The Road To World War III: Bush’s Legacy by Mickey Walker

Dandelion Salad

by Mickey Walker
Apr 13, 2008

Part I

Before Bush (BB) democracy and freedom were alive and well in America. We Yanks regarded ourselves as champions of the underdog nations of the world and defenders of all that is good. Arrogantly, many Americans today still believe in our greatness, for all our pillage and killing and borrowing our future away with a 9 Trillion dollar Iraq War debt that only does Halliburton and Blackwater any good. Today, I have to wonder, “What do we think of ourselves as a people?” I think we should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing the last 7 years to happen.

To ratchet up the playing field on which the Chief Executive can better play Dictator, President Bush has taken countless measures to satiate his rabid hunger to pillage the Treasury and national resources that belong not to him, but to the American people. Illegal wiretapping with no regard for the law allowed Bush to get the goods on his opponents so that his illegal activities could go smoother, without challenge. Stuffing federal attorney rosters with Bush lapdogs such as the graduate goons from Pat Robertson Law School is one thing, but having Gonzales, former AG, stack the US Attorney rosters by firing those opposed to Bush policy is nothing short of police state tactics. Then there’s the Bush signing statements. I got to wonder, does any American really think long enough to care that Bush has rendered and blown up our very form of government by negating laws duly passed by Congress with statements like “I’m signing McCain’s No-Torture Bill, but if I think it necessary to torture in the interest of national security, I will.”? When we begin to watch the bludgeoning of our Constitution by the worst president in American history, do any of us pause to care? Do we really believe that these Bush-mangled separation of powers in our three branches of government will reset to where it was BB? Will the next president who sits in the White House rescind Bush’s success at setting up a Unitary Executive (Dictatorship) form of government? What will happen to us? What will happen to America, now that Bush has incinerated our rights of habeas corpus, to know why we are being imprisoned in jails faraway for indefinite periods of time?

I fear for us. Bush and his lapdog Republicanized Congress have borrowed and spent big bucks on the Iraq War (where corporations now have the license to steal) and we give Trillion-dollar IOU markers to the Chinese so they will lend us more money. What is the national debt, anyway? It is the money America keeps borrowing from the Chinese, the Arabs and other sovereign countries as they buy up our government, our land, and our corporations and smile like hungry wolves as they feed, bite by bite on our America already on life support. Those who would argue and wrap themselves in the flag and grunt, “America, Love it or Leave It.” might best take a good look at our dollar. It has tanked against most all major currencies steadily as the Bush War has drained our resources and our Treasury. When Bush took office, the National Debt was just over 5 Trillion dollars. Today, it sits at 9.45 Trillion, surprise, surprise. See what a little creative preemptive attack on Iraq who never harmed the United States can do? Heck, the GOP doesn’t talk much about the big-spending Democrats anymore. Think their wartime borrow-and-make-their-crony-corporations-rich policies might have something to do with their silence about Democrats and spending? I don’t hear Halliburton complaining. For a look at where the borrowed money is going and how fast it spews out of our Treasury, press Control and left click the following website: . It will astound you. We have been snookered, and the rest of the world knows it. Other nations watch like knowing vultures on a perch nearby as the US dollar plummets toward Monopoly Money status, and other sovereigns like the Saudis, the Japanese, and the Chinese quietly convert their dollars to Euros. It’s scary. We see the symptoms like the mortgage meltdown and Bear-Stearns going down the toilet as we the taxpayers guarantee losses above 30 billion! We witness the wildest band aid of all in the drastic Fed cuts of interest rates of hundreds of basis points in just a few short months. Good and well, but what do we do as the world economies heat up and inflation knocks on our door and all we got is wallowed-out dollars to try to buy food and gasoline and to pay the house note? Credit cards? Forget ‘em. Credit and debt is what got us into this mess in the first place, all led by the Decider. He and all his crony Have More buddies in mortgage lending knew what they were doing. They knew that homeowners could not pay down their loans, ever. But they sucked us in without fear.

I know, I know, so much negativism, like, who needs it? Who wants to hear it? Am I guilty of just playing the game of “Ain’t It Awful” instead of proposing real solutions to correct real problems? But take a quick assessment of where we are, thanks to Bush and his lapdog Neocon Congress, and tell me what we can do to correct it? What (with the help of God Almighty) can the incoming president do with the Bush mess? What can he or she possibly do about the National Debt of 9.4 Trillion dollars that (thanks to Dubya) has almost doubled during his 7 years as preemptive, borrow-and-spend-us-down-the-toilet madness? Just consider the numbers, the arithmetic for a minute. Just for a moment, forget all the other issues (abortion, gay marriage, the immoral war, deaths and dismemberments due to lies about weapons of mass destruction), and let us be rational about the pure numbers. How can we address the 9.4 Trillion dollar debt Bush created in his war on terror? Congress, on both sides, is responsible, too, but Bush lied to get us into war, anyway, and McCain puppets Bush on staying the course in Iraq. Fine. So how are we going to pay for it? Where will the United States get the resources to continue to keep spending the many billions a week to keep the US occupation going in Iraq where civil war, not terrorists, overshadows and redefines the gravity of the great mistake America made by attacking Iraq. Dude.

So how do you liquidate a debt? How can the next president and Congress undo the financial disaster brought upon us all by the Bushites and his corrupt Neocon Congress for so many years? The Chinese, the Japanese, Great Britain, and the Saudis hold most of our IOUs for the 9.4 Trillion. So how we going to pay them back? And if we don’t get free and clear of them and the money we owe them, how we going to keep them from cutting out pieces of a fully-awake Uncle Sam by buying into our corporations, real estate, and government? We owe them an enormous amount of interest on the National Debt (real money payable upfront) too. How much? Oh, I don’t know, do the math. It’s got to be around 4% of 9.4 Trillion. $376,000,000,000.00 per year should handle the interest. But we get nothin’, not a damned thing for that huge sum of money, bleeding out of the US Treasury. Where are the true Conservatives of yesteryear? Whatever happened to Senator Dirksen? We get nothing for the interest paid out on our giant debt to fund building roads, Medicare, Social Security, Education, money to finance our mad military buildup, NOTHING! The Japanese, the Chinese, the Brits, and the Saudis get that money to help their own agendas, be it capitalism, enhancing more oil revenue, or war. We don’t get it, get it? The cost of having to scrape almost $400,000,000,000.00 a year off our collective national plates and flush the cash down the toilet is reprehensible. With us, it’s a yearly masochistic ritual. We should not have allowed it to happen to us in the name of privatization, this illegal war in Iraq, so that Halliburton and Blackwater, not to mention other crony war corporations could laugh, take the money, and run.

How do you liquidate a debt? Only two ways seem possible: 1. You pay it. 2. You disavow it. So out of the two possible choices, what has Bush left his successor as president number 44 of the United States of America, to do about the debt that keeps on going and going, like the Energizer Bunny? Choice number one is impossible. With production jobs going overseas and Americans losing their homes, it’s not likely that a new surge of manufacturing jobs here at home at say, $25.00 per hour. In fact the opposite is likely to occur as US corporations continue to outsource overseas labor and to build new factories on foreign shores. You see, cheap labor became an instant Holy Grail to all corporations who understand modern capitalism in the world market. Disavowing our 9 Trillion dollar debt might ruffle a few feathers in all world economies. It would destroy some countries, perhaps. Maybe that’s why sovereign nations flush with cash subtly continue to exchange American dollars for other world currencies, e.g., Euro Dollars. Think the global smart money knows something we don’t know? Think the Saudis and the Chinese give more thought to symptoms like our sub-prime mortgage meltdown and the fall of Bear Stearns, than we do? Disavowing our debt would be a world catastrophe. So the next president, as the American financial house of cards teeters, creaks, and leans, might have to continue to do a Reagan soft shoe, sailor straw in hand, singing “Deficits Don’t Matter” to the tune of “Me and My Shadow.”

Others have speculated that the United States might have to be even more aggressive in stealing the resources of the world, presently in the hands of other nations, such as the oil-rich Saudis (we already got a head start on Iraq) and the third domino to topple in the name of oil, Iran. This way, the United States can reset the debt meter, own and control the world’s oil, and former owners like the Saudis, well, they would be sh– out of luck. Such skullduggery might liquidate our debt. But it might also bring the likelihood of World War III and the liquidation of our planet as well. Stay tuned for Part II in a week or two.

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The Three Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree (video)

Cheney, Torture & the Chance to Restore the Rule of Law By John Nichols (Action Alert)

Dandelion Salad

By John Nichols
04/14/08 “The Nation”

The Constitution of the United States is absolutely clear when it comes to matters of torture.

Amendment 8 specifically states that, ”Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Acts of torture are by definition and common understanding — certainly at the time of the drafting of the nation’s essential document and arguably even in this less-enlightened era — cruel and unusual punishments

Vice President Dick Cheney, when he assumed the second most powerful office in the land after the disputed election of 2000, swore an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Any reasonable reader of that oath would conclude that Cheney bound himself to abide by the Constitution — and thus to avoid any involvement with the promotion of acts of torture upon detainees of the United States government.

Yet we now know from revelations made by former senior intelligence officials to ABC News and the Associated Press that Cheney and other members of the administration — who apparently took care to insulate President Bush from a series of meetings where CIA interrogation methods were discussed — authorized the use of waterboarding and other generally recognized torture techniques.

There is no question that Cheney violated his oath of office, which bound him to support and defend a Constitution that he disregarded.

The question is: How will responsible Americans respond?

The power to hold Cheney to account rests with Congress.

The power to get Congress to act rests with the American people.

Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, a respected lawyer who has been working with a number of other Constitutional experts and activists, has responded — not just to Cheney’s trashing of the Constitution but to the long list of Bush administration wrongs.

Anderson is circulating a letter that reads:

As patriotic Americans, we believe in knowing the truth about our government. Regardless of political affiliation, we believe in our constitutional democracy. We believe in the rule of law – that no person, regardless of position, is above the law.

We believe in respecting basic human rights – and have been proud to distinguish our nation from those countries where people are kidnapped, disappeared, and tortured.

We believe that in a democracy likes ours, citizens are entitled to know whether government officials are living up to their oaths to defend and preserve the Constitution, and whether they are abusing the human rights of people here or elsewhere in the world.

This is not a partisan matter. It is a matter of responsible citizenship.

Recently, several conscientious members of the House Judiciary Committee, including the Chair, Congressman John Conyers, have indicated support for public hearings to investigate and disclose the facts concerning claims of illegal conduct and other abuses of power by members of the Executive Branch. If misconduct has occurred, the American people are entitled to know. If misconduct has not occurred, hearings will determine and disclose that as well.

By showing that the American people – without political partisanship – support the disclosure of the truth through public hearings, we can make a difference, together standing up for the truth, the rule of law, and our Constitution.

• We are entitled to know whether members of the Executive Branch misrepresented the facts and withheld crucial information, thereby deceiving our nation and the international community before the invasion of Iraq.

• As American citizens who value the system of checks and balances among the three branches of government, we are entitled to know whether that system has been seriously undermined. We are entitled to know whether the courts and Congress have fulfilled their important constitutional roles in investigating and disclosing the misuse of Executive power.

• Our nation has engaged in the unprecedented, illegal, and immoral kidnapping, disappearance, and torture of human beings around the world (some of whom have been proven to be innocent of any wrongdoing), with no due process, in complete secrecy, and with no accountability. Even US citizens have been held in prisons indefinitely, with no legal counsel, no trial, and no charges filed against them. As Americans, we are entitled to know what has occurred in connection with these human rights abuses. In our democratic system of government, there must be full accountability.

Speaking out together, as concerned, patriotic Americans, we can send a clear message to Congress: In the United States, the rule of law must prevail, our Constitution cannot be disregarded, and the fundamental morality to which our nation has always laid claim will be restored.

Anderson asks that Americans who support the principles outlined in this letter — as I do — go to his Restore the Rule of Law website and sign on.

Signing this letter, says Anderson, who has opened an important dialogue about the Constitution and White House accountability with Conyers and other key players on the Judiciary Committee, “indicates to Congressman Conyers, other members of the House Judiciary Committee, and Congress as a whole that you support efforts to investigate and disclose any illegal acts and abuses of power by the President and others in his administration. Declare to the world, and to our posterity, that, as a US citizen:

  • You proudly support our long-held constitutional principles.
  • You are speaking out to reaffirm our democracy.
  • You demand accountability for those in our government who have disregarded our Constitution, violated statutory law, or engaged in immoral human-rights abuses.”

Anderson’s is an authentic patriotic response to the latest revelations about Dick Cheney’s disregard for the Constitution.

Go to the Restore the Rule of Law website and sign on and do what Cheney did not: support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

John Nichols’ new book is The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism. Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson hails it as a “nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use of the ‘heroic medicine’ that is impeachment with a call for Democratic leaders to ‘reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by the founders for the defense of our most basic liberties.’”


Restore The Rule of Law
April 9, 2008


Please add your name to the letter below, indicating to Congressman Conyers, other members of the House Judiciary Committee, and Congress as a whole that you support efforts to investigate and disclose any illegal acts and abuses of power by the President and others in his administration. Declare to the world, and to our posterity, that, as a US citizen:

* You proudly support our long-held constitutional principles.
* You are speaking out to reaffirm our democracy.
* You demand accountability for those in our government who have disregarded our Constitution, violated statutory law, or engaged in immoral human-rights abuses.

Thank you for your commitment, your willingness to take a firm stand, and for your authentic patriotism.

Take Action

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Chair, Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives
2426 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Conyers:

We are writing out of deep concern for our nation. The President and members of his administration have violated, and continue to violate, our Constitution, significant and numerous treaty obligations, customary international law, and laws passed by Congress. However, the federal courts and Congress (even with a Democratic majority) have utterly failed to hold the President and his administration accountable and to put an end to the egregious violations of law and abuses of power.

When the President abuses and exceeds the powers vested in the executive branch, the people of our nation have reason to expect, and our Constitution contemplates, that the other co-equal branches of government – the courts and Congress – will rein in the President, not only holding him to account, but also making it clear that such abuses and excesses will not be tolerated, now or in the future, in our constitutional democracy. When the courts and Congress fail in their duties to challenge and repair abuses of executive power, they condone the abuses and are thereby complicit in undermining our Constitution, our international standing, and our nation’s commitment to the rule of law.

Our nation and our constitutional form of government are at a crucial crossroads. Either we condone and thereby encourage unlawful misconduct by our President and his administration, or we hold them to account and put an end to the illegalities. We can make it clear to the world, including all U.S. citizens, present and future, that we are a nation of laws, that we will support and uphold our Constitution, and that we will not tolerate the undermining of the carefully structured system of checks and balances among three co-equal branches of government. To challenge, disclose and censure the abuses of power by the Bush administration would also serve to uphold our nation’s proud history of support for fundamental human rights, which has distinguished our nation, until now, from those totalitarian, human-rights abusing nations that have kidnapped, disappeared, and tortured people, and deprived them of any semblance of due process.

In a constitutional form of government, which is committed to the rule of law, the courts are a safeguard against unlawful conduct by government officials, including the President. The courts are intended to be a safeguard against tyranny and dictatorship, both procedurally and substantively. Alarmingly, that is no longer the case in the United States.

Recently, a federal court has ruled that the invocation of the “state secrets” doctrine by the Bush administration is sufficient to deny citizens the right to obtain information about whether their communications have been subjected to warrantless governmental surveillance, in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and federal statutory law (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Without the ability to obtain that information, the parties challenging the unlawful governmental surveillance have been held to lack standing to pursue their claims in court. Contrary to earlier false representations by President Bush that warrants were being obtained by his administration before electronic surveillance of communications was being conducted, the federal government is known to have continually and blatantly violated a criminal law passed by Congress and one of the most cherished rights protected by our Constitution. However, astoundingly, there is now no recourse in the federal courts.

The federal courts have even denied recourse to those who, pursuant to the “extraordinary rendition” program, have been illegally kidnapped, disappeared, and tortured by US agents and assignees in other countries. That dangerous lack of accountability has resulted from the indiscriminate acceptance by the courts of the assertion by the Bush administration of the “state secrets” doctrine. The Bush administration has invoked the “state secrets” doctrine 39 times, compared to a total of only six times by other presidents from 1953 to 1976, during the height of the Cold War.

Without action by Congress, these recent court decisions significantly undermine any notion that the rule of law prevails in the United States in instances of presidential abuse of power – and make it clear that no remnant of justice remains in relation to claims that such abuses have caused severe harm to innocent people. These decisions also call into question whether the truth about these abuses will ever be brought to light. All of this is leading our nation toward an unbounded and unaccountable tyranny, completely foreign to what many of us value most about our beloved country.

Because the courts are not providing a means of disclosing, or holding the Bush administration accountable for, serious violations of the law, it is particularly essential that Congress vigorously assume its constitutional prerogative and duty to thoroughly investigate and disclose the truth about the abuses of power and excesses of President Bush, Vice-President Cheney and others in the administration, all of which have caused extreme damage to our country.

Of course, the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives is best suited to conduct any inquiry into abuses of power by the President and others in his administration, particularly when violations of domestic statutory law, the Constitution, and treaty obligations have occurred. As Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, you have an historic opportunity and solemn responsibility, through the holding of hearings, to discover and disclose, and to bring the President and others to account for, the astounding abuses of power and violations of the law arising from the following misconduct, all of which have been severely injurious to our great nation:

Authorizing, permitting, and condoning the kidnapping, disappearance, imprisonment and torture of people throughout the world, in violation of the US Constitution, domestic statutory law, treaty obligations, and customary international law. (In connection with the investigation of the illegal “extraordinary rendition” program, the Judiciary Committee should consider recommending passage of a compensation bill for Khaled el-Masri, Maher Arar, and others who have been kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by U.S. agents and who have been denied any recourse to justice in US federal courts.)

Authorizing and permitting the arrest of US citizens without charges, and causing them to be held, indefinitely and incommunicado, without access to an attorney, without the right to challenge the lawfulness of their confinement through the great writ of habeas corpus, without a trial, and under inhumane circumstances.

• Authorizing, permitting, and condoning the electronic surveillance of US citizens’ communications, including emails and telephone conversations, without a warrant, in violation of the US Constitution and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Engaging in an illegal war of aggression against Iraq, in violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Nuremberg Covenant, and the United Nations Charter (all international treaty obligations, which, under the Constitution, comprise the supreme law of the land), following a public campaign comprised largely of fictitious and fraudulent representations intended to persuade the people of the United States that the war was justified by self-defense. The fraud was comprised of outright misstatements of material fact and by withholding material information known to President Bush and members of his administration that was directly contrary to the representations of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and others in the administration to Congress and the American people.

Abusing and exceeding the executive power, and undermining the constitutional principle of separation of power, through the issuance of a record number of signing statements following the enactment of legislation by Congress. These signing statements have led to an unprecedented disregard by the executive branch, including administrative agencies, of federal statutory laws, and to the assertion of an unbounded dictatorial “unitary executive” presidential power, during the so-called “war on terror,” an undeclared “war” that is geographically and temporally unlimited.

In addition to inquiries into the above grave criminal misconduct and other gross abuses of power, we urge that Judiciary Committee hearings include an inquiry into the use of false propaganda by members of the Bush administration, which has served as the source for articles in the news media that misled many of the people in the United States and elsewhere concerning the supposed “threat” posed by Saddam Hussein and the execution of the war. When our government lies to the people, with the aid of an inept and credulous news media, our democracy is at grave risk.

Hearings on the matters described above could be held for the purposes of (1) disclosing serious criminal misconduct and egregious abuses of power, (2) accountability, and (3) deterrence. Crucial to our constitutional democracy and a commitment to the rule of law is a determination of the facts of abuse and illegal misconduct, then conveying that the outrages of the Bush administration are not reflective of American values, and that our proud nation will not condone the subversion of our values, our laws, or our Constitution by any president or members of his or her administration. Such a result would also vindicate Congress’s vital role as a co-equal branch of our government that will zealously protect its role, rights, and responsibilities under the Constitution.

We urge you, as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to commence hearings without further delay in connection with the above described violations of law and abuses of power by President Bush and members of his administration. To embrace the opportunity to discover and disclose the truth, and to provide for the sort of accountability, transparency, and openness due to any democratic people, will be an important step toward a national recommitment to the rule of law, a renewal of international respect, and a return to the national values we Americans have always cherished for ourselves and our posterity.


George McGovern, Ralph Nader, Robert A. Feuer, Rocky Anderson, Blase Bonpane, Theresa Bonpane, Ramsey Clark, Mimi Kennedy, Andy Jacobs, Jr., James Abourezk, Daniel Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Paul Findley, Kevin Zeese, John Nichols, Tim Carpenter, Marcus Raskin, Jonathan Kozol, Harry Belafonte

Add your name as a signatory by filling in the information at the top of the letter.

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Too Much of Nothing: Crime Without Punishment, War Without End by Chris Floyd

John Yoo: Spearhead or scapegoat? By Glenn Greenwald

Activism: Appoint a Special Prosecutor!

John Yoo-4th Amendment-Torture

The Coming War with Iran: It’s About the Oil, Stupid

Dandelion Salad

By Joe Lauria
04/14/08 “Huffington Post”

World civilization is based on oil. The world is running out of oil. The oil companies and governments are not telling the truth about how close we are to the end. Dick Cheney knew about peak oil back in 1999 when he spoke to the London Petroleum Institute as Halliburton CEO. He predicted it would come in 2010. After that it’s just a matter of years before it runs out. Whoever controls the remaining oil determines who lives and who dies.

Sixty percent of this oil is under a triangular area of the Middle East the size of Kansas. In that speech Cheney said: “The Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies.”

This small Middle East triangle encompasses the northeast of Saudi Arabia, all of Iraq and the southwestern part of Iran, along with Kuwait, Qatar and the Emirates. The US controls Iraq. It has friendly governments in the other states.

Iran is the exception. The US now surrounds Iran.


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.

American Hegemony Is Not Guaranteed By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
04/14/08 “ICH”

Exactly as the British press predicted, last week’s congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and Green Zone administrator Ryan Crocker set the propaganda stage for a Bush regime attack on Iran. On April 10 Robert H. Reid of AP News reported: “The top US commander has shifted the focus from al-Qaida to Iranian-backed ‘special groups’ as the main threat . . . The shift was articulated by Gen. Petraeus who told Congress that ‘unchecked, the special groups pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq.’”

According to the neocon propaganda, the “special groups” (have you ever heard of them before?) are breakaway elements of al Sadr’s militia.

Nonsensical on its face, the Petraeus/Crocker testimony is just another mask in the macabre theatre of lies that the Bush regime has told in order to justify its wars of naked aggression against Muslims.

Fact #1: Al Sadr is not allied with Iran. He speaks with an Iraqi voice and has his militia under orders to stand down from conflict. The Badr militia is the Shi’ite militia that is allied with Iran. Why did the US and its Iraqi puppet Maliki attack al Sadr’s militia and not the Badr militia or the breakaway elements of Sadr’s militia that allegedly now operate as gangs?

Fact #2: The Shi’ite militias and the Sunni insurgents are armed with weapons available from the unsecured weapon stockpiles of Saddam Hussein’s army. If Iran were arming Iraqis, the Iraqi insurgents and militias would have armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenades and surface-to-air missiles. These two weapons would neutralize the US advantage by enabling Iraqis to destroy US helicopter gunships, aircraft and tanks. The Iraqis cannot mass their forces as they have no weapons against US air power. To destroy US tanks, Iraqis have to guess the roads US vehicles will travel and bury bombs constructed from artillery shells. The inability to directly attack armor and to defend against air attack denies offensive capability to Iraqis.

If the Iranians desired to arm Iraqis, they obviously would provide these two weapons that would change the course of the war.

Just as the Bush regime lied to Americans and the UN about why Iraq was attacked, hiding the real agenda behind false claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and connections to al Qaeda, the Bush regime is now lying about why it needs to attack Iran. Could anyone possibly believe that Iran is so desirous of having its beautiful country bombed and its nuclear energy program destroyed that Iran would invite an attack by fighting a “proxy war” against the US in Iraq?

That the Bush regime would tell such a blatant lie shows that the regime has no respect for the intelligence of the American public and no respect for the integrity of the US media.

And why should it? The public and media have fallen for every lie the Bush regime has told.

The moral hypocrisy of US politicians is unrivaled. McCain says that if he were president he would not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics because China has killed and injured 100 Tibetans who protested Tibet’s occupation by China. Meanwhile the Iraqi toll of the American occupation is one million dead and four million displaced. That comes to 20% of the Iraqi population. At what point does the US occupation of Iraq graduate from a war crime to genocide?

Not to be outdone by McCain’s hypocrisy, Bush declared: “The message to the Iranians is: we will bring you to justice if you continue to try to infiltrate, send your agents or send surrogates to bring harm to our troops and/or the Iraqi citizens.”

Consider our “Christian” president’s position: It is perfectly appropriate for the US to bomb and to invade countries and to send its agents and surrogates to harm Iraqis, Afghans, Somalians, Serbians and whomever, but resistance to American aggression is the mark of terrorism, and any country that aids America’s victims is at war with America.

The three-week “cakewalk” war that would be paid for by Iraqi oil revenues is now into its sixth year. According to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, the cost of the war to Americans is between three and five trillion dollars. Five trillion dollars equals the entire US personal and corporate income tax revenues for two years.

Of what benefit is this enormous expenditure to America? The price of oil and gasoline in US dollars has tripled, the price of gold has quadrupled, and the dollar has declined sharply against other currencies. The national debt has rapidly mounted. America’s reputation is in tatters.

The Bush regime’s coming attack on Iran will widen the war dramatically and escalate the costs.

Not content with war with Iran, Republican presidential candidate John McCain in a speech written for him by neocon warmonger Robert Kagan promises to confront both Russia and China.

Three questions present themselves:

(1) Will our foreign creditors–principally China, Japan and Saudi Arabia–finance a third monstrous Bush regime war crime?

(2) Will Iran sit on its hands and wait on the American bombs to fall?

(3) Will Russia and China passively wait to be confronted by the warmonger McCain?

Should a country that is over-extended in Iraq and Afghanistan be preparing to attack yet a third country, while threatening to interfere in the affairs of two large nuclear powers? What sort of political leadership seeks to initiate conflict in so many unpromising directions?

With Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea threatened by American hegemonic belligerence, it is not difficult to imagine a scenario that would terminate all pretense of American power: For example, instead of waiting to be attacked, Iran uses its Chinese and Russian anti-ship missiles, against which the US reportedly has poor means of defense, and sinks every ship in the American carrier strike forces that have been foolishly massed in the Persian Gulf, simultaneously taking out the Saudi oil fields and the Green Zone in Baghdad, the headquarters of the US occupation. Shi’ite militias break the US supply lines from Kuwait, and Iranian troops destroy the dispersed US forces in Iraq before they can be concentrated to battle strength.

Simultaneously, North Korea crosses the demilitarized zone and takes South Korea, China seizes Taiwan and dumps a trillion dollars of US Treasury bonds on the market. Russia goes on full nuclear alert and cuts off all natural gas to Europe.

What would the Bush regime do? Wet its pants? Push the button and end the world?

If America really had dangerous enemies, surely the enemies would collude to take advantage of a dramatically over-extended delusional regime that, blinded by its own arrogance and hubris, issues gratuitous threats and lives by Mao’s doctrine that power comes out of the barrel of a gun.

There are other less dramatic scenarios. Why does the US assume that only it can initiate aggression, boycotts, freezes on financial assets of other countries and bans on foreign banks from participation in the international banking system? If the rest of the world were to tire of American aggression or to develop a moral conscience, it would be easy to organize a boycott of America and to ban US banks from participating in the international banking system. Such a boycott would be especially effective at the present time with the balance sheets of US banks impaired by subprime derivatives and the US government dependent on foreign loans in order to finance its day-to-day activities.

Sooner or later it will occur to other countries that putting up with America is a habit that they don’t need to continue.

Does America really need more political leadership that leads in such unpromising directions?

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.

Mosaic News – 4/11/08: World News from the Middle East

Dandelion Salad



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


For more:
“FAO: World Hunger,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Food Shortage Hit Egyptians Hard,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Is War on the Horizon?,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Tension in Gaza,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Last Passage to Gaza Closed,” Dubai TV, UAE
“No Plans to Withdraw,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“A Heritage of Killing,” Syria TV, Syria
“UK Scandal Over Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia,” Press TV, Iran
“MIR: What Petraeus Didn’t Tell You,” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod



More than 3 billion people condemned to premature death from hunger & thirst

Bill Moyers Journal: Hunger in America + Exposé Farm Subsidies + Soup Kitchen

Black Ops on Green Groups (video link)

Democracy Now!
April 14, 2008

Black Ops on Green Groups: Private Security Firm Run by Fmr. Secret Service Officers Spied on Environmental Orgs for Corporate Clients

A private security firm spied on Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and several other environmental organizations from the late 1990s until at least the year 2000, according a new investigation by Mother Jones magazine. The security firm was run by former Secret Service officers who infiltrated environmental groups, collected their phone records and confidential internal documents, and even went through their trash. The information was then passed on to public relations firms and corporations involved in environmental controversies. We speak with the reporter who broke the story, James Ridgeway. [includes rush transcript–partial]
Real Video Stream

Real Audio Stream

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.


Cops and Former Secret Service Agents Ran Black Ops on Green Groups

Too Much of Nothing: Crime Without Punishment, War Without End by Chris Floyd

Dandelion Salad

by Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque
Sunday, 13 April 2008

The President of the United States has openly, proudly admitted that he approved the use of interrogation methods that are by every measure — including the measure of United States law — criminal acts of torture. It is one of the most brazen and scandalous confessions of wrongdoing ever uttered by an American leader — and it has had no impact whatsoever. No scandal, no outcry, no protest, no prosecution.

This pattern has recurred over and over throughout the Bush Administration. Bush and his minions commit crimes and atrocities in secret; they move heaven and earth to conceal their filthy deeds; they squirm and squeal like panicked rats when their some small portion of their evil comes to light; they belch forth a relentless series of self-contradictory lies to cover up, obfuscate or explain away the crimes; and when at last their malefactions can no longer be denied, they trot out the president himself to say: “Yeah, we did it; so what?” And then….nothing happens.


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


Bush speaks on the possibility of another 9/11 (+ video link)

The Waking Up Syndrome

Activists demand Russia ban GM foods (video)

Dandelion Salad


Added: April 14, 2008
The growth in genetically modified foods has not yet seen large-scale public debate in Russia but a number of people do feel strongly about the issue. Thus, a group of youth activists in the northern city of Murmansk is demanding a ban on GM products.

Continue reading

Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide & the Politics of Containment

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, April 14, 2008

Review of Peter Hallward’s book

Part I

Peter Hallward is a UK Middlesex University Professor of Modern European Philosophy. He’s written many articles; authored several books; edited, contributed to and translated others; and has research interests in a broad range of areas, including recent and contemporary French Philosophy; contemporary critical theory; political philosophy and contemporary politics; and globalization and postcolonial theory. He also edits the Radical Philosophy journal of critical and continental philosophy.

Hallward’s newest book, “Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment,” is the subject of this review, and here’s what critics are saying. Physician and Haiti expert Paul Farmer calls it “the best study of its kind (offering) the first accurate analysis of recent Haitian history.” Noam Chomsky says it’s a “riveting and deeply-informed account (of) Haiti’s tragic history.” Others have also praised Hallward’s book as well-sourced, thorough, accurate and invaluable. This reviewer agrees and covers this superb book in-depth.


First, a brief snapshot of Haiti. The country shares the western third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It lies east of Cuba, west of Puerto Rico, and is about midway between south Florida and Venezuela. Haiti is small, around the size of Maryland in square miles, and has a population of about 8.8 million according to World Bank figures. It’s two-thirds mountainous, with the remainder consisting of great valleys, extensive plateaus and small plains. Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city. The country has some oil, natural gas and other mineral wealth, but it’s main value is its human resource that corporate giants covet in an offshore cheap labor paradise for Wal-Mart’s “Always Low Prices.” The nation’s official name is the Republique d’Haiti.

Few people in all history have suffered as much as Haitians, and it began when Columbus arrived. From then to now, they’ve endured enslavement, genocidal slaughter as well as brutal exploitation and predation. Hope for change arose with Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s 1990 election, but it wasn’t to be. On February 29, 2004, a US-led coup d’etat shattered the dream for the second time. In the middle of the night, US Marines abducted Haiti’s President and flew him against his will to the Central African Republic. Today, Aristide remains in exile in South Africa, vows to return, and in an interview with the author says he’ll serve his people “from outside the structure of the state.” Haitians still overwhelmingly support him and want him back in any capacity.

Hallward recounts his story and the rise of his Lavalas movement. The book’s title is derived from its meaning – “avalanche” or “flood” as well as “the mass of the people” or “everyone together.” Aristide remains larger than life as its symbol and leader, but consider what he was up against – Haiti’s “rigid and highly polarized social structure (separating) a small and very concentrated elite from the rest of the population” and a good deal more. No independent Haitian government has a chance against it when allied with “neo-imperial intervention (power), elite and foreign manipulation of the media, the judiciary, (co-opted) non-governmental organizations,” and traditional Haitian politics in this impoverished land that’s totally dependent on outside aid for support.

Yet, a “remarkable political movement” arose in the mid-1980s to challenge the Duvalierist dictatorship. It drove its leader into exile, returned the country to military rule, and inspired a broad progressive coalition to challenge it for democratic reform. It made Jean-Bertrand Aristide Haiti’s President in February 1991, but only briefly. Seven months later, an army-led coup deposed him. It was widely condemned, and in 1994, he returned as President. He was then overwhelmingly reelected in 2000, removed again in 2004 but with a difference. Beyond his popular support, there was “widespread resignation or indifference, if not approval.”

What changed? Little more than perceptions and extreme manipulation to achieve them. Once again, Haiti’s elite and its Franco-American sponsors scored a major victory, while the vast majority of Haitians lost out. Hallward’s book recounts the story. He explains how Lavalas created a coalition of urban poor and peasants along with influential liberal elites: “cosmopolitan political dissidents, journalists, academics,” and even some business leaders seeking stability.

What happened between 1991 and 2004? Hallward portrays it as class conflict, as the age old struggle between concentrated wealth and the vast majority of Haiti’s poor. It “crystallized around control of the army and police,” because that’s where power lies. Aristide challenged the status quo and posed an intolerable threat to wealth and privilege – but not because he sought radical or quick reform. His ideas were “modest” and “practical” for “popular political empowerment” that made sense to most Haitians. He governed within the existing constitutional structure. He organized a dominant, united and effective political party for all Haitians. Most importantly, he did it after abolishing the nation’s main repressive instrument – the army.

Key to understanding 2004 is that real progressive change was possible after Aristide’s 2000 reelection with no “extra-political mechanism” (the army) to stop it. For Haiti’s ruling class (a tiny fraction of the population), that was intolerable. Aristide had to be removed, Lavalas crushed, and it set off a chain of events that culminated in 2004 in “one of the most violent and disastrous periods in recent Haitian history.” Ever since, repression has been intense in the face of persistent resilience against it.

Hallward recounts how Lavalas became weakened through “division and disintegration” – marked by “the multiplication of disjointed NGOs, evangelical churches, political parties, media outlets, private security forces” and relentless vilification of Haiti’s central figure, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. No one else had the charisma or ability to mobilize popular sentiment and by so doing “antagonize the rich.” Aristide wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t a saint, but he was sincerely dedicated to helping the poor and representing all Haitians fairly and equitably. It’s why his support remains strong and why powerful internal and external forces brought him down and are determined never to allow him back. As a symbol of Lavalas, he remains an ever-present threat.

1791 – 1991: From the First Independence to the Second

According to Aristide, Haiti is the hemisphere’s poorest country “because of the rich (and its) 200 year plot.” Consider these facts:

— throughout its colonial and post-colonial history, Haiti’s tiny ruling class has had dominant social and economic control;

— the country’s distribution of wealth is “the most unequal in a region (that’s) the most unequal in the world;”

— 1% of Haitians control half the country’s wealth;

— in contrast, the vast majority (over 80%) “endure harrowing” poverty;

— three-fourths of the population live on less than $2 a day and over half (56%) less than $1 a day;

— 5% of the population owns 75% of the arable land; and

— a tiny 5% of elites control the economy, media, universities, professions and what passes for Haiti’s polity; six powerful families dominate the nation’s industrial production and international trade; they split along two lines: deeply conservative rural landowners (the grandons) and their military allies and the more differentiated “importers, exporters, merchants, industrialists, professionals, intellectuals, academics, jounalists” and others like them; in solidarity, they have contempt for the masses and hold onto privilege through exploitation and violence in a country where class exerts the most powerful influence and workers have no rights.

Under this type dominance and America’s iron grip, Haiti has been strip-mined for profits and its people neoliberally crushed. For decades, and especially since the mid-1980s, the country has undergone successive IMF-imposed structural adjustments. They cut wages and the size of the public sector workforce, eliminated tariffs to facilitate imports, directed agriculture to cash crops for exports, privatized public utilities and other state assets, and made Haiti “one of the most liberal trade regimes in the world,” according to Oxfam.

These “reforms” slashed Haiti’s per capita GDP from $750 in the 1960s to $617 in 1990, $470 in 1994, $468 in 2000, and down to $425 in 2004 – not counting the effects of inflation. In addition, agricultural production was halved by the late 1990s, and wages (even after inflation) dropped from $ 3 – 4 a day in the early 1980s to $1 – 2 a day by 2000. Haiti’s official minimum wage at most is $1.80 a day, but even people getting it “survive on the brink of destitution.” According to the IMF, that’s most of them with 55% of Haitians receiving a daily income of only 44 cents, an impossible amount to survive on.

Other country statistics are just as challenging and show how, without outside aid, the government can’t meet its peoples’ basic needs:

— unemployment and underemployment are rampant, and two-thirds or more of workers are without reliable jobs;

— structural adjustments decimated the rural economy and forced displaced peasants to cities for non-existent jobs;

— public sector employment is the lowest in the region at less than .7%;

— life expectancy is only 53 years; the death rate the highest in the hemisphere; and the infant mortality rate double the regional average at 76 per 1000;

— the World Bank places Haiti in its bottom rankings based on deficient sanitation, poor nutrition, high malnutrition, and inadequate health services;

— the country is the poorest in the hemisphere with 80% or more of the population below the poverty line; it’s also the least developed and plagued by a lack of infrastructure, severe deforestation and heavy soil erosion; a 2006 IMF report estimates Haiti’s GDP at 70% of its meager 1980 level;

— the country’s national debt quadrupled since 1980 to about $1.2 billion; half or more of it is odious; and debt service consumes about 20% of the country’s inadequate budget;

— half its population is “food insecure” and half its children undersized from malnutrition;

— more than half the population has no access to clean drinking water;

— Hatii ranks last in the hemisphere in health care spending with only 25 doctors and 11 nurses per 100,000 population and most rural areas have no health care access;

— it has the highest HIV-AIDS incidence outside sub-Sararan Africa;

— sweatshop wages are around 11 – 12 cents an hour for Haitians lucky enough to have work;

— UNICEF estimates between 250,000 to 300,000 Haitian children are victims of the country’s forced bondage or “restavec” system; it means they’re “slaves;”

— post-February 2004, repression is severe under a UN paramilitary (Blue Helmet) MINUSTAH occupation masquerading as peacekeepers; they were illegally sent for the first time ever to support a coup d’etat against a democratically elected president (with 92% of the vote); political killings, kidnappings, disappearances, torture and unlawful arrests and incarcerations are common forms of repression with more on that below; four years after the 2004 coup, the extent of human misery is overwhelming by all measures, yet the dominant media is silent and international community dismissive.

Nonetheless, while he remained in office, Aristide had remarkable accomplishments in spite of facing overwhelming obstacles. More on that below as well.

A free and independent Haiti is as threatening to the dominant social order now as on January 1, 1804 when French colonialism was defeated. It explains why crushing it is essential to preserve the country’s exploitive “legacy” with its “spectacularly unjust distribution of labor, wealth and power (characteristic of) the whole of the island’s post-Columbian history.”

Revolution provoked counter-revolution, and Hallward recounts it:

— economic isolation from which Haiti never recovered;

— French-imposed compensation (in 1825) of 150 million francs for loss of its slaves; it shackled the new nation and ended any hope for the country’s autonomy even though France later reduced the amount;

— debt repayment dependent on borrowing at extortionate rates; by 1900, payments took 80% of the nation’s budget until it was paid in full in 1947 – after nearly 125 years of debt slavery; a new form has now replaced it;

— after Haiti’s colonial race war ended, its post-colonial class conflict began; its 19th century ruling class became what it is today: “a parasitic clique of medium-sized and authoritarian landowners….importers, merchants and professionals;”

— imperialism victimized Haiti and continued into the new century; most consequential was Woodrow Wilson’s 1915 occupation that lasted until Franklin Roosevelt ended it in 1934; during the period, atrocities and war crimes were routine; the most infamous was the 1929 Les Cayes slaughter of 264 protesting peasants; US Marines killed them mercilessly, and when the occupation ended as many as 30,000 Haitians had died;

— at its end, a repressive Haitian army took over; generals ran the country, and “coup followed upon coup;”

— Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier then took power from a rigged 1957 election and during his tenure murdered 50,000 or more Haitians and terrorized the population;

— when he died in 1971, his son, Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) took over, maintained the family tradition, and did his father one better – he improved the country’s investment climate for its foreign patrons with punishing effects on the people;

— by the mid-1980s, even the international community no longer could tolerate his “undiluted brutality and venality;” protests began, he became a liability, was sent to a comfortable exile and (in 1986) replaced by the military;

— then came five repressive years under rule of the generals – Namphy (1986 – 88), Avril (1988 – 90) plus a few months under Leslie Manigat in 1988; later it was Cedras after the first Aristide coup; Haiti’s only female (provisional) president served for 11 months immediately preceding Aristide’s election; Ertha Pascal-Trouillot was the country’s chief justice and a wealthy member of its ruling class;

— the 1986 – 1990 period was so tumultuous that, temporarily, Haitian elites aligned themselves with charismatic priests like Jean-Bertrand Aristide; they didn’t crave reform; they wanted stability for a good business climate;

— Aristide, above others, embodied Haitians’ demands for social transformation; he combined “a concrete strategy for acquiring practical political power with the uncompromising inspiration of liberation theology” and was dedicated to the “active self-liberation of the oppressed;” yet he’s not a politician; he’s a dedicated to the poor organizer, activist and parish priest;

— in point of fact, liberation theology terrifies the ruling class even more than Marxist-Leninism or organized labor; under Lavalas, it’s the greatest threat to Haitian elites and US dominance;

— for Aristide, the “deadly economic infection called capitalism” represents profound social harm if not “mortal sin;” only social revolution can expunge it, yet Aristide renounces violence and only condones self-defense;

— repression under military rule was even harsher than earlier; after one year in office, Namphy and the generals “gunned down more civilians than Jean-Claude Duvalier’s government had done in 15 years;”

— by mid-1990, a new strategy was needed, something “less abrasive;” the year became “the single most important date in modern Haitian history;” preserving the status quo was key; Washington chose former World Bank official Marc Bazin to run in the December election; Lavalas candidate Aristide opposed him after intense pressure from fellow priests and supporters convinced him to run;

— with no organized party or campaign, Aristide won overwhelmingly with 67% of the vote in a heavy turnout of 80%; for the first time in Haiti’s history, the people chose the President, not the army or imperial powers; Washington was shocked by the result;

— Aristide took office in February, 1991 and proceeded cautiously; international lenders promised him aid; he enforced import fee collections and raised taxes on the rich; he minimized conflict with the military but purged its top commanders; political violence and state-sanctioned repression abruptly halted; and he went further but in small steps;

— he appointed a presidential commission to investigate extra-judicial killings; redistributed some fallow land; began a literacy program; cracked down on drugs trafficking; lowered food prices; and modestly increased the minimum wage;

— even moderation antagonized vested interests, including the church; it made Aristide “an intolerable challenge to the status quo;” more importantly, what he represented (not so much himself) was threatening;

— by fall, a coup was inevitable, and by late September his enemies were ready to act; they represented domestic and imperial opposition; on the night of September 30, 1991, Aristide was deposed.

1991 – 1999: The First Coup and its Consequences

By September 1991, the military understood that to contain Lavalas it had to terrorize its base in the slums. Late in the month as trouble was brewing, crowds gathered to defend the government, the army attacked them, and “shot everything in sight.” On the night of the coup, general Cedras took power, and at least 300 people were killed. It was the beginning of a three year reign of terror that would take about 5000 Lavalas lives.

The real power in Haiti at the time was Michel Francois, a longtime CIA asset, as well as the notorious “Anti-Gang” attache, Marcel Morissaint. A new “Haitian Resistance League” emerged as well to “balance the Aristide movement” and conduct “intelligence work against it.” Emmanuel “Toto” Constant was part of it, the notorious founder of FRAPH (in 1993) that terrorized Lavalas supporters.

The repression was so intense, the movement never fully recovered after the 1991 coup. Thousands were killed and many thousands more forced into exile or hiding for their safety, including the most visible Lavalas leaders.

Yet, post-coup conditions enabled Aristide to return to power in October 1994, but his critics say he compromised too much to do it. The evidence, however, shows otherwise even though, on return, Aristide was more diplomatic than confrontational.

Key to understanding his position was his dependence on America for help. Only Washington could end the military dictatorship, restore a democratically elected leader, and provide the kind of aid Haiti needed and/or allow international lending agencies to supply it. It meant sacrificing plenty in preference to getting nothing at all.

Here’s what Aristide agreed to:

— accepting the coup regime as co-equal and a “legitimate party” to negotiations,

— according its leaders an unconditional amnesty,

— and replacing (Prime Minister) Preval with an (elitist) acceptable alternative.

On July 3, 1993, Aristide signed the so-called Governors Island Accord that gave Cedras nearly everything he wanted. Nonetheless, he ignored the deal, conditions through mid-1994 worsened, and Washington proposed a new arrangement.

Lavalas was in tatters, Haiti’s military wasn’t needed, and the Clinton administration agreed to bring Aristide back but keep a tight grip on him. Why do it? As long as he needed US aid, he offered hope for a more stable business climate. He also agreed to US demands to share power, grant amnesty to coup-plotters, and let Washington develop, train and control a new police force. Most important, he agreed to structural adjustment terms and to be no deterrent to the country’s elite and international investors.

Aristide returned on October 12, 1994, took over as President, and served out his term until February 7, 1996. About 20,000 Marines came with him, cooperated closely with pro-coup families, protected FRAPH paramilitaries, and contained Haiti’s popular movement. The occupation’s damage was considerable, yet Aristide had no choice. Accomplishing anything was preferable to nothing in exile.

Nonetheless, on April 28, 1995, he took a major step. He dissolved the hated army altogether. Its significance was considerable and was done despite determined US and elite opposition. In all other respects, Aristide’s position was weaker than in 1991. Haiti’s administrative structures were in ruins and would take at least months to repair. In addition, his enemies “were neither marginalized nor disarmed….divisions had emerged among some of his supporters,” US troops had total control of the country’s security, and he had to administer neoliberal measures forced on him that were sure to provoke popular resentment.

Aristide’s only choice was to unconditionally agree to harsh economic measures or “insist on a combination of compliance and compensation.” He and Fanmi Lavalas (FL) chose the second option. His prime minister and others around him took the first. It showed Aristide acted as independently as possible, stood up for his people, yet, nonetheless, made painful concessions forced on him.

In exchange for $770 million in promised aid, he agreed to drastic tariff cuts, freeze wages, lay off about half (22,000) the civil service, and privatize all nine remaining public utilities. At the same time, he got concessions:

— new “rice sector support package” investment to improve water management, drainage, provision of fertilizers, pesticides, tools, financial services, and more;

— laid off civil employees would get a generous severance package, and in the end only 7000 layoffs occurred;

— utilities were to be sold but under a “democratization” of public assets plan stipulating their sale “must be implemented in a way (to) prevent increased concentration of wealth within the country;”

— part of the $770 million in donor aid would be for “social safety net” priorities: education for the poor, an adult literacy program, and special attention to young women’s schooling;

— provisions also empowered labor unions, grassroots organizations, cooperatives, community groups and they “demilitarize(d) public life;”

In short, Aristide agreed to painful concessions, but not unconditional surrender. He stumbled, however, by being too trusting. Although he negotiated in good faith, the other side didn’t. Washington and IFIs (international financial institutions) pressured him to abandon social provisions and threatened to halt aid entirely unless privatizations were done unconditionally.

Aristide resisted, threatened his officials with jail if they agreed to these terms, and all outside aid was suspended with devastating consequences. He was committed to his people, refused to privatize any state enterprise, and his successor Preval privatized only a couple in his first term.

By the June 1995 parliamentary elections and after the second-round September run-offs, conditions became complicated. A group associated with Lavalas won (the Plateforme Politique Lavalas – PPL), but its largest faction (Organisation Politique Lavalas – OPL) no longer supported Aristide. With Washington turning hostile, neither did the IFIs, USAID, the National Endowment of Democracy (NED), the International Republican Institute (IRI), liberally funded technocrats, compliant NGOs, and it amounted to a combustive mixture. All these agencies were authorized to bypass the government, direct aid to elite interests, and undermine all Aristide initiatives.

Still, he pursued parts of his social program, including a compromise minimum wage increase that was still far below a livable amount. And even with it, the Campaign for Labor Rights noted that in 1998 “more than half (Haiti’s) 50 assembly plants (paid) less than the legal minimum” amount.

Aristide’s term expired in February 1996, his former prime minister Rene Preval was elected to succeed him, and he tried to steer a middle course between Aristide loyalists and the increasingly anti-Aristide OPL. It proved impossible with his pro-privatization prime minister, Rosny Smarth. Tensions between the two developed and headed for a split between committed and opportunistic Lavalassians. It came to a head later in the year when Aristide and his loyalists created an alternative political organization – Fanmi Lavalas (FL). Its purpose was to reestablish links between local Lavalas branches and its parliamentary representatives.

When 1997 legislative elections were held, several Aristide-allied candidates won decisively, the OPL rejected the outcome, Preval’s prime minister resigned, further privatizations were halted, but his government was left in limbo. The OPL obstructed his efforts and effectively paralyzed Preval for 18 months – until their terms expired in January 1999. New elections were then delayed until May 2000, and Preval was forced to govern by decree until Aristide was reelected to a second term in February 2001.

Until he abolished it in 1995, the army was the dominant apparatus for protecting elite privilege from open rebellion against it. Thereafter, a new Haitian National Police (PNH) force replaced it with Aristide battling elite and former army members for control. The latter prevailed since funding depended on US aid, and American troops, on arriving in Haiti, took great pains to preserve key FAdH (Haitian army) and FRAPH assets. The State Department and CIA also oversaw initial PNH recruitment and trained many police units at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. More than half of top police commissioners were recycled FAdH personal running a 6500-strength security force. In addition, its most powerful units (the 500-strong Presidential Guard and two 60 – 80 member SWAT-type units) were largely staffed by former army members.

For his part, Aristide had no control of the process. Nor could he prevent US efforts from keeping paramilitaries armed and dangerous, and it showed up in random street crime and violence that became very socially disruptive. Post-1994, these developments aided the elite and led to the second 2004 coup.

Before his 2000 reelection, however, the country was deeply polarized. Most members of the political class were aligned against FL, including ex-Duvalierists, ex-putchists and OPL members. They formed a pro-US, pro-army coalition of 200 political organizations called the Democratic Convergence (CD). Headed by former Port-au-Prince major Evans Paul, their ranks were from Haiti’s civil society – industrialists, bankers, importers, the media, intellectuals and co-opted NGOs. They, in turn, became part of another US-funded group – the Group of 184 (G-184), headed by industrialist Andy Apaid.

For its part, Fanmi Lavalas (FL) was relatively disciplined, had mass public support, and was very able to win and retain political power at all government levels. Its first test came in December 2000.

2000 – 2001: Aristide and the Crisis of Democracy

Aristide was twice elected Haiti’s President decisively – in 1990 with 67% of the vote and in 2000 with an overwhelming 92%. However, the circumstances around each one were quite different. In 1990, he won with an informal and eclectic coalition of peasant organizations, an urban poor-liberal elite alliance, and progressive church members. In 2000, FL was disciplined, united and won an overwhelming mandate with a (first time ever) working parliamentary majority.

For the elite, it was calamitous, and it let Aristide launch a significant social change initiative. His opponents, in contrast, needed a new destabilization and counter-mobilization strategy. It followed along familiar lines:

— paramilitary intervention much like the Nicaraguan Contras;

— intense economic pressure to bankrupt the government and halt its social programs;

— a legitimately-looking opposition, drawn from Haiti’s business and civil society; and

— a media disinformation campaign to portray the government as corrupt, authoritarian and undemocratic – much the way Hugo Chavez is now vilified.

All of it was designed to provoke government responses that could plausibly be called brutal and dictatorial, hope things might spin out of control, and give the opposition a chance to “step in and save the day.” FL didn’t oblige and kept them waiting four years.

Hallward calls the May 2000 legislative elections “arguably the most remarkable exercise in representative democracy in Haiti to date.” Unprecedented numbers registered and turned out to vote, and a comprehensive post-election assessment concluded “free, fair and peaceful elections (were held after) months of struggle and intimidation.” Turnout matched 1990 at around 65%. Fanmi Lavalas won overwhelmingly (locally and nationally) and swamped the anti-Aristide opposition. FL won:

— 89 of 115 mayoral positions;

— 72 of 83 (lower house) Chamber of Deputy seats; and

— 16 of 17 Senate seats and control of all but one of the Senate’s 27 positions.

It was no surprise why and a signal that no opposition could stand against Aristide in free, fair and open elections. FL had the only “coherent political program” offering improvements in health, education, infrastructure, peasant cooperatives, micro-financing, and a dedication to lift impoverished Haitians’ lives. Equally clear was a CD spokesman’s comment: “We will never, ever accept the results of these elections.” Neither would the US or France or the dominant echo-chamber media trumpeting how Haiti “failed to hold credible elections” – because the wrong party won. With truth nowhere in sight, the world heard a consistent theme – that “massive electoral fraud” tainted Haiti’s elections.

The presidential contest in November followed the same pattern, and “the dictator in question” won overwhelmingly with 92% of the vote. Fraud and violence were minimal, turnout was around 60%, FL now had three consecutive landslide (presidential) victories, and a defeated opposition determined they’d be no fourth one. They failed. More on that below.

Aristide’s victory was glorious but costly. Washington greeted it with “a crippling embargo on all further foreign aid.” Promised Inter-American Development Bank loans were also blocked – $145 million already agreed on plus another $470 million in succeeding years. The effect was so devastating that the UN Development Programme said the severity of mass destitution would take Haiti “two generations” to recover from “if the process….start(ed) now.” Other NGOs called year end 2003 conditions in the country “without precedent.”

Aristide had a choice, but it didn’t help. He agreed to negotiate, made concessions, yet the embargo was never lifted. Complicit with Washington, the CD extracted all they could but remained firm on their “essential” goal – ousting the Aristide government “by any means necessary.” Throughout his second term and its lead-up months, the CD rejected “every FL offer of new elections and of new forms of power-sharing.” One of its leading members summed up the mood – CD would only negotiate “the door through which Aristide (would) leave the palace, the front door or the back door.” Its post-January 2001 strategy was “option zero,” and these were its terms:

— be able to choose its own prime minister;

— authorize him to govern by decree; and

— neutralize Aristide, effectively force him to stand down, and have a three-member presidential council act as head of state in his place.

To highlight its position, the day Aristide was sworn in, the CD inaugurated its own parallel government. The world community barely blinked nor did the dominant media, as always blaming Aristide for Haiti’s problems.

2000 – 2003: Investing in Pluralism

From the time he gained prominence in the late 1980s, Aristide was roughly treated. The Clinton administration was “profoundly hostile” to him, but George Bush neocons felt “genuine hatred” and showed it. One initiative was the “Democracy and Governance Program” to counter the “failure of democratic governance in Haiti.” Its strategy – “developing political parties, helping non-governmental organizations resist Haiti’s growing trend toward authoritarian rule, and strengthening the independent media.” In other words – back all efforts to crush Aristide and FL.

The extremist hard right International Republican Institute (IRI) was part of the scheme with its own special viciousness – “backing the most regressive, elitist, pro-military” Haitian factions plus allying with the CD and G-184 against Aristide and FL.

One of IRI’s strategic partners was the so-called 2002-formed, Washington-based Haiti Democracy Project (HDP). Its members represent a who’s who of American and Haitian elites, united with a singular aim – crushing Haiti’s “popular democracy” and returning the country to its pre-Aristide condition.

Haiti’s anti-goverment or “independent” media also had its role, especially radio because of the country’s high illiteracy rate. Throughout the 1990s and ahead of Aristide’s 2000 reelection, anti-Lavalas propaganda was sustained and vicious. It was so hostile that in late 2003, the National Association of Haitian Media (ANMH) banned Aristide from its member stations’ airwaves to prevent him from answering his critics.

The campaign against him was also helped when one of Haiti’s few independent journalists, Jean Dominique, was mysteriously murdered in April 2000, just weeks before the decisive May legislative elections. Dominique rankled the opposition for years, was the country’s most widely respected and influential radio voice, and strongly supported Lavalas and the poor. It’s no surprise he was silenced or any doubt who did it.

Without a countervailing voice, the dominant media’s specialty was unchallenged – round-the-clock anti-Lavalas propaganda all the time. So when small anti-Aristide demonstrations are held, like the one on May 28, 1999, they’re reported as a “tide of dissent.” In contrast, huge pro-Lavalas gatherings are downplayed or ignored.

At the same time, Haiti Progres (the country’s largest weekly publication) reported “a media campaign was also launched in the United States to split the Haitian community and undermine the support of the Congressional Black Caucus” and other pro-Lavalas advocacy groups. Its themes were familiar and consistent – FL government corruption, autocracy and complicity in human rights abuses. Earlier in the 1990s, the US media called Aristide “flaky, volatile, confrontational, demagogic, unpredictable, radical, tyrannical, a psychopath, Anti-American, anti-democratic,” and more. Then it got worse in his second term.

2001 – 2003: The Return of the Army

Economic pressure paralyzed Aristide’s government, yet it took brute force to unseat him, and the scheme advanced along familiar lines. While USAID, NED, IRI and others funded the CD and G-184, covert training and equipping a rebel army (called the FLRN) went on in neighboring Dominican Republic (DR). This, of course, is a CIA specialty, although no smoking-gun evidence reveals what, in fact, went on – so far.

However, it’s known that “contingency plans for an insurgency” were likely well advanced by the late 1990s. CIA operatives accompanied US occupation troops in 1994, and recruited and preserved FRAPH leaders, army personnel, and others to be used as an anti-Aristide paramilitary force. They went on the Agency’s payroll for the time their services would be needed. It arrived in late 2000, and consider who led it.

Three names were prominent:

— former Cap-Haitien police chief, dispassionate killer, member of Haiti’s army, and Augusto Pinochet admirer, Guy Philippe;

— former Macoute, FRAPH assassin and leader of the infamous “Raboteau massacre,” Emmanuel “Toto” Constant; and

— the similarly credentialed Louis Jodel Chamblain, described by a US intelligence official as a “cold-bloded, cutthroat, psychopathic killer” and perfect for what CIA had in mind.

In early 2001, they enlisted a group of disgruntled former FAdH personnel and began preparing an anti-Lavalas rebel force in the DR, long a loyal US client state. CIA and US Special Forces ran the operation in what’s been pretty standard US practice throughout the world for decades.

The insurgency began early in small steps:

— in July 2001 against the Haitian National Police Academy in Port-au-Prince and three police stations near the DR border in the Central Plateau; five police officers were killed and 14 others wounded;

— in December 2001 in a full-scale assault against the presidential palace; the Haitian National Police (PNH) were involved, armed commandos seized the palace for several hours, announced on radio that Aristide was no longer President, and five or six people were killed; popular response was quick; thousands of Lavalas supporters stormed out to protest, and the insurgency was quelled;

— other FLRN assaults were staged in 2002 – against police stations, FL activists, jails that were emptied, and more;

— in May 2003, 20 insurgents attacked Haiti’s largest power station in the Central Plateau killing two security guards; in June, an FL supporter was executed; in July, rebels killed four Interior Ministry members; other attacks continued through the summer and fall.

By early 2004, things were coming to a boil with “one and only one objective: the unconditional surrender of Lavalas.”

2001 – 2004: Aristide’s Second Administration

Aristide’s second term was even more challenging than his first. Haiti was nearly bankrupt, its social and economic programs severely compromised by extorted concessions, media propaganda was intense, and from his inauguration to ouster paramilitary pressure was building.

In spite of it and his damaging mistakes, Aristide’s accomplishments were remarkable:

— his government built and renovated health clinics, hospitals, dispensaries and improved medical services; Haitian medical students were trained in Cuba; a new Haitian medical school was established in Tabarre and provided free medical education for hundreds of Haitians; Cuba also sent Haiti about 800 doctors and nurses to supplement its meager 1000 or so total;

— education was targeted in addition to medical training in Tabarre; FL implemented a Universal Schooling Program; new primary and high schools were built, including in rural areas; thousands of scholarships were provided for private and church-run schools; schoolbooks, uniforms and school lunches were subsidized; a national literacy campaign was undertaken and from 1990 – 2003, illiteracy dropped from 65% to 45%;

— there were human rights and conflict resolution achievements, including criminal justice reforms; special children’s courts were established and the nation’s youths got real legal protection; measures were also adopted to reduce exploitation of children;

— for the first time, women got posts as prime minister, finance and foreign minister, chief of police and unprecedented numbers won parliamentary seats;

— the hated military was abolished as already mentioned;

— unprecedented free speech, assembly and personal safety were achieved;

— the minimum wage was doubled;

— land reform was initiated;

— thousands of jobs were created;

— new irrigation systems supplied farmers with water; rice yields (Haiti’s main staple crop) increased sharply;

— many thousands of Caribbean pigs were distributed to farmers;

— efforts were made to collect unpaid taxes from the rich and business elites;

— hundreds of community stores sold food at discount prices;

— for the first time ever, a Haitian government participated in discussions with Venezuela, Cuba and other Caribbean states to discuss US-limiting regional economic strategies, including cooperative trade; and

— low cost housing was built, and more in spite of enormous constraints, bare bones resources, the country nearly bankrupt, and an administration targeted for removal by overwhelming internal and external force.

In spite of overwhelming obstacles, the 1994 – 2003 decade was remarkable by any standard. “For the first time in its history, Haiti’s people were ruled by a government of their choosing, one that adopted their priorities as its own.” It made popular support for Aristide active, strong, and channeled through a network of “organisations populaire” (OPs) that played a central collective mobilizing role in the country. They provided an instrument for all kinds of social programs – education, construction, youth and cultural projects, sports, street cleaning, waste management, and more. It made FL “the single most important organized political force in the country” and also the main obstacle to elitist dominance. It made the movement and what it represents, far more than Aristide, the real 2004 putschist target.

Part II will continue the story. Watch for its posting on

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM – 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests.

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It’s Occupation, Not War By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
3/04/08 “

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ended some years ago. In Iraq, the war ended with the fall of Saddam Hussein’s government; in Afghanistan, with the fall of the Taliban government. What’s been happening since is occupation and resistance to occupation.

It’s always helpful to call things by the right name. One of the ways using the wrong word can trip us is illustrated by John McCain’s campaign theme. We have to win the war in Iraq, he keeps saying. Ending a war implies either winning or losing. No such baggage is attached to an occupation. You can end an occupation without either winning or losing. You just withdraw your troops.

The fact that what is going on in Iraq is an occupation is proven by the nature of the conflicts. They are between factions of Iraqis. Our guys are caught in the crossfire or killed by Iraqis who oppose our presence. There are no large-scale attacks directed against us.


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.


The Three Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree (video)

The Three Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree (video)

Dandelion Salad

See LadyBroadoak’s Op-Ed piece on this topic: SHOPPING SPREE! The $3 trilliion spendathon is on for us. ~ Lo


Added: April 13, 2008 The occupation of Iraq will cost $3 trillion, America’s most expensive conflict since WWII.

Can YOU spend that money better?

Here’s your chance to go on a virtual $3 trillion shopping spree and prove it!

Browse our online store, fill up your cart, click the checkout button, and send virtual gifts to everyone you know.

A private island fortress? Healthcare for all? Anything you can imagine, and if you can’t find it, add it yourself!

Continue reading

What Are We Doing To Our Own? (Depleted Uranium; 2007)

Dandelion Salad


October 12, 2007

Bud Deraps, an 82 year old WWII Navy veteran, speaks out against Depleted Uranium.

Vodpod videos no longer available. from posted with vodpod


h/t: ICH


Poison Dust (Depleted Uranium; 2007)

Depleted Uranium (DS posts)

Depleted Uranium (old blog posts)

Poison Dust (Depleted Uranium; 2007)

Dandelion Salad


Poison DUst tells the story of young soldiers who thought they came home safely from the war, but didn’t. Of a veteran’s young daughter whose birth defect is strikingly similar to birth defects suffered by many Iraqi children. Of thousands of young vets who are suffering from the symptoms of uranium poisoning, and the thousands more who are likely to find themselves with these ailments in the years to come. Of a government unwilling to admit there might be a problem here. Filmmaker Sue Harris skillfully weaves the stories of these young veterans with scientific explanations of the nature of “DU” and its dangers, including interviews with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, New York Daily News reporter Juan Gonzalez, noted physicist Michio Kaku, Dr. Rosalie Bertell, Dr. Helen Caldicott and Major Doug Rokke- the former U.S. Army DU Project head.

Every American who cares about our troops should watch this film. Everyone who cares about the innocent civilians who live in the countries where these weapons are used should watch this film. And everyone who cares about the hatred of Americans that may result from the effects of our government’s actions in using these weapons, should watch this film. Is there a cover-up?

Continue reading

Mukasey Defends Bush Regime Spying, Domestic Military Operations by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 13, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

During an emotional speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on March 27, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey asserted that the September 11 attacks could have been prevented “if the government had been able to wiretap a phone call from Afghanistan,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

As I wrote March 30, we know that Mukasey’s declaration was factually false, yet the USAG continues to claim that the government should be able to monitor communications from “terrorists,” without seeking permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) whose brief from Congress, under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), does precisely that.

In other words, Mukasey is either substantially ignorant of the law or is playing a mendacious game at the behest of his political masters, one that strips Americans of their constitutionally-guaranteed Fourth Amendment rights.

During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Thursday, Mukasey told sceptical senators “the one thing I got wrong was the geography, but other than that, it was spot on.”

The Bush administration continues to press Congress to expand the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program by passing a new “Protect America Act” which expired February 16.

The administration would grant various arms of the intelligence bureaucracy carte blanche to spy on Americans while limiting court review of the process. The proposed new law, overwhelmingly supported by Senate Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress, would bar pending lawsuits against giant telecommunications companies accused of providing access to their networks and company records to Bushist spymasters.

Challenging the veracity of Mukasey’s assertions at the Commonwealth Club, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), pointedly inquired:

This statement is very disturbing for several reasons. Initially, despite extensive inquiries after 9/11, I am aware of no previous reference, in the 9/11 Commission report or elsewhere, to a call from a know terrorist safehouse in Afghanistan to the United States which, if it had been intercepted, could have helped prevent the 9/11 attacks. In addition, if the Administration had know of such communications from suspected terrorists, they could and should have been intercepted based on existing FISA law. For example, even assuming that a FISA warrant was required to intercept such calls, as of 9/11 FISA specifically authorized such surveillance on an emergency basis without a warrant for a 48 hour period. If such calls were known about and not intercepted, serious additional concerns would be raised about the government’s failure to take appropriate action before 9/11. (Congress of the United States, House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, “The Honorable Michael Mukasey, Attorney General of the United States,” April 3, 2008)

Claiming that many threats “do not appear to be emergencies until it is too late,” Justice Department official Brian Benczkowski, challenged Conyers’ assertion and said that it’s “easy to say, after the fact,” a particular call could have been intercepted under the law. Chronicle reporter Bob Egelko writes that Benczkowski said “it makes more sense to eliminate legal obstacles to effective intelligence-gathering overseas.” In other words, give the administration what it wants: unlimited power to spy on Americans.

Despite Conyers’ correctly calling out Mukasey on his unequivocal falsehoods on the issue of monitoring al-Qaeda prior to the 9/11 attacks, Conyers too, substantially misrepresents the facts. To wit, the National Security Agency (NSA) maintained close electronic surveillance of al-Qaeda’s communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen for years before 9/11. Such monitoring included not one call, but probably dozens of communications amongst operatives of Osama bin Laden’s “Martyrdom Battalion.”

According to Paul Thompson at the History Commons, NSA, CIA and FBI monitoring included the interception of communications among al-Qaeda assets prior to the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000:

Mid-August 1998-October 2000: Al-Qaeda Operatives Use Monitored Yemen Communications Hub to Coordinate Cole Bombing

Al-Qaeda operatives use a communications hub in Sana’a, Yemen, to “put everything together” before the bombing of the USS Cole. The communications hub is run by Ahmed al-Hada, who US officials will later describe as “a prominent al-Qaeda member who is believed to have been involved in the Cole bombing.” The hub is monitored by US intelligence from 1998, at least, (see Late August 1998) and information gleaned from it is used to thwart a number of plots (see Late 1998-Early 2002). The US monitors the house through bugs planted inside and through spy satellites to monitor people leaving and entering it. The hub was also used before the 1998 embassy bombings and will be used to communicate with the 9/11 hijackers before 9/11 (see Early 2000-Summer 2001). [MSNBC, 2/14/2002; MIRROR, 6/9/2002; MSNBC, 5/2005] When the FBI arrives in Yemen to investigate the bombing, it finds that “telephone records show[…] that suspects in the Cole bombing had been in touch with suspects from the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya.” [MILLER, STONE, AND MITCHELL, 2002, PP. 238] Calls between the hub and an al-Qaeda cell in Ireland that seems to have a connection to the Cole bombing are also intercepted during part of this period (see Late December 1999-October 12, 2000). It is unclear why the information does not allow the NSA to thwart the plot. Despite the scope of the monitoring, NSA Director Michael Hayden will later say there were no intercepts the NSA could have exploited to stop the bombing: “When the Cole disaster took place I had brought to my desk in, in this office, every stitch of NSA reporting on the–that could in any way be related to this. And I went thought it report by report and I sent a letter out to our entire work force, which was essentially, you performed well. Keep up the good work.” [CBS NEWS, 6/19/2002]

As I have written before, the 9/11 attacks, were neither a “failure of the imagination” as the 9/11 Commission asserted, nor the result of “flawed communications” between various security arms of the state to “connect the dots.” The murder of some 3,000 individuals on U.S. soil were the result of actions undertaken by successive U.S. administrations’ to protect on-going intelligence operations by the United States in the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East.

While al-Qaeda is certainly a far-right terrorist organization responsible for politically-motivated acts of murder, and have sought to obtain and deploy chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, this did not preclude their utilization as intelligence assets by the Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II administrations. The United States and their NATO allies, freely employed al-Qaeda and other Islamist forces as a cats-paw as they conducted multiple destabilization campaigns in the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as well as within the former Soviet Union itself, notably in Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Russian province of Chechnya, as Michel Chossudovsky has documented. Nor has it prevented the Bush administration from using such reactionary forces as disposable assets as it currently wages a covert war against Iran, as Seymour Hersh reported last year in The New Yorker.

As with his fictitious claims regarding the 9/11 attacks, Mukasey has essentially condoned moves by the administration to deploy the U.S. military domestically for “counterterrorist” operations.

Despite Bush administration assertions to the contrary, there is no evidence that domestic operations by the U.S. military are legal under the U.S. Constitution, despite Mukasey’s testimony Thursday, when he attempted to distance himself from a classified October 2001 Department of Justice memorandum.

Responding to a question put to him by the Senate Appropriations Committee, Mukasey said that “the Fourth Amendment applies across the board, whether we’re in wartime or peacetime,” according to The New York Times.

Times’ reporter Philip Shenon wrote,

Still, the attorney general did not repudiate the entire document. He also did not say if its findings had been formally withdrawn or when it might be turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has requested a copy.

The memorandum’s existence was revealed last week when the Bush administration released a copy of a separate Justice Department document from 2003 that referred to the October 2001 memorandum in a footnote.

The footnote said the 2001 memorandum, which has not been shared outside the administration, concluded that the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches and seizures, did not apply to “domestic military operations” against terrorist threats. (“Mukasey Distances Himself from a Memo on Searches,” The New York Times, April 11, 2008)

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Department of Homeland Security “plans to start using the nation’s most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea’s legal authority.”

DHS will “activate” the National Applications Office’s satellite surveillance program for (unspecified) domestic purposes. First proposed last August by DHS, the NAO’s overhead sensor data will be used by law enforcement “once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved.” DHS has previously averred that the program “will not intercept communications.”

This however, is a meaningless parsing of intelligence terminology by DHS, more reflective of its desire to conceal than to reveal the nature of NAO’s domestic “mission.” Data “captured” by satellites are referred to in the “trade” as GEOINT or Geospatial Intelligence, gathered by satellite, aerial photography, mapping/terrain data, or IMINT, imagery intelligence, gathered from satellite or aerial photography. Strictly speaking, communications monitoring such as that conducted by NSA is referred to as SIGINT, or signals intelligence. The question is: what or whom will be “mapped” by space-based satellites and/or high-altitude spy planes such as Lockheed’s U2 or its SR-71 Blackbird? DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff claimed,

“There is no basis to suggest that this process is in any way insufficient to protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans,” Chertoff wrote to Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), chairmen of the House Homeland Security Committee and its intelligence subcommittee, respectively, in letters released yesterday.

“I think we’ve fully addressed anybody’s concerns,” Chertoff added in remarks last week to bloggers. “I think the way is now clear to stand it up and go warm on it.”

His statements marked a fresh determination to operate the department’s new National Applications Office as part of its counterterrorism efforts. The administration in May 2007 gave DHS authority to coordinate requests for satellite imagery, radar, electronic-signal information, chemical detection and other monitoring capabilities that have been used for decades within U.S. borders for mapping and disaster response.

But Congress delayed launch of the new office last October. Critics cited its potential to expand the role of military assets in domestic law enforcement, to turn new or as-yet-undeveloped technologies against Americans without adequate public debate, and to divert the existing civilian and scientific focus of some satellite work to security uses. (Spencer S. Hsu, “Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S..” The Washington Post, April 12, 2008, Page A3)

We should not be deceived either by Mukasey, Chertoff or by half-hearted gestures from Congress to reign in the “post-Constitutional” Bush regime. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Democratic Party has been complicit with Bush administration claims of unlimited executive power to fight its alleged “war against terror.”

From the torture of detainees, the launching of “preemptive” wars of conquest, the circumvention of binding international treaties, to the subversion of Americans’ democratic rights under the U.S. Constitution, the Democrats have rubber-stamped and provided Bush and his minions a rationale–“protecting the Homeland”–for overturning all Constitutional restrictions on presidential and military power.

Illegal domestic spying by the FBI, NSA and “security” corporations operating beyond the reach of any meaningful oversight by elected, democratic institutions will continue long after the Bush administration ignobly sails off into the proverbial sunset.

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.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008
The url address of this article is:

Mukasey testifies before the Senate Appropriations Ctte on FISA & 9/11

Mukasey Refuses to Say Yoo 4th Amendment Memo Withdrawn

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

Attorney General Mukasey lies about 9/11 & international spying

Telecom Immunity: Playing the “9/11 Card” … Again

Bush speaks on the possibility of another 9/11 (+ video link)

Dandelion Salad

Big News
Sunday 13th April, 2008

US President George Bush has said he believes another 9/11 attack on the United Sates should be considered a strong possibility and warned that such an attack could originate from Pakistan.

In an interview with America’s ABC TV, Mr Bush said: “If another September 11 style attack is being planned, it probably is being plotted in Pakistan, and not Afghanistan.”

Bush said if the terrorists were planning such attacks, they would be found out.

During the interview he also said that Washington had no intention of attacking Iran, but added that it was the responsibility of the US to convince the world of Iran’s capacity to enrich its uranium capacities for a potentially threatening nuclear weapons program.

It was, therefore, in the interest of Washington to pressurise the Iranians to prevent them from enriching their uranium haul.

He said the US was continually gaining knowledge about Iran’s activities in Iraq.

Bush said the United States would bring Iran to justice if it continued to try to use agents or surrogates to infiltrate Iraq and harm US troops and Iraqi citizens.

Asked to clarify “bring to justice,” Bush replied: “It means capture or kill, is what that means.”

h/t: CLG


EXCLUSIVE: Bush Says Petraeus’ Timeline for Troop Drawdown Not Open-Ended

President Also Says He Will Attend Olympics to Support Athletes

April 11, 2008

Interview by Martha Raddatz

Video link and article

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