Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taking a stand against war - by Scott Ritter

As someone who has been urging focused citizen activism for some time now, I find it heartening that there are those in the United States who put action to words and seek to lead by example. This is the case with Chicago Alderman Joe Moore, who, together with seven of his 49 colleagues (Toni Preckwinkle, Sandi Jackson, Eugene Schulter, Robert Fioretti, Freddrenna Lyle, Ricardo Munoz and Mary Ann Smith), has prepared a resolution for the Chicago City Council opposing war on Iran. By itself, this resolution most probably will not serve to alter the policies currently being pursued by the Bush administration. But when a great American city such as Chicago takes the lead in expressing its rejection of irresponsible national policy, other cities should, and will, take notice. 
[ ... ]
"WHEREAS, This campaign bears a strong resemblance to that waged during the lead-up to the Iraq War and occupation, with the use of unreliable sources, exaggerated threat assessments, the selective use of information, unsubstantiated accusations about Iran's nuclear program and its supply of weapons to Iraqi forces as centerpieces of their case to the American people for aggressive action against Iran."

If the current war in Iraq has taught the American people anything, it is that we can never again have our nation led to war based upon unsubstantiated data, rumor and speculation. Effective congressional oversight could have retarded the Bush propaganda on Iraq, especially concerning the WMD issue and the allegations of ties between Saddam's regime and al-Qaida. The fact that Congress accepted, without question, every negative story produced by the Bush administration, and that the product of this abrogation of constitutional mandate was parroted as fact by a too-compliant media, should serve as a wake-up call that past patterns of behavior are repeating themselves today, this time in the case of Iran. 

If one replaces Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress with Alireza Jafazadeh and the Mujahedeen Khalq, and "Curveball" (the disgraced INC-planted intelligence source cited by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in his infamous February 2003 presentation before the U.N. Security Council) with the "magic laptop computer" (provided by the MEK to U.S. intelligence, and cited by the U.S.  as the sole source for many of its claims concerning an ongoing Iranian nuclear weapons program), it is clear that there is much to be suspicious of regarding the Bush administration case against Iran. 

When the United States cites the capture of alleged Iranian "Quds Force" officials as proof of Iranian perfidy inside Iraq, and then releases these same individuals months later, citing a lack of intelligence value and the fact that these prisoners pose no security threat, it becomes clear that the U.S. case against Iran is built primarily upon ideologically motivated smoke and mirrors. The Congress must never again allow itself to be used as a rubber stamp for unnecessary war, but it will act only when pushed to do so by an alarmed and awakened constituency. 

"WHEREAS, Iran has not threatened to attack the United States, and no compelling evidence has been presented that Iran poses a real and imminent threat to the security and safety of the United States that would justify an unprovoked unilateral pre-emptive military attack."

In fact, there is overwhelming evidence that Iran, rather than conspiring against the U.S. in the Middle East, has actively reached out to Washington in an effort to normalize relations. Iran was the first Islamic nation to condemn the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack on the United States, and Iran coordinated with the U.S. military on certain aspects of the American military response in Afghanistan. Likewise, Iran was supportive of the U.S. drive to remove Saddam Hussein from power. 

In May of 2003, Iran made a bold diplomatic approach to the United States which sought to resolve outstanding issues such as the Iranian nuclear program, Iranian support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and Iran's relationship with Israel. It was the United States which rejected this outreach, not Iran. The fact is that it is the unilateral policy objectives of the Bush administration, which revolve around regime change in Iran, which serve as the principal threat to regional peace and security in the Middle East today. Iran poses a threat to no nation, least of all the United States.

"WHEREAS, We support the people of Iran who are struggling for freedom and democracy, and nothing herein should be construed as supportive of their government, the Islamic Republic of Iran, but a unilateral, pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iran could well prove counterproductive to the cause of promoting freedom and democracy in that country."

We should never forget that while Iran functions as a theocracy in terms of ultimate constitutional authority, both its legislative and executive branches are a product of democratic processes. The best course of action American policy could take would be to create the conditions inside Iran where the genuine will of the people can be expressed through the existing democratic structures. This is best accomplished by creating increased opportunities for interaction between Iran and the rest of the world. Such interaction would go far to moderate the theocratic structures inside Iran. The current policies of economic sanctions and political isolation of Iran are counterproductive in this regard, and serve to strengthen the political power of those conservative institutions that Americans hope would be undermined by an Iranian population moderated by international interaction.

"WHEREAS, A 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), representing the consensus view [of] all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, concluded that Iran froze its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and an earlier NIE concluded that Iran's involvement in Iraq "is not likely to be a major driver of violence there."

While the United States has been plagued by the increasing politicization of intelligence—prime examples being the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq and the creation within the Pentagon of a special intelligence entity (the Office of Special Programs, under the guidance of Douglas Feith) whose sole purpose was to introduce into the policymaking body data and information which had been rejected by the intelligence community as unfounded—the entire work of the intelligence community cannot be dismissed out of hand, especially when it publishes a major finding which clashes with the position held by an activist administration. The fact that the U.S. intelligence community and the Bush administration do not agree on the specifics of how Iran constitutes a threat to America in and of itself begs intervention in the form of congressional oversight. It is not unpatriotic for Congress to hold hearings for the purpose of discerning the facts surrounding a given policy. When such policies involve war or the threat of war, the need is even more imperative, and the failure of Congress to act accordingly represents a dereliction of duty which must not be ignored by the American people, whom Congress purports to represent.

"WHEREAS, an attack on Iran is likely to cause untold thousands of American and Iranian casualties, lead to major economic dislocations, and threaten a much wider and more disastrous war in the Middle East."

While it is currently in vogue for ideologues and proponents of neoconservative ideology to promote a "limited airstrike" against Iran, anyone with any military experience will point out that no plan survives initial contact with the enemy. The Iranian government will have a say in how it will choose to respond in case of an unprovoked American military strike, however limited it might be. Any Iranian retaliation might prompt an American counter-retaliation, and one might find a limited strike quickly spiraling out of control and threatening full-scale conflagration. The American economy has been bankrupted by the war in Iraq, and the American military, especially the Army and Marines, is stretched to its breaking point. While an argument can be made that any limited strike would rely primarily on the resources of the Air Force and Navy, if the conflict escalates, this will no longer be the case. Given the fact that any attack on Iran would represent an elective war rather than a war of national security, there is no compelling reasoning which cites the so-called national interest for the United States to consider any military action against Iran, either now or in the future. 

"WHEREAS, a pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iran would violate international law and our commitments under the U.N. Charter and further isolate the U.S. from the rest of the world."

Most Americans remain ignorant of the laws which govern our nation, and the document which serves as the foundation of these laws. The United States Constitution, in Article 6, declares that international treaties and agreements ratified by a two-thirds vote in the Senate become the supreme law of the land. The United States is a signatory to the charter of the United Nations, and the charter has been ratified by the U.S. Senate. As such, the United States is bound by international law and its own Constitution to not only reject pre-emptive warfare (a notion cited by the Nuremburg tribunals as the greatest of all war crimes, since it is from pre-emptive war of aggression that all other war crimes are born), but note that the United States can justify going to war only as a result of legitimate self-defense (i.e., in response to an attack), per Article 51 of the U.N. charter, or as a result of a Chapter VII resolution of the United Nations Security Council authorizing the use of military force. 

The Bush administration violated every legal principle the United States claims to represent, internationally and domestically, when it pre-emptively invaded Iraq in 2003, without provocation and void of any Chapter VII authorization. Two wrongs do not make a right, and it is imperative that the Congress take action to make sure that the administration is not permitted to embark on a similarly illegal and illegitimate course of action regarding Iran. 

"WHEREAS, An attack on Iran is likely to inflame hatred for the U.S. in the Middle East and elsewhere, inspire terrorism, and lessen the security of Americans in Chicago and worldwide."

The reputation of the United States has been severely harmed by the irresponsible actions of the Bush administration in Iraq. Without condoning the actions of groups such as al-Qaida, it is important to understand that irresponsible American action abroad does manifest itself in a backlash, and that often this backlash comes in the form of terrorism. Any U.S. attack on Iran would only reinforce the opinions of those in the world already disposed against the United States, and draw many more into their ranks. The only way to truly win the war on terror is to identify the point at which an individual decides to embrace terror as a means of achieving an objective, along with the means for which such a decision was made, and then to take actions to prevent that point from ever being reached. To operate as if American policy and actions in Iraq, and the potential of similar actions and activities in Iran, do not influence this equation is simply to ignore reality and embrace ignorance.

"WHEREAS, The Iraq war and occupation has already cost the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers, the maiming and wounding of over 38,000 American soldiers, the death and maiming of over one million Iraqi civilians."

The war in Iraq has already killed far too many people, American and Iraqi alike. This war is widely recognized as being unsustainable. The key question that must be answered by those who champion a "stay the course" approach is, "How big do you want the Iraqi War Memorial to be?" It is already 4,070-plus names too big. Expanding the conflict to include Iran would not only extend this unwinnable (and unjustified) war, but it would also expand the size of whatever memorial is eventually built to commemorate this national folly. And while America will probably never construct a memorial to the Iraqi people we are responsible for killing and wounding, it should be understood that these people will never be forgotten by their fellow Iraqis, and indeed the rest of the world. To extend this human suffering and tragedy into Iran would be to create a level of suffering for which America can never, and should never, be forgiven. 

"WHEREAS, According to the nonpartisan National Priorities Project, the Iraq War and occupation has cost American taxpayers more than $500 billion, the citizens of Chicago nearly $5.2 billion, and the citizens of each of Chicago's 50 wards an average of $104 million, and

"WHEREAS, Any conflict with Iran is likely to incur far greater costs and divert more precious national resources away from critical human needs in Chicago and its 50 wards."

As the American economy continues to suffer under the strains of the second most expensive war in U.S. history (after World War II), and as the Pentagon continues to consume national treasure which is sorely needed for domestic programs involving the health, education and general welfare of the people, it must be recognized that, in going to war against Iraq, President Bush actually declared war on the American people. Any military action against Iran would only magnify the economic consequences of this criminal folly.

"BE IT RESOLVED, That the City Council of the City of Chicago does hereby urge the Illinois Congressional delegation to clearly express the will of the people of Chicago in opposing any U.S. attack on Iran, and urging the Bush Administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with that nation, and

"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That suitable copies of the resolution be forwarded to President George W. Bush and all members of the Chicago Congressional delegation."

~ full article ~


UK surveillance now by committees, dubbed "tension monitoring"

More than 10 million people are to have their everyday disputes, their politics and their business lives checked by new "tension monitoring" committees.

The committees are to be set up to try to cut the risk of riots or disturbances in the aftermath of terrorist outrages or outbreaks of local racial trouble.

They will ask for and file reports on named troublemakers whose political activities are considered to be raising community tensions.

Reports on the behaviour and attitudes of local residents will be collected by community workers, neighbourhood wardens, local councillors and provided by voluntary organisations, according to a paper published by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears today.

It will then be considered by the monitoring committees run by town halls.

A sample "tension monitoring form" for use in checking on the likelihood of local racial or religious trouble asks for details of individuals considered to be making political trouble.

The monitoring committees will ask for information on those identified as troublemakers with includes "age, gender, ethnicity and faith" of those being reported on.

The call for monitoring of everyday life in the cause of "community cohesion contingency planning" was made by Mrs Blears in a paper aiming to help identify "tension hotspots" and improve cohesion - the Government's buzzword for reducing racial and religious strife.

The word was adopted in 2006 after the once-dominating left-wing doctrine of multiculturalism was dropped by Labour because it made tensions worse rather than better.

But the establishment of monitoring committees in town halls is likely to generate new concerns about spying and surveillance by local councils.

Concerns have deepened in recent weeks after the Daily Mail revealed that Poole council in Dorset had spied on a family's life for three weeks because it wrongly suspected the parents of abusing rules on school catchment areas.

There are also worries over the spread of new council quasi-police forces, like the bin police that recently gave a criminal record to a bus driver in Cumbria who left the lid of his family wheelie bin open by four inches. . .

JPMorgan Chase CEO: Recession Just Beginning

JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s chief executive said Monday that while the crisis in the credit markets appears to be three-quarters over, he believes a U.S. recession is just beginning.

"Even if the capital markets crisis resolves, it does not mean that this country will not go into a bad recession," said CEO James Dimon, whose bank saw its first-quarter profit fall by half due to the recent collapse of the U.S. mortgage market. "The recession just started."

~ more... ~


US confession: Weapons were not made in Iran after all

In a sharp reversal of its longstanding accusations against Iran arming militants in Iraq , the US military has made an unprecedented albeit quiet confession: the weapons they had recently found in Iraq were not made in Iran at all.

According to a report by the LA Times correspondent Tina Susman in Baghdad: "A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. A U.S. military spokesman attributed the confusion to a misunderstanding that emerged after an Iraqi Army general in Karbala erroneously reported the items were of Iranian origin. When U.S. explosives experts went to investigate, they discovered they were not Iranian after all."

The US , which until two weeks ago had never provided any proof for its allegations, finally handed over its "evidence" of the Iranian origin of these weapons to the Iraqi government. Last week, an Iraqi delegation to Iran presented the US "evidence" to Iranian officials. According to Al-Abadi, a parliament member from the ruling United Iraqi Alliance who was on the delegation, the Iranian officials totally refuted "training, financing and arming" militant groups in Iraq . Consequently the Iraqi government announced that there is no hard evidence against Iran.

In another extraordinary event this week, the US spokesman in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, for the first time did not blame Iran for the violence in Iraq and in fact did not make any reference to Iran at all in his introductory remarks to the world media on Wednesday when he described the large arsenal of weapons found by Iraqi forces in Karbala.

In contrast, the Pentagon in August 2007 admitted that it had lost track of a third of the weapons distributed to the Iraqi security forces in 2004/2005. The 190,000 assault rifles and pistols roam free in Iraqi streets today.

~ full article ~


The Superdelegate Transparency Project

The Superdelegate Transparency Project is the central gathering place for compiling primary and caucus results--Congressional district by Congressional district--for states that have to date held their races, and going forward until the Democratic nomination is secured. We are compiling the district-by-district results of the popular vote and pledged delegates, and then tracking these results against how superdelegates are currently pledged (or have publicly endorsed a candidate), and how they eventually vote. The aim of this project is to open up the Democratic nomination process, and to gauge what effect the superdelegates have on the nomination. Rather than hypotheticals at the end of this nomination process, we seek to make hard data available to all interested parties, including citizens, activists, journalists, bloggers, campaign staffers and people around the world who are following this U.S. election. This is the only project currently tracking this data at the district level.

The reporting arms of the project reside at the blogs at LiteraryOutpost, OpenLeft and DemConWatch, and at Off the Bus. The participatory arm is here on the wiki at Congresspedia, where we're keeping running tallies in each state/district, who the superdelegates are, and whom they are backing. The STP is intended as a collaborative project among all interested parties to bring transparency and accountability to the Democratic National Convention by providing citizens with information on how the superdelegates could impact the outcome of the nomination. is working on their own project, and they're looking for support from people who think superdelegates should vote based on the will of the people.

~ more... ~


Tom Waits Press Conference

States seize citizens' property to balance their budgets!!

From TheAlexJonesChannel
ABC News
May 12, 2008

The 50 U.S. states are holding more than $32 billion worth of unclaimed property that they're supposed to safeguard for their citizens. But a "Good Morning America" investigation found some states aggressively seize property that isn't really unclaimed and then use the money — your money — to balance their budgets.

Unclaimed property consists of things like forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed dividend checks and safe-deposit boxes abandoned when an elderly relative dies.

Banks and other businesses are required to turn that property over to the state for safekeeping. The problem is that the states return less than a quarter of unclaimed property to the rightful owners.

“The strategic target remains our population”

Reality Check: Got Psyops?

The (almost) untold story of the Pentagon's domestic propaganda campaign

by Terry Stulce

May 07, 2008

The propaganda campaign waged by the Bush administration to sell the Iraq war to the American people was addressed in this column four weeks ago.


This campaign was launched long before the invasion and continues unabated today.


Most are aware of the lies about W.M.D. and Saddam's connection to Al Quaeda.  We are also aware of the completely bogus stories of heroism by Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman, propaganda lies that besmirched the honorable service of both.


Then on April 20, David Barstow broke a gigantic story of how the U.S. government has been targeting the American public in a very sophisticated psyops (psychological operations) campaign.  The Pentagon plot involved using high-ranking former military officers to deliver propaganda in the form of "objective analysis."  These generals and colonels appeared repeatedly through many years, on every major network—ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox, delivering the government disinformation.


General Barry McCafferty, General Ken Allard, General Montgomery Meigs, and General Wayne Downing were a few of the familiar faces in the mainstream media that carried the Pentagon message.  There were at least 75 of these "sock puppets" (Gareth Porter's terminology for Pentagon lackeys).


Byran Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said that it was "a bit incredible" to think retired military officers could be "wound up" and turned into "puppets of the Defense Department."  Don Rumsfeld did not think this so "incredible," referring to his toadies as "talking heads" while other Defense Department memos referred to these sycophants as "message multipliers" and "surrogates." 


It would appear "incredible" that these supposedly intelligent and honorable men could be so co-opted and persuaded to be willing participants in this disgraceful propaganda campaign against the American people—except for one detail. Almost every one of these "talking heads" is dependent on the defense industry for their livelihood.  They represent defense contractors and defense industry lobbyists, and they are in the business of currying favor with the Pentagon.  Case solved.


The Pentagon instructed their surrogates not to quote their Pentagon briefers as sources for their "independent analysis."  Torie Clarke, the Pentagon flunky who oversaw this program, marveled at how "analysts seamlessly incorporated material from talking points and briefings as if it was their own."  One of her staff said, "You could see that they were messaging.  You could see they were taking verbatim what the secretary was saying or what technical specialists were saying.  And they were saying it over and over and over.  We were able to check on every single station and every one of our folks were up there delivering our message."


General James T. Conway, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs, presided over a meeting with the "sock puppets" and told them "The strategic target remains our population."


It appears that most of our so-called leaders in the Defense Department and the military don't know that psyops and propaganda directed at the American people are illegal. The actions of the Pentagon and their toadies have been despicable, but that's only half the story. There has not been a rush in the mainstream media to cover this story.  The most straightforward reason is that it proves them to be: 1) Corrupt, 2) Stupid, 3) Lazy or 4) All three. 


To allow your network to be used as a propaganda tool is disgraceful and un-American.  The American people deserve a media that is not a tool, shill or "message multiplier" for government propaganda.


However, kudos to the American people.  In spite of this massive psyop operation with the complicity of the mainstream media, 64 percent of us believe this war was not worth fighting, and 57 percent of us think there is no significant progress even though we have been bombarded with the propaganda of the "effectiveness" of the surge.  (Angus Reid Poll, April 2008.)


Terry Stulce is a local community and peace activist and a decorated Vietnam war veteran. He ran for the Democratic nomination for Congress in 2006.


'Our leaders are just a little more subtle about the ways they poison us'

From: The Dregulator: The Pundit Puppets

"The Pentagon pundits' lobbying disclosure forms help chart what can only be called a military-industrial-media complex. They also make clear that war is very good for at least some kinds of business."

Diane Farsetta, PR,

Center for Media and Democracy

Well, the most infuriating bummer about the endless and increasingly inane endgame of the Hilary/Obama struggle is the complete inability of news to cover actual news — the Pentagon Pundit Propaganda Scandal in particular. The rather stunning mainstream media blackout on this story has been one of the more demoralizing indications that we've been living our informational lives locked behind a series of steel doors in Uncle Cheney's basement for the last seven years.

The scandal, which you may or may not have heard anything about — which registered nary a blip on the horizon, really — was a huge front-page story in the New York Times, and then was not picked up for any additional reporting or comment by any of the mainstream news media, namely — ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN — who, naturally, are all guilty of using and approving of the use of Pentagon-approved, retired military experts — generals, admirals, etc.— as unbiased "analysts." These analysts were in fact cynically used by the Pentagon as "message multipliers" — read: willing to parrot administration talking points that were supportive and flattering to the administration and its war policies.

[ ... ]

The private sector of the defense industry essentially provides the de-facto retirement benefits for high-level military men — the golden parachute for silvered paratroopers. After years of hard work and sacrifice for modest pay, they finally get to cash in, in their later careers, as "consultants" — they sit on Boards of Directors, provide expertise, oversee studies. They represent their companies personally, and in doing so add their magnetism to the products and services their company is pitching. It is inestimably important that they get cozy with key figures in the Pentagon whose camaraderie can help their companies get contracts. The pundits were all working in some capacity as contractors for various private military industrial companies seeking contracts from the DoD. Access is a critical component to landing these contracts, particularly under an administration that consistently rewards loyalty and complicity above anything else, including expertise.

The Pentagon pundits were crack salesmen — they sold the war to the public by reciting verbatim Pentagon talking points in a tacit — if not explicit — exchange for selling contracts to the Pentagon. They were only too happy to do the Pentagon favors on TV to keep their access pump-primed.

A massive PSYOP was perpetrated on the American public. Truth is the first casualty of war. In this case, war was the direct result of casualties sustained by truth. The pundits were the delivery system — the cigarettes that delivered these cancerous untruths into our public dialogue.

But the pundits were also victims of PSYOP.

Retired Generals and Admirals are terribly vain, and this was used against them: they are all too eager to display their plumage and expertise. TV punditry is ego Viagra for the over-the-hill warrior chief. The retired military men get to feel vital and necessary and be the center of attention again; the Pentagon gets their loyalty and is friendly to pitches from their companies, and everyone is happy except the totally ignorant and manipulated American public, and thousands of dead and critically wounded people overseas — including our own troops, and numberless civilian casualties.

This greasy, frat-boy, insider loyalty filth has been responsible for some of the more outrageous missteps of this Administration — willingness to walk the party walk has been continuously rewarded above and beyond any other criteria. Stupid people got jobs that smart people should have had, and a lot of criminally stupid and stupidly criminal decisions were made. But such skeevy moves are of a piece with all of the actions of this administration: as the decision to drill for oil near polar bears becomes convenient, so scientists are hired to retrofit and tailor science to justify and minimize the environmental hazards of drilling for oil near polar bears. They do everything backward; it's more convenient for them that way.

Saddam gassed his people; our leaders are just a little more subtle about the ways they poison us, but any way you slice it, it's still technically authoritarian.


Waterboarding: the fact of torture cannot be denied

When the US government was first revealed to have used waterboarding as a means of interrogation, the argument offered in its defence was that it maintained the moral high ground because it did not constitute torture. A growing body of evidence is now emerging that points to a calculated strategy which openly recognised the technique as unlawful and yet side-stepped all other legal precedent by claiming the supremacy of governmental control in wartime.

Waterboarding is torture, unequivocally prohibited by internationally binding human rights law and denounced through the ages. The terminology may be new but the technique is not – the Spanish Inquisition referred to it as the toca, the Japanese in the 1940s and called it the "water cure", the Algerians in the 1950s called it "chiffon", and in South America in the 1980s it was known as "submarino".

The act of waterboarding effectively involves simulating the sense of drowning. A person is strapped to a board, often upside down, with their mouth gagged by a cloth. Streams of water are then poured over the face, causing near suffocation.

MF Consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist Dr William Hopkins describes it as torture in the extreme: "The victim's fear of drowning links with their most primal instinct for survival. The immediate response is to panic as the human reflexes struggle against an inability to breathe. The instinct is to try to escape while at the same time being crushed by the sense that it is futile to try to do so.

"It leaves victims helpless and unable to control an overwhelming sense of fear. They are convinced they are dying, and the lack of oxygen to their brain disables the emotional ability to cope.

"It is a particularly vile experience because of the power the torturer holds over the victim. The torturer creates the anticipatory fear that next time, they will not stop until the victim is dead. No doubt this is what the victims of waterboarding are told as torture never occurs in isolation – the physical suffering is always accompanied by psychological manipulation."

The sense of panic that torture produces can stay with victims for months, years and even a lifetime. The ordeal is re-lived with inescapable intensity, prompting flashbacks and anxiety about a total loss of control and imminent death.

Dr Hopkins adds: "Given what we know from thousands of victims seen by the Medical Foundation over the past two decades, waterboarding – like every other method of torture used by governments – dehumanises the individual and cripples their emotional and physical capacities."

The CIA has openly admitted that waterboarding has been used on at least four individuals since 2001. Around the same time, the US Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel was issuing memos that explicitly sanctioned the use of aggressive tactics, on the premise that the president's constitutional duty to protect the nation trumped international law in wartime. The bar on what was classed as torture was lifted to the point where anything except death, organ failure or the permanent impairment of a significant bodily function was permissible.

Most controversially, the memos suggested that the use of torture could be defended on the basis that it was not inflicted maliciously, but as a legitimate tool of interrogation.

The purpose of torture is to convince the victim that should they not provide the information expected of them, they will suffer. In the terms of the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, it is an act "by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person".

Whether the intent is malicious or not is irrelevant, the fact that it is deliberately calculated to cause severe pain and suffering is.

In the face of outcry over his administration's recourse to such abuse, US President George Bush unashamedly maintained that the US is a defender of human rights.

It is a claim that is utterly disingenuous. Human rights are about protecting individuals. Torture is about shattering lives. The two do not equate – decades of history and those who survive torture are living proof of that.

~ Source ~


Waterboarding: the most horrific experience of my life

Some of the best brains in the United States, together with some of the weaker ones, have combined recently to try to decide whether "waterboarding" is or is not a form of torture. This problem seems to occupy a surprising amount of time and involves not only very senior people but also President Bush personally.

I know the answer to this difficulty and I will supply it later in this article. Indeed, the solution is quite simple, but it requires personal experience. There is really no scope for argument at all.

It is easy to confuse torture and ill-treatment, both of which have been widespread throughout the whole of history. In everyday terms, ill-treatment is self-explanatory and implies deliberate bad treatment, often as a form of punishment. It is today widespread and looks like being with us until the end of time. Sometimes the intention is that the victim should not survive.

Torture, on the other hand, is ill-treatment but with a specific purpose. This purpose is almost always to persuade the victim to provide information that he has and that he does not want to disclose. It follows that it is preferable that the victim should be kept alive because death puts an end to the prospect of obtaining information. Sometimes victims die, however, because of the ferocity of the torture, which is a very dreadful death indeed. Perhaps even worse, victims are sometimes killed when they have provided the information required.

The variety of forms of torture embraces the full range of human ingenuity. Indeed, there have been people who as a form of employment have specialised in devising treatment and procedures that give rise to ever-increasing decrees of pain and discomfort. There seems to be no limit to the techniques and to the pain itself.

For historical and cultural reasons, which we need not explore here, many of the most dreadful tortures have been devised and used in China and Japan, up to quite recent times and including the Second World War.

One of these has been widely known in the Far East as the water torture and it is this which, with adjustments, is now quoted in the US as "waterboarding". The water torture was extensively used by the Kempeitai, the military police branch of the Imperial Japanese Army, in South East Asia during the Japanese occupation which came to an end in 1945.

I am probably the only person in the UK, and possibly even in the Western world, to have suffered personally the full-scale traditional water torture and to have survived. This arose from having been a lieutenant in the Royal Signals in the Second World War. My personal experience of systematic organised and deliberate torture dates from August 1943. In that year I was in a small PoW camp in Kanchanaburi, Siam, [now Thailand] known as the Sakamoto Butai. This was the PoW camp supporting the main Japanese Army mechanical workshops, responsible for maintaining the machinery used on the construction of the infamous Burma-Siam Railway. The Japanese troops working there were almost all technical personnel, and were mostly reasonable and fairly civilised men. The PoW camp consisted of about 200 men, mostly British and mostly captured in Singapore the previous year. We also were supposed to be technicians of various kinds. The main problem in being a PoW is usually not the physical problem of food, or even of basic survival. The problem is one of noninformation. No one receives any reliable information about the outside world. This is a very serious matter psychologically.

[ ... ]

Eventually, after several days, we reached the point where the Kempeitai clearly felt they were not getting anywhere. They announced that they were going to take '"further steps".

This is the beginning of the classic torture situation. The interrogators, unable to learn what they want by conventional question and answer, decide that they have to resort to conventional torture.

One morning I was led out to the back of the Kempeitai building, where the simple apparatus for the historic water torture was laid out. From its availability I wondered if they used it quite often. I was laid on my back on a bench; my arms, still broken and almost useless, were placed across my chest, my face was covered by a cloth and a tap feeding a hose-pipe was turned on. It was all so simple. To encourage me to say something the senior Japanese man beat me from time to time with the branch of a tree. This did not do my arms any good at all. The interpreter, who did not seem sympathetic to the whole procedure, held my left hand. I suspected that he wanted to make sure that I remained alive.

The whole operation was a long and agonising sequence of near-drowning, choking, vomiting and muscular struggling with the water flowing with ever-changing force. To put it mildly, it was ghastly, quite the worst experience of my life. There were occasional intervals for interrogation. How long the torture lasted, I do not know. It covered a period of some days, with periods of unconsciousness and semi-consciousness. Eventually I was dumped in my cell, which was so small it offered little scope for movement. At about this time two of my colleagues were beaten to death. Their bodies were dumped in a latrine where they may well remain to this day.

~ more... ~


Bringing a focus on a human rights issue

Unike Gavin Hood's Rendition, which addressed the same concerns but with a wider, multi-character perspective, Threapleton's film was always going to have the narrow focus of one man's experience. And, while the two films' respective producers engaged in "dialogue" to ensure they weren't doubling up on the portrayal of the torture elements involved, Threapleton was determined that water-boarding - a CIA favourite that involves holding a cloth over the victim's face and then pouring water over it to give the sensation of drowning - was vital to his story.

"It was always going to be paramount, " he says, "It's at the very heart of the public debate surrounding the legalities of extraordinary rendition and the way what America calls 'enhanced interrogation' crosses into full blown torture. We researched as much as possible how the CIA use specific techniques of psychological manipulation so that when we came to do the interrogation scenes there would be a real air of authenticity. For me it had to be as explicit and as unpleasant as possible."

The film's dramatic impetus was based on the case of Canadian computer specialist Maher Arar, arrested at John F. Kennedy Airport in September 2002 and taken to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured for a year. But although Amnesty put Threapleton in touch so he could gauge the accuracy of the character's emotional responses, he insists it was always intended as a fictional portrayal of the idea of extraordinary rendition.

"As far as we know there's not been a case of anyone being lifted from London's streets and put through something like this, but I do take the liberty of calling to question an establishment that is responsible for this man's fate but which presents a blank response when confronted with its machinations."

Armed with a 25 page treatment arc with fixed beginning and end and broad narrative strokes in-between, Threapleton then workshopped the story, getting his cast to improvise in true Mike Leigh tradition.

"We wanted the actors to understand their characters as fully as possible and I worked extensively with Omar to that end. The treatment we had allowed the actors to improvise their way through what was a very bleak landscape and it became very tense. I'd kept Andy away from Omar so as to make their relationship as spontaneous as possible on set and the interrogation sequences proved very interesting. You already had the inherent dramatic tension of the captive and the interrogator on opposite sides of the table and when you applied the rigours of the techniques we'd researched and allowed them to run with it, there were some very surprising results. The physical element provides a very strong sense of realism and the two of them found it extremely gruelling."

~ more... ~


Israeli prisons: Using Palestinian family members to pressure detainees

She describes being put in a cell one meter by one meter where she was able to sit with her arms around her knees and not allowed to sleep. "Every time I started to sleep they came and took me for more questions. They thought if I was tired I would say something about my brother or my friends. I never said anything."

Approximately 10,000 Palestinians are in Israeli prisons. One hundred of them are Palestinian Legislative Council members. Torture is widespread in Israeli prisons, as reported by the Palestinian Prisoner Society, and the prisoners routinely engage in acts of resistance such as hunger strikes in order to bring attention to their suffering. A young woman, Iman, just reaching 30 years old, does not want to remember what happened to her: the sexual abuse, the torture: but she tells for the sake of the others in the prisons. She tells the truth, which many former Palestinian political prisoners are unwilling to do.

"They tied me to a small chair, my hands were cuffed from behind. They peed on a bag and put it on my head. It smelled so bad. It was so dirty. They hit me. They wanted me to talk, but I didn't. And they put dirty water on my head and hot water and my leg and arms." She is heavily scarred on her arms and legs from Israeli interrogators dumping boiling water on her body and putting out their cigarettes on her. "And they caught my hair and swung me around by it. My hair was really long, but now I cut it because if they take me another time, if they arrest me again, I don't want them to have this as my weak point."

The Public Committee against Torture in Israel reports that the illegal exploitation of family members, who, in most instances, are not suspects themselves, has on many occasions caused severe psychological suffering to interrogees and to their innocent relatives. In more extreme cases, this method takes the form of psychological torture of a detainee rendering him a victim of a cruel psychological manipulation via the illegal exploitation of a close relative. In one such case, detailed in the report, the pressure caused by this form of abuse led the detainee to attempt suicide on several occasions.

"I wasn't allowed to go to the bathroom. I am a girl and I needed to go, but I couldn't. Later in the days when they let me there was a soldier with me always, a girl. But it was so dirty I didn't know how to use it. She hit me in the eye when I didn't answer one of her questions. It was swollen. With my friend the soldiers, the men, put their hands all over her body, you know what I mean."

The report "Family Matters, Using Family Members to Pressure Detainees Under Israeli General Security Services Interrogation", written by Attorney Aviel Liner, details a sampling of six cases involving the exploitation of family members. Some of the cases describe a "charade" presented before the detainee showing him that his loved ones are under detention and, like the interrogee, undergoing severe physical torture. In other cases, family members were, in fact, arrested and sometimes tortured, although they were not suspected of any offence whatsoever, all for the purpose of applying pressure on a relative undergoing interrogation. One of the cases outlined in the report concerns a detained couple held for an extended period of time, subjected to severe physical torture, and, in addition, refused knowledge of the fate of their young daughters, aged two and a half and six months old, who were used as bargaining chips by the GSS.

Iman from Deheisha Refugee Camp talks more about her arrest when Israeli forces wanted information about her brother who is now in prison for 21 lifetimes plus 50 years. She was a "bargaining chip."

~ more... ~


Prostitute Numbers Expected to Jump During DNC

Denver's goal to make August's Democratic National Convention eco-friendly could overshadow other important issues - such as the spike in prostitutes being imported to town to cater to the city's 35,000 guests.
[ ... ]
The exact number of sex workers trafficked into the city for the DNCC would be impossible to calculate.

But many metro area strip bars have already tripled their staff in preparation for the convention, said Stephanie Sharp, who has done outreach work with Denver prostitutes and works for the STD division of the Colorado Department of Public Health.

"[The police] have a whole list of things they have to be concerned about as well, and prostitution and sex trafficking is not at the top," Moon added.

State Rep. Alice Borodkin, D-Denver, who has worked to crack down on human trafficking the last three years, said the convention could be a good opportunity to make contact with prostitutes brought into Denver, but logistically any outreach effort would be complicated.

"My personal feeling is that we need to do a lot more. I'm not 100 percent convinced that people understand what they're looking at," Borodkin said.

Sharp said ideally outreach groups will join forces to offer resources and options outside of prostitution to any trafficked-in women.

Denver 2008 Convention Host Committee spokesman Chris Lopez referred questions to Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

Of course the spike in sex workers and human trafficking isn't unique to Denver's August convention.

According to a February article in the Rocky Mountain News:

Officer Ana Aguirre, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles police, which hosted the DNC in 2000, said there's "definitely a spike" in prostitution during large events like political conventions.

In Denver, said police spokesman Sonny Jackson, "We're preparing to handle a variety of issues that may come up."

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's office did not immediately return a call for comment.

[ ... ]

Women in Denver typically enter prostitution at the age of 11 or 12, slightly younger than the national average, Sharp said.

To make matters worse, Denver is "almost completely pimp controlled" with pimps controlling almost all of the women who work as prostitutes through psychological manipulation and violence, Sharp said.

Of the 500 Denver prostitutes that Sharp has interviewed, she said only a handful worked for themselves.

Moon and Sharp gave their talk, Human Trafficking and Consumerism, Friday as part of the University of Denver's Sexual Assault Awareness Week.

Human trafficking is a $44 billion a year industry, according to event organizers.

~ full article ~


Spain: The CGT versus Ford

From Molly's Blog :
The following article is translated from an article appearing today (Monday May 12) in the online version of the Spanish anarchist magazine Rojo Y Negro. The Spanish original is available at said site. Royo Y Negro is an official publication of the Confederciòn General del Trabajo(General Confederation of Labour), the CGT. The CGT is the largest functioning anarcho-syndicalist union in the world, having about 100,00 claimed members and representing many times more than that in union elections, perhaps over 2 million workers. It is the third largest union in modern day Spain. The CGT has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the ideas of anarchosyndicalism are indeed still relevant in the modern world and that it is possible to build an union that is both popular and anarchist.

The following deals with a labour dispute at the Ford plant in Almussafes, a suburb of the city of Valencia in Spain. It seems that, unlike here in North America where the unions representing autoworkers are much more famous for striking deals with management rather than fighting for their members, at least some auto workers in Spain are represented by unions that understand what the term "union" means.


In the week of May 19 to 23 the CGT will launch a strike at Ford Almussafes against the cutting of rights .

The CGT trade union section at Ford Almussafes, which was present at the two meetings held last Friday at the factory , today felt that "the management has not expressed any interest in solving the serious problem that the announcement of cuts to workers' rights has led to in the plant", so it has called a work stoppage for the week of 19 to 23 May, failing to identify a particular day, informed sources said in an union statement .

Monday May 12, 2008

The CGT will protest in this way against the proposal from the company to increase production by changing the shift regime and avoiding a Labour Regulation File (ERE)(Molly Note- I have trouble translating the Spanish "legalese" 'Expediente de Regulacion de Empleo' into English legalese. I assume it means something like being cited for unfair labour practices) when the plant ceases to produce the Fiesta and Ka models in September, to focus solely on Focus. This despite the changes made yesterday by the company to its initial plan, which was supported by the UGT, the majority union.
The first meeting took place yesterday as a result of the request for negotiations voiced by the three unions contrary to the 'cuts' (CCOO, CGT and PUT). In its view, involving the company plan , who argued that his proposal is the 'only path' for achieving the goals of producing 1,400 cars per day from September to December, was regretted/rejected by the CGT.
So, before the presentation of an 'alternative proposal' produced by these unions with the idea of achieving those same goals, 'without violating any labour law', executives of Ford argued that, "but you should know some things, it is not possible to reach optimal production without reducing the meal time to 15 minutes and without introducing new shifts of six consecutive days".
The second of those meetings was to address the Advisory Committee (the president and secretary of the committee, plus the general secretaries of the four unions present at the factory), where the company "slightly"changed the content of its earlier proposal.
They announced that they would not require workers to work six days for the completion of the four working days that are calculated in the total count (as a result of the new calendar) and that they would also put a special transport during the holidays that people will work starting from September.
However, for the secretary general of CGT in Ford, Francisca Cuesta, the changes announced by the company "does not substantially alter the content of the cuts" as it keeps changing the agreement and timetable now in place and rights that are so important for workers are severely reduced , such as catering and two days rest on weekends.
It regretted that such measures respond to the unilateral application of the policy of cost reduction that Ford executives are still so obsessed for years. These cuts, he said, seriously infringe on workers' health and violate their right to have enough time for family life'.
'The most pathetic part of this initiative by Ford is that the removal of the dining room does not solve any of the issues in question, because it is still necessary need is to work two more days a week'. To do this, 'there are formulas that do not involve compulsion, such as financial compensation or to make do with more volunteers to work on weekends, recruited for two days'.
Given the lack of responsiveness of the company to the new proposals being made , the CCOO , CGT and PUT unions ,without revealing concrete details, called for a first strike, within the week of 19 to 23 May.

The Gospel of Impending Doom

The Federal Reserve is pouring hundreds of billions of excess dollars into the economy to hold off an economic crash. The longer it does this, the worse the resulting inflation will be; more importantly, however, the longer it pursues this radically irresponsible policy, the worse the recession will be when a new Federal Reserve Board must crush the money supply long enough to drain out the staggering greenback overhang. Interest rates, which will already be rising because of inflation expectations embedded in them, will skyrocket because interest rates are the price of money, and when the supply of anything contracts, its price goes up. Business investment, already laboring under tight credit conditions, will grind to a standstill, as will consumer spending on anything other than basics, which will absorb a greater and greater share of income in the spiral of accelerating inflation caused by the almost incomprehensible oversupply of money progressively eroding the purchasing power of each dollar circulating in the economy.

On the international front, as the dollar continues its inexorable plunge into Second World currency weakness, U.S. exports to other countries will rise as our goods become cheaper overseas, and foreign imports to the United States will become more expensive. That has two sour notes. First, as imports become more expensive on American shelves, the domestic substitutes right beside them on the shelves will rise in price by the so-called "substitution effect," fed as it will be by the excess money that will fuel the demand-pull inflation at the retail level. Second, as Americans buy fewer imports, foreign reserves of dollars, which are the means by which our government, our businesses, and our households have been able to borrow so much money for the past several decades, will begin to dry up; and with the U.S. government spending in stupendous excess of the tax revenues it draws, the U.S. Treasury in the years ahead will suck up what little there will be of foreign capital available for lending, leaving both households and private businesses with virtual bread crumbs of lendable funds, especially once the Fed begins the long, gruesome process of letting the economy slowly absorb in real output gains what will ultimately be the trillions of dollars in excess liquidity poured in by the Bush Administration's Federal Reserve.

All of the righteous, legitimate, and perhaps even understated condemnation of the Bush Administration and its Federal Reserve aside for a while, the pertinent questions on most people's minds revolve around what is to come; and by no means are the answers pleasant. Even under the most responsible, intelligent, and take-charge President—of which none appear to be on hand for the up-coming election—the economy and its constituents will suffer, and the suffering will be severe.

No, the United States economy is not in a "recession," yet, despite the premature squealing of quite a few people. Although some parts of the country might already be experiencing negative economic growth, according to the latest figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Commerce Department, the overall economy actually grew in the first quarter of 2008, albeit at an anemic rate of just 0.6 percent, matching the growth rate for the final quarter of 2007; and, although the Commerce Department is notorious for revising such GDP growth rate numbers several times, the signs simply are not there of a widespread recession underway for the U.S. as a whole. Americans have not seen a severe recession in more than a generation. The last bad one was caused by the contractionary monetary policy of the Federal Reserve under the leadership of Chairman Paul Volker, President Jimmy Carter's appointee; Volker's Fed aggressively clamped down on the money supply to drain out the excess money that had been building at a greater or lesser pace for more than a decade. Volker did not let go until not only the inflation had abated, but so too had the far more important expectation of future inflation. Recessions since then have been relatively short and mild by comparison, and the "recession" that heralded the beginning of the current Administration was not a recession by the technical measure of two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth, but it was certainly more than enough of a pretext for George W. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress to get their way with drastic tax cuts to "stimulate" the economy, a siren call the GOP has used in the past, most notably at the outset of the Reagan years and, before that, near the end of the Eisenhower Administration. Unlike Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, who led their party's parade to the trough of wildly generous tax cuts for the rich, Eisenhower resisted the tax cut bleatings of his fellow Republicans and, in so doing, was able to deliver several years of balanced federal budgets, unlike either Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. Of course, in all fairness at least to the current President of the United States, few are those even among the professional apologists for Mr. Bush who would accuse him of being the latter-day incarnation of President Eisenhower in fiscally responsible leadership, much less in statesmanship and general intelligence.

Observation of Animal Behavior in the Prediction of UnNatural Disasters (Satire)

" ... But, what about the prediction of unnatural disasters? Is there a way to predict the occurrence of these events?

Well, there might be.

I am advancing a new hypothesis relating to the observation of animals for the prediction of unnatural disasters, particularly terrorist attacks. But, these predictions will be based on the observation of two-legged animals, namely humans.

The fact that some humans have shown strange behavior before the occurrence of a terrorist attack is well known and has been extensively documented. For example, it was widely reported that, eight hours before the September 11 events, San Francisco mayor Willie Brown received a strange call, from whom he described as his airport security, (later it was known that it was from Condi Rice, who apparently was moonlighting as a baggage handler at SFO) advising him to be cautious about air traveling.

In the same fashion, it became known that, just four days before the 9/11 events, Florida governor Jeb Bush signed an executive order authorizing the use of the Florida National Guard in the event of "acts of terrorism."

But Willie Brown and Jeb Bush were not the only ones. It was reported that Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying commercial airliners in the weeks before September 11. Even more revealing is the fact that, though the Pentagon is perhaps the building housing more generals per square feet, no general was reported hurt after the 9/11 attack to the Pentagon. Some people have speculated that the generals got their foreknowledge from an ultra secret Pentagon experiment in extra sensory perception and remote viewing.

Actually, far from being isolated incidents, these cases of estrange human behavior prior to an unnatural disaster abound. On October 2005, a terrorist attack on New York's subway was thwarted when some highly placed officials in the Department of Homeland Security sent e-mails to their relatives and close friends to stay out of the subway from October 7 through 10th. Some of the recipients of the e-mails in turn send e-mails to their friends, thus starting an informational chain reaction. Eventually, the information reached the Mayor's office, who apparently had been left out of the loop. He immediately ordered to put thousands of extra police officers on patrol in the subways. Once they discovered that the cat was out of the bag, the officials at the Department of Homeland Security downplayed the threat, and called it a hoax.

On the day of the London bombings, Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netannyahu, who was in Scotland attending a G8 meeting and was on his way to a London hotel to speak in a conference, was instructed by British authorities to stay put and not going anywhere. A few minutes later an explosion destroyed the Liverpool Street subway station, close to the hotel, killing many Londoners.

Also, it is interesting to note that the day the Alfred B. Murrah building was destroyed in Oklahoma City, no ATF of FBI field agents, normally working in the building offices, were hurt, because they had called in sick that day. In the same fashion, despite the fact that the largest CIA office in Manhattan was located in one of the World Trade Center buildings, no CIA field agent was reported killed on September 11. Also, even though the WTC was located very close to Wall Street, no senior banker was hurt in the WTC disaster. Moreover, in the cases of the Murrah building, the WTC attack, and the London bombings, there had been simulation exercises previous to the "terrorist" attacks.

Moreover, there are some types of two-legged animals who, year after year, have been predicting unnatural phenomena with an extraordinary accuracy. I am talking about members of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Just a couple of years after the end of WWII, CFR member George Kennan predicted the beginning of a Cold War with the Soviet Union and, Bingo!, a few moths later the Cold War had begun.

[ ... ]

Consequently, I am proposing the creation of a special hotline or Web site where people could call or e-mail to report any strange behavior by senior members of our government, Congress, Supreme Court judges, CIA, FBI, FEMA, Office of Homeland Security senior officials, Pentagon generals and senior CFR members.

The information would be checked to make sure the observations were not caused by other circumstances commonly known to affect the behavior of these particular type of two-legged animals, such as lying, stealing, disinforming or prevaricating. And to avoid issuing false warnings, the data would be used in conjunction with other monitoring activities such as observations of the World Economic Forum or Bilderberger Group meetings, bipartisan (in the Conspirators' lingo, "bipartisan" actually means "CFR-controlled") Congress commission hearings, Bohemian Grove gatherings, Skull & Bones reunions, United Nations sessions, and other places where this type of two-legged animals usually gather together to secretly conspire about how to change the world to screw the rest of us for their own benefit.

A computer program would then analyze the incoming messages to determine where they have originated. A sudden surge of calls or e-mails from a particular area disclosing that the two-legged animals under observation had stampeded to secure undisclosed underground locations, like Mount Weather in Virginia, Raven Rock in Maryland, or the Rockefellers' underground bunkers inside Iron Mountain in upstate New York, might indicate that an unnatural disaster is imminent. Danger signals would be posted in the Web site, and interested citizens would be notified via phone and e-mail.

Among the danger signals to watch I suggest:

- Unannounced, unusual fire or antiterrorist drills,

- Unusual absence or sudden disappearance of senior, key executives or government officials,

-- Rumors that some businessmen have recently raised the insurance of their tall buildings, and that the new contracts protection from loses from terrorist attacks,

- Children of senior FEMA, FBI, Office of Homeland Security officials suddenly stopping taking subways or other means of public transportation, or avoiding driving through tunnels or over bridges,

- Sudden relaxation and reduction of security personnel on airports, tunnels, bridges, ports, etc.

- Security personnel suddenly disappearing or being substituted by unknown personnel.

- Possibility of new terrorist attacks discussed in the mainstream media.

- Increase in number of Foreign Affairs articles warning about future terrorist actions.

Such a project would surely capture the imagination of millions of people, encourage large-scale public participation and research -- and would be fun. We should not allow that dogmatism and narrow-mindedness hold this research back. ... "

~ Full post ~


World Leaders Meet In Secret at Bilderberg 2008 - Plan the End of the Free World

Bilderberg 2008 Evades All Scrutiny in Vouliagmeni, Greece

Tony Gosling

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Well the old tricksters did it this year. They evaded all our efforts to track them down to a precise date and venue. There has been a lot of Bilderberg searching activity on the forum ( ) including examination of bilderbergers' schedules, checking of hotels but no 100% definite answer.

Whilst I had been displaying this at the top of the front page as a possible venue and date for a week or so Bilderberg researchers such as Marek Tysis, Jim Tucker and myself simply did not have enough hard facts to pin them down beforehand.

The trouble is that this year particularly all the key Bilderberg people have been keeping very quiet about their future plans. In past years they have been relatively open about where they were planning to be and it's then quite a simple matter to identify gaps in the schedules of, say the boss of the European Central Bank and the Queen of the Netherlands, that coincide.

Marek Tysis believed, rightly as it transpired, that it would be in Vouliagmeni, Greece in one of the first two weekends of May. What they were talking about we may never know. Let's hope at least SOMEBODY who realises that these people are where war and money meets and far too close to the Nazis (through Prince Bernhard and the occult connections particularly) has got some leaks.

What are they planning for us this year then? We might guess that Henry Kissinger has had problems with his War on Terror because nobody is believing it is anything other than a US, Israeli and British grab for empire. A continuation of Hitler's diseased dream of an occult empire to rival the extent of the old British Empire and Commonwealth and all the psychological pressure is now being piled on Gordon Brown who is not playing ball with the Bilderbergers' fascistic 'consensus'.

There is not a lot of doubt in my mind that the immense power that Bilderberg wields is ultimately satanic. One could pick a random homeless tramp on the streets of London to preside over such a conference you would get more common sense in his little finger than all the Bilderberg Steering committee have in their collective greedy bodies.

Maybe that is what is needed. A jubilee of renewal to remove these despots and their freemasonic underlings from the committees that select candidates for the political parties.

What seemed a real political hope in the UK, the Liberal Democrat Party has somehow got itself a City of London stooge, Nick Clegg, in charge now so has made itself unelectable just a the time when it could have swept to power because of voter hatred of both Labour and Tory parties.

Israel too is 'celebrating' 60 years of existence and as such 60 years of terrorism, horror and hatred of the arabs. The Jewish people don't want it but what can they do with a fanatical far right Zionist government there. Jews are in exactly the same bind as the rest of us. Democracy has been stealthily and deliberately undermined in Israel just as in the US and Britain and Europe by Secret Societies operating within the 'cover' of freemasonry.

The Beijing Olympics looming appears something like the Berlin Olympics of 1936. A derisory show of male and female machismo with a few who will be this year's Jesse Owens?

So Bilderberg may have been successful in stopping scrutiny of themselves this year, no participant list, nothing whatsoever has emerged. And that bodes extremely ill for the coming Summer and Autumn. Whatever bloodcurdling warstarting event, whether or not connected with the Beijing Olympics, and whether or not leading to a global crash which will make a few people very very rich, you can be sure they will be in the know. Which means that Bilderberg is culpable, there's a lot of bucks riding on this. That is why they do everything they can, with their limitless supply of money, to keep these meetings out of the public eye.

What we need of course is a united front such as that which has formed in South America, probably because they have been the subject of so much evil and illegal US interference. A united front based on a media free of racist Zionist moles and on an understanding of the true facts behind 9/11 which kicked off all this 'War on Resistance Fighters' madness. It really is as if the war is against the plucky partisans and leaders of the French Resistance to Nazi occupation.

So it doesn't take a lot of imagination, once you've joined the Nazi dots, to see where Henry Kissinger and Bilderberg are coming from. His present company, Kissinger Associates, is the biggest protection racket on the planet and the UN eats out of its hands, that means the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions have been torn to pieces by these people, paving the way for mass slaughter and maybe a little more power. Kissinger gets kudos from his impunity and Rockefeller, Rothschild and his financial backers and other underground friends are egged on to further madness by our gullibility. Then their is their love of Eugenics, what more proof do we need? How much more can we forget?

They want a more subtly spun global version of what Hitler had in the early 1940s and they are not going to get it because the human spirit will not have it. But they are so greedy and determined, indeed psychopathic in their goal, that they would rather pull our whole beautiful God-given world down around our heads than allow us to be the free people we were made to be. The real solutions to the problem of wage slavery, poverty, are so simple as to be almost obvious. Land reform and money reform, putting land back into the hands of those who need it as a ree gift to mankind. Taking the power to issue money out of private corporate hands.

[ Source ]

Tribe: Heritage lost to mining

Big Mountain, an area near Black Mesa, Ariz., used to be a place of peace and tradition, but now the land is being destroyed by the Peabody Coal Company, said Allen Cooper, a former member of the Big Mountain Support Committee.

Cooper said the Navajo land has no electricity or water, and the people there provide for themselves.

The land also happens to be extremely rich in strippable coal.

Bahe Katenay, spokeswoman for the tribe, said people of Big Mountain have lost part of their simple traditions and culture. The way of life on the mountain has changed because the effect of having a coal-mining operation near the land has left a large portion industrialized.
"Dust and smoke from the machines settles in the valleys, and people are getting sick from exhaust and emissions," he said.

Beth Sutton, a spokeswoman for Peabody Coal, said the company moved to the area in 1970. Peabody Coal operates about 15 to 20 miles away from Big Mountain and does not affect the people that live there, she said.

"We have no rights to mine in that area (Big Mountain) - no plans to mine there," Sutton said. "That is an age-old allegation that has been made that is totally false and certainly not supported by the historical facts."

Katenay said Navajo and Hopi tribes have used the land for centuries, but after a coal discovery in the late 1950s and a 1964 agreement with the Hopi tribe, strip mining and surface mining is now allowing the coal companies to dump massive petroleum waste and explosive items.

"The land has become a barren wasteland and (is) depleting millions of acres of water from the aquifers," Kateney said. "Traditional people both Hopi and Navajo now suffer because their wells have dried up, and the coal ends up being burned at the power plants."

"I've raised all of my children on the Powwow Trail"

Native Americans in town for Pasco County's biggest and longest annual festival say things are slowly improving back home on reservations throughout the country.

As last Thursday's Native American Night kicked off 11 days of dance and traditional crafts during Chasco Fiesta, Seneca Nation of Indians member Sheila K. Cooper was selected in Washington to head the country's Native American Children and Youth Task Force.

Cooper, a former teacher, said her goal is to address "alarming trends" among Native American children that include the highest death and dropout rates of any racial or ethnic group in the country, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ron Colombe, a Lakota tribe member from South Dakota who is acting as master of ceremonies at this year's Chasco powwow, is well aware of the statistics.

He reeled off these trends about life on the reservations:

•Alcoholism rates are 20 times that of the general population.

•About 85 percent of all would-be workers are unemployed.

•Infant mortality is 30 times the national rate.

•The average Native American man dies at 46.

"Isolation and poverty," along with "nothing to do," caused Colombe and many others of his generation to seek solace in the bottle, he said.

Now sober at 55, Colombe said he has beaten the odds, and he is not alone.

[ ... ]

Many Kiowa are moving off their reservation in Carnagie, Okla., and are assimilating into the general culture, he said.

That is good news for Kiowa children now attending public schools and universities, said Whitehorse, who was bedecked in an Oklahoma Sooners football jersey.

But it is bad news for Kiowa culture, he said.

"It's really sad because our language, we are losing it," Whitehorse said. "There is no written alphabet for our language."

His children did not learn to speak Kiowa because, although he understands it, he is not fluent, Whitehorse said.

Fortunately, tribal elders are bringing in anthropologists to record and attempt to preserve the language as it is still spoken on the reservation, he said.

Katrina Big Mountain, a Cree originally from Saskatchewan in Canada who is running the powwow, said she has home-schooled her eight children in part to preserve their cultural identity.

"I've raised all of my children on the Powwow Trail," she said. "My objective is for them to be the best they can be and to respect their elders."

Some of her older children have gone on to college, Big Mountain said. Others, who range in age from 3 to 25, will follow different paths as they choose.


Have British schoolboy killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables been relocated to Queensland?

The matter was raised in Parliament last week, with Independent MP for Gladstone Liz Cunningham asking about the killers' whereabouts.

Thompson and Venables, then aged 10, were jailed for the brutal murder of Manchester toddler James Bulger in 1993. The senseless killing shocked the world.

After spending eight years in prison, the pair were released in 2001 with new identities. There was speculation they had begun a new life in Australia, but authorities refused to comment.

"There are now media reports that the two boys, now men aged approximately 26 years, have been given new identities and have relocated to Australia," Mrs Cunningham said.

"Given the grave community concerns about this proposal, can the Premier assure Queensland residents that these perpetrators will not be accepted by Queensland authorities?"

Premier Anna Bligh couldn't give that assurance but vowed to find out.


Bahe Katenay of Big Mountain: US orchestrated so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute

by Brenda Norrell
Monday, 31 March 2008
The so-called "Navajo Hopi Land Dispute" was a scenario orchestrated by the United States, Congressmen and the Navajo and Hopi tribal governments, which do not represent their people, said Bahe Katenay, Navajo from Big Mountain on the Navajo Nation, during an interview on the Longest Walk.
"The tribal governments are basically a board of directors. They are not a sovereign assembly. The Navajo government does not represent the Navajo Nation and the Hopi government does not represent the Hopi Nation."
Katenay, one of the original Long Walkers in 1978 joined the Longest Walk 2 Northern Route in Pueblo, and described the orchestrated scenario and the so-called "Navajo Hopi Land Dispute," which grew out of the Indian Land Claims Commission.

Katenay told how a Mormon attorney for Peabody Coal, John Boyden, came to Hopi country and attempted to form a Hopi Tribal Council for the purpose of seizing leases for coal mining.

"It failed each time because the traditional Hopi people were a sovereign people and rejected the Hopi Tribal Council. They still had power in the villages. The traditional people supported the traditional chiefs."

Finally in 1964, Peabody's attorney John Boyden picked Hopi people and formed a Hopi Tribal Council which was recognized by the US government. However, the Hopi Tribal Council was not recognized or given authority by traditional Hopi.

"There was never a dispute," Katenay said of the so-called Navajo Hopi Land Dispute. He said the lands were long shared by Navajo and Hopi. "The Hopi had their trails through there."

Katenay said the United States media created the stories of the so-called Navajo Hopi dispute, the same way the US media creates and fuels other disputes and wars.

"One of the examples of this is the Iraq war right now." Katenay said the media claims there is a dispute in Iraq. Those US claims led to the U.S. occupying and dividing the country and the people.

"Over there it is more brutal and more horrific. But it is the same sort of thing they did in Big Mountain and Black Mesa. They divided the two tribes."

Katenay said federal laws and proceedings complicated the issues for Navajos and Hopis and the BIA played a role. The BIA had its hand in tribal governments and federal laws. Referring to the so-called range war, Katenay said there was no range war and there is no proof that it ever existed. It was a staged scenario which Congressmen fueled.

Among those Arizona Congressmen in the 1970s were Rep. Sam Steiger who introduced the relocation legislation, Barry Goldwater and Morris K. Udall.

"They spearheaded this legislation back then."

Then, other Southwest Congressmen took notice because of plans to seize the Colorado River water and Navajo and Hopi resources. The concocted scenario that there was bloodshed on the Navajo Hopi lands was a means to an end.

Last year, Big Mountain celebrated 30 years of resistance.

Katenay, resisting relocation since 1974, began as a translator. He left community college to return home to assist the elders. Later, he returned to college in 1994 and now lectures on the history and facts of Black Mesa.

"I believed in their struggle to resist."

Katenay said this era of the Internet is deceptive when it comes to communication. "With fast communication, we are losing communication." Further, in the United States, Americans are without a culture and focus on the individual and comfort.

"Americans do not have a culture. The Navajos and Hopis' worlds have been flipped upside down, but there, they have a culture."

Katenay said Americans believe their culture to be baseball, hotdogs, fast cars and war. "Most Americans say, 'We're proud to bomb Iraq and destroy many countries.'"

With three decades of resistance at Big Mountain, Katenay points out that many of the elders are gone now.

"We only have a handful of old people who are determined to make a stand if they have to and hold on to their land."

While Navajos continue to resist, Katenay said the Navajos who were relocated paid a huge price. There were 14,000 Navajos who received relocation homes, but at least 150,000 -- including extended families -- were impacted by relocation.

The United States government relocated Navajos from Black Mesa to contaminated lands, New Lands near Sanders, Arizona. The land was cheap because it was abandoned by white ranchers after the contamination of the Church Rock, N.M., uranium tailings spill on July 16, 1979. It was among the worst spills in US history and flowed down the Rio Puerco.

Navajos who remain in Big Mountain now live with constant surveillance.

"The people of Big Mountain are under surveillance all the time." Katenay said Navajos are not allowed to gather firewood or traditional medicines. When people gather, even for a child's birthday party, they are under surveillance.

"They have to live guerilla style, go out and gather their firewood and herbs at night."

Peabody's coal mining has left deep scars in the land and the water depleted.

"Our water has been depleted and sacred springs are gone."

Now, Katenay says the power of humanity would disappear at Big Mountain without volunteers' support for the elders, who can help with planting and herding sheep. In May, Katenay said there will be a project for volunteers to learn about planting corn and squash, about Mother Earth and Father Sky. He said all people are welcome.

"We don't care who comes, just like this Longest Walk. We need to all come together, not just Dine' and Hopi."

On Big Mountain, people will learn about planting and Dine' culture. "A cornfield is a very sacred place, there is no misconduct," he said, describing the harvesting and husking of corn.

Reflecting on the resistance, Katenay said a handful of Navajos resisting relocation and coal mining disrupted the schemes of the United States government and Peabody Coal.

"We're still there. Peabody has not expanded its mine into Big Mountain area." Katenay said neither the power plants nor the cities that Peabody planned for Big Mountain area ever appeared.

"The elders stood and disrupted the American process."

Listen to the interview, audio file at:


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