HR 362 and the Alarming Escalation of Hostility Towards Iran

Dandelion Salad

by Alan Nasser
Global Research, July 9, 2008
Common Dreams – 2008-07-08

The current tension among political observers as to whether the U.S. and/or Israel will undertake military action against Iran before president Bush leaves office has been greatly intensified by the prospect that Congress will pass a frightening resolution, HR 362, as early as this week.

The Demands of HR 362

HR 362, sponsored by Rep. Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat, calls for the president to enact more draconian economic sanctions against Iran. These include an embargo against any imports of refined petroleum. (While Iran is of course a major exporter of oil, it imports at least 40% of its refined petroleum.) The wording of the Resolution is chilling in the extreme: “Congress… demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by… prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program.” The resolution is moving quickly through the House and could pass as early as this week.

The “stringent inspection requirements” listed would require a naval blockade, thereby constituting an act of war. And this is how the resolution would be perceived by virtually all Iranians. The result would surely marginalize moderates in Iran who would shun retaliatory measures against the Bush administration’s aggressive rhetoric, which has been escalating since fall of 2007. Iranians would unify behind their most belligerent leaders and the country would have been handed, by the president and Congress, powerful reasons to develop nuclear weapons for purposes of deterrence.

The final clause of the Resolution contains a classic example of political doubletalk: “… nothing in this Resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran.” But an embargo-with-inspections scheme can be put in effect only by means of a blockade, which logically entails the use of force.

Congressional Democrats, the IAEA and Factual Falsehoods in HR 362

There is more support now than there was a year ago in Congress, especially among the Democrats, for military action against Iran. Thus HR 362’s co-sponsors include 96 House Democrats and 111 House Republicans. These are the same Democrats whom Americans voted into Congress, in November 2006, as majorities in both houses, based on what voters believed to be the Democrats’ opposition to war in the Middle East.

To add insult to injury, HR 362 justifies its content with demonstrably false accusations about Iran’s nuclear program. The Resolution charges that Iran’s importing and manufacturing of centrifuges are “covert” and “illicit.” But under both the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory, and Iran’s agreements with the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), these activities are entirely permitted. The IAEA has publicly stated its support of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which it states is in full accord with all treaty requirements to which Iran is subject.

Late last October IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei remarked to CNN: “Have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can be readily used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No. … I very much have concern building confrontation, because that would lead to a disaster. I see no military solution. The only durable solution is through negotiations and inspections. My fear is that if we continue to escalate from both sides that we would end up on a precipice, we would end up in an abyss.” ElBaradei’s most recent statements repeatedly echo these October remarks.

The Role of AIPAC

That HR 362 has been so warmly received on Capitol Hill is a sad testimony to Congress’s willing dependence on external interests which cannot be assumed to be identical to those of most Americans. The Resolution is known to have been initially drafted by the American-Israeli lobby AIPAC. In early June AIPAC sent more than a thousand lobbyists to Congress to whip up support for this Resolution.

Congress’s well known subordination to AIPAC’s agenda should not be construed as a democratic response to the wishes of the American Jewish community. Polls show that more than 80% of Jewish-Americans oppose an attack on Iran. Congress’s compliance to AIPAC’s interests amounts to obeisance to a foreign State, not to any domestic constituency.

HR 362 and the Pre-Invasion Rhetoric Re Iraq: Preludes to War

Reminiscent of Bill Clinton’s decision to impose severe extensive sanctions against Iraq, the White House last October unilaterally imposed harsh economic sanctions against a number of important Iranian institutions. In addition to targeting more than 20 Iranian companies and the country’s 3 major banks, the sanctions were announced as aimed mainly at Iran’s uniformed security force, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (RGC), which the Bush administration characterized, with no evidence, as “proliferators of weapons of mass destruction” and RGC’s Quds Force, which has been branded as a “supporter of terrorism.” These two accusations were the main pretexts for the invasion of Iraq.

Since Quds is part of RGC, and the latter is a state institution, the branding of Quds as a terrorist organization was ipso facto to brand Iran as a terrorist state.

Just as Washington had earlier cooperated with Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran (by providing him with, among other things, chemical weapons), so too had Washington benefited from Quds’s provision of arms to the U.S.-backed Muslim government in Bosnia, its aiding the forces fighting the Soviet military in Afghanistan, and its support for those fighting the Taliban. Quds even assisted, with U.S. approval, Kurdish guerrillas’ assault on the Baathist regime of Saddam.

The demonization of former allies has been common to Washington’s war preparations against both Iraq and Iran. In both cases perhaps the principal objectives have been to shut down the possibilities for a negotiated settlement, and to provide a “legal” framework for war by specifying the pretexts of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.

The Democrats’ overwhelming support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq is well known. Their legislation prior to the October 2007 sanctions is perhaps less well remembered. Shortly before Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced the October sanctions, the Democratic-led house passed legislation that would impose sanctions on non-U.S. energy companies doing business in Iran. The legislation passed by an overwhelming 397 – 16 vote.

Democratic leaders justified this legislation as cutting off funding for Iran’s (entirely legal) nuclear program. But the legislation was surely motivated in large part by the intention to eliminate any competitive advantage that might be enjoyed by competitors of U.S. oil companies, which no longer have access to Iran-based profits.

HR 362 is a major extension of the October sanctions. The latter were intended to deal a damaging blow to Iran’s economy. The RGC is not merely a military institution. It performs a broad range of economic activities. Its engineering unit includes among its major projects a $2 billion dollar contract to develop Iran’s main gas field, a $1.3 billion contract for a new pipeline to Pakistan, the construction of a Tehran metro extension, a high-speed rail link connecting the capital and Isfahan, the expansion of shipping ports and the construction of a major dam.

The October sanctions are known to have already had a significant impact on Iran’s economy. HR 362 is intended to intensify that damage, to take negotiations off the table, to provoke Iranian hard-liners. Its passage would constitute another giant step toward what Mohamed ElBaradei called “an abyss.”

Alan Nasser is professor emeritus of Political Economy at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wa. His articles have appeared in The Nation, Monthly Review, Commonweal, and a number of professional journals.

© Copyright Alan Nasser, Common Dreams, 2008

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Tomgram: Why Cheney Won’t Take Down Iran

Iran Test Long Range Missiles! + Obama Responds

AIPAC’s Hirelings Rush to Resolution By William A. Cook

Seymour Hersh: US Training Jondollah and MEK for Bombing preparation

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

Congressional Resolution to Provoke Iran (Action Alert)

Will the US Congress ratify the Bush Administration’s Decision to launch a War on Iran (H. CON. RES. 362)


Sistani Opposes Iraq-US Security Deal

Dandelion Salad

By Press TV
07/09/08 “Press TV

Iraq’s most senior cleric voices opposition to a proposed security deal with the US, saying such a deal would threaten Iraq’s sovereignty.

In a meeting with Iraqi national security adviser Muwaffaq Al-Rubaie on Tuesday, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani expressed his concerns over the security deal by calling it an excuse that will justify the presence of US forces in Iraq.

Ayatollah Sistani had earlier noted that any long-term pact with the US should observe four key terms: safeguarding Iraqis’ interests, national sovereignty, national consensus, and parliament approval.

On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki suggested a timetable for the departure of US forces from Iraq.

However, Washington played down calls for a firm withdrawal deadline, saying any pullout will be based on the conditions on the ground.

“We’re looking at conditions, not calendars here,” State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said on Tuesday.

Baghdad and Washington are negotiating a treaty that would allow the American troops to stay in Iraq after their mandate under the UN expires in December 2008.

The controversial security deal has faced fierce opposition from Iraqi religious and political figures who believe the deal would turn the country into a US colony.

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.

A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn (vid)

Dandelion Salad


March 28, 2008

Empire or Humanity?
What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me about the American Empire
by Howard Zinn
Narrated by Viggo Mortensen
Art by Mike Konopacki
Video editing by Eric Wold

Continue reading

Tomgram: Why Cheney Won’t Take Down Iran

Dandelion Salad

Read the entire piece, please.  Sure hoping that Tom’s right on this.  ~ Lo

By Tom Engelhardt
July 9, 2008

Reality Bites Back
Why the U.S. Won’t Attack Iran

It’s been on the minds of antiwar activists and war critics since 2003. And little wonder. If you don’t remember the pre-invasion of Iraq neocon quip, “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran…” — then take notice. Even before American troops entered Iraq, knocking off Iran was already “Regime Change: The Sequel.” It was always on the Bush agenda and, for a faction of the administration led by Vice President Cheney, it evidently still is.

Add to that a series of provocative statements by President Bush, the Vice President, and other top U.S. officials and former officials. Take Cheney’s daughter Elizabeth, who recently sent this verbal message to the Iranians: “[D]espite what you may be hearing from Congress, despite what you may be hearing from others in the administration who might be saying force isn’t on the table… we’re serious.” Asked about an Israeli strike on Iran, she said: “I certainly don’t think that we should do anything but support them.” Similarly, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton suggested that the Bush administration might launch an Iranian air assault in its last, post-election weeks in office.


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.


Iran Test Long Range Missiles! + Obama Responds

AIPAC’s Hirelings Rush to Resolution By William A. Cook

Seymour Hersh: US Training Jondollah and MEK for Bombing preparation


A Work Force Betrayed – Watching Greed Murder the Economy

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
07/09/08 “ICH”

The collapse of world socialism, the rise of the high speed Internet, a bought-and-paid-for US government, and a million dollar cap on executive pay that is not performance related are permitting greedy and disloyal corporate executives, Wall Street, and large retailers to dismantle the ladders of upward mobility that made America an “opportunity society.”  In the 21st century the US economy has been able to create net new jobs only in nontradable domestic services, such as waitresses, bartenders, government workers, hospital orderlies, and retail clerks.  (Nontradable services are “hands on” services that cannot be sold as exports, such as haircuts, waiting a table, fixing a drink.)

Corporations can boost their bottom lines, shareholder returns, and executive performance bonuses by arbitraging labor across national boundaries.  High value- added jobs in manufacturing and in tradable services can be relocated from developed countries to developing countries where wages and salaries are much lower.  In the United States, the high value-added jobs that remain are increasingly filled by lower paid foreigners brought in on work visas.

When manufacturing jobs began leaving the US, no-think economists gave their assurances that this was a good thing.  Grimy jobs that required little education would be replaced with new high tech service jobs requiring university degrees.  The American work force would be elevated. The US would do the innovating, design, engineering, financing and marketing, and poor countries such as China would manufacture the goods that Americans invented.  High-tech services were touted as the new source of value-added that would keep the American economy preeminent in the world.

The assurances that economists gave made no sense.  If it pays corporations to ship out high value-added manufacturing jobs, it pays them to ship out high value-added service jobs.  And that is exactly what US corporations have done.

Automobile magazine (August 2008) reports that last March Chrysler closed its Pacifica Advance Product Design Center in Southern California.  Pacifica’s demise followed closings and downsizings of Southern California design studios by Italdesign, ASC, Porsche, Nissan, and Volvo.  Only three of GM’s eleven design studios remain in the US.

According to Eric Noble, president of The Car Lab, an automotive consultancy, “Advanced studios want to be where the new frontier is. So in China, studios are popping up like rabbits.”

The idea is nonsensical that the US can remain the font of research, innovation, design, and engineering while the country ceases to make things. Research and product development invariably follow manufacturing. Now even business schools that were cheerleaders for offshoring of US jobs are beginning to wise up.  In a recent report,  “Next Generation Offshoring: The Globalization of Innovation,” Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business finds that product development is moving to China to support the manufacturing operations that have located there.

The study, reported in Manufacturing & Technology News, acknowledges that “labor arbitrage strategies continue to be key drivers of offshoring,” a conclusion that I reached a number of years ago. Moreover, the study concludes, jobs offshoring is no longer mainly associated with locating IT services and call centers in low wage countries.  Jobs offshoring has reached maturity, “and now the growth is centered around product and process innovation.”

According to the Fuqua School of Business report, in just one year, from 2005 to 2006, offshoring of product development jobs increased from an already significant base by 40 to 50 percent.  Over the next one and one-half to three years,  “growth in offshoring of product development projects is forecast to increase by 65 percent for R&D and by more than 80 percent for engineering services and product design-projects.”

More than half of US companies are now engaged in jobs offshoring, and the practice is no longer confined to large corporations.  Small companies have discovered that “offshoring of innovation projects can significantly leverage limited investment dollars.”

It turns out that product development, which was to be America’s replacement for manufacturing jobs, is the second largest business function that is offshored.

According to the report, the offshoring of finance, accounting, and human resource jobs is increasing at a 35 percent annual rate.  The study observes that “the high growth rates for the offshoring of core functions of value creation is a remarkable development.”

In brief, the United States is losing its economy.  However, a business school cannot go so far as to admit that, because its financing is dependent on outside sources that engage in offshoring.  Instead, the study claims, absurdly, that the massive movement of jobs abroad that the study reports are causing no job loss in the US: “Contrary to various claims, fears about loss of high-skill jobs in engineering and science are unfounded.”  The study then contradicts this claim by reporting that as more scientists and engineers are hired abroad, “fewer jobs are being eliminated onshore.”  Since 2005, the study reports, there has been a 48 percent drop in the onshore jobs losses caused by offshore projects.

One wonders at the competence of the Fuqua School of Business.  If a 40-50 percent increase in offshored product development jobs, a 65 percent increase in offshored R&D jobs, and a more than 80 percent increase in offshored engineering services and product design-projects jobs do not constitute US job loss, what does?

Academia’s lack of independent financing means that its researchers can only tell the facts by denying them.

The study adds more cover for corporate America’s rear end by repeating the false assertion that US firms are moving jobs offshore because of a shortage of scientists and engineers in America.  A correct statement would be that the offshoring of science, engineering and professional service jobs is causing fewer American students to pursue these occupations, which formerly comprised broad ladders of upward mobility.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ nonfarm payroll jobs statistics show no sign of job growth in these careers.  The best that can be surmised is that there are replacement jobs as people retire.

The offshoring of the US economy is destroying the dollar’s role as reserve currency, a role that is the source of American power and influence.  The US trade deficit resulting from offshored US goods and services is too massive to be sustainable.  Already the once all-mighty dollar has lost enormous purchasing power against oil, gold, and other currencies.  In the 21st century, the American people have been placed on a path that can only end in a substantial reduction in US living standards for every American except the corporate elite, who earn tens of millions of dollars in bonuses by excluding Americans from the production of the goods and services that they consume.

What can be done?  The US economy has been seriously undermined by offshoring.  The damage might not be reparable.  Possibly, the American market and living standards could be rescued by tariffs that offset the lower labor and compliance costs abroad.

Another alternative, suggested by Ralph Gomory, would be to tax US corporations on the basis of the percentage of their value added that occurs in the US.  The greater the value added to a company’s product in America, the lower the tax rate on the profits.

These sensible suggestions will be demonized by ideological “free market” economists and opposed by the offshoring corporations, whose swollen profits allow them to hire “free market” economists as shills and to elect representatives to serve their interests.

The current recession with its layoffs will mask the continuing deterioration in employment and career outlooks for American university graduates.  The highly skilled US work force is being gradually transformed into the domestic service workforce characteristic of third world economies.

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.

U.S. mercenaries in Iraq by Jeremy Scahill

Dandelion Salad

by Jeremy Scahill
July 9, 2008

Jeremy Scahill, an investigative journalist and author of the award-winning book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, spoke at Socialism 2008 on the spread of privatized war corporations and the struggle against them.

I GAVE a talk the other day in San Francisco in front of an audience primarily of military people. I was invited by the Marines’ Memorial Association of San Francisco, and I was actually introduced by Major Gen. Mike Myatt, who was one of the commanders of the 1991 Gulf War.

This was hardly an antiwar crowd, but as an indication of how serious the problem of mercenaries and private forces in Iraq has become, many from within the established military are now starting to speak out about it.

So I was honored to be in a room full of people, regardless of their perspective on the war, who take this issue seriously enough to do something about it–who realize that this is an incredible problem. We didn’t share the same global outlook and certainly not the same opinion about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, but on this issue, we’re hearing more and more voices coming from the established military.

I’m going to spend time talking about what’s at stake not just with mercenaries in Iraq, but also with the election. But I want to begin by telling a story that makes up part of a substantial investigation I did for the update of my book Blackwater. I have over 110 new pages of material in this book, and I also went through and substantially updated it based on some of the important investigations that have been conducted and are ongoing into Blackwater’s activity.

I open the book with a new investigation of an incident that I know everyone in this room remembers well–the Nisour Squre shootings last September. What I want to do right now is begin by giving you a narrative overview of what exactly happened there–what we understand from eyewitness testimony and from investigations that have been done. Because it really is a horrifying story. I think it’s important not just that we know that Blackwater killed 17 Iraqi civilians, but the nature of that crime, and what the response of the Bush administration was after it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

ON THAT morning of September 16, 2007, a young 20-year-old Iraqi medical student, Ahmed Haithem Ahmed, was with his mother and father. Ahmed was driving; his mother Mohassin was in the passenger seat. They dropped off his father at the local hospital where he worked, and then they went to go run some errands.

Among the errands that they were running was dropping off college applications for Ahmed’s younger sister. This was an extraordinary family. They very much had medicine in their DNA; they were a family of doctors. They had an opportunity to leave Iraq when the U.S. invasion was imminent, but they ultimately decided as a family that they were going to stay in their country, because they felt that more than ever in the history of their nation, the country was going to need doctors because of the incredible violence and bloodshed that was going to be unleashed. So they stayed in Iraq.

Ahmed and his mother were driving, and they pulled into an area of Baghdad known as the Monsour district. I had been there many times in my travels to Iraq. It used to be an upscale section of the city, where there were markets and cafes and restaurants. Now it’s a hollow shell of its former self.

When they were pulling into this intersection at Nisour Square, a convoy of heavily armored vehicles was driving down the wrong side of a one-way street. And when the men in armored vehicles saw Ahmed and his mother, they decided that they were potential bombers or terrorists. And they decided to shoot Ahmed Haithem Ahmed in his forehead.

Once those shots rang out and Ahmed was hit, his mother began screaming, “My son, my son, help me, help me,” and she was grabbing on to her son’s body. Some Iraqi police officers were in the square that day. They were traffic cops, and they had been scrambling to cut off traffic when they saw this convoy of armored vehicles come in–not for the protection of the armored vehicles, but for the protection of Iraqi civilians whose only crime has been to pull too close to these vehicles and risk being shot.

So when they heard the gunfire and realized that a driver had been shot, they ran over to try to respond. When they arrived at that white Opel sedan being driven by this young man, they saw his mother inside, and she was screaming and calling out. They were trying to convince her to get out of the vehicle, because the men in the armored cars were there, and they still had their guns pointed at the vehicle. The officers described how the grip that Mohassin had on her son’s body was so tight that they couldn’t get her out.

The police officers put their hands in the air toward the men in the armored vehicles, trying to indicate that they shouldn’t shoot–that they were trying to get this woman out. It became clear to the cops that more shots were going to be coming, and so they got out of the way of the car, and then a barrage of bullets rained down on that vehicle. According to witnesses, the car burst into flames and exploded, burning Mohassin and her son inside of it.

That kicked off 15 minutes of sustained gunfire, during which 17 Iraqi civilians were killed. One of the early victims was a 9-year-old boy named Ali, who was shot as he sat in the back seat of a van next to his cousins. His father was in the front seat; he heard the gunshots ringing out, and then some of Ali’s cousins cried out from the back, “Ali is dead, Ali is dead.” The father grabbed his son and could still hear his heart beating, and so he tried to rush him to a hospital, but it was too late.

And the father of Ali, whose name was Mohammed, came back the next day to the square to try to gather pieces of his son’s skull–to take as much of his body as he could to the Iraqi holy city of Najaf to bury him.

People were shot in the back as they tried to flee that shooting. The Iraqis didn’t know who was doing the shooting. They just knew that shots were being fired, and they did what I think a lot of people would do–they tried to run. One Iraqi lawyer was shot four times in his back, and he survived. He recently gave testimony to the UN in Geneva about this crime.

And the men, of course, who did the shooting that day, who killed these 17 people, were not members of Moktada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army. They weren’t members of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. And they weren’t members of the United States Marine Corps. They were private soldiers who were deployed by Blackwater, under orders from the Bush administration.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

WHAT HAPPENED after this shooting in Nisour Square–which became known in some circles as Baghdad’s Bloody Sunday–was that the Iraqi government was under the mistaken impression that Nuri al-Maliki was actually the prime minister of Iraq. What they did is say that Blackwater needs to leave this country, and the men who did this shooting would be prosecuted in Iraqi courts as criminals.

Of course, things are not as simple as that. Nuri al-Maliki is not the prime minister of Iraq; Condoleezza Rice apparently is. Jalal Talabani is not the president of Iraq; George Bush apparently is.

For three days after this shooting, Blackwater’s operations were halted, as Washington and its puppet regime in Baghdad discussed this diplomatic crisis. And for those three days, no U.S. officials could go anywhere outside the Green Zone. They were trapped with the Cinnabons and the Burger Kings and the Pizza Huts. One Iraqi friend said it was as though the Green Zone had been turned into the Green Zoo–because they were all trapped inside of it.

But this was a very vivid symbol of how deeply embedded Blackwater is in the U.S. occupation apparatus, and how central to occupation activities the company had become. Behind the scenes, an extraordinary story was playing out, but publicly, what we witnessed was two versions of events that were floated in the media.

On the one hand, you had the Iraqi government, which was very forcefully and firmly saying that this was a slaughter of civilians, that there was no provocation, and that all of the Iraqis who were killed were killed as a result of gunfire that was offensive in nature.

Blackwater’s version of events was that its men were nobly defending American lives in a hostile war zone, that they had been victims of an armed ambush by enemies and insurgents, and that possibly there was involvement of the Iraqi police or military in this ambush of Blackwater’s convoy.

While this was going on, behind the scenes, the Bush administration was beginning to take steps toward covering up for the actions of Blackwater and preventing any effective prosecution of the men who did the shooting that day.

One of the things that happened is that some of Blackwater’s allies in the media picked up their spin and started to say that you can’t trust anything the Iraqi government says. Mind you, this is a government that the United States put in place, and there’s no such thing as independence in this Iraqi government. They tell Nuri al-Maliki to jump, and he says how high. They tell him to do jumping jacks, and he says how many. So when the Blackwater allies in the media started spinning, it was quite ironic when they said you can’t trust anything that comes out of the Iraqi Interior Ministry because it’s controlled by Moktada al-Sadr, and it’s a “hotbed of sectarianism,” in the words of one “journalist.”

There were U.S. liaisons and advisers working within the Iraqi Interior Ministry. I guess they have to be members of the Mahdi Army as well, and probably should be investigated for their ties to nefarious criminals like Moktada al-Sadr.

Then, one day, there was the leak of a document to the media. This happened as Blackwater was saying that we need to see what the State Department comes up with. Mind you, Blackwater is working for the State Department, keeping State Department officials alive.

This document that gets leaked to the media was referred to as a first-blush report from the State Department–a sort of first version of events. It was on official State Department stationary, with the stamp of the U.S. government, and it backed up everything Blackwater said.

There were a number of problems with this document, but the most glaring of them was that it was, in fact, written by a Blackwater contractor named Darren Hanner and presented as the State Department’s first-blush report to the media.

But while aspersions were being cast on the Iraqi government’s claims, and Blackwater was spinning its version of events, something that got almost no attention whatsoever was that there was a third force that had an opinion on this, which actually had arrived on the scene 20 minutes after the last shots were fired. This force did a crime scene investigation, interviewed witnesses, examined shell casings and pieced together what it believed happened that day. That was the U.S. military.

In the words of Lt. Col. Mike Tarsa from the 1st Cavalry Division, this had been a “criminal event” that had every indication of “excessive shooting.” He said that there was no provocation and no evidence of any enemy fire or fire from any units of the Iraqi police or the Iraqi military, as Blackwater contended. His men expressed shock at the caliber of weapons that were being used in the square that day, saying that it was inconsistent with weapons that would be used, even by the U.S. military, when going into that kind of a crowded civilian area at noon on a Sunday.

Yet that report got almost no attention whatsoever. The whole situation was portrayed in the media like the investigation still needed to play out. Now if the U.S. military identified soldiers involved with something that was labeled a criminal event, there would have been a procedure to begin court-martial proceedings. They would have been prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

There haven’t been enough prosecutions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but there have been at least 70 on murder-related charges alone in Iraq. But the men who did this in Nisour Square–who committed actions that were labeled a “criminal event” by Lt. Col. Mike Tarsa–to this moment walk around as free individuals.

The top law enforcement entity in the United States is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Bush administration did not send the FBI over to investigate for two full weeks. Instead, the investigation was left in the hands of the very people that depended on Blackwater to keep them alive.

Now, if you or I were accused of committing this kind of a crime, or a much lesser crime, if we were lucky, we would be read our Miranda Rights when the police came around. We would be told we have a right to remain silent, anything we say can and will be used against us in a court of law. When the Blackwater men were questioned by State Department investigators, they were given what I call the reverse Miranda Rights. They were told that nothing they said can and will be used against them in a court of law, and nothing they say can be used to bring charges against them in any court.

It’s incredible, but true. They were offered something called limited-use immunity in return for saying what happened. Now usually, when limited-use immunity is granted, it’s given not to the suspects, but to people close to the suspects, in an effort to get them to say something about what the suspects did. It’s very rare, according to legal experts, that you actually give this immunity to the very people you suspect of committing the crime. But that’s what happened in this case.

To put this in a historical context, this is how Oliver North got off after Iran-contra. He was given limited-use immunity, protecting him for his testimony in front of the Congress, and then his lawyers effectively argued that without information gleaned from his testimony, charges would not have been possible against him.

So this was very serious obstruction of justice committed by the State Department investigators at the behest of the Bush administration. Combine that with the fact that the FBI didn’t go over for two full weeks. It’s Criminology 101–you seal off a crime scene, you investigate it, you look at the evidence, you interview witnesses. None of that was done by the FBI right away. For two weeks, it was the State Department–being guarded by Blackwater–that was investigating Blackwater.

And when the Justice Department finally did begin an investigation, two weeks after the fact, we found out that the FBI was going to be sending a team over to Iraq to investigate, and they were going to be guarded by Blackwater. Only after Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont raised a ruckus about this did the FBI say, “Okay, we’ll protect our own men and not have Blackwater protect us while we’re going to investigate Blackwater.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BACK HERE in the United States, all of a sudden, this became a front-page story. Many corporate media outlets were completely asleep at the wheel on this for a long time, and the overwhelming majority of the Democrats in the Congress were either doing nothing about this, or they were part of the problem.

But then, Henry Waxman, who was the leading investigator in the Congress, called on Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater, to testify in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Now, Waxman has been investigating this company, digging deep into its operations, for years. So I decided to go down to Washington last October, because I wanted to see this. The last time Waxman had called Erik Prince to testify was in February 2007, and Erik Prince didn’t show up–he sent his lawyer instead. But this time, he would have to appear himself.

The night before Erik Prince was set to testify, I got hold of his prepared testimony. It was abundantly clear that Erik Prince believed that he was going to be asked questions about Nisour Square. That was what brought him there that day.

But the next morning, I get a tip-off that the Justice Department just announced its investigation, and that the White House was asking Henry Waxman not to take testimony on Nisour Square so as to not contaminate the investigation into Blackwater. I fully thought that Waxman was going to say, “Hey, we represent a third of the government, we have an independent right to investigate these matters, and the Bush administration needs to back off.”

So we go there, and Erik Prince enters the hearing room. He’s wearing his blue suit and his Navy SEAL haircut, and he’s surrounded not by an army of bodyguards, but an army of p.r. people and lawyers and his advisers. And throughout that day, they would huddle around, like Erik Prince was the quarterback, and they were calling their plays. As he walks in the room, there’s this paparazzi-type camera action on him, and Prince later said that the first thought he had when he walked in and saw all the cameras was, “My days as a covert operator are over.”

Anyway, he sits down at the table, and before Prince gets up to be sworn in, Waxman says the Justice Department has asked us not to take testimony on Nisour Square, that we assert the right of the Congress to conduct its own investigations, but we’re going to respect the wishes of the Justice Department, so we will take no testimony on Nisour Square.

I was astonished when I heard those words come out of Henry Waxman’s mouth. Because I have tremendous respect for Waxman. I think that he’s been one of the great people investigating Blackwater up until now.

But it wasn’t just that. The Democrats on that committee had been provided by Waxman’s staff of crack investigators with a very detailed report about Blackwater’s activities. A responsible legislator would have read that report and come prepared to ask questions–and more importantly, ask follow-up questions when something is floated that’s not true or is suspicious.

But what we discovered was that the Democrats were studying the report while the testimony was taking place. They were sitting there reading while Erik Prince was testifying. On multiple occasions, I would hear Erik Prince say something, and wait for one of them to respond. But no, it just didn’t happen.

There was one moment when Rep. Danny Davis of Illinois asked Erik Prince, “Are you saying, sir, that your forces have never killed innocent civilians?” And, paraphrasing, what Erik Prince said was: Yes sir–well, maybe in traffic accidents or ricochet bullets. This man’s forces were accused of gunning down 17 Iraqi civilians in an incident the military called a “criminal event,” and he’s talking about ricochet bullets and traffic accidents. It must have been the largest incident of fatalities from jaywalking in the history of the universe.

Meanwhile, multiple congresspeople thanked Blackwater for keeping them alive when they were in Iraq, because Blackwater has the contract to guard Congress when they go over. How on earth are you going to investigate this kind of company when you go over to Iraq and you’re protected by this company?

And the Republicans on this committee came up with this line. They said that we’ve heard a lot of statistics thrown around about Blackwater today and shootings and other things, but the number that matters is zero–zero Americans under Blackwater’s protection have been killed or seriously injured in Iraq. And they thanked Blackwater for their patriotism and service to the United States.

But there’s something to what the Repbulicans are saying that cuts across both of the two parties, which is really one party. This is the sort of dirty open secret: that Blackwater has done exactly what it’s supposed to do in Iraq. Blackwater’s number one job–their only job–is to keep alive the most important people in Iraq by any means necessary, and the most important people in Iraq are not Iraqis. They are U.S. occupation officials.

So if your car comes too close–bam, your medical career is over, and your mother’s dead next to you. If you happen to be driving in a van with your cousins in an area where Blackwater decided that they were going to do some shooting that day–bam, you’re dead, and your father has to go back the next day to look for pieces of your skull. And the men who did this walk around as free individuals today, and they’re thanked by people in the Congress for their service to this country.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS ISN’T just about Blackwater. Someone deployed them there. Yes, Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater, has placed his forces at the vanguard of a war of aggression and occupation. But Erik Prince was hired by George W. Bush’s administration, and he works directly under Condoleezza Rice. And just like Lynndie England and Charles Graner, they deserved to go down for what happened at Abu Ghraib, but Donald Rumsfeld should be sitting in a jail cell right next to them.

Because of the media finally waking up to this story, action has been initiated. There is a grand jury that is currently hearing testimony in Washington, D.C. on this incident and a number of other incidents. But let’s be clear–even if a handful of Blackwater operatives go down for this, that will be a token action. Nothing is being done to get at the root of this system. Nothing is being done to break the wedding of corporate profits to an escalation of war and violence, and nothing is being done to hold these forces systematically accountable for the crimes that they are committing.

Maybe we’ll see a handful of prosecutions. I wouldn’t necessarily count on it, but it’s possible. But that’s not going to bring any form of real change on this issue. Because what we have seen in Iraq over the past five years is that the Bush administration has doubled the size of its occupation force through the use of these private companies, and this is why immunity and impunity are going hand in hand. It is a necessity of this operation.

Many of you are probably already aware of this, but a lot of people in this country aren’t–the United States spends more than $2.3 billion every week occupying Iraq. Forty cents of every dollar spent on the occupation of Iraq goes directly to a for-profit war corporation. There are 630 corporations on the U.S. government payroll in Iraq, with 180,000 personnel. That’s more than there are U.S. troops in Iraq–there are 150,000 U.S. troops.

And those 180,000 personnel are drawn from 100 nations around the world. Many of these people come from countries whose home government is either opposed to the war or certainly isn’t a party to the war.

This system is not an accident. It means you no longer have to deal with other nation states when you want to wage an unpopular war. You don’t have to get Europe on board any more. You don’t have to try to scare up support in the region where Iraq is located. You don’t have to engage with the United Nations. You don’t have to work with NATO. You simply hire an army. We’ve said this over and over: They’ve replaced a coalition of willing nations with a coalition of billing corporations.

So, for instance, Chile had a rotating seat on the UN Security Council at the time of the invasion and was vocally opposed to this war. And the Bush administration used Blackwater to go into Chile and hire Chilean soldiers to deploy them in a war that their country opposes. This is a subversion of the sovereignty of the nation of Chile and a subversion of the independence of the people of Chile–to hire forces, some of whom served under Augusto Pinochet–and then deploy them in Iraq on the U.S. government payroll.

We are looking at a new model for waging war here, where the entire world becomes a recruiting ground. You know why we don’t have a draft in this country? First of all, it would make the war politically untenable pretty fast. But the second reason is they don’t need it any more. They simply have turned the entire world into one huge recruiting center.

And many of the people who end up working for this army of contractors–for KBR and Bechtel and Fluor and Dyncorp and Blackwater and Triple Canopy–come from nations that have been either economically or militarily targeted by the United States. Blackwater, I think, has had people from more nations working for it in Iraq than there were nations that actually supported the war with their troops.

This is the internationalization of war, and using the poor of the world as cannon fodder to occupy a country that has been systematically targeted by the United States and whose economy has been destabilized.

Right now, this remains a virtual non-issue in Congress. But it represents a very, very dangerous trend. The United Nations is now investigating this–they have a working group on mercenaries that has been traveling the globe investigating this. Because if you look at the fact that there are 177 mercenary companies in Iraq alone right now, and you realize that’s almost as many nations as there are registered at the UN, it raises very serious questions about global order–about monopoly on the use of force.

Now, the ability to wage war, once the sovereign realm of government,is in the hands of for-profit corporations–in an overt way, not just in the behind-the-scenes way that has existed for so long.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AND THE Democrats in the Congress, I think, hold the ultimate responsibility for this system. It’s a no-brainer that the Republicans are going to want it. But the Democrats have failed to take any effective action on this issue.

I said earlier today that the crowning achievement of Nancy Pelosi’s time at the head of the Congress has been to get an approval rating lower than President Bush. It’s an extraordinary achievement. She worked very, very hard at that. She comes into power saying that impeachment is off the table, she talks about how Bush is a good guy. I don’t care if Bush is a good guy or not. It’s like Michael Franti said: I don’t care who you’re screwing in private. I want to know who you’re screwing in public.

We’ve seen the Democrats consistently authorize the funding of this illegal occupation, sometimes offering Bush more money than he actually asked for. And now we’re seeing this seep into the campaign trail.

I’m going to talk about Obama’s position and McCain’s position in a moment. But I want to know if any of you saw the new list of Barack Obama’s foreign policy team. It looks like some of the progressives are out and the old guard is in.

He’s just brought on Madeleine Albright, the former secretary of state–who, of course, was asked by Leslie Stahl on 60 Minutes if the deaths of half a million Iraqi children was worth the price, and she said, yes, it was. Warren Christopher, another former secretary of state. Richard Danzig, the former secretary of the Navy. Lee Hamilton, the former chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and also the Iraq Study Group and the 9/11 Commission. Anthony Lake, Bill Clinton’s national security adviser. William Perry, Clinton’s secretary of defense. And Susan Rice, Clinton’s assistant secretary of state.

Many of these people repeated, overtly and publicly, the lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. And these were people who were at the center of a brutal and violent foreign policy during the Clinton era. These are now the top folks at Barack Obama’s campaign. Once he sewed up the nomination, the old guard comes right in, and it’s back to being the same Democratic Party. So much for change.

There’s no question that the Republicans could run a head of lettuce for president, and it would be the candidate of the war industry. They would be talking about how a head of lettuce is going to protect us. A head of lettuce is a patriot. And they’d probably figure out a way to talk about how a head of lettuce is going to lead a green revolution. But they did manage to find a candidate who has slightly less charisma than a head of lettuce.

On the flip side is Barack Obama, who certainly is more charismatic than a head of lettuce and infinitely more charismatic than John McCain or any of the other crazy people the Republicans have running. Mitt Romney? That guy was some strange mixture of Scientology and robot. And with the hardest head of hair I’ve ever seen. He would be standing by a helicopter, and his nose hairs would be blowing, but not his hair. So John McCain was the most sane among them.

On the other side is Barack Obama, and I think all of us who are fighters for justice in this country or opposed to the war have to recognize that with the Obama campaign and this Democratic primary season, we saw an incredible tide of energy and a lot of people being politicized who had never before been involved with politics. There is something really great and important about this energy that exists right now. I don’t think it’s all about Barack Obama, but he has to be given credit for energizing a lot of people.

There is no question that there are many, many young people in this country who are becoming politicized because of Barack Obama, and I think the real challenge for the antiwar movement is to rise above the 2008 election and realize that we have a very positive thing that’s happened in this country, where a lot more people are paying attention.

I think that the antiwar sentiment is being expressed very, very clearly by the supporters of Barack Obama. I think a lot of people are out there because they want the war to end. They believe in changing this country. Whether or not any of us have any faith in the Democratic Party is sort of a separate issue when it comes to looking at this mass of people that are now engaged and energized. The challenge is to try to do something with it now that’s not about electoral politics, but is actually about changing the country.

The problem, though, with these people being in the streets and then funneled into an Obama rally is that they hear Obama, who’s very articulate and charismatic, saying things like: “I was against the war in 2002 and I’m going to end it in 2009.” Now, I’m sorry, but that is flat-out untrue. And Senator Obama knows it’s untrue, and his advisors know it’s untrue. He’s misleading those people who are filling those stadiums when he says that he’s going to end the war in 2009.

Obama does not have a plan to end the occupation of Iraq. He has a plan to downsize it and re-brand it. His Iraq plan is largely based on the Iraq Study Group recommendations and the 2007 defense supplemental put forward by the Democrats, which was portrayed as their withdrawal plan. Those plans would keep in place a force of 20,000 to 80,000 troops after the withdrawal is done in Iraq. Obama is going to keep the Green Zone, the monstrous U.S. embassy, which was built largely on slave labor, and he’s going to maintain control of the Baghdad International Airport.

And he’s going to keep in place a strike force, as he calls it, to attack al-Qaeda. Once again, we see Obama adopting the bogeyman approach of the Republicans. How many members of al-Qaeda are in Iraq? I’m not denying that there are people in Iraq who identify themselves as al-Qaeda. It’s less than 2,000 people, and now, they’re primarily consolidated in Mosul. Anyone who talks to Iraqis on a regular basis knows that these forces that identify themselves as al-Qaeda have no support within the country.

But when you say to strike at al-Qaeda, it’s a way of trying to say that there’s something causing the violence here that is not the occupation. But the occupation is causing the violence. The resistance is overwhelmingly Iraqi. It is not al-Qaeda.

So we need to know from Senator Obama: What do you mean by al-Qaeda? Do you mean you’re going to be going after this tiny microscopic group of people out of all of the resistance in Iraq? Or is al-Qaeda once again going to be adopted as the justification to go after people who are defending their country?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS ISN’T just about the bigger issue of the Iraq occupation. It also has to do with the issue of private forces. Obama understands the problems with companies like Blackwater, Triple Canopy and Dyncorp better than almost anyone in the Senate. He was way ahead on this issue. He was talking about it and introducing legislation in February 2007, eight months before Nisour Square. I was critical of his legislation, but at least he was awake.

But the fact is that Obama’s Iraq plan will necessitate using these companies for at least three years. Obama has said he will not sign onto legislation to ban these companies, which has been sponsored by Jan Schakowsky in the House and Bernie Sanders in the Senate. And in the words of one of his senior foreign policy advisers in an interview I did with him, Obama cannot and will not rule out using Blackwater and other private security companies in Iraq.

Because if Obama wants to keep an army of occupation officials, classified as diplomats, in Iraq, and if he wants to keep to keep the Green Zone and the embassy and the Baghdad Airport, he’s keeping in place the primary areas where Blackwater’s bread is lathered with golden butter.

Obama can say that we want the military to do it instead of Blackwater. But the military won’t come within 100 countries of that mission. The military doesn’t want to be protecting someone from USAID, which puts them in a situation where they’re going to be shooting at Iraqi civilian vehicles and driving them off the road. The military is already involved with enough over there, and they don’t want to have the added dimension of having to run these diplomats around.

The other possibility is that the State Department has its own security division, which operates all over the world–we could have full-time employees of the U.S. government that are accountable under U.S. law do this job in Iraq. The problem is this: right now, the State Department has 1,450 full-time diplomatic security agents in every nation on earth combined. Blackwater has 1,000 in Baghdad alone. That means that Blackwater has a force in Baghdad that is two-thirds the size of the global deployment of the State Department diplomatic security division.

The reality is that Obama has painted himself into a corner with his Iraq plan. The only solution and the only way to stop using these companies is the only way to stop the violence in Iraq. The U.S. needs to pull out completely–all of its soldiers, all of its mercenaries, all of its contractors.

Short of doing that, business is going to be very, very good in Iraq, not to mention elsewhere in the world. I want to talk about the future of this industry beyond Bush–because this is not just an invention of the Bush administration.

This was on a bipartisan trajectory for several decades, beginning after Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell address in 1961, when he talked about the rise of the military-industrial complex and unchecked power. At that time, Eisenhower was just talking about the weapons manufacturing industry–the makers of tanks and fighter bombers and bullets. Now, we’re talking about the outsourcing of the actual shooting of the guns.

Blackwater was essentially rewarded for what it did in Iraq by getting its contract renewed in April of this year, for yet another year. So that’s on the desk of whoever the next president is. But they’re already on to other major areas of profit and expansion.

One of the things Blackwater is doing right now is bidding for a share of a whopping $15 billion contract to fight the so-called war on drugs. The contract is with the U.S. Department of Defense, and the language specifies that they will be fighting terrorists with drug-trade ties.

I’ve investigated this program, and it specifically targets Bolivia and Colombia, and also Uzbekistan and Afghanistan in central Asia. Blackwater is already operating in Afghanistan in a dual capacity. It does what it does in Iraq, and it is working for the Drug Enforcement Agency. Blackwater is the trainer of the Afghan security forces in counter-narcotics. The Wall Street Journal said this could be Blackwater’s biggest job ever. It could put it in an arena with the godfathers of the war industry–companies like Raytheon and Northroop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

If you look at Colombia right now, for instance, the U.S. government spends $630 million a year for the so-called war on drugs in Colombia. And it then directs Bogotá to hire U.S. war corporations to deploy inside Colombia as part of the war on drugs. Dyncorp, the Wal-Mart of private security companies, has for years been operating throughout Latin America, with the heaviest concentration in Colombia. They’re also in Bolivia right now. Evo Morales was read the riot act–if you don’t allow our mercenaries in there, you don’t get the rest of the aid.

This is not, as many in this room know, a war on drugs–this is a counter-insurgency war. And it can be traced all the way back through the history of U.S. intervention in Latin America–just to take recent history, the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in the early 1950s, the overthrow of Salvador Allende and the rise of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, the death squads in El Salvador, the contras in Nicaragua, the death squads in Guatemala, the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, the attempt to suppress the Zapatistas in Mexico. All of this is a part of that same history of U.S. intervention in Latin America.

It used to be that there was a war against Communism, then it was a war against drugs. Now it’s a war against terrorists with drug-trade ties. Sometimes it comes in the form of death squads, and sometimes it comes in the form of supporting juntas. Sometimes it’s overt military intervention, and sometimes it’s covert military intervention. Sometimes it’s funneling arms to the contras, and sometimes it’s putting contractors on the ground and saying that what they’re doing is fighting the war on drugs.

This isn’t any more a war on drugs than it was a war on communism. This is a war against people’s right to self-determination and the right of nations to independence. That’s what it always has been, and that’s what it is now.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BLACKWATER IS expanding inside the United States. Many of you have heard me talk about my encounters with Blackwater in New Orleans, where heavily armed Blackwater operatives were deployed on the streets of a U.S. . Without a government contract at first–Erik Prince simply sent his men onto the streets. After they were there, they got the contract. How is that legal? How is it constitutional?

They got beat by the town of 850 people in Portrero, California. It was a grassroots victory. When Blackwater tried to set up shop there, on an 824-acre chicken farm right by Tecate, Mexico, and there was an uprising from a town of 850 people, right on the U.S.-Mexico border. Blackwater finally pulled out after a year and a million dollars spent, and they said it didn’t have anything to do with activism, but that Portrero didn’t meet their business plan.

So what Blackwater did then is set up a shell company and register a business in the city of San Diego itself, in Otay Mesa, right near Tijuana, Mexico. They did it not with Blackwater, but with the name of another company–they opened a warfare training institute three blocks from the Tijuana International Airport.

Activists found out about this, they raised a ruckus, and the city of San Diego stood up to Blackwater. And they said, we have to have public hearings on this. The city attorney took it on, and for a while, the mayor took it on.

Then Blackwater did what any responsible company would do if they wanted to respect the will of a local community. They went to a federal judge appointed by the president’s father and asked her to intervene. And so this Judge Huff ordered the city of San Diego to allow Blackwater to open its facility. Within hours of that ruling, the Blackwater warfare training center was open.

I was out there last week with activists who held a demonstration outside Blackwater’s facility. But this isn’t the only place. Blackwater is trying to open shop in Idaho right now. They already have opened shop in Illinois, near the Wisconsin-Iowa border. They call it Blackwater North.

Blackwater says that people should calm down, and all they’re doing is training. But we have seen an unprecedented para-militarization of law enforcement in this country, and to have a company with a reputation like Blackwater training local police forces across the U.S. should be disturbing to anyone who cares about any semblance of a democratic process and any semblance of human rights, civil rights or constitutional rights.

When they say we’re just setting up a training center, that doesn’t fly. That’s what they said when they opened up their massive 7,000-acre private military base in North Carolina. It was called Blackwater Lodge and Training Center. Fast forward a few years, and Blackwater is operating in countries around the world, and has been central to U.S. acts of aggression against other countries.

Erik Prince, the owner, says Blackwater is now going to be a full-spectrum operation. They’ve just reported record profits in their last two quarters. The future looks very bright for them.

They started a private intelligence company–a private CIA–called Total Intelligence Solutions. Erik Prince began building it in April 2006, and it just opened last year. It’s based in Arlington, Virginia, in the Ballston complex, right near the epicenter of the U.S. intelligence community.

Total Intelligence is marketing what they describe as CIA-type services to Fortune 500 corporations and governments. They recently expanded it to Fortune 1000 corporations, so they’re casting an even wider net. This company is being run by three veterans of the CIA: J. Cofer Black, the man who ran the extraordinary rendition program and the CIA’s counter-terrorism center; Robert Richer, the former deputy director of operations at the CIA; and Enrique “Ric” Prado, a 24-year veteran of the CIA, with 10 years of experience in the CIA paramilitary division and a specialty in Latin America.

These men have put CIA-type services, as they call them, on the open market for bidding. And it comes at a time when 70 percent of the combined budget of the 16 intelligence agencies in this country is in the hands of the private sector–is being handled by private contractors.

I want to end by reading something that J. Cofer Black said recently on CNBC, the business channel.

One of the clients of Blackwater and Total Intelligence is Jordan. King Abdullah, of course, is completely in Bush’s back pocket and has allowed Jordan to be used for all sorts of acts against Iraq and other activities. And at no point did CNBC identify J. Cofer Black as working for the Jordanian government. They identified Total Intelligence as a “corporate consulting firm that includes investment strategy.” And “Ambassador Black” was introduced as a “28-year veteran of the CIA,” the “top counter-terror guy,” and “a key planner for the breathtakingly rapid victory of American forces that toppled the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

So Black is on CNBC, and the topic is investment in Jordan, and Black says, “You have leadership, King Abdullah, his majesty King Abdullah, who is certainly kind toward investors, very protective. Jordan is, in our view, a very good investment. There are some exceptional values there.” He went on to say there are “numerous commodities that are being produced and are doing well.”

Now here’s the kicker: Black actually argued on this program that the flood of Iraqi refugees into Jordan, fleeing the violence of the U.S. occupation, was good for potential investors in Jordan. He said, “We get something like 600, 700,000 Iraqis that have moved from Iraq into Jordan that require cement, furniture, housing and the like. So it is an island of growth and potential, certainly in that immediate area. So it looks good. There are opportunities for investment. It is not all bad. Sometimes Americans need to watch a little less TV.”

Now, if only we saw on American television the plight of Iraqi refugees in Jordan. But Black continued, “[T]here is opportunity in everything. That’s why you need situation awareness, and that’s one of the things that our company does. It provides the kinds of intelligence and insight to provide situational awareness so you can make the best investments.”

Any of you who want to invest in the Iraqi refugee crisis, give J. Cofer Black a call at Total Intelligence Solutions.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

BUT I want to end with this sentiment. I have more hope now than I have had in a very long time. I have hope because of the brave men and women from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Because of the struggle of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty–their grassroots activism, combined with the extraordinary resistance behind bars, of the death row prisoners that organize themselves as DRIVE and engage in nonviolent resistance to participating in their own executions.

Kenneth Foster is alive today because of his resistance, of the resistance of death row prisoners and the resistance of activists. Blackwater was not able to open shop in Portrero, California, because of an uprising of 850 people.

Whenever we think that grassroots activism or grassroots struggle isn’t central to changing this country, the moment we start to think that there’s a politician who’s somehow capable of overhauling the system and bringing justice to the heart of America, when they try to marginalize those who believe in justice, those who stand for what’s right, those who soar above the Democratic Party with others to struggle for meaningful change and meaningful justice, we must remember that we are part of a vast majority in this world.

We need an internationalized perspective–getting away from false nationalism–of solidarity with others who live on the other side of the barrel of the gun that is foreign policy, and those who live under it here at home in prisons and poor communities across this country, with the victims of police brutality, the death penalty, the almost $5 a gallon gasoline prices, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the health care crisis.

It’s all one struggle, and we need to remember any moment we feel down that we are part of a global movement that is strong and growing every day.


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A Few Words from the FARC By Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

By Mike Whitney
07/09/08 “ICH”

It was a perfectly executed rescue mission and they pulled it off without a hitch. A small group of Colombian military-intelligence agents, posing as aid workers on a humanitarian mission, touched-down in the heart of rebel territory, gathered up Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages, and whisked them away to safety while a small army of rifle-toting Marxist guerrillas looked on dumbfounded. Whew. What a shocker.

One of the American contractors who was freed in the mission even boasted to NPR that it was “the greatest rescue mission in history”. Indeed, it may be, but it’s a little too early to tell just yet. After all, it took about a week before the Jessica Lynch story began to unravel. This could take even longer. Many readers will remember Lynch as the baby-faced GI who supposedly fought off a swarm of Iraqi regulars “Rambo-like” before making her way to safety.

Unfortunately, the whole story turned out to be an elaborate farce concocted by Rumsfeld’s Strategic Intelligence Unit to drum-up support for the war. In truth, Lynch had simply taken a wrong turn on the road to Baghdad, rolled her vehicle in a ditch, and was patched up by some magnanimous Iraqis. Some hero!

It was the same with Pat Tillman, the Niger uranium, WMD, Saddam in the spider-hole and myriad other whoppers cooked up by the Bush spinmeisters. Every one of them was a fabrication. And what about the 75 Pentagon chieftains who appeared regularly on commercial TV to pollute the public airwaves with their war-promoting bilge? There wasn’t a word of truth in any of it; 100% unalloyed horsecrap.

Already, the holes are beginning to appear in the “official” rescue narrative. First of all, how did John McCain manage to show up in Bogata just as Betancourt was getting off the plane and the champagne was being uncorked? The whole incident was eerily reminiscent of the way the American hostages in Tehran were released on the day of Reagan’s inauguration. Now there’s a coincidence. Seems like “straight talking” McCain might be just as lucky as the Gipper.

Isn’t it reasonable to assume that secret negotiations may have been going on behind the scenes and McCain was tipped off at the last minute so he share the limelight with Uribe and breathe some life into his moribund presidential campaign?

And what about the reports on Swiss Public Radio that “claim that the entire episode was nothing but a sham to disguise the payment of a ransom. SPR cited an unidentified source ‘close to the events, reliable and tested many times in recent years’ as saying the operation had in fact been staged to cover up the fact that the US and Colombians had paid $20 million for their freedom.

“The hostages released on Wednesday, including Ingrid Betancourt, ‘were in reality ransomed for a high price, and the whole operation afterwards was a set-up,’ the public broadcaster said….The report said that the wife of one of the hostages’ guards had acted as a go-between after being arrested by the Colombian Army. She was released to return to the guerrillas, where she allegedly persuaded her husband to change sides.” (Times Online) tells a similar story in their article “The Real Operation to Rescue Ingrid Betancourt and US Mercenaries”:

“On June 3rd, Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba revealed that she possessed information that the government of Colombia was negotiating a deal with the FARC a to trade money for the release of Betancourt and the mercenaries.”

Mediaparte, the French news web site founded by the former chief editor of Le Monde, reported that the rescue was “not an achievement of the Colombian military, but due to the surrender of a group of the FARC members” following “direct negotiations by the Colombian secret services with the guerrilla group that held Betancourt captive.” Citing Colombian sources, it reported that Uribe had told a group last May that a surrender of those holding the hostages was being negotiated. Mediaparte added that the Sarkozy government agreed to offer the ex-guerrillas sanctuary in France after their surrender. (“Mounting questions about Colombian hostage operation” Bill Van Auken)

Now how did that little tidbit manage to slip by the New York Times?

And isn’t Betancourt’s announcement that she’s planning to write a play about her experience just one day after her release a bit suspicious? No one recovers from trauma that quickly. Something is fishy here. Clearly, this is not a woman who has been subjected to excruciating psychological pain like the US prisoners at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay. Those unlucky fellows have been put through the full-range of sadistic abuses meted out by the Pentagon’s new breed of Dr. Mengeles and other intelligence “professionals”. Apparently, Betancourt was never water-boarded, beaten, raped, dragged around her cell in a dog-collar, or stacked naked on top of other prisoners. In fact, her medical report indicated that she was in remarkably good health. That says a lot about her captors.

So, what is the FARC (The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and why are they traipsing around the jungle with Kalashnikovs instead of engaging in the political process?

The truth is, they were part of the process until the right wing death squads started killing their candidates and party bosses and forced them to go underground. As James Petras explains in his article “Homage to Manuel Marulanda”:

“In the early 1980’s, many cadre and leaders decided to try the electoral route, signed a ‘peace agreement’ with the Colombian President, formed an electoral party – the Patriotic Union – and successfully elected numerous mayors and representatives. They even gained a substantial vote in Presidential elections. …. By 1987 over 5,000 members of the Patriotic Union had been slaughtered by the oligarchy’s death squads, including three presidential candidates, a dozen elected congressmen and women and scores of mayors and city councilors. Those who survived fled to the jungles and rejoined the armed struggle or fled into exile.”

The FARC tried politics, signed a “peace agreement” with the government and were butchered anyway. That’s the way it works in Colombia. So now they are in the jungle waging war to gain entry into the political system. Is that terrorism?

The Colombian government has one of the worst human rights records in the world and much of the repression is facilitated by the billions of dollars they get from the United States via Plan Colombia. Again, James Petras details the effects of US support for the Uribe regime:

“With an unprecedented degree of US financing and advanced technological support, the newly elected narco-partner and death squad organizer, President Alvaro Uribe took charge of a scorched earth policy to savage the Colombian countryside. Between his election in 2002 and re-election in 2006, over 15,000 peasants, trade unionists, human rights workers, journalists and other critics were murdered. Entire regions of the countryside were emptied — like the US Operation Phoenix in Viet Nam, farmland was poisoned by toxic herbicides. Over 250,000 armed forces and their partners in the paramilitary death squads decimated vast stretches of the Colombian countryside where the FARC exercised hegemony. Scores of US-supplied helicopter gun-ships blasted the jungles in vast search and destroy missions — (which had nothing to do with coca production or the shipment of cocaine to the United States). By destroying all popular opposition and organizations throughout the countryside and displacing millions Uribe was able to push the FARC back toward more defensible remote regions.”

Noam Chomsky draws the same conclusions as Petras in this excerpt from his book “Rogue States”:

“In Colombia, however, the military armed and trained by the United States has not crushed domestic resistance, though it continues to produce its regular annual toll of atrocities. Each year, some 300,000 new refugees are driven from their homes, with a death toll of about 3,000 and many horrible massacres. The great majority of atrocities are attributed to paramilitary forces. These are closely linked to the military, as documented in considerable and shocking detail once again in February 2000 by Human Rights Watch, and in April 2000 by a UN study which reported that the Colombian security forces that are to be greatly strengthened by the Colombia Plan maintain an intimate relationship with death squads, organize paramilitary forces, and either participate in their massacres directly or, by failing to take action, have “undoubtedly enabled the paramilitary groups to achieve their exterminating objectives.” In more muted terms, the State Department confirms the general picture in its annual human rights reports, again in the report covering 1999, which concludes that “security forces actively collaborated with members of paramilitary groups” while “government forces continued to commit numerous, serious abuses, including extrajudicial killings, at a level that was roughly similar to that of 1998,” when the report attributed about 80 percent of attributable atrocities to the military and paramilitaries. (Noam Chomsky, “Plan Colombia”, from Rogue States, 2000)

So now we all know something about the FARC and the repressive political program called Plan Colombia which is funded by the United States with the clear intention of perpetuating a war between a venal oligopoly and disenfranchised workers and farmers. But having searched the 4,253 articles written about the “Miraculous Bentancourt Rescue”; one thing appears to be missing, that is, a few candid comments from someone—ANYONE—who can speak for the FARC.

Here’s an excerpt from an Interview with FARC Commander Raul Reyes by Garry Leech that fits the bill. Readers can decide for themselves whether they hear something that “rings true” or if it is just revolutionary mumbo-jumbo:

FARC Commander Raul Reyes: “The goal of revolutionary struggle is peace”

“When we speak of the New Colombia we are speaking of a Colombia without social, economic or political inequalities; of a Colombia without corruption; with neither paramilitarism or state terrorism; of a Colombia with industrial development; of a worthy Colombia, independent and sovereign; a Colombia where resources are invested in scientific research and technological development; a Colombia where the environment is protected; a Colombia whose wealth is used for the benefit of the population; a Colombia that does not continue privatizing, that does not continue selling the businesses of the State but instead uses these businesses to benefit social programs; a Colombia with agrarian reform that includes infrastructure for the peasants and that makes it possible for their children to study; an agrarian reform in which a market and the purchase of their products is guaranteed; an agrarian reform in which they can obtain affordable credits from the State; a Colombia with employment; a Colombia with subsidies for the unemployed; a Colombia that guarantees education, healthcare, homes and all that.

That it is the Colombia that we dream of and that we call the New Colombia…

But to achieve this is a task for titans, because Colombia has a mafia class and a corrupt murderous ruler. And as long as they continue controlling the destiny of our country it is going to be very difficult for the people to become controllers of their own destinies. This is the reason that the FARC continues its revolutionary struggle.

The end of the revolutionary struggle being waged by the FARC is peace. For us, peace is the fundamental thing. We understand that peace is the solution to the problems that affect our people. We understand that peace means that in Colombia we have a true democracy. Not a democracy for the capitalists, but a democracy for the people, who can protest, who can participate, who have the right to live, who have the right to healthcare, to education, who have the right to communication, to electricity, to agrarian reforms, to fight corruption, to not have to kneel before foreign powers, but to be a country free, independent and sovereign with respectful relations with all countries on equal terms. Also, that the weapons of the army not be not used against the people, but just for the defense of our sovereignty and nothing more. To achieve that objective is why we are here in this jungle. And in search of that objective we are willing to continue for as long as is necessary.”

These are comments that you won’t find in the 4,253 articles on Google News, because they stimulate critical thinking and shape hearts and minds. And that’s exactly what the corporate propaganda system hopes to avoid.


Fidel Castro and the FARC – Eight Mistaken Thesis of Fidel Castro

Mounting questions about Colombian hostage operation

Unprofessional conduct

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

Behind the Colombia hostage rescue

FARC leaders were paid millions to free hostages: Swiss radio

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.

It’s the Oil, stupid! By Noam Chomsky

Dandelion Salad

By Noam Chomsky
07/08/08 “Khaleej Times

The deal just taking shape between Iraq’s Oil Ministry and four Western oil companies raises critical questions about the nature of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq — questions that should certainly be addressed by presidential candidates and seriously discussed in the United States, and of course in occupied Iraq, where it appears that the population has little if any role in determining the future of their country.

Negotiations are under way for Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners decades ago in the Iraq Petroleum Company, now joined by Chevron and other smaller oil companies — to renew the oil concession they lost to nationalisation during the years when the oil producers took over their own resources. The no-bid contracts, apparently written by the oil corporations with the help of U.S. officials, prevailed over offers from more than 40 other companies, including companies in China, India and Russia.

“There was suspicion among many in the Arab world and among parts of the American public that the United States had gone to war in Iraq precisely to secure the oil wealth these contracts seek to extract,” Andrew E. Kramer wrote in The New York Times.

Kramer’s reference to “suspicion” is an understatement. Furthermore, it is highly likely that the military occupation has taken the initiative in restoring the hated Iraq Petroleum Company, which, as Seamus Milne writes in the London Guardian, was imposed under British rule to “dine off Iraq’s wealth in a famously exploitative deal.”

Later reports speak of delays in the bidding. Much is happening in secrecy, and it would be no surprise if new scandals emerge.

The demand could hardly be more intense. Iraq contains perhaps the second largest oil reserves in the world, which are, furthermore, very cheap to extract: no permafrost or tar sands or deep sea drilling. For US planners, it is imperative that Iraq remain under U.S. control, to the extent possible, as an obedient client state that will also house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world’s major energy reserves.

That these were the primary goals of the invasion was always clear enough through the haze of successive pretexts: weapons of mass destruction, Saddam’s links with Al-Qaeda, democracy promotion and the war against terrorism, which, as predicted, sharply increased as a result of the invasion.

Last November, the guiding concerns were made explicit when President Bush and Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki signed a “Declaration of Principles,” ignoring the U.S. Congress and Iraqi parliament, and the populations of the two countries.

The Declaration left open the possibility of an indefinite long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq that would presumably include the huge air bases now being built around the country, and the “embassy” in Baghdad, a city within a city, unlike any embassy in the world. These are not being constructed to be abandoned.

The Declaration also had a remarkably brazen statement about exploiting the resources of Iraq. It said that the economy of Iraq, which means its oil resources, must be open to foreign investment, “especially American investments.” That comes close to a pronouncement that we invaded you so that we can control your country and have privileged access to your resources.

The seriousness of this commitment was underscored in January, when President Bush issued a “signing statement” declaring that he would reject any congressional legislation that restricted funding “to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq” or “to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.”

Extensive resort to “signing statements” to expand executive power is yet another Bush innovation, condemned by the American Bar Association as “contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional separation of powers.” To no avail.

Not surprisingly, the Declaration aroused immediate objections in Iraq, among others from Iraqi unions, which survive even under the harsh anti-labour laws that Saddam instituted and the occupation preserves.

In Washington propaganda, the spoiler to US domination in Iraq is Iran. U.S. problems in Iraq are blamed on Iran. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sees a simple solution: “foreign forces” and “foreign arms” should be withdrawn from Iraq — Iran’s, not ours.

The confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme heightens the tensions. The Bush administration’s “regime change” policy toward Iran comes with ominous threats of force (there Bush is joined by both US presidential candidates). The policy also is reported to include terrorism within Iran — again legitimate, for the world rulers. A majority of the American people favours diplomacy and oppose the use of force. But public opinion is largely irrelevant to policy formation, not just in this case.

An irony is that Iraq is turning into a US-Iranian condominium. The Maliki government is the sector of Iraqi society most supported by Iran. The so-called Iraqi army — just another militia — is largely based on the Badr brigade, which was trained in Iran, and fought on the Iranian side during the Iran-Iraq war.

Nir Rosen, one of the most astute and knowledgeable correspondents in the region, observes that the main target of the US-Maliki military operations, Moktada Al Sadr, is disliked by Iran as well: He’s independent and has popular support, therefore dangerous.

Iran “clearly supported Prime Minister Maliki and the Iraqi government against what they described as ‘illegal armed groups’ (of Moktada’s Mahdi army) in the recent conflict in Basra,” Rosen writes, “which is not surprising given that their main proxy in Iraq, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council dominates the Iraqi state and is Maliki’s main backer.”

“There is no proxy war in Iraq,” Rosen concludes, “because the U.S. and Iran share the same proxy.”

Teheran is presumably pleased to see the United States institute and sustain a government in Iraq that’s receptive to their influence. For the Iraqi people, however, that government continues to be a disaster, very likely with worse to come.

In Foreign Affairs, Steven Simon points out that current US counterinsurgency strategy is “stoking the three forces that have traditionally threatened the stability of Middle Eastern states: tribalism, warlordism and sectarianism.” The outcome might be “a strong, centralised state ruled by a military junta that would resemble” Saddam’s regime.

If Washington achieves its goals, then its actions are justified. Reactions are quite different when Vladimir Putin succeeds in pacifying Chechnya, to an extent well beyond what Gen. David Petraeus has achieved in Iraq. But that is THEM, and this is US. Criteria are therefore entirely different.

In the US, the Democrats are silenced now because of the supposed success of the US military surge in Iraq. Their silence reflects the fact that there are no principled criticisms of the war. In this way of regarding the world, if you’re achieving your goals, the war and occupation are justified. The sweetheart oil deals come with the territory.

In fact, the whole invasion is a war crime — indeed the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes in that it encompasses all the evil that follows, in the terms of the Nuremberg judgment. This is among the topics that can’t be discussed, in the presidential campaign or elsewhere. Why are we in Iraq? What do we owe Iraqis for destroying their country? The majority of the American people favour US withdrawal from Iraq. Do their voices matter?

Noam Chomsky’s writings on linguistics and politics have just been collected in “The Essential Noam Chomsky,” edited by Anthony Arnove, from the New Press. Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass.

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.

Iran Test Long Range Missiles! + Obama Responds

Dandelion Salad

July 09, 2008 MSNBC Morning Joe

Barack Obama Responds to Iran Missile Test
July 09, 2008 NBC Today Show

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Seymour Hersh: US Training Jondollah and MEK for Bombing preparation

Congressional Resolution to Provoke Iran (Action Alert)

Will the US Congress ratify the Bush Administration’s Decision to launch a War on Iran (H. CON. RES. 362)

Hersh: Congress Agreed to Bush Request to Fund Major Escalation in Secret Operations Against Iran

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh


Ahmadinejad DID NOT threaten to “wipe Israel off the map.” (2 min vid)

Iran’s President Did Not Say “Israel must be wiped off the map” By Arash Norouzi

Dmitry Medvedev’s G8 speech

Dandelion Salad


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev summed up the results of the G8 summit in Japan. He also commented on the installation of the U.S. anti-missile system in Europe and the importance of the G8 meeting for the global agenda.


G8 summit marked by impotence and division

Czech Republic and U.S. sign radar base agreement



Global Warming

G8 summit marked by impotence and division

Dandelion Salad

By Nick Beams
9 July 2008

Facing what is arguably its most serious crisis since the end of the Second World War, the global capitalist economy has never been in greater need of co-ordinated policies from the world’s major national governments.

But unity and collaboration in the face of the mounting problems posed by climate change, oil and food price hikes and the ever-present threat of recession, have been conspicuously absent from the meeting of the G8 major industrial nations being held in Hokkaido, Japan, this week.

Nowhere were the divisions more apparent than in yesterday’s statement on climate change. After much behind the scenes negotiations, the G8 meeting finally agreed to a communiqué in which the major industrial powers agreed to a “vision” of “achieving at least 50 percent reduction of global emissions by 2050.” However, in order to secure agreement from US President George Bush, who has refused to name any target in the absence of commitments from India and China, the statement added a rider “recognising that this global challenge can only be met by a global response, in particular, by the contributions from all major economies.”

The statement was dismissed by scientists as lagging far behind what was needed to arrest global climate change.


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.