Kucinich Travelogue, Mt. Washington NH (video)

Dandelion Salad

thegreathal

(turn up your volume)

The Kucinich for President campaign finishes the hardest part of their incredible quest to reach every New Hampshire voter. A mountain specialist takes the Kucinich for President campaign on an urgent journey to the forbidden top of Mt. Washington. One day after Christmas, they stand at the highest, windiest, and coldest point in the Northeast to appear for the most secluded New Hampshire voters.

Added: December 27, 2007

see

How to Vote in Primaries and Not Be an Idiot by David Swanson

Caucus for Kucinich!

Time to join your Dennis Kucinich Statewide Meetup group!

Kucinich-Dennis

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Alison Weir: Israeli vs Palestinian Deaths Reported (video; 2006)

Dandelion Salad

AlternateFocus

Like most Americans, Alison Weir, the editor of a small-town newspaper in California, knew very little about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, other than what she had gleaned from the evening news or newspaper headlines. As a journalist, her attention was on issues much closer to home. Neither a Muslim nor a Jew, she nevertheless became more curious about the topic of the Palestinian uprising. And as she researched it, she became increasingly suspicious that the American media were not telling us the whole story. Months later, she traveled to the occupied territories as an independent journalist to find out for herself what the U.S. media seemed to be omitting. Three months after returning from Palestine, Alison Weir quit her job and founded If Americans Knew, an organization dedicated to quantifying the ways in which the American media was misinforming the public about the conflict. Ms. Weir explains her group’s methodology, analyzes the data, and reports on the key findings. Producers: Paul Chek and John Odam (2006)

Alternate Focus is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational media group promoting an alternative view of Middle East issues.

Dish Network, Free Speech TV, Channel 9415, Saturdays at 8:00pm EST

Added: December 28, 2007

Continue reading

Greg Palast: 3 Minute Egg (video; Iraq; 2004)

Dandelion Salad

AlternateFocus

 “Greg Palast: The Most Important Investigative Reporter You’ve Never Heard Of.” Journalist Greg Palast rakes the filthiest muck of globalization, corporate cons, and high-finance fraudsters in daily newspapers and on nightly national TV…in England! Although he was born and raised in Southern California, Palast’s consistently shocking reports rarely breach the wall corporate media has gradually built around the American people. As Noam Chomsky puts it, Palast upsets all the right people. However, the film Fahrenheit 9/11, which derived some of its factual ammunition from Palast’­s book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, offered Americans a glimpse of his investigations.

On Mother’s Day 2004, Palast addressed a crowd of several hundred in San Diego. Utilizing documentary evidence and a witty delivery, Palast’s oration on the truth behind the War on Terror and the Iraq War will both alarm and entertain viewers.

Producer Aaron Seeley

Added: December 28, 2007

see

Palast Reports on the Battle Between Indigenous Ecuadorians & Chervon (link)

Kucinich Wins Virginia Democratic Party Poll By David Swanson

Dandelion Salad

By David Swanson
After Downing Street
Dec. 28, 2007

Congressman Dennis Kucinich has won the Virginia Democratic Party’s online presidential primary straw poll. Candidates in the poll included the six Democrats who have qualified to appear on the primary ballot in Virginia on February 12.

The party’s website said from the start and continues to say that the straw poll voting closed at midnight on December 23rd. In reality, it is still possible to vote and to change the totals. Since the 23rd, the numbers have increased very slightly, though not enough to alter the results. Presumably, this is because most voters are unaware that the voting is still open.

Kucinich supporters, fearing some secret plot to flood the election with votes for another candidate, have been collecting screen shots of the results each day from the website and attempting unsuccessfully to get party officials to explain why the voting is still open.

Here are the results as of December 25th, as shown in the graphic below:

Dennis Kucinich 30%
Hillary Rodham Clinton 27%
Barack Obama 14%
John R. Edwards 12%
Bill Richardson 9%
Joe Biden 9%

graphic
To view the current, slightly altered, results, go to:
http://www.vademocrats.org/

and click where it says “View Results.”

Kucinich spoke at a well-attended rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on December 7th, an event that energized his volunteers and supporters. Video:
Dennis Kucinich in Charlottesville, VA (videos; McGovern)

Asked about the Democratic Party’s poll results, Kucinich volunteer Andrea Miller said what she’s been saying for months: “Dennis can win. We just have to vote for him.”

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

Derogatory Ad featuring Congressman Kucinich (video)

Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

How to Vote in Primaries and Not Be an Idiot by David Swanson

Caucus for Kucinich!

Time to join your Dennis Kucinich Statewide Meetup group!

Kucinich-Dennis

A Courageous Soul by Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

by Eric Margolis
December 28, 2007

I spent an afternoon in London with Benazir Bhutto and her chief security advisor just before she returned to Pakistan. `You cannot afford to go into crowds,’ I told her. `Yes, Eric, I know that, but I must. My people want to see me and know I am not afraid.’

On Thursday, the courageous former prime minister of turbulent Pakistan again risked her life, this time in an open car, and was killed by an assassin. Some years back, she told me, `I am fatalistic. What will happen will happen.’

Bhutto’s death is an earthquake for Pakistan’s political landscape and derails US efforts to forge a political cohabitation between her and former military, and now civilian dictator, President Pervez Musharraf. In Washington’s laboriously developed plans, Musharraf was to retain de facto dictatorship with support from the army, while Benazir was to provide democratic window dressing for the regime. Benazir’s plan, as she told me, was to regain the prime ministership, and then slowly marginalize Musharraf.

Shortly after the first attempt on her life in Karachi, Benazir, who always wrote to me as `Bibi,’ told me that she suspected Punjabi politicians in Musharraf’s Muslim League-Q Party were behind the attempt. Her supporters will now repeat these charges. Angry mobs have been attacking pro-Musharraf party locations. But the attack also bore all the hallmarks of al-Qaida or one of its local Pakistani allies. Other Pakistanis accused the army and its intelligence agency, ISI. Bhutto had enemies across the political spectrum.

Bhutto’s murder leaves her party, the Pakistan People’s Party, in disarray and without strong leadership. She surrounded herself with pliant yes-man and brooked no competition in the party. The party has been decapitated.

As I write, I’m trying to analyze this frightful news with proper journalistic detachment. But it’s very hard after knowing this unique woman for 20 years. Having uncovered a major corruption scandal involving her in-laws, I was long on her black list. But in the past decade I have come to admire her brilliant mind, willpower, courage and determination.

‘Bibi’ and I spent a good deal of time after she was ousted for a second time by the army, when she was in exile in the political wilderness. It was in this, her darkest hour, that her character and grit really came through. She certainly won my admiration. Some angry Pakistani readers claimed she had `bewitched me.’ We spoke or corresponded regularly. Shortly before her death, she asked me to develop a political strategy for her and her party. One of my recommendations was for her to extend an olive branch to her old foes, the Islamist parties, who denounced her as a western tool.

A Courageous Soul

By Eric Margolis
December 27, 2007

Her death this week appears to end the tragic saga of the benighted Bhutto family. Her flamboyant father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s former prime minister, was hanged. Her two brothers were murdered, one by poison. Her mother has Alzheimers. Her husband was jailed for years and severely tortured. Now, her party will try to sustain the dynasty by pushing her children into Pakistan’s political inferno. I was with her son in London. There is no way he is ready for the murderous melee of political life. In India, Sonia Gandhi, whose mother-in-law and husband were assassinated, faces the same dilemma: her party is pushing her son and daughter into the dangers of Indian politics.

It is inexpressibly tragic that so gifted, brave and vivacious a woman has been snuffed out at this time of supreme danger in Pakistan’s life. While many Pakistanis disliked or even detested her as a cat’s paw of the west, and as a closet scorner of traditional Islam – which she probably was – all must recognize that she was the most remarkable woman in her nation’s history and a towering historical figure who set a standard for South Asia’s women. Pakistan’s murderous politics has taken its latest victim. Worse is likely to follow.

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

http://www.democracynow.org/2007/12/28/pakistan_in_turmoil

Pak govt reveals how Benazir was killed + Police abandoned security

Pakistan in turmoil after assassination of Bhutto + Democracy movement (videos)

Pakistan’s 2007 Crises Come to a Crescendo + Mobs Rampage through Pakistani Cities by Juan Cole

The Benazir Bhutto assassination by Trevor Murphy

Pak govt reveals how Benazir was killed + Police abandoned security

Dandelion Salad

By IBNlive.com
ICH
12/28/07 “IBNlive

New Delhi: Mystery shrouds the death of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto. In an explosive revelation, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz on Friday said that Bhutto did not die of bullet wounds.

Nawaz said that Bhutto died from a head injury. At least seven doctors from the Rawalpindi General Hospital – where the leader was rushed immediately after the attack – say there were no bullet marks on Bhutto’s body.

The doctors have submitted a report to the Pakistan government in which they say that no post-mortem was performed on Bhutto’s body and they had not received any instructions to perform one.

“The report says she had head injuries – an irregular patch – and the X-ray doesn’t show any bullet in the head. So it was probably the shrapnel or any other thing has struck her in her said. That damaged her brain, causing it to ooze and her death. The report categorically ssyas there’s no wound other than that,” Nawaz told a Pakistani news channel.

Government sources say there will be an investigation to determine why no autopsy was conducted.

According to agency reports doctors at the Rawalpindi General Hospital tried desperately for 41 minutes to revive former prime minister Bhutto after she was shot but failed in their efforts.

Bhutto was declared dead 41 minutes after she was brought the hospital’s emergency department at 1735 hrs (local time) (1805 hrs IST) with open wounds on her left temporal bone from which “brain matter was exuding”, the report said.

It said Bhutto was not breathing at the time and her pulse and blood pressure “were not recordable”.

IANS adds: According to the report, “immediate resuscitation (process) was started” and she was taken to the operation theatre where she was attended by a team of doctors headed by Musaddiq Khan, principal of the Rawalpindi Medical College, Dawn reported Friday.

“Left antrolateral thoracotomy for open cardiac massage was performed,” the hospital report said, adding: “In spite of all the possible measures she could not be revived and (was) declared dead at 1816 hrs IST (6.16 p.m.).”

An autopsy was not carried out at the hospital “because the district administration and police had not requested the hospital authorities (for this)”, the report said.

Bhutto was shot not far from where Pakistan’s first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was killed by an assassin’s bullet on Oct 16, 1951.

***

Police abandoned security posts before Bhutto assassination

By Nick Juliano
ICH
12/28/07 “
Raw Story

No autopsy performed on body; docs say bullet wounds not found

Police abandoned their security posts shortly before Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto’s assassination Thursday, according to a journalist present at the time, and unanswerable questions remain about the cause of her death, because an autopsy was never performed.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister on Friday said that Bhutto was not killed by gunshots, as had been widely reported, and doctors at Rawalpindi General Hospital, where she died, say there were no bullet marks on the former prime minister’s body, according to India’s IBNLive.com. Furthermore, according to the news agency, there was no formal autopsy performed on Bhutto’s body before she was buried Friday.

CNN is now reporting that it wasn’t gunshots or shrapnel that killed Bhutto, but that she died from hitting the sunroof of the car she was riding in. The network said sources in Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said nothing entered her skull, no bullets or shrapnel.

Apparently there was some kind of lever on the sunroof she was standing through, and she hit her head on that CNN reported Friday morning.

Earlier in the day Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told a Pakistani news channel, “The report says she had head injuries – an irregular patch – and the X-ray doesn’t show any bullet in the head. So it was probably the shrapnel or any other thing has struck her in her said. That damaged her brain, causing it to ooze and her death. The report categorically says there’s no wound other than that,” according to IBNLive.

Perhaps more shockingly, an attendee at the rally where Bhutto was killed says police charged with protecting her “abandoned their posts,” leaving just a handful of Bhutto’s own bodyguards protecting her.

“Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday’s rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts,” wrote Saeed Shah in an essay published by McClatchy News Service. “As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: ‘Willing to die for Benazir.'”

While some intelligence officials, especially within the US, were quick to finger al Qaeda militants as responsible for Bhutto’s death, it remains unclear precisely who was responsible and some speculation has centered on Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, its military or even forces loyal to the current president Pervez Musharraf. Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed, is the garrison city that houses the Pakistani military’s headquarters.

“GHQ (general headquarters of the army) killed her,” Sardar Saleem, a former member of parliament, told Shah at the hospital.

Whatever the case, Bhutto’s precise cause of death may never be known because of the failure to administer an autopsy. The procedure was not carried out because police and local authorities in Rawalpindi did not request one, according to IBNLive, but the government plans a formal investigation why this was the case.

Musharraf initially blamed her death on unnamed Islamic militants, but Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told The Associated Press on Friday that “we have the evidence that al-Qaida and the Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto.”

He said investigators had resolved the “whole mystery” behind the opposition leader’s killing and would give details at press conference later Friday

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

Pakistan in turmoil after assassination of Bhutto + Democracy movement (videos)

Pakistan’s 2007 Crises Come to a Crescendo + Mobs Rampage through Pakistani Cities by Juan Cole

The Benazir Bhutto assassination by Trevor Murphy

Violence as millions mourn Bhutto + List of suspects, but killers may never be found + Funeral + Al-Qaeda claims

Pakistan in turmoil after assassination of Bhutto + Democracy movement (videos)

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

Beena Sawar: Supporters despair about fate of democratization.

Added: December 28, 2007

Democracy movement in Pakistan not dead

Aijaz Ahmad: The democracy movement did not start with Bhutto and will not end with her death

see

Pakistan’s 2007 Crises Come to a Crescendo + Mobs Rampage through Pakistani Cities by Juan Cole

The Benazir Bhutto assassination by Trevor Murphy

Violence as millions mourn Bhutto + List of suspects, but killers may never be found + Funeral + Al-Qaeda claims

Pakistan’s 2007 Crises Come to a Crescendo + Mobs Rampage through Pakistani Cities by Juan Cole

Dandelion Salad

by Juan Cole
Thursday, 27 December 2007

Benazir Assassinated – Implications for US Security

Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, has been assassinated at a rally held Thursday evening near Islamabad. She appears to have been shot by the assassin, who was wearing a suicide bomb belt, which he then detonated to make sure he had finished the job. The Bhuttos are sort of the Kennedys of Pakistan, marked by wealth, power and tragedy, and central to the country’s politics for the past four decades.

The Pakistani authorities are blaming Muslim militants for the assassination. That is possible, but everyone in Pakistan remembers that it was the military intelligence, or Inter-Services Intelligence, that promoted Muslim militancy in the two decades before September 11 as a wedge against India in Afghanistan and Kashmir. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) faithful will almost certainly blame Pervez Musharraf, and sentiment here is more important than reality, whatever the reality may be. The PPP is one of two very large, long-standing grassroots political parties in Pakistan, and if its followers are radicalized by this event, it could lead to severe turmoil. Just a day before her assassination Benazir had pledged that the PPP would not allow the military to rig the upcoming January 8 parliamentary elections.

Pakistan is important to US security. It is a nuclear power. Its military fostered, then partially turned on the Taliban and al-Qaeda, which have bases in the lawless tribal areas of the northern part of the country. And Pakistan is key to the future of its neighbor, Afghanistan. Pakistan is also a key transit route for any energy pipelines built between Iran or Central Asia and India, and so central to the energy security of the United States.

continued…

***

Mobs Rampage through Pakistani Cities

by Juan Cole
Friday, December 28, 2007

Cars, Banks, Gas Stations Torched; Sharif’s Party will Boycott Elections
My column, “With Bhutto gone, does Bush have a Plan B?” is online at Salon.com. Excerpt:

‘Pakistan’s future is now murky, and to the extent that this nation of 160 million buttresses the eastern flank of American security in the greater Middle East, its fate is profoundly intertwined with America’s own. The money for the Sept. 11 attacks was wired to Florida from banks in Pakistan, and al-Qaida used the country for transit to Afghanistan. Instability in Pakistan may well spill over into Afghanistan, as well, endangering the some 26,000 U.S. troops and a similar number of NATO troops in that country. And it is not as if Afghanistan were stable to begin with. If Pakistani politics finds its footing, if a successor to Benazir Bhutto is elected in short order by the PPP and the party can remain united, and if elections are held soon, the crisis could pass. If there is substantial and ongoing turmoil, however, Muslim radicals will certainly take advantage of it.

In order to get through this crisis, Bush must insist that the Pakistani Supreme Court, summarily dismissed and placed under house arrest by Musharraf, be reinstated. The PPP must be allowed to elect a successor to Ms. Bhutto without the interference of the military. Early elections must be held, and the country must return to civilian rule. Pakistan’s population is, contrary to the impression of many pundits in the United States, mostly moderate and uninterested in the Taliban form of Islam. But if the United States and “democracy” become associated in their minds with military dictatorship, arbitrary dismissal of judges, and political instability, they may turn to other kinds of politics, far less favorable to the United States. Musharraf may hope that the Pakistani military will stand with him even if the vast majority of people turn against him. It is a forlorn hope, and a dangerous one, as the shah of Iran discovered in 1978-79. ‘

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.

see

The Benazir Bhutto assassination by Trevor Murphy

Violence as millions mourn Bhutto + List of suspects, but killers may never be found + Funeral + Al-Qaeda claims

Pakistan Is ‘Central Front,’ Not Iraq By Robert Parry

Frost over the World: Benazir Bhutto 02 Nov 07 (video; bin Laden)

Olbermann: Bhutto Assassination Parts 1-5 + Bush (videos)

Exclusive: The Benazir Bhutto assassination by Trevor Murphy

by Trevor Murphy

featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Dec 28, 2007

Are we perhaps all to quick to jump on the US government line that “an enemy of the US” was responsible for the death of Benazir Bhutto.

Bush in the words that have become the ‘broken record’ that has become all too tiresome of his reign referring to those responsible for the assassination, words that in any other circumstance would clearly refer to his own administration when he calmly utters, “murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy.”

The FBI were immediately on the case with spokesman Richard Kolko who claimed the FBI “continues to work with our U.S. intelligence community partners reviewing the Al Qaeda claims for responsibility for any intelligence value. The validity of those claims are undetermined.”

It’s really considerate of those boys at the Al Qaeda network to wrap up the investigation so neatly for the boys in the Whitehouse so they can continue their murderous campaign against the innocent civilians in Afghanistan unhindered.

Two people that had threatened to kill her, according to the Times, “Baitullah Mehsud, a top militant commander fighting the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan, who has ties to al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban.”

and

“Haji Omar, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, who is also from South Waziristan and fought with the Afghan Mujahidin against the Soviets in Afghanistan.”

What we should remind ourselves of constantly is that The Al Qaeda network was created by the CIA and financed by the US and the Taliban fought against the soviets with CIA backing.

It should be remembered also that these organisations fall in and out of favour with the US administrations as often as the wind changes direction. Compare the current “Knights of Almeriya” part of the Baghdad Brigade Sunni militia who are now Armed and funded by the American forces who were shown on British TV only last week to show the unity we have now achieved between us. These were until recently ‘insurgents’ who murdered and maimed allied forces, but now they are good terrorists because they are our terrorists, so we can now issue them with AK-47’s to maim and murder anyone they choose. One can only speculate whatever other murderous equipment we have gleefully handed over to them in our pursuit of the so called “hearts and mind” propaganda.

However they do go on to make some further inferences that point the finger further into Pakistani government thus:

“Analysts say that President Musharraf is unlikely to have ordered her assassination, but that elements of the Army and intelligence service stood to lose money and power if she became prime minister. The ISI includes some Islamists who became radicalised while running the American-funded campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan and were opposed to her on principle. Saudi Arabia is also thought to have frowned on Ms Bhutto as being too secular and Westernised and to have favoured Nawaz Sharif, another former Prime Minister.”

Why were we in Afghanistan to begin with? Weren’t we chasing that nasty troglodyte on the kidney dialysis machine who was far to preoccupied with the downfall of the imperialist infidels? Wouldn’t it really upset the applecart if some information had come to light that Bin Laden was no longer a threat anymore? Wouldn’t it mean that the Billions being gleamed off by the Bush/Cheney Coop and such philanthropically inclined organisations as Halliburton, the Carlyle group et al would all be faced with the cessation of the cash cow that is Afghanistan, and lets not forget that pretty much all of the US population was duped into believing there was some conspiratorial connection between Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein who plotted to destruction of the US between them (never mind the fact that they were sworn enemies who publicly issued death threats against each other)

On 2nd November 2007 in an interview with Sir David Frost Benazir Bhutto specifically mentions the name “Omar sheiqh” and she claims he is “the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden.”

Wouldn’t that mean that the British and American troops should now be brought home from Afghanistan and Iraq as a result? That would really upset the money merry-go-round for Big business that those countries represent, wouldn’t it?

See: Frost over the World: Benazir Bhutto 02 Nov 07 (video; bin Laden)

Scroll the video toward the sixth minute to hear her make the statement.

All throughout the mainstream media we are seeing finger pointing at Al Qaeda, Musharraf, Saudi Arabia, and the usual suspects, little realising that all these suspects are in fact tied inseparably to the US anyway.

Still all the while we are pushing for the Pakistan elections to go ahead on January the 8th anyway. Would it just be really silly of me to ask the question…why? Who’s in the running?

Maybe we should stand back for a moment and look not just at the finger that is pointing, but at the whole hand and see exactly where the other three fingers on the hand are pointing.

Trevor Murphy

see:

Violence as millions mourn Bhutto + List of suspects, but killers may never be found + Funeral + Al-Qaeda claims

Pakistan Is ‘Central Front,’ Not Iraq By Robert Parry

Frost over the World: Benazir Bhutto 02 Nov 07 (video; bin Laden)

Olbermann: Bhutto Assassination Parts 1-5 + Bush (videos)

Violence as millions mourn Bhutto + List of suspects, but killers may never be found + Funeral + Al-Qaeda claims

Dandelion Salad

By Isambard Wilkinson, Pakistan Correspondent
Telegraph
12:11pm GMT 28/12/2007

Pakistani security forces were given orders to shoot on sight today to curb unrest as millions across the country mourned Benazir Bhutto.

The former prime minister and leading opposition figure was laid to rest in her family’s mausoleum a day after her assassination by Islamic extremists.

Benazir Bhutto addresses rally before her death
Watch: Benazir Bhutto addresses the rally minutes before her death

Her simple coffin, draped in the red, green and black flag of her Pakistan People’s Party, was greeted by huge crowds at her ancestral grave in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in the southern province of Sind.

Accompanied by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and three children, her body was carried in a white ambulance as it made its way towards the white Mogulesque mausoleum surrounded by hundreds of thousands of mourners.

As she was being laid to rest alongside the tombs of her father and two brothers, her furious supporters across the country ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police and burned stations in a spasm of violence that threatened to plunge the country into deep turmoil less than two weeks before a crucial election.

continued…

***

List of suspects, but killers may never be found

Rory McCarthy
Friday December 28, 2007
The Guardian

Investigation made more difficult by sheer number of former PM’s many enemies.

There were death threats even before Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan two months ago after years in self-imposed exile. But who was behind her assassination yesterday? The list of those who may be implicated is long and, in the end, the truth may never emerge.

Islamic militants

The most obvious suspects must be religious militants. The very nature of the attack, death by shooting and a suicide bombing in a public place with many casualties, seems to point the finger. There were death threats before Bhutto touched down in Pakistan in mid-October. One Taliban commander threatened to send a squad of suicide bombers to kill her. Other militants made similar threats, saying she was a target because of her perceived close relationship with the west and with the US in particular.

continued…

***

Bhutto funeral held in Pakistan

BBC
Friday, 28 December 2007, 12:04 GMT

Thousands of people have attended the funeral of killed Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

Grief-stricken mourners converged on the family mausoleum where she was buried next to her father near their home village in Sindh province.

The coffin, draped in the flag of Ms Bhutto’s party, was driven in a white ambulance through dense crowds.

Pakistani security forces are on high alert, as violence has broken out in several cities across the country.

President Pervez Musharraf has appealed for calm, following Ms Bhutto’s death at an election rally on Thursday, where a gunman opened fire on the former Pakistani prime minister and then blew himself up.

The plain wooden coffin was taken from Ms Bhutto’s family home to the burial site 7km (four miles) away at the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.

Mourners – some weeping and beating their heads and chests – jostled to see the casket, which was accompanied by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari and her three children.

As the funeral prayers ended and the casket was moved for burial, loud sobs broke out from the politicians supporters.

continued…

***

Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto killing

By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Asia Times
Dec 29, 2007

KARACHI – ”We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat mujahideen.” These were the words of al-Qaeda’s top commander for Afghanistan operations and spokesperson Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, immediately after the attack that claimed the life of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto on Thursday (December 27).

Bhutto died after being shot by a suicide assailant who, according to witnesses, also detonated a bomb that killed himself and up to 20 others at a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Bhutto, with Western backing, had been hoping to become prime minister for a third time after general elections next month.

“This is our first major victory against those [eg, Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf] who have been siding with infidels [the West] in a fight against al-Qaeda and declared a war against mujahideen,” Mustafa told Asia Times Online by telephone.

He said the death squad consisted of Punjabi associates of the underground anti-Shi’ite militant group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, operating under al-Qaeda orders.

The assassination of Bhutto was apparently only one of the goals of a large al-Qaeda plot, the existence of which was revealed earlier this month.

continued…

***

Bhutto buried in ancestral village

Al Jazeera English
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2007
14:32 MECCA TIME, 11:32 GMT

Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated opposition Pakistani leader, has been buried at her family’s mausoleum in the southern province of Sindh.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered on Friday for the funeral in front of the mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, a village 5km from the Bhutto home in the small town of Naudero in Larkana district.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir’s father, founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan’s first popularly elected prime minister, lies alongside his sons Murtaza and Shahnawaz in the mausoleum.

Bhutto, 54, was hoping to lead the PPP to victory in the January 8 parliamentary election, having been prime minister twice before.

Supporters arrived by tractors, buses, cars and jeeps that were parked in dusty fields surrounding the mausoleum – a vast, marble structure.

continued…

***

Global outrage over assassination

Al Jazeera English
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2007
18:10 MECCA TIME, 15:10 GMT

Supporters and rivals alike of Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader, have condemned the gun and bomb attack that claimed her life at an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi.

Rehman Malik, an official with Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, announced Bhutto’s death to supporters: “She has been martyred.”

Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani opposition leader, vowed to continue Bhutto’s work after the assassination and said he shared the grief of “the entire nation”.

Speaking outside the hospital where Bhutto died he said: “I assure you that I will fight your war from now on,” he told Bhutto’s supporters. “I share your sorrow and grief along with the entire nation.”

“Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death,” he said.

Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, appealed on state television for the nation to remain peaceful “so that the evil designs of terrorists can be defeated”.

International reaction

George Bush, the US president, said: “The US strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy.”

“We stand with the people of Pakistan in that struggle against the forces of terror and extremism. We urge them to honour Benazir Bhutto’s memory by continuing with a democratic process.”

Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary general, said: “I strongly condemn this heinous crime and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, said:”I was deeply shocked and horrified to hear of the heinous assassination. In her death, the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country.”

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.

see

Pakistan Is ‘Central Front,’ Not Iraq By Robert Parry

Frost over the World: Benazir Bhutto 02 Nov 07 (video; bin Laden)

Olbermann: Bhutto Assassination Parts 1-5 + Bush (videos)

What Now? Benazir Bhutto was a dead-woman walking the day she set foot back on Pakistani soil by Stephen P. Pizzo

Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The main suspects by Jeremy Page

Benazir Bhutto assassinated at rally + The life of Benazir Bhutto (videos) + more

Passings – Benazir Bhutto Left A Lifelong Impression by Joe Shea

And from an email by LinkTV:

Farewell Benazir

We South Asians Like Our Leaders Dead

Musharraf: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

Get real, Americans! You have been ripped off! By Mary Pitt

Dandelion Salad
By Mary Pitt
12/27/07 “ICH

At long last, the age-old problem of health care for the poor and near-poor is being discussed in open forum. The problem has existed since the ethos of class differentiation was begun with the invention of wampum. In this modern age, it is only through the acivities of individual greed that it continues, despite the glaring fact that one solution is the only alternative.

Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts experiment has already been exposed as a failure as will be any other program for “mandatory insurance”. As with the assistance that is provided to the elderly holders of policies for Medicare Part D, recipients of the plan must be totally destitute in order to be free of the required “deductible and co-payment” muddle. Even if they have “insurance coverage” they still cannot afford the cash outlay that is necessary in order to obtain the necessary treatment.

Continue reading

Pakistan Is ‘Central Front,’ Not Iraq By Robert Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert Parry
Consortium News
December 28, 2007

The chaos spreading across nuclear-armed Pakistan after the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is part of the price for the Bush administration’s duplicity about al-Qaeda’s priorities, including the old canard that the terrorist group regards Iraq as the “central front” in its global war against the West.

Through repetition of this claim – often accompanied by George W. Bush’s home-spun advice about the need to listen to what the enemy says – millions of Americans believe that Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders consider Iraq the key battlefield.

However, intelligence evidence, gathered from intercepted al-Qaeda communications, indicate that bin Laden’s high command views Iraq as a valuable diversion for U.S. military strength, not the “central front.”

For instance, as the Iraq War was heating up in 2005, a letter attributed to al-Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri asked if the embattled al-Qaeda operatives in Iraq might be able to spare $100,000 to relieve a cash squeeze facing the group’s top leaders in hiding, presumably inside Pakistan near the Afghan border.

Instead of money going from Pakistan to Iraq, the cash was flowing the opposite way. U.S. intelligence analysts recognized that this was not the way one would normally treat a “central front.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Al-Qaeda’s Fragile Foothold.”]

In another captured letter sent to Jordanian terrorist Musab al-Zarqawi before his death in June 2006, a top aide to bin Laden known as “Atiyah” upbraided Zarqawi for his reckless, hasty actions inside Iraq.

The message from Atiyah, who is believed to be a Libyan named Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, emphasized the need for Zarqawi to operate more deliberately in order to build political strength and drag out the U.S. occupation. “Prolonging the war is in our interest,” Atiyah told Zarqawi.

[To view this excerpt in a translation published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, click here. To read the entire letter, click here. ]

So, instead of seeking a quick ouster of U.S. forces from Iraq and using it as a base for launching a global jihad – as Bush and his supporters claim – al-Qaeda actually saw its strategic goals advanced by keeping the United States bogged down in Iraq.

To some U.S. analysts, the logic was obvious: “prolonging” the Iraq War bought al-Qaeda time to rebuild its infrastructure in Pakistan, where the Islamic fundamentalist extremists have long had sympathizers inside the Pakistani intelligence services dating back to the CIA’s war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Charlie Wilson’s Blowback

That CIA war, lionized in the new movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” funneled billions of dollars in U.S. covert money and weapons through Pakistani intelligence to Afghan warlords and to Arab jihadists who had flocked to Afghanistan to drive out the Russian infidels. One of those young jihadists was a wealthy Saudi named Osama bin Laden.

While relying on Pakistani intelligence to assist the Afghan rebels, the Reagan administration also averted its eyes from Pakistan’s clandestine development of nuclear weapons, an apparent trade-off for Pakistan’s help in giving the Soviet bear a bloody nose in Afghanistan. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

After the Soviets withdrew in 1989, the war dragged on, with a triumphant United States unwilling to broker a deal with the secular Afghan government that the Soviets left behind. George H.W. Bush’s administration wanted these “Soviet puppets” dragged from their offices and killed (as some eventually were), replaced by the CIA-backed Islamic fundamentalists.

Then, in 1990, the alliances began to shift. U.S. military bases inside Saudi Arabia, which were established for driving Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, offended bin Laden and alienated him from his patrons in the Saudi royal family.

When the U.S. bases remained after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, bin Laden began to view his old American allies as another band of infidels encroaching on Muslim lands. So, bin Laden’s fellow jihadists in Afghanistan shifted their sights onto a new enemy and developed a new organization known as “the base,” or al-Qaeda.

For obvious reasons, the Bush administration has sought to blur this complicated history for the American people. It takes some of the shine off the glorious Cold War victories of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Dark Backdrop

But this shadow struggle at the end of the Cold War was the backdrop for the 9/11 attacks, which in turn led to Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan, ousting bin Laden and his fundamentalist Taliban allies, but failing to catch bin Laden, Zawahiri and other key leaders.

Then, rather than finishing the job in Afghanistan, Bush made an abrupt detour into Iraq, a decision rife with settling old scores and other unspoken justifications, but which Bush sold to the American public as necessary because Iraq’s secular dictator Saddam Hussein was in league with the fundamentalist bin Laden and might give him WMDs.

When that justification proved false and a stubborn Iraqi insurgency emerged to challenge the U.S. occupation, Bush initially presented the resistance as an al-Qaeda offshoot operating under bin Laden’s control.

Again, U.S. intelligence saw a different problem: Sunni and Shiite Iraqis contesting the American presence and competing for dominance with each other, while a violent smattering of foreign jihadists like Zarqawi tried to insinuate themselves into the Sunni faction and spread havoc.

Though Bush eventually acknowledged that most of Iraqi resistance was homegrown, he still asserted that al-Qaeda planned to use Iraq as the launching pad for a global “caliphate” from Spain to Indonesia, another alarmist claim that scared some Americans into backing Bush’s war policies.

“This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia,” Bush said in a typical reference to this claim in a Sept. 5, 2006, speech. “We know this because al-Qaeda has told us.”

But many analysts saw Bush’s nightmarish scenario as preposterous, given the deep divisions within the Islamic world and the hostility that many Muslims feel toward al-Qaeda, including its recent much-heralded rejection by more moderate Iraqi Sunnis in Anbar province.

Also, according to a National Intelligence Estimate representing the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community in April 2006, “the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse.” [Emphasis added.]

The NIE also concluded that the Iraq War – rather than weakening the cause of Islamic terrorism – had become a “cause celebre” that was “cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”

The grinding Iraq War – now nearing its fifth year – also prevented the United States from arraying sufficient military and intelligence resources against the reorganized al-Qaeda infrastructure in Pakistan and the rebuilt Taliban army reasserting itself in Afghanistan.

Hopes Dashed

So, when the Bush administration supported former Prime Minister Bhutto’s return to Pakistan in October 2007, the wishful thinking was that she could somehow energize the more moderate elements of Pakistani politics and marginalize the Islamic extremists.

But the overstretched U.S. military and intelligence services could do little in helping to protect Bhutto beyond hectoring Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf to give his political rival more security. Musharraf, who himself has dodged multiple assassination attempts, either couldn’t or wouldn’t ensure Bhutto’s safety.

Now, with Bhutto’s death and with unrest sweeping Pakistan, Bush’s Iraq War backers are sure to argue that these developments again prove the president right, that an even firmer hand is needed to combat terrorism and that the next president must be someone ready to press ahead with Bush’s concept of a “long war” against Islamic extremism.

But the reality again appears different. Though rarely mentioned in the American press, the evidence is that bin Laden and other extremists have cleverly played off Bush’s arrogance and belligerence to strengthen their strategic hand within the Muslim world.

By keeping Bush focused on Iraq, al-Qaeda and its allies also bought time to transform themselves into a more lethal threat in Pakistan, with the danger that the new turmoil could win al-Qaeda its ultimate prize, control of a nuclear bomb. [For more on this history, see our new book Neck Deep.]

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.

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

Frost over the World: Benazir Bhutto 02 Nov 07 (video; bin Laden)

Olbermann: Bhutto Assassination Parts 1-5 + Bush (videos)

What Now? Benazir Bhutto was a dead-woman walking the day she set foot back on Pakistani soil by Stephen P. Pizzo

Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The main suspects by Jeremy Page

Benazir Bhutto assassinated at rally + The life of Benazir Bhutto (videos) + more

Passings – Benazir Bhutto Left A Lifelong Impression by Joe Shea

Ron Paul On The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Fred Stopsky

Fred Stopsky

by Fred Stopsky
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Fred’s blog
December 28, 2007

There is an old American folk song entitled, “On The Big Rock Candy Mountain.” The gist of the song is that on the Big Rock Candy Mountain, “the cops all have wooden legs” and there is peace, happiness, and plenty of food for everyone. After reading responses to my recent comments about Ron Paul I get the impression he believes there once was a Big Rock Candy Mountain until evil big government came along. He believes that once upon a time, before evil government, free independent men ran their property as they desired, and there was freedom and liberty in this nation. After reading Paul and those who support him, the kindest words I can express is that he represents the traditional conservative big business male white Anglo Saxon Protestant perspective. Let’s look at the record:

1. Between 1865-1940 about 5,000 people were lynched in America of whom 4,000 were black skinned, about four hundred Asians, and the rest whites including a few Jews. These people were killed by mobs of angry white people, not by government. The largest one day lynching occurred in March, 1891 when 11 Italians were lynched in New Orleans by a mob. In other words, the lack of Federal government action allowed local white mobs to lynch people and it was a rare occurrence if anyone was arrested, let alone convicted by Paul’s beloved local government.

2. Ron Paul’s beloved STATE GOVERNMENTS passed segregation laws. Black skinned people in the “good old days” were denied entry to state universities, to state medical and law schools. It was action by the US Supreme Court and Federal legislation that ended segregation.

3. In the Big Rock Candy Mountain days, women lacked the right to vote, were denied employment opportunities and it was illegal for them to control their own bodies. It took Federal Constitutional changes and laws to end that situation.

4. I continually receive comments about “my rights,” “my property,” and so on. African Americans, Jews, Italians, Irish Catholics, etc.. paid taxes that provided you police and fire and health services for your “property.” They fought and died for this nation. So, listen Mr. Bigot, if you want to use our highways, our police, our fire department, if you wish to be certain food you eat is safe, if you want to use government developed Internet services, then you have no right to deny equality to all citizens of this nation.

I could go on ripping to pieces the lack of logic and historical background of comments I received, but you either got my point or it is hopeless. I received one comment from a person who in the same piece called me: a Communist, a Neo-Conservative, a Jewish Radical, a supporter of bankers and corporate interests, and God knows what else. How do I explain to this ignorant person that Neo-Conservatives were originally liberals who felt other liberals were too easy going with Communists and broke away. In other words, Neo-Conservatives are virulent anti-Communists! Why would bankers and Communists be allies!!! By the way, the “Communist” writing these words volunteered to fight in the American army during the Korean War when the enemy was Communism!!

I am throwing out a challenge to Ron Paul supporters.

1. Identify the time period in American history in which you believe people had greater freedom than today.

2. Define and explain IN DETAIL what you mean by “Individual Freedom.”

3. Present evidence that State governments in American history have been more supportive of individual freedom than the Federal government. I will help you out. During the Progressive Movement several states such as Wisconsin, and Minnesota and Wyoming did sponsor several reform pieces of legislation. But, fellows, you have one big problem when you discuss southern states.

Good news from Great Britain. Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labor Party is rebelling against his “anti-terror plan” to extend to 48 days the time when a suspect can be held without charges being levied. Enough Labor Party MPs have deserted him because they are tired of the erosion of civil liberties which have occurred since 9/11. Who knows, maybe some day the Democratic Party will get some backbone and fight to defend our civil liberties against the tyranny of “anti-terrorism” fear mongering rhetoric.

I assume everyone read about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Bush is now out on a limb. He placed all his bets on the incompetent President Musharraf who is now the object of hatred in his own country since most people blame him for the killing. We may well witness complete chaos envelop Pakistan if next week’s election results in a triumph for the Musharraf party.

Did you read that touching story about Barack Obama and the veteran? In Iowa, he teasingly asked a man to pose a tough question. The man rose and explained he was a military veteran and described the fight he had to get medical care after his discharge. The man began to cry and Barack went to him and gave him a hug and promised if elected president he would fight for proper health benefits for our veterans. Somehow, I just don’t see Hillary going over and giving the hug or getting emotional. A great leader knows when to allow his/her feelings to show, she guards them too much. By the way, the media has completely ignored the terrific job done by this Democratic Congress to back veteran rights and improved medical care.

Ah the media. All we here is about the success of the famous surge. I was reading the Iraqi newspaper, Azzaman which describes complete chaos in Basra. The police have essentially abandoned control over the city to militia groups. They can not even halt the killing of over 40 women who were slain by fundamentalists because they wore “improper clothing.” Gen. Jaleel al-Shuwaili, head of the police says his police are “powerless.” I guess the surge troops will head on down south to Basra.

Another poke at the American media. If a Muslim terrorist blows up someone, it is front page news. Yesterday, I reported the peace and quiet and protection for Christians in Indonesia that was ignored. On Christmas eve in the Indian state of Orissa, mobs of Hindus destroyed 12 churches and beat up dozens of Christians. Will Rush Limbaugh now tell his audience about Hindu terrorists? Like hell he will, as long as he can keep up the drum beat that all Muslims are to be suspected.

Senator Joseph Lieberman has come out for John McCain. As you recall Lieberman lost the Democratic nomination in Connecticut for the senate and ran as an independent. He promised Democrats that he would work with Democrats if elected. He undoubtedly is the most fervent supporter of George Bush’s war on terror and the Iraq War. Lieberman has completely misunderstood how best he can support Israel. Instead of working for a two nation solution and exerting pressure on Israel’s leaders to compromise, he supports all Israel government policies. Now, he is going to help Republican McCain by appealing to the religious right who like Lieberman for backing Bush. Sorry, John, I don’t think Joe will help you at all. He is a washed up figure who has lost the respect of senatorial colleagues and of most people in his own state.

A good piece of news from the Middle East is a proposal by Egypt’s President Mubarak. He offered to mediate between Israel and Syria. His proposal makes sense. Mubarak suggests that Israel would abandon the Golan Heights(israel forces seized the mountainous area of the Golan Heights during the 1967 war) and over a ten year period gradually withdraw. He offered to place Egyptian troops to help monitor the situation as well as urging UN forces to help out. This is a sensible compromise.

Interesting Headlines:

China, China Daily: “Dog Could Now Become Panda Savior”
I don’t know if the Pope is going to go for this dog-panda fooling around, sounds like bestiality to me.

Kuwait, Gulf Times: “No Relief In Sight For Visually Impaired Voters In Pakistan”
Nor is there for people who can see, hear or smell.

Himalayan Times: “Angela Joie Rubs Caviar Into Her Skin”
Only Angela could get the Himalayans stirred up over caviar.

Nepal, Nepalnews.com: “Guilty Should Be Punished”
Oh yeh, when do white collar criminals ever really do jail time?

Bahrain, Bahrain Tribune: “Youth Hurt As He Hits Lamppost”
Not a damn word about the feelings of the lamppost!

Before concluding, let me reiterate one thought. I have never questioned the integrity or honesty or patriotism of Ron Paul. I have never demonized him or insulted him in any manner. I was raised in the south Bronx where people argued for hours, then went to a movie together. I believe in free speech and my right to disagree with someone. I find most sad that some– not all– Ron Paul supporters resort to vituperation and questioning the loyalty or patriotism of those who disagree with Mr. Paul. I disagree with the ideas of Ron Paul, that’s all.

Peace and Love

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Kucinich Wins Help for Vets

At the end of the breath at the bottom of the pool by The Other Katherine Harris (Bhutto)

The Other Katherine Harris

by The Other Katherine Harris

Featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
Dec. 28, 2007

What we have here, as witness Benazir’s slaughter, seems to be the last stand of normal people (give or take a few local quirks like the foofy head-dress). She was called “Pinky” at college and every college in the hippie days had one of those exemplars of a resolutely sunny outlook, pink being then construed as the opposite of black, a destructive grimness. So-called “pink” people were much admired. This was the optimism she spoke of in a recent interview so often and heartbreakingly replayed today.

Despite the string of family catastrophes that followed her university career, she kept hoping more ardently than most and longer — and duly she became the hope of millions; some say the only hope that existed for Pakistan. An excellent analysis, the best I’ve seen so far, is here. The author, Ahmed Rashid, speaks of her bravery in strongly condemning the fundamentalist freaks threatening their mutual country (something Musharraf would never do with equal severity) and of her more sustained rift with the money-gorged militarist freaks, who also deemed her too secular, too worldly, but really feared her because she saw smack through them and spoke for normal Pakistanis who wanted both sorts of pushy fascists to bloody back off and let people live sensibly and amicably.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Sadly, it isn’t at all hard to imagine our country in like extremis. I’d say we’re only inches away. Here the theocrats and other militants speak more guilefully, but they’re exactly the same factions arrayed against us regular folk and our will to Just Plain Sense and Tolerance.

Within a very short span of years, while we weren’t paying close attention, NUTS took over the world: some nuts who actually believe their own bullshit and other nuts who milk it for greed’s sake. They’ve got a symbiotic machine going now, in which normal people are worse than useless; we grit the gears and should be exterminated. Raise your hand to say, “Hey, stop this idiocy,” and — well, look at Benazir: the reasonable, normal woman; the last great Pakistani hope turned corpse.

We, too, may have only one chance left for a resumption of politics based on common sense and goodwill. I think it’s Edwards. If corporate media can’t do the job by ignoring or smearing him, the freaks in charge may well off him, too. Okay, yeah, for all the Kucinich die-hards, he stands for the same things; he just doesn’t present the same threat to those shaping reality for their benefit.

Can anybody under 50 even grasp what life was when normal people could take a general normalcy of experience for granted, before these evil freaks upended everything, started robbing us blind and made gibberish of all the finest words? If not, just please believe me now and act to save yourselves — or you and your children will soon be exactly where they want you: permanently intimidated and enslaved.

see

Frost over the World: Benazir Bhutto 02 Nov 07 (video; bin Laden)

Olbermann: Bhutto Assassination Parts 1-5 + Bush (videos)

What Now? Benazir Bhutto was a dead-woman walking the day she set foot back on Pakistani soil by Stephen P. Pizzo

Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The main suspects by Jeremy Page

Benazir Bhutto assassinated at rally + The life of Benazir Bhutto (videos) + more

Passings – Benazir Bhutto Left A Lifelong Impression by Joe Shea

Creeping Fascism: History’s Lessons By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
Consortium News
December 27, 2007

“There are few things as odd as the calm, superior indifference with which I and those like me watched the beginnings of the Nazi revolution in Germany, as if from a box at the theater. … Perhaps the only comparably odd thing is the way that now, years later….”

These are the words of Sebastian Haffner (pen name for Raimund Pretzel), who as a young lawyer in Berlin during the 1930s experienced the Nazi takeover and wrote a first-hand account. His children found the manuscript when he died in 1999 and published it the following year as “Geschichte eines Deutschen” (The Story of a German).

The book became an immediate bestseller and has been translated into 20 languages—in English as “Defying Hitler.”

I recently learned from his daughter Sarah, an artist in Berlin, that today is the 100th anniversary of Haffner’s birth. She had seen an earlier article in which I quoted her father and e-mailed to ask me to “write some more about the book and the comparison to Bush’s America. … This is almost unbelievable.”

More about Haffner below. Let’s set the stage first by recapping some of what has been going on that may have resonance for readers familiar with the Nazi ascendancy, noting how “odd” it is that the frontal attack on our Constitutional rights is met with such “calm, superior indifference.”

Goebbels Would be Proud

It has been two years since top New York Times officials decided to let the rest of us in on the fact that the George W. Bush administration had been eavesdropping on American citizens without the court warrants required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978.

The Times had learned of this well before the election in 2004 and acquiesced to White House entreaties to suppress the damaging information.

In late fall 2005 when Times correspondent James Risen’s book, “State of War: the Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration,” revealing the warrantless eavesdropping was being printed, Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., recognized that he could procrastinate no longer.

It would simply be too embarrassing to have Risen’s book on the street, with Sulzberger and his associates pretending that this explosive eavesdropping story did not fit Adolph Ochs’s trademark criterion: All The News That’s Fit To Print.

(The Times’ own ombudsman, Public Editor Byron Calame, branded the newspaper’s explanation for the long delay in publishing this story “woefully inadequate.”)

When Sulzberger told his friends in the White House that he could no longer hold off on publishing in the newspaper, he was summoned to the Oval Office for a counseling session with the president on Dec. 5, 2005. Bush tried in vain to talk him out of putting the story in the Times.

The truth would out; part of it, at least.

Glitches

There were some embarrassing glitches. For example, unfortunately for National Security Agency Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the White House neglected to tell him that the cat would soon be out of the bag.

So on Dec. 6, Alexander spoke from the old talking points in assuring visiting House intelligence committee member Rush Holt, D-New Jersey, that the NSA did not eavesdrop on Americans without a court order.

Still possessed of the quaint notion that generals and other senior officials are not supposed to lie to congressional oversight committees, Holt wrote a blistering letter to Gen. Alexander after the Times, on Dec. 16, front-paged a feature by Risen and Eric Lichtblau, “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.”

But House Intelligence Committee chair Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, apparently found Holt’s scruples benighted; Hoekstra did nothing to hold Alexander accountable for misleading Holt, his most experienced committee member, who had served as an intelligence analyst at the State Department.

What followed struck me as bizarre. The day after the Dec. 16 Times feature article, the president of the United States publicly admitted to a demonstrably impeachable offense.

Authorizing illegal electronic surveillance was a key provision of the second article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. On July 27, 1974, this and two other articles of impeachment were approved by bipartisan votes in the House Judiciary Committee.

Bush Takes Frontal Approach

Far from expressing regret, the president bragged about having authorized the surveillance “more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks,” and said he would continue to do so. The president also said:

“Leaders in Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this authorization and the activities conducted under it.”

On Dec. 19, 2005, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and then-NSA Director Michael Hayden held a press conference to answer questions about the as yet unnamed surveillance program.

Gonzales was asked why the White House decided to flout FISA rather than attempt to amend it, choosing instead a “backdoor approach.” He answered:

“We have had discussions with Congress…as to whether or not FISA could be amended to allow us to adequately deal with this kind of threat, and we were advised that that would be difficult, if not impossible.”

Hmm. Impossible? It strains credulity that a program of the limited scope described would be unable to win ready approval from a Congress that had just passed the “Patriot Act” in record time.

James Risen has made the following quip about the prevailing mood: “In October 2001, you could have set up guillotines on the public streets of America.”

It was not difficult to infer that the surveillance program must have been of such scope and intrusiveness that, even amid highly stoked fear, it didn’t have a prayer for passage.

It turns out we didn’t know the half of it.

What To Call These Activities

“Illegal Surveillance Program” didn’t seem quite right for White House purposes, and the PR machine was unusually slow off the blocks.

It took six weeks to settle on “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” with FOX News leading the way followed by the president himself. This labeling would dovetail nicely with the president’s rhetoric on Dec. 17:

In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al-Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. … The authorization I gave the National Security Agency after September 11 helped address that problem…” [Emphasis added]

And Gen. Michael Hayden, who headed NSA from 1999 to 2005, was of course on the same page, dissembling as convincingly as the president. At his May 2006 confirmation hearings to become CIA director, he told of his soul-searching when, as director of NSA, he was asked to eavesdrop on Americans without a court warrant.

“I had to make this personal decision in early October 2001,” said Hayden. “It was a personal decision. … I could not not do this.”

Like so much else, it was all because of 9/11. But we now know…

It Started Seven Months Before 9/11.

How many times have you heard it? The mantra “after 9/11 everything changed” has given absolution to all manner of sin.

We are understandably reluctant to believe the worst of our leaders, and this tends to make us negligent. After all, we learned from former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill that drastic changes were made in U.S. foreign policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian issue and toward Iraq at the first National Security Council meeting on Jan. 30, 2001.

Should we not have anticipated far-reaching changes at home as well?

Reporting by the Rocky Mountain News and court documents and testimony on a case involving Qwest strongly suggest that in February 2001 Hayden saluted smartly when the Bush administration instructed NSA to suborn AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest to spy illegally on you, me, and other Americans.

Bear in mind that this would have had nothing to do with terrorism, which did not really appear on the new administration’s radar screen until a week before 9/11, despite the pleading of Clinton aides that the issue deserved extremely high priority.

So this until-recently-unknown pre-9/11 facet of the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” was not related to Osama bin Laden or to whomever he and his associates might be speaking. It had to do with us.

We know that the Democrats briefed on the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, (the one with the longest tenure on the House Intelligence Committee), Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, and former and current chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, D-Florida, and Jay Rockefeller, D-West Virginia, respectively.

May one interpret their lack of public comment on the news that the snooping began well before 9/11 as a sign they were co-opted and then sworn to secrecy?

It is an important question. Were the appropriate leaders in Congress informed that within days of George W. Bush’s first inauguration the NSA electronic vacuum cleaner began to suck up information on you and me, despite the FISA law and the Fourth Amendment?

Are They All Complicit?

And are Democratic leaders about to cave in and grant retroactive immunity to those telecommunications corporations—AT&T and Verizon—which made millions by winking at the law and the Constitution?

(Qwest, to its credit, heeded the advice of its general counsel who said that what NSA wanted done was clearly illegal.)

What’s going on here? Have congressional leaders no sense for what is at stake?

Lately the adjective “spineless” has come into vogue in describing congressional Democrats—no offense to invertebrates.

Nazis and Their Enablers

You don’t have to be a Nazi. You can just be, well, a sheep.

In his journal, Sebastian Haffner decries what he calls the “sheepish submissiveness” with which the German people reacted to a 9/11-like event, the burning of the German Parliament (Reichstag) on Feb. 27, 1933.

Haffner finds it quite telling that none of his acquaintances “saw anything out of the ordinary in the fact that, from then on, one’s telephone would be tapped, one’s letters opened, and one’s desk might be broken into.”

But it is for the cowardly politicians that Haffner reserves his most vehement condemnation. Do you see any contemporary parallels here?

In the elections of March 4, 1933, shortly after the Reichstag fire, the Nazi party garnered only 44 percent of the vote. Only the “cowardly treachery” of the Social Democrats and other parties to whom 56 percent of the German people had entrusted their votes made it possible for the Nazis to seize full power. Haffner adds:

“It is in the final analysis only that betrayal that explains the almost inexplicable fact that a great nation, which cannot have consisted entirely of cowards, fell into ignominy without a fight.”

The Social Democratic leaders betrayed their followers—“for the most part decent, unimportant individuals.” In May, the party leaders sang the Nazi anthem; in June the Social Democratic party was dissolved.

The middle-class Catholic party Zentrum folded in less than a month, and in the end supplied the votes necessary for the two-thirds majority that “legalized” Hitler’s dictatorship.

As for the right-wing conservatives and German nationalists: “Oh God,” writes Haffner, “what an infinitely dishonorable and cowardly spectacle their leaders made in 1933 and continued to make afterward. … They went along with everything: the terror, the persecution of Jews. … They were not even bothered when their own party was banned and their own members arrested.”

In sum: “There was not a single example of energetic defense, of courage or principle. There was only panic, flight, and desertion. In March 1933, millions were ready to fight the Nazis. Overnight they found themselves without leaders. … At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown. … The result is today the nightmare of the rest of the world.”

This is what can happen when virtually all are intimidated.

Our Founding Fathers were not oblivious to this; thus, James Madison:

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. … The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”

We cannot say we weren’t warned.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. A former Army officer and CIA analyst, he worked in Germany for five years; he is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

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