Last month, when the a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the derivatives market, Robert Johnson was the only non-industry expert invited to speak. The former economist at the Senate Banking Committee and the Senate Budget Committee was invited just sixteen hours before the hearing. His testimony was cut short after five minutes by Congresswoman Melissa Bean, and the committee has since refused to post online his full testimony along with the statements of the other panelists. Robert Johnson comes on Democracy Now! to explain what he tried to tell Congress. [includes rush transcript]
In summer, ACLU representatives traveled to the UK to interview five former Guantánamo prisoners: Moazzam Begg and Omar Deghayes (both featured in my new film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” co-directed by Polly Nash), plus Bisher al-Rawi, Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul (the latter being two of the “Tipton Three,” featured in the 2006 film “The Road to Guantánamo”). The short film that was made as a result of these interviews is available below (via YouTube):
The Guessing Game on Our Next Clan for Afghanistan
As the bodies in Afghanistan are piling up and the number of wounded keeps escalating, while Washington is buzzing with the long-known but selectively-buried corrupt and criminal past and present of our installed government officials there, some are cashing in on both sides, and some are paving the way to the next pots of gold reserved for carpetbaggers and war-profiteers in every war or conflict. In this game there are always a few known names and faces who are publicized and who draw the spotlight, and there are those who enjoy operating and profiting quietly without drawing deserved attention and needed scrutiny. That’s how Washington’s war and conflict machine works, and that’s the way our foreign policy decisions are influenced and made. I am going to introduce one such character as an introduction to my upcoming longer story on this same topic. Ladies and gentlemen please meet our Neocon Ex Congressman, Don Ritter, and be informed of his new lucrative ‘Laundering Business’ in Afghanistan.
So it’s finally over. Ali al-Marri, a legal US resident from Qatar, who was held as an “enemy combatant” on the US mainland for five years and eight months without charge or trial, was finally sentenced in a federal court last Thursday. The prosecution was seeking a 15-year sentence, following al-Marri’s guilty plea in April, when, as part of a plea bargain, he accepted that he had receiving training in al-Qaeda camps and had come to the United States on a mission for al-Qaeda on the day before the 9/11 attacks. However, in the Federal District Court in Peoria, Illinois, Judge Michael M. Mihm accepted a request from a-Marri’s lawyers to take into account the nearly eight years he has already spent in US custody, including the five years and eight months that he spent in almost complete isolation as part of the Bush administration’s aberrant “War on Terror” policies.
The warlords we champion in Afghanistan are as venal, as opposed to the rights of women and basic democratic freedoms, and as heavily involved in opium trafficking as the Taliban. The moral lines we draw between us and our adversaries are fictional. The uplifting narratives used to justify the war in Afghanistan are pathetic attempts to redeem acts of senseless brutality. War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. War always empowers those who have a penchant for violence and access to weapons. War turns the moral order upside down and abolishes all discussions of human rights. War banishes the just and the decent to the margins of society. And the weapons of war do not separate the innocent and the damned. An aerial drone is our version of an improvised explosive device. An iron fragmentation bomb is our answer to a suicide bomb. A burst from a belt-fed machine gun causes the same terror and bloodshed among civilians no matter who pulls the trigger.
The Beckers fell months behind on their mortgage and finally found it was Goldman after their house
In 2006 and 2007, Goldman Sachs Group peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers that it also was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting. Now, a five- month McClatchy investigation has found that Goldman’s failure to disclose those secret bets may have violated securities laws.
Hever: The Israeli government is hiding the true cost of the occupation even from itself
As the US-mediated peace talks threaten to collapse, Israel ramps up its occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported last Friday that at least 11 locations within settlement colonies in the West Bank are escalating construction in order to alter “facts on the ground.” Last weekend, the joint Israeli-Palestinian organization, Alternative Information Center, organized a conference on the economy of the Israeli occupation in Bethlehem. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky attended and spoke to the AIC’s Shir Hever about the real costs of maintaining Israel’s occupation.