25 Civilians Killed in America For Each GI Killed In Iraq

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, May 5, 2008

Preoccupied with the fighting in Sadr City, it may have escaped President Bush’s notice that millions of African-Americans live in blighted neighborhoods, some of which, like Sadr City, also appear to have been ravaged by bloodshed and violence.

“The physical landscape of such neighborhoods often consists of abandoned buildings, poor-quality housing stock, unclean streets, and a low quality of municipal services—particularly schools and recreational facilities,” urban affairs experts James Carr and Nandinee Kutty write in their new book, “Segregation: The Rising Costs For America”(Routledge). “High levels of crime, violence, and drug trafficking created extreme social disorder in America’s jobless ghettos,” write Kutty, an urban housing consultant and Carr, Chief Operating Officer for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Chicago’s police superintendent Jody Weis doesn’t have to read about violence in books. The Associated Press reported April 21st Weis “blamed an excess of guns and gangs for a rash of 26 shootings over the weekend that killed (eight) and wounded victims from 13 to 65 years old.” Similar reports of slaughter have been seeping like swamp gas out of Philadelphia, Richmond, Calif., Cincinnati, Oakland, New Haven, and others. “Violent Crime In Cities Shows Sharp Surge, Reversing Trend,” The New York Times reported March 9th. Since September 11, 2001, nearly 100,000 people have been murdered in the U.S., The Times’ Bob Herbert wrote last September 29th, surveying a period of just six years. As Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, put it: “There are pockets of crime in this country that are astounding.”

Let’s see now, four thousand goes into 100,000 25 times, so for every GI killed in Iraq, 25 American civilians are murdered in USA and you can’t blame it on “Islamofascists.” Maybe President Bush’s would pay attention to our home-grown terrorism if newspapers publish photographs of all the local children and adults that have been murdered in their communities just as they print the pictures of GI’s killed in the Middle East. Bush won’t change his policy, of course, but the graphics might make Americans realize Iraq is a trillion-dollar sideshow we can’t afford because we have an urgent crisis at home.

Back in 1962, the National Urban League’s Whitney Young called for a “Marshall Plan” to combat urban poverty and President Kennedy didn’t respond, either. Generation after generation, America consigns its minorities to largely segregated cities, some even more segregated today (80 and 90 percent) than they were in 1860. Congress is shelling out $700 billion to fight wars around the world this year but can’t find pennies to open the doors of opportunity to our segregated millions.

A single fighter plane today can cost $15 million. You can hire a lot of good teachers with that kind of money. You can finance a lot of housing. You can create a lot of domestic jobs. Sure, there are whites who insist blacks should lift themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps—without recognizing that in some ghettos the most lucrative business open to the poor is drug-running. As Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA told AP, “The criminal economy is one of the only alternatives in some of these places. You basically have the criminalization of a whole community, particularly in some inner cities.” Result: of 2.3 million Americans behind bars, 500,000 of them were caged for drug crimes. And who is surprised that about 40% of them are African-Americans? Steve Mariotti of the non-profit National Foundation For Teaching Entrepreneurship(NFTE) says drug gang members display much the same ingenuity as entrepreneurs—but lack constructive opportunities for their talents. NFTE has helped 150,000 inner city youth “turn street smarts into business smarts,” so it can be done. Kids who once served as lookouts for drug lords are running legit start-ups of their own, taking a bite out of crime.

It’s fortunate some inner city kids can create their own businesses because racism in employment is alive and well. Just as real estate operators steer minority renters and home-seekers away from functional, white suburbs, employers in those suburbs don’t have openings when minority job-seekers knock. “There is strong evidence that prejudiced attitudes on the part of employers result in discrimination against qualified minority job applicants,” writes Margery Turner, director of the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities policy center, in “Segregation.” “Blacks are particularly unlikely to be hired for jobs that require higher cognitive skills, especially daily computer use, arithmetic, or customer interaction. Many analysts have suggested that customer prejudice may also be a factor, since the racial composition of a firm’s workforce has been found to be related both to the race of the manager and to the racial composition of the firm’s customers.” Turner adds, “In general, minority job seekers are less successful in using their networks of family and friends than whites. Again, although residential segregation is not the only reason why minorities have less effective networks, it certainly is a factor, particularly for minorities living in high-poverty center city neighborhoods and also for those in the segregated suburbs.”

And as long as public education is funded from property taxes, white school children continue to enjoy a competitive advantage. Deborah McKoy and Jeffrey Vincent, both with the University of California at Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools, point out a single-family home in predominantly Prince George’s county, Md., outside Washington, D.C., was priced at $195,400 in 2003 compared to $365,900 for a house in predominantly white Fairfax county, Va. “Residential segregation clearly contributes to minorities’ unequal educational attainment and hence to their disadvantaged position in the evolving labor market,” they write in “Segregation.” “Black high school graduation rates, employment rates, and wages are all negatively affected by the level of black-white segregation in a city. Other things being equal, high levels of segregation have shown to increase high school dropout rates among blacks, reduce employment among blacks, (while increasing the white employment rate), and widen the gap between black and white wages.”

The struggle to create a color-blind republic with a level playing field has been underway in earnest ever since returning black World War Two veterans decided “we aren’t going to take it anymore.” Significant gains have been made over stubborn opposition, gains that Rev. Martin Luther King and others paid for with their blood, yet equal opportunity remains America’s unfinished business. If injustice continues to breed poverty and crime, we may soon be sending our kids to school in bullet-proof vests, just like the flak jackets Commander-in-Chief Bush’s embassy workers wear in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant and reporter. During the 1960s he worked in an executive capacity in the civil rights movement. Disclosure: Steve Mariotti cited in this article is a former business associate of this writer. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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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© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8897

see

US prison population dwarfs that of other nations

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

Bush Secrecy Policies have Transformed U.S. Government from “Open” to “Closed”

Dandelion Salad

by Jeff Demers and Sherwood Ross
Global Research, April 22, 2008
Massachusetts School of Law

President George W. Bush has transformed an open federal government in Washington into one of “pervasive secrecy,” a distinguished authority on communications and First Amendment rights says.

Since his inauguration, Bush has overseen changes that suggest “a dramatic growth of government secrecy, far beyond the secrecy occurring during the Clinton Administration,” writes Susan Dente Ross, an Associate Professor in the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University at Pullman.

“Through executive agency opinions, executive orders, statutory changes, and aggressive litigation, the Bush Administration has effectively limited the power of FOIA(Freedom of Information Act) and reversed the presumption that government records should be available to the public absent demonstrable proof showing that secrecy is needed,” Ross writes in The Long Term View, a journal of opinion published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover.

“The administration’s sweeping expansion of the power of federal government to classify records, and so hide them from public view, increases the range of information that may be classified and extends the lifetime of such secrecy,” Ross says. She noted that:

# Mr. Bush has increased the number of federal agencies authorized to designate information as secret and exempt them from public disclosure.

# The Department of Homeland Security removed the agency’s entire classification of information process from public scrutiny. The secretaries’ of Health and Human Services and Agriculture and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, have been granted the right to classify information “for purposes of national security and national defense.”

# The Defense Department has adopted a new policy that imposes strict limits on discussion of all its “critical research” from the “idea phase” onward.

# Mr. Bush has placed his own papers, and those of his father, the former president, “outside the public eye and empowered himself to keep Congress in the dark about intelligence matters.”

# Mr. Bush has increased the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency to empower its director to block declassification of CIA information unless disclosure is authorized by the president.

# Mr. Bush has extended time that information can be kept classified from 10 to 25 years and this period may be extended even longer.

“Blanket closures of INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) proceedings and absolute gags on disclosure of related information eviscerate the time-honored constitutional protection of open public trials,” Ross writes. She noted the federal government “arrested and refused to identify hundreds of aliens who either may be connected to terrorism as material witnesses or who may have visa or other INS infractions.”

An INS directive issued promptly after September 11, 2001, mandated absolute closure of all deportation hearings in cases the agency determined to be of “special interest” to the war on terrorism, Ross said. The INS judges could gag aliens from disclosing anything learned in closed proceedings and an INS regulation requires states and localities housing federal detainees to withhold all information about them.

Ross noted, though, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge struck down the INS closures and a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington ordered the Justice Department to disclose the names of more than 1,100 non-U.S. citizens detained at some point in connection with terrorism.

Ross asserts, “Legislation championed as essential to protect the nation against terrorist threats allows the federal government to spy on its citizens, to detain them in secret without charges, to prosecute them based on secret evidence, and to prohibit parties to the trial from discussing related information.”

Ross writes the merest perusal of some Bush initiatives shows it has reversed the presumption of open government: “Although the now prevailing presumption of closed government is masked in subtle nuances of language and interpretive guidelines, we may liken the shift to the sea change that would occur in our criminal justice system if we moved from a presumption of innocent until proven guilty to an assumption of guilty until proven innocent.”

Granting the Bush administration has imposed its sweeping secrecy policies in the name of national security, Ross contends this exchange is “unacceptable.” “The trade-off, secrecy for security, is a sham,” she writes. “The citizenry gives up its vital check on abuse of government power and gains little in return.”

“A shadow government that operates in secrecy,” Ross continues, “does not advance the security of its citizens. Ignorance is not security. Safety is not increased when citizens are blinded by government deception and distortion. Government does not better serve its electorate when it operates with impunity.”

The Massachusetts School of Law, publishers of the Long Term View, is purposefully dedicated to the education of minorities, immigrants, and students from low- and middle-income backgrounds that would otherwise be unable to attend law school and enter the legal profession. Views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the law school.

Further Information: Jeff Demers at MSL demerse@mslaw.edu or Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL, at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Jeff Demers, Massachusetts School of Law, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8763

U.S. May Not Release Guantanamo Prisoners: Even If Found Innocent of Charges Against Them

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, April 12, 2008

Even if a Guantanamo prisoner is acquitted on all counts at his trial, the Pentagon may still not release him on grounds he might return to the battlefield, according to an article in the April 14th issue of The New Yorker.

The magazine’s Jeffrey Toobin quotes Brig. General Thomas Hartmann, legal adviser to the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commissions, as saying, “What’s unusual about what we’re doing is that we’re having the commissions before the end of the war. The Nuremberg trials (of accused Nazi war criminals) were after World War Two, so there was no possibility of the defendants going back to the battlefield.”

But, Hartmann continued, “We still have that problem. We are trying these alleged war criminals during the war. So, in order to protect our troops in the field, in general we are not going to release anyone who poses a danger until the war is over.”

By this reasoning, Toobin writes, “even those Guantanamo detainees who are acquitted of the charges against them are analogous to Nazi war criminals.”

Curiously, hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners — once depicted by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as “the worst of a very bad lot” — have already been released. This raises the suspicion they were innocent victims of dragnet arrests or sold to the U.S. by Afghan bounty hunters to enlarge the picture of thousands of Islamist terrorists seething to attack America. As historian James Carroll put it in “House of War” (Houghton Mifflin), the jails of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are “emblems of a new system of legally dubious incarceration that involved more than eleven thousand detainees held in mostly secret (black site) locations around the world…”

As Clive Stafford Smith, a detainees’ lawyer, told The New Yorker: “Now that it’s clear that Guantanamo is such an embarrassment, they are just shipping as many of them (captives) out the door as they can, and just keeping enough of them to save face. It’s a political process that has little to do with terrorism.”

Only one prisoner since Gitmo first opened on January 11, 2002 — ex-kangaroo skinner David Hicks—has been actually brought to trial. He plea-bargained a nine-month term which he served out in his native Australia and is now free.

About 275 prisoners remain in Gitmo, down from an estimated peak of 680 from 43 countries. According to Toobin, about 60 have been approved for transfer, if countries can be found to take them, and Hartmann anticipates there is sufficient evidence to bring commission trials against only 80. “In sum,” Toobin writes, “there are more than 130 detainees for whom Administration officials acknowledge they have no plan, except indefinite detention without trial.” Toobin’s article is titled “Camp Justice.”

After years of delay, a trial was actually scheduled to open May 5th against Omar Ahmed Khadr, a Canadian who was 15 years of age when detained on charges of hurling a hand grenade that killed an American GI. According to The New York Times of April 12, military judge Col. Peter Brownback III, pushed back his trial date and instead set May 8th to hear more lawyers’ arguments on pre-trial issues. Khadr’s lead lawyer, Navy Lt. Comdr. William Kuebler, is quoted as saying, “I don’t believe anyone can get an acquittal at Guantanamo Bay.” He said some witnesses to the firefight say the U.S. soldier may have been killed by friendly fire — a charge Khadr’s prosecutor claims will be disproved.

Yet what does it matter? Even if proved innocent before his all-military panel, Khadr could be held as long as the occupant of the White House says the War on Terror continues! For many in the Middle East and elsewhere, the legalized duplicity shaping up at Gitmo won’t just give America one black eye but two, plus a broken nose, a fat lip, and a mouthful of loose teeth — as George Bush whacks away at the Statue of Liberty with his war club.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Fl.-based writer and public relations consultant that may be reached at sherwoodr1 [at] yahoo [dot] com. Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a weekly “Workplace” column to Reuters America for 10 years.

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8664

Record Home Foreclosures across America by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, April 4, 2008
MSL

Banking Act of 1999 has opened a Pandora’s Box

The desire of commercial banks to gut the Glass-Steagall Act (GS) of 1933 so they could get back into the lucrative investment banking business has resulted in today’s subprime mortgage mess, the dean of the Massachusetts School of Law (MSL), a former Justice Department anti-trust lawyer, says.

“When federal agencies began making inroads on Glass-Steagall in the 1980’s and 1990’s, so that banks were allowed by the agencies to do things that Glass-Steagall forbade, I was amazed,” says MSL Dean Lawrence Velvel, of Andover. He noted GS “had deliberately separated commercial banking from investment banking because Congress felt in the 1930’s that the combination of both types of banking in a single institution was one of the reasons for the Great Depression.”

During that era, “when both types of banking were combined in one institution and a bank’s stock business and stock investments went down, the whole bank went down because of huge losses and capital impairments,” Velvel explained. And it was to avoid any repeat of the nation’s financial collapse GS was enacted.

Once the GS safeguards were removed by enactment of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLBA), Velvel says, “Horrible loans were made, horrible securities were packaged and sold from these loans, and when one side of the bank got into problems, they quickly spread to the other side. As a result, huge banking companies such as Citicorp and Merrill Lynch are in big trouble.”

“If delinquencies in the fourth quarter of 2007 for subprime adjustable-rate mortgages hit an all-time record 5.29%, it’s because the visionary protections in the New Deal legislation(GS) have been abandoned,” Velvel says. Banks are holding billions in mortgage-related instruments for which there is no market.

In a related article published in MSL’s opinion journal “Long Term View,” law Professor Holly Vietzke writes GLBA has more closely connected “the banking industry to the U.S. stock market, ensuring that any significant dive on Wall Street will have disastrous effects on the nation’s financial system.”

Some analysts link GLBA to the Enron scandal and other corporate crises, writes Vietzke: “Enron’s financial backers Citigroup, Inc. (which earned millions of dollars in fees as one of Enron’s biggest backers) and J.P. Morgan Chase are accused of committing securities fraud in connection with the formation and use of Enron Corporation’s special purpose partnerships.”

“It appeared that, with the cooperation of Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase, Enron intended to inflate profits and income over debt, and it tried to fool investors by hiding debt from the analysts,” Vietzke continues. The Wall Street Journal, she noted, reported Citigroup and Chase made more than $200 million in fees for transactions that helped Enron among other energy companies, “boost cash flow and hide debt.”

Vietzke asserted this kind of activity is one of the reasons why Congress passed GS in the first place. “The GLBA is, as Enron shows, fermenting stock market manipulations that allow corporate executive to cash in” while their bank loans are outstanding.

GLBA triggered a wave of mergers, including Citigroup with major insurer Travelers and the American-based bank holding company Citicorp, a $70 billion combination. “After the merger, Citigroup’s business included insurance, lending, banking, investing and asset management,” Vietzke pointed out.

If Citigroup expected to reap a profit upwards of $700 million from the deal, Vietzke said, stockholders “saw no such gain.” Before the merger, Citicorp stock was up to $182 and Travelers was $73. After the merger, however, Citicorp dropped to $84 and Travelers to $37.

Other financial institutions that combined: Chase Manhattan joined with J.P. Morgan in a $35 billion merger to form J.P. Morgan Chase; First Union Corp. acquired Wachovia Corp; insurance giant MetLife bought New Jersey-based Grand Bank; Washington Mutual took over Homeside Lending; First Merchants bought Lafayette Bancorp; FleetBoston Financial purchased Summit Bancorp, and, in Ohio, National Bancshares Corp acquired Peoples Financial.

These, and similar mergers, have not always yielded positive results. Vietzke writes: “In addition to causing higher fees, a decline in personal service, privacy issues for consumers, and a decrease in value for stockholders, these unions have suffered internally as well.”

Geoffrey Boisi, the engineer of the J.P. Morgan Chase deal, resigned just two years after the merger as did Allan Wheat (Credit Suisse First Boston) and John Mack (Morgan Stanley) before him.

In a poll of 50 executives, Professor Robert Bruner of the University of Virginia found only 37% of them believed the mergers actually created value for buyers.

Until the GLBA, Vietzke writes, “banks had regularly circumvented the restrictions of the Glass-Steagall Act by sharing office space with securities firms, creating the illusion to consumers that the bank insured securities transactions.”

“The securities firm would benefit from the bank’s steady flow of customers, and the bank would receive a portion of the firm’s commission. The customer often never knew it was conducting business with separate entities. The GLBA effectively made this practice legal,” Vietzke said.

The opinions published in The Long Term View are not necessarily those of The Massachusetts School of Law. MSL is an independent law school founded to provide a quality, affordable legal education to minorities, immigrants and students from working-class backgrounds that otherwise would be unable to attend law school and enter the legal profession.

Further Information: Jeff Demers at MSL, demers [at] mslaw.edu; or Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL, sherwoodr1 [at] yahoo.com

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, MSL, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8557

Small Retailers pushed into Bankruptcy. US Government Subsidies to Chain Companies

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Sherwood Ross
Global Research, March 24, 2008
Massachusetts School of Law

Small retailers the nation over are being pushed out of business by government subsidies to chain competitors such as Wal-Mart and Target through a variety of “corporate socialism” schemes, taxation authority David Cay Johnston says.

Municipalities are permitting “tax increment financing” that allow the big chains “to keep the sales taxes that you are forced to pay at the tax register,” Johnston said on the television interview program “Books of Our Time,” sponsored by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover and broadcast by Comcast.

“Instead of that money going to the schools and the fire department and the police department and the library, it is funneled through a mechanism of local government, usually a special authority, to finance the purchase of municipal bonds so that means that the wealthy underwriters and the lawyers and auditors all get a piece of this money to buy the land and build the store,” Johnson told TV host Lawrence Velvel, dean of the law school.

The store is then leased to the big chain developer “at terms that amount to giving it to them for free or nearly free over a period of time,” Johnston said, “and it’s destroying local business.” An amazing aspect of this “corporate socialism” policy, Johnston says, “is that local business owners have not risen up and stopped this.”

“A system in which government, whether Federal or local, picks the winners in the economy, is not capitalism, it’s not competition, it’s not free market, it is corporate socialism, it is statism, it’s the state making these choices,” Johnston said.

In his new book, “Free Lunch” (Portfolio) Johnston amplifies this point by noting “Sam Walton practiced corporate socialism. As much as he could, he put the public’s money to work for his benefit. Free land, long-term leases at below-market rates, pocketing sales taxes, even getting workers trained at government expense were among the ways Wal-Mart took every dollar of welfare it could get.”

“Walton had a particular fondness for government-sponsored industrial revenue bonds,” Johnston continued, “which cost him less in interest charges than the corporate bonds the market economy uses to raise money.”

Johnston said in the television interview that if the public really understood what was happening they would not permit government subsidies to corporations to go forward.

Johnston pointed out: “Subsidies to retail cannot make us wealthier. Retail is at the end of the economic line. If you want to subsidize things, first subsidize education, then subsidize basic research, then subsidize applied research and development and subsidize infrastructure—rails and canals and highways—and maybe in some cases manufacturing and mining to get something going.  But the least bang for the buck, and often the negative bang for the buck, would be subsidizing retail. What’s happening is wealthy families, the richest families in America, are getting welfare and they apparently have no shame about this.”

Johnston points out government handouts for Wal-Mart “reduce the costs of competing in the market” and by soliciting the subsidies “Wal-Mart shifted some of the risks of its expansion onto the majority of Americans who are not regular Wal-Mart shoppers.”

He said the fortune Wal-Mart is reaping is no different from what other corporate players are getting. “We are transferring enormous amounts of money to corporations and wealthy individuals,” Johnston pointed out. For example, he said, “We gave Warren Buffett’s companies a hundred million dollar gift last year.”  (Buffett’s firm has a two-thirds-billion-dollar, interest-free loan from our government for more than 28 years, Johnston notes. Similarly, Donald Trump benefits from a tax enacted to help the elderly and the poor but part of which is now diverted to his casinos, Johnston says.)

“The incomes of the top one percent are exploding, are pulling away from everybody else,” Johnston said, “while the middle-class is stifling and the bottom is dropping out (of the economy).”

Author Johnston, for many years the tax reporter for The New York Times, has won a Pulitzer Prize and many other awards and uncovered so many tax dodges that he has been called the “de facto chief tax enforcement officer of the United States.”

The Massachusetts School of Law (MSL), sponsors of “Books Of Our Time,” is a non-profit institution dedicated to providing a quality, affordable legal education to  minorities’, immigrants, and students from economically disadvantaged families who would otherwise not be able to attend law school and enter the legal profession.

(Further Information:  Sherwood Ross, media consultant to MSL at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com)

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Massachusetts School of Law, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8431

see

“Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Govt Expense (& Stick You with the Bill)” (must see video)

Bill Moyers Journal: Clinton, Obama, King & Johnston + more (video)

“Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam” Explains Why America is in Trouble

Dandelion Salad

by Dr. Sherwood Ross
Global Research, March 22, 2008
– 2008-03-21

Review of Lawrence Velvel’s book

For an original view about why America is in trouble, read “Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam” (Doukathsan Press) by award-winning author Lawrence Velvel.

If his book title, taken from the fourth stanza of the national hymn “America The Beautiful,” is intended as sarcasm, that’s only because of the author’s outrage over the injuries he has seen inflicted on the country he loves.

Velvel grew up in Chicago —site of the Columbian Exposition of 1893 whose architectural “White City” inspired poet Katharine Lee Bates to describe the promise of “alabaster cities” in her beloved hymn.

And it is this glorious promise that Velvel shows over and again in his 818-page quartet of books, now collected for the first time in one volume, that has been shattered by the forces of dishonesty and greed.

Velvel writes all about it from his insider’s perspective, based on 40 years in the legal field as a law student at the University of Michigan, Justice Department attorney, private practitioner, law professor and cofounder and dean of a maverick law school pioneering a heralded new approach to legal education. The book, he says, is “lightly fictionalized to protect the guilty, e.g., by changing their names.”

TACG doesn’t discuss Iraq beyond the initial invasion. It doesn’t discuss the subprime meltdown. It doesn’t discuss the widening gap between rich and poor across the nation. “Rather,” Velvel says, “I wanted instead to discuss the habits of mind, and the culture, which brought these debacles upon us.”

“My intent is to show how qualities such as honesty, competence, and compassion have continuously declined since about 1960 and how selfishness has increased dramatically,” Velvel says. “You can see in our leadership that dishonesty is rampant, fake celebrityhood is worshipped, and competence and modesty take back seats.”

“What has emerged is extensive human and societal wreckage, and the rise of a selfish class characterized by men such as President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, the late Enron CEO Ken Lay, and WorldCOM CEO Bernie Ebbers,” Velvel says, adding, “and hundreds of thousands or, maybe millions, more, who share their rotten values.”

“In fact, you can depend upon most people to do the wrong thing most of the time,” he says. At one point, Velvel writes of his protagonist:

“It was only then that he finally knew in his gut, where it really counts, not just in his head, where it does not, that most people, most of the time, do not care a whit for social justice, care only about betterment of their own selfish interests, are impervious to reason no matter how objectively persuasive it may be, and will dissemble or sometimes even lie outright at the drop of a hat.”

Velvel’s book will resonate with anyone who has ever been treated badly in any court, federal or state, e.g., people involved in cases ranging from billion dollar litigations to family law cases like divorces and child custody fights.

Describing both the narrower and broader aspects of Velvel’s work, Amazon reviewer Daniel Jolley adds, Velvel “attempts to show what has gone terribly wrong in the American legal system in the latter half of the twentieth-century and how the problem has spread throughout American culture.”

Adds historian Howard Zinn, Velvel “delivers a scathing critique, based on personal experience, of the pretense and corruption that pervades the world of academe, of law schools, and the legal profession…Coming from a dean of a law school, this bold refusal to ‘play ball,’ to ‘play it safe’ is especially refreshing.”

In real life, Velvel is cofounder and dean of the fiercely independent Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, which is purposefully designed to educate minority, immigrant and low-income students that could not otherwise afford a quality legal education. Founded in 1988, MSL today has a student body of 600 students whose $13,300 annual tuition is less than half that charged by other New England law schools.

A prolific writer, Velvel has authored hundreds of professional legal articles, newspaper columns and internet essays on a wide variety of topics from civil liberties to foreign policy. He is also the author of “Undeclared War and Civil Disobedience: The American System in Crisis” (Dunellen). Velvel’s involvement with books is also expressed as host of an hour-long television book review show, “Books of Our Time,” produced by MSL and seen on Comcast throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Numerous prize-winning authors have described him as the best prepared interviewer they ever had.

Further information and to arrange for interviews with Dean Velvel, or to obtain copies of his book, please contact Sherwood Ross, Media Consultant to Massachusetts School of Law.

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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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© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8414

Despite US Efforts at Concealment, More Torture Stories Leaking Out by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, March 16, 2008

“A guard held a shotgun to my head. ‘You are a terrorist!’ he screamed. ‘What kind of dumb stuff did you write about your treatment here?’ My hands and feet were bound, and someone kicked me from behind.“

That’s just a sliver of the testimony of Murat Kurnaz, a 19-year-old Muslim from Bremen, Germany, abducted while traveling in Pakistan in the company of missionaries a few months after 9/11. Kurnaz was sold as a terror suspect to the U.S. military for $3,000, imprisoned and tortured over a five-year period.

While jailed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a Red Cross official wrote a letter home for Kurnaz and it was the “dumb stuff” in the letter that infuriated the Americans, according to the cover story in the Spring issue of “Amnesty International” (AI)magazine. The guards’ response illustrates the pains the Bush regime is taking to conceal from the world its horrific crimes against Muslim prisoners in dungeons around the world. There have been numerous other cases now where the Red Cross has not been informed of the existence of “ghost prisoners”, such as in the CIA prison in Kabul, or even told of the existence of a prison itself. Not surprisingly, the Red Cross has found U.S. methods are, at the least, “tantamount to torture.”

In another example, on March 14th, attorney Gitanjali Gutierrez of the non-profit Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), an advocacy organization of New York City, testified before a Congressional committee that she could not reveal what her client, CIA prisoner Majid Khan, told her about his treatment because “the government has declared prisoners’ statements to be classified,” The New York Times reported. As in the Kurnaz case, there is no such thing as free speech for prisoners of the Pentagon. Prisoners who talk to the Red Cross get roughed up. And the CCR is being muzzled as effectively as if they were dealing with Stalinist or Nazi jailers.

Still, stories leak out. At Kandahar, Kurnaz told Germany’s “Stern” magazine, (as reprinted by AI), he was made to pour cold water over his head every day. Then, “They prepared me for interrogations by putting electric shocks through my feet. For hours on end they would hang me up by my hands, which were bound behind my back in different positions—and then a break, and then you would be hung up again. A doctor looked in to see if you were still alive. The interrogator came at midday every day, and then you would be taken down for a short while.” (Yet another example of medical doctors cooperating in torture?)

Kurnaz was then flown to Guantanamo where he and other prisoners were beaten en route to the infamous Camp X-Ray, which he described as follows: “You were exposed to everything: sun, rain, snakes, scorpions. I once saw with my own eyes one of the prisoners being stung on the finger by a scorpion. Fat rats walked all over your arms and legs.” (Shades of Winston Smith in Room 101 in George Orwell’s novel 1984.)

“We were beaten a lot, tormented,” Kurnaz continued. “And then came the incident with the Quran. A military policeman who was searching a cell threw the book on the floor. The prisoners screamed. When I looked he was also kicking the Quran with his foot. Everybody began kicking against the doors and spitting at the guards. Then the Rapid Reaction Force came in.” After that, most prisoners refused to eat for four days. (Later, there was a second incident of Quran desecration, Kurnaz said.)

In Spring, 2002, Kurnaz was moved to Camp Delta, where he said conditions were “even worse” than at X-Ray. The camp consisted of container blocks, each with 48 cells “and the cages were made of chicken wire with a bed, toilet and washbasin at knee height. We had even less room to move around. The air was stifling. In the heat, it stank of paint and of 48 people being housed in the tiniest of rooms in great humidity. The neon light was always on, even at night, and the generators droned.”

Later that year, Kurnaz over a seven-week period was relocated every two hours so that he could not sleep, to which the guards gave the cutesy name of “Operation Sandman.” “As soon as they saw that you were asleep, they shook the cell doors,” Kurnaz said. “On top of that came interrogations that lasted for more than 50 hours. I hardly ate anything at this point either and lost about 60 kilos.” He added, “You are close to blacking out and you move around in a semiconscious state.”

About that time, Kurnaz said, guards attempted to hang a young Saudi from a sheet and label it a “suicide” attempt but the man survived in a brain-damaged state after three months in a coma.

At length, Kurnaz came to understand he was arrested as “the Taliban from Bremen” when, in fact, he had no idea what the Taliban was and had been employed in Germany as a nightclub bouncer. It wasn’t until August 24, 2006, that Kurnaz was released after a personal plea by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to President Bush. Kurnaz was flown home to Germany where he was reunited with his family. He said, “My father was very thin and had white hair. I embraced my mother. She was crying, and I embraced her until she stopped. Everybody cried. I did not. I do not know if I can still cry. Perhaps I forgot how to cry in Cuba.”

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based journalist who covers military and political topics. He worked as a reporter on the Chicago Daily News and for major wire services and is founding editor of the Antiwar News Service. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com.

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8358

Strong Doubts Israeli Air Strike On Syria Hit Nuclear Complex By Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

By Sherwood Ross
After Downing Street
Feb. 3, 2008

Reports that the target Israeli fighters struck in Syria last September 6th was a nuclear reactor being assembled with North Korean help cannot be substantiated, according to a report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

Rather, the attack may have had more to do with probing Syrian air defenses— thought to be similar to those employed by Iran—in the event of a U.S. attack on Iran.

Mohammed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told Hersh, “Our experts who have carefully analyzed the satellite imagery say it is unlikely that this building was a nuclear facility.”

“We don’t have any proof of a reactor—no signals intelligence, no human intelligence, no satellite intelligence,” one former senior U.S. intelligence official told Hersh, whose article “A Strike In The Dark” appears in the Feb.11th & 18th issue of “The New Yorker” magazine. A number of other authorities Hersh interviewed expressed like skepticism.

A former State Department official who now advises Congress on nuclear proliferation issues, said much of what one might expect to see at a nuclear site under construction was absent. “There is no security around the building. No barracks for the Army or the workers. No associated complex.”

Another authority, Jeffrey Lewis, head of the non-proliferation program at think tank New America Foundation, of Washington, D.C., said the dimensions of the struck building, located on the banks of the Euphrates river 90 miles north of Iraq, were not large enough to contain a reactor and its control rods, plus there was no evidence in the published imagery of major underground construction. “All you could see was a box,” Lewis told Hersh.

Joseph Cirincione, director for nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, a Washington, D.C., think tank, added, “Syria does not have the technical, industrial, or financial ability to support a nuclear-weapons program. I’ve been following this issue for fifteen years, and every once in a while a suspicion arises and we investigate and there’s nothing. There was and is no nuclear-weapons threat from Syria. This is all political. I think some of our best journalists were used.”

Reports that the small coastal trader Al Hamed may have been carrying materials from North Korea related to the facility’s construction have also been questioned. “I’ve been at sea for 41 years, and I can tell you, as a captain, that the Al Hamed was nothing—in rotten shape. You wouldn’t be able to load heavy cargo on it, as the floorboards wouldn’t be that strong,” said Martini Gotje of Greenpeace, a group that tracks international shipping.

A senior Syrian officer told Hersh that North Korean construction workers were employed at the site but that the project was not nuclear and most likely would have been used as a chemical-warfare facility. He said the site was in an isolated area and the Israelis “may have concluded that even if there was a slight chance (of it being nuclear)’we’ll take that risk.’” Another Syrian official, though, denied the site was related to chemical warfare but was to be one of a string of missile-manufacturing plants, Hersh wrote.

Asked about the Israeli attack, Syrian Vice-President Faruq al-Shara told Hersh, “Israel bombed to restore its credibility, and their objective is for us to keep talking about it. And by answering your questions I serve that objective.” Shara denied Syria has a nuclear-weapons program, adding, “The volume of articles about the bombing is incredible, and it’s not important that it’s a lie.”

U.S. and Israeli officials have been “eager for the news media to write about the bombing,” Hersh wrote. Former and current Israeli government and military officials are adamant that Israel’s intelligence had been accurate. “Don’t you write that there was nothing there!” an angry senior Israeli official told Hersh. “The thing in Syria was real.”

The IAEA’s ElBaradei, said, “If a country has any information about a nuclear activity in another country, it should inform the I.A.E.A. — not bomb first and ask questions later.”

Hersh reported that a former U.S. senior intelligence official said the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency believed Syria was installing a new Russian-supplied air defense system similar to the radar complexes in Iran. “Entering Syrian airspace would trigger those defenses and expose them to Israeli and American exploitation, yielding valuable information about their capabilities,” Hersh wrote. The official told Hersh Vice President Dick Cheney supported the idea of the overflights because “it would stick it to Syria and show that we’re serious about Iran.” Hersh said Cheney’s office declined to comment.

“Whatever was under construction, with North Korean help,” Hersh wrote, “it apparently had little to do with agriculture (as one Syrian official alleged) —or with nuclear reactors—but much to do with Syria’s defense posture, and its military relationship with North Korea.”

(Reach author Sherwood Ross at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com This report is published as a public service by the independent Anti-War News Service of Miami, Florida, USA.)

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Foreign Boycotts over Iraq War: A Factor in US Economic Downturn by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, January 22, 2008

One of the many contributing factors driving the U.S. economy’s sharp downturn is the anger of foreign consumers boycotting American brands over the Iraq war.

It’s not just many of the 1.5 billion Muslim consumers, either, that have quit buying Made in America. It’s people from France to Brazil to Canada to India, and it is a trend that began even before Bush invaded Iraq—remember those angry millions the world over that took to the streets urging him not to start it?

When foreigners, who once valued American craftsmanship, stop buying U.S. products, it’s got to worsen the balance of trade. And that can translate into layoffs, into closed factories, into reduced consumer spending. The Census Bureau is reporting the trade deficit in goods and services was a whopping $63 billion in October— and that’s a factor in the current meltdown.

Last July Reuters reported foreigners still have “a ferocious appetite for American goods and services” and noted U.S. multinationals were posting record earnings. Those profits might have been better, though, if not for the anti-war mood.

Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute noted as early as Oct., 2004, that Pew Global Attitude Project polls showed “the war in Iraq has undermined America’s credibility abroad” and “Anti-American sentiment is spreading around the world.”

A Pew follow-up poll last June, “documented wide anti-American sentiment since the survey was launched in 2002 and found those attitudes deepening this year,” Reuters reported. “The United States’ favorable ratings declined in 26 of 33 countries for which a comparison was available, with negative views particularly strong in the Middle East.” Reuters quoted Joseph Quinlan, chief market strategist at Bank of America Corp. saying: “Anti-Americanism has rarely been as prevalent and widespread as in the past five years. These circumstances have led many, ourselves included, to worry about a possible boycott or backlash against U.S. goods and services.”

That “possible boycott” actually got underway even before the first U.S. bomb fell on Iraq on March 18, 2003. As BBC reported from Thiruvananthapuram, India, earlier that month, social activists planned to boycott in “a last bid to prevent the unjust aggression on millions of innocent people.” And in Brazil, federal deputy Chico Alencar said if the U.S. made a unilateral attack on Iraq “we will boycott.”

Once Bush invaded, a rash of anti-U.S. product protests broke out that covered the globe:

# Protesters staged a die-in at a display of Coca-Cola products in Anglet, France.

# Ten restaurants in Hamburg, Germany, banned Cokes, Marloboro cigarettes, and American Express cards, USA Today reported.

# Leo Burnett ad agency poll of the Asia-Pacific region found one in four have avoided buying American brands.

# Right after the attack, members of the Indian Parliament “immediately demanded a countrywide boycott of American goods, particularly ubiquitous American brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonald’s, as well as British-owned Lever soap…and in several Pakistani cities…religious groups issued regular boycott calls,” The Nation magazine reported.

# On March 25th, 2003, Reuters reported “Consumer fury seems to be on the rise. Demonstrators in Paris smashed windows of a McDonald’s restaurant last week, forcing police in riot gear to move in to protect staff and customers… The attackers sprayed obscenities and ‘boycott’ on the windows.”

# By December, 2004, Jim Lobe could write on AntiWar.Com, a survey by Seattle-based Global Market Insite found “brands closely identified with the U.S., such as Marlboro cigarettes, American Online, McDonald’s, American Airlines, and Exxon-Mobil, are particularly at risk.” And 20 percent of respondents in Europe and Canada said they consciously avoided buying U.S. products as a protest against those policies.

# And About.com: advertising, a part of The New York Times company, reported, “Fliers are being circulated in places like Egypt, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria, all calling for a full ban on anything U.S.-related.” In Ecuador, a protester burned a Ronald McDonald figurine and in Korea a demonstrator wearing a George Bush mask and armed with a gun climbed McDonald’s golden arches.

At Harvard, international marketing authority John Quelch said, “Never before have global concerns about American foreign policy so threatened to change consumer behavior.” He added, according to an article in the July 17th, 2003, British Independent, “We are not speaking here of the frivolous grandstanding associated with temporary boycotts by a student minority. We are witnessing the emergence of a consumer lifestyle with broad international appeal that is grounded in a rejection of American capitalism, American foreign policy and Brand America.”

When will those in the executive suites recognize that, apart from the firms pigging out at the Pentagon trough, making a stupid war of aggression is bad for the rest of Corporate America, not only for humans?

Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based journalist who covers political, military and economic topics. He has worked for several wire services and major dailies. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com)

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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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US Weapons Sales: President Bush Arming Fellow Tyrants Globally by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, January 19, 2008

“In the last six years, Washington has stepped up its sales and transfers of high-technology weapons, military training, and other military assistance to governments regardless of their respect for human rights, democratic principles, or nonproliferation,” according to a report in the current(Jan.-Feb.) “Arms Control Today,” published online by the Arms Control Association (ACA). “All that matters is that they have pledged their assistance in the global war on terrorism.”

You read it right. The Bush regime has been using 9/11 as an excuse for the reckless sale of weapons around the globe, working $16.9 billion in new arms deals in 2006, 41.9 percent of the world’s total. This compares to runners-up Russia, $8.7 billion, and Great Britain, $3.1 billion, writes Rachel Stohl, a senior analyst at the Center for Defense Information(CDI), which tracks such data.

Despots once banned from getting U.S. weapons and training are being showered with both. “By providing military assistance with a disregard for human rights(HR) conditions, the U.S. is not only giving up the opportunity to use military assistance as leverage to improve (HR conditions), but is also rewarding abusive governments for their unconscionable actions,” Stohl writes.

Noting that U.S. aid is growing “at the same time as human rights conditions are worsening,” Stohl cites the example of Ethiopia, “which is carrying out a brutal counterinsurgency campaign within its own borders” and Nepal, whose security forces “opened fire on peaceful strikers and anti-government demonstrations.” Bush is also funneling millions into Uzbekistan, where thousands of Muslims have been imprisoned without due process and many tortured to death.

One headline-making scandal, of course, is the $10 billion in taxpayer’s money Bush has funneled to the Pakistan military since 9/11, where General Pervez Musharraf has habitually disappeared his political foes, and recently invoked emergency rule, suspended the constitution and jailed thousands. Bush okayed the multi-billion dollar sale to Musharraf of F-16 jet fighters that can pack nuclear warheads, just as he okayed their sale earlier to India, escalating the capability of these long-time antagonists to inflict dreadful atrocities if they go to war.

Since 2001, CDI has tracked skyrocketing U.S. military aid to the following 25 countries that “have a unique role in the ‘war on terror’ through the strategic services they provide the U.S.”: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

CDI documented U.S. aid in foreign military, and direct commercial, sales to the 25 soared 400% over the five years prior to 9/11. This despite a 2006 U.S. State Department finding of “serious,” “grave,” or “significant” abuses committed by them against their own citizens.

CDI summarizes, “the U.S. is sending unprecedented levels of military assistance to countries that it simultaneously criticizes for lack of respect for human rights and, in some cases, for questionable democratic processes.”

According to reporter Stohl, what the U.S. is billing as “counterterrorism training” often is nothing more than “counterinsurgency training.” This results, she says, in the U.S. “involving itself in internal conflicts around the world and is in practice encouraging countries to continue their internal struggles that predate September 11, 2001.”

President Bush is just back from the Middle East where he preached the virtues of “democracy.” His arms sales, though, betray his forked tongue.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based writer who covers military and political topics. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by 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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7850

Bush’s Reaction to the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) reveals him as World Warmonger No. 1 by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, December 10, 2007

So, just how much are the American people supposed to take? Here we’ve got a president who lied us into making war on Iraq and who, despite a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), is stubbornly trying to lie us into another war against Iran.

President Bush today is telling Iran to “come clean” when he’s nose deep in what comes out of the hind end of a Texas Longhorn.

Our commander-in-chief is so fanatical for war against Iran that, as investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote earlier this year in The New Yorker, there’s a special planning group under the Joint Chiefs of Staff organized to plot one. Hersh quotes a former intelligence official stating the group is “charged with creating a contingency bombing plan for Iran that can be implemented upon orders from the President, within 24 hours.”

So it’s clear why Bush pushed Congress last September for his warmongering Iran resolution that Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.), former Secretary of the Navy, labeled “a de facto authorization for use of military force against Iran.” Bush is rarin’ to attack! The wonder is why the Senate would give this liar anything but the boot?

Despite the new NIE estimate, Bush continues to insist Iran is the warmonger. This only further strengthens the case for impeachment against him and for criminal prosecution of those responsible for Iraq war, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his successor, Condoleezza (“Mushroom Cloud”)Rice.

As John Prados points out in his book “Hoodwinked”(The New Press), Vice President Richard Cheney also “played a key role in getting Iraq to the top of the Bush agenda and keeping it there…and falsely implicated Iraq in Al Qaeda terrorism,” and much, much more. Maybe we need a refresher course in Bush’s lies.

As Prados recalled: “An alleged chemical storage area at one facility turned out to be an Olympic-size swimming pool, a production plant had actually been a distillery making whiskey, another chemical storage site was a plant making car license plates, a cache of documents on chemical weapons a graduate student’s master’s thesis.”

The WMD lie was so preposterous, the “Weekly World News” joked in its August 19, 2003, issue that Saddam had smuggled 3,600 killer dinosaur eggs into the U.S. that would hatch to turn America into a new “Jurassic Park.”

To date, Bush’s war has cost the American people 4,000 lives and 30,000 wounded and a trillion dollars of wasted tax dollars. And it has cost the people of Iraq a million killed, perhaps another million wounded, untold billions in destroyed property and commerce, four million driven from their homes, and two million forced to quit the country!

The UN calls this exodus a “humanitarian crisis” but believe me, those are just words unless it is your family, your children, and your loved ones driven into the streets! Unless it is you that gets the call to come down to the morgue to identify a body thought to be your kid. And what for? What did the people of Iraq ever do to us?

Still worse, commander-in-chief Bush has allowed the Pentagon to fire irradiated ammunition (banned by the Geneva Convention) all over Iraq as though it is some kind of paintball playland, radiation that is likely causing cancers, radiation that will poison that unfortunate country perhaps for thousands of years to come— a crime against humanity.

Are we, the people, so blind, have we so lost our moral perspective, that we will believe a president when he tells us that Iran, a country with an annual military budget of 5 billion bucks, poses a threat to USofA with our total military spending of $800 billion? That Iran, which doesn’t have the beginning of a nuclear bomb, poses a threat to this country with our arsenal of 10,000 tethered nukes at the fingertips of (shudder) you-know-who? That Iran is raring to take on our missile-armed frigates and aircraft carriers, ships at this very moment plowing the waters of the Persian Gulf off the Iranian coast with enough atomic punch to destroy the planet?

Well, millions of us believed Bush when he and his top aides told us Iraq had “horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons.” Shakespeare’s Puck must have foreseen Americans were coming when he cried, “What fools these mortals be.”

Just before this nation was born, one observer said the British Crown dispatched its Redcoats to invade the colonies because “their crime was property.”
Today, it may be seen the “crime” of Iran, like Iraq, is oil and our very own King George has his eye on it. The former Texas oil man in the Oval Office and his former oil man vice president have led us into a war for oil, creating a destabilization in the market that has doubled the price of oil to $3.20 a barrel since they took office and showered oil companies ExxonMobil and the others with fabulous profits. That’s the bottom line.

Americans are paying for this war with their taxes and they’re paying for it at the pumps and in their home heating bills and in higher prices for food at the supermarkets.

So, I repeat, just how much are the American people supposed to take? At least, out of pity for the agony of the people of Iraq, the public must urge Congress impeach and prosecute President Bush. Bluntly, we’ve got to stop him before he kills more.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based columnist who covers military and political affairs. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by 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: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca 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.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Sherwood Ross, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7586

see

NIE

Pentagon Poised To Resume Open Air Weapons Testing by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, December 7, 2007
scoop.co.nz – 2007-12-04

Pentagon Appears Poised To Resume Open-Air Testing Of Biological Weapons But Says It Has Received No Presidential Directive To Break Moratorium

The Pentagon has denied President Bush issued a directive for it to resume open-air testing of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents that were halted by President Richard Nixon in 1969. Yet, the Pentagon’s stated preparations make it appear it is poised to do just that.

Spokesperson Chris Isleib did not respond to a request for comment on a passage from the Defense Department’s annual report sent to Congress last April that suggests the Pentagon is gearing up to resume the tests.

Resumption of open-air testing would reverse a long-standing moratorium adopted after a public outcry against them following accidents in the Sixties.

The Pentagon’s annual report apparently calls for both the developmental and operational “field testing of (CBW) full systems,” not just simulations.

The Pentagon’s report to Congress contains the following passage: “More than thirty years have passed since outdoor live-agent chemical tests were banned in the United States, and the last outdoor test with live chemical agent was performed, so much of the infrastructure for the field testing of chemical detectors no longer exists or is seriously outdated. The currently budgeted improvements in the T&E infrastructure will greatly enhance both the developmental and operational field testing of full systems, with better simulated representation of threats and characterization of system response.” “T&E” is an acronym for testing and evaluation.

“Either the military has resumed open-air testing already or they are preparing to do so,” said Francis Boyle, a University of Illinois Professor of International Law who authored the implementing legislation for the U.S. Biological Weapons Convention signed into law by President George Bush Sr. and who has tracked subsequent developments closely.

“I am stunned by the nature of this development,” Boyle said. “This is a major reversal of policy.” The 1972 treaty against germ warfare, which the U.S. signed, forbids developing weapons that spread disease, such as anthrax, a pathogen that is regarded by the military as “ideal” for conducting germ warfare.

“The Pentagon is fully prepared to launch biological warfare by means of anthrax,” Boyle charged. “All the equipment has been acquired and all the training conducted and most combat-ready members of U.S. armed forces have been given protective equipment and vaccines that allegedly would protect them from that agent.”

Open-air testing takes research into deadly agents out of the laboratories in order to study their effectiveness, including their aerial dispersion patterns, and whether they actually infect and kill in field trials. Since the anthrax attacks on Congress in October, 2001, the Bush administration has funded a vast biological research expansion at hundreds of private and university laboratories in the U.S. and abroad involving anthrax and other deadly pathogens.

The anthrax attacks killed five people, including two postal workers, injured 17 others and temporarily shut down the operations of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court, and other Federal entities.

Although a Federal statute permits the president to authorize open-air testing of CBW agents, Boyle said this “does not solve the compliance problem that it might violate the international Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention as well as their related domestic implementing legislation making such violations crimes.”

Boyle charged the U.S. is already “in breach” of both conventions and also of U.S. domestic criminal law implementing them. In February, 2003, for example, the U.S. granted itself a patent on an illegal, long-range biological-weapons grenade, evidently for offensive purposes.

Boyle said the development of anthrax for possible offensive purposes is underscored by the government’s efforts “to try to stockpile anthrax vaccines and antibiotics for 25-million plus Americans to protect the civilian population in the event there is any ‘blowback’ from the use of anthrax in biowarfare abroad by the Pentagon.”

“In theory,” Boyle added, “you cannot wage biowarfare abroad unless you can protect your civilian population from either retaliation in kind, or blowback, or both.” Under Project BioShield, Homeland Security is spending $5.6 billion to stockpile vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox, and other bioterror agents. The project had been marked by delays and operational problems and on December 12th last year Congress passed legislation to pump another $1 billion into BioShield to fund three years of additional research by the private sector.

Boyle said evidence the U.S. has super-weapons-grade anthrax was demonstrated in the October, 2001, anthrax mail attacks on Senators Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) The strain of highly sophisticated anthrax employed has allegedly been traced back to the primary U.S. Army biological warfare campus at Ft. Detrick, Md. The attacks killed five persons and sickened 17 others. A current effort to expand Ft. Detrick has sparked widespread community opposition, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.

“Obviously, someone working for the United States government has a stockpile of super-weapons grade anthrax that can be used again domestically for the purposes of political terrorism or abroad to wage offensive warfare,” Boyle said.

The Associated Press has reported the U.S. Army is replacing its Military Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick “with a new laboratory that would be a component of a biodefense campus operated by several agencies.” The Army told AP the laboratory is intended to continue research solely for defense against biological threats.

Undercutting the argument U.S. research is for “defensive” purposes is the fact government scientists have been creating new strains of pathogens for which there is no known cure. Richard Novick, a professor of microbiology at New York University, has stated, “I cannot envision any imaginable justification for changing the antigenicity of anthrax as a defensive measure.” Changing a pathogen’s antigenicity means altering its basic structure so that existing vaccines will prove ineffective against it.

Biological warfare involves the use of living organisms for military purposes. Such weapons can be viral, bacterial, and fungal, among other forms, and can be spread over a large geographic terrain by wind, water, insect, animal, or human transmission, according to Jeremy Rifkin, author of “The Biotech Century” (Penguin).

Boyle said the Federal government has been plowing money into upgrading Ft. Detrick, Md., and other CBW facilities where such pathogens are studied, developed, tested, and stored. By some estimates, the U.S. since 2002 has invested some $43 billion in hundreds of government, commercial, and university laboratories in the U.S. for the study of pathogens that might be used for biological warfare.

According to Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright, more than 300 scientific institutions and 12,000 individuals have access to pathogens suitable for biowarfare and terrorism. Ebright found that the Number of National Institute of Health grants to research infectious diseases with biowarfare potential shot up from 33 in the 1995-2000 period to 497 by 2006. Ebright has stated the government’s tenfold expansion of Biosafety Level-4 laboratories, such as those at Fort Detrick, raises the risk of accidents and the diversion of dangerous organisms. “If a worker in one of these facilities removes a single viral particle or a single cell, which cannot be detected or prevented, that single particle or cell can form the basis of an outbreak.”

During the Cold War era, notably in the Fifties and Sixties, various Government agencies engaged in open-air CBW testing on U.S. soil and on naval vessels at sea to study the effects of weaponized pathogens. U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, were among the targets and sickness and even a number of deaths were reported as a result.

According to an article titled “Lethal Breeze” by Lee Davidson in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City of June 5, 1994, “In decades of secret chemical arms tests, the Army released into Utah winds more than a half million pounds of deadly nerve agents.” Among them, he said, was VX, a pinhead-sized drop of which can be lethal. The tests were conducted at Dugway Proving Ground but Davidson said the evidence suggests “some (agents) may have escaped with the wind.”

Pentagon documents obtained by the News listed 1,635 field trials or demonstrations with nerve agents VX, GA and GB between 1951 and 1969, “when the Army discontinued use of actual nerve agents in open-air tests after escaped nerve gas apparently killed 6,000 sheep in Skull Valley,” Davidson wrote. The Skull Valley strike also sickened a rancher and members of his family. Boyle has previously charged the Pentagon with “gearing up to fight and ‘win’ biological warfare” pursuant to two Bush national strategy directives adopted in 2002 “without public knowledge and review.” He contends the Pentagon’s Chemical and Biological Defense program was revised in 2003 to implement those directives, endorsing “first-use” strike of chemical and biological weapons in war.

The implementing legislation Boyle wrote that was enacted unanimously by Congress was known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989. Boyle has written extensively on the subject. Among his published works are “Biowarfare and Terrorism” and “Destroying World Order: U.S. Imperialism In the Middle East Before and After September 11th,” both from Clarity Press.

(Sherwood Ross is a free-lance writer and public relations consultant and Director of Anti-War News Service. He was host of a radio talk show in Washington, D.C., reported for the Chicago Daily News and worked as a regular columnist for several wire services. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com)

Global Research Articles by Sherwood Ross
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“Thousands” Illegally Rendered By Bush Administration for Interrogation, Torture by Massachusetts School of Law

Dandelion Salad

by Massachusetts School of Law
Global Research, November 29, 2007

Massachusetts School of Law Report

In violation of international and U.S. law, “thousands” of alleged terrorists have been victims of “extraordinary rendition” by the Bush Administration since 9/11, two legal scholars say. “Instead of working to bring those committing crimes against the United States to justice in U.S. courts, the Bush Administration seems intent on doing exactly the opposite—keeping such individuals away from U.S. courts, hidden in a web of secret prisons, underground interrogation cells, and in the hands of cooperative governments,” write Margaret Satterthwaite and Angela Fisher. Satterthwaite is an assistant professor of clinical law at NYU School of Law and Fisher served as assistant research scholar with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice.

“Extraordinary renditions, whether originating in territories under U.S. control (actual or effective) or merely carried out by U.S. agents, are unlawful and in violation of international treaties to which the United States is a party,” the authors write. “Despite this clear prohibition, the Bush Administration continues to engage in this practice, using it to transfer detainees out of the reach of U.S. courts and into the realm of secret detentions and brutal interrogations.”

“Having altered the procedure from a transfer sanctioned by U.S. courts to a transfer that is extralegal, this Administration completed the transformation of extraordinary rendition from transfer to justice to transfer out of the justice system,” the authorities contend in an article titled “Tortured Logic: Renditions to Justice, Extraordinary Rendition, and Human Rights Law” published in “The Long Term View,” a journal of informed opinion published by the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover(Volume 6, No. 4).

The authors explain that extraordinary rendition is an updated form of “rendition to justice,” first secretly authorized in 1986 by President Reagan in National Security Decision Directive 207, which formalized U.S. policy to fight terrorism. It came into being, they say, because the U.S. in the 1980s did not have valid extradition treaties with countries that commonly housed terrorists or because those nations refused to give the suspects up. Under Reagan, they write, “it has never been suggested that the purpose of the program was to subject the detainees to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. Once in the United States, the rendered individual would be treated like any other federal detainee awaiting trial.” Satterthwaite and Fisher said President George H.W. Bush authorized specific procedures for renditions in 1993 through National Security Directive 77. President Clinton, they noted, went further “emphasizing rendition as a key counter-terrorism strategy” and signing presidential decision directive PDD-39 on June 21, 1995, which stated, in part, “Return of suspects by force may be effected without the cooperation of the host government…” One outcome of the Clinton policy, the scholars write, was the rendition of Tal’at Fu’ad Qassim, an Egyptian national that had been granted asylum in Denmark and seized by the U.S. in Bosnia and transported to Egypt, where he was reportedly executed—the first known rendition by the U.S. of a victim to a third country with a record of torture. Between 1998 and 2000, the CIA rendered more than two dozen suspects, then-CIA Director George Tenet testified. In 2004, Tenet testified before Congress there had been more than 80 renditions prior to September 11, 2001.

Since 9/11, the scholars wrote, renditions have been used not to obtain jurisdiction over the suspects in order to prosecute “but instead to get an individual to talk.” Previous renditions that required approval by an inter-agency group that included the Departments of Justice and State, were now placed in the hands of the CIA, which could render suspects “without consultation.”

Satterthwaite and Fisher write extraordinary rendition is prohibited by a number of international human rights treaties the U.S. has signed, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“CAT”), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, or “the Covenant”).

Both prohibit the refoulement, or transfer, of an individual to another state where the person faces the risk of torture. Both treaties require ratifying states to institute domestic laws penalizing torture and CAT specifically requires states to criminalize conspiracy and aiding and abetting in torture.

Further Information, Jeff Demers, Massachusetts School of Law, (978) 681-0800 or demers@mslaw.edu or Sherwood Ross, sherwoodr1@yahoo.com


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Radioactive Ammunition Fired in Middle East May Claim More Lives Than Hiroshima and Nagasaki by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross

Global Research, November 22, 2007

opednews.com

By firing radioactive ammunition, the U.S., U.K., and Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that, over time, will prove deadlier than the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan.

So much ammunition containing depleted uranium (DU) has been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret, “The genetic future of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed.”

“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991,” Moret writes, including radioactive ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine.

Moret is an independent U.S. scientist formerly employed for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.

Adds Arthur Bernklau, of Veterans For Constitutional Law, “The long- term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence. Iraq is a toxic wasteland. Anyone who is there stands a good chance of coming down with cancer and leukemia. In Iraq, the birth rate of mutations is totally out of control.”

Moret, a Berkeley, Calif., Environmental Commissioner and past president of the Association for Women Geoscientists, says, “For every genetic defect that we can see now, in future generations there are thousands more that will be expressed.”

She adds, “the (Iraq) environment now is completely radioactive.”

Dr. Helen Caldicott, the prominent anti-nuclear crusader, has written: “Much of the DU is in cities such as Baghdad, where half the population of 5 million people are children who played in the burned- out tanks and on the sandy, dusty ground.”

“Children are 10 to 20 times more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults,” Caldicott wrote. “My pediatric colleagues in Basra, where this ordnance was used in 1991, report a sevenfold increase in childhood cancer and a sevenfold increase in gross congenital abnormalities,” she wrote in her book, “Nuclear Power is not the Answer”(The New Press).

Caldicott goes on to say the two Gulf wars “have been nuclear wars because they have scattered nuclear material across the land, and people—particularly children— are condemned to die of malignancy and congenital disease essentially for eternity.”

Because of the extremely long half-life of uranium 238, one of the radioactive elements in the shells fired, “the food, the air, and the water in the cradle of civilization have been forever contaminated,” Caldicott explained.

Uranium is a heavy metal that enters the body via inhalation into the lung or via ingestion into the GI tract. It is excreted by the kidney, where, if the dose is high enough, it can induce renal failure or kidney cancer. It also lodges in the bones where it causes bone cancer and leukemia, and it is excreted in the semen, where it mutates genes in the sperm, leading to birth deformities.

Nuclear contamination is spreading around the world, Caldicott adds, with heaviest concentrations in regions within a 1,000-mile radius of Baghdad and Afghanistan.

These are, notably, northern India, southern Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tibet, Pakistan, Kuwait, the Gulf emirates, and Jordan.

“Downwind from the radioactive devastation in Iraq, Israel is also suffering from large increases in breast cancer, leukemia and childhood diabetes,” Moret asserts.

Doug Rokke, formerly the top U.S. Army DU clean-up officer and now anti-DU crusader, says Israeli tankers fired radioactive shells during the invasion of Lebanon last year. U.S. and NATO forces also used DU ammunition in Kosovo. Rokke says he is quite ill from the effects of DU and that members of his clean-up crew have died from it.

As a result of DU bombardments, Caldicott writes, “Severe birth defects have been reported in babies born to contaminated civilians in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan and the incidence and severity of defects is increasing over time.”

Like symptoms have been reported among infants born to U.S. service personnel that fought in the Gulf Wars. One survey of 251 returned Gulf War veterans from Mississippi made by the Veterans Administration found 67% of children born to them suffered from “severe illnesses and deformities.”

Some were born without brains or vital organs or with no arms, hands, or arms, or with hands attached to their shoulders.

While U.S. officials deny DU ammunition is dangerous, it is a fact Gulf War veterans were the first Americans ever to fight on a radioactive battlefield, and their children apparently are the first known to display these ghastly deformities.

Soldiers who survived being hit by radioactive ammunition, as well as those who fired it, are falling ill, often showing signs of radiation sickness. Of the 700,000 U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War, more than 240,000 are on permanent medical disability and 11,000 are dead, published reports indicate.

This is an astonishing toll from such a short conflict in which fewer than 400 U.S. soldiers were killed on the battlefield.

Of course, “depleted uranium munitions were and remain another causative factor behind Gulf War Syndrome(GWS),” writes Francis Boyle, a leading American authority on international law in his book “Biowarfare and Terrorism,” from Clarity Press Inc.

“The Pentagon continues to deny that there is such a medical phenomenon categorized as GWS—even beyond the point where everyone knows that denial is pure propaganda and disinformation,” Boyle writes.

Boyle contends, “The Pentagon will never own up to the legal, economic, tortious, political, and criminal consequences of admitting the existence of GWS. So U.S. and U.K. veterans of Gulf War I as well as their afterborn children will continue to suffer and die. The same will prove true for U.S. and U.S. veterans of Bush Jr.’s Gulf War II as well as their afterborn children.”

Boyle said the use of DU is outlawed under the 1925 Geneva Convention prohibiting poison gas.

Chalmers Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, writes in his “The Sorrows of Empire”(Henry Holt and Co.) that, given the abnormal clusters of childhood cancers and deformities in Iraq as well as Kosovo, the evidence points “toward a significant role for DU.”

By insisting on its use, Johnson adds, “the military is deliberately flouting a 1996 United Nations resolution that classifies DU ammunition as an illegal weapon of mass destruction.”

Moret calls DU “the Trojan Horse of nuclear war.” She describes it as “the weapon that keeps killing.” Indeed, the half-life of Uranium-238 is 4.5-billion years, and as it decays it spawns other deadly radioactive by-products.

Radioactive fallout from DU apparently blew far and wide. Following the initial U.S. bombardment of Iraq in 2003, DU particles traveled 2,400 miles to Great Britain in about a week, where atmospheric radiation quadrupled.

But it is in the Middle East, predominantly Iraq, where the bulk of the radioactive waste has been dumped.

In the early Nineties, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority warned that 50 tons of dust from DU explosions could claim a half million lives from cancer by year 2000. Not 50 tons, but an estimated two thousand radioactive tons have been fired off in the Middle East, suggesting the possibility over time of an even higher death toll.

Dr. Keith Baverstock, a World Health Organization radiation advisor, informed the media, Iraq’s arid climate would increase exposure from its tiny particles as they are blown about and inhaled by the civilian population for years to come.

The civilian death toll from the August, 1945, U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been put at 140,000 and 80,000, respectively. Over time, however, deaths from radiation sickness are thought to have claimed the lives of another 100,000 Japanese civilians.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami, Florida-based free-lance writer who covers military and political topics. Reach him at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com. Ross has worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and several wire services and is a contributor to national magazines.

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Sherwood Ross

 

see

Nuclear Madness – Interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott (must see video)

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Is the “Terrorist Threat” Another Bush-Cheney Fabrication by Sherwood Ross

Dandelion Salad

by Sherwood Ross
Global Research, September 16, 2007

In the most massive racial profiling since Japanese-Americans were herded into detention camps in World War II, the Bush administration after 9/11 required 80,000 Arab and Muslim foreign nationals living here to be photographed, fingerprinted and subjected to “special registration,” The Nation magazine said. The publication reports an additional 8,000 foreign nationals were sought out by the FBI for interviews and more than 5,000 foreign nationals were put in “preventive detention” — a total of 93,000 people made to register, subjected to interview, or jailed.

“Yet as of September, 2007, not one of these people stands convicted of a terrorist crime,” says an article titled, “Why We’re Losing The War on Terror.” Reading the data it presents, though, and examining other reliable sources, raises the question of whether the “terrorist threat” to USA isn’t wildly exaggerated or an outright fabrication. Here’s why:

he above-cited pattern of dragnet arrests without trials or convictions is being repeated across the Middle East with like results. The Bush regime is literally framing thousands of innocent men and boys to make it appear they constitute a “terrorist” threat to America. Yes, boys, some as young as eight.

According to Nation magazine co-authors David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, and Jules Lobel, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School, the Bush regime has little to show in the way of convictions of those it imprisoned in Guantanamo, which ex-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld trumpeted housed “the worst of the worst.”

“The Pentagon’s Combatant Status Review Tribunals’ own findings categorized only 8 percent of some 500 detainees held there in 2006 as fighters for Al Qaeda or the Taliban. More than half of the 775 Guantanamo detainees have now been released,” Cole and Lobel write. Americans needs to ask, since Bush boasted as far back as 2003 the U.S. had arrested 3,000 terrorist suspects, “Why didn’t the government try them?” As Jane Mayer reported in the July 3, 2006, The New Yorker, “Only ten of the more than 700 men who have been imprisoned at Guantanamo have been formally charged with any wrong-doing.”

Mayer also wrote, when the Pentagon planned to screen the suspects via “Article 5” hearings on the battlefields of Afghanistan, “the White House cancelled the hearings, which had been standard protocol during the previous fifty years, including in the first Gulf War.” Why? Could it be the Pentagon just wanted live, warm bodies, and innocence be damned?

Former President Jimmy Carter wrote in “Our Endangered Values” (Simon & Schuster), after visiting six of the 25 U.S. prisons, the Red Cross found “107 detainees under eighteen, some as young as eight years old.” Eight-year-old terrorists? And investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported there were 800-900 Pakistani boys in custody aged 13 to 15. Never mind that the Red Cross, Pentagon, and Amnesty International “have gathered substantial testimony of torture of children, confirmed by soldiers who witnessed or participated in the abuse,” according to Carter. Apparently, the Bush regime is tearing elementary school children away from their parents to build up its “terrorist” arrest data.

The British Guardian newspaper on March 15, 2005, carried a disturbing interview with Dr. Rafiullah Bidar, regional director of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, of Gardez — an entity funded by the U.S. Congress to investigate warlord abuses, and supposedly an American asset.

“All I do nowadays is chart complaints against the US military,” Bidar lamented. “Many thousands of people have been rounded up and detained by them. Those who have been freed say that they were held alongside foreign detainees who’ve been brought to this country to be processed. No one is charged. No one is identified. No international monitors are allowed into the US jails.” He pulled out a handful of files: “People who have been arrested say they’ve been brutalised – the tactics used are beyond belief.” Again, mass roundups, followed by no charges, and harsh confinement with torture.

The Guardian said terror suspects are being housed in about 25 prisons across Afghanistan, the hub of the U.S. prison network, and in dozens of facilities in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the British island of Diego Garcia.

Military officials estimate more than 60,000 Iraqis have been arrested and detained since the U.S. invasion and returned GI’s interviewed by The Nation (July 30) said “the majority of detainees they encountered were either innocent or guilty of only minor infractions.” Army Reserve Specialist Aidan Delgado, 25, of Sarasota, Fla., of the 320th Military Police Company, said, “I read these rap sheets on all the prisoners at Abu Ghraib and what they were there for. I look down this roster and see petty theft, public drunkenness, forged coalition documents.” Delgado added, “These aren’t terrorists. These aren’t our enemies. They’re just ordinary people, and we’re treating them harshly.” Even U.S. intelligence officers admitted to the Red Cross 70 to 90 percent of Abu Ghraib detainees are being held by mistake. Again, the same pattern of criminal conduct by the Bush regime.

As for domestic terrorists, the FBI admitted in 2005 that it had yet to identify a single Al Qaeda sleeper cell in the entire U.S. “And it hasn’t found any since,” write Cole and Lobel, “unless you count the Florida group arrested in 2006 whose principal step toward an alleged plot to blow up the Sears Tower was to order combat boots and whose only Al Qaeda ‘connection’ was to a federal informant pretending to be Al Qaeda.” In its most ballyhooed “terrorist” case against a U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla was convicted only for attending an Al Qaeda training camp and conspiring to support Muslim rebels in Chechnya and Bosnia before 9/11, not for any of the heinous crimes he was initially charged with planning.

Significantly, Cole and Lobel note in December, 2005, the bipartisan 9/11 Commission gave the Administration “failing or near-failing grades on many of the most basic domestic security measures, including assessing critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, securing weapons of mass destruction, screening airline passengers and cargo, sharing information between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, insuring that first responders have adequate communications,” etc.

Is this just more incompetence or is the White House deliberately lax because it knows the terrorist threat is one it has largely fabricated? In sum, the American people need to demand to know, “Why so few trials?” Are there virtually no trials because, in fact, there are no terrorists? Is the case against the thousands rotting in prisons no stronger than the phony case Bush made against “terrorist” Saddam Hussein with his WMD? Consider this final point: The last “terrorist” strike on U.S. soil was the anthrax attack on Congress in October, 2001 that killed five people — and the anthrax used was traced back to U.S. military facilities, George W. Bush, commander-in-chief.

Sherwood Ross is a Miami, FL-based publicist who has worked as a newspaper reporter, wire service columnist and radio talk show host at WOL, Washington, D.C.

Sherwood Ross is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Sherwood Ross


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