Made Love, Got War: Norman Solomon on Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State (link)

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Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

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“The warfare state doesn’t come and go. It can’t be defeated on Election Day,” writes media critic Norman Solomon in his new book, Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State. Like it or not, it’s at the core of the United States – and it has infiltrated our very being.” Norman Solomon joins us in our firehouse studio to about the book. [includes rush transcript]

From privatized war, we now turn to a discussion of permanent war. “The warfare state doesn’t come and go. It can’t be defeated on Election Day. Like it or not, it’s at the core of the United States – and it has infiltrated our very being.” That’s a quote from media critic and best-selling author Norman Solomon’s new book. It’s called “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.”The book traces the panic generated by the launch of Sputnik exactly 50 years ago to the current warmongering with Iran. It is the story of the US government’s preoccupation over the past half-century with “the business of killing and being killed.”Norman Solomon is a nationally syndicated columnist and the author of 12 other books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” He is also the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

  • Norman Solomon, Author of “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State.” He is a nationally syndicated columnist on media and politics and the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.


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.

Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich: Students Can Change the Outcome + 2nd Life (videos)

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Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich – Volunteers


Santa Barbara City College, Sept 24, 2007

A short walk-through of the Second Life site


Dennis Kucinich: Blackwater Hearing (video)

Dennis Kucinich – Text for Peace (video)

Robert Scheer & Jon Alpert – The Price of Truth (video)

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Jon Alpert traveled to Iraq in 1991 to document the war. Hours before his footage was to air on NBC, the network canceled its broadcast and fired h…

Jon Alpert traveled to Iraq in 1991 to document the war. Hours before his footage was to air on NBC, the network canceled its broadcast and fired him. In this Link TV interview, Robert Scheer discusses the firing and we air the controversial film.
More information at…

Alive in Baghdad: Iraqis Discuss the Resistance (video)

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In this piece you will here from three Iraqis, Khalid, Rana, and Sami, on the topic of the Iraqi Resistance.

Visit eac…

In this piece you will here from three Iraqis, Khalid, Rana, and Sami, on the topic of the Iraqi Resistance.

Visit each Monday for new videos about life in Iraq!

Make a donation to support our work at

Phil Donahue on Veterans’ Rights (short video)

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Link TV’s Wendy Hanamura interviews Phil Donahue, TV personality and “Body of War” producer, on veterans’ rights and his run in with NBC over the I…

Link TV’s Wendy Hanamura interviews Phil Donahue, TV personality and “Body of War” producer, on veterans’ rights and his run in with NBC over the Iraq War.

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Bush’s Global ‘Dirty War’ by Robert Parry

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by Robert Parry
Global Research, October 3, 2007 – 2007-10-01

Though this reality has been the subject of whispers within the U.S. intelligence community for several years, it has now emerged into public view with two attempted prosecutions of American soldiers whose defense attorneys cited “rules of engagement” that permit the killing of suspected insurgents.

One case involved Army sniper Jorge G. Sandoval Jr. who was acquitted by a U.S. military court in Baghdad on Sept. 28 in the murders of two unarmed Iraqi men – one on April 27 and the other on May 11 – because the jury accepted defense arguments that the killings were within the approved rules.

The Sandoval case also revealed a classified program in which the Pentagon’s Asymmetric Warfare Group encouraged U.S. military snipers in Iraq to drop “bait” – such as electrical cords and ammunition – and then shoot Iraqis who pick up the items, according to evidence in the Sandoval case. [Washington Post, Sept. 24, 2007]

(Sandoval was convicted of a lesser charge of planting a coil of copper wire on one of the slain Iraqis. He was sentenced to five months in prison and a reduction in rank but will be eligible to rejoin his unit in as few as 44 days.)

The other recent case of authorized murder of an insurgent suspect surfaced at a military court hearing at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in mid-September. Two U.S. Special Forces soldiers took part in the execution of an Afghani who was suspected of leading an insurgent group.

Though the Afghani, identified as Nawab Buntangyar, responded to questions and offered no resistance when encountered on Oct. 13, 2006, he was shot dead by Master Sgt. Troy Anderson on orders from his superior officer, Capt. Dave Staffel.

According to evidence at the Fort Bragg proceedings, an earlier Army investigation had cleared the two soldiers because they had been operating under “rules of engagement” that empowered them to kill individuals who have been designated “enemy combatants,” even if the targets were unarmed and presented no visible threat.

Yet, whatever the higher-ups approve as “rules of engagement,” the practice of murdering unarmed suspects remains a violation of the laws of war and – theoretically at least – would open up the offending country’s chain of command to war-crimes charges.

Troubling Picture

The troubling picture is that the U.S. chain of command, presumably up to President Bush, has authorized loose “rules of engagement” that allow targeted killings – as well as other objectionable tactics including arbitrary arrests, “enhanced interrogations,” kidnappings in third countries with “extraordinary renditions” to countries that torture, secret CIA prisons, detentions without trial, and “reeducation camps” for younger detainees.

The U.S. counterinsurgency and security operations in Iraq and Afghanistan also have been augmented by heavily armed mercenaries, such as the Blackwater “security contractors” who operate outside the law and were accused by Iraqi authorities of killing at least 11 Iraqi civilians in a shooting incident on Sept. 16.

The use of lethal force against unarmed suspects and civilians has a notorious history in irregular warfare especially when an occupying army finds itself confronting an indigenous resistance in which guerrillas and their political supporters blend in with the local population.

In effect, Bush’s “global war on terror” appears to have reestablished what was known during the Vietnam War as Operation Phoenix, a program that assassinated Vietcong cadre, including suspected communist political allies.

Through a classified Pentagon training program known as “Project X,” the lessons of Operation Phoenix from the 1960s were passed on to Third World armies, especially in Latin America allegedly giving a green light to some of the “dirty wars” that swept the region in the following decades. [For details, see Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush.]

Bush’s global strategy also has similarities to “Operation Condor” in which South American right-wing military regimes in the 1970s sent assassins on cross-border operations to eliminate “subversives.”

Despite behind-the-scenes support for some of these Latin American “death squads,” the U.S. government presented itself as the great defender of human rights and criticized repressive countries that engaged in extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions.

That gap between American rhetoric and reality widened after 9/11 as Bush waged his “war on terror,” while continuing to impress the American news media with pretty words about his commitment to human rights – as occurred in his address to the United Nations on Sept. 25.

Under Bush’s remarkable double standards, he has taken the position that he can override both international law and the U.S. Constitution in deciding who gets basic human rights and who doesn’t. He sees himself as the final judge of whether people he deems “bad guys” should live or die, or face indefinite imprisonment and even torture.

Effective Immunity

While such actions by other leaders might provoke demands for an international war-crimes tribunal, there would appear to be no likelihood of that in this case since the offending nation is the United States. Given its “superpower” status, the United States and its senior leadership are effectively beyond the reach of international law.

However, even if the Bush administration can expect a real-politik immunity from a war-crimes trial, the brutal tactics of the “global war on terror” – as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan – continue to alienate the Muslim world and undermine much of Bush’s geopolitical strategy.

The ugly image of Americans killing unarmed Iraqis also helps explain the growing hostility of Iraqis toward the presence of U.S. troops.

While the Bush administration has touted the supposed improved security created by the “surge” of additional U.S. troops into Iraq, a major poll found Iraqis increasingly object to the American occupation.

A survey of more than 2,000 Iraqis by the BBC, ABC News and the Japanese news agency, NHK, discovered mounting opposition to the U.S. occupation and increasing blame put on American forces for Iraq’s security problems.

Eighty-five percent of those polled said they had little or no confidence in American and British occupation forces, up from 82 percent in February, when the “surge” began. Only 18 percent said they thought the coalition forces had done a good job, down from 24 percent in February. Forty-seven percent said occupying forces should leave now, up from 35 percent.

The number of Iraqis who feel the U.S. invasion was wrong also jumped 10 percentage points to 63 percent in August compared to 53 percent in February. The new survey found 57 percent of Iraqis supporting attacks on U.S. troops, up from 51 percent in February and 17 percent in 2004.

As for the surge itself, 70 percent said it had made the security situation worse with only 18 percent citing any improvement.

Regarding social and economic conditions, the poll also revealed a dismal outlook:

Only 8 percent of Iraqis now rate their supply of electricity as good, down from 46 percent in 2005. Only 25 percent were satisfied with the availability of clean water compared to 58 percent two years ago, helping to explain the outbreak of cholera from northern Iraq to Baghdad.

Only 32 percent of Iraqis called medical care adequate compared to 62 percent in 2005. Satisfaction with schools fell to 51 percent from 74 percent in 2005. Satisfaction with family economic situations also was down to 37 percent from 70 percent two years ago.

Blackwater Mercenaries

Little wonder that the unpopular Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has sought to make an issue over the trigger-happy tendencies of Blackwater mercenaries who provide security for U.S. embassy personnel and other American VIPs.

On Sept. 16, Blackwater gunmen accompanying a U.S. diplomatic convoy apparently sensed an ambush and opened fire, spraying a Baghdad square with bullets. Eyewitness accounts indicated that the Blackwater team apparently overreacted to a car, containing a son and his mother, moving into the square and killed about 17 people, including those in the car.

(Earlier accounts erroneously reported that a child also died in the car and put the total death toll lower, at between 8 and 11. Though at least one child did die in the incident, there was no child in the car, according to a detailed investigation by the New York Times published on Oct. 3.)

“Blackwater has no respect for the Iraqi people,” an Iraqi Interior Ministry official told the Washington Post. “They consider Iraqis like animals, although actually I think they may have more respect for animals.” [Washington Post, Sept. 20, 2007]

Iraqis have objected to other disregard of innocent life by American troops, such as the killing of two dozen Iraqis in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, after one Marine died from an improvised explosive device.

According to published accounts of U.S. military investigations, the dead Marine’s comrades retaliated by pulling five men from a cab and shooting them, and entering two homes where civilians, including women and children, were slaughtered.

The Marines then tried to cover up the killings by claiming that the civilian deaths were caused by the original explosion or a subsequent firefight, according to investigations by the U.S. military and human rights groups.

One of the accused Marines, Sgt. Frank Wuterich, gave his account of the Haditha killings in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” including an admission that his squad tossed a grenade into one of the residences without knowing who was inside.

“Frank, help me understand,” asked interviewer Scott Pelley. “You’re in a residence, how do you crack a door open and roll a grenade into a room?”

“At that point, you can’t hesitate to make a decision,” Wuterich answered. “Hesitation equals being killed, either yourself or your men.”

“But when you roll a grenade in a room through the crack in the door, that’s not positive identification, that’s taking a chance on anything that could be behind that door,” Pelley said.

“Well, that’s what we do. That’s how our training goes,” Wuterich said.

Who’s at Fault?

Four Marines were singled out for courts martial over the Haditha killings though some legal analysts believe the case could be jeopardized by the loose “rules of engagement” that let U.S. troops kill Iraqis when a threat is detected.

Nevertheless, as in earlier killings of Iraqi civilians – or the sexual and other abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison – punishments are likely to stop at the level of rank-and-file soldiers with higher-ups avoiding accountability.

In large part, the lack of high-level accountability stems from the fact that the key instigator of both the illegal invasion of Iraq and the harsh tactics employed in the “war on terror” is President Bush.

Not only did he order an aggressive war – a concept condemned by World War II’s Nuremberg Tribunal as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” – but Bush pumped U.S. troops full of false propaganda by linking Iraq with the 9/11 attacks.

Bush’s subliminal connections between the Iraq War and 9/11 continued years after U.S. intelligence dismissed any linkage. For instance, on June 18, 2005, more than two years into the Iraq War, Bush told the American people that “we went to war because we were attacked” on 9/11.

Bush’s rhetorical excesses, though primarily designed to build and maintain a political consensus behind the war at home, had the predictable effect of turning loose a revenge-seeking and heavily armed U.S. military force on the Iraqi population.

Little wonder that a poll of 944 U.S. military personnel in Iraq – taken in January and February 2006 – found that 85 percent believed the U.S. mission in Iraq was mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9/11 attacks.” Seventy-seven percent said a chief war goal was “to stop Saddam from protecting al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

In that context, many Americans sympathize with the individual U.S. soldiers who have to make split-second life-or-death decisions while thinking they are operating under legitimate rules of engagement that allow killing perceived enemies even if they are unarmed and showing no aggressive intent.

Salvador Option’

By early 2005, as the Iraqi insurgency grew, an increasingly frustrated Bush administration reportedly debated a “Salvador option” for Iraq, an apparent reference to the “death squad” operations that decimated the ranks of perceived leftists who were opposed to El Salvador’s right-wing military junta in the early 1980s.

According to Newsweek magazine, President Bush was contemplating the adoption of that brutal “still-secret strategy” of the Reagan administration as a way to get a handle on the spiraling violence in Iraq.

“Many U.S. conservatives consider the policy [in El Salvador] to have been a success – despite the deaths of innocent civilians,” Newsweek wrote.

The magazine also noted that many of Bush’s advisers were leading figures in the Central American operations of the 1980s, including Elliott Abrams, who is now an architect of Middle East policy on the National Security Council.

In Guatemala, about 200,000 people perished, including what a truth commission later termed a genocide against Mayan Indians in the Guatemalan highlands. In El Salvador, about 70,000 died including massacres of whole villages, such as the slaughter committed by a U.S.-trained battalion against hundreds of men, women and children near the town of El Mozote in 1981.

The Reagan administration’s “Salvador option” also had a domestic component, the so-called “perception management” operation that employed sophisticated propaganda to manipulate the fears of the American people while hiding the ugly reality of the wars.

[For details about how these strategies worked and the role of George H.W. Bush, see Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege. For more on the Salvador option, see’s “Bush’s Death Squads,” Jan. 11, 2005.]

In the Iraqi-sniper case, Army sniper Sandoval admitted killing an Iraqi man near the town of Iskandariya on April 27 after a skirmish with insurgents. Sandoval testified that his team leader, Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley, ordered him to kill a man cutting grass with a rusty scythe because he was suspected of being an insurgent posing as a farmer.

The second killing occurred on May 11 when a man walked into a concealed location where Sandoval, Hensley and other snipers were hiding. After the Iraqi was detained, another sniper, Sgt. Evan Vela, was ordered to shoot the man in the head by Hensley and did so, according to Vela’s testimony at Sandoval’s court martial.

Sandoval was acquitted of murder charges because a military jury concluded that his actions were within the rules of engagement. Hensley is to go on trial in a few weeks.

Regarding the Afghanistan case, Special Forces Capt. Staffel and Sgt. Anderson were leading a team of Afghan soldiers when an informant told them where a suspected insurgent leader was hiding. The U.S.-led contingent found a man believed to be Nawab Buntangyar walking outside his compound near the village of Hasan Kheyl.

While the Americans kept their distance out of fear the suspect might be wearing a suicide vest, the man was questioned about his name and the Americans checked his description against a list from the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force Afghanistan, known as “the kill-or-capture list.”

Concluding that the man was insurgent leader Nawab Buntangyar, Staffel gave the order to shoot, and Anderson – from a distance of about 100 yards away – fired a bullet through the man’s head, killing him instantly.

‘Classified Mission

The soldiers viewed the killing as “a textbook example of a classified mission completed in accordance with the American rules of engagement,” the International Herald Tribune reported. “The men said such rules allowed them to kill Buntangyar, whom the American military had designated a terrorist cell leader, once they positively identified him.”

Staffel’s civilian lawyer Mark Waple said the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command concluded in April that the shooting was “justifiable homicide,” but a two-star general in Afghanistan instigated a murder charge against the two men. That case, however, has floundered over accusations that the charge was improperly filed. [IHT, Sept. 17, 2007]

The U.S. news media has given the Fort Bragg case only minor coverage concentrating mostly on legal sparring. The New York Times’ inside-the-paper, below-the-fold headline on Sept. 19 was “Green Beret Hearing Focuses on How Charges Came About.”

The Washington Post did publish a front-page story on the “bait” aspect of the Sandoval case – when family members of U.S. soldiers implicated in the killings came forward with evidence of high-level encouragement of the snipers – but the U.S. news media has treated the story mostly as a minor event and has drawn no larger implications.

The greater significance of the cases is that they confirm the long-whispered allegations that the U.S. chain of command has approved standing orders that give the U.S. military broad discretion to kill suspected militants on sight.

The “global war on terror” appears to have morphed into a global “dirty war” with George W. Bush in ultimate command.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there. Or go to

Robert Parry is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Robert Parry


Olbermann: Rush & Phoney Soldiers w/Maddow + Blackwater + War Tax + Worst Person (videos)

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At the Heart of Who We Are As a People By John Frohnmayer

Dandelion Salad

By John Frohnmayer
10/03/07 “The Oregonian

Suppose you hire a person to check groceries but, instead of doing so, he tells customers to put their items back on the shelves. Do you fire him? Of course you do.

Now suppose we hire a president whose constitutional job description is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Instead, he issues more than a thousand signing statements saying, in effect, he’s not going to execute parts of the very laws he has signed. Do we fire him? Of course we do.

Impeachment is not a political issue. It’s a constitutional issue. The U.S. Constitution describes impeachment more fully and carefully than practically any other power delegated to Congress. Impeachment is mentioned six times in the Constitution as the remedy for any misbehavior of our high officials. Yes, President Clinton’s impeachment was a political circus, but impeachment of President Bush is necessary to maintain our government’s separation of powers, our checks and balances, our Constitution’s integrity.

While The Oregonian’s recent editorial (”The emptiness of impeachment,” Sept. 29) opined that impeachment would be “pointless,” my view is that it is essential because, after all, the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.” What could be more important than preserving the rule of law? It is the bedrock of our democratic society.

Let me give you an example of a signing statement, this one issued on March 9, 2006, when Bush signed the renewal of the USA Patriot Act. Part of the signing statement says: “The executive branch shall construe the provisions … that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch … in a manner consistent with the president’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information … which could impair the deliberate process of the executive.” In other words, Congress cannot expect the reports of FBI activities that the law requires. Not only will President Bush not enforce the law, but he also has told Congress to pound sand.

As The Oregonian points out, Congress has “waived its own oversight responsibilities.” But just because Congress is weak-kneed doesn’t mean that we ought not to require it to execute its constitutional duties — for the House to impeach and the Senate to try President Bush on the basis of his refusal to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

There may not be much time left. There may not be much political will among our elected representatives. But this issue goes to the very heart of who we are as a people. Either we are a nation of laws, or we are nothing.

President Bush has taken the oath of office prescribed for him in the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Instead, he has engaged in a concerted course of constitutional vandalism.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

John Frohnmayer, a Corvallis lawyer and former head of the National Endowment for the Arts, is running as an Independent Party candidate for the U.S. Senate.

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.

How to Address Humanity’s Global Crises? By Vandana Shiva

Dandelion Salad

By Vandana Shiva
Posted October 1, 2007

Challenge Corporate Power, Embrace True Democracy

The physicist, activist and author outlines the scope of the “triple threat” represented by the end of cheap oil, human-induced climate change, and resource scarcity.

Editor’s note: the following remarks were made this September at a conference on “Confronting the Global Triple Crisis — Climate Change, Peak Oil, Global Resource Depletion & Extinction,” in Washington DC. For more information, visit the International Forum on Globalization’s website.

Before I came here I was very fortunate to join the group of scientists and religious leaders who made a trip to the Arctic to witness the melting of the icecaps. An entire way of life is being destroyed. You’ve seen the polar bears losing their ecological space, but the highest mobility in that part of the world is the dog sledge. And they can’t use it. They’re locked into their villages because the ice is now too thin to travel on it. But it’s still there and therefore not good enough for them to use boats.

The same melting is making the Himalayan glaciers in my region, the Ganges glacier, recede by 30 meters a year. In twenty years time, the Himalayan glaciers will have reduced from 500,000 square kilometers to 100,000 square kilometers. And given our rainfall patterns, in the hot summer season when we have a drought, it’s only the melting of the glaciers that brings us water. So we’re talking about one-fifth of humanity, twenty to thirty years from now, having no water in the grand rivers around which the grand civilizations of Asia have been built.

And where did this start? All this feels so timeless, but it started with humanity getting at the fossil fuel, which was never supposed to be touched… But that model carries on. And globalization now is industrializing every activity of every human being’s life across the planet. For me, globalization is really expanding the use of fossil fuel.

And so while on the one hand, when we talk climate change, we’re talking about reducing emissions, the entire economic model is based on increasing emissions. It is based on increasing emissions by destroying small-scale peasant farming and introducing large-scale industrial agriculture. It’s increasing emissions by making every one of us dependent on our everyday needs to come from China.

Everything today is being made where it can be made most cheaply, which means where sources can be exploited the fastest and workers can be exploited the highest. And at one level, that’s what’s being reflected in China’s double-digit growth and India’s nine percent growth. It’s basically converting our resources into commodities, to be sold around the world.

But that conversion requires the wastage of human beings on a scale we’ve never seen. In India right now, the relocation of industry for example; industry like steel that’s shutting down in Europe and America, is relocating to India. Automobile companies that are shutting down in the West are moving to India; they’re talking about making 50 million cars in India annually. Only four percent of India will ever own them. The rest will either be exported or that four percent will have eight cars rather than two. Already my landlord has five in a family of three. Those cars need minerals, they need steel, they need iron ore mining, they need aluminum, they need bauxite mining. And every inch of the land in India is today serving a global, fossil fuel economy that’s on fast forward.

It needs land; land grab is the biggest resource crisis. Land you can’t create, you can only exhaust. But peasants are saying we will not move. That’s what they said in Nandigram, 25 were shot dead and they refuse to move. In Dhandri, where women were raped and attacked and refused to move. In place after place, the tribals, the peasants in India are saying this our land, this is our mother, and this is where we will be. And when the money for compensation becomes bigger and bigger– I love this action– the Nandigram peasants sent a letter to the chief ministers to say, “How much is your mother for sale. How much will you take for her? Because this land is our mother.”

And the globalization of agriculture has really become genocidal. It’s hugely responsible for increasing greenhouse gases, whether it’s from the nitrogen fertilizers of the fossil fuel in the mechanical energy that’s used, or in the long distance transport and food miles. But on the ground it’s killing people. Long before it will kill us through climate change, it’s killing people, physically killing people.

150,000 farmers have been pushed to end their lives in India because of Monsanto seed monopolies. Monsanto was collecting 2,400 rupees as royalty for a kilogram of Bt cotton seed that they were selling for 3,200 rupees. They’re in the courts right now; we’ve challenged them, we’ve joined one of the state governments. They’re saying we have a right to this monopoly and we’re saying our country has never given you this right. They assume they got it in the United States and therefore they have it everywhere, whether the law allows it or not.


h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

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.


Good People Gather: Oct. 12-14 Erie, PA (audio link; LaDuke; Jensen; Shiva)

“WTO Kills Farmers”: India Free Market Reforms Trigger Farmers’ Suicides by Jessica Long

Antiwar Radio: Charles Goyette Interviews Chalmers Johnson (link)

Dandelion Salad

Antiwar Radio
Oct. 3, 2007

Antiwar Radio: Charles Goyette Interviews Chalmers Johnson

Chalmers Johnson, author of the indispensable Blowback trilogy, discusses the economic costs of empire, his belief that Bush has decided against war with Iran, the failure of the American people and the structure of the Republic to prevent executive branch tyranny, Admiral Fallon’s dangerous insubordination for a good cause and the future of blowback against the United States, the secrecy of the national security state and Israel’s recent bombing of Syria.

Iran terror label bites deep By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

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By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
10/03/07 “Asia Times

In the aftermath of the US House of Representatives’ recent resolution branding the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as terrorist, the White House is reportedly poised to formally place it on the terrorist list of the US State Department, with ramifications to follow, such as a freeze on the IRGC’s assets wherever the US can get its hands on them.

This is considered a small victory by anti-Iran hawks, who know the important side-effects of this initiative in inching the US closer to war against Iran. Veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, meanwhile, has written about a “policy shift” in Washington. This involves a thirst for confrontation with Iran less on the grounds of Iran’s nuclear program and more as a result of the situation in Iraq, where Iran has gained substantial influence, to the detriment of US-led coalition forces.

Justifying the anti-IRGC resolution in the name of an attempt to protect US soldiers, various lawmakers, such as Senator Joe Lieberman and Congresman Tom Lantos have accused the IRGC of supporting terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied territories. They dismiss the small yet loud dissent by fellow legislators, such as Senator Chuck Hagel and Congressman Dennis Kucinich, that this is a misguided initiative that could increase the possibility of war with Iran.

The case for the designation of the IRGC as terrorists has been built on thin empirical grounds and even thinner legal grounds, and is bound to complicate the US’s Iraq policy. The arguments against the move can be listed as:

1. Illicit use of the term terrorist: Following the United Nations’ definition of terrorism as the use of violence against unarmed civilians for political objectives, it is difficult to see how the activities of the IRGC alleged by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan can be fitted into this definition. Per the recent testimony of top US commanders, the IRGC, particularly its elite Quds Force, has been giving arms and explosives to Shi’ite militias which, in turn, use them against US forces. Assuming this is true, given the fact that Shi’ite (or Sunni) militias opposed to the US military presence are not referred to by the US itself as terrorists, but “insurgents”, the question is: Why then brand the Iranian backers of those insurgents as a step worse than those directly fighting the US, and name them terrorists?

2. Scant empirical proof: The US has until now failed to lay out the facts against Iran and that is one reason the senior leadership in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as certain members of the international community, are not going along with the US’s accusations against Iran. A case in point is Chris Alexander, the deputy UN representative to Kabul, who had this to say recently: “We are, quite frankly, trying to encourage everyone to recommit to having a sense of proportion, to putting the reality of the insecurity of Afghanistan into proportion. That means not saying that Iran is the principle source of arms shipments to the Taliban. That’s simply not true.”

In Iraq, the US has reportedly apprehended a number of Iranian operatives linked to the Quds Force, yet none of those individuals, including the five doing consular work in Ibril until kidnapped by US special forces nearly a year ago, has admitted to the crime alleged by the US. Nor has the US military introduced any documents that corroborate the allegations. The question, then, is how to justify the IRGC’s terrorist labeling in the absence of viable hard proof?

3. Questionable assumptions about the IRGC: Key to the designation of the IRGC’s designation as terrorists is the assumption that it, and the Quds Force in particular, are “rogue” or “government-within-government” operatives. To paraphrase recent articles in the Washington Times and by the Council on Foreign Relations, they are “mafia-type” institutions. The problem with this is that, again, there is little about Iranian polity that endorses it.

The IRGC is very influential and some members of Parliament (Majlis), the cabinet, government ministries and local administrations have backgrounds in the IRGC. This actually shows the depth of integration of the IRGC (past and present) in formal government structures.

The much-scrutinized role of the IRGC in the economy, on the other hand, can be similarly interpreted as further support for the counter-argument that with the growing involvement of those guards in the formal and informal economy, their vested economic interests dictate more and more mainstream, as opposed to terroristic and subversive, behavior.

4. Questionable designation over Lebanon: Although the IRGC has played a prominent role in supporting Lebanon’s Hezbollah since the early 1980s, calling the IRGC terrorists because of this is problematic. This in light of Hezbollah’s powerful mass base, its political clout and its participation in parliamentary politics of Lebanon.

Hence, to designate Hezbollah as terrorist because of its occasional face-offs with the Israelis, is to turn this terminology into a propaganda tool that ignores important realities in the Middle East. Indeed, by labeling the IRGC as terrorists, the US will probably torpedo its own slow coming to terms with Hezbollah’s staying power.

5. Overlooking history: US and Israeli hawks don’t like to hear this, but in both Bosnia-Herzegovina during the early and mid-1990s and more recently in Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, the US military and the IRGC interacted positively. In Bosnia, invited by the Bosnian government under siege, the IRGC trained and armed Bosnian fighters, with the tacit blessing of the White House. They continued to provide humanitarian support even after their military role ended shortly after the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, which called for the exit of foreign forces.

Similarly, in Afghanistan, where the IRGC played a prominent role in supporting the anti-Taliban and anti-al-Qaeda Northern Alliance led by the late Ahmad Shah Masoud long before the US cavalry arrived in 2001, US and IRGC commanders met repeatedly both before and after Kabul’s fall into the hands of the Northern Alliance.

6. Negative costs outweigh benefits: Given Iran’s stern reaction to this initiative, such as reciprocating by branding the US military and the Central Intelligence Agency as terrorist, there is little doubt that this initiative will have a corrosive influence on the diplomatic track between the US and Iran and pave the way to the nightmare scenario of physical confrontation. Dissenting voices in the US Congress have already warned of this.

For one thing, this action will at a minimum put a huge dent in the progress already made in the US-Iran dialogue over Iraq in the form of a joint committee of experts to discuss security-related issues. If the US is correct and Iran’s intelligence operatives in Iraq are from the Quds Force, then the question becomes: How can the US expect to enlist Iran’s cooperation on security and intelligence matters when it has branded its potential counterparts across the table terrorists?

7. No chance of an “incident at sea” agreement: The IRGC is not a one-dimensional army of 125,000 plus soldiers. It has an air force and a navy, in tandem with the regular Iranian army and navy. They are also active as Iran’s coast guards, as seen in their temporary detention of British sailors this year.

This means that the terrorist labeling of the IRGC could be a catalyst for confrontation between the US Navy and IRGC in the Persian Gulf and nearby waters, especially the disputed waters shared by Iran and Iraq. Moreover, the possibility of an “incident at sea” agreement between the US and Iran will be substantially reduced when and if Washington formally categorizes the IRGC as terrorist, thus depriving the region of effective conflict-prevention mechanisms.

8. Difficult enforcement measures: As “terrorists”, the entire IRGC ensemble, including its purely civilian projects, many of which are in partnership with foreign contractors, will come under the purview of US anti-terrorist measures. These include the IRGC’s management of the new Mehrabad International Airport and IRGC-controlled telecommunication companies, not to mention a host of medical, purely charitable, activities.

The IRGC is partly responsible for the health care of about 60,000 victims of Iraq’s chemical attacks in the 1980s, as well as thousands of other war veterans who sustained long-term injuries in the was with Iraq.

There will be complicating effects on European and other companies doing business with the non-military branches of the IRGC, for instance, those involved in building houses for the large number of families of members of the IRGC “martyred” in the war with Iraq.

So the terror designation will affect the IRGC’s charitable foundations, which will swell anti-American anger in Iran to new heights.

9. Terrorist label helps Iranian hardliners: US hawks may have intended the designation as a wrench to cause divisions within Iran, but the exact opposite has already happened. The IRGC are now even more popular than before, basking in their front-line status against the “great Satan”. And political moderates are unhappy with yet another unwise US move that provides a political bonanza for their competition.

Having said that, it is an error to say that the entire IRGC consists of ideological zealots and hardliners, given that most of its rank and file supported moderate former president Mohammad Khatami in his re-election bid six years ago. But the likely net result of the terrorist labeling will be to tilt the majority of IRGC members and their families and friends toward more militant tendencies.

10. Wrong in international law: As mentioned above, the designation does not not fit well with the UN’s definition of terrorism. And it raises serious questions in terms of the UN charter, which calls on member states to resolve disputes through “pacific settlement”.

Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran’s Foreign Policy (Westview Press) and co-author of “Negotiating Iran’s Nuclear Populism”, Brown Journal of World Affairs, Volume XII, Issue 2, Summer 2005, with Mustafa Kibaroglu. He also wrote “Keeping Iran’s nuclear potential latent”, Harvard International Review, and is author of Iran’s Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction.

Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd.

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Iranian official backs labelling U.S. army, CIA as terrorists

U.S. Plans Biggest Terror Drill Ever

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 3, 2007
Associated Press

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Loaded Language and Loaded Guns By Charles Sullivan

Dandelion Salad

By Charles Sullivan
10/03/07 “ICH

The Meaning of Opposites

One can no longer understand US governmental policy on the basis of conventional language or traditional wisdom. Language itself and its long-established meanings were long ago twisted and distorted in order to deceive the people. Now war is peace and terror and occupation is liberation. In order to make sense of what is happening, it is important to understand everything within the context of a specific economic philosophy, and the distorted capitalist system that spawned it.

That ideology was crafted by a diminutive economist named Milton Friedman, at the University of Chicago some five decades ago. The holy trinity of Friedman’s version of capitalism—privatization of the public domain, corporate deregulation, and deep cuts in social spending—has resulted in enormous societal inequity and socio-economic classes. It has given us the haves and the have-nots, the haves and the have-mores.

Friedman and his disciples, collectively known as ‘The Chicago School’ do not believe in a minimum wage—much less a living wage, unions, worker rights, environmental protections, worker safety, or any other kind of restraint imposed upon corporations. In Friedman’s view, the market should rule and profitability should be the guiding principle, the end results always justifying the means.

The implementation of Friedman’s version of unfettered capitalism relies upon munificent corporate welfare, tax cuts to the wealthy, exploitation of workers, and the outright theft of other sovereign nation’s natural wealth through military force—including oil and minerals, water supplies and other societal infrastructure; cheap labor, and a procession of consumers of goods and services without limits—an impossibility in a closed ecological system.

Convincing the public to support policies that are, in fact, detrimental to them, requires enormous marketing skill, as well as a corporate owned and operated propaganda apparatus that is second to none. This is accomplished by cloaking harmful policies in patriotic language, and other forms of seduction.

In order to achieve this objective, which is really nothing less than unqualified global corporate dominance, the public domain must be privatized and run not for use, but for profit; and the unparalleled might of the US military brought to bear against any nation or people who stand in the way.

It is this thinking—the dominant economic paradigm that shapes all US policy—that has brought us an endless succession of wars and other human tragedies; exacerbated global warming, and unprecedented rapacious planetary destruction, including the mass extinction of much of the world’s flora and fauna — all for corporate profit.

Decades ago, in order to field test the economic theories that were formulated by the right wing think tanks at The Chicago School, Friedman and his disciples descended like locusts upon Latin America. The results were devastating: Democratically elected governments were systematically overthrown and brutal dictators friendly to US business interests were installed in their place—all of which were subsidized by US tax dollars with the complicity of the CIA.

As a result, US-trained death squads roamed the countryside torturing, murdering, and disappearing dissidents, union organizers, and indigenous land holders—a process that continues to this day. The corporate media, itself, an essential cog in Friedman’s capitalist machine, referred to these death squads as freedom fighters, and canonized the likes Ronald Reagan as champions of liberty.

But the recipients of US policy in Latin America—those who survived them—know better. Now the same policies are being implemented in the Middle East, and with the same disastrous results. Elements of Friedman’s policies have been in play here in the US for decades, and the intent is to do to the US what was done in Latin America and Iraq.

Language is a tool that can be used to either conceal or reveal truth; it can be used to inform or to distort. Given the track record of private enterprise, it is not surprising that everything associated with Milton Friedman’s capitalism has been hopelessly perverted, and language is no exception.

Understanding the role played by Friedman and his disciples in shaping US policy—a doctrine adopted and praised by Republicans and Democrats alike, is critical in order to bring the big picture of world events, including our own domestic policies, into clear focus.

The disciples of Friedman’s economic theorem have skillfully manipulated the language to deceive the subjects of those policies. Stripped of the garments of seductive language, the hidden kernel of truth is clearly seen: unregulated corporate power that masquerades as free market trade. The nations that have undergone Friedman’s economic shock therapy: Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia, and many others, were opened up to privatization and corporate plunder that soon left them impoverished and wasted.

The once sustainable and vibrant local economies, most of them characterized by broad public ownership, were thoroughly globalized, as capitalism was forced upon those who had rejected it at the ballot box or through armed revolution. Local manufactures were no longer protected from multi-nationals: prices soared, wages fell, workers lost their jobs, unemployment rose astronomically, and the infrastructure that once provided inexpensive or free public services—among them, potable water and inexpensive food—were privatized and rendered unaffordable to the multitudes.

Shared prosperity quickly gave way to abject poverty and misery; while predatory US corporations bled nation after nation of their natural wealth, and kept the profits to themselves.

Here in the US, the people of New Orleans and other Gulf Coast cities in the wake of Hurricane Katrina experienced the same economic shock and awe as Latin America. The poor were relocated and resorts for the rich quickly supplanted affordable public housing. The public school system was virtually dismantled and privatized. Contractors such as Halliburton and Blackwater reaped enormous profits on the misery and suffering of the Gulf Region’s working poor. Corporate profits mattered more than the lives of the people. New Orleans will never be the same.

All of this was accomplished by stripping language of its traditional connotations and perverting it into its opposite meaning. Thus lies became truth and predatory capitalism morphed into beneficent public service. The new definitions are designed to conceal the real intent of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, and are employed as marketing tools to make blatant theft and exploitation appear palatable to the multitudes, and to the helpless victims of unfettered capitalism.

Had the hidden agenda of our elected officials been widely known to the public, the people would likely find these policies not only objectionable, but morally reprehensible and offensive. Now Orwellian doublespeak is the norm, resulting in the enforcement arm of capitalism—the police state and an emerging Gestapo society, perpetrated in the name of a democracy that does not even exist.

The dictum of freedom, as understood by rational and conscientious human beings everywhere, has traditionally been applied to people and refers to their treatment by one another and their respective governments. However, when free market capitalists speak of freedom and democracy, as we are witnessing in the catastrophic situation they have created in the Middle East, they are not referring to human freedoms at all—but to unfettered capitalism, absolute corporate rule, and human servitude to wealth garnered at public expense—essentially a global terrorist slave state. That is what is meant by so called free markets as it pertains to the human condition.

Thus democracy, rather than meaning self-government of the people, by the people, and for the people, is perverted into support for deregulated corporations that are accountable to no one, the ultimate arbiter of all forms of power—the market as a Holy Grail; the decisive triumph of private ownership over people and the public welfare by the global elite.

And that, in a nutshell, is what we are fighting for not only in the Middle East, but in 135 nations around the world. These are the American interests the military is protecting; these are the freedoms they are defending from democracy.

In the idiom of free market capitalism, all things—whether soil, mineral, plant or animal, including human beings (wage slaves), are diminished and commodified, and valued only in proportion as they can be privatized and exploited by the champions of Laissez-Faire capitalism.

Furthermore, let it be understood that the president and his cabinet, as well as every member of Congress (with one exception), are disciples of Friedman’s economic paradigm. Not only are they doing everything in their power to implement Friedman’s policies, they have been doing so for a very long time.

This perception certainly demystifies the remarkable homogeneity of US policy that has sent countless young men and women dressed in military uniforms to their deaths, and disappeared millions of leftist dissidents around the world. And it will continue unabated unless we the people put a stop to it.

Author’s note: Anyone wishing a more complete understanding of these policies should read Naomi Klein’s authoritative new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. I cannot underscore enough the breadth and importance of Ms. Klein’s work in understanding capitalism, corporate globalization, and the grossly distorted governmental policies they have spawned. Every citizen, regardless of nationality, should read this book. It is that important.

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

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Good People Gather: Oct. 12-14 Erie, PA (audio link; LaDuke; Jensen; Shiva)

Dandelion Salad

From: radioroxanne radioroxanne

In September I spoke with the dynamic organizing trio at Mercyhurst College for the event they have planned starting the weekend of the 12th of October, called “Good People Gather”. Have a 10 minute listen to the exciting time they have planned for all! –Winona LaDuke, Derrick Jensen, Vandana Shiva: Oct. 12-14, 2007–“Good People Gather”, Charlene M Tanner Speaker Series…

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Our Bonhoeffer Moment by Jeff Leys

Our Bonhoeffer Moment by Jeff Leys

Dandelion Salad

by Jeff Leys
Dissident Voice
October 3rd, 2007

The Bonhoeffer Moment of nonviolent civil resistance and disobedience to the world war being waged by the United States is clearly at hand. As Congress considers an additional $190 billion to fund the Iraq-Afghanistan war through September 2008 and as the threats of war against Iran become increasingly loud, it is time for us to learn lessons from the German resistance to Hitler, to the Nazi regime and to the war waged by the German nation-state. We must engage in the Long Resistance to this current world war, using every nonviolent means to bring about its end.

I was set to be tried on October 2 for an act of nonviolent civil resistance at the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command. The judge dismissed the charge the day of the trial. Following is the closing statement I prepared for the jury trial in Waukegan, Illinois.

Silence in the face of our country waging a world war is complicity in the war; is complicity in the deaths of thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens; is complicity in a crime against humanity.

I chose to break the silence at the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM) on July 5, 2006. I choose to break the silence today.


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