Saturday, May 30, 2009


By Seumas Milne
May 29, 2009 "The Guardian"


....But the idea, much canvassed in recent days, that there is something irrational in North Korea's attempt to acquire nuclear weapons is clearly absurd. This is, after all, a state that has been targeted for regime change by the US ever since the end of the cold war, included as one of the select group of three in George Bush's axis of evil in 2002....

In April 2003, North Korea drew the obvious conclusion from the US and British aggression against Iraq. The war showed, it commented at the time, "that to allow disarmament through inspections does not help avert a war, but rather sparks it". Only "a tremendous military deterrent force", it stated with unavoidable logic, could prevent attacks on states the world's only superpower was determined to bring to heel.

The lesson could not be clearer. Of Bush's "axis" states, Iraq, which had no weapons of mass destruction, was invaded and occupied; North Korea, which already had some nuclear capacity, was left untouched and is most unlikely to be attacked in future; while Iran, which has yet to develop a nuclear capability, is still threatened with aggression by both the US and Israel....

Yet not only has America's heightened enthusiasm for invading other countries since the early 1990s created a powerful incentive for states in its firing line to acquire nuclear weapons for their own security.

But all the main nuclear weapons states have, by their persistent failure to move towards serious disarmament, become the single greatest driver of nuclear proliferation.

It's not just the breathtaking hypocrisy that underpins every western pronouncement about the "threat to world peace" posed by the "illegal weapons" of the johnny-come-latelys to the nuclear club.

Or the double standards that underpin the nuclear indulgence of Israel, India and Pakistannow increasing its stock of nuclear weapons, even as the country is rocked by civil war – while Iran and North Korea are sanctioned and embargoed for "breaking the rules".

It's that the obligation of the nuclear weapons states under the non-proliferation treaty – and the only justification of their privileged status – is to negotiate "complete disarmament".

Yet far from doing any such thing, both the US and Britain are investing in a new generation of nuclear weapons.

Even the latest plans to agree new cuts in the US and Russian strategic arsenals would leave the two former superpower rivals in control of ­thousands of warheads, enough to wipe each other out, let alone the smaller fry of global conflict.

So why North Korea, no longer even a signatory to the treaty and ­therefore not bound by its rules, or any other state seeking nuclear protection, should treat them as a reason to disarm is a mystery....

Earlier this month, ­Mohammed ElBaradei, the outgoing director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Guardian that without radical disarmament by the major powers, the number of nuclear weapons states would double in a few years, as "virtual weapons states" acquire the capability, but stopped just short of assembling a weapon, to "buy insurance against attack"....

....And the evidence is now growing that the US administration is heading towards harsher sanctions against Tehran rather than genuine negotiation, as two former US national security council staffers, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett, argued in the New York Times at the weekend.

That was also the message Hillary Clinton sent to North Korea last month when she said talks with the regime were "implausible, if not impossible"....

In fact, they are desirable, if not essential....

...But if, instead of slapping more sanctions on Pyongyang, the US were to push for far broader negotiations aimed at achieving the long-overdue reunification of Korea, its denuclearisation and the withdrawal of all foreign troops – now that would be a historic contribution to peace.



Some personal thoughts on Colin Powell -
one of the gang of war criminals still walking free


Colin Powell, in his entire lousy life, has been a militaristic scumbag.

Possibly even more so than the detestable George W Bush, Powell should be tried and executed as a serial war criminal.

From Vietnam war criminal - burning down innocent people's houses and villages in another illegal imperialist war, advocating shooting MAMs (Military Age Males) seen running away from US helicopters, covering up systematic US war crimes against Vietnamese civilians brought to his attention by a US GI - to the deliberate lying to the United Nations and the world to set off the Iraqi war crime, Powell is very bad news indeed.

It was no accident that he was cynically presented by the media as the "good cop" versus the Rumsfeld "bad cop".

All of them were and are bad.
All of them need to be arrested, tried for war crimes, and executed.
Full stop.


Bruce McPhie



Read more on The Truth about Colin Powell
in this excerpt from the new book Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, which describes the real Colin Powell, the ambitious military bureaucrat who followed orders and put his career interests first.

http:// www.informationclearingho...rticle18802.htm





The Impossible Rehab of Colin Powell

By Ray McGovern

Powell’s well-documented disregard for those who have borne the brunt of the battle places him in the company of the priest and the Levite – in the Good Samaritan parable – who, seeing the man attacked by robbers on the side of the road, walked right on by. Continue



Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

"How could ordinary American soldiers come to engage in such monstrous acts?"

HBO Video Documentary


For the first time, GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB features both the voices of Iraqi victims (interviewed in Turkey after arduous attempts to meet with them) and guards directly involved in torture at the prison. Conducted by Kennedy, these remarkably candid, in-depth interviews shed light on the abuses in an unprecedented manner. Continue


Friday, May 29, 2009

A personal thought on those torture photos:

PUBLISH, PROSECUTE,
AND BE DAMNED!


Of course, all the photos of torture should be published.
If that causes even more people to get angry, very good!

It is a very sick society that knows all about this,
but keeps making pathetic excuses why the law is not enforced.

It is also a very sick society if we need to actually see such horror photos,
when the horror descriptions should be more than enough for everyone.

However, we know it is a very sick society,
and sometimes pictures work when words unfortunately do not.

Remember, we all knew about the tortures, atrocities
and illegal war of aggression going on in Viet Nam too,
but many were in denial then (and many still are!).

However, the publishing of those official US Army photographs
of the My Lai Massacre shocked some people into finally believing,
in a way words apparently could not.

So, PUBLISH, PROSECUTE, AND BE DAMNED!

Bruce McPhie





Why The Photos Probably Do Show Detainees Sodomized and Raped

By Naomi Wolf


....Is systemic sex crime practiced by the US in a consequence of the lawlessness of `the war on terror' surprising to those of us who work on issues of sexual abuse and war? It is totally predictable:.....

But what is far scarier about these images Obama refuses to release and that the Pentagon is likely to be lying about now is that it is not the evidence of lower-level soldiers being corrupted by power - it is proof of the fact that the most senior leadership - Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, with Rice's collusion - were running a global sex crime trafficking ring with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Baghram as the holding sites....

Well, America? Do you want to live with this? Remember: history shows categorically that once the state can lock `them' up without a fair trial, torture, rape them or sodomize them - well; sooner or later it will be able to do the same to your children or mine; or to you and me. Continue



Do Americans Have a Moral Conscience?

By Paul Craig Roberts

If the Obama regime does not hold the Bush regime accountable for violating US and international law, then the Obama regime is complicit in the Bush regime’s crimes. If the American people permit Obama to look the other way in order “to move on,” the American people are also complicit in the crimes. Continue



And I liked some of the comments that followed the above article:



"Today Powell and his chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, are ashamed that the “evidence” for Powell’s UN speech turned out to be nothing but the coerced false confession of Al-Libi, who was relentlessly tortured in Egypt in order to produce a justification for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq."

By the way, it's not Al-Libi, it's ALIBI! Get it? Alibi!




Quote from the article by Roberts:

"U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R,Tx) understands the danger to Americans of permitting government to violate the law. In “Torturing the Rule of Law”
http:// informationclearinghouse....ticle22705.htm , he said that the US government’s use of torture to produce excuses for illegal actions is the most radicalizing force at work today. “The fact that our government engages in evil behavior under the auspices of the American people is what poses the greatest threat to the American people, and it must not be allowed to stand.” - [end quote]

This threat to the American people (why only americans?) as Ron Paul is quoted, has existed for a very long time.

In Vietnam torture by telephone was called 'the Bell's telephone hour'. To give an example, for those who don't know this yet:


"Former sergeant D.J. Lewis, who served with the Ninth MPs from February 1968 to January 1969, said field phone interrogations were "not uncommon." Lewis, who retired last year from his job as an engineer at a VA hospital in Wisconsin, spent part of his tour at firebase Tan An, where he was among the MPs present during the questioning of a group of Vietcong in a tent away from the base. "We were attached to this field unit out there, and they would take them in and they had a kind of large tent, and they would tie them up to the poles right in the center there, their hands behind them and their feet strapped to the pole.

And they would give them treatment, and it was not uncommon for them to rig up a field telephone and put one [wire] around a finger and the other around the scrotum and start cranking. And they would eventually tell you what you wanted to know . . .

"It was Military Intelligence that done it, them and the ARVNs [the Army of the Republic of Vietnam]. The ARVNs are the ones that hooked the wire up and did the cranking, but it was with the blessing of the MI."

Was it painful? "Oh, hell yes, it's painful. I mean, you can hold the two wires and barely crank it and get a jolt. The more you crank the higher the voltage, and it's DC voltage, so that's more intense shock."

Were the interrogators at all leery about MPs observing what went on?

"They didn't really seem to mind. They didn't want anybody else to see it, you know, but I guess since we were supposed to be, you know, we would keep our mouth shut, I guess, for lack of a better explanation. They wouldn't let anyone else in, though, and we actually escorted the prisoners in and out."

Wasn't MI taking a chance that an MP would file charges?

"It would have been my word against an officer's word, which the officer is always going to win. So what do you do? And at that time CID [Criminal Investigation Division] and Military Intelligence, they were held in the highest regard, they could walk on the clouds."

So if some MP got it in his head to report the incident, what would happen to him?

"It would probably be swept under the rug, and he would either be sent to another duty station or put on shit duty the rest of the time--KP, picking up cigarette butts--anything they can think of that can keep him quiet and keep him in a certain place. Usually what they did, they sent him to a different destination."

A Chicago cop practiced what he learned in Vietnam: "Allegedly, Burge used a handheld magneto to torture victims. Members of his unit in Vietnam remember this torture well. MPs describe field telephone torture. - Url.: http://tinyurl.com/mov9q4

The rest, including 'Tiger Cages' etc. is described in the story "Torture and democracy"
Source: Chicago Reader - Tools of Torture - Url.:
http://tinyurl.com/3fvbox

In Vietnam (I was there in 1971) it was the same discussion: how to make friends, and win the minds and hearts of the people which the US wanted to conquer.

As in all history, it was shown that it was impossible to make friends by invading, intimidating, shooting, bombing, jailing, torturing, killing, maiming, napalming or other deadly actions.


It showed every time that the only people the US and allies could call their friends were the dead: because they couldn't protest anymore." [end quote]

The rest is here, about 'Making dead friends' - Url.:
http://tinyurl.com/5t9j7

Never thought it would only be a painful page in history...





Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PROJECT RENEW

Restoring the Environment and
Neutralizing the Effects of the War

(VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL FUND - U.S.)

U.S.involvement in the war in Viet Nam ended on April 30, 1975.
Since that time, a reported 100,000 Vietnamese
have been killed or injured by landmines,
old bombs, artillery shells, grenades,
and a variety of other
unexploded ordnance (UXO)

What has the government of Viet Nam done about this problem?

What are the contributions of donors and international NGOs?

What can you do to help?

FIND OUT MORE:

http://www.landmines.org.vn







Tuesday, May 26, 2009

This is a must-watch Video!!!:



Citing Iraq War,

Renowned Attorney Vincent Bugliosi Seeks

“The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder”


Vincent Bugliosi is one of the most successful prosecutors in the U.S.,
with a record including twenty-one murder convictions without a single loss.
With a new book, he outlines his case for the prosecution of George W. Bush for murder.

Vincent Bugliosi successfully prosecuted 105 of 106 felony jury trials,
including twenty-one murder convictions without a single loss.

His latest book is The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder
.



Democracy Now
with Vincent Bugliosi On
Prosecuting George W. Bush For Murder


To watch this video, click below:

Prosecution of George W. Bush For Murder



Famed Charles Manson prosecutor
and three time #1
New York Times bestselling author
Vincent Bugliosi has written the most powerful,
explosive, and thought-provoking book of his storied career.

In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.

Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses—a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.

As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi, in his inimitable style, delivers a non-partisan argument, free from party lines and instead based upon hard facts and pure objectivity.

A searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office.





Please support this project
by Purchasing A Copy of the Important Book





http://firecongress.org/article.php/Video-Bugliosi_On_Bush_Trial_For_Murder




Day Of The Dead

By Cindy Sheehan

May 26, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- -

I was on an airplane flying to Orange County from Sacramento to attend the al-Awda Conference; which is a Palestinian Right’s Conference. Al-Awda translates to “The Returning, “ when the Pilot voice filled the cabin to make an announcement that I think went unnoticed by most of my fellow passengers, but I heard it.

As the plane was on the approach to John Wayne airport, the Captain came on the intercom to remind us all to “remember our brave troops who have died for our freedom.” Even in this post 9-11 paranoid paradigm, if I wasn’t belted in for landing, I would have popped out of my seat at 13D and charged up to the cockpit to let the pilot know that my son was killed in Iraq and not one person anywhere in this world is one iota more free because he is dead.

As a matter of fact, the people of Iraq, the foreign country thousands of miles away where my oldest child’s brains, blood, and life seeped into the soil, are not freer, unless one counts being liberated from life, liberty and property being free. If you consider torture and indefinite detention freedom, then the Pilot may have been right, but then again, even if you do consider those crimes freedom, it does not make it so.

Here in America we are definitely not freer because my son died, as a matter of fact, our nation can spy on us and our communications without a warrant or just cause and we can’t even bring a 3.6 ounce bottle of hand cream into an airport or walk through a METAL detector with our shoes on. Even if we do want to exercise our Bill of Rights, we are shoved into pre-designated “free speech” (NewSpeak for; STFU, unless you are well out of the way of what you want to protest and shoved into pens like cattle being led to slaughter) zones and oftentimes brutally treated if you decide you are entitled to “free speech” on every inch of American soil.

If you watch any one of the cable news networks this weekend between doing holiday weekend things, you will be subjected to images of row upon row of white headstones of dead US military lined up in perfect formation in the afterlife as they were in life. Patriotic music will swell and we will be reminded in script font to “Remember our heroes,” or some such BS as that.

Before Casey was killed, a message like that would barely register in my consciousness as I rushed around preparing for Casey’s birthday bar-be-que that became a family tradition since he was born on Memorial Day in 1979. If I had a vision of how Memorial Day and Casey’s birthday would change for my family, I would have fled these violent shores to protect what was mine, not this murderous country’s. Be my guest, look at those headstones with pride or indifference. I look at them, now with horror, regret, pain and a longing for justice.

I can guarantee what you won’t see this holiday weekend are images of the over one million Iraqi dead. Say we assign, in an arbitrary way for purely illustrative purposes, an average height of 5 feet for every person killed in Iraq and then lined those people up from head to toe. That gruesome line would stretch from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon…950 driving miles up Interstate 5. If we count the Iraqis who have been forced to flee, we would have to go back and forth between L.A. and Portland another four times.

There are obscene amounts of people who have been slaughtered for the US Profit Driven Military Empire who do not count here in America on any day.

People in Vietnam are still dying from the toxins dumped on their country by the US, not to mention the millions who died during that war.

Let the carnage escalate in Afghanistan while we protect our personal images by turning a blind eye to Obama’s war crimes. Are you going to feel a lump of pride in your bosom when the coffins start to be photographed at Dover for this imperial crime of aggression? Will you look at those flag-draped boxes of the lifeless body of some mother's child and think: "Now, I am free." Is it better to be dead when Obama is president?

A tough, but real, aspect of this all to consider is, how many of the soldiers buried in coffins in military cemeteries killed or tortured innocent people as paid goons for Empire? To me, it is deeply and profoundly sad on so many levels. If I have any consolation through all of this, I learned that my son bravely refused to go on the mission that killed him, but he was literally dragged onto the vehicle and was dead minutes later before he was forced to do something that was against his nature and nurture.

Casey will always be my hero but he was a victim of US Imperialism and his death should bring shame, not pride, as it did not bring freedom to anyone. I will, of course, mourn his senseless death on Memorial Day as I do everyday.

However, we do not need another day here in America to glorify war which enables the Military Industrial Complex to commit its crimes under the black cloak of "Patriotism."

From Palestine to Africa to South America, our quest for global economic domination kills, sickens, maims or oppresses people on a daily basis and about 25,000 children per day die of starvation. I am not okay with these facts and I am not proud of my country.

I will spend my reflective time on MD to mourn not only the deaths of so many people all over the world due to war, but mourn the fact that they are the unseen and uncared for victims of US Empire.


Cindy Sheehan



Iraq Veterans Against The War.

Find out more

GI Special: thomasfbarton@earthlink.net

Traveling Soldier: http://traveling-soldier.org/

Iraq Veterans Against the War: http://ivaw.org/

GI Special issues are archived at: http://www.militartproject.org

GI Special is available in PDF or Word: contact@militaryprofect.org

thomasfbarton@earthlink.net


Friday, May 22, 2009

A PERSONAL THOUGHT . . .

Here, you will find many wise words
from many different commentators about current issues
of
war, torture and human rights,
which need to be constantly shouted from the rooftops of the world....

However,
let's not delude ourselves into
thinking that all the evils of torture, illegal wars,
and deliberately lying about it to the public,
only started with the Bush lot!

This has been a consistent thread
running through the entire history of
American imperialism.


From
the treatment of American native peoples,
the exploitation of the black slaves,
the conquests of other lands,
the overthrow of other governments,
the death squads, torture and horror weapons,
from the beginning to the present day -
and no end in sight!

Lest we forget...
Every war crime, every torture, and human rights abuse, we are talking about now,

was also inflicted on the innocent people of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia,
by many US administrations - Republican and Democrat!

They got away with an illegal war and torture there,
and even today deny their responsibility and guilt,
hoping to sweep it under the carpet.

How many people have either chosen to forget
the American War in Viet Nam,
or are still deluded by the official propaganda
into somehow believing it was "a noble cause"
with the best of intentions?!

America,
you can't move forward,
until you acknowledge and clean up
all the messes of the past!

The Vietnamese,
just for one,
are still waiting!!!


Bruce McPhie


Thursday, May 21, 2009

US Colonel Advocates US 'Military Attacks' on 'Partisan Media'
in Essay for Neocon, Pro-Israel Group JINSA


By Jeremy Scahill

Lest people think that the views of people like Col. Ralph Peters and the JINSA/PNAC neocons are relics of the past, remember that the Obama administration includes heavy hitters from this world among its ranks, as well as fierce neocon supporters.

Continue

Watching Obama
Morph Into Dick Cheney



By Paul Craig Roberts

May 21, 2009 "
Information Clearing House" -- - America has lost her soul, and so has her president.

A despairing country elected a president who promised change. Americans arrived from every state to witness in bitter cold Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. The mall was packed in a way that it has never been for any other president.

The people’s good will toward Obama and the expectations they had for him were sufficient for Obama to end the gratuitous wars and enact major reforms. But Obama has deserted the people for the interests. He is relying on his non-threatening demeanor and rhetoric to convince the people that change is underway.

The change that we are witnessing is in Obama, not in policies. Obama is morphing into Dick Cheney.

Obama has not been in office four months and already a book could be written about his broken promises.

Obama said he would close the torture prison, Guantanamo, and abolish the kangaroo courts known as military tribunals. But now he says he is going to reform the tribunals and continue the process, but without confessions obtained with torture. Getting behind Obama’s validation of the Bush/Cheney policy, House Democrats pulled the budget funding that was to be used for closing Guantanamo.

The policy of kidnapping people (usually on the basis of disinformation supplied by their enemies) and whisking them off to Third World prisons to be interrogated is to be continued. Again, Obama has substituted a "reform" for his promise to abolish an illegal policy.

Rendition, Obama says, has also been reformed and will no longer involve torture. How would anyone know? Is Obama going to assign a U.S. government agent to watch over the treatment given to disappeared people by Third World thugs? Given the proclivity of American police to brutalize U.S. citizens, nothing can save the victims of rendition from torture.

Obama has defended the Bush/Cheney warrantless wiretapping program run by the National Security Agency and broadened the government’s legal argument that "sovereign immunity" protects government officials from prosecution and civil suits when they violate U.S. law and constitutional protections of citizens.

Obama’s Justice Department has taken up the defense of Donald Rumsfeld against a case brought by detainees whose rights Rumsfeld violated.

In a signing statement this month, Obama abandoned his promise to protect whistleblowers who give information of executive branch illegality to Congress.

Obama is making even more expansive claims of executive power than Bush.

As Bruce Fein puts it: "In principle, President Obama is maintaining that victims of constitutional wrongdoing by the U.S. government should be denied a remedy in order to prevent the American people and the world at large from learning of the lawlessness perpetrated in the name of national security and exacting political and legal accountability."

Obama, in other words, is committed to covering up the Bush regime’s crimes and to ensuring that his own regime can continue to operate in the same illegal and unconstitutional ways.

Obama is fighting the release of the latest batch of horrific torture photos that have come to light. Obama claims that release of the photos would anger insurgents and cause them to kill our troops. That, of course, is nonsense. Those resisting occupation of their land by U.S. troops and NATO mercenaries are already dedicated to killing our troops, and they know that Americans torture whomever they capture.

Obama is fighting the release of the photos because he knows the barbaric image that the photos present of the U.S. military will undermine the public’s support for the wars that enrich the military/security complex, appease the Israel Lobby, and repay the campaign contributions that elect the U.S. government.

As for bringing the troops home from Iraq, this promise, too, has been reformed. To the consternation of his supporters, Obama is leaving 50,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The others are being sent to Afghanistan and to Pakistan, where on Obama’s watch war has broken out big time with already one million refugees from the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

Meanwhile, war with Iran remains a possibility, and at Washington’s insistence, NATO is conducting war games on former Soviet territory, thus laying the groundwork for future enrichment of the U.S. military/security complex. The steeply rising U.S. unemployment rate will provide the needed troops for Obama’s expanding wars.

Obama can give a great speech without mangling the language. He can smile and make people believe his rhetoric. The world, or much of it, seems to be content with the soft words that now drape Dick Cheney’s policies in pursuit of executive supremacy and U.S. hegemony.


Paul Craig Roberts wrote the Kemp-Roth bill and was assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was associate editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and contributing editor of National Review.

Click on "comments" below to read or post comments

Comments (50) Comment (0)


Obama: From Anti-war Law Professor

to Warmonger in 100 Days

By Alexander Cockburn



May 21, 2009 "First Post" --

How long does it take a mild-mannered, anti-war, black professor of constitutional law, trained as a community organiser on the South Side of Chicago, to become an enthusiastic sponsor of targeted assassinations, 'decapitation' strategies and remote-control bombing of mud houses at the far end of the globe?

There's nothing surprising here.

As far back as President Woodrow Wilson, in the early 20th century, American liberalism has been swift to flex its imperial muscle and whistle up the Marines.....

The nearest parallel to Obama in eager deference to the bloodthirsty counsels of his counter-insurgency advisors is John F. Kennedy....

Obama’s course is set and his presidency is already stained the familiar blood-red.


Whether in Vietnam or Afghanistan the counsel of regular Army generals tends to be drear and unappetising: vast, costly deployments of troops by the hundreds of thousands, mounting casualties, uncertain prospects for any long-term success ­ all adding up to dismaying political costs on the home front.....

By the time he himself [JFK] had become the victim of Lee Harvey Oswald's 'decapitation' strategy, brought to successful conclusion in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, on November 22, 1963, Kennedy had set in motion the secret counter-insurgency operations, complete with programs of assassination and torture, that turned South-East Asia and Latin America into charnel houses for the next 20 years.

Another Democrat who strode into the White House with the word 'peace' springing from his lips was Jimmy Carter. It was he who first decreed that 'freedom' and the war on terror required a $3.5bn investment in a secret CIA-led war in Afghanistan, plus the deployment of Argentinian torturers to advise US military teams in counter-insurgency ops in El Salvador and Nicaragua.....

Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal now replaces General David McKiernan as Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal's expertise is precisely in assassination and 'decapitation'.....(McChrystal, not uncoincidentally, was involved in the prisoner abuse scandal at Baghdad's Camp Nama. He also played a sordid role in the cover-up of the friendly-fire death of ex-NFL star and Army Ranger Pat Tillman.)....

Programmes of targeted assassination aren't new in counter-insurgency.

The most infamous and best known was the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, designed to identify and eliminate cadres of Vietnam's National Liberation Front, informally known as the Viet Cong, of whom, on some estimates, at least 40,000 were duly assassinated.

In such enterprises two outcomes are inevitable. Identification of the human targets requires either voluntary informants or captives. In the latter instance torture is certain, whatever rhetorical pledges are proclaimed back home....

Whatever the technique, a second certainty is the killing of large numbers of civilians in the final 'targeted assassination'....

Already in Afghanistan public opinion has been inflamed by the weekly bulletins of deadly bombardments either by drones or manned bombers....

The logic of targeted assassinations was on display in Gaza even as Obama worked on the uplifting phrases of his inaugural address in January. The Israelis claimed they were targeting only Hamas even as the body counts of women and children methodically refuted these claims and finally extorted from Obama a terse phrase of regret.

He may soon weary of uttering them. His course is set and his presidency already permanently stained the ever-familiar blood-red tint....

The mild-mannered professor is bidding to be as sure-footed as Bush and Cheney in trampling on constitutional rights. He's planning to restore Bush's kangaroo courts for prisoners at Guantanamo who've never even been formally charged with a crime! He's threatening to hold some prisoners indefinitely in the US without trial.

He's even been awarded a hearty editorial clap on the back from the Wall Street Journal: "Mr. Obama deserves credit for accepting that civilians courts are largely unsuited for the realities of the war on terror. He has now decided to preserve a tribunal process that will be identical in every material way to the one favoured by Dick Cheney."

It didn't take long.

But it's what we've got ­ for the rest of Obama-time.

Continue


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Unexceptional Americans:

Why We Can't See the Trees or the Forest

The Torture Memos and Historical Amnesia

By Noam Chomsky

May 19, 2009 "Tomdispatch" -- The torture memos released by the White House elicited shock, indignation, and surprise. The shock and indignation are understandable. The surprise, less so....

Torture has been routinely practiced from the early days of the conquest of the national territory, and continued to be used as the imperial ventures of the "infant empire" -- as George Washington called the new republic -- extended to the Philippines, Haiti, and elsewhere.

Keep in mind as well that torture was the least of the many crimes of aggression, terror, subversion, and economic strangulation that have darkened U.S. history, much as in the case of other great powers.....

The My Lai massacre was a mere footnote to the vastly greater atrocities of the post-Tet pacification programs, ignored while indignation in this country was largely focused on this single crime.

Watergate was doubtless criminal, but the furor over it displaced incomparably worse crimes at home and abroad, including the FBI-organized assassination of black organizer Fred Hampton as part of the infamous COINTELPRO repression, or the bombing of Cambodia, to mention just two egregious examples.

Torture is hideous enough; the invasion of Iraq was a far worse crime.

Quite commonly, selective atrocities have this function.

Historical amnesia is a dangerous phenomenon, not only because it undermines moral and intellectual integrity, but also because it lays the groundwork for crimes that still lie ahead.


Noam Chomsky
is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements.


* * *


Condemning Torture, Condoning Mass Murder

By Charles Davis

May 18, 2009 "STR" -- A peculiar notion has arisen of late, maintaining that things like torture, domestic spying and illegal wars are all attributable to the Right -- namely, the administration of President George W. Bush -- and are in fact historical anomalies, not at all in keeping with the traditions of these great United States.

The idea that war crimes and civil liberties violations are strictly conservative affairs is particularly comforting to wide-eyed Democrats in awe of America’s First Black President ™, and it affords the heirs to the same liberal establishment which brought us Vietnam and Hiroshima another opportunity to grandstand about their commitment to human rights even as the noble humanitarian Barack Obama continues to extra-judicially murder foreigners with unmanned drones.

Unfortunately for partisan Democrats – and even more so the victims of U.S. exceptionalism – American imperialism and its associated evils have long enjoyed bipartisan backing....

That the U.S. government spends the majority of the tax dollars it expropriates from its subjects on empire and incarceration, and trillions more on propping up the financial elite while regular folks face stagnating wages is not an accident - it's by design.


Charles Davis is a journalist based in Washington, DC.
More of his work may be found at his website.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Agent Orange: US guilty says hearing


The International People's Tribunal of Conscience in Paris made its final judgement yesterday, concluding that the use of dioxin by the US military in Viet Nam from 1961 to 1971 was a war crime against humanity.






President Ho Chi Minh's 119th birthday
(1890 - 2009)


Click above for more news
on how Viet Nam celebrated Uncle Ho's 119th birthday
(May 19)



Did you know?


In 1990, on the centenary of his birth, Ho Chi Minh
was honoured with two UNESCO titles:

* national liberation hero
* world cultural personality






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International Association of Democratic Lawyers

IADL, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with consultative status to ECOSOC and UNESCO.

http://www.iadllaw.org/en

Read more

The International People's Tribunal of Conscience

in Support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange


THE PEOPLE OF VIETNAM

AND PEOPLE OF CONSCIENCE ALL OVER THE WORLD,

VERSUS


1. DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY,

2. MONSANTO CHEMICAL COMPANY

3. PHARMACIA CORPORATION

4. HERCULES INCORPORATED

5.. OCCIDENTAL CHEMICAL CORPORATION

6. ULTRAMAR DIAMOND SHAMROCK CORPORATION

7. MAXUS ENERGY CORPORATION

8. THOMAS HAYWARD CHEMICAL COMPANY

9. HARCROS CHEMICALS INC.

10. UNIROYAL CHEMICAL INC,

11. UNIROYAL CHEMICAL HOLDING CO.

12. UNIROYAL CHEMICAL ACQUISITION CO,

13. C.D.U. HOLDING INC.

14. DIAMOND SHAMROCK AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS

15. DIAMOND SHAMROCK CHEMICALS

16. DIAMOND SHAMROCK CORPORATION

17. DIAMOND SHAMROCK REFINING AND MARKETING COMPANY

18. OCCIDENTAL ELECTROCHEMICALS CORPORTATION

19. DIAMOND ALKAI COMPANY

20. ANSUL INCORPORATED

21. HOOKER CHEMICAL CORPORATION

22. HOOKER CHEMICAL FAR-EAST CORPORATION

23. HOOKER CHEMICAL & PLASTICS CORPORATION

24. HOFFMAN CHEMICALS, INC.

25. CHEMICAL LAND HOLDINGS, INC.

26. T-H AGRICULTURE & NUTRITION COMPANY, INC.

27. THOMPSON CHEMICAL CORPORATION

28. RIVERDALE CHEMICAL COMPANY

29. ELEMENTIS CHEMICALS INC.

30. UNITED STATES RUBBER CO., INC.

31. SYNTEX AGRIBUSINESS, INC.

32. SYNTEX LABORATORIES, INC.


SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT


The war waged by the United States against Vietnam has ended more than thirty (30) years ago. The chemical warfare waged from 1961 to 1971, carried out by the United States government using Agent Orange which the above named companies knew contained high levels of dioxin has caused massive and prolonged negative consequences to the health of the Vietnamese people and to the environment and ecology of Vietnam.


The above named companies, however, have continued to evade their responsibility for providing such chemicals to the United States government, and have refused to acknowledge any role in causing these effects, or to indicate a willingness to play a part in remediating the consequences of their actions.


In the name of Public Opinion and International Conscience the International Peoples’ Tribunal of Conscience in support of the Vietnamese Victims of Agent Orange at the initiative of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), will consider and draw conclusions on the following matters:


1. The facts showing the consequences to the environment and ecology of Vietnam and to the health of the Vietnamese people caused by the use of Agent Orange by the United States Military from 1961 to 1971.


2. The moral and legal responsibilities of the above named companies for their actions under international law and the laws of nations.


3. The role that the above named companies should play in remediating the consequences of the use of their products in Vietnam.


This tribunal will be held on May 15-16 in Paris France at the Salles Pierre Nicole", Maison des Mines et des ¨Ponts et Chaussées, 270 rue Saint Jacques, 75005 in Paris France.


You may submit your Statement in Reply to the above claims along with 10 copies on or before 30th April,2009 with the Secretariat of the Tribunal to Jeanne Moutet, Secretary of the Tribunal at the following address: 120 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France.


Along with the Statement you may also submit the name(s) of the lawyer(s) along with a copy of the authorization who may represent you before the Tribunal.


Please take note that in the event of not filing your Statement and/or non-appearance of your duly authorised representative before the Tribunal, ex-parte proceedings without any further notice may be taken out against you.


FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE TRIBUNAL


Sr. Advocate, Jitendra Sharma,

President of the Tribunal


http://www.iadllaw.org/fr/node/353


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The accused chemical companies
failed to file a statement with the Tribunal,
and failed to appear before it!

Despite their absence, they were found GUILTY!