Friday, June 27, 2008

Billion-Dollar Babies

Five Stealth Pentagon Contractors Reaping Billions of Tax Dollars

By Nick Turse

The top Pentagon contractors, like death and taxes, almost never change. ..... massive arms dealers Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman ranked one, two, and three among Department of Defense contractors......Other regulars receiving mega-tax-funded payouts in a similarly clockwork-like manner include defense giants General Dynamics, Raytheon, the British weapons maker BAE Systems, and former Halliburton subsidiary KBR, as well as BP, Shell, and other power players from the military-petroleum complex

......Then there's a select group that are masters of the universe in the ever-expanding military-corporate complex, regularly scoring more than a billion tax dollars a year from the Department of Defense.

Unlike Lockheed, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, however, most of these billion-dollar babies manage to fly beneath the radar of media (not to mention public) attention. If appearing at all, they generally do so innocuously in the business pages of newspapers.

When it comes to their support for the Pentagon's wars and occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are, in media terms, missing in action.

So, who are some of these mystery defense contractors you've probably never heard of? ...........

When the history of the Iraq War is finally written, chances are that these five billion-dollar babies, and most of the other defense contractors involved in making the U.S. occupation possible, will be left out.

Until we begin coming to grips with the role of such corporations in creating the material basis for an imperial foreign policy, we'll never be able to grasp fully how the Pentagon works and why we so regularly make war in, and carry out occupations of, distant lands.

Nick Turse is the associate editor and research director of

He has written for the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Adbusters, the Nation, and regularly for

His first book, The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives, an exploration of the new military-corporate complex in America, was recently published by Metropolitan Books.

His website, Nick has been newly revamped and expanded.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Coming Catastrophe?

The finishing touches on several contingency plans for attacking Iran

By David DeBatto

. . . If the United States attacks Iran either this summer or this fall, the American people had better be prepared for a shock that may perhaps be even greater to the national psyche (and economy) than 9/11.

First of all, there will be significant U.S. casualties in the initial invasion.

American jets will be shot down and the American pilots who are not killed will be taken prisoner - including female pilots.

Iranian Yakhonts 26, Sunburn 22 and Exocet missiles will seek out and strike U.S. naval battle groups bottled up in the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf with very deadly results.

American sailors will be killed and U.S. ships will be badly damaged and perhaps sunk. We may even witness the first attack on an American Aircraft carrier since World War II.

That’s just the opening act. . . .


Japanese Lawmaker Takes

9/11 Doubts Global

Special to The Japan Times

Fujita, along with a growing number of individuals — including European and American politicians — are leading a charge to conduct a thorough, independent investigation of
what really happened on Sept. 11, 2001.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ex-PM Vo Van Kiet passes away aged 86

Former Viet Nam Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet died on Wednesday at the age of 86, after a long illness. Kiet was one of the architects of the "doi moi" movement of reform in the late '80s.

He was born on November 23, 1922 in the southern Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long. From an early age, he devoted his life to the liberation and reconstruction of the country.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he learned about the death of Vo Van Kiet with profound sadness.

Kiet was one of the revolutionary leaders in south Viet Nam during the resistance wars against the French colonialists and US imperialists.
After reunification, Kiet became Mayor of HCMC (old Saigon), and later Prime Minister from 1991-1997.

Vu Quoc Tuan, one of Kiet's assistants, described the former PM as a visionary leader who could mobilise talent from different sources for the country's development.

"He was a man whose death will leave a vacuum in the lives of many people every morning when they wake up and think of him." - writer Nguyen Ngoc.

"He will be remembered by everyone." - Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew.

For those who still believe the false propaganda that the American War against Viet Nam was about "North versus South" (it was not!), since 1945 when Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of modern Viet Nam, most or perhaps all Prime Ministers of Viet Nam have been southerners.


The Perfect Spy author pays tribute to national hero
Emotions and nostalgia could be heard in American author Larry Berman's voice as he spoke of Pham Xuan An yesterday, the subject of his book 'The Perfect Spy', which brought the author to the capital Hanoi.

"An lived an amazing life, a life of espionage, of spying, and of friendship," said Berman at the Vietnam News Agency’s conference hall yesterday morning as he addressed a crowd of war veterans, journalists, writers, historians, film critics and students.

"I wonder how it was possible that a spy like him could have so many friends. This is one of so many mysteries in his life."

The crowd had gathered to meet and talk with the American author about the book that has become a phenomenon in Viet Nam since its domestic release nine months ago. The book was published in the US in July last year with 20,000 copies and has since been reprinted.

Berman studied An’s life as a professor of political science at the University of California-Davis, and has devoted his career to understanding the American War.

The story follows the double life of An, a reporter for Time magazine and a Vietnamese secret agent. During the American War in Viet Nam, he worked as a well-respected journalist and a communist intelligence agent.

"I am so proud to be the first historian to write about him. One day, younger generations will write even better books about An with more access to historical documents, but someone has to take the first step and I’m happy to do it."

His story has also caught the interest of various American film-makers based on the book, and Berman dreams that it will be filmed in Viet Nam.

"What I appreciate the most in his personality was his mental discipline. He went to work every day for Time magazine and had daily contact with CIA agents but no one ever suspected he was a spy."

An began his military career in the 1950s as a member of the Viet Nam People’s Army. Once the French left the country, the Vietnamese army sent him to America to study journalism and to observe its people and culture. There, he attended community college in California, worked for the Sacramento Bee, interned at the United Nations, and travelled across the country making friends.

In the 1960s, An returned to Viet Nam to work as a reporter for Reuters and Time magazine while providing intelligence to the Vietnamese army fighting against the US invasion of south Viet Nam. His dual-life continued for 20 years.

The Vietnamese Government awarded him six orders and he was named a Hero of the People’s Army. He is one of only two intelligence officers during the war ever promoted to General and named a Hero. He died last September in HCM City.

"Perfect Spy is my favourite book," Berman confided.

"An taught me things about Viet Nam that I thought I had known but I didn’t understand it. I had seen Viet Nam but didn’t really understand Viet Nam until I met An."


Viet Nam News, English-language daily
June 13, 2008

This is a "must watch" video speech by John Pilger!

'Freedom Next Time'
Propaganda as Journalism

Australian journalist, author, film maker John Pilger speaks about global media consolidation, war by journalism, US military's quest for domination/hegemony in the post 9/11 era, false history in the guise of 'objective' journalism.

A brilliant speech which explains how mainstream journalism has been corrupted as a propaganda tool of the elite . . . and what should be done about it!

John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film-maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia.

From Glory Boy to PoW Songbird
John McCain: War Hero or North Vietnam's Go-To Collaborator?

By Douglas Valentine

In the fall of 1967, Navy pilot John McCain was routinely bombing Hanoi from an aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. On October 26, he was trying to level a power plant in a heavily populated area when a surface-to-air missile knocked a wing off his jet. . . .

Read this and decide if John McCain is a "war hero" . . . or a war criminal.

The Vietnamese had good reason to hate McCain.
On his previous 22 missions, he had dropped God knows how many bombs killing God knows how many innocent civilians.

“I am a war criminal,”
he confessed on “60 Minutes” in 1997.
“I bombed innocent women and children.”

If he is sincere when he says that, why isn’t he being tried for war crimes?

How 'war hero' John McCain betrayed the Vietnamese peasant who saved his life:

In an extraordinary act of compassion at a time when Vietnamese citizens were being killed by US aerial bombardments, he pulled a barely conscious McCain to the lake surface and, with the help of a neighbour, dragged him towards the shore. Click above to read more. . . .

Obama And McCain:
Two Sides Of The Same Coin

By Timothy V. Gatto
I've waited to write this article for a while now. I used to be a loyal die-hard Democrat for 54 years of my life. I no longer know what a "Democrat" is anymore; I don't know what a "Progressive" is either. I once thought that a "Progressive" was words that people who were too shy to say they were "liberals" used in its place. I don't feel that way anymore.

Information Clearing House Newsletter
News You Won't Find On CNN

Friday, June 13, 2008

Obama's Right Turn?
By Stephen Zunes
In many respects, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has played right into the hands of cynics who have long doubted his promises to create a new and more progressive role for the United States in the world.
What Happened: Dennis Kucinich, President Bush, and Impeachment
House Democrats swept away a proposal by former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich to impeach President Bush for, among other charges, allegedly lying to the American public about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
Drive to impeach Bush 'to continue' :
A US congressman and former presidential candidate has vowed not to give up his fight to impeach the president over going to war in Iraq, after the House of Representatives sidelined his bill, possibly until after George Bush leaves office.
Speaker Must Be Removed For Her Illegal Position on Impeachment Investigation:
Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 Articles of Impeachment against the President of the United States. Speaker Pelosi's position remains, "Impeachment is off the table." This is not leadership, but complicity with war crimes:
Rudd announces
new nuclear disarmament body

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the creation of a new international body that will push for nuclear disarmament.
Mr Rudd says Australia will set up a body to be known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferations and Disarmament Commission.

In the Spirit of Peace

Biannca Pace
Ministry for Peace - Australia (Ltd)
Part of a global initiative calling on world governments to establish Ministries or Departments of Peace worldwide.

Friday, June 06, 2008

From the REAL News Network . . .

Olmert at AIPAC: United with Bush on Iran
Report says Olmert will try to convince Bush to ignore NIE report that said Iran has no nuke weapons view

AIPAC and the American right
Aijaz Ahmad traces the power of AIPAC to the "Reagan Revolution" view

Israel Lobby: Its influence on US foreign policy
London Review of Books debate on article published March 2006, panel of authors and analysts view

Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep Iraq Under US Control

By Patrick Cockburn

Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors. Continue

New Agreement Lets US Strike Any Country From Inside Iraq

By Basil Adas

A proposed Iraqi-American security agreement will include permanent American bases in the country, and the right for the United States to strike, from within Iraqi territory, any country it considers a threat to its national security, Gulf News has learned. Continue

Majority Of Iraqi Legislators Call For Timetable For U.S. Withdrawal: Thirty-one Iraqi legislators, representing a majority of the Iraq Parliament, have expressed "widespread disapproval of the proposed U.S.-Iraq security agreement if it does not include a specific timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. military troops."

Iraqi lawmakers tell Congress of misgivings about security agreement with US: "The Iraqi government right now still does not have full rein of its sovereignty because of the thousands of foreign troops now on its land," Nadim al-Jaberi, an Iraqi Shiite lawmaker, told a House panel on Wednesday.

Aljazeera: Iraqi Reactions to Security Agreements: "Will Iraqi political and religious sides succeed in aborting the controversial draft agreement? What would be the ramifications on Iraq and its neighbouring regional countries if the agreement were signed?"

Mortgaging America

By Eric J. Weiner

Investment funds run by foreign governments are keeping the U.S. afloat. Continue

Senate report says Bush misused Iraq intelligence: United States President George Bush and his top policymakers exaggerated Saddam Hussein's links to terrorism and ignored doubts among intelligence agencies about Iraq's arms programnes as they made their case for war, a Senate committee reported on Thursday.

Howard war charges bid:

AN AUSTRALIAN doctors' group is pushing to have former prime minister John Howard charged with war crimes for sending troops to Iraq.

Collateral Damage

What It Really Means When America Goes to War

By Chris Hedges

American Marines and soldiers have become socialized to atrocity. The killing project is not described in these terms to a distant public. The politicians still speak in the abstract terms of glory, honor, and heroism, in the necessity of improving the world, in lofty phrases of political and spiritual renewal. Those who kill large numbers of people always claim it as a virtue. Continue

Obama Resigns From Black Nation

"Barack Obama is true-blue to the slaveholding forefathers and heroic blond mothers of the storybook U.S. of A."

By Glen Ford

How far is Barack Obama willing to run from the very same Black nationalism that was fundamental to his victories in so many state Democratic primaries? Continue

War Criminals Must Fear Punishment.

That's why I went for John Bolton

By George Monbiot

As long as the greatest crime of the 21st century remains unprosecuted, we all have a duty to keep the truth alive. Continue

Venezuelan foreign minister says Negroponte has 'criminal record':

At the annual meeting of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the Colombian city of Medellin, Maduro accused Negroponte of being "responsible for disappearances, for tortures and for deaths in Central America and in several parts of the world."

How Cheney Outfoxed His Foes on Iran and EFPs

Analysis by Gareth Porter

For many months, the propaganda line that explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) that could penetrate U.S. armoured vehicles were coming straight from Iran has been embraced publicly by the entire George W. Bush administration. But when that argument was proposed internally by military officials in January 2007, it was attacked by key administration officials as unsupported by the facts. Continue