leave Iraq”? Here’s where most of the Democratic candidates come smack up against that hard place. There is a longstanding bipartisan consensus in the foreign-policy establishment that the U.S. must control every strategically valuable region of the world — and none more so than the oil heartlands of the planet. That’s been a hard-and-fast rule of the elite for some six decades now. No matter how hard the task may be, they demand that presidents be rock-hard enough to get the job done.

So whatever “leave Iraq” might mean, no candidate of either party likely to enter the White House on January 20, 2009 can think it means letting Iraqis determine their own national policies or fate. The powers that be just wouldn’t stand for that. They see themselves as the guardians of world “order.” They feel a sacred obligation to maintain “stability” throughout the imperial domains, which now means most of planet Earth — regardless of what voters may think. The Democratic front-runners know that “order” and “stability” are code words for American hegemony. They also know that voters, especially Democratic ones, see the price of hegemony in Iraq and just don’t want to pay it anymore.

So the Democratic front-runners must promise voters that they will end the war — with not too many ideologically laden ifs, ands, or buts — while they assure the foreign-policy establishment that they will never abandon the drive for hegemony in the Middle East (or anywhere else). In other words, the candidates have to be able to talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time.

No worries, it turns out. Fluency in doublespeak is a prime qualification for high political office. On Iraq, candidates Dennis Kucinich and Bill Richardson don’t meet that test. They tell anyone and everyone that they want “all” U.S. troops out of Iraq, but they register only 1-4% in the polls and are generally ignored in the media. The Democrats currently topping the polls, on the other hand, are proving themselves eminently qualified in doublespeak.

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The Hariri Special Court vs the Imminent U.S. Attack on Iran by Prof. Edward S. Herman

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Edward S. Herman

Global Research, July 22, 2007

Z Magazine

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khali- lzad, responding to the UN Security Council vote to set up a special court to prosecute the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri two years ago, stated before the Council that, “By adopting this resolution, the council has demonstrated its commitment to the principle that there shall be no impunity for political assassinations in Lebanon or elsewhere” (see “UN to prosecute killing of former Lebanese leader,” Globe and Mail, May 31, 2007). This is, of course, unmitigated nonsense, as one of the most obvious facts of contemporary politics and (in)justice is that impunity is a function of power and that there is a very close correlation between the loss of impunity and hostility and targeting by the United States. Syria, a U.S. target, is not a potent force in international affairs, hence it can be subject to a special court. The United States is the hegemon, hence it decides on special courts and is free of any threat that one might be applied to it.

As regards assassinations, while pushing for the Hariri “special court,” the United States openly pays large sums for hired assassinations of its targets, which, as the United States is doing this, are “Rewards for Justice”—language actually printed on the briefcases in which the assassins are paid off (“U.S. hands a $10 million bounty in briefcase for the killing of Muslim leaders,” Daily Mail, June 7, 2007). It bombed Milosevic’s home in Belgrade in an attempt to assassinate him on April 22, 1999. It admittedly tried to assassinate Saddam Hussein in its initial “shock and awe” bombing of Iraq and U.S. assassinations in Iraq and Afghanistan have been numerous. (Recall the case in Afghanistan, where a tall man with a beard hunting for scrap metal with two other farmers was gunned down on February 4, 2002, because he looked somewhat like Osama bin Laden, a tiny microcosm of the freedom to assassinate by U.S. armed forces, now used globally (see Michael Mandel, How America Gets Away With Murder). But there is no call by the “international community” to bring these assassins and their bosses to book with a special court or otherwise.

Of course, along with the right to assassinate is impunity for gigantic crimes like aggression—and here also the United States is able to engage in major violations of the UN Charter, as in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, not only without the slightest threat of any “special court,” but with the eventual kindly cooperation by the UN in consolidating the conquest (see UN Security Council Resolution 1546 of June 8, 2004, which gives the aggressor in Iraq occupation rights and a UN Security Council blessing).

The U.S. right to assassinate and commit aggression goes back a long way. A 1975 U.S. congressional report on “Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders” disclosed a string of U.S. assassination attempts against Fidel Castro (among others) and a former head of the Cuban secret services has calculated that “there may have been a total of 638 attempts on Castro’s life” (Duncan Campbell, “638 ways to kill Castro,” Guardian, August 3, 2006). It was an open secret that the Reagan-era bombing attack on Tripoli on April 14, 1986 was designed to assassinate Kadaffi. It failed in this, but succeeded in killing his daughter, along with over 40 other civilians. This assassination attempt was actually in violation of U.S., as well as international, law—but the higher law of impunity was in force.

Impunity is also a gift of U.S. client state status and, importantly, Israel is free to assassinate, commit aggression, and violate international law across the board with complete impunity. Along with the United States, Israel has the world’s finest remote-control assassination technology ever devised (which some have found of possible relevance to the sophisticated Hariri murder). Like the United States, Israel can even maintain an open policy of assassination—“targeted killings”—as a complement to its steady and ruthless process of ethnic cleansing. No penalties occur and the “civilized” world in Europe and North America continues to enlarge its economic ties with Israel, even as the latter continues to build its apartheid wall in the face of an adverse International Court ruling, assassinates Palestinians on a daily basis, and displays increasing signs of moving toward more openly genocidal violence (see Matthew Wagner, “Eliyahu advocates carpet bombing of Gaza,” Jerusalem Post, May 30, 2007; Ali Abunimah, “Top Israeli rabbis advocate genocide,” Electronic Intifada, May 31, 2007). But no “special court” for Israel, no enforceable action by the UN or governments anywhere.

The contrast with U.S. targets is dramatic. The new Hariri “special court” is designed to focus attention on Syria’s misbehavior in Lebanon and help justify ongoing U.S.-Israeli destabilization efforts and a possible U.S. attack on Syria. Of course, there was no proposal for a “special court” to try the leaders responsible for Israel’s open aggression against Lebanon in 2006, which killed 1,000 civilians, put to flight a million people, and left behind a wrecked and cluster bomb-littered landscape. This was a U.S.-UK supported aggression by a U.S. client, hence subject to the impunity rule.

The Hariri special court is a throwback to the Yugoslav Tribunal, established in 1993, quite clearly to complement U.S.-NATO policy with a faux-judicial and public relations arm that would assist its founders/principals in going after the Serb target. The Rwanda Tribunal, modeled after the Yugoslav Tribunal, has been an equally corrupt political instrument of the U.S. and its allies, protecting Rwanda dictator Paul Kagame, the initiator of the Rwanda killings, whose mass murders in Rwanda and the Congo will match any on the globe in recent decades, but who was trained in the United States and is in service to the Western powers even as he steals and kills in his own and local allies’ interests.

When the Yugoslav Tribunal was formed in 1993, one noteworthy feature was its failure to list as a relevant crime what the Nuremberg Tribunal had declared the “supreme international crime,” namely aggression. This was in accord with U.S. interests and flowed from U.S. power, as the United States wanted no encumbrance to its regular and increasing engagement in the supreme crime. Thus, when it did so in attacking Yugoslavia on March 24, 1999, it had prepared the ground with this exemption built-in to the Tribunal Statute.

Interestingly, in the formation of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which came into existence in July 2002, here too the “supreme international crime” was left out of the ICC’s orbit of jurisdiction. This was done almost surely under U.S pressure and under the impetus of the organizers’ eagerness to induce the United States to join the organization. But in spite of this and other concessions to this country, including the right to enter into bilateral agreements with countries willing to exempt U.S. citizens from the application of ICC claims—Article 98 agreements, also called by critics U.S. Impunity Agreements—the United States has not only refused to join, it even passed an act that threatens to use force against any country that takes a U.S. serviceperson into custody for criminal actions (American Servicemembers’ Protection Act, also known in some circles as the Hague Invasion Act). The problem with the ICC is that it left open the small possibility “that the court free of the discipline of the Security Council (with an American veto), might actually prosecute Americans” (Mandel). Obviously, this would never do. What is equally interesting is how the mainstream media do not discuss and implicitly normalize this consistent refusal of U.S. officials to allow this country to be treated as others, as if it is above the battle and the ruler of the world.

In theory, the Yugoslav Tribunal could have indicted U.S. officials, as its founding Statute made any war crimes in the Yugoslav struggles subject to its jurisdiction. Human Rights Watch head Kenneth Roth pointed to this, plus the fact that no actions had actually been brought against the United States, to show that the ICC would not be a threat. But Roth misses the point: the Yugoslav Tribunal was organized by and under the control of the Security Council where the U.S. had a veto and its political leverage was great, where all prosecutors and most other high officers were vetted by U.S. officials, and where the U.S. and its allies wielded other forms of control (financial, informational), which made the Tribunal a U.S./NATO-controlled instrument. The ICC would have been less perfectly controlled, and that imper- fection was enough to keep the United States out.

Despite the limits of the ICC’s reach, Kofi Annan still found that with the ICC, “We shall have a permanent court to judge the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole,” and that it holds forth the prospect of “universal justice” and ensuring that “no ruler, no state, no junta and no army anywhere can abuse human rights with impunity.” This is complete nonsense, as the “supreme international crime” and the supreme international criminal have been and remain beyond the reach of ICC justice. Kofi Annan adapted well to the demands of the supreme criminal— which explains his long tenure as secretary-general of the UN—and he seems to have internalized his master’s view of reality and the master’s rights, which include impunity. But for most of the world, the supreme crimes carried out in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq are “serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole” carried out by rulers and states clearly abusing human rights with impunity.

It is also dramatically evident that in general impunity is a function of power and relationship with the supreme criminal. The perpetrators of the million deaths from the “sanction of mass destruction” in Iraq (Clinton, Albright, Holbrooke) and those with primary responsibility for the half a million or more deaths in Iraq since March 24, 2003 (Bush, Cheney, Blair, et al.), have complete impunity. So do all the mass death-dealing clients of the supreme criminal, who are either free or who have died at home, none subjected to a special court: Sharon, Pinochet, Suharto, Kagame, Rio Montt, among others. In the case of Yugoslavia, Milosevic had his special court, but not Tud- jman, Izetbegovic, let alone Clinton or Blair.

So the special court to deal with the Hariri murder follows a familiar pattern. While the Hariri special court is being organized, at the same time the United States has mobilized a huge fleet of warships in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Iran, it is reportedly engaging in a range of minor actions including direct military incursions and sponsoring terrorist operations within Iran and across Iran’s borders. It has issued a string of charges about Iranian intervention in Iraq and aid to Hezbollah, and is clearly threatening aggression in what Alain Gresh calls “Countdown to War on Iran,” (Le Monde Diploma- tique, June 2007).

In the face of this acute threat by a country that hasn’t digested its last round of aggression in violation of the UN Charter, has the international community erected any barriers against this imminent attack? Has it done anything to reduce the impunity of the supreme criminal that might cause the criminal to hesitate before embarking on another round of aggression? The answer is a resounding no. It not only fails to issue a peep of protest or threat, it continues to help the criminal clear the ground for his next attack by featuring the prospective victim’s foot-dragging in terminating nuclear activities to which it is entitled under the Non Proliferation Treaty, but demanded by the UN Security Council under pressure from the supreme criminal. This is impunity-plus.

Edward S. Herman is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Edward S. Herman


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Saving A President by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

In his first year in office, the widely-followed Cook Political Report had this assessment of George Bush’s early months as president: “Looking back over his first five months in office, President George W. Bush and his administration started off to a strong, fast start but now, his future seems far less certain. Not only are Bush’s overall job approval ratings slumping, but his disapproval ratings are climbing (and) after a strong start, the last three months have been less than auspicious for this new President. The good news….is that they have plenty of time before the next presidential (or) mid-term elections. The bad news is that they have a lot of repair work to do and had better get started.” They wasted little time doing it, but no one (at least the pubic) knew in June what lay ahead in September.

George Bush entered office with an approval rating around 50%. It rose a little at first, then slumped moderately as the Cook Report suggested. Everything changed dramatically September 11. Bush’s rating skyrocketed instantly hitting a temporary high around 90% and remained above 80% through year end. That momentous day transformed a mediocre president overnight with some observers incredibly comparing him to Lincoln, FDR and Churchill combined.

It was laughable then and ludicrous now for a pathetic caricature of a president and man so hated he’s barely able to hang on to avoid what growing vocal numbers in the country demand – his head and removal from office by impeachment along with Vice-President Cheney.

Today again, George Bush finds himself in a precarious position at the least. He insists on maintaining a failed policy a growing majority in the country wants ended. As a result, his approval rating is scraping rock bottom in polls likely “engineered” to keep it from winning all-time bottom honors as the lowest ever for a sitting president. Dick Cheney is less fortunate, however, at a bottom-scraping 12% that’s the lowest ever for a president or vice-president by far and then some.

With that in mind, here’s how the Cook Political Report assesses things as of June 29, 2007: “….after six and a half years of George W. Bush’s presidency, the Republican ‘brand’ has been badly tarnished. As a result, it would take an enormous amount of luck for Republicans to hold the White House or win back control of the Senate or House, let alone (do all three)….the GOP (will need) a long and painful rebuilding process (and) recapturing the White House or congressional majorities (is) unlikely in the near future.” The report suggests a possible Republican apocalypse even though it notes Democrats have failed to end the Iraq war, have only delivered on one of their six major platform planks (increasing the federal minimum wage), and are scorned as well.

With 18 months to go, what’s a president to do to hang on, run out the clock, and leave office through the normal front door process of his term expiring, not the result of the Senate voting him out earlier by “the (required) Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present” – hard as that is to do as history shows.

Politicians know, and especially presidents, when in trouble – change the subject. It’s being changed by ignoring reality, aided by healthy offerings of the usual kinds of industrial strength corporate media hyperventilating.

It features George Bush and his supportive generalissimo and other top brass in Iraq in the lead. They continue asking for more time, insist the disastrous “surge” is working, say it just needs a chance, and that withdrawing too soon would trigger a bloodbath on the order of the Cambodian killing fields according to an earlier preposterous April claim. Unmentioned is the continued bloodbath caused by the US presence that won’t end until all American and other hostile foreign forces are withdrawn.

That won’t happen according to recent reports with the National Review Online and other sources recently saying the administration intends to escalate its strength on the ground, not curtail it. More troops may be brought in, and the Air Force is increasing its hardware. The powerful B 1 bomber is back (capable of carrying 24 ton bombs) and making multiple daily and/or nightly strikes. A squadron of A-10 “Warthog” attack planes were sent as well along with additional F-16C Fighting Falcons. Bombing runs have intensified dramatically, and the level of violence, deaths and destruction overall is increasing. The Navy is contributing as well with the USS Enterprise sent to the Gulf that may or may not replace one of the two Fifth Fleet carriers already there.

In recent months, the Air Force also doubled its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) efforts using Predator drones (capable of striking targets as well as spying), high altitude U2s, and sophisticated AWACS planes. It all points to one thing on the ground and back home. Congress can debate all it wants. No Iraq withdrawal is planned, the conflict is being escalated, and the only issue on the table is selling the present course to the public with Congress already signed on showing debate is for show, not for real. The hard sell is beginning by the timeworn, yet tried and true, sure-fire method of scaring people to death to go along and in this case threatening them as well.

George Bush’s Continuing War on the First Amendment

On July 17, George Bush issued another of his many presidential “one-man” decrees titled “Executive Order: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq.” More than any other chief executive in the nation’s history, this President abuses this practice egregiously as another example of his contempt for the law.

Economist and journalist Ferdinand Lundberg (1905 – 1995) wrote in his extremely important and revealing book “Cracks in the Constitution:” The US Constitution “nowhere implicitly or explicitly gives a President (the) power (to make) new law” by issuing “one-man, often far-reaching” executive order decrees. However, Lundberg explains “the President in the American constitutional system is very much a de facto king….(he is) by far the most powerful formally constituted political officer on earth.” He has “vast power (and) stands in a position midway between a collective executive (like the British system) and an absolute dictator.” Lundberg wrote those words over 27 years ago when George Bush was busy making millions (the result of friendly bailouts) from successive oil business ventures that flopped.

George Bush’s family connections delivered for him in business, in spite of his ineptitude, and finally gave him the grand prize of the presidency he exploited fully ever since. For him and those around him, the law is just an artifact to be used, abused or ignored at his pleasure. He earlier usurped “Unitary Executive” power to claim the law is what he says it is and in six and half years in office issued more signing statements (over 800) than all past presidents combined. The result is he expanded presidential power (already immense as Lundberg explained) at the expense of the other two branches by shifting it dangerously toward unlimited executive authority, otherwise known as tyranny.

The Constitution has no provisions for “Unitary Executive” power or the right of the chief executive to issue signing statements that hasn’t deterred this President from doing as he pleases. There’s also no authorization for issuing Executive Orders, as just noted, beyond the following vague language Lundberg explained constitutes the “essence of presidential power….in a single sentence.”

Specifically, Article II, section 1 reads: “The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” That simple statement, easily passed over and misunderstood, means the near-limitless power of this office “is concentrated in the hands of one man.” Article II, section 3 then almost nonchalantly adds: “The President shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed” without saying Presidents are virtually empowered to make laws as well as execute them even though nothing in the Constitution specifically permits this practice.

George Bush takes full advantage within and outside the law. His July 17 Executive Order is another case in point, but a particularly egregious and dangerous one. It starts off: The President’s power stems from “the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America” as well as the International Emergency Economic Powers Act he invokes as well. The order then continues:

— “….due to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by acts of violence threatening the peace and stability of Iraq and undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq and to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people,” George Bush usurped authority to criminalize the anti-war movement, make the First Amendment right to protest it illegal, and give himself the right to seize the assets of persons violating this order.

In a message to Congress on the same date, George Bush then stated:

— “….I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order blocking property of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.”

In effect, George Bush, on his say alone and in violation of the Constitution, criminalized dissent July 17, 2007. By so doing, he shifted the nation one step closer to full-blown tyranny with other tightening measures sure to follow this one. The dominant media reported virtually nothing about this nor will they explain or voice concern when law-abiding Americans are arrested and punished for protesting a criminal administration’s illegal foreign wars. Instead, a full-court press publicly-aired effort is underway to justify them that provides clues for what may lie ahead.

Scare-Mongering Heats Up

On July 7, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum appeared on the Hugh Hewitt radio program. He was introduced by the host as “one of our favorite Americans,” leaving no doubt where Hewitt stands. Santorum came to skewer his former colleagues’ lack of resolve to stay the course in Iraq, no matter how hopeless things are on the ground. But he took the opportunity to go further by suggesting that “confronting Iran (is) an absolute lynchpin for our success in that region,” that 9/11 taught us “Islamists” must be confronted, that they want to “conquer that region of the world (and) will soon end up on our doorstep (if not stopped, and that) between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen (to shape) “a very different” (public view) of this war….because….of some very unfortunate events (coming) like we’re seeing unfold in the UK.”

Does Rick Santorum know something the public doesn’t, and was he given permission to leak it on-air? Another clue came July 10 from DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. He practically told a Chicago Tribune editorial board meeting another major terrorist attack is coming later this summer because he has a “gut feeling” about a period ahead of increased risk. Basing his assessment on undisclosed intelligence (as always) and earlier “terrorist patterns in Europe,” he added “Summertime seems to be appealing to them (and) We worry that they are rebuilding their activities. I believe we are entering a period this summer of increased risk.”

Chertoff then appeared on a number of TV programs to itemize his “gut feeling” factors, including taking full advantage of the likely staged June 29 London car bomb discoveries and June 30 follow-up Glasgow airport incident that may have only been an unfortunate accident. With no credible evidence backing his claims, Chertoff, nonetheless, said “Europe could become a platform for an attack against this country.” The UK incidents may, in fact, have been staged to stoke fear in Britain and here in advance of a major homeland terror event to come.

The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd tried making light of Chertoff’s comments saying he sounds “more like a meteorologist than the man charged with keeping us safe.” Chertoff’s job isn’t to “keep us safe,” Dowd should know better, and her attempt at humor isn’t funny. These comments are to be taken seriously. They were made to signal a changed political climate ahead brought on by a one or more likely upcoming terror events, possibly major ones. It would be to resuscitate a failing president the way 9/11 did earlier, even though no one this time would dare suggest George Bush combines Lincoln, FDR and Churchill resurrected or anything resembling it.

More Scare-Mongering

Quick to play their lead hyperventilating role, the corporate media is all over the notion of a summer terror surprise to prepare the public in advance for what may be coming and to accept the consequences of a police state America in response. ABC News may have been first to hype the story citing a new FBI analysis of Al-Queda messages warning of “their strategic intent to strike the US homeland and US interests worldwide (that) should not be discounted as merely deceptive noise.”

Then on July 15, “Enemy Number One” bin Laden coincidentally appeared in an undated online videotape. It was titled “Winds of Martyrdom” and presented to look new with bin Laden saying “The happy (person) is the one chosen by Allah to be a martyr.” In fact, it looked like old footage or pieced together segments of earlier ones repackaged to look fresh and released to the public two days after the Senate doubled the bounty on bin Laden to $50 million. It was also three days after AP reported July 12 that US intelligence analysts concluded Al-Queda has rebuilt its operating capability to levels unseen since right before 9/11 and is “renewing efforts to sneak terror plotters into (the) US” adding to numbers of them already here.

AP also mentioned a draft National Intelligence Estimate “expected (and now released to confirm) an increasingly worrisome portrait of al-Queda’s ability to use its base along the Pakistan-Afghan border to launch and inspire attacks, even though (other) Bush administration officials say the US is safer (now) nearly six years into the war on terror.” Hyping the threat further, AP mentioned key “classified” assessments in the report claiming Al-Queda “probably (is) still pursuing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons and would use them if its operatives developed sufficient capability.” Further, the US faces “a persistent and evolving (Islamic) terrorist threat” for the next three years.

In a clearly timed and motivated political statement, The (unclassified) National Intelligence Estimate “key judgments” were released July 17, combining assessments from 16 Bush administration spy agencies. It’s titled “The Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland,” It presented the findings below, including reworked earlier ones, in addition to those mentioned above:

— Al-Queda has “regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability;”

— Iraq strengthened Al-Queda that will “leverage the contacts and capabilities” to attack the US homeland;

— Al-Queda and its operatives in Iraq will “energize the broader Sunni extremist community (and help to) recruit and indoctrinate (new) operatives;

— In spite of Al-Queda’s regrouping, US worldwide counterterrorism efforts since 2001 have constrained Islamic extremists from attacking US soil; nonetheless, Al-Queda remains a serious future threat and is likely to focus on high-profile political, economic and infrastructure targets for maximum casualties, visually dramatic destruction, economic aftershocks and public fear;

— Al-Queda restored its ability to attack US soil and operates freely in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA);

— Other Muslim and non-Muslim terrorist groups also pose a danger abroad and may consider attacking here. Lebanon’s Hezbollah topped the list of Muslim groups mentioned. Earth Liberation Front, called a violent environmental group, also made the list.

At his July 12 news conference, George Bush raised the specter of Al-Queda’s threat to the US citing the above-mentioned intelligence report as supposed evidence. He then resurrected a timeworn long ago discredited golden oldie saying “The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq were the ones who attacked us in America on September 11. That’s why what happens in Iraq matters to security here at home.” Unmentioned anywhere in the mainstream, of course, is the long-standing relationship between “Enemy Number One” bin Laden, Al-Queda and US and allied intelligence and how they’re used in the fraudulent “war on terrorism” to manipulate and scare the public enough to go along with anything.

These comments, published assessments from The National Intelligence Estimate, inflammatory remarks from officials like Michael Chertoff, and accompanying dominant media hyperventilating effectively stoke public fear and may point to a major terror attack ahead on US soil. It will trigger a Code Red Alert if it happens signaling the highest terrorist threat level followed by the likely suspension of the Constitution, imposition of martial law, and end of the republic. The rule of law will be suspended, dissent no longer will be tolerated (it’s already illegal), the military and other security forces will be involved on US soil in strength if needed, and an unmasked full-blown fascist police state will, in fact, henceforth exist.

It’s arrival may be closer than most imagine in an effort to save the Bush presidency that continues to weaken and begs for a way out of its dilemma. It worked earlier on 9/11 and may soon be unveiled again, even more convincingly, for a president desperate enough to try anything as a Hail Mary scheme to finish out his term, leave office on his own accord, and refurbish what’s left of his tarnished image.

This is what our military adventurism and single-minded pursuit of empire has gotten us. It’s not to be taken lightly, for if it arrives it’ll be too late. The time to unmask and stop it is now and quickly as Michael Chertoff’s pointing to late summer is fast approaching.

A “Catastrophic Homeland Emergency” to Justify Attacking Iran

The Bush administration’s pointing to Iran as a threat to US security is as baseless as the phony WMD and dangerous dictator claims were for war with Iraq. It’s because Washington has wanted regime change in the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution toppled the US-reinstalled Shah Reza Pahlavi to power following the CIA-instigated coup in 1953 against democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh.

The Bush administration stepped up the current effort earlier citing Iran’s legal commercial nuclear program as a thinly veiled pretext without ever mentioning that Washington encouraged Iranians to develop their commercial nuclear industry during the reign of the Shah. That can’t be revealed because doing it would unmask the hypocrisy of the current belligerency and scare-mongering.

Through its usual practice of bribes and bullying, the administration got the Security Council to act in its behalf. It passed UN Resolution 1696 in July, 2006 demanding Iran suspend uranium enrichment by August 31. When it refused, Resolution 1737 was passed in December imposing limited sanctions. Resolution 1747 then tightened them further in March, 2007. It imposed a ban on arms sales and expanded a freeze on the country’s assets, in spite of Iranian officials’ insistence (with no evidence to disprove them) their nuclear program is entirely peaceful and fully in accord with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Nonetheless, harsh rhetoric out of Washington continues with George Bush pushing for additional sanctions (against another Iranian bank and a large military-owned engineering firm) while hyping the concocted threat of Iran’s commercial program that’s no different from those of other NPT signatory states. Iran has been patient but earlier refused to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water reactor until now. In a spirit of cooperation and facing a possible preemptive US and/or Israeli attack, it’s scheduled to take place before the end of July. Iran also scaled back its enrichment program in a show of good faith and agreed to answer questions regarding past experiments at its facilities to defuse the threat of tougher sanctions and avoid a possible attack that’s real and may be immiment.

As Iran shows a willingness to cooperate and prove it threatens no other country, the Bush administration renounced NPT and its crucial Article VI pledging nuclear nations make “good faith” efforts to eliminate their arsenals because having them heightens the risk they’ll be used, endangering the planet. While Iran wants peace and nuclear non-proliferation, the Bush administration pursues a reckless agenda including the following:

— It claims the right to develop new type nuclear weapons, not eliminate any now on hand.

— It renounced NPT claiming the right to develop and test new weapons.

— It abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).

— It rescinded and subverted the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.

— It refused to consider a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty to prevent nuclear bombs being added to present stockpiles already dangerously too high.

— It spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined with large future increases planned, starting in FY 2008 up for debate and sure to pass.

— It claims the right to wage preventive wars under the illegal and frightening doctrine of “anticipatory self-defense” using first-strike nuclear weapons.

While Iran, in fact, threatens no one, America threatens the planet, and the world community stays silent in the face of a potential disaster if the US wages nuclear war because it can get away with it. What other nation will dare challenge the only remaining superpower in spite of the potential horrendous consequences from such a reckless act.

Scaring the Public to Death – Act II

Another earlier discredited campaign is now heating up again as well even though British foreign secretary, David Milliband, discounted its credibility in a July 8 Financial Times interview. It features US claims and hostile rhetoric that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force is providing weapons as well as funding, training and arming Shiite and other resistance fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan with no credible evidence to prove it because there is none. It added “Quds Force (and) Hezbollah instructors trained approximately 20 to 60 Iraqis at a time” at camps near Tehran. It’s also using “Lebanese Hezbollah….as a proxy (or) surrogate in Iraq.”

New York Times hawkish defense reporter Michael Gordon (picking up where the disgraced Judith Miller left off) concluded from this “that Iran has been engaged in a proxy war against American and Iraqi government forces for years.” That kind of belligerent language on the New York Times front page adds fuel to the self-defense rationale for a future military assault against the Iranian state based on spurious accounts like Gordon’s as justification.

It points toward and seems to confirm what the London Guardian reported a “well-placed” Washington source recently said – that George “Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo.” It’s Bush’s lips moving but Dick Cheney’s words coming out as he and those close to him (like Iran-Contra criminal, rabid Israel supporter, and deputy national security advisor Elliott Abrams) have long favored direct military action against Iran, including the use of nuclear weapons.

According to Guardian sources, “The balance (in Washington) has tilted” with George Bush on board with his vice-president, who, as insiders know, calls all the important shots in the nation’s capitol. The Guardian quoted International Institute for Strategic Studies director of studies Patrick Cronin saying “Cheney has limited capital left (a likely dubious claim),” and if he uses it for one aim (like attacking Iran) “he could still have an impact.” The US has a formidable strike force in the Gulf alone to do it with two carrier groups, 50 or more warships with nuclear weapons, hundreds of planes and contingents of Marines and Navy personnel.

Battle plans have long been in place (and are likely updated as needed) under code or operational name TIRANNT for Theater Iran Near Term. If an attack comes, it will be from the Gulf Naval task force and may also include long-range bombers and other warplanes and missiles based in Iraq and strategic locations like Diego Garcia within easy striking distance of targeted sites. The possibility of it happening is frightening as under a top secret “Interim Global Strike Alert Order” and CONPLAN (contingency/concept plan) 8022, Washington claims the right to preemptively strike targets anywhere in the world using so-called low-yield, extremely powerful, nuclear bunker buster weapons with Iran the apparent first target of choice.

The only good news from the Guardian (if correct) is that “No decision on military action is expected until next year” with the state department continuing for now to pursue a diplomatic route – that may just be a diversionary smoke screen for what’s planned ahead.

Reuters reported July 17 that US Ambassador in Kabul William Wood said “There are clearly some munitions coming out of Iran going into the hands of the Taliban. We believe that the quantity and quality of those munitions are such that the Iranian government must know about it.” Defense Secretary Robert Gates made a similar claim a month earlier along with other Washington reports of Iran aiding Shia, other “militant” fighters and “Al-Queda” elements in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Tehran rejects these accusations as “baseless and illogical” saying the obvious in reply – that the US military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and Washington’s one-sided support for Israel causes instability in both regions. The US wants a pretext to strike the Islamic Republic, but the Iranian government isn’t about to provide one. In fact, it’s doing the opposite by cooperating with the IAEA and continues saying it’s willing to engage in constructive diplomacy with the Bush administration.

On July 16, Iran indicated another round of security-related talks over Iraq with Washington is possible in the “near future” showing again it means what it says. The problem is the Bush administration does not. It continues using hard line tactics preferring belligerence and duplicity with Iran that’s typical of the way it does business overall. It’s willing to negotiate on its own terms only while posing the threat of a military option or economic sanctions against nations unwilling to go along. At the same time, Iran knows CIA and special forces operatives have been engaged in covert activities in the country for many months to destabilize the ruling government.

In addition, Washington has attempted to build an anti-Iranian Saudi-Jordanian-Egyptian coalition in the region to further undermine Tehran’s influence. The state department has also pressured international banks and other corporations to sever relations with Iran to make the country “scream” the way the Nixon administration did it to Salvador Allende’s Chile and the Bush administration and Israel are now doing it to the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza. Iran, of course, like Venezuela under Hugo Chavez, is richly endowed with the world’s most in-demand commodity and can keep a good revenue stream coming no matter what.

The Israel Factor

When it comes to Iran, Israel is always part of the equation. On July 11, the Senate again showed it’s Israeli-occupied territory (along with the House) by passing 97 – 0 the Lieberman-sponsored S.Amendment 2073 to S.Amdt 2011 to HR 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008). It calls for censuring Iran for its complicity in killing US soldiers in Iraq. It was a clear warning to Tehran claiming unstated evidence its government is using proxy forces to attack US troops on the ground. It follows months of accusations from American commanders that Iran is supplying various kinds of weapons to Iraqi resistance groups with no clear evidence to prove it.

Israel is in the mix, too, and has warned repeatedly of an attack on Iran as well with prime minister Ehud Olmert earlier in the year saying his country couldn’t risk another “existential threat” with a clear reference to the Nazi holocaust. By it, he and other high-level Israeli political and military officials point to Iran’s commercial nuclear program, falsely claiming Tehran is fanatically and ideologically committed to destroying the Jewish state. It’s nonsense, but it works by stoking fears to get the Israeli public and world opinion on its side for whatever military action is planned in “self-defense.” Other Israeli national security officials have a contrary view, but their assessment gets no press attention. They believe the Iranian government is rational and not about to wage war with Israel, the US, or any other nation.

Israel and the US know it, but neither state says so publicly. If Iran attacked Israel, it would be committing suicide. It would guarantee a full-scale US and Israeli response, possibly with nuclear weapons, that would devastate the country. In addition, no one mentions that after the ancient Persian empire became Iran in 1935, the country obeyed international laws, never occupied another country, and never attacked or threatened to attack another nation beyond occasional border skirmishes far short of war. It’s only full-scale conflict was defensive in response to Saddam Hussein’s US-backed, equipped and financially aided September, 1980 invasion. The evidence today is overwhelming. Iran threatens no other nation and will only defend itself if attacked.

It may have to and formally complained to the Security Council criticizing Ehud Olmert and Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz’s threatening comments. Mofaz made his remarks on a June Washington visit and Olmert gave his in April to the German publication Focus, which he later denied when quoted verbatim. Each official spoke of a possible Israeli attack against Iran’s commercial nuclear facilities with the Israeli prime minister saying Iran’s nuclear program could be struck by 1000 cruise missiles launched over 10 days. He added “It is impossible perhaps to destroy the entire nuclear program but it would be possible to damage it in such a way that it would be set back for years.” One thousand cruise missiles, some with nuclear warheads, would set the whole country back for years, or most any other one.

On July 11, Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman lived up to his notorious reputation as a reckless super-hawk with extremist fascist ideas. He told Israeli Army Radio he got US and European backing for an Israeli military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities following a meeting with NATO and European Union officials. He said the message he got was that America and Europe are tied down in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Israel should proceed on its own to “prevent the (Iranian) threat herself.”

Israel may have two fronts in mind according IDF Major General Eyal Ben-Reuven, deputy commander of Israeli forces in last summer’s disastrous war in Lebanon. He spoke at an Institute for National Security Studies conference July 16 assessing the summer, 2006 Lebanon war saying the IDF is “preparing itself for an all-out war (with Syria), and this is a major change in the military’s working premise” following last year’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Hezbollah. General Ben-Reuven said when war breaks out, Syria will suffer mass military and civilian casualties as the IDF is training for a swift and overwhelming invasion “to knock out the areas where (Syrian) missiles are launched….as quickly as possible.” He added “By preparing for an all-out war, we can also deal with Palestinian terror” signaling a possible attack on Hamas in Gaza that may happen at the same time combined with one on Hezbollah as well.

Haaretz reported July 18 that the UN may be complicit in aiding Israel’s scheme to show Syria’s a threat to regional security as justification for a planned attack. Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari complained in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Israel is fabricating evidence that his country is supposedly smuggling weapons to Lebanon. He specifically singled out the Secretary-General’s envoy to Lebanon and Syria, Terje Roed-Larsen, who’s long served Western and Israeli interests. His earlier report backed Israel’s unsubstantiated claims that weapons are entering Lebanon through Syria, implying the Syrian government is sending them. Ja’afari also complained about Israel’s border violations, illegal overflight spying missions in Lebanese airspace, and its photographing commercial truck deliveries claiming they’re smuggling weapons.

This information suggests Israel and the US are targeting all their regional enemies at once with possible plans extending from Iraq to Iran into Syria and also Hezbollah in South Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. A scheme may be planned much like the way a local mafia don eliminates his enemies to consolidate power. In this case, it’s a global godfather and its regional junior (but powerful and influential) partner doing what a local don would say is taking care of family business. The net result may be to set the whole Middle East aflame, destroy what little influence Washington has left there, jeopardize homeland security, and heighten the risk for retaliation against US and Western interests everywhere.

It can only worsen further if Pakistan is targeted as well. It may happen, with or without President Pervez Musharraf’s permission, because of claimed Al-Queda safehaven tribal areas in the country posing a regional and wider threat. The Wall Street Journal reported “US policy makers (are) under pressure to eradicate this haven (even though doing it) could spark a local backlash strong enough to topple (the leader) President Bush has called Washington’s strongest ally in the fight against al Queda.” The New York Times sounded the same theme saying “….American officials have been meeting in recent weeks to discuss what some said was….an aggressive new strategy (including) public and covert elements (and) some new (secret) measures to avoid embarrassing General Musharraf.”

Looking Ahead

With 18 months left in office and his presidency foundering, George Bush is like a cornered animal desperate enough to try anything to survive. Surrounded by a dwindling, but still potent, number of hard liners, this article suggests a disturbing scenario ahead that bodes ill for the nation and world if it happens. It appears the Bush administration’s scheme involves changing the subject by scare-mongering that may be followed by staging one or more major home-based terror attacks on the order of 9/11, then waging war with Iran on the phony pretext Tehran threatens US and regional security. Further strikes may also be planned against the tribal areas of Pakistan along with backing Israel’s intentions against Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. These will be ominous developments if they happen as explained above. In an effort to survive and finish out their term in office, George Bush and Dick Cheney may be willing to gamble everything for what, in the end, can’t be achieved.

An earlier CIA assessment points out part of the problem. It was blunt and frightening saying if the US attacks Iran, Southern Shia Iraq will light up like a candle and explode uncontrollably throughout the country. It will also likely incite Saudi Shiites who happen to be in the most oil-rich part of the Kingdom, but it very possibly could include the entire Muslim world in armed rebellion against anything American and Western. It’s heading toward that kind of showdown now.

The US is already a pariah state, losing influence as its recklessness intensifies. Take away its military strength, and it faces an unfriendly world, likely to be less receptive to its demands if it can’t back them up with the muscle it has now or shies away from using what it has. That’s a future possibility, though, not a present one. More immediate is the threat of nuclear war, the end of the republic, and what little is left of constitutional law. That’s along with a nation spending itself into bankruptcy and already, by some measures and analysis, at an impossible to repay $80 trillion or more in unfunded future entitlements and other liabilities. That’s the assessment of economist Laurence Kotlikoff in his 2006 appraisal for the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank in an article titled “Is the United States Bankrupt?”

It won’t happen as long as Fed Chairman Bernanke keeps printing money at the same reckless double digit pace Alan Greenspan did before him. They and other Fed chairmen are beholden to the same banking cartel and Wall Street establishment that owns and runs the Federal Reserve for their benefit, not ours. Their scheme is Ponzi-like to monetize continued prosperity as long as the string holds out that can’t forever as former Nixon chief economic advisor Herb Stein once explained earlier. But the longer it does, the worse the outcome when the inevitable end comes with the public set up for the hardest fall like always.

The present domestic economic turbulence and threatening credit crunch (with global implications) is the result of the following that’s bad enough but no disaster yet:

— slumping housing,

— fallout from recklessly leveraged speculation in hedge funds and on Wall Street overall with the Federal Reserve fueling it all,

— troubled collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) linked to sinking sub-prime mortgage valuations,

— once AAA-rated residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS), now downgraded,

— sinking sub-prime loans,

— the multi-trillion dollar financial derivatives market speculation Warren Buffet calls “time bombs” and “financial WMDs”,

— junk bonds getting “junkier,”

— dollar weakness,

— inflation much higher than reported and rising because of years of over-spending, over-borrowing and under-taxing,

— and other potential near and intermediate-term financial trouble sure to surprise if it comes.

So far, it’s cyclical noise compared to a greater secular meltdown ahead from built-up financial excesses, peak oil, global warming, intensifying ecological disasters, permanent wars on the world, and the full-blown emergence of homeland tyranny.

This writer takes issue with others who think America is currently in an economic meltdown. Where there’s strong agreement, however, is that one lies ahead, no one knows when precisely, it’ll likely surprise when it arrives, and it may strike like Armageddon when it hits making The Great Depression look tame by comparison and last even longer.

For now, though, removing the criminal class from Washington, restoring the rule of law, saving the republic, avoiding further wars, and ending the current ones is job one. Failure to do it may mean whatever’s ahead won’t matter. It’ll be too late long before it arrives. Those who care about these things and see the threat better enlist others, do more than complain about it, and act in time collectively to stop it. It can only come from the bottom up, never the other way.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at .

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on Saturdays at noon US central time.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman


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