What he said…


There’s no ambiguity here…the Israeli blockade and occupation of Gaza is illegal!

Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza “Freedom Flotilla” was flagrantly illegal. The flotilla, carefully searched for arms before disembarkation, enjoyed the right of free navigation in international waters, and Israel had no legal justification to interrupt its peaceful mission.

Flotilla passengers were entitled to defend themselves against Israel’s forcible boarding of the Mavi Marmara, whether or not Israeli commandos fired immediately on landing on the ship’s deck, as the passengers maintain. Dropping 100 armed soldiers on a ship from the sky is not a peaceful maneuver. Nor can Israeli armed commandos claim self-defense, any more than a purse snatcher facing a victim who elects to fight back. Hence, Israel is culpable for the killings that followed.

Israel has claimed that it is in “armed conflict” with the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip and that its actions on the high seas to enforce the blockade of the Gaza Strip are therefore permissible. That claim is wrong.

In fact, under customary international law that Israel accepts as binding, Israel continues to occupy the Gaza Strip, despite the withdrawal of its ground troops and settlers from that region in 2005. A territory is “occupied” when foreign forces exercise “effective control” over it, whether accomplished through the continuous presence of ground troops or not.

Israel patrols the territorial waters and airspace of the Gaza Strip, regulates Gaza’s land borders, restricts internal movements by excluding Gazans from a “buffer zone” that includes 46 percent of the strip’s agricultural land, and controls the Gaza Strip’s supplies of electricity, heating oil, and petrol. Together these factors amount to remote but “effective control.” Thus, the Gaza Strip remains occupied, as the United Nations, the U.S. government and the International Committee of the Red Cross have all recognized.

Israel has authority to halt arms imports into the Gaza Strip. But it also owes a general duty of protection to civilians under its control, and has specific duties to allow them access to adequate food and medical supplies, and to maintain public health standards – duties it has deliberately violated in imposing the siege on Gaza. Currently 77.2 percent of Gaza Palestinians either face or are vulnerable to hunger; of these, 65 percent are children younger than 18. According to UNICEF, 10 percent of Gaza children show signs of stunting, while the World Health Organization maintains that another 10 percent face chronic malnutrition.

Moreover, collective punishment is specifically barred under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that the objective of the blockade is to weaken the Gaza economy and undermine support for Hamas. That is a political, not a military, objective, and it is impermissible under international law to target innocent civilians to achieve nonmilitary goals.

Actions taken to enforce an illegal siege cannot themselves be legal. Israel’s blockade violates the human rights of Gaza Palestinians and must be brought to an end.

Israel’s attack on the “Freedom Flotilla” is the logical consequence of years of Israeli impunity from international law – abetted by the diplomatic cover provided it by our government. At some point, genuine friends of both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs must impress on Israel that its serial lawlessness is good for no one, multiplying resentment and pain, and pushing the prospects of regional peace into a more distant future.

America and the community of illegal nations


It’s a sad sight, but not entirely unexpected; America has become along with Israel, an international pariah, a violator of international law.  Like many, we hoped that with the advent of the Obama administration the Nation would take a sharp turn away from this inevitable conclusion began with the illegal invasion of a hapless Iraq and Afghanistan, but it doesn’t seem as if policy makers will allow that.  Instead what we’ve been given is a notice that Guantanamo Bay will remain open, American troops will remain in war torn areas that have nothing to do with our security, and America will side with a country that’s hell bent on going to war with anyone who dissents with its pogroms of death and destruction against ancient rivalries and foes.

Not even bothering to go the way of disagreeing with the Israeli illegal actions, America has blamed everyone but the Zionist state for the deaths of a number of people we don’t even know.  The unequivocal statement made by a US representative in the UN…….politicians are even too scared to utter the mild statements of UN representatives, was that America will side with her mentor right or wrong…or in this case whenever she’s wrong, and everyone else be damned.  Such a position is sure to get America in another war because her client/mentor state has nothing to lose and everything to gain by engaging in belligerent activity with the knowledge she has the endless resources of America upon which to rely.  Not that she NEEDS them, it’s just that Israel is smart enough not to waste its human resources when it can find others more willing to die for her.

And let’s be clear about something….everything that happened vis-a-vis the murder of untold numbers of unarmed people at the hands of the IDF, and they’re threatening to do it again and in more deadly fashion, is absolutely illegal under all laws, even those that Israel applies to itself, but denies to others.  The Gaza blockade that Israel says it graciously supplies to only 15% of the population is illegal; the maritime blockade whereby Israel denies access to Gaza ports even to Gazans, is illegal, say nothing of the fact that Israel doesn’t recognize Gazan sovereignty or the right to self-determination.  Above all that, the extent to which Israel denies others the right to offer even the most basic subsistence to the people is itself illegal, yet anyone who approaches any of these boundaries Israel has laid out for a nation of people other than itself is in violation of what law? Make no mistake about it and before history is re-written, the actions of the Israeli government within the last several months are homicidal and illegal and only America has been convinced as of this writing, to support fully and unconditionally the Israelis.  It is not fun to see a once great Nation become so easily enslaved into following a course of action that is antithetical to its foundation of law and order but it is not uncommon to see there are some within the Israeli body politic who want to see it this way.  Their lust for power blinds them to all but the absolute quest for raw power above all else, even the fate of their allies or themselves.

The Truth has been laid bare


It’s now painfully obvious why we went to war in Iraq. I agree with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern some of it was because of “oil”, “Israel” and “logistics”, which form the acronym, oil.  The “O” in that word really was the main reason, but on an even larger level there were more and other business interests to satisfy.  Basically however, a former US businessman then President sent Americans over to fight a war to increase his bottom line, his ledger, his accounts; war is profitable to the American economy and all that’s left to do is figure out how to get people to willing sacrifice their sons and daughters to fight such a war, even when there is no other reason to do so than the personal profitability of the commander in chief and his associates, and then execute that war, not towards a successful conclusion but for as long as it takes to get corporate America back in the black.  Now you know why no one wants to talk of withdrawal from Iraq or any other war zone, because such decisions are made when the markets and other economic indicators say it is time to do so and not one day before.

So while partisan politics takes potshots across the great political divide over the ever scandalous BP disaster, intimating that one side or the other is benefiting from the largest eco catastrophe in American history, let them not forget we fight wars where we kill people and get killed in order to revitalize our economy.  In essence we fight people who are defenseless; we kill people who mean us no harm, we destroy whole societies, many of them older than our own because we can and because it’s good for business.  It has nothing to do with defending the homeland, it has nothing to do with promoting democracy or even capitalism and it has nothing to do with helping the weak or the oppressed. The blood of your loved ones and the ones they kill increases the profit margins of the ones who send those very loved ones off to meaningless and perpetual war. How do you like that America?!

The Spread of Christianity Under Force of Arms


Hunting people for Christ has become a part time job in Afghanistan.  No doubt that is legal, whereas US soldiers are prohibited from proselytizing people, huntingk tracking down and killing adversaries  is something the US military is allowed to do.  No doubt it will be claimed that hunting them for Christ and then killing them after they have accepted Christ as their savior is far more humane than merely killing them before witnessing.

It is against military rules to proselytize — a regulation one of the soldiers filmed by the network readily acknowledged. “You cannot proselytize, but you can give gifts,” says the soldier. It is a crime in Afghanistan to attempt to convert anyone from Islam to any other religion. “I also want to praise God because my church collected some money to get Bibles for Afghanistan. They came and sent the money out.” The footage is said to be roughly a year old.

“The Special Forces guys, they hunt men. Basically, we do the same things as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the Kingdom. That’s what we do, that’s our business,” he says.

If you think this is just an isolated phenomenon, check out this article which mentions even more examples of US military personnel behaving in the most un-christian like way while claiming to be Christ’s representatives on earth.  Evangelical notions of behavior have infiltrated the US military and manifest themselves in ways that are threatening and intimidating to believers and non believers alike.  Most likely the response to group which barges into your house with  guns  in one hand and a book in the other most probably will be to do whatever the person says who has the gun, even if it means taking the book they’re “offering” you which might be against your religious beliefs.   Of course, the people who are making this offer know that,  which is why proselytizing is illegal, so skip the formalities and say you’re hunting down your enemy to kill them.  That excuse is much more convenient and easier to say without having to lie and getting caught in your lies.  US forces have even been known to use special equipment which helps them spot the prey they are hunting in order to hound them into hell; the irony of this all is it’s happening under the “Muslim” administration of Barack Obama which begs the questions, when will these same US military forces set their “sights” on him?

The Iran Yo-Yo


yo-yoWith the Republican party all used up, battered and bruised, with dwindling Tea Party numbers, the titular head of the party’s constant insertion of his foot in his own mouth, the Sanford scandal,  the neocons have abandoned ship and returned to their home the Democratic party where they first found a footing during the days of Henry Scoop Jackson and they’re agitating for war with Iran.  The Republicans served their purpose at the beginning of this millenium but after being turned down by voters in 2006 and 2008, the GOP is not the power base the neocons need for their wars of aggression and racism.  Obama’s administration will suit their purposes just fine and they’re firmly ensconced with the party of asses and plotting their war with Iran.

It has been fun to watch the sudden and quick implosion of the GOP, first with the McCain campaign which resembled the Bob Dole campaign of ’96,  and the soap operaesque Sarah Palin and her drama, both personally and politically, but not even right wing nut job radio can revive the party with Obama acting on all four cylinders and practically mimicking the GOP as it expands wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan while allocating tons of money for defense that  not even a Republican secretary of defense requests.

What this means is neocons feel emboldened to continue their psy-ops assault on Iran with nothing less than regime change in mind.  Acting on behalf of the Israelis who are the ones calling for a military attack on Iran, neocons have used every excuse in the book to whip up attack Iran fervor both inside the Obama administration and with the general public which will have to supply the manpower, much like it did for the Iraq invasion, to administer the coup de grace on any attack initiated by Israel.  This past weekend, vice president Joe Biden gave the nod, as far as he and his boss Obama are concerned, for the Israelis to go ahead with the attack.  Of course the tacit meaning is that the US will do any and everything to help Israel when the Iranians respond by attacking Israel.

The Iranians elections were the 911 moment for the neocons whose crescendo-ing rhetoric began even before the elections.  There’s a very good piece, False Sorrow for the People of Iran, which talks about the different devices used by the neocons to demonize, denigrate and de-emphasize the importance of the elections when they thought the winner would try to make peaceful overtures to the US.  It states in part

So the possibility of Iran’s president being a rational, moderate man determined to make détente with the United States frightened the War Party and the Israel lobby. Thus, a week before the elections, Iran’s president was demoted to a powerless man again! The neoconservatives, the War Party, and the Israel lobby all began emphasizing how it does not matter who Iran’s president is, since all the important decisions regarding foreign policy are made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

However, Iranian leaders have been making peace overtures to the US since almost the inception of their revolution, and certainly since the American hostages debacle when they colluded with the Reagan administration to release the hostages in exchange for weapons to fight the Iran-Iraq war.  Their last attempt was met with scorn and rejection by the Bush administration’s cabal of neocons who want only Israel as an ally among the nation states in the middle east. Maintaining this “special relationship” means Israel can help itself to American largess, building up and defending the country at the expense of US tax dollars, personnel and materiel.

Another attack point against Iran has been its nuclear energy program which some have said is a secret nuclear weapons program, without offering any proof of that assertion.  Of course the neocons are able to muddy the waters, confusing the public by putting the onus of Iran to prove a negative, i.e. prove they do not have a nuclear weapons program going on.  This so resembles the WMD nonsense of Iraq that it would be funny if it weren’t a matter of life and death for everyone.  All this talk of an Iranian  nuclear weapons program continues despite the National Intelligence Estimate of last year that said in effect the Iranians had halted their weapons program at about the same time they were making peaceful overtures to the US in 2003.  The rejection of those overtures was the neocons way of trying to back the Iranians into a corner to resume their program since they assumed, correctly, that any sovereign country would develop a means of defending itself decisively in the face of an hostile neighbor,  something which Iranians have certainly been accused of despite the absence of any evidence.  The kicker is however, that the Israelis don’t really consider the presence of Iranian nukes an existential threat as some in the neocon stable would have us believe.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said a few months ago in a series of closed discussions that in her opinion that Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel, Haaretz magazine reveals in an article on Livni to be published Friday.

Livni also criticized the exaggerated use that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on its most basic fears. Last week, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy said similar things about Iran.

Such sentiment is not acceptable to neocons because it would make Israel an equal partner, vis-a-vis the nuclear weapons front  with its Iranian  neighbors and superiority not equality is the only state of affairs the Israelis are willing to  accept in its relations with other countries in the region.  Despite the fact Iran has not developed its nuclear weapons program, the fact that it is enriching uranium is considered a threat, by neocons in the American government, to the existence of Israel even though the Israelis themselves don’t think so.  This is the danger of neoconservatism, which inflates dangers to the point of conflagrations that envelope the world community when they are absolutely needless and pointless.  It also underscores the danger such philosophy has to the well being of nation states and indeed the US itself, which has already been devastated by one needless war and appears to be on the edge of entering another because of the lies of its policy makers, the neocons.

Neo-Conservatives are bad for America


neocons+straussIt’s been extraordinary watching how neocons have made everything up, down, everything black, white and everything evil, good and back again.  In the process they have managed to weaken America, tarnish her image in the world community and imperil the world.  In my wildest of conspiratorial dreams, I surmise they are responsible for the election of Barack Obama in order to undo some of the damage they have done, but they have not kept themselves out of the policy making apparatus of government; they are rather firmly entrenched there and have installed gate keepers at every door of the branches of government.  Rahm Emmanuel in the executive, and policy wonks at State, two previously mentioned here on the pages of Miscellany101.  They are not working in the best interests of the US; American interests take a back seat to interests feuled by tribalism and history they want to rewrite in order settle old scores at the expense of an unconcerned and uninitiated American public.  Sure most of it is based on OIL, oil, Israel and logistics, but personal aggrandizement and wealth also play a part in their deception.

So while going through my daily reading I wandered on this article which reinforced these notions above.  What picqued my interest and aggravated my anger was the explicit statement that Saddam wanted the help of America and would have entered into a defense pact with the US in order to defend him against Iran.  That’s not altogether surprising since Saddam fought the Iranians before in the 80s for eight years, at no expense to US personnel or materiel.  Saddam wanted to talk to Bush about that and if he had been successful in pitching the idea all the American lives killed and money wasted at great expense to the country could have been avoided with an even better policy result!  But Bush was convinced to ignore Saddam’s overtures, no doubt with the blessings of the many neocons entrenched in his government who advised against such acceptance.  Instead these people using fascist tactics of deception and the increased powers of the state  got Bush to promote the lie of WMDS and consequently,  America has  installed  a pro-Iranian regime, and destabilized one of the largest Arab speaking countries of the region.  All this happened because neocons have been pitching the idea of regime change to Democrats and Republicans alike since the mid 90s.

They have managed to pitch war at the expense of peace before, when they similarly got Bush to ignore Iranian attempts at rapprochement with America in 2003.  Now a second US administration is being led by the nose with the help of a belligerent ally, Israel, that wants a war and ostensibly drag America into it, with a country that wants peace and is willing to  make major concessions towards that aim.  Such a war would not be in the interests of America and could prove to be more costly than even the Iraq debacle.  The authors of American government advised this country in its infancy from foreign entanglements and that advice still reverberates throughout time but there are few in government who are able to hear it because of the noise being made by neoconservatives and their spin doctors.  The fact that Obama has further embraced them, making government positions a revolving door for the enemies of America to spin, deceive and escalate and involve this country in military adventures means there isn’t much that has changed with his election.  It’s time for Americans to show neocons the door.

Reliving the sins of our (fore)fathers


gitmo detaineeSecurity subsists, too, in fidelity to freedom’s first principles. Chief among these are freedom from arbitrary and unlawful restraint and the personal liberty that is secured by adherence to separation of powers. . . .

The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system, they are reconciled within the framework of law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, part of that law.

So said the US Supreme Court in its decision, BOUMEDIENE ET AL. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES, ET AL. where it ruled the Military Commissions Act’s Section 7 was unconstitutional and that Lakhdar Boumediene had a right to a habeas corpus hearing to decide whether he should face charges the US military said he was guilty. Lakhdar Boumediene’s case is a shining example of what American forefathers went through in their escape from an imperial England which brought them to the shores of America. Fleeing repressive government which arbitrarily meted out justice without any regard for the rule of law, even though there was some semblance of British common law in the magna carta, America’s founders established the right to habeas corpus for its citizens, which in turn the Supreme Court expanded to those present day America swooped up in its farcical war on terror.

Boumediene was one such casualty. Working in Sarajevo, Bosnia he was accused by the US of plotting to commit acts of terror against the US embassy there and arrested by Bosnian authorities who using their own judicial means established there was no merit to the charge. However, after being released by Bosnian authorities he was re-arrested by American forces and rendered to Guantanamo Bay where he was held for 7.5 years, without access to a legal system. Kept in isolation and tortured his only request was to know why he was being held.  Finally when his case went before the Supreme Court it was ruled he had a right to  habeas corpus review, which in turn quickly adjudicated him  innocent, by a Bush appointee federal judge no less, of the charges levied against him by America just as he was in a Bosnian court.

What possessed America to hold him another 8 months after he was ordered release shows the contempt the Bush administration had for the very judicial process it abused in order to justify it’s WOT. One can only imagine how many others, similarly innocent languish in places like Gitmo Bay, Bagram, or any other base set up to house people deemed terrorist by an abusive and imperial executive out of control. Why this should even matter to the average American on the street is simple: the country has built up over a long history a very precise, intricate and detailed system of law to avoid the mistakes of the English who chased its downtrodden all over the world to deny them their rights and inevitably fight them when they asserted them. We should not and cannot sit by and watch them discarded by an abusive executive who decides unilaterally what laws it wants to abide by and which ones it doesn’t. The Supreme Court decision was clear in that regard.

The Framers’ inherent distrust of government power was the driving force behind the constitutional plan that allocated powers among three independent branches. This design serves not only to make Government accountable but also to secure individual liberty. . . .

Where a person is detained by executive order rather than, say, after being tried and convicted in a court, the need for collateral review is most pressing. . . . The habeas court must have sufficient authority to conduct a meaningful review of both the cause of detention and the Executive’s power to detain. . . .

We haven’t begun to address the issue of Boumediene’s treatment while in captivity in Gitmo Bay and his assertion that he was tortured. Indeed the biggest torture of all was his unlawful imprisonment and isolation from the legal redress he was found by US authorities to be clearly entitled too but which he was denied for so very long. The fact that his imprisonment could not stand judicial review from TWO separate courts continents removed from one another is why the will of a whimsical executive must be challenged by the judicial checks and balances embedded in our system of government. Check out Boumediene’s interview with ABC news below. This should be one more nail in the coffin for the indictment of any and all officials in the Bush administration for international war crimes.

An interesting aside to the talk about torture


Will Griggs who writes excellent pieces on is blog, Pro Libertate addresses frankly what it is people in the military are to do when confronted with commands from superiors that they commit illegal acts. Stopping along the way in his argument to point out that putting our soldiers in harms way is something they must expect when they enlist in the military, Griggs thinks there is no excuse for not releasing the photos.  He writes:

Yes, it’s entirely likely that releasing the photographs of torture and sexual assault — including homosexual rape and, God forgive us, the defilement of children — would lead to dangerous and potentially lethal complications for armed government employees who are killing people and destroying property in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, countries they invaded and continue to occupy by force.

If our rulers were genuinely concerned about danger to “our troops,” they would release the Abu Ghraib documents and bring the troops home. There — problem solved! Instead, they are illegally suppressing the photos and keeping the troops in the field — and now letting it be known that the U.S. military will remain mired in Mesopotamia (which is the more tractable of the two ongoing conflicts) for another decade or longer.

Well stated and let’s not forget several commanders of troops in war theaters have already averred that decisions regarding the “interrogation”, read torture, of detainees have put American personnel in danger with the indigenous societies they occupy, yet we hardly hear any objection to such tactics raised on those grounds.  What the release of those pictures would entail is the inescapable conclusion that US personnel must be prosecuted for war crimes, or at the very least criminal behavior, as it did in the case of several army personnel currently serving time for their part in actions caught on camera.

Griggs takes things a step further than any other writer I have read to date.  He chides and refutes the official reason for not releasing the photos, ‘the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy’ by saying, ‘the foreign policy referred to entails open-ended entanglements in the affairs of nearly every nation on earth, as well as plundering huge sums from taxpayers to sustain a grotesquely huge military establishment and bribe political elites abroad. That foreign policy cultivates misery and harvests war and terrorism.’  Griggs thinks, as do I, that there should be consequences for illegal activity and if releasing the photos causes some to fear those consequences, so be it.

Although I wish harm or death on no human being, it seems to me a good idea to adjust the current set of incentives in such a way that at least some American military personnel, as they deal with another gust of blowback, will have an overdue confrontation with their conscience and decide unilaterally to end their service of the world’s largest criminal enterprise, the government of the United State (spelling intentional).

Am I trying to incite desertion? Reducing the matter to terms simple enough for Sean Hannity to understand them — yes, I am, where desertion is the only way to avoid upholding an immoral, unsustainable policy and serving a depraved Regime. Desertion is a moral imperative when continued service implicates a soldier in crimes against God and mankind.

Perhaps that is one of the consequences the military establishment is trying to avoid, i.e. the moral awakening of its enlisted corps and their refusal to support goals that are anathema to American values. It’s a particularly sticky situation for politicians to espouse American values which include life, and liberty while asking people to risk their lives to curtail those very things either on a foreign and distant soil or on our own here in America. The turmoil caused by an awakening that such requests are inconsistent with all we’ve been taught is probably more traumatic than fighting the war itself. I have often wondered whether this conflict in the soul of the military is the reason for such a high incidence of suicide in the military; if that were the case, desertion would be a far better alternative.  Griggs makes a very powerful and strong case for members of the US military not remain within the military as long as it asks them to commit illegal and morally reprehensible acts against people under its authority. I fully concur.  Well done, Mr. Griggs!

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Close but no cigar


omar_bashirI’m still waiting for the indictment to come down against George W. Bush just as it did with Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. What Bashir was indicted for pales in comparison to the crimes committed by Bush under the full might and services of the US government and its military.  The only similarity between the two countries is that both of them have not signed  the International Criminal Court treaty and therefore refuse to recognize its jurisdiction; other than that Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, his rendition (read that kidnapping) of foreign and American citizens to prisons all over the world and their subsequent subjugation to torture and the over one million Iraqi and Afghani refugees brought about because of Bush’s madness, far exceed anything Bashir could ever do with his third world economy, military and infrastructure.

Sudan is the cause celebre of the rich and famous;  a bone tossed to them by policy makers who wanted to give influential people something to assuage their conscience.  It is a rallying point for people who are for change from heavy handed militarism and want to see the rule of law and diplomacy restored to the settling of conflicts.  I admire that spirit; it has been missing for far too long.  America has decided, lately, that the only way to settle conflict is through superior military might, and all other avenues aren’t worth discussing.  Some of us have grown tired of seeing the country through its weight around like a bull in a china shop, destroying everything it says it wants to save or rescue.  However, those who are for saving Darfur are themselves a pawn in the geopolitical game of oil and strategic alliances that have been going on for over 30 years in Sudan.  After settling a decades old conflict with the south, whose leaders are against the ICC arrest warrant for Bashir, Sudan was tagged with the bin laden fantasy, the chemical weapons falacy, oil and now the Darfurian fable with an Israeli interjection that’s sure to raise more than a few eyebrows about Israeli/zionist machinations in Sudan’s internal affairs.

Bush should also be indicted along with Bashir; and Bush’s trial should preceed Bashir’s, but the foundation for a Bush trial is already crumbling, with the news the Obama administration doesn’t want John Yoo prosecuted for his memos inciting the Bush administration to torture.  Such a position by Obama only makes me think that perhaps he will institute some form of torture during his term in office.  Change indeed…

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.


Israeli leaders love to lie!


olmert1You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin eyes

First there was this regarding white phosphorous in Gaza


The Israeli military has denied using white phosphorus during the assault on Gaza, but aid agencies say they have no doubt it has been used.

“It is an absolute certainty,” said Marc Garlasco, a senior military analyst at Human Rights Watch. He had seen Israeli artillery fire white phosphorus shells at Gaza City, Garlasco said.

Israel initially claimed that it was not using white phosphorus. It later explained that shells being loaded for a howitzer, identified from photographs as phosphorus rounds, were empty “quiet” shells used for target marking.

The M825A1 rounds, which are the kind identified as being fired by Israeli forces, are made primarily for use as a smokescreen in a way that limits their effect as an incendiary weapon, experts say.

Then came images like this

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and with them came this admission

After weeks of denying that it used white phosphorus in the heavily populated Gaza Strip, Israel finally admitted yesterday that the weapon was deployed in its offensive.

The army’s use of white phosphorus – which makes a distinctive shellburst of dozens of smoke trails – was reported first by The Times on January 5, when it was strenuously denied by the army. Now, in the face of mounting evidence and international outcry, Israel has been forced to backtrack on that initial denial. “Yes, phosphorus was used but not in any illegal manner,” Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times. “Some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is holding an investigation concerning one specific incident.”

Palmor can even lie and backtrack in the same sound bite and seem convincing to the uninitiated.  There will be no investigation of substance, of course, no charges will be forthcoming against ANYONE in the Israeli government, despite this because  such talk has been making the rounds since 2006 when Israel decimated Lebanon during its homicidal rampage in that country.

Imagine how hard I laughed when I read,

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Friday that he wept upon hearing a Palestinian father calling for help live on television after his children were killed during Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. “I cried when I saw this. Who didn’t? How could you not?,” Olmert told the Israeli newspaper Maariv in an interview..

because Israel has been dropping a new munition researched and developed in the US, called DIME, Dense Inert Metal Explosive, a  LCD (“low collateral damage”) weapon developed to  produce an unusually powerful blast within a relatively small area, spraying a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy (HMTA). Scientific studies have found that HMTA is chemically toxic, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA (genotoxic).  This produces the ultimate in collateral damage, altering the genetic makeup of people not initially killed in the blast and affecting generations of civilians.  Perhaps, what happened to the children of the Palestinian doctor Olmert supposedly wept for was merciful, they died quickly but Olmert would have you believe he was concerned for the children.  It’s the doctor who must worry for himself and any surviving members of his family for years to come.  So, to put it mildly, Olmert is full of it and this weeping business  is just another in a series of lies he/they made.  You can tell when they lie, because  their lips move.

The wars on drugs and terror converge


In an earlier post I mused,

I wonder whether Ecstasy is included in the “Western” drugs given to Afghans and whether trade between such traditional drugs from the west are bartered for the cash crop of Afghanistan, opium?

The more Americans go to Afghanistan to fight, the more we back on the “homeland” will have to deal with a drug problem both with those soldiers who are users as well as those who are dealers.  Perhaps the US government will attempt to profit from the Afghan misadventure and try to recoup some of the money lost on this losing effort by institutionalizing the harvesting, transporting and dispensing of drugs on the “homeland”.  Our neighbors to the north, Canada, already has to face an increasing “problem” with their forces and Afghan drugs.

There’s a “high probability” some Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan – one of the world’s biggest sources of illegal drugs – will get involved in the drug trade, a military police report warns.

“Access to illicit drugs in Afghanistan is routine,” reads the report obtained by the Star.

The present generation of America’s leaders are Vietnam era aged politicians and soldiers who should be able to remember the problems US forces had with drug use and trafficking during that war. As that war progressed and soldiers on the ground began to see and sense its futility, drugs were a means of escape as well as profit for some who served in the military.  In many ways, this war offers the same parallels.  An elusive enemy, mission creep, the inability of the government to define what is winning and when military personnel can return stateside, an even more hostile environment and forgetfulness by a nation tired of remote wars and the accompanying diminishing of enthusiasm for this latest one.  Unfortunately, Obama perhaps too young to remember these problems tends to be headed in the direction of catastrophe with his pronouncement that he will have a surge of US forces in Afghanistan.  The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The militarization of America


Bush has decided the only way to solve America’s problems is through military force.  I’m a proponent of an adequate defense, and I as an individual citizen, practice it regularly but not all problems are solved with force and certainly not with the American military.  I am glad to see there are others who feel the same way.

The California Highway Patrol in the High Desert and the Twentynine Palms Marine Base are receiving dozens of calls complaining about a controversial DUI checkpoint. Military Police joined the CHP for a recent checkpoint in Yucca Valley.

The Friday night checkpoint was in front of the Yucca Valley Home Depot on Highway 62. What has High Desert residents confused is that they are not used to military police so far from the Marine Base.

From the local radio to internet blogs, residents were concerned the Military Police presence violated federal law.

The original California Highway Patrol news release mentioned the military presence. One released shortly later doesn’t mention the military, arising community suspicion of a cover-up.

Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act more than a hundred years ago forbidding the military from enforcing civilian law such as traffic stops.

Marine Lt. Thomas Beck tells News Channel 3 the Military Police were not arresting people. They were just watching the checkpoint to see how they should do it on base.

“We were not actively participating in enforcing any laws. We were there to observe and observe only, ” said Lt. Beck.

The California Highway Patrol says they invited the Marines to tag along.

“We had the DUI checkpoint and invited the Marine Corps in a show of good relations between our two departments,” said CHP Officer Rob McLoud.

A recent KCDZ 107.7 FM broadcast out of Joshua Tree stated, “By law, to avoid entrapment, the CHP is requested to provide the location of the checkpoint to the media at least two hours prior. They did provide Z 107.7 with a phone number to call at 7 PM to get a location, but – defense lawyers take notice – no one ever answered the phone.”

Then there is this ominous headline.

US military mobilizes troops for inauguration

They will fly combat air patrols and man air defenses, organize large scale medical support, and help local law enforcement provide security in the capital, said General Gene Renuart, head of the US Northern Command.

“(It’s) not because we see a specific threat, but because for an event this visible, this important and this historic, we ought to be prepared to respond if something does happen,” he told reporters.

Renuart said some 7,500 active duty troops and 4,000 national guard troops will take part in the operations in support of the inauguration of the 44th US president on January 20.

Overall responsibility for security during the inauguration falls to the Secret Service.

Local and federal law enforcement agencies post 911 have huge, hefty budgets to increase security and allay citizen concerns and no doubt most have seen their local swat, set teams at work with dangerous criminals.  One of the biggest complaints I have about the post 911 attitude of people is that government is supposed to protect them in every nook and cranny and this notion is fostered by a government that wants people to rely on it.  Instead, government should disabuse people of this reliance and arm them with a more martial spirit whereby they are more self reliant and proactive about their and indeed the nation’s self defense.  I don’t think, however that will be as popular an idea with big government.