Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin: Bring the Troops Home! + Brian Becker: The People Will Mobilize! + Kevin Zeese: Bush Is the Boldest Deceiver! (videos)

Dandelion Salad


Sept. 15, 2007

Kevin’s speech transcript.


Cindy Sheehan: We Have Had Enough! + War Protesters vs. Capitol Police + Rev. Lennox Yearwood: War Is Obsolete! (videos)

Davis Fleetwood at the War Protest Sept 15 + Civil Disobedience Brings Arrests at U.S. Capitol (videos)

Cindy Sheehan: We Have Had Enough! + War Protesters vs. Capitol Police + Rev. Lennox Yearwood: War Is Obsolete! (videos)

Dandelion Salad


On Saturday, September 15, 2007, the ANSWER Coalition, a progressive antiwar group, sponsored a Mass March and Die-In in Washington, D.C. Its purpose was to raise the consciousness of enough people in this country to stop the illegal and immoral Iraq War and to prevent the Bush-Cheney Gang from launching a war against Iran. The rally took place in Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, where a number of prominent speakers were heard. One of the speakers was Cindy Sheehan, co founder of Gold Star Mothers for Peace. She said: “We have had enough.” She added that it is time for Congress to “impeach” George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. For additional details, and updates, on the Sept. 15th rally, and for the exact number of arrests, please see:

War Protesters vs. Capitol Police


Anti-war protesters face the Capitol …

Anti-war protesters face the Capitol Police on the back patio area of the US Capitol on September 15, 2007.

The protesters that jumped the barricades got arrested.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood: War Is Obsolete!



Davis Fleetwood at the War Protest Sept 15 + Civil Disobedience Brings Arrests at U.S. Capitol (videos)

President of HipHop Causus talks about being assaulted in DC (video)

Davis Fleetwood at the War Protest Sept 15 + Civil Disobedience Brings Arrests at U.S. Capitol (videos)

Dandelion Salad


I caught up with YouTube’s own Davis Fleetwood at the big September 15th war protest.

See: Davis’ website: No Cure For That

I caught up with YouTube’s own Davis …

Civil Disobedience Brings Arrests at U.S. Capitol

liamh2 On Saturday, September 15, 2007, the …

On Saturday, September 15, 2007, the ANSWER Coalition, a progressive antiwar group, sponsored a Mass March and Die-In in Washington, D.C. Its purpose was to raise the consciousness of enough people in this country to stop the illegal and immoral Iraq War and to prevent the Bush-Cheney Gang from launching a war against Iran. The rally took place in Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, where a number of prominent speakers were heard. It was followed by a march by the demonstrators to the U.S. Capitol, where a symbolic “Die-In” took place. The later affair was led by members of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. An estimated 1,000 of the protesters took part in the “Die-In” part of the event. Some of the demonstrators were also arrested by Capitol Hill police for failing to obey a police order, or for crossing a police line, and/or for possibly various other charges, too. One of the protesters arrested was Brian Becker, National Coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition. For additional details, and updates, on the Sept. 15th rally, and for the exact number of arrests, please see:


MSM coverage:

War protesters, supporters converge in D.C.

More Than 150 Arrested at Iraq Protest

Can’t do DC on 9/15? Telephone Protest for September 2007 + Write to YOUR Elected Officials!

September 11: The Epitome of American Arrogance By Lucinda Marshall

Dandelion Salad

By Lucinda Marshall
09/14/07 “ICH

Another September 11th has been and gone.  Flags were waved, tears were shed and silence observed. Generals offered their assessments and politicians blustered.  Across the political spectrum, we Americans continue to insist upon our unwavering support for the troops, from the right-wing call for continued funding of their work to the left-wing call to bring them home.

In what can only be called the epitome of American arrogance, concern for the plight of the Iraqi people, particularly the 4 million of whom are now refugees is absent from the rhetoric, the clear implication being that that our suffering, which is the result of our own failed policies, is far more important than the suffering we have inflicted upon others. Missing from the national dialog is any sense of  pressing horror at the lack of electricity and potable water in Iraq, or the trauma and malnutrition, especially among children.

Of particular concern is the increasingly dire plight of Iraqi women, whose lives President Bush promised to better. “Violence against women and girls has been an invisible but constant feature of ethnic cleansing, which the US continues to ignore,” according to the human rights organization Madre in their analysis of the Petraeus report, a point made all too clear by the slaughter of women and children by U.S. Marines at Haditha.  As Madre points out, that women cannot go out in public without their husbands or that girls are forbidden to attend school in some areas is not a factor in the rosy assessments of progress being made.

In addition, pregnant women face serious dangers because of the constant bombing, curfews, lack of electricity and safe water, hospitals that have been destroyed and lack of medicine and medical personnel.  According to reports from Save the Children and UNICEF, rates of maternal mortality, anemia and underweight children have sky-rocketed as have the mortality rates for children under five.

There have been numerous reports of women in Iraq being  kidnapped or sold into sexual slavery by families desperate to put food on the table.  Widows are particularly vulnerable.  Al Jazeera reports that prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraqi widows were provided with financial and housing help and free education for their children.  Today, no such safety net exists.

The Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) estimates that some 4000 women and girls have disappeared since the U.S. invasion and have likely been trafficked to other countries and forced into prostitution.  Honor killings have also risen dramatically since the U.S. invaded Iraq.  In Kurdish Iraq alone there have been 350 such deaths so far this year and there were 95 reports of women committing suicide by self-immolation during the first six months of 2007.

As difficult as life is in Iraq, leaving the country poses significant problems for women as well.  Iraqi law requires that women have permission from a male relative in order to get a passport, which is only obtainable in Baghdad, a journey that is too difficult and dangerous to be feasible for many women who do not dare risk traveling without a male relative.

For those women who are able to leave, economic realities force many to turn to prostitution in order to feed their families. The Independent (UK) reports that some 50,000 refugee women are now working as prostitutes.  While that number seems huge, given that there are an estimated 4 million refugees, the majority women and children who are not being allowed to work in other occupations, the number is sadly believable.

As horrific as the humanitarian crisis that is occurring in Iraq is, in terms of American politics, it is the expected and acceptable collateral damage of war, where the lives of women and children in particular are routinely discounted.  Certainly it is not worthy of Congressional attention or media coverage.  The unfortunate truth is that it will take much more than bringing the troops home to truly end the war. Yet with persistent myopia, we continue to discuss Iraq in terms of our national honor, refusing to acknowledge the true scope of the carnage and humanitarian disaster that we have inflicted upon the Iraqis, especially women and children.  To continue to do so is an act of great folly, one that will ultimately become our greatest national disgrace.

Lucinda Marshall is a feminist artist, writer and activist. She is the Founder of the Feminist Peace Network, Her work has been published in numerous publications in the U.S. and abroad including, Counterpunch, Alternet, Dissident Voice, Off Our Backs, The Progressive, Countercurrents, Z Magazine, Common Dreams, In These Times and Information Clearinghouse. She also blogs at WIMN Online and writes a monthly column for the Louisville Eccentric Observer.

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.

Political Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Trade Union Repression in the Philippines

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, September 14, 2007





On Sept 21, 1972, Martial Law was declared by the Marcos dictatorship to curb the rising tide of people’s resistance against political suppression. Thousands of activists were arrested, put in jail and/or killed. The Marcos dictatorship also outlawed all legal progressive organizations and further suppressed the freedom of speech.

Thirty five (35) years after, the very same conditions continue to exist. While Martial Law was “lifted” in 1981, the country is experiencing an undeclared martial law under the US-backed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime. Under its war on terror campaign, progressive legal organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, church, media, parliament and other opposition forces are branded as “communist fronts” and “enemies of the state”, which effectively gives license to the military to attack and kill them.

Political Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Trade Union Repression

Under the US-Arroyo regime, political repression turned to worse. Since 2001 up to present, more than 870 political activists were killed, 184 were made to disappear, hundreds arrested and thousands continue to experience grave threats, intimidation, persecution and all kinds of mental and physical harassment.

To wit, Jonas Burgos, an agriculturist-activist who teaches peasants in Central Luzon about organic farming, was abducted on April 28 in broad daylight inside a shopping mall. Witnesses testified that Burgos was forced into a vehicle by six men and a woman. All evidences point to the military’s hand in the abduction, such as a military vehicle and a license plate belonging to them. However, the military continue to deny their involvement. Two days ago, it surfaced three alleged “communist-witnesses” claiming Burgos was a member of the New People’s Army (armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines) to bolster its accusation that it was his former comrades who seized Burgos as part of the purge in the communist movement.

In the trade union sector, 77 have been killed and the workers’ fundamental right to organize and to collectively bargain is continuously being violated. Among the prominent cases of political killings in the sector were that of Nestle union president Diosdado “Ka Fort” Fortuna, labor leader and teacher Vicky Samonte and Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union president Ric Ramos. Trade unions are considered “factory terrorists” and thus, efforts to organize workers into unions are being nipped in the bud. Workers picketlines are being attacked and military troops are deployed in workers’ communities purportedly to maintain “peace and order”.

KMU for itself is continuously being vilified and demonized. A black propaganda film against KMU contained in a CD is being distributed by unidentified elements in rally areas, factories and communities. In the film, KMU is claimed to be responsible for the retrenchment of 75,000 workers and closure of more than 400 factories since 1985. KMU is also being linked to the communist movement which makes its leaders and members more vulnerable to attacks such as abductions, harassments and assassinations.

Alarmed by the escalating human rights violations, the Supreme Court organized a National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances Searching for Solutions last July 16-17. The landmark Summit ended in a call to the Gloria Arroyo government to order a stop to political killings and for the adoption of new laws that would empower investigators to search state and private premises for victims of forced disappearances.

Yet, much is still to be seen.

Human Security Act

On July 15, 2007, the Arroyo government implemented the Human Security Act (HSA) or the Philippine anti-terrorism law, the country’s version of the USA Patriot Act.

The HSA is directly against the principles of democracy, the Philippine Constitution and International Conventions as it virtually erases all provisions on civil liberties, human rights, due process and the judiciary system.

Under the HSA, any organization or individual proscribed to be a “terrorist” can be arrested and jailed for three days without any charges. A person can also be detained beyond three days during ”actual or perceived terrorist attacks.”

No less than Martin Scheinin, the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights, said “many provisions of the Human Security Act are not in accordance with international human rights standards.”

Political repression and the climate of impunity in the country is seen to further intensify with the implementation of HSA.

Already, several leaders and members of progressive local organizations and foreign-based support groups and critics were subjected to interrogation and hold-departure orders as part of a supposed watch list and blacklist order of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) or the Department of Justice (DOJ). Those subjected to interrogation were asked to secure clearance from the recently-created Anti-Terrorism Council that includes Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Cesar Garcia of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

Bulk of those included in the watchlist, blacklist, exclusion order, hold order or whatever the BID and DOJ calls it were those who participated in international fact-findings and solidarity missions in the Philippines, signed petition letters to demand an end to extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations, wrote about the government’s corrupt practices and lobbied their governments to end support to the Arroyo regime.

On Aug 28, exiled Filipino patriot Prof. Jose Maria Sison was arrested and detained in a Gestapo-like manner in the Hague, Netherlands on the basis of trumped-up charges. Prof. Sison is the Chairperson of the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS). He also serves as a political consultant to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in its peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Simultaneous with the arrest of Prof. Sison is the raid and ransack of houses of several Filipino patriots and confiscation of computers, CDs, documents, files and many others. While this may not be directly related to the Human Security Act, this shows how far the Arroyo government can go in violating human rights in the guise of anti-terrorism. The Arroyo government strongly lobbied the European Union to include Prof. Sison on its terrorist list. It also admitted that it has helped put a case against Prof. Sison in the Netherlands.

International Condemnation

Various international organizations, church institutions, trade union bodies, parliamentarians and various sectors all over the world have expressed alarm on the grave human rights violations in the country and have condemned Arroyo’s draconian policies.

Results of various international fact-finding and solidarity missions conducted in the country all pointed out that the human rights violations is a result of a state policy and thus the Arroyo government is culpable in these atrocities.

Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, visited the country in February 2007 and conducted interviews with the military, government officials and victims alike. In his report to the UN Human Rights Council last March 27, Alston reiterated that “based on my fact-finding, there is no reasonable doubt that the military is responsible for a significant number of the killings.” He goes further in saying that the military “remains in a state of almost total denial”. Indeed, no one so far has been prosecuted, no military or police personnel has been investigated, or brought to trial up to now.

The Permanent Peoples Tribunal (PPT) in its Second Session on the Philippines “has found unequivocal evidences that the militaries have a central role in the greatest majority of the scenarios of human rights violations in the Philippines.” It has found that the US-Arroyo regime grossly and systematically violated the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Filipino workers and the Filipino people.

The Amnesty International has released two reports about the on-going situation in the Philippines.

Recently, 49 US Congressmen signed a joint letter to the Arroyo government expressing its alarm on the human rights violations in the Philippines and the lack of government’s response to it.

International Day of Action

In the face of this grave situation, this International Day of Action on Sept. 21, 2007 aims to further amplify the call to the Arroyo government to respect the Filipino workers and people’s civil and democratic rights, most especially their fundamental right to life and to live with dignity.

We call on you – our comrades, brothers and sisters, friends, compatriots and advocates – in the trade unions, informal workers organizations, migrant organizations, church organizations, women organizations, support groups and other associations in various sectors to participate in this International Day of Action on Sept 21, 2007.

Concretely, let us jointly call on the US-Arroyo government to stop political killings, enforced disappearances, intimidation and all forms of political persecution. Let us call for the respect of the democratic rights of Prof. Sison and all Filipino patriots abroad. Let us call for the repeal of the Human Security Act.

Suggested actions to take:

a. Protest actions in front of Philippine Embassies and Consulates in your country

b. Hold dialogues with the Philippine Ambassador and Consulate in your area and bring the issue of political repression and of the Human Security Act

c. Send protest letters calling for a stop to extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, political persecution and other forms of human rights violations and for the repeal of the Human Security Act. Letters can be addressed to:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo


Republic of the Philippines

Malacanang Palace

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80

Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462

E-mail: /


      Hon. Chairperson Dr. Purificacion Quisumbing

      The Commission on Human Rights

      SAAC Building, Commonwealth Avenue

      U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City

      Fax: +632 929-0102, Email:

Hon. Arturo Brion
Department of Labor and Employment
7th Floor, DOLE Building
Muralla Street, Intramuros, Manila, PHILIPPINES

Phone: (632) 527-300 loc. 701-704, 706-707

Fax: (632) 527-2121; (632) 527-2131; (632) 527-5523


Sen. Manny Villar

Senate President

Rm. 602 GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 80 loc. 6507 – 09 / 6511
Direct Line: (632) 552-6715
Fax No.: (632) 552-6734

Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr.

Speaker of the House

Rm. MB-2, House of Representatives, Quezon City
Phone: 931-5001 local 7446, 9315071 to 9315073

Please cc the KMU of your letters (

d. Send solidarity messages to KMU at

e. Launch petition-signing or on-line petition campaign calling for a stop to trade union and political repression in the Philippines and for the repeal of the Human Security Act

f. sponsor fora, discussion groups, symposia and other speaking engagements about the political situation in the Philippines

g. Ask your government to withdraw support and stop giving financial aid to the Arroyo government because these aids are being used to attack the Filipino workers and people under the guise of anti-terrorism.

h. other forms of solidarity actions which you may deem necessary

Please confirm to us what actions you plan to take.

Once again, thank you for your support and solidarity to the Filipino workers and people’s struggle for the upholding of civil and democratic rights and for national sovereignty.

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De-Baathifiy America – Bring on the Wimps by Stephen P. Pizzo

Dandelion Saladby Stephen P. Pizzo
Atlantic Free Press
Saturday, 15 September 2007

I have a radical proposal:

de-Baathify the US.

Well, actually, it’s already begun. The first round came in November 2006. The next round is scheduled for November 2008, and it promises to be much more bloody.

Yes, that’s what I’m saying, that Republicans are America’s Baathists. The similarities between ruling members of the Republican party and the now purged Iraqi Baathist leaders are really quite stunning once you start listing them:

  • Institutionalized cronyism
  • Insulated from their own people
  • An Orwellian affection for propaganda
  • Wealth concentrated in the hands of the few
  • Truth and lies interchangeable, as required
  • Spying on their own citizens
  • Imprisonment without due process
  • Sanctioning torture
  • A distain for diplomacy
  • Trigger happy
  • In Iraq it was the minority Sunni Baath party that lorded over majority Shiites for decades. Here it’s been GOP Baathists pushing everyone around. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing Democrats of being Shiites. No. That would be an uncalled for slur on Iraq’s Shiites.)

    But the Republicans are demonstrably America’s Baathists. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that the majority of Americans are on to them, fed up with their corruption, incompetence, brutality and near-total disregard for the rights, needs and well-being of their own citizens.

    So I say, enough of all this bi-partisan bullshit. I don’t know about you but I’ve seen very little evidence that Democrats can play that game. They keep showing up for each match only to forfeit the game. Then they retreat to the locker room to whine to reporters that the other side cheats and fights dirty. Clearly we are going to have to clear the field of play for Democrats before they’ll play.

    But what if we really do de-Baathify America by canning all GOP candidates? Then what, you ask. We’d be stuck with those perennial losers, the Democrats. The wimps who allowed – hell, even aided and abetted – the GOP-Baathist’s 8-year reign of murder and malfeasance.

    Yep, that’s true. But look at it this way: would a wimp have invaded Iraq? Not a chance.

    So right there we’d already be half a trillion dollars and who knows how many lives, ahead. After all we now know what we get with testosterone-poisoned, super-macho, chicken-hawk GOP-Baathists. I don’t know about you, but I long for some wimpish rulers. You remember, the kind of leaders who, rather than curling up every night with Janes Defense Weekly, actually stay up nights pouring over studies on things like public health, national infrastructure and the environment. You know, policy wonks, nerds, wimps, Democrats.

    So let the purge begin. Sweep the GOP-Baathists into the trash heap of history where they can join their predecessors; the fascists, communists and Iraqi Baathist leaders. And if the GOP-Baathists really want to catch up with al-Qaeda leaders, they will only have a short wait before the Islamo-fascists land on the same trash heap with them.

    Though we did pick up some handy tips during our de-Baathication of Iraq; like the importance weighing a perp in order to calculate how much air to leave beneath his trap door.

    Of course we Americans don’t hang our deposed/disgraced leaders — though we occasionally encourage other nations to do so. And, as tempting as it suggest we make an exception in this particular case, I will not.

    Instead I will be satisfied to settle for precisely what George W. Bush says he wants — to let historians settle those accounts. And they will. Because, once we de-Baathify this place historians will no longer have waste their time de-bullshiting the information flow. With GOP-Baathists gone, and along with them their Baghdad-Bobs, like Tony Snow, historians will simply have the unvarnished truth from which to draw their conclusions. And the truth and history will indeed settle those accounts. Hey, I know how you feel. You’ve grown to hate the Democrats almost as much as you hate the GOP- Baathists. But put that aside for now. De-Baathify America in November 08 and put the wimps in charge for a while and let them do exactly what the GOP-Baathists keep warning us they will do. Let “cut and run” liberals cut and run from Iraq. Because, like the Vietnamese did when we cut and ran from their civil war, the Iraqis will sort things out in their own ways. Will it be messy? Duh. But it’s messy now. Once our new wimpish leaders leave Iraq they’ll have $10 billion a month more to spend on wimpish things, like fixing our own crumbling bridges, providing hospitals and health care and funding world-class educations for our own children. But, if we leave Iraq will “the terrorists win” and spread their influence in the Middle East? Maybe. But only the people in that region can – so to speak – de-Baathify their own countries. And they will — eventually. Will “the terrorists” attack us here at home? They’ll try. But with a fraction of fraction of the money we are wasting “fighting them over there,” we can make America as safe as one can. Even so, shit will happen. (At least with the wimps in charge we’ll have medical care for the wounded.) So that’s where I am now. That’s what it’s come to for me. My new bottom line: De-Baathify America and turn the place over to the wimps – the Democrats. Give America and Americans a decade or so to heal. Give us, and our children and grandkids a new New Deal, a few years of re-balancing the distrubition of wealth, funding of those wimpish social programs, of allowing real scientists be real scientists, a few years of rest for our brave but exhausted troops, some long overdue –and hopefully not too late — forced reductions in carbon emissions and a decade or two of balancing our national checkbook … that kind of stuff.. That’s what I want — those kinds of “wimpish” leaders. Did I say please? P-l-e-a-s-e.

    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.

    Nuclear Power is Not the Answer by Ralph Nader

    Dandelion Salad

    by Ralph Nader
    Monday, September 10. 2007

    Taxpayers alert! The atomic power corporations are beating on the doors in Washington to make you guarantee their financing for more giant nuclear plants. They are pouring money and applying political muscle to Congress for up to $50 billion in loan guarantees, to persuade an uninterested Wall Street that Uncle Sam will pay for any defaults on industry construction loans.

    Since 1974, there has not been a filled order for a nuclear power plant. Following the Three Mile Island near-melt down, many spills and shutdowns, then the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, the electric utility bosses found a negative Wall Street and a protesting public in their communities too much to overcome. They dropped nuclear power like it was a radioactive hot potato.
    It was just too financially risky, bogged down with delays and cost over-runs, with too many spent fuel rods filling pools at the plants because no permanent storage sites for deadly radioactive wastes had been certified. Big time financing also dried up. Finally, risks of sabotage and nuclear proliferation became prominent national security problems in the post-9/11 era.

    But the atomic power industry does not give up. Not as long as Uncle Sam can be dragooned to be its subsidizing, immunizing partner. Ever since the first of over 100 plants opened in 1957, corporate socialism has fed this insatiable Atomic goliath with many types of subsidies.

    Still, it’s tough to have to admit that after over half a century, this coddled industry still can not pursue its capitalist path into the market standing on its own feet.

    So for years, the Nuclear Energy Institute, mouthpiece for the industry, dangled new, smaller, allegedly less risky (on paper, at least) designs as a way back.

    Then the big break came—global warming fed by the burning of coal, oil and gas. Violá, atomic energy, its proponents declared, produces no greenhouse gases (apart from massive coal fuel emissions to enrich the uranium). “Nuclear power can be the answer.” This became the hyped theme for millions of dollars in advertisements and propaganda reports.

    During its fallow period of the past quarter century, the atomic power industry’s lawyers worked over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to severely contract the stages and restrict the mode of participation in public hearings and court reviews by people protesting the proposed construction of plants in their communities.

    Now on Capitol Hill this fall, the stage is set for the industry’s oligarchs to connect with the government’s autocrats for the final shackling of taxpayers.

    This July, Senator Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) turned his back on the huge solar energy potential of his sunny state and got the Democrats to accept a provision in the energy bill to provide for tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer loan guarantees for 100% of a plant’s Wall Street loans. That’s right, the industry argued that 90% was not enough because Wall Streeters did not even want to risk 10% of their dollars to the verdict of the marketplace!

    All these goodies are on top of existing federal government subsidies for any regulatory and litigation-linked delays (for which you the taxpayers will pay $750 million for the next six nuclear plants). Once producing electricity – (imagine a more complex way to boil water than atomic fission), these companies received further payments from the U.S. Treasury in the form of production tax credits.

    First out of the box is Constellation Energy, which operates two reactors at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. They want to build a $4.5 billion giant. The catch: “Without the federal loan guarantees, this whole thing will come to a stop,” said George Vanderheyden, a Constellation official. This bold demand comes after the company got the County Commissioners to give it 15 years of local tax reductions totaling $300 million.

    Big capitalists are rarely capitalists any more. Big business has its bulging muscles focused on Washington, D.C., for handouts, giveaways, subsidies, bailouts no matter how many record profits they register.

    Intel, Microsoft, Apple are feeding from the trough, along with the older giants. Can anyone name one company in the Fortune 500 that doesn’t get some largess, some special privilege at the expense of taxpayers? Why, they’ve perforated the tax code in so many ways, these multinationals overall are on their way to tax-exempt status. (See David Cay Johnston’s brilliant book Perfectly Legal published by Penguin USA.)

    For sheer brazenness, however, the atomic power lobbyists know few peers. They remember, as the previous Atomic Energy Commission told them decades ago, that one significant meltdown could contaminate “an area the size of Pennsylvania.”

    They know that no insurance companies will insure them at any price, which is why the Price-Anderson Act hugely limits nuclear plants’ liability in case of massive damages to people, property, land and water.

    If the government wishes to guarantee energy loans, they can start with loans to residences and small businesses to make their premises much more energy efficient. Many jobs are there all over the country. Or, if need be, they could temporarily guarantee renewable energy “infant industries” that would replace fossil fuels and nuclear with many practical variants of solar power.

    Instead, unless the House of Representatives quashes the Senate giveaway, the national security risks inherent in atomic power, complete with growing transportation on the rails and highways of radioactive wastes, will multiply. So make your Representative in the House especially, Cong. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), listen to your arguments.

    For more facts and updates on the situation in Congress, contact Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, 1600 20th Street, NW Washington, DC 20009or visit or call (202) 588-1000.

    It won’t take many of you to stop this madness, just as citizens helped stop expansion of nuclear power in the Seventies.
    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.

    Pepe Escobar: Can the White House intimidate Iran? + U.S. and Iran: Negotiations or war? (videos)

    Dandelion Salad


    Pepe Escobar on U.S. strategy against Iran


    “Persian society has been around for thousands of years and they don’t scare easily.”

    This is the first segment of a two part interview with Pepe Escobar.

    Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Pepe Escobar writes The Roving Eye for Asia Times Online. He has reported from Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, U.S. and China. He is also the author of the soon to be published Red Zone Blues.

    Continue reading

    Tomgram: Tony Karon: Growing Dissent among American Jews by Tom Engelhardt

    Dandelion Salad

    September 13, 2007 3:07 pm
    by Tom Engelhardt

    I often think of the letters that come into the Tomdispatch email box as the university of my later life — messages from around the world, offering commentary, criticism, encouragement, but mainly teaching me about lives (and versions of life) I would otherwise know little or nothing about. Then again, the Internet has a way of releasing inhibitions and, from time to time, the Tomdispatch email box is also a sobering reminder of the mindless hate in our world — of every sort, but sometimes of a strikingly anti-Semitic sort, letters that are wildly angry and eager, above all, to shut down or shut up commentary or debate of any sort.

    It’s ironic, then, that the threat of sparking such “anti-Semitism,” as well as charges of being functionally anti-Semitic, have been used for a long time in this country as a kind of club to enforce, within the Jewish community, an exceedingly narrow range of correct opinion on Israel and its behavior in the world. In recent months, such attacks from within the Jewish establishment seem to have escalated whenever any professor or critic steps even slightly out of line, and the recent controversial book, The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt has caused a little storm of consternation. Tony Karon, who runs the always provocative Rootless Cosmopolitan website, suggests that these attacks may not be what they seem, that the need to turn back every deviation from Jewish orthodoxy may actually reflect a loosening of control within the political world of American Jews, and a new opening, a Jewish glasnost. Tom

    Is a Jewish Glasnost Coming to America?

    Despite a Backlash, Many Jews Are Questioning Israel
    By Tony Karon First, a confession: It may tell me that I hate myself, but I can’t help loving Masada2000, the website maintained by militant right-wing Zionist followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane. The reason I love it is its D.I.R.T. list — that’s “Dense anti-Israel Repugnant Traitors” (also published as the S.H.I.T. list of “Self-Hating and Israel-Threatening” Jews). And that’s not because I get a bigger entry than — staying in the Ks — Henry Kissinger, Michael Kinsley, Naomi Klein, or Ted Koppel. The Kahanists are a pretty flaky lot, counting everyone from Woody Allen to present Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on their list of Jewish traitors. But the habit of branding Jewish dissidents — those of us who reject the nationalist notion that as Jews, our fate is tied to that of Israel, or the idea that our people’s historic suffering somehow exempts Israel from moral reproach for its abuses against others — as “self-haters” is not unfamiliar to me.

    In 1981, my father went, as a delegate of the B’nai B’rith Jewish service organization, to a meeting of the Cape Town chapter of the Jewish Board of Deputies, the governing body of South Africa’s Jewish communal institutions. The topic of the meeting was “Anti-Semitism on Campus.” My father was pretty shocked and deeply embarrassed when Exhibit A of this phenomenon turned out to be something I’d published in a student newspaper condemning an Israeli raid on Lebanon.

    By then, I was an activist in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, which was consuming most of my energies. Having been an active left-Zionist in my teenage years, I had, however, retained an interest in the Middle East — and, of course, we all knew that Israel was the South African white apartheid regime’s most important ally, arming its security forces in defiance of a UN arms embargo. Even back then, the connection between the circumstances of black people under apartheid, and those of Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, seemed obvious enough to me and to many other Jews in the South African liberation movement: Both were peoples harshly ruled over by a state that denied them the rights of citizenship.

    Still, this was a first. I could recite the kiddush from memory, sing old kibbutznik anthems and curse in Yiddish. I had been called a “bloody Jew” many times, but never an anti-Semite or a self-hating Jew. What quickly became clear to me, though, was the purpose of that “self-hating” smear — to marginalize Jews who dissent from Zionism, the nationalist ideology of Jewish statehood, in order to warn others off expressing similar views.

    What I like about the S.H.I.T. list’s approach to the job — other than the “Dangerous Minds” theme music that plays as you read it — is the way it embraces literally thousands of names, including many of my favorite Jews. Memo to the sages at Masada2000: If you’re trying to paint dissenters as demented traitors, you really have to keep the numbers down. Instead, Masada2000’s inadvertent message is: “Think critically about Israel and you’ll join Woody Allen and a cast of thousands…”

    A New Landscape of Jewish Dissent

    The Kahanists are a fringe movement, but their self-defeating list may nonetheless be a metaphor for the coming crisis in more mainstream nationalist efforts to police Jewish identity. The Zionist establishment has had remarkable success over the past half-century in convincing others that Israel and its supporters speak for, and represent, “the Jews.” The value to their cause of making Israel indistinguishable from Jews at large is that it becomes a lot easier to shield Israel from reproach. It suggests, in the most emphatic terms, that serious criticism of Israel amounts to criticism of Jews. More than a millennium of violent Christian persecution of Jews, culminating in the Holocaust, has made many in the West rightly sensitive towards any claims of anti-Semitism, a sensitivity many Zionists like to exploit to gain a carte blanche exemption from criticism for a state they claim to be the very personification of Jewishness.

    So, despite Israel’s ongoing dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, then-Harvard president Larry Summers evidently had no trouble saying, in 2002, that harsh criticisms of Israel are “anti-Semitic in their effect if not in their intent.”

    Robin Shepherd of the usually sensible British think-tank Chatham House has gone even further, arguing that comparing Israel with apartheid South Africa is “objective anti-Semitism.” Says Shepherd: “Of course one can criticize Israel, but there is a litmus test, and that is when the critics begin using constant key references to South Africa and the Nazis, using terms such as ‘bantustans.’ None of these people, of course, will admit to being racist, but this kind of anti-Semitism is a much more sophisticated form of racism, and the kind of hate-filled rhetoric and imagery are on the same moral level as racism, so gross and distorted that they are defaming an entire people, since Israel is an essentially Jewish project.”

    I’d agree that the Nazi analogy is specious — not only wrong but offensive in its intent, although not “racist”. But the logic of suggesting it is “racist” to compare Israel to apartheid South Africa is simply bizarre. What if Israel objectively behaves like apartheid South Africa? What then?

    Actually, Mr. Shepherd, I’d be more inclined to pin the racist label on anyone who conflates the world’s 13 million Jews with a country in which 8.2 million of them — almost two thirds — have chosen not to live.

    Although you wouldn’t know it — not if you followed Jewish life simply through the activities of such major Jewish communal bodies as the Conference of Presidents of American Jewish Organizations and the Anti-Defamation League — the extent to which the eight million Jews of the Diaspora identify with Israel is increasingly open to question (much to the horror of the Zionist-oriented Jewish establishment). In a recent study funded by the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies (an important donor to Jewish communal organizations), Professors Steven M. Cohen and Ari Y. Kelman revealed that their survey data had yielded some extraordinary findings: In order to measure the depth of attachment of American Jews to Israel, the researchers asked whether respondents would consider the destruction of the State of Israel a “personal tragedy.” Less than half of those aged under 35 answered “yes” and only 54% percent of those aged 35-50 agreed (compared with 78% of those over 65). The study found that only 54% of those under 35 felt comfortable with the very idea of a Jewish state.

    As groups such as the Jewish Agency in Israel (which aims to promote Jewish immigration) and the American Jewish committee expressed dismay over the findings, Cohen and Kelman had more bad news: They believed they were seeing a long-term trend that was unlikely to be reversed, as each generation of American Jews becomes even more integrated into the American mainstream than its parents and grandparents had been. The study, said Cohen, reflected “very significant shifts that have been occurring in what it means to be a Jew.”

    Cohen’s and Kelman’s startling figures alone underscore the absurdity of Shepherd’s suggestion that to challenge Israel is to “defame an entire people.” They also help frame the context for what I would call an emerging Jewish glasnost in which Jewish critics of Israel are increasingly willing to make themselves known. When I arrived in the United States 13 years ago, I was often surprised to find that people with whom I seemed to share a progressive, cosmopolitan worldview would suddenly morph into raging ultranationalists when the conversation turned to Israel. Back then, it would have seemed unthinkable for historian Tony Judt to advocate a binational state for Israelis and Palestinians or for Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen to write that “Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.” Unthinkable, too, was the angry renunciation of Zionism by Avrum Burg, former speaker of Israel’s Knesset.

    And, in those days, with the internet still in its infancy, the online Jewish dissident landscape that today ranges from groups in the Zionist peace camp like Tikkun, Americans for Peace Now, and the Israel Policy Forum, among others, to anti-Zionist Jews of the left such as Not in My Name and Jewish Voices for Peace, had not yet taken shape. Indeed, there was no Haaretz online English edition in which the reality of Israel was being candidly reported and debated in terms that would still be deemed heretical in much of the U.S. media.

    Thirteen years ago, there certainly was no organization around like “Birthright Unplugged,” which aims to subvert the “Taglit-Birthright Program,” funded by Zionist groups and the government of Israel, that provides free trips to Israel for young Jewish Americans in order to encourage them to identify with the State. (The “Unplugged” version encourages young Jews from the U.S. to take the Birthright tour and its free air travel, and then stay on for a two-week program of visits to the West Bank, to Israeli human rights organizations, and to peace groups. The goal is to see another side of Israel, the side experienced by its victims — and by Israelis who oppose the occupation of the West Bank.)

    Clearly, much has changed, and the ability of the Zionist establishment — the America Israel Political Action Committee, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and others — to impose nationalist boundaries on Jewish identity is being eroded. It’s worth remembering in this context that anti-Zionism was originally a Jewish movement — the majority of European Jews before World War II rejected the Zionist movement and its calls for a mass migration from Europe to build a Jewish nation-state in Palestine. The most popular Jewish political organization in Europe had been the Yiddishe Arbeiter Bund, a Jewish socialist party that was militantly anti-Zionist. Even among the rabbis of Europe, there was considerable opposition to the idea of Jews taking control of Zion before the arrival of the Messiah (and there still is, of course, from a sizable minority of the ultra-Orthodox).

    Of course, the Holocaust changed all that. For hundreds of thousands of survivors, a safe haven in Palestine became a historic necessity.

    But the world has changed since then, and as the research cited above suggests, the trends clearly don’t favor the Zionists. I was reared on the idea that a Jewish nation-state in the Middle East was the “manifest destiny” of the Jews. I learned in the Zionist movement that Jewish life in the Diaspora was inevitably stunted and ultimately doomed. But history may have decided otherwise. The majority of us have chosen to live elsewhere, thereby voting with our feet. Indeed, according to Israeli government figures, some 750,000 Israeli Jews (15% of Israel’s Jewish population) are now living abroad, further undermining the Zionist premise that the Diaspora is an innately hostile and anti-Semitic place.

    The Ferocity of Nationalism, The Universality of Justice

    Increasingly anxious that most of us have no intention of going to Israel to boost Jewish numbers, the Israel-based Jewish Agency — apparently oblivious to the irony of its own actions — has complained to Germany over official policies that make life there so attractive to Jewish immigrants from former Soviet territories, thus discouraging them from going to Israel. More immediately threatening to the Zionist establishment, however, is another reality: Many Jews are beginning to make once unthinkable criticisms of Israel’s behavior. If you want to bludgeon Jewish critics with the charge of “anti-Semitism” when they challenge Israel’s actions, then it’s hardly helpful to have other Jews standing up and expressing the same thoughts. It undermines the sense, treasured by Israel’s most fervent advocates, that they represent a cast-iron consensus among American Jews in particular.

    That much has been clear in the response to the publication of John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt’s controversial new book The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, which challenges the wisdom and morality of the unashamed and absolute bias in U.S. foreign policy towards Israel. In an exchange on the NPR show Fresh Air, Walt was at pains to stress, as in his book, that the Israel Lobby, as he sees it, is not a Jewish lobby, but rather an association of groupings with a right-wing political agenda often at odds with majority American-Jewish opinion,

    Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, argued exactly the opposite: Walt and Mearsheimer, he claimed, were effectively promoting anti-Semitism, because the Israel lobby is nothing more (or less) than the collective will of the American Jewish community. Which, of course, it isn’t. In fact, in the American Jewish community you can increasingly hear open echoes of Mearsheimer and Walt’s skepticism over whether the lobby’s efforts are good for Israel.

    But Foxman’s case is undercut by something far broader — an emerging Jewish glasnost. Of course, like any break with a long-established nationalist consensus, the burgeoning of dissent has provoked a backlash. Norman Finkelstein — the noted Holocaust scholar and fierce critic of Zionism recently hounded out of De Paul University in a campaign of vilification based precisely on the idea that fierce criticism of Israel is the equivalent of “hate speech” — could be forgiven for being skeptical of the idea that the grip of the ultranationalists is weakening.

    So, too, could Joel Kovel. After all, he found his important book Overcoming Zionism pulled by his American distributor, the University of Michigan Press, also on the “hate speech” charge. (This decision was later reversed, but it may have long-term consequences for the distributor’s relationship with Kovel’s publisher, the British imprint Pluto.)

    Jimmy Carter — who was called a “Holocaust denier” (yes, a Holocaust denier!) for using the apartheid analogy in his book on Israel — and Mearsheimer and Walt might have reason for skepticism as well. But I’d argue that the renewed ferocity of recent attacks on those who have strayed from the nationalist straight and narrow has been a product of panic in the Jewish establishment — a panic born of the fact that its losing its grip. As in the former Soviet Union with the actual glasnost moment, this is a process, once started, that’s only likely to be accelerated by such witch-hunting.

    Last year, a very cranky academic by the name of Alvin Rosenfeld, on behalf of the oldest Jewish advocacy group in the U.S., the American Jewish Committee, got a flurry of attention by warning that liberal Jews such as playwright Tony Kushner, Tony Judt and Richard Cohen, all of whom had recently offered fundamental criticisms of Israel, were giving comfort to a “new anti-Semitism.”

    “They’re helping to make [anti-Semitic] views about the Jewish state respectable — for example, that it’s a Nazi-like state, comparable to South African apartheid; that it engages in ethnic cleansing and genocide. These charges are not true and can have the effect of delegitimizing Israel.”

    In reality, though, whether or not you agree with the views of those critics, they simply can’t legitimately be called anti-Semitic. Actually, I doubt any of those he cited have accused Israel of genocide or compared it in any way to the Nazi state. (Former Israeli Knesset Speaker Avram Burg, however, recently did write, in reference to Israeli militarism and hostility to Arabs, “It is sometimes difficult for me to distinguish between the primeval National-Socialism and some national cultural doctrines of the here-and-now.”). But the ethnic-cleansing in which the Israelis expelled 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 and the apartheid character of Israel’s present occupation of the West Bank are objective realities. Rosenfeld is suggesting that, to take an honest look at either the occupation or the events of 1948, as so many Israeli writers, journalists, and politicians have done, is to “delegitimize” Israel and promote anti-Semitism.

    Just last week, Danny Rubinstein, senior correspondent covering Palestinian affairs for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, was slated to speak to the British Zionist Federation – and then, at the last minute, his speech was canceled. The reason? Rubinstein had pointed out that “today Israel is an apartheid state with different status for different communities.” (While many liberal Jewish Americans can’t bring themselves to accept the apartheid comparison, that’s not true of their Israeli counterparts who actually know what’s going on in the West Bank. Former education minister Shulamit Aloni, for example, or journalist Amira Hass use the comparison. (The comparison first occurred to me on a visit to Kibbutz Yizreel in 1978, when the elders of my Zionist youth movement, Habonim, who had emigrated from South Africa to Israel, warned that the settlement policy of the then-new Likud government was designed to prevent Israel letting go of the West Bank. The population there, they told us, would never be given the right to vote in Israel, and so the result would be, as they presciently put it, “an apartheid situation.”)

    Use of the term “apartheid” in reference to the occupation does draw the attention of those who prefer to look away from the fact that Israel is routinely engaged in behavior democratic society has deemed morally odious and unacceptable when it has occurred in other contexts. It is precisely because that fact makes them uncomfortable, I suspect, that they react so emotionally to the A-word. Take black South Africans who suffered under apartheid on a visit to the West Bank — a mild-mannered moderate Nobel Peace Prize winner such as Bishop Desmond Tutu, for example — ask them about the validity of the comparison, and you know the answer you’re going to get.

    Moreover, it’s an answer with which a growing number of Jews, who place the universal, ethical and social justice traditions of their faith above those of narrow tribalism, are willing to deal.

    In an earlier commentary, perhaps presaging his break with Zionism, Burg noted in 2002:

    “Yes, we Israelis have revived the Hebrew language, created a marvelous theater and a strong national currency. Our Jewish minds are as sharp as ever. We are traded on the Nasdaq. But is this why we created a state? The Jewish people did not survive for two millennia in order to pioneer new weaponry, computer security programs or antimissile missiles. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. In this we have failed. It turns out that the 2,000-year struggle for Jewish survival comes down to a state of settlements, run by an amoral clique of corrupt lawbreakers who are deaf both to their citizens and to their enemies. A state lacking justice cannot survive. More and more Israelis are coming to understand this as they ask their children where they expect to live in 25 years. Children who are honest admit, to their parents’ shock, that they do not know.”

    Although I am not religious, I share Burg’s view that universal justice is at the heart of the Jewish tradition. Growing up in apartheid South Africa was an object lesson in Jewish ethics. Yes, there was plenty of anti-Semitism in the colonial white society of my childhood, but the mantle of victimhood belonged to others. And if you responded to the in-no-way-exclusively-so, but very Jewish impulse to seek justice, you found yourself working side by side not only with the remarkable number of Jews who filled leadership roles in the liberation movement, but also with Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others.

    Judaism’s universal ethical calling can’t really be answered if we live only among ourselves — and Israel’s own experience suggests it’s essentially impossible to do so without doing injustice to others. Israel is only 59 years old, a brief moment in the sweep of Jewish history, and I’d argue that Judaism’s survival depends instead on its ability to offer a sustaining moral and ethical anchor in a world where the concepts of nation and nationality are in decline (but the ferocity of nationalism may not be). Israel’s relevance to Judaism’s survival depends first and foremost on its ability, as Burg points out, to deliver justice, not only to its citizens, but to those it has hurt.

    Tony Karon is a senior editor at TIME who also maintains his own website, Rootless Cosmopolitan, where he comments on everything from geopolitical conflict to Jewish identity issues. “Rootless Cosmopolitan” was Stalin’s euphemistic pejorative for “Jew” during his anti-Semitic purges of the late 1940s, but Karon, who grew up in South Africa and whose family roots lie in Eastern Europe, and before that France, takes the term as a badge of honor. Karon was a teenage activist in the left-Zionist Habonim movement before finding his way into the big tent of the anti-apartheid liberation struggle, an experience that prompted him to re-imagine what it meant to be a Jew in the world.

    Copyright 2007 Tony Karon

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    Grand Theft Iraq – Privatizing and Carving up an Entire National Economy by Felicity Arbuthnot

    Dandelion Salad

    by Felicity Arbuthnot
    Global Research, September 14, 2007


    “We live under a system by which the many are exploited by the few – and war is the ultimate sanction of that exploitation.” Harold Laski, 1945.

    At the end of August, in Dubai and the beginning of September, in London, conferences were held in order to privatize and carve up contracts for every essential service and infrastructure in Iraq. There was not a mega-corporate pig anywhere on earth, seemingly, who did not have its trotters in the trough. As Iraqis flee in an exodus of biblical proportions and die in a genocidal one, US/UK government backed corporate priority is a smash and grab raid of every asset and facility in the “land between two rivers”.

    Meetings were organised by the Iraq Development Programme, under the auspices of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce (“Arab” clearly secondary, as since Arabic is written from right to left, Britain comes first and the Arabic version, last) ninety five percent of “tendered” (“assumed” seems more apt) contracts are US giants. The UK was thrown minimal bones, with Egypt, Netherlands and Spain getting one each, according the IDP website ( )

    The “best-in-breed” technology is to the brought to Iraq, as it is milked dry.

    Trough facilitators include: the misnamed United States Aid and International Development (USAID), U.S. Embassy Iraq, Department of Defence Army Corps of Engineers, (U.S.) Defence Procurement and Acquisition Police, U.S. Government Iraq Infrastructure and Reconstruction Programme (NB: ) the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, U.S. Government Iraq Reconstruction Projects – and on and on. To mix metaphors, potential cash cows don’t come bigger than this.

    The carpetbaggers had a little bit of help from their quisling friends in their illegitimate and illegal carve up. Dr Adel Abdul Mehdi, Iraq’s “Vice President”, said: “Iraq’s new investment law will facilitate investment for both Iraqi and non-Iraqi businesses by providing a secure investment environment.” Referring to Iraq’s resources, he said the conference presented opportunities across a wide range of industries: oil, gas, agriculture, infrastructure.

    Indeed. Up for grabs are: hospital and security equipment, medicines, road and rail machinery, oil production tools, finance and telecommunication systems. Rebuilding of roads, rail, hospitals, government buildings, schools, water purification plants and electricity, information technology, telecommunications, all to move from state owned to the “free market economy”.

    If Iraqis are down to near no electricity now, due to the liberators’ inability to provide what Saddam Hussein’s government did within just months after the 1991 decimation, they won’t be able to afford it in the future anyway. “Yes we have plans for fully privatising”, Iraq’s electricity “Minister” Karem Waheed Hassan, told UPI.

    Ali Al Dabbagh, for the Electricity Company, was concerned only for assurances “for the investor”, Iraq’s population did not come into the equation. Contracts will be granted; $Billions will be spent; contractors paid their massive profits – and the lights will go out all over Iraq (except the Green Zone, and the Vatican City sized U.S. embassy, if the resistance haven’t blown them up.)

    In the country which brought the world writing, the first written records, Algebra, Astronomy, the wheel, the first time piece, Irrigation, the first pharmaceutical college, the “Epic of Gilgamesh”, and it is thought, the first university, the Universities of Florida and Oklahoma are being drafted in as education “curricular consultants” to take advantage of the “key opportunities in ICT and education”.

    It would be interesting to know what the Universities of Florida and Oklahoma can offer to a country which, as with Palestine, prior to the invasion, had the most PhD’s per capita, in the world. Whose educational system was so exemplary, that UNESCO devised a unique award for Iraq, commenting that it was the only country, in their experience, where a child could be born in abject poverty, of illiterate parents and complete his education to become an architect, engineer, surgeon, or whatever he or she aspired to. Education was free from kindergarten through university and post graduate studies abroad.

    “Panel sessions at the conferences covered the legal environment for conducting business in Iraq, financing private sector business, trade and commerce and private sector banking.”

    You bet. American lawyers seemingly are on hand at every ministry to draft laws legitimising one of the biggest ram raids in history.

    Electricity, of course, is also needed to pump oil. Some of those representing the oil industry – which, after nationalisation in 1971, saw the Iraqi government pour money into all that is now being privatised, thereby creating a near “first world country”, according to the U.N. – were: Chevron, B.P., Conoco Phillips, Marathon Oil, Total, Exxon, Lukoil, Statoil, General Electric, Dana Gas, Raytheon, Crescent Petrolium and Hawker Beechcroft.

    Ahmed Janabi (Al Jazeera, 4th May 2006) reminds us of Douglas Feith, then US Under-Secretary of Defence, who said on February 11, 2003:

    “Only someone ignorant of the easy-to-ascertain realities could think that the United States would profit from such a war, even if we were willing to steal Iraq’s oil which we emphatically are not going to do.”

    He was either economical with the truth, or very forgetful of President George H.W. Bush’s statement after 1991, Janabi reminds, who said he would not let one country control twenty percent of the world’s oil resources. Further, at a conference in London on 20th June 2003, just a month after the fall of Baghdad, writes Janabi, Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu told a group of investors that Iraqi oil would be flowing through Israel’s Jaffa pipeline “sooner or later”.

    “Iraq has the capacity to become the biggest revenue generating country in the Middle East”, states I.D.P., with one delegate shown on BBC Newsnight, nearly salivating, as he talked of opportunities unheard of anywhere on the globe. “A follow up summit is expected to take place in 2008, by which time the hydro-carbon law will have been approved.” The “Iraqi people are going to become part of the international community”, said another I.D.P. delegate.

    Indeed, stripped of all and sold down Mesopotamia’s two great rivers. Coincidentally, the U.S. is to build another vast base in Wasit Province, to protect Iraq from “insurgents” coming in from Iran. As the gimlet eyed analyst Sarah Meyer points out coincidentally, another vast oilfield, it seems, has just been discovered there.


    In an article worth revisiting, (U.S.) Major General Smedley Butler, in Common Sense Magazine, in November 1935 wrote:

    “There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its ‘finger men’ (to point out enemies) its ‘muscle men’ (to destroy enemies) its ‘brain guys’ (to plan war preparations) and a ‘Big Boss’ (supernationalistic capitalism.)

    “It may seem odd, for me, a military man, to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to do so. I spent thirty three years and four months in active service in one of our country’s most agile forces – the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major General. During that period I spent most of my time being a high class muscle man for Big Business and Wall Street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer; a gangster for capitalism.

    “I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it…. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher ups. This is typical with everyone in military service.

    “Thus, I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I made Haiti and Cuba a decent place for National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China, in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

    “During those years, I had, as the boys in the backroom would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have been able to give Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.”

    Mesopotamia is a racket so gargantuan, that it surely would have stunned even General Butler. Not, however, it seems, General Colin Powell, who told U.S, Commander in Chief, President George W. Bush, in the summer of 2002, that in the event of an invasion of Iraq: “You are going to be the proud owner of twenty five million people … You’ll own it all.”


    The writer is indebted to Mrs Elizabeth Rowland Hughes, a lifelong inspiration for peace, for General Butler’s article, from her archives, which inspired this piece.

    Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also senior researcher for John Pilger’s award-winning documentary, “Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq“. and author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of “Baghdad” in the “Great Cities” series, for World Almanac Books (2006.)


    Global Research Articles by Felicity Arbuthnot


    Iraq: Mixing Oil & Blood + Michael Klare on the Internal War For Control of Iraq’s Oil (videos; link)

    I really f*cking hate these guys #606: Pricks Away!! by Michael



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    Joe Strummer:The Future Is Unwritten Trailer (video) + Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros: Redemption Song (music video )

    Dandelion Salad

    March 29, 2007
    From:  janscratch The Official Trailer. In UK Cinemas M…

    The Official Trailer. In UK Cinemas May 18 2007

    h/t: Mother Jones


    Preview New Joe Strummer Documentary


    Joe Strummer and The Mescaleros – Redemption Song

    March 29, 2006
    From:  Redskins001

    Mosaic Intelligence Report: Who Killed the Sheikh? + Al Jazeera: People and Power: al-Anbar progress? (videos)

    Dandelion Salad


    For more programs:
    THIS EPISODE: Mosaic Intelligence Report – September 14, 2007: Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha was killed this week.
    What does this mean for his ally, President Bush?
    How will this impact US strategy in Iraq?
    And what does it tell us about security in the country?
    The answer to all these questions and more in this week’s Mosaic Intelligence Report, hosted by Mosaic producer Jamal Dajani.

    People and Power – al-Anbar progress?


    Al Jazeera examines whether the controversial US policy of joining forces with Sunni tribes in Iraq’s volatile al-Anbar province has worked, and wh…

    Al Jazeera examines whether the controversial US policy of joining forces with Sunni tribes in Iraq’s volatile al-Anbar province has worked, and who is paying the price. With filmmakers Rick Rowley and David Enders.


    Al Jazeera: A local fight for security in al-Anbar province (video)

    Democracy Now! Petraeus report, and what’s really going on (videos)

    President of HipHop Causus talks about being assaulted in DC (video)

    Dandelion Salad

    Democracy Now!


    “Democracy While Black” – Rev. Lennox…

    “Democracy While Black” – Rev. Lennox Yearwood Arrested, Charged with Assault While Entering Petraeus Hearing

    The Rev. Lennox Yearwood, president of the Hip Hop Caucus, was tackled by six Capitol police officers after he tried to enter the Petraeus hearing on Monday. Rev. Yearwood was injured in the incident taken to hospital. He was later charged him with felony assault of a police officer.


    Rev. Lennox Yearwood: Arrest Bush, Not Rev! + ANSWER Coalition’s Press Conference of Sept. 12, 2007 (videos)