Kathy Kelly: Walking the Talk of Nonviolence

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talkingsticktv

Talk by Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness on “Living the Work and Walking the Talk of Nonviolence” given September 18, 2008 in Seattle.

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Myth of Iran wiping Israel off the map dispelled (interview with Ahmadinejad)

Dandelion Salad

Press TV
Thu, 18 Sep 2008 18:04:01 GMT

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to address the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23. The following is an exclusive Press TV interview with the president on his message for the world. He also sheds light on several controversial issues.

[…]

Press TV: Alright, you just mentioned Israel and you called it the Zionist regime. A lot of controversy surrounds this issue. On the eve of your trip, the Jewish lobby is at work protesting, but behind the scenes stronger hands are at work to lobby each and every important politician in New York for both sanctions and a possible military attack against Iran. I want to know about this issue and the controversy of Israel being wiped off the map. A lot of controversy is surrounding that… was it a mistranslation, not a mistranslation? Mike Wallace had this interview with you a couple of years back. One part of it, a major part of it, was edited out. Your idea on the destruction of the state of Israel and Israel should be wiped off the map? The part you talked about democracy and referendum?

Ahmadinejad: We said we do not accept this regime and the solution that we are presenting is a humanitarian solution. It is a very clear solution. We are saying that the Palestinians should decide their destiny themselves; they should choose their own political system. What we are saying is very clear. We believe that the people whose ancestors have lived in that land and own the land although they have been deported and expelled and are under occupation, we are saying that they are the ones….

Press TV: So you did not threaten to wipe Israel off the map as an Iranian leader? That we will wipe Israel off the map?

Ahmadinejad: No. We say that the people of Palestine should have rights and when the people of Palestine exercise this right, this will happen. Where is the Soviet Union? The Soviet Union has been wiped off the map. What happened to the Soviet Union? The decision of the people, the vote of the people. When the people of the Soviet Union, the Russian people, were allowed to decide to take charge of their destiny, the Soviet Union disappeared.

The Zionist regime is an artificial regime… a fictitious regime. You brought people from different parts of the world and you have built this state. No, that cannot last, it is not sustainable. If they do not listen to our solution, this will happen one day.

[…]

Press TV: Now this issue of a fabricated regime. There have been reports that they are planning airstrikes on Iran. Every single day we are hearing reports that Israel is getting frustrated with our nuclear program….

Ahmadinejad: They are really too small to be a threat to Iran. They should protect themselves. They are not even able to protect themselves. The position of Iran is very clear. The capacity and the power of the people of Iran is very clear. The people of Iran are able to defend their territorial integrity and their national sovereignty. They know that Iran is a great country, an important power… a humanitarian power. The people of Iran know how to defend themselves and such propaganda has no impact on the people of Iran. The era of making threats is over.

[…]

Press TV – Myth of Iran wiping Israel off the map dispelled.

see

Ahmadinejad DID NOT threaten to “wipe Israel off the map.”

MIR: Israel’s October Surprise?

Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Turkish TV – Interview

Iran

Ahmadinejad-Mahmoud

Financial Bailout: America’s Own Kleptocracy by Michael Hudson

Dandelion Salad

by Michael Hudson
Global Research, September 20, 2008

The largest transformation of America’s Financial System since the Great Depression

Nobody expected industrial capitalism to end up like this. Nobody even saw it evolving in this direction. I’m afraid this failing is not unusual among futurists: The natural tendency is to think about how economies can best grow and evolve, not how it can be untracked. But an unforeseen road always seems to appear, and there goes society goes off on a tangent.

What a two weeks!

On Sunday, September 7, the Treasury took on the $5.3 trillion mortgage exposure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose heads already had been removed for accounting fraud.

On Monday, September 15, Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, when prospective Wall Street buyers couldn’t gain any sense of reality from its financial books. On Wednesday the Federal Reserve agreed to make good for at least $85 billion in the just-pretend “insured” winnings owed to financial gamblers who bet on computer-driven trades in junk mortgages and bought counter-party coverage from the A.I.G. (the American International Group, whose head Maurice Greenberg already had been removed a few years back for accounting fraud).

But it is Friday, September 19, that will go down as a turning point in American history. The White House committed at least half a trillion dollars more to re-inflate real estate prices in an attempt to support the market value junk mortgages – mortgages issued far beyond the ability of debtors to pay and far above the going market price of the collateral being pledged.

These billions of dollars were devoted to keeping a dream alive – the accounting fictions written down by companies that had entered an unreal world based on false accounting that nearly everyone in the financial sector knew to be fake. But they played along with buying and selling packaged mortgage junk because that was where the money was. As Charles Prince of Citibank put it, “As long as they’re playing music, you have to get up and dance.” Even after markets collapsed, fund managers who steered clear were blamed for not playing the game while it was going. I have friends on Wall Street who were fired for not matching the returns that their compatriots were making. And the biggest returns were to be made in trading in the economy’s largest financial asset – mortgage debt. The mortgages packaged, owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie alone exceeded the entire U.S. national debt – the cumulative deficits run up by the American Government since the nation won the Revolutionary War!

This gives an idea of just how large the bailout has been – and where the government’s (or at least the Republicans’) priorities lie! Instead of waking up the economy to reality, the government has thrown all its resources to promote the unreal dream that debts can be paid – if not by the debtors themselves, then by the government – “taxpayers,” as the euphemism goes.

Overnight, the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve have radically changed the character of American capitalism. It is nothing less than a coup d’Etat for the class that FDR called “banksters.” What has happened in the past two weeks threatens to change the coming century – irreversibly, if they can get away with it. This is the largest and most inequitable transfer of wealth since the land giveaways to the railroad barons during the Civil War era.

Even so, there seems little sign that it even may end the free-market patter talk by financial insiders who have managed to avert public oversight by appointing non-regulators to the major regulatory agencies – and thus created the mess that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson now says threatens the bank deposits and jobs of all Americans. What he really means, of course, are simply the largest Republican campaign contributors (and to be fair, also the largest contributors to Democratic candidates on key financial committees).

A kleptocratic class has taken over the economy to replace industrial capitalism. Franklin Roosevelt’s term “banksters” says it all in a nutshell. The economy has been captured – by an alien power, but not the usual suspects. Not socialism, workers or “big government,” nor by industrial monopolists or even by the great banking families. Certainly not by Freemasons and Illuminati. (It would be wonderful if there were indeed some group operating with centuries of wisdom behind them, so at least someone at least had a plan.) Rather, the banksters have made a compact with an alien power -not Communists, Russians, Asians or Arabs. Not humans at all. The group’s cadre is a new breed of machine. It may sound like the Terminator movies, but computerized Machines have indeed taken over the world – at least, the White House’s world.

Here is how they did it. A.I.G. wrote insurance policies of all sorts of that people and businesses need: home and property insurance, livestock insurance, even aircraft leasing. These highly profitable businesses were not the problem. (They therefore will probably be sold off to pay the company’s bad gambles.) A.I.G.’s downfall came from the $450 billion – almost half a trillion – dollars it was on the hook for as a result of guaranteeing hedge-fund counterparty insurance. In other words, if two parties played the zero-sum game of betting against each other as to whether the dollar would rise or fall against sterling or the euro, or if they insured a mortgage portfolio of junk mortgages to make sure that they would get paid, they would pay a teeny tiny commission to A.I.G. for a policy promising to pay if, say, the $11 trillion U.S. mortgage market should “stumble” or if losers placing trillions of dollars in bets on foreign exchange derivatives, stock or bond derivatives should somehow find themselves in a position that so many Las Vegas patrons are in, and be unable to come up with the cash to cover their losses.

A.I.G. collected billions of dollars on such policies. And thanks to the fact that insurance companies are a Milton Friedman paradise – not regulated by the Federal Reserve or any other nation-wide agency, and hence able to get the proverbial free lunch without government oversight – writing such policies was done by computer printouts, and the company collected massive fees and commissions without putting in much capital of its own. This is what is called “self-regulation.” It is how the Invisible Hand is supposed to work.

It turned out, inevitably, that some of the financial institutions that made billion-dollar gambles – usually in the form of a thousand million-dollar gambles in the course of a few minutes or so, to be precise – couldn’t pay up. These gambles all occur in microseconds, at strokes of a keyboard almost without human interference. In that sense it is not unlike alien pod people taking over. But in this case they are robot-like machines, hence the analogy I drew above with the Terminators.

Their sudden rise to dominance is as unforeseen as an invasion from Mars. The nearest analogy is the invasion of the Harvard Boys, World Bank and U.S.A.I.D. to Russia and other post-Soviet economies after the Soviet Union was dissolved, pressing free-market giveaways to create national kleptocracies. It should be a worrying sign to Americans that these kleptocrats have become the Founding Fortunes of their respective countries. We should bear in mind Aristotle’s observation that democracy is the political stage immediately preceding oligarchy.

The financial machines that placed the trades that bankrupted A.I.G. were programmed by financial managers to act with the speed of light in conducting electronic trades often lasting only a few seconds each, millions of times a day. Only a machine could calculate mathematical probabilities factored in regarding the squiggles up and down of interest rates, exchange rates and stock and bonds prices – and prices for packaged mortgages. And the latter packages increasingly took the form of junk mortgages, pretending to be payable debts but in reality empty flak.

The machines employed by hedge funds in particular have given a new meaning to Casino Capitalism. That was long applied to speculators playing the stock market. It meant making cross bets, lose some and win some – and getting the government to bail out the non-payers. The twist in the past two weeks’ turmoil is that the winners cannot collect on their bets unless the government pays the debts that the losers are unable to cover with their own money.

One would have thought that this requires some degree of control over the government. The activity probably never should have been licensed. In fact, it never was licensed, and hence nor regulated. But there seemed to be a good reason: Investors in hedge funds had to sign a paper saying that they were rich enough to afford to lose their money on this financial gambling. Your average mom and pop investors were not permitted to participate. Despite the high rewards that millions of tiny trades generated, they were deemed too risky for the uninitiated lacking trust funds to play with.

A hedge fund does not make money by producing goods and services. It does not advance funds to buy real assets or even lend money. It borrows huge sums to leverage its bet with nearly free credit. Its managers are not industrial engineers but mathematicians who program computers to make cross-bets or “straddles” on which way interest rates, currency exchange rates, stock or bond prices may move – or the prices for packaged bank mortgages. The packaged loans may be sound or they may be junk. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is making money in a marketplace where most trades last only a few seconds. What creates the gains is the price fibrillation – volatility.

This kind of transaction may make fortunes, but it is not “wealth creation” in the form that most people recognize. Before the Black-Scholes mathematical formula for calculating the value of hedge bets, this kind of put and call option was too costly to provide much profit to anyone except the brokerage houses. But the combination of powerful computers and the “innovation” of almost free credit and free access to the financial gambling tables has made possible a frenetic back-and-forth maneuvering.

So why has the Treasury found it necessary to enter this picture at all? Why should these gamblers be bailed out, if they had enough to lose without having to become public wards by going on welfare? Hedge fund trading was limited to the very rich, for investment banks and other institutional investors. But it became one of the easiest ways to make money, loaning funds at interest for people to pay out of their computer-driven cross-trades. And almost as fast as it was made, this revenue was paid out in commissions, salaries and annual bonuses reminiscent of America’s Gilded Age in the years prior to World War I – years before the income tax was introduced in 1913. The remarkable thing about all this money was that its recipients didn’t even have to pay normal income tax on it. The government let them call it “capital gains,” which meant that the money was taxed at only a fraction of the rate that incomes were taxed.

The pretense, of course, is that all this frenetic trading creates real “capital.” It certainly does not do so in the classical 19th-century concept of capital. The term has been decoupled from producing goods and services, hiring wage labor or from financing innovation. It is as much “capital” as the right to conduct a lottery and collect the winnings from the hopes of the losers. But then, casinos from Las Vegas to riverboats have become a major “growth industry,” muddying the language of capital, growth and wealth itself.

For the gaming tables to be closed and the money paid out, the losers must be bailed out – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, A.I.G. and who knows what to come? This is the only way to solve the problem of how companies that already have paid out their revenue to their managers and stockholders instead of putting it in reserves are to collect their winnings from insolvent debtors and insurance companies. These losers also have paid out their income to their financial managers and insiders (along with the usual patriotic contributions to the political candidates on the key committees in charge of deciding the nation’s financial structuring).

This has to be orchestrated well in advance. It is necessary to buy politicians and give them a plausible cover story (or at least a well-crafted set of poll-tested euphemisms) to explain to voters just why it was in the public interest to bail out gamblers. Good rhetoric is needed to explain why the government should let them go into a casino and let them keep all their winnings while using public funds to make good on the losses of their counterparties.

What happened on September 18-19 took years of preparation, capped by a faux ideology crafted by public-relations think tanks to be broadcast under emergency conditions to panic Congress – and voters – right before the presidential election. This seems to be our September election surprise. Under staged crisis conditions, Pres. Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson are now calling for the country to come together in a War on Defaulting Homeowners. This is said to be the only hope to “save the system.” (What system is this? Not industrial capitalism, or even banking as we know it.) The largest transformation of America’s financial system since the Great Depression has been compressed into just two weeks, starting with the doubling of America’s national debt on September 7 with the nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (My computer’s spellchecker will not permit me to use the euphemism “conservatorship” that Mr. Paulson applied to bailing out the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fraudsters.)

Economic theory used to explain that profits and interest were a return for calculated risk. But today, the name of the game is capital gains and computerized gambling on the direction of interest rates, foreign currencies and stock prices – and when bad bets are made, bailouts are the calculated economic return for campaign contributions. But this is not supposed to be the time to talk of such things. “We must act now to protect our nation’s economic health from serious risk,” intoned Pres. Bush on September 19. What he meant was that the White House must make the Republican Party’s largest group of campaign contributors whole – Wall Street, that is – by bailing out their bad gambles. “There will be ample opportunity to debate the origins of this problem. Now is the time to solve it.” In other words, don’t make this an election issue. “In our nation’s history there have been moments that require us to come together across party lines to address major challenges. This is such a moment.” Right before the presidential election! The same guff was heard earlier on Friday morning from Sec. Paulson: “Our economic health requires that we work together for prompt, bipartisan action.” The broadcasters said that half a trillion dollars was discussed for this day’s maneuverings.

Much of the blame should go to the Clinton Administration for leading the call to repeal Glass-Steagall in 1999, letting the banks merge with casinos. Or rather, the casinos have absorbed the banks. That is what has put the savings of Americans at risk.

But does this really mean that the only solution is to re-inflate the real estate market? The Paulson-Bernanke plan is to enable the banks to sell off the homes of five million home mortgage debtors faced with default or foreclosure this year! Homeowners with “exploding adjustable-rate mortgages” will lose their homes, but the Fed will pump enough credit into the mortgage-lending agencies to enable new buyers to go deeply enough into debt to take the junk mortgages off the hands of the gamblers who presently own them. Time for another financial and real estate bubble to bail out the junk mortgage lenders and packagers.

America has entered into a new war – a War to Save Computerized Derivative Traders. Like the Iraq war, it is based largely on fictions and entered into under seeming emergency conditions – to which the solution has little relation to the underlying cause of the problems. On financial security grounds the government is to make good on the collateralized debt obligations packaged (CDOs) that Warren Buffett has called “weapons of mass financial destruction.”

Hardly by surprise, this giveaway of public money is being handled by the same group that warned the country so piously about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Pres. Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson have piously announced that this is no time for partisan disagreements over this shift of public policy to favor creditors rather than debtors. There is no time to make the biggest bailout in election history an election issue. Not an appropriate time to debate whether it is a good thing to re-inflate housing prices to a level that will continue to oblige new home buyers to go so deeply into debt that they must pay some 40 percent of their take-home pay on housing.

Remember when President Bush and Alan Greenspan informed the American people that there was no money left to pay Social Security (not to mention Medicare) because at some future date (a decade from now? 20 years? 40 years?) the system might run a deficit of what now seems to be merely a trivial trillion dollars spread over many, many years. The moral was that if we can’t figure out how to pay, let’s plow the program under right now.

Mr. Bush and Greenspan did have a helpful solution, of course. The Treasury could turn Social Security and medical insurance money over to Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and their brethren to invest at the “magic of compound interest.”

What would have happened to U.S. Social Security had this been done? Perhaps we should view the past two weeks’ events as having assigned to Wall Street gamblers all the money that has been set aside since the Greenspan Commission in 1983 shifted the tax burden onto FICA wage withholding. It is not retirees who are being rescued, but the Wall Street investors who signed papers saying that they could afford to lose their money. The Republican slogan this November should be “Gambling insurance, not health insurance.”

This is not how the much-vaunted Road to Serfdom was mapped out to be. Frederick Hayek and his Chicago Boys insisted that serfdom would come from government planning and regulation. This view turned upside down the classical and Progressive Era reformers who depicted government as acting as society’s brain, its steering mechanism to shape markets – and free them from income without playing a necessary role in production.

The theory of democracy rested on the assumption that voters would act in their self-interest. Market reformers made a kindred happy assumption that consumers, savers and investors would promote economic growth by acting with full knowledge and understanding of the dynamics at work. But the Invisible Hand turned out to be accounting fraud, junk mortgage lending, insider dealing and a failure to relate the soaring debt overhead to the ability of debtors to pay – all of this mess seemingly legitimized by computerized trading models, and now blessed by the Treasury.

Michael Hudosn is President of The Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic Trends (ISLET), a Wall Street Financial Analyst, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City and author of Super-Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972 and 2003) and of The Myth of Aid (1971).

© Copyright Michael Hudson, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10279

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Bill Moyers Journal: Wall Street Woes + Kevin Phillips + Yankee Stadium

SEP presidential candidate speaks on financial crisis

Bush Announces Bailing Out Wall Street

The Point of No Return By Mike Whitney

Global Financial Meltdown by Michel Chossudovsky

The U.S. Is Becoming an Impoverished Nation by Richard C. Cook

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Dozens killed in Pakistan hotel blast + Pakistan shaken by deadly blast

Dandelion Salad

Updated: added 2 more video reports

Warning

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

AlJazeeraEnglish

Police say a suicide bomber has driven an explosives-laden vehicle into Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel.

At least 40 people are reported to have been killed and wounding 50 more wounded, as the hotel was packed for breaking fast during Ramadan.

Nadim Baba reports.

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Thank God Almighty – They’re Over

GUADAMOUR

by Guadamour
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Guadamour’s blog post
Sept. 20, 2008

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions are over.   Thank God Almighty – Hallelujah.

I’ve always wanted to start something with an exclamation like that.   Not that I’ve ever been able to wrap my head around the belief in a God or gods.   I do appreciate God and his alleged son.  They make swearing so much easier.   Language would be much less colorful, paler, weaker and deprived if it didn’t have the use of God to swear.

I am grateful for certain things in life, such as having no television or radio, and having divorced myself from the need to constantly dirty my hands on a newspaper or magazine.   That does not mean I’m ill informed, because I like to think of myself as highly informed.  I am spared most of the bullshit that is two party politics in the US, but not entirely because plenty of it browns the internet.

I just wish the whole frickin election cycle was over, and truly I could never imagine myself writing something like I’ve just written.

I was born into a very political family.  My father was born in 1901 and in the early 1920s was the youngest member of the Montana state legislature.   In 1932 he was also the National Chairman of the Young Republicans.

He supported Herbert Hoover when he was steam-rolled by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, and always contented that FDR received a lot of credit for programs that Hoover had initiated.   I never knew enough about the history of that era to contest what he said.

I had the opportunity of meeting Hoover when I was quite young and he was quite old.   He showed up and my father and him went on another fly fishing trip together.

My father always dutifully supported the Republican Party–the Grand Old Party, though he was capable of independent thought which I would learn most political ideologues of whatever persuasion are not.

My father supported Gerald Ford over Carter in 1976 as I did, though I did not support Nixon as he had.

When Ronald Reagan was nominated by the GOP in 1980, my Dad supported Carter.   He could see the disastrous unregulated part of the Republican party Reagan represented.  Besides, he had met Reagan years before and realized how unintelligent he was.   Dad thought Carter had the misfortune of being president at the wrong time just as Hoover had.

My father voted third party for the rest of his life until he died in 1990.    He had worked in the Defense Industry for part of his life, and he realized just how corrupt it was and futile it was to waste all that money the Republicans seemed to be intent on throwing down the drain.   He could not support that evil, nor the evil that he felt the Democrats represented.

I’ve always been a GDI (God Damn Independent) since I left home, except for the years I was a registered anarchist (not that I ever really supported the anarchist concepts—I liked the oxymoron principle that I could actually register as an anarchist).

As I get older I find certain parts of my thought taking after the logic of my father.  I’m finding it impossible to support either of the two evils represented by the Democrats and Republicans.

By voting for for what I think is the lesser of two evils I am still left with evil.

I recently heard an address by Congress Dr. Ron Paul of Texas.   Paul is a twenty year member of Congress, a former presidential candidate, and obviously knows his way around Washington and US politics.  In the address explained how little if anything changes whether the Democrats or Republicans are elected.  In his words, “It is a charade.”

Paul, Kucinich and a handful of others are trying to change the system from within.  Though he hasn’t entirely conceded that he can’t, it would seem that Paul has come to re realization that change from within is damn near impossible.

With Doctor Paul and my father in mind, I find that the viable option in terms of voting, and not just voting for the lesser of two evils (which will still leave one with evil), is voting third party.

For me the Green Party Candidate, Cynthia Mc Kinney makes the most sense.   She is an extremely intelligent Black former Democratic Congresswoman from Atlanta, Georgia.

I like a lot of what Nader stands for, but Nader has been so righteously on the correct side for so long he carries too much baggage.   He has never been elected to an office, and I believe for the most part he is unelectable, though he is certainly a more viable candidate than what the Crats & the GOP have regurgitated as candidates.

I am not familiar enough with the Libertarian or Constitutional party candidates to write about them.

see

McKinney-Cynthia

Paul-Ron-MD

Kucinich-Dennis J.

Ralph Nader Posts & Videos

Labor Day in the Park – Mass Arrests (video)

Dandelion Salad

Alternet
Sept 19, 2008

Newly released footage, which was buried to avoid confiscation, shows riot cops arresting and abusing a giant group of people for nothing.

[…]

Here’s the press release that came with the video, from the Glass Bead Collective: Continue reading

“We Blew Her to Pieces” – Reviewed by Dahr Jamail

Dandelion Salad

Reviewed by Dahr Jamail
ICH
MARFA, Texas, Sep 16 (IPS)

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan by Aaron Glantz

Aside from the Iraqi people, nobody knows what the U.S. military is doing in Iraq better than the soldiers themselves. A new book gives readers vivid and detailed accounts of the devastation the U.S. occupation has brought to Iraq, in the soldiers’ own words.

“Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation,” published by Haymarket Books Tuesday, is a gut-wrenching, historic chronicle of what the U.S. military has done to Iraq, as well as its own soldiers.

Authored by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and journalist Aaron Glantz, the book is a reader for hearings that took place in Silver Spring, Maryland between Mar. 13-16, 2008 at the National Labour College.

“I remember one woman walking by,” said Jason Washburn, a corporal in the U.S. Marines who served three tours in Iraq. “She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realised that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces.”

Washburn testified on a panel that discussed the rules of engagement in Iraq, and how lax they were, even to the point of being virtually non-existent.

“During the course of my three tours, the rules of engagement changed a lot,” Washburn’s testimony continues. “The higher the threat the more viciously we were permitted and expected to respond.”

His emotionally charged testimony, like all of those in the book that covered panels addressing dehumanisation, civilian testimony, sexism in the military, veterans’ health care, and the breakdown of the military, raised issues that were repeated again and again by other veterans.

“Something else we were encouraged to do, almost with a wink and nudge, was to carry ‘drop weapons’, or by my third tour, ‘drop shovels’. We would carry these weapons or shovels with us because if we accidentally shot a civilian, we could just toss the weapon on the body, and make them look like an insurgent,” Washburn said.

Four days of searing testimony, witnessed by this writer, is consolidated into the book, which makes for a difficult read. One page after another is filled with devastating stories from the soldiers about what is being done in Iraq.

Everything from the taking of “trophy” photos of the dead, to torture and slaughtering of civilians is included.

“We’re trying to build a historical record of what continues to happen in this war and what the war is really about,” Glantz told IPS.

Hart Viges, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army who served one year in Iraq, tells of taking orders over the radio.

“One time they said to fire on all taxicabs because the enemy was using them for transportation…One of the snipers replied back, ‘Excuse me? Did I hear that right? Fire on all taxicabs?’ The lieutenant colonel responded, ‘You heard me, trooper, fire on all taxicabs.’ After that, the town lit up, with all the units firing on cars. This was my first experience with war, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the deployment.”

Vincent Emanuele, a Marine rifleman who spent a year in the al-Qaim area of Iraq near the Syrian border, told of emptying magazines of bullets into the city without identifying targets, running over corpses with Humvees and stopping to take “trophy” photos of bodies. “An act that took place quite often in Iraq was taking pot shots at cars that drove by,” he said. “This was not an isolated incident, and it took place for most of our eight-month deployment.”

Kelly Dougherty, the executive director of IVAW, blames the behaviour of soldiers in Iraq on the policies of the U.S. government. “The abuses committed in the occupations, far from being the result of a ‘few bad apples’ misbehaving, are the result of our government’s Middle East policy, which is crafted in the highest spheres of U.S. power,” she said.

Knowing this, however, does little to soften the emotional and moral devastation of the accounts.

“You see an individual with a white flag and he does anything but approach you slowly and obey commands, assume it’s a trick and kill him,” Michael Leduc, a corporal in the Marines who was part of the U.S. attack of Fallujah in November 2004, said were the orders from his battalion JAG officer he received before entering the city.

This is an important book for the public of the United States, in particular, because the Winter Soldier testimonies were not covered by any of the larger media outlets, aside from the Washington Post, which ran a single piece on the event that was buried in the Metro section.

The New York Times, CNN, and network news channels ABC, NBC and CBS ignored it completely.

This is particularly important in light of the fact that, as former Marine Jon Turner stated, “Anytime we did have embedded reporters with us, our actions changed drastically. We never acted the same. We were always on key with everything, did everything by the book.”

“To me it’s about giving a picture of what war is like,” Glantz added, “Because here in the U.S. we have this very sanitised version of what war is. But war is when we have a large group of armed people killing large numbers of other people. And that is the picture that people will get from reading veterans testimony…the true face of war.”

Dehumanisation of the soldiers themselves is covered in the book, as it includes testimony of sexism, racism, and the plight of veterans upon their return home as they struggle to obtain care from the Veterans Administration.

There is much testimony on the dehumanisation of the Iraqi people as well. Brian Casler, a corporal in the Marines, spoke to some of this that he witnessed during the invasion of Iraq.

“But on these convoys, I saw marines defecate into MRE bags or urinate in bottles and throw them at children on the side of the road,” he stated.

Numerous accounts from soldiers include the prevalence of degrading terms for Iraqis, such as “hajis,” “towel-heads” and “sand-niggers”.

Scott Ewing, who served in Iraq from 2005-2006, admitted on one panel that units intentionally gave candy to Iraqi children for reasons other than “winning hearts and minds”.

“There was also another motive,” Ewing said, “If the kids were around our vehicles, the bad guys wouldn’t attack. We used the kids as human shields.”

Glantz admits that it would be difficult for the average U.S. citizen to read the book, and believes it is important to keep in mind while doing so what it took for the veterans to give this historic testimony.

“They could have been heroes, but what they are doing here is even more heroic — which is telling the truth,” Glantz told IPS. “They didn’t have to come forward. They chose to come forward.”

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It’s March 19 and Blogswarm Day! Posts on Iraq War by Lo (includes links to Winter Soldier)

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Bill Moyers Journal: Wall Street Woes + Kevin Phillips + Yankee Stadium

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Bill Moyers Journal

Sept 19, 2008

Wall Street Woes

NEW YORK TIMES business and financial columnists Gretchen Morgenson and Floyd Norris discuss who wins and who loses in the financial turmoil.

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

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MIR: Israel’s October Surprise?

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linktv

Some Israeli officials have been threatening to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. Are these threats empty or loaded? Will Israel strike before the US elections in November? And will there be an “October Surprise”?
Answers to these questions and more, on Link TV’s Mosaic Intelligence Report.

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Deep Events and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection by Peter Dale Scott

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by Peter Dale Scott
Global Research, September 19, 2008
– 2008-09-06

The text published below does not include text and endnote numerals. To consult Peter Dale Scott’s article entitled Deep Events and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection, with numbered references and endnotes in word document format click here

Introduction

Recently I published two articles pointing to suggestive similarities between the recurring deep events in recent American history – those events which, because of their intelligence aspects, are ignored, misrepresented, or covered up in the American media. The first article pointed to overall similarities in many deep events since World War II. The second pointed to surprising points of comparison in the two deep events which were followed shortly by major U.S. wars: the John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11. In the background of all these events, I suggested, was recurring evidence of the milieu “combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld.”

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Vice President Dick Cheney’s Incredible and Deadly Lie By John W. Dean

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By John W. Dean
ICH
09/19/08 “FindLaw”

By Deceiving a Congressional Leader, Cheney Sent Us to War on False Pretenses and Violated the Separation of Powers – as Well as the Criminal Law

This week, I agreed to deliver a “Constitution Day” talk on a college campus. My talk was not partisan. Yet the subject matter I selected was prompted by the most incredible – not to mention the most deadly – lie Dick Cheney has yet told, which was reported earlier this week.

Last year, Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman and Jo Baker, now of the New York Times, did an extensive series for the Post on Cheney. Now, Gellman has done some more digging, and published the result in a book he released this week: Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency. The book reveals a lie told to a high-ranking fellow Republican, and the difference that lie made. In this column, I’ll explain how Cheney defied the separation of powers, and go back to the founding history to show why actions like his matter so profoundly.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s Incredible and Deadly Lie     : Information Clearing House – ICH.

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Democracy Now

Book: Cheney’s Drive for Warrantless Spying Nearly Brought Down Bush Presidency

We speak to award-winning journalist Barton Gellman about his new book, Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency. Gellman reveals Cheney played a crucial role in maintaining warrantless spying even after Justice Department officials began to doubt its legality in 2004. Gellman writes: “The history of the Bush administration cannot be written without close attention to the moments when Cheney took the helm—sometimes at Bush’s direction, sometimes with his tacit consent, and sometimes without the president’s apparent awareness.” [includes rush transcript]

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Democracy Now | Book: Cheney’s Drive for Warrantless Spying Nearly Brought Down Bush Presidency.

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Leaving No Tracks By Jo Becker and Barton Gellman (Cheney; Angler)

A Strong Push From Back Stage By Jo Becker and Barton Gellman (Cheney)

Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power By Barton Gellman and Jo Becker

‘A Different Understanding With the President’ By Barton Gellman and Jo Becker

The Vices of Cheney: Where Impeachment Must Begin by William E. Jackson Jr.

BART GELLMAN AUTHOR OF ANGLER: THE CHENEY VICE PRESIDENCY (vid)

ANGLER: THE CHENEY VICE PRESIDENCY WASHINGTON POST (vids)