Some Americans have heard of New York Times reporter and book author James Risen and his refusal to expose a source. But, because most reports on that matter scrupulously avoided the subject of what it was Risen had reported, relatively few people can tell you. In fact, Risen reported (in a book, as the New York Times obeyed a government request to keep it quiet) that back in the year 2000 the CIA gave nuclear weapons plans to Iran. Flaws had been introduced into the plans, with the stated intention of slowing down an Iranian nuclear weapons program if one existed. Risen’s reporting that the flaws were glaringly obvious, including to the former-Russian asset assigned to deliver the plans to Iran, made the scheme look even worse than it at first sounds.
While the American Empire – and much of the policies being pursued – did not begin under President Obama, the focus of “Empire Under Obama” is to bring awareness about the nature of empire to those who may have – or continue – to support Barack Obama and who may believe in the empty promises of “hope” and “change.” Empire is institutional, not individual. My focus on the imperial structure during the Obama administration is not to suggest that it does not predate Obama, but rather, that Obama represents ‘continuity’ in imperialism, not “change.” This part examines the concept of ‘counterinsurgency’ as a war against the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan and spreading into Pakistan.
Maggie O’Kane, Executive Producer, tells the story revealed by the Guardian documentary about the role of Col. James Steele in supporting torture, death squads and brutal sectarian conflict during the height of the Iraq war. Steel’s reports went directly to Rumsfeld and Cheney.
I have just finished a book by John Grisham entitled The Broker, published in 2005. “The Broker” in question is not a real estate or stock-broker, but rather one of an ilk that when I was a boy many years ago was called an “influence peddler.” They now go by the more polite name of “lobbyist.” Anyway, this larger-than-life Jack Abramoff-type had been caught dabbling in some very highly sensitive security-stuff (which Abramoff himself was apparently smart enough never to have done). Continue reading →
Last Tuesday, following his visit to ground zero, Obama’s New Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned the public of upcoming 9/11-like terrorist attacks. After a decade of war with Al Qaeda, the potential for another devastating terrorist assault “remains very real,” Panetta said, and added that the nature of the terrorist threat has evolved to the point that Al Qaeda “nodes” outside Afghanistan and Pakistan are now the most dangerous, before delivering the most significant part of his fear mongering propaganda-speech: “Yemen has risen to the top of the list.”
Dick Cheney, now touting his very warped version of reality in his book, is nothing less than a war criminal and a torturer, of course, and, as Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin suggests, his book should rightly be placed in the crime section of bookstores. In a world which actually lived according to its professed principles of justice, Cheney would now be locked up and awaiting trial at the Hague as one of the many war criminals from both the Bush and Obama administrations, instead of making the rounds of talk shows and spending his blood-stained book advance money. Continue reading →
“Deficit terrorists” are gutting governments and forcing the privatization of public assets, all in the name of “deficit reduction.” But deficits aren’t actually a bad thing. In today’s monetary scheme, in which most money comes from debt, debt and deficits are actually necessary to have a stable money supply. The public debt is the people’s money.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney famously said, “Deficits don’t matter.” A staunch Republican, he was arguing against raising taxes on the rich; but today Republicans seem to have forgotten this maxim. They are bent on stripping social programs, privatizing public assets, and gutting unions, all in the name of “deficit reduction.”
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
Government should be transparent. Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.
Taken from the White House Website – A message from President Obama to his staff.
In his latest reflections Fidel Castro refers to fragments of the text “The War Crimes of Stanley McChrystal, U.S. General” which, among other things, “reveals examples of how the Obama Administration continues walking in Bush`s footsteps”.
That’s terrific! So I exclaimed when I read down to the last line about the revelations of the famous journalist Seymour Hersh, printed in Democracy Now! and collected as one of the 25 most censored news items in the United States.
The material is entitled “The War Crimes of Stanley McChrystal, U.S. General” and it was included in Project Censored, put together by a university in California, including the essential paragraphs from those revelations.
Under President George W. Bush, a small group of advisors tied closely to Vice President Dick Cheney argued that neither Congress nor the judiciary should attempt to prevent the President from doing whatever he felt was appropriate as the Commander-in-Chief of a “War on Terror” that was declared after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. As Sidney Blumenthal explained in an article for Salon in January 2006, the President and his advisors believed in the “unitary executive” theory — “the idea that the President as Commander-in-Chief is the sole judge of the law, unbound by hindrances such as the Geneva Conventions, and possesses inherent authority to subordinate independent government agencies to his fiat.” Blumenthal added, accurately, that this concept was “the cornerstone of the Bush legal doctrine.”
The extreme position taken by John Yoo regarding Presidential power
Nader: What about the more serious violations of habeas corpus. You know after 9-11 Bush rounded up thousands of them, Americans, many of them Muslim Americans or Arabic Americans and they were thrown in jail without charges, they didn’t have lawyers, some of them were pretty mistreated in New York City. You know they were all released eventually.
Nader: Is that what you mean also about throwing people in jail without charges violating habeas corpus?
Napolitano: Well that is so obviously a violation of the natural law, the natural right to be brought before a neutral arbiter within moments of the government taking your freedom away from you. And the Constitution itself, as the Supreme Court in the Boumediene case pretty much said, wherever the government goes, the Constitution goes with it and wherever the Constitution goes are the rights of the Constitution as a guarantee and habeas corpus cannot be suspended by the president ever. It can only be suspended by the Congress in times of rebellion which in read Milligan says meaning rebellion of such magnitude that judges can’t get into their court houses. That has not happened in American history.
So what President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantanamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the Constitution was blatantly unconstitutional and is some cases criminal.
UPDATE: If you would like to watch the entire hour long interview from Book TV, C-SPAN has it available in their video library here.
Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, discusses why Bush and Cheney must have known most Guantanamo prisoners were innocent, the US military’s inability to do battlefield vetting of Afghan war prisoners, Cheney’s reversal of the Blackstone formulation on the wrongful imprisonment of innocents, how Colin Powell and others were kept out of the loop about intelligence based on tortured confessions, how the intelligence failures on Iraq WMD were in part due to compensating for missing Saddam’s real program in 1990-91 and why Douglas Feith and Richard Perle are essentially representatives of Israel’s Likud party.