Want to Fight Back Against the Right Wing Noise Machine? by John R Moffett

Dandelion Salad

by John R Moffett
July 28, 2007 at 08:04:52

Last week Bill O’Reilly made a pitiful attempt to undercut funding for the Yearly KOS meeting by trying to get Jet Blue to pull support. O’Reilly said that the Daily KOS was a “hate site”. His miniscule attempt pretty much fizzled, but O’Reilly nonetheless claimed total victory because Jet Blue asked for their logo to be removed from the list of sponsors.

The Daily KOS and other progressive web sites are turning the tables on Bill O’Reilly and asking their readers to flood his advertisers with complaints about the hateful nature of his broadcasts.

Two of the advertisers for O’Reilly’s show are Lowes and Home Depot. Lowes appears to have received enough calls to pull ads from O’Reilly’s show (they may have actually pulled them back in January), and now the focus may be turning to Home Depot.

If you are tired of writing your representatives in Congress and getting form letters in return, now is your chance to do something that will have a real effect. Nothing sends conservatives running for the hills like a threat to their revenue streams. Money screams, so let your money do the work for you by shopping elsewhere, and by telling Home Depot that you are doing so because they advertise on a “hate show” called the O’Reilly Factor, which airs on “Fox News”.

O’Reilly is going to go crazy if that all-powerful “hate site”, the Daily KOS, with our help and the help of other progressive sites, can actually convince more advertisers to pull support for his lying blather.

Home Depot Contact Number:

Call 1-800-430-3376 to speak directly with a Customer Care specialist about your comment or complaint

or email them here.

Dr. John Moffett is an active research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area, who has published articles on the nervous and immune systems. Dr. Moffett is also the author and webmaster of the political opinion website http://www.Factinista.org.

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.


Fox Attacks Bloggers (video)

Bush Fulfills His Grandfather’s Dream By David Swanson

Dandelion Salad

By David Swanson
Sat, 2007-07-28

It’s remarkably common for a grandson to take up his grandfather’s major project. This occurred to me when I read recently of Thor Heyerdahl’s grandson taking up his mission to cross the Pacific on a raft. But what really struck me was the BBC story aired on July 23rd documenting President George W. Bush’s grandfather’s involvement in a 1933 plot to overthrow the U.S. government and install a fascist dictatorship. I knew the story, but had not considered the possibility that the grandson was trying to accomplish what his grandfather had failed to achieve.

Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895 to 1972) attended Yale University and joined the secret society known as Skull and Bones. Prescott is widely reported to have stolen the skull of Native American leader Geronimo. As far as I know, this has not actually been confirmed. In fact, Prescott seems to have had a habit of making things up. He sent letters home from World War I claiming he’d received medals for heroism. After the letters were printed in newspapers, he had to retract his claims.

If this does not yet sound like the life of a George W. Bush ancestor, try this on for size: Prescott Bush’s early business efforts tended to fail. He married the daughter of a very rich man named George Herbert Walker (the guy with the compound at Kennebunkport, Maine, that now belongs to the Bush family, and the origin of Dubya’s middle initial). Walker installed Prescott Bush as an executive in Thyssen and Flick. From then on, Prescott’s business dealings went better, and he entered politics.

Now, the name Thyssen comes from a German named Fritz Thyssen, major financial backer of the rise of Adolph Hitler. Thyssen was referred to in the New York Herald-Tribune as “Hitler’s Angel.” During the 1930s and early 1940s, and even as late as 1951, Prescott Bush was involved in business dealings with Thyssen, and was inevitably aware of both Thyssen’s political activities and the fact that the companies involved were financially benefiting the nation of Germany. In addition, the companies Prescott Bush profited from included one engaged in mining operations in Poland using slave labor from Auschwitz. Two former slave laborers have sued the U.S. government and the heirs of Prescott Bush for $40 billion.

Until the United States entered World War II it was legal for Americans to do business with Germany, but in late 1942 Prescott Bush’s businesses interests were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Among those businesses involved was the Hamburg America Lines, for which Prescott Bush served as a manager. A Congressional committee, in a report called the McCormack-Dickstein Report, found that Hamburg America Lines had offered free passage to Germany for journalists willing to write favorably about the Nazis, and had brought Nazi sympathizers to America. (Is this starting to remind anyone of our current president’s relationship to the freedom of the press?)

The McCormack-Dickstein Committee was established to investigate a homegrown American fascist plot hatched in 1933. Here’s how the BBC promoted its recent story:

“Document uncovers details of a planned coup in the USA in 1933 by right-wing American businessmen. The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression. Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.”

Actually, if you listen to the 30-minute BBC story, there is not one word of so much as speculation as to why this story is so little known. I think a clue to the answer can be found by looking into why this BBC report has not led to any U.S. media outlets picking up the story this week.

The BBC report provides a good account of the basic story. Some of the wealthiest men in America approached Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, beloved of many World War I veterans, many of them embittered by the government’s treatment of them. Prescott Bush’s group asked Butler to lead 500,000 veterans in a take-over of Washington and the White House. Butler refused and recounted the affair to the congressional committee. His account was corroborated in part by a number of witnesses, and the committee concluded that the plot was real. But the names of wealthy backers of the plot were blacked out in the committee’s records, and nobody was prosecuted. According to the BBC, President Roosevelt cut a deal. He refrained from prosecuting some of the wealthiest men in America for treason. They agreed to end Wall Street’s opposition to the New Deal.

Clearly the lack of accountability in Washington, D.C., did not begin with Nancy Pelosi taking Dubya’s impeachment off the table, or with Congress’ decision to avoid impeachment for President Ronald Reagan (a decision that arguably played a large role in installing Prescott Bush’s son George H.W. Bush as president), or with the failure to investigate the apparent deal that George H.W. Bush and others made with Iran to not release American hostages until Reagan was made president, or with the failure to prosecute Richard Nixon after he resigned. Lack of accountability is a proud tradition in our nation’s capital. Or maybe I should say our former nation’s capital. I don’t recognize the place anymore, and I credit that to George W. Bush’s efforts to fulfill his grandfather’s dream using far subtler and more effective means than a military coup.

Bush the grandson took office through a highly fraudulent election that he nonetheless lost. The Supreme Court blocked a recount of the vote and installed Dubya.

Prescott’s grandson proceeded to weaken or eliminate most of the Bill of Rights in the name of protection from a dark foreign enemy. He even tossed out habeas corpus. The grandson of Prescott, that dreamer of the 1930s, established with very little resistance that the U.S. government can kidnap, detain indefinitely on no charge, torture, and murder. The United States under Prescott Bush’s grandson adopted policies that heretofore had been considered only Nazi policies, most strikingly the willingness to openly plan and engage in aggressive wars on other nations.

At the same time, Dubya has accomplished a huge transfer of wealth within the United States from the rest of us to the extremely wealthy. He’s also effected a major privatization of public operations, including the military. And he’s kept tight control over the media.

Dubya has given himself the power to rewrite all laws with signing statements. He’s established that intentionally misleading the Congress about the need for a war is not a crime that carries any penalty. He’s given himself the right (just as Hitler did) to open anyone’s mail. He’s created illegal spying programs and then proposed to legalize them. Prescott would be so proud!

The current President Bush has accomplished much more smoothly than his grandfather could have imagined a feat that was one of the goals of Prescott’s gang, namely the elimination of Congress.

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.


The Whitehouse Coup – The Dark Heart Of Fascism In The United States (must-listen audio link)

Bill Moyers Journal: Why Earmarks Matter by Ryan Alexander

Why Earmarks Matter

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal
by Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense

At Taxpayers for Common Sense, we believe that the impact of earmarks is greater than the billions of dollars they cost the federal treasury. With a federal budget close to $3 trillion, we know that earmarks are not the only source of government waste. But the earmarking process is a breakdown in democratic decision-making in the Congress. We are putting the unprecedented amount of power to direct billions of dollars of projects in the hands of very small group of legislators and lobbyists. The all-consuming chase for earmarks distracts Congress and takes time away from important policy debates.

This year alone, there were more than 30,000 requests for earmarks in the House of Representatives – all of which had to be reviewed by staff on the Appropriations Committee. That’s a tremendous amount of effort and time to bring $100,000 for a theater renovation or $150,000 for Robotics Training Equipment at a local community college to a local congressional district. Don’t get me wrong, these and other projects may deserve federal support, but most of us don’t get a chance to ask why these projects are better than others or why they should be funded first before other projects. The lack of a competitive or a meritorious process means that projects may be ignored in favor of those backed by the politically powerful.

When so much time and resources spent deciding which project gets $100,000 or $1 million, we divert the Congress’ attention from the major policy debates that should be guiding congressional debate. How do we address the growing federal budget deficit? How can we ensure excellence and accountability in defense spending? Are we spending more money to have private contractors do the work we used to complete with government workers?

But, possibly the worst thing about earmarks is that they have become the currency of corruption. Also, this decade of rapid growth of earmarks coincided with one of the most lax periods of Congressional oversight of the federal government. This lax scrutiny makes earmarks ripe for abuse.

What can you do to help reign in earmarking? Demand better information, and more accountability from your elected officials. An informed constituent is a powerful force. Work with Taxpayers for Common Sense to bring earmarks out of the shadows of the Congress and into the public light. TCS has been tracking all that information and pulling it together into searchable databases available to the public on our Web site. See what your member of Congress is up to.

Also, ask your lawmaker to disclose all of the earmark requests they are making. We are only able to track the successful requests, but there are tens of thousands of requests that are unknown. If a member of Congress is willing to sign on the dotted line asking for federal funding, the public should be able to know that.

Finally, after reviewing all the information, tell them what you think. And tell us what you think, too.

When one of his earmarks was challenged recently, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) complained that people were trying to take “my money.” That’s how earmarks have twisted things in Washington. It’s our money, it’s our government. Work with Taxpayers for Common Sense to make the budget more transparent and more accountable to taxpayers.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.

Outsourcing Intelligence: Author R.J. Hillhouse on How Key National Security Projects Are Contracted to Private Firms (video link)

Outsourcing Intelligence: Author R.J. Hillhouse on How Key National Security Projects Are Contracted to Private Firms

Dandelion Salad

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

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Author R.J. Hillhouse caused a stir in Washington last month when she revealed more than 50 percent of the National Clandestine Service has been outsourced to private firms. Now Hillhouse has exposed private companies are heavily involved in the nation’s most important and most sensitive national security document – the President’s Daily Brief. And there appears to be few safeguards from preventing corporations from inserting items favorable to itself or its clients into the President’s Daily Brief in order to influence the country’s national security agenda. [includes rush transcript]

“Red alert: Our national security is being outsourced. The most intriguing secrets of the ‘war on terror’ have nothing to do with al-Qaeda and its fellow travelers. They’re about the mammoth private spying industry that all but runs U.S. intelligence operations today… the private spy industry has succeeded where no foreign government has: It has penetrated the CIA and is running the show.” Those are the opening lines to a recent article in the Washington Post by R.J Hillhouse, a blogger and novelist who closely tracks the privatization of the nation’s intelligence agencies.According to Hillhouse more than 50 percent of the National Clandestine Service has been outsourced to private firms such as Abraxas, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Hillhouse’s article in the Washington Post created a firestorm of controversy within the intelligence community. A week later the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded defending the use of private contractors.

Now Hillhouse has exposed that the reach of these corporations has extended into the Oval Office. Private companies are now heavily involved in creating the analytical products that underlie the nation’s most important and most sensitive national security document – the President’s Daily Brief. And there appears to be few safeguards from preventing corporations from inserting items favorable to itself or its clients into the President’s Daily Brief in order to influence the country’s national security agenda.

R.J. Hillhouse joins us now in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

  • R.J. Hillhouse. Writes the national security blog The Spy Who Billed Me. Her latest article “Outsourcing Intelligence” was posted on the Nation Magazine website this week. She is also the author of a new spy novel, “Outsourced.”


Putting the Dems on Suicide Watch by Stephen P. Pizzo

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen P. Pizzo
Atlantic Free Press
Saturday, 28 July 2007

How does one go about talking a political party out of committing suicide? That’s the question. No, I’m not talking about the Republicans. It’s too late for them. I’m talking about the Democrats.
Recent polls show that Democratic Party faithful seem determined to do to their party what Republicans did to their party when they chose George W. Bush to be their top dog.

And that’s precisely what Democrats will do if they nominate Hillary Clinton as their candidate for President.

I know, I’ve been saying that for months, beating that horse and beating it.. but it’ll not only still kicking, but stronger than ever. So, maybe I’m wrong. I am wrong about half the time, so this could be one of those times.

Still I can’t shake the ominous feeling that Democrats are sleepwalking their party off a cliff, led by Pied Piper Hillary. My gut tells me that, if they nominate Hillary there are only two possible outcomes, both bad;

1) She will run and lose, sticking us with another Republican in the White House,
2) Or, she’ll run and win sticking us with another Bill and Hillary White House soap opera.

“But Steeeeeeeeve,” Hillary supporters squeal, “Bill Clinton was a great president. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have him back in the White House, even if it’s only as First Gentleman?”

Ah…. yeah… well, ah, let me mull that for a moment ………………….



Republicans: Too “Important” for YouTube Debate? (video)

Dandelion Salad

Don’t let the Republican candidates back down from their YouTube debate, scheduled for September 17th.

Like the Democrats, they should be willing to face the American people directly.

Please distribute this video to as many people as you can, and encourage the candidates to save the debate!

You can sign the petition at:


You Boobs – News For Real by Stephen Pizzo

The New World Order is Here! + ZEITGEIST, The Movie – Official Release – Full Film (videos)

Dandelion Salad

You may also want to view these videos: Zeitgeist Part One Exposed: The Film and Zeitgeist Refuted + Zeitgeist Debunked (videos)

Note: replaced videos Aug. 4, 2014

New World Order Government Conspiracy


Nov 3, 2008

If you’re not worried about The New World Order, you will be. Everything that’s needed for the rich and powerful to run every aspect of your life is in place. Within a few years there will be a cashless one world government, run by the richest people in the world. You will be “chipped” and tracked by the government, and if you protest, speak out, or otherwise displease Big Brother, your chip will be turned off, preventing you from buying or selling anything. The plan has started and in 2008, the “North American Union” will effectively eliminate the borders between the US, Canada, and Mexico. Also in 2008, you will be required to have a national I.D., soon after to become an implanted chip.

These scenes are taken from a video available at http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com I suggest you go there and watch the whole thing. It’s about 2 hours long.

Continue reading

Talking with Cindy Sheehan Parts I & II (video; hermit) (updated)

Dandelion Salad

July 27, 2007

the hermit is a production of
theme music by $24

contact me:

Anarchy Made Easy, by Rich

by Rich
Featured Writer, Dandelion Salad
Rich’s Blog: Thumb Jig
July 28, 2007

A young and clever George Orwell knew the significance of a beautiful idea. He left his wife and career in England to fight in the Spanish Civil War in December of 1936, siding with the Anarchists who opposed Hitler-backed Nationalist, Francisco Franco. The upsurge of fascism so frightened the fresh faced idealist that he was willing to die to end it. Orwell recognized the elegance of the Spanish Anarchists’ radically different way of administrating their affairs. As a result of the war, his affection for the new society was inverse to his disgust for totalitarianism, a position that informed his future classics Animal Farm and the prescient 1984.

Continue reading

Of Needs and Greed, Reds and Green by William Bowles

Dandelion Salad

by William Bowles
Pacific Free Press
Thursday, 26 July 2007

‘The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theater, go dancing, go drinking, think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save and the greater will become that treasure which neither moths nor maggots can consume — your capital. The less you are, the less you give expression to your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life … So all passions and all activity are submerged in greed’
— Karl Marx, Notebooks, 1844 (emph. added)

Continue reading

We Used to Believe by Mike Palecek

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Palecek
July 27, 2007
An excerpt from Mike’s new book: “The American Dream”

As I recall, in the summer 1968, Robert Kennedy came to Norfolk, Nebraska.

He was going to speak at the railroad station that these days is a flower planter or native prairie grassland display, I think.

I remember going down there myself, on my bike. I was just out of the eighth grade. I wanted to go to pick a saying out of his talk to live by.

I sat-stood on my banana seat and listened and watched him stand at a podium and gesture with his thumb inside his first finger and I heard that Shaw quote that I thought was Kennedy’s at the time.

“but I see things as they never were and say why not.”

Sounds like a plan for someone who wants to try writing novels, I suppose.

At the time I was a pretty mediocre paperboy.

We lived through John Kennedy’s murder and Martin and Bobby, barely.

Most of us still breathe.

I remember the night I went to sleep while we weren’t sure yet if RFK was dead. My mother said that for him to recover was “what this country needs.”

Well, we didn’t get it.

Through my adult life I have breathed through a number of presidential elections and watched the Democrats get creamed with such sorry candidates that it was all a person could do to drag himself down the church basement steps to vote and then run home to gargle with Listerine.

“Back then” we believed Oswald did it.

We believed in the Warren Commission, Johnny Carson, the Catholic Church, the Norfolk Daily News, and the Omaha World-Herald, because we were brought up to believe. Go Big Red.

We believed in the network TV news anchors – and anything on radio news was true, of course. This isn’t Russia.


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.

Acting on Impeachment by Ralph Nader

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
Friday, July 27. 2007

Most readers of The Washington Post probably missed it. But probably not Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Fifty-six of his law school classmates (Harvard Law School, class of 1982) bought space for an open letter in mid-May that excoriated his “cavalier handling of our freedoms time and again.”

It read like an indictment, to wit:

“Witness your White House memos sweeping aside the Geneva Conventions to justify torture, endangering our own servicemen and women;

“Witness your advice to the President effectively reading Habeas Corpus out of our constitutional protections;

“Witness your support of presidential statements claiming inherent power to wiretap American citizens without warrants (and the Administration’s stepped-up wiretapping campaign, taking advantage of those statements, which continues on your watch to this day); and

“Witness your dismissive explanation of the troubling firings of numerous U.S. Attorneys, and their replacement with other more ‘loyal’ to the President’s politics, as merely ‘an overblown personal matter.’

“In these and other actions, we see a pattern. As a recent editorial put it, your approach has come to symbolize ‘disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.’”

By now you’re expecting something like a conclusion by his classmates, such as a demand for resignation or a call for Gonzales’ impeachment. No such logic.

Instead, these intrepid classmates punted, urging Gonzales and President Bush “to relent from this reckless path, and begin to restore respect for the rule of law we all learned to love many years ago.”

Just this week, four Democratic Senators called for a special prosecutor to investigate their belief that Gonzales gave false testimony about the regime’s warrantless domestic surveillance program. They criticized the Attorney General for possessing an instinct “to dissemble and to deceive.”

Four of Gonzales’ top aides have already resigned. The head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, just testified before Congress and contradicted Gonzales’ statements which were made under oath.

It is not often that an Attorney General of the United States is treated with bi-partisan inferences of perjury before a major Senate Committee (the Senate Judiciary Committee). Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the soft-spoken Chairman, said to him: “I just don’t trust you.”

His counterpart, Republican Senator Arlen Specter, the ranking minority member of the Committee, extended his fellow Senator’s remark, adding, “Your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable.”

Why don’t these and other Democratic and Republican Senators say plainly what they say privately day after day: that they believe that the Attorney General has lied under oath, and not just once.

Again, they avoid the logical conclusion.

But then the Democrats have been doing this dance of evasion with George W. Bush on a far larger scale for four years. After all, Gonzales’ impeachable offenses are his superiors’. Gonzales took the orders; Bush-Cheney gave the orders. The litany of Bush-Cheney impeachable abuses extends far beyond those associated with Gonzales, foremost among them of course Bush plunging the nation into a bloody, costly war-quagmire on a platform of fabrications, deceptions and cover-ups again and again, year after year. And Gonzales took the orders; Bush-Cheney gave the orders—a more serious basis for a Congressional demand for their resignation or the commencing of impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives.

Compare the many impeachable offenses of Bush-Cheney with the certain impeachment of President Richard K. Nixon that was rendered moot by his resignation in 1974. Compare the actual impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives in 1998 for lying under oath about sex.

Granted, Nixon became ensnared in the criminal laws and Clinton was caught in the tort laws. But Bush-Cheney’s “high crimes and misdemeanors” tower in scope and diversity over those earlier Presidents.

Instead of a burglary and coverup, as with Nixon, it was the horrific ongoing war (longer than either the Civil War and World War II) with hundreds of thousands of lost lives and many more injuries and sicknesses.

Instead of a sex scandal, as with Clinton, there is a serial constitutional scandal oozing ongoing repeated constitutional crimes. For which alas, there is only one constitutional remedy arranged by the framers – impeachment.

And that remedy the Democrats took “off the table” after they won the Congress last November and before they even took office. Just what the White House recidivists needed to know to keep at it. What a lesson for future generations.

Most Americans do not want their members of Congress to practice rushing to judgment. Nor do they want their members to rush away from judgment. The Democrats, with very few exceptions, are very good at escaping from their constitutional responsibilities.

It is time to hold the Bush-Cheney-Administration responsible for their indefensible acts.

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.

Why my landlord is expecting the worst – The Lebanese army is about the only institution still working in this country by Robert Fisk

Dandelion Salad

by Robert Fisk
Published: 28 July 2007

I returned home to Beirut this week to find my landlord, Mustafa, welding an armoured door on to the entrance of his ground-floor flat. “There are many thieves nowadays, Mr Robert,” he pleaded with me. “They will come to my house first – they will not reach your apartment.”

Well, I don’t really want an armoured door on my home. But have things deteriorated this far in Beirut? I pondered what to say to Mustafa. Truly, I could not repeat the latest mantra of the late Tony Blair – south of the Lebanese border and talking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – that he had “a sense of possibilities”.

All of us in Lebanon have a “sense of possibilities” right now – and they are all bad. The Lebanese army – still fighting its way into the Palestinian Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in the north of the country more than a month after the minister of defence announced total victory over the army’s “Fatah al-Islam” opponents – is about the only institution still working in this country. Yesterday morning’s Beirut newspapers carried front-page pictures of Lebanese soldiers aboard an armoured personnel carrier, all making “victory” signs to photographers.

But victory over whom? Day after day, we’ve been watching the US air force C-130s arriving at Beirut’s Rafiq Hariri International Airport – named after the man whose assassination on 14 February detonated the latest tragedy of Lebanon – with their cargoes of weapons for the Lebanese army. Would that they had arrived a year ago, many Lebanese say, when Israel was destroying much of Lebanon. But of course, a year ago, the American air force C-130s were arriving in Israel with weapons to be used against Lebanon, including cluster munitions which have contaminated 36.6 million square metres of Lebanon.

The United Nations (my favourite donkey, which always clip-clops into the killing fields when the United States get stuck) reports that 23 Lebanese civilians have been killed by these wretched weapons since last year’s war, and 203 wounded. In a truly pitiful remark, the UN Secretary-General stated last month: “I regret to have to report that, despite a number of attempts by UN senior officials to obtain information regarding the firing data of cluster munitions utilised (sic) during last summer’s conflict, Israel has yet to provide this critical data.” To which my reaction is: why not ask Washington for the information? Surely a UN official could take the Amtrak out of New York and pick up the figures from the Pentagon?

But it is all much worse than this. The Lebanese army has been reporting to the UN a whole series of violations of its country’s sovereignty, from Israelis – whose daily over-flights are in total contravention of UN resolutions – to new Palestinian militant bases inside Lebanese territory.

Take, for example, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command and “Fatah Intifada”, two institutions much loved of Damascus. According to the Lebanese authorities, the PFLP-GC has set up camps in Jubayla and Ain al-Bayda – its 100 guerrillas in these locations dressed in uniforms that look suspiciously like those of the Lebanese army itself – while in Ossaya, the PFLP-GC has installed eight rocket launchers (of 12 and 40 barrels) pointing towards Rayak air base, from which the Lebanese air force has been flying Kiowa helicopters to the Nahr el-Bared siege. Other Palestinian units have been reinforcing positions at Wadi al-Asswad, Balta, Helwa and Deir al-Achayer, with at least 500 men and anti-tank artillery and anti-aircraft guns. Under UN resolutions, Palestinians outside the refugee camps should have been totally disarmed.

The UN’s reports to New York are of the deepest pessimism. The Blue Line – the so-called frontier between Lebanon and Israel which does not include the Shebaa farms area, occupied by Israel but originally belonging to Lebanon – is “tense and fragile”. Hizbollah – which provoked last year’s war by capturing two Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the border – continues to monitor the UN peacekeeping army’s activities, “including through the taking of photographs and filming”.

Needless to say, the Syrians – whose strong-boned hand is seen behind so many acts of Lebanese mayhem – have protested their innocence, and even asked for European technology to assist them in preventing arms smuggling from Lebanon into Syria. Let me repeat this: from Lebanon into Syria. Yet another UN report states that arms continue to flow in the other direction and that tribal and family ties between the authorities in Lebanon and Syria make arms smuggling easy. So much for the French decision – back in the aftermath of the First World War – to chop Lebanon off from Syria and make it a separate country.

And now the latest UN report on the enquiry into Hariri’s assassination talks of the “deterioration in the political and security environment”. The UN cops have now produced confidential reports of 2,400 pages into Hariri’s murder and other bombings in Lebanon. The crime scene investigation alone – the roadway outside the derelict Saint Georges hotel on which Hariri and 21 others were blown to pieces – has itself produced 10,000 pages of information.

The UN believes that the man who claimed in a videotape that he was to kill himself in the suicide bombing – Ahmad Abu Adass – was murdered before the assassination and that another man, apparently non-Lebanese (from his teeth, the UN investigators concluded he was born in a more arid country than Lebanon), drove the Mitsubishi truck containing the 1,800kg of explosives that killed Hariri. The UN knows that he was aged 20 to 25, that he had short dark hair, that he lived in “an urban environment” for the first 10 years of his earthly life and in the country for the rest.

And the UN has discovered much, much more. But the news is all bad. Across the Middle East, it is all bad. From the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan to the hell-disaster in Iraq, from the mini-civil war in the Pakistani north-west frontier to the chaos of Gaza and the occupied West Bank. This is not a time for a “sense of possibilities”. My landlord is right. Weld the iron door to the entrance of our homes.

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.

Rachel Corrie – My Personal Hero (videos no longer available)

Dandelion Salad

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JULY 27, 2007 BBC

“Caterpillar betrays its stated values when it sells bulldozers to Israel knowing that they are being used to illegally destroy Palestinian homes,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Until Israel stops these practices, Caterpillar’s continued sales will make the company complicit in human rights abuses.”