by Michael Parenti
December 7, 2008
Author’s website: www.michaelparenti.org.
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan.
Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something
about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.
Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan,
the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist
organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened
to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive
writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated
the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good
thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.
Some Real History
Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged,
with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only
3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary
elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973,
the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic,
corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration
in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side
of the demonstrators.
The military officers who took charge invited the… Continue reading
by Justin A. Martell
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) took one of the first steps in holding the Bush Administration accountable when he introduced House Resolution 1531 on Thursday.
The official title of HR 1531, which was introduced to the House Judiciary Committee, is “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President of the United States should not issue pardons to senior members of his administration during the final 90 days of his term of office.”
The resolution notes, “President George W. Bush may have committed crimes involving the mistreatment of detainees, the extraordinary rendition of individuals to countries known to engage in torture, illegal surveillance of United States citizens, unlawful leaks of classified information, obstruction of justice, political interference with the conduct of the Justice Department, and other illegal acts,” and that, “Bush has been urged to grant preemptive pardons to senior administration officials who might face criminal prosecution for actions taken in the course of their official duties.”
Rep. Nadler is the current chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties . According to an email sent out by Democrats.com, Nadler’s leadership on this issue is crucial because he “can use his credibility and clout to move the resolution forward either during the lame duck session in December or when the next Congress convenes on January 6.”
Democrats.com has also urged the public to persuade their representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1531. You can contact your representative on your… Continue reading
From Donna Marsh O’Connor
First let me say, after years of skepticism re the Democratic Party, I am a Progressive Democrat and so my comments reflect that. Someday perhaps someone more powerful than I will be able to dismantle the two party system, and make more genuine choice possible in this country. Right now, there are two parties. For eight years George W. Bush and Dick Cheney impostered as Republicans. I have said before and will say again, they would not have fit into my party and of this I am proud. They led a band of rogues that brought this country to the brink of absolute despotism. Let the Republicans worry about that mess. I remember telling my students long ago, I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton for what he would do, I voted for Bill Clinton for what he said, for the values he espoused, for the way his insistence on social justice resonated. After his election, his actions were, indeed, another matter.
The good news: Barack Obama seems to be a decent man, tough enough to steer this nation in the left direction, confident enough to know he will succeed, smart enough to know that the powerful right still has the means to inflict great pain and re-enter greater and stronger. His election has elated many, particularly me, for a whole host of reasons, but for our purposes the following two:
The reign of Bush/Cheney/Rove (given a peaceful transition) is over.
Though I don’t believe that this… 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?
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
October 7, 2008
By William Glaberson
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Bush administration to release 17 detainees at Guantánamo Bay by the end of the week, the first such ruling in nearly seven years of legal disputes over the administration’s detention policies.
The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court, ordered that the 17 men be brought to his courtroom on Friday from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they have been held since 2002. He indicated that he would release the men, members of the restive Uighur Muslim minority in western China, into the care of supporters in the United States, initially in the Washington area.
“I think the moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for detention,” Judge Urbina said.
Saying the men had never fought the United States and were not a security threat, he tersely rejected Bush administration claims that he lacked the power to order the men set free in the United States and government requests that he stay his order to permit an immediate appeal.
The ruling was a sharp setback for the administration, which has waged a long legal battle to defend its policies of detention at the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, arguing a broad executive power in waging war. Federal courts up to the Supreme Court have waded through detention questions and in several major cases the courts have rejected administration contentions.
The government recently conceded that… Continue reading
Of course, this is that same Posse Comitatus Act that the Department of
Father Homeland Security now calls a “myth.” In an October 2000 article, “The Myth of Posse Comitatus,” Major Craig T. Trebilcock, U.S. Army Reserve, states:
“Through a gradual erosion of the act’s prohibitions over the past 20 years, posse comitatus today is more of a procedural formality than an actual impediment to the use of U.S. military forces in homeland defense.”
I say my country “was” dedicated … we were dedicated to prohibiting military occupation within America until 2006, when the John Warner Defense Authorization Act ( HR5122 ) was signed into law (specifically, see Section 1076, titled “Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies” pretty much threw out the Posse Comitatus Act altogether.
But in January 2008, it appears posse comitatus was somewhat restored through an amendment to H.R. 4986 : National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
Section 1068 – Revises federal provisions concerning the use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies to discontinue the executive authority to deploy active and reserve personnel during domestic response incidents. Repeals the authority of the President to direct the Secretary to provide supplies, services, and equipment to persons affected by major public emergencies.
Naturally, the President issued a signing statement when he signed the bill, indicating he will “construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.” Of course, this means he’ll interpret and carry out this Act… Continue reading
September 24, 2008
At 7:30 a.m. this morning, they climbed a nine-foot fence to occupy a 35-foot-high
ledge at the National Archives.
And five members of the Veterans for Peace organization have been there ever
since. They say they’re veterans of Vietnam and Iraq, anti-war activists, and
soldiers for a cause who plan to fast for 24 hours in protest of the Bush administration.
Seeking the criminal prosecution of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the organization
distributed “Citizens’ Arrest Warrants” to tourists waiting in line
to enter the archives, which houses the key documents of U.S. history: the Declaration
of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
In a press release, the group described the reasons for its protest:
Bush and Cheney’s serial abuse of the law of the land clearly marks
them as domestic enemies of the Constitution. They have illegally invaded
and occupied Iraq, deliberately destroyed civilian infrastructure, authorized
torture, and unlawfully detained prisoners. These actions clearly mark them
as war criminals. Accountability extends beyond impeachment to prosecution
for war crimes even after their terms of office expire….
We are not conducting ourselves in a disorderly manner; our action is well-ordered
and well-considered. We are not trespassing; we have come to the home of our
Constitution to honor our oath to defend it.
So far, authorities have not interfered with the peaceful protest or the sign.
Yes, there’s a sign. A 22-foot-by-x8-foot banner draped across the Constitution
Avenue side of the archives says, “DEFEND… Continue reading
Join the Phone Blockade – A Simple Call to Impeach Print E-mail
Buddy, can you spare 5 minutes a day?
If you believe the country is going in the wrong direction and are frustrated by the refusal of the legislative branch, our Congress, to exercise their sworn duty to support and defend the Constitution, then you must have wondered what can you really do about it? What difference can one person make?
There are many of us; the frustrated majority. We want to know what it is going to take to turn things around. What can we do to get Congress to abandon their business as usual attitude and put impeachment on the table now? How can we send them a clear message? They need to quit trying to run out the clock. There is still plenty of time for them to impeach the President and Vice President! There is no legitimate basis for their failure to take action. The House impeached Bill Clinton on December 19, 1998 and the Senate trial lasted from January 7 through February 12, 1999. Not having sufficient time remaining is not the issue. They do not have the will to do it.
We believe that each one of us, acting together, can make an enormous difference, especially if we take one specific, coordinated action. Best of all, it is easy. It doesn’t cost anything and it is legal. In fact, it is our civic duty. Call a member of the House Judiciary Committee… Continue reading
By Tod Fletcher
September 11, 2008
In THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED , David Ray Griffin provides a brilliant and much-needed companion to his path-breaking and movement-building book on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor (NPH; 2004). Now, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of those horrific events, Griffin surveys in detail all the main lines of evidence against the official account of 9/11 to have emerged during the last four years. THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED (NPHR) has been designed as volume 2 of a two-volume set with NPH as volume 1; together they provide a thorough and up-to-date case against the official conspiracy theory (they can be bought separately, of course).
Griffin has already published four other books that provide in-depth analysis of most of the evidence to have emerged since 2004. NPHR’s main purpose is to provide an easily accessible survey of all of the new evidence, so that it is now possible for a beginner to the subject (including journalists and members of Congress) to master its enormous complexity simply by reading two books. NPHR is structured identically to NPH; each chapter in NPHR comments and builds on the corresponding chapter in NPH. Much of the content is entirely new; there are many facts and analyses in NPHR which Griffin presents for the first time, and which literally make the book an up-to-the-minute statement of the case.
In the Preface, Griffin explains why he undertook to “update” The New Pearl Harbor . In the Introduction he… Continue reading
by Allison Bruce
Rocky Mountain News
August 26, 2008
Protesters march in Civic Center Park this afternoon, contending the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were a U.S. government conspiracy.
Photo by Kristi Mohrbacher © The Rocky
Protesters march in Civic Center Park this afternoon, contending the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were a U.S. government conspiracy.
CIVIC CENTER — Chanting “9/11 was an inside job!” protesters congregated here before hitting the parade route this afternoon, cameras in hand to document everything that happened and supply their live feed to those watching online.
Organized by We Are Change, the march brought calls of “9/11 truth now!” and signs calling for an investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks.
We Are Change has been filming protests this week in an effort to catch illegal action — whether by protesters or cops.
Luke Rudkowski, founder of We Are Change in New York, told the crowd it can’t rely on the mainstream media.
“We are the new media. We are the people. We are the change!” he shouted.
Besides protesters carrying banners and signs, there was a bus in support of Buddy Moore for U.S. Senate for Colorado and a trailer with a chain-link “cage” on it. Labeled “God’s Gitmo,” it had protesters wearing rubber masks of George W. Bush, John McCain, Barack Obama and others inside.
People stopped to watch the group proceed by.
“Rabble-rousers rousing a whole lot of rabble is what it is,” said James Baum of Ohio as he sat on his bike… Continue reading
August 15, 2008
You may have noticed that lately I’ve been making movies that “force” people to go to www.historycommons.org (www.cooperativeresearch.org). I’m hoping people will see just how important a tool it can be.
Please support www.historycommons.org. They have been invaluable to me, and hopefully will be for you as well.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
St. Paul, Minnesota — August 12, 2008 — Impeach for Peace (IfP), along with
others looking to demonstrate at the Republican National Convention (RNC), filed
a lawsuit Friday with the help of the ACLU of Minnesota in Ramsey County District
Court demanding our right to free speech. Plaintiffs include: Jodin Morey and
Mikael Rudolph of Impeach for Peace, Colleen and Ross Rowley, and Ron Deharporte.
Impeach for Peace is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization based in Minnesota
with chapters in twelve states throughout the country working to achieve the
impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and holding
them and future elected officials fully accountable under the Rule of Law.
The RNC is having their election year convention in St. Paul, Minnesota at
the Xcel Energy Center. During this event, the St. Paul Police have decided
to relegate most speech activities in what they call the ‘Primary Event
Area’ to an inadequate ‘Designated Public Assembly Area’ or
free speech zone. The ‘Primary Event Area’ remains to be fully defined
by the police, making it impossible for people to know where in St. Paul they
can exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. At the convention,
members of congress, mayors, governors, the President and Vice-President of
the United States are expected to be in attendance. This provides IfP and other
potential demonstrators with a unique opportunity to express their political
messages to these governmental officials.
The lawsuit alleges that the St. Paul City Council and police have created
guidelines for the RNC which restrict free speech to areas that are “inadequate
and unacceptably small.”
The ACLU also alleges that the City Council/Police denied IfP their due process
rights as stipulated in the Minnesota State Constitution by failing to give
notice of their plans regarding free speech restrictions, which would have allowed
for public comment and a public hearing.…
Congratulations, you folks can take a share of credit in bringing about the congressional
committee hearings on Bush’s abuses of powers (watch the video here).
Now, it’s time to move to full blown impeachment hearings. Please call John
Conyers to thank him for holding a preliminary hearing, but insist that now
it’s time to start official impeachment hearings. When a hearing is held in
congress for impeachment, the president cannot claim executive privilege, and
will have to testify. If he fails to, that IN AND OF ITSELF becomes an impeachable
We’re almost there! Call Conyers AND your representative:
Your Rep (just give switchboard your zip):
Cofounder: Impeach for Peace
by Robert Parry
August 7, 2008
The U.S. military commission’s split guilty verdict on Ahmed Hamdan,
a former driver for Osama bin Laden, has drawn praise from the Bush administration
and criticism from civil rights groups, but what has been overlooked is the
chilling message that “the Hamdan principle” sends about future
prosecutions in the “war on terror.”
This new principle holds that anyone — regardless of how tangential a
connection to actual acts of terrorism — can be prosecuted through the
kangaroo court of the military commissions and be sentenced to a long prison
term (or even death). Though Hamdan is a Yemeni, the principle would seem to
apply to U.S citizens, too.
In effect, a parallel legal system has been created outside the U.S. Constitution
in which the President can order someone locked up indefinitely simply by calling
the person an “enemy combatant” and then subjecting the person to
what amounts to a “star chamber” proceeding that permits use of
secret evidence and coerced testimony.
Though some legal experts insist these special courts don’t apply to
U.S. citizens, the language of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and a recent
federal court ruling make clear that President George W. Bush’s asserted
wartime power to order indefinite detentions covers citizens and non-citizens.
In July, the conservative-dominated U.S. Appeals Court in Richmond, Virginia,
opened the door for Bush or a successor to throw American citizens as well as
non-citizens into a legal black hole by designating them “enemy… Continue reading
Click Here To Listen — http://noliesradio.org
Coming Up Friday, July 25th at: 6am Pacific – 9am Eastern – 13:00 GMT
Repeated Saturday, July 26th at 9am Pacific – 12 Noon Eastern – 16:00 GMT
Impeachment Could Be Our Last Chance for 9/11 Truth, Stopping the Iran War and
Listen to the Hearing! Then Act!
Read Rep. Kucinich’s Articles of Impeachment. Call the Judiciary Committee
and your Representative and Demand Impeachment Hearings Now. Be sure to mention
Article 17 (illegal detention), Article 18 (Torture), Article 19 (Rendition)
and Articles 33-35 regarding 9/11 Truth. Call 6 friends to do this also and
ask them to call 6 friends…and this will go viral!!! If Conyers censors the
hearing, ask for his resignation!
SPECIAL LIVE COVERAGE:
No Lies Radio will carry live the Pacifica Radio network (KPFA) broadcast of
the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Imperial Presidency and possible
legal responses entitled “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations”.
For the last several years, many progressives – including a handful of Congress
members – have called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush. But they
have been stymied by six years of Republican majority followed by a Democratic
leadership that took impeachment “off the table.” That may be changing.
This Friday, the House Judiciary Committee will take the first step to investigate
what Rep. John Conyers calls “numerous credible allegations of serious
misconduct.” While the panel of witnesses is somewhat fluid until the hearing
actually begins, the current roster of speakers includes: — Several Congress
members: Dennis Kucinich, Jane Harman, Walter Jones, Brad Miller, and Maurice
Hinchey — Several non-Congress Members: Elizabeth Holtzman, Bruce Fein, Frederick
Schwartz, John Dean, Bob Barr, Rocky Anderson, Vincent Bugliosi, Elliott Adams.…
Email from Rep. Robert Wexler, FL
Capitol Hill is buzzing today with major developments regarding our campaign for impeachment hearings for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Just today, in what could be described as a perfect impeachment storm:
• Karl Rove once again thumbed his nose at Congress and the American people by brazenly ignoring a lawful congressional subpoena to testify before the House of Representatives;
• Judiciary Chairman John Conyers indicated his willingness to use the power of inherent contempt against Rove if necessary;
• Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced another article of impeachment on Bush’s lies regarding the Iraq war; and
• Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quoted today saying that the House Judiciary Committee should address the issues that Kucinich raises in the House Judiciary Committee.
After years of work by so many of you, the time appears ripe to finally hold Bush and Cheney accountable.
Conyers Opens Door to Inherent Contempt for Rove
Karl Rove has simply refused to appear, as he is legally required to do. His actions, endorsed by the Bush/Cheney Administration, are a challenge to our system of checks and balances and Congress must respond to this type of outrageous behavior with appropriate severity.
Today, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers courageously stated today that inherent contempt will remain an option for the House of Representatives so long as Rove and this Administration refuses to abide by the law.
We must now bring Mr. Rove (and other renegade Bush officials) in compliance with… Continue reading
Yoo Refuses to Answer the Question…
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review , at BradBlog .
John Yoo and David Addington, the architects of Bush’s illegal torture policies, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today. The hearing included this frothy exchange between Yoo and the committee chairman, John Conyers (D-Mich.):
CONYERS : Could the President order a suspect buried alive?
YOO : Uh, Mr. Chairman, I don’t think I’ve ever given advice that the President could order someone buried alive…
CONYERS : I didn’t ask you if you ever gave him advice. I asked if you thought the President could order a suspect buried alive.
YOO : Well Chairman, my view right now is that I don’t think a President — no American President would ever have to order that or feel it necessary to order that.
CONYERS : I think we understand the games that are being played.
Yoo was serving in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003, when he wrote the infamous memo and contributed to the PATRIOT ACT. He is now a professor of law at UC Berkeley.
Addington is the chief of staff to Dick Cheney.…Continue reading