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WASHINGTON - September 15 - Thirty-eight retired generals and admirals today appealed to the United States Senate to enact legislation ending the practice of holding "ghost detainees" by requiring that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) be notified of and given access to all prisoners in the custody of the U.S. intelligence community, including those held in secret prisons.
This is a striking summary piece on how, in the Bush years, American war fighting was privatized and how the Pentagon was largely turned over to corporate contractors, hired guns, hired hands, private cubicle mercenaries, and private subcontracting warriors. This stand-alone, second part in Frida Berrigan's three-part TomDispatch series on the expansion of the Pentagon under George W. Bush reveals just how fully America's defenses have been contracted out to the private sector. It's also just the sort of post -- a major story of the Bush era -- that should be the subject of front-page pieces in newspapers across the country, as the dark legacy of the Bush presidency begins to be considered.
By Dave Lindorff
AIG, the quintessential blue-chip, one of the 30 companies that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average, a company that in 2000 boasted a market capitalization of $217 billion, making it the largest financial institution in the world, is teetering on the brink of collapse. Worth just $7 billion today, the future of what was until recently the world’s largest insurance company is hanging by a thread—that thread being the willingness of Wall Street institutions like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, themselves facing credit issues, to come up with $75 billion in rescue loans.
It used to be that investors who were worried about financial markets, or who didn’t like to take big risks, would put their money in what were called “blue chips”—companies that were deemed conservative, safe investments that could weather any storm. They had names like AT&T, General Motors, Ford, Boeing…and AIG.
By Dave Lindorff
That deafening silence you hear coming from the McCain campaign is straight-talkin’ John touting his plan for privatizing Social Security...not.
With Wall Street banks falling like dominoes, a hundred billion dollars vanishing overnight, and the Treasury Department scampering about trying to prop up failing enterprises from Bear Stearns to Fannie Mae, and with domestic and global equity and bond markets swooning, Americans are afraid to open those envelopes that come every quarter telling them the value of their hard-earned 401(k) retirement plans.
No wonder John McCain isn’t touting privatizaton these days.
Rep. Kucinich, ImpeachBush press conference renews impeachment call
Yesterday, representative Dennis Kucinich submitted 50,000 more names to the clerk of the House demanding impeachment. On Tuesday, Rep. Jim McDermott (D.-WA) spoke on the House floor in favor of impeachment. As Rep. Kucinich said yesterday, more than 2 million Americans have signed petitions demanding impeachment, making it one of the greatest exercises in grassroots democracy in recent times.
Impeachment has become an unavoidable issue on the floor of the House of Representatives, despite the efforts to take impeachment “off the table.” This amazing development is the result of the work of ImpeachBush.org and others who are petitioning, and joining rallies in cities and towns across the country to demand impeachment. Please make a donation right now to keep up this momentum.
U.S. to sell IAF smart bombs for heavily fortified targets
By Aluf Benn & Amos Harel | Haaretz.com
Despite reservations in Washington regarding a possible Israeli strike on Iran, the American administration will supply Israel with sophisticated weapons for heavily fortified targets, the U.S. administration announced.
The U.S. Department of Defense announced it would sell the Israel Air Force 1,000 new smart bombs, rumored to significantly enhance the IAF's military capabilities. The deal was approved amid public and secret messages from Washington, with the Americans expressing their reservations about a possible Israeli strike against the Islamic Republic's suspected nuclear sites.
The Pentagon's announcement, which came on Friday, said the U.S. will provide Israel with 1,000 units of Guided Bomb Unit-39 (GBU-39) - a special weapon developed for penetrating fortified facilities located deep underground.
U.S.: Respect World-Wide Demands for Bush Impeachment
By Bob Kendall | PoliticalCortex.com
In the September 11 Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Levi Pulkkinen reveals that Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott is joining the call to oust Bush, stating:
"Impeachment group won't let even the election stop impeachment."
Cleveland Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich has long advocated the impeachment of George Bush.
"Chiefly at issue, McDermott said, is Bush's decision to mislead the country to war with Iraq.
"'It's increasingly clear to me that we were led into a war without any justification whatsoever,' McDermott said in an interview Wednesday. 'And the president deliberately did this, it wasn't an accident of any kind.'"
Medvedev describes Georgia attack as Russia's 9/11
Jonathan Steele | The Guardian
Georgia's attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia was unnecessary and unprovoked and was encouraged by the United States, Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, said in an interview yesterday.
"For Russia, August 8 was like September 11 for the United States," he told a group of foreign journalists and academics. "I would like to see major lessons from it for the world."
He made clear that the lessons, as Russia sees them, are that the post-cold war "illusion" that a world with one super power is a safe and predictable place is now over.
Another US War Resister From Canada Court-Martialed
by Ann Wright | CommonDreams.org
In June, 2008, by a vote of 137 to 110, Canadian parliamentarians in a non-binding resolution asked the Harper government not to deport US war resisters “who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations.” Yet, one month later, in a controversial move, Canadian police jailed and then deported on July 15, 2008, US war resister Robin Long for having not reported a change of address. Canadian Immigration put Long into the waiting hands of US law enforcement authorities who immediately turned Long over to the US Army.
On June 9, 2008, a counterrevolution began on the floor of the House of Representatives against the gas and oil crooks who had seized control of the federal government. This counterrevolution began in the exact place which had slumbered during the all-out assault on our liberties and the Constitution itself.
Tomgram: Slaughter, Lies, and Video in Afghanistan
The Value of One, the Value of None
An Anatomy of Collateral Damage in the Bush Era
By Tom Engelhardt | TomDispatch.com
In a little noted passage in her bestselling book, The Dark Side, Jane Mayer offers us a vision, just post-9/11, of the value of one. In October 2001, shaken by a nerve-gas false alarm at the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney, reports Mayer, went underground. He literally embunkered himself in "a secure, undisclosed location," which she describes as "one of several Cold War-era nuclear-hardened subterranean bunkers built during the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, the nearest of which were located hundreds of feet below bedrock..." That bunker would be dubbed, perhaps only half-sardonically, "the Commander in Chief's Suite."
Oh, and in that period, if Cheney had to be in transit, "he was chauffeured in an armored motorcade that varied its route to foil possible attackers." In the backseat of his car (just in case), adds Mayer, "rested a duffel bag stocked with a gas mask and a biochemical survival suit." And lest danger rear its head, "rarely did he travel without a medical doctor in tow."
Iraq War resister Robin Long sentenced to 15 months
By Sarah Lazare | Courage to Resist
Robin Long, an Iraq War resister deported from Canada into U.S. military custody last month, was sentenced today to 15 months of confinement and dishonorable discharge, receiving credit for 40 days of time served. He will spend 2-3 weeks in a county jail outside of Fort Carson, Colorado before being transferred to a Army stockade.
At All Costs, We Must Avoid a 'Surge' in Afghanistan
By Joseph Stiglitz | AlterNet.org
The Iraq war has been replaced by the declining economy as the most important issue in America's presidential election campaign, in part because Americans have come to believe that the tide has turned in Iraq: the troop "surge" has supposedly cowed the insurgents, bringing a decline in violence. The implications are clear: a show of power wins the day.
It is precisely this kind of macho reasoning that led America to war in Iraq in the first place. The war was meant to demonstrate the strategic power of military might. Instead, the war showed its limitations. Moreover, the war undermined America's real source of power -- its moral authority.
Green Party Presidential and VicePresidential Candidates To Speak at Baltimore Forum Saturday, Sept. 20th
The Luv4Self Network is sponsoring a speakers forum featuring the Green Party Presidential Nominee Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party VP nominee Rosa Clemente.
We are selling tickets for only $10 dollars and the panel includes former Green Party Presidential Candidate Jared Ball and a host of other diverse speakers.
Please assist us with this forum and make sure that McKinney & Clemente, along with the other panelists, receive a warm reception in Baltimore, MD on Saturday, September 20th, 2008 from 1 PM – 6 PM at the Sojourner-Douglass College, 200 N. Central Ave., Baltimore MD 21202.
If you would like more information please email me. We are really trying to do pre-sales to help assure the forum is streamlined as possible and McKinney and the rest of the panel are accommodated properly.
1. How many deaths are there world-wide each year due to acts of terrorism?
2. How many deaths are there world-wide each day due to poverty and malnutrition?
3. 1n 1965, CEOs in major companies made 24 times more than the average worker. In 1980, CEOs made 40 times more than the average worker. In 2007, CEOs earned how many times more than the average worker?
4. In how many of the over 3000 cities and counties in the US can a full-time worker who earns minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment?
Fourteen people were killed in the northwestern Pakistani region of North Waziristan on Friday in a missile attack by a pilotless U.S. aircraft on suspected militants near the Afghan border, security officials said.
The strike, near the town of Miranshah, was the first since a recent surge in tension between Pakistan and the United States over how to tackle the Taliban and al Qaeda on the Pakistani side of the border.
"We confirm a missile attack at around 5.30 in the morning (2330 GMT on Thursday) ... We have informed the government," said military spokesman Major Murad Khan.
The military, apparently reluctant to highlight infringements of sovereignty, has rarely confirmed such attacks.
Khan gave no more details but security officials in the region said 14 people had been killed and about 12 wounded.
Residents said two missiles were fired at a former government school where militants and their families were living.
An intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan has raised fears about its prospects seven years after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban. That worry has compounded pressure on Pakistan to go after militants operating from enclaves on its side of the border, including in North Waziristan.
Bush Secret Order To Send Special Forces Into Pakistan : Fear of escalating regional conflict
by Simon Tisdall | Guardian.co.uk
A secret order issued by George Bush giving US special forces carte blanche to mount counter-terrorist operations inside Pakistani territory raised fears last night that escalating conflict was spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan and could ignite a region-wide war.
The unprecedented executive order, signed by Bush in July after an intense internal administration debate, comes amid western concern that the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and its al-Qaida backers based in "safe havens" in western Pakistan's tribal belt is being lost.
A single Vermont community's call for the impeachment of President Bush turned into a chorus Tuesday night, with town meetings across southern Vermont echoing the demand that Congress act to remove the president.
Voters in the town of Newfane, where the movement began, endorsed impeachment by a resounding margin. The paper ballot vote was 121-29 for a slightly amended version of the resolution that had been submitted by Dan DeWalt, an elected member of the town's select board. DeWalt's initial resolution declared:
Whereas George W. Bush has:
1. Misled the nation about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction;
2. Misled the nation about ties between Iraq and Al Quaeda;
3. Used these falsehoods to lead our nation into war unsupported by international law;
4. Not told the truth about American policy with respect to the use of torture; and
While it wasn’t her point, Nell’s excellent post earlier this week ("Prepare to Dare or Prepare to Despair") reminds me that I’ve been less energetic than I should have been in supporting and discussing Dennis Kucinich’s H.Res. 1258 resolution calling for George Bush’s impeachment. The lengthy resolution presents 35 articles of impeachment, leading with Bush’s propaganda campaign for the Iraq war:
In his conduct while President of the United States, George W. Bush, in
Email conversation with Thomas Nephew about the Million Doors for Peace effort got me to pull together some thoughts I've only let myself reflect on briefly over the last few months.
There's been a divide among antiwar activists -- between those who are serious about ending the occupation of Iraq and those who’d like to do that but only if it doesn’t cost Democrats politically. Depending on the size of the Democratic majorities in Congress, and assuming an Obama administration, that divide might be less important in 2009 than it's been for the last two years.
Political activists and legal groups are preparing to file multiple lawsuits against the cities and police departments of Denver and St. Paul because of their treatment of convention protesters.
The groups say protesters demonstrating against the war in Iraq and other issues in both cities were mistreated and their civil rights were violated.
The National Lawyers Guild of Minnesota is preparing multiple suits against authorities in St. Paul on behalf of protesters, according to the group. They say protesters were illegally detained and their First Amendment rights were violated.
Zinn: US 'In Need of Rebellion'
Al Jazeera speaks to Howard Zinn, the author, American historian, social critic and activist, about how the Iraq war damaged attitudes towards the US and why the US "empire" is close to collapse.
Q: Where is the United States heading in terms of world power and influence?
HZ: America has been heading - for some time, and is heading right now - toward less and less world power, less and less influence.
Obviously, since the war in Iraq, the rest of the world has fallen away from the United States, and if American foreign policy continues in the way it has been - that is aggressive and violent and uncaring about the feelings and thoughts of other people - then the influence of the United States is going to decline more and more.
This is an empire which is on the one hand the most powerful empire that ever existed; on the other hand an empire that is crumbling - an empire that has no future ... because the rest of the world is alienated and simply because this empire is top-heavy with military commitments, with bases around the world, with the exhaustion of its own resources at home.
The US military provided combat training to 80 Georgian special forces commandos only months prior to Georgia's army assault in South Ossetia in August.
The revelation, based on recruitment documents and interviews with US military trainers obtained by the Financial Times, could add fuel to accusations by Vladimir Putin, Russian prime minister, last month that the US had "orchestrated" the war in the Georgian enclave.
The training was provided by senior US soldiers and two military contractors. There is no evidence that the contractors or the Pentagon, which hired them, knew that the commandos they were training were likely be used in the assault on South Ossetia.
Gold Star Families Protest Bush - McCain Event
in Oklahoma City, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008
Three Gold Star parents will protest President George W. Bush's visit to Oklahoma City on Friday, September 12. The event is being held to raise money for Republican candidate John McCain and the Republican National Committee.
Warren Henthorn, of Choctaw, Kay Henthorn, of Oklahoma City and John Scripsick of Wayne, OK. consider it their patriotic responsibility to show up to ask questions of President Bush about his mishandling of the war that cost their son's lives. In desperate economic times, many people, who do not have family members or friends serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, are paying little attention to the killing and suffering that is taking place on a daily basis so far across the world.
By Dave Lindorff
Sarah Palin stated again, most recently in her interview yesterday by ABC’s Charlie Gibson, that she has foreign policy experience because as governor of Alaska she has been in charge of that state’s National Guard, and because Alaska is, doggone it, “right next” to Russia.
This made me feel pretty good, because it made me realize that I have a whole lot of skills and experience which I hadn’t really appreciated before and that I could perhaps use to get myself out of this freelance journalism profession, which is not all that great from a financial perspective.
President Bush authorized U.S. special forces to conduct ground assaults inside Pakistan without seeking Islamabad's permission first, a senior American intelligence official said Thursday.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said better U.S.-Pakistan cooperation is needed to fight terror.
"We have had the president's OK for months," said the official, who declined to be identified because the order is classified. "It is my understanding that the Pakistanis are well-aware of the change."
"The events of the past seven years," Andrew Bacevich begins in his new piece at TomDispatch.com, "have yielded a definitive judgment on the strategy that the Bush administration conceived in the wake of 9/11 to wage its so-called Global War on Terror. That strategy has failed, massively and irrevocably. To acknowledge that failure is to confront an urgent national priority: to scrap the Bush approach in favor of a new national security strategy that is realistic and sustainable -- a task that, alas, neither of the presidential candidates seems able to recognize or willing to take up."
This post represents a powerful analysis from an important critic of the Bush administration's Global War on Terror -- of just how a small group of Washington officials, dreaming of "transforming" the political and military map of the Middle East and deeply convinced of their own perspicacity, led us into disaster. They were, Bacevich writes, believers in the deepest sense. "They worshipped in the Church of the Indispensable Nation, a small but intensely devout Washington-based sect formed in the immediate wake of the Cold War. Members of this church shared an exalted appreciation for the efficacy of American power, especially hard power. Their strategy of transformation emerged as a direct expression of their faith."
From the introduction to: "Report in Support of Articles of Impeachment Against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney for Making False and Fraudulent Statements to Congress and or Conspiring to Defraud Congress Regarding the Most Notorious of the Grounds for the War in Iraq: the Grounds that Iraq Had Sought Uranium for a Nuclear Weapon, And Articles of Impeachment" by Francis T. Mandanici.
In his recent book entitled What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, former White House press secretary Scott McClellan describes the White House’s deceptive campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people.1
A 2-page flyer/media alert is now available to print and fax to your local media outlets and elected officials for the Justice Robert Jackson Conference on the Planning for Prosecution of High Level American War Criminals this weekend.
The event will be live-streamed over the internet and will be available by recorded video post-event. Viewers need to pre-register, so allow a few minutes to do that.