May 122013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

Video: Alberto Reveron & Amira Bochenska. Thank you for all people that participates, special thanks for music – HK & les Saltimbanks (http://www.saltimbanks.fr).

Links to follow:

Take The Square http://takethesquare.net/
Marcha Bruselas https://www.facebook.com/15mMarchaBru…
Global Change https://www.facebook.com/groups/globa…
Asamblea Virtual https://www.facebook.com/AsambleaVirtual
Spanish Revolution https://www.facebook.com/SpanishRevol…
AcampadaSol https://www.facebook.com/acampadasol?…
AcampadaBcn https://www.facebook.com/Acampadabcn?…

VIDEO @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9JN8RUZxZmA#!

Dec 062011
 

 

* HOW THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT HELPED AMERICANS MOVE BEYOND DENIAL AND DEPRESSION TO ACTION

By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet

While the term liberation psychologyis less commonly known in the United States than in Latin America, the spirit of liberation psychology has been embraced by U.S. Occupy participants.Liberation psychology, unlike mainstream psychology, questions adjustment to the societal status quo, and it energizes oppressed people to resist all injustices. Liberation psychology attempts to discover how demoralized people can regain the energy necessary to take back the power that they had handed over to illegitimate authorities.The Occupy movement has tapped into the energy supply that many oppressed and exploited people ultimately discover. We discover it when we come out of denial that we are a subjugated people. We discover just how energizing it can be to delegitimize oppressive institutions and authorities. And when these oppressive authorities react violently to peaceful resistance, their violence validates their illegitimacy—and provides us with even more energy.

With liberation psychology, we no longer take seriously the elite’s rigged games that had sucked us in and then sucked the energy out of us. We move beyond denial and depression that the U.S. electoral process is a rigged game, an exercise in learned helplessness in which we are given the choice between politicians who will either (1) screw us, or (2) screw us. We begin to engage in other “battlegrounds for democracy.”

Corporate-collaborating journalists, politicians and other lackeys of the elite ask, “What are the goals of the Occupy movement?” They are deaf to the answer no matter how loud we yell. If they did understand, they would then have to stop being lackeys. But their elite bosses do understand that the Occupy movement is a demand for economic fairness—a frightening prospect for the elite. The elite then divide into two camps: (1) throw the demonstrators a bone so they go away, but give them no power; or (2) give them nothing, just destroy them. This is not news to liberation psychologists. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/153269

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* TAKING BACK THE CAPITOL: WHY I’M GOING TO WASHINGTON NEXT WEEK

By Rev. C.J. Hawking

I am one of 300 Chicagoans going to Washington for a three-day convergence of thousands of people from across the country called “Take Back the Capitol.” We will bring the power of the people to bear on Capitol Hill to say that the time has come for Congress to start representing the 99 percent of Americans — We the People — not just the richest 1 percent in the country.

The U.S. House of Representatives, after all, is supposed to be The People’s House. But millions of people are out of work, wages are in steep decline, and income inequality is at its worst since the 1920s. And what is Congress doing in the face of this suffering? Failing to pass a jobs bill that would put people back to work. Meanwhile, Wall Street and K Street exert more influence over our elected representatives than ever.

The time to eliminate corporate dominance over our lives has arrived. Our representatives on Capitol Hill need to be weaned from the seduction of big money from corporate lobbyists and big-time campaign donors. They need to listen to people like Shirley Howard and Jose Tafoya, two Chicagoans also going to Washington next week.

[…]

More than 7,000 people took to the streets on October 10 to protest the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Futures Industry Association during their conventions here, shutting down Michigan Avenue. 2,000 people rallied at Thompson Center Plaza on November 17 before marching to the LaSalle Street Bridge and occupying it for over an hour to oppose cuts to essential services and demand job-creating policies.

As someone who serves on Occupy Chicago’s spiritual affairs committee, I’m also excited that several members of the Occupy movement will be going to DC. The Occupy phenomenon has inspired a healthy and long-overdue conversation about the inhumane disparities in wealth in our society.

It is with this wind at our backs that we embark for Washington. May our voices amplify the 99 percent in the halls of The People’s House.

READ @ http://gapersblock.com/mechanics/2011/12/04/taking-back-the-capitol-why-im-going-to-washington-next-week/

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* FROM OCCUPATION TO “OCCUPY”: THE ISRAELIFICATION OF AMERICAN DOMESTIC SECURITY

By Max Blumenthal, Information Clearing House

In October, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department turned parts of the campus of the University of California in Berkeley into an urban battlefield. The occasion was Urban Shield 2011, an annual SWAT team exposition organized to promote “mutual response,” collaboration and competition between heavily militarized police strike forces representing law enforcement departments across the United States and foreign nations.

At the time, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department was preparing for an imminent confrontation with the nascent “Occupy” movement that had set up camp in downtown Oakland, and would demonstrate the brunt of its repressive capacity against the demonstrators a month later when it attacked the encampment with teargas and rubber bullet rounds, leaving an Iraq war veteran in critical condition and dozens injured. According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.”

Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.

The Israelification of America’s security apparatus, recently unleashed in full force against the Occupy Wall Street Movement, has taken place at every level of law enforcement, and in areas that have yet to be exposed. The phenomenon has been documented in bits and pieces, through occasional news reports that typically highlight Israel’s national security prowess without examining the problematic nature of working with a country accused of grave human rights abuses. But it has never been the subject of a national discussion. And collaboration between American and Israeli cops is just the tip of the iceberg.

Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities. Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed “counter-terror” measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life. Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.

The process of Israelification began in the immediate wake of 9/11, when national panic led federal and municipal law enforcement officials to beseech Israeli security honchos for advice and training. America’s Israel lobby exploited the climate of hysteria, providing thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials. By now, police chiefs of major American cities who have not been on junkets to Israel are the exception.

“Israel is the Harvard of antiterrorism,” said former US Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, who now serves as the US Senate Sergeant-at-Arms. Cathy Lanier, the Chief of the Washington DC Metropolitan Police, remarked, “No experience in my life has had more of an impact on doing my job than going to Israel.” “One would say it is the front line,” Barnett Jones, the police chief of Ann Arbor, Michigan, said of Israel. “We’re in a global war.”

Karen Greenberg, the director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security and a leading expert on terror and civil liberties, said the Israeli influence on American law enforcement is so extensive it has bled into street-level police conduct. “After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture,” Greenberg told me. “The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.”

[…]

Cathy Lanier, now the Chief of Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department, was among the law enforcement officials junketed to Israel by JINSA. “I was with the bomb units and the SWAT team and all of those high profile specialized [Israeli] units and I learned a tremendous amount,” Lanier reflected. “I took 82 pages of notes while I was there which I later brought back and used to formulate a lot of what I later used to create and formulate the Homeland Security terrorism bureau in the DC Metropolitan Police department.”

Some of the police chiefs who have taken part in JINSA’s LEEP program have done so under the auspices of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a private non-governmental group with close ties to the Department of Homeland Security. Chuck Wexler, the executive director of PERF, was so enthusiastic about the program that by 2005 he had begun organizing trips to Israel sponsored by PERF, bringing numerous high-level American police officials to receive instruction from their Israeli counterparts.

PERF gained notoriety when Wexler confirmed that his group coordinated police raids in 16 cities across America against “Occupy” protest encampments. As many as 40 cities have sought PERF advice on suppressing the “Occupy” movement and other mass protest activities. Wexler did not respond to my requests for an interview.

[…]

“Occupy” meets the Occupation

When a riot squad from the New York Police Department destroyed and evicted the “Occupy Wall Street” protest encampment at Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan, department leadership drew on the anti-terror tactics they had refined since the 9/11 attacks. According to the New York Times, the NYPD deployed “counterterrorism measures” to mobilize large numbers of cops for the lightning raid on Zuccotti. The use of anti-terror techniques to suppress a civilian protest complemented harsh police measures demonstrated across the country against the nationwide “Occupy” movement, from firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets into unarmed crowds to blasting demonstrators with the LRAD sound cannon.

Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus, and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists. As Dichter said, they are all just “crimiterrorists.”

“After 9/11 we had to react very quickly,” Greenberg remarked, “but now we’re in 2011 and we’re not talking about people who want to fly planes into buildings. We’re talking about young American citizens who feel that their birthright has been sold. If we’re using Israeli style tactics on them and this stuff bleeds into the way we do business at large, were in big trouble.”

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29892.htm

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* AT LEAST WE KNOW WE’RE FREE

by digby, Hullabaloo

Michael Moore noticed that some people in the Greatest Country The World has Ever Known might be needing a whiff ‘o freedom for themselves. It seems that Governor Scott Walker is putting place some “new rules” as to how and when citizens can exercise the 1st Amendment”

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, these are some of the new policies:

Groups of four or more people must obtain permits for all activity and displays in state buildings and apply for those permits at least 72 hours in advance. The policy requires permits for 100 or more people outside the Capitol. The policy does provide some leeway for spontaneous gatherings triggered by unforeseen events.

That’s big of him.

Perhaps you think that’s not a big deal? Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing this isn’t happening in another country or we might have to issue a travel alert:

The Journal-Sentinel quotes several experts on the First Amendment who are skeptical that Walker’s new polices are constitutional. This should not be surprising, since in some respects they are more onerous than those in Brunei — which is ruled by a literal Sultan and has been under martial law since 1962. Nevertheless, even though some aspects of the freedom to assemble are less restricted in Brunei than in Wisconsin, the State Department’s 2010 Human Rights Report criticizes the Sultanate for its polices:

Under the emergency powers, the government significantly restricted the right to assemble. According to the Societies Order, public gatherings of 10 or more persons require a government permit, and police have the authority to stop an unofficial assembly of five or more persons deemed likely to cause a disturbance of the peace.

But then we’re very, very exceptional so those rules could never apply to us.

READ @ http://www.digbysblog.blogspot.com/

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* THE OBAMA REGIME HAS NO CONSTITUTIONAL SCRUPLES

By Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House

[…] However, on further reflection I conclude that the Obama regime’s objection to military detention is not rooted in concern for the constitutional rights of American citizens.  The regime objects to military detention because the implication of military detention is that detainees are prisoners of war. As Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin put it:

Should somebody determined “to be a member of an enemy force who has come to this nation or is in this nation to attack us as a member of a foreign enemy, should that person be treated according to the laws of war? The answer is yes.”

Detainees treated according to the laws of war have the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They cannot be tortured. The Obama regime opposes military detention, because detainees would have some rights.  These rights would interfere with the regime’s ability to send detainees to CIA torture prisons overseas.  This is what the Obama regime means when it says that the requirement of military detention denies the regime “flexibility.”

The Bush/Obama regimes have evaded the Geneva Conventions by declaring that detainees are not POWs, but “enemy combatants,” “terrorists,” or some other designation that removes all accountability from the US government for their treatment.

By requiring military detention of the captured, Congress is undoing all the maneuvering that two regimes have accomplished in removing POW status from detainees.

A careful reading of the Obama regime’s objections to military detention supports this conclusion.  The November 17 letter[PDF] to the Senate from the Executive Office of the President says that the Obama regime does not want the authority it has under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Public Law 107-40, to be codified. Codification is risky, the regime says. “After a decade of settled jurisprudence on detention authority, Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of legal questions that will distract from our efforts to protect the country.”

In other words, the regime is saying that under AUMF the executive branch has total discretion as to who it detains and how it treats detainees. Moreover, as the executive branch has total discretion, no one can find out what the executive branch is doing, who detainees are, or what is being done to them. Codification brings accountability, and the executive branch does not want accountability.

Those who see hope in Obama’s threatened veto have jumped to conclusions if they think the veto is based on constitutional scruples.

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29891.htm

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* 20 WAYS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS INTRUDED ON YOUR RIGHTS

By Bill Quigley, AlterNet

The Obama administration has affirmed, continued and expanded almost all of the draconian domestic civil liberties intrusions pioneered under the Bush administration. Here are twenty examples of serious assaults on the domestic rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience that have occurred since the Obama administration has assumed power. Consider these and then decide if there is any fundamental difference between the Bush presidency and the Obama presidency in the area of domestic civil liberties.

Patriot Act

On May 27, 2011, President Obama, over widespread bipartisan objections, approved a Congressional four year extension of controversial parts of the Patriot Act that were set to expire. In March of 2010, Obama signed a similar extension of the Patriot Act for one year. These provisions allow the government, with permission from a special secret court, to seize records without the owner’s knowledge, conduct secret surveillance of suspicious people who have no known ties to terrorist groups and to obtain secret roving wiretaps on people.

Criminalization of Dissent and Militarization of the Police

Anyone who has gone to a peace or justice protest in recent years has seen it – local police have been turned into SWAT teams, and SWAT teams into heavily armored military. Officer Friendly or even Officer Unfriendly has given way to police uniformed like soldiers with SWAT shields, shin guards, heavy vests, military helmets, visors, and vastly increased firepower. Protest police sport ninja turtle-like outfits and are accompanied by helicopters, special tanks, and even sound blasting vehicles first used in Iraq. Wireless fingerprint scanners first used by troops in Iraq are now being utilized by local police departments to check motorists. Facial recognition software introduced in war zones is now being used in Arizona and other jurisdictions. Drones just like the ones used in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan are being used along the Mexican and Canadian borders. These activities continue to expand under the Obama administration.

Wiretaps

Wiretaps for oral, electronic or wire communications, approved by federal and state courts, are at an all-time high. Wiretaps in year 2010 were up 34% from 2009, according to the Administrative Office of the US Courts.

Criminalization of Speech

Muslims in the US have been targeted by the Obama Department of Justice for inflammatory things they said or published on the internet. First Amendment protection of freedom of speech, most recently stated in a 1969 Supreme Court decision, Brandenberg v Ohio, says the government cannot punish inflammatory speech, even if it advocates violence unless it is likely to incite or produce such action. A Pakistani resident legally living in the US was indicted by the DOJ in September 2011 for uploading a video on YouTube. The DOJ said the video was supportive of terrorists even though nothing on the video called for violence. In July 2011, the DOJ indicted a former Penn State student for going onto websites and suggesting targets and for providing a link to an explosives course already posted on the internet. […]

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/153283

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* JON KYL JUSTIFIES MILITARY DETENTION BY CLAIMING CIA-MILITARY CREDIT FOR FBI INTERROGATIONS

By Marcy Wheeler, Emptywheel

In the entire two week debate over the detainee provisions of the Defense Authorization, the champions of military detention offered almost no rationale for it (a pity, then, that the opponents barely explained why it’s such a bad idea), aside from Lindsey Graham repeating endlessly that detainees shouldn’t get lawyers (he never explained how this claim jived with his promise that every detainee would have access to habeas corpus).

One exception is a statement that Jon Kyl submitted to the record but did not read (the statement starts on PDF 5). After reasserting the legality of the detainee provisions under Hamdi, Kyl’s (was it Kyl’s?) statement offered an “explanation” for military detention; I’ve reproduced that part of the statement in full below the line.

Now, the statement doesn’t make any sense. It invokes what it claims were CIA interrogations and treats them as military interrogation; though in fact a number of the interrogations the statement invokes were FBI interrogations.

The statement claims detainees wouldn’t have a lawyer, though the architects of the bill have made it clear (as has SCOTUS) detainees would have access to habeas corpus and therefore (presumably) lawyers.

Perhaps not surprising, the statement also invokes two discredited pieces of propaganda: Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby’s January 9, 2003 Declaration in opposition to granting Jose Padilla habeas corpus and George Bush’s September 6, 2006 speech announcing he was moving 14 high value detainees to Gitmo.

It relies on Jacoby’s statement to argue for the value of a “relationship of dependency,” which seems to no more than a rebranding of Bruce Jessen’s “learned helplessness.” And note, Jacoby’s statement, written six months after DOD took custody of Padilla, spoke of intelligence he might offer prospectively; it doesn’t claim to have gotten any intelligence using this “relationship of dependency.”

And it relies on Bush’s statement to claim that military or CIA interrogations exposed that KSM was Mukhtar and Jose Padilla’s plans, both of which came from Ali Soufan’s FBI interrogation of Zubaydah. It also claims the CIA interrogations yielded Ramzi bin al-Shibh’s location, whereas Soufan, at least, claims that came from an FBI interrogation in Bagram. And it claims CIA’s interrogation of KSM revealed the Liberty Towers plot that had been broken up a year earlier. In other words, Kyl’s argument for why we need military detention consists of repeating discredited propaganda claiming CIA credit for interrogations largely conducted by the FBI. The same FBI officers who will lose their ability to interrogate detainees if and when this bill goes into place.

In short, one of the most comprehensive arguments for why we need military detention instead makes the case for retaining FBI primacy. At the same time, it appears to endorse the “learned helplessness” that ended up making delaying any value to KSM and other detainee interrogations.

Even the champions of military detention offer proof that we’re safer with civilian detention.

What follows is the statement Kyl submitted to the record. […]

READ @ http://www.emptywheel.net/2011/12/05/jon-kyl-justifies-military-detention-by-claiming-cia-military-credit-for-fbi-interrogations/

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* ICELAND’S SPECIAL PROSECUTOR ARRESTS FORMER GLITNIR CEO: MEDIA

By Omar Valdimarsson, Rueters

(Reuters) – Iceland’s special prosecutor arrested the former chief executive of Glitnir Bank on Wednesday and questioned nearly two dozen people related to the collapse of the bank in 2008.

Glitnir Bank was the first of Iceland’s top three commercial banks to collapse three years ago, imploding under the weight of huge debts racked up during years of aggressive expansion.

Special prosecutor Olafur Hauksson said his office had made several arrests on Wednesday — the first for activities related to Glitnir. He told local media that former CEO Larus Welding would be held in custody for up to one week.

“Welding is being held in the interest of the investigation in order to prevent him for influencing other suspects or removing evidence that we’re after,” he was quoted as saying by Morgunbladid.

Hauksson said he had initiated nine new investigations, made several arrests and questioned nearly two dozen people related to the fall of Glitnir.

Inquiries are being made into the purchase of Glitnir’s shares, as well as into loans provided to a number of firms to purchase Glitnir shares. It also investigated a 15 billion Icelandic crown ($126 million) guarantee provided by Glitnir in connection with a share offering in FL Group.

The prosecutor has also been conducting investigations at Kaupthing and Landsbanki. Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir all collapsed in the space of a week during the 2008 crisis.

READ @ http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-iceland-glitnir-idUSTRE7AT2UX20111130?mid=5465351

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* PROPAGANDASTAN

Why is the Pentagon spending tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars to whitewash the image of Central Asian dictatorships?

By David Trilling, Foreign Policy

When people read a news website, they don’t usually imagine that it is being run by a major producer of fighter jets and smart bombs. But when the Pentagon has its own vision of America’s foreign policy, and the funds to promote it, it can put a $23 billion defense contractor in a unique position to report on the war on terror.

Over the past three years, a subdivision of Virginia-based General Dynamics has set up and run a network of eight “influence websites” funded by the Defense Department with more than $120 million in taxpayer money. The sites, collectively known as the Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI) and operated by General Dynamics Information Technology, focus on geographic areas under the purview of various U.S. combatant commands, including U.S. Central Command. In its coverage of Uzbekistan, a repressive dictatorship increasingly important to U.S. military goals in Afghanistan, a TRWI website called Central Asia Online has shown a disturbing tendency to downplay the autocracy’s rights abuses and uncritically promote its claims of terrorist threats.

Central Asia Online was created in 2008, a time when Washington’s ability to rely on Pakistan as a partner in the U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan was steadily waning. In the search for alternative land routes to supply U.S. troops, Uzbekistan seemed the best option. Nearby Iran was a non-starter, and Uzbekistan’s infrastructure — used by the Soviets to get in and out of Afghanistan during their ill-fated war there — was far superior to that of neighboring Tajikistan. Today, the U.S. military moves massive amounts of cargo across Uzbekistan. By year’s end, the Pentagon hopes to see 75 percent of all non-lethal military supplies arrive in Afghanistan via the so-called Northern Distribution Network, a web of land-based transport routes stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Amu Darya River.

Gas-rich Uzbekistan, the most populous of the formerly Soviet Central Asian republics, has been ruled since before independence in 1991 by strongman President Islam Karimov, who is regularly condemned in the West for running one of the world’s most repressive and corrupt regimes. Freedom House gives Uzbekistan the lowest possible score in its Freedom in the World report, while watchdog groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have reported on widespread torture and forced child labor. The respected Russian human rights group Memorial says Karimov holds more political prisoners than all other post-Soviet republics combined, often through an “arbitrary interpretation” of the law. The overwhelming majority of those convicted are somehow linked to Islam. Memorial has found that thousands of “Muslims whose activities pose no threat to social order and security are being sentenced on fabricated charges of terrorism and extremism.”

Nonetheless, with Pakistani-American relations at a desperate low, Washington now seems more eager than ever to make overtures to Tashkent. In the past, Karimov has responded to U.S. criticism by threatening to shut down the supply route to Afghanistan. In 2005, after Washington demanded an investigation into the massacre of hundreds of civilians in the eastern city of Andijan, he closed the American airbase at Karshi-Khanabad. So Washington’s expressions of disapproval have given way to praise. In September, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cautiously commended Tashkent for its “progress” on political freedoms, and, more significantly, President Barack Obama moved to end restrictions on military aid, in place since 2004. Then, during an Oct. 22 visit to Tashkent, Clinton thanked the Uzbek leader in person for his cooperation. A State Department official traveling with her said he believed Karimov wants to leave a democratic legacy for “his kids and his grandchildren.”

Theoretically, with the restrictions lifted, General Dynamics stands to profit. The company has already shown interest in finding clients in Central Asia, hawking its wares at a defense exposition in Kazakhstan last year. This potential self-interest casts an unflattering light on Central Asia Online’s flattering coverage of the region’s calcified dictatorships, especially Uzbekistan. […]

READ @ http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/11/21/propagandastan?page=full

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* SUEZ PORT EMPLOYEES REVEALS 21-TON US TEAR GAS ORDER FOR INTERIOR MINISTRY

By AhramOnline

A group of customs employees at the Suez seaport have revealed that the Egyptian Ministry of Interior is in the process of receiving 21 tons of tear gas from the US.

The claim was supported by Medhat Eissa, an activist in the coastal city of Suez, who provided documents he says he obtained from a group of employees at the Suez Canal customs. The employees have been subjected to questioning for their refusal to allow an initial seven ton shipment of the US-made tear gas canisters enter the port.

A group of employees at the Adabiya Seaport in Suez have confirmed, with the documents to prove it, that a three-stage shipment of in total 21 tons of tear gas canisters is on course for the port from the American port of Wilmington.

Employees say the container ship Danica, carrying seven tons of tear-gas canisters made by the American company Combined Systems, has already arrived at the port, with two similar shipments from the same company expected to arrive within the week.

READ @ http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/27956/Egypt/Politics-/Suez-port-employees-reveal-ton-US-tear-gas-order-f.aspx

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* THE RUN UP TO THE NOMINATION OF LUCAS PAPADEMOS

By When the Crisis hit the Fan

Here’s an interesting article with some backstage information on what really happened during the talks before the formation of the Papademos government. It was published yesterday by Dimokratia, a right-wing pro-New Democracy newspaper.

The article is based on the confidential minutes of the talks between the Greek President, Karolos Papoulias, and the leaders of PASOK (George Papandreou), New Democracy (Antonis Samaras) and LAOS (Giorgos Karatzaferis). The conclusion is that Papandreou ended up in suggesting for the seat of the new Prime Minister the same person he was rejecting at the beginning of the talks, having as  a goal to cause the collapse of the talks and put the blame on Samaras.

The first name that was suggested by George Papandreou was that of former New Democracy MP (now independent after her resignation) Elsa Papadimitriou. The reaction of Antonis Samaras, according to the article, was “I will smile in order not to burst into laughter”. Samaras allegedly later said “I realized since the beginning [of the talks] that Papandreou was cheating, trying to lead things into a no way out situation. His goal was to either force me to say Yes to everything or he’d remain as Prime Minister”. According to the article, Papandreou’s tactic was to ridicule the process by suggesting non-relevant names for the seat of Prime Minister in order to cancel the procedure and keep his position. Another Sunday newspaper, Proto Thema, also had an article about the suggestion of Elsa Papadimitriou. Proto Thema journalists Giannis Kourtakis wrote that Samaras’ reaction that day (6/11/11) was “Do we have anything more serious?”

Elsa Papadimitriou at the Parliament (discussion on the 2011 Budget - December 2010)

Here’s a funny trivia to understand why her nomination was so surreal. Elsa Papadimitriou was a member of New Democracy – she quit her party in June 2011 when she also gave a confidence vote to George Papandreou in his crucial Medium-Term Program. She is the daughter of Dimitris Papadimitriou, a politician who belonged to the Centre Union party in the 1960s under George Papandreou (the grandfather). Her father was one of the so-called apostates who, as Konstantinos Mitsotakis, undermined George Papandreou and led to a situation which facilitated the colonels’ coup d’ etat in 1967. Thus, after the dictatorship, Dimitris Papadimitriou joined the New Democracy party together with former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis. However, according to an article of Proto Thema newspaper, Dimitris Papadimitriou had personal ties to George Papandreou (the grandfather). His son, Andreas Papandreou was Elsa Papadimitriou’s professor of Economics when she was studying at Berkeley college in the 1950s. And funnily enough, Elsa spent some nights as a baby sitter for her professor’s children (among which was the recent Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou). According to Proto Thema, George Papandreou came up with the idea of nominating Elsa Papadimitriou after talks with his brother Antrikos Papandreou. So, in a nuttshell, during the recent crucial moments for Greece and for the whole of eurozone, George Papandreou (the grandson) -after consultation with his brother, nominated their former-baby sitter for Prime Minister of the government of national unity. How cute. […]

READ @ http://whenthecrisishitthefan.com/2011/12/06/the-run-up-to-the-nomination-of-lucas-papademos/

Dec 052011
 

 

* WHY I OCCUPY

By Hank Finkel

Here is why I Occupy:

I am sick of

-        Trickle Down

-        Stay the course

-        Endless war

-        Support the troops but screw the vets

-        Privatized profits and socialized losses

-        Corporate welfare

-        Corporate personhood

-        Profits before people

-        Profits before planet

-        Lobbyists

-        Too big to fail

-        Tax cuts for the rich and service cuts for the rest

-        Bailouts for the banks and bank fees for the rest

We watched as American workers have been downsized, outsourced, laid off, medical bankrupted, and foreclosed upon.

We watched worker productivity and profits rise while incomes remained stagnant. We watched this once great nation put a man on the moon and now we are told that we cannot find a viable alternative energy source or a way to make green jobs viable.

We watched the Wall Street Titans, the Masters of the Universe, the 1% bring us to the brink of global financial ruin, then come hat in hand, begging for taxpayer help, before turning around to continue business and bonuses as usual. We have not seen one bankster go to jail, charged with a crime, or threatened with an investigation into possible criminal activity.

We hear “drill, baby, drill” but watch as oil washes upon our shores and entire communities & industries are wiped away. We watch as rain forests are felled, species go extinct, and radioactive material continues to seep into the Pacific Ocean.

They tell our young, if you want to get ahead, borrow money and go to college, but there is no guarantee of a job when you graduate.

We are told that we have the best health care in the world yet we have children, veterans and poor with no access to it. You want death panels? You got em! Every time a bureaucrat in a cubicle in Iowa denies treatment or diagnostic tests.

But most of all, we abhor the way money has polluted our political system preventing us from truly addressing the above grievances. We have awoken to the fact that both political parties have been bought and paid for by Big Business.

We are the young, the old, the workers and the jobless, homeowners and homeless, gay, straight, students, handicapped and able bodied, we are all faiths and we are Atheist. We are of all backgrounds and from many lands. We are men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters. We are your friends and neighbors, we are your family, we are the 99% and we will be heard!

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=142285

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* SHOULD THE OCCUPIERS STAY OR GO?

By Rick Salutin. Common Dreams

[…] The 15-M movement began there last May 15. It wasn’t an occupation. It was a protest held in Puerta del Sol square over the economic crisis that became an overnight occupation. Then it was dismantled by authorities, then it turned into a see-saw conflict over whether they would stay or go. A month later, when they finally went, it was by choice. One veteran of 15-M (there are no leaders) said: “It was a strategic move that led to the survival of the movement.” Almost happenstantially they had evolved another preference: to fan out into districts of the city (and elsewhere in Spain) and conduct regular meetings with local residents. These then forwarded proposals to a weekly “assembly” held in the square.

If you wander around Occupy sites, like St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England, as I did this week, you often see signs saying, Join Us. It’s hard to imagine many of the people who pass by and warily eye the huddled tents, doing so. The Madrid option in a way is the opposite. It’s: Join Them. Go into your neighborhood, try and talk with your neighbors, different as they may be from you. Listen to them as they talk to you and each other.

This is different from a campaign to simply carry the Occupy message (99 per cent versus 1 per cent, etc.) out to “the people.” Some organizers of the Occupy movements, wrote the New York Times, are heading in that direction: “trying to broaden their influence . . . by deepening their involvement in community groups.” […]

READ @ http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/18-3

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* ABOUT THAT BOOT ON YOUR THROAT …

By One Pissed Off Liberal, Daily Kos

All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

George Orwell

All across our nation people are waking up to the brutal fact of outright fascism in America. It’s nothing new to those who have been paying careful attention, but it’s no doubt a shock to many.

I posted a video recently that featured shots of Hillary Clinton and President Obama speaking out forcefully in support of protesters’ rights…in Egypt, juxtaposed with shots of out-of-control police violence being waged on Occupy protesters here in the US. And here there is silence. The hypocrisy is stunning.

For those who’d care to see it, here it is again:

“Hypocrisy has its own elegant symmetry.”

Our ‘leaders’, who have betrayed us all are poised to commit the ultimate betrayal, the final selling out of democracy and the American people.

The Senate has voted to declare the US and all of the world a combat zone and to empower the government to imprison American citizens without charge indefinitely, and to designate anyone considered ‘hostile to the interests of the US’ as enemy combatants. So will we soon see Occupy activists or Kossacks sent to Guantanamo to be tortured and held without charge? Will they be rounding up liberals and putting them in a pen? Will they just start shooting anyone who objects?

Even if President Obama vetoes this blatantly fascist bill, how far to the right is that going to shove the Overton Window? Will we be told to ‘sit down and STFU! Look what almost just happened to you!’ Will we be persuaded to accept the man-behind-the-curtains fascism in preference to the bare naked variety?

We already have cops in the street beating our children. It’s as though we had learned nothing in the last forty years. Please explain to the families of those killed at Kent State in 1970 why we are allowing this to happen. Where is the President calling out for the rights of the American protesters? Where are the demands to cease and desist this horrible violence against the best and brightest of our youth?

Cops in the street beating our children.

They were nowhere to be found when phony leaders were lying us into war. There were no cops or legal authorities anywhere around when innocent people were being systematically tortured by illegitimate and corrupt officials at the head of our government. No cops to stop election theft. No cops to stop rich assholes from buying up our government. No cops to stop Wall Street from looting the world economy. No cops guarding the Treasury.

No. To see any cops in action you need to get some innocent young kids out in the street peacefully and constitutionally (and so very rightly) protesting the wrongdoing at the highest levels of our government and society. You’ll see a million of them then. Bristling with kevlar armor and riot gear. They’ll deploy with rubber bullets, tanks, pepper spray and LRADs if they get a whiff of civil disobedience on the part of the peasantry.

Yes, nothing scares our corrupt and decadent ‘leaders’ like a simple demand for mere justice coming from the unwashed masses.

To the police: lay off the kids you shameless bastards. It takes a mighty and noble warrior to savagely pound on unarmed college kids. Where do you assholes get the fucking nerve? The ones giving you your orders are your enemy as surely as they are mine. You’re working for the wrong side. You need to join us and get on the right side of history. And you will…sooner or later.

The problem with Occupy Wall Street is that they just don’t have a clear message…or so the ignorati are prone to muse. Just mad about being the natural born losers that they are, they oft opine. They would do well to get a bath and then a job says that apex creature of the ignorati glitterati, Newt Gingrich. Oh Newt, no matter how hard we scrub we’ll never be as clean as you (ewww).

Newt of course is a paid liar and corporate prostitute willing to do or say anything for a buck. He sheds wives like a snake sheds its skin, and keeps a rolling diamond account at Tiffany’s because that’s the only way he can get laid. And he’s such a horny old toad that he fucks our country every chance he gets.

Anyone who says that the occupy movement doesn’t have a clear message is either a fool or a liar – and quite possibly both. […]

READ @ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/12/04/1042250/-About-that-boot-on-your-throat-?via=siderec

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* FASCISM IN AMERICA

By Stephen Lendman

[…] In his 2003 article titled, “Fascism Anyone?” political scientist Laurence W. Britt discussed its 14 comment elements, saying:

“These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share some level of similarity.”

In 2003 America, decades earlier, and today, it’s present, worrisome, and growing.

Elements of Police State Fascism

(1) “Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism,” including display flags, lapel pins, and other patriotic nationalist expressions, rally people for a common cause.

(2) “Disdain for the importance of human rights” and civil liberties, believing they hinder ruling elitist power.

(3) “Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause,” shifting blame for failures, “channel(ling) frustration in controlled directions,” and vilifying targeted groups for political advantage.

(4) “The supremacy of the military/avid militarism,” allocating a disproportionate share of national wealth and resources for it.

(5) “Rampant sexism,” viewing women as second-class citizens.

(6) “A controlled mass media,” in public or private hands, promoting power elite policies.

(7) “Obsession with national security,” using it as an instrument of belligerence and oppression.

(8) “Religion and ruling elite tied together,” portraying themselves as military defenders of the nation’s dominant religion at the expense of one or more others, deemed inferior or threatening.

(9) “Power of corporations defended,” for economic power, military production, and social control.

(10) “Power of labor suppressed or eliminated,” leaving political and corporate dominance unchallenged.

(11) “Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts,” because they represent intellectual and academic freedom, subversive to national security and political control.

(12) “Obsession with crime and punishment,” handling them by draconian criminal justice measures and practices.

(13) “Rampant cronyism and corruption,” power elites enriching themselves at the expense of others less fortunate.

(14) “Fraudulent elections,” manipulated for desired results by disenfranchising opposition voters or simply rigging the process.

All these characteristics describe America. It’s a democracy in name only. It’s run by powerful elitists for their own interests at the expense of all others.

In 2010, Noam Chomsky said:

“I’m just old enough to have heard a number of Hitler’s speeches on the radio, and I have a memory of the texture and the tone of the cheering mobs, and I have the dread sense of the dark clouds of fascism gathering” here at home.

At the time, Weimar German “was the peak of Western civilization and was regarded as a model of democracy.” How quickly things changed.

In 1928, Nazis got 2% of the vote. In 1930, millions supported them during growing hard times. Moreover, people were tired of favoring powerful interests and ignoring popular grievances. They lurched right for something better.

They succumbed to appeals about “the greatness of the nation, defending it against threats, and carrying out the will of eternal providence.” When workers, farmers, petit bourgeoisie, and Christian groups supported it, “the center very quickly collapsed.”

Echoes of that time “reverberat(e)” today, he stressed. “These are lessons to keep in mind,” especially as enactment of empowering military authorities to indefinitely detain US citizens without charge or trial draws near.

Provisions in both House and Senate FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act versions contain authorizing language. If enacted, anyone, including US citizens, accused of present or past association with alleged terrorist groups may be indefinitely detained in military prisons without constitutional protections.

Doing so institutionalizes tyranny. Political Washington’s about to enact it. No one voicing dissent will be safe, including OWS social justice protesters.

Demanding corporatism and democracy for the few be replaced by respecting everyone’s rights equitably may be criminalized. America will have reached rock bottom.

Occupy Wall Street.com says “the only solution is World Revolution” is right because nothing else tried so far worked.

Political Washington wants freedom and resistance destroyed. Preserving them won’t come easily or quickly.

A better world is possible. Going for it is goal one

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=142306

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* 70 YEARS OF LYING ABOUT PEARL HARBOR

By David Swanson, OpEdNews

[…] Why does it matter? Because the legend of Pearl Harbor, re-used on 9-11, is responsible not for the destructive pro-war policies of the 1920s and the 1930s that brought World War II into being, but responsible for the permanent war mentality of the past 70 years, as well as for how World War II was escalated, prolonged, and completed.

“Disturbed in 1942,” wrote Lawrence S. Wittner, “by rumors of Nazi extermination plans, Jessie Wallace Hughan worried that such a policy, which appeared ‘natural, from their pathological point of view,’ might be carried out if World War II continued. ‘It seems that the only way to save thousands and perhaps millions of European Jews from destruction,’ she wrote, ‘would be for our government to broadcast the promise’ of an ‘armistice on condition that the European minorities are not molested any further. . . . It would be very terrible if six months from now we should find that this threat has literally come to pass without our making even a gesture to prevent it.’ When her predictions were fulfilled only too well by 1943, she wrote to the State Department and the New York Times, decrying the fact that ‘two million [Jews] have already died’ and that ‘two million more will be killed by the end of the war.’ Once again she pleaded for the cessation of hostilities, arguing that German military defeats would in turn exact reprisals upon the Jewish scapegoat. ‘Victory will not save them,’ she insisted, ‘for dead men cannot be liberated.’”

Hitler killed millions of Germans, but the allies killed as many or more, Germans ordered into battle by Hitler or Germans in the wrong place when allied bombs fell. And, as Hughan pointed out at the time, the war drove the genocide, just as the vengeful settlement of the previous war a quarter century before had fueled the hostility, the scapegoating, and the rise of Hitlerism. Out of the resistance to war by U.S. conscientious objectors would come, finally, the development of civil resistance to racial segregation in U.S. prisons that later spread to the nation outside the prisons as activists sought to duplicate their victories on a larger scale. But also out of that very worst thing our species has ever done to itself, World War II, would come the permanent military industrial complex. We would extend the power to vote to more and more Americans while, in the cruelest of jokes, transforming voting into an ever more meaningless enterprise. We would paint a fresh coat of glossy pretense on our democracy while hollowing it out from the inside, replacing it with a war machine the likes of which the planet had never seen and may not be able to survive.

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=142300

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* GOP SUPERCOMMITTEE MEMBER ADMITS BUSH TAX CUTS DIDN’T CREATE JOBS, CAN’T EXPLAIN WHY

By Pat Garofalo, Think Progress

Republicans this week filibustered a Democratic plan to extend a soon-to-expire payroll tax cut, objecting to the fact that the extension was paid for by implementing a small surtax on income in excess of $1 million. To justify their objection to taxing the wealthy, Republicans have revived their false claim that taxing the rich amounts to taxing small business owners and job creators.

Bloomberg’s Al Hunt asked Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) — who represented the GOP on the fiscal supercommittee that failed to craft a deficit reduction package — to explain this viewpoint, considering that more jobs were created under the Clinton administration and its higher taxes on the rich than were created following the Bush tax cuts. Upton admitted that “I don’t know specifically the answer to that question,” nonsensically pointing to Friday’s jobs report instead of trying to argue the premise of Hunt’s question:

HUNT: Why under those pre-Bush tax cut tax rates did the economy do so well in the ‘90s? And why under the Bush tax rates, less for the wealthy, to do so poorly in this decade?

UPTON: Well, a couple things. One, spending went up, Al, the wars. I mean, that’s trillions of dollars. And also there was no change in the entitlements. And we also know -

HUNT: But that shouldn’t hurt the economy. That shouldn’t hurt economic growth.

UPTON: Yeah, but that impacts the debt and the deficit.

HUNT: But I’m asking, why did the economy grow a lot? Why were more jobs created in the previous decade under higher taxes than in this decade under lower taxes?

UPTON: I don’t know specifically the answer to that question. I can – I can maybe merit a guess. But, I mean, in large part is because our job – we lost jobs. I mean, look at the jobs report that came out this last week, three-hundred- some-thousand people actually stopped looking for jobs. […]

READ AND VIDEOhttp://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/12/04/381510/upton-cant-explain-tax-cuts-jobs/

Nov 262011
 

 

* THE SHOCKING TRUTH ABOUT THE CRACKDOWN ON OCCUPY 

By Naomi Wolf

[…] For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, “we are going after these scruffy hippies”. Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women’s wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the “scandal” of presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s having been paid $1.8m for a few hours’ “consulting” to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies’ profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists’ privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can’t suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

READ @http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/25/shocking-truth-about-crackdown-occupy?CMP=twt_gu

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* SENATORS DEMAND THE MILITARY LOCK UP OF AMERICAN CITIZENS IN A ”BATTLEFIELD” THEY DEFINE AS BEING RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW

By ACLU

While nearly all Americans head to family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, the Senate is gearing up for a vote on Monday or Tuesday that goes to the very heart of who we are as Americans. The Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield — even people in the United States itself.

Senators need to hear from you, on whether you think your front yard is part of a “battlefield” and if any president can send the military anywhere in the world to imprison civilians without charge or trial.

The Senate is going to vote on whether Congress will give this president—and every future president — the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world. Even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) raised his concerns about the NDAA detention provisions during last night’s Republican debate. The power is so broad that even U.S. citizens could be swept up by the military and the military could be used far from any battlefield, even within the United States itself.

The worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision is in S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, which will be on the Senate floor on Monday.The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged with a crime. Really? Does anyone think this is a good idea? And why now?

The answer on why now is nothing more than election season politics. The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive. The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor.

But there is a way to stop this dangerous legislation. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power. The Udall Amendment will make sure that the bill matches up with American values.

In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.

In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention.

The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown. That is an extreme position that will forever change our country.

Now is the time to stop this bad idea. Please urge your senators to vote YES on the Udall Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. […]

READ @ http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/senators-demand-military-lock-american-citizens-battlefield-they-define-being

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* HERETIC, REBEL, A THING TO FLOUT: THE GREENBACKS REBELLED AGAINST THE POWER OF THE BANKS

By Patrick Murfin

On November 25, 1874 a new political party was born at a convention held inIndianapolis, Indiana.  They called themselves the Independent Party.  In some states they would first appear on the ballot as the National Party.  But within months the new party was widely known as the Greenbacks as they grew at an astonishing rate challenging the entrenched Republican and Democratic Parties.

The Party was formed out of frustration with both major parties as major eastern banking interests demanded that the Federal Government stop issuing paper money and return the issuance of currency to the banks.  Federal paper money, popularly known as greenbacks, had been first issued under Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase to help finance the Civil War.  Inflation had been an inevitable result.

The banks and conservative hard money politicians in both parties, wanted not only to stop the government printing presses, they wanted to require that bills be redeemed inspeciegold.  This would create instant deflation.  But farmers and others who took out loans in inflated dollars would be required to repay the full face value of the loan plus interest in the much more expensive new currency or gold.  This alone would wipe out many farmers and small businesses.  It was also a blow at western mining interestsby demonetizing silver coinage.  Silver coins would continue to circulate, but notes—printed currency—would have to be paid in gold.

The banks got their way with the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873.  Facing ruin, borrowers and their soft money supporters in both parties, organized to challenge the banking oligarch of the Gilded Age.

Within months the new party was established and running under different names in most states.  Although its greatest strength was in the Mid-West and West, it also found support among small farmers in the South, and Northeast.  In fact, with Democrats and Republicans fracturing mainly along the lines of the Civil War, it looked for a time like the Greenbacks were the only truly national party. […]

READ @ http://patrickmurfin.blogspot.com/2011/11/greenbacks-rebelled-against-power-of.html

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* DEMOCRACY OR PLUTOCRACY? A CHART

By Dave Johnson

CHART @ http://www.truth-out.org/democracy-or-plutocracy-chart/1322325227#

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* THE FRUITS OF LIBERATION

By Glenn Greenwald

In Afghanistan — yet again:

Six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said Thursday.

Those Afghan government officials claimed that the aircraft were chasing “insurgents” when they fired on the children, but the villagers and the children’s families — as usual— insist that is false:

The victims were members of two families.

Abdul Samad, an uncle of four of the children who were killed, disputed the government’s version of the attack. He said his relatives were working in fields near their village when they were attacked without warning by an aircraft.

His brother-in-law, Mohammad Rahim, 50, had his two sons and three daughters with him. They were between 4 and 12 years old and all were killed, except an 8-year-old daughter who was badly wounded, Mr. Samad said.

“There were no Taliban in the field; this is a baseless allegation that the Taliban were planting mines,” Mr. Samad said. “I have been to the scene and haven’t found a single bit of evidence of bombs or any other weapons. The Americans did a serious crime against innocent children, they will never ever be forgiven.”

I read about the death of these children yesterday and had decided not to write about it because I don’t have anything particularly new to say about it, but then all day, that decision irritated me because it just seems wrong to allow this to go unobserved (and in Southern Afghanistan, “NATO” in the vast majority of cases means: “American”). Whichever version is correct, the U.S. devastated these families forever and ended these children’s lives in a region where even U.S. officials say that there is a grand total of two Al Qaeda leaders and the group is “operationally ineffective.”

What’s particularly notable, I realized, is how we’re trained simply to accept these incidents as though they carry no meaning: we’re just supposed to chalk them up to regrettable accidents (oops), agree that they don’t compel a cessation to the war, and then get back to the glorious fighting. Every time that happens, this just becomes more normalized, less worthy of notice. It’s just like background noise: two families of children wiped out by an American missile (yawn: at least we don’t target them on purpose like those evil Terrorists: we just keep killing them year after year after year without meaning to). It’s acceptable to make arguments that American wars should end because they’re costing too much money or American lives or otherwise harming American strategic interests, but piles of corpses of innocent children are something only the shrill, shallow and unSerious — pacifists! — point to as though they have any meaning in terms of what should be done. […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2011/11/25/the_fruits_of_liberation/singleton/

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* OCCUPY MOVES US INTO A NEW ERA

By Linda McQuaig, The Star

[…] “The fact is (the Occupiers) have touched a chord with Canadians and, I’m sure, with Americans,” said Martin. “Look, there’s something fundamentally wrong here . . . For the last hundred years, certainly in North America, every generation has felt it’s going to have a better life than their parents. For the first time, that’s not there.”

Rather than hanging out at malls or zoning out on Facebook, these young people have endured real hardship in the Canadian near-winter to fight for a more inclusive society. Any inconvenience they’ve caused through their peaceful occupation seems minor in comparison to their contribution to the public good.

As lawyers from the Law Union of Ontario point out: “Some inconveniences to local park users is a small price to pay for the larger price being paid by the 99 per cent worldwide in the face of an economic system that privileges the few over the many.”

Are occupations really necessary to draw attention to their cause? Perhaps not. But I’d trust their judgment over mine. After all, they’ve managed to change the public discourse, putting inequality front and centre — something activists and writers, myself included, have failed to accomplish despite decades of trying.

An article last week in the mainstream magazine New York notes that we’re now moving “from the terror era to the income-inequality era.”

Wow. After only two months, the Occupy movement — without backing from billionaires or governments — seems to have moved us into a new era. Not bad for a leaderless group that sleeps in tents and doesn’t even use microphones.

READ @ http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1090458–mcquaig-occupy-moves-us-into-a-new-era

Nov 252011
 

 

* BUSH AND BLAIR FOUND GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES FOR IRAQ ATTACK

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com

A tribunal in Malaysia, spearheaded by that nation’s former Prime Minister, yesterday found George Bush and Tony Blair guilty of “crimes against peace” and other war crimes for their 2003 aggressive attack on Iraq, as well as fabricating pretexts used to justify the attack. The seven-member Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal — which featured an American law professor as one of its chief prosecutors — has no formal enforcement power, but was modeled after a 1967 tribunal in Sweden and Denmark that found the U.S. guilty of a war of aggression in Vietnam, and, even more so, after the U.S.-led Nuremberg Tribunal held after World War II. Just as the U.S. steadfastly ignored the 1967 tribunal on Vietnam, Bush and Blair both ignored the summons sent to them and thus were tried in absentia.

The tribunal ruled that Bush and Blair’s name should be entered in a register of war criminals, urged that they be recognized as such under the Rome Statute, and will also petition the International Criminal Court to proceed with binding charges. Such efforts are likely to be futile, but one Malaysian lawyer explained the motives of the tribunal to The Associated Press: “For these people who have been immune from prosecution, we want to put them on trial in this forum to prove that they committed war crimes.” In other words, because their own nations refuse to hold them accountable and can use their power to prevent international bodies from doing so, the tribunal wanted at least formal legal recognition of these war crimes to be recorded and the evidence of their guilt assembled. That’s the same reason a separate panel of this tribunal will hold hearings later this year on charges of torture against Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others.

Here’s what I find striking about this. Virtually every Serious political and media elite in America, by definition, would scoff at this tribunal; few things are considered more fringe or ludicrous than the notion that George Bush and Tony Blair should be punished as war criminals just because they aggressively attacked another nation and caused the deaths of at least 150,000 innocent people and the displacement of millions more. But the only thing this Malaysian tribunal is doing is applying the clear principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal as enunciated by lead prosecutor and former U.S. Attorney General Robert Jackson in his Openingand Closing Statements at Nuremberg:

>The central crime in this pattern of crimes, the kingpin which holds them all together, is the plot for aggressive wars. The chief reason for international cognizance of these crimes lies in this fact. . . .

>What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust. . . . . And let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment. …

READ @http://www.salon.com/2011/11/23/bush_and_blair_found_guilty_of_war_crimes_for_iraq_attack/singleton/

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* WE ARE THE 99%

By Paul Krugman, NYTimes

“We are the 99 percent” is a great slogan. It correctly defines the issue as being the middle class versus the elite (as opposed to the middle class versus the poor). And it also gets past the common but wrong establishment notion that rising inequality is mainly about the well educated doing better than the less educated; the big winners in this new Gilded Age have been a handful of very wealthy people, not college graduates in general.

If anything, however, the 99 percent slogan aims too low. A large fraction of the top 1 percent’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1 percent — the richest one-thousandth of the population.

And while Democrats, by and large, want that super-elite to make at least some contribution to long-term deficit reduction, Republicans want to cut the super-elite’s taxes even as they slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the name of fiscal discipline.

Before I get to those policy disputes, here are a few numbers.

The recent Congressional Budget Office report on inequality didn’t look inside the top 1 percent, but an earlier report, which only went up to 2005, did. According to that report, between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted, after-tax income of Americans in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. The equivalent number for the richest 0.1 percent rose 400 percent.

For the most part, these huge gains reflected a dramatic rise in the super-elite’s share of pretax income. But there were also large tax cuts favoring the wealthy. In particular, taxes on capital gains are much lower than they were in 1979 — and the richest one-thousandth of Americans account for half of all income from capital gains.

Given this history, why do Republicans advocate further tax cuts for the very rich even as they warn about deficits and demand drastic cuts in social insurance programs?

Well, aside from shouts of “class warfare!” whenever such questions are raised, the usual answer is that the super-elite are “job creators” — that is, that they make a special contribution to the economy. So what you need to know is that this is bad economics. In fact, it would be bad economics even if America had the idealized, perfect market economy of conservative fantasies. …

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/25/opinion/we-are-the-99-9.html

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* THE GROWING TENSION BETWEEN CAPITALISM AND DEMOCRACY

By Harold Meyerson, The Washington Post

Do capitalism and democracy conflict? Does each weaken the other?

To the American ear, these questions sound bizarre. Capitalism and democracy are bound together like Siamese twins, are they not? That was our mantra during the Cold War, when it was abundantly clear that communism and democracy were incompatible. After the Cold War ended, though, things grew murkier. Recall that virtually every U.S. chief executive and every U.S. president (two Bushes and one Clinton, in particular) told us that bringing capitalism to China would democratize China.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Over the past year, in fact, capitalism has fairly rolled over democracy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Europe, where financial institutions and large investors have gone to war under the banner of austerity, and governments of nations with not-very-productive or overextended economies have found that they could not satisfy those demands and still cling to power. The elected governments of Greece and Italy have been deposed; financial technocrats are now at the helm of both nations. With interest rates on Spanish bonds rising sharply in recent weeks, Spain’s socialist government was unseated last weekend by a center-right party that has offered no solutions to that country’s growing crisis. Now the Sarkozy government in France is threatened by rising interest rates on its bonds. It’s as though the markets throughout Europe have had enough with this democratic sovereignty nonsense. …

READ @ http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-growing-tension-between-capitalism-and-democracy/2011/11/22/gIQAuYOitN_story.html

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* OCCUPY CALIFORNIA: SAN FRANCISCO, LOS ANGELES NEGOTIATING TO CLOSE OCCUPY ENCAMPMENTS

By Beth Duff-Brown and Christina Hoag, Huffington Post

Los Angeles and San Francisco are seeking long-term solutions to the entrenched encampments by anti-Wall Street protesters, hoping to end the drain on resources and the frayed nerves among police and politicians.

Officials in both cities have considered providing protesters with indoor space that would allow the movement to carry out its work in more sanitary, less public facilities.

Occupiers are debating among themselves about whether to hold their ground or try to take advantage of possible moves.

Talks in both cities mark a distinctly different approach than tactics used elsewhere that have seen police sent in to dislodge Occupy camps. Violence and arrests plagued camps in Oakland and New York, while the use of batons and pepper spray against peaceful protesters on University of California campuses has led to national outrage and derision.

San Francisco is negotiating with Occupy SF members about moving their encampment from the heart of the financial district to an empty school in the city’s hip Mission district. That would allow the occupiers to have access to toilets and a room for their daily meetings, while camping out in the parking lot of what was once a small high school.

The move also could help them weed out drug addicts and drunks, and those not wholly committed to their cause.

Protesters in Los Angeles said officials rescinded a similar deal, in which the city would have leased a 10,000-square-foot space that once housed a bookstore in Los Angeles Mall to the protesters for $1 a year.

But after the proposal was made public at an Occupy LA general assembly, it generated outrage from some who saw it as a giveaway of public resources by a city struggling with financial problems, and the offer was withdrawn. …

READ @ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/24/occupy-camps-california-close_n_1112415.html?ref=daily-brief?utm_source=DailyBrief&utm_campaign=112511&utm_medium=email&utm_content=NewsEntry&utm_term=Daily%20Brief

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* FREEDOM RIDER: PROPAGANDIZED AMERICA

By Margaret Kimberly, The Black Agenda Report

When Americans think of propagandized people they think of the now defunct Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or perhaps a banana republic dictatorship of the sort supported by their government. Very few of them would think of themselves as being under the sway of a government and corporations who work hand in glove to tell outright falsehoods or hide important information that is inconvenient for them.

In this country, not only are we victims of a government intent upon keeping us misinformed or silent in the face of its wrong doing, but they work hand in hand with a media almost entirely owned by corporations. The interests of the people are rarely in sync with the interests of these corporations, and the result are media which work with the government which consciously works to misdirect our attention or have us believe outright lies.

Almost every major news story gives us an example of this terrible phenomenon. We may be told that Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons capability, but we are not told that it has the right to do so as a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty [6]. To add insult to injury, there isn’t any proof that Iran has even acquired this capability.

But Israel is chomping at the bit to attack Iran, and its lackey state, the United States of America, will not stand in its way. The corporate media never tell us that Israel, a country which is not a signatory of the NPT, has an arsenal of an unknown number of nuclear weapons. …

READ @ http://blackagendareport.com/print/content/freedom-rider-propagandized-america

RELATED POST: The Century of Self — Full Documentary about Edward Bernays, the father of marketing and propaganda: http://99getsmart.com/?p=802

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* CDC CONFIRMS CASES OF NEW SWINE FLU VIRUS

By legit gov

Heads up! US pharma-terrorists and their vaccine pimps are busy little bees, synthesizing new pandemics: CDC confirms cases of new swine flu virus 24 Nov 2011 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed three cases of a new flu virus, which originated in pigs their labs but apparently spread from person to person, in three Iowa children. The CDC has counted a total of 18 cases of this new virus, an influenza A strain known as S-OtrH3N2, in two years. That suggests that it’s not spreading quickly or easily [enough for CDCociopaths], says William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. [We're not falling for Baxter's bullsh*t again.]

READ @ http://www.legitgov.org/CDC-confirms-cases-new-swine-flu-virus

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* COMING: BIG AUSTERITY CUTS

By Stephen Lendman, OpEdNews.com

The congressional August Budget Control Act of 2011 established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – aka Supercommittee.

::::::::

Big social spending cuts are coming, targeting entitlements.

The congressional August Budget Control Act of 2011 established the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – aka Supercommittee.

Doing so was extralegal. The Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8 explains congressional powers. None of them include supercommittee authority to resolve America’s debt crisis.

Article 1, Section 8, Sub-section 18 lets Congress “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution (of its other listed Powers), and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department Officer thereof.”

Even though government authority is limited only by the boundaries of possibility, no constitutional principle gives 12 members more power than others, let alone in secret.

Composed of six House and six Senate members from both parties, Supercommittee authority ran until November 23 to agree on $1.2 – $1.5 trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Consensus would have let Congress only vote them up or down without amendments, debate or delay.

Ahead of their deadline, 100 Democrats and Republicans wrote supercommittee members (the so-called “gang of 12″) that “(t)o succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenue must be on the table.” They, in fact, asked for agreement on $4 trillion in cuts.

In other words, they want deep social spending reductions, mainly Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and public pensions. In earlier negotiations, Obama agreed. …

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=141857

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* ROBOCOPS VS OCCUPY WALL STREET: THE RISE OF PARAMILITARY TACTICS

By Natasha Lennard, Salon

Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began in mid-September, protesters and reporters have been learning the hard way how diverse police departments handle large-scale street demonstrations — sometimes with rubber bullets, sometimes, as in Davis, Calif., with pepper spray in the face.While police departments have deployed tear gas in cities including Denver, Seattle and on more than three separate occasions in Oakland, Calif., in response to Occupy street demonstrations, protesters in New York have been met with the sheer force of numbers, pepper spray, kettling nets to hold in crowds, and batons. Dozens have been hospitalized by a variety of crowd control tactics.

The tactics vary from city to city, but the most aggressive policing originates in methods developed by law enforcement agencies in Miami in response to large protests against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) agreement in November 2003. Miami’s approach, in the words of Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle, created,  “a model … for the rest of the world to emulate in the future when these sort of events take place.”

In Miami more than 10,000 demonstrators converged on the downtown area, where a conference of trade ministers from 34 countries met to discuss the FTAA, which many South American nations opposed. Police in riot gear used rubber bullets, projectiles and batons to aggressively clear the streets of protesters. An estimated $8.5 million was spent on security for the FTAA conference and police forces from around the state were pulled in.  The ministers didn’t reach any agreement and at least 140 protesters were arrested. Many more were forcibly blocked from assembling.

“Downtown Miami is built on a grid structure, so in terms of city planning it’s almost a gift to law enforcement. They kettled protesters, unembedded press, everyone together into giant squares and would push into them and beat people severely with batons. During all this there were helicopters overhead nonstop,” explains Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, who helped produce an Indymedia film about the FTAA protests and their suppression, titled “The Miami Model.”

“Miami is where the creeping militarization of police tactics vis-à-vis political protest was congealed,” she said in an email. “Not only in numbers but in equipment the Miami police outnumbered us and widely employed militarized strategies to overwhelm people.” …

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/153193

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* THE FASCINATING HISTORY OF HOW CORPORATIONS BECAME “PEOPLE” — THANKS TO THE CORRUPT COURTS WORKING FOR THE 1%

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet

Perhaps there were truly free markets before the industrial revolution, where townspeople and farmers gathered in a square to exchange livestock, produce and handmade tools. In our modern world, such a market does not exist. Governments set up the rules of the game, and those rules have an enormous impact on our economic outcomes.In 2007, the year of the crash, the top 1 percent of American households took in almost two-and-a-half times the share of our nation’s pre-tax income that they had grabbed in the 40 years folliwing World War Two. This was no accident – the rules of the market underwent profound changes that led to the upward redistribution of trillions in income over the past 30 years. The rules are set by Congress – under a mountain of lobbying dollars – but they are adjudicated by the courts.

The Supreme Court, with a right-wing majority under Chief Justice John Roberts, has become a body that leans too far toward the “1 percent” to be considered a neutral arbiter. So whether they know all the ins and outs of the court’s profound rightward shift or not, those protesting across the country as part of the Occupy movement are motivated by its corruption as well.

While conservatives constantly rail against judges “legislating from the bench,” it is far more common for right-leaning jurists to engage in “judicial activism” than those of a liberal bent. That’s what a 2005 study by Yale University legal scholar Paul Gewirtz and Chad Golder found. According to the scholars, those justices most frequently labeled “conservative” were among the most likely to strike down statutes passed by Congress, while those most frequently labeled “liberal” were the least likely to do so. …

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/153201

Nov 232011
 

 

* GEORGE W. BUSH AND ANTHONY L. BLAIR LIVE STREAMING OF WAR CRIMES TRIAL

Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal

By Global Research

CLICK TO VIEW: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/kl-war-crime-tribunal 

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*UC DAVIS PEPPER-SPRAY INCIDENT REVEALS WEAKNESS UP TOP

 By Matt Taibbi

Was absolutely mesmerized last night watching the viral video of the UC-Davis pepper-spraying. It was totally amazing, simultaneously one of most depressing and inspiring things I’ve seen in many years.

To recap for those who haven’t seen it: police in paramilitary gear line up in front of a group of Occupy protesters peacefully assembled on a quad pathway. Completely unprovoked, police decide to douse the whole group of sitting protesters with pepper spray. There is crying and chaos and panic, but the wheezing protesters sit resolutely in place and refuse to move despite the assault.

Finally, in what to me is the most amazing part, the protesters gather together and move forward shouting “Shame On You! Shame On You!” over and over again. You can literally see the painful truth of those words cutting the resolve of the policemen and forcing them backwards.

Glenn Greenwald’s post at Salon says this far better than I can, but there are undeniable conclusions one can draw from this incident. The main thing is that the frenzied dissolution of due process and individual rights that took took place under George Bush’s watch, and continued uncorrected even when supposed liberal constitutional lawyer Barack Obama took office, has now come full circle and become an important element to the newer political controversy involving domestic/financial corruption and economic injustice.

As Glenn points out, when we militarized our society in response to the global terrorist threat, we created a new psychological atmosphere in which the use of force and military technology became a favored method for dealing with dissent of any kind. As Glenn writes:

The U.S. Government — in the name of Terrorism — has aggressively para-militarized the nation’s domestic police forces by lavishing them with countless military-style weapons and other war-like technologies, training them in war-zone military tactics, and generally imposing a war mentality on them. Arming domestic police forces with para-military weaponry will ensure their systematic use even in the absence of a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil… It’s a very small step to go from supporting the abuse of defenseless detainees (including one’s fellow citizens) to supporting the pepper-spraying and tasering of non-violent political protesters.

 [...]

We had all of these arguments in the Bush years and it’s nothing new to assert that much of our population made a huge mistake in giving up so many of our basic rights to due process. What’s new is that we’re now seeing the political consequences of those decisions.

Again, when we abandoned our principles in order to use force against terrorists and drug dealers, the answer to the question, What are we defending? started to change.

The original answer, ostensibly, was, “We are defending the peaceful and law-abiding citizens of the United States, their principles, and everything America stands for.”

Then after a while it became, “We’re defending the current population of the country, but we can’t defend the principles so much anymore, because they weigh us down in the fight against a ruthless enemy who must be stopped at all costs.”

Then finally it became this: “We are defending ourselves, against the citizens who insist on keeping their rights and their principles.”

What happened at UC Davis was the inevitable result of our failure to make sure our government stayed in the business of defending our principles. When we stopped insisting on that relationship with our government, they became something separate from us.

And we are stuck now with this fundamental conflict, whereby most of us are insisting that the law should apply equally to everyone, while the people running this country for years now have been operating according to the completely opposite principle that different people have different rights, and who deserves what protections is a completely subjective matter, determined by those in power, on a case-by-case basis. …

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/uc-davis-pepper-spray-incident-reveals-weakness-up-top-20111122

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* NYPD STOPS REPORTERS WITH BADGES AND FISTS

By Michael Powell

… Another truth co-exists. At least since the Republican National Convention of 2004, our police have grown accustomed to forcibly penning, arresting, and sometimes spraying and whacking protesters and reporters. On Monday, The New York Times and 12 other organizations sent a letter of protest to the Police Department. “The police actions of last week,” the authors said, “have been more hostile to the press than any other event in recent memory.”

Their letter offered five examples. I’ll mention one: As the police carried off a young protester whose head was covered in a crown of blood, a photographer stood behind a metal barricade and raised his camera. Two officers ran at him, grabbed the barrier and struck him in the chest, knees and shins. You are not permitted, the police yelled, to photograph on the sidewalk.

Covering New York can be a contact sport. We grunt, curse and toss elbows. I’ve run across the Brooklyn Bridge as protesters tossed bottles at cops, stood inside illegal squats on the Lower East Side as police massed outside, and walked through Crown Heights as communal tensions exploded. The rough rule was this: Treat cops reasonably and you can go about your business of recording and bearing witness.

Those feel like ancient days. Paul J. Browne, police deputy commissioner, denies what you see with your own eyes. “There’s no change in policy,” he wrote in an e-mail, saying the police establish lines for safety and to ensure that evidence is preserved.

As for the press secretary, Mr. Loeser, he and his staff took to Twitter like a cloud of gnats, insisting that the Associated Press and Daily News reporters had “clearly trespassed” by following demonstrators and the police through a fence into a vacant lot.

When I, as a columnist for The Times, questioned these arrests, a Bloomberg spokesman advised: “N.Y.T. policy does not allow breaking law to gather news as you know.” …

READ @ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/nyregion/nypd-stops-reporters-with-badges-and-fists.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

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* MEET THE NEW RECESSION, SAME AS THE OLD RECESSION – FINANCIAL SECTOR DEVOURING A DISPROPORTIONATE AMOUNT OF REVENUES. SHARE OF WEALTH TO FINANCIAL SECOTR AT RECORD LEVELS

 By My Budget 360

The middle class is being squeezed like a ripe tomato out of existence in the United States and the media is largely fixated on trivial nonsense, political theatre, and flashy car advertisements to keep people numb from the grim reality.  The financial sector has become a large drag on the overall economy instead of serving as the lubricant of real business growth.  A similar thing happened during the years prior to the Great Depression.  A massive amount of wealth was pushed to a segment of society based on gambling and large bets.  Making money on doing no actual work or really producing anything of real substance.  These massive misallocations of resources cause bubbles and pop with gusto.  The big difference this time, and this is even more troubling, is that nothing has been changed to fix the system that led us into this precarious dark hole of financial graft.  Our politicians work for the large financial institutions and most of the public is starting to realize what is good for banks is not necessarily what is good for the middle class.

Meet the New Recession, same as the Old Recession

Income inequality is not necessarily a bad thing.  Yet like most things in life, there are always extremes and unfortunately we have a system that doesn’t reward hard work but actually rewards those that are politically connected and have power to write the laws even if they economically fail.  They thrive merely because of their plutocratic connections.  Massive income inequality leads to distortions in the system: …

READ AND CHARTS @ http://www.mybudget360.com/new-recession-same-as-old-recession-financial-sector-devouring-disproportionate-revenues-wealth-financial-sector/

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* HOW UC DAVIS CHANCELLOR LINDA KATEHI BROUGHT OPPRESSION BACK TO GREECE’S UNIVERSITIES

By Mark Ames, Naked Capitalism

A friend of mine sent me this link claiming that UC Davis chancellor “Chemical” Linda Katehi, whose crackdown on peaceful university students shocked America, played a role in allowing Greece security forces to raid university campuses for the first time since the junta was overthrown in 1974. (H/T: Crooked Timber) I’ve checked this out with our friend in Athens, reporter Kostas Kallergis (who runs the local blog “When The Crisis Hits The Fan”), and he confirmed it–Linda Katehi really is the worst of all possible chancellors imaginable, the worst for us, and the worst for her native Greece.

First, some background: Last week, The eXiled published two pieces on Greece’s doomed struggle against global financial institutions—an article on how the EU and Western bankers essentially overthrew the nearly-uppity government of prime minister George Papandreou, and replaced it with a banker-friendly “technocratic” government that includes real-life, no-bullshit neo-Nazis and fascists from the LAOS party, fascists with a banker-friendly fetish for imposing austerity measures. One of those fascists, Makis “Hammer” Voridis, spent his early 20s “hammering” non-fascist students for sport. Voridis was booted out of Athens University law school after ax-bashing fellow law students who didn’t share his fascist ideology. Today, Mikaes Voridis is the Minister for Infrastructure in the “technocratic” government. Imagine Lt. John Pike in leather and an 80s hairdo, carrying a homemade ax rather than a pepper spray weapon, and you have Makis “Hammer” Voridis.

We also published a powerful and necessary history primer by Greek journalist Kostas Kallergis on the almost-holy significance of the date November 17 in contemporary Greek history. On that day in 1973, pro-democracy students at the Athens Polytechnic university were crushed by tanks and soldiers sent in by the ruling junta dictatorship, which collapsed less than a year later, returning democracy to Greece. With CIA backing, the generals in the junta overthrew Greece’s democracy in 1967, jailed and tortured suspected leftists (meaning students and union leaders), and even went the extra-weird-fascist mile by banning the Beatles, mini-skirts, long hair, along with Mark Twain and Sophocles. The student rebellion at the Polytechnic, and its martyrdom, became the symbol for Greeks of their fight against fascism and tyranny, something like the briefcase man at Tiananmen Square, or the slaughtered rebels of the Boston Tea Party. That is why, as soon as the junta was overthrown and democracy restored in 1974, Greece immediately banned the presence of army, police or state security forces on university campuses. This so-called “university asylum” law turned Greece’s university campuses into cop-free zones of “political asylum,” where no one could interfere in the students’ rights to dissent against the government.

Today, thanks in part to UC Davis chancellor “Chemical” Linda Katehi, Greek university campuses are no longer protected from state security forces. She helped undo her native country’s “university asylum” laws just in time for the latest austerity measures to kick in. Incredibly, Katehi attacked university campus freedom despite the fact that she was once a student at the very center of Greece’s anti-junta, pro-democracy rebellion–although what she was doing there, if anything at all, no one really knows.

Here’s the sordid back-story: Linda Katehi was born in Athens in 1954 and got her undergraduate degree at the famous Athens Polytechnic. She just happened to be the right age to be a student at the Polytechnic university on the very day, November 17, 1973, when the junta sent in tanks and soldiers to crush her fellow pro-democracy students. It was only after democracy was restored in 1974–and Greek university campuses were turned into police-free “asylum zones”–that Linda Katehi eventually moved to the USA, earning her PhD at UCLA.

Earlier this year, Linda Katehi served on an “International Committee On Higher Education In Greece,” along with a handful of American, European and Asian academics. The ostensible goal was to “reform” Greece’s university system. The real problem, from the real powers behind the scenes (banksters and the EU), was how to get Greece under control as the austerity-screws tightened. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that squeezing more money from Greece’s beleaguered citizens would mean clamping down on Greece’s democracy and doing something about those pesky Greek university students. And that meant taking away the universities’ “amnesty” protection, in place for nearly four decades, so that no one, nowhere, would be safe from police truncheons, gas, or bullets.

Thanks to the EU, bankers, and UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi, university freedom for Greece’s students has taken a huge, dark step backwards.

Here you can read a translation of the report co-authored by UC Davis’ Linda Katehi–the report which brought about the end of Greece’s “university asylum” law.What’s particularly disturbing is that Linda Katehi was the only Greek on that commission. Presumably that would give her a certain amount of extra sway–both because of her inside knowledge, and because of her moral authority among the other non-Greek committee members. And yet, Linda Katehi signed off on a report that provided the rationale for repealing Greece’s long-standing “university asylum” law. She basically helped undo the very heart and soul of Greece’s pro-democracy uprising against the junta.

And perfect timing too, now that one of Greece’s most notorious pro-junta fascists is a member of the new austerity government. …

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/11/mark-ames-how-uc-davis-chancellor-linda-katehi-brought-oppression-back-to-greece’s-universities.html

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* WHAT ENDLESS WAR LOOKS LIKE

 By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com

Anonymous U.S. officials this morning are announcing in The Washington Post that they have effectively defeated what they call “the organization that brought us 9/11″ — Al Qaeda — by rendering it “operationally ineffective.” Specifically, “the leadership ranks of the main al-Qaeda terrorist network have been reduced to just two figures whose demise would mean the group’s defeat, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials said.” And: “asked what exists of al-Qaeda’s leadership group beyond the top two positions, the official said: ‘Not very much’.”

You might think this means that the vastly expanded National Security and Surveillance States justified in the name of 9/11, as well as the slew of wars and other aggressive deployments which it spawned, can now be reversed and wound down. After all, the stated purpose of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) which provided legal cover to all of this was expressed in the very first line: “To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.” The purpose of this authorized force was equally clear and limited: “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons [the President] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

Now, the group which the U.S. government has always said was the one that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001″ is, according to this same government, “operationally ineffective.” So what does that mean in terms of policy? Absolutely nothing:

U.S. officials stressed that al-Qaeda’s influence extends far beyond its operational reach, meaning that the terrorist group will remain a major security threat for years.

Not just a threat — but a major security threat — “for years” to come. In fact, it turns out that the version of Al Qaeda that the U.S. just spent the last decade “defeating” on the ground that it perpetrated 9/11 does not even really matter: “U.S. counterterrorism officials now assess al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen as a significantly greater threat.” Even in Pakistan, where the “effectively inoperable” group is based, the CIA refuses even to reduce its activities: “letting up now could allow them to regenerate,” an anonymous official decreed. And if that’s not enough to keep your fear levels sufficiently high to support (or at least acquiesce to) more militarism, there is always this: “The arrest this week of an alleged al-Qaeda sympathizer in New York underscored the group’s ability to inspire ‘lone wolf’ attacks.”

That last bit about the “lone wolf” refers to the scary Terrorist Super-Villain, Jose Pimental, caught and unveiled at a dramatic Press Conference this week by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: a Terrorist even more hapless and inept than the failed Texan used car salesman whose chronic inability to find his keys didn’t prevent him from being recruited as a dastardly Terrorist Mastermind by Iran’s elite Quds Force. This latest frightening lone wolf menace, according to The New York Times, “had little money to speak of, was unable to pay his cellphone bill and scrounged for money to buy the drill bits that court papers said he required to make his pipe bombs” and, furthermore, “had trouble drilling the small holes that needed to be made in the metal tubes.” Also, he “lived with his uncle in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood after his mother threw him out recently, appears to be unstable, according to several of the people briefed on the case, three of whom said he had tried to circumcise himself.”

Even the FBI — which specializes in converting hapless Muslim youth into Terrorists and then providing the planning, funding and training for the attacks, so they can jump in at the last minute and heroically disrupt the plots they themselves created — refused to get involved in this case out of “concern that the informer might have played too active a role in helping Mr. Pimentel.” In other words, even the Supreme Entrapers known as the FBI “were concerned that the case raised some entrapment questions” and “wondered whether Mr. Pimentel had the even small amount of money or technical know-how necessary to produce a pipe bomb on his own, had he not received help from the informer.” Also: they’re worried because many of Pimental’s recorded statements were made as he smoked marijuana with the NYPD’s informer as he guided Pimental to attack and instructed him how to do it. …

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2011/11/23/what_endless_war_looks_like/singleton/

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* WHY DO LIBERALS KEEP SANITIZING THE OBAMA STORY?

 By Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

When I pleaded with liberals to stop ignoring President Obama’s failures on civil liberties, foreign policy, and the separation of powers, treating them as if they didn’t even merit a mention, the quintessential example of the troubling phenomenon hadn’t yet been published. Now it has. In New York, one of America’s premier magazines, Jonathan Chait, a sharp, experienced political writer, has penned a 5,000 word essay purporting to defend the president’s first term. It is aimed at liberal critics who, in Chait’s telling, naively expected too much.

Tellingly, as Chait writes for affluent urban liberals who railed against the Bush Administration’s excesses in the War on Terrorism, he neither desires nor feels compelled to grapple with President Obama’s approach to foreign policy, national security, or homeland security. The closest he comes in a piece overwhelmingly focused on domestic policy and political maneuvering is the breezy assertion that Obama “has enjoyed a string of foreign-policy successes — expanding targeted strikes against Al Qaeda (including one that killed Osama bin Laden), ending the war in Iraq, and helping to orchestrate an apparently successful international campaign to rescue Libyan dissidents and then topple a brutal kleptocratic regime.”

Isn’t that something?

Apparently it isn’t even worthy of mention that Obama’s actions in Libya violated the War Powers Resolution, the president’s own professed standards for what he can do without Congressional permission, and the legal advice provided to him by the Office of Legal Counsel.

In Chait’s telling, expanded drone strikes in Pakistan are a clear success. Why even grapple with Jane Mayer’s meticulously researched article on the risks of an drone war run by the CIA, Glenn Greenwald’s polemics on the innocent civilians being killed, or Jeff Goldberg and Marc Ambinder’s reporting on the Pakistani generals who are moving lightly guarded nuclear weapons around the country in civilian trucks as a direct consequence of the cathartic bin Laden raid.

Chait mentions the Iraq withdrawal, but doesn’t point out that Obama sought to violate his campaign promise, and would’ve kept American troops in the country beyond 2011 had the Iraqis allowed it; that as it is, he’ll leave behind a huge State Department presence with a private security army; and that he’s expanding America’s presence elsewhere in the Persian Gulf to make up for the troops no longer in Iraq. Is any of that possibly relevant to a liberal’s assessment?

Perhaps most egregiously, Chait doesn’t even allude to Obama’s practice of putting American citizens on a secret kill list without any due process, or even consistent, transparent standards.

Nor does he grapple with warrantless spying on American citizens, Obama’s escalation of the war on whistleblowers, his serial invocation of the state secrets privilege, the Orwellian turn airport security has taken, the record-breaking number of deportations over which Obama presided, or his broken promise to lay off medical marijuana in states where dispensing it is legal.

Why is all this ignored? …

READ @ http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/why-do-liberals-keep-sanitizing-the-obama-story/248890/

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* TORTURE’S FUTURE

By Eric Lewis, NYTimes

As a candidate in 2008, President Obama stated categorically, “We’ll reject torture — without exception or equivocation.” During his first month in office, he made good on his pledge, signing an executive order prohibiting torture or inhumane treatment. There is no reason to doubt that the order has been followed. This was a huge step forward for the United States.

But if he loses the presidency next year, Obama’s failure to deal with the legacy of torture that he inherited may turn out to be a huge problem. He has left the door open for state-sanctioned torture to be part of the next administration’s tool kit for dealing with the “global war on terror.” The leading Republican candidates understand that in many circles advocating torture is good politics. In their debates and in their foreign policy pronouncements, they are effectively capitalizing on a series of decisions that the Obama administration made as it failed to enshrine its own ban on torture as an absolute legal norm. Torture remains on the table as a future policy choice.

So what happened? The president has rejected three clear opportunities to erect a high legal wall against the return of torture: he has made it clear that criminal prosecutions for torture will not go forward; he has opposed the creation of a truth commission to examine events comprehensively; and he has affirmatively intervened to stop civil litigation by detainees against their torturers.

When President Obama took office, I was in the midst of litigating a civil case against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the military chain of command for torture. A panel of judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had found that as “aliens without presence or property in the United States,” Guantánamo detainees had no right not to be tortured under the Constitution and, in any event, even if there were such rights, there was no reason that Rumsfeld and other military leaders should have been aware that the right to be free from torture was “clearly established.” Accordingly they were immune from suit. In 2009, the Supreme Court directed that the Court of Appeals reconsider its decision in light of its recent finding in Boumediene v. Bush of a constitutional right to habeas corpus for detainees at Guantánamo.

Surely, I thought, the new administration would weigh in and support the argument that there was an inarguable and fundamental right not to be tortured by the government of the United States. What’s more, supporting civil actions for damages would have allowed the facts of torture to emerge through judicial proceedings, avoiding the political conflict of direct executive involvement.

Instead, the Obama administration slammed the door on constitutional challenges to torture. It reiterated the Bush administration’s position, arguing that “aliens held at Guantánamo do not have due process rights,” limiting the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene to habeas corpus only. In other words, it was the position of the Obama administration that even though the Supreme Court had found a constitutional right for detainees to challenge their confinement, detainees had no constitutional right not to be tortured while in confinement. The Obama administration also insisted that it was not sufficiently clear that the Constitution prohibited torture of aliens, and so “a reasonable officer would not have concluded that plaintiffs here possessed Fifth and Eighth Amendment rights while they were detained at Guantánamo.”

Yet reasonable officers have known since the founding of the republic that military law prohibits torturing prisoners and, since the 1930s, that it was cruel and unusual punishment and a violation of due process to torture prisoners in the custody of the United States. What these officers apparently could not have been expected to figure out was whether by bringing prisoners to Guantánamo, they could evade the Constitutional ban on torture or prisoners. Finally, the Obama administration warned that civil remedies for torture would “enmesh the courts in military, national security, and foreign affairs matters that are the exclusive province of the political branches.” In plain English, it is up to us — the executive — and not you — the courts — to decide whether detainees can be tortured or not.

While the norm against torture could have been enforced through criminal prosecution, even in the absence of the remedy of civil damages, the Obama administration then eliminated the option of prosecution. As a candidate, Obama called for a “thorough investigation” of detainee mistreatment; President-elect Obama, however, declared his “belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.” No prosecutions have been brought and it is overwhelmingly likely that there will be none, despite the Convention Against Torture, to which the United States is a signatory, requiring criminal investigation where there are credible allegations of torture.

A South-African style truth commission, which would have had the virtue of getting all the facts out into the open and at least creating a record that would have precluded future officials from claiming that there was ambiguity or uncertainty about whether they had the power to torture under the Constitution, didn’t happen either, despite earlier indications of support. Harboring a vain hope for what has turned out to be imaginary reconciliation, the Obama administration has failed in its legal and moral obligation to create an effective and durable bar to torture. …

READ @ http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/tortures-future/#

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* TIME FOR OBAMA TO ACT TO END POLICE-STATE VIOLENCE AGAINST THE OCCUPIERS

By Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening

The growing number of video clips and photos showing police in Darth Vader-like riot gear assaulting peaceful demonstrators with everything from tear gas and mace to truncheons, point-blank shots with beanbags and rubber bullets, and of course the ubiquitous fist and club, have made a bad joke out of claims that America is either the land of the free or the home of the brave.

Scott Olson, a veteran of America’s Iraq War, suffered a severe brain injury that nearly killed him, and left him with difficulty speaking, thanks to a shot to his head by an attacking police officer in Oakland who was firing teargas canisters from a gun-like weapon. Olsen is lucky to be alive and will hopefully recover over time. A comrade, veteran Kayvan Sabehgi, who was retreating from advancing police that same night with his hands tucked in his pockets, can be seen being chased and so brutally beaten by another attacking thug cop that he had to be hospitalized for treatment of a lacerated spleen (although the cops left him writing in agony in a cell for hours before sending him to the hospital).

Old women, pregnant mothers-to-be, and even children have been hit with pepper spray, teargassed and terrorized by police goons in New York, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Dallas, Chicago, Boston and elsewhere in what is almost certainly a coordinated attack on the Occupy Movement being run out of Washington. One 19-year old pregnant woman, struck several times and pepper sprayed (but not arrested) by Seattle Police who were clearing out Occupiers there, suffered a miscarriage several days after suffering the assault. A 70-year old poet and retired professor at UC Berkeley was punched and knocked down by a policeman as he pleaded with the police not to hurt protesting students. His wife had been knocked to the ground just before him.

Americans have been watching these scenes of cops assaulting peaceful demonstrators in shock. They are used to seeing this kind of thing going on in Latin America or the Middle East or Asia, and our own government would always make noises of protest. Now it’s happening here at home. …

READ @ http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/