American Lockdown: Law Enforcement Out Of Control And Beyond The Pale By Carolyn Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Monday, 08 October 2007

In my recent article “The End Of America: The Police State Is Right Here, Right Now” I included experiences of escalating intimidation on the part of law enforcement in the United States within recent months. I must confess that when I cite such incidents, I fear that in a few days or weeks, it will all go away, and everyone else, myself included, will begin to question the validity of the examples, breathing a heavy sigh of relief and rejoicing that the situation isn’t nearly as dire as I’m asserting it is.

This time, however, I have nothing to fear because since that article was posted, the ante of out-of-control law enforcement in America appears to have been upped with a rapidity that I could not have imagined just a few weeks ago.

Have we not all heard about the New York woman on her way to rehab who passed through the Phoenix airport, became distraught when she had just missed her flight, and was arrested for disorderly conduct by airport police? The suspect, Carol Ann Gotbaum, was handcuffed and then placed in a holding cell and left alone. According to police, when they returned, she was dead. At this writing, Gotbaum’s family and officials are awaiting the autopsy report-the “official” cause of death.

Continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see

The Police State Is Right Here, Right Now By Carolyn Baker

Who Runs The World And Why You Need To Know Immediately By Carolyn Baker (updated)

Canada Bars Entry to U.S. Peace Activists: CODEPINK Responds (video)

Vigilant Shield 2008: Terrorism, Air Defences, and the Domestic Deployment of the US Military by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

The Shock Doctrine: Q&A From the Seattle Talk (video)

Reviewing Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine” by Stephen Lendman

Police Kill Woman in Phoenix Airport: Gestapo Goons Strike Again

America’s Police Brutality Pandemic By Paul Craig Roberts

U.S. considered radiological weapon By Robert Burns

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Burns, AP Military Writer
October 8, 2007
AP

WASHINGTON

In one of the longest-held secrets of the Cold War, the U.S. Army explored the potential for using radioactive poisons to assassinate “important individuals” such as military or civilian leaders, according to newly declassified documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Approved at the highest levels of the Army in 1948, the effort was a well-hidden part of the military’s pursuit of a “new concept of warfare” using radioactive materials from atomic bombmaking to contaminate swaths of enemy land or to target military bases, factories or troop formations.

Military historians who have researched the broader radiological warfare program said in interviews that they had never before seen evidence that it included pursuit of an assassination weapon. Targeting public figures in such attacks is not unheard of; just last year an unknown assailant used a tiny amount of radioactive polonium-210 to kill Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London.

No targeted individuals are mentioned in references to the assassination weapon in the government documents declassified in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the AP in 1995.

The decades-old records were released recently to the AP, heavily censored by the government to remove specifics about radiological warfare agents and other details. The censorship reflects concern that the potential for using radioactive poisons as a weapon is more than a historic footnote; it is believed to be sought by present-day terrorists bent on attacking U.S. targets.

Continued…

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Israeli Lobby (AIPAC) (video; April 07)

Dandelion Salad

Tegenlicht
50 min 9 sec – Apr 5, 2007
www.vpro.nl

MasterpieceConCen7

Excellent documentary from 2007 about the Israeli lobby and it’s impact on US foreign policy. The first minute and 20 seconds are entirely in dutch – but the rest of documentary is in English (occasionally dutch narrated but you won’t miss a thing if you don’t understand it). Featuring John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago’s Department of Political Science and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government who wrote the paper: “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” (http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011)

Continue reading

New Revelations on 1967 Incident: USS Liberty attacked by Israeli fighter jets By John Crewdson

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 8, 2007
Chicago Tribune – 2007-10-02

New revelations in attack on American spy ship

Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn’t tell full story of deadly ’67 incident

By John Crewdson
Tribune senior correspondent
October 2, 2007

Bryce Lockwood, Marine staff sergeant, Russian-language expert, recipient of the Silver Star for heroism, ordained Baptist minister, is shouting into the phone.

“I’m angry! I’m seething with anger! Forty years, and I’m seething with anger!”

Continue reading

The Big Lie: ‘Iran Is a Threat’ By Scott Ritter

Dandelion Salad

By Scott Ritter
ICH
10/08/07 “Common Dreams

Iran has never manifested itself as a serious threat to the national security of the United States, or by extension as a security threat to global security. At the height of Iran’s “exportation of the Islamic Revolution” phase, in the mid-1980’s, the Islamic Republic demonstrated a less-than-impressive ability to project its power beyond the immediate borders of Iran, and even then this projection was limited to war-torn Lebanon.

Iranian military capability reached its modern peak in the late 1970’s, during the reign of Reza Shah Pahlevi. The combined effects of institutional distrust on the part of the theocrats who currently govern the Islamic Republic of Iran concerning the conventional military institutions, leading as it did to the decay of the military through inadequate funding and the creation of a competing paramilitary organization, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command (IRGC), and the disastrous impact of an eight-year conflict with Iraq, meant that Iran has never been able to build up conventional military power capable of significant regional power projection, let alone global power projection.

Where Iran has demonstrated the ability for global reach is in the spread of Shi’a Islamic fundamentalism, but even in this case the results have been mixed. Other than the expansive relations between Iran (via certain elements of the IRGC) and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, Iranian success stories when it comes to exporting the Islamic revolution are virtually non-existent. Indeed, the efforts on the part of the IRGC to export Islamic revolution abroad, especially into Europe and other western nations, have produced the opposite effect desired. Based upon observations made by former and current IRGC officers, it appears that those operatives chosen to spread the revolution in fact more often than not returned to Iran noting that peaceful coexistence with the West was not only possible but preferable to the exportation of Islamic fundamentalism. Many of these IRGC officers began to push for moderation of the part of the ruling theocrats in Iran, both in terms of interfacing with the west and domestic policies.

The concept of an inherent incompatibility between Iran, even when governed by a theocratic ruling class, and the United States is fundamentally flawed, especially from the perspective of Iran. The Iran of today seeks to integrate itself responsibly with the nations of the world, clumsily so in some instances, but in any case a far cry from the crude attempts to export Islamic revolution in the early 1980’s. The United States claims that Iran is a real and present danger to the security of the US and the entire world, and cites Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear technology, Iran’s continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran’s “status” as a state supporter of terror, and Iranian interference into the internal affairs of Iraq and Afghanistan as the prime examples of how this threat manifests itself.

On every point, the case made against Iran collapses upon closer scrutiny. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), mandated to investigate Iran’s nuclear programs, has concluded that there is no evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, the IAEA has concluded that it is capable of monitoring the Iranian nuclear program to ensure that it does not deviate from the permitted nuclear energy program Iran states to be the exclusive objective of its endeavors. Iran’s support of the Hezbollah Party in Lebanon – Iranian protestors shown here supporting Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during an anti-Israel rally – while a source of concern for the State of Israel, does not constitute a threat to American national security primarily because the support provided is primarily defensive in nature, designed to assist Hezbollah in deterring and repelling an Israeli assault of sovereign Lebanese territory. Similarly, the bulk of the data used by the United States to substantiate the claims that Iran is a state sponsor of terror is derived from the aforementioned support provided to Hezbollah. Other arguments presented are either grossly out of date (going back to the early 1980’s when Iran was in fact exporting Islamic fundamentalism) or unsubstantiated by fact.

The US claims concerning Iranian interference in both Iraq and Afghanistan ignore the reality that both nations border Iran, both nations were invaded and occupied by the United States, not Iran, and that Iran has a history of conflict with both nations that dictates a keen interest concerning the internal domestic affairs of both nations. The United States continues to exaggerate the nature of Iranian involvement in Iraq, arresting “intelligence operatives” who later turned out to be economic and diplomatic officials invited to Iraq by the Iraqi government itself. Most if not all the claims made by the United States concerning Iranian military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been backed up with anything stronger than rhetoric, and more often than not are subsequently contradicted by other military and governmental officials, citing a lack of specific evidence.

Iran as a nation represents absolutely no threat to the national security of the United States, or of its major allies in the region, including Israel. The media hype concerning alleged statements made by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad has created and sustained the myth that Iran seeks the destruction of the State of Israel. Two points of fact directly contradict this myth. First and foremost, Ahmadinejad never articulated an Iranian policy objective to destroy Israel, rather noting that Israel’s policies would lead to its “vanishing from the pages of time.” Second, and perhaps most important, Ahmadinejad does not make foreign policy decisions on the part of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the sole purview of the “Supreme Leader,” the Ayatollah Khomeini. In 2003 Khomeini initiated a diplomatic outreach to the United States inclusive of an offer to recognize Israel’s right to exist. This initiative was rejected by the United States, but nevertheless represents the clearest indication of what the true policy objective of Iran is vis-à-vis Israel.

The fact of the matter is that the “Iranian Threat” is derived solely from the rhetoric of those who appear to seek confrontation between the United States and Iran, and largely divorced from fact-based reality. A recent request on the part of Iran to allow President Ahmadinejad to lay a wreath at “ground zero” in Manhattan was rejected by New York City officials. The resulting public outcry condemned the Iranian initiative as an affront to all Americans, citing Iran’s alleged policies of supporting terrorism. This knee-jerk reaction ignores the reality that Iran was violently opposed to al-Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan throughout the 1990’s leading up to 2001, and that Iran was one of the first Muslim nations to condemn the terror attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

A careful fact-based assessment of Iran clearly demonstrates that it poses no threat to the legitimate national security interests of the United States. However, if the United States chooses to implement its own unilateral national security objectives concerning regime change in Iran, there will most likely be a reaction from Iran which produces an exceedingly detrimental impact on the national security interests of the United States, including military, political and economic. But the notion of claiming a nation like Iran to constitute a security threat simply because it retains the intent and capability to defend its sovereign territory in the face of unprovoked military aggression is absurd. In the end, however, such absurdity is trumping fact-based reality when it comes to shaping the opinion of the American public on the issue of the Iranian “threat.”

Scott Ritter was a Marine Corps intelligence officer from 1984 to 1991 and a United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998. He is the author of numerous books, including “Iraq Confidential” (Nation Books, 2005) , “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2006) and his latest, “Waging Peace: The Art of War for the Antiwar Movement” (Nation Books, April 2007).

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.

Derailing a deal By Noam Chomsky

Dandelion Salad

By Noam Chomsky
ICH
10/08/07 “Khaleej Times

NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it.

The United States is a leading violator, especially the Bush administration, which even has stated that it isn’t subject to Article 6.

On July 27, Washington entered into an agreement with India that guts the central part of the NPT, though there remains substantial opposition in both countries. India, like Israel and Pakistan (but unlike Iran), is not an NPT signatory, and has developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty. With this new agreement, the Bush administration effectively endorses and facilitates this outlaw behaviour. The agreement violates US law, and bypasses the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the 45 nations that have established strict rules to lessen the danger of proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, observes that the agreement doesn’t bar further Indian nuclear testing and, “incredibly, … commits Washington to help New Delhi secure fuel supplies from other countries even if India resumes testing.” It also permits India to “free up its limited domestic supplies for bomb production.” All these steps are in direct violation of international nonproliferation agreements.

The Indo-US agreement is likely to prompt others to break the rules as well. Pakistan is reported to be building a plutonium production reactor for nuclear weapons, apparently beginning a more advanced phase of weapons design. Israel, the regional nuclear superpower, has been lobbying Congress for privileges similar to India’s, and has approached the Nuclear Suppliers Group with requests for exemption from its rules. Now France, Russia and Australia have moved to pursue nuclear deals with India, as China has with Pakistan — hardly a surprise, once the global superpower has opened the door.

The Indo-US deal mixes military and commercial motives. Nuclear weapons specialist Gary Milhollin noted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s testimony to Congress that the agreement was “crafted with the private sector firmly in mind,” particularly aircraft and reactors and, Milhollin stresses, military aircraft. By undermining the barriers against nuclear war, he adds, the agreement not only increases regional tensions but also “may hasten the day when a nuclear explosion destroys an American city.” Washington’s message is that “export controls are less important to the United States than money” — that is, profits for US corporations — whatever the potential threat. Kimball points out that the United States is granting India “terms of nuclear trade more favourable than those for states that have assumed all the obligations and responsibilities” of the NPT. In most of the world, few can fail to see the cynicism. Washington rewards allies and clients that ignore the NPT rules entirely, while threatening war against Iran, which is not known to have violated the NPT, despite extreme provocation: The United States has occupied two of Iran’s neighbours and openly sought to overthrow the Iranian regime since it broke free of US control in 1979.

Over the past few years, India and Pakistan have made strides towards easing the tensions between the two countries. People-to-people contacts have increased and the governments are in discussion over the many outstanding issues that divide the two states. Those promising developments may well be reversed by the Indo-US nuclear deal. One of the means to build confidence throughout the region was the creation of a natural gas pipeline from Iran through Pakistan into India. The “peace pipeline” would have tied the region together and opened the possibilities for further peaceful integration.

The pipeline, and the hope it offers, might become a casualty of the Indo-US agreement, which Washington sees as a measure to isolate its Iranian enemy by offering India nuclear power in exchange for Iranian gas — though in fact India would gain only a fraction of what Iran could provide.

The Indo-US deal continues the pattern of Washington’s taking every measure to isolate Iran. In 2006, the US Congress passed the Hyde Act, which specifically demanded that the US government “secure India’s full and active participation in United States efforts to dissuade, isolate, and if necessary, sanction and contain Iran for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.”

It is noteworthy that the great majority of Americans — and Iranians — favour converting the entire region to a nuclear-weapons free zone, including Iran and Israel. One may also recall that UN Security Council Resolution 687 of April 3, 1991, to which Washington regularly appealed when seeking justification for its invasion of Iraq, calls for “establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery.”

Clearly, ways to mitigate current crises aren’t lacking.

This Indo-US agreement richly deserves to be derailed. The threat of nuclear war is extremely serious, and growing, and part of the reason is that the nuclear states — led by the United States — simply refuse to live up to their obligations or are significantly violating them, this latest effort being another step toward disaster.

The US Congress gets a chance to weigh in on this deal after the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group vet it. Perhaps Congress, reflecting a citizenry fed up with nuclear gamesmanship, can reject the agreement. A better way to go forward is to pursue the need for global nuclear disarmament, recognising that the very survival of the species is at stake.

Noam Chomsky’s most recent book is Interventions, a collection of his commentary pieces distributed by The New York Times Syndicate. Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

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.

Happy Birthday Dennis By Manila Ryce (video)

Dandelion Salad

By Manila Ryce
Published Monday, October 8th, 2007, 6:02 am

Guess what crackers? Today is Dennis Kucinich’s birthday and in an effort to give the man a proper present, there is a movement underway asking for supporters to donate at least 10 bucks towards his campaign. I know a lot of you who agree with Kucinich’s policies just haven’t found the time to donate. Well now is the best time. There’s nothing better than receiving cash on your birthday. Well, there may be a few things, but I won’t get into that.

I just signed up for a monthly donation myself, and encourage you all to do the same. You can leave Dennis a birthday message on the petition page, or skip straight to the contribution page. I guarantee you that this will be the most important thing you spend your money on all year, and that you’ll actually feel good about it afterwards. Please be generous. Lord knows the corporations backing Hillary and Obama are.

(Koo-sin-ich Re-mix) Dennis 4 President 2008

ForthPosition

Viral Video Campaign Spot (Remix): De…

Viral Video Campaign Spot (Remix): Designed to draw attention to the Kucinich 2008 campaign issues the so called “top tier” avoid talking about – YOUR ISSUES.

We have a Real Choice this Primary Election.

Get Primary Dates and Voter Information at:
http://www.vote411.org

Get involved with the Kucinich Campaign:
http://www.dennis4president.com

Please spread this video and word about the Kucinich campaign widely. Copy and paste the Original Koo-sin-ich Video & Koo-sin-ich Remix links into an e-mail to your friends, especially your friends who don’t know who Kucinich is.
Original: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZoftT…
Remix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-msLsx…

You can also download better quality copies of the videos for reposting elsewhere:
http://www.koo-sin-ich.com

“Dennis Thumbs Up” source footage from George Lois’ 2004 Kucinich TV ad (used with permission):
http://www.goodkarmacreative.net

Music track featured in the spot by Hybrid:
http://www.hybridsoundsystem.com

Perilous Times by Richard C. Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, October 8, 2007

The U.S., as the only so-called superpower, exerts a decisive influence on the fate of the world. Today peace and stability are threatened by three giant problems whose outcome depends a great deal on U.S. decisions. These problems are linked to each other synergistically in ways that increase the overall danger.

The first problem is the peril to the world’s economies from the massive worldwide pyramid of speculation and debt, a.k.a., the financial bubble. Moreover, we have not seen the end of the fallout from the deflation of the U.S. housing bubble of the mid-2000s. The Federal Reserve facilitated this bubble to fill the void left by the bursting of the dot.com bubble of the 1990s. That one followed on the heels of the 1980s buyout-merger-acquisition bubble.

Officials with a vested interest in the status quo claim that the global economy is still fundamentally sound. In the face of the financial crisis of July-August, 2007, the Federal Reserve seemed to succeed, at least temporarily, in using its available tools to reassure the financial markets. This included the interest rate cut that spurred the stock market back into record territory. But when dollars are used to float a bubble, it eventually means a lot of trouble.

The second problem is the U.S. march toward military conquest of the Middle East. Even while the takeover of Iraq seems to hang in the balance, an attack on Iran may be next. U.S. action is obviously connected with hunger for gasoline, oil company profits, and the central role of the petrodollar in international commerce. In a now-famous phrase, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan states in his new book, Age of Turbulence, that the Iraq War is “largely about oil.”

But is Greenspan’s characterization a red herring? Are oil and dollars the full explanation? Would there have been no other way for the U.S. to secure its strategic interests in that part of the world, such as through multilateral cooperation with other powers like Russia and China? Isn’t it a fact that the neocons who control foreign policy within the Bush administration have steered a program of preemptive warfare clearly aligned with the more radical elements of Israel?

The third problem is that global warming seems to be proceeding at a more rapid pace than anyone previously thought. Weather patterns are clearly being affected, with many areas of the continental U.S. now locked in severe drought. Much of the Midwest and West are running dangerously low on water. The possibility that sometime this century sea level could rise up to one meter could be devastating to a nation like the U.S. where fifty percent of GDP is produced along its coasts.

If we began now, major infrastructure investments might help us prepare. But we already have an infrastructure maintenance deficit in the trillions of dollars. New large-scale expenditures are inconceivable for a government whose budget has been trashed by tax cuts for the rich, a trillion dollars spent on “wars of choice,” commodity price inflation, and stagnant tax revenues in the face of a recovery which looks a lot like a recession.

Bad as these three problems are, they are the tip of the iceberg. What really controls the fate of nations is money. And what looms beneath the surface is that we have in the U.S. and elsewhere a monetary system which is fundamentally flawed. It is a system that creates money almost exclusively through debt, one that has the net effect over time of funneling much of the world’s wealth from the hands of those who earn their living in the producing economy of goods and services into the bank accounts and investment funds of those who lend money at interest.

The recent actions of the Federal Reserve have been largely a refinancing of debt. The hope has been to realize the axiom of American billionaire Warren Buffett: “A rolling loan gathers no loss.” And government borrowing to wage war has always been good business for the banks as well.

But refinancing of debt does not change the overall purposes, operation, and outcome of the system. What we need to understand now is that the system itself can and must be changed. This should be done by establishing a more democratic and equitable world financial paradigm. Such a change can only be accomplished through fundamental monetary reform that would make credit-creation less the private property of financiers and more in the nature of a public utility.

The U.S. should start by 1) calling off our military adventures and replacing them with new efforts at multilateral solutions, including a negotiated two-state solution for Israel and Palestine; and 2) rebuilding our public and private infrastructure through low-cost government-provided credit. Individuals carrying unsustainable debt burdens or trapped in the collapsing housing bubble should be given relief. A basic income guarantee, not tied to employment, should be provided to all citizens as advocated by many economists going back to the 1960s. Infrastructure investment should include a massive program to deal with the present and future effects of global warming and climate change. Such a program would also help restore our tax base along with adding to consumer purchasing power.

To accomplish this program would require a shift in the control of monetary policy from the Federal Reserve, which only seems good at inflating and deflating bubbles, to a Congress and Executive Branch with the same degree of determination, vision, and authority we saw during the New Deal. The U.S. economy needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up. This means political leadership, not the monetarist games of technocrats who really work for the financiers.

A change of this order of magnitude requires a revolution at the ballot box in 2008. The Republican Party has fatally compromised itself by playing host to the neocon Trojan horse. The Democratic Party, which has failed to act on the voter demand in the 2006 mid-term elections that we get out of Iraq, doesn’t look much better. In just three months, in Iowa and New Hampshire, something profound and unprecedented must start to happen. If it doesn’t, things figure to get much worse in four more years.

Richard C. Cook is a retired federal analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at www.richardccook.com.

Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook


For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Richard C. Cook, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is:
www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7006

Forewarned Is Forearmed: Bush On Iran + Resisting the Drums of War (videos)

Dandelion Salad

RJEidelson

The White House’s propaganda campaign… The White House’s propaganda campaign for military action against Iran is now in full gear. This video offers a brief but deeply troubling chronicle of Bush’s public warmongering, dating back to his 2002 State of the Union Address. Forewarned is forearmed. NOTE: For a psychological analysis of warmongering, please watch “Resisting the Drums of War”.

Resisting the Drums of War

September 13, 2007
RJEidelson

This video examines how the Bush admi…

This video examines how the Bush administration has promoted the misguided and destructive war in Iraq by targeting five core concerns that often govern our lives–concerns about vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness. Looking ahead, the continuing occupation of Iraq–or an attack on Iran–will likely be sold to us in much the same way. The video examines these warmongering appeals and how to counter them. (This latest version includes updated graphics)

h/t: Forewarned Is Forearmed: Bush On Iran

Licensed to Kill by Scott Horton

Dandelion Salad

by Scott Horton
Global Research, October 7, 2007
Harper’s Magazine

Bush Justice Department embraces torture as a tool for collecting intelligence

The Bush Justice Department does have an essential law enforcement mission, though sometimes it seems to behave much more like a criminal syndicate. It warmly embraces the crime of torture as a tool for collecting human intelligence notwithstanding both its manifest illegality and immorality and the uniform view of intelligence professionals that torture consistently produces corrupted, inherently unreliable information. In so doing of course it is engaged in a fairly primitive game of self-protection. It can’t acknowledge the fundamental criminality of its conduct, so it turns the Justice Department into its consigliere. Three different lawyers in the office of legal counsel have rendered formal opinions giving a stamp of approval to a universal crime. Indeed, this sort of legal dexterity now seems to be accepted as a rite of passage for “movement” lawyers–a fact which is very revealing of the new character of the “movement.” It has nothing to do with ideals, and everything to do with personal fidelity. In each of these cases, the opinion boils down to the fundamental principle of the authoritarian state, namely: if the Leader authorizes it, then it must be okay. I can’t wait to see the intellectual conversion that will occur on January 20, 2009, when the opposition party furnishes the Executive.

But the Justice Department’s attitude towards murder is also extremely revealing. In the view of the Bush Administration, a number of curious footnotes have been introduced into the concept of murder. One of them appears to be that certain persons are given a license to kill, freely, with full and unquestioned discretion. They need fear neither criminal investigation nor negative repercussions for their crimes. They will be protected.

Of course this sort of license does not come cheaply. It would appear that you get this license by having a close, nurturing relationship with the Republican Party–funding its candidates for office and offering employment to its functionaries following a sort of revolving door model. The strangest part of the Tuesday hearing came when Blackwater USA head Erik Prince was grilled about his funding of Republican causes–not by a Democrat, but rather by a remarkably PR-challenged Republican. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Blackwater’s head, who inherited a large automotive parts business based in Holland, Michigan:

“has donated $230,000 to federal campaigns and causes in the last decade. Almost all of that money has gone to Republicans, according to a check of Federal Election Commission records by The Times’ campaign finance expert, Dan Morain. Prince’s latest donation was in July, when he gave $20,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee. California recipients of Prince’s $1,000 checks include Reps. Jerry Lewis and Duncan Hunter, a current GOP presidential candidate, and former Rep. Richard Pombo.”

And this is not to mention the revolving door employment service Blackwater offers to senior G.O.P. functionaries chased from their perches in the Administration by looming scandals.

Of course, the license to kill is not a formal license issued on paper and bearing the signatures of Alberto Gonzales and Condoleezza Rice. It arises through the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” not to pursue certain matters. Any homicide committed by a contractor in Iraq, for instance.

Consider the unfortunate incident that occurred following some Christmas festivities in Baghdad’s Green Zone on December 24, 2006. Things got very lively, according to sources who were present, a lot of alcohol was being consumed, and a Blackwater employee drew his weapon and shot and killed the body guard of Iraqi Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Details about what occurred are still relatively slim. However, this incident is not unique. There have been dozens of shootings which have not garnered the press and media attention this one has. Most of the others involving ordinary Iraqi civilians–not the bodyguard of a high-profile political figure.

Nevertheless, if the incident had transpired in an American city, things would have unfolded in a predictable way. The police would have conducted an inquiry, the perpetrator would have been arrested. He would have access to counsel. After consultation with the district attorney, a crime would be charged reflecting the crime in an appropriate degree of severity. A hearing would be set on bail pending trial and in any event, severe restrictions would be focused on the perpetrator’s movements.

When a crime is committed by an American company deployed in connection with a military operation overseas, the law enforcement functions of the local police department are assumed by the U.S. Justice Department. But the Blackwater incidents demonstrate that the Justice Department has some very strange ideas about how it is to fulfill its responsibilities.

The Iraqi Government wanted the perpetrator arrested and bound over for a criminal trial in Baghdad. And to this, the U.S. Government’s reaction was simple: the perpetrator was put on a plane and shipped back to the United States. As a representative of Iraq’s Justice Ministry told me: “That was also a crime. It’s flight to avoid prosecution. And United States Government officials were involved in committing that crime.” But in fact the Blackwater employee had immunity from Iraqi prosecution pursuant to Order No. 17 issued by the Paul Bremer. That order could have been waived by the United States. But as far as I can ascertain, that’s never happened.

The House Oversight Committee raised the December 24, 2006 incident in its original hearing on Blackwater last spring. Congressman Denis Kucinich asked specific questions about what had transpired, drawing a number of very vague answers from Blackwater’s general counsel. Since that time, I am told, Congress has been persistent in its efforts to understand how the Bush Administration has dealt with the case from a law-enforcement perspective. “It’s been pulling teeth to get any information from them,” one investigator told me. “The Justice Department tells us that there is a ‘pending investigation,’ but that’s it. And frankly the circumstances lead us to doubt that they’re doing anything. The response looks suspiciously like a brush-off.”

It also fits a pattern. A significant number of clearly unprivileged homicides coming out of Iraq have been referred to the Justice Department, and the treatment of these cases is consistent. It appears that the Bush Justice Department has no resources to address such trivial matters as murder–which contrasts strongly with the tens of millions of dollars poured into the prosecution of grandmothers in Milwaukee who are under suspicion of registering to vote as Democrats, comedians who operate mail-order businesses selling plastic bongs, and what may be more than $100 million allocated for the persecution of trial lawyers who made the mistake of raising campaign money for the contributions of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards–matters considered by the Bush regime to be of the utmost threat to humanity.

For years, when you ask contractors what happens to employees who commit serious crimes in the theater of operations, the answer has been simple: the perpetrator is fired and put on the next transport back to the States. On Tuesday, Blackwater’s Erik Prince gave this practiced answer. But once more, the December 24, 2006 incident leads to a different set of facts.

Today the Associated Press’s Richard Lardner reports on a letter from Oversight Chair Henry Waxman that adds a lot of detail to the story. The Christmas Eve perpetrator is a man named Andrew Moonen, it turns out:

“The State Department may have withheld critical information from the Pentagon about a fired Blackwater USA guard, a misstep that allowed the man to find work in the Middle East two months after he allegedly killed an Iraqi security worker, a senior House Democrat said Friday. In an Oct. 5 letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., also questioned the accuracy of statements made by Blackwater’s top executive and State Department representatives at a hearing Tuesday by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Waxman.

“According to Waxman’s letter, he and other committee members were told Andrew Moonen was fired by Blackwater after the Dec. 24, 2006, shooting and had his security clearance canceled. As a result, his employment prospects, especially with a defense company, should have been dim. He was drunk when he shot the guard.

“But two months after Moonen was whisked out of Baghdad, he got a job with Combat Support Associates, a Defense Department contractor based in Orange, Calif., that provides logistics support to U.S. troops at bases in Kuwait, said Waxman, who cited a CNN report. The job ended in August.”

Moonen, who lives in Seattle, is a former Army paratrooper who served in Iraq from August 2003 to April 2004, according to his attorney, who denies the accuracy of the CNN report about his reemployment in Iraq.

Waxman focuses on the extremely suspicious conduct of the State Department which has now been caught disseminating a series of false statements designed to cover up unpleasant incidents involving their private army. Indeed, there are some indicators that the State Department statements are actually authored by Blackwater–a fact which attests yet again to the extraordinary relationship between the two.

For the moment, the roles have been reversed. Blackwater is under attack. And the State Department is its defender. Unfortunately, the State Department seems every bit as trigger-happy and unaccountable as its favorite contractor.

© Copyright Scott Horton, Harper’s Magazine, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7002

Report details secret Bush administration memos authorizing torture by Joe Kay

Dandelion Salad

by Joe Kay
Global Research, October 7, 2007
wsws.org

Since 2005, the Bush administration has produced at least three secret orders and memoranda justifying extreme interrogation methods banned under international law as forms of torture, according to a newspaper report published on Thursday.

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“Operation Swarm”- War without End against Iran by Fabio Mini

Dandelion Salad

by Fabio Mini (an Italian General)
peacepalestine
Friday, October 5, 2007

Writing for Italy’s l’Espresso, Italian General Fabio Mini has understood and explained the dangerous mechanisms of gaining consensus to wage war against “Enemies”, which are variable and flexible according to the interests of hegemonic power. This enlightening article explains the manner in which War against Iran has been promoted in the West as well as the operative elements that will bring it about. A MUST READ! Translated from Italian by Diego Traversa and revised by Mary Rizzo for Tlaxcala and peacepalestine. (Also on peacepalestine by Fabio Mini: Even Escape is an Art, about the impossible disengagement from Iraq.

Anyone who thought that the green light for the Israeli-American attack against Iran would come from the American Congress, was wrong. Equally wrong were those who thought that a president like Bush, so frustrated by the Iraqi chaos, the Afghan deadlock and the industrial lobbies’ pressures, would wind up making the decision on his own. The attack against Iran will take place thanks to the newly-appointed French Foreign Minister Kouchner. In these years of threats and counter-threats, of pretexts to make war, the only “revealing” words have been those from the laconic phrase “we must prepare ourselves for the worst.” Many have taken these words as a slip of the lip, others have regarded them as a bad luck-dispelling provocation, others as an instigation and still others as a submission to an ineluctable event. It could be that the sentence contains all of this, but the profound essence of Kouchner’s words is different.

Continued…

h/t: ICH

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.

UK 2017: under surveillance By Neil Mackay

Dandelion Salad

By Neil Mackay
ICH
10/07/07 “Sunday Herald

It is a chilling, dystopian account of what Britain will look like 10 years from now: a world in which Fortress Britain uses fleets of tiny spy-planes to watch its citizens, of Minority Report-style pre-emptive justice, of an underclass trapped in sink-estate ghettos under constant state surveillance, of worker drones forced to take on the lifestyle and values of the mega-corporation they work for, and of the super-rich hiding out in gated communities constantly monitored by cameras and private security guards.

This Orwellian vision of the future was compiled on the orders of the UK’s information commissioner – the independent watchdog meant to guard against government and private companies invading the privacy of British citizens and exploiting the masses of information currently held on each and every one of us – by the Surveillance Studies Network, a group of academics.

On Friday, this study, entitled A Report on the Surveillance Society, was picked over by a select group of government mandarins, politicians, police officers and academics in Edinburgh. It is unequivocal in its findings, with its first sentence reading simply: “We live in a surveillance society.” The information commissioner, Richard Thomas, endorses the report. He says: “Today, I fear that we are, in fact, waking up to a surveillance society that is already all around us.”

The academics who compiled the study based their vision of the future not on wild hypotheses but on existing technology, statements made about the intentions of government and private companies and studies by other think tanks, regulators, professional bodies and academics.

The report authors say that they believe the key theme of the future will be “pervasive surveillance” aimed at tracking and controlling people and pre-empting behaviour. The authors also say that their glimpse of the future is “fairly conservative. The future spelled out in the report is nowhere near as dystopian and authoritarian as it could be.”

Here’s how 2017 might look…

BorderGuard The Jones family are returning to Britain from holiday in America. “It’s hard to know the difference between the two countries by what the family experience at the border,” say the Surveillance Report authors. Britain, America, all EU countries and all members of the G10 have outsourced their immigration and border control services to massive private companies. In this vignette, the futurologists give the company the name BorderGuard.

Thanks to the never-ending war on terror, these governments have developed “smart borders” using hidden surveillance technologies. Cameras and scanners at passport control monitor faces, irises and fingerprints checking them off against records of biometric passports, or the British ID card system. BorderGuard has access to state and transnational databases and can also data-mine information on individuals – such as consumer transactions – via a paid-for service provided by specialist companies trading in information held on every individual in the land.

For families like the Joneses, crossing borders is relatively swift and painless. The wealth of information held on them means they can be quickly identified and processed. But citizens of nations not signed up to the BorderGuard scheme face hostile and lengthy investigations while crossing frontiers.

Racial profiling is now the norm. Asian features inevitably mean being pulled to one side – whether or not you carry a biometric passport or ID card.

Brandscapes Retail chains and mega-malls now use huge shared databases – which began with data-mining reward card information – to create a “brandscape” for every shopper.

Smart tags buried in a shopper’s clothing “talk” to scanners in shops. The system then connects to consumer databases, revealing where the clothing was bought and by whom and what other purchases the person has made. The system knows who you are, where you live, what you like and don’t like. Intelligent billboards at eye level then immediately flash up adverts dove-tailed to the consumer profile of the individual.

The wealthiest consumer-citizen can even become a “cashless shopper”. For £200, a chip can be implanted in the human body which is loaded with a person’s bank and credit details. From then on, it’s their arm that will be scanned in a shop, not their credit card. “Cashless shoppers” also get first-class service in mega-malls, with special lounges, spas and massage facilities reserved only for them. Urban myths, however, are springing up that muggers are targeting these elite consumers and cutting the chip from their arms. There are also concerns about hackers being able to upload viruses to the chip or empty the chipholder’s account.

Tagged Kids Scandals about child abductions and murders during school hours mean teachers prefer tagging a child to facing legal liability for their injury in a court. Drug testing in schools has also become an accepted part of life following pressure by the government to identify problem children earlier and earlier in life. What children eat in schools is also monitored by parents, as boys and girls are required to swipe their school card every time they visit the canteen. The card contains information on school attendance, academic achievement, drug-test results, internet access and sporting activities. The card’s records are used to assess whether the child has passed or failed their citizenship programme.

Shops are also monitoring children in order to tap into the lucrative youth market.”Children,” the report says, “are gradually becoming socialised into accepting body surveillance, location tracking and the remote monitoring of their dietary intake as normal.”

Elites and Proles Most cities are divided between gated private communities, patrolled by corporate security firms (which keep insurance costs to a minimum) and high-crime former council estates. On most estates, private companies are tasked to deal with social evils.

Offenders have the option of having a chip voluntarily implanted in their arm so they can be monitored at home using scanners and sensors. Estates can be subject to “area-wide curfews”, following outbursts of antisocial behaviour, which ban anyone under 18 from entering or leaving the estate from dusk until dawn.

Community wardens armed with Tasers enforce the law. CCTV cameras can be viewed by residents at home on their television’s security channel.

In gated communities, meanwhile, no-one can get in or out unless their car’s number plate is authorised by the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) devices located on gates. There are now so many ANPR cameras across the land that it’s almost impossible to drive the length of a street without details of your car being logged by the state.

The aesthetics of surveillance Security has been “aestheticised” – incorporated into the design of architecture and infrastructure – so that it is almost unnoticeable now. “It is ubiquitous but it has disappeared,” the report authors say. Anti-suicide-bomber bollards outside embassies and government buildings are secreted in the ground, only being activated in an emergency when passers-by breach the range of security sensors.

Anti-government protesters are monitored by small remote-control spy-planes, which were introduced for the 2012 London Olympics but remained a permanent fixture.

CCTV is now embedded at eye level in lamp-posts to enable the use of facial recognition technology.

Protest and virtual surveillance Following protests, individual demonstrators can be monitored by camera until private security contractors for the local authority in which the demo took place get a chance to question them. Helmet-mounted cameras scan the biometrics of anyone being questioned. All guards and police are also now monitored by surveillance devices in their handheld computers. Ironically, this has triggered civil liberties concerns within the police union.

The report uses two “protesters”, Ben and Aaron, as an example of how police might treat dissenters. When they are taken into custody by private security guards in Westminster, Ben undergoes the usual DNA swab, which is analysed instantaneously, and hands over his ID card for scanning. ID cards are still theoretically voluntary, but not having one makes life almost impossible. Aaron is a refusenik and doesn’t own a card. That means he can’t apply for a government job or claim benefits or student loans. He can’t travel by plane or even train. To make matters worse, Aaron is a young black man – meaning he is deemed a “high category suspect” and is routinely stopped and brought in to the nearest police station for questioning.

Once Ben is released, police monitoring systems piggy-back on his hand-held device to track him as he travels across the city. He’s also been put on a communications watchlist which means all his internet and e-mail traffic is saved by his ISP and passed to police. As most phone calls are online now, police also get access to these communications as well.

Call centre drones Call centres monitor everything that staff do and surveillance information is used to recruit staff. Potential employees are subjected to biometric and psychometric testing, as well as lifestyle surveys. “Their lives outside work,” the authors say, “and their background, are the subject of scrutiny. It is felt to be increasingly important that the lifestyle profile of the employee match those of the customers to ensure better customer service.” Recruitment consultants now frequently discard any CV which does not contain volunteered health information.

Once hired, staff are subjected to sporadic biometric testing which point to potential health and psychological problems. Thanks to iris-scanning at a gym connected to the company, employees can be pulled up at annual assessments for not maintaining their health. Periodic psychometric testing also reveals if staff attitudes have changed and become incompatible with company values.

Big Brother is looking after you Homes in the ever-growing number of retirement villages are fitted with the “telecare” system, with motion detectors in every room, baths with inbuilt heart monitors, toilets which measure blood sugar levels and all rooms fitted with devices to detect fire, flood and gas leaks. Panic buttons are also installed in every room. Fridges have RFID scanners which tell the neighbourhood grocery store that pensioners are running short on provisions. The goods are then delivered direct to the doorstep.

Huge databases in hospitals are able to compare tests on patients throughout the country. This allows doctors to red-flag risk factors earlier than ever before, meaning that a patient’s statistical risk of suffering, for example, a heart attack, are predicted with much greater accuracy. The NHS will be locked in a battle with insurance companies who want access to health information for commercial purposes. The temptation for the NHS is the large amounts of money on offer. The authors point out that Iceland sold its national DNA database to private companies for research and profit in 2004.

The data shadow Those rich enough can sign up to “personal information management services” (Pims) which monitor all the information that exists about an individual – a person’s so-called “data shadow”. The Pims system corrects incorrect information held by government or private companies.

Those who can’t afford Pims have to live with the impact that incorrect data can have on their lives, such as faulty credit ratings. “Some are condemned to a purgatory of surveillance and an inability to access information,” the report authors say.

But for other people total surveillance has become an accepted way of life. Some voluntarily carry out surveillance on their whole lives – so-called “life-logging” where an individual uploads online details in realtime about everything they do.

©2007 newsquest (sunday herald) limited. all rights reserved

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.

Inside France’s Secret War By Johann Hari

Dandelion Salad

By Johann Hari
Birao, Central African Republic
ICH
10/07/07 “The Independent

For 40 years, the French government has been fighting a secret war in Africa, hidden not only from its people, but from the world. It has led the French to slaughter democrats, install dictator after dictator – and to fund and fuel the most vicious genocide since the Nazis. Today, this war is so violent that thousands are fleeing across the border from the Central African Republic into Darfur – seeking sanctuary in the world’s most notorious killing fields.

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