Flashbacks: February 2010

Flashbacks - February 2010

Congratulations! You Are Now Leaving Reality!
Martin Rowson cartoon: Congratulations! You Are Now Leaving Reality!
Martin Rowson
- Iraq inquiry to recall Blair over possible conflicting evidence

News of the World phone-hacking scandal

No civilised country can allow mass murderers to move on. - George Monbiot


The Economy
via Joe & Mike

Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown in the economy, Congress has decided to implement a scheme to put workers of 50 years of age and above on early retirement, thus creating jobs and reducing unemployment.

This scheme will be known as R.A.P.E. ( Retire Aged People Early ). Persons selected to be R.A.P.E.D can apply to Congress to be considered for the S.H.A.F.T. Program (Special Help After Forced Termination ).

Persons who have been R.A.P.E.D and S.H.A.F.T.ED will be reviewed under the S.C.R.E.W. program ( System Covering Retired-Early Workers ).

A person may be R.A.P.E.D once, S.H.A.F.T.ED twice and S.C.R.E.W.ED as many times as Congress deems appropriate. Persons who have been R.A.P.E.D could get A.I.D.S. ( Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse ) or H.E.R.P.E.S. (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance ).

Obviously persons who have A.I.D.S. or H.E.R.P.E.S. will not be S.H.A.F.T.ED or S.C.R.E.W.ED any further be Congress.

Persons who are not R.A.P.E.D and are staying on will receive as much S.H.I.T. ( Special High Intensity Training ) as possible. Congress has always prided themselves on the amount of S.H.I.T. they give their citizens. Should you feel that you do not receive enough S.H.I.T., please bring this to the attention of your Congressman, who has been trained to give you all the S.H.I.T. you can handle.

Sincerely, The Committee for Economic Value of Individual Lives ( E.V.I.L. )

PS - Due to recent budget cuts and the rising cost of electricity, gas and oil, as well as current market conditions, the Light at the End of the Tunnel has been turned off.

Lord Shiva
Unprotected Uranium killing the Jumbos in India
—After mankind, India’s nuke ambitions become lethal for wildlife too

By Makhdoom Babar Editor-in-Chief
(Additional reporting by
Christina Palmer and Ajay Mehta in New Delhi)

While Indian government has raised the fears about safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, India’s own over-ambitious nuclear infrastructure has hit the snags as now its unprotected and unguarded nuclear set-up has also become a permanent threat, not only for the mankind but also for the innocent wildlife with scores of elephants and other animals constantly dying in forests of India’s Uranium capital, Jharkhand, reveal the latest investigations of The Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail’s investigations into the vulnerability of India’s nuclear and missile infrastructure, that were published in The Daily Mail’s edition of 14th of September, 2009, titled “Naked Nukes of India”, exposed the overall fragile state of affairs of India’s nuclear and missile setup. However the latest investigations in this direction indicate that the forests of Jharkhand have become death corridors for the wildlife over there, particularly the Jumbos, the Elephants, consuming water that is contaminated with Uranium radioactive material.

The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that a lot of animals are dying in mysterious circumstance in the forests of Jharkhand but nothing has been done in this direction by the authorities concerned and rather a shady state of affairs is reported be prevailing in the area in this regard for the past few years. These investigations indicate that that these animals, with elephants being on top, are dying in mysterious condition because they have been consuming water and grass etc, having uranium related contamination.

The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that the East Singhbhum district in Jharkhand, bordering West Bengal and Orissa, is the capital of India’s nuclear energy programme. It is rich in uranium that is mined by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) and converted later into nuclear fuel for the reactors.

The raw uranium from the mines is processed by the UCIL in Jadugoda, a small town located at a distance of 30 km from district headquarters Jamshedpur. This entire region is India’s only source of natural uranium to feed the country’s heavy-water nuclear reactors. According to local officials, of India’s annual requirement of 300 tonnes of yellowcake, at present, UCIL in East Singhbhum produces 220 tonnes. Massive expansion is underway in the area to increase the production to the required 300 tonnes.

East Singhbhum has seven uranium mines and two processing mills that function under the UCIL. The UCIL campus serves as the headquarters for the mines, and itself has a processing unit and the oldest mines in the region. The Bhatin and Narwapahar mines are 2 km and 10 km respectively from Jadugoda. Turamdih, which has a mine as well as a processing mill, is 20 km from Jadugoda. The Mohuldih and Banduhurang mines are 5 km away from Turamdih. Bagjata is around 30 km from Jadugoda.

The Daily Mail’s investigation team learnt that the radiation was a big problem in the area, yet it was unaddressed by the government. According to The Daily Mail’s findings,on Aug. 16, 2008, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spill that reached nearby homes and forests and it further got mixed into certain natural water channels that flow into different forests and lakes in the forests.

While UCIL authorities admitted that radioactive waste had spilled into villages and forests, they maintained that it would not pose any health threats to villagers or to the animals. “We are monitoring the situation. Our scientists are taking samples from villages,” P.V. Dubey, UCIL spokesperson told media in June 2008. “There will be no negative impact on human beings. The waste has been neutralised by the large amount of water,” he added.

Residents of nearby villages stopped using water from their ponds and wells, fearing health problems. Villagers have also complained that the nuclear waste had destroyed a large amount of crops. “The waste that spilled from the tailing pond has destroyed our crops. If this continues, there might not be any crops in the coming years,” said Kannhu Murmu of Tilaitand village. Some experts also feel that the radioactive waste would also have a harmful impact on the soil for years. “The waste will get mixed with soil and in the long run would pose health-related problems to both human beings and animals,” said Nitish Priyadarshi, a local geologist.

The Daily Mail’s investigations further disclose that in a shocking revelation, a team of the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) had come out with some bare truths regarding health hazards faced by miners working in the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in the form of a detailed survey report. The survey was undertaken by the organisation affiliated to Germany-based International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in association with Jharkhandi Organisation Against Radiation (JOAR).

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal that the UCIL’s lethargic approach and inability to handle such a sensitive programme of handling Uranium can be judged that the UCIL’s pipelines, carrying Uraniumand that are always lying in open, have a history of leakages and bursts. According to these investigations, on April 10, 2007, a new tailings pipeline burst near Jaduguda caused a uranium mill tailings spil to a very large area and also got mixed to different natural and manmade water reservoirs and channels. According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage to the rubber lining of the tailings pipeline “by a wooden log left inside the pipe during replacement”, and comprised 1.5 tons of solids and 20 cubic metres of liquid; the spilled material was contained within the earthen bund constructed beside the channel and did not reach any water body or public domain. Similarly, earlier on December 25, 2006, the tailings pipeline carrying uranium mill tailings from the Jaduguda uranium mill to tailings dam No. 3 broke, spreading tailings into a tributary of river Subranarekha. The findings into the matter further indicate that on Feb. 17, 2007, two NGOs - Friends of South Asia (FOSA) and Association for India’s Development (AID) - submitted a petition to the UCIL and the Department of Atomic Energy demanding an investigation into the accident and seeking full remediation. The petition was signed by hundreds of individuals from around the world including the animals rights activists and wildlife protectors.

According to UCIL, the spill was caused from damage of the rubber lining and metal of the tailings pipeline “due to prolonged use”, and comprised 6-8 tons of solids and 60 cubic metres of liquid.

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal further that in 2001 and 2002, Hiroaki Koide from the Research Reactor Institute at Kyoto University performed field trips to monitor environmental impacts of the Jadugoda uranium mine. He monitored external gamma dose rate, radionuclide concentrations in soil, and radon concentration in air. His results are compiled in a report available for download. The main conclusions are:

The contamination from the uranium mine has spread in Jadugoda: The external gamma dose rate exceeds 1 mSv/y in the villages, and reaches 10 mSv/y around the tailing ponds. The soil surrounding the tailings ponds is contaminated by uranium. Particularly high contamination levels were found in the village of Dungridih that borders tailings pond No.1. In other villages, no serious contamination was found.

Radon emanated from tailings ponds etc spreads contamination. Waste rock from the mine used for construction material spreads contamination.

Other findings include:

The No.1 tailings pond shows contamination by cesium. This fact shows that radioactivity was brought in from a source other than an uranium mine.

Product uranium concentrate is dealt with carelessly and was found dispersed at Rakha Mine railway station.

The Daily Mail’s investigations reveal further that The River Subarnarekha literally translates into “streak of gold”. But the only streaks in this river are untreated sewage, industrial and mineral wastes and unbelievably, radioactive wastes, affecting human as well as animal health. A lot of forest area of Jrakhand gets water from this resource.

Radioactive wastes in Indian rivers is an undocumented environmental tragedy in India

This once-pleasing river originates in the Chotanagpur plateau of Jharkhand in eastern India and finally enters the Bay of Bengal after a 452 km journey. Along the way, it courses a picturesque countryside, plunging 74 metres at Hundrugargh.

Though there are 15 water quality monitoring stations, the Subarnarrekha is a receptacle of wastewater (urban as well as industrial) from three major townships - Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Ghatsila. Organic pollution loads from the countryside pollute equally yet no one ever cared to carry out tests from the water reservoirs and channels, available in the forests for the wild life and the grass that is available for their grazing.

Uranium ore tailings from the Jaduguda mines operated by Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), causes various degrees of radioactivity along a 100s of kms stretch. This has resulted in documented cases of deformities among human beings, but, the Indian scenario being what it is, precious little has been done for them. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that LOCAKADAISICAL attitude of the Indian Government is all the more evident from the lack of safety precautions at the sites. Just last year, 2008, the pipe that carries radioactive waste from the processing mill to the tailing pond at Jadugoda, burst near Dugridi village. Massang Soren, the village sarpanch, told the investigating journalists, “No UCIL official turned up until we started protesting. Our fields were flooded with uranium waste and we could see the danger we faced. The paddy field turned yellow and then red but no one came,” said a local adding, “For at least three months the entire village reported various kinds of health problems. Everyone in the village developed blisters on the soles of their feet and these could not be cured easily.” The villagers complained that the UCIL did not give them any assistance to clean the water.

The Daily Mail’s findings indicate that the biggest victims of this nuclear waste in Jharkhand’s forests are the Jumbos. These investigations reveal that just during the last six years, at least 82 jumbos have died in the forests of Jharkhand, under mysterious circumstances. In Jharkhand, the elephant population has declined from 772 to 622 in the current census conducted in May this year. However, there has never been any autopsy of any jumbo that dies in this period of time while the statements of Forest department officials over the death of every elephant were found sufficient by both the media and the government. The Daily Mail’s investigations indicate that as a routine, the forest department officials, on every occasion when an elephant dies in the forests of Jharkhand they have three readymade excuses for the death of the elephant. The forest department officials either accuse the poachers or the villagers and if nothing else, they attribute the death of the elephant to accidental electrocution and the matter is hushed up then and there, without any formal investigations into the “actual cause of death of the elephant. The Daily Mail’s investigations also indicate that in April 2007, an elephant died in a very mysterious condition in Huntar village, 45 km from Ranchi, known for receiving massive uranium contamination.

The villagers of Huntar village told The Daily Mail that the elephant, part of a herd of 18 elephants, started behaving abnormally and died within a few hours. They added that the cause of death could be the pesticides sprinkled on nearby crops. However, this time the officials opted to go for an autopsy of the jumbo but even before the autopsy report would have come, it was declared by the officials that the jumbo was poisoned by poachers or villagers. “We are not sure but we strongly believe the elephant was poisoned to death by villagers as the autopsy reports was also not very clear in this regard,” asserted an official when contacted. “No external injury was found on the elephant. Veterinary doctors couldn’t reveal the exact cause of death of jumbo,” said S.B. Gaikwad, a forest conservator. It remains a fact that during the last six years, over 70 elephants have died in the area due to Uranium contamination while the officials give different reasons like electrocution and poaching.

The Daily Mail’s investigations further reveal that during 2006-2007, an Australian biology researcher Dr. Trevor Tate from Adelaide, Australia who was doing carrying out some field research in a forest of Ranchi, happened to see a dead elephant. He, by bribing some officials of forest department and Birsa Munda Zoological Park, Ranchi, managed get a sample of the dead body of the jumbo. He took the sample along with him back to Australia and got a detailed autopsy report that indicated that the jumbo had died of Uranium contamination, that he caught, most probably after consuming uranium contaminated water from forest of Ranchi. Dr. Tate says that he sent a report in this regard to Indian government and World Wildlife’s India chapter but he received no response from both and later he also did not pursue the matter as it was not his specific area of research. But Dr. reveals that the officials of India’s forest department and personnel at Birsa Munda Zoological Park, Ranchi have connections with smugglers of Ivory and taking advantage of shut eyes over the issue, they manage to sell the tooth and nails as well as bones of the dead jumbos to these underworld Ivory merchants and later report that the jumbo was killed by poachers.

The global community and particularly the animals’ rights activists and the activists of the wild life protection bodies are alarmed with this state of affairs in India. They argue that with such a pathetic setup of nuclear material and nuclear wastes, how can India be taken seriously regarding the managing of an over ambitious nuclear programe. The have also expressed their utmost dismay and shock over the US government that without going into the details of such matters, has signed nuclear deal with such an irresponsible nuclear State.


Profits Not People Example:
More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other CigaretteYou're like part of the family, Doctor! - More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette
More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette

US plans "terrorist" attack to kill Americans,
blame Iran, and begin another "false flag" US war

February 7, 5:07 PMLA County Nonpartisan Examiner by Carl Herman

In November I documented current and historical evidence that the US “leadership” was considering “false flag” attack plans to kill Americans, plant evidence to blame Iran, and then launch a “defensive” attack upon Iran. [Click to Continue Reading] - Dahbud - Re-Thinking 9/11

Cover-Up News:
The News, U.S. News Fails to Cover

What... You've never seen Animal Planet?

George Bush and Dick Cheney had Children Sodomized
in front of their parents at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq

Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."

(Streaming Audio of his speech from this streaming site. Hersh starts at about 1:07:50.)

He called the prison scene "a series of massive crimes, criminal activity by the president and the vice president, by this administration anyway…war crimes."

The outrages have cost us the support of moderate Arabs, says Hersh. "They see us as a sexually perverse society."

Hersh describes a Pentagon in crisis. The defense department budget is “in incredible chaos,” he says, with large sums of cash missing, including something like $1 billion that was supposed to be in Iraq.

"The disaffection inside the Pentagon is extremely acute," Hersh says. He tells the story of an officer telling Rumsfeld how bad things are, and Rummy turning to a ranking general yes-man who reassured him that things are just fine. Says Hersh, "The Secretary of Defense is simply incapable of hearing what he doesn't want to hear."

The Iraqi insurgency, he says,was operating in 1-to-3 man cells a year ago, now in 10-15 man cells, and despite the harsh questioning, "we still know nothing about them...we have no tactical information.”

He says the foreign element among insurgents is overstated, and that bogeyman Zarqawi is "a composite figure" hyped by our government.

The war, he says, has escalated to "full scale, increasingly intense military activity."

Hersh described the folks in charge of US policy as "neo conservative cultists" who have taken the government over, and show "how fragile our democracy is."

He ripped the supine US press, pledged to bring home all the facts he could, said he was not sure he could deliver all the damning info he suspects about Bush administration responsibility for Abu Ghraib.

Seymour Hersh's ACLU Keynote Speech - [transcribed on "Past Peak - Cause for Alarm"]

Americans Who Authorized Torture
Should Be Prosecuted for War Crimes

By Jonathan Turley
Posted May 18, 2009

For many people around the world, it is a sign of the decline of American moral leadership that we continue to debate whether the government should prosecute those involved in the Bush torture program. Their confusion is understandable. Under our existing treaty obligations, we agreed to prosecute such crimes, and we have prosecuted others for precisely the same acts for decades. The real question should be: Should the United States violate international law to shield individuals accused of war crimes? Our answer to that question will define or redefine this country for generations.

Notably, in the past few months, the many law professors who once defended the torture program have largely disappeared. The shrinking number of apologists for the Bush administration are left with largely political arguments in the face of three unassailable legal truths. First, waterboarding is torture. Second, torture is a war crime. Third, the United States is obligated to prosecute war crimes.

Despite early spin, there has never been a true debate about the status of waterboarding as torture. It has been a well-recognized form of torture since before the Spanish Inquisition. Indeed, it has remained popular because it leaves no incriminating marks and requires little training or equipment. It was the chosen form of torture of the Gestapo, Pol Pot, and the Bush administration.

The status of waterboarding as torture was established by the United States. The U.S. military used waterboarding ("the water cure") in the Philippines in 1898. While the accused insisted (as do many today) that the torture was justified under the necessities and law of war, members of Congress rejected the argument and demanded the prosecution of Maj. Edwin F. Glenn. He was court-martialed and convicted of the crime of torture.

The United States remained a moral leader on torture for decades, including our prosecution of Japanese officers for waterboarding American and Allied soldiers. One, Yukio Asano, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for waterboarding.

In 1983, the Justice Department prosecuted and convicted James Parker, a sheriff in Texas, and his deputies for waterboarding a prisoner. Parker was sentenced to four years in prison.

Legal experts around the world have denounced the Bush program as classic and clear torture. They have been joined by interrogators and officials from the Bush administration itself, including various Bush administration lawyers who vehemently objected to torture at the time.

Susan J. Crawford, a former judge and convening authority for the Bush military tribunals, and State Department official Richard Armitage acknowledged that we tortured individuals. Republican John McCain (himself a victim of torture) has called it torture. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder declared that waterboarding is torture. Leading organizations like the International Red Cross define it as not just torture but a war crime.

That brings us to the second truth: Torture is a war crime. This one is easy, and even the dwindling number of George W. Bush apologists do not seriously question this point. Torture is a crime under domestic and international law. Various federal laws address torture, not the least of which is the Torture Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2340. There is also the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which President Reagan signed. The Convention Against Torture expressly states that "just following orders" is no defense and that "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever" will be considered. This is acknowledged as a binding law, including recently by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Finally, the United States is obligated to investigate and prosecute war crimes. Under the Convention Against Torture, we agreed to make "all acts of torture offenses under [our] criminal law" and to prosecute any such cases. The failure to prosecute war crimes committed by your own government is an offense of the same order as the original war crime.

Bush was adamant on the prosecution of war crimes in other countries. In 2003, he insisted, "War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished, and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders.' " On June 26, 2003, conservatives applauded as Bush told the United Nations that the United States "is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example."

Our failure to investigate and prosecute accused war criminals has led some United Nations officials to accuse the United States of violating treaty obligations. More important, our continued debate over this question puts our troops in danger. We will be hard pressed in the future to call for prosecution of leaders who torture our citizens and soldiers.

We cannot continue a war on terrorism while being violators of international law ourselves. Torture and terrorism are cut from the same legal bolt: Both are violations of human rights and international law. If we want the world to join us in fighting one crime against humanity, we cannot continue to obstruct the prosecution of another crime against humanity.

Ultimately, we all become accessories after the fact if we stand silent in the face of these war crimes. Bush ordered these war crimes because he believed that he was above the law, and others like Rice have claimed that, if the president orders such actions, they are by definition legal. They were both wrong. The law is clear. The only remaining question is whether we have the national character and commitment to the rule of law to hold even our leaders to account for crimes committed in our name.

Such prosecutions do not weaken a nation. They reaffirm the difference between ourselves and those we are fighting. To abandon our principles for politics would be to hand al Qaeda its greatest victory: not the destruction of lives or buildings but our own self-inflicted wound of hypocrisy and immorality. True victory against our enemies will be found only on the other side of prosecuting those who (like our enemies) claim the right to wage war by any means.


Caution, Vehicle may be Transporting Republican and Democrat Political Promises

They live

By Nafeez Ahmed, Online Journal Contributing Writer, Feb 15, 2010, 00:26

Despite his campaign promises, over a year into his presidency, Obama has been unable to deliver the change that Americans and the world alike had hoped for. Part of the problem is that neocon ideology is alive and well, reaching into the corridors of the White House, and dominating the airwaves.

Indeed, back in January 2009, after Obama had just announced his appointments, prominent neoconservative icons, intellectuals and ideologues were virtually jumping for joy. Military historian (and McCain campaign staffer) Max Boot, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times and regular contributor to the Washington Post and New York Times, declared: “I am gobsmacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain.” David Horowitz, editor of FrontPageMag.com and a regular columnist for Salon.com, rebuked sceptical conservative activists: “Now, as president-elect he has just formed the most conservative foreign policy team since John F. Kennedy, one well to the right of Bill Clinton. Where is your gratitude for that?”

And even earlier during the campaign period, Robert Kagan, co-founder of the notorious Bush-affiliated Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and columnist for the Washington Post and New York Times Syndicate, hailed “Obama, the interventionist”; while staunch Bush supporter Christopher Hitchens, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, demanded that readers “Vote for Obama” due to McCain and Palin being a collective “disgrace.”

Why did so many leading neoconservative commentators, who previously supported the Bush administration’s doctrine of unilateral preemptive global warfare, come running to Obama’s doorstep?

Over the last few decades -- particularly after 9/11 -- neocons have increasingly come to prominence in the American policymaking establishment. Despite Bush’s massive unpopularity by 2008, his administration, on the one hand, allowed neocons to consolidate their penetration of the foreign policy and media circuit; and, on the other, was buttressed by right-wing pundits who exploited their media access to support even its most absurd claims.

Neocon commentators were instrumental, for instance, in promulgating the widely debunked allegation that 9/11 chief bomber Mohamed Atta was linked to Saddam Hussein, seized upon by the Bush administration to justify the war on Iraq as part of the war on al-Qaeda terrorism. As late as November 2008, 52 percent of Americans still believed that “Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda” -- down from 64 per cent in 2006.

Despite such neocon myths being totally discredited, their promulgators even now continue to get air time and print space. In November 2008, Weekly Standard columnist Stephen F. Hayes -- who wrote an entire book trying to prove the non-existent Saddam al-Qaeda link and whose official biography of Dick Cheney was described by American Prospect as “fawning,” “turgid, soul-killing” and “meaningless” -- was hired by CNN as a political contributor. Frank Gaffney -- a founding member of PNAC and regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, among other publications, who also advocated this myth during the war -- was able to come on MSNBC’s respected Hardball show in March 2009 and tell host Chris Matthews that the perpetrators of 9/11 “had, in fact, collaborative relationships with Iraqi intelligence.”

“They are effectively insulated from failure,” observed Harvard political scientist and neocon antagonist Stephen Walt on this curious phenomenon. “Even if you’ve totally screwed up in office and things you’ve advocated in print have failed, there are no real consequences, either professionally or politically. You . . . continue to agitate or appear on talk shows as if nothing has gone wrong at all.” One explanation for this persistence is that despite serious differences, left and right of the American political spectrum have increasingly converged on their diagnosis of the central goal of US foreign policy: maintaining US preeminence. They therefore also agree that the central challenge for American foreign policy is how to do this in the face of trends of potential decline due to geopolitical, financial, ecological and energy crises. This convergence is illustrated in the “common cause” many top Obama advisers had made with neocon “war-minded think-tank hawks.”

A new study by left-wing and right-wing academics at Manchester University, Birkbeck College and University College London’s Institute for the Study of the Americas, New Directions in US Foreign Policy, finds that “American foreign policy has not changed course after the Bush years.” On issues like Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, actual policies have been markedly similar. UCL Professor Rob Singh, a neoconservative, points out that “when you look at substance over style and rhetoric, you can legitimately question the extent of change. We all agree that militarism is a crucial part of US strategy, along with a commitment to robust free trade.” No wonder Robert Kagan could write so approvingly in the Wall Street Journal -- citing the ongoing troop presence in Iraq, escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, military actions in Yemen and Somalia, and worldwide expansion of military bases -- that “the US under Barack Obama remains a martial nation.”

It is no surprise then that neocon pundits continue to retain undeserved influence and even credibility. As the longevity of the Saddam al-Qaeda ‘meme’ shows, their influence on public perceptions can be indelible, and disastrous.

In one of the latest episodes, Christopher Hitchens lashed out at American essayist, dissident and one-time JFK adviser, Gore Vidal, describing him as a crackpot for, among other things, noting that bin Laden is “still not the proven mastermind” of 9/11. Right-wing bloggers everywhere rejoiced. “Vidal is another old writer who won’t last much longer. After he croaks, Christopher Hitchens will need a new whipping boy,” said one. “Thank you Mr. Hitchens for skewering that crackpot,” said another. Yet, as I pointed out in my rejoinder to Hitchens in the February 7 Independent on Sunday, “it would seem the FBI agree with Gore, not Hitchens: according to Sonoma State University’s Project Censored, one of the top 25 censored news stories of 2008 was that ‘He [bin Laden] has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.’ Clearly, this doesn’t prove bin Laden wasn’t the mastermind, but should give us pause for thought about why the evidence isn’t so forthcoming.”

Indeed, Hitchens himself is not averse to “conspiracy-mongering” when it suits. He was among the group of discredited pundits trumpeting the neocon conspiracy theory that 9/11 chief bomber Mohamed Atta was linked to Saddam Hussein.

Hitchens and his ilk have now set their sights on Iran. In a recent column for Slate, Hitchens demands that the US government ‘Abolish the CIA’ due to successive National Intelligence Estimates failing to find evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme -- in true conspiratorial fashion, ‘no evidence’ constitutes proof that Iran is “lying,” and that the CIA is “worse than useless -- it’s a positive menace. We need to shut the whole thing down and start again.’

Similarly, neocon icon Daniel Pipes early last week urged Obama to order the US military “to destroy Iran’s nuclear-weapon capacity” as a “dramatic gesture” that would “change public perception of him as a lightweight . . . Just as 9/11 caused voters to forget George W. Bush’s meandering early months, a strike on Iranian facilities would dispatch Obama’s feckless first year down the memory hole and transform the domestic political scene.”

Does such alarmism play a political function? In early 2008, a US Presidential Finding uncontested by Democrat members of the House affirmed that the CIA was financing covert operations against Iran to the tune of $300 million. Robert Gates, the architect of Bush’s Iran strategy, remains Obama’s defence secretary. US national security journalist Gareth Porter has recently confirmed from senior US and German intelligence officials that purported evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme -- including the IAEA’s ‘alleged studies’ as well as an alleged Iranian ‘neutron initiator’ document unearthed by the Times -- was forged. Former CIA counterterrorism official Philip Giraldi told Porter that the media had frequently published “false intelligence” on Iraq and Iran from pro-Israeli sources.

The lesson is obvious. The continued public prevalence of neocon discourse on foreign policy not only throws fuel on the fire; it imagines smoke when there is no fire. But as we have learnt from the Iraq-WMD farce, now unravelling in the Chilcot Inquiry, such alarmism is part of the problem, not the solution.

Dr Nafeez Ahmed is Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development (www.iprd.org.uk) in London, and author of A Users Guide to the Crisis of Civilization (forthcoming in June from Pluto and Palgrave Macmillan) among other books on international security issues. He blogs at http://nafeez.blogspot.com. - Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal


This Chickenhawk War Criminal Murdered
Chickenhawk War Criminal Murderer
Innocent Civilians and U.S. Military

Tell Us Again Pelosi, Why Did Limp Democrats Take Impeachment Off the Table ?

Republican War Criminal
US law chief defends human rights record

by James Sturcke and agencies, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 7 March 2006 18.17 GMT, Article history

The US attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, today attempted to defend his government's controversial human rights record saying the Bush administration would not send individuals to countries where "it's more likely than not" that they will be tortured. [Ed. Note: Current evidence shows Gonzales' statement was a lie. = Click and Find Memos Reveal War Crimes Warnings for proof.]

On a visit to Britain, Mr Gonzales tried to reassure British critics of Guantánamo Bay and so-called rendition flights through European air space. He said British officials understood that when someone was "captured on the battlefield something has to be done with them".

He insisted America was constantly reassessing whether the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay - which the British prime minister, Tony Blair, has called "an anomaly" - was effective and lawful.

He made his comments as a Foreign Office minister, Kim Howells, told a debate the UK would not deport terror suspects to countries where there is a "real risk" of them being tortured.

Mr Gonzales told the BBC's The World at One the US was aware of European concerns about Guantánamo.

"One of the things we are constantly doing is reassessing all of our activities in the war against terrorism and doing those things that remain effective and remain lawful.

"British officials understand that when someone is captured on the battlefield something has to be done with them. You can't simply release them. You can't shoot them. You have to do something with them."

Mr Gonzales said it was lawful to detain them "for the duration of hostilities", adding that "this is something we need to do to protect the United States". He said the US authorities were willing to look at alternatives where they existed.

Asked if the US would always seek the permission of a government before flying suspects through their air space on "rendition" flights to a third country, Mr Gonzales said: "The US government respects the sovereignty of every European country, including the UK.

"We do not render individuals where we believe it's more likely than not that they will be tortured."

He also said the US respected the sovereignty of every European country when asked directly if rendition flights had moved through UK air space or UK airports without the government's permission.

The British government has maintained there have been no requests for such flights since September 11 2001. Last night it admitted that two aircraft known to have been chartered by the CIA landed 14 times at RAF Northolt, west London, and RAF Brize Norton, in Oxfordshire, between October 2003 and May 2004.

Mr Howells today defended the British government's controversial policy of signing deals with states with poor human rights records that guaranteed deportees would not be harmed.

He insisted that the government "unreservedly" condemned all use of torture and dismissed suggestions it turned a blind eye to abuses as "wild and unsubstantiated".

Concerns had been raised at the highest level in Washington, he said, amid Tory warnings of a "critical erosion" in the West's moral authority.

The measures had been questioned by the shadow foreign secretary, William Hague. "We must be careful that in seeking solutions to the immediate threat of terrorism, we do not abdicate our responsibilities to promote and protect human rights," Mr Hague said.

"Our government has recently concluded memoranda of understanding with Libya and Jordan, is on the verge of concluding one with Algeria and is known to be seeking similar arrangements with Lebanon. All of these countries have been accused of serious human rights violations.

"Are diplomatic assurances robust enough to meet the United Kingdom's responsibility not to return anyone to a country where there is a substantial risk they might be tortured?"

Mr Howells told him: "We will not send them back if there is a real risk that they will be submitted to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. It is because we take our international obligations very seriously that we have negotiated the memoranda of understanding.

"If we were so determined to flout our international obligations, why would we bother?"

The memorandums were one issue raised in a recent report by the foreign affairs committee which accused the government of failing to speak out about possible US abuses, including extraordinary rendition flights and the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.

Tonight Kate Allen, the director of Amnesty International UK, attacked both governments for their human rights records.

"Mr Gonzales' comments on rendition do little to allay our fears that UK air space may have been used to allow known rendition aircraft to land, refuel and take off from British runways.

"The fear then is that people are being flown to places where their human rights will be severely curtailed and they may be subjected to torture.

"Why fly people to countries like Jordan or Egypt in the first place? Could they not be questioned in the US or indeed in the country where they were first apprehended?

"The UK government must allow a full independent investigation into any UK complicity with rendition flights."

She said that the British government's diplomatic assurances of good treatment were "unenforceable and frankly not worth the paper they're written on".

"The government should abandon this policy of trying to find a way around the international ban on torture and instead return to concentrating on some very good Foreign Office initiatives to combat torture around the world," she said.


Steve Bell cartoon on United States torture.
Steve Bell - On U.S. Torture

MI5 accused of colluding in torture of terrorist suspects

British agents alleged to have questioned men at Pakistani interrogation centre after they had been brutally mistreated

by Ian Cobain, guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 29 April 2008, Article History

Officers of the Security Service, MI5, are being accused of "outsourcing" the torture of British citizens to a notorious Pakistani intelligence agency in an attempt to obtain information about terrorist plots and to secure convictions against al-Qaida suspects.

A number of British terrorism suspects who have been arrested in Pakistan at the request of UK authorities say their interrogation by Security Service officers, shortly after brutal torture at the hands of agents of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI), has convinced them that MI5 colluded in the mistreatment.

Those men have given detailed accounts of their alleged ordeals at the hands of the ISI over the last four years. Some of them appear to have been taken to the same secret interrogation centre in Rawalpindi, where they say they were repeatedly tortured before being questioned by MI5.

Tayab Ali, a London-based lawyer for two of the men, said: "I am left with no doubt that, at the very worst, the British Security Service instigates the illegal detention and torture of British citizens, and at the very best turns a blind eye to torture." [Continue Reading At]:


Britain's role in the torture of terror suspects:
the Guardian investigation

29 April 2008: The Guardian reports on the first allegations that several British nationals have been tortured in Pakistan before being prosecuted or subjected to a control order in the UK. Their accounts appear to fit a pattern

Today's report by Human Rights Watch corroborates many findings of the Guardian's own investigation into Britain's involvement in the torture of terrorism suspects held overseas. Many of the victims and their families have been too terrified to speak out. Others have disappeared. Two who are behind bars in the UK were prevented from speaking to journalists for many months.

Despite this, the Guardian has identified the secret torture centre in Rawalpindi where some of the British terrorism suspects were detained and tortured, and has uncovered details of the secret UK government interrogation policy that led to British citizens, and others, being tortured. Last June it disclosed that Tony Blair, when prime minister, was aware of the policy. Gordon Brown has promised that the policy will be rewritten, and then made public. This gallery of Guardian front pages shows how our investigation has developed. [Continue Reading At]:


Bowing to US's 'naked political power'

Suppressing evidence of torture, as the US is asking Britain to do in the Binyam Mohamed case, is a criminal offence

by Clive Stafford Smith, guardian.co.uk, Monday 3 August 2009 12.30 BST, Article history

Under British law it is a criminal offence to suppress evidence of torture. The US has told Britain that it must commit this crime, and help cover up American crimes, or the US will ensure that innocent British citizens are more likely to die in a terrorist attack. The British government is without moral principle and has been cowed by these illegal American threats. [Continue Reading At]:


Court rejects David Miliband bid to suppress CIA evidence

Sixth damning ruling in Binyam Mohamed case --- Foreign secretary's claims of security risk dismissed

by Richard Norton-Taylor, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 19 November 2009 20.33 GMT, Article History

The high court today flatly rejected claims by David Miliband, the foreign secretary, that releasing evidence of the CIA's inhuman and unlawful treatment of UK resident Binyam Mohamed would harm Britain's relations with the US by giving away intelligence secrets.

Evidence that the foreign secretary also wants to suppress is believed to reveal what British intelligence officers knew about Mohamed's treatment. Mohamed, 31, an Ethiopian, says he was tortured in Pakistan, Morocco, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay.

In the sixth in a string of damning rulings, the high court accused Miliband of wanting to suppress information about CIA activities even though details had already been disclosed by the Obama administration. [Continue Reading At]:


Top judge: Binyam Mohamed case shows MI5
to be devious, dishonest and complicit in torture

Legal defeat plunges Security Service into crisis over torture evidence, and it is revealed that judge removed damning verdict after Foreign Office QC's plea

by Richard Norton-Taylor and Ian Cobain, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 10 February 2010 21.40 GMT, Article history

MI5 faced an unprecedented and damaging crisis tonight after one of the country's most senior judges found that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct. [Continue Reading At]:


Binyam Mohamed case:
'Government is still trying to suppress evidence'

Lawyer Clive Stafford Smith on court order to release evidence of MI5 complicity in torture of British resident

by Clive Stafford Smith, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 February 2010 07.54 GMT

MP3 - http://download.guardian.co.uk/audio/kip/standalone/world/1265874112383/6616/gdn.gd.100211.tm.Stafford-Smith.mp3

Police investigate MI5 officer
who interrogated Binyam Mohamed

Scotland Yard detectives appear to be building a case against officer known as Witness B

by Ian Cobain, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 February 2010 19.58 GMT, Article History

Witness B found himself at the centre of the police investigation after he gave evidence 18 months ago during high court proceedings on behalf of Mohamed. On Wednesday this long-running case resulted in David Miliband, the foreign secretary, being forced to disclose a seven-paragraph summary of the classified US documents that detailed what MI5 knew of Mohamed's mistreatment before Witness B was sent to Pakistan to interrogate him. [Continue Reading At]:


Binyam Mohamed: How MI5 misled
parliament's intelligence and security committee

Evidence over "paragraph 168" shows that security services did know of deliberate US strategy of sleep deprivation, rendition threats and shackling

by David Leigh and Richard Norton-Taylor, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 11 February 2010 22.44 GMT, Article History

MI5 conceded they had not demanded specific assurances from the US that Mohamed was being properly treated: "This is understandable given the lack of knowledge at the time of any possible consequences of US custody of detainees."

That part of the published ISC report now appears to have been untrue. The judges found that MI5 had 42 documents, detailing how both Witness B and "persons senior to Witness B" had been briefed in detail at the time about how the US was deliberately ill-treating Mohamed as part of a "new strategy", systematically depriving him of sleep, terrifying him with threats of rendition and shackling him in interrogations. [Continue Reading At]:


Binyam Mohamed: Torture and the missing paragraph

This is a desperately serious state of affairs, whatever spin the government puts on it

Editorial, The Guardian, Thursday 11 February 2010, Article history

Governments of every type make mistakes, what distinguishes the good from the bad – and the free from the tyrannical – is the facility to learn from them. The legal manoeuvring in the case of Binyam Mohamed which emerged yesterday is thus deeply chilling. The torture of this British resident, who was last year released without charge by the US after years of alleged brutish caging which left him feeling "dead", is fast becoming established fact. The allegations that certain UK agents knew about this are also becoming firmer. But rather than confront these disturbing matters, the government has scrambled to conceal them at every stage – draping the "national security" blanket over American actions, British knowledge and, indeed, over the very motives for wanting to keep everything secret. [Continue Reading At]:


MI5 chief denies cover-up claims over detainees

Evans – enemies will use propaganda against us - White House disappointed over court judgment

by Daniel Nasaw in Washington, Richard Norton-Taylor, and Ian Cobain, guardian.co.uk, Friday 12 February 2010 09.22 GMT, Article History

British intelligence was slow to detect the emerging pattern of US mistreatment of detainees after September 11, but denied any similar change of practice by British intelligence agencies.

"We did not practise mistreatment or torture then and do not do so now," Evans wrote. "Nor do we collude in torture or encourage others to torture on our behalf." [Continue Reading At]:


Binyam Mohamed storm widens
as Johnson defends MI5 over torture

Home secretary blasts Lib Dems and media after Guardian revealed how government suppressed scathing court ruling

by Richard Norton-Taylor and Ian Cobain, guardian.co.uk, Friday 12 February 2010 19.50 GMT

In a BBC interview on Thursday, Davis said there were 15 other cases which suggested a culture of collusion or complicity in torture by MI5 and MI6. He said the alleged mistreatment of Binyam Mohamed – who says his genitals were repeatedly cut, and he was hung by his wrists and beaten until he was sick – "seems like something the Gestapo got up to".

Clegg demanded to know if ministers were told the US had changed its rules on torture after the 9/11 attacks. Either the government knew, or the Security Service was engaged in a cover-up, he claimed. He said: "We must know who in Britain knew the US had changed the rules on torture, when they knew and what action they took. We can only conclude that the Security Services either kept the information to themselves, or they informed ministers who failed to act immediately. "Both of these would suggest at best a cover-up and at worst collusion in torture. Knowledge of Britain's potential complicity in torture looks likely to have gone to the very top of government," he said. [Continue Reading At]:


Ministers' tangled web over torture

The Guardian, Saturday 13 February 2010, Article history

David Miliband carefully avoids telling us when it "became clear" that the US was using torture at Guantánamo Bay. In 2002 the world saw pictures of hooded men in orange jump suits being led and wheeled into the camp at Guantánamo Bay and President Bush announced that the Geneva conventions did not apply to suspects held in US military custody in Cuba or elsewhere. Surely this would have aroused suspicions of potential maltreatment in any half-competent minister.

During 2003 there were suspicions that torture was routinely used in the camp and by 2004 a TV programme was being made titled Torture: The Guantánamo Guidebook (broadcast by Channel 4 in February 2005). The programme illustrated in detail the cruel and degrading techniques used against detainees within the camp.

So, it is reasonable to assume that the cabinet knew exactly what was going on by the end of 2003. By agreeing to share and keep secret information gained, by these methods, from detainees (including British detainees) at Guantánamo Bay from then on, David Miliband has colluded with the perpetrators, and continues to do so today. - David Williams [Continue Reading At]:


How MI5 kept watchdog in the dark
over detainees' claims of torture

Intelligence committee misled by MI5 evidence ++ Demands for reform after appeal court revelations

by David Leigh and Richard Norton-Taylor, guardian.co.uk, Monday 15 February 2010 09.06 GMT, Article history

It was in the middle of 2008 that Jonathan Evans, director general of MI5, delivered a bombshell confession to the previously compliant parliamentarians of the intelligence and security committee.

He told them, in strict secrecy as usual, that assurances of MI5 innocence previously accepted without demur by the politicians had in fact been false.

The committee, which was supposed to supervise MI5's policies, had already published a reassuring report on the basis of what it had been told. That report, based on testimony from Eliza Manningham-Buller, Evans's predecessor, informed the world that MI5 had been unaware of any ill-treatment dished out by its US allies to Binyam Mohamed.

The opposite was true. As the appeal court has now finally revealed, detailed briefings had been supplied at the time by Washington on the CIA's "new strategy" for softening up Mohamed and others, for which it demanded British help. This new American "war on terror" involved the use of prolonged sleep deprivation, shackling and threats that Mohamed would be "disappeared", applied to the point where his mental stability corroded and he apparently became suicidal.

These interrogation tactics, of systematic ill-treatment which might amount to torture, had supposedly been banned by Britain since 1972, when it came to light that the British army was using them on IRA suspects.

But far from denouncing or even criticising US behaviour, MI5 officers co-operated with it. The secret files, when they eventually emerged, revealed that an MI5 officer had travelled to Karachi to help with the interrogation of Mohammed. Other MI5 desk officers and "more senior" figures also knew the contents of the CIA files, according to judgments of the British high court. That these facts had been kept from the ISC was a demonstration of the committee's impotence. Critics say the ISC is a useless government poodle, and the Binyam Mohamed affair appears to strengthen their case. [Continue Reading At]:


Related Articles:

Appeal judge watered down damning torture case ruling

Government persuaded judge to delete references to MI5 'culture' of burying evidence

Read the letter revealing court criticism of MI5

Evidence released in Mohamed case

Court orders government to disclose what MI5 and MI6 knew of Guantánamo inmate's treatment

Miliband statement on torture ruling – LIVE

Profile: Binyam Mohamed

Timeline: the fight to keep evidence secret

Read the secret torture evidence

Full coverage: the Binyam Mohamed case


Break the Silence - Who Is the Terrorist?
Photograph: Bill Perry, VVAW/VFP/IVAW

Even today I am willing to volunteer to do the dirty work for Israel, to kill as many Arabs as necessary, to deport them, to expel and burn them, to have everyone hate us, to pull the rug from underneath the feet of the Diaspora Jews, so that they will be forced to run to us crying. Even if it means blowing up one or two synagogues here and there [9/11?], I don’t care. And I don’t mind if after the job is done you put me in front of a Nuremberg Trial and then jail me for life. Hang me if you want, as a war criminal… What you lot don’t understand is that the dirty work of Zionism is not finished yet, far from it. - Ariel Sharon, Israel, 1982

Questions for Mossad over Dubai hit

The Guardian, Friday 19 February 2010, Article history

There comes a point at which rogue states must be confronted. A state that chooses to arm itself with nuclear weapons, ignores UN sanctions, is found guilty of war crimes, operates a policy of apartheid and operates by the planned illegal assassination of its political opponents should not be tolerated. How soon might we see a joint US/British intervention to bring Israel under control? - John Gamlin [Continue Reading At]:


Republicans & Democrats are Lying Hypocrites
Who Support Selective Terrorism Against U.S. Military
Assault on the Liberty by James Ennes
Remember the U.S.S. Liberty - 34 U.S. Military Dead, 171 Wounded

The Assault on the USS Liberty Still Covered Up

By James M. Ennes Jr.
Washington Report On Middle East Affairs
June 1993, Page 19

Twenty-six years have passed since that clear day on June 8, 1967 when Israel attacked the USS Liberty with aircraft and torpedo boats, killing 34 young men and wounding 171. The attack in international waters followed over nine hours of close surveillance. Israeli pilots circled the ship at low level 13 times on eight different occasions before attacking. Radio operators in Spain, Lebanon, Germany and aboard the ship itself all heard the pilots reporting to their headquarters that this was an American ship. They attacked anyway. And when the ship failed to sink, the Israeli government concocted an elaborate story to cover the crime.

There is no question that this attack on a U.S. Navy ship was deliberate. This was a coordinated effort involving air, sea, headquarters and commando forces attacking over a long period. It was not the "few rounds of misdirected fire" that Israel would have the world believe. Worse, the Israeli excuse is a gross and detailed fabrication that disagrees entirely with the eyewitness recollections of survivors. Key American leaders call the attack deliberate. More important, eyewitness participants from the Israeli side have told survivors that they knew they were attacking an American ship. [Click to Continue Reading]


As if by magic, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak appeared from BBCs main office in London with a pre written/ pre prepared speech. He Spent 30 minutes speaking about how dangerous some "Islamic" countries and terrorists are. At the end of the interview, the news reporter stated that Mr. Barak joined him an hour before it was broadcasted, meaning Barak was there even an hour earlier. In real time of events this means he was there within minutes of the blast, with a pre-written interview. He knew beforehand that the attacks would take place. It was not difficult to see that Barak came with a pre written speech as he is quick to point out all of Israel's enemies which he calls "rogue states". The answers to the interview were carefully prepared to use public sentiments created by the blast, against enemies of Israel. These could not have been developed between the time of attacks and Barak appearing on BBC. Barak's presence in UK could also not have been co-incidental at that crucial time. 11 September 2001


Video of Pentagon Plane shown while Barak speaks on BBC !
It appears there was a pre-written speech ready, in advance,  for the 9/11 Attack
- Video - http://911exposed.org/BBC_files/barak-bbc.mpeg

YouTube - BBC Ehud Barak 9/11 Video



In 1954, Israeli agents working in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including a United States diplomatic facility, and left evidence behind implicating Arabs as the culprits. The ruse would have worked, had not one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to capture and identify one of the bombers, which in turn led to the round up of an Israeli spy ring.

Some of the spies were from Israel, while others were recruited from the local Jewish population. Israel responded to the scandal with claims in the media that there was no spy ring, that it was all a hoax perpetrated by "anti-Semites". But as the public trial progressed, it was evident that Israel had indeed been behind the bombing. Eventually, Israeli's Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon was brought down by the scandal, although it appears that he was himself the victim of a frame-up by the real authors of the bombing project, code named "Operation Susannah."

It is therefore a fact that Israel has a prior history of setting off bombs with the intent to blame Arabs for them.

This is not the only example of a "False Flag" operation designed to trick the United States into attacking Israel's enemies.

( Article continues at: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/lavon.html )

On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. The USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died.


The Betrayal of American Veterans

Americans who volunteer for military service effectively write a blank check, payable to the United States of America for an amount "up to and including my life." The United States, in turn, promises to spend these checks responsibly. That bargain implicitly includes a promise by the United States to protect them and to seek retribution against anyone who harms them. In the case of USS Liberty, the United States has failed to keep its end of the bargain. (Article continues at: http://www.gtr5.com/)

Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don't worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it. - Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, 3 Oct. 2001. Source One - Source Two - Source Three

Peace Can Be Universal [Click to Continue Reading]
Peace Can Be Universal
Photograph: Bill Perry, VVAW/VFP/IVAW location: Baltimore MD, 1.10.09

Antisocial Behaviour and the Terrorism Act

Photographer films his own 'anti-terror' arrest

Man held in police station for eight hours after taking pictures of Christmas celebrations in Accrington

by Paul Lewis, guardian.co.uk, Sunday 21 February 2010 23.55 GMT, Article history

Photographer films his own 'anti-terror' arrest
Click to open Flash video in new tab or window

Bob Patefield used his video camera to record the moment police stopped him from taking photographs of Accrington town centre. He shows how the police claims he was engaging in anti-social behaviour led to his arrest Link to this video

Police questioned an amateur photographer under anti-terrorist legislation and later arrested him, claiming pictures he was taking in a Lancashire town were "suspicious" and constituted "antisocial behaviour".

Footage recorded on a video camera by Bob Patefield, a former paramedic, shows how police approached him and a fellow photography enthusiast in Accrington town centre. They were told they were being questioned under the Terrorism Act.

Senior police officers last year promised to scale back the use of anti-terrorist legislation such as Section 44 of the act, which deals with photographers, after a series of high-profile cases in which photographers said they had been harassed by police for taking innocuous images in the street.

Patefield and his friend declined to give their details, as they are entitled to under the act. The police then appeared to change tack, saying the way the men were taking images constituted "antisocial behaviour". Patefield, who is in his 40s, was stopped three times before finally being arrested.

He and his friend were taking photographs of Christmas festivities on 19 December, after attending a photography exhibition. The last images on his camera before he was stopped show a picture of a Santa Claus, people in fancy dress and a pipe band marching through the town.

He turned on his video camera the moment he was approached by a police community support officer (PCSO). In the footage, she said: "Because of the Terrorism Act and everything in the country, we need to get everyone's details who is taking pictures of the town."

Patefield declined to give his details and, after asking if he was free to go, walked away. However the PCSO and a police officer stopped the men in another part of the town. This time, the police officer repeatedly asked him to stop filming her and said his photography was "suspicious" and "possibly antisocial".

Patefield asked if the officer had any "reasonable, articulable suspicion" to justify him giving his details.

She replied: "I believe your behaviour was quite suspicious in the manner in which you were taking photographs in the town centre … I'm suspicious in why you were taking those pictures.

"I'm an officer of the law, and I'm requiring you, because I believe your behaviour to be of a suspicious nature, and of possibly antisocial [nature] … I can take your details just to ascertain that everything is OK."

Patefield and his friend maintained that they did not want to disclose their details. They were stopped a third and final time when returning to their car. This time the officer was accompanied by an acting sergeant. "Under law, fine, we can ask for your details – we've got no powers," he said. "However, due to the fact that we believe you were involved in antisocial behaviour, ie taking photographs … then we do have a power under [the Police Reform Act] to ask for your name and address, and for you to provide it. If you don't, then you may be arrested."

There is a section of that act that compels a member of the public to give their details if a police officer suspects them of antisocial activity.

The sergeant also alluded to complaints from the public and, turning to Patefield, added: "I'm led to believe you've got a bit of insight into the law. Do you work in the field?"

Patefield was arrested for refusing to give his details, while his friend, who gave in, walked free. Patefield was held for eight hours and released without charge.

In a statement, Lancashire police said they and members of the public were "concerned about the way in which [Patefield] was using his camera". It said police felt they had "no choice" but to arrest him because he was refusing to co-operate.


Public Knowledge Rejects Telecom Industry Assault on Consumers

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2010, Public Knowledge

Background: The major companies and trade groups in the telecommunications industry earlier today sent a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski rejecting the idea of putting Internet access services under some form of consumer protection rules.

The following statement is attributed to Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge:

"This is a transparent attempt to bully the FCC. The industry wants to have a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that has no power to safeguard consumer privacy, to promote deployment and adoption of high-speed Internet access, to require transparency and truth in billing and any number of consumer protections.

"The telecommunications industry has now shown that it cares nothing for consumers. Its letter is simply one long argument against the government having any ability to protect consumers from any type of harmful behavior that companies may inflict.

"The result is the industry wants to control the Internet without any recourse for consumers, government agencies or any other authority. We trust the FCC will see this argument as simply ludicrous and reject it out of hand.

"In addition, the industry tries to argue that any attempt to impose those protections, or even to impose a limited regulatory structure would ‘plunge the industry into years of litigation.' Given that the telecom companies are the ones who usually do that plunging, this is a self-fulfilling prophesy at best, and disingenuous at least."

http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/2916 - also Read: Telecom Crimes & Punishment

Heads Up Award
Can We Dispose of Radioactive Waste in Volcanoes?

Paging Frodo By Bjorn Carey Posted 02.17.2010 at 2:44 pm

Dumping all our nuclear waste in a volcano does seem like a neat solution for destroying the roughly 29,000 tons of spent uranium fuel rods stockpiled around the world. But there's a critical standard that a volcano would have to meet to properly dispose of the stuff, explains Charlotte Rowe, a volcano geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. And that standard is heat. The lava would have to not only melt the fuel rods but also strip the uranium of its radioactivity. "Unfortunately," Rowe says, "volcanoes just aren't very hot."

Lava in the hottest volcanoes tops out at around 2,400˚F. (These tend to be shield volcanoes, so named for their relatively flat, broad profile. The Hawaiian Islands continue to be formed by this type of volcano.) It takes temperatures that are tens of thousands of degrees hotter than that to split uranium's atomic nuclei and alter its radioactivity to make it inert, Rowe says. What you need is a thermonuclear reaction, like an atomic bomb-not a great way to dispose of nuclear waste.

Volcanoes aren't hot enough to melt the zirconium (melting point 3,371˚) that encases the fuel, let alone the fuel itself: The melting point of uranium oxide, the fuel used at most nuclear power plants, is 5,189˚. The liquid lava in a shield volcano pushes upward, so the rods probably wouldn't even sink very deep, Rowe says. They wouldn't sink at all in a stratovolcano, the most explosive type, exemplified by Washington's Mount St. Helens. Instead, the waste would just sit on top of the volcano's hard lava dome-at least until the pressure from upsurging magma became so great that the dome cracked and the volcano erupted. And that's the real problem.

A regular lava flow is hazardous enough, but the lava pouring out of a volcano used as a nuclear storage facility would be extremely radioactive. Eventually it would harden, turning that mountain's slopes into a nuclear wasteland for decades to come. And the danger would extend much farther. "All volcanoes do is spew stuff upward," Rowe says. "During a big eruption, ash and gas can shoot six miles into the air and afterward circle the globe several times. We'd all be in serious trouble."


MPs' verdict on News of the World phone-hacking scandal:
Amnesia, obfuscation and hush money

News of the World hacked phones 'on industrial scale'

Scotland Yard and press body failed properly to investigate

Report rejects executives' lone 'rogue reporter' defence

*** Follow our blog of live reaction to the MPs' verdict

David Leigh, Patrick Wintour, Caroline Davies, The Guardian, Wednesday 24 February 2010, Article history

[Elided Photograph (at site page) by: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images- News International chief Rupert Murdoch, right, with former executive chairman Les Hinton and, behind, former editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Wade in 2005.]

Rupert Murdoch's media giant News International could face a judicial inquiry after a highly critical parliamentary report today accuses senior executives at its top-selling newspaper of concealing the truth about the extent of illegal phone hacking by its journalists.

The 167-page report by a cross-party select committee is withering about the conduct of the News of the World, with one MP saying its crimes "went to the heart of the British establishment, in which police, military royals and government ministers were hacked on a near industrial scale".

MPs condemned the "collective amnesia" and "deliberate obfuscation" by NoW executives who gave evidence to them, and said it was inconceivable that only a few people at the paper knew about the practice.

The culture, media and sport select committee was also damning of the police, saying Scotland Yard should have broadened its original investigation in 2006, and not just focused on Clive Goodman, the NoW's royal reporter.

The findings provoked calls by the Liberal Democrats for a judicial inquiry, and an unusually strong reaction from a cabinet minister, Ben Bradshaw, and Downing Street. Bradshaw, the media secretary, said the report raised "extremely serious questions" for the Murdoch empire.

"This report … says lawbreaking was condoned and that the company sought to conceal the truth. We welcome the report and are considering what further action may be needed to be taken."

No 10 also issued a statement, saying: "The scale of this is absolutely breathtaking and an extreme cause for concern."

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman, said: "The only alternative to get to the bottom of what actually went on at the News of the World is a judicial inquiry so that a judge can insist on information and can draw out the lessons if we are to avoid such wholesale abuse of privacy again."

News International questioned the credibility of the committee and accused it of pursuing a "party political agenda".

The committee has been investigating phone hacking by the News of the World as part of a wide-ranging inquiry that also looked at issues of libel law reform, privacy and regulation of the press.

Today's report makes sweeping criticisms of press self-regulation, describing the Press Complaints Commission as "toothless"; decries the reporting of the Madeleine McCann story, saying there was an inexcusable lowering of standards; and recommends changes to libel law and limits on the use of superinjunctions.

But it is the section relating to phone-hacking that could yet have the most impact. The MPs' inquiry into the practice was reopened after the Guardian's revelation last July that the News of the World had secretly paid out £1m in costs and in settlements to Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, and two others, over phone hacking allegations.

The committee, which took evidence from executives from News International, said financial settlements paid by the News Group newspapers left them with "a strong impression silence has been bought".

The report condemned the paper's own inquiry into how widespread the practice was "far from 'full' or 'rigorous'," as it had assured MPs and the Press Complaints Commission.

MPs were scornful of the newspaper's repeated insistence that Goodman, who was jailed for hacking into the private voicemails of royal aides, was a "rogue reporter", acting alone and that no one else on the newspaper knew about or condoned phone hacking.

Today's report makes a nonsense of the claim, saying it was "inconceivable" that Goodman was alone in knowing about phone hacking.

It details contradictory testimony by New International executives, and what it termed "collective amnesia" and "deliberate obfuscation" by witnesses.

The organisation's chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, repeatedly refused to give evidence to the MPs.

In a unanimous finding, the cross-party committee said: "We strongly condemn this behaviour which reinforces the widely held impression that the press generally regard themselves as unaccountable and that News International in particular has sought to conceal the truth about what really occurred."

The report states that it is now likely the number of phone-hacking victims "will never be known".

The MPs vindicate the disclosures originally published by Guardian writer Nick Davies, and said that the committee had found new evidence confirming them.

The committee avoids making accusations against the most politically sensitive figure involved, Andy Coulson, the editor of the News of the World at the time and now the director of communications at Tory HQ.

The report says there was no evidence that he knew of phone hacking. However, the MPs said he was right to quit over phone hacking.

"That such hacking took place reveals a serious management failure for which as editor he bore ultimate responsibility, and we believe that he was correct to accept this and resign," the MPs say.

Today's report is also unsparing about the behaviour of two bodies whose original duty it had been to investigate the evidence against the News of the World.

It says the Metropolitan police were wrong not to broaden their investigation into the Mulcaire case in 2006.

The MPs reject testimony by assistant commissioner John Yates that there had only been "a handful" of hacking victims of the News of the World. Former minister Tom Watson, a member of the committee, said at the press conference at the Commons: "Scotland Yard are sitting on a whole bank of information and data about very senior people in public life who were hacked, that the public don't know about." He called for the information commissioner to access all the police files and see if any legal breaches had occurred.

Watson, added that the phone-hacking scandal had "gone to the very heart of the British establishment".

"The police, the military, the royals, the government ministers have been hacked on a near industrial scale," he said.

The other body which failed in its task was the Press Complaints Commission, the committee report says. The PCC had rushed out a report purporting to exonerate the News of the World that took the paper's claims of innocence at face value. "We find the conclusions in the PCC's November report simplistic and surprising. It has certainly not fully, or forensically, considered all the evidence."

The Murdoch organisation reacted by issuing a wholesale attack on the good faith of the committee, which has a Conservative chairman, John Whittingdale.

A statement issued on behalf of News International claimed members were in a political conspiracy with the Guardian, which had originally published new evidence of the hacking, and whose editor, Alan Rusbridger, testified in public at the committee hearings.

The statement said that News International "strongly rejected" the findings.

A statement from the Guardian described the report as "insightful and wide-ranging".

It said: "The press has a proud record of shining a light into the darkest corners of our public institutions. As an industry we need to show we are willing to accept the same level of scrutiny and accountability. We are therefore pleased that the committee has recommended improving the self-regulatory system.

"Also encouraging are the committee's comments on libel, excessive legal costs and superinjunctions, all of which are being used by corporations and wealthy individuals to suppress free speech both here and abroad. However, there remains a great deal of work to be done to convert concerns and recommendations into meaningful actions."

The statement added: "We are surprised that News International has questioned the integrity of a cross-party committee, with a Conservative MP in the chair, carrying out an independent inquiry as is its historic parliamentary right.

"Observers will draw their own conclusions about why they have chosen to make this attack.

"According to the report, the MPs took a vote on only four clauses, unanimously agreeing on more than 570 paragraphs. It is insulting to the committee to question their work in this way."


US liberals have lost their thunder

While Tea Partiers protest loudly at the mess we're in, a lack of sane, liberal anger leaves us mired in sterile politeness

by Clancy Sigal, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 24 February 2010 21.00 GMT, Article history

"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me and I welcome their hatred." - President Roosevelt, Madison Square Garden, 31 October 1936

There is an astonishing lack of anger among liberals, progressives and radicals who have abandoned emotion to the right. Our role model continues to be not FDR, still less Malcolm X, but our "bipartisan" and apparently tone-deaf President Obama. In this second or third year of a devastating depression, not just recession, that has inflicted an epidemic of suffering on the lower half of the American nation, Obama is very busy being fluent and civil while being essentially untouched by the rage felt by so many of us. Our world, as we have known it, is being annihilated, and nobody in power shows signs of giving a damn.

The real anger is all on the right, kidnapped – or authentically voiced – by the all-white Tea Partiers, Palinites, Oath Keepers and "armed and dangerous" patriot groups, some but not all of whom are native-fascistic but also include pissed-off libertarians and the disappointed and dispossessed at the bottom of the pile.

Look at the mess. Evictions – I'm a child of Great Depression furniture-thrown-on-the-street – are skyrocketing. Mortgage holders are in a feeding frenzy on their hapless fellow citizens. Michelle Obama lectures us on obesity while one in eight Americans (and one in four children) are on federal food stamps. The human toll of long term, more-or-less permanent unemployment is yet to be counted as millions of Americans are pushed out of the middle class and become the "new poor" queueing up at food banks for the first time in their lives.

Those who do vent and get angry are put down as crackpots, which they sometimes are. But the so-called left seems to have joined the mainstream (and even the radical) media in under- or mis- or never-reporting what's actually happening in the lives of so many of us. Like Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic party establishment we've forfeited real gut language in favour of policy abstractions, the "issues" syndrome, that so easily hide an open wound. Joe Stack, who rammed his Piper Cherokee into the IRS building in Austin, Texas, murdering an IRS worker and injuring many, was one maladjusted injustice collector. But his online 3000-word suicide note, a long-repressed scream of protest, has the virtue of unminced words we are never likely to hear from anyone in Washington or a state capitol. "When the wealthy fuck up, the poor get to die."

Where and when did we lefties lose this vital part of our social language? Was it in pre-school where we're urged as toddlers to use sweet reasonableness to resolve disputes? Or have we grown so stiffly respectable that we're afraid of being loud and vulgar? Or that – horrors! – we'll get too closely identified with the Great Unwashed like Joe Stack, Amy Bishop (the professor who shot her Alabama colleagues), crazy bikers, teenage gangs and "poor white trash" who tend to express their anger mainly against each other? Whatever the reason, the suppression of sane, liberal anger has been around at least half a century, certainly since the sociologist C Wright Mills in his influential book The Power Elite deplored the loss of capacity by the public to experience outrage as contrasted with earlier periods in American history.

The last time I remember collective anger as legitimate was in the now-much-derided 1960s with its protest marches and brazen hippie-style slogans. Ever since there's been a gradual slide – I would argue descent – into sterile politeness. Recently, I attended a meeting of my local school board where a mild, hardly-above-a-whisper grumble from a parent prompted his expulsion enforced by armed police. Who knows what might have happened if any of us in the audience had stood up and actually spoken out as in that famous Norman Rockwell painting of a town hall meeting?

Why should full-throated emotion be the monopoly of the so-called "populists" who seem to be the only people around unafraid to shout, yell, stomp and scream?

I grew up in a boisterous, immigrant, loud neighborhood where everyone had an opinion and voiced it full throttle. Somewhere along the line, maybe when I shifted from working class to middle class, I lost my rough, grating, empowered, assertive voice – and maybe the anger that had fuelled it. If so, that's a pity.

We need liberal anger now more than ever.


Torture ruling passages critical of MI5 must be restored

Court of appeal rules passages removed from judgment on role of MI5 in Binyam Mohamed's torture must be restored

by Robert Booth and Afua Hirsch, guardian.co.uk, Friday 26 February 2010 14.11 GMT, Article history

[Elided Photograph - Lawyers for Binyam Mohamed opposed the removal of the passages from the judgment on the involvement of MI5 in his torture by US agents. Photograph: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images]

Damning court of appeal findings about the "dubious" involvement of security officials in the mistreatment of former Guantánamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed were made public today, thwarting government efforts to keep them secret.

In a remarkable sequence of events, appeal court judges considering the case of Mohamed, who claims he was tortured, reinstated their findings about the security services, stating that some officials "appear to have a dubious record when it comes to human rights and coercive techniques".

Issuing a final judgment in Mohamed's appeal against the foreign secretary over his treatment, the judges said that the dubious record extended to "frankness about the UK's involvement with the mistreatment of Mr Mohamed by US officials".

Opposition politicians and human rights campaigners welcomed the court's decision and called for a judicial inquiry into the UK's complicity in torture. But the home secretary, Alan Johnson, remained defiant, rejecting the judges' findings.

"We totally reject any suggestion that the security services have a systemic problem in respecting human rights," he said.

"We wholly reject too that they have any interest in suppressing or withholding information from ministers or the courts."

The judgment comes after widespread criticism of government attempts to have the remarks, made by the master of the rolls, Lord Neuberger, removed from the public domain.

The government's lawyer, Jonathan Sumption QC, wrote to the court asking that the comments, contained in the draft judgement, be removed because of their "exceptionally damaging criticism" of the security services.

In what is being seen as a triumph for open justice and judicial independence, the judges largely rejected Sumption's request – placing the initial judgment in the public domain and amending the final version to clarify that the findings related to the treatment of Mohamed.

Neuberger rejected Sumption's criticism that the original version of paragraph 168 went "well beyond" the evidence heard by the high court.

The judge said its contents were "fully supported by the findings of the court based on the evidence".

The decision is likely to provoke controversy, after MPs and the MI5 chief, Jonathan Evans, rejected criticism of the security services. Despite coming under pressure to water down its findings, the court repeated its powerful criticism today.

"[The record of security service officials] regrettably, but inevitably, must raise the question of whether any statement in the certificates on an issue concerning such treatment can be relied on ... Not only is there an obvious reason for distrusting any UK government assurance based on SyS [security service] advice and information, because of previous 'form' but the foreign office and the SyS have an interest in the suppression of such information."

In the statement the judges took the unprecedented step of waiving confidentiality and reading out previously unpublished remarks about the conduct of MI5.

Significantly, the verdict clarified the judges' views of the responsibility of the foreign secretary in Mohamed's case.

The statement said: "The good faith of the foreign secretary is not in question, but he prepared the certificates partly, possibly largely, on the basis of information and advice provided by SyS personnel."

Nevertheless, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, Edward Davey, said the judgment was "deeply embarrassing" for the foreign secretary, David Miliband, as it implied he "had the wool pulled over his eyes".

Former home secretary David Davis, who raised the Mohamed case in parliament, accused the government of "bullying" the court and said a judicial inquiry was necessary "both to re-establish Britain's moral reputation, and allow agencies to put this behind them in continuing their battle against terrorism".

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil rights group Liberty, described the case as "devastating" for the security services.

"You cannot have morale in your security services or public confidence if you're not being straight about the mistakes of the past," she said.


GOP to the Unemployed: Tough Shit
Email Your Thoughts To: jim_bunning@bunning.senate.gov

We thank GOP Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky for providing irrefutable proof, if we still need it, that our Congress is broken. Bunning single-handedly held up a 30-day extension of unemployment and health benefits to millions of Americans because...well, it's not clear why. He even complained he had to miss a basketball game to do it. Then he nailed his reputation by responding to one last plea about the plight of the unemployed with, "Tough shit." What a guy. What a system.

"I'm trying to make a point to the people of the United States," said Bunning. --Abby Zimet


Clashes erupt at Al-Aqsa mosque after stone attack

Agence France-Presse
Jerusalem, February 28, 2010
First Published: 15:13 IST(28/2/2010)
Last Updated: 15:15 IST(28/2/2010)


Clashes broke out at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday after police entered to arrest Palestinians who had hurled rocks at visitors they believed were Jewish extremists.

At least 13 people were wounded just outside the compound when dozens of Palestinians pelted stones at Israeli police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, according to an AFP correspondent.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said security forces entered the compound after Muslim worshippers threw rocks at the group of unidentified visitors.

"Around 20 young people are holed up inside the mosque, and as a preventive measure we have decided to limit access to the esplanade to men over the age of 50," as well as women and children, he added.

Dozens of police wearing riot gear were deployed throughout the narrow streets of the Old City as loudspeakers on minarets called on Muslims to "save Jerusalem."

An official from Jerusalem's Islamic Supreme Committee said the Palestinians hurled stones at people they believed to be Jewish extremists intending to pray at the site and upset the delicate status quo.

"They threw rocks because (Israeli) settlers have been surrounding the compound for two or three days and had said they intended to enter on Sunday or Monday to pray at Al-Aqsa," Adnan Husseini told AFP.

Jews, who observe the Purim holiday on Sunday and Monday, are allowed into the compound, but authorities prevent them from praying there.

The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is Islam's third-holiest site, after Mecca and Medina. Muslims refer to it as the Al-Haram Al-Sharif and believe it to be the place where the Prophet Mohammed made a night journey to heaven on horseback.

It is the holiest site in the world for Jews, who believe it was the location of the Second Temple, torched by the Romans in 70 AD, and refer to it as the Temple Mount.

The site has been bitterly contested for decades, and the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada, erupted there in September 2000 after a visit by Ariel Sharon, a right-wing politician who went on to become Israeli prime minister.

Violence erupted on several occasions starting last September after Muslim worshippers hurled stones at people they believed to be Jews seeking to pray at the site during major holidays.

Israeli authorities insisted the visitors were French tourists.

The latest disturbances comes after days of clashes in the West Bank town of Hebron over an Israeli plan to renovate the Tomb of the Patriarchs there, another ancient site revered by Jews and Muslims.

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