The Year of Living Dangerously Part 2 By Manuel Valenzuela

Dandelion Salad

By Manuel Valenzuela
05/01/08 “ICH

Part Two of Two

Under constant manipulations, lies and propaganda, a nation of courage has become a nation of cowards. A nation that once questioned its leaders now falls lockstep behind them, blindly following criminality and corruption. A nation that once stood for protests, strikes, marches, sit-ins, challenging the government and seeking accountability now prefers sitting comfortably on couches or chairs, watching the world pass by through television sets or laptops, some becoming arm-chair activists, most simply rotting away their lives, preferring the life of a couch potato, passively ignoring the destruction of rights and freedoms, silently acquiescing to myriad number of crimes against humanity, and obediently shopping, purchasing and consuming according to the dictates of the corporatist world, their new god the Almighty Dollar commanding them to congregate at the Cathedrals of Consumerism, the Malls of Materialism, told to do their job and be good consumers, spending what little they have, even consuming with money that they do not have, and must therefore borrow.

What dreaded dark skinned bogeymen could never achieve Bush, the Congress and the mainstream media have succeeded marvelously at implementing. Under the constant threat of terror, we have failed to see the fusion of government and corporations, now more than ever, as well as the mutation of government into the instrument of profit, revenue and the bottom line. We have failed to see who, in fact, the true terrorist entities are, what the true threat to our way of life, our liberties and our rights is. We have become blinded to the political duopoly, the two-headed hydra, working in synergy and collusion, not in the interests of the people, but for the corporate world.

We fail to see that there is no choice, that elections are predetermined, and oftentimes orchestrated by the Ministry of Truth, that an opposition party is but a façade, that only the Corporatist Party exists, its two hands simply performing a juggling act, each taking its turn running the three ring circus we know as government. In our delusions of grandeur and exceptionalism we have become blinded to the reality that democracy is a sham, that real democracy is a threat to the corporatist element, that America has done more to destroy real democracy around the world than any nation on Earth.

“Democracy,” it turns out, is a synonym for American imperialism, a disguise to ram neoliberal devastation down the throats of billions, a method of controlling populations through puppets disguised as leaders. It is only democracy if our corporatist elite approve of its victors, only if they pledge allegiance to the Empire, at the expense of their populations. Hypocritically, the nation that espouses freedoms, rights and democracy tolerates and supports dictatorship and tyranny if it protects our interests, but libels and slanders real democracy if it audaciously protects the interests of the people. Thus, in the halls of smoke and mirrors only illusions do we see. In the desert of delusion only mirages can be reached.

The dark recesses of fear have made us forget that the Constitution is not just a piece of paper, that its principles are the foundation of the nation, that in its words and meanings are the cornerstones of what and who we are as a people, and what we as a species aspire to reach. Its contents are the eternal spring that secures our liberties and rights and freedoms, yet we have forgotten that it exists, and thus, have allowed its meanings and principles to be castrated. Today, the Constitution gathers dust in the annals of history, now a forgotten remnant of humankind’s past, becoming a relic reserved for a museum, its words no longer read, or understood, or defended against the agents of tyranny who have always tried to destroy what it stands for. Sadly, the Constitution has been disappeared, both in practice and in the imagination of the very people it was designed to protect and inspire.

Unfortunately, in our euphoria of comfort, mass consumption and materialism, in our concern for security and protection, in our myopia of short term happiness at the expense of long term vitality, in our hatred of those different than ourselves, in our haste to seek revenge and deliver wrath on those scapegoated for our suffering and emotional train wreck, in our complete abdication as informed citizens and knowledgeable human beings, and in our demonstrated cowardice and silent acceptance as American-style wickedness is delivered to millions of innocent human beings, we have forgotten who and what we are as a people.

We have allowed ourselves to fall hypnotized for the myth of egoist-induced exceptionalism, basking in our perceived greatness, claiming ourselves the greatest country on the planet, as if it is true just because heavenly deities make it so, even with our complete ignorance of the world outside our borders. We have used our unchallenged, unrivaled power, which we have simply chosen to abuse and mismanage, to arrogantly destroy our standing in the world, in the process eroding international relations, international law as well as the sisterhood of nations.

Our unquenchable hunger for imperialist expansion, which the masses nonchalantly approve of through our indifference, is conveniently excused by our historical call from the heavens above to a manifest destiny seemingly promised us by humankind’s gods. If we ever looked deep into the mirror, we would see that America suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, bordering on megalomania, becoming an insecure, paranoid, schizophrenic nation that must resort to allocating military budgets that annually exceed all those of the entire world combined. In our reality, might makes right, peace is secured through perpetual war, we are made safer by creating enemies, not alleviating their grievances, and talking to your enemies is seen as cowardice. In no other country on the planet are the teachings of Jesus Christ so hypocritically preached, but never practiced.

In our view, happiness is secured, not through living life, but by consuming and producing in ever-increasing and unsustainable levels. In our reality, slavery equals freedom and work will make you free. We are so happy, in fact, that we consume the most psychotropic pharmaceutical drugs in the world. Depression, stress and feeling unfulfilled, it seems, are keys to nirvana and heavenly bliss.

We continuously fall for the lies and the propaganda, the manipulations and deceit, believing ourselves blessed by unseen deities, living in a city atop a hill, showing ourselves off as a beacon of light upon the world to behold, and aspire to become. We have been blinded by a false patriotism that condemns those questioning the state while celebrating those sheepishly following its every command. We have been entrapped by jingoism and xenophobia laced in blatant bigotry and racism, thinking ourselves superior to all other people on Earth, even when we are comprised of representatives from all peoples of Earth. We are sheep, lemmings and followers, always mesmerized by talking heads, pundits and the so-called “experts”, never thinking on our own, always doing what media propagandists spit out.

We have done nothing to stop aggressive wars, the ultimate crime against humanity, resulting in the death of well over one million innocent souls, all of which we could care nothing for. Only American dead, of course, need to be mourned, counted and considered human. Only we are worthy of life, and death, and recognition. The suffering we have allowed our government to inflict is not of our concern. We have shamed ourselves in our passive acquiescence to torture, executions, gulags, extraordinary rendition, untold levels of suffering and the disappearance of thousands. We bask in indifference at the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and at countless other secret prisons worldwide.

We did nothing in the abandoning and discarding of the Geneva Convention, the Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international law and in the trampling of the Bill of Rights. Yet the very nature of what we have chosen to ignore, to erase from our beautiful minds, is rapidly coming to our own land. We ignore what our nation has done to the majority of the world at our own peril. For the tyranny so pronounced, today and in recorded history, where America has vital interests to protect will soon reach us. We have taken the bait, almost continuously swallowing the hook cast by the corporatist world of profit and state, falling for each dirty trick reeled our way, assiduously falling for the propaganda of the corporatist media. We have allowed corporatism to run rampant, allowed ignorance to prevail and America to be altered, forever. Perhaps, then, we deserve what we get.

The New Normal

As we followed the tunes of the Pied Piper straight into the river of megalomania, as we slept through violence and destruction, as we sleepwalked the Constitution to the incinerator, as we dreamed the impossible dream, as we basked in the vices of greed and the Almighty Dollar, as we dined on denial and delusion and deception, our nation has been stolen from under our feet, transformed into a nation that has clandestinely spawned a growing police state, with a burgeoning surveillance society, becoming an authoritarian enclave, reared by indifference, nurtured by ignorance, protected by jingoism and xenophobia.

America is slowly, yet inevitably, becoming a country of repression, suppression, oppression and persecution; of perpetual fear and perpetual war; of growing militarism and fascism, of the entangled fusion of state and profit; of an absence of rights, freedoms and liberties; of so-called democracy that is today but a sham, a concoction of snake oil and farce where choice is but a fleeting illusion, where candidates are selected through the manipulations and illusions presented by the Ministry of Truth, where elections are but a mechanism of control, and of deception, where decisions are made not by those who cast the votes, but by those who count them; and so-called representation of the people a mirage to hide the selling of government to the highest bidder by a two-headed hydra whose dual purposes of expanding power to corporations and unleashing further imperialism for the empire, both at the expense of the people, have furthered the steady decline of the nation into the grips of corporatism.

The corporatist war against the American people thus continues unabated, its slow, yet assured, manifestations and reverberations crisscrossing the country like an invisible tsunami. With giant clandestine waves crashing ashore, the tsunami of the last seven years has eroded, with reckless abandon, the foundations of the Constitution and of the nation itself. All that is needed for authoritarians and corporatists to complete their project, all that is needed for America to descend fully into the depths of Big Brother and complete surveillance and a thriving police state and martial law and tyranny and a final shredding of the Constitution, and thus our freedoms, rights and liberties, is another shock to our senses, whether it be economic or societal collapse, whether a depression or through another false flag operation or yet one more preemptive war in the Middle East. All that is needed for this evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing, just as has been done for the past seven years, just as has been done for the last several decades.

For without so much as a protest or a whimper, the blood of liberty and freedom is hemorrhaging from the soul of every American. Paralyzed by corporatist-induced fear and ignorance, catatonic to the clear signals of an approaching cyclone of American style-fascism, hypnotized by the warmth and comfort that consumerism and materialism provide, the American people have become blind to the war being waged against our interests, and our lives. Yes, the crusade by corporatists, neocons, neoliberals and natural born authoritarians against the citizens of the nation has gone largely unnoticed, albeit with a few clusters of informed patriots desperately trying to sound the alarm of the coming storm.

The infrastructure of tyranny has meticulously been built, deeply embedded within the system itself, under the radar from the majority of the people, in complete collusion by the political duopoly and all three branches, its foundations created by the decimation of the Bill of Rights, the destruction of civil liberties, the construction of draconian laws and regulations – sometimes birthed in secret or in full openness – ,the insertion of precedence or opinions validating criminality and tyranny, and by the conditioning of the populace, in order to insert the “new normal” into the consciousness, of propaganda meant to indoctrinate us into accepting all levels of wrongdoing and criminality both by the state and the corporate world acting in unison, from torture to executions to mass murder to the need for constant surveillance of our streets, of our communications and our daily lives, and to the refusal to prosecute mercenaries guilty of crimes against humanity.

The new normal has penetrated our nation, and our psyches, since that dreadful day in September 2001, making sure that the political pendulum shifted further to the right, further to the tendencies of authoritarianism, making the Democratic Party a reincarnation of yesterday’s Republicans and mutating the Republican Party towards a full embrace of the tendencies of fascism and authoritarianism. Gone, perhaps forever, is a valid progressive ideal in politics, a left of center belief that was once evolving and leaning towards the social democracies of Europe, with an emphasis on doing what was best for the whole, not just the individual.

Shifted, too, are the political leanings of tens of millions of Americans, away from the values of progressiveness, and hence those of Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., turning instead towards the comforts of security and protection, albeit false comforts, finding solace in extremist and predatory theology, in the scapegoating of the different and the unknown, in the groupthink emotions of nationalism and tribalism, in the ignition of flames inherent in jingoism and xenophobia, in voluntarily placing blind, loyal faith in media and the state, in embracing Big Brother security, in welcoming authoritarian false promises, and in freely, and gladly, giving up freedoms and rights in exchange for protection by the state.

Indeed, sacrificing an entire nation’s freedoms and rights, both in the present and future, in exchange for a false sense of security — born and bred by corporate and state propaganda, of an enemy concocted and over-exaggerated – and purposefully looking the other way as the country becomes more and more corporatist, in essence abandoning our citizen role in preserving to our progeny what we inherited, will forever denigrate our generation’s legacy. In history’s future volumes, today’s American generation will be forever recorded as having fulfilled a complete and utter collapse in the face of cowardice, ignorance, indifference, fear and materialistic comfort, becoming incapable of preserving and fighting for the foundation of the nation, namely, the principles embodied in the Constitution.

For the generation that so easily gave away the rights, liberties and freedoms that had been preserved for centuries, fought in blood, sweat and tears, in bravery and courage, in wars and battles, and instead allowed itself the pleasure of getting raped by American corporatism, only negative connotations will be recorded. America, sadly, has devolved from the Greatest Generation to the Coward Generation, – or the Failure Generation – in only a few short decades, in only a few mutations of the gene pool, in the span of nothingness in the realm of history’s vast plethora of sad stories.

With the arrival of the next shock to the system, the next catalyzing and transformative event, the next preemptive act of aggression, the next Gulf of Tonkin-like staged event, the next false flag act of terror to scar our psyches, or the next economic strangulation designed to pillage ever more wealth from the working and middle classes, the elaborate and carefully implanted infrastructure of authoritarian rule will be allowed to awaken.

All the laws that have been put in place validating martial law and a surveillance society and Big Brother and warrantless wiretapping and intrusive invasions of privacy and domestic spying and dissident arrests and torture and a police state, as well as those laws that have destroyed habeas corpus and due process and the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and all freedoms, rights and liberties we used to hold dear will emerge like a malignant virus that has laid dormant inside a body for years, cautiously hiding and buying its time until that day when chaos reigns supreme, when fear induces stress, suddenly springing to life with the onset of a weak immune system, launching an onslaught against antibodies made impotent to fight off its orchestrated and calibrated assault by years of conditioning, brainwashing, gluttony and fear.

All that separates America from Amerika is one shock, one event, one opportunity for those whose enemies are freedom and democracy to orchestrate the Amerika of their sinister dreams. Most do not know the seriousness of the threat, nor the perilous danger roaming among us, nor the sinister ideology of our so-called leaders, nor how imminently close we are to a vastly different America. For this cabal, this domestic enemy, the people are the obstacle, the real, and true, enemy. It is this group that is our greatest threat, our real enemy.

Until we realize that we have been led to believe for the last seven years is but a charade, that the “war on terror” is but yet one more method of control, that our pursuit of terror has led us in the wrong direction, that the real terrorist entity is domestic, not foreign, that we have been unleashing hell on Earth on the wrong, and innocent, people, and that it is this internal threat that hates us for our way of life, we will never stop the hemorrhaging of our freedoms, rights and liberties.

One day we will awaken to a nation we will not recognize, a nightmare on a hill, a beacon of tyranny, a land of the meek, a home of the slave. Every day that passes is a day corporatism advances, and we retreat, a day it grows in power, and we lose strength. Every day that is allowed to transpire in favor of the corporatist element is a day the People’s chains of bondage grow stronger. Every day we let pass is a day we slide further down the corporatist black hole, allowing our minds to become more ignorant, our reality to be created by the Ministry of Truth, our lives to be further shackled to the invisible dungeon of Amerika’s tomorrow.

One day, in the not too distant future, we will awaken and open our eyes only to see that what we once took for granted no longer exists, what we assumed would always exist has been made extinct, what we forgot even existed has been washed away, what we failed to study and understand has been revised, and what we failed to cherish and defend has been destroyed, forever.

We will finally realize what our fathers and mothers and grandparents and great-grandparents found out only through the spilling of blood, sweat and tears, experienced through many years of activism, bravery and the uncompromising power of the people united. We will realize, after it is all too late, that those in power give nothing and, if given the chance, take away everything; that everything the people at present have, that every freedom, right and liberty embedded in the foundations of America have been sought, demanded, struggled, fought for, defended and protected.

It is only because of generations of Americans past that we enjoy our privileges, with each successive generation safeguarding what was once gained, and fighting for what needed to be attained. This trans-generational wall of solidarity built the accumulated freedoms and rights we had at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Sadly, if we fail to act, if we fail to wake to the sounds of alarm, the wall will come undone, eroded by what we have become as a people, the unbreakable brick and mortar, constructed over 200 years of struggle, crumbling and succumbing to the powerful tsunami of corporatism and authoritarianism fast approaching our shores.

The Year of Living Dangerously is upon us. The sorrows of empire have arrived. In this struggle, America entire is Ground Zero. The clock is ticking, the time is wasting. Would we rather live in tyranny, or fight for freedom? Live in our America, or the corporatist Amerika? In this fight for our way of life, which citizenry will show up: yesterday’s version of the People, or today’s? The choice, as always, is ours.

Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic, international/national affairs analyst and Internet columnist. His articles as well as his archive can be found at his blog, http://www.valenzuelasveritas.blogspot.com . Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at manuel@valenzuelas.net.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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The Year of Living Dangerously Part 1 By Manuel Valenzuela

Iraqi scientist gave CIA information that should have prevented war

Dandelion Salad

By Agence France Presse (AFP)
ICH
05/02/08 “Daily Star

Saad Tawfiq told his handlers that Saddam had shut down WMD program

AMMAN: When Saad Tawfiq watched then-US Secretary of state Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations on February 5, 2003, he shed bitter tears as he realized he had risked his life and those of his loved ones for nothing. As one of Saddam Hussein’s most gifted engineers, Tawfiq knew that the Iraqi dictator had shut down his nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs in 1995 – and he had told his handlers in US intelligence just that.

And yet here was Powell – Tawfiq’s television was able to receive international news through a link pirated from Saddam’s spies next door – waving a vial of white powder and telling the UN Security Council a story about Iraqi germ labs.

“When I saw Colin Powell, I started crying – immediately. I knew I had tried and lost,” Tawfiq told AFP five years later in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Now in his 50s, a round-faced man with a small moustache and lively eyes behind delicate spectacles, Tawfiq described how the CIA set up an elaborate operation to recruit Iraqi weapons scientists and then ignored the results.

From the end of 2002 the US spy agency had sources inside Iraq’s weapons plants telling them clearly what the whole world now knows – that Saddam had ended efforts to produce weapons of mass destruction.

Nevertheless, in March 2003 the United States and Britain invaded Iraq to disarm Saddam of this non-existent arsenal and in the process triggered the effective collapse of the Iraqi state, plunging it into chaos and bringing hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Tawfiq’s role in this drama began in June 2002 with calls from his sister Sawsan, a doctor who lives with her husband Ali in Moreland Hills, a pleasant suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, in the Midwest of the United States.

“Our Abu Mahmouds are putting pressure on me,” she told him, using the nickname they shared for Tawfiq’s secret police minder as a makeshift code for the US intelligent agent who had contacted her, “Chris.”

“Chris was very nice, very polite,” Sawsan, a small energetic woman, told AFP.

Chris wanted Sawsan’s help to discover the status of Saddam’s weapons program and in particular his efforts to build a nuclear bomb.

She joined one of the most successful attempts by the CIA to penetrate Saddam’s Iraq, a program dreamed up by agency veteran Charlie Allen to target Iraqi weapons technicians through their relatives.

The scientists were well known to the UN weapons inspectors who had been keeping tabs on Iraq’s arms plants since 1991, and the Americans were able to draw up a list of 30 who had relatives in the United States. The American relatives were to be sent to Iraq and ask about weapons.

“I was nervous, and we even discussed with Ali what to do if something happened to me,” Sawsan said. “It was a very emotional visit back home, because I had not been there for years and I had not seen my brother for years.”

Sawsan was right to be nervous. Saddam’s notorious secret police dealt with spies mercilessly. She was taking a risk with her life and that of her brother, but was determined to help rid her original homeland of a tyrant.

The CIA provided her with a detailed questionnaire about Iraq’s weapons programs. Fearing that she would forget it, Sawsan disguised it in sketches and crosswords in a kind of homemade code.

Tawfiq picked his sister up from Baghdad’s airport on September 9, 2002. Her homecoming was emotional, but the pair had work to do. They met secretly at night in the family garden and took walks together in the city.

The weapons engineer was astonished by the CIA’s questions, which he thought showed the depths of the agency’s ignorance about country.

“I went crazy. The questions were dumb. She was telling me: ‘They know you have a program,’ and I was saying: ‘There is nothing. Tell them there is nothing, absolutely nothing. They have left us with nothing,'” Tawfiq said. “She was taking notes. There were 20 major questions, and to all of them the answer was: ‘No, no, no …’ I kept swearing on the grave of my mother.”

According to Tawfiq, Saddam Hussein gave the order to dismantle Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs in 1995, after his brother-in-law and arms chief Hussein Kamel defected and briefed the UN inspectors.

“I was Saddam’s scientist,” Tawfiq declared, with an ironic smile. “In 1991 if you exposed something you were killed. In 1995 if you hid something you were killed!”

Sawsan dutifully gathered this information and returned to the United States to pass it on to her handlers. But the CIA was unimpressed.

“Saad told me there was nothing left,” she told AFP. “That everything had been either destroyed or dismantled by the UN and the regime has abandoned its nuclear program. And he begged me to explain all that back in the States.

“I went back and I reported what he had told me in full detail. I even went personally to Washington. In the beginning they listened to me but then they told me that my brother was lying.”

Of course Tawfiq and other colleagues approached by the CIA were telling the truth, as the United States would discover after it had launched a bloody war that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

Paul R. Pillar, the CIA’s national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia at the time of the operation to question Tawfiq, said weapons scientists had not been ignored, but had been contradicted by other sources.

“To the extent that the debriefings did not have more of an effect in Washington, it probably was not because the effort came too late but instead because there were other indications that seemed to contradict what the individuals were saying, and that suggested Iraqi unconventional weapons programs were continuing,” he told AFP.

But as Saddam’s scientist lamented five years later: “You don’t have to destroy a country for that.” – AFP

Copyright © 2008, The Daily Star.

 

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.

02.04.08 Mosaic News: World News From The Middle East (video)

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

linktv

For more: http://linktv.org/originalseries
“Two Suicide Bombers Attach Dimona, Israel,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“First Suicide Attack in a Year,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Fateh Promotes Terrorism,” IBA TV, Israel
“Iran Prepares to Launch Satellite,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Media Expands in Fallujah,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Iranians Celebrate Return of Khomeini,” Al-Alam TV, Iran
“Pakistanis Resort to Street Doctors,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Americans Lecture Lebanese on Constitution,” New TV, Lebanon
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Kucinich: Bush’s Budget Ignores Needs of Northeast Ohio

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

Washington, Feb 4 – Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) called President Bush’s FY09 budget irresponsible and misguided as he plans on increasing tax cuts to the wealthy and cutting domestic funding. “This is not a budget that serves the needs of the people of Northeast Ohio,” Kucinich said.

“The federal budget is a statement about priorities.  This budget continues the acceleration of wealth upward by giving subsidies and policies that are kind to large corporations and the wealthy, while neglecting the needs of working people and keeping us in a war that cannot be won militarily.

“The budget would cut $170 billion from Medicare while maintaining giant slush funds for HMOs to pad their profits.  If the President was serious about holding down health care costs, he would support HR 676, the only health care reform plan that would control costs while expanding full health care to all.

“In the midst of the subprime foreclosure meltdown, the President wants to cut funding for the Section 8 housing voucher program for low-income housing assistance while giving the Defense department an increase of $35 billion to $515 billion for non-Iraq/Afghanistan war funding.  And while health care costs continue to rise and more and more veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the President’s budget increases out-of-pocket costs for veterans’ health care.

“There is a $65 million cut from aeronautics at NASA, a historical strength of NASA Glenn, from a $512 billion budget in FY08.  At the same time, our country is in dire need of more fuel efficient aircraft and increases in efficiency of traffic coordination at airports, both of which require federal research funds.  I will continue to work to strengthen aeronautics funding for NASA Glenn.

“It also throws over $2 billion dollars in subsidies at financially and environmentally unsustainable nuclear and coal power, and over $10 billion for “star wars,” an unnecessary and unworkable missile defense system.  And the budget gives away subsidies for oil companies that want to drill in our ecologically fragile coastal areas while cutting funding to LIHEAP, a program that helps low-income Americans heat their homes.”

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9/11 widows call for new investigation after revelations of White House, commission ties by Nick Juliano

Dandelion Salad

by Nick Juliano
Raw Story
February 5, 2008

The widows whose political activism was largely responsible for the establishment of a commission to investigate the September 11 attacks say a new book revealing the backstory of the 9/11 Commission proves that their initial concerns about its executive director were correct and demonstrate the need for another investigation.

Philip Shenon, who covered the proceedings for the New York Times, has written a new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, which was released Tuesday. The book reveals the close ties between commission executive director Philip Zelikow and White House advisers Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice.

The Commission also reveals that aside from one staff member, no one on the 9/11 investigative panel reviewed what was perhaps the most robust treasure trove of pre-9/11 intelligence on al Qaeda — records from the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic surveillance and codebreaking for the US Intelligence Community.

“General Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA at the time, was eager to cooperate and share what his organization had with the 9/11 Commission, but Executive Director Zelikow was not interested,” 9/11 widows Patty Casazza, Monica Gabriellle, Mindy Kleinberg and Lorie Van Auken said in a statement reacting to the book.

“Why didnt Phil Zelikow make reviewing these vital NSA documents a Commission priority?” they ask. “It seems clear that not every fact and lead was followed in this investigation compromising the validity of the Commission’s final report and its findings.”

The 9/11 widows called for Zelikow to resign or be fired from the Commission back in 2004, when his ties with Rice and Rove were first revealed. Shenon’s book, they say, proves their concerns were right all along.

“It is abundantly clear that Philip Zelikow should have immediately been replaced when the first rumblings of his impropriety and conflicts of interest surfaced,” they said. “When all of this information became clear, the Commissioners and the press should have called for Zelikows resignation. We did. Shamefully, most were silent.”

As washingtonpost.com columnist Dan Froomkin notes, “This isn’t the first time it’s turned out that the 9/11 Commission wasn’t getting the full picture. It’s not even the second.”

Bob Woodward revealed in his book State of Denial, that 9/11 Commission members were not told of a July 10, 2001, meeting in which then-CIA Director George Tenet tried to warn Rice and Bush about the need to focus on al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, while the president and his confidant were distracted by their pursuit of a missile defense system.

In another Bush administration exposé, investigative reporter Ron Suskind revealed the president’s brush-off of the ominous memo warning “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”:

“All right,” Bush told the panicked CIA briefer who interrupted the president’s vacation to deliver the warning in person. “You’ve covered your ass, now.”

The 9/11 widows also fault the Commission for relying too much on information gained from “second and third hand knowledge of interrogations of tortured individuals, detainees that were being held in secret locations.”

They say Shenon’s book reveals information that “only scratches the surface” of what happened within the government before the 9/11 attacks.

“The bottom line is that the most deadly attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor remains dangerously unexamined,” they write. “This can only be remedied with an investigation guided by the facts and conducted outside the reach of those with a vested interest in suppressing the truth.”
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Strange Fruit: America’s Gulag and the “Good War” by Chris Floyd

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Floyd
Tuesday, 05 February 2008

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
— Yeshua ha-Notsri.

The long-running “progressive” stance on America’s 21st century imperial adventures can be reduced to this simple dichotomy: Afghan war good, Iraq war bad. And for all progressives who want to be regarded as “serious,” the Iraq war is bad because it has distracted us from the real war, the good war, in Afghanistan. This theme has been sounded over and over by the “progressive” candidates throughout the presidential campaign. It is the opinion of a sizable majority of the U.S. population, which has clearly repudiated the Iraq war but still supports the Afghan war.

But a story by Carlotta Gall and Andy Worthington in the New York Times reminds us most forcefully that the Afghan war is not and has never been some separate entity from the brutal, voracious “War on Terror” machine that has killed a million people in Iraq, spawned a global gulag of torture sites and secret prisons for uncharged captives and kidnap victims, and destroyed the last vestiges of the American republic, replacing it with an authoritarian “Commander-in-Chief State” ruled quite literally by the führerprinzip, where the order of the Leader transcends any law. A poison tree can only bring forth poison fruit — and the Afghan war is a fruit of the Terror War tree.

Gall tells the story of Abdul Razzaq Hekmati, an Afghan war hero who had fought against the Soviets, brazenly defied the Taliban – and died in the American concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. After the American invasion replaced the Taliban with another set of vicious warlords, druglords and radical sectarians, Hekmati fell afoul of the new Bush-installed regime. In 2003, he accused the governor of Helmland province, Sher Mohammed Akhundzada, of widespread corruption – and of shielding senior Taliban members. Suddenly, Hekmati found himself accused of being a Taliban leader and high-level al Qaeda official – absurd charges, vehemently denied by all who knew him, including senior officials in the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

But still Hekmati was seized by American forces– acting as muscle to protect the notorious Helmland druglord – and shipped off to the American concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay. There he rotted for five years, hauled up occasionally for kangaroo “tribunals” which refused to contact the many officials in the American-backed Afghan government who would have vouched for his innocence – even when these same officials were actively seeking out top Bush administration figures to plead Hekmati’s case.

But like so many people, Hekmati’s friends misunderstood the purpose of the Guantanamo concentration camp. It has nothing at all to do with “fighting terrorism,” in Afghanistan or anywhere else. It has nothing to do with prosecuting the “good war” in Afghanistan and bringing peace and freedom to that ravaged land. The Guantanamo concentration camp – like the Afghan war itself – is first and foremost a display of domination. It is the precise equivalent of a vicious ape beating his chest and baring his teeth to assert his sway over the group. The fate of any one individual, however innocent, caught up in the Terror War gulag – or killed in the Terror War’s military operations – does not matter in the least. They are merely means to an end – and the end is dominance, “full spectrum dominance” of world affairs. Our leading apes make no secret of this. A “unipolar world” under the hegemony of the United States has been the openly proclaimed goal of a broad swath of the bipartisan foreign establishment for many years — especially the particularly nasty faction that has coalesced around the illegitimate presidency of George W. Bush.

And that’s why the true nature of both the “good war” in Afghanistan and the “bad war” in Iraq has been equally misunderstood. Looked at from the outside, as an attempt at some kind of rational statecraft or coherent, competent military policy, the two wars look like a bloody shambles: lurching from here to there with no clear purpose, entirely counterproductive, spawning more and more of the very terrorism, chaos, extremism and repression they purport to be combatting. But if they are seen chiefly as displays – and physical manifestations – of dominance, then there is no need at all for the specific policies and tactics to make sense or be effective or aim toward a coherent goal. The display of dominance is the goal. You do whatever you need to do at any given point to keep it going: change tack, shift gears, contradict yourself, sell out one ally, buy off another, arm yesterday’s enemy, kill him tomorrow – the details don’t matter. The dominance is all.

And this is why we have seen so many bewildering changes and dodges in the various “tribunals” and policies regarding Guantanamo Bay. None of them are designed to produce justice for the captives – neither punishment for the guilty nor freedom for the innocent. They are simply a temporary grab-bag of elements thrown together to keep the display going from one shift in the political winds to the next. Sometimes it seems politic to dump a few prisoners out – even those previously proclaimed “the worst of the worst” – in Saudia Arabia or Britain or elsewhere, if that helps out a pal abroad or calms a little squall of bad PR at home ; at other times – most of the time – dominance is best served by keeping even the most glaringly innocent captives, like Hekmati, in chains for years.

The American concentration camp that George W. Bush has created at Guantanamo Bay is a sink of moral depravity, one of the most poisonous of the noxious Terror War fruits. And it has grown directly from the “good war” in Afghanistan. Indeed, it was first created to hold the captives and kidnap victims taken from Afghanistan. The rank evil of Guantanamo is part and parcel of the “good war,” as is Iraq, and every other operation of the Terror War, at home and abroad.

As a Jewish agitator killed by the unipolar power of his day once said: A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. There is no “good war” in the Terror Imperium.

Note: For more on the inextricable links between the Afghan war and Bush’s gulag tortures, see this piece from Scott Horton at Harper’s.

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.

Illusion of Choice By Mazin Qumsiyeh

Dandelion Salad

By Mazin Qumsiyeh
January 2, 2008

The illusion of choices in the US elections: Does it herald the dissolution of these United States of America?

The 2008 presidential elections were likened to the World Wrestling Federation matches: take time and energy but obviously fixed/staged. A more apt analogy would go beyond these elections: the whole political system in the US is a theater play with predictable script but different actors.  Yet, the damage caused by elected officials is getting so severe that another four years may finish off the experiment that is otherwise known as the USA (whether those are of a Clinton, McCain, Obama, or Romney administration).

Candidates of both parties are allowed to advance to final rounds whether in congressional or presidential elections only if they are cleared by the real powers to be.  This is evident from issues they can and cannot tackle. The cleared Democratic and the Republican nominees cannot for example tackle the broken system with no proportional representation (rather than winner takes all) and no system to allow instant runoff elections.  Both cleared nominees must believe in maintaining the US Empire by force and are only allowed to differ in tactics of advancing the “white man’s burden” of “civilizing” and “improving” the world. They will not be asked about why US troops are stationed in 140 countries. Cleared Candidates of both parties will continue to support pouring billions directly into Israel and many more billions to support conflicts perceived to help Israel (e.g. Iraq and Iran) or help bring money to coffers of wealthy corporations. ExonMobile just set a world record with PROFITS in 2007 exceeding $40 BILLION. Both will ignore (or at best pay lip service to) the racial and economic divides that are growing.  Both will ignore the inability to face-up to the US criminal history (Slavery, Genocide of Native Americans, support of brutal dictators abroad, militarism etc).

Both have no interest, let alone ideas, in tackling the entrenched military-industrial complex that is bankrupting the US.  They all support the pathetic “stimulus package” (with minor variations) that will give some $600 tax rebates to 117 million Americans so that “they can spend it” and stimulate the economy. Yet the real issues gate keepers will not allow to be addressed:  trillions in private debts (corporate and individual), $9 trillion in government debt (which means our children will have to pay for it), a multi-trillion dollar mortgage debacle involving large scale fraud, the scandal of a raided/depleted social security safety net, the collapse of the fiat currency otherwise known as the US dollar, and much more. Yes, some candidates maybe allowed to pay lip service to reducing government deficits but the system is now beyond that.  Corporations (e.g. General electric, United Technologies) and governments (e.g. Israel) who sucked up these trillions are getting to a point where they do not need the United States as a functioning or stable economic system but only a military power overseas to guard their interests there.

…continued

h/t: ICH

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.

Message of the Day: The Presence of God

Dandelion Salad

From http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dailyseed/messages

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Daily Spiritual Seed
– resources for prayer and spiritual growth

MESSAGE OF THE DAY

“The presence of God” means a lively, attentive realization of God’s absolute presence — God is everywhere, in all places, in all things, in all people. Wherever birds fly, they encounter the air; so wherever we go or wherever we are, we find God present.

SCRIPTURE READINGS

http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/

2 Sm 18:9-10, 14b, 24-25a, 30-19:3; Ps 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6; Mk
5:21-43

R. (1a) Listen, Lord, and answer me.

Incline your ear, O LORD; answer me,
for I am afflicted and poor.
Keep my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God.

Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for to you I call all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in kindness to all who call upon you.
Hearken, O LORD, to my prayer
and attend to the sound of my pleading.

GOSPEL MEDITATION

– from http://www.dailyscripture.net/

In Jesus we see the infinite love of God extending to each and every individual as he gives freely and wholly of himself to each person he meets. Do you approach the Lord with confident expectation that he will hear your request and act?

“Lord Jesus, you love each of us individually with a unique and personal love. Touch my life with your saving power, heal and restore me to fullness of life. Help me to give wholly of myself in loving service to others.”

NOTES FROM A CLASSICAL WORK

“Sayings of Light and Love,” by St. John of the Cross (jottings from his notebooks)

46. If you make use of your reason, you are like one who eats substantial food; but if you are moved by the satisfaction of your will, you are like one who eats insipid fruit.

see

Message of the Day: Love and Forgiveness

Wisdom From Ephesus: The Gospel of John

That You May Be Certain: The Gospel of Luke

The Dawning: Christianity in the Roman Empire

The Jewish Foundation of Christianity

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

Timewatch: Operation Gladio – Behind False Flag Terrorism & 9/11 (1992)

Dandelion Salad

Replaced video Mar. 8, 2013

TheArjan1982·Oct 19, 2011

Operation Gladio is undisputed historical fact. Gladio was part of a post-World War II program set up by the CIA and NATO supposedly to thwart future Soviet/communist invasions or influence in Italy and Western Europe. In fact, it became a state-sponsored right-wing terrorist network, involved in false flag operations and the subversion of democracy.

Continue reading

Gladio – Death Plan For Democracy by Peter Chamberlin

Dandelion Salad

by Peter Chamberlin
Global Research
February 5, 2008

In late January 2008, a secret paramilitary group (formerly?) allied with America was busted in Turkey. Thirteen members of a shadowy right-wing group in Turkey were charged with “forming an armed terrorist group in order to provoke members of the public into armed revolt against the government.”

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Racism & Police Brutality Cluster Fuck By William Mac (+ video)

Dandelion Salad

ThisWeekInTime

February 05, 2008

This Week in Time has been all about Police Brutality and Racism. William Mac explains two outstanding examples of Police Brutality and racism that took place in Ohio and explains why these incidents are not, in any way, rare.

Read more on the blog at the following URL:

http://www.william-mac.com/thisweekin… (no longer available)

Continue reading

FISA Speeches in the Senate + Feingold calls it a Police State (videos)

Go to selise for the latest videos, as he/she has uploaded more.  ~ Lo

Updated: Feb 6, 2008

Dandelion Salad

selise

20080131 – Senator Harry Reid

announces the UC (unanimous consent) agreement on FISA legislation.

Added: February 01, 2008

From the comments:

“Retroactive Immunity passed? Just excellent. What spine.”

“i think that must be a misstatement by the cspan announcer.”

20080204 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse-FISA debate 2:30pm

senator sheldon whitehouse speaks on FISA debate. for more see emptywheel’s blog at:
http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/200…

Added: February 04, 2008

20080204 Senator Russ Feingold FISA debate 3pm

senator feingold’s first statement of the day on the senate floor for the FISA debate – a small clip. for more, see emptywheel’s blog at:
http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/200…

20080204 Senator Cardin FISA debate 4:50pm

sm clip from senator cardin’s second statement of the day on the senate floor for the FISA debate.

20080204 Senator Reid FISA debate 6pm

senator reid gets a bit upset.

20080204 pt1/3 Senators Bond Rockefeller Feingold-FISA 5pm

Sentators Bond, Rockefeller and Feingold debate FISA on the senate floor. this clip is part 1 of 3 a playlist, watch the playlist for the complete sequence. part 1 starts at about 5pm.
for more see emptywheel’s blog:
http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/200…
see emptywheel’s blog for more: http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/200…

20080204 pt2/3 Senators Bond Rockefeller Feingold-FISA 5pm

Sentators Bond, Rockefeller and Feingold debate FISA on the senate floor. this clip is part 2 of 3 a playlist, watch the playlist for the complete sequence. part 1 starts at about 5pm.

Added: February 05, 2008

20080204 pt3/3 Senators Bond Rockefeller Feingold-FISA 5pm

Sentators Bond, Rockefeller and Feingold debate FISA on the senate floor. this clip is part 3 of 3 in a playlist, watch the playlist for the complete sequence. part 1 starts at about 5pm.

Updated

20080205 Senator Feingold – sm clip – FISA 5pm

“that’s a police state, mr. president! not the united states of america!”
FISA debate. for more, see emptywheel’s blog:
http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/200…

Updated: Feb 6, 2008

20080205 Senator Feingold 2 FISA 5pm

Senator Feingold debates FISA on the senate floor

20080205 Senator Feingold 1 FISA 4:50pm

20080206 Senator Feingold 1 FISA 11:20am

senator feingold debates fisa on the senate floor. his first statement of the day. for more, see emptywheel’s live blogging at:
http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/200…

20080206 Senator Feingold 2 FISA 11:37am

20080206 Senator Rockefeller FISA sm clip 2:16pm

see

Tell Your Senators: No Retroactive Amnesty, Support the Dodd-Feingold Amendment

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: FISA (video)

Harry Reid: FISA Deal With Dodd, Feingold in the Works (video)

In opposition to the Protect America Act By Rep. Ron Paul, M.D.

Democrats standing up to Bush on warrantless wiretap bill by Nick Juliano