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Eyes Wide Shut on the Iraq War
Edior Note: As the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War approaches, it’s worth recalling one moment when the curtain was prematurely lifted on the lies justifying the invasion – and how quickly government officials and the complicit mainstream press pulled it back down.
By Ray McGovern
Ten years ago, as President George W. Bush and his administration were putting the finishing touches on their unprovoked invasion of Iraq, the mainstream U.S. news media had long since capitulated, accepting the conventional wisdom that nothing could – or should – stop the march to war.
Class War Films, the brainchild of three filmmakers, Lanny Cotler, and Paul and Jason Edwards, have offered to provide ThisCantBeHappening! with occasional short videos on topics like this, military spending, political fraud, financial crime, etc. They are working on creating a website, which will be called ClassWarriors.org, which should be functioning "soon" we are informed.
We're happy here at TCBH! to be able to help get their films out to a wider public.
More Economic Straight Talk
by Stephen Lendman
There's far too little of it around. TV talking heads shun it. All's well in the world, they say. They don't dare report accurately. Their jobs depend on manipulative deception.
Financial truisms bear repeating. Money creation madness assures trouble. Irrational exuberance follows. So do bubbles.
Washington Whitewashes Israeli Murder
by Stephen Lendman
Why not. It whitewashes its own. Washington is a rogue terror state. So is Israel. It denigrates non-Jews. It's waged war on Palestine for decades. It's guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. Its rap sheet makes serial killers look saintly.
As we’ve indicated umpteen times (yes, I, too get tired of having to use that phrase) and as the TSA itself indicates on its own website, photographing, videotaping, or otherwise recording at the TSA checkpoint is legal.
The only time it isn’t legal is when a specific airport indicates by a public sign that that particular airport in that particular jurisdiction has regulations against it. And that’s very few airports.
This coming Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing on "Drones and the War On Terror: When Can the U.S. Target Alleged American Terrorists Overseas?"
This is odd for a number of reasons.
1. Congressional committees usually don't do anything at all on such matters.
2. The vast majority of the men, women, and children being killed have not been targeted.
3. The vast majority of the men, women, and children being killed or targeted have not been Americans.
4. The president's nominee to direct the CIA refuses to deny that the president claims the power to kill Americans when they are not overseas, not to mention non-Americans within the United States and anyone at all overseas.
5. The three Americans we know the president has targeted and killed by drone strike in no way match up with the justifications for theoretical strikes found in the "white paper."
6. The president is targeting and killing people with a variety of technologies, not just drones.
7. The only remotely legal or moral answer to the question asked by the hearing is "never."
All such concerns will, of course, be brushed aside. Congress ought to question the administration on its program of drone killing, regardless of what title the hearing is given, right? But this is where things get really odd. The witness list doesn't include the president or a single person who works for him, no one from the CIA, no one from the White House, no one from the Pentagon, nobody from the Office of Legal Counsel. As far as we know, and it seems extremely likely to be the case, the committee has not subpoenaed any documents. If it invited any government witnesses, it has not subpoenaed them or made any plans to figuratively or literally hold them in contempt. Instead, all the witnesses are outside "experts" who won't know any more about what's going on than the rest of us.
A defender of this approach explained it to me thus: Senators and Representatives are often remarkably ignorant. Senator Dianne Feinstein doesn't even know that all military aged males killed by drone strikes are being declared militants. Congress Members don't even read newspapers. If some smart experts testify at a public hearing, then elected officials can't deny as many facts. Plus, inviting government witnesses would just produce stonewalling or lying.
In my view, stonewalling and lying are reasons for subpoenas and contempt, not a complete abdication of the power of oversight. It's not that I think glorified public newspaper reading is worse than nothing. I just think more is called for.
On the other hand, the notion that Congress needs more information before it should act is ludicrous. What sort of memo could legalize murder? What sort of due process could be applied to murder to make it not be murder? As long as Congress is bringing in experts to talk about what's already public knowledge, I'd like to propose a different type of witness. If witnesses from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen are not deemed relevant, newspaper interpreters are not going to make them so. I'd like to propose, then, as one of many actually useful witnesses a gentleman by the name of Leo Tolstoy, who had this to say well over a century ago:
"People are astonished that every year there are sixty thousand cases of suicide in Europe, and those only the recognized and recorded cases—and excluding Russia and Turkey; but one ought rather to be surprised that there are so few. Every man of the present day, if we go deep enough into the contradiction between his conscience and his life, is in a state of despair.
"Not to speak of all the other contradictions between modern life and the conscience, the permanently armed condition of Europe together with its profession of Christianity is alone enough to drive any man to despair, to doubt of the sanity of mankind, and to terminate an existence in this senseless and brutal world. This contradiction, which is a quintessence of all the other contradictions, is so terrible that to live and to take part in it is only possible if one does not think of it—if one is able to forget it.
"What! all of us, Christians, not only profess to love one another, but do actually live one common life; we whose social existence beats with one common pulse—we aid one another, learn from one another, draw ever closer to one another to our mutual happiness, and find in this closeness the whole meaning of life!—and to-morrow some crazy ruler will say some stupidity, and another will answer in the same spirit, and then I must go expose myself to being murdered, and murder men—who have done me no harm—and more than that, whom I love. And this is not a remote contingency, but the very thing we are all preparing for, which is not only probable, but an inevitable certainty.
"To recognize this clearly is enough to drive a man out of his senses or to make him shoot himself. And this is just what does happen, and especially often among military men. A man need only come to himself for an instant to be impelled inevitably to such an end.
"And this is the only explanation of the dreadful intensity with which men of modern times strive to stupefy themselves, with spirits, tobacco, opium, cards, reading newspapers, traveling, and all kinds of spectacles and amusements. These pursuits are followed up as an important, serious business. And indeed they are a serious business. If there were no external means of dulling their sensibilities, half of mankind would shoot themselves without delay, for to live in opposition to one's reason is the most intolerable condition. And that is the condition of all men of the present day. All men of the modern world exist in a state of continual and flagrant antagonism between their conscience and their way of life. This antagonism is apparent in economic as well as political life. But most striking of all is the contradiction between the Christian law of the brotherhood of men existing in the conscience and the necessity under which all men are placed by compulsory military service of being prepared for hatred and murder—of being at the same time a Christian and a gladiator."
It seems to me that the occasion of publicly discussing the U.S. government's targeting and killing U.S. citizens presents an opportunity for opening up even the narrowest of bigots to the contradiction between killing and protecting (whether or not one puts the latter in the religious terms of Tolstoy's day -- as I do not but most Congress Members sometimes pretend to). Tolstoy may not be the ideal witness, as he's dead. But he does have the advantage of having already posed to himself better questions than anyone would ask him if he were alive. (You know they'd be asking about the latest film adaptation of Anna Karenina.)
"'How can you kill people, when it is written in God's commandment: "Thou shalt not kill"?' I have often inquired of different soldiers. And I always drove them to embarrassment and confusion by reminding them of what they did not want to think about. They knew they were bound by the law of God, 'Thou shalt not kill,' and knew too that they were bound by their duty as soldiers, but had never reflected on the contradiction between these duties. The drift of the timid answers I received to this question was always approximately this: that killing in war and executing criminals by command of the government are not included in the general prohibition of murder. But when I said this distinction was not made in the law of God, and reminded them of the Christian duty of fraternity, forgiveness of injuries, and love, which could not be reconciled with murder, the peasants usually agreed, but in their turn began to ask me questions. 'How does it happen,' they inquired, 'that the government [which according to their ideas cannot do wrong] sends the army to war and orders criminals to be executed.' When I answered that the government does wrong in giving such orders, the peasants fell into still greater confusion, and either broke off the conversation or else got angry with me.
"'They must have found a law for it. The archbishops know as much about it as we do, I should hope,' a Russian soldier once observed to me. And in saying this the soldier obviously set his mind at rest, in the full conviction that his spiritual guides had found a law which authorized his ancestors, and the tzars and their descendants, and millions of men, to serve as he was doing himself, and that the question I had put him was a kind of hoax or conundrum on my part.
"Everyone in our Christian society knows, either by tradition or by revelation or by the voice of conscience, that murder is one of the most fearful crimes a man can commit, as the Gospel tells us, and that the sin of murder cannot be limited to certain persons, that is, murder cannot be a sin for some and not a sin for others. Everyone knows that if murder is a sin, it is always a sin, whoever are the victims murdered, just like the sin of adultery, theft, or any other. At the same time from their childhood up men see that murder is not only permitted, but even sanctioned by the blessing of those whom they are accustomed to regard as their divinely appointed spiritual guides, and see their secular leaders with calm assurance organizing murder, proud to wear murderous arms, and demanding of others in the name of the laws of the country, and even of God, that they should take part in murder. Men see that there is some inconsistency here, but not being able to analyze it, involuntarily assume that this apparent inconsistency is only the result of their ignorance. The very grossness and obviousness of the inconsistency confirms them in this conviction."
Congress would hear something worth hearing from this witness, I believe. But so might twenty-first century U.S. peasants as well.
Understanding Israeli Settlements
by Stephen Lendman
They violate international law. They prioritize land theft. They prevent peace. On January 31, the UN International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory condemned them for good reason.
UNESCO Peace Prize to a War Criminal
by Stephen Lendman
It shouldn't surprise. Nobel committee members prioritize doing it. America's Presidential Medal of Freedom honors genocidists. So does Israel's equivalent award.
UNESCO is the UN's educational, scientific and cultural organization. It stresses "building peace in the minds of men and women."
Washington Backs Syrian Anti-Government Terrorism
by Stephen Lendman
Make no mistake. Syria is Washington's war. It was planned years ago. Regime change is policy. At issue is replacing Assad's government with a pro-Western puppet one.
Washington tolerates no independent governments. It demands subservience to US policies. Outliers are targeted for removal. Options include war.
A careful study of the FBI's own data on terrorism in the United States, reported in Trevor Aaronson's book The Terror Factory, finds one organization leading all others in creating terrorist plots in the United States: the FBI.
Imagine an incompetent bureaucrat. Now imagine a corrupt one. Now imagine both combined. You're starting to get at the image I take away of some of the FBI agents' actions recounted in this book.
Now imagine someone both dumb enough to be manipulated by one of those bureaucrats and hopelessly criminal, often sociopathic, and generally at the mercy of the criminal or immigration courts. Now you're down to the level of the FBI informant, of which we the Sacred-Taxpayers-Who-Shall-Defund-Our-Own-Retirement employ some 15,000 now, dramatically more than ever before. And we pay them very well.
Then try to picture someone so naive, incompetent, desperate, out-of-place, or deranged as to be manipulable by an FBI informant. Now you're at the level of the evil terrorist masterminds out to blow up our skyscrapers.
Well, not really. They're actually almost entirely bumbling morons who couldn't tie their own shoes or buy the laces without FBI instigation and support. The FBI plants the ideas, makes the plans, provides the fake weapons and money, creates the attempted act of terrorism, makes an arrest, and announces the salvation of the nation.
Over and over again. The procedure has become so regular that intended marks have spotted the sting being worked on them simply by googling the name or phone number of the bozo pretending to recruit them into the terrorist brotherhood, and discovering that he's a serial informant.
Between 911 and August, 2011, the U.S. government prosecuted 508 people for terrorism in the United States. 243 had been targeted using an FBI informant. 158 had been caught in an FBI terrorism sting. 49 (that we know of, FBI recording devices have completely unbelievable patterns of "malfunctioning") had encountered an agent provocateur. Most of the rest charged with "terrorism" had little or nothing to do with terrorism at all, most of them charged with more minor offenses like immigration offenses or making false statements. Three or four people out of the whole list appear to be men whom one would reasonably call terrorists in the commonly accepted sense of the word. They intended to and had something at least approaching the capacity to engage in acts of terrorism.
These figures are not far off the percentages of Guantanamo prisoners or drone strike victims believed to be guilty of anything resembling what they've been accused of. So, we shouldn't single out the FBI for criticism. But it should receive its share.
Here's how U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon understood a case that seems all too typical:
"The essence of what occurred here is that a government, understandably zealous to protect its citizens from terrorism, came upon a man both bigoted and suggestible, one who was incapable of committing an act of terrorism on his own. It created acts of terrorism out of his fantasies of bravado and bigotry, and then made those fantasies come true. . . . I suspect that real terrorists would not have bothered themselves with a person who was so utterly inept."
When we hear on television that the FBI has prevented a plot to blow up a crowded area of a big U.S. city, we either grow terrified and grateful, or we wait for the inevitable revelation that the FBI created the plot from start to finish, manipulating some poor fool who had zero contact with foreign terrorists and more often than not participated unwittingly or for the money offered him. But even those of us who do the latter might find Aaronson's survey of this phenomenon stunning.
During some of its heretofore darkest days the FBI didn't use informants like it does now. J. Edgar Hoover's informants just observed and reported. They didn't instigate. That practice took off during the war on drugs in the 1980s. But the assumption that a drug dealer might have done the same thing without the FBI's sting operation is backed up by some statistics. There is no evidence to back up the idea that the unemployed grocery bagger and video game player who sees visions, has never heard of major Islamic terrorist groups, can't purchase a gun with thousands of dollars in cash and instructions on how to purchase a gun, understands terrorism entirely from the insights of Hollywood movies, and who has no relevant skills or resources, is going to blow up a building without help from the FBI.
(Which came first, the FBI's terror factory or Hollywood's is a moot question now that they feed off each other so well.)
Read this book, I'm telling you, we're looking at people who've been locked away for decades who couldn't have found their ass with two hands and a map. These cases more than anything else resemble those of mentally challenged innocent men sitting on death rows because they tried to please the police officer asking them to confess to a crime they clearly knew nothing about.
Of course the press conferences announcing the convictions of drug dealers and "terrorists" are equally successful. They also equally announce an ongoing campaign doomed to failure. The campaign for "terrorists" developed under President George W. Bush and expanded, like so much else, under President Barack Obama.
Aaronson spoke with J. Stephen Tidwell, former executive assistant director at the FBI. Tidwell argued that someone thinking about the general idea of committing crimes should be set up and then prosecuted, because as long as they're not in prison the possibility exists that someone other than the FBI could encourage them to, and assist them in, actually committing a crime. "You and I could sit here, go online, and by tonight have a decent bomb built. What do you do? Wait for him to figure it out himself?"
The answer, based on extensive data, is quite clearly that he will not figure it out himself and act on it. That the FBI has stopped 3 acts of terrorism is believable. But that the FBI has stopped 508 and there wasn't a 509th is just not possible. The explanation is that there haven't been 509 or even 243. The FBI has manufactured terrorist plots by the dozens, including most of the best known ones. (And if you watched John Brennan's confirmation hearing, you know that the underwear bomber and other "attacks" not under the FBI's jurisdiction have been no more real.)
Arthur Cummings, former executive assistant director of the FBI's National Security Branch, told Aaronson that the enemy was not Al Qaeda or Islamic Terrorism, but the idea of it. "We're at war with an idea," he said. But his strategy seems to be one of consciously attempting to lose hearts and minds. For the money spent on infiltrations and stings, the U.S. government could have given every targeted community free education from preschool to college, just as it could do for every community at home and many abroad by redirecting war spending. When you're making enemies of people rather than friends, to say that you're working against an idea is simply to admit that you're not targeting people based on a judicial review finding any probable cause to legally do so.
The drug war's failure can be calculated in the presence of drugs, although the profits for prisons and other profiteers aren't universally seen as failures. The FBI's counterterrorism can be calculated as a failure largely because of the waste of billions of dollars on nonexistent terrorism. But there's also the fact that the FBI's widespread use of informants, very disproportionately in Muslim communities, has made ordinary people who might provide tips hesitant to do so for fear of being recruited as informants. Thus "counter terrorism" may make it harder to counter terrorism. It may also feed into real terrorism by further enraging people already outraged by U.S. foreign policy. But it's no failure at all if measured by the dollars flowing into the FBI, or the dollars flowing into the pockets of informants who get paid by commission (that is, based on convictions in court of their marks). Nor do weapons makers, other war profiteers, or other backers of right wing politics in general seem to be objecting in any way to the production of widespread fear and bigotry.
Congressman Stephen Lynch has introduced a bill that would require federal law enforcement agencies to report to Congress twice a year on all serious crimes, authorized or unauthorized, committed by informants (who are often much more dangerous criminals than are those they're informing on). The bill picked up a grand total of zero cosponsors last Congress and has reached the same mark thus far in the current one.
The corporate media cartel has seen its ratings soar with each new phony incident. Opposition to current practice does not seem to be coming from that quarter.
And let's all be clear with each other: our society is tolerating this because the victims are Muslims. With many other minority groups we would all be leaping to their defense.
It may be time to try thinking of Muslims as Samaritans, as of course some of them are.
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Bill Hughes' Slideshow of 55 Photos of a "Reception Party" for Ex-CIA Agent & Whistleblower, John Kiriakou
The following is an update (to my earlier post here):
By Dave Lindorff
I’m fed up with the trashing of the Baby Boom generation.
Sure you can find plenty of scoundrels, freeloaders, charlatans and thugs who were born between 1946 and 1964, but you can find bad and lazy people in every generation. In fact, the so called “Greatest Generation” who preceded the Boomers abounds in them. That doesn’t prove anything.
Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait It happened on The Hollywood Walk of Shame. World Can't Wait joined with ICUJP and other groups in a march and vigil that took over the intersection at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave for about 45 minutes on Sunday, Feb 17. This is the famous scene where Oscars will be awarded in one week. Actor David Clennon spoke at a nearby church and then led the group of about 40 people, all ages, down to the Avenue of the Stars.
by Debra Sweet It’s a good thing that tens of thousands of people, many young, braved the cold Sunday and marched around the White House demanding that Barack Obama turn against the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline is already a disaster for Canada, and for the ultimate recipients of the oil, whether that’s the U.S.
Brennan’s Loose Talk on Iran Nukes
The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearing on John Brennan to head the CIA focused on lethal drones, but Brennan’s loose talk lumping Iran with North Korea as nuclear threats could be even more worrisome, recalling Iraq WMD exaggerations, as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity warn Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
February 22, 2013
MEMORANDUM FOR: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
SUBJECT: Due Diligence on John Brennan
Why we won’t stop writing about the abuses of the TSA, DHS, and the entire National Security State, why we won’t stop naming things by their proper names, calling them out for what they are, and speaking the truth, no matter how many people it disturbs.
Read the rest at TSA News.
Straight Talk on Israel
by Stephen Lendman
Zygmunt Bauman is UK-based University of Leeds Emeritus Professor of Sociology. His work spans five decades. He's now aged 87.
His wide-ranging interests include consumerism, globalization, ethics, power, the status of workers, intellectuals in society, and nature of modern relationships.
Guilt by Accusation
by Stephen Lendman
Police states govern this way. Israel's one of the worst. Racism is institutionalized. Arabs have no rights. They're considered subhumans. They're viciously persecuted.
World leaders turn a blind eye. Washington provides generous support. It's longstanding policy. Bipartisan support affirms it. Doing so conspires with high crimes.
To contact Bartolo email firstname.lastname@example.org
Between April 4 and July 3, the entire country (and the other 96% of humanity too) is invited to join in a bicycle ride from California to Washington, D.C. You can join as a bicycler or as a sponsor.
This won't be a ride to raise awareness about cruelty to animals, but it will raise awareness about war -- by many measures the greatest destroyer of the natural environment we have, as well as consisting first and foremost of the mass killing of that peculiar animal we're all rather fond of: the homo sapiens.
This won't be a ride to raise money for cancer research, but it will raise money for the campaign to abolish war -- a carcinogen if the people of Fallujah ever saw one.
This paragraph is exclusively for supporters of President Obama. If that's not you, please skip to the following paragraph right now. With Republicans out of the White House and no election this year, there is no need to fund election campaigns or to work against particular wars. This is a moment in which our time and our resources are freed up to support long-term structure building so that the plague of war never returns. Remember all those promises to engage in policy-based activism once the most important election of our lives was over? This is the time to get in better physical shape before phone banking season. Pump up your tires and polish your handlebars! Stop reading and get riding right now.
With presidential war powers expanding rapidly and war gaining widespread acceptance among liberals there is an urgent need for an educational and organizing effort that pedals under, over, and around the barricades of the corporate media. U.S. forces are in more nations than ever before, the military budget is still rising and will still be rising even if the sequester "cuts" go through, the CIA has been handed war making powers, the president has claimed the power to spy without warrants, imprison without trial, and murder at will. Wars are launched on nations like Libya in defiance of Congress and the United Nations, with blowback spreading rapidly. Pentagon friendly dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are backed against their people's nonviolent movements for democracy, while violence is encouraged in Syria and Iran. Palestinians are left to their fate, while a new kind of war launched from flying robots slaughters men, women, and children, traumatizes populations, and generates refugee crises, engulfing nations in boiling hatred of the United States of America.
When MSNBC assigns David Axelrod (who refused to deny that President Obama maintains the power to torture anyone as he sees fit) to analyze and punditrify John Brennan's refusal to deny that President Obama maintains the power to murder U.S. citizens within the United States (never mind anyone at all outside the United States or 96% of humanity within it), the triumph of freemarket journalism will have reached a pinnacle unsurpassed in history, putting the Soviet Union's efforts to shame and finally concluding the Cold War, unless nobody notices.
You know who just might wake some people up to what's staring them in the face?
Cindy Sheehan. Cindy has proposed the Tour de Peace. She's been lining up events and participants along the route. She's ready to ride, and to me she is an inspiration. Cindy's appeal, both before and after the corporate media made her a story in Crawford Texas seven-and-a-half years ago, was her uncensored honesty. She's still got it. I've seen a lot of people dump their heart and soul into the peace movement over the past decade and burn out and quit. I appreciate their efforts. We need sprinters, just as the Tour de Peace needs short-distance riders.
But when I see someone become even more aware of the evil that has swallowed up our government, and continually find new ways to confront it, I see a model others should follow. Cindy's gone at it as hard as anyone. She's taken nasty blows from the right and the so-called left. She's burned out and quit, too, but never for more than a day or so. She just keeps coming. Cindy has quit paying her taxes because of the wars they fund. She's been arrested for nonviolent resistance countless times. She's traveled endlessly, speaking and inspiring. She's written a stack of important books. She's hosted a radio show, blogged, and run for Congress and the Vice Presidency. And in this age in which pundits openly say they'd oppose the president's abuses if he were a Republican, Cindy goes ahead and opposed them anyway, with plenty of opposition left over for the Congress, the courts, the funders, the weapons makers, the lobbyists, and the White House Press Corpse.
Creating a mass of people in the streets for peace or justice usually requires money and staff, bus rentals and leg work, coalition building and compromising. Two moments stand out in my mind when none of that was needed. One was when Cindy went to Crawford. The other was when Occupy went to Wall Street. Both were moments of brilliant principled and courageous activism. Neither would have ever been heard of by most who heard of them if not for the corporate media. I've seen Cindy attempt to recreate Crawford countless times since (not to mention before), without the same success. She does so fully aware of the forces at work. She does so with every effort to create our own media and bypass the corporate censors. And she does so knowing that the only way to guarantee failure is to not try.
What if we were to create a movement capable of thinking of itself as real and national or international even outside of our television sets? One of the side effects would be its inevitable infiltration into our television sets. But the primary effect would be the beginning of hope and change as something more than perverse slogans of star-gazing servitude.
When the Tour de Peace leaves Casey Sheehan's grave in Vacaville, Calif., on the ninth anniversary of his death in Iraq and the 45th of Dr. King's in Memphis, it will follow the mother road, Route 66, to Chicago, and other highways and byways from there to D.C. The tour will conclude on July 3, 2013, with a ride from Arlington National Cemetery to the White House.
This August will mark 8 years since Sheehan began her widely reported protest at then-President George W. Bush's "ranch". She was demanding to know what the "noble cause" was for which Bush claimed Americans were dying in Iraq. Neither Bush nor Obama has yet offered a justification for a global war now in its 12th year. The Tour de Peace will carry with it these demands:
To end wars,
To end immunity for U.S. war crimes,
To end suppression of our civil rights,
To end the use of fossil fuels,
To end persecution of whistleblowers,
To end partisan apathy and inaction.
as well as the names of everyone who signs on in support.
Watch the trailer here.
In time-honored fashion, the TSA, once again, offers a weak, responsibility-avoiding apology to 3-year-old Lucy Forcke and her parents Nathan Forcke and Annie Schulte.
It took a while, but the national media finally picked up on the story we reported here three days ago about the TSA harassing the family after they had already successfully cleared the checkpoint.
Targeting Jeremy Hammond
by Stephen Lendman
America is no democracy. It never was an isn't now. Obama enforces police state harshness. It's official policy. Lawless entrapment reflects it. More on that below.
CISPA Is Back
by Stephen Lendman
It shouldn't surprise. The 2011 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) never really went away. It ducked and covered for another day.
It's more about destroying personal freedom than online security. It gives government and corporate supporters unlimited power to access personal/privileged information online.
To contact Bartolo email email@example.com
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When I wrote about MSNBC's documentary on Iraq war lies this week, I linked to an earlier blog post of mine that drew heavily on a House Judiciary Committee report on the same topic, as well as to Lawrence Wilkerson's recent debate with Norman Solomon on Democracy Now!
When Brad Friedman reposted my Hubris review, he suggested I ask Wilkerson for a response. I did and here it is:
David,Several misleading and even spurious bullets and headlines that make strong claims that are not supported in the surrounding narrative. For example, no one ever DID warn Powell about Curveball, in fact quite the opposite. This particular source--billed as an Iraqi engineer who had defected--was George Tenet's--the DCI's--strongest weapon. And incidentally, the title "Curveball" was never heard until well after the 5 Feb presentation.Your use of INR's assessment of "weak" repeatedly, is weak itself. INR was at the time one of 15 intelligence entities in the US intelligence architecture at the federal level. (Add Israel France, the UK, Jordan, Germany, et al, and of course you get even more). INR's assessments were often viewed--indeed still are--as maverick within that group (and were particularly so viewed by George Tenet and his deputy John McLaughlin. Indeed, INR's insistence on putting a footnote in the October 2002 NIE with regard to its doubts about Saddam's having an active nuclear weapons program was only grudgingly acknowledged and allowed by Tenet. And in truth, INR itself concurred in the overall NIE's finding that chems and bios existed (and the NIE was the root document of Powell's 5 Feb presentation).I have admitted what a hoax we perpetrated. But it actually spoils or desecrates a fair condemnation of what is already a bad enough set of misstatements, very poor intelligence analysis, and--I am increasingly convinced, outright lies--to take the matter to absurdity with one man, in this case Powell.To see my point dramatically, one must realize that whether Powell had given his presentation or not, the President would have gone to war with Iraq. That doesn't relieve Powell or me or any of us who participated in preparing Powell of responsibility; it simply places the bulk of that responsibility squarely where it should rest.You, Ray McGovern, and I will never reach accord on this I'm certain; but I must say that just as I may have biases from my long association with Powell, I believe both of you should examine your biases with regard to the man. Just as it was very difficult for me to face the fact I had participated in a hoax, it probably is just as difficult that you two admit you may be too aggressively critical of Powell. Both our conditions are recognizably human and yours more forgiveable than mine to be sure. lw
Thanks for this response.
I'm CCing Brad Blog which posted my commentary and might want to post your reply.
Here's my reply to your reply (also available to publish) :-)
Whether or not anyone told Powell of Curveball's reputation, Powell's own staff, the INR, told him the claims were weak, the claims that came from Curveball and from numerous other sources. The INR told him the claims were weak and questionable and even implausible.