Countdown: Suskind Interview + Worse than Watergate + Miss Buffalo Chip

Dandelion Salad

August 5, 2008


Intro To The Suskind Interview

Keith talks about Ron Suskind’s new book The Way of the World before his interview with him.

John Dean Interview

Keith talks to John Dean about the allegations in Ron Suskind’s new book.


Tonight’s: Then Why Are You Going?-Gate, That Could Mean There’s Videotape-Gate and Don’t Ask Don’t Translate-Gate.

Ron Suskind Interview

Keith talks to Ron Suskind about his new book The Way of the World.

McMeltdown on the Campaign Trail

Keith talks about John McCain’s lovely day on the campaign trail at Sturgis and the Enrico Fermi nuclear plant.

Miss Buffalo Chip…Or Take My Wife Please!!

Keith reports on McCain offering up his wife for the Sturgis Miss Buffalo Chip contest. Rachel Maddow weighs in.


Suskind Revisited by Philip Giraldi

The Forged Iraqi Letter: What Just Happened? By Ron Suskind

New Book Claims Bush White House Used Forged Documents In Case For Iraq War


Obama and the Empire + Victors’ justice and impunity by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
Aug. 5, 2008

The Anti-Empire Report

Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life

Obama and the Empire

The New Yorker magazine in its July 14 issue ran a cover cartoon that achieved instant fame. It showed Barack Obama wearing Muslim garb in the Oval Office with a portrait of Osama bin Laden on the wall. Obama is delivering a fist bump to his wife, Michelle, who has an Afro hairdo and an assault rifle slung over her shoulder. An American flag lies burning in the fireplace. The magazine says it’s all satire, a parody of the crazy right-wing fears, rumors, and scare tactics about Obama’s past and ideology.

The cartoon makes fun of the idea that Barack and Michelle Obama are some kind of mixture of Black Panther, Islamist jihadist, and Marxist revolutionary. But how much more educational for the American public and the world it would be to make fun of the idea that Obama is even some kind of progressive.

I’m more concerned here with foreign policy than domestic issues because it’s in this area that the US government can do, and indeed does do, the most harm to the world, to put it mildly. And in this area what do we find? We find Obama threatening, several times, to attack Iran if they don’t do what the United States wants them to do nuclear-wise; threatening more than once to attack Pakistan if their anti-terrorist policies are not tough enough or if there would be a regime change in the nuclear-armed country not to his liking; calling for a large increase in US troops and tougher policies for Afghanistan; wholly and unequivocally embracing Israel as if it were the 51st state; totally ignoring Hamas, an elected ruling party in the occupied territory; decrying the Berlin Wall in his recent talk in that city, about the safest thing a politician can do, but with no mention of the Israeli Wall while in Israel, nor the numerous American-built walls in Baghdad while in Iraq; referring to the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez as “authoritarian”, but never referring similarly to the government of George W. Bush, certainly more deserving of the label; talking with the usual disinformation and hostility about Cuba, albeit with a token reform re visits and remittances. But would he dare mention the outrageous case of the imprisoned Cuban Five[1]  in his frequent references to fighting terrorism?

While an Illinois state senator in January 2004, Obama declared that it was time “to end the embargo with Cuba” because it had “utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro.” But speaking as a presidential candidate to a Cuban-American audience in Miami in August 2007, he said he would not “take off the embargo” as president because it is “an important inducement for change.”[2]  He thus went from a good policy for the wrong reason to the wrong policy for the wrong reason. Does Mr. Obama care any more than Mr. Bush that the United Nations General Assembly has voted — virtually unanimously — 16 years in a row against the embargo?

In summary, it would be difficult to name a single ODE (Officially Designated Enemy) that Obama has not been critical of, or to name one that he has supported. Can this be mere coincidence?

The fact that Obama says he’s willing to “talk” to some of the “enemies” more than the Bush administration has done sounds good, but one doesn’t have to be too cynical to believe that it will not amount to more than a public relations gimmick. It’s only change of policy that counts. Why doesn’t he simply and clearly state that he would not attack Iran unless Iran first attacked the US or Israel or anyone else?

As to Iraq, if you’re sick to the core of your being about the horrors US policy brings down upon the heads of the people of that unhappy land, then you must support withdrawal –- immediate, total, all troops, combat and non-combat, all the Blackwater-type killer contractors, not moved to Kuwait or Qatar to be on call. All bases out. No permanent bases. No permanent war. No timetables. No approval by the US military necessary. No reductions in forces. Just OUT. ALL. Just like what the people of Iraq want. Nothing less will give them the opportunity to try to put an end to the civil war and violence instigated by the American invasion and occupation and to recreate their failed state.

George W. Bush, 2006: “We’re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done as long as the government wants us there.”[3]
George W. Bush, 2007: “It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.”[4]
Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie, 2008: “said his government was ‘impatiently waiting’ for the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops.”[5]
Barack Obama, 2008: We can “redeploy combat brigades from Iraq at a pace of 1 to 2 brigades a month that would remove them in 16 months.”[6]

Obama’s terms of withdrawal equals no withdrawal. Literally. Has he ever said that the war is categorically illegal and immoral? A war crime? Or that anti-American terrorism in the world is the direct result of oppressive US policies? Instead he calls for a troop increase and “the first truly 21st century military … We must maintain the strongest, best-equipped military in the world.”[7]  Why of course, that’s what the people of the United States and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest of the people in this sad world desperately desire and need — greater American killing power!  Obama is not so much concerned with ending America’s endless warfare as he is with “succeeding” in them, by whatever perverted definition of that word.

And has he ever dared to raise the obvious question: Why would Iran, even if nuclear armed, be a threat to attack the US or Israel? Any more than Iraq was such a threat. Which was zero. Instead, he has said things like “Iran continues to be a major threat” and repeats the tiresome lie that the Iranian president called for the destruction of Israel.[8]

Obama, one observer has noted, “opposes the present US policy in Iraq not on the basis of any principled opposition to neo-colonialism or aggressive war, but rather on the grounds that the Iraq war is a mistaken deployment of power that fails to advance the global strategic interests of American imperialism.”[9]

He and his supporters have made much of the speech he delivered in the Illinois state legislature in 2002 against the upcoming US invasion of Iraq. But two years later, when he was running for the US Senate, he declared: “There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.”[10]  Since taking office in January 2005, he has voted to approve every war appropriation the Republicans have put forward. He also voted to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State despite her complicity in the Bush Administration’s false justifications for going to war in Iraq. In doing so, he lacked the courage of 12 of his Democratic Party Senate colleagues who voted against her confirmation.

If you’re one of those who would like to believe that Obama has to present moderate foreign policy views to be elected, but once he’s in the White House we can forget that he lied to us repeatedly and the true, progressive man of peace and international law and human rights will emerge … keep in mind that as a US Senate candidate in 2004 he threatened missile strikes against Iran[11], and winning that election apparently did not put him in touch with his inner peacenik.

When, in 2005, the other Illinois Senator, Dick Durbin, stuck his neck out and compared American torture at Guantanamo to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings”, and was angrily denounced by the right wing, Obama stood up in the Senate and … defended him? No, he joined the critics, thrice calling Durbin’s remark a “mistake”.[12]

One of Obama’s chief foreign policy advisers is Zbigniew Brzezinski, a man instrumental in provoking Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979, which was followed by massive US military supplies to the opposition and widespread war. This gave rise to a generation of Islamic jihadists, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and more than two decades of anti-American terrorism. Asked later if he had any regrets about this policy, Brzezinski replied: “Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, in substance: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.”[13]

Another prominent Obama adviser — from a list entirely and depressingly establishment-imperial — is Madeleine Albright, who should always wear gloves because her hands are caked with blood from her roles in the bombings of Iraq and Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

In a primary campaign talk in March, Obama said that “he would return the country to the more ‘traditional’ foreign policy efforts of past presidents, such as George H.W. Bush, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.”[14]  Use your imagination. Bloody serial interventionists, all.

Why have well-known conservatives like George Will, David Brooks, Rush Limbaugh, Joe Scarborough, and others spoken so favorably about Obama’s candidacy?[15]  Whatever else, they know he’s not a threat to their most cherished views and values.

Given all this, can we expect a more enlightened, less bloody, more progressive and humane foreign policy from Mr. Barack Obama? Forget the alleged eloquence and charm; forget the warm feel-good stuff; forget the interminable clichés and platitudes about hope, change, unity, and America’s indispensable role as world leader; forget all the religiobabble; forget John McCain and George W. Bush … All that counts is putting an end to the horror — the bombings, the invasions, the killings, the destruction, the overthrows, the occupations, the torture, the American Empire.

Al Gore and John Kerry both took the progressive vote for granted. Neither had ever been particularly progressive themself. Each harbored a measure of disdain for the left. Both paid a heavy price for the neglect. I and millions like me voted for Ralph Nader, or some other third-party candidate, or stayed home. Obama is doing the same as Gore and Kerry. Progressives should let him know that his positions are not acceptable, keeping up the anti-war pressure on him and the Democratic Party at every opportunity. For whatever good it just might do.

I’m afraid that if Barack Obama becomes president he’s going to break a lot of young hearts. And some older ones as well.

Writer Norman Solomon has written: “These days, an appreciable number of Obama supporters are starting to use words like “disillusionment.” But that’s a consequence of projecting their political outlooks onto the candidate in the first place. The best way to avoid becoming disillusioned is to not have illusions in the first place.”

Victors’ justice and impunity

So, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has finally been apprehended. He’s slated to appear before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands, charged with war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. And now all the law-abiding governments of the world, and all the right-minded media of the world, and all the decent citizens of the world join together in celebrating this triumph of justice.

The ICTY was created by the United Nations in 1993. Its full name is “The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991”. Notice the “who” — “Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law”. Notice the “where” — “Territory of the Former Yugoslavia”. This is all spelled out in the statute of the Tribunal.[16]

In 1999, NATO (primarily the United States) bombed the Yugoslav republic of Serbia for 78 consecutive days, ruining the economy, the ecology, power supply, bridges, apartment buildings, transportation, infrastructure, churches, schools, pushing the country many years back in its development, killing hundreds or thousands of people, traumatizing countless children who’ll be reacting unhappily to certain sounds and sights for perhaps the remainder of their days; the most ferocious sustained bombing of a nation in the history of the world. Nobody has ever suggested that Serbia had attacked or was preparing to attack a member state of NATO, and that is the only event which justifies a reaction under the NATO treaty. But Serbia was guilty of a greater crime: It had refused to happily fall under the dominion of the US/NATO/European Union/World Bank/IMF/WTO world government. The quasi-socialist Serbian state was Europe’s last communist holdout. Moreover, post-cold war, NATO needed to demonstrate a raison d’être if it was to remain alive as Washington’s enforcement thug.

The ICTY has already held one high-level trial in an attempt to convince the world of the justice of the NATO bombing — former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, who died in the Hague prison while trying to defend himself against charges that remain unproven. Radovan Karadzic is now next. When will the Western leaders behind the bombing of Serbia be tried for war crimes, as called for by the Tribunal’s own statute?

Shortly after the bombing began in March, 1999, professionals in international law from Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, and the United States began to file complaints with the ICTY charging leaders of NATO countries with “grave violations of international humanitarian law”, including “wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering and serious injury to body and health, employment of poisonous weapons and other weapons to cause unnecessary suffering, wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, unlawful attacks on civilian objects, devastation not necessitated by military objectives, attacks on undefended buildings and dwellings, destruction and wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion, charity and education, the arts and sciences.”

The Canadian suit named 68 leaders, including William Clinton, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, Tony Blair, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and NATO officials Javier Solana, Wesley Clark, and Jamie Shea. The complaint also alleged “open violation” of the United Nations Charter, the NATO treaty itself, the Geneva Conventions, and the Principles of International Law Recognized by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

The complainants’ briefs pointed out that the prosecution of those named by them was “not only a requirement of law, it is a requirement of justice to the victims and of deterrence to powerful countries such as those in NATO who, in their military might and in their control over the media, are lacking in any other natural restraint such as might deter less powerful countries.” Charging the war’s victors, not only its losers, it was argued, would be a watershed in international criminal law.

In a letter to Louise Arbour, the court’s chief prosecutor, Michael Mandel, a professor of law in Toronto and the initiator of the Canadian suit, stated:

Unfortunately, as you know, many doubts have already been raised about the impartiality of your Tribunal. In the early days of the conflict, after a formal and, in our view, justified complaint against NATO leaders had been laid before it by members of the Faculty of Law of Belgrade University, you appeared at a press conference with one of the accused, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who made a great show of handing you a dossier of Serbian war crimes. In early May, you appeared at another press conference with US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, by that time herself the subject of two formal complaints of war crimes over the targeting of civilians in Yugoslavia.[17]

Arbour herself made little attempt to hide the pro-NATO bias she wore beneath her robe. She trusted NATO to be its own police, judge, jury, and prison guard. Here are her own words:

I am obviously not commenting on any allegations of violations of international humanitarian law supposedly perpetrated by nationals of NATO countries. I accept the assurances given by NATO leaders that they intend to conduct their operations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in full compliance with international humanitarian law.[18]

The ICTY on its website tells us: “By holding individuals accountable regardless of their position, the ICTY’s work has dismantled the tradition of impunity for war crimes and other serious violations of international law, particularly by individuals who held the most senior positions.”[19] US/NATO leaders, however, are immune not only for the 1999 bombings of Serbia, but the many bombings of Bosnia in the period 1993-95, including the use of depleted uranium. Impunity indeed.


[1] William Blum, “Cuban Political Prisoners … in the United States” —

[2] Washington Post, February 25, 2008; p.A4

[3] New York Times. December 1, 2006, p.1

[4] White House press conference, May 24, 2007

[5] Washington Post, July 9, 2008

[6] Obama’s website:

[7] Speech to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, April 23, 2007

[8] (leading Israeli newspaper), May 16, 2007

[9] Bill Van Auken, Global Research, July 18, 2008 — Obama outlines policy of endless war + Obama’s Speech

[10] Chicago Tribune, July 27, 2004

[11] Chicago Tribune, September 25, 2004

[12] Congressional Record, June 21, 2005, p.S6897

[13] For the full Brzezinski interview see

[14] Associated Press, March 28, 2008

[15] See, for example, Peter Wehner, “Why Republicans Like Obama”, Washington Post, February 3, 2008, p.B7


[17] This and most of the other material concerning the complaints to the Tribunal mentioned here were transmitted to this writer by Mandel and other complainants. See also: Michael Mandel, “How America Gets Away With Murder” (2004)

[18] Press Release from Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, The Hague, May 13, 1999



William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website at “essays”.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I’d appreciate it if the website were mentioned.


Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

by William Blum

William Blum book



Obama outlines policy of endless war + Obama’s Speech

The Termi-Nader

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

New Book Claims Bush White House Used Forged Documents In Case For Iraq War

Dandelion Salad

By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
05/08/08 “Haaretz”

The Bush administration used forged documents that it presented as evidence of Saddam Hussein’s complicity in the September 11 terrorist attacks, and which were later used as a pretext to launch the American invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to a newly released book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind.

In “The Way of the World,” Suskind writes that documents cited by the administration allege that Hussein’s regime permitted Al-Qaida operatives who carried out the 9/11 attacks to train on Iraqi soil, and that Saddam was seeking to obtain uranium in order to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.

According to the book, the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations was responsible for fabricating the documents. The book goes on to say that the British intelligence agency MI6 recruited Saddam Hussein’s intelligence chief, Tahir Abd al-Jalil al-Tikriti, and questioned him in Amman two months before the war, and then handed him over to the CIA.

Al-Tikriti continued to function as an agent for the Americans until after the invasion, when he was taken into custody by the U.S. military. His activities on behalf of the Americans remained a well-guarded secret, as his name continued to appear on a list of wanted members of Saddam’s regime. The Americans distributed decks of cards containing the names and pictures of wanted Iraqi officials, among them al-Tikriti.

Months after the overthrow of the Ba’athist regime, al-Tikriti’s CIA handlers requested that he handwrite a letter on official Iraqi government letterhead stating that Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, underwent training in Iraq prior to carrying out the attacks, according to Suskind. In addition, al-Tikriti wrote in the letter that Al-Qaida aided the Iraqi government in obtaining uranium in Niger. It is worth noting that evidence linking Saddam Hussein to Niger was discredited after the source of the information, an Italian informant, was discovered to have falsified his claims.

The CIA was quick to disseminate the letter to journalists in Iraq, Britain, and the United States while creating the impression that it was discovered in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry archives by U.S. forces, Suskind writes. A short time later, the British Daily Telegraph was one of the first newspapers to publish the contents of the letter, which was touted as proof that there indeed was a link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida, and that the Iraqi leader was intent on developing weapons of mass destruction. Other newspapers though were more skeptical of the document’s authenticity.

© Copyright 2008 Haaretz. All rights reserved

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.


Ron Suskind Tell All on Iraq


Meredith interviews Ron on the NBC Today Show about his book, “The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism” It has some explosive information about the White House’s plan to forge documents to persuade the American public that we should attack Iraq. This is incredible stuff. Suskind appeared on the TODAY show and gave his first interview about it…He says it’s “one of the great lies in modern political history.”



Slip-Sliding Away By Charley Reese

Dandelion Salad

By Charley Reese
05/08/08 “Lewrockwell”

Despite all the blather about democracy, we did not invent it, do not support it and have, during the recent administration, become less democratic than we were before.

We are and always have been too large a country for a true democracy. That’s why the Founding Fathers created a republic. In a true democracy, the people would decide practically all the issues. In a republic, the people delegate that power to elected representatives who serve for a fixed term.

A republic is a good form of government provided the people pay attention, fairly judge the performance of their elected officials and boot ’em out of office when they don’t cut the mustard. It is a good form of government provided the best people, not the worst, offer themselves to serve in public office.

Our government really does not support democracy, except rhetorically. When the Palestinians had a free and fair election and chose Hamas members to man their government, we refused to recognize the new government. Apparently, the Bush administration’s definition of a free election is one that provides the results the president wants.


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.

Marching Off Into Tyranny By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
08/05/08 “ICH”

In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists” in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s assault on US civil liberties.

Continue reading

Mosaic News – 8/2/08: 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.


Mosaic needs your help! Donate here:
“China On Olympic Terror Alert After Border Attack,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Iran’s Nuclear File Back to Square One,” Dubai TV, UAE
“14 Million Below Poverty Line in Iran,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Fatah Supporters Targeted by Hamas,” Abu Dhabi TV, UAE
“Fatah Escapees Sent to Jericho,” IBA TV, Israel
“Sick Gaza Residents Interrogated by Israeli Shabak,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Egyptians Demand Return of Prisoners from Israel,” New TV, Lebanon
“The Return of the Bicycle,” Future TV, Lebanon.
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

We Don’t Need a ‘War on Terror’ By Ivan Eland

Dandelion Salad

By Ivan Eland
August 5, 2008

Editor’s Note: Since the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration’s formulation of a “war on terror” was always a dangerous one. Not only was this “war” vague and open-ended, it could be used for a variety of other purposes, such as invading Iraq (which had nothing to do with 9/11) and redefining the U.S. Constitution (to create an all-powerful Commander in Chief).

A new report by the RAND Corporation also concludes that the “war on terror,” as it has been defined, isn’t even an effective way to win the “war on terror,” as the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland notes in this guest essay:

Many opponents of the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq have always argued that this conflict is an irrelevant and even counterproductive sideshow to the real “war on terrorism” in Afghanistan.

In fact, Barack Obama led the parade to initiate a troop surge in Afghanistan after having opposed it in Iraq. The more hawkish John McCain, not to be outdone by a weak-kneed Democrat, proposed that even more troops be sent to Afghanistan.

In American politics after 9/11, it seems that candidates have to support some sort of war or they will be perceived as being too wimpy to get elected.

Only a small minority of foreign policy gadflies has doubted whether any war on terrorism is needed in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Now a new report by RAND, the government’s own captive think tank, supports this small band of renegades.

The study, “How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al-Qaeda,” written by terrorism experts Seth Jones and Martin Libicki, followed more than 600 terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, over the long-term.


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.

Venezuela: Another world is happening! by Trent Hawkins

Dandelion Salad

Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly

by Trent Hawkins
Green Left Weekly
2 August 2008

If you only read the mainstream media, you would think that Venezuela is run by a dictator who suppresses democracy and violates human rights. But the opposite is true.

Contrary to media reports, a widespread social transformation is underway in Venezuela, led by a revolutionary government elected by the people with the aim of eradicating poverty and inequality by giving power to the poor.

In less than a decade, the revolution has already achieved free education at all levels for all citizens, free health care for 17 million Venezuelans who never previously had access, and millions of people have become direct participants at the grassroots level of a radically new political process.

This process has given confidence to the poor majority across Latin America that not only is a better world necessary, it is possible.

Kiraz Janicke is a Resistance member who has been based in Venezuela for the last 12 months. There she worked as a staff writer for and was a member of Green Left Weekly’s bureau in Caracas. is the world’s leading source of English news and information from Venezuela, and GLW is Australia’s leading alternative and independent weekly newspaper, which has maintained a bureau in Venezuela since 2005, reporting on people’s struggles for justice in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America.

Hear first-hand what the corporate media doesn’t want you to know! Kiraz will be touring Australia from August to October to present eyewitness reports on Venezuela’s revolution and the wider rebellion it has inspired throughout Latin America.

This forum is initiated by the socialist youth organisation Resistance and is supported by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Visit and http:/ for more information.


Now the People Have Awoken: Exploring Venezuela’s Revolution (2007)

Fort Detrick Scientist “Commits Suicide” as Anthrax investigation closes in

Dandelion Salad

by Wayne Madsen
Global Research, August 2, 2008

Bruce Ivins, a microbiologist at the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, reportedly committed suicide after ingesting prescription-strength Tylenol and codeine, as the FBI prepared to charge him in the anthrax attacks weeks after the 9/11 attack in 2001.

Ivins was part of the FBI team that investigated the anthrax sent in letters to the Senate’s Democratic leadership.

In March of this year, Fox News reported: “”The FBI has narrowed its focus to ‘about four’ suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Army’™s bio-weapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland . . . Among the pool of suspects are three scientists ‘” a former deputy commander, a leading anthrax scientist and a microbiologist ‘” linked to the research facility, known as USAMRIID. The FBI has collected writing samples from the three scientists in an effort to match them to the writer of anthrax-laced letters that were mailed to two U.S. senators and at least two news outlets in the fall of 2001, a law enforcement source confirmed.” It is now believed that the microbiologist in question was Ivins. The other suspects have not yet been identified. Although the FBI said the four Fort Detrick personnel were suspects, WMR previously reported that some Fort Detrick personnel were in a whistleblower status concerning knowledge of the perpetrators of the anthrax attacks.

continued at


Alleged Anthrax Attacker Commits Suicide

Countdown: Dueling Talking Points on Energy + Anthrax

Mounting questions over US anthrax probe and scientist’s alleged suicide

Journalists, their lying sources, and the anthrax investigation

Vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News by Glenn Greenwald + McCain video

Countdown: Anthrax Attacks Inside Job? + The Long Road + Wal-Mart

Historic Win for Net Neutrality! (vid; action alert)

Dandelion Salad

Sign the petition

August 1, 2008 — WASHINGTON — Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to punish Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, for blocking users’ access to the open Internet. In a landmark decision, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein approved an “enforcement order” that would require Comcast to stop blocking and publicly disclose its methods for interfering with Internet traffic.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

“The FCC’s bipartisan decision to punish Comcast is a major victory. Defying every ounce of conventional wisdom in Washington, everyday people have taken on a major corporation and won an historic precedent for an open Internet.”

Learn more and take action at

RNN: ‘Surging’ McCain

Dandelion Salad


More at…
McCain campaign hides secret of Iraq surge “success” (Pt 1)


Who’s Really Running Iraq? By Patrick Cockburn

The Ticking Iraqi Clock By John Bruhns

Baghdad: City of walls + Death, destruction & fear + Shabby, tired & scared


Bolivia: Popular offensive in lead-up to vote

Dandelion Salad

Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly

by Federico Fuentes
Green Left Weekly
2 August 2008

With the August 10 recall referendum on Bolivian President Evo Morales and eight out of nine prefects (governors) approaching, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) government, together with the social movements, has launched an offensive against attempts by the right-wing opposition to prevent the electoral process going ahead.

This offensive has included laying charges of sedition against Ruben Costas, the right-wing prefect of Santa Cruz, heartland of the opposition to MAS, for organising an illegal referendum on autonomy on May 4. There are also charges of perversion of justice against Silvia Salame, who is the only current member in the Constitutional Tribunal due to a lack of consensus in parliament in naming replacements for the magistrates who resigned last year.

Last week, Salame decreed the law that convoked the referendums unconstitutional. The government rejected this announcement, arguing that the legally required quorum to make that decision had not been reached.

On July 30, after five hours of discussion with eight of the nine departmental electoral courts (CDE), the National Electoral Court (CNE) announced that consensus had been reached on moving ahead with the referendums on the previously set date.

Opposition rejects referendums

Prior to the meeting, the four departmental electoral courts of the eastern “half moon” — the resource-rich departments (states) of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija that have been the spearhead of the opposition to the MAS government — announced their opposition to the referendums.

The Santa Cruz CDE did not participate in the meeting, asking that it be delayed for 48 hours. The CNE announced that if Santa Cruz was unwilling to going ahead with the referendum “the process of recall referendums would be halted”.

The president of the CNE, Jose Luis Exeni, warned that if this was to occur, the Santa Cruz CDE would have to carry the burden of the approximately US$875,000 that it would cost to hold the recall referendums.

Disagreements however emerged over the percentage of votes necessary to revoke the mandate of the president and the prefects, with some asking for the law to be revised.

Originally, the revocation of a prefect or the president was to be based on surpassing the percentage of votes obtained in the 2005 national elections. While to revoke Morales would require a higher result that 53.7% of the votes cast, the majority of prefects were elected with less than 50% of the vote.

In the case of the La Paz prefect Jose Luis Paredes, a mere 38% vote in favour of his recall would revoke his mandate.

However, the CNE has since ruled that at least 50% of votes in favour of recall will be required in all referendums, which the government has accepted.

Right-wing manoeuvres

The day before the meeting, speaking at a rally in the coca growing region of the Chapare, Morales asked the CDEs and their spokespeople to respect the law. “Be careful, otherwise the people will rise up against these entities because they are not respecting democracy, the laws or the sovereign will of the people”, he assured.

At another rally that same day, this time in Patacamaya, 109 kilometres from La Paz, Morales warned that right-wing forces would continue to manoeuvre to ensure that the referendums did not go ahead.

Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera announced on July 31 that the government was preparing itself to lay charges against any CDE spokespeople who violated the law.

In Tarija, MAS leader Luis Alfaro went further, warning that the CDEs had to ensure that the referendums go ahead: “If there are no ballot boxes, there are arms.”

Fidel Surco, leader of the Confederation of Colonisers (an organisation of campesinos predominantly from the east), announced that mobilisations were being organised across the country in defence of the referendums.

“If we are not heard”, said Edgar Patana, leader of the Regional Workers Central of El Alto, “we will have to mobilise in the different departments. As citizens of El Alto, we are in a state of emergency and we do not rule out mobilising … to show that either they respect the people or the departmental courts have to go.”

The residents of the militant indigenous Aymara city of El Alto have been at the forefront of massive mobilisations in recent years that have overthrown two neoliberal presidents.

Support for Evo

Polls suggest that Morales’ support in El Alto is around 80-90%.

According to a poll of 1600 adult Bolivians in the cities of La Paz, El Alto, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, conducted over July 11-15 by Captura Consulting SRL, 49% of respondents answered positively to the question “How would you vote in the referendum on the tenure of Bolivian president Evo Morales?”

Only 18% said they would vote against Morales, while 33% responded “Not sure”.

Taking into consideration that the key base of the MAS are the rural indigenous peasant populations, the actual figure of support for Morales at a national level is almost certainly higher.

It is these figures that have caused panic among the divided opposition. While the initiative for the recall referendums was initially introduced into parliament by MAS last December, it was first blocked by the right-wing controlled opposition, only to then be approved in May.

This move was immediately rejected by the pro-autonomy prefects of the opposition departments in the east — who 10 days later switched positions and announced they would participate in the referendums, only to then see members of opposition parties question the legality of the law in the Constitutional Tribunal.

Much of this division can be explained by the leadership contest between the pro-autonomy prefects in the half moon and the main opposition party, Podemos.

Now, the opposition is frantically trying to stop the referendums going ahead as a number of right-wing prefects risk losing their positions.

Social conflicts

Meanwhile, social conflicts have increased over the last week.

On July 30, some few hundred members of Bolivian Workers Central (COB), predominately miners, protesting in favour of the COB’s proposed pension law, caused havoc in the streets of La Paz and occupied by force the Palace of Communications, where five economic ministries function as well as the Bolivian Mail Company (Ecobol). Other COB members blockaded the cities of Sucre and Potosi.

Other sectors, including the federation of disabled people demanding a US$375-a-week payment, the confederation of bus drivers in favour of an increase in bus fares, and civic organisations in the gas rich area of Camiri demanding the refoundation of the state gas company, YPFB, and an increase in the price of gas exported to Brazil and Argentina, have also announced further protests in the lead-up to August 10.

The National Democratic Council, which unites the opposition prefects of the half moon, Cochabamba and Chuquisaca, have also announced they will initiate a hunger strike on August 4 against the government’s decision to use part of the funds generated by its hydrocarbons tax to fund a universal pension for those aged over 60.

Minister of government, Alfredo Rada, argued that there existed right-wing interests behind the round of mobilisations. Morales stated that the government had never opposed the modification of the pension law, and even supported some of the demands of the COB such as the elimination of the Administrators of Pension Funds (AFP).

A July 20 AP dispatch reported that Morales was “seeking to nationalize two of his country’s biggest private pension funds, which manage assets worth more than $3 billion”.

Morales add that “it was unfortunate that some, very few, worker comrades from some sectors, in this conjuncture seem to be the best instrument of the misnamed half moon … instead of mobilising everywhere, they should be campaigning to put an end to the neoliberals and traitors to the homeland”.

Patana stated that while the government had to solve the legitimate problems raised by the protests, agreement had to be reached “in order to avoid convulsions”.

[Federico Fuentes is the editor of]

Slow Food Nation Gains Momentum By Shepherd Bliss

By Shepherd Bliss
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
Aug 5, 2008

Slow Food Nation leader Alice Waters–founder of Berkeley’s famous Chez Panisse Restaurant and author of eight food books–spoke at the small town (8,000 people) Sebastopol Farmers’ Market in Northern California August 3. She was interviewed about the August 29-31 SFN celebration to happen around San Francisco by KRCB public radio host Michelle Anna Jordan for her “Mouthful” program to run that evening.

“We want to lift a loud voice to change our food system,” Waters responded when asked about SFN, where over 50,000 people are expected. “We need to change the ways we grow, distribute, and eat food, which needs to be good, clean, and fair. Things are at a crisis point with respect to health and the environment.”

Waters described how the lawn in front of San Francisco’s Civic Center, one of the sites for SFN, has been replaced with a victory garden. “We have been talking about a vegetable garden on the White House lawn. This would be a way to talk about stewardship and nourishment. Thomas Jefferson had such a garden.”

“A big message of Slow Food Nation is that we all need to be planting gardens,” Waters noted. Addressing global climate change issues, she commented, “We need to have more greenhouses in the future, whether it gets too hot or too cold.”

“How we eat can change the world,” Waters has said elsewhere. By combining fresh produce from local farms with European cuisine, Waters helped create a food revolution and transform eating habit. At the Sebastopol market she also signed copies of her newest book “The Art of Simple Food.”

Waters helped kick-off the Gravenstein Apple Month, which has been declared by both the Sebastopol City Council and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. This is the time of year in this semi-rural area where one gets invitations such as the following: “If you want to help grind up large quantities of Gravenstein apples to make fresh juice, drink lots of juice, join a pot luck BBQ lunch, and get covered in apple pulp=come on over!”

“Gravensteins are a tasty apple that got left behind,” Waters explained. The delicious “Grav” apple is at risk of becoming an endangered species. “Save the Gravensteins!” bumper stickers made by Slow Food and Community Alliance with Family Famers (CAFF) are popping up around the country. Slow Food has accepted the Sebastopol Grav as one of the traditional foods to which it gives attention to protect it from extinction.

SFN’s “Come to the Table” call has garnered significant media attention. The New York Times (July 23) and San Francisco Chronicle (June 30) have each published long articles about the gathering that has a budget of some $2 million dollars. Some of its public events have already sold out.

Its main events are a Food for Thought speaker series, taste pavilions, a marketplace showcasing 60 local farmers and artisans, and the victory garden. Live music will be performed across town at the Ft. Mason meadow, an appropriate place to make “swords into plowshares.” Special events include dinners, art, journeys, and hikes. Some are free, whereas others require tickets.

Slow Food was started by the Italian Carlo Petrini in l986 to protest McDonald’s and its fast food culture. It advocates traditional agriculture and food preparation and consumption, which differ from how many in the U.S. deal with food. SFN is the first such large gathering in the U.S.; it is modeled after events in Europe that have drawn thousands to Terra Madre gatherings.

The speaker series includes some of the leading voices in the growing global sustainable agriculture and food movement, such as Petrini, physicist Vandana Shiva of India, Kentucky author and farmer Wendell Berry, University of California at Berkeley professor and author Michael Pollan, author Raj Patel, Native American leader Winona LaDuke, “Fast Food Nation” author Eric Schlosser, and the Land Institute’s Wes Jackson of Kansas.

Their topics include “The World Food Crisis,” “Building a New Food System,” “Re-Localizing Food,” “Climate Change and Food,” and “Edible Education.” Award-winning short films and documentaries will also be shown.

The “New, Fair Food System,” as an example, will feature “activists who campaign on behalf of farm workers and meatpacking workers.” It will focus on “how do you create a system in which eating well and treating people well are inextricably linked?”

A Call to Participate went out for a Youth Food Movement “to empower networks of students and young farmers, cooks, artisans, activists and eaters.” Among those attending will be members of Sonoma State University’s Slow Food Club, including its president, Robin Temple, a psychology student. While pruning on a local farm one day in late July Temple described some of his group’s plans, “We will speak in classes during the last week of August to inform students of the event. We will make a film of the youth program there that will be shown at the October Terra Madre gathering in Italy. We have been working to get Michael Pollan and some of the other key speakers to come to campus.”

“Slow food is the opposite of fast food. It is food that comes from local, sustainable farms,” Temple writes in the SSU campus newspaper. “We intend to raise awareness about the profound effects of our food choices on the environment, on our health and on issues of social justice,” he adds.

Some have criticized Slow Food for being elitist and catering to an older crowd that can afford better food and attend its sometimes-expensive dinners and gatherings. Temple represents a younger generation in the Slow Food Movement raising various challenges. “The current industrial model will soon fail for its heavy dependency on homogeneity and petroleum. As such, slow food is about survival,” asserts Temple.

The Youth Food Movement invitation contends that “good, clean and fair food is a universal right.” The youth gathering starts with an overnight retreat August 27 at a teaching farm on the California coast north of San Francisco, includes meeting at an art gallery that seeks to “build community through food and art,” and concludes with an Eat-In at Dolores Park “on a long, 200-person table for a meal curated by Outstanding in the Field.”

By-invitation-only events include a Changemakers Day and a National Congress. Around 600 participants will attend the August 29 Changemakers Day “designed for our nation’s food system leaders.” It will include “26 dynamic presentations on topics ranging from the viability of rare breeds to the nuts and bolts of engaging our isolated urban and rural communities in the sustainable food movement.” Its seeks “to inspire leaders to knit new and diverse networks” and “lay the groundwork for more concrete, inclusive and effective collaboration in the sustainable food and farming movement,” according to its website

The organizers expect “the clash of ideas, critical thinking from incisive minds, and inspiring dialog.” The Changemakers Day emerged from a February Town Hall meeting composed of people from SFN and Roots of Change, a San Francisco co-sponsor of SFN.

Panels include the following: “Rising Seas, Shrinking Catch;” “Triple-Bottom Line,” referring to social, environmental, and financial return to investors; “Preserving the Land Base;” “Ensuring Diversity;” “Nutrition for All: Improving Community Health;” “Rich Diet, Poor Communities;” “Going Local;” “Help Wanted: 50 Million New Farmers;” and “Reframing the Slow Food Conversation” to work more for social justice.

“I’ll be a panelist on Changemakers Day,” explained Steve Schwartz, while selling mushrooms from his New Carpati Farm at the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market. “More people are thinking about what they eat these days. Passing by McDonalds my four-year-old says, ‘That’s junk food. It’s bad for you.’”

Watching Schwartz and other farmers at the market talk about their crops, one can see that they are creating food-based relationships. “I’m proud to be a small part of this movement with a vision for a better food system. It can help activate people to work to change food policies.”

Food, after all, is much more than something you just eat. It has traditionally drawn families, friends, and communities together. Agri-culture is at the base of culture. The preparation and sharing of food and drink creates and sustains culture.

“I went to Slow Food Nation’s parent, Terra Madre in Italy,” explained the manager of the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market, Paula Downing. “It was life-changing. I plan to go to Slow Food Nation because I do not want to miss another chance for a life-changing event.”

“Terra Madre was a heart event. It was a thrill to see families still making the food they have made for centuries. You feel this human thing. It was very emotional and made me cry. Some recipes for corn bread, for example, had been handed down for twenty generations,” Downing continued. “I love the apple farmers here in Sonoma County. They are courageous. There is a history here that we need to remember.”

“Slow Food is an opportunity to re-connect with our food and local growers and to understand the plight our planet is in. Our immunity and the immune system of the Earth are linked; building from here is a source of our healing,” explained Ana Stayton of Golden Nectar Farm. “It helps create a sense of what real nourishment is. It brings farmers, children, and the community back into the food system, rather than leaving it in the hands of large corporations. Slow Food encourages people to grow and cook their own food and remember the pleasure in that.”

“Being at Terra Madre was a powerful bonding experience,” Stayton added. “It was intense being around people from over 150 countries in their traditional dress who have this common bond and language of the land, growing food, preserving local food cultures, preparing, serving and nourishing others.”

“I discovered Tierra Vegetables last December while shopping,” Mary Killian explained near the Slow Food table. “They have a delicious heritage bean. They so inspired me that I bought them as Christmas presents and included information about Slow Food.” Slow Food also provides heritage turkeys from Sonoma County, one of its most active chapters.

Networking is common at Slow Food events. One grower at the Sebastopol market, Deborah Ramelli-Toth of Gratitude Gardens, was proudly carrying a couple dozen free-range eggs, though she has no chickens. “I traded them for tomatoes, of which I have many,” she explained. She also made arrangements to share her canning equipment with a friend, Deb Kindy, who lives nearby in another town.

Waters spoke about the need to do something with all the food that is wasted, “We need to do more foraging and gleaning. Lots of food is wasted on the ground which is very edible.”

On the land where Ramelli-Toth lives there will be a Sebastopol Gravenstein Apple Slow Dinner the week before SFN, hosted by the Culinary Underground and Voluptuous Smoke under the apple trees at Nana Mae’s orchard. According to the invitation the Gravs “have a long history yet are mostly ignored by the culinary mainstream.” It adds, “Eating is a political act. Eat your view!”

“We’ve been writing a declaration and petition calling for a new national food policy,” explained Michael Dimock at the SFN table at the Sebastopol Farmers’ Market on July 27. Dimock has chaired Slow Food USA, been active in California Alliance for Family Farmers (CAFF), and is president of Roots of Change. “We need healthy food and agriculture,” Dimock asserted. The declaration will be released Aug. 28 and will include a preamble, set of principles, and call to action.

The August 28 National Congress is composed of 300 delegates who represent the 16,000 U.S. members of the international Slow Food Movement, which has over 86,000 members in more than 100 countries. They are organized into what internationally are called convivium and are beginning to be called chapters here in the U.S., where there are around 200.

The Congress takes place every four years. Participants will engage in peer-to-peer networking and in leadership training and professional development. They will also vote on revisions to the National Statue. This year, for the first time, 35 Slow Food in Schools projects leaders will meet to discuss their garden-to-table efforts.

“When kids grow and cook their own food, they all want to eat it,” Waters explained from her experiences with edible education programs. “They want an interactive education. They are happy to be in the garden. Kids are not just hungry for food. They are hungry for people to take care of them and for nature.”

Direct democracy is important to the Slow Food Movement. When asked about the leadership of the Russian River Slow Food chapter in Sonoma County, Paula Shatkin explained that they have a leadership team of eleven persons, who do not have a hierarchy.

(Shepherd Bliss,, has run the Kokopelli Farm in Northern California since l992 and currently teaches at Sonoma State University. His writing on agropsychology and agrotherapy are scheduled for various books during 2009.)


Sustainable Food (UCLA Lecture) + Homegrown Revolution



Lebanon: ‘Right to fight Israel’ + Hizbollah ‘stronger than before’ and ready to strike Israel

Dandelion Salad

By David Blair in Beirut
03 Aug 2008

Lebanon’s new government recognised Hizbollah’s “right” to fight Israel, a move which politicians fear could pave the way for war.

Hizbollah, the self-styled “resistance movement” which America and Britain consider a terrorist organisation, could effectively receive official approval for its arsenal of weaponry in southern Lebanon.

This may total about 30,000 missiles – perhaps treble the number of two years ago.

The new weapons will be held in readiness to strike Israel, possibly in retaliation for any American attack on Hizbollah’s chief supplier and paymaster, Iran.

This breaches United Nations Resolution 1701, which ended the last war with Israel in 2006 by demanding Hizbollah’s disarmament.


h/t: Ertür-Cem


Hizbollah ‘stronger than before’ and ready to strike Israel

By David Blair in Tyre
02 Aug 2008

Hizbollah has significantly built up its military arsenal on the Israeli border and is ready to respond with force to any provocation, its senior commander has told the Telegraph.

The political and military group’s senior commander in southern Lebanon said in a rare interview that Hizbollah was far stronger now than when it fought the Israeli army in a conflict in 2006.

Sheikh Nabil Kaouk, who leads Hizbollah’s forces on Lebanon’s border with Israel – the crucial battlefront of any future war, was speaking in the port city of Tyre. “The resistance is now stronger than before and this keeps the option of war awake. If we were weak, Israel would not hesitate to start another war,” he said. “We are stronger than before and when Hizbollah is strong, our strength stops Israel from starting a new war… We don’t seek war, but we must be ready.”


h/t: Ertür-Cem

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.