Helicopters, Cover-ups and War Crimes

Dandelion Salad

by Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere
http://www.huffingtonpost.com
2.19.09

“Obama Confronts a Choice on Copters” read this week’s New York Times. The President soon “will have to decide whether to proceed with some of the priciest aircraft in the world — a new fleet of 28 Marine One helicopters that will each cost more than the last Air Force One….The choice confronting Mr. Obama encapsulates the tension between two imperatives of his nascent presidency, the need to meet the continuing threats of an age of terrorism and the demand for austerity in a period of economic hardship.”

This is a gross misrepresentation of the choice Obama faces. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) and others have alleged that the contract for 28 Marine One helicopters was awarded to the Italian firm Finmeccanica as a thank you for Italy’s participation in the Iraq War. The evidence, however, indicates that the contract was more specifically a payoff to the Italian government for supplying the forged documents showing Saddam had obtained weapons grade uranium from Niger. President Bush famously used this fraudulent “yellowcake” intelligence to justify launching the war.

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via Jeffrey Klein and Paolo Pontoniere: Helicopters, Cover-ups and War Crimes

h/t: FalconerHK

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Whom the GOP Serves by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
crossposted on Buzzflash.com
February 19, 2009

One of Ronald Reagan’s first acts on his first full day in office, January 21, 1981, was to completely shut down the alternate/renewable energy program that Jimmy Carter established in the late 1970s. At that time, a few scientists were already predicting global warming.  However, there was little data and most of the science that was going on was in the realm of hypothesis. What was known for sure at that time was that however much more oil and other fossil fuels were eventually discovered, they would eventually run out. There is only a finite supply of the stuff in the Earth. The only variable is that we don’t know just how much there is or how much it would cost to extract every last ounce of it. At some time, if civilization were to be preserved, other sources of energy would have to be developed. Furthermore, at that time it was know for sure that if all of the petro-chemicals were burned up, much of the stuff of modern life, from plastics to pharmaceuticals, would disappear as well.

So Carter was more likely to be thinking about “peak oil” than he was about global warming when he set up the alternative energy research program and when he had solar panels, pretty primitive ones in those days, installed on the roof of the White House. Of course, those panels went pretty quickly too.  But that was of little interest to the powers that put Reagan in office.

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Part 2: The Lapdogs Get Some Teeth by Walter Brasch

by Walter Brasch
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.walterbrasch.com
February 19, 2009

Toothless: The Watchdog Press That Became the Government’s Lapdog

Part 2: The Lapdogs Get Some Teeth

In May 2004, the New York Times, while claiming it was aggressive in pursuing stories about the Bush-Cheney Administration, slipped in an apology for acting more as the mouthpiece for politicians than as a watchdog for society. “Coverage was not as rigorous as it should have been,” the Times admitted. Part of the problem, the Times acknowledged, was that “Editors at several levels who should have been challenging reporters and pressing for more skepticism were perhaps too intent on rushing scoops into the paper.” The Times concluded it wished “we had been more aggressive.”

Almost three months later, the Washington Post, one of the most hawkish papers for invading Iraq, finally acknowledged its own pre-war hysteria and lack of journalistic competence and courage. “We were so focused on trying to figure out what the administration was doing that we were not giving the same play to people who said it wouldn’t be a good idea to go to war and were questioning the administration’s rationale,” wrote Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr.

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Google exposes US airbase in Pakistan used to launch drones + Exposed: Secret CIA Base For Drone Raids

Dandelion Salad

John Byrne
The Raw Story
Thursday February 19, 2009

Instead of blanket-wiretapping Americans, maybe the Bush Administration’s intelligence agencies should have spent a little more time with Google Earth.

Until recently, Google Earth prominently displayed an image of a clandestine US airbase that housed unmanned Predator drones in Pakistan. An image appeared to show three drones outside a hangar at the end of a runway, which was then confirmed to be an airfield by a British newspaper.

The newspaper then cited intelligence sources as saying the CIA had been using the base to attack and observe al-Qaeda and Taliban militants along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The photograph appears to confirm a seeming slip-of-the-tongue by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who said that the US was launching strikes on Pakistani territory from inside Pakistan (“As I understand it, these [drones] are flown out of a Pakistani base,” she said). Feinstein’s spokesman later asserted she was only repeating something she saw in The Washington Post, but intelligence sources used the opportunity to confirm that the US had indeed been using Pakistani bases.

via The Raw Story | Google exposes US airbase in Pakistan used to launch drones

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Exposed: Secret CIA Base For Drone Raids

Google Earth Reveals Secret History of US Base In Pakistan

By Jeremy Page
ICH
February 19, 2009 “The Times

The US was secretly flying unmanned drones from the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Baluchistan as early as 2006, according to an image of the base from Google Earth.

The image — that is no longer on the site but which was obtained by The News, Pakistan’s English language daily newspaper — shows what appear to be three Predator drones outside a hangar at the end of the runway. The Times also obtained a copy of the image, whose co-ordinates confirm that it is the Shamsi airfield, also known as Bandari, about 200 miles southwest of the Pakistani city of Quetta.

An investigation by The Times yesterday revealed that the CIA was secretly using Shamsi to launch the Predator drones that observe and attack al-Qaeda and Taleban militants around Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

US special forces used the airbase during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, but the Pakistani Government said in 2006 that the Americans had left and both sides have since denied repeatedly that Washington was using Pakistani bases. Pakistan has also demanded that the US cease drone attacks on its tribal area, which have increased over the last year, allegedly killing several “high-value” targets as well as many civilians.

The Google Earth image now suggests that the US began launching Predators from Shamsi – built by Arab sheiks for falconry trips – at least three years ago.

via : Information Clearing House – ICH

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Two US missile strikes in Pakistan in three days kill more than 60

Destabilizing Pakistan, America Plays with Fire by Tom Burghardt

Feinstein comment on U.S. drones likely to embarrass Pakistan + video + Death toll has reached 26

Bil’in invaded by Israeli Army 18-02-2009

Dandelion Salad

Warning

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

emadbornat

Bil’in village was invaded yesterday and last night by the Israeli army.

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Israel-Palestine-Gaza-Occupation

Viva Palestina (The Gaza Convoy) + UK releases 3 Viva Palestina members

Dandelion Salad

Updated: 2.20.09 added a story; see below

fourmanfilms Continue reading

RNC Protesters Tried on Terrorism Charges Despite Acknowledgment They Didn’t Commit Alleged Acts

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!
2.18.09

Last September in St. Paul, Ramsey County prosecutors formally charged eight members of the group RNC Welcoming Committee with conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism. The criminal complaints reportedly do not allege that any of the defendants personally engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. Instead, authorities are seeking to hold them responsible for acts committed by other individuals during the RNC’s opening days. We speak to one of the defendants, Luce Guillen-Givins, and RNC 8 Attorney Jordan Kushner. [includes rush transcript]

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via Democracy Now! | RNC Protesters Tried on Terrorism Charges Despite Acknowledgment They Didn’t Commit Alleged Acts

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RNC – St Paul-Minneapolis MN

Ivan Eland: Afghanistan will see no stability

Dandelion Salad

RussiaToday

Increase of U.S. contingent wont bring stability to Afghanistan says Ivan Eland, senior fellow at the Independent Institute, Washington DC.

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President Obama: Afghanistan IS Still Winnable

Propaganda Alert

Dandelion Salad

VOTERSTHINKdotORG

http://cspanjunkie.org/

February 17, 2009 CBC The National

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EU, NATO, US: 21st Century Alliance For Global Domination by Rick Rozoff

Sent to DS by the author; thanks Rick.

Dandelion Salad

by Rick Rozoff
Stop NATO
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/message/37422
February 19, 2009

With France’s reintegration into NATO’s military command after a 33 year hiatus to be formalized at this year’s Alliance summit in Strasbourg, which will also upgrade the 1999 Strategic Concept with increased emphasis on NATO-EU-US military integration, and with the EU intensifying the creation of a 60,000-troop rapid deployment force and its own and affiliated Nordic battlegroups for use around the world, the mutual relations obtaining among the three major centers of Western economic, political and military power – the EU, NATO and the US – require urgent examination.

To date the conventional wisdom in establishment circles has largely consisted of a set of four false dichotomies:

The progressively more ambitious development of EU military capabilities is in competition with if not a direct challenge to NATO and the strategic trans-Atlantic alliance with Washington.

NATO is a multilateral antidote to US unilateralism.

The EU is a principled practitioner of peaceful diplomacy whereas the US and NATO are often too hasty in relying on the military necessity.

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Gaza Convoy with George Galloway + For the Fishermen of Gaza

Dandelion Salad

By George Galloway and By Yvonne Ridley
ICH
2.18.09

A convoy of more than 110 vehicles has snaked its way out of London for Gaza to deliver more than £1m worth of aid, including ambulances and a fire engine. Continue reading