Beating the War Drums


Those nutty neocons are at it again, calling for the US to enter into a war with Iran, on behalf of Israeli hegemony.  It matters not to them that America is undergoing one of the worst financial crisis in modern history, unemployment is at double digits, foreclosures at an all time high, and the war effort, especially in Afghanstan has been rocked by scandal and even charges of war atrocities, neocons don’t care about any of that, or about their pretty disastrous track record on the wars they have called for in the not too distant past with predictions that weren’t even close.  These people think Americans are dumb enough to forget all that and believe anything they say. 

Daneil Pipes’ interview with the oddly named Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, whose ministry has been pretty much disavowed by the churches in Israel/Palestine makes the point that negotiations, diplomacy, sanctions are meaningless; he will accept nothing short of all out annihilation

DP: If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, it changes the dynamics – not just in the Middle East, but worldwide. If the Obama administration has in mind to do something, it’s not about to broadcast it. So we don’t know. But I’m not optimistic. But I also would not conclude at this date that the Iranians will get the bomb. There is still pressure that can be brought.

EMQ: Can sanctions really accomplish anything?

DP: I don’t think so. I don’t think sanctions have any value beyond window dressing. I don’t think agreements have any value. I don’t think threats have any value. It boils down to whether we accept the Iranian nuclear program or we destroy it.

EMQ: How should Israelis feel about this?

DP: I think it’s realistic for the Israelis to attack and do real damage. Now, what constitutes success, I’m not exactly sure. There are many, many questions. If I were [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin]Netanyahu, I would say to [U.S. President Barack] Obama, “Why don’t you take out the Iranian nukes? Or else we will And we will not do it by trying to fly planes across Turkey and Syria or Jordan or Saudi Arabia. We will do it from submarine-based, tactical nuclear weapons. You don’t want that; we don’t want that; but that’s the way we can do this job for sure. You do it your way so we don’t have to escalate to that.” That would be a way of applying pressure. There are so many details which I’m not privy to. But that would be my kind of approach if I were the Israelis.

It’s too bad the leader of the ‘only superpower’ left in the world today….I like how neocons like to build up US presidents in order to get America to do the dirty work for Israel, doesn’t have the courage to say to any Israeli leader acting out Pipes’ scenario, ‘go right ahead and attack Iran with your sub based tactical nukes…you’re on your own, while we try to work out details through negotiations’, because the Iranians have been signaling since 2003 their willingness to negotiate with America.  Pipes almost seems to threaten the US…..we don’t want that and you don’t want that (i.e. a sub based strike on the part of Israel) so why don’t you do it your way’.

The other chest beating neocon is Sir John Bolton who likes to use the neocon meme of questioning the manliness of American presidents; something is wrong with them, they lack the courage to stand up to an intractable foe if they don’t do the neocon shuffle.

As Tehran and Pyongyang can plainly see, President Obama’s nonproliferation strategy is intellectually and politically exhausted. But U.S. exhaustion will not lead to stasis. North Korea and Iran will continue their nuclear and ballistic missile programs in the face of our feeble policy.

So are we consigned to two more years of growing danger? Not if Congress and opinion leaders take steps without White House leadership, beginning with these three initiatives:

First, they must demand increased intelligence collection on the North Korea-Iran connection……..

Although North Korea and Iran may be slipping off the front page, their nuclear and ballistic missile cooperation is almost certainly progressing….. Stepped up intelligence gathering and enhanced congressional and public discussion might even awaken the Obama administration.

A second step is to increase political support for an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile facilities…. Arab states have understood this for some time and have hoped for a pre-emptive U.S. strike. But that will not happen under Mr. Obama absent a Damascene conversion in the Oval Office.

What outsiders can do is create broad support for Israel’s inherent right to self-defense against a nuclear Holocaust and defend the specific tactic of pre-emptive attacks against Iran’s Esfahan uranium-conversion plant, its Natanz enrichment facility, and other targets. Congress can make it clear, for example, that it would support immediate resupply and rearming to make up for Israeli losses in the event of such an attack. Having visible congressional support in place at the outset will reassure the Israeli government, which is legitimately concerned about Mr. Obama’s likely negative reaction to such an attack.

There you have it, America’s problem is an intellectual midget occupies the White House who is usually asleep and not aware of the threat a non nuclear possessing country now poses to our client state Israel, so Bolton and other like minded neocons along with those members in Congress who are agreement must  sidestep the President and take the bull by the horns to rectify this situation. During the days of the GW Bush administration there was a word tossed around a lot for people who went against the grain of a sitting US president during America’s time of war. That word was ‘traitor’. I think it’s appropriate for the two gentlemen mentioned above. Anyone?

NOW The Teabaggers Have a Reason to be MAD!


Just when you think it’s safe to have hope in government they go and make a major bo0 boo when it comes to your rights as a citizen.  For now, government is pretty safe in saying they will go after and even KILL Anwar al-Awlaki because as far as everyone is concerned he’s a bad guy and he’s not entitled to the same rights and privileges as the rest of us and that’s because the government said so.  It doesn’t matter that not one shred of proof has been offered other than the government’s claim to Awlaki’s nefarious character, or that we haven’t given him a chance to defend himself against the accusation.  Nor does it seem to matter that his rights as an American citizen are irrelevant as far as the government is concerned; perhaps there are many who assert he isn’t an American citizen, much like the teabaggers who say the same about Obama, and in that he and Obama, oddly enough, have something  in common. What is telling is the government’s premise their position to extra-judiciously kill Awlaki is in ‘strict accordance with the law.‘  He’s no longer considered a ‘militant preacher’ now he’s an operative for al-Qaida based on the kind of evidence that was enough to allow others to stand trial or have access to the judicial system but for him is a death sentence without recourse to the rights guaranteed him by the US Constitution.  However the incremental erosion of citizenship rights by Government means what’s here and allowed today can very easily be taken away tomorrow merely on the declaration of an un-named and in general civics terms unaccountable public  servant.

What bothers this observer is how close the US response to perceived acts of terrorism mimics that of the Israelis who claimed the right to kill any of their enemies whenever and wherever they wanted at the beginning of the 21st century.  Years later Israel is still an insecure, even by their own admission, country that continues to kill its opponents while at the same time further dimming hopes for peace and security.  Simply put, assassinations of political foes does not engender security or peace nor the cessation of hostilities, but rather exacerbates them.  That is a lesson the US, despite the Israeli model, has refused to learn.

What looms on the American horizon is the prospect that any one who resists the government and can be adequately portrayed as evil enough for his death to be accepted by a large segment of the US population stands the risk of having their rights casually dismissed and their life equally dispatched the way of a common criminal without the ability to prove or disprove a charge or legally defend himself. I know that’s enough to get tea baggers angry in this day and age; the existence of a black American as president sets them off.  The polarization of American society has made it possible for people to turn a blind eye to  the idea that one branch of government can unilaterally determine the rights it is willing to extend to a citizen with the citizen having no say in the matter especially when that citizen is not from one group or another.  That can only mean the continued insurgency of the federal government on the rights of its citizen.

Those Bushism Lies Keep Getting Refuted-Another One Bites the Dust!


by Jason Leopold
Truthout

The Justice Department has quietly recanted nearly every major claim the Bush administration had made about “high-value” detainee Abu Zubaydah, a Guantanamo prisoner who at one time was said to have planned the 9/11 attacks and was the No. 2 and 3 person in al-Qaeda.

Additionally, Justice has backed away from claims intelligence officials working in the Clinton administration had also leveled against Zubaydah, specifically, that he was directly involved in the planning of the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa.

Zubaydah’s name is redacted throughout the 109-page court document, but he is identified on the first page of the filing by his real name, Zayn Al Abidin Muhammad Husayn. He was the first detainee captured after 9/11 who was subjected to nearly a dozen brutal torture techniques, which included waterboarding, and was the catalyst, the public has been told, behind the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation” program. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has publicly admitted that personally approved of Zubaydah’s waterboarding.

His torture was videotaped and the tapes later destroyed. The destruction of 90 videotapes of his interrogations is the focus of a high-level criminal investigation being conducted by John Durham, a federal prosecutor appointed special counsel in 2008 by then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

In recent months, former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen has been on a public relations campaign promoting his book, “Courting Disaster,” in which he defended the torture of Zubaydah, claiming, among other things, that he reviewed classified intelligence that revealed Zubaydah’s torture produced actionable intelligence that thwarted imminent plots against the United States.

But court documents unclassified last week debunk Thiessen’s assertions as well as those made by, among others, George W. Bush, who said Zubaydah was one of al-Qaeda’s “top operatives plotting and planning death and destruction on the United States.”

For the first time, the government now officially admits that Zubaydah did not have “any direct role in or advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” and was neither a “member” of al-Qaeda nor “formally” identified with the terrorist organization.

The government has a new set of eharges it is leveling against Zubaydah and claims he is being detained by the United States based on his “actions” as an “affiliate” of al-Qaeda that may have included the planning of a counterattack against US forces after the US invaded Afghanistan in November 2001 and a “thwarted” attack at the time of his arrest.

“The Government’s accounts frequently have been at variance with the actual facts, and the government has generally been loath to provide the facts until forced to do so,” said Zubaydah’s attorney, Brent Mickum, in an interview. “When the Government was forced to present the facts in the form of discovery in Zubaydah’s case, it realized that the game was over and there was no way it could support the Bush administration’s baseless allegations. So it changed the charges.”

The government wants the judge presiding over the habeas case to deny defense requests for evidence that would “undermine” government claims that Zubaydah worked in Bin Laden’s “military and security plan to confront an American counterattack” in Khost, Afghanistan, after 9/11.

“The Government does not rely on any contention that [Zubaydah] did this work as an ‘al-Qaida’ deputy or because he was subject to al-Qaida command,” according to the court document.

But the exact charges the government appears to be making here is unknown because the information is classified.

“Evidence suggesting that [Zubaydah] lacked knowledge of plans by other persons or groups would not undermine the Government’s allegations about [Zubaydah’s] own thwarted plans, or any other allegations” against him, according to the Justice Department’s filing.

The government acknowledges that it’s case against Zubaydah is based entirely on the first six volumes of his diaries that he wrote beginning in 1992 [Please see this report for details about Zubaydah’s diaries.] In the court filing, the government says that it filed a “factual return” on April 3, 2009, which included “six volumes of diaries written by REDACTED” and “an undated “propaganda video [Zubaydah] recorded before his capture in which [he] appears on camera expressing solidarity with Usama Bin Laden and al-Qaida.” The government further says that it does not rely on “any statements [Zubaydah] made after his capture” in Pakistan in March 2002.

But later in the filing, however, the government concedes that Zubaydah was not aligned with or directly associated with Bin Laden or al-Qaeda.

The government “does not contend that [Zubaydah] was a ‘member’ of al-Qaida in the sense of having sworn bavat (allegiance) or having otherwise satisfied any formal criteria that either [Zubaydah] or al-Qaida may have considered necessary for inclusion in al-Qaeda. Nor is the government detaining [Zubaydah] based on any allegation that [Zubaydah] views himself as part of al-Qaida as a matter of subjective personal conscience, ideology or worldview.

“Rather, [the government’s] detention of [Zubaydah] is based on conduct and actions that establish [Zubaydah] was ‘part of’ hostile forces and ‘substantially supported’ those forces,” states the Justice Department’s point-by-point response to 213 discovery requests Zubaydah’s attorneys made in connection with his habeas corpus case, which sought evidence to support the government’s position that Zubaydah was a top al-Qaeda official.

The Justice Department declined to comment on what appears to be contradictory claims in its court filing.

The Bush administration claimed in April 2002, days after Zubaydah was captured in Afghanistan and moved to a CIA-operated black site prison in Thailand that he was a top al-Qaeda official.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described Zubaydah on April 1, 2002, as a “close associate of [Osama Bin Laden], and if not the number two, very close to the number two person in the organization. I think that’s well established.”

Nor did the Bush administration deviate from that position after Zubaydah was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006 and declared an “enemy combatant” in 2007 following a Combatant Status Review Tribunal.

John Bellinger, former legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said during a June 2007 briefing on Guantanamo Bay that Zubaydah helped plan the 9/11 attacks and was “extremely dangerous.”

The Justice Department’s response to discovery request “No. 21” says that “the Government has not contended in this [habeas] proceeding that [Zubaydah] had any direct role in or advance knowledge of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, so [to] the extent that this request seeks information ‘tending to show … that [Zubaydah] did not know of the planned attacks of 9/11’, the request seeks evidence about contentions the Government has not made.”

The government’s new position is significant because one of the August 2002 torture memos prepared for the CIA and signed by former Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel attorneys Jay Bybee, now a Ninth Circuit Appeals Court judge, that described the torture techniques interrogators could use against Zubaydah, asserted that he “is one of the highest ranking members of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization,” “has been involved in every major terrorist operation carried out by al-Qaeda,” and was “one of the planners of the September 11 attacks” and that his torture was necessary in order to thwart pending attacks on US interests, which the CIA claimed Zubaydah knew about.

Exactly what Zubaydah’s attorneys had requested from the government in their discovery filing is unknown as the document has not been cleared for release. The Justice Department asked the judge presiding over the case to deny virtually every discovery request sought by his attorneys, explaining, in some instances, that the government no longer relied upon the explosive allegations the Bush administration made about Zubaydah when he was captured and subsequently tortured.

At the time the response to the discovery requests was filed in the fall of 2009, the government argued that the court should “stay further evidentiary proceedings” because it could interfere with Durham’s criminal probe into the destruction of the torture tapes. Durham filed a motion under seal thereafter that said as much. A report published in the Washington Post last week said Durham’s probe is now winding down.

According to Mickum, the government’s “entirely new position” about Zubaydah was revealed late last year in a 50-page Factual Return that included 2,500 pages of exhibits.

“I’m not surprised at all that the Government has dropped the old charges against our client and is alleging new charges against him,” Mickum said in an interview. “That is their tried and true modus operandi. That’s exactly what they did with my client Bisher al Rawi. He was initially charged with associating with a known al-Qaeda figure in London. Unfortunately, Bisher was associating with him at the express request of Britain’s MI5 [intelligence service]. After we established that he worked for MI5, the US simply changed the charges against him, alleging that he had terrorist training in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

“Once again, we were able to show those charges were utterly bogus when we proved that Bisher had never left England from 1998 until his fateful business trip to Africa, where he was arrested by the CIA, rendered to the ‘Dark Prison’ in Afghanistan and tortured, tortured at Bagram Air Force base and tortured in Guantanamo. What all these cases have in common is torture, and [Zubaydah’s] case has that in spades. Given, the government’s history, it is not likely they would simply let him go and apologize. No, when their case falls apart, they rejigger the evidence, and come up with new charges and we will defend the new charges with the same zeal we defended the earlier bogus charges.”

Zubaydah’s attorneys argued in his initial petition for habeas corpus filed in February 2008 that he was not a member of al Qaeda, that he had no knowledge of any terrorist operations, and that the military camp he was alleged to be affiliated with, Khaldan, was closed by the Taliban after it refused repeated demands that it fall under the formal control of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

“We have never deviated from that position, and now the government admits that we were correct all along,” Mickum said.

Indeed, the Justice Department’s response agrees with Zubaydah’s attorneys that Khaldan was “organizationally and operationally independent” of al-Qaeda’s camps and backed off of other claims made by Bush administration officials that Zubaydah knew the identities of specific individuals who trained at Khaldan and later went on to al-Qaeda-operated camps and allegedly took part in terrorist activities.

“The Government has not contended in this proceeding that petitioner selected or knew the identities of specific persons who were selected to leave Khaldan for training at al-Qaida camps,” the filing states.

Nor does the government contend that Zubaydah was responsible for paying Khaldan’s “expenses” or that he financed specific terrorist operations that may have had ties to Khaldan. Therefore, the Justice Department said, evidence Zubaydah’s attorneys requested to support these earlier claims should be denied.

The government’s new position also dramatically changes the substance of the final contents of the 9/11 Commission’s report, as it relates to Zubaydah. The report said he was the leader of Khaldan.

When she revealed last year that Zubaydah had been waterboard 83 times in August 2002, blogger Marcy Wheeler noted that the 9/11 Commission had obtained “just ten pieces of information are sourced to Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation reports.”

“…There are several other damning details that come from this analysis,” Wheeler wrote. “One of the ten pieces of intelligence that appears in the 9/11 Report–regarding Abu Zubaydah’s role running terrorist training camps–came from July 10, 2002, before the CIA first received oral authorization to use torture. Thus, it either came from persuasive, rather than coercive, techniques. Or it came from treatment that had not been legally approved.”

The 9/11 report also said Zubaydah was a “major figure” in the “Millennium plot,” claiming he was one of the masterminds behind a plan to blow up a hotel in Jordan and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The 9/11 report cited several intelligence memoranda from then-counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke that Zubaydah was planning “a series of major terrorist attacks” on Israeli and possibly US targets and was working closely with Bin Laden.

Clarke declined numerous requests for comment.

But the Justice Department no longer supports any of those claims, according to the court document.

When asked about what the 9/11 Commission was told, Mickum suggested that the panel was lied to by the CIA.

“After torturing our client, the CIA knew he was never a member of al-Qaeda and that he had no knowledge of any al-Qaeda terrorist activities,” Mickum said. “And this fact was confirmed after other members of al-Qaeda like [self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed] and the [alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing] al Nashiri were tortured.”

Zubaydah was also identified as Bin Laden’s “lieutenant” in the infamous August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Brief titled, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US, ” which alleged that he “helped facilitate” the plot to detonate a bomb LAX. FBI officials obtained that information from Ahmed Ressam, who was actually convicted for the crime in April 2001.

In exchange for a lenient sentence he made up stories about Zubaydah’s connections to Bin Laden and his role at Khaldan, which Ressam attended for five to six months in 1998). Ressam also said Zubdaydah told him in 1998 that, independent of Bin Laden, he was preparing his own attack against the United States. He later recanted those claims.

In an exclusive interview last year, Jack Cloonan, a former FBI special agent assigned to the agency’s elite Bin Laden unit, said the CIA and the Bush administration were flat wrong in designating Zubaydah as a top official in al-Qaeda.

“To cast him and describe him as the al-Qaeda emir or leader for the subcontinent or worse … I think was a mistake… . Based on his age and ethnicity, [he] would [n]ever be brought into the inner circle of al-Qaeda,” Cloonan said.

There was also the question of Zubaydah’s personality. “My partner had a chance to look at a lot of Abu Zubaydah’s diaries [which forms the basis of the government’s case], poems and other things that he has written and he said that after reading this you just come away with the feeling that this is a guy who can’t be trusted or be given huge amounts of responsibility.”

At his Combatant Status Review Tribunal in March 2007, Zubaydah said that his torturers eventually apologized to him and told him they concluded he was not a top al-Qaeda lieutenant as the Bush administration and intelligence officials had claimed (h/t Marcy Wheeler).

“They told me sorry we discover that you are not number three [in al-Qaeda], not a partner, even not a fighter,” Zubaydah said during his tribunal hearing.

No Comment


‘Nuff said!

The entire Bush Administration should be in jail


They have become so bad, so obnoxious even Lanny Davis who works for Republicans is now saying Dick Cheney should be indicted for his actions on torture.  To hell with the past is the past, an excuse every criminal who ever lived wishes could be used as a defense, Davis asserts it would not be difficult to bring charges against Cheney.  But why stop at Cheney?  There’s an entire Administration that was equally complicit in using torture, something illegal, to get people to lie, something also illegal, in order to justify invading a defenseless country, something I hope is still illegal and in the process killing thousands of its citizens, also an illegal act.  If we look at the Bush Administration’s eight years, it was ALL illegal.  I am most offended by the use of torture to get people to lie and even more amused by people who minimize torture, especially waterboarding, and talk about the number of pours of water over a victim’s face not constituting torture.  Nevertheless the fact of the matter, as stated by those who were present, is that some victims were waterboarded scores of times in order to get them to admit to a fictitious link, that didn’t offer up any actionable intelligence, in other words no terror plots were disrupted as a result of anything told by these victims, and the hands of a corrupt Administration, until now not taken to task,  from top to bottom are responsible for this action.  Go visit the links established by the folks at Think Progress which debunk all the torture myths put up by those on the right who sought to justify it.

I can think of nothing more heinous than torturing people to get them to confess to a lie.  In other words, people who knew nothing of a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were tortured until they were finally able to figure out what it was their torturers wanted from them and finally gave it to them.  No wonder Khalid Shaikh Muhammad is supposed to have confessed to doing things that didn’t happen or could be easily proven he had no part of; a human will do or say anything to escape pain once he realizes what it is to be done or said.  Of course, by the time such confessions were given the world had already figured out, been told, that such links didn’t exist, as did neither the WMDs we were told were within a hairs breath of being deployed against us, it was all a lie, sorry, let’s just forget the whole thing and opt for …….change and again, the rule of law is cast aside for political expediency.  The guards at Gitmo Bay and Abughraib are not the only ones culpable for this breach of law and our Nation’s confidence.  One of the measures of greatness is how well the law is equally applied to all regardless of status.  We are failing that measure miserably and we have no one to blame but ourselves.  I’m glad Lanny Davis has come around and sees that Cheney should be held accountable; I hope his list of those who need to be brought to justice grows.  If he needs help compiling it, I’ll be glad to hand him mine; it’s eight years long.

Interesting insight into the Israeli national mentality


No matter what they say about nuclear weapons possessed by Iran or hostile Arab neighbors who want to drive the Jews into the sea, it’s the least of Israeli worries, just as  Saddam Hussein’s WMDs were no threat to Israel or anyone else for that matter, because they simply didn’t exist. What is interesting is reading what Israel thinks are their problems and why and the list is far more revealing than any I’ve seen to date.  Here they are in the order mentioned in this article Seven Existential Threats.

1.The Loss of Jerusalem; partly due to the absence of Zionists living in the city.

2.The Arab Demographic Threat; Israel must be 70% Zionist in order to be legitimate and Arabs are having too many children

3. Delegitimization; Israel’s sins are receiving world wide attention which is bad for it’s reputation.

4.Terrorism; we’ve heard it all before.

5. A Nuclear-Armed Iran; we’ve heard this all before too.

6.The Hemorrhaging of Sovereignty; Israel doesn’t exert its control over people under its authority.

7.Corruption;The breakdown of public morality especially among it’s leaders.

The blog, War In Context,  does a decent job dismantling some of the above notions but looking at Oren’s list, the originator of the 7 deadly threats to Israel, it appears his biggest complaint and remedy for it is the absence of Zionism and the need for more Zionism.  Not much mention of Judaism as a religion, but rather Zionism as a political movement.  One other line in his piece that brought about a chuckle was this assertion:

Israel, the Jewish State, is predicated on a decisive and stable Jewish majority of at least 70 percent. Any lower than that and Israel will have to decide between being a Jewish state and a democratic state. If it chooses democracy, then Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. If it remains officially Jewish, then the state will face an unprecedented level of international isolation, including sanctions, that might prove fatal.

Is he saying democracy is a threat to and not consistent with Israeli interests?  Ohh, America, are you listening?

Stunning words from the mainstream


Paul Craig Roberts is a maverick of sorts, ever since he left the Reagan administration and began writing editorials about current events.  He still reflects fondly on Reagan, the conservative most modern day conservatives like to pattern themselves after, but speaks disdainfully of GW Bush and the people who surrounded him, calling them ‘brownshirts with the same level of intelligence and morals as Hitler’s enthusiastic supporters.’ Amen to that.  However, he has written a damning editorial on the war on terror, written by the way, at about the same time as Dick Cheney’s rather high treasonous remarks, which speaks volumes on how that war has been carried out and whether it’s real.  I’d like to produce exercepts of it below. He does a far better job of saying it than I ever could.

According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.

If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harassments when they fly.

The “war on terror” is a hoax that fronts for American control of oil pipelines, the profits of the military-security complex, the assault on civil liberty by fomenters of a police state, and Israel’s territorial expansion.

There were no al Qaeda in Iraq until the Americans brought them there by invading and overthrowing Saddam Hussein, who kept al Qaeda out of Iraq. The Taliban is not a terrorist organization, but a movement attempting to unify Afghanistan under Muslim law. The only Americans threatened by the Taliban are the Americans Bush sent to Afghanistan to kill Taliban and to impose a puppet state on the Afghan people.

Hamas is the democratically elected government of Palestine, or what little remains of Palestine after Israel’s illegal annexations. Hamas is a terrorist organization in the same sense that the Israeli government and the US government are terrorist organizations. In an effort to bring Hamas under Israeli hegemony, Israel employs terror bombing and assassinations against Palestinians. Hamas replies to the Israeli terror with homemade and ineffectual rockets.

Hezbollah represents the Shi’ites of southern Lebanon, another area in the Middle East that Israel seeks for its territorial expansion.

The US brands Hamas and Hezbollah “terrorist organizations” for no other reason than the US is on Israel’s side of the conflict. There is no objective basis for the US Department of State’s “finding” that Hamas and Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. It is merely a propagandistic declaration.

The retired American generals who serve as war propagandists for Fox “News” are forever claiming that Iran arms the Iraqi and Afghan insurgents and Hamas. But where are the arms? To deal with American tanks, insurgents have to construct homemade explosive devices out of artillery shells. After six years of conflict the insurgents still have no weapon against the American helicopter gunships. Contrast this “arming” with the weaponry the US supplied to the Afghans three decades ago when they were fighting to drive out the Soviets.

The films of Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza show large numbers of Gazans fleeing from Israeli bombs or digging out the dead and maimed, and none of these people are armed. A person would think that by now every Palestinian would be armed, every man, woman, and child. Yet, all the films of the Israeli attack show an unarmed population. Hamas has to construct homemade rockets that are little more than a sign of defiance. If Hamas were armed by Iran, Israel’s assault on Gaza would have cost Israel its helicopter gunships, its tanks, and hundreds of lives of its soldiers.

The great mystery is: why after 60 years of oppression are the Palestinians still an unarmed people? Clearly, the Muslim countries are complicit with Israel and the US in keeping the Palestinians unarmed.

The unsupported assertion that Iran supplies sophisticated arms to the Palestinians is like the unsupported assertion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. These assertions are propagandistic justifications for killing Arab civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure in order to secure US and Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.


Fish in a barrel


gazaWith the approximately 1.5 million residents of Gaza confined within a 139 square mile area the article entitled, Israel running out of aerial targets,  kind of makes sense.

Six days in, Israel’s massive bombardment of Gaza shows little sign of abating. Israeli warplanes have flown more than 500 sorties, killing over 400 Palestinians and wounding hundreds. Israeli bombs have rained down on Gaza’s 1.5 million people from air and sea.

But with fewer targets left to strike – yesterday Israel bombed a mosque, the education ministry, the transportation ministry as well as the parliament building – a ground invasion would now appear imminent.

The ground invasion will only serve to finish the targetted assassinations the IAF could not complete, a sort of bomb damage assessment operation. The Palestinians are surrounded on all sides; even the southern route is blocked by Egyptians, who it was reported, were eager to shoot at fleeing Palestinians.  What the Israelis are trying to do is provoke the Iranians and others, primarily Hezbollah, into a response which will allow them to widen their war with the help of the US, claiming a multi-war front, and settle old scores, and solidify political party alliances and seats. All spell misery for Palestinians while the world watches a repeat performance of 1939-1945.

My favorite politician, besides Jimmy Carter, Ralph Nader who has been around for ages has weighed in on what’s happening in Gaza with a strong letter to GW Bush. You can read it at Suzy Q’s blog.  Hat tip to ya’.  Let me say in closing Nader is scathing in calling Bush to task.

Confirmed visual reports show that Israeli warplanes and warships have destroyed or severely damaged police stations, homes, hospitals, pharmacies, mosques, fishing boats, and a range of public facilities providing electricity and other necessities.

Why should this trouble you at all? It violates international law, including the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter. You too have repeatedly violated international law and committed serious constitutional transgressions.

Ouch!

Obama under the Zionist lobby’s thumb


What’s going on?  First we have Martin Indyk who as far as we know has not been picked to be in an Obama administration making a statement that ‘ Israel can no longer expect “blank cheques” ‘ from America?!  On whose authority does a regular, or in Indyk’s case a highly irregular citizen of the US make such a statement?    Did he say that hoping to be appointed to something in Obama’s government, or was he merely testing the waters for his real bosses at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy to see how  such a statement would be received in America?

The real kicker is Obama’s pledge to attack Iran with nuclear weapons should it attack Israel first, that coming on the heels of pronouncements by the deputy director of national intelligence and chairman of the National Intelligence Council’s Thomas Fingar that Iran has not diverted low-enriched uranium produced at a facility at Natanz, 160 miles south of Tehran, to weapons use, and that Iran did suspend its nuclear program back in 2003 at a time when that country was making peace overtures to the US.  So why does Obama want to pick a fight with Iran now and make the most war mongering Administration in American history seem like a peaceful one?  Perhaps politicians can’t accept the premise Iranians aren’t making nuclear weapons because its unfathomable a country could keep its promise all the while US lawmakers continue to lie about Iranian intentions?

The morning after


George Washigton’s blog has a very good synopsis of what it is Obama’s administration should do.  I like his ‘to-do’ list.  My three favorites are:

They have no excuse to delay war crimes charges against Bush, Cheney and company for Iraq.

They have no excuse to delay war crimes charges for torture.

They have no excuse to delay criminal charges for spying on Americans.

I would like to add to the list my favorite wish, close down Gitmo Bay and allow everyone there habeus corpus.  The Democratic Party has been far too timid in asserting itself in the interests of the American people.  I never really understood their reasons for that attitude, but now that they are in full control of the legislative branch of government they really have no excuse for not being aggressive.  A great crime has been committed against the people of the US by the Bush Administration.  As Bush was so often quoted saying, ‘the evil-doers must be brought to justice’ and it is up to the Democrats who have the power to do so.  Moreover they can certainly say that Tuesday’s election results and Obama’s wide margin of victory over McCain give them the mandate to do just that.   Let’s see if they are up to it.

John McCain winner of the 2008 presidential elections


Please vote for Barack Obama.  Vote for Barack Obama, please.  I sincerely hope Obama wins the elections this coming Tuesday and I urge all who are reading this to vote for the man. He is a better candidate and person than John McCain, but despite all I’ve said, I don ‘t think he will win.  There are three main reasons why I believe this.

Our Country been betrayed by three; the government we elect to represent us and pave the way for the preservation of our freedoms and the fulfillment of our potential as a society, an obsequious press which has spouted every lie mouthed, and a candidate himself who has allowed and exploited political expediency over principle in this campaign.

September 11, 2001 was an awful day in the history of the country. It rocked the very foundation of the nation and allowed politicians and those who served with them an opportunity to expand government in ways not attempted since the Civil War.  From September 12, 2001 until today,  Americans have been fed a steady diet of hate and fear which has been difficult to remove from our collective consciousness and which politicians and members of the press have used to advance separate agendas which have had ramifications for this present election.

Our government failed us, using the fear generated by the terror attacks of 911 to turn American citizen against another, in its quest to expand government, open new lands for military conquest and limit the rights and freedoms it knew would get in the way of government tyranny.   Increased surveillance, forced renditions of people with strange names or faiths, denial of people to due process and the coercion of other institutions to achieve these goals, notably telecommunications companies, were all a part of government’s utilization of 911’s terror.  People of faith trusted their government and believed what they were told and re-elected that government a second time, while sending an “opposition” party to power in the alternative branch of government, the legislative,  to pick up where and perhaps enhance what the executive failed to do or could not do.  Unfortunately that branch of government too failed us becoming a rubber stamp for a government out of control, echoing the “lie” that would lead to such horrible acts of legislation as the Patriot and the Military Commissions Acts , passed, ratified and in some cases passed or extended a second time. We believed what was being told to us even though those that told us knew they were lying and those that reported what we were told didn’t care they were passing along the lie.  The press confused corporate responsibility with corporate profit, making yellow journalism the order of the day, using it to pit us against one another, and boosting a poorly run and essentially racist campaign to legitimacy.

But unfortunately, Barack Obama shares some blame in this debacle.  He in the minds of some, and me didn’t really do a good enough job distinguishing himself from his opponent.  Sure, there is the obvious  which makes this an historic race of enormous proportions, but Mr. Obama fell prey to political expediency, the order of the day with politicians, which basically says don’t take a stand, always fall in-between, be middle of the road, let the absence of your actions make you a winner.  In doing so he allowed a significant portion of the population to be smeared, i.e. Muslims and Arabs, he did not clearly delineate his policies from those of his opponent and in the process showed an absence of character.  It is not enough to reduce campaigns to simple sound bites and one word slogans that are different from those of your opponent; leaders lead not imitate, and above all they challenge and inspire not duck and dodge.  People intuitively are able to sense the absence of leadership despite all the faux pas trappings surrounding it, and this may account for the close poll numbers in the final days.

Simply put we are not ready nor are our leaders for what it is Mr. Obama wants.  We have been traumatized by foreign and domestic enemies who have sapped our will and spirit in ways that heretofore were unimaginable.  We, in time, will recover but time will be the medicine that heals our wounds, not phony profiteering and slogans.  For now, and for reasons mentioned above, our destiny appears to be that of continuity, doing what we have been accustomed to these last 8 years and regrettably that’s more of the same, status quo….not change.  I wish it weren’t so but that’s how I see it from where I stand.  Meanwhile, please go vote Obama and let’s hope I’m wrong.

Colin Powell-In Your Face!


I  really was not that much of a fan of Colin Powell, but I might change my mind after his blistering endorsement of Obama where he scorched today’s  REPUBLICAN PARTY, taking no prisoners.  He said what Obama should have said, and what I have been hollering for him to say ever since the RACIST RIGHT has made being a Muslim an issue.  In case you missed it, this is what Powell said:

I wish more people would stand up to this right wing cabal that has played every racist card in their deck to keep Americans off balance and in the dark while they rob the country blind of its money and its wealth of freedom and liberty.  I hope Powell’s declaration in support of Obama will start a trend long missing in the political arena where people are confronted when they make racist, insane accusations against other Americans because of their dislike or hatred of them.  It’s clear we still have a tendency to do that here and not talking about it has only made it worse in the last eight years.  Powell said some things that needed to be said and I take my hat off to him.  Finally, some one with balls!  In fact, in my opinion, more balls than the man he’s endorsing, but at this stage in his life, Powell has nothing to lose and such a proclamation is appropriate for him to make.  Surely he’ll receive a lot of political fall out for it, but why should he or any of us care?  There’s more at stake than the professional career of someone who’s on the downswing of that career.  Powell’s imagery made us all confront our prejudices, that though we may have, should never get in the way of our rights and freedoms as citizens of this great country.  Oh, and it’s more than appropriate to show you the mother  who made Colin Powell proud to be American….and me too.

Trying to keep score


This last week has been really fun to watch with so much going on.  I’m sure other bloggers have written about the shenanigans but here are my two cents concerning the political fiasco call the presidential campaign. The McCain campaign tried to capitalize on “Joe the Plumber” until it was learned he was closely related to the Keating scandal which McCain played a major role.

Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.

Opps! You have to ask yourself what was the Obama campain thinking when they let their candidate get sandbagged by an obvious political hack.  Why was Obama walking through this guy’s neighborhood?  Dumb and dumber, I suppose.

William Buckley’s son Chris has come out endorsing Obama and has had to quit his post as a contributing writer on the National Review as a result.  Conservatives, or rather the truest party loyalists among them, those I consider brain dead and members of THE REPUBLICAN PARTY can’t stand the idea that a born and raised conservative doesn’t see anything conservative about their present party.  They forget, those on the National Review, how their publication’s founder distanced himself from Bush and his foray into Iraq, pretty much declaring himself a heretic from his own magazine and the modern day conservative right neocon cabal.

“With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn’t the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago. If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war.”

The conservative right has also distanced itself from Palin’s choice as the vice presidential nominee.

But we have seen Mrs. Palin on the national stage for seven weeks now, and there is little sign that she has the tools, the equipment, the knowledge or the philosophical grounding one hopes for, and expects, in a holder of high office. She is a person of great ambition, but the question remains: What is the purpose of the ambition? She wants to rise, but what for?

*snip*

In the end the Palin candidacy is a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country. And yes, it is a mark against John McCain, against his judgment and idealism.

You betcha’!

No comment


What’s with Republicans?


They put Sarah Palin on the ticket in order for her to attack Barak Obama and play the damsel in distress when she is attacked, even though her attacks against Obama don’t even come close to her own issues of associating with terrorists or terrorist minded individuals and organizations!

“My government is my worst enemy. I’m going to fight them with any means at hand.”

This was former revolutionary terrorist Bill Ayers back in his old Weather Underground days, right? Imagine what Sarah Palin is going to do with this incendiary quote as she tears into Barack Obama this week.

Only one problem. The quote is from Joe Vogler, the raging anti-American who founded the Alaska Independence Party. Inconveniently for Palin, that’s the very same secessionist party that her husband, Todd, belonged to for seven years and that she sent a shout-out to as Alaska governor earlier this year. (“Keep up the good work,” Palin told AIP members. “And God bless you.”)

AIP chairwoman Lynette Clark told me recently that Sarah Palin is her kind of gal. “She’s Alaskan to the bone … she sounds just like Joe Vogler.”

You can find out more about this “Party” that until recently Sarah Palin’s husband used to belong to here.  One can see all too quickly why the Pallin’s must distance themselves from this group as they’ve distanced themselves from her, choosing to endorse the Constitutional Party’s presidential candidate over Sarah Pallin’s.

What is shameful in all this is the mock outrage the McCain/Pallin ticket expresses when they meet people who, having listened to the campaign rhetoric express themselves in ways the candidates really want them to!

John McCain was booed by his own supporters during a rally on Friday after he described Barack Obama as a “decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.”

McCain was responding to a town hall attendee who claimed he was concerned about raising a child under a president who “cohorts with domestic terrorists such as [Bill] Ayers.” Despite the fact that McCain and his campaign have repeatedly used Ayers to hammer Obama in recent days, the Arizona Senator tried to calm the man.

“[Senator Obama] is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared about as President of the United States,” he said, before adding: “If I didn’t think I would be one heck of a better president I wouldn’t be running.”

The crowd groaned with disapproval.

Later, McCain was again pressed about Obama’s “other-ness” and again he refused to play ball. “I don’t trust Obama,” a woman said. “I have read about him. He’s an Arab.”

“No, ma’am,” McCain said several times, shaking his head in disagreement. “He’s a decent, family man, [a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

Yeah, lady, there’s definitely something wrong with being an Arab….plausible deniability is the intended meaning of this dog and pony show.  The McCain campaign has done a pretty good of planting all the seeds of hatred and distrust towards Obama among the American citizens and it wants the fruits of those efforts to be that people forget the financial “crisis” America finds itself in, some saying it’s the largest economic crisis the country has faced since the Great Depression.

America’s mortgage crisis has spiralled into “the largest financial shock since the Great Depression” and there is now a one-in-four chance of a full-blown global recession over the next 12 months, the International Monetary Fund warned today.

The US is already sliding into what the IMF predicts will be a “mild recession” but there is mounting pessimism about the ability of the rest of the world to escape unscathed, the IMF said in its twice-yearly World Economic Outlook. Britain is particularly vulnerable, it warned, as it slashed its growth targets for both the US and the UK.

The report made it clear that there will be no early resolution to the global financial crisis.

The failed Iraq/Afghanistan war with a 12 billion per month price tag has also significantly contributed to this economic problem, and the WOT, which is being shown for the sham it really is each and every day it has an appearance before a government body NOT fully controlled by this Administration.

Today, for the first time, a federal court ordered the release into the United States of 17 innocent Uighur men who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay for nearly seven years. The men are refugees who would face persecution and imprisonment, if not death, if returned to their native China.

“In the history of our Republic, the military never imprisoned any man so harshly, and for so long, let alone men who are not the enemy. We have broken faith with the rule of law, and been untrue to the generosity of spirit that is our national character,” said Sabin Willett, Partner at Bingham McCutchen who argued the case for the detainees today.

“This is a historic day for the U.S. Finally, we are beginning the process of taking responsibility for our mistakes and fixing them,” said CCR Attorney Emi MacLean. “For years, the United States has begged other countries to clean up the mess we made in Guantánamo, but the hypocrisy of this appeal was evident abroad. Perhaps now other countries will be less reluctant to come to our aid.” MacLean continued, “Allowing these wrongfully detained men a fresh start would also provide the U.S. a fresh start — an opportunity to turn a page and finally take a position of leadership in closing Guantánamo.”

McCain, et.co want Americans to forget all this and instead concentrate on the spin they are putting to an Obama association that is tangential AT BEST, while being able to say they have had nothing to do with the conclusion. It should be painfully obvious to any and all that at staged public appearances this late into the campaign process, candidates are able to control who gets in and who says what.  Dirty and cheap politics have been a hallmark of the GOP the last several elections.  It’s sad it’s being bought, lock, stock and barrel, but should come as no surprise.

UPDATE

John McCain gets mugged very nicely by Juan Cole, who calls McCain out for using demagoguery and then withdrawing it.

John McCain quickly shed his last vestiges of decency when he allowed his campaign to try to smear Barack Obama for having been in the same room with Bill Ayers, who had been a Weatherman in the 1960s when Obama was a child. McCain knows very well that Obama is a centrist, not a radical, that Ayers had long since been rehabilitated and has ties to the Republican governor of South Carolina, and that Obama had very little to do with Ayers. The ‘terrorist’ charge is supposed to work subliminally, and to subconsciously suggest other smears.

However, I disagree with Professor Cole when he says the two messages of the McCain candidacy, the decent high road McCain versus the wallow in the mud McCain are conflicted.  To the contrary, I think McCain is trying to have his cake and eat it too.  He’s appealing to the wine and cheese crowd of the party with his attempts at calming the lynch mob out to get Obama, while inciting that very mob to action!  McCain has been on the receiving end of this lynch mob mentality during the primary of a few campaigns ago so he is a testament to its effectiveness. It’s a shameful display of hypocrisy.  I also like the fact that Cole says what Obama dare not say and it’s another reason why I’m not fully behind the man Barack Obama.  He should be man enough to speak for himself and not let others do the talking for him.

Mr. McCain, Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans are decent, family-oriented citizens. The only thing wrong with calling Obama by either of these modifiers is that it would be incorrect. He is not an Arab ethnically, but rather northern European and Luo (Nilotic). He is not a Muslim but a Christian.

McCain’s insinuation that “Arabs” (whether he and his friend actually meant “Muslims” or not) are not decent and not family-oriented and not citizens is obscene.

Perhaps Juan Cole is the one who should run for the presidency.

The Republican Party’s dirty tricks-at it again


What should you expect from the party of whiners and liars.  Let’s just go and put it on the record before it gets lost in the memory hole amidst all the shouting about Gwen Ifill’s book and the liberal media and minorities who can’t pay their mortages. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY is out distributing a flier intended to scare black voters in Philadelphia.

An anonymous flier circulating in African-American neighborhoods in North and West Philadelphia states that voters who are facing outstanding arrest warrants or who have unpaid traffic tickets may be arrested at the polls on Election Day.

The flier starts off by identifying its origins from an Obama supporter; the underlying assumption of the hit piece is that those who might support Obama in the targeted communities are criminals or on the run from the law.  You can read the flier here.

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison, who learned of the flier last week, said that the message is completely false.

Typical for the party of whiners and liars.

The Nation’s first black president disses the Nation’s aspiring black president


The Clintons wanted to be a political dynasty, much like the Bush family, but Obama got in their way and it has been a rocky road between the two camps ever since.

McCain and the Republican party have some serious problems when matched against a polished performer like Obama so big John along with his running mate, Sara,  have been running scared ever since the Republican National Convention and the hurricanes.  The party that has gone the world over fighting wars of aggression has dodged  behind natural emergencies like Ike and Gustav  and national ones, like the economy, when it comes time to face the American public. So what happens?  Bill Clinton comes to the rescue for the Republicans and bails John McCain out of a public relations problem had it been pursued by the media.  Of course the very fact that Bill was out and about trying to reassure people he wasn’t a party wrecker is a sure sign he sees himself in that role, as do most others.

So the nation’s first black and Jewish president has been a bit less than a rousing endorser of the nation’s second aspiring black president. It also doesn’t help that Clinton views his role as getting out the “cracker” vote for Obama.  Let me ask a simple question here.  Does the use of pejorative terms by someone help the candidate they support, especially in a racially charged campaign as this?  Not likely. So, eight more years of THE REPUBLICAN party, invasions of third world countries, or emerging economies and death and destruction.  Gee, thanks Bill!

A dire prediction


“In short and simple terms, we would be plunged into a depression that would make the Great Depression of the 1930s in which I spent my childhood look like boom times.

Industries would fail, banks would collapse, government revenues would dry up, universities would have to close, health care, even as limited as it now is for roughly 75 million Americans, would virtually cease. In short, something like [what] the South suffered at the end of the Civil War would plague the country.

Even at today’s price, as you know, 14 airlines have gone out of business while others are hovering on the brink of bankruptcy and most have curtailed service and laid off personnel. At double or triple today’s price, none could fly unless nationalized. A whole range of other industries would be quickly drawn into the quicksand. Ironically, war would push America into a form of socialist economy.”

So says William R. Polk, former professor of history at the University of Chicago and a member of the Policy Planning Council under President Kennedy, describing what a post war with Iran America would look like, and it doesn’t look good.  My question is why would American politicians risk this catastrophic landscape knowing that Iran poses no threat to America, or for that matter America’s ally Israel, and that the same deception techniques used to enlist America in an Iraqi war are being used against Iran.