The UN Contributed to the Establishment of a Mafia-State in Kosovo by Michel Chossudovsky (2000)

Dandelion Salad

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, March 1, 2008

International Tribunal for U.S./NATO War Crimes in Yugoslavia – 2000-06-10

The EU, the US, NATO and the UN Mission in Kosovo bear responsibility in the criminalization of Kosovo State institutions.

The following article, written in March 2000, focusses on the formation of a Kosovar Mafia State integrated by former members of the KLA.

With the February 2008 declaration of Independence, this process has reached its completion. Kosovo is not a mafia state in its own right, it is a US/EU protectorate under NATO military rule. The government of Kosovo, which has extensive links to organized crime, serves the interests of the US-NATO occupation.


Michel Chossudovsky, 1 March 2008

June 10, 2000 International Tribunal for U.S./NATO War Crimes in Yugoslavia

THE UNITED NATIONS APPOINTS AN ALLEGED WAR CRIMINAL IN KOSOVO

By Professor Michel Chossudovsky

Professor Michel Chossudovsky (Canada), an expert historian and economist who has taken part in many international forums on the Balkans, showed the criminal role of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army and its ties to U.S. and German intelligence services, ties to NATO and the United Nations Rep. Bernard Kouchner. Michel Chossudovsky, professor of economics, University of Ottawa, author of a forthcoming book entitled “War, Globalization and the New World Order”

The United Nations in a recent [2000] report submitted to Secretary General Kofi Annan now concedes that the Kosovo Protection Force (KPC) (inaugurated under UN auspices in September 1999) has been involved in “criminal activities-killings, ill-treatment/torture, illegal policing, abuse of authority, intimidation, breaches of political neutrality and hate speech”1.

And in a cruel irony, “the United Nations is paying the salaries of many of the gangsters.”2 The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) –known for its connections to organized crime and the Balkans narcotics traffic was officially dissolved and transformed into the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC) modelled on the US National Guard. Funded by US military aid, the KPC is trained by Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), a mercenary outfit based in Alexandria, Virginia.

The KPC was slated by the United Nations to become –in the words of UNMIK Special Representative Bernard Kouchner [now France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs] “a civilian, disciplined, uniformed and multi-ethnic emergency response… with a mandate to “providing humanitarian assistance… and contributing to rebuilding infrastructure and communities….”3

Shift in military labels. KLA Commander Agim Ceku was appointed Chief of Staff of Kosovo’s newly created Armed Forces. In the words of Bernard Kouchner during the inauguration ceremony: I look to him [Agim Ceku] to lead the new members of the Corps in the footsteps of Cincinnatus, the model citizen-soldier of ancient Rome — who left his plow standing in the field to answer the call to arms & and at the end of the war refused all honors in order to return to his civic duties.4

Barely a few weeks later, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced it was “investigating Ceku for alleged war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in Croatia between 1993 and 1995.” 5 The information, however, was known to military and intelligence analysts well in advance of Ceku’s appointment. It had been withheld from public opinion by the ICTY during the mandate of Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour. Jane Defence Weekly (10 May 1999) had confirmed that Ceku had “masterminded the successful HV [Croatian] offensive at Medak [in 1993] and in 1995 was one of the key planners of the successful Operation ‘Storm “. United Nations Special Representative Dr. Bernard Kouchner (who is a 1999 Nobel Peace Laureate for his role as co-founder of Doctors without Borders) must have known.

The UN and NATO had access to the files of the ICTY. The Tribunal’s Chief Prosecutor knew and had the responsibility under the statutes of the ICTY of reporting the matter to the UN Secretary General. In a cruel irony, the United Nations had casually proceeded with the appointment of an individual who according to the files of a United Nations body (namely the ICTY) was an alleged war criminal. Surely some questions should have been asked.

When the information was released barely a few weeks after Ceku’s appointment: “a diplomat close to Bernard Kouchner the UN special representative [declared] “If we lose him {Agim Ceku] it will be a disaster,” … “When you get to the second level of the TMK [Kosovo Protection Corps], you’re down to a bunch of local thugs.”… 6 “American diplomats… have suggested any indictment of Ceku would most likely be “sealed” and thereby kept out of the public domain… “[T]he NATO-led peacekeeping force, could not contemplate a public relations disaster with the Albanians by arresting Ceku”.7 According to the Sunday Times (London), “[t]he possibility that Ceku, a respected figure in Kosovo, could be accused of war crimes, [had] sent shivers through the international community… “8.

Meanwhile, the ICTY had reassured public opinion that the “[T]he court’s inquiries … relate[d] to atrocities committed in Krajina, … between 1993 and 1995″… Ceku’s record in Kosovo itself is not thought to be in question, although the office of Carla del Ponte, the new chief prosecutor, said an investigation into his activities with the KLA could not be ruled out…”9

War Criminals call the Shots Visibly what was shaping up in the wake of the bombings in Kosovo was the continuity of NATO’s operation in the Balkans as well as its reliance on war criminals in its “peace-keeping” undertakings. Military personnel and UN bureaucrats previously stationed in Croatia and Bosnia had been routinely reassigned to Kosovo. Lieutenant General Mike Jackson was posted to Kosovo as KFOR Commander following his earlier stint in Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia. In the immediate wake of the 1995 ethnic massacres in Krajina (for which Agim Ceku is under investigation by the ICTY), General Michael Jackson was put in charge as IFOR commander, for organising the return of Serbs “to lands taken by Croatian HVO forces in the 1995 Krajina offensive”.10

And in this capacity Jackson had “urged that the resettlement [of Krajina Serbs] not [be] rushed to avoid tension [with the Croatians]” while also warning returning Serbs “of the extent of the [land] mine threat.”11. In retrospect, recalling the events of early 1996, very few Krajina Serbs were allowed to return to their homes under the protection of the United Nations. According to “Veritas” (a Belgrade based organization of Serbian refugees from Croatia), some 10,000-15,000 Serbs were able to resettle in Croatia. Jackson’s experience in “ethnic warfare,” however predates the Balkans. From his earlier posting In Northern Ireland as a young captain, Jackson was second in command in the “Bloody Sunday” massacre of civilians in Derry in 1972.

Under the orders of Lieutenant Coronel Derek Wilford, Captain Jackson and thirteen other soldiers of the parachute regiment opened fire “on a peaceful protest by the Northern Ireland civil rights association opposing discrimination against Catholics. In just 30 minutes, 13 people were shot dead and a further 13 injured. Those who died were killed by a single bullet to the head or body, indicating that they had been deliberately targeted. No weapons were found on any of the deceased.”12 Jackson’s role in “Bloody Sunday” “did not hinder his Military career.” 13 From his early stint in Northern Ireland, he had been reassigned under United Nations auspices to the theatre of ethnic warfare first to Bosnia and Croatia and then to Kosovo…

In Kosovo, the conduct of senior military officers conforms to the Croatian and Bosnian patterns, the same key individuals were reassigned to “peace-keeping” roles in Kosovo. While General Jackson displayed token efforts to protect Serb and Roma civilians, those who fled Kosovo during his mandate were not encouraged to return under UN protection… In post-war Kosovo, the massacres of civilians was carried out by the KLA (and subsequently by the KPC) under the auspices of NATO and the UN. It was accepted by the “international community” as a “fait accompli”.

The Installation of a Mafia State

While calling for the installation of democracy based on “transparency” and “good governance”, the US and its allies have installed in Kosovo a self proclaimed civilian paramilitary government with links to organised crime. The outcome is the outright “criminalisation” of State institutions in Kosovo and the establishment of what is best described as a “Mafia State”. The complicity of NATO and the Alliance governments (namely their relentless support to the KLA provisional government) points to the de facto “criminalisation” of KFOR and of the UN peace-keeping apparatus in Kosovo.

The donor agencies, the United Nations and Western governments in providing financial support to the KPC are, in this regard, also “accessories” to this criminalisation of State institutions. Through the intermediation of a paramilitary group (created and financed by Washington and Bonn), NATO and the UN bear the burden of responsibility for the massacres of civilians and the prevailing reign of terror in Kosovo.

NOTES

1. Quoted in John Sweeney and Jen Holsoe, Kosovo Disaster Response Service Stands Accused of Murder and Torture, the Observer, 12 March 2000.
2. Ibid.
3. Statement by Bernard Kouchner, 21 September 1999 on the occasion of the inauguration of the KPC, see
http://www.un.org/peace/kosovo/pages/kosovo5.htm )
4. Ibid
5, AFP, 13 October 1999
6. Tom Walker, “Kosovo Defence Chief Accused of War Crimes, Sunday Times, 10 October 1999.
7. Ibid
8. Ibid
9. Ibid
10. Jane Defense Weekly, Vol 23, No. 7, 14 February 1996.
11. Ibid
12. Julie Hyland, “Head of NATO Force in Kosovo was Second-in-command at “Bloody Sunday” Massacre in Ireland”, World Socialist Website, 19 June 1999.
13. Ibid.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, International Tribunal for U.S./NATO War Crimes in Yugoslavia, 2000
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8183


Welcome to Kosovo! The World’s Newest Narco State

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, February 29, 2008
Antifascist-calling.blogspot.com – 2008-02-23

The unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, former warlord/commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), heralds the birth of a new European narco state.

The illegal dismemberment of Serbia, completing the U.S./EU/NATO destruction of Yugoslavia, is proclaimed by ruling elites and their sycophants as an exemplary means to bring “peace and stability” to the region. This provocative move, outside the framework of international law, threatens any sovereign state with similar treatment should they deviate from the “Washington consensus.”

Far from bringing “peace” let alone “stability,” an “independent” Kosovo will serve as a militarized outpost for Western capitalist powers intent on spreading their tentacles East, further encircling Russia by penetrating the former spheres of influence of the Soviet Union.

Led by dodgy characters and war criminals such as Hashim Thaci and Agim Ceku, “independent” Kosovo is a gangster state governed by thugs with ties to Albanian drug trafficking syndicates and al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda, the KLA and Western Intelligence

Al-Qaeda’s service to the CIA and other Western intelligence services is well-documented. Beginning in 1998 and perhaps earlier, the London-based cleric Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, the “emir” of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Muhajiroun began a recruitment drive for aspiring mujahideen for the “holy war” in Kosovo at London’s notorious Finsbury Park Mosque.On Friday, March 13, 1998 a London rally for the jihad was backed by some 50 local Islamist organizations. According to Christopher Deliso,

…the Albanian Islamic Society of London, headed by Kosovar Sheik Muhammed Stubla, was lobbying and raising money for the KLA’s campaign. … In contradiction to the KLA leadership’s claims about secularism, the Kosovar sheik specifically defined the militant group as “an Albanian Islamic organisation which is determined to defend itself, its people, its homeland, and its religion with all its capabilities and by all means.” … The chief bank account for fundraising was in the London branch of terrorist-linked Habibsons Bank of Pakistan. (The Coming Balkan Caliphate, Westport: Praeger Security International, 2007, p. 43)

In 2005, in the wake of the July 7, 2005 terrorist attacks in London, it was revealed that Bakri, a probable asset of Britain’s MI6, was the “spiritual” force behind the deadly attacks.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed reports that,

The reluctance to take decisive action against the leadership of the extremist network in the UK has a long history. According to John Loftus, a former Justice Department prosecutor, Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza, as well as the suspected mastermind of the London bombings Haroon Aswat, were all recruited by MI6 in the mid-1990s to draft up British Muslims to fight in Kosovo. American and French security sources corroborate the revelation. The MI6 connection raises questions about Bakri’s relationship with British authorities today. Exiled to Lebanon and outside British jurisdiction, he is effectively immune to prosecution. (“Sources: August terror plot is a ‘fiction’ underscoring police failures,” The Raw Story, Monday, September 18, 2006)

Before fleeing, Bakri defended the actions of his young dupes by proclaiming, “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity.”

The current “secular” Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, when he served as KLA warlord was identified in media reports as having operational links to the al-Qaeda network. Such reports are not surprising when one considers that for earlier U.S./NATO “service” in Bosnia, bin Laden himself was rewarded a Bosnian passport by the “democratic” government of former Nazi and Islamist ideologue, Alija Izetbegovic.

As the Afghan-Arab database of disposable intelligence assets streamed into Kosovo, often from Albania with the active assistance of narcotrafficking gangsters under NATO supervision, they replenished the ranks of Thaci’s terrorist army.

Michel Chossudovsky writes,

Mercenaries financed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had been fighting in Bosnia. And the Bosnian pattern was replicated in Kosovo: Mujahadeen mercenaries from various Islamic countries are reported to be fighting alongside the KLA in Kosovo. German, Turkish and Afghan instructors were reported to be training the KLA in guerrilla and diversion tactics. … According to a Deutsche Press-Agentur report, financial support from Islamic countries to the KLA had been channelled through the former Albanian chief of the National Information Service (NIS), Bashkim Gazidede. “Gazidede, reportedly a devout Moslem who fled Albania in March of last year [1997], is presently [1998] being investigated for his contacts with Islamic terrorist organizations.” (“Kosovo ‘freedom fighters’ financed by organised crime,” World Socialist Web Site, 10 April 1999)

These links are hardly casual. On the contrary, as Peter Dale Scott avers,

The closeness of the KLA to al-Qaeda was acknowledged again in the Western press, after Afghan-connected KLA guerrillas proceeded in 2001 to conduct guerrilla warfare in Macedonia. Press accounts included an Interpol report containing the allegation that one of bin Laden’s senior lieutenants was the commander of an elite KLA unit operating in Kosovo in 1999. This was probably Mohammed al-Zawahiri. (The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, p. 169)

Agim Ceku another “Prime Minister,” committed massive war crimes in the Croatian region of Krajina when employed by the Croatian army as a brigadier general. As a key planner of Operation Storm, Ceku’s forces massacred Serbs and presided over the largest ethnic cleansing during NATO’s Yugoslavian destabilization campaign. Some 250,000 Serbs fled for their lives as Ceku’s black-uniformed shock troops, many adorned with symbols of the Nazi Ustasha puppet regime during World War II were driven from Croatia.

According to Gregory Elich,

The invasion of Krajina was preceded by a thorough CIA and DIA analysis of the region. According to Balkan specialist Ivo Banac, this “tactical and intelligence support” was furnished to the Croatian Army at the beginning of its offensive. … Two months earlier, the Pentagon contracted Military Professional Resources, Inc (MPRI) to train the Croatian military. According to a Croatian officer, MPRI advisors “lecture us on tactics and big war operations on the level of brigades, which is why we needed them for Operation Storm when we took the Krajina.” Croatian sources claim that U.S. satellite intelligence was furnished to the Croatian military. Following the invasion of Krajina, the U.S. rewarded Croatia with an agreement “broadening existing cooperation” between MPRI and the Croatian military. U.S. advisors assisted in the reorganization of the Croatian Army. Referring to this reorganization in an interview with the newspaper Vecernji List, Croatian General Tihomir Blaskic said, “We are building the foundations of our organization on the traditions of the Croatian home guard” — pro-Nazi troops in World War II. (“The Invasion of Serbian Krajina,” Emperors Clothes, no date)

Following on the heels of this sterling “victory,” Ceku became KLA commander in 1999 and “Prime Minister” in 2006. There is an outstanding Interpol warrant for his arrest according to Michel Chossudovsky.

The KLA: “Trained-up fierce” by Germany’s KSK

As in Bosnia Herzegovina and Croatia, the Kosovo Liberation Army was secretly armed by America and Germany and remains what it has always been, a creature of Western intelligence services.

Christopher Deliso observes,

In 1996, Germany’s BND established a major station in Tirana…and another in Rome to select and train future KLA fighters. According to Le Monde Diplomatique, “special forces in Berlin provided the operational training and supplied arms and transmission equipment from ex-East German Stasi stocks as well as Black uniforms.” The Italian headquarters recruited Albanian immigrants passing through ports such as Brindisi and Trieste, while German military intelligence, the Militaramschirmdienst, and the Kommando Spezialkräfte Special Forces (KSK), offered military training and provisions to the KLA in the remote Mirdita Mountains of northern Albania controlled by the deposed president, Sali Berisha.

In 1996, BND Chief Geiger’s deputy, Rainer Kesselring, the son of the Nazi Luftwaffe general responsible for the bombing of Belgrade in 1941 that left 17,000 dead, oversaw KSK training of Albanian recruits at a Turkish military base near Izmir. (The Coming Balkan Caliphate, Westport: Praeger Security International, 2007, pp. 37-38)

Hypocritically, while Washington had officially designated the KLA a “terrorist organization” funded by the heroin trade, the Clinton administration was complicit with their German allies in the division of the Serb province along ethnic and religious lines.

By 1998, the KLA took control of between 25 to 40 percent of the province before Serb forces wrested the KLA-held areas back. Facing imminent defeat, the Kosovo Liberation Army and allied mujahideen fighters appealed to Washington, citing the imminent danger of “ethnic cleansing” by the Serbs. Laughable on the face of it, Albanians constitute fully 90 percent of Kosovo’s population, and in fact, it was the Serbs, Roma and Jews who were being brutalized by KLA hit squads, their homes torched, their churches and synagogues sacked. It was the dismantling of the KLA’s terrorist infrastructure by the Yugoslav People’s Army that was the trigger that prompted direct military intervention by NATO in 1999.

As in Iraq, the 78 day U.S. bombing campaign targeted critical civilian infrastructure in Serbia: bridges, factories, power plants, electrical transmission hubs, communications centers. Throughout Serbia and Kosovo itself, the U.S. scattered tons of radioactive depleted uranium munitions and tens of thousands of cluster bombs. The U.S. attack, ostensibly to “protect” Kosovo’s population from Serb depredations caused some 800,000 civilians to flee NATO’s devastating raids.

For Washington, drunk on the illusion that its policies had hastened the collapse of a bureaucratized and rotten Soviet system, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia would again represent the triumph of the so-called “free market” and “democracy” under the umbrella of a new international order administered by World Bank/IMF “reforms”: Francis Fukuyama’s short-lived “end of history.” While on the opposite pole of the same ideological dead end, political Islam’s tactical alliance with the West was a means to establish a bridgehead for penetration into Europe via dodgy Saudi, Kuwaiti and Gulf “charities” in pursuit of their quixotic quest of establishing a “divine” (Islamicized) capitalist order rising from the ashes of a decadent West.

Two heads, same poisonous snake.

The KLA’s Links to the International Heroin Trade

In Kosovo, Hashim Thaci’s KLA served as the militarized vanguard for the Albanian mafia whose “15 Families” control virtually every facet of the Balkan heroin trade. Kosovar traffickers ship heroin originating exclusively from Asia’s Golden Crescent. At one end lies Afghanistan where poppy is harvested for transshipment through Iran and Turkey; as morphine base it is then refined into “product” for worldwide consumption. From there it passes into the hands of the Albanian syndicates who control the Balkan Route.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reported,

Until the war intervened, Kosovars were the acknowledged masters of the trade, credited with shoving aside the Turkish gangs that had long dominated narcotics trafficking along the Balkan Route, and effectively directing the ethnic Albanian network.

Kosovar bosses “orchestrated the traffic, regulated the rate and set the prices,” according to journalist Leonardo Coen, who covers racketeering and organized crime in the Balkans for the Italian daily La Repubblica.

“The Kosovars had a 10-year head start on their cousins across the border, simply because their Yugoslav passports allowed them to travel earlier and much more widely than someone from communist Albania,” said Michel Koutouzis, a senior researcher at Geopolitical Drug Watch who is regarded as Europe’s leading expert on the Balkan Route.

“That allowed them to establish very efficient overseas networks through the worldwide Albanian diaspora — and in the process, to forge ties with other underworld groups involved in the heroin trade, such as Chinese triads in Vancouver and Vietnamese in Australia,” Koutouzis told The Chronicle. (Frank Viviano, “KLA Linked to Enormous Heroin Trade,” Wednesday, May 5, 1999, Page A-1)

It is hardly an accident that the meteoric rise of the Kosovar families to the top of the narcotrafficking hierarchy coincided with the KLA’s sudden appearance in the area in 1997.

As Peter Klebnikov observed,

As the war in Kosovo heated up, the drug traffickers began supplying the KLA with weapons procured from Eastern European and Italian crime groups in exchange for heroin. The 15 Families also lent their private armies to fight alongside the KLA. Clad in new Swiss uniforms and equipped with modern weaponry, these troops stood out among the ragtag irregulars of the KLA. In all, this was a formidable aid package. It’s therefore not surprising, say European law enforcement officials, that the faction that ultimately seized power in Kosovo — the KLA under Hashim Thaci — was the group that maintained the closest links to traffickers. “As the biggest contributors, the drug traffickers may have gotten the most influence in running the country,” says Koutouzis. (“Heroin Heroes,” Mother Jones, January/February 2000)

As is well-known, U.S. destabilization programs and covert operations rely on far-right provocateurs and drug lords (often interchangeable players) to facilitate the dirty work. Throughout its Balkan operations the CIA made liberal use of these preexisting narcotics networks to arm the KLA and provide them with targets.

The rest is history, as they say.

Kosovo Today

Has anything changed in the intervening years? Hardly. In fact, the vise-like grip of the Albanian mafia over narcotics, human trafficking and arms smuggling has cemented the “15 Families” place atop Europe’s hierarchy of crime, an essential arm of the capitalist deep state.

Considering NATO and the UN’s lofty mandate to bring “peace and stability” to the region through “democracy promotion” and “institution building,” what does the balance sheet reveal?

According to regional experts the outlook for Kosovo is grim. The economy is in shambles, unemployment hovers near 50 percent, a population of young people with “criminality as the sole career choice” populate a society tottering on the brink of collapse where the state is dominated by organized crime.

According to former New York Times reporter David Binder, citing a 124-page investigation by the Institute for European Policy commissioned by the German Bundeswehr,

“It is a Mafia society” based on “capture of the state” by criminal elements. (“State capture” is a term coined in 2000 by a group of World Bank analysts to describe countries where government structures have been seized by corrupt financial oligarchies. This study applied the term to Montenegro’s Milo Djukanovic, by way of his cigarette smuggling and to Slovenia, with the arms smuggling conducted by Janez Jansa). In Kosovo, it says, “There is a need for thorough change of the elite.”

Fat chance that happening anytime soon! Binder reports:

In the authors’ definition, Kosovan organized crime “consists of multimillion-Euro organizations with guerrilla experience and espionage expertise.” They quote a German intelligence service report of “closest ties between leading political decision makers and the dominant criminal class” and name Ramush Haradinaj, Hashim Thaci and Xhavit Haliti as compromised leaders who are “internally protected by parliamentary immunity and abroad by international law.” They scornfully quote the UNMIK chief from 2004-2006, Soeren Jessen Petersen, calling Haradinaj “a close and personal friend.” UNMIK, they add “is in many respects an element of the local problem scene.”

The study sharply criticizes the United States for “abetting the escape of criminals” in Kosovo as well as “preventing European investigators from working.” This has made Americans “vulnerable to blackmail.” It notes “secret CIA detention centers” at Camp Bondsteel and assails American military training for Kosovo (Albanian) police by Dyncorp, authorized by the Pentagon. (“Kosovo Auf Deutsch,” Balkan Analysis, November 18, 2007)

As we can readily observe in other climes, the interpenetration of the state by criminal elites serve as the preferred mechanism to cement a “public-private partnership” founded on corruption, maintained by brute force solely for purposes of resource extraction, pipeline politics, military bases and the geopolitical advantage gained over “market” rivals.

As the U.S. Embassy burns in Belgrade, all in all, its another “Mission Accomplished” moment for the United States.

Tom Burghardt is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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

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© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist-calling.blogspot.com, 2008
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Women’s Issues by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan

by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
February 29, 2008

Once, shortly before the 2004 presidential elections, I was having lunch with a friend from my old life: my life pre-April 4th when Casey was killed in Iraq. She informed me that she was going to vote for George Bush because he is “pro-life.” My answer to her was:

“If George Bush is pro-life, then why is Casey dead?” She could not give me an answer and did not see the hypocrisy in someone who is supposed to be “pro-life” sending thousands of our young people to die and kill other innocents in foreign aggressions based on lies and for profit.

I have always been for a women’s reproductive freedom over her own body, even in the years that I was a Roman Catholic. I never appointed myself judge or jury over a woman who had to make a very difficult choice. However, the pro-choice issue is not the only “women’s issue” in our world today…obviously!

A columnist for one of this country’s self-proclaimed “progressive” magazines talked to my campaign manager, Tiffany Burns, the other day about our trip to Egypt to protest against the client dictator of the US, Hosni Mubarak, trying civilians in a military court. Using military tribunals is forbidden under international, regional and national law in Egypt and our government is doing the same thing in Guantanamo. But the columnist kept trying to get Ms. Burns to say that I supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempt to take over the government of Egypt to make it an Islamic state that would not recognize women’s rights. Tiffany could not say it because it is not true, and the columnist finally said: “Does Cindy care about women’s issues at all?” When Tiffany said: “Of course, even in Egypt we met with wives and mothers…” The columnist cut her off and said: “I said women, not mothers.”

Hmm…the last time I checked, not all women are mothers, but all mothers are women. Who does Ms. Columnist think gets hurt the most in our nation’s wars for profit? I never felt more acutely a woman than when I fell on the floor screaming for my son when he was killed in Iraq. My son, the flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. The one that I carried in my woman’s body for nine months; nourished him for 14 months more with the fluid that was manufactured in my woman’s body and tried to protect his body from harm until he was 21 and was entrapped by the US Military Industrial Complex. Would my “issue” of being a woman hurt by violence been more acceptable or palatable to Ms. Columnist if I had chosen to abort Casey rather than give birth to him?

Our illegal and immoral occupation of Iraq has not “liberated” women who were highly educated and worked as doctors and other trained professionals under a tyrannical regime. Now, after almost five years of US occupation, in many instances women are being forced to wear veils or are being forbidden from attending school. Women in Iraq are not only having to deal with daily violence and the primal fear of worrying about children and other loved ones but also they are dealing with daily primitive conditions of water, food and power deprivation. Our aggression in Afghanistan has not improved the condition of women either, and if possible, has made their lives harder Hundreds of thousands of women (married, single, with children, or not), have been killed, displaced, wounded, raped and oppressed under the Bush regime’s destructive foreign policy agenda. Does Ms. Columnist think that my tireless efforts to end the occupations are “women’s issues?”

According to Nobel Laureate in Economics, Joseph Stiglitz, one of the three trillions that this bloody occupation have cost US taxpayers could rather have paid for: 8 million housing units, or 15 million public school teachers, or healthcare for 530 million children for a year, or scholarships to university for 43 million students. Three trillion could have fixed America’s social security problem for half a century. A peace economy is inherently more just for women, children and families, than a permanent war economy. I believe that whether one is a “woman” or a “woman who also happens to be a mother,” peace and prosperity would benefit us all.

In my efforts to call attention to humanitarian crises all over the world and in my Independent run for Congress, I have tried to deconstruct the labels and pigeonholes that we all put ourselves and others into. After creating our own personal segmentation, it is so easy for us to allow the fascist-elite of government and media to compartmentalize humanity so as to first demonize, then oppress, kill, or impoverish certain segments.

Ms. Columnist self-identifies as a “feminist” and has endorsed Obama over Clinton. Why? Does she think that Obama will be better on “women’s issues” than Clinton? I do not know and I really do not care why she chose to endorse Tweedledee over Tweedledum, but the choice seems a little strange-ish to me. If Ms. Columnist identified herself as a humanist, then I could better comprehend her choice and it would not be controversial.

I self-identify as a “humanist” and I have a fundamental hatred and disgust of oppression and violence wherever it happens or whomever it happens to.

All people who are in the human category deserve the rights to: good paying (union) jobs; a living, not minimum, wage; healthy food; clean water; warm shelter; health insurance; and good and accessible (for all) education. All people have the fundamental human rights to live in environments that are also healthy and free from war and violence or to marry or partner with whomever they choose as consenting adults.

Segmented killing and hatred will only stop when we enlarge our personal, national, and international circles of concern to include all six billion people on this planet: not just the white ones, Christian ones, American ones, female ones, or any ones.

Simply put: every one.

see

Military Tribunals and You by Cindy Sheehan

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

A Palestinian State by Default By Liam Bailey

Liam

By Liam Bailey
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

The Bailey Mail
February 26, 2008

I just read something about the Israel/Palestine conflict that had never occurred to me. Olmert told Haaretz: “If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished.”

So that is why Israel’s government is always so quick to say they want a two-state solution, and the Palestinians best chance of getting their own state is to start applying pressure for equal voting rights.

Israel could never grant the Palestinians equal voting rights because the Arab population far outweighs the Jewish population. And with South Africa as a precedent on which to base their argument, equal voting rights could be a far more achievable aim. In Olmert’s words “The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us, because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents.”

But I doubt it would ever get to that stage, I believe a little pressure for equal voting rights would force Israel to do whatever it took to bring about a two-state solution. I believe this because: Israel maintaining its legitimacy as a primarily Jewish state, with more Jews in Israel than Arabs, is the most important thing to the Israeli government — and most Israelis. The very thought that Arab’s voting could end some of their Jews supremacist laws would terrify them, and I believe a Palestinian state would be a reality in a very short space of time.

I don’t think the Palestinians should stop calling for their own state, because I believe they thoroughly deserve it and are entitled to it, but their campaigners would be wise to adapt their message to say “either give us our own state, or make us a complete part of yours with equal voting rights.” While I truly believe Israel will create the long desired Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital long before it has real fears of having to grant Palestinians equal voting rights, if I’m wrong, even equal voting rights would allow Palestinians the chance, firstly to end their day to day misery, and then to start to make their lives better:

To vote away some of the check-points and otherwise de-restrict their movements allowing them to find work, to vote for an end of Israel’s sneaky annexation and Judaisation of Jerusalem and eventually even to claim back Jerusalem in a peaceful way, to vote some of the innocent prisoners including children out of Israeli jails where they are being tortured and de-humanised, and to vote for a halt to construction of the massive wall Israel is building through what should rightly be their territory, according to the UN and every proposed peace deal for more than 20 years.

Like I said I don’t think it will ever happen because Olmert is right, equal voting rights for Palestinians would mean the end of Israel. What would be left would be a Palestinian state with a Jewish population, and the Palestinians would have their own state all the same. It is a win win situation for the Palestinians, and at worst Israel will succumb to the two-state solution to prevent the demise of the Jewish state.

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

Dandelion Salad

JeffGannon

February 28, 2008

Abrams spoke with former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who was interviewed for the 60 Minutes piece and is one of the 52 current and former Attorneys General who have signed a letter raising concerns of politicization in this case. Woods again pointed out some of the red flags that have that bipartisan group calling for a special investigation.

***

Karl Rove and the Falsely Imprisoned Governor of Alabama

After Downing Street
Feb 29, 2008

Today, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers released the transcript from the sworn testimony of Dana Jill Simpson, the Alabama attorney who earlier this year executed an affadavit that has stirred renewed interest in the prosecution and subsequent conviction of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman. In the affadavit and the closed-door interview with committee staff, she cites conversations that allege Karl Rove’s involvement in the decision to prosecute Siegelman. The issue is expected to be covered during an upcoming joint subcommittee hearing titled, “Allegations of Selective Prosecution: The Erosion of Public Confidence in Our Federal Justice System.” READ MORE.

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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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

Olbermann: The World According To GW + The Fear Bomb + The Obama Dance! + Bushed! + Worst

Dandelion Salad

Ryokibin

February 28, 2008

The World According To GW

The World According to W: 1984 had new-speak. We have Bush-speak. Rhetoric designed to obfuscate reality and to quell dissent. And in our third story on the Countdown, the country was treated to a full forty five minute display of it this morning.

The Fear Bomb

Keith speaks with Jonathan Alter on the attacks against Barack Obama.

Smears for Fears: It may become one of the classic coinages of modern American politics. Like “Where’s The Beef” or “There You Go Again.” “The Fear Bomb.” Our fourth story on the Countdown, the Republican National Committee formally denounces the tactic…well after its use by various bullies with a microphone… and the Tennessee State GOP.

The Obama Dance!

Keith speaks with Dana Milbank, Shake, Shake, Shake…

Fighting the Obamenon: Not to give you any flashbacks to the SAT’s…Or flash-forwards. But which number is bigger: 15-million? Or four. Our fifth story on the Countdown: the hint, is that the fifteen million represents the minimum difference between two remarkable February fund-raising efforts. 35 million for Senator Clinton. “Considerably more” — several reports peg it at, at least 50 million for Senator Obama. But no… in this world at least, none of those numbers is larger… than four.

Bushed!

MRAP-Gate

Earmarks-Gate

Telecom Immunity-Gate

World’s Worst

Worse: Joshua Christopherson

Worser: Bill’O.

Worst: Oh him again… Bill’O!

Bill O’Reilly criticized Tim Russert’s performance at Tuesday’s Democratic debate and his mention of Louis Farrakhan, saying, “NBC News made a big deal about it… the press gotcha game is boring, tedious, and does the country no good.” He then spent 12 minutes railing on the subject.

see

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

Bush Press Conference 02.28.08 (videos)

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.
_____________________

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

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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.

see

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.

see

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