Georgia’s aggression on South Ossetia is ethnic cleansing + Media briefing of Russia’s General Staff

Dandelion Salad


RT military analyst Evgeny Khruschev says the new Georgia — South Ossetia conflict is not the first attempt of Georgia to conduct ethnic cleansing of its neighbours.

Media briefing of Russia’s General Staff

Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Anatoly Nogovitsin, told journalists that Russia is attempting to contain the conflict and prevent it from spilling over into Georgia’s other breakaway republic, Abkhazia, or into Russian territory.

Sent to me by William Bowles visit his website:

How the BBC is deliberately distorting the News from the Georgia Region

Israel and the US behind the Georgian aggression? By Shraga Elam

From ICH:

‘Bodies Are Lying Everywhere. It’s Hell’

The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West’s jugular

War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA


From Stupid to Moronic to Evil By Paul Craig Roberts

Bush’s War in Georgia; Will it be the Flyswatter or the Blunderbuss? by Mike Whitney

War in the Caucasus: Towards a Broader Russia-US Military Confrontation?

Georgia vs. South Ossetia: a story of genocide + See the ugly face of war

American says US & Georgia to answer for violence

Russia’s Defence ministry spokesman press-conference

A Dirty Adventure – Parts 1 & 2 by Richard Estes

Shelled city is living hell + Did mercenaries help Georgia? + Withdrawal of Georgian troops confirmed


American Complicity: The Solution By Timothy Gatto

Dandelion Salad

By Timothy Gatto
11/08/08 “ICH”

I am made of flesh and bone. I have a mind and a conscience that tells me what I believe is right or wrong. I was born in America, but that doesn’t mean that the American society, the American way of life meets the criteria of what I believe is moral. My being born American was an accident of birth. The truth of the matter is that through the great celestial scheme of things, I could have been born in China or India or in Iran.

I am a product of my learned experiences. The schools, the institutions I belonged to and my society helped shape my views. If we are all a product of our environment, than we should all basically have the same views, the same morality and the same world outlook. This has basically been the norm in this world for quite a while. The problem with this is that as we are exposed to different societies and the world grows smaller, our worldview changes. Sometimes I can no longer think of myself as an American, sometimes I think of myself as a citizen of the world.

As globalization becomes a way of life, we realize that each and every one of us is part of a larger whole. What happens on one side of the world directly affects our part of the world. There are those that remain oblivious to the fact that everything that happens in this much smaller world has a cause and effect. The American government is operating in a time warp that has not changed since the end of WWII. We feel that we have somehow grabbed the mantle as the leader of this world. This may well have been the case, but in the last decade, there are nations that have surpassed the US in quality of living and per capita income. The truth is that corporations that were once American corporations are now multi national and only do a part of their business in America.

The truth of the matter is that most Americans do not want to be just a part of this global economy. We still see our nation as the dominant player on the world scène. The sad part of this is that there are Americans that will do anything to stay the greatest power on Earth. Why is this so? The reason is not patriotism, but nationalism. We want to be the last word in world decisions. There are two types of Americans. The conservatives that look back on the history of our nation and see only the good, never the bad; “our country right or wrong” is their mantra. Then we have the pragmatists, they call them liberals, progressives and other names, who see things as they are how they want them to be. The past is gone, only a memory, a cancelled check. Liberals are the people that are not so proud of many things in our past and certainly don’t want to make the same mistakes our forefathers and fathers made although we can understand why they made the choices they made. Much of American history is not as grand as some believe it is, and for this I blame Americans who can’t come to terms with reality, or just refuse to be honest.

There are those in government that cannot come to terms with the new world that is developing. We can see that by the war economy we have been on since 1940. When the Soviet Union fell apart, the Military Complex controlled the economy and the only way they could stop it from falling apart was to invent another enemy to justify the production of weapons of war, thereby keeping the economy humming along. The media was infiltrated by these very same corporations and brought you the politics of fear. This is all an illusion to keep you on the front lines of this new war: The Global War on Terror. This provides the contracts to the Military Industrial Complex and feeds the demand for new military adventures even though in these wars we are not really fighting those that would do harm to us militarily, but those that would do harm to us economically by refusing to sell us their natural resources or charge us more than we are willing to pay, or more importantly, refuse to take dollars for payment which would drastically alter our balance of payments and force us into recession or worse. The truth is that had we spend the money we have already spent on weapons and munitions; we could have guaranteed we would have had all the oil we needed.

The American people are coming to this realization, although slowly. They are also coming to the realization that the nation of Israel is no longer a nation besieged on all sides by enemies. We can see by it’s insistence on refusing to negotiate in good faith with its neighbors and it’s reliance on military power and its closeness to America that negotiation is not their prime concern. They are systematically encroaching on Palestinian territories and have the Gaza Strip in a virtual lockdown, a ghetto that is as bad as the Warsaw Ghetto that the Nazi’s had in World War II in Poland. Americans are becoming increasingly aware of what kind of nefarious State our government is supporting by backing Israel.

American citizens are complicit in our all out war on the rest of the world that isn’t exactly like us; it props up the corporate structure that runs America for the last few decades. This doesn’t actually mean that they support this corporacracy, they just don’t know where government misinformation ends, and reality begins. I don’t even claim to have a perfect handle on it, but I do know that I have already seen where revisionist history has replaced what I have learned first-hand. I have through my own research and the research of others how our government has lied time after time. I have researched political campaign contributions to both corporate-owned parties by the same corporations that “claim” to represent the average American citizen. The truth is that the federal government, through this corrupted two-party system is owned by the corporations that have the capitol to influence policy. This policy does not advance the common good, but the corporate players.

We are in a period of American Fascism, where the corporations, the bankers and the government direct and control policy. Benito Mussolini once stated that the definition of fascism could be “corporatism”. It doesn’t matter if you are conservative or liberal or you consider yourself “main-stream”. What has transpired is not in the interests of any of us that are not part of the policy making machine. Our vote means nothing when the candidates are selected for us by the corporacracy. The current Presidential race has illustrated that the influence of corporations who can sway the most “liberal” of candidates, although the liberalness of the Democratic candidate I believe had more to do with media-spin that his actual voting record.

Since 9/11 of which there has NEVER been a criminal investigation (and why is that? Who was responsible? Cui Bono?), we have regarded Afghanistan, a country that has always been a backward backwater that has only recently become important for it’s location for oil pipelines that Unical is building as we speak (BTW, Harmid Karzi was a Unical employee). The Taliban do not belong to al-Queada, they are residents of the villages and towns that they fight in. Yet they are now the “enemy” and both Presidential candidates want to expand the war there, for what, the Unical pipeline?

Materialism is the new religion in America. The government sees a recession coming on and tells you to take your rebate check and go shopping. Where is the old American virtue of saving your money so not as to get in debt? The government wants us in debt, the more in debt we are, the more insecure we will be. Where is the money from Congress to build more mass transit so as to lessen our dependence on foreign oil? These are questions we should all be asking.

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer a solution. The only solution I have besides throwing this corrupt Federal Government out on its ass by force is to turn off your televisions and vote third-party. Turn your back on the government that has turned its back on us. Stop listening to these television pundits that give you the illusion that there is any actual difference between the two political parties. I realize that this is a tall order, but unless you want to see us lose everything by committing our dwindling resources and our children’s blood for the wet dreams of old, rich capitalists that have nothing to lose, it’s not that much to do. Join the revolution and refuse to be their chattel. Don’t you think it’s about time?

We have had a President that has ventured into a pre-emptive war, presupposed on a lie. A lie he blatantly told the American people. We have tortured people in the name of America. We have kidnapped people and held them and tortured them The Executive Branch will not answer summons by a compliant Congress. What does it take? The list goes on and on. Do you believe that this election will change the direction we are heading? From everything I’ve heard from both candidates, nothing will change. Change lies with the people, it always has.

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.


Libertarians and Socialists as Workers Must Unite by Lo

Open the Debates Super Rally: Challenge the System

Dandelion Salad

Ralph Nader after the speech - Green Lecture

Image by Dandelion Salad via Flickr


Join us in Denver for the “Open the Debates Super Rally” during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Open the debates and take democracy back from the bipartisan, corporate tyranny of The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).

To ensure that only members of the Democratic and Republican Party are allowed to participate in national presidential debates, the CPD requires that candidates poll at least 15% nationally, as measured by the average of five corporate media polls. When the NONPARTISAN League of Women Voters hosted debates, they employed a fair 5% rule as measured by independent polls.

Help us challenge the CPD during the “Open the Debates Super Rally” on August 27th in Denver to end corporate control over our electoral process. Special guests TBA.

Visit for more info as the event develops.

Continue reading

From Stupid to Moronic to Evil By Paul Craig Roberts

Dandelion Salad

By Paul Craig Roberts
08/11/08 “ICH”“

Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.” John Stuart Mill

Many years ago, during the 1970s if memory serves, neoconservative Irving Kristol, echoing John Stuart Mill, called his conservative party, the Republican Party, “the stupid party.”

Kristol was referring to the Republican’s inability to compete on the policy front. Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan led the Republicans out of the wilderness, but now Republicans have reverted to the stupid party, or more precisely the moronic party.

Take a minute to examine the presidential campaign propaganda that Republicans send around the Internet, and you will see what I mean. For example, recently while Obama was traveling abroad, showing himself to the remnant of our allies, Republican political operatives blitzed the Internet with the suggestion that Obama might not be an American citizen. Doubt was cast on either of his parents being American citizens. The message went on to suggest that Obama refused to produce his birth certificate. All the while, Obama was traveling abroad on a US passport, a document that cannot be obtained without a US birth certificate.

Considering that the Republican candidate, John McCain, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, only the GOP would be dumb enough to make an issue over whether the Democrats’ candidate was born in one of the 50 states.

The innuendo and negativism with which the Republicans are conducting their presidential campaign are unprecedented. There is no sign of issues in McCain’s Karl Rovian campaign. Issues have been superseded by hate, lies, and war.

Republicans stand for war without end, a police state to make us “safe,” and “energy independence,” which means drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve and offshore of Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches.

What Republicans really mean by “energy independence” is prevailing over environmentalists. Republicans lump environmentalists in the same category with abortionists, gays, feminists, food stamp recipients, trade unionists and terrorists. To a Republican, saving America means prevailing over these people.

The notion that Americans can achieve energy independence by drilling offshore wells and in the arctic is absurd. A number of experts have pointed out that the best data do not support any such possibility.

For example, Robert Kaufman at Boston University, citing US government data, reports that the US might have 40 billion barrels of oil in undeveloped reserves which are not off limits. Another 19 billion might be in off limit offshore sites and in the Arctic National Wildlife preserve.

All of this oil cannot be brought up at once, and apparently none before 2017. Bringing it all into production would, experts think, increase US oil production by 1-4 percent. In other words, nothing. Currently the US uses 21 million barrels a day, and the entire world uses 86 million barrels a day. At best, the Arctic Wildlife Refuge could by 2017 produce 1 million barrels a day, about one-twentieth of current US use and one-eighty-sixth of current world use.

This is not energy independence, and it would have no material effect on price. Indeed, the offshoring by US corporations of US jobs has a much greater effect on the dollar price of oil by inflating the US trade deficit and driving down the exchange value of the US dollar. But, of course, here we are talking about facts, and facts are of no interest to Republicans.

Republicans are interested in prevailing over the “bad guys.” The fact that the bad guys are Bush, Cheney, Rice, Wolfowitz, Perle, Billy Kristol, and other such is beyond the Republicans’ imagination. Bad guys are “towel heads” with beards and robes and are “over there” where they must be killed before the come “over here.” The extent of the Republican intellect boils down to “over here” vs. “over there.”

The other great bugaboo of Republicans is “the liberal media.” Fox “News” has Republicans convinced that “the liberal media” is endangering America by siding with terrorists.

Clearly, Republicans never look at “the liberal media.” It was Judith Miller at the “liberal” New York Times who served up as fact all the neocon disinformation about Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda connections. Without the New York Times leading the way, the neocons could never have pulled off their illegal invasions.

On July 18, 2008, the New York Times allowed the Israeli Benny Morris to spew lies about Iran that he used to justify an attack on that country possibly even involving nuclear weapons. This is the same New York Times that the idiot conservatives believe is part of “the liberal media.”

It was ABC News that served up the neocon disinformation that the anthrax had been traced to Saddam Hussein.

And, today, August 9, 2008, as I write, it is the “liberal” Washington Post that has written an editorial urging the US to go to war with Russia.

With its editorial, “Stopping Russia: the US and its allies must unite against Moscow’s war on Georgia,” the Washington Post has established a world record for the maximum number of lies in the minimum number of words.

Except for the Washington Post, the entire world knows that Georgia (the birthplace of Joseph Stalin, not Georgia USA) initiated the aggression that killed Russian peacekeepers and hundreds of civilians in South Ossetia, peacekeepers who were there with the blessing of Georgia and international agreements.

The true facts are available all over the world press. But the “liberal” Washington Post serves up the lie that Russia has attacked Georgia and conceivably plans to conquer all of Georgia. “This is a grave challenge to the United States and Europe,” thunders the Bush Regime’s mouthpiece, aka, “the liberal media.”

Thirsting for blood, the “liberal media” declares: “The United States and its NATO allies must together impose a price on Russia.”

Here we see the combination of idiocy and delusion in one sentence. The United States has proved that it is incapable of occupying Iraq, much less Afghanistan. Russia has a large trade surplus. America’s NATO allies are dependent on Russian natural gas. Yet the “liberal” Washington Post wants a bankrupt US and “its NATO allies” who are dependent on Russian energy “to impose a price on Russia” for defending its peacekeepers!

Seldom has the world seen such total insanity as the neoconservative Washington Post, a propaganda sheet as far from “liberal media” is it is possible to be.

Georgia was part of Old Russia and the Soviet Union for two centuries. After Soviet communism collapsed, the US taxpayer funded neoconservative National Endowment for Democracy broke every agreement that President Reagan had made with Gorbachev and began using US taxpayers’ money to rig and purchase elections in former constituent parts of the Russian/Soviet empire.

The Endowment for Democracy purchased Georgia as a US colony. The affront to Russia was extreme, but at the time Russia was weak.

Oligarchs with outside money had grabbed control over Russian resources, and Russia was in dire straits and could not resist American imperialism.

Putin corrected the situation for Russia.

Now using American weapons Georgia for reasons yet to be revealed has violated its own agreement with Russia and attacked South Ossetia, killing in the process Russian peacekeepers. Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee for Security told the press: “The things that were happening in Kosovo, the things that were happening in Iraq – we are now following the same path. The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never be able to do all this without America.”

Yes, without America there would be no war in Ossetia and no war between Russia and its former constituent part.

Without America there would be no war in Afghanistan. No war in Iraq.
Without America there would not be 1.2 million dead Iraqis and 4 million displaced Iraqis. We have no idea of the toll on Afghan civilians, although women and children appear to be the prime targets of the US/NATO forces that are “bringing peace and freedom to Afghanistan.”

Recently, US Secretary of State Condi Rice said that the US government could not prevent an Israeli attack on Iran. Israel is an independent country, said the American Secretary of State. What an extraordinary lie.

Israel cannot exist without American weapons and money. Israel cannot attack Iran without overflying Iraq, which the US air force can easily prevent. It is clear as day that the Bush Regime has given the green light to Israel to attack Iran so that the Bush Regime can rush to “Israel’s defense.”

Meanwhile the “liberal” media is urging the US to get involved in a war between Russia and Georgia. The insanity will lead to the unloosening of nuclear weapons.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is a former Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal, a 16-year columnist for Business Week, and a columnist for the Scripps Howard News Service and Creator’s Syndicate in Los Angeles. He has held numerous university professorships, including the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the President of France and the US Treasury’s Silver Medal for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of US economic policy.”

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.

Sent to me by William Bowles visit his website:

How the BBC is deliberately distorting the News from the Georgia Region

Israel and the US behind the Georgian aggression? By Shraga Elam

From ICH:

‘Bodies Are Lying Everywhere. It’s Hell’

The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West’s jugular

War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA


Bush’s War in Georgia; Will it be the Flyswatter or the Blunderbuss? by Mike Whitney

War in the Caucasus: Towards a Broader Russia-US Military Confrontation?

Georgia vs. South Ossetia: a story of genocide + See the ugly face of war

American says US & Georgia to answer for violence

Russia’s Defence ministry spokesman press-conference

Shelled city is living hell + Did mercenaries help Georgia? + Withdrawal of Georgian troops confirmed


Bush’s War in Georgia; Will it be the Flyswatter or the Blunderbuss? by Mike Whitney

Dandelion Salad

by Mike Whitney
Global Research, August 11, 2008

“I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings and in cars. It’s impossible to count them now. There’s hardly a single building left undamaged.” Lyudmila Ostayeva, resident of Tskhinvali, South Ossetia

Washington’s bloody fingerprints are all over the invasion of South Ossetia. Georgia President Mikhail Saakashvili would never dream of launching a massive military attack unless he got explicit orders from his bosses at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  After all, Saakashvili owes his entire political career to American power-brokers and US intelligence agencies. If he disobeyed them, he’d be gone in a fortnight. Besides an operation like this takes months of planning and logistical support; especially if it’s perfectly timed to coincide with the beginning of the Olympic games. (another petty neocon touch) That means Pentagon planners must have been working hand in hand with Georgian generals for months in advance. Nothing was left to chance.

Another tell-tale sign of US complicity is the way President Bush has avoided ordering Georgian troops to withdraw from a province that has been under the protection of international peacekeepers. Remember how quickly Bush ordered Sharon to withdraw from his rampage in Jenin? Apparently it’s different when the aggression serves US interests.

Saakashvili has been working closely with the Bush administration ever since he replaced Eduard Shevardnadze as president in 2003. That’s when US-backed NGOs and western intelligence agencies toppled the Shevardnadze regime in the so-called color-coded “Rose Revolution”. Since then, Saakashvili has done everything that’s been asked of him; he’s built up the military and internal security apparatus, he’s allowed US advisers to train and arm Georgian troops, he’s applied for membership in NATO, and he’s been a general nuisance to his Russian neighbors.  Now, he has sent his army into battle ostensibly on Washington’s orders. At least, that is how the Kremlin sees it. Vladimir Vasilyev, the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Security Committee, summed up the feelings of many Russians like this: “The further the situation unfolds, the more the world will understand that Georgia would never be able to do all this without America. In essence, the Americans have prepared the force, which destroys everything in South Ossetia, attacks civilians and hospitals.”

True. That’s why Bush is flying Georgian troops back home from Iraq to join the fighting rather than pursuing peaceful alternatives. Bush still believes that political solutions will naturally arise through the use of force. Unfortunately, his record is rather spotty.

But that still doesn’t answer the larger question: Why would Saakashvili embark on such a pointless military adventure when he had no chance of winning? After all, Russia has 20 times the firepower and has  been conducting military maneuvers anticipating this very scenario for months.  Does Uncle Sam really want another war that bad or is the fighting in South Ossetia is just head-fake for a larger war that is brewing in the Straits of Hormuz?

Mikhail Saakashvili is a western educated lawyer and a favorite of the neocons. He rose to power on a platform of anti-corruption and economic reform which emphasized free market solutions and privatization. Instead of raising the standard of living for the Georgian people, Saakashvili has been running up massive deficits to expand the over-bloated military. Saakashvili has made huge purchases of Israeli and US-made (offensive) weapon systems and has devoted more than “4.2% of GDP (more than a quarter of all Georgian public income) to military hardware.

The Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Security Committee, Vladimir Vasiliyev, summed it up like this:

“Georgia could have used the years of Saakashvili’s presidency in different ways – to build up the economy, to develop the infrastructure, to solve social issues both in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the whole state. Instead, the Georgian leadership with president Saakashvili undertook consistent steps to increase its military budget from US$30 million to $1 billion – Georgia was preparing for a military action.” Naturally, Russia is worried about these developments and has brought the matter up repeatedly at the United Nations but to no avail.

Israeli arms manufacturers have also been supplying Saakashvili with state-of-the-art weaponry. According to Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:

“In addition to the spy drones, Israel has also been supplying Georgia with infantry weapons and electronics for artillery systems, and has helped upgrade Soviet-designed Su-25 ground attack jets assembled in Georgia, according to Koba Liklikadze, an independent military expert in Tbilisi. Former Israeli generals also serve as advisers to the Georgian military.” (“Following Russian pressure, Israel freezes defense sales to Georgia” Associated Press)

The Israeli news source DebkaFile elaborates on the geopolitical implications of Israeli involvement in the Georgia’s politics:

“The conflict has been sparked by the race for control over the pipelines carrying oil and gas out of the Caspian region….The Russians may just bear with the pro-US Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s ambition to bring his country into NATO. But they draw a heavy line against his plans and those of Western oil companies, including Israeli firms, to route the oil routes from Azerbaijan and the gas lines from Turkmenistan, which transit Georgia, through Turkey instead of hooking them up to Russian pipelines.

Jerusalem owns a strong interest in Caspian oil and gas pipelines reach the Turkish terminal port of Ceyhan, rather than the Russian network. Intense negotiations are afoot between Israel Turkey, Georgia, Turkmenistan and Azarbaijan for pipelines to reach Turkey and thence to Israel’s oil terminal at Ashkelon and on to its Red Sea port of Eilat. From there, supertankers can carry the gas and oil to the Far East through the Indian Ocean.” (Paul Joseph Watson, “US Attacks Russia Through Client State Georgia”)

The United States and Israel are both neck-deep in the “Great Game”; the ongoing war for vital petroleum and natural gas supplies in Central Asia and the Caspian Basin. So far, Putin appears to have the upper-hand because of his alliances with his regional allies–under the Commonwealth of Independent States—and because most of the natural gas from Eurasia is pumped through Russian pipelines. An article in “Today’s Zaman” gives a good snapshot of Russia’s position vis a vis natural resources in the region:

“As far as natural resources are concerned Russia’s hand is very strong: It holds 6.6 percent of the worlds proven oil reserves and 26 percent of the world’s gas reserves. In addition, it currently accounts for 12 percent of world oil and 21 of recent world gas production. In May 2007, Russia was the world’s largest oil and gas producer.

As for national champions, Putin has strengthened and prepared Gazprom (the state-controlled gas company), Transneft (oil pipeline monopoly) and Rosneft (the state-owned oil giant). That is why in 2006 Gazprom retained full ownership in the giant Shtokman gas field (7) and took a controlling stake in the Sakhalin-2 natural gas project. In June 2007, it took back BP’s Kovytka gas field and now is behind Total’s Kharyaga oil and gas field.” (“Vladimir Putin’s Energystan and the Caspian” Today’s Zaman)

Putin–the black belt Judo-master–has proved to be as adept at geopolitics as he is at “deal-making”. He has collaborated with the Austrian government on a huge natural gas depot in Austria which will facilitate the transport of gas to southern Europe. He has joined forces with German industry to build an underwater pipeline through the Baltic to Germany (which could provide 80% of Germany’s gas requirements) He has selected France’s Total to assist Gazprom in the development of the massive Shtokman gas field. And he is setting up pipeline corridors to provide gas to Turkey and the Balkans. Putin has very deliberately spread Russia’s influence evenly throughout Europe with the intention of severing the Transatlantic Alliance and, eventually, loosening America’s vice-like grip on the continent.

Putin’s overtures to Germany’s Merkel and France’s Sarkozy are calculated to weaken the resolve of Bush’s neocon allies in the EU and put them in Russia’s corner. Putin is also attracting considerable foreign investment to Russian markets and has adopted “a ‘new model of cooperation’ in the energy sector that would ‘allow foreign partners to share in the economic benefits of the project, share the management, and take on a share of the industrial, commercial and financial risks’”. (M K Bhadrakumar “Russia plays the Shtokman card”, Asia Times) All of these are intended to strengthen ties between Europe and Russia and make it harder for the Bush administration to isolate Moscow.

Putin has played his cards very wisely, which makes it look like the fighting in South Ossetia may be Washington’s way of trying to win through military force what they could not achieve via the free market.

On Saturday, President Bush issued this statement from Beijing: “We have urged an immediate halt to the violence and a stand-down by all troops. We call for an end to the Russian bombings and a return by the parties to the status quo of August 6th.”

That was it. Bush then quickly returned to the Olympic festivities. He was last spotted at a photo op with the US girls volleyball team jumping up and down on the beach-sand in his wingtips. The pretense that Bush is leading the country has seemingly been abandoned altogether. Cheney is in charge now.

Meanwhile, Putin boarded a plane to Moscow as soon as he heard about the Georgian invasion and after angrily waving his finger in Bush’s face. It’s doubtful that the friendship between the two leaders will survive the present storm. America’s gambit in the Caucasus has aroused the sleeping bear and put Russia on the warpath. There’s no telling when the hostilities might end. The conflagration could sweep across the entire region. Currently, news agencies are reporting that Russian warplanes are pounding Georgia’s military bases, airfields, and the Black sea port of Poti.

According to Bill Van Auken on the World Socialist Web Site:

“Much of the city (Tskhinvali) was reportedly in flames Friday. The regional parliament building had burned down, the university was on fire, and the town’s main hospital had been rendered inoperative by the bombardment.”

Vesti radio reported that Georgian forces burned down a church in Tanara in South Ossetia where people were hiding, to the ground, with all the people inside. The Deputy Director of an information agency as an eye witness reported that fragments of cluster bombs of  were found in Tskinvali. There have also been reports by a South Ossetian reservist that civilians who were hiding in basements were shot dead by Georgian soldiers.

Wikipedia reports that, “Russian soldiers captured group of American mercenaries on territory of South Ossetia. Group was captured near of Zare village.”

An estimated 1,500 people have died in the onslaught and 30,000 more fled across the Russian border. Large swaths of the city have been reduced to rubble including the one hospital that was pounded by Georgia bombers. Georgia has cut off the water supply to the city.The Red Cross now anticipates a “humanitarian catastrophe” as a result of the fighting.

“I saw bodies lying on the streets, around ruined buildings, in cars,” Lyudmila Ostayeva, 50, told the Associated Press after fleeing the city with her family to a village near the Russian border. “It’s impossible to count them now. There is hardly a single building left undamaged.”

At least 15 Russia peacekeepers were killed in the initial fighting and 70 more were sent to hospital. Georgia’s army stormed the South Ossetia capital, Tskhinvali, killing more than 1,000 fleeing civilians. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told news agencies in an interview how the hostilities began:

Russian peacekeepers “were killed by their own [Georgian] partners in the peacekeeping forces. There is a Russian battalion, an Ossetian battalion, and a Georgian battalion… and all of a sudden the Georgians, Georgian peacekeepers, begin shooting their Russian colleagues. This is of course a war crime. I do not rule out that the Hague and Strasbourg courts and institutions in other cities will be involved in investigating these crimes, and this inhuman drama that has been played out.”

According to South Ossetia’s president, Eduard Kokoyti, Georgian troops had been taking part in NATO exercises in the region since the beginning of August. Kokoyti claims that there is a connection between the NATO’s activities and the current violence.

Clearly, no one was expecting Russia to react as quickly or as forcefully as they did. In a matter of hours Russian tanks and armored vehicles were streaming over the border while warplanes bombed targets throughout the south. The Bush-Saakashvili strategy unraveled in a matter of hours. The Georgia president is already calling for a cease-fire. He’s had enough.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has promised to spend $400 million to rebuild parts of South Ossetia. Large shipments of food and medical supplies are already on the way.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday:

“The actions of  Georgia have led to deaths – among them are Russian peacekeepers. The situation reached the point that Georgian peacekeepers have been shooting at Russian peacekeepers. Now women, children and old people are dying in South Ossetia – most of them are citizens of the Russian Federation. As the President of the Russian Federation, I am obligated to protect lives and the dignity of Russian citizens wherever they are. Those responsible for the deaths of our citizens will be punished.”

Indeed, but how will Medvedev bring the responsible people to justice; with tanks and fighter pilots or is there another way?

PUTIN’S OPTIONS: Flyswatter or Blunderbuss?

Sometimes wars provide clarity. That’s certainly true in this case. After this weekends fighting, everyone in the Russian political establishment knows that Washington is willing to sacrifice thousands of innocent civilians and plunge the entire region into chaos to achieve its geopolitical objectives. Bush could call the whole thing off right now; Putin and Medvedev know that. But that’s not the game-plan. So, the two Russian leaders have to make some tough decisions that will end up costing lives. What other choice do they have?

Putin needs to carefully weigh his options. Then, on Monday, he should announce that Russia will sell all $50 billion of its Fannie Mae mortgage-backed bonds, all of it US dollar-backed assets, and will accept only rubles and euros in the future sale of Russian oil and natural gas. Just watch as the dollar crashes and the Dow Jones goes into a death-spiral. Why use a blunderbuss when a flyswatter will do just fine.

© Copyright Mike Whitney, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is:

Sent to me by William Bowles visit his website:

How the BBC is deliberately distorting the News from the Georgia Region

Israel and the US behind the Georgian aggression? By Shraga Elam

From ICH:

‘Bodies Are Lying Everywhere. It’s Hell’

The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West’s jugular

War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA


War in the Caucasus: Towards a Broader Russia-US Military Confrontation?

Georgia vs. South Ossetia: a story of genocide + See the ugly face of war

American says US & Georgia to answer for violence

Russia’s Defence ministry spokesman press-conference

Shelled city is living hell + Did mercenaries help Georgia? + Withdrawal of Georgian troops confirmed


Targeting Immigrants – The Largest Ever US ICE Raid

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Lendman
Global Research, August 11, 2008

The 2002 Homeland Security Act established its largest investigative and enforcement arm in 2003: the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) created “as a law enforcement agency for the post-9/11 era, to integrate enforcement authorities against criminal and terrorist activities, including the fights against human trafficking and smuggling, violent transnational gangs and sexual predators on children” – “criminal” and “terrorist” threats to the nation.

Muslims are its principal targets. So are Latino immigrants, forced to seek work here because of NAFTA’s devastating effect on their lives and well-being. Turning logic, fairness and justice on its head in the current climate of fear, ICE calls them (and Muslims) “people….support(ing) terrorism and other criminal activities….against the United States” – 276,912 so-called “illegal aliens” removed from the country in FY2007 to justify its burgeoning budget to “keep America safe.”

ICE deters Latinos at the border and targets them at work sites and homes with $4.8 billion of DHS’ current FY 2008 $64.9 billion budget. Increasing to $5.4 billion in DHS’ FY 2009 $66.3 billion request.

Below is how some of the money was spent in July 2008 alone:

— on July 28, ICE arrested 13 Guatemalan and Mexican nationals in North Little Rock, Arkansas;

— on July 23, it seized 58 Mexican nationals in northern Ohio;

— on July 22, it reported 81 foreign national arrests in San Diego – 43 “criminal aliens” and 38 gang members or their associates;

— on July 21, it reported a record number of “illegal alien” deportations from Arizona from October 2007 through June 2008 – 38,799;

— on July 21, it arrested 43 aliens, employed by The Farms, on “administrative immigration violations;”

— on July 18, it made 49 arrests over four days in Chicago; under “Operation Community Shield” (in partnership with local law enforcement); it targeted “illegal aliens with ties to violent street gangs in (the city’s) northern and northwest suburbs;”

— on July 17, it arrested 45 “gang members, gang associates and immigration violators” over six days in Tulsa, OK;

— on July 16, it seized 18 “illegal aliens” at a Loveland, CO concrete plant;

— on July 11, it reported deporting a “record number of illegal aliens from (three) Pacific Northwest states” (Washington, Oregon and Alaska) – from October 2007 through June 2008; 7345 “illegal aliens (were returned) to their home countries” – a 39% increase over the previous fiscal year period;

— on July 9, it reported deporting 5889 “illegal immigrants” rounded up “in various cities throughout Florida” from January through June 2008;

— on July 9, it arrested 24 “immigration fugitives and immigration violators” over five days ending July 1 in Nashville, TN;

— on July 2, it arrested 22 “transnational gang members and their associates” in Wichita, KS;

ICE 2006 Terror Raid in Southeast Georgia – Preceding Its Largest One Ever in 2008

Over the course of two September 2006 weeks, ICE agents reigned terror on Latino residents of several southeast Georgia towns, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) November 1, 2006-filed suit in US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. The case (Mancha v. ICE) remains ongoing.

It cites ICE agents illegally detained, searched and harassed Latino Americans, in violation of their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights, while carrying out massive southeast Georgia raids. Five Mexican Americans are plaintiffs along with a landlord who suffered damage to his rental properties when ICE agents broke into Latino-rented trailers. SPLC’s founder, Morris Dees, expressed outraged “that this could occur in America today. These ICE agents swooped into town, armed with everything but search warrants, and started rounding up people – citizens and non-citizens alike – merely because they had brown skin. Imagine the fallout if this had happened to white people.”

Raids began September 1 in at least three counties and lasted several weeks. They involved dozens of agents allegedly to round up undocumented workers of a Stillmore, Georgia poultry plant. But instead of raiding the work site, agents terrorized communities – breaking into homes, stopping motorists, and threatening Latinos with tear gas and guns.

Hundreds of residents were traumatized and their constitutional rights violated. Some were children like Marie Justeen Mancha (age 15), named in the suit – a US citizen and resident of Reidsville in Tattnall County. She was alone in her bedroom preparing for school when she heard men in another room yelling: “Police! Illegals!” Two dozen armed agents surrounded her home and were intimidating. They had no search warrant, yet they detained and interrogated her anyway.

Ranulfo Perez is another plaintiff. He was outside his Adrian Emanuel County home when 15 armed men appeared suddenly and surrounded him. One grabbed his shirt, jammed a gun in his side, and threw him against his truck. He then twisted his arm behind his back, held him that way for 10 minutes, while other agents searched his home and property – illegally without a warrant. Perez was then advised to leave the area with his family for two weeks to avoid further such incidents.

SPLC’s suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and a court order enjoining ICE from using similar future tactics. The Center also asked the Court to approve the claim as a class action on behalf of all affected Latinos, many US citizens targeted as illegals because of their skin color and ethnicity.

The Largest Ever ICE Terror Raid

On May 12, 2008, ICE agents conducted their largest ever terror raid against workers in Postville, IA. In an early report that day, the Des Moines Register called it the “largest workplace raid in Iowa history (resulting) in the arrest of more than 300 people (in fact, 389).”

“As two law enforcement helicopters hovered overhead, dozens (in fact, around 900) federal (ICE) agents descended on Agriprocessors Inc., the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse” employing 968 workers. The number arrested was more than three times higher than those seized “18 months ago at the Swift (Marshalltown) plant.”

On July 13, The New York Times editorialized on “The Shame of Postville, Iowa” in a rare show of outrage against abusive police state tactics. It referred to “abusing and terrorizing undocumented workers,” described their shameful treatment, and deplored the the sending of “desperate breadwinners to prison” and driving their families into deeper poverty and despair. It cited Spanish-language court interpreter and Florida International University professor Erik Camayd-Freizas’ “Personal Account” titled: “Interpreting after the Largest ICE Raid in US History.”

Below is his account in which he said nothing could have prepared him for the prospect of helping government officials imprison hundreds of “innocent people.” He went public to expose it and began with the 10AM May 12 raid involving 900 agents at the Postville, Iowa plant. At the same time, 26 federally certified interpreters headed to neighboring Waterloo with no idea why they were sent. Camayd-Freizas was one of them.

He was taken to the National Cattle Congress (NCC) and arrived early for work. It’s a 60-acre “cattle fairground” that was transformed into a “concentration camp or detention center.” Echoing his own thoughts, another interpreter said: “When I saw what (this) was, my heart sank.” Then began “the saddest procession (he ever) witnessed,” suppressed from public view, because “cameras were not allowed past the perimeter of the compound,” and only a few journalists came to court the next day.

Camayd-Freizas explained: “Driven single-file in groups of 10, shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, chains dragging as they shuffled through, the (plant) workers were brought in for arraignment, sat and listened through headsets to the interpreted initial appearance, before marching out again to be bused to different country jails, only to make room for the next row of 10.”

They were mostly “illiterate Guatemalan (Spanish-speaking) peasants with Mayan last names….some in tears, others with faces of worry, fear, and embarrassment.” They stood out “in stark racial contrast (to) the rest of us as they started their slow penguin march across the makeshift court.” They all “waived their right to be indicted….hoping to be quickly deported since they had families to support back home.” Instead, they were “criminally charged with ‘aggravated identity theft’ and Social Security fraud – charges they did not understand” and neither did Camayd-Freizas.

He sought more information, and here’s what he learned. Of Agriprocessor’s 968 employees, about 75% were apparently undocumented. Nearly 700 warrants were issued but only about 400 were arrested, including 76 women. Some were released on humanitarian grounds – 56 mothers with unattended children, a few for medical reasons, and 12 juveniles temporarily with ankle monitors or directly turned over for deportation. Over 300 were held for prosecution. Five alone had prior criminal records, and 270, in fact, were charged.

The raid devastated Postville (population 2273). Businesses were empty, and concerns grew that it might shutter the town. Besides those arrested, many fled in fear. It affected American parents as well who complained that “their children were traumatized by the sudden disappearance of so many of their friends.” The school principal reported the same reaction in classrooms saying that “for children it was as if ten of their classmates suddenly died.” Counselors were enlisted because they had nightmares that their parents might be seized like the workers. Even the school superintendent reacted saying “This literally blew our town away,” and its future is unclear.

As for workers, here’s what happened. In some cases, husbands and wives were arrested leaving small children unattended for up to 72 hours. Some mothers were then released on humanitarian grounds with ankle GPS monitors, pending prosecution and deportation, while husbands were swiftly imprisoned. The situation was desperate. Mothers had no incomes and no means of support. Sometimes one parent was documented, the other wasn’t, and in many cases children were US citizens. In all cases, hundreds of families were torn apart, and the Postville economic impact was devastating.

There was more. Scattered news reports and blogs contained bigotry and racial epithets – “poorly disguised beneath an empty rhetoric of misguided patriotism (as well as) insults to anyone (showing) compassion…safely (hidden) behind cowardly nickname(s). One could feel the moral fabric of society coming apart” as a result.

Camayd-Freizas expressed disgust saying he felt “blindsided into an assignment (he) wanted no part of. In all (his) years as a court interpreter, (he) was assigned to criminal cases involving rape, murder, mayhem, narcotics, human trafficking, and terrorism.” Yet nothing could have prepared him for this spectacle of injustice “put(ting) hundreds of innocent people in jail,” terrorizing them, and devastating their small community.

He recounted day two in court, much like the first and ones to follow. “Throughout the day, the procession continued, ten by ten, hour after hour, the same charges, the same recitation from the magistrates, the same faces, chains and shackles, on the defendants.” The whole process was an exercise of injustice “where the meat packers were massed processed” like beef. It then got more personal as he prepared to interpret for individual lawyer-client consultations.

Proceedings were rushed to comply with a 72 hour habeas writ – charge prisoners in that time or release them for deportation. It increased his angst, but it was just the beginning and he “was about to bear the brunt of (his) conflict of interest.”

It came in his first interview – to let lawyers explain the government’s “uniform Plea Agreement” offering three choices:

— plead guilty to “knowingly using a false Social Security number,” and the government will withdraw the more serious “aggravated identity theft” charge; the sentence will then be five months in jail, deportation without a hearing, and supervised release for three years;

— plead not guilty, wait six to eight months for trial without bail and be imprisoned for two years if convicted; or

— win at trial, be deported anyway, and spend longer in jail than by pleading guilty – three no-win choices.

Camayd-Freizas’ first interview typified others. It was with a Guatemalan peasant, afraid for his family, who spent most of the session weeping. How did he get here, he was asked? “I walked….for a month and ten days until I crossed the river.” He was desperate like many others. He came alone, met other immigrants, hitched a ride to Dallas, then Postville, when he heard there was work there. He slept in an apartment hallway with other immigrants until employed and was only working two months when he was arrested. Why did he come: “I just wanted to work a year or two, save, and then go back to my family, but it was not to be.”

A simple work permit would have solved his problem and Camayd-Freizas said he, like many others are “not guilty.” Most immigrants don’t know about Social Security numbers, what purpose they serve, yet they were charged with illegally having them. In fact, they’re illiterate in Spanish and English, and simply had plant personnel fill out their papers to be hired. In most cases, the men are the sole support of their families but don’t know how they’ll survive while they’re in jail.

Case after case was the same, and all of them challenged Camayd-Freizas’ ability to be impartial. The entire process was unjust and corrupted. Proceedings were rushed. Defendants didn’t understand them. Lawyers got little chance to explain, and, when with clients, agents were always present. In addition:

— plea agreements were for seven days;

— ICE appointed attorneys had no immigration work expertise;

— ones who did “were denied access” to the proceedings; and

— prosecutors offered a Plea Agreement with no changes; take it or leave it with little time to understand or reflect – classic gross injustice against near-defenseless, traumatized victims.

Everything was “fast-tracked” and mass-processed 10 cases at a time with no possibility for due process, judicial fairness, or any compassion for desperate, innocent victims. Instead they were pressured with tactics like: “If you want to see your children or don’t want your family to starve, sign here.” Camayd-Freizas called it “coercion.”

He and other interpreters felt “tremendous solidarity with these people.” Had they lost their impartiality? “Not at all: that was our impartial and probably unanimous judgment. We (saw) attorneys hold back tears and weep alongside their clients. We (saw) judges, prosecutors, clerks, and marshals do their duty, sometimes with a heavy heart….but always with a particular solemnity not accorded to the common criminals (they’re) used to encountering….”

In a private conversation with one judge, Camayd-Freizas expressed outrage: “Your honor, I am concerned from my attorney-client interviews that many of these people are clearly not guilty, yet they have no choice but to plead out.” The judge concurred and responded: “You know, I don’t agree with any of this or with the way it is being done. In fact, I ruled in a previous case that to charge somebody with identity theft, the person had to at least know of the real owner of the Social Security number.” These people don’t even know what Social Security is or what it’s for.

The judge “hit the nail on the head – the “last piece of the puzzle” giving judges no discretion or decision-making power. It was a setup, a Hobson’s choice, a catch-22 to force victims to plead guilty to a lesser charge, accept five months in jail and deportation, or end up worse off otherwise. Under different circumstances, workers would have received only probation and swift deportation – a far less harsh disposition.

Camayd-Freizas reacted this way: “As a citizen, I want our judges to administer justice, not a federal agency. When the executive branch forces the hand of the judiciary, the result is abuse of power and arbitrariness, unworthy of a democracy founded upon the constitutional principle of checks and balances.” The final 270 charged went to jail, yet here’s what Camayd-Freizas learned.

Before the raid, ICE agents found “no match” Social Security information for 737 employees – 147 numbers were invalid and never issued; the other 590 were valid but didn’t match worker names. But it’s not uncommon for aliens to purchase identity documents (including Social Security numbers) that match names assigned to the numbers. Yet ICE agents found only one Agriprocessor employee with a reported stolen SSN yet charged all 697 workers with:

— unlawfully using SSNs in violation of Title 42 USC No.408(a)(7)(B);

“aggravated identity theft” in violation of 18 USC No. 1028A(a)(1); and/or

— possession or use of false identity documents for purposes of employment in violation of 18 USC No.1546.

The charges contravened the 1998 US federal “Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act.” It refers to persons “knowingly(ly) us(ing) a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit any unlawful activity or felony” – willful, harmful, felonious acts like theft or fraud. Securing work isn’t an “unlawful activity” under this law. Yet ICE agents bullied workers into taking a no-win plea bargain or face much harsher penalties. The system was rigged for injustice, and that’s what happened.

Camayd-Freizas called Postville a “pilot operation, to be replicated elsewhere, with kinks ironed out after lessons learned. Next time, ‘fast-tracking’ will be even more relentless. Never before has illegal immigration been criminalized in this fashion. It is no longer enough to deport them: we first have to (terrorize them and) put them in chains.”

The scheme also absolves corporations from prosecution and at most administers penalties amounting to fines. “Criminal aliens” are the targets of choice because they’re “easy pickings (and) a cheap way (for ICE to boost its) arrest statistics (and cite) meatier” numbers in its reports stating: “These incarcerated aliens have been involved in dangerous criminal activity such as murder, predatory sexual offenses, narcotics trafficking, alien smuggling and a host of other crimes.” In fact, they’re just desperate Latino workers trying to support their impoverished families back home. ICE uses them for:

— political advantage;

— larger budgets;

— a way to increase its size and power;

— its “Long War” against undocumented workers, mostly Latinos; and

— to give the executive concentrated power to dilute the legislative and judicial branches.

In a climate of fear and weak checks and balances, DHS and ICE exceed their legal authority. They get multi-billions for it and brush aside criticism saying terrorism will increase without their “vigilance.” So who in the other two branches will challenge them.

Camayd-Friezas refers to “an undemocratic doctrine of expediency, at the core of a police state, (where) power hinges on its ability to capitalize on public fear.” Sadly, the “specter of 9/11….haunt(s undocumented) workers and their local communities across the USA” – but “A line was crossed at Postville.” This isn’t humane, said a Des Moines mother as part of a citizen protest on May 13. “There has to be a better way.” Abolishing DHS and ICE would be a good start.

Another Bad Start – “Operation Scheduled Departure”

The National Immigration Forum (NIF) calls itself “the nation’s premier immigrant rights organization – dedicated (since 1982) to embracing and upholding America’s tradition as a nation of immigrants.”

It responded to the latest DHS/ICE plan to encourage immigrant workers to come forward voluntarily for deportation and called the idea “another harebrained scheme that can’t have been carefully thought out.” It’s the administration “resorting to the theater of the absurd….another gimmick (for) having failed to achieve systematic immigration reform in Congress,” and a PR stunt to get immigrants “to sign away the few rights they have,” smooth over systematic ICE terror, hide “reports of deaths (and abuse) in detention, limited (or no) access to health care and prescribed medications, and the hodge-podge of for-profit and government run state and local prisons (where) ICE detainees are assigned….”

According to an ICE July 31 press release, the idea is a pilot program to be tested in Santa Ana, CA, San Diego, Phoenix, Chicago and Charlotte from August 5 – 22 and may be expanded after subsequent evaluation. It offers undocumented immigrants no inducements except for 90 days to settle their affairs and avoid the possibility of arrest and detention in return for going home.

According to NIF Executive Director, Ali Noorani: “We are not going to deport our way our of our immigration mess, nor is it likely (most or many) of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants” will leave voluntarily. “…all the raids,” new schemes, “press conferences, new toys and buzzers at the border…(amount to) just throwing good….money after bad. This is nothing more than a modern day (forced removal) ‘Trail of Tears’ ” forcing immigrants into “permanent exile” and the latest example of Bush administration injustice.

Postville’s Aftermath

On May 12, ICE agents arrested 389 Agriprocessor workers; 297 couldn’t prove their legal status of which 270 are now serving five months in federal prison after which they’ll be deported to their home countries, mostly to Guatemala. Some to Mexico.

New American Media (NAM – founded 1996) is the country’s “first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations.” It’s been on the Postville story since it broke, and here’s what it reported weeks later.

Its June 12 account highlighted a “Rush to Prosecute Leaves Immigrant Victims of Crimes Without Protection.” It showed up in an ICE warrant with a “source #7 saying he or she “observed a Jewish floor supervisor duct-tape the eyes of an undocumented Guatemalan worker shut and hit (him) with a meat hook.” The Des Moines Register also reported sexual abuse allegations against female workers but no redress or criminal prosecution follow-ups.

More as well from Polk County attorney Sonia Parras Konrad after interviewing 50 workers. They said Agriprocessors:

— gave employees “false identification(s);”

— underpaid them on the pretext of defraying “immigration fees,” from $6.25 – $7.25 an hour for some of the most dangerous work anywhere under notoriously unsafe conditions;

— “didn’t allow (them) to use restrooms during 10-hour shifts;”

— didn’t pay overtime; and

— “physically abused” them.

NAM’s June 19 report headlined: “Immigration Raids Lead US to a Moral, Legal Crisis.” It called Postville “a ghost town” after nearly a third of its residents were in jail following the May 12 raid. “Hundreds more hide in fear.” Their children are also “too scared to go to school,” so classrooms are empty.

Workers are victimized, while “few employers face civil and criminal sanctions for violating immigration and labor laws.” No one at Agriprocessors has been charged despite “overwhelming evidence” that the company procured false worker documents, underpaid employees, violated labor laws, and “seriously mistreated its workers.”

For its part, “ICE and federal prosecutors overstepped their powers (by) criminally charg(ing) workers” despite Congress exempting ones who use false SSNs “to engage in otherwise lawful conduct, such as to procure jobs.” Overall, constitutional protections were grievously violated:

— Fourth Amendment search and seizure provisions;

— Fifth Amendment due process rights;

— Sixth Amendment guarantees to a fair, speedy and public trial before an impartial jury; and

— Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights.

Undocumented workers (and legal Latino citizens) are vulnerable in the current climate – victims of police state tactics and justice.

A follow-up June 20 report headlined: “After Iowa Raid, Families in Limbo” with hundreds “unable to work or feed their families (as they’re in jail or awaiting) deportation orders that could take months.” Released workers “live in fear that immigration agents will return, crash into their homes with drawn guns, yell obscenities at them, call them dogs, and drag them away amidst screams and tears” – sheer police state terror against innocent victims.

They wear electronic ankle bracelets with attached GPS devices even to bathe and can’t sleep out of fear agents will break in and terrorize them. They can’t pay rent or bills and rely on charity as long as it lasts. “Their lives are on hold and loved ones are gone” – husbands, brothers, relatives, friends imprisoned throughout the Midwest. Countless stories about lives uprooted, separated families, and people desperate to survive and not knowing how.

“Raw Nerves Remain After New ICE Arrest in Iowa” was NAM’s June 26 report about a single post-May 12 arrest – of an undocumented worker on the morning of June 23. Once again, the “town was turned on its head” out of fear of further ICE terror. “The June 23 action, though small, underscores how raw nerves remain….and also punctuates the fragility of the town’s transition to normalcy.” For Postville, there is none.

ICE agents were back for a specific target – Eduardo Ixen, “a Guatemalan handyman who worked for a local property owner.” He was seized, cuffed, and taken away. Others feared they were next, and some believed they were being followed by unmarked vehicles. All Postville Latinos are uprooted, in limbo, and terrified about what’s next. The community is in disarray, and its fallout affected Agriprocessors. It lost a third of its workforce, but compensated by hiring Texas homeless shelter workers and others to replace ones they lost.

According to the company, they’re recruited by an Amarillo firm and sent to Postville. They’re then processed by Jacobson Staffing, a Des Moines company that screens them to assure they’re legally allowed in the country to work.

But a local radio station, KPVL, has a different take. Several Postville officials say new arrivals are causing problems for the town. Amarillo’s homeless problem is now Postville’s. Four disorderly conduct arrests were made straightaway, and a woman bussed in said she was expected to live with 10 men in a four-bedroom house with no electricity or hot water.

On July 27, AP reported that “About a thousand protesters descended on (Postville today), decrying (the May 12 raid) and calling for a change in federal immigration policies.” They arrived by bus from Minneapolis, Chicago, Wisconsin, New York and New Jersey – “circled the streets (and) clutched banners and signs” like “United for immigrant and worker rights.” Speakers denounced “the criminalization of people who come to the US simply to make a living.”

Agriprocessors is the nation’s largest kosher meat processor, owned and run by the Rubashkin family. They deny any responsibility for what happened, the legitimacy of worker complaints, and the plant’s notoriously unsafe conditions. So far, no family members have been criminally charged. All remain free even after the latest New York Times August 5 report headlined “Inquiry Finds Under-Age Workers at Meat Plant.”

It said: “State labor investigators have identified 57 under-age workers” at Agriprocessors, “and have asked the attorney general to bring criminal charges against the company for child labor violations….(for) egregious violations of virtually every aspect of Iowa’s child labor laws.” Findings show minors worked in “prohibited occupations, exposing them to hazardous chemicals, making them work with prohibited tools like knives and saws,” and forcing them to work night shifts and as long as 17 hour days with no overtime pay or not all of it.

“A federal investigation is (now) under way.” However, no action so far has been taken, and based on the industry’s history of abusive practices and how Washington responds, any punishment levied is likely to be minor at best.

Postville, Iowa mid-summer 2008. It’s now a poster child for ICE victimization – ravaged by its terror heading throughout the country unless stopped – against defenseless Latino workers. Many undocumented, others US citizens. And don’t forget how innocent Muslims and others are targeted, persecuted, unjustly charged and imprisoned at a time when we’re all potential victims of police state terror.

Still, NAM reports a hopeful sign in its July 22 article headlined: “Opposition builds to immigration raids.” Across the country, “immigrants and activists are beginning to organize protests and high-visibility responses.” Immigration activists plan to protest at the Denver August National Democratic Convention, and four members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus plan visits with Postville-impacted families and will report back to Congress and the press.

Now if others in Congress would address Muslim issues, act to free those unjustly imprisoned, and coalesce to end harsh police state terror against victims of religious and ethnic persecution. Not so far as no profiles in courage have stepped forward nor do many stand up for Latinos and other targets of choice.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

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

© Copyright Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is:

War in the Caucasus: Towards a Broader Russia-US Military Confrontation?

Dandelion Salad

Please go to the original source to view the maps and pics.  ~ Lo

by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, August 10, 2008

During the night of August 7, coinciding with the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, Georgia’s president Saakashvili ordered an all-out military attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia.

The aerial bombardments and ground attacks were largely directed against civilian targets including residential areas, hospitals and the university. The provincial capital Tskhinvali was destroyed. The attacks resulted in some 1500 civilian deaths, according to both Russian and Western sources.  “The air and artillery bombardment left the provincial capital without water, food, electricity and gas. Horrified civilians crawled out of the basements into the streets as fighting eased, looking for supplies.” (AP, August 9, 2008). According to reports, some 34,000 people from South Ossetia have fled to Russia. (Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake City, August 10, 2008)

The importance and timing of this military operation must be carefully analyzed. It has far-reaching implications.

Georgia is an outpost of US and NATO forces, on the immediate border of the Russian Federation and within proximity of the Middle East Central Asian war theater. South Ossetia is also at the crossroads of strategic oil and gas pipeline routes.

Georgia does not act militarily without the assent of Washington. The Georgian head of State is a US proxy and Georgia is a de facto US protectorate.

Who is behind this military agenda? What interests are being served? What is the purpose of the military operation.

There is evidence that the attacks were carefully coordinated by the US military and NATO.

Moscow has accused NATO of “encouraging Georgia”. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underscored the destabilizing impacts of “foreign” military aid to Georgia: .

“It all confirms our numerous warnings addressed to the international community that it is necessary to pay attention to massive arms purchasing by Georgia during several years. Now we see how these arms and Georgian special troops who had been trained by foreign specialists are used,” he said. (Moscow accuses NATO of having “encouraged Georgia” to attack South Ossetia, Russia Today, August 9, 2008)

Moscow’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, sent an official note to the representatives of all NATO member countries:

“Russia has already begun consultations with the ambassadors of the NATO countries and consultations with NATO military representatives will be held tomorrow,” Rogozin said. “We will caution them against continuing to further support of Saakashvili.”

“It is an undisguised aggression accompanied by a mass propaganda war,” he said.

(See Moscow accuses NATO of having “encouraged Georgia” to attack South Ossetia, Russia Today, August 9, 2008)

According to Rogozin, Georgia had initially planned to:

“start military action against Abkhazia, however, ‘the Abkhaz fortified region turned out to be unassailable for Georgian armed formations, therefore a different tactic was chosen aimed against South Ossetia’, which is more accessible territorially. The envoy has no doubts that Mikheil Saakashvili had agreed his actions with “sponsors”, “those with whom he is negotiating Georgia’s accession to NATO “. (RIA Novosti, August 8, 2008)

Contrary to what was conveyed by Western media reports, the attacks were anticipated by Moscow. The attacks were timed to coincide with the opening of the Olympics, largely with a view to avoiding frontpage media coverage of the Georgian military operation.

On August 7, Russian forces were in an advanced state readiness. The counterattack was swiftly carried out.

Russian paratroopers were sent in from Russia’s Ivanovo, Moscow and Pskov airborne divisions. Tanks, armored vehicles and several thousand ground troops have been deployed. Russian air strikes have largely targeted military facilities inside Georgia including the Gori military base.

The Georgian military attack was repealed with a massive show of strength on the part of the Russian military.


In this image made from television, Russian military vehicles are seen moving towards the capital of South Ossetia, Tskhinvali, on Friday, Aug. 8, 2008. (AP / APTN)

Act of Provocation?

US-NATO military and intelligence planners invariably examine various “scenarios” of a proposed military operation– i.e. in this case, a limited Georgian attack largely directed against civilian targets, with a view to inflicting civilian casualties.

The examination of scenarios is a routine practice. With limited military capabilities, a Georgian victory and occupation of Tskhinvali, was an impossibility from the outset. And this was known and understood to US-NATO military planners.

A humanitarian disaster rather than a military victory was an integral part of the scenario. The objective was to destroy the provincial capital, while also inflicting a significant loss of human life.

If the objective were to restore Georgian political control over the provincial government, the operation would have been undertaken in a very different fashion, with Special Forces occupying key public buildings, communications networks and provincial institutions, rather than waging an all out bombing raid on residential areas, hospitals, not to mention Tskhinvali’s University.


The Russian response was entirely predictable.

Georgia was “encouraged” by NATO and the US. Both Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels were acutely aware of what would happen in the case of a Russian counterattack.

The question is: was this a deliberate provocation intended to trigger a Russian military response and suck the Russians into a broader military confrontation with Georgia (and allied forces) which could potentially escalate into an all out war?

Georgia has the third largest contingent of coalition forces in Iraq after the US and the UK, with some 2000 troops.  According to reports, Georgian troops in Iraq are now being repatriated in US military planes, to fight Russian forces. (See, August 10, 2008)

This US decision to repatriate Georgian servicemen suggests that Washington is intent upon an escalation of the conflict, where Georgian troops are to be used as cannon fodder against a massive deployment of Russian forces.

US-NATO and Israel Involved in the Planning of the Attacks

In mid-July, Georgian and U.S. troops held a joint military exercise entitled “Immediate Response” involving respectively 1,200 US and 800 Georgian troops.

The announcement by the Georgian Ministry of Defense on July 12 stated that they US and Georgian troops were to “train for three weeks at the Vaziani military base” near the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. (AP, July 15, 2008). These exercises, which were completed barely a week before the August 7 attacks, were an obvious dress rehearsal of a military operation, which, in all likelihood, had been planned in close cooperation with the Pentagon.

The war on Southern Ossetia was not meant to be won, leading to the restoration of Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia. It was intended to destabilize the region while also triggering a US-NATO confrontation with Russia.

On July 12, coinciding with the outset of the Georgia-US war games, the Russian Defense Ministry started its own military maneuvers in the North Caucasus region. The usual disclaimer by both Tblisi and Moscow: the military exercises have “nothing to do” with the situation in South Ossetia. (Ibid)

Let us be under no illusions. This is not a civil war. The attacks are an integral part of the broader Middle East Central Asian war, including US-NATO-Israeli war preparations in relation to Iran.

The Role of Israeli Military Advisers

While NATO and US military advisers did not partake in the military operation per se, they were actively involved in the planning and logistics of the attacks. According to Israeli sources (, August 8, 2008), the ground assault on August 7-8, using tanks and artillery was “aided by Israeli military advisers”. Israel also supplied Georgia with Hermes-450 and Skylark unmanned aerial vehicles, which were used in the weeks leading up to the August 7 attacks.

Georgia has also acquired, according to a report in Rezonansi (August 6, in Georgian, BBC translation) “some powerful weapons through the upgrade of Su-25 planes and artillery systems in Israel”. According to Haaretz (August 10, 2008), Israelis are active in military manufacturing and security consulting in Georgia.

Russian forces are now directly fighting a NATO-US trained Georgian army integrated by US and Israeli advisers. And Russian warplanes have attacked the military jet factory on the outskirts of Tbilisi, which produces the upgraded Su-25 fighter jet, with technical support from Israel. (, August 10, 2008)

When viewed in the broader context of the Middle East war, the crisis in Southern Ossetia could lead to escalation, including a direct confrontation between Russian and NATO forces. If this were to occur, we would be facing the most serious crisis in US-Russian relations since the Cuban Missile crisis in October 1962.

Georgia: NATO-US Outpost

Georgia is part of a NATO military alliance (GUAM) signed in April 1999 at the very outset of the war on Yugoslavia. It also has a bilateral military cooperation agreement with the US. These underlying military agreements have served to protect Anglo-American oil interests in the Caspian sea basin as well as pipeline routes.

Both the US and NATO have a military presence in Georgia and are working closely with the Georgian Armed Forces. Since the signing of the 1999 GUAM agreement, Georgia has been the recipient of extensive US military aid.

Barely a few months ago, in early May, the Russian Ministry of Defense accused Washington, “claiming that [US as well as NATO and Israeli] military assistance to Georgia is destabilizing the region.” (Russia Claims Georgia in Arms Buildup, Wired News, May 19, 2008). According to the Russian Defense Ministry

“Georgia has received 206 tanks, of which 175 units were supplied by NATO states, 186 armored vehicles (126 – from NATO) , 79 guns (67 – from NATO) , 25 helicopters (12 – from NATO) , 70 mortars, ten surface-to-air missile systems, eight Israeli-made unmanned aircraft, and other weapons. In addition, NATO countries have supplied four combat aircraft to Georgia. The Russian Defense Ministry said there were plans to deliver to Georgia 145 armored vehicles, 262 guns and mortars, 14 combat aircraft including four Mirazh-2000 destroyers, 25 combat helicopters, 15 American Black Hawk aircraft, six surface-to-air missile systems and other arms.” (Interfax News Agency, Moscow, in Russian, Aug 7, 2008)

NATO-US-Israeli assistance under formal military cooperation agreements involves a steady flow of advanced military equipment as well as training and consulting services.

According to US military sources (spokesman for US European Command), the US has more than 100 “military trainers” in Georgia. A Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman “said there were no plans to redeploy the estimated 130 US troops and civilian contractors, who he said were stationed in the area around Tblisi” (AFP, 9 August 2008). In fact, US-NATO military presence in Georgia is on a larger scale to that acknowledged in official statements. The number of NATO personnel in Georgia acting as trainers and military advisers has not been confirmed.

Although not officially a member of NATO, Georgia’s military is full integrated into NATO procedures.  In 2005, Georgian president proudly announced the inauguration of the first military base, which “fully meets NATO standards”. Immediately following the inauguration of the Senakskaya base in west Georgia, Tblisi announced the opening of a second military base at Gori which would  also “comply with NATO regulations in terms of military requirements as well as social conditions.” (Ria Novosti, 26 May 2006).

The Gori base has been used to train Georgian troops dispatched to fight under US command in the Iraq war theater.

It is worth noting that under a March 31, 2006, agreement between Tblisi and Moscow, Russia’s two Soviet-era military bases in Georgia – Akhalkalaki and Batumi have been closed down. (Ibid)  The pullout at Batumi commenced in May of last year, 2007. The last remaining Russian troops left the Batumi military facility in early July 2008, barely a week before the commencement of the US-Georgia war games and barely a month prior to the attacks on South Ossetia.

The Israel Connection

Israel is now part of the Anglo-American military axis, which serves the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Israel is a partner in the Baku-Tblisi- Ceyhan pipeline which brings oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean. More than 20 percent of Israeli oil is imported from Azerbaijan, of which a large share transits through the BTC pipeline. Controlled by British Petroleum, the BTC pipeline has dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Caucusus:

“[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of the region’s countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having taken the pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has practically set up a new bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel, ” (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)


While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will “channel oil to Western markets”, what is rarely acknowledged is that part of the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards Israel, via Georgia. In this regard, a Israeli-Turkish pipeline project has also been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel’s main pipeline system, to the Red Sea.

The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of Caspian sea oil are far-reaching. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 2006)

What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline, from Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon.

“Turkey and Israel are negotiating the construction of a multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will transport water, electricity, natural gas and oil by pipelines to Israel, with the oil to be sent onward from Israel to the Far East,

The new Turkish-Israeli proposal under discussion would see the transfer of water, electricity, natural gas and oil to Israel via four underwater pipelines.

“Baku oil can be transported to Ashkelon via this new pipeline and to India and the Far East.[via the Red sea]”

“Ceyhan and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon are situated only 400 km apart. Oil can be transported to the city in tankers or via specially constructed under-water pipeline. From Ashkelon the oil can be pumped through already existing pipeline to the port of Eilat at the Red Sea; and from there it can be transported to India and other Asian countries in tankers. (REGNUM)

In this regard, Israel is slated to play a major strategic role in “protecting” the Eastern Mediterranean transport and pipeline corridors out of Ceyhan. Concurrently, it also involved in channeling military aid and training to both Georgia and Azerbaijan.

A far-reaching 1999 bilateral military cooperation agreement between Tblisi and Tel Aviv was reached barely a month before the NATO sponsored GUUAM agreement. It was signed in Tbilisi by President Shevardnadze and Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyu. These various military cooperation arrangements are ultimately intended to undermine Russia’s presence and influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

In a pro forma declaration, Tel Aviv committed itself, following bilateral discussions with Moscow, on August 5, 2008, to cut back military assistance to Georgia.

Russia’s Response

In response to the attacks, Russian forces intervened with conventional ground troops. Tanks and armored vehicles were sent in. The Russian air force was also involved in aerial counter-attacks on Georgian military positions including the military base of Gori.

The Western media has portrayed the Russian as solely responsible for the deaths of civilians, yet at the same time the Western media has acknowledged (confirmed by the BBC) that most of the civilian casualties at the outset were the result of the Georgian ground and air attacks.

Based on Russian and Western sources, the initial death toll in South Ossetia was at least 1,400 (BBC) mostly civilians.  “Georgian casualty figures ranged from 82 dead, including 37 civilians, to a figure of around 130 dead…. A Russian air strike on Gori, a Georgian town near South Ossetia, left 60 people dead, many of them civilians, Georgia says.” (BBC, August 9, 2008). Russian sources place the number of civilian deaths on South Ossetia at 2000.

A process of escalation and confrontation between Russia and America is unfolding, reminiscent of the Cold War era.

Are we dealing with an act of provocation, with a view to triggering a broader conflict?  Supported by media propaganda, the Western military alliance is intent on using this incident to confront Russia, as evidenced by recent NATO statements.

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is:


Sent to me by William Bowles visit his website:

How the BBC is deliberately distorting the News from the Georgia Region

Israel and the US behind the Georgian aggression? By Shraga Elam

From ICH:

‘Bodies Are Lying Everywhere. It’s Hell’

The Pipeline War: Russian bear goes for West’s jugular

War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA


Georgia vs. South Ossetia: a story of genocide + See the ugly face of war

American says US & Georgia to answer for violence

Russia’s Defence ministry spokesman press-conference

Shelled city is living hell + Did mercenaries help Georgia? + Withdrawal of Georgian troops confirmed


‘Medaling’ With Free Speech by Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Walter’s blog post

Aug. 11, 2008

President Bush last week sounded just like a liberal.

Yes, you read that right. Bush. Liberal. Same sentence.

At the new U.S. embassy in Beijing on the opening day of the Olympics, he said, “All people should have the freedom to say what they think.” Without even blinking, he also told the world, while directing his comments at the Chinese, “We strongly believe societies which allow the free expression of ideas tend to be the most prosperous and the most peaceful.”

The day before, in Tibet, he boldly said, “America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents and human rights advocates and religious activists.” He said he was speaking out “for a free press, freedom of assembly, and labor rights, not to antagonize China’s leaders but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential.”

There was only one problem with the President’s comments. His actions the past seven years have proven he doesn’t believe what his speech writers told him to say.

In Charleston, W. Va., at a Bush speech on July 4, 2004, non-violent protestors were handcuffed and arrested.

In Pittsburgh, a retired steelworker was arrested for carrying a sign. In Michigan, it was a student. In Hamilton, N.J., it was the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq who asked the wrong question of Laura Bush.

Almost 2,000 peaceful protestors at the 2004 Republican convention in New York City were arrested and subjected to what can only be called “primitive” prison conditions for several days—until the courts threw out almost all of the arrest warrants.

As Texas governor, Bush had ordered peaceful protestors away from the governor’s mansion. As president, he directed there be zones as much as a half-mile from any Presidential cavalcade or speech for anyone protesting his policies. For those who refuse to enter into these remote and generally obscure “free-speech zones, police arrest them for trespassing or disorderly conduct, and then detain them until the President or Vice-President is out of the area and the media leave.

When challenged, law enforcement officials claim the separation is for security reasons. Persons carrying pro-administration signs are allowed to be in the line of sight to the President and Vice-President. Anyone wishing to harm the President needs only to carry a sign praising the President or not to carry one at all. By creating a protest zone hundreds of yards away, the Bush–Cheney Administration’s actions are designed not so much to protect the President as to give the political illusion of the President’s “popularity.” The media, especially the television media, focus upon the President and crowds that are carefully selected and deftly manipulated to show enthusiastic support of Bush and his policies. Because they believe the “story” is with the President, they usually ignore dissenters, especially if they’re away from the President. It gives a false picture, yet is politically clever.

Under the PATRIOT Act, Americans’ rights of privacy, including their reading habits, could be scrutinized by the FBI. Protestors—even peaceful ones—can be charged with terrorism. Dissenters are often denied the right to fly on commercial airlines. In Bush’s target have been Greenpeace and the Quakers. Like China’s leaders, America’s leaders say these restrictive measures only exist to protect the nation.

Americans are right to condemn China for its totalitarian suppression of dissent, the manipulation of free expression, and for building three “Protest Pens” in Beijing to keep protestors away from an international sporting event. Americans should also have condemned the “protest pens” at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. More important, Americans should have spent the past seven years condemning the Bush–Cheney Administration for systematic violations of six Constitutional amendments, including the First Amendment guarantees of free expression.

[Dr. Walter M. Brasch is an award-winning social issues columnist, former newspaper and magazine reporter and editor, and professor of journalism at Bloomsburg University. He is president of the Pennsylvania Press Club, and former president of the Keystone state chapter of the Society of Professional Journalist. He is also the author of 17 books, including America’ s Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Giovernment’s Violation of Constitutional and Civil Rights (January 2005) and Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush (November 2007), available through and other bookstores. He frequently writes about the media, social and political issues. You may contact Brasch at or through his website at:]


Libertarians and Socialists as Workers Must Unite by Lo

Someone wants him to “shut up” by Mike Whitney + video

Georgia vs. South Ossetia: a story of genocide + See the ugly face of war

Dandelion Salad


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


Aug 11, 2008

Georgia vs. South Ossetia: a story of genocide

Genocide is a deliberate destruction, completely or partially, of an ethnic, religious, or national group, say the reference-books. And according to experts, this is what Georgia has been doing with Ossetians over the centuries.

Continue reading

Mosaic News – 8/8/08: 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:
“Eruption of war in South Ossetia,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Olympics, China & Diplomacy,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“Mystery Shrouds Syrian General’s Assassination,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Petraeus visits Lebanon,” NBN TV, Lebanon
“Iran & Iraq Building Closer Ties,” Al Jazeera English, Qatar
“Gaza’s Heaven’s Grapes,” Palestine TV, Ramallah
“So They Nabbed The Driver, But Where is OBL?,” Link TV, USA
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

Bolivia’s struggle for justice, against right-wing offensive by Federico Fuentes

Dandelion Salad

Posted with permission from Green Left Weekly

by Federico Fuentes
Green Left Weekly
10 August 2008

“Given everything that is occurring in Tarija, Santa Cruz, Pando and Beni, we have to denounce … that we are on the threshold of a real coup d’etat against the constitutional order”, announced Bolivian minister of the presidency, Ramon Quintana, on August 7.

The day before, two bullets were fired into his car in an assassination attempt during a visit to the city of Trinidad, in Beni. Beni is part of the “half moon” of the resource-rich eastern departments including Santa Cruz, Tarija and Pando, that are a stronghold of the opposition to the left-wing government of indigenous President Evo Morales.

“What the prefects are doing today is nothing more than an act of sedition, of contempt, or organisation of illegal forces, paramilitaries, to go against all public liberties”, added Quintana.

Later that day, the mayor of Santa Cruz, Percy Fernandez stated “that the armed forces should overthrow the national government because it is useless”. Sitting besides him was Santa Cruz prefect, Ruben Costas.

This right-wing offensive is occurring in the lead-up to referendums on whether or not to recall Morales and eight of the nine departmental prefects, organised for August 10 in an attempt to resolve the political stand-off between the government and the social movements, largely based in the west, on the one hand, and the forces of the oligarchy determined to stop the process of change.

During the week leading up to the vote, a small group of balaclava-wearing protesters took over the airport of Tarija and successfully prevented the scheduled meeting between Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner — the visiting presidents’ plane being unable to land.

Both Morales and Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera cancelled their traditional independence day speeches due to fears of violent protests in Sucre. Sucre is Bolivia’s constitutional capital and capital of Chuquisaca department, where an opposition candidate recently won elections for prefect.

The former prefect, from Morales’ Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), is now in exile in Peru, following a series of violent attacks.

Morales was also forced to suspend political events in Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz as a few hundred opposition protesters surrounded airports in these regions.

Sensing defeat in the polls, the right-wing opposition — led by the half moon prefects — have unleashing a campaign of violence, terrorism and intimidation with the intention not only to stop the electoral process going ahead but to overthrow the president.

Polls continue to show an increasing support for Morales, which is now around 60%, while a number of opposition prefects look set to lose their seats. Cochabamba prefect, Manfred Villa Reyes, one of the most likely to be removed has already stated he will not accept the results of the referendum.

In Santa Cruz, Costas look set to win by a wide margin. A key aim for the opposition, however, is to ensure that in the vote on the presidency, Morales receives as little a vote as possible in the east in order to proclaim that he is “no longer president” of this part of Bolivia.

The half moon prefects, along with the eastern agribusiness and gas elites, have been promoting a campaign for autonomy for the eastern departments to protect their interests from the national-indigenous project of the Morales government.

Whiping up fear of an “indigenous revenge” and playing on the prejudices of the mestizo and white middle classes, the elites have run a systematically racist campaign, which has including violent lynch mobs attacking indigenous peoples.

Adding to the social conflicts, a number of sectors, such as miners, disabled people and transport drivers have mobilised across the country shutting down roads over sectoral demands. In Huanuni, violent clashes between police and miners left two dead and many more injured.

Following the deaths, Morales affirmed that their demands would be attended to via sincere and responsible dialogue, but that the most important thing right now was the unity of Bolivians and national integrity.

In this context, the need for international solidarity with Bolivia’s democratic process of change becomes paramount, as Chavez has repeatedly stated. The defeat of the Morales government would be a defeat not just for the oppressed in Bolivia, but the project for a new Latin America independent from US imperialism.

As Green Left Weekly goes to the press, the results of the referendum are still unknown. Next week’s issue will have full coverage of the referendum and its aftermath. To follow news about the events, visit

Below is an abridged article by Hugo Moldiz, MAS leader and head of the General Staff of the Peoples, which unites most of Bolivia’s social movements. It has been translated for GLW by Federico Fuentes.

* * *

On August 10, the possibilities of consolidating and strengthening a national-popular project, that creates equal rights and opportunities for all without exclusion and racism, by building on the things we got right and correcting errors, will face off against the project of the old Bolivia.

The forces of the old Bolivia involve the privileged, who sometimes confuse and utilise oppressed social sectors, and talk about democracy and justice while benefiting from being in positions of power.

August 10 will be more than a simple referendum to decide the permanence or not of President Evo Morales and eight of the nine prefects of Bolivia.

The result of the recall referendums will determine the continuity and deepening of the process of change initiated in 2006, or the beginning of the return to a Bolivia based on exclusion and material and symbolic privileges for a tiny group of families.

Therefore a lot is at play. But talking about change is abstract if it is not grounded in what is at stake, which the powerful media machine has dedicated itself to distorting and manipulating.

Symbolic changes

The political-electoral victory of December 2005 and the inauguration of Morales as president on January 22, 2006, marked the beginning of one of the most profound chapters in all of republican history. A series of symbolic, political, material and cultural changes began to occur.

Bolivia — a country with an indigenous majority, independent of their status as peasant, worker, petty trader, professional, intellectual and student — for the first time had an indigenous president, adding weight to the warning issued by Tupac Katari, an indigenous person who was quartered by the Spanish colony after surrounding La Paz in 1781, when he said: “I will return and be millions!”

With his entry in the Palacio Quemado, Morales opened the possibility of a rupture of the colonialism in force until now — one of its manifestations being racism — and of substituting it with peace and democracy, with a society where men and women, indigenous and non-indigenous, can coexist.

That is why the swearing in of the indigenous president in Tiwanacu, a day before the official act in Congress, acquired a symbolic value never experimented with before. The indigenous people dreamed about storming heaven, with votes and without rifles — and unlike in the past, invited others to construct a homeland for all.

Political changes

In the political sphere, the popular victory of 2005 represented a great possibility, paraphrasing former US president Abraham Lincoln, to construct “a government of the people, by the people and for the people”. And this is no exaggeration.

As well as the symbolic value of being indigenous, Morales wagers on the construction of a political power in which the urban and rural oppressed classes, including broad fractions of the middle classes hit hard by neoliberalism, can have a protagonistic participation.

We are not dealing here with the subordination of indigenous people to an imperial and white project, as has occurred in our history, but rather a rebellious Indian that the privileged want nothing to do with.

In Bolivia, a project is underway aimed at going beyond capitalism and towards the construction of a society and state where there is an equilibrium between humans and nature, between social and political democracy.

And the project is not just national. Morales forms part of a group of regional leaders working towards the unity and integration of Latin America.

Economic changes

Changes have also occurred in the economic sphere where important steps forward have been taken.

This statement makes sense if we compare the current situation with the destruction caused in Bolivia and other backward countries by the fundamentalist application of a neoliberal model.

The figures are stark. The level of industrial development of Bolivia, already very precarious, decreased from 19% to 12% during the 20 years of neoliberalism. The informal market increased, the state bank was privatised and what was private was owned by transnationals.

Services became more expensive and natural resources — oil and minerals — were handed over to foreign corporations that barely left a tribute of no more than 20% on average.

Thousands of workers were thrown onto the streets.

The result of such destructive actions can not be repaired in a few years, especially in the second poorest nation in Latin America — for whom extraordinary natural wealth has meant poverty for its inhabitants, due to the concentration of profits in few hands.

What has Morales done up until now? Faced with this past, much more than what other countries in better conditions have done in two years.

International reserves have increased from US$1.7 billion to close to $7.5 billion. Petroleum rent has increased from $300 million to more than $2 billion per year, product of the nationalisation of petroleum. The income from mining has increased due to an increase in taxes and the state recuperation of the Posokoni mines and the Vinto tin smelter, as well as supporting the mining cooperative sector.

In all the macroeconomic indicators, growth in these last two years has been superior (more than 5%) to those registered during the period of state capitalism (1952-85) and the two decades of a market economy. The volume of exports continues its ascending trend since 2005.

There is also the never before seen support given to small producers with the creation of the Popular Development Bank and the Peoples Trade Agreements (TCP — part of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America trading bloc).

There is also the productive and commercial reconversion of thousands of people that neoliberalism had condemned to import and sell as contraband used clothes, along with the first steps taken in line with a firm decision to advance towards an industrialisation that is compatible with the preservation of the environment.

It is not that nothing has been done, but the greatest lag, which can be explained by the magnitude of the political confrontation in Bolivia, is found in the distribution of land. Its not just that close to 700,000 hectares have been handed over to campesinos (peasants), out of an estimated 20 million, it’s that latifundio (large landed estates) is alive and well in the hands of the agro-exporting bourgeoisie.

Between 1996 and 2005, 36,815 hectares of fiscal land was distributed, that is, 3681 hectares per year on average. In the period 2006-07, the Morales government distributed 697,882 hectares to campesinos in the departments of La Paz, Pando, Santa Cruz and Tarija, or 350,000 hectares per year.

According to the vice-ministry of land, 200 times more land was redistributed to campesinos in two years than during a decade of the previous regimes, and out of 14.7 million hectares of land that have been assessed in three years, almost 9 million hectares is communitarian property, 577,000 small properties and 888,000 hectares belonging to medium and large companies.

Despite the creation of state companies, it is true that capitalist relations of production continue to be predominant. But looking towards the future, a longer transition awaits us.

Social changes

With Cuban-Venezuelan cooperation, 15,000 medical consultations have been registered, 250,000 eye operations have occurred and 10,000 people’s lives have been saved due to the expansion of health care. At the end of the year, Bolivia will be the third country after Cuba and Venezuela to be free of illiteracy in Latin America.

The payment of the “dignity rent” pension (3000 bolivianos) to all people over the age of 60 and the “juancito pinto” bonus (200 bolivianos) for children of primary school age, is something that marks a will to benefit all Bolivians via a better distribution of wealth.

The “energy revolution” is not being left behind and, with the help of Cuba, some 15 million energy saving light bulbs will be placed in all homes by the end of the year, representing a decrease of 70% in electricity consumption.

Constituent process

But, perhaps the best synthesis of the choice of advancing to the future or returning to the past, can be found in the struggle to the approve or reject the new constitution, and the totality of the constituent process that began with force in 2000.

A victory of the popular project in the referendums would represent a grand possibility of opening up a process of dialogue with the objective of breaking the catastrophic deadlock and give the county a new constitutional text.

The dominant classes, led by the agro-exporting bourgeoisie, are small but are currently unleashing an implacable offensive, driven by the US, against the emancipatory project led by Morales.

On the other side is the majority of people, in which, if the old unionism can leave behind its conservatism and the mestizo middle classes can overcome their prejudices, the conditions will exist to take a significant leap forward — together with a government that has to consolidate its advances but also correct errors in all spheres — towards the construction of a society with equal rights and opportunities for all.


Evo Morales “Exiled” in His Own Land

Morales survives Bolivian election test, but foes also gain

Bolivia: Is Evo in Danger after the August 10 referendum ? The US prepares a civil war

Evo Morales is ratified with 62% of the vote, increasing his 2005 vote by 8%

Libertarians and Socialists as Workers Must Unite by Lo

by Lo
Editor, Dandelion Salad
Aug. 11, 2008

This is in response to a recent post about a website owner’s wife being threatened by armed thugs who broke into their house to attempt to shut down the website he runs. Continue reading