Mosaic News – 2/28/08: World News from the Middle East

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
“German Minister’s Statement Outrages Muslims,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Nine Palestinians Killed in Gaza,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Al Qaeda Infiltrates Gaza,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Sharon’s Son Charged With Corruption,” IBA TV, Israel
“Iran Praised Over Afghan Refugees,” IRIB2 TV, Iran
“Cancer Spreads Among Iraqi Children,” Syria TV, Syria
“Ankara Refuses Setting Timetable for Withdrawal from N. Iraq,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Sudanese Refugees Return South,” Sudan TV, Sudan
“Kosovo’s Independence a Bargaining Chip Between Russia & US,” ANB TV, England
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

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Terrorized by ‘War on Terror’ By Zbigniew Brzezinski

Dandelion Salad

By Zbigniew Brzezinski
ICH
28/02/08 “Washington Post

How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America

The “war on terror” has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.

The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare — political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.

But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a “war on terror” did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Support for President Bush in the 2004 elections was also mobilized in part by the notion that “a nation at war” does not change its commander in chief in midstream. The sense of a pervasive but otherwise imprecise danger was thus channeled in a politically expedient direction by the mobilizing appeal of being “at war.”

To justify the “war on terror,” the administration has lately crafted a false historical narrative that could even become a self-fulfilling prophecy. By claiming that its war is similar to earlier U.S. struggles against Nazism and then Stalinism (while ignoring the fact that both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were first-rate military powers, a status al-Qaeda neither has nor can achieve), the administration could be preparing the case for war with Iran. Such war would then plunge America into a protracted conflict spanning Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and perhaps also Pakistan.

The culture of fear is like a genie that has been let out of its bottle. It acquires a life of its own — and can become demoralizing. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”; nor is it the calm America that waged the Cold War with quiet persistence despite the knowledge that a real war could be initiated abruptly within minutes and prompt the death of 100 million Americans within just a few hours. We are now divided, uncertain and potentially very susceptible to panic in the event of another terrorist act in the United States itself.

That is the result of five years of almost continuous national brainwashing on the subject of terror, quite unlike the more muted reactions of several other nations (Britain, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, to mention just a few) that also have suffered painful terrorist acts. In his latest justification for his war in Iraq, President Bush even claims absurdly that he has to continue waging it lest al-Qaeda cross the Atlantic to launch a war of terror here in the United States.

Such fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats. That puts a premium on the presentation of credible scenarios of ever-more-horrifying acts of violence, sometimes even with blueprints for their implementation.

That America has become insecure and more paranoid is hardly debatable. A recent study reported that in 2003, Congress identified 160 sites as potentially important national targets for would-be terrorists. With lobbyists weighing in, by the end of that year the list had grown to 1,849; by the end of 2004, to 28,360; by 2005, to 77,769. The national database of possible targets now has some 300,000 items in it, including the Sears Tower in Chicago and an Illinois Apple and Pork Festival.

Just last week, here in Washington, on my way to visit a journalistic office, I had to pass through one of the absurd “security checks” that have proliferated in almost all the privately owned office buildings in this capital — and in New York City. A uniformed guard required me to fill out a form, show an I.D. and in this case explain in writing the purpose of my visit. Would a visiting terrorist indicate in writing that the purpose is “to blow up the building”? Would the guard be able to arrest such a self-confessing, would-be suicide bomber? To make matters more absurd, large department stores, with their crowds of shoppers, do not have any comparable procedures. Nor do concert halls or movie theaters. Yet such “security” procedures have become routine, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and further contributing to a siege mentality.

Government at every level has stimulated the paranoia. Consider, for example, the electronic billboards over interstate highways urging motorists to “Report Suspicious Activity” (drivers in turbans?). Some mass media have made their own contribution. The cable channels and some print media have found that horror scenarios attract audiences, while terror “experts” as “consultants” provide authenticity for the apocalyptic visions fed to the American public. Hence the proliferation of programs with bearded “terrorists” as the central villains. Their general effect is to reinforce the sense of the unknown but lurking danger that is said to increasingly threaten the lives of all Americans.

The entertainment industry has also jumped into the act. Hence the TV serials and films in which the evil characters have recognizable Arab features, sometimes highlighted by religious gestures, that exploit public anxiety and stimulate Islamophobia. Arab facial stereotypes, particularly in newspaper cartoons, have at times been rendered in a manner sadly reminiscent of the Nazi anti-Semitic campaigns. Lately, even some college student organizations have become involved in such propagation, apparently oblivious to the menacing connection between the stimulation of racial and religious hatreds and the unleashing of the unprecedented crimes of the Holocaust.

The atmosphere generated by the “war on terror” has encouraged legal and political harassment of Arab Americans (generally loyal Americans) for conduct that has not been unique to them. A case in point is the reported harassment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its attempts to emulate, not very successfully, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Some House Republicans recently described CAIR members as “terrorist apologists” who should not be allowed to use a Capitol meeting room for a panel discussion.

Social discrimination, for example toward Muslim air travelers, has also been its unintended byproduct. Not surprisingly, animus toward the United States even among Muslims otherwise not particularly concerned with the Middle East has intensified, while America’s reputation as a leader in fostering constructive interracial and interreligious relations has suffered egregiously.

The record is even more troubling in the general area of civil rights. The culture of fear has bred intolerance, suspicion of foreigners and the adoption of legal procedures that undermine fundamental notions of justice. Innocent until proven guilty has been diluted if not undone, with some — even U.S. citizens — incarcerated for lengthy periods of time without effective and prompt access to due process. There is no known, hard evidence that such excess has prevented significant acts of terrorism, and convictions for would-be terrorists of any kind have been few and far between. Someday Americans will be as ashamed of this record as they now have become of the earlier instances in U.S. history of panic by the many prompting intolerance against the few.

In the meantime, the “war on terror” has gravely damaged the United States internationally. For Muslims, the similarity between the rough treatment of Iraqi civilians by the U.S. military and of the Palestinians by the Israelis has prompted a widespread sense of hostility toward the United States in general. It’s not the “war on terror” that angers Muslims watching the news on television, it’s the victimization of Arab civilians. And the resentment is not limited to Muslims. A recent BBC poll of 28,000 people in 27 countries that sought respondents’ assessments of the role of states in international affairs resulted in Israel, Iran and the United States being rated (in that order) as the states with “the most negative influence on the world.” Alas, for some that is the new axis of evil!

The events of 9/11 could have resulted in a truly global solidarity against extremism and terrorism. A global alliance of moderates, including Muslim ones, engaged in a deliberate campaign both to extirpate the specific terrorist networks and to terminate the political conflicts that spawn terrorism would have been more productive than a demagogically proclaimed and largely solitary U.S. “war on terror” against “Islamo-fascism.” Only a confidently determined and reasonable America can promote genuine international security which then leaves no political space for terrorism.

Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, “Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia”? Even in the face of future terrorist attacks, the likelihood of which cannot be denied, let us show some sense. Let us be true to our traditions.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, is the author most recently of “Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower” (Basic Books).


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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Behind Obama and Clinton: Who’s whispering in their ears says a lot by Prof. Stephen Zunes

A Manchurian Candidate in the White House? By Dave Lindorff

Dandelion Salad

By Dave Lindorff

With a viral campaign underway via email, right-wing radio, and on the street suggesting that Barack Obama is a black “Manchurian Candidate,” secretly trained as a Muslim fanatic who will insinuate himself into the White House, thence to undermine all that we hold dear, perhaps it is time to look at the Manchurian Candidate we already have in the White House, who, together with his handler over in Blair House, has pretty much done all the damage already.

George Bush came to office in 2001 promising a new era of integrity, civility and “compassionate conservatism,” an era of humble American foreign policy, and a bi-partisan approach to government.

What did we actually get?

Once in office, this chameleon president almost immediately set out to embroil the country in a major war in the Middle East against the nation of Iraq. The game plan was laid out at the president’s first National Security Council meeting, attended by Vice President Dick Cheney (the man holding Bush’s controller), Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neal (who later spilled the beans about the session).

Bush also famously ignored all warnings about the imminent attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. How much he and the rest of the administration knew about that attack in advance, or whether elements within the administration may have even helped it along, remains the subject of considerable interest and investigation and may never be answered, but it is clear that there were ample warnings about it, and he did nothing—even rudely blowing off a briefer who tried to alert him to the danger. Moreover, it is known that Israeli Mossad agents (who we know have close ties to both the US intelligence apparatus and to the Neocons who infest the Bush White House) did indeed have advance knowledge, and were set up across New York Harbor with a video camera to tape the attack on the Twin Towers (they were subsequently arrested by New Jersey police, only to be later released and sent back to Israel, through intercession by the US government). As well, we know that unidentified people made a killing by placing negative bets, called “puts,” on the stocks, several days before 9-11, of the two airlines that were hijacked, American and United, and of two investment banks that would be seriously hurt by the building collapses, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. (The puts were placed through an investment bank, Alex Brown, which until a year earlier had been headed by a man who moved over to become the number three person in the CIA.) It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the Bush/Cheney administration, at a minimum, wanted an attack on American soil, and a national disaster that would put the country on a war footing.

Certainly instead of rallying the public and defending the nation’s democratic traditions and its Constitution, Bush and his handlers after 9-11 immediately set in motion a concerted scare campaign to undermine both. While urging the public to buy sheets of plastic and duct tape to construct “safe rooms” in their homes, they rammed through Congress a deceitfully named measure, the so-called Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT Act), which effectively undermined most of the articles of the Bill of Rights (and which appeared, suspiciously, fully drawn up in bill form, only days after the attacks).

At the same time, the president, only one week after the attacks, obtained an Authorization for Use of Military Force for a military attack on the Taliban government in Afghanistan and on Al Qaeda forces in that country, which he subsequently interpreted broadly as an authorization for a global “war” on terror which he then claimed made him effectively a dictator with absolute power both at home and abroad (the so-called “unitary executive” theory). Under this claim of absolute power as commander in chief in time of war, Bush went on to order the use of torture against captives, foreign and domestic, including US citizens, to strip even US citizens of the right of habeas corpus—that is, the right to have their arrest and detention brought before a federal court—and to establish secret torture centers around the globe and on military installations in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba.

As well, even before the 9-11 attacks, the president began a sweeping program of electronic spying, run through the super-secret National Security Agency, on Americans’ telephone and internet activities. It was and remains a program that deliberately avoids seeking warrants and court approval even by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court—a body that has only rejected some five requests for warrants out of hundreds of thousands sought since its establishment in 1978.

Finally, in a perhaps fatal undermining of the Constitution, the president after 9-11 began a practice of simply refusing to enact or obey laws passed by the Congress, effectively rendering the legislative branch an impotent debating club.

Not content to simply explode or dismantle the legal foundations of the American government and rule of law, Bush and his handlers also went about systematically destroying the country’s basic institutions and even its economy.

The education system was fatally ensnared in a test-driven system called “No Child Left Behind,” which has in short order dumbed down public education to an extent shocking even to this already anti-intellectual society, with many schools simply giving up the teaching of art, literature or history, in order to focus desperately on math and reading in order that their students would do well enough on standardized tests to keep the schools from losing their funding.

The dollar has been cast adrift to become the new Lira as the government has gone on an unprecedented borrowing spree to fund endless war and ever-larger military budgets, while erasing the taxes on the wealthy, the super-rich, and corporations. Banks were given free rein to enter into all manner of risky ventures, leading to the current collapse in credit. Corporations were encouraged to ship their production and jobs overseas. Homeowners were encouraged to spend, spend, spend and to mortgage their homes to the hilt and then some. Towns, cities and pension funds were encouraged to invest in fantastic “structured” products that were actually towering card houses. Domestic car manufacturers were encouraged to build every larger, ever more voraciously gas-guzzling vehicles, pumping out ever larger quantities of carbon into the already overstressed atmosphere.

The nation’s infrastructure—its roads, dams, bridges, levies, airports, veterans hospitals etc.–were left to decay, with predictable results, the most dramatic of which was the loss of an entire city, New Orleans, to a routine Category 3 hurricane (after which, the president did nothing to rescue the survivors or fund a recovery).

Surveying at the appalling wreckage left after eight years of the Bush administration, it is hard to recognize the country that he started out with in 2001. A once proud nation—one that only a few years ago was admired around the world and that now is viewed as a pariah and a rogue state—today trembles before a handful of turbaned fanatics holed up in caves in the Hindu Kush, its trillion-dollar high-tech military colossus fought to a standstill in Iraq and Afghanistan by a few thousand brave men and women armed with RPGs, antique AK-47s and home-made roadside bombs. A nation that once was the envy of the world for its free society now has scientists afraid to report their findings, university professors afraid to support outspoken colleagues, members of Congress afraid to defend their Constitution, citizens afraid of their neighbors, journalists afraid of government criticism, lawyers afraid to defend clients…

Hey, this place starts to look and feel an awful lot like the China I lived in back in 1991!

Forget all the nonsense about Barack Obama being a closet Muslim. We already have our Manchurian Candidate in the White House, and he has largely accomplished what he was programmed to do: destroy the country.

The truth is this: If at the end of their second term, Bush and Cheney were to hop on a plane and fly off to a hideout in the mountains on the Afghan-Pakistan border, leaving a “Nya-nya!” note on the White House dining room table, few people would really be very surprised.
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DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based investigative journalist and columnist. His most recent book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006, and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.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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9/11

You Think You Are Free? By Linda S. Heard

Dandelion Salad

By Linda S. Heard
28/02/08 “ICH

Watching old movies makes me sad. I’m inevitably reminded of a kindlier, gentler world without cameras that spy on populations, where overseas travelling was pleasurable and privacy was an individual’s right.

Nowadays, states are usurping responsibilities that are rightfully those of their citizens. Western so-called democracies, in particular, are supposed to have governments that are servants of the people, whereas, in fact, the opposite is true. Under the guise of doing what’s best for us or ensuring our security, governments are exercising more and more control over our lives. And, tragically, we are facilitating this erosion of our own freedoms, mostly because we’re not even aware it’s happening.

The US and Britain are leading the pack in this encroaching Orwellian nightmare. “War is peace; Freedom is slavery; Ignorance is strength,” wrote George Orwell in his book 1984. In recent years, they have waged wars in the name of peace, put entire populations under their thumb in the name of freedom while government spin and a compliant media serve to keep people ignorant about their leaders’ true motives.

If we only knew we are being indoctrinated to offer up our personal freedoms to save ourselves from a horrible fate at the hands of nicotine, calories and Al Qaida. We are being taught to fear asylum seekers, climate change, crazed terrorists and even each other. Western governments are perfecting the politics of fear because fearful populaces will do their bidding without question and willingly subject themselves to control.

Britain has become a master of this technique. It currently holds a database containing the DNA of 4.5 million people, arrested for both serious crimes and minor infractions. The police have found this tool so useful they are pushing to expand it to cover everyone in the country although the Home Office has rejected the idea for the moment.

By 2012 Britons over 16 will be required to hold biometric ID cards checkable by police, immigration and customs officials, as well as public and private bodies such as travel agencies, airlines, banks and even retailers.

By 2010, Britain is also expected to incorporate Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips in passports designed to carry a wealth of personal data on travellers.

Embedded

Further, there is a plan to embed RFID chips in vehicle number plates allowing authorities the capability of identifying any vehicle anywhere in all weather. RFID chips have been embedded on every packet of cigarettes manufactured in the UK since October last year, while others have been fitted to trash cans officially to boost the rate of garbage recycling. Pets entering Britain from abroad are also chipped.

Apparently, the government is also considering injecting prisoners with RFID tags. If that goes ahead it’s surely the slippery slope to babies being chipped at birth.

The US has forced European airlines to hand over 19 pieces of information on travellers prior to their departure and wants to extend this one-way data flow to passengers over-flying the US en route to Central America and the Caribbean. The UK wants the system to be used throughout Europe and domestically.

Not only do authorities want to control Britons’ movements, they are also after their thoughts. Remember the Orwellian Thought Police, who used surveillance methods and psychological profiles to interpret the future goals of potential dissenters and deviants? This is already happening in the UK where people can expect to be caught on camera up to 300 times per day and where their phone calls and Internet browsing is routinely monitored.

Earlier this month, three British appellate judges had the good sense to quash the convictions of five young Muslims prosecuted for simply downloading “extremist propaganda” from the Internet. There was no other evidence against them and no proof they intended to act on any message contained in such material. In other words, their initial conviction was purely based on thought crime. The judgment read: “Literature may be stored in a book or on a bookshelf, or on a computer drive, without any intention on the part of the possessor to make any future use of it all.”

Big Brother Britain isn’t working. Indeed, the prisons are overflowing and violent crime is on the up-and-up, much of it fuelled by drugs and alcohol. You’ve surely heard the expression “give a dog a bad name . . .” Could it be that when law-abiding citizens are prejudged as criminals some of them might conclude, “What the heck”?

But Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four isn’t exactly where Britain is headed. The reality is a combination of Orwell’s theories and those set-out in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

As the American author Neil Postman wrote in his book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, whereas “Orwell feared the truth would be concealed from us, Huxley feared the truth would be droned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture” consumed by “an almost infinite appetite for distractions”.

In a way they were both right. Unless we tear ourselves away from our pretty toys and distractions just long enough to remove our rose-coloured specs, freedom will be obsolete except as a slogan above the gate of the Ministry of Truth.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at heardonthegrapevines@yahoo.co.uk.


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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ACLU calls out US over ‘absurd bloating’ of terror watch list

Prisoners ‘to be chipped like dogs’ by Brian Brady

RFID

US Sends Warships to Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Dandelion Salad

By ANNE GEARAN and ROBERT BURNS
Feb 28, 2008
Associated Press Writers

…continued

h/t: CLG

***

USS Cole ‘ordered to position off Lebanese coast’

By Hussein Abdallah
Daily Star staff
Friday, February 29, 2008

BEIRUT: A US Navy warship has been ordered to take up station off Lebanon’s coast as a “show of support” as the standoff between Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government and the opposition continues, the Reuters news agency quoted an official in Washington as saying on Thursday.

According to the agency, the USS Cole – the same high-tech destroyer whose bombing by Al-Qaeda militants off Yemen in 2000 killed 17 sailors – left Malta on Tuesday and will remain over the horizon, at least for the time being.

…continued

h/t: CLG

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.

God Bless Ralph Nader By Joel Hirschhorn

Dandelion Salad

By Joel Hirschhorn
Thomas Paine’s Corner
2/28/08

Because he wants to salvage American democracy and help Americans, Ralph Nader is running for president again. He deserves the support of all Americans that see themselves as progressives, dissidents, independents, and patriots who want to remove the stranglehold of the two-party plutocracy on our political system.

When it comes to being an honest, proven and trustworthy change agent, Nader is the gold standard. So why are so many Democrats going ballistic and spewing hate towards Nader?

They are in denial about both Obama and Clinton. Both owe much to the corporate and business world that Nader has waged war against for decades. Like Clinton, Obama has taken huge amounts of money from several business sectors. Both refuse to advocate a single payer universal health care system that Nader champions; this protects the enormously profitable health insurance industry.

They are crazy-glued to their misplaced blame of Nader for the Bush victory in 2000, even though several other indisputable factors also explain Gore’s loss, including his poor campaign that was unable to deliver his home state of Tennessee, the incompetence of the Democratic Party to stop the Supreme Court’s disgraceful action, and the cowardly behavior of the Democratic Party over many decades that kept them from working to replace the Electoral College with the popular vote. And rather than blame Nader for the Iraq war, the Democrats have only themselves to blame, not only for authorizing the war but for many assaults on the Constitution that Bush has gotten away with.

They fear the public becoming more aware of the many policy positions of Obama and Clinton that are downright asinine, in contrast to Nader’s sound positions. For example, Nader is against nuclear power, while Obama has had a very cozy relationship with powerful people in that industry. And Nader wants a carbon pollution tax to combat global warming, that neither Obama nor Clinton favor. And no surprise, Nader makes the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney that Obama and Clinton are too cowardly to embrace. He also straightforwardly supports total public financing of political campaigns – the only way to rid our political system of corrupt forces.

Meanwhile, Obama is backing away from his written commitment to using public financing for the general election.

They fear Nader siphoning enough votes away from the Democratic nominee to make McCain president, despite Nader having little campaign money compared to the Democratic nominee. What happened to all that yes-we-can confidence? Do the Democrats think that all those people who have gone nuts over Obama will finally see the light and reject their political messiah? This is only plausible if the Democratic bigwigs and pundits really know that Nader’s positions and arguments (certainly not his slick rhetoric or personality) have the capability of breaking through the hope-hysteria of the army of Obamatons.

They fear Nader being persuasive enough to move the Democratic nominee to the left (more populist and progressive) and making it more difficulty in beating McCain and his appeal to independents. Democrats prefer the centrist bait and switch approach to sucker in voters and then surprise them after the election.

They fear the public seeing a truth-telling, independent candidate not driven by a thirst for political power. Nader is not running for president again because of ego or some deep ambition to be president, but rather out of a sense of obligation and responsibility to serve the public and the nation, as he has done for many decades. He is the only credible opponent to corporate special interests. It is not a matter of exercising his constitutional right, it is a matter of being a truer populist and progressive than the Democratic nominee.

The Los Angeles Times editorialized in support of Nader: “The Democrats and Republicans may believe your vote belongs to one or the other of them before it belongs to you, but they are wrong. More choices among candidates mean more opportunities for you to make your views known in an election.” Nader said. “It’s real political bigotry by the two major parties who have locked up the system with these ballot access obstructions against more voices and choices and giving voters a chance to have their free choice of candidates.”

How sad that Democrats show such little respect for a patriotic dissident like Nader, who has always been a troublemaker fighting for ordinary Americans.

In many ways the Nader candidacy is not about him becoming the best president possible, but rather in pushing any Democrat who becomes president to be a far better one by serving the public interest in the noble Nader tradition. A vote for Nader is always a vote for rebooting American democracy. All the nasty talk from Democrats about Nader insults we the people more than Nader.

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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Matt Gonzalez is Nader’s Vice Presidential Running Mate (+ vid)

It’s an Election, Not a Coronation by Rosemarie Jackowski

Pariah or Prophet? By Chris Hedges

Ralph Nader on Israel/Palestine Impeachment & the Candidates

Ralph Nader on Fox Business (vid) + Bloomberg: What spoiler?

In defense of Ralph Nader (video)

Nader-Ralph

www.votenader.org/

It Does Happen In America – The Political Trial of Don Siegelman + Siegelman Updates

Dandelion Salad

Updated: Mar 5, 2008

Here’s another link to the article complete with hyperlinks: It Does Happen In America – The Political Trial of Don Siegelman by Paul Craig Roberts

Updated: Mar 1, 2008

Don Siegelman, a popular Democratic governor of Alabama, a Republican state, was framed in a crooked trial, convicted on June 29, 2006, and sent to Federal prison by the corrupt and immoral Bush administration.

The frame-up of Siegelman and businessman Richard Scrushy is so crystal clear and blatant that 52 former state attorney generals from across America, both Republicans and Democrats, have urged the US Congress to investigate the Bush administration’s use of the US Department of Justice to rid themselves of a Democratic governor who “they could not beat fair and square,” according to Grant Woods, former Republican Attorney General of Arizona and co-chair of the McCain for President leadership committee. Woods says that he has never seen a case with so “many red flags pointing to injustice.”

…continued

***

Siegelman Updates

Scott Horton

Harper’s Magazine
February 29, 2008

The Alabama G.O.P. Wrestles with Retraction
One of the most interesting sideshows coming out of the transmission of the 60 Minutes segment dealing with former Alabama Governor Don E. Siegelman has been the conduct of the Alabama G.O.P. The CBS piece features direct charges leveled at Karl Rove and at Bush Administration prosecutors.

…continued

see more on the case:

Dan Abrams: Don Siegelman Case (video) + Karl Rove & the Falsely Imprisoned Gov of AL

Is Alabama Governor in Jail because he’s a Democrat? (videos)

60 Minutes: Don Siegelman (vids) + Parts of Broadcast Blocked in Alabama…

Kafka Incorporated: Of Captives, Casualties, Kosovo-stan & the Global Scam

The Gulag Comes To The USA By Ernest Partridge

TPMtv: More Rove Dirty Work? (video)

Alabama Getaway: Bush-Rove Legal Perversion Goes South by Chris Floyd

Siegelman-Don

Kucinich Weighs in on the Fight for Ohio (audio link)

Dandelion Salad

NPR
February 28, 2008

Audio link [8 min 35 sec]

Ohio congressman and former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich discusses his expectations for his state’s upcoming primary elections. In the fight for Democratic delegates, Ohio and Texas are known as essential states for presidential contenders.

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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Ron Paul and Kucinich safe in their congressional districts

Canadian Embassy: Report On Obama And NAFTA Is False

Kucinich-Dennis

Dismissing Ron Paul By Ivan Eland

Dandelion Salad

By Ivan Eland
Consortium News
February 28, 2008

Editor’s Note: For most of George W. Bush’s presidency, the Washington press corps acted like the submissive subjects of the emperor whose overweening vanity led him to think he was wearing the finest clothes when he actually was prancing about naked.

In Campaign 2008, Rep. Ron Paul played the role of the child who dared state the obvious – and was hushed up by shocked journalists who dismissed him as a kook. In the guest essay, the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland dissents: Continue reading

Ron Paul and Kucinich safe in their congressional districts

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Gordon
Thursday, February 28th

I’d been hearing plenty of consistent rumors that Ron Paul was polling poorly in his congressional district, but didn’t publish any of them because there was no way to verify the sources—and some of the reports I had heard seemed a bit suspect. Ballot Access News has just linked to data which suggests that the opposite is true. Additionally, Dennis Kucinich seems safe in his district, as well.

…continued

read more | digg story

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Kucinich-Dennis

Paul-Ron

Don’t Worry About Nader By Matthew Rothschild

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By Matthew Rothschild
The Progressive
February 25, 2008

I don’t know why there’s such a hullabaloo about Ralph Nader’s announcement that he’s running for President again.

I know a lot of people hold grudges against Nader for Gore’s defeat in 2000, and I’m not going to deny he played some role. But so, too, did Gore himself. So, too, did Katherine Harris. So, too, did the Supreme Court.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a right to run.

And it doesn’t mean he can’t possibly do some good by running.

One function he could play is to point out how undemocratic our two party system is, how rigged it is against third party or independent challengers. He’s doing that already.

Another, even more important function, is to raise issues that no other candidate is raising, and he’s started to do that already, too.

Nader’s presence is a reminder that Obama doesn’t represent the left pole in American politics, and it is salutary to call Obama on his support for a bloated Pentagon budget, or his reluctance to lead on the issue of Israel and Palestine, or single-payer health care.

Still, Nader serves as a reminder that the Democrats don’t automatically own the votes of those who disagree with the Republican agenda, and that Barack Obama is not as progressive as many of his supporters would hope.

…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.

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Matt Gonzalez is Nader’s Vice Presidential Running Mate

It’s an Election, Not a Coronation by Rosemarie Jackowski

Pariah or Prophet? By Chris Hedges

Ralph Nader on Israel/Palestine Impeachment & the Candidates

Ralph Nader on Fox Business (vid) + Bloomberg: What spoiler?

In defense of Ralph Nader (video)

Nader-Ralph

www.votenader.org/

Wired publishes photographs of Abu Ghraib (over 18 only)

Dandelion Salad

RAW STORY
Thursday February 28, 2008

Warning: GRAPHIC: INCLUDES NUDITY AND DEATH

The following images, published today at Wired.com, have been compiled so viewers can see them in their entirety without having to reload pages. Wired obtained them from an expert defense witness in the Abu Ghraib case, psychologist Philip Zimbardo.

Zimbardo speaks tomorrow at a conference, delivering a talk that reflects on his book, “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil.” Read about it here.

In their publication, the magazine wrote, “Many of the images are explicit and gruesome, depicting nudity, degradation, simulated sex acts and guards posing with decaying corpses. Viewer discretion is advised.”

Perhaps the most comprehensive multimedia compilation of images from the troubled US prison in Iraq is available at Salon.com, which published 279 photos and 19 videos in 2006.

RAW STORY has traditionally published more graphic images than the American press, in an effort to expose the true dark toll of war. Our 2005 article, “The American Iraq,” documented photographs taken by former Iraq vets. The accompanying graphic photographs taken by veterans of the Iraq war — which most of American has not seen — are available at UnderMars.com. These images are also graphic, and show photographs of Iraqis killed by bombings and US troops.

…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.

FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report + Who is Bayoumi?

Dandelion Salad

by Larisa Alexandrovna
Raw Story
Thursday February 28, 2008

Hijacker had post-9/11 flights scheduled, files say

Newly-released records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request contradict the 9/11 Commission’s report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and raise fresh questions about the role of Saudi government officials in connection to the hijackers.

The nearly 300 pages of a Federal Bureau of Investigation timeline used by the 9/11 Commission as the basis for many of its findings were acquired through a FOIA request filed by Kevin Fenton, a 26 year old translator from the Czech Republic. The FBI released the 298-page “hijacker timeline” Feb. 4.

The FBI timeline reveals that alleged hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi, who was aboard the United Airlines flight which crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, had booked a future flight to San Francisco. He also had a ticket for a trip from Casablanca to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.

…continued

***

Page 2: FBI documents contradict 9/11 Commission report

by Larisa Alexandrovna
Raw Story
Thursday February 28, 2008

Who is Bayoumi?

Much has been reported about Omar al-Bayoumi and his alleged relationship with the government of Saudi Arabia. In his recent book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, New York Times reporter Phillip Shenon discusses at length the questions surrounding Bayoumi and his ties to the Saudi government.

“Bayoumi seemed clearly to be working for some part of the Saudi government,” Shenon wrote on page 52. “He entered the United States as a business student and had lived San Diego since 1996. He was on the payroll of an aviation contractor to the Saudi government, paid about $2,800 a month, but apparently did no work for the company.”

…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.

Bush Press Conference 02.28.08 (videos)

Dandelion Salad

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

February 28, 2008
MSNBC Bush Press Conference

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Playing Politics With Intelligence By Dan Froomkin

Has Bush Been Spying, Blackmailing Congressional Democrats? By Paul Craig Roberts

The Calm Before the Conflagration By Chris Hedges

New Study on the Cost of the Iraq War THREE TRILLION DOLLARS

Iraq: Unemployment Too Becomes an Epidemic by Ahmed Ali & Dahr Jamail

In Tatters Beneath a Surge of Claims by Ali al-Fadhily & Dahr Jamail

Carolyn Baker Reviews Dmitry Orlov’s “Re-Inventing Collapse”

Economy

Iraq

Turkey

Matt Gonzalez is Nader’s Vice Presidential Running Mate (+ videos)

Dandelion Salad

Nader for President 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008 at 12:06:00 PM

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 28, 2008

Contact Press Office: 202.360.3273

Matt Gonzalez is Ralph Nader’s Vice Presidential running mate.

In 2000, Gonzalez was elected to the 11 member San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which supervises a city with a budget of $6 billion. He became President of the Board three years later. Continue reading