Impeach Now!!!

Dandelion Salad

Thanks to MagicStarER for sharing her blog post. ~ Lo

MagicStarER

Blog post
July 7, 2008

Where will it all end?  WHEN will it all end?  WHY are we letting this administration of crooks tear our Constitution apart and allowing them to take away the rights and freedoms that it guarantees to us?  WHY are we permitting them to use our name to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent people in a country that was not a threat to us, including women, children, and babies? WHY are we allowing them to wage an illegal war on the basis of LIES?  WHY are we allowing them to use their private armies to terrorize the citizens of this and other countries and letting them and their corporate cronies loot the resources of those countries paid for by OUR TAX MONEY?  What about the secret prisons, the extraordinary renditions, the babies and children being locked up in prisons?  What about the illegal TORTURE admitted to and authorized by George W. Bush et al?  What about the illegal wiretapping?  The abuse of our trust?  And what about the secret laws and the illegal signing statements? Continue reading

What’s a rational American foreign policy? + Lieberman wants stronger action against Iran

Dandelion Salad

TheRealNews

More at http://therealnews.com/c.ph…
Aijaz Ahmad: Start with the question, why does the US have to be the most powerful country on earth?

***

Lieberman wants stronger action against Iran

More at http://therealnews.com/c.ph…
Sen. Joseph Lieberman says Arab nations, not just Israel, want US to stop Iran’s nuke program

How do Iranians react to threats of attack?

More at http://therealnews.com/c.ph…
Triita Parsi talks about the affect of threats on Iranian public opinion

see

Amb. Pickering on Iran Talks and Multinational Enrichment

Mideast Nuclear Saber Rattling by Eric Margolis

Countdown: Economic Plans + Flip or No Flip on Iraq + Public Financing & Attack Ads

Dandelion Salad

July 07, 2008

videocafeblog

McCain and Obama’s Economic Plans

Rachel Maddow filling in for Keith talks about the McCain and Obama campaigns’ economic proposals they rolled out today. Dana Milbank weighs in.

Flip or No Flip on Iraq

Rachel reports on the McCain campaign’s assertion that Barack Obama has flip flopped on his Iraq position and the timing of that charge being timed to last for the entire holiday news cycle. Richard Wolffe weighs in.

Public Financing and Attack Ads

Rachel talks about the attack ads coming from outside groups on Barack Obama and his decision not to take public financing. Chris Kofinis weighs in.

Bushed!

Tonight’s: Timetable-Gate, Injustice-Gate and Slow Learner-Gate.

Change of Venue for Democratic Convention

Rachel reports on the Democrats decision to hold the last day of their convention at Denver’s Invesco Field, and the opportunity for small donors to receive a back stage pass for the event. Chris Cillizza weighs in.

Surviving the Fourth of July By Chris Hedges

Dandelion Salad

By Chris Hedges
07/07/08 “Truthdig

I survive the degradation that has become America—a land that exalts itself as a bastion of freedom and liberty while it tortures human beings, stripped of their rights, in offshore penal colonies, a land that wages wars defined under international law as criminal wars of aggression, a land that turns its back on its poor, its weak, its mentally ill, in a relentless drive to embrace totalitarian capitalism—because I read books. I have 5,000 of them. They line every wall of my house. And I do not own a television.

Continue reading

Amb. Pickering on Iran Talks and Multinational Enrichment

Dandelion Salad

justforeignpolicy

June 26, 2008

Former Ambassador Thomas Pickering calls for talks without preconditions and advocates a plan for a multinational uranium enrichment consortium in Iran. Iran has proposed a similar plan to the UN Security Council. Why aren’t we considering this proposal?

Demand Real Diplomacy with Iran. Go to:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/invo…

Interview of Ambassador Pickering courtesy of the Cultures of Resistance Network:
http://www.culturesofresistance.org

see

Mideast Nuclear Saber Rattling by Eric Margolis

What gives Bush the right to destabilize Iran by covert military operations?

Independence Day by Ralph Nader

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
Monday, July 7,  2008

One day when I was about eight years old, my mother tossed one of her frequent “out of the blue” questions at me:

“Ralph, do you love your country?”

“Yes, mother,” I said, wondering where she was going with this.

“Well, I hope when you grow up, you’ll work hard to make it more lovable.”
Thus, began my education in the patriotism of deeds, the patriotism of advancing justice. The country was in the middle of World War II and the spirit of patriotism was engulfed by the war effort, by the heroics of our armed forces against the fascists, and, for my parents, by my brother Shaf’s impending enlistment into the Navy.

Still, having come as teenage immigrants from Lebanon, during the Ottoman Empire and French mandate periods, my mother and father were very sensitive to any monopolization of patriotic symbols—flags, anthems, the July 4th holiday—to induce public obedience. They were wary of how many politicians would use and misuse these symbols to stifle dissent, hide abuses and manipulate public opinion. They rejected both political and commercial manipulation of patriotic feelings for narrow, often harmful self-serving ends.

Of course, the factory town of Winsted, CT where we grew up had its July 4th parade with marching bands, flags, proud veterans and assorted ceremonies. Its mile long Main Street was perfectly suited for these festivities. Plenty of fireworks in plenty of youthful hands too. We all had a general good time.

During one such Parade, it suddenly occurred to me that no one had ever marched holding up a large replica of the Declaration of Independence, which was the reason for the celebration that day. Other than being printed in its entirety by some newspapers, this bold Declaration whose eloquent assertion of human rights was heard around the world for many years, still is not front and center for historical recollection and contemporary contemplations.

My parents prized the freedoms they found in America, and they were alert to anyone who might try to diminish them. At his sprawling restaurant on Main Street opposite the textile factories, my father would always speak his mind. He was a constant critic of power – big business, government, local and national – and readily offered solutions.

His longtime customers and friends would sometimes say to him: “How do you expect to make a profit if you keep speaking out this way?” He would smile and say: “When I passed the Statue of Liberty, I took it seriously,” cautioning them with this advice: “If you don’t use your rights, you will lose your rights.”

At the same time, he would challenge attempts to monopolize and debase our country’s symbols of flag, pledge and anthem into an unthinking patriotism by politicians to cover their sins. As Dad often reminded anyone who would listen, our flag stands for the principles embodied in the last words of the Pledge of Allegiance – “with liberty and justice for all.”

There has always been military patriotism. There is more and more commercialization of the Fourth of July. In our hometown, we were raised to respect and nurture a civic patriotism.

As my brother Shaf said many years later: “A true love for the community of human beings that is our country is expressed when each one of us helps define that patriotism by our deeds and thoughts working together.” And, he set a wonderful example when in 1965 he founded the Northwestern Connecticut Community College in town.

Maybe we should start reserving time on the Fourth for assessing the ways forward toward expending those “inalienable rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Ralph Nader is the author of The Seventeen Traditions (Harper Collins, 2007), a remembrance of the ways his parents raised their four children.

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

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Corporate UNPATRIOTIC BEHAVIOR by Ralph Nader (’02)

Nader: Corporations are not people

Ralph Nader: Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

Overpaying CEOs by Ralph Nader

Scott Ritter in my home town (must-see video)

A Not-So-Glorious Fourth + A Declaration for Our Times (videos)

Towards a Second American Revolution By Ben Tanosborn

The House I Live In by Greg Palast

I’m sick and tired of this thing called “patriotism” by William Blum

Nader for President 2008

www.votenader.org/

The Termi-Nader

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

Lies, kidnapping and a mysterious laptop

Dandelion Salad

By Johann Hari
ICH
07/07/08 “The Independent

You have been told that the Venezuelan President supports the Farc thugs

Sometimes you hear a stray sentence on the news that makes you realise you have been lied to. Deliberately lied to; systematically lied to; lied to for a purpose. If you listened closely over the past few days, you could have heard one such sentence passing in the night-time of news.

As Ingrid Betancourt emerged after six-and-a-half years – sunken and shrivelled but radiant with courage – one of the first people she thanked was Hugo Chavez. What? If you follow the news coverage, you have been told that the Venezuelan President supports the Farc thugs who have been holding her hostage. He paid them $300m to keep killing and to buy uranium for a dirty bomb, in a rare break from dismantling democracy at home and dealing drugs. So how can this moment of dissonance be explained?

Yes: you have been lied to – about one of the most exciting and original experiments in economic redistribution and direct democracy anywhere on earth. And the reason is crude: crude oil. The ability of democracy and freedom to spread to poor countries may depend on whether we can unscramble these propaganda fictions.

Venezuela sits on one of the biggest pools of oil left anywhere. If you find yourself in this position, the rich governments of the world – the US and EU – ask one thing of you: pump the petrol and the profits our way, using our corporations. If you do that, we will whisk you up the Mall in a golden carriage, no matter what. The “King” of Saudi Arabia oversees a torturing tyranny where half the population – women – are placed under house arrest, and jihadis are pumped out by the dozen to attack us. It doesn’t matter. He gives us the oil, so we hold his hand and whisper sweet crude-nothings in his ear.

…continued

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

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Mounting questions about Colombian hostage operation

Mideast Nuclear Saber Rattling by Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

by Eric Margolis
July 7, 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The US, Israel and Iran are playing a very dangerous game of chicken that could soon result in a new Mideast war.

To the chagrin of President George Bush and VP Dick Cheney, the combined US intelligence agencies concluded late last year that Iran was not working on nuclear weapons. UN nuclear weapons experts, who have been inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), concur with US intelligence.

However, Israel, which refused to sign the NNPT, and has a large, undeclared nuclear weapons program, claims that Iran is within 18 months of developing a nuclear weapon and must be stopped at all costs.

The Bush administration and Israel, recently joined by France, are issuing increasingly loud threats of military action to frighten Iran into halting its nuclear enrichment program which they claim sets the stage for a possible Iranian break-out to develop nuclear weapons. To do so, Iran would have to boost enriching its uranium from 5-6% to over 93%.

Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely for civilian use to generate electrical power. Iran’s once vast oil reserves have peaked and are going into decline while its population continues to rise. Washington dismisses Iran’s need for civilian nuclear power as `preposterous,’ though in the 1970’s Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney went to Tehran to try to sell 27 US nuclear reactors to the Shah of Iran.

Tehran is alternating between conciliatory statements and threats of inflicting economic chaos on the global economy in retaliation for any attack. Europe mostly fears the economic damage a war against Iran would bring far more than Iran’s nuclear program.

Senior Israeli officials are openly threatening to attack Iran’s nuclear installations before President George Bush’s term expires. Early, this month, Israel staged a large, US-approved exercise using F-15’s and F-16’s to rehearse an attack over 900 miles – precisely the distance to Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The highly regarded American journalist Seymour Hersh just confirmed that the US Congress authorized a $400 million plan to overthrow Iran’s government and incite ethnic unrest. This column reported a year ago that US and British special forces were operating in Iran, preparing for a massive air campaign. Israel’s destruction of an alleged Syrian reactor last fall was a warning to Iran.

This week, an unnamed senior Pentagon official claimed an Israeli attack on Iran was coming before year end. Other Pentagon and CIA sources say a US attack on Iran is imminent, with or without Israel.

The Bush administration is even considering using small tactical nuclear weapons against deeply buried Iranian targets.

Senior American officers Adm. William Fallon and Air Force chief Michael Mosley were recently fired for opposing war against Iran. According to Israel’s media, President Bush even told Israel’s prime minister Ehud Olmert that he could not trust America’s intelligence community and preferred to rely on Israeli intelligence.

Intensifying activity is evident at US bases in Europe and the Gulf, aimed at preparing a massive air blitz that may include repeated attacks on 3,100 targets in Iran. These would include air defenses, nuclear installations and reactors, telecommunications, government and military HQ, transport nodes, airfields, naval bases and barracks, ports, military industries, pumping stations and oil terminals, and `high value government targets’ – ie. leadership. In short, a total air blitz delivered in successive waves over days if not weeks.

Other sources say Iranian Revolutionary Guards installations will be barraged by cruise missiles as a warning to Tehran.

In Washington, Congress, under intense pressure from the Israel lobby, is about to adopt a resolution calling for a naval blockade of Iran, an overt act of war. When Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1956, Israel deemed this an act of war.

Interestingly, the same Congressional Democrats who claimed they were duped into supporting Bush’s war against Iraq have all joined the rush to war against Iran. In Washington, wisdom only seems to come in hindsight.

Pro-Israel groups in Washington have been airing alarmist TV commercials claiming Iran is attacking American troops in Iraq and threatening the US.

The Bush administration’s last desperate act, its `Gotterdammerung,’ could be war with Iran. Even though there is no proof Iran is working on nuclear arms, the neocon war party in Washington is determined to loose a final Parthian shaft by striking Iran.

Israel asserts the right to maintain its Mideast nuclear monopoly by destroying all fissile-producing reactors in the region. In return, Iran vows to retaliate against Israel with its inaccurate, conventionally-armed Shahab missiles. Israel’s new anti-missile defense system could shoot down most of the Shahab warheads. But there is a danger that Israel could over-react and order its invulnerable triad of air, land and sea-based nuclear weapons to strike at Iran.

Should Iran be attacked, Tehran also threatens to shut the 23-mile wide strait of Hormuz, and mine the Gulf, producing worldwide financial panic, severe fuel shortages, and $400-500 dollars per barrel oil. Iran will likely attack US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, and strike Saudi and Kuwaiti oil facilities.

The embattled Bush administration’s bunker mentality is leading to war that will gravely damage long-term US Mideast interests. A single Iranian missile hit on Israel’s reactor would do more damage to the Jewish state than all its previous wars. Besides, Israel cannot totally destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. A US or Israeli attack on Iran will absolutely guarantee that Tehran decides to build nuclear weapons. Israel and Iran have turned their regional rivalry into a deadly confrontation that now threatens all.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khomenei, who controls that nation’s military, not its bombastic president, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, insists Iran will not produce nuclear weapons. Israel claims it faces imminent attack. Iran counters that Israel’s nuclear saber rattling threaten its existence. The dogs of war are being unleashed.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2008

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

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What gives Bush the right to destabilize Iran by covert military operations?

Bush’s Blood-Orgy in Somalia: “They Are Slaughtering Somalis Like Goats”

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
07/07/08 “ICH

“Land is not our priority. Our priority is the people’s peace, dignity and liberty. It is the people that are important to us.” Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Head of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU)

While George Bush was busy railing at Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe at the G-8 summit in Toyako, Japan; his Ethiopian proxy-army in Somalia was grinding out more carnage on the streets of Mogadishu. More than 40 civilians have been killed in the last 48 hours. On Sunday, Osman Ali Ahmed, the head of the UN Development Program in Somalia, was shot gangland style as he left a mosque Mogadishu. He died before he reached the hospital with wounds to the head and chest. Ali Ahmed is just the latest of the peace-keepers who have been killed in the ongoing battle between Bush’s Ethiopian occupiers and Somali guerrillas.

“I care deeply about the people of Zimbabwe,” Bush announced. “And I am extremely disappointed in the election which I labeled a sham election.”

Right. Bush’s newly-discovered empathy for black people was nowhere in sight during Hurricane Katrina when thousands of African Americans were rounded up at gunpoint and forced into the Superdome without food, water or medical supplies. Nor is it visible in Somalia today where millions of Somalis have been forced to flee their homes and relocate to tent cities in the south because of Bush’s support for the Ethiopian army’s invasion. The latest surge in violence has been the worst in a decade and the security situation continues to deteriorate despite the arrival of 2,600 troops from the African Union and a tentative truce that was signed in June between some of the warring factions. It should be no great surprise that the western media has stubbornly refused to report on the rising death-toll in Somalia, choosing instead to focus all of their attention on America’s “villain du jour”, Robert Mugabe. Mugabe is next on the neocon’s list for regime change. Neocon Godfather Paul Wolfowitz even composed a postmortem for Zimbabwe’s president in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial “How to Put the Heat on Mugabe”.

In 2006, the United States supported an alliance of Somali warlords known as the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) who established a base of operations in the western city of Baidoa. With the help of the US-backed Ethiopian army, western mercenaries, US Navy warships, and AC-130 gunships; the TFG was able capture Mogadishu and force the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and their allies to retreat to the south. But, much like Iraq and Afghanistan, the resistance has coalesced into a tenacious guerrilla army which has returned to the capital and resumed the fight making it impossible for their Ethiopian rivals to govern. As the struggle continues, the humanitarian situation gets worse and worse. At least 2.6 million Somalis are now facing famine due to acute food shortages spurred by a prolonged drought, violence and high inflation. UN monitors have warned that the figure could hit exceed 3.5 million by the end of 2008.

The UN Security Council has played its traditional role as facilitator of American-backed imperial violence by failing to condemn US involvement in Somalia and by promising to send peacekeepers to mop up after violence subsides. The UN has shown no interest in stopping the carnage and have become little more than the glove-hand of the US military; an accomplice to Bush’s chronic adventurism.

In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, Salim Lone, a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya and a former spokesperson for the UN mission in Iraq explains the UN’s role in providing the “go ahead” for the US invasion:

“The lawlessness of this particular war is astounding; the most lawless war of our generation. You know, all aggressive wars are illegal. But in this particular one, there have been violations of the UN Charter and gross violations of international human rights. But, in addition, there have been very concrete violations by the United States of two Security Council resolutions. The first one was the arms embargo imposed on Somalia, which the United States has been routinely flaunting for many years now. But then the US decided that that resolution was no longer useful, and they pushed through an appalling resolution in December, which basically gave the green light to Ethiopia to invade. They pushed through a resolution which said that the situation in Somalia was a threat to international peace and security, at a time when every independent report indicated, and Chatham House’s report on Wednesday also indicated, that the Islamic Courts Union had brought a high level of peace and stability that Somalia had not enjoyed in sixteen years.

So here was the UN Security Council going along with the American demand to pass a blatantly falsified UN resolution. And that resolution actually was a violation (of the) the UN Charter. You know, the UN Charter is like the American Constitution and the Security Council is not allowed to pass laws or rules that violate the Charter. And yet, who is going to correct them?”

The Bush administration has predictably invoked the “terrorist” hobgoblin to justify its involvement in Somalia, but no one is buying it. The ICU is not an Al Qaida affiliate or a terrorist organization despite the absurd claims of the State Dept. It is true that the ICU was trying to enforce Sharia Law, but a much milder form of Sharia than in Saudi Arabia. The ICU was the first government in over a decade to restore security and order to Somalia and–generally speaking–the people were supportive of the new regime.

Political analyst James Petras summed it up like this:

“The ICU was a relatively honest administration, which ended warlord corruption and extortion. Personal safety and property were protected, ending arbitrary seizures and kidnappings by warlords and their armed thugs. The ICU is a broad multi-tendency movement that includes moderates and radical Islamists, civilian politicians and armed fighters, liberals and populists, electoralists and authoritarians. Most important, the Courts succeeded in unifying the country and creating some semblance of nationhood, overcoming clan fragmentation.”

The real motives behind the invasion were oil and geopolitics. According to most estimates 30 per cent of America’s oil will come from Africa in the next ten years. Bush’s new warlord-friends in the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have already indicated a willingness to pass a new oil law that will encourage foreign oil companies to return to Somalia. The same oil giants that are now lining up in Iraq will soon be making their way to Somalia as well. The Horn of Africa is also critical for its deep-water ports and strategic location for future military bases. It’s all part of the Grand Schema for reconfiguring the region to accommodate America’s hegemonic ambitions.

Humanitarian Catastrophe: “The Ethiopian invasion has destroyed all the life-sustaining systems”

Heavy fighting and artillery fire have reduced large parts of Mogadishu to rubble. More than 700,000 people have been forced to leave the capital with nothing more than what they can carry on their backs. Entire districts have been evacuated and turned into ghost towns. The main hospital has been bombed and is no longer taking patients. Ethiopian snipers are perched atop rooftops across the city. Over 3.5 million people are now huddled in the south in tent cities without sufficient food, clean water or medical supplies. It is without question the greatest humanitarian crisis in Africa today; a man-made Hell entirely conjured up in Washington. Just weeks ago, Amnesty International reported that it had heard many accounts that Ethiopian troops were “slaughtering (Somalis) like goats.” In one case, “a young child’s throat was slit by Ethiopian soldiers in front of the child’s mother.”

In another Democracy Now interview, Abdi Samatar, professor of Global Studies at the University of Minnesota, had this to say:

“The Ethiopian invasion, which was sanctioned by the US government, has destroyed virtually all the life-sustaining economic systems which the population have built without the government for the last fifteen years. And the militia that are supposed to protect the population have been looting shops. For instance, the Bakara market, which is the largest market in Mogadishu, has been looted repeatedly by the militias of the so-called Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, supported by Ethiopian troops. And the new prime minister of Somalia, Mr. Hassan Nur Hussein, has himself announced in the BBC that it was his militias that—who have looted this place. So what you have is a population that’s hit from both sides–on one side, by the militias of the so-called Transitional Federal Government, which is recognized by the United States, and on the other side, by the Ethiopian invaders who seem to be bent on ensuring that they break the will of the people to resist as free people in their own country….

What you have is really terror in the worst sense of the word, a million people have been displaced that the Ethiopians have been denying humanitarian aid, and the United States which seems to just watch and let it happen. It’s like there’s has been a calculated decision made somewhere in the world, maybe in Washington, maybe in Addis Ababa, maybe in Mogadishu itself, to starve these people until they submit themselves to the whims of the American military and the Ethiopians, who are acting on their behalf.”

Amnesty International has called for an investigation of the United States role in Somalia. Regrettably, neither the United Nations nor the corporate media are at all interested in Bush’s war crimes in Africa. What they care about is Mugabe.

Notes

Somalia: Troops killing people ‘like goats’ by slitting throats-new Amnesty report

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.

US Electromagnetic Weapons and Human Rights

Dandelion Salad

by Peter Phillips and Lew Brown and Bridget Thornton
Global Research, July 7, 2008
Sonoma State University Project Censored Media Freedom Foundation

A Study of the History of US Intelligence Community Human Rights Violations & Continuing Research in Electromagnetic Weapons

‘The current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic (EMF) devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of these weapons.”


Excerpt
For full text, Sonoma State University Project Censored Media Freedom Foundation, pdf file

This research explores the current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic (EMF) devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of these weapons. To establish historical precedent in the US for such acts, we document long-term human rights and freedom of thought violations by US military/intelligence organizations. Additionally, we explore contemporary evidence of on-going government research in EMF weapons technologies and examine the potentialities of continuing human rights abuses.

In the 1950s and 60s the CIA began work to find means for influencing human cognition, emotion and behavior. Through the use of the psychological understanding of the human being as a social animal and the ability to manipulate a subject’s environment through isolation, drugs and hypnosis, US funded scientists have long searched for better means of controlling human behavior.

This research has included the use of wireless directed electromagnetic energy under the heading of “Information Warfare” and “Non Lethal Weapons.” New technological capabilities have been developed in black budget projects1 over the last few decades— including the ability to influence human emotion, disrupt thought, and present excruciating pain through the manipulation of magnetic fields. The US military and intelligence agencies have at their disposal frightful new weapons, weapons that have likely already been covertly used and/or tested on humans, both here and abroad, and which could be directed against the public in the event of mass protests or civil disturbance.

Human Rights belong to people collectively. To believe in rights for some and not others is a denial of the humanness of people worldwide. Yet, denial is exactly what Congress and George W. Bush did with the signing of the Military Commission Act of 2006. The new official US policy is that torture and suspension of due process are acceptable for anyone the president deems to be a terrorist or supporter. This act is the overt denial of the inalienable rights of human beings propagated in our Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More so, US actions declared to the world that the US suspends human rights for those it believes are evil.

The precious words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” did not declare that only some men (and women) possess unalienable rights. Our independence was founded on the understanding that all men and women are recognized by this nation as having innate rights derived by their humanity.

Likewise, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created by the United Nations in 1948, signed and ratified by the US Congress, specifies in its preamble that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been a guide for international law for most of six decades, and as such binds the United States to its general principles. Article 10 states that “everyone is entitled to full equality, to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him,” and Article 5 specifically prohibits torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Both of these basic human rights have been superceded by the passage the of Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Additionally, the Universal Declaration of Human rights declares that everyone has the right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression and opinion. This means that humans have the inalienable right to be able to freely think their own thoughts and discover their own truths. This paper addresses this most fundamental human right and explores the pending threats to individual freedom of thought posed by new EMF weapons technologies.

Freedom of thought or cognitive liberty is the natural human right of each person to be secure in their ability to perceive the world to the best of their ability. To have true cognitive liberty in a world as complex as ours would mean that first we must have access to truthful and unbiased information about the actions of others and the general state of the world. The Center for Cognitive Liberties defines this as “the right of each individual to think independently and autonomously, to use the full spectrum of his or her mind, and to engage in multiple modes of thought.”2 Without accurate representations we cannot make independently informed choices. It is imperative that the human body and mind be considered sacrosanct. To invade a person’s body without their consent is an egregious human rights crime.

The circumstance may soon arrive in which anti-war or human rights protesters suddenly feel a burning sensation akin to touching a hot skillet over their entire body. Simultaneously they may hear terrifying nauseating screaming, which while not produced externally, fills their brains with overwhelming disruption. Not only are both phenomena currently possible, but designs for more powerful EMF technologies receive continuous funding from the US Government.

We are in a time of extremism, permanent war, and the unilateral manifestation of ethnocentrism and power by a cabal of people in the US government. These power elites have been in operation for decades and are set on nothing less than the total US military domination of the world. They defy the foundational values of the American people to achieve their ends. This is not a new phenomenon. The repression of human rights has been present within the US Government throughout our history. 3

A long thread of sociological research documents the existence of a dominant ruling class in the US that sets policy and determines national political priorities. The American ruling class is complex and inter-competitive, maintaining itself through interacting families of high social standing with 2 similar life styles, corporate affiliations, and memberships in elite social clubs and private schools.4

This American ruling class is self-perpetuating,
5 maintaining its influence through policy-making institutions such as the National Manufacturing Association, National Chamber of Commerce, Business Council, Business Roundtable, Conference Board, American Enterprise Institute, Council on Foreign Relations and other business-centered policy groups.6 C. Wright Mills, in his 1956 book The Power Elite, documents how World War II solidified a trinity of power in the US, comprised of corporate, military and government elites in a centralized power structure motivated by class interests and working in unison through “higher circles” of contact and agreement. Mills described how the power elite were those “who decide whatever is decided” of major consequence.7

For full text, Sonoma State University Project Censored Media Freedom Foundation, pdf file

© Copyright Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University Project Censored Media Freedom Foundation, 2008The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9524

Supreme Court, Inc.: Supremely Pro-Business by Stephen Lendman

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research
July 7, 2008

Pro-business Supreme Court rulings are nothing new, and it’s likely most damaging one ever occurred in 1886. In Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railway, the High Court granted corporations legal personhood. Ever since, they’ve had the same rights as people but not the responsibilities. Their limited liability status exempts them. They’ve profited hugely as a result and have continued to win favorable rulings since. Today more than ever from the Roberts Court. One observer described its first full (2006-07) term as a “blockbuster” with the Court’s conservative wing prevailing in most key cases. It’s much the same in 2007-08, and it shows in its pro-business rulings.

Take its June 21, 2007 Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd decision for example. In fraud cases, the Court set strict investor suit guidelines in ruling for Tellabs against its shareholders. This and similar rulings got Robin Conrad, executive vice-president of the US Chamber of Commerce and head of its litigation team, to describe the 2006-07 Court term “our best (one) ever” with business winning 12 of 14 cases and another at the time to be decided. When it was, business won that one, too.

One was the Court’s $80 million punitive damage award reversal in Philip Morris USA v. Williams, a lung cancer victim widow. But that paled compared to the DOJ’s June 2005 turnaround. It pertained to its landmark tobacco industry civil racketeering settlement. Instead of the original $130 billion agreed on, it sought just 8% (or $10 billion) in spite of a government expert’s testimony. He stated that the larger sum was essential to fund meaningful smoking-cessation programs to counter a “decades-long (industry) pattern of material misrepresentations, half-truths, deceptions and lies that continue to this day.”

The June 2006 Bell Atlantic v. Twombly decision was another for business. It henceforth raised the bar for plaintiffs in alleged antitrust conspiracies. And the (April 17, 2007) Watters v. Wachovia one prevented states from regulating subsidiaries of national banks’ just as the subprime crisis was emerging. Stripped of that power, consumers remain vulnerable to predatory lending practices any time.

It’s no different for business in the current term, and it showed up prominently in three late June decisions and two notable January ones. In Regents of the University of California v. Merrill Lynch (on January 22), the Court threw out a huge lawsuit – for restitution from Enron’s collusion and fraud against investors. In dismissing the case, it effectively immunized Enron’s bankers from any liability in the company’s malfeasance.

Earlier (on May 31, 2005), it did the same thing for Enron’s accountant, Arthur Andersen. In unanimously overturning its obstruction of justice conviction, it found jury instructions were inappropriate. They “failed to convey the requisite consciousness of wrongdoing” because jurors were told to convict Andersen if it had an “improper purpose” even if it thought it was acting legally.

On January 15, 2008, it issued a similar ruling in Stoneridge Investment Partners, LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta, Inc. It dismissed charges against cable TV set-top box makers in a scheme with Charter Communications. It involved over-charging customers for equipment, then rebating revenue to Charter in purchased advertising.

In Davis v. Federal Elections Commission, the Court (on June 26) struck down the “Millionaire’s Amendment” McCain-Feingold Act provision. It let candidates accept larger than normal contributions against wealthy opponents with enough resources to outspend them. They have no restrictions and may self-finance as “robustly” as they wish.

Then on June 26, the Court distorted the Second Amendment in siding with the gun lobby. In District of Columbia v. Heller, Antonin Scalia and four other Justices said they were well “aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country.” However, “constitutional rights necessarily (take) certain policy choices off the table.” The Court will not “pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.” Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer had a different view. They called the decision “law-changing (and) a dramatic upheaval in the law.”

A day earlier on June 25, another far-reaching decision came down. After 19 years, the Exxon Valdez matter was settled with implications far beyond this one case. In Exxon Shipping v. Baker, the Court reduced an original $5 billion in punitive damages to $500 million and ended the lengthy litigation process. It began on March 24, 1989 when the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude into Prince William Sound, Alaska and changed the lives of its people forever. They’re now denied meaningful restitution and worse.

The case is significant in its precedent-setting implications. Yet they began showing up earlier in High Court rulings involving lesser punitive damage award amounts. In BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore (May 20, 1996), the Supreme Court said $2 million in punitive damages was excessive in a case involving $4000 in compensatory ones. It declined to define what’s constitutionally acceptable, but noted that the maximum penalty under Alabama’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act (where BMW’s plant is located) is $2000.

In State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Campbell (April 7, 2003), the Supreme Court called a $145 million punitive award excessive in a case involving $1 million in compensatory damages. It didn’t impose a “bright line” rule on the permissible amount but cautioned that any ratio greater than nine-to-one is unreasonable. It further suggested that this case “would likely justify” a one-to-one ratio.

These and similar cases lower the bar for future malfeasance settlements. They give business more latitude to be reckless and make it easier than ever to be negligent and get away with it. After Exxon Shipping v. Baker, the price is even lower so business is freer to endanger the public and know right wing courts are supportive. Even worse are the constitutional implications, the protections it no longer affords, and government’s failure to fulfill its minimum function.

When it works, it’s to ensure the public welfare. It’s so stated in the Preamble and Article I, Section 8 that “The Congress shall have power to….provide for….(the) ‘general welfare’ of the United States” – the so-called “welfare clause.” It long ago eroded. They’re mere words on parchment paper because governments lie, connive, misinterpret and discharge their duties in their own self-interest and for society’s privileged class. The public is denied. Now more than ever as the people of Alaska can attest.

The Exxon Valdez Case

At 12:04AM on March 24, 1989, the BBC reported that “An oil tanker has run aground on a reef off the Alaskan coast, releasing gallons of crude oil into the sea. The Exxon Valdez got into trouble in Prince William Sound when it hit Bligh Reef, splitting its side open and releasing oil, with reports of an eight-mile slick. High winds are affecting attempts to suck (it) from the sea’s surface and residents have reported poor air quality as emergency crews try to burn off its top layer.”

The report continued that booms were ineffective. Environmentalists battled to save 10 million sea ducks. Seals and other fauna as well. The Coast Guard used chemicals to break up the slick, but local officials said Exxon responded too slowly. The tanker was a mile off course. The captain was in his quarters at the time, and businessmen said tourism would be affected. What about local fishermen and Native Alaskans. BBC didn’t say even though they were most affected. It later reported that the Exxon Valdez was repaired, remained a single-hulled tanker, was renamed the Sea River Mediterranean, and was banned from Alaskan waters.

In its final March 25, 1989 edition, the Anchorage Daily News reported the following:

— a hasty debate began on how to prevent a disaster “in one of America’s most sensitive coastal zones;”

— never before was so much oil spilled into such a “rich and confined northern coastal environment;”

— the area (then) represented a “$100 million commercial fish(ing industry) and its abundance of birds and marine mammals;”

— immediate concerns focused mainly on three wildlife species: sea otters, immature salmon, and spawning herring; sea birds, ducks, and other fauna as well;

— fishermen in Cordova and Valdez “were just getting ready to fish” when it happened; they were furious about the accident; in 1971, they sued to stop the transAlaskan pipeline because they feared spills in the Sound; they settled out of court and got an oil industry commitment (reneged on) for state-of-the-art spill equipment and trained personnel on site to operate it;

— the area is ecologically rich in flora and fauna;

— the slick was spreading, expected to hit the beaches, and threatened one of the state’s “most ambitious ocean ranching programs;” its long-term effects were feared, and a state Department of Fish and Game biologist said “the potential for serious problems is just staggering;” the Cordova District Fisherman’s United vice-president said it was “like getting hit with a 25-ton sledge hammer.”

Station KTUU Anchorage reported key oil spill timeline events:

— June 20, 1977: oil first enters the Prudhoe Bay Pump Station One pipeline;

— July 28, 1977: oil reaches Valdez;

— August 1, 1977: the first tanker, Arco Juneau, sails out of Valdez; many thousands more followed;

— 9:12PM, March 23, 1989: the Exxon Valdez leaves Valdez carrying 53 million gallons of crude;

— 12:04AM, March 24, 1989: the ship strikes Bligh Reef spilling 10.8 million gallons of its cargo;

— 7:27AM, March 24, 1989: the oil slick is about 100 feet wide and four to five miles long;

— 10AM, March 24, 1989: a urine sample shows Capt Joe Hazelwood with a blood alcohol content of 0.10%;

— 12PM, March 24, 1989: the Exxon Baton Rouge arrives to take oil from the damaged tanker; the slick is now three miles wide and five miles long;

— 6PM, March 24, 1989: cleanup crews use dispersant but it’s ineffective;

— 8:15PM, March 25, 1989: 15,000 gallons are burned; it’s the only time “in situ” burning was allowed;

— 11:59PM, March 25, 1989: the slick’s leading edge is 16.5 miles southwest of Bligh Reef;

— March 29, 1989: In Anchorage Superior Court, two Prince William Sound fishermen file the first lawsuits against Exxon, the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (TAPS), and the state Department of Environmental Conservation for damages from the accident and botched cleanup efforts;

— by August 15, 1989, 140 lawsuits were filed against Exxon; the same day, the state of Alaska sues the company charging gross deception about its ability to transport crude safely and clean it up when it failed;

— on October 23, 1989: Exxon sues the state of Alaska for interfering in and slowing the cleanup process;

— on February 27, 1990: an Anchorage federal grand jury indicts Exxon and other oil defendants on five counts – two felony and three misdemeanor charges;

— on March 13, 1991: in Juneau, Exxon settles claims with the state and federal government for $1 billion;

— on September 30, 1991: state and federal authorities reach a second deal with Exxon; it’s similar to the first except that Alaska intended to share scientific and legal data with other potential plaintiffs;

— on July 13, 1993: Alyeska agrees to pay $98 million to settle claims with Native corporations, fishermen, business owners and others;

— on September 16, 1994: in Exxon Shipping v. Baker, an Anchorage jury awards $287 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive ones to 32,677 fishermen, Native Alaskans, landowners and other aggrieved parties;

— on December 6, 2002: the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals orders punitive damages reduced to $4 billion;

— Exxon appeals and on January 28, 2004: District Court Judge H. Russell Holland raised the amount to $4.5 billion plus $2.25 billion in interest; his ruling referred to Exxon’s “recklessness….(that) did not cause only economic harm….(it) caused harm beyond the purely economic; the social fabric of Prince William Sound and Lower Cook Inlet was torn apart;” so were the lives of the aggrieved who “suffered from severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or a combination of all three;”

— on December 22, 2006: following more appeals, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals reduced punitive damages to $2.5 billion;

— on May 23, 2007: Exxon appeals to the Supreme Court; and

— on June 25, 2008: the High Court reduced the amount to $500 million – the equivalent of about 1.5 days profit from its 2008 first quarter operations or hardley enough to matter; ExxonMobil is the world’s largest corporation; it had 2007 sales of $404 billion and $40.6 billion in profits; in nominal GDP terms, it ranks 23rd in size ahead of Norway, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela; with rising oil prices, Exxon’s sales now run at an annualized rate of nearly $470 billion; in nominal 2007 GDP terms, it ranks 18th ahead of Sweden, Indonesia, Belgium and Switzerland.

The True Exxon Valdez Story

When the Exxon Valdez ran aground, Capt. Joe Hazelwood was off duty. He was drunk and below deck sleeping it off. The first and second mates weren’t around either. The third mate was in charge and might have avoided a problem had the ship’s radar been on. It wasn’t because it’s complicated, expensive to operate, was broken, and Exxon hadn’t repaired it for a year prior to the accident. Why not? To save money with no regard for the consequences if it were needed.

Greg Palast’s investigative work uncovered a trail of company fraud and coverup – of “doctored safety records, illicit deals between oil company chiefs, and programmatic harassment of witnesses.” It was also “brilliant(ly) success(ful in) cheating the natives.” He amassed four volumes of evidence. Almost none of it was reported. Here are some highlights:

— 10 months in advance, a six company Alyeska Owners Committee internal memo warned that containing an oil spill “at the mid-point of Prince William Sound (wasn’t) possible with present equipment;” that’s where the Exxon Valdez ran aground; proper equipment would cost millions of dollars; the law required it; the companies promised to install it, but never did;

— another memo said dispersants alone would be used against spills, and the committee decided that Alyeska would respond only “to oil spills in Valdez Arm and Valdez Narrows;”

— previous small spills were hidden as “oil-in-water” events;

— a confidential 1984 letter from Capt. James Woodle, Alyeska’s Valdez Port commander, warned that “Due to a reduction in manning, age of equipment, limited training and lack of personnel, serious doubt exists that (we) would be able to contain and clean up effectively a medium or large size oil spill;” Woodle reported a previous Valdez spill coverup; “his supervisor forced him to take back (the report saying), ‘You made a mistake. This was not an oil spill;’ ”

— the law requires shippers to maintain “round-the-clock oil spill response teams;” Alyeska hired specially qualified Natives for the job, trained them with “special equipment to contain an oil slick at a moments notice;” then in 1979 they were fired; sham teams were created; names of untrained workers were listed on them; and equipment “was missing, broken or existed only on paper;” when the 1989 spill occurred, “there was no Native response team, only chaos.”

Exxon drew fire, but British Petroleum (now BP) is just as culpable as Alyeska’s major shareholder (46% at the time). “Exxon is a junior partner, and four other oil companies are just along for the ride.” Capt. Woodle and other key people worked for BP, yet the company stayed well out of the spotlight. It also had “scandalous” evidence about the Valdez problem. Capt. Woodle personally “delivered his list of missing equipment and ‘phantom’ personnel (letter) directly (to) BP’s Alaska chief, George Nelson.”

The company hid the evidence, trumped up bogus marital infidelity charges against Woodle, bought him off to leave the state and not return, and also went after Charles Hamel, an independent oil shipper. He discovered the Valdez problems, reported them to BP, and then was spied on and hounded to silence him.

The Exxon Valdez story is clear. Profit considerations trump all others. Alyeska promised safety, but delivered betrayal, and Palast explained the problem this way: In shipping oil, “the name of the game is ‘containment’ because, radar or not, some tanker somewhere (will) hit the rocks. Stopping an oil spill catastrophe is a no-brainer….if a ship (hits) a reef (it’s only necessary) to surround (it) with a big rubber curtain (a ‘boom’) and suck up the corralled oil. In signed letters to the state and Coast Guard, BP, ExxonMobil and partners promised that no oil would move unless the equipment was (available) and the oil-sucker ship (the ‘containment barge’) was close by….The oil majors fulfilled their promise the cheapest way: They lied.”

When the Exxon Valdez hit Bligh Reef, no equipment was there. If it had been as promised, they’d have been no disaster and no need for the Supreme Court to reward Exxon and cheat Native Alaskans and fishermen.

The oil industry was well-served by “the fable of the drunken skipper.” It turned Alyeska’s lawlessness into a “one-time accident” because of “human frailty.” It “made the spill an inevitability, not an accident” and assures future ones are coming and not just in Alaska.

In the late 1990s, an Exxon Prince William Sound brochure pronounced the water “clean and plant, animal and sea life are healthy and abundant.” In fact, it’s mirror opposite. Palast revisited Alaska in 1999. On Chenega, rocks were still being scrubbed with 20 tons of sludge removed from beaches that one summer. At Nanwalek village, the state declared clams poisoned from “persistent hydrocarbons” and inedible. The Montague Island sea lion rookery is empty. The herring never returned, and salmon still have abscesses and tumors. All along the beaches it’s the same. “Kick over a rock and you’ll get a whiff of an Exxon gas station.”

Since 1989 on a positive note, Clarkson Research Services reports that 77% of oil tankers are double-hulled compared to 6% in 1989. On the other hand, spills and shoddy industry practices remain common, and oil now tops $140 a barrel. Back then, it was $13.58 in January. What about the Exxon Valdez? It’s still single-hulled, and this year a Hong Kong company bought it to carry bulk ore. It’s now called the Dong Fang Ocean.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM – 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9506

© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9525

see

Corporate UNPATRIOTIC BEHAVIOR by Ralph Nader (’02)

Nader: Corporations are not people

Bolivia: Enron and Separatism by Andrés Soliz Rada

Countdown Special Report: Energy and Enron Loophole

Enron/Lay/Skilling

Court Rewards Exxon for Valdez Oil Spill by Greg Palast

Mounting questions about Colombian hostage operation

Dandelion Salad

By Bill Van Auken
http://www.wsws.org
7 July 2008

As right-wing politicians on three continents basked in the reflected glory of an ostensibly brilliant July 2 rescue of hostages held by Colombia’s FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia) guerrillas, doubts have surfaced as to the real character of this operation.

The freeing of Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian citizen and former presidential candidate, three US military “contractors” employed by the Northrop Grumman corporation and 11 other hostages has been exploited to refurbish the Bush administration’s discredited Latin American policy, to make a hero out of Alvaro Uribe, the Colombian president implicated in drug trafficking and paramilitary massacres, and to boost the sagging popularity of France’s right-wing president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Even Senator John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, who staged a visit to Colombia (a fortuitous coincidence?) the day before the hostage release, got in on the act. While in Colombia, he received a briefing from Uribe, enabling him to associate himself with the upcoming operation.

There is virtually nothing to distinguish McCain from his Democratic opponent on the question of Colombia. Senator Barack Obama issued his own statement hailing the operation, calling the FARC a “terrorist organization” and affirming his support for the Colombian government “making no concessions” to the guerrillas. Nonetheless, if Uribe could do any favors politically, it would no doubt be to the Republicans, after six years as the Bush administration’s closest ally in Latin America.

…continued

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

see

Unprofessional conduct

Is Betancourt release the end of FARC? + Film emerges of mission

Behind the Colombia hostage rescue

McCain defends free trade with Colombia

FARC leaders were paid millions to free hostages: Swiss radio

Interview With Congressman Ron Paul by William Rivers Pitt

Dandelion Salad

t r u t h o u t

by William Rivers Pitt

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) remains a candidate for president, and continues to be an iconoclastic voice within his party. Sitting for an interview with William Rivers Pitt, Paul speaks at length on his views regarding Iraq, economics, and the rule of law in America.

Video link

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

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Ron Paul: We Must Press on

Five Years On By William Bowles

by William Bowles
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
williambowles.info
Monday, July 7, 2008

It’s over five years since I started publishing InI (and not coincidentally, since the illegal and disastrous invasion of Iraq) and it’s been a struggle to keep it going not only because of the cost of maintaining it but because I’ve kept it going single-handed throughout this entire period. Not that I’m complaining but it does wear one down especially as the situation goes from plain bloody awful (March 2003) to absolutely disastrous and income from readers is virtually nil.

And without blowing my trumpet too much, InI has grown into a vast source of information for anyone interested in what’s going on in the world, so much so, that even on a ‘bad’ week, InI still gets around 120,000 visits.

Keeping up an optimistic view of things gets more and more difficult for me to maintain in the face of a capitalist system determined to carry on regardless of the consequences.

But it would appear that events have finally come to a head,

“It is been proposed by a group of British geologists that the Holocene Age is over and that the new era should be named the Anthropocene Age to reflect the clear commencement of human induced geological change.” — ‘The Anthropocene Age’ [1]

According to the research, the average temperature of the Earth during the Holocene Period (about 10,000 years to the present) fluctuated by only one degree centigrade and tellingly it’s during this period of relative climate stability that we witnessed the rise of modern humanity. Good sense dictates that the two are not unconnected.

Whilst we survived on a bounteous Nature but without upsetting the four billion years in the making, homeostasis, things looked generally positive. And then about five hundred years ago, in Europe, along came capitalism and everything changed.

Looking back on the age when Marx wrote his magnum opus, Capital, it’s not difficult to see why he felt so positive about the direction that humanity almost seemed impelled to take. Science and technology, when under democratic control by an informed citizenry, is a progressive force — when working in harmony with both man and Nature, able for the first time in human history to satisfy all our basic needs and thus free us to pursue our own, personal development.

But if anything, Marx underestimated the power of Capital to keep on reinventing itself after every catastrophe it created and it’s because it has to keep reinventing itself by revolutionizing production in ever more ‘efficient’ forms (efficient here means using less and less labour power thus greater profits) and in the process, consuming ever greater quantities of pretty much everything in the insane drive for profit.

I can only assume that Marx himself assumed that before capitalism chowed the entire planet in its inexorable drive to keep recreating itself, humanity would have taken charge of its own destiny, tossed the money lenders out and got on with the business of living rather merely consuming.

Am I wrong in assuming this? The 20th century saw immense changes, many for the better in spite of the global wars of destruction unleashed by capitalism and for the first time, the possibility of a real alternative to capitalism came along.

Alas, it didn’t survive but clearly the idea is not only alive but at least in some parts of the world, actually flourishing, but not in mine and indeed as the contradictions of capital become ever more extreme, so does the struggle to maintain a system that is obviously dangerous to both man and beast and possibly the existence of our species.

It presents us with a dilemma for without overthrowing capitalism, the countries determined to make a clean break with the past are forever on the defensive, fighting for every inch in the face of overwhelming odds.

Ultimately, it comes down to us in the so-called developed world to do something about it, yet we seem in the thrall of capital even as it screws us down into the ground as the latest crisis to befall capitalism reveals.

“Stop wasting food” — Gordon Brown

And let’s not beat around the bush, the crises, which get worse with each iteration, are wholy the fault of capitalism. And the ruling elites answer to the latest crisis reveals just how bankrupt (and desperate) they are,

“Britons must stop wasting food in an effort to help combat rising living costs, Gordon Brown has said en route to the G8 summit in Japan.

“Mr Brown said “unnecessary” purchases were contributing to price hikes, and urged people to plan meals in advance and store food properly.”” — ‘Stop wasting food’, urges Brown

Unnecessary purchases? But the entire point of capitalist production is rooted in “unnecessary” purchases of just about everything, it’s what keeps the entire system staggering along.

For example, the UK Cabinet report criticises the tactic of supermarkets offering ‘buy 2, get one free’ alleging that it contributes to the waste, yet increasing consumption is the holy grail of capitalism, it’s called ‘growth’.

By questioning the sales tactics of supermarkets, the government inadvertantly exposes the sheer lunacy of capitalist production based as it is on nothing other than consumption for the sake of profit. Are Brown and his crony advisors really claiming that throwing away less food will reduce the cost of it? Is he completely insane?

Yet the BBC along with the rest of the corporate media take this kind of drivel seriously. The BBC story from which the above quote is taken reveals the complicity between the media and the state in hiding the true state of affairs from its citizens.

Buried away in one of a number of stories on the BBC Website which allegedly ‘explain’ the cause we find the following fact under the heading ‘Long era of cheap food is over’,

“But the increased interest in agriculture also has a downside, as “non-commercial traders” – speculators in normal language – have come into the agricultural commodity market.

“Apart from drought, speculation was the other factor named in the report as being responsible for the record highs and the recent volatility in markets.

“From 17% in 2005, their share of the futures market rose to 43%.” — ‘Long era of cheap food is over

No mention of course of the role of futures trading speculators in energy, the root cause of the current “turbulence” as the BBC describes it elsewhere.

Yes, consumption will fall because people won’t be able to afford to buy the basics needed as indeed they already are (check the financial pages for the numbers on the high street, eg ‘Service sector adds to UK gloom’).

The question is, for how much longer will we allow our ruling elites to get away with what is finally the mass murder of literally millions of poor people around the planet because of capitalist policies? Perhaps when our poor start dying of starvation and hypothermia in numbers that are too large to hide away behind all the double-speak?

Note

1. For an overview see Holocene

This essay is archived at: http://www.creative-i.info/?p=285

William Bowles

see

The world could produce more food

The Rise of Food Fascism: Agrarian Elite Foments Coup in Bolivia

Food Continue reading

Scott Ritter (must-see video)

Dandelion Salad

Thanks to Josh for posting this speech. This is a great speech, Ritter is very personable, goes into the Iraqi WMDs and also talks about those who have little yellow ribbon stickers on their cars to “support the troops”.  ~ Lo

Continue reading