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Obama's New Appointments

December 19th, 2008

Stephen Lendman

The beat goes on. As with his economic and security appointments, Obama again disappointed but didn't surprise. Without exception, his team assures business as usual, a near-seamless transition from George Bush, and not "change to believe in." His latest choices raise more cause for concern and with good reason.

Media Reaction to His Energy, Environmental and Education Team

The Nation magazine cheerled for Obama from the start, glorified his election, sees in him a "sea-change of course (for) progressive-driven reform....(the) end of the Reagan era....an end of the occupation of Iraq," and a socially liberal new beginning. The magazine often hyperventilates, and it's at it again about Obama's "Green Team."

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From Global Crisis to "Global Government"

December 19th, 2008

Andrew G. Marshall

Introduction

The United States’ National Intelligence Council has released a report, entitled "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World". This declassified document is the fourth report of the Global Trends 2025: The National Intelligence Council’s 2025 Project,

The report outlines the paths that current geopolitical and economic trends may reach by the year 2025, in order to guide strategic thinking over the next few decades. The National Intelligence Council describes itself as the US Intelligence Community’s “center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking,” with the tasks of supporting the Director of National Intelligence, reaching out to non-governmental experts in academia and the private sector and it leads in the effort of providing National Intelligence Estimates.

The report was written with the active participation of not only the US intelligence community, but also numerous think tanks, consulting firms, academic institutions and hundreds of other experts. Among the participating organizations were the Atlantic Council of the United States, the Wilson Center, RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, American Enterprise Institute, Texas A&M University, the Council on Foreign Relations and Chatham House in London, which is the British equivalent of the CFR.[1]

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A Correction and an Apology

December 19th, 2008

Chris Floyd

In a brief post yesterday, I wrote that African-Americans were treated as second-class citizens in the United States. I would now like to apologize for making such a controversial -- and flagrantly incorrect -- statement. Obviously, I was letting my knee-jerk liberal PC prejudices run wild. For as a new article in The Nation forcefully demonstrates, African-Americans are not treated as second-class citizens in the United States; they are treated as wild animals to be hunted down and shot in cold blood.

The article is a very detailed investigation of the white vigilante groups that formed, with police approval, in the white enclave of Algiers Point in New Orleans in the days after Hurrican Katrina. Although authorities had designated the area -- which had largely escaped damage in the storm and flood -- as a vital evacuation point for those trapped in the city, a group of white residents seized the opportunity to declare open season on anyone with black skin. Many African-Americans were shot and several were killed; but no one knows the exact number, because New Orleans police have refused to investigate any of the incidents, and coroner's records of the gun-blasted bodies that showed up in the area have unaccountably gone missing.

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Cheney Throws Down Gauntlet, Defies Prosecution for War Crimes

December 19th, 2008

Marjorie Cohn

Dick Cheney has publicly confessed to ordering war crimes. Asked about waterboarding in an ABC News interview, Cheney replied, “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared.” He also said he still believes waterboarding was an appropriate method to use on terrorism suspects. CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed that the agency waterboarded three Al Qaeda suspects in 2002 and 2003.

U.S. courts have long held that waterboarding, where water is poured into someone’s nose and mouth until he nearly drowns, constitutes torture. Our federal War Crimes Act defines torture as a war crime punishable by life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

Under the doctrine of command responsibility, enshrined in U.S. law, commanders all the way up the chain of command to the commander-in-chief can be held liable for war crimes if they knew or should have known their subordinates would commit them and they did nothing to stop or prevent it.

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Gaza: The Untold Story

December 19th, 2008

Ramzy Baroud

Conquerors came and went, and Gaza stood where it still stands today. This was the recurring lesson for generations, even millennia. Its modern conquerors are as unpitying as its ancient ones. But its people are defiant as they have always been, hell-bent on surviving, says Ramzy Baroud.


It’s incomprehensible that a region such as the Gaza Strip, so rich with history, so saturated with defiance, can be reduced to a few blurbs, sound bites and reductionist assumptions, convenient but deceptive, vacant of any relevant meaning, or even true analytical value.

The fact is that there is more to the Gaza Strip than 1.5 million hungry Palestinians, who are supposedly paying the price for Hamas’s militancy, or Israel’s ‘collective punishment’, whichever way the media decide to brand the problem.

More importantly, Gaza’s existence since time immemorial must not be juxtaposed by its proximity to Israel, failure or success in ‘providing’ a tiny Israeli town – itself built on conquered land that was seen only 60 years ago as part of the Gaza Province – with its need for security. It’s this very expectation that made the killing and wounding of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza a price worth paying, in the callous eyes of many.

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A brief Hate statement...

December 19th, 2008

Layla Anwar

I really hate America, Americans, their culture, their ways, their accent, their politics, their arrogance, their stupidity, their ignorance...

I really can't stand Americans. I can't stand their men, their women, their country, everything they represent...

I truly, deeply, sincerly hate them.

I will elevate this hatred to an Art form.

What colors do you think I should use ? I love colors and I find them to be a colorless people...

So what colors should I use ? Gray, Black or Red ?
Or maybe just White ?

I have this idea of taking an old sheet, a dirty sheet...burn the edges, stab it with knifes and make holes in it, over a million holes, then throw in some bright red, like rain drops...

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Who are the fools that reward Israel's criminal behaviour?

December 19th, 2008

Stuart Littlewood

Members of the European Parliament recently took a critical view of proposals to upgrade the EU-Israel Association Agreement and put down amendments designed to toughen up the conditions. "It's time for the Israeli Government to stop considering itself above the law and start respecting it,” warned Luisa Morgantini, the Parliament’s vice-president.

As a result the vote was postponed – “a political stunt”, said the frustrated Israel lobby. In the meantime all 27 EU ministers voted unanimously to approve the upgrade. However it is not a done deal just yet. The EU Parliament still has to vote on this.

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Light REDD: The Looming Tragedy of Carbon Markets Paying to Destroy Ancient Forests

December 19th, 2008

Dr. Glen Barry

Using carbon funds, the world's governments are poised to subsidize ancient forest logging, claiming it benefits the Earth's climate. REDD's potential support of "low impact" logging of ancient forests, and conversion of natural forests to tree farms, fails the climate, biodiversity and biosphere.

Plans to pay for rainforest protection using funds from carbon markets progressed during this week's UN climate talks. I have long promoted the deceptively simple idea of paying to keep rainforests standing, yet am far from jubilant with the results. It appears first time, industrial logging of ancient forests -- through so-called low-impact and certified logging, and the conversion of these and other natural forests to plantations -- is falsely considered as having carbon benefits, and will be paid for with our tax dollars and carbon offsets.

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Electric cars will not cure environmental woes

December 18th, 2008

Diana Furchtgott-Roth

The world is falling in love with plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars. President-elect Obama wants to put 1 million on the road by 2015. GM features them, particularly the Chevy Volt, in its new business plan for a debut in 2010. The EU wants them to shrink greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 20% from 1990 levels. This week the Chinese auto company BYD began selling the world’s first commercially-available plug-in hybrid sedan.

No matter that these cars are not widely available; that they are priced far above traditional models; that many have a short range, making them useful only for local trips; that batteries may be prone to catching fire; and that many motorists park on the street, where charging is impractical.

For some, these issues pale in importance to saving the planet from harmful emissions of carbon, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide—all of which are released from internal combustion engine vehicles. If battery powered cars reduce emissions, environmentalists argue, they should be produced and consumers should be enticed to buy them.

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Israel hosts anti-Islam conference

December 18th, 2008

From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel on Sunday, 14 December, hosted a virulently anti-Islam conference in Jerusalem, with a number of fascist-minded speakers from Israel and abroad taking part in the one-day event.

The conference was addressed by notorious Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, Dutch Legislator Greet Wilders and right-wing Israeli lawmaker Aryeh Eldad.

Wilders, a self-confessed hater of Islam, praised Israel for holding the conference in occupied Jerusalem, saying that it was the time for such an event to take place in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe.

He added, however, that the “cost of security would be much higher in Holland than in Israel.” After making characteristically venomous remarks about Islam, the Quran and Muslims, Wilders received a standing ovation, reflecting growing fascist trends in Israel.

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