Originally published at AlterNet By Joshua Holland on February 3, 2009
Explosive anger is spilling out onto the streets of Europe. The meltdown of the global economy is igniting massive social unrest in a region that has long been a symbol of political stability and social cohesion.
It’s not a new trend: A wave of upheaval is spreading from the poorer countries on the periphery of the global economy to the prosperous core.
Over the past few years, a series of riots spread across what is patronizingly known as the Third World. Furious mobs have raged against skyrocketing food and energy prices, stagnating wages and unemployment in India, Senegal, Yemen, Indonesia, Morocco, Cameroon, Brazil, Panama, the Philippines, Egypt, Mexico and elsewhere.
For the most part, those living in wealthier countries took little notice. But now, with the global economy crashing down around us, people in even the wealthiest nations are mad as hell and reacting violently to what they view as an inadequate response to their tumbling economies.
The Telegraph (UK) warned last month that protests over governments’ handling of the crisis “are widespread and gathering pace,” and “may spark a new revolution”:
A depression triggered in America is being played out in Europe with increasing violence, and other forms of social unrest are spreading. In Iceland, a government has fallen. Workers have… Continue reading
Originally published at ChicagoTribune.com By Greg Miller, Washington Bureau on January 31, 2009
WASHINGTON — The CIA’s secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantánamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.
But even while dismantling these discredited programs, President Barack Obama left an equally controversial counterterrorism tool intact.
Under executive orders issued by Obama last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, or the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the U.S.
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said the rendition program is poised to play an expanded role because it is the main remaining mechanism–aside from Predator missile strikes–for taking suspected terrorists off the street.
The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured.
The European Parliament condemned renditions as an “illegal instrument used by the United States.” Prisoners swept up in the program have sued the CIA as well as a subsidiary of Boeing Corp., which is accused of working with the agency on dozens of rendition flights.
But the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.
The decision… Continue reading
By Paul Elias
January 7, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO — Six veterans who claim they were exposed to dangerous chemicals, germs and mind-altering drugs during Cold War experiments sued the CIA, Department of Defense and other agencies today.
The vets volunteered for military experiments they say were part of a wide-ranging program started in the 1950s to test nerve agents, biological weapons and mind-control techniques.
They allege in their lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court that they were never properly informed of the nature of the experiments and are in poor health because of their exposure. They are demanding health care and a court ruling that the program was illegal because it failed to obtain their consent.
Marie Harf, a CIA spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks class action status on behalf of all participants allegedly exposed to harmful experiments without their knowledge.
At least 7,800 U.S. military personnel served as volunteers to test experimental drugs such as LSD at the Edgewood Arsenal near Baltimore, Md., during a program that lasted into the 1970s, the lawsuit said. Many others volunteered for similar experiments at other locations, according to the lawsuit.
“In virtually all cases, troops served in the same capacity as laboratory rats or guinea pigs,” the lawsuit said.
One notorious CIA project from the 1950s and 1960s, code-named MK-ULTRA, involved brainwashing and administering experimental drugs like LSD to unsuspecting individuals. The project was the target of at least three Congressional inquiries in the 1970s,… Continue reading
by Peter Dale Scott
January 7, 2009
Paulson’s Financial Bailout
It is becoming clear that the bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.
The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that it allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by “news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits.”1 In addition, as AP reported in October, “Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. `There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,” he said.”2
Even more reprehensible is the fact that since the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department have refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve has… Continue reading
By Thomas A. Schweich
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is at risk.
President-elect Barack Obama’s selections of James L. Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, to be his national security adviser and, it appears, retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to be his director of national intelligence present the incoming administration with an important opportunity — and a major risk. These appointments could pave the way for these respected military officers to reverse the current trend of Pentagon encroachment upon civilian government functions, or they could complete the silent military coup d’etat that has been steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media.
While serving the State Department in several senior capacities over the past four years, I witnessed firsthand the quiet, de facto military takeover of much of the U.S. government. The first assault on civilian government occurred in faraway places — Iraq and Afghanistan — and was, in theory, justified by the exigencies of war.
The White House, which basically let the Defense Department call the budgetary shots, vastly underfunded efforts by the State Department, the Justice Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to train civilian police forces, build… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
Learning about self-deception is important for all people today. That’s because many of our problems, both as individuals and as a society, are rooted in self-deception, and many of the ways in which others abuse us relate to our inherent tendency to self-deceive. We can overcome these problems, and have a decent chance at long-term survival as a species, only if we learn about such limitations, and strive to control them. One great way to rapidly learn about self-deception, and other forms of deception, is to learn about the events of September 11th.
It’s easy to see widespread self-deception with regard to 9/11. For one thing, most people don’t know the actual official story, given by the 9/11 Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This is despite the fact that everyone, at least in the US, has invested essentially their entire future in that story, whether they know it or not.
Some have gone beyond simple avoidance of the facts, in an attempt to prevent themselves and others from looking closely at 9/11. These folks have gone to the extent of changing the definitions of common words, engaging in wild speculation and exaggerations, and suggesting that long strings of unprecedented events, including violations of the laws of nature, were possible on just that one day. These painful self-deceptions help some people dodge the emotional stress that accompanies careful examination of the events of 9/11.
In order to understand the extreme self-deception surrounding… Continue reading
© Diana Ralph, Ph.D.Abstract
The 9-11 attacks were the pretext which sold the myth of evil Muslim terrorists imminently threatening Americans. That tale allowed the Cheney-led members of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) to implement their 1990 DPG plan for world control. The “war on terror” has nothing to do with protecting the U.S. and world’s people from “terrorists”, and everything to do with securing the American empire abroad and muzzling democracy and human rights at home. Designed to inspire popular support for U.S. wars of world conquest, it is modeled on Islamophobic stereotypes, policies, and political structures developed by the Israeli Likkud and Bush Sr. since 1979. To defeat this plan, we must overcome our Islamophobic fear of “terrorists” and stand in solidarity with Muslims.
1. Why a 9-11 Pretext?
…the War… Continue reading
U.S. Officers’ “Phone Sex” Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers By Brian Ross, Vic Walter and Anna Schecter
Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), called the allegations “extremely disturbing” and said the committee has begun its own examination.
“We have requested all relevant information from the Bush Administration,” Rockefeller said Thursday. “The Committee will take whatever action is necessary.”
WATCH THE NIGHTLINE STORY
“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA’s Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.
Kinne described the contents of the calls as “personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.”
WATCH Kinne discuss why it was ‘awkward’ listening to her fellow Americans.
She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and “collected on” as they called their offices or homes in the United States.
Watch “World… Continue reading
by Bill Simpich tr u t h o u t | Report
The Congressional anthrax hearings of September 16-17 revealed that public pressure is keeping the doors open in the anthrax case. FBI Director Robert Mueller promised that the FBI will provide their evidence to a panel of experts for scientific evaluation. The battle will now turn to the independence of this panel, and whether “all evidence” or merely “scientific evidence” will be under review.
During the hearings, Mueller found himself under fire by Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman John Conyers for not having answers to their questions. Republican Arlen Specter was furious at Mueller for his unwillingness to assure them that Congress would have a role in determining the panel’s composition.
Meanwhile, new evidence shows just how deeply wrong ABC and Washington Post reporters have been over the years on their coverage of the anthrax attacks. They can’t have it both ways: Either they made repeated “mistakes” by relying on their sources, or several people deliberately lied in order to advance war on Iraq.
In his recent book Taking Heat, former White House secretary Ari Fleischer wrote that Bush was more shook up by the anthrax attacks than by any other event. White House officials repeatedly pressed Mueller to prove it was a second-wave assault by al-Qaeda or Iraq. After days of provocative statements designed to scare the American people, Cheney himself believed that he had been exposed to anthrax. Although the test… Continue reading
by P. Devlin Buckley
September 5, 2008
The American Monitor
Law firms representing victims of the 9/11 attacks in an ongoing legal dispute with wealthy Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda have recently turned their attention to two individuals with unique ties to the U.S. government.
Lawyers for victims of the attacks, as well as insurance companies of property owners in New York, have filed a motion of discovery in federal district court in Manhattan targeting the Saudi-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) and two of its former executives, Khalid bin Mahfouz and Yassin al-Qadi.
Both Mahfouz and al-Qadi have a murky history that includes alleged ties to the CIA, the White House, the Bush family, al-Qaeda, and organized crime on a global scale.
The discovery motion, if granted, would advance the case by requiring both sides to disclose and exchange all available pertinent facts regarding the defendants. The motion comes just days after a circuit court ruled members of the Saudi government are immune from terrorism lawsuits in the United States, a setback in the plaintiffs’ case against Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. There are some defendants, however, the ruling does not protect, including Khalid bin Mahfouz, Yassin al-Qadi, and the NCB.
Government documents, expert testimony, and media reports dating back several years suggest Mahfouz and al-Qadi have raised millions of dollars for al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Evidence indicates some of the defendants’ activities were sanctioned by the U.S. government.
During the late… Continue reading
by Luke Ryland
September 5, 2008
In last Monday’s New York Times, David Sanger and William Broad wrote a front-page article about the CIA’s involvement in the nuclear black market.
The article demonstrates (again) that the New York Times, Sanger & Broad in particular, has simply become a mouthpiece for the government (see my previous articles 1, 2, 3) but they did let one fact slip through to the readership. I can only presume that the slip was accidental, because they don’t appear to have understood the ramifications of what they reported:
The US Government is covering up the fact that US citizens and entities are involved in the nuclear black market.
Three members of the Tinner family in Switzerland were key suppliers to AQ Khan’s nuclear black market ring. They were arrested in 2004 and have been awaiting trial but the US government has been trying to sabotage the Swiss trial because “compromising and embarrassing information about the CIA’s activities with the Khan network” would be exposed if the trial were to proceed.
The New York Times reported that in July 2007, the Swiss Justice Minister came to the US to discuss the case with high-level US officials, apparently to find a mutually-acceptable arrangement regarding how to deal with the Tinner case.
According to an anonymous former Bush administration official:
“The State Department wanted the bomb plans destroyed as a way to stem nuclear proliferation, while the C.I.A. wanted to… Continue reading
By Kathy Sanborn
13/08/08 “ICH” — – Sanborn: When I read your article, “Marching Off Into Tyranny,” I was impressed by how you were able to concisely sum up one of the most important issues that we face as Americans, namely, the erosion of our civil liberties, mostly due to fabricated terrorism such as the anthrax scare and the attacks on 9/11. You talk about the Florida university professor, Al-Arian, who continues to be victimized by the Feds although a jury has cleared him of any terrorism charges. [As of August 8, 2008, the Associated Press states, “U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema postponed the trial indefinitely, questioning whether the government was overeager in filing charges.” –KS]
What was your wake-up call, Dr. Roberts, to the fact that the current administration was determined to take away the civil liberties of Americans?
Roberts: When they responded to 9/11 with the Patriot Act. That document was thick, and it would have taken months and months to prepare it, yet it came out shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
Why does combating terrorism require an assault on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? It was clear to me that there was an undeclared agenda there.
On the day of 9/11, I knew right away that something was wrong. I had been an engineering student at Georgia Tech, and things just didn’t add up. As I watched the towers fall, I could see that the buildings were blowing up from the top, at least initially.… Continue reading
ACLU Announces Legal Challenge To Follow President’s Signature
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312, email@example.com or
(212) 549-2666; firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON – Today, in a blatant assault upon civil liberties and the right to privacy, the Senate passed an unconstitutional domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and eliminates any meaningful role for judicial oversight of government surveillance. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was approved by a vote of 69 to 28 and is expected to be signed into law by President Bush shortly. This bill essentially legalizes the president’s unlawful warrantless wiretapping program revealed in December 2005 by the New York Times.
‘Once again, Congress blinked and succumbed to the president’s fear-mongering. With today’s vote, the government has been given a green light to expand its power to spy on Americans and run roughshod over the Constitution,’ said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. ‘This legislation will give the government unfettered and unchecked access to innocent Americans’ international communications without a warrant. This is not only unconstitutional, but absolutely un-American.’
The FISA Amendments Act nearly eviscerates oversight of government surveillance by allowing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to review only general procedures for spying rather than individual warrants. The FISC will not be told any specifics about who will actually be wiretapped, thereby undercutting any meaningful role for the court and violating the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
The bill further trivializes court review by authorizing the government to continue… Continue reading
By Edward Luce and Andrew Ward
June 24 2008
John McCain’s right-hand man hit a raw nerve on Monday when he said another terrorist attack on US soil would prove a “big advantage” to the Republican nominee’s general election chances.
The comments by Charlie Black, who is arguably Mr McCain’s most experienced adviser, put into words what many Republicans and Democrats have privately been stating for months.
Mr Black, 60, who is a veteran of every Republican presidential campaign since the 1980s and served in the Reagan and Bush Senior administrations, immediately apologised for his remarks, which were published in an interview with Fortune Magazine.
Mr McCain, whom opinion polls show is trailing Barack Obama, his Democratic rival, by between six and 15 points, said: “I cannot imagine why he would say it. I strenuously disagree?.?.?.?It’s not true. I have worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another terrorist attack on America.”
The Obama campaign said: “The fact that John McCain’s top adviser says that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a ‘big advantage’ for their political campaign is a complete disgrace and is exactly the kind of politics that needs to change.”
The controversy arrived at a bad moment for the McCain campaign, which has come under increasing fire from otherwise friendly Republicans for its alleged amateurism. Critics say it has sent out mixed signals about Mr McCain’s political direction and shown a lack of “message discipline”.
For example, last week the campaign put out a televised advertisement… Continue reading
On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected.
However, “if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out,” Kristol said, reinforcing the fact that McCain is offering a third Bush term on Iran.
“I do wonder with Senator Obama, if President Bush thinks Senator Obama’s going to win, does he somehow think — does he worry that Obama won’t follow through on that policy,” Kristol added. Host Chris Wallace then asked if Kristol was suggesting that Bush might “launch a military strike” before or after the election:
WALLACE: So, you’re suggesting that he might in fact, if Obama’s going to win the election, either before or after the election, launch a military strike?
KRISTOL: I don’t know. I mean, I think he would worry about it. On the other hand, you can’t — it’s hard to make foreign policy based on guesses of election results. I think Israel is worried though. I mean, what is, what signal goes to Ahmadinejad if Obama wins on a platform of unconditional negotiations and with an obvious reluctance to even talk about using military force.
Kristol also suggested that Obama’s election would tempt Saudi Arabia and Egypt to think, ‘maybe we can use nuclear… Continue reading
There was almost an armed coup in the US.
A Marine General was lined up to lead it…
Over 500,000 men were identified as potential members of a private corporate army…
and the right wing press provided the propaganda to cover it.
The year was 1934…
Working link here:
The “Business Plot” (also the Plot Against FDR and the White House Putsch) was an alleged political conspiracy in 1933 wherein wealthy businessmen and corporations plotted a coup détat to overthrow United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, the Business Plot was publicly revealed by retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testifying to the McCormack-Dickstein Congressional Committee. In his testimony, Butler claimed that a group of men had approached him as part of a plot to overthrow Roosevelt in a military coup. One of the alleged plotters, Gerald MacGuire, vehemently denied any such plot. In their final report, the Congressional committee supported Butler’s allegations of the existence of the plot, but no prosecutions or further investigations followed, and the matter was mostly forgotten.
On July 17, 1932, thousands of World War I veterans converged on Washington, D.C., set up tent camps, and demanded immediate payment of bonuses due them according to the Adjusted Service Certificate Law of 1924. This “Bonus Army” was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant. The Army was encouraged by an appearance from retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, who had considerable influence over the veterans, being one of the most popular military figures of the time.…Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
June 19, 2008
It’s crazy, but it’s coming soon — from the same folks who brought us Iraq.
Unlike the attack on Iraq five years ago, to deal with Iran there need be no massing of troops. And, with the propaganda buildup already well under way, there need be little, if any, forewarning before shock and awe and pox — in the form of air and missile attacks — begin.
This time it will be largely the Air Force’s show, punctuated by missile and air strikes by the Navy. Israeli-American agreement has now been reached at the highest level; the armed forces planners, plotters and pilots are working out the details.
Emerging from a 90-minute White House meeting with President George W. Bush on June 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the two leaders were of one mind:
“We reached agreement on the need to take care of the Iranian threat. I left with a lot less question marks [than] I had entered with regarding the means, the timetable restrictions, and American resoluteness to deal with the problem. George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House.”
Does that sound like a man concerned that Bush is just bluff and bluster?
A member of Olmert’s delegation noted that same day that the two countries had agreed to cooperate in case of an attack… Continue reading