4/21 Piecing It Together: Crisis with Friendlier Facade Gets U.S. Back on Neoliberal Brzezinski-Kissinger Geostrategic Track

President Obama's decision not to prosecute CIA interrogators who used waterboarding on terrorism suspects amounts to a breach of international law, the U.N. rapporteur on torture said.

The United States spends two times more on its military than all the other 200 or so countries of the world, combined.

Note: there is no 'debate' about u.s. 'past' -- or future of increasing u.s. control via soft power 'strategic non-violence'
"I didn’t come here to debate the past. I came here to deal with the future."
PRESIDENT OBAMA, pledging to seek a new beginning with Cuba.

"reaching out to enemies strengthens our hand"
Mr. Obama said, “that if our only interaction with many of these countries is drug interdiction, if our only interaction is military, then we may not be developing the connections that can, over time, increase our influence.” The White House seemed sensitive to the criticism. David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama, said on the CBS Program “Face the Nation” Venezuela must “stop this sort of rampant and tasteless anti-Americanism.”... conflicting sentiments underscored the delicate path Mr. Obama is charted for himself at the Summit of the Americas, which brought together 34 leaders from the Western Hemisphere. On the one hand, the president wants to heal old wounds and demonstrate that he is serious about listening to the concerns of other leaders. On the other hand, he does not want to be seen as soft on countries that pose serious human rights concerns.

U.S. / Obama back on Brzezinski & co. neoliberal track, focused against 2 major rivals Russia & China
‘Eurasia is home to most of the world's politically assertive and dynamic states. All the historical pretenders to global power originated in Eurasia. The world's most populous aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic challengers to American primacy. After the United States, the next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as are all but one of the world's overt nuclear powers, and all but one of the covert ones. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of the world's population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia's potential power overshadows even America's.
‘Eurasia is the world's axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world's three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy….’

1997 A Geostrategy For Eurasia
by Zbigniew Brzezinski
Foreign Affairs,76:5, September/October 1997 Council on Foreign Relations Inc.

u.s. basic NSS global domination principle still operative
Pentagon's Plan: 'Prevent the Re-Emergence of a New Rival'
NYT March 8, 1992
Following excerpts from Pentagon's Feb. 18 draft of Defense Planning Guidance for the Fiscal Years 1994-1999: This Defense Planning guidance addresses the fundamentally new situation which has been created by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of the internal as well as the external empire, and the discrediting of Communism as an ideology with global pretensions and influence. The new international environment has also been shaped by the victory of the United States and its coalition allies over Iraqi aggression -- the first post-cold-war conflict and a defining event in U.S. global leadership. In addition to these two victories, there has been a less visible one, the integration of Germany and Japan into a U.S.-led system of collective security and the creation of a democratic "zone of peace.

Russia in the crosshairs
Turkey, Washington’s geopolitical pivot
by F. William Engdahl
April 17, 2009
President Barack Obama’s stop in Turkey was hardly an afterthought, a "while I’m in the neighborhood" visit and it was far more momentous than the president’s speech would suggest. For Washington, Turkey today has become a geopolitical “pivot state” which is in the position to tilt the Eurasian power equation towards Washington or significantly away from it, depending on how Turkey develops its ties with Moscow and its role regarding key energy pipelines....

Turkey is the key link in this complex game of geopolitical balance of power between Washington and Moscow. If Turkey decides to collaborate with Russia, Georgia’s position becomes very insecure and Azerbaijan’s possible pipeline route to Europe is blocked. If Turkey decides to cooperate with Washington and at the same time reaches a stable agreement with Armenia under US guidance, Russia’s entire position in the Caucasus is weakened and an alternative route for natural gas to Europe becomes available, reducing Russian leverage against Western Europe.

A Turkish opening to Armenia would alter the balance of power in the entire region. Since the August 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict, the Caucasus, a strategically vital area to Moscow, has been unstable. Russian troops remain in South Ossetia. Russia also has troops in Armenia meaning Russia has Georgia surrounded.... Obama chose not to cause a pointless confrontation with a Europe that is out of options. Instead, Obama completed his trip by going to Turkey to discuss what the treaty with Armenia means and to try to convince the Turks to play for high stakes by challenging Russia in the Caucasus, rather than playing Russia’s junior partner.
The most important Obama speech in his European tour came after Turkey won key posts in the NATO political structure with US backing. In his speech, Obama sided with Turkey against the EU and in effect showed Turkey Washington was behind her. Obama’s speech addressed Turkey as an emerging regional power, which was well received in Ankara. The sweet words will cost Turkey dearly if it acts on them.

Moscow is not sitting passively by as Washington woos Turkey....

The stakes in this complex three-way Great Game for domination of Eurasia have been raised significantly following the Obama trip to Ankara. Turkey imports 65 percent of its natural gas and 25 percent of its oil from Russia. Therefore, Turkey is also developing a growing dependency on Russian energy resources, including coal. On March 27, a memorandum was signed between the Azerbaijani oil company SOCAR and Russia’s Gazprom. ...
Obama strategy is clearly not less confrontational with Russia. It is merely playing with a slightly different deck of cards than did Cheney and Bush.

Color Revolutions, Geopolitics and the Baku Pipeline
By F William Engdahl
...The current Washington strategy targets many Eurasian former Soviet republics which per se have no known oil or gas reserves. What they do have, however, is strategic military or geopolitical significance for the Washington policy of dominating the future of Eurasia. That policy has China as its geopolitical, economic and military fulcrum. A look at the Eurasian map and at the target countries for various US-sponsored Color Revolutions makes this unmistakeably clear. To the east of the Caspian Sea, Washington in one degree or another today controls Pakistan, Afghanistan, potentially Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. These serve as a potential US-controlled barrier or buffer zone between China and Russian, Caspian and Iranian energy sources.
Washington is out to deny China easy land access to either Russia, the Middle East or to the oil and gas fields of the Caspian Sea.....

The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was originally proclaimed by BP and others as The Project of the Century. Zbigniew Brzezinski was a consultant to BP during the Clinton era, urging Washington to back the project. In fact, it was Brzezinski who went to Baku in 1995, unofficially, on behalf of President Clinton to meet with then-Azeri President Haidar Aliyev, in order to negotiate new independent Baku pipeline routes including what became the BTC pipeline.

Brzezinski also sits on the board of an impressive, if little-known, US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC). The chairman of USACC in Washington is Tim Cejka, President of ExxonMobil Exploration. Other USACC Board members include Henry Kissinger, and James Baker III, the man who in 2003 personally went to Tbilisi to tell Shevardnadze that Washington wanted him to step aside in favor of the US-trained Georgian President Mikhail Shaakashvili. Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Adviser to George H.W. Bush, also sits on the board of USACC today. And Dick Cheney was a former board member before he became Vice President. A more high-powered Washington team of geopolitical fixers would be hard to imagine. This group of prominent individuals certainly would not give a minute of their time unless an area was of utmost geopolitical strategic importance to the United States...

Kyrgystan has joined the growing list of Eurasian republics facing major threat of regime change or color revolution. The success of former Kyrgystan Prime Minister Kurmanbek Bakiev in replacing ousted President Askar Akayev in that country’s so-called ‘Tulip Revolution,’ becoming interim President until July Presidential elections, invited inevitable comparisons with the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, or the Georgian Rose Revolution.

Washington’s Radio Liberty has gone to great lengths to explain that the Kyrgystan opposition is not a US operation, but a genuine spontaneous grass roots phenomenon. The facts speak a different story however. According to reports from mainstream US journalists, including Craig Smith in the New York Times and Philip Shishkin in the Wall Street Journal, the opposition in Kyrgystan has had ‘more than a little help from US friends’ to paraphrase the Beatles song. Under the Freedom Support Act of the US Congress, in 2004 the dirt poor country of Kyrgystan got a total of $12 million in US government funds... Edil Baisolov, in a comment on the February-March anti-government protests, boasted, ‘It would have been absolutely impossible for this to have happened without that help.’ According to the New York Times’ Smith, Baisolov's organization, the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Rights, is financed by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a Washington-based nonprofit organization in turn funded by Condi Rice’s State Department. Baisolov told Radio Liberty he had been to Ukraine to witness the tactics of their Orange Revolution, and got inspired.

But that isn’t all. The whole cast of democracy characters has been busy in Bishkek and environs supporting American-style democracy and opposing ‘anti-American tyranny.’ Washington’s Freedom House has generously financed Bishkek’s independent printing press which prints the opposition paper, ‘MSN,’ according to its man on the scene, Mike Stone. Freedom House is an organization with a fine-sounding name and a long history since it was set up in the late 1940’s to back the creation of NATO. The chairman of Freedom House is James Woolsey, former CIA director who calls the present series of regime changes from Baghdad to Kabul, ‘World War IV.’ Other trustees include the ubiquitous Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Clinton Commerce Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, and National Security Adviser Anthony Lake. Freedom House lists USAID, US Information Agency, Soros Foundations and the National Endowment for Democracy, among its financial backers.

One more of the many NGO’s active in promoting the new democracy in Kyrgystan is the Civil Society Against Corruption, financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).The NED which, with Freedom House, has been at the center of all the major Color Revolutions in recent years, was created during the Reagan Administration to function as a de facto privatized CIA, privatized so as to allow more freedom of action, or what the CIA likes to call ‘plausible deniability.’ NED chairman Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman is close to neo-conservative Bill Bennett. NED President since 1984 is Carl Gershman, who had previously been a Freedom House Scholar. NATO General Wesley Clark, the man who led the US bombing of Serbia in 1999, also sits on the NED Board. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, said in 1991, ‘A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.’ ... Not to be forgotten, and definitely not least in Kyrgystan’s ongoing Tulip Revolution is George Soros’ Open Society Institute -- which also poured money into the Serbian, Georgian and Ukraine Color Revolutions.

The head of the Civil Society Against Corruption in Kyrgystan is Tolekan Ismailova, who organized the translation and distribution of the revolutionary manual used in Serbia, Ukraine and Georgia written by Gene Sharp, founder of a curiously-named Albert Einstein Institution in Boston. Sharp's book, a how-to manual for the color revolutions is titled ‘From Dictatorship to Democracy.’ It includes tips on nonviolent resistance -- such as ‘display of flags and symbolic colors’ -- and civil disobedience. Sharp’s book is literally the bible of the Color Revolutions, a kind of ‘regime change for dummies.’ Sharp created his Albert Einstein Institution in 1983, with backing from Harvard University. It is funded by the US Congress’ NED and the Soros Foundations, to train people in and to study the theories of ‘non-violence as a form of warfare.’ Sharp has worked with NATO and the CIA over the years training operators in Burma/Myanmar, Lithuania, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine to Taiwan, Tibet, Venezuela and Iraq. In short virtually every regime which has been the target of a US-backed soft coup in the past twenty years has involved Gene Sharp and usually, his associate, Col. Robert Helvey, a retired US Army intelligence specialist. Notably, Sharp was in Beijing two weeks before student demonstrations at Tiananmen Square in 1989. The Pentagon and US intelligence have refined the art of such soft coups to a fine level. RAND planners call it ‘swarming,’ referring to the swarms of youth, typically linked by SMS and web blogs, who can be mobilized on command to destabilize a target regime.[...]

China lays down the Gauntlet in Energy War
F. William Engdahl
December 15, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) inaugurated an oil pipeline running from Kazakhstan to northwest China. The pipeline will undercut the geopolitical significance of the Washington-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)oil pipeline which opened this past summer amid big fanfare and support from Washington. The geopolitical chess game for the control of the energy flows of Central Asia and overall of Eurasia from the Atlantic to the China Sea is sharply evident in the latest developments.
Making the Kazakh-China oil pipeline link even more politically interesting, from the standpoint of an emerging Eurasian move towards some form of greater energy independence from Washington, is the fact that China is reportedly considering asking Russian companies to help it fill the pipeline with oil, until Kazakh supply is sufficient.
The December China-Kazakhstan pipeline opening is one part of a massive Chinese plan to secure as much Kazakh oil riches as possible. The Chinese plan to connect several pieces of infrastructure - part Soviet-built, part Chinese-built - then reverse the flow of some of them and forge a new export corridor stretching from Kazakhstan's oil-rich Caspian basin, including Kashagan, through a series of western and central-Kazakh oil zones, and ultimately into China. With completion of this major project, China will for the first time have secured a source of imported energy not vulnerable to US aircraft carrier battle groups, as is the case with present oil deliveries from the Persian Gulf and Sudan. ......

Beijing has also studied the Washington-backed series of regime changes across Central Asia and the "color revolutions" from Georgia to Ukraine and most recently Kyrgystan, and has evidently decided to "nip in the bud" any similar non-governmental organization efforts within China, or in areas strategic to long-term China energy security.
Kyrgystan's "Tulip" revolution last July sounded alarm bells in Beijing. Possible Chinese pipeline links to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and or Russia would clearly be threatened by a ring of new pro-North Atlantic Treaty Organization neighbors and states between western China and its potential oil sources. Their alarm led to warmer ties between Uzbekistan's Karimov and Beijing in recent months, as well as an invitation from Moscow-tied Belarus President Yuri Lukashenko....
Some Chinese apparently call it the Battle of the Two Georges - George Bush and global financier George Soros. The Foreign Policy piece continues:
Perhaps the most telling sign of China's concern has been its crackdown on non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Beijing believes that international organizations, especially advocacy NGOs, have acted as Washington's "black hands" behind the recent regime changes in Central Asia. A recent issue of a biweekly journal run by the Communist Party Propaganda Department referred to Washington's "$1 billion annual budget for global democratization" and identified NGOs such as the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the US Institute of Peace and the Open Society Institute as organizations that "brainwash" local people and train political oppositions.[...]

China-U.S. Relations: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy
Congressional Research Service, April 2, 2009

....China’s Foreign Relations
China’s robust international engagement since 2000 has caught some by surprise and has
prompted growing American debate over the PRC’s motivations and objectives. The fact that
much of this international engagement has expanded while the United States has been
preoccupied with its military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has caused a certain degree of
American introspection. Of particular concern are the implications that China’s growing
international engagement could have for its “soft power” projection around the world, and
consequently what this means for U.S. economic and strategic interests.
Experience shows that abrupt, unexplained shifts in policy still occur with a fair degree of
regularity in the PRC system. Still, some fundamental objectives appear to be motivating
Beijing’s foreign policy outreach. These include an imperative to promote and enhance China’s
economic development, particularly its voracious appetite for energy resources and raw materials
to sustain its impressive annual growth rate; an effort to separate Taiwan from its 23 remaining
official relationships; and a desire to increase China’s international stature and compete more
successfully with U.S. supremacy. To achieve these ends, China in recent years has crafted
multiple bilateral agreements and partnerships, joined and become more active in existing
multilateral organizations, and founded new multilateral institutions that tend to exclude the United States.

China’s foreign policy approach has several competitive advantages over the United States. The
unrestricted nature of Beijing’s overseas loans and investments is attractive to foreign
governments wanting solutions to their development problems that in many cases are swifter,
more efficient, and less intrusive than western lenders can offer. Beijing’s large state-owned
companies, with deep pockets and no shareholders to answer to, also can afford short-term losses
in pursuit of longer-term, more strategic gains. But China’s approach also has structural
limitations in areas where the United States is strong. Beijing’s foreign development policy
operates from a narrower base, with China’s “win-win” approach tackling easy issues first and
postponing difficult issues, perhaps indefinitely. Acquiring an international presence also brings
certain complications that are new to the PRC, including multiple opportunities for international
misunderstanding, resentment, and cultural backlash. Finally, unlike the United States, China
lacks the advantage of a substantial private-sector investment presence overseas.

Still it is clear that China increasingly is competing more directly with the United States both
economically and politically in the international arena. For instance, in 2005, China took part in
the first East Asia Summit (EAS), a fledgling grouping of 16 Asian and Pacific nations including
China, the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, South
Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand, but excluding the United States.56 The next EAS
summit – the fourth since 2005 – is expected to be held in Thailand in April 2009. China also has
pursued both economic and security arrangements with the Central Asian countries of the former
Soviet Union, including Russia, through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), founded
in 2001.57 Within the SCO context, China has cooperated on border enforcement, signed pipeline
and rail link agreements, and conducted joint military maneuvers. The PRC held joint military
exercises with Russia in 2005 (“Peace Mission 2005”) and with Russia and the other members of
the SCO (“Peace Mission 2007”).

China also is becoming an increasing competitor to the United States for influence and access to
energy resources in the Middle East. PRC President Hu Jintao made an official state visit to Saudi
Arabia February 10-12, 2009, in a move to strengthen Sino-Saudi Arabian energy ties. In
addition, China’s trade with the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has steadily
increased in recent years, reportedly reaching $32 billion in 2005 (although this is still small by
comparison with the United States, whose total trade with Saudi Arabia alone in 2005 was
approximately $34 billion).58 In January 2009, PRC Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with
Oman’s Foreign Minister, Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, to discuss China’s willingness to
improve Sino-Arab cooperation, including efforts to resolve Palestinian-Israeli conflicts.59 In
addition, the PRC in December 2008 began to provide navy task forces to protect its commercial
ships navigating the Gulf of Aden from Somali pirate attacks. This is the first time in modern
history that the PRC has deployed its navy for an operational mission.

PRC relations with some countries considered to be “bad actors” have been particularly
nettlesome for U.S. policy. China has cultivated resource-rich African nations such as Sudan and
Angola for energy-related development, for instance, despite increasing U.S. and international
pressure on Beijing to influence the Sudanese government to do more to resolve the humanitarian
crisis in Darfur. U.S. officials also find PRC relations with Iran problematic, seeing U.S.-
sponsored diplomatic pressure against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program as being
hampered by PRC opposition to U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran.

The PRC’s growing international outreach also extends to U.S. allies. China has been courting the
European Union (EU) intensively. PRC Premier Wen Jiabao made an early visit in 2009 to six
countries in Europe (excluding France, reportedly because of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s
decision in December 2008 to meet with the Dalai Lama). On October 24, 2006, the European
Commission released a new paper to the European Parliament entitled “EU-China: Closer
Partners, Growing Responsibilities.” The document reinforced the trends once remarked upon by
then-European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso—that the EU considers China a
“strategic partner” and has made developing Sino-EU ties “one of our top foreign policy
objectives in the years to come.”60 Finally, China has expanded its economic and trade
relationships with Latin American and Caribbean countries. In September 2004, China sent a
“special police” contingent to Haiti, marking Beijing’s first deployment of forces ever in the
Western Hemisphere. The PRC signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Chile in 2005, and in
2007 surpassed the United States as Chile’s largest trading partner. 61 Beijing built upon this
foundation in November 2008, signing another FTA with Peru, a mineral-rich country with large
deposits of copper and iron ore. [...]

Taliban Exploit Class Rifts in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — The Taliban have advanced deeper into Pakistan by engineering a class revolt that exploits profound fissures between a small group of wealthy landlords and their landless tenants, according to government officials and analysts here.

In Swat, accounts from those who have fled now make clear that the Taliban seized control by pushing out about four dozen landlords who held the most power. The strategy cleared a path to power for the Taliban in the Swat Valley, where the government allowed Islamic law to be imposed this week, and it carries broad dangers for the rest of Pakistan, particularly the militants’ main goal, the populous heartland of Punjab Province....The approach allowed the Taliban to offer economic spoils to people frustrated with lax and corrupt government even as the militants imposed a strict form of Islam through terror and intimidation.

“This was a bloody revolution in Swat,” said a senior Pakistani official who oversees Swat, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation by the Taliban. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it sweeps the established order of Pakistan.” The Taliban’s ability to exploit class divisions adds a new dimension to the insurgency and is raising alarm about the risks to Pakistan, which remains largely feudal. Unlike India after independence in 1947, Pakistan maintained a narrow landed upper class that kept its vast holdings while its workers remained subservient, the officials and analysts said. Successive Pakistani governments have since failed to provide land reform and even the most basic forms of education and health care. Avenues to advancement for the vast majority of rural poor do not exist. Analysts and other government officials warn that the strategy executed in Swat is easily transferable to Punjab, saying that the province, where militant groups are already showing strength, is ripe for the same social upheavals that have convulsed Swat and the tribal areas.

Mahboob Mahmood, a Pakistani-American lawyer and former classmate of President Obama’s, said, “The people of Pakistan are psychologically ready for a revolution.” Sunni militancy is taking advantage of deep class divisions that have long festered in Pakistan, he said. “The militants, for their part, are promising more than just proscriptions on music and schooling,” he said. “They are also promising Islamic justice, effective government and economic redistribution.”... the Taliban exploited the resentments of the landless tenants, particularly the fact that they had many unresolved cases against their bosses in a slow-moving and corrupt justice system, Mr. Hussain and residents who fled the area said.

Bury 'Al-Qaeda' Ghost
By Iftekhar A. Khan
April 09, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- Those prophesying that Barack Obama in many ways would be similar to his predecessor were right on the spot if his recent speech on Afghanistan is to guide us. He has incessantly talked about 9/11 and Al-Qaeda as indeed did his predecessor, George Bush and his neocon cabal....Bush invented Al-Qaeda in the aftermath of 9/11 and Obama has decided to stick to it with the only difference that he has discarded the use of the term War On Terror [rebranded, apparently unpopularly, 'Overseas Contingency Operation'] Al-Qaeda is in fact... a philosophy to resist. Had it been an organised body, the US killing machine would have snuffed it out long ago...

Those resisting foreign forces on their soil are its followers. Call them Al-Qaeda, nationalists, or sons of the soil; it is of little consequence. Millions... are sure that no such thing as Al-Qaeda exists or it ever existed. They are sure that the Al-Qaeda ghost had no role in 9/11 and destruction of Twin Towers because it was an inside job.... brought down by design, by demolition, by systematically placing detonating devices weeks before the hijacked planes struck. Collision of planes with the towers and their pancake collapse within the perimeters were two different issues. No outside collision however massive in magnitude could cause the collapse of the concrete towers to heap on to the ground as if they were toys made of pulp and sand....

To claim through corporate media that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the superpower is an unqualified fraud in history. Is not the similarity between gutting of the Reichstag in Germany before invading Europe and destruction of Twin Towers in the US before invading Afghanistan striking? Many in Europe have called Bush 21st century's Hitler. Obama would do well to distance himself by reassessing his Afpak strategy.
Obama...thinks troop surge will help NATO forces to gain control ...it will in fact cause an upsurge in resistance.... Troops can never control popular uprising of the people. Therefore, army action in Fata and Swat has not been able to put down the resistance because it was against, as said earlier, an amorphous body - philosophy of resistance, which the Americans prefer to call Al-Qaeda. No army however well laced succeeds against its own people....
US war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda has triggered a class war and anti-Americanism. Lower layers of the impoverished people are on one side and a handful in well-greased positions of authority on the other. That's why the terror attacks are directed against the state authority, which sides with US designs, and not against the common people. ...

Afghan Resistance Statement
Why are the Americans closing down Jihadi media?
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The American newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, quoting sources in the Pentagon, wrote the day before yesterday that those Internet sites and radio stations that according to them belong to or are attributed to the Taliban or are supporting them would be closed down... This is despite the fact that the Americans alone in Afghanistan or outside it have started hundreds of radio and television stations and thousands of newspapers, publications and magazine to spread poisonous, false and hateful propaganda against the Taliban and to hide huge casualties and losses inflicted on them every day by the Taliban so that no publication, news agency or website could give the exact number of American losses of life and material on a daily basis in various parts of Afghanistan... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=53575

the u.s. bourgeoisie is divided tactically on how to achieve its bipartisan geostrategic goal
How Dangerous Are the Taliban? Why Afghanistan Is the Wrong War
John Mueller
Summary -- The Taliban and al Qaeda may not pose enough of a threat to the United States to make a long war in Afghanistan worth the costs.
JOHN MUELLER is Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. Among his books are Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them and the forthcoming Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al Qaeda.

George W. Bush led the United States into war in Iraq on the grounds that Saddam Hussein might give his country’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Now, Bush’s successor is perpetuating the war in Afghanistan with comparably dubious arguments about the danger posed by the Taliban and al Qaeda.

President Barack Obama insists [1] that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is about "making sure that al Qaeda cannot attack the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests and our allies" or "project violence against" American citizens. The reasoning is that if the Taliban win in Afghanistan, al Qaeda will once again be able to set up shop there to carry out its dirty work. As the president puts it [2], Afghanistan would "again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can." This argument is constantly repeated but rarely examined; given the costs and risks associated with the Obama administration’s plans for the region, it is time such statements be given the scrutiny they deserve. ...

... Americans (and Europeans) will increasingly start to question how many lives such a [humanitarian] mission is worth. This questioning, in fact, is well under way. Because of its ties to 9/11, the war in Afghanistan has enjoyed considerably greater public support [11] than the war in Iraq did (or, for that matter, the wars in Korea or Vietnam). However, there has been a considerable dropoff in that support of late. If Obama's national security justification for his war in Afghanistan comes to seem as spurious as Bush's national security justification for his war in Iraq, he, like Bush, will increasingly have only the humanitarian argument to fall back on. And that is likely to be a weak reed.
Council on Foreign Relations: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/64932/john-mueller/how-dangerous-...

Op-Ed Contributors
Afghan Women March, America Turns Away
... President Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy speech last month and his administration’s related white paper are worrisome: both avoided any reference to democracy in Afghanistan, while pointedly pushing democratic reforms in Pakistan. The new policy represents critical shifts — such as a new emphasis on civilian work, and recognizing the regional nature of the problem and the inadequacy and abuse of resources. But a faltering commitment to the democratization of Afghanistan and ambiguous statements from Washington on an exit strategy have left us Afghans scratching our heads.
The Obama administration’s bold declaration of what is to be defeated (Al Qaeda) and absence of equal zest for what is to be built (democracy) inspires a sense of déjà vu. The last time the United States was seriously involved in Afghanistan, its goal was the defeat of the Soviet Union. But after that “success,” extremist militias greedy for power brought our society to its knees. In the absence of the rule of law and legitimate and democratic institutions, the militias’ atrocities allowed the Taliban to rise to power and harbor those behind the 9/11 attacks.
To defeat the forces of oppression, Washington must promote and protect the ideals of democracy and human rights. It is true that Afghanistan has miles to go before it will be a real democracy. But why won’t the new administration state a commitment to helping us get there?...

Democracy and progress are not products to be packaged and exported to Afghanistan. Afghans have to fight for them. Last month, the two of us helped organize “Afghanistan: Ensuring Success,” a conference led by Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born former United States ambassador to the United Nations. Speakers included Afghans from all walks of life and there was broad agreement that, in the words of President Obama, it was time to “pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off” and strive for genuine democratic progress and self-reliance. But as we approach Afghanistan’s second democratic elections, in August, we cannot afford to have our allies falter — through rhetoric or policy — in supporting our nascent democratic forces. Those brave and burned young women of Kandahar did not give up. How could we?
Nader Nadery is a member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Haseeb Humayoon, a student at Middlebury College, has worked as a consultant to nongovernmental groups in Afghanistan.

Michael J. Zwiebel is Director of Range Infrastructure and Investments, U.S. Army Developmental Test Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. He holds a B.S. in electrical engineering from Wilkes University, an M.A. in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. reprinted by permission of the AWC and the author.

When one thinks of sovereign state power, the first thought is likely that of military capabilities. but the sovereign state has many instruments of power available to it, including diplomatic, informational, military, and economic (DiMe) instruments. in Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics, Joseph Nye, a former assistant secretary of Defense for international
security affairs and a recognized expert on international affairs and the effects of soft power, provides some useful observations on power and its relationship to the sovereign state. Power, Nye says, is “the ability to influence the behavior of others to get the outcomes you want.”2 Influence can be accomplished through forceful means, or hard power, such as military action or economic restrictions. Nye then describes an alternate source of power: soft power. He explains that soft power uses attraction to “get the outcomes you want without the tangible threats or payoffs.”3
According to Nye, a state derives its soft power from three sources: culture, political values, and foreign policy.4 the strength of the state’s soft power depends on the attraction or repulsion its culture, political values, and foreign policy generate in the citizens of the targeted country. to make soft power work effectively, a state must carefully select the methods that will attract others to its interests. soft power, it must be said, is not an exclusive replacement for hard power; rather, it can strengthen applications of hard power, and may be less expensive. soft power can be directed at either an opposing state or at its individual citizens. public diplomacy is one form of soft power...

USAID, an independent government agency under the direction of the secretary of state, provides humanitarian, developmental, and democracy-building assistance to developing countries and countries affected by disaster and afflicted with poverty.25 relies on partnerships with voluntary organizations, indigenous organizations, universities, american businesses, international
agencies, and other U.S. and foreign governmental agencies to improve the lives of people in developing countries. by helping to expand democracy and the free-trade market, it plays a key role in carrying out U.S. foreign policy. USAID established an Office of Public Diplomacy within its bureau of legislative and public affairs. according to an april 2004 press release, “The Office of Public Diplomacy helps to coordinate and infuse the development and humanitarian message of USAID to the U.S. Government, the American people and the Arab world.”
among sources:
United States Information Agency Alumni Association, “What is Public Diplomacy,” .

The USIAAA public diplomacy website provides specific examples of the programs used today. See the United States Information Agency Alumni Association,
“Public Diplomacy Activities and Programs,” .

George W. Bush, “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America”

Joseph S. Nye Jr., “The Decline of America’s Soft Power,” Foreign Affairs 83, 3 (May-June 2004)

Agency for International Development, “About USAID,” . The organization was established in 1961 by presidential executive order after President Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law.

Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, “USAID Launches New Middle East Outreach Initiative With Media Summit,”.

u.s. threatens anti-imperialist Eritrea for continuing to denounce and resist aggression by USRAEL & proxy Ethiopia
US threatens Eritrea over support for al-Qaeda-linked terrorists:  
The US has warned Eritrea it risks American military action for its support for a Somalian terrorist group linked to a plot to attack President Barack Obama...
"Eritrea has chosen the wrong path," said a source. "There are consequences for working with al-Shabaab when President Obama cannot afford to look weak on terrorism by not retaliating if there is an attack on the homeland."
But President Isaias Afewerki told the Daily Telegraph that he would continue to oppose an American and British-backed Somalian government that declared al-Shabaab its principal enemy when it took office in February. While Western governments have growing confidence in the new government, led by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Mr Isaias diminished the new leader as a stooge.
He called for a fresh peace conference in which his allies would be granted a significant role. "There is no government, there is not even a nation of Somalia existing," he said. "There has to be an alternative solution. Attempts to impose this new government on Somalia will not work. Peace is not guaranteed without a government agreed by all Somalis."
Mr Isaias has not forsaken his broad opposition to American foreign policy. He mocked the use of Western military force to target Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa. "Addressing piracy with military force is not going to work," he said. "Piracy, like famine and drought is a secondary issue."
Mr Isaias presides over one of Africa's youngest but most isolated states– it gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993...The 63-year old former guerrilla relishes a reputation as an international pariah. He was broadly condemned after Eritrea became the first country to invite Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir on a visit following the International Criminal Court's decision to issue charges for crimes against humanity in Darfur. "By being the first country to host General Bashir after he was indicted by the International Criminal Court, Eritrea put itself on the wrong side of history," said Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative's International Development spokesman..Few see any prospect of Eritrea repairing its relations with the West as long as it maintains a constant war footing against Ethiopia... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/eritrea/5...

Israelis warn of Eritrea flashpoint
 Israel is said to have two Eritrean bases, one a "listening post" for signals intelligence, the other a supply base for its German-built submarines.

A Taste of AFRICOM: Somalia did find peace and tried to stop piracy until the US bombed the shit out of it in 2006
In 2006 “the CIA propagated that Al-Qaeda had made its base in Somalia where three senior leaders were residing. CIA then encouraged Ethiopia to invade Somalia in support of weak TFG forces (Transitional Federal Government) against UIC fighters (Union of Islamic Courts) and promised to provide intelligence and air cover. Ethiopian troops backed by USA invaded Somalia on 28 December 2006. The UIC was quickly defeated in a sweeping offensive and the six-month peace period was shattered. It was believed that the UIC leadership fled into Kenya or to Yemen and the hard-line fighters cached their arms and melded back into their clans leaving the mostly untrained, new recruits to face the Ethiopian troops. Soon after the UIC rout, two US air strikes targeted alleged Al-Qaeda bases in southern Somalia on 13 January 2007 but only innocent civilians got killed.”... Defeating the Union of Islamic Courts and propping up the Transitional Federal Government was Ethiopia's immediate rationale for invading Somalia. The larger goal was to forge a partnership between Washington and Addis Ababa in order to execute the ‘war on terror.’”:
“To keep the invasion and Africa's worst humanitarian catastrophe going, heavy and modern weapons, including airplanes were used. One was a United States Air Force AC-130 gunship that attacked and killed Somali villagers and countless livestock in the hunt for three foreign men suspected for the 1998 bombing of American embassies in Africa, who yet remain at large.” The shear madness of firing artillery from navy destroyers and gunships to try and kill two or three people in a town occupied by thousands of civilians, is only surpassed by the indifference displayed by the US military, the US media, and the US citizenry as to the number of innocent civilians being killed and displaced. How many civilians did the United States kill in these bombardments?
In January 2007 more than 100 people were killed in US bombings in just one week, and in April, just three short months later, four days of fierce fighting between Ethiopian-backed government forces and Islamic insurgents killed 381 people.
It is beyond understanding how killing nomads and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians was going to make Somalia, Ethiopia or the United States any safer. Of course according to many analysts, this US led war in Somalia was really just about oil and resources, not about Islamic extremists. So while our Western Mainstream Media continues to feed us government sanctioned news, we should remember why and how Somalia became a failed State, some of the reasons as to why Somali pirates have become so active in the region, and never forget it was the Union of Islamic Court fighters, the same organization that the U.S. bombed the shit out of in 2006 all the way up to 2008, that initially tried to prevent Somali pirates from seizing ships off the coast of Africa... http://www.blogcatalog.com/search.frame.php?term=somali+tfg&id=1ce4bf986... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=53506

Following USRAELI Racist State Terrorists, 23 western Imperialist zionist walkout reveals true colors
Ahmadinejad speech too hard for West to handle
"Following World War II they resorted to military aggression to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering," President Ahmadinejad said at the UN anti-racism summit on Monday. "And they sent migrants from Europe, the United States and other parts of the world in order to establish a totally racist government in occupied Palestine," he added. "And in fact, in compensation for the dire consequences of racism in Europe, they helped bring to power the most cruel and repressive racist regime in Palestine." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed those who had boycotted 'this festival of hate'.

what else not yet mentioned was objectionable to western imperialist zionists?
....Member states, who wrangled for months over the draft document for the Geneva conference, had ultimately removed controversial statements about Israel; about what constitutes defamation of religion, a position pushed by Muslim states; and about compensation for slavery....Not everyone at the conference was critical of the speech, which also wandered through topics like the economic collapse and Iraq and Afghanistan. “If we actually believe in freedom of expression, then he has the right to say what he wants to say,” the Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Zamir Akram, told The Associated Press. “There were things in there that a lot of people in the Muslim world would be in agreement with, for example the situation in Palestine, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, even if they don’t agree with the way he said it.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/world/22geneva.html?hpw

Full Text of President Ahmadinejad’s Remarks at U.N. Conference on Racism
Video and Transcript. Click here to continue

Speech Prompts Walkout at Racism Conference
...In remarks... on the eve of Yom Hashoah, the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Six million of our brethren were massacred during the Holocaust. Sadly, not everyone learned the lesson. While we gather to honor their memory, in Switzerland there will assemble a conference allegedly aimed against racism,” he said. “Its guest of honor is a racist Holocaust-denier who does not hide his intentions to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” Referring to Mr. Ahmadinejad’s role at the conference, Mr. Peres said Monday: “There must be a limit, even to the neutrality of Switzerland. Today is the day? This is the man to speak? This is the outlook for the future?”

The walkout was a flashback to the initial world summit meeting against racism in 2001 in Durban, South Africa, which critics said served as a platform to bash Israel. The United States and Israel pulled out of that conference, and this year, objected to a paragraph in the draft declaration that reaffirmed the findings of the Durban meeting. That section, along with a reference to incitement that Washington said might infringe on free speech, prompted the United States to announce its boycott with “regret” over the weekend.Canada and Israel had already said they would not attend, and others who joined the boycott included the Netherlands, Italy and Australia.
The boycott decision was greeted with elation by American organizations supporting Israel, which had been protesting for months, but dismayed some rights organizations and African-American groups who accused the administration of skipping a historic opportunity to right past wrongs. Mr. Obama said Sunday that he “would love” to participate in a conference that addressed racism and discrimination, but not one with the baggage of the previous gathering.
“Unfortunately, even though I think other countries made great efforts to accommodate some of our concerns and assured us that this conference would be more constructive, our participation would have involved putting our imprimatur on something that we just don’t believe,” Mr. Obama said....
Human rights groups said countries that boycott the conference were losing the chance to set the record straight on racism. “These governments are ceding the floor to more radical voices,” said Juliette de Rivero, the Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch [playing usual loyal left-imperialist NGO soft power 'opposition' game in u.s. domination agenda]

US boycotting, Iran starring, at UN racism meeting
Regarding its boycott, the Obama administration said it could not endorse any statement that singled out Israel or included passages demanding a ban on language considered an "incitement" of religious hatred. Such calls "run counter to the U.S. commitment to unfettered free speech," said State Department spokesman Robert Wood. Many Muslim nations want curbs to free speech to prevent insults to Islam they claim have proliferated since the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. They cite the 2005 cartoons of Muhammad published by a Danish newspaper that sparked riots in the Muslim world....
"I would love to be involved in a useful conference that addressed continuing issues of racism and discrimination around the globe," Obama said in Trinidad on Sunday after attending the Summit of the Americas. But he said the language of the U.N.'s draft declaration risked a reprise of Durban, during which "folks expressed antagonism toward Israel in ways that were often times completely hypocritical and counterproductive."...
The bland U.N. draft statement does not mention Israel by name, but it reaffirms the Durban statement and its reference to the plight of Palestinians. That document was agreed after the United States and Israel walked out over attempts to liken Zionism — the movement to establish a Jewish state in the Holy Land — to racism.
Israel and Jewish groups have lobbied hard against Western participation in the meeting, arguing that the presence alone of American and European negotiators would give legitimacy to what they fear could become an anti-Semitic gathering. On Sunday, Israel's Foreign Ministry thanked the boycotters and predicted the conference would "once again serve as a platform to denigrate Israel and single it out for criticism." Still, after years of preparations there appears little evidence to validate these fears. The statement of 2001 so contentious now was cheered in Israel at the time, as it recognized the Jewish state's right to security.

The entire video was on CSPAN with Ahmadinejad's actual words but edited for propaganda purposes by 60 Minutes and other mainstream media
He did not say that Israel should be wiped off the map. What he said was:
The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e eshghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).

Muslims March Against Reprinting of Danish Newspaper Cartoons Depicting Muhammad
Feb. 15 2008: Muslims against the re-publication of a cartoon this week of the Prophet Muhammad in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Muslims protested Friday in the Gaza Strip, Pakistan and Denmark against the reprinting of a Danish newspaper cartoon depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Thousands of residents in the conservative Gaza Strip ruled by the militant Islamic Hamas movement marched in the Jebaliya refugee camp chanting: "What Denmark said is heresy." "It is shameful that Denmark should renew its offense against the prophet," Hamas official Mushir al-Masri told reporters at the protest. In Pakistan, people rallied in various parts of the country, setting fire to Danish flags and demanding the Danish ambassador's expulsion. And in Denmark, a prominent Danish imam urged rioting youth to stop setting fires and hurling rocks at police... In Copenhagen, about 800 people protested peacefully in a march organized by the radical Muslim group Hizb ut-Tahrir. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,330838,00.html

Muslim Youth Violence in Danish Cities Continues for 6th Night; 43 Arrested
February 16, 2008
"We fail to understand how hurting the sentiments of a billion Muslims can advance the cause of freedom of expression," the Foreign Ministry said. "It can only spur resentment that can be destabilizing."...http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,330911,00.html

Wikipedia defies 180,000 demands to remove images of the Prophet
Some protesters are claiming the pictures have been posted simply to 'bait' and 'insult' Muslims and argue the least Wikipedia can do is blur or blank out the faces. Such has been the adverse reaction, Wikipedia has been forced to set up a separate page on its site explaining why it refuses to bow to pressure and has also had to set up measures to block people from 'editing' the pages [on this 'self-editing' site] themselves. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/feb/17/wikipedia.islam

Hugo Chavez gave Obama a copy of The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent a book by Eduardo Galeano, which chronicles U.S. and European economic and political interference [SIC] in the region. When a reporter asked Obama what he thought of the book, the president replied: "I thought it was one of Chavez' books. I was going to give him one of mine." White House advisers said they didn't know if Obama would read it or not.
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #6 in Books
Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent (Paperback)
by Eduardo Galeano
Price: $9.90 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details Save: $8.10 (45%)

Divide and Conquer: The Politics of Palestinian Human Rights
 by Lana Habash
" . . . the American human rights framework as it has been applied to Palestinians has not only failed to stop human rights violations, but has facilitated the colonization and genocide of Palestinian people. It has done this by accepting the validity of the Jewish state and by giving only limited and conditional support to certain human rights for certain Palestinians living in certain areas at certain times."[...]

Is the US Anti-War Movement Pro-Resistance?
By Amer Jubran
... Palestine solidarity must build solidarity with Palestinian resistance. Not a dunum of Palestinian land will be freed without a cost to those who now occupy it; no rights worth mentioning will be won without liberating land. In the famous phrase of Malcolm X “by any means necessary,” the operative word is “necessary.” A solidarity movement that demands of the Palestinian people that they choose tactics of resistance that result in devastating costs for the Palestinian community, without significant cost to Israeli occupiers, can’ t be considered solidarity.
The US anti-war movement has repeatedly fallen into this trap: it has either explicitly denounced both the Palestinian and Iraqi resistance or has made its support for the self-determination of Arab people contingent on how they resist colonial oppression. By making itself the arbiter of appropriate tactics, it has denied the right of people facing genocide to determine the best methods at their disposal to inflict upon their oppressor a cost the oppressor is incapable of paying. The anti-war movement has not yet proven its ability to stay the hand of oppression, yet it has arrogated to itself a right to intervene in the tactical debate about opposing this oppression....

Zionism is the Issue: Building a Strong Pro-Palestinian Movement In the US
By Lana Habash and Noah Cohen
http://www.onepalestine.org/resources/articles/Zionism_Is_Issue.html http://www.onepalestine.org/index.html

When Peace Activism Becomes Collusion With Colonial Occupation
By Marta Rodríguez

Lies Of The Israeli Peace Movement
By Richard Hugus
... It is time to respond to the pacifist progressive in particular who collaborates with the oppressor by equating and condemning all violence. The language of resistance must be clearly spoken: It is right for Palestinians to resist the occupation, not just the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, but of all of Palestine, by whatever means possible. It is right for the Iraqi resistance to resist the similar vicious US occupation of Iraq. It was right for the Sioux to resist, it was right for the African slave to resist, it was right for the Vietnamese to resist. In no way can the minor losses of the oppressor be equated with or compensate for the original crime of his aggression. It is time for progressives in the US to openly and clearly support resistance to the monster that the US has become, and the proxies it supports, like Israel, and increasingly this means rejecting the false language of the pacifist. The conflict in Palestine is not morally ambiguous. It is not a battle between two sides who are equally guilty. Zionists attacked, Palestinians defended. There is a right and a wrong....

Ex-IDF, Mossad officials praise Obama
Oct. 5, 2008
Jewish group in the United States has recruited a number of retired IDF and high-ranking Mossad officials to appear in a video supporting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, saying he would be a better partner for Israel in the White House. In the video, released by the pro-Obama Jewish Council for Education & Research, Brig.-Gen (Ret.) Shlomo Brom, former IDF commander of strategic planning, said that the Bush administration caused major damage to Israel's interests.

Historian exposes myth of a 'Jewish People' was invented ... and is still alive!
Book refuting Jewish taboo on Israel’s bestseller list
TEL AVIV // No one is more surprised than Shlomo Sand that his latest academic work has spent 19 weeks on Israel’s bestseller list – and that success has come to the history professor despite his book challenging Israel’s biggest taboo. Dr Sand argues that the idea of a Jewish nation – whose need for a safe haven was originally used to justify the founding of the state of Israel – is a myth invented little more than a century ago. An expert on European history at Tel Aviv University, Dr Sand drew on extensive historical and archaeological research to support not only this claim but several more – all equally controversial...

Former miss ND, miss amerika runner-up, 'freelance journalist' got caught again after already losing her press credentials . Beside diplomats, common agent covers include journalists, academics, 'faith based' groups and NGOs
Iran Sentences American Journalist to 8 Years in Prison
She has lived in Iran for six years and has worked for National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Iranian authorities revoked her press card in 2006....Ms. Saberi, who grew up in Fargo, N.D. ... was accused of working as a reporter without press credentials... worked as a a television news reporter in the United States before she went to Iran to study and work as a freelance reporter for Western broadcasters, including National Public Radio and the BBC.... the prosecutor’s office said this month she was on trial for spying...in the Revolutionary Court, which hears security-related cases, and is is being held in Evin Prison in Tehran... "I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort of espionage," the US President said....
Iran has been pressing for the release of three Iranian officials whom the United States took into custody in 2007 in Iraq. The men, who Iran says are diplomats, were arrested at Iran’s consulate in Erbil in northern Iraq. United States forces have said the men had links to the Revolutionary Guards....Some diplomats have suggested in the past that another American who many believe is being held in Iran, Robert Levinson, a former agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, might be being held as a high-value chip in a possible prisoner swap... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/19/world/middleeast/19iran.html?hp

In a letter to Tehran's prosecutor, Mr Ahmadinejad called for Ms Saberi and detained Iranian blogger Hossein Derakshan to be allowed their full legal rights: "Please make sure that all the legal stages... be based on justice.You personally make sure the accused people enjoy all freedoms and legal rights to defend themselves and their rights will not be violated." http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Roxana-Saberi-US-President-B...

F.B.I. and States Vastly Expand DNA Databases
Law enforcement officials are vastly expanding their collection of DNA to include millions of people who have been arrested or detained but not convicted...people who are presumed innocent. Until now, the federal government genetically tracked only convicts. But starting this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will join 15 states that collect DNA samples from those awaiting trial and will also collect DNA from detained immigrants — the vanguard of a growing class of genetic registrants.
The F.B.I., with a DNA database of 6.7 million profiles, expects to accelerate its rate of growth from 80,000 new entries a year to 1.2 million by 2012 — a 17-fold increase. F.B.I. officials say they expect DNA processing backlogs — which now stand at more than 500,000 cases — to increase....criminal justice experts cite Fourth Amendment privacy concerns and worry that the nation is becoming a genetic surveillance society. “Over time more and more crimes of decreasing severity have been added to the database. Cops and prosecutors like it because it gives everybody more information and creates a new suspect pool.”...

Britain may provide a window into America’s genetic surveillance future: As of March 2008, 857,000 people in the British database, or about one-fifth, have no current criminal record. In December, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain’s practice of collecting DNA profiles from innocent people, including children as young as 10, violated international privacy protections.
Critics are also disturbed by the demographics of DNA databases, and again Britain’s example is instructive. According to a House of Commons report, 27 percent of black people and 42 percent of all black males are genetically registered, compared with 6 percent of white people.... expanding genetic sampling in the United States could exacerbate racial disparities in the criminal justice system, according to Hank Greely, a Stanford University Law School professor who studies the intersection of genetics, policing and race. Mr. Greely estimated that African-Americans, who are about 12 percent of the national population, currently make up 40 percent of the DNA profiles in the federal database, reflective of their prison population. He also expects Latinos, who are about 13 percent of the population and committed 40 percent of last year’s federal offenses — nearly half of them immigration crimes, including illegal entry — to dominate DNA databases. ... Enforcement officials contend that DNA is blind to race [but collecting it is not]

Democrats equally complicit in surveillance expansion
Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald: "these widespread eavesdropping abuses enabled by the 2008 FISA bill -- a bill passed with the support of Barack Obama along with the entire top Democratic leadership in the House, including Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, and substantial numbers of Democratic Senators -- aren't a bug in that bill, but rather, were one of the central features of it. Everyone knew that the FISA bill which Congressional Democrats passed -- and which George Bush and Dick Cheney celebrated -- would enable these surveillance abuses ... That was the purpose of the law: to gut the safeguards in place since the 1978 passage of FISA, destroy the crux of the oversight regime over executive surveillance of Americans, and enable and empower unchecked government spying activities. This was not an unintended and unforeseeable consequence of that bill. To the contrary, it was crystal clear that by gutting FISA's safeguards, the Democratic Congress was making these abuses inevitable."... Greenwald says in conclusion "... most of the information about the NSA's abuses remain concealed...." http://rawstory.com/news/2008/NSA_spied_on_member_of_Congress_0416.html

'Promising' to continue spending $12.8 trillion to strengthen ruling class by impoverishing working & oppressed peoples
Fed Shrouding $2 Trillion in Bank Loans in ‘Secrecy,’ Suit Says
April 16, 2009, Bloomberg News
U.S. taxpayers need to know the risks behind the Federal Reserve’s $2 trillion in lending to financial institutions because the public is now an “involuntary investor” in the nation’s banks, according to a court filing by Bloomberg LP. The Fed refuses to name the borrowers, the amounts of loans or assets banks put up as collateral under 11 programs, arguing that doing so might set off a run by depositors and unsettle shareholders. The largest U.S. banks have tapped more than $125 billion in government aid under the Troubled Asset Relief Program in the past seven months. Assets, including loans and securities, on the Fed balance sheet totaled $2.09 trillion as of April 9. Banks oppose any release of information because that might signal weakness and spur short-selling or a run by depositors, the Fed argued in its March 4 response. The release of the information “can fuel market speculation and rumors,” including a drop in stock price and a run on the bank, the Fed said. Bloomberg replied yesterday that “these speculative injuries relate only to the reactions of customers, shareholders and other members of the public, not to competitors’ use of the borrowers’ proprietary information to their advantage,” the exception to disclosure under the FOIA law. Government loans, spending or guarantees to rescue the U.S. financial system total more than $12.8 trillion since the international credit crisis began in August 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg as of March 31. The total includes about $2 trillion on the Fed’s balance sheet. http://www.WantToKnow.info/

it's the capitalist system, stupid!
'Bailout psychology'
It's time... to protect the growing unemployed from hunger and homelessness. Stealth payments to billionaire bondholders must cease immediately. Since the mid-1970s, average Americans' wages have stayed flat when adjusted for inflation. Productivity rose, profits rose, but not wages. To compensate for stagnant wages and the desire to consume more each year, Americans worked more, retired later, spouses went to work, and many burned savings.... started borrowing. Debt became America's growth industry. The scheme collapsed because Americans' wages weren't sufficient to pay the interest on existing debts. The administration and the banks keep talking about a credit crisis, but there isn't one. Banks are lending. If you want a mortgage and can afford to pay it back, you can borrow at low rates today. But most Americans don't want more debt because it is a debilitating path to poverty. The average American family already pays 14 percent of annual income in interest to banks. To fix this fake crisis, there are fake discussions about what the government must do. The endlessly recycled plan to buy "troubled" assets isn't to get banks lending again, because they haven't stopped lending. The plan seeks for taxpayers to buy worthless assets at high prices to absorb rich investors' losses. That's it. It keeps coming back as a different plan, but with that same goal. There is no goal beyond that one goal

Behind the US Banks’ Profit Reports
The banks are continuing, with the blessings of the Obama administration, the same predatory policies that generated massive fortunes on Wall Street and eventually plunged the US and world economy into the deepest crisis since the Great Depression. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22448.htm

Obama Promises to Trim Federal Fat
Obama: “We need to restore the American people’s confidence in their government — that it is on their side, spending their money wisely...This starts with the painstaking work of examining every program, every entitlement, every dollar of government spending and asking ourselves: Is this program really essential?” 'fat' like.. Billionaire BloomBURG's
For New York’s Newly Jobless, $430 Doesn’t Go Far
Lose your job in Boston, Pittsburgh, Seattle or Trenton and you could collect $544 or more per week in unemployment benefits. But get laid off in New York City, as almost 200,000 workers have in the past year, the most you can collect is $430 a week.

Major Scandal Erupts involving Rep. Jane Harman, Alberto Gonzales and AIPAC
By Glenn Greenwald
Back in October, 2006, Time reported that the DOJ and FBI were investigating whether Harman and AIPAC "violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee" and "the probe also involves whether, in exchange for the help from AIPAC, Harman agreed to help try to persuade the Administration to go lighter on the AIPAC officials caught up in the ongoing investigation. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22456.htm

Jane Harman sponsor H. Res. 1955
H. Res. 1695, 1955 & S.1959
“Unless a way of intervening in the radicalization process can be found, we are condemned to stepping on cockroaches one at a time.”
Social Repression and Internet Surveillance
By Nikki Alexander
...Jane Harman (D-CA) sponsored H.Res.1955 her partner, Dave Reichert (R-WA), authored the original bill, H.Res.1695....establishes a National Commission and Center of so-called “Excellence” to censor and crush social concerns which are subjectively perceived to be “threats” by RAND spokesmen, who supplied the content for this bill. RAND coined the folksy epithets “homegrown terrorism,” “violent radicalization” and “ideologically based violence” to invalidate expressions of social conscience that conflict with corporate interests... it characterizes individuals who care deeply about international human rights, national sovereignty and ecological protection as “homegrown terrorists” who have been “violently radicalized” by “extremist belief systems.” This bill quotes RAND ideology verbatim.
The Internet... is being systematically strangled by surveillance devices that police the flow of information; filtering web servers, search engines, web sites, email content and keystrokes...The Open Net Initiative reports, “With respect to online surveillance, the United States may be among the most aggressive states in the world in terms of listening to online conversations.” ...

Packaged as a pretext for “preventing terrorism”, the authors of this bill claim that, “The Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.”..

Strip-Search of 13 Year Old Girl for Ibuprofen Tests Limit of School Policy
“When you send your child off to school every day, you expect them to be in math class or in the choir ...You never imagine their being forced to strip naked and expose their genitalia and breasts to their school officials.”... Ms. Redding, an honors student, had no pills. But she had a furious mother and a lawyer, and now her case has reached the Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on April 21....
Lawyers for the school district said in a brief that it was “on the front lines of a decades-long struggle against drug abuse among students.” Abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications is on the rise among 12- and 13-year-olds, the brief said, citing data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Given that, the school district said, the search was “not excessively intrusive in light of Redding’s age and sex and the nature of her suspected infraction.”The Supreme Court’s last major decision on school searches based on individual suspicion — as opposed to systematic drug testing programs — was in 1985, when it allowed school officials to search a student’s purse without a warrant or probable cause as long their suspicions were reasonable. It did not address intimate searches. In a friend-of-the-court brief in Ms. Redding’s case, the federal government said the search of her was unreasonable because officials had no reason to believe she was “carrying the pills inside her undergarments, attached to her nude body, or anywhere else that a strip search would reveal.” The government added, though, that the scope of the 1985 case was not well established at the time of the 2003 search, so the assistant principal should not be subject to a lawsuit... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/24/us/24savana.html

Why Isn’t the Brain Green?
Two days after Barack Obama was sworn in as president of the United States, the Pew Research Center released a poll ranking the issues that Americans said were the most important priorities for this year. At the top of the list were several concerns — jobs and the economy — related to the current recession. Farther down, well after terrorism, deficit reduction and en­ergy (and even something the pollsters characterized as “moral decline”) was climate change. It was priority No. 20. That was last place. A little more than a week after the poll was published, I took a seat in a wood-paneled room at Columbia University, where a few dozen academics had assembled for a two-day conference on the environment. In many respects, the Pew rankings were a suitable backdrop for the get-together, a meeting of researchers affiliated with something called CRED, or the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. A branch of behavioral research situated at the intersection of psychology and economics, decision science focuses on the mental proces­ses that shape our choices, behaviors and attitudes.

Healing healthcare for finance capital
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel brings unorthodox perspective to President Obama’s health care effort.
Dr. Emanuel is a special adviser to the budget director, Peter R. Orszag. He is also the older brother of Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff...
some of his proposals, calling for vouchers, a value-added tax and an end to the system of employer-provided insurance...Joseph R. Antos, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, said, “...are mighty spicy ideas — the opposite of what any politician would say unless he was completely intoxicated.”...
Dr. Emanuel has built one of the world’s leading centers for bioethics, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Since 1997, he has been chairman of the bioethics department at the Clinical Center, or research hospital, of the N.I.H. ... A decade ago, when many doctors wanted to legalize euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, Dr. Emanuel opposed it....
In articles written over the last four years and in a book last May, Dr. Emanuel proposed giving every household a voucher to buy insurance. He would gradually phase out Medicare and Medicaid and “sever the link between employment and health insurance.” Employers would no longer pay for health care. The whole scheme would be financed with a value-added tax, similar to a sales tax... In one chapter of his 2008 book, “Healthcare, Guaranteed,” Dr. Emanuel criticized proposals to require individuals or employers to buy insurance, with government subsidies for those who could not afford it.... Dr. Emanuel said he fully supported the president’s agenda. “I’m all for my voucher plan,” he said, “but I don’t think it’s on the table now.”... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/18/us/politics/18zeke.html?_r=1&th&emc=th