Crisis in the U.S.: “Plan B”? by Richard C. Cook

Dandelion Salad

by Richard C. Cook
Global Research, November 11, 2007

Strange events are taking place in the U.S.

By August 2007, a lot of very smart people were reading the tea leaves, convinced that the upper echelons of the U.S. government had their own hidden reasons for forecasting an event even more heinous than the attacks of September 11, 2001.

President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff had been hinting that another 9/11 could be coming.

Figures from the U.S. military had also projected a 9/11-type event. On April 23, 2006, for instance, the Washington Post published a statement by an unnamed Pentagon source that, “Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets.”

9/11 was a turning point in history, and not just because it provided a pretext for the Bush administration to use off-the-shelf plans to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The 9/11 Commission criticized the government for failing to do enough to act on danger signs that attacks may have been afoot. But a movement has formed which argues that the reality was worse—that 9/11 was an inside job staged to further the geopolitical ambitions of an elite seeking to use U.S. military power to advance its own imperialistic agenda.

What is indisputable is that from the 2000 presidential election through the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman termed a “revolutionary power” took control of the U.S. government.

Krugman’s statement, contained in the introduction to his 2005 book The Great Unraveling, has not been taken seriously enough. George W. Bush had lost the popular vote to Al Gore but was named to office by a Supreme Court that rubber-stamped what Greg Palast and others have proven was an extended process of electoral fraud in Florida. The subsequent actions and policies of the Bush/Cheney administration have been in accord with its dubious beginnings.

From the emergence of the Neocons as an ideological power base dominant over U.S. foreign policy, to destruction wreaked on the Bill of Rights by illegal surveillance of citizens, to the senseless creation of the bureaucratically monstrous Department of Homeland Security and passage of the Patriot Acts, to the initiation of “wars of choice” leading to the devastation of two nations and the killing or displacement of perhaps a million Middle Eastern non-combatants, to violation of international treaties and conventions against wars of aggression and torture of prisoners, to presiding over an economy ruined by the continued export of manufacturing jobs and the creation and deflation of the housing bubble, to the wrecking of the federal budget by over a trillion dollars of wartime expenditure, to the abandonment of the city of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, to tax cuts for the most wealthy while the income of the middle class has drastically eroded, and to threats to start another war, this time against Iran, based on deceptions similar to those which preceded the Iraq invasion, the Bush/Cheney administration has brought the U.S. to the brink of catastrophe.

What is now being asked is whether there was a plan that was to take place in September-October 2007 whereby the rest of the job would have been done. Speculation was that a nuclear device was to have been detonated in a U.S. city, perhaps one of the six attached to cruise missiles that were “inadvertently” carried by the Air Force B-52 bomber that flew from South Dakota to Louisiana just before Labor Day.

Check this link from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for the official explanation of the incident:
http://www2.arkansasonline.com/

According to the Air Force’s report, the missiles were being mothballed due to “a treaty,” but ground personnel at Minot Air Force Base “grabbed the wrong ones” and loaded missiles with nuclear warheads by mistake.

Some have argued that these nukes were secretly bound for Iran to prepare for a nuclear attack on that country. But would such a Keystone Cops routine have been necessary to prepare for military action as a contingency to implement a possible decision coming from the highest political levels?

Suppose, on the other hand, that one of the nukes was targeted for a false-flag domestic attack, perhaps a city like Portland, Oregon, where military exercises simulating a major terrorist incident had been scheduled and where residents actually were warning each other to leave town.

Was the attack to trigger an economic collapse, leading as a side-effect to a payoff of billions of dollars for the placers of the “bin Laden bets” that were reportedly made in the financial markets anticipating a fifty percent decline in stock prices? Of course such an attack would be blamed on foreign terrorists. The trail of the explosion would be found to lead to Iran, resulting in war against that nation. Would the Constitution then have been suspended and martial law declared? Would citizens have been rounded up and herded into prison camps?

Such a scenario seems unfathomable, horrendous, even incredible. But it still may have been in character for a regime whose actions have led the world to view the U.S. as the greatest existing threat to peace. Rumors about such possible events have been churning on the internet for months.

But the rumors have not been confined to “conspiracy theorists.” Regarding President Bush’s commitment to the sanctity of constitutional processes, Congressman John Olver expressed the prevailing view in government circles when he told twenty of his constituents at a private meeting in Massachusetts on July 5, 2007, that he could not support a movement to impeach Bush. According to an attendee, the reason the Congressman gave was that, “The President would declare a national emergency, institute martial law, and suspend the 2008 elections.”

Therefore we might ask if it is true, as some sources have alleged, that the reason these events have not taken place was that there was a revolt by the U.S. military, which refused to carry out the false-flag attack that may have been intended?

What then has happened differently which indicates that events may have altered or postponed such a sinister denouement to the nightmare of the last seven years?

What has happened appears to be that the U.S. establishment has decided to move to “Plan B.” This may be defined as a decision that the sway of the Bush/Cheney regime must end and that some semblance of normality should be restored, at least in appearance, by making Hillary Clinton the next President.

Of course part and parcel of any Hillary Clinton presidency would be the presence and participation of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. We may rightly speak of “the Clintons” as a unit in this context.

The signs that Hillary Clinton is the President-designee have been appearing in droves. These include her rise in the polls, especially in Iowa, the emergence of an anti-Bush surge in the mega-media, especially on MSNBC, and the appointment of Democrats with ties to the Clintons at the Defense and Treasury Departments. Other signs include the emergence of a campaign by certain well-connected websites to keep tabs on pro-Neocon news commentators and offensives being launched against some particularly obnoxious right-wing media figures such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

The way Hillary Clinton is being portrayed in the mega-media is of decisive importance, because media-owning conglomerates such as GE, Viacom, and Disney serve the interests of the establishment, not the public. Nothing makes it to the airwaves without the approval of the financial interests which control these giants. Also decisive was the appearance of Hillary and Bill on the cover of the October 6 edition of The Economist, long the keystone publication of the Anglo-American international financial empire.

The Washington Post, another establishment house organ, has noted that Hillary herself is couching her election in terms of “when, not if.” The theme she is projecting is that of an anointed insider calling for “national unity.” For this she is being duly attacked by her competitors, most notably John Edwards.

The best example of how the mega-media is telegraphing establishment intent was Chris Mathews’ lead story on Hardball on Monday night, November 5, which displayed MSNBC’s “Power Rankings” for presidential candidates. The segment began with an adulatory profile of Hillary’s campaign. Mathews then set a record for premature declaration of victory by predicting her as “the most likely winner of the Democratic nomination and presidential election” a full year before the election is even to take place.

Mathews repeated his judgment several times in what was obviously rehearsed language, even as the members of his three-person panel of commentators were trying in vain to raise objections, including the view that Hillary might not even win the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. Mathews repeatedly overrode his own experts with his insistence that Hillary was the MSMBC pick.

Oh yes, we will have the formality of a presidential election. Doubtless some fur will fly, because Hillary will always be the Clinton the right-wing most loves to hate. So we won’t see a coronation.

It is certain, however, that the current regime will exact a price for accepting at least temporary defeat. So far the price seems to be agreement by Hillary Clinton that the conquest of Iraq is a fait accompli, that the building of the Baghdad supersize embassy will continue, that permanent military bases in Iraq will be maintained a lá Korea, and that the option of an attack on Iran will remain “on the table.”

She has not raised her voice against any of this. The vehicle by which Clinton signed on to a possible attack on Iran was her vote in favor of the Senate resolution naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist sponsor. Perhaps there is also an understanding between the Clintons and the Bush/Cheney camp that the latter will not be prosecuted for crimes committed in office.

No matter who becomes president in 2008, that person will be left with a nation in disarray. This includes a foreign policy that has been sacrificed to militaristic interests, the rise of a militant Russia now allied with China through the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, and a Latin America in open revolt against U.S. domination. Even maintaining a post-Bush foreign policy will be a challenge, given Condoleezza Rice’s legacy of a State Department whose morale is in shreds due to a vicious Neocon takeover of the foreign service that will persist for a generation or more.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a wreck, with out-of-control debt, the housing collapse in full flower, continued erosion of manufacturing jobs, a sinking dollar, a crumbling physical infrastructure, soaring oil and food prices, out-of-control illegal immigration, and hordes of well-heeled foreigners buying U.S. assets with rapidly depreciating dollars.

The economy is in much worse shape today than when Bill Clinton took over from George H. W. Bush in 1992. It will be a miracle if the next president is able to keep the U.S. from sinking into a depression. The only qualification to this assessment lies with the large companies heavily invested in the growing Chinese economy—GM, GE, IBM, etc. But a majority of the stock of these and other corporations is owned by financial institutions, while the trickle-down effect of dividends will provide only a fraction of the purchasing power needed to keep the U.S. economy afloat.

While the views of the American public still seem to register to a slight degree, the Democrats have failed to respond to their restoration by the electorate to power in Congress by ending the Iraq War. But by their votes in 2006 and by consistently giving George W. Bush such low ratings in the polls, Americans have delivered a message. So have the many internet sites covering the real news of the war and the economy.

As well have the two maverick presidential candidates, Ron Paul the Republican and Dennis Kucinich the Democrat, who have been saying things not heard in the supine world of American politics for a long time. Things like getting rid of the inept handling of credit by the Federal Reserve and stopping the war in Iraq by exiting right now, without any more lies or excuses.

But it is by no means certain that there is much immediate hope of salvaging the nation from the current debacle. The interests of millions of Americans have been severely damaged by the financial and political malfeasance that has gone on for so long. Abroad, the deaths or ruin of large numbers of people in the Middle East must be accounted for. That region is now less stable than ever, as the situation in Pakistan shows. A negotiated two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians seems a distant dream. Finally, sane multilateral systems for sharing of the world’s resources among nations or dealing with global warming are nowhere in sight. And a nuclear holocaust involving the U.S. vs. Russia and possibly China is a growing danger.

Further, the U.S. economy can’t simply be “fixed.” It is too far gone for that. The elite began their takedown of the economy during the 1970s and show no signs of being able to reverse course. It started with the removal of the gold-peg to the dollar in 1971 and continued with the explosion of U.S. currency on the international scene due to the petrodollar, soaring trade and fiscal deficits, action to permanently mortgage us to military-backed dependence on imported Middle Eastern oil, a permanent tilt in favor of Israel vs. the Islamic world, and, finally, the galloping 1970s inflation.

These events led to the Fed-induced crash of 1979-83 which left us with today’s travesty of a “service” economy. Now in 2007 the Fed is trying to engineer a “soft landing” of an economy trapped in unsustainable debt and collapsing bubbles, at least until the 2008 election. But everyone knows a crash is coming, particularly as China and other nations dump the plummeting dollar as their reserve currency.

So what are the Clintons and their government-in-waiting planning? You would think they had something in mind. But maybe not. During the 1990s, Bill Clinton acted in full accord with the globalists’ agenda by continuing with the Reagan/Bush I privatization of the economy, with downsizing of government, and with promotion of the dot.com bubble that ended with the 2000 market crash. Unfortunately, it will not be as simple to engineer a repeat performance of even the ephemeral prosperity of the 1990s when what is lacking today is a real economic driver.

The grievous condition of the U.S. is reflected in an epidemic of mental and emotional illness and a rising violent crime rate. It is reflected in a USA Today poll, where 72 percent of Americans say the nation is moving in the wrong direction (74 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll). And who knows what disasters global warming has in store?

To face all this will require a decisive reorientation of U.S. governance. There is little in the history of the Clintons, their opportunistic style, and their passivity to the financier elite that justifies this much optimism. The financial controllers today exert more power over the U.S. economy and the nation’s politics than at any time in history. They are not giving up this power. In fact, Hillary is their “safest” choice among the Democrats in maintaining control.

Perhaps we may want to indulge in a sigh of relief at how much worse things could have been—or may still be—if Bush/Cheney unleash even more disasters. But stay tuned. The next four years are likely to be decisive—particularly because the plan to elevate Hillary Clinton may be a trap by which she is left holding the bag for an economic collapse that would make it much easier than at present for the Neocon storm troopers to rush back in.

What is absolutely certain is that the people of the world do not want war, regardless of their religion, race, or nationality. The people of the world want economic fairness. The people of the world want to live by honest labor, not bank credit. And the people of the world want an environment that is clean and safe for future generations. The only people who do not appear to want these things have been those who are currently in charge of the U.S. government.

The question now is what are the American people willing to do to assure that what is truly in the best interests of the nation will prevail? Will they continue to be manipulated by the fear which has been the basis of the Bush/Cheney mode of governance? Will they continue to act as obedient puppets as it becomes harder and harder to earn a living and raise a family in an economy throttled by debt and a declining standard of living? Will they simply vote for whom they are told to support by the media and the pollsters? Or will some decide that enough is enough and resolve to take America back in 2008?

But even if they do, can they succeed?

While Hillary Clinton is likely the designated Democratic nominee, Rudy Giuliani leads the polls for the Republicans. Giuliani, with his own group of Neocon advisers and his militant outbursts promising more war, is the ideological godson of Bush/Cheney.

Whoever is pulling the strings behind the scenes, it is likely obvious to them that to allow a character like Giuliani to step in while so many raw nerves are exposed among the American populace could lead to a premature explosion. Especially since Giuliani spent most of his adult life as a prosecutor putting people in jail. It’s hardly a time in the nation’s life when what is needed as head of state is an expert at slamming people into detention.

So what if Giuliani actually threatens to defeat Hillary while the establishment has decided to support her, perhaps just to buy time?

The establishment is taking precautions. It seems to be doing so by starting to promote a plan that could see Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate. You can see this unfolding, for instance, in his favorable treatment on CNN’s “Situation Room.” And could Dr. Paul really have begun suddenly to raise enormous amounts of campaign cash without someone in the establishment giving a green light?

Ron Paul as a candidate would obviously generate enormous excitement. But he could end up playing the same role as Ross Perot in the 1992 election, where Perot allowed disgruntled voters to let off steam while drawing enough votes to allow Bill Clinton to defeat George H.W. Bush.

One way or the other, the fix is on.

Finally, we should note that the “revolutionary power” Paul Krugman refers to is not just the Bush/Cheney/Neocon regime. They are only the most visible recent manifestation.

The true “revolutionary power” is much less visible but may reasonably be identified with the higher echelons of the “financier elite” and “establishment” referred to throughout this article. The underlying agenda of this group seems to be to destroy the U.S. as the world’s greatest industrial democracy, turn it into a province of a globalist system under their control, and use its land and population as muscle for world monetary and military dominance.

Can anything be done? Of course. The underlying problem is that the power and wealth acquired by the U.S. after World War II has eroded—has perhaps been squandered—as the rest of the world has grown up. Certainly, if the right people were in charge the U.S. could accept the inevitable, rebuild its failed domestic economy on democratic principles, and assume its rightful place as one of several major world powers, with the responsibility this would entail. Instead, we have been trying to hold onto what has slipped away by a continued resort to financial aggression combined with force of arms, rather than altruistic action based on enlightened ideals.

It’s a failed mission. What has happened to America in the last decade is turning into the greatest tragedy of modern history.

And what can ordinary people do while all this is unfolding? The best advice seems to be not to try to hoard paper assets, which the elite are able easily to manipulate or devalue. It’s to get out of debt, hone our manual skills, invest in a small business, grow our own food, stay positive, help others, work hard, eschew the consumption lifestyle, pray and meditate, be sober, and learn to think for ourselves. We might try to work within the political system if we can and want to, but should not count on easy successes, because, as the man said, “It’s a hard rain’s gonna fall.”

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

Richard C. Cook is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Richard C. Cook
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George Mische on AIPAC’s Role in National Politics (video)

Dandelion Salad

liamh2

On Nov. 11, 2007, Peace activist George Mische spoke in Baltimore, MD, at St. John’s Methodist Church. In discussing the topic of U.S. foreign policy, he raised the issue of AIPAC. See, http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research… Mr. Mische shared his views about the powerful pro-Israeli lobbying group and its impact on and its relationship with electoral politics, particularly the national Democratic Party; Rep. James Moran (D-VA); former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA); Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN); and former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter. Background on Mr. Mische: He took a strong moral and legal stand against the Vietnam War and was one of the “Catonsville Nine,” along with the late, great Phil Berrigan. Check out: http://www.jonahhouse.org/catonsville… Mr. Mische has also been a Labor organizer and a former St. Cloud, MN’s City Councilman. His talk was sponsored by Red Emma’s Bookstore and Coffeehouse, See, http://www.redemmas.org/.

Meet Abu Abed: the US’s new ally against al-Qaida By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

Dandelion Salad

By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in Baghdad
ICH
11/10/07 “Guardian

With summary beatings and imprisonments, he has the methods of a mafia don. But he and others like him are crucial to American strategy

On a recent Friday morning in west Baghdad, 20 of Hajji Abu Abed’s men were shifting their feet nervously in the dusty yard outside his house as they waited for their leader to emerge.

The men, young and well armed with Kalashnikovs, pistols and hand grenades, were wearing the favoured dress for militiamen in Iraq these days: green camouflage commando uniforms decorated with bits of US army kit – a pouch on one man, webbing on another, a cap here, sunglasses there, a few flak jackets between them. Some bore the insignia of Iraqi army officers.

Around noon, a fighter came running from the large house across the street and shouted: “The Hajji is coming!”

A pick-up truck came speeding into the yard, followed by several saloon cars packed with fighters. In the back of the pick-up, a man with a bandanna swung a big machine gun on its mounting. The great iron gate opened and Hajji Abu Abed emerged – a squat, chubby fellow with close-cropped hair and a thin goatee and moustache. Half his face was covered with large wraparound sunglasses, a pistol was tucked into his belt and a short machine gun dangled in his hand. Three guards ran in front of him and jumped into a new Toyota saloon. With sirens wailing and men brandishing their guns in the air, the convoy drove the 50 metres from Hajji Abu Abed’s house to his headquarters.

Abu Abed, a member of the insurgent Islamic Army, has recently become the commander of the US-sponsored “Ameriya Knights”. He is one of the new breed of Sunni warlords who are being paid by the US to fight al-Qaida in Iraq. The Americans call their new allies Concerned Citizens.

It is a strategy that has worked well for the Americans, on paper at least. This week, the US military claimed it had forced the extremist group al-Qaida in Mesopotamia out of Baghdad altogether, and cut the number of murders in the city by 80%. Major General Joseph Fil, commander of US forces in Baghdad, said: “The Iraqi people have decided that they’ve had it up to here with violence.”

Critics of the plan say they are simply creating powerful new strongmen who run their own prisons and armies, and who eventually will turn on each other.

A senior Sunni sheikh, whose tribe is joining the new alliance with the Americans against al-Qaida, told me in Beirut that it was a simple equation for him. “It’s just a way to get arms, and to be a legalised security force to be able to stand against Shia militias and to prevent the Iraqi army and police from entering their areas,” he said.

“The Americans lost hope with an Iraqi government that is both sectarian and dominated by militias, so they are paying for locals to fight al-Qaida. It will create a series of warlords.

“It’s like someone who brought cats to fight rats, found himself with too many cats and brought dogs to fight the cats. Now they need elephants.”

A former intelligence officer and a pious Sunni, Hajji Abu Abed has the aura of a mafia don. And for Abu Abed, like a don, connections are everything. His office is decorated with pictures of him hugging US officers, including the senior commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and a Captain Cosper.

On Abu Abed’s desk stands a glass box containing a black suede cavalry hat and a letter proclaiming him an honorary US cavalryman. In a silver frame is a picture of him with a female interpreter in military uniform.

As the Hajji settled into his office, a long line of men formed at the door. From a small purse tucked into his belt he dispensed handfuls of Iraqi dinars to his followers as they filed through. He is the only figure of authority many of them have seen for several years.

One old man asked him for an electricity generator; another, carrying a large file, asked him about a US construction contract that he was promised. Two young boys were seated next to him. One had brought him a leather ammunition belt, and the other handed him the keys to a new pick-up truck Abu Abed had ordered.

Neurotic

The Americans pay him $400 (£200) a month for each fighter he provides, he said, and he had 600 registered. His men are awed by his courage, his piety and his neurotic rages.

Like many other insurgent groups, the Islamic Army had an uneasy alliance with al-Qaida. On one hand they needed financial support; on the other, al-Qaida became a burden, bringing upon the Sunnis the wrath of Shia militias and death squads who started an organised campaign of sectarian cleansing against the Sunnis in retaliation against al-Qaida’s mass killing of Shia.

“We lost our area,” Abu Abed said. “It became a battle zone between al-Qaeda and the Shia militias.”

So when a prominent Iraqi Sunni politician who had lived in the US returned to Iraq last year and started direct talks between the Islamic Army commanders from his tribe and the Americans, Abu Abed was prepared to listen. “A year ago we reached the decision that we needed to fight al-Qaida,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t fight them face to face – they had more men and weapons. So I started gathering intelligence on their commanders. I knew them all very well.”

The turning point came last year, when al-Qaida declared the establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq and attempted to impose itself on other insurgent groups. In one instance in west Baghdad, they demanded 25% of all the loot from other insurgent groups’ operations. The Islamic Army refused to pay and direct confrontations ensued.

“The bodies piled up in the streets,” Abu Abed said. “Most of the people had to leave the area and flee.”

The Hajji and his men used the same techniques they mastered as insurgents against their former allies. Sitting on a big sofa in his office, he recounted the events. “When we decided to attack we started with assassinations. We killed six [al-Qaida] commanders in the first week of fighting,” he said. “We would drive in unmarked cars, shoot a commander dead and then flee. At first, no one knew who was killing them.”

Soon an open war started. Of the hundreds who pledged to fight al-Qaida, only 13 actually stuck with Abu Abed. These days, almost all his followers claim to have been one of the 13. “When the Americans intervened, we went out with them on missions, leading them to the Qaida fighters,” he said.

He pulled his pistol out and showed it to me. It was a Glock, supplied by the US to Iraqi security forces. “This belonged to the commander of al-Qaida here,” he said. “They called him the White Lion. I killed him and got his gun.”

Our conversation was interrupted by the arrival of a big man named Bakr with a bandolier of bullets over his chest. He squatted next to Abu Abed, laid his big BKC machine gun down and spoke to him conspiratorially, covering his mouth with his hand like a schoolgirl.

Bakr was Abu Abed’s head of intelligence. “I was told that someone from al-Qaida is in the area,” Bakr said. “We will go out, develop some intelligence and then raid the house.”

The only vehicles in the streets belonged to our screeching convoy. A few shops were open and people walked past carrying plastic shopping bags. All around us were the traces of battle: craters in the road from improvised bombs, facades pockmarked with bullet holes, a pile of rubble that had once been a building.

Ameriya is a closed zone, surrounded by high concrete walls. Only pedestrians are allowed through the two Iraqi army checkpoints out of the suburb. The “knights” are the only authority inside.

When we arrived at the house where the alleged al-Qaida commander was hiding, Bakr was already in action. He was dragging a plump man into a car, grabbing his neck with one hand and his BKC machine gun with the other.

The horrified man begged them not to take him. “By Allah, I didn’t say Qaida is better than you, you are our brothers, just let me go!” A gunman kicked the man and pushed him into a car.

The suspect’s brother, still in his pyjamas, pleaded, and women in nightgowns stood in the street wailing and begging the gunmen to release him.

The gunmen pointed their guns at the people and pushed them back. A young fighter carrying an old British sub-machine gun fired a burst into the air.

Abu Abed walked into the scuffle. The detained man was not the target. Someone had overheard him saying Abu Abed’s men were “worse than al-Qaida” after Bakr’s men raided the house.

Furious at the insult, Abu Abed aimed his gun at the brother. “Al-Qaida is better than us, huh? Did you forget when the bodies were piled in the streets?”

Some neighbours intervened, and the man was released. His brother grabbed him by the arm and pushed him inside.

Abu Abed, shaking his head and waving his gun, walked back to his car, murmuring “Al-Qaida, better than us…”

He stopped in mid-stride and turned to charge with his men back into the house. They pushed the gate open and ran inside firing their weapons in the air. In the dark kitchen, they grabbed the man again, pushed him to the floor and kicked him. The women were screaming and crying. One of them pulled away her headscarf and wailed, holding on to the man’s ripped shirt as Abu Abed and the gunmen dragged him out, kicking and slapping him. Other fighters fired their Kalashnikovs in the air. The man was shoved into a car, as was his brother.

Abu Abed, screaming and pointing his gun, charged at the crowd. “Qaida is better than me? I will show you!”

He held his gun high and quoted al-Hajjaj, a 7th-century ruler of Iraq, in a hoarse voice: “Oh, people of Iraq, I had come to you with two swords, one is for mercy which I have left back in the desert, and this one” – he pointed his gun at the crowd -“is the sword of oppression, which I kept in my hand.”

The convoy drove off, sirens blaring, fighters hanging out of the car windows.

After we had settled again in his office, Abu Abed told me of his grand dreams. “Ameriya is just the beginning. After we finish with al-Qaida here, we will turn toward our main enemy, the Shia militias. I will liberate Jihad [a Sunni area next to Ameriya taken over by the Mahdi army] then Saidiya and the whole of west Baghdad.”

Rumours

Hours later the Ameriya Knights were on the streets again. There were rumours that Iraq’s Sunni vice-president, Tariq al-Hashemi, was visiting Ameriya for the first time in two years. As we approached the mosque where he was believed to be praying, the street was blocked by his guards.

“Open the road for the Ameriya Knights,” yelled one of Abu Abed’s men.

“I can’t, I don’t have orders,” replied a gunman. “Do you know who I am? I am the commander of Ameriya,” Abu Abed screamed at the vice-president’s commander of guards. “Who are you? Did you dare to show your faces here before I kicked al-Qaida out? Even the Americans with their tanks couldn’t come before I liberated Ameriya.” Bakr pointed his gun at the entourage. Guns were cocked on all sides.

“Abu Abed, we all know who you are, but this is the vice-president of Iraq.”

“This is Ameriya, not Iraq! Here I rule, I am the commander, I can make sure that you won’t show your faces here!”

“We are all Sunni brothers. The Shia militias will be happy to see us fighting; we have the same enemy,” said the man.

“You are trying to claim my victory. I will show you!” Abu Abed pushed the officer and went back to his car.

That night, Abu Abed decided to attack another group of Ameriya Knights under his general command. He suspected their commander, Abu Omar, was allied with the vice-president’s Islamic party, which has been trying to control the Sunni area.

“I have to show them there is one commander. If the Americans don’t like it, I will withdraw my men,” he told me. “Let’s see if they can fight al-Qaida alone.” By sunset, his men were gathered in front of the house again. He distributed extra guns and he carried an extra shotgun with his machine gun.

All the way to Abu Omar’s HQ he was humming an Islamic verse in a beautiful voice. “Oh prophet, how beautiful your light is, oh prophet of God.”

Abu Omar’s gunmen, thinking Abu Abed was there for an inspection, took away the coils of razor wire and opened the gates. Then Abu Abed’s Knights charged for the third time that day, this time accompanied by gunfire. Bullets whizzed in their confused way and red tracers flashed against the dark blue sky.

Abu Omar’s men were rounded up. Some were put in pick-up trucks, others were squeezed in car boots. By the light of headlamps, Abu Abed’s men looted weapons, ammunition boxes and radios.

One terrified child was brought for questioning. “Where are Abu Omar’s sniper rifles?” Abu Abed asked him.

“I don’t know,” replied the boy.

“Look, this head of yours, I will cut it off and put it on your chest if you don’t tell where the guns are by tomorrow.” He tried to put his shotgun in the boy’s mouth but his men restrained him.

Humming

Back at Abu Abed’s HQ, the men were put into cells. Men in US-supplied blue uniforms were being jailed by men in US-supplied green uniforms.

An American officer, Captain Cosper, visited Abu Abed that night. He sat in the office trying to make sense of what was going on. “They [the Concerned Citizens] are not allowed to detain people or conduct raids,” he told me.

In a nearby room, two blindfolded men were being questioned by Abu Abed’s men. An American soldier put his head inside, watched for a few seconds and left. “They won’t do anything to them while we’re here,” he said.

When Capt Cosper had gone, the men were beaten up and taken to the cell. Later, one of Abu Abed’s men drove up and shouted: “I brought another one.” His face was shining with happiness.

“Where is he?” asked a captain.

“In the boot,” replied the gunman. “I found him standing in the street behind Abu Omar’s building.”

“Are you sure you didn’t capture Mudhar? I asked him to guard the back.”

“No, no, I am sure he is one of them,” said the fighter. The captain pulled out a shaking man from the boot like a magician pulling out a rabbit. “Ah Mudhar, I am sorry,” said the captain. “I told you he is one of us.”

The fighter kissed Mudhar twice and said he was sorry but Mudhar should try not to look so suspicious in future.

Mudhar, still shaky, looked at him. Then, confused and angry, walked away.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 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.

The Infinite Potential of the Human Mind By Susan Rosenthal

Dandelion Salad

By Susan Rosenthal
Thomas Paine’s Corner
11/8/07

Want to know a secret? A healthy human mind is incompatible with capitalism. Let me explain.

Science tells us that the mind cannot be reduced to an activity of the brain. The mind is created and sustained in a complex dance between human beings. Cut off from social relationships, the mind loses its ability to function. Evidence for this comes from socially-deprived infants and from adults kept in isolation or subjected to sensory deprivation.

For more than 95 percent of human history, people lived in small, cooperative societies. Over the past few thousand years, our species underwent an amazing cultural evolution. Our brains did not change biologically, but how we used them did. As people pooled their experiences and accumulated knowledge from one generation to the next, their minds developed. And as their minds developed, they created new social arrangements to meet their changing needs.

Capitalism blocks this creative process. While knowledge continues to accumulate, it is not shared. And while some people are moved forward, many more are hurtled backward. The central problem for capitalism is how to create profit, not how to develop human potential. To maximize profit, capitalism must disrupt human relationships and stifle human potential.

The more we are divided and deprived, the more wealth can be generated for the people at the top. Any form of collectivism is a threat to the system, from union organizing to demands for government-funded services.

Instead of using our minds to solve our common problems, we get to decide only which section of the elite will dominate us. Instead of working together to raise our living standards, we labor to enrich the elite. Instead of protecting ourselves and each other, we fight their barbaric but profitable wars.

The human mind crumbles under such conditions. Epidemics of anger, anxiety, inter-personal conflict and deep discouragement create an ocean of human misery. Adding insult to injury, these signs of social sickness are mislabeled as “personal problems” and “mental illness.”

To preserve itself, capitalism must block the infinite potential of the human mind. And I do mean infinite. There is no limit to the number of ways that we could organize our lives and society.

The average human brain contains approximately 100 billion nerve cells or neurons. Each neuron has about 10,000 connections with its neighbors. When you consider that each of these connections can be turned on or off, the number of possible firing patterns is greater than the number of known particles in the universe. When you add the different ways that each human mind could connect with the other six billion minds on the planet…well, I think you get the picture.

Capitalism has stuck humanity in a giant historical rut and bamboozled us into thinking that this is the best we can do, that we have reached the end of our history. Not So! We have barely begun to explore our potential. However, if capitalism has its way, we never will.

We can’t let this happen. We have created capitalism, and we can change our minds and replace it with something much better.

Susan Rosenthal is a practicing physician and the author of Market Madness and Mental Illness (1998) and POWER and Powerlessness (2006). She is a contributing editor to Cyrano’s Journal Online and a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. She can be reached through her web site: www.powerandpowerlessness.com her blog: www.powerandpowerlessness.typepad.com or by email: susanRosenthal@bestcyrano.org

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.

A Request from Cindy Sheehan (Impeachment letters)

The Real Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Nov. 11, 2007

A Request from Cindy Sheehan

Dear Friends:

Instead of sending your Impeachment letters for Dick Cheney to Nancy Pelosi’s office, send them to my office so we can get an official count.

Please send them to:
Cindy for Congress
RE: Impeach Dick Cheney
1260 Mission Blvd
San Francisco, Ca 94103

Please pass this around and have them sent by Friday, November 16th and we will have them delivered to her office in San Francisco before Thanksgiving.

Spread this far and wide so we can take sacks of letters to her.
Don’t include anything besides the letter (like a contribution) because we won’t be opening the envelopes.

Love
Cindy

h/t: After Downing Street

see

Impeachment: A Message to Iowa Democrats by 35 Percenters (video; Kucinich)

Cindy Sheehan Candidacy Announcement (video)

Pro-Impeachment Candidates for 2008

Impeach

Kucinich-Dennis

The Last Dead Bull on Wall Street by Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Whitney

11/11/07 “ICH

Whew! What a week for the stock market. On Wednesday the market took a 360 point nosedive followed, two days later, by a 220 point belly-flop. By the time it was over, the trading pits looked more like a sausage-packing plant than the world’s financial epicenter. After the bell, downcast traders could be seen tiptoeing through the carnage on their way to the local liquor store to load up on “Stoly” and boxes of Franzia—anything that would steady their nerves and put the week behind them.

Everyone could see it coming; the train-wreck. It was mostly carry-over from the night before when Asian stocks took a thumping on reports of slower growth in the US and growing troubles in the credit markets. That put the first domino in motion. Fed chief Bernanke’s announcement that the economy will face “a sharp slowdown from the housing market’s contraction” and an “inflationary surge from sharply higher oil prices and the weaker dollar”, didn’t help either. His remarks triggered a blow-off in the currency markets while equities were frog-marched to the chopping-block.

The Shanghai market took the worst hit dropping nearly 5% before the trading-day ended. Taiwan and Hong Kong followed suit, sliding 3.9% and 3.2% respectively. Share prices in Japan fell 2%. The next morning, Wall Street crashed. It was a massacre.

This is a bear market now. The last bull was dragged from the Street on Friday with a harpoon in its chest.

The subprime contagion has now spread beyond the US and Europe to markets in the Far East. No one is fooled by Bernanke’s sunny predictions that the economy will bounce back next year with a strong showing in the first quarter. That’s baloney and everyone knows it. The economy has stumbled down the elevator shaft and is just waiting to hit bottom. Consumer confidence is flagging, housing is falling, foreign capital is fleeing, and the greenback is one flush away from the sewage-treatment plant. Bernanke’s soothing bromides are meaningless.

“I don’t see any significant change in the broad holdings of dollars around the world. Dollars remain the dominant reserve asset and I expect that to continue to be the case,” Bernanke said to the Congressional Economic Committee.

Really? So why is the greenback plummeting if people aren’t dumping it, Ben? What an absurd comment. The dollar has lost 63% against the euro and dropped to record lows against a basket of world currencies. Foreign central banks and investors have been ditching it as fast as they can before it loses more value. The dollar’s tumble has been the most dazzling currency-flameout in modern times and Bernanke is acting like he’s still asleep at the switch. It’s madness.

The greenback is getting clobbered by the Fed’s “low-interest” snake oil and the gargantuan current account deficit. If Bernanke clips rates again to bail out the stock market, the dollar will slip into irreversible respiratory failure. Food and oil prices will shoot to the moon overnight and the remains of the greenback will be carted off to the nearest boneyard.

September’s trade deficit was another blow to the waning dollar. The Census Bureau reported on Friday that the deficit clocked in at $56.5 billion. That’s $684 billion per annum! Bush has been crowing about the “shrinking deficit”, but the numbers are nothing to boast about. We’re still borrowing more than we’re producing. We’re still living beyond our means. The lower numbers just reflect the decline in home construction which is import-intensive. The fact is, we’re addicted to debt-fueled consumption and forgotten that, eventually, the trillions that we’ve borrowed from foreign creditors, will have to be repaid. If the dollar is replaced as the world’s reserve currency, then we’ll have to pay back $9 trillion of outstanding debt. We might as well hang out the “Foreclosed” sign right now and get fitted for Chinese workers-suits.

This is from Bloomberg News:

“As the dollar tumbles, concern is growing that its weakness may augur the end of the U.S. currency’s 62-year reign as the world’s specie of choice for trade, financial transactions and central-bank reserves…..The dollar owes its position as the world’s premier international currency to its status as a haven during times of turmoil, the absence of a suitable rival, weak domestic demand in other countries and plain old inertia. Geopolitics also play a role.”

Nonsense. Who believes this rubbish? The dollar is the so-called “international currency” because the Federal Reserve and its well-heeled patrons are the directors of the US-Euro-Japan banking cabal which is at the center of the global Fiat money scam. There’s nothing more to it than that. Notice the recent “unilateral” clamp-down on Iran by the US-led banking syndicate. The action was initiated without UN approval for the simple reason that the UN, the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO and thousands of NGOs are just more of the Central Banks’ prime properties. Don’t expect the father to ask the child for permission to punish one of his errant children. The banks are the one’s who really call the shots and—behind the curtain of feigned respectability—they are the driving force behind the endless wars.

The Fed’s plan to “devalue” our way to prosperity appears to have hit a few ill-placed speed-bumps. The stock market is hanging by a thread and consumer confidence is at its lowest ebb since the start of the Iraq War. The falling dollar is expected to put a damper on Christmas spending and knock equities for a loop. That can’t be good for economy—especially when 72% of GDP comes from consumer spending.

We’ve already begun to see the telltale signs that the consumer is loosing ground and about to slip into a debt-induced coma.

According to data from the University of Michigan:

“Consumer confidence reached its lowest level in more than two years this month amid concerns over record-high oil prices, continued trouble in the housing market and higher inflation…Although consumer attitudes deteriorated across the board, the substantial drop in expectations contributed heavily to the sizeable decline in the overall index.”

The average working stiff doesn’t put any stock in Bernanke’s palavering. He sees what’s going on for himself every time he pulls up to the gas pump or goes the grocery store. He doesn’t need the University of Michigan to tell him he’s getting screwed; he knows it! The economy is sinking, inflation is skyrocketing, and the country is adrift. Every farthing in the public till has been shoveled into a black hole in the Middle East. Does Bernanke really think working people don’t know that? Everyone knows that. Everyone knows the economy is on life-support; just like everyone knows the country is collapsing from mismanagement. Even the flag-waving, war-mongering maniacs on the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed page are starting to shutter from the avalanche of bad news. They see what’s going on and they’re scared—scared sh**less.

Unfortunately, the sudden shift in consumer sentiment is the hurting retailers who depend on Christmas to carry them through the year. We’ve already seen the sluggishness in housing and auto sales. Now it’s showing up in retail. Abercrombie, American Eagle, Ann Taylor, Chicos, Dillards, The Gap and Nordstrom are all reporting sagging sales. Walmart, Lowes and the other big-box stores are lowering their projections as well. It’s going to be a lean Christmas.

The poor US consumer is finally maxed-out and can’t tap into his home equity anymore for presto-credit. He’s mortgaged “to the hilt” and he’s already run up 6 or 7 credit cards to their limit. In fact, credit card debt is a growing concern for the banks, too.

The commercial banks are the victims’ of their own success. After years of seductive promotions and saturation mailings the credit card industry is at its zenith leaving consumers with a staggering bill of nearly $1 trillion. ($915 billion) More and more customers are finding themselves unable to make even minimum payments on their balances and defaults are piling up at a record pace. This is the next phase of the subprime fiasco and it has the potential to be nearly as disruptive as the housing meltdown. The problem is complex, too. After all, most credit card debt in the last 6 years has been “securitized” and passed on to investors in the secondary market. (pension funds, hedge funds etc.) That means we can expect more tremors in the stock market as corporate earnings go south after credit card-backed bonds are downgraded. It’s just more of the same “structured finance” chicanery; debt stacked on debt, until the whole edifice caves in.

It’s looking more and more like Reagan’s “shining city on the hill” was erected on a mountain of toxic debt. It’s a wonder it hasn’t sunk already.

The country is headed for recession and there’s nothing that Bernanke can do to stop it. The only question is whether we’ll be facing a colossal economy-busting meltdown like 1929 or a milder 5 or 6-year slump. That’s up to the Federal Reserve. If the Fed chief decides to pit himself against the falling markets by slashing rates and destroying the currency; then we are likely to be digging-out for years. But if Bernanke steps aside, and lets the chips fall where they may, then the pace of recovery will be quicker.

Whatever choice he makes, there’s no avoiding the inevitable downturn. The hammer is poised to strike the anvil. The stock market will fall, the over-extended banks and hedge funds will collapse, and the country will go into a protracted, economic tailspin. That much is certain. Economic fundamentals can only be shrugged off for so long. When markets correct it’s like a tidal-surge that sweeps-away the deadwood of bad bets and over-levered investments leaving behind a broad-expanse of empty beach.

Recession is a normal part of the business cycle. It can’t be avoided. The economy needs to unwind so debts can get written off and businesses can retool for the future. The upcoming recession is shaping up to be worse than its predecessors—a real doozey. The damage caused by the Fed’s excessive credit has been considerable. It’ll take years to mop up the red ink and set the house aright. The markets are in a shambles, investors have been battered and confidence is gone.

Structured finance has been an unmitigated disaster. It needs to be scrapped. We need a new financial system for a new epoch; a system that is heavily regulated and supervised to discourage the crooks and con-artists; a system that it maintains its essential link to the real, productive underlying economy and avoids the galaxy of complex derivatives, “securitized” liabilities, and opaque debt-instruments that have brought on the present crisis; a system that responds to the needs of working people and takes into consideration the looming problems of environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and climate change; a system that reinvests in communities, education and health-care rather than fattening the bottom-line of corporate racketeers and brandy-drooling elites. It’s time to remove the rotten scaffolding and rebuild the whole contraption brick by brick.

The system is broken. Maybe Greenspan did us all a favor by blowing it up with his “low interest” dynamite. Good riddance.

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.

see

Federal Reserve is Causing Dollar Value to Plummet by William Mac

Dennis Kucinich: NH Presidential Disability Forum (videos)

Dandelion Salad

EndeavorFreedom

Hosted by the Granite State Independent Living Center, this event was unprecedented in disability history as this was the first time that Presidential hopefuls met to discuss disability issues. http://www.endeavorfreedom.tv

Added: November 09, 2007

h/t: Dennis Kucinich for President (Official)

see
Redefining Universal Healthcare: What Consequences will this have on vulnerable workers with poor leadership? by Paul Donovan

Leave it to Dennis by 35 Percenters (video; Kucinich)

What Is Single-Payer National Health Insurance? + California OneCare (video)

Kucinich-Dennis

Sen. Mike Gravel: A Conversation with Gareth Porter (video)

Dandelion Salad

gravel2008

Join Sen. Gravel in a discussion with campaign advisor and Southeast Asia policy expert Gareth Porter about Iran.

This is the first of three parts.

http://www.gravel2008.us

Music and Editing by Dan Connor:
http://www.danconnor.com

see

How Cheney Cooked the Intelligence on Iran by Gareth Porter

Ron Paul on Impeachment of Cheney, Bush, Clinton (+ video)

Dandelion Salad

June 11, 2008: House votes to send impeachment resolution to Judiciary Committee and Paul voted with the Dems “aye”. ~ Lo

Statement Regarding Impeachment of Vice President Cheney

Ron Paul Speech to Congress

by Ron Paul
November 6, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise, reluctantly, in favor of the motion to table House Resolution 799, Impeaching Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and in favor of referring that resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for full consideration. I voted to table this resolution not because I do not share the gentleman from Ohio’s desire to hold those responsible for the Iraqi debacle accountable; but rather, because I strongly believe that we must follow established protocol in matters of such importance. During my entire time in Congress, I have been outspoken in my opposition to war with Iraq and Iran. I have warned my colleagues and the administration against marching toward war in numerous speeches over the years, and I have voted against every appropriation to continue the war on Iraq.

I have always been strongly in favor of vigorous congressional oversight of the executive branch, and I have lamented our abrogation of these Constitutional obligations in recent times. I do believe, however, that this legislation should proceed through the House of Representatives following regular order, which would require investigation and hearings in the House Judiciary Committee before the resolution proceeds to the floor for a vote. This time-tested manner of moving impeachment legislation may slow the process, but in the long run it preserves liberty by ensuring that the House thoroughly deliberates on such weighty matters. In past impeachments of high officials, including those of Presidents Nixon and Clinton, the legislation had always gone through the proper committee with full investigation and accompanying committee report.

I noted with some dismay that many of my colleagues who have long supported the war changed their vote to oppose tabling the motion for purely political reasons. That move was a disrespectful to the Constitutional function of this body and I could not support such actions with my vote.

I was pleased that the House did vote in favor of sending this legislation to the Judiciary Committee, which essentially directs the committee to examine the issue more closely than it has done to this point.

h/t: nouMenon from a comment on this post:
Why Did Ron Paul Vote Against Impeachment? By Manila Ryce

***

Ron Paul…..Do You Support Impeachment?

TomSongs

I dialed up CSPAN and asked Republican 2008 Presidential Candidate Rep. Ron Paul (TX) if he supports the impeachment of George W. Bush.

Read the rest of the story at: http://www.tomsongs.com/tomsongshome/…

Added: March 13, 2007

***

For sake of Rule of Law, Congress must proceed

Only Clinton’s resignation should stop impeachment hearings

by Ron Paul
September 28, 1998

Despite partisan rancor and political positioning, no American should rejoice in the events which now grip our nation. In fact, this is indeed a solemn time for our country.

But at the same time, it is an opportunity – regardless of position, persuasion or party – for we as a nation to reassert that we are a nation built upon the Rule of Law, and not the whims of men. That all people are held to the same standards under the law, and that laws and correct procedures are followed.

The president stands accused of several things, and what is on the forefront of public attention is the charge of perjury and obstruction of justice before a federal grand jury in regards to a civil case involving sexual harassment.

Under our Constitution, the House of Representatives is charged with investigating allegations against a sitting president or judge. While some may talk about whether or not an offense is “impeachable,” that is only so much political rhetoric. The Constitution only specifies that Congress can impeach a president for “high crimes” and “misdemeanors,” but the definitions of those words are left to Congress to determine – anything a sufficient number of Members of Congress find offensive can be cause for impeachment.

In recent weeks I have been asked many times what the timetable might be for impeachment. We now have a tentative outline.

Currently, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives is looking into the report issued by the Office of the Independent Prosecutor on charges that the president lied under oath.

According to Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), his committee will receive a full briefing on the evidence on October 1st or 2nd. Over the next three days, the full committee will debate the evidence. On either October 5 or 6, the committee will consider a resolution to begin an impeachment hearing.

The resolution would then go before the entire House for a vote within three days.

A simple majority of the House of Representatives is all that will be required to initiate impeachment hearings. Those hearings could begin immediately, or be held until early November, after the elections.

A big question will be whether or not the impeachment hearings will be limited solely to allegations that the president lied under oath, or if it will also include other charges. Those involve potentially treasonous activities in transferring advanced missile technology to the communist Chinese in exchange for campaign donations, as well as violations of peoples rights in the abuse of more than 1,000 confidential FBI files for partisan purposes. (By comparison, a man went to prison in the early 1970s for misuse of one FBI file.)

While one should never discount the importance of lying under oath, I am saddened that some congressional leaders have recently suggested hearings will not include these other, far more serious, allegations. Crimes against our Constitution must not be set aside for details of sexual escapades. I hope that after $40 million being spent on investigating these more serious charges of crimes against the Constitution, that the entirety of the hearings are not simply restricted to this matter of perjury.

Under our Constitution, in accordance with the Rule of Law, the hearings must be held as long as the allegations remain and the president is in office. Since the allegations are not going to go away, the only constitutionally and morally correct way for hearings to be stopped would be for the president to resign if he has indeed committed these crimes; knowledge certainly the president possesses.

Some claim this situation creates a “constitutional crisis” and an “embarrassment.” A crisis will develop only if we, as a nation, reject the Rule of Law, and embarrassment will result only if we forego constitutional hearings.

It is in times of stress that the quality of metal is tested. The same is true for a nation.

***

‘High crimes and misdemeanors’

Hearings must be held for sake of nation

by Ron Paul
September 7, 1998

“Impeach the president!” and “Clinton must resign!” are phrases which were once relegated to the back rooms of – to borrow a phrase from the First Lady – a ‘vast right-wing conspiracy.’ Today, those statements are being boldly proclaimed in public by many, even by those who otherwise have strongly supported this president.

Unfortunately, those calls are only now being made after our nation’s president has admitted to living a life more akin to an afternoon soap opera than the traditional values which so many in our nation hold dear. While there is a great deal of significance to the fact that the president has admitted to lying under oath in a judicial proceeding, I have not considered – nor do I now – this “scandal” worthy of the attention it has received in the light of so much else before us.

It might be more pressing if this were the only impropriety involving President Clinton; lying under oath, tampering with witnesses and the litany of related crimes alleged, are certainly worthy of trial under our system of government.

But allegations of bribery, treason and oppression of rights are far more serious.

Almost a year ago, long before our national obsession with the Bill-said/Monica-said affair began, Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia and I cosponsored legislation called an “Inquiry into Impeachment,” House Resolution 304.

I did so because credible allegations have been raised that this president has abused the power of his office, domestically and abroad.

Discussions of a powerful man using influence in an attempt to secure employment for his much-younger mistress, while disgraceful and shameful, pale in comparison to the abuse of power in accessing hundreds of confidential files on private citizens and political opponents. It is disturbing that under this president’s watch, at least 900 files from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, detailing the intimate details uncovered for security background checks, were found to have been illegally transferred to the White House.

If this president used his powerful position to illegally secure information regarding political detractors, then this president must be impeached.

The situation would be bad enough if the allegations were limited to internal, domestic politics. But even more frightening allegations exist.

Far more pressing than the results of DNA tests on a cocktail dress are investigations into whether this president allowed highly-classified missile technology to be transferred to the communist Chinese government in exchange for campaign donations. The allegations and accompanying evidence are compelling, if not yet complete, to indicate that this has indeed been the case. Let us be clear about this: the government of China is not our ally, and in fact has nuclear missiles aimed at our cities. While we are “at peace,” we should be mindful that China is a foreign government with a system diametrically opposed to our own.

If this president not only broke the law by accepting donations from a potentially hostile foreign government, but proceeded to trade our nation’s military secrets as a “quid pro quo,” then this president must be impeached.

For far too long, Congress has abdicated its oversight responsibility to independent prosecutors. This Congress should begin proceedings to hear the facts behind these allegations, as the Inquiry legislation would require.

Congress must move forward now to secure the integrity of our system of justice, protect the liberties of our people, and to ensure our national security. But Congress must move forward with hearings for the sake of this president and the office he holds. If this president has done nothing meriting impeachment, public hearings will vindicate him and the sordid allegations – and purveyors of the falsehoods – will be revealed.

If, however, the allegations bear the weight of the evidence, then the man entrusted with the highest office in our land must be impeached. Should this be the case, it will be a difficult time for our nation, but it is far worse to allow transgressions against our sovereignty and liberty to go unpunished.

Impeach the president? For the sake of our nation, let us hold hearings and weigh the evidence; the allegations are simply too compelling.

see

Why Did Ron Paul Vote Against Impeachment? By Manila Ryce

Impeachment: A Message to Iowa Democrats (video; Kucinich)

Kucinich: I have 3-inch binder documenting Cheney’s crimes By David Edwards & Jason Rhyne (link)

Impeachment: What to do next (Action Alert; updated)

Rep. Wexler Will Urge the Judiciary Committee to Hold Immediate Hearings on Impeachment!!!

Bruce Fein on Impeachment (video link)

Who’ll be first to blink? By Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

By Eric Margolis
Toronto Sun
Sun, November 11, 2007

Pakistan teeters on the edge while Bhutto, Musharraf plot out next moves

Pakistan’s grave political crisis is now entering the red zone. I’ve been in regular contact with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. She calls the situation “grim.” On Friday, she was put under house arrest, preventing her from leading a mass demonstration in Islamabad.

Bhutto tells me she may face another attempt to kill her. She accuses allies of President-General Pervez Musharraf of trying to assassinate her in the Oct. 18 bombing in Karachi that killed or wounded hundreds.

Bhutto had planned to lead a huge march next Tuesday from Lahore to Islamabad designed to confront the army — Musharraf’s power base — in a dramatic showdown.

She and other opposition leaders are calling on Musharraf to resign as military chief and run in fair, internationally-supervised elections.

Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party commands broad popular support, particularly among poor and illiterate. But her attempt to unleash mass demonstrations has so far been thwarted by violent police repression against her supporters and arrest of political allies.

My Pakistani sources report growing unrest in the 619,000-man armed forces. Senior commanders, recently promoted by Musharraf after pre-approval by Washington, support him. But they are increasingly dismayed by the threat of a clash with civilians.

NEXT STRONGMAN

Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the newly named vice-chief of staff, could be Pakistan’s next strongman. He’s Washington’s Plan B. If Musharraf does finally resign his command, Kiyani will control the military. Musharraf, who has near zero popular support, will be left without a power base — or even army protection.

Bhutto tells me pro-Taliban tribesmen and Uzbek allies in Northwest Frontier Province on the wild Afghan border are rapidly taking over cities and towns.

Army troops ordered to attack them have surrendered or refused to fire.

This could mark the beginning of a rebellion in the ranks.

The loyalty of the army’s senior officers has been rented by billions of dollars of secret aid the CIA has funnelled through Musharraf.

Official post-9/11 U.S. aid to Pakistan is $10.6 billion, but “black” payments are many times higher.

These mammoth payoffs have not trickled down to the mid and lower ranks. They have vanished into the pockets of the military brass and senior officials.

Gen. Hamid Gul, former director general of Pakistan’s intelligence service, ISI, and an old friend from the 1980s Afghan War, has also been arrested.

He kept accusing Musharraf of selling out Pakistan’s national interests in return for cash and U.S. support for his dictatorship — and of dishonouring the military. Gen. Gul, a Pakistani patriot, still has many friends in the army and ISI.

He shouted what many officers whisper.

BUSH AND MUSH

This week, the self-appointed apostle of democracy, George W. Bush, underlined his continued support for his ally, Musharraf. Bush called on Mush to doff his uniform and hold elections. Musharraf dutifully agreed to do so early next year and to hold elections.

But Musharraf has won every previous elections by blatant vote-rigging and bribery — we can expect more of the same.

He would lose any fair vote by a landslide.

Bush made no mention of Musharraf’s disgraceful firing of Supreme Court justices who were about to declare Mush’s ongoing rule violated the constitution. Nor has Bush or the U.S. Congress issued any demands that the exiled former PM Nawaz Sharif, leader of Pakistan’s other major political party, the Muslim League, be allowed to return to contest elections. So much for supporting democracy.

In Washington’s wrongheaded view, it’s either Mush or the mullahs. Or if Mush falters, then it’s Bhutto or Gen. Kiyani.

As of this writing, Bhutto still has not decided whether to collaborate with Musharraf or try to force a bloody confrontation with him.

Kiyani remains a cipher.

Anyone who still wonders why so many in the Muslim world hate the West needs look no further than Pakistan, where, in the name of “democracy” and “counter-terrorism,” Washington and London are stirring a witches brew of dictatorship, intrigue and violence.

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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Our Man in Islamabad By Stephen Lendman

U.S. Aid to Musharraf is Largely Untraceable Cash Transfers By Spencer Ackerman

Antiwar Radio: Scott Horton Interviews Eric Margolis (+ video)

Twenty Reasons against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran

Dandelion Salad

By CASMII
ICH
11/09/07 “CASMII

Five years into the US-UK illegal invasion of Iraq and its consequent catastrophe for Iraqi people, peace loving people throughout the world are appalled by the current Iran-US standoff and its resemblance to the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The hawks, headed by Dick Cheney in Washington, are now shamelessly calling for a military attack on Iran. The same Israeli lobby which pushed for the invasion of Iraq is now pushing for a military attack on Iran. The same distortions which were attempted to dupe the western public opinion for the invasion of Iraq, are now used to pave the way for another illegal pre-emptive war of aggression against Iran. As in the case of Iraq, the UN Security Council Resolutions against Iran, extricated through massive US pressure, are meant to provide a veneer of legitimacy for such an attack. Contrary to the myth created by the western media, it is the US and its European allies which are defying the international community, in that they have rejected negotiations without pre-conditions. They show their lack of good faith by demanding that Iran concede the main point of negotiations, namely, suspension of enrichment of uranium which is Iran ‘s legitimate right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, before the negotiations actually start.

The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) calls for immediate and direct negotiations between the US and Iran without any pre-conditions.

Here, we debunk the main unfounded accusations, lies and distortions by the US and Israel and their allies while highlighting the main reasons to oppose sanctions and military intervention against Iran.

IRAN ‘S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME: FACTS AND LIES

1. There is no evidence of a nuclear weapons programme in Iran. The US and its allies pressure Iran to prove that it is not hiding a nuclear weapons programme. This demand is logically impossible to satisfy and serves to make diplomacy fail in order to force regime change. Numerous intrusive and snap visits by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors, totalling more than 2,700 person-hours of inspection, have failed to produce a shred of evidence for a weapons programme in Iran. Traces of highly enriched uranium found at Natanz in 2004, were determined by the IAEA to have come with imported centrifuges.

In July 2007, IAEA and Iran agreed on a work plan with defined modalities and timetable to clarify all issues of concerns in relation to Iran ‘s nuclear programme. On 27 th August 2007 IAEA announced that “The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use ”. The Agreement also cleared Iran ‘s plutonium experiments, which the Cheney Camp had accused of being evidence of Iran ‘s weaponisation programme.

Dr Mohammad El-Baradei, the IAEA Director General, said on 7 th September 2007, “For the last few years we have been told by the Security Council, by the board, we have to clarify the outstanding issues in Iran because these outstanding issues are the ones that have led to the lack of confidence, the crisis”, “We have not come to see any undeclared activities or weaponisation of their programme”.

Two years earlier, in June 2005, Bruno Pellaud, former IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards, was asked by Swissinfo if Iran was intent on building a nuclear bomb. He replied: “My impression is not. My view is based on the fact that Iran took a major gamble in December 2003 by allowing a much more intrusive capability to the IAEA. If Iran had had a military programme they would not have allowed the IAEA to come under this Additional Protocol. They did not have to.”

2. Iran ‘s need for nuclear power generation is real. Even when Iran ‘s population was one-third of what it is today, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, negotiating on behalf of President Gerald Ford, persuaded the former Shah that Iran needed over twenty nuclear reactors. With Iran ‘s population of 70 million, and growing, and its oil resources fast depleting, Iran may be a net importer of oil in just over a decade from now. Nuclear energy is thus a realistic and viable solution for electricity generation in the country.

3. The “crisis” over Iran ‘s nuclear programme lacks the urgency claimed by Washington. Weapons grade uranium must be enriched at least to 85%. A 2005 CIA report determined that it could take Iran 10 years to achieve this level of enrichment. Many independent nuclear experts have stated that Iran would face formidable technical obstacles if it tried to enrich uranium beyond the 3.5% purity required for electricity generation. According to Dr Frank Barnaby of the Oxford Research Group, because of contamination of Iranian uranium with heavy metals, Iran cannot possibly enrich beyond even 20% without support from Russia or China. IAEA director, Dr. Mohammad ElBaradei, too, reiterated in October 2007 that “I don’t see Iran, today, to be a clear and present danger. And our conclusion here is supported by every intelligence assessment I’ve seen that even if Iran has ambitions to develop nuclear weapons, it’s still three to eight years away from that”.

4. Iran has met its obligations under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Iran voluntarily accepted and enforced safeguards stricter than IAEA’s Additional Protocol until February 2006, when Iran ‘s nuclear file was reported, under the pressure from the US, to the Security Council. (The US, by contrast, has neither signed nor implemented the Additional Protocol, and Israel has refused to sign the NPT.)

Iran ‘s earlier concealment of its nuclear programme took place in the context of the US-backed invasion of Iran by Saddam. Not only the U.S., Germany, and the UK were complicit in the sale of chemical weapons to Saddam which were used against Iranian soldiers and civilians but Israel ‘s destruction of Iraq ‘s Osirak reactor in 1981 was treated with total impunity. Iranian leaders then concluded from these gross injustices that international laws are only “ink on paper”.

But the most direct reasons for Iran ‘s concealment were the American trade embargo on Iran and Washington ‘s organized and persistent campaign to stop civilian nuclear technology from reaching Iran from any source. For example, in 1995 Germany offered to let Kraftwerk Union (a subsidiary of Siemens) finish Iran ‘s Bushehr reactor, but withdrew its proposal under US pressure. The following year, China cancelled its contract to build a nuclear enrichment facility in Isfahan for the same reason. Thus Washington systematically violated, with impunity, Article IV of the NPT, which allows “signatories the fullest possible exchange of equipment, materials and scientific and technological information for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy”.

Nevertheless, Iran ‘s decision not to declare all of its nuclear installations did not violate its NPT obligations. According to David Albright and Corey Hinderstein, who first provided satellite imagery and analysis in December 2002 [7], under the safeguards agreement in force at the time, ” Iran is not required to allow IAEA inspections of a new nuclear facility until six months before nuclear material is introduced into it.”

5. Iran has given unprecedented concessions on its nuclear programme. Unlike North Korea, Iran has resisted the temptation to withdraw from the NPT. Besides accepting snap inspections under Additional Protocol until February 2006, Iran has invited Western companies to develop Iran ‘s civilian nuclear programme. Such joint ventures would create the best assurance that the enriched uranium would not be diverted to a weapons programme. Such concessions are very rare in the world, but the U.S. and its allies have refused Iran ‘s offer.

6. Enrichment of uranium for a civilian nuclear programme is Iran ‘s inalienable right. Every member of the NPT has the right to enrich uranium for a civilian nuclear programme and is entitled to full technical assistance.

But with the US as the back seat driver and in violation of their assistance obligations, France, Germany, and the UK insisted throughout the three years of negotiations that Tehran forfeit its right, in return for incentives of little value. Some European diplomats admitted to Asia Times Online on 7th September 2005, that the package offered by the EU-3 was “an empty box of chocolates.” But “there is nothing else we can offer,” the diplomats went on to say. “The Americans simply wouldn’t let us.”

7. The Western alliance has not tried true diplomacy and relies instead on threats. Iran refuses to suspend its enrichment of uranium before bilateral negotiations begin, as demanded by the White House, because it suspects Washington will stall with endless doubts regarding verification of suspension.

WESTERN HYPOCRISY

8. The UN resolutions against Iran, in contrast to the treatment of the US allies, South Korea, India, Pakistan, and Israel, smack of double standards. For example, in the year 2000, South Korea enriched 200 milligrams of uranium to near-weapons grade (up to 77%), but was not referred to the UN Security Council.

India has refused to sign the NPT or allow inspections and has developed an atomic arsenal, but receives nuclear assistance from the US in violation of the NPT. More bizarrely, India has a seat on the governing board of IAEA and, under US pressure, voted to refer Iran as a violator to the UN Security Council. Another non-signatory, Pakistan, clandestinely developed nuclear weapons but is supported by the US as a “war on terror” ally.

Israel is a close ally of Washington, even though it has hundreds of clandestine nuclear weapons, has dismissed numerous UN resolutions and has refused to sign the NPT or open any of its nuclear plants to inspections.

The US itself is the most serious violator of the NPT. The only country to have ever used nuclear bombs in war, the US has refused to reduce its nuclear arsenal, in violation of Article VI of NPT. The US is also in breach of the Treaty because it is developing new generations of nuclear warheads for use against non-nuclear adversaries. Moreover, Washington has deployed hundreds of such tactical nuclear weapons all around the world in violation of Articles I and II of the NPT.

9. Iran has not threatened Israel or attacked another country. The track records of the US, Israel, the UK and France are very different. These so called “democracies” have a bloody history of invading other countries. Iran ‘s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has declared repeatedly that Iran will not attack or threaten any country. He has also issued a fatwa against the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and banned nuclear weapons as sacrilegious. Iran has been a consistent supporter of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and called for a nuclear weapons free Middle East.

The comments of Iran ‘s President Ahmadinejad against Israel have been repeated by some of Iran ‘s leaders since 1979 and constitute no practical threat. The statement attributed to him that “ Israel should be wiped off the map” is a distortion of the truth and has been determined by a number of Farsi linguists, amongst them, Professor Juan Cole, to be a mistranslation. What he actually said was that “the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”. Ahmadinejad has made clear that he envisions regime change in Israel through internal decay, similar to the demise of the Soviet Union. Iranian leaders have said consistently for two decades that they will accept a two-state solution in Palestine if a majority of Palestinians favour that option.

This is in sharp contrast to the explicit threats by Israeli and the US leaders against Iran, including aid to separatist movements to disintegrate and wipe Iran off the map, as reported by Seymour Hersh and Reese Erlich. There is considerable evidence of clandestine operations by the US, British and Israeli agents who are arming, training and funding terrorist entities such as Jundollah in Baluchistan, Arab separatists in Khuzestan, and PJAK in Kurdistan. These concrete attempts at disintegration of Iran, as well as the 100 million dollars congressional funding for ‘democracy’ promotion in Iran, constitute aggression and are interference in Iran ‘s domestic affairs and Iranian people’s rights of sovereignty. They violate the bilateral Algiers Accord of 1981, in which Washington renounced any such actions in the future.

Furthermore, President Bush and Vice President Cheney, former UN ambassador, John Bolton, Senator Lieberman, as well as presidential candidates Guilliani, Romney and McCain are openly advocating and pushing for pre-emptive military attack on Iran. The French President, Sarkouzy, and his Foreign Minister, Kouchner, the new recruits to the Neo Cons camp, have added their voice to this chorus for war. British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, too has not ruled out the pre-emptive military option against Iran.

Iran is no match for Israel, whose security and military needs are all but guaranteed by the US. Iran is surrounded on all sides by the US Navy and American bases.

Iran has not invaded or threatened any country for two and a half centuries. The only war the Islamic Republic fought was the one imposed by Saddam’s army, which invaded Iran with the backing of the US and its allies. When Iraq used chemical weapons, supplied by the West, against Iranian troops, Iran did not retaliate in kind. When Afghanistan ‘s Taliban regime murdered eight Iranian diplomats in 1996 and remained unapologetic, Iran did not respond militarily.

10. The US “democratization” programme for Iran is a hoax. Although violations of human rights and democratic freedoms do occur too often in Iran, the country has the most pluralistic system in a region dominated by undemocratic client states of the US. It is sheer hypocrisy for the US, which turns a blind eye to the gross human rights abuses by its allies, such as Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Libya, and Egypt, to misrepresent its agenda in Iran as a “democratization” programme. Washington ‘s pretensions ring especially hollow when one remembers that in 1953 Iran ‘s nascent democracy under Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq was overthrown by the CIA, which restored a hated military dictatorship for the benefit of American oil conglomerates.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL INVOLVEMENT TOTALLY UNJUSTIFIED

11. There are no legal bases for Iran ‘s referral to the UN Security Council. Since there is no evidence that Iran is even contemplating to weaponize its nuclear programme, no grounds exist for this sidelining of the IAEA.

Michael Spies of the New York-based Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy has clarified the issue: “Under the Statute (Art. 12(C)) and the Safeguards Agreement, the Board may only refer Iran to the Security Council if it finds that, based on the report from the Director General, it cannot be assured that Iran has not diverted nuclear material for non-peaceful purpose. In the past, findings of `non-assurance’ have only come in the face of a history of active and ongoing non-cooperation with IAEA safeguards. The pursuit of nuclear activities in itself, which is specifically recognized as a sovereign right, and which remain safeguarded, could not legally or logically equate to uncertainty regarding diversion.”

IAEA director, Dr ElBradei, has consistently confirmed that there has been no diversion of safeguarded nuclear material in Iran and the recent IAEA-Iran workplan of July 2007 has reconfirmed this. He has also said, under pressure from Washington, that he cannot rule out the existence of undeclared nuclear activities in the country. However, according to the IAEA’s Safeguards Implementation Report for 2005 (issued on 15 June 2006), 45 other countries, including 14 European countries, in particular Germany, are in this same category as Iran. ElBaradei added in September 2007 that in Iran “we have not come to see any undeclared activities… We have not seen any weaponisation of their programme, nor have we received any information to that effect”. He has also repeatedly urged skeptics in Western capitals to help the IAEA by sharing any possible proof in their possession of suspicious nuclear activity in Iran.i

Moreover, according to the UK-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, certifying non-diversion of nuclear material to military purposes for any given country takes an average of six years of inspections and verification by the IAEA. In the case of Iran, these investigations have been going on for only about four years now.

Iran ‘s file, therefore, must be returned to the jurisdiction of the IAEA and the rules of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). The US and its allies violated the rules by exerting massive pressure on the IAEA to report Iran without any legitimacy to the UN Security Council. For example, David Mulford, the US Ambassador to India, warned the Government of India in January 2006 that there would be no US-India nuclear deal if India did not vote against Iran at the IAEA. On February 15th 2007, Stephen Rademaker, the former US Assistant Secretary for International Security and Non-Proliferation, admitted publicly that the US coerced India to vote against Iran. Clearly, reporting Iran to the UN Security Council and the subsequent adoption of the Resolutions 1696 and 1737 have been carried out with US coercion and have thus no legitimacy at all.

SANCTIONS NOT A GOOD IDEA

12. Dr ElBradei, the head of the IAEA, has said that more sanctions are counterproductive. Economic sanctions on Iran will harm the people of Iran, as they were devastating to Iraqis, resulting in the death of at least 500,000 children. Sanctions would not however bring the Islamic Republic to its knees. Instead, any kind of sanctions, including the so-called “targeted” or “smart” sanctions, are viewed by the Iranian people as the West’s punishment for Iran ‘s scientific progress (uranium enrichment for reactor fuel). As sanctions tighten, nationalist fervour will strengthen the resolve of Iranians to defend the country’s civilian nuclear programme.

13. Sanctions are not better than war; they can be exploited as a diplomatic veneer and a provocative prelude to military attack, as they were in Iraq. Thus, countries which support sanctions against Iran are only falling into the US trap in aiding the war drive on Iran.

STATEGIC SHIFT TO MULTI-FOCAL TARGETS

14. A US attack on Iran is imminent. The end of George Bush’s presidency in 2009 could be a serious set back for the NeoCons’ hegemonic dreams to control the energy resources in the region. He is unlikely to leave office bearing the legacy of failures in Afghanistan and Iraq and particularly leaving Iran a stronger player in the region. Thus the likelihood of military attack on Iran before Bush leaves office is a reality. Washington insiders have told security analysts that preparations for military attack have been made and are ready for execution.

Since January, in addition to the nuclear issue, the US has also focused its propaganda to falsely implicate Iran in the violence and failures of US policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Iran-US bilateral dialogue this summer was derailed amidst accusations that Iran aided the killing of American soldiers by providing sophisticated weapons and training to Afghan and Iraqi fighters. As in the nuclear case, Washington has provided no proof.

British Foreign Minister, David Miliband, admitted in an interview with the Financial Times on 8 th July 07 that there was “No Evidence” of Iranian involvement in the violence and instability in Iraq. Likewise, the British Defence Minister, Des Browne, in August 07 maintained categorically that “No Evidence” existed of Iranian government’s complicity or instigation in supplying weapons to Iraqi militias. The Washington Post, too, reported from Iraq that hundreds of British troops combing southern Iraq for sign of Iranian weapons have come up empty-handed. Furthermore, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and Al-Maleki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, have stated Iran ‘s positive role in providing whatever limited stability there is in both these countries. Nevertheless, G eorge Bush’s speech on 28 th August, authorizing the American military to “ confront Tehran ‘s murderous activities”, and the deployment of British troops to the Iranian border to guard against Iran ‘s “proxy war” in Iraq, signaled a systematic building towards a casus belli for another illegal pre-emptive war. The Kyle-Lieberman Amendment to the Defence Authorisation Bill, too, accused Iran of killing American servicemen in Iraq and nearly authorized the military to take all necessary action to combat Iran.

A third focus in the US war drive has now been launched by branding Iran ‘s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. This unprecedented move in US foreign policy and international relations is the proclaimed basis for imposing the toughest sanctions ever on Iranian banks, companies and individuals.

These new measures represent a massive escalation in the US war drive, they are a prelude to a military attack on Iran and provide the legal pretext for the US military to wage war on Iran without the prior approval of the US Congress.

ILLEGALITY OF A MILITARY ATTACK

15. Foreign state interference in Iran violates the UN charter. According to Seymour Hersch, the US is running covert operations in Iran to foment unrest and ethnic conflict for the purpose of regime change. Unmanned US drones have also entered into Iranian air space to spy over Iranian military installations and to map Iranian radar systems. These actions violate the UN Charter’s guarantee of the right of self-determination for all nations.

The Bush Administration has also confirmed, in the 2006 US National Security Strategy, its long term policy for pre-emptive military action against Washington ‘s rivals. Former British prime minister, Tony Blair, supported this policy in his 21st March 2006 foreign policy speech, and his successor Gordon Brown has not rejected the pre-emptive use of military force against Iran. However, unprovoked strikes are illegal under international law. To remove this obstacle, John Reid, the then British Secretary of Defence, in his speech on 3rd April 2006 to the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, proposed a change in international law on pre-emptive military action.

16. Reports of nuclear attack scenarios against Iran can serve to raise the public’s tolerance for an act of aggression with conventional military means. People of conscience and sanity must not only condemn even contemplation of a nuclear attack, but also denounce any conventional attack.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF AN ATTACK ON IRAN

17. Bombing cannot end Iran ‘s nuclear programme. Since Iran already has the expertise to enrich uranium up to the 3.5% grade for a fuel cycle, no degree of bombing will halt Iran ‘s civilian nuclear programme. On the contrary, the resulting mass casualties and destruction would strengthen the voices that argue Iran, like North Korea, should build a nuclear deterrent.

18. An attack on Iran will unite Iranians against the US and its allies. A great majority of the public in Iran support the country’s right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes. This has been confirmed by all opinion polls conducted in the country, including polls taken by Western institutions. Therefore, a bombing campaign will not lead to an uprising by the Iranian people for regime change as envisaged by the US. Rather, it would ignite nationalist feelings in the country and unite the population, including most of the government’s critics, against the West.

19. A nuclear attack on Iran would fuel a new nuclear arms race and ruin the NPT. Any military intervention against Iran will lead to a regional catastrophe and expanded terrorism. Senator McCain, the Republican presidential hopeful, who has himself advocated the use of force on Iran, has predicted that an attack against Iran will lead to Armageddon. American or Israeli aggression on Iran, coming on the heels of the Iraq disaster, would inflame the grievance and outrage of Muslims worldwide and help jihadi extremists with their recruitment campaign. The region wide conflagration resulting from an Israel/US attack on Iran would dwarf the Iraq catastrophe.

20. The cause of democracy in Iran will suffer gravely if the country is attacked. President Bush’s “axis of evil” rhetoric severely undermined the reformist movement in Iran at a time when the country’s president promoted Dialogue Among Civilizations. Bush’s hostile posture strengthened the hands of Iranian hardliners and contributed to the reformist movement’s electoral defeat in 2005. That setback would be dwarfed by the consequences of a military assault on the country.

© 2005 – 2007, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran http://www.campaigniran.org

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.

Ron Paul Drums Up Support At Rally + Philadelphia Rally (videos)

Dandelion Salad

orenbus

Ron Paul Drums Up Support At Local Rally
PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ― In the race for the White House one of the hottest names in politics, Ron Paul brought his upstart campaign to the region. Saturday’s rally proves he may be trailing in the polls but he cannot be ignored.

They call it the Ron Paul revolution and on Saturday it came to Philadelphia.

Enthusiastic supporters flooded Independence Mall to see the ten-term Texas congressman who is running for the Republican presidential nomination is fueled by online support.

Continued…

Fox News Covers Philadelphia Rally

Presidential Candidate Ron Paul Makes Campaign Stop in Philly

Philadelphia — Presidential candidate Ron Paul has been called a conservative and a libertarian, but he’s on the republican ticket. This Texas congressman wants to end the federal income tax and opposes the patriot act. He’s an anti-establishment favorite who visited the City of Brotherly Love Saturday. Rachel Wulff reports.

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Federal Reserve is Causing Dollar Value to Plummet by William Mac

Blackwater “mercy” Press Conference 10/30 (CODEPINK parody) (video)

Dandelion Salad

dontbuybushswar

On October 30th CODEPINK fooled CBS, Politico and other mainstream news outlets with a fake press release announcing Blackwater’s new “Department of Integrity” which would set out to put the “Mercy back in Mercenary”.

Iraq: Call an air strike By Pepe Escobar

Dandelion Salad

By Pepe Escobar
ICH
11/09/07 “Asia Times

“… the literature on counter-insurgency is so enormous that, had it been put aboard the Titanic, it would have sunk that ship without any help from the iceberg. However, the outstanding fact is that almost all of it has been written by the losers.” – Martin van Creveld, in The Changing Face Of War, 2006

Amid the George W Bush administration’s relentless campaign to “change the subject” from Iraq to Iran, how to “win” the war against the Iraqi resistance, Sunni or Shi’ite, now means – according to counter-insurgency messiah General David Petraeus – calling an air strike.

On a parallel level, the Pentagon has practically finished a base in southern Iraq less than 10 kilometers from the border with Iran called Combat Outpost Shocker. The Pentagon maintains this is for the US to prevent Iranian weapons from being smuggled into Iraq. Rather, it’s to control a rash of US covert, sabotage operations across the border targeting Iran’s Khuzestan province.

With the looming Turkish threat of invading Iraqi Kurdistan and President General President Musharraf’s new “let’s jail all the lawyers” coup within a coup in Pakistan, the bloody war in the plains of Mesopotamia is lower down in the news cycle – not to mention the interminable 2008 US presidential soap opera. Rosy spinning, though, still rules unchecked.

The Pentagon – via Major General Joseph Fil, commander of US forces in Baghdad – is relentlessly spinning there’s now less violence in the capital, a “sustainable” trend. This is rubbish.

Fil cannot even admit to the basic fact that Baghdad has been reduced to a collection of blast-walled, isolated ghettos in search of a city. Baghdad, from being 65% Sunni, is now at least 75% Shi’ite, and counting. Sunni and Shi’ite residents alike confirm sectarian violence has died down because there are virtually no more neighborhoods to be ethnically cleansed.

When Fil says the Iraqi forces are “much, much more effective”, what he means is they are much more ferocious. Terrified middle class, secular Shi’ite residents have told Asia Times Online these guards – Shi’ites themselves – roaming Baghdad with their machine guns pointing to the sidewalks are “worse than the Americans”.

Violence has also (relatively) decreased because the bulk of Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army is still lying low, following his strict orders, even though they are being targeted by constant US air strikes on Sadr City.

The falling numbers of US deaths have also been subjected to merciless spinning. Yet already more US troops have been killed in Iraq in 2007 than in all of 2006. This temporary fall is not caused by a burst of Sunni Iraqi resistance good will – even though an array of groups has taken some time out to concentrate forces in these past few months on unifying their struggle (See It’s the resistance, stupid Asia Times Online, October 17, 2007.)

Once again, Baghdad residents, who daily have to negotiate life in hell, reveal what’s going on. Lately, as a Shi’ite businessman says, “We have not seen the Americans. They used to come to my neighborhood almost every day at night, with Humvees and Bradleys. They stopped at the end of September.” This means less US-conducted dangerous “missions” in the Baghdad wasteland – with less exposure to snipers and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – and more time spent in ultra-fortified bases.

The Pentagon even had to admit that sniper attacks, conducted by real pros, have quadrupled during the past year and could “potentially inflict even more casualties than IEDs”. The US Department of Defense’s Defense Advance Research Projects Agency had to rush a program using lasers to identify snipers before they shoot.

Anyway, whenever there is a mission in Baghdad now it inevitably means an air strike. Mega-slum Sadr City residents confirm the US keeps attacking alleged Mahdi Army “terrorist” haunts – but mostly from the air.

With the US corporate media operating virtually like a Pentagon information agency, the only news fit to print is that as of early this week there were 3,855 American dead in Iraq. But most of all – and never mentioned – there were 28,451 wounded in combat. And as of October 1, there were no less than 30,294 military victims of accidents and diseases so serious they had to be medically sent out of Iraq.

When in doubt, ‘liberate’ from the air
Brigadier General Qasim Atta, spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, revealed this week Iraq’s security forces have set up 250 spy cameras across Baghdad – presumably to track the Sunni resistance, the Mahdi Army and remaining al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers operatives. Atta has argued “the terrorists are now forced to resort to kidnappings and planting roadside bombs because our security plan is working”. That’s more rubbish.

Kidnapping is an established industry in Baghdad; with the exodus of the middle classes to Jordan, Syria and beyond, now there’s virtually no one flush enough to be kidnapped. IEDs continue to follow wherever American convoys roam. And since they are not roaming – they stick to base – fewer IEDs are exploding. As for al-Qaeda, it has relocated from Baghdad neighborhoods such as Dora – but it will be back.

With fewer missions on the ground, the Pentagon could not but launch four times more air strikes on Iraqis in 2007 – the year of Bush’s “surge” – than in the whole of 2006. Up to the end of September, there had been 1,140 air strikes. Last month, there were more air strikes than during the siege that devastated Fallujah in November 2004.

Even discounting the criminal absurdity of an occupation routinely dropping the bomb on packed neighborhoods of a city it already occupies, civilians are the inevitable “collateral damage” of these attacks – families, women, children, assorted “non-combatants”. The US Air Force does not even take responsibility – claiming the air strikes are ordered by scared-to-death convoys of Humvees patrolling, say, the mean streets of Sadr City.

The Pentagon talk of “precision strikes” and “reducing collateral damage” means nothing in this context. This appalling human-rights disaster has to be attributed to counter-insurgency messiah Petraeus, the “loser”, according to Martin van Creveld, who wrote the latest book on the matter, The Changing Face Of War.

But for public relations purposes inside the US, Petraeus’ “by his book” approach works wonders. The Pentagon can spin to oblivion to a cowered media that US deaths are falling. Who cares what the Nuri al-Maliki “sovereign” Iraqi government says? Maliki is nothing but the mayor of the Green Zone anyway. Who cares what the “fish” – who support the “sea” of the resistance, Sunni or Shi’ite – feel? 80% of them are unemployed anyway – and they merely struggle to survive as second-class citizens in their own land.

There’s hardly any electricity, fuel or food in Baghdad – everything is rationed – for anyone who’s not aligned with a militia-protected faction. The only other option is to flee. With at least a staggering 4.4 million, according to the United Nations, either refugees or internally displaced, options are dwindling fast. There may be as many as 2 million Iraqi refugees in Syria alone. Damascus, in despair, has tightened its visa rules: only academics and businessmen are now entitled. No less than 14% of the entire Iraqi population has been displaced – courtesy of the Bush administration.

Oh, but the Bush administration is “winning” the war, of course. Counter-insurgency doctrine rules that the enemy must be controlled with social, political, ideological and psychological weapons, and risks have to be taken so civilians can be protected.

The surging Petraeus turned that upside down. Or maybe not – he’s just providing his own scholarly follow-up to the indiscriminate bombings of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 1960s and 1970s. Petraeus, His master’s voice, might as well call an air strike over the whole of Mesopotamia and then call it “victory”.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007). He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd.

 

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