Time to join your Dennis Kucinich Statewide Meetup group!

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From an email:

Attention All Kucinich Supporters/Volunteers/Organizers

The time has come to take the Kucinich campaign off the Internet and into the streets of our local communities. If you’re interested in doing things in the real world for Dennis then you have to join your Dennis Kucinich Statewide Meetup group! It’s Free and there’s one in every state!

The Meetup Groups are by far the best way to get involved with other Kucinich supporters in your State!

With all the necessary tools for grassroots organizing built right into the Meetup group it will be easy for you to connect with other supporter/organizers and build a successful grassroots Kucinich for President Statewide Organization.

Your Kucinich Statewide Meetup group will:
* Help you find others in your area who support Dennis Kucinich
* Help you stay informed about Kucinich Events/Meetings/Activities in your State.

* Help remind you about upcoming Activities that you want to attend.
* Help you promote your own Kucinich related Events to the rest of the Group.

* Help you communicate with individual group members or the Whole Group easily without having to give out your email address.

I know a lot of you don’t want to join another list because your already on so many. However, your Statewide Meetup Group is too important to not join, even if you have to remove yourself from other Kucinich lists to do it. We believe the Meetup Groups are the most powerful organizing tool the campaign has available.

Dennis needs everyone to hit the streets and help spread his message of Strength through Peace to as many people as possible. Please Join your Statewide group right now!

 

Alabama: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/412/

Alaska: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/425/

Arizona: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/385/

Arkansas: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/410/

California: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/117/

Colorado: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/367/

Connecticut: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/401/

Delaware: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/403/

District of Columbia: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/369/

Florida: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/323/

Georgia: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/319/

Hawaii: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/427/

Idaho: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/430/

Illinois: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/368/

Indiana: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/405/

Iowa: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/413/

Kansas: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/418/

Kentucky: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/408/

Louisiana: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/411/

Maine: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/398/

Maryland: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/404/

Massachusetts: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/328/

Michigan: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/406/

Minnesota: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/415/

Mississippi: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/333/

Missouri: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/384/

Montana: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/424/

Nebraska: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/423/

Nevada: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/428/

New Hampshire: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/359/

New Jersey: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/320/

New Mexico: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/419/

New York: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/326/

North Carolina: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/324/

North Dakota: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/416/

Ohio: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/407/

Oklahoma: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/422/

Oregon: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/24/

Pennsylvania: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/370/

Rhode Island: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/402/

South Carolina: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/325/

South Dakota: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/417/

Tennessee: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/383/

Texas: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/362/

Utah: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/375/

Vermont: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/362/

Virginia: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/382/

Washington: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/352/

West Virginia: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/409/

Wisconsin: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/414/

Wyoming: http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/426/

Heres a link to all the Kucinich Meetup Groups (statewide and other): http://denniskucinich.meetup.com/about

After joining your Statewide meetup group help us spread the word and tell everyone you know to join theirs!

Located on each group is a section called promote. From the promote section you can invite others to join and also get group stickers to put on your personal internet sites/blogs. Thank you for your support.

Sincererly,

Robert Ruszkowski & Anita Stewart

Director and Deputy Director of Virtual Outreach

Kucinich for President 2008, Inc.

Strength through Peace

Dennis 4 President

The Liberal: Dennis J. Kucinich by Perry Bacon Jr.

Dandelion Salad

by Perry Bacon Jr.
The Washington Post
Sunday, December 16, 2007

Running for president a second time after collecting few votes in 2004, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) continues calling for a single-payer health-care system that covers all Americans, and for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

And he still languishes in the polls. It probably doesn’t help that the most memorable moment in his 2008 run was when he said he saw a UFO. In a debate in Philadelphia in October, he answered, “I did,” when asked if he had a seen a UFO while visiting a friend, the actress Shirley MacLaine. The biggest change in his stump appearance from 2004 has been the presence of his 30-year-old wife, Elizabeth, who is 31 years younger and a good bit taller than the longtime congressman. She also brings hope to his long-shot candidacy.

“If I can marry this incredibly brilliant, beautiful woman, I mean, why wouldn’t I think I can be president of the United States?” Kucinich has said.

continued…

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. 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.

I Am Not a Health Reform By David U. Himmelstein & Steffie Woolhandler

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By David U. Himmelstein & Steffie Woolhandler
New York Times
Op-Ed
December 15, 2007

Cambridge, Mass

IN 1971, President Nixon sought to forestall single-payer national health insurance by proposing an alternative. He wanted to combine a mandate, which would require that employers cover their workers, with a Medicaid-like program for poor families, which all Americans would be able to join by paying sliding-scale premiums based on their income.

Nixon’s plan, though never passed, refuses to stay dead. Now Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama all propose Nixon-like reforms. Their plans resemble measures that were passed and then failed in several states over the past two decades.

With the exception of Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic presidential hopefuls sidestep an inconvenient truth: only a single-payer system of national health care can save what we estimate is the $350 billion wasted annually on medical bureaucracy and redirect those funds to expanded coverage. Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama tout cost savings through computerization and improved care management, but Congressional Budget Office studies have found no evidence for these claims.

continued…

h/t: Dennis 4 President

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.

Interview with Naomi Klein: The Shock Doctrine (video)

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talkingsticktv

Interview with Naomi Klein author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Added: December 16, 2007 Continue reading

Dec 16th Ron Paul donation day coverage on CNN (video)

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researchris2

http://ronpaul2008.com
http://voteronpaul.com
http://ronpaulblimp.com

Sounds like people who support Ron Paul are now called “followers”, at least on this CNN coverage.

http://researchris.blogspot.com

Added: December 16, 2007

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Ron Paul TV Special for Iowa (long videos)

Fallacy of Terrorism – Role of Canadian Intell Agencies to Terrorize Citizens By Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.

Dandelion Salad

By Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D.
12/16/07 “ICH

Do cruelty, falsehood and wickedness have known faces and shapes? Only if you have experienced it, you will know it. If so, would you not strive to seek the protection of law and ultimate goal of justice? The quest for justice itself presupposes injustice. In Western democracies, manufactured “suspicion” and individual opinions, not the facts of life, are fast becoming the criterion measurement of legal provisions to prosecute innocent citizens as alleged terrorist across North America and Europe. Guatanama Bay could well be identified as the “Abu Ghraib” of America. The American led “ war of choice”: perpetual war creating perpetual fear contributing to perpetual profits, the mutual alliance of the governments and mass media networks to carve up images of Muslims and Islam as the focused creed of alleged terrorism. Eric Margolis (The Big Lie About ‘Islamic Fascism’ Aug 28, 2006), a distinguished Canadian journalist quotes the observation of Sir Peter Ustinov: “terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.”

Canadian Maher Arar was the first victim. He was guilty of traveling thru JFK shortly after the 9/11 attacks, but Canadian intelligence agencies identified him as a fundamentalist and security risk. He was suspected to have been involved in something that later on Canadian establishments could not prove except they arranged third party torture and victimize him for long time. The political dictum of “suspicion” was used to imprison Maher Arar in Syria. How conveniently suspicion was transformed into accepted norm to arrest, imprison and torture Muslims throughout the Western world. “Suspicion” became the threshold for police actions, not the societal laws to use force to demonstrate the opinions and preconceived notions of the few minority elite against the citizens.. History was re-enacted not learnt from, when people of Japanese origin were interned in Canada and the US during the 2nd WW. It was suspicion implied as law of the land – a political, moral and legal injustice to the citizens of Canada and America who had no role to play in the making of the WW2.

Half century later, both Canada and the US offered apology to those either in graveyards or their succeeding generations kept the harsh memory of sufferings alive. After the Maher Arar tragedy, it was Dr. Khawaja and his family, the next targeted victims of the “War on Terror.” According to the Globe and Mail (July 18, 2005), President Bush had instructed Paul Martin to “fix Khawaja.” On March 29, 2004, Canadian Intelligence armed brigade attacked the Khawaja family residence in Orleans and at gunpoint arrested his wife and school children were called out of the classroom under the guise of “bomb making” but found no evidence to support the accusation. The newspaper Citizens and CBC were instrumental to falsify the information base and articulated fear mongering fictitious episode to misinform the public. While this stunt was staged near the capital, the agency formally requested Saudi Arabia to detain Dr. Khawaja who was teaching in a university. What were the charges against as per the documentary evidence? He is father of accused Momin Khawaja, who since March 2004 is a political prisoner of conscience at a Canadian detention center without a trial on charges of “terrorism” involvement in the UK case of March 2004. The then Security Minister Ms. Anne McClellan denied ever requesting a foreign government to arrest the scholar. The real world events and documentary evidence provide a different picture that the Canadian Government was lying to safeguard its illegal action against its own citizen. Does a political Minister ever lie? Do agents of intelligence services ever lie? The honorable Judge presiding over the Maher Arar investigation clearly pointed out the history of misinformation and lies involving the official intelligence organizations. Consequently, the Chief of the one of the intelligence agency was asked to resign.

To poison the mindset of soft-hearted Canadian public thru the media screen, young Momin was chained to show the public that he is abnormal and dangerous to public interest, not that he has done anything wrong or illegal. Four years later, his case has not gone to trial because the government has no tangible evidence to prove the accusation in a public court. The prosecution uses dogmas, not facts that a secret trial should be conducted to protect the interest of the state. In a democratic valued society as Canada is, how ridiculous it seems that if the prosecution is sure of its claim, why not have an open public trial? Why to look for escape from the real world? After all, what is so secret about political terrorism? Does it mean that informed public will no longer trust in the official version and realize that it was a political trial, not a criminal case to start with? Consequently, the masses will point finger at the continuing failure of the intelligence services to use “suspicion”, and not the law of the land to prosecute its own citizens.

Now the prosecution insists on a secret trial of Momin Khawaja whereas public opinions are questioning the official dictum. For Four years, Momin has been imprisoned for unproven allegations under the law of suspicion to have participated in some conspiracy to bomb making theory. The defense lawyer Mr. Greenspon argues to have access to secret files on terror suspect and clarifies that “MOMIN KHAWAJA IS AT RISK OF BEING WRONGLY CONVICTED…and “THAT HE COULD BE WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED FOR LIFE IF THE GOVERNMENT INSISTS ON WITHHOLDING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION IT ADMITS IS RELEVANT TO HIS DEFENCE AGAINST TERRORISM CHARGES.”

Contrary to this, the prosecution claims that an open trial would harm the national security and relations with foreign governments. To defy logic and facts, the prosecution contends two distinct orders of TRUTH. Truth is One, not many, that it is a political trial as it is being identified by the Canadian Justice Department to be mindful of “security policy” and relations with foreign governments – as the reasoning to hold the secret trial. In democratic governance, the official opinion is flawed, secret trials are a negation of liberty, human rights, freedom and justice – justice delayed is justice denied. Momin and his family are continued to be punished, not because they are guilty of any crimes except on suspicion; they are being treated as guilty of crimes without committing any crimes. In several communication, Dr. Khawaja asked the Federal Minster, why he and his family are being systematically victimized? The Minister would only reply with “no comments.” Amnesty International asked the Canadian Government the same question but got abstract reply. Would the new Progressive Conservative Canadian Government review its policy and take initiative to apologize from the innocent victims of its inherited policy on terrorism? Would it free Momin Khawaja after four years of harsh ordeal at a detention center? Would the current Minister of Security with first-hand knowledge of the issues initiate action and facilitate measures to deliver justice and compensate the Khawaja family for the state sponsored terrorism against its own citizens? After all President Bush is leaving the White House soon and perhaps Canada needs to see its own policy interest and national priorities rather than blindly follow the American adventures to undo the world peace and harmony.

Eric Margolis sheds more light on the media created images fostered by the governmental policy sponsorship: “In the Western world, hatred of Muslims has become a key ideological hallmark of rightwing parties. We see this overtly in the United States, France, Italy, Holland …and most lately Canada.”

End cannot be assumed based on the notion of “suspicion”, and dogmas cannot replace truth to explain the facts of human life. When facts live in denial, dogmas construct dark illusions to assert the political agenda for encroachment of human rights, dignity and real freedom. The Canadian intelligence apparatus enjoys history of flawed record to victimize people under the “war on terror.” Given the obvious public mistrust, they seem to be overwhelmingly occupied in building castles over moving sand. British author and producer Adam Curtis (“The Power of Nightmares re-awakened” BBC), made attempts to re-awaken the human conscience that the myth of international terrorism is a misleading political phenomenon to embark on American ambitions of global hegemony. Michael Meacher, MP and former UK Minister of Environment of Blair’s Cabinet points out to the same agenda (“This War on Terrorism is Bogus:”): “It seems that the so called “war on terrorism” is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives.” On the part of targeted victims of this war of choice is similar to those cases of the 2nd WW internment of people of Japanese, German and Italian origins in North America. The search for justice itself implies the pr-existence of injustice. Justice and societal harmony cannot be preached in the name of illegal detentions and systematic torture of the citizens. Targeted victims look to human conscience to stop the continued political cruelty, violations of human rights and travesty of justice. Those whose lives have been destroyed by the false official claims of terrorism, do ask the living and THINKING People of the globe, could there be two distinct orders of truth? Is there any legal stipulations in Canada to prosecute state sponsored terrorism and wickedness?

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja, the author is a political scientist with interests in strategic studies and comparative cultures and civilizations affairs of Muslims and the West, and author of several publications including: Muslims and the West: Quest for Change and Conflict Resolution and “Pakistan: Enigma of Change.”

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

The Big Lie About ‘Islamic Fascism’ by Eric Margolis

The Power of Nightmares by Adam Curtis (must-see videos)

Inside the CIA’s Notorious “Black Sites” By Mark Benjamin

Dandelion Salad

By Mark Benjamin
ICH
12/16/07 “Salon

A Yemeni man never charged by the U.S. details 19 months of brutality and psychological torture — the first in-depth, first-person account from inside the secret U.S. prisons. A Salon exclusive.

The CIA held Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah in several different cells when he was incarcerated in its network of secret prisons known as “black sites.” But the small cells were all pretty similar, maybe 7 feet wide and 10 feet long. He was sometimes naked, and sometimes handcuffed for weeks at a time. In one cell his ankle was chained to a bolt in the floor. There was a small toilet. In another cell there was just a bucket. Video cameras recorded his every move. The lights always stayed on — there was no day or night. A speaker blasted him with continuous white noise, or rap music, 24 hours a day.

The guards wore black masks and black clothes. They would not utter a word as they extracted Bashmilah from his cell for interrogation — one of his few interactions with other human beings during his entire 19 months of imprisonment. Nobody told him where he was, or if he would ever be freed.

It was enough to drive anyone crazy. Bashmilah finally tried to slash his wrists with a small piece of metal, smearing the words “I am innocent” in blood on the walls of his cell. But the CIA patched him up.

So Bashmilah stopped eating. But after his weight dropped to 90 pounds, he was dragged into an interrogation room, where they rammed a tube down his nose and into his stomach. Liquid was pumped in. The CIA would not let him die.

On several occasions, when Bashmilah’s state of mind deteriorated dangerously, the CIA also did something else: They placed him in the care of mental health professionals. Bashmilah believes these were trained psychologists or psychiatrists. “What they were trying to do was to give me a sort of uplifting and to assure me,” Bashmilah said in a telephone interview, through an interpreter, speaking from his home country of Yemen. “One of the things they told me to do was to allow myself to cry, and to breathe.”

Last June, Salon reported on the CIA’s use of psychologists to aid with the interrogation of terrorist suspects. But the role of mental health professionals working at CIA black sites is a previously unknown twist in the chilling, Kafkaesque story of the agency’s secret overseas prisons.

Little about the conditions of Bashmilah’s incarceration has been made public until now. His detailed descriptions in an interview with Salon, and in newly filed court documents, provide the first in-depth, first-person account of captivity inside a CIA black site. Human rights advocates and lawyers have painstakingly pieced together his case, using Bashmilah’s descriptions of his cells and his captors, and documents from the governments of Jordan and Yemen and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to verify his testimony. Flight records detailing the movement of CIA aircraft also confirm Bashmilah’s account, tracing his path from the Middle East to Afghanistan and back again while in U.S. custody.

Bashmilah’s story also appears to show in clear terms that he was an innocent man. After 19 months of imprisonment and torment at the hands of the CIA, the agency released him with no explanation, just as he had been imprisoned in the first place. He faced no terrorism charges. He was given no lawyer. He saw no judge. He was simply released, his life shattered.

“This really shows the human impact of this program and that lives are ruined by the CIA rendition program,” said Margaret Satterthwaite, an attorney for Bashmilah and a professor at the New York University School of Law. “It is about psychological torture and the experience of being disappeared.”

Bashmilah, who at age 39 is now physically a free man, still suffers the mental consequences of prolonged detention and abuse. He is undergoing treatment for the damage done to him at the hands of the U.S. government. On Friday, Bashmilah laid out his story in a declaration to a U.S. district court as part of a civil suit brought by the ACLU against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing accused of facilitating secret CIA rendition flights.

Bashmilah said in the phone interview that the psychological anguish inside a CIA black site is exacerbated by the unfathomable unknowns for the prisoners. While he figured out that he was being held by Americans, Bashmilah did not know for sure why, where he was, or whether he would ever see his family again. He said, “Every time I realize that there may be others who are still there where I suffered, I feel the same thing for those innocent people who just fell in a crack.”

It may seem bizarre for the agency to provide counseling to a prisoner while simultaneously cracking him mentally — as if revealing a humanitarian aspect to a program otherwise calibrated to exploit systematic psychological abuse. But it could also be that mental healthcare professionals were enlisted to help bring back from the edge prisoners who seemed precariously damaged, whose frayed minds were no longer as pliable for interrogation. “My understanding is that the purpose of having psychiatrists there is that if the prisoner feels better, then he would be able to talk more to the interrogators,” said Bashmilah.

Realistically, psychiatrists in such a setting could do little about the prisoners’ deeper suffering at the hands of the CIA. “They really had no authority to address these issues,” Bashmilah said about his mental anguish. He said the doctors told him to “hope that one day you will prove your innocence or that you will one day return to your family.” The psychiatrists also gave him some pills, likely tranquilizers. They analyzed his dreams. But there wasn’t much else they could do. “They also gave me a Rubik’s Cube so I could pass the time, and some jigsaw puzzles,” Bashmilah recalled.

The nightmare started for him back in fall 2003. Bashmilah had traveled to Jordan from Indonesia, where he was living with his wife and working in the clothing business. He and his wife went to Jordan to meet Bashmilah’s mother, who had also traveled there. The family hoped to arrange for heart surgery for Bashmilah’s mother at a hospital in Amman. But before leaving Indonesia, Bashmilah had lost his passport and had received a replacement. Upon arrival in Jordan, Jordanian officials questioned his lack of stamps in the new one, and they grew suspicious when Bashmilah admitted he had visited Afghanistan in 2000. Bashmilah was taken into custody by Jordanian authorities on Oct. 21, 2003. He would not reappear again until he stepped out of a CIA plane in Yemen on May 5, 2005.

Bashmilah’s apparent innocence was clearly lost on officials with Jordan’s General Intelligence Department. After his arrest, the Jordanians brutally beat him, peppering him with questions about al-Qaida. He was forced to jog around in a yard until he collapsed. Officers hung him upside down with a leather strap and his hands tied. They beat the soles of his feet and his sides. They threatened to electrocute him with wires. The told him they would rape his wife and mother.

It was too much. Bashmilah signed a confession multiple pages long, but he was disoriented and afraid even to read it. “I felt sure it included things I did not say,” he wrote in his declaration to the court delivered Friday. “I was willing to sign a hundred sheets so long as they would end the interrogation.”

Bashmilah was turned over to the CIA in the early morning hours of Oct. 26, 2003. Jordanian officials delivered him to a “tall, heavy-set, balding white man wearing civilian clothes and dark sunglasses with small round lenses,” he wrote in his declaration. He had no idea who his new captors were, or that he was about to begin 19 months of hell, in the custody of the U.S. government. And while he was seldom beaten physically while in U.S. custody, he describes a regime of imprisonment designed to inflict extreme psychological anguish.

I asked Bashmilah which was worse: the physical beatings at the hands of the Jordanians, or the psychological abuse he faced from the CIA. “I consider that psychological torture I endured was worse than the physical torture,” he responded. He called his imprisonment by the CIA “almost like being inside a tomb.”

“Whenever I saw a fly in my cell, I was filled with joy,” he said. “Although I would wish for it to slip from under the door so it would not be imprisoned itself.”

After a short car ride to a building at the airport, Bashmilah’s clothes were cut off by black-clad, masked guards wearing surgical gloves. He was beaten. One guard stuck his finger in Bashmilah’s anus. He was dressed in a diaper, blue shirt and pants. Blindfolded and wearing earmuffs, he was then chained and hooded and strapped to a gurney in an airplane.

Flight records show Bashmilah was flown to Kabul. (Records show the plane originally departed from Washington, before first stopping in Prague and Bucharest.) After landing, he was forced to lie down in a bumpy jeep for 15 minutes and led into a building. The blindfold was removed, and Bashmilah was examined by an American doctor.

He was then placed in a windowless, freezing-cold cell, roughly 6.5 feet by 10 feet. There was a foam mattress, one blanket, and a bucket for a toilet that was emptied once a day. A bare light bulb stayed on constantly. A camera was mounted above a solid metal door. For the first month, loud rap and Arabic music was piped into his cell, 24 hours a day, through a hole opposite the door. His leg shackles were chained to the wall. The guards would not let him sleep, forcing Bashmilah to raise his hand every half hour to prove he was still awake.

Cells were lined up next to each other with spaces in between. Higher above the low ceilings of the cells appeared to be another ceiling, as if the prison were inside an airplane hanger.

After three months the routine became unbearable. Bashmilah unsuccessfully tried to hang himself with his blanket and slashed his wrists. He slammed his head against the wall in an effort to lose consciousness. He was held in three separate but similar cells during his detention in Kabul. At one point, the cell across from him was being used for interrogations. “While I myself was not beaten in the torture and interrogation room, after a while I began to hear the screams of detainees being tortured there,” he wrote.

While he was not beaten, Bashmilah was frequently interrogated. “During the entire period of my detention there, I was held in solitary confinement and saw no one other than my guards, interrogators and other prison personnel,” he wrote in his declaration. One interrogator accused him of being involved in sending letters to a contact in England, though Bashmilah says he doesn’t know anybody in that country. At other times he was shown pictures of people he also says he did not know.

“This is a form of torture,” he told me. “Especially when the person subjected to this has not done anything.”

In his declaration, Bashmilah made it clear that most of the prison officials spoke English with American accents. “The interrogators also frequently referred to reports coming from Washington,” he wrote.

After six months he was transferred, with no warning or explanation. On or around April 24, 2004, Bashmilah was pulled from his cell and placed in an interrogation room, where he was stripped naked. An American doctor with a disfigured hand examined him, jotting down distinctive marks on a paper diagram of the human body. Black-masked guards again put him in a diaper, cotton pants and shirt. He was blindfolded, shackled, hooded, forced to wear headphones, and stacked, lying down, in a jeep with other detainees. Then he remembers being forced up steps into a waiting airplane for a flight that lasted several hours, followed by several hours on the floor of a helicopter.

Upon landing, he was forced into a vehicle for a short ride. Then, Bashmilah took several steps into another secret prison — location unknown.

He was forced into a room and stripped naked again. Photos were taken of all sides of his body. He was surrounded by about 15 people. “All of them except for the person taking photographs were dressed in the kind of black masks that robbers wear to hide their faces,” Bashmilah wrote in the declaration.

He was again examined by a doctor, who took notations on the diagram of the human body. (It was the same form from Afghanistan. Bashmilah saw his vaccination scar marked on the diagram.) The doctor looked in his eyes, ears, nose and throat.

He was then thrown into a cold cell, left naked.

It was another tiny cell, new or refurbished with a stainless steel sink and toilet. Until clothes arrived several days later, Bashmilah huddled in a blanket. In this cell there were two video cameras, one mounted above the door and the other in a wall. Also above the door was a speaker. White noise, like static, was pumped in constantly, day and night. He spent the first month in handcuffs. In this cell his ankle was attached to a 110-link chain attached to a bolt on the floor.

The door had a small opening in the bottom through which food would appear: boiled rice, sliced meat and bread, triangles of cheese, boiled potato, slices of tomato and olives, served on a plastic plate.

Guards wore black pants with pockets, long-sleeved black shirts, rubber gloves or black gloves, and masks that covered the head and neck. The masks had tinted yellow plastic over the eyes. “I never heard the guards speak to each other and they never spoke to me,” Bashmilah wrote in his declaration.

He was interrogated more. Bashmilah recalls an interrogator showing him a lecture by an Islamic scholar playing on a laptop. The interrogator wanted to know if Bashmilah knew who the man was, but he did not. It was in this facility that Bashmilah slashed his wrists, then went on his hunger strike, only to be force-fed through a tube forced down his nose.

The CIA seems to have figured out that Bashmilah was not an al-Qaida operative sometime around September 2004, when he was moved to another, similar cell. But there was no more white noise. And while his ankles were shackled, he wasn’t bolted to the floor with a chain. He was allowed to shower once a week. He was no longer interrogated and was mostly left alone.

Bashmilah was given a list of books he could read. About a month before he was released, he was given access to an exercise hall for 15 minutes a week. And he saw mental healthcare professionals. “The psychiatrists asked me to talk about why I was so despairing, interpreted my dreams, asked me how I was sleeping and whether I had an appetite, and offered medications such as tranquilizers.”

On May 5, 2005, Bashmilah was cuffed, hooded and put on a plane to Yemen. Yemeni government documents say the flight lasted six or seven hours and confirm that he was transferred from the control of the U.S. government. He soon learned that his father had died in the fall of 2004, not knowing where his son had disappeared to, or even if he was alive.

At the end of my interview with Bashmilah, I asked him if there was anything in particular he wanted people to know. “I would like for the American people to know that Islam is not an enemy to other nations,” he said. “The American people should have a voice for holding accountable people who have hurt innocent people,” he added. “And when there is a transgression against the American people, it should not be addressed by another transgression.”

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.

Turkey bombs northern Iraq: Iraqi officials By Sherko Raouf

Dandelion Salad

By Sherko Raouf
2 hours, 26 minutes ago

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) – Turkish warplanes targeting Kurdish rebels bombed villages deep in northern Iraq on Sunday, killing one woman and forcing hundreds of people to flee their homes, local officials said.

In Ankara, the Turkish military’s General Staff confirmed in a statement its warplanes had attacked targets of the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which uses northern Iraq as a base from which to attack security forces inside Turkey.

But the head of the General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, quoted by Turkey’s Anatolian state news agency, denied any civilian targets were hit and said his forces had acted with the implicit approval of U.S. occupying forces in Iraq.

continued…

h/t: CLG

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Surprise! Mukasey Covers Up Torture By Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
Consortium News
December 15, 2007

Last month, Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California joined Republicans to ensure Michael Mukasey’s confirmation as Attorney General, even though he refused to acknowledge that the simulated drowning of waterboarding was torture.

Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada helped the Bush administration, too, by rushing a floor vote on Mukasey before rank-and-file Democrats could get organized and push for a filibuster.

To show thanks, Mukasey now is slapping the Democratic-controlled Congress in the face by demanding it back off any oversight investigations into how and why the CIA in late 2005 destroyed videotapes of the waterboarding of al-Qaeda suspects.

Mukasey is pressing the House Intelligence Committee to shelve its investigation into the videotape destruction and is refusing to turn over information to other congressional committees. He claims that to do so would interfere with his own investigation of what appears to be criminality that his Justice Department may have sanctioned.

And, to add insult to the stonewalling, Mukasey justified his refusal to provide information to Congress by citing his promise during his confirmation hearing that he would “ensure that politics plays no role in cases brought by the Department of Justice.”

In other words, Mukasey is arguing that congressional oversight of possible criminal wrongdoing by President George W. Bush and other senior administration officials represents “politics” – and that the only legitimate investigation of Bush’s Executive Branch is one carried out by Bush’s Executive Branch.

Some senior Democrats objected to Mukasey’s actions, though mostly in muted tones.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, expressed disappointment and restated that his panel “needs to fully understand whether the government used cruel interrogation techniques and torture, contrary to our basic values.”

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican, issued a joint statement saying they were “stunned” by Mukasey’s decisions.

“There is no basis upon which the Attorney General can stand in the way of our work,” Reyes and Hoekstra said.

What Will Congress Do?

But it’s less clear what Congress can – or will – do.

Over the past year, since Democrats won control of both houses, Bush has bested them time and again, with the Democrats often surrendering their most promising opportunities for pressuring the administration to make concessions.

In line with that pattern, Schumer and Feinstein broke with other Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee and joined with Republicans in November 2007 to clear Mukasey’s confirmation. They did so despite Mukasey’s adamant refusal to designate the centuries-old tactic of waterboarding as torture.

Furious rank-and-file Democrats argued that Mukasey’s equivocation on torture should have disqualified him to be the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer, since torture violates domestic law, international law and the U.S. Constitution with its ban on “cruel and unusual punishment.”

They also noted that Mukasey embraced the Bush administration’s view of an all-powerful executive and, as a federal judge, had endorsed indefinite incarceration of hundreds of Muslims on phony material witness warrants after the 9/11 attacks.

Ironically, the post-9/11 round-up of Arab cab drivers, pizza delivery men and students came as the Bush administration was granting special permission for rich Saudis, including members of Osama bin Laden’s family, to flee the United States after only cursory FBI questioning.

The arresting of the “usual suspects” – while the well-connected who actually might know something were whisked away – was perhaps the first signal of how Bush’s “war on terror” would proceed, draconian actions that create the appearance of a tough crackdown when the reality is entirely different.

Bush made clear, too, that he was prepared to say anything, no matter how transparently false, to fend off public oversight.

For instance, he has said repeatedly that his administration doesn’t “torture” although U.S. intelligence operatives have acknowledged subjecting terror suspects to waterboarding, which has been considered torture since the days of the Inquisition.

Waterboarding involves strapping a person to a board tilted so the head is lower than the feet, covering the face with cellophane and pouring water over it to create the sensation of drowning.

Bush’s semantic defense of his administration – claiming that whatever he approved was not torture – made Mukasey’s word games to the Senate Judiciary Committee necessary. If Mukasey agreed that waterboarding was torture, he would have had little choice but to mount criminal investigations of Bush and other senior officials.

So, it should come as no surprise now that Mukasey is trying to fend off any independent investigation of Bush’s possible criminal exposure, while twisting words and logic again – this time, by defining outside inquiries as playing “politics” and insisting that his internal investigation will be impartial.

Democratic Failure

Schumer and Feinstein claim they voted for Mukasey in November because he was an improvement over Alberto Gonzales, who helped establish the framework for Bush’s torture policies both as White House counsel and Attorney General.

Nevertheless, the failure to force clear answers on torture from Mukasey represented another moment when the Democrats abandoned a pressure point that might have won them some concessions – or at least some straight talk – from the administration.

That has been the Democrats’ pattern dating back to the November 2006 elections when they followed up their stunning victories by reverting to their timid practices of taking Bush at his word and avoiding aggressive oversight.

The Democrats not only failed to mount a sustained challenge to Bush’s policies, they avoided any systematic hearings that would educate the American public about why Bush’s presidency has represented such an extraordinary threat to the Republic. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Democrats’ Year of Living Fecklessly.”]

In exchange for their repeated surrenders, the Democrats have gotten nothing from Bush and the Republicans, other than their contempt.

As the first session under the new Democratic majority nears an end this month, Bush is riding roughshod over the Democrats on a wide range of issues. He insists that they sign off on his budget figures; he demands another blank check for the Iraq War; and his Attorney General is obstructing congressional oversight of the torture scandal.

Yet, the Democrats are in a far worse position today to stand up to Bush than they were a year ago. Then, they had a majority of the American people behind them, hoping that the Democrats would protect the nation from Bush’s executive power grab and would bring Bush’s disastrous Iraq War to an end.

Today, only a tiny fraction of Americans believes that the congressional Democrats will do much more than run up the white flag, once again.

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.

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Controlling the Planned Collapse By Peter Chamberlin

Dandelion Salad

By Peter Chamberlin
12/16/07 “ICH

Just because the collapse is planned doesn’t mean that it can’t be resisted. In resistance, perhaps we can hone-off the roughest edges of the unfolding transformation. The argument made, that “resistance is futile,” ignores the human potential in a battle situation, where everyone is fighting for their freedom and their lives. We have no duty to mankind to lie down before those who would trample over us. I’d prefer that this Nation not continue to submit to the corporate “gang rape” that we have been getting for so many decades. To surrender to the evil men who were instrumental to the ongoing collapse of the global systems misses the point, that it is time for a real political fight in this country. Everything depends upon our ability to shake loose the perverting forces of ultimate capital from government, where they manipulate everything American, causing the failure of democracy. “We have to fight a war of ideas to take back that which has been stolen from us. We the People must be the ones to set the foreign policy of this country.”  http://www.mortyscabin.net/

American monopoly capitalists have effectively gained “controlling interest” in this country. They have made the decision to destroy America’s economic base to obtain greater profits. We have been written off. Studies like “Changing Images of Man” document the common knowledge of the ruling class, that there will be social upheaval in reaction to the collapse. It is our duty in the resistance to thwart their plans, to shape the social critical mass so that it has a direct negative impact on the masters of the universe. Our task is to take measures before the collapse that will ensure that the upheaval will destroy the elite’s ability to control the changed world. We are the patriot radicals (with the extremist beliefs about conspiracies allayed against our nation) who intend to prevent the bringing about of a “dark age” of oppression in America.

The government has planned for the coming period of collapse and social upheaval in this country, but it has done nothing to prevent them from happening. If economic pain and dislocation are allowed to cause insurrection in this country, they will justify police state actions to maintain order. Why would government try to avoid the one catastrophic event that will make dictatorship possible? The catastrophic is essential to the long-term plan, just as the neocon Project for a New American Century war plans needed the catastrophic “event” of 9/11 to set the “war on terrorism” plot against freedom into motion.

The American patriotic forces of freedom must likewise prepare for the coming disastrous event that will justify all radical changes. The attack upon Iran will be the event of justification. When the attack comes, those of us who dare to speak out will be silenced in the repercussions at the beginning of the counter-revolution. If we want to ensure that the government returns to the hands of the American people after the dust settles, then we will set in motion now, the political forces that will motivate the leaderless masses in the direction of freedom. All our efforts to prevent the world war from erupting must clearly identify the elite perpetrators of the plot to undermine national security for internationalist goals. Using their own words, we must expose their intentions for America and the world. We must guarantee that the coming democratic revolution which they plan to capitalize on is a patriotic revolution to save democracy.

The intentional de-industrialization of America has amounted to a war of economic terrorism, waged upon the people of this country. The globalist plot to “offshore” all of America’s good jobs and to exploit Third World slave labor conditions, has purposely destroyed the industrial base of this country. Globalism is a plot against American workers (and all workers), just as neoconservatism is a plot against all Americans.

Instead of stimulating our industry to use our economy as a powerhouse, to drive the world economy and to provide the basic necessities needed in developing countries, the “masters of the universe” instead decided to destroy the American economy, in order to “level the playing field” with the rest of the world. Instead of strengthening America by making our foreign policy an engine of humane change, vulture capitalists have intensified the corporate American rape of the world and harnessed us to a violent Zionist policy, intent on remaking the Middle East, as a first step into the New World Order. It is high time that we began to “wage peace” on the world, instead of war.

In order to implement their violent plans and to shape the “second American revolution,” the corporate media has consistently bombarded the people with psychological warfare, to convince us of the hopelessness of our situation. Our minds are poisoned with false beliefs in the inevitability of our fates, that we are, in fact, witnessing the “end of the world.” Even though most available evidence suggests that the entire world is collapsing (not just America and Western civilization), there is also ample proof that this is an engineered event, made to seem like Armageddon.

We have been duped into accepting their terms, even using their terminology, by focusing on “global” issues, instead of American issues. America may be the source of most of the world’s troubles today, but it is also the world’s only hope. If not for American leadership, there would be no world leaders. What the world needs now is the end of American “misleadership” and a return to the real thing. Meeting the needs of our crowded planet and repairing the centuries of industrialization run amok will calm most of the earth’s turmoil, while helping us to prepare for the next phase in human development. Once we begin to turn the planet around, we can focus on expanding mankind’s horizons and ending the era of hydrocarbon fuels.

Americans must save themselves from the worst and the most powerful men among them. We must revitalize our moral center, the part that made us a light unto the nations. If America can remember its basic concern for all human life that led to the creation of the world’s largest human aid programs and its environmental concerns that made us signatories to countless international treaties, it can foster international recognition of universal human rights and a reverential respect for all life. This would honor one of the stipulations from the Images of Man study, to foster a national spirit that embraces the growing “religion of life” that is emerging within man.

A morally transformed national spirit will be necessary for the political fight to reclaim America. We must restore the people’s government by removing the corruption within it. It is time to really “clean” the people’s house. We have no other choice but to establish a “politics of righteousness” in American politics.  http://onlinejournal.com/artman/  We have to end the age of the politics of money right now, *not after* Bush or the next election.

It is high time that we all fought for what we believed in. What do you believe in?


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see
The Planned Collapse of America By Peter Chamberlin

How the Anglo-American elite shares its ‘values’ By John Pilger

Dandelion Salad

By John Pilger
12/16/07 “ICH

When Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke recently about his government’s devotion to the United States, “founded on the values we share”, he was echoing his Foreign Office minister Kim Howells, who was preparing to welcome the Saudi dictator to Britain with effusions of “shared values”. The meaning was the same in both cases. The values shared are those of rapacious power and wealth, with democracy and human rights irrelevant, as the bloodbath in Iraq and the suffering of the Palestinians attest, to name only two examples.

The “values we share” are celebrated by a shadowy organisation that has just held its annual conference. This is the British-American Project for the Successor Generation (BAP), set up in 1985 with money from a Philadelphia trust with a long history of supporting right-wing causes. Although the BAP does not publicly acknowledge this origin, the source of its inspiration was a call by President Reagan in 1983 for “successor generations” on both sides of the Atlantic to “work together in the future on defence and security matters”. He made numerous references to “shared values”. Attending this ceremony in the White House Situation Room were the ideologues Rupert Murdoch and the late James Goldsmith.

As Reagan made clear, the need for the BAP arose from Washington’s anxiety about the growing opposition in Britain to nuclear weapons, especially the stationing of cruise missiles in Europe. “A special concern,” he said, “will be the successor generations, as these younger people are the ones who will have to work together in the future on defence and security issues.” A new, preferably young elite – journalists, academics, economists, “civil society” and liberal community leaders of one sort or another – would offset the growing “anti-Americanism”.

The aims of this latter-day network, according to David Willetts, the former director of studies at Britain’s right-wing Centre for Policy Studies, now a member of the Tory shadow cabinet, are simply to “help reinforce Anglo-American links, especially if some members already do or will occupy positions of influence”. A former British ambassador to Washington, Sir John Kerr, was more direct. In a speech to BAP members, he said the organisation’s “powerful combination of eminent Fellows and close Atlantic links threatened to put the embassy out of a job”. An American BAP organiser describes the BAP network as committed to “grooming leaders” while promoting “the leading global role that [the US and Britain] continue to play”.

The BAP’s British “alumni” are drawn largely from new Labour and its court. No fewer than four BAP “fellows” and one advisory board member became ministers in the first Blair government. The new Labour names include Peter Mandelson, George Robertson, Baroness Symons, Jonathan Powell (Blair’s chief of staff), Baroness Scotland, Douglas Alexander, Geoff Mulgan, Matthew Taylor and David Miliband. Some are Fabian Society members and describe themselves as being “on the left”. Trevor Phillips, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is another member. They object to whispers of “a conspiracy”. The mutuality of class or aspiration is merely assured, unspoken, and the warm embrace of power flattering and often productive.

BAP conferences are held alternately in the US and Britain. This year’s was in Newcastle, with the theme “Faith and Justice”. On the US board is Diana Negroponte, the wife of John Negroponte, Bush’s former national security chief notorious for his associations with death-squad politics in central America. He follows another leading neocon, Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the invasion of Iraq and discredited head of the World Bank. Since 1985, BAP “alumni” and “fellows” have been brought together courtesy of Coca-Cola, Monsanto, Saatchi & Saatchi, Philip Morris and British Airways, among other multinationals. Nick Butler, formerly a top dog at BP, has been a leading light.

For many, the conferences have the revivalist pleasures honed by American PR techniques, with management games, personal presentations, and a closing jolly revue to lighten the serious business. The 2002 conference report noted: “Many BAP alumni are directly involved with US and UK military and defence establishments.”

The BAP rarely gets publicity, which may have something to do with the high proportion of journalists who are alumni. Prominent BAP journalists are David Lipsey, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and assorted Murdochites. The BBC is well represented. On the popular Today programme, James Naughtie, whose broadcasting has long reflected his own transatlantic interests, has been an alumnus since 1989. Today’s newest voice, Evan Davis, formerly the BBC’s zealous economics editor, is a member. And at the top of the BAP website home page is a photograph of the famous BBC broadcaster Jeremy Paxman and his endorsement. “A marvellous way of meeting a varied cross-section of transatlantic friends,” says he.

This article was first published in the New Statesman

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Seymour Hersh: The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing by Charles Hawley & David Gordon Smith

Dandelion Salad

by Seymour Hersh
ICH

12/16/07 “Spiegel

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has consistently led the way in telling the story of what’s really going on in Iraq and Iran. SPIEGEL ONLINE spoke to him about America’s Hitler, Bush’s Vietnam, and how the US press failed the First Amendment.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was just in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Once again, he said that he is only interested in civilian nuclear power instead of atomic weapons. How much does the West really know about the nuclear program in Iran?

Seymour Hersh: A lot. And it’s been underestimated how much the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) knows. If you follow what (IAEA head Mohamed) ElBaradei and the various reports have been saying, the Iranians have claimed to be enriching uranium to higher than a 4 percent purity, which is the amount you need to run a peaceful nuclear reactor. But the IAEA’s best guess is that they are at 3.67 percent or something. The Iranians are not even doing what they claim to be doing. The IAEA has been saying all along that they’ve been making progress but basically, Iran is nowhere. Of course the US and Israel are going to say you have to look at the worst case scenario, but there isn’t enough evidence to justify a bombing raid.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this just another case of exaggerating the danger in preparation for an invasion like we saw in 2002 and 2003 prior to the Iraq War?

Hersh: We have this wonderful capacity in America to Hitlerize people. We had Hitler, and since Hitler we’ve had about 20 of them. Khrushchev and Mao and of course Stalin, and for a little while Gadhafi was our Hitler. And now we have this guy Ahmadinejad. The reality is, he’s not nearly as powerful inside the country as we like to think he is. The Revolutionary Guards have direct control over the missile program and if there is a weapons program, they would be the ones running it. Not Ahmadinejad.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That’s just their game.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: What interest does the White House have in moving us to the brink with Tehran?

Hersh: You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You’d think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can’t possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Even after Iraq? Aren’t there strategic reasons for getting so deeply involved in the Middle East?

Hersh: Oh no. We’re going to build democracy. The real thing in the mind of this president is he wants to reshape the Middle East and make it a model. He absolutely believes it. I always thought Henry Kissinger was a disaster because he lies like most people breathe and you can’t have that in public life. But if it were Kissinger this time around, I’d actually be relieved because I’d know that the madness would be tied to some oil deal. But in this case, what you see is what you get. This guy believes he’s doing God’s work.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the options in Iraq?

Hersh: There are two very clear options: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: A lot of people have been saying that the US presence there is a big part of the problem. Is anyone in the White House listening?

Hersh: No. The president is still talking about the “Surge” (eds. The “Surge” refers to President Bush’s commitment of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the spring of 2007 in an attempt to improve security in the country.) as if it’s going to unite the country. But the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We’ve basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They’ve simply split.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is that why there has been a drop in violence there?

Hersh: I think that’s a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.

SPIEGEL ONLINE:So what are the lessons of the Surge?

Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he’s talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He’s not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You’re going to have a Kurdistan. You’re going to have a Sunni area that we’re going to have to support forever. And you’re going to have the Shiites in the South.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So the US is over four years into a war that is likely going to end in a disaster. How valid are the comparisons with Vietnam?

Hersh: The validity is that the US is fighting a guerrilla war and doesn’t know the culture. But the difference is that at a certain point, because of Congressional and public opposition, the Vietnam War was no longer tenable. But these guys now don’t care. They see it but they don’t care.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: If the Iraq war does end up as a defeat for the US, will it leave as deep a wound as the Vietnam War did?

Hersh: Much worse. Vietnam was a tactical mistake. This is strategic. How do you repair damages with whole cultures? On the home front, though, we’ll rationalize it away. Don’t worry about that. Again, there’s no learning curve. No learning curve at all. We’ll be ready to fight another stupid war in another two decades.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Of course, preventing that is partially the job of the media. Have reporters been doing a better job recently than they did in the run-up to the Iraq War?

Hersh: Oh yeah. They’ve done a better job since. But back then, they blew it. When you have a guy like Bush who’s going to move the infamous Doomsday Clock forward, and he’s going to put everybody in jeopardy and he’s secretive and he doesn’t tell Congress anything and he’s inured to what we write. In such a case, we (journalists) become more important. The First Amendment failed and the American press failed the Constitution. We were jingoistic. And that was a terrible failing. I’m asked the question all the time: What happened to my old paper, the New York Times? And I now say, they stink. They missed it. They missed the biggest story of the time and they’re going to have to live with it.

Interview conducted by Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2007

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Bush and Cheney: All Dressed up and no Place to Go by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay

Dandelion Salad

by Prof. Rodrigue Tremblay
Global Research, December 16, 2007

“The leader whose thinking process most resembles [Adolf] Hitler’s is our own president. —Like Hitler, (George W.) Bush’s ideological beliefs have blinded him to reality, and like Hitler, he seems impervious to advice that conflicts with his beliefs.”

Charley Reese

“When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader. ”

Plato, (428/427-348/347 B.C.), ancient Greek philosopher

“If the war is enlarged in the next 20 months to include Iran— if that happens—for the next 20 years the United States is going to be bogged down in a war which spans Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and then you can forget about American global leadership.”

Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter

For many months, the Bush-Cheney administration and its Neocon allies in Congress and in the media have been inching toward a fresh new war against Iran, possibly using nuclear weapons, under the same flimsy pretext that it had used, in 2003, to launch an illegal war of aggression against Iraq. The military gear had been positioned, with three full armadas in or around the Gulf of Hormuz, and the propaganda machine was running full time to persuade the American people that a state of perpetual war was in their interests.

But something happened on the road to war. On December 3, Michael McConnell, Director of the National Intelligence Council, dropped a political bomb. His office—in close collaboration with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the fifteen other U.S. Intelligence agencies, regrouped under the umbrella of the United States Intelligence Community (IC)—issued a devastating report about the veracity of the claims made for months by the Administration that Iran was actively engaged in developing a nuclear arms program. The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report said, “We judge that in the fall of 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program….We assess with moderate confidence Tehran has not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007.” The Director of the US National Council issued also a most unusual statement, saying that “the decision to release an unclassified version of the key judgments of this NIE [report] was made when it was determined that doing so was in the interest of our nation’s security. The Intelligence Community is on the record publicly with numerous statements based on our 2005 assessment on Iran. Since our understanding of Iran’s capabilities has changed, we felt it was important to release this information to ensure that an accurate presentation is available.” In other words, even if the Intelligence Community felt that the disclosure would undermine a key Bush-Cheney policy, they were ready to go public with the damaging report for the sake of national interest.

The very claim of a nuclear Iran has been used by President George W. Bush to push to the limit, at the United Nations and in Congress, to obtain some cover for a bombing campaign against Iran. In fact, as recently as October 17, the American president had used the apocalyptic term of a possible “World War III,” even raising the specter of a nuclear holocaust, to draw the darkest picture possible if Iran was not prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons, thus ending Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the Middle East. Vice President Dick Cheney has also claimed that Iran had a “fairly robust new nuclear program,” and that had to be stopped by all means. Indeed, for months, the person in the Bush administration who most wanted a hot conflict with Iran has been Vice President Dick Cheney.

Well, it turns out that both Bush and Cheney knew, at least since last August, that the Director of National Intelligence had concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear arms program as far back as 2003, four years earlier. The report had the effect of pulling the rug out from under any plan for a preemptive attack against Iran that the Bush-Cheney administration intended to implement in the near term. This was good economic news. Immediately, the price of oil receded from its lofty level around $100 a barrel, an indication that the market had factored in some probability of supply disruptions early in 2008.

Left naked, Bush is now uttering lies and absurdities. First, there was his claim that he had “only learned of the new intelligence assessment” the week before, when it is a fact that the President is briefed every morning by the Director of the United States Intelligence Community (IC). Quickly, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, contradicted him. Hadley said that “Bush was first told in August or September about intelligence indicating Iran had halted its weapons program.” And Senator Rockefeller confirmed that “the president knew, even as he was saying ‘World War III’ and all that kind of stuff.” And, second, Bush professed about not being deterred by mere facts: “The [National Intelligence Estimates that Iran has no nuclear weapons program] doesn’t do anything to change my opinion about the danger Iran poses to the world—quite the contrary.” I don’t know which of these two statements undermine the most President Bush’s credibility, if there is any left.

Where does all this leave the warmongering Neocon crowd? They are scurrying in all directions with op-eds in far right media to discredit the U.S. Intelligence Community, trying to rekindle the flames of war against Iran. This a crowd that revolves around the pro-Israel Lobby in the U.S., led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and by some Washington-based pro-Israel “think-tanks” such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). They have been pushing for an illegal attack against Iran, using nuclear arms, for years. They have all the reasons now to be displeased. They have used their enormous influence within the Bush-Cheney administration and within the leadership of both Congressional parties to attack Iran, and all these efforts seem to have been made for nil.

Indeed, the Israel Lobby, led in Congress by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (Ind-Conn.), has been strongly influencing some prominent so-called Bush Democrats to join in the war frenzy against Iran. As its point-man in Congress, Senator Joe Lieberman (Ind-Conn) has been calling for the U.S. bombing of Iran every other week, dutifully doing the round of Sunday morning public affairs TV shows. The Neocons have not been deterred by the fact that bombing another country without provocation is an international crime of high order. According to the Nuremberg Charter, it is even a crime punishable by death.

So far, all U.N. resolutions about sanctions against Iran have been specifically framed under Article 41, which entails “measures not involving the use of armed force. It is most doubtful that China and Russia, two Security Council members, will ever accept a resolution that would impose sanctions against Iran under U.N. Article 42, which allows the use of military force “to restore international peace and stability,” now that official American intelligence assessments state that there is no Iran nuclear arms program. The United Nations is not going to serve as cover for military operations against Iran.

And the U.S. Congress, especially the non-neocon Democrats, will be increasingly reluctant to give the Bush-Cheney administration a blank check to launch a war against Iran. Last September, the U.S. Senate came very close to handing the Bush-Cheney administration a blank check for military strikes against Iran, when 75 Senators voted in favor of the so-called Kyle-Lieberman non-binding resolution. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), voted in favor of the resolution. This was counteracted last November 1, by 30 U.S. Senators, none of them Republican, led by Senator Jim Webb, from Virginia, who sent a letter to President George W. Bush stressing that the Administration did not have the legal authority to attack Iran without congressional approval.

In the past, Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) has even accused Bush of playing down the threat of a nuclear Iran and has called for swift action at the United Nations to impose sanctions on the Iranian government. Similarly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) ostensibly capitulated to Bush, after having attended AIPAC’s annual meeting, stripping from a war finance bill the provision that would have forced Bush to go to Congress before launching an attack on Iran.

Now, with the NIE report officially out, it will be increasingly difficult for the Democratic leadership in Congress to pussycat with the Bush-Cheney administration regarding any future unprovoked aggression against Iran.

Last February, Admiral William Fallon, the head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three, and he vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM. And last June, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said that an attack on Iran over its refusal to freeze programs that could make nuclear weapons would be “an Act of Madness.”

For the time being, cooler-headed individuals have prevailed over the ideologues and the warmongers. As a result, the planned Bush-Cheney-Lieberman war against Iran has been sidetracked. With the subprime financial crisis scheduled to pick up steam in the first half of 2008, it is good news that a fabricated geopolitical crisis has so far been avoided. The main question now is to ask whether Bush and Cheney have the gall to ignore the official intelligence report and invent new lies to justify a war against Iran. Stay tuned for more on this incredible saga.

Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal and can be reached at rodrigue.tremblay@yahoo.com

He is the author of the book ‘The New American Empire’

Visit his blog site at: www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog.

Author’s Website: www.thenewamericanempire.com/

Check Dr. Tremblay’s coming book “The Code for Global Ethics” at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com/

Rodrigue Tremblay is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Rodrigue Tremblay

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Optamystic: Sophia and the Monkey Man (music video)

Dandelion Salad

diddlydoowop

A psychedelic love story about a girl, a monkey and a serpent.

OPTAMYSTIC are Matt Fellows and Emma Nagle.

Also appearing in the video are Josh Mitchell and Willow Mitchell-Fellows.

The video was made by Pete Isaacs.

Their website:

http://www.optamystic.co.uk/

On Myspace:

OPTAMYSTIC
OPTAMYSTIC