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America’s Child Soldiers: US Military Recruiting Children to Serve in the Armed Forces

November 29, 2008
by Sherwood Ross
Global Research

In violation of its pledge to the United Nations not to recruit children into
the military, the Pentagon “regularly target(s) children under 17,”
the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) says.

The Pentagon “heavily recruits on high school campuses, targeting students
for recruitment as early as possible and generally without limits on the age
of students they contact,” the ACLU states in a 46-page report titled
“Soldiers of Misfortune.”

This is in violation of the U.S. Senate’s 2002 ratification of the Optional
Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Pentagon recruiters are enrolling children as young as 14 in the Junior Reserve
Officer Training Corps(JROTC) in 3,000 middle-, junior-, and high schools nationwide,
causing about 45 percent of the quarter of million students so enrolled to enlist,
a rate much higher than in the general student population. Clearly, this is
the outcome of underage exposure.

In some cities, such as Los Angeles, high school administrators have been enrolling
reluctant students involuntarily in JROTC as an alternative to overcrowded gym
classes! In Lincoln high school, enrollees were not told JROTC was involuntary.
In Buffalo, N.Y., the entire incoming freshman class at Hutchinson Central Technical
High School, (average age 14), was involuntarily enrolled in JROTC. In Chicago,
graduating eighth graders (average age 13) are allowed to join any of 45 JROTC
programs.

“Wartime enlistment quotas (for Iraq and Afghanistan) have placed increased
pressure on military recruiters to fill the ranks of the… Continue reading

Conspiracies and Confabulation: Tales from two Naomis

by Kevin Ryan
AmericanBuddhist.net

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

This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House

By Jeremy Scahill
November 20, 2008
http://www.alternet.org/story/107666/

Click here to view this guide as a single page.

U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good.

Obama has a momentous opportunity to do what he repeatedly promised over the course of his campaign: bring actual change. But the more we learn about who Obama is considering for top positions in his administration, the more his inner circle resembles a staff reunion of President Bill Clinton’s White House. Although Obama brought some progressives on board early in his campaign, his foreign policy team is now dominated by the hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990s. This has been particularly true since Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the Democratic primary, freeing many of her top advisors to join Obama’s team.

"What happened to all this talk about change?" a member of the Clinton foreign policy team recently asked the Washington Post. "This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time."

Amid the… Continue reading

Islamophobia and the “War on Terror”: the Continuing Pretext for U.S. Imperial Conquest

ISLAMOPHOBIA AND THE ”WAR ON TERROR”: THE CONTINUING PRETEXT FOR U.S. IMPERIAL CONQUEST

© 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.
 

Editor’s Note:
Intro from Reprehensor, Editor of 911Blogger.com: Seven Stories Press of New York has published an affordable softcover version of the invaluable scholarly volume, “The Hidden History of 9-11″ (see this review) . Here is their page dedicated to this updated second edition . To promote the book, Seven Stories has allowed us to publish an online version of the chapter by Professor Diana Ralph, dealing with the historical roots of “international terrorism,” Islamophobia, and imperial aggression. This chapter is typical of the scholarly detail in “Hidden History.” If you enjoy this chapter, please consider purchasing the book.

 
1. Why a 9-11 Pretext?

 … Continue reading

The Facts Speak For Themselves

by Jon Gold
9/25/2008
Latest Update 11/08/08

Thanks to www.historycommons.org, DHS, and simuvac. This is dedicated to the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Before I begin, I would like to say that theorizing about what happened on 9/11, when you’re not being given answers to your questions about that day by the people who SHOULD be able to do so, is PERFECTLY normal. As is suspecting that the reason these answers aren’t being given is “sinister” in nature. As Ray McGovern said, “for people to dismiss these questioners as “conspiratorial advocates”, or “conspiratorial theorists”… that’s completely out of line because the… The questions remain because the President who should be able to answer them, WILL NOT.” When you think about everything this Administration has done in almost 8 years, the idea that they might not be giving us the answers we seek because of something “sinister” is not crazy. In fact, it’s the most logical conclusion one can come to at this point. After seven plus years of obfuscation, spin, lies, and cover-ups regarding the 9/11 attacks, it is unavoidable to think that criminal complicity is the reason why.

That being said, we have not proven it beyond the shadow of doubt. We do not have documentation that shows they planned it. We do not have a signed confession from someone. We have pieces of the puzzle, and to most of us that have been doing this a long time, those pieces point to more than just Osama Bin Laden,… Continue reading

Project Censored 2009: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007-08

Cover image of Censored 2009

by Mickey Huff, Associate Director of Project Censored

Project Censored, the media research group at Sonoma State University (SSU), has just released it’s annual report on the top stories that didn’t make the corporate mainstream news from the past year. The book is published by Seven Stories Press. Censored 2009, edited by director Dr. Peter Phillips with Dr. Andrew Roth, exposes the major stories Americans should know and care about that the “free press” just doesn’t deliver. The top stories for this year can be viewed at the PC website and the piece in the North Bay Bohemian can be read here.

Project Censored award winning journalist and researcher Stephen Lendman has just written about the Project in a piece titled Project Censored‘s Media Democracy Advocacy which looks at the history of the Project as well as details in this year’s volume. A lecture series hosting authors of this years top censored stories is presently underway at SSU for those in the Bay Area wishing to attend. The series is being broadcast at Free Speech TV this fall as well.

As acting Associate Director of Project Censored, I invite everyone to explore this year’s book and help support media democracy in action. Our currently calamitous and critical condition as a fragile free society depends upon a well informed citizenry and I strongly believe that Project Censored is a major force in the direction of strengthening our society’s democratic institutions and principles. Help spread the word if you… Continue reading

The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism–Andrew Bacevitch on Bill Moyers ‘Journal’

Andrew J. Bacevich

As campaign ads urge voters to consider who will be a better “Commander in Chief,” Andrew J. Bacevich — Professor of International Relations at Boston University, retired Army colonel, and West Point graduate — joins Bill Moyers on the JOURNAL to encourage viewers to take a step back and connect the dots between U.S. foreign policy, consumerism, politics, and militarism.

Bacevich begins his new book, THE LIMITS OF POWER: THE END OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM, with an epigraph taken from the Bible: “Put thine house in order.” Bacevich explained his choice to Bill Moyers:

I’ve been troubled by the course of U.S. foreign policy for a long, long time. And I wrote the book in order to sort out my own thinking about where our basic problems lay. And I really reached the conclusion that our biggest problems are within.

I think there’s a tendency in the part of policy makers — and probably a tendency in the part of many Americans — to think that the problems we face are problems that are out there somewhere beyond our borders, and that if we can fix those problems, then we’ll be able to continue the American way of life as it has long existed. I think it’s fundamentally wrong. Our major problems are here at home.

Bacevich sees three crises looming in the United States today, as he explains in the introduction to THE LIMITS OF POWER.

The United States today finds itself threatened by three interlocking crises. The first of these crises is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military.

Continue reading

Deep Events and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection

Peter Dale Scott
August 17, 2008

Recently I published two articles pointing to suggestive similarities between the recurring deep events in recent American history — those events which, because of their intelligence aspects, are ignored, misrepresented, or covered up in the American media. The first article pointed to overall similarities in many deep events since World War II. The second pointed to surprising points of comparison in the two deep events which were followed shortly by major U.S. wars: the John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11. In the background of all these events, I suggested, was recurring evidence of the milieu “combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld.”1

Inthis essay I shall first attempt to lay out the complex geography ornetwork of that milieu, which I call the global drug connection, andits connections to what has been called an “alternative” or “shadow” CIA. I shall then show how this network, of banks, financial agents of influence, and the alternative CIA,contributed to the infrastructure of the Kennedy assassination and aseries of other, superficially unrelated, major deep events.

In this narrative, the names of individuals, their institutions, and their connections arerelatively unimportant. What matters is to see that such a milieu existed; that it was on-going, well-connected, and protected; and that, with increasing independence from governmental restraint, it played a role in major deep events in the last half century.

This of course strengthens the important hypothesis to be investigated,that this on-going milieu may also have contributed to the… Continue reading

ABC News Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans

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

FBI chief: Rules would help root out terrorists

New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.

By LARA JAKES JORDAN

Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON –

New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.

Skeptical Democrats clashed with Mueller, who told the House Judiciary Committee
that FBI agents would no longer need solid evidence or allegations of wrongdoing
to spy on Americans even before opening investigations. Democrats also expressed
doubts that the Justice Department and FBI would protect civil liberties and
privacy rights after years of previous abuses and stymied congressional oversight.

During nearly two hours of testimony, Mueller described the tentative rules
– known as the attorney general’s guidelines – as a proactive way to prevent
another 9/11.

The new rules would ensure that suspicious behavior is investigated, Mueller
said, citing a July 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix who noted a rising
trend of Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons. The agent’s warning was ignored,
and the 9/11 Commission later said it could have served as a clue to al-Qaida’s
intent.

“It is that kind of threat and identification of a very suspicious circumstance
that would warrant further investigation,” Mueller said. Additionally,
he said current guidelines make it “very difficult” for agents to
look into people believed to be traveling to terror hotspots, such as training
camps in Pakistan.…

Continue reading

No consensus on who was behind Sept 11-International Poll

REUTERS
Reuters North American News Service

Sep 10, 2008 08:28 EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seven years after the Sept. 11 attacks, there is no
consensus outside the United States that Islamist militants from al Qaeda were
responsible, according to an international poll published Wednesday.

The survey of 16,063 people in 17 nations found majorities in only nine countries
believe al Qaeda was behind the attacks on New York and Washington that killed
about 3,000 people in 2001.

U.S. officials squarely blame al Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden has boasted
of organizing the suicide attacks by his followers using hijacked commercial
airliners.

On average, 46 percent of those surveyed said al Qaeda was responsible, 15
percent said the U.S. government, 7 percent said Israel and 7 percent said some
other perpetrator. One in four people said they did not know who was behind
the attacks.

The poll was conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a collaborative project of
research centers in various countries managed by the Program on International
Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland in the United States.

In Europe, al Qaeda was cited by 56 percent of Britons and Italians, 63 percent
of French and 64 percent of Germans. The U.S. government was to blame, according
to 23 percent of Germans and 15 percent of Italians.

Respondents in the Middle East were especially likely to name a perpetrator
other than al Qaeda, the poll found.

Israel was behind the attacks, said 43 percent of people in Egypt, 31 percent
in… Continue reading

McKinney Calls for New Investigation, Release of Files on 9/11

by Cynthia McKinney
Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Seven years ago, criminal terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon
were carried out on September 11th by hijacked planes leading to the deaths of thousands
of people. A month later, key figures in the print and broadcast media and members
of Congress were sent envelopes containing very lethal and highly weaponized
anthrax, which led to the deaths of journalists and postal employees. After
the initial shock diminished, there were calls for explanations, investigations,
accountability and a reasoned response that did not include war. The administration
ignored or openly opposed them. Instead we went into a call for permanent wars
that would last beyond our lifetime, changes in civil liberties both overt and
covert, a takeover of state power by the executive branch, and the creation
of a national security emergency state that would somehow protect us.

Cynthia McKinney was one of the few voices of reason during that time in the
Congress. Long an opponent of militarism and wars abroad, she also called for
explanations and accountability when information began to come to light about
multiple advance warnings and apparent foreknowledge of the imminence and methods
of the attack inside government intelligence agencies that still failed to prevent
it. She supported calls by the families of the 9/11 victims for an official
investigation in what was being termed a “failure of intelligence”
even though it more closely resembled a failure of response, of standard operating
procedures, and of government officials and… Continue reading

Twenty-Six Things We Now Know Seven Years After 9/11

By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers

Each year around the anniversary of 9/11, I summarize what we ordinary citizens have learned since that awful day in 2001. This is the seventh annual look backwards, a 2008 update that contains new information and surmisings about those horrific events and what followed.

1. One 9/11 Size Fits All. What we now more fully understand is how the CheneyBush Administration utilized the murderous terrorism of 9/11 as the linchpin justification for their unfolding domestic and foreign agenda, much of it illegal, immoral and impeachable.

By and large, one can sum up that overall agenda as: Amass and control power in the U.S. and much of the world (“full-spectrum dominance”), and, in cahoots with their corporate supporters such as Halliburton and Blackwater, loot the federal treasury. All this was to be carried out secretly, with no accountability.

2. Iraq War Planning Began Before 9/11. We also know more about the nature of the lies (including forged documents) used by the Administration to sell the Iraq War, which attack already was in the planning stages well before 9/11.

The first faked document, by CIA forgers at the behest of White House officials, was a 2005 letter (back-dated 2001) supposedly coming from the then-Iraqi intelligence chief to his boss Saddam Hussein mentioning alleged “facts” that established a tie-in between 9/11, Al-Qaida and Iraq and about Saddam’s supposed purchase of uranium. The official, Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, who had been an informant for the U.S. during… Continue reading

9/11 Victims Target Saudis With Deep State Ties

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

Justice . . . R.I.P.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008
GeorgeWashington.blogspot.com

In a dramatic confluence of events today, two kangaroo courts announced their
pre-determined guilty verdicts.

In the first, 6 "military jurors" hand-picked by the Pentagon for
their loyalty to the U.S. government and its views, convicted Bin Laden’s alleged
driver, Salim Hamdan, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional
to try Gitmo detainees before a military tribunal, the former chief Gitmo prosecutor
said the trials were unfair and rigged
, and even though Hamdan was unlawfully
tortured.

The entire case for the "war on terror" has fallen apart, with a
top
advisor to the U.S. military confirming that the war on terror is a hoax because
there is no battlefield solution to terrorism
" and the case for the
Iraq war being laid bare as a forgery
and a sham
(and the government’s whitewash of 9/11 being understood by many Americans).
The government needed a conviction against someone in Arab clothing
so that it could pretend that the multi-trillion dollar, economy-busting, war
crime-based war in the Middle East was justified.

In the second, Dr. Bruce Ivins has been convicted
by the FBI as being the anthrax killer without
any persuasive evidence
. After falsely
accusing 2 other scientists as being the anthrax killer
, and only weeks
after being forced to pay $6 million dollars to one of the scientists for such
false accusations, the FBI decided that it had to pin it on somebody.

So they launched a campaign… Continue reading

THINK PROGRESS EXCLUSIVE: To Provoke War, Cheney Considered Proposal To Dress Up Navy Seals As Iranians And Shoot At Them

Speaking at the Campus Progress journalism conference earlier this month, Seymour Hersh — a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist for The New Yorker — revealed that Bush administration officials held a meeting recently in the Vice President’s office to discuss ways to provoke a war with Iran.

In Hersh’s most recent article, he reports that this meeting occurred in the wake of the overblown incident in the Strait of Hormuz, when a U.S. carrier almost shot at a few small Iranian speedboats. The “meeting took place in the Vice-President’s office. ‘The subject was how to create a casus belli between Tehran and Washington,’” according to one of Hersh’s sources.

During the journalism conference event, I asked Hersh specifically about this meeting and if he could elaborate on what occurred. Hersh explained that, during the meeting in Cheney’s office, an idea was considered to dress up Navy Seals as Iranians, put them on fake Iranian speedboats, and shoot at them. This idea, intended to provoke an Iran war, was ultimately rejected:

HERSH: There was a dozen ideas proffered about how to trigger a war. The one that interested me the most was why don’t we build — we in our shipyard — build four or five boats that look like Iranian PT boats. Put Navy seals on them with a lot of arms. And next time one of our boats goes to the Straits of Hormuz, start a shoot-up.

Might cost some lives. And it was rejected because you can’t have Americans… Continue reading

Ray McGovern’s False Flag Warning

Israel Planning a September/October Surprise?

By Ray McGovern

International Clearing House — You say you expected more rhetoric than reality from Senators Obama and McCain yesterday in their speeches on Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that’s certainly what you got.

What I find nonetheless amazing is how they, and the pundits, have taken such little notice of the dramatic change in the political landscape occasioned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bombshell on July 7 — his insistence on a “timetable” for withdrawal of US troops before any accord is reached on their staying past the turn of the year.

Responding to a question at his press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush showed that he was vaguely aware that the timetable is, as Robert Dreyfuss says (in Truthout, July 7), a “big deal.” Bush even alluded haltingly to the possibility of extending the UN mandate still further.

But it is far from clear that Maliki, who is under great domestic pressure, would be able to sell that to the various factions upon which he depends for support, much less to those which he must keep at bay. As Dreyfuss points out, Maliki and his Shiite allies are also under considerable pressure from Iran, which remains the chief ally of the ruling alliance of Shiites. Most important, Maliki is by no means in control of what happens next.

Israel

Here’s where it gets sticky. No one who knows about third rails in US politics would expect the candidates or the fawning corporate media (FCM) to address how those now running Israel are likely to be looking at the implications of a large US troop withdrawal from Iraq next year.…

Continue reading

Video Response to BBC’s ‘Conspiracy Files’

The Final Mystery Of 9/11?
(A video response by Jon Gold to the BBC’s latest episode of “Conspiracy Files,”
which purports to lay to rest the “mystery of 9/11.” Uhm… they failed,
by the way.)


What the BBC producers probably should have watched before putting out this silly recent piece … a BBC production by Adam Curtis, from several years ago, The
Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear
. We
encourage everyone to watch this video, and share it with others, as its historical
presentation is quite valuable regarding the background of players involved
with our current “War of Terror.”

Description from InternetArchive.org:

This film explores the origins in the 1940s and 50s of Islamic Fundamentalism
in the Middle East, and Neoconservatism in America, parallels between these
movements, and their effect on the world today. From the introduction to Part
1:

“Both [the Islamists and Neoconservatives] were idealists who were born
out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. And both
had a very similar explanation for what caused that failure. These two groups
have changed the world, but not in the way that either intended. Together,
they created today’s nightmare vision of a secret, organized evil that threatens
the world. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and
authority in a disillusioned age. And those with the darkest fears became
the most powerful.”

Play / Download (help)

Chapter 1 Baby it’s Cold Outside: 64Kb
MPEG4…
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