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Everything to Lose: Who's in Charge in the Middle East?
By Susan Morrison – August 11, 2008
There is one belligerent nation in the Middle East. Exactly one.
Stretching from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan there is only one nation in
which nearly a century has dared infringe upon a neighbor, save for
colonial powers. Israel. I make exception here for Hafez al-Assad and
Anwar Sedot's ill-fated gamble to regain lost territory from Israel in
1973. It was a good gamble, a two-pronged assault which may have
regained lost territory, the Golan Heights for Syria and the Sinai
Peninsula, in whole, for Egypt. But it was the master of statescraft,
Henry Kissinger, and Sedot's betrayal of Assad which cut those desires
short. Egypt maintained a portion of the Sinai, but Syria and Lebanon
suffered many losses and came up short. Israel has repeatedly attacked
Egypt, Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, and Syria in its fanatical quest
By Dave Lindorff
We Americans got a graphic illustration of the demise of any independent American corporate news media these past few days as the coverage on TV and in print was saturated with reports about John Edwards’ infidelity and, equally important, Russia’s invasion of Georgia.
It’s touching how American neoconservatives who have no regard for international law when they want to invade some troublesome country have developed a sudden reverence for national sovereignty.
Apparently, context is everything. So, the United States attacking Grenada or Nicaragua or Panama or Iraq or Serbia is justified even if the reasons sometimes don’t hold water or don’t hold up before the United Nations, The Hague or other institutions of international law.
However, when Russia attacks Georgia in a border dispute over Georgia’s determination to throttle secession movements in two semi-autonomous regions, everyone must agree that Georgia’s sovereignty is sacrosanct and Russia must be condemned.
A 7/31/08 report by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) shows even the most token coverage of the impeachment hearings as receiving no respect: “CNN's Election Center program devoted a July 25 report to mocking a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee investigating White House abuses of power. ‘Believe it or not, there was a congressional hearing today about impeaching the president,’ scoffed host Campbell Brown, who added: ‘It was all stagecraft, though.’ Brown went on to introduce the report by CNN correspondent Erica Hill by saying, ‘Tell us about this piece of Kabuki theater, Erica.’’ According to FAIR Brown is married to Dan Senor; a former deputy. press secretary for Bush.
Preamble, from Tom:
"If the global war on terror has produced one undeniable conclusion," writes Andrew Bacevich in a striking new post from Tomdispatch, "it is this: Estimates of U.S. military capabilities have turned out to be wildly overstated. The Bush administration's misplaced confidence in the efficacy of American arms represents a strategic misjudgment that has cost the country dearly. Even in an age of stealth, precision weapons, and instant communications, armed force is not a panacea. Even in a supposedly unipolar era, American military power turns out to be quite limited."
House Republicans are incensed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refuses to cave to their political grandstanding and call Congress back into session. The GOP has promised to continue pushing for oil drilling until the Democratic convention in late August.
There’s no question that the conservative rhetoric surrounding their political stunt has been hyperbolic. Earlier this week, Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) called it the “2008 version of the Boston Tea Party.” Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) called it “America’s greatest hour.” But House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today went a step further, ratcheting up violent rhetoric to rail against Pelosi. The Crypt reports:
Responding to questions over whether Pelosi could call a special session - which Democrats insist won’t happen - and vote on other issues that Republicans may not want to face, such as an expansion of childrens’ health insurance programs, which President Bush and GOP congressional leaders have opposed.
“She’s gonna bring us back and not deal with it? The American people are gonna hang her,” Boehner said. When pressed further, Boehner said it would “be fine, as long as we get a vote on our bill.”
Dead civilians in South Ossetia. But you will not hear much about it on CNN or Faux News. Because they are too busy reporting ad nauseam about the extramarital shenanigans of CFR darling John Edwards.
In order to find out what’s really going on in Georgia, you have to read the international press on the internet. Bush, McCain, and Obama may cast blame on Russia, but reading the international press you get a different perspective.
Russia accuses U.S. of orchestrating conflict
“Russian officials believe that it was the USA that orchestrated the current conflict. The chairman of the State Duma Committee for Security, Vladimir Vasilyev, believes that the current conflict is South Ossetia is very reminiscent to the wars in Iraq and Kosovo,” reports Pravda, the Russian newspaper.
Recall the CIA admitting it “helped to train the Kosovo Liberation Army before Nato’s bombing of Yugoslavia,” according to The Sunday Times. The KLA is a perfect outfit for the CIA. “Known for its extensive links to Albanian and European crime syndicates, the KLA was supported from the outset in the mid-1990s by the CIA and Germany’s intelligence agency, the Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND). In the course of the 1999 war, the KLA was supported directly by NATO,” writes Michel Chossudovsky. “The KLA had extensive links to Al Qaeda, which was also involved in military training. Mujahideen mercenaries from a number of countries integrated the ranks of the KLA, which was involved in terrorist activities as well as political assassinations.” Of course, “links to Al Qaeda” translate into links to the CIA.
The 2001 anthrax attacks led to a huge, expensive clean-up effort and sparked a brand new industry called "biodefense." NPR's David Kestenbaum and Andrea Seabrook talk about how monitoring, vaccination, and other costly biosecurity programs have borne limited results.
The Air National Guardsmen who operate Predator drones over Iraq
via remote control, launching deadly missile attacks from the safety
of Southern California 7,000 miles away, are suffering some of the
same psychological stresses as their comrades on the battlefield.
Working in air-conditioned trailers, Predator pilots observe the field
of battle through a bank of video screens and kill enemy fighters with
a few computer keystrokes. Then, after their shifts are over, they get
to drive home and sleep in their own beds.
But that whiplash transition is taking a toll on some of them
mentally, and so is the way the unmanned aircraft's cameras enable
Pentagon To Test Unclassified Alternative to Talon
David Morgan | Yahoo!News
The Pentagon, which closed its Talon intelligence database nearly a year ago amid concerns about domestic spying, will soon begin testing an unclassified alternative for tracking possible threats to U.S. military bases, officials said on Tuesday.
The system, an FBI-operated program called eGuardian, would for the first time sever the Defense Department's collection of data on suspicious activity from U.S. intelligence operations by placing the information in an unclassified database for law enforcement agencies, officials said.
Pentagon officials hope an unclassified system run by the FBI would help insulate the job of gathering information about potential threats from public concerns about domestic espionage that surrounded Talon for years.
Here goes an activist judge again, encroaching on President Bush’s ability to do his job.
Oh, wait. U.S. District Judge John Bates, who on Thursday rightly slapped down yet another administration attempt to stretch presidential prerogative beyond the law, is a Bush appointee.
Bates said that former White House counsel Harriet Miers could not claim executive privilege to avoid a congressional subpoena.
Bates also ruled that current Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten should provide a more detailed description of documents he’s withholding as privileged, though the judge didn’t order the material turned over.
The Anthrax Attacks and the Assault on Civil Liberties
By Paul Craig Roberts | OpEdNews.com
In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists” in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s assault on US civil liberties.
The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could not accept the obvious defeat. If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too.
(Caution: Irony alert.)
Okay, I know it's a surprising conclusion, but hear me out.
As far back as April of 2001, the man some call "The Architect" wrote in a memo to Paul Wolfowitz that the anthrax vaccine was "a political problem for us." That's right. Rove was worried about the very same thing Bruce Ivins was allegedly worried about: the anthrax vaccine.
Countdown to Crawford: Impeach Bush Crowd Dogs Pelosi's Book Tour
Johanna Neuman | LATimes
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who last year became the first woman in U.S. history to be elected speaker, is on a book tour.
"Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters," charts her journey from stay-at-home mom to politician and urges young women to reach their potential.
But in pushing the book, Pelosi is likely to run into a gauntlet of outraged voters who want to know why she will not allow impeachment proceedings against President Bush.
Photojournalist Disembedded After Posting Graphic Images
Listen now [16 min 46 sec]
"What I saw was abhorently [sic] graphic," Miller writes, "yet far too important for the world to ignore."
The military argues that publishing images of dead American servicemen is an insult to their memories and insensitive to their families. Officials also warn it could create security problems.
White House Signals Desire to Negotiate on Subpoenas
By Keith Perine | CQ.com
The White House signaled Friday that it is willing to negotiate an end to a dispute over congressional subpoenas for current and former officials even as the Justice Department asked a federal appeals court to settle the matter.
“The fact that the executive has noticed an appeal in this matter does not signify that we think further litigation is the exclusive path forward,” White House counsel Fred F. Fielding wrote House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich.
Fielding offered to open staff discussions next week, and Conyers accepted.
by Linda Milazzo
After weeks of collecting signatures from constituents in San Francisco's 8th Congressional District, Independent candidate Cindy Sheehan has made it onto the November ballot to oppose Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, for Pelosi's heretofore secure Congressional seat. As Sheehan told me exclusively this afternoon:
"I think this is the happiest that I have been since before Casey was killed (except when my grandson was born). Getting on the ballot as an independent in California is so difficult, but with the help of many of our friends who are committed to peace, accountability, economic equality and environmental sustainability, we have done it! The voice of the people will be on the ballot in San Francisco in November."
(The American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (H.R. 3835), which addresses most of the issues outlined below, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul on October 15, 2007. Click here to read the text of the bill.)
At critical moments in our history, Americans have been called upon to protect our Constitutional guarantees of liberty and justice. We face such a moment today. The American Freedom Campaign is a non-partisan citizens' alliance formed to reverse the abuse of executive power and restore our system of checks and balances with these ten goals:
Fully restore the right to challenge the legality of one's detention, or habeas corpus, and the right of detained suspects to be charged and brought to trial.
Russia dispatched an armored column into the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia on Friday after Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, launched a surprise offensive to crush separatists. Witnesses said hundreds of civilians were killed.
The fighting, which devastated the capital of Tskhinvali, threatened to ignite a wider war between Georgia and Russia, and escalate tensions between Moscow and Washington. Georgia said it was forced to launch the assault because of rebel attacks; the separatists alleged Georgia violated a cease-fire.
Dean Baker: is there anything he doesn't know?
Here's email Baker sent out on August 10, 2006, talking about the UK Airline Bomber Plot:
So, do you think the British airplane plot is the response to Lieberman's defeat? It certainly is conveniently timed, and we know that we are dealing with people who would have no qualms whatsoever about pulling a stunt like this. Having it down in Britain also is helpful to bush, since it removes his crew from the direct line of fire, while still providing the same benefits in terms of hyping terrorist paranoia. Needless to say, lapdog Tony would gladly do as told, if the orders were given.
I was skeptical of this perspective at the time. Yet it was almost exactly correct. Here's Ron Suskind yesterday on Fresh Air describing what happened:
NEW YORK The Reuters Foundation, in collaboration with the Stanley Foundation, is accepting applications from U.S. journalists to participate in an all-expenses-paid journalism training course in Beijing, China, Nov. 10-14.
Six American journalists will be paired with six Chinese journalists in a program designed to help reporters develop international news writing skills for U.S. and Chinese audiences. Guest speakers, reporting field trips, and classroom training will be part of the course.
Geothermal Energy Tapped to Power Oregon Institute of Technology
by Matthew McDermott | TreeHugger.com
Here’s a “world’s first” that’s worth mentioning: the Oregon Institute of Technology will be the world’s first university to be entirely powered from geothermal energy. The Klamath Falls school announced this week that it will be constructing a $7.6 million dollar geothermal power plant on campus which will not only provide energy to the school, but will also allow students to study and research geothermal energy technologies.
ICE Chief Calls for Congress to Discipline Lawmaker for ‘Gestapo’ Remark
By John Bicknell | CQ.com
The head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will ask Congress to consider taking disciplinary action against one of its members for a statement he made equating ICE agents with the Gestapo, a senior agency official said Wednesday.
Luis V. Gutierrez, vice chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee that handles immigration, has called for a moratorium on ICE enforcement actions until Congress passes a comprehensive overhaul, something it has failed to do in each of the past two years.
In a column written for Politico, Gutierrez, D-Ill., commenting on recent ICE arrests of illegal immigrants in Iowa, said: “You know who is in charge now? The Gestapo agents at Homeland Security. They are in charge.”
Last month 25-year-old U.S. Army PFC Robin Long became the first war resister since the Vietnam War to be forcefully deported from Canadian soil and handed over to military authorities. Robin is currently being held in the El Paso County Jail, near Colorado Springs, Colorado, awaiting a military court martial for resisting the unjust and illegal war against and occupation of Iraq. Robin will be court martialed for desertion “with intent to remain away permanently”—Article 85 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice—in early September. The maximum allowable penalty for a guilty verdict on this charge is three years confinement, forfeiture of pay, and a dishonorable discharge from the Army.
If Ron Suskind's sensational charge that the White House and CIA colluded in forging evidence to justify the Iraq invasion isn't proved conclusively in his new book, "The Way of the World," then the sorry record of the Bush administration offers no basis to dismiss his allegation. Setting aside the relative credibility of the author and the government, the relevant question is whether the available facts demand a full investigation by a congressional committee, with testimony under oath.
When we look back at the events surrounding the emergence of the faked letter that is at the center of this controversy, a strong circumstantial case certainly can be made in support of Suskind's story.
CNN Airs Suskind’s CIA Forgery Allegations, Impeachment Call
By Matthew Balan | NewsBusters.com
Wolf Blitzer, CNN Host & Ron Suskind, author | NewsBusters.orgWednesday’s The Situation Room aired an interview of author Ron Suskind, who alleges in his new book that the Bush administration engaged in a "disinformation campaign" by forging documents in the lead-up to the Iraq war. This came a day after host Wolf Blitzer made the allegations in the book lead items on the program.
The CodePink Affinity Group "Impeachment Theater" is looking for actors, costumers, prop managers, etc. to help produce a couple of impeachment street theater plays at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
We have a very short one by David Swanson starring Pelosi, a possible impeachment hearing, and maybe even a murder trial. We need your help!
Susan Harman, firstname.lastname@example.org, 510-482-2856
Sacramento CA Holds 22nd Annual Peace Event Commemorating Hiroshima & Nagasaki This Saturday Featuring Mary Youngblood
Annual August Peace Event Will Feature Bill Durston, Mary Youngblood!
Bill Durston, Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, will be one of the featured speakers at the 22nd annual August Peace Event, held this year at the Sacramento State Alumni Center (near the Student Center) on Saturday, August 9, 2008 from 4:30-6:30 PM.
The event commemorates the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Bill will be speaking from about 5:00 to 5:15 p.m. about the ongoing risk of nuclear weapons and the need for worldwide nuclear disarmament. The program will also feature music by the Grammy Award winning Native American artist, Mary Youngblood, and a Taiko drum performance.
Doors open at 4:00 p.m. Come by early to talk with Bill and enjoy refreshments before the program begins at 4:30 p.m. The late Joan B. Lee will also be honored at this event.