Tortured in far-off Countries: Obama Resuming G. W. Bush’s “Extraordinary Renditions” by Sherwood Ross

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by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, November 3, 2009

Even though Barack Obama, the candidate, pledged to end “the practice of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries,” his FBI has been rendering kidnap victims to the U.S. The practice is still kidnapping, however; and it’s still illegal.

Unlucky victim No. 1 was Raymond Azar, 45, flown from Afghanistan to Alexandria, Va., not to a foreign country. The construction manager for Sima International, a Lebanese outfit that did work for the U.S. military, Azar said he was tortured by his abductors. He might just as well have been flow to Egypt under the Bushies.

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America is a “Failed Democracy”: Its People want Peace, and its Elected Officials make War by Sherwood Ross

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by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, September 5, 2009

The war in Afghanistan today hangs like some cloud of poison gas over Washington that won’t blow away. It sickens everything as it spreads. It continues to suck precious tax dollars out of the Treasury, money this country cannot afford to squander, especially as millions of Americans are sinking into poverty and joblessness exceeds ten percent. Writing in USA Today last March 10th, Susan Page reported, “In one year, 24 million slide from ‘thriving’ to ‘struggling’ and “Some fear that the American dream may be in peril as well.” Worse, the U.S. is turning poverty-plagued Afghanistan, a long-suffering nation of 25 million souls into another Iraq, perhaps even another Viet Nam. Afghanistan has already been under U.S. assault for eight years and President Obama’s top military advisers are telling him it will take many more years to achieve “victory,” a term having utterly no meaning for skyrocketing numbers of dead and dismembered civilians.

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CIA Crucified captive in Abu Ghraib Prison by Sherwood Ross

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by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, June 28, 2009

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.

“A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. “Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.” The date of the murder was not given.

“No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment,” Mayer notes.

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America’s Dehumanizing Prisons by Sherwood Ross

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by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, March 22, 2009

Close Down Guantanamo?. What about our Own Hell-Holes?

From Florida to California, America’s dehumanizing prisons confront President Obama and our governors with a challenge every bit as daunting as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

In California, the state’s 33 adult prisons teem with nearly double the inmates they were designed to hold,” The New York Times reports. In Florida, officials say they must build 19 more prisons over the next five years.

In both states, advocacy groups would rather see non-violent prisoners nearing the end of their sentences released early than build more new bunks. Barney Bishop, president of the influential business lobby Associated Industries of Florida, has released a position paper calling for a halt to the scheduled construction of three new, 1,300-bed prisons at a cost of $300 million. “It doesn’t make sense to me,” Bishop told the Miami Herald.

Florida has got 99,000 inmates behind bars and it will have an estimated 124,000 in the slammer by 2014. The figure is skyrocketing because “get tough” politicians voted in mandatory minimum sentences and mandatory life terms so that, in the words of Bill Bales, a criminology professor at Florida State University, “there is no release valve available, unlike in states that have parole.” Mandatory sentences may also discourage prisoners from trying to get time off for good behavior.

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Move to End “Internet Neutrality”: Blow to Bloggers. “Ten Pin Strike against Political Freedom”

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by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, January 26, 2009

If the cable and phone companies that transmit Internet data are allowed to charge higher rates to some producers for faster service the result will be “a ten pin strike against political freedom,” a prominent legal authority warns.

That’s because the change will enable the wealthy to “quickly take over the high speed transmissions (for their trash commercial content) just as they completely monopolize radio and TV, and just as their incredibly greedy profit-seeking has had a very deleterious effect on print journalism,” writes Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.

Velvel’s plea for “internet neutrality” comes in his new book “An Enemy of The People,” subtitled “The Unending Battle Against Conventional Wisdom (Doukathsan).” Essentially, he writes, the proposed change is an “attempt by the wealthy to make the internet into yet another repository of their power…”

Under the new scheme sought by transmission firms, Velvel writes, “large companies would pay more, no doubt a lot more, in order to have their messages, videos, audios, and any other content transmitted rapidly. The rest of us peasants, who could not afford to have our content move fast, would pay less and have it move more slowly.”

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Is America Fascist? By Sherwood Ross

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excerpt on current

By Sherwood Ross
October 20, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse

If it hasn’t gone the way of Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, it’s sure teetering on the brink. America is a nation in deepening crisis, a nation whose leaders repeatedly plunge their citizens into, and make them pay for, serial wars abroad, while stealing their liberties at home. USA has become a country that trashes its citizens(New Orleans), tortures its enemies(Abu Ghraib), threatens other nations with nuclear fire(Iran), flouts international treaties(UN Charter re Iraq), and spies on(FISA), and intimidates, its critics(No Fly). Americans that can clearly see the totalitarian machinations of Vladimir Putin in Russia and Hu Jintao in China are blind to the fascism threatening to envelop them as well.

Webster’s defines fascism as “a totalitarian governmental system led by a dictator and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism, militarism, and often racism.” A comparison of 20th century fascist and communist regimes with President Bush’s USA indicates the machinery for a full-blown totalitarian takeover is now in place, even if no coup has occurred. As Naomi Wolf writes in “The End of America”(Chelsea Green)the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill’s Section 333 allows the president “to declare martial law and take charge of the National Guard troops without the permission of a governor when ‘public order’ has been lost…” and to “send the guard into our streets during a public health emergency, terrorist attack or ‘other condition.’”

The enabling crowbar was the Military Commissions Act of 2006. It gives the president authority to set up his own system for bringing alien combatants to trial while denying them protection of the Geneva Conventions. “The president and his lawyers now claim the authority to designate any American citizen he chooses as being an ‘enemy combatant,’” Wolf writes of power usurpation that characterized the post-World War One epoch in Europe and Asia.

Thus, Congress has empowered Bush just as Germany’s Reichstag empowered Hitler, Wolf writes, recalling Hitler’s boast, “Democracy will be overthrown with the tools of democracy.” Hitler’s Interior Minister issued Clause 2 that gave police the power to hold people in custody indefinitely and without a court order, powers the U.S. Congress today has conferred upon “The Decider” in the White House. Mussolini’s used the less grandiose “Il Duce” or “The Leader.”

According to Michael Ratner, director of the Center For Constitutional Rights, New York, “the president can…designate people enemy combatants and detain them for whatever reason he wants…there are no charges and prisoners have no lawyers, no family visits, no court reviews, no rights to anything, and no right to release until the mythical end to the ‘war on terror.’”

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The Prosecution for War Crimes of President Bush

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Global Research, October 13, 2008

Media Consultants


Massachusetts law school Dean Lawrence Velvel will chair a Steering Committee to pursue the prosecution for war crimes of President Bush and culpable high-ranking aides after they leave office Jan. 20th.

The Steering Committee was organized following a conference of leading legal authorities and scholars from the U.S. and abroad convened by Velvel on Sept. 13-14 in Andover, Mass., titled “The Justice Robert Jackson Conference On Planning For The Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals.”

“If Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and others are not prosecuted,” Velvel said, “the future could be threatened by additional examples of Executive lawlessness by leaders who need fear no personal consequences for their actions, including more illegal wars such as Iraq.”

Besides Velvel, members of the Steering Committee include:

Ben Davis, a law Professor at the University of Toledo College of Law, where he teaches Public International Law and International Business Transactions. He is the author of numerous articles on international and related domestic law.

Marjorie Cohn, a law Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif., and President of the National Lawyers Guild.

Chris Pyle, a Professor at Mount Holyoke College, where he teaches Constitutional law, Civil Liberties, Rights of Privacy, American Politics and American Political Thought, and is the author of many books and articles.

Elaine Scarry, the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard University, and winner of the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism.

Peter Weiss, vice president of the Center For Constitutional Rights, of New York City, which was recently involved with war crimes complaints filed in Germany and Japan against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others.

David Swanson, author, activist and founder of coalition, of Charlottesville, Va.

Kristina Borjesson, an award-winning print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years and editor of two recent books on the media.

Colleen Costello, Staff Attorney of Human Rights, USA, of Washington, D.C., and coordinator of its efforts involving torture by the American government.

Valeria Gheorghiu, attorney for Workers’ Rights Law Center.

Andy Worthington of Redress, a British historian and journalist and author of books dealing with human rights violations.

Initial actions considered by the Steering Committee, Velvel said, are as follows:

# Seeking prosecutions of high level officials, including George Bush, for the crimes they committed.

# Seeking disbarment of lawyers who were complicitous in facilitating torture.

# Seeking termination from faculty positions of high officials who were complicitous in torture.

# Issuing a recent statement saying any attempt by Bush to pardon himself and aides for war crimes prior to leaving office will result in efforts to obtain impeachment even after they leave office.

# Convening a major conference on the state secret and executive privilege doctrines, which have been pushed to record levels during the Bush administration.

# Designation of an Information Repository Coordinator to gather in one place all available information involving the Bush Administration’s war crimes.

# Possible impeachment of 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jay Bybee for co-authoring the infamous “torture memo.”

Further information and to arrange interviews with Dean Velvel, contact Sherwood Ross, Sherwood Ross Associates, Suite 403, 102 S.W. 6th Avenue, Miami, FL 33130; (305) 205-8281. E-mail


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The 35 Articles of Impeachment & the Case for Prosecuting George W. Bush by Dennis Kucinich

Unaccountable Secret Government: Most Serious Constitutional Crisis in American History

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by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, September 15, 2008

ANDOVER , MASS. (Sept. 13)— President Bush’s conduct in office has precipitated a “most serious constitutional crisis,” “one that has already transformed the U.S. from a constitutional republic to an elected monarchy,” a noted political scientist told a conference on seeking prosecution of high Bush administration officials for war crimes. “We need to revers[e] a fifty-year trend towards unaccountable secret government, which can commit crimes with impunity,” said Professor Christopher Pyle of Mount Holyoke College.

“Sending a clear signal to future Cabinet-level officials that ours is still a government under law, and that they had better obey the criminal law, no matter what their president and his legal lackeys say,” is a matter of overwhelming importance, said Pyle.

Pyle spoke to 120 academics, constitutional scholars, public officials and political activists gathered in Andover, MA for the Justice Robert H. Jackson Conference on Planning For the Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals. Attendees were in consensus agreement that overwhelming evidence exists to bring legal actions against President Bush and other top members of his administration.

The consensus of attendees is President Bush’s attack on Iraq is a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and that he is culpable for this as well as for torture and abuse of war prisoners held by the U.S. military and the CIA.

Pyle said ideally the Justice Department should bring charges against Bush “if only to restore its integrity” (although many thought the DOJ unlikely to act because of its own culpability and partisanship). But there is nothing to “preclude the appointment of a non-partisan prosecutor with considerable independence, much as Attorney General Elliot Richardson did when he chose Archibald Cox to lead the Watergate team.”

A special prosecutor could be chosen by the next Attorney General from among any number of “distinguished Republican attorneys,” Pyle said. He added that if Congress and the Justice Department fail to act, state attorney generals might take action and that if no U.S. officials acted “the way is open for foreign trials.”

Even if the next president and two-thirds of the Senate “do not ratify the Rome Statute and submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court,” said Pyle, “the next president could revoke the non-extradition agreements that John Bolton negotiated and allow the Justice Department to facilitate extradition proceedings on behalf of any European court with universal jurisdiction over war crimes.”.

He went on to say that while the legal obstacles to prosecuting “the torture team” are substantial, they are no more daunting than those that Argentina and Chile faced and overcame after their generals initially obtained immunity for their “dirty wars.”

“Whether our nation will take as long to bring its torturers to justice remains to be seen, but failure to prosecute now almost certainly will lead to demands for prosecution later. This is not an issue likely to go away,” Pyle said. (Emphasis added.) That’s because there is “overwhelming” evidence that “the torture, kidnapping, and degradation of suspected terrorists was part of a deliberate policy, hatched and concealed at the highest levels of the Bush administration.”

Pyle pointed out the weight of legal opinion is against the Bush administration, “which is why it is keeps its legal opinions secret.” He added, “Today, even Attorney General Mukasey won’t deny that waterboarding is a crime. He simply refuses to say that it is, because, if he admitted the obvious, he would have to prosecute the criminals. The best excuse Mukasey can give is a version of the Eichmann defense: ‘Our lawyers said we could do it.”

Pyle drew applause when he pointed out that “We would be here addressing the same questions had these crimes been committed by Democrats.” “This is not a campaign event. It is a conference about how to restore governmental accountability in the wake of a criminal administration. It addresses the most serious crisis in our nation’s history—the claim that the president and his secret agents can get away with torture, kidnapping, and even manslaughter.” (Emphasis added.)

Pyle went on to say the issue is not whether the “torture team” deserves to be prosecuted but is about “reversing a fifty-year trend toward unaccountable, secret government, which can commit crimes with impunity.”

“Punishing the torture team is just the beginning. We also need to change the laws and legal doctrines, like the state secret privilege, that have already transformed the United States from a constitutional republic to an elected monarchy,” Pyle said.

Further Information or to reach Pyle for interviews: Sherwood Ross, media consultant to the war crimes prosecution conference at

© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008

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Transfer and Torture of Iraqi Prisoners by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, August 19, 2008

Legal opinions permitting the U.S. to torture prisoners and authorize their transfer out of Iraq were respectively accepted or written by Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith while he headed the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel(OLC).

In that capacity, Goldsmith drafted a memo on March 19, 2003, that was a green light for the transfer of up to a dozen prisoners from Iraq to CIA prisons where they were tortured, writes Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover. Velvel makes his comments in a thorough critique – – giving both pros and cons – – of Goldsmith’s self protecting book entitled “The Terror Presidency,” a book in which Goldsmith seeks to make himself look good in order to evade the criticism he deserves.

And while Goldsmith withdrew a torture memorandum written by government lawyer John Yoo on August 1, 2002, he accepted a second Yoo memo of the same date apparently spelling out harsh interrogation techniques to be used on prisoners–techniques said to be torture by international law authorities, Velvel said.

Goldsmith has succeeded in his effort to falsely make himself look good: the MSM and Congress have anointed him a hero when it is more likely he aided and abetted violations of law, says Velvel.

In his thorough, two sided critique, Velvel describes the ways in which Goldsmith deserves sympathy and credit (e.g., in standing up to David Addington, Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff ), as well as the ways in which he abetted crimes. CIA torture methods such as electric shocks, stress positions and waterboardings must have been approved in the second memo, Velvel writes, which Goldsmith did not withdraw “because it was devoted to the actual tactics (as) the CIA people were demanding a golden shield that would protect them from later prosecutions, and only a memo approving specific tactics could do that.” Velvel said that Goldsmith in his book entitled “The Terror Presidency”(W.W. Norton), published last year, tells us “he read and was horrified by torture memos after he was put in charge of the OLC and long before he wrote the transfer memo…He is convicted out of his own mouth.”

“His (Goldsmith’s) admission that he read the second, still secret memo that detailed specific interrogation techniques being used by the CIA makes it flatly impossible that he did not know or suspect what was going on when he wrote the transfer memo,” Velvel writes.

Goldsmith’s memo “was used to facilitate the ghost detainee program in which various prisoners were hidden from the International Red Cross so that nobody would learn that they were prisoners,” Velvel wrote, “and contrary to the Geneva Conventions I gather, their status, health and whereabouts were not disclosed to their families.” Goldstein’s memo, Velvel added, was tantamount to a “get out of jail free card” for torturers who could later claim legal authorization for their acts.

Velvel wrote that Goldsmith’s transfer memo held that by not charging prisoners the U.S. could transfer them out of the country. “By not formally accusing them in any judicial way, we could, according to Goldsmith, transfer them out of Iraq because formally they were not yet ‘accused persons’ although in fact our government had already accused and convicted them every way but sideways. This is true dissembling. This is true reliance on minimal form over gigantic substance. And this is exactly what Jack Goldsmith did in his memo of March 19, 2004.”

Goldsmith also protected criminals and shielded their criminal conduct in other ways, Velvel said. He noted Goldsmith admits in his own book that he flatly lied to New York Times reporter Eric Licthblau when, prior to the 2004 election, he denied he knew anything about a secret, illegal NSA spying program. Had Goldsmith truthfully conceded (extensive) knowledge, thereby affirming the (at the time unconfirmed) existence of the program, says Velvel, or if he even had merely said “no comment” or “I can’t discuss that,” the NY Times might have broken the story of the NSA spying before the 2004 election, instead of delaying a year and thereby greatly advancing Bush’s reelection prospects.

What’s more, Velvel charges, Goldsmith lengthened the period of U.S. conduct regarding torture by maintaining his three-year silence “until the time came to garner publicity in September, 2007, for his new book.” He pointed out: “Goldsmith was an enabler of evil, including evil and crime justified by the tortured rationalizations of lawyers who set out to provide legal cover for torture, for cruelly inhuman conduct and other horrors.”

At issue, Velvel says, is “whether lawyers, in order to justify and provide a basis for supporting vicious and illegal actions of the government, are free to assert the most outlandish arguments in favor of these actions, are free to invent astonishing, even evil, arguments in favor of the positions, are free to facilitate the government’s evil actions and not to counsel against the positions even though the positions and actions are in violation of domestic criminal laws, in violation of international law, contrary to the American constitutional system, and taken without consideration of the traditions and values of this country.”

Velvel added that any lawyer in private practice who attempted to provide cover for a client’s “gravely illegal conduct in this way would be subject to disbarment, subject to criminal prosecution, and disqualified from being on any respectable law school faculty.”

Velvel’s views, previously set forth in a blog posting, have now been published in “An Enemy of the People: The Unending Battle Against Conventional Wisdom,” a collection of essays published by Doukathsan Press.

Sherwood Ross, media consultant to Massachusetts School of Law, at

© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008

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Double Standards in the Global War on Terror By Tom Engelhardt

America on the Couch By Mike Whitney

Dear world, please confront America By Naomi Wolf

Has America become Fascist? by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, August 1, 2008

If it hasn’t gone the way of Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany, it sure is teetering on the brink. America is a nation in deepening crisis, a nation whose leaders repeatedly plunge their citizens into, and make them pay for, serial wars abroad, while stealing their liberties at home. USA has become a country that trashes its citizens (New Orleans), tortures its enemies (Abu Ghraib), threatens other nations with nuclear fire (Iran), flouts international treaties (UN Charter re Iraq), and spies on (FISA), and intimidates, its critics (No Fly). Americans that can clearly see the totalitarian machinations of Vladimir Putin in Russia and Hu Jintao in China are blind to the fascism threatening to envelop them as well.

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Numerous Bush Admin officials committed crimes involving the torture of prisoners captured in the Middle East

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by Sherwood Ross
Global Research
July 10, 2008

At least a score of high Bush Administration officials authorized, and hundreds of U.S. military and other government employees committed, crimes involving the torture of prisoners captured in the Middle East, published reports and legal documents indicate.

Indeed, any impartial probe of the widespread abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody could go well beyond the handful of prison guards who have been arrested and tried to date. The list would include top White House officials who designed the torture policies and Pentagon flag officers who executed them. It would include CIA officials and their contract pilots and immigration personnel involved in abducting suspects to be tortured as well as foreign officials who turned suspects over to U.S. authorities for torture. It would include doctors, nurses, and paramedics who abetted interrogators in torture and the civilian contractors of the Department of Defense (DOD) who tortured inmates.

In his May 8, 2004, radio broadcast, President Bush deplored “shocking conduct in Iraqi prisons by a small number of American servicemen and women.” But he added, “We will learn the facts, the extent of the abuse, and the identities of those involved. They will answer for their actions.” As that’s the case, let’s begin, starting at the top.

President Bush himself bears primary responsibility for torture for his arbitrary February 8, 2002, suspension of the Geneva Conventions that protect prisoners. This action set the tone for the prison scandals that shocked the conscience of the world with the publication in 2004 of the bizarre prisoner abuse photographs from Abu Ghraib near Baghdad .

As for Vice President Dick Cheney, he’s been described by retired Army Colonel Larry Wilkerson, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, as the man who provided “the philosophical guidance that led to the torture of detainees.” Wilkerson, who quit the State Department in January, 2005, said he didn’t fault Cheney for wishing to keep America safe “but he’ll corrupt the whole country to save it.”

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and his former Undersecretary Paul Wolfowitz, both authorized torture practices. When Bush nominated Wolfowitz as World Bank boss, Legislative Counsel Christopher Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union lamented, “As privates and sergeants are getting jail time, top level officials are getting promoted.” Human Rights First (HRF) has charged Rumsfeld with direct responsibility for torture. And the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) named Rumsfeld one of 10 defendants in a criminal complaint filed in Karlsruhe, Germany, for brutal acts of torture at Abu Ghraib.

CCR Vice President Peter Weiss said CCR filed its complaint in Germany “because there is simply no other place to go” as USA refuses to join the International Criminal Court, and Iraq has no authority to prosecute. Under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction suspected war criminals may be prosecuted anywhere.

Apparently, Rumsfeld did not put the military on the torture track without internal opposition. Then U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora, now retired, put up a diligent fight, according author Jane Mayer of The New Yorker. On December 2, 2002, Rumsfeld formally okayed coercive punishments such as “hooding,” “stress positions,” “exploitation of phobias,” “deprivation of light and auditory stimuli” and other tactics long forbidden by the Army Field Manual, Mayer wrote.

One torture victim was Saudi detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani, a terrorist suspect arrested in Afghanistan in connection with the 9/ll skyjackings. According to Mayer, he was stripped and shaved, put in an isolation pen under artificial lights for 160 days, kept in a cold room, interrogated for up to 20 hours at a stretch, deprived of sleep, straddled by female guards, forced to wear a bra and women’s underwear on his head, put on a leash and threatened by dogs, taunted that his mother was a whore, and forced to listen to blaring pop music.

It was Rumsfeld who appointed Dr. Stephen Cambone, the Defense Undersecretary who gave the orders to “soften up” Iraqi prisoners. Cambone told Major General Geoffrey Miller, former Guantanamo commandant, to go to Iraq to “Gitmo-ize” the interrogation process. Miller reportedly said, “You have to treat them like dogs” and okayed use of stress positions “for agonizing lengths of time,” according to reporter Seymour Hersh. Cambone is named in the CCR complaint for his role in “creating a secret operation program whose mandate included committing war crimes.”

One form of torture begins with “extraordinary rendition.” Alleged terror suspects have been abducted by the CIA and flown to be tortured (and/or murdered) in Egypt , Saudi Arabia , Syria , Morocco , Jordan and Uzbekistan , etc. The practice was begun around 1996 under President Clinton and vastly expanded by President Bush after 9/11. Sandy Berger, Clinton ‘s National Security Council director, and counterterrorism boss Richard Clarke, have been identified as having approved extreme rendition. Clinton , of course, is also culpable. Right now, Italy would like to lay its hands on 22 C.I.A. agents who three years ago abducted Milan resident cleric Hassan Osama Nasr for torture in Egypt .

CIA pilots involved in extraordinary rendition flights, as well as their boss, former CIA Director Porter Goss and CIA ex-counter-terrorism chief Cofer Black should be called to account. Recall Goss asked Congress to exempt CIA operatives from any law banning torture and Black told Congress, “After 9/11, the gloves came off.” Any European officials who transferred suspects to the CIA are culpable.

One human rights consortium said last April it has documented the involvement of over 600 U.S. military and civilian personnel for the abuse and torture of 460 detainees.

A spokesman the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project, Professor Meg Satterthwaite of NYU Law School, said “detainee abuses were widespread, and few people have truly been brought to justice.” Added Tom Malinowski, of Human Rights Watch, one of the participating groups, “We’ve seen a series of half-hearted investigations and slaps on the wrist.”

As ex-President Carter writes in “Our Endangered Values”(Simon & Schuster) the “superficial investigations” into torture conducted by the Pentagon “have made it obvious that no high-level military officers or government officials will be held accountable…”

USA may be holding 11,000 prisoners in Iraq , Afghanistan , and at Guantanamo , Cuba , Human Rights First says. So far, more than 100 prisoners are said to have perished in U.S. custody. Captives include 800 Pakistani boys aged 13-15, some of them tortured, the International Red Cross has charged.

A key architect of the “new paradigm” torture policy is ex-White House legal counsel Alberto Gonzales, now Attorney General, author of a torture memo in January of 2002. He dismissed the Geneva Conventions banning torture as “quaint.”

His predecessor, Attorney General John Ashcroft, told Bush the Conventions outlawing torture did not apply to Taliban detainees. The CCR sued Ashcroft on behalf of Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who was abducted to Syria and tortured. Immigration and Naturalization Service(INS) and FBI agents who arrested Arar at JFK Airport and put him on a plane to Syria are culpable.

In addition to Ashcroft, the CCR suit cited Larry Thompson, Acting Attorney General said to have signed the rendition order; FBI Director Robert Mueller; J. Scott Blackman, regional INS director; Edward McElroy, then INS director for the New York City district; and INS Commissioner James Zigler.

High Bush aides responsible for torture include Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, who on August 1, 2002, drafted what became known as the “torture memo.” Also, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff who, when head of Justice’s criminal division, advised the CIA it was okay to use water torture.

Other law violators include John Yoo, now a University of California professor, who advised Bush the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees; Jack Goldsmith, who drafted the torture policy for Gonzales when he headed Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel; David Addington, Cheney’s top lawyer and a principle author of a White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects; Douglas Feith, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy who had oversight for Abu Ghraib and like prisons; and former Pentagon general counsel William Haynes II, author of memos rationalizing torture.

That such policy memos were translated into action was established by Human Rights Watch, which reported prison interrogators in the Baghdad area got a lecture from military lawyers saying Geneva Conventions did not apply and torturing was legit.

Among military officers involved in torture are:

# Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, U.S. senior commander in Iraq for about a year starting in June, 2003. His memo of September 14, 2003, authorized use of interrogation techniques such as dogs, isolation, and stress positions. Major General Walter Wojdakowski was his deputy commander in charge of an involved military intelligence brigade and is one of those named in the CCR criminal complaint. And Major General Barbara Fast, cleared by the Army of any wrongdoing, served as chief of intelligence for Sanchez.

# Colonel Thomas Pappas, head of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, was in charge of Iraq prisons and therefore responsible for what took place. He is also named in the CCR suit for torture “amounting to war crimes.” Lieutenant Colonel Steve Jordan, of 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, is said by CCR to even have witnessed one detainee’s death caused by his subordinates’ mistreatment.

# Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, with direct charge for Abu Ghraib and subsequently demoted to colonel, admitted to violation of the Geneva Conventions by holding so-called “ghost detainees” in secret. Sanchez, Pappas, and Karpinski are named in an ACLU complaint. Also, Captain Carolyn Wood, who oversaw interrogation at Bagram prison and approved the use of dogs and stress positions.

# Lt. General William Boykin reportedly advised Cambone to use water torture and to humiliate captives via religious taunting. Participating doctors, nurses, and paramedics who aided torturers at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere would be culpable as well.

# Air Force General Counsel Mary Walker, who headed a Rumsfeld working group on interrogation guidelines, rationalized that some criminal conduct was “not unlawful.”

# Lt. Colonel Stephen Jordan, former supervisor of interrogators at Abu Ghraib was named in the CCR complaint as having “clear knowledge” of ongoing abuses, and Lt. Colonel Jerry Phillabaum, commander of a military police battalion that oversaw Abu Ghraib was said by CCR to have failed to report war crimes.

# CCR also filed a class action suit in Federal court against Titan Corp. of San Diego and CACI International of Arlington, Va., and three of their employees, Stephen Stefanowicz and John Israel of CACI, and Adel Nahkla of Titan for abuses Abu Ghraib. Plaintiffs said they were hooded and raped, stripped naked and urinated on, prevented from praying, beaten with chains and boots, and forced to watch their father tortured to death. CACI has strongly denied the charges.

Title 18 of the U.S. Code makes it a crime for an American to commit torture “outside the United States ” and authorizes fines and prison terms of up to 20 years. If deaths result, those convicted may be jailed for life or executed. HRF has charged as of April, 2005, 108 foreign detainees had died in U.S. custody.

CCR President Michael Ratner said, “the existence of ‘torture memos’ drafted by administration officials and the authorization of techniques that violated humanitarian law by Secretary Rumsfeld, Lt. General Sanchez and others make clear that responsibility for Abu Ghraib and other violations of law reaches all the way to the top.”

Calling for an investigation, Amnesty International’s Jumana Musa, warned, “Torture thrives on impunity. By not holding accountable the people who drafted and implemented the policies, the US government is giving a wink and a nod to torturers world wide.”

Sherwood Ross is an American reporter and public relations consultant who has worked for major dailies and as a wire service columnist. To comment on this article or arrange for speaking engagements:

© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008

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Bloated Military-Industrial Complex Needs to be Challenged in this Election

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research
July 7, 2008

One issue the American people likely are not going to hear about in this presidential campaign are arguments for slashing a bloated Pentagon down to size. No matter that each passing day brings some new revelation of gross mismanagement, cronyism, waste, and extra-legal activity, it is a topic no candidate for the White House dares to broach lest he or she be deemed “naïve” or “soft” on the subject of defense. Yet, the military-industrial complex (MIC) is here and it is running this nation into the ground, sucking trillions of dollars out of taxpayers’ wallets and, by starving other human services, laying waste to civilian sectors in urgent need of repair and regeneration.

When the Pentagon was under construction, members of the Roosevelt cabinet questioned the wisdom of bringing together under one roof the numerous military offices scattered around Washington, D.C. They feared the impending consolidation of awesome martial powers into one of the greatest structures on earth; they worried, too, that the war machine might take on a life of its own. Tragically, their fears have been realized.

As James Carroll writes in “House of War” (Houghton Mifflin), by 1965 nearly 6 million Americans were employed in Pentagon-run enterprises. After all, in the 20 years following World War II, “the Pentagon spent nearly $100 billion, ten times the federal expenditures devoted to all aspects of health, education, and welfare in the same period.” By 1997, Father Philip Berrigan, humanitarian and anti-war activist, could tell the judge who would shortly sentence him to two years in prison for spilling blood on a U.S. warship: “The United States has spent fourteen trillion dollars on arms since 1946. Our government has intervened in the affairs of fifty nations and has violated the laws of God and humanity by designing, deploying, using, and threatening to use atomic weapons.”

Carroll sees it in much the same light: “The Pentagon is now the dead center of an open-ended martial enterprise that no longer pretends to be defense…the Pentagon has, more than ever, become a place to fear.”

“What the Bush administration has done,” Carroll writes, “is to lay bare the real character of the ‘disastrous rise’ of Pentagon power of which Eisenhower warned in 1961. In Iraq, despite America’s overwhelming military might, there will be no winning ever.”

Carroll’s words sound more prophetic each time another general testifies the Pentagon is “making progress” but the situation remains “fragile” and so we must stay on an on. Two years ago Carroll literally predicted Senator John McCain’s comment about staying in Iraq for a hundred years if need be, writing, “there will be no winning ever. Whether the U.S. occupation is terminated abruptly or is maintained for years, violence and mayhem will define Iraq indefinitely, while the rest of the Middle East copes with Iraqi-spawned waves of chaos.”

McCain says, if elected, he will be out of Iraq by 2013, but as Senator Joseph Biden pointed out in a recent talk carried on C-Span, McCain gave no specifics. And so one begins to suspect the goal in Iraq is not necessarily to win a war but to make war again and again, forever and a day, so the MIC can prosper while non-defense sectors starve, so that government contractors can erect a monster embassy in Baghdad and huge, permanent military bases nearby to dominate the oil-rich Middle East.

Carroll writes the U.S. under President Bush has “normalized” war: “Not noted by most Americans, a new archipelago of U.S. military bases stretched across the Middle East into the heart of the former Soviet Union…Such forward basing of forces was designed to control, by means of ‘regime change’ and ‘prevention,’ emerging political trends around the globe, with the unabashed goal of guaranteeing U.S. dominance everywhere.” (America operates about 1,000 military bases at home and more than 700 overseas.)

“Such a strategy,” Carroll goes on to write, “assumes not only the possession of unparalleled military power but the display of it and the ready use of it. Under George W. Bush, a self-styled war president, ‘the normalization of war’ was thus established.”

What’s more, Carroll writes, under former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon in 2002 embarked “on the stunning project of developing a new generation of nuclear weapons including a burrowing device designed to go after underground targets and ‘mini-nukes’ to be used in concert with a conventional attack.”

The effect of all this, Carroll writes, “is to legitimize nuclear-based power politics, giving other nations, friend and foe alike, compelling reasons to acquire a nuclear capacity, if only for deterrence, and prompting them to behave in similar ways.” Carroll says the U.S. return to nuclear development was to spur Iran and North Korea to become nuclear-capable and to make states that renounced the atom—such as Brazil, Egypt, South Africa— rethink that decision. Meanwhile, Carroll says, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan “are all furiously adding to their nuclear arsenals” and “The Pentagon has become the engine of proliferation.”

If the public hasn’t figured it out yet, the United States of America cannot go on this way forever, spending nearly half of every tax dollar on war. It is being run by a criminal enterprise, just as surely as if some family of Mafia gangsters occupied the White House and decided to loot the planet. The Bush regime is in Iraq to steal oil, to swindle taxpayers, to give lucrative defense contracts to its friends, to fleece motorists, to explode radioactive ammunition, to test new weapons, and to intimidate the world.

And the tyrannosaurus Rex in the family room smashing our domestic tranquility is the MIC. President Eisenhower had the guts to warn us of it. Senator McCain is a traveling salesman for it. And Senator Obama, who seemed to be the last best hope for checkmating it, appears in his July 3rd call for expanding the military, to have sold out to it. What now, humanists?

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based writer and former reporter for the Chicago Daily News and wire services. Contact:

© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008

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Bush Iraq Oil Policy: “Crony Capitalism” at its Worst

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research
July 5, 2008

Eight universities were in the running to get the Bush Presidential Library but Hunt Oil Co. head Ray Hunt, of Dallas, an economics major from Southern Methodist University, co-chaired the SMU search effort and came out on top. His long time pals-ship with “The Decider” may have had more than a bit to do with it.

Hunt has done a lot for Bush and vice-versa. Bush named Hunt in 2001 to his President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and reappointed him five years later. Hunt also sits on the National Petroleum Council that gives industry advice to Bush’s Energy Secretary.

An oilman’s oilman, Hunt is a member of the board of the American Petroleum Institute and has been showered with awards from the petroleum sector, including “All-American Wildcatter.” Success in Oilsville doesn’t get any headier than that.

Now it turns out Hunt Oil clinched a separate deal last September with Iraq province Kurdistan he might not have won if he were not Bush’s Good Buddy. Some folks think, according to a front page New York Times report July 3, the deal “runs counter to American policy and undercut Iraq’s central government.” Baghdad reportedly is furious over it.

Hunt got this free pass to explore Kurdistan’s oil riches last September 8 when he inked an exploration pact, one likely to give him a share of the boodle of any future gushers. “Hunt would be the first U.S. company to sign such a deal,” a State Department official told the Times. And according to reporter Jay Price of McClatchy News Service, the Iraqi oil minister, speaking for Baghdad, “called the Hunt deal illegal.”

The Hunt deal, though, may resemble the national oil law Bush seeks to push through Parliament. This law, writes Antonia Juhasz, an analyst for watchdog Oil Change International, would “allow much (if not most) of Iraq’s oil revenues to flow out of the country and into the pockets of international companies.”

In an Op-Ed of March 13 last year in The New York Times, Juhasz wrote if the Bush-backed bill became law the Iraq National Oil Company would have exclusive control of just 17 of Iraq’s 80 known oil fields, “leaving two-thirds of known—and all of its as yet undiscovered-fields open to foreign control.”

By contrast, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, “maintain nationalized oil systems and have outlawed foreign control over oil development,” Juhasz said.

Allowing the separate Hunt Oil deal—whose details Hunt and the Kurds will not divulge—will surely benefit the Kurds but fleece most Iraqis, hence the anger in Baghdad. This gives the lie to Bush’s statement of March 16, 2003, that “We will make sure that Iraq’s natural resources are used for the benefit of their owners, the Iraqi people.” If you count hundreds of thousands of labor union members as people, which Bush may not, there is a loud outcry in the streets against Bush’s oil policy.

Meanwhile, the Times reports, the Administration is defending help the U.S. provided in drawing up no-bid contracts between Iraq’s Oil Ministry and five western oil firms to operate in other Iraqi oil patches. The U.S. said it provided purely technical help writing the contracts and played no role in choosing the winners. Believe that one, if you can. But why no bids again? Whatever happened to free enterprise?

This is the same crony capitalism that gave Halliburton, formerly headed by Good Buddy Vice President Cheney, a controversial, multi-billion no-bid contract to truck oil into Iraq. Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root(KBR) also got named sole source contractor to douse any oil well fires that might break out in Iraq.

KBR landed that no-bid plum even though Army Corps of Engineers contract chief Bunnatine Greenhouse found there were other qualified bidders. She was demoted for not signing off on it.

The Hunt and Halliburton deals offer vivid proof that “crony capitalism,” not the free market brand, is being practiced divvying up Iraq’s oil resources and the other spoils of war. This has long been Bush’s modus vivendi. The Wall Street Journal once noted his Harken Energy Co. acquired exclusive offshore drilling rights from Bahrain in 1990 even though it had never drilled a single well. How did Harken get it? Well, Bush’s father at the time occupied the White House.

Maybe when SMU puts all the Bush papers on display about why he attacked Iraq—a war that so far has killed a million souls—it will include the fine print of the contract Hunt signed with the Kurds. It will show how high Hunt could rise with a degree in economics from SMU, and how far Bush would go to sell out the Iraqi people in order to favor a Good Buddy. Is there anyone who still does not believe the Iraq war is about oil? #

Sherwood Ross is an American writer that covers political and military issues. Reach him at

© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008

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Bush Claims More Powers than King George III

Dandelion Salad

by Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 29, 2008

The Bush administration has arrogated powers to itself that the British people even refused to grant King George III at the time of the Revolutionary War, an eminent political scientist says.

“No executive in the history of the Anglo-American world since the Civil War in England in the 17th century has laid claim to such broad power,” said David Adler, a prolific author of articles on the U.S. Constitution. “George Bush has exceeded the claims of Oliver Cromwell who anointed himself Lord Protector of England.”

Adler, a professor of political science at Idaho State University at Pocatello, is the author of “The Constitution and the Termination of Treaties”(Taylor & Francis), among other books, and some 100 scholarly articles in his field. Adler made his comments comparing the powers of President Bush and King George III at a conference on “Presidential Power in America” at the Massachusetts School of Law, Andover, April 26th.

Adler said, Bush has “claimed the authority to suspend the Geneva Convention, to terminate treaties, to seize American citizens from the streets to detain them indefinitely without benefit of legal counseling, without benefit of judicial review. He has ordered a domestic surveillance program which violates the statutory law of the United States as well as the Fourth Amendment.”

Adler said the authors of the U.S. Constitution wrote that the president “shall take care to faithfully execute the laws of the land” because “the king of England possessed a suspending power” to set aside laws with which he disagreed, “the very same kind of power that the Bush Administration has claimed.”

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Adler said, repeatedly referred to the President’s “override” authority, “which effectively meant that the Bush Administration was claiming on behalf of President Bush a power that the English people themselves had rejected by the time of the framing of the Constitution.”

Adler said the Framers sought an “Administrator in Chief” that would execute the will of Congress and the Framers understood that the President, as Commander-in-Chief “was subordinate to Congress.” The very C-in-C concept, the historian said, derived from the British, who conferred it on one of their battlefield commanders in a war on Scotland in 1639 and it “did not carry with it the power over war and peace” or “authority to conduct foreign policy or to formulate foreign policy.”

That the C-in-C was subordinate to the will of Congress was demonstrated in the Revolutionary War when George Washington, granted that title by Congress, “was ordered punctually to respond to instructions and directions by Congress and the dutiful Washington did that,” Adler said.

Adler said that John Yoo, formerly of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote in 2003 that the President as C-in-C could authorize the CIA or other intelligence agencies to resort to torture to extract information from suspects based on his authority. However, Adler said, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1804 in Little vs. Barreme affirmed the President is duty-bound to obey statutory instructions and reaffirmed opinion two years later in United States vs. Smith.

“In these last eight years,” Adler said, “we have seen presidential powers soar beyond the confines of the Constitution. We have understood that his presidency bears no resemblance to the Office created by the Framers… This is the time for us to demand a return to the constitutional presidency. If we don’t, we will have only ourselves to blame as we go marching into the next war as we witness even greater claims of presidential power.”

The Massachusetts School of Law is a non-profit educational institution purposefully dedicated to providing an affordable, quality legal education to minorities, immigrants, and students from economic backgrounds that would not otherwise be able to afford to attend law school and enter the legal profession.

(Further Information or to order a set of conference proceedings: Jeff Demers, Massachusetts School of Law,,. Media consultant to MSL is Sherwood Ross,

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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Bush Power Grab Since 9/11 by Jeff Demers & Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 22, 2008

Scholar Urges Candidates Debate Role of President’s Usurpation of Power

President Bush’s usurpation of power since 9/11 was termed “rapacious,” “predatory,” and “extra-Constitutional,” by presidential scholar Michael Genovese, director of the Institute for Leadership Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Genovese said the “Unitary Theory” of the executive espoused by the Bush White House “is a very strange and ahistorical notion that says, ‘In a crisis all power gravitates to the president. No one, not the courts, not the Congress can interfere with the president and in effect, the president is the state.”

“That ahistorical view runs contrary to everything that we find in the Framers,” Genovese said. “For the president to say that he has all the authority he needs to do all he had to do without Congress, without the courts, is simply dead wrong. He may be the decider but he’s not the only decider.”

Genovese urged the candidates for the White House discuss their views on the nature of the presidency.

He said the Framers’ intention “was to get away from the rule of one man that they just fought a revolution to overthrow, and so the Framers invented a rule of law system, under a separation of powers, with checks and balances, under a constitution, and they invented an office, the president, who was to preside, not to govern, but to preside.”

The system they created was primarily concerned “about protecting freedom and liberty,” Genovese said, “not about the efficient use of power. That left very little room for the heroic leadership so many of us today yearn for and expect of our presidents.”

“A powerful presidency can solve some of our problems but just as easily, a powerful presidency can become the chief problem we need to solve,” he warned.

Genovese called for “a national conversation about what we want the presidency to be than simply by default to take whomever is in the White House and hand them a blank check and say ‘take care of it.’ That way lies madness.”

The presidential scholar said this type of conversation is something “we’re not getting in this presidential race…a national debate on the future of presidential power so that we can choose the kind of presidency we want and not have an imperial presidency thrust into our laps without any real reflection or choice.”

Genovese said that external circumstances can impact the nature of the presidency. “In normal times, the separation of powers looms large. In crises or emergency times, the separation of power is small, diminished, and recedes.” On September 10th, 2001, he said, “who would have thought that George Bush and Dick Cheney would be so incredibly powerful?”

“There was nothing in the cards that predicted it except the 9/11 attack and then they just drove the tank through the Constitution,” Genovese said.

Genovese made his comments in a keynote address to a conference on “Presidential Powers in America” at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover April 26th.

Genovese, a fellow of Queens College, Oxford, is the author of 16 books, including “The Power of the American Presidency: 1798-2000”(Oxford University Press). He is a past president of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Assn.

The Massachusetts School of Law at Andover is dedicated to providing an affordable, quality education to minorities and students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds who would not otherwise be able to afford a legal education and enter the profession of law.

Further Information: Jeff Demers at MSL or Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL, at

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

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