7/9/8 The Barbaric Tyranny of Domination: Relentless Persecution, Provocation & Prevarication

‘I Am Proud Of The Decision’ To Invade Iraq
"We tend to forget very quickly what Saddam Hussein meant. … In the post 9/11 environment, you couldn’t let a threat to international peace and stability like that remain." She added: Yes, it’s been very, very tough. But I know that great historical events go through difficult phases and often emerge with the world left for the bet ter. And I am proud of the decision of this administration to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
I am proud of the liberation of 25 million Iraqis....
Condoleeza Rice

"I Freed Millions From Barbarism"

1,236,604 Iraqis Slaughtered Since U.S. Invaded Iraq

"The Negro youth and moderate[s] must be made to understand that if they succumb to revolutionary teachings, they will be dead revolutionaries."
J. Edgar Hoover,FBI Chief, re: COINTELPRO against the Black Panther Party

Hideous faces of U.S. genocide
Woodfox was serving 50 years for armed robbery when the 1972 killing occurred
"...convicted on false evidence, he's been held in solitary for almost 40 years..."
A federal judge on Tuesday overturned the conviction of a former Black Panther in the 1972 stabbing death of a Louisiana prison guard. Albert Woodfox, held in solitary confinement for over 30 years, is one of three former Panthers known as the "Angola Three." He and two other black prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola were convicted in the killing of guard Brent Miller on April 17, 1972. U.S. District Judge James Brady issued a ruling late Tuesday approving a federal magistrate's June recommendation that Woodfox's conviction be overturned because one of his former lawyers failed to object to a prosecutor's testimony about a witness' credibility. Brady also found that Woodfox's trial lawyer failed to object to testimony from a witness who had died after the trial.
Woodfox's decades in solitary confinement attracted worldwide attention from activists who called him a political prisoner. Nick Trenticosta, the New Orleans-based defense lawyer who handled the appeal, said Woodfox's immediate future lies in the hands of prosecutors, who could request a new trial. Trenticosta said he hoped Woodfox to be released without another trial. "The man was convicted on false evidence, and he's been held in solitary for almost 40 years. Let's release him," Trenticosta said.
Trenticosta said Woodfox had probably not yet heard about the ruling. "I don't believe he knows," Trenticosta said. "But I'll talk to him in the morning and he'll probably find out about it in the newspaper."
Woodfox and Herman Wallace were kept in solitary confinement from 1972 until March, when they were moved to a maximum-security dormitory with other prisoners. Wallace has been appealing his conviction based on arguments similar to Woodfox's. The third member of the "Angola Three" spent 29 years in isolation before his conviction was overturned in 2001... http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110ap_black_panther_trial.html

state torture and manslaughter of poor and oppressed not a crime
No charges planned in death of ignored LA patient
No criminal charges will be filed against medical staff at a troubled inner-city hospital over the death of a homeless woman who writhed... and was kneeling and screaming in pain with a perforated bowel - on the emergency room floor for nearly an hour, a county prosecutor concluded Tuesday. A nurse at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital was not criminally negligent despite refusing to examine Edith Rodriguez - telling her to get off the floor, according to the report by Deputy District Attorney Susan Schwartz.
"Prompt intervention would not have saved her life," Schwartz wrote in the report to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department about the May 2007 death.
"It cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt" that the nurse's actions were a substantial factor in the death "or that any member of the MLK nursing or medical staff was criminally negligent," the report said.
Doctors made a wrong diagnosis and failed to treat the patient properly until it was too late, but "a mistake, even a negligent mistake, does not amount to 'criminal negligence,'" the report said.... Another patient in the emergency room called 911 and asked for an ambulance for Rodriguez, but the emergency operator refused because Rodriguez was already in an emergency room, the report said.
Eventually, county police who had taken Rodriguez into the emergency room decided to take her to jail on a parole violation so she could receive medical care there, but she became unresponsive as she was taken in a wheelchair to a patrol car, then later pronounced dead in the emergency room, the report said.
The coroner's office ruled her death accidental.
Rodriguez's death was one of several that came amid allegations of shoddy care at the county-run hospital, which was built in South Los Angeles after the 1965 Watts riot to provide much-needed medical care to the poor, heavily minority area. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services revoked $200 million in federal funding last summer, and the hospital, previously called Martin Luther King Jr.-Drew Medical Center, was closed to all but outpatient care.

Haitian immigrants forced to flee their beloved U.S. destroyed native homeland murdered in bowels of the beast
Legal claim filed over death at NYC psych ward
View related video
This combination of 6 still photos taken from a video provided by the New York Civil Liberties Union shows the progression of events in the early morning hours of Thursday, June 19, 2008 in the psychiatric ward of the Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., Esmin Green, 49, had been waiting in the emergency room for nearly 24 hours when she toppled from her chair at 5:32 a.m. and lay writhing, face down on the floor. She was dead by 6:35, when someone on the medical staff, flagged down by a person in the waiting room, finally approached, nudged Green with her foot, and gently prodded her shoulder, as if to wake her. (AP Photo/New York Civil Liberties Union)
Surveillance footage showed the death of Esmin Elizabeth Green, 49, who collapsed face-down on the floor of the Kings County Hospital Center's psychiatric emergency waiting room, where she had been for nearly 24 hours... largely ignored for about an hour. Security guards and a member of the Brooklyn hospital's staff appear to notice her prone body at least three times without making any visible efforts to see if she needed help.By the time a woman from the medical staff approached her, nudging Green's body with her foot, the stricken patient was already dead....At 31, Harrison is the eldest of the six children Green left behind in Jamaica when she moved to the United States in 2000 to find work. Now, Harrison is left with questions about how her mother ended up involuntarily committed to the psychiatric ward - falling ill and dying hundreds of miles from her immediate family and with no one by her side. "It was heartbreaking," Harrison said of watching the video. "Something inside of me died right there with my mom."

“You know I care deeply about the people of Zimbabwe,” Mr. Bush said. “I’m extremely disappointed in the elections, which I labeled a sham election.” But he did not mention any discussion of sanctions and ignored reporters’ questions on the issue.... The United States and Britain have proposed an international arms embargo and sanctions on the Zimbabwe government....The leaders are gathered here on the mountainous northern Japanese island of Hokkaido for the so-called Group of 8 summit meeting. Technically, the group includes the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Russia and Japan. The annual event has broadened to include heads of state from around the world, including the “Africa outreach” group of seven African leaders, from Tanzania, Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.
African leaders at the Group of Eight meeting resisted pressure to adopt a tougher stance against Robert Mugabe.... President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, suggested that a power-sharing agreement was the answer.... Last week, the US formally introduced a sanctions resolution at the United Nations, calling for an international arms embargo and punitive measures against the 14 people deemed to be most responsible for the violence. But the African Union argues that a local problem can be dealt with locally

global imperialist "freedom from barbarism" is the strategic goal of the bipartisan "war on terrorism"
Decades later the Union Carbide plant disaster that killed thousands leaves hundreds of tons of toxic sludge in Bhopal
...No one has examined to what extent, over more than two decades, they have seeped into the soil and water, except in desultory checks by a state environmental agency, which turned up pesticide residues in the neighborhood wells far exceeding permissible levels. Nor has anyone bothered to address the concerns of those who have drunk that water and tended kitchen gardens on this soil and who now present a wide range of ailments, including cleft palates and mental retardation, among their children as evidence of a second generation of Bhopal victims, though it is impossible to say with any certainty what is the source of the afflictions.
Why it has taken so long to deal with the disaster is an epic tale of the ineffectiveness and seeming apathy of India’s bureaucracy and of the government’s failure to make the factory owners do anything about the mess they left. But the question of who will pay for the cleanup of the 11-acre site has assumed new urgency in a country that today is increasingly keen to attract foreign investment...

It was here that on Dec. 3, 1984, a tank inside the factory released 40 tons of methyl isocyanate gas, killing those who inhaled it while they slept. At the time, it was called the world’s worst industrial accident. At least 3,000 people were killed immediately. Thousands more may have died later from the aftereffects, though the exact death toll remains unclear.More than 500,000 people were declared to be affected by the gas and awarded compensation, an average of $550. Some victims say they have yet to receive any money. Efforts to extradite Warren M. Anderson, the chief executive of Union Carbide at the time, from the United States continue, though apparently with little energy behind them...

Advocates for those who live near the site continue to hound the company and their government. They chain themselves to the prime minister’s residence one day and dog shareholder meetings on another, refusing to let Bhopal become the tragedy that India forgot. They insist that Dow Chemical Company, which bought Union Carbide in 2001, also bought its liabilities and should pay for the cleanup. “Had the toxic waste been cleaned up, the contaminated groundwater would not have happened,” says Mira Shiva, a doctor who heads the Voluntary Health Association, one of many groups pressing for Dow to take responsibility for the cleanup. “Dow was the first crime. The second crime was government negligence.” Dow, based in Michigan, says it bears no responsibility to clean up a mess it did not make. “As there was never any ownership, there is no responsibility and no liability — for the Bhopal tragedy or its aftermath,” Scot Wheeler, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail message. Mr. Wheeler pointed out that the former factory property, along with the waste it contained, had been turned over to the Madhya Pradesh State government in June 1998, and that “for whatever reason most of us do not know or fully understand, the site remains unremediated.” He went on to say that Dow could not finance remediation efforts, even if it wanted to, because it could potentially open up the company to further liabilities.

In a letter to the Indian ambassador to the United States in 2006, the Dow chairman, Andrew N. Liveris, sought assurance from the government that it would not be held liable for the mess on the old factory site, “in your efforts to ensure that we have the appropriate investment climate.”

The claims have divided the government itself. It is now in the throes of a debate over who will pay — a debate that might have taken place behind closed doors were it not for a series of public information requests by advocates for Bhopal residents that turned up revealing government correspondence.It showed that one arm of the government, the Chemicals and Petrochemicals Ministry, entrusted with the cleanup of the site, has wanted Dow to put down a $25 million deposit toward the cost of remediation, while other senior officials warned that forcing Dow’s hand could endanger future investments in the country....

Beyond who will pay for the cleanup here, the question is why 425 tons of hazardous waste — some allege there is a great deal more, buried in the factory grounds — remain here 24 years after the leak? There are many answers. The company was allowed to dump the land on the government before it was cleaned up. Lawsuits by advocacy groups are still winding their way through the courts. And a network of often lethargic, seemingly apathetic government agencies do not always coordinate with one another.
The result is a wasteland in the city’s heart. The old factory grounds, frozen in time, are an overgrown 11-acre forest of corroded tanks and pipes buzzing with cicadas, where cattle graze and women forage for twigs to cook their evening meal.

Since the disaster, ill-considered decisions on the part of local residents have only compounded the problems and heightened their health risks. Just beyond the factory wall is a blue-black open pit. Once the repository of chemical sludge from the pesticide plant, it is now a pond where slum children and dogs dive on hot afternoons. Its banks are an open toilet. In the rainy season, it overflows through the slum’s muddy alleys. The slum rose up shortly after the gas leak. Poor people flocked here, seeking cheap land, and put up homes right up to the edge of the sludge pond. Once, the pond was sealed with concrete and plastic. But in the searing heat, the concrete cover eventually collapsed.

The first tests of groundwater began, inexplicably, 12 years after the gas leak. The state pollution control board turned up traces of pesticides, including endosulfan, lindane, trichlorobenzene and DDT. Soil sediments were not tested. The water was never compared with water in other city neighborhoods. The pollution board saw no cause for alarm.
Nevertheless, in 2004, complaints from residents led the Supreme Court to order the state to supply clean drinking water to the people living around the factory. By then, nearly 20 years had gone by....
“It is a scandal that the hazardous wastes left behind by Union Carbide unattended for 20 years have now migrated below ground and contaminated the groundwater below the factory and in its neighborhood,” wrote Claude Alvares, a monitor for India’s Supreme Court, who visited here in March 2005.As his report went on to point out, the government was long ago made aware of the likelihood of contamination. A government research center warned more than 10 years ago that, if left untreated, the toxic residue on the factory grounds would seep into the soil and water.... The government suspended long-term public health studies many years ago... there is no way to know to what extent the water is to blame. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/07/world/asia/07bhopal.html?th&emc=th

Paid to obfuscate reasons behind predatory parasites' fear 'chaos and vulnerability': capitalist crises, class struggle and revolution
Age of Riches
Challenges of $600-a-Session Patients
Not long ago, a young titan of New York real estate sat in his psychotherapist’s office. An art collector, he was thinking of bidding about $8 million for a painting, and something about the deal made him uneasy....Dr. Karasu said the past few years had felt different to him. “The problems are the same, but the scale is different now,” he said. “Hedge funds — there is no product, only wealth. It is flabbergasting to my patients, too. They can make so much money at once and then lose it.” Dr. Karasu is chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. He has an office for private practice on 88th Street near Fifth Avenue. He charges $600 for a 45-minute session, seeing most of his patients at least twice a week...“For the average patient, the 45 minutes with a therapist is the most precious time. For this patient, it was just another activity superimposed on his schedule, and the therapist has to accommodate his way of being — like his trainer, his cook, his pilot, his administrative staff.” Dr. Karasu and several of his peers voiced a concern that a rich person today was ever more inclined to view his or her psychotherapist as nothing more than a highly skilled member of his personal army. Most of his patients have been “mega-successes, in very public industries...A good many work in the highest reaches of the financial sector..."...
It is not uncommon to find in wealthy and powerful patients an extremely low tolerance for frustration, the therapists said. Dr. Seth Aidinoff, a NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital psychiatrist who practices on the Upper East Side and also consults for hedge funds and Wall Street firms, illustrated the consequences with the Saturday-afternoon choice faced by “your typical master of the universe,” who can either play outside with his 7-year-old or stay inside to complete a business deal on the phone...
Because so much of ordinary life is built on small failures and frustrations, therapists see among this patient group a great disenchantment. The therapists cited familiar tropes of the new gilded age: the three-year renovation of a country house that becomes its own “infrastructure of entrapment,” as one therapist put it; the man so accustomed to travel by private jet and chauffeur that he develops a fear of airports and taxis. “It results in a fear of chaos and vulnerability” Dr. Aidinoff said....

While budget freeze with federally financed programs denied any funding increase for the coming year, Congress appropriated $130 million increase to Israel

U.S. last year gave Israel $2.38bn in military aid, and will give that amount in the coming fiscal year, along with an extra $150m.By July 2006 direct US aid to Israel reached $108bn according to conservative estimates. Dahr Jamail

Bipartisan unity
The Audacity of Imperial Airbrushing:
Barack Obama’s Whitewashed History of U.S. Foreign Policy
By Paul Street
“In Obama's world view, as in that of his Harvard friend and former foreign policy adviser Samantha Power, American crimes generally don't exist. They didn't happen.” Denial is serious business. “Candidate Obama's foreign policy pronouncements have been loaded with promises of future criminality under an Obama administration.”

The Bush administration has begun expanding the US Army and Marine Corps to create a combined strength of around 750,000 active duty troops - a process backed by Sen. Barack Obama ...McCain believes a combined strength of up to 900,000 troops is necessary.

"Black Ops" in Basra and Beyond (excerpt)
by Andrew G. Marshall
...Judicial Watch, a public interest group and government watchdog, sued to get Commerce Department documents pertaining to Cheney’s secret Energy Task Force meetings. The documents contained "a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and ‘Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts’." Further, "The Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) documents likewise feature a map of each country’s oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the projects, costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date."[39]

Months after the Battle at Basra and Cheney’s visit, the International Herald Tribune reported that, "The Iraqi Oil Ministry is negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell on a joint venture deal to develop natural gas associated with oil production in southern Iraq," and that, "The head of the Basra Economic Development Committee, Munadhil Abid Khanjar, said that Shell had approached the Oil Ministry last December with its plans and since then meetings have been held outside Iraq."[40] Two days later, it was reported that, "Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power." The main oil companies are "Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — [and they], along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq's Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq's largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat." It was further reported that, "The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India."[41]
So, if Cheney’s visit to Iraq was to do with oil, then, Mission Accomplished. However, it doesn’t seem likely that this was the reasoning behind the outbreak of violence in Basra. Surely, it was a topic of discussion between Cheney and Iraqi officials, however, it does not account for a push for violence in Basra, unless it is an issue of legitimizing a permanent occupation of the oil rich Basra province under the auspices of "stabilizing" the volatile region, but in reality, maintaining a presence there to protect the oil fields for Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, and BP.

The Provincial Elections
In February of 2008, it was reported that, "Iraq's three-member presidency council has rejected a draft law to hold provincial elections and returned it to parliament," and that, "The bill is expected to boost the powers of the provinces to launch their own economic projects with the money allocated by the central government."[42] Two days after Cheney’s visit, "Iraq's three-member presidential council on Wednesday approved legislation that sets a time frame for provincial elections, a development that Iraqi lawmakers called an important step toward reconciling rival factions in the divided government."[43] This appears to be following the directions of the Council on Foreign Relations, among many other think tanks, in balkanizing Iraq, or as they put it, reverting to a federal system. Although pushing for a federal system for Iraq came after initial calls for a "three state solution," as was the title of a Leslie Gelb article in the New York Times, who is President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.[44] The article he wrote called for the Balkanization of Iraq based upon the model of Yugoslavia, which, incidentally, was fractured largely through Western-financed, Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations in Bosnia and Kosovo.[45]

President Bush said in a speech on March 27, 2008, during the Battle of Basra, that, "Last week, leaders reached agreement on a provincial powers law that helps define Iraqi federalism, and sets the stage for provincial elections later this year. And that's an important piece of legislation because it will give Iraqis who boycotted the last provincial election -- such as Sunnis in Anbar or Ninewa provinces -- a chance to go to the polls and have a voice in their future."[46]

Reverting to a more federal system will allow for the political fracturing of Iraq. Not only will it separate the regions likely according to Sunni, Kurd and Shi’a factions, but it will allow bigger powers, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, to not have their influence threatened by any actual strengthened and united Iraqi federal government.

As the Berkeley Daily Planet reported after the Battle of Basra, Muqtada al-Sadr, as a nationalist, "supports a unified Iraq with a strong central government," while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has "pushed for dismembering Iraq into separate provinces dominated by the country’s three major ethnic groups—Sunnis in the west, Kurds in the north, and Shiites in the south. Since most of the oil reserves are in the south, as is the country’s only port, whoever controls the south essentially controls 70 percent of Iraq’s economy." Further, the provincial election law that was passed "sets up an October election in which the various provinces will vote on whether they want to remain a unified country or splinter into separate provinces."[47] The author stipulates that Maliki attacked Basra in an effort to win political points in driving out the militias in order to win the Basra provincial election come October, and thus, retain control over the oil reserves.

However, my problem with this hypothesis is that in the originally proposed recommendations from the Council on Foreign Relations in turning Iraq into a federal system, they state that oil laws are to be the prerogative of the federal government, not provincial.[48] Not to mention, Maliki has slim, if any chance, of ever winning the south of Iraq. Thus, it may be more likely that in attacking Basra, it creates great resentment among Shi’as and thusly, a federal political system will be so fractured and divided that it will likely lead to separation naturally. If the Iraqi provinces separated of their own accord, it would be harder to point the finger at the US for the balkanization of Iraq, which has long been a strategic aim.[49] [50] [51] When the US Senate passed a resolution in support of a federal system as a solution for Iraq, the Arab world, and even the Iraqi Prime Minister denounced it as an attempt to divide Iraq. But, if the Iraqi Parliament passes a law for provincial elections, which could lead to fracture, it is a "break through for democracy."...

On April 8, 2008, a week after the fighting in Basra reached a ceasefire, the Guardian reported that, "A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country," and that the "secret" and "sensitive" agreement was dated "March 7," and, "is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to "conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security" without time limit."[59]

On June 5, it was reported by the Independent that, "A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November," and that, "Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country." Further, "Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government."

Iran test-fires missiles in Persian Gulf
Iran test-fired nine long- and medium-range missiles Wednesday July 9, 2008 during war games that officials say are in response to U.S. and Israeli threats...
Oil prices jumped on news of the missile tests, rising US$1.44 to US$137.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The military exercise was being conducted at the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf through which about 40 percent of the world's oil passes. Iran has threatened to shut down traffic in the strait if attacked. It was not clear, however, whether the missile test also took place near the strait.
Gen. Hossein Salami, the air force commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, said the exercise would "demonstrate our resolve and might against enemies who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with harsh language"...

Iran successfully tests long-range missile:
Iran's Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says the country's missile capabilities will be used to protect the nation from invaders. IRGC Naval Commander Morteza Saffari said various missile, rocket and torpedo launchers as well as military vessels and land-to-sea missiles were tested during the exercise.

6/30/08 (CNN) -- The Bush administration has launched a "significant escalation" of covert operations in Iran, sending U.S. commandos to spy on the country's nuclear facilities and undermine the Islamic republic's government, journalist Seymour Hersh said Sunday. White House, CIA and State Department officials declined comment on Hersh's report in this week's issue of The New Yorker.

6/20/08 U.S. Says Israeli Exercise Seemed Directed at Iran
WASHINGTON — Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said. The exercise also included Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refueling tankers flew more than 900 miles, which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said....One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles....
Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister who is now a deputy prime minister, warned in a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot that Israel might have no choice but to attack. “If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack,” Mr. Mofaz said in the interview published on June 6, the day after the unpublicized exercise ended. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable.” But Mr. Mofaz was criticized by other Israeli politicians as seeking to enhance his own standing as questions mount about whether the embattled Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, can hang on to power.Israeli officials have told their American counterparts that Mr. Mofaz’s statement does not represent official policy. But American officials were also told that Israel had prepared plans for striking nuclear targets in Iran and could carry them out if needed...
Iran has shown signs that it is taking the Israeli warnings seriously, by beefing up its air defenses in recent weeks, including increasing air patrols. In one instance, Iran scrambled F-4 jets to double-check an Iraqi civilian flight from Baghdad to Tehran.“They are clearly nervous about this and have their air defense on guard,” a Bush administration official said of the Iranians...
Iran is also taking steps to better defend its nuclear facilities.

7/2/8 Iran open to idea of US diplomatic presence in Tehran: Mottaki
By Masood Haider
Time reported that Mottaki "suggested that compromise might be reached on the nuclear issue" Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said his government might consider the American idea of opening a US diplomatic section in Tehran.The Iranian foreign minister in New York to attend a meeting of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, said Iran supported academic and sport exchanges between the two countries.He told reporters that Tehran had issued more visas to US journalists and others to visit Iran as compared to Washington, which was still reluctant to grant visas to Iranians.... At present, Swiss diplomats represent U.S. interests in Tehran. In Washington, Iranian officials staff an interests section in the Pakistani Embassy.
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/07/02/iran.us/index.html http://www.dawn.com/2008/07/04/top13.htm

" All should urge US, UK to dismantle their nuclear weapons...
As I have said the era of domination, unilateralism, discrimination and bullying is now over."
"Why should the US administration be allowed to produce nuclear bombs and use it against people but other nations should be deprived of benefiting from peaceful nuclear energy?...The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has time and again declared that Iran's nuclear activities are of peaceful nature...The time is ripe for world nations to urge the US and UK to destroy their nuclear weapons and if this happens there will remain no concern about existence of nuclear weapons in the world" ...
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

India close to U.S. nuclear deal
India's prime minister went to the Group of Eight summit meeting in Japan on Monday with his government intact and enough political strength to complete a landmark nuclear agreement with the United States, ending months of speculation that either his government or the agreement, on which he has staked his reputation, would collapse... The nuclear agreement would allow India access to nuclear fuel and technology on the world market.... The deal would reverse three decades of U.S. policy by allowing the sale of atomic fuel and technology to India

"If the real deployment of an American strategic missile defence shield begins close to our borders, then we will be forced to react not with diplomatic methods, but with military-technical methods," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its www.mid.ru website.

Surprisingly, Oil Declines for 2nd Day
July 8
They also noted that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran had dismissed the possibility that war with the United States and Israel was imminent in remarks to reporters in Kuala Lumpur, relieving worries that Iran might try to block oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz....
But the factors bringing down oil prices over the last two days could be short-lived. Traders have been using oil as a hedge against the dollar in recent years, and there is no assurance the dollar will strengthen for long if the economy further weakens. Another hurricane could develop at any time, and the strongest normally come in August and September. Tensions in the Middle East, Nigeria and other oil-producing areas can always erupt to put pressure on tight reserves.
“I don’t think there has been any change in the overall direction of the oil market,” said Addison Armstrong, director of market research at Tradition Energy, an energy broker that deals with banks and hedge funds. “The bias is still clearly to the upside, with $150 firmly in the sights of traders.” (emphasis added)

crude propaganda to blame Iran
Oil Rebounds on Iranian Missile Launches
July 9
Oil prices rose Wednesday after a U.S. government report showed crude stockpiles fell more than expected and Iran test-fired nine missiles, including a type capable of reaching Israel. Light, sweet crude for August delivery is up 69 cents at $136.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, although prices alternated between gains and losses as traders parsed details of the inventory report following its midmorning release....Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards fired the missiles during war games that officials said were meant to show that key oil producer can retaliate against a U.S. or Israeli attack, state television reported. The barrage was said to include a new version of the Shahab-3 missile, which officials have said has a range of 1,250 miles. That makes it capable of striking Israel, Turkey, the Arabian peninsula, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Gen. Hossein Salami, a top commander, was quoted as saying the exercise ''is to demonstrate our resolve and might against enemies who in recent weeks have threatened Iran with harsh language.''A day earlier, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed fears that Israel and the United States could be preparing to attack his country, calling the possibility a ''funny joke.'' ''Iran is certainly sending mixed signals,'' said Victor Shum at Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. ''There was an apparent easing of tensions, but then the missile tests had an impact on prices today.''Iran is the world's fourth-largest oil producer and OPEC's second-largest exporter. Oil traders fear any military conflict could prompt Iran to block the Strait of Hormuz, a passageway that handles about 40 percent of the world's tanker traffic.

Fear for Colombian Hostages Still in Jungle
...Mr. Uribe’s government said Monday it preferred to negotiate directly with the FARC, effectively cutting out foreign mediators, after Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said evidence had surfaced on FARC computer files recovered in March that a Swiss emissary may have carried $500,000 for the FARC to Costa Rica.... The disconnect between the famous hostages rescued last week and the largely obscure captives remaining with the FARC is not lost on Gustavo Moncayo, the father of a soldier kidnapped 11 years ago.... Mr. Moncayo, 56, walked 600 miles from his town in southern Nariño Province to Bogotá to call attention to his son’s captivity.
Mr. Moncayo said his hopes for a negotiated release of his son and other captives had dimmed in recent days. “The humanitarian effort will be made harder because this operation generates distrust,” he said. “How are we going to ask international groups to collaborate with us and for the FARC to accept them when they have been fooled?”

... a doctor at the Brooke Army Medical Center, where the men have been undergoing medical tests and a heavily shielded reintegration process since last week said they had not shown any significant medical problems, and called them “very strong and very adaptive.” ... He called FARC “a terrorist group with a capital T,” and said most of the rebels were uneducated, poverty-stricken youths who were unable to escape the organization.“They are brainwashed into believing that their cause is a just cause, but once they join they can never leave,” Mr. Gonsalves said. “If they try, they will be killed.” {projecting?} ... http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/08/us/08freed.html?th&emc=th

FARC leaders paid millions to free hostages: Swiss radio
PARIS (Thomson Financial) - Leaders of the Colombian FARC rebel movement were paid millions of dollars to free Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages, Swiss radio said on Friday, quoting 'a reliable source'. The 15 hostages released on Wednesday by the Colombian army 'were in reality ransomed for a high price, and the whole operation afterwards was a set-up,' the radio's French-language channel said... the United States, which had three of its citizens among those freed, was behind the deal, it put the price of the ransom at some $20 million.The radio said its source was 'close to the events, reliable and tested many times in recent years.'...
U.S. ambassador to Bogota William Brownfield also told CNN that Washington had provided 'technical support,' while Colombian Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos insisted it was a '100 percent Colombian' effort....The top U.S. military officer for Latin America, Admiral Jim Stavridis, head of United States Southern Command, said the rescue of Americans Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell, on a Pentagon anti-drug mission in 2003, had been 'a priority of this command'.
The operation enhanced Uribe's prestige as he seeks a third term in office, and enabled him to stick to his line of no talks with the rebels without the hostages being freed, the radio noted. tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomsonreuters.com http://www.forbes.com/afxnewslimited/feeds/afx/2008/07/04/afx5184293.htm...

Exposing the phony socialism that masks capitalist power politics
Quietly, Brazil Eclipses an Ally
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil clasped hands here at a summit meeting late last month, as employees of Venezuela’s state oil company raised their fists and shouted Cuban-inspired socialist slogans before the cameras...an image of solidarity that might once have alarmed Washington, which has seen the United States’ standing steadily eroded by a shift toward left-leaning, populist leaders across the region in the last decade. But the carefully orchestrated event disguised a more recent turn in Latin America that presents new opportunities for the United States... Amid the decline of American influence in the region, the Brazilian president is discreetly outflanking Mr. Chávez at almost every turn in the struggle for leadership in South America. Mr. Chávez has been nationalizing foreign companies and trying to assemble an anti-American bloc of nations. His regional credentials suffered last week, though, when his ideological rival, President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia, organized a dramatic rescue of 15 hostages held in the jungle by Colombian rebels.... In the security realm, Mr. Chávez was upstaged on Wednesday when the Colombian military executed an elaborate rescue of 15 hostages, among them three American military contractors and Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian presidential candidate who was considered a key bargaining chip for the rebel group known as FARC. The Venezuelan leader has successfully negotiated with the FARC for the release of six hostages since January. But his own ties with the group have come under such scrutiny that he has found himself calling for the FARC to give up its armed struggle. Mr. da Silva seemed to steal the spotlight from Mr. Chávez in March when Brazil proposed a South American defense council that would serve as a southern version of NATO. Mr. Chávez hailed the effort, though his own efforts in 1999 to create such an alliance fell on deaf ears. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed support for the idea during a recent swing through Brazil, saying she trusted the Brazilian leadership to carry out the project. Brazil also leads the main United Nations peacekeeping mission in the region, in Haiti, where it has 1,200 soldiers.... http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/07/world/americas/07brazil.html?th&emc=th

oxymoron: "socialist" peace with imperialism
from Reflections by Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz
July 4, 2008
Cuban News Agency
...Yesterday, an important event took place, which will be an issue the following days. This is the release of Ingrid Betancourt and a group of people held by the FARC, that is, the Revolutionary Armed Forces from Colombia. On January 10th this year, our ambassador to Venezuela, German Sanchez, following a request of the Venezuelan and Colombian governments, took part in the release of Clara Rojas to the International Red Cross. She had been a candidate to vice President of Colombia when Ingrid Betancourt was running for President and was kidnapped on February 23, 2002. Consuelo Gonzalez, a member of the House of Representatives, kidnapped on September 10, 2001, was released with her.
An era of peace was opening for Colombia. This is a process Cuba has been supporting for over two decades, as it is most convenient for the unity and peace of the peoples of our America, using new ways in the special and complex circumstances prevailing after the demise of the USSR in the early 1990s —which I wont try to analyze here— very different from those existing in Cuba, Nicaragua and other countries in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s of the 20th century.... Ingrid Betancourt, feeble and sick, as well as other captives with a serious health condition could hardly resist any longer.Out of a basically humanist sentiment, we rejoiced at the news that Ingrid Betancourt, three American citizens and other captives had been released. The civilians should have never been kidnapped neither should the militaries have been kept prisoners in the conditions of the jungle. These were objectively cruel actions. No revolutionary purpose could justify it....http://www.voltairenet.org/article157630.html

authorization for increased planetary destruction
Richest Nations Pledge to Halve Greenhouse Gas

AP report missing from NYT...
Cheney censored climate testimony, EPA official says
WASHINGTON -- Seeking to play down the effects of global warming, Vice President Dick Cheney's office pushed to delete from congressional testimony references about the consequences of climate change on public health, a former senior EPA official... Jason Burnett, said the White House was concerned that the proposed testimony last October by the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might make it tougher to avoid regulating greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.... conflicts with the White House explanation at the time that the deletions reflected concerns by the White House Office of Science and Technology over the accuracy of the science.Burnett, until last month a senior adviser on climate change at the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote that Cheney's office was deeply involved in getting nearly half of the CDC's original draft testimony removed. "The Council on Environmental Quality and the office of the vice president were seeking [GOT 6 OF 14 pg.] deletions to the CDC testimony (concerning) ... any discussions of the human health consequences of climate change," Burnett wrote. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/370044_cheney09.html

corporate safety guard-dogs
US agriculture secretary confident meat is safe
SCHUYLER, Neb. -- The U.S. agriculture secretary expressed confidence in the nation's food safety system, but said the meat processing industry will always face challenges because the bacteria that animals carry evolves. "I don't think we'll ever see a totally bacteria-free environment in the United States," Ed Schafer said Tuesday during a visit of several Nebraska meat processing plants. His tour didn't include the Nebraska Beef Ltd. plant in Omaha, which recalled 5.3 million pounds of meat last week that has been linked to 41 E. coli infections in Michigan and Ohio.
Schafer's tour was designed to showcase innovative ways companies are working to keep meat safe.... a change in USDA regulations in the late 1990s that gave slaughterhouses more responsibility for devising their own safety checklists. That policy, critics say, places slaughterhouses on an honor system
Schafer doesn't think innovative food safety measures like the ones he saw in Nebraska should necessarily be required for all plants because each company chooses what works for them.

U.S. health care system [SIC] rated worst
"Given that all [developed] countries other than the U.S. have universal health care systems in place, this may invite questions why the U.S. remains the only wealthy, industrialized country without such a system,"
Harris Poll president George Terhanian

official unemployment numbers include only those actually receiving benefits
Long-term unemployment in the US climbs 37 percent in one year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

screw the screwed workers
Pension Plans Suffer Huge Losses
Report says weak markets, credit crunch have drained $280 billion from plans of largest U.S. companies... Falling stock markets around the globe and the credit crunch are putting the pension funds of some of the largest U.S. companies into deeper financial holes, according to a report released Monday. Since the credit crunch hit last fall, pension plans funded by S&P 1500 companies have lost about $280 billion in assets...

Deliberately confounding opposites: corporations get bail-out, debt write-offs, individuals get screwed
U.S. businesses to file for bankruptcy protection at a higher annualized rate than individuals, according to data compiled from June court records.Bankruptcy filings in the U.S. during the month rose 33 percent from a year earlier and may surpass 1 million in a year for the first time since bankruptcy laws were tightened in October 2005.
Individuals this year have filed at an annualized rate that is 23 percent above 2007, while total commercial bankruptcies rose 34 percent, data compiled by Jupiter eSources in Oklahoma City show. Companies filing for Chapter 11 reorganization also rose at an annual rate of 34 percent above the 6,241 filings in 2007.
[Individuals] Filings fell sharply in late 2005 and early 2006 after consumers jammed the courts in advance of changes in bankruptcy law effective October 2005 that made it harder for people to erase debt. In the two weeks before the new law, 630,000 Americans sought bankruptcy protection, bringing total filings in 2005 to a record 2.1 million. There were 590,500 filings in 2006 and 827,000 in 2007.

Home Prices Fall in 23 of 25 U.S. Metropolitan Areas
July 7 (Bloomberg) -- Home values fell in 23 of 25 U.S. metropolitan areas in April, according to Radar Logic Inc., as sales of a record number of foreclosed homes pushed prices down..."Prices are going down so fast they can't go down much longer,'' said Christopher Thornberg, president of Beacon Economics LLC in Los Angeles, who predicts a total decline of 30 percent nationally in the housing recession. ``We've never seen prices fall like this.''
Foreclosures, which reached a record high of 2.47 percent of U.S. homes in March ['motivated sales'] sell for less than occupied homes and lower the average selling price of all homes by 6 percent, according to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. economists... "The percentage of transactions by motivated sellers is increasing,'' Feder said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. ``It's very difficult to tell if any of these markets are any closer to hitting bottom.'' The national average ["of households that either received a notice of default, got a warning their home was being auctioned, or had their house repossessed by a lender] was one in every 483 households....

Advertisement: Top hedge fund managers reveal how they profit in good times and bad.

Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/

good news...

At long last, The Memory Hole, my website devoted (mainly) to digging up official documents, has relaunched. Here's the first, introductory post, with a greatest hits recap:

Some new things:

FBI's summer reading list

15,000 more Iraq detainees by year-end (in addition to the 60,000 so far)