Fmr. UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter Warns Against “Politically Motivated Hype” on Iran Nuke Program
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter joins us to discuss what he calls “politically motivated hype” over Iran’s nuclear program. The Obama administration has warned of sanctions unless Iran allows inspections of a newly disclosed nuclear site. Iran insists the site has been used for peaceful purposes. The row comes just after Iran’s test-firing of medium- and long-range missiles and before Iranian officials are due to hold talks with the US and five other nations in Geneva. [includes rush transcript]
I know that you are only fulfilling your campaign promises to increase the violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan and I notice that not a significant amount of troops have been withdrawn from Iraq. However, even with your hostile rhetoric and promises to escalate the violence, many people voted for you because they believed you were the peace candidate.
Since the election, you have betrayed the progressive base that gave you victory on many occasions already, but the cause that keeps many of us motivated is the continued carnage in the Middle East. What bothers me even more, especially, is the fact that the so-called anti-war movement has given you a nine-month free pass and thousands of people have died, including hundreds of our own troops.
In four years of researching and writing about Guantánamo, I have become used to uncovering shocking information, but for sheer cynicism, I am struggling to think of anything that compares to the revelations contained in the unclassified ruling in the habeas corpus petition of Fouad al-Rabiah, a Kuwaiti prisoner whose release was ordered last week by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly (PDF). In the ruling, to put it bluntly, it was revealed that the US government tortured an innocent man to extract false confessions and then threatened him until he obligingly repeated those lies as though they were the truth.
Jesse Ventura, the former governor of Minnesota is a phenomenon unique to America politics, someone outside of the political arena who uses his renown to secure a political position of power.
In Don’t Start The Revolution Without Me, (Skyhorse Publishing 2,008) written with Dick Russell, Ventura offers insights into the American political situation that no one else is in the position to put forward.
The fast and easy to read book is a loose biography of Ventura’s life and beliefs. A native of Minneapolis, a Vietnam Navy Seal veteran, professional wrestler and radio and television talk show host, Ventura invented his own life filled with integrity, the love of his country, wife and family.
Ventura’s parents were both veterans of WWII, and growing up in the Eisenhower 50’s and Kennedy’s and Vietnam era sixties shaped his life.
Yesterday, I was delighted to take part in “Is Bagram The Other Guantánamo?,” a discussion about the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan on The Riz Khan Show on al-Jazeera, following a recent announcement by the Obama administration that it is planning to introduce Guantánamo-style tribunals for the 600 or so prisoners held at Bagram. The show is available below in two parts, via YouTube: Continue reading →
I went out with some friends today and spent the entire day following the protests throughout the city. I used my Canon G10 to shoot photos and videos. i just want to say, i support and enjoy the right to assembly, but i also saw many childish acts today that overstep that right. i just want to share a different point of view.
Picture the scene: Afghanistan, two hijacked tankers filled with highly inflammable fuel, surrounded by a crowd of Afghans eager to syphon off some for free … What’s the last thing you want to do? Right — drop bombs on the tankers. That’s what a German military commander signaled an American drone airplane to do September 4. Kaboom!! At least 100 human beings incinerated. This incident has led to a lot of controversy in Germany, for Article 26 of Germany’s post-war Grundgesetz (Basic Law/Constitution) states: “Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.”
But NATO (aka the United States) can take satisfaction in the fact that the Germans have put their silly pacifism aside and acted like real men, trained military killers; although prior to this incident the Germans had engaged in some aerial and ground combat, there hadn’t been such a dramatic and publicized taking of civilian lives. Deutschland now has more than 4,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, the third largest contingent in the country after the US and Britain, and at home they’ve just finished building a monument to fallen members of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces), founded in 1955; 38 members (so far) have surrendered their young lives in Afghanistan.
In ancient Greek mythology Hesiod describes 5 ages of man: the golden age, the silver age, the bronze age, the heroic age and the iron age. The heroic age is often left off as that is just about the heroes in the conquest of Thebes and Troy. In these ages mankind degenerates in his admirable characteristics and is progressively more warlike, acquisitive and unwilling to sacrifice to the gods and so forth. In the Golden Age, men were essentially very sympathetic and compassionate toward one another and things were arranged so they didn’t need to work but could live off the bounty of the land. Disease was unknown and death was simply going to sleep. It reminds me of a quotation by John Milton in Paradise Lost: “Not to irksome toil, but to delight he made us, and delight to reason joined.” Then, Zeus replaced Cronus and the Titans and the Golden Age ended. Consequently, for a variety of reasons, the other ages ended, except for the iron age in which we presently reside, according to the ancient Greeks.
Wars have brought untold horrors upon Europe over the centuries, especially the two world wars of the last one. Until now, though, the continent has been spared the ultimate cataclysm of a missile war.
Though twenty years after the end of the Cold War recent news articles contain reports that would have been shocking even during the depths of the East-West conflict in Europe that followed World War II.
A dispatch quoting a Finnish defense official two days ago bore the title “US could launch missiles from the Baltic Sea” and a U.S. armed forces website yesterday spoke in reference to proposed missile shield plans of “a big, complex, dangerous battle in the space over Europe.”
Who are those people? They look like ordinary citizens but they act like maniacs, screaming at members of congress who want to discuss health care coverage for the tens of millions, including themselves, who are either uninsured or may become so tomorrow. They shout gibberish into the microphones of reporters, things like “I don’t have a job. I don’t have health insurance. Keep the government out of my business!” No one could make this up.
They spread incomprehensible nonsense about President Obama’s birth, and prevent their children from listening to a U.S. president, THEIR president, speak to them in the classroom, as other presidents have in the past.
At first glance they seem to have sprung from the media’s imagination, manufactured to placate the mindless and fill time between stories devoted to happy talk about Wall Street and the ‘recovering’ economy.
I have been to dozens of protests, large and small, since my son was killed in Iraq, but I have never seen anything like today and the only term I can use is: Profound Overkill. There were easily two cops/soldiers for every one of us protesters…or maybe even 3 to 1.
About two thousand of us gathered in Arsenal Park in Pittsburgh to try and march downtown. We were all peaceful and had no weapons. We had only traveled a few blocks when cops dressed like they were in full combat with heavily armed opponents stopped us and blocked our way with a new weapon called “LRAD:” A new “crowd control” device. LRAD stands for: “Long Range Acoustical Device.” I was, unfortunately near it when the cops turned it on. It’s painful.
Just when many conditions seemed ripe for a progressive political movement, the likelihood is fading fast. Concentrated corporate power over our political economy and its control over peoples lives knows few boundaries.
As Republican investor advocate leader Robert Monks puts it: “The United States is a corporatist state. This means that individuals are largely excluded both in the political and corporate spheres.”
Since Wall Street’s self-inflicted multi-trillion dollar collapse last year, the corporate supremacists have shown no remorse. They have become more aggressive: they are blocking regulatory reforms; pouring campaign donations into the governing Democrats’ coffers; and, shamelessly demanding more bailouts, subsidies and tax reductions. They also continue to block avenues for judicial justice by aggrieved people, whether they be the wrongfully injured, defrauded consumers and investors, or jettisoned workers and bilked pensioners.
There is a scene in “Othello” when the Moor is so consumed by jealousy and rage that he loses the eloquence and poetry that make him the most articulate man in Venice. He turns to the audience, shortly before he murders Desdemona, and sputters, “Goats and monkeys!” Othello fell prey to wild self-delusion and unchecked rage, and his words became captive to hollow clichés. The debasement of language, which Shakespeare understood was a prelude to violence, is the curse of modernity. We have stopped communicating, even with ourselves. And the consequences will be as extreme as in the Shakespearean tragedy.