On June 17, immediately after the historical ninth heads of state summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Yekaterinburg, Russia on the preceding two days, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao announced that their nations were drafting a joint treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in outer space to be presented to the United Nations General Assembly.
A statement by the presidents reflected a common purpose to avoid the militarization of space and said:
“Russia and China advocate peaceful uses of outer space and oppose the prospect of it being turned into a new area for deploying weapons.
“The sides will actively facilitate practical work on a draft treaty on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space, and of the use of force or threats to use force against space facilities, and will continue an intensive coordination of efforts to guarantee the security of activities in outer space.” 
Meet John Doe is a 1941 comedy drama film directed and produced by Frank Capra and starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. The film, about a “grassroots” political campaign, created unwittingly by a newspaper columnist and pursued by a wealthy businessman, became a box office hit and was nominated for an Academy Award for best original story (for Richard Connell and Robert Presnell Sr.). Continue reading →
I’m listening in disbelief as the MSM and the bloggers heap praise on the Iranian demonstrators while they encourage these people to keep on with the demonstrations and not to back down in the face of police and military power. It seems as if the American media is in complete solidarity with the Iranian dissidents. The advice coming out of America seems to suggest that American citizens are experienced in this type of struggle. The message we seem to be sending is that we Americans somehow know what they (the Iranians) must do in order to throw off the chains of servitude and make democracy work.
If nothing else, the wholesale plunder of the planet’s natural resources has brought into sharp focus the necessity for some kind of global (and globally enforceable) regulation of what’s left of the planet’s precious cargo of life. But can capitalism undertake such a task? Not only that, is it willing to do so and is even some kind of ‘reformed’ capitalism capable of doing so given that the basic drive of capitalism is expand or die.
The clarion call of Marx and his 19th century socialists was Internationalism, ‘All Workers of the World Unite’, predicated as it was on the globalizing nature of industrial capitalism as it sought to expand the capitalist market into every nook and cranny where there was a buck to be made. And in so doing, Marx correctly predicted that industrial capitalism would create an organized and politically conscious working class wherever it spread, who were at the time, the most advanced section of working people, and that it would be the organized working class ‘led’ by a revolutionary organization that would do away with capitalism and replace it with a rational, planned socialist economy.
While contrarians are screaming “hyperinflation!”, the money supply is actually shrinking. This is because most money today comes into existence as bank loans, and lending has shrunk substantially. That means the Fed needs to “monetize” debt just to fill the breach.
On June 3, 2009, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke assured Congress, “The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt.” Bill Bonner, writing in The Daily Reckoning, said it had a ring to it, like President Nixon’s “I am not a crook” and President Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman.” Monetizing the debt is precisely what the Fed will do, says Bonner, because it has no other choice. The Chinese are growing reluctant to lend, the taxpayers are tapped out, and the deficit is at unprecedented levels. “Even good people do bad things when they get in a jam. The Feds are already in pretty deep . . . and they’re going a lot deeper.”
The Secret History of the American Empire with John Perkins, author of Confessions of An Economic Hit Man.
Perkins zeroes in on hot spots around the world such as Venezuela, Tibet, Iraq, Israel, Vietnam and others and exposes the network of events in each of these countries that have contributed to the creation of the American Empire and international corruption in “The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption” – Cody’s Books
The United States has concerns about a possible North Korean missile launch towards Hawaii and has taken steps to ensure the protection of US territory, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday.
“We do have some concerns if they were to launch a missile … in the direction of Hawaii,” Gates told a news conference.
The defense secretary said he had approved the deployment of THAAD missile defense weaponry to the US state and radar “to provide support” in case of a possible North Korean missile attack.
Disturbing news from the legal action charity Reprieve, which reports that Mohammed El-Gharani, who was released from Guantánamo one week ago, “is still detained by the police in Chad — with no prospect of release.” Seized by Pakistani forces in a random raid on a mosque in Karachi and sold to US forces, El-Gharani was just 14 years old at the time, and was treated appallingly in Pakistani custody, and in US custody in Afghanistan and Guantánamo, before a judge finally ruled in January that the US government had failed to establish a case against him — having relied solely on information provided by unreliable witnesses in Guantánamo — and ordered his release.
By David Swanson
Thu, 2009-06-18 17:36
Sometimes, during a tsunami of bad news, it’s nice to come up for a breath of encouraging air. The only way to do that this week that I know of is to read a beautiful 42-page order by a judge (PDF). Usually such things don’t strike me as beautiful, but this one says that leading torture lawyer John Yoo can be sued in court by one of his victims. It also says that his arguments for immunity are a load of crap, his arguments for the legality of torture are at least plausibly as fetid a pile of feces as they appear to the naked eye, and the treatment received by Jose Padilla is rather glaringly in conflict with our laws, basic standards of decency, and the wisdom of those who have gone before us and warned against sacrificing our rights on the temple of war. Here’s an analysis of exactly how well thought out (not just beautiful) this order is, and how very likely it is to withstand challenge.
So, while Congress and the Ministry of Truth, er … I mean the Department of Justice (DOJ), hold off on any attempts to hold anyone accountable for torture until the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility releases a report on the conduct of Yoo, Jay Bybee, and Steven Bradbury — a report already delayed for six weeks of integrating edits made by the three men who are supposedly the subject of the report — a judge, by simply comparing Yoo’s publicly available confessions in the form of torture memos with actual legal standards, has produced the outline of an indictment that a special prosecutor could pick up and use to put John Yoo behind bars. The only thing missing is the creation of such a special prosecutor, something Attorney General Eric Holder would have to do. Meanwhile the House of Representatives is impeaching a judge for groping female employees, but can’t be bothered to impeach another judge, Jay Bybee, who was John Yoo’s boss during much of the torturing, who himself signed torture memos, and who signed a memo purporting to place the “legal” power of aggressive war in the hands of any president.
Western media, along with thousands of Iranians protesting around the world, have formed a rough consensus over the six days since Iran’s Presidential Election that Ahmadinejad’s victory was the result of widespread fraud. However, a recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post references a rare public opinion poll in suggesting that the election may indeed have been fair. While there is not enough information to determine whether or not the election was rigged, this poll certainly doesn’t rule out the possibility. If only because the poll’s authors concluded prior to the election that the very same data predicted a relatively close vote. Yet today, those same authors are claiming that their figures demonstrate the validity of Ahmadinejad’s landslide victory.
Iran is in a very strategic location for the expansion of US imperialism and control of oil in the Middle East. Military Force by the United States has already been threatened, but has drawbacks. However, the CIA is an expert at fixing elections and stirring up violence and street demonstrations in other countries until an overthrow of that government occurs and one more favorable to US imperialism takes its place.
In a world exclusive, Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, reveals new information, from a source in Libya, about Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the former US “ghost prisoner” who died in a Libyan jail last month, focusing, in particular, on the prisons in which he was held, and the ways in which torture was used by his interrogators.
Since the story first emerged last month that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (whose real name was Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) had died in a Libyan prison, speculation has been rife that the Libyan newspaper Oea, which claimed that he had died by committing suicide, was covering up the fact that he had actually been murdered.
President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced what he called “a sweeping overhaul of the financial regulatory system, a transformation on a scale not seen since the reforms that followed the Great Depression.”
The reality behind the rhetoric was indicated by the reaction on Wall Street. The stock market responded with a shrug, with the Dow and the S&P 500 finishing slightly down and the Nasdaq ending with a modest gain. Had there been anything in the proposals outlined by Obama that suggested a serious crackdown on the fraudulent practices that precipitated the present crisis, one can be certain the market would have reacted with a massive selloff.