Ahmadinejad, the toast of the Big Apple by Larry Chin

Dandelion Salad

by Larry Chin
Global Research, September 27, 2007
Online Journal

That’s toast, as in burned to a crisp.

It’s clear from the way in which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was treated on his visit to New York that not only will he remain the target of massive scapegoating as a “terrorist,” but the US fully intends to attack Iran, and the American public will enthusiastically support it, if and when it happens.

Ahmadinejad, whose visit was “decried” by scores of US politicians and “civic leaders,” has spent the length of Monday, September 24, being sandbagged and openly blasted and baited endlessly at both Columbia University, and at the National Press Club, where the questions from so-called reporters and journalists consisted of nothing but waves of attacks, character assassinations, and accusations. The US media is clearly, openly, and aggressively serving as the propaganda weapon of the CIA and Bush/Cheney and hawkish neoliberals.

The Iranian president was in the ultimate no-win situation, the ultimate Orwellian trap. When he attempted to answer impossible questions reasonably, he was attacked. When he stated (correctly) that anti-Iran reporting was the result of US government distortions, he was attacked, and made to sound like a nutcase.

The centerpiece of the propaganda campaign against the current number one strawman, Ahmadinejad, was authorities refusing to allow him to visit Ground Zero. This proved, once again, that the original mass propaganda effect of 9/11 remains fully in effect. Iran had nothing to do with 9/11. No connection whatsoever, even if one completely accepts the Bush administration’s official story. Yet in the minds of so many brain-addled Americans, Iran is the ultimate “terrorist.”

Of course, only those watching this unfold minute-by-minute on C-SPAN will ever know how rudely Ahmadinejad was treated. Corporate media sound bites will certainly frame him the way Dick Cheney wants him framed.

Whichever figure the White House chooses as its boogeyman is accepted as such, without question. Criminality on the part of the US government never enters the thought process.

The Iranian president, of course, knows that his visit will be seen differently, everywhere outside the fiercely protected bubble of the United States. But that won’t matter.

At the same time Ahmadinejad was defending himself, Senator Joe Lieberman was on the floor of Congress demanding action against Iran, spewing lies, pushing legislation that paves the way for military action against Iran .

Is it any wonder that as America tunes in to PBS to get patriotic and riled up about Ken Burns’ corporate-financed World War II documentary, The War, the US government is systematically setting up another atrocity right under their noses?

Larry Chin is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Larry Chin


Columbia President Bollinger Introduces Ahmadinejad (video)

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at Columbia University (video link)

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Philip H. Gordon: Winning the Right War (video)

Dandelion Salad


More than six years into the “war on terror,” the United States and its allies are less safe, our enemies are stronger and more numerous, and the M…

More than six years into the “war on terror,” the United States and its allies are less safe, our enemies are stronger and more numerous, and the Middle East is dangerously unstable. Philip H. Gordon asserts that we are making little progress towards our ultimate goals because we are fighting the wrong war.

In Winning the Right War, Gordon draws a provocative parallel between the world today and the Cold War, showing how defense, diplomacy, development, and the determination to preserve our values can again be deployed alongside military might to defeat a violent and insidious ideology. Gordon also asks the question “What would victory look like?”—a topic sorely missing from the debate today.

Run time: 83:01 min

09.26.07 Uncensored News Reports From Across The Middle East (video; over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

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

Selected Episode

Sept. 26, 2007


“Palestinian Authority Confiscates Hamas’ Rockets,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“The Clock is Ticking for Invading Gaza,” IBA TV, Israel
“Hamas Condemns Arab Silence,” Al Aqsa, Gaza
“UN May Oversee Sheba’s Farms,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Lebanese Opposition Maintains Tents Outside Parliament,” New TV, Lebanon
“Ahmedinajad at UN,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Ahmedinajad Creates Media Frenzy,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“170 Taliban Killed,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani

Notes And Observations About Living On The Border by Guadamour


Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Guadamour’s Blog

Sept 27, 2007

Notes And Observations About Living On The Border

I live in southeastern Arizona in a city which is the last legal port of entry into the US from Mexico in the state.

Needless to say, what happens in Mexico and what the US plans to do about the porous border has an impact on my life.

There has been a lot of talk and a law passed (without funding) for building a physical and virtual fence, a wall if you will, allegedly to keep people from entering the US illegally.

I don’t see this impacting my life on a large scale. The only real negative effect will be on the aesthetics, because the government has been building the fence out of surplus portable metal landing mats.

The mats are truly ugly, but they rust and won’t last long.

They are not effective at keeping people out because teams of Mexicans with torches cut holes in them every night and enter the country. Every night a number of them seem to make it up the alley behind my property, and I live nine blocks from the border.

This is actually great for the local economy because it provides union scale government wages for three teams of welders who repair the hideous fence every day.

It is obvious that the physical fence deters few people.

The virtual “fence” is even a bigger farce. Sensors are place all along the border and cameras are “strategically” positioned.

This is great for determining where people are crossing and taking pictures of them, while doing nothing to stop the influx of foreigners.

This is because the people cross in the dead of night in very remote areas, and by the time the Border Patrol or other law enforcement gets there to apprehend them, they are long gone.

It’s logical then to assume that the BP would stake out known border crossing points and grab the people and drugs as they came through.

Sounds good, but it is even more logical to assume that the polleros (people smugglers) and burreros (drug smugglers), will rapidly move their point of entry from where the BP are waiting. Besides, the smugglers always have a guide scouting ahead.

Ultimately walling off the US from the outside world will do nothing to stop the flow of illegal immigration or drugs.

The only solution that will have any long term and lasting effect is to help Mexico and other third world countries resolve their economic problems through a large internationally administered micro-loan program. This could be done with a fraction of the money being pissed away in Iraq.

Micro loans have been proven over and over again to work. As a matter of fact, the Banker from Bangladesh who developed the micro-loan program was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

I have talked with many “illegal” border crossers. They cross because they is no work where they are from, or if there is work, it doesn’t pay enough to live on, much less get ahead.

One item that most people in the US are not aware of is the large increase in “illegal” immigration after the passage of NAFTA.

NAFTA destroyed the small Mexican subsistence farmer. They couldn’t compete with mechanized, subsidized and imported US farm products.

In a mass exodus, it has been estimated that more than 12 million Mexicans farmers were forced to leave their land.

They move to cities in Mexico, and when they discover they can’t make a living there, they vote with their feet by walking to the US and finding work.

They have no desire to be away from their wives, children and loved ones, and now the second largest source of income in Mexico after petroleum is the money repatriated by these workers to support their families.

“Third world” people are in the US, not out of love of the USA, but out of economic necessity.

And once they arrive they are normally indentured for up to three years to pay for the trip North.

I’ve watched bales of marijuana being pitched over the fence not a hundred yards from the port of entry, while a BP agent watches the fence a hundred yards further along.

If the drug runners are worried, they will run a decoy across two or three hundred yards away from their point of entry. Then all the “law enforcement” officers take off after the fleet footed decoy like a pack of dogs, and the actual smugglers cross unobserved.

A conservative estimate of the dollar value of the drugs smuggled into the US every year from Mexico is $74 billion.

Ronald Reagan instituted the “War On Drugs” in the 1980s. The price of drugs has not risen for lack of supply, but has actually dropped when inflation is taken into account.

I have watched and studied Mexico since the 1960s and lived in Mexico for a total of twelve years. Every president that has come to office in Mexico during that time claims he wants to do something about corruption.

Up until about 2,000 that was truly a joke.

The new president, once he was in office would send troops out and make a few arrests, and get anti-drug funding from the US, and then things would quickly resort to normal.

In 2,000 President Vicente Fox really wanted to change that, and at first he went after corruption in a big way. He was upsetting the $74 billion dollar a year industry that had grown by leaps and bounds since the “Declared War On Drugs.”

One of his cousins was executed gangland style and the word was put out for Fox to back off. He did. He didn’t have any other choice.

In the 90s when I was living in Los Mochis, Sinaloa I asked a good friend of mine who was Commandante of the local police force why he took bribes from drug smugglers.

He said, “When three men armed with AK47s come into your office and throw a brief case on your table with a hundred grand in it, and say, We know you live at 631 Calle 9, and that your children go to Escuela Flores. If you want your children to live and grow up, you will take this money and look the other way. It’s then you take the money. At first your stomach hurts, but you get used to it, and pretty soon you get accustomed to the money.”

The same thing that happened to Vicente Fox is happening to the current Mexican President, Felipe Calderon. He came in with great fanfare and was sending Federal Troops everywhere and destroying a lot of marijuana.

That’s first year show and tell for the Gringos.

A husband of a cousin of the President was executed gangland style in Mexico City. Calderon was told to back off and he has.

Sometimes it’s rather dangerous to eat on the other side of the border from where I live. It’s not the food, the restaurants are actually better across the line than the little city I live in.

Sometimes you can just be unlucky in your choice of restaurants.

Three years ago the Police Chief of Agua Prieta, and a restaurant owner, two employees and an unlucky patron were gunned down while eating and working.

The new mayor had made a deal with the Tijuana cartel to take over operations in Agua Prieta, while the Police Chief was still in the employ of the Sinaloan cartel. The restaurant owner was from Sinaloa and the employees had the misfortune of working there as did the person eating there.

This year in Cananea, a Sonoran mining town forty-five miles away from here, 14 people were killed in a drug turf war.

You can read about this at BorderReporter.com.

Since the “War on Drugs” began, the prison population in the US has ballooned.

This effects me because a sizable percentage of the population in the city have served time in prison, and most of those were because of drug charges.

This is at a huge expense to the American public.

One of the major obstacles to changing the drug laws in the US is the “War On Drugs” itself and the large (now thoroughly entrenched) bureaucracy that is dependent on it. There is too much money involved; therefore, nothing is going to change.

In most every way, Douglas, the city I live in, is dependent on drugs and illegal immigration.

There is a huge number of “law enforcement “people here, and all their staff. They wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for drugs and illegal immigration.

Since most of the maquilladoras in Agua Prieta have closed and moved to China, Agua Prieta is almost entirely dependent on drugs and illegal immigration.

Even the Super Walmart and other retailers here are dependent on drug and illegal immigration. Upwards of 80 percent of the retail sales here is to Mexican nationals.

Until early 1970’s Agua Prieta and Douglas were approximately the same size–10,000. Now Agua Prieta has upwards of 180,000 (that is more than the population of Cochise County which is almost as large as the state of Rhode Island). Douglas now has approximately 18,000. The greatest surge in the population of Agua Prieta was afer the passage of NAFTA.

Do I think things will really change? No. And that is because the USA wants a band-aid solution for both Illegal Immigration and Drugs. They have no intention or desire to go after the root causes of the problems.


The Border by Guadamour

The Militarization Of The Mexican Border by Guadamour

Alive in Baghdad: Welcome to Ruweishid – Iraq (video)

Dandelion Salad


Ruweishid was constructed in 2003, after a decree from King Hussein ordered that refugees stranded in the “No Man’s Land” between Iraq and Jordan, be allowed safe harbor within Jordan proper.

Unfortunately, the refugees soon found conditions in Jordan’s Eastern Desert were not much more hospitable than the No Man’s Land. Although they are safe from random killings and the violence of Iraq’s war zone, not much else is better.

Refugees there suffer from the heat in summer and cold in winter. Poisonous insects are rampant, while water and electricity are a scarce commodity.

Many of the refugees you will hear in this video are teachers, they are struggling to provide their children an education. This is harder than even one might be able to imagine, they lack school books and even pencils and paper are scarce.

Against everything they are surviving, and have been there now for three years. They aren’t allowed to leave the camp, except for medical emergencies, and visitors may only come with permission from the Ministry of Interior or the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

I have not included much footage of the camp in this segment, wanting the faces of the refugees to speak to you themselves. I will be including another video post of much of the b-roll from Ruweishid.

Next week we hope to bring the first segment of newly recorded footage from Baghdad, if this proves impossible, we will have another segment, likely focusing on a conference here in Amman last week, examining the possibilities for non-violence in Iraq.

Visit http://www.aliveinbaghdad.org each Monday for new videos about life in Iraq!

Make a donation to support our work at http://www.aliveinbaghdad.org/donate/

Of Hamster Wheels and Men By Charles Sullivan

Dandelion Salad

By Charles Sullivan
09/27/07 “ICH

It is evident that the US or Israel is going to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran in the near future, just as it did against Iraq and countless other defenseless nations within recent memory. As a result, untold numbers of innocent people will die and huge sums of money will change hands. Both the U.S. and Israel will consolidate their power in the Middle East and injustice and death will follow in their wake.

Bush’s co-conspirators in Congress are standing down, leaving little doubt as to whom they serve. As always, the mainstream media is preparing the way by serving as an organ of the Military-industrial complex by beating the drums of war and perpetuating lies.

Outside of a small number of citizens, few people seem capable of plumbing the depths of our conundrum. Under the umbrella of capitalism, business is the business of America, and death, inequity, and misery are its chief byproducts. Thus the rich are getting richer and the wealth generated by the producers is being concentrated into fewer hands than ever before.

War and class warfare are among the offshoots of capitalism. They are opposite sides of the same coin, like Democrat and Republican. Significant change will not occur until the people rise up in revolt and take matters into their own hands—a state of affairs that is virtually unimaginable. Nothing less than a fundamental paradigm shift from capitalism to a just an equitable socio-economic system is required.

It is not difficult to know what kind of response the present threat demands of us—yet only a handful of thoughtful and courageous people will act appropriately against them.

I am quite certain that indifference, apathy, belligerent nationalism, and dumb-foundedness are not appropriate responses to the cancer that is festering in the Pentagon, the halls of Congress, and America’s corporate board rooms and political think tanks.

I am willing to bet that the average American never contemplates the inequities that capitalism foists upon the world, or the unwarranted faith we have in the concept of private ownership, unregulated markets, and trickle down economics. This is a system that was created to serve the wealthy and to oppress the majority, and it is fundamentally predatory in nature.

Championed by the likes of Milton Friedman, capitalism and private ownership is the holy grail of the American economic system, and they are considered beyond reproach even by those who barely survive under their ponderous weight. The nemesis of capital and privilege is an organized and mobilized citizenry.

Throughout America’s short history, alternative political and economic systems such as communism and socialism, long associated with organized labor and radical unionism, have occasionally gained a foothold in the barren political landscape and, predictably, were thoroughly demonized by the mainstream media and its corporate funders.

Alternatives to capitalism have been tried but they have always been undermined by the US, which allows their critics to assert that these social experiments have been tried and failed. But left alone to evolve without outside interference, other socio-economic systems that serve people and the public interest might well flourish over for profit systems that promote private enterprise, which explains why so much energy and treasure is spent to undermine them.

Does anyone really believe that capitalism would be so prevalent today if it had been so systematically undermined by other governments as its counterparts? The playing field has never been level. Yet, despite such intense oppression, alternatives continue to spring up like undesirable weeds in capitalism’s well groomed garden. Left untended, the garden quickly reverts to its natural state, which, clearly, is not capitalism or public funded privatized wealth accumulation.

Early on, working class Americans have been programmed to rail against any system that poses a threat to capitalism and its attendant Plutocratic rule. There was the era of McCarthyism in the 1950’s, and long before that the constant specter of the red menace that has always been associated with organized labor and other social justice movements.

Any ideology that is opposed to capitalism has always been presented to the people as a threat to democracy itself, which is an absurd notion. Through propaganda and other distortions of truth, the interests of the ruling clique are widely perceived to also be the people’s interest. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Democracy is the greatest threat to capitalism and Plutocracy; and, as history attests, it is vigorously repressed by those in power, often by acts of state sponsored terrorism and militarism.

Unregulated corporate power and the unbridled exploitation of land and people are as far from true free markets and democracy as anything can be.

Through the judicious use of lies and propaganda the corporate media, aided by the educational system, has successfully steered the collective American psyche away from the very ideologies that might potentially be our greatest benefactors. The underlying causes of societal injustice, including the inequitable distribution of wealth and power, are thus kept safely out of the public conscience, beyond the pale of moral and intellectual discourse. Unregulated corporate power and free markets are hailed in the mainstream media as humankind’s greatest achievements. They are marketed to the very people it exploits as liberating, democratic institutions.

The founding fathers recognized that an aroused and organized citizenry was the primary threat to the ruling elite. Organized labor, in particular, has always been perceived as a threat to the established orthodoxy. A democratic workplace would inevitably lead to a democratic society, and thus deny the strength of the ruling Plutocracy.

It is remarkable that for more than 230 years the Plutocracy has not only successfully kept the majority of the people supporting economic and social policy that is detrimental to the people, they have also kept them from thinking about alternatives that could provide relief from the social and economic injustice wrought by capitalism—among them, universal health care and socialized higher education. The government is always waging a cold war against the working class people, whatever their country of origin.

As a result, we have evolved into a nation of imperialists addicted to war and other forms of violence, which accrues tremendous wealth and power to the rich, while simultaneously undermining the people’s collective welfare, and the wellbeing of the planet.

Attached to their ipods, cell phones, their computers, television sets, and right wing media, the American people are detached from reality. So long as they are free to consume and waste, and sufficient entertainment is provided, the people will not rise up in revolt.

Because of this separation from reality, Americans do not empathize with people outside of their own immediate families, beyond a small sphere of friends and acquaintances. We have no sense of community, and little visceral connection to the wild earth that sustains all life. We are reductionists who do not appreciate the organic whole. Thus we cannot connect the dots and think in rational terms of cause and effect. We have commodified the earth and her people in order to exploit them for profit.

Too many Americans exist with a false sense of entitlement and privilege that is not nearly as prevalent in other parts of the world, where the effects of capitalism are better understood. Confident in our right to consume, while ignoring the misery our consumption and waste is causing others, we do not perceive the connection between capitalism, war, socio-economic class, cheap labor, and planetary destruction.

Dr. Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The Wobblies understood: “An injury to one is an injury to all.” But we do not easily think beyond the self and rarely see ourselves as a part of a vibrant global community—a part of nature. We even erect psychological barriers that prevent us from questioning the established orthodoxy, as we witnessed in the aftermath of 9-11. We do as we are told, rather than doing what is right and just. Americans fear the government and tremble before authority.

It is this spiritual isolation and emptiness that allows us to comprise so little of the earth’s population, and to consume so much of her precious biological and ecological wealth—the planetary life support systems that sustain all life.

The American worker, despite all evidence to the contrary, and notwithstanding the lessons of history, continues to subscribe to the ideology of the capitalist model and its empty promises dressed in the seductive garments of the ‘American Dream’. That dream is now, more than ever, as millions of Americans are coming to realize, more myth than reality.

Capitalism has forced a nation-sized plantation upon the working class people of this country, and a world-sized gulag upon people everywhere. Workers keep only a tiny percent of the wealth they create for their employers, just enough to keep them playing the game—a game only a select few will ever win. Someone else always reaps the benefits of our labor.

American workers are like hamsters imprisoned in a cage, spinning our hamster wheels with furious speed, working harder, producing more, more, more—ever more; until our hearts explode or our bodies wear out under mountains of debt.

Hardly a handful of people realize what an elaborate hoax has been erected around us, what a sham this moribund system of waste and exploitation really is.

So we go from one plantation to another, drifting like tumbleweeds from one job to another but always imprisoned by the same exploitive, dehumanizing capitalist system.

At some level, I believe that the majority of the people intuit that something is terribly wrong. Thus they subscribe to the idea of reform and resort to electoral politics—a system that is wholly owned and operated by special interest money and corporate lobbyists. Their faith in the vote is misplaced and their energy is misdirected, which thus helps to maintain the established order, and prevents us from doing anything meaningful and direct. It assures consistency through the centuries: Imperial wars and occupations, a widening gap between the rich and poor; falling wages, union busting, and unfathomable environmental destruction on a global scale.

There are no political solutions available to us. There are no knights in shinning armor coming to the rescue. In a system awash in money the vote has no meaning. It is a mistake to think that the tools provided by capitalism can do anything other than perpetuate the system that is already in place, as history clearly demonstrates. Whether George Bush, Ron Paul, or Hillary Clinton occupies the White House, the result will be the same. Politicians are the property of special interest money. Few of them serve the people.

We must stop believing that reform of this corrupt system is even possible. Misplaced faith in corrupt politicians keeps us from fomenting the seeds of revolution, which are our only salvation and our destiny if we are to survive as a people. If only we could conjure up the fighting spirit that these times require.

People can only affect change by accepting personal responsibility and through direct action. We, ourselves, must become the agents for radical, revolutionary transformation. Rather than putting our trust in George Bush and Hillary Clinton or the sycophants in Congress, we must believe in ourselves and directly assert the power we have. We the people, when organized and mobilized, are the most powerful revolutionary force on earth. All we need is solidarity, but solidarity can be as elusive as a wisp of smoke, especially when so much capital is expended to keep us isolated and disorganized, and propagandized.

Both voting and sporadic protests, while they may temporarily make us feel useful, do not have much long term effect. Let us not simply say no to war with our vote, but with our bodies and our treasure. If we wish to see social justice enacted, we must not merely vote for it, we must, ourselves, become the agents of justice. We must oppose injustice not only on philosophical and ethical grounds, but in the theater of action, with our bodies.

Democracy and justice are too important to entrust to politicians who serve money, rather than people and the public welfare. We must do more than give lip service to the mere symbols of justice while doing nothing to actually obtain justice, or even worse—undermining it by voting more Plutocrats into office. Each of us must act to bring justice to bear. It is wrong to quietly tolerate what is being done to our country.

Our collective tolerance for injustice and mediocrity makes us complicit in them. We do not hold the criminals and the real terrorists accountable and we continue to support the system that ushered them into power by participating in it and pretending that it is legitimate.

Action applied directly at the point of injustice is the only force that can bring about permanent and just change. But action, unlike rhetoric, requires courage and conviction. It means putting the fear of god into the hearts of the government, as ordinary people do in Europe and Latin America, putting our bodies on the line for what we believe in. When the state is an enemy of the people, all just men and women must become enemies of the state.

Change begins and ends with the individual. What we think and what we do matters only if we act on our beliefs and are even willing to die for them, if necessary. Peace can only follow justice; it never precedes it.

By putting faith in those who serve the almighty dollar, rather than directly upholding the principles of democracy ourselves, we diminish our own power—we cede it to the corrupt and diabolical whose primary purpose is to rape and exploit us. Let us leave the safe haven of our hamster wheels and occupy the streets until justice reigns for everyone. There is no other way.

Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer, and activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Providence of geopolitical West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at csullivan@phreego.com

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.


A rich man’s world By Jeremy Seabrook

A rich man’s world By Jeremy Seabrook

Dandelion Salad

By Jeremy Seabrook
09/27/07 “The Guardian

The substitution of wealth for freedom in modern society is, perhaps, the greatest impoverishment of all.

Something is wanting in all the descriptions of poverty in rich societies. Necessities foregone by the least well-off do not appear to the majority of poor people in the world like terrible privations – a holiday, a mobile phone, the privacy of a room of one’s own; yet to call this “relative poverty” misses the point of the exposure and insecurity of being poor, when this has been reduced to minority status.
We should also be wary of those who claim to despise “materialism”, and insist upon a “spiritual poverty” that plagues the rich, as though this compensated for the humiliations of its material counterpart.

At the same time, calculations of poverty in developed countries – whether set at 60% of average income or an inability to participate fully in the life of society – remain incomplete. A disturbing question arises. If monetary measurements fail to convey the depth and intensity of what it means to be poor, perhaps money is also a far from adequate indicator of what it means to be rich.

It is possible to become richer and less free at the same time. Because to be deprived of basic necessities is most certainly to be rendered less free, it is easy to conclude that freedom increases in direct proportion to rising disposable income.

But perhaps other poverties must be endured, in exchange, as it were, for a growing income? Because money has always been “reward” – for labour, for talent, for skill, for shrewd investment – this does not mean that all gains to humanity can be counted in dollars. Perhaps pecuniary advances are accompanied by regression in other areas of human experience. This disagreeable proposition runs counter to everything that we know about the wisdom of our society and civilisation.

How could we be said to have become less free as we have become richer? Is there a dynamic relationship between the accession of the “fruits” of perpetual economic growth, and certain losses, which leave us feeling powerless, when faced with the social and moral evils that accompany even the most successful economies?

There are many ways in which an increase in wealth may be attended by a subjective feeling of deprivation. Because these poverties are less tangible than the gleaming new car, the four-bedroom house, the second home or designer brands, they are not therefore “unreal”, a product of the puritan conscience of do-gooders or the thin laments of the archaic religious. They are felt as profound absences, poverties of the spirit, heart, mind and imagination; and they haunt the gilded edifice of our prosperity like ghosts; the evicted soul, so to speak, of humanity.

Because “poverty of the spirit” is sometimes used as a cliche by tired ministers of religion in their dull sermons, it does not follow that no such thing exists. It is not without significance that the word “spirits” has come to indicate alcohol rather than holiness. A growing dependency upon mood-altering substances, and the terminology that accompanies them – “getting high”, “out of one’s skull”, “mind-blowing”, “spaced out”, the appropriately-named “angel dust” or “ecstasy” tablets – suggests that exaltations of the spirit are not engendered within, but depend upon industrial inputs.

While some evangelicals still know the art of collective excitement, who now experiences passionate delight in ideals, in words, in physics or poetry, in youthful commitment to changing the world, in collective endeavour to make what an older generation called “its own fun?” Is it by chance that the noblest spiritual strivings in Christian tradition have all been redefined: faith is now vested in the power of money; hope resides in its transformative power, while charity means giving money, the coin in the box or the cheque in response to a natural disaster?

What is a poverty of the heart? Is it the supreme selfishness of individualism raised to ideology that sees the fate of each separated from that of anyone else: is it the fragility of human attachments, frail bonds, provisional loves and transient involvement that fill the world with the human wreckage that provides so much material for counsellors, experts, advisers and leaders of other people’s lives? What’s in it for me? This is the first question in any relationship or transaction; what do I get out of it? What are the returns, is it a sound emotional investment, where is the pay-off?

The “poverty of the soul”, of which some speak, is harder to assess, although there is evidently something in the criticism of a “soulless” building or a “soulless environment”. If religion was once the opium of the people, opium has now – literally for some – become religion and the heart of a heartless world has been replaced, perhaps by heartlessness: you’ve got your troubles, I’ve got mine.

Surely, in a society in which so many people know so much, there can be no poverty of the mind? Yet we hear constantly of “mindless” violence: a man is killed for remonstrating with a groups of teenagers; a boy is stabbed for refusing to join a gang, someone is shot because he looked at another in the wrong way. Given the mindlessness of so many of our activities – mindless entertainment, mindless pleasure, mindless politics – it would surely be expecting too much for the violence in society to be intelligent or mindful.

Poverty of the imagination is more easily definable. No other dreams, no visions, no alternative ways of living remain, all have been eclipsed and captured by the idea of the better life contained within the ample range of capitalist possibility. No other world exists, not even this one, reshaped, as it has been, in a ponderous imagery of burdensome wellbeing: fast cars, yachts, jewellery and furs, personalised jets and guarded islands, exclusive brand names, mansions and beaches and an avalanche of shopping. All that remains of the colonised imagination is industrialised fantasy, all the iconography of which has been pre-selected in the existential hypermarket.

If this exhausted the strange poverties of the contemporary world, it would be damning enough. But there is more. If the admonition “there is no alternative” is no longer heard, this is because it is so self-evident it no longer requires repetition. That there are simply no other ways of organising human society, answering need, providing for the people is inscribed in the powerful iconography of our densely clotted plenty. If this is indeed so, we have undergone a poverty that defies measurement, because it suggests we are no longer free to change.

Wealth as a substitute for freedom is, perhaps, the greatest impoverishment of all. It suggests, even if only as metaphor, that Marx‘s prediction of growing misery in the world has not been nullified by the quasi-limitless expansion of material goods. It hints that some elusive calculus of loss is absent from ideologies of progress. Is it still a zero-sum game, when we balance forfeited liberties against a heap of stuff destined to become tomorrow’s garbage?

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US, NATO and Israel Deploy Nukes directed against Iran by Michel Chossudovsky

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 27, 2007

In late August, reported by the Military Times, a US Air Force B-52 bomber flew from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana with six AGM advanced cruise missiles, each of which was armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead. “… Missiles were mounted on the pylons under its wings. Each of the warheads carried a yield of up to 150 kilotons, more than ten times as powerful as the US bomb that leveled Hiroshima at the close of the Second World War.” (See Bill Van Auken, Global Research September 2007)

The Military Times byline was “B-52 mistakenly flies with nukes aboard”. The issue was casually acknowledged by The Washington Post and the New York Times. The reports quoted a US Air force spokesman. The matter was offhandedly brushed aside. The incident represented “an isolated mistake” and that “at no time was there a threat to public safety.” (Ibid) :

“As far as is known, the incident marked the first time that a US plane has taken off armed with nuclear weapons in nearly 40 years. …

… The transport of weapons from one base to another, however, is normally carried out in the holds of C-17 and C-130 cargo planes, not fixed to the wings of combat bombers.

Someone had to give the order to mount the missiles on the plane. The question is whether it was a local Air Force commander—either by mistake or deliberately—or whether the order came from higher up.

B-52s from Barksdale have been used repeatedly to strike targets in Iraq, firing cruise missiles at Iraqi targets in 1996 and 1998, and in the “shock and awe” campaign that preceded the 2003 invasion, carrying out some 150 bombing runs that devastated much of the southern half of the country.

Moreover, the weapon that was fixed to the wings of the B-52 flying from Minot air base was designed for use against hardened targets, such as underground bunkers.

Given the ratcheting up of the threats against Iran and the previous reports of plans for the use of “tactical” nuclear weapons against Iranian nuclear installations, there is a very real possibility that the flight to Barksdale was part of covert preparations for a nuclear strike against Iran.

If this is indeed the case, the claims about a “mistake” by a munitions officer and a few airmen in North Dakota may well be merely a cover story aimed at concealing the fact that the government in Washington is preparing a criminal act of world historic proportions by ordering—without provocation—the first use of nuclear weapons since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki more than sixty years ago.

In recent developments, Wayne Madsen (September 27) has suggested, based on US and foreign intelligence sources, that the B-52 carrying the advanced cruise missiles with bunker buster nuclear warheads was in fact destined for the Middle East.

Is the B-52 Barksdale incident in any way related to US plans to use nuclear weapons against Iran?

Madsen suggests, in this regard, that the operation of shipping the nuclear warheads was aborted “due to internal opposition within the Air Force and U.S. Intelligence Community”, which was opposed to a planned US attack on Iran using nuclear warheads.

To grasp the seriousness of the “Barksdale incident”, it is important to understand the broader context of nuclear weapons deployment respectively by the US, NATO and Israel.

We are not dealing with a single aborted operation of deployment of nuclear weapons to the Middle East.

There are indications that a large number of US made nuclear weapons are currently deployed in Western Europe and the Middle East including Israel.

This deployment pertains explicitly to targets in Iran.

Without downplaying the significance of the Barksdale incident, if Washington were to decide to use nuclear weapons against Iran, they could be launched at short notice from a number of military bases in Western Europe and the Middle East. Turkey has some 90 B61 tactical nuclear weapons which are fully deployed.(See details below).

We are dealing with a coordinated military operation in which US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) plays a central role. The main coalition partners are the US, NATO and Israel.

There are four interrelated “building blocks” pertaining to the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater:

1. CONPLAN 8022 formulated in 2004. CONPLAN integrates the use of conventional and nuclear weapons.

2. National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 35, entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization issued in May 2004

3. The deployment of Israeli nuclear weapons directed against targets in the Middle East

4. Deployment of Nuclear Weapons by NATO/EU countries, directed against targets in the Middle East

1. CONPLAN 8022

CONPLAN 8022 under the jurisdiction of USSTRATCOM sets the stage. It envisages the integration of conventional and nuclear weapons and the use of nukes on a preemptive basis in the conventional war theater. It is described as “a concept plan for the quick use of nuclear, conventional, or information warfare capabilities to destroy–preemptively, if necessary–“time-urgent targets” anywhere in the world.” CONPLAN became operational in early 2004. “As a result, the Bush administration’s preemption policy is now operational on long-range bombers, strategic submarines on deterrent patrol, and presumably intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).” (Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists)

CONCEPT PLAN (CONPLAN) 8022 now consists of “an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers,’ (Japanese Economic Newswire, 30 December 2005, For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, op. cit.).

“CONPLAN 8022 is ‘the overall umbrella plan for sort of the pre-planned strategic scenarios involving nuclear weapons.’

2. Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization: NSPD 35 (2004)

National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 35, entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued in May 2004.

The contents of this highly sensitive document remains a carefully guarded State secret. There has been no mention of NSPD 35 by the media nor even in Congressional debates. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022.

There are indications that B61-type tactical nuclear weapons have been deployed to the Middle East following NSPD 35. The B-61s would be used against Iran, if Iran were to retaliate to a US or Israeli attack (See Ibrahim Karagul, “The US is Deploying Nuclear Weapons in Iraq Against Iran”, Yeni Safak,. 20 December 2005, quoted in BBC Monitoring Europe).

3. Israeli Nukes

Israel is part of the military alliance and is slated to play a major role in case the planned attacks on Iran were to be carried out. (For details see Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, Jan 2006).

Israel possesses 100-200 strategic nuclear warheads. In 2003, Washington and Tel Aviv confirmed that they were collaborating in “the deployment of US-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads in Israel’s fleet of Dolphin-class submarines.” (The Observer, 12 October 2003). Coinciding with the 2005 preparations to wage air strikes against Iran, Israel took delivery of two new German produced submarines “that could launch nuclear-armed cruise missiles for a “second-strike” deterrent.” (Newsweek, 13 February 2006. See also CDI Data Base)

The Israeli military and political circles had been making statements on the possibility of nuclear and missile strikes on Iran openly since October, 2006, when the idea was immediately supported by G. Bush. Currently it is touted in the form of a “necessity” of nuclear strikes. The public is taught to believe that there is nothing monstrous about such a possibility and that, on the contrary, a nuclear strike is quite feasible. Allegedly, there is no other way to “stop” Iran. (General Leonid Ivashov, Iran Must Get Ready to Repel a Nuclear Attack, Global Research, January 2007)

At the outset of Bush’s second term, Vice President Dick Cheney dropped a bombshell. He hinted, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the rogue enemies of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it”.

“Rather than a direct American nuclear strike against Iran’s hard targets, Israel has been given the assignment of launching a coordinated cluster of nuclear strikes aimed at targets that are the nuclear installations in the Iranian cities: Natanz, Isfahan and Arak.(Michael Carmichael, Global research, January 2007)

Israel is a Rottweiler on a leash: The US wants to “set Israel loose” to attack Iran. Commenting the Vice President’s assertion, former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on PBS, confirmed with some apprehension, yes: Cheney wants [former] Prime Ariel Sharon to act on America’s behalf and “do it” for us:

…”And the vice president today in a kind of a strange parallel statement to this declaration of freedom hinted that the Israelis may do it and in fact used language which sounds like a justification or even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it.”

Beneath the rhetoric, what we are dealing with is a joint US-NATO-Israeli military operation directed against Iran and Syria, which has been in the active planning stage since 2004. US advisers in the Pentagon have been working assiduously with their Israeli military and intelligence counterparts, carefully identifying targets inside Iran ( Seymour Hersh, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HER501A.html )

In recent developments, at the September 2007 meetings of the Vienna based IAEA, a critical resolution, implicitly aimed at Israel, was put forth which would put Israel’s nuclear program “under international purview.” The resolution was adopted with the US and Israel voting against it.

4. NATO Nukes. Nuclear Weapons Deployment by Five Non-nuclear States

Several Western European countries, officially considered as “non-nuclear states”, possess tactical nuclear weapons, supplied to them by Washington.

The US has supplied some 480 B61 thermonuclear bombs to five non-nuclear NATO countries including Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, and one nuclear country, the United Kingdom. These weapons are ready for delivery to “known military targets”.

map; chart

See Details and Map of Nuclear Facilities located in 5 European Non-Nuclear States

As part of this European stockpiling, Turkey, which is a partner of the US-led coalition against Iran along with Israel, possesses some 90 thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs at the Incirlik nuclear air base. (National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005). These military facilities are part of the war plans directed against Iran.

B61-11 NEP Thermonuclear Bomb

Consistent with US nuclear policy, the stockpiling and deployment of B61 nuclear weapons in Western Europe are intended for targets in the Middle East. Confirmed by “NATO strike plans”, these thermonuclear B61 bunker buster bombs (stockpiled by the “non-nuclear States”) could be launched “against targets in Russia or countries in the Middle East such as Syria and Iran” ( quoted in National Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons in Europe , February 2005)

Moreover, confirmed by (partially) declassified documents (released under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act):

“arrangements were made in the mid-1990s to allow the use of U.S. nuclear forces in Europe outside the area of responsibility of U.S. European Command (EUCOM). As a result of these arrangements, EUCOM now supports CENTCOM nuclear missions in the Middle East, including, potentially, against Iran and Syria”

(quoted in http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/nato.htm italics added)

Moreover, the U.S. military made arrangements in the mid-1990s for the use of these nukes outside the area of jurisdiction of European Command (EURCOM).For EUCOM, this would mean responsibility for the the delivery of nukes within CENTCOM (Central Command) area of jurisdiction, meaning that nuclear attacks on Iran and Syria could be launched from military bases in non-nuclear EU/NATO countries.

.. It is unclear whether [the] parliaments [of EU/NATO countries] are aware of arrangements to target and potentially strike Middle Eastern countries with nuclear weapons based in Europe.(http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/nato.htm

Nuclear Double Standards. Where is the Nuclear Threat?

While these “non-nuclear states” casually accuse Tehran of developing nuclear weapons, without documentary evidence, they themselves have capabilities of delivering nuclear warheads, which are targeted at Iran. To say that this is a clear case of “double standards” is a gross understatement.

France’ President Nicolas Sarkozy Endorses Bush’s Preemptive Nuclear Doctrine

France accuses Tehran of developing nuclear weapons against mountains of evidence that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

The Sarkozy government favors a military operation directed against Iran. Ironically, these threats by President Sarkozy and his Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner were formulated immediately following the release of the IAEA Report. The latter confirms unequivocally the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

According to president Sarkozy in his September 26, 2007 address to the UN General Assembly:

“There will be no peace in the world if the international community falters in the face of nuclear arms proliferation … Weakness and renunciation do not lead to peace. They lead to war,”

France has also confirmed that it could use its own nuclear warheads estimated at between 200 and 300.on a preemptive basis.

In January 2006, President Jacques Chirac had announced a major shift in France’s nuclear weapons policy.

Without mentioning Iran, Chirac intimated that France’s nukes should be used in the form of “more focused attacks” against countries, which were “considering” the deployment of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).

He also hinted to the possibility that tactical nuclear weapons could be used in conventional war theaters, very much in line with both US and NATO nuclear doctrine (See Chirac shifts French doctrine for use of nuclear weapons, Nucleonics Week January 26, 2006).

Chirac’s successor, Nicolas Sarkozy has embraced the US sponsored “War on Terrorism”.

France supports the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater, broadly following the principles formulated in the Bush Administration’s nuclear doctrine, which allows the use of nukes (against Iran or Syria) for “self-defense”.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky


B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

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www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Cheney Sounds Out Jordan, Egypt on U.S. Bombing of Iran by Prof Marjorie Cohn

Dandelion Salad

by Prof Marjorie Cohn
Global Research, September 27, 2007
Huffington Post

My cousin Larry Russell, a travel writer, spent three weeks (May 11 through May 31 of 2007) in Jordan as a guest of the Jordanian Tourist Board. He was invited to dinner at the home of Karim Kawar, Jordan ‘s ex- ambassador to the United States (2002-06), in Amman. Dick Cheney and his daughter were Kawar’s guests two nights before Larry arrived. Kawar confided to Larry that “Cheney’s mission was to sound out the reaction to a forthcoming bombing of Iran ‘s nuclear sites (no ground invasion planned) by the U.S. from Jordan’s King Abdullah and President Mubarak of Egypt . They both rejected the idea.”

When Larry pointed out that Jordan and Egypt receive regular economic and military equipment assistance from the United States so any resistance to this plan on their parts would probably be of a token nature at best, Kawar just smiled.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and President of the National Lawyers Guild. Her new book, Cowboy Republic : Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, was just published. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com

Marjorie Cohn is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Marjorie Cohn


To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Pro-Democracy means Anti-Fascism by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer

September 27, 2007

Pro-Democracy means Anti-Fascism

“The world is watching the people of Burma take to the streets to demand their freedom, and the American people stand in solidarity with these brave individuals,” George Bush

Watching the pro-democracy marches in Burma both inspires and sickens me. I am inspired by seeing thousands of red-robed monks leading the demonstrations and sickened by the violence they are being met with by the military.

Seeing the images of the monks and others being beaten reminds me of the Democratic Convention in 1968 where Chicago police beat the living daylights out of demonstrators who were there to try and force the party to come closer to the budding anti-war movement. It didn’t work. Instead of wonderful-pro-peace candidate, George McGovern, the party nominated Johnson’s VP, Hubert Humphrey. We know what happened next: Nixon. After last night’s Democratic “debate” I am terrified and assured that the Democrats will have another pro-war nominee.

The other event in my memory that the pro-democracy movement in Burma reminds me of is Kent State, Ohio in May, 1970. Four students were killed and nine were wounded marching against escalation of the Vietnam debacle.. I have heard from many people who were of age to protest the Vietnam war at that time that the killings had the affect of frightening them into not protesting, or scaling their protests back.

Of course the present state of our nation is not as overtly oppressive as the government of Myanmar (Burma), presently where a Nobel Peace Laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi has been under house arrest there for years, but we who have been paying attention to events can see that America is on the precipice of serious fascism and only the brave actions of Americans committed to freedom, democracy and peace will help stem the tide of this rising neo-fascism that doesn’t march through our streets in goose-step and swastikas, but is creeping into our lives like cat’s paws.

According to Chris Rowthorn, in his brilliant article. When America Went Fascist, we went fascist on December 11, 2000 when the Supreme Court appointed George as our unelected, un-democratic and illegal President. Although it is easy and tempting to blame everything on BushCo, this is about the only assertion that I disagree with in his article.

What about during the Clinton regime? Does anyone remember Elian Gonzales or The Branch Davidians in Waco? Let’s go back further. What about when Truman dropped to WMD on hundreds of thousands of innocent victims in Japan? What about Korea? Eisenhower and the Military Industrial Complex? What about the Gulf of Tonkin? What about Watergate? What about Panama? Kosovo? Nicaragua? Free trade agreements that hurt workers in all countries that are involved in them and what about the abuse of language in this country: Patriot Act; Homeland Security; Clear Water and Clean Skies—and the No Child Left Behind Act that leaves every child behind and is just a funnel to the recruiter’s office?

There are just a few measures that we can use to stop this slide and Rowthorn articulates what has become an important part of my platform. Only vote for candidates that promise the following things…for president, or any other federal elective offices:

* Repeal the Patriot Act
* Repeal No Child Left Behind
* Scale down the Department of Homeland Security and rename it so it loses its Nazi
tone and is brought under civilian control.
* Restore habeas corpus and close all torture camps by repealing the Military Commissions’ Act.
* Repeal all contracts with paid mercenary killer companies.
* Restore the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.
* Repeal all BushCo-Presidential directives (especially Directive 51) and review all laws that contain signing statements.
* Restore the 4th Amendment by enforcing warrants for spying on Americans.
* Impeach Bush and Cheney-post presidency so they can’t receive federal benefits.
* Bring all troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and review military needs for other bases around the world.
* Repeal all free trade agreements.
* Kick AIPAC and other lobbyists out of the halls of Congress where they have no business.

One of the most profound ways we can stop this descent into fascism is by impeaching, removing from office and incarcerating George Bush and Dick Cheney, et al. I am very skeptical of a complicit Congress, Inc doing anything about them in this term. I am also very skeptical of a “professional” and fascist military leadership taking their oath of service seriously and above their corporate-military allegiance to the Executive Branch recently and so tellingly revealed by General Betray-Us, so a military coup is out of the question and has the tricky element of becoming a military dictatorship.

I was supposed to be in court today in Washington, DC for my last arrest. I didn’t go because I am not under allegiance and repudiate the fascists that run our government and the enforcers who are doing their best Nazi-job of “following orders” in oppressing our rights as Americans.

Why are they beating up a Reverend who served in the Air Force, and honorably left after the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, for wanting to attend a hearing in Congress?

Why are they arresting a Gold Star Mother for exercising the very freedoms for which George Bush freakishly says her son died?

Why are my daughter and assistant under indictment for Contempt of Congress when BushCo have steadily refused to testify before committees under oath, or any other way? As a matter of fact, Betray-Us wasn’t even put under oath that day in the House.

Why are college students being tasered for asking the same questions that we all want answered from John Kerry who threw our Representative Republic in the garbage along with the 2004 election?

Why are nooses being hung in the South?

Why do any of us pay our Federal Taxes to a government that we abhor and which we adamantly disagree with? Why do we allow our hard earned money to be used for murder and oppression?

Why is Congress giving BushCo more authority to begin a New World War?

Where are religious leaders to lead us in pro-democracy demonstrations? Most of our mainstream religions suffer from the same neo-fascism that our governmental leaders suffer from.

Why do we march in DC on Saturdays and get arrested just to get arrested? It’s time to descend on DC on a weekday and make commitments to our world and our posterity to over throw this fascism right now?

When can we have a country-wide massive general strike?

Recent reports show that Saddam made overtures to America through the UAE and Spain to go into exile weeks before the March, 2003 invasion of Iraq. Of course, the overtures were rejected because George’s small mind was already made up to invade Iraq before he became president in some sick way to either show up or gain approval from a dysfunctional family. What if Spain’s former President Aznar had spoken up then? What if Colin Powell, George Tenet, or any of the criminal neocons had spoken up to prevent this horrible loss of life and pain before it even started?

I wouldn’t be under a bench warrant right now. Rev wouldn’t be recovering from a badly sprained ankle. Casey would be alive and hundreds of thousands of others would be alive.

We can’t count on anyone but ourselves. It’s now up to we the people to follow the example of our brothers and sisters in Burma to courageously confront the anti-democracy/pro-fascist elements of our society.

Contact Cindy at: Cindy@CindyforCongress.org


Fascism: A False Revolution by Michael Parenti (1996)

When America Went Fascist By Chris Rowthorn

NH Democratic Debate Sept 26, 2007 (videos; links)

Housing: When a Slump Becomes a Crash by Josh Sidman


by Josh Sidman
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Josh’s Blog Post

Sept. 27, 2007

Housing: When a Slump Becomes a Crash

This week has produced some truly alarming figures for the housing market. Today we learned that new home sales dropped 8.3% from just one month ago. And earlier this week it was reported that the average sales price had dropped 8% from a year ago. These numbers are looking less like a “correction” and more like a full-on crash. Given that a huge number of recent home-buyers purchased their homes with little or no money down, a decline of this magnitude means that millions of people will soon be in the position of owing more money than their homes are worth. When this happens, people have a strong incentive to declare bankruptcy and let the banks take their homes.

While every official source tries to sugar-coat the reality of what’s going on, even their half-true statements are starting to sound alarming. Take, for example, that arch-imbecile Alan Greenspan, the man who bears more responsibility for this mess than any other individual. In the past week Greenspan has said that he believes home prices have a lot farther to fall and that the chances of a recession are increasing. (He says that the chances of a recession are still less than 50/50 – yeah right. If he wants to put his money where his mouth is, I’ll bet him any amount of money, at even odds, that we will be in a recession within 18 months. Give me a call, Alan…)

As I have written in a previous article, the stock market foolishly takes this all as good news, since the prevailing belief is that the worse the situation in the housing market gets, the more incentive the Fed will have to cut rates even further. But as I explained in a previous article, the Fed’s power is severely limited in this regard. For one thing, the Fed can only affect short-term interest rates. Long-term rates are what really matter, and long-term rates are not under the control of any government – they are set by the market. So, even if the Fed were to cut short-term rates to zero, it is still conceivable that they would fail to bring down long-term rates. This is a situation that Japan found itself in for much of the 1990’s following the bursting of their own real estate bubble. Once this happens, the central banking authorities are rendered helpless, since its not possible to lower interest rates below zero. In addition, the robust growth of the global economy, coupled with our dependence on vast amounts of foreign borrowing will further tie the hands of the Fed.

Doubtless, the Fed will do what it can and will accede to the growing chorus of cries for more rate cuts. It would take a tremendous amount of courage to stand up against public opinion and explain that we can’t afford to cut rates and that the only course open to us is to allow the markets to take their natural course and to deal with the fact that millions of people are going to lose their homes. Instead, the Fed will go along with public opinion and continue to cut rates. Unfortunately, this will only serve to exacerbate the slide of the US dollar (which is already making new lows against world currencies).

So, what is one to do if real estate is going to the dogs, the stock market is vulnerable, and not even the mighty dollar is a safe haven? Well, there are no easy answers right now. I, for one, have invested heavily in gold, which is approaching an all-time high. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw gold reach $2,000/ounce within 5 years.

Good night, and good luck…


American Economy: The Perfect Storm by Josh Sidman

Fascism: A False Revolution by Michael Parenti (1996)

Fuck Fascism!

Image by Mayu Shimizu via Flickr

by Michael Parenti (1996)
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Sept. 24, 2007

Fascism is a false revolution. It makes a revolutionary appeal without making an actual revolution. It propagates the widely proclaimed New Order while serving the same old moneyed interests.

Continue reading

Saddam asked Bush for $1bn to go into exile by David Gardner

Dandelion Salad

The Daily Mail
26th September 2007

Saddam Hussein offered to step down and go into exile one month before the invasion of Iraq, it was claimed last night.

Fearing defeat, Saddam was prepared to go peacefully in return for £500million ($1billion).

The extraordinary offer was revealed yesterday in a transcript of talks in February 2003 between George Bush and the then Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar at the President’s Texas ranch.

The White House refused to comment on the report last night.

But, if verified, it is certain to raise questions in Washington and London over whether the costly four-year war could have been averted.

Only yesterday, the Bush administration asked Congress for another £100billion to finance the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The total war bill for British taxpayers is expected to reach £7billion by next year.

More than 3,800 American service personnel have lost their lives in Iraq, along with 170 Britons and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

However, according to the tapes, one month before he launched the invasion Mr Bush appeared convinced that Saddam was serious about going into exile.

“The Eqyptians are speaking to Saddam Hussein,” said Mr Bush.

“It seems he’s indicated he would be prepared to go into exile if he’s allowed to take $1billion and all the information he wants about weapons of mass destruction.”

Asked by the Spanish premier whether Saddam – who was executed in December last year – could really leave, the President replied: “Yes, that possibility exists. Or he might even be assassinated.”

But he added that whatever happened: “We’ll be in Baghdad by the end of March.”

Mr Bush went on to refer optimistically to the rebuilding or Iraq.

The transcript – which was published yesterday in the Spanish newspaper El Pais – was said to have been recorded by a diplomat at the meeting in Crawford, Texas, on February 22, 2003.

Mr Bush was dismissive of the then French President Jacques Chirac, saying he “thinks he’s Mr Arab”.

Referring to his relationship with Downing Street, he said: “I don’t mind being the bad cop if Blair is the good cop.”

The President added: “Saddam won’t change and he’ll keep on playing games.

“The time has come to get rid of him. That’s the way it is.”

Days before the invasion began on March 22, 2003, the United Arab Emirates proposed to a summit of Arab leaders that Saddam and his henchmen should go into exile.

It was the first time the plan had been officially voiced but it was drowned out in the drumbeat of war.

A spokesman for Mr Aznar’s foundation had no comment on its authenticity.

Bomb attacks killed 57 people in Iraq yesterday.

h/t: I Am Like You Too [Gravel ’08], FairiesWearboots

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Why did Israel attack Syria? by Jonathan Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Jonathan Cook
Global Research, September 27, 2007

Israel’s air strike on northern Syria earlier this month should be understood in the context of events unfolding since its assault last summer on neighbouring Lebanon. Although little more than rumours have been offered about what took place, one strategic forecasting group, Stratfor, still concluded: “Something important happened.”

From the leaks so far, it seems that more than half a dozen Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace to drop munitions on a site close to the border with Turkey. We also know from the US media that the “something” occurred in close coordination with the White House. But what was the purpose and significance of the attack?

It is worth recalling that, in the wake of Israel’s month-long war against Lebanon a year ago, a prominent American neoconservative, Meyrav Wurmser, wife of Vice-President Dick Cheney’s recently departed Middle East adviser, explained that the war had dragged on because the White House delayed in imposing a ceasefire. The neocons, she said, wanted to give Israel the time and space to expand the attack to Damascus.

The reasoning was simple: before an attack on Iran could be countenanced, Hizbullah in Lebanon had to be destroyed and Syria at the very least cowed. The plan was to isolate Tehran on these two other hostile fronts before going in for the kill.

But faced with constant rocket fire from Hizbullah last summer, Israel’s public and military nerves frayed at the first hurdle. Instead Israel and the US were forced to settle for a Security Council resolution rather than a decisive military victory.

The immediate fallout of the failed attack was an apparent waning of neocon influence. The group’s programme of “creative destruction” in the Middle East — the encouragement of regional civil war and the partition of large states that threaten Israel — was at risk of being shunted aside.

Instead the “pragmatists” in the Bush Administration, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the new Defence Secretary Robert Gates, demanded a change of tack. The standoff reached a head in late 2006 when oilman James Baker and his Iraq Study Group began lobbying for a gradual withdrawal from Iraq — presumably only after a dictator, this one more reliable, had again been installed in Baghdad. It looked as if the neocons’ day in the sun had finally passed.

Israel’s leadership understood the gravity of the moment. In January 2007 the Herzliya conference, an annual festival of strategy-making, invited no less than 40 Washington opinion-formers to join the usual throng of Israeli politicians, generals, journalists and academics. For a week the Israeli and American delegates spoke as one: Iran and its presumed proxy, Hizbullah, were bent on the genocidal destruction of Israel. Tehran’s development of a nuclear programme — whether for civilian use, as Iran argues, or for military use, as the US and Israel claim — had to be stopped at all costs.

While the White House turned uncharacteristically quiet all spring and summer about what it planned to do next, rumours that Israel was pondering a go-it-alone strike against Iran grew noisier by the day. Ex-Mossad officers warned of an inevitable third world war, Israeli military intelligence advised that Iran was only months away from the point of no return on developing a nuclear warhead, prominent leaks in sympathetic media revealed bombing runs to Gibraltar, and Israel started upping the pressure on several tens of thousands of Jews in Tehran to flee their homes and come to Israel.

While Western analysts opined that an attack on Iran was growing unlikely, Israel’s neighbours watched nervously through the first half of the year as the vague impression of a regional war came ever more sharply into focus. In particular Syria, after witnessing the whirlwind of savagery unleashed against Lebanon last summer, feared it was next in line in the US-Israeli campaign to break Tehran’s network of regional alliances. It deduced, probably correctly, that neither the US nor Israel would dare attack Iran without first clobbering Hizbullah and Damascus.

For some time Syria had been left in no doubt of the mood in Washington. It failed to end its pariah status in the post-9/11 period, despite helping the CIA with intelligence on al-Qaeda and secretly trying to make peace with Israel over the running sore of the occupied Golan Heights. It was rebuffed at every turn.

So as the clouds of war grew darker in the spring, Syria responded as might be expected. It went to the arms market in Moscow and bought up the displays of anti-aircraft missiles as well as anti-tank weapons of the kind Hizbullah demonstrated last summer were so effective at repelling Israel’s planned ground invasion of south Lebanon.

As the renowned Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld reluctantly conceded earlier this year, US policy was forcing Damascus to remain within Iran’s uncomfortable embrace: “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad finds himself more dependent on his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, than perhaps he would like.”

Israel, never missing an opportunity to wilfully misrepresent the behaviour of an enemy, called the Syrian military build-up proof of Damascus’ appetite for war. Apparently fearful that Syria might initiate a war by mistaking the signals from Israel as evidence of aggressive intentions, the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, urged Syria to avoid a “miscalculation”. The Israeli public spent the summer braced for a far more dangerous repeat of last summer’s war along the northern border.

It was at this point — with tensions simmeringly hot — that Israel launched its strike, sending several fighter planes into Syria on a lightning mission to hit a site near Dayr a-Zawr. As Syria itself broke the news of the attack, Israeli generals were shown on TV toasting in the Jewish new year but refusing to comment.

Details have remained thin on the ground ever since: Israel imposed a news blackout that has been strictly enforced by the country’s military censor. Instead it has been left to the Western media to speculate on what occurred.

One point that none of the pundits and analysts have noted was that, in attacking Syria, Israel committed a blatant act of aggression against its northern neighbour of the kind denounced as the “supreme international crime” by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.

Also, no one pointed out the obvious double standard applied to Israel’s attack on Syria compared to the far less significant violation of Israeli sovereignty by Hizbullah a year earlier, when the Shia militia captured two Israel soldiers at a border post and killed three more. Hizbullah‘s act was widely accepted as justification for the bombardment and destruction of much of Lebanon, even if a few sensitive souls agonised over whether Israel’s response was “disproportionate”. Would these commentators now approve of similar retaliation by Syria?

The question was doubtless considered unimportant because it was clear from Western coverage that no one — including the Israeli leadership — believed Syria was in a position to respond militarily to Israel’s attack. Olmert’s fear of a Syrian “miscalculation” evaporated the moment Israel did the maths for Damascus.

So what did Israel hope to achieve with its aerial strike?

The stories emerging from the less gagged American media suggest two scenarios. The first is that Israel targeted Iranian supplies passing through Syria on their way to Hizbullah; the second that Israel struck at a fledgling Syrian nuclear plant where materials from North Korea were being offloaded, possibly as part of a joint nuclear effort by Damascus and Tehran.

(Speculation that Israel was testing Syria’s anti-aircraft defences in preparation for an attack on Iran ignores the fact that the Israeli air force would almost certainly choose a flightpath through friendlier Jordanian airspace.)

How credible are these two scenarios?

The nuclear claims against Damascus were discounted so quickly by experts of the region that Washington was soon downgrading the accusation to claims that Syria was only hiding the material on North Korea’s behalf. But why would Syria, already hounded by Israel and the US, provide such a readymade pretext for still harsher treatment? Why, equally, would North Korea undermine its hard-won disarmament deal with the US? And why, if Syria were covertly engaging in nuclear mischief, did it alert the world to the fact by revealing the Israeli air strike?

The other justification for the attack was at least based in a more credible reality: Damascus, Hizbullah and Iran undoubtedly do share some military resources. But their alliance should be seen as the kind of defensive pact needed by vulnerable actors in a Sunni-dominated region where the US wants unlimited control of Gulf oil and supports only those repressive regimes that cooperate on its terms. All three are keenly aware that it is Israel’s job to threaten and punish any regimes that fail to toe the line.

Contrary to the impression being created in the West, genocidal hatred of Israel and Jews, however often Ahmadinejad’s speeches are mistranslated, is not the engine of these countries’ alliance.

Nonetheless, the political significance of the justifications for the the Israeli air strike is that both neatly tie together various strands of an argument needed by the neocons and Israel in making their case for an attack on Iran before Bush leaves office in early 2009. Each scenario suggests a Shia “axis of evil”, coordinated by Iran, that is actively plotting Israel’s destruction. And each story offers the pretext for an attack on Syria as a prelude to a pre-emptive strike against Tehran — launched either by Washington or Tel Aviv — to save Israel.

That these stories appear to have been planted in the American media by neocon masters of spin like John Bolton is warning enough — as is the admission that the only evidence for Syrian malfeasance is Israeli “intelligence”, the basis of which cannot be questioned as Israel is not officially admitting the attack.

It should hardly need pointing out that we are again in a hall of mirrors, as we were during the period leading up to America’s invasion of Iraq and have been during its subsequent occupation.

Bush’s “war on terror” was originally justified with the convenient and manufactured links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, as well as, of course, those WMDs that, it later turned out, had been destroyed more than a decade earlier. But ever since Tehran has invariably been the ultimate target of these improbable confections.

There were the forged documents proving both that Iraq had imported enriched uranium from Niger to manufacture nuclear warheads and that it was sharing its nuclear know-how with Iran. And as Iraq fell apart, neocon ideologues like Michael Ledeen lost no time in spreading rumours that the missing nuclear arsenal could still be accounted for: Iranian agents had simply smuggled it out of Iraq during the chaos of the US invasion.

Since then our media have proved that they have no less of an appetite for such preposterous tales. If Iran’s involvement in stirring up its fellow Shia in Iraq against the US occupation is at least possible, the same cannot be said of the regular White House claims that Tehran is behind the Sunni-led insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. A few months ago the news media served up “revelations” that Iran was secretly conspiring with al-Qaeda and Iraq’s Sunni militias to oust the US occupiers.

So what purpose does the constant innuendo against Tehran serve?

The latest accusations should be seen as an example of Israel and the neocons “creating their own reality”, as one Bush adviser famously observed of the neocon philosophy of power. The more that Hizbullah, Syria and Iran are menaced by Israel, the more they are forced to huddle together and behave in ways to protect themselves — such as arming — that can be portrayed as a “genocidal” threat to Israel and world order.

Van Creveld once observed that Tehran would be “crazy” not to develop nuclear weapons given the clear trajectory of Israeli and US machinations to overthrow the regime. So equally Syria cannot afford to jettison its alliance with Iran or its involvement with Hizbullah. In the current reality, these connections are the only power it has to deter an attack or force the US and Israel to negotiate.

But they are also the evidence needed by Israel and the neocons to convict Syria and Iran in the court of Washington opinion. The attack on Syria is part of a clever hustle, one designed to vanquish or bypass the doubters in the Bush Administration, both by proving Syria’s culpability and by provoking it to respond.

Condoleezza Rice, it emerged at the weekend, wants to invite Syria to attend the regional peace conference that has been called by President Bush for November. There can be no doubt that such an act of détente is deeply opposed by both Israel and the neocons. It reverses their strategy of implicating Damascus in the “Shia arc of extremism” and of paving the way to an attack on the real target: Iran.

Syria, meanwhile, is fighting back, as it has been for some time, with the only means available: the diplomatic offensive. For two years Bashar al-Assad has been offering a generous peace deal to Israel on the Golan Heights that Tel Aviv has refused to consider. This week, Syria made a further gesture towards peace with an offer on another piece of territory occupied by Israel, the Shebaa Farms. Under the plan, the Farms — which the United Nations now agrees belongs to Lebanon, but which Israel still claims is Syrian and cannot be returned until there is a deal on the Golan Heights — would be transferred to UN custody until the dispute over its sovereignty can be resolved.

Were either of Damascus’ initiatives to be pursued, the region might be looking forward to a period of relative calm and security. Which is reason enough why Israel and the neocons are so bitterly opposed. Instead they must establish a new reality — one in which the forces of “creative destruction” so beloved of the neocons engulf yet more of the region. For the rest of us, a simpler vocabulary suffices. What is being sold is catastrophe.

Jonathan Cook is a journalist and writer based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the author of “Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State” (Pluto Press). His forthcoming book is “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East”. His website is www.jkcook.net

Jonathan Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Jonathan Cook

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