by Chalmers Johnson
Source URL: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174959/chalmers_johnson_warning_mercenaries_at_work
Most Americans have a rough idea what the term “military-industrial complex” means when they come across it in a newspaper or hear a politician mention it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the idea to the public in his farewell address of January 17, 1961. “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime,” he said, “or indeed by the fighting men of World War II and Korea We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
Although Eisenhower’s reference to the military-industrial complex is, by now, well-known, his warning against its “unwarranted influence” has, I believe, largely been ignored. Since 1961, there has been too little serious study of, or discussion of, the origins of the military-industrial complex, how it has changed over time, how governmental secrecy has hidden it from oversight by members of Congress or attentive citizens, and how it degrades our Constitutional structure of checks and balances.
From its origins in the early 1940s, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was building up his “arsenal of democracy,” down to the present moment, public opinion has usually assumed that it involved more or less equitable relations — often termed a “partnership” — between the high command and civilian overlords of the United States military and… Continue reading
July 13, 2008
By FRANK RICH
We know what a criminal White House looks like from “The Final Days” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s classic account of Richard Nixon’s unraveling. The cauldron of lies, paranoia and illegal surveillance boiled over, until it was finally every man for himself as desperate courtiers scrambled to save their reputations and, in a few patriotic instances, their country.
“The Final Days” was published in 1976, two years after Nixon abdicated in disgrace. With the Bush presidency, no journalist (or turncoat White House memoirist) is waiting for the corpse to be carted away. The latest and perhaps most chilling example arrives this week from Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, long a relentless journalist on the war-on-terror torture beat. Her book “The Dark Side” connects the dots of her own past reporting and that of her top-tier colleagues (including James Risen and Scott Shane of The New York Times) to portray a White House that, like its prototype, savaged its enemies within almost as ferociously as it did the Constitution.
Some of “The Dark Side” seems right out of “The Final Days” minus Nixon’s operatic boozing and weeping. We learn, for instance, that in 2004 two conservative Republican Justice Department officials had become “so paranoid” that “they actually thought they might be in physical danger.” The fear of being wiretapped by their own peers drove them to speak in code.
The men were John Ashcroft’s deputy attorney general, James Comey, and an assistant… Continue reading
On Tuesday, June 3, join the Center for Constitutional Rights for an exciting
live webcast of the event "True Crimes: The Untold Story Behind the Devastation
of Iraq." The event, which will take place at New York City’s Town Hall,
features bestselling author JEREMY SCAHILL, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer CHRIS
HEDGES, journalist LAILA AL-ARIAN, and The New Yorker’s SEYMOUR HERSH, as they
go behind the headlines to tell the untold story of the occupation of Iraq, the
daily plight of Iraqi civilians, and the ongoing role of private mercenaries in
America’s so-called "war on terror."
The webcast will stream live on CCR’s website on Tuesday, June 3, 7 p.m. EST.
Go here for more details.
This event also marks the book launches of Collateral Damage: America’s
War Against Iraqi Civilians by Chris Hedges and Laila al-Arian and the
updated paperback edition of Blackwater: Rise of the World’s Most Powerful
Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill.
CCR has worked with all of these authors in our pursuit of justice for the
victims of the war and occupation of Iraq. Recently, we filed new cases against
Blackwater for its killing of Iraqi civilians as well as a new case against
CACI and Titan, military contractors in Iraq who were responsible for interrogation
and translation at Abu Ghraib.
The event is co-sponsored by CCR, The Nation, Public Concern Foundation,
Democracy Now!, The Indypendent, CERSC, Democrats. com, Veterans for
Common Sense, Peace Action New York, Alternet and Tricycle.…
Iceland tops list of peaceful nations, U.S. 97th
Tue May 20, 2008 5:08pm EDT
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation while the United States is ranked among the bottom third, according to a study released on Tuesday.
The “Global Peace Index,” compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked the United States 97th out of 140 countries according to how peaceful they were domestically and how they interacted with the outside world.
The United States slipped from 96th last year, but was still ahead of foe Iran which ranked 105th. It, however, lagged Belarus, Cuba, South Korea, Chile, Libya and others which were listed as more peaceful.
Iraq, which the United States invaded in 2003, leading to the toppling of Saddam Hussein, ranked lowest on the index. Afghanistan, another country invaded by the United States this decade, was also in the bottom five, along with Sudan, Somalia and Israel.
Commenting on the U.S. ranking, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said to realize a more peaceful and prosperous world, “Often times, you have to do difficult things and a lot of times, people don’t agree with them. They don’t like them.”
“A lot of times you fall down in these lists but at the end of the day it is in defense of democracy and the way of life we have enjoyed over the past several decades,” he added.
The United States has come under strong international criticism for the invasion of Iraq and… Continue reading
“Government complicity in the OKC Bombing and the 9/11 attacks has been proven not only by the obstruction of justice but by the use of terrorist dupes, be they willful dupes or not. And by all indications, these actions continue. Apparently some have failed, others will not…”
Key to the Truth in Oklahoma 4.19.95 and 9.11.01
by Holland Van den Nieuwenhof
I Oklahoma seems to attract more attention in the news than seems due to your typical Great Plains State such as Kansas or Nebraska or North Dakota. I once asked a visitor from North Dakota if anything had ever happened in his state since being reasonably informed on current events and history, I was unaware of that state ever making it into a national headline.
Perhaps it is due to our curious mix of the offspring of renegade Indians, blacks and whites alike. Once known as Indian Territory, Oklahoma was the last state admitted into the continental United States and was once the home of various outlaws and escaped slaves seeking freedom in one of the last places in the land that was without established law or authority. That heritage carried over at least a couple of generations. During WWI a large group of farmers tried to organize an armed march onto Washington D.C. to stop the Nation’s entry into the war. Known as the Green Corn Rebellion, it was finally put down by the local authorities with the help of vigilante posses. During the desperate days of the… Continue reading
Post-9/11 Memo Indicates View Around Constitution
Thursday, April 3, 2008
For at least 16 months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Bush administration
argued that the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and
seizures on U.S. soil did not apply to its efforts to protect against terrorism.
That view was expressed in a secret Justice Department legal memo dated Oct.
23, 2001. The administration stressed yesterday that it now disavows that view.
The October 2001 memo was written at the White House’s request by John Yoo,
then the deputy assistant attorney general, and addressed to Alberto R. Gonzales,
then the White House counsel. The37-page memo has not been released.
Its existence was disclosed Tuesday in a footnote of a separate secret Justice
Department memo, dated March 14, 2003, that discussed the legality of various
interrogation techniques. It was released by the Pentagon in response to an
ACLU Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
“Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application
to domestic military operations,” the footnote in that memo states, referring
to a document titled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist
Activities Within the United States.”
Exactly what domestic military action was covered by the October memo is unclear.
Source URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/03/AR2008040300067.html
2003 Justice Department memo justifies torture, presidential dictatorship
By Joe Kay
4 April 2008
On Tuesday, the Defense Department released a 2003 memo asserting the right
of the US president to order the military to torture prisoners.
The memo is signed by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and is
dated March 14, 2003, one week before the launch of the Iraq war.…
THIS MARCH END THE MADNESS
After 5 years of senseless, endless war, torture, government deception and suppression . . .
YOU have a voice
YOU have a choice
Bush Program of Endless Imperialistic War or Join us March 19
More Torture, Rendition to Secret CIA Prisons or Demand a No Torture State! Display a No Torture Banner
Accept the Bush Agenda of Oppression and Suppression or Join the Resistance Movement or Become a WCW Member
Allow Your Government to Abolish Privacy or Support the March 19 Actions
Complacency and Complicity as Our Constitution, Our Rights Quickly Erode or Declare It Now! Drive Out the Bush Regime!
The Choice is Yours:
Will this month be 31 more days of bloodshed, corporate war-mongering, death and devastation?
Or will this be the month we unite to end the madness and drive out the Bush regime?
World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime
Awarded MOST VALUABLE CRUSADE OF 2007!
WHY HOPE FOR CHANGE WHEN YOU CAN BE THAT CHANGE?
Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can’t Wait – Drive Out the Bush Regime
After Bush vetoes ban on torture, including waterboarding, what will you do to tell the world that we won’t live in a torture state?
On the 5th Anniversary of Endless and Criminal War in Iraq,… Continue reading
by Glenn Greenwald
Published on Sunday, February 3, 2008 by Salon.com
Ever since the President’s illegal warrantless eavesdropping program was revealed by the New York Times’ Jim Risen and Eric Lichtblau back in December, 2005, there has been a faction of neoconservatives and other extremists on the Right calling for the NYT reporters and editors to be criminally prosecuted — led by the likes of Bill Kristol (now of the NYT), Bill Bennett (of CNN), Commentary Magazine and many others. In May, 2006, Alberto Gonzales went on ABC News and revealed that the DOJ had commenced a criminal investigation into the leak, and then “raised the possibility  that New York Times journalists could be prosecuted for publishing classified information.”
That was one of the more revealing steps ever taken by Bush’s DOJ under Gonzales: the administration violated multiple federal laws for years in spying on Americans, blocked all efforts to investigate what they did or subject it to the rule of law, but then decided that the only real criminals were those who alerted the nation to their lawbreaking — whistleblowers and journalists alike. Even Gonzales’ public musing about criminal prosecutions could have had a devastating effect — if you’re a whistleblower or journalist who uncovers secret government lawbreaking, you’re obviously going to think twice (at least) before bringing it to light, given the public threats by the Attorney General to criminally prosecute those who do.
Eighteen months have passed since Gonzales’ threats, and while there have been… Continue reading
What is Probably in the Missing Tapes
By Naomi Wolf, Monday, December 13, 2007*
To judge from firsthand documents obtained by the ACLU through a FOIA lawsuit, we can guess what is probably on the missing CIA interrogation tapes — as well as understand why those implicated are spinning so hard to pretend the tapes do not document a series of evident crimes. According to the little-noticed but extraordinarily important book Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, Columbia University Press, New York 2007), which presents dozens of original formerly secret documents – FBI emails and memos, letters and interrogator "wish lists," raw proof of the systemic illegal torture of detainees in various US-held prisons — the typical "harsh interrogation" of a suspect in US custody reads like an account of abuses in archives at Yad Vashem.
More is still being hidden as of this writing — as those in Congress now considering whether a special prosecutor is needed in this case should be urgently aware: "Through the FOIA lawsuit," write the authors, "we learned of the existence of multiple records relating to prisoner abuse that still have not been released by the administration; credible media reports identify others. As this book goes to print, the Bush administration is still withholding, among many other records, a September 2001 presidential directive authorizing the CIA to set up secret detention centers overseas; an August 2002 Justice Department memorandum advising the CIA about the lawfulness of waterboarding [Italics mine; nota bene, Mr.…Continue reading
by Joseph Cannon, Monday, December 10, 2007*
When the CIA tells you that a piece of evidence has been destroyed, you should react as skeptically as you would to the death of a Marvel supervillain.
As you know, CIA Deputy Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez reportedly made the decision to destroy tapes of prisoner interrogation, allegedly to protect the identities of the interrogators. This action, we are told, ran contrary to the wishes of Porter Goss, who then ran the Agency.
Joseph Cannon in his blog of Dec. 10 recalls how past CIA claims of lost evidence later turned out to be untrue: “When the CIA tells you that a piece of evidence has been destroyed, you should react as skeptically as you would to the death of a Marvel supervillain.”
One certainty is that the CIA lied, either when it told the 9/11 Commission that tapes of certain interrogations were never made, or else in its current claim that such tapes did exist but have been destroyed. This serves to underline the absurdity of accepting any CIA statements, any at all, especially about 9/11. By extension, the 9/11 Commission is yet again tainted for using the CIA’s prisoner “transcripts” uncritically as a main source in its report; whether out of cynicism or unforgivable naivete is irrelevant.
It’s near impossible to tell on how many levels the CIA can be (and probably is) lying about the torture tapes. They may be lying about having certain… Continue reading
December 6, 2007
By MARK MAZZETTI
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.
The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss declined this afternoon to comment on the destruction of the tapes.
The existence and subsequent destruction of the tapes are likely to reignite the debate over the use of severe interrogation techniques on terror suspects, and their destruction raises questions about whether C.I.A. officials withheld information about aspects of the program from the courts and from the Sept. 11 commission appointed by President Bush and Congress. It was not clear who within the C.I.A. authorized the destruction of the tapes, but current and former government officials… Continue reading
DONALD RUMSFELD CHARGED WITH TORTURE DURING TRIP TO FRANCE
Complaint Filed Against Former Defense Secretary for Torture, Abuse at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib
October 26, 2007, Paris, France — Today, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the French League for Human Rights filed a complaint with the Paris Prosecutor before the “Court of First Instance” (Tribunal de Grande Instance) charging former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with ordering and authorizing torture. Rumsfeld was in Paris for a talk sponsored by Foreign Policy magazine, and left through a door connecting to the U.S. embassy to avoid journalists and human rights attorneys outside.
“The filing of this French case against Rumsfeld demonstrates that we will not rest until those U.S. officials involved in the torture program are brought to justice. Rumsfeld must understand that he has no place to hide. A torturer is an enemy of all humankind,” said CCR President Michael Ratner.
France is under the obligation to investigate and prosecute Rumsfeld’s accountability for crimes of torture in Guantánamo and Iraq. France has no choice but to open an investigation if an alleged torturer is on its territory. I hope that the fight against impunity will not be sacrificed in the name of politics. We call on France to refuse to be a safe haven for criminals.” said FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen.
We want to combat impunity and therefore demand a judicial investigation and a criminal prosecution wherever there is jurisdiction over the torture incidents,” said ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck.…Continue reading
Today. Six years later. SIX YEARS! Are you safer? Is your life better? Your neighbor’s? Your kids? Have you acclimated to permanent Code Orange and willingly handed over your civil liberties, accepted endless war in your name and 400,000 homeless veterans on the streets of America, agreed with your representatives’ capitulation to corporate control of your life, gotten past that nagging voice that repeats ” all the victims deserve justice”, forgotten those pictures of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, normalized the outright lies and utter lack of accountability for anyone in government office … ?
No? “NO!”, you say? What will you do, today?
General Strike! No school, no work, no shopping, no life as usual… Not for today. Not for this week. Not until we’ve won! Of course not everyone can participate in every aspect. But you can do something . You can take action in every way that you are able to take action. Think about it. Do what you can, right now.
We encourage you to participate today in the general strike, originally called by strike911.org . In fact, 911Truth.org issued a press release in support. While you’re striking from everything, we encourage you to read about the ‘hidden’ history of People’s movements, a powerful bit of history not taught in our schools, not covered in the media, not discussed on the street corners. Not sure where to start? Couragetoresist.org has a great section on People Power . Check out Globalize Liberation from your library. Rent The Fourth… Continue reading
By Deb McKee
WEST TERRE HAUTE — Two men walking across the nation to protest the Iraq war say police officers in West Terre Haute violated their constitutional rights last week when one of the men was arrested for failing to produce identification.
Police say the request for identification was legitimate, and the arrest lawful.
For nearly four months, Raymond Schwab, 32, of Loveland, Colo., and Elliott Nesch, 22, of Fort Collins, Colo. — Brother Raymond and Brother Elliott, to their followers — have been walking from Denver on their way to Washington, D.C., sharing their religious and pacifist beliefs.
They belong to Beit Shalom Ministries, an outreach of the Protestant Free Church Movement, according to their Web site, www.beitshalomministries.org, which is sponsoring the walk.
On the evening of July 8, the two had just crossed the border from Illinois into Indiana when Nesch was stopped by a West Terre Haute police officer.
That in itself is not unusual for the pair.
Nesch said during an interview Friday afternoon that since they began walking, they have been stopped daily by members of various police agencies.
But this week was the first time either of the two ended up in a jail cell.
Carrying signs and often wearing bright orange, prison-type jumpsuits, Nesch and Schwab rarely fail to be noticed as they walk — separately, about five miles apart — along the nation’s roads. The jumpsuits are imprinted with large letters saying, “God is Love,” and “Real Christians Don’t… Continue reading
Raising questions about 9/11 gets an Army sergeant demoted for “disloyalty.”
By STEPHEN C. WEBSTER
Fort Worth Weekly, Feature: Wednesday, May 30, 2007
These days, Donald Buswell’s job is not as exciting or dangerous as it once was. For the past few months, his working hours have been spent taking care of some 40-plus wounded soldiers at San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston medical center. The work is sometimes menial, even janitorial, but he doesn’t mind. After all, Buswell has been where these men are — three years ago, he too was recovering from wounds received in a battle zone in Iraq.
“I truly consider this an honor,” Buswell told his dad not long ago.
Still, it’s not exactly where Buswell expected to be after 20 years of well-respected service in the Army.
Since joining the Army in 1987, he had risen to the rank of sergeant first class, serving in both Gulf Wars, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Korea. He ended up with shrapnel scars and a Purple Heart and, back in the U.S. after his last tour in Iraq, a job as intelligence analyst at Fort Sam Houston.
He couldn’t have foreseen that one e-mail could derail his career and put him on his way out of the Army. One e-mail, speculating about events that millions of people have questioned for the last six years, was all it took.
Sgt. Buswell wants to know: What really happened on 9/11? And he said so in his e-mail. In the few paragraphs… Continue reading
Impeachment IS on the Table!!!
Yesterday, Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced House Resolution 333,
of Impeachment Against Richard B. Cheney. The three articles accuse
deceiving the public and Congress about Iraq WMD and a link between
al Quaeda, and of publicly threatening agression against Iran,
any real threat to the United States.” You can read a Synopsis,
Resolution, and supporting documentation at href="http://kucinich.house.gov/SpotlightIssues/documents.htm"
House website.Track this bill (has your Rep cosponsored?) at href="http://www.thomas.gov" target="_blank"thomas.gov
(enter HRes 333 in the search bar, then click “Bill Summary and
to see cosponsors, committee assignment, etc.) We’ll need to lend
to this effort if it’s to succeed. Kucinich’s staff has said they need
call and write members of the House Judiciary Committee, and our own
right now! In addition, we need to heavily contact the media — an
internet search brings up almost nothing about either Kucinich’s press
conference held last night at 5pm, nor anything about the Articles
themselves. This is outrageous! If you’re subscribing to a “news” outlet
that’s not reporting on this important news, this is surely the time to
cancel your subscription and tell them why.
ACTION REQUEST: 911Truth.org is working on preparing
materials very specific to crimes committed by Cheney on 9/11–if you
in the district of one of the Judiciary Committee members and can help,
please contact Janice@911truth.org immediately. Thank you.
MORE IMPEACHMENT RESOURCES: AfterDowningStreet.org has posted an
excellent list of action
steps and links to more information at: href="http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/cheney"
By Sibel Edmonds
“The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes.”- – Justice Felix Frankfurter
It used to be the three branches – congress, the executive, and the courts – that we considered the make-up of our nation’s federal government. And some would point to the press as a possible fourth branch, due to the virtue of its influence in shaping our policies. Today, more and more people have come to view corporate and foreign lobby firms, with their preponderant clout and enormous power, as the official fourth branch of our nation’s government. Not only do I agree with them, I would even take it a step further and give it a higher status it certainly deserves.
Operating invisibly under the radar of media and public scrutiny, lobby groups and foreign agents have become the ‘epicenter’ of our government, where former statesmen and ‘dime a dozen generals’ cash in on their connections and peddle their enormous influence to the highest bidders turned clients. These groups’ activities shape our nation’s policies and determine the direction of the flow of its taxpayer driven wealth, while to them the interests of the majority are considered irrelevant, and the security of the nation is perceived as inconsequential.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
October 9, 2006
Dateline — Buenos Aires, Argentina
For some 30 years, the Argentine women known as the Madres (Mothers) de La
Plaza de Mayo have marched every Thursday in front of the Presidential Palace
of Argentina. They gather in memory of their children and grandchildren, who
were among the estimated 30,000 people who disappeared during “Operation
Condor.” Another 50,000 people were murdered.
(image: One of the Madres (Mothers) de la Plaza de Mayo displaying a photo of her son who was one of an estimated 30,000 “disappeared” during “Operation
photo taken on October 5, 2006)
Condor” reached its peak in the 1970s. With assistance from
the United States, and the support and knowledge of Henry Kissinger, five of
the southern cone South American nations conducted a campaign of unspeakable
torture and killing against their own citizens.
When you look at the photos carried by many of the Madres de La Plaza de Mayo,
you see middle class men in suits and ties and nicely dressed women. You see
young children with smiling faces.
What happened during Operation Condor is so horrific — all done in the name of the safety and security of “the nation” — that it is barely speakable. The torture included one of the Bush Administration’s favorite techniques — waterboarding — and many other methods. Families were forced to watch or listen to their love ones being mutilated. Friends were required to conduct torture on those that they knew.…Continue reading