Scott Ritter: Waging Peace (video)

Dandelion Salad

C-SPAN
BookTV
August 28, 2007

Scott Ritter was interviewed before an audience about his book, Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement. He was interviewed by Professor Miller. Ritter criticized the antiwar movement in the U.S., arguing that it should look to military strategists like Sun Tzu and John Boyd to help it end the Iraq War. After their discussion, Ritter responded to audience members’ questions.

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#027 Ask A Chola: “Proud to be an American” (music video; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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

AskACholaTV

As you know, I have been forced to en…

As you know, I have been forced to endure an awful glitch on Myspace which categorizes my comedy as “Blue Collar”. So, like the Blue Collar gang, I thought I’d make a video about how proud I am to be an American. I somehow convinced Toby Keith and the American Idols to participate on this. Hope you enjoy!

h/t: 50 caliber Fist FK

Olbermann: Special Comment on Bush’s Iraq Visit (video; transcript)

Dandelion Salad

pa8riotnews Keith’s special comment on how George…

Keith’s special comment on how George Bush is holding our troops hostage in Iraq and is “playing us” on the state of war in Iraq and when the troops will come home.

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Countdown with Keith Olbermann

Bush just playing us with ‘troop withdrawal’

Night is day, and death is life, and enraging the world against us is safety

SPECIAL COMMENT
By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, ‘Countdown’
MSNBC

And so he is back from his annual surprise gratuitous photo-op in Iraq, and what a sorry spectacle it was. But it was nothing compared to the spectacle of one unfiltered, unguarded, horrifying quotation in the new biography to which Mr. Bush has consented.

As he deceived the troops at Al-Asad Air Base yesterday with the tantalizing prospect that some of them might not have to risk being killed and might get to go home, Mr. Bush probably did not know that, with his own words, he had already proved that he had been lying, is lying and will be lying about Iraq.

He presumably did not know that there had already appeared those damning excerpts from Robert Draper’s book “Dead Certain.”

“I’m playing for October-November,” Mr. Bush said to Draper. That, evidently, is the time during which, he thinks he can sell us the real plan, which is “to get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence.”

Comfortable, that is, with saying about Iraq, again quoting the President, “stay… longer.”

And there it is. We’ve caught you. Your goal is not to bring some troops home, maybe, if we let you have your way now. Your goal is not to set the stage for eventual withdrawal. You are, to use your own disrespectful, tone-deaf word, playing at getting the next Republican nominee to agree to jump into this bottomless pit with you, and take us with him, as we stay in Iraq for another year, and another, and another, and anon.

Everything you said about Iraq yesterday, and everything you will say, is a deception, for the purpose of this one cynical, unacceptable, brutal goal: perpetuating this war indefinitely.

War today, war tomorrow, war forever!

And you are playing at it! Playing!

A man with any self respect, having inadvertently revealed such an evil secret, would have already resigned and fled the country! You have no remaining credibility about Iraq.

And yet, yesterday at Al-Asad, Mr. Bush kept playing, and this time, using the second of his two faces.

The president told reporters, “They (General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker) tell me if the kind of success we are now seeing continues, it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces.”

And so, Mr. Bush got his fraudulent headlines today. “Bush May Bring Some Troops Home.”

While the reality is, we know from what he told Draper, that the president’s true hope is that they will not come home; but that they will stay there, because he is keeping them there now, in hope that those from his political party fighting to succeed him will prolong this unendurable disaster into the next decade.

But, to a country dying of thirst, the president seemed to vaguely promise a drink from a full canteen — a promise predicated on the assumption that he is not lying.

Yet you are lying, Mr. Bush. Again. But now, we know why.

You gave away more of yourself than you knew in the Draper book. And you gave away more still, on the arduous trip back out of Iraq hours in the air, without so much as a single vacation.

“If you look at my comments over the past eight months,” you told reporters, “it’s gone from a security situation in the sense that we’re either going to get out and there will be chaos, or, more troops. Now, the situation has changed, where I’m able to speculate on the hypothetical.”

Mr. Bush, the only “hypothetical” here is that you are not now holding our troops hostage. You have no intention of withdrawing them. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend you’re thinking about it, does it?

That is your genius as you see it, anyway. You can deduce what we want. We, the people, remember us? And then use it against us.

You can hold that canteen up and promise it to the parched nation. And the untold number of Americans whose lives have not been directly blighted by Iraq or who do not realize that their safety has been reduced and not increased by Iraq, they will get the bullet points: “Bush is thinking about bringing some troops home. Bush even went to Iraq.”

You can fool some of the people all of the time, can’t you, Mr. Bush? You are playing us!

And as for the most immediate victims of the president’s perfidy and shameless manipulation of those troops — yesterday sweating literally as he spoke at Al-Asad Air Base — tonight, again sweating figuratively in The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death, the president saved, for them, the most egregious “playing” in the entire trip.

“I want to tell you this about the decision, about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground, not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media.”

One must compliment Mr. Bush’s writer. That, perhaps, was the mostly perfectly-crafted phrase of his presidency. For depraved indifference to democracy, for the craven projection of political motives onto those trying to save lives and save a nation, for a dismissal of the value of the polls and the importance of the media, for a summary of all he does not hold dear about this nation or its people nothing could top that.

As if you listened to all the “calm assessments” of our military commanders rather than firing the ones who dared say the emporer has no clothes, and the president, no judgment.

As if your entire presidency was not a “nervous reaction,” and you yourself, nothing but a Washington politician.

As if “”he media” does not largely divide into those parts your minions are playing, and those others who unthinkingly and uncritically serve as your echo chamber, at a time when the nation’s future may depend on the airing of dissent.

And as if those polls were not so overwhelming, and not so clearly reflective of the nation’s agony and the nation’s insistence.

But this president has ceased to listen. This president has decided that night is day, and death is life, and enraging the world against us is safety. And this laziest of presidents, actually interrupted his precious time off to fly to Iraq to play at a photo opportunity with soldiers, some of whom will on his orders be killed before the year maybe the month is out.

Just over 500 days remain in this presidency. Consider the dead who have piled up on the battlefield in these last 500 days.

Consider the singular fraudulence of this president’s trip to Iraq yesterday, and the singular fraudulence of the selling of the Petraeus Report in these last 500 days.

Consider how this president has torn away at the fabric of this nation in a manner of which terrorists can only dream in these last 500 days.

And consider again how this president has spoken to that biographer: that he is “playing for October-November.” The goal in Iraq is “to get us in a position where the presidential candidates will be comfortable about sustaining a presence.” Consider how this revelation contradicts every other rationale he has offered in these last 500 days.

In the context of all that now, consider these next 500 days.

Mr. Bush, our presence in Iraq must end. Even if it means your resignation. Even if it means your impeachment. Even if it means a different Republican to serve out your term. Even if it means a Democratic Congress and those true patriots among the Republicans standing up and denying you another penny for Iraq, other than for the safety and the safe conduct home of our troops.

This country cannot run the risk of what you can still do to this country in the next 500 days.

Not while you are playing.

Middle East Madness By Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

By Stephen Lendman
09/04/07 “ICH

Administration rhetoric is heated and the dominant media keep trumpeting it. It signals war with Iran of the “shock and awe” kind – intensive, massive and maybe with nuclear weapons. Plans are one thing, action another, and how things play out, in fact, won’t be known until the fullness of time that may not be long in coming. For now, waiting and guessing games continue, and one surmise is as good as another. The more threatening they are, the less likely they’ll happen, or at least it can be hoped that’s so.

It’s not media critic, activist and distinguished professor emeritus Edward Herman’s view. He writes “the situation now is even more menacing than we faced in 2002-2003 when the Bush gang was readying us for the invasion (and) occupation of Iraq. There is strong evidence that Bush-Cheney and company are about to attack Iran (and) the groundwork is being set with a flood of propaganda, helped by the media and Democrats.” It may be “his last (crazed) hope for immortality” and possible attempt to revive “Republican strength through this classic maneuver of cornered-rat politicians.”

Most frightening is that the Bush administration doesn’t have enough of a bad thing and may want more of it. This time, however, the stakes are incalculable, the risks over the top, and the chance for success (from an American perspective) almost nil if post-WW II history is a good predictor. Distinguished historian Gabriel Kolko notes in all its conflicts since 1950, America never lost a battle and never won a war. It’s a world class bumbler, never learns from its mistakes, and only succeeds, in Kolko’s words, in making an “unstable world far more precarious” than if it left well enough alone.

Enter Iran with George Bush having a way with words about the Islamic Republic. They’re hotting up and sending ominous signals. At the American Legion Reno convention August 28, Bush, with typical bluster, accused Iran of threatening the Middle East with a nuclear holocaust and said he authorized US military commanders in Iraq to “confront Tehran’s murderous activities.” He accused the Ahmadinejad government of supporting violent Iraqi forces he calls “radicals and extremists….Either the forces of extremism (or freedom) succeed. Either our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or we advance” ours.

Earlier in the month, Bush threatened Iran stating: “When we catch you playing a non-constructive role, there will be a price to pay.” He added recent US-Iranian meetings in Baghdad were “to send a message that there will be consequences for….people transporting, delivering EFPs (roadside bombs)….that kill Americans in Iraq.”

This type language points to a widened Middle East war with Iran the target in mind and sanity of those planning it in question. Or maybe not? Questions remain in the run-up to the September 11 Iraq progress report General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will deliver to Congress. Packaging is everything, and the date chosen was planned to heighten public fear of the event on that day that may help explain what’s going on – not attacking the Islamic Republic but shoring up flagging support for a war gone sour and worry later about more of it with Iran.

Or maybe not, according to a report called “Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East.” On August 28, the Raw Story web site published a summary of what two respected figures wrote. They are: British scholar and arms expert Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London and Martin Butcher, former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

Their work compliments others saying war with Iran is coming, and things are too far along to stop it. Their analysis is detailed, elementary in their opinion, and very frightening. They conclude the Pentagon has plans for a “massive, multi-front, full-spectrum” shock and awe-type attack on Iran short of a ground invasion. In involves destroying enough of the country’s military capacity and armed forces, nuclear energy sites, economic infrastructure and more to destabilize and oust its regime or reduce its status to “a weak or failed state.” It continues saying:

— 10,000 sites are targeted using bombers and long range missiles;

— the US has enough ground, air and Marine forces in the region to devastate Iran on short notice;

— covert US (and possibly UK) and armed popular resistance activities are already ongoing in the Iranian provinces of Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and the country’s major oil producing region of Khuzestan in the southwest bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf.

— nuclear weapons are deployed but unlikely to be used short of clear evidence Iran already has them, may in short order, or if its believed only these weapons can destroy its hardened Natanz nuclear facility;

— the Bush administration has avoided publicizing its war preparations leading Plesch and Butcher to believe confrontation is more likely;

— no information is available on possible Iranian WMD weapons, but the authors state its military “has missiles and probably some chemical capacity;” those aren’t WMDs and many other nations also have them; at least eight of them (not Iran) have nuclear ones as well, several are prepared to use them, and the US states it as first-strike policy;

— significant “risks and impediments” exist but eliminating Iran as a regional power and regime change are stated goals in the administration’s National Security Strategy (updated in 2006);

— except for the UK and Israel, no other nations are known to support US plans;

— according to anonymous UK military sources, the Bush administration switched its main focus to Iran after March, 2003 even when its forces became bogged down in Iraq;

— region-based Marines outside Iraq are deployed to protect oil tankers, shipping lanes in the Gulf, the Straits of Hormuz and be able to confront and destroy Iranian forces;

— US Special Forces will continue covert search and destroy missions in Iran and efforts to incite internal uprisings against the Iranian government;

— there’s no assurance Iraqi Shias will support their Iranian allies; their leaders may act in their own best interests inside Iraq that may preclude backing Iran under US attack;

— US 2008 presidential candidates are posturing to see who can be toughest on confronting a potential Iranian threat even though there is none; Europeans are puzzled that political expediency trumps reality especially concerning a wider Middle East war; the Bush administration may worry most about an “Iran of the regions” and may attack the Islamic Republic to avoid it;

— if an attack on Iran succeeds (with long odds against it) and the US is better able assert “its global military dominance….then the risks to humanity….and to states of the Middle East are grave indeed.”

Enter the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

IAEA’s August 30 report on Iran was bad news for the Bush administration based on what its Director, Mohamed ElBaradei, told the press: “This is the first time Iran is ready to discuss all outstanding issues which triggered the crisis in confidence. It’s a significant step. There are clear guidelines, so it’s not, as some people are saying, an open-ended invitation to dallying with the agency or a ruse to prolong negotiations to avoid sanctions….I’m clear at this stage you need to give Iran a chance to prove its stated goodwill.”

The Bush administration was dismissive to enraged in response with statements claiming the agreement is inadequate and Tehran must suspend all (its perfectly legal) nuclear enrichment, or else. State Department spokesman Tom Casey disdainfully said: “There is no partial credit here. Iran has refused to comply with its international obligations, and as a result of that the international community (meaning the US and other nations it can bully, bribe or threaten) is going to continue to ratchet up the pressure.”

The message is clear and all known information confirms it. Washington wants regime change in Iran. The open question is by what means and when. It doesn’t matter that Iran is a signatory to the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is in full compliance with it, and in 1974 entered into an agreement with the IAEA “for the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” to remain in force as long as Iran is so obligated under NPT provisions. The agreement stipulates all Iranian “source or special fissionable materials” and activities relating to them are subject to IAEA Safeguards “with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful purposes.”

IAEA reported Iran’s uranium enrichment program slowed, is operating well below capacity, and isn’t producing nuclear fuel in significant amounts. As of August 19, it had 1968 centrifuges operating and 656 others in various stages of assembly or testing. IAEA verified this level of enrichment is well below what’s needed to build a nuclear bomb. IAEA also said an outstanding issue related to plutonium experiments was satisfactorily resolved.

Iran and IAEA also announced a timetable to resolve by year end “all outstanding questions” regarding the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement as well as other non or less relevant questions. They include: lab experiments involving minute amounts of plutonium and plutonium-210 and the source of the enriched uranium micro-contamination at a technical University in Tehran. Although not obligated to do so, Iran also agreed to resolve other minor issues as a show of good faith. As it’s now proceeding, Iran is on track to verify total compliance with its Safeguard Agreement obligations by yearend. That should make it less vulnerable to a US attack, but don’t bet on it. Bush administration officials are never short on reasons to justify its plans and facts on the ground won’t deter them.

They’ve already denounced the IAEA report as an Iranian ploy to buy time and seems to imply IAEA partnered with Iran against Washington. ElBaradei’s response to this was: “My responsibility is to look at the big picture. If I see a situation deteriorating
(and) it could lead to war, I have to raise the alarm or give my advice.” Earlier he said: “I have no brief other than to make sure we don’t go into another war or that we go crazy into killing each other. You do not want to give (an) additional argument to the new (Bush administration) crazies who say ‘let’s go and bomb Iran.’ ”

Bush Administration Strategy: Usually Wrong but Never in Doubt

In the run-up to its March, 2003 attack on Iraq, the Bush administration proved it didn’t lack tricks and schemes to justify war. Iran now faces the same threat with one provocative act from Washington after another. In an unprecedented and outrageous move against a sovereign state, the New York Times and Washington Post reported August 15 the administration plans to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (a major branch of its military) a “global terrorist” organization. It’s based on unsubstantiated claims IRGC’s elite Quds Force is arming, training and directing Shiite militias involved in attacking US Iraqi troops.

It contradicts Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, however, that Iran’s role in the region is constructive. That comment runs counter to Bush claiming Iran as “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, (is) active(ly) pursui(ng)….technology that could lead to nuclear weapons (and) We will confront this danger before it is too late.”

Washington further insists IRGC is helping Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, interfering in various other ways in Iraq, and is aiding US-designated “terrorist” groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. It has no evidence, reports are CIA confirms it, but no matter. All that counts is Washington claims it, case closed. That’s how schoolyard bullies run playgrounds and global godfathers do it everywhere.

In the long-running US-Iran saga, it remains to be seen how events will play out. Expect more heated rhetoric, and don’t ignore Dick Cheney’s influence. Barnett Rubin’s recent comments about him from his Global Affairs blog are all over the internet. Cheney’s already unofficially on record urging war on Iran and presently proposes bombing suspected Quds Force sites in Iraq. Earlier reports were he and other administration hard-liners considered air attacks against Quds Force headquarters near Tehran. If they come, it risks all-out war so, for now, they were tabled.

Barnett now says he has a message from a well-connected insider that “the Office of the Vice-President (plans) to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day” to be backed by hawkish think tanks and similar elements in the dominant media. It will involve a “heavy sustained assault on the airwaves” to win over public support that will be considered successful at “35 – 40 percent.”

It’s already begun on-air and on the pages of the lead and most influential proponent for war on Iraq in the Judith Miller days, The New York Times. It may now be playing the same role promoting war with Iran with one example showing up in Michael Slackman and Nazila Fathi’s September 3 article: “On Two Fronts, One Nuclear, Iran Is Defiant.” Its headlined tone (differing from explanatory comments buried below) contradicts IAEA evidence and claims “to reaffirm the country’s refusal to back down to pressure from the United States over its nuclear program and its role in Iraq.”

That came after an opening salvo that “Iran’s leaders issued dual, defiant statements on Sunday (September 2).” It continued saying President Ahmadinejad claimed the nation had 3,000 active centrifuges to enrich uranium (IAEA inspections confirm 1968), and “the top ayatollah (Ali Khamenei) appoint(ed) a new Islamic Revolutionary Guards commander who once advocated military force against students.” This is just a sampling of what’s ahead from the Times and other dominant media elements. They’re enlisted, like in 2002, to beat the drums of war and maybe get one for their efforts.

Then there’s Congress on both sides of the aisle and presidential candidates hawkishly posturing for whatever they imagine it gains them. The public overwhelmingly opposes more war and wants the Iraq one ended. But those ideas are nowhere in sight on the campaign trail or Capitol Hill where the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 will likely pass easily now that Congress is reconvened. It cleared the House Foreign Affairs Committee 37 to 1 June 28 and after passing both Houses will become effective January 1, 2008. It hardens the existing Iran Sanctions Act by closing loopholes in it with the intent to thwart all foreign investment in Iran and strangle the country economically.

It also prohibits nuclear cooperation between the US and any nation aiding Iran’s commercial nuclear program and requests the White House designate Iran’s IRGC a “terrorist” group and block assets of any nation, organization or group supporting it. As summer wanes, fall approaches and the administration touts progress in Iraq it claims will continue (with Bush’s grandstanding six hour visit for a staged performance at Al Asad Air Base in Al Anbar province part of it), the prospect for more “progress” Iraqi-style awaits Iran. That’s unless public pressure builds and/or cooler heads in Washington and other capitals denounce what some distinguished analysts believe may ignite WW III if it comes. That’s incentive enough for us all to become engaged and stop this rush to madness in the Middle East not likely to be contained where it starts.Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net .

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


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.

see:

Why Bush Can Get Away with Attacking Iran By Jean Bricmotnt h/t: ICH

How VIPs Get ‘Brainwashed’ on Iraq By Robert Parry + TPMtv: Iraq By the Numbers (video)

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
September 4, 2007

When members of Congress – or pundits and journalists, for that matter – are taken on tightly controlled visits to a war zone like Iraq, they undergo what the late Michigan Gov. George Romney famously referred to as “brainwashing.”

Romney said he had undergone a propaganda blitz when he visited Vietnam in 1965, persuading him that military progress was being achieved. Similarly, recent visitors to Iraq have flown home from August-recess trips with first-hand accounts about signs of success for President George W. Bush’s troop “surge.”

To bolster that case, Bush made his own surprise visit to a U.S. military base in Anbar province on Sept. 3 to tout growing cooperation between Sunni tribal leaders and American forces.

But the sheiks didn’t seek out U.S. help because an additional 30,000 U.S. troops had been shipped to Iraq. Rather, the sheiks had found themselves caught between al-Qaeda extremists on one side and Shiite-dominated government forces on the other.

The Americans became the enemy and erstwhile friend, respectively, of my enemies – and thus an ally of convenience for the Sunni sheiks.

Indeed, the Anbar situation could be viewed as evidence that the political and ethnic divisions of Iraq continue to deepen – with Sunni traditionalists growing only more desperate. But these shifting sands of allegiances have become the foundation upon which Bush is building his case for open-ended U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Back in Washington, Bush has played off this “good news” in Anbar and in some neighborhoods of Baghdad to establish a new conventional wisdom: the “surge” is succeeding and Bush deserves another blank check for the war.

This viewpoint has strengthened as think-tank analysts, pundits and members of Congress have returned from VIP tours of Iraq.

Bush’s political supporters have especially enjoyed citing perceived cracks in the Democratic anti-war phalanx, noting that even war critics returning from Iraq have admitted that Bush’s strategy has made progress — and that Rep. Brian Baird, D-Washington, has defected to Bush’s side.

“I have seen firsthand the progress they have made, and I firmly believe we must give them the time and resources they need to succeed,” Baird said on his return.

But are Baird and the others just the latest politicians and analysts to be “brainwashed” while on a tightly managed “fact-finding” trip to a war zone? Or has meaningful progress actually occurred?

Continued…

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.

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TPMtv: Iraq By the Numbers

Veracifier

As we gear up for the big ‘Surge’ debate, we look at the various administration mouthpieces parroting ‘surge’ success numbers that appear to be dir…

As we gear up for the big ‘Surge’ debate, we look at the various administration mouthpieces parroting ‘surge’ success numbers that appear to be directly contradicted by the statistics actually coming out of Iraq. The bamboozlement is so brazen even Wolf Blitzer is calling them on it.

Turkey Enters the 21st Century by Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

by Eric Margolis
September 04, 2007

The scowling generals commanding Turkey’s 515,000-man armed forces – NATO’s second largest – staged a shocking act of insubordination and anti-democratic behavior last week. They refused to attend the inauguration of their nation’s just elected president, and new commander-in-chief, Abdullah Gul.

President Gul was the widely-admired former foreign minister of Turkey’s Justice and Welfare Party, better known by its Turkish initials, AK, which recently won yet another decisive victory in national elections.

Just before Gul was sworn in, Turkey’s powerful Chief of Staff, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, thundered that `centers of evil’ threatened secularism in Turkey – a brazen warning the generals might overthrow the government for the fifth time since 1960.

If there was ever a moment for the US and NATO to show support for Turkey’s new democratic government and tell the generals to go back to their barracks and polish their medals, it was this week.

But aside from a few peeps of tepid support from mid-level western officials for Turkey’s new president, the US and NATO remained silent. This was a major mistake.

The generals had good reason to be upset. An oligarchy made up of the military, its ‘secularist’ allies, and a shadowy ‘deep government’ of spooks has ruled Turkey for the last 84 years behind a façade of parliamentary government. This westernized elite includes officers, industrialists, judges, academics, media owners, bureaucrats, and the urban upper class which looks down on all expressions of Islam as anti-modern. Secularists have held power since modern Turkey was created in the 1920’s as a corporate state by army commander Mustafa Kemal, known as Ataturk, who detested religion and saw Islam as the principal reason for the backwardness of the former Ottoman Empire.

Last month’s electoral landslide by the Welfare and Justice Party, which has mildly Islamic roots, proved a watershed for Turkey. Secularists, who had been blocking Gul’s from the presidency, got only 20% of the vote. Turkey’s elite has long tried to impose western culture and values on Turkey’s conservative, deeply religious farmers and recent urban newcomers who make up 70% of the population.

Claims by the secularists AK would impose Iranian -style Islamic government on Turkey were rejected by a majority of voters. What leading secularists really feared was that AK might launch investigations of their sweetheart arms and business deals, and links to the `deep government.’

AK’s victory likely means the beginning of the end of the cult of ‘Kemalism’ and Turkey’s role, to paraphrase Voltaire’s description of Prussia, as ‘an army disguised as a nation.’ Worshiping a strongman who died in 1938, and making a religion of his polices, is outdated behavior for an important nation entering the 21st Century.

In recent years, AK, led by PM Recep Erdogan, proved itself Turkey’s most progressive, popular party since World War II. Under Erdogan, AK made important advances in human rights and justice, improved relations with the restive Kurdish minority, fought corruption, and stabilized Turkey’s chronically chaotic finances.

In the west, Islamic parties conjure up lurid images of terrorism, beheadings and veiled women. But in the Muslim World, where most governments are incompetent, uncaring, and corrupt, Islamic parties are associated with providing basic social services, honest courts, and fighting corruption.

Turkey’s AK has combined these core Islamic values of good government, and the best western practices, while avoiding imposing any religious dogmas. AK has also harmonized Turkey’s legal system with that of the world’s leader of human rights, the European Union.

The Islamist ‘lite’ AK has championed Turkey’s restructuring into a modern nation and promoted joining the EU while, ironically, the reactionary westernized secularist elite and military have mostly opposed it, fearing EU entry would threaten their long-protected political and economic privileges. Chief among them was control of the presidency, which names army and security commanders, judges, senior civil servants and even religious leaders.

Washington keeps claiming it seeks to nurture genuine democracy in the Muslim World. Turkey’s AK Party is precisely the kind of moderate, sensible, capable government the US should be strongly supporting. Unfortunately, the terms ‘Islamic’ and ‘Islamist’ have been so demonized by Washington it cannot deal with even moderate Muslims, like AK, who in many ways resemble Europe’s Christian Democrats.

The US and other NATO nations should have sent their chiefs of staff to Turkey to offer a salute and congratulations to President Gul, and to put Turkey’s blustering dinosaur generals in their place.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2007

Posted by Eric Margolis on September 4, 2007 10:06 AM

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.

Who said Marx wasn’t Green? by William Bowles (John Bellamy Foster)

Dandelion Salad

by William Bowles
Sunday, 2 September 2007

‘An ecological approach to the economy is about having enough, not having more.’ —

Review: Ecology Against Capitalism by John Bellamy Foster

Continue reading

Bush’s Bogus Bailout: Introduction To Tony Soprano Economics 101 By Carolyn Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Sunday, 02 September 2007

We have only begun to see the reverberations of the mortgage meltdown. They will be as sweeping and mindboggling as global warming or an earthquake measuring 10 on the Richter scale.

I’m an historian, not an economist, so anything about economics-macro, micro-whatever, has been as foreign to me for most of my adult life as soil samples from Mars. But several years ago I had an epiphany that shattered my then-left-liberal/progressive world. I awakened from decades of delusion that I could adequately grasp world and national events without understanding the essential nature of how money works in the capitalist economy in which I live. I realized that until I acquired that understanding, all of the other subjects I preferred to talk about-war, social justice, race, gender, environment, energy depletion, civil liberties, globalization, and many more were inextricably connected with the financial machinations of the imperial beast within whose belly I reside. Today, I do not claim for one moment to be an authority on economic issues, but I have studied the works of some folks who are, such as Catherine Austin Fitts, Michael Panzner, Michael Hudson, John Crudele, Paul Grignon, and Hazel Henderson. From them I have learned to more skillfully read the tea leaves of the current economic upheaval that is brewing within the United States and is now rippling into the global financial markets. Furthermore, I have realized that my government and the economy of the United States is being run as a criminal syndicate, and that the most useful way to understand the subprime mortgage meltdown and its implications was to familiarize myself with the economics of Tony Soprano, that infamous main character of the HBO TV series “The Sopranos”, Mr. King of New Jersey “waste management” and proprietor of the Bada Bing.

Continued…

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Big Brother USA: Surveillance Via “Tagging, Tracking, and Locating” – The Militarization of U.S. Public Service Agencies by Laurel Federbush

Dandelion Salad

by Laurel Federbush
Global Research, September 3, 2007

According to the 2005 Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support, “the terrorist enemy now considers the US homeland a preeminent part of the global theater of combat, and so must we.”

The program of “defense transformation,” initiated by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, included, among other things, two particular concepts: “persistent surveillance” and the need to “deny the enemy sanctuary.” In military thinking, these concepts give rise to the need for constant monitoring of individuals suspected of being terrorists.

There is a special term for that: “Tagging, Tracking, and Locating.” The Defense Science Board’s 2004 Summer Study entitled Transition To and From Hostilities has a whole chapter on this, called “Identification, Location, and Tracking in Asymmetric Warfare.” “Asymmetric warfare,” incidentally, refers to war not against other countries but against unconventional enemies, such as “terrorists.” According to the first paragraph of the Study: “U.S. military forces currently have a superb capability for finding and tracking conventional war targets, such as weapons and military facilities. However, these intelligence assets have a poor capability for finding, identifying, and tracking unconventional war targets, such as individuals and insurgent or terrorist groups that operate by blending in with the larger society.”

The study suggests: “Tagging individuals and material can provide a powerful new tool for locating these modern threats. A tag is defined as something that is attached to the item to be located and/or tracked, which increases its ability to be detected or its probability of identification by a surveillance system suitably tuned to the tag. Tags can be either active (such as radio-emitting tags) or passive (such as radio frequency identification [RFID] tags).” It also says: “The technologies for tagging and associated surveillance represent a very important area for research and technology development.” The report goes so far as to recommend a “Manhattan Project”-like focus on tagging, tracking, and locating. (The Manhattan Project was the effort during World War Two to develop the first nuclear weapons.)

One organization working on tagging, tracking, and locating technologies is the Technical Support Working Group. The Technical Support Working Group, or TSWG, is funded by the Department of Defense and the Department of State, and has many divisions, all of which do research in counterterrorism technology. One of these divisions is the Surveillance, Collection, and Operations Support Subgroup. This Subgroup includes the National Security Agency, the Secret Service, the FBI, the Special Operations Command, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. One of its projects is Tagging, Tracking, and Locating, which is sometimes referred to as “TTL.” The Secret Service, in fact, has been specifically charged by the Department of Homeland Security with spearheading the use of TTL. The subgroup also works on special sensor technologies–sensors being frequently associated with target tracking and other military surveillance applications. According to this subgroup’s own literature, its programs are “classified or highly sensitive. Program requirements, the success of programs, and specific program capabilities cannot be discussed in an open document.”

One of TSWG’s member entities, the Special Operations Command (SOCOM), has been given power, under the Bush administration, to engage in counterterrorism actions all over the world. SOCOM is allowed to operate within the United States under certain circumstances. According to the SOCOM 2002 Report Layout, the Special Operations Command “is more heavily involved in Homeland Defense taskings than originally had been expected, with no let-up in sight.” The Report also observes: “…there is a tendency to suggest new roles and missions for the American military, and in particular SOF [i.e. Special Operations Forces] in the Homeland Defense realm.” The Report expressed the opinion that “care must be taken to avoid diluting SOF’s capabilities by diverting forces to domestic missions, which other agencies should be performing.” Exactly what these domestic missions are, however, is not public knowledge.

Another organization working on TTL technology is the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center–Northeast Region (NLECTC-NE). The NLECTC-NE is actually co-located with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate, in Rome, New York, which develops various kinds of surveillance technology. The fact that these two entities share a location is no coincidence; in fact, they have a partnership which includes the transfer of military technology to law enforcement.

Another radio frequency identification project being sponsored by the military and developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, at least some of whose details are publicly available, is called “Total Asset Visibility,” and it calls for implantable sensors to be used in American soldiers to monitor their physiological reactions to warfare and to keep track of location. The Army Research Office’s Soldier Status Monitoring Project envisions a day when implantable sensors will enable the military to control soldiers’ physiological reactions from afar. If this kind of dehumanizing technology is being developed for American soldiers, one can only wonder what the U.S. government would be willing to do to those it labels “terrorists.”

These tracking methods are dependent on certain radio systems’ being in place.

The Integrated Wireless Network, or IWN, is a project to link the Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Homeland Security, and later, the Department of Defense, with one secure, interoperable communications system. “Interoperable” means, basically, that all the radio systems and other communications equipment of one department would be compatible with those of the other departments and all the personnel of these different departments could talk to each other without any technological barriers. Development of the IWN has been assigned to the military contractor General Dynamics, along with its various subcontractors. Its systems would be APCO Project 25-compliant, meaning that they would conform to a set of standards developed by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials – International (APCO) to facilitate interoperability. The Special Operations Command, it should be noted, uses APCO Project 25-compliant radios.

The Integrated Wireless Network would operate at 700 MHz, a frequency that enables it to penetrate walls and buildings easily. Needless to say, it also penetrates people easily, and there is evidence linking the 700 MHz frequency to increased risk of cancer.

The Integrated Wireless Network contains an IP backbone, which enables the operation of a number of wireless surveillance devices in the 2.4 Ghz range. Given that this is the same frequency range used by microwave ovens, it is hardly surprising that devices in the 2.4 Ghz range have been linked in certain studies to cancer and other health risks.

Zigbee is one of the 2.4 GHz wireless technologies enabled by the IWN, and it is used in wireless sensor networks, a means of location tracking. Zigbee, of which the Eaton Corporation is a chief proponent, is being marketed as a means of tracking cattle, but it also has the capability for the location tracking of individual people, which is one of the aims of the Secret Service, a primary user of the Integrated Wireless Network.

The militarization of U.S. public service agencies, and the co-opting of public safety radio systems for use as surveillance instruments to track dissidents’ every move, must be resisted if Americans hope to retain any degree of freedom or dignity.


Laurel Federbush is a freelance harpist based in
Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is also an activist against intrusive government surveillance projects as a result of personally witnessing their use against low-income African-Americans in the Detroit area.

Global Research Articles by Laurel Federbush

 


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Dick Cheney’s top aide: “We’re one bomb away” from our goal by Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

by Glenn Greenwald
Salon
Tuesday September 4, 2007

In October of 2003, Jack Goldsmith — a right-wing lawyer with radical views of executive power and long-time friend of John Yoo — was named by the Bush administration to head the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel, one of the most influential legal positions in the executive branch. During his tenure, he discovered numerous legal positions which the administration had adopted (many created by Yoo) that he found baseless and even unconscionable — from torture to detention powers to illegal surveillance — and he repudiated many of them, thereby repeatedly infuriating the most powerful White House officials, led by Cheney top aide David Addington. As a result, his tenure was extremely brief, and he was gone a mere 9 months after he began.

Goldsmith, now a Harvard Law Professor, has just written a book, to be released this month, criticizing and, in some cases, exposing for the first time, many of Bush’s executive power abuses. He is donating all the proceeds from the book to charity to prevent the standard integrity attacks which Bush followers launch at any ex-officials who commit such blasphemy. In a lengthy profile in The New York Times Magazine, Jeffrey Rosen profiles Goldsmith and highlights some of the book’s key revelations.

Continued…

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.

Gore Vidal on the Cold War + Gore Vidal on “The Emperor”, Parts 1 & 2

Dandelion Salad

Gore Vidal on the Cold War (Part 1)

TheRealNews on Sep 4, 2007

Join us for part one of a seven part interview with the legendary Gore Vidal

“Truman went on with his grotesque adventure and the Cold War begins.”

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American Fascism: Reaping the Dragon’s Teeth by Stan Goff

Dandelion Salad

by Stan Goff
Atlantic Free Press
4 September 2007

Sowing the Seeds of Fascism in America

When I was 18, before student tracking in the public schools had been formalized, an informal tracking system was nevertheless in place: the university track, the craft track, the poultry worker track, and the prison track. I was somewhere between the last two. Both my parents were working in a defense contractor factory, and I was left adrift in the factory-worker ’burbs to be trained by television and alcohol. Raised on a curriculum of McCarthyism, I did the most logical thing I could think of to avoid both the factory and eventual incarceration with the ne’er-do-wells with whom I was keeping company. I joined the Army, and volunteered to fight communists in Vietnam.

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