Archive for April, 2012

The jolts of Reality open our eyes!

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

» How Liberty Was Lost

By: Paul Craig Roberts| April 23, 2012 | Categories: Articles & Columns | Tags: paulcraigroberts.org,

When did things begin going wrong in America?

“From the beginning,” answer some. English colonists, themselves under the thumb of a king, exterminated American Indians and stole their lands, as did late 18th and 19th century Americans. Over the course of three centuries the native inhabitants of America were dispossessed, just as Israelis have been driving Palestinians off their lands since 1948.

Demonization always plays a role. The Indians were savages and the Palestinians are terrorists. Any country that can control the explanation can get away with evil.

I agree that there is a lot of evil in every country and civilization. In the struggle between good and evil, religion has at times been on the side of evil. However, the notion of moral progress cannot so easily be thrown out.

Consider, for example, slavery. In the 1800s, slavery still existed in countries that proclaimed equal rights. Even free women did not have equal rights. Today no Western country would openly tolerate the ownership of humans or the transfer of a woman’s property upon her marriage to her husband.

It is true that Western governments have ownership rights in the labor of their citizens through the income tax. This remains as a mitigated form of serfdom. So far, however, no government has claimed the right of ownership over the person himself.

Sometimes I hear from readers that my efforts are pointless, that elites are always dominant and that the only solution is to find one’s way into the small, connected clique of elites either through marriage or service to their interests.

This might sound like cynical advice, but it is not devoid of some truth. Indeed, it is the way Washington and New York work, and increasingly the way the entire country operates.

Washington serves powerful private interests, not the public interest. University faculties in their research increasingly serve private interests and decreasingly serve truth. In the US the media is no longer a voice and protection for the people. It is becoming increasingly impossible in America to get a good job without being connected to the system that serves the elites.

The problem I have with this “give up” attitude is that over the course of my life, and more broadly over the course of the 20th century, many positive changes occurred through reforms. It is impossible to have reforms without good will, so even the elites who accepted reforms that limited their powers were part of the moral progress.

Labor unions became a countervailing power to corporate management and Wall Street.

Working conditions were reformed. Civil rights were extended. People excluded by the system were brought into it. Anyone who grew up in the 20th century can add his own examples.

Progress was slow–unduly so from a reformer’s standpoint–and mistakes were made. Nevertheless, whether done properly or improperly there was a commitment to the expansion of civil liberty.

This commitment ended suddenly on September 11, 2001. In eleven years the Bush/Obama Regime repealed 800 years of human achievements that established law as a shield of the people and, instead, converted law into a weapon in the hands of the government. Today Americans and citizens of other countries can, on the will of the US executive branch alone, be confined to torture dungeons for the duration of their lives with no due process or evidence presented to any court, or they can be shot down in the streets or exterminated by drone missiles.

The power that the US government asserts over its subjects and also over the citizens of other countries is unlimited. Lenin described unlimited power as power “resting directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws, nor any absolute rules.”

Washington claims that it is the indispensable government representing the exceptional people and thereby has the right to impose its will and “justice” on the rest of the world and that resistance to Washington constitutes terrorism to be exterminated by any possible means.

Thus, the American neoconservatives speak of nuking Iran for insisting on its independence from American hegemony and exercising its rights to nuclear energy under the non-proliferation treaty to which Iran is a signatory.

In other words, Washington’s will prevails over international treaties that have the force of law, treaties which Washington itself imposed on the world. According to the neoconservatives and Washington, Iran is not protected by the legal contract that Iran made with Washington when Iran signed the non-proliferation treaty.

Iran finds itself as just another 17th or 18th century American Indian tribe to be deprived of its rights and to be exterminated by the forces of evil that dominate Washington, D.C.

The vast majority of “superpower” americans plugged into the Matrix, where they are happy with the disinformation pumped into their brains by Washington and its presstitute media, would demur rather than face my facts.

This raises the question: how does one become unplugged and unplug others from the Matrix? Readers have asked, and I do not have a complete answer.

It seems to happen in a number of ways. Being fired and forced to train your H-1B foreign replacement who works for lower pay, being convicted of a crime that you did not commit, having your children stolen from you by Child Protective Services because bruises from sports activities were alleged to be signs of child abuse, your home stolen from you because a mortgage based on fraud was given the force of law, laid off by “free market capitalism” as your age advanced and the premium of your employer-provided medical insurance increased, being harassed by Homeland Security on your re-entry to the US because you are a non-embedded journalist who reports truthfully on US behavior abroad. There are many instances of Americans being jolted into reality by the “freedom and democracy” scales falling away from their eyes.

It is possible that becoming unplugged from the Matrix is a gradual lifelong experience for the few who pay attention. The longer they live, the more they notice that reality contradicts the government’s and media’s explanations. The few who can remember important stuff after watching reality shows and their favorite sports teams and fantasy movies gradually realize that there is no “new economy” to take the place of the manufacturing economy that was given away to foreign countries. Once unemployed from their “dirty fingernail jobs,” they learn that there is no “new economy” to employ them.

Still seething from the loss of the Vietnam War and anger at war protesters, some flag-waving patriots are slowly realizing the consequences of criminalizing dissent and the exercise of First Amendment rights. “You are with us or against us” is taking on threatening instead of reassuring connotations, implying that anyone who opens his or her mouth in any dissent is thereby transformed into an “enemy of the state.”

More Americans, but far from enough, are coming to the realization that the extermination of the Branch Davidians at Waco in 1993 was a test run to confirm that the public and Congress would accept the murder of civilians who had been demonized with false charges of child abuse and gun-running.

The next test was the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995. Whose explanation would prevail: the government’s or that of experts? Air Force General Partin, a top expert on explosives, proved conclusively in a heavily documented report given to every member of Congress that the Murruh Federal Office Building blew up from the inside out, not from the outside in from the fertilizer car bomb. But General Partin’s facts lost out to the government’s propaganda and to Congress’ avoidance of cognitive dissonance.

Once the “national security” government learned that its pronouncements and those of the presstitute media carried more weight than the facts presented by experts, conspiracies such as Operation Northwoods could be put into play. A 9/11 became possible.

The Pentagon, CIA, and military/security complex were desperate for a new enemy to replace the “Soviet threat,” which had ceased to exist. The military/security complex and its servants in Congress were determined to replace the profits made from the cold war and to preserve and increase the powers accumulated in the Pentagon and CIA. The only possible replacement for the Soviet threat was “Muslim terrorists.” Thus, the creation of the “al Qaeda threat” and the conflation of this new threat with secular Arab governments, such as Iraq’s and Syria’s, which were the real targets of Islamists.

Despite the evidence provided by experts that secular Arab governments, such as Saddam Hussein’s, were allies against Islamic extremism, the US government used propaganda to link the secular Iraq government with Iraq’s enemies among Islamic revolutionaries.

Once Washington confirmed that the American public was both too ignorant and too inattentive to pay any attention to events that would alter their lives and jeopardize their existence, every thing else followed: the PATRIOT Act, the suspension of the Constitution and destruction of civil liberty, Homeland Security which has quickly extended its gestapo reach from airports to train stations, bus terminals and highway road blocks, the criminalization of dissent, the equating of critics of the government with supporters of terrorism, the home invasions of antiwar protesters and their arraignment before a grand jury, the prosecution of whistleblowers who reveal government crimes, the equating of journalism organizations such as WikiLeaks with spies. The list goes on.

The collapse of truth in the US and in its puppet states is a major challenge to my view that truth and good will are powers that can prevail over evil. It is possible that my perception that moral progress has occurred in various periods of Western civilization reflects a progressive unplugging from the Matrix. What I remember as reforms might be events experienced through the rose colored glasses of the Matrix.

But I think not. Reason is an important part of human existence. Some are capable of it. Imagination and creativity can escape chains. Good can withstand evil. The extraordinary film, The Matrix, affirmed that people could be unplugged. I believe that even americans can be unplugged. If I give up this belief, I will cease writing.
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Who are . . . the barbarians?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Unplugging Americans From the Matrix

Paul Craig Roberts
Activist Post

Americans, the British, and Western Europeans are accustomed to thinking of themselves as the representatives of freedom, democracy, and morality in the world. The West passes judgment on the rest of the world as if the West is God and the rest of the world are barbarians in need of chastisement, invasion, and occupation.

As readers know, from time to time I raise questions about the validity of the West’s extreme hubris. (See for example, the following articles: Washington’s Insouciance Has No Rival and Is Western Democracy Real or a Facade? )

China is often a country about which Washington’s moralists get on their high horse. However, China’s “authoritarian” government is actually more responsive to its people than America’s “elected democratic” government. Moreover, however incomplete on paper the civil liberties of China’s people, the Chinese government has not declared that it can violate with impunity whatever rights Chinese citizens have. And it is not China that is running torture prisons all over the globe.

For some time I have had in mind a realistic comparison of the two countries instead of the standard propagandistic comparison, but Ron Unz has beat me to the task (see, China’s Rise, America’s Fall and Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison ). Unz provides a chance for an education. Don’t miss it.

Unz has done an excellent job. Moreover, he cleverly understates the case for China and overstates the case for America so as not to unduly arouse the flag-wavers. Nevertheless, the conclusion is clear: The Chinese are less threatened by their “extractive elites” than Americans are by their counterparts.
Moreover, it is America’s, not China’s, extractive elites who are bombing, occupying, and droning other countries. As the bumper sticker says, “Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country.”
As for economic management, there is no comparison. Unz reports that during the past three decades China has achieved the most rapid rate of economic development in human history. Moreover, most of the new income has flowed into the pockets of Chinese workers, not to the one percent. While American real median incomes have been stagnant for decades, incomes for Chinese workers have doubled every decade for three decades. A recent World Bank report attributes more than 100 percent of the drop in global poverty rates to China’s rise.

In the last decade China’s industrial output quadrupled. China now produces more automobiles than America and Japan combined and accounted for 85 percent of the increase in the world’s production of cars in the past decade.

In 1978 the American economy was 15 times larger than China’s. In the next few years China’s GDP is expected to exceed that of the US.

This is heady stuff providing astonishing details of how poorly Americans are served by their elites.

America has failed, because political elites represent only the powerful special interests that write the country’s laws in exchange for funding the political campaigns of “lawmakers.” To divert attention from their failures, American elites point fingers at external scapegoats. China, for example, is accused of manipulating its currency. As Unz says, the scapegoating is political theater designed for the ignorant and gullible.

America’s economists, or most of them, have so prostituted themselves that propaganda has become wisdom. Most Americans believe that if China would simply let the value of its currency rise more rapidly relative to the dollar, America’s economic woes would be at an end. It is beyond belief that any economist could think that Americans with stagnant and declining incomes would be made better off by a sharp rise in the prices of goods manufactured in China on which Americans are dependent, or that the US dollar’s role as reserve currency, the main source of American power, could survive such a manifestation of Chinese economic superiority.

Americans associate lawlessness with unaccountable governments and view China’s government as unaccountable. However, Unz points out that it is the Bush/Obama Regime that has declared itself to be unaccountable to both US and international law.

The demise of the War Powers Act and the Geneva Conventions, and the asserted power of the executive to imprison without trial or charges or to assassinate any American whom the executive thinks might be a “national-security threat” are indicative of a total police state masquerading as an accountable democracy. In America six-year old little girls who misbehave in school are handcuffed, jailed, and charged with felonies. (see, 10 Disgusting Examples of Very Young School Children Being Arrested, Handcuffed and Brutalized By Police ) Not even Hitler and Stalin went this far.

Americans have lost control of the government, and governments that are not controlled by the people are not democracies. In America today, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and the entire social safety net are threatened by the vociferous desire for war profits by armament plutocrats and by financial institutions determined that ordinary citizens bear the cost of the banksters incompetence and fraud.

Unz’s comparison of how the Chinese media and government handled the melamine or infant formula scandal and how the American media and government handled Merck’s Vioxx scandal is especially damning. It was China’s controlled media and unaccountable government that punished the infant formula wrongdoers, while America’s free press and accountable government allowed Merck to walk. Unz’s conclusion is that it is in America, not China, where life is regarded as cheap.

Ron Unz is an American hero, and a very courageous one. As George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

It is an even more courageous act when no one wants to hear the truth. As Frantz Fanon said, “Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.”

Or as it is explained to Neo in the film, “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

Most of the people I know personally are not willing to be unplugged. I assume my readers are, so seize the opportunity to be further unplugged and read Ron Unz’s comparison of America and China.

Then do what you can to unplug others.

This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts’ new website Institute For Political Economy.  Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.

To attack Iran … WE now set-up “a new Pearl Harbor” ?

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Watch and read this andtell others … before it’s too late!

Sent: Apr 13, 2012 8:39 PM
From: Michael Schamp

Watch short video and follow along with the written dialogue below

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDVbEzAH6cE

A possible scenario about the outbreak of World War III »

Mike Rivero’s “USS Enterprise False Flag” from
http://presstv.com/detail/222475.html
Beacon Power Corporation
(Sources & links at the bottom)

WRH writes:

With the collapse of the oil embargo to force Iran into a confrontation over the Straight of Hormuz, the US and Israel are looking for another way to get the long-sought war with Iran started, and more to the point, need to make it look like Iran is starting hostilities in order to make it politically more difficult for Russia and China to support Iran.

Now, recall that Israel has a past history of attacking US warships and framing others to trick the US into attacks on Israel’s enemies, with the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty [1967](initially blamed on Egypt)[ the ex mayor of Mason,Oh. knows all about this attack—he was there] as the most well-known example.

So here we have the USS Enterprise, the oldest carrier in the fleet, on her last legs, scheduled to be decommissioned next year. Her name is well known, in part because of the Star Trek TV series. Decommissioning a nuclear aircraft carrier is a very expensive process. USS Enterprise is powered by 8 nuclear reactors, all of which must be disposed of as nuclear waste material along with all the associated machinery. The US Navy would save a great deal of money, more than the scrap worth of the steel, if USS Enterprise were to be sunk in the Persian Gulf, where the radioactive mess is someone else’s problem to deal with.

So, why send an ancient ship at the end of her useful life into harms way? The same reason Franklin Roosevelt moved a bunch of obsolete warships from San Diego to Pearl Harbor, while the newer carriers and warships were well away from Hawaii on December 7th, 1941.

Israel has 3 Dolphin submarines, given to her by Germany. They have been seen transiting the Suez Canal in the past, and could well be operating in the Gulf of Oman, even the Persian Gulf by now, lying in wait for a used-up and obsolete warship, more useful as a sacrificial lamb than an actual weapon, a ship with American sailors, to be attacked as Israel attacked the USS Liberty, then to be blamed on the designated target, Iran, by a compliant media.

Expose this story in order to convince Israel and the_ United States that a false flag attack leading to the invasion of Iran, will not be accepted as truth by the public… so maybe they call it off.

http://presstv.com/detail/222475.html

Why do We … “reduce them under absolute Despotism”?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

The Anti-Empire Report

April 6th, 2012
by William Blum
www.killinghope.org

Putting Syria into some perspective

The Holy Triumvirate — The United States, NATO, and the European Union — or an approved segment thereof, can usually get what they want. They wanted Saddam Hussein out, and soon he was swinging from a rope. They wanted the Taliban ousted from power, and, using overwhelming force, that was achieved rather quickly. They wanted Moammar Gaddafi’s rule to come to an end, and before very long he suffered a horrible death. Jean-Bertrand Aristide was democratically elected, but this black man who didn’t know his place was sent into distant exile by the United States and France in 2004. Iraq and Libya were the two most modern, educated and secular states in the Middle East; now all four of these countries could qualify as failed states.

These are some of the examples from the past decade of how the Holy Triumvirate recognizes no higher power and believes, literally, that they can do whatever they want in the world, to whomever they want, for as long as they want, and call it whatever they want, like “humanitarian intervention”. The 19th- and 20th-century colonialist-imperialist mentality is alive and well in the West.

Next on their agenda: the removal of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. As with Gaddafi, the ground is being laid with continual news reports — from CNN to al Jazeera — of Assad’s alleged barbarity, presented as both uncompromising and unprovoked. After months of this media onslaught who can doubt that what’s happening in Syria is yet another of those cherished Arab Spring “popular uprisings” against a “brutal dictator” who must be overthrown? And that the Assad government is overwhelmingly the cause of the violence.

Assad actually appears to have a large measure of popularity, not only in Syria, but elsewhere in the Middle East. This includes not just fellow Alawites, but Syria’s two million Christians and no small number of Sunnis. Gaddafi had at least as much support in Libya and elsewhere in Africa. The difference between the two cases, at least so far, is that the Holy Triumvirate bombed and machine-gunned Libya daily for seven months, unceasingly, crushing the pro-government forces, as well as Gaddafi himself, and effecting the Triumvirate’s treasured “regime change”. Now, rampant chaos, anarchy, looting and shooting, revenge murders, tribal war, militia war, religious war, civil war, the most awful racism against the black population, loss of their cherished welfare state, and possible dismemberment of the country into several mini-states are the new daily life for the Libyan people. The capital city of Tripoli is “wallowing in four months of uncollected garbage” because the landfill is controlled by a faction that doesn’t want the trash of another faction.1 Just imagine what has happened to the country’s infrastructure. This may be what Syria has to look forward to if the Triumvirate gets its way, although the Masters of the Universe undoubtedly believe that the people of Libya should be grateful to them for their “liberation”.

As to the current violence in Syria, we must consider the numerous reports of forces providing military support to the Syrian rebels — the UK, France, the US, Turkey, Israel, Qatar, the Gulf states, and everyone’s favorite champion of freedom and democracy, Saudi Arabia; with Syria claiming to have captured some 14 French soldiers; plus individual jihadists and mercenaries from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Libya, et al, joining the anti-government forces, their number including al-Qaeda veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are likely behind the car bombs in an attempt to create chaos and destabilize the country. This may mark the third time the United States has been on the same side as al-Qaeda, adding to Afghanistan and Libya.

Stratfor, the private and conservative American intelligence firm with high-level connections, reported that “most of the opposition’s more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue.” Opposition groups including the Syrian National Council, the Free Syrian Army and the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights began disseminating “claims that regime forces besieged Homs and imposed a 72-hour deadline for Syrian defectors to surrender themselves and their weapons or face a potential massacre.” That news made international headlines. Stratfor’s investigation, however, found “no signs of a massacre,” and declared that “opposition forces have an interest in portraying an impending massacre, hoping to mimic the conditions that propelled a foreign military intervention in Libya.” Stratfor added that any suggestions of massacres are unlikely because the Syrian “regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario. Regime forces have been careful to avoid the high casualty numbers that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds.”2

Reva Bhalla, Stratfor’s Director of Analysis, reported in a December 2011 email on a meeting she attended at the Pentagon about Syria: “After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF [Special Operation Forces] teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce [reconnaissance] missions and training opposition forces.” We know of Bhalla’s comments thanks to the 5 million Stratfor emails obtained by the Internet hacker group Anonymous in December and passed on to Wikileaks.3

Human Rights Watch has reported that both Syrian government security forces and Syria’s armed rebels have committed serious human rights abuses, including kidnapings, torture, and executions. But only the Holy Triumvirate can get away with the sanctions they love to impose. Assad’s wife is now banned from traveling to EU countries and any assets she may have there are frozen. Same for Assad’s mother, sister and sister-in-law, as well as eight of his government ministers. Assad himself received the same treatment last May.4 Because the Triumvirate can.

On March 25, the US and Turkish governments announced that they were discussing sending non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition, implying quite clearly that until then they had not been engaged in such activity.5 But according to a US embassy cable, revealed by Wikileaks, since at least 2006 the United States has been funding political opposition groups in Syria as well as the London-based satellite TV channel, Barada TV, run by Syrian exiles, that beams anti-government programming into the country. The cable further stated that Syrian authorities “would undoubtedly view any U.S. funds going to illegal political groups as tantamount to supporting regime change.”

Regime change in Syria has been on the neo-conservative wish list since at least 2002 when John Bolton, Undersecretary of State under George W. Bush, came up with a project to simultaneously break up Libya and Syria. He called the two states along with Cuba “The Axis Of Evil”. On a FOX News appearance in 2011 Bolton said that the United States should have overthrown the Syrian government right after they overthrew Saddam Hussein. Amongst Syria’s crimes have been their close relations with Iran, Hezbollah (in Lebanon), the Palestinian resistance, and Russia, and their failure to conclude a peace treaty with Israel, unlike Jordan and Egypt; all this constituting evidence to the Holy Triumvirate of Syria, like Aristide, being “uppity”.

The clinical megalomania of the Holy Triumvirate can scarcely be exaggerated. And never prosecuted.

A closing word from Cui Tiankai, Chinese vice foreign minister for United States affairs:

The US has the strongest military in the world and spends more than any other country. But the US always feels unsafe or insecure about other countries. … I suggest the United States spend more time thinking about how to make other countries feel less worried about the United States.6

President Obama’s accomplishments

Last month, Alan S. Hoffman, an American professor from Washington University in St. Louis, was forbidden by the US Treasury Department to travel to Cuba to give classes in a course on biomaterials.7

At the same time, the State Department refused to grant two Cuban diplomats in Washington, DC permission to travel to New York City to speak at The Left Forum, the largest annual gathering of the left in the United States, which this year attracted over 5,000 people.8

The State Department has also been occupied recently with preventing Cuba from being invited to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia in April.9

And that’s just the past month.

I mention all this to keep in mind the next time President Obama or one of his supporters lists US relations with Cuba as one of his accomplishments.

And I still cannot go to Cuba legally.

Another claim the Obamabots are fond of making to defend their man is that he’s abolished torture. That sounds very nice, but there’s no good reason to accept it at face value. Shortly after Obama’s inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”10

The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is equal to torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to name some of the known torture centers frequented by the home of the brave. Kosovo and Diego Garcia — both of which house very large and secretive American military bases — if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business. The same for Guantánamo. Moreover, the executive order concerning torture, issued January 22, 2009 — “Executive Order 13491 — Ensuring Lawful Interrogations” — leaves loopholes, such as being applicable only “in any armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside environments of “armed conflict”, which is where much torture in the world happens anyway, is not prohibited. And what about torture in a “counter-terrorism” environment?

One of Mr. Obama’s orders required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and perhaps noise, and possibly stress positions and sensory overload.

After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ — picking terrorism suspects off the street and sending them to a third country. But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions “that violate our human values.”11

Just as no one in the Bush and Obama administrations has been punished in any way for war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and the other countries they waged illegal war against, no one has been punished for torture. And, it could be added, no American bankster has been punished for their indispensable role in the world-wide financial torture. What a marvelously forgiving land is America. This, however, does not apply to Julian Assange and Bradley Manning.

In the last days of the Bush White House, Michael Ratner, professor at Columbia Law School and former president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, pointed out:

The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it. I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable.12

I’d like at this point to remind my dear readers of the words of the “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”, which was drafted by the United Nations in 1984, came into force in 1987, and ratified by the United States in 1994. Article 2, section 2 of the Convention states: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”

Such marvelously clear, unequivocal, and principled language, to set a single standard for a world that makes it increasingly difficult for one to feel proud of humanity. We cannot slide back.

Joseph Biden

From a document found at Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan after his assassination last May: A call to kill President Obama because “Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make Biden take over the presidency. … Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis.13

So … it would appear that the man America loved to hate and fear was no more knowledgeable of how United States foreign policy works than is the average American. What difference in the War on Terror — for better or for worse — against the likes of bin Laden and his al Qaeda followers could there have been over the past three years if Joe Biden had been the president? Biden was an outspoken supporter of the war against Iraq and is every bit the pro-Israel fanatic that Obama is. In his 35 years in the US Senate Biden avidly supported every American war of aggression including the attacks on Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1989, Iraq in 1991, Yugoslavia in 1999 and Afghanistan in 2001. Whatever was Osama bin Laden thinking?

And whatever was Joe Biden thinking when he recently said the following after hosting China’s presumptive next leader Xi Jinping in a visit to the United States?

America holds at least one key economic advantage over China. Because China’s authoritarian government represses its own citizens, they don’t think freely or innovate. “Why have they not become [one of] the most innovative countries in the world? Why is there a need to steal our intellectual property? Why is there a need to have a business hand over its trade secrets to have access to a market of a billion, three hundred million people? Because they’re not innovating.” Noting that China and similar countries produce many engineers and scientists but few innovators, Biden said, “It’s impossible to think different in a country where you can’t speak freely. It’s impossible to think different when you have to worry what you put on the Internet will either be confiscated or you will be arrested. It’s impossible to think different where orthodoxy reigns. That’s why we remain the most innovative country in the world.”14

Holy Cold War, Batman! This is exactly the kind of stuff we were told about the Soviet Union. For years and years. For decades. Then came Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to be put into Earth’s orbit. It was launched into an Earth orbit by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957. The unanticipated announcement of Sputnik 1’s success precipitated the Sputnik crisis in the United States and ignited the Space Race. The USSR’s launch of Sputnik spurred the United States to create the Advanced Research Projects Agency to regain a technological lead. Not only did the launch of Sputnik spur America to action in the space race, it also led directly to the creation of NASA. 15

Notes

  1. Washington Post, April 1, 2012
  2. Huffington Post, December 19, 2011
  3. See the document on WikiLeaks
  4. Washington Post, March 24, 2012
  5. Ibid., March 26, 2012
  6. Ibid., January 10, 2012
  7. Prensa Latina (Cuba), March 18, 2012
  8. See the video description on Cuba’s UN Ambassador at Left Forum ’12
  9. BBC News, “Ecuador to boycott Americas summit over Cuba exclusion“, April 3, 2012
  10. Los Angeles Times, February 1, 2009
  11. New York Times, February 6, 2009
  12. Associated Press, November 17, 2008
  13. Washington Post, March 16, 2012
  14. Ibid., March 1, 2012
  15. Wikipedia entry for Sputnik 1

William Blum is the author of:

  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at www.killinghope.org

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

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It’s time to listen to and follow mothers!

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Thanks to a friend, Malcolm, who pointed us to “TED ideas worth spreading”

We watched and listened to a surprising and fascinating video that documented how the power of poor women can transform a topsy turvy society into brilliant solutions.

It is a valid sample of the great proof of what Abraham Lincoln once said:

“God must have loved the poor, He made so many of them.”

Since half of humanity has given birth and upbringing to all of us since the beginning of humanity, and the other half has found reasons to throw sticks and stones and strike us with knives and clubs, and shoot bullets and fire, and throw and drop monstrous bombs and poisons to cripple and kill the world with all types of planned consequences in horrendous wars, the mothers and their sisters have a solution.

Take a look and see for yourself.

http://www.sadroo.com/0089.php

Cheney has a new heart … NOW indict him for TREASON!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012
Cheney’s Crimes and Confessions

by David Swanson

Global Research, February 18, 2010
After Downing Street – 2010-02-17

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Dick Cheney’s statutory crimes are notable for their severity, their number, and his public confessions to them.  Torture is the least of it.

We can start with the crimes found in the three articles of impeachment contained in H Res 333 in the 110th Congress:

1. “Cheney has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit:” (H Res 333 goes on to list evidence).

2. “Cheney purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit” (H Res 333 goes on to list evidence).

3. “Cheney has openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States, to wit:” (H Res 333 lists evidence, or rather, absolute proof, since this act was completely and by definition public.  It was also repeated in later instances than those documented).

H Res 333 does not mention, but it is also relevant, that post-invasion Cheney clung to the idea that Iraq had WMDs, continuing to state the same lies even after near-universal admission by the U.S. corporate media that they were false.

H Res 333 also does not include much explanation of how we know that Cheney knew he was lying. Congressman Henry Waxman posted a searchable database of lies (since deleted when the Oversight Committee was effectively disbanded to accomodate the new president). It included (and I’m sure it still exists somewhere) 51 Cheney WMD and al Qaeda lies, and explained how we know in each case that he was lying.

Further documentation would begin with this:

CHENEY (August 26, 2002): “But we now know that Saddam has resumed his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Among other sources, we’ve gotten this from the firsthand testimony of defectors — including Saddam’s own son-in-law, who was subsequently murdered at Saddam’s direction…During the spring of 1995, the inspectors were actually on the verge of declaring that Saddam’s programs to develop chemical weapons and longer-range ballistic missiles had been fully accounted for and shut down. Then Saddam’s son-in-law suddenly defected and began sharing information…That should serve as a reminder to all that we often learned more as the result of defections than we learned from the inspection regime itself.”

But here’s Kamel, the son-in-law, on CNN on September 21, 1995:

CNN: Can you state, here and now, does Iraq have any weapons of mass destruction left?
KAMEL: No. Iraq does not possess any weapons of mass destruction.

In the notes from Kamel’s 1995 debriefing by the UN, he’s asked:
PROF. ZIFFERERO: were there any continuation of , or present nuclear activities, for example, EMIS, centrifuge?
KAMEL: No…

And here’s a declassified CIA document from their interrogation of Kamel:
“SOURCE HAS STATED SPECIFICALLY THAT THE CENTRIFUGES HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, AND NONE ARE LEFT HIDDEN”

Finally, we know someone at the White House was asking the CIA about Kamel at the beginning of 2002, because the WMD Commission refers to this document: “Senior Executive Memorandum (Jan. 12, 2002) (discussing the value of Kamel’s information)”.
Senior Executive Memoranda are produced by the CIA in response to high-level questions from the executive branch. But what this specifically said is unknown, because the CIA has turned down FOIA requests for it from the National Security Archive.

The Scooter Libby trial also exposed the lead role of Vice President Cheney’s office in manipulating pre-war intelligence to defraud Congress into authorizing the invasion of Iraq. Sworn testimony revealed that Cheney’s office managed the evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, all of which proved to be lies. Cheney personally visited the CIA several times before the invasion to pressure the CIA to distort pre-war intelligence. And Cheney exerted “constant” pressure on the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration’s use of flawed intelligence on Iraq, according to the next chairman, Senator Jay Rockefeller.

On July 14, 2003, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity laid out the case against Cheney: PDF.  But it wasn’t just FORMER CIA officials.  Even George Tenetblamed Cheney.

And Cheney did not only threaten an attack on Iran.  He led an effort, similar to that on Iraq, to mislead the Congress and the public about weapons and other supposed rationales for launching an illegal attack on Iran.  He even held meetings to brainstorm strategies for initiating a war with Iran.

Cheney also led a campaign of retribution against whistleblower Joseph Wilson, including the outing of a covert CIA operative.

The trial of Scooter Libby (not to mention the later book tour of Scooter Libby) produced overwhelming evidence that Vice President Cheney personally led the campaign to attack Joe Wilson through the media. This “get Wilson” campaign included telling numerous reporters that Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife Valerie Plame, a CIA operative. Cheney was told by the CIA that Valerie Plame worked as a covert agent in the CIA’s Nonproliferation Division, which is the critical division of the CIA responsible for stopping the spread of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Cheney’s efforts to expose Plame actually exposed her entire covert network, at tremendous cost to the CIA’s secret war against terrorism. If Plame’s work had been exposed by a double-agent in our government like Aldrich Ames or Robert Hanssen, that person would face prosecution for espionage and treason. The evidence of Cheney’s role is more than enough to start a criminal investigation.  Here’s some background:

Just Another Obstruction of Justice
The Two Redacted Pages
Indictment of Cheney for Plame Leak
Fitzgerald Again Points to Cheney
Fitzgerald: “There Is a Cloud Over the Vice President”
Libby Testimony Raises More Questions about Cheney’s Role In The CIA Leak Case
Libby Trial Sheds Light on White House
Did Bush and Cheney Lie to Fitzgerald?
Libby Told Grand Jury He Was Ordered to Leak Intelligence
Court Hears Libby Describe Cheney as ‘Upset’ at Critic
Libby Trial: Russert Ruins the Cover Story
Addington Points to Cheney
Cheney’s Notes

Ambassador Joe Wilson, Congressional testimony July 11, 2007: Cheney initiated and directed Libby’s wrongdoing.

Cheney, of course, also, by his own frequent and bragging confession was a leading player in a conspiracy to commit torture, and those acts of conspiracy are felonies under U.S. law.  Here’s an oldie but goodie:

Washington Post’s Series on Cheney

Cheney also played a key role in setting up illegal and unconstitutional spying programs:

NY Times: “Dick Cheney sent Mr. Gonzales and another official to Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital room to get him to approve the wiretapping.”
Unimpeachably Impeachable
Cheney Urged Illegal Wiretaps
Ashcroft’s ex-no. 2 says Gonzales, Cheney tried to take advantage of sick Attorney General.
Cheney Wants Surveilliance Law Expanded.

In another criminal act, Cheney refused to comply with a subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Did Cheney send Gonzales to Ashcroft’s hospital bed in an aggressive attempt to legalize a criminal spying program? He “doesn’t recall.”

Cheney created the secret Energy Task Force which operated in defiance of open-government laws.

In fact, Cheney created new levels of secrecy in government never to be seen again until the presidency of Barack Obama:

Cheney Exempts His Office from Requirement to Protect Classified Information
Cheney Destroys Visitor Logs
A New Dick Cheney-Alberto Gonzales Mystery

Cheney openly accepted bribes: he directed massive no-bid contracts to his company, Halliburton, and profitted from the same illegal war he defrauded the American public to launch: Give It Back, Dick.

Cheney increased the danger of climate change: Cheney Bypassed Environmentally ‘Clueless’ Bush To Craft Administration’s Climate Change Agenda.

Cheney Suppressed Evidence in the California Energy Crisis: Report.

Lest we forget, lest we allow all of Cheney’s crimes to be repeated with impunity, lest we persuade ourselves that “looking forward” is a sane approach to law enforcement, here’s a glance back at some of the evidence of crimes not yet presented to a grand jury:

Cheney Country
Dick Cheney Really Is That Bad
Answering to No One
Cheney’s Long-Lost Twin
Cheney Made Bush Commute Libby
Why the Perjury?
Lost Liberties
Absolute Power Corrupts…Cheney
Doak: Restore Constitution as law of the land – Impeach Cheney
Nation needs intervention to get Cheney out of office
Did Dick Cheney kill 70,000 salmon? Committee to probe
Rep. McDermott: The Vice President Should Resign or Face Impeachment
Dick Cheney’s Dangerous Influence
The Misunderestimated Mr. Cheney: The Vice President’s Record of Willfully Violating the Law, And Wrongly Claiming Authority
Impeach Cheney: The vice president has run utterly amok and must be stopped: By Bruce Fein
Dick Cheney’s Dangerous Son-In-Law
Subpoena Dick
The People vs. Richard Cheney
Dick Cheney Rules
Dick Cheney and Jim Wright Saved Reagan: What Can Cheney and Nancy Pelosi Do for Bush?
The Spoiler: How Cheney ensures diplomatic failure with Iran
Cheney’s New Front in War on Reality
Cheney Hints at Iran Strike
Stink of Blood Money
Cheney’s the One
Cheney Promises to Veto Employee Free Choice Act
Impeach the Two of Them
Dick Cheney and the Dog that Didn’t Bark
Mr. Cheney, Tear Down This Wall
ISOO Asks Attorney General to Rule on Cheney’s Role
Impeach Cheney Part 1.
Impeach Cheney Part 2.
Impeach Cheney Part 3.
Cheney Pursuing Nuclear Ambitions of His Own.
Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran NIE
Cheney’s Own Logic for Impeachment
Challenging Cheney

MORE EVIDENCE

It is far from too late to take action, and I encourage everyone to do so.

“The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils which leave no home in the world untouched. The Charter of this Tribunal evidences a faith that the law is not only to govern the conduct of little men, but that even rulers are, as Lord Chief Justice Coke put it to King James, ‘under … the law.’ And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.” — Opening Statement of The Chief Prosecutor, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, at Nuremberg.

David Swanson is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by David Swanson
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