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Haiti: Still Starving 25 Days Later

February 6, 2010 Leave a comment

You can walk down many of the streets of Port-au-Prince and see absolutely no evidence that the world community has helped Haiti.

Twenty three days after the earthquake jolted Haiti and killed over 200,000 people, as many as a million people have still not received any international food assistance.

On February 4, the UN World Food Program reported they had given at least some food, mostly 55-pound bags of rice, to over a million people. The UN acknowledges that it still needs to reach another one million people. The 55 pounds of rice are expected to provide a two-week food ration for a family. Beans and cooking oil are scheduled to come later.

The Associated Press reported that people in Haiti at small protests were holding up banners reading “Help us, we’re starving.”

Over a million people are displaced. About 10,000 families are in tents, the rest are living under sheets, blankets and tarps.

One of the people living under a sheet is a brand new mother with her one day old baby. The New York Times reports that Rosalie Antoine, 33, and her one day old baby were living in a neighbor’s yard with puppies and chickens under a sheet in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.

Haiti and the United Nations estimate 250,000 children under the age of 7 are living in temporary housing. Most need vaccinations.

Flavia Cherry, of the Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action, this week witnessed a pregnant double amputee give birth on the ground in one of the tent camps without any medical assistance at all. “This poor mother had nothing, no milk, no clothing for the baby, nothing!”.

Even people who can afford to purchase food are having a difficult time. A 55-pound bag of rice costs 40 percent more today than it did before the earthquake. Dr. Louise Ivers, a Partners in Health physician in Port au Prince, reports a 25 kg (55 pounds) bag of rice that sold for $30 US dollars (1,207 Haitian Gourdes) before the quake now costs $42 US dollars (1,690 Haitian Gourdes).

The World Food Program reports prices are still rising and people outside the earthquake zone are having difficulty meeting their basic food needs.

Twenty-three days after the quake.

Source: The Huffington Post February 6, 2010
By Bill Quigley
Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights
Posted: February 4, 2010 05:57 PM
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Categories: Uncategorized

‘Memories that WE, our Culture, are not haunted with…’

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

At the campfire, before drifting off to sleep,
the young one looks up to the woman leaning over him,
and in a shaky voice, he tries to make sense of the day…

You see, soldiers had come, dispersed the family
and shot many of them dead right where they stood…

A grown man, the boy’s uncle, was shot through the heart,
and fell on him, covering him and sparing his life in the horrific event…

He had laid there silent for hours, without moving,
until it was all quiet, and the soldiers had all rode off…

“Grandma”, he whimpered, with a shaky voice…

“why did those strangers hurt my family?”

“I don’t know”, she said, staring into the fire…

“I did not know any of them…

Maybe you will find out why when you get older…”

And after a long time, with tears in ther eyes, she added:

“Maybe someday we will know why
they felt that they had to destroy us…”

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By Luc Majno

Categories: Uncategorized

Bite Club protest

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Jason Miller sent a message to the members of Bite Club of KC.

——————–
Subject:  Bite Club protest

I wanted to drop you a quick email to let you know that Bite Club will be protesting Steve’s Meat Market in Desoto on Saturday 2/6 at 2PM. They are at 32685 Lexington Ave in Desoto , KS 66018 . They are the morally stunted men who butchered our deer, to the tune of $19k in taxpayer dollars.

Want to help us call them out publicly for their cruelty and greed?

We will be protesting the deer butchering (I have plenty of signs about the deer, which I will bring) AND slaughtering animals for “meat” in general—Steve and his crew slaughter “farm” animals as well as wildlife.

We will also be memorializing UK activist Jill Phipps, who was killed by the “meat” industry while protesting against http://www.facebook.com/l/edba1;it–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_Phipps.

I need people to make signs that say:

“Jill Phipps did not die in vain!”

“Jill Phipps is a martyr!”

“Jill Phipps’ homicide proves that the “meat” industry murders!”

“Long live the memory of St. Jill!”

“Your meat has a face—And this is it!”

“Meet your meat!”

“What if this were your dog or cat?”

“Meat is murder!”

Please email or call me if you plan on protesting with us and email or call if you need a ride or directions!

Best,

Jason

913-742-1200
animaliberationist@gmail.com

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Dick Chardet eMag

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Dick Chardet <chardet@gmail.com> regularly sends out his nice short selection of relevant items. I receive it; and you can by writing to him. He is similar to Peter Myers, but different, too. Here is his recent collection, which includes Frame up of Aafia Siddiqui, demand of the Lobby to Obama: Bomb Iran or else; Israeli women sodiers are even more cruel than men.

UNDERNEATH

1 – How to Save the Obama Presidency : Bomb Iran – By Daniel Pipes

2 – Citizen’s Arrest of War Criminals Tony Blair and George W. Bush – By Prof. Anthony J. Hall

3 – “Shock, Horror, Drama” That You Won’t Read In The New York Times – By Yvonne Ridley 4 – The ‘Hole’ Truth : Defense says ‘Terror Mom’ did not Shoot at Soldiers – By BRUCE GOLDING

5 – US Frame-up of Aafia Siddiqui Begins to Unravel – Pakistani victim of rendition and torture – By Ali Ismail

6 – Muscling Latin America – By Greg Grandin

7 – U.S.: New Defence Strategy Envisions Multiple Conflicts – Matthew Berger

8 – Israeli Women Soldiers Break the Silence – By Ira Chernus

9 – The Power of Nightmares – The Shadows In The Cave (Video)

10 – 375 PALESTINIAN CHILDREN Jailed By Israeli Military Every Month – By Mel Frykberg

11 – 9/11, Deep Events, and the Curtailment of U.S. Freedoms – By Prof Peter Dale Scott

12 – Blair the British Neo-con – By Alan Hart

13 – ANCIENT SICILIAN STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE ——————————————————————————————In his brilliant book BEYOND CHUTZPAH (ON THE MISUSE OF ANTI-SEMITISM AND THE ABUSE OF HISTORY) Norman Finkelstein compares the fate of two Colorado University professors, found guilty of scholarly fraud and plagiarism to that of Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz and continues : “Yet although their scholarly malfeasances paled besides Dershowitz’s, he continues to go his merry way at Harvard. (……..) in addition to his academic derelictions documented in this book, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel has credibly accused Dershowitz of  making ”blatantly false and utterly preposterous” statements”. (preface II)   These statements were of course about ‘Israel’s in general superb human rights record ……………………………. ‘!!! —————————————————-

1 – How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran

Circumstances are propitious, and the American people would support it.

By Daniel Pipes

February 02, 2010 “National Review” — I do not customarily offer advice to a president whose election I opposed, whose goals I fear, and whose policies I work against. But here is an idea for Barack Obama to salvage his tottering administration by taking a step that protects the United States and its allies.

If Obama’s personality, identity, and celebrity captivated a majority of the American electorate in 2008, those qualities proved ruefully deficient for governing in 2009. He failed to deliver on employment and health care, he failed in foreign-policy forays small (e.g., landing the 2016 Olympics) and large (relations with China and Japan). His counterterrorism record barely passes the laugh test.

This poor performance has caused an unprecedented collapse in the polls and the loss of three major by-elections, culminating two weeks ago in an astonishing senatorial defeat in Massachusetts. Obama’s attempts to “reset” his presidency will likely fail if he focuses on economics, where he is just one of many players.

He needs a dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a light-weight, bumbling ideologue, preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations.

Such an opportunity does exist: Obama can give orders for the U.S. military to destroy Iran’s nuclear-weapon capacity.

Circumstances are propitious. First, U.S. intelligence agencies have reversed their preposterous 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the one that claimed with “high confidence” that Tehran had “halted its nuclear weapons program.” No one other than the Iranian rulers and their agents denies that the regime is rushing headlong to build a large nuclear arsenal.

Second, if the apocalyptic-minded leaders in Tehran get the Bomb, they render the Middle East yet more volatile and dangerous. They might deploy these weapons in the region, leading to massive death and destruction. Eventually, they could launch an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States, utterly devastating the country. By eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat, Obama protects the homeland and sends a message to American’s friends and enemies.

Third, polling shows longstanding American support for an attack on the Iranian nuclear infrastructure:

Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg, January 2006: 57 percent of Americans favor military intervention if Tehran pursues a program that could enable it to build nuclear arms.

Zogby International, October 2007: 52 percent of likely voters support a U.S. military strike to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon; 29 percent oppose such a step.

McLaughlin & Associates, May 2009: When asked whether they would support “using the [U.S.] military to attack and destroy the facilities in Iran which are necessary to produce a nuclear weapon,” 58 percent of 600 likely voters supported the use of force and 30 percent opposed it.

Fox News, September 2009: When asked “Do you support or oppose the United States taking military action to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons?” 61 percent of 900 registered voters supported military action and 28 opposed it.

Pew Research Center, October 2009: When asked which is more important, “to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action,” or “to avoid a military conflict with Iran, even if it means they may develop nuclear weapons,” 61 percent of 1,500 respondents favored the first reply and 24 percent the second.

Not only does a strong majority — 57, 52, 58, 61, and 61 percent in these five polls — already favor using force, but after a strike Americans will presumably rally around the flag, sending that number much higher.

Fourth, if the U.S.limited its strike to taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities and did not attempt any regime change, it would require few “boots on the ground” and entail relatively few casualties, making an attack more politically palatable.

Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene. It would sideline health care, prompt Republicans to work with Democrats, and make the netroots squeal, independents reconsider, and conservatives swoon.

But the chance to do good and do well is fleeting. As the Iranians improve their defenses and approach weaponization, the window of opportunity is closing. The time to act is now, or, on Obama’s watch, the world will soon become a much more dangerous place.

Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2010 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

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2 – Citizen’s Arrest of War Criminals Tony Blair and George W. Bush

By Prof. Anthony J. Hall

February 02, 2010 “Global Research” —  Professor Boyle’s intervention with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute the Bush War Cabinet for international crimes is welcome news. Professor Boyle’s meticulously documented charges come shortly after news of a reward being set up in Great Britain for those who attempt citizens’ arrests of crebibly accused war criminal, Tony Blair.

http://www.arrestblair.org/

All over the world, citizens are mobilizing to take action to demand accountability from those who have been committing with impunity the highest order of international crime. About a year ago I joined this global movement. At an invited presentation hosted by the Sociology Department at the University of Winnipeg in March of 2009, I proposed that George W. Bush should be arrested during his forthcoming speaking engagement in Calgary Alberta. I began the paper by criticizing the ICC for focusing all its attention on prosecuting African war lords while ignoring the blatent criminality being displayed at the highest levels of the feeding chain of military, political and economic power. The presentation went more of less viral on the Internet.

http://www.voltairenet.org/article159233.html#article159233

Professor Boyle’s intervention significantly increases the pressure that some of us have being trying to place on the ICC to enforce international criminal law against credibly accused war criminals in not only in Africa, but also in North America, Europe and Israel.

When I first presented these ideas at the University of Winnipeg, my host, Professor Heidi Rimke, and I were confronted by an organized group who surrounded us after my presentation and tried to associate my words with Nazi symbols. This surprising tactic spoke to me of the desperation and intellectual bankruptcy of the lobby seeking to prevent a real discussion of these vital matters strictly on their merits. Fortunately, there was a fairly strong reaction in Winnipeg and beyond that drew attention to the inappropriateness, to say the least, of such tactics to divert attention away from the need to address the culture of impunity that is permitting state-sponsored terror to proliferate in the name of the fraudulent Global War on Terror. As Professor Boyle indicates, this pattern of war crimes at the top is continuing and even accelerating during the presidency of Barack Obama.

http://www.911blogger.com/node/19897
http://uniter.ca/view/discuss/734/

As important as it is to show support for US and British-based initiatives to enforce the rule of law on the highest order of criminality, I humbly suggest that Canadians might want to get involved in similar initiatives unfolding in Canada. When George W. Bush came to Calgary, law enforcement officials ignored my efforts along with those of Lawyers Against War to provide them with evidence that the former US president had violated international law as well as the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

When it became apparent that police would not adhere to the Nuremberg Principles by arresting Bush, my friend and colleague, Splitting The Sky, attempted a citizen’s arrest.

An Attica Brother and Mohawk activist, Splitting The Sky had come to Calgary carrying a letter from his lawyer, the former US Attorney-General Ramsay Clark, outlining the case why the former US president should be arrested. We held a press conference the day before Bush’s visit to inform the media of the existence of that letter.

Instead of arresting Bush the police arrested Splitting The Sky. The authorities jailed him and and charged the Mohawk activist with obstructing justice. STS’s trial is scheduled to take place in Calgary Alberta in early March of 2010, which as I write these words is only about five weeks away. The local media, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has covered up the arrest and the circumstances behind it right up to this day. I lodged a formal complaint with the Ombudsman of the CBC, Vince Carlin, complaining about the public broadcaster’s biased and unprofessional coverage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62a53enMtA0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIj9wGZyWM8
http://www.splittingthesky.net/
http://www.warcriminalsout.com/prof_hall_letter_to_cbc_ombudsman.html

Since the arrest of STS former US Congresswoman, Green Party presidential candidate and international anti-war activist, Cynthia McKinney, has been outspoken in calling attention to the importance of the STS-Bush case. Last November, for instance, Ms. McKinney addressed an international conference entitled “Criminalizing War” at Kuala Lumpur. Standing on the podium beside British MP, George Galloway, Ms. McKinney drew attention to the Canadian proceedings that she placed in the context of the history of COINTELPRO dirty tricks aimed at destroying the American Indian Movement

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/47554

I have continued the agenda that Splitting The Sky and I started after he telephoned me about one year ago to inform me that George W.Bush was coming to Calgary in his first public speaking engagement following his presidency.

http://blip.tv/file/3015093
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16377

Along with Splitting The Sky, I attended the Bush-Clinton speaking event in Toronto. I wrote about that episode in a widely disseminated article that appeared on many web sites, including that of Paul S. Graham of the Winnipeg Peace Alliance.

http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/paul-s-graham/10d849dd7b02445aaec5a…

Unlike the United States, Canada is a member of the International Criminal Court. If the government of Canada truly respected the jurisdiction and mission of this new and still untested court, it would have made sure that credibly accused war criminals George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and other members of the Bush War Cabinet were arrested when they have touched down on Canadian soil during previous months. But given the present composition of the Canadian government, there is no chance that it will respect international criminal laws that some of its own members, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, could and should be accused of violating.

Moreover all of those police officers who failed to arrest George Bush when they were presented with the possibility of doing so became complicit in violations of international law, including the Nuremberg Principles. Following orders does not provide a legitimate defense for officials who fail to uphold the rule of law when it comes to the responsibility of dealing with the highest order of international crime. Again and again we see evidence that the rule of law does not apply to those at the top of military, corporate, political and financial chains of command. Under these circumstances the idea that we live in societies governed by the rule of law has become a sad hoax.

The severity of the dangers that surround us as the 9/11 Wars continue kill and maim millions and on the frontiers of empire and to subvert our governments and societies here in the imperial heartlands of North America, Europe, Japan and Australasia has been well explained by Professor Boyle as well as by Canadian professors Peter Dale Scott, John McMurtry, Graeme MacQueen, Michael Keefer, and Michel Chossudovsky among others. Yesterday Professor Scott’s most recent observations on the lawlessness that permeates the highest levels of our governments was published at

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17300

Founder of the Peace Studies Centre and the Peace Studies program at McMaster University, Professor MacQueen, has added his voice to the mix. He has emphasized the importance for the peace movement of understanding “fraudulent trigger incidents.” Prof. MacQueen argues that key elements of the peace movement have gone astray. He accuses some of his fellow activists of refusing to research the case being developed of one of the world’s most vital and determined movements of civil society and falling back on uncritical acceptance of what he calls the “government explanation” of the 9/11 Wars. See

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUISz8Uwh6A
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY9IlDDpvzc
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Bte5ULPD8
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCzHeCCDp74&feature=related

Anthony J. Hall is Professor of Globalization Studies at University of Lethbridge

© Copyright Anthony J. Hall, Global Research, 2010

—————————————————————————————————————

3 – “Shock, Horror, Drama” That You Won’t Read In The New York Times

By Yvonne Ridley in New York

February 02, 2010 “Information Clearing House” — Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a bright, intelligent woman who has been through hell having being kidnapped, tortured in secret prisons, gunned down by US soldiers and renditioned to America where she is now facing attempted murder charges against those who shot her .

Only in the cock-eyed crosshairs of George W Bush’s War on Terror could this happen and I hope to God that the jurors who will go through the evidence during the next few hours, if not days, see through this rotten legacy and recognise the case for what it is … a tissue of lies enveloped in a web of deceit.

The last seven years of Dr Aafia’s life could have been penned by a Hollywood scriptwriter, but instead all the folk from Tinsel Town could come up with was the rather tame blockbuster movie Rendition starring Reese Witherspoon.

But several days ago those of us following the case closely were given a glimpse into the dark, mysterious world in which Dr Aafia has been forced to live since 2003.

And more importantly the details were relayed in a hushed court not by any lawyer, but by the only person qualified to talk with any authority about dark prisons, interrogations and abuse – the account relayed to the courtroom in Manhattan, New York came from the mouth of Dr Aafia herself.

Running for more than two weeks there’s been little or no record in the Western media of this shocking case other than some of the most ill-informed, embarrassingly skewed reports which indicate the noble profession of journalism is still in a narcotic malaise in the Big Apple.

That the New York Times had to apologise to its readers on the front page for selling them short on the build up to and the unfolding war in Iraq, one would have thought would have had an impact on the quality of future output.

That the US press corps, with the exception of The Baltimore Sun, had to play catch up after ‘missing’ the Abu Ghraib scandal speaks volumes.

Sadly it seems that huge swathes of the US media have learned nothing.

Just a few days ago an embarrassing wealth of riches in terms of soundbites which would have had most journalists salivating like a Pavlov Dog came tumbling out in the lower Manhattan court.

But like a gaggle of bald men fighting over a comb, the scribes present in the main courtroom could only focus on one irrelevant detail … Dr Aafia Siddiqui had fired a pistol at a gun club. Excuse me? This is America … where half the adult population live in houses where guns are kept. Let’s keep it real – America has 80 million gun owners with a total of 258 million guns.

Possibly the most wronged woman in the entire War on Terror had just revealed how she was held in secret prisons, with no legal representation, cut off from the outside world since 2003 where brutal interrogation techniques were used to break her down. And, to make matters even worse when she was kidnapped from her home city in Karachi, Pakistan her three children were also snatched … the fact two of those children are American citizens held no sway with the majority of the assembled press corps. One wondered if their pants had caught fire if they would have even smelled the smoke.

And so what held the Western media attention? Well, it transpired that Dr Aafia may have taken a pistol shooting course as part of her curriculum in an American university. That’s a bit like an American tourist ordering fish and chips and a cup of tea on arrival in Britain. Hold the front page!

So for your benefit, let me tell you about the real “shock, horror, drama” that you won’t read in the New York Times or the rest of the corporate media.

After two weeks of being baited and defamed, in a calm, articulate and precise manner Dr Aafia Siddiqui finally had her day – and her say – in court.

It should have been a moment of schadenfreude for the prosecution team as they prepared to sit back and enjoy the spectacle of the defendant rant and rave like a mad woman when she decided on her right to take the stand.

Perhaps Judge Richard Berman, a modest little man with much to be modest about, must have thought his rather unremarkable legal career would finally make more than just the current footnote in Wikipedia.

Most of her own legal team watched mortified in the belief that their reluctant client (she had dismissed them publicly many times to no effect) might destroy the robust defence they had built over two weeks.

Even her brother Muhammad, who has sat in court everyday watching and listening to the proceedings told me he wondered if his little sister was making the right decision.

Given the chance, I think I would have also advised her against speaking.

Well thank goodness Dr Aafia ignored us all – within minutes of giving evidence the prosecution wanted to shut her up, Judge Berman looked like he was sucking on the bitterest of lemons and the rest of the courtroom sat back aghast.

The Pakistan media, despatched into one of the two overspill rooms frantically scribbled down their notes so as not to miss one single word and her supporters sat back aghast watching a breathtaking spectacle.

One of the few community leaders who has been outstandingly vocal in his support, El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan, probably expressed himself better than any of the nitwits sleeping on the press benches when he wrote: “She testified that after completing her doctorate studies she taught in a school, and that her interest was in cultivating the capabilities of dyslexic and other special needs children.

“During this line of questioning, the monstrous image that the government had carefully crafted (with considerable support from mainstream media) of this petite young woman, had begun to be deconstructed. The real Dr Aafia Siddiqui – the committed muslimah, the humanity-loving nurturer and educator, the gentle yet resolute mujahid for truth and justice – began to emerge with full force”.

As the evidence continued we learned that she didn’t know where her three children were – it was sensational content. She talked of her dread and fear of being handed back to the Americans when she was arrested in Ghazni and was held by police.

Terrified that yet another secret prison was waiting for her she revealed how she peaked through the curtain into the part of the room where Afghans and Americans were talking, and how when a startled American soldier noticed her, he jumped up and yelled that the prisoner was loose, and shot her in the stomach. She described how she was also shot in the side by a second person. She also described how after falling back onto the bed in the room, she was violently thrown to the floor and lost consciousness.

This ties in exactly with what I was told by the counter terrorism police chief I interviewed in Afghanistan back in the autumn of 2008 – I remember him laughing as he told me how the US soldiers panicked, shot and most of them ran out of the room in a panic. Hmm, no wonder the prosecution didn’t want him giving evidence in court.

Instead they chose to record his interview and voiced it over with a shoddy translator who has a long distance relationship with the Pashtu language … defence team take note. Demand a real Pashtu translation because what was given out in court was misleading and not the words of the actual words of police chief – don’t take my word for it … speak to someone whose first language is Pashtu. it’s hardly rocket science.

Of course there’s no way a bunch of soldiers are going to admit they lost it, but according to those I interviewed for my film In search of Prisoner 650 in Afghanistan that’s exactly what happened.

But let’s return to Aafia and the cross examination which followed. When questioned on whether she had ever done any work with chemicals, her response was, “only when required.”

As Mauri remarked: “This opening line of questioning was significant for its prejudice producing potential in the minds of jurors. While Aafia is not being charged with any terrorism conspiracy counts, the threat of terrorism has been the pink elephant in the room throughout this troubling case!”

The prosecutor attempted to draw a sinister correlation between Aafia and her now ex-husband being questioned by the FBI in 2002, and leaving the US a week later. Aafia noted that there wasn’t anything sinister about the timing; they had already planned to make that trip home before the FBI visit. To underscore this point, she noted how she later returned to the US to attempt to find work in her field.

Mauri said one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the cross-examination was when Dr Aafia described how she was briefly re-united with a young boy in Ghazni (July 2008) who could have been her oldest son. She spoke of how she was mentally in a daze at that time, and had not seen any of her children in five years. As a result she could not definitively (then or now) determine if that was indeed her son, Ahmed.

When asked whether she had incriminating documents in her possession on the day she was arrested, Aafia testified that the bag in her possession on the day that she was re-detained was given to her. She didn’t know what was in the bag, nor could she definitively determine if the handwriting on some of the documents was hers or not. She also mentioned on a number of occasions (to the chagrin of the prosecutor) how she was repeatedly tortured by her captors at Bagram.

But the killer blow was delivered when Dr Aafia mildly challenged the prosecutor in a calm, crystal clear voice that was heard throughout her testimony: “You can’t build a case on hate; you should build it on fact!”

There were other sensation moments and revealing testimony and if anyone thought that she hated Americans she removed that idea from their minds when she talked of the “fake Americans, not real Americans” who held and tortured her in the secret prisons. They were fake, she explained because real Americans would not behave in such a way to bring shame on their country.

We also discovered how she was instructed to translate and copy something from a book while she was secretly imprisoned. During the course of this testimony which repeatedly drew the ire of an increasingly frustrated prosecutor, Aafia noted how she can now understand how people can be framed (for crimes they are not guilty of).

It all got too much for Judge Berman who ordered a brief recess.

The plan to goad and incite Dr Aafia to perform some incomprehensible, demonic rant had back-fired.

When testimony resumed, we learned through the star witness how she was often forced-fed information from one group of persons at the secret prison, and then made to regurgitate the same information before a different group of inquisitors. While it was presented to her as a type of “game,” she revealed of how she would be “punished” if she got something wrong.

Now, more than ever, this trial should be brought to an end. And if Judge Berman wants to go down in history for punctuating his lack lustre career as a member of the judiciary for standing up in the cause of truth and justice now is the time to do it.

The truth will out and the US Government’s case has been exposed for what it is … a sham.

And it is a fitting tribute to the endurance of Dr Aafia, mother-of-three, that the sham has been exposed by her.

Let’s see justice being carried out in 500 Pearl Street in lower Manhattan tomorrow. Over to you, your Honour Judge Berman.

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4 – The ‘Hole’ Truth : Defense says ‘Terror Mom’ did not Shoot at Soldiers

By BRUCE GOLDING

February 01, 2010 “

New York Post” — Lawyers for accused “terror mom” Aafia Siddiqui pulled a classic “gotcha” during closing arguments today, producing video evidence that two purported bullet holes were present in a police station wall a day before she allegedly shot at Americans there.

“The government says you can’t press ‘pause’ in this case, but you can, because we have the video and we pressed ‘pause,'” lawyer Linda Moreno said as jurors looked at a still frame from a televised news conference after Siddiqui’s July 2008 arrest.

Two small holes that prosecution witnesses earlier said could have been gunshot damage from an assault rifle that Siddiqui allegedly fired were clearly visible in the background.

Moreno said the “non-existence of physical evidence” proved that Siddiqui never shot the weapon — which a Special Forces warrant officer set down on the floor — and that instead “she startled the soldier in front of her and got shot” after peeking around a curtain in the back.

“Who doesn’t believe that if Aafia Siddiqui picked up that weapon and fired into the room she wouldn’t have been shot dead?” Moreno said.

She also accused the prosecution of using “scare” tactics to try and convict the Siddiqui — who refused to attend the closings — by repeatedly focusing on hand-written plans for a “mass casualty” attack on New York City that were seized from the alleged al Qaeda associate after she was busted as a suspected suicide bomber.

Prosecutor David Rody countered that the terror plans showed Siddiqui’s “extreme desire to attack Americans” and said the absence of damage from the rounds she allegedly fired didn’t get the 37-year-old neuroscientist off the hook.

Rody said Siddiqui’s rounds could have struck furniture that was removed sometime after the incident and before an FBI investigator was able to inspect the scene six days later.

“Forensic science is an imperfect tool in this circumstance….You don’t have a good enough physical or photographic record of that room to know where the damage is,” Rody argued in Manhattan federal court.

He accused Afghan personnel of hiding two M-4 shell casings from the scene to cover up the “terribly embarrassing incident” in which they left Siddiqui free behind the curtain without telling the Americans who showed up to interrogate her.

Rody also compared Siddiqui’s “ridiculous, obvious lies” with the testimony of six prosecution eyewitnesses who said they saw her fire the rifle.

“Do you believe her when she lied to your face?” he asked, referring to Siddiqui’s claim that she didn’t take firearms training in college.’

He also downplayed differences in the various eyewitness accounts, saying “those inconsistencies are the hallmark of truth” and proved that they witnesses didn’t conspire to frame the defendant.

The jury is expected to get the case and start deliberations by the end of today.

Background on this case here

—————————————————————————————————————————– 5 – US Frame-up of Aafia Siddiqui Begins to Unravel

Pakistani victim of rendition and torture

By Ali Ismail

February 01, 2010 “WSWS” — Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui went on trial in a federal courtroom in New York City on January 19, charged with the attempted murder of US personnel in Afghanistan’s Ghazni Province in 2008. The case against Dr. Siddiqui, 37, is rapidly unraveling due to lack of evidence and discordant testimony from witnesses.

It is becoming increasingly evident that the charges amount to a frame-up that has been staged to cover up the fact that Siddiqui, along with her eldest son, had been held without charges in the US military’s notorious Bagram prison in Afghanistan between 2003 and 2008 where they were subjected to torture. Two of Dr. Siddiqui’s younger children are still missing.

According to the account given by US authorities, Aafia Siddiqui was taken into custody by Afghan security services in July of 2008 after they alleged having found a list of US targets for terrorist attacks as well as bomb-making instructions and assorted chemicals.

Despite these claims, Siddiqui is not charged with any terror-related offenses. Instead, she is indicted for allegedly having seized an automatic weapon and fired on her Afghan and American captors when a group of FBI agents and US Army officers arrived to collect her. The most serious charge against her is using a firearm in committing a felony, the gun in question being a US soldier’s rifle.

Siddiqui was shot twice in the stomach and barely survived after medics at Bagram air field had to make an incision from her breastbone to her bellybutton to remove the bullets. It was reported that part of her intestines had to be removed to save her life.

The accusations against Siddiqui strain credulity and have been fervently denied by her relatives, her defense attorneys, and human rights organizations, all of whom claim that she had been held in secret US detention facilities where she was physically and sexually abused ever since she disappeared off the streets of Karachi in the spring of 2003 with her three children, then seven, five, and six months old.

According to the German weekly, Der Spiegel, just a few days before she disappeared, Affia Siddiqui had contacted her former professor, Robert Sekuler, at Brandeis University in search of a job, complaining that there weren’t any job opportunities in Pakistan for a woman of her educational background.

Dr. Siddiqui is a Pakistani national who was educated at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University. In July of 2001, she and her husband at the time were scrutinized by the FBI for their alleged association with Islamic charities. Following the events of September 11, 2001 the couple returned to Pakistan at a time when hundreds of Pakistanis and other Muslims were rounded up for questioning across the US. The family resided in Karachi where Aafia Siddiqui was employed at Aga Khan University.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Aafia Siddiqui and her children were kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence agents on their way to the airport in Karachi. Their whereabouts remained unknown until Aafia Siddiqui and her eldest son, Ahmed, were reported detained in Afghanistan in July of 2008, several years after their disappearance. While the Pakistani Interior Ministry had initially confirmed that the abduction had taken place, it later claimed to have been mistaken and stated that Siddiqui was not in Pakistani custody. This about-face was an attempt to conceal the complicity of Pakistani intelligence services in the US government’s rendition of Siddiqui to Afghanistan and her subsequent ordeal.

Aafia Siddiqui’s sister, Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, had informed the press that she and her mother had journeyed to the US in 2003 to meet with FBI officials, who had claimed that Aafia Siddiqui would soon be released. In Pakistan, Siddiqui’s family was repeatedly harassed and received numerous death threats from sinister forces within the Pakistani ruling elite. The family was ordered not to make any public appeals in support of Aafia and her three children.

Between 2003 and 2008, when Siddiqui’s whereabouts were still unknown, the US claimed she was working on behalf of Al Qaeda. In May of 2004, she was listed by US officials as one of the seven “most wanted” Al Qaeda fugitives. The US has also spuriously claimed that she is married to Ammar al-Baluchi, who is reported to be the nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the so-called “mastermind” behind the 9/11 attacks. The claim that Siddiqui was married to al-Baluchi was based solely on coerced statements made by Mohammed, who has been repeatedly tortured.

The US military and the FBI have consistently denied that Siddiqui had been in US custody prior to her arrest in 2008. In reality, Aafia Siddiqui spent the years between 2003 and 2008 at the detention facility at Bagram air base, where many referred to her as the “Grey Lady of Bagram.”

Around the same time as her staged arrest, the British journalist, Yvonne Ridley, had been bringing attention to an unknown female detainee in Bagram prison who was known as Prisoner No. 650. In his book, “Enemy Combatant,” Moazzam Begg recalled hearing the woman’s piercing screams as she was being tortured while he was imprisoned in the same facility. According to Ridley, in 2005 male prisoners at the facility were so disturbed by her screams and sobs that they staged a hunger strike that lasted for six days.

When she was arrested in 2008, her then 11 year-old son Ahmed, a US citizen, was by her side. The traumatized boy has since been repatriated to Pakistan, where he is now living with his aunt, Dr. Fawzia Siddiqui. According to his aunt, Pakistani authorities have forbidden Ahmed from speaking to the news media.

Siddiqui’s appearance has changed markedly since 2002, according to her lawyers. She has suffered a broken nose, is deathly pale, and extremely frail, weighing about 100 pounds. When she arrived in the US, she was suffering from acute trauma, according to her lawyers who were outraged that she did not immediately receive the urgent medical attention. Siddiqui had been suffering from agonizing pain from the wounds she had sustained in Afghanistan and was slumped over in her wheelchair when she arrived in court in August of 2008.

Her trial was delayed as her lawyers argued that she was mentally unfit to participate in her own defense. However, prosecutors eventually found mental health experts to allege that she was faking her condition to escape punishment. Judge Richard Berman ruled that she was mentally fit for trial.

The paucity of media attention given to the trial is noteworthy, particularly given that Siddiqui was listed as a top Al Qaeda suspect. The tabloid press in New York City, where the proceedings have received limited attention, press has taken her guilt for granted, cynically dubbing her “Lady Al Qaeda.” The trial is being closely watched in Pakistan, where Siddiqui’s ordeal has outraged many and has sparked protests around the country.

From its beginning, the trial has been marked by questionable irregularities, and the judge has gone out of his way to accommodate the prosecutors. Not a single Pakistani journalist was granted press credentials for the opening statements last Tuesday. Defense attorneys protested the robust security measures put in place during the trial, which obviously reinforces the notion that Siddiqui poses a security threat to the US.

In a clear violation of her rights, Judge Berman has repeatedly thrown Siddiqui out of the courtroom for what he called her “outbursts”. The “outbursts,” were Siddiqui’s anguished claims of innocence and protests that she was tortured.

“Since I’ll never get a chance to speak,” she had told the court. “If you were in a secret prison, or your children were tortured…Give me a little credit, this is not a list of targets of New York. I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.”

The trial has also been marked by contradictory testimony from prosecution witnesses, which has undermined the case against Siddiqui.

On the third day of the trial, Assistant US Attorney Jenna Dabbs displayed several photographs of the room where the prosecution claims the shooting occurred. However, Carlo Rosatti, an FBI firearms expert who investigated the case, acknowledged last Friday that he had found “no shell casings, no bullets, no bullet fragments, no evidence the gun [the soldier’s M-4 rifle] was fired.” The only shell casing from the scene was from a 9-milllimeter pistol with which Siddiqui was shot. On the fourth day of the trial, another FBI agent testified that the FBI never found Aafia Siddiqui’s fingerprints on the M-4 rifle.

The warrant officer who shot Siddiqui also took the stand, recounting the version of events laid out by the prosecution. He claimed that on the day he and his colleagues went to collect Siddiqui, she suddenly got a hold of his rifle and aimed it at US personnel, at which point he opened fire with his 9-millimeter pistol.

When Siddiqui yelled out, “I never shot it,” she was tossed out of the courtroom for the remainder of the day.

The unnamed warrant officer, who had hobbled to the stand using a cane, was also permitted to recount how he was wounded in a recent and totally unrelated roadside bombing in Afghanistan, shedding tears as he did so. While having absolutely no relevance to the trial, the soldier’s wounds were invoked as part of a brazen attempt by prosecutors to sway the jury. Judge Berman’s allowing the testimony demonstrates the rigged character of the trial.

Sensing that Siddiqui was indeed emotionally unstable, prosecutors moved to force her to testify in the hopes that she would incriminate herself. Defense attorneys argued that she wasn’t mentally fit to take the stand. Once again, Judge Berman sided with the prosecution.

Berman warned Aafia Siddiqui that she is not permitted to speak about events prior to her arrest in July of 2008. Nevertheless, on Thursday Siddiqui repeatedly told the jury that she was held in secret prisons by US authorities, according to the Associated Press of Pakistan. She told the jury how she was shot just after she peeked through a curtain in search of an escape route. She added that it would be ludicrous to believe that a soldier would leave his gun where an allegedly dangerous suspect could get a hold of it.

“It’s too crazy,” she said. “It’s just ridiculous. I didn’t do that.”

When asked by a US Attorney about the contents of her purse which allegedly contained chemicals, bomb-making instructions, and a list of US targets, Siddiqui said, “I can’t testify to that, the bag was not mine, so I didn’t necessarily go through everything.” Siddiqui’s lawyers have claimed the bag and its contents were planted evidence. Her attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, said back in 2008 that Siddiqui had been carrying what amounted to “conveniently incriminating evidence.”

“Of course they found all this stuff on her. It was planted on her. She is the ultimate victim of the American dark side,” another one of her attorneys had told the Associated Press in 2008.

Siddiqui also told the jury that her children were constantly on her mind and that she was disoriented at the time of her arrest in 2008.

On Friday, the prosecution called Gary Woodworth of Braintree Rifle and Pistol Club in Massachusetts to testify. Woodworth claimed that Siddiqui had taken a 12-hour pistol course at some point in the early 1990s. The Associated Press of Pakistan reported that Woodworth was noticeably distressed when the defense team demanded to know how it was possible for him to recall a specific individual from two decades earlier, when he’d had hundreds of students. Woodworth admitted that he had no records or documentation to back up his assertions, insisting that he was good at remembering faces.

Also on Friday, FBI Special Agent Bruce Kamerman testified that Siddiqui grabbed the assault rifle in a fit of rage. However, he appeared to be flustered when one of Siddiqui’s attorneys produced his hand-written notes in which there was no mention of her grabbing the gun.

In spite of the obviously fabricated character of the prosecution’s case, there is no guarantee of an acquittal.

Even if she is found not guilty, the fate of Aafia’s Siddiqui’s other two children, Mariam and Suleman, remains unknown. Siddiqui recounts that, while she was held in solitary confinement for five years, she was endlessly forced to listen to recordings of her screaming, terrified children. Her baby, Suleman, she said, was taken away from her immediately, never to be seen again. She said her daughter Mariam was occasionally shown to her, but only as an obscure figure behind a sheet of opaque glass.

The horrifying case of Aafia Siddiqui and her three children is but one example of the criminal and inhuman practices of US imperialism and its ally, the Pakistani bourgeoisie. Hundreds if not thousands of Pakistanis have been kidnapped by Pakistani intelligence services and handed over to US personnel to be dispatched to Bagram, Guantanamo and other “black site” torture chambers around the globe. While the Pakistani government now claims to be doing everything in its power to bring Siddiqui back to Pakistan, its supposed efforts are little more than damage control. —————————————————————————————————————————– 6 – Muscling Latin America

By

Greg Grandin

This article appeared in the February 8, 2010 edition of The Nation.

In September Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, delivered on an electoral promise and refused to renew Washington’s decade-old, rent-free lease on an air base outside the Pacific coast town of Manta, which for the past ten years has served as the Pentagon’s main South American outpost. The eviction was a serious effort to fulfill the call of Ecuador’s new Constitution to promote “universal disarmament” and oppose the “imposition” of military bases of “some states in the territory of others.” It was also one of the most important victories for the global demilitarization movement, loosely organized around the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases, since protests forced the US Navy to withdraw from Vieques, Puerto Rico, in 2003. Correa, though, couldn’t resist an easy joke. “We’ll renew the lease,” he quipped, “if the US lets us set up a base in Miami.”

Funny. Then Washington answered with a show of force: take away one, we’ll grab seven. In late October the United States and Colombia signed an agreement granting the Pentagon use of seven military bases, along with an unlimited number of as yet unspecified “facilities and locations.” They add to Washington’s already considerable military presence in Colombia, as well as in Central America and the Caribbean.

Responding to criticism from South America on the Colombian deal, the White House insists it merely formalizes existing military cooperation between the two countries under Plan Colombia and will not increase the offensive capabilities of the US Southern Command (Southcom). The Pentagon says otherwise, writing in its 2009 budget request that it needed funds to upgrade one of the bases to conduct “full spectrum operations throughout South America” to counter, among other threats, “anti-U.S. governments” and to “expand expeditionary warfare capability.” That ominous language, since scrubbed from the budget document, might be a case of hyping the threat to justify spending during austere times. But the Obama administration’s decision to go forward with the bases does accelerate a dangerous trend in US hemispheric policy.

In recent years, Washington has experienced a fast erosion of its influence in South America, driven by the rise of Brazil, the region’s left turn, the growing influence of China and Venezuela’s use of oil revenue to promote a multipolar diplomacy. Broad social movements have challenged efforts by US- and Canadian-based companies to expand extractive industries like mining, biofuels, petroleum and logging. Last year in Peru, massive indigenous protests forced the repeal of laws aimed at opening large swaths of the Amazon to foreign timber, mining and oil corporations, and throughout the region similar activism continues to place Latin America in the vanguard of the anti-corporate and anti-militarist global democracy movement.

Such challenges to US authority have led the Council on Foreign Relations to pronounce the Monroe Doctrine “obsolete.” But that doctrine, which for nearly two centuries has been used to justify intervention from Patagonia to the Rio Grande, has not expired so much as slimmed down, with Barack Obama’s administration disappointing potential regional allies by continuing to promote a volatile mix of militarism and free-trade orthodoxy in a corridor running from Mexico to Colombia.

The anchor of this condensed Monroe Doctrine is Plan Colombia. Heading into the eleventh year of what was planned to phase out after five, Washington’s multibillion-dollar military aid package has failed to stem the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. More Andean coca was synthesized into cocaine in 2008 than in 1998, and the drug’s retail price is significantly lower today, adjusted for inflation, than it was a decade ago.

But Plan Colombia is not really about drugs; it is the Latin American edition of GCOIN, or Global Counterinsurgency, the current term used by strategists to downplay the religious and ideological associations of George W. Bush’s bungled “global war on terror” and focus on a more modest program of extending state rule over “lawless” or “ungoverned spaces,” in GCOIN parlance.

Starting around 2006, with the occupation of Iraq going badly, Plan Colombia became the counterinsurgent marquee, celebrated by strategists as a successful application of the “clear, hold and build” sequence favored by theorists like Gen. David Petraeus. Its lessons have been incorporated into the curriculums of many US military colleges and cited by the Joint Chiefs of Staff as a model for Afghanistan. Not only did the Colombian military, with support from Washington, weaken the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), Latin America’s oldest and strongest insurgency, but according to the Council on Foreign Relations, it secured a state presence in “many regions previously controlled by illegal armed groups, reestablishing elected governments, building and rebuilding public infrastructure, and affirming the rule of law.” Plan Colombia, in other words, offered not just a road map to success but success itself. “Colombia is what Iraq should eventually look like,” wrote Atlantic contributor Robert Kaplan, “in our best dreams.”

Traditionally in most counterinsurgencies, the “clear” stage entails a plausibly deniable reliance on death-squad terror–think Operation Phoenix in Vietnam or the Mano Blanca in El Salvador. The Bush administration was in office by the time Plan Colombia became fully operational, and according to the Washington Post‘s Scott Wilson, it condoned the activities of right-wing paramilitaries, loosely organized as the United Self-Defense Forces, or AUC in Spanish. “The argument at the time, always made privately,” Wilson writes, “was that the paramilitaries”–responsible for most of Colombia’s political murders–“provided the force that the army did not yet have.” This was followed by the “hold” phase, a massive paramilitary land grab. Fraud and force–“sell, or your widow will,” goes many an opening bid–combined with indiscriminate fumigation, which poisoned farmlands, to turn millions of peasants into refugees. Paramilitaries, along with their narcotraficante allies, now control about 10 million acres, roughly half of the country’s most fertile land.

After parts of the countryside had been pacified, it was time to “build” the state. Technically, the United States considers the AUC to be a terrorist organization, part of the narcoterrorist triptych, along with FARC and the narcos, that Southcom is pledged to fight. But Plan Colombia did not so much entail an assault on the paras–aside from the most recalcitrant and expendable–as create a venue through which, by defining public policy as perpetual war, they could become the state itself. Under the smokescreen of a government-brokered amnesty, condemned by national and international human rights groups for institutionalizing impunity, paras have taken control of hundreds of municipal governments, establishing what Colombian social scientist León Valencia calls “true local dictatorships,” consolidating their property seizures and deepening their ties to narcos, landed elites and politicians. The country’s sprawling intelligence apparatus is infiltrated by this death squad/narco combine, as is its judiciary and Congress, where more than forty deputies from the governing party are under investigation for ties to the AUC.

Plan Colombia, in other words, has financed the opposite of what is taking place in neighboring Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela, where progressive movements are fitfully trying to “refound” their societies along more inclusive lines. In place of the left’s “participatory democracy,” Colombian President Álvaro Uribe offers “democratic security,” a social compact whereby those who submit to the new order are promised safe, even yuppified cities and secure highways, while oppositional civil society suffers intimidation and murder. Colombia remains the hands-down worst repressor in Latin America. More than 500 trade unionists have been executed since Uribe took office. In recent years 195 teachers have been assassinated, and not one arrest has been made for the killings. And the military stands accused of murdering more than 2,000 civilians and then dressing their bodies in guerrilla uniforms in order to prove progress against the FARC.

It also seems that many right-wing warriors are not cut out for the quiet life offered by the Paz Uribista. The Bogotá-based think tank Nuevo Arco Iris reports mini civil wars breaking out among “heirs of the AUC” for control of local spoils. Yet Plan Colombia continues to be hailed. Flying home from a recent Bogotá-hosted GCOIN conference, the former head of Southcom wrote on his blog that Colombia is a “must see” tourist spot, having “come a long, long way in controlling a deep-seated insurgency just over two hours flight from Miami–and we could learn a great deal from their success.”

Seen in light of his escalation in Afghanistan, Obama’s support for the Colombian base deal endorses the kind of elastic threat assessment that has turned the “long war” against radical Islam into a wide war where ultimate victory will be a world absent of crime–“counterinsurgen-
cies without end,” as Andrew Bacevich recently put it.

Shortly after the fall of Baghdad, Washington tried to conscript all of Latin America in the fight. In October 2003 it pushed the Organization of American States to include corruption, undocumented migration, money laundering, natural and man-made disasters, AIDS, environmental degradation, poverty and computer hacking alongside terrorism and drugs as security threats. In 2004 an Army War College strategist proposed “exporting Plan Colombia” to all of Latin America, which Donald Rumsfeld tried to do later that year at a regional defense ministers meeting in Ecuador. He was rebuffed; countries like Chile and Brazil refuse to subordinate their militaries, as they did during the cold war, to US command.

So the United States retrenched, setting about to fight the wide war in a narrower place, creating a security corridor running from Colombia through Central America to Mexico. With a hodgepodge of treaties and projects, such as the International Law Enforcement Academy and the Merida Initiative, Obama is continuing the policies of his predecessors, spending millions to integrate the region’s military, policy, intelligence and even, through Patriot Act-like legislation, judicial systems. This is best thought of as an effort to enlarge the radius of Plan Colombia to create a unified, supra-national counterinsurgent infrastructure. Since there is “fusion” among Latin American terrorists and criminals, goes a typical argument in a recent issue of the Pentagon’s Joint Force Quarterly, “countering the threat will require fusion on our part.”

At the same time, schemes like the Mesoamerican Integration and Development Project are using World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank financing to synchronize the highway, communication and energy networks of Mexico, Central America and Colombia, blending the North American and Central American free-trade treaties and, eventually, the pending Colombian Free Trade Agreement into a seamless whole. Thomas Shannon, Bush’s top envoy to Latin America and Obama’s ambassador to Brazil, called these initiatives “armoring NAFTA.”

“Fusion” is a good word for this integration, since the melding of neoliberal economics and counterinsurgent diplomacy is explosive. One effect of Plan Colombia has been to diversify the violence and corruption endemic to the cocaine trade, with Central American and Mexican cartels and military factions taking over export of the drug to the United States. This cycle of violence is reinforced by the rapid spread of mining, hydroelectric, biofuel and petroleum operations, which wreak havoc on local ecosystems, poisoning land and water, and by the opening of national markets to US agroindustry, which destroys local economies. The ensuing displacement either creates the assorted criminal threats the wide war is waged to counter or provokes protest, which is dealt with by the avengers the wide war empowers.

Throughout Latin America, a new generation of community activists continues to advance the global democracy movement that was largely derailed in the United States by 9/11. They provide important leadership to US environmental, indigenous, religious and human rights organizations, working to develop a comprehensive and sustainable social-justice agenda. But in the Mexico-Colombia corridor, activists are confronting what might be called bio-paramilitarism, a revival of the old anticommunist death-squad/planter alliance, energized by the current intensification of extractive and agricultural industries. In Colombia, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities fighting paras who have seized land to cultivate African palm for ethanol production have been evicted by mercenaries and the military [see Teo Ballvé, “The Dark Side of Plan Colombia,” June 15, 2009]. From Panama to Mexico, rural protesters are likewise targeted. In the Salvadoran department of Cabañas, for instance, death squads have executed four leaders–three in December–who opposed the Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Company’s efforts to dig a gold mine in their community.

And in Honduras, human rights organizations say palm planters have recruited forty members of Colombia’s AUC as private security following the June overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya. That coup was at least partly driven by Zelaya’s alliance with liberation-theologian priests and other environmental activists protesting mining and biofuel-induced deforestation. Just a month before his overthrow, Zelaya–in response to an investigation that charged Goldcorp, another Vancouver-based company, with contaminating Honduras’s Siria Valley–introduced a law that would have required community approval before new mining concessions were granted; it also banned open-pit mines and the use of cyanide and mercury. That legislation died with his ouster. Zelaya also tried to break the dependent relationship whereby the region exports oil to US refineries only to buy back gasoline and diesel at monopolistic prices; he joined Petrocaribe–the alliance that provides cheap Venezuelan oil to member countries–and signed a competitive contract with Conoco Phillips. This move earned him the ire of Exxon and Chevron, which dominate Central America’s fuel market. Since the controversial November 29 presidential elections, Honduras has largely fallen off the media’s radar, even as the pace of repression has accelerated. Since the State Department’s recognition of that vote, about ten opposition leaders have been executed–roughly half of the number killed in the previous five months.

It didn’t have to be this way. Latin America does not present a serious military danger. No country is trying to acquire a nuclear weapon or cut off access to vital resources. Venezuela continues to sell oil to the United States. Obama is popular in Latin America, and most governments, including those on the left, would have welcomed a demilitarized diplomacy that downplays terrorism and prioritizes reducing poverty and inequality–exactly the kind of “new multilateralism” Obama called for in his presidential campaign.

Yet because Latin America presents no real threat, there is no incentive to confront entrenched interests that oppose a modernization of hemispheric relations. “Obama,” said a top-level Argentine diplomat despairingly, “has decided that Latin America isn’t worth it. He gave it to the right.”

The White House could have worked with the Organization of American States to restore democracy in Honduras. Instead, after months of mixed signals, Obama capitulated to Senate Republicans and endorsed a murderous regime. Washington could try to advance a new hemispheric economic policy, balancing Latin American calls for equity and development with corporate profits. But the Democratic Party remains Wall Street’s party, and shortly after taking office Obama abandoned his pledge to renegotiate NAFTA. With Washington’s blessing the IMF continues to push Latin American countries to liberalize their economies. In December Arturo Valenzuela, Obama’s assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, caused a scandal in Argentina when he urged the country to return to the investment climate of 1996–which would be something like Buenos Aires calling on the United States to reinflate the recent Greenspan bubble.

The Obama administration could reconsider Plan Colombia and the Pentagon’s base agreement. But that would mean rethinking a longer, multi-decade, bipartisan, trillion-dollars-and-counting “war on drugs,” and Obama has other wars to extricate himself from–or not, as the case may be.

Unable or unwilling to make concessions on these and other issues important to Latin America–normalizing relations with Cuba, for instance, or advancing immigration reform–the White House is adopting an increasingly antagonistic posture. Hillary Clinton, following a visit to Brazil by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, warned Latin Americans to “think twice” about “the consequences” of engagement with Iran. Bolivia denounced the comments as a threat, Brazil canceled a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and Valenzuela, and even Argentina, no friend of Iran, grew irritated. As the Argentine diplomat quoted above told me, “The Obama administration would never talk to European countries like that.”

Insiders report that high-level State Department officials are furious at Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who in recent months has been as steadfast as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in opposing Washington’s ongoing militarism, particularly the White House’s attempt to legitimize the Honduran coup. Having successfully thwarted a similar destabilization campaign against Bolivian president Evo Morales in 2008, Brazil, according to Lula’s top foreign-policy adviser, Marco Aurélio Garcia, is worried that Obama’s Honduras policy is “introducing the ‘theory of the preventive coup’ in Latin America”–by which Garcia means an extension of Bush’s preventive war doctrine.

In a region that has not seen a major interstate war for more than seventy years, Brazil is concerned that the Pentagon’s Colombian base deal is escalating tensions between Colombia and Venezuela. The US media have focused on Chávez’s warning that the “winds of war” were blowing through the region, but Brazil’s foreign minister, Celso Amorim, places blame for the crisis squarely on Washington. Chávez, Amorim said, “had backed away from that statement. To talk about war–a word which should never be uttered–is one thing. Another is the practical and objective issues of the Colombian bases…. If Iran or Russia were to establish a base in Venezuela, that would also worry us.”

There are also indications that the White House is hoping an upcoming round of presidential elections in South America will restore pliable governments. On a recent trip to Buenos Aires, for instance, Valenzuela met with a number of extreme right-wing politicians but not with moderate opposition leaders, drawing criticism from center-left President Cristina Fernández’s government. In January a right-wing billionaire, Sebastián Piñera, was elected president of Chile. And if Lula’s Workers Party loses Brazil’s October presidential vote, as polls indicate is a possibility, the Andean left will be increasingly isolated, caught between the Colombia-Mexico security corridor to the north and administrations more willing to accommodate Washington’s interests to the south. Twenty-first-century containment for twenty-first-century socialism. Fidel Castro, normally an optimist, has recently speculated that before Obama finishes his presidency, “there will be six to eight rightist governments in Latin America.”

Until that happens, the United States is left with a rump Monroe Doctrine and an increasingly threatening stance toward a region it used to call its own.

About Greg Grandin

Greg Grandin teaches at New York University and is the author of Empire’s Workshop and, most recently, of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, a 2009 National Book Award finalist. more… —————————————————————————————————————————– 7 – U.S.: New Defence Strategy Envisions Multiple Conflicts
Matthew Berger
WASHINGTON, 1 Feb (IPS) – A report and budget request from the U.S. Defence Department released Monday reveal both new and old priorities for President Barack Obama’s Pentagon.

Strategically, the military recognises new, non-traditional threats ranging from failed states to cyber-warfare to climate change. But there is little change in the military spending habits of the Obama Pentagon versus that of his predecessor.

The new Quadrennial Defence Review, a congressionally mandated report on the direction of U.S. national security strategy, marks several major breaks from past reports. Whereas previous QDRs have had at their heart a strategy in which the country is able to fight two separate conventional wars, Monday’s report shifts the focus to multiple and diffuse simultaneous threats.

“We have learned through painful experience that the wars we fight are rarely the wars we plan,” Defence Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at the Pentagon Monday afternoon.

New threats require new responses, and the report emphasises having increased numbers of special forces, drones and helicopters as well as preparing for conflicts that take place in the realms of counterinsurgencies and cyberspace.

“Although it is a manmade domain, cyberspace is now as relevant a domain for DoD activities as the naturally occurring domains of land, sea, air, and space,” the report notes.

The report no longer lays out just how many conflicts the military should be called on to fight.

Charles Knight, co-director of the Commonwealth Institute’s Project on Defence Alternatives, sees this as problematic.

“They had never in the past defined what they meant [by a two-war strategy] but at least it had the number two in it… now you can go on forever dreaming up possible military engagement,” he said.

Among the objectives of the Pentagon’s strategy is the aphoristic “prevail in today’s wars,” which Gates noted is appearing in a QDR for the first time. “Success in wars to come will depend on success in these wars in progress,” he explained.

The strategy also hopes to “prevent and deter conflict” which Gates sees as happening through increased funding for diplomacy and development since the largest future threats will potentially come from “failed and fractured states.”

New to the report this time around is a section on preparing for climate- and energy-related challenges. Climate change will affect the DOD’s operations, the report says, citing a previous report showing how “climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world.”

It mentions rising sea levels, water shortages, melting Arctic ice, and extreme weather events as effects that could have geopolitical impacts.

“While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas,” the QDR says.

The report also lays out how the military is addressing climate-related issues, both in its own operations – in terms of reducing DOD’s reliance on fossil fuels, for instance – and in helping develop energy efficient and renewable technologies.

The Pentagon sees energy security – “assured access to reliable supplies of energy and the ability to protect and deliver sufficient energy to meet operational need” – as a strategic priority, and one which greener energy can help it secure.

Fiscal Year 2011 defense budget

This strategic planning represents the broad groundwork for the White House’s decisions on what to keep in and cut from the military budget, their proposals on which were also released Monday.

This fiscal year 2011 budget request calls for a record 708 billion dollars in defence spending. This includes 159 billion dollars for the ongoing operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan as well as an additional 33 billion to be added onto the FY2010 budget for those operations, which had been budgeted at 129.6 billion.

The budget request would also cut funding for several major weapons programmes. The White House had also called for these cuts last year before Congress rejected them, likely due to pressure from well-funded defence contractor groups.

Monday, Gates called for an end to the “quixotic pursuit of high-tech equipment,” saying “every defence dollar spent on a programme excess to real-world military needs is a dollar not spent [elsewhere].”

The defence budget still represents an increase of 3.4 percent from FY2010, which continues a rising defence budget trend begun under President George W. Bush.

“When including war costs, Pentagon spending has grown by 70 percent in real terms since 2001,” noted the Centre for a New American Security’s Travis Sharp in a policy brief Monday.

Sharp goes on to point out that when evaluating the size of the DOD budget as a percentage of GDP, it is lower than at most points over the past 50 years.

“Policymakers should not rely on too heavily on any single metric – whether dollars expressed in real terms or as a percentage of GDP – and thereby ignore the complexities inherent in something as unwieldy as the U.S. defence budget,” Sharp concludes.

But some see the fact that Obama has been maintaining a Bush-era level of defence spending as inherently problematic.

Miriam Pemberton, an analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies, is critical that the cuts do not go far enough.

“I think that this is a post-9/11 budget that tries to focus on asymmetric threats instead of major theatre wars, but the problem is all the procurement and hardware for major theatre war. They’ve sort of added on to the old tech instead of replacing it,” she contends. “It’s a budget of add-ons instead of choices. They haven’t made many hard choices.”

“What stands out is how little has changed from the Bush administration to the Obama administration,” Knight said.

But he does note one major shift under Obama. Speaking of the QDR, he said “the writing is much better… the ideological rhetoric is toned down, but the outcome is very, very similar. We still have the same defence policy. Basically, it’s just been dressed up in a different way.”
—————————————————————————————————————————- 8 – Israeli Women Soldiers Break the Silence

8 – Israeli Women Soldiers Break the Silence

By Ira Chernus

This post was originally published on www.commondreams.org.

What’s it like to be a woman serving in the Israeli occupation force in the West Bank? Is a woman’s experience as an occupier any different than a man’s? Yes indeed, say some women who have just broken their silence and offered a glimpse into the grim reality of the occupation.

“A female combat soldier needs to prove more,” one explains. “A female soldier who beats up others is a serious fighter…When I arrived there was another female [who] was there before me… Everyone spoke of how impressive she is because she humiliates Arabs without any problem. That was the indicator. You have to see her, the way she humiliates, the way she slaps them, wow, she really slapped that guy.”

This “impressive” woman is not a rare exception. “We discovered that the girls try to be even more violent and brutal than the boys, just to become one of the guys,” says Dana Golan, director of Breaking the Silence, the Israeli organization that has just released a report with testimony from some 50 Israeli women who are veterans of the occupation.

The report “indicates how violence was deeply rooted in the daily routine,” according to an article in Yediot Aharonot, one of Israel’s most widely-read newspapers, full of disturbing quotes from the women. One who served at the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza explained that “there was a procedure in which before you release a Palestinian back into the Strip – you take him inside the tent and beat him. … together with the commanders.”

For Israelis who care to pay attention, another revelation of routine violence, sanctioned and sometimes even led by officers, hardly comes as news. Breaking the Silence has been offering the Israeli public such eyewitness testimony from Israeli soldiers since 2004. What is news is the first insight into the distinctive experience of women:

“The female soldiers repeatedly mention the particular difficulties they had as women, who had to prove that to were ‘fighters’ in the midst of the goading male soldiers on the one hand, and the Palestinians, who have a hard time handling women in uniform on the other hand.”

One woman recalled an incident several years ago when a Palestinian man laughed at her, because (or so she thought) she was a woman in uniform. She had to “salvage her self-respect,” she says. So she moved close to the man, “as if I was about to kiss him. I told him, ‘Come, come, what are you afraid of? Come to me!’ And I hit him in the balls. I told him, ‘Why aren’t you laughing?’ He was in shock, and then he realized … not to laugh.”

“It shouldn’t reach such a situation,” the woman says now. “The system is deeply flawed. The entire administration, the way things are run, it’s not right.”

Palestinian women have a distinctive experience, too.  “Was there also abuse of women?”, an interviewer asked.  “Yes,” a woman soldier replied. “Slaps, that kind of thing. Mainly slaps. … It was mainly the female combat soldiers who beat people. … But also men, they had no problem slapping a woman around. If she screamed, they’d say, ‘Shut it,’ with another slap. A routine of violence. There were also those who didn’t take part, but everyone knew it happened.”

Sometimes, as the Breaking the Silence report indicates, the level of brutality grows beyond comprehension: a five year old child beaten; a nine year old who “posed no danger” shot to death; another child with both arms and both legs intentionally broken. The Yediot Aharonoth article offers a series of such horrifying incidents. When the full report is available on the Breaking the Silence website, it will be surely include even more heart-breaking tales.

Each soldier, male or female, is responsible for their own individual actions, of course. But this report raises disturbing questions about the society that requires them to serve in the military and then sends them on such a brutalizing mission, one that dehumanizes the perpetrators as well as their victims.

Most disturbing, perhaps, is their common explanation for the violence the inflict:  The soldiers’ daily routine in the Occupied Territories “is boring, so we’d create some action. We’d get on the radio, and say they threw stones at us, then someone would be arrested, they’d start investigating him… There was a policewoman, she was bored, so okay, she said they threw stones at her. They asked her who threw them. ‘I don’t know, two in grey shirts, I didn’t manage to see them.’ They catch two guys with grey shirts… beat them. Is it them? ‘No, I don’t think so.’ Okay, a whole incident, people get beaten up. Nothing happened that day.”

Another woman, describing a common ritual of humiliating and beating Palestinians at checkpoints, agreed:  “It could go on for hours, depending on how bored they are. A shift is eight hours long, the times must be passed somehow.”

The boredom is not a gendered experience. I heard exactly the same thing last year from a young Israeli man, now actively working to oppose the occupation. When he manned a checkpoint, at the tender age of 18, he would start each day intent on treating Palestinians humanely, he said. But as the hours went on — as the boredom, the occasional inevitable conflicts, and often the oppressive heat, grew — he would become more irritable, more violent, more likely to abuse his power.

Boredom and its minor irritations can easily lead young people, many of them still teenagers, to commit senseless violence. We see it happening in civilian life in most every nation, far too often. But when we see it we call it anti-social and dysfunctional, a problem to be addressed by society.  We assume that society at large has a different norm, a more constructive way of dealing with boredom, which should be taught to the misbehaving youth.

Perhaps antisocial violence, wherever it occurs, is always a symptom of a whole society’s dysfunction. But in this case the connection between individual and society is especially obvious and glaring. The antisocial Israeli youth are wearing their nation’s uniform, acting (sometimes under orders) in the name of “national security,” often praised for their violent behavior, and virtually never disciplined no matter how far they go.

They’ve grown up in a Jewish society that tends to treat Palestinians (not always, but far too often) as inherently dangerous, evil, inferior, and deserving whatever harm comes to them. It’s hardly surprising that many of them would so easily cross the moral line into the realm of inhumanity.

Yet they’ve also grown up in a society that teaches them basic moral standards that should apply to all people. Most of the women interviewed in the report say they knew that what they were seeing, and sometimes doing, was wrong. But very few lodged any complaints, fearing the consequences if they spoke up. “I have to make a switch in my head and keep hating the Arabs and justify the Jews,” one explained.

Now, these women, like their male colleagues, must live with the consequences of participating in a brutal occupation that many realize is a terrible moral, as well as political, mistake. Jewish Israeli society must live with the consequences of putting its young people into such an agonizing situation, where moral contradiction is an everyday fact of life. Worst of all, Palestinian society must go on paying the price for Israel’s failure to bring its reality in line with its proclaimed principles.

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In Case You Missed It

9 – The Power of Nightmares – The Shadows In The Cave

This is a must watch documentary

The Power of Nightmares assesses whether the threat from a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. The programme explains how the illusion was created and who benefits from it.
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/video1040.htm

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Disturbing: 375 Palestinian Children Jailed By Israeli 10 – 375 PALESTINIAN CHILDREN Jailed By Israeli Military Every Month

By Mel Frykberg Most Palestinian children are held for stone-throwing, which can bring a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, five years less than the average murder sentence in Israel.

BI’ILIN, West Bank, Sep 24 (IPS) — Eight children between the ages of 10 and 17 were arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers during military raids Monday night and Tuesday morning in the northern West Bank cities Nablus and Qalqilia.

Defense for Children International (DCI) Palestine has released a statement that the number of children detained in Israeli jails and temporary Israeli army detention centers this year has risen by 17.5 percent compared with 2008.

“The average number of Palestinian children held in Israeli detention in 2009 remains high, at 375 per month compared with an average of 319 in 2008,” says DCI.

“Disturbingly, 39 young children between the ages of 12 and 15 were detained in August 2009. This is up 85 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2008 of 21 children.”

Israel is a signatory to the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.”

Nashmi Muhammad Abu Rahme, 14, from the West Bank village of Bi’ilin near Ramallah was arrested and dragged from his bed at 3 am Aug. 15 after Israeli soldiers raided his home.

The village of Bi’ilin has been involved in a protracted campaign of non- violent civil disobedience against Israel’s building of a wall which cuts through village land, separating villagers and farmers from their agricultural fields.

The villagers successfully petitioned an Israeli court to have the wall re- routed several years ago, but the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have failed to comply with the court’s orders.

“My family was awoken by the sounds of Israeli soldiers yelling and starting to smash down the door. I was blindfolded and tightly handcuffed by the soldiers and then thrown into the back of a jeep,” recalls Abu Rahme.

“During the journey to the military base I was repeatedly slapped, beaten and kicked until I was bleeding. I was very scared,” Abu Rahme told IPS.

Israeli medics treated Abu Rahme for bleeding and contusions before he was brought before an interrogator, again blindfolded and handcuffed. His interrogation lasted three hours, during which he was accused of throwing stones at soldiers near the wall on Bi’ilin’s agricultural land.

Abu Rahme was kept in jail for a week before he was brought before a military prosecutor. He was fined 5,000 shekels (1,340 dollars) and released.

“We have had about 12 children from our village arrested and detained by the Israelis,” Hassan Moussa, a schoolteacher from the neighboring village of Ni’ilin told IPS.

Under Israeli administrative detention, Palestinians can be held for three months without trial, and this can be renewed at the end of that period for another three months.

“It interrupts their education when they are detained for weeks and months without being brought to trial,” says Moussa.

Most Palestinian children are held for stone-throwing. Israeli Military Order 378 carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for this, five years less than the average murder sentence in Israel.

“During interrogation, children as young as 12 years are denied access to a lawyer and visits from their families,” says DCI.

“Whilst under interrogation children are subjected to a number of prohibited techniques. These include the excessive use of blindfolds and handcuffs, slapping and kicking, painful position abuse for long periods of time, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and a combination of physical and psychological threats,” says DCI.

Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem describes the tiny cells where Palestinian children are often held in solitary confinement.

These include the ‘lock-up’, a dark cell of 1.5 by 1.5 meters. The ‘closet’ is a narrow cell the height of a person that one can stand in but not sit or move. The ‘grave’ is a box closed by a door from the top and measuring approximately one meter by 60 cm with a depth of about 80 cm.

DCI has documented at least seven cases during Israel’s war on Gaza at the beginning of the year where Gazan children were used as human shields by Israeli soldiers.

“There is a big difference in the way Palestinian and Israeli minors are treated by Israeli law,” Khaled Quzmar from DCI Palestine told IPS.

Palestinian children as young as 12 years are prosecuted in the Israeli military courts and are treated as adults as soon as they turn 16, in contrast to the situation under Israeli domestic law, whereby majority is attained at 18.

The IDF announced in July that it would be setting up a separate military court for juveniles. Hitherto both Palestinian adults and children had been tried together.

“The good news is that after 42 years of occupation the Israelis have recognized that their legal treatment of Palestinian children has been morally indefensible,” says Quzmar.

“The bad news is that the changes are merely semantic. Children will continue to be tried by the same judges in the same jails. The only difference is juveniles will be tried at separate times,” Quzmar told IPS.

Previously, according to military law, there was no statute of limitations on offenses by Palestinians, even if the suspect committed the offense when he or she was a minor.

“While the new order ostensibly sets a two-year statute of limitations for offencss committed by minors, it also allows the military prosecutor to overrule this. The prosecution will generally be given the benefit of the doubt,” added Quzmar.

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11 – 9/11, Deep Events, and the Curtailment of U.S. Freedoms

A talk delivered to the New England Antiwar Conference, MIT, January 30, 2010.

By Prof Peter Dale Scott

February 01, 2010 “Global Research” — Hello everyone! I’m honored to be invited to this important anti-war conference. As I am in the final stages of editing my next book, The Road to Afghanistan, I have been turning down invitations to speak. But I was eager to accept this one, and to join my friends and others in debunking the war on terror, the false justification for the Afghan-Pakistan war.

Let me make my own position clear at the outset. There are indeed people out there, including some Muslim extremists, who want to inflict terror on America. But it is crystal clear, as many people inside and outside government have agreed, that it makes this problem worse, not better, when Washington sends large numbers of U.S. troops to yet another country where they don ‘t belong.[1]

A war on terror is as inappropriate a cure as a U.S. war on drugs, which as we have seen in Colombia makes the drug problem worse, not better. The war on terror and the war on drugs have this in common: both are ideological attempts to justify the needless killings of thousands – including both American troops and foreign civilians —  in another needless war.

Why does America find itself, time after time, invading countries in distant oil-bearing regions, countries which have not invaded us? This is a vital issue on which we should seek a clear message for the American people. Unfortunately it has been an issue on which there has been serious disagreement dividing the antiwar movement, just as it divided people, even friends, inside the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s.

Perhaps many of you in this room know that there was disagreement between Noam Chomsky and myself in our analysis of how America entered the Vietnam War. This did not stop Noam and I from speaking out on the same platform against the war, or remaining friends, even after our public disagreements. There was too much on which we agreed.

Let me turn to today’s topic, the war on terror, by reading a long quote from Noam Chomsky in 2002, with which I fully agree:

“the war on terrorism was not declared on September 11 [2001]; rather, it was redeclared, using the same rhetoric as the first declaration twenty years earlier. The Reagan administration, as you know, I’m sure, came into office announcing that a war on terrorism would be the core of U.S. foreign policy, and it condemned what the president called the “evil scourge of terrorism. ”

…. International terrorism was described as a plague spread by “depraved opponents of civilization itself,” in “a return to barbarism in the modern age.””[2]

Today it is easy to see the falsehood of the government rhetoric in the 1980s about heroic freedom fighters fighting the “evil scourge of terrorism.” Most of the CIA money in the 1980s went to the terrorist drug trafficker Gulbeddin Hekmatyar, remembered for his habit of throwing acid in the faces of women not wearing burkas. Hekmatyar did not represent Afghan aspirations for freedom, but the interests of the U.S. ally Pakistan. As a true Afghan leader said in 1994, “We didn’t choose [him]. The United States made Hekmatyar by giving him his weapons.”[3] To describe Hekmatyar’s men as freedom fighters was a fraud.

Chomsky had no trouble perceiving as a “fraud” the Tonkin Gulf incidents that led the U.S. to attack North Vietnam, and the resulting Congressional resolution that had already been drafted some months in advance.[4] But he is not interested in the close analogies between the Tonkin Gulf incidents of 1964 and the 9/11 incidents of 2001, which were almost immediately followed by the Patriot Act, likewise already drafted well in advance. Chomsky argues that the 9/11 movement has drawn “enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism.”[5] But the strong analogies between the Tonkin Gulf deception and the 9/11 deception have energized and activated me, and not me alone.

It is clear that exposure of McNamara’s deceptions about the Tonkin Gulf incidents, especially in the Fulbright hearing of 1968, was an important factor in slowly changing Congress’s mind about Vietnam. It is my earnest hope that exposure of Cheney’s deceptions about 9/11, and particularly about what he did that day, will someday help end Congressional funding for the Afghan War.

I do not know the truth of what happened on 9/11. I do know for a certainty that there has been a cover-up of 9/11; and also, what the 9/11 Commission itself admits, that there has been high-level governmental lying about what happened, and what didn’t happen, on that day. It became clear to me early on that 9/11 was another in a string of what I have called “deep events” — which I define in my forthcoming book as

events which are systematically ignored, suppressed, or falsified in public (and even internal) government, military and intelligence documents, as well as in the mainstream media and public consciousness. Underlying them is frequently the involvement of deep forces linked to either the drug traffic or to agencies of surveillance (or to both together), whose activities are extremely difficult to discern or document.[6]

For Noam the falsification and lying are not particularly important: he prefers to focus on the continuous imperialist expansion of the United States into other parts of the world, and he hopes to persuade decent Americans to stop this expansion. For me in contrast deep events are of crucial importance, in part because their dishonesty provides us with a chance to counter ideology with truth. Each of us can say, rightly, that the method of the other has not yet stopped America from fighting wars. My appeal to you today is to accept that both approaches are needed in the antiwar movement.

I have been thinking about deep events for two decades, ever since I wrote a book about the Kennedy assassination with the title, Deep Politics. Since 9/11 I have been more and more convinced that

1)by studying deep events as a whole, we can see the underlying aspects of them more clearly.[7]

2)however we analyze them, deep events have contributed collectively to the further erosion and corruption of American politics, which today are in the worst shape they have been since the McCarthyism era in the 1950s.

That is to say, even if you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president and did it alone, it is clear that the Warren Commission used it to increase CIA surveillance of Americans. As I wrote in Deep Politics, this was the result of

the Warren Commission’s controversial recommendations that the Secret Service’s domestic surveillance responsibilities be increased (WR 25-26). Somewhat illogically, the Warren Report concluded both that Oswald acted alone (WR 22), …, and also that the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, should coordinate more closely the surveillance of organized groups (WR 463). In particular, it recommended that the Secret Service acquire a computerized data bank compatible with that already developed by the CIA.[8]

This pattern would repeat itself four years later, with the assassination of Robert Kennedy. How many of you are aware that, in the 24 hours between Bobby’s shooting and his death, Congress hurriedly passed a statute – again drafted well in advance – that still further augmented the secret powers given to the Secret Service?[9] Don’t think that this was a trivial or benign change: from this ill-considered act, passed under Johnson, flowed some of the worst excesses of the Nixon presidency.

In the chaos and violence at the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968, army intelligence surveillance agents, seconded to the Secret Service, were present, both inside and outside the convention hall. Some of them equipped the so-called “Legion of Justice thugs whom the Chicago Red Squad turned loose on local anti-war groups.”[10] The presence of army intelligence agents at the convention was authorized by the statute passed while Bobby Kennedy was dying.[11]

This brings us to 9/11. On that day, before the last plane had crashed in Pennsylvania, the White House authorized the institution of so-called COG plans. There is no doubt that COG was introduced – The 9/11 Report confirms it twice, on pages 38 and 326.[12] And I have little doubt that the COG plans, still in force today under President Obama, are the justification for the surveillance agents who are with you in the room as I speak to you at this moment. I have written that they are also the probable source for the Patriot Act, and also for the Department of Homeland Security’s Project Endgame — a ten-year plan to expand detention camps, at a cost of $400 million in Fiscal Year 2007 alone.[13] The worst features of the Bush decade were apparently all sketched out in COG planning – warrantless surveillance, warrantless detention, even suspension of our constitutional right of habeas corpus, first granted by Magna Carta in 1215.

I can’t see you, but I’m going to ask you to raise your hands if you haven’t heard about COG. If you haven’t, please google for Cheney and COG when you get home (2.5 million hits), and perhaps even add “peter dale scott” to the search (9,470 hits).
You will find that officially “COG” stands for “Continuity of Government” planning. I always say that we should think of it as “Change of Government” planning, since it was well summarized 22 years ago by Alphonso Chardy in the Miami Herald as plans for “suspension of the Constitution…emergency appointment of military commanders…and declaration of martial law.”[14]

Much is known about COG plans, and much more is not known. We know that the ultra-secret planning began in 1981 under Reagan and then Oliver North, and continued under George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Two of the key planners were Cheney and Rumsfeld, the two men who implemented it under 9/11, even though when Clinton was president both men, both Republicans, were heads of major corporations and not even in the government.[15]

We learned that COG planning was still active in 2007, when President Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD 51), which extended for one year the emergency proclaimed on September 14, 2001, and empowered the President to personally ensure “continuity of government” in the event of any “catastrophic emergency.” He announced that NSPD 51 contains “classified Continuity Annexes” which shall “be protected from unauthorized disclosure.” Under pressure from his 911truth constituents, Congressman DeFazio of the Homeland Security Committee twice requested to see these Annexes, the second time in a letter signed by the Chair of his committee.

His request was denied, indicating that (as I wrote in Counterpunch)

the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution would seem to be failing…  Continuity of Government planning has arguably already superseded the Constitution as a higher authority.[16]

One of the post-Watergate reforms so detested by Vice-President Cheney was the National Emergencies Act. It requires specifically that “Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, …, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.”[17]

Former Congressman Dan Hamburg and I appealed publicly last year to Obama to terminate the emergency, and to Congress to hold the hearings required of them by statute.[18] But Obama, without discussion, extended the 9/11 Emergency again on September 10, 2009;[19] and Congress has continued to ignore its statutory obligations. One Congressman explained to a constituent that the provisions of the National Emergencies Act have now been rendered inoperative by COG. If true, this would seem to justify Chardy’s description of COG as suspension of the Constitution.

I want to conclude by addressing those of you who may think that I exhibit the kind of conspiratorialist mentality once criticized by G. William Domhoff, the naïve belief “that if we get rid of a few bad people, everything will be well in the world.”[20]

My own position is still that which I articulated two decades ago years ago in response to Domhoff:

I have always believed, and argued, that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead not to `a few bad people,’ but to the institutional and parapolitical [or deep political] arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.[21]

Michael Parenti has endorsed what I wrote, and added, “In sum, national security state conspiracies [or what I am here calling deep events] are components of our political structure, not deviations from it.”[22]

Thanks to 9/11, followed by COG, we now have a military command in the United States (NORTHCOM), unprecedented surveillance of both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, and plans for massive detention of folks like you and me, if our protests should begin to threaten the war machine.

I call on you all to devise how to outwit these forces that are distorting our society.

The beginning of an antiwar movement is the time when it is hardest to be hopeful of success. And if what I have been saying is relevant, it will be harder now than in the 1960s to get our message to the American people. . This makes especially relevant some inspiring words I would like to quote from the late Howard Zinn, who died last Wednesday:

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. …. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.[23]

Notes

[1] Cf. RAND Corporation, “How Terrorist Groups End: Implications for Countering al Qa’ida,” Research Brief, RB-9351-RC (2008), http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/index1.html: “Minimize the use of U.S. military force. In most operations against al Qa’ida, local military forces frequently have more legitimacy to operate and a better understanding of the operating environment than U.S. forces have. This means a light U.S. military footprint or none at all.”

[2] Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002), http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/Journalist_Mars.html.

[3] New York Times, March 13, 1994. Robert D. Kaplan reported his personal experience that Hekmatyar was “loathed by all the other party leaders, fundamentalist and moderate alike” (Robert D. Kaplan, Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan [New York: Random House, 1990], 68-69).

[4] Noam Chomsky, For Reasons of State (New York: Vintage, 1973), 102; cf. 109.

[5] “Chomsky Dismisses 911 Conspiracy Theories As ‘Dubious,’” Rense.com, December 13, 2006,
http://www.rense.com/general74/dismiss.htm.
[6]  Peter Dale Scott, The Road to Afghanistan: The War Machine, the CIA, and the Global Drug Connection (forthcoming)

[7] See for example Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (Ipswich, MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2008), 341-96.

[8] Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 280.

[9] Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch, and Russell Stetler, The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (New York: Random House, 1976), 443-46.

[10] George O’Toole, The Private Sector (New York: Norton, 1978), 145; quoted in Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 278-79.

[11] Joan M. Jensen, Army Surveillance in America, 1775-1980 (New Haven: Yale UP), 244.

[12] 9/11 Commission Report, 38, 326; Scott, Road to 9/11, 228-29.

[13] Scott, Road to 9/11, 238, 240-41.

[14] Chardy, Miami Herald,  July 5, 1987; Scott, Road to 9/11, 241.

[15] Scott, Road to 9/11, 183-87.

[16] Peter Dale Scott, “Congress, the Bush Administration and Continuity of Giovernment Planning: The Showdown,” Counterpunch, March 31, 2008,
http://www.counterpunch.org/scott03312008.html

[17] 50 U.S.C. 1622 (2002); Peter Dale Scott and Dan Hamburg, “Help Force Congress To Observe the Law on National Emergencies,” March 24, 2009,
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×5324819.

[18] Peter Dale scott, “To All Readers: Help Force Congress To Observe the Law on National Emergencies!!!” (with Dan Hamburg), http.//www.truth.org, March 24, 2009,
http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20090324183053848#r7.

[19] White House Press Release, September 10, 2009,
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Notice-of-continuation-from-the-president-regarding-the-emergency-declared-with-respect-to-the-September-11-2001-terrorist-attacks/.
A press briefing by Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs the same day did not mention the extension.

[20] G. William Domhoff, in Jonathan Vankin, Conspiracies, Cover-Ups, and Crimes: Political Manipulation and Mind Control in America (New York: Paragon House, 1991), 125-26.

[21] Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 11.

[22] Michael Parenti, Dirty Truths: Reflections on Politics, Media, Ideology, Conspiracy, Ethnic Life and Class Power (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1996), 188.

[23] Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times (Boston: Beacon, 2002), 208.

© Copyright Peter Dale Scott, Global Research, 2010

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12 – Blair the British Neo-con

By Alan Hart

February 01, 2010 “Information Clearing House” — Putting Tony Blair on trial would be much too cruel. The man is ill, delusional, quite possibly to the point of madness. What he needs most of all is psychiatric help. Any doubts I might have had about that diagnosis were removed by his six-hour presentation to the Chilcot Inquiry of his reasons for joining the neo-conned “Dubya” Bush in the war on Iraq.

Without understanding why, I never thought Blair was Bush’s puppet. Now, thanks to the access Blair gave us to the workings of his mind for six hours, I do understand. He was ahead of Bush in the war on terrorism game because he is a neo-con, the real thing, whereas Bush had to be won over, conned, by America’s mad men. Blair didn’t. He was always with them in spirit. After 9/11, immediately after it, probably while the towers were still collapsing, their agenda was his agenda.

Though the Chilcot Inquiry is concerned only with Iraq – how Blair’s government made the decision to go to war and what lessons should be learned – Blair could not resist beating the drum for war on Iran. He did that four times. One might have been listening to John Bolton or any of America’s or Israel’s lunatics.

When he was going on about terrorism being a threat to all, he threw in: “It’s a constant problem for Israel. They get attacked.” That there is a cause-and-effect relationship between Israeli occupation and Israel’s frequent demonstrations of state terrorism and a degree of violence directed at the Zionist state from time to time is not something Blair the neo-con can, or ever will, get his deluded mind around.

At one point during his display of insufferable, Zionist-like self-righteousness, Blair denied he had said in an interview with the BBC’s Fern Britton that he favoured regime change in Iraq. “I didn’t use the words regime change in that interview,” he said to the Chilcot Inquiry. He was telling the truth in that he did not use those actual words. What then did he say on camera to Fern Britton on 13 December 2009? She asked him if knowing what we all know today (that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction) would he still have gone to war. Blair replied, “I would still have thought it right to remove him.” If that is not regime change, what is?!

Blair still insists that the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein has “made the world a safer place”. The reality is that Blair and Bush together were the best recruiting sergeants for violent Islamic fundamentalism in many manifestations, not only the Al-Qaeda franchise.

Most amazing of all was that Blair declined an invitation to express any regret. He couldn’t even bring himself to say he regretted the loss of the lives of British soldiers and a great number of Iraqis (somewhere between 100,000 and 600,000), mainly civilians. To my way of thinking that makes him less than fully human.

Blair described Saddam Hussein as “a monster who threatened the world.” There’s an old English saying, “It takes one to know one.”

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13 – ANCIENT SICILIAN  STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUE There’s absolutely no guilt involved !!

Just in case you are having a rough day, here is a stress management technique used traditionally in Sicily . The funny thing is that it really does work.

1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.
2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.
3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.
4. No one knows your secret place.
5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.
6. The soothing sound of a gentle water fall fills the air with a cascade of serenity..
7 The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of Nancy Pelosi, the person you are holding underwater.

There!! See? It really does work.. You’re smiling already.
Feel free to forward this, if you know others who might benefit from this technique and enjoy the end results —                                                                                -.-.-

from Israel Shamir

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The food-mood connection

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment


If you’re suffering from the blues, don’t waste your time looking for the right med– look in your fridge instead.

Two new studies confirm what many of us in the natural healing community have been screaming for years: Poor diets are at the heart of many depression cases.

That’s because the real cause of many mood disorders is nutritional deficiencies… and the real reason for many of those deficiencies are diets based on processed junk and other foods that fill the belly and starve the brain.

They’re also pretty good at making people big, unhealthy and prone to diabetes–all contributing factors to depression.

British and French researchers looked at data on nearly 3,500 men and women who participated in the Whitehall II study. They were able to divide them into two patterns of eaters: “whole food” and “processed food.”

The researchers found that those who ate the most processed food had the highest likelihood of depression. They also found that whole food eaters were the least likely to be depressed… and the more whole foods they ate, the less likely the depression, according to the study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Another study on women found very similar results.

Australian researchers found that women who ate mainly processed foods and carbs over the course of 10 years were 50 percent more likely to suffer from mood disorders. Women who ate a more traditional Australian diet of lamb, fish and whole grains were 30 percent less likely to suffer from depression and other mood disorders, according to the study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Other studies have made the same connection–the real problem is not the research, but the fact that the drug companies never want to compare their meds directly to the dietary changes that would benefit so many people.

After all, Big Pharma is having a hard enough time with placebos!

Not every case of depression is caused by diet. Depression can be triggered by any number of factors, and can also be the result of several conditions striking at once. In many cases, key deficiencies are behind the blues–especially amino acids.

A doctor experienced in natural medicine can diagnose and treat those deficiencies– without having to resort to dangerous meds that don’t work.

So if you’re depressed, make that appointment. But while you wait, clean out the fridge and cupboard, and get rid of all the junk food–especially processed foods, sugary snacks and other carb-loaded garbage.

Replace those items with real food–meals you need to cook yourself from fresh ingredients, and healthy snacks like nuts and vegetables.

By the time you visit the doctor, you might even be well along the road to recovery.

House Calls readers can now tap into the minds of other health-conscious readers at:
http://clicks.healthrevelations.com//t/AQ/8Fw/9nc/C4Y/AQ/AkO76g/XX1-

Copyright (c)2004-2010 by Healthier News, LLC. The e-letter may not be posted on commercial sites without written permission. BACK to margotbworldnews.com


Ideal Diet in the UK has Horrible Food Combining

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

A recent study looked at the packed lunches of 1,294 U.K. school children and found that according to government standards, only one percent of children in the U.K. were eating a healthy lunch. That’s bad enough, but it gets even worse when you look at what the government’s dietary standards are and then when you realize that what the government considers ideal is atrocious food combining. The U.K.’s dietary standards call for – in one meal – the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, meat or other protein, carbohydrates and a dairy product. But most who understand how digestion works know that carbohydrates and protein should never be eaten in the same meal – and that fruit should be eaten alone or before a meal.

The reason for separating food groups into different meals is that different foods require different and competing enzymes to break them down. So, for example, when a carbohydrate and protein are included in the same meal the body releases different sets of enzymes to digest them. But these enzymes effectively neutralize each other and this makes it difficult for the body to break down either one of the foods. The foods are then incompletely digested and when foods are incompletely digested, the body is unable to receive their full nutrient value. This also leads to, among other things, a clogged colon – which can be the source of tremendous toxicity in the body and many health problems in years to come.

Dairy, particularly pasteurized dairy, is also known to clog the digestive system. This is especially true when it’s combined with refined carbohydrates, like white sandwich bread. The refined carbohydrates simply become a gooey paste in the body that’s hard to eliminate.

Due to the rather extreme deficiencies in the “ideal” standards, many might argue that perhaps it’s better that most of the children didn’t eat an ideal lunch by the government standards. But a look at what they were eating brings reason for concern as well.

The researchers found that fruits and vegetables were lacking in most of the lunches – and that’s really what should be in there in bulk. They also found that most of the lunches contained artificially flavored drinks, savory snacks and sweets – processed foods which are the sources of plenty of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, food colorings, chemical flavorings, and chemicals used in food preserving. In addition, most of the lunches had protein-based sandwiches which provide the poor carbohydrate and protein combination.

This research is said to give policy makers evidence of the need to provide parents with educational materials on how to pack a healthy lunch for their children. While it’s a great idea to help parents learn to upgrade their nutritional standards for their children’s lunches, some more consideration should go into what they are suggesting is healthy – and that consideration should stem from an understanding of how the body actually works to digest food.

More:
http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/01Janua…
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/ne…
http://www.internethealthlibrary.co…
Nutrition Handbook #1, Bernard Jensen, Ph.D.

(NaturalNews)by Kim Evans, citizen journalist
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Disdain Versus Democracy

February 4, 2010 Leave a comment

That strange sound you hear if you listen closely is Senator Ted Kennedy spinning in his grave.  Could he have possibly imagined a worse consequence of his departure from the Senate when health care reform was so close?  Absolutely not.  When he was alive he probably was not even aware of Massachusetts state senator Scott Brown.  Though Kennedy deserved a better outcome, Democrats richly deserved the Republican win in Massachusetts.

The main reason is that Democrats in Congress and President Obama have shown nothing but disdain for the overwhelming national desire for an end to the self-serving corruption that is revealed through never-ending sweetheart deals for corporate interests, even as a large fraction of Americans suffer in this Great Recession caused by corporate greed, incompetence and criminality that go unpunnished.

One of the very few truths coming from Obama’s lips was that the forces that swept Brown to victory were the same as those that propelled Obama into the presidency.  What so-very-smart Obama apparently did not fully appreciate when he acknowledged this was that the truth of that statement was evidence of Obama’s failures as president.  Obama sold himself as an independent-minded, trustworthy Democrat committed to change and better government, and that same approach was used by Republican Brown.  If the scam worked for Obama, why not make it work for a Republican?  Obviously it worked.

So two days after Brown’s victory Obama announces a new Wall Street and banking reform effort.  Coincidentally, 53 percent of Democrats that voted for Brown said they would vote for Democrats if they would actually fix Wall Street.

In other words, the national desire for true change and reform that convinced so many independents and others to vote for Obama has been made a mockery by a White House and Congress that has continued to behave as conventional, corrupt and lying politicians.  How else to punish Democrats then to make someone like Brown a winner that could derail health care reform and other legislation in the Senate?

I say bravo!  Nice work.  Thanks for all the Obama voters who either did not vote or voted for Brown.  Nice message.

All that Obama and the congressional Democrats have shown is that Americans can never believe that politicians who work their way up through the two-party plutocracy can ever be trusted as true change agents.  In a system where money dictates public policy corporate and other special interests will continue to win over true public interests.

As long as third parties do not stand any chance of competing against the two-party plutocracy because the system has been so rigged against them, what else can voters do other than to punish one corrupt political party at critical times by shifting power to the other corrupt political party?  So much for American electoral democracy.

Obama was a little known state senator who had accomplished very little before becoming a US senator.  Ditto for Brown.  If Obama could become president with good looks and a winning personality, why not Brown?  Now we should all root for Brown becoming the Republican’s best bet for preventing Obama from winning a second term.  At least that’s what I hope Obama obsesses about and loses sleep over.  Maybe then he will stop showing such disdain for democracy, stop making deals with corporate interests and start producing the changes in the political and government system that Americans want and need.  And, most of all, get rid of many of your top advisors that are nothing more than status quo establishment figures with terrible political and economic ideas.  And also get your Justice Department to prosecute a large number of criminals in the financial sector that created the Great Recession.

Do these things or millions of angry Americans will surely vote out Democrats in the coming mid-term congressional elections and keep you from getting a second term.  Not that Republicans, of course, will ever perform any better.  But in our delusional democracy about the best voters can do is shift power between the two useless major political parties.  Populist anger demands more than empty populist rhetoric from lying politicians of both major parties.

By Joel S. Hirschhorn

[Contact Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com]

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