Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street (OWS):
Too Big to Fail

Posted: 2011/11/29
From: Mathaba



An idea whose time has come resonates globally.
The masses in the western bankrupt states that bombed Libya for 8 months to destroy People's Power (Jamahiriya) there, are now calling for the same as what the Libyans had: power and wealth in their hands.


by Stephen Lendman



Unknown Snipers and Western Backed Regime Change
Death Squads in the Service of Western Intelligence


By Gearóid Ó Colmáin

The Western powers are the masters of discourse, who own the means of communication. The Arab Spring has been the most horrifying example of the wanton abuse of this power.
Continue



The Folly of Sanctions

By Ron Paul

November 29, 2011 "Information Clearing House" --

Many people have the misconception that sanctions are an effective means to encourage a change of behavior in another country without war.

However, imposing sanctions and blockades are not only an act of war according to international law, they are most often the first step toward a real war starting with a bombing campaign.

Sanctions were the first step in our wars against Iraq and Libya, and now more sanctions planned against Syria and Iran are leading down the same destructive path.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) latest report, just out this month, there is no evidence that Iran has diverted enriched uranium from the peaceful and lawful generation of power toward building a nuclear weapon.

According to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has every right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes...

We should be clear about this: sanctions against Iran are definite steps toward a US attack. Already we see US warships approaching the region, moving dangerously close to Syrian waters.

The tougher sanctions currently under consideration would disrupt global trade and undermine the US economy, which in turn harms our national security. . .

This race to war against Iran and Syria is both foolhardy and dangerous.



UN Report on Syria:
Based on Witness Accounts..... OUTSIDE of Syria


By Tony Cartalucci

Humanitarian concerns "dressing up" the military conquest of Syria. Continue



Target Iran: Washington's Countdown to War

By Tom Burghardt

The Iranian people know what it means to earn the enmity of the global godfather.
Continue



Obama Fulfilling the Neocon Dream
Mass Regime Change in Muslim World?


Glenn Greenwald

In October, 2007, Gen. Wesley Clark gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco (seven-minute excerpt in the video below) in which he denounced what he called “a policy coup” engineered by neocons in the wake of 9/11.

After recounting how a Pentagon source had told him weeks after 9/11 of the Pentagon’s plan to attack Iraq notwithstanding its non-involvement in 9/11, this is how Clark described the aspirations of the “coup” being plotted by Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and what he called “a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for the New American Century”:

Six weeks later, I saw the same officer, and asked: “Why haven’t we attacked Iraq? Are we still going to attack Iraq?”

He said: “Sir, it’s worse than that. He said – he pulled up a piece of paper off his desk – he said:

“I just got this memo from the Secretary of Defense’s office. It says we’re going to attack and destroy the governments in 7 countries in five years – we’re going to start with Iraq, and then we’re going to move to Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran.”




U.S. Intervention in the Middle East

By ICH

This partial chronology of U.S. intervention in the Middle East illustrates the lengths to which the U.S. power structure has gone to gain and maintain U.S. domination of the Middle East--a region considered key to the U.S.'s standing as an imperialist world power.
Continue




Dead Afghan Kids Still Not Newsworthy

By Peter Hart


November 29, 2011 "Fair" --

Back in March, we wondered when U.S. corporate news outlets would find U.S./NATO killing of Afghan kids newsworthy. Back then, it was nine children killed in a March 1 airstrike. This resulted in two network news stories on the evening or morning newscasts, and two brief references on the PBS NewsHour.

On November 25, the New York Times reported--on page 12--that six children were killed in one attack in southern Afghanistan on November 23. This news was, as best I can tell, not reported on ABC, CBS, NBC or the PBS NewsHour.

There were, on the other hand, several pieces about U.S. soldiers eating Thanksgiving dinners.

Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald was one of the few commentators to write about the latest killings. As he observed:


We're trained simply to accept these incidents as though they carry no meaning: We're just supposed to chalk them up to regrettable accidents (oops), agree that they don’t compel a cessation to the war, and then get back to the glorious fighting.

Every time that happens, this just becomes more normalized, less worthy of notice. It's just like background noise:

Two families of children wiped out by an American missile (yawn: at least we don't target them on purpose like those evil Terrorists: we just keep killing them year after year after year without meaning to).

It's acceptable to make arguments that American wars should end because they're costing too much money or American lives or otherwise harming American strategic interests, but piles of corpses of innocent children are something only the shrill, shallow and unSerious--pacifists!--point to as though they have any meaning in terms of what should be done.

Continue




Monday, November 28, 2011

Bankers Have Seized Europe
Goldman Sachs Has Taken Over


By Paul Craig Roberts

The European Union, just like everything else, is merely another scheme to concentrate wealth in a few hands at the expense of European citizens, who are destined, like Americans, to be the serfs of the 21st century. Continue


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TomDispatch

Tomgram:

Peter Van Buren, Thought Crime in Washington

By Peter Van Buren
Posted on November 27, 2011, Printed on November 28, 2011
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175472/

When I arrived at Zuccotti Prison one afternoon last week, the “park” was in its now-usual lockdown mode. No more tents. No library. No kitchen. No medical area. Just about 30 leftover protesters and perhaps 100 of New York’s finest as well as private-security types in neon-green vests in or around a dead space enclosed by more movable police fencing than you can imagine. To the once open plaza, there were now only two small entrances in the fencing on the side streets, and to pass through either you had to run a gauntlet of police and private security types.

The park itself was bare of anything whatsoever and, that day, parts of it had been cordoned off, theoretically for yet more cleaning, with the kind of yellow police tape that would normally surround a crime scene, which was exactly how it seemed. In fact, as I walked in, a young protestor was being arrested, evidently for the crime of lying down on a bench. (No sleeping, or even prospective sleeping, allowed -- except in jail!)

Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s police assault on the park, OWS has largely decamped for spaces unknown and for the future. Left behind was a grim tableau of our distinctly up-armored, post-9/11 American world. To take an obvious example, the “police” who so notoriously pepper-sprayed non-violent, seated students at UC Davis were just campus cops, who in my college years, the 1960s, still generally wore civvies, carried no weapons, and were tasked with seeing whether students had broken curfew or locked themselves out of their rooms. Now, around the country, they are armed with chemical weapons, Tasers, tear gas, side arms, you name it. Meanwhile, some police departments, militarizing at a rapid rate, have tank-like vehicles, and the first police surveillance drones are taking to the air in field tests and capable of being weaponized.

And keep in mind, when it comes to that pepper-spraying incident, we’re talking about sleepy Davis, California, and a campus once renowned for its agronomy school. Al-Qaeda? I don’t think so.

Still, terror is what now makes our American world work, the trains run more or less on time, and the money flow in. So why should we be surprised that, having ripped Zuccotti Park apart, destroyed books, gotten a rep for pepper-spraying and roughing up protesters (and reporters, too), the NYPD should propitiously announce the arrest of yet another “lone wolf” terrorist. And can anyone be shocked that we’re talking about a disturbed, moneyless individual -- he couldn’t even pay his cell phone bill, no less rent a place to live -- under surveillance for two years, and palling around with an NYPD “informant” who smoked marijuana with him and may have given him not only a place to build a bomb but encouragement in doing so.

It was a police-developed terror case that evidently so reeked of coaching even the FBI refused to get involved. And yet this was Mayor Bloomberg’s shining moment of last week, as the NYPD declared his home a “frozen” zone, the equivalent of declaring martial law around his house. And who was endangering him? An OWS “drum circle.” In the United States, increasingly, those in power no longer observe the law. Instead, they make it up to suit their needs. In the process, the streets where you demonstrate, as (New York’s mayor keeps telling us) is our “right,” are regularly transformed into yet more fenced-in, heavily surveilled Zuccotti Prisons.

This may not be a traditional police state (yet), but it is an increasingly militarized policed state in which the blue coats, armed to the teeth, act with remarkable impunity -- and all in the name of our safety from a bunch of doofuses or unhinged individuals that its “informants” often seem to fund, put through basic terror courses, and encourage in every way until they are arrested as “terrorists.” This is essentially a scam on the basis of which rights are regularly abridged or tossed out the window.

In twenty-first-century America, “rights” are increasingly meant for those who behave themselves and don’t exercise them. And if you happen to be part of a government in which no criminal act of state -- torture, kidnapping, the assassination of U.S. citizens abroad, the launching of wars of aggression -- will ever bring a miscreant to court, only two crimes evidently exist: blowing a whistle or expressing your opinion. State Department official Peter Van Buren, whose new book about a disastrous year he spent in Iraq, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, is a must read, learned that the hard way. So did Morris Davis. So may we all. Tom


No Free Speech at Mr. Jefferson’s Library
George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, and Ray Bradbury Would Have Recognized Morris Davis's Problem

By Peter Van Buren

Here’s the First Amendment, in full: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Those beautiful words, almost haiku-like, are the sparse poetry of the American democratic experiment. The Founders purposely wrote the First Amendment to read broadly, and not like a snippet of tax code, in order to emphasize that it should encompass everything from shouted religious rantings to eloquent political criticism. Go ahead, reread it aloud at this moment when the government seems to be carving out an exception to it large enough to drive a tank through.

As the occupiers of Zuccotti Park, like those pepper-sprayed at UC Davis or the Marine veteran shot in Oakland, recently found out, the government’s ability to limit free speech, to stopper the First Amendment, to undercut the right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances, is perhaps the most critical issue our republic can face. If you were to write the history of the last decade in Washington, it might well be a story of how, issue by issue, the government freed itself from legal and constitutional bounds when it came to torture, the assassination of U.S. citizens, the holding of prisoners without trial or access to a court of law, the illegal surveillance of American citizens, and so on. In the process, it has entrenched itself in a comfortable shadowland of ever more impenetrable secrecy, while going after any whistleblower who might shine a light in.

Now, it also seems to be chipping away at the most basic American right of all, the right of free speech, starting with that of its own employees. As is often said, the easiest book to stop is the one that is never written; the easiest voice to staunch is the one that is never raised.

It’s true that, over the years, government in its many forms has tried to claim that you lose your free speech rights when you, for example, work for a public school, or join the military. In dealing with school administrators who sought to silence a teacher for complaining publicly that not enough money was being spent on academics versus athletics, or generals who wanted to stop enlisted men and women from blogging, the courts have found that any loss of rights must be limited and specific. As Jim Webb wrote when still Secretary of the Navy, “A citizen does not give up his First Amendment right to free speech when he puts on a military uniform, with small exceptions.”

Free speech is considered so basic that the courts have been wary of imposing any limits at all. The famous warning by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes about not falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater shows just how extreme a situation must be for the Supreme Court to limit speech. As Holmes put it in his definition: “The question in every case is whether the words used… are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.” That’s a high bar indeed.

The Government v. Morris Davis

Does a newspaper article from November 2009, a few hundred well-reasoned words that appeared in the conservative Wall Street Journal, concluding with these mild sentences, meet Justice Holmes’s high mark?

“Double standards don't play well in Peoria. They won't play well in Peshawar or Palembang either. We need to work to change the negative perceptions that exist about Guantanamo and our commitment to the law. Formally establishing a legal double standard will only reinforce them.”

Morris Davis got fired from his research job at the Library of Congress for writing that article and a similar letter to the editor of the Washington Post. (The irony of being fired for exercising free speech while employed at Thomas Jefferson’s library evidently escaped his bosses.) With the help of the ACLU, Davis demanded his job back. On January 8, 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Library of Congress on his behalf. In March 2011 a federal court ruled that the suit could go forward.

The case is being heard this month. Someday, it will likely define the free speech rights of federal employees and so determine the quality of people who will make up our government. We citizens vote for the big names, but it’s the millions of lower-ranked, unelected federal employees who decide by their actions how the laws are carried out (or ignored) and the Constitution upheld (or disregarded).

Morris Davis is not some dour civil servant. Prior to joining the Library of Congress, he spent more than 25 years as an Air Force colonel. He was, in fact, the chief military prosecutor at Guantánamo and showed enormous courage in October 2007 when he resigned from that position and left the Air Force. Davis had stated he would not use evidence obtained through torture back in 2005. When a torture advocate was named his boss in 2007, Davis quit rather than face the inevitable order to reverse his position.

In December 2008, Davis went to work as a researcher at the Library of Congress in the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division. None of his work was related to Guantanamo. He was not a spokesperson for, or a public face of, the library. He was respected at work. Even the people who fired him do not contest that he did his “day job” as a researcher well.

On November 12, 2009, the day after his op-ed and letter appeared, Davis was told by his boss that the pieces had caused the library concern over his “poor judgment and suitability to serve… not consistent with 'acceptable service'" -- as the letter of admonishment he received put the matter. It referred only to his op-ed and Washington Post letter, and said nothing about his work performance as a researcher. One week later, Davis was fired.

But Shouldn’t He Have Known Better Than to Write Something Political?

The courts have consistently supported the rights of the Ku Klux Klan to use extreme and hateful words, of the burners of books, and of those who desecrate the American flag. All of that is considered “protected speech.” A commitment to real free speech means accepting the toughest cases, the most offensive things people can conceive of, as the price of a free society.

The Library of Congress does not restrict its employees from writing or speaking, so Davis broke no rules. Nor, theoretically at least, do other government agencies like the CIA and the State Department restrict employees from writing or speaking, even on matters of official concern, although they do demand prior review for such things as the possible misuse of classified material.

Clearly, such agency review processes have sometimes been used as a de facto method of prior restraint. The CIA, for example, has been accused of using indefinite security reviews to effectively prevent a book from being published. The Department of Defense has also wielded exaggerated claims of classified material to block books.

Since at least 1968, there has, however, been no broad prohibition against government employees writing about political matters or matters of public concern. In 1968, the Supreme Court decided a seminal public employee First Amendment case, Pickering v. Board of Education. It ruled that school officials had violated the First Amendment rights of teacher Marvin Pickering when they fired him for writing a letter to his local paper criticizing the allocation of money between academics and athletics.

A Thought Crime

Morris Davis was fired by the Library of Congress not because of his work performance, but because he wrote that Wall Street Journal op-ed on his own time, using his own computer, as a private citizen, never mentioning his (unrelated) federal job. The government just did not like what he wrote. Perhaps his bosses were embarrassed by his words, or felt offended by them. Certainly, in the present atmosphere in Washington, they felt they had an open path to stopping their own employee from saying what he did, or at least for punishing him for doing so.

It’s not, of course, that federal employees don’t write and speak publicly. As long as they don’t step on toes, they do, in startling numbers, on matters of official concern, on hobbies, on subjects of all sorts, through what must be an untold number of blogs, Facebook pages, Tweets, op-eds, and letters to the editor. The government picked Davis out for selective, vindictive prosecution.

More significantly, Davis was fired prospectively -- not for poor attendance, or too much time idling at the water cooler, but because his boss believed Davis’s writing showed that the quality of his judgment might make him an unsuitable employee at some future moment. The simple act of speaking out on a subject at odds with an official government position was the real grounds for his firing. That, and that alone, was enough for termination.

As any devoted fan of George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, or Philip K. Dick would know, Davis committed a thought crime.

As some readers may also know, I evidently did the same thing. Because of my book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, about my experiences as a State Department official in Iraq, and the articles, op-eds, and blog posts I have written, I first had my security clearance suspended by the Department of State and then was suspended from my job there. That job had nothing to do with Iraq or any of the subjects I have written about. My performance reviews were good, and no one at State criticized me for my day-job work. Because we have been working under different human resources systems, Davis, as a civil servant on new-hire probation, could be fired directly. As a tenured Foreign Service Officer, I can’t, and so State has placed me on indefinite administrative leave status; that is, I’m without a job, pending action to terminate me formally through a more laborious process.

However, in removing me from my position, the document the State Department delivered to me darkly echoed what Davis’ boss at the Library of Congress said to him:

“The manner in which you have expressed yourself in some of your published material is inconsistent with the standards of behavior expected of the Foreign Service. Some of your actions also raise questions about your overall judgment. Both good judgment and the ability to represent the Foreign Service in a way that will make the Foreign Service attractive to candidates are key requirements.”

There follows a pattern of punishing federal employees for speaking out or whistle-blowing: look at Davis, or me, or Franz Gayl, or Thomas Drake. In this way, a precedent is being set for an even deeper cloud of secrecy to surround the workings of government. From Washington, in other words, no news, other than good or officially approved news, is to emerge.

The government’s statements at Davis’s trial, now underway in Washington D.C., do indeed indicate that he was fired for the act of speaking out itself, as much as the content of what he said. The Justice Department lawyer representing the government said that Davis’s writings cast doubt on his discretion, judgment and ability to serve as a high-level official. (She also added that Davis’s language in the op-ed was “intemperate.” One judge on the three-member bench seemed to support the point, saying, “It’s one thing to speak at a law school or association, but it’s quite a different thing to be in The Washington Post.” The case will likely end up at the Supreme Court.

Free Speech is for Iranians, not Government Employees

If Morris Davis loses his case, then a federal employee’s judgment and suitability may be termed insufficient for employment if he or she writes publicly in a way that offends or embarrasses the government. In other words, the very definition of good judgment, when it comes to freedom of speech, will then rest with the individual employer -- that is, the U.S. government.

Simply put, even if you as a federal employee follow your agency’s rules on publication, you can still be fired for what you write if your bosses don’t like it. If your speech offends them, then that’s bad judgment on your part and the First Amendment goes down the drain. Free speech is increasingly coming at a price in Washington: for federal employees, conscience could cost them their jobs.

In this sense, Morris Davis represents a chilling precedent. He raised his voice. If we’re not careful, the next Morris Davis may not. Federal employees are, at best, a skittish bunch, not known for their innovative, out-of-the-box thinking. Actions like those in the Davis case will only further deter any thoughts of speaking out, and will likely deter some good people from seeking federal employment.

More broadly, the Davis case threatens to give the government free rein in selecting speech by its employees it does not like and punishing it. It’s okay to blog about your fascination with knitting or to support official positions. If you happen to be Iranian or Chinese or Syrian, and not terribly fond of your government, and express yourself on the subject, the U.S. government will support your right to do it 110% of the way. However, as a federal employee, blog about your negative opinions on U.S. policies and you’ve got a problem. In fact, we have a problem as a country if freedom of speech only holds as long as it does not offend the U.S. government.

Morris Davis’s problem is neither unique nor isolated. Clothilde Le Coz, Washington director of Reporters without Borders, told me earlier this month, "Secrecy is taking over from free speech in the United States. While we naively thought the Obama administration would be more transparent than the previous one, it is actually the first to sue five people for being sources and speaking publicly." Scary, especially since this is no longer an issue of one rogue administration.

Government is different than private business. If you don’t like McDonald’s because of its policies, go to Burger King, or a soup kitchen, or eat at home. You don’t get the choice of federal governments, and so the critical need for its employees to be able to speak informs the republic. We are the only ones who can tell you what is happening inside your government. It really is that important. Ask Morris Davis.

Peter Van Buren spent a year in Iraq as a State Department Foreign Service Officer serving as Team Leader for two Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs). Now in Washington, he writes about Iraq and the Middle East at his blog, We Meant Well. His book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People (The American Empire Project, Metropolitan Books), has recently been published. To read about the grilling he’s gotten from the State Department for his truth-telling, click here.

[Note on further readings: You can check out the ACLU’s full-filing text on behalf of Davis by clicking here.]

[Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, or any other entity of the U.S. Government. It should be quite obvious that the Department of State has not approved, endorsed, or authorized this post.]

Copyright 2011 Peter Van Buren

© 2011 TomDispatch. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175472/


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US mulls harboring anti-Iran terrorists:

Members of the terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington (File Photo)

The United States is mulling over removing the anti-Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) from its terrorist watch list and giving refuge to its members, a move which indicates Washington's support for terrorism. . . .


Saturday, November 26, 2011


The Shocking Truth About the Crackdown on Occupy

By Naomi Wolf

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality.

November 26, 2011 "The Guardian" - -

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week.

An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park. . . .

The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening. . .

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them. . .

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence.

It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent.

Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.
Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square.

Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.



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Ask the Candidates Real Questions – Like These

By Ray McGovern

Pity the pundits. It must be hard to pretend to be a journalist and live in constant fear of being one question or comment away from joining the jobless. Continue

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Bush, Blair Found Guilty of War Crimes

By Press TV

A War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former US President George W. Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of war crimes for their roles in the Iraq war.
Continue

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Libya Leaders Supported by "Money, Arms, PR"- Ex-premier
By Reuters

One of the most senior figures in Libya's outgoing government has denounced its leaders as an unelected elite, supported by "money, arms and PR," and warned that 90 percent of Libya is politically voiceless. Continue

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The Roads To War And Economic Collapse

By Paul Craig Roberts

The day before the Thanksgiving holiday brought three extraordinary news items. Continue

Friday, November 18, 2011

US to stockpile cluster bombs in Australia?

Despite Australia having signed the convention against cluster munitions, a US base at Darwin may transport and stockpile cluster bomb munitions.

By NAJ Talor

Cluster munition or parts of the munition often do not explode on impact, causing great harm to the envrionment [EPA]

Brisbane, Australia: A US military "base" in Darwin, Australia (spun as a "rotational deployment" for China, I suspect), will necessitate foreign weapons systems and armaments being stockpiled, retained and transited on and in Australian territory.

Although they are long-standing and committed allies, Australia and the United States hold different positions on many matters relating to both arms control and humanitarian law.

One recent normative development where the US and Australia's views have diverged is the ban on cluster bombs, a weapon that has inside multiple - often hundreds - of small explosive sub-munitions or "bomblets" that are dispersed over an area the size of several football fields from either the air or ground.

As a result, the final location of each bomblet is impossible to control for those deploying them, and so whom they maim or kill is both unknown and indiscriminate. Roughly 30 per cent of those deployed "fail" to explode on impact, and so the unexploded bomblets become de facto landmines.

When the Convention on Cluster Munitions came into effect in August last year, the Gillard government was part of a chorus of NGOs and governments that saw "an end for all time" of the use of cluster munitions by prohibiting their production, use, stockpiling and transfer.

At present, a bill sits with the senate that will criminalise Australian deployment of the weapon under domestic law, thereby ratifying the international convention.

With the formation of a US military base in Darwin, Gillard will effectively make use of certain "loopholes" in the bill that arise from US' non-signatory status to the Convention, and obfuscation of negotiations that are currently taking place for an additional arms control measure this week.

Best estimates are that the US forces presently have a quarter of the world's four billion cluster munitions in stockpiles across both its territory and existing overseas bases. The US last deployed cluster munitions during the Iraq War in 2003, despite the emerging norm.

In my view, there's a fair degree of probability cluster munitions will be stockpiled in Darwin, since there are known plans for the US to base a number of B-52 bombers historically used to deploy cluster bombs. It is already known that nuclear weapons will not be permitted onto Australian territory, but a number of the US' naval fleet are nuclear-powered vessels, which will be allowed. . .

As I wrote for Crikey in March this year, "No other signatory country in the world has expressly permitted such unfettered free access to its territories as this. It is unprecedented."

If only I knew then what I do now about Darwin, especially given how little we are likely to ever know about what weapons the US keeps there.


NAJ Taylor is a doctoral candidate in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. A version of this article was first posted on his blog, This Blog Harms.

Follow NAJ Taylor on Twitter: @najtaylor

Link to this article: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/11/2011111783832165197.html


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Right now, the US Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world's Internet -- creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even Avaaz! Now if we stand with key members of the US Congress, we can defeat this attempt at global Internet censorship.
Click here and help build an unprecedented global petition
for a free and open Internet:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's Day
A Time To Honor Duped Murderers?


By fishychick

November 11, 2011 "Information Clearing House"

When one is called to defend one's home and family, it is not really courage that is required, it is a sense of duty. If my home is under attack, if my family is in danger, it is proper and fitting that I defend them and not expect someone else to put their life at risk for my home and family.

When one is called to defend one's nation, the same sense of duty is conjured. Unfortunately, the calls to defend this nation have been issued on false information in EVERY WAR THE US EVER FOUGHT.

The delusion that the US military is defending our home and our nation can be put to the lie with one simple fact: You do not defend your home by going next door and killing your neighbor. That is what our military does. There has never been a war, defending from foreign aggressors, the land that we call "ours" since we "won" independence from England (and stole from the Native Americans and Mexicans, but that is another topic.)

I am sick of pretending that a person who joins today's army is a hero. They are a mercenary at best, and a murderer looking for legitimate employment at worst. The history of US aggression against peaceful nations is long and disgusting.

The attack on the passenger ship the "Lusitania" was used to drag us into WW1, and it turns out the ship WAS full of military equipment after all. The passengers were murdered to rile the citizens and get them hungry for war. The citizens obliged. It worked so well the government used that trick over and over, and they are still at it today.

The news is full of posturing to go to war with Iran. Iran, who has not attacked another nation in over 100 years, is supposed to be this grave danger to our freedom. Well, the joke is on us, we have no meaningful freedom left.

Here is a nice link to a brief history of the lies used to wage war around the world at YOUR expense:

I do not want to kill anyone. I do not want anyone to kill anyone pretending they are "protecting" me unless the attacker is IN MY HOUSE. (That is where the US soldiers are, IN THE HOMES of Iraqi and Afghan people.) I have tried to honor their heart, the thing that made them willing to risk their life for others. But they are WRONG and I will no longer defend them in any way.

Defending is acceptable, but the US Military is NOT defending the US by going to OTHER nations and invading and occupying them. They are empire building and war mongering. I do not support that, and I only pay taxes out of fear of imprisonment (extortion) because I believe it is my MORAL duty to NOT fund these wars. It is a sad statement on US "freedom" when I cannot behave morally out of fear for my liberty.

Veterans' Day was signed into "legal holiday" status by Eisenhower. Rather ironic, in light of his dire warnings against the military industrial complex. It seems he felt pressured to honor immoral behavior, too. It is hard to draw the line between good men and women who have been deliberately duped into fearing an enemy that does not really exist and the behavior they engage in due to that fear.

So today, I do not honor Veterans who served, I honor the draft dodgers and the peace activists and the INCREDIBLY brave men who went to war and came back and TOLD US THE TRUTH. What they had to face about their own actions is no small task - we all want to believe that we make good decisions and behave morally, and it takes true strength of character to admit one was lied to and used, and then to stand and call out the liars.

I still support the individuals who are caught in the military machinery, they are people who deserve better. I DO NOT SUPPORT WAR or anyone who is stealing money from me to wage it.

If you are in the military, STOP KILLING PEOPLE IN MY NAME AND WITH MY MONEY. You are responsible for your actions, you KNOW there were no "weapons of mass destruction" and you know bin Laden was a CIA agent and you know Iran is no threat to you or me or this land we call home. The enemy is domestic now, and if you are in the Middle East you are leaving your home and family defenseless. Shame on you.

It was the men in the trenches who finally ended Viet Nam, it is up to the men and women in the desert to end the US invasion and occupation of the Middle east.


Today, I honor:


My brother Gordon who thought he was headed to Viet Nam, and did not want to go. Not wanting to kill strangers was a good thing.

My second cousin Tristan who volunteered after 9-11 then was killed in an unarmored Humvee by an IED.He will not kill any more strangers now.

My friend Blayne who served and now speaks truth and defends peace. He's trying to stop the killing of strangers in general.

Adam Kokesh for relentlessly and publicly speaking out against the wars.

Scott Olsen who stood and put his life on the line for peace on US soil.

Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Veterans For Peace.

Smedley Butler who tried to warn us all.

Every man who dodged the draft in the name of peace (not out of cowardice like GWBush.)


I am sure there are good men and women in uniform, but it is time to fight for peace MORE aggressively than you ever fought a war. If you REALLY want your home and family safe, then get to Oakland or Wall Street and start fighting the domestic enemy that is about to destroy any last shred of liberty the US citizens enjoy.

If you or someone you know is about to join the military because they cannot get a job, PLEASE remind them that there are jobs with the Mafia and Bloods and Cryps where you get to murder people and make serious money, If they are compelled by some sense of duty, please show them the history of false flag attacks by our government on our citizens.

And if you or anyone you knows thinks Israel is our ally, please learn about the USS Liberty. Then do a little research and look and see how many Israel / US dual citizens sit in places of extreme power in the US government, and how many of them are current or former CEO's of the banks that are stealing our homes from us.

The US government has been overthrown by bankers whose first loyalty is to Israel, not the US. If soldiers and Veterans had truly defended the US from the actual invasion of our nation, we would not be at endless war with Israel's enemies, we would be engaged in peaceful trade throughout the world with our friends and allies.

How about a holiday celebrating peace? I know, everyone wishes for "Peace on Earth" at Christmas, but then when Jesus does not leave it under the tree for them they give up on it. At least they got some flashy electronic war simulation games for the kids - that will make everyone happy and lead to a better world any day now, I am sure....

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Reports of Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Sound Like a Repeat of Iraq Eight Years Ago

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“We will not build two (nuclear) bombs in the face of (America’s) 20,000,” said Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in response to an International Atomic Energy Agency report this week that accuses Iran of doing just that. He called Yukiya Amano, the head of the IAEA, a U.S. puppet. Continue


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From The Archives
A Veteran Remembers


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The latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran appears to have falsified information about a Russian scientist who allegedly helped Tehran advance its nuclear weapons programme.
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Iran Nuclear Report: Why It May Not Be A Game-changer After All

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

IAEA’s ‘Soviet Nuclear Scientist’ Never Worked on Weapons

by , November 10, 2011

From http://antiwar.com/

The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published by a Washington think tank Tuesday repeated the sensational claim previously reported by news media all over the world that a former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist had helped Iran construct a detonation system that could be used for a nuclear weapon.

But it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the IAEA report [.pdf] but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives.

In fact, Danilenko, a Ukrainian, has worked solely on nanodiamonds from the beginning of his research career and is considered one of the pioneers in the development of nanodiamond technology, as published scientific papers confirm.

It now appears that the IAEA and David Albright, the director of the International Institute for Science and Security in Washington, who was the source of the news reports about Danilenko, never bothered to check the accuracy of the original claim by an unnamed “Member State” on which the IAEA based its assertion about his nuclear weapons background....

Danilenko clearly explained that the purpose of his work in Iran was to help the development of a nanodiamond industry in the country....

Careful examination of the “alleged studies” documents has revealed inconsistencies and other anomalies that give evidence of fraud.

But the IAEA, the United States and its allies in the IAEA continue to treat the documents as though there were no question about their authenticity.

The unnamed member state that informed the agency about Danilenko’s alleged experience as a Soviet nuclear weapons scientist is almost certainly Israel, which has been the source of virtually all the purported intelligence on Iranian work on nuclear weapons over the past decade.

Israel has made no secret of its determination to influence world opinion on the Iranian nuclear program by disseminating information to governments and news media, including purported Iran government documents.

Israeli Foreign Ministry and intelligence officials told journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins about the special unit of Mossad dedicated to that task at the very time the fraudulent documents were being produced....

In an interview in September 2008, Albright said Olli Heinonen, then deputy director for safeguards at the IAEA, had told him that a document from a member state had convinced him that the “alleged studies” documents were genuine. Albright said the state was “probably Israel.”

The Jerusalem Post‘s Yaakov Katz reported Wednesday that Israeli intelligence agencies had “provided critical information used in the report,” the purpose of which was to “push through a new regime of sanctions against Tehran.”

(Inter Press Service)

Read more by Gareth Porter


From http://antiwar.com/