Past News & Analysis
Next week Americans will vote for candidates who have spent much of their campaigns addressing state and local issues. But no future historian will linger over the ideas put forth for improving schools or directing funds to highway projects.
The meaning of this election will be interpreted in one of two ways: the American people endorsed the Bush presidency or they did what they could to repudiate it. Such an interpretation will be simplistic, even unfairly so. Nevertheless, the fact that will matter is the raw number of Republicans and Democrats elected to the House and Senate.
It should surprise few readers that we think a vote that is seen—in America and the world at large—as a decisive “No” vote on the Bush presidency is the best outcome.
What is a free and democratic people to do when their leaders prod them into an unprovoked and unnecessary war, spilling the blood of their sons and daughters in a desolate land in pursuit of vain and foolish ends?
What is such a people to do when they hear their treasured democratic heritage mocked throughout the world and savaged at home by a government that knows neither truth nor honor?
There remains but one recourse for a people burdened with such leaders, and that is to rise in wrath and drive them out.
Drive them out of their marbled offices. Drive them from the reins of power. Drive them out.
As President Bush signed S. 3930, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 into law, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed outrage and called the new law one of the worst civil liberties measures ever enacted in American history. To highlight concerns with the act, the ACLU took out a full page advertisement in today's Washington Post, calling itself "the most conservative organization in America." Since its founding, the ACLU has fought to conserve the system of checks and balances and defend the Bill of Rights. The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director: "With his signature, President Bush enacts a law that is both unconstitutional and un-American. This president will be remembered as the one who undercut the hallmark of habeas in the name of the war on terror. Nothing separates America more from our enemies than our commitment to fairness and the rule of law, but the bill signed today is an historic break because it turns Guantánamo Bay and other U.S. facilities into legal no-man's-lands. "The president can now - with the approval of Congress - indefinitely hold people without charge, take away protections against horrific abuse, put people on trial based on hearsay evidence, authorize trials that can sentence people to death based on testimony literally beaten out of witnesses, and slam shut the courthouse door for habeas petitions. Nothing could be further from the American values we all hold in our hearts than the Military Commissions Act."
This article ought to convince the most die-hard liberal supporters of "israel's right to exist" that israel doesn't just want to 'exist' - it wants to supercede OUR own right to exist in our own f*cking country. This is by far, the most shameless and bloviating israeli *ss-kissing I have ever seen by a member of this nation's congress. THIS WOMAN OUGHT TO BE IMMEDIATELY FORCED OUT OF OFFICE. Flanked by a banner that reads "Israel shall stand forever," Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein sings a song in a rousing mix of Hebrew and English. U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris is on her feet, stomping and clapping to the beat from her place on the stage. The predominately Christian audience waves its arms to the music as Eckstein, the founder of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, praises Israel. Next, Harris gets her turn. "Nothing that we believe in the world would exist without you," she says to Jewish leaders in the crowd. "We're all sort of Jewish wannabes.
Votes for US House and Senate to take place Nov. 7, indicate Democrats to win majority. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says Israel has nothing to fear from party change in Congress. Nancy's Pelosi's record on Israeli-related topics is perfect. She expresses interest in the situation in the country and has always participated in votes related to Israel. She has not harmed Israeli interests.
The president seems confused. After making a curious remark observing that the war in Iraq was placing a strain on the psyche of America, President Bush has become the primary focus of concerns about a strained psyche.
Last week, the president uttered more than one oracular pronouncement. First he acquiesced to the analogy that has been on everyone’s lips since well before the launch of the Iraq War – Does Iraq resemble Vietnam? In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, President Bush agreed that the Ramadan offensive in Iraq smacks of the Tet offensive of 1968.
Later in another interview – President Bush stunned America with his pronouncement that he had never said that the US would, “Stay the course,” in Iraq. After recovering several verbatim transcripts of the president’s use of the exact phraseology that he now believes he never uttered, American pundits are puzzled by this expanding enigma enveloping the president’s personal discourse. What will he say next?
On October 17, with little fanfare, the unitary decider signed H.R.5122, or the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. “The act provides $462.8 billion in budget authority for the department. Senate and House conferees added the $70 billion defense supplemental budget request to the act, so overall, the act authorizes $532.8 billion for fiscal 2007,” explains Jim Garamone of the American Forces Press Service.
It is striking and chilling to see the leader of the Free World, George W. Bush, the Decider, seeking and gaining legislative approval for his government's now widespread use of torture, and exemption of himself and his top level associates for any earlier applications of torture. It has been pointed out that such ex-post exemptions have been sought by the most notorious state terrorists such as Augusto Pinochet and the Argentinian generals, whose ranks the Decider aims to join. This quest contradicts the earlier claims that the torture in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was being carried out at their own initiative by "rotten apples" at the bottom of the military barrel; it makes it clear that if there were real prosecutions for those criminal acts they would focus on the rotten apples at the top, who created the moral environment within which the lower level cadres worked and which the leadership is now institutionalizing as lawful.
Are we now officially out of our minds? On Tuesday, General George W. Casey, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Zalmay Khalilzad, our ambassador to Iraq, gave a joint press conference in Baghdad that was all for home consumption. By home, I mean Washington DC. I mean Indiana. I mean Texas. Baghdad's Green Zone was essentially a stage set for a political defense of the Bush presidency. If the news hadn't been quite so grim, this tandem's act might have qualified as an Abbott and Costello comedy routine, including the moment when the lights went out -- while "gunfire and bomb blasts echoed around the city" -- thanks to our inability to resuscitate Iraqi electricity production. In fact, the New York Times just reported that, on some projects, more than 50% of U.S. reconstruction dollars are being spent on "overhead" as, for months at a time, whole reconstruction teams sit idly with the meter going waiting to begin work.
Those Vietnam-Iraq parallels are back in the news. Not because the news media has drawn them, or explained why they might be relevant but because one columnist cited one similarity, and President Bush sort of agreed.
The Voice of America, the government’s own propaganda station whch calls itself "A trusted source of news and information since 1942" covered the story this way:
"Bush Finds Vietnam War Parallel in Iraq
"President Bush says the recent upsurge in violence in Iraq is reminiscent of a tactic used by North Vietnamese guerrilla forces at a crucial point during the Vietnam War.
"The White House has resisted drawing comparisons between the fighting in Iraq and the Vietnam War.
"But during an interview with the ABC television network, President Bush spoke about one possible parallel. The comments came when he was asked about a newspaper column by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman, who compared the recent spike in violence in Iraq to the Vietnam-era Tet offensive
"He could be right," Mr. Bush said. "There certainly is a stepped-up level of violence, and we are heading into an election."
He could be right? Is that all? Of course not!
As talk of an American withdrawal from Iraq heats up, some local experts say the removal of a strong US military presence there could be disastrous for Israel.
"If Iraq spirals into civil war, it will be seen as a real setback for the US and their policy of military intervention," said Cameron Brown, deputy director of global research in international affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. "This would probably create a renewed Vietnam syndrome, meaning the US would become trigger-shy. And what if the US becomes trigger-shy? No one else except the US has the military might to set back Iran's nuclear program. Maybe Israel, but it's not certain. If the US gets trigger-shy, then we're in trouble."
It's a work of epic writing and essential reading documenting the enormous influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the Middle East. It focuses like a laser to assure that policy conforms with Israel's long-term goal for regional hegemony. The Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media. Petras shows how together they're able to assure the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel's agenda going back decades even when that agenda harms our interests such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if it's undertaken, and the appalling and brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people that serves no US interest whatever. In spite of it, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to it tolerated.
The most important magazine article of 2006 never appeared in an American publication. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's "The Israel Lobby" first saw the light of day in The London Review of Books. Thanks to the Internet hundreds of thousands of Americans have been able to read this piece, which, for one unflattering reason or another, nobody in America would publish.
Now comes another piece in The London Review of Books that would have served the world better had it appeared in an American publication. It is ""Bush's Useful Idiots," Tony Judt's essay on "The Strange Death of Liberal America."
Judt is a corking good historian currently running New York University's Remarque Institute. In this piece he directs his anger toward the corps of men and women who, though presenting themselves as liberals, supported the Iraq disaster from the git-go. Of them he writes, "Indeed, intellectual camp followers of this kind were first identified by Lenin himself, who coined the term that still describes them best. Today, America's liberal armchair warriors are the 'useful idiots' of the War on Terror."
Who are the useful idiots who served Bush so well in bringing defeat and disgrace down on our country? He names some of them--Michael Ignatieff, Leon Wieseltier, David Remnick, Thomas Friedman, Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago Divinity School, Paul Berman, Peter Beinart--but without too much head-scratching, others could be added to Judt's list.
It was publications as well as individuals who in Judt's estimation did the liberal Judas goat act: "Magazines and newspapers of the traditional liberal centre--the New Yorker, the New Republic, the Washington Post and the New York Times itself--fell over themselves in the hurry to align their editorial stance with that of a Republican president bent on exemplary war. A fearful conformism gripped the mainstream media." He might have added that only the prospect of what is beginning to look like defeat may loosen that grip.
Why have American liberals acquiesced in President Bush’s catastrophic foreign policy? Why have they so little to say about Iraq, about Lebanon, or about reports of a planned attack on Iran? Why has the administration’s sustained attack on civil liberties and international law aroused so little opposition or anger from those who used to care most about these things? Why, in short, has the liberal intelligentsia of the United States in recent years kept its head safely below the parapet?
Media balance and its civil varieties kill people by inhibiting clear thought that could otherwise inform and motivate effective civil responses to human rights violations and war crimes.
Media professionals are indoctrinated to dilute and neutralize any criticism or fact that challenges the dominant view by contrasting it against the dominant view and by calling this ‘balance’. A more honest term would be ‘embedding’. A still more honest term would be ‘serving power’.
The indoctrination is virtually flawless. The knee jerk reaction of any corporate or government media worker or any communications drone presented with an element at odds with the corporate and finance dominated mediascape is to insist that any reporting of this element (when it cannot simply be ignored) be ‘balanced’ and that ‘both sides’ be presented. It is understood that there are only two sides: The side represented by the recently discovered offensive element and the dominant view. None of the other related critiques or positions need be considered until the immediate crisis is solved.
British diplomat David Broucher describes to the Hutton Inquiry a meeting he had with David Kelly in February 2003. An audible gasp goes up when he recalls how the government scientist apparently predicted his own suicide. But evidence subsequently unearthed by Kelly's daughter, shows their one and only meeting actually took place in February 2002 - a whole year earlier. It would have made perfect sense in February 2003 for them to have discussed Resolution 1441, the September dossier and ‘the 45 minutes’ as Broucher claims; but wind back the clock to February 2002 and what do we find? None of them were in existence. Was the whole Broucher-Kelly conversation a fabrication? Had this civil servant been sent to help contrive one of the biggest cover-ups in British history?
David Christopher Kelly CMG (May 17, 1944 – July 17, 2003) was an employee of the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD), an expert in biological warfare, and a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq. Kelly's discussion with Today programme journalist Andrew Gilligan about the British government's dossier on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq inadvertently caused a major political scandal. He was found dead days after appearing before a Parliamentary committee investigating it. The Hutton Inquiry, a public inquiry into his death, ruled that he had committed suicide, and that Kelly had not said some of the quotes attributed to him by Gilligan.
Connecticut, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania Voters Want Protection from Terrorism But Not at the Expense of Civil Liberties
NEW YORK- Voters in four key states want to see Congress take a stronger role in providing checks and balances to the President's actions in fighting terrorism, and voice a strong preference for House and Senate candidates who will oppose the President's policies on the treatment of Guantánamo detainees, the use of torture and extraordinary rendition of detainees as well as secret searches of the private records of Americans. Those are the findings in recent surveys of 600 registered voters in each of four states that will play a strong role in the makeup of the next Congress: Connecticut, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania. "This poll shows that voters care deeply about protecting our civil liberties and Constitution, which have been under unprecedented attack by the Bush Administration," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Voters in four of the most hotly contested battleground states have made it clear that preserving freedoms and the checks and balances of our democracy are critically important to them. For voters, protecting the civil liberties of Americans and upholding our Constitution are key issues in November's elections, and these lessons apply to both Republicans and Democrats."
When Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly traipse out the "Hate America Crowd"™ catchphrase to label those who disagree with the President and his policies, one wonders if they might be speaking about those (all?) within the administration who care so little for the public's gathering of the whole truth, the truth needed to make proper and rightful decisions. For in that dishonering of the American public, isn't it Bush and administration who actually hate America? You know.... by massaging the truth similarly to the way Bill and Sean run their shows; having so little faith in their fans - who allow them their humongous contracts - as to broadcast just the parts of the (mis?)information that would lead listeners to only make the decision Bill and Sean want them to make. They'll say that it's also "hating America" and "undermining our troops" to say our leaders have lied during wartime, as if pointing out a lie is the crime. Do we criminalize witnesses who are brave enough to testify truthfully to misconduct? Only if your name is Joseph Wilson. After all, who truly hates America if not those who lie to Americans while continuing a failed warring policy and reconstructing the Constitution without due process? And to say that Bush and his compatriots have not mislead and lied is, in the least, a mislead and a lie.
• "You've done a heckuva job, Bownie."–George Bush (of FEMA's Michael Brown - nuff said)
• "The insurgency is in its last throes."–Dick Cheney (of the rising violence from the insurgiency)
• "I have not met with him personally."–George Bush (of Kenneth Lay, former chairman of Enron, from whom Bush had received $2 million and with whom he met hundreds of times)
U.S. President George W. Bush has quietly signed a new National Space Policy that asserts his country's right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests." The policy also rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit U.S. flexibility in space.
The document characterizes the role of U.S. space diplomacy largely in terms of persuading other nations to support U.S. policy, encourages private enterprise in space and emphasizes security issues. "Freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power," the document, a revision of the U.S.'s previous space policy, asserts in its introduction. The Bush administration bluntly denied the revisions were a prelude to introducing weapons systems into orbit.
The Bush administration has staked an aggressive new claim to dominate space - rejecting any new treaties that seek to limit the United States' extraterrestrial activities and warning that it will oppose any nations that try to get in its way.
A new policy recently signed by President George Bush, asserts that his country has the right to conduct whatever research, development and "other activities" in space that it deems necessary for its own national interests.
President George W Bush signed an executive order creating a new National Space Policy on Wednesday. The most crucial feature of this policy is that it "rejects future arms-control agreements that might limit US flexibility in space and asserts a right to deny access to space to anyone 'hostile to US interests'." It adds: "The United States will preserve its rights, capabilities and freedom of action in space ... and deny, if necessary, adversaries the use of space capabilities hostile to US national interests."
Last week, those of us who live in England were permitted to see the controversial television film, Death of a President. The film had drawn a good deal of well-aimed criticism from many quarters because of its plotline and its blatant appeal to the deepest and most frightening instincts of humanity. In the film, the deeply unpopular president of America, George W. Bush, was to be assassinated and his assassin brought to justice through the miraculous powers of special effects. The film was constructed out of archive footage, and it had a distinctively dramatic documentary feel. Clever in its conception and execution, perhaps, it was an experiment in testing the limits of the arts and contemporary taste. Revealing little about the causes of Bush’s unprecedented levels of political unpopularity, the film focused on the inadequacies of the American system of justice that rushed to judgment to convict an innocent Muslim of the assassination. As it emerged, the convicted Muslim was innocent, and the actual assassin was revealed to be the Afro-American father of a US soldier who had been killed in Iraq.
Lately, a few people have told me I use the Nazi example too much, but what happened today, with the unitary decider signing away our long-standing right to not be held by the state without a day in court is a perfect match for what happened in Nazi Germany after the Reichstag Fire Decree. In fact, the Night and Fog decree is a near perfect example, as the Nazis used it to disappear the political opposition. Hitler and his minions would not be bothered by what they considered unnecessary rules, so they grabbed all who organized to oppose them.
“After lengthy consideration, it is the will of the Führer that the measures [be] taken against those who are guilty of offenses against the Reich,” declared SS Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler. “Efficient and enduring intimidation can only be achieved either by capital punishment or by measures by which the relatives of the criminals do not know the fate of the criminal. The prisoners are, in future, to be transported to Germany secretly, and further treatment of the offenders will take place here; these measures will have a deterrent effect because: A. The prisoners will vanish without a trace. B. No information may be given as to their whereabouts or their fate,” decreed Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel.
George W. Bush got what he wanted, ostensibly as a tool in his unfocused "war on terror": By signing into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Bush has made it legal for the C.I.A. to continue operating torture facilities in undisclosed, foreign countries, and for the writ of habeas corpus to be suspended for individuals who are designated "enemy combatants" against the U.S. (Designated by whom? That question remains unanswered.) The law also "establishes military tribunals that would allow some use of evidence obtained by coercion [that is, torture], but would give defendants access to classified evidence being used to convict them."
On September 28, the U.S. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). Though its title refers to military commissions, the new legislation does much more than authorize and establish procedures for military tribunals of foreign terrorist suspects. As Congress’s first comprehensive foray into detainee policy, it affects an array of important issues, including the role of U.S. courts in protecting the fundamental rights of detainees, the implementation of the Geneva Conventions under U.S. law, and the prosecution of abuses by U.S. officials.
In an ironic twist of fate for the Nation that continues to trumpet itself as the most Free Nation on Earth, the United States now is home to the World’s most imprisoned population at the astounding rate of 686 American citizens being imprisoned
for every 100,000 members of their population, for a total of 1.9 million out 300 million Americans. Compared against the prison populations of Russia (less than 1 million
out of a population of 143 million
), combined, this rate of imprisoning American citizens by the Military Government of the United States has no precedent in modern human history for democratic Nations. Joining the United States as one of the World’s top jailers is its War on Terror ally Great Britain, and who also proclaims itself to be a ‘Free Nation’ but is also in prison crisis, and as we can read as reported by the Independent News Service in their article titled "Police cells may be used as prisons near capacity
", The prison population
now stands at 79,806 in England and Wales, just 162 short of official capacity." The mocking contradiction of the World’s Leading Democracies leading a Global War to ‘free’ the Islamic Nations, while at the same time imprisoning their own citizens at a rate not seen since the Nazi German and Soviet Communist Empires crackdown on their citizens, is well understood by the entire World, but seems to be completely lost to these Westerns whose lives are the most affected. One cannot fail to see, and understand, the urgency the Iraqi and Afghanistan resistance fighters are expelling so that they too will not end up with a government molded upon these ‘democracies’ that can only maintain their legitimacy by the mass imprisonment of their own citizens. Worse for the Americans people, however, is that under a series of new, and draconian, laws just passed by their Military Leaders, the numbers of them to be imprisoned can only be compared to those levels found in Police States, and as we can read as summarized by the Lew Rockwell News Service in their article titled "Welcome to Fascist America!
", and which says: "My fellow Americans, it’s official now: We live in a fascist nation.
Now, the term "fascist" has been thrown around over the last fifty years in a loose way that has drained it of much of its meaning. If someone wanted to cut 5% off of a leftist professor's favourite welfare programme, the professor would call his opponent a "fascist." I’m not using the word like that. I mean honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned, 1930s style fascism
, featuring such old favourites as: Secret prisons – they’re back!
/ Torture – we’re doing it
/ Spying on all citizens
/ Arrests and indefinite imprisonment without trial
/ Rampant militarism
/ Secret detention
/ Enforced disappearance
/ Denial and restriction of habeas corpus
/ Prolonged incommunicado detention
/ Unfair trial procedures
(This list was compiled partially based on the work of Amnesty International, available here
.) An absolutely mind-numbing response
to complaints that our traditional legal system is being torn apart is the question, "So, you want to protect the rights of terrorists?"
In a jail cell at an immigration detention center in Arizona sits a man who is not charged with a crime, not suspected of a crime, not considered a danger to society. But he has been in custody for five years.
His name is Ali Partovi. And according to the Department of Homeland Security, he is the last to be held of about 1,200 Arab and Muslim men swept up by authorities in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
There has been no full accounting of all of these individuals. Nor has a promised federal policy to protect against unrestricted sweeps been produced.
Human rights groups tried to track the detainees; members of Congress denounced the arrests. They all believed that all of those who had been arrested had been deported, released or processed through the criminal justice system.
It was a dark hour indeed on Thursday when the United States Senate voted to end the constitutional republic and transform the country into a "Leader-State," giving the president and his agents the power to capture, torture and imprison forever anyone - American citizens included - whom they arbitrarily decide is an "enemy combatant." This also includes those who merely give "terrorism" some kind of "support," defined so vaguely that many experts say it could encompass legal advice, innocent gifts to charities or even political opposition to US government policy within its draconian strictures.
The U.S. Congress has just passed a law that fundamentally changes the rights and protections afforded people under the U.S. Constitution. The law is called the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (S.3930).
Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he knew the law violated the Constitution, as did others. That didn't stop them from voting for it. What is the significance of this new law?
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The White House is dismissing the findings of a medical study that says 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion. The study was conducted by American and Iraqi researchers and published in the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet. We’re joined by the report’s co-author, epidemiologist Les Roberts. [includes rush transcript] More than 650,000 people have died in Iraq since the U.S. led invasion of the country began in March of 2003. This is according to a new study published in the scientific journal, The Lancet. The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. Researchers based their findings on interviews with a random sampling of households taken in clusters across Iraq. The study is an update to a prior one compiled by many of the same researchers. That study estimated that around 100,000 Iraqis died in the first 18 months after the invasion.
Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, is constructing a huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of Bush's "unlawful enemy combatants." Americans are certain to be among them. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of detainees is the culmination of relentless fear-mongering by the Bush administration since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Because the bill was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also U.S. citizens, "unlawful enemy combatants." Bush & Co. has portrayed the bill as a tough way to deal with aliens to protect us against terrorism. Frightened they might lose their majority in Congress in the November elections, the Republicans rammed the bill through Congress with little substantive debate. Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush's list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens. The bill also strips habeas corpus rights from detained aliens who have been declared enemy combatants.
On “Countdown” Keith Olbermann examined the Military Commission’s Act of 2006 and what it does to something called habeas corpus.
The following is a transcript of Keith Olbermann's special report on habeas corpus, as reported on Tuesday, October 10th:
The president has now succeeded where no one has before. He’s managed to kill the writ of habeas corpus. Tonight, a special investigation, how that, in turn, kills nothing less than your Bill of Rights. Because the Mark Foley story began to break on the night of September 28, exploding the following day, many people may not have noticed the bill passed by the Senate that night.
Students of historical hysteria immediately saw 9/11 as America's version of the Reichstag Fire. Both incidents were organic acts of terrorism (contrary to popular misconception, the Nazis didn't set the 1933 fire) seized upon by power-hungry government officials to justify the crushing of political dissent and the rolling back of civil liberties. Hitler began marching his people into the abyss immediately upon seizing power in 1933, but Nazi Germany's fate as a rogue nation wasn't sealed until two years later, in the late summer of 1935.
In the recently enacted Military Commissions Act, Congress acceded to President Bush’s request to remove the power of federal courts to consider petitions for writ of habeas by foreign citizens held by U.S. officials on suspicion of having committed acts of terrorism. While it might be tempting to conclude that the writ of habeas corpus is some minor legal procedural device that the president and the Congress have now canceled, nothing could be further from the truth. The writ of habeas corpus is actually the lynchpin of a free society. Take away this great writ and all other rights – such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, gun ownership, due process, trial by jury, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures and cruel and unusual punishments – become meaningless.
Hannah Arendt was a philosopher of the exceptional. But as the centennial of her birth approaches on Saturday, she can seem more like a philosopher of the typical.
After she saw her native Germany nightmarishly reconstitute itself into something monstrous, she tried to comprehend what had happened with the rise of Nazism and the parallel rise of Stalinism. These phenomena were, she said, unprecedented. In “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951) she cataloged their characteristics: sweeping ideologies, death and concentration camps, vengeance against imagined conspiracies, imperviousness to political challenge. Together, she wrote, these characteristics “exploded” the familiar concepts of politics and government: “the alternative between lawful and lawless government, between arbitrary and legitimate power.” The lawless was made lawful; the arbitrary became legitimate. All categories were broken down; new ones needed formation. In the future the exception would shape a new rule.
And, to a great extent, with varied and vexing consequences, it has. Whether the world itself has changed (as she proposed), or our interpretation of it has, or both, it is no longer possible to discuss political life without in some way invoking those phenomena that once seemed so exceptional, without forming analogies to them, and without considering Arendt’s concepts that developed around them.
Hannah Arendt would have celebrated her 100th birthday on October 14, 2006. To mark the occasion, Bard College will host an international conference entitled "Thinking in Dark Times: The Legacy of Hannah Arendt." The conference will take place on Friday, October 27 through Sunday, October 29. All lectures and panels are free and open to the public.
There will be more than one dozen conferences commemorating Hannah Arendt this year, a testament to her status as the most important political thinker of the 20th century. Nevertheless, the Bard College conference will be unique. Hannah Arendt had a longstanding personal relationship to Bard. Her husband, Heinrich Blücher, taught at Bard for 17 years, and both Blücher and Arendt are buried on the Bard campus. Arendt sealed her connection to the campus when she left her personal library to Bard College, where it is now housed in the Arendt Collection at the Stevenson Library.
Computer Programmer testifies that Tom Feeney (Speaker of the Houe of Florida at the time, currently US Representative representing MY district ) tried to pay him to rig election vote counts. See more videos like this at http://www.TruthStream.Org - Streaming Videos of TRUTH to the American People!
In a month in which the US Congress voted to legalize torture, discard the US Constitution by abolishing habeas corpus and increase the military budget to prolong the daily slaughter of hundreds of Iraqis and Afghanis, the big controversy among the mass media and elected officials is the sexual overtures of a Republican Congressman to adolescent boys employed by Congress.
Millions of fundamentalist Christians, who blindly supported the Republican Congress’ deadly War on Terror are in revolt against their Party because of its tolerance toward a single pervert -- overlooking the torture at Abu Ghraib, Israel’s massive bombing of Lebanon and the Bush Administration’s criminal abandonment of the hundreds of thousands of poor (mostly black) citizens in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
While the 2008 presidential election may seem far away, potential candidates are already positioning themselves for a run. With high stakes and partisanship running at a fever pitch, the campaign is likely to start the moment the midterm election ends a few weeks from now.
Everyone has their favorite candidate and every candidate already has surrogates out on the news networks and in the blogosphere promoting them and raising their name awareness with the public.
It might surprise a lot of these partisan promoters to learn that according to the latest polls the public has already pretty much narrowed the field of candidates to a very small group who are leading so overwhelmingly in public approval that some of the more minor candidates might be best served by not attempting attempting a doomed run.
Rudy Giuliani has become the top 2008 presidential contender for Republican Party supporters in the United States, according to a poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion released by WNBC. 23 per cent of respondents would support the former New York City mayor in a primary election.
Hillary Rodham Clinton remains the frontrunner for the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2008 United States presidential race, according to a poll by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion released by WNBC. 35 per cent of respondents would vote for the New York senator in a primary election.
In a free, democratic society, political affiliation is an informed, continually evaluated decision; not a bond of blind loyalty, like that of dog to man. I hereby take leave of the Republican Party, for the time being anyway, at least as an active participant. Hopefully, the GOP will soon again merit the support of Americans who believe in individual freedom, personal responsibility and limited government. I will continue to work for those values and for candidates who support them, irrespective of party affiliation. Why? The Senate just passed the detainee bill. It is even worse than the bill President Bush proposed. Among many noxious provisions, it allows American authorities to lock people up indefinitely, without independent judicial review. That clearly violates the U.S. Constitution and, therefore, the Geneva Convention for foreign detainees. It also breaks a nearly thousand-year English-American tradition of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus is the foundation upon which every aspect of a fair trial rests, indeed the foundation of every civil right. What right or freedom can be safe if government officials can throw someone in jail without independent review? Literally throw away the key.
Public support for George W. Bush dropped this month in the United States, according to a review of five recent public opinion polls. 39 per cent of respondents to surveys conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for CNN and Hart/McInturff for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News approve of the president’s performance.
Bush’s approval rating reaches 38 per cent in a study by Ipsos-Public Affairs released by the Associated Press, and 37 per cent in a poll by SRBI Public Affairs for Time. In three of the five polls, the United States president’s rating fell by at least one point.
Salim Ahmed Hamdan was a hired driver for Osama bin Laden. He denies having any role in the commission or planning of terrorist activities. His misfortune was to be thrown into the black hole of Guantanamo; his surprising good fortune was to have Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift, one of those strange people who think a defense lawyer should defend his client, as his attorney. Hamdan filed a habeas corpus petition; it finally went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that Bush did not have the right to arbitrarily constitute military tribunals that recognized neither the Geneva Conventions nor the Uniform Code of Military Justice. As a result, the matter of military tribunals was referred to Congress. Had their bill, passed in its final form last week, been in effect earlier, Hamdan would not have been able to file his habeas petition. Habeas corpus, the right whereby an authority detaining a person must, if challenged, produce the person and show cause why he or she is being held, was well-established English common law before the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215. It was explicitly upheld by Act of Parliament in 1679 and it is enshrined in Article I of the United States Constitution, which says that habeas corpus "shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
Did Osama really choose to name his terror network after potty humor or was it a computer database he used to chat with his CIA handlers? The origins of the name "Al-Qaeda," and its real arabic connotations prove that every time the Bush administration, Fox News, or any individual who cites the threat of "Al-Qaeda," as a mandate for war and domestic authoritarianism, they are propagating the myth that such a group ever existed. An organization by the name of "Al-Qaeda" does not exist and has never existed outside a falsely coined collective term for offshoot loose knit terror cells, the majority of which are guided by the Pakistani ISI, Mossad, the Saudis, MI6 and the CIA, that were created in response to America's actions after 9/11 - as the recent NIE report shows. According to the BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares, the infamous footage of Bin Laden marching around with armed soldiers was a ruse on the part of Osama himself, graciously propagated by the lapdog press, in which actors were hired off the streets, given uniforms and guns and told to look aggressive.
According to the doddering ruin of a Labor (now Kadima) Zionist, Shimon Peres, speaking from Berlin, “the international community must adopt an aggressive stance against Iran,” as the neocon-infested Jerusalem Post reports. In other words, the international community, not suffering a threat by Iran, or likely to face one in the foreseeable future, must do the war crime bidding of the perfidious neocons and the Jabotinskyite Zionists in Israel.
“Iran seeks an nuclear bomb, although it already has a human bomb in the image of Ahmadinejad,” declared the senile statesman.
We bring to the attention of our readers, this carefully documented review of the ongoing naval build-up and deployment of coalition forces in the Middle East. The article examines the geopolitics behind this military deployment and its relationship to "the Battle for Oil".
The structure of military alliances is crucial to an understanding of these war preparations. The naval deployment is taking place in two distinct theaters: the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Both Israel and NATO are slated to play a major role in the US-led war.
Iran is bracing itself for an expected American-led air campaign. The latter is in the advanced stages of military planning.
If there were to be war between the United States and Iran, the aerial campaign would unleash fierce combat. It would be fully interactive on multiple fronts. It would be a difficult battle involving active movement in the air from both sides.
If war were to occur, the estimates of casualties envisaged by American and British war planners would be high.
The expected wave of aerial attacks would resemble the tactics of the Israeli air-war against Lebanon and would follow the same template, but on a larger scale of execution.
The U.S. government and the Pentagon had an active role in graphing, both militarily and politically, the template of confrontation in Lebanon. The Israeli siege against Lebanon is in many regards a dress rehearsal for a planned attack on Iran.
On the occasion of the third anniversary of the death of Edward Said, Ferial J Ghazoul reviews the posthumous publication of a collection of articles, lectures and class notes.
When Edward Said passed away three years ago, on 25 September, 2003, one of his close friends and a Palestinian compatriot of his, Leila Mikadadi Qattan, remarked: "The world will not be the same without Edward Said." All of us, those who knew him closely or from far, who heard or read him, realise the loss that his departure signified, as if our frontline of defence had collapsed. A compelling speaker, not only on Palestine but on all issues related to the rights of the oppressed and the downtrodden, Said would shun simplistic idiom and demagogic rhetoric in favour of a humanistic discourse. His lectures in Cairo and elsewhere were cathartic events for all sorts of people, young and old, emerging and established scholars.
The story of the Palestinian search to establish a state is set in the era of British control over Palestine and stretches between the two world wars, when colonial control of the region became increasingly unpopular and power began to shift toward the United States. In this crucial period and in the years immediately following World War II, Palestinian leaders were unable to achieve the long-cherished goal of establishing an independent state -- a critical failure that throws a bright light on the efforts of the Palestinians to create a state in the many decades since 1948.
Among the many revelations in a book published this week by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward is the assertion that U.S. President George W. Bush regularly seeks the counsel of Nixon-era Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in pursuing the war in Iraq.
Woodward reports that Kissinger has strongly advised President Bush to “stay the course” in Iraq. A kind of déjà vu, Vietnam-style.
That Kissinger has a hand in current U.S. Iraq policy must certainly be reassuring to those millions of U.S. citizens who were beginning to believe that President Bush had gotten the country into some really deep and costly shit, and has no idea whatsoever what to do, or how to get out. Other than blame weak-kneed Democrats and brandish the “fear flag” for the third consecutive national election.
But with Henry (Kiss of Death) Kissinger as Bush’s foreign policy guru, experienced leadership is back at the helm and the nation, no doubt, can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
This is, after all, the same Kissinger that, as an academic, sold his soul to former New York Governor (and presidential wannabe) Nelson Rockefeller to gain entrance to the U.S. political establishment. The same Kissinger that despised former President Richard Nixon, even as he brown-nosed and wheedled to become Secretary of State, counseling Nixon to bomb Vietnam into the stone age. The same Kissinger that warned so ominously about the “domino” theory: defeat in Vietnam would embolden nationalist movements around the world.
For understandable reasons, the George W. Bush administration has shunned comparisons between the war in Iraq and the Vietnam War. But in his latest book, State of Denial, Bob Woodward writes that Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state--and a secret (and frequent) consultant to the current president--has made the parallel explicit to the White House.
According to Woodward, Kissinger recently gave a Bush aide a copy of a memo he wrote in 1969 arguing against troop withdrawals from Southeast Asia, an issue as salient four decades ago as it is now.
Kissinger's September 10, 1969, advice to President Nixon famously characterized withdrawals from Vietnam as "salted peanuts" to which the American people would become addicted.
Henry Kissinger, who is wanted in several countries for his various crimes, and who bears responsibility for genocide in Cambodia - "anything that flies on anything that moves" - is now advising the White House on Iraq. Kissinger, of course, is not a neoconservative, but an old right 'realist' and a former associate of that other old right 'realist', Dick Cheney.
The messianic, authoritarian George W. Bush and the minds of his cohorts have further collapsed the rule of law with his bulldozing through a divided Congress more dictatorial powers in his increasingly self-defined, self-serving and failing "war on terror." The normally restrained New York Times in an editorial titled "Rushing off a Cliff" condemned Bush's "ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217 year-old nation of laws-while doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser." Bush has concentrated so much arbitrary power in his Presidency that he can be described in the vernacular as the torturer-in-chief, the jailer-in-chief and the arrestor-in-chief. Who needs the courts? Who needs the constitutional rights to habeas corpus for defendants to be able to argue that they were wrongfully arrested or capriciously imprisoned indefinitely without being charged?
To sum up Rumsfeld's explanation: 1) The warnings were there; 2) the Defense Department and the intelligence community couldn't figure them out; but anyway 3) it was up to the FBI, state law enforcement, and local police to uncover and prevent the worst terrorist attack in US history.
And here's something to kick around. Still answering this question, Rumsfeld goes on to make a strange statement:
"It is a truth that a terrorist can attack any time, any place, using any technique and it's physically impossible to defend at every time and every place against every conceivable technique. Here we're talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filled with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible) that damaged the World Trade Center. The only way to deal with this problem is by taking the battle to the terrorists, wherever they are, and dealing with them."
"Missile"? What missile would that be? Did he let something slip? Or was this just a gaffe? A bad choice of words? A transcription error? Until we know for sure, it deserves scrutiny.
No Arabs wound up on the morgue slab; however, three ADDITIONAL people not listed by American Airline sneaked in. I have seen no explanation for these extras. I did give American the opportunity to “revise” their original list, but they have not responded. The new names are: Robert Ploger, Zandra Ploger, and Sandra Teague. The AFIP claims that the only “passenger” body that they were not able to identify is the toddler, Dana Falkenberg, whose parents and young sister are on the list of those identified. The satanic masterminds behind this caper may be feeling pretty smug about the perfect crime, but they have left a raft of clues tying these unfortunates together. Stay tuned for part two to take a much closer look of the cast of characters on this ill-fated flight.
In antiquity, Pliny wrote of the cliffs of Bayada. The chalk runs down to the Mediterranean in an almost Dover-like cascade of white rock, and the view from the top - just below the little Lebanese village of Chama'a - is breathtaking. To the south lies the United Nations headquarters and the Israeli frontier, to the north the city of Tyre, its long promentary, built by Alexander the Great, lunging out into the green-blue sea. A winding, poorly-made road runs down to the shore below Chama'a and for some reason - perhaps because he had caught sight of the Israeli warship off the coast - 58-year-old Ali Kemal Abdullah took a right turn above the Mediterranean on the morning of 15 July. In the open-topped pick-up behind him, Ali had packed 27 Lebanese refugees, most of them children. Twenty-three of them were to die within the next 15 minutes. The tragedy of these poor young people and of their desperate attempts to survive their repeated machine-gunning from the air is as well-known in Lebanon as it is already forgotten abroad. War crimes are easy to talk about when they have been committed in Rwanda or Bosnia; less so in Lebanon, especially when the Israelis are involved. But all the evidence suggests that what happened on this blissfully lovely coastline two and a half months ago was a crime against humanity, one that is impossible to justify on any military grounds since the dead and wounded were fleeing their homes on the express orders of the Israelis themselves.
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