State Secrets and Deceit: Obama Embraces CIA Torture by Tom Burghardt

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by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, February 13, 2009
antifascist-calling.blogspot.com

As predictably as night follows day, the Obama regime defended the CIA’s practice of “extraordinary rendition” (kidnapping) of suspected “terrorists” to third countries where they are subject to “enhanced interrogation” (torture) by allied security services.

Binyam Mohamed and four other victims have charged that they were brutalized after being “disappeared” by CIA operatives and secretly flown to Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan and eastern European CIA “black sites.”

On Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas N. Letter argued before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that the “change” administration would press ahead with the Bush regime’s odious invocation of the state secrets privilege to suppress a lawsuit brought by torture victims against Boeing subsidiary, San Jose, California-based Jeppesen DataPlan.

In a thinly-veiled threat to the Ninth Circuit, Letter told the Court according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Judges shouldn’t play with fire.”

Claiming that allowing the suit to go forward would irreparably harm “national security,” Letter argued that once they examine the government’s classified evidence “you will see that this case cannot be litigated.”

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Harry Lewis: Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion.

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Democracy Now!
2.12.09

Harry Lewis: “Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion.”

Almost everything we now do on a regular basis, from sending emails, taking photographs, writing text messages, calling on our cell phones, downloading music, typing on our computers, and using our credit and ATM cards, all of it generates information. And every single day the endless information generated by our ever-expanding digital footprints is recorded, tracked, searched through, sold, analyzed, and saved forever. Some might call this hyper-networked digital explosion and its potential for collaboration and innovation a kind of utopia. But others warn that it also raises important concerns about privacy, identity, freedom of expression, accountability, and the future of democracy.

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via Democracy Now! | Harry Lewis: “Blown to Bits: Your Life, Liberty, and Happiness After the Digital Explosion.”.

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Will Obama Break the Law for Israel’s Sake?

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by Grant F. Smith
Global Research, February 12, 2009
antiwar.com

Since entering office, President Barack Obama has promised sweeping changes in three aspects of governance: transparency, law enforcement, and stewardship of American tax dollars. For a public weary of law enforcement forever prosecuting street but never elite crime, Obama’s many statements about holding all individuals accountable under the law have been encouraging.

He also called for government-agency compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in a White House mandate for transparency. Obama swore any bailouts of financial institutions and industries will hereafter avoid secretly funneling taxpayer funds into bloated Wall Street bonuses, executive junkets, and private jets.

But does Obama intend to follow these rules himself? Probably not. Obama’s entire facade momentarily crumbled under a single withering question – “Do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?” – launched by veteran reporter Helen Thomas during the president’s first evening press conference on Feb. 9, 2008. Obama dodged the substance of the question:

“With respect to nuclear weapons, I don’t want to speculate. …”

[…]

Clearly, if this quiet commercial and financial blockade were being waged by some powerful foreign entity against the United States, Americans would consider it a casus belli. But rather than slow or shut the operation down in preparation for promised attempts at U.S.-Iran diplomacy, Obama’s new Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently announced that Stuart Levey will continue to lead this financial blockade unit at Treasury. This particular clandestine operations component of Obama’s Middle East policy may soon spark a senseless military conflict with Iran, but perhaps that’s the plan.

Obama’s policy, if honestly verbalized, may be the following: As your president, I will continue to deceive you about Israeli nuclear weapons, so that my administration can violate the Symington Amendment and deliver unwarranted amounts of taxpayer dollars to Israel. My administration will negotiate in bad faith with Iran while clandestinely attacking it, in order to preserve Israeli nuclear hegemony in the Middle East.

[…]

via Will Obama Break the Law for Israel’s Sake?.

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The Economy Sucks and or Collapse 2

Pakistan admits Mumbai bombing planned on its soil

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By Saeed Shah
McClatchy Newspapers
2.12.09

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani officials took what could be a decisive step forward in the country’s fight against Islamic extremism Thursday, publicly admitting for the first time that the Mumbai terrorist attacks were planned in and launched from Pakistan.

“Some part of the conspiracy has taken place in Pakistan,” Rehman Malik, the top security official in the Interior Ministry, told a news conference in Islamabad. “I want to assure the international community, I want to assure all those who have been victims of terrorism, that we mean business.”

Before the announcement, Pakistani officials had denied that there was any proof that its citizens were involved in the November Mumbai bombings, which killed some 170 people and pushed nuclear-armed Pakistan and India to the verge of war. Indian officials Thursday promptly welcomed the Pakistani admission as a “positive development.”

[…]

via McClatchy Washington Bureau | 02/12/2009 | Pakistan admits Mumbai bombing planned on its soil.

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.

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Mumbai India Terrorist Attacks November 26 2008

Afghanistan: Attacks in Kabul expose US occupation’s deepening crisis + videos

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By Bill Van Auken
http://www.wsws.org
12 February 2009

Coordinated attacks by Taliban guerrillas left at least 26 dead and 57 wounded in the heart of Kabul Wednesday, while paralyzing the Afghan capital for hours. The sophisticated operation, which targeted three government buildings, underscored the mounting crisis confronting the eight-year-old US occupation of Afghanistan and the American-backed puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.

The attacks came just days before the scheduled visit to Kabul of President Barack Obama’s special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, who is conducting what he has described as a “listening tour” that is a prelude to a major escalation of the US intervention throughout the region.

At least five guerrillas carrying Kalashnikov rifles and explosives stormed the Afghan Justice Ministry after killing two guards. They were able to take control of several floors of the government building, killing a number of officials and forcing the minister of justice and others to barricade themselves in their offices.

Meanwhile two others struck at the directorate of prisons in a Kabul suburb and an eighth attacker was killed outside the Education Ministry.

[…]

via Afghanistan: Attacks in Kabul expose US occupation’s deepening crisis.

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Taliban attacks Afghan ministry – 11 Feb 09

AlJazeeraEnglish

Taliban fighters have carried out twin attacks in the heart of Kabul.

Police sourrounded the ministry of justice complex after an armed group stormed the building.

Al Jazeera’s Todd Baer reports.

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Security tight in kabul after suicide bombings
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Toothless: The Watchdog Press That Became the Government’s Lapdog by Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.walterbrasch.com
February 12, 2009

Part 1

The president of the Associated Press (AP) was spewing venom at the Bush-Cheney administration for having turned the Department of Defense into a propaganda machine.

Americans “expect honest answers about what’s happening to their sons and daughters,” Tom Curley told journalism students and faculty at the University of Kansas. Listing innumerable ways the Pentagon had advocated Bush-Cheney political beliefs, Curley questioned if the United States should “be trying to influence public opinion through subterfuge, both here and abroad,”

An AP investigation had just revealed that the Pentagon budget for “influence operations” this fiscal year is at least $4.8 billion, with about 27,000 civilian and military personnel assigned to information dissemination.

The penalty for failing to agree to the Pentagon’s terms of reporting, said Curley, was that he was told by top commanders that “if I stood and the AP stood by its journalistic principles, the AP and I would be ruined.”

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Mosaic News – 2/11/09: World News From The Middle East

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Warning

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

linktv

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“Inconclusive Election Puts Israel in Limbo,” IBA TV, Israel
“Israel: Who Won the Elections?” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Palestinians Express Pessimism Over Israeli Elections,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Israeli rivals share tough line on Hamas and Iran,” Press TV, Iran
“Deadly attacks hit Afghan capital,” Al Jazeera TV, Qatar
“In Pakistan, Special Envoy From US Finds Discontent,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Shoes & Politics in Cairo,” Nile TV, Egypt
“Global Financial Crisis Hits Dubai,” New TV, Lebanon
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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All of Them Must Go By Naomi Klein + Protests in Iceland and Latvia

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By Naomi Klein
ICH
The Nation
February 10, 2009

Watching the crowds in Iceland banging pots and pans until their government fell reminded me of a chant popular in anti-capitalist circles in 2002: “You are Enron. We are Argentina.” Continue reading

Is Israel going Fascist?

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Democracy Now!
2.11.09

Israeli Professor Neve Gordon and Palestinian Lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti on the Israeli Elections Continue reading