Category Archives: True, Political, Commentary

THE NEW CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, by Marjorie Cohn

 

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Click here to go to t r u t h o u t ' s 'Marjorie Cohn' Page!    Cialis alternatives
    By Marjorie Cohn
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective
    Friday, 31 March 2006

    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org)
    and/or Marjorie Cohn.
    All rights reserved.]

 

    In a wave of mass protest not seen since the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand justice for the undocumented. An unprecedented alliance between labor unions, immigrant support groups, churches, and Spanish-language radio and television has fueled the burgeoning civil rights movement.

    The demonstrations were triggered by the confluence of a draconian House bill that would make felons out of undocumented immigrants and HBO’s broadcast of Edward James Olmos’s film, “Walkout.” But the depth of discontent reflects a history of discrimination against those who are branded “illegal aliens.”

    Since September 11, 2001, immigrants have become the whipping boys for the “war on terror.” Calls for enhanced militarization of the southern US border – including a 700-mile-long Sisyphean fence – reached a crescendo in the bill passed by the House of Representatives.

    Under its terms, three million US-citizen children could be separated from their parents, who would be declared felons and be subject to immediate detention and deportation. Those who employ them, and churches and nonprofits that support them, could face fines or even prison.

    Cardinal Roger Mahony called it a “blameful, vicious” bill, and vowed to continue serving the undocumented even if it were outlawed.

    Immigrants comprise one-third of California’s labor force. But claims that immigrants take jobs away from Americans are overblown. Last summer, California suffered from labor shortages in spite of the high percentage of undocumented workers who labor in the fields.

    As a likely result of pressure from business dependent on cheap labor and the escalating protests around the country, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that strikes a more reasonable balance. It would legalize the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, and provide them with the opportunity to become citizens. They would have to remain employed, pass criminal background checks, learn English and civics, and pay fines and back taxes. A temporary worker program would allow about 400,000 foreign nationals to enter the United States each year; they too could be granted citizenship.

    The current debate in the full Senate has focused on accusations and denials of “amnesty” and threats to national security. But the “immigration problem” is more complex than the sound bytes that proliferate. Seventy-eight percent of the 11 million undocumented immigrants are from Mexico or other Latin American countries.

    According to Michael Lettieri, a Research Fellow with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, “The free trade accords that the Bush administration so tirelessly promotes do little to remedy such maladies, as both NAFTA and CAFTA-DR leave regional agricultural sectors profoundly vulnerable, as well as disadvantaged, in the face of robustly subsidized US agribusiness that enables Iowa to undersell Mexico when it comes to corn.”

 

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MY COMPLAINT TO THE ACLU, by Wolf Britain

 

Cialis alternatives

Written by S. Wolf Britain
[Copyright (c) 2006 in the U.S.A. and
Internationally by And Now The
Apocalypse! (wolfbritain.com),
and/or S. Wolf Britain.
All rights reserved.]

 

I have decided to post online a copy of a complaint that I have filed with the ACLU. It speaks for itself, so I will let it explain what it’s about, as follows:

Click here to go to the ACLU's website!      On Friday, 3 March 2006, at about 12:00 p.m., I was visited by two (2) officers of the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Service ( FPS ), …, Law Enforcement Inspector, to serve two documents upon me, 1.) “Letter of Restriction, U.S.D.A. Rural Development and Notice of Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property”, and 2.) the U.S.D.A. “Letter of Restriction”, untitled directly.

According to (the) Officer …, these documents resulted from a (false) claim by a U.S.D.A. Rural Development (USDA-RD) employee, … of USDA-RD’s … office(s), that I allegedly threatened her by calling her an “evil bitch” on the telephone several months ago, though these specifics are NOT addressed in either of the above-referenced documents, and though same was not alleged to have literally occurred on federal propery [I have not visited USDA-RD offices, or ANY (other) federal offices and/or property in many years, other than the U.S. Post Office]. No other accusations and/or allegations whatsoever are made.

The DHS “cover letter” only states very generally that “…FPS has received a complaint regarding your alleged disruptive and perceived threatening conduct during the past several years while addressing United States Department of Agriculture staff and personnel acting in an official capacity to carry out duties related to Rural Development programs…”

The USDA-RD “Letter of Restriction” states the following in pertinent part, “…Effective immediately and until further notice, the USDA, Rural Development, State Office, …, has hereby restricted your access regarding the Multi-Family Housing 515 program and your tenancy in …. This restriction requires you to communicate with the USDA, Rural Development, State Office, …, solely in a written format sent through the United States Postal Service mail system, addressed as specified below: USDA, Rural Development, State Office, ATTN: Civil Rights Coordinator, …. This includes, but is not limited to faxes, telephone calls, e-mails, cell phone and voice mail. Failure to strictly comply with the restriction notice above could negatively impact your continued participation in the USDA, Rural Development, Multi-Family Housing, 515 Program…” Signed…, “State Director”, at the same address.

The foregoing documents are NOT issued by a(ny) court of law, or signed by a(ny) judge. Neither do they IN ANY WAY written therein provide any due process rights, appeal procedure(s), etc., or any other legal recourse(s) whatsoever. The notice of “Rules and Regulations Governing Conduct on Federal Property” is extremely general, simply summarizes definitions and penalties, and does NOT provide ANY appeal rights and/or procedures IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER.

 

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SUPREMES CONSIDER KANGAROO COURTS, by Marjorie Cohn

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For background, see:
Marjorie Cohn | Graham Amendment Invokes Constitutional Crisis
Marjorie Cohn | Supreme Court: War No Blank Check for Bush

 

Click here to go to t r u t h o u t ' s 'Marjorie Cohn' Page!    SUPREMES CONSIDER KANGAROO
    COURTS (Will Anyone Have
    Any Rights Soon?)

    By Marjorie Cohn
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective
    Tuesday, 28 March 2006

    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org)
    and/or Marjorie Cohn.
    All rights reserved.]

 

    Today the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in the most significant case to date on the limits of George W. Bush’s authority in his “war on terror.” In the first two cases it heard, the high court reined in Bush for his unprecedented assertion of executive power. It held in Rasul v. Bush that the Guantanamo prisoners could challenge their confinement in US federal courts. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Court said that “a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to rights of the Nation’s citizens.”

    Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur, is facing trial in one of the military commissions that Bush created on November 13, 2001. The case pending in the high court will determine the legality of those military commissions, and will decide whether Hamdan and other Guantanamo detainees can challenge their detention in US federal courts.

    The importance of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld is evident from the sheer number of amicus briefs it has garnered. Of the 42 amici in this case, 37 – including one filed by 280 law professors, this writer among them – support Hamdan’s position.

    Afghani militia forces captured Hamdan in Afghanistan in November 2001. They turned him over to the United States military, which transported him to the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba, where he continues to be detained.

    In 2004, the US government designated Hamdan an “enemy combatant” and charged him with conspiracy to commit the following crimes: attacks on civilians and civilian objects, murder and destruction of property by an unprivileged belligerent, and terrorism. Hamdan has not been charged with committing the underlying substantive crimes. The military commissions only have jurisdiction to try war crimes. Conspiracy is not a war crime.

    In November 2004, the US District Court for the District of Columbia granted Hamdan’s petition for habeas corpus. That court held that Hamdan could not be tried by a military commission unless a competent tribunal first determined that he was not a prisoner of war under the Third Geneva Convention. The district court also forbade the military commission from trying Hamdan unless the rules for those commissions are amended to be consistent with and not contrary to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

    The Third Geneva Convention requires that if there is a doubt about whether someone is a POW, a “competent tribunal” shall make the determination; meanwhile, the prisoner must be treated as a POW.

 

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APOCALYPTIC PRESIDENT, by Sidney Blumenthal

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Click here to go to an old Washington Post 'Sidney Blumenthal' Page!    APOCALYPTIC PRESIDENT
    (Even Some Republicans
    Are Horrified By Right-
    Wing-Extremist Bush!)

    By Sidney Blumenthal
    The Guardian, U.K.
    Thursday, 23 March 2006
    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. & Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org)
    and/or Sid Blumenthal.
    All rights reserved.]

 

    Even some Republicans are now horrified by the influence Bush has given to the evangelical right.

    In his latest PR offensive President Bush came to Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday to answer the paramount question on Iraq that he said was on people’s minds: “They wonder what I see that they don’t.” After mentioning “terror” 54 times and “victory” five, dismissing “civil war” twice and asserting that he is “optimistic”, he called on a citizen in the audience, who homed in on the invisible meaning of recent events in the light of two books, American Theocracy, by Kevin Phillips, and the book of Revelation. Phillips, the questioner explained, “makes the point that members of your administration have reached out to prophetic Christians who see the war in Iraq and the rise of terrorism as signs of the apocalypse. Do you believe this? And if not, why not?”

    Bush’s immediate response, as transcribed by CNN, was: “Hmmm.” Then he said: “The answer is I haven’t really thought of it that way. Here’s how I think of it. First, I’ve heard of that, by the way.” The official White House website transcript drops the strategic comma, and so changes the meaning to: “First I’ve heard of that, by the way.”

    But it is certainly not the first time Bush has heard of the apocalyptic preoccupation of much of the religious right, having served as evangelical liaison on his father’s 1988 presidential campaign. The Rev Jerry Falwell told Newsweek how he brought Tim LaHaye, then an influential rightwing leader, to meet him; LaHaye’s Left Behind novels, dramatizing the rapture, Armageddon and the second coming, have sold tens of millions.

    But it is almost certain that Cleveland was the first time Bush had heard of Phillips’s book. He was the visionary strategist for Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign; his 1969 book, The Emerging Republican Majority, spelled out the shift of power from the north-east to the south and south-west, which he was early to call “the sunbelt”; he grasped that southern Democrats would react to the civil-rights revolution by becoming southern Republicans; he also understood the resentments of urban ethnic Catholics towards black people on issues such as crime, school integration and jobs. But he never imagined that evangelical religion would transform the coalition he helped to fashion into something that horrifies him.

    In American Theocracy, Phillips describes Bush as the founder of “the first American religious party”; September 11 gave him the pretext for “seizing the fundamentalist moment”; he has manipulated a “critical religious geography” to hype issues such as gay marriage. “New forces were being interwoven. These included the institutional rise of the religious right, the intensifying biblical focus on the Middle East, and the deepening of insistence on church-government collaboration within the GOP electorate.” It portended a potential “American Disenlightenment,” apparent in Bush’s hostility to science.

 

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BLAMING THE MEDIA FOR BAD WAR NEWS, by Normon Solomon

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CommonDreams.org | Normon Solomon | Why Are We Here?

 

Click here to go to read about Normon Solomon, the author!        BLAMING THE MEDIA FOR
        BAD WAR NEWS
        (If At First You Are Silenced,
        And Then You Tell The Truth…)

        By Norman Solomon
        t r u t h o u t | Perspective
        Thursday, 23 March 2006
        [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
        U.S.A. & Internationally
        by t r u t h o u t (.org),
        www.Normon Solomon.com
        and/or Normon Solomon.
        All rights are reserved.]

 

    Top officials in the Bush administration have often complained that news coverage of Iraq focuses on negative events too much and fails to devote enough attention to positive developments. Yet the White House has rarely picked direct fights with US media outlets during this war. For the most part, President Bush leaves it to others to scapegoat the media.

    Karl Rove’s spin strategy is heavily reliant on surrogates. They’re likely to escalate blame-the-media efforts as this year goes on.

    A revealing moment – dramatizing the pro-war division of labor – came on Wednesday, during Bush’s nationally televised appearance in Wheeling, West Virginia. On the surface, the format resembled a town hall, but the orchestration was closer to war rally. (According to White House spokesperson Scott McClellan, the local Chamber of Commerce had distributed 2,000 tickets while a newspaper in the community gave out 100.) It fell to a woman who identified herself as being from Columbus, Ohio, to give the Wheeling event an anti-media jolt.

    Her husband – who was an Army officer in Iraq, where “his job while serving was as a broadcast journalist” – “has returned from a 13-month tour in Tikrit,” she said. And then came the populist punch: “He has brought back several DVDs full of wonderful footage of reconstruction, of medical things going on. And I ask you this from the bottom of my heart for a solution to this, because it seems that our major media networks don’t want to portray the good.”

    She added: “They just want to focus … on another car bomb or they just want to focus on some more bloodshed or they just want to focus on how they don’t agree with you and what you’re doing, when they don’t even probably know how you’re doing what you’re doing anyway. But what can we do to get that footage on CNN, on Fox, to get it on Headline News, to get it on the local news?… It portrays the good. And if people could see that, if the American people could see it, there would never be another negative word about this conflict.”

    The audience punctuated the woman’s statement with very strong applause and then a standing ovation. But rather than pile on, Bush adopted an air of restraint.

 

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ISRAEL, AL Q’AEDA AND IRAN, by Marjorie Cohn

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Marjorie Cohn | Bushies in Wonderland
Marjorie Cohn | Nobel Prize Slaps Bush Nuke Policy

Click here to go to t r u t h o u t ' s 'Marjorie Cohn' Page!    ISRAEL,  AL Q’AEDA  AND  IRAN
    (The Same Drumbeats for War)

    By Marjorie Cohn
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Thursday, 23 March 2006

    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org)
    and/or Marjorie Cohn.
    All rights reserved.]

    Since George W. Bush gave his “axis of evil” speech, he invaded Iraq, changed its regime, and created a quagmire reminiscent of Vietnam. His administration is now sending clear signals that Iran is next in line for regime change. The raison d’etre: Iran’s nuclear program, an al Qaeda connection, and protecting Israel.

    First, for months, Bush has been pressuring the Security Council to sanction Iran for its nuclear development, but the council is moving slowly. According to Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Peace Prize winner, we must “stop thinking that it’s morally unacceptable for certain countries to want nuclear weapons and morally acceptable for others to lean on them for their defense.”

    Second, Bush’s men are now floating an Iran-al Qaeda linkage, much the way they tried to connect Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks. As journalist Jeremy Scahill testified at the International Commission of Inquiry on Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in January, “There is a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. It’s called Washington.”

    An article in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times quoted several administration officials, who laid out the case for the link between Iran and al Qaeda. Under Secretary R. Nicholas Burns, the third-ranking official in the State Department, said “some al Qaeda members and those from like-minded extremist groups continue to use Iran as a safe haven and as a hub to facilitate their operations.”

    Problem is, Shiites run the Iranian government. Al Qaeda’s Sunni leadership has denounced the Shiites as infidels.

    Finally, Israel’s “stranglehold” on US foreign policy is detailed by two of America’s leading scholars in a new article in the London Review of Books. Professor John Mearsheimer, of the University of Chicago, and Professor Stephen Walt, of Harvard’s Kennedy School, maintain that Washington’s pro-Israel lobby played a “decisive” role in fomenting the war in Iraq, and it is now being repeated with the threat of war on Iran. (See also this Harvard research paper).

    The article focuses largely on the role of the neo-conservatives in the Bush administration, who were determined to topple Saddam even before Bush became president.

    “Saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards,” they write. “The US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around.” The scholars add, “Support for Israel is not the only source of the anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question that many al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are motivated by Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians. Unconditional support for Israel makes it easier for extremists to rally popular support and to attract recruits.”

 

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PART II: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO CONGRESS?; AN INTERVIEW WITH CHALMERS JOHNSON, by Tom Engelhardt

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Click here to go to 'Conversation(s) with Tom Engelhardt'! Click here to go to 'Conversation(s) with Chalmers Johnson'!

 

    PART II: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO CONGRESS?
    Interview with Chalmers Johnson

    By Tom Engelhardt
    TomDispatch.com

    Wednesday, 22 March 2006

    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org),
    TomDispatch (.com) and/or
    Tom Engelhardt. All
    Rights Reserved.]

 

    In Part 1 of his interview, Chalmers Johnson suggested what that fall-of-the-Berlin-Wall, end-of-the-Cold-War moment meant to him; explored how deeply empire and militarism have entered the American bloodstream; and began to consider what it means to live in an unacknowledged state of military Keynesianism, garrisoning the planet, and with an imperial budget — a real yearly Pentagon budget — of perhaps three-quarters of a trillion dollars. Tom

Tomdispatch: You were discussing the lunacy of the 2007 Pentagon budget…

Chalmers Johnson: What I don’t understand is that the current defense budget and the recent Quadrennial Defense Review (which has no strategy in it at all) are just continuations of everything we did before. Make sure that the couple of hundred military golf courses around the world are well groomed, that the Lear jets are ready to fly the admirals and generals to the Armed Forces ski resort in Garmisch in the Bavarian Alps or the military’s two luxury hotels in downtown Seoul and Tokyo.

What I can’t explain is what has happened to Congress. Is it just that they’re corrupt? That’s certainly part of it. I’m sitting here in California’s 50th district. This past December, our congressman Randy Cunningham confessed to the largest single bribery case in the history of the U.S. Congress: $2.4 million in trinkets — a Rolls Royce, some French antiques — went to him, thanks to his ability as a member of the military subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee to add things secretly to the budget. He was doing this for pals of his running small companies. He was adding things even the Department of Defense said it didn’t want.

This is bribery and, as somebody said the other day, Congress comes extremely cheap. For $2.4 million, these guys got about $175 million in contracts. It was an easy deal.

The military is out of control. As part of the executive branch, it’s expanded under cover of the national security state. Back when I was a kid, the Pentagon was called the Department of War. Now, it’s the Department of Defense, though it palpably has nothing to do with defense. Hasn’t for a long time. We even have another department of the government today that’s concerned with “homeland security.” You wonder what on Earth do we have that for — and a Dept of Defense, too!

 

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PART I: COLD WARRIOR IN A STRANGE LAND; AN INTERVIEW WITH CHALMERS JOHNSON, by Tom Engelhardt

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Click here to go to 'Conversation(s) with Tom Engelhardt'! Click here to go to 'Conversation(s) with Chalmers Johnson'!

 

    PART I: COLD WARRIOR IN A STRANGE LAND
    Interview with Chalmers Johnson

    By Tom Engelhardt
    TomDispatch.com

    Tuesday, 21 March 2006

    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org),
    TomDispatch (.com) and/or
    Tom Engelhardt. All
    Rights Reserved.]

 

    As he and his wife Sheila drive me through downtown San Diego in the glare of mid-day, he suddenly exclaims, “Look at that structure!” I glance over and just across the blue expanse of the harbor is an enormous aircraft carrier. “It’s the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan,” he says, “the newest carrier in the fleet. It’s a floating Chernobyl and it sits a proverbial six inches off the bottom with two huge atomic reactors. You make a wrong move and there goes the country’s seventh largest city.”

    Soon, we’re heading toward their home just up the coast in one of those fabled highway traffic jams that every description of Southern California must include. “We feel we’re far enough north,” he adds in the kind of amused tone that makes his company both alarming and thoroughly entertaining, “so we could see the glow, get the cat, pack up, and head for Quartzsite, Arizona.”

    Chalmers Johnson, who served in the U.S. Navy and now is a historian of American militarism, lives cheek by jowl with his former service. San Diego is the headquarters of the 11th Naval District. “It’s wall to wall military bases right up the coast,” he comments. “By the way, this summer the Pentagon’s planning the largest naval concentration in the Pacific in the post-World War II period! Four aircraft-carrier task forces – two from the Atlantic and that’s almost unprecedented – doing military exercises off the coast of China.”

    That afternoon, we seat ourselves at his dining room table. He’s seventy-four years old, crippled by rheumatoid arthritis and bad knees. He walks with a cane, but his is one of the spriest minds in town. Out the window I can see a plethora of strange, oversized succulents. (“That’s an Agave attenuata,” he says. “If you want one, feel free. We have them everywhere. When the blue-gray Tequila plant blooms, its flower climbs 75 feet straight up! Then you get every hummingbird in Southern California.”) In the distance, the Pacific Ocean gleams.

    Johnson is wearing a black t-shirt that, he tells me, a former military officer and friend brought back from Russia. (“He was amused to see hippies selling these in the Moscow airport.”) The shirt sports an illustration of an AK-47 on its front with the inscription, “Mikhail Kalashnikov” in Cyrillic script, and underneath, “The freedom fighter’s friend, a product of the Soviet Union.” On the back in English, it says, “World Massacre Tour” with the following list: “The Gulf War, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Angola, Laos, Nicaragua, Salvador, Lebanon, Gaza Strip, Karabakh, Chechnya… To be continued.”

 

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WHY ARE WE HERE?, by Normon Solomon

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For another one of his latest articles, go to:
CommonDreams.org | Normon Solomon | Mahatma Bush

 

Click here to go to read about Normon Solomon, the author!        WHY ARE WE HERE?
        (The Reasons & Non-Reasons
        for Our Existence)

        By Norman Solomon
        t r u t h o u t | Perspective
        Monday, 20 March 2006

        [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
        U.S.A. & Internationally
        by t r u t h o u t (.org),
        www.NormonSolomon.com
        and/or Normon Solomon.
        All rights are reserved.]

 

    On Saturday, during her national radio response to the president, Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the Bush administration of “incompetence” in the Iraq war.

    What would be a competent way to pursue the war in Iraq? How would you drop huge bombs on urban neighborhoods in a competent way? How would you deploy cluster munitions that shred the bodies of children in a competent way? How would you take hundreds of thousands of people from their home land and send them to a country to kill and be killed – based on lies – in a competent way?

    How do you ravage the housing and health care and education of communities across the United States, while war-profiteering corporations post bigger profits – how would you do that in a competent way?

    Senator Feinstein went on to say that it’s so important, for the war in Iraq, for the United States government to “do it right.”

    How does one do this war right, when every day it brings more carnage? The only way to do this war right is to not do it at all.

    Last Friday, reporting on a new assault by the US military in Iraq, a headline on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle said: “Biggest air attack since the invasion seen as delivering a message.”

    Delivering a message.

    Forty years ago, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said it was necessary to drop bombs on North Vietnam in order to deliver a message to the Communist leaders in Hanoi. The former war correspondent Chris Hedges, in his book War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, recalls that when he was reporting from El Salvador, one morning he and other reporters woke up at their hotel and discovered that death squads had dumped corpses in front of the building overnight, and in the mouths of those corpses were written messages threatening the journalists.

    In Yugoslavia, during the spring of 1999, the bombs fell with the US-led NATO forces delivering a message. And when, at noontime one Friday in the city of Nis, cluster bombs fell courtesy of US taxpayers and ripped into the body of a woman holding a bag of carrots from the market, that too was an instance of sending a message.

    Time after time, leaders send messages by inflicting death. On September 11, 2001… at the World Trade Center. And in the fall of 2001 the US military sent a message to Afghanistan, where the civilians who died, if we are going to count numbers, were at least as numerous as those who died at the World Trade Center.

 

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WAR-LOVING PUNDITS, by Normon Solomon

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For his last article, see the following:
CommonDreams.org | Normon Solomon | Digital Hype: A Dazzling Smokescrean?

 

Click here to go to read about Normon Solomon, the author!        WAR-LOVING PUNDITS
        (Propagandizing the
        Mostly Lies)

        By Norman Solomon
        t r u t h o u t | Perspective
        Thursday, 16 March 2006

        [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
        U.S.A. and Internationally
        by t r u t h o u t (.org),
        www.NormonSolomon.com
        and/or Normon Solomon.
        All rights are reserved.]

 

    The third anniversary of the Iraq invasion is bound to attract a lot of media coverage, but scant recognition will go to the pundits who helped to make it all possible.

    Continuing with long service to the Bush administration’s agenda-setting for war, prominent media commentators were very busy in the weeks before the invasion. At the Washington Post, the op-ed page’s fervor hit a new peak on February 6, 2003, the day after Colin Powell’s mendacious speech to the UN Security Council.

    Post columnist Richard Cohen explained that Powell was utterly convincing. “The evidence he presented to the United Nations – some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail – had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them,” Cohen wrote. “Only a fool – or possibly a Frenchman – could conclude otherwise.”

    Meanwhile, another one of the Post’s syndicated savants, Jim Hoagland, led with this declaration: “Colin Powell did more than present the world with a convincing and detailed X-ray of Iraq’s secret weapons and terrorism programs yesterday. He also exposed the enduring bad faith of several key members of the UN Security Council when it comes to Iraq and its ‘web of lies,’ in Powell’s phrase.” Hoagland’s closing words banished doubt: “To continue to say that the Bush administration has not made its case, you must now believe that Colin Powell lied in the most serious statement he will ever make, or was taken in by manufactured evidence. I don’t believe that. Today, neither should you.”

    Impatience grew among pundits who depicted the UN’s inspection process as a charade because Saddam Hussein’s regime obviously possessed weapons of mass destruction. In an essay appearing on February 13, 2003, Christopher Hitchens wrote: “Those who are calling for more time in this process should be aware that they are calling for more time for Saddam’s people to complete their humiliation and subversion of the inspectors.”

    A few weeks later, on March 17, President Bush prefaced the imminent invasion by claiming in a televised speech: “Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war, and every measure will be taken to win it.”

    In the same speech, noting that “many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast,” Bush offered reassurance. “I have a message for them: If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you.”

 

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BUSHIES IN WONDERLAND, by Marjorie Cohn

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Read more of Marjorie Cohn’s columns.

For her last article, see:
Marjorie Cohn | War Crimes: Goose and Gander

Click here to go to t r u t h o u t ' s 'Marjorie Cohn' Page!    BUSHIES IN WONDERLAND
    (The Bush-Mafia Fantasy World)

    By Marjorie Cohn
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Monday, 20 March 2006

    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org)
    and/or Marjorie Cohn.
    All rights reserved.]

Curiouser and Curiouser

    On May 1, 2003, George W. Bush swaggered across an aircraft carrier deck and declared “Mission Accomplished.” Yesterday, his proclamation was a little more understated. He said it marked “the third anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Iraq,” and claimed to be “implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq.” So far, that victory appears as elusive as a greased pig.

    While Bush talks victory, the rest of us are debating whether civil war in Iraq is inevitable or whether it has already begun.

    Iraq’s former interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, noted that 50 to 60 people, “if not more,” had been killed daily in Iraq since the attack on the Samarra shrine last month. “If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is,” Allawi told the BBC.

    Dick Cheney, appearing yesterday on CBS News’s “Face the Nation,” disagreed. He said that “what we’ve seen is a serious effort by them to foment civil war, but I don’t think they’ve been successful.”

    Meanwhile, the US military announced plans to continue paying Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-US articles – called “storyboards” – in order to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

First the Sentence, Then the Verdict

    At the same time, Bush is preparing for war on Iran. He is following the same pattern that preceded his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    In 2002, six months before he invaded Iraq, Bush released a National Security Strategy that purported to justify preemptive war: “The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction – and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack. To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”

    Last week, in his 2006 National Security Strategy, Bush reiterated his preemptive war doctrine: “If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self-defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy’s attack … The place of preemption in our national security strategy remains the same.”

 

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BOOKING FIRST & FOURTH AMENDMENT ‘FIFTH COLUMNISTS’, by Kurt Nimmo

Booking First & Fourth Amendment “Fifth Columnists”

Written by Kurt Nimmo
[Copyright (c) 2006 in the U.S.A. and
Internationally by Another Day in
the Empire (kurtnimmo.com),
and/or Kurt Nimmo.
All rights reserved.]

In the near future—maybe next week—it may be a good idea to stay away from John Young’s Cryptome website. Young’s site often posts articles on surveillance, cryptography, and information on the military and intelligence community. It appears Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, along with Sens. Olympia Snowe of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, are pushing legislation to prosecute anyone who “intentionally discloses information identifying or describing” the NSA snoop program or any other snoop program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law, according to the Associated Press.

Under “boosted penalties,” those found guilty could face fines of up to $1 million, 15 years in jail or both. In fact, according to Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, the language of the proposed legislation does not specify that the information has to be harmful to national security or classified. Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, told the Associated Press the legislation would allow the government to prosecute even “if you read a story in the paper and pass it along to your brother-in-law…. As a practical matter, would they use this to try to punish any newspaper or any broadcast? It essentially makes coverage of any of these surveillance programs illegal… I’m sorry, that’s just not constitutional.”

No kidding.

But then the Bush regime is the Constitution hating regime. Remember, according to George, the Constitution is just a g.d. piece paper.

Finally, it is interesting to see Lindsey Graham’s name of this legislation. He’s the guy who has a hankering to go after “fifth columnists,” or people who exercise their constitutional rights. It appears Lindsey may have a tool very soon to go after “fifth columnists” who complain about Bush’s violation(s) of the Fourth Amendment.

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BLOGGER GETS (EXPEDITIOUS) EDUCATION IN GESTAPO TACTICS, by Kurt Nimmo

Blogger Gets Education in Gestapo Tactics

Written by Kurt Nimmo
[Copyright (c) 2006 in the U.S.A. and
Internationally by Another Day in
the Empire (kurtnimmo.com),
and/or Kurt Nimmo.
All rights reserved.]

Huffington Post blogger John Serry wants to know, in response to the intimidation and harassment of Pomona College professor Miguel Tinker Salas, how “the FBI [could] be so duped or goaded into having their domestic operations so blatantly hijacked and transparently politicized.” Obviously, Mr. Serry knows little about the FBI and its long-standing agenda to harass, intimidate, and neutralize individuals and organizations deemed a political threat by the government.

In essence, for decades, the FBI has served as the secret police for various administrations, going after civil rights and peace activists as well as more militant individuals and organizations such as the Black Panthers, AIM, Earth First, and others. Senator Edwin Muskie, a victim of FBI harassment, remarked from the floor of Congress that this surveillance was “a dangerous threat to fundamental constitutional rights.” During the 2004 political campaigns, the FBI went around the country intimidating antiwar activists, interviewing (or rather intimidating) their family and friends. As FOIA documents reveal, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force “inappropriately regards public protest as potential ‘domestic terrorism,’ prompting it to investigate and build files on the political activities of peaceful dissenters,” the ACLU of Colorado noted in an August 2 , 2005, press release.

None of this is new. J. Edgar Hoover cut his teeth on going after political opponents, most notably as head of the General Intelligence Division of the Justice Department in 1919, and later as the head of the Bureau of Investigation, which became the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935. Newspapers liked to portray the FBI as an all-American crime-busting outfit going after the likes of John Dillinger, Alvin Karpis, and Machine Gun Kelly, but in fact its primary job was to hound and hunt down radicals and political opponents.

Early on, Hoover collected a massive database of 150,000 names, and using this data he went after antiwar activists, labor unions, socialists, communists, and other malcontents. By January 1920, Alexander Mitchell Palmer, United States Attorney General under Woodrow Wilson, and Hoover had organized the largest mass arrests, sans search warrants, in United States history—10,000 people were rounded-up in Gestapo-like raids.

From 1956 until 1971, the FBI ran COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) and its sole purpose was to “neutralize” dissident political organizations, that is to say Americans exercising their First Amendment right. In fact, the very purpose of COINTELPRO was to “increase factionalism, cause disruption and win defections” of target organizations. In 1981, the illegal activities of COINTELPRO became legal when Reagan signed Executive Order 12333. As recent revelations demonstrate, the FBI and a cornucopia of other government agencies—including the CIA and the Pentagon—have infiltrated, harassed, and used psychological warfare and extralegal force and violence against legitimate political organizations and individuals. Again, none of this is new or especially revelatory. In America, a Gestapo-like political and secret police has operated more or less unhampered for nearly a hundred years.

 

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WAR CRIMES: GOOSE AND GANDER, by
Marjorie Cohn

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What do you think? The t r u t h o u t Town Meeting is in progress. Join the debate!

Read more of Marjorie Cohn’s columns.

For background, see:
Marjorie Cohn | Getting Away With Murder

Click here to go to t r u t h o u t ' s 'Marjorie Cohn' Page!    WAR CRIMES: GOOSE AND GANDER
    (The War Criminal US Government)

    By Marjorie Cohn
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Monday, 13 March 2006

    [Copyright (c) 2006 in the
    U.S.A. and Internationally
    by t r u t h o u t (.org)
    and/or Marjorie Cohn.
    All rights reserved.]

    Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was found dead in his jail cell at The Hague Saturday. Since 2001, he had been on trial for genocide in Bosnia, and war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. Although many have already adjudged him guilty, we will never hear the official verdict of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

    We will also never see a trial in the ICTY for Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright or Wesley Clark for the 1999 US-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. Nor will George W. Bush, Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld be prosecuted by an international tribunal for their war crimes in Iraq.

    NATO’s invasion of Yugoslavia was a war of aggression that violated the United Nations Charter. It was not undertaken in self-defense nor did it carry the approval of the Security Council. Between 1500 and 2000 civilians were killed and many thousands injured. When I visited Belgrade a year after the NATO bombing, I saw schools, hospitals, bridges, libraries and homes reduced to rubble. The ICTY statute prohibits the targeting of civilians. And even though it also forbids the use of poisonous weapons calculated to cause unnecessary suffering, NATO used depleted uranium and cluster bombs, whose devastating character is widely known. NATO also targeted a petrochemical complex, releasing carcinogens into the air that reached 10,600 times the acceptable safety level.

    The American Association of Jurists and a group of Canadian lawyers and law professors filed a war crimes complaint against NATO leaders in the ICTY. Yet that tribunal conducted only a perfunctory investigation of the serious charges. Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch criticized the ICTY for failing to thoroughly investigate.

    By denouncing the International Criminal Court, Team Bush has ensured that US leaders will never be held to account for war crimes. Although virtually every Western democracy has ratified the statute under which the Court operates, the United States has thumbed its nose at this monumental international justice system.

    Bush has reason to fear prosecution. He has used cluster bombs, depleted uranium, white phosphorous and napalm. And the torture of prisoners in US custody also constitutes a war crime. His war on Iraq is a war of aggression.

    After the Holocaust, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg called the waging of aggressive war “essentially an evil thing … to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Associate United States Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, one of the prosecutors at the Nuremberg Tribunal, labeled the crime of aggression “the greatest menace of our times.”

 

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Iraq Invasion: A Straussian Mistake?

Written by Kurt Nimmo
[Copyright (c) 2006 in the U.S.A. and
Internationally by Another Day in
the Empire (kurtnimmo.com),
and/or Kurt Nimmo.
All rights reserved.]

Click here to go buy Kurt's book, 'Another Day in the Empire'!In Stuart Rosenberg’s classic film, Cool Hand Luke, Strother Martin, playing the Captain of Road Prison 36, tells Luke Jackson, played by Paul Newman: “What we have here is… failure to communicate.” As I read the news this morning, I am reminded of the film and this memorable line. Rupert Cornwell, writing for the Independent, tells us “the neo-conservatives who sold the United States on this disastrous war are starting to utter three small words. We were wrong.” Cornwell cites the examples of William Buckley, Andrew Sullivan (described as “an influential commentator and blogmeister”), the “patrician conservative columnist” George Will, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the disgusting William Kristol, all who apparently have second thoughts about the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Cornwell seems satisfied these neocon icons, actually little more than common criminals with expensive educations, have admitted they were “wrong” and have accepted “realistic Wilsonianism,” in the words of Fukuyama, or as Cornwell pegs it, neo-realism. “And if that brings a smile to the face of a certain former US high priest of realism with a pronounced German accent, who can blame him?” Cornwell concludes, apparently making reference to the Leo Strauss, the late student of Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger, the former exploited by the Nazis and the latter having collaborated with them directly.

Cornwell fails to communicate the essence of the depth and severity of the Straussian neocon plot and instead concentrates on the “failure” of Iraq—and thus, as the hackneyed old saying runs, Cornwell misses the forest for the trees. Regardless of anything Fukuyama has written as of late, the Straussian neocons will not now “temper the idealism of the neo-conservative doctrine with an acceptance that some things are not so easy to change,” viz., the United States cannot deliver democracy to benighted Arabs and Muslims, as we are told, ad nauseam, Bush wants to do, or wanted to do before reality hit him upside the head.

Zalmay Khalilzad warns that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has opened “a Pandora’s box,” spreading “conflict,” as Cornwell describes it, across the Middle East. In fact, this is precisely what the Straussian neocons want—chaos and “conflict” spreading like an uncontrollable wild fire, scorching Muslim and Arab culture, eating away at the very societal cohesion of the region, thus leaving it decimated and malleable to reorganization along the lines envisioned by the Straussian neocons and the original architects of the plan, the racist Jabotinskyites in Israel. Cornwell, lost in the forest of corporate media spin and lies, is unable to see the tree planted by these devious Machiavellian co-conspirators.

Mr. Cornwell does not bother to take into consideration the trouble brewing over Iran’s illusory nuclear weapons, simply another pretext for more violence and misery, as a few neocons may step forward and admit “mistakes” over the invasion and occupation of Iraq while their fellows prepare to repeat those “mistakes” in Iran.

 

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