7/2 July 4; From Nesreen; "Dangerous Progressives"; Holocaust Industry; Shackled in Birth; Cybercom:"Not militarizing cyber"

The Hypocrisy of America: This Fourth of July is yours, not mine.
Frederick Douglass: July 4, 1852
In 1852, invited to give a speech in Rochester NY, Douglass delivered the following indictment of & Hard Power Wars a nation celebrating freedom and independence, while keeping slaves.

Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions. Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today?..

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?

I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.

To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy‹a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.

There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

"In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

"One must always try to be as radical as reality itself."
Vladimir Lenin

Statement by President Barack Obama on United Nations International Day in Support of Torture Victims
Twenty-five years ago, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention Against Torture, and twenty-two years ago this very day, the Convention entered into force. The United States’ leading role in the negotiation of the Convention and its subsequent ratification and implementation enjoyed strong bipartisan support. Today, we join the international community in reaffirming unequivocally the principles behind that Convention, including the core principle that torture is never justified.
Torture violates United States and international law as well as human dignity. Torture is contrary to the founding documents of our country, and the fundamental values of our people. It diminishes the security of those who carry it out, and surrenders the moral authority that must form the basis for just leadership. That is why the United States must never engage in torture, and must stand against torture wherever it takes place [...] THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press June 26, 2009

"Even Guantánamo Bay is better than this"
By William Fisher
An investigation by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has revealed that former detainees at the U.S. Bagram airbase in Afghanistan were beaten, deprived of sleep, and threatened with dogs. The BBC’s conclusions are based on interviews with 27 former detainees who were held at Bagram between 2002 and 2006. None of these men were ever charged with a crime. Hundreds of detainees are still being held in U.S. custody at the Afghan prison without charge or trial...http://www.uruknet.de/?p=55531

CIA Crucified Captive In Abu Ghraib Prison
By Sherwood Ross
The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a The New Yorker magazine report. "A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs," Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. "Military pathologists classified the case a homicide." The date of the murder was not given. "No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment...http://www.uruknet.de/?p=55547

The suppressed fact: Deaths by U.S. torture
After numerous delays sought by the Obama administration, it is expected that a 2004 CIA Inspector General's Report -- aggressively questioning both the efficacy and legality of Bush's interrogation tactics -- will be released tomorrow...It is not uncommon for our political debates to be distorted. But discussions over torture and accountability have descended to a new level. The picture that is most commonly conveyed -- that torture was confined to a small handful of cases, was highly regulated, and resulted in no long-lasting harm -- is pure propaganda, completely false. The reality -- that our "interrogation tactics" killed numerous detainees, who, by definition, are people confined helplessly in our custody, virtually none of whom has been convicted of anything, and at least some of whom are completely innocent -- is virtually never heard as part of these debates. It's vital that this changes. Tomorrow's likely release of a new version of the incriminating CIA IG Report provides an excellent opportunity for that finally to happen. A heavily redacted version of that document was already released by the Bush administration in response to an ACLU lawsuit and it remains to be seen how much new information will be included in tomorrow's version. In anticipation of the release of that report, there is an important effort underway -- as part of the ACLU Accountability Project -- to correct a critically important deficiency in the public debate over torture and accountability. So often, the premise of media discussions of torture is that "torture" is something that was confined to a single tactic (waterboarding) and used only on three "high-value" detainees accused of being high-level Al Qaeda operatives. The reality is completely different.
The record could not be clearer regarding the fact that we caused numerous detainee deaths, many of which have gone completely uninvestigated and thus unpunished. Instead, the media and political class have misleadingly caused the debate to consist of the myth that these tactics were limited and confined. As Gen. Barry McCaffrey recently put it:
We should never, as a policy, maltreat people under our control, detainees. We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A....
The ACLU has posted online numerous autopsy reports of detainee deaths in U.S. custody. These are documents prepared by the U.S. military, and they are as chilling as they are reflective of extreme criminality. Here are just a few illustrative examples (click on images to enlarge): Autopsy ME-4309 -- 27 y/o male civilian - Mosul [...]

To Critics, New Policy on Terror Looks Old
Charlie Savage

“President Obama may mouth very different rhetoric...He may have a more complicated process with members of Congress. But in the end, there is no substantive break from the policies of the Bush administration.”
Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“What we are watching is a liberal, centrist, Democratic version of the construction of these same (surveillance and detention) governing policies.”
Jack Balkin, professor Yale Law School

'progressive/leftist' democrats = liberal imperialist-zionists
Freedom Rider: Dangerous Progressives
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“It is assumed that Americans are good and know what is best for the world.”
Most Americans believe their country is a benevolent and beloved force in the world. That belief is so deeply ingrained that even political progressives are rarely different in upholding this awful dogma. They are as likely as self-identified conservatives to support the government when it asserts a right to interfere with foreign governments, to occupy their nations, or to kill human beings on any pretext deemed necessary by the United States.
The term “Manifest Destiny” was coined in the 1800s, but its power lives on into the 21st century.
Progressives also succumb to the belief in American divine right, and consequently can often be as dangerous as those on the political right. The shallowness of their principles first became obvious during the 2008 presidential campaign. Barack Obama quickly made it clear that his mantra of change was little more than a marketing ploy.No matter. The lackadaisical progressive response to Bushesque Obama policies proved once and for all that true opposition to the United States government would emerge from a very small group and that labels such as left and progressive were becoming more and more meaningless.
Barack Obama has continued some of the worst Bush administration policies, but still receives nearly universal support from progressives. In his first 48 hours in office he authorized a drone attack in Pakistan that resulted in civilian casualties. He has agreed to withhold photos of detainee torture, and proposed a policy of indefinite detention without trial. The war that began in Iraq has expanded in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has turned over more that $12 trillion dollars in public funds to the financial services industry without repairing the damage that industry wrought on millions of people. Most progressives have chosen to either be silent or to actively defended him.
“Too few Americans will oppose their government when it incarcerates more people than any other government on earth.”

They have done so because they are not at all interested in changing the political system. Why change a system if you think it is just fine the way it is? They may prefer David Axelrod to Karl Rove, but they agree that powerful white men like them should decide what is right for this country and for the world. Their differences with Rove are less important than their absolute faith that people like him know best just because they are close to the ruling elites in this the best of all possible nations.
Progressives and liberals are as ready as conservatives to support government interventions in our lives and on the world stage. The country in question may be Sudan, or perhaps Iran. The clarion call is the same. "We must do something” because “we” are superior, all knowing, and chosen by a divine force to make the world in whatever image we choose.
“Barack Obama quickly made it clear that his mantra of change was little more than a marketing ploy.”
As long as white Americans believe in their inherent superiority, they will be a very dangerous people indeed. Some of those dangerous people are Democrats and some are Republicans. In the end, they usually want the same thing. They want their ruling class to dominate other human beings. They may differ on which individuals should do the dominating, and where and when the domination is warranted. They may even decide that a black man can act on behalf of the ruling classes, but belief in the power of that class is still accepted without question. As long as that is the case, Democratic politicians and liberal bloggers will pose as a great a peril to the world as do the stars of Fox news. In the end, they all want the very same thing.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com.

Court Circular: Annals of Imperial Continuity
Chris Floyd
Siege Replaces Surge
When is a withdrawal not a withdrawal? When it's an "encirclement." Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com points us to this little gem from the Christian Science Monitor: "US forces withdrawing from Iraqi cities will move instead to encircle them.". According to Major General Robert Caslen, the commander of US forces in the north, the troops that are being pulled from the cities will be massing along the outskirts of the cities, encircling them in what the general called an attempt to replicate the surge strategy outside of the cities....

Once More Into the Somali Breach
Barack Obama is also reviving the Bush regime's direct intervention in Somalia -- and the Washington Post is dutifully doing its bit with this headline: "U.S. Sends Weapons to Help Somali Government Repel Rebels Tied to Al-Qaeda."...But the rise of this faction of militant religious extremists is the inevitable (deliberate?) result of the bipartisan Terror War that the United States has been conducting in Somalia for years... With American backing, blessing -- and direct military support -- a coalition of Islamist factions that had brought the first measure of stability to Somalia in many years was shattered by foreign invasion and local warlords in the pay of the CIA. Some factions in the broken coalition were further radicalized by the brutal war that followed; others have sought compromise with the Western-backed transitional government. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have died, and millions more have been driven into exile, ruin and terrible suffering ...

Finally, Stars and Stripes give us the quintessence of the American empire's "counterinsurgency" strategy, with this quote from a U.S. officer toiling in the killing fields of the oh-so-good war in Afghanistan: "I tell my men they have to be thinking warriors," Capt. Bobby Davis of Columbus, Ga., whose platoon went out to help the convoy, said the following day. "You have to be able to go out and talk to people and in the flick of a switch, like yesterday, to kill and then continue the mission — go out again and talk to people."
Hearts and minds -- blow their brains out -- then hearts and minds again.... Criswell predicts: another 25 years of road-building, switch-flicking and people-killing in the distant hills of Bactria.

US Iraq commander loses cool over troop numbers
Jun 30, 2009
...Speaking via satellite from Baghdad, U.S. Army General Ray Odierno lost his cool at a briefing for Pentagon reporters when he was repeatedly questioned about the number of U.S. troops that would remain in the cities as advisers to Iraqi forces. Asked why he could not give a figure, he became visibly irritated, raised his voice and replied: "Because it would be inaccurate! Because I don't know exactly how many are in the cities. It varies day-to-day based on the mission."Pressed to give a rough figure, he snapped: "How many times you want me to say that? I don't know."... [editor: NYT et al mention 'about' 130,000 -- not including thousands of contractors]

Iraq's "National Sovereignty Day": U.S.-Style Hallmark Hype
Jeremy Scahill
The U.S. puppet government in Iraq named June 30 as "National Sovereignty Day," - and without mentioning the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis maimed, killed, tortured or made refugees by the U.S. invasion and occupation - thanked the occupiers for placing them in power...

Over 1,300,000 Iraqis Slaughtered in U.S. Invasion & Occupation of Iraq

The contract race is the first opportunity for global energy giants to gain a hold in the country since the Baath party nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company in 1972, seven years before former president Saddam Hussein took power...
Arabian Sights

Oil and the Iraq “withdrawal”
James Cogan
It is fitting that today’s deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq’s cities coincides with a meeting in Baghdad to auction off some of the country’s largest oil fields to companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron and British Petroleum. It is a reminder of the real motives for the 2003 invasion and in whose interests over one million Iraqis and 4,634 American and other Western troops have been killed. The Iraq war was, and continues to be, an imperialist war waged by the American ruling elite for control of oil and geo-strategic advantage...
Iraqi resistance to the US invasion had first to be drowned in blood and the population reduced to a state of terror and insecurity....a litany of crimes, from the torture policy at Abu Ghraib and other prisons, to the destruction of cities such as Fallujah and the attack on densely populated suburbs like Sadr City; to the unleashing of Shiite death squads to the centres of Sunni resistance in Baghdad... The bulk of the 130,000 American troops in Iraq have been pulled back to heavily fortified camps on the outskirts of the cities, or to the massive air bases that have been built at places such as Balad and Tallil. The SOFA permits them to remain until December 2011, by which time new arrangements for the long-term presence of US forces will have been worked out... To shore up the Iraqi army, some 10,000 US troops are currently embedded as "trainers" in its ranks—a number that will increase to over 50,000 over the coming months. Baghdad’s western suburbs have been creatively categorised as "outside" the urban area. [U.S.] Aircraft, helicopter gunships, artillery and rapid response units are on constant standby...concerns are not only that insurgent groups will take advantage of the US withdrawal to regroup in Iraq’s cities and resume significant resistance to both the Maliki government and American troops. Both Washington and its puppet government are worried that plight of the Iraqi working class and popular opposition to the concessions Maliki is making to US imperialism could give rise to large-scale protests and unrest.
The Obama administration is acutely conscious that a large majority of Iraqis bitterly opposes the US presence in the country. Behind the scenes, it is reportedly pressuring Maliki to abandon a promise to hold a referendum on the Status of Forces Agreement, knowing that it would be overwhelming rejected...
US imperialism faces a debacle of its own making in Iraq. Amidst the meltdown of economic activity internationally, the escalation of the US war in Afghanistan and its proxy war in Pakistan, a large proportion of the American military is still tied down by the conflict in Iraq and there is no end in sight. The Obama administration is nevertheless committed to continuing the occupation and realising the predatory objectives of the invasion—in which oil has always loomed large. ... http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=55581&s2=01

Iraqis are too shrewd to fall for an ‘invisible’ occupation
We are at the beginning of the end... Tuesday, US troops left Iraq’s cities... in two years they will leave the country... so the official story goes. In reality, most of the “withdrawing” forces are merely relocating to forward operating bases where they appear to be hunkering down for a long entr’acte offstage in expensive, built-to-last facilities.

Illustrating once again: U.S. rulers global domination agenda is bipartisan
CNAS Report Projects Continued U.S. Military Presence in Iraq
July 01, 2009 "AXcess News" - Washington - When former Republican presidential candidate John McCain said in January 2008 that he would be OK with United States troops in Iraq for another 100 years, Democrats ridiculed him as a warmonger. Now, a report from a centrist political think tank predicts U.S. troops will remain in Iraq well after the current December 2011 withdrawal deadline. "The Iraqi government is going to come to its senses in 2010 or 2011 and recognize that an American presence of combat forces is very much in the interest of the government of Iraq," said John A. Nagl, president of the Center for a New American Security. "What I'm not sure of is whether the American people are going to be able to accept that."
Nagl presented his findings to the Middle East Institute on Monday, one day before the deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq's cities... Nagl said that United States troops will remain vital to Iraq's national security beyond 2011, noting that U.S. forces often maintain a military presence in former war zones for decades. A small assistance force could be necessary to help Iraqi security forces develop skills and capabilities, and he recommended that U.S. policymakers prepare for that contingency. He said that extending the presence of U.S. troops would be mutually beneficial but the Iraqi government would have to request assistance because it would alter the current status of forces agreement between the two nations. Any U.S. efforts to initiate such an agreement would smack of imperialism. [...]
He expressed concern about Iraq becoming a forgotten war, especially because the issue has been absent from United States political discussion since President Barack Obama announced a new strategy for the area in February. But Nagl said a strong, long-term relationship between the two nations will be essential in creating a more peaceful and secure Middle East. "There are going to be a lot more international crisis [sic] over the next couple of years, and Iraq is only going to be one of them," he said. "But it's going to remain an important one."
Dr. Nagl, a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy Class of 1988, served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

John Nagl and Robert Kaplan Named Members of Defense Policy Board
WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 2, 2009 – The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is pleased to announce that its President, Dr. John Nagl, and Senior Fellow, Robert Kaplan, have been named members of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  Nagl and Kaplan join a distinguished group of experts, including CNAS' founding Chairman William Perry, current CNAS Chairman Richard Danzig, and members of the CNAS Board of Advisors Wendy Sherman and Sarah Sewall.   

Nagl and Kaplan will join the following current and former DPB members including: Harold Brown; Adm. (Ret) Vern Clark; J.D. Crouch; Richard Danzig; Rudy deLeon; Robert Gallucci; Chuck Hagel; John Hamre; Fred Ikle; Gen. (Ret) Jack Keane; Henry Kissinger; Andrew Krepinevich; Dave McCurdy; Frank Miller; Gen. (Ret) Pete Pace; William Perry; James Schlesinger...

The New Neocons
...Center for a New American Security, founded in 2007 and funded, as the Wall Street Journal reports, by "foundations such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund," as well as "some government money to study particular issues." [digest: and 'philanthropic' hedge fund billionaire democratic party /Obama / 'soft power' godfather George Soros]...
CNAS churned out policy papers and allied with the "centrist" Clintonian wing of the party. More recently, co-founder Michele Flournoy authored a study [.pdf] that argued against a fixed timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Like President Obama, they have repeated essentially the same rationale for the Af-Pak war as the Bush administration and its apologists spun for the Iraq invasion – it’s being billed as a proactive strike against terrorist enemies who are "plotting" strikes against America. This argument, however, is no more convincing coming from left-neocons than it was coming out of the mouths of Bush, Cheney, and the PNAC crowd....
CNAS was conceived in response to the Republican charge that the Democrats are "soft" on national security issues. CNAS set out to prove them wrong and proceeded to build a case for widening the "war on terrorism" to include not only Afghanistan but also Pakistan. Ready with their policy prescriptions when the Obamaites were swept into power, CNAS personnel flooded into the new administration (John Podesta, head of the Obama transition team, is on the CNAS board).
In a bit of synchronicity that we would do well to note, Flournoy has been appointed to take over Douglas Feith’s old domain: the Pentagon’s policy shop, where the neocons prepared the Kool-Aid for general distribution.
CNAS is behind the new counterinsurgency strategy championed by the neoconservatives before their exile from the corridors of power and advanced by their hero, Gen. David Petraeus, in the army’s new counterinsurgency manual [.pdf]. As opposed to the ham-handed slash-and-burn methods of the early years in Iraq, the new militarist dispensation is based on the concept of conducting a political and economic war, complementing and reinforcing the element of pure coercion.
"Clear, hold, and build" is the slogan of the new militarism, and it is one uniquely suited to the demands of an expansive, albeit "liberal," interventionism masquerading as "internationalism." Set for a long-term occupation of Afghanistan – and quite possibly large portions of neighboring Pakistan... Their chief guru, John Nagl, boasts of the new military doctrine’s ability to "change entire societies."...A look at the CNAS board of directors – an institution where Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin, the Albright Group and Armitage International, the Center for American Progress and the Hoover Institution all have a place at the table – provides a few clues as to its provenance and mission.... http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/05/12/the-new-neocons/

Dear Friends, It started with an email I sent to a good friend and it ended up like this. Nesreen

The American pulled their troops from Baghdad and other cities but they will be staying in their Iraqi basis watching the cities of Iraq they left behind. The congress approved more funding for military construction inside Iraq but there was no funding to rebuild the country the American government destroyed. People still live without water and electricity and let’s forget about the security.

People in the Iraqi cities will remember the Americans as invaders, killers and rapists. The promised democracy brought them death, suffering and agony. Five million Iraqi kids are orphans, Two Million Iraqis are displaced inside Iraq, Three million forced to leave the country. There are more than 2615 professors, scientist, and doctors killed, 338 dead journalist and more than a million Iraqis dead since the invasion. This is the American victory by figures and they are expecting the Iraqis to celebrate this day. How could people celebrate the death of innocent civilians and the destruction of a country ?

When I went to Baghdad last December, I wanted to bring with me a souvenir of my visit. I was looking for something which would remind me of the culture that once we had. I left in the late seventies thinking that I would be back; I couldn’t take anything that time. I looked and looked but couldn’t think of anything as nothing was left except food. I didn't want to bring Kaymer (It is a kind of pure cream.. Iraqis eat it with honey in the morning) or Kahee ( it is an Iraqi dessert tastes like Baklava) . .

I looked in so many souqs (markets), but found nothing. I asked my cousin to take me to Souq el Safafeer. The souq is the Coppersmith Souq (market), Copper used to be beaten in traditional ways into pots, pitches, trays, and cups of different shapes and sizes. The souq was full of workers who were happy doing their work. They used to beat the copper in coordination, could hardly talk in the souq because of the noise.

I entered the souq and was shocked. There was no noise coming, I walked and walked. I felt the souq was much smaller than it used to be, and the faces of the people I came across were without life.. I remember the face of an old man.. he was in his late seventies and was sitting on a stool in front of his shop.. I looked at his face which was full of wrinkles. His face looked like the map of Iraq, his lips were dry like Dijlah. His eyes were peaceful and there was a tender smile on his face. He looked at me and asked where I was from. I told him that I was from el Kharada ( my neighbourhood in Baghdad) and that I wanted to buy an antique piece from him.. He looked again at me and smiled. I knew that he didn't believe me.. I couldn’t tell him that I came from Canada.. He told me that the American came after the invasion and bought everything which was in the souq and nothing was left from the good old days. He said that most of the workers in the Souq had left the country.. He came closer to me and asked me if I could help him leaving Baghdad, I told him I wish I could.. Then I realized that souq el safafeer was not the souq I knew with the noises coming from everywhere but that was a dead souq.. Shop owners were selling fake Iraqi antiques..Baghdad is not the beautiful Baghdad I knew and neither is Souq el Safafeer.. I dragged my feet, but the noises from the old days were like drums in my ears.. I wanted to leave the souq..

The same day I asked my cousin to take me to Ell Kadhum ( a Shrine in Baghdad ). I wanted to go there and mourn the death of everything I had witnessed during my stay.. My cousin was hesitant and scared because two days before a suicide bomber had taken her own life and the lives of others beside the shrine. She agreed to take me and I was happy. We arrived at the Hathra ( the shrine), I took off my shoes and walked bare foot on the clean marble. Then I felt I was in Baghdad. I went inside the shrine, I touched Shubak el Khadum( a gold window in the middle of the shrine ) held it tight, shook it, put my head on the shubak (window), tears floating from my eyes, I asked whoever was inside the shubak why they destroyed Baghdad the beautiful Baghdad. Other women were holding the shubak (window) most of them were crying and I wondered what were their stories were and how big were their losses.

My cousin told me that it was prayer time and that we should pray. I was embarrassed to tell her that I didn’t know how to pray. I stood beside her and imitated her. I prayed, cried and asked him what we had done to be punished that way. I completed my prayer and I felt that it was a cleansing for my spirit and soul..

We left the Hathra (the shrine) I remembered that my friend and my doctor here in Toronto asked me to get them a green ribbon from there. I asked a woman, she pointed to a room and told me to go there and ask. I went there and saw a few men wearing the green saiidiya (Turban) on their heads. I asked one of them if they give away green ribbons, and again when I asked him I started sobbing. The man looked at me and asked me where did I come from.. I told him that I came from Canada. The man went inside and got me a few ribbons, few turbas ( a stone Shiite put their heads on when they pray) a sibhah ( beads ) and a small painted ceramic piece.. He told me that the ceramic piece felt from the side of the minarets and that he kept the piece for a long time. Only then I felt that I had something from Baghdad..

Now, I wake up every day and touch this piece before doing anything. May be that ceramic piece is giving me the motivation to continue living away from the country which I belong to and giving me a hope that Iraqis will witness good days sometime soon.

Nesreen Melek, July 02, 2009

another u.s. 'color revolution' collapses
Ukraine’s Political Paralysis Gives Black Eyes to Orange Revolution Heroes
Ukraine has earned so much attention because it is one of the largest countries in Europe, with 46 million people, and serves as a vital transportation point for natural gas from Russia....After the Orange Revolution... which brought a pro-Western government to power in 2005... Ukraine was held up as an example of how countries, post-Soviet or elsewhere, could move past authoritarianism. But the problems here are now cited by Russian officials as evidence of what awaits countries that embrace a Western democratic model. [aka u.s. domination]...

Major military operation under way in Afghanistan
Operation Khanjar, or "Strike of the Sword," the military push was described by officials as the largest and fastest-moving of the war's new phase, involving nearly 4,000 of the newly arrived Marines and 650 Afghan forces..... "Where we go we will stay, and where we stay, we will hold, build and work toward transition of all security responsibilities to Afghan forces," Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson said in a statement. Southern Afghanistan is a Taliban stronghold but also a region where Afghan President Hamid Karzai is seeking votes from fellow Pashtun tribesmen. The Pentagon is deploying 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in time for the elections and expects the total number of U.S. forces there to reach 68,000 by year's end. That is double the number of troops in Afghanistan in 2008, but still half of much as are now in Iraq... Obama's strategy aims to boost the size of the Afghan army from 80,000 to 134,000 troops by 2011...Capt. Bill Pelletier, a spokesman for the Marines, said the troops involved in the Thursday operation were sent in by a mixture of aircraft and ground transport under the cover of darkness.The operation is aimed at putting pressure on insurgents, "and to show our commitment to the Afghan people that when we come in we are going to stay long enough to set up their own institutions," Pelletier said...."We do not want people of Helmand province to see us as an enemy, we want to protect them from the enemy," Pelletier said. Reversing the insurgency's momentum has been one of the key components of the new U.S. strategy [...] AP

Thousands of Pakistanis hold anti-US rally
‘Go America Go’ rally demands end to US interference
Regional Times
A mammoth 'Go America Go’ rally organized here on Sunday by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Karachi chapter lambasted the USA for interference into Pakistani affairs and asked local rulers to shun toeing the US agenda and keep supreme the interests of Pakistani nation and country. In a resolution, passed at the end of the Go America Go rally, the participants demanded immediate end to the US interference in th e internal affairs of Pakistan. They said the root cause of all the problems facing Pakistan is unwanted US meddling. The US has violated the sanctity of territories of Pakistan and killed thousands of innocent men, women and children in drone and missile attacks, but the rulers instead of raising voice against this hegemony are playing role of silent spectator... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=55551

The Honduran Coup: Another US Destabilization Operation
By Barry Grey and Rafael Azul, WSW
... The official US line is that it attempted unsuccessfully to convince the Honduran military not to proceed with the coup. However, this amounts to a tacit acknowledgment that Washington was well aware of the coup plans. Given the intimate and long-standing ties between the US and the Honduran military, the record over many decades of US-backed coups and military dictatorships in the country and the region, and the ongoing efforts to destabilize the regime of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, it is not credible that the US played no role in the removal of one of Chavez’s allies in Latin America...

Sunday’s coup was the culmination of an escalating political crisis in the impoverished country. Zelaya, a wealthy rancher, was elected in 2005 as the candidate of the bourgeois establishment Liberal Party. He ran on a right-wing program, but shifted in the intervening years, adopting a populist and nationalist persona in order to appease growing popular discontent, and ally himself with Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, all headed by regimes considered by Washington to be hostile to US interests in Latin America... Zelaya increasingly earned the enmity of dominant sections of the Honduran business elite, the military brass and the Church—the forces most closely allied to US imperialism.

Chavez has, justifiably, cast the coup as an overt threat to his regime. He has charged the US with complicity, alleging involvement by Otto Reich, a long-time anti-Castro operative and favorite of anti-Castro exiles in Miami. Reich played a key role as a Reagan administration State Department official in the Iran-Contra conspiracy, in which Reagan authorized secret funding for the anti-Sandinista Contras, in violation of the Boland amendment which had been passed by Congress banning US aid to the Contra death squads. Reich was one of a number of Iran-Contra veterans who were appointed to government posts in the administration of George W. Bush, serving as assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs. The US used southern Honduras as the base of operations for its proxy war in the 1980s against the left nationalist, Cuban-allied regime in neighboring Nicaragua.

There are parallels in the Honduran events to the abortive 2002 US-backed coup against Venezuela’s Chavez. The current US ambassador to Honduras, Hugo Llorens, undoubtedly played a significant role in that failed attempt to oust an elected Latin American president. In 2002 and 2003, Llorens served as the director of Andean affairs on the Bush administration’s National Security Council (NSC). In that post, he was the principal adviser to the president and the NSC on issues relating to Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

Otto Reich was also implicated in the 2002 coup attempt. He met with Venezuelan opposition figures in the run-up to the attempted ouster of Chavez. Reich is currently a board member of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, better known as the School of the Americas, located in Fort Benning, Georgia. Among the tens of thousands of Latin American military officers—and death squad leaders—who have been trained at the School of the Americas are two of the leaders of Sunday’s coup in Honduras, Army General Romeo Vasquez and Air Force General Luis Javier Prince Suazo.

Another graduate of the School of the Americas Policarpo Paz Garcia, ruled Honduras in 1980-82. Paz Garcia launched Battalion 3-16, one of the most feared death squads in Latin America.

Commenting on the calculations of the Obama administration, behind the official disapproval of the Honduran coup and the pro-democracy rhetoric, the intelligence web site Stratfor on Monday noted that the US could exert irresistible pressure on Honduras to restore Zelaya to power, since the US provides the market for 70 percent of the country’s exports. “However,’” Stratfor wrote, “the aim of economic pressure would be for [interim President] Micheletti to make moves to support democracy, and open elections—such as those already scheduled for November 29—would easily appease the United States.”

The Washington Post reported that John Negroponte, the long-time US State Department official, said that Clinton’s remarks “appeared to reflect US reluctance to see Zelaya returned unconditionally to power.” The newspaper quoted Negroponte as saying, “I think she wants to preserve some leverage to get Zelaya to back down from his insistence on a referendum.” Negroponte knows whereof he speaks. He was US ambassador to Honduras during the 1980s and virtually ran the US proxy war against Nicaragua that was based in Honduras.

It appears that the Obama administration is involved in an operation aimed at either permanently removing Zelaya or negotiating a return to power under conditions where his government would be weakened and its policies shifted in favor of US interests. This, in turn, would further US efforts to destabilize Chavez in Venezuela and shift the balance of power throughout Latin America.

The Obama administration has, however, learned something from the disastrous failure of the Bush administration’s botched coup against Chavez seven years ago. It is seeking to conceal its real aims behind formal opposition to the coup in Honduras and a public posture of fidelity to democratic elections. Moreover, the US is in no position to openly support a coup in Honduras or maintain a public stance of neutrality under conditions in which it is waging a propaganda war and destabilization campaign in Iran based on allegations that the regime headed by President Ahmadinejad stole the June 12 election.

An unmistakable indicator of the real attitude of the Obama administration to the events in Honduras is the response of the US media. The media, led by the New York Times, immediately embraced the claims of the Iranian opposition that the election had been rigged and a coup had been carried out, without presenting any concrete evidence to support the allegations. It provided nonstop coverage of antigovernment demonstrations, and proclaimed the dissident faction of the clerical regime to be heading a “green revolution” for democracy.

In contrast, the US media has provided only minimal coverage of a real coup in Honduras. It has barely reported the police-state measures, arrests and beatings carried out by the Honduran military, and treated the anti-coup protests with utter indifference. On Monday evening, the events in Honduras were relegated to a mere mention on all three network news broadcasts, well behind the death of Michael Jackson.

What accounts for this stark contrast? The simple fact that the US government opposes the victor in the Iranian election and supports those who ousted Zelaya in Honduras.

The media, in particular the New York Times, which supported the 2002 coup attempt against Chavez, provides a further indication of US involvement in the Honduran coup. One month ago, as the political crisis in Honduras was heating up, the Times published a provocative article entitled “Chavez Seeks Tighter Grip on the Military.” The article retailed, without substantiation, claims of a massive crackdown by Chavez against dissidents within the Venezuelan military. This article, undoubtedly written on assignment from the CIA, was a certain indicator that the US was preparing subversion in the region.

On Visit to U.S., Zelaya Wins OAS Support but Doesn't Meet With Top Americans
Scrambling to hold on to his presidency, deposed Honduran leader Manuel Zelaya pleaded his case in the United States yesterday, winning a rare unanimous vote of support from the U.N. General Assembly but failing to get an audience with top Obama administration officials.... the low-key treatment of Zelaya appeared to reflect an effort by the Obama administration to preserve some room for diplomatic maneuver. The U.S. government is working with regional leaders to resolve the crisis, but it has outsize influence with the Honduran elite because of its close military ties and its economic clout. ... http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/30/AR200906...

Giving Honduras the Haiti Treatment
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
“The kidnapping was somewhat reminiscent of the seizure of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, by U.S. troops back in February, 2004.”
With the overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya, Honduras has fallen under military rule of the kind that dominated the Central American nation from 1963 to 1981. The man named by Honduras’s Congress to serve out the remainder of Zelaya’s term, Robert Micheletti, will of course claim that civilians are still in charge. But when soldiers oust a sitting president and decide who his successor will be, it is the soldiers that rule.
Two hundred soldiers came in the night to overpower President Zelaya’s guard, and bundle him off for a flight to Costa Rica. The kidnapping was somewhat reminiscent of the seizure of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, by U.S. troops back in February, 2004. The United States claimed it was saving Aristide from death at the hands of gunmen armed and organized by…the United States. Aristide was sent to the French-dominated Central African Republic.
After the military put Honduran President Zelaya on a plane to Costa Rica, they claimed he had signed a letter of resignation. That’s the same lie told by organizers of the U.S.-backed coup against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, back in 2002. Chavez returned to power with the help some elements of the military and hundreds of thousands of his supporters in the streets.
“The oligarchy and its military enforcers feared Zelaya would win the referendum, increasing the momentum for change in Honduras.”
The Organization of American States has denounced the coup in Honduras, and so has President Barack Obama, who really had no other choice given the rise of leftist politics and U.S isolation in Latin America. But Washington always talks out of at least two sides of its mouth. It is inconceivable that the U.S. looks forward to the return of President Zalaya, who was aligning himself with Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador and other left-led nations. Zelaya was overthrown while preparing for a public referendum on whether he should be allowed to run for another term. The vote would not have been binding, and international observers were gathering to monitor the polling. But apparently the oligarchy and its military enforcers feared Zelaya would win the referendum, increasing the momentum for change in Honduras.
When President Obama says, "We believe that the coup was not legal and that President Zelaya remains the democratically elected president there," we must take his words with whole spoonfuls of salt. Let us return to Haiti. The United States broke every international law and standard of decency in orchestrating the overthrow and exile of Haitian President Aristide, more than five years ago. The U.S. put criminals and depraved torturers in power, causing the deaths of thousands and stripping Haiti of any element of effective national sovereignty. The U.S., France and Canada engineered the making of Haiti into a ward of the United Nations, whose military still occupies the country. And the U.S. has conspired with a small Haitian elite to shut Aristide’s political party, Family Lavalas, out of recent Senatorial elections. If free and fair elections were held today, there is little doubt that Aristide and his party would win. The United States makes sure that doesn’t happen...

In a Coup in Honduras, Ghosts of Past U.S. Policies
...The United States has a history of backing rival political factions and instigating coups in the region, and administration officials have found themselves on the defensive in recent days, dismissing repeated allegations by President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela that the C.I.A. may have had a hand in the president’s removal.

The United States has long had strong ties to the Honduras military and helps train Honduran military forces. Those close ties have put the Obama administration in a difficult position, opening it up to accusations that it may have turned a blind eye to the pending coup. Administration officials strongly deny the charges, and Mr. Obama’s quick response to the Honduran president’s removal has differed sharply from the actions of the Bush administration, which in 2002 offered a rapid, tacit endorsement of a short-lived coup against Mr. Chávez.

On June 2, Obama administration officials got a firsthand look at the brewing political battle when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Honduras for an Organization of American States conference. Mrs. Clinton met with Mr. Zelaya ... they discussed Mr. Zelaya’s plans for a referendum that would have laid the groundwork for an assembly to remake the Constitution, a senior administration official said. American officials did not believe that Mr. Zelaya’s plans for the referendum were in line with the Constitution, and were worried that it would further inflame tensions with the military and other political factions, administration officials said. Even so, one administration official said that while the United States thought the referendum was a bad idea, it did not justify a coup....
As the situation in Honduras worsened, Assistant Secretary of State Thomas A. Shannon Jr., along with Hugo Llorens, the American ambassador to Honduras, spoke with Mr. Zelaya, military officials and opposition leaders, administration officials said. Then things reached a boil last Wednesday and Thursday, when Mr. Zelaya fired the leader of the armed forces and the Supreme Court followed up with a declaration that Mr. Zelaya’s planned referendum was illegal. The White House and the State Department had Mr. Llorens “talk with the parties involved, to tell them, ‘You have to talk your way through this,’ ” a senior administration official said Monday. “ ‘You can’t do anything outside the bounds of your constitution.’ ” Still, administration officials said that they did not expect that the military would go so far as to carry out a coup. “There was talk of how they might remove the president from office, how he could be arrested, on whose authority they could do that,” the administration official said. But the official said that the speculation had focused on legal maneuvers to remove the president, not a coup.[...]

US Joint Task Force-Bravo located at Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras.... some 550 US military personnel and more than 650 US and Honduran civilians:
They work in six different areas including the Joint Staff, Air Force Forces (612th Air Base Squadron), Army Forces, Joint Security Forces and the Medical Element. 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, a US Army South asset, is a tenant unit also based at Soto Cano. The J-Staff provides command and control for JTF-B. The New York Times reports that "The unit focuses on training Honduran military forces, counternarcotics operations, search and rescue, and disaster relief missions throughout Central America. Significantly, according to GlobalSecurity, "Soto Cano is a Honduran military installation and home of the Honduran Air Force." This connection to the Air Force is particularly significant given this report in NarcoNews:
The head of the Air Force, Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, studied in the School of the Americas in 1996. The Air Force has been a central protagonist in the Honduran crisis. When the military refused to distribute the ballot boxes for the opinion poll, the ballot boxes were stored on an Air Force base until citizens accompanied by Zelaya rescued them. Zelaya reports that after soldiers kidnapped him, they took him to an Air Force base, where he was put on a plane and sent to Costa Rica. ...
from Thoughts on Honduras Coup, Jeremy Scahill, http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=55564&s2=30

US suspends joint military activities with Honduras
"We've postponed any activities in Honduras right now while we are assessing the situation," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters....The U.S. withheld stronger action in hopes of negotiating a peaceful return of the country's elected leader.... several officials said the administration is still reviewing the possibility of cutting off U.S. aid. Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said, "We continue to monitor the situation and will respond accordingly as events transpire." At the State Department, spokesman Ian C. Kelly said the department's top diplomat for the Americas, Thomas Shannon, met with Zelaya at OAS headquarters on Tuesday evening. Kelly would not reveal details...Kelly said he was not aware of any plan to recall the U.S. ambassador from the Honduran capital. Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations, said the administration believes it stands a better chance of achieving a peaceful outcome if it keeps a diplomat in Tegucigalpa.The official also said the U.S. was not advocating that the matter be taken up by the U.N. Security Council.
Kelly said the administration was still studying whether the forced removal of Zelaya was a military coup in a legal sense that would trigger a cutoff or suspension of American financial assistance. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2009394608_apusushonduras...

Honduras new government is censoring journalists
Stations that are broadcasting carry only news friendly to the new government. Several local papers have yet to publish information about Zelaya's international support in neighboring countries. Reporters for The Associated Press were taken away in military vehicles and Venezuela's Telesur network -- and any other station supportive of toppled president Manuel Zelaya -- are still off the air.... the newly installed Honduran government kept several news outlets closed, detained international reporters, and periodically interrupted the signal of CNN en español....

Obama’s Real Message to Latin America? The Coup in Honduras
by Nikolas Kozloff *
On July 28, troops in Honduras ousted President Manuel Zelaya and flew him out of the country. Praised by the traditional left for his economic policies and social reforms, Zelaya’s alliance with Hugo Chavez and growing relationship with the ALBA countries were sharply rebuked by the more conservative sectors which also disapproved of his periodic attacks on the United States... it seems improbable that the Honduran elite would have toppled the democratically-elected president without Washington’s prior consent and support, despite assurances to the contrary...
Zelaya started to conduct an increasingly independent foreign policy. In late 2007 he traveled to Cuba, the first official trip by a Honduran president...But what really led Zelaya towards a political collision course with the Honduran elite was his decision to join the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (known by its Spanish acronym ALBA), an alliance of leftist Latin American and Caribbean nations headed by Chávez. The regional trade group including Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Dominica seeks to counteract corporate-friendly U.S-backed free trade schemes. Since its founding in 2004, ALBA countries have promoted joint factories and banks, an emergency food fund, and exchanges of cheap Venezuelan oil for food, housing, and educational investment.... Zelaya stated “Honduras and the Honduran people do not have to ask permission of any imperialism to join the ALBA.” Speaking in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa before a crowd of 50,000 unionists, women’s groups, farmers and indigenous peoples, Chávez remarked that Venezuela would guarantee cheap oil to Honduras for “at least 100 years.” By signing onto ALBA, Zelaya was able to secure access to credit lines, energy and food benefits. As an act of good faith, Chávez agreed to forgive Honduran debt to Venezuela amounting to $30 million... By joining ALBA, business representatives argued, the President was endangering free enterprise and the Central American Free Trade Agreement with the United States...
In November, Zelaya hailed Obama’s election in the U.S. as “a hope for the world,” but just two months later tensions began to emerge. In an audacious letter sent personally to Obama, Zelaya accused the U.S. of “interventionism” and called on the new administration in Washington to respect the principle of non-interference in the political affairs of other nations....

Romeo Vasquez, a General who led the military coup against Zelaya is a graduate of the notorious U.S. School of the Americas which trained the Latin American military in torture.... The U.S. has had longstanding military ties to the Honduran armed forces, particularly during the Contra War in Nicaragua during the 1980s. The White House, needless to say, has rejected claims that the U.S. played a role.....

Obama's First Coup D'etat
by Eva Golinger
28 June 2009
... Honduras has been the victim of dictatorships and massive U.S. intervention during the past century, including several military invasions. The last major U.S. government intervention in Honduras occurred during the 1980s, when the Reagan Administration funded death squads and paramilitaries to eliminate potential “communist threats” in Central America. At the time, John Negroponte, U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, was responsible for directly funding and training Honduran death squads responsible for thousands of disappeared and assassinated throughout the region.
On Friday, the Organization of American States (OAS), convened a special meeting to discuss the crisis in Honduras, later issuing a statement condemning the threats to democracy and authorizing a convoy of representatives to travel to OAS to investigate further. Nevertheless, on Friday, Assistant Secretary of State of the United States, Phillip J. Crowley, refused to clarify the U.S. government’s position in reference to the potential coup against President Zelaya, and instead issued a more ambiguous statement... “We are concerned about the breakdown in the political dialogue among Honduran politicians over the proposed June 28 poll on constitutional reform. We urge all sides to seek a consensual democratic resolution in the current political impasse that adheres to the Honduran constitution and to Honduran laws consistent with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter.” As of 10:30am, Sunday morning, no further statements have been issued by the Washington concerning the military coup in Honduras.

The Central American nation is highly dependent on the U.S. which ensures one of its top sources of income, the monies sent from Hondurans working in the U.S. under the “temporary protected status” program that was implemented during Washington’s dirty war in the 1980s as a result of massive immigration to U.S. territory to escape the war zone. Another major source of funding in Honduras is USAID, providing over US$ 50 million annually for “democracy promotion” programs, which generally supports NGOs and political parties favorable to U.S. interests, as has been the case in Venezuela, Bolivia and other nations in the region. The Pentagon also maintains a military base in Honduras in Soto Cano, equipped with approximately 500 troops and numerous air force combat planes and helicopters.

Foreign Minister Rodas has stated that she has repeatedly tried to make contact with the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras, Hugo Llorens, who has not responded to any of her calls thus far. The modus operandi of the coup makes clear that Washington is involved. Neither the Honduran military, which is majority trained by U.S. forces, nor the political and economic elite, would act to oust a democratically elected president without the backing and support of the U.S. government.

“Voicing the fears that sparked the military’s action, retired Honduran Gen. Daniel López Carballo justified the move against the president, telling CNN en Español that Mr. Zelaya was a stooge for Mr. Chávez. He said that if the military hadn’t acted, Mr. Chávez would eventually be running Honduras by proxy.”
Wall Street Journal

Honduran President Ousted in Military Coup
...President Obama said he was deeply concerned and in a statement called on Honduran officials “to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic charter. “Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference,” he said....
American officials began in the last few days to talk with Honduran government and military officials in an effort to head off a possible coup.... The officials also dismissed allegations by Mr. Chávez that the coup had been orchestrated by the United States.... A senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity, said the military broke off those discussions on Sunday. The two nations have long had a close military relationship, with an American military task force stationed at a Honduran air base about 50 miles northwest of Tegucigalpa. The unit focuses on training Honduran military forces, counternarcotics operations, search and rescue, and disaster relief missions throughout Central America.... Obama administration officials said they were working with other members of the Organization of American States to ratchet up pressure on the Honduran military to end the coup and dismissed the prospect of outside military intervention in the matter....
Mr. Zelaya, 56, a rancher...has the support of labor unions and the poor. But the middle class and the wealthy business community fear he wants to introduce Mr. Chávez’s brand of socialist
[SIC] populism into the country, one of Latin America’s poorest...
Church services were canceled and most people stayed home. Several thousand protesters supporting the president faced off against soldiers outside the presidential palace, burning tires.
The government television station and a television station that supports the president were taken off the air. Television and radio stations broadcast no news. Only wealthy Hondurans with access to the Internet and cable television were able to follow the day’s events. Electricity was cut off for much of the day in Tegucigalpa on Sunday, in what local reports suggested was on military orders. Tanks patrolled the streets and military planes flew overhead. Soldiers guarded the main government buildings...A nationwide curfew was imposed overnight starting at 9 p.m.... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/world/americas/29honduras.html?_r=1&th...

Does the US back the Honduran coup?
Mark Weisbrot
1 July 2009
The Obama administration's condemnation of the coup in Honduras has been lukewarm compared to the rest of the world... Washington's ambivalence has begun to raise suspicions about what the US government is really trying to accomplish in this situation.... Unconditional is also a key word here: the Obama administration may want to extract concessions from Zelaya as part of a deal for his return to office.... the proposed referendum was a non-binding and merely consultative plebiscite. It would not have changed any law nor affected the structure of power. It was merely a poll of the electorate. Therefore, the military cannot claim that it acted to prevent any irreparable harm. This is a military coup carried out for political purposes.
There are other issues where our government has been oddly silent. Reports of political repression, the closing of TV and radio stations, the detention of journalists, detention and physical abuse of diplomats and what the Committee to Protect Journalists has called a "media blackout" have yet to draw a serious rebuke from Washington. By controlling information and repressing dissent, the de facto Honduran government is also setting the stage for unfair elections in November....
Many press reports have contrasted the Obama administration's rejection of the Honduran coup with the Bush administration's initial support for the 2002 military coup that briefly overthrew President Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. But actually there are more similarities than differences between the US response to these two events[...]

Let's be clear: The United States does not fund any movement, faction or political party in Iran. We support … universal principles of human rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law.

U.S. grants support Iranian dissidents
By Ken Dilanian, USA TODAY

In Iran Turmoil, U.S. Sees Chance to Gain Sway in Mideast
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration and its Middle East allies are looking to capitalize on Iran's political crisis to reverse strategic gains Tehran has made across the region, said U.S. and Arab officials.A principal early test case for that evolving U.S. strategy will be Syria, which plays a critical role in helping Tehran arm and fund militant groups Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon.U.S. strategists are assessing whether Iran's inner turmoil will force its clerical leaders to rein in support for those organizations and focus instead on quelling domestic dissent. Or, as some U.S. strategists fear, whether Iran's leaders, feeling weakened at home, will seek to expand Iran's overseas operations in order to appear strong.
President Barack Obama has long stated his desire to woo Syrian President Bashar Assad away from his military and economic alliance with Iran. That could help stabilize Lebanon and advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, two leading sources of conflict in the region.The White House decision this week to return an American ambassador to Damascus after a four-year hiatus was made, in part, by heightened hopes in Washington that Iran's internal instability could force Mr. Assad to rethink his partnership with Tehran, said U.S. officials. U.S. diplomats and Pentagon officials have visited Damascus in recent months, in an effort to nudge Syria to break with Tehran and cooperate in promoting regional stability.
"If Syria feels the Iranian situation is unraveling, that's a good thing from our perspective," said a senior Obama administration official working on the Middle East. He said the U.S. has been pushing Damascus to curtail Hamas's military activities and to pursue direct peace talks with Israel.

American and Middle East diplomats said Iran's internal instability could also aid U.S. efforts to push ahead with a broader Arab-Israeli peace initiative. A key stumbling block to the process has been the political split between the Palestinian territories' two main political factions, Fatah and Hamas. Any signs that Tehran's support for Hamas is ebbing, said these diplomats, could bolster the Egyptian-led effort to unify the two factions and accelerate peace talks with the Israelis. "Hamas runs the risk of finding itself isolated regionally," said a Middle East diplomat working on the peace process. Current and former U.S. officials stress that Hamas and Hezbollah remain independent from Iran in many ways, and could maintain their militant campaigns even without significant Iranian assistance.
Before Iran's June 12 election, U.S. strategists largely viewed Iran as ascendant across the Middle East, aided by Washington's toppling of Tehran's two principal regional enemies: Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Afghanistan's Taliban. Since taking office in 2005, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accelerated the flow of arms and money to groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, said U.S. and Middle East officials. Iran's popular clout grew among many in the Arab and Muslim world who admired Iran's defiance of the U.S. and Israel.

Now, officials and analysts in Washington and Mideast capitals believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran's position as the regional leader of resistance against the West will be damaged by the widely distributed images of Iranian security forces and pro-government militias beating unarmed protestors...that Tehran [SIC] has run among the most sophisticated, and successful, propaganda operations against the U.S. globally in recent years. "You can't be killing people in your own country and expect to still have that kind of influence" in the region, said a senior U.S. military official familiar with internal discussions on Iran. Write to Jay Solomon at jay.solomon@wsj.com and Peter Spiegel at peter.spiegel@wsj.com

David Axelrod bared thinly veiled threats that Iran would face 'some very stark consequences', if it did not take the desired path 'offered' by the US in nuclear talks....
Think tank backs direct US talks with 'any Iran govt.'
Sunday, David Axelrod, President Barack Obama's top advisor, said the White House would not rule out the option of diplomatic dialogue with Iran despite the post-election developments in the country. However he bared thinly veiled threats that Iran would face 'some very stark consequences', if it did not take the desired path 'offered' by the US in nuclear talks....
The Council on Foreign Relations chief Richard Haass...said that the US and Europe's same stance towards Iran would make it possible to 'present a united international front' against the country. Haass described Russia's future stance regarding Iran's nuclear issue as 'critical'.... to pressure Iran into stopping its nuclear enrichment activities, which they claim are aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Tehran has categorically denied the allegations and stressed that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=99297&sectionid=3510203

Grassroots takeover technique "Color revolution" fails in Iran
by Thierry Meyssan*
27 June 2009 From Beirut (Lebanon) http://www.voltairenet.org/article160764.html
Tehran’s « green revolution » is the latest version of the "color revolutions" which have allowed the United States to impose subservient governments in several countries without needing to use military force. Thierry Meyssan, who advised two governments facing this type of crisis, analyses this method and the reasons for its failure in Iran.
"Color revolutions" are to revolutions what Canada Dry is to beer. They look like the real thing, but they lack the flavor. They are regime changes which appear to be revolutions because they mobilize huge segments of the population but are more akin to takeovers, because they do not aim at changing social structures. Instead they aspire to replace an elite with another, in order to carry out pro-American economic and foreign policies. The « green revolution » in Tehran is the latest example of this trend [...].

CIA Caught in Iran's Cookie Jar, Again?
Iran and Washington's Hidden Hand
By Esam Al-Amin
...Between 2005-2009, the U.S. Congress appropriated more than $400 million for State Department programs designed to “promote democracy,” among other means of employing soft power in Iran. This was implemented, in part, by funding the activities of Iranian dissident groups. By 2008, Congress included money in the budget that would specifically “go to software programmers to develop programs that thwart internet firewalls erected by the government of Iran, ” and for a program to “provide anti-censorship tools and services for the advancement of information freedom in closed societies.”
On May 24, 2007, Brian Ross, ABC News’s Chief Investigative Correspondent broke a story about the elements of soft power utilized by the CIA and authorized by Bush. “Current and former intelligence officials told ABC News that the CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount what is known as a black or covert operations to destabilize the Iranian regime, and it is underway,” he reported. He then added, “Those officials describe the Iranian plan as non-lethal involving a campaign of coordinated propaganda broadcasts, placement of negative newspaper articles, the manipulation of Iran’s currency and international banking transactions.” The ABC correspondent stated, “Propaganda was one of the most important tools utilized by the CIA.”
Three days later, the British Daily Telegraph, detailed CIA plans for “a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilize, and eventually topple” the regime. The report said that the presidential finding gave the U.S. spy agency, for the first time, “the right to collect intelligence domestically, an area that is usually the preserve of the FBI, from the many Iranian exiles and émigrés within the US.” In the report, an intelligence official was quoted as saying, "Iranians in America have links with their families at home, and they are a good two-way source of information."
Part of the CIA program, as reported by ABC News and the Daily Telegraph, was “supplying money and weapons, to the militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan.” Since 2007, Iranian officials have announced the capture of dozens of members of violent groups, allegedly tied to the CIA, that carried out bombings around the nation including one that killed 20 people only two weeks prior to the recent elections, on May 30, 2009. The following day, another bombing took place at a campaign office of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Further, about two thousand militia members of the Mujahideen Khalq Organization, a violent group seeking to forcibly topple the Iranian regime, have been given sanctuary in Iraq by the American occupation authority, although the group has appeared on the State Department’s list of international terrorist organizations since 1997. The report also quoted Mark Fitzpatrick, a former senior State Department official, now with the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, as saying that industrial sabotage was the strategy of choice to combat Iran's nuclear program "without military action, without fingerprints on the operation."

The Telegraph report also stated that the CIA was allowed to supply “communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass Internet censorship” by the regime. The use of this equipment has surfaced prominently in the recent standoff between the government and the opposition in Iran. It should be noted though that this destabilization program by the CIA is totally separate from the State Department’s $400 million program, and is being funded through the CIA budget. Thus, since 2006, the total figure for Iran’s destabilization program could have easily exceeded $1 billion.

During the 1980s, the U.S. Government, and particularly the CIA, was very active in fomenting rebellions, mass unrest and protest movements in Eastern Europe. These efforts have been documented in numerous books and biographies. Former National Security Advisor during the Carter Administration, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, admitted as much in a CNN interview on June 21, 2009. Commenting on the 1980 founding of the Solidarity movement during the Communist era in Poland, he told his host, “I was up to my ears in dealing with it and trying to steer it and manipulate it.” When asked about regime change in Iran, Brzezinski answered that regime change is desired because it would provide a “greater accommodation” to the U.S., but it requires, among other things, “intelligent manipulation.”

On June 28, CNN program host Fareed Zakaria put a very telling question to Bob Baer, a retired twenty-one year CIA veteran, who served as the top operative in the Middle East for many years. He asked, “Isn’t it true that we do [try to destabilize the regime]? Don’t we fund various groups inside and outside Iran that do try to destabilize the government?” Baer answered, “ Oh absolutely,” then added, “There is a covert action program against Iran where the [U.S.] military is running; a covert action against Iran from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The overt involvement of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and other U.S. Government-funded NGOs in supporting many of the groups and dissidents that led the colored and flowering “revolutions,” is also well documented. The Orange (Ukraine), Rose (Georgia), Tulip (Kyrgyzstan), Cedar (Lebanon), Saffron (Burma) and now Green (Iran) “revolutions” have involved mostly pro-Western groups or Western-favored individuals against nationalists. The Guardian claimed that USAID, National Endowment for Democracy, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, and Freedom House were directly involved in supporting these revolutions. The Washington Post and the New York Times also reported substantial Western involvement in some of these events.

According to Saeed Behbahani, a fierce critic of the current Iranian regime, and founder of Mihan TV outside Washington D.C., the American administration exchanged messages with the campaign of Mir Hossein Mousavi in early June. He claims that, at that time, an unidentified Iranian-American businessman, who is close to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, met with Mousavi’s campaign manager, Mehdi Khazali, in Dubai. The following day, Khazali was prominently interviewed and hailed by the Voice of America’s Persian language broadcast. The VOA claims that its broadcast reaches 15 million Iranians. Other Iranian opposition groups complained that the VOA had adopted a policy of supporting the reformist candidates, and had disregarded those who called for a boycott of the elections to deny the regime legitimacy.

In a BBC interview on June 19, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, foreign policy icon and ultimate insider, exposed Washington’s deep involvement in the Iranian affair: “If it turns out that it is not possible for a government to emerge in Iran that can deal with itself as a nation rather than as a cause, then we have a different situation... Then we may conclude that we must work for regime change in Iran from the outside ... But if I understand the president correctly, he does not want to do this as a visible intervention in the current crisis.”...

Italy's conservative mainstream paper reveals photo of Iranian protester is faked
 There is a picture circulating on the web, framed perfectly. It depicts an Iranian girl doing an unlikely American [ed:"flipping the bird"] gesture, a striking parallel to the picture of a solitary Chinese youth standing in front of tanks at Tienanmen Square in Beijing

US Heavy Meddle in Iran
By Lord Baltimore
June 28, 2009
The Western press has clearly taken a side and has successfully managed to drag its uninformed audience along with it. News reports all refer to the continuing groundswell of protest to the election results as an "unprecedented" show of courage, resistance, and people power against the government not seen in Iran since the 1979 revolution.But what we have seen this past week seems to have far more in common with the events of fifty-six years ago, rather than just thirty.

In 1953, the United States government, at the behest of Britain, tasked CIA operatives Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. and Donald Wilber to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran, in order to put an end to the process of oil nationalization by Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. This nationalism "outraged the British, who had 'bought' the exclusive right to exploit Iranian oil from a corrupt Shah, and the Americans, who feared that allowing nationalization in Iran would encourage leftists around the world." The coup d'etat, which took a mere three weeks to execute, was accomplished in a number of stages. First, members of the Iranian Parliament and leaders of political parties were bribed to oppose Mossadegh publicly, thereby making the government appear fragmented and not unified. Newspaper owners, editors, columnists and reporters were then paid off in order to spread lies and propaganda against the Prime Minister.

Furthermore, high-ranking clerics, influential businessmen, members of the police, security forces, and military were bribed, as well. Roosevelt hired the leaders of street gangs in Tehran, using them to help create the impression that the rule of law had totally disintegrated in Iran and that the government had no control over its population. Stephen Kinzer, journalist and author of All the Shah's Men, tells us that "at one point, [Roosevelt] hired a gang to run through the streets of Tehran, beating up any pedestrian they found, breaking shop windows, firing their guns into mosques, and yelling, 'We love Mossadegh and communism.' This would naturally turn any decent citizen against him." In a stroke of manipulative genius, Roosevelt then hired a second mob to attack the first mob, thereby giving the Iranian people the impression that there was no police presence and that civil society had devolved into complete chaos, with the government totally incapable of restoring order. Kinzer elaborates,
They rampaged through the streets by the tens of thousands. Many of them, I think, never even really understood they were being paid by the C.I.A. They just knew they had been given a good day’s wage to go out in the street and chant something. Many politicians whipped up the crowds during those days...They started storming government buildings. There were gunfights in front of important buildings.
After all was said and done, Prime Minister Mossadegh had been deposed and a military coup returned the monarchy to Iran by installing the pro-western Mohammed Reza Pahlevi on the Peacock throne. The Shah's brutal, tyrannical dictatorship - established, supported, and funded by the United States - lasted 26 years. In 1979, the Iranian people returned the favor.
So what have we been seeing in Iran this past week? [...]

Leader warns West, says Iran sees solution in law
Sun, 28 Jun 2009
Leader of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the country will deal with the crisis under the law while relying on national unity....“The people's emotions, especially that of the youth, must not be toyed with... “If the nation and political elite are united in heart and mind, the incitement of international traitors and oppressive politicians will be ineffective.” The Leader's remarks came after certain European countries and the US condemned the measures taken by the Tehran government to restore stability in the country following the election, which saw incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad win by a landslide. “They express their opinions about Iran in a manner that one would think all their other problems have been resolved and only the Iranian problem remains,” said Ayatollah Khamenei. “However, what they do not understand is that wherever they politically set foot in becomes tainted in the eyes of the Iranian nation.” “Their support will only have a negative effect as the Iranian nation knows during the eight-year sacred defense [the Iraq-Iran war] when their homes were bombarded and destroyed by missiles and chemical weapons were used against them, these governments showed no concern and [instead] aided the enemy of the Iranian nation.” Pointing to the crimes committed by the US and certain European countries against the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine, Ayatollah Khamenei stressed that their "... show of humanitarianism is not befitting of these governments when they voice support for the Iranian nation and certain figures, their intentions are clear and the people are well aware of them.”

Iran’s Politics Is All About Survival
By ALBERT R. HUNT, Bloomberg News Columnist
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, in dealing with Iran, brings some expertise as important as his lack of foreign policy experience: a background in Chicago politics Here’s where understanding politics, Chicago style, comes in: it’s about survival. If Mr. Ahmadinejad loses, Mr. Rafsanjani is more empowered. One of Mr. Rafsanjani’s posts is as head of the Assembly of Experts, whose primary function is to choose, or replace, the supreme leader. If Mr. Rafsanjani — who was attacked for corruption in this election even though he wasn’t on the ballot — loses, he may be in peril...
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, is convinced this signals “the beginning of the end for the Iranian equivalent of the neocons, the radical ayatollahs who see the world as a battle between good and evil.” How soon? Mr. Brzezinski and like-minded analysts aren’t sure. “The people in the big cities in Iran are as European as Turkey; they may not be quite strong enough yet to come out on top,” he said.
Madeleine K. Albright, a former Brzezinski associate and subsequent secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, agrees. “It’s very hard to see the exact trajectory at the moment,” she said. “It certainly looks as though the regime will retain control....Dr. Albright notes the parallels to the popular uprisings against Communist regimes a half-century ago. “The administration in the 1950s kept saying to the Hungarian people, ‘We will help you if you rise up.’ And then we didn’t,” she said. “Czechoslovakia in 1968.”...
The pressure by Tehran thugs may succeed in the short term. A permanent change, however, is taking place in Iran. The United States and Iran, the most important Muslim geopolitical power in the region, can ill afford to botch it again.

Iran’s Politics All About Survival
By ALBERT R. HUNT, Bloomberg News Columnist
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, in dealing with Iran, brings some expertise as important as his lack of foreign policy experience: a background in Chicago politics Here’s where understanding politics, Chicago style, comes in: it’s about survival. If Mr. Ahmadinejad loses, Mr. Rafsanjani is more empowered. One of Mr. Rafsanjani’s posts is as head of the Assembly of Experts, whose primary function is to choose, or replace, the supreme leader. If Mr. Rafsanjani — who was attacked for corruption in this election even though he wasn’t on the ballot — loses, he may be in peril...
Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser to former President Jimmy Carter, is convinced this signals “the beginning of the end for the Iranian equivalent of the neocons, the radical ayatollahs who see the world as a battle between good and evil.” How soon? Mr. Brzezinski and like-minded analysts aren’t sure. “The people in the big cities in Iran are as European as Turkey; they may not be quite strong enough yet to come out on top,” he said.
Madeleine K. Albright, a former Brzezinski associate and subsequent secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, agrees. “It’s very hard to see the exact trajectory at the moment,” she said. “It certainly looks as though the regime will retain control....Dr. Albright notes the parallels to the popular uprisings against Communist regimes a half-century ago. “The administration in the 1950s kept saying to the Hungarian people, ‘We will help you if you rise up.’ And then we didn’t,” she said. “Czechoslovakia in 1968.”...
The pressure by Tehran thugs may succeed in the short term. A permanent change, however, is taking place in Iran. The United States and Iran, the most important Muslim geopolitical power in the region, can ill afford to botch it again.

USRAELI "universal principles...rights...freedom...law"
"Up to $2,000" bribe paid to those U.S. declares "civilians" that they kill ... $100,000 for any American who died killing them
June 30, 2009, Opednews, By Jay Janson
After Obama apologized for the strike which [note: which U.S. originaaly denied, blaming 'al-qaeda'] the Afghan government claimed killed well over a hundred ordinary country folk, came the report that the families of those killed, and subsequent Afghani dead falling in harms way of US military, continuing as before, can apply to receive up to $2,000 compensation... the price the great United States of American puts on an Afghan or Pakistan human being, while awarding $100,000 to families of Americans who die fighting and killing wherever. Shocking? Shame provoking? that no Afghani or Pakistani child or parent has any human right at all, including the right not to be blown to pieces by a US drone air strike?

Children Palestinian detainees Bound, blindfolded and beaten – by Israeli troops --- according to soldiers' confessions

Defence for Children International (DCI) Report
Haitham Sabbah
Palestinian Child Prisoners: The systematic and institutionalized ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities.
Most of these children were arrested from villages near the Wall and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. There is evidence that many children are painfully shackled for hours on end, kicked, beaten and threatened, some with death, until they provide confessions, some written in Hebrew, a language they do not speak or understand.
Following are some excerpts from this chill-shocking report. It is a must-read report and worth saving for your reference in the future. It can be downloaded from here and here (both PDF format):
Executive summary
The Israeli military court system in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has operated for over 42 years almost devoid of international scrutiny. Each year an average of 9,000 Palestinians are prosecuted in two Israeli military courts operating in the West Bank, including 700 children.
From the moment of arrest, Palestinian children encounter ill-treatment and in some cases torture, at the hands of Israeli soldiers, policemen and interrogators. Children are commonly arrested from the family home in the hours before dawn by heavily armed soldiers. The child is painfully bound, blindfolded and bundled into the back of a military vehicle without any indication as to why or where the child is being taken. [...] Most children confess and some are forced to sign confessions written in Hebrew, a language they do not comprehend.

in case you missed it...giving new meaning to the holocaust industry
Families Battle for Assets in Court
Israel Accused of Profiting Off Holocaust
Israel’s second largest bank will be forced to defend itself in court in the coming weeks over claims it is withholding tens of millions of dollars in “lost” accounts belonging to Jews who died in the Nazi death camps. Bank Leumi has denied it holds any such funds despite a parliamentary committee revealing in 2004 that the bank owes at least $75 million to the families of several thousand Holocaust victims. Analysts said the bank’s role is only the tip of an iceberg in which Israeli companies and state bodies could be found to have withheld billions of dollars invested by Holocaust victims in the country -- dwarfing the high-profile reparations payouts from such European countries as Switzerland....

The allegations against Bank Leumi surfaced more than a decade ago following research by Yossi Katz, an Israeli historian.He uncovered bank correspondence in the immediate wake of the Second World War in which it cited “commercial secrecy” as grounds for refusing to divulge the names of account holders who had been killed in the Holocaust. Dr Katz’s revelations led to the establishment of a parliamentary committee in 2000 to investigate the behaviour of Israel’s banks. Its report came to light belatedly in 2004 after Bank Leumi put pressure on the government to prevent publication....

A quarter of a million Holocaust survivors are reported to be in Israel, with one-third of them living in poverty, according to welfare organisations.
Shraga Elam, an Israeli investigative financial journalist based in Zurich, said after the war many Israelis showed little sympathy for the European Jewish refugees who arrived in Israel.“David Ben Gurion [Israel’s first prime minister] notoriously called them ‘human dust’, and I remember as children we referred to them as sabonim, the Hebrew word for soap,” he said, in reference to the rumoured Nazi practice of making soap from Jewish corpses. “In fact, I can’t think of any place in the world where [Holocaust] survivors are as badly treated as they are in Israel,” Mr Elam said.

Mr. Elam said that Bank Leumi’s “lost” accounts were only a small fraction of Holocaust assets held by Israeli companies and the Israeli state that should have been returned. The total could be as much as $20bn. He said European Jews had invested heavily in Palestine in the pre-war years, buying land, shares and insurance policies and opening bank accounts. During the Second World War Britain seized most of these assets as enemy property because the owners were living in Nazi-occupied lands. In 1950 Britain repaid some $1.4 million to the new state of Israel, which was supposed to make reparations to the original owners. However, little effort was made to trace them or, in the case of those who died in the Holocaust, their heirs. Instead the Israeli government is believed to have used the funds to settle new immigrants in Israel. “These are huge assets, including real estate in some of the most desirable parts of Israel,” Mr Elam said.

Last year the Israeli media reported an investigation showing that the finance ministry destroyed its real estate files in the 1950s, apparently to conceal the extent of the state’s holding of Holocaust assets. The case against Bank Leumi may end the generally muted criticism inside Israel of the banks’ role. Officials and even the families themselves have been concerned about the damage the case might do to Israel’s image as the guardian of Jewish interests. In 2003 Ram Caspi, Bank Leumi’s lawyer, used such an argument before the parliamentary committee, warning its members that the US media “will say the Israeli banks also hide money, not just the Swiss”. Organisations that led the campaign for reparations from European banks, such as the Jewish Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organisation, have also downplayed the role of the Israeli banks.

A Fight For The Amazon That Should Inspire the World
By Johann Hari
June 28, 2009 "The Independent" -- Wednesday, 24 June 2009 -- While the world nervously watches the uprising in Iran, an even more important uprising has been passing unnoticed – yet its outcome will shape your fate, and mine. In the depths of the Amazon rainforest, the poorest people in the world have taken on the richest people in the world to defend a part of the ecosystem none of us can live without. They had nothing but wooden spears and moral force to defeat the oil companies – and, for today, they have won.
Here's the story of how it happened – and how we all need to pick up this fight. Earlier this year, Peru's right-wing President, Alan Garcia, sold the rights to explore, log and drill 70 per cent of his country's swathe of the Amazon to a slew of international oil companies. Garcia seems to see rainforest as a waste of good resources, saying of the Amazon's trees: "There are millions of hectares of timber there lying idle."
There was only one pesky flaw in Garcia's plan: the indigenous people who live in the Amazon. They are the first people of the Americas, subject to wave after wave of genocide since the arrival of the Conquistadors. They are weak. They have no guns. They barely have electricity. The government didn't bother to consult them: what are a bunch of Indians going to do anyway?
Why is he [Garcia] doing this? He was responding to intense pressure from the US, whose new Free Trade Pact requires this "opening up", and from the International Monetary Fund, paid for by our taxes.

Cyberwar: Iranians and Others Outwit Net Censors
The Internet is no longer just an essential channel for commerce, entertainment and information. It has also become a stage for state control — and rebellion against it. Computers are becoming more crucial in global conflicts, not only in spying and military action, but also in determining what information reaches people around the globe....
The creators of the software seized upon by Iranians are members of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium, based largely in the United States and closely affiliated with Falun Gong. The consortium is one of many small groups developing systems to make it possible for anyone to reach the open Internet. It is the modern equivalent of efforts by organizations like the Voice of America to reach the citizens of closed countries.... the Tor Project, a nonprofit group of anticensorship activists, freely offers software that can be used to send messages secretly or to reach blocked Web sites. Its software, first developed at the United States Naval Research Laboratories, is now used by more than 300,000 people globally, from the police to criminals, as well as diplomats and spies....opponents of censorship criticize the government-run systems as the digital equivalent of the Berlin Wall.
They also see the anticensorship efforts as a powerful political lever. “What is our leverage toward a country like Iran? Very little,” said Michael Horowitz, a fellow at the Hudson Institute who advises the Global Internet Freedom Consortium. “Suppose we have the capacity to make it possible for the president of the United States at will to communicate with hundreds of thousands of Iranians at no risk or limited risk? It just changes the world.”
The United States government and the Voice of America have financed some circumvention technology efforts. But until now the Falun Gong has devoted the most resources, experts said, erecting a system that allows the largest number of Internet users open, uncensored access.... Each week, Chinese Internet users receive 10 million e-mail messages and 70 million instant messages from the consortium [that] offer software to bypass the elaborate government system that blocks access to the Web sites of opposition [aka U.S. sponsored] groups like the Falun Gong... the group of dissidents here had some financial backing from the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Voice of America for sending e-mail messages, but the group insists that most of its effort has been based on volunteer labor and contributions....

Falun Gong last year organized extensive lobbying in Congress, which approved $15 million for circumvention services....the money was awarded not to the Falun Gong consortium but to Internews, an international organization that supports local media groups. This year, a broader coalition is organizing to push for more Congressional financing of anti-filtering efforts. Negotiations are under way to bring together dissidents of Vietnam, Iran, the Uighur minority of China, Tibet, Myanmar, Cuba, Cambodia, Laos, as well as the Falun Gong, to lobby Congress for the financing. Mr. Horowitz argues that $25 million could expand peak usage to as many as 45 million daily Internet users, allowing the systems to reach as many as 10 percent of the Web users in both China and Iran....
The Falun Gong software, it proved a little too popular among Iranians. By the end of last year the consortium’s computers were overwhelmed. On Jan. 1, the consortium had to do some blocking of its own: It shut down the service for all countries except China.

YouTube has launched an online resource to help citizen journalists learn the tricks of the trade after their reporting played a massive role in informing the world of what happened in the aftermath of the recent Iran elections. The YouTube Reporters' Centre provides instructional videos from high-profile journalists including Kristof, Couric, Woodward, and was launched in response to the massive role citizen journalists played in reporting from Iran's recent election and during protests in Myanmar in 2007.

New U.S. Military Command for Cyberspace
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Tuesday ordered the creation of the military’s first headquarters designed to coordinate Pentagon efforts in the emerging battlefield of cyberspace and computer-network security, officials said. Pentagon officials said Mr. Gates intends to nominate Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, currently director of the National Security Agency, for a fourth star and to take on the top job at the new organization, to be called Cybercom...“I can’t reiterate enough that this is not about the militarization of cyber,” said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/technology/24cyber.html

US moving cautiously on new cyber security program
Jul 2nd, 2009 AP
The Obama administration is moving cautiously on a new pilot program that would both detect and stop cyber attacks against government computers...The pilot program, known as Einstein 3, was supposed to launch in February. But the Department of Homeland Security is still pulling the plan together, according to senior administration officials. Einstein 3 has triggered debate because the program will use National Security Agency technology, which is already being employed on military networks.... involvement of the NSA -- the agency oversees electronic intelligence-gathering -- in protecting domestic computer networks worries privacy and civil liberties groups who oppose giving such control to U.S. spy agencies. Officials, who spoke on condition on anonymity... said that while the technology will come from the NSA, the program will be managed and run by the Department of Homeland Security [OH OK THEN, NO PROBLEM]

U.S. and Russia Differ on Cyberspace
Russian and American approaches — a treaty and a law enforcement agreement — are not necessarily incompatible. But they represent different philosophical approaches.... from the Russian perspective, the absence of a treaty is permitting a kind of arms race with potentially dangerous consequences Both nations agree that cyberspace is an emerging battleground....but there the agreement ends...Russia favors an international treaty along the lines of those negotiated for chemical weapons. The United States argues that a treaty is unnecessary. It instead advocates improved cooperation among international law enforcement groups.... the State Department official, who asked not to be identified because authorization had not been given to speak on the record. “They want to constrain offense...." ... The Pentagon is planning to create a military command to prepare for both defense and offensive computer warfare....

presidential big lies show on top of state's media "news"
Briefing room now a stage?
By Dana Milbank
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — In his first daytime news conference, President Obama on Tuesday pre-empted "All My Children," "Days of Our Lives" and "The Young and the Restless." But the soap viewers shouldn't have been disappointed: The president had arranged some prepackaged entertainment for them.After the obligatory first question from The Associated Press, Obama treated the White House Briefing Room to a surprise. "I know Nico Pitney is here from The Huffington Post," he announced.Obama knew this because his aides had invited Pitney. They told him the president was likely to call on him, with the understanding that he would ask an Iran question submitted online by an Iranian. "I know that there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet," Obama said. "Do you have a question?"Pitney recognized his prompt. "That's right," he said. "I wanted to use this opportunity to ask you a question directly from an Iranian. Reporters looked at one another in amazement. White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel grinned.

The use of planted questioners is a no-no at presidential news conferences, because it sends a message to the world — Iran included — that the American press isn't as free as advertised. But Tuesday wasn't so much a news conference as it was a taping of a new daytime drama, "The Obama Show."Missed Tuesday's show? Don't worry: Today, ABC News will be broadcasting "Good Morning America" from the South Lawn (guest stars: the president and first lady), "World News Tonight" from the Blue Room and a prime-time feature with Obama from the East Room.
This is Barack Obama, and these are the Days of Our Lives. Tuesday's daytime drama belonged primarily to Pitney, of The Huffington Post Web site.During the eight years of the Bush administration, liberal outlets such as Huffington often accused the White House of planting questioners in news conferences to ask preplanned questions. But here was Obama fielding a preplanned question asked by a planted questioner — from The Huffington Post.
Pitney said the White House, though not aware of the question's wording, asked him to come up with a question proposed by an Iranian. As it turned out, he was not the only prearranged questioner at Tuesday's show. Obama later passed over the usual suspects to call on Macarena Vidal of the Spanish-language EFE news agency. The White House called Vidal to see whether she was coming and arranged for her to sit in a seat usually assigned to a financial trade publication. She asked about Chile and Colombia.
A couple more questions and Obama called it a day. "Mr. President!" yelled Mike Allen of Politico. "May I ask about Afghanistan? No questions about Iraq or Afghanistan?" Sorry: Those weren't prearranged.

Did leak from a laboratory cause swine flu pandemic?
Same strain of influenza was released by accident three decades ago
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
...Influenza "A" (H1N1) strain of swine flu.... two medical researchers believe that this strain of the virus had been extinct in the human population for more than 20 years until it was unwittingly [sic] reintroduced by scientists working in a research lab somewhere [sic] in the world, leading to a pandemic in 1977 that began in Russia and China.

"Careful study of the genetic origin of the [1977] virus showed that it was closely related to a 1950 strain, but dissimilar to influenza 'A' (H1N1) strains from both 1947 and 1957. This finding suggested that the 1977 outbreak strain had been preserved since 1950. The re-emergence was probably an accidental release from a laboratory source," according to the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Shanta Zimmer and Donald Burke from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania said that influenza "A" (H1N1) disappeared completely from humans after a pandemic of another strain of flu in 1957. H1N1 was not detected in annual surveillance until an outbreak of H1N1 swine flu in January 1976 at a US Army base in Fort Dix, New Jersey.This outbreak affected 230 military personnel, killing one person, but it was successfully contained and was almost certainly caused by the direct transmission of swine flu from pigs. Nevertheless, the global anxiety caused by the Fort Dix outbreak led to a surge in research into H1N1 around the world, with experiments on frozen samples of the virus stored in labs since the 1950s, Dr Zimmer said."I would imagine that most labs researching into influenza would have had the 1950s strain. We cannot actually pinpoint which lab had it or accidentally released it, but the re-emergence of H1N1 in 1977 made it potentially a man-made pandemic," she said.

Former Wash. inmate sues state for labor shackling
Casandra Brawley said she was shackled by a metal chain around her stomach during transportation to the hospital, then fastened by a leg iron to a hospital bed throughout several hours of labor.
The suit alleges her restraints were removed during an emergency cesarean section only after a physician insisted, but then were replaced after the procedure...."During her entire hospitalization — even though walking is extremely difficult in the first few days after a cesarean section — Ms. Brawley was kept shackled to a hospital bed by the metal leg restraint and guarded by a DOC corrections officer 24 hours per day"... walking the halls of the hospital during her recovery, her ankles were shackled together.
In a written statement, Maria Peterson, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said the agency is "dedicated to treating all offenders with respect and dignity and not subjecting them to conditions or circumstances that unnecessarily threaten their safety or well being."
"I've made some mistakes and wrong decisions," Brawley said Thursday of the shoplifting conviction that sent her to prison. "But I am still a person and I didn't feel like I should be treated like a caged animal." Brawley's attorneys said their client was not a danger to anyone, and was a good inmate who was released midway through her 14-month sentence...

Prisons Often Shackle Pregnant Inmates in Labor
Shawanna Nelson, a prisoner at the McPherson Unit in Newport, Ark., had been in labor for more than 12 hours when she arrived at Newport Hospital on Sept. 20, 2003. Ms. Nelson, whose legs were shackled together and who had been given nothing stronger than Tylenol all day, begged, according to court papers, to have the shackles removed.Though her doctor and two nurses joined in the request, her lawsuit says, the guard in charge of her refused. "She was shackled all through labor," said Ms. Nelson's lawyer, Cathleen V. Compton. "The doctor who was delivering the baby made them remove the shackles for the actual delivery at the very end."... Arkansas has resisted an outright ban on restraints, though Ms. Nelson's case may change that. Ms. Nelson was serving time for identity fraud and writing bad checks when she gave birth at age 30. She weighed a little more than 100 pounds, and her baby, it turned out, weighed nine and a half pounds. The experience of giving birth without anesthesia while largely immobilized has left her with lasting back pain and damage to her sciatic nerve, according to her lawsuit against prison officials and a private company, Correctional Medical Services.

Despite sporadic complaints and occasional lawsuits, the practice of shackling prisoners in labor continues to be relatively common, state legislators and a human rights group said. Only two states, California and Illinois, have laws forbidding the practice....Twenty-three state corrections departments, along with the federal Bureau of Prisons, have policies that expressly allow restraints during labor, according to a report by Amnesty International U.S.A. Washington State has also forbidden the use of shackles during labor, though as a matter of corrections department policy rather than law. Pamela Simpson, a California nurse, described in an e-mail message to Ms. Lieber the practice in Washington before the policy was changed. "Here this young woman was in active labor," Ms. Simpson wrote, "handcuffed to the armed guard, wearing shackles, in her orange outfit that was dripping wet with amniotic fluid...age: 15!"
The corrections departments of five states, including Connecticut, and the District of Columbia, the report found, prohibit the practice. The remaining states do not have laws or formal policies, although some corrections departments told the group that they did not use restraints as a matter of informal practice. Many states justify restraints because prisoners remain escape risks, though there have been no instances of escape attempts by women in labor.
About 5 percent of female prisoners arrive pregnant, according to a 1999 report by the Justice Department. The Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group, estimates that 40,000 women are admitted to the nation's prisons each year, suggesting that 2,000 babies are born to American prisoners annually.

Cash for Babies?
Steven Waldman, of Beliefnet and William Saletan of Slate, debate the idea of reducing abortion by paying pregnant women. debate on the idea of reducing abortions by paying pregnant women to carry babies to term. http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/06/26/opinion/1194841209358/blogging...

NYT freudian slip correction: headline should read CAPITAL STEERS OBAMA HEALTH DEBATE
Obama Steers Health Debate Out of Capital
WASHINGTON — With Democrats deeply divided over health legislation, President Obama is trying to enlist the nation’s governors and his own army of grass-roots supporters in a bid to increase pressure on lawmakers without getting himself mired in the messy battle playing out on Capitol Hill.... Governors are deeply concerned about the rising price of Medicaid, the government insurance program for the poor, which makes them natural allies of the president, who has made driving down health costs a centerpiece of his effort... He has invested so much political capital in a health care bill that not to have legislation would be politically disastrous for him... Mr. Obama’s political group, Organizing for America, has recruited thousands of supporters to participate in blood drives, raise money for medical research and volunteer at community health clinics this week, all with the intent of sending reminders to lawmakers that the public wants action on health care.... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/30/health/policy/30health.html?th&emc=th