December 14, 2008 Associated Press
An Iraqi journalist threw two shoes at President Bush during a news conference Sunday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The president was not hurt in the incident.
Muntadar al-Zaidi Did What We Journalists Should Have Done Long Ago
Mon, 12/15/2008 David Lindorff ThisCan’tBeHappening.net
When Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi heaved his two shoes at the head of President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad, he did something that the White House press corps should have done years ago.
Al-Zaidi listened to Bush blather that the half-decade of war he had initiated with the illegal invasion of Iraq had been “necessary for US security, Iraqi stability (sic) and world peace” and something just snapped. The television correspondent, who had been kidnapped and held for a while last year by Shiite militants, pulled off a shoe and threw it at Bush–a serious insult in Iraqi culture–and shouted “This is a farewell kiss, you dog!” When the first shoe missed its target, he grabbed a second shoe and heaved it too, causing the president to duck a second time as al-Zaidi shouted, “This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq!”
I’ll admit, listening to Bush lie his way through eight years of press conferences, while pre-selected reporters played along and pretended to get his attention so they could ask questions which had been submitted and vetted in advance, I have felt like throwing my shoes at the television set.…Continue reading
It’s not about them–it’s about us
December 15, 2008
by Mike Ferner
During the rush to get the Nuremberg Tribunals underway, the Soviet delegation wanted the tribunal’s historic decisions to have legitimacy only for the Nazis. U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Robert Jackson, serving as the chief prosecutor for the Allies, strong-armed the Soviets until the very beginning of the tribunal before changing their minds.
In his opening statement Jackson very purposely stipulated, “…Let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.”
Can there be a better reason for prosecuting George Bush and his administration for war crimes than those words from the chief prosecutor of the Nazis, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, with the full support of the U.S. government? Robert Jackson’s words and the values this nation claims to stand for provide sufficient moral basis for putting Bush and Cheney, their underlings who implemented their policies and the perverted legal minds who justified them all in the dock. If those are not sufficient reasons, there is a long list of binding law and treaties — written in black and white in surprisingly plain English.
Bush imagined, and his attorneys advised, that he could simply wave aside these laws with “they don’t apply.” Imagine how a judge would treat even a simple traffic court defendant who… Continue reading
by Bill Van Auken
World Socialist Web Site
With his choice of Admiral Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence, President-elect Barack Obama has now named three recently retired four-star military officers to serve in his cabinet. This unprecedented representation of the senior officer corps within the incoming Democratic administration is indicative of a growth in the political power of the US military that poses a serious threat to basic democratic rights.
As head of the US military’s Pacific command in 1999-2000, Blair was distinguished by his efforts to solidarize the Pentagon with the military of Indonesia as it carried out butchery in East Timor, effectively vetoing the half-hearted human rights concerns voiced by the Clinton administration.
Before tapping Blair, Obama named former Marine Gen. James Jones as his national security adviser and former Army chief of staff Gen. Erik Shinseki as secretary of veterans affairs. It is also reported that the incoming administration may ask retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to stay on as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Washington Post last Saturday described this concentration of former senior officers in the administration as “an unusual trend for a Democratic administration and one that has surprised both political camps.”
The appointments follow the announcement that Robert Gates, Bush’s defense secretary, will stay on at the Pentagon, where multiple “transition teams” are at work to assure that continuity is maintained in America’s ongoing wars of aggression and that the immense power of the military remains unchecked.
Earlier… 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
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 Ann Wright
26 December 2008
On the news today of the death of Harold Pinter, the winner of the 2005 Nobel
Prize for Literature, I remembered hearing his Nobel Laureate lecture/acceptance
speech. I was in London in December 2005, speaking at the annual Stop the War
conference when Pinter delivered his speech – not in Oslo, as Pinter was very
sick and could not travel, but in London via TV link.
I was amazed and thrilled that he chose to use the Nobel Prize platform and
devote a huge portion of his speech to shining an international spotlight on
the tragic effects of the past decades of US foreign policy and particularly,
on George Bush and Tony Blair’s decisions to invade and occupy Iraq, on Guantánamo
and on torture.
Pinter’s Laureate speech question, “Is Our Conscience Dead?” is
most relevant today when three years after his acceptance speech, “Art,
Truth and Politics,” Bush, Cheney, Rice and other administration officials
are either trying to rewrite history or, as in Cheney’s case – purposefully
revealing his role in specific criminal acts of torture and daring the American
legal system and people to hold him accountable.
Following is the part of Pinter’s lecture that speaks to the invasion of Iraq,
torture and Guantánamo – and our collective and individual conscience:
“Art, Truth and Politics“
Noble Lecture by Harold Pinter
December 7, 2005
“… The United States no longer … sees any point in being reticent
or even devious. It puts… Continue reading
Censored 2009 is also available at the Project Censored bookstore.
# 24 Japan Questions 9/11 and the Global War on Terror in Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009
Rense.com and Rock Creek Free Press, January 14, 2008… Continue reading
Wednesday Dec 24, 2008
By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)
The Bush administration, speaking for the U.S.A., therefore must consider it tolerable that 6 million children die every day – children who could be fed if we weren’t wasting billions on stealth fighters, littoral combat boondoggles and non-effective defense against non-existant ballistic missiles from Iran.
Just so you get that, here it is again:
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, CÃ´te d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.…
In a companion essay (reprinted below), I discussed the response of some articles in the mainstream press to the claim, made by some defenders of Israel, that Professor Richard Falk should be removed from his current position of UN rapporteur on human rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories — a claim that was reflected in the refusal of Israel on December 14, 2008, to allow him to enter the country. I included in this essay a discussion of an article by reporter Joel Brinkley because, although it was published before Israel’s action against Falk 1 , it could be read as a defense of that action. Brinkley, who had previously worked for the New York Times , argued that Falk did not have the right “frame of mind” for his UN position. In the present essay, I will focus on Brinkley’s argument for this charge, suggesting that it shows that he does not have the right frame of mind for his own current position as visiting professor of journalism at Stanford University.
Brinkley’s Discussion of 9/11
Brinkley’s charge that Falk is unfit for his UN role is quite remarkable, given Falk’s stature. He is Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has had published (as author or editor) over 60 books by academic and other mainstream presses. He is also widely respected and sought after as a speaker and conference participant.… Continue reading
FAMILY OF SECRETS: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America
By award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker
ISBN: 1-59691-557-9; $30.00; Pub January 2009, familyofsecrets.com
Contact: Gene Taft, GeneTaftPR@aol.com, m: 917/701-4072, p: 301/593-0766 Peter Miller, Peter.Miller@bloomsburyusa.com, 646-307-5579
Revelatory new book on Bush family
publishing January 2009
How did Bush happen? How did George W. Bush, of all people, rise to the most powerful position in the world? This simple question sparked a five-year investigative odyssey by Russ Baker. What he found will force us to rethink virtually everything we thought we knew about the Bush family and its role in shaping recent American history.
In FAMILY OF SECRETS, Baker reveals that Bush, the people around him, and his policies are but an extreme, very public manifestation of what his family and its circle have always been about: an interlocking web of covert and overt machinations on behalf of a small cluster of elites-social, financial, industrial, military, intelligence-that enabled the Bush dynasty and propelled George W. Bush to the top.
Russ Baker’s deep background profile of the Bushes reveals a family with ongoing connections to the shadow world of intelligence, utilizing the dark arts of the trade to achieve their positions at the pinnacle of America’s political elite. Baker lays bare the stealth substructure that created the Bush dynasty, powered its rise, and brought America to its current state of crisis. Given the disastrous results of the last… Continue reading
Dear 9/11 Truth Advocates,
As 2009 arrives, 911Truth.org wishes you all the best, and extends our gratitude to each of you for your persistent courage and dedication to hard truths!
For nearly five years, 911Truth.org has served as your portal to reliable information about 9/11, its precedents and consequences, as an umbrella for hundreds of local truth activism groups, as a catalyst for national campaigns and new 9/11 truth special interest groups, and so much more. We are at a very critical juncture right now, as monthly donation pledges total about $500. We need to raise $15,000 for this first quarter of 2009 if we are to continue to provide these valuable services.
As we enter a new year, with a new administration coming into office, we are excited to continue this important work with some new opportunities–though admittedly, significant challenges remaining–in front of us!
Having witnessed the international reaction to the election of Barack Obama, we believe that a new dawn in political responsibility may be approaching. We therefore encourage the 9/11 community to take an optimistic, and persistent, educational approach to the new administration, one which will speak truth to power in a new relationship based on positive expectations of honesty and good faith. The approach we envisage continues to be based on the expectation that individuals within the United States Government and its citizens, once educated about 9/11, will recognize that only strength and respect would flow from… Continue reading
January 8, 2008
This just in from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, IAVA:
This week reports surfaced that KBR, a military-contracting firm, may have
knowingly exposed troops to dangerous toxins in Iraq. Today, I am asking you
to take a stand with IAVA, and call for accountability.
In April of 2003, members of the Indiana National Guard were protecting KBR
employees at a power plant in Southern Iraq. After their service, some of these
troops exhibited signs of cancer, tumors and rashes, and new reports indicate
that these injuries may be the result of exposure to toxins present at the site.
Incredibly, CBS News has uncovered evidence that KBR may have known
about the risks months before it took any action to inform those soldiers.
At least one Indiana Guardsman has died from lung cancer already. Others are
sick. In fact, records from the CBS investigation show that 60 percent of the
soldiers exposed "exhibit symptoms of exposure."
We need your support to ensure that KBR works hand-in-hand with both Congress
and the military to find out exactly what needs to be done to protect our veterans.
We’ll be working in Washington, D.C. to ensure that Congress addresses this
issue head-on with a full investigation, and outreach to the veterans who may
have been affected by this and similar cases.
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 Paul Craig Roberts
January 08, 2009
The American print
and TV media has never been very good. These days it is horrible. If a person
intends to be informed, he must turn to foreign news broadcasts, to Internet
sites, to foreign newspapers available on the Internet, or to alternative newspapers
that are springing up in various cities. A person who sits in front of Murdoch’s
Fox “News” or CNN or who reads the New York Times is simply being
brainwashed with propaganda.
Before conservatives nod their heads in agreement, I’m not referring
to “the liberal media.” I mean the propaganda that issues from the
US government and the Israel Lobby.
It was neoconservative Bush regime propaganda fed to America through Judith
Miller and the New York Times and through Murdoch’s Fox “News”
that convinced Americans that they were in danger from a small secular Arab
country half way around the globe called Iraq. It was the American media that
convinced Americans that getting rid of dangerous “weapons of mass destruction,”
weapons that did not exist in Iraq, would be a cakewalk paid for by Iraqi oil
It is the same propagandistic American print and TV media that has rationalized
Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan based on seven years of
lies and deception.
It is the same media that today provides only Israeli propaganda as “coverage”
of the Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
It was the New York Times that spiked for one year the leaked information
from the National Security Agency that the Bush regime, in violation of US law,
was illegally spying on Americans without warrants.…
Saturday January 10, 2009
One of the many sad ironies of the Bush era that is rapidly and mercifully drawing to a close is that after the president created a “central front in the war on terror” by invading Iraq, the amount of “terrorism” in the world skyrocketed. I call it the Bush Bubble:
At first, the administration seemed a little embarrassed by this result, and it engaged in various attempts, which I’ve documented over the years and summarized here, at disguising the increase. Interestingly, the public face for many of those shenanigans was John Brennan, formerly head of the National Counterterrorism Center and currently Obama’s transition intelligence adviser and pick for the newly created position of deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.
In July 2005, announcing a new web-accessible database of terrorism incidents compiled by the RAND corporation and available at tkb.org, Brennan said, “We’re trying to be as open and transparent to the public as possible.”
That lasted a little over two years. Funding was withdrawn from the project on March 31, 2008, probably because people like me were using the analytical tools on the site to produce embarrassing graphs like the one above. Note that the data used in that graph was accessed a couple of months before the site’s demise, and the decrease shown for 2007 may reflect incomplete data. The government’s own figures, put out by the National Counterterrorism Center but going back only to 2004, show an increase in… Continue reading
by Josh Israel
January 7, 2009
A Center for Public Integrity Investigation
approaches a historic transfer of power, it is becoming ever-clearer what a
daunting set of tasks awaits the new administration. When Barack Obama takes
the oath of office at noon on January 20 he will inherit an economy collapsing
before our eyes and a pair of ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he will
also inherit a federal government whose machinery should bear an “out of order” sign.
Obama has often stated his desire to have a more efficient government — one that is open, transparent, and accountable. “We are not going to be hampered by ideology in trying to get this country back on track,” he said in December. “We want to figure out what works.”
The Center for Public Integrity’s Broken Government project makes clear what an imposing assignment that will be by cataloging what hasn’t worked. In a comprehensive assessment of systematic failures over the past eight years, the Center found more than 125 examples of government breakdown. The failures occurred in areas as diverse as education, energy, the environment, justice and security, the military and veterans’ affairs, health care, transportation, financial management, consumer and worker safety, and more. While some of the failures are, by now, depressingly familiar, many are less well-known but equally distressing.
Read the report, and much more, at the Center for Public Integerity
In advance of the hearing, IAVA released ten crucial questions that Congress needs to ask the nominee. And I’m going to be live-blogging about the hearing straight from DC, watching to see what issues are addressed.
If he’s confirmed, General Shinseki will be facing an urgent and critical fight to improve support for our nation’s veterans. As a wounded and decorated combat veteran, and the first Asian-American in US history to be a four-star general, he has the potential to lead the second-largest bureaucracy in the US government into the 21st century.
However, the challenges facing today’s veterans are radically different than the issues faced by previous generations. General Shinseki must demonstrate knowledge on issues ranging from implementation of the new GI Bill to providing the best health care possible for our newest generation of heroes.
All of this makes Wednesday morning’s hearing one of the most important events for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in a long time. As an Iraq veteran who was wounded in combat, I’m looking forward to watching the process unfold.
Thank you for standing with us.
Director of Government Affairs
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
“The Government has determined that continued prosecution of this case
as to LINDAUER would not be in the interests of justice.”*
(Jan. 16, Wash. DC) The Department of
Justice entered a motion to drop all charges against Susan
Lindauer yesterday morning, Jan. 15, 2009. The filing (see
below) at the federal district court in lower Manhattan ends
the government’s attempt to prosecute her for allegedly
acting as an “unregistered agent” for Iraq. Since her
arrest in early 2004, she has repeatedly asked for a trial
to present evidence that she had been a United States
intelligence asset since the early 1990′s.
By filing this order, the government surrendered forever its ability to prosecute
Lindauer as an “Iraqi foreign agent” and for lesser charges contained in the
indictment, including a one week trip to Baghdad in March, 2002.
Lindauer made the
following statement today, Jan 16, 2009: “I am disgusted by
this case. They think that they have defeated me by denying
my day in court. It could not be more wrong. If we can’t
have a criminal trial, we’re going to have a civil trial for
Lindauer was arrested in March, 2004 shortly
after offering to testify before a Bush appointed href="http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/15/iraq.tm/"
target="_blank">blue ribbon commission evaluating U.S.
pre-war intelligence on Iraq. In late February, she
informed the offices of two commission members, Sen. McCain
(R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS), that she could testify that
U.S. pre-war intelligence was proactive and effective, not a… Continue reading
What Obama Must Do A Letter to the New President
Dear Mr. President:
Like FDR three-quarters of a century ago, you’re taking charge at a moment when all the old certainties have vanished, all the conventional wisdom been proved wrong. We’re not living in a world you or anyone else expected to see. Many presidents have to deal with crises, but very few have been forced to deal from Day One with a crisis on the scale America now faces.
So, what should you do?
In this letter I won’t try to offer advice about everything. For the most part I’ll stick to economics, or matters that bear on economics. I’ll also focus on things I think you can or should achieve in your first year in office. The extent to which your administration succeeds or fails will depend, to a large extent, on what happens in the first year — and above all, on whether you manage to get a grip on the current economic crisis.
There is, however, one area where I feel the need to break discipline. I’m an economist, but I’m also an American citizen — and like many citizens, I spent the past eight years watching in horror as the Bush administration betrayed the nation’s ideals. And I don’t believe we can put those terrible years behind us unless we have a full accounting of what really happened. I know that most of the inside-the-Beltway crowd is urging you to let bygones be bygones, just as they urged Bill Clinton to let the truth about scandals from the Reagan-Bush years, in particular the Iran-Contra affair, remain hidden.…Continue reading