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Alfred Nobel's will, written in 1895, left funding for a prize to be awarded to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses."
Well almost standing together. The Worcester Telegram and Gazette reported that Occupy Wall Streeters in Worcester, MA "mostly occupied the north end of the small Federal Plaza Park and Tea Partiers mostly the south" last Friday on Nationwide NDAA 2012 Congressional Protest Day. The protest has been expanded to fall on the first Friday and Saturday of every month at congressional offices across the country. They gathered to protest the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which strips US citizens of their right to a jury trial when the government asserts that they are suspected of "support" for "forces" which are "associated" with Al Qaeda. The NDAA allows the US military to detain citizens without charges, counsel, or any contact with the outside world, for life.
These excerpts from the Arab League observers' report on Syria make it clear that there is widespread violence on both sides, but that the opposition and the Western media have exaggerated the violence and casualties inflicted by government forces. The UN has stopped accepting casualty figures claimed by the opposition, and has frozen its "official" estimate of civilian deaths at 5,400, without acknowledging that this may already be highly exaggerated. This is not yet a bloodbath on the scale of Libya, where even the new government admits that at least 25,000 people died in the NATO-led war. Syria could follow the Libya model though, if NATO and the GCC keep providing weapons and military training to the Free Syrian Army and are prepared to beef it up with special forces on the ground, and as long as the UN approves a no-fly zone to provide cover for another 9,700 air strikes. How could Russia and China dare to nip this humanitarian crusade in the bud?
Security Council Showdown on Syria
by Stephen Lendman
Slowly things are coming to a head. America, Israel, rogue NATO partners, and regional despot allies are itching for a fight with Syria. Russia and China stand firmly opposed.
Say No to War
by Stephen Lendman
Wolfgang Borchert: German, author, playwright, poet. His experience under Hitler and Wehrmacht service changed his life.
Walid Hanatsheh: Palestinian Prisoner of Conscience
by Stephen Lendman
The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association calls Hanatsheh "a human rights defender who is currently in administrative detention."
New Syria Resolution: Better but Still Flawed
by Stephen Lendman
Its sponsors include America, Britain, France, Germany, Portugal, Colombia, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, UAE, Oman, Lybia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Togo.
Notably, Russia and China aren't included. Nonetheless, Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin said:
Promoting War, Spurning Peace
by Stephen Lendman
US and Israeli agendas need enemies. Both pursue rogue state policies.
They defy international laws and conventions, applying rule of law standards to others, not themselves. Their interests alone matter, no matter the toll on others.
Israeli Settlements: An Obstacle to Peace
by Stephen Lendman
Netanyahu's Likud Party platform says the following about Palestinian self-determination:
In Air America: Under the Imperial Eye, Chris Floyd reports on the recent revelation that Iraq's supposedly "sovereign airspace" is constantly under surveillance by a network of drones operated by the State Department. Apparently the only reason this news came to light is because of a publicly available government appeal for private bids on the project. Neither we nor Iraqis were meant to know:
"Iraqis were outraged this week to find they are being spied upon by a fleet of American drones hovering constantly in their supposedly sovereign skies, long after the supposed withdrawal of American forces."
I know I am not the only one to experience déjà vu over the Obama administration's assessment of threats by Iran to the US. James Clapper, Obama's top intelligence officer stated as fact yesterday, according to the New York Times, that:
“some Iranian officials — probably including supreme leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”
When Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush on June 9, 2008, the 35 had been selected from drafts of nearly twice that many articles.
President Obama has accumulated his own massive list of high crimes and misdemeanors that were unavailable for Bush's list (thing's like openly murdering U.S. citizens, launching massive drone wars, selectively and abusively prosecuting numerous whistleblowers as spies, holding Bradley Manning naked in isolation, attacking Libya without so much as bothering to lie to Congress, etc.).
Nonetheless, it is instructive to review the 35 Bush articles in the Obama age. It quickly becomes apparent that Obama has either exactly duplicated or closely paralleled most of the 35. Here's what I mean:
Click the link to read the article introduced against Bush. Obama campaigned against this abuse and has routinely engaged in it as president. Worse, he has established the policy of silently relying on previous Bush or Obama signing statements rather than restating his intention to violate laws each time such intention is relevant to a bill he is signing.
Creating Secret Laws.
Obama similarly uses Department of Justice arguments to reverse the commonly understood meaning of laws (bombing Libya is neither war nor hostilities, for example). And he similarly uses arguments that are kept away from public sight. While the United Nations, foreign nations, and human rights groups have questioned the legality of drone strikes, Obama has not provided his legal defense or even felt obliged to make any assertion as to which victims were intended and which were "collateral damage." This week the ACLU sued for release of such information. In addition, Obama announced in 2009 that he would review all of Bush's signing statements and decide which ones to keep as law and which to discard, but the public has never been told the outcome of that review.
Obama did this from day one, proclaimed it in front of the Constitution in the National Archives, formalized it in an executive order, signed it into law this past New Year's Eve, and expanded the practice at Bagram.
Violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
Obama has continued each abuse detailed here and added to them, including through his use of the military to keep journalists away from the BP oil disaster and in an effort to break a strike at the ports of the Pacific Northwest.
Obama has publicly claimed the power to continue this practice, in fact continued this practice, maintained black sites despite announcing an end to them, and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.
Obama has continued this practice and added to it the murdering of children, refusing to say that Abdel-Rahman Anwar al-Awlaki was not intentionally targeted or that he, Obama, does not have the legal power to murder U.S. children. Non-U.S. children continue to die in significant numbers from drone strikes and by other means (including intentional targeting from helicopter) as part of Obama's escalated war on Afghanistan.
Obama has claimed the power to torture, worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor, and continued to allow torture. He has also pressured other nations, including Spain, to drop prosecutorial investigations of U.S. crimes of torture.
Obama has continued these practices and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.
Obama has continued these practices and worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor and guilty corporations.
Obama has continued these practices. In his most recent State of the Union speech he said, "America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible . . . if Iran changes course." When Iran recently took down a U.S. drone, Obama simply asked that it be returned.
Obama's Pentagon is no more audited or accountable, nor the routine scandals involving misplaced millions or billions of dollars less frequent. No-bid contracts have increased. Privatization has increased. Secrecy has increased. The use of Special Forces in secret non-war wars has spread to more nations. The permanent stationing of U.S. troops has spread to more nations. Secret agencies, including the CIA, have been given larger war-making roles. And Obama continued the war on Iraq long beyond the date by which he had promised to end it, and continues to maintain thousands of mercenaries in Iraq, and to use drones in the skies of Iraq. He has also worked to coverup and protect related crimes by his predecessor.
Obama's insistence on continuing this practice not just beyond 2008 but beyond 2011, combined with the Iraqi government's refusal to agree, resulted in Obama's decision to comply with the Bush-Maliki treaty to end the war on Iraq by this past New Year's Eve.
The details have to be changed to apply this article to Obama. The changes are not in Obama's favor. Obama met in secret with the CEOs of health insurance corporations and pursued a vision of healthcare reform that they had secretly influenced. In so doing, he misled Congress and the American people. He is quite open, in contrast, about his willingness to slash Medicare, as well as Medicaid.
The victims of Katrina have still not been compensated, nor the environmental and urban damage undone. Instead the BP oil disaster has been added. Obama intentionally misled the Congress and the public, downplaying the quantity of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. He allowed a clean-up operation that was nothing of the sort. No real clean-up or recovery is planned. Nor have the corporations or their supposed regulators been held accountable.
Obama's approach to systematically undermining efforts to address global climate change has included blocking possible global agreements at meetings in Denmark and South Africa, while promoting "clean coal," "natural gas," and "safe fracking."
Misprision of a Felony, Misuse and Exposure of Classified Information And Obstruction of Justice in the Matter of Valerie Plame Wilson, Clandestine Agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The exposing of a secret agent has not been repeated, but retribution against whistleblowers has been taken to new heights with more prosecutions under the Espionage Act than by all previous presidents combined.
We're still waiting.
Now, we come to the launching of the war on Iraq:
Falsely, Systematically, and with Criminal Intent Conflating the Attacks of September 11, 2001, With Misrepresentation of Iraq as a Security Threat as Part of Fraudulent Justification for a War of Aggression.
Invading Iraq Absent a Declaration of War.
It was too late for Obama to exactly duplicate these offenses, as the war against Iraq was already underway. But President Obama has embraced the lies that launched that war. He claimed in 2010 that the war on Iraq had been launched in order to disarm that nation. In the news around the world on the day of Obama's most recent State of the Union speech was the anger among Iraqis at the failure of the United States to hold anyone seriously accountable for the 2005 massacre in Haditha. The story was a useful reminder of how the operations of the U.S. military over the past decade have fueled hostility toward our nation. President Obama began his speech by claiming the opposite, asserting that the war on Iraq has made us safer and "more respected around the world." Obama has repeatedly used such rhetoric to pivot to promotion of his escalated war in Afghanistan or other military operations. Similarly, President Obama misled the nation about the purpose and nature of a war on Libya that has left Libya, like Iraq, in worse shape, and which has left Constitutional war powers in tatters, as the Congress declared itself opposed to the war and the war continued. Meanwhile misleading propaganda about Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other nations continues to emerge from the Obama administration. The Director of National Intelligence has just claimed that Iran is a threat to the United States. While the Iraq War may have "ended," the Authorization for the Use of Military Force has been kept in place allowing Obama to use it as a legal argument for other military operations and abuses of civil rights. Also emerging with ever greater frankness from the Obama White House and Pentagon, including from the President, is the claim of presidential prerogative to launch military attacks on sovereign nations, involving deaths to both militants and civilians, without any consideration of Congress, the Constitution, the War Powers Resolution, the United Nations or its Charter, the Kellogg-Briand Pact, or any other law.
There is no quantitative way to measure whether Obama's additions to the presidential powers accumulated by Bush and Bush's predecessors equals or exceeds those added by Bush. But measured against the pre-Bush baseline, or against the written rule of law, Obama's power abuses far outstrip Bush's, while in the category of immediate death count Bush retains a significant lead.
Would Romney or Gingrich be even worse? That's quite likely. If we continue to self-censor on these matters, Obama Part II will also be significantly worse. A popular movement against these abuses could make any White House occupant better than the current one, even if it's the same individual. Remember what Howard Zinn taught: It's not who is sitting in the White House; it's who is doing the sit-ins.
Former US Policymakers Promote War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
In 2007, former Senators Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell established their Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) imperial project front group.
Among other issues addressed, warmaking's prioritized. Its board of directors include:
New York Times-Style Journalism
by Stephen Lendman
Like other major media scoundrels, New York Times writers, op-ed commentators and editorials fail the test. They're biased, shameless and irresponsible, especially on issues of war and peace.
Divining the Truth about Iran
Editor (Consortiumnews.com) Note: Like before the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. news media is flooding Americans with alarmist accounts about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Even when U.S. officials suggest nuance and caution, the media ignores the signals, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.
By Ray McGovern
Watching top U.S. intelligence officials present the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I found myself wondering if they would depart from the key (if politically delicate) consensus judgment that Iran is NOT working on a nuclear weapon.
By Dave Lindorff
Let’s see now. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence who oversees both the FBI and the CIA, is warning that Iran’s leaders have “changed their calculus” and, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, “now appear willing to conduct an attack within the US.”
Speaking at a Join Intelligence Committee hearing in Congress, the aptly-named Clapper said that Iranian leaders, “probably including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei” are “now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States as a response to real or perceived actions that threaten the regime.”
Well gee, that sure should come as a shocker.
Khader Adnan Mohammad Musa: Israeli Prisoner of Conscience
by Stephen Lendman
In 1948, brute force established Israel. In 1967, militarized occupation of one-fifth of former Palestine followed.
University of Ottawa Systemic Racism and Abuse
by Stephen Lendman
On June 3, 2008, former Canadian politician/UN ambassador/pro-Israeli flack Allan Rock became U of O president.
His administration's marked by secrecy, political censorship, abuse of students and faculty, and repudiation of fundamental university values.
Imagine if a bunch of the craziest war-hungry Republicans in the House filmed themselves in a nutty bat-guano video packed with lies addressed to the President of the United States. And then imagine President Barack Obama almost immediately agreeing with them. I can think of two ways in which such a series of events could go unnoticed, as it just has.
First, it could be about something insignificant. But this was about undoing the automatic cuts to the military mandated by the failure of the Supercommittee (remember, the top news story of a few months back?). The military, across various departments, swallows over half of federal discretionary spending, and there's no greater obsession in the corporate media than the great Spending vs. Cuts issue. This is NOT insignificant.
Second, it could be about something that the elites of both major parties agree on, the media therefore ignores, most Republican voters love, and Democratic voters pretend not to notice because the President is a Democrat and an election is less than a year away.
If you're guessing the second option, you are right. (Tell them what they've won, Leon!) You are now the proud owners of the most expensive military ever seen, plus coming increases that will be presented as "cuts."
When the Supercommittee failed, automatic federal budget cuts were to kick in -- half to things we need and half to the bloated military. The military cuts would take us back to 2004 spending. We seem to have survived 2004 and the years preceding it OK.
The Pentagon claims to be making other cuts already, but they are "cuts" to dream budgets resulting in actual budget increases -- and that's not even counting increased war spending through other departments.
House Republicans have sent President Obama this crazy video opposing military cuts and introduced legislation to slash 10% of non-military government jobs instead. In the Senate, John McCain is said to be working on a similar bill.
Meanwhile "Defense" Secretary Leon Panetta has just announced the Obama Administration's position: They will oppose the automatic cuts, or any other actual cuts, to the military. This will mean severe cuts to education, transportation, and -- as President Obama indicated in his State of the Union speech -- to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
At last Thursday's press conference the first question following Panetta's remarks was:
"Mr. Secretary, you talked a little bit on this, but over the next 10 years, do you see any other year than this year where the actual spending will go down from year to year? And just to the American public more broadly, how do you sort of explain what appears to be contradictory, as you talk about, repeatedly, this $500 billion in cuts in a Defense Department budget that is actually going to be increasing over time?"
Panetta had no substantive answer. And he didn't need one. The media almost unanimously put out the false story that the military was undergoing serious cuts. That first year's cut, by the way, is 1%, to be followed by nine years of larger increases.
You might have forgotten that in 2008, three times in three presidential debates, Senator John McCain proposed cutting the military, while Senator Obama campaigned on increasing it -- one promise he has actually kept.
Lately supporters have been saying that the President will become the Obama of our Dreams once he's a lame duck. But the history and the logic of lame duck officials is that they become less, not more, representative of the public will. And the public will is strongly in favor of major cuts to the military.
Others may be inclined to suggest that while Obama and Panetta are increasing the military and calling it "cuts," they are actually cutting the budget for wars. Some may have been misled by this line in the State of the Union: "Take the money we're no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home."
But in reality, Obama and Panetta are proposing to cut the war budget by only $27 billion. Meanwhile, the $27 billion has already been spent elsewhere in the Pentagon budget. Plus military spending is on the rise in other departments. Plus any new wars and confrontations -- like in Iran or Syria -- will offer the opportunity for supplemental bills. And less expensive but more secretive and equally deadly wars are underway, investment will increase in drones and special forces, and I have doubts we could rebuild our nation here at home for $13.5 billion even if we had it, while continuing to dump over $1 trillion into preparations for the crime of war year after year.
We do have the option to resist.
Audio: On Air Discussion of Populist Activism in an "Election Year" With Joshua Frank, Sandy LeonVest, and David Swanson
Camp Douglas, WI – Twenty-four Wisconsin citizen activists vigiled outside the gates of Camp Williams/Volk Field on Monday January 31, 2012, calling for an end to drone warfare. People were there from Milwaukee, Afton, Madison, Monona, Ontario, Mauston, and Portage. Camp Williams/Volk Field is a National Guard facility where testing and training for the RQ-7 Shadow 200 drones is conducted.
A week prior to the action, the group mailed a letter to Colonel Gary Ebben, Commander, asking for a meeting to discuss their grave and urgent concerns regarding drone warfare. The letter states in part, “The United States carried out drone attacks inside Pakistani territory during 2011 killing 609 people, and only eight could even possibly be considered to be a threat to the safety of the United States.” They did not receive a response from Colonel Ebben.
|Congratulations to Director James Spione and Ethan McCord. Ethan is the subject of the film Incident in New Baghdad, nominated for an Academy Award in documentary film.|
Saturday, Oakland police in riot gear fired smoke, tear gas, flash bang grenades and rubber bullets at Occupy Oakland protesters trying to take a vacant building this afternoon. Near the Oakland Museum of California, demonstrators had planned to take a building nearby and make it a headquarters. But, police were prepared to stop then from occupying the vacant building. More from Kevin Gostzola in Mass Arrest of Occupy Oakland Protesters After Police Fire Various Weapons.
Sunday night, there were solidarity marches in dozens of cities.
Many hundreds of you took the Quiz: Iran, Who is the Real Threat? The percentage of people who got all 7 correct answers from last week's results is 26%, which is much better than the general public. If you regular readers gave us your mailing address, expect a prize in the mail soon.
Calling artists and designers. We would like you to design a great leaflet for our Iran quiz. Please send us your layout at email@example.com . Thanks!
Political debate in the United States over recent weeks has increasingly focused on when, not if, sanctions and military action will be launched against Iran. How informed are you about the situation?
Please answer all questions.
Consensus 9/11: Seeking Truth, Dispelling Lies
by Stephen Lendman
Consensus 9/11 seeks "best evidence" proof to dispel official story falsehoods. It's founded on:
"(1) The opinions of respected authorities, based on professional experience, descriptive studies, and reports of expert committees.
Israel Lawlessly Indicts MK Sa'id Naffa - by Stephen Lendman
Israel reveals its rogue credentials daily. In mid-July 2010, its Knesset stripped MK Hanin Zoabi of key parliamentary rights and privileges for participating in the May 2010 Freedom Flotilla bringing vital aid to Gaza.
Since then, she's been vilified, threatened, and may be prevented from standing for reelection. Hard-liners call her a "traitor."