Mosaic News – 07/16/08: World News From The Middle East

Dandelion Salad



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


For more:
“Lebanese President welcomes Released Prisoners,” LBC TV, Lebanon
“Israelis unhappy with the swap,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Thousnds Gather to Hear Nasrallah,” Press TV, Iran
“A Day of Mourning in Israel,” IBA TV, Israel
“Samir Quntar Addresses Thousands of People,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“A victory for Hezbollah,” Syria TV, Syria
Produced for Link TV by Jamal

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Making Americans Unsafe By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
07/17/08 “ICH”

The Bush Regime’s “terrorist” protection schemes have reached the height of total incompetence and utter absurdity. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, a private organization that defends the US Constitution that inattentive Americans neglect, there are now one million names on the “terrorist” watch list.

One of them is that of former Assistant US Attorney General Jim Robinson, whose top security clearances are current. Every time Mr.Robinson flies away on business, he is delayed by a totally incompetent “terrorist” protection racket that cannot tell a person named Jim Robinson, who served in the highest echelons of the US government, from a Muslim terrorist.

What confidence can we have in a regime that is incapable of differentiating an Assistant US Attorney General from a terrorist?

Mr. Robinson said: “If I were convinced that America is a safer place because I get hassled at the airport, I might put up with it, but I doubt it. I expect my story is similar to hundreds of thousands of people who are on this list and find themselves inconvenienced.”

“Hundreds of thousands of people” on a watch list that they have no business being on?

Yes. “Members of Congress, nuns, war heroes and other ‘suspicious characters,’ with names like Robert Johnson and Gary Smith, have become trapped in the Kafkaesque clutches of this list, with little hope of escape,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

And this is America, not Nazi Germany?

How can Airport “Security” possibly protect anyone when the idiots cannot differentiate a high level American government official from a terrorist?

Do you really believe there are one million terrorists and nothing has blown up in the US since September 11, 2001 (assuming you believe the government’s account of that episode)?

How can there possibly be 1,000,000 terrorists and America still be in one piece? If there were 1,000,000 terrorists, America would be in ruins. According to the Bush Regime’s line, it only took a handful of terrorists to destroy America’s tallest skyscrapers and a section of the Pentagon and to send the President of the United States scurrying to a hiding place.

One million terrorists could bring America to its knees, and they wouldn’t need to fly on airplanes to accomplish this.

What we are witnessing with the one million person “watch list” is bureaucracy run amok. One Million Terrorists makes the danger seem overwhelming. Such overwhelming danger rationalizes the aggressive behavior of the bullies and thugs attracted by the power of confiscating your toothpaste and bottled water and riffling your belongings in your luggage.

Show your ID.
Take off your shoes.

Take off your belt.
Take off your jacket.

Empty your pockets.

Don’t complain about being searched without a warrant or you will miss your flight. You might be arrested, handcuffed, kicked and otherwise abused–the fate of many American citizens.

The morons who comprise the US government call the “watch list” one of the government’s “most effective tools in the fight against terrorism.”

What an effective tool it is! It cannot tell the difference between Jim Robinson and a Muslim terrorist.

The “watch list” has not apprehended a single terrorist, but thousands of American citizens have been inconvenienced and arrested.

The ACLU says that “putting a million names on a watch list is a guarantee that the list will do more harm than good by interfering with the travel of innocent people and wasting huge amounts of our limited security resources on bureaucratic wheel-spinning.”

It is worse than that. What the “watch list” or “no-fly list” is doing is training Americans to submit to warrantless searches, to abandon their constitutional rights, and to submit to humiliation by thugs and bullies. A Gestapo is being trained to have no qualms about searching and intimidating fellow citizens, using any excuse to delay or arrest them. Americans are being taught to use arbitrary power and to submit to arbitrary power. In the false name of “safety from terrorists,” Americans are being made the least safe people on earth.

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. terrorism watch list tops 1 million

I Was a Victim of the Government’s Absurd and Over-Hyped War on Terror

Homeland Security

Police State

How bad will it get? by Lee Sustar

Dandelion Salad

by Lee Sustar
July 16, 2008 | Issue 676

The institutions that were supposed to help provide a bailout for the housing crisis now have to be rescued themselves. Lee Sustar explains how two giant mortgage companies sponsored by the U.S. government got to the brink of bankruptcy.

THE EMERGENCY government intervention to support Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored agencies that own or guarantee nearly half of U.S. mortgages, is the latest sign of the deepening world financial crisis.

So alarming was the threat of a collapse by Fannie and Freddie that the biggest bank failure in 20 years, at mortgage lender IndyMac, took second place in the business press.

At least, that is, until the stock markets opened on July 14, when investors dumped stocks of other banks rumored to be in trouble. Wall Street analysts predict that as many as 150 more banks could fail in the coming months, virtually all as a result of mortgage-related losses.

But the bigger fear among politicians and investors was the liquidity crisis of Fannie and Freddie, the twin engines of the U.S. mortgage machine. A few months ago, the Bush administration allowed the two companies to reduce their capital reserve requirements to enable them to buy or guarantee $200 billion in mortgages.

With Wall Street investment banks stuck with housing-related losses and reluctant to buy mortgage-backed securities, the government pushed Fannie and Freddie even further into the role of picking up the slack. This, the argument went, would induce banks into making mortgage loans, thereby shoring up the collapsing housing market.

Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Congress raised the limit on the size of the loans that Freddie and Fannie are allowed to guarantee from $417,000 to $729,750 in 224 high-cost markets.

In the past, the two companies had been banned by Congress from purchasing or guaranteeing such jumbo loans, in part because Wall Street successfully lobbied to get that lucrative business for itself. But once the credit crunch hit, the investment banks that previously viewed Freddie and Fannie as rivals now demanded their help.

Thus, in entering the jumbo loan market, “Freddie said it will finance up to 90 percent of a property’s value, giving an instant source of liquidity to Wells Fargo Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup and Washington Mutual Inc.,” the Wall Street Journal noted then.

But instead of easing the crisis, Freddie and Fannie have been nearly overwhelmed by it.

The decline in the companies’ stock prices by 45 percent in one week reflected investors’ fears that the companies had an insufficient amount of capital reserves to compensate for losses resulting from foreclosures. The two companies have $81 billion in capital reserves–but that’s just 1.58 percent of their $5.1 trillion of investments and loan guarantees. Fannie has lost $7.2 billion since the middle of 2007, and Freddie has lost $4.6 billion over the same period.

To raise capital, Freddie proposed issuing stock worth $5.5 billion. But with share prices so low, this would have diluted the value of existing shares–and accelerated the decline of the stock price.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE CATASTROPHIC consequences of a failure by Freddie and Fannie–which were created by the federal government to assist the mortgage market, but are run as private companies–meant that some form of government intervention was inevitable. The only questions were what form it would take–and whether it would work.

So on July 13–in a Sunday announcement timed for the opening of stock markets in Asia–Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson declared that the U.S. government would stand behind the two companies.

The rescue consists of three parts: an unspecified expansion of the Treasury Department line of credit to the two companies; authority for the Treasury to purchase shares in the companies to help boost their capital reserves; and the ability to borrow at the Federal Reserve’s “discount window” for troubled banks. Paulson also proposed that Congress give the Fed new regulatory powers over the two companies.

It was the second major emergency intervention in four months by Paulson and Fed Chair Ben Bernanke. In March, the Treasury and the Fed teamed up to force the sale of the investment bank Bear Stearns to rival JPMorgan Chase at a fire-sale price–in order to prevent a bankruptcy that could have disrupted financial markets worldwide.

This time, the crisis is even more severe. “Freddie is insolvent, and Fannie is running on fumes. They’re going to end up being nationalized,” Len Blum of the investment bank Westwood Capital told Reuters. “The entire financial web depends on them. If they failed, it would make Bear Stearns look like a picnic.”

In fact, Paulson and Bernanke are trying to avoid nationalization–not least because taking Fannie and Freddie onto the government books would increase the U.S. national debt to more than $14 trillion overnight. At the same time, however, the two men were compelled to act decisively in order to preserve the credibility of the U.S. government and the financial system.

According to the most recent data from the Treasury Department, foreign investors own 21.4 percent of U.S. government agency debt–much of it from Fannie and Freddie. An outright collapse of the two companies would not only make these securities worthless, but create a crisis of confidence in U.S. Treasury bonds that finance the U.S. trade and budget deficits.

Letting Fannie and Freddie go under–as some right-wingers proposed on the grounds that the free market needed to right itself–would almost certainly trigger a world financial crash worse than anything since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

As a result, the Fed and the Treasury Department will do almost anything to protect bondholders in Fannie and Freddie. At the same time, Bernanke and Paulson are under pressure to boost the stock prices of the two companies, since shares in Fannie and Freddie are widely held by big mutual and pension funds. If the two companies’ stocks continue to slide, it will add to the fall of the stock market generally, particularly for financial institutions.

So Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and an official in an administration supposedly committed to free-market solutions, declared that the U.S. Treasury might become a direct investor in Fannie and Freddie.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

HOW DID Wall Street get to this point? Right-wing critics of Fannie and Freddie have long claimed that the hybrid status of the companies violates the norms of the free market. Because they are government sponsored, the companies benefit from an implicit guarantee that the U.S. government would stand behind them in any crisis. Therefore, they could hold fewer capital reserves and borrow at lower interest rates than their private competitors.

At the same time, however, Fannie and Freddie were run like private companies for the benefit of shareholders. Their huge size and special quasi-governmental status gave them the ability to manipulate the political system even more effectively than their fully private rivals on Wall Street.

As the Washington Post reported, “a top lobbyist for Freddie Mac held more than 75 fundraisers for members of the House Financial Services Committee in an 18-month period several years ago, raising nearly $3 million, according to records brought to light in a federal investigation. The lobbyist’s fundraising dinners typically featured the committee’s Republican chairman at the time, Michael G. Oxley of Ohio.

“Those and other activities led to a record $3.8 million fine against Freddie Mac in 2006 for allegedly violating federal election law.”

The companies also protected themselves by hiring top officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations. Fannie, for example, hired former White House Budget Director Franklin Raines of the Clinton administration and Robert Zoellick, former U.S. trade representative under George W. Bush and now president of the World Bank.

These political connections ensured that even after Freddie Mac manipulated its earnings statements in 2003 and Fannie Mae did likewise in 2004, there were practically no consequences.

“For years, anyone warning that Fannie and Freddie should beef up their financial positions was ridiculed or run over by the lobbying machines these companies kept oiled and close at hand,” wrote the New York Times’ Gretchen Morgenson. “So their lucrative arrangement remained the same: business as usual, with all its riches, was the goal. After all, wasting money by inflating their cash cushions would just crimp their style.”

Even the market-fundamentalist Wall Street Journal editorial board argued that the U.S. government is better off making direct investments in the two companies rather than simply loaning them more money.

“We haven’t suddenly become socialists,” the Journal explained. “What taxpayers need to understand is that Fannie and Freddie already practice socialism, albeit of the dishonest kind. Their profit is privatized but their risk is socialized. We’re proposing a more honest form of socialism, with the prospect of long-term reform.”

When the Wall Street Journal calls for an “honest form of socialism,” you know the crisis is deep.

We were told a year ago that the mortgage crisis was “contained” to sub-prime mortgages issued by unscrupulous lenders to working people who couldn’t keep up with the adjustable rates. Next, we found out that the bad loans went far beyond the sub-prime market–and that the main players were the biggest names on Wall Street: Citigroup, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and more. The amount of bad mortgage loans written off so far is $400 billion, and counting.

The result has been a credit crunch that’s squeezing the life out of the U.S. economy. But the Federal Reserve can’t cut interest rates any further to spur growth without aggravating inflation in food and oil prices. In fact, the latest injection of money into the system to support Fannie and Freddie will likely lead to a further decline in the value of the dollar and increase inflationary pressures.

The Bernanke-Paulson rescue plan may keep Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac afloat. But it won’t provide a solution to a financial crisis that looks likely to get much worse.


Readers are welcome to share and use material belonging to this site for non-commercial purposes, as long as they are attributed to the author and


Workers need bailout plan – Fed payouts to mortgage banks are a crime

Richard C. Cook: On The Eve of WW3 (videos)

Status Report on the Collapse of the U.S. Economy by Richard C. Cook

Engineered Collapse of the US Economy – Alex Jones interviews Richard C Cook

Ron Paul to Bernanke: Federal Reserve is a Predatory Lender

With Crises in Fuel, Food, Housing and Banking, What Gvt. Policies Are Being Pushed Through? (Naomi Klein)

Jim Rogers on Bloomberg 2008.07.14 (part 2)

Jim Rogers: Let the Fannie and Freddie go bancrupt

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Simulating Urban Warfare by Tom Burghardt

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, July 17, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

In Planet of Slums, socialist historian Mike Davis mapped the brutal urban realities shared by more than one billion of the earth’s inhabitants, unmoored by neoliberal globalization from the “formal” world economy. From Baghdad to Karachi and from Lagos to Los Angeles and beyond, as ever-broader segments of the world’s population are transformed into “a surplus humanity,” the master class presents “no scenario” for ameliorating the immiseration it has itself designed through the “normal” functioning of a grotesque system of exploitation and injustice.

The vast expansion of planetary slum zones amid sumptuary wealth and dystopian high-rise palaces of glass and steel patrolled 24/7 by armed sentries, are future portents of a regime where the savage inequalities of the “free market” go hand in hand with the terminal vacuousness of the “Real Housewives of Orange County.” As economist Michel Chossudovsky points out, the current economic crisis gripping late capitalism is hardly an accident of history:

…downsizing, corporate restructuring and relocation of production to cheap labor havens in the Third World have been conducive to increased levels of unemployment and significantly lower earnings to urban workers and farmers. This new international economic order feeds on human poverty and cheap labor: high levels of national unemployment in both developed and developing countries have contributed to depressing real wages. Unemployment has been internationalized, with capital migrating from one country to another in a perpetual search for cheaper supplies of labor. (The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, 2nd edition, Shanty Bay, ON: Global Outlook, 2003, p. 6)

Under existent conditions, a racist discourse of “feral cities” haunts the imagination of military theoreticians. Considered a “breeding ground” of subversion by ruling class economists, politicians and sociologists, the urban battles of the future are being “wargamed” today.

Military Operations on Urban Terrain and Other Horrors of a Horrible System

Pentagon strategists refer to their doctrine of urban warfighting as Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT). But urban warfare pose multiple risks and challenges for military planners; not least of which are recognizing “targets” across a complex environment of multistory apartment blocks, small- and large scale industrial infrastructure, power grids, political and cultural centers, sports complexes, houses of worship and transportation hubs.

Fraught with problems not readily amenable to technological “fixes,” Durham University geographer Stephen Graham cites one military theorist’s view of the conundrums faced by 21st century “warfighters”,

“Urban operations represent a black hole in the current Revolution in Military Affairs pantheon of technological advantage […]. The technologies traditionally ascribed to the current Revolution in Military Affairs phenomenon will have negligible impact on Military Operations in Urban Terrain.” (cited in Stephen Graham, “From Space to Street Corners: Global South Cities and U.S. Military Technophilia,” Unpublished paper, 2007)

Indeed, there is a powerful imperative driving military strategists and their political masters: the stark recognition that capital’s economic/political project for domination is an acute failure, one which is creating conditions for chronic “low-intensity warfare” campaigns in cities against a panoply of “insurgent forces.”

In Venezuela for example, autonomous groups such as the 23 de Enero People’s Army, the “Tupamaros,” La Piedrita, Militia Zero, the Zapatista Collective or the Revolutionary Movement of Bolivarian Defense, neighborhood organizations of battle-hardened veterans who have at best, a strained relationship with Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian government, will form the backbone of armed resistance to any outside intervention or internal counterrevolution by Venezuela’s CIA-NED-financed elite “opposition.” As George Ciccariello-Maher describes:

It was in [the] context of repression that the Venezuelan popular militia movement was born. Neither entirely clandestine nor fully open, small groups began to spring up to defend local barrios from both the state and the burgeoning parallel violence of narcotrafficking. Small groups, masked and armed, began to make semi-public appearances, giving an ultimatum to local drug dealers: either you stop selling drugs or you’ll be killed. The police, too, found themselves all the more frequently victims of armed ambushes and shootouts with masked militias. In order to explain this phenomenon, the police, government officials, and even more appreciative local residents adopted a single moniker, derived from the Uruguayan urban guerrilla struggle: in mythical fashion, these militias were deemed “Tupamaros.” (George Ciccariello-Maher, “Embedded with the the ‘Tupamaros’,” MR Zine, 23 April 2008)

Masters and mistresses of American barrios and “ghettoes,” Brazilian favelas and South Asian chawls where even police fear to tread, rapid urbanization has radically undermined the high-tech advantages built-up by the U.S. since the dawn of the Cold War, thwarting American fantasies of “dominating the battlespace” through “network-centric warfare” (NCW).

According to NCW theory, an alleged “information advantage” is leveraged into a competitive warfighting upper hand through “robust networking” of well-informed, though geographically dispersed forces. But as the U.S. military discovered in Iraq, the high-tech systems built at a cost of tens of billions of dollars were brought to ground by disposable cell phones, garage door openers, twenty year old ordnance and the will to resist. Multiply radical neighborhood militias such as the “Tupamaros” on a planetary scale and it becomes abundantly clear that imperialism has its work cut out for it!

The political realities of urban combat inhibit the tactical requirements necessary to “secure” an urban “battlespace.” Short of obliterating a city as the United States did during its series of destructive campaigns in Fallujah in 2003-2004, military options are fairly limited. Resorting to overwhelming force in the absence of broad political support in the area is hardly the way to win “hearts and minds,” as the Pentagon discovered much to its horror in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive, when the U.S. simultaneously achieved a fleeting tactical victory and a devastating strategic defeat.

As a result of recent urban combat debacles, MOUT strategists are building simulated cities in the American outback as a “living laboratory” for protracted combat operations in an urban environment.

Mainly as a consequence of widespread opposition to 1999 “Urban Warrior” exercises when the Marine Corps’ Urban Warfighting Laboratory and U.S. Army Special Forces staged “realistic” war games on the streets of American cities, the Pentagon is creating entire pseudo landscapes and ghostly architectures: the urban space transformed into a militarist simulacrum.

Bryan Finoki, the editor of Subtopia: A Field Guide to Urban Militarism writes:

Somewhere out there in the restricted strata of Defense real estate the Marine Corps is taking over cities in an imaginary Third World that have been grafted and turned into some sort of urban template for a spectacularly unseen militarized stage show. There are multiple MOUT facilities all over the world, but in addition to two that already exist at Twentynine Palms, there is a brand new site cropping up along the fringes that’s being called CAMOUT, or Combined-Arms Military Operations in Urban Terrain. Pronounced “K-MOUT”, it is expected to be the Mecca, so to speak, of the entire MOUT program. (“MOUT Urbanism,” Subtopia, February 23, 2008)

Covering some 280 acres, a half-hour’s drive from the Marine Corps’ Twentynine Palms Air Ground Combat Center the training facility is “roughly the size of downtown San Diego,” journalist Kelly O’Sulllivan writes. CAMOUT “will feature an Olympic-size soccer stadium, a hospital, airport, large marketplace, prison, police compounds, schools, an industrial center, extensive underground tunnel systems and two embassies.”

And at a cost of some $250 million, CAMOUT is slated to be the largest such facility owned by the Defense Department. Orbiting somewhere between war and entertainment, the Pentagon is designing a disquieting netherworld, a series of Potemkin villages whose sole purpose is to perfect its apparatus of death and destruction.

Stephen Graham writes:

The global complex of urban warfare training cities involve a different relationship to political violence to the atom-bombed suburban homes or fire-bombed tenements and rice-paper structures of the 20th century. For here, the simulation is not designed to sustain attempts at outright urban annihilation through total war. Rather, its purpose is to hone skills of occupation, counter-insurgency warfare, and urban remodelling via expeditionary, colonial war. (“Theme Park Archipelago: Simulating War in an Urbanizing World,” Unpublished paper, 2007)

Constructed for the maximum recreation of war’s nightmare and horror, these simulated cities are filled with dazzling special effects courtesy of Hollywood. In addition to “realistic” settings and “culturally accurate” renditions of Middle Eastern architecture, these deranged spaces feature an array of olfactory sensations such as “…dead bodies, burning rubber, diesel fumes.” According to special effects wizard Manuel Chaves who runs the urban warfare site at Fort Wainright, Alaska: “I can do nine different buildings, nine different smells. Generally, if it’s a burning building, we put something really nasty in there like burning bodies.”

A $13 million facility built on a 30 acre site in Fort Knox, Kentucky named Zussman village is able to accommodate “hundreds of role-playing ‘insurgents,’ who dress in keffiyehs and are armed with AK47s and RPGs.” According to Graham, “a ‘Third World’ slum is being constructed near the railroad.”

To emphasize the importance of urban warfare simulation in current military doctrine, in 2006 Congress commissioned the RAND Corporation to produce a report on the efficacy of current training facilities. RAND did, and with a characteristic racist subtext to boot.

RAND researchers evaluated training facilities for their architectural and infrastructural “realism” in mirroring conditions allegedly present in the “megaslums” of the global south. Those with “clutter/debris/filth,” “slums/shanty towns/walled compounds,” “subterranean complexes” and simulated “government, hospital/prison/asylum structures,” scored highest according to Graham.

Adding to the mix, RAND researchers recommended that U.S. military planners consider the possibility of “appropriating” entire “ghost towns” within the continental U.S., in other words, cities that have been deindustrialized and largely abandoned. RAND “specialists” conclude: “the use of abandoned towns has moved beyond the concept phase into what might be considered the early test and development phase.”

Graham reports that attention was focused on the virtually abandoned copper-mining town of Playas, New Mexico. The town has also been used extensively by the Department of Homeland Security for training anti-suicide bomb squads. Apparently, the destruction of U.S. manufacturing, mining and industrial infrastructure under the pressure of neoliberal globalization is viewed as a “plus” in some quarters.

“Over the course of time, towns and cities eventually die,” writes Steve Rowell of the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Culver City, California. “Despite this and despite the receding U.S. economy, the industries of defense and disaster preparedness are flourishing, reversing this trend in some of the most remote areas of the nation. The war on terror is redefining the American pastoral in an unexpected way.” In the case of Playas, its new role is “as a generic American suburb under simulated attack.” And, in future, as a simulated “Arab city” where U.S. “warfighters” come to hone skills for expeditionary war, Graham reports.

Despite adverse publicity generated by “Urban Warrior” exercises, RAND analysts insist they continue. Indeed, such displays of militarist omniscience will be even more necessary in the future because “no purpose-built urban training site and no simulation for many years to come will be able to present the heterogeneity and complexity of a modern megalopolis.”


But wargaming isn’t the only front where simulated urban battles are being fought and refought. Enter the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Under contract to DARPA, capitalist grifter Computer Science Corporation, combined electronic mapping and satellite image technology to create purely electronic representations of cities that are, or may in the future, come under the purview of U.S. military occupation. Scores of cities around the world are being electronically mapped by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in order to create a “virtualized reality” for U.S. “warfighters.”

Within complex simulation models, the structures of Middle Eastern or indeed, any city, have been classified using “Urban Terrain Zones” based “on international databases of the construction materials and practices used in the different parts of target cities: steel, glass and concrete in city cores, older brick, stone or mud in casbahs,” Graham informs us.

And even larger simulations of global south megacities are providing grist for the murderous mill of U.S. military “gamers” as they imagine full-scale counterinsurgent warfare well into the future. One electronic simulation, “Urban Resolve,” has actually mapped an eight square mile swathe of Jakarta, Indonesia in three dimensions! According to Graham, “this has been done down to the interior of the (1.6 million) buildings, and also involves 109,000 mobile ‘vehicles’ and ‘civilians,’ as well as the subterranean infrastructures.”

Such projects are expanding exponentially. Under the heading, Urban Reasoning and Geospatial Exploitation Technology (URGENT), DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO), is searching for “new technologies” to defeat urban insurgencies. According to IPTO’s “Mission Statement” on the program

The recognition of targets in urban environments poses unique operational challenges for the warfighter. … Today’s urban missions involve analyzing a multitude of urban objects in the area of regard. As military operations in urban regions have grown, the need to identify urban objects has become an important requirement for the military. Understanding the locations, shapes, and classifications of objects is needed for a broad range of pressing urban mission planning analytical queries.

A related program, Building Labels for Urban Environments (BLUE),

seeks innovative approaches that exploits surveillance video data to classify buildings automatically. In addition to visual feature data such as color and line orientation, video captures data concerning motion over time. The latter affords the opportunity for automated recognition of patterns in moving objects in the vicinity of buildings. These motion patterns may be reliable indicators of a building’s function. BLUE technology should be able to learn patterns that distinguish building types and to process video from surveillance video data, such as that collected from high-endurance military UAV platforms, to label buildings correctly.

As we have seen, the U.S. ruling class is intent on deploying its entire high-tech arsenal against the global south and perhaps someday soon, on the streets of American cities. Tied intimately into the defense, computing, entertainment and “homeland security” industries, the Pentagon’s quixotic quest to “dominate the battlespace,” is reflective of the precariousness of the entire U.S. neocolonial project in the post-Cold War world.

Despite its abject failure against urban insurgents in Iraq, the U.S. military’s obsession with building simulation models of urban landscapes and electronic mapping suites of real cities tell us a great deal about the masters’ preoccupation–and fear–with the direction things are heading.

© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008

The url address of this article is:

Message of peace and friendship to the people of US: Request for the Congress & President

Dandelion Salad

(source: CASMII)
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We are a group of independent Iranian civil society representatives engaged in scientific and humanitarian work in our country. Some of us are also engaged in social service activities beyond our borders. While working for common causes, we often hold hands with civil society partners from other parts of the world, including members of the US scientific and civil society community. Because of the many compatriots we have in your country, we feel a special human bond linking us together. We are non-partisan and have no political agenda

We extend our warm greetings to the people of America and wish peace, friendship and prosperity for all. We hope logic, reason and justice will prevail and remove the dark clouds casting a shadow and constraining communications and collaboration between us.

We want to look beyond troubling issues such as the US intervention, that toppled the democratically elected popular government of Mossadeq and the drama of hostage taking of US diplomats by Iranian students. We want to look at the positive responses and deep empathy shown by people of the two countries, when Iran faced the aftermath of the Bam earthquake tragedy and US faced the consequences of the man made disaster of September 11.

We are confident that our message will be heeded. Our request to the US Congress and to the US President is to scrap the fund for promoting democracy in Iran. This will pave the way for us to strengthen our bonds for people to people cooperation between America and Iran, WITHOUT INTERFERENCE OF GOVERNMENTS OF BOTH SIDES. Yes, we are confident that we can achieve what both governments have declared as intentions, but have failed to achieve in practice.

How Iranians look at the fund:

(a) Iran has had a sad history of external interference. Iranians have deep suspicion of any foreign inspired initiative. No credible civil society member would want to be associated with such a fund. Even opposition figures and prominent democracy and human rights activists in Iran have called for the termination of the democracy promotion program.

(b) The fund has undermined Iran’s home grown civil society initiatives. It has fueled paranoia of US and Israel conspiracies to undermine political stability bring about regime change and install a pro-American government. Thus, the fund has provided a pretext for distrust and suspicion, leading to narrowing of space for independent civil society.

(c) Contrary to US laws and international norms of transparency, the recipients of the US funding are secret. Thus, those in contact with western partners are placed at risk of being treated as potential conspirators and become the target for crack down by the Iranian government.

(d) If governments of both sides are sincere about supporting people to people collaboration, the best way is for both of them to step aside and let the scholars and civil society members work without restrictions that are based on unsubstantiated suspicion, and remove legal obstacles of the sanctions, issuing of visas, etc. Terminating the democracy promotion fund is the first step for the US and releasing all people, who have been imprisoned on suspicion of connection with the US Government, is the first step for the Iranian Government. These steps will provide incentives for action by independent scholars and civil society activities. Obviously, the cooperation of the two sides must adhere to the principles of transparency, accountability and being free from any political agenda.

Here is the gist of our message:

1. To the great people of America, which has drawn on the best of talents from all over the world, including Iranians: We extend our hands in love, friendship and cooperation, transcending differences of governments. There is much to gain from our collaboration, including infusing rationality, compassion, peace and tolerance into policies and practices of our Governments. Through our on-going dialogue, we hope together to identify people-based programs and mechanisms for collaboration. Through the wonderful centers of science and technology, and through your universities and centers of higher learning and your civil societies, we hope to give concrete shape to our mutual aspirations, which will serve not only the people of our two countries, but citizens of the whole world.
2. To the members of Congress: As representatives of the people of America, including the large number of Iranian Americans, we look to you to support us through the power of the people you represent. We request you to encourage the Government to abolish the fund, which has caused so much pain and stress to a significant part of Iranian civil society. Without interference or funding from the two governments, we can together develop and expand our cooperation. Governments must be facilitators and not caretakers. We also need to see easing of the severe restrictions the sanctions have placed on our mutual cooperation.
3. To the American President:. You have declared your deep respect and affection for the Iranian people. We want to take you at your word. So, here is a group of independent Iranians asking you::

(a) to dismantle the fund for democracy, which has had an outcome completely opposite to your declared goals

(b) to set up a non-partisan panel of scholars to study ways and means of easing sanctions so that independent and genuine Iranian civil society and scholars can cooperate with their US counterparts, observing universally accepted code of ethics, including transparency, accountability and partnerships based on equality and equity. We will respect international law, and the laws of both countries. What we do not like about the laws, we will try and change through non-confrontational dialogue and committed advocacy.

4. We have used various channels to communicate with our own government: Some of us have already engaged various state authorities in a dialogue designed to foster trust and confidence. We will hold the Government to the promises made, and accountable to the laws of Iran, including rights of citizens.

We hope our peaceful, non-confrontational discourse, free from any political motivation, will be taken seriously and we can, through strengthening of genuine and independent people to people cooperation serve the real interests of both countries.

Please address your queries to:

So far signed by:

Elham Ahmadnejad

Bijan Khajehpour

Pari Namazi

Soraya Bahmanpour

Hesam Aldin Naragi

Heliya Faezi Pour

Robabeh Sheikholeslam

Jabiz Sharifian

Setareh Forozan

Samira Farahani

Simin Hanachi

Simin Naseri

Shirin Niyazmand

Ali Ardalan

Alireza Rabiei

Fatemeh Farhang Khah

Forozan Salehi

Lili Farhadpour

Mohammad Baquer Namazi

Mohamad Ali Barzegar

Mojgan Tavakoli

Mostafa Tourabi Zadeh

Masomeh Torabi

Molouk Aziz zade

Mona Moghadaci

Naser Yousefi

Nasrin Jazani

Naghmeh Yazdanpanah

Shadi Azimi

Giti Shambayati

Yasaman Aghajani


This Weekend: Speak Out Against War on Iran

Is Iran a “threat to peace and security”?

What are Iran’s nuclear rights? + What did A. Q. Khan sell to Iran?

Israel’s War with Iran and The Zionist Power Configuration in America

Kucinich Decries Iran Saber Rattling in House Legislation

Israel threatens to wage illegal, pre-emptive military attack on Iran

Will Israel And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery

Iran: Battlefront In The New World War?

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh


This Weekend: Speak Out Against War on Iran

Dandelion Salad
July 17th, 2008

This coming weekend — July 19-21 — people around the country will be participating in the Days of Local Action initiated by the UFPJ Iran Working Group.

Now, before any irreversible steps are taken, is the time for us to speak out against any U.S./Israeli military attack on Iran.

We urge you to take part in this important effort:

1) On Monday, July 21st, join the nationwide call-in day to make sure your member of Congress knows there is strong opposition to military action against Iran in his or her district.

Pressure on Congress is critical right now as it considers H.Con.Res. 362. 102 House Democrats and 117 Republicans have cosponsored a resolution against Iran that demands President Bush “initiate an international effort” to impose a land, sea, and air blockade on Iran to prevent it from importing gasoline and to inspect all cargo entering or leaving Iran. Imposing such a blockade without UN authority could be widely construed as an act of war.

We have already heard about 2 representatives who were convinced by their local anti-war groups to remove their names as co-sponsors of this dangerous resolution! Click here to read more about the work of one of these groups.

2) Ask your mayor to sign on to a resolution urging the Bush administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with Iran. At least 36 mayors have already signed on — now is the time to approach your mayor! For more information visit the Cities for Peace website.

3) Write letters to the editor of your local papers and to call into local radio talk shows, especially during the July 19- 21 Days of Action. Click here for a sample letter.

4) Sign the open letter to presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama urging him to stand up for diplomacy.

5) You can organize a visible presence in a busy location in your town: a vigil, an afternoon of leafleting or tabling, a human billboard, etc. Be sure to pick a time and location that has a lot of pedestrian or vehicle traffic!

To find out what might be happening in your area, click here.If you plan an activity, please post it on the UFPJ calendar of actions.Many of this Friday’s Iraq Moratorium events will be focusing on Iran as well.

Keep checking the UFPJ website for new organizing and educational resources.

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.


Is Iran a “threat to peace and security”?

What are Iran’s nuclear rights? + What did A. Q. Khan sell to Iran?

Israel’s War with Iran and The Zionist Power Configuration in America

Kucinich Decries Iran Saber Rattling in House Legislation

Israel threatens to wage illegal, pre-emptive military attack on Iran

Will Israel And/Or The U.S. Attack Iran? By Uri Avnery

Iran: Battlefront In The New World War?

War, war, war or jaw, jaw, jaw? by William Bowles

Preparing the Battlefield by Seymour M. Hersh


Nader Lauds Kristof Truth Commission Proposal

Dandelion Salad

by Ralph Nader
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News Release
Contact: Chris Driscoll, 202-360-3273,


The Nader/Gonzalez Campaign today released the following open letter to Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, calling on them to support Nicolas D. Kristof’s proposal in the New York Times for the establishment of a national Truth Commission:

Obama For President
Campaign Office
Suite 1720
233 N. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60601

McCain For President
Campaign Office
Suite M
1235 S. Clark St.
Arlington, VA 22202

Dear Senators McCain and Obama,

In the July 6, 2008 edition of the New York Times, the courageously peripatetic columnist, Nicolas D. Kristof urged the creation of a Truth Commission on torture and other war crimes.

Here is Kristof in his words:

“When a distinguished American military commander accuses the United States of committing war crimes in its handling of detainees, you know that we need a new way forward.

“‘There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes,’ Antonio Taguba, the retired major general who investigated abuses in Iraq, declares in a powerful new report on American torture from Physicians for Human Rights. “‘The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.’

“[W]e need a national Truth Commission to lead a process of soul searching and national cleansing.

“That was what South Africa did after apartheid, with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and it is what the United States did with the Kerner Commission on race and the 1980s commission that examined the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

“Today, we need a similar Truth Commission, with subpoena power, to investigate the abuses in the aftermath of 9/11.

“It’s a national disgrace that more than 100 inmates have died in American custody in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo. After two Afghan inmates were beaten to death by American soldiers, the American military investigator found that one of the men’s legs had been ‘pulpified.’

“Moreover, many of the people we tortured were innocent: the administration was as incompetent as it was immoral. The McClatchy newspaper group has just published a devastating series on torture and other abuses, and it quotes Thomas White, the former Army secretary, as saying that it was clear from the moment Guantánamo opened that one-third of the inmates didn’t belong there.

“These abuses happened partly because, for several years after 9/11, many of our national institutions didn’t do their jobs. The Democratic Party rolled over rather than serving as loyal opposition. We in the press were often lap dogs rather than watchdogs, and we let the public down.

“Yet there were heroes, including civil liberties groups and lawyers for detainees. Some judges bucked the mood, and a few conservatives inside the administration spoke out forcefully. The Times’s Eric Lichtblau writes in his terrific new book, “Bush’s Law,” that the Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner, James Ziglar, pushed back against plans for door-to-door sweeps of Arab-American neighborhoods.

“‘The book recounts that in one meeting,’ Mr. Ziglar bluntly declared, ‘We do have this thing called the Constitution,’ adding that such sweeps would be illegal and ‘I’m not going to be part of it.’

“The Truth Commission investigating these issues ideally would be a non-partisan group heavily weighted with respected military and security officials, including generals, admirals and top intelligence figures. Such backgrounds would give their findings credibility across the political spectrum — and I don’t think they would pull punches. The military and intelligence officials I know are as appalled by our abuses as any other group, in part because they realize that if our people waterboard, then our people will also be waterboarded.

“Both Barack Obama and John McCain should commit to impaneling a Truth Commission early in the next administration. This commission would issue a report to help us absorb the lessons of our failings, the better to avoid them during the next crisis.”

Mr. Kristof has put forth a strong case for a strong investigating Truth Commission. He asks for your commitment to establish such a commission should either of you become President. How do you respond to this prize-winning, eye witness-inclined journalist?


Ralph Nader


You Know You Want To Vote For Ralph Nader (hip-hop music vid; NWO)

Little War Criminals Get Punished, Big Ones Don’t By Paul Craig Roberts

Terror, Torture, and the Dark Side + Bush officials could be charged with war crimes

First Guantanamo Bay Video Released

Riz Khan: Torture training in Mexico

Numerous Bush Admin officials committed crimes involving the torture of prisoners captured in the Middle East

History Will Not Absolve Us: Leaked Red Cross report sets up Bush team for international war-crimes trial by Nat Hentoff

Workers need bailout plan – Fed payouts to mortgage banks are a crime

Dandelion Salad

By Jaimeson Champion
Jul 17, 2008

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The capitalist class and its state are getting increasingly desperate as they attempt to stave off a global collapse of the financial system.

On July 13 the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled a hastily devised plan aimed at rescuing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage lending behemoths, from the brink of bankruptcy.

Combined, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac own or insure half of the more than $12 trillion mortgage debt in the U.S. Bonds issued by Fannie and Freddie are held in massive quantities by governments and institutional investors around the globe.

The bailout plan is essentially a promise by the capitalist state to help finance Fannie and Freddie for the foreseeable future.

Officials from the Treasury and the Fed have been in constant contact with Wall Street in recent days in panicked attempts to persuade investors to stop dumping Fannie and Freddie stock and to continue purchasing bonds issued by the once-hallowed financial institutions.

The story of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac begins back in the Great Depression. In 1938 President Franklin Roosevelt initiated the creation of Fannie Mae as a public financial institution. Roosevelt’s aim was to resuscitate the ailing Depression-era housing market by having the government back low-cost, fixed-rate mortgage loans. Fannie operated in this form until 1968.

That year, President Lyndon Johnson, who was growing increasingly worried about the escalating costs of the Vietnam War, pushed to have Fannie taken off the federal books. Johnson didn’t like having to devote part of the budget to mortgages for working families; instead he preferred to spend it on imperialist war in Southeast Asia. From that point forward, Fannie became a quasi-private institution known as a Government Sponsored Entity.

GSEs are shareholder-owned companies, but they have the expressed backing of the capitalist government. GSEs are owned and operated like private companies but are promised public funds if they should ever get into financial trouble. Freddie Mac was established in 1970 to operate as a sibling company to Fannie Mae.

Since decoupling from the federal books in 1968, Fannie and Freddie have taken on an ever-increasing role in the U.S. housing market. The two companies have moved steadily away from Fannie’s once chartered role of providing low-cost, fixed-rate mortgages. They have increasingly assumed the role of massive banks for the vast network of financial institutions involved in the U.S. housing market.

Fannie and Freddie facilitate lending in the U.S. housing market by issuing bonds to investors and then using the money from the bond sales to buy blocs of mortgages from banks. In this way, they grease the wheels of lending in the United States by taking illiquid assets off the banks’ hands and pumping money capital into the system.

During the housing bubble of 2002-2006 Fannie and Freddie grew astronomically as they became the two largest players in the unprecedented housing market boom. The ability of Fannie and Freddie to purchase massive blocs of mortgage loans from the banks helped set the stage for the proliferation of a host of dubious mortgages with untenable rates. The ability of mortgage holders to pay their mortgages was no longer important to many lenders, as they knew they could easily, and quickly, sell the loan to a larger institution.

Fannie and Freddie raked in massive profits for their shareholders during the bubble years, but, like seemingly every other financial institution, insatiable greed led them to become increasingly leveraged and loaded down with fictitious capital.

Around the globe, banks—the heartbeat and lifeblood of modern monopoly capitalism—are steadily becoming insolvent. Banks of all shapes and sizes are going belly up.

From investment banks like Bear Stearns, to commercial lenders like IndyMac and Northern Rock, and now to the GSEs like Fannie and Freddie, it has been one bank-run after another. There is no end in sight as the largest housing market collapse since the Great Depression continues to drag a multitude of large financial institutions to the brink.

Capitalism: exploitative, crisis-prone and not worth saving

As with the Bear Stearns collapse in March, the capitalist-controlled media have been pumping out the message that the bailout of Fannie and Freddie is necessary because the institutions are “too big to fail.” The refrain goes that if Fannie and Freddie go down, the systemic damage their collapse would unleash would cause even greater economic suffering.

How many companies need to be bailed out with public money before it becomes clear that this rotten, exploitative and crisis-prone economic system is not worth saving? The capitalist bankers and bosses have run their ships into the ground. Why should the workers, whom they daily oppress, be forced to provide them with lifeboats?

In any bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the money should go directly to workers who have faced or are facing foreclosure, or the workers who have suffered when their pensions and retirement savings were invested in these companies. But the capitalist state would never truly get behind that kind of a rescue plan. The state’s only loyalty is to the capitalist class.

It is painfully clear that the growth and expansion of free markets, which took place in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, have been an unmitigated disaster for workers and oppressed around the globe.

In the past two decades, proponents of free-market economics have denounced socialism as inefficient and utopian. They claimed that the growth of “democracy and free markets” would bring about a post-Cold-War era of global prosperity.

Yet with the global financial system on the precipice of collapse, millions of workers forced from their homes by foreclosure, skyrocketing energy prices and nearly 1 billion people going hungry every year, the idea that “democracy and free markets” will bring about an era of global prosperity seems ridiculously utopian.

Capitalism is clearly failing, but what is the alternative? The answer lies in the development of working class consciousness and the renewed struggle for socialism.

Karl Marx wrote that the capitalist state is set up to manage the common affairs of the capitalist class. This fact is evident today as Republicans and Democrats hastily put aside their manufactured election year differences in order to legislate the bailout plans being concocted by the Treasury and the Fed.

The working class, long subject to the divisive prejudices deliberately sown among us by the ruling class, must unite in our own common class interest and take the offensive against the capitalist class.

Private ownership of the means of production is at the root of this deepening economic crisis. The abolition of private property and the development of socialism can provide the way out of this crisis, and ensure that the kind of economic suffering this crisis has wrought never occurs again.

While the abolition of private property sounds like a daunting task, the reality is that the ruling class has already laid the foundations for its own demise.

By organizing billions of workers into a vast productive network, where everything from the extraction of raw materials to the sale of the final commodity is linked, the ruling class has already socialized the productive capacity of society. An organized army of workers already has the reins to the productive apparatus.

In this period of extreme economic crisis, the capitalist class would find itself in even bigger trouble in the face of concerted and well-organized strikes, walkouts, plant takeovers and militant resistance to the banks that are seizing our homes. A united working class could quickly bring the vast machinations of global capitalism to a screeching halt.

In the coming period, which will be marked by ever-increasing economic instability, it is incumbent upon the entire revolutionary left to do everything possible to help foster militant working-class solidarity and to renew and reenergize the global class struggle. There is a world to win.

Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Support independent news


Richard C. Cook: On The Eve of WW3 (videos)

Status Report on the Collapse of the U.S. Economy by Richard C. Cook

Engineered Collapse of the US Economy – Alex Jones interviews Richard C Cook

Ron Paul to Bernanke: Federal Reserve is a Predatory Lender

With Crises in Fuel, Food, Housing and Banking, What Gvt. Policies Are Being Pushed Through? (Naomi Klein)

Jim Rogers on Bloomberg 2008.07.14 (part 2)

Jim Rogers: Let the Fannie and Freddie go bancrupt

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Seeking Justice for Darfur

Dandelion Salad


…(not to mention Iraq and Afghanistan)…

Sudan president charged with genocide and crimes against humanity by the lead prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What about Bush, you ask?

Please address that question to the ICC yourself:

Information and Evidence Unit
Office of the Prosecutor
Post Office Box 19519
2500 CM The Hague
The Netherlands
Fax: +31 70 515 8555

Read David Swanson’s letter to the ICC, including extensive documentation of Bush crimes:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Richard C. Cook: On The Eve of WW3 (videos)

with Richard C. Cook
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
July 17, 2008

Replaced videos on May 12, 2009

My name is Richard C. Cook, and I was the NASA analyst who testified before the Presidential Commission on the dangers of the solid rocket booster O-ring seals after the Challenger disaster of January 28, 1986. My new book, Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, was published in January 2007 by Thunder’s Mouth Press. I wrote the book as a first-person narrative based on my experiences at NASA. I retired recently from the federal government and am now a writer, speaker, and consultant on public policy issues, organizational change, and conflict resolution. Please explore my website and tell me what you think.

Continue reading