Here's a story that seems to be getting little play in the American media: a candidate for the U.S. Congress who is proudly running on his record as a torturer of innocent civilians in Iraq. Pressing time constraints today prevent me from writing fully on this, but read Johan Hari's report in The Independent. (Yes, once again, you have to cross the ocean to find out what's going on in America).
Read the whole piece. I have some disagreement with Hari's conclusion, when he says: "The gap between the Republican and Democratic Parties is too narrow, but on this issue it is hefty." I have not seen any calls whatsoever from the Democratic leadership to prosecute all those involved in the vast apparatus of torture spawned by the "War on Terror." The Democrats have condemned "torture," of course, but what of that? Bush does the same, even as he orders it up. And of course, a few small fry can be served up; again, Bush has done the same. But there is no indication whatsoever that an Obama administration or an even larger-majority Democratic congress will ever pursue justice against the officers, the agency chiefs and department heads, the atrocity-abetting lawyers -- and, of course, the very highest officials of the state -- who created and maintained this evil system.
“We are not fighting against men or a kind of politics but against the class which produces those politics and those men.” (from Dirty Hands, a political play by Jean Paul Sartre, first performed in Paris on April 2, 1948.)
“It takes a day to make a senator and ten years to make a worker.” AND, as Caligula says to the senators: “It is much easier to descend the social ladder than to climb back up.” (from the play Caligula by Albert Camus, first performed in Paris in 1945, words I include here just for fun, mockery and a hint of warning.)
(Rome) It’s a capricious irony of history that the word bourgeois, which pinpoints the capitalist class, is perceived by nearly everyone, including the bourgeois themselves, as an epithet and is almost universally rebuffed!
Charles E. Carlson
Evangelicals” interpret Christian scripture imaginatively…anything but literally. Because of this many celebrity leaders teach and preach directly in contradiction to Jesus’ words about brotherly love and peace.
More surprisingly, celebrity Christians' statements also contradict Jesus' teachings about “heaven” and hell found in the New Testament book of Matthew, Chapter 25. Evangelicals claim, as a matter of doctrine, to interpret scripture “literally;" many go so far as to state that all scripture (New and Old Testament) is true without exception. This sounds great. We all want to believe we read what is clearly written, but with evangelicals it could not be further from the truth.
[In Part Two of her series on an Obama presidency, Kellia Ramares reveals appalling connections between Obama and his foreign policy advisors that spell anything but change in America's imperial, geopolitical relationships.--CB]
A Truth To Power Exclusive
To read Part One of this series CLICK HERE
Visit Kellia's "No Pitch" JOURNALISM BLOG
During a debate on January 31, 2008, Sen. Barack Obama said, "I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place."1 That is an excellent idea. But Obama's other words, the Democratic Party Platform, and the advisers he has chosen for his foreign policy team indicates that the January statement is just a bunch of pretty words. He will not reverse the trend of American military interventionism that is so costly in lives, money, and American standing in the world. As Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has written, "much of the Democrats' anti-war rhetoric has more to do with politics and anti-Bush sentiment than it does with ideological opposition to the use of force."2
...and handsomely rewards the rogue state’s illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing and human rights abuses
By Stuart Littlewood -At last, someone has published an easy-to-read document that sets out very clearly how Israel consistently ignores the legal and human rights obligations that form the basic conditions to the various economic cooperation agreements it has with the European Union. Israel clearly had no intention of complying and its repeated breaches should have resulted in suspension or expulsion long ago. Yet the regime continues to enjoy “most favoured nation” status. It shows how very silly politicians and bureaucrats in Brussels and Strasbourg, working in a dictatorial system the citizens of Europe don't understand and cannot directly influence, have lavishly rewarded Israel for its criminal acts and for its unlawful occupation of Palestine which, judging by its actions, it intends to make permanent.
Three Card Monte is a simple game that’s based on deception and greed. No one comes down the sidewalk and wins at Three Card Monte unless they work for the people running the game. The point of that is to give the impression that winning is possible. This game has been going on for a long, long time and still, people are routinely sucked into it. This game is a simple street version of much more complex games that are run on the public every day. There’s the ‘disinfo game’. This is where you give people a certain amount of information and leave out other information which completely changes the meaning of the information they were given. Another is to rework the information or manufacture it. Another is to give the information a headline which is not reflected by the information in the text.
Information is key to understanding conditions and one’s place in the midst of them. People are made rich or ruined, live or die, each day according to possessing or not possessing the right information or for believing things that aren’t true. It’s like faulty highway signs… or missing highway signs. One of the key ingredients in this is whether the public, with any percentage of real or fabricated information is out to gain a personal profit from it, as in, “There’s one born every minute.” I’m not talking about survival here, that’s an acceptable motive… most of the time.
After touring for 18 months I was excited to return home a few weeks ago to good, solid Iceland and enjoy a little bit of stability. I had done a concert there earlier this year to raise awareness about local environmental issues and 10 per cent of the nation came to it; but I still felt it wasn't enough.
So when I returned I decided to contact people all over the island who had attempted to start new companies and bring in new greener ways of working but had not succeeded. For a long time Iceland's main income was fishing, but when that become uneconomic people started looking for other ways to earn a living. The ruling conservatives thought that harnessing Iceland's natural energy and selling it to huge companies such as Alcoa and Rio Tinto would solve the problem.
Now we have three aluminium smelters, which are the biggest in Europe; and in the space of the next three years they want to build two more. The smelters would need energy from a handful of new geothermal power plants and the building of dams that would damage pristine wilderness, hot springs and lava fields. To take this much energy from geothermal fields is not sustainable.
"The war in Iraq is not covered to its potential because of how dangerous it is for reporters to cover it," says Liam Madden, a former Marine and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. "That's left a lot of misconceptions in the minds of the American public about what the true nature of military occupation looks like."
Michael Prysner, a corporal in the Army Reserve, says:
“I tried hard to be proud of my service, but all I could feel was shame. Racism could no longer mask the reality of the occupation. These are human beings. I've since been plagued by guilt. I feel guilt any time I see an elderly man, like the one who couldn't walk who we rolled onto a stretcher and told the Iraqi police to take him away. I feel guilt any time I see a mother with her children, like the one who cried hysterically and screamed that we were worse than Saddam as we forced her from her home. I feel guilt any time I see a young girl, like the one I grabbed by the arm and dragged into the street.”
John C.K. Daly
While Afghanistan now intermittently crops up during the presidential debates, it is largely the forgotten war, which next month will be seven years old with little resolution in sight. Inside the Beltway chickenhawks never proposed that Afghanistan's energy resources could somehow pay for the war, but the fact remains that since 2001 little money has been directed to Afghanistan's energy sector to help the country become self-sufficient, much less an exporter. Nearly eight years after coalition forces overthrew the Taliban, Afghanistan remains one of the world's poorest and least developed countries, where two-thirds of the population live on less than $2 a day.
For those with a sense of irony, the Soviets during their occupation went much further in attempting to develop Afghanistan's energy infrastructure. As Afghanistan continues to unravel, it is worthwhile to cast a backward glance at the country's energy potential since 1979, when the Soviets began their ill-fated intervention. While the Soviet Union completed its withdrawal in 1988, the Afghans next year will pass the dolorous anniversary of 30 years of nearly uninterrupted war, ironically broken only by the brief tenure of the Taliban, who pacified the country with a brutal hand.
[Taliban fighters in Wana, South Waziristan in February 2005. Reuters photo. Click to view.] US special forces have begun teaching a Pakistani paramilitary unit how to fight the Taleban and al-Qaeda, hoping to strengthen a key front-line force as violence surges on both sides of the border with Afghanistan. The sensitive mission puts rare American boots on the ground in a key theater in the war against extremist groups, but it risks fanning anti-US sentiment among Pakistani Muslims already angry over suspected CIA missile attacks on militants in the same frontier region. 'The American special forces failed in Afghanistan and Iraq,' said Ameerul Azim, an official in the hard-line Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami. 'Those who failed everywhere cannot train our people.' Despite such complaints, the training program comes as some tribes in the frontier zone are setting up militias to help the Pakistani government combat extremist movements. The new forces have been compared to the Sunni Arab militias in Iraq that helped beat back the insurgency there.
Walking into any “court” of late one might have a distinct impression that one has walked into a monarch's domain. The rule of law only applies at the discretion of the monarch. And that would be the judge sitting in that particular court.
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