You are hereCorruption
By Dave LIndorff
As I wrote months ago in an article titled America’s Stupid Health Care Debate: Keeping Some Ideas Off the Table and several subsequent pieces on my website, President Obama and the Democrats who currently run Congress have been hoist on their own collective petard by their craven and gutless refusal to consider adopting a Canadian-style single-payer system to finance health care in the US, or simply to expand Medicare, which is a successful single- payer program, to cover everyone, instead of just people over 65 and the disabled.
PANETTA SEEKS TO WHITEWASH CIA CRIMES
By Sherwood Ross
CIA Director Leon Panetta’s article titled “It’s Time To Move On” published in the August 4th Miami Herald is a stunning disservice to the principles of justice. It not only calls for whitewashing the Agency’s past horrific crimes, which have included torture and murder, but openly advocates the use of force and violence. Panetta writes, “the focus on the past, especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action.” In CIA lingo, “covert action” has always meant dirty tricks, from blackmailing to assassinating foreign leaders, and from pouring bribe money to influence elections to overthrowing governments. Covert action is not your church Tuesday night bingo party. And these criminal acts are invariably performed in sneaky secret because if the American people learned of them they would never tolerate the spy agency’s cruelty and waste of tax dollars. Besides, not a few of the CIA’s crimes might make you puke.
And when Panetta charges that Congress “threatens to distract the CIA” he is revealing his fear that at any House or Senate intelligence committee hearings his Agency will have an awful lot of embarrassing crimes to account for. Yet, as reporter Tim Weiner points out in his aptly named “Legacy of Ashes, The History of The CIA(Anchor),” Congressional committees “need to do their work—ask hard questions, demand answers, and report back to the citizenry. They have been derelict in this duty for much of the past three decades, but their conduct since 9/11 has bordered on criminal negligence.” But when Congress changes course and tries to do its job, Panetta sees it as a “threat.”
About damn time this happened. What about the other 8? What about firing all the ones who SHOULD have been fired? What about undoing the political prosecutions and prosecuting the politically immune?
"How cute!" my adults would say when they passed a black baby or a small black child. They'd grin approvingly at the baby and smile their acceptance at the baby's mom. Sometimes they'd extend a hand to brush the baby's cheek to prove their gentility. And then they'd walk a bit further, lean into each other and snark the zinger that angered me then and now, "yeah, they're cute now but wait till they get older." There it was. There it is. The not so subtle prejudice I witnessed in my family that millions of impressionable children witnessed in theirs.
As far back as I can remember I was offended by this language. But others in my family, in my generation, were not. Many assumed the attitudes and language of our adults and continued these prejudices into their adulthoods. Some more strongly than others. Some used the "N word." Some used "ditsoon," the Italian pejorative for blacks. In my large extended family, that includes several police, racial insensitivity was the norm.
You're Appointing Who? Please Obama, Say It's Not So!
By Jeffrey Smith | Huffington Post
The person who may be responsible for more food-related illness and death than anyone in history has just been made the US food safety czar. This is no joke.
Here's the back story.
When FDA scientists were asked to weigh in on what was to become the most radical and potentially dangerous change in our food supply -- the introduction of genetically modified (GM) foods -- secret documents now reveal that the experts were very concerned. Memo after memo described toxins, new diseases, nutritional deficiencies, and hard-to-detect allergens. They were adamant that the technology carried "serious health hazards," and required careful, long-term research, including human studies, before any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could be safely released into the food supply.
But the biotech industry had rigged the game so that neither science nor scientists would stand in their way. They had placed their own man in charge of FDA policy and he wasn't going to be swayed by feeble arguments related to food safety. No, he was going to do what corporations had done for decades to get past these types of pesky concerns. He was going to lie. Read more.
Honduran Coup Leader, General Velasquez in Miami THIS Saturday, July 25
Jeff Nall wrote:
Dear fellow activists,
I have just received an email from Just Foreign Policy indicating that General Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, the military leader of the coup in Honduras, is scheduled to be in MIAMI THIS SATURDAY, JULY 25th, at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, FL 33139.
Velasquez is scheduled to speak between 9:45am and 10:45am....after “Morning worship.”
How the 11th Circuit Cheated Don Siegelman: A Summary
Explosive news has been breaking in recent days from motions for a new trial in the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.
By Legal Schnauzer | Legal Schnauzer Blogspot
It's worth noting that the Siegelman/Scrushy motions would not have been necessary if the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals had done its job. We showed in a recent series of posts that the 11th Circuit made multiple unlawful findings in upholding most of the convictions in the Siegelman case.
Now might be a good time to review the judicial hatchet job the 11th Circuit administered on the Siegelman/Scrushy appeal.
What did we learn from our multi-part series about the appeal? Clear law required the 11th Circuit to overturn the Siegelman/Scrushy convictions. But the appellate court botched its ruling on at least five key issues. And we're not talking about complicated stuff here. I don't have the first day of law school, and I could rather easily determine the many areas where the 11th Circuit got it wrong. All the court had to do was follow its own precedent--and it couldn't even do that.
How do you explain such judicial butchery? Two words come to mind--incompetence and corruption.
One member of the three-judge panel is in his mid 80s and another is about to hit 80. But I don't think these judges are senile, and thus, incompetent. So I think we are looking at corruption.
Why did the 11th Circuit uphold a trial-court judgment that it had to know was unlawful? I have some theories on that, and we will get to those in a bit. But first, let's review the five key issues where the 11th Circuit got it wrong: Read more.
Phil Angelides, the former state treasurer of California, is a tough-minded liberal with hands-on knowledge of high finance and the social contradictions in modern capitalism. So it is remarkable that Angelides has been chosen to chair the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission newly created by Congress. The commission has enormous potential to generate deeper reforms than anything President Obama has yet proposed, simply by digging out the hard facts of what caused the financial collapse.
An honest investigation--like the Pecora hearings that famously revealed the truth of what caused the Great Depression--could splash embarrassment on both political parties and turn up shocking evidence of the political collusion between Washington and Wall Street. But can we really expect such a truth-telling creature to emerge from Congress? Maybe we can. The appointment of Angelides is a very promising start because of his record as an aggressive reformer on issues like corporate governance, social equity and environmental reform. The danger is that the Angelides commission will be paralyzed by the usual hard-nosed tactics of Washington partisans. Read more.
As CIA director in 2004, George Tenet terminated a secret program to develop hit teams to kill al-Qaida leaders, but his successors resurrected the plan, according to former intelligence officials.
Tenet ended the program because the agency could not work out its practical details, the officials told The Associated Press. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the classified program.
Porter Goss, who replaced Tenet in 2005, restarted the program, the former officials said. By the time Michael Hayden succeeded Goss as CIA chief in 2006 the effort was again flagging because of practical challenges. Read more.
Bush Has Widened Authority of C.I.A. to Kill Terrorists
By James Risen and David Johnston | NYTimes | Published: Sunday, December 15, 2002
Intelligence officials said the presidential finding authorizing the agency to kill terrorists was not limited to those on the list. The president has given broad authority to the C.I.A. to kill or capture operatives of Al Qaeda around the world, the officials said....Under current intelligence law, the president must sign a finding to provide the legal basis for covert actions to be carried out by the C.I.A. In response to past abuses, the decision-making process has grown into a highly formalized review in which the White House, Justice Department, State Department, Pentagon and C.I.A. take part. The administration must notify Congressional leaders of any covert action finding signed by the president. In the case of the presidential finding authorizing the use of lethal force against members of Al Qaeda, Congressional leaders have been notified as required, the officials said.
The Bush administration has prepared a list of terrorist leaders the Central Intelligence Agency is authorized to kill, if capture is impractical and civilian casualties can be minimized, senior military and intelligence officials said.
The previously undisclosed C.I.A. list includes key Qaeda leaders like Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as other principal figures from Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, the officials said. The names of about two dozen terrorist leaders have recently been on the lethal-force list, officials said. "It's the worst of the worst," an official said.
President Bush has provided written legal authority to the C.I.A. to hunt down and kill the terrorists without seeking further approval each time the agency is about to stage an operation. Some officials said the terrorist list was known as the "high-value target list." A spokesman for the White House declined to discuss the list or issues involving the use of lethal force against terrorists. A spokesman for the C.I.A. also declined to comment on the list.
Despite the authority given to the agency, Mr. Bush has not waived the executive order banning assassinations, officials said. The presidential authority to kill terrorists defines operatives of Al Qaeda as enemy combatants and thus legitimate targets for lethal force.
Mr. Bush issued a presidential finding last year, after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, providing the basic executive and legal authority for the C.I.A. to either kill or capture terrorist leaders. Initially, the agency used that authority to hunt for Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan. That authority was the basis for the C.I.A.'s attempts to find and kill or capture Mr. Bin laden and other Qaeda leaders during the war in Afghanistan.
The creation of the secret list is part of the expanded C.I.A. effort to hunt and kill or capture Qaeda operatives far from traditional battlefields, in countries like Yemen.
The president is not legally required to approve each name added to the list, nor is the C.I.A. required to obtain presidential approval for specific attacks, although officials said Mr. Bush had been kept well informed about the agency's operations. Read more.
The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh was mocked in March when he referred to Dick Cheney’s secret squad of CIA assassins. Now, he talks to The Daily Beast about the next shoe to drop.
Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh raised eyebrows back in March when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that Dick Cheney ran a secret hit squad that he kept hidden from congressional oversight.
"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on," Hersh said at the time. He added: "Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us."
“I said what I said, they can always say what they say,” Hersh told The Daily Beast. “The last time they said the government doesn’t torture, this time it’s the government doesn’t assassinate.” Read more.
Cheney Sweats Out the Summer
By Ray McGovern | July 14, 2009
So far the summer has been mild in the Washington, D.C., area. But for former Vice President Dick Cheney the temperature is well over 100 degrees. He is sweating profusely, and it is becoming increasingly clear why.
Cheney has broken openly with former President George W. Bush on one issue of transcendent importance — to Cheney. For whatever reason, Bush decided not to hand out blanket pardons before they both rode off into the sunset.
12 slain in Mexico identified as federal officers | CNN
1,000 people have died in drug-related violence in 2009 in Ciudad Juarez alone
Twelve bodies with signs of torture found on the side of a remote highway in the Mexican state of Michoacan were federal police officers, Monte Alejandro Rubido Garcia, technical secretary for Mexico's national security council, said at a news conference Tuesday.
The officers, 11 men and one woman, were "ambushed while they were off duty by an armed group," Rubido said.
The slayings come on the heels of an unprecedented wave of violence washing over Mexico. Since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels shortly after coming into office in December 2006, more than 10,000 people have died, about 1,000 of them police.
In the border city of Ciudad Juarez alone, the toll of drug-related deaths for the year topped 1,000, a distinction the Mexican city did not reach last year until September.Read more.
By Dave Lindorff
Of course I could be wrong. Congress could turn around and pass some cockamamie scheme to kick the issue of health care reform down the road, offering some kind of minimal insurance coverage to a few million more people, and cracking down on this or that particularly egregious health provider rip-off, and then staging a “mission accomplished” photo op.
But real health care reform of the kind that Democratic candidates were promising during last year’s presidential campaign is dead, killed by the timidity of the promiser-in-chief, President Barack Obama (and by the massive corruption of the Democrats in Congress, who hav e accepted the tainted coin of the health care industry).
Should Senator Jeff Sessions Serve On the Senate Judiciary Committee?
By Jill Simpson
Today is a big day for Sonia Sotomayor as they start determining whether she should be approved to be on the Supreme Court. It has recently become apparent that Senator Jeff Sessions will be a one-man bandwagon trying to play the tune that she is a racist. Truly this is ironic considering that is probably why he was not approved or confirmed to be on the Federal bench. However that is not why I am writing ya'll tonight.
I want to tell you a story about something that happened to me and why I question whether Mr. Sessions should even be allowed to sit on this important committee.
Veronza Bowers, Jr. - Another Victim of America's Criminal Justice System
by Stephen Lendman
On September 15, 1973, Veronza Bowers, Jr. was arrested in Mill Valley, California and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. After state charges were dropped for lack of probable cause to obtain a search warrant, the FBI arrested Bowers and charged him with the first-degree murder of National Park Service ranger Kenneth Patrick on August 5, 1973 at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco.
At trial, testimonies from two government informants, Alan Veale and Jonathan Shoher, proved crucial. Both were also charged with the killing. Yet there were no independent eye-witnesses, and no evidence incriminated Bowers besides the word of these two men who had every incentive to cooperate with the Department of Justice.
The Mega-Lie Called the "War on Terror": A Masterpiece of Propaganda
By Richard W. Behan | AlterNet | Posted September 27, 2007
The fraudulence of the "War on Terror" is clearly revealed by looking at the pattern of actions that preceded and followed its launch.
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the state can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie ... The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state." --Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the administration of George W. Bush has told and repeated a lie that is "big enough" to confirm Joseph Goebbels' testimony. It is a mega-lie, and the American people have come to believe it. It is the "War on Terror."
The Bush administration endlessly recites its mantra of deceit:
The War on Terror was launched in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It is intended to enhance our national security at home and to spread democracy in the Middle East.
This is the struggle of our lifetime; we are defending our way of life from an enemy intent on destroying our freedoms. We must fight the enemy in the Middle East, or we will fight him in our cities.
This is classic propaganda. In Goebbels' terms, it is the "state" speaking its lie, but the political, economic, and military consequences of the Bush administration lie are coming into view, and they are all catastrophic. If truth is the enemy of both the lie and George Bush's "state," then the American people need to know the truth.
The military incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq were not done in retaliation for 9/11. The Bush administration had them clearly in mind upon taking office, and they were set in motion as early as Feb. 3, 2001. That was seven months prior to the attacks on the Trade Towers and the Pentagon, and the objectives of the wars had nothing to do with terrorism.
This is beyond dispute. The mainstream press has ignored the story, but the administration's congenital belligerence is fully documented in book-length treatments and in the limitless information pool of the internet. (See my earlier work, for example.) Read more.
Dick Cheney - The Professional
By Michael Parenti
So the Cheney assasination squad story is getting more traction these days with added evidence and insider muttering, eh?
Well, Jean Luc Besson made a film in the 90's called "LEON - THE PROFESSIONAL" with Jean Reno. It's a story of a professional assassin who trains a young girl, whose family was murdered in New York, how to be a professional killer.
Lawmaker won’t deny secret CIA program was ‘Cheney assassination ring’
By David Edwards and Ron Brynaert | Raw Story
Early Friday morning, MSNBC followed up on a theory posted Thursday on the Huffington Post which alleged that a secret CIA program shut down in June by director Leon Panetta could have been related to a purported effort led by Vice President Dick Cheney to assassinate intelligence targets abroad.
This past March, as RAW STORY reported, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped a bombshell when he told an audience at the University of Minnesota that the Bush Administration was running an “executive assassination ring” which reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on,” Hersh stated. “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”
“The revelation from seven Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee that they were misled about a critical CIA program has sparked a debate that touches on the most sensitive areas of national security policy,” Huffington Post’s Sam Stein wondered Thursday. “What program, exactly, was being kept secret?” Read more.
Cemetery Workers Made $300K in Gravedigging Scheme
Authorities: 4 former workers at historic Ill. cemetery made $300K in gravedigging scheme
By Don Babwin, Associated Press Writer | ABCNews.com
Four former employees accused of digging up bodies and reselling plots at a historic black cemetery near Chicago made about $300,000 in a scheme believed to have stretched back at least four years, authorities said Friday.
Three gravediggers and a manager at the Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip are accused of unearthing hundreds of corpses and either dumping some in a weeded, desolate area near the cemetery or double-stacking others in graves. The cemetery is the burial place of civil rights-era lynching victim Emmett Till and blues singers Willie Dixon and Dinah Washington.
While Till's grave site was not disturbed, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said investigators found his original iconic glass-topped casket rusting in a shack at the cemetery.Read more.
By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet
On Thursday, June 25, 2009, a spirited rally was held in John Marshall Park, in Washington, D.C. Its purpose: To demand that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder appoint a “Special Prosecutor for Torture,” who will hold accountable to the supremacy of the Law, certain members of the Bush-Cheney Gang, including ex-President George W. Bush, Jr. and his Vice-President, Dick Cheney. They are suspected of authorizing torture on numerous detainees, in violation of the Geneva Convention, International Law, the Nuremberg Principles and the U.S. Constitution. Featured in this video is Constitutional Rights attorney, cofounder of the Partnership for Civil Justice and spokesperson for IndictBushNow.org, Mara Verheyden-Hilliard. She is also the co-chair of the National Lawyers Guild. Ms. Verheyden-Hilliard was introduced at the rally by David Swanson, who moderated the event. He is an essayist, author and also the cofounder of afterdowningstreet.org web site.
For a brief overview of the Law concerning the subject matter of Torture, go to: U.S. Law Prohibits Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was deposed Tuesday by attorneys for the House Judiciary Committee, according to Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the panel’s chairman.
Rove’s deposition began at 10 a.m. and ended around 6:30 p.m, with several breaks, Conyers said.
Conyers would not comment on what Rove told congressional investigators, what the next step in the long-running Judiciary Committee investigation would be or whether Rove would face additional questioning.
“He was deposed today,” Conyers said in an interview. “That’s all I can tell you.”
Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to confirm or deny that his client had appeared before the committee. Luskin said there was an agreement that the depositions would remain confidential until they were completed. However, in a court filing Monday, the Justice Department indicated that the deposition set for this week would be the committee's last. Read more.
Regulators aim to curb speculators' influence on oil prices
By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Tuesday will announce that it'll begin publishing how much hedge funds and other big financial firms are trading in oil and other commodities, with an eye toward curbing what critics say is speculation that pushes prices up.
The CFTC currently publishes weekly data that lumps some of the big financial firms' transactions in with those done by so-called commercial users — airlines, refiners and others who actually use the oil. Critics argue that leaves regulators and the public unaware of how much oil prices are being influenced by speculation.
"Enhancing the quality of information in these weekly reports will better inform market participants and the public about the positions of the various types of traders," CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a statement that was to be made public early Tuesday.
Since oil prices hit their all-time record of $147 a barrel a year ago, there's been growing pressure on regulators to curb excessive speculation in energy trading, and commodities markets more generally. The issue resurfaced in recent months as oil prices climbed from $40 to $70 with little obvious change in oil consumption patterns. Read more.
Binyam Mohamed launches legal fight to stop US destroying torture images
British resident says photographs are evidence of abuse at Guantánamo
Richard Norton-Taylor | Guardian.co.UK
Former Guantánamo detainee Binyam Mohamed has launched an urgent legal attempt to prevent the US courts from destroying crucial evidence that he says proves he was abused while being held at the detention camp, the Guardian has learned. The evidence is said to consist of a photograph of Mohamed, a British resident, taken after he was severely beaten by guards at the US navy base in Cuba.
The image, now held by the Pentagon, had been put on his cell door, he says.
Mohamed claims he was told later that this was done because he had been beaten so badly that it was difficult for the guards to identify him.
In a sworn statement seen by the Guardian, Mohamed has appealed to the federal district court in Washington not to destroy the photograph, which neither he nor his lawyers have a copy of, and which is classified under US law.
The US government considered the case closed once Mohamed was released and returned to Britain in February. The photograph will be destroyed within 30 days of his case being dismissed by the American courts – a decision on which is due to be taken by a judge imminently, Clive Stafford Smith, Mohamed's British lawyer and director of Reprieve, the legal charity, said today .
Under US law, evidence relating to dismissed cases must be automatically destroyed. The only way to preserve the photograph is to have it accepted as a court document. Read more.
Bioweapons, Dangerous Vaccines, and Threats of a Global Pandemic
By Stephen Lendman
Although international law prohibits the use of chemical and bacteriological weapons, America has had an active biological warfare program since at least the 1940s. In 1941, it began secret developmental efforts using controversial testing methods. During WW II, mustard gas was tested on about 4000 servicemen. Biological weapons research was also conducted. Human subjects were used as guinea pigs in various other experiments, and numerous illegal practices continued to the present, including secretly releasing toxic biological agents in US cities to test the effects of germ warfare.
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.