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Corporatism and Fascism
Corporatism and Fascism
By Linda Milazzo
The extreme Right wing fringe, in desperate fear of their new Black president, are in a panic over the speech below. They believe this person who's the president who was born in Kenya and who may be the anti-Christ is bound and determined to indoctrinate their children and maybe make them Black by listening - or lefties - or parent haters - or Kenyans - or vegans - or environmentalists - or seekers of public assistance - or socialistcommunistfascist Hugo Chavez Fidel Castro Cubanezuelans - or readers - or lovers of science - or atheists - or lovers of education - or independent thinkers....
NO!! NOT INDEPENDENT THINKERS!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here's the speech:
Arlington, Virginia September 8, 2009
Even the least of us deserves justice and accountability starts with you. So why don't you send out a reminder. Even Cheney deserves all the justice he can get and we should ensure he gets his day in court.
Use these images as a 4 PAK and send 4 different cards to the same person; or, choose your favorite and send the same postcard to 4 different persons.
It's easy. Each individual postcard is formatted to the dimensions of 4.25"x5.5". Quarter a sheet of paper and combine the cards as you like. Don't forget to print the other side. Remember the postage stamps. Then mail one to your best beloved, your friends and neighbors, some acquaintance--your politicians and their parties. Show someone you care about them and about justice.
By Linda Milazzo
I was out last evening. I tried to escape, just for a while, back to the days of (Taking) Woodstock when we who worked to end the Vietnam war did so as a united, free-spirited force. I readily admit that in today's times of racism disguised as patriotism, religious perversion, rampant ignorance, unhinged media menaces, and growing hostility amongst Americans, I yearn for that long ago era of 'peace and love.'
Enroute home after my wistful evening, I glanced at my phone and saw a Washington Post alert saying Obama's Green Jobs appointee, Van Jones, had resigned. I was shocked. I knew Jones was being assaulted by the right, but I didn't think he'd resign, and I didn't think the Obama administration would so readily sacrifice this brilliant advocate for the environment and the poor. After all, Jones is a person in the Obama administration who personifies the term "public servant." For progressives, Van Jones' appointment was, and is, Obama's tour de force gift to America of a high level appointee free of corporate entanglements who cannot and will not be bought. Jones is a man for the people in an administration where for the corporation is the norm.
In a press release accompanying the report, PHR asserted that “the extent to which American physicians and psychologists violated human rights and betrayed the ethical standards of their professions by designing, implementing, and legitimizing a worldwide torture program is greater than previously known.”
A new report by the medical ethics group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) charges that medical professionals attached to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assisted in the torture of terror detainees.
CIA doctors also provided a pseudo-medical rationale for torture and used prisoners as human research subjects to determine the effects and efficacy of various methods of torture, the report states. These acts constitute war crimes according to the Geneva Conventions and are clear violations of medical ethics.
PHR called for an independent investigation of medical personnel in the CIA interrogation program. It is seeking to determine how many doctors participated in torture, and on what scientific and medical basis they conducted their work.
The study, “Aiding Torture,” analyzes the role of doctors, psychologists, and nurses in known instances of torture at prisons where terror suspects were held, including Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, and Bagram in Afghanistan. It is based on the 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report on torture, which the Obama administration released two weeks ago, in heavily redacted form and in compliance with a court order. Read more.
'Things went really bad' says British ex-soldier facing Iraq death penalty
Paratrooper turned security guard Daniel Fitzsimons tells of night in Baghdad that left him accused of shooting dead two men
By Martin Chulov | Guardian.UK
"We were ambushed in south Baghdad once by small arms and we made it through. I won't lie to you, I did enjoy it though. There's nothing nice about seeing limbs blown off. The smell of flesh stayed with me all the time and I couldn't taste my food for a couple of weeks, but the buzz was unreal. There is nothing else like that.
The British security guard facing the death penalty in Baghdad says he can remember little about the night he is accused of shooting dead two colleagues, except that things "went really, really bad, really quickly".
Former paratrooper Daniel Fitzsimons, 33, says he is haunted by the faces of Briton Paul McGuigan, and Australian Darren Hoare, who were both shot dead near a bar inside the compound of the British security company ArmorGroup in the early hours of 9 August.
"I have sat here trying to think through the whys and the wherefores," Fitzsimons told the Guardian in his first interview since then. "I see Paul and Darren's faces every night before I sleep and every morning when I wake up."
Fitzsimons is the first foreign national charged under Iraqi law since the 2003 invasion. "The only two people who can tell me what happened that night are both dead. All I know is that it went really, really bad, really quickly," he said.
From his prison cell in the heavily fortified Green Zone, Fitzsimons said he had been given a job with ArmorGroup after being unemployed for 13 months from the time he left prison in England where he had served a seven-month sentence. Read more.
DIEBOLD FINDS ELECTION DIVISION BUYER; ES&S TO CONTROL MOST U.S. ELECTIONS
Bargain-basement sale price; Anti-trust complaints to be filed; Dreadful history of failure by both companies
By Brad Friedman | BradBlog
The world's largest corporate e-voting supplier is about to become even larger. Today, TX-based Premier Election Solutions, the beleaguered and oft-failed voting division of OH-based parent company Diebold, Inc., announced they have been purchased by oft-failed e-voting goliath Election Systems & Software, Inc. (ES&S). The move, if allowed to stand, would "consolidate most U.S. voting under one privately held manufacturer," according to one election watchdog who has announced plans to file an anti-trust complaint concerning the sale with the Department of Justice.
Diebold, facing lost money, lost reputation, lost votes and multiple legal battles, has been trying to unload its election division for several years. Having failed at first, the company created an "independent" entity, Premier --- same pig, damned near same lipstick --- in hopes of regaining money and reputation, if not votes. That failed too.
But somehow, as reported today, Diebold was able to convince Nebraska-based ES&S, the nation's largest election company and supplier of 100% unverifiable voting systems, to agree to the purchase. Read more.
CEO's Earning 300 Times More Than the Average Worker
By Dan Arnall | ABC Newser
The overall CEO-to-worker pay gap is exceptionally high; S&P 500 CEOs in 2008 earned 319 times more than the average worker.
The liberal think tank Institute for Policy Studies is out with a report on excessive executive pay in the biggest 20 TARP banks. The findings show that the top five executives at each of these big financial firms earned an average of $32 million each during the 2005 -- 2008 time period.
The study has been published for the past 15 years, but this year the authors decided to focus on the pay of executives at the financial firms which got exceptional government assistance as the economy melted down last fall. Some of the highlights: Read more.
Pfizer to Pay Record $2.3B Penalty for Drug Promos
Repeat offender Pfizer paying record $2.3B settlement for illegal drug promotions
By Devlin Barrett, Associated Press | ABC News.com
As part of its illegal marketing, Pfizer invited doctors to consultant meetings at resort locations, paying their expenses and providing perks, prosecutors said. "They were entertained with golf, massages, and other activities," said Mike Loucks, the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts....Under terms of the settlement, Pfizer must pay $1 billion to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and other federal health care programs.
Federal prosecutors hit Pfizer Inc. with a record-breaking $2.3 billion in fines Wednesday and called the world's largest drugmaker a repeating corporate cheat for illegal drug promotions that plied doctors with free golf, massages, and resort junkets.
Announcing the penalty as a warning to all drug manufacturers, Justice Department officials said the overall settlement is the largest ever paid by a drug company for alleged violations of federal drug rules, and the $1.2 billion criminal fine is the largest ever in any U.S. criminal case. The total includes $1 billion in civil penalties and a $100 million criminal forfeiture.
Authorities called Pfizer a repeat offender, noting it is the company's fourth such settlement of government charges in the last decade. The allegations surround the marketing of 13 different drugs, including big sellers such as Viagra, Zoloft, and Lipitor. Read more.
Berkeley Demonstration Against War Criminal Yoo Tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009, Noon-1 PM at Sproul Plaza
More Protest at UC Berkeley: Demonstrators Call Law Professor a War Criminal | Press Release
Event: “Information in Action" (Speak Out Against Torture – Fire John Yoo!)
Where: UC Berkeley, Sproul Plaza
When: Noon to 1 PM, Thursday September 3, 2009
BERKELEY– As debate flares over the newly-released CIA Inspector General’s report from Dick Cheney and the halls of Congress to the radio talk shows, World Can’t Wait has announced another protest at the UC Berkeley campus on Thursday, September 3 to challenge UC’s employment of former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo. World Can’t Wait will be joined by other protesters from religious and progressive organizations; they will again call for Yoo to be fired, disbarred, and prosecuted for war crimes as “the legal architect of the Bush-Cheney torture state.”
The “information in action” event on Sproul Plaza will begin at noon.
In August on the first day of classes at UC Berkeley Law, a press conference and protest drew over 60 people to the steps of Boalt Hall, where Yoo currently teaches Civil Procedures. At that press conference, prominent lawyers and psychologists representing four generations of alumni of UC and its law schools denounced the presence of John Yoo on the UC faculty. [Audio of statements by attorneys Dan Siegel, Anne Weills, Sharon Adams, Ann Fagan Ginger, Marc-Tizon Gonzalez, and psychologist Ruth Fallenbaum can be found here.
The units of measure for losses due to health care fraud and abuse in this country are hundreds of billions of dollars per year. We just don't know the first digit. It might be as low as one hundred billion. More likely two or three. Possibly four or five. But whatever that first digit is, it has eleven zeroes after it. These are staggering sums of money to waste, and the task of controlling and reducing these losses warrants a great deal of serious attention.
In the early 1990s, the Congressional Government Accounting Office estimated that billing fraud accounts for 10% of health care spending annually. That would be about $250 billion this year. In 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno declared that health care fraud was the number two crime problem, after violent crime in the country.
After several weeks of protests at Senate hearings and health care events by single payer advocates (visit Single Payer Action.org), six physicians from Oregon, with 191 years of combined real-world medical experience, are crossing the country in a 27-foot Winnebago making stops in nearly 30 cities, to debate, educate and advance full medicare for all. Everybody in, nobody out.
Calling themselves "Mad as Hell Doctors," these physicians are already drawing crowds and expect thousands to turn out at each city that they visit, culminating in a large arrival demonstration in front of the White House around October 1. (Visit Mad As Hell.com).
They have written President Obama asking for a meeting "to discuss the future of health care as well as the moral, social, and fiscal imperative of enacting a single-payer system for America at this moment in our history."
The White House turned them down flat, not even leaving the door open for reconsideration. Mr. Obama has met countless times with the CEOs of large corporations, whose greed and callousness causes so much of this crisis. Though he believes in single payer "if we started from scratch," he has yet to meet with any single payer delegation. Read more.
By Linda Milazzo
It's a GREAT DAY in America when heralds of hate, specifically Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin, are booted from their Amazon best seller slots on DAY ONE of the publication of progressive leader David Swanson's breakthrough tome, DAYBREAK - now at Number One on Amazon's non-fiction best seller list. From this terrific response to Swanson's new book arises my sincere hope that DAYBREAK attracts a good many of Beck and Malkin's readers, so they, too, will have the opportunity to absorb the depth of information and dedication to solutions that David Swanson offers.
Pentagon worried about Obama's commitment to Afghanistan
By By Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers
he prospect that U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal may ask for as many as 45,000 additional American troops in Afghanistan is fueling growing tension within President Barack Obama's administration over the U.S. commitment to the war there.
On Monday, McChrystal sent his assessment of the situation in Afghanistan to the Pentagon, the U.S. Central Command, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and NATO. Although the assessment didn't include any request for more troops, senior military officials said they expect McChrystal later in September to seek between 21,000 and 45,000 more troops. There currently are 62,000 American troops in Afghanistan.
However, administration officials said that amid rising violence and casualties, polls that show a majority of Americans now think the war in Afghanistan isn't worth fighting. With tough battles ahead on health care, the budget and other issues, Vice President Joe Biden and other officials are increasingly anxious about how the American public would respond to sending additional troops.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media, said Biden has argued that without sustained support from the American people, the U.S. can't make the long-term commitment that would be needed to stabilize Afghanistan and dismantle al Qaida. Biden's office declined to comment.
"I think they (the Obama administration) thought this would be more popular and easier," a senior Pentagon official said. "We are not getting a Bush-like commitment to this war." Read more.
RISE OF MERCENARY ARMIES MENACE WORLD, HELP WHITE HOUSE THWART PEACE MOVEMENT
By Sherwood Ross
Stiglitz notes that in 2007 private security guards working for firms like Blackwater and Dyncorp were earning up to $1,222 a day or $445,000 a year. By contrast, an Army sergeant earned $140 to $190 a day in pay and benefits, a total of $51,100 to $69,350 a year.
Since U.S. taxpayers are underwriting private soldiers’ paychecks, where’s the savings? It is money from taxpayer’s pockets that has made these shadow armies great.
The growing use of private armies not only subjects target populations to savage warfare but makes it easier for the White House to subvert domestic public opinion and wage wars.
Americans are less inclined to oppose a war that is being fought by hired foreign mercenaries, even when their own tax dollars are being squandered to fund it.
Bad Advice: Bush’s Lawyers in the War on Terror
by Harold H. Bruff | Reviewed by Stephen F. Rohde | Los Angeles Lawyer September 2009
In William Shakespeare’s historical drama, King Henry V asks his trusted advisers, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, whether “with right and conscience” he may make a claim to the crown of France. In their response, the king receives the advice he wants, instead of the advice he needs, and his ensuing invasion of France leads at first to victory but in the end to great tragedy.
Harold Bruff, author of a new and engrossing book Bad Advice: Bush’s Lawyers in the War on Terror, uses
the test of “right and conscience” to judge the wisdom and ethics of the lawyers who advised President George W. Bush. Did John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, David Addington, Jay Bybee, and others at the Justice Department and in the White House meet the fundamental standard of the American Bar Association to “exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice”? Based on his sober and comprehensive study, Bruff convincingly concludes that to a man, “[i]gnoring the need for detachment
and lacking a willingness to consider constitutional claims of the other branches, President Bush’s lawyers manipulated the law for political ends.”
After tracing the history of the relationship between presidents and their lawyers from George Washington to the present, with particular emphasis on critical episodes when national security was at stake, Bruff, who himself served as a senior attorney-adviser to the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the Justice Department from 1979 to 1981, focuses on key decisions made by the Bush administration since September 11, 2001.
America's Tortured Past
By Stephen Lendman
On August 24, an ACLU press release stated:
In response to two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits, "The government today handed over to the American Civil Liberties Union (one of dozens of documents comprising an unprecedented 130,000 previously secret pages, including) a detailed official description of the CIA's interrogation program."
Referring to a heavily redacted December 2004 report (originally commissioned by CIA director George Tenet) detailing torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, it "describes the use of abusive interrogation techniques including forced nudity, sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation and stress positions." Far worse ones were understated or redacted entirely.
According to Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:
Ridge, Cheney Assail Holder's Decision to Investigate CIA Officials
Bush-Era Officials Such as Cheney Say Justice Department's Investigation into Interrogation Techniques is Wrong
By Jake Tapper | ABCNews.com
Ridge backed Cheney this morning on "Good Morning America," saying, "I think he's right, pure and simple. It's wrong, it's chilling, and it's inappropriate."
Even though Ridge said he believed waterboarding was wrong and "wasn't the appropriate way for America to be conducting itself," the former Pennsylvania governor said that "to suggest four or five years later what they [CIA officers] did was criminal -- I think that's criminal."
Officials from the Bush administration this week entered the debate over national security, although President Barack Obama's administration was not the only one criticized.
While former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's new book, "The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege ... And How We Can Be Safe Again," raised questions about whether some national security decisions by various Bush administration officials were based on political, and not counterterrorism, concerns, former Vice President Dick Cheney took to the airwaves to assail Obama's commitment to making the nation safe.
Cheney Sunday told his preferred venue, Fox News, that Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to allow a preliminary review into whether any CIA officers crossed the line in its interrogations of detainees was "outrageous." Read more.
Media Ape Goebbels in Defending CIA Abuses
By Ray McGovern
EXTRA! Read all about it in the Washington Post: Torture worked; Cheney and torture practitioners vindicated; morale at CIA harmed.
It seems coverage of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” has been put back on track by the editors of the Washington Post and their “sources,” who appear determined to highlight the supposed successes of waterboarding and other forms of torture.
In the last few days the Post has markedly increased its effort to “catapult the propaganda” (to borrow a phrase from former President George W. Bush). When the wind is still, Nazi propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels can be heard cheering from the grave.
Frankly, I was wondering when this return to form would happen at the Post. I was surprised to see Post journalists recently losing their grip, so to speak, and falling into the practice of reporting real facts — like the sickening revelations in the long-suppressed CIA Inspector General’s report on torture.
Apparently they have now been reminded of the biases of the newspaper’s top brass, forever justifying the hardnosed “realism” of the Bush administration as it approved brutal and perverse methods for stripping the “bad guys” of their clothes, their dignity, their sense of self – all to protect America.
Hooded, threatened with a cocked gun and an electric drill, deprived of sleep for long periods, beaten, kept naked or dressed in diapers, forced into painful stress positions, locked in tiny boxes and subjected to the near-drowning of waterboarding, the terrorism suspects were supposed to be terrorized into what the CIA psychologists called “learned helplessness.”
Blackwater Founder Accused in Court of Intent to Kill
By Jerry Markon | Washington Post
The founder of Blackwater USA deliberately caused the deaths of innocent civilians in a series of shootings in Iraq, attorneys for Iraqis suing the security contractor told a federal judge Friday.
The attorneys singled out Erik Prince, a former Navy SEAL who is the company's owner, for blame in the deaths of more than 20 Iraqis between 2005 and 2007. Six former Blackwater guards were criminally charged in 14 of the shootings, and family members and victims' estates sued Prince, Blackwater (now called Xe Services LLC) and a group of related companies.
"The person responsible for these deaths is Mr. Prince,'' Susan L. Burke, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. "He had the intent, he provided the weapons, he provided the instructions, and they were done by his agents and they were war crimes.'' Read more.
Health care industry contributes heavily to Blue Dogs
By Halimah Abdullah |
As the Obama administration and Democrats wrangled over the timing, shape and cost of health care overhaul efforts during the first half of the year, more than half the $1.1 million in campaign contributions the Democratic Party's Blue Dog Coalition received came from the pharmaceutical, health care and health insurance industries, according to watchdog organizations.
The amount outstrips contributions to other congressional political action committees during the same period, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit watchdog organization. The Blue Dogs, a group of fiscally conservative lawmakers, successfully delayed the vote on health care overhaul proposals until the fall.
"The business community realizes that (the Blue Dogs) are the linchpin and will become much more so as time goes on," former Mississippi congressman turned lobbyist Mike Parker told the organization's researchers.
On average, Blue Dog Democrats net $62,650 more from the health sector than other Democrats, while hospitals and nursing homes also favor them, giving, respectively, $5,680 and $5,550 more, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit organization that tracks the influence of money in politics. Read more.
CNN: Secret Service Interviewed Pastor Who Prays For Obama's Death
By Justin Elliott | TPM Muckraker
CNN has picked up our story from yesterday on Steven Anderson, the Arizona pastor who prayed for Barack Obama's death the day before one of his parishioners, who attended the sermon, brought an AR-15 rifle to an Obama event.
And they've advanced the story a bit: CNN analyst Mike Brooks reports that the Secret Service has interviewed Anderson, who told TPMmuckraker yesterday: "To be honest with you, I have prayed for Obama to die. I'm not the only one, I'm just the only one with the spine to say it."
DOJ May Skirt Court Order on Interrogation Documents
In Response to ACLU Lawsuit, Federal Judge Ordered Files Released by Aug. 31
By Spencer Ackerman | Washington Independent
The Obama administration may circumvent the spirit of a judge’s order to disclose hundreds of documents relating to the CIA’s Bush-era interrogation program, delivering instead generic descriptions of the documents and legal arguments for continued nondisclosure.
While the CIA inspector general’s 2004 report on torture was released Monday, a tranche of hundreds of supporting documents sought by an ongoing American Civil Liberties Union court case remain unseen. Those include 129 documents that provide some of the source material for the inspector general’s report; 138 other documents from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel about the interrogation program; and a Sept. 17, 2001 presidential order from George W. Bush authorizing the CIA to set up unacknowledged detention facilities around the world. The Justice Department released additional supporting documents earlier this week in addition to the inspector general’s report.
On July 20, Judge Allen Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the government needed to complete a review of the documents for declassification in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Monday, Aug. 31. “As to the remaining 318 remanded CIA documents, the Government shall complete its processing of those documents by August 31, 2009, such that, on or before that date, the Government shall produce to the plaintiffs any portions of those 318 documents that are appropriate for release under [the Freedom of Information Act],”Hellerstein wrote in an order filed the following day.
But after The Washington Independent reported on the forthcoming disclosure, an administration official who insisted on anonymity emailed to say the report was inaccurate. Asked if there would be any disclosures on Monday, the official responded, “Nope.” Read more.
The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era procedures allowing the government to search -- without suspicion of wrongdoing -- the contents of a traveler's laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new policies would expand oversight of such inspections.
The policy, disclosed Thursday in a pair of Department of Homeland Security directives, describes more fully than did the Bush administration the procedures by which travelers' laptops, iPods, cameras and other digital devices can be searched and seized when they cross a U.S. border. And it sets time limits for completing searches.
But representatives of civil liberties and travelers groups say they see little substantive difference between the Bush-era policy, which prompted controversy, and this one.
"It's a disappointing ratification of the suspicionless search policy put in place by the Bush administration," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. "It provides a lot of procedural safeguards, but it doesn't deal with the fundamental problem, which is that under the policy, government officials are free to search people's laptops and cellphones for any reason whatsoever." Read more.
The release of a 2004 CIA inspector general's report on the agency's "enhanced interrogation" techniques, along with two other previously classified memos, has thrown a harsh spotlight on former Vice President Dick Cheney's oft-repeated pro-torture arguments. But corporate media seem intent on deflecting much of that glare.
Earlier this year, Cheney spent weeks on the airwaves, explaining that these CIA memos would back up his argument that torture provided valuable intelligence that helped thwart attacks against the United States (FAIR Media Advisory, 5/29/09). But the heavily redacted documents don't appear to do that. Of the two that Cheney asserted would help his case, reporter Spencer Ackerman noted (Washington Independent, 8/24/09) they "actually suggest the opposite of Cheney's contention: that non-abusive techniques actually helped elicit some of the most important information the documents cite in defending the value of the CIA’s interrogations."
Some reporters managed to reach the opposite conclusion, though how they did so was unclear. On the CBS Evening News (8/25/09), reporter Bob Orr said: "The once-secret documents do support the claims of former Vice President Dick Cheney that harsh interrogations at times did work. Interviews with prisoners helped the U.S. capture other terror suspects and thwart potential attacks, including Al-Qaeda plots to attack the U.S. consulate in Karachi and fly an airplane into California's tallest building." The problem is, whatever one makes of the CIA's argument that their interrogations yielded valuable intelligence, there's nothing in the documents newly available to the public--and to CBS--that actually argues this intelligence was produced by the torture techniques like waterboarding that Cheney so publicly defended.
As Ackerman told CounterSpin (8/28/09): Cheney and his supporters' argument "depends a lot on conflating the difference between saying the documents show that valuable [intelligence] came from detainees in the program, and then saying that it came from the enhanced interrogation techniques themselves.... That's a conflation that has served the former vice president's purposes. Read more.
It looked like it was business as usual for President Barack Obama on the first day of his Martha’s Vineyard vacation, as he spent five hours golfing with Robert Wolf, president of UBS Investment Bank and chairman and CEO of UBS Group Americas. Wolf, an early financial backer of Obama’s presidential campaign, raised $250,000 for him back in 2006, and in February was appointed by the president to the White House’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Economic recovery for whom?
Interestingly, Wolf’s appointment came in the same month that UBS agreed to pay the U.S. $780 million to settle civil and criminal charges related to helping people in the U.S. avoid taxes. Not to worry. UBS, an ailing bank with a pre-existing condition, had great insurance coverage. It was actually receiving $2.5 billion in a backdoor bailout from bailed-out insurance giant AIG. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said, “It looks like we’re simply laundering this money through AIG.” UBS, this bank that shelters wealthy tax dodgers, was actually being bailed out by hardworking U.S. taxpayers.
UBS, which once stood for Union Bank of Switzerland, was founded more than a century ago. Its success hinges on Switzerland’s famous banking secrecy laws, allowing people to squirrel money away in untraceable “numbered accounts.” Secret Swiss bank accounts have become a favorite way for wealthy people in the U.S. to dodge taxes. According to the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, in a July 2008 report, “From at least 2000 to 2007, UBS made a concerted effort to open accounts in Switzerland for wealthy U.S. clients, employing practices that could facilitate, and have resulted in, tax evasion by U.S. clients.” Read more.
Blurring the Lines: How I was Jailed by the U.S. Army and Why it Matters
By Brian Terrell
On August 9, the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, I was one of more than 50 participants of the “Walk for Peace,” a three day, thirty mile march calling for the end of the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, bringing home all National Guard troops and the abolition of nuclear weapons, that ended at the gates of Fort McCoy. Fort McCoy is a military training center in Wisconsin from which National Guard units from around the United States are deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nine of us carried our protest onto the base after being warned by the US Army Police not to enter. If our plea for peace was deemed by the Army an “unlawful activity,” we explained, we respectfully could not comply with their order.
The Washington Post's David Ignatius simply cannot get off the wheel he spins for the Central Intelligence Agency. Only two days after the release of the 2004 CIA study of the detention and interrogation program, which provides sordid and sadistic details of an illegal and immoral program, Ignatius still opposes any criminal review of the conduct of CIA officers and echoes the CIA line that it is "glad to be out" of the interrogation business. He even cites deputy director of the CIA, Stephen Kappes, one of the key ideological drivers for the policy of detention and interrogation, as someone who "doesn't want to have anything to do with interrogation."
Ignatius strongly believes that it is time for the CIA to "get on with it," which was the signature line of former CIA director Richard Helms, who Ignatius considers the "savviest spymaster this country has produced." Let's forget that Helms lied to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1973 on the overthrow of the elected government in Chile and that a grand jury was called to see if he should be indicted for perjury. Let's forget that the Justice Department brought a lesser charge against Helms, who pleaded nolo contendere, and was fined $2,000 and given a two-year suspended prison sentence. And let's forget that Helms was the major supporter of James Jesus Angleton, the crazed head of CIA counterintelligence for 20 years, who believed that the KGB had successfully penetrated the Agency. We called Angleton "The Ghost" when I was at the CIA because no one had ever seen the man. And it was "The Ghost" who befriended Kim Philby, the Soviet spy from British intelligence, introduced him to high-level CIA officials, and defended him to the end. So much for counterintelligence.
In his efforts to prevent any investigation of the CIA's interrogation program, Ignatius has also forgotten the lessons of the Nuremberg Trials in 1945-1946. The International Tribunal taught us that crimes committed by individuals for state purposes were the responsibility of those individuals and punishable by state law. And, most importantly, following orders was not a defense. But Ignatius believes that all of the relevant evidence on torture and abuse was seen by "career prosecutors, who decided against bringing cases." So, let's forget that the career prosecutors were employed by the politicized Justice Department of the Bush administration and that they reported to a politically-appointed assistant attorney general.
Ignatius believes that investigation and accountability will hurt the Agency. It will actually restore the credibility of the Agency and lead to greater cooperation from important foreign intelligence services, which is essential to combating terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It was CIA crimes such as secret prisons and extraordinary renditions that hurt the Agency, and led to reticence about sharing intelligence. For example, there is no intelligence service within the European Union that would assist in a rendition by the CIA; no EU country that would permit the CIA to transport a prisoner by aircraft; no EU country that would agree to a secret prison or "black site" within its borders. Read more.