By Pepe Escobar
April 27, 2009 “Asia Times”
It’s a script worthy of Freddie Krueger, the fictional character from the A Nightmare on Elm Street films. Nearly five years after the irruption of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq, here’s another chamber of horrors, another glimpse of how The Dark Side really works.
But the George W Bush torture memos released by the Barack Obama administration last week, written in legalese by Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury, are just a preview. Many will relish the newspeak. (“We conclude that – although sleep deprivation and use of the waterboard present more substantial questions in certain aspects under the statute and the use of tile waterboard raises the most substantial issue – none of these specific techniques, considered individually, would violate the prohibition in sections 134:0•2340A.”) As for the whole movie – a 21st century remix of a D W Griffith epic – it could be called Death of a Nation.
By Mike Whitney
April 27, 2009 “Information Clearing House”
Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
the blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
in the streets!
Poem by Pablo Neruda
About a month before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski appeared on PBS’s Charlie Rose Show and was asked whether he thought Obama would be a good choice for president. Brzezinski paused for a minute, peered at Rose out of the corner of his eye, and answered, “Just think of the symbolism.” As soon as he said that, Brzezinski and Rose broke out into laughter as though they were sharing a private joke.
Brzezinski was right, of course. Obama was the perfect choice for president. Not because of his experience. He had none. He was a two year senator with a resume’ small enough to fit on the back of a matchbox. Still Obama had what Brzezinski and Co. were looking for, symbolism; the kind of symbolism that connected him to people around the world and made them feel like one of their own had finally clawed their way to the top. Even better, Obama was a charismatic populist who could fill stadiums with adoring fans and put a benign face on America’s interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. What more could Brzezinski hope for? After 8 years of dragging “Brand America” through the mud, the country would finally get the emergency facelift it needed and begin to restore its battered image as the world’s indispensable nation.
Posted previously on October 31, 2006 on my old blog.
This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
by Chris Hedges
April 27, 2009
Barack Obama has squandered his presidency. He had a fleeting moment to challenge the casino capitalism and financial recklessness of our economic and political elite. He could have orchestrated a state socialism that would have provided a safety net for tens of millions of Americans faced with dislocation and misery. The sums he has doled out to Wall Street could have been used to force companies to keep workers on the job or create new banks to open up credit. But he lacked the foresight and the courage to challenge entrenched power. And now we are headed down one of two frightening roads—massive deflation or hyperinflation. Neither will be pleasant.
Hyman Minsky—an economist largely ignored during his lifetime and now held up as something of a prophet—argued that speculative bubbles, and the financial collapses that follow them, are an inevitable consequence of unregulated capitalism. Minsky, an economics professor at Washington University in St. Louis who died in 1996, warned: “The normal functioning of our economy leads to financial trauma and crises, inflation, currency depreciations, unemployment and poverty in the middle of what could be virtually universal affluence—in short … financially complex capitalism is inherently flawed.” He called for socialized banking and stimulus packages to protect workers.
Note: replaced video Feb. 11, 2012
April 26, 2009
Christopher Hitchens talked about his career as a writer and social critic, as well as his views on religion, politics, international affairs, and journalism. He is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and the Atlantic Monthly. He also writes for Slate. He is the author of many books, including For the Sake of Argument, No One Left to Lie To, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, and Letters to a Young Contrarian. His current paperback, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything was a New York Times Bestseller and a finalist for The National Book Award. From 1982 to 2002, he wrote a bi-weekly column for The Nation. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, the New School of Social Research, and the University of Pittsburgh. Christopher Hitchens was born in England and became a U.S. citizen in 2007.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Christopher Hitchens on Torture, and More (2009)
Christopher Hitchens Gets Waterboarded (2008)
Who Authorized The Torture of Abu Zubaydah? by Andy Worthington
Countdown: Waterboarding Is Torture + Olbermann Offers $1000 A SECOND To Hannity’s Waterboarding Charity Event
by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 26, 2009
The Wall Street Journal revealed April 24 that current National Security Agency (NSA) director Lt. General Keith Alexander will “head the Pentagon’s new Cyber Command.”
Friday’s report follows an April 22 piece published by the Journal announcing the proposed reorganization. The Obama administration’s cybersecurity initiative will, according to reports, “reshape the military’s efforts to protect its networks from attacks by hackers, especially those from countries such as China and Russia.”
When he was a presidential candidate, Obama had pledged to elevate cybersecurity as a national security issue, “equating it in significance with nuclear and biological weapons,” the Journal reported.
The new Pentagon command, according to The Washington Post, “would affect U.S. Strategic Command, whose mission includes ensuring U.S. ‘freedom of action’ in space and cyberspace, and the National Security Agency, which shares Pentagon cybersecurity responsibilities with the Defense Information Systems Agency.”
by Andy Worthington
27 April 2009
For the defendants of the use of torture by US forces — still led by former Vice President Dick Cheney — this has been a rocky few weeks, with the publication, in swift succession, of the leaked report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (PDF), based on interviews with the 14 “high-value detainees” transferred to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2006, which concluded that their treatment “constituted torture” (and was accompanied by two detailed articles by Mark Danner for the New York Review of Books), the release, by the Justice Department, of four memos issued by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in 2002 and 2005, which purported to justify the use of torture by the CIA, and the release of a 231-page investigation into detainee abuse conducted by the Senate Armed Services Committee (PDF).
The publication of the full Senate Committee report was delayed for four months, subject to wrangling over proposed redactions, but the Executive Summary, published last December, had already successfully demolished the Bush administration’s claims that detainee abuse could be blamed on “a few bad apples,” and, instead, blamed it on senior officials who, with the slippery exception of Dick Cheney, included George W. Bush, former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former Pentagon General Counsel William J. Haynes II, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Justice Department legal adviser John Yoo, former Guantánamo commanders Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey and Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, and Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the former commander of coalition forces in Iraq.
by Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
crossposted on TPJmagazine
April 27, 2009
George W. Bush apparently really believes in the “alternate realities” that he presented to our nation and the world over and over again during his Presidency. For example, he apparently really thought that: he was a uniter, not a divider; Saddam had weapons of mass destruction (until it was absolutely proven otherwise); cutting taxes for the rich would boost the economy; as President, he had all of those powers that Dick Cheney, Richard Addington, and John Yoo pretended to find for him in the Constitution; abolishing Social Security would benefit everyone whose social security was thereby abolished as well as the country as a whole; as President he had the authority under the Constitution to say “I’ll follow this Act of Congress but not that one, at my own discretion;” he could, on his own authority, abrogate ratified treaties if his White House Legal Counsel thought they were “quaint;” Saddam really did buy “yellow cake” in Niger.
While George Bush really is an undereducated, ignorant, and dumb, person, he, in his alternate reality certainly never thought of himself in that light. No, he was not a secret voracious reader, as “Turdblossom,” otherwise known as Karl Rove, was so fond of telling us. There were never any references to such readings except on the occasions that such were written into speeches for him. But he probably thought that he was, given that Rove told the world he that was. What a nice fit for Bush’s alternate reality.
April 26, 2009
Describes what needs to be done regarding the Financial Meltdown. Put the financial system in its proper place and bring Health to the Economy. All based on the Argentine experience of having suffered systemic collapses, hyperinflation and the gross corruption of wanton speculation.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
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