A dangerous step backward


I believe the Department of Homeland Security, born of the fraudulent premise of 911 and the need for expanded government, should not exist, but it certainly shouldn’t be staffed by those people who are responsible for the lies and myths of the war on terror.  That said, I was happy the DHS got off to an interesting start when they declared the biggest threat to the security of the “homeland” was our own violent rightwing extremist groups fuelled by recession, the return of disgruntled army veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, and hostility over the election of the first black president.  The shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions in the state of Kansas was an endorsement of that warning issued earlier this year. I don’t like the idea that President Obama is staffing this very department with Bush political appointees who are responsible for the illegal activity the US has participated in over the last 8 years in our name.

President Barack Obama has nominated Philip Mudd, who was deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA during the Bush administration  to be under secretary of intelligence and analysis at Homeland Security.  Mudd is into ethnic cleansing/targetting.

Philip Mudd, who had just joined the bureau from the rival Central Intelligence Agency, was pitching a program called Domain Management, designed to get agents to move beyond chasing criminal cases and start gathering intelligence.

Drawing on things like commercial marketing software and the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping without warrants, the program is supposed to identify threats. Mr. Mudd displayed a map of the San Francisco area, pocked with data showing where Iranian immigrants were clustered — and where, he said, an F.B.I. squad was “hunting.”

Some F.B.I. officials found Mr. Mudd’s concept vague and the implied ethnic targeting troubling. How were they supposed to go “hunting” without colliding with the Constitution? Would the C.I.A. man, whom some mocked privately as Rasputin, take the bureau back to the domestic spying scandals of the 1960’s? And why neglect promising cases to, in Mr. Mudd’s words, “search for the unknown”?

I am troubled by Mr. Obama’s appointments who use methods against American citizens and others we have already come to associate as illegal.  Where is the change we were promised and the return to the rule of law? Moreover, what signal does this nomination send to a country Obama has pledged to work with to resolve differences with it when Mudd has been known to go after and try to prove terrorism on the part of Iranian expatriates in America? Unfortunately, the Mudd nomination hasn’t raised the ire that Charles Freeman’s did, who subsequently had to withdraw from consideration to a top intelligence post because of AIPAC pressure, and most likely the Mudd nomination will go through after an appearance of resistance from the Republican party to their own one time appointee. It’s all very macabre, the delicate dance that goes on between the two political parties. Were it not so serious with ramifications for the entire country it would be entertaining to watch. As it is, it’s nothing more than the shuffling of the same players on a game board.

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War Crimes-A mounting body of evidence


FlightSuitWe the people have had placed before us a mounting body of evidence that suggests the war in Iraq was not fought for the purposes stated, was executed illegally and perhaps for the interests of a foreign power, and all the players from the President on down knew every mechanism they would use to get the country to accept war would be deceptive and illegal.

The latest news is that a biographer for George W. Bush claims Bush told him, Mickey Herskowitz in 1999, if elected he would invade Iraq and depose Saddam Hussein. Herskowitz supposedly had a personal relationship with Bush and had worked with him on several projects before so it’s significant Bush would confide in someone about something so imminent.  It’s apparent Bush had already signed on to the idea of getting rid of Saddam Hussein long before 911 and in keeping with both Bill Clinton’s Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 and Project for a New American Century’s plans to overthrow Iraq; all he needed was an excuse.  Did one just happen to fall into his hands, i.e. 911 or was it created for the excuse to invade Iraq?  Everything we now know about Iraq is a lie.  There were no weapons of mass destruction despite the persistent claims to the contrary, there was no link between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein or any global terror organization, despite the best efforts of the US to torture such information out of people, but there was Bush’s strong desire to initiate a war to overthrow  a toothless dictator made so by a decades old sanction regimen which depleted Hussein’s power and decimated his countrymen……for what?

According to Herskowitz, who has authored more than 30 books, many of them jointly written autobiographies of famous Americans in politics, sports and media (including that of Reagan adviser Michael Deaver), Bush and his advisers were sold on the idea that it was difficult for a president to accomplish an electoral agenda without the record-high approval numbers that accompany successful if modest wars…..

According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”………

Republicans, Herskowitz said, felt that Jimmy Carter’s political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war. He noted that President Reagan and President Bush’s father himself had (besides the narrowly-focused Gulf War I) successfully waged limited wars against tiny opponents – Grenada and Panama – and gained politically. But there were successful small wars, and then there were quagmires, and apparently George H.W. Bush and his son did not see eye to eye.

In other words to make candidate Bush look good, presidential.  Wars were resume enhancers, according to some in George Bush’s Republican party.  There was no issue of national security, national interests, protection of the “homeland”; wars were a way to get ahead, and the everyday soldier was the one on whose backs such wars were a key to politicians’ success.  In other words, as Christopher Hedges has realized and aptly written about, ‘war is a force that gives us meaning’.  We find glory in war and fight them because it defines us, not because we need to preserve freedom or security.  Today’s politician uses war as a way to shape a nation’s identity, not its borders or save its citizens.  Such an attitude leads me to wonder how much of what we see today is really us against them, or is it all just “us”?