Tomgram: Ira Chernus: The General and the Trap

Dandelion Salad

by Ira Chernus
TomDispatch (Tom Engelhardt)
April 6, 2008

They came, they saw, they… deserted.

That, in short form, is the story of the Iraqi government “offensive” in Basra (and Baghdad). It took a few days, but the headlines on stories out of Iraq (“Can Iraq’s Soldiers Fight?”) are now telling a grim tale and the information in them is worse yet. Stephen Farrell and James Glanz of the New York Times estimate that at least 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen, or more than 4% of the force sent into Basra, “abandoned their posts” during the fighting, including “dozens of officers” and “at least two senior field commanders.”

Other pieces offer even more devastating numbers. For instance, Sudarsan Raghavan and Ernesto Londoño of the Washington Post suggest that perhaps 30% of government troops had “abandoned the fight before a cease-fire was reached.” Tina Susman of the Los Angeles Times offers 50% as an estimate for police desertions in the midst of battle in Baghdad’s vast Sadr City slum, a stronghold of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia.

In other words, after years of intensive training by American advisors and an investment of $22 billion dollars, U.S. military spokesmen are once again left trying to put the best face on a strategic disaster (from which they were rescued thanks to negotiations between Muqtada al-Sadr and advisors to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, brokered in Iran by General Qassem Suleimani, a man on the U.S. Treasury Department’s terrorist watch list). Think irony. “From what we understand,” goes the lame American explanation, “the bulk of these [deserters] were from fairly fresh troops who had only just gotten out of basic training and were probably pushed into the fight too soon.”

This week, with surge commander General David Petraeus back from Baghdad’s ever redder, ever more dangerous “Green Zone,” here are a few realities to keep in mind as he testifies before Congress:

1. The situation in Iraq is getting worse: Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise. The surge-ified, “less violent” Iraq that the general has presided over so confidently is, in fact, a chaotic, violent tinderbox of city states, proliferating militias armed to the teeth, competing regions armed to the teeth, and competing religious factions armed to the teeth. Worse yet, under Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the U.S. has been the great proliferator. It has armed and funded close to 100,000 Sunnis organized into militias reportedly intent on someday destroying “the Iranians” (i.e. the Maliki government). It has also supported Shiite militias (aka the Iraqi army). In the recent offensive, it took sides in a churning Shiite civil war. As Nir Rosen recently summed matters up in a typically brilliant piece in the Nation magazine, Baghdad today is but a set of “fiefdoms run by warlo! rds and militiamen,” a pattern the rest of the country reflects as well. “The Bush administration,” he adds, “and the U.S. military have stopped talking of Iraq as a grand project of nation-building, and the U.S. media have dutifully done the same.” Meanwhile, in the little noticed north of the country, an Arab/Kurdish civil war over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly Mosul as well is brewing. This, reports Pepe Escobar of Asia Times, could be explosive. Think nightmare.

2. The Bush administration has no learning curve. Its top officials, military and civilian, are unable to absorb the realities of Iraq (or the region) and so, like the generals of World War I, simply send their soldiers surging “over the top” again and again, with minor changes in tactics, to the same dismal end. Time.com’s Tony Karon, at his Rootless Cosmopolitan blog, caught this phenomenon strikingly, writing that Maliki’s failed offensive “shared the fate of pretty much every similar initiative by the Bush Administration and its allies and proxies since the onset of the ‘war on terror.'”

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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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Petraeus Testimony Next Week Will Signal Iran Attack By Paul Craig Roberts

Russia Today: Dealing with NATO + Final news conference (videos) + Bucharest NATO Summit Declaration

Dandelion Salad

Updated: April 7, 2008 added more videos and here’s a link to Bucharest NATO Summit Declaration. ~ Lo

RussiaToday

The NATO summit is widely seen as a victory for Russia. After all, Georgia and Ukraine failed to secure a “MAP” to join the alliance. Now there is the Putin-Bush informal get together in Sochi. Do the presidents have unfinished business? One item in the agenda is anti-missile defence. Also this week — the start of this year’s annual conscription. We have look at the some of the problems in the military and why so many young men dodge the service. And much more…

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Petraeus Testimony Next Week Will Signal Iran Attack By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
04/06/08 “ICH’

Today (April 5) the London Daily Telegraph reported that “British officials gave warning yesterday that America’s commander in Iraq will declare that Iran is waging war against the US-backed Baghdad government. A strong statement from General David Petraeus about Iran’s intervention in Iraq could set the stage for a US attack on Iranian military facilities, according to a Whitehall assessment.” [British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes – Telegraph, By Damien McElroy, April 5, 2008]

The neocon lacky Petraeus has had his script written for him by Cheney, and Petraeus together with neocon warmonger Ryan Crocker, the US governor of the Green Zone in Baghdad, will present Congress next Tuesday and Wednesday with the lies, for which the road has been well paved by neocon propagandists such as Kimberly Kagan, that “the US must recognize that Iran is engaged in a full-up proxy war against it in Iraq.”

Don’t expect Congress to do anything except to egg on the attack. On April 3 the International Herald Tribune reported that senators and representatives have made millions of dollars from their investments in defense companies totaling $196 million. (AP).

Rep. Ike Skelton, the Democrat chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is already on board with the attack on Iran. The London Telegraph quotes Skelton: “Iran is the bull in the china shop. In all of this, they seem to have links to all of the Shi’ite groups, whether they be political or military.”

All Skelton knows is what the war criminal Bush regime tells him. If Iran really does have all these connections, then it behooves Washington to cease threatening Iran and to make nice with Iran in order to stabilize Iraq and extract the US from the nightmare.

Reporting from Tehran on April 4, Reuters quotes Mohsen Hakim, whose father, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leads the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, an ally of the Maliki US puppet government in Iraq: “Tehran, by using its positive influence on the Iraqi nation, paved the way for the return of peace to Iraq and the new situation is the result of Iran’s efforts.”

Instead of thanking Iran and working with Iran diplomatically to restore stability to Iraq, the Bush regime intends to expand the nightmare with a military attack on Iran. Ryan Crocker was quick to dispute Hakim’s report that Iran had used its influence to end the fighting in Basra.

Crocker alleged that Iran had started the fighting. The absurdity of Crocker’s claim is obvious as even the neocon US media reported that the fighting in Basra was started by the US and Maliki in an effort to clear out the Shi’ite al-Sadr militias. Most experts saw the attack on al-Sadr for what it was: an effort to remove a potential threat to the US supply line from Kuwait in the event of a US attack on Iran.

Crocker alleges that the rockets dropping on the Green Zone during the Basra fighting were made in 2007 in Iran. As should be obvious even to disengaged Americans, if Iran were to arm the Iraqi insurgency, the insurgents would have modern weapons to counter US helicopter gunships and heavy tanks. The insurgents have no such weapons. The neocon lie that Iran is the cause of the Iraqi insurgency is just another Bush regime lie like the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and connections to al Qaeda and the lie that the Taliban in Afghanistan attacked the US.

The Bush regime will tell any lie and orchestrate any event in order to “finish the job” in the Middle East.

“Finishing the job” means to destroy the ability of Iraq, Iran, and Syria to provide support for the Palestinians and for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon against Israeli aggression. With Iraq and Iran in turmoil, Syria might simply give up and become another American client state. With Iraq and Iran in turmoil, Israel can steal the rest of the West Bank along with the water resources in southern Lebanon. That is what “the war on terror” is really about.

The entire world knows this. Consequently, the US and Israel are essentially isolated. The US can only count on the support that it can bribe and pay for.

At the NATO-Russian summit in Bucharest, Romania, on April 4, Russian President Putin said:

“No one can seriously think that Iran would dare attack the U.S. Instead of pushing Iran into a corner, it would be far more sensible to think together how to help Iran become more predictable and transparent.”

Of course it would, but that is not what the warmonger Bush regime wants.

Perhaps the British government has derailed the plot to attack Iran by leaking in advance to the London Telegraph the disinformation Cheney has prepared for Petraeus and Crocker to deliver to the complicit US Congress next Tuesday and Wednesday.

On the other hand, the US puppet media is likely to bury the real story and to trumpet Petraeus claims that Iran has, in effect, already declared war on the US by sending weapons to kill US troops in Iraq.

By next Thursday we will know. from how the Petraeus-Crocker dog and pony show plays in the US Congress and media. whether the Bush Regime will commit yet another war crime by attacking Iran.

Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider’s Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.

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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War Is A Racket – US Lawmakers Have As Much As $196 Million Invested In “Defense” Companies

British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes

Iran joined militias in battle for Basra

Russia Today: Dealing with NATO + Final news conference (videos)

If You Think Bush Is Evil Now, Wait Until He Nukes Iran By Paul Craig Roberts

Pepe Escobar: Basra: Shiite elites fight for dominance (videos)

The sieges of Basra & Sadr City: another US war crime in Iraq

Iraqi police in Basra shed their uniforms, kept their rifles & switched sides

A Third American War Crime in the Making By Paul Craig Roberts

Funding Our Decline – Should the U.S. End Aid to Israel?

Dandelion Salad

By Alison Weir
ICH
04/04/08 “Counterpunch

April 1st I participated in a debate in San Francisco that raised the question of US aid to Israel.

It was highly appropriate that this debate was held two weeks before tax day, since in Israel’s sixty years of existence, it has received more US tax money than any other nation on earth.

During periods of recession, when Americans are thrown out of work, homes are repossessed, school budgets cut and businesses fail, Congress continues to give Israel massive amounts of our tax money; currently, about 7 million dollars per day.

On top of this, Egypt and Jordan receive large sums of money (per capita about 1/20th of what Israel receives) to buy their cooperation with Israel; and Palestinians also receive our tax money (about 1/23rd of that to Israel), to repair infrastructure that Israeli forces have destroyed, to fund humanitarian projects required due to the destruction wrought by Israel’s military, and to convince Palestinian officials to take actions beneficial to Israel. These sums should also be included in expenditures on behalf of Israel.

When all are added together, it turns out that for many years over half of all US tax money abroad has been expended to benefit a country the size of New Jersey.

It is certainly time to begin debating this disbursement of our hard-earned money. It is quite possible that we have better uses for it.

To decide whether the US should continue military aid to any nation, it is essential to examine the nature and history of the recipient nation, how it has used our military aid in the past, whether these uses are in accord with our values, and whether they benefit the American taxpayers who are putting up the money.

1. What is the history and nature of Israel?

Describing Israel is always difficult. One can either stay within the mainstream paradigm, or tell the truth. I will opt for the truth.

Drawing on scores of books by diverse authors, the facts are quite clear: Israel was created through one of the most massive, ruthless, and persistent ethnic cleansing operations of modern history. In 1947-49 about three-quarters of a million Muslims and Christians, who had originally made up 95 percent of the population living in the area that Zionists wanted for a Jewish state, were brutally forced off their ancestral land. There were 33 massacres, over 500 villages were completely destroyed, and an effort was made to erase all vestiges of Palestinian history and culture.

The fact is that Israel’s core identity is based on ethnic and religious discrimination by a colonial, immigrant group; and maintaining this exclusionist identity has required continued violence against those it has dispossessed, and others who have given them refuge.

2. How has Israel used our military aid in the past?

In all of its wars except one, Israel has attacked first.

In violation of the Arms Export Control Act, which requires that US weapons only be used in “legitimate self defense,” Israel used American equipment during its two invasions of Lebanon, killing 17,000 the first time and 1,000 more recently, the vast majority civilians. It used American-made cluster bombs in both invasions, again in defiance of US laws, causing the “most hideous injuries” one American physician said she had ever seen, and which, in one day in 1982 alone, resulted in the amputation of over 1,000 mangled limbs.

It has used US military aid to continue and expand its illegal confiscation of land in the West Bank and Golan Heights, and has used American F-16s and Apache Helicopters against largely unarmed civilian populations.

According to Defence for Children International, Israel has “engaged in gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.” Between 1967 and 2003, Israel destroyed more than 10,000 homes, and such destruction continues today. A coalition of UK human rights groups recently issued a report stating that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is collective punishment of 1.5 million people, warning: “Unless the blockade ends now, it will be impossible to pull Gaza back from the brink of this disaster and any hopes for peace in the region will be dashed.”

In addition, Israel uses US military aid to fund an Israeli arms industry that competes with US companies. According to a report commissioned by the US Army War College, “Israel uses roughly 40 percent of its military aid, ostensibly earmarked for purchase of US weapons, to buy Israeli-made hardware. It also has won the right to require the Defense Department or US defense contractors to buy Israeli-made equipment or subsystems, paying 50 to 60 cents on every defense dollar the US gives to Israel.”

Israel has used US aid to kill and injure nonviolent Palestinian, American and international activists, as well as American servicemen. Israeli soldiers in an American-made Caterpillar bulldozer crushed to death 23-year-old Rachel Corrie; an Israeli sniper shot 21-year-old Tom Hurndall in the head; Israeli soldiers shot 26-year-old Brian Avery in the face. In 1967 Israel used US-financed French aircraft to attack a US Navy ship, killing 34 American servicemen and injuring 174.

Israel has used US aid to imprison without trial thousands of Palestinians and others, and according to reports by the London Times and Amnesty International, Israel consistently tortures prisoners; including, according to Foreign Service Journal, American citizens.

3. Are these uses in accord with our national and personal values?

Not in my view.

4. Do these uses of US aid benefit American taxpayers?

While some Israeli actions have served US interests, the balance sheet is clear: Israel’s use of American aid consistently damages the United States, harms our economy, and endangers Americans.

In fact, this extremely negative outcome was so predictable that even before Israel’s creation virtually all State Department and Pentagon experts advocated forcefully against supporting the creation of a Zionist state in the Middle East. President Harry Truman’s reply: “I am sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents.”

Through the years, as noted above, our aid to Israel has not resulted in a reliable ally.

In 1954 Israel tried to bomb US government offices in Egypt, intending to pin this on Muslims.

In 1963 Senator William Fulbright discovered that Israel was using a series of covert operations to funnel our money to pro-Israel groups in the US, which then used these funds in media campaigns and lobbying to procure even more money from American taxpayers.

In 1967 Israeli forces unleashed a two-hour air and sea attack against the USS Liberty, causing 200 casualties. While Israel partisans claim that this was done in error, this claim is belied by extensive eyewitness evidence and by an independent commission reporting on Capitol Hill in 2003 chaired by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer.

In 1973 Israel used the largest airlift of US materiel in history to defeat Arab forces attempting to regain their own land, triggering the Arab oil embargo that sent the US into a recession that cost thousands of Americans their jobs.

During its 1980s Lebanon invasion, Israeli troops engaged in a systematic pattern of harassment of US forces brought in as peacekeepers that created, according to Commandant of Marines Gen. R. H Barrow, “life-threatening situations, replete with verbal degradation of the officers, their uniform and country.”

Through the years, Israel has regularly spied on the US. According to the Government Accounting Office, Israel “conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the United States of any ally.” Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger said of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard: “It is difficult for me to conceive of greater harm done to national security,” And the Pollard case was just the tip of a very large iceberg; the most recent operation coming to light involves two senior officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Israel’s powerful American lobbying organization.

Bad as the above may appear, it pales next to the indirect damage to Americans caused by our aid to Israel. American funding of Israel’s egregious violations of Palestinian human rights is consistently listed as the number one cause of hostility to Americans.

While American media regularly cover up Israeli actions, those of us who have visited the region first-hand witness a level of US-funded Israeli cruelty that makes us weep for our victims and fear for our country. While most Americans are uninformed on how Israel uses our money, people throughout the world are deeply aware that it is Americans who are funding Israeli crimes.

The 9/11 Commission notes that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s “animus towards the United States stemmedfrom his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” The Economist reports that ” the notion of payback for injustices suffered by the Palestinians is perhaps the most powerfully recurrent theme in bin Laden’s speeches.”

The Bottom Line

In sum, US aid to Israel has destabilized the Middle East; propped up a national system based on ethnic and religious discrimination; enabled unchecked aggression that has, on occasion, been turned against Americans themselves; funded arms industries that compete with American companies; supported a pattern of brutal dispossession that has created hatred of the US; and resulted in continuing conflict that last year took the lives of 384 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, and that in the past seven and a half years has cost the lives of more than 982 Palestinian children and 119 Israeli children.

By providing massive funding to Israel, no matter what it does, American aid is empowering Israeli supremacists who believe in a never-ending campaign of ethnic cleansing; while disempowering Israelis who recognize that policies of morality, justice, and rationality are the only road to peace.

It is time to end our aid.

Alison Weir is Executive Director of If Americans Knew. For more information on the US-Israel relationship she especially recommends the books by Donald Neff, Paul Findley, Kathleen Christison, Stephen Walt, John Mearsheimer, Grant Smith, Stephen Green, George Ball, and John Mulhall.


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.

Continuity of Government and the “ENDGAME” Scenario by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 6, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Back in 1987 during joint congressional hearings into the Iran-Contra affair, Rep. Jack Brooks (D-TX) asked Lt. Col. Oliver North, Reagan’s point-man on the National Security Council:

Brooks: Colonel North, in your work at the N.S.C. were you not assigned, at one time, to work on plans for the continuity of government in the event of a major disaster?

Brendan Sullivan [North’s counsel]: Mr. Chairman?

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), immediately squelched Brooks’ inquiry:

Inouye: I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area so may I request that you not touch upon that?

Brooks: I was particularly concerned, Mr. Chairman, because I read in Miami papers, and several others, that there had been a plan developed, by that same agency, a contingency plan in the event of emergency, that would suspend the American constitution. And I was deeply concerned about it and wondered if that was an area in which he had worked. I believe that it was and I wanted to get his confirmation.

Inouye: May I most respectfully request that that matter not be touched upon at this stage. If we wish to get into this, I’m certain arrangements can be made for an executive session.

Since those 1987 hearings, the “arrangements” alluded to by Sen. Inouye about this prickly topic, Continuity of Government (COG), have yet to result in an open hearing before relevant congressional committees.

Why?

On March 31, Peter Dale Scott posted an informative piece on CounterPunch asking that very question. Why is Congress being sandbagged by the Bush administration on the thorniest of issues: the suspension of the U.S. Constitution and the potential declaration of martial law in the event of a “catastrophic national emergency.” Scott writes,

In August 2007, Congressman Peter DeFazio, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the House that he and the rest of his Committee had been barred from reviewing parts of National Security Presidential Directive 51, the White House supersecret plans to implement so-called “Continuity of Government” in the event of a mass terror attack or natural disaster. (Peter Dale Scott, “Congress, the Bush Administration and Continuity of Government Planning: The Showdown,” CounterPunch, Monday, March 31, 2008)

While it is certainly a reasonable proposition to most citizens that the federal government should be prepared for disasters, man-made or otherwise, throughout its history COG has been tainted by its proximity to repressive police measures directed against the population (viewed as a hostile force to be “contained”), up to, and including the use of the bluntest of instruments: martial law.

Yet the Bush administration, driven by its desire to maximize power within the Executive branch, has used COG as a cover for creating a “post-Constitutional” police state.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the White House moved quickly. John C. Yoo, a Bush appointee in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) , wrote a 20-page response to an inquiry sent to the office by White House Counsel Timothy E. Flanigan. A Federalist Society veteran of the 2000 Florida recount battle that ended when the Supreme Court handed the presidency to Bush, Flanigan sought the OLC’s advice on “the legality of the use of military force to prevent or deter terrorist activity inside the United States,” according to the New York Times.

Yoo responded how the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure might apply if the military used “deadly force in a manner that endangered the lives of United States citizens.” Times reporter Tim Golden wrote:

Mr. Yoo listed an inventory of possible operations: shooting down a civilian airliner hijacked by terrorists; setting up military checkpoints inside an American city; employing surveillance methods more sophisticated than those available to law enforcement; or using military forces “to raid or attack dwellings where terrorists were thought to be, despite risks that third parties could be killed or injured by exchanges of fire.”

It was all the ammunition the administration needed. Yoo’s memorandum handed the Executive branch virtual carte blanche for its “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” the Bush regime’s odious “public-private partnership” amongst telecom corporations and the National Security Agency’s (NSA) illegal monitoring of Americans’ electronic communications.

Golden went on to report,

Mr. Yoo noted that those actions could raise constitutional issues, but said that in the face of devastating terrorist attacks, “the government may be justified in taking measures which in less troubled conditions could be seen as infringements of individual liberties.” If the president decided the threat justified deploying the military inside the country, he wrote, then “we think that the Fourth Amendment should be no more relevant than it would be in cases of invasion or insurrection.” (Tim Golden, “After Terror, a Secret Rewriting of Military Law,” The New York Times, October 24, 2004)

Could such “infringements of individual liberties” include the preventative detention of “illegal immigrants,” political enemies, or others deemed “suspect” by a “Unitary Executive Theory” that alleges the president possesses virtually unlimited power as “commander-in-chief” during a “time of war”?

According to Bush regime acolytes, the answer apparently is “yes.” Subsequent reporting last week by The Washington Post, after reviewing the declassified version of Yoo’s memo confirm this analysis.

In early 2006, Peter Dale Scott uncovered a $385 million open-ended government contract awarded a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide “temporary detention and processing capabilities.” Scott wrote,

The contract — announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and construction firm KBR — calls for preparing for “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs” in the event of other emergencies, such as “a natural disaster.” The release offered no details about where Halliburton was to build these facilities, or when. …

After 9/11, new martial law plans began to surface similar to those of FEMA in the 1980s. In January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets. One month later John Brinkerhoff, the author of the 1982 FEMA memo, published an article arguing for the legality of using U.S. troops for purposes of domestic security. (Peter Dale Scott, “Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps,” Pacific News Service, February 8, 2006)

The DHS contract to KBR followed the April 2002 creation of the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM), specifically empowered for domestic U.S. military operations. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called this “the most sweeping set of changes since the unified command system was set up in 1946.”

Scott, citing Rumsfeld’s announcement, said that NORTHCOM is responsible for “homeland defense and also serves as head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)…. He will command U.S. forces that operate within the United States in support of civil authorities. The command will provide civil support not only in response to attacks, but for natural disasters.”

But state moves to entangle the American people in a seemingly inextricable web of repressive measures don’t stop there. In a follow-up article on KBR detention camp contracts, Scott described how the construction of these facilities are part of a long-term DHS plan titled ENDGAME, whose goal is the “removal” of “all removable aliens” and “potential terrorists.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security,

Endgame is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Detention and Removal (DRO) multi-year strategic enforcement plan. It stresses the effective and efficient execution of the critical service DRO provides its partners and stakeholders to enforce the nation’s immigration and naturalization laws. The DRO strategic plan sets in motion a cohesive enforcement program with a ten-year time horizon that will build the capacity to “remove all removable aliens,” eliminate the backlog of unexecuted final order removal cases, and realize its vision. …

Detention can be affected by unforeseen events occurring in other countries, such as natural disasters (i.e., earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.), war, and economic/political crises. These events can produce a “shock” to DRO detention. Such shocks can produce large numbers of illegal aliens, additional detention needs, and the inability to remove aliens from the U.S. back to countries in crisis. Though these immigration emergencies are relatively short-term in nature, they can have a drastic and enduring impact on available detention space. (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “ENDGAME, Office of Detention and Removal Strategic Plan, 2002-2012,” June 27, 2003)

Commenting on ENDGAME, Scott wrote,

Significantly, both the KBR contract and the ENDGAME plan are open-ended. The contract calls for a response to “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs” in the event of other emergencies, such as “a natural disaster.” “New programs” is of course a term with no precise limitation. So, in the current administration, is ENDGAME’s goal of removing “potential terrorists.”

It is relevant that in 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be “enemy combatants.” On Feb. 17 of this year, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the harm being done to the country’s security, not just by the enemy, but also by what he called “news informers” who needed to be combated in “a contest of wills.” Two days earlier, citing speeches critical of Bush by Al Gore, John Kerry, and Howard Dean, conservative columnist Ben Shapiro called for “legislation to prosecute such sedition.” (Peter Dale Scott, “10-Year U.S. Strategic Plan for Detention Camps Revives Proposals from Oliver North,” Pacific News Service, February 21, 2006)

But is the DHS’ ENDGAME “only” a program for “removing all removable aliens”? Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, environmental activist Lewis Seiler and former congressman Dan Hamburg ponder the real questions posed by such antidemocratic initiatives:

What kind of “new programs” require the construction and refurbishment of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to house perhaps millions of people?

Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies,” gives the executive the power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the president is now authorized to use the military in response to “a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the extent that state officials cannot maintain public order.”

The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of “terrorist” organizations, or who speaks out against the government’s policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike. (Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg, “Rule by Fear or Rule by Law?” San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2008; Page B-7)

While the deployment of NORTHCOM and ENDGAME scenarios are singular features of the Bush administration’s power-grab following the 9/11 attacks, its repressive architecture was built upon already-existing plans for suspending the Constitution and implementing a martial law regime.

During the urban rebellions of the 1960s and 1970s, the Pentagon drew up a series of blueprints for precisely those contingencies. Variously code-named “Cable Splicer” and “Garden Plot,” the U.S. military and local police who served as Pentagon auxiliaries (falling under the purview of the military’s chain of command) performed a series of exercises that envisioned the suspension of civil liberties, the rounding up of dissidents and their incarceration in detention camps for the duration of an (unspecified) “crisis.”

During the 1980s, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was designated the lead agency that would implement Ronald Reagan’s 1988 Executive Order 12656, stating that COG procedures come into play in the event of “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”

Some aspects of Reagan’s Rex-84 “emergency preparedness” operations advocated rounding up and detaining some 400,000 “refugees,” in the context, as Peter Dale Scott reported, of “‘uncontrolled population movements’ over the Mexican border into the United States.”

Since then, but especially in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon has continuously updated–and trained for–their implementation. Indeed, one can view the creation of NORTHCOM as perhaps the single most important “mission critical” link driving current COG planning.

According to researcher Frank Morales,

Training under [U.S. Army Field Manual] FM 19-15/Garden Plot must be “continuous” and “must develop personnel who are able to perform distasteful and dangerous duties with discipline and objectivity.” Dangerous to the local citizenry given that “every member of the control force must be trained to use his weapon and special equipment (including) riot batons, riot control agent dispersers and CS grenades, grenade launchers, shotguns, sniper rifles, cameras, portable videotape recorders, portable public address systems, night illumination devices, fire fighting apparatus, grappling hooks, ladders, ropes, bulldozers, Army aircraft, armored personnel carriers, and roadblock and barricade materials.” (Frank Morales, “U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning: The War at Home,” in Police State America, ed. Tom Burghardt, ATS/Solidarity, Toronto, Montreal, 2002, p. 73)

COG is predicated on the assumption that the military will act as a “force-multiplier” for local law enforcement, which in this age of militarized policing are already highly-repressive organizations replete with military-grade firepower, but also “less than lethal” weaponry, equipment and “special operations” units better-suited for the battlefield than an urban setting in a typical American city.

While September 11 may have been the “catastrophic and catalyzing event,” referenced by the now-defunct Project for a New American Century, COG planning has been in the works for decades, as were Pentagon blueprints for the invasion and occupation of Central Asia and the Middle East.

Predating 9/11, COG is viewed by elite policy planners as an instrument for the continuity of a repressive national security state, one targeting first and foremost, the American people. COG, as an instrumentality for containing the internal threat, is predicated on defending the capitalist mode of production and the political/social relations of class society as it enters a period of profound crisis.

In terms of a repressive discourse, NORTHCOM, under Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” (H.R. 5122)(2), signed into law by president Bush on October 17, 2006, allows the chief executive to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in the U.S. The law also permits the president to usurp control of state-based national guard units, even without the consent of the governor or local authorities in the affected region, to “suppress public disorder.” Frank Morales, exposing the onerous nature of the law writes,

President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is “martial law.” …

The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called “illegal aliens,” “potential terrorists” and other “undesirables” for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That’s right. Under the cover of a trumped-up “immigration emergency” and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration. …

The historic and ominous re-writing of the Insurrection Act, accomplished in the dead of night, which gives Bush the legal authority to declare martial law, is now an accomplished fact. (Frank Morales, “Bush Moves Toward Martial Law,” Toward Freedom, October 26, 2006)

In the absence of massive public opposition to existing martial law plans by the Bush regime or future U.S. administrations–Democratic as well as Republican–the prospect of America continuing as a free and open society is a mirage at best.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

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…, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8572

see

National Security & Homeland Security Presidential Directive 51 (2007)

Habeas Corpus/HR 6166/Military Commissions Act/MCA

Why doesn’t the 9/11 Commission know about Mukasey’s 9/11 story? By Glenn Greenwald

The DOJ comments on the Mukasey controversy + The US establishment media in a nutshell

Kucinich Helps to Secure Major Changes In EPA Rule on Lead

Dandelion Salad

by Dennis Kucinich

More Changes Still Needed

Washington, Apr 4 – Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (OH-10) issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule for Lead; Renovation, Repair, and Painting which was finalized Monday, March 31:

“I applaud the EPA for finally taking action, nearly two decades after Congress mandated it, to protect children, families, and workers from the hazards of lead poisoning as a result of home renovation,” said Kucinich.

On August 7, 2007, Congressman Kucinich sent a letter to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson highlighting the need for revisions to the proposed rule regarding work practice standards, testing, and other issues. The final rule includes some of these proposed revisions, including banning the use of torching, power sanding, sand blasting, and heat guns by contractors to remove lead paint.

Lead exposure has been linked to cognitive deficits, attention span disorders, and violent crime in multiple studies. The EPA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said there is no safe level of exposure.

“In particular, I am happy to see the EPA heeded my call to include key work practice standards, which were omitted in the proposed rule,” said Kucinich.

“While I’m glad to see the EPA strengthen the rule over the earlier version they issued, there is still work to be done to prevent exposure to toxic lead during home remediations.

The EPA did not prohibit dry sanding and scraping or paint stripping in a poorly ventilated space, even though such practices are prohibited in HUD homes. The EPA also chose not to mandate clearance dust testing, the best method of finding lead in the home, or contaminated carpet replacement or treatment.

The text of the August letter from Kucinich to EPA Administrator Johnson follows:

August 7, 2007

The Hon. Stephen L. Johnson
Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, ARN
Room 3000, Mail Code 1101A
Washington, D.C. 20460-0001

Dear Administrator Johnson:

I write to urge revision of the proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule entitled “Lead; Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program” (EPA-HQ-OPT-2005-0049). It is essential that the EPA issue this well overdue rule which, with the following changes, will prioritize the prevention of childhood lead exposure.

It would be difficult to underestimate the impact of lead on our children. At least 310,000 children are considered to be lead poisoned, though that number is expected to be much higher because there is no safe level of exposure to lead according to many scientists and the EPA. As research methods and detection technologies advance, experts find health effects at blood lead levels previously thought to be safe.

In addition, the list of health effects is expanding. We have long known about lower IQs, onset of ADD/ADHD, and permanent kidney damage. Evidence for a link between crime and lead exposure in children is now mounting. A recent peer reviewed article has been among the most convincing, finding that variation in blood lead levels in preschool-aged children explains variation in crime trends (including theft, burglary, murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) in multiple developed countries. The study also finds early evidence for links between extreme levels of lead poisoning and murder.1

The proposed rule has several important deficiencies including an inappropriate reliance on “white glove” testing over clearance dust testing and the treatment of carpets. However, I am particularly concerned with the omission of work practice standards.

Prohibited methods of paint removal, repair, and renovation in affected facilities must be comprehensive to ensure the safety of both workers and occupants. The EPA admits that the proposed rule is weaker than comparable regulations affecting properties under the auspices of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.2 The omission of work practice standards in the proposed rule allows the possibility of significant exposure resulting from repairs or renovations. If dangerous work practices are allowed, new chances for exposure are created as lead that was previously bound up in sealed paint is aerosolized or turned into dust and distributed throughout the building. Any serious attempt to reduce exposure to lead exposure in children must ban unsafe work practices.

The idea that a child could be far more exposed to lead because the residence is covered by EPA regulations instead of HUD regulations is unjust. All children deserve the best possible protection.

I encourage you to act promptly to adopt protections at least as protective as those that apply to HUD housing. No child deserves less than the best possible protections from a toxic chemical that could deprive him or her of a fair chance at life and health.

Sincerely,
/s/
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

1. Environmental Research, Volume 104, Issue 3, July 2007, Pages 315-336
2. Part VI of the rule entitled “Statutory and Executive Order Reviews,” in Subpart C, Section 4, entitled Relevant Federal Rules

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It’s the End of the World as We know it #31

Dandelion Salad

stimulator

Just so you are not pissed at me, the episode is longer than 10 mins. If you want to watch the whole thing uninterrupted go to http://submedia.tv

This Week:

1. Endorsing Hillary
2. Pants on Fire
3. Spoilers Deuce
4. Big Ass Meltdown
5. Social Unrest Begins
6. Tent City USA
7. Canada, the promised land
8. Chamillionaire
9. Corporate Graffiti
10. Anne Elizabeth Moore

Continue reading

Motherhood & Other Topics

by Guadamour
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
Guadamour’s blog post
Apr. 6, 2008

NOTE: I don’t feel in anyway qualified to write on this topic, however I do have a view and opinions. I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I had not made a few comments to a friend of mine. She suggested I write this, and she knows who she is, and I thank her for her support. The opinions are my own whether anyone agrees with them or not.

***

I was born in 1948 and at that time there were approximately 2 billion people on the planet. By 1970 there were over 3 billion people on the planet. Currently we are rapidly approaching 7 billion people.

More than half the people currently living on the planet are under 30 years of age, and in the prime child bearing years. Thus the population of the world will rise exponentially.

Ironically the population of the United States, Western Europe, Japan and a few other industrialized countries is aging rapidly, and they are worried about meeting labor demands and fulfilling social obligations.

The sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s seemed to add fuel to the already exploding population.

After the 1970’s it became more socially acceptable for a single mother to raise her child or children.

What does all this really have to do with motherhood, one might ask.

By definition, every child has to have a mother because no one has yet come into this world without having a mother (with sperm banks fathers have technically superfluous).

The quality of the motherhood offered a child is what is truly important.

In many parts of the third world and in isolated instances in the first and second world, girls in their early teens and even younger are giving birth to children for whom they are not prepared to take proper care.

This disadvantages the child, and when the child grows will much more likely be involved in war, mired in poverty with little if any hope of advancing his or her situation. or possibly be involved in crime.

This is not what any mother wants for her child.

As I was thinking about writing this blog early in the morning, I came across a pertinent quote by retiring UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

He said, “Discrimination against women of all ages deprives the world’s children–all of them, not just the half that are girls—of the chance to reach their potential. ”

’Where men control the household, less money is spent on health care and food for the family, resulting in poorer health for the children.”

“THERE IS NO BETTER TOOL FOR DEVELOPMENT THAN THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN.”

What the Secretary General is stating is that the mothers of the world hold the future of the world in their care, and he emphasizes food and health care, but I believe that proper motherhood involves a great deal more than that.

In my experience and travels a round the world, the happiest, most content and successful people are always ones who have had loving and caring mothers.

I have met people that couldn’t maintain a relationship, unable to express their love, because they felt that they had never received love from their mothers.

I have also met people who struggle all their lives, never really succeeding, and when I’ve talked to a few of them, I discovered that their mothers were domineering and never let the child explore his or her potential.

Still other’s, when anything goes wrong they going running to their mothers.

Then there are those that blame all their problems on their mothers.

The balance of loving, nurturing, caring for and guiding a child is extremely difficult to navigate, but it is of utmost importance to the world.

In the current situation of seemingly endless war, conflicts, droughts and famines, a properly loved and cared for child can save the world from unending turmoil.

In general, if a child feels properly loved, is nurtured and has adequate food and healthcare, that child cannot but help and love others.

I believe all mothers want this for their children, and it isn’t contingent upon religion, race or culture.

Motherhood is the most important phenomenon in the world because the mothers are guiding, nurturing and building the future of the world, and the governments and societies of the world have an obligation to meet the needs of their mothers.

Meeting the needs of mothers and motherhood does not involve killing their children in wars and other mindless conflicts based on race, religion, ethnicity, territory, natural resources and greed.

see

Single Mothers by Guadamour