5/26/09 U.S. Progress Report, part 1

Note: "the mission is well-defined" and doomed: amerika's global 21st. century 'manifest destiny'

“We uphold our fundamental principles and values..."
“We will maintain America’s military dominance and keep you the finest fighting force the world has ever seen.
Barack Obama... promising newly graduated Navy and Marine officers that he will only send young Americans into battle when “it is absolutely necessary” and when the mission is well-defined... told graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy that of all of his duties as president, there is no higher honor than serving as their commander-in-chief...

I Do Not Support "The Troops"
Arthur Silber
...On Memorial Day and on the days to come, all of which promise to be deeply tragic and murderously bloody so long as the goals of the American ruling class remain unchanged, the objects of your reverence must be severely restricted. That reverence must be reserved for innocent lives, and especially for those innocent lives ended, maimed and altered forever by needless, futile, endlessly destructive war, past, present and future. The historical and contemporary record makes possible only one conclusion: those needless and futile wars are not just "a few" or only "some" of them, and the trail of devastation is not the result of "regrettable misjudgments" for which amends have been made, or are even possible. No, every single war ever fought by the United States was entirely unnecessary in terms of justifiable self-defense... The murders are the result of intended and intentional policy, reached after deliberation and in service to the goals of the ruling class: power, wealth, dominion and control -- and always more power, wealth, dominion and control. To challenge those goals and to begin to alter them, challenge every assumption underlying the myths upon which the United States feeds, as it continues to brutalize and kill in vast numbers. One of the key assumptions you must question and finally reject is the demand for glorification of "the troops."...http://www.uruknet.de/?p=54491

Memorial Day to Remembrance of Victims of US Empire Day
Another You Tube Outrage
By Cindy Sheehan
May 26, 2009 "AfterDowningSt" -- Last week, after being bombarded with pseudo-patriotic images of graveyards, gravestones and flags, I decided to begin posting images of maimed and killed Iraqis, but especially children and transform the mega-pseudo-patriotic Memorial Day to Remembrance of Victims of US Empire Day.I got a great response to this and my friend and videographer, Clifford Roddy put together a short film called: finaledit, with the images I posted and with images that he took at a national cemetery in Santa Fe, NM where we were together for my Myth America book tour. I have a Cindy Sheehan You Tube page so we posted it there. The video was just yanked off of You Tube because it “violates the terms of service” but even before it was yanked, it had a warning: “This video is unsuitable for children.”

The pictures of the dead and maimed Iraqi children were gruesome. War is gruesome. War is never pretty but the Iraqi war has been “Sanitized for your protection.” It’s not enough that adult males have been tortured but thousands of women and children have also been imprisoned and cruelly treated.
I think it’s pretty gruesome that the US Military has held up to 6000 juveniles in its torture prisons in the Middle East and there has been rape and torture reported to individuals as young as 10 years old! How can any human being torture another human being, much less a child? These kinds of stories remind me of the most horrendous slasher movies that I can think of, but they are not the pretend product of twisted fantasy, but factual and mind-blowingly real.

Former US Soldier, Steven Green, was recently given life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2007 rape, mutilation and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Mahmoudiya, Iraq. Not only was Green the ringleader in the rape and murder; the squad also killed her family. Unfortunately, even though Green was a “bad apple,” the situation we find ourselves in is an entire salad of rotten fruit and incidences like this one are not uncommon, but rarely reported.

Once when I was in Amman, Jordan speaking with prominent Iraqis, a Sheikh told me that US soldiers burst into his home, severely beating him and raping his wife, all in the presence of his 14-year-old son. The Sheikh told me that it was his son’s fondest dream to kill US Soldiers. Can you imagine this happening to your family? What if something like this happened in your home? You’re sitting around watching American Idol, or some crap like that, and Iraqis break into your home and terrorize and brutalize your family? I am sure you would all just chalk it up to “freedom and democracy” and be happy to go about your miserable lives comforted by the fact that your country was being occupied and destroyed for your own good.

During the US-UN-Clinton led sanctions against Iraq, the UN estimates that over 500,000 children died from starvation, disease, or violence. 500,000 Iraqi children would be like 5,000,000 US children dying. Former UN Ambassador under Clinton called that sacrifice for US Empire by the children of Iraq “worth it.” Over one million people have died in Iraq since Bush's invasion in 2003 and most of that figure counts women and children.

I have spoken to men who were still in their teens sodomized with broom handles in Guantanamo. I have seen the horrific photos of the US’s inhumanity to man and cannot forgive my country for the terror it has unleashed on the world. I can’t stand the fact that our government operates with such craven cowardice and has harmed so many people while Americans revel in blissful ignorance.

Young people who never get a chance to live their lives have their lives snuffed out so corporations can profit and politicians can earn their John Wayne macho credentials and I wish that we could get a movement going that would be as large and as angry about weddings parties being blown up in Iraq-Af-Pak as they are about inequality in marriage rights here in the US.... I am 100% for marriage equality, but I am also 100% for people living to be able to be married whether they are gay or straight. Lives are in the balance and our inaction is tipping the scale in the wrong direction. I am sorry (sarcasm) that our video “violated” You Tube’s terms of service, but the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan not only violate my terms of service, but international law. Where's the Change?

Capitalist democracy dictatorship, torture and 9/11
By John S. Hatch
May 22, 2009
That a nation grandiosely referring to itself as the world’s lone ‘superpower’ would, on the basis of thin manufactured evidence stoop to using sodomy (even against children), cramming people into coffin-like boxes, chaining them in stress positions, karate-kicking them (even to death), suffocating them, slamming their heads into walls, taking away their clothing, freezing them, using sensory deprivation and drowning, plus a hundred other cruel measures gives the lie to that assertion. An evil power, certainly. Hardly a ‘shining city on a hill’. And now that we know that orders for torture came right from the very top... and even as it is revealed that torture was employed not to gain information but to bolster the false assertion that Saddam Hussein had ties to Al Quieda to justify the indefensible invasion of Iraq, we are treated to ad nauseam appearances by the previously mute and bunkered Dick Cheney defending his cretinous actions and calling for more of the same....
One would think such aberrant leaders would be held to task by an outraged public and by their political replacements. Instead, the American people are offered more of the same. Quantanamo will not close anytime soon, and contrary to Mr. Obama’s statements, the outrages there have not ceased, but if anything have become worse. He has upheld the Bush policy of denying all human rights to prisoners at Bagram and elsewhere. He has attempted every means to suppress details of American torture, such as the use of scalpels on genitals. Officials would rather keep innocent people imprisoned until they die, untried, rather than to admit to having illegally imprisoned and tortured them. Bagram continues to be a hell-on-earth. We don’t know how many others even exist. In Iraq children as young as eight remain imprisoned. Children are mercilessly abused as a method to intimidate their parents... to keep scared-rabbit America safe?

Mr. Obama wants to ‘move forward’ as remote control drones (Obama drones now) kill 140 innocent Afghanis, including 93 children, one of them 8 weeks old. As usual the military denies, lies, and then admits limited culpability while stressing how very much they value Afghan civilian lives.... Mr. Obama can’t move forward when he’s mired and sinking in innocent cold blood...
The Iraq invasion was conceived long before 9/11 which was used as a pretext for achieving ‘full spectrum domination’ of land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace as outlined in The Project for a New American Century...the goal... attempted world domination... PNAC spoke of a ‘new Pearl Harbor event’ as a catalyst to galvanize fearful American opinion ... exactly what happened after 9/11 ( don’t forget the mailed weaponized Lawrence Livermore anthrax, that ‘bonus terror’ ... conveniently blamed on a dead guy... that hurried the Patriot Act unread through Congress...
Since everything the people were told turned out to be lies, questions would inevitably arise regarding the ‘catalyst’ itself, the new Pearl Harbor event...
This, I submit is what officials in the Obama Administration fear the most. An investigation of torture would inevitably lead to questions about what 9/11... We know with certainty that the official version of events is a pack of lies; what if America had to confront the fact that 9/11 was an inside job?... Such a finding would so undermine Americans’ core beliefs as to have profoundly unpredictable consequences. It would mean that no American is safe from its own terrorist government... It would mean that the same forces that killed 3000 Americans on that day (and many subsequently) still operate behind the scenes in Washington, and ‘change’ is only cosmetic. It would prove that... democracy was a cruel illusion in America It would mean that for the patriotic American citizen, at last there’s nothing left to lose.
That’s what they’re rightly afraid of. That’s why they want to allow the Bush putsch to get away with murder. And to look even further into the abyss.

The Eight-Year-Long Psychological Operation Osama Bin Laden: Dead Or Alive?
By Tod Fletcher
... Griffin strikes at the root of this pretext for war by closely examining all the evidence that has come out since September 11, 2001...
In Chapter 4, Griffin turns to the important question “Who Might Have Been Motivated To Fabricate Messages?” He shows that the US military in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 employed a psychological operations unit to produce bogus evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, as a pretext for the invasion. The psyops unit produced a “letter” from a Jordanian in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, that was then “intercepted”, purportedly enroute to Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan. The psyop was advanced after the invasion by the New York Times reporter Dexter Filkins, who wrote front-page stories presenting the “evidence” as genuine. Journalists at other organizations, including Newsweek magazine and The Telegraph of London, however, thought it highly likely at the time that the letter was bogus. Griffin concludes that the target of the psychological operation was the US public. He asks, could something very similar have been going on with the “bin Laden messages”? Does the US government desire to expand its war operations anywhere, say into the precise places it claims bin Laden is still living in? Based on the evidence Griffin presents, there is no reason to assume that comparable psyops would not be utilized to achieve this goal.

In Chapter 5, “The Convenient Timing of Many of the Messages”, Griffin shows that another reason to suspect the inauthenticity of the “bin Laden messages” is that they frequently were released at key moments when they would benefit the Bush administration in the pursuit of particular objectives. In other words, the “messages” were almost always objectively detrimental to the enemies of the US, and beneficial to the Bush administration or the Blair government. Griffin lists 11 specific instances of this unusual characteristic of the “messages.”
Osama Bin Laden: Dead Or Alive? by David Ray Griffin is a book to rally around – a basis on which we can mobilize and organize resistance to yet another incalculably bloody war of aggression by the predatory military-industrial-financial elite that runs this country, and is running it into the abyss. Griffin has placed a strong weapon of truth in our hands with which to stop the brutal war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22708.htm

faithful pro-imperialists detest the tactics, not the geostrategic agenda
From State Secrets to War to Wiretaps
Two Sides of the Same Coin
...So far The Obama administration has invoked the state secrets privilege in three cases in the first 100 days: Al Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama, Mohammed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, and Jewel v. NSA. In defending the NSA illegal wiretapping, the Obama administration maintained that the State Secrets Privilege, the same draconian executive privilege used and abused voraciously by the previous administration, required the dismissal of the case in courts.
Not only has the new administration continued the practice of invoking SSP to shield government wrongdoing, it has expanded its abuses much further. In the Al Haramain case, Obama’s Justice Department has threatened to have the FBI or federal marshals break into a judge's office and remove evidence already turned over in the case, according to the plaintiffs attorney. Even Bush didn't go this far so brazenly. In a well-written disgust provoking piece Jon Eisenberg, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, poses the question: “The president's lawyers continue to block access to information that could expose warrantless wiretapping. Is this change we can believe in?”
This is the same President, the same well-spoken showman, who went on record in 2007, during the campaign shenanigans, and said the following:
“When I am president we won’t work in secret to avoid honoring our laws and Constitution.”---Presidential Candidate, Barack Obama, 2007...
On NSA Warrantless Wiretapping
The new Administration has pledged to defend the Telecommunications Industry by giving them immunity against any lawsuit that may involve their participation in the illegal NSA wiretapping program. In 2007, Obama’s office released the following position of then Senator Obama: “Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies ... Senator Obama will not be among those voting to end the filibuster.” But then Senator Obama made his 180 degree flip, and voted to end the filibuster. After that, along with other colleagues in Congress, he tried to placate the critics of his move by falsely assuring them that the immunity did not extend to the Bush Administration - the Executive Branch who did break the law. Another flip was yet to come, awaiting his presidency, when Obama’s Justice Department defended its predecessor not only by using the State Secrets Privilege, but taking it even further, by astoundingly granting the Executive Branch an unlimited immunity for any kind of ‘illegal’ government surveillance.
Let me emphasize, the Obama Administration’s action in this regard was not about ‘being trapped’ in situations created and put in place by the previous administration. These were willful acts fully reviewed, decided upon, and then implemented by the new president and his Justice Department.
On Torture
President Obama’s action and inaction on Torture can be summarized very clearly as follows: First give an absolute pass, under the guise of ‘looking forward not backward,’ to the ultimate culprits who had ordered it. Next, absolve all the implementers, practitioners and related agencies, under the excuse of ‘complying with orders without questioning,’ and then start giving the ‘drafters’ of the memos an out by transferring the decision for action to the states.
After granting the ‘untouchable’ status to all involved in this shameful chapter in our nation’s dangerous downward slide, he now refuses to release the photos, the incriminating evidence, and is doing so by using the exact same justification used repeatedly by his predecessors: ‘Their release would endanger the troops,’ as in ‘the revelation on NSA would endanger our national security’ and ‘stronger whistleblower laws would endanger our intelligence agencies’ and so on and so forth.
Not only that, he goes even further to shove his secrecy promotion down other nations’ courts throat. In the case of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen and a legal resident in Britain who was held and tortured in Guantanamo from 2004 to 2009, and filed lawsuits in the British courts to have the evidence of his torture released, Mr. Obama’s position has been to threaten the British Government in order to conceal all facts and related evidence. This case involves the brutal torture and so very ‘extraordinary’ rendition practices of the previous administration, the same practices that ‘in words’ were strongly condemned by the President during his candidacy.
Today he and his administration unapologetically maintain the same Bush Administration position on extraordinary rendition, torture, and related secrecy to cover up. Here is Ben Wizner’s, the attorney who argued the case for the ACLU, response “We are shocked and deeply disappointed that the Justice Department has chosen to continue the Bush administration’s practice of dodging judicial scrutiny of extraordinary rendition and torture. This was an opportunity for the new administration to act on its condemnation of torture and rendition, but instead it has chosen to stay the course.” Yes indeed, President Obama has chosen to protect and support the course involving torture, rendition and the abuse of secrecy to cover them all up.
The Revival of Bush Era Military Commission
After all the talk and pretty speeches given during his presidential campaign on the ‘failure’ of Bush era military tribunals of Guantanamo inmates, Mr. Obama has decided to revive the same style military commission, albeit with a little cosmetic tweak here and there to re-brand it as his own. Many former supporters of Mr. Obama who’ve been vocal and active on Human Rights fronts have expressed their ‘total shock’ by this move and its pretense of being different and improved, "As a constitutional lawyer, Obama must know that he can put lipstick on this pig - but it will always be a pig," said Zachary Katznelson, legal director of Reprieve.
Thankfully the ‘on the record’ statements of Candidate Obama in 2008 on this issue, contradicting his action today, are accessible to all:
“It's time to better protect the American people and our values by bringing swift and sure justice to terrorists through our courts and our Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
Suspect terrorists (emphasis on ‘suspect’) cannot have just trials consistent/in line with our ‘courts and Uniform Code of Military Justice’ via military commissions. It’s almost an oxymoron! And if you add to that the other Obama-approved ingredients such as secrecy, rendition, and evidence obtained under torture, what have we got?...
On War and Bodies Piling Up
Here is the first paragraph in a New York Times report on May 15, 2009:
“The number of civilians killed by the American air strikes in Farah Province last week may never be fully known. But villagers, including two girls recovering from burn wounds, described devastation that officials and human rights workers are calling the worst episode of civilian casualties in eight years of war in Afghanistan.”
The report also includes the disagreement over the exact number of ‘Civilian Casualties’ in Afghanistan by our military airstrike:
“Government officials have accepted handwritten lists compiled by the villagers of 147 dead civilians. An independent Afghan human rights group said it had accounts from interviews of 117 dead. American officials say that even 100 is an exaggeration but have yet to issue their own count.”
Does it really matter - the difference between 147 and 117 or just 100 when it comes to children, grandmothers…innocent lives lost in a war with no well-defined objectives or plans? If for some it indeed does matter, then here is a more specific and detailed report :
“A copy of the government's list of the names, ages and father's names of each of the 140 dead was obtained by Reuters earlier this week. It shows that 93 of those killed were children -- the youngest eight days old -- and only 22 were adult males.”
Maybe releasing the photographs of the nameless unrepresented victims of these airstrikes should be as important as those of torture. Because, from what I see, they and their loss of lives have been reduced to some petty number ... I believe some may need pictures of these atrocities as much as those of torture to replace those ‘Shock & Awe’ footages fed to them by our MSM...
It is the continuation of the same abstract ‘War on Terror’...What I want the readers to do is to read the extremely important cases above, step back in time to those un-ending campaign trail days, and answer the following questions:
How would Senator McCain have acted on these same issues if he had been elected? How would Senator Hilary Clinton? Do you believe there would have been any major differences? Weren’t their records almost identical to Senator Obama’s on these issues? If you are like me, and answer ‘same,’ ‘same,’ ‘no,’ and ‘yes,’ then, why do you think we ended up with these exact same candidates, those deemed ‘viable’ and sold to us as such? With too much at stake, too many unfinished agendas for the course of our nation, and too many skeletons in the closet in need of hiding for self-preservation, the ‘permanent establishment’ made certain that they took no risk by giving the public, via their MSM tentacles, a coin that no matter how many times flipped would come up the same - Heads, Heads....
Sibel Edmonds is the founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC ). Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her case have been blocked by the assertion of “State Secret Privilege”; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice. Ms. Edmonds is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; and has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.

A Nation of Cowards, Pt. 2
...Lagouranis writes of entire families who were clearly innocent of anything resembling terrorist activity, but were sent on to Abu Ghraib because the report filed when they were picked up stated that they were insurgents, had connections to insurgents, etc. We know, thanks to the Red Cross that as many as 70 percent of the prisoners in Abu Ghraib were wrongly detained. Even the general who was in charge of the prison (and took part of the fall for the administrative officials who opened the door to the acts that took place there) said most of the prisoners shouldn’t have been there. We know from official documents that children as young as 11-years-old were held at Abu Ghraib....Arresting authorities entered houses usually after dark, breaking down doors, waking up residents roughly, yelling orders, forcing family members into one room under military guard while searching the rest of the house and further breaking doors, cabinets and other property. They arrested suspects, tying their hands in the back with flexi-cuffs, hooding them, and taking them away. Sometimes they arrested all adult males present in a house, including elderly, handicapped or sick people…pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching and kicking and striking with rifles...http://www.uruknet.de/?p=54557

'REFRAMING THE ISSUES': NYT previews preplanned propaganda theater ... and convenient 'unreleased Pentagon report'.
Cheney's resurrection will provide urgently needed 'progressive' contrast for Obama admin. and a 'pressure' pretext for further expansion of the now 'friendly' fascist u.s. agenda
The Early Word: Details of Obama’s Speech
By Kate Phillips AND Jeff Zeleny
Against the backdrop of the National Archives, where the original Constitution and Bill of Rights are kept, President Obama will deliver a major address this morning on national security and on his philosophy about the detention of suspected terrorists at Guantánamo Bay. According to administration officials, he will contend that the Bush administration’s policies were an “ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable — a framework that failed to trust in our institutions, and that failed to use our values as a compass.”
But almost as soon as he finishes, television networks will probably cut away to another speech, titled “Keeping America Safe,” by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr. Cheney has emerged as one of the new administration’s staunchest critics on everything from detainees to diplomacy.
Both speeches are occurring as Congress wrestled loudly this week with detention issues, and rebuffed the president over financing for closing down the detention center. Republicans and Democrats alike argued that the White House had yet to outline a realistic plan for what to do with the remaining detainees after the center is closed.
Moving the detainees onto American soil, even in high-security prisons, is unpopular on Capitol Hill, and could become more distasteful in light of an unreleased Pentagon report saying that 1 in 7 of the 534 detainees already transferred abroad have since then been involved in terrorist and militant activities, Elisabeth Bumiller reports in The Times...

McChrystal & Pelosi
Stan Goff
...McChrystal ran Task Force 6-26, which became temporarily famous after the killing of Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, a boogyman figure cultivated by the US military and media complex. What made TF 6-26 infamous was their activity in Camp Nama, Iraq: torture. Massive, systematic, sustained torture, by special operators, under the supervision of Stanley McChrystal, this deceptively soft-spoken officer. The camp in Baghdad was used almost exclusively for the torture of detainees. The torture went on be fore, during, and after the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Detainees were killed by their torturers, members of the most elite units in the US armed forces. Almost in celebration of the activity of the camp, placards were hung that said, "No Blood, No Foul," meaning if you don’t make them bleed, you can’t be charged with the crimes you are committing. Impunity.... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=54434

...Jack Goldsmith has a definitive piece called “The Cheney Fallacy” online at The New Republic. He lists a broad range of policies — Guantánamo, habeas corpus, military commissions, rendition, interrogation and so on. He shows how, in most cases, the Obama policy represents a continuation of or a gradual evolution from the final Bush policy.
What Obama gets, and what President Bush never got, is that other people’s opinions matter. Goldsmith puts it well: “The main difference between the Obama and Bush administrations concerns not the substance of terrorism policy, but rather its packaging....”Obama has taken many of the same policies Bush ended up with, and made them credible to the country and the world.

The Cheney Fallacy: Why Barack Obama is waging a more effective war on terror than George W. Bush
by Jack Goldsmith
The New Republic
Many people think Cheney is scare-mongering and owes President Obama his support or at least his silence. But there is a different problem with Cheney's criticisms: his premise that the Obama administration has reversed Bush-era policies is largely wrong. The truth is closer to the opposite: The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit. Almost all of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric. This does not mean that the Obama changes are unimportant. Packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric, it turns out, are vitally important to the legitimacy of terrorism policies.

in so many words: parisan electoral politics serve the bipartisan u.s. ruling clas agenda, e.g. 'national consensus'
Obama is Validating Bush War on Terror
Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post May 22, 2009, syndicated Seattle Times
... Within 125 days, Obama has adopted with only minor modifications huge swaths of the entire, allegedly lawless Bush program... Observers of all political stripes are stunned by how much of the Bush national security agenda is being adopted by this new Democratic government What does it all mean? Democratic hypocrisy and demagoguery? Sure, but in Washington, opportunism and cynicism are hardly news. There is something much larger at play -- an undeniable, irresistible national interest that, in the end, beyond the cheap politics, asserts itself. The urgencies and necessities of the actual post-9/11 world, as opposed to the fanciful world of the opposition politician, present a rather narrow range of acceptable alternatives....The genius of democracy is that the rotation of power forces the opposition to come to its senses when it takes over. When the new guys, brought to power by popular will, then adopt the policies of the old guys, a national consensus is forged and a new legitimacy established. That's happening before our eyes. The Bush policies in the war on terror won't have to await vindication by historians. Obama is doing it day by day. His denials mean nothing. Look at his deeds.

'reports' always handy
Terror Link Cited for 1 in 7 Freed Detainees
An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners transferred abroad from the prison in Guantánamo Bay are engaged in terrorism.

Obama to Consider Preventive Detention Plan to permit incarceration of terrorism suspects deemed a threat but who cannot be tried.
“He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so we can deal with individuals we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush... we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/us/politics/21obama.html?ref=politics

Facts and Myths about Obama's Preventive Detention Proposal
By Glenn Greenwald
In the wake of Obama's speech yesterday, there are vast numbers of new converts who now support indefinite "preventive detention." It thus seems constructive to have as dispassionate and fact-based discussion as possible of the implications of "preventive detention" and Obama's related detention proposals (military commissions). http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article22688.htm

About The "Temple Plot": “It was fully controlled at all times”
By Bill Anderson
A federal law enforcement official described the plot as “aspirational” — meaning the suspects wanted to do something but had no weapons or explosives — and described the operation as a sting with a cooperator within the group. The defendants dealt with an informant acting under law enforcement supervision, authorities said. The FBI and other agencies monitored the men and provided an inactive missile and inert C-4 to the informant for the defendants, a federal complaint said... It is not as though C-4 explosives and Stinger missiles are available at every neighborhood drug store. Had any of the four "terrorists" ever obtained explosives or anything similar on their own?...
“It was fully controlled at all times,” a law enforcement official said.


Slouching towards balkanization
Pepe Escobar
It's as if the George W Bush years in Afghanistan had never left... A surge is coming to town - just like the one General David Petraeus engineered in Iraq. A Bush proconsul (Zalmay Khalilzad) wants to run the show - again. A hardliner (General Stanley McChrystal) is getting ready to terrorize any Pashtun in sight. A new mega-base is sprouting in the "desert of death" in the southern A fghan province of Helmand. And as in Bush time, no one's talking pipeline, or the (invisible) greatest regional prize: Pakistani Balochistan. Bush's "global war on terror" (GWOT) may have been rebranded, under new management, "overseas contingency operation" (OCO)... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=54448

North Korea's Second Nuclear Test: Fearful Pride
By Manuel Garcia, Jr.
...In the simplest terms, world capitalism under the direction of the United States wants the North Koreans to dismantle their DPRK state and to integrate their economy and workforce into that of an expanded Republic of Korea (South Korea) in a manner similar to the dissolution of the East German communist state (Democratic Republic of Germany, 7 October 1949 to 3 October 1990). The foreign policy of the DPRK, of which its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs are a part, is aimed at combatting the existential threat to the DPRK governing elite.
First, let us consider some of the physical aspects of DPRK test #2 (...)

The DPRK nuclear arsenal is the equivalent of a 10 foot (3.3 m) high wall topped with glass shards surrounding an estate with Pit Bulls and Doberman Pinschers running loose. It is a shield built with pride and motivated by fear.... they are now a full-fledged member of the nuclear weapons club. The most honest reaction the Security Council of the UN, and the leading world powers could offer would be: "congratulations!"... urging the DPRK leadership to engage in nuclear disarmament is equivalent to urging it to dissolve; the nature of their brittle power structure could not withstand the corrosive effects of the psychological, cultural and economic forces within world capitalism...

The DPRK has made the clearest possible statement that the best defense against domination by superior powers is nuclear weaponry. The greater care with which the U.S. and Security Council Nuclear Powers approach the DPRK confirms this argument. When observing the situations of Palestine, Iraq and Iran, most of the rest of the world would concede the validity of the argument. The policy of the U.S. is to encourage other nations to abide by the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty -- and renounce nuclear weapons -- while exempting itself from it; essentially "disarm that we may more easily rule." The DPRK posture is a rejection of the US policy, and a pointed example of rebellion calling out to the rest of the world.

Another aspect of the DPRK's nuclear weapons politics is to put its near neighbors on notice not to think of colonizing it. This message is particularly aimed at South Korea, seen as an extension of US capitalism, and to Japan. There are still Koreans living who remember being brutally enslaved by Imperial Japan, which forcibly annexed Korea during 1910 to 1945. Even more Koreans remember the 1950-1953 war between China and the U.S., on their peninsula. The casualties of that war, for the US-led anti-communist forces, were 474,000; the combined casualties for the communist Chinese and North Korean forces were between 1.19 million and 1.58 million; and the total number of Korean civilians killed or wounded is estimated at 2 million (5)...

The real solution to nuclear proliferation is the expansion of social and economic justice within our own nations, because nuclear arms are primarily a symptom of economic class warfare coupled with racism. Let the people of North Korea deal with their economic elite, and let us reform ours; and in that way we can eliminate the nuclear weapons squeezed out of the world's popular collective labor by our various ambitious and parasitic ruling classes.
Manuel Garcia, Jr., a former physicist at Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Laboratory, can be reached at mango@idiom.com

In its first comments since announcing Monday's test, an editorial in one of the North's main newspapers on Tuesday accused Barack Obama, the US president, of following the "reckless policy" taken by his predecessor.http://english.aljazeera.net//news/asia-pacific/2009/05/2009526593617943.html

South Korea joins US anti-nuke club: The North has previously said that Seoul's participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative would be seen as a declaration of war.

Japan Should Consider Pre-emptive Strikes, LDP Lawmaker Says: “North Korea poses a serious and realistic threat to Japan,” former defense chief Gen Nakatani said today in Tokyo at a meeting of Liberal Democratic Party officials. “We must look at active missile defense such as attacking an enemy’s territory and bases.”

Obama admin. helped defeat Miranda protections against the state
Justices Ease Rules on Questioning
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it easier for the police and prosecutors to question suspects, lifting some restrictions on when defendants can be interrogated without their lawyers present. In a 5-to-4 ruling, the court overturned its 1986 opinion in a Michigan case, which forbade the police from interrogating a defendant once he invoked his right to counsel at an arraignment or a similar proceeding... Miranda rights, arising from the landmark 1966 Supreme Court ruling that a defendant must be told of his right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present virtually from the moment he is taken into custody (digest: before police interrogation). That 1986 ruling has not only proved “unworkable,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority, but its “marginal benefits are dwarfed by its substantial costs” in that some guilty defendants go free...
Tuesday’s opinion in Montejo v. Louisiana, No. 07-1529, inspired considerable emotion, as displayed by Justice Stevens’s reading of his dissent, which was joined by Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. Mr. Montejo’s Sixth Amendment right to legal representation, as well as his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, were damaged by the ruling, Justice Stevens said.
The Obama administration... had argued in favor of overturning the 1986 ruling in the Michigan case...

"While I would have liked to see a more conservative libertarian type on the high court, President Obama's selection of New York federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor was a very prudent and wise decision from a far left liberal like Obama."
Larry Klayman, founder, chairman and general counsel of Freedom Watch.

''I'm black and I'm poor ..."
Black Harvard Student: Racism Part of Campus Ban
Chanequa Campbell...A black Harvard University senior who lives in the dorm where a campus visitor was fatally shot says school officials ordered her out of the building and told her she could not graduate, singling her out because of her race.... her attorney, Jeffrey Karp, told the AP She was ordered off campus Friday with little notice and without being told why... allowed to gather only a few personal belongings from her room after receiving a no-trespassing order...''There is no citation to the student code, no citation to any law, no citation to any facts,'' he said.
In a report last month, a panel convened to look into whether campus police unfairly stopped black people because of their race said more work needed to be done to create a welcoming environment at the school, where 11 percent of admitted students are black. In 2004, police stopped and questioned a prominent black Harvard professor who matched a robbery suspect's description. Then, in 2007, police responding to noise complaints asked leaders of black student groups holding a field day on campus to show their Harvard IDs. Last year, a black campus worker who lost his bicycle lock key said an officer drew a gun on him after he tried to cut the lock off.
Karp said Campbell has not been formally expelled, giving her hope that she would be able to attend the June 4 commencement.

What We Learned at Notre Dame: Obama and Abortion Rights
By Sharon Smith
...As soon as the news surfaced that President Barack Obama had been invited to speak at the University of Notre Dame’s 2009 commencement ceremony, the fanatical wing of the nation’s anti-abortion crusade began assembling the smoke and mirrors needed to masquerade as a mass movement. Media savvy crackpot Randall Terry, who boasts a long record of confrontation with the enemies of the Christian Right, immediately took the lead. With great fanfare, he announced his plan to “make a circus” out of the pro-choice Obama’s speech — the kind of grandiose threat guaranteeing a prominent spot on the evening news. ...the established pro-choice organizations preferred to let Obama represent their side of the debate. He did not. On the contrary, his speech called for those on opposing sides of the abortion debate to find “common ground … to work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term." Obama’s speech never articulated his own support for women who choose abortion to end an unwanted pregnancy. His speech was so conciliatory to abortion opponents that even the Pope expressed delight. The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano praised Obama's speech and noted that Obama had stated at a recent press conference that passing a Freedom of Choice Act, which would protect women’s right to choose, was not high on his list of priorities. As such, Randall Terry was able to transform Notre Dame into ground zero for the most maniacal wing of the anti-choice movement without ever being forced to answer a coherent defense of the right to choose...

Obama appears intent on replaying the Clinton-era scenario, in which the pro-choice presidential candidate promises supporters that he will pass the Freedom of Choice Act while on the campaign trail. Once elected, his enthusiasm vanishes and, when pro-choice supporters do not protest this betrayal, the legislation never materializes. Indeed, the pro-choice movement’s silence during Clinton’s two terms allowed the passage of a wide array of anti-abortion restrictions in states around the country — including mandatory parental consent and notification laws for minors, 24-hour waiting periods and anti-abortion “counseling” — allowing abortion rights to recede under the watch of a pro-choice president.

Entrusting politicians to defend legal abortion has proven a disaster for the pro-choice movement. The movement embarked on this calamitous strategy in the late-1980s, when the leaders of the largest pro-choice organizations, including the National Abortion Rights Action League (now called NARAL Pro-Choice America) decided to adapt their argument for choice to one more acceptable to rightward moving Democrats. NARAL issued a “talking points” memo to its affiliates in 1989, instructing staffers not to use phrases such as “a woman’s body is her own to control” and to reshape the right to choose as a “privacy” issue. In so doing, the politically passive pro-choice movement allowed the more aggressive anti-abortion crusade to successfully hijack the very definition of “life” in the abortion debate. Removing women’s rights from the debate allowed the rights of embryos to supersede those of living, breathing women desperate to end an unintended pregnancy.

Since Clinton’s election in 1992, the anti-abortion crusade has remained defiant while the pro-choice movement has been in steady retreat. This is the only way to understand how a small but dedicated army of religious zealots has managed to successfully transform the political terrain in its favor — and why a figure as ridiculous as Randall Terry is now regarded as legitimate within the political mainstream...

The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal in 1973 was the greatest victory of the women’s liberation movement — and it was the product of struggle. If support for abortion has declined in recent years, it is not because the right to choose is any less necessary. On the contrary, there is an urgent need to build a new pro-choice movement that reinserts women into the abortion debate and wages an uncompromising fight for abortion without apology. http://www.counterpunch.org/sharon05262009.html

2 important points: the electoral sham and the shame of queer politics narrowly focused on a bourgeois institution and 'rights'
To win marriage equality, we need a divorce
by Sherry Wolf
Since the birth of the modern LGBT movement out of the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the Democrats before Obama controlled the White House for 12 years under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. For a lot of that time, both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats as well. But during this time, as well as under Republican administrations, the Democrats have been opportunist at best, and hostile at worst. Little compares to the treachery of the Clinton administration. A masterful public speaker capable of Academy Award-style performances of empathy, Clinton could famously “feel your pain,” but apparently could not alleviate any of it. Clinton came into office promising an end to draconian laws against gays in the military. He caved after four days and signed into law what is perhaps the only known order by a commander-in-chief for gays and lesbians to march back into the closet. While initially perceived as a more benign form of discrimination, his policy–known as “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue”–has allowed for a witch-hunt of tens of thousands of military personnel and the discharge of more than 12,500 LGBT people from the military. Nearly six years into his presidency, Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 11478 providing partial relief for lesbian and gay federal employees–not including the 3 million military personnel. But his action left intact sodomy laws (not overturned by the Supreme Court until 2003), anti-same-sex marriage legislation (which he signed) and the military’s unequal status for LGBT people (which he introduced), and it didn’t take up the rights of those who are transgender (who experience the highest rates of violence, unemployment and discrimination of any sexual minority).
All this exposes the severe limitations of the electoral route for winning civil rights for LGBT people. To win equal marriage–and pursue all other civil rights–LGBT activists and our allies need to slap the Democrats with divorce papers and organize independently. As sex advice columnist Dan Savage would put it: DTMFA–dump the motherfucker already.


I did not say Cheney killed Benazir: Seymour Hersh:
American journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday denied news reports that quoted him as saying a 'special death squad' working under former US vice president Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto.
The story regarding Hersh’s reported claim that Cheney ordered the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was published on our website among other publications. We regret the error.

Hersh assassination squad allegations resurface on CNN, with Cheney aide denials
By Eric Black | Mar 31 2009
Three weeks ago, your humble ink-stained wretch stumbled into a matter of global, legal, historic, covert and overt interest while covering legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh speaking at "Great Conversations" forum at the U of M. It wasn't my scoop, and I received undeserved credit for it. I was merely in the audience and had a tape running when Hersh pretty much accused Vice President Dick Cheney of supervising a team of assassins.
Yesterday, on CNN, Hersh repeated what he had said at the U (while calling himself "dumb-dumb" for having said it when, where and how he said it).
Two high-ranking former aides to Cheney denied there was anything to it, then proceeded to confirm almost all of Hersh's key claims. Yes, the Cheney-ites said, the U.S. does compile and maintain a list of names of people, presumably connected to terrorist activities, whom the U.S. is trying to kill, starting with Osama bin Laden. Yes, there are military units who are authorized to kill them. Really, the only issues on which they differ is whether such targeted killings should be called "assassinations," whether Congress should have oversight over such activites, and whether there is anything wrong with it.
Here is a transcript of the CNN exchange (you have to skip more than halfway down on the transcript, or search for the word "controversial" and you'll go right to it). And above is a video of the whole CNN piece. (If you look real fast, when they start playing the audio of what Hersh said in Minnesota, you'll see MinnPost credited on-screen).
But, for those who are coming in late, here's how this started. Three weeks ago at the U of M: [...]

Mondale inadvertently admits the capitalist state terror system prevails ...through electoral changes
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes ‘executive assassination ring’
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
At a “Great Conversations” event (MP3) at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.”Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn’t written about yet.
In an email exchange afterward, Hersh said that his statements were “an honest response to a question” from the event’s moderator, U of M Political Scientist Larry Jacobs and “not something I wanted to dwell about in public.” Hersh didn’t take back the statements, which he said arise from reporting he is doing for a book, but that it might be a year or two before he has what he needs on the topic to be “effective…that is, empirical, for even the most skeptical.”...

Jacobs asked: “And do they continue to happen to this day?”Replied Hersh:“Yuh. After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen.
“Right now, today, a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. …“Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.... “It’s complicated because the guys doing it are not murderers, and yet they are committing what we would normally call murder. It’s a very complicated issue. Because they are young men that went into the Special Forces. The Delta Forces you’ve heard about. Navy Seal teams. Highly specialized. “In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs they [SIC] think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people....

Hersh, the best-known investigative reporter of his generation, writes about these kinds of issues for The New Yorker. He has written often about JSOC, including, last July that:
“Under the Bush Administration’s interpretation of the law, clandestine military activities, unlike covert C.I.A. operations, do not need to be depicted in a Finding, because the President has a constitutional right to command combat forces in the field without congressional interference.” (“Finding” refers to a special document that a president must issue, although not make public, to authorize covert CIA actions.)...

Jacobs pressed both men on the question of whether the frequent abuses of power show that the Constitution fails, because these things keep happening, or whether it works, because these things keep coming to light. Mondale stuck with the happy answer. “The system has come through again and again,” he said. Presidents always think they will get away with it, but eventually reporters like Hersh bring things to light, the public “starts smelling this stuff,” the courts and the Congress get involved. Presidents “always, in the long run, find out that the system is stronger than they are.”...