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Going on an Imperial Bender: How the U.S. Garrisons the Planet and Doesn't Even Notice
By Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com
Here it is, as simply as I can put it: In the course of any year, there must be relatively few countries on this planet on which U.S. soldiers do not set foot, whether with guns blazing, humanitarian aid in hand, or just for a friendly visit. In startling numbers of countries, our soldiers not only arrive, but stay interminably, if not indefinitely. Sometimes they live on military bases built to the tune of billions of dollars that amount to sizeable American towns (with accompanying amenities), sometimes on stripped down forward operating bases that may not even have showers. When those troops don't stay, often American equipment does -- carefully stored for further use at tiny "cooperative security locations," known informally as "lily pads" (from which U.S. troops, like so many frogs, could assumedly leap quickly into a region in crisis).
By Dave Lindorff
The introduction to John McCain at the Republican National Convention last night was all about family values. There was the paean to his mother and father, the touching story of his and Cindy’s adoption of a baby girl from India, and then there was Cindy herself, who was the focus of much of a gauzy introductory film on McCain, and who also did the introductory speech, and who brought all the kids up on stage with her at the end.
Activists at RNC: USMC Corp. Adam Kokesh Unfurls Protest Banners; CodePinks' Kick-Off John McCain's Speech; Protesters March
Video courtesy of VelvetRevolution.US
CodePink disrupts McCain speech; dragged out by security.
McCain tells cheering crowd "Don't be disturbed by the static!"
IVAW Banners: "You Can't Win An Occupation" and
Crowd chants "USA" to cover protesters' message. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gen. David Petraeus has recommended against any significant reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq before the end of the year, ABC News has learned.
The only drawdown Petraeus has called for, according to a senior military official familiar with his recommendation, is a modest reduction of two Marine battalions, or about 1,500 Marines, a tiny fraction of the 146,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq.
Under Petraeus's plan, the number of combat brigades -- which now stands at 15 -- would remain unchanged until next January at the earliest.
The recommendation is now being considered by top officials at the White House and the Pentagon. A final decision on future force levels is expected to be announced by President Bush early next week.
Biden: "No One Is Above the Law;" Promises to Pursue Criminal Charges "If Necessary"; Recants on Fox
As reported by Jonathan Karl of ABCNews.com:
"In an Obama-Biden administration, we will not have an attorney general who blatantly breaks the law," Biden said at a town-hall meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida, his voice at times drowned out by applause. "We will not have a president who doesn't understand the Constitution. And I will not be a vice-president who thinks he's not part of any of the three branches of government."
Biden ripped the Bush administration for wasting a chance to unite the nation in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"George Bush and his administration are going to be judged harshly by history," said the Delaware lawmaker. "Not for the mistakes they made, but for the opportunities to unite America and the world they squandered." ...noting that the next administration might appoint as many as three new justices.
"The single most important domestic decision that a president gets to make on his own or her own is the Supreme Court," he said.
Looking to the future but with one eye on the past, Biden also promised that an Obama-Biden government would go through Bush administration data with "a fine-toothed comb" and pursue criminal charges if necessary.
Amy Goodman and others were released, but the story is not over.
We need you to cosign our public letter demanding that press intimidation cease immediately, and that all charges be dropped. It will be delivered immediately to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, the RNC Host Committee and the local prosecuting attorneys. We need 10,000 signatures in the next 24 hours, so please take action now:
Sign the Letter: Drop All Charges Against Journalists
In addition to these arrests, police with firearms drawn raided a meeting of the video journalists' group I-Witness and arrested independent media, bloggers and videomakers. We’re also receiving late-breaking reports of other arrests.
Baltimore Denies Tracking Activists Despite Evidence; Anti-War Activists Seek Expanded Investigation
Antiwar activists who were targeted by an undercover state police operation from 2005 to 2006 will ask state investigators Tuesday to expand their probe to learn whether other law enforcement agencies took part in the spying.
Members of Pledge of Resistance Baltimore plan to rally in front of the Maryland State Police headquarters in Baltimore County Tuesday afternoon. The agency's surveillance of the group for 14 months in 2005 and 2006 is being investigated by the state. The group also was tracked by the Baltimore City Police Department in 2003, according to an e-mail obtained by The Washington Times.
By Dave Lindorff
Now that we’ve had a chance to see Sarah Palin and to hear her speak—or at least read the big rolling white block letters on the teleprompter in front of her—we can see that she’s prone to telling whoppers.
Now we know politicians as a group have a propensity to embellish the truth—particularly when describing their opponents or themselves—and even to lie outright, but Palin does it so well, she’s like a George Bush with reading and pronunciation skills.
In her acceptance speech last night, Palin told a whole string of lies. My favorite was talking about little Trig, her latest offspring, who was born with Down syndrome. Looking right out into the camera, she told the parents of America with special needs children that if she and John McCain win in November, “You’ll have an advocate in Washington.”
Revolving Door Woes Mount At Federal Minerals Agency as Federal Treasury Loses Royalties in Bush Corporate Giveaway
Revolving Door Woes Mount at Federal Minerals Agency
Following Guilty Plea MMS Director Warns Workers to Expect More Shoes to Drop
The criminal conviction of a top agency manager may be just the beginning of revolving door troubles at the Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Workers at the agency are being told to expect more scandals to come.
On July 30, 2008, former special assistant to the Associate Director of Minerals Revenue Management, Mineral Management Service (MMS), Jimmy Mayberry, pled guilty before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a felony violation of the conflict of interest law governing post-employment work. Mayberry faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and a fine of $250,000.
During the Democratic National Convention in Denver, a baton-wielding sheriff twice struck 24 year old protestor Alicia Forrest, knocking the hundred pound woman to the ground. She was jailed and bonded out at more than $500.
To the credit of the Denver Sheriff's Department, this incident is currently under investigation by their Internal Affairs Division. Below is one of the responses to an ADS member who protested the brutality.
Friday, September 19, marks the beginning of Year Two for the Iraq Moratorium.
It has been a long year, as the war, the occupation and the killing in Iraq drags on, despite our efforts to bring it to an end.
"It's got to stop! We've got to stop it!" was the phrase we used in launching the Iraq Moratorium a year ago. It rings as true today as it did then. We must keep organizing. We must keep the pressure on, no matter what happens in the November elections, until this bloodshed has ended and all of the troops are home.
On August 24, 2008 the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (GFWCUI) called for a mass demonstration against the recent decree issued by the Minister of Finance in which he ordered a significant reduction in the wages and benefits for workers.
Workers Gather to Demonstrate Against the Wage and Benefit Cuts
Government officials asked the workers to send their representatives for negotiations with the minister's representatives. Subhi Albadri, President of the GFWCUI, was elected to head a delegation of labor leaders to represent workers who took to the street in the thousands.
After the meeting Subhi Albadri was stopped at the exit door of the ministry by a number of guards who belong to the Badr militia. The guards confiscated his personal belongings, beat him up and attempted to kidnap him. The kidnap attempt was thwarted by other workers. The guards, however, shot at brother Subhi, who miraculously escaped the bullets.
A coalition working to end the war in Iraq announced it is organizing the year’s largest anti-war mobilization. Million Doors for Peace, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20, will ask one million Americans to sign petitions urging the next Congress to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq within one year.
The action combines the best of grassroots activism and support from the netroots. The campaign will allow tens of thousands of volunteers to download a neighborhood “walk list” for the coalition website. The volunteers will then use this public information talk to and identify neighbors who oppose the Iraq war and will join the efforts to end the war. Please join this effort, click here.
A federal judge has ruled in New York that the government must either produce memos on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods used by the CIA or explain why they should be kept secret.
U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein says the memos are "clearly responsive" to a lawsuit filed in 2003 by the ACLU and other civil rights groups seeking records on the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.
The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment Wednesday.
The New York Times last year disclosed the existence some of the Justice Department memos. It said they authorized interrogators to use methods like waterboarding, head slapping and exposure to freezing temperatures.
Like a Mirage in the Desert: U.S. exit from Iraq may recede into the time horizon
by Charles Knight
Key advisors to Barack Obama have put forward an Iraq withdrawal policy which they have labeled "conditional engagement." In their words:
"Under this strategy, the...time horizon for redeployment would be negotiated with the Iraqi government and nested within a more assertive approach to regional diplomacy. The United States would make clear that Iraq and America share a common interest in achieving sustainable stability in Iraq, and that the United States is willing to help support the Iraqi government and build its security and governance capacity over the long-term, but only so long as Iraqis continue to make meaningful political progress." [from Colin Kahl, Michele A. Flournoy and Shawn Brimley, "Shaping the Iraq Inheritance", Center for a New American Security, June 2008.]
Given how the corporate media presents elections as one big personality contest, and corrupt politicians lie and cheat to get ahead, it’s not surprising that many working-class people have become fed up with elections.
UN Says Has Evidence Air Strikes Killed 90 Afghans, Including 60 Children
by Sayed Salahuddin | CommonDreams.org
The United Nations said on Tuesday it had found convincing evidence that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan last week.
The issue of civilian casualties has driven a rift between the Afghan government and its NATO backers, with President Hamid Karzai saying earlier this month that air strikes had achieved nothing and had only succeeded in killing ordinary Afghans.
"Investigations by UNAMA (United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) found convincing evidence, based on the testimony of eyewitnesses, and others, that some 90 civilians were killed, including 60 children, 15 women and 15 men," U.N. Special Envoy to Afghanistan Kai Eide said in a statement.
The U.S. military has launched an investigation into the incident, after first saying it was unaware of any civilian casualties in what it said was an air strike on a known Taliban commander that killed 30 militants.
The suspense didn't quite compare to the identity of "Deep Throat," but we now know the name of Bob Woodward's fourth investigative work on the Bush administration, just three weeks before the book's release.
"The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008" will be published Sept. 8 by Simon & Schuster with an announced first printing of 900,000 copies. Simon & Schuster is keeping the book under strict embargo — although such embargoes are often broken — and had even held back the title.
"There has not been such an authoritative and intimate account of presidential decision making since the Nixon tapes and the Pentagon Papers," Woodward's longtime editor, Alice Mayhew, said Tuesday in a statement. "This is the declassification of what went on in secret, behind the scenes."
According to Simon & Schuster, Woodward's book "takes readers deep inside the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq.
Investigative reporter Joe Lauria discusses the series he co-wrote for the London Times about the Sibel Edmonds case, including the 30 year Washington connection to the A.Q. Kahn nuclear black-market operation, the difficulty in corroborating stories about such a secretive subject, the inability of American mainstream media to diverge from the status quo, how the Tinner family fits into the story and the history of the military-industrial-congressional complex as told in the new book he’s co-authored with former senator Mike Gravel, A Political Odyssey.
MP3 here. (50:50)
Joe Lauria is a New York-based investigative journalist. A freelance member of the Sunday Times of London Insight team, he has also worked on investigations for the Boston Globe and Bloomberg News. Joe’s articles have additionally appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Montreal Gazette, The Johannesburg Star, The Washington Times, New York Magazine, ARTnews
Preemptive Strikes Against Protest at RNC
By Marjorie Cohn
In the months leading up to the Republican National Convention, the FBI-led Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force actively recruited people to infiltrate vegan groups and other leftist organizations and report back about their activities. On May 21, the /Minneapolis City Pages /ran a recruiting story called "Moles Wanted." Law enforcement sought to preempt lawful protest against the policies of the Bush administration during the convention.
Since Friday, local police and sheriffs, working with the FBI, conducted preemptive searches, seizures and arrests. Glenn Greenwald described the targeting of protestors by "teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets." Journalists were detained at gunpoint and lawyers representing detainees were handcuffed at the scene.
"I was personally present and saw officers with riot gear and assault rifles, pump action shotguns," said Bruce Nestor, the President of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, who is representing several of the protestors. "The neighbor of one of the houses had a gun pointed in her face when she walked out on her back porch to see what was going on. There were children in all of these houses, and children were held at gunpoint."
By Dave Lindorff
Sarah Palin and I may not have much in common, but we do share an early history of bloodlust.
We both got guns before we were teenagers. According to a report in the British Times newspaper, Palin took a shotgun at age 10, crawled through the grass in back of her house with it, took aim at a bunny “and blew its furry little head off.”
For my part, I got my parents to let me buy a single-shot .22 rifle when I turned 12, and proceeded to go out in the woods, alone and with friends, to shoot at targets, trees, and the occasional animal. A crack shot, I remember picking off what I thought was a dove perched at the top of a tree a good 200 yards away. I nailed it, but when I went to the base of the tree, what I discovered was a dead robin. Oh well.
Obama’s Zionist Wannabe Veep
By Robert Weitzel
“If I were a Jew, I would be a Zionist. I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.”- Senator Joseph Biden
Considering the last eight years and the current (viable) options, I’ll admit to wanting Barak Obama in the White House in January. Undoubtedly, more people around the world will have a better chance of surviving the next four years with his finger on—or rather off—the button. However . . .
For all of Obama’s campaign promises of “change,” his choice of Joseph Biden as his running mate sends a clear signal to Israel’s lobby in Washington and its right-wing government in Jerusalem that for the next four years there will be no change in the United States’ unconditional support or its annual $6 billion in direct and indirect aid.
Predictably, neither will there be a change in the hopelessness and the impotent rage of the Arabs suffering under a U.S.-supported Zionist ideology in Palestine.
Senator Biden is the ardently pro-Israel chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. He is a 36-year veteran politician whose specialty is foreign policy. When he told a reporter from the Jewish cable network, Shalom TV, that he is a Zionist, he knew the implications of that admission for the Palestinians, the entirety of the Arab world, and America’s global “war on terror.”
I read about a leaked copy of the US-Iraqi agreement a few days ago when a radio station in Iraq mentioned some of its details, then it was mentioned in some Arab newspapers like Al-Qabas and Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. A couple of days ago, one Iraqi website (linked to an Iraqi armed resistance group) published the leaked draft on their web page for less than a couple of days before their website went offline. (Thankfully, I downloaded the 21 pages agreement and saved them before their server went down)
The Depleted Uranium Threat
by Thomas D. Williams
"The DoD, the nation's biggest polluter, is now cleaning up 29,500 currently or formerly contaminated sites in every state and territory. California alone has 3,912 contaminated sites on 441 current and former DoD installations. Many of DoD's facilities have already contaminated groundwater sources of drinking water.... The cost to clean up toxic munitions contamination and unexploded ordnance at active and former military installations around the country may reach $200 billion." - The National Resources Defense Council, April 21, 2004.
"The Defense Department is refusing to comply with orders or sign contracts to clean up 11 hazardous waste sites, including one in Hawaii, and has asked the White House and Justice Department to intervene on its behalf." - The Associated Press, July 1, 2008
Banners appeared in Madison, Wisconsin overpasses Monday morning in solidarity with the blockades and protests against the Republican Convention in St. Paul, MN.
As of 9/1/2008, there are a total of 256 arrests; 119 felonies, 48 gross misdemeanors; 89 misdemeanors.
CNN reported that police used pepper spray and tear gas against protestors. St Paul received $50 million in federal grant money to pay for additional security.
Gillian Myers held a sign firmly over her head. Its message: "Even children know to march for peace."
The 4-year-old from Palm Bay was among about 500 people participating in Florida's First Mass March to Stop War on Iran. Rallies similar to the one Saturday -- which was led by Brevard Patriots for Peace -- have increased across the country as some believe U.S. leaders are building up to war with the Middle Eastern nation.
"We were misled into one war and we don't want it to happen again," Gillian's dad Ray Myers said. "Sitting at home and complaining doesn't do anything."
In Nuclear Net’s Undoing, a Web of Shadowy Deals" in Monday's New York Times by David Sanger and William Broad details the destruction of evidence by the US government in a case involving the nuclear black market.
The article highlights again that the New York Times continues to engage in 'Judy Miller reporting' by warmongering and acting as a mouthpiece for the government.