Piano Wire Puppeteers: The Constitution, Media & Dennis Kucinich By Sean Penn (+ video)

Dandelion Salad

By Sean Penn
After Downing Street
Huffington Post
Remarks, December 7, 2007
San Francisco State University

It’s been an odd week. For me, a particularly odd week. But that’s another story. So, wait a minute. Iran DOESN’T have nuclear weapon capability??? So, who are we gonna bomb? I want to bomb somebody! Didn’t Senator Clinton just vote in essence to give President Bush the power to bomb Iran? If he had done it last week, would that have made her right? I mean, if she knew then what she knows now? Or am I getting that backward? Golly, I’m confused. And what about President Bush? This week, Vladimir Putin, the man Mr. Bush said he “Looked into the eyes of and found to be very straightforward and trustworthy.” So much so, he was “able to get a sense of his soul.” Well that soulful fella has just successfully coalesced the most dangerous power base in Russia since the Cold War amid rumors that include allegations he ordered the assassinations of journalists and imprisonment of noted proponents of freedom (Oops).

Meanwhile, our President’s great enemy in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, that “totalitarian,” “authoritarian,” “dictator,” that “mad man run amok,” somehow was unsuccessful in his bid for the constitutional reforms that would have allowed him to be repeatedly re-elected for life … Hmmm? Odd week, you know? Really. What happened to Chavez’s “strong-arming?” His “electoral corruption?” His alleged “gagging of the press?” How in the hell could he have lost? I’m sorry, did I miss something? How is it that this “Commie bastard” with 80% of his citizens having elected him in the first place was unable to prevail? Could it be that we’ve been lied to about him? I mean, Pat Robertson’s not a liar, is he? His god wouldn’t let that happen, would he? And god-forbid, our god would let the right-wing pundits, left-wing corporates, or our own administration send us a bill of goods!? Is it possible, I mean I know it’s silly, but is it just a little bit possible that President Chavez is in fact a defender of his people’s Constitution? That, that’s how his referendum could fail? And that that’s why he accepted it with such grace? A constitution which I have read several times. Quite a beautiful document, not dissimilar to our own. You might give it a read. Oh, I forgot – he’s a “drug runner.”

Let me share something with you. Late one night in Caracas, I met with a couple of fellas, mercenaries I think you call them. Goddammit, I keep doing that. I mean “contractors.” They were Brits, their specialty: drug interdiction. These two were no great fans of Chavez. They called him “radical” and expected him to fall to an assassin’s bullet within the year. Like him or not, he had the cash to win their acceptance of his employ. And working alongside the Venezuelan military, these two, based in Caracas, had played the mountainous and jungled border between Columbia and Venezuela. A zone rife with paramilitaries, FARC guerrillas, and mer…scratch that, contractors. What I was told that evening in Caracas by these piano wire puppeteers was that they had never worked for a government whose investment in drug interdiction was so genuine. “Yeah,” said one of the Brits, “I gotta give the bastard Chavez that.”

But I was talking about the Constitution. Most importantly, our own. And what an odd week it has been. Our culture is ingrained with a tradition that blurs the line between what is right, what is just and what is constitutional, with what is a scam. That tradition is the cult of personality. What can TV sell, what kind of crap will we buy. And at what point are we buying and selling our rights, our pride, our flag, our children, and succumbing to meaningless slogans that are ultimately pure titles for un-Americanism. How do we know what’s American and what is not? Because John Wayne tells us so? Because Sean Penn tells us so? Susan Sarandon? Bill O’Reilly? Michael Moore? Senator Bull? Or Senator Shit? Ann “my bowel expenditure” Coulter? No. It’s our Constitution. We don’t use it just to win. We depend on it because it’s the only “us” worth being. And because it’s our children’s inheritance from our shared forefathers and the traditions that really do speak best of our country.

So, here’s the question. We got Iowa coming up, we got New Hampshire right on its ass. Do we sell it for electability? If Hitler were the only candidate, would voting for him be most American? Jump on a plane with me. Okay, we’re over the Middle East now…Let’s land. Take a deep breath.

Imagine the bodies, burned and mutilated, the concussive sounds of gunfire and explosives defining the last horrifying moments of the dying and the dead. Imagine the millions of refugees fleeing through the deserts of Iraq, the babies crying, and the stench of death in the air. Yuck. Let’s get back on the plane and head home.

Now, imagine American servicemen dead or broken, returning from a broken military to a silent casket or a broken veteran’s administration, to broken lives and broken businesses, broken wives, unspoken husbands, and devastated children. And what for? What have we gained? Al-Qaida recruitment is up. Terrorism is up. Quality of life is down in our country and around the world. While the rich continue to get richer and the poor, poorer and more numerous. And on the verge of recession, we are witnessing the dramatic disassembling of the middle class amidst a flood of foreclosures and unpayable debts. To Osama Bin Laden’s infinite delight, we have become a country of principle breakers rather than principle bearers. We are torturers and we too often, imprison only the weak. When our own administration chooses its bewilderingly un-American agenda (For the entitled people? By the entitled people?) over the Constitution in defining American values, principles, and law, Bin Laden laughs at the weakened sheep that we and our representatives have become. High crimes and misdemeanors? How about full-blown treason for the outing our own CIA operatives? How about full-blown treason for those who support this administration through media propaganda?

While I’m not a proponent of the Death Penalty, existing law provides that the likes of Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and Rice, if found guilty, could have hoods thrown over their heads, their hands bound, facing a 12-man rifle corps executing death by firing squad. And our cowardly democratically dominated House and Senate can barely find one voice willing to propose so much as an impeachment. That one voice of a true American. That one voice of Congressman Dennis Kucinich. This is not going to be a sound bite. Not if I can help it. I’m torn. I’m torn between the conventional wisdom of what we all keep being told is electability and the idealism that perhaps alone can live up to the challenges of our generation.

Of the democrats running for President, only Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s candidacy is backed by a voting record of moral courage and a history of service to our country that has fully earned our support and our gratitude. And when I say support, I am not speaking to democrats alone, but rather to every American who would take the time on behalf of their children, our planet, and our soldiers to educate themselves on the Kucinich platform.

In the recent debate among Democrats in Las Vegas, the candidates, one after the other, placed security ahead of human rights. Benjamin Franklin once said “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Then, there was good ole Patrick Henry. Remember him? “Give me liberty, or give me death.” These were the real tough bastards. The real John Wayne’s. These are the traditions we should be serving. I found the debate infuriating, nearly an argument for fascism with few exceptions, key among them Dennis Kucinich. Of course as a strategic politician, Mrs. Clinton pulled out her set of Ginzu knives and dominated once again on “centrist” political strategy. In fending off attacks upon she, the front runner, she reminded the audience and her fellow candidates, “We are all Democrats.”

Wolf Blitzer asked each candidate if they would support the other should they themselves not be the nominee. One after another, the answer, yes. One exception: Dennis Kucinich, who with the minimal time allotted him, once again rose up beyond the sound bite and put principal ahead of party; argued policy rather than politeness. He has been the dominant voice of integrity on issues of trade, labor, education, environment, health, civil liberties, and the one endlessly determined voice of peace. But is he too short? Does his haircut not appeal? Is he not loyal enough to a cowardly democratic platform? Does he not appeal to the cult of personality? And what if the answer is yes? What if Dennis Kucinich, the most deserving and noble of candidates, the most experienced in issues of policy and the least willing to play into the politics of personal power? What if we can’t elect a man simply on the basis of the best ideas, the most courage, and the most selfless service? What does it say about our country when we can’t rally the voices of the common good to support a man, like our troops, who would die for us, who would die for our constitution? Who, as mayor of Cleveland at the age of 31 stood up against contracts on his life. Three separate assassins whose intent was to kill him as he stood up for his constituency there. Nonetheless, he carries on. He continues to serve.

I’ve been a supporter of Dennis Kucinich for several years. And I’ve been torn lately. I’ve been torn by the allure of “electability.” I began to invest some support in a very good man (one among Dennis’ opponents) who seems to be finding himself as a constitutional defender, but he’s not one yet. He is however, among those that we allow the media to distinguish as electable. But we’re talking about the Constitution here. We’re talking about our country. I have decided not to participate in proactive support on the basis of media distinctions. I have chosen to pledge my support to the singular, strongest and most proven representative of our constitutional mandate. Dennis Kucinich offers us a very singular opportunity as we share this minute of time on earth. We, the people. It is for us to determine what is electable. And here’s how simple it is: If we, those of us who truly believe in the Constitution of the United States of America, all of us, vote for Dennis Kucinich, he will be elected. Could we call him electable then? If so, America will stand taller than ever.

Let’s remind our friends in the social circles of New York and the highbrow winner-friendly and monied major cities that support Mrs. Clinton, that this is not Bill Clinton. For all the misgivings I have about our former President, he raised up friends and opposition alike, his great gift as a motivator of interest and activism, of self-education and participation was, on its own merits, a unique gift. But don’t underestimate personal agendas, those that initiated NAFTA, betrayed Haitian refugees and gay rights in the military within a minute of his own election. Don’t underestimate that part of him when he gives his wife the face of his talent. Don’t underestimate the damage her poisonous ambition can do to this country. We can’t wait for the benefit of hindsight to service the benefit of Mrs. Clinton’s career. Let’s raise up men and women of vision, of integrity, of belief in our principles. How exciting would that be to do? How good would that be for television? What if we turned this game around? Imagine watching on television, our country raising up a leader because he represents our Constitution. Yes, good things can be good TV. So, let’s give the Constitution another read, shall we? And then decide who its greatest defender would be. I suggest that Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike will find that they know what’s really right in their hearts and minds.

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Sean Penn Endorses Dennis Kucinich


Actor Sean Penn endorsed dark horse Democratic presidential contender Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in what was billed as a “major political address” given by the actor Friday in San Francisco.

Lambasting Democrats in Congress for their refusal to pursue the impeachment of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other members of the current administration, Penn praised Kucinich for his “moral courage,” according to an advance copy of the speech.

Added: December 07, 2007


Kucinich Amendment Passes, Creates New Jobs + CA Wildfires + Ohio’s Nuclear Power Plants

John Nichols & David Swanson: Who Killed the Constitution? (videos; impeach) (updated)





Pentagon Poised To Resume Open Air Weapons Testing by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, December 7, 2007
scoop.co.nz – 2007-12-04

Pentagon Appears Poised To Resume Open-Air Testing Of Biological Weapons But Says It Has Received No Presidential Directive To Break Moratorium

The Pentagon has denied President Bush issued a directive for it to resume open-air testing of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents that were halted by President Richard Nixon in 1969. Yet, the Pentagon’s stated preparations make it appear it is poised to do just that.

Spokesperson Chris Isleib did not respond to a request for comment on a passage from the Defense Department’s annual report sent to Congress last April that suggests the Pentagon is gearing up to resume the tests.

Resumption of open-air testing would reverse a long-standing moratorium adopted after a public outcry against them following accidents in the Sixties.

The Pentagon’s annual report apparently calls for both the developmental and operational “field testing of (CBW) full systems,” not just simulations.

The Pentagon’s report to Congress contains the following passage: “More than thirty years have passed since outdoor live-agent chemical tests were banned in the United States, and the last outdoor test with live chemical agent was performed, so much of the infrastructure for the field testing of chemical detectors no longer exists or is seriously outdated. The currently budgeted improvements in the T&E infrastructure will greatly enhance both the developmental and operational field testing of full systems, with better simulated representation of threats and characterization of system response.” “T&E” is an acronym for testing and evaluation.

“Either the military has resumed open-air testing already or they are preparing to do so,” said Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois Professor of International Law who authored the implementing legislation for the U.S. Biological Weapons Convention signed into law by President George Bush Sr. and who has tracked subsequent developments closely.

“I am stunned by the nature of this development,” Boyle said. “This is a major reversal of policy.” The 1972 treaty against germ warfare, which the U.S. signed, forbids developing weapons that spread disease, such as anthrax, a pathogen that is regarded by the military as “ideal” for conducting germ warfare.

“The Pentagon is fully prepared to launch biological warfare by means of anthrax,” Boyle charged. “All the equipment has been acquired and all the training conducted and most combat-ready members of U.S. armed forces have been given protective equipment and vaccines that allegedly would protect them from that agent.”

Open-air testing takes research into deadly agents out of the laboratories in order to study their effectiveness, including their aerial dispersion patterns, and whether they actually infect and kill in field trials. Since the anthrax attacks on Congress in October, 2001, the Bush administration has funded a vast biological research expansion at hundreds of private and university laboratories in the U.S. and abroad involving anthrax and other deadly pathogens.

The anthrax attacks killed five people, including two postal workers, injured 17 others and temporarily shut down the operations of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court, and other Federal entities.

Although a Federal statute permits the president to authorize open-air testing of CBW agents, Boyle said this “does not solve the compliance problem that it might violate the international Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention as well as their related domestic implementing legislation making such violations crimes.”

Boyle charged the U.S. is already “in breach” of both conventions and also of U.S. domestic criminal law implementing them. In February, 2003, for example, the U.S. granted itself a patent on an illegal, long-range biological-weapons grenade, evidently for offensive purposes.

Boyle said the development of anthrax for possible offensive purposes is underscored by the government’s efforts “to try to stockpile anthrax vaccines and antibiotics for 25-million plus Americans to protect the civilian population in the event there is any ‘blowback’ from the use of anthrax in biowarfare abroad by the Pentagon.”

“In theory,” Boyle added, “you cannot wage biowarfare abroad unless you can protect your civilian population from either retaliation in kind, or blowback, or both.” Under Project BioShield, Homeland Security is spending $5.6 billion to stockpile vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox, and other bioterror agents. The project had been marked by delays and operational problems and on December 12th last year Congress passed legislation to pump another $1 billion into BioShield to fund three years of additional research by the private sector.

Boyle said evidence the U.S. has super-weapons-grade anthrax was demonstrated in the October, 2001, anthrax mail attacks on Senators Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) The strain of highly sophisticated anthrax employed has allegedly been traced back to the primary U.S. Army biological warfare campus at Ft. Detrick, Md. The attacks killed five persons and sickened 17 others. A current effort to expand Ft. Detrick has sparked widespread community opposition, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.

“Obviously, someone working for the United States government has a stockpile of super-weapons grade anthrax that can be used again domestically for the purposes of political terrorism or abroad to wage offensive warfare,” Boyle said.

The Associated Press has reported the U.S. Army is replacing its Military Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick “with a new laboratory that would be a component of a biodefense campus operated by several agencies.” The Army told AP the laboratory is intended to continue research solely for defense against biological threats.

Undercutting the argument U.S. research is for “defensive” purposes is the fact government scientists have been creating new strains of pathogens for which there is no known cure. Richard Novick, a professor of microbiology at New York University, has stated, “I cannot envision any imaginable justification for changing the antigenicity of anthrax as a defensive measure.” Changing a pathogen’s antigenicity means altering its basic structure so that existing vaccines will prove ineffective against it.

Biological warfare involves the use of living organisms for military purposes. Such weapons can be viral, bacterial, and fungal, among other forms, and can be spread over a large geographic terrain by wind, water, insect, animal, or human transmission, according to Jeremy Rifkin, author of “The Biotech Century” (Penguin).

Boyle said the Federal government has been plowing money into upgrading Ft. Detrick, Md., and other CBW facilities where such pathogens are studied, developed, tested, and stored. By some estimates, the U.S. since 2002 has invested some $43 billion in hundreds of government, commercial, and university laboratories in the U.S. for the study of pathogens that might be used for biological warfare.

According to Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright, more than 300 scientific institutions and 12,000 individuals have access to pathogens suitable for biowarfare and terrorism. Ebright found that the Number of National Institute of Health grants to research infectious diseases with biowarfare potential shot up from 33 in the 1995-2000 period to 497 by 2006. Ebright has stated the government’s tenfold expansion of Biosafety Level-4 laboratories, such as those at Fort Detrick, raises the risk of accidents and the diversion of dangerous organisms. “If a worker in one of these facilities removes a single viral particle or a single cell, which cannot be detected or prevented, that single particle or cell can form the basis of an outbreak.”

During the Cold War era, notably in the Fifties and Sixties, various Government agencies engaged in open-air CBW testing on U.S. soil and on naval vessels at sea to study the effects of weaponized pathogens. U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, were among the targets and sickness and even a number of deaths were reported as a result.

According to an article titled “Lethal Breeze” by Lee Davidson in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City of June 5, 1994, “In decades of secret chemical arms tests, the Army released into Utah winds more than a half million pounds of deadly nerve agents.” Among them, he said, was VX, a pinhead-sized drop of which can be lethal. The tests were conducted at Dugway Proving Ground but Davidson said the evidence suggests “some (agents) may have escaped with the wind.”

Pentagon documents obtained by the News listed 1,635 field trials or demonstrations with nerve agents VX, GA and GB between 1951 and 1969, “when the Army discontinued use of actual nerve agents in open-air tests after escaped nerve gas apparently killed 6,000 sheep in Skull Valley,” Davidson wrote. The Skull Valley strike also sickened a rancher and members of his family. Boyle has previously charged the Pentagon with “gearing up to fight and ‘win’ biological warfare” pursuant to two Bush national strategy directives adopted in 2002 “without public knowledge and review.” He contends the Pentagon’s Chemical and Biological Defense program was revised in 2003 to implement those directives, endorsing “first-use” strike of chemical and biological weapons in war.

The implementing legislation Boyle wrote that was enacted unanimously by Congress was known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. Boyle has written extensively on the subject. Among his published works are “Biowarfare and Terrorism” and “Destroying World Order: U.S. Imperialism In the Middle East Before and After September 11th,” both from Clarity Press.

(Sherwood Ross is a free-lance writer and public relations consultant and Director of Anti-War News Service. He was host of a radio talk show in Washington, D.C., reported for the Chicago Daily News and worked as a regular columnist for several wire services. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com)

Global Research Articles by Sherwood Ross
www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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© Copyright Sherwood Ross, scoop.co.nz, 2007
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Weather Warfare: Beware the US military’s experiments with climatic warfare by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, December 7, 2007
The Ecologist, December 2007

Selected excerpts of article

Read complete article on Weather Warfare by Michel Chossudovsky, The Ecologist, December 2007 (pdf)

Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.

Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.

While the substance of the 1977 Convention was reasserted in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, debate on weather modification for military use has become a scientific taboo.

Military analysts are mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the matter and environmentalists are focused on greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Neither is the possibility of climatic or environmental manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while tacitly acknowledged, part of the broader debate on climate change under UN auspices.the US Air Force points to the unthinkable: the covert manipulation of weather patterns, communications and electric power systems as a weapon of global warfare, enabling the US to disrupt and dominate entire regions.

Weather manipulation is the pre-emptive weapon par excellence. It can be directed against enemy countries or ‘friendly nations’ without their knowledge, used to destabilise economies, ecosystems and agriculture. It can also trigger havoc in financial and commodity markets. The disruption in agriculture creates a greater dependency on food aid and imported grain staples from the US and other Western countries.

HAARP was developed as part of an Anglo-American partnership between Raytheon Corporation, which owns the HAARP patents, and British Aerospace Systems (BAES).

The HAARP project is one among several collaborative ventures in advanced weapons systems between the two defence giants. The HAARP project was initiated in 1992 by Advanced Power Technologies, Inc. (APTI), a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Corporation (ARCO). APTI (including the HAARP patents) was sold by ARCO to E-Systems Inc, in 1994. E-Systems, on contract to the CIA and US Department of Defense, outfitted the ‘Doomsday Plan’, which ‘allows the President to manage a nuclear war’. Subsequently acquired by Raytheon Corporation, it is among the largest intelligence contractors in the World.

BAES was involved in the development of the advanced stage of the HAARP antenna array under a 2004 contract with the Office of Naval Research. The installation of 132 high frequency transmitters was entrusted by BAES to its US subsidiary, BAE Systems Inc. The project, according to a July report in Defense News, was undertaken by BAES’s Electronic Warfare division. In September it received DARPA’s top award for technical achievement for the design, construction and activation of the HAARP array of antennas.

BAES was involved in the development of the advanced stage of the HAARP antenna array under a 2004 contract with the Office of Naval Research. The installation of 132 high frequency transmitters was entrusted by BAES to its US subsidiary, BAE Systems Inc.

The project, according to a July report in Defense News, was undertaken by BAES’s Electronic Warfare division. In September it received DARPA’s top award for technical achievement for the design, construction and activation of the HAARP array of antennas. The HAARP system is fully operational and in many regards dwarfs existing conventional and strategic weapons systems. While there is no firm evidence of its use for military purposes, Air Force documents suggest HAARP is an integral part of the militarisation of space. One would expect the antennas already to have been subjected to routine testing.

Under the UNFCCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has a mandate ‘to assess scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of climate change’. This mandate includes environmental warfare. ‘Geo-engineering’ is acknowledged, but the underlying military applications are neither the object of policy analysis or scientific research in the thousands of pages of IPCC reports and supporting documents, based on the expertise and input of some 2,500 scientists, policymakers and environmentalists. ‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Read complete article on Weather Warfare by Michel Chossudovsky, The Ecologist, December 2007 (pdf)

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, The Ecologist, December 2007, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7561

Coast to Coast: Pat Buchanan: Day of Reckoning (video)

Dandelion Salad


Free trade is hollowing out U.S. industry, destroying the dollar, and plunging the country into permanent dependency and unpayable debt.

Added: December 06, 2007


Impending Destruction of the US Economy By Paul Craig Roberts

Leaderless and Clueless America Heads for the Trash Can of History By Paul Craig Roberts

Pat Buchanan’s Day of Reckoning: Good-bye to America? By Paul Craig Roberts (Naomi Wolf)


Losing and Restoring the Republic By Jacob G. Hornberger

Dandelion Salad

By Jacob G. Hornberger
12/05/07 “FFF

It is impossible to overstate the fundamental differences between the foreign-policy philosophy of our American ancestors and the foreign-policy mindset that guides our country today. The philosophy of our ancestors was nicely summed up in the Fourth of July address to Congress in 1821 by John Quincy Adams.

In essence Adams said, There are lots of bad things all over the world — dictatorships, tyranny, oppression, famine, and starvation. Nevertheless, he said, the U.S. government did not go abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.” Instead, the American people devoted their time and energies to developing the freest and most prosperous nation in history, which the world could then emulate.

However, Americans did not leave hanging those who were suffering political or economic oppression. They told the world, If circumstances in your country become intolerable and if you are willing and able to escape, even though every other nation might reject you and forcibly return you to your country there will always be at least one country that will accept you and your family permanently, with virtually no questions asked.

In their attempt to create a free society, our ancestors recognized a vitally important point — that the main threat to their freedom lay with their own government. They didn’t trust government, not even when such people as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison were president. This lack of trust in government was manifested in the Constitution, the document that brought the federal government into existence and that expressly limited that government’s powers to those few that were enumerated in the document.

But even that wasn’t sufficient to satisfy our American ancestors. They also demanded passage of the Bill of Rights, which expressly forbade the federal government to infringe fundamental, preexisting rights of the people, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to keep and bear arms.

Additionally, the Constitution and the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments required U.S. officials to recognize and honor long-established civil liberties, some of which stretched back to Magna Carta, that had been carved out over centuries in response to the government’s attempts to punish citizens in criminal prosecutions. Among them were habeas corpus, due process of law, right to counsel, trial by jury, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, and protection from cruel and unusual punishments.

John Quincy Adams told the Congress that if America ever rejected its limited-government philosophy in foreign affairs and began going abroad “in search of monsters to destroy,” she would become a “dictatress” of the world, which would simultaneously damage the spirit of liberty that accompanies a free society.

The dictatress of the world

Who can deny that today, having abandoned the limited-government foreign policy of our ancestors, the United States has indeed become the dictatress of the world? What other nation has a government with the omnipotent power to go into nearly any nation on earth, kidnap any of its citizens, and send them to monstrous foreign regimes for the express purpose of torture and perhaps even extrajudicial execution? Or worse yet, to simply send them to a secret overseas prison to be tortured and perhaps executed?

No one can deny that we live in a country in which the president wields the omnipotent power to take the entire nation into war on his own initiative. That is, our ruler wields the power to ignore the constitutional restraint that requires him to secure a congressional declaration of war before waging war. He has the power to execute “signing statements” indicating the power to ignore any law enacted by Congress. He has the power to order his federal agencies to spy on the American people, even secretly and surreptitiously monitoring their telephone calls and email. The discomforting reality is that in his role as a military “commander in chief” in the never-ending “war on terror,” the president now has the power to ignore all constitutional restraints on his power.

Moreover, in what would constitute one of the most monumental legal revolutions in American history, the president, operating in conjunction with the CIA and the U.S. military, now claims the omnipotent power to take any American into custody as an “enemy combatant,” deny him due process of law and trial by jury, torture him, and detain him for the rest of his life.

As the commander in chief in the never-ending “war on terror,” the president essentially wields the same omnipotent powers as such military rulers as Napoleon and Santa Anna.

The root of the problem There is something important to recognize: All of these powers revolve around U.S. foreign policy, specifically the U.S. government’s role as international policeman, interloper, intervener, invader, occupier, provider, and imposer of sanctions and embargoes.

U.S. officials often tell us that 9/11 changed the world. Actually, it did no such thing. The 9/11 attacks instead reflected the anger and rage that U.S. foreign policy had produced in the past and then provided the excuse for U.S. officials to continue such policy in the future.

Consider Iran, 1953. The CIA, which in reality constitutes the president’s private army, secretly and surreptitiously ousted Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeqh, a man who had been selected as Time magazine’s “man of the year.” Reinstalling the shah of Iran to power, the CIA then helped him establish a domestic version of the CIA, a terrifying and brutal secret police force called the Savak, which proceeded to terrorize and torture the Iranian people, with the full support of the U.S. government. That went on for 25 years, until the Iranian revolution in 1979, when the Iranian people not only ousted the shah from power but also took officials in the U.S. embassy hostage in angry retaliation for what the U.S. government had been doing.

One year later, 1954, Guatemala. Again, the president’s private army, the CIA, ousted the democratically elected president of that country, installing a brutal military dictatorial puppet into office. CIA officials celebrated this coup as a tremendous success, awarding medals to those agents who had pulled it off. Never mind that the coup engendered a civil war that would last 30 years, which killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans. After all, in the mindset of U.S. officials, they’re just Guatemalans. Just like Iranians. Just like Iraqis. The deaths of any number of foreigners in Third World countries are “worth it” if U.S. foreign policy is advanced.

Not all the U.S. government’s interventionist operations were successful. At the Bay of Pigs, the CIA’s regime-change operations failed to oust from power Cuba’s communist dictator, Fidel Castro. The Vietnam War, in which 60,000 American men died for nothing, was also a failure. But there were also interventionist “successes” — Chile, Grenada, Panama, to name three.

The United States and Iraq

Another long-established part of U.S. foreign policy has been the military and financial support that U.S. officials have provided brutal dictators. There was, of course, the shah of Iran. There was also Saddam Hussein, the brutal dictator who tortured and killed his own people. Google the following two terms, “Donald Rumsfeld” and “shaking hands,” and you will see the famous (or infamous) photograph in which Rumsfeld and Saddam are shaking hands, fortifying the partnership that U.S. officials had entered into with Saddam.

It was during the 1980s that the United States even furnished Saddam with biological and chemical weapons for the purpose of killing the Iranian people in a war that Iraq was waging against Iran with the full support of U.S. officials. It was those weapons of mass destruction that U.S. officials would use as the justification for invading Iraq more than a decade later. And keep in mind that the United States delivered such WMDs to Saddam so that he could use them to kill Iranians, who had previously been U.S. friends and allies while its puppet, the shah, was in power, but who were now enemies because the new Iranian regime was independent of U.S. control.

In 1991, the United States turned on its former friend and partner when Saddam invaded Kuwait, the United States killing an untold number of Iraqis during the Gulf War. It was during that intervention that the Pentagon did a careful analysis of what would happen if U.S. military forces were to bomb Iraq’s water and sewage facilities. The Pentagon analysts concluded that the destruction of such facilities would produce infectious illnesses among the populace from the dirty water. Having reached that conclusion in an official military report, the Pentagon proceeded to knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately bomb and destroy Iraq’s water and sewage facilities.

That was followed by more than a decade of some of the cruelest and most brutal sanctions in history, which prevented the Iraqi authorities from repairing the destroyed water and sewage facilities. Every year, as tens of thousands of Iraqi children were dying from the sanctions, as the Pentagon had accurately predicted, U.S. officials kept blaming the deaths on Saddam’s dictatorship, despite the obvious fact that the sanctions, year after year, were expanding, not reducing, his dictatorial powers. When Sixty Minutes pointed out to UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright that half a million Iraqi children had died from the sanctions, Albright’s callous response that such deaths had been “worth it” fairly summarized the U.S. government’s attitude toward the Iraqi people. While Albright’s statement was met with indifference in the United States, it reverberated throughout the Middle East, adding heat to the already boiling cauldron of anger and hatred toward the United States.

The United States also enforced “no-fly zones” over Iraq, which had not been authorized by either the U.S. Congress or the UN. The enforcement of those zones with bombs and missiles regularly caused the deaths of more Iraqis, including a 13-year-old boy whose head was blown off by an errant missile while he was tending his sheep.

Hornets’ nests and 9/11
To make sure that Muslims’ noses were rubbed in humiliation even more, the U.S. military stationed a large contingent of military forces on Islamic holy lands in Saudi Arabia. Although such action was done with the approval of the Saudi regime, Muslims throughout the Middle East considered it a grave affront that American “infidel” soldiers were occupying their holy lands.

Throughout it all, there was the unconditional military and foreign aid provided to the Israeli government.

Thus, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of the Soviet Union, the U.S. government embarked on a campaign of poking hornets’ nests throughout the Middle East. As nearly every schoolchild knows, when one pokes hornets’ nests, the hornets get riled up and sometimes attack and sting the poker.

When the 9/11 attacks occurred, U.S. officials acted as if they were shocked and stunned. Some of them even suggested that this was the first terrorist attack on U.S. soil in our time. But that was obviously a falsehood and denial of reality. Here at FFF, while we had certainly not predicted the method of the 9/11 attacks, the fact that such terrorist attacks had taken place didn’t surprise us. After all, long before 9/11, we were publishing articles in our journal, Freedom Daily, in which we were predicting terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in retaliation for U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. See, for example, “Terrorism, Anti-Terrorism, and American Foreign Policy” (November 1996) by Richard M. Ebeling; “Freedom Is the Best Insurance against Terrorism” (December 1996) by Sheldon Richman; “Fighting Terrorism with Terrorism” (October 1998) by Jacob G. Hornberger; and “Terrorism, War, and Crises” (February 2000) by Jacob G. Hornberger. (These are all available on-line at http://www.fff.org.)

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to make such predictions. Let’s not forget that in 1993 terrorists had struck the very same building — the World Trade Center — that they struck again on 9/11. When Ramzi Yousef, one of the 1993 attackers, appeared before a U.S. district judge for sentencing (U.S. officials considered terrorism to be a criminal act, not an act of war), in a fit of anger and rage he railed against U.S. foreign policy.

Then there were terrorist attacks on the USS Cole and on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which Osama bin Laden had made clear in his declaration of war against the United States were rooted in U.S. foreign policy.

Thus, the 9/11 attacks were simply part of a series of terrorist attacks in response to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. The terrorists were essentially telling the United States, “Butt out of the Middle East, stop supporting brutal Middle East dictators, stop the deadly sanctions, stop killing Muslims. Leave us alone.”

But that’s not what the U.S. government did in response to the 9/11 attacks. Instead, it essentially replied to the terrorists, Not only are we not going to stop doing what we have been doing in the Middle East, we’re going to do it even more. That was obviously the point behind the invasion of Iraq, which U.S. officials began discussing immediately after 9/11, even though Iraq had had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. U.S. officials knew that the fear generated among Americans by the 9/11 attacks, combined with some well-timed and exaggerated WMD scares, would generate popular support for a regime-change “success” in Iraq that more than 10 years of sanctions had failed to bring about. It was an invasion and occupation that would kill and maim hundreds of thousands more Iraqi people — deaths and maimings that U.S. officials would cavalierly claim were worth it, just as they had claimed that the earlier deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children during the sanctions period had been “worth it.”

It is not surprising that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have only added to the rage and hatred that people in the Middle East have for the United States. As U.S. intelligence agencies now confirm, the invasion and occupation have been a recruiting bonanza for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

In one of the greatest perversions of logic ever, U.S. officials now claim that their continued occupation of Iraq, which entails routine killing of more Iraqis, is necessary to fight terrorism, when, in fact, it is their occupation of Iraq — along with all their other Middle East interventions — that has engendered the anger and hatred at the root of the terrorist threat against the United States. In fact, the U.S. government, precisely because of its foreign policy in the Middle East, has arguably become the greatest terrorist-producing machine in history.

To add insult to injury, U.S. officials have used the threat of terrorism that their own policies have engendered to suspend civil liberties at home, often with the support of frightened adult men and women. Habeas corpus, the linchpin of a free society, has been cancelled for foreigners taken into custody overseas on suspicion of terrorism. Americans have been spied on by government agencies. Overseas prison camps have been established for the purpose of avoiding the constraints of the Constitution, which U.S. officials take an oath to support and defend. The military takes into custody American citizens, tortures them, and denies them access to family, friends, and legal counsel. It’s all justified under a war on terrorists that the U.S. government’s own policies have produced and continue to produce.

Is there any hope in all this? Of course there is! That hope depends on the dissemination of truth and ideas on freedom. There is a reason that even totalitarian governments try to suppress truth and ideas on liberty — they are fully aware of their potential to arouse a populace to bring about a change in governmental policy. U.S. officials know that once Americans realize the truth about foreign policy and its production of terrorism against the United States, the American people may well choose to reject a foreign policy of empire and interventionism in favor of a limited-government republic.

Americans may well come to the realization that John Quincy Adams and our American ancestors were right and that their present-day pro-interventionist successors are wrong. They may choose to restore a republic to our land, thereby returning a sense of balance, harmony, security, and freedom to America. It would be the finest gift that we could ever win for ourselves and bequeath to our progeny.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Send him email. This article originally appeared in the August 2007 edition of Freedom Daily. Subscribe to the print or email version of Freedom Daily.

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Press Secretary Dana Perino: Spinning Lies for the Butcher of Baghdad by Walter C. Uhler

Dandelion Salad

by Walter C. Uhler
4 December 2007

Every American of conscience should read Michael Massing’s latest article in the New York Review of Books. It’s titled, “Iraq: The Hidden Human Costs.” As Mr. Massing makes clear, the human costs of Bush’s butchery in Iraq have remained hidden largely because there are “limitations imposed by the political climate in which the [mainstream] press works.”

Massing attributes the reluctance of editors and producers to print and broadcast news about Bush’s butchery in Iraq to the fact that “most Americans simply do not want to know too much about the acts being carried out in their name.” Or, as Scott Ritter has put it, “very few Americans function as citizens anymore.”

But, quoting from Generation Kill, by Evan Wright, Massing describes the initial American onslaught on Nasiryah: “During our thirty-six hours outside Nasiryah they [Marines] have already lobbed an estimated 2,000 [artillery] rounds into the city.”

“Entering the city with the Marines… ‘we pass a bus, smashed and burned, with charred human remains sitting upright in some windows. There’s a man in the road with no head and a dead little girl, too, about three or four, lying on her back. She’s wearing a dress and has no legs.”

Describing another of the thousands of disasters that have been unleashed by America’s butcher of Baghdad, Massing writes about US soldiers who were manning a roadblock. As cars approached the roadblock, the soldiers would fire warning shots that, as often as not, caused scared Iraqis to speed up. After one such car had been shot at, “a Marine named Graves goes to help a little girl cowering in the back seat, her eyes wide open. As he goes to pick her up, ‘thinking about what medical supplies he might need to treat her…the top of her head slides off and her brains fall out.'”

Writing for the Daily Mirror (UK) from Fallujah in April 2003, Chris Hughes reported: “I watched in horror as American troops opened fire on a crowd of one thousand unarmed people here yesterday. Many, including children, were cut down by a twenty-second burst of automatic gunfire during a demonstration against the killing of thirteen protestors at the Al-Kaahd school on Monday.” [Dahr Jamail, Beyond the Green Zone, p. 132]

In that same Fallujah, approximately one year later, “one victim of the U.S. military aggression after another was brought into the clinic, nearly all of them women and children, carried by weeping family members. Those who had not been hit by bombs from warplanes had been shot by U.S. snipers.” [Ibid, p. 138]

Of the hundreds of civilians killed and wounded in Fallujah in 2004, reporter Dahr Jamail personally witnessed an “eighteen-year-old girl [who] had been shot through the neck. She was making breathy gurgling noises as the doctors frantically worked on her amid her muffled moaning…Her younger brother, a small child of ten with a gunshot wound to his head from a marine sniper, his eyes glazed and staring into space, continually vomited as the doctors raced to save his life.” [Ibid, p. 137] Both children died

Similar atrocities in Iraq prompted Jeffery Carazales, a lance corporal from Texas, to rage: “I think it’s bullshit how these fucking civilians are dying!” “They are worse off than the guys that are shooting at us. They don’t even have a chance. Do you think the people at home are going to see this – all these women and children we’re killing? Fuck no. Back home they’re glorifying this motherfucker. I guarantee you. Saying our president is a fucking hero for getting us into this bitch. He ain’t even a real Texan.” [Massing]

Not even a “real” Texan? Hell, we first must question whether either Bush or Cheney are even “real” — by which I mean “decent”– human beings. After all, do you personally know anyone who could lie about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and ties to al Qaeda in order to remove Saddam Hussein from power for the sake of oil and Israel — especially if he knew that his invasion would inevitably blow off the limbs of hundreds, if not thousands, of three-year-old girls and split open the skulls of hundreds, if not thousands more?

No, of course not. Unless, of course, you happen to know personally one of America’s despicable neoconservatives, one of America’ crackpot Christian Zionists or Bush’s latest press secretary, Dana Perino. It was Ms. Perino, who, on November 30th, placed her own humanity in a lock box when she offered journalist Helen Thomas the following lie: “To suggest that we, the United States, are killing innocent people is just absurd and very offensive.”

Although such lies might still work with many loyal saps in the Republican Party and the many Americans who have jettisoned citizenship for shopping and television addictions, the rest of the world knows the truth. And it is not amused! Unfortunately, all Americans, not just the stupid and immoral ones, will have to pay for the world’s condemnation.

Walter C. Uhler is an independent scholar and freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Journal of Military History, the Moscow Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He also is President of the Russian-American International Studies Association (RAISA).

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.