Kucinich: Impeachment! (10.28.07; video)

Dandelion Salad

As so many people are coming to this older post, I’ve listed the most current ones below.

see

June 9, 2008 posts:

Kucinich introduces Bush impeachment resolution + videos; transcript (updated again)

Kucinich introduces articles of Impeachment (continued; videos; transcript)

June 10, 2008:

Kucinich Reads Impeachment Articles 33, 18 + 20

Countdown: Articles of Impeachment + Off the Table + Economic Reality

Dennis Kucinich Documents Grounds for Impeachment of Bush & Cheney (4 hours)

Ralph Nader: Impeach Bush & Cheney!

June 11, 2008:

Support Rep. Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment + video (take action)

***

Kucinich2008

Dennis Kucinich at Sierra Madre Park

On a glorious Sunday morning, Dennis and Elizabeth traveled to the beautiful San Gabriel Valley, where nearly 400 people had gathered to hear them speak. With magistic mountains as the backdrop, a young teenager’s voice pierced the morning air. Singing Bridge of Hope, Evan Henzi, a local 14 year old brought the crowd to tears as he sang of a world where peace is possible. The only presidential campaign to return Evan’s phone calls was the KUCINICH CAMPAIGN.

At the Sierra Madre Park, Kucinich was also greet by Dawnelle Keys, the mother featured in the movie Sicko. She told the presidential candidate that her three year old daughter died because of America’s failed healthcare system. Dennis Kucinich is the only presidential candidate to offer a vision of a not for profit healthcare system that will cover every child in America. Even the children of immigrants.
With Iraqi veterans against the war joining the candidate in the park, Kucinich promised to force a vote in the House of Representatives to impeach Dick Cheney for bringing America into an illegal war based on lies.

see

June 9, 2008 posts:

Kucinich introduces Bush impeachment resolution + videos (updated again)

Kucinich introduces articles of Impeachment (continued; videos)

June 10, 2008:

Ralph Nader: Impeach Bush & Cheney!

On Visit to France, Donald Rumsfeld Hit with Lawsuit for Ordering, Authorizing Torture (link)

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!
Friday, October 26th, 2007

On Visit to France, Donald Rumsfeld Hit with Lawsuit for Ordering, Authorizing Torture

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The complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor’s office as Rumsfeld arrived in France for a visit. This is the fifth time Rumsfeld has been charged with direct involvement in torture since 9/11. We speak with two attorneys with the plaintiffs — Center for Constitutional Rights president Michael Ratner and Jeanne Sulzer of the International Federation of Human Rights. [includes rush transcript]


U.S. and European human rights groups filed a lawsuit in France today charging former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with ordering and authorizing torture. The plaintiffs include the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights and the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights. They say Rumsfeld authorized interrogation techniques that led to abuses at US-run prisons in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay. The complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor’s office as Rumsfeld arrived in France for a visit. This is the fifth time Rumsfeld has been charged with direct involvement in torture since 9/11. Michael Ratner is the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He joins me in the firehouse studio. Jeanne Sulzer is a French attorney with the International Federation of Human Rights. She joins me on the line from Paris.

  • Michael Ratner. President of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
  • Jeanne Sulzer. French attorney with the International Federation of Human Rights.

transcript


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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Why Democracy – Taxi to the Dark Side (video; over 18)

Rumsfeld flees France fearing arrest h/t: CLG

The Bureaucracy, the March, and the War By Tom Engelhardt

Dandelion Salad

By Tom Engelhardt
October 28, 2007

Tomgram: Thoughts on Getting to the March

[Note to Tomdispatch readers: A favor: In addition to everyone who bookmarks Tomdispatch, over 18,000 of you now get e-mails letting you know whenever a new piece has been posted. (Many tens of thousands more read pieces from the site reposted elsewhere.) Most new readers sign up for those emails thanks to word of mouth, a formidable force in the on-line world. For those of you already are hooked on TD, I want to urge you to lend the site a little more of that word-of-mouth power. I hope you’ll consider writing perhaps 10 people you know who might benefit from getting Tomdispatch regularly, urging them to go to the “sign up” window at the upper right of the main screen, put in their e-mail addresses, answer the confirmation letter that will quickly arrive in their email boxes (or, fair warning, their spam folders), and so join the TD crew. Where else could you get someone, as below, thinking aloud about the nature of turn-out at antiwar demonstrations, or, in the coming month, get to read writers like Mike Davis, Robert Dreyfuss, and Susan Faludi, among others, bringing you takes on the world that are truly out of the ordinary — and the mainstream. For those of you with a few extra minutes, who are willing to spread the word, many thanks in advance. Tom]

The Bureaucracy, the March, and the War

American Disengagement
By Tom Engelhardt As I was heading out into a dark, drippingly wet, appropriately dispiriting New York City day, on my way to the “Fall Out Against the War” march — one of 11 regional antiwar demonstrations held this Saturday — I was thinking: then and now, Vietnam and Iraq. Since the Bush administration had Vietnam on the brain while planning to take down Saddam Hussein’s regime for the home team, it’s hardly surprising that, from the moment its invasion was launched in March 2003, the Vietnam analogy has been on the American brain — and, even domestically, there’s something to be said for it.

As John Mueller, an expert on public opinion and American wars, pointed out back in November 2005, Americans turned against the Iraq War in a pattern recognizable from the Vietnam era (as well as the Korean one) — initial, broad post-invasion support that eroded irreversibly as American casualties rose. “The only thing remarkable about the current war in Iraq,” Mueller wrote, “is how precipitously American public support has dropped off. Casualty for casualty, support has declined far more quickly than it did during either the Korean War or the Vietnam War.” He added, quite correctly, as it turned out: “And if history is any indication, there is little the Bush administration can do to reverse this decline.”

Where the Vietnam analogy distinctly breaks down, however, is in the streets. In the Vietnam era, the demonstrations started small and built slowly over the years toward the massive — in Washington, in cities around the country, and then on campuses nationwide. In those years, as anger, anxiety, and outrage mounted, militancy rose, and yet the range of antiwar demonstrators grew to include groups as diverse as “businessmen against the war” and large numbers of ever more vociferous Vietnam vets, often just back from the war itself. Almost exactly the opposite pattern — the vets aside — has occured with Iraq. The prewar demonstrations were monstrous, instantaneously gigantic, at home and abroad. Millions of people grasped just where we were going in late 2002 and early 2003, and grasped as well that the Bush dream of an American-occupied Iraq would lead to disaster and death galore. The New York Times, usually notoriously unimpressed with demonstrations, referred to the massed demonstrators then as the second “superpower” on a previously one superpower planet. And it did look, as the Times headline went, as if there were “a new power in the streets.”

But here was the strange thing, as the “lone superpower” faltered, as the Bush administration and the Pentagon came to look ever less super, ever less victorious, ever less powerful, so did that other superpower. Discouragement of a special sort seemed to set in — initially perhaps that the invasion had not been stopped and that, in Washington, no one in a tone-deaf administration even seemed to be listening. Still, through the first years of the war, on occasion, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators could be gathered in one spot to march massively, even cheerfully; these were crowds filled with “first timers” (who were proud to tell you so); and, increasingly, with the families of soldiers stationed in Iraq (or Afghanistan), or of soldiers who had died there, and even, sometimes, with some of the soldiers themselves, as well as contingents of vets from the Vietnam era, now older, greyer, but still vociferously antiwar.

However, over the years, unlike in the Vietnam era, the demonstrations shrank, and somehow the anxiety, the anger — though it remained suspended somewhere in the American ether — stopped manifesting itself so publicly, even as the war went on and on. Or put another way, perhaps the anger went deeper and turned inward, like a scouring agent. Perhaps it went all the way into what was left of an American belief system, into despair about the unresponsiveness of the government — with paralyzing effect. As another potentially more disastrous war with Iran edges into sight, the response has been limited largely to what might be called the professional demonstrators. The surge of hope, of visual creativity, of spontaneous interaction, of the urge to turn out, that arose in those prewar demonstrations now seemed so long gone, replaced by a far more powerful sense that nothing anyone could do mattered in the least.

When it comes to the Vietnam analogy domestically, the question that still hangs in the air is whether, as in the latter years of the Vietnam era, the soldiers, in Iraq (and Afghanistan) as well as here at home, will take matters into their own hands; whether, as with Vietnam, in the end Iraq (and Iran) will be left to the vets of this war and their families and friends — or to no one at all.

The Consensus Gap

Here’s the strange thing: As we all know, the Washington Consensus — Democrats as well as Republicans, in Congress as in the Oval Office -– has been settling ever deeper into the Iraqi imperial project. As a town, official Washington, it seems, has come to terms with a post-surge occupation strategy that will give new meaning to what, in the days after the 2003 invasion, quickly came to be known as the Q-word (for the Vietnam-era “quagmire”). The President has made it all too clear that he will fight his war in Iraq to the last second of his administration — and, if he has anything to say about it (as indeed he might), well beyond. In their “classified campaign strategy for the country,” our ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, and the President’s surge commander, Gen. David Petraeus, are reportedly already planning their war-fighting and occupation policy through the summer of 2009, and so into the next presidency. The three leading Democratic candidates for president, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards, have refused to guarantee that American troops will even be totally out of Iraq by 2013, the end of a first term in office — as essentially has every Republican candidate except Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas. In fact, in Washington, the ongoing war is now such a given that it’s hardly being discussed at the moment (as the one in Afghanistan has never been). The focus has instead shifted to the next possible administration monstrosity — a possible air assault on Iran that would essentially guarantee a global recession or depression.

Meanwhile, the American people — having formed their own Iraq Study Group as early as 2005 — have moved in another direction entirely. On this, the opinion polls have been, and remain (as Mueller suggested they would), unanimous. When Americans are asked how the President is handling the war in Iraq, disapproval figures run 67% to 26% in the most recent CBS News poll; 68% to 30% in the ABC News/Washington Post poll; and, according to CNN’s pollsters, opposition to the war itself runs at a 65% to 34% clip. As for “staying” some course in Iraq to 2013 or beyond, that CBS News poll, typically, has 45% of Americans wanting all troops out in “less than a year” and 72% in “one to two years” — in other words, not by the end of, but the beginning of, the next presidential term in office. (The ABC News/Washington Post poll indicates, among other things, that, by 55% to 40%, Americans feel the Democrats in Congress have not gone “far enough in opposing the war in Iraq”; and that they want Congress to rein in the administration’s soaring, off-the-books war financing requests.)

In other words, the Washington elite are settling ever deeper, ever less responsively, into the Big Muddy, while the American Consensus has come down quite decisively elsewhere. For all intents and purposes, it seems that most Americans are acting as if some policy page had already been turned, as if Iraq was so been-there, done-that. Perhaps many are also assuming that the present administration is beyond unreachable and that any successor will be certain to fix the problem; or, alternately, that nothing the public can do in relation to the Washington Consensus, including voting, matters one whit; or some helpless, hopeless combination of the two and who knows what else.

As I sat in that rumbling subway car on my way to the march in lower Manhattan, I kept wondering who, between the Iraq-forever-and-a-day crowd and the been-there/done-that folks might think it worth the bother to turn out at an antiwar rally on such a lousy day. And it was then that a brief encounter from the summer came to mind.

I’m now 63 years old and increasingly feel as if my 1950s childhood came out of another universe. Sometime in August, I ran into a “kid” — maybe in his early thirties — employed by a consulting firm to do what once would have been the work of a federal government employee. He gamely tried to explain the sinews of his privatized world to me. As he spoke, I began to wonder whether he was interested in working in the federal government, not just as a consultant to it. To ask the question, I began explaining how I had grown up dreaming about being part of the government — the State Department, actually. It seemed to me then like an honorable, if not downright glorious, destiny to represent your country to others. It was a feeling that left me deep into the 1960s when I had, in fact, already been accepted into the United States Information Agency (from which I would have, a good deal less gloriously, propagandized for my country). It was only then that anger over the Vietnam War swept me elsewhere.

I told the young consultant that, when young, I had dreamed of doing my “civic duty” and his eyes promptly widened in visible disbelief. He rolled that phrase around for a moment, then said (all dialogue recreated from my faulty memory): “Civic duty? No one in my world thinks about it that way any more.” He paused and added, hesitantly, “But I might actually like to be in the bureaucracy for a while.”

That was my moment to widen my eyes. What I once thought of as “the government” had, in the space of mere decades, become “the bureaucracy,” even to someone who would consider joining it — and, the worst of it was, I knew he was right. This was one genuine accomplishment of a quarter-century-plus of the Republican “revolution” (and the Clinton interregnum). All those presidential candidates, running as small-government outsiders ready to bring Washington big spenders to heel, had, on coming to power, only fed that government mercilessly, throwing untold numbers of tax dollars at the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex, ensuring that they would become ever more bloated, powerful, and labyrinthine, ever more focused on their own well-being, and ever less civic; ensuring that the government as a whole would be ever more “bureaucratic,” ever less “ept,” and — always — ever more oppressive, with ever more police-state-like powers.

All that had been strangled in the process — made smaller, if you will — was the federal government’s ability to deliver actual services to the population that paid for it. All that was made smaller in the world beyond Washington was whatever residual faith existed that this was “your” government, that it actually represented you in any way. As the state’s bureaucratic, military, and policing powers bloated, so, too, did the electoral process — and lost as well was the belief that your vote could determine anything much at all.

Looking back, this was, in a sense, what 9/11 really meant in America. The one thing that a government, which had long reinforced its own powers, should have been able to deliver was intelligence and protection. So it wasn’t, I suspect, just those towers that crumbled on that day. What also crumbled was a residual faith in “we, the people.” This was actually what the Bush administration played on when it urged Americans not to mobilize for its Global War on Terror, but simply to go about their business, to — as the President famously put it 16 days after 9/11 — “get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.” In a sense, Bush and his top officials were just doing what came naturally — further sidelining the American people so they could fight their private wars in peace (so to speak).

The “bureaucracy” had strangled the very idea of the “civic.” Who would even think about entering such a world today as a “civic duty,” rather than as a career move; or imagine Washington as “our” government; or that anyone inside the famed Beltway, or near the K-Street hive of lobbyists, or in Congress or the Oval Office would give a damn about you? This is why, at a deeper level, the Washington Consensus today has next to nothing to do with the American one.

American Disengagement

When people look back on the Vietnam era, few comment on how connected the size and vigor of demonstrations were to a conception of government in Washington as responsible to the American people. Even the youthful radicals of the time, in their outrage, still generally believed that Washington was not living up to some ideal they had absorbed in their younger years. Whatever they were denouncing, the founders of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in their Port Huron Statement, for instance, spoke without irony or discomfort of “[f]reedom and equality for each individual, government of, by, and for the people — these American values we found good, principles by which we could live as men.”

Though they may not have known it, they were still believers, after a fashion. By and large, the demonstrators of that moment not only believed that Washington should listen, but when, for instance, they chanted angrily, “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”, that President Lyndon Baines Johnson would be listening. (And, in fact, he was. He called it “that horrible song.”) Which young people today would believe that in their gut? Who would believe such a thing of “the bureaucracy”?

Don’t forget, demonstrating is another kind of civic duty — but perhaps a waning one. I was struck this weekend that, even among people I know, many of whom had demonstrated in the Vietnam era and had turned out again in the early years of this war, next to none were on the streets this Saturday. Most were simply going about their business with other, better things to do.

The fact is: Attending a march like Saturday’s is still, for me, something like an ingrained civic habit, like…. gulp…. voting, which I can’t imagine not doing — even when it has little meaning to me — or keeping informed by reading a newspaper daily in print (something that, it seems, just about no one under 25 does any more). These are the habits of a lifetime and they don’t disappear quickly. But when they’re gone, or if they don’t make it to the next generation intact, it’s hard, if not impossible, to get them back.

If you need another point of comparison, consider TV comic Stephen Colbert’s joke (or is it?) race for the presidency in his home state of South Carolina (or the fact that, in a Rasmussen Report telephone poll, he garnered 13% support in the Republican field just days after announcing his run). Again, I’m old enough to remember the last time something like this happened. Sometime in the late 1950s — the details escape me — a few fans of the cartoon strip Pogo decided to launch a “Pogo for President” campaign in election season. (Mind you, that strip, about a talking opossum and his pals in Okefenokee Swamp, was a classic with a critical, political edge. Who could forget the moment when Howland Owl and the turtle, Churchy LaFemme, decided to enter the nuclear age by creating uranium from a combination of a Yew tree and a geranium.) In the strip, Pogo did indeed run for president and its creator, Walt Kelly, used that hook to promote perfectly real voter-registration campaigns. But — as I remember it — he was horrified by the real-life campaign for his character and insisted that it be stopped. You didn’t, after all, make a mockery of American democracy that way. It just wasn’t funny.

No longer. Now, the “character” is launched onto the field of electoral play by the creator himself, who also happens to be promoting a book in need of publicity; and Colbert’s ploy is hailed as a kind of transcendent reality, not simply a mockery of it, even on that most mainstream of Sunday yak shows, Tim Russert’s Meet the Press. Of course, the joke — and it’s a grim one indeed — is on what’s left of American democracy, which, as Colbert obviously means to prove, is the real mockery of our moment.

Perhaps we all have to hope that, when he’s done with the election, he’ll turn his attention to demonstrations in a world increasingly uncongenial to “civic duty” of any sort. It seems that we’ve entered a time in which even demonstrating can be outsourced, privatized, left to the pros, or simply dismissed (like so much else) as hopeless, a waste of time. So I was heading toward this demonstration, wondering not why more people wouldn’t be there, but why anyone would be.

Penned in on the Streets

And here’s how it felt:

“From the moment I looked across the aisle in the subway and saw the woman with the upside-down, hand-painted sign — an anguished face, blood, and ‘no war’ on it — and she noted my sign, also resting against my knees but modestly turned away from view, and gave me the thumbs up sign, I knew things would be okay. As my wife, a friend, and I exited the subway at the 50th Street station on the west side of New York, I noted three college-age women bent over a subway bench magic-marking in messages on their blank sign boards, a signal that we were heading for some special do-it-yourself event.”

Oops! Sorry, that was my description of the first moments of a massive antiwar march — half a million or more people took part — in New York City on February 15, 2003, just over a month before the invasion of Iraq was launched.

On my subway car Saturday, there were no obvious demonstrators carrying signs; no eager faces or hands ready to give a thumbs-up sign; no one who even looked like he or she was heading for a demonstration. (Of course, I had no handmade sign and didn’t look that way either.)

A signature aspect of this era’s antiwar demonstrations, from the first prewar giants on, has been the spontaneous, personal signage, often a literal sea of waving individual expressions of indignation, sardonic humor, hope, despair, absurdity, you name it.

On Saturday, most of the signs were printed and clearly organizationally inspired; not all, however, as the shots by Tam Turse, the young photojournalist who accompanied me, eloquently indicate.

As for the police, well, here’s how it felt with them:

“They still had us more or less confined to the sidewalk and a bit of the street on one side of the avenue, and cars were still crawling by. But already demonstrators were moving the orange police cones quickly set up for this unexpected crowd on an unexpectedly occupied avenue ever farther out into the traffic. Soon, to relieve pressure, the police opened a side street and with a great cheer our section of the rolling non-march burst through up to Second [Avenue] where we found ourselves in an even greater mass of humanity, heading north on our own avenue without a single car, truck, or bus.”

Uh-oh, my mistake again! That, too, was the February 15, 2003 demo. This time, I came out of the subway at 23rd Street and was promptly accosted by a confused young German woman, postcards clutched in one hand. She pointed at two blue mailboxes on the corner and asked, in charmingly accented English, how you put the cards in. “Oh,” I said, “let me show you.” And I promptly pulled on each mailbox handle, only to find them locked. The police had undoubtedly done this as an anti-terror measure. The woman was relieved, she told me, that she wasn’t “mad.” No, I assured her, it was the world that was mad, not her.

The rest of the march was, in essence, a police event, the demonstrators penned in by moveable metal barricades, “guarded” often by more police personnel than on-lookers. From the moment we began to march in the rain, the police presence was overwhelming, starting with a well-marked NYPD “Sky Watch” tower, a mobile tower that can be raised anywhere in which police observers can spy on you from behind a Darth Vader-style darkened window. In fact, we marchers were penned in by the police as we headed south for Foley Square, cut off, for instance, from the large cross street at 14th by a row of dismounted police using their motorcycles as a barricade. Police vehicles and police on foot moved slowly in front of the demonstration as well as behind it. Police even marched in the demonstration (though not as demonstrators). Essentially, it was, as all rallies and demonstrations now seem to be in our growing Homeland Security state-let, a police march.

Led by a sizeable contingent of soldiers, vets, and military families, there were perhaps 10,000 marchers — a rare occasion when my own rough estimate fit the normal police undercount — on a dreary, rainy day, which is no small thing. Each of them left his or her life for a few hours to take a walk (or, in the case of one elderly lady, to be wheeled, encased in plastic, or for two “grannies for peace” to be peddled in a volunteer pedicab) in mild discomfort, to chant, to call out, even in a few creative cases, to display feelings on individual placards or constructions or in group tableaux. Each of them, for his or her own reason, was civic, even global. Add up all the people who did this in 11 cities nationwide, and the numbers aren’t unimpressive. But with unending war, as well as perpetual death and destruction on the Bush administration menu, with the horizon darkened by the possibility of a strike against Iran, and a population which has turned its back on most of the above, it was, nonetheless, clearly underwhelming.

Meanwhile, in Iraq on Saturday, according to news reports, it was just an ordinary day, the usual harvest of decomposing corpses, deadly roadside blasts, assassinations, kidnappings, U.S. raids, and, bizarrely, the breakfast poisoning of 100 Iraqi soldiers. One American death was announced on Saturday. We don’t yet know who the soldier was, only that he died “when he sustained small arms fire while conducting operations in Salah ad Din [Province].” He could, of course, have come from New York City, but the odds are that he came from a small town somewhere in the American hinterlands, from perhaps Latta, South Carolina or Lone Pine, California.

He might, or might not, have ever visited Disney World. He might have joined the overstretched U.S. armed forces for the increasingly massive bonuses the military is now offering to bind the poor and futureless close in a war that has been rejected by the American people; or perhaps he simply signed on with some of that residual sense of civic duty that’s fast fleeing the land; or, possibly, both of the above. Perhaps, if he hadn’t died, he would, like 12 former captains who recently wrote “The Real Iraq We Knew” for the Washington Post op-ed page and called our “best option… to leave Iraq immediately,” have returned to speak out against the war. Who knows. Already, for 3,839 Americans in Iraq and 451 Americans in Afghanistan, we will never have a way of knowing.

Tom Engelhardt, who runs the Nation Institute’s Tomdispatch.com, is the co-founder of the American Empire Project. His book, The End of Victory Culture (University of Massachusetts Press), has just been thoroughly updated in a newly issued edition that deals with victory culture’s crash-and-burn sequel in Iraq.

Tam Turse is a photojournalist working in New York City. Her photos of the demonstration discussed in this piece can be viewed by clicking here.

Copyright 2007 Tom Engelhardt

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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Thousands march across the country for impeachment and to end the war

The Morning After by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan


by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
October 28, 2007

As I sit sipping my morning cup of coffee and reflect on the anti-war protests sponsored by the Oct27 coalition (where I saw some good collaboration between UFPJ and ANSWER—at least in San Francisco —yea!), I have a few thoughts.

Yesterday, tens of thousands of activists from around Northern California, Northern Nevada and some from Southern Oregon attended the rally in my new hometown, San Francisco. Despite weather in the Eastern part of the country, I hear that the rallies all over the rest of the country were extremely well attended and the energy was high.

The throngs of humanity in San Francisco stretched out between the Civic Center to Dolores Park in a line that was over two miles long and it took over an hour for the last marcher to reach the endpoint. However, what does this all mean?

We have marched. We have done sit-ins in Congress Reps offices all over the country. We have written letters, emails and sent faxes. Some of us have camped in ditches in Central Texas for weeks at a time. CODEPINK is doing a marvelous job of keeping the pressure on in DC. We have had countless numbers of rallies, teach-ins and candlelight vigils, but the occupation is continuing and people are still dying and are forced from their homes by the ongoing and unremitting violence.

In November of 2006, the peace movement scored a major coup but we later discovered that the Democrats had only used our vibrant, angry and deeply committed movement to regain both Houses of Congress. Some of us erroneously thought that we could relax a little and allow the 110th Congress to take some of the slack from us hard-working activists to end the war and hold BushCo accountable. After all, that’s what we pay them for, isn’t it? I, and my organization, was roundly criticized by many people for going to Congress in January to demand that the Dems do the job we elected them to do. “Give them a chance.” “Shut the f**k up.” These and harsher epithets were hurled at us. I understand, because we wanted to relax, too. In November, we were as shocked as everyone else was, though, when Nancy and Harry (Bush Enablers Number One and Two) took impeachment “off the table.” We knew there would be no rest for the weary with this Congress, and, unfortunately, I think we have been vindicated…very regrettably for democracy around the world.

Where do we go from here?

George has asked Congress for 45 billion (to add to the 200 billion Congress already handed him) more Chinese lent dollars for 2008 to sustain his bloody occupations and Congress will unconditionally yield to his request because they are puppets of the Supreme Puppet. Coincidentally, this will keep the bloody mess going until the ’08 elections where the Dems can point their blood-stained fingers at the Repugs not even realizing that we are not buying that load of crap anymore. Both parties are culpable; both parties are supporting war crimes; both parties must be held accountable. We need to run Peace Candidates against the Bush Enablers and we need to support the Peace Candidates we already have like Dennis Kucinich that are floundering on the decks of the USS Main Stream Media.

The peace movement must also be held accountable. We wrangle for a limited amount of funds and guard our “listservs” jealously and fiercely. It is way past time that the peace movement share resources, gifts and talents to force the established elite in DC to do our will. We are the moral majority in this country; we are in the right; we need to work together to funnel and focus our energies. So many times we are on parallel paths going the same direction but rarely walking together towards our common goals. We can be sure that the Corporatocracy is walking lock-step toward their goal of US global hegemony which is neither peaceful nor benevolent.

In March of ’08 we will be mourning the 5th anniversary of a “war” that was going to take six months (Donald Rumsfeld), 50 billion dollars (Paul Wolfowitz) and zero American lives (George Bush). Obviously, this is unacceptable. The Camp Casey Peace Institute is calling for a Peace Summit in San Francisco on the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday to bring the leaders of the movement together so we can find ways to support each other to our common goals of peace, sustainability and accountability and to plan for relevant and effective actions all around the 5th anniversary.

With US aircraft carrier groups in the Persian Gulf and Turkish forces poised on the border of Kurdistan, if there ever was a time to put differences aside and celebrate similarities, as BushCo in tandem with Congress, Inc has brought our world to the brink of World War III, it is now.

To Contact Cindy: Cindy@CindyforCongress.org

h/t: Peace Page

Justice Denied By William A. Cohn

Dandelion Salad

By William A. Cohn
10/26/07 “ICH

It was a case of mistaken identity. It could have happened to any one of us.

And yet, in 2007 it is hard for us to imagine the ongoing nightmare endured by Khaled El-Masri, the German citizen whose story helped to expose the ugly underbelly of the US-led global war on terror. On October 9th, Masri’s last hope at getting justice in the US was dashed when the Supreme Court declined to review the lower court rulings dismissing his case based on the government’s assertion that to give Masri his day in court would require the disclosure of state secrets and thus harm US national security.

His Kafkaesque plight brings to mind the inquisitorial “justice” meted out by totalitarian regimes. That the High Court refused to hear his case without comment is all too fitting for the silence and secrecy Masri encountered in his search for answers in the US. Now, Masri must turn to the European Court of Justice in the hopes that Europe will afford him the justice he was denied in America. Since the US is not a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights, Masri should bring suit against Germany for its complicity in his mistreatment in order to obtain an adjudication affirming the mistreatment he received at the hands of US agents.

The Supreme Court decision, which the New York Times called a “Supreme Disgrace,” in essence accepted the Bush administration’s contention that the judiciary must ‘trust us’ that allowing Masri’s case to proceed would harm national security. But the constitutional rule of law is based on distrust, not trust. That is why, recognizing as axiomatic that ‘Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ the Constitution established a system of checks and balances by means of a separation of powers aimed at accountability. By rubber-stamping claims of executive privilege, the judiciary shirks its constitutional duty, and thus fails us all.

Masri’s story has been one of the most widely reported cases of so-called ‘extraordinary rendition’, the practice of secretly abducting suspected terrorists and indefinitely detaining them, often in countries known to torture prisoners. On December 6, 2005 Masri filed a lawsuit in US federal court against former CIA director George Tenet, and others, alleging that the defendants, acting as agents of the US government, kidnapped, wrongfully imprisoned, abused and tortured him. The 44-year-old married father of five alleges that on December 31, 2003 he was forcibly abducted while on holiday in Macedonia, detained incommunicado, handed over to US agents, then beaten, drugged, and taken to a secret prison in Afghanistan, where he was interrogated in a cruel and inhuman manner. His allegations have been investigated and substantiated by the German state prosecutor and the Council of Europe, the continent’s human rights watchdog.

It seems that Khaled El-Masri was thought to be Khalid al-Masri, the name given to the CIA by the Hamburg-based terror suspect Ramzi Binalshibh as the person who helped Mohammed Atta’s 9/11 cabal make contact with a senior Qaeda member in Germany. Likely, the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ produced false ‘intelligence’ and they chased a fictive person with reckless abandon. The validity of Masri’s German passport was never checked before he was flown to Afghanistan. German Chancellor Merkel told the press that US Secretary of State Rice acknowledged to her the mistake with Masri. Rice’s staffers subsequently denied any such admission having been made. Rice, like all Bush officials, has refused to comment on Masri’s claims.

Masri’s lawsuit sought an apology and monetary compensation. US District Judge T.S. Ellis III held that Masri’s “private interests must give way to the national interest in preserving state secrets,” adding that if the allegations are true “all fair-minded people must also agree that El-Masri has suffered injuries as a result of our country’s mistake and deserves a remedy.” Indeed, there is no justice without a remedy for a legal wrong. But following the Supreme Court refusal to review his case, it is now a certainty that Masri will never obtain a remedy through the US legal system.

The Masri case reveals much of what has gone wrong in the ‘war on terror.’ The Supremes let stand the March 2nd Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling which upheld Judge Ellis’ dismissal of the lawsuit because it could expose state secrets. These decisions have brought widespread disbelief, disappointment and disgust. Following the Fourth Circuit ruling, ACLU attorney Ben Wizener said: “This is doubly insulting. Everyone knows that Mr. El-Masri was a mistaken victim of the rendition program. He is now a victim of the misuse of the state-secrets privilege.”

Masri’s is not the only such case to be so dismissed. For instance, Maher Arar, the Canadian citizen taken to an Edgar Allan Poe-like secret prison in Syria, also had his case thrown out of US federal court by a state secrets ruling. The Canadian government substantiated Arar’s claims and offered an apology and compensation for its role in his ‘rendition’. Sadly, the current US administration lacks the strength to ever apologize.

The once-obscure state secrets privilege has been expanded and used ever-more since it was created in the 1953 case US v. Reynolds. Information declassified half a century later reveals that the state secrets claim in the Reynolds case was a lie – the government was seeking to hide its mistakes and protect against embarrassment, not to protect the country’s security. This revelation has fueled calls for reform by legal scholars, public interest groups and the American Bar Association. Since 1993, judges have required in-camera review of the disputed documents underlying state secrets claims in less than an eighth of cases, opting instead for blind deference.

On October 11th, the Times opined, “this administration has repeatedly relied upon [the state secrets doctrine] to avoid judicial scrutiny of its lawless action . . . courts need to apply a healthy dose of skepticism to state secrets claims.” Recently, parts of the judiciary have awakened. Federal judges have denied state secrets claims, noting that to defer to a blanket assertion of state secrets would be to abdicate their duty. On October 10th, a federal judge, citing domestic and international law prohibiting torture, barred the transfer of Guantanamo Bay inmate to Tunisia, marking the 1st time the judiciary has blocked the government transfer of a terror detainee. Perhaps this signals a new willingness to question claims of executive privilege.

As part of a community working to instill respect for the rule of law in post-communist Europe, these are challenging times. America should lead by example in assisting new democracies to root out corruption and establish transparency and accountability in governance. Yet its refusal to cooperate with German prosecutors in Masri’s case, the Canadians in Arar’s case, or the Italians in a rendition investigation there, erodes international cooperation. And revelations of secret torture memos, secret prisons, and secretive government under a novel ‘unitary executive’ theory undermine efforts advocating a rule of law agenda.

We owe Khaled El-Masri our gratitude for helping to expose human rights abuses committed in our name. By taking his claim to the European Court of Justice Masri can shed additional light on the self-defeating post-9/11 tactics employed in the US and Europe. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Masri was turned back at the airport without explanation when he flew to the US to appear at his first court hearing, and in the end he was denied review by the Supreme Court without comment. Mr. Masri is reportedly experiencing psychiatric problems today. Let us hope that he has the strength to continue his search for truth and fairness with the European Court of Justice. For we all have a stake in his struggle for justice.

William A. Cohn, who reported on the Masri case in the spring 2006 issue of The New Presence, is a writer, lawyer and lecturer at the University of New York in Prague.

Nancy Pelosi, Public Enemy Number One by Margaret Kimberley

Dandelion Salad

by Margaret Kimberley
Global Research, October 27, 2007
blackagendareport.com – 2007-10-17

Her machinations since Democrats took over the U.S. House in January 2007 show that Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t scared of the Republicans – “her eagerness to cooperate with the Bush regime is matched only by her incompetence in leading Congress.” Pelosi and her leadership clique have never had the slightest intention of seriously opposing George Bush, since they are quite content with a status quo of endless war, half of New Orleans abandoned, true universal health care on perpetual hold, and a growing police state. Every constituency of the Democratic Party has been betrayed, with the complicity of Pelosi and her crowd. And there must be pay-back for back-stabbing.

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Papier Mâché… By Layla Anwar

Dandelion Salad

By Layla Anwar
ICH

10/26/07 “
An Arab Woman Blues

An acquaintance approached me the other day and suggested I join the world of media/journalism. Utilize my writing skills and whatever intelligence I have left, to good use…

Good use? Because the media is good news? And am not only talking about mainstream media here…

Besides, becoming part of some media – and that includes some of the “alternative media” also known for its share of blatant lies – means I will no longer be allowed to tell you some basic truths.

And I don’t want to miss out on the fun by being clustered and cooped in some box writing news reports when I can sit here and spill it all out, without having to be so ” objective, impartial and fair ” about it.

I know, some may think it is very important to get the Truth out. Big deal.

The Truth is out and knowing the Truth out there is not ENOUGH. ACTING on that truth is what brings results.

And acting on that truth does not consist of signing petitions and joining a protest once a year either.

And acting on that truth does not consist of reading articles and passing them on and filing them in your inbox under the “truth.”

All of this remains words on paper…

Daily, you read words and papers. A bulimia of words and papers…So ?
Daily, I read thousands of words and write them too…So?

Has it changed anything? Has it improved anything ? Has it given me and millions of other Iraqis any hope…?

Sadly, the answer is NO.

Why is that?

History shows that words followed by actions moved masses and produced change.

How come you are still asleep when a Genocide is happening in your name?

And repeat that word GENOCIDE, until it sinks in deep, into your thick skulls.

How come you are still asleep when you are regurgitating words daily ?

How come you are so sunk deep into some lethargy unable to move yet you go on babbling away about the intricacies of politically correct definitions ?

So in reply to this acquaintance and his suggestion, my answer is NO. I will not join any media.

I know you will say because the media manipulates, etc…We are not being told the truth, we are fed lies, we have been robbed of what this country – yours – stands for and what our founding fathers – yours – fought for and after all we are suffering too, we are overstressed, overworked, underpaid, riddled with hormones, numbed, etc…etc…etc…

More words again…Delusional words and delusional beliefs.

I have news for you here and they are not good.

You are not only being fed lies, you entertain those lies by constantly lying to yourselves as well.

The ILLEGAL invasion and occupation of Iraq. Its massive, irremediable DESTRUCTION. Its untold suffering. Its deaths in the millions. Its refugees in the millions. Its plundering in the billions of $. Its rape and torture; physical, geographical, psychological, social, spiritual…right down to the individual body. Its contamination with the most lethal chemical weapons in history; DU, phosphorus bombs, Neutron bombs, cluster bombs, Napalm…

Its stripping it away from any identity, from its history, from its roots, from its people…and I can go on and on and on…

ALL of that has failed to MOVE YOU TO ACT.

And that despite your knowing “alternative medias” and reading hundreds of articles, and joining hands in prayers, and participating in conferences and giving speeches and showing up on you tube, and blogging and interviews… and, and, and…

And you want me to believe your lies of how you have been robbed of the ideals of what your nation stood for ? Who are you kidding here ?

You are kidding none but yourselves.

Iraq was the golden opportunity that you have deliberately or stupidly failed to seize. And I call that BAD FAITH.

Iraq was the golden historical opportunity for you to finally put into practice those ”ideals of your founding fathers” that you o’ so preach about all the time…

But you did NOT. And that is a FACT!

And I will tell you why you did not. Simple. Because you have no such ideals. You are deluding yourselves.

You have forgotten that your so called “democracy” has been nothing but a SHAM, a travesty from the very beginning.

And you have also conveniently forgotten that your so called “democracy” only gave rights to “african americans” in the late 60’s. And that is just 40 years ago.
Until then, you were living segregated lives…preaching “democracy.”

So what ideals are you exactly talking about?

And I can go on and on about your own history but your history does not interest me…anymore. You do not interest me either. Nor you, nor your collective or individual stories…

Words and more words…and more words.

Files of papers filled with words, riddled with words like bullets. And this is exactly what your words ended up as, they ended as…BULLETS.

Bullets that ripped through us, through our being, our psyche, our identity, our culture, our very existence…

So spare me your words, articles, news, analysis, research, theories…papers.

And remember you are not to preach to me, someone whose ancestral fathers invented the letter and the word and taught you how to write.

You are nothing but words on paper. And we have become nothing but a target people riddled with your bullets.

Take your words and your papers and make some papier mâché.

And here is a definiton of what papier mâché means

“…shreds of paper mixed with glue or paste, that can be molded into various shapes when wet and becomes hard…when dry.”

They make boxes out of papier mâché. So make boxes out your words and papers…and store more words and paper in them.

Or if you feel terribly charitable and want to give yourselves a good conscience, ship your papier mâché boxes over to Iraq as…coffins.

Only then can you truly pride yourselves by remembering your “founding fathers.”

And let it go down the annals of your glorious “history” as – and don’t forget to quote me…

“We killed them with bullets, covered them in words and buried them in paper boxes.”

Congratulations to you and your founding fathers.

Layla Anwar, Who am I? The eternal Question. Have not figured it out fully yet . All you need to know about me is that I am a Middle Easterner, an Arab Woman – into my 40’s and old enough to know better. I have no homeland per se. I live in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Egypt simultaneously … All the rest is icing on the cake. An Arab Woman Blues Blog /Copyrights reserved, 2006-2007

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Venezuela Bolivariana: People and the struggle of the 4th world war (2004)

Dandelion Salad

1 hr 16 min 58 sec – Apr 30, 2006
www.calleymedia.org

brian gonzales

http://www.calleymedia.org/ 2004 documentary on the impact of financial neo-liberalism on Latin America and other parts of the world and what Hugo Chavez is doing to stop its spread in Venezuela.

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Why Democracy – Taxi to the Dark Side (video; over 18)

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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

replaced video May 7, 2013

causelofallah May 1, 2012

Taxi to the Dark Side – BBC – Taxi to the Dark Side is a 2007 Academy Award-nominated documentary film directed by American filmmaker Alex Gibney. The film focuses around the controversial death in custody of an Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar.[2] Dilawar was beaten to death by American soldiers while being held in extrajudicial detention at the Bagram Air Base. Continue reading

Bill Moyers Journal: Power and the Presidency (video link)

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Bill Moyers Journal
PBS
October 26, 2007

Executive privilege, alleged torture, warrentless wiretapping — the Bush Administration has come under fire as the powers the President and Vice President have assumed in the name of national security have come to public attention. But charges of executive overreach are nothing new, nor are they exclusive to one political party, as this week’s guests, Charles Fried and Fritz Schwarz know all too well.

video link

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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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

Dandelion Salad

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

Selected Episode

Oct. 26, 2007

linktv

For more episodes and other Link TV programs:
http://www.linktv.org/originalseries
“Israel Kills Six Palestinians,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Blair Plans to Develop West Bank,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“Surging Oil Prices & the Weak Dollar,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Egyptians Suffer Under Inflation,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“The Black Church in Iran,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Tensions Sweep Kurdish Villages,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“The Killing Fields in the Ukraine,” IBA TV, Israel
“MIR- Sanctions: A Prelude to War?” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.