Georgian police accused of brutality + Protest force early elections (videos; sonic gun)

Dandelion Salad


Georgian police are being accused of brutality during Wednesday’s violent crackdown on opposition protesters in Tbilisi. TV pictures showed officers and soldiers using a range of weapons to disperse crowds, including rubber bullets, tear gas and a sonic gun.

h/t: NINE, RO@D Skuul, Big B, Mr_Liberty (Ron Paul 08), Freedom Academy, Sir Charles Karate



Public protest force early elections in Georgia

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After declaring state of emergency, Georgian President announces election date

Four years after the 2003 “rose revolution” that propelled him to power, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is proposing early presidential elections along with a simultaneous parallel referendum on parliamentary elections. The move has been seen as an attempt to snatch the political initiative from his opponents.
Moscow News, November 8, 2007

On November 7th police forcefully dispersed protesters, using tear-gas and water cannons. Scores of people were reported injured. The government then declared a 15-day state of emergency. Riot police stormed the main opposition television station, Imedi, and took it off the air.
The Economist, November 8, 2007

US Military Weaknesses: Top Pentagon Brass reluctant to wage war on Iran by Michel Chossudovsky

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, November 10, 2007

While US attack plans against Iran are in an advanced state of readiness, there are growing divisions between the military and the White House regarding these attacks.

“U.S. defense officials have signaled that up-to-date attack plans are available if needed in the escalating crisis over Iran’s nuclear aims, although no strike appears imminent…. Among the possible targets, in addition to nuclear installations like the centrifuge plant at Natanz: Iran’s ballistic missile sites, Republican Guard bases, and naval warfare assets that Tehran could use in a retaliatory closure of the Straits of Hormuz, a vital artery for the flow of Gulf oil.” (AP, November 8, 2007)

These ongoing war preparations are consistent with official statements and political threats directed against Iran by the US president and vice president. On October 12, President Bush dropped a bombshell by intimating that the confrontation with Iran could lead to a “World War III”. In a recent TV interview Bush clarified that the reason he mentioned World War III was “because this is a country [Iran] that has defied the IAEA…” This statement is a barefaced lie by the US head of State. The IAEA confirmed in an August report the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

Vice President Dick Cheney stated on Oct. 21 that the United States that Iran would face “serious consequences” if it did not conform to US demands regarding its nuclear program. Cheney is still committed to triggering a pretext, including a “Second 911” or a “catatrophic emergency” in the US, which would provide a justification for waging war on Iran.

Meanwhile, presidential candidates Republican Rudi Giuliani and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton have tacitly endorsed the administration’s stance on Iran.

These aggressive White House statements are in contrast with those emanating from the US military.

The new chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, who took office in early October, while broadly supportive of the White House, has acknowledged US military weaknesses. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “may have undermined the military’s ability to fight wars against major adversaries – including Iran.” (quoted in Haaretz, October 22, 2007).

“…the risks could be very, very high…. We’re in a conflict in two countries out there right now… We have to be incredibly thoughtful about the potential of in fact getting into a conflict with a third country in that part of the world.”

In an interview with the New York Times, Mullen stated:

“We have to be incredibly thoughtful about … getting into a conflict with a third country [Iran] in that part of the world.”

Mullen’s hesitations to wage war on Iran are not based on a divergent political stance but on a realistic assessment of US military capabilities. Admiral Mullen recognizes that the US military is overstretched and that in relation to Iraq, the US military is facing serious problems in military recruitment.

Moreover, tacitly acknowledged by the Pentagon, US and coalition forces are facing fierce resistance in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Adm. William Fallon, Commander of US Central Command (USCENTCOM) and a staunch supporter of Bush-Cheney war plans, has also played down the possibility of a war with Iran. “We are not going to do Iran on my watch.” Fallon is acutely aware of Iran’s ability to retaliate militarily and inflict significant losses to US and coalition forces.

On the Diplomatic Front

Meanwhile, the White House is pressuring Germany and France to impose tough economic sanctions on Iran.

President Sarkozy expressed his unbending support of the US president in his speech to the US Congress. Bush and Sarkozy presented at a November 7 Press Conference, in what was described by political analysts as a “joint front” calling for the imposition of tough economic sanctions against Iran.

On Saturday November 10, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at Bush’s Texas ranch for talks with president Bush. Merkel stated that : “if Iran does not give way, [Germany] is prepared for further and tougher sanctions.”

What is now emerging are efforts on the part of Washington to isolate Iran. Through ongoing negotiations with Germany and France, Washington is pushing for the imposition of an economic sanctions regime (under European Union auspices) directed against Tehran. What is at stake are European business interests, including EU oil companies, in Iran. Vice President Cheney has threatened European multinationals in a November 8 statement, that if they remain in Iran they will have trouble doing business in the US. (Guardian, November 9, 2007)

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

El Baradei and Iran’s nuclear ambition (video)

A War Crime In Motion – Kucinich Warns Of Bunker Buster Attempt On Iranian Nuclear Research Labs

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran By Uzi Mahnaimi & Sarah Baxter

Is the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust? by Michel Chossudovsky (2006)

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is:

NATO Expands South, Hindered by US-created Chaos by Nicola Nasser

Dandelion Salad

by Nicola Nasser
Global Research, November 10, 2007

Discreetly but progressively and confidently, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is expanding south and southeast almost uncontested — after the collapse of the former USSR-led Warsaw Pact — outside the mandate designated by its statute into the Arab Middle East as well as into the Caspian Sea regions.

However, the U.S. obsession with the Iranian threat and with finding an exit strategy from the Iraqi quagmire made Washington less attentive to Turkey ’s legitimate vital national interests, thus insensitively antagonizing the alliance’s southern strong arm and alerting it into the defensive, not against enemies, but against its own allies. Turkey now stands in the eye of a storm created by this same ally, a storm threatening a geopolitical fall out between the two NATO allies since 1952.

NATO has already secured its presence on the middle tier between the two regions, in Turkey (a member), Afghanistan (where it has a 25.000-strong force) and to a lesser extent in Iraq where the western alliance is training the “new Iraqi army.”

The contesting French influence had eased when former President Jacque Chirac near the end of his term shifted to coordinating with the United States in Lebanon; the French contest, particularly on the African theatre and especially on NATO’s northern Arab tier seems to have been completely neutralized with the electoral victory of the new President Nicolas Sarkozy, who chose to engage Washington as a “friend” and decided to rejoin NATO’s military structure.

The absence of any credible indigenous system rules out any worthwhile obstacles to NATO expansion from within the Arab Middle East region. The League of Arab States is practically no more than a fractured, division-burdened high level forum of a regional gathering structure with no teeth at all, threatened by the US-Israeli strategic alliance and the NATO with disintegration into an alternative wider “Greater Middle East” security structure that would embrace Israel as an integral leading partner.

The expansion southward was highlighted on October 9 with the signing of a treaty with Egypt at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, “in a move that opens the door for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to be involved in security matters along Egypt’s border with Gaza (Strip),” according to the Jerusalem Post the next day, to possibly secure in particular the Salahuddin Passage (Philadelphi Route) according to Ynet. Egypt has become the second Middle Eastern country to sign a treaty with NATO after a similar treaty with Israel in 2006.

Both treaties with Egypt and Israel were initiated under the Individual Cooperation Programmes (ICP), which aim at “promoting political and military ties with the Euro-Atlantic and the Mediterranean regions along with security cooperation with NATO and MD partners, in order to enhance Mediterranean regional security and stability,” NATO said in the statement.

The ICP was upgraded from the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), which was adopted by the NATO summit in Istanbul on 28-29 June 2004 with an eye on the Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to have priority in joining the alliance in partnership arrangements. Both the ICP and ICI were conceived as mechanisms to bypass the NATO statute, which confines its expansion to Europe and the North Atlantic regions.

The Mediterranean Dialogue (MD) was the vehicle the NATO used to approach partnership arrangements in the region. This dialogue was originally initiated by European founders of NATO to promote economic and political cooperation with the southern Arab neighbors; in 2002 the MD was upgraded to security matters of concern and in 2004 NATO elevated its dialogue status to conceived genuine partnerships and an expanded framework of cooperation. The MD branched off the much older European – Arab dialogue, which began in the last quarter of the 20th century as an economic, political and cultural forum that has nothing to do with NATO or military prospects.

The ICP produced the Egyptian and Israeli treaties; the ICI had earlier produced cooperation arrangements with seven MD countries, namely Israel, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan; similar cooperation was arranged with non-MD members of the GCC, namely Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (which became an ICI partner in January). Since July 2005, the NATO has also provided air transport for peacekeeping forces in Sudan’s volatile Darfur region.

Areas of both ICP and ICI cooperation arrangements include joint military war games, military training, defense reform, war on terror, countering Islamist militancy, military and security intelligence sharing, control of borders, demilitarization of the surplus of old and obsolete ammunition stockpiles and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), serving NATO ships at partners’ seaports, hosting NATO-supported regional Security Cooperation Centre/s, providing logistical support to NATO’s peacekeeping operations, helping NATO in patrolling the Mediterranean Sea and regional waters, countering the spread of weapons of mass destruction, “to get these states closer to NATO’s way of thinking” according to a NATO official, opening NATO defense colleges to partners’ military officers, and other mechanisms to enhance practical cooperation on regional stability and security.

Initially adopting a low-key approach, NATO now feels more confident to send its Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and his deputy on unprecedented public visits to Algeria and other ICP and ICI “partners.”

Scheffer may be officially warmly or cordially welcomed, but on the popular level NATO is conceived as a U.S. tool to prolong both American grip on Arab oil and Israeli grab of Arab land. Accordingly its presence in the region is abhorred and is fomenting further deep-seated anti-Americanism because of the U.S. invasion and military occupation of Iraq and the U.S. limitless support to the Israeli occupation in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

Specifically, NATO’s treaties with Egypt and Israel, its cooperation with Jordan, with Lebanon falling within its mandate and the around the clock NATO patrols in the Mediterranean is in practice creating an external NATO wall that reinforces the internal military occupation walls Israel is erecting to tighten the siege it imposes on the Palestinian people.

Interrupting, Disrupting Kurdish – Turkish Crisis

However, “Just as the White House claims it has finally turned the corner in what it defines as the ‘central front’ in the ‘war on terror’ – Iraq – it has found itself desperately trying to contain new crises on the war’s periphery stretching east to Pakistan, west to Turkey and south to the Horn of Africa,” Jim Lobe wrote in Asia Times on November 10.

To prove his point, Lobe cited Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf’s latest “coup,” the continuing threat of a Turkish invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan, the looming probability of war between U.S.-backed Ethiopia and Eritrea, “amid a lack of concrete progress on the Israel-Palestinian peace process, the ongoing political impasse in Lebanon, and still-mounting tensions between Iran and the U.S.” and amid an anti-Americanism that now pervades the entire region.

This is for sure an unwelcoming environment for NATO, but at the same time an environment that the U.S. leading NATO player will use as the raison d’etre for dragging the North Atlantic Alliance into even more expanded role in the region.

“The situation along the border between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan most directly threatens the administration’s efforts to stabilize Iraq,” said Lobe, but this is exactly where the NATO’s gradual, confident and successful expansion south could be curtailed, hindered and face problems because the US double-standard policies vis-à-vis what Washington herself list as “terrorist organizations” as well as her regional hegemonic plans pit the alliance against its Turkish founding member or at least create an environment conducive to a collision course between the two allies.

In October, Turkey ‘s parliament overwhelmingly voted 507 to 19 in favor of ordering the army to launch an offensive across Turkey ‘s south-eastern border in search of P.K.K. Turkish-Kurd rebels hiding in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turks made no less than 24 attacks into Iraqi Kurdistan since 1984, but without effect. The P.K.K. guerrillas could easily disappear in the rugged mountain terrain of the Qandil Mountains .

Now the Turks are after their “terrorist-harboring” Iraqi-Kurdish hosts as well, who were securing a safe haven for Kurdish rebels, demanding their extradition, a demand that the U.S.-allied Kurdish Iraqi President, Jalal Talibani, and the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Masoud Barzani, had categorically rejected and, motivated by seemingly Pan-Kurdish loyalties, announced their readiness to fight back any Turkish military incursion into their territories.

The prospect of a Turkish – Kurdish war that could embroil the Iraqi Kurds, the only trusted Iraqi ally supporting the U.S. occupation, and destabilize the only stable Iraqi region of Kurdistan to open a new front with a potential new flood of Iraqi refugees, this time Kurds, is a nightmare for the U.S. Washington can ill-afford to lose the support of either the Iraqi Kurds or that of the Turkish government across the border; both play a vital role in supporting the U.S. war effort in Iraq.

“With American troops already stretched thin and U.S. military leaders not trusting most Arab-dominated units of the Iraqi armed forces, the United States has relied extensively on Kurdish forces for counter-insurgency operations throughout Iraq,” Stephen Zunes wrote in the “Foreign Policy in Focus” on October 25.

US Double-standards

Meanwhile Washington has turned her eyes away from the fact that Iraqi Kurdistan has become a safe haven for organizations outlawed by the US as “terrorist” groups. The U.S.-backed Iraqi Kurds were honest to their rhetoric of Pan-Kurdish nationalism and turned their U.S.-protected region into a base for Kurdish rebels from and against neighboring countries. The U.S.-outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (P.K.K.) took on Turkey; but a U.S.-sponsored Iranian Kurdish group known as PEJAK took on Iran.

Washington also turned a blind eye to the fact that P.K.K. since two years has become the mother organization of four splinter groups each of them working separately but in coordination in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.

On Oct. 28, the quoted the author of the forthcoming book “The Iran Agenda: the Real Story of U.S. Policy and the Middle East Crisis,” Reese Erlich, as saying that, “Kurdish and American sources say the United States has been supporting guerilla raids against Iran, channeling the money through organizations in Iraqi Kurdistan.” Writing in the latest issue of Mother Jones, Erlich reported that the P.K.K., which is listed on the United States State Department List of Terrorist Organizations, “about two years ago split into four parties in each of the countries where the Kurds live” in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. “So the P.J.A.K. is the Iranian affiliate. Basically they’re still part of the same organization.” He added that the United States accommodates the presence of the P.K.K. in Iraq, but opposes its actions in Turkey, while on the other hand it supports attacks by P.K.K.’s splinter group on Iran.

Osman Ocalan, brother of the imprisoned P.K.K. leader Abdullah Ocalan, told AP last week that some fighters had moved toward Iran, and that there were now more P.K.K. fighters there than in northern Iraq. “P.K.K. forces are split into three parts situated in Turkey, Iraq and Iran,” Ocalan said. “If there is Turkish pressure on our forces in Iraq, the fighters will head toward Iran.” How could this free movement on Iraqi soil be possible without accommodation by the US occupying power and their Iraqi Kurdish arms?

Iraqi Kurds’ Pan-Kurdish “solidarity” with their Turkish, Iranian and Syrian compatriots is undercutting U.S. efforts to contain further deterioration in its ties with Turkey. Two weeks ago, Iraq ’s Kurdish President, Jalal Talabani, said that Iraq could not solve Turkey ’s problems. “The handing over of P.K.K. leaders to Turkey is a dream that will never be realized,” he said.

Washington seems caught between Iraq and a hard Turkish place, with whom relations are already thinly stretched by the recent U.S. Congress resolution declaring the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 90 years ago a Turkish “genocide.” A recent German Marshall Fund poll found that only 11 percent of Turks have positive views of the United States . One of the main factors in the extraordinary growth of anti-U.S. sentiment among the Turks was the U.S. unwillingness to pressure its ally Barzani to stop the P.K.K. from crossing into Turkey.

President George W. Bush spelled out U.S. opposition to a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq . Turkey ’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan was infuriated to declare that the future of bilateral ties with the U.S. will be determined by Washington ’s active involvement against the P.K.K., without “double-standards,” in accordance with U.S. law that labels it as a terrorist organization. Erdogan returned disappointed from his November 5 summit with Bush in Washington; the crisis lingers on as Bush could not assure the Turkish leader enough for Ankara to rule out the military option.

“This crisis was predictable and predicted. U.S. officials have long known that a Turkish incursion was just one terrorist event away. As tensions mounted, the administration had numerous opportunities to engage in preventive diplomacy. A combination of lack of imagination, incompetence and sheer lack of knowledge at the State Department has caused this impasse,” Henri J. Barkey wrote in the Washington Post on October 27.

The New York Times on Oct. 22 reported that “American officials acknowledged that neither the United States nor Iraq had done much recently to constrain” the P.K.K. Current and former Bush administration officials said a special envoy appointed by the Bush administration in 2006, Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, “had recently stepped down in frustration over Iraqi and American inaction.”

Ahead of their summit Bush sent his Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Ankara and to the meeting of Iraq neighbors in Istanbul with a “diplomatic” proposal to diffuse the crisis based on hitting at the heart of the Pan-Kurdish declared loyalties of the Iraqi Kurds’ leaders, Talbani and Barzani, by splitting the Kurds into a terrorist camp, which Rice declared in Ankara as the “common enemy” of her country, Turkey and Iraq and a non-terrorist camp which both men represent.

During their summit on Nov. 5, Bush promised Erdogan that Turkey would be furnished with U.S. intelligence on the camps and movements of the P.K.K. The Turkish press reported this as a “green light for military strikes.” For the U.S., the main issue now is that “Turkish military action is limited and strictly controlled,” commented Spiegel on-line. “Where possible,” the publication added, “military action should be coordinated with the (Iraqi) Kurdish regional government so as to avoid clashes between the Turkish army and the northern Iraqi Kurdish militias.”

NATO had earlier expressed its solidarity with Turkey. On October 24, NATO defense ministers meeting in The Netherlands said the 26 allies expressed solidarity with Turkey in the face of the attacks. P.K.K. rebels have killed more than 40 Turks in hit-and-run attacks over the past month. “I think the Turkish government is showing restraint, remarkable restraint under current conditions,” NATO chief Hoop Scheffer told a news conference.

But for how long could Turkey practice restrain before her NATO allies translate their so far verbal solidarity into deeds?

Scot Sullivan, writing in The Conservative Voice on Nov. 9, had a different interpretation of the results of the Bush-Erdogan summit: “The U.S. is appeasing Iran and Iran ’s P.K.K. allies while preparing to confront Turkey . Such is the inescapable conclusion following Erdogan-Bush Summit. A careful assessment of the Erdogan-Bush summit indicates that Bush remains hostile to Turkey and sympathetic to the P.K.K.-Iran Axis that seeks to partition Iraq . Bush made only two modest assistance offers to Turkey. Each offer raised more questions than answers.”

First, Bush’s offer to share intelligence with Turkey implies that the U.S. has been withholding such intelligence from Turkey until now despite U.S. obligations within NATO and despite bilateral counterterrorism agreements. Second, the establishment of coordinating mechanism between the U.S. and Turkey for conducting joint operations against the P.K.K. is in reality “no more than a hotline, or more accurately a US phone number.”

To add insult to injury, the “ U.S. brush-off of Turkey became evident, according to Sullivan, when “General Petraeus was named as the U.S. point of contact. For the Turkish military, GEN Petraeus is pro-Kurdish. He approved without question the P.K.K. military buildup in northern Iraq. He also approved granting the Kurdish peshmerga the status of an independent military force that is answerable only to Kurdish president Barzani.”

Wider Strategic Envelopment of Turkey

Turkey is a close NATO ally; she contributes troops to NATO’s operation in Afghanistan and provides access to Incirlik air base for heavy U.S. military logistical support and supply to its forces in Iraq, where NATO is training the new Iraqi army. However, more importantly Turkey sits astride the cross roads of the huge oil reserves in the Caspian and Gulf regions.

The Caspian Sea region is gradually emerging as one of the most explosive parts of the world and the US and NATO involvement is linking it inextricably to the already war-torn Middle East region. This NATO-US involvement is alerting the five Caspian states – Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan – to be on guard; in the past decade, the number of warships on the Caspian has almost doubled, while coastal infrastructure is also being rapidly reinforced, Vasilina Vasilyeva reported in Moscow News on Nov. 8.

On a wider scale the NATO-U.S. heavy and aggressive involvement in both regions is strategically invoking defensive responses by Chine and Russia, which geopolitically consider both regions, but the Caspian in particular, their backyards; hence their evolving bilateral strategic coordination as well as their growing closer ties with Iran, the regional major player targeted by the NATO-U.S. involvement.

“The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is considering the possibility of providing security for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline,” Vasilyeva quoted Robert Simmons, the NATO secretary general’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, as saying. “The Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline runs to Turkey, a NATO country, and passes through the territory of Azerbaijan, a NATO partner. The protection of energy infrastructure includes the security of this oil pipeline in addition to other energy infrastructure facilities.” NATO has also finalized a long term program to provide military support for all pipelines along the Caspian-Turkey-Balkans route. Vasilyeva added that terrorism is the biggest threat to the pipeline.

On October 16, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Iranian media in Tehran that “international terrorism cannot be dealt with by expanding a military-political organization that was originally set up to counteract the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union. There is no Soviet Union and no Warsaw Pact today, while NATO not only exists but is expanding.”

Counterproductive US policies is antagonizing Turkey, which is indigenously deeply involved in both regions with vast strategic, economic and political interests, and consequently threatening to disrupt a successful NATO expansion south, invoking cracks within the NATO membership, and creating a pragmatic possibility for potential Turkish strategic shifts.

Under the headline, “Turkey Rediscovers the Middle East,” the July/August edition of the magazine Foreign Affairs wrote, “a significant shift in the country’s foreign policy has gone largely unnoticed: after of decades of passivity, Turkey is now emerging as an important diplomatic actor in the Middle East.” Within this context Turkey’s pragmatic evolving ties with Iran and Syria, both condemned by Bush as two pillars of a world’s “axis of evil,” is an indication.

Similar pragmatic evolution of ties and coordination with the two major obstacles to NATO’s expansion south and southeast, namely Russia and China, could not be ruled out should the United States, the backbone of the alliance, persist with its political and military insensitivity to the strategic interests of her allies.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, UAE, Jordan and Palestine; he is based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied territories.

Nicola Nasser is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Nicola Nasser

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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El Baradei and Iran’s nuclear ambition (video)

Dandelion Salad


More at
Aijaz Ahmad: Can the U.S. hear El Baradei over the noise they are making about Iran?

November 10, 2007


A War Crime In Motion – Kucinich Warns Of Bunker Buster Attempt On Iranian Nuclear Research Labs

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran By Uzi Mahnaimi & Sarah Baxter

Is the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust? by Michel Chossudovsky (2006)

Democrats Surrender on Torture By Brent Budowsky

Dandelion Salad

By Brent Budowsky
Consortium News
November 9, 2007

Editor’s Note: In a hasty Senate vote, Democrats caved in once again, approving President Bush’s nomination of Michael Mukasey to be Attorney General despite Mukasey’s refusal to admit that the simulated drowning of waterboarding was a form of torture.

In this guest essay, former Democratic congressional staffer Brent Budowsky laments the latest sell-out:

Mr. Smith has left Washington and Mr. Orwell has arrived.

First, let’s be crystal clear about how the Democrats threw a vote they would have won on Michael Mukasey and torture — and let’s be clear why this happened.

Others and I were privately advocating a filibuster against Mukasey’s attorney general confirmation bid. That would have needed 41 votes to prevail. At a minimum the filibuster could have forced President Bush to accept a ban on waterboarding and torture as a condition of Mukasey’s confirmation.

Democrats had 40 votes against confirmation on Thursday night plus the four presidential candidates who did not vote. In other words, Democrats had 43 or 44 “no” votes, if you add the presidential candidates. If the Democratic senators had the conviction to filibuster, they would have won.

As of Thursday morning, the vote was expected next week with some talk of delay until December. Once it became apparent that there were 43 to 44 “no” votes if the presidential candidates were present — and with the possibility that, over the weekend, rank-and-file Democrats would increase pressure on Senate Democrats for a filibuster, the vote was jammed through late at night, a week ahead of schedule.

Of course, by late Thursday night, the BBC World Service was correctly broadcasting to the world that the Senate had confirmed Mukasey with all of the objections to his position on torture that were stated, but surrendered, yet again, by Democrats.

George Washington spoke with fury against torture. Commanders of every military service, throughout every generation of Americans, during every war ever fought, were adamantly against torture. Military JAG lawyers have defied higher authorities in opposition to torture. Gen. Taguba defied higher authorities to courageously speak out against the continuing cover-up of Abu Ghraib.

Yet the Senate’s contribution to our troops on Veterans Day is to create more harm for them, as messages are beamed to the world, that even the Democratic Senate cannot make a stand against torture, even when 70 percent of America agrees, even when they had the votes to win.

Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), one of the leading neoconservative advocates of the catastrophic Iraq war, who only recently succeeded in defining the Senate’s position on Iran, is now attacking Democrats for having too much principle, and fighting too hard.

What is incredible about Lieberman is his lack of modesty considering how much carnage, chaos and bloodshed has resulted from his catastrophically bad judgment on Iraq and his arrogance in attacking those who have been the most right.

But Thursday was a new low for Democrats, who surrendered the fight they would have won and were morally obligated to make, on torture, and for Lieberman, who attacks Democrats for being too strong, at the exact moment of their weakest of many surrenders.

Mr. Smith has left Washington, George Orwell has arrived, and 70 percent of the nation must now consider what to do, with Washington, D.C., in such overwhelming disrepute directed at both sides of the aisle.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House. A contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service, he can be read on The Hill Pundits Blog and reached at [This article first appeared in The Hill.]

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What Happened to the Senate’s ‘60-Vote Requirement’? by Glenn Greenwald

What Happened to the Senate’s ‘60-Vote Requirement’? by Glenn Greenwald

Dandelion Salad

by Glenn Greenwald
Friday, November 9, 2007

Every time Congressional Democrats failed this year to stop the Bush administration (i.e., every time they “tried”), the excuse they gave was that they “need 60 votes in the Senate” in order to get anything done. Each time Senate Republicans blocked Democratic legislation, the media helpfully explained not that Republicans were obstructing via filibuster, but rather that, in the Senate, there is a general “60-vote requirement” for everything.

How, then, can this be explained?

The Senate confirmed Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general Thursday night, approving him despite Democratic criticism that he had failed to take an unequivocal stance against the torture of terrorism detainees.

The 53-to-40 vote made Mr. Mukasey, a former federal judge, the third person to head the Justice Department during the tenure of President Bush . . . Thirty-nine Democrats and one independent [Bernie Sanders] opposed him.

Beyond that, four Senate Democrats running for President missed the vote, and all four had announced they oppose Mukasey’s confirmation. Thus, at least 44 Senators claimed to oppose Mukasey’s confirmation — more than enough to prevent it via filibuster. So why didn’t they filibuster, the way Senate Republicans have on virtually every measure this year which they wanted to defeat?

Numerous Senate Democrats delivered dramatic speeches from the floor as to why Mukasey’s confirmation would be so devastating to the country. The Washington Post said the “vote came after more than four hours of impassioned floor debate.”

“Torture should not be what America stands for . . . I do not vote to allow torture,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy. Russ Feingold said: “we need an attorney general who will tell the president that he cannot ignore the laws passed by Congress. And on that fundamental qualification for this office Judge Mukasey falls short.” Feingold added: “If Judge Mukasey won’t say the simple truth — that this barbaric practice is torture — how can we count on him to stand up to the White House on other issues?”

Wow — it sounds as though there was really a lot at stake in this vote. So why would 44 Democratic Senators make a flamboyant showing of opposing confirmation without actually doing what they could to prevent it? Is it that a filibuster was not possible because a large number of these Democratic Senators were willing to symbolically oppose confirmation so they could say they did — by casting meaningless votes in opposition knowing that confirmation was guaranteed — but were unwilling to demonstrate the sincerity of their claimed beliefs by acting on them?

The Post said the vote “reflected an effort by Democrats to register their displeasure with Bush administration policies on torture and the boundaries of presidential power.” Apparently, they wanted to oh-so-meaningfully “register their displeasure” but not actually stop confirmation.

[The most amazing quote was from chief Mukasey supporter Chuck Schumer, who, before voting for him, said that Mukasey is “wrong on torture — dead wrong.” Marvel at that phrase: “wrong on torture.” Six years ago, there wasn’t even any such thing as being “wrong on torture,” because “torture” wasn’t something we debated. It would have been incoherent to have heard: “Well, he’s dead wrong on torture, but . . . ”

Now, “torture” is not only something we openly debate, but it’s something we do. And the fact that someone is on the wrong side of the “torture debate” doesn’t prevent them from becoming the Attorney General of the United States. It’s just one issue, like any other issue — the capital gains tax, employer mandates for health care, the water bill — and just because someone is “dead wrong” on one little issue (torture) hardly disqualifies them from High Beltway Office.]

Over and over again this year, Republican filibusters were depicted (both by Senate Democrats and the media) as nothing more the routine need to obtain the “60 votes required” for passage of any measure in the Senate. That “requirement” was said to apply to everything, including immigration (”The Senate voted 52-44 for the DREAM Act, but 60 votes were required to end debate“); Iraq withdrawal timetables (”Support is expected to top 50 votes but fall short of the 60 required“); troop leave requirements (”Webb’s Iraq bill inches closer to 60 . . . . Winning at least three of those Republicans over could give the Democrats the 60 votes they need“); and warrantless surveillance (”Democratic-sponsored bill failed to reach the 60-vote majority“).

As Steve Benen recently documented (emphasis in original):

The Republican minority has created a de facto 60-vote minimum to do anything of substance in the Senate. They’ll allow routine up-or-down votes on renaming post offices, or those rare bills that enjoy near-unanimous support, but otherwise, it’s filibuster time on the Senate floor. And while the number of filibusters has been going up pretty consistently for 20 years, these Republicans appear to be in a league of their own.

Benen quoted John McCain as explaining: “You can’t say that all we’re going to do around here in the United States Senate is have us govern by 51 votes — otherwise we might as well be unicameral, because then we would have the Senate and the House exactly the same.”

But it isn’t true that there is a “60-vote requirement,” because only Republicans are willing to impose it. Democrats won’t, even on what they claim are the gravest of matters, such as confirming someone as Attorney General who is “dead wrong on torture” and who won’t even “tell the president that he cannot ignore the laws passed by Congress.”

The so-called “60-vote requirement” applies only when it is time to do something to limit the Bush administration. It is merely the excuse Senate Democrats use to explain away their chronic failure/unwillingness to limit the President, and it is what the media uses to depict the GOP filibuster as something normal and benign. There obviously is no “60-vote requirement” when it comes to having the Senate comply with the President’s demands, as the 53-vote confirmation of Michael Mukasey amply demonstrates. But as Mukasey is sworn in as the highest law enforcement officer in America, the Democrats want you to know that they most certainly did stand firm and “register their displeasure.”

Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book “How Would a Patriot Act?,” a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, “A Tragic Legacy“, examines the Bush legacy.


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.

Faith and War by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan
by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Nov. 9, 2007

A friend of mine, who is Chair of the Economics Department, invited me to speak to the students and faculty at the University of Dallas (where the Veterans for Peace convention was that I spoke at the day before I went to Crawford on August 6th, 2005), which is a small, non-culturally or non-racially diverse, Catholic college.

Surprisingly, my friend Sam, received little protest over inviting me, but there was a “Support the Troops” rally in the room next to where I spoke. Some Camp Casey friends accidentally went into that room and only heard the speaker call me names like “scum” and he called the rest of the people at my event “peace fairies.”

I was heartened to find the first three rows of my speech were filled with young people who were smiling and vigorously nodding their heads at everything I said. Most of the audience clapped or laughed in the right places so I was feeling pretty good. However, I was a little sad when there were some snide snickers when I had the unmitigated gall to call Iraqis “human beings.”

During the “Q and A” part, the first question I received amazed me. Now, I was raised Protestant and received an excellent training in the Christian scriptures and I know after being a Catholic for 25 years and a Catholic youth minister for nine of those years, that the average Catholic does not know a great deal about the Bible as most of their religious training is in the tenets of the Catholic faith. Here’s how many Catholics quote scripture: “It’s somewhere in the Bible,” when, in my experience, many times they are actually quoting: “Poor Richard’s Almanac.”

An emphasis on the biblical support for the teachings of the church was never used as long as I taught in the church using the approved teaching materials of the church, but the depth of ignorance of Jesus of Nazareth exhibited in the first question still had the ability to astonish me.

The question printed neatly on a 3 by 5 index card was: “How do you reconcile your progressive ideals with your faith?” I answered the question that Jesus cared about the poor. He admonished us to “feed the hungry,” “clothe the naked,” “heal the sick,” and “visit those imprisoned.” Jesus performed a stunning feat of civil disobedience by over-turning the tables of the moneychangers in the temple and was subsequently executed by the Empire of his time. Jesus was the ultimate progressive radical. Jesus’ name is exploited by our materialistic society at Christmas time when he changes from the right-wing Christian warmonger to the “Prince of Peace.”

Jesus welcomed the “least of these” to his table. He didn’t exclude sinners, lepers or prostitutes who were the pariahs of his day. Today, I am convinced that if Jesus returned he would welcome gays and non-white people (even “illegal” immigrants) to commune with him. The only people I ever heard Jesus speak badly about were the “brood of vipers” (Mt 3:7) that were the Sadducees (Democrats?) and Pharisees (Republicans?) who in the parable, with hypocritical piety, walked right by the man who had been beaten, robbed and left by the side of the road to die without helping him and they turned his “Father’s” house (the Temple) into a “den of thieves.” (Mt. 21:12).

My question for the questioner was: “How do you reconcile your faith with supporting war and killing?”

If Jesus came back today and was a politician, I know, because of my faith in the inherent goodness of the Universe, that he would not be a “politician” but a public servant. Jesus would be in favor of single-payer health care, solar and wind energy, unions, free post-secondary education, Social Security, fair trade, free speech, civil rights, and human rights. Jesus would be against the death penalty, torture, extremist religions that exploit His Name for profit, extremist states that exploit His Name to kill innocent people, and the ultimate crime against humanity: war.

Whether one is a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or like me now – nothing, Jesus of Nazareth and his story is still worth studying and emulating. At the risk of sounding judgmental, I have a feeling that these reactionary Christian extremists are going to be shocked when they go to meet their maker and find out that Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). The converse of that saying is: “Cursed are the warmakers for they are not the children of God.” There is a very relevant saying of Jesus in the Bible that these self-proclaimed “Christians” should also pay closer attention to:

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:43)

Wise words for everybody to strive to live up to: From presidents to college students and everyone in between.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother’s Child and Dear President Bush.

Pro-Impeachment Candidates for 2008

Dandelion Salad

Submitted by davidswanson on Sat, 2007-11-10 07:07
After Downing Street

In 2008, I plan to support those incumbents who stood for impeachment of Bush and Cheney and led the way to making it happen, plus challengers who backed impeachment early on, before it happened. Here’s a growing list of pro-impeachment challengers. (see below)

Pro-Impeachment Candidates 2008

Submitted by davidswanson on Wed, 2007-10-24 11:13
After Downing Street

Here they are:

List compiled with help from South Jersey Impeachment Coalition


Deborah A. Vollmer (D), MD-8

Mark Lawrence (D), ME

Cindy Sheehan (I), CA-8 against Nancy Pelosi (D).

Camille Abate (D), NJ-5 against Scott Garrett (R).

Harold Burbank, CT-5 against Christopher Murphy (D).

Harold Murphy, CT-5 against Christopher Murphy (D).

Dr. Carol Wolman (G), (Dear Cheryl, My campaign is just getting underway. I’m collecting candidates for the New Broom Coalition (NBC) at the same time as building my campaign, and your help will be invaluable. Lots of people have this idea now, and we’ll all come together. I don’t have a website yet, but you can check out my video from last year, and my oped author’s page. Peace, Carol Wolman, MD Green Candidate for Congress, CA District 1
Cochair, Impeach Bush-Cheney, CA-1 against Mike Thompson (D).

Dr. Mahdi Ibn-Ziyad (D), (exploratory), NJ-1 against Rob Andrews (D). (Joanne O’Neill PDA-SJ is assisting Dr. Ziyad and can answer any inquiries for now:

Dr. Bob Bowman (D),, FL-15 against Dave Weldon (R).

Samm Simpson (FL-10)
against Bill Young (R)

John Laesch (IL-14)

Steve Young (CA-48)
against John Campbell (R)

Dr. Bill Durston (CA-03)
against Dan Lungren (R)

Christina Avalos (CA-40)
against Ed Royce (R)


John Frohnmayer (I), . U.S. Senate, OR against Gordon Smith (R).

Steve Novick (D), U.S. Senate, OR against Gordon Smith (R).

Laurie Dobson. U.S. Senate, ME against Democratic Congressman Tom Allen, Republican incumbent Susan Collins (R), and Independents Dexter Kamilewicz and Bill Slavick.

Chris Lugo (G) Tennessee,

Leland Lehrman, New Mexico


Dennis Kucinich

Mike Gravel


Impeachment on Sirius Satelite Radio tonight at 7 PM ET with Mike Feder:

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.

Suddenly, Impeachment Hearings Are Looking Like a Strong Possibility By Dave Lindorff

Kucinich Writes to Conyers



Police block Bhutto march in Pakistan (video)

Dandelion Salad


More at
Detention, protests and violence foil Bhutto’s plan for rally


Bill Moyers Journal: Democracy for Pakistan? (video)

Pakistan: State of Emergency + Pakistan at the Crossroads (videos)

Benazir and Me: House Arrest in Islamabad and Albuquerque by The Other Katherine Harris

The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
Nov. 10, 2007

Like Benazir Bhutto today, I tried to leave my home and found my car and exits from the property mobbed by police. An odd symmetry, given that no political rally was on my agenda. I’d simply run out of Cokes.

What, you may well wonder, was going on in my little corner of sunny ABQ? I did, too. In reply to my query, I was told only that they were “searching for someone” — and then ordered to open my car trunk (this on the private streets of a condo complex). The dude wouldn’t even let me open it; I had to give him my key. Mind you, I’m not a young man with an edgy air and an exotic accent, but a small, red-haired American woman of middle age, who was wearing nice leather pants and full makeup.

As I surveyed the area, I observed dozens of police and sheriff’s department cars, which had disgorged at least twice as many armed cops, plus a firetruck and an ambulance.

Sounds serious, doesn’t it? Surely serious enough that it might have crossed their minds to send a few of those officers around for the purpose of advising residents to be watchful and keep their doors locked, rather than treating us like criminals, should we venture onto our own roads. They never came to my door at all, with either a warning or a request to search the house or fenced grounds.

Having abandoned my sodapop chase, I checked online and found a news item stating their prey was simply a guy who might have witnessed a crime and, after darting away from a cop, entered the complex. It further said they never found him — and I saw this within minutes of being told (by a cop other than Mr. Search-the-Trunk) that they were about two-thirds through and would carry on looking for another hour or so.

If such a quarry actually existed, the cops would have done better to watch beyond the outer walls, as they’re no more than six feet high. I could probably clamber over, myself, if I really wanted to. Instead, much of the entire county’s law enforcement crew (augmented by a delegation from the emergency services) spent nearly three hours within these walls and eventually converged on a cul-de-sac, doing lord-knows-what. Certainly not apprehending somebody dangerous. They were clumped there, with vehicles wrapped around the corners for a block in both directions, when I noticed the exits were no longer barricaded by cop cars and left. They were still there when I returned and, while on the Coke run, I saw not one cop lurking outside the walls.

The whole thing doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, except as a drill to see how much martial law innocent citizens will stomach. I’ve read that neighborhoods across our nation have experienced quite a number of these in recent years.

Federal Reserve is Causing Dollar Value to Plummet by William Mac

This Week In Time

By William Mac
This Week in Time

featured writer
Dandelion Salad

November 10, 2007

“Fed Chief Warns of Worse Times in the Economy” — Get Rid of Federal Reserve — Ron Paul schools Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

In an article written November 8th and published November 9th, 2007 by Edmund L. Andrews of the New York Times entitled “Fed Chief Warns of Worse Times in the Economy” it seems as though the purposeful concoction of ARMs or “Adjustable Rate Mortgages” and Sub-prime Loans have served to weaken the economy and cheapen the value of the dollar due to the 50% or so increase in foreclosures and massive housing market meltdown. Sounds a little like the Margin Loan in the 1920s, which caused the Great Depression. Well, apparently we’re on the road to another Great Depression if this keeps up. Who’s fault is it? Allen Greenspan and The Federal Reserve. Sit back for a little bit, and let me learn you some…

First of all, let me include a little excerpt from the above mentioned article:

On a day when stock prices swung wildly, the dollar hit another new low against the euro and further signs emerged from retailers that consumers are growing more cautious about spending, Mr. Bernanke warned that the economy was about to “slow noticeably” as the housing market continues to spiral downward and financial institutions tighten up on lending.

Ladies and gentlemen, although these kinds of things have been happening for years and we’ve always recovered — somehow I think this time is just a little more severe. With the upcoming 2008 elections and with the Corporitacrocy no doubt backing one or more of the seedy candidates along with the Federal Reserve, it seems incredibly possible that a down-turned economy and the threat of a second Great Depression would make for a fantastic platform. Either that, or make someone who is elected illegally seem like a great hero. But, I digress, I don’t know if this information will really come to pass.

What I do know is that the reason the value of the dollar is going under everyday and the reason why the housing market has plummeted with foreclosures is due to none other than the Federal Reserve and Allen Greenspan.

Now, I’m not some shithead trying to push the blame for all of our economic troubles on the very people who aided in causing them. Not at all, I’ll be the shithead who also shifts a lot of the blame towards a big chunk of dumbass Americans who, as always, are looking for a quick fix without thinking of the long-term precautions. Namely, those who signed mortgage contracts under Adjustable Rate Mortgage plans and those who thought it was a great idea to enter into the Sub-Prime Mortgage scam, because that’s what it is — a scam.

In order to learn you some on why our economy is shitty right now, why the foreclosure rates are somewhere around 50% and why the value of the American dollar is plummeting — I’ll have to give you a tad bit of history. I like history, maybe you don’t — either way I’ll break it down real fast for you.

A Tad Bit of History

The Great Depression that you all have no doubt heard about one time or another — most probably in your schools — was brought about, not by some kind of natural economical pimple of chance, but purposefully by the then fairly newly created Federal Reserve working with a whole lot of banker and broker scum. Eh? Am I a conspiracy nut? No, I’m not. I’m a history nut.

In 1921-1929 the Federal Reserve exponentially increased America’s money supply, resulting in extensive loans (much like J.P Morgan did in 1907, but I’ll let you look that up on your own).

It was during this time that a new type of loan called a “Margin Loan” surfaced. A Margin Loan was a stock market related loan that allowed an investor to put down only 10% of any stock’s worth with the other 90% of the stock’s cost being loaned through the broker. For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, this basically meant that someone could buy 1,000 bucks worth of stock and pay only 100 dollars down.

The Margin Loan sounded like a really good idea to the folks investing in the 1920s, so all the idiots signed up to be rich savvy investors, which ultimately caused the “Roaring 1920s” in which everyone seemed to be making loads of money in the stock market. Unfortunately — never thinking ahead and never reading the fine print — a Margin Loan had a big giant catch. It could be called in at any time and when it was called in, it had to be paid within 24 hours, which required the person to sell the stock purchased WITH the loan. That’s a pretty big catch, eh?

Guess what happened! A few months before October in 1929, J.D Rockefeller, Bernard Barack, and other marketplace insiders quietly exited the market. Then, on October 24th 1929, New York financiers that financed the Margin Loan decided to just RANDOMLY call them in en-mass.

What resulted was an insane sell-off in the market and mass bankruptcies and mass withdrawals that caused 16,000 banks to close. What does the Federal Reserve do during this time? They buy up all the banks and other corporations. And, you would think that since the Federal Reserve controls the inflation rate, supply of money and interest rate that they would help the American people by expanding the money supply — nope. The Federal Reserve decided to contract the money supply fueling the Great Depression.

What followed after all of this jargon was the abolishment of the gold standard under the pretext “helping to end the Great Depression”, which required all citizens to turn in their gold to the National Treasury under penalty of 10 years imprisonment. Basically, we were made poor on purpose, we were robbed of our wealth on purpose effectively making all the people that caused the Great Depression rich and even more powerful, then our dollars — which were receipts “redeemable in gold” — became nothing more than “legal tender”. That means that we might as well be paying for our shit with Monopoly money.

There are two quotes that have been commonly associated with the Federal Reserve and this time in American history, and I love them.

In 1921 Congressman Charles Linbergh said:

Under the Federal Reserve Act, panics are scientifically created. The present panic (Panic of 1920) is the first scientifically created one, worked out as we figure a mathematical equation.

Congressman Louis McFadden, who was a long-time opponent of the Federal Reserve Act and centralized banking, brought up impeachment proceedings against the Federal Reserve Board saying of the stock market crash and Great Depression:

It was a carefully contrived occurrence. International Bankers sought to bring about a condition of despair, so that they might emerge the rulers of us all

McFadden was later poisoned at a banquet before he could push for the impeachment. Huh, wonder why? I’m not asking, by the way. I know why, so should you, so I won’t mention it.

Before I continue on, let me inform you additionally that the Federal Reserve is not Federal, it is private. It is not a part of the United States government. It is a private corporation that makes its own policies and is under no regulation by the U.S. Government. This private corporation loans money at interest to the U.S. government and is the exact kind of centralized power that our Founding Fathers sought to escape from, and according to Benjamin Franklin was the ENTIRE reason the Revolutionary War was fought.

Today, thanks to the Federal Reserve and affiliate financiers, brokers and corporations — the only thing that gives the dollar value is how much of it is in circulation. The Federal Reserve can regulate the money supply. Therefore, The Federal Reserve literally has the power to bring entire economies and societies to its knees.

The Here And Now

To tie it all together, I want you to think about the Margin Loans I just mentioned and remember the despotic power of the Federal Reserve. Enter the “Sub-Prime Loan Market” and “Adjustable Rate Mortgages”.

An excerpt from an article found on the website Marcetorial published February 23, 2007 by Mike Whitney entitled “US Housing Market Crash to result in the Second Great Depression” which I will be referring to quite a bit (it’s a fantastic article) states the following:

Congress is now looking into the shabby lending practices that shoehorned millions of people into homes that they clearly cannot afford. But their efforts will have no affect on the loans that are already in place. $1 trillion in ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) are due to reset in 2007 which guarantees that millions of over-leveraged homeowners will default on their mortgages putting pressure on the banks and sending the economy into a tailspin. We are at the beginning of a major shake-up and there’s going to be a lot more blood on the tracks before things settle down.

What has happened is that these ARMs in the Sub-Prime Mortgage Lending Market coaxed tons of young Americans and those who didn’t have much money to sign mortgage contracts for houses with no money down, no matter the credit — glitz and glamour. The problem is that these Adjustable Rate Mortgages, although they may start low, will increase over the years however much the mortgage companies want, whenever they want — it states this in the contract.

See the similarity between this and the Margin Loan back in the 1920s? You can’t get something for nothing folks (usually) remember that. You can actually help cripple the Federal Reserve and its corrupt private banking corporations (Fannie Mae was begun by J.P Morgan directly after the Great Depression to “help people get homes” for example — in fact almost all Mortgage Lending companies are Federal, and to most degrees they are required to be) if you don’t play into these goddamned schemes. I won’t even go into how mortgages are basically schemes themselves.

So who is to blame for this really stupid idea of massive low-interest rate mortgage that are extremely adjustable, thus causing an even more stupid sub-prime market? Allen Greenspan. Another excerpt from the Marketoracle article I mentioned above states the following:

There’s no doubt now, that Fed chairman Alan Greenspan’s plan to pump zillions of dollars into the system via “low interest rates” has created the biggest monster-bubble of all time and set the stage for a deep economic retrenchment. Greenspan’s inflationary policies were designed to expand the “wealth gap” and create greater economic polarization between the classes. By the time the housing bubble deflates, millions of working class Americans will be left to pay off loans that are considerably higher than the current value of their home. This will inevitably create deeper societal divisions and, very likely, a permanent underclass of mortgage-slaves.

Does it seem like a reoccurring theme that the Federal Reserve seems to love lying to us in a way that the end result cannot be defined in any other way than the word “slavery”? It shouldn’t.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the primary reason I type this stuff, do these videos and run this website is not because I get money for it. It is because you need to know that tyranny is a threat and always has been a threat all throughout history. It is not far-fetched to believe that our own government-related entities and corporations are seeking to control us. In this aspect, we are being controlled by a self-perpetuating system of debt in which we will never be able to get out of.

You can think about morals. You can think about religion. You can think about political ideology. You can think about all of these things and concentrate on them as possible reasons for either good things or bad things going on in our government and abroad. You can consider these things to be reasons for war or any other kind of local or global action. However, you will be wrong.

History shows and human character demonstrates that money is the primary reason we kill, destroy, wage wars, become dishonest. Money is the path to power, whoever controls has the power. In this case, the Federal Reserve controls all of our money — they control the entire U.S. Economy, therefore they have the power and we, everyday as long as we fall for these stupid financial plans such as the 1920s Margin Loan and today’s Adjustable Rate Mortgages and our fluctuating love for living on credit alone, then we will become ultimate slaves. We will have no power. We will have no say. We will have no government. In fact, as already stated, the U.S. Government ITSELF is a entirely a slave to the Federal Reserve, which isn’t even supposed to exist and is the whole reason America was started, to get out of centralized government and centralized banks.

Mike Whitney was staggeringly accurate in his February article for Marketoracle when he wrote the following:

A shrewd economist and student of history like Greenspan knew exactly what the consequences of his low interest rates would be. The trap was set to lure in unsuspecting borrowers who felt they could augment their stagnant wages by joining the housing gold rush. It was a great way to mask a deteriorating economy by expanding personal debt.

The meltdown in housing will soon be felt in the stock market which appears to be lagging the real estate market by about 6 months. Soon, reality will set in on Wall Street just as it has in the housing sector and the “loose money” that Greenspan generated with his mighty printing press will flee to foreign shores.

We are experiencing these words RIGHT NOW. That is what the New York Times article I first referenced at the beginning of this blog is about. As far as the reality fleeing to foreign shores? That is going on as well.

In an article written by Paul Joseph Watson on Friday, November 9th, 2007 for Prison Planet entitled ” Ex-Wall Street Journal Editor: Dollar Collapse Will Cripple European Economy

The father of Reagonomics and former Wall Street Journal editor Paul Craig Roberts says the following on the Alex Jones radio show:

The loss in value of the dollar is becoming so rapid it’s alarming….we’ve got unmanageable trade deficits, budget deficits, the economy is set for recession, the wars show no end…

At some point the foreigners will stop financing our budget and trade deficits – then we’re going to have a massive crisis the likes of which we’ve not experienced….if you’re totally dependent on imports of manufactured goods and you can’t pay for them, what do you do?…

There’s simply so many dollars, there’s not enough room in other currencies to absorb them – at some point the flight of investors from the dollar to the Euro will cause amazing troubles in Europe – they won’t be able to export anything because the prices are driven up so high…

investors will eventually desert the Euro as a safe haven from the dollar and the same process will cause a crisis in Britain as the pound is devalued due to exports being hit…

the potential destruction of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency could eventually return us to a system of barter, completely altering the landscape of the economic structure as we know it.

That is today’s look at the news — I hope you have come out of this with some insight. You may be wondering how we can solve problems like this. Normally I wouldn’t be able to provide any immediate answer, but I can’t help but further push my opinion that supporting Ron Paul for president in 2008 it help get rid of this problem by getting rid of the Federal Reserve and reinstate small government, which is what the Founding Fathers originally intended. Ron Paul is the only candidate that wants small government, that keeps in line with the Constitution and who wants the Federal Reserve abolished. After all, Congress has the right to abolish the Federal Reserve, but they haven’t. Please read “Who is Ron Paul?“, which I wrote to help people make up their minds about Ron Paul — you will be able to find everything that you need to know about him there and by going to

Below is a video of Ron Paul combating the Federal Reserve head on this same issue –
Ron Paul V. Fed Chair Bernanke: Free Market Smackdown! (video)

Keep on keepin’ on folks. Make sure you care. Comment, rate our videos, bookmark us, digg us, and keep coming back and we’ll keep on learnin’ you some.


Why Did Ron Paul Vote Against Impeachment? By Manila Ryce

The Media’s Plan to Ambush Ron Paul By Mike Whitney

Ron Paul: Full Interview On CNN 11.08.07 (video)


The pain of globalisation By Jared Bernstein & Josh Bivens

Dandelion Salad

By Jared Bernstein and Josh Bivens
11/09/07 “Guardian

For years Americans have been told that they all benefit from trade with poorer countries – yet many now find they are worse off.

Last February, before the flurry of news stories about unsafe imports, a New York Times/CBS poll [PDF] found that 51% of respondents agreed the US had “lost more than it gained from globalisation.” Further, while trade is not supposed to create political problems for Republicans, a recent Wall Street Journal poll of Republican supporters found that that 59% agreed that “foreign trade has been bad for the US”.
These results are clearly alarming to many in the elite policymaking class, for whom protectionism seems to be the first-order threat to the American economy.

These poll results, however, should not surprise anyone who understands the economics of trade. Chapter one of the trade textbook was essentially written by David Ricardo, and it does indeed teach that trade, on the basis of comparative advantage, typically boosts a nation’s average income. This genuinely powerful insight explains why, even if we’re more productive than a potential trading partner, or they’re able to produce with much lower wage costs, trade will raise national income in both countries.

Sadly, both for American workers and the quality of the trade debate, the textbook has other chapters. One of them explains the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem (SST), which points out that when the US exports insurance services and aircraft while importing apparel and electronics, we are implicitly selling capital – physical and human – for labour. This exchange bids up capital’s price (profits and high-end salaries) and bids down wages for the broad working and middle-class, leading to rising inequality and downward wage pressure for many Americans.

Note that this is not just a story about laid-off factory workers, who obviously suffer the toughest losses. Rather, all workers in the US economy who resemble import-displaced workers in terms of education, skills, and credentials are affected. Landscapers won’t lose their jobs to imports, but their wages are lowered through competition with those import-displaced factory workers.

The SST applies most forcefully to trade between the US and its poorest trading partners. As long as this sort of trade was a trivial part of the US economy, the SST remained comfortably theoretical. Since 1979 however, however, imports from less developed economies have become a significant feature of the US economy, rising fivefold (roughly) from 1% to 5% of US gross domestic product. Further, given that half of this increase has essentially happened since the mid-1990s with the rise of China as an export powerhouse and given the increasing tradeability of service-sector jobs that were once insulated from foreign trade (the famous offshoring phenomenon), there is little reason to think that this trend will stop anytime soon.

In the early 1990s a flurry of studies, driven by the Nafta debate over US trade with Mexico, examined the links between trade, wages, and inequality. Updating a standard method from that earlier debate with 2006 data shows that trade has increased wages for those with a 4-year university degree by around three per cent and lowered wages for all other workers by about four per cent.

Consider a household of two median wages earners working a combined 3,600 hours per year (the average for married couples). A four per cent wage cut for this household would cost the couple $1,800 in annual pay. And this loss is net of any gains from trade: it fully accounts for the lower priced imports and new opportunities in export industries.

The best antidotes to trade’s pulling apart of incomes are grounded in solidarity: social insurance and enhanced bargaining power. Universal healthcare and pensions, for example, would provide the economic security today’s jobs increasingly lack. Globalisation has also sapped workers’ ability to bargaining for their fair share of growth, underscoring the need to reform labour laws and meet the growing desire of Americans to join unions.

Internationally, we should make access to the US market contingent only on respect for workers’ basic rights, and not on adherence to the corporate-friendly policy straitjacket that is today’s trade agreements. This swap would actually make access to US markets cheaper for the world’s poor countries, an eminently worthy goal.

Lastly, we – and “we” here refers to the economic elites in both parties playing guard-dog for the trade status quo – need to stop denying the breadth and reach of economic pain caused by America’s integration with a much poorer global economy. The polls are telling us something pretty ironic: the people have read ahead of us in the trade textbook. We’d better catch up.

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Big Food Companies Accused of Risking Climate Catastrophe by John Vidal

Dandelion Salad

by John Vidal
Global Research, November 10, 2007
The Guardian – 2007-11-08

The rush to palm oil and biofuels threatens to release 14 billion tonnes of carbon from Indonesia’s peatlands Many of the largest food and fuel companies risk climate change disaster by driving the demand for palm oil and biofuels grown on the world’s greatest peat deposits, a report will say today.

Unilever, Cargill, Nestlé, Kraft, Procter & Gamble, as well as all leading UK supermarkets, are large users of Indonesian palm oil, much of which comes from the province of Riau in Sumatra, where an estimated 14.6bn tonnes of carbon – equivalent to nearly one year’s entire global carbon emissions – is locked up in the world’s deepest peat beds.

More than 1.4m hectares of virgin forest in Riau has already been converted to plantations to provide cooking oil, but a further 3m hectares is planned to be turned to biofuels, says the Greenpeace report

Carbon is released when virgin forests are felled and the swampy peatlands are drained to provide plantation land. The peat decomposes and is broken down by bacteria and the land becomes vulnerable to fires which often smoulder and release greenhouse gases for decades.

If the peatlands continue to be destroyed to make way for palm oil plantations, this will significantly add to global climate change emissions, the report says. Nearly half of Indonesia’s 22m hectares of peatland has already been cleared and drained, resulting in it having the third-highest man-made carbon emissions, after the US and China. Destruction of its peatlands already accounts for nearly 4% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

The peat soils of Riau, which are eight metres deep in areas, have the highest concentration of carbon stored per hectare anywhere in the world. “This huge store is at risk from drainage, clearance and fire,” the report says. “The area of peatland is relatively small, but destroying it would be the equivalent of releasing five years’ emissions from all the world’s coal and gas power stations.”

Riau’s plantations already provide 40% of all Indonesia’s palm oil, and half the province is expected to be covered in plantations within a few years.

The Indonesian plantations, which Greenpeace says provide oil used in global brands like Flora margarine, Pringles, KitKat, Cadbury’s Flake and Philadelphia cream cheese, feed a rising global demand for cheap vegetable oil used in producing food, cosmetics and, increasingly, vehicle fuel. “Demand [for palm oil as a cooking oil] is predicted to double within 25 years and triple by 2050. Further expansion in Indonesia is expected to be on the wet peatlands, because most of the dry forests have already been converted”, the report says.

The report accepts that retail companies and food manufacturers have virtually no way of tracing where the palm oil they use comes from. Oils from different regions, and even countries, are blended, stored and shipped in shared vessels. “Due to the logistics of this commodity market, real traceability is simply not possible at this time,” a major food retailer, who asked not to be named, told Greenpeace.

But the environment group said yesterday that the companies could not be exonerated from blame. “Faced with impending climate catastrophe, the palm oil industry is grabbing available cheap land like Indonesia’s carbon-rich peatlands. The big food giants are supporting the rapid growth of CO2 emissions that may render halting dangerous climate change impractical, if not impossible,” said John Sauven, director of Greenpeace UK.

Meeting European demand for palm oil alone would require nearly 60,000 square miles of plantations, says the report. Europe expects biofuels to make up 10% of all its transport fuel by 2010, China 20% by 2012, India 20% by 2012, and the US 10% by 2020.

“Substituting even 10% of the world demand for diesel fuel for road transport would require more than 75% of the world’s total current demand for soya, palm oil and rapeseed oil,” said Greenpeace.

As well as Indonesian provinces such as Riau, Asian entrepreneurs are already looking to Papua on the Indonesian island of New Guinea, one of the last great expanses of rainforest in south-east Asia. “There is already evidence of large scale land grabbing in the name of biofuel, with one company alone laying claim to nearly 3m hectares of forest,” the Greenpeace report says. “Feeding the growing demand is likely to take place through expanding palm oil productions in Indonesia. It will feed off forest destruction and fuel not only cars, but climate change.”

The food companies deny direct involvement in the creation of palm plantations, but accept that there is a problem sourcing sustainable oil. In a letter to Greenpeace, Nestlé, which uses 170,000 tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, said it sourced its supplies from “responsible” suppliers. “At present there is no palm oil that is certified as sustainable. As soon as the principles are adopted, Nestlé will do its part in promoting their adoption.”

Unilever, which uses 1.2 m tonnes of palm oil a year, said it had invested a lot of time and money in ensuring that its palm oil supplies were grown in an environmentally responsible way: “Our work … has recently been made harder by the rush into biofuels. We have lobbied hard with governments to alert them to the unintended consequences of this policy on global food supply and deforestation.”

Cargill, which imports 535,000 tonnes of palm oil a year to Britain, said: “We already make impact assessments for new developments and do not develop in areas of high conservation value.”

Indonesia will next month host the UN climate change conference in Bali, where countries will begin to negotiate a worldwide deal to combat global warming. At the moment, developing countries such as China and Indonesia are not required to limit emissions.

In numbers

11m The number of hectares of Indonesian peatlands already cleared and drained

4% Current share of global greenhouse gas emissions from peatland destruction

25 Years from now the demand for palm oil for cooking will be double today’s rate

Global Research Articles by John Vidal
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How Cheney Cooked the Intelligence on Iran by Gareth Porter

Dandelion Salad

by Gareth Porter
Global Research, November 10, 2007
Huffington Post – 2007-11-09

As I reported for Inter Press Service this week, Dick Cheney has been trying to pressure intelligence analysts who have not drunk the neocon kool-aid on Iran to go along with his line on the issues at stake in a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that the White House has been holding up for more than a year. Think Progress immediately noted the parallel between the Cheney’s effort to get an Iran NIE that is more to his liking and the way he pushed intelligence analysts to accept the fabrications the neocons were pushing in on Iraq in 2002.

The similarities between Cheney’s efforts to cook the intelligence on Iraq and on Iran are worth noting, but so are the differences. Cheney may have had a bigger impact in shaping the intelligence estimate on Iran to fit the policy he is pursuing than was the case on Iraq in 2002.

The Washington Post reported in June 2003 that Cheney and his chief of staff Scooter Libby had visited CIA analysts several times in 2002 to get them to reexamine their skeptical analysis on the WMD issue. But equally important, the Post quoted a “senior agency official” as saying that speeches by Cheney in August 2002 charging Saddam with having a nuclear weapons program “sent signals, intended or otherwise, that a certain output was desired from here.”

The effect was achieved despite the fact that the October 2002 NIE on Iraqi WMD was done very quickly, because it had been forced on the White House in September by the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Bob Graham. The White House had only just begun to roll out its propaganda campaign on the fictive Iraqi nuclear weapons program at that point.

Now flash forward to autumn 2006. Cheney had a draft NIE on Iraq that he didn’t like. The intelligence community had already issued an NIE on Iran in spring 2005 that had concluded Iran’s nuclear program would not progress to the point of having the capability to produce a nuclear weapon until sometime between 2010 and 2015. The new draft Iran estimate was still reportedly offering a similar analysis. Cheney wanted it to endorse the neocons’ alarmist view that Iran could acquire the knowledge with which to make nuclear weapons much sooner than that.

Furthermore, Cheney needed an NIE that would support the policy of attacking Iran over its alleged role in Iraq and seizing supposed Iranian “Quds force” personnel there. He wanted it to endorse the charge that Iran is supplying armor-piercing weapons to Shiites in Iraq who were killing American troops. But the draft NIE didn’t do that, according to former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi.

So part of Cheney’s strategy was to keep sending the draft back for further work while he was creating a new political atmosphere on Iran’s role in Iraq. He began in early 2007 to use the U.S. military command in Iraq to wage an intensive propaganda campaign on how the Iranians were supplying EFPs to anti-U.S. Shiite guerrillas through the Quds force. Ignoring intelligence available to the military that EFPs were being manufactured in machine shops in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus and his subordinates formulated a new narrative that would dominate media coverage and political discourse on the issue of Iran and Iraq.

That Iranian EFP narrative has now been repeated without any alternative view being reflected in the media for ten months. The complete dominance of that narrative in the society for so long has certainly had its effect on the NIE process. As a former CIA intelligence officer told me, “Look, most of the intelligence analysts are young guys with less than ten years of experience. A lot of them are willing to give the administration line on Iran the benefit of the doubt.”

My sources suggest that the analysts ready to go along with the new narrative are now the majority. Nevertheless, some intelligence analysts on Iran are reportedly still refusing to say that there is concrete evidence to support the official line that the Iranian regime is exporting EFPs to Iraq. They are insisting on including their dissenting views on the issue in the NIE.

That is why the new Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, under orders from Cheney, has refused to circulate the NIE until all dissenting views on the issue have been removed.

There has been no comparable administration propaganda campaign over Iran’s nuclear program, so Cheney’s tactics were more direct. Last April the chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Thomas Fingar, who presides over the NIEs, was made to go on National Public Radio and declare that the intelligence community was reevaluating whether its judgment on how soon Iran might produce a nuclear weapon needed to be revised. Fingar said the estimate “might change” and vowed that the analysts were “serious about reexamining old evidence”. He even revealed the fact that the NIE on Iran was being delayed because of the reexamination.

Although he didn’t say so explicitly, Fingar’s statement left little doubt that the White House had forced the reexamination of the analysts’ judgment on the Iranian nuclear program by holding the NIE hostage. How successful that hardball tactic has been in getting language more acceptable to Cheney is still not known, but there were still differences of view on the issue in the draft NIE as of last month, according to my sources.

These approaches to cooking the intelligence on Iran are even more nefarious than Cheney’s direct approach on Iraq in 2002. They will certainly give Cheney language supporting his belligerent policy that he can leak to the press and use to keep Congress in line. Hopefully responsible officials with access to whatever dissenting views remain will leak those to anti-war Democrats,

Global Research Articles by Gareth Porter

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