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"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.
Matthew Bryza has been one of the U.S.'s main point men in the South Caucasus, the Caspian Sea Basin and Central Asia for the past twelve years.
From 1997-1998 he was an advisor to Ambassador Richard Morningstar, coordinating U.S. efforts in the Caucasus and Central Asia as well as in Southeastern Europe, particularly Greece and Turkey. Morningstar was appointed by the Clinton administration as the first Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance to the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union in 1995, then Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy in 1998 and was one of the chief architects of U.S. trans-Caspian strategic energy plans running from the Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus to Europe. Among the projects he helped engineer in that capacity was the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan [BTC] oil pipeline - "the world's most political pipeline" - running from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea.
Trans-Caspian, Trans-Eurasian Energy Strategy Crafted In The 1990s
In 1998 Bryza was Morningstar's chief lieutenant in managing U.S. Caspian Sea energy interests as Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, where he remained until March of 2001, and he worked on developing what are now U.S. and Western plans to circumvent Russia and Iran and achieve dominance over the delivery of energy supplies to Europe.
Morningstar later became United States Ambassador to the European Union from 1999-2001 and this April was appointed the Special Envoy of the United States Secretary of State for Eurasian Energy, a position comparable to that he had occupied eleven years earlier.
In 2005 the George W. Bush administration appointed Bryza Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs under Condoleezza Rice, a post he holds to this day although he will soon be stepping down, presumably to become the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, the nation that most vitally connects American geostrategic interests in an arc that begins in the Balkans, runs through the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea and then to Central and South Asia.
A press report on August 10 revealed that the government of Italy is planning to modify if not dispense with its post-World War II constitutional limitations on conducting offensive military operations; that is, to reverse a 61-year ban on waging war.
The news story, reminding readers that "Italy's post-World War II constitution places stringent limits on the country's military engagements," stated the Italian government intends to introduce a new military code "specifically for missions abroad," one that - in a demonstration of evasiveness and verbal legerdemain alike - would be "neither of peace nor of war." 
Amnesty International has reiterated its call for an independent public inquiry into allegations of UK complicity in torture. The call comes in response to recent statements by the UK Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary regarding intelligence information gained through torture.
The Chief of MI6, the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, has also issued a blanket denial that his officers have been involved in the torture or ill-treatment of terror suspects held overseas. This follows the decision of senior officials to go public last week in the face of mounting evidence that UK agents were involved in the questioning of terrorism suspects in Pakistan and other countries.
"The allegations of UK complicity in torture are very serious and cannot be answered by sweeping policy statements," said Julia Hall, Counter-Terrorism Researcher in Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme. "If the government maintains that its agents are not involved in torture then it has nothing to fear from a transparent process that can prove it."
The UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, reiterated the government's opposition to torture on Sunday. However, they said it was not possible to rule out the risk that some intelligence information gained through mistreatment could be used. Read more.
Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, from the Royal Logistics Corps, is the first British soldier to speak out publicly against the war in Afghanistan. He explains in the letter below, delivered to Gordon Brown at Downing Street on Thursday 30 July, why he will not return to fight in Afghanistan because he believes politicians must stop wasting soldiers' lives in an unjustified war. Court martial proceedings for desertion against Joe, for his refusal to return to Afghanistan, begin on 3 August. • Email messages of support to email@example.com
Two people were illegally rendered through British territory, but our government refuses to reveal their identity or their fate
By Clive Stafford Smith READ IT.
Diego Garcia rendition victim challenges UK in court
• Guantánamo detainee fights ministers' secrecy
• Man says he was carried in coffin and tortured
Six peace activists face prison for "disarming" an arms factory but is taking action to prevent war crimes illegal?
On 17 January 2009, as Israel's bombs and missiles rained down on the people of Gaza, killing over 1400 people, six anti war activists from Bristol staged a citizens' decommissioning at the ITT/EDO MBM factory in Brighton. ITT/EDO MBM make vital components for Paveway precision guided bombs and Hellfire missiles, and bomb release clips for F15 and F16 fighter aircraft.
The decommissioners were trying to stop the supply of weapons used for war crimes. The decommissioners made their way to the top storey and threw computers and filing cabinets out of the building.
The words "War Criminals" were written on the walls. The disarming of the factory successfully brought the business to a standstill and caused a temporary halt to this section of the war machine.
Elijah Smith stated before entering the factory "I don't feel I'm going to do anything illegal tonight. I'm going to smash this arms factory so that it cannot actually work to produce parts for the bombs that are provided to the Israeli army which is killing children. The time for talking has gone."
Tom Woodhead, another decommissioner, said "Prison does not worry me. What does scares me is the international community's lack of ability to act in the prevention of grave war crimes".
Going to trial
The decommissioners now face trial on October 26th on charges of criminal damage and conspiracy as a result of their action. Following the precedent set by the Raytheon 9, who were found not guilty at their trial in 2008 for carrying out a similar action in the Raytheon offices in Derry, the decommissioners will be going to trial as the accusers not the accused. They will argue that they were acting to help prevent the crime of killing the people of Gaza.
Marking When Bush Poodle Wagged U.K. Tail for War
By Ray McGovern
Seven years ago this week, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair (widely referred to in Europe as “Bush’s poodle”) gathered his top national security advisers at 10 Downing St. to hear a report from U.K. intelligence chief Sir Richard Dearlove.
Dearlove had had just returned to London from face-to-face talks with then-CIA Director George Tenet at CIA headquarters in Washington. It was eight months before the U.S./U.K.-led “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq on pretenses known to be false.
Blair and President George W. Bush had been talking regularly by telephone throughout 2002. But, as is well known, the most secure phones can be tapped, and there are some things — like preparing wars of aggression — that are so outrageous one doesn’t dare take any chances. Taps are taped; and tapes can be trouble.
In addition to all that, Blair apparently had some misgivings about taking at face value the Texas-size braggadocio he was hearing at the other end of the phone concerning what was going to happen to Saddam Hussein and why. It is understandable that he would seek independent, authoritative confirmation that this was also what Bush was sharing with his top accomplices.
The death of Government scientist David Kelly returned to haunt Labour today as a group of doctors announced that they were mounting a legal challenge to overturn the finding of suicide. READ THE REST.
How David Davis Exposed Britain’s Secret Torture Scandal
By Andy Worthington | AndyWorthington.co.UK
The following is the statement that David Davis MP made to the House of Commons on the evening of July 7, which exposed the extent of British complicity in the torture in Pakistan of British citizen Rangzieb Ahmed. For further information, see the article “Britain’s Secret Torture Policy Exposed.”
Four years ago today, this country suffered a terrible atrocity at the hands of terrorists: 52 people were killed and many more horribly injured. I stood at the dispatch box that day and spoke of the need to face down this barbarism. In the subsequent weeks and months, I was proud of the calm and just way that the ordinary British citizen dealt with this assault and of the comparative absence of people trying to make scapegoats of the ordinary, decent Muslim community. I was proud of the courage, sense of honour, tolerance and justice of our citizens at home.
I am afraid that I cannot be so complimentary about the actions of our government abroad. In the last year, there have been at least 15 cases of British citizens or British residents claiming to be tortured by foreign intelligence agencies with the knowledge, complicity and, in some cases, presence of British intelligence officers. One case — that of Binyam Mohamed — has been referred to the police by the attorney general, which implies that there is at least a prima facie case to answer. The most salient others include Moazzam Begg, Tariq Mahmoud, Salahuddin Amin and Rashid Rauf, all in Pakistan, Jamil Rahman in Bangladesh, Alam Ghafoor in United Arab Emirates, and Azhar Khan and others in Egypt.
For each case, the government have denied complicity, but at the same time fiercely defended the secrecy of their actions, making it impossible to put the full facts in the public domain, despite the clear public interest in doing so. Although the combined circumstantial evidence of complicity in all these cases is overwhelming, it has not so far been possible — because of the government’s improper use of state secrecy to cover up the evidence — to establish absolutely clear sequences of cause and effect.
In the case I am about to describe, we can follow the entire chain of events from original suspicion, through active encouragement of the Pakistani authorities to arrest and through the subsequent collaboration between UK and Pakistani agencies. This is the case of Rangzieb Ahmed, a convicted terrorist, whose treatment I can describe in some detail. Read more.
By Stephanie Westbrook
It's the slogan of the citizens committees that have formed in the central
Italian city of L'Aquila, hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake on April 6, 2009.
And it was on display for world leaders during the G8 summit being held
just outside the city in an area off limits to the local people.
On the morning of July 8, as the Group of Eight leaders began arriving in
L'Aquila, activists scaled the hill overlooking the red zone and laid out huge
sheets of white plastic to form 10-meter high letters reading 'Yes We
Camp.' (http://www.3e32.com/main/?p=1227) As Mattia Lolli of the 3e32
Committee, which takes its name from the time the earthquake hit,
explained, "We want to make sure the G8 leaders as well as public opinion
in Italy know that three months after the earthquake there are still over
22,000 people living in tents."
The G8 summit was originally to take place on the island of Sardinia. On
By George Lakey, CommonDreams.org
I just returned from a research trip to Norway where the people I interviewed often brought up the topic of our new President. The first was Kristin Clemet, the director of a conservative think tank. "This spring on a delegation to Washington I was struck again," she said, "by how different the political spectrum is in Norway from your country. Here, Obama would be on the right wing." I checked her view with others -- academics, politicians, activists all over the Norwegian spectrum -- and all but one agreed. In Norwegian terms, our President's positions are very conservative.
Weapons inspector David Kelly was writing a book exposing highly damaging government secrets before his mysterious death.
He was intending to reveal that he warned Prime Minister Tony Blair there were no weapons of mass destruction anywhere in Iraq weeks before the British and American invasion.
He had several discussions with a publisher in Oxford and was seeking advice on how far he could go without breaking the law on secrets.
Following his death, his computers were seized and it is still not known if any rough draft was discovered by investigators and, if so, what happened to the material.
Dr Kelly was also intending to lift the lid on a potentially bigger scandal, his own secret dealings in germ warfare with the apartheid regime in South Africa.
US television investigators have spent four years preparing a 90-minute documentary, Anthrax War, suggesting there is a global black market in anthrax and exposing the mystery “suicides” of five government germ warfare scientists from around the world.
Director Bob Coen said: ‘‘The deeper you look into the murky world of governments and germ warfare, the more worrying it becomes...." Read more.
July 2, 2009
Warden Message: Upcoming Demonstrations Regarding 4th of July and G8 Summit
American citizens are advised to be especially attentive and alert from now through the Fourth of July and the G-8 Summit in Italy. Please exercise caution as you travel in Rome and around Italy. Several demonstrations are planned over the next ten days that may affect U.S. interests or those of the G-8 countries.
On July 4, there will be a large demonstration at the U.S. military base in Vincenza. The demonstration is organized by No Dal Molin and other groups. American citizens should avoid the area around Vicenza for the period July 3-5. [NOTE: this event is organized by nonviolent activists in opposition to militarism, so the embassy indicates that the other events below are expected to be peaceful and omits that comment here. --DS]
On July 5-6, a torch-lit walk is planned through the center of L'Aquila
from 24.00 to 03.32 (time of the recent earthquake). This event is
expected to be peaceful.
By Mark Knoller, CBS News
In advance of Pres. Obama’s first trip to Russia next week, the White House is serving notice on the Kremlin that he won’t be making any concessions to win its approval of a U.S. missile shield in Europe or membership in NATO for Russian neighbors Ukraine and Georgia.
“We don’t need the Russians,” says Michael McFaul, special assistant to the president and senior director for Russian affairs on the National Security Council staff.
In a conference call with reporters, McFaul responded with unusually tough talk when asked what reassurances Pres. Obama is prepared to give in his talks starting Monday with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.
By Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
VICENZA, Italy — Tens of thousands of Italians traditionally gather in Vicenza to celebrate the United States’ Independence Day with members of the American military community. But the only large gathering planned for this Saturday at Caserma Ederle is a protest against the American military presence in the country.
Base officials have moved this year’s festivities to Thursday and will not be opening the gates to the Italian community as has been the practice in years past.
However, the annual celebration wasn’t altered because of the protest, according to Jon Fleshman, public affairs officer for U.S. Army Garrison-Vicenza. A number of factors — including construction, a four-day weekend and a lack of parking on base — contributed to the base shifting the festival two days forward.
By David Swanson
Do they have a fourth of July in Italy? That's not a trick question. This July 4th, Italians plan to gather in Vicenza to take nonviolent action aimed at freeing Italy from U.S. occupation and opposing the proposed construction of an enormous new U.S. military base in a town already swarming with U.S. troops stationed at existing bases. For years now, a major campaign organized by local residents has resisted the construction of the new base. The history of this campaign is chronicled in English here and here. A local referendum voted 95 percent against the base. A leader of the opposition to the base has been elected to the local government. An Italian prime minister has been temporarily thrown out of power. Local activists and members of parliament have visited Washington to oppose the base, and testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs on April 23, 2009. The European media has been unable to avoid the story.
IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) IRAQ INQUIRY: PROTEST: CONTACT YOUR MP
2) LAUNCH MEETING: DEFEND THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY
3) THE IRAN CRISIS: STATEMENT FROM STOP THE WAR
4) FOLLOW STOP THE WAR ON TWITTER
1) IRAQ INQUIRY: PROTEST PARLIAMENT WED 24 JUNE
The scandal over Gordon Brown's decision to hold the Iraq war
inquiry in private has united in condemnation the most
unlikely people, including MPs, peers in the House of Lords,
military leaders, former civil servants, bereaved families and
even Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's US ambassador at the
time the decision was taken to go to war.
The anger over this appalling decision has intensified with
the revelation that Tony Blair was behind Brown's decision to
By Desiree Fairooz, CODEPINK DC
Vicenza, located just 4 hours north of Rome, between Venice and Milan, is a classically Italian city with two important footnotes. First, Vicenza is a UNESCO world heritage site, home to numerous architectural works by the Venetian architect, Andrea Palladio, widely considered the most influential architect in the history of Western architecture.
Secondly, on the outskirts of town, it is home to the U.S. Army base called Caserma Ederle, headquarters of the Southern European Task Force, as well as of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the United States Army from where troops take off on missions to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brown forced to open Iraq inquiry to public scrutiny
Senior military officers and peers welcome decision to hear evidence in public
By By Andrew Grice and Kim Sengupta | Independent.co.UK
Gordon Brown climbed down yesterday in the face of a growing revolt over his announcement that the inquiry into the Iraq war would be held in private.
Only three days after saying the investigation would be held behind closed doors, the Prime Minister disclosed that some hearings could take place in public after all. His retreat was revealed exclusively in The Independent yesterday.
In a letter to the inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot, Mr Brown asked him to consider holding some sessions in public. He urged Sir John to hold an open session to "explain in greater depth the significant scope and breadth of the inquiry" and to meet relatives of the servicemen killed in Iraq – either in public or in private – to explain how it would operate. He also asked him to take evidence on oath. Read more.
Enzo Ciscato writes from Vicenza:
By now every fraction of our days is touched by the growing military presence in town. We've even grown used to several situations, almost without realizing it.
Since childhood, many of us have seen Camp Ederle as a common part of Vicenza, like Monte Berico, the Station, Corso Palladio … We've gotten so used to it that, year after year, the base has enlarged, eating up land right in front of us, without our even noticing it.
In the area, almost doubled, occupied by Camp Ederle, the buildings are becoming taller now. There is a new season of growing militarization.
Exactly the same is happening at “Villaggio della Pace”, trying to forget the heavy irony of this name.
For many of us, American cars with “AFI” plates were normal, just as now, when seeing a car with “ZA ...” plate we know that most likely it has an American driver.
For a certain period of time we tolerated (with some protests) the noisy sound of the helicopters’ rotors, a noise that soon could come back with frequency, if we don’t prevent it.
At a certain point, after months and months of drunkenness on “Dal Molin”, not forgetting Pluto – Fontega - San Rocco – COESPU – AFRICOM … it feels like we may have reached the limit of tolerance.
When you start to feel that the U.S. military presence is bothering even the fresh early morning walk, you start to say:
"Hold on a minute, what’s going on ? We must say STOP IT."
This is probably why the spontaneous early morning presence of citizens around Monte Berico, as already experienced a few months ago, has come back.
The need to give them a clear message comes from deep inside:
“U.S. soldiers, this is for you: GO HOME”.
They, the U.S. citizens, did something similar with the British 233 years ago. Don’t we have similar rights too?
BACKGROUND ON BASE PROPOSAL IN VICENZA ITALY:
IN THIS NEWSLETTER:
1) IRAQ INQUIRY BUCKET OF WHITEWASH
2) NEW CAMPAIGN TO DEFEND MUSLIM COMMUNITY
3) SELLING WAR: ARMED FORCES DAY
4) LIFE FOR WOMEN IN "LIBERATED" AFGHANISTAN
5) FREEDOM FOR TAMILS DEMONSTRATION
6) STOP THE WAR STUDENT CONFERENCE
7) THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TWITTERED
1) IRAQ INQUIRY BUCKET OF WHITEWASH
Stop the War organised a protest outside parliament on 15 June
as Gordon Brown was announcing his inquiry into the Iraq war.
It is to be held in secret by a committee of house-trained
toadies (four Sirs and a Baroness) and have no power to make
recommendations or hold to account the warmongers who took us
into an illegal and immoral war.
EMERGENCY PROTEST FOR A FULL PUBLIC INQUIRY INTO IRAQ WAR: MONDAY 15 JUNE, 3.00PM: PARLIAMENT SQUARE
Only a full public inquiry can satisfy all those who have lost loved ones in this war, both British and Iraqi. We cannot allow the main political parties, which voted for the war, to keep this inquiry behind closed doors. Only a full public inquiry can establish why parliament and government ignored the biggest protest movement ever seen in Britain. Most importantly, only a full public inquiry can begin to have the transparency necessary so that the full truth comes out. That means disclosure of evidence and minutes of meetings, the public questioning of ministers and their aides, and full accounting of Tony Blair's relationship with George Bush.
JOIN THE EMERGENCY PROTEST ON 15 JUNE IF YOU CAN. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE.
Liberal Democrats threaten to boycott new probe
By Toby Helm and Mark Townsend, The Observer
Gordon Brown was under intense pressure last night to throw open a new inquiry into the Iraq war to the public as families of soldiers who died, and anti-war MPs, reacted with horror to suggestions it would be held largely in secret.
Cabinet sources said the prime minister would announce an inquiry early this week, probably on Tuesday. Its structure would be "similar but not identical" to the Franks inquiry into the 1982 Falklands war, which was held behind closed doors.
Last night, as families of the dead said they would march on Downing Street if any of its deliberations were kept secret, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg stoked the controversy saying he would boycott the entire investigation if it was not open, wide in its remit and did not report speedily.
Four years late, the Law Lords finally put the British government’s anti-terror policies under the spotlight on Wednesday by delivering a resounding repudiation of the government’s use of secret evidence to impose control orders on alleged terror suspects (the full judgment is here).
An unjustified stranglehold on liberty: the control orders
Introduced in March 2005 after the Law Lords ruled in December 2004 that the government’s previous policy of imprisoning suspects without charge or trial in Belmarsh prison (which had begun three years before) was in contravention of the Human Rights Act, the control order regime is effectively a form of house arrest. As I explained in an article for the Guardian in April...Read more from Andy Worthington.
By Linda Milazzo
This evening at a Washington DC fundraiser, in a statement that can best be described as regressive American exceptionalism, former Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich said of himself:
"I am not a citizen of the world. I think the entire concept is intellectual nonsense and stunningly dangerous!"
Witness the video below of Mr. Gingrich's pronouncement that defines in two simple sentences the elitism, racism and egotism that have destroyed his Republican Party:
By David Brunnstrom, Reuters
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - European Union states agreed on Thursday to share information on former detainees they plan to accept from Guantanamo Bay, a move that should help Washington close the center.
President Barack Obama has pledged to close the prison, reviled by critics in Europe and elsewhere for suspected abuses of human rights in the Bush administration's "war on terror," by January and is looking for countries to take in freed detainees.
Interior ministers from the 27-nation European Union agreed in Luxembourg that EU states considering taking in former detainees would inform all others and share information received from the United States before taking a final decision.
As Obama Visits the Wounded at U.S. Military Hospital in Germany, Some U.S. Soldiers Press for an End to the Wars
By Elsa Rassbach
Berlin, June 4, 2009, Tomorrow President Obama will be in Germany. First he will stop in Dresden and at the concentration camp at Buchenwald, near Weimar. Then he will visit wounded U.S. soldiers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest American hospital outside the U.S., located on a site of built in 1938 as the campus of the Adolf Hitler School for Youth.
Dear Supporters of Brian Haw and the right to protest near Parliament,
It has been some time since the Parliament Square Peace Campaign last sent out
a message to Brian’s supporters. Brian is still in Parliament Square, the
Campaign is still here, but we very stretched in our resources.
Eight years ago yesterday on 2 June 2001, Brian came to Parliament Square to
protest against the injustice and suffering caused to the people of Iraq by
the UN economic sanctions and the bombing of the country by the US and UK.
Eight years later, after invasion and occupation, Iraqis have lived through
another terrible period and western troops have pulled out to continue their
war in Afghanistan with the US and NATO bombing claiming many civilian
Despite hassle from the police and others, Brian and supporters remain
lawfully opposite Parliament reminding those in power of the costs of their
wars. Do come down to show support if you can.