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Rocket blasts off with missile-warning satellite
By Irene Klotz, May 7, 2011
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Saturday to put the first satellite of the Defense Department's new missile-warning system into orbit.
After a day's delay due to poor weather, the United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 booster lifted off at 2:10 a.m. EDT, soaring through clear blue skies out over the Atlantic Ocean.
Tucked inside the rocket's nosecone was the $1.3 billion Space-Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Geo-1 spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
The satellite, the first of four scheduled for launch over the next five years, is intended to provide the U.S. military with early notice of missile launches and other reconnaissance services.
By James Ridgeway
Back in the 1980s, before the Cold War gave way to the War on Terror, American money and supplies helped Osama Bin Laden create Al Qaeda and build it into one of the world’s most successful terrorist organizations. And without the close alliances between Al Qaeda and our “allies” Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the attack on the World Trade Towers could not have been carried out. What follows are the bare bones of what we know of this world as it existed in the days before September 11, 2001. (Some of the early material in this account first appeared in my book The Five Unanswered Questions About 9/11.)
By John Grant
Supplying an army at a distance drains the public coffers and impoverishes the common people.
--Sun-Tzu, The Art of War
With the killing of Osama bin Laden by a 79-member JSOC hunter/killer team inside Pakistan, the nation has entered yet another of those moments when a news media that professes independence has become an unashamed cheerleader for militarism.
No one can deny the JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) Seal Team executed its killing mission with great competence and aplomb. They were also lucky that the bin Laden entourage had apparently become so confident of its safety that it was a bit lackadaisical.
By Dave Lindorff
In the end they couldn't get away with it.
As I noted back on Monday in my first article on the Sunday Navy SEAL raid into Pakistan that killed Osama Bin Laden, President Obama himself spilled the beans in his initial midnight statement, when he said, “After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
After that perhaps unintentionally honest account of an execution, the lies began, with White House chief counter-terrorism advisor (great title huh?) John O. Brennan fabulating that Bin Laden had "engaged in a firefight" with the SEALs who "entered the area of the house he was in," and adding, "Whether or not he got off any rounds, I frankly don't know." Then there were the lies that Bin Laden had shamefully used his wife as a "human shield," that he had been armed with an assault rifle, etc.
By Yasmeen Ali
Lahore, Pakistan -- I am incredulous!
I’ll say one thing: this US Special Forces operation deserves a standing ovation for immaculate execution. Except that some details do get confusing.
Maybe I’m just slow, but truly, viewing the still pictures of the compound where Osama was shot to death that are being aired on local TV here, I am left spell-bound by many odd contradictions.
First, the wall that encircled the compound, which was blasted through to allow entry to the US attackers, showed a humble charpoy next to a water geyser and a few odd household items stacked right next to the opening. Not a hair out of place, so to speak. It was all a little too orderly for my lawyerly taste. Wouldn’t something have been damaged or knocked over at least?
By Ron Ridenour
(Part II of journalist Ridenour’s political autobiography, Solidarity and Resistance: 50 Years With Che)
Wilfred Burchett was a key source of information for many of us who wanted to understand what the United States was doing against Southeast Asians. Burchett was an intrepid reporter for decades. He was the first correspondent to enter Hiroshima after the nuclear bombing and brought the world the military-censored news of its horrors.
Please sign the petition calling for a 100% hand tally.
The recount of the Supreme Court election in Wisconsin is scheduled to start today, Wednesday, 27 April 2011. In part of the state the ballots will be hand counted and in the rest of the state the ballots will be machine counted. If the machines malfunction or have been tampered with, there will be major problems with declaring an official winner. The court order mandating partial hand tallying in the Supreme Court race recount must be changed to require 100% hand tallying across the state.
Although we will have a good comparison in the parts of those 31 counties that are ordered to conduct hand counts to the machine counts in those same counties on April 5th. If the results are not the same, the voting machines will be suspect. In the remaining 41 counties ordered to do machine counts, those official counts will be suspect if there are major differences between hand and machine counts in the 31 counties. Thus the entire recount process will be thrown into confusion.
The election will still not be decided. And the up to 16 state senate recall elections coming up will also be thrown into confusion: candidates will all have to decide whether to ask the courts to order hand tallying in all of those races. Thus we, as a state, must modify the court order mandating partial hand tallying in the Supreme Court race recount to require 100% hand tallying across the state.
Please sign the petition calling for a 100% hand tally and ask you friends to sign also.
(This article is the first of seven pieces dedicated to the Cuban revolution and its defeat of the US imperialist invasion 50 years ago, April 17-19, 1961, and embraces my half-century struggle.)
I. Sharing Che’s Activism
Che’s penetrating eyes stare at me seriously as I write about him. It is strange that I have never written about him before, other than to quote him. Perhaps it is because Che has been too large a figure for me to tackle? I don’t know. This writing, though, is a commemoration of Che and of my 50 years in our common struggle.
Ernesto Guevara was my greatest personal inspiration and Cuba’s revolution was my greatest collective inspiration—along with the Vietnamese resistance fighters. Nicknamed Che, an Argentine expression, he lived and died as he preached. Che’s internationalist ideals, his consequent actions, his integrity and charm, have influenced my life all these decades.
By Dave Lindorff
There was a truly bizarre and telling paragraph at the end of a Wall Street Journal news report today on Pakistan’s demand that the US bring home hundreds of CIA and Special Forces personnel operating undercover in that country, and that it halt the drone strikes in the border regions abutting Afghanistan, which have been killing countless civilian men, women and children.
Reporters Adam Entous and Matthew Rosenberg, with no sense of irony, wrote:
The US hasn’t committed to adjusting the drone program in response to Pakistan’s request. The CIA operates covertly, meaning the program doesn’t require Islamabad’s support, under US law. Some officials say the CIA operates with relative autonomy in the tribal areas. They played down the level of support they now receive from Pakistan.
By Felice Gelman
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli government is "launching a public campaign" on March 22, 2011 aimed at stopping the planned next International Gaza Freedom Flotilla. The flotilla is set to sail this spring. This news comes on the heels of information that the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announced it has formed a special unit to "monitor" foreign nationals opposed to its policies, including the flotilla organizers.
In the United States, citizen activists with The U.S. Boat to Gaza campaign will sail in the flotilla on a boat called The Audacity of Hope. The U.S. boat will be one of approximately 15 boats that will sail in a flotilla to Gaza with people from over 22 countries.
This non-violent, international flotilla will sailing near the one year anniversary of the May, 2010 flotilla that was brutally attacked by the IDF who killed nine people and injured over 50 others.
By Dave Lindorff
Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor indicted for the murder of two young Pakistani motorcyclists, whom he gunned down in the back in broad daylight through his car windshield in a busy section of Lahore, Pakistan, has been freed, after the payment of $2.34 million in “blood money,” called diyya, to relatives of the two slain men.
The surprise “deal,” which Pakistani news reports are saying appears to have been forced on the relatives of the two men, who up to March 15 had insisted they wanted no blood money, but only justice, was announced in a court session March 16 in Lahore, at which the prosecution’s case of murder was to have been presented.
By Dave Lindorff
The ongoing case of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor facing murder charges in Lahore for the execution-style slaying of two apparent agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, is apparently leading to a roll-back of America’s espionage and Special Operations activities in Pakistan.
A few days ago, Pakistan’s Interior Department, which is reportedly conducting a careful review of the hundreds of private contractors who flooded into Pakistan over the last two years, many with “diplomatic passports,” and many others, like Davis, linked to shady “security” firms, arrested an American security contractor named Aaron DeHaven, a Virginia native who claims to work for a company called Catalyst Services LLC.
By Dave Lindorff
Pakistani and Indian newspapers are reporting that Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor in jail in Lahore facing murder charges for the execution-slayings of two young men believed to by Pakistani intelligence operatives, was actually involved in organizing terrorist activities in Pakistan.
As the Express Tribune, an English-language daily that is linked to the International Herald Tribune,reported on Feb. 22:
“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab Police claimed.
By Dave Lindorff
A report today in the British Guardian newspaper is confirming that Raymond Davis, the man jailed in Lahore, Pakistan charged with murdering two young Pakistanis who were almost certainly themselves working for Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), is an employee of the CIA. The paper says that based upon its reporters' interviews with both Pakistani and US sources, it is "confirming" that Davis is a CIA spy.
The paper adds that Davis's wife provided information numbers for him to a local TV station and those numbers turned out to be the CIA. Meanwhile, Agence France Press reports that Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), a loose-tongued member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also apparently inadvertently slipped up and disclosed on the Senate floor that Davis is an "agent", saying, "We can't throw this agent over."
Islamabad--By now journalists everywhere (except in the US) have come to the conclusion that there is far, far more to Raymond Davis than is being revealed by the US or by Pakistani officials. That he was engaged in anti-state activities in Pakistan and that the two young men he killed were intelligence agents tailing him is virtually an accepted fact.
The US, never famous for its diplomacy (The Ugly American, which made that point more than half a century ago, became a best seller and a very successful movie, starring Marlon Brando), seems to have discovered fresh depths to its strong-arm, coercive diplomacy. The mere fact that no less a personage than the US President has asked that this low-ranked person be granted absolute immunity, is indicative of the US desperation to get him him out of Pakistan and its court system.
Diplomatic and Consular Immunity: One Rule for Foreign Consulates in US, Another for US Consulates Abroad
By Dave Lindorff
President Obama, before he was a President or a Senator, was a constitutional law professor. He should know the law.
And yet in the increasingly dangerous show-down over Pakistan’s arrest and detention of Lahore consular contract “security official” Raymond Davis, who is charged with two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of two young Pakistanis on January 27, the president has grossly misstated what international law is with respect to the immunity from prosecution of diplomatic and consular officials.
By Yasmeen Ali
Lahore, Pakistan--You cannot open the TV, or read a paper here without more and more news about Raymond Davis and his murderous act. His killing on Jan. 27 of two young Pakistanis has created international waves, too, plunging the Pakistan-America relationship into stormy waters.
A great deal has been written about the case: Raymond Davis’s employment status, whether he is a diplomat or not, who his victims were and what led to their demise at his hands, and finally whether or not Davis can be detained and ultimately tried under the Pakistani Law.
Interestingly though, nobody in the media has made a study of the Vienna Diplomatic Coventions that discuss diplomatic immunity. The convention of 1961 gets cited routinely by the American government, which claims it grants all diplomatic workers immunity from prosecution.
But that claim overstates the case. The actual document -- never actually quoted -- is more nuanced.
By Dave Lindorff
The mystery surrounding Raymond A. Davis, the American former Special Forces operative jailed in Lahore, Pakistan for the murder of two young motorcyclists, and his funky “security” company, Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC, in the US continues to grow.
When Davis was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the double slaying in a busy business section of Lahore, after he had fatally shot two men in the back, claiming that he feared they might be threatening to rob him, police found business cards on him for a security company called Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC, which listed as its address 5100 North Lane, Orlando, Florida.
A website for the company gave the same address, and listed the manager as a Gerald Richardson.
By Dave Lindorff
"The wranglers over creeds and dogmas are perhaps the most persistent of all agitators; the bedrock idea being that a wrong exists which must be found and exterminated."
-- Eugene Debs
"Get it straight, I'm not a humanitarian, I'm a hell-raiser."
By Dave Lindorff
Democracy: de-moc-ra-cy, government by the people; the common people of a community, as distinguished from any privileged class
According to the latest poll conducted by CBS "60 Minutes" and the magazine Vanity Fair, 61 percent of Americans want to raise taxes on the wealthy as the primary way to cut the budget. The same poll finds that the second most popular first choice for cutting the nation's budget deficit, at 20 percent, is cutting the military budget. That is, 81 percent of us--four out of five--would cut the deficit by taxing the rich and/or slashing military spending.
Only four percent of those polled favored cutting Medicare, the government-run program that provides health care for the elderly and disabled, and only three percent favored cutting Social Security.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) — A unique underground surveillance system tested by UA researchers could be used to watch the entire US‐Mexico border continuously.
The border-monitoring system, known as Helios, consists of laser pulses transmitted through fiber-optic cables buried in the ground that respond to movements on the surface above. A detector at one or both ends of the cable analyzes these responses.
Helios is sensitive enough to detect a dog and can discriminate between people, horses and trucks. The system can be set to avoid being triggered by small animals, and can also tell if people are running or walking, or digging, and in which direction.
Join Peace Vet-Led Protest at White House on December 16th
By Kevin Zeese
The White House is in the midst of a strategic review of Afghanistan. This review is coming at a time when the reality is hard to ignore: Afghanistan cannot be won, the cost is escalating at a time when the U.S. economy is in collapse and the war is undermining U.S. national security and the rule of law. It is time to end the war-based foreign policy of the United States.
The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.
The Guardian has the story.
By John Grant
“The problem here is to define ... a form of life that would not depend on an unsustainable relation of domination over the rest of the world.”
We live in a time of incredible change, and to have any say at all in the direction that change will take requires a respect for reality. Right now, the United States is losing this battle as it tries mightily – and wastefully -- to sustain its post-WWII legacy as the world’s undisputed Top Dog.
The key to this disaster here in the US is a greater and greater restriction of information in conjunction with what can only be called a top down enforced blindness among the population.
If you think this is only the view of a disgruntled leftist, read Thomas Friedman’s latest column in The New York Times, where he imagines WikiLeaks revealing a gleeful cable from the Chinese ambassador in Washington to his bosses in Beijing:
SUMMARY An 18-minute diversion of Internet traffic through China has raised security concerns around the world -- especially for governments and people in critical infrastructure -- and raises new concerns for online shoppers just ahead of Cyber Monday. Transcript
13.11.2010 - The United States found itself embroiled in a major spy scandal. As many as five countries caught the Americans illegally spying on their citizens.
Nobody would think it was strange if we were talking about the citizens of Russia, China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela. With these five countries, everything is clear: U.S. officials constantly refer to them as those presenting threats to the national security. But this time the U.S. was caught by quite friendly countries of Northern Europe - Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden.