Sakue Shimohira speaks about her experiences as a victim of the Nagasaki atomic bomb + For the 64th Time: No More Nuclear War

https://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/

zato3
March 20, 2009

Sakue Shimohira, 74, is the chairman of the Association of Bereaved Families of Nagasaki.

Continue reading

Antiwar Radio: Daniel Ellsberg and Gareth Porter on Tonkin Gulf

Bookmark and Share

Dandelion Salad

Scott Horton
Antiwar Radio
July 07, 2009

Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, discusses the events leading to the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, earlier CIA attempts to provoke N. Vietnam retaliation, Robert McNamara’s role in hiding evidence that the second Tonkin Gulf incident never happened, the possibility an earlier leak of the Pentagon Papers would have prevented the Vietnam War and saved millions of lives, the sociological explanation of how government secrects are kept and the U.S. penchant for planning false-flag operations that sacrifice American lives.

[…]

via Daniel Ellsberg « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette

***

Gareth Porter on Antiwar Radio

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for Inter Press Service, discusses evidence that Robert McNamara never told LBJ the August 4, 1964 Tonkin Gulf attack on the USS Maddox and Turner Joy never happened, information revealed in recorded phone conversations between LBJ and McNamara released in 2006 and Gareth Porter’s own phone conversation with McNamara. Note: recorded on June 22, 2009

[…]

via Gareth Porter « Antiwar Radio with Scott Horton and Charles Goyette

see

McNamara Dies at 93: A Look at His Legacy With Howard Zinn, Marilyn Young & Jonathan Schell

An Open Letter to Robert S. McNamara by Daniel N. White

Averting Catatrophe: When the Leaders are the Problem

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Daniel Ellsberg
Global Research
July 7, 2008

The following text was first published as an afterword to Flirting with Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental (Hardcover) by Marc S. Gerstein and Michael Ellsberg

Dr. Gerstein’s final chapter has given guidelines for leaders on how they might avert the kinds of catastrophes described in this book. It would be good for society (and all organizations) if more leaders exhibited this kind of concern and followed the suggestions he gives.

However, in my own experience in government, and in my study of national security policy catastrophes in the decades since, I have come to believe that the most dangerous practices in the national security realm reflect priorities, in general, that are set by top officials: getting reelected, avoiding condemnation for past actions, or other political or bureaucratic objectives. Those priorities generally take great precedence over safety or preventing public harm.

The behavior of the people down below in the hierarchy is generally responsive to those priorities, because the way for them to keep their jobs and get ahead is self-evidently to conform to the priorities of their superiors, and especially the top boss. It isn’t as though the lower people in the organization themselves profit by adopting those priorities over other priorities, such as safety. But they want to keep their jobs, and they keep them by delivering to their superiors what they want. And what those superiors often want is help in avoiding or concealing documentation of warnings or recommendations that might convict them, on later examination, of self-interest or recklessness in choosing or continuing policies that failed.

Many of the examples in this book involve leaders consciously gambling with other people’s lives, on a catastrophic scale. In the case of Challenger, there was only a single instance when the engineers from Morton Thiokol, who had to sign off on the launch, tried to stop it. It wasn’t as though they were Chicken Littles, always getting in the way and making trouble. Launches were routinely being postponed for a day, but not by the Thiokol engineers. So that was an unprecedented warning by them. Yet the decision-makers went ahead.

You don’t have to be especially sympathetic to the decision-makers in these cases to assume that they didn’t consciously desire the disastrous outcomes that arose. That’s generally obvious. But the public tends to accept as a corollary: “No reasonable, decent person could have consciously risked this outcome if they recognized it was a serious possibility.”

That is a very plausible assumption. It expresses our deeply ingrained sense of ourselves and other human beings. But it is wrong. It is a widely held misunderstanding of the way we ordinary humans act in organizational settings, either in positions of power and responsibility, or as subordinates. Officials who have a public responsibility to make responsible choices do take reckless, unreasonable risks, more often and on a greater scale than most outsiders can even imagine. That fact is unfamiliar because, to avoid accountability and blame, those same officials conceal it, and direct their subordinates to cover it up; and the subordinates do so, again for understandable (though not admirable) career motives, acting as bystanders while risky gambles are undertaken. Dr. Gerstein focuses especially on the latter behavior, that of subordinates. Let me add some reflections on the behavior of the leaders.

What Dr. Gerstein shows is that reasonable people, who are not malicious, and whose intent is not to kill or injure other people, will nonetheless risk killing vast numbers of people. And they will do it predictably, with awareness. The Merck officials knew they were risking vast numbers of lives with Vioxx. So did the decision-makers responsible for protecting New Orleans. They knew the risks from the beginning, at every stage. In these and other cases, the responsible decision-makers may have underrated the risks in their own minds, but they knowingly took great efforts to conceal evidential data, at the time and later, from those who might judge differently.

In most of the cases in this book—Challenger, Katrina, Vioxx, Columbia, Chernobyl, Andersen—the leaders chose, in the face of serious warnings, to consciously take chances that risked disaster. What are the circumstances under which leaders take these kinds of gambles? My own experience and research suggests, very often, the following answer: when the potentially disastrous gamble offers the possibility of avoiding loss altogether, coming out even or a little ahead; and when the alternative to taking the gamble assures the certainty of loss in the short run—a loss that impacts the leader personally.

The sure loss that is rejected may appear small or even trivial to an observer, compared with the much greater damage, perhaps societally catastrophic, that is risked and often subsequently experienced. The latter damage, however, may be to “other people,” outside the decision-maker’s organization or even nation, and inflicted in “the long run”: thus, less easily attributed to this decision-maker, who may well have moved on by the time of the disaster. In effect, the decision-maker acts as if a sure, short-term loss to his own position—a perceived failure, risking his job or reelection or his influence—were comparably disastrous to a possible social catastrophe that costs many lives: an avoidable war, a widely used drug that proves to have lethal side effects, a dangerous product, the explosion of a nuclear plant or space vehicle.

In the leader’s eyes, both of these outcomes are “disasters.” One of them, resulting from a particular course of action, is sure to occur. The other is uncertain, a possibility under another course of action, though perhaps very likely—and it is combined with the possibility, not available with the other course, of coming out even or perhaps ahead, winning or at least not losing. In choosing the latter option, he sees himself as accepting the possibility of a loss—in the hope of coming out even—rather than accepting a certainty of a failure, defeat. It seems—and it is so presented to him by some advisers—a simple, inescapable decision, “no real choice”: the possibility of winning, or at least of avoiding or postponing defeat, versus a “no-win” course of action or, worse, a sure loss in the short run. He and these advisers simply ignore the fact that the scale of the respective losses, and who it is that mainly suffers them, are vastly different in the two courses. (I observed this bureaucratically over and over in Vietnam, and it is evident in current advocacy of occupying Iraq or attacking Iran.)

It was, in fact, the experimental work on choice by Kahneman and Tversky described by Dr. Gerstein that led me to recognize the frequency of the above choice-context, and of the resulting choice of a gamble involving possible catastrophe, as a common precursor to organizational or social disaster. In particular, these researchers’ discovery of the special salience given to “sure” outcomes, and of the greater strength of the impulse to avoid any loss—relative to some chosen benchmark—than to increase one’s gain, led me to understand in a new way otherwise baffling decisions that have led to major catastrophes in national security.

Applying hypotheses suggested by this research to decisions— including the escalation of the Vietnam War (in which I participated personally, on a staff level), the decision to invade and occupy Iraq, and to serious, secret threats to initiate nuclear war in more than a dozen crises—I have been forced to the following unhappy conclusion (which applies, on a smaller but still tragic scale, to many of the examples in this book): Men in power are willing to risk any number of human lives to avoid an otherwise certain loss to themselves, a sure reversal of their own prospects in the short run.

That grim proposition sounds extreme, I would say, largely because of near-universal and effective efforts to conceal the organizational decision-making data on alternatives and prospects that would reveal such preferences. Failure to conceal these data would point to culpability, recklessness, perhaps criminality on the part of specific decision-makers or a whole organizational team. Results could range from embarrassment, loss of prestige and influence, to expulsion from job or office, the downfall of an administration, even a prison sentence. The cover-up to avoid such accountability is usually successful. Hence, specific disasters—when the gambles are lost—appear to the public as shocking, inexplicable surprises. (And the public mistakenly infers, as it is meant to, that it appears the same way to the decision-makers involved.)

One lesson of this book is that you will not reduce those risks adequately by action within the firm or government agency. The organization has to be monitored by other organizations that are not under the same management, that don’t respond to the same boss. You can set up processes within the organization that make truth-telling, realistic assessments, and warnings of danger somewhat more likely. But that isn’t close to being an adequate solution. Subordinates who act like bystanders (to keep their jobs) are indeed part of the problem, as Gerstein argues, but the organization’s leaders themselves are the major part.

The most promising solution—in the case of government—is going back to the system that our founders set up. It obviously didn’t provide any guarantee, but it was an ingenious system of confronting men of power with other men of power within the system. Checks and balances; investigative powers of Congress, with subpoenas; investigators with some degree of independence from the president; an independent judiciary. All of these are things that you don’t have in a dictatorship. They are institutions that leaders such as Vice President Richard Cheney, for one, openly disdain.

These are not just luxuries that make us feel more free and privileged. They are vital safety mechanisms. Democratic, republican, constitutional government of the form invented here, revered at least in principle till recently, is less efficient and decisive than unrestrained executive power in what is effectively an absolute monarchy or dictatorship. Things move less fast, and there are constant complaints that nothing gets done, compared with a “unitary executive,” a presidency of unlimited “inherent powers” of the sort that Cheney and his special band of legal advisers prefer and proclaim. But the latter leads straight to a succession of Iraqs. As Tom Paine put it, most wars arise from “the pride of kings.”

Similar checks to unaccountable power and secrecy are needed, as Gerstein’s case studies show, in nongovernmental organizations and corporations. To mention a spectacular case not covered in this book, where cover-up was even more blatant than in most of Gerstein’s examples and the lethal effects even greater (comparable to the death tolls in major wars): Tobacco executives didn’t need more truth-telling within their organization to reduce vast dangers to the public. (For a recent account, see The Cigarette Century by Allan M. Brandt.) They were busily engaged in muffling every subordinate who brought up any warning, and preventing or neutralizing any warning by outsiders. All the major tobacco CEOs perjured themselves when they said in sworn testimony before Congress that “We have no knowledge that our product is carcinogenic, or that we market it to minors, or that it is addictive.” That was clear-cut perjury in every case, quite apart from the arguable criminality and certain lethality of their practices. Yet not one of them has been brought up on criminal charges, or even contempt of Congress.

Such indictments would be useful. It would save lives in the future if not only figures such as Jeffrey Skilling of Enron but also, more important, a lot of other leaders who take and conceal risks to the lives of others were to be indicted or impeached and subjected to criminal prosecution, if convicted, prison.

But above all, we need more whistle-blowers from within. Their truth-telling to outside authorities and audiences is essential. And the only way to get it—since dangers to their own careers in their organizations cannot be eliminated—is to somehow encourage them to accept those risks, for the benefit of others.

Is that asking the impossible? Difficult, unusual, unlikely, yes: yet it is humanly possible, and essential. Humans have the capability for great concern, altruism, and even self-sacrifice in the interest of others outside their immediate families and teams, and they very often show it: only not often enough, indeed quite rarely, in their official roles within organizations. Unfortunately, as human beings, we also all have the capability of being selective in our concern, and of being manipulated in our selectivity of concern by our leaders and colleagues in our groups.

A major reason for the occurrence of disasters is that, as humans, we often choose keeping our job, protecting our reputation, getting promoted, maintaining our access to inside information, getting reelected, assuring college education for our children, preserving our marriage, and holding on to our house in a nice neighborhood—all considerations that are neither trivial nor discreditable for any of us— over actions, including truth-telling to the public, that would risk some of these but which could potentially save vast numbers of other people’s lives.

I would like readers to realize—and this book has great potential for alerting them—that there may well come times when the amount of harm they could avert by speaking out could well outweigh the personal harm they might suffer by doing so, great though that might be.

When I released the Pentagon Papers in 1971, former senator Wayne Morse told me that if I had given him those documents at the time of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution in 1964 (when I had many of them in my office safe in the Pentagon), “The Resolution would never have gotten out of committee. And if it had been brought to a vote, it would never have passed.” That’s a heavy burden to bear. But scores of other officials, perhaps a hundred, could have given those documents to the Senate as well as I.

More recently, any one of a hundred people within the government could have averted the Iraq War by telling the public—with documents—what they knew about the lies the president was feeding the public. Yet no one did. A middle manager or even lower-level person could have saved the Challenger, or rung the bell on Vioxx. Shouldn’t one of them have done it, or more than one? Every one of the stories Dr. Gerstein tells could have had a happier ending if his book, existing earlier, had inspired one person in the respective organization—at the top, bottom, or in between—to act with moral courage.

When confronted with potential looming catastrophes, people within large organizations often think, Somebody else will take care of this. And surely the top people know more than I do. It’s their job to take care of it, and surely they will. The truth is, there’s no likelihood at all that the leaders will take care of it. If readers who find themselves facing organizational disasters realize, perhaps from this book, It’s up to me, and if I don’t do it, it’s probably not going to get done. The others aren’t going to do it. Maybe I’m the one who needs to do it, some may be more willing to take personal risks to avert catastrophes.

Thus, reading this book could change lives. From the examples given, a reader could recognize two things. First, in the words of a Chinese proverb my wife, Patricia, likes to quote: “If you don’t change course, you are likely to end up where you are heading.” If the course your team, your organization, or your nation is on looks to you as though it is going over a cliff, heading for a disaster, it may well be doing so.

Second, readers should realize, If I see this, and lots of other people see it, too, it does not follow that somebody else will take care of it. Disasters occur because leaders often choose crazy or dangerous courses and people like me don’t rock the boat. You, the reader, can choose otherwise.

In the situations Dr. Gerstein describes, the leaders do not lack for subordinates giving warnings within the organizational chain of command. The problem is that the warnings are stifled or overridden; subsequently, those who see the dangers and even see them happening keep their silence. My hope is that people reading this book might decide that averting catastrophe can be worth going outside the organization—warning the public, Congress, investigative bodies— and the media directly with documents to back it up. Many individuals inside government and corporations, from low-level clerks to upper managers and cabinet members, have that power—at the risk of their careers, to be sure—to tell the truth, and perhaps to rescue their own organizations or countries from disaster, as well as rescuing other potential victims.

For the last six years, since the Iraq War first approached (and more recently, equally disastrous prospects of attack on Iran), I have been urging patriotic and conscientious insiders who may be in the situation I once was in—holding secret, official knowledge of lies, crimes, and dangers of impending, wrongful, catastrophic wars or escalations—to do what I wish I had done in 1964 or early 1965, years earlier than I did: Go to Congress and the press and reveal the truth, with documents. The personal risks are real, but a war’s-worth of lives might be saved.

The following text was first published as an afterword to Flirting with Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental (Hardcover) by Marc S. Gerstein and Michael Ellsberg

© Copyright Daniel Ellsberg, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9499

see

Personal Reflections on the Crisis in America by Richard C. Cook

The End of the Anglo-American Empire? by Richard C. Cook

Major US Sponsored “Organizational Catastrophes”: Learning from Past Disasters, Preventing Future Ones

Major US Sponsored “Organizational Catastrophes”: Learning from Past Disasters, Preventing Future Ones

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Daniel Ellsberg
Global Research, July 3, 2008

The following text was first published as a preface to Flirting with Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental (Hardcover) by Marc S. Gerstein and Michael Ellsberg [click for details]

I have participated in several major organizational catastrophes. The most well known of them is the Vietnam War. I was aware on my first visit to Vietnam in 1961 that the situation there—a failing neocolonial regime we had installed as a successor to French rule—was a sure loser in which we should not become further involved. Yet a few years later, I found myself participating as a high-level staffer in a policy process that lied both the public and Congress into a war that, unbeknownst to me at the time, experts inside the government accurately predicted would lead to catastrophe.

The very word catastrophe, almost unknown in the dry language of bureaucracy, was uttered directly to the president. Clark Clifford, longtime and highly trusted adviser to U.S. presidents, told President Lyndon Johnson in July 1965: “If we lose fifty thousand men there, it will be catastrophic in this country. Five years, billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of men—this is not for us. . . .”

But it was for us, casualties included, after Johnson launched an open-ended escalation just three days later. In time, Clifford’s estimates were all exceeded: Before our ground war was ended in eight years (not five), the cost in dollars was in hundreds of billions, over five hundred thousand men served in Vietnam in a single year (1968) out of three million altogether, and—uncannily close to his predicted figure—more than fifty-eight thousand soldiers had died. Clifford’s prophecy in his face-to-face session with the president at Camp David—“I can’t see anything but catastrophe for our nation in this area”—could not have been more urgent in tone or, tragically, more prescient.

And Clifford’s was not a lone voice. Johnson’s vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey, had used almost the same words with him five months earlier; others, including Johnson’s career-long mentor Senator Richard Russell, had also made the same argument. Yet Johnson went ahead regardless.

Why? I have pondered and researched that question for forty years. (The documentation in the Pentagon Papers provides no adequate answer.) But one seemingly plausible and still widely believed answer can be ruled out. The escalation in Vietnam was not the result of a universal failure of foresight among the president’s advisers, or to a lack of authoritative, precise, and urgently expressed warnings against his choice of policy.

The nuclear arms race, in which I was intimately involved between 1958 and 1964 as a RAND Corporation analyst serving the executive branch, is a moral catastrophe on a scale without precedent in human history, even though its full tragic potential has not yet occurred. The arms race involved—under both Democratic and Republican administrations, soon joined by the USSR—the mutual construction of a physical and organizational capability for destruction of most of the world’s population within a matter of hours. That project—building two matched and opposed “doomsday machines” and keeping them on hair-trigger alert—is the most irresponsible policy in human experience, involving as it does a genuine possibility of creating an irreversible catastrophe for humanity and most other living species on a scale that the world has not seen since the dinosaurs perished sixty million years ago. Even if the system were decommissioned totally— and it is not yet remotely close to being dismantled—such a course of action would not cancel out the fact that over the past sixty years, a moral cataclysm has already occurred, with ominous implications for the future of life on earth.

I have been trying since 1967—when I realized that the Vietnam War must end—to understand how we got into that war, and why it was so hard to end it. Since 1961, even earlier, I have viewed the nuclear arms race as an ongoing catastrophe that has to be reversed, and a situation that has to be understood. I assumed then, and still believe, that understanding the past and present of these realities is essential to changing them. In my life and work, I have tried to do what Dr. Gerstein’s book is trying to help us do: to understand these processes in a way that will help us avert them in the future.

A major theme to be gained from this important book is that organizations do not routinely and systematically learn from past errors and disasters—in fact, they rarely ever do. This intentional lack of oversight can partly explain why our predicament in Iraq is so precisely close to the Vietnam experience, both in the way that we got into the war, deceptively and unconstitutionally, and in the way the war is being conducted and prolonged.

It might not seem surprising that after thirty years, a generation of decision-makers and voters would have come along that knew little about the past experience in Vietnam. What is more dismaying is to realize that much the same processes—the same foolish and disastrous decision-making, the same misleading rationales for aggression—are going on right now with respect to Iran, with little political opposition, just three years after the invasion of Iraq, and while the brutal and tragic consequences of that occupation are still in front of our eyes every day.

One reason for this folly is that many aspects of disasters in decision-making are known only within the organization, and not even by many insiders at that. The organizations involved tend not to make relevant and detailed studies of past errors, let alone reveal them outside the organization. In fact, the risk that such a study or investigation might leak to the outside is a factor sufficient to keep inquiries from being made in the first place. Making or keeping possibly incriminating documentation earlier, at the time of the decision, or later is similarly sidestepped.

This deliberate decision within organizations not to try to learn internally what has gone wrong constitutes what I have called, with respect to Vietnam, an anti-learning mechanism. Avoiding improved performance is not the point of the mechanism. But because studying present and past faulty decision-making risks may invite blame and organizational, political, perhaps even legal penalties, those outcomes “outweigh” the benefits of clearly understanding what needs to be changed within the organization.

The valuable cases studies, analyses, and information in the pages of this book were not provided by the organizations involved. This compendium arose from the accounts of individual whistle-blowers, journalistic investigations, and in some cases congressional action— and from Dr. Gerstein’s own initiative in collecting and analyzing the data. Did any one of the organizations detailed herein conduct a comparable study? Quite possibly not a single one. And even if they did, they certainly didn’t publish the results in a way that would allow other organizations and individuals to learn from their mistakes.

Societally, then, we don’t have an easy way to learn from organizational mistakes of the past. That’s one reason that disasters are so likely, and why comparable disasters occur again and again, across organizations and even within the same organizations. In the case of Vietnam, Americans did not learn from the French or Japanese occupations before ours. Nor did Republicans under Nixon manage to learn from Democratic missteps before theirs. Specifically, there was no systematic study of the Pentagon Papers, which were available within the Defense Department to the Nixon administration, but no one ever admitted to having read them or even to directing their staff to analyze possible lessons from them. (I personally urged Henry Kissinger, in a discussion at the Western White House in 1970, to do both of these, or at least the latter, but he later claimed he had never read anything of them or about them, though he had a copy available to him.) As far as we know, Secretary of Defense Laird, Henry Kissinger, and others had no interest in the documentary record and analysis of twenty-three years of decision-making in the same geographic area, against precisely the same adversaries. And so they ended up committing many of the mistakes made by those who’d gone before, with the same results.

This “anti-learning” phenomenon also explains why it is possible to reproduce our experience in Vietnam years later in Iraq, and now, from Iraq to Iran. In sum, there is strong and successful resistance within many organizations to studying or recording past actions leading to catastrophe—because doing so would reveal errors, lies, or even crimes.

There is no substitute for the kind of comparative study analysis Dr. Gerstein shares on these pages. I hope this book is read widely; if we are to avoid the kinds of disasters and catastrophes described, we first need to understand them. Flirting with Disaster is a pathbreaking, indispensable step toward such a goal.

Daniel Ellsberg Berkeley, California July 2007

© Copyright Daniel Ellsberg, Global Research, 2008

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9496

The Pentagon Papers [unedited] (video; 1971)

Dandelion Salad

gravel2008

In 1971, then US Senator Mike Gravel released a collection of top-secret government documents, deemed “The Pentagon Papers” into the public record, bringing to public light the series of lies and false pretenses under which the United States invaded Vietnam.

This is the entirety of the footage the Gravel campaign has obtained thus far, and both the audio and video cut out occasionally.

Per request, we put this clip in its entirety on Youtube. However, you can download or play a high resolution version here:
http://www.archive.org/details/Gravel…

http://www.gravel2008.us

Contact us:
Skyler McKinley
National Multimedia Coordinator
multimedia@gravel2008.us

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

.

see

How the Pentagon Papers Came to be Published by the Beacon Press (link; Ellsberg; Gravel; West)

Time Is Right for New Pentagon Papers By Amy Goodman

Gravel-Mike

Memo to Federal Employees: When Is It Ethical to Break the Law? by Stephen Pizzo

Dandelion Salad

by Stephen Pizzo
The Smirking Chimp
March 6, 2008

When is it ethical to fight illegality with illegality? Tough question. Dangerous question.

Nevertheless history is full of now celebrated events that, when boiled down to their essence, amounted to illegal acts that changed nations, changed the world. Revolutions are, for example, the mother of all illegal acts against a state. Yet they are more often than not, celebrated — at least by the victors.

This is dangerous territory, to be sure. Breaking the law to achieve higher ends can be a calculation of monumental subjectivity. Nearly every tyrant in history has had their own list of justifications and claimed lofty goals to justify their lawless actions — including the current occupant of the White House.

But history also tells many a tale of oppressed, abused and exploited populations, forced by the illegal actions of their rulers, to break the law in order to break free themselves of lawless rulers.

Sadly, we live in such times, and in such a country. Over the past seven years the Bush administration and it’s Neo-con supporters have broken nearly every law of State that matters. They have waged an illegal war, kidnapped people, held people without trial and without representation. They have usurped the constitution’s central tenants mandating the separation of powers. They have lied to Congress, lied to the courts, lied to their own people and lied to the world community.

Oh hell, you know the list. There’s more. Lots more. Likely more than we now know.

And, at least so far, they’ve gotten away with it. How? Simple as pie. All they’ve had to do is withhold or destroy the documentary evidence of their crimes.

When the GOP controlled Congress the administration had hundreds of accomplices in this crime. When Democrats regained control of Congress the administration was on its own and resorted to lying under oath, hiding documents and, when that failed, destroyed them.. as they did with the over 5-million White House emails.

When we found out they were spying on us, with the help of the nations phone companies, they demanded Congress give the telecoms immunity from prosecution. Not because the give damn about the telecom’s getting sued, but because they know the telecoms, to save their asses, will spill the beans — the administration’s beans. So the administration has dug its heels in, demanding Congress immunize the telecoms — not to keep them on their side, but to keep them quiet.

(Out here in the real world that’s called “obstruction of justice and witness tampering.” )

Okay, but you know all this already. So what am I getting to.

Recently many of us learned about a web site with only one purpose in life: allowing whistleblowers to post documentation that the government and/or corporations don’t want us to see — ever. Those that objected tried to get it shut down and, for a couple of weeks nearly succeeded.

Wikileaks judge realizes you can’t enjoin the net
by Richard Koman March 3, 2008 @ 7:00 PM

So, the Wikileaks.org site is back online, after Federal Judge Jeffrey White dissolved his previous order, ordering the site’s U.S. registrar to pull it off the net. In reversing those orders, the judge focused on the First Amendment implications of taking the site down. But even more to the point, the judge noted with regret that his injunctions were just plain useless. (Full Story)

WikiLeaks is back and what I am about to suggest I do not suggest lightly. I am about to suggest that people break the law … which is itself… is breaking the law. (One of society’s little Catch-22’s.)

Since the Bush administration is now running out the clock on its two-terms of unpunished lawlessness, time is short. I know from my years of covering Washington that that town is chuck full of good people, employees working at the agency level. They are career government employees — Republicans, Democrats and Independents. And they’ve had a front row seat to what’s come down during the past seven years. And I am certain that many of them — maybe most of them — are as disgusted and outraged as you are.

* * *

(An aside: The Bush administration has used leaks to accomplish its own goals. For example, they thought leaking the identity Ambassador Joe Wilson’s CIA wife, Valerie Plame, was just the right way bolster their case for war against Iraq. So, in a strange, perverted way, the administration has shown the way for others in government who have stuff they believe could be “helpful” if released, legally or otherwise.)

* * *

Those career employees represent possibly our final hope of catching these guys red-handed. Because it is in their offices, in their files where the evidence lays .. the documents, them minutes of meetings, the executive orders, all the stuff this administration is determined never sees the light of day — or a court of law.

Let me be perfectly clear. I’m not talking about releasing truly sensitive classified intelligence. I’m talking about the kind of documents which, under any other administration would have been fully accessible to the Congress and the public through the Freedom of Information Act. I am talking about the regular business of government, the work-a-day documents of agencies like the FDA, FEMA, Treasury, HHS, and the DOJ. It is those documents which are being withheld because they prove this administration politicized those agencies violating laws in more ways than we can now even imagine.

I am quite certain that in some file in some employee’s Executive Office Building cubicle is the list of just who was on Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force. In another office are the Executive Orders President Bush signed authorizing torture. In another office are documents showing how the religious right perverted federally-funded family planning operations. Some DOJ secretary is sitting on the evidence that would prove the White House tried to use the Dept. of Justice to suppress minority voting during the past two election cycles and tried to purge US Attorney’s around the country that refuse to bring politically motivated charges against Democratic candidates and office holders.

All that evidence, and mountains more, are destined for oblivion within the next nine months.

Until now federal employees in possession of evidence of a crime had no reasonably safe way of getting that evidence into the public’s hands.

WikiLeaks now offers a way — and in just the nick of time.

Of course breaking the law — even for laudable reasons — is inherently risky business and I can’t in good conscience encourage anyone to disregard the consequences by advising them to simply break the law. M means and ends must be thought through. The ethics of withholding or releasing such materials weighed and re-weighed and the possible consequences clearly understood.

Daniel Ellsberg understood the means, the justification, the ends he wished to achieve and accepted the risks. He broke the law and so doing, changed history.

* * *

(Another Aside: When I was covering banking agencies in Washington during the S&L crisis, federal regulators, unable to get their superiors to act against politically-connected rogues like Charles Keating, would slip me restricted documents. I would write a story and suddenly the agency heads would be forced to act. Finally one day two Treasury agents (with guns even) showed up at my office. They demanded to know who was leaking documents to me. I pointed to my filing cabinet and said,

“Listen you two, it’s all in those files — everything you want to know. I dare you to subpoena’s those files. Then you two better go looking for a new line of work. Because some of the names in those files are your own superiors.”

They left and I never heard a word about it after that. Had it not been for those leaks, to me and other reporters, the looting of the S&Ls would have gone on much longer, and cost taxpayers much more. Those leakers were — are — heroes, of a sort.)

* * *

So, if you’re one of those government workers, and you’re in the mood to blow the whistle on a crime, the URL is http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikileaks.

Time is short. The perps are already moving in the shredding machines. They are already making lists of the documents that will be sequestered in the yet-to-be-built Bush “Library” in Texas. By this November it will be too late. They will have succeeded. They will have escaped. The evidence of their crimes will be either destroyed or placed beyond reach.

The best disinfectant is, and always has been, the light of day.
_______
newsforreal.com

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including “Inside Job: The Looting of America’s Savings and Loans,” which was nominated for a Pulitzer. His web site is News For Real.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

US Court shuts down leaked doc emporium by Nick Juliano

Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg on C-Span March 2

Dandelion Salad

After Downing Street
Feb 27, 2008

C-SPAN Book TV will air a reading from Dissent: Voices of Conscience with Colonel (Ret.) Ann Wright and Daniel Ellsberg this Sunday, March 2.

3:45 a.m. Eastern Time (12:45 a.m. Pacific)
and
3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (12:00 Noon Pacific)

See Book TV for more about the program.

Please visit www.voicesofconscience.com, for more about the book and Ann Wright’s schedule of readings.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Scott Horton Interviews Daniel Ellsberg

Dandelion Salad

Antiwar Radio
Feb 22, 2008

Daniel Ellsberg, famous leaker of the Pentagon Papers, and Chris Deliso, of Balkanalysis.com, discuss the case of FBI translator-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and the international crime rings she exposed.

MP3 here. (49:08)

more

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Sibelgate: US officials visiting Turkey NOW by Virginia Simson

Turkey’s Drug-Terrorism Connection By Martin A. Lee (1997)

TURKISH INVASION, TERROR, AND OCCUPATION OF SOUTH KURDISTAN

Turkey

Edmonds-Sibel

Ellsberg Explains Reality of US Foreign Policy to Kristol part 1

Dandelion Salad

representativepress

Daniel Ellsberg spent three years in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving as rifle platoon leader, operations officer, and rifle company commander.
He worked as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House.
“His recent essay, “The Next War”, featured in the October 2006 issue of Harpers magazine, urges government officials to reveal truths about government secrecy and nuclear planning—with documents—to avert a possible attack on Iran.”

“A hidden crisis is under way. Many government insiders are aware of serious plans for war with Iran, but Congress and the public remain largely in the dark.” The Next War By Daniel Ellsberg

Vodpod videos no longer available. from www.youtube.com posted with vodpod

.

The Lost Kristol Tapes-What the NYT Bought By Jonathan Schwarz (link; Ellsberg)

Dandelion Salad

By Jonathan Schwarz
02/15/08 “ICH

Imagine that there were a Beatles record only a few people knew existed. And imagine you got the chance to listen to it, and as you did, your excitement grew, note by note. You realized it wasn’t merely as good as Rubber Soul, or Revolver, or Sgt. Pepper’s. It was much, much better. And now, imagine how badly you’d want to tell other Beatles fans all about it.

That’s how I feel for my fellow William Kristol fans. You loved it when Bill said invading Iraq was going to have “terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East”? You have the original recording of him explaining the war would make us “respected around the world” and his classic statement that there’s “almost no evidence” of Iraq experiencing Sunni-Shia conflict? Well, I’ve got something that will blow your mind!

I’m talking about Kristol’s two-hour appearance on C-Span’s Washington Journal on March 28, 2003, just nine days after the President launched his invasion of Iraq. No one remembers it today. You can’t even fish it out of LexisNexis. It’s not there. Yet it’s a masterpiece, a double album of smarm, horrifying ignorance, and bald-faced deceit. While you’ve heard him play those instruments before, he never again reached such heights. It’s a performance for the history books — particularly that chapter about how the American Empire collapsed.

Video link

At the time Kristol was merely the son of prominent neoconservative Irving Kristol, former chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle (aka “Quayle’s brain”), the editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Weekly Standard, and a frequent Fox News commentator. He hadn’t yet added New York Times columnist to his resumé. Opposite Kristol on the segment was Daniel Ellsberg, famed for leaking the Pentagon Papers in the Vietnam era. Their discussion jumped back and forth across 40 years of U.S.-Iraqi relations, and is easiest to understand if rearranged chronologically.

So, sit back, relax, and let me play a little of it for you.

To start with, Ellsberg made the reasonable point that Iraqis might not view the invading Americans as “liberators,” since the U.S. had been instrumental in Saddam Hussein’s rise to power: Here’s how he put it:

“ELLSBERG: People in Iraq… perceive Hussein as a dictator… But as a dictator the Americans chose for them.

“KRISTOL: That’s just not true. We’ve had mistakes in our Iraq policy. It’s just ludicrous — we didn’t choose Hussein. We didn’t put him in power.

“ELLSBERG: In 1963, when there was a brief uprising of the Ba’ath, we supplied specifically Saddam with lists, as we did in Indonesia, lists of people to be eliminated. And since he’s a murderous thug, but at that time our murderous thug, he eliminated them…

“KRISTOL: [surprised] Is that right?…

“ELLSBERG: The same thing went on in ‘68. He was our thug, just as [Panamanian dictator Manuel] Noriega, and lots of other people who were on the leash until they got off the leash and then we eliminated them. Like [Vietnamese president] Ngo Dinh Diem.”

Ellsberg here is referring to U.S. support for a 1963 coup involving the Ba’athist party, for which Saddam was already a prominent enforcer — and then another coup in 1968 when the Ba’athists consolidated control, after which Saddam became the power behind the nominal president. According to one of the 1963 plotters, “We came to power on a CIA train.” (Beyond providing lists of communists and leftists to be murdered, the U.S. also gave the new regime napalm to help them put down a Kurdish uprising we’d previously encouraged.) James Crichtfield, then head of the CIA in the Middle East, said, “We really had the t’s crossed on what was happening” This turned out not to be quite right, since factional infighting among top Iraqis required the second plot five years later for which, explained key participant Abd al-Razzaq al-Nayyif, “you must [also] look to Washington.”

Yet it appears clear on video that Kristol is genuinely startled by what Ellsberg was saying.

Consider the significance of this. Any ordinary citizen could easily have learned about the American role in those two coups — former National Security Council staffer Roger Morris had written about it on the New York Times op-ed page just two weeks before the Kristol-Ellsberg broadcast. And Kristol was far more than an ordinary citizen. He’d been near the apex of government as Quayle’s chief of staff during the first Gulf War in 1991. He’d been advocating the overthrow of the Saddam regime for years. He’d co-written an entire book, The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission, calling for an invasion of that country.

Nevertheless, Kristol was ignorant of basic, critical information about U.S.-Iraq history. Iraqis themselves were not. In a September 2003 article, a returning refugee explained the growing resistance to the occupation: “One of the popular sayings I repeatedly heard in Baghdad, describing the relations between the U.S. and Saddam’s regime, is ‘Rah el sani’, ija el ussta‘ — ‘Gone is the apprentice, in comes the master.’”

What this suggests about the people running America is far worse than if they were simply malevolent super-geniuses: They don’t know the backstory and couldn’t care less. It’s as though we’re riding in the back seat of a car driven by people who demanded the wheel but aren’t sure what the gas pedal does or what a stop sign actually looks like.

Moreover, when Ellsberg tells Kristol this information, he demonstrates no desire to learn more; nor, as best as can be discovered, has he ever mentioned it again. Really? Those colored lights mean something about whether I’m supposed to stop or go? Huh. Anyway, let’s talk more about how all of you complaining in the back seat hate freedom.

Later, when the discussion gets closer to the present. Kristol’s demeanor changes. He appears to be better informed and therefore shifts to straightforward lies:

“ELLSBERG: Why did we support Saddam as recently as when you were in the administration? And the answer is–
“KRISTOL: We didn’t support Saddam when I was in the administration.

“ELLSBERG: When were you in the administration?

“KRISTOL: 89 to 93.”

This is preposterously false. First of all, Kristol worked in the Reagan administration as Education Secretary William Bennett’s chief of staff — when the U.S. famously supported Saddam’s war against Iran with loans, munitions, intelligence, and diplomatic protection for his use of chemical weapons. After George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988, Kristol moved to the same position in Vice President Quayle’s office. During the transition, Bush’s advisors examined the country’s Iraq policy and wrote a memo explaining to the incoming President the choice he faced. In a nutshell, this was “to decide whether to treat Iraq as a distasteful dictatorship to be shunned when possible, or to recognize Iraq’s present and potential power in the region and accord it relatively high priority. We strongly urge the latter view.”

And Bush chose. Internal State Department guidelines from the period stated, “In no way should we associate ourselves with the 60 year-old Kurdish rebellion in Iraq or oppose Iraq’s legitimate attempts to suppress it.” (Saddam’s gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja has occurred less than a year before.) Analysts warning of Iraq’s burgeoning nuclear program were squelched. The Commerce Department loosened restrictions on dual-use WMD material, while Bush the elder approved new government lines of credit for Saddam over congressional objections.

And Saddam was receiving private money as well: most notably from the Atlanta branch of Italian bank BNL. BNL staff would later report that companies wanting to sell to Iraq were referred to them by Kristol’s then-boss, Vice President Quayle. One Quayle family friend would end up constructing a refinery for Saddam to recycle Iraq’s spent artillery shells. The Bush Justice Department prevented investigators from examining transactions like this, while Commerce Department employees were ordered to falsify export licenses.

As Kristol and Ellsberg discuss the buildup to the 1991 Gulf War, Kristol, of course, continues to fiddle with reality:

“KRISTOL: So you were against the liberation of Kuwait.

“ELLSBERG: No, on the contrary. At that time, a number of four star military people, former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who were foursquare for containing Saddam, preventing him by military means from getting into Saudi Arabia… When it came to expelling him from Kuwait, they wanted to give the blockade and the embargo [more time], on the belief of people like Admiral Crowe that that would be preferable to the deaths that would be involved in trying to expel him militarily. We didn’t test that theory.

“KRISTOL: The argument was not that the sanctions could get him out of Kuwait. The argument was that we could keep him out of Saudi Arabia. Who seriously thought he could be expelled from Kuwait by sanctions?

“ELLSBERG: Practically everyone who testified before Senator Nunn, who is no left-wing radical. And Senator Nunn himself. You’ve forgotten the history of that.

“KRISTOL: I remember the history vividly.”

Ellsberg is correct, of course: On November 28, 1990, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral William Crowe testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and its chairman Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.). Crowe stated: “[W]e should give sanctions a fair chance… I personally believe they will bring [Saddam] to his knees” — by which Crowe meant Iraq would be “pushed out of Kuwait.” The same message was delivered by General David Jones, another former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman. The next day, the lede in a page one New York Times story was that Crowe and Jones had “urged the Bush Administration today to postpone military action against Iraq and to give economic sanctions a year or more to work.”

It’s not like Kristol could have missed all this, since the Bush administration immediately disputed such commentary — and one of its point men for the push back was none other than Dan Quayle. An early December 1990 article about a Quayle speech reported: “[Quayle] specifically cited the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee” where “voices have argued that the Bush Administration should allow time for economic sanctions against Iraq to work, getting President Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait voluntarily rather than using force to dislodge him.” (Unfortunately, there’s no available reporting on whether Quayle’s chief of staff wrote this speech for him.)

Then there’s Kristol’s curious explanation of his views on how the Gulf War ended — that moment when George H.W. Bush called upon the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam and then, despite having smashed Saddam’s army and controlling Iraq’s air space, let the dictator’s helicopter gunships take to the air and crush a Shiite uprising. There were even reports the administration forbade the Saudis from aiding the uprising and that U.S. troops blew up caches of Iraqi weapons rather than allow the rebels to use them.

Kristol, however, uses his courtier’s skills to remake reality more pleasingly:

“KRISTOL: I was unhappy in 1991 when we stopped the war and left this brutal tyrant in power. I think we betrayed the people who rose up against Saddam, a genuine popular uprising. That was a big mistake on the part of the Bush administration. A political mistake and a moral mistake.”

So that’s clear: Kristol feels the decision was immoral. Or… was it?

“KRISTOL: I don’t think these were simply immoral decisions by the president. These were judgment calls. There were reasons. There were arguments. There weren’t simply –

“ELLSBERG: But they were immoral –

“KRISTOL: Well, no, that’s not so easy to call a political decision an immoral decision.”

That’s fancy footwork for you! On the one hand, Kristol wants us to know that the decision was indeed “a moral mistake.” The implication is that he should be respected in the post-invasion moment of 2003 as the sort of sensitive tough guy who would indeed invade Iraq to make up for past decisions that lacked morality. On the other hand, we’re talking about a former Republican president and the present President’s father. A straightforward declaration of “immorality,” if pursued far enough, could easily hurt future employment prospects. Kristol has absolutely perfect pitch, managing to strike a blow for moral beauty in politics while maintaining career viability.

Ellsberg then asks questions aimed at just this issue:

“ELLSBERG: Did you consider doing more than disagree? Perhaps putting out the word of your dissent? Perhaps resigning with documents and revealing those to the press and the Congress?

“KRISTOL [scoffing]: I had no documents to put out. There were no secrets about the President’s policy… We didn’t want to occupy Baghdad. The rebellion would have failed anyway. We would have gotten in deeper.”

Hmmm. No secrets about Bush the elder’s policy. Yet there was something that most certainly was secret about the rebellions at the end of the Gulf War: Saddam was using chemical weapons to put down the Shiite uprising in the south. Rumored since 1991, this has been confirmed by the most impeccable source imaginable — the CIA’s final 2004 report on Iraq’s WMD. According to the report, the Iraqi military used Sarin nerve agent, dropped from the helicopters the U.S. had given them permission to fly.

The CIA goes on to to suggest the U.S. government knew about this at the time, describing “reports of attacks in 1991 from refugees and Iraqi military deserters.” And Gulf War veterans have said they passed such reports up the chain of command. Did Kristol know it then? Probably not. But even today there’s no sign he knows: he and the Weekly Standard appear never to have mentioned it. As with the coups in 1963 and 1968, Kristol’s ignorance is of a peculiarly convenient variety.

In any case, here’s what Kristol did know: the Bush administration made the choices it did at war’s end not because, as Kristol says, they felt “the rebellion would have failed.” Their fear was exactly the opposite: that the rebellion would succeed. Yes, the Bush administration preferred Saddam gone, but it wanted him replaced by some other, more amenable group or leader from the Sunni military elite. It most certainly did not want a popular uprising that might leave a largely Shiite government in power in Baghdad, potentially close to Iran. Even worse was the possibility Iraq could fracture, with power shifting to the oil-rich Shiite south. As an administration official told Peter Galbraith, then a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer, “[O]ur policy is to get rid of Saddam Hussein, not the regime.” Later, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman explained that Washington was looking for “the best of all worlds: an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein.”

Kristol’s predictions that March day in 2003 are every bit as on target as his descriptions of the past. When Ellsberg raises the possibility of the new Iraq war coming to resemble Vietnam in some fashion, Kristol insists that this is utterly preposterous: “It’s not going to happen. This is going to be a two-month war.”

Here’s the exchange when they turn to what will happen to Iraq’s Kurds:

“ELLSBERG: The Kurds have every reason to believe they will be betrayed again by the United States, as so often in the past. The spectacle of our inviting Turks into this war… could not have been reassuring to the Kurds…

“KRISTOL: I’m against betraying the Kurds. Surely your point isn’t that because we betrayed them in the past we should betray them this time?

“ELLSBERG: Not that we should, just that we will.

“KRISTOL: We will not. We will not.”

This past December, we did. The Bush administration officially looked the other way while Turkey carried out a 50-plane bombing raid on Iraqi Kurdistan against the PKK, a Kurdish rebel group. Ken Silverstein of Harper’s reprinted an email from a former U.S. official there that said, in part:

“The blowback here in Kurdistan is building against the U.S. government because of its help with the Turkish air strikes. The theme is shock and betrayal… The people killed and wounded were villagers, not PKK fighters or support people… The initial explanation from Washington that the United States did not authorize the Turkish strike is bullshit, and every Kurd here knows it.”

No mention of the bombing has appeared in the Weekly Standard. It’s fair to assume, however, that Kristol will eventually call America’s actions there “a moral mistake,” while emphasizing that “these were judgment calls. There were reasons. There were arguments.”

Back in 2003, Kristol was also quite certain, almost touchingly so, that the Bush administration would be well served by relying on Iraqi exiles:

“KRISTOL: We have tens of thousands of Shia exiles [who] have come back to help contribute to the liberation of Iraq.

“ELLSBERG: I’m afraid the people who propose this war have failed one lesson of intelligence history, which is not to rely too much on the knowledge of people who have left the country… The people who’ve come to this country may very well underestimate the desire of those people not to be governed by foreigners.”

This lesson of history goes back a long way. Book II, Chapter XXXI of Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy is titled “How Dangerous It Is to Believe Exiles”:

“It ought to be considered, therefore, how vain are the faith and promises of those who find themselves deprived of their country… such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art, so that between those they believe and those they say they believe, they fill you with hope, so that relying on them you will incur expenses in vain, or you undertake an enterprise in which you ruin yourself… A Prince, therefore, ought to go slowly in undertaking an enterprise upon the representations of an exile, for most of the times he will be left either with shame or very grave injury.”

The Weekly Standard’s archives show Kristol has published quite a few articles on how political correctness in elite U.S. universities is strangling the teaching of the Western canon. And you can understand where he’s coming from: While Kristol himself received a PhD in government from Harvard, it obviously was during a period when radical multiculturalists had completely expunged Machiavelli from the curriculum. When will the PC brigade ever learn? Teaching Toni Morrison starts wars.

Finally, there’s the most telling moment of the entire two hours, when a caller asks Kristol something he does not at all expect:

“CALLER: I wonder how we reconcile these views with how we treat the American Indians?

“KRISTOL: [raising eyebrows, chuckling] Well, I think the American Indians are now full citizens of the United States of America. We have injustices in our past in treating the American Indians. I’m for equal rights for American Indians and for liberating the people of Iraq from this horrible tyranny.”

Kristol obviously finds the caller’s perspective ridiculous. But the man had, in fact, asked the most profound question possible.

After all, there is a deep cultural connection running from our conquest of the continent to the invasion of Iraq. While Americans have mostly forgotten this, the early settlers did not perceive themselves as simply pushing Indians out of the way. Rather, they came here with the very best of intentions. The 1629 seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony is a picture of an American Indian, who is saying, “Come over and help us.” Three hundred seventy-three years later in 2002, Ahmed Chalabi was being paid by the U.S. government to tell Americans to come over and “help the Iraqi people.” In his book The Winning of the West, Teddy Roosevelt wrote that no nation “has ever treated the original savage owners of the soil with such generosity as has the United States.” In 2004, Fred Barnes wrote (in the Weekly Standard) that the invasion of Iraq might be “the greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another.”

Kristol finishes the C-Span show with a crescendo:

“The moral credentials of this war are strong. We’ll see if we follow through. I agree with Mr. Ellsberg on this, if we’re not serious about helping the Iraqi people rebuild their country and about helping promote decent democratic government in Iraq… it will be a much less morally satisfying and fully defensible war… I’m happy to be held to a moral standard. I ask that it be a serious moral standard.”

So, there you have it: a complex, rich experience to be savored by anyone who enjoys watching a master at the very peak of his craft.

Yet trying to encapsulate Kristol’s now almost five year-old chilling performance by turning it into a bitter joke only takes us so far. After all, the joke is on us.

Kristol indeed has been held to a moral standard, but it’s the moral standard of Rupert Murdoch and, more recently, the New York Times. What we learn from this dusty vinyl LP is that some of the most powerful men and institutions in our country are genuinely depraved. They provide Kristol with his prominence not in spite of performances like this one, but precisely because of them. Kristol is giving them just what they want. The fact that he’s a propagandist straight out of Pravda’s archives makes the same impression on them as the fact that John Lennon was a great songwriter might make on you or me.

Of course he is. That’s why we bought the album.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Bush Likely to Attack Iran, Impeachment a Must By Sari Gelzer

Dandelion Salad

By Sari Gelzer
TruthOut.org
February 7, 2008

The American public and media have not picked up on the urgency surrounding a pending war with Iran.

Daniel Ellsberg, perhaps the country’s most famous whistleblower, fears that before the Bush administration leaves office, it will try to attack Iran.

Indeed, Ellsberg’s argument gained merit as George W. Bush increased his rhetoric against Iran when he delivered his final State of the Union Address. Bush accused Iran of training militia extremists in Iraq and emphasized the United States will confront its enemies.

In a wide-ranging interview with Truthout, Ellsberg uses insight from his experience as a Pentagon analyst under the Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon administrations to discuss Bush’s plans to begin a war with Iran, the role of the press to give whistleblowers exposure and how American democracy can be restored.

Due to Ellsberg’s experience working within the government, I wanted his insight into how the Bush administration is attempting to begin a war with Iran.

When I highlighted his experience working for Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1965 to draft a speech with the goal of rationalizing and gaining public support for the Vietnam War, Ellsberg gave a very long sigh.

“That was not my finest hour that I look back on. That was something that I am ashamed of,” he tells me with a heavy heart.

Ellsberg wishes he had spoken out against the Vietnam War sooner. As a civilian working for the government, he says his oath was always to the Constitution, and he violated that oath until the day he decided to leak the Pentagon Papers in 1971 to reveal the war was unlawful.

Ellsberg now spends his time ardently encouraging and supporting whistleblowers to come forward when they see constitutional violations. He emphasizes the importance of documents as evidence and of timeliness so that lies are exposed before an actual war occurs.

Pending war with Iran or Gulf of Tonkin deja vu

The recent announcement in December by the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) revealed, counter to the president’s claims, that Iran did not have an active nuclear program. This was unexpected, says Ellsberg.

The administration had said, weeks before this release, it had no intention of putting out NIE summaries, Ellsberg says. However, the information was released because, according to newspaper reports, there was a threat of leaks:

“As one news story put it, intelligence officials were lined up to go to jail if the administration did not release those findings,” says Ellsberg, emphasizing his creed in the need to take risks for the sake of revealing truth.

“I wish I could say it made an attack on Iran zero, and it hasn’t, but it has reduced it and confirms, in my opinion, the power of being willing to risk prosecution, willing to give up your career, your clearance, which these people would have done if they’d put that information out — and the mere threat was enough to get it out in this case,” emphasizes Ellsberg.

Ellsberg says Bush will simply find a different pretext from the nuclear program.

“After all, it was about a year ago that he really stopped pressing the nuclear program as the main reason to start attacking Iran and start talking about what they were doing against U.S. forces in Iraq,” says Ellsberg, who claims people in the military have recently undercut this statement by saying there is no evidence of Iran’s involvement against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Bush could also use an incident that is blamed on Iran as a means to begin a war with them.

Early this year, Ellsberg experienced deja vu when the White House and a complicit media portrayed an incident in the Strait of Hormuz that deeply paralleled the Tonkin Gulf incident of 1964.

The Gulf of Tonkin incident was an alleged attack by North Vietnamese ships upon American boats. As a result of this alleged aggression, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave former President Johnson the permission to expand the Vietnam War.

The recent incident involving Iran alleged serious threats were being made to U.S. ships by Iranian speedboats. Within days of the events in the Straight of Hormuz, information revealed the details of the entire event had been fabricated. Ellsberg sees promise in the quickness of this revelation because, in contrast, it was only in 2005 and 2008 that the inaccuracies and deceptions of the Gulf of Tonkin incident were revealed by the declassification of National Security Administration reports.

Ellsberg is worried Congress has not put forth an effort to demand it be informed before an attack on Iran should occur. Currently, there is a Senate resolution to demand Congress be consulted in the event of plans to attack Iran, but it has not gotten out of committee.

Instead, the Senate has virtually endorsed the president’s power to begin a war with Iran, says Ellsberg, with the passage of legislation last September declaring that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is a terrorist organization.

“To say that the Revolutionary Guards in Iran are a terrorist organization … is very close to saying that the president is able to attack them at his discretion. Now to give this president that discretion is inexcusable, outrageous,” says Ellsberg.

The Democratic Congress should be having open hearings on Iran, says Ellsberg, as well as on how we got into the war against Iraq and regarding Guantanamo. But the Democratic chairmen are not holding such hearings.

The American public, and media in general, have not picked up on the urgency surrounding a pending war with Iran, Ellsberg says. For over two years, Sy Hersh and others have been writing detailed articles stating operational plans against Iran are being updated to the minute, so that within hours or a day they can be implemented.

The problem with these articles, says Ellsberg, is not that Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, lacks credibility, it’s that his sources are not willing to go beyond their anonymity. Ellsberg emphasizes the sources in Sy Hersh’s reports, and others within the government, must reveal documents, risk their career and testify before Congress if they wish to profoundly alter the course of a pending war with Iran.

Gateway for whistleblowers: the press

Whistleblowers depend strongly on the press to relay their information to the American public, who will then be able to exert pressure in politics. When I ask Ellsberg if he believes the press is doing a good job of this, he gives me the most matter-of-fact answer of the evening: “No.”

In October of 2004, whistleblowers gave the New York Times knowledge of an illegal and unconstitutional domestic spying program that was being carried out by the U.S. government. The newspaper waited a year to reveal this information.

This was not just any year, says Ellsberg. The Times held this information at the request of the White House until after the 2004 election, avoiding the possible impact it could have had in swaying voters.

The New York Times, says Ellsberg, was pressured to publish the article because its internal reporter, James Risen, was going to release a book regarding the Times‘ decision to remain silent at the White House’s request.

The New York Times received a Pulitzer Prize for releasing this story. Ellsberg says he believes not only reporters but whistleblowers who reveal important information should also receive a prize in recognition of their public service. This is not a retroactive attempt on his part, he says, to receive an award.

Ellsberg smiles. “In my case my prize was the indictment,” which he says he has taken to be as great an honor as he needs in life.

The press in America, says Ellsberg, is currently avoiding the story of an explosive whistleblower by the name of Sibel Edmonds. A former FBI translator of Turkish and Persian, he says she has been attempting to speak before Congress for five years.

Early last month, Sibel Edmonds appeared on the front page of the London Sunday Times to reveal information she learned as an FBI employee. Ellsberg describes her claims that the U.S. government is giving nuclear materials, equipment and expertise to countries, including Turkey, which in turn sell them to other countries, including Pakistan. In effect, says Ellsberg, criminal bribery is occurring.

Ellsberg says Edmonds is also revealing the U.S. government is allowing a drug trade that finances terrorist operations, such as al-Qaeda, to continue. Ellsberg describes her revelations further, saying the U.S. government is turning a blind eye to the drug trade of U.S. allies such as Turkey and Pakistan, as well as countries such as Uzbekistan, where the United States wants to gain military base rights.

These allegations are only part of the knowledge Edmonds wishes to share before Congress, and she awaits the chance to do so, claiming she knows people in the FBI, CIA and NSA who will corroborate her statements, says Ellsberg.

This is in direct parallel, says Ellsberg, to what happened to Catherine Gunn, a British whistleblower whose actions, he believes, were more important than the release of the Pentagon Papers, because she provided information early enough to have prevented the Iraq war.

Gunn, who worked as an employee for British Intelligence, Government Communication Headquarters, revealed a document showing the United States was “tapping the U.N. Security Council members in order to influence their votes in support of an aggressive war, which was about to take place,” says Ellsberg.

This was front-page news, not only in London, says Ellsberg, but all over the world, except the United States, where it did not appear for about 11 months. Ellsberg says it was reasonable to believe Gunn could have stopped the war, and he believes she prevented a U.N. Security Council vote in support of the war.

“The same thing is happening to Sibel Edmonds as we speak,” says Ellsberg, intensely.

How to restore American democracy

As the days of Bush’s final term in office dwindle, Ellsberg emphasizes that, no matter how much time is left, impeachment is one thing that must happen for the sake of preserving American democracy.

Impeachment proceedings are essential, says Ellsberg, “both for the information that it will produce and above all to make it clear that Congress perceives the illegal and unconstitutional acts taken by this administration to be high crimes and misdemeanors, and for the deterrent effect that they will have on future presidents.”

In addition to impeachment hearings, Ellsberg says Congress must reverse the laws that have “outrageously” passed under “intimidation” by Bush. These include say Ellsberg: “The Patriot Act; the Military Commissions Act, which among other things essentially denies habeas corpus; the signing statements, which essentially give the president the power to ignore constraints on torture; and they could change the so-called Protect America Act which legalized much of the unconstitutional surveillance that the NSA was doing without Congress even knowing what they were legalizing.”

For those things that Congress cannot overturn, Ellsberg suggests hearings by Congress to show, for example, that “not only was torture illegal, it should continue to be illegal because it hurts our national security.”

None of these changes will happen without an active American movement, says Ellsberg, which must demand Congress members uphold their oath to support the Constitution rather than their political career.

Looking at the current primaries and the future presidential election, Ellsberg says the American public must create priorities that are different from those offered by the current candidates.

The changes that need to occur are drastic, and given the stakes, Ellsberg believes the American public should be willing to invest its time so that the crisis we currently find ourselves in can be met with strong action:

“If enough people simply look clearly at what we are doing in our course towards an abyss right now, they do have the power with the remaining democracy we have still in this country to turn it around.”

h/t: CURRENT EVENTS BLOG: Society, Media, & Justice
FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

How The Pentagon Planted a False Hormuz Story by Gareth Porter

Is Bush preparing the world for another USS Liberty? by Trevor Murphy

The American Media’s Complicit Failure to Investigate & Report on the Sibel Edmonds Case By Daniel Ellsberg

A Pre-election Attack on Iran Remains a Possibility By Leon Hadar

Interview: Seymour Hersh By Sarah Brown

A Strike in the Dark – What did Israel bomb in Syria? by Seymour M. Hersh

Seymour Hersh: What did Israel bomb in Syria? (video)

Pentagon Insider Has Dire Warning By Daniel Ellsberg

Dandelion Salad

Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department analyst who leaked the secret Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, offered insights into the looming attack on Iran and the loss of liberty in the United States at a recent American University symposium. What follow are his comments from that speech. They have been edited only for space.

By Daniel Ellsberg
American Free Press

Let me simplify . . . and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9-11. That’s the next coup that completes the first.

The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution . . . what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world—in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

All these violations were impeachable had they been found out at the time but in nearly every case the violations were not found out until [the president was] out of office so we didn’t have the exact challenge that we have today.

That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable. They weren’t found out in time. But I think it was not their intention, in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.

It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 1970s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but [they] have believed in executive government, single-branch government under an executive president—elected or not—with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint.

When I say this, I’m not saying they are traitors. I don’t think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country—but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country [and the Framers of the Constitution] thought.

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we’re getting with ‘signing statements.’

Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says: ‘I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.’

It’s [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the executive branch, essentially of the president—a concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution.”

* * *

Now I’m appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right. It’s not just ‘our way of doing things’— it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody, including Americans.

On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming.

That brings me to the second point. This executive branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition [even] from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran, which, even by imperialist standards, [violates] standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the executive branch but most of the leaders in Congress.

The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment. …

But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don’t mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it’s not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences.

Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn’t; it doesn’t even make it unlikely.

That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress—Democrats and Republicans—and the public and the media, we have freed the White House — the president and the vice president—from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever.

And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs.

And the question is what then, can we do about this?

We are heading toward an insane operation. It is not certain. [But it] is likely.… I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible.

What I’m talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran, is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably. Whatever we do.

And . . . we will not succeed in moving Congress, probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that’s where we’re heading. That’s a very ugly, ugly prospect.

However, I think it’s up to us to work to increase that small, perhaps—anyway not large—possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives.

* * *

Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don’t get started now, it won’t be started under the next administration.

Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9-11, another attack, is for right now, it can’t be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little.

We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, ‘traitor,’ ‘weak on terrorism’—names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called.

How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn’t just doing their jobs. Getting them to obey their oaths of office.

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath of office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the armed services.

And that oath is not to a commander in chief, which is not [even] mentioned. It is not to a Fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran.

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath, which I eventually came to do.

I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada—who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war—is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously [the matter of] upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. [All the personnel] under him who understand what is going on — and there are myriad — are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people.

On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate—and frankly of the Republicans —that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority.

I’m not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that.
Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they’re acting like it’s their sole concern. Which is business as usual. “We have a majority, let’s not lose it, let’s keep it. Let’s keep those chairmanships.”

Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years?

I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read [about] in The Washington Post who threatened a filibuster if we … get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution.

I think we’ve got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it’s only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from madmen in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran.

And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves —they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relations with the president to the slightest degree.

That has to change. And it’s the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you.”

(Issue #47, November 19, 2007)

h/t: The Political Junkies

Not Copyrighted. Readers can reprint and are free to redistribute – as long as full credit is given to American Free Press – 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20003

Please make a donation to American Free Press

see
Impeachment: A Message to Iowa Democrats by 35 Percenters (video; Kucinich)

The Obedience Culture, & the Death of the Mind – & Toward a New World by Arthur Silber

Impeach

Leading Americans Ask Military to Refuse to Attack Iran and Start a Global Catastrophe

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 5, 2007

AfterDowningStreet.org – 2006-10-02

Country music legend Willie Nelson, literary icon Gore Vidal, Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega, author and radio host Thom Hartmann, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Rabbi Steven Jacobs, and dozens of other prominent Americans have signed a letter asking the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all U.S. military personnel to refuse orders to launch an aggressive war on Iran.

The letter has been posted as a petition for others to sign at

http://www.dontattackiran.org

The text of the letter follows:

ATTENTION: Joint Chiefs of Staff and all U.S. Military Personnel:

Do not attack Iran.

Any preemptive U.S. attack on Iran would be illegal.
Any preemptive U.S. attack on Iran would be criminal.

We, the citizens of the United States, respectfully urge you, courageous men and women of our military, to refuse any order to preemptively attack Iran, a nation that represents no serious or immediate threat to the United States. To attack Iran, a sovereign nation of 70-million people, would be a crime of the highest magnitude.

Legal basis for our Request – Do not attack Iran:

The Nuremberg Principles, which are part of US law, provide that all military personnel have the obligation not to obey illegal orders. The Army Field Manual 27-10, sec. 609 and UCMJ, art. 92, incorporate this principle. Article 92 says: “A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the law of the United States …”

Any provision of an international treaty ratified by the United States becomes the law of the United States. The United States is a party and signatory to the United Nations Charter, of which Article II, Section 4 states, “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” As Iran has not attacked the United States, and as the U.S. is a party and signatory to the Charter, any attack on Iran by the U.S. would be illegal under not only international law but under the U.S. Constitution which recognizes our treaties as the Supreme Law of the Land. When you joined the military, you took an oath to defend our Constitution.

Following the orders of your government or superior does not relieve you from responsibility under international law. Under the Principles of International Law recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, complicity in the commission of war crime is a crime under international law.

Background:

The Bush Administration’s charges against Iran have not been proven. Neither the development of nuclear weapons, nor providing assistance to Iraq would, if proven, constitute justification for an illegal war.

An attack on Iran might prompt the formidable Iranian military to attack U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. Thousands of our soldiers might be killed or captured as prisoners of war. A U.S. attack against Iranian nuclear facilities could also mean the deaths, from radiation poisoning, of tens of thousands of innocent Iranian civilians. The people of Iran have little control over their government, yet would suffer tremendously should the U.S. attack. Bombing raids would amount to collective punishment, a violation of the Geneva Convention, and would surely sow the seeds of hatred for generations to come. Children make up a quarter of Iran’s population.

Above all, we ask you to look at the record of our actions in Iraq, which U.S. intelligence admits is “a cause celebre for jihadists” – a situation that did not exist before we attacked. We must face the fact that our rash use of military solutions has created more enemies, and made American families less safe. Diplomacy, not war, is the answer.

Know the Risks Involved in Refusing an Illegal Order or Signing This Statement:

We knowingly and willingly make this plea, aware of the risk that, in violation of our First Amendment rights, we could be charged under remaining sections of the unconstitutional Espionage Act or other unconstitutional statute, and that we could be fined, imprisoned, or barred from government employment.

We make this plea, also aware that you have no easy options. If you obey an illegal order to participate in an aggressive attack on Iran, you could potentially be charged with war crimes. If you heed our call and disobey an illegal order you could be falsely charged with crimes including treason. You could be falsely court martialed. You could be imprisoned. (To talk to a lawyer or to learn more about possible consequences, contact The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Courage to Resist, Center on Conscience and War, Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild 415-566-3732, or the GI Rights Hotline at 877-447-4487.) **

Final request:

Our leaders often say that military force should be a last resort. We beg you to make that policy a reality, and refuse illegal orders to attack Iran. We promise to support you for protecting the American public and innocent civilians abroad.

Our future, the future of our children and their children, rests in your hands.

You know the horrors of war. You can stop the next one.

Sincerely,

The letter has been posted as a petition for others to sign at http://www.dontattackiran.org

 


2. Please sign Petition to President and Vice President below.

Dear President Bush and Vice President Cheney,

We write to you from all over the United States and all over the world to urge you to obey both international and U.S. law, which forbid aggressive attacks on other nations. We oppose your proposal to attack Iran. Iran does not possess nuclear weapons, just as Iraq did not possess nuclear weapons. If Iran had such weapons, that would not justify the use of force, any more than any other nation would be justified in launching a war against the world’s greatest possessor of nuclear arms, the United States. The most effective way to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons would be to closely monitor its nuclear energy program, and to improve diplomatic relations — two tasks made much more difficult by threatening to bomb Iranian territory. We urge you to lead the way to peace, not war, and to begin by making clear that you will not commit the highest international crime by aggressively attacking Iran.

PLEASE SIGN IT NOW: Sign This Petition.

 


For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright , AfterDowningStreet.org, 2006
The url address of this article is:
www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=698

YES A Coup has Occurred & The Answer is Blow’in in the Wind By Jim Kirwan

Dandelion Salad

By Jim Kirwan
09/28/07 “ICH

YES

‘A Coup Has Occurred’ By Daniel Ellsberg

& “The Answer is Blow’in in the Wind”

In his clearly written article, Daniel Ellsberg points out many of the obvious things that others have been trying to unscramble now for at least the last six years. Line by line he wrestles with the reality of the facts as most have come to see them in this situation. What seems to be missing here is the poverty of both attitudes and motives that allowed this to happen in the first instance. With every passing moment these differences become more necessary, to any possible solution, to all that the Ellsberg article so clearly delineates.

For generations now people with real experience, individuals that have actually lived their lives in that crucible that molds experience and courage have been missing-in-action when it counts the most. These traits are necessary, not because they are exceptional: but because only with these capacities can this nation or any person in it– even begin to overturn–not only the nightmare we are living but the one to come as well.

What is needed now are people that understand the determination necessary to exhibit the strength of character that can change the course of history. This nation has become a place of bureaucrats and opportunists that speak in riddles to confuse the actual issues. These carpetbaggers exist to frustrate actual solutions in the predetermined outcomes that created the walls of our nightmares, and so far they’ve remained ‘in-charge.’ The opportunity to shut down the war exists in congress – now. Many have written about it, and yet this seemingly simple proposal is not taken seriously–even though it is the only thing that will work right now. In yesterday’s democratic debates an obscure candidate, Senator Mike Gravel, outlined this option, in the 1st video, right after Kucinich. (1)

The proposal is simple. The congress needs to resubmit their vetoed legislation on the war to the president every working day – until the country begins to understand that nothing is going to go forward until this issue is settled. The argument to-date was explained by Harry Reid not so long ago, on Democracy Now. He said: ‘I have a calculator in one hand and the Constitution in the other – and ‘we’ simply do not have the votes to override a veto – so we are limited by the Constitution as to what we can do.’ This is the problem in a nutshell, because ‘leaders’ know that limitations are only there to stop the weak from doing much of anything. It is the job of congress: Not to explain to the public why they cannot carry out their mandate (because of congressional rules)–but rather–to use those same rules to defeat the calculated plans of those that want to immobilize the powers of congress and continue their plundering War-on-Iraq.

This can only be stopped if the leadership knows something about actually fighting for things of real importance – beyond their own political talking points or future placements within their ‘parties.’ Being stubborn can be an asset and in this case it’s only the beginning of obtaining the outcome that’s needed. What Senator Reid cited was true in that moment – they didn’t have “the votes” – but what he failed to credit is the obvious proposition that once the legislation is resubmitted, doggedly day after day, the momentum on the ground will have to change, because the longer this goes on the more clearly will the resisting members be painted with the potential outcome of their continued refusal to support a shut down of the Iraq war.

Within weeks, the country will begin to recognize the fact that while these paper-warriors bicker, at-risk men and women are dying for nothing, because all the death beyond this point – need not happen!

As time passes, more and more people will begin to understand that the holdouts ‘for’ all this unnecessary death are the same people that brought us the lies & deceptions that got us into the war in the first place. Why should these people still be ‘in-charge’ of keeping the troops there, for nothing but more of the same. This is critical when one remembers that the elections that altered the demographics last year were to have at least begun an end to this war. Instead the new congress has lengthened the war, and has added immeasurably to the waste of treasure, in both blood and money, that continues to be squandered in Cheney’s private-war for ever-greater empire. The war cannot be won militarily, yet the congressional stalemate cannot continue either–because with every hour that passes people are unnecessarily dying for no other reason than the inconvenience to a few self-interested politicians and a thoroughly disgusted public that can see no end in sight to this nightmare.

From every angle the funding for this now ‘Trillion-Dollar-War’ must absolutely be stopped. The congress is paid by us to act on our forcefully expressed desires. In this battle we have always needed those that understand the importance of standing FOR something, and not just being against what others have proposed. Simple as they are Margret Mead’s humble yet powerful words are more true today than ever before: and the time to prove the truth in this axiom is now!

“Never doubt that a few, thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead


kirwanstudios@sbcglobal.net

1) Mike Gravel pulverizes the protective bubble of the ‘Democrat’ Elite with Truth
http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/3777

see

‘A Coup Has Occurred’ By Daniel Ellsberg

Democrats Were Charged To End A War, Not Start One By Mike Gravel

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

‘A Coup Has Occurred’ By Daniel Ellsberg

Dandelion Salad

By Daniel Ellsberg
09/26/07 “ICH

September 26, 2007 (Text of a speech delivered September 20, 2007)

I think nothing has higher priority than averting an attack on Iran, which I think will be accompanied by a further change in our way of governing here that in effect will convert us into what I would call a police state.

If there’s another 9/11 under this regime … it means that they switch on full extent all the apparatus of a police state that has been patiently constructed, largely secretly at first but eventually leaked out and known and accepted by the Democratic people in Congress, by the Republicans and so forth.

Will there be anything left for NSA to increase its surveillance of us? … They may be to the limit of their technical capability now, or they may not. But if they’re not now they will be after another 9/11.

And I would say after the Iranian retaliation to an American attack on Iran, you will then see an increased attack on Iran – an escalation – which will be also accompanied by a total suppression of dissent in this country, including detention camps.

It’s a little hard for me to distinguish the two contingencies; they could come together. Another 9/11 or an Iranian attack in which Iran’s reaction against Israel, against our shipping, against our troops in Iraq above all, possibly in this country, will justify the full panoply of measures that have been prepared now, legitimized, and to some extent written into law. …

This is an unusual gang, even for Republicans. [But] I think that the successors to this regime are not likely to roll back the assault on the Constitution. They will take advantage of it, they will exploit it.

Will Hillary Clinton as president decide to turn off NSA after the last five years of illegal surveillance? Will she deprive her administration her ability to protect United States citizens from possible terrorism by blinding herself and deafening herself to all that NSA can provide? I don’t think so.

Unless this somehow, by a change in our political climate, of a radical change, unless this gets rolled back in the next year or two before a new administration comes in – and there’s no move to do this at this point – unless that happens I don’t see it happening under the next administration, whether Republican or Democratic.

The Next Coup

Let me simplify this and not just to be rhetorical: A coup has occurred. I woke up the other day realizing, coming out of sleep, that a coup has occurred. It’s not just a question that a coup lies ahead with the next 9/11. That’s the next coup, that completes the first.

The last five years have seen a steady assault on every fundamental of our Constitution, … what the rest of the world looked at for the last 200 years as a model and experiment to the rest of the world – in checks and balances, limited government, Bill of Rights, individual rights protected from majority infringement by the Congress, an independent judiciary, the possibility of impeachment.

There have been violations of these principles by many presidents before. Most of the specific things that Bush has done in the way of illegal surveillance and other matters were done under my boss Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam War: the use of CIA, FBI, NSA against Americans.

I could go through a list going back before this century to Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus in the Civil War, and before that the Alien and Sedition Acts in the 18th century. I think that none of those presidents were in fact what I would call quite precisely the current administration: domestic enemies of the Constitution.

I think that none of these presidents with all their violations, which were impeachable had they been found out at the time and in nearly every case their violations were not found out until they were out of office so we didn’t have the exact challenge that we have today.

That was true with the first term of Nixon and certainly of Johnson, Kennedy and others. They were impeachable, they weren’t found out in time, but I think it was not their intention to in the crisis situations that they felt justified their actions, to change our form of government.

It is increasingly clear with each new book and each new leak that comes out, that Richard Cheney and his now chief of staff David Addington have had precisely that in mind since at least the early 70s. Not just since 1992, not since 2001, but have believed in Executive government, single-branch government under an Executive president – elected or not – with unrestrained powers. They did not believe in restraint.

When I say this I’m not saying they are traitors. I don’t think they have in mind allegiance to some foreign power or have a desire to help a foreign power. I believe they have in their own minds a love of this country and what they think is best for this country – but what they think is best is directly and consciously at odds with what the Founders of this country and Constitution thought.

They believe we need a different kind of government now, an Executive government essentially, rule by decree, which is what we’re getting with signing statements. Signing statements are talked about as line-item vetoes which is one [way] of describing them which are unconstitutional in themselves, but in other ways are just saying the president says “I decide what I enforce. I decide what the law is. I legislate.”

It’s [the same] with the military commissions, courts that are under the entire control of the Executive Branch, essentially of the president. A concentration of legislative, judicial, and executive powers in one branch, which is precisely what the Founders meant to avert, and tried to avert and did avert to the best of their ability in the Constitution.

Founders Had It Right

Now I’m appealing to that as a crisis right now not just because it is a break in tradition but because I believe in my heart and from my experience that on this point the Founders had it right.

It’s not just “our way of doing things” – it was a crucial perception on the corruption of power to anybody including Americans. On procedures and institutions that might possibly keep that power under control because the alternative was what we have just seen, wars like Vietnam, wars like Iraq, wars like the one coming.

That brings me to the second point. This Executive Branch, under specifically Bush and Cheney, despite opposition from most of the rest of the branch, even of the cabinet, clearly intends a war against Iran which even by imperialist standards, standards in other words which were accepted not only by nearly everyone in the Executive Branch but most of the leaders in Congress. The interests of the empire, the need for hegemony, our right to control and our need to control the oil of the Middle East and many other places. That is consensual in our establishment. …

But even by those standards, an attack on Iran is insane. And I say that quietly, I don’t mean it to be heard as rhetoric. Of course it’s not only aggression and a violation of international law, a supreme international crime, but it is by imperial standards, insane in terms of the consequences.

Does that make it impossible? No, it obviously doesn’t, it doesn’t even make it unlikely.

That is because two things come together that with the acceptance for various reasons of the Congress – Democrats and Republicans – and the public and the media, we have freed the White House – the president and the vice president – from virtually any restraint by Congress, courts, media, public, whatever.

And on the other hand, the people who have this unrestrained power are crazy. Not entirely, but they have crazy beliefs.

And the question is what then, what can we do about this? We are heading towards an insane operation. It is not certain. It is likely. … I want to try to be realistic myself here, to encourage us to do what we must do, what is needed to be done with the full recognition of the reality. Nothing is impossible.

What I’m talking about in the way of a police state, in the way of an attack on Iran is not certain. Nothing is certain, actually. However, I think it is probable, more likely than not, that in the next 15, 16 months of this administration we will see an attack on Iran. Probably. Whatever we do.

And … we will not succeed in moving Congress probably, and Congress probably will not stop the president from doing this. And that’s where we’re heading. That’s a very ugly, ugly prospect.

However, I think it’s up to us to work to increase that small perhaps – anyway not large – possibility and probability to avert this within the next 15 months, aside from the effort that we have to make for the rest of our lives.

Restoring the Republic

Getting back the constitutional government and improving it will take a long time. And I think if we don’t get started now, it won’t be started under the next administration.

Getting out of Iraq will take a long time. Averting Iran and averting a further coup in the face of a 9/11, another attack, is for right now, it can’t be put off. It will take a kind of political and moral courage of which we have seen very little…

We have a really unusual concentration here and in this audience, of people who have in fact changed their lives, changed their position, lost their friends to a large extent, risked and experienced being called terrible names, “traitor,” “weak on terrorism” – names that politicians will do anything to avoid being called.

How do we get more people in the government and in the public at large to change their lives now in a crisis in a critical way? How do we get Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for example? What kinds of pressures, what kinds of influences can be brought to bear to get Congress to do their jobs? It isn’t just doing their jobs. Getting them to obey their oaths of office.

I took an oath many times, an oath of office as a Marine lieutenant, as an official in the Defense Department, as an official in the State Department as a Foreign Service officer. A number of times I took an oath of office which is the same oath office taken by every member of Congress and every official in the United States and every officer in the United States armed services.

And that oath is not to a Commander in Chief, which is not mentioned. It is not to a fuehrer. It is not even to superior officers. The oath is precisely to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Now that is an oath I violated every day for years in the Defense Department without realizing it when I kept my mouth shut when I knew the public was being lied into a war as they were lied into Iraq, as they are being lied into war in Iran.

I knew that I had the documents that proved it, and I did not put it out then. I was not obeying my oath which I eventually came to do.

I’ve often said that Lt. Ehren Watada – who still faces trial for refusing to obey orders to deploy to Iraq which he correctly perceives to be an unconstitutional and aggressive war – is the single officer in the United States armed services who is taking seriously in upholding his oath.

The president is clearly violating that oath, of course. Everybody under him who understands what is going on and there are myriad, are violating their oaths. And that’s the standard that I think we should be asking of people.

Congressional Courage

On the Democratic side, on the political side, I think we should be demanding of our Democratic leaders in the House and Senate – and frankly of the Republicans – that it is not their highest single absolute priority to be reelected or to maintain a Democratic majority so that Pelosi can still be Speaker of the House and Reid can be in the Senate, or to increase that majority.

I’m not going to say that for politicians they should ignore that, or that they should do something else entirely, or that they should not worry about that.

Of course that will be and should be a major concern of theirs, but they’re acting like it’s their sole concern. Which is business as usual. “We have a majority, let’s not lose it, let’s keep it. Let’s keep those chairmanships.” Exactly what have those chairmanships done for us to save the Constitution in the last couple of years?

I am shocked by the Republicans today that I read in the Washington Post who yesterday threatened a filibuster if we … get back habeas corpus. The ruling out of habeas corpus with the help of the Democrats did not get us back to George the First it got us back to before King John 700 years ago in terms of counter-revolution.

We need some way, and Ann Wright has one way, of sitting in, in Conyers office and getting arrested. Ray McGovern has been getting arrested, pushed out the other day for saying the simple words “swear him in” when it came to testimony.

I think we’ve got to somehow get home to them [in Congress] that this is the time for them to uphold the oath, to preserve the Constitution, which is worth struggling for in part because it’s only with the power that the Constitution gives Congress responding to the public, only with that can we protect the world from mad men in power in the White House who intend an attack on Iran.

And the current generation of American generals and others who realize that this will be a catastrophe have not shown themselves – they might be people who in their past lives risked their bodies and their lives in Vietnam or elsewhere, like [Colin] Powell, and would not risk their career or their relation with the president to the slightest degree.

That has to change. And it’s the example of people like those up here who somehow brought home to our representatives that they as humans and as citizens have the power to do likewise and find in themselves the courage to protect this country and protect the world. Thank you.

Daniel Ellsberg is author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.