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Israel's Draconian Infiltration Law - by Stephen Lendman
On January 10, Haaretz writer Jonathan Lis headlined, "Knesset passes (Law to Prevent Infiltration) that could put asylum seekers in jail without trial," saying:
Just saying her name sounds like a joke: Baroness Bertha Felicitas Sophie Freifrau von Suttner, Gräfin, née Countess Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau. And when she began talking about ending war in mid-nineteenth century Austria it wasn't her name that was treated as a joke. Yet by the turn of the century, her idea seemed to be one whose time had come.
Bertha von Suttner's novel "Ground Arms," or "Lay Down Your Arms," was widely described as the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" of war abolition. It was doing and would accomplish for war what Harriet Beecher Stowe's book had for slavery. I can't encourage you strongly enough to take a quick break from the inanities of presidential debates and football announcers and buy the book, borrow the book, or read it free online.
Who knew rats were new to DC? I could have sworn I'd seen them around for years. I could have sworn the piles of trash following inaugurations, fourths of july, and tastes of dc left swarms of rats behind. I could have sworn that every time I've been in Freedom Plaza since October 6th it's been cleaner than 15th Street. Do you have any serious reason to believe your new found awareness of rats, like some people's new found awareness of the homeless people who have been there for decades, doesn't come more from the observing than from what is being observed? Did you know that the occupation of Freedom Plaza is campaigning for the investment in public services that would begin at long last to address this longstanding problem? Did you know that detailed reports, proposals, analyses, and yes demands can be found at http://occupywashingtondc.org ? Were you aware of the rat explosion and disease explosion in cities our military has bombed - which I'm sure the Post will be getting around to covering very very soon? Can you prove the DC rat population isn't expanding city-wide because so many people have found it appropriate to discard their copies of the Washington Post, thus providing lots of nesting material?
To Charlottesville Daily Progress:
On New Year's Eve the President signed a bill giving himself and future presidents the power to imprison anyone, including US citizens, forever with no trial, whether through the military or otherwise. President Obama stretched these outrageous powers even further in an unconstitutional law-altering signing statement. Congressman Robert Hurt voted against the Defense Authorization Act because it tosses out our Constitutional rights.
While this issue had been a major controversy for months, and the Daily Progress has never yet mentioned it in a news story, you addressed it in an editorial on January 9th, but your editorial simply argued for the flexibility of not always using the military because the legitimate justice system can reduce terrorism.
Nowhere do you mention that the final version of the bill gave the president that flexibility and more, that he now claims the power to imprison anyone forever without any formal process whatsoever. Nowhere do you mention that a week after the President signed the bill, Afghan President Karzai demanded that all Afghan prisoners be turned over within a month. And nowhere do you even touch on the question of the right to habeas corpus, the right not to be punished for treason unless convicted in open court on the testimony of two witnesses, the right to be secure in your person, or the right to a speedy and public trial and a jury trial.
Are all civil rights of simply negligible importance in comparison with fear of terrorism? Among the many many things that kill more of us than terrorism are dogs, and they're our "best friend." Take a deep breath please.
Note to Self:
Knock it off. They can't hear you.
Unaccountable: Private Military Contractor Abuses - by Stephen Lendman
Wherever they're deployed, they're menacing and feared for good reason. Known historically by various names, they include mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, dogs of war, and Condottieri for wealthy city state leaders and the Papacy in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance Italy.
Ancient Greeks and Romans used them. So did Alexander the Great, feudal lords, Napoleon and George Washington against the British.
Palestinian Liberation Requires Unity - by Stephen Lendman
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi wants EU help to end Israel's occupation. She said America's preoccupied with elections and grossly biased for Israel.
Calling the current situation "dangerous" she said Israel's "dragging the region into the abyss." As a result, urgent EU help is needed "to end the occupation."
I was on the Marc Steiner Show today talking Iran War with Reza Marashi, Research Director for the National Iranian American Council, who was excellent, and Charles "Sam" Faddis, who was a pro-war propagandist. LISTEN.
“Close Guantánamo” Campaign and Website Launches:
Retired Military Personnel, Lawyers Call for the Closure of Guantánamo After 10 Years
For the 10th anniversary of the opening of the “war on terror” prison at
Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (on Jan. 11), a group of retired military personnel
and lawyers are calling on President Obama to honor his promise to close
the prison, which he made when he took office in January 2009.
Signatories to the mission statement for the “Close Guantánamo” campaign
include: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to former Secretary of
State Colin Powell; the Hon. John J. Gibbons, former Chief Judge, U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; Gen. David M. Brahms (Ret.); Rear
Adm. Donald J. Guter (Ret.); Rear Adm. John D. Hutson (Ret.); Col. Morris
Davis, former chief prosecutor for the Military Commissions at Guantánamo;
and several lawyers who have been involved in the litigation involving
White House and State Department are in No Position to Issue Credible Denials Regarding Spying Charges
By Dave Lindorff
I wouldn’t want to be Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, the 28-year-old former US Marine just recently sentenced to death by a court in Iran after being convicted of being an American spy.
Hekmati, who was born in Arizona to Iranian exile parents, and who grew up in Michigan, is being defended by President Obama, whose White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, declared, “Allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for, or was sent to Iran by the CIA are false.” The White House, not content with that denial, went on to trash the Iranian government and legal system, with Vietor adding, “The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political reasons.”
Israel Plans More Walls - by Stephen Lendman
Instead of peace, reconciliation, equity and justice, Israel plans settlement expansions and more Walls. More on them below.
At the same time, Abbas broke his pledge about no peace talks unless settlement expansions stop. Chief negotiators Saeb Erekat and Yitzhak Molcho are meeting in Amman, Jordan. They're joined by Quartet representatives.
Racist Discrimination Against Israeli Arabs - by Stephen Lendman
According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), Arab citizens (below called Israeli Arabs) "are discriminated (against) in almost every aspect of their lives," including:
Breaking the major broadcast news media's blackout on the most radical elimination of American rights in U.S. history, Professor of Law Jonathan Turley speaks to BBC on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA), which allows for the indefinite military detention of US citizens without charge or trial in violation of the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the Constitution.
I hope to see many of you reading this message on Wednesday in Washington, DC, as we dramatically represent the 2,771 men still held indefinitely (89 of whom have even been cleared for release by the U.S. government, yet remain held - no end in sight).
Many others of you will be protesting in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, or other places.
Andy Worthington will also be speaking in DC, Chicago, and San Francisco. If you haven't done so already, see the schedule.
Andy Worthington, who is now in the U.S., traveling and speaking about the cases of the men held at the world's most notorious symbol of unjust imprisonment and torture, wrote several days ago:
Bad idea #1: listen to Jack Abramoff.
Bad idea #2: this one I heard from Jack Abramoff who was holding forth on ethical and unethical bribery the other day on National Plutocracy Radio: If you give a candidate money because you love your country that's good. If you give a candidate money because you want a particular favor, that's bad (or, one might add, Abramoffian). The problem of course is that most people can't afford to give money, so your well-intentioned money perverts the government no matter how well-intentioned. It also opens a loophole for all the people who just want those particular favors.
Bad idea #3: leave a loophole for labor unions. This one you can hear from labor unions, which is why all the bills to amend the constitution and undo corporate rights introduced in Congress thus far abide by it. But labor unions are vastly overspent and would still be vastly overspent in a world with a tiny loophole just for unions because the mega corporations would create things that looked like unions to exploit the loophole, on top of which none of the bills will get anywhere unless they remove the loophole.
Bad idea #4: put energy into requiring disclosure of legal bribery rather than prevention of legal bribery. Most of what has already been disclosed about our government is widely unknown. Most of what is known is not acted on. Most of what is acted on is continued just the same. What's needed is an end to corporate personhood and financial speech.
By Charles Davis and Medea Benjamin
In an age when U.S. power can be projected through private mercenary armies and unmanned Predator drones, the U.S. military need no longer rely on massive, conventional ground forces to pursue its imperial agenda, a fact President Barack Obama is now acknowledging. But make no mistake: while the tactics may be changing, the U.S. taxpayer – and poor foreigners abroad – will still be saddled with overblown military budgets and militaristic policies.
Speaking January 5 alongside his Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the president announced a shift in strategy for the American military, one that emphasizes aerial campaigns and proxy wars as opposed to “long-term nation-building with large military footprints.” This, to some pundits and politicians, is considered a tectonic shift.
Freedom: An Endangered Species in America - by Stephen Lendman
Last September, marking the 9/11 tenth anniversary, the ACLU published a report titled, A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11."
Who then could have imagined America engaged in:
Targeting Journalists in Iraq - by Stephen Lendman
March 19 marks Operation Iraqi Freedom's 9th anniversary. Brutal occupation continues. Thousands of US forces remain.
Obama's alleged pullout repositioned troops nearby and left many there. Moreover, an army of paramilitary killers infest the country.
Don't take it from me. Take it from the book being published today that will mainstream the movement to end corporate personhood: "Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do, And What You Can Do About It," by Jeff Clements with foreword by Bill Moyers.
Clements traces the development of the legal doctrine of corporate personhood back long before the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision two years ago this month, in particular to President Richard Nixon's appointment of Lewis Powell to the Supreme Court in 1972. Led by Powell's radical new conception of corporate rights, Clements shows, the court began striking down laws that protected living breathing persons' rights in areas including the environment, tobacco, public health, food, drugs, financial regulation, and elections.
Targeting Journalists Covering OWS Protests - by Stephen Lendman
On September, 17, 2011, US Day of Rage.org organized protests in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, OR, and Austin, TX.
They hoped many more would follow, grow, and spread nationwide. Indeed they have to over 1,000 large and small cities, towns, and communities.
Marwan Barghouti: Prisoner of Conscience - by Stephen Lendman
From March 29 - May 3, 2002, during the second Intifada, Israel conducted Operation Defensive Shield. Before Cast Lead, it was its largest military operation since June 1967 when Israel occupied Palestine.
Merry Julian Calendar Christmas!
Christmas isn't always what it seems. But let's forget the War on Christmas and remember the unreason for the season. Here's a selection of merry japes on the unreality of things christmasy.
A demonstration was held in Baltimore, on Saturday, January 7, 2012, in support of the "Maryland Dream Act." This law was passed by the General Assembly in 2011. It permits in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants. Then, the law was challenged by opponents. It will now appear on the ballot in November, 2012, via a referendum, for the voters to decide on whether or note it will be enforced. Today's demonstration was sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, a national organization working for Peace & Justice. Its local organizer, Andrew Castro, shared his views on the event with me.
Killer Cops Aren't Heroes: We Need Police Who Think Like Firefighters, Not Like Soldiers in a War Zone
By Dave Lindorff
The sad slaying of troubled eighth-grader Jaime Gonzalez in Brownsville by trigger-happy local police illustrates the sad an dangerous state we have arrived at as we turn our local police forces into SWAT team soldiers up-armed with assault rifles, black facemasks and stun grenades.
The reason Gonzalez, who had no hostages and was just armed with a pellet gun, was killed by police bullets was because the primary concern of the officers confronting him was to eliminate the threat to themselves, not to rescue a troubled kid.
Obama's New Military Strategy - by Stephen Lendman
Obama's January 5 Pentagon news conference reeked of duplicity like all his pronouncements. Surrounded by Joint Chiefs of Staff, hawkishness took center stage.
Stressing a leaner, more agile/flexible military, he said counterterrorism, intelligence and cyberwarfare will be emphasized without sacrificing America's superiority against global enemies.
Libyan Violence and Instability - by Stephen Lendman
NATO's killing machine ravaged a nonbelligerent country posing no threat. Tyranny replaced Jamahiriya government. Violence followed stability.
On January 3, Middle East Online contributor Jay Deshnukh headlined, "Ex-rebels' war for money, power: Fierce clashes erupt in Tripoli," saying:
Much to Forgive: The Story of Bibi Sadia.
By Kathy Kelly
In yesterday's speech, President Obama publicly unveiled elements of the strategy that his administration has quietly been pursuing for some time:
- Shifting its #1 priority to threatening China, including a major naval build-up (the Navy got the lion's share of extra procurement funds in recent years) and new bases;
- JSOC's global "targeted killing" program (under JSOC command in Afghanistan and Somalia, and CIA command in at least 13 more countries);