May 162014
 

By Victoria Parker in Ukraine, 99GetSmart

Source: Axis of Logic 

As I was writing an article regarding the tragedy that was unfolding in Mariupol on May 9 – the most revered day of the calendar celebrated in former Soviet countries – Donetsk and Lugansk conducted their referendums, resulting in a 90% vote for independence from the new Ukrainian regime.

It would be very naive to expect Russia to take these two republics under its wing. The Russian Federation does not appear to have any intention to attach anymore territory, and still urges civilized dialogue between the South-East and Kiev.

Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that any dialogue is possible after so much spilling of innocent blood. Kiev chose the politics of intimidation and terror, intertwined with a patent mistrust. What took place in Odessa is called “Red Line 1”.  Although this horrific and inhumane action was covered by some media, the entire world still refused to react, as moral obligations would suggest they should, by stopping the junta from spilling the blood of its own people and calling out for justice. So the junta crossed another red line.

Another massacre in Mariupol (Donetsk’s province) was personally initiated and supervised by Oleg Lyashko, a Presidential candidate.

He actually replaced the commander of this “operation” with himself. After a call from the chief of police in Mariupol, Lyashko gave the order to invade Mariupol. He hoped to shine his political star by achieving his own victory on May 9, the day when people celebrate the Victory in Great Fatherland war over fascism. Lyashko personally gave an order to shoot all the “vatniks” and “colorads” (insulting words for Russians and anti-fascists). Within the order was the specific task of shooting any soldier who refused to participate. Later, seeing how his “anti-terrorist operation” descended into an absolute fiasco, Lyashko ran away from Mariupol.

The Chief of police in Mariupol, Androshuk, after the initial phone conversation with Lyashko, gave orders to his officers to conduct a punitive operation of punishment against the Mariupol people. The entire body of police refused to follow the order. Androschuk shot one of the officers, triggering a revolt among the remaining police. Androschuk escaped into his office and called the “Right Sector” for help.

While the people in the city were celebrating Victory Day, the invaders entered  peaceful Mariupol much as the Nazis did 70 years ago. The punitive group, battalions “Dnipro” and ”Azov”, had assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, BMP 9 + 1 APC, heavy armoured vehicles and tanks, and combat infantry.

It is fair to call them fascists.

They moved close to the police department building and soon opened fire from HGV, machine guns, and grenade launchers. Some of Right Sectors went from house to house and shot at the windows where people filmed everything on cameras and phones. They blocked the area around police station.

During combat, Androschuk snuck out of the building through a corridor. But in the street, he was captured by local people. His fate is presently unknown.

Unarmed civilians were standing around shouting: ”Fascists”, “Get out of our city”, “They are killing our police!”, “How would you look at your Mom’s eyes?” National Guard gunmen shot civilians on sight to stop them from approaching the police department building. Police officers became “terrorists” for only one reason: THEY REFUSED TO RAISE WEAPONS AGAINST THEIR FELLOW COUNTRYMEN. There were about 50 people at the police station, including women.

Next, the Right Sector used the same tactic as they did in Odessa. They blocked the building and burned it down to the ground.

The police station was completely destroyed by fire. Ambulances rushing to the scene to rescue the wounded were greeted by bursts of gunfire from the fascists.

During the day, gunmen in black uniforms shot and intimidated citizens.

Civilians began to oppose the fascist invaders. The fascists lost one BMP. Several members of the punitive “Azov” and ”Dnipro” died. Then the fascists (no other word can be used toward these creatures) found themselves without any commanders and tried to leave the city. Actually, they ran away.

It is still unclear how many people were killed in Mariupol. The man in this video claimed that there were over one hundred victims.

Where will the next “red line” take place?  And how many more “red lines” does the World need in order to wake up? This is not a war between Russians and Ukrainians, and this is not a war of all against all. This is a war of Russian people for their identity and freedom. Now when the most hated thing, as fascism is for Russians, has come into our homes, people need to determine what values they are standing up for and what kind of future we see for ourselves, and who they are – Russian people, meaning the spiritual condition, not necessary nationality.

This is the war of the Russian world against the Nazis. This is a Nazi’s war against the civilian population.

This is also a time for the West to clarify for themselves who they want to be with and what kind of future they choose.

On May 11, the people of Donetsk and Lugansk provinces took part in Referendums and declared their Independence.

On May 11, a funeral took place for 20 killed people in Mariupol.

This is a holiday with teary eyes…

© Copyright 2014 by AxisofLogic.com

This material is available for republication as long as reprints include verbatim copy of the article in its entirety, respecting its integrity. Reprints must cite the author and Axis of Logic as the original source including a “live link” to the article. Thank you!

Mar 262014
 

By James Petras, 99GetSmart

JJ44ibn

Introduction

Protest, dissent and the destructive terror of war are obviously very distinct forms of expressing opposition and bringing about change.  The Obama-Kerry regime support the opposition in Venezuela as a ‘protest movement’ composed of   ‘peaceful democratic opponents’ expressing their discontent with economic conditions, while they denounce the democratically-elected Maduro Administration as an ‘authoritarian regime’ violently repressing legitimate dissent.  Washington disingenuously claims to have played no part in the actions of the Venezuelan opposition and that its pronouncements are merely directed at promoting democratic freedoms.

The overwhelming evidence show that the Venezuelan opposition has engaged in prolonged and extensive violence, including terrorist acts, assassinations, arson, and destruction of public property.  Most recently this includes the murder of military officers and civilian supporters of the government.  Widely circulated photographs, even in Washington-controlled media outlets, show opposition activists throwing Molotov cocktails at police and counter-demonstrators and building barricades for bloody street confrontations.

The Obama-Kerry Administration denies any involvement in the ongoing violence while unconditionally defending the opposition gangs of thugs.  At the same time it demonizes every legitimate government action to defend its citizens, uphold the Constitution and enforce internationally recognized norms of law and order.  The Obama-Kerry regime’s political intervention and its escalating rhetoric is designed to incite the opposition to further violent activity in order to destabilize the country for ‘regime change’.

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s vitriolic rhetoric is timed to counter the recent ebb of opposition activity, assuring the opposition that Washington supports its campaign of ‘warfare in the streets’.   President Obama’s propaganda, the regime’s economic sanctions and the channeling of financial and military resources to the violent opposition groups is designed to reinvigorate the campaign of terror and sabotage against the Venezuelan government.  The Kerry- Obama sanctions and their war of words provide external support for violent terrorists operating inside Venezuela.

Kerry-Obama Rely on the Big Lie

Secretary of State Kerry’s accusation that the Venezuelan government is conducting a ‘campaign of terror’ against the peaceful opposition is a naked lie:  The Bolivarian government, which had been the target of two months of street violence sabotage, is itself accused of the crimes committed by the US-backed proxy opposition.  This is a favorite ploy of the empire in preparing the ground for ‘regime change’.    Washington is intent on the violent overthrow of a democratic government and the establishment of another satellite regime in Latin America.

Washington’s proxy terrorist power grab is evident everywhere.  The opposition is openly authoritarian in its demands.  It raises economic and social issues as pretexts to undermine of the democratic, constitutional government by force and violence.  They seek to weaken the government and have no interest in negotiations or signing any agreement on specific sets of issues.  Government offers to meet and establish dialog have been rejected outright.  Each government concession has been exploited as a sign of weakness.  When the government released dozens of thugs arrested for throwing Molotov fire-bombs, they returned to the streets to burn more property and attack the police.

The opposition has been given every chance to win over Venezuela’s voters in dozens of Presidential, state and local elections.  Refusing to accept the will of the majority in lawful elections, they have launched their violent assaults to undermine the people’s rule.  Opposition mayors have worked with street thugs who block normal commerce while assaulting individual supporters of the national government.

The opposition has accumulated vast stores of arms and munitions in preparation for an armed uprising.  It has trained snipers to assassinate military and police officers upholding the rule of law and have attacked municipal workers and citizen volunteers engaged in clearing streets of debris.

In terms of means, goals and ideology the opposition fits the description of an imperial-financed terrorist minority organized to seize power, destroy majority rule and impose an autocratic dictatorship which would serve as a proxy for US imperial power.

Democratic Politics or Terrorist Putsch ?

In the 8 weeks up to March 15, 2014, the terrorist opposition committed 500 violent actions throughout the country.  At least 68 members of the Venezuelan National Guard have been injured, shot, or killed by Secretary Kerry’s “democratic protestors”.  On May 13, government officials were attacked with high powered rifle fire and seven snipers were arrested with arms and explosives.  Paramilitary terrorists have been openly trained and housed at two or more elite universities (Carabobo University and UCV in Caracas). Phony claims of “autonomy” have been used to shield the fact that these privileged campuses are used to stockpile weapons, set up training bases and shelter for paramilitary gangs and snipers.

The economic impact is immense: Business revenues, salaries and wage losses run in the tens of millions.  Sniper fire has prevented civil servants, pro-government workers and ordinary citizens from shopping, going to work and participating in pro-government counter demonstrations.  The terrorists have sown fear and insecurity, primarily in middle class neighborhoods where they mostly operate – not daring to enter the militant poor and working class barrios.

The government is seen by the masses as extraordinarily tolerant (or excessively conciliatory) in their dealings with these violent opposition gangs, considering the scope and depth of mayhem: As of March 15, only 105 street thugs out the 1,529 violent demonstrators arrested remain in jail facing charges.

Many concerned Venezuelan and international democrats and experts on terrorism believe the Maduro government’s restraint has given the terrorists plenty of time and opportunity to arm, recruit and distribute US funds channeled through phony NGO’s, in preparation for even bigger and more destructive acts of terror, such as bombing bridges, power stations and clinics, as well as assassinating top civilian and military officials.  Their assessment of the Maduro government’s security policy is that it is too narrowly focused on the ‘lowest level’ of activists – those caught with Molotov cocktails or engaged in other acts of violence – rather than the political and financial networks which extend deep into the major opposition political parties and business elite who provide funding, political cover and ideological justifications for the growing war of terror against ordinary Venezuelan citizens.  Moreover, the ‘revolving door’ judicial system simply emboldens the thugs and saboteurs — since a day in jail is a very small price for having blown up a community health center or engulfed a National Guardsman in flames.

The government, in its efforts to secure agreements with a section of the opposition, appears to have tied the hands of its security forces:  small groups of National Guardsmen have become especially vulnerable to acts of terror from thugs protected by highly-placed opposition political leaders.

Conclusion

In the past two months over a thousand public buildings have been destroyed or damaged, mostly fire-bombed by what US Secretary of State John Kerry has called the “democratic and peaceful opposition”.  Most of the arson is directed at buildings closely associated with the government’s popular and effective social welfare programs.  These include neighborhood centers for adult education and training; free public medical and dental clinics; public banks providing low interest loans for micro-economic projects; primary and secondary public schools in poor neighborhoods; publicly-owned food-stores  providing subsidized food and groceries as well as the trucks carrying subsidized food and essential goods to working-class neighborhoods; public transportation, municipal sanitary workers, community radio stations, pro-government media centers and local Socialist Party headquarters.

Recently large scale caches of arms, including automatic rifles and mortars were discovered in the underground parking lot owned by an opposition-controlled municipality.   Another cache of 2,000 mortars and other weapons were found in the opposition stronghold, Táchira State, which borders Colombia, across which arms, drugs and mercenaries enter freely.  Many of the National Guardsmen injured were shot by opposition snipers.  On March 16, a National Guard captain was assassinated by a sniper shooting from a high rise apartment.  The assassin was captured and turned out to be a Chinese mercenary hired by the opposition and part of a para-military hit team

Kerry-Obama’s claim that the protestors are mostly peaceful students is refuted by the fact that nearly two-thirds (971) of the total arrestees (1,529) are not  students; many are self-styled street fighters receiving outside material support and funds.

Kerry’s claim that the US is ‘not involved’ and the State Department’s ludicrous effort to portray Venezuela’s charges of US intervention as “paranoia” have been refuted by official US documents showing a continuous annual flow of tens of millions of dollars to opposition organizations linked to the terror networks, including $15 million disbursed during the first two months of this year.  The even greater extent of ‘covert’ material aid, including weapons, is unknown.

Top security experts knowledgeable about the subject of external funding for destabilization and terrorism, have reviewed the scope and depth of the ongoing damage and casualties in Venezuela.  They have urged the Maduro government to allow the loyal Venezuelan armed forces to participate in quelling the violence.  Their recommendations include a declaration of martial law and  military sweeps into opposition strongholds to round-up and disarm the violent street thugs and terrorists; unlimited detention, pending trials, for suspected snipers and arsonists and military trials for those suspected of murdering soldiers, police and guardsmen.  Opposition mayors, governors and university officials who have provided sanctuaries, training bases, funds and arms to the mercenaries should no longer be immune from prosecution.  In recognition of the recent huge demonstrations by ordinary citizens and soldiers supporting a greater role for the Venezuelan Armed Forces and demanding firmer measures to end terror, President Maduro issued an ultimatum to the opposition to end their violence or face the full force of the state.

In addressing the Kerry-Obama regime, President Maduro, once again, demanded it stop aiding the violent opposition and denounced Washington’s threats to further undermine the Venezuelan economy with trade sanctions.   He has called on Washington to join a tri-partite commission, including top representatives from the US, Venezuela and the Union of South American states (UNASUR), to discuss peace and sovereignty.  While UNASUR is willing to support Maduro’s proposal for dialogue and his peace initiative, US Secretary of State Kerry is moving ahead with economic sanctions against Caracas in support of the US terror war by proxy.

The time for political conciliation is running out:  the Venezuelan Armed Forces  may finally be given their chance to end this imperial war by proxy.

Post-Script

Hopefully, the arm-chair revolutionaries and chattering classes in North America and Europe, who have been so quick to criticize the Venezuelan government, will set aside their ‘reservations’ and organize a solidarity movement to protest the Kerry- Obama imperial war by proxy against Venezuelan democracy.  To date they have spent too much time in internet chatter and not enough time in the streets.

Apr 302013
 

Posted by greydogg, 99GetSmart

* THE MANIFESTO OF THE MEDITERRANEAN MEETING IN TUNISIA

Source: CADTM

arton9081-c31aa

We, the representatives of progressive political parties from the Mediterranean region, gathered in Tunis from March 23 to 24, 2013, at the call of the Popular Front, and adopted the following resolution.

1. – For more than a quarter of a century, neoliberal capitalist globalization has extended its dominance over the entire planet. The processes launched have accelerated the commodization of the world in favour of a minority and have confiscated peoples´ citizenship and nations´ sovereignty. They are exacerbating economic insecurity and social inequality in the North and South and further widening the gap between the rich countries and the so-called poor countries.

Peoples of the South are subjected to a particularly devastating regime of structural adjustment policies and free trade policies which impedes a fair development, destroys the environment and deprives them of their sovereignty, thus weakening them even more and exacerbating their dependence on dominant economic areas of the North.

The fate of humanity is now decided by a handful of transnational corporations and by the international financial institutions over which people have no control.

Since 2008, in the midst of a crisis of the world capitalist system, structural adjustment policies have been extended to the countries of the northern Mediterranean, the so-called contemptuously PIGS.

In Tunisia, these policies have been imposed since 1986 by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. In 1995, these were reinforced by the Association Agreement imposed by the European Union and its Member States. The political dictatorship has ensured the application of such policies.

At present, the various neoliberal capitalist globalization actors intend to carry on with these policies, trying to take advantage of the revolutionary crisis, by strengthening and expanding their scope. Thus they seek to block the path that leads to the development of aspirations and the desire for radical change massively expressed by the masses, particularly youth, during the revolutionary uprising of December- January 2011.

2. – The removal of the dictator has disarmed the local neoliberal capitalist order without reversing it have led to some progress. The social system which is the historical product of imperialist domination and, more recently, of the restructuring of the neoliberal capitalist world, is still standing. But the revolutionary crisis that initiated the insurgency remains active. The victory of the democratic, social and national revolution in Tunisia, as in other countries in the region, still remains a possibility.

3. - The Tunisian revolution marked the beginning of the Arab revolution. To date, four dictators, whose average time in power exceeded 30 years, have been eliminated. These political changes are, without a doubt, the most important occurrence that has taken place in the Arab region and Maghreb in decades. This is clearly a turning point in the history of Tunisia and the Arab region.

This is, in the proper sense of the term, a “historic” moment. In fact, for the first time in their history, the peoples of the Arab region, who have not stopped fighting, are standing up today against their direct oppressors, bursting onto the political scene to take hold of their destiny in their own hands.

4. – The debt -odious, illegitimate- used under the dictatorship as a tool for political submission and as a mechanism for the transfer of income from labour to local but above all to world capital, currently serves the counter-revolution to maintain the neo-colonial economy and imperialist domination in Tunisia. Furthermore, in Egypt, Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, the Spanish State and in many other countries of the Mediterranean basin, debt continues to serve the interests of a minority against the interests of the vast majority. It is everywhere, it is the pretext for the implementation of austerity policies imposed by international financial institutions and the capitalistic states that violate human rights.

5. – Everywhere, both in the North and the South, the same logics of profit, domination and destruction of the planet operate and continue to be imposed on the peoples and on nature. The Tunisian revolution, the Arab revolution, the heroic struggles of all peoples of the world against a neoliberal capitalist order, such as in Greece, Portugal, Catalonia, Basque country or the Spanish state, are the political founding acts of a new world order; one based on solidarity, that is democratic, feminist peaceful that ensures popular sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples and environmentally friendly- for which all our respective political parties are fighting.

6. – But standing in opposition of this popular will for a radical shift are the ruling classes, the transnationals and global finance institutions. They form a united front to counter-attack and to implement even more antisocial and undemocratic policies in order to break through this liberating popular impulse and momentum, and thus continue to make the costs of the global capitalist system crisis fall on the same shoulders, those of the working people and the planet.

7. – We, the representatives of progressive political parties from the Mediterranean region in the world, are convinced that we must unite our efforts and our actions, both regionally and internationally, to support and contribute to the struggles of the people and of the exploited and oppressed classes, in the region and worldwide, who yearn for freedom, dignity and social justice. We support the revolutionary struggle of the Syrian people to achieve freedom, democracy, social justice, equality and national dignity. We condemn any foreign intervention that goes against the achievement of these objectives.
In order to work together in this direction, we the progressive political parties from the Mediterranean region, that participated in this meeting in Tunisia against debt, austerity policies and imperialist domination, advocate for a free, democratic, social, solidarity-based and environmentally friendly Mediterranean region. We therefore commit to:

  • Support the process of mobilization and struggle of social movements, trade unions and social organizations for a citizen audit
  • Promote motions for non-payment of illegitimate debt and the external debt relief in the institutions in which we participate.
  • Incorporate in our political programs the NON payment of the illegitimate debt and the promotion of citizen audit and the support of the struggle for the sovereignty of peoples and self-determination.
  • Advance on the development of a network of mutual support between the nations to assist those who decided not to pay the illegitimate debt
  • Establish a permanent communication network for the exchange of information and experiences.
  • Develop a concrete cooperation aiming at developing tools for the struggle and mobilization necessary to achieve our goals.
  • Organize the next meeting in the Spanish State.

The progressive political parties in the Mediterranean region and other parts of the world that participated in the Tunisian Mediterranean Meeting welcomed the World Social Forum that was held in Tunis from March 26 to 30, and that allowed to advance towards the realization of the objectives enshrined in the Charter of Porto Alegre.

Finally, we strongly condemn the killing of Chokri Belaid, Secretary General of the Unified Democratic Patriotic Party and leader of the Popular Front, which we refer to as a political crime. We demand the truth to be told about all those involved in this heinous crime. […]

READ @ http://cadtm.org/The-Manifesto-of-the-Mediterranean

—————————————————————–

* SCIENTIST CONFIRM! “AUSTERITY IS TOO BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH”

Source: KeepTalkingGreece

austerity-kills1-e1319102456240

Scientists confirm what we already know: that recession-driven austerity measures are not just bad for your wealth, they are also harming your health. It’s not only that your pockets are robbed causing sleepless nights, depression and heart attacks. The austerity cuts that primarily target the health sector boost infectious diseases as medicine and treatment become prohibitively expensive.

British scientists examined the impact of austerity to health issues and thus on the example of Greece and Great Britain.

The after-effects of the financial crisis is driving a wave of suicide, depression and infectious diseases as medicine and treatment become prohibitively expensive across Europe and North America, according to new research by academics.

After examining a decade of studies , Oxford University political economist David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, an assistant professor of medicine and an epidemiologist at Stanford University, have concluded austerity is seriously bad for health.

More than 10,000 suicides and up to a million cases of depression have been diagnosed during what they call the “Great Recession” and the austerity that followed it , the pair conclude in a book due to be published this week.

They cite examples in Greece, which has seen the rate of the Aids-causing HIV virus increase by 200pc as the health budget have been cut. The more than 50pc youth unemployment rate has also seen drug abuse on the increase, hastening the spread of the virus.

Greece also experienced its first malaria outbreak in decades following budget cuts to mosquito-spraying programmes.

In Britain, the academics claim 10,000 families have been pushed into homelessness by the austerity budget, and in the US 5m people no longer have access to healthcare since the recession.

“Politicians need to take into account the serious – and in some cases profound – health consequences of economic choices,” said Mr Stuckler, a senior researcher at Oxford University and co-author The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills.

“The harms we have found include HIV and malaria outbreaks, shortages of essential medicines, lost healthcare access, and an avoidable epidemic of alcohol abuse, depression and suicide,” he said in a statement. “Austerity is having a devastating effect.”

Previous studies by Mr Stuckler published in journals such as The Lancet and the British Medical Journal have linked rising suicide rates in some parts of Europe to austerity measures, and found HIV epidemics to be spreading amid cutbacks in services to vulnerable people.

But he and Mr Basu said negative public health effects are not inevitable, even during the worst economic disasters. (full story Telegraph)

 Greeks get really sick

Also Greek scientists have collected data on the impact of the austerity cuts on the people’s health. According to Christodoulos Stefanadis, cardiology professor at the University of Athens with experience at the country’s public hospitals:

Cardiovascular incidents increased by 20% in the last two years.

Increased is also the number of patients with high blood pressure.

One in six patients with cholesterol does not follow the prescribed treatment due to financial inability to come up with the self-participation  percentage on prescribed medicine.

Unemployment, stress at work and depression are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases equal to risk factors like smoking, lack of exercise and unhealthy eating habits. […]

READ @ http://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2013/04/29/scientists-confirm-austerity-is-too-bad-for-your-health/

—————————————————————–

* CIA’s ‘BAGS OF CASH’ FUELED AFGHAN CORRUPTION, BOUGHT LITTLE INFLUENCE

By Jason Ditz, Anti-War

A Decade Later, CIA Still Throwing Money at Karzai

afghan

If you’re a top Afghan official money comes awfully easy. For Afghan President Hamid Karzai, you don’t even have to ask for it or leave your office, and people will show up with plastic shopping bags full of cash for you.

The “sacks of cash” phenomenon was unveiled in 2010, when officials revealed that Iran was showing up with $1 million in cash a few times a year for Karzai. The US was and is doing it too. The CIA has notoriously been showing up all the time with “ghost money” aimed at buying influence.

“It came in secret, and it left in secret,” noted Karzai’s former chief of staff. Over a decade later, the cash is still coming and going, but what influence if any was ever actually bought is unclear at best.

Officials are critical of the policy, saying that tens of millions of US dollars with no paperwork were actually a big part of how Afghanistan became one of the most corrupt nations in human history. Though there is of course no way of tracking all this money, US officials believe that large amounts were used to bribe politicians and warlords.

This is how all political business gets done in Afghanistan to this day, and despite officials insisting that the money is incredibly counterproductive, the CIA bags are still showing up regularly. […]

READ @ http://news.antiwar.com/2013/04/28/cias-bags-of-cash-fueled-afghan-corruption-bought-little-influence/

—————————————————————–

* THE GUANTANAMO MEMOIRS OF MOHAMEDOU OULD SLAHI

By Larry Siems, Slate

130411_FOR_slahi01.jpg.CROP.article250-medium

Mohamedou Ould Slahi began to tell his story in 2005. Over the course of several months, the Guantánamo prisoner handwrote his memoir, recounting what he calls his “endless world tour” of detention and interrogation. He wrote in English, a language he mastered in prison. His handwriting is relaxed but neat, his narrative, even riddled with redactions, vivid and captivating. In telling his story he tried, as he wrote, “to be as fair as possible to the U.S. government, to my brothers, and to myself.” He finished his 466-page draft in early 2006. For the next six years, the U.S. government held the manuscript as a classified secret.

When his pro bono attorneys were allowed to hand me a disk labeled “Unclassified Version” last year, Slahi had been a Guantánamo detainee for more than a decade. I sat down to start reading his manuscript nearly 10 years to the day from the book’s opening scene:

“[Redacted] July 2002, 22:00. The American team takes over. The music was off. The conversations of the guards faded away. The truck emptied.”

We’re in the middle of the action. Slahi’s life in captivity had begun eight months earlier, on Nov. 20, 2001, when Slahi, then 30, was summoned by Mauritanian police for questioning. He had just returned home from work; he was in the shower when police arrived. He dressed, grabbed his car keys—he went voluntarily, driving himself to the police station—and told his mother not to worry, he would be home soon. [...]

READ @ http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2013/04/mohamedou_ould_slahi_s_guant_namo_memoirs_how_the_united_states_kept_a_gitmo.html

—————————————————————–

* UNDERCOVER AT THE TAR SANDS

By Jerry Cleveland, Rolling Stone

20130419-tar-x600-1366394718

Editor’s Note: In recent months, many climate activists have focused their efforts on Canada’s tar sands and the companies set on extracting fossil fuels from them. With the debate raging louder than ever, Rolling Stone is in contact with one of the workers helping to build a pipeline to bring oil from the tar sands to the U.S. Read on for that anonymous correspondent’s first dispatch from one of the world’s most controversial jobs.

There’s something in the air in Fort McMurray, Alberta – and it’s not just fumes from the massive oil sands processing plants north of town. Spend enough time here, and you’ll pick up the pungent scents of machismo and money.

This is the heart of Canada’s controversial tar sands operation. If all goes as planned, this region will soon be sending its bitumen – the sticky, black petroleum byproduct colloquially known as “tar” – down the Keystone XL Pipeline. President Obama has yet to give the contentious project the green light, but work in the oil sands shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

The region has 80,000 permanent residents, and hosts about 40,000 temporary workers at any given time – welders, pipefitters, heavy equipment operators, technicians, engineers and other hired hands who pass through Fort McMurray as the work ebbs and flows. I joined them this winter when, after hearing stories about Fort Mac for years, I signed on to help build a massive pipeline (not the Keystone XL). I was eager to see the tar sands for myself, experience life in Fort Mac firsthand – and, let’s be honest, I wanted to make some oil money, too.  I’m writing this story anonymously to protect my friends, my colleagues and myself.

The Fossil Fuel Resistance

Much of the work here relies on ice roads and freezing temperatures, so when spring comes, the work ends. The obvious irony is that the carbon economy itself is very likely contributing to the early springs, late winters and wacky weather that keeps interrupting our work.

Few in northern Alberta seemed to notice when thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest the Keystone project in February. Instead, everyone was talking about the southern extension project coming up later this year, and the 14,000 jobs it would bring.

The recent rupture of an Exxon pipeline in Arkansas, spilling tens of thousands of Canadian crude, made some noise here. But most chalked it up to “bad timing” –folks are quick to point out that the pipeline in question was installed in the 1940s, and my foreman assured us that Exxon would “make sure everyone is taken care of.” The prevailing logic seems to be that if you throw enough money at a problem, it’ll go away. […]

READ @ http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/undercover-at-the-tar-sands-20130426

Feb 292012
 

 

* WHAT IF WE ALL BECOME GREEKS?

Source: StopCartel

Is what is being imposed today on this pressured and humiliated country a foretaste of what will one day be prescribed for Italy, Portugal and, why not, France?

…President Karolos Papoulias’ tirade against German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and a collection of EU nations was the latest example of a disturbing rise in anti-German and anti-European rhetoric in this country. At the same time, it was an earnest response to Schaeuble’s provocative “bottomless pit” remarks about Greece’s spending habits.

It was also seen as the latest indication that the EU – and Germany in particular – is forcing austerity on Greece whilst preparing to cut the country adrift as a relieved but listing eurozone of 16 member states sails into the distance.

The only problem is that many of those eurozone members are now looking at Greece and questioning whether they would be next. France’s Liberation said it best this week. “What if we all became Greeks?” the daily asked. “Is what is being imposed today on this pressured and humiliated country a foretaste of what will one day be prescribed for Italy, Portugal and, why not, France?” […]

READ @ http://www.stopcartel.net/2012/02/27/POLITICS/What_if_we_all_become_Greeks?/1114.html

—————————————————————–

* THE GREEK TRAGEDY AND GREAT DEPRESSION LESSONS NOT LEARNED

By Nomi Prins

Greece has been the most pillaged country in Europe this Depression, among other reasons, because no one in any leadership position seems to have learned lessons from the 1930s. Plus, banks have more power now than they did then to call the shots.

Despite no signs of the first bailout working – certainly not in growing the Greek economy or helping its population – but not even in being sufficient to cover speculative losses, Euro elites finalized another 130 billion Euro, ($170 billion) bailout today. This is ostensibly to avoid banks’ and credit default swap players’ wrath over the possibility of Greece defaulting on 14.5 billion Euros in bonds.

Bailout promoters seem to believe (or pretend) that: bank bailout debt + more bank bailout debt + selling national assets at discount prices + oppressive unemployment = economic health. They fail to grasp that severe austerity hasn’t, and won’t, turn Greece (or any country) around. Banks, of course, just  want to protect their bets and not wait around for Greece to really stabilize for repayment. […]

READ @ http://www.nomiprins.com/thoughts/2012/2/21/the-greek-tragedy-and-great-depression-lessons-not-learned.html

—————————————————————–

* BERNANKE TESTIMONY: SEMI ANNUAL MONETARY POLICY REPORT TO THE CONGRESS

By Calculated Risk

Q4 GDP revised up to 3.0% from 2.8% in advance estimate.

Chicago PMI comes in at 64.0 well above expectations.

Chicago Purchasing Managers reported the February CHICAGO BUSINESS BAROMETER rose to its highest level in ten months. The barometer also marked a 29th month of expansion and its fourth consecutive month above 60. Increases were seen in six of eight Business Activity Indexes, highlighted by a very large advance in Employment.

• BUSINESS ACTIVITY:
• EMPLOYMENT highest since May 1984;
• ORDER BACKLOGS moved back into expansion;
• INVENTORIES dipped;
• NEW ORDERS highest level since March 2011:

Note: Testimony starts at 10 AM ET.

Here is the CSpan feed

Here is the CNBC feed.

Prepared testimony from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke: Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress […]

READ @ http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2012/02/bernanke-testimony-semiannual-monetary.html

—————————————————————–

* PRESIDENT OBAMA AND HIS KEY ADVISORS ARE A GANG OF WAR CRIMINALS

By Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening

If a bunch of street toughs decided to gang up and beat the crap out of some guy in the neighborhood because they feared he might be planning to buy a gun to protect his family, I think we’d all agree that the police would be right to bust that crew and charge them with conspiracy to commit the crime of assault and battery. If they went forward with their plan and actually did attack the guy, injuring or killing him in the process, we’d also all agree they should all be charged with assault and battery, attempted murder, or even first-degree murder if he died.

In international relations and international law, the same applies. Under the Nuremberg Principles, later incorporated into the United Nations Charter, to which the United States is a signatory, the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, which is defined as a war started against another nation that does not pose an imminent threat of attack on the aggressor nation or nations, is the highest of war crimes, for which the perpetrators are liable for the death penalty. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of those above acts is an equally serious capital crime.

How then to explain the casual way that civilian and military leaders of the US and Israel are talking openly about plans and threats to attack Iran? […]

READ @ http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1081

—————————————————————–

* JIHADI DEMOCRATS READY FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP

By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

Such a pity that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t make the 2012 Oscars. La Clinton would stand a good chance of upstaging even tweet-exploding Angelina Jolie’s right leg – that force of nature now all over the net, landing on the moon and even invading Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.

The Empress of Libya (“We came, we saw, he died”) did try hard, including a photo op for the BBC, where she finally admitted that the US is fighting side by side with al-Qaeda to unleash regime change in Syria.

Well, old Cold War fox and former Russian prime minister (under vodka junkie Boris Yeltsin) Yevgeny Primakov actually beat her to the punch on Russia’s Rossiya channel – adding that no one could seriously believe that regime change in Syria could lead to democracy. […]

READ @ http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NC01Ak04.html

—————————————————————–

* GENERAL McCAFFREY PRIVATELY BRIEFS NBC EXECS ON WAR WITH IRAN

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

In 2009, The New York Times‘ David Barstow won the Pulitzer Prize for his two-part series on the use by television networks of retired Generals posing as objective “analysts” at exactly the same time they were participating — unbeknownst to viewers — in a Pentagon propaganda program. Many were also plagued by undisclosed conflicts of interest whereby they had financial stakes in many of the policies they were pushing on-air. One of the prime offenders was Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who was not only a member of the Pentagon’s propaganda program, but also, according to Barstow’s second stand-alone article, had his own “Military-Industrial-Media Complex,” deeply invested in many of the very war policies he pushed and advocated while posing as an NBC “analyst”:

Through seven years of war an exclusive club has quietly flourished at the intersection of network news and wartime commerce. Its members, mostly retired generals, have had a foot in both camps as influential network military analysts and defense industry rainmakers. It is a deeply opaque world, a place of privileged access to senior government officials, where war commentary can fit hand in glove with undisclosed commercial interests and network executives are sometimes oblivious to possible conflicts of interest.

Few illustrate the submerged complexities of this world better than Barry McCaffrey. . . . General McCaffrey has immersed himself in businesses that have grown with the fight against terrorism. . . .

Many retired officers hold a perch in the world of military contracting, but General McCaffrey is among a select few who also command platforms in the news media and as government advisers on military matters. These overlapping roles offer them an array of opportunities to advance policy goals as well as business objectives. But with their business ties left undisclosed, it can be difficult for policy makers and the public to fully understand their interests. […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2012/02/28/gen_mccaffrey_privately_briefs_nbc_execs_on_war_with_iran/singleton/

—————————————————————–

* GOODBYE FIRST AMENDMENT: ‘TRESPASS BILL’ WILL MAKE PROTEST ILLEGAL

Source: RT

Just when you thought the government couldn’t ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.

The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence.

Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.

Under current law, White House trespassers are prosecuted under a local ordinance, a Washington, DC legislation that can bring misdemeanor charges for anyone trying to get close to the president without authorization. Under H.R. 347, a federal law will formally be applied to such instances, but will also allow the government to bring charges to protesters, demonstrators and activists at political events and other outings across America.

The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt a government function with a federal offense if Secret Service is on the scene, but the law stretches to include not just the president’s palatial Pennsylvania Avenue home. Under the law, any building or grounds where the president is visiting — even temporarily — is covered, as is any building or grounds “restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance.”  […]

READ @ http://rt.com/usa/news/348-act-tresspass-buildings-437/

—————————————————————–

* SUPREME COURT TO HEAR MOTHER OF ALL CORPORATE IMMUNITY CASES TODAY

Source: Think Progress

Last October, when the Supreme Court announced that it would hear Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, we labeled this case the “mother of all corporate immunity cases” because it seems like it was ripped from a bad screenplay parodying a Supreme Court interested in advancing as many right-wing stereotypes as possible in a single case. Sadly, the case is not fiction, and it actually does give the Court’s five conservatives an opportunity to declare that corporations who hire foreign military forces that engage in torture are immune from a law holding the most atrocious human rights violators accountable to international norms. The case will be argued today. […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?linkid=146277

—————————————————————–

* THE PRIVATE PRISON INDUSTRY: RESISTANCE ISN’T FUTILE

By Eric Lotke, Our Future

The private prison industry is on the march. In recent months the industry moved to take over 24 state prisons in southern Florida and buy five prisons in Ohio. Now it’s making moves in Michigan.

But the industry doesn’t always win. Resistance isn’t futile.

The industry wanted to buy five prisons in Ohio but had to settle for one. Community members pushed back and corrections professionals raised doubts about cost savings and program effectiveness. Policy Matters Ohio demonstrated that selling the prison will likely cost more money than it produces. Yes, the state gets $73 million immediately for the sale – but the lease commits the state to pay $4 million annually for 20 years. So depending how cost estimates are done, the sale will end up costing the state anywhere from $8 million to $15 million more than traditional corrections.

Florida shows that the prison industry can’t make an honest case for the product it sells. The move to privatize 24 prisons was slipped into the annual budget bill, and opponents were literally eliminated. The Corrections chief, Edwin Buss, was forced to resign after expressing doubt that a proper “business case” for cost savings could be made. Senator Paula Dockery (R-Lakeland), an outspoken critic of privatization, was stripped of her seat on the Criminal Justice Committee, where such legislation is ordinarily heard. Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) was stripped of his chairmanship of the Committee on Criminal Justice Appropriations when he questioned the accelerated process, compressed hearing schedule, and absence of opposing experts. […]

READ @ http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2012020928/private-prison-industry-resistance-isnt-futile

—————————————————————–

* BP GOES TO COURT

The largest environmental trial in US history begins March 5, as BP is sued for its 2010 oil spill disaster.

By Dahr Jamail

It was the largest marine oil disaster in the United States, and now BP’s trial is the largest and most complex environmental lawsuit in US history.

In what is being called by many “The Trial of the Century”, a thousand plaintiffs, a multitude of witnesses, and at least 20,000 exhibits will converge at a US district court in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 5 for litigation surrounding BP’s oil disaster that began on April 20, 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

The disaster caused at least 4.9 million barrels of oil to gush into the Gulf, a situation that was compounded by at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants used to sink the oil. […]

READ @ http://dahrjamail.net/bp-goes-to-court

—————————————————————–

* DID PSYCHOPATHS TAKE OVER WALL STREET ASYLUM?

By William D. Cohan, Bloomberg

It took a relatively obscure former British academic to propagate a theory of the financial crisis that would confirm what many people suspected all along: The “corporate psychopaths” at the helm of our financial institutions are to blame.

Clive R. Boddy, most recently a professor at the Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University, says psychopaths are the 1 percent of “people who, perhaps due to physical factors to do with abnormal brain connectivity and chemistry” lack a “conscience, have few emotions and display an inability to have any feelings, sympathy or empathy for other people.”

As a result, Boddy argues in a recent issue of the Journal of Business Ethics, such people are “extraordinarily cold, much more calculating and ruthless towards others than most people are and therefore a menace to the companies they work for and to society.” […]

READ @ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-03/did-psychopaths-take-over-wall-street-asylum-commentary-by-william-cohan.html

MORE @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/linkframe.php?linkid=146340

—————————————————————–

* SHUT DOWN THE CORPORATIONS! OCCUPY GROUPS TARGET ALEC

By Common Dreams Staff

Over 70 cities are participating today in a national day of action called by Occupy Portland to “Shut Down the Corporations.” The group calls for non-violent direct action to “target corporations that are part of the American Legislative Exchange Council which is a prime example of the way corporations buy off legislators and craft legislation that serves the interests of corporations and not people.”

The group explains the action on its website: […]

READ and VIDEO @ http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/02/29

—————————————————————–

* A LOVE SUPREME

By Dr. Cornel West, The Occupied Wall Street Journal

We the people of the global Occupy movement embody and enact a deep democratic awakening with genuine joy and fierce determination. Our movement — leaderless and leaderful — is a soulful expression of a moral outrage at the ugly corporate greed that pushes our society and world to the brink of catastrophe. We are aware that our actions have inaugurated a radical enlightenment in a moment of undeniable distrust and disgust with oligarchic economies, corrupt politicians, arbitrary rule of law and corporate media weapons of mass distraction. And we intend to sustain our momentum by nurturing our bonds of trust, fortifying our bodies, hearts and minds and sticking together through hell or high water in order to create a better world through a deep democratic revolution.

We refuse to be mere echoes of the vicious lies that support an illegitimate status quo. Our deep democratic awakening takes the form of we everyday people raising our individual and collective voices to tell the painful truths about unjust systems and unfair structures that yield unnecessary social misery. The past thirty years of a top-down, one-sided class war on precious poor and working people — with the greatest transfer of wealth from bottom to top in human history — have taught us that we either fight together in the name of truth and justice or we lose our livelihoods and sacred honor. In this sense, the movement is already victorious: our organizing and mobilizing have shifted public discourses toward truth and justice — towards a focus on corporate greed, wealth inequality, escalating poverty, obscene levels of unemployment, the role of big money in politics, and abusive military and police power. But we have work ahead of us yet.

The full-scale bankruptcy of the neoliberal order — of deregulated markets, unaccountable oligarchs, bribed politicians — is now an established fact of life and history. Its age is coming to an end. Our deep democratic enlightenment must break us out of our narrow intellectual frameworks and our parochial cultural habitus. […]

READ @ http://occupiedmedia.us/2011/11/a-love-supreme/

Jan 242012
 

 

* YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT — A KNOW YOUR RIGHTS GUIDE FOR LAW ENFORCEMNT ENCOUNTERS

Source: National Lawyers Guild

What Rights Do I Have?

Whether or not you’re a citizen, you have rights under the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives every person the right to remain silent: not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent. The Fourth Amendment restricts the government’s power to enter and search your home or workplace, although there are many exceptions and new laws have expanded the govern- ment’s power to conduct surveillance. The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. However, if you are a non-citizen, the Department of Homeland Security may target you based on your political activities. […]

READ PDF @ http://www.nlg.org/wp-content/files_flutter/1290534630final.pdf

———————————————————————–

* CAMPUS COPS BRUTALIZE PEACEFUL STUDENTS PROTESTING TUITION HIKES AT UC RIVERSIDE

By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, AlterNet

Students at UC Riverside worried about past and future fee hikes attended a Regents meeting last Thursday to voice their concerns. However, despite the rights of attendees to a democratic, open-to-the-public meeting, students say they were summarily silenced—and that protesters outside the meeting were brutally attacked by police with batons and shot with non-lethal bullets—a point that went unmentioned in most reports, but one clearly backed up by video. Marc Lombardo, one of the student protesters in attendance, told AlterNet:

What events led up to shots being fired? As video documentation clearly shows, police were hitting protestors with batons without any clear tactical purpose. They were protecting no one. There was nowhere they needed to go. They simply started hitting the people peacefully assembled in front of them. Only at that point did protestors attempt to bring a barricade to the police line in order to protect those being assaulted by law enforcement. That’s when the police opened fire. These events can be seen here: […]

The day after the UC Regents Meeting at UCR:

READ @ http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/newsandviews/765980

———————————————————————–

* THE CORPORATE STATE WILL BE BROKEN

By Chris Hedges, Truthout

I spent Friday morning sitting on a wooden bench in a fourth-floor courtroom in the New York Criminal Court in Manhattan. I was waiting to be sentenced for “disturbing the peace” and “refusing to obey a lawful order” during an Occupy demonstration in front of Goldman Sachs in November.

Those sentenced before me constituted the usual fare of the court. They were poor people of color accused of mostly petty crimes—drug possession, thefts, shoplifting, trespassing because they were homeless and needed a place to sleep, inappropriate touching, grand larceny and violation of probation. They were escorted out of a backroom by a police officer, stood meekly before the judge with their hands cuffed behind them, were hastily defended by a lawyer clutching a few folders, and were sentenced. Ten days in jail. Sixty days in jail. Six months in jail. A steady stream of convictions.  My sentence, by comparison, was slight. I was given an ACD, or “adjournment in contemplation of dismissal,” which means that if I am not arrested in the next six months my case is dismissed. If I am arrested during this period of informal probation the old charge will be added to the new one before I am sentenced.

The country’s most egregious criminals, the ones who had stripped some of those being sentenced of their homes, their right to a decent education and health care, their jobs, their dignity and their hope, those wallowing in tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, those who had gamed the system to enrich themselves at our expense, were doing the dirty business of speculation in the tall office towers a few blocks away. They were making money. A few of these wealthy plutocrats were with the president, who was in New York that day to attend four fundraisers that took in an estimated $3 million. For $15,000 you could have joined Barack Obama at Daniel, an exclusive Upper East Side restaurant. For $35,000 you could have been at a gathering hosted by movie director Spike Lee. Most of those sentenced in that courtroom do not make that much in a year. It was a good day in New York for Barack Obama. It was a bad day for us. […]

READ @ http://www.truth-out.org/chris-hedges-corporate-state-will-be-broken/1327331237

———————————————————————–

* THE THOM HARTMANN SHOW — BRUNCH WITH BERNIE – JANUARY 20, 2012

Source: youtube.com

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wgDB2jLqthQ

———————————————————————–

* RULES OF AMERICAN JUSTICE: A TALE OF THREE CASES

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

Developments in three legal cases, just from the last 24 hours, potently illuminate the Rules of American Justice. First, the Justice Department yesterday charged a former CIA agent, John Kirakou, with four felony counts for having allegedly disclosed classified information to reporters about the CIA’s interrogation program. Included among those charges are two counts under the Espionage Act of 1917, based on the allegation that he disclosed information which he “had reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of any foreign nation.” Kirakou made news in 2007 when he told ABC News that he led the team that captured accused Terrorist Abu Zubaydah and that the techniques to which Zubaydah was subjected, including waterboarding, clearly constituted “torture,” though he claimed they were effective and arguably justifiable. He’s also accused of being the source for a 2008 New York Times article that disclosed the name of one of Zubaydah’s CIA interrogators.

What’s most notable here is that this is now the sixth prosecution by the Obama administration of an accused leaker, and all six have been charged under the draconian, World-War-I era Espionage Act. As EFF’s Trevor Timm put it yesterday: this is the “6th time under Obama someone is charged with Espionage for leaking to a journalist. Before Obama: only 3 cases in history.” This is all accomplished by characterizing disclosures in American newspapers about America’s wrongdoing as “aiding the enemy” (the alleged enemy being informed is Al Qaeda, but the actual concern is that the American people learn what their government is doing). As The New York Times‘ Charlie Savage wrote this morning, Obama has brought “more such cases than all previous presidents combined,” and by doing so, has won the admiration of the CIA and other intelligence agencies which, above all else, loathe transparency (which happens to be the value that Obama vowed to provide more of than any President in history). […]

READ @ http://politics.salon.com/2012/01/24/rules_of_american_justice_a_tale_of_three_cases/singleton/

———————————————————————–

* THE CAGING OF AMERICA

Why do we lock up so many people?

By Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

A prison is a trap for catching time. Good reporting appears often about the inner life of the American prison, but the catch is that American prison life is mostly undramatic—the reported stories fail to grab us, because, for the most part, nothing happens. One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is all you need to know about Ivan Denisovich, because the idea that anyone could live for a minute in such circumstances seems impossible; one day in the life of an American prison means much less, because the force of it is that one day typically stretches out for decades. It isn’t the horror of the time at hand but the unimaginable sameness of the time ahead that makes prisons unendurable for their inmates. The inmates on death row in Texas are called men in “timeless time,” because they alone aren’t serving time: they aren’t waiting out five years or a decade or a lifetime. The basic reality of American prisons is not that of the lock and key but that of the lock and clock.

That’s why no one who has been inside a prison, if only for a day, can ever forget the feeling. Time stops. A note of attenuated panic, of watchful paranoia—anxiety and boredom and fear mixed into a kind of enveloping fog, covering the guards as much as the guarded. “Sometimes I think this whole world is one big prison yard, / Some of us are prisoners, some of us are guards,” Dylan sings, and while it isn’t strictly true—just ask the prisoners—it contains a truth: the guards are doing time, too. As a smart man once wrote after being locked up, the thing about jail is that there are bars on the windows and they won’t let you out. This simple truth governs all the others. What prisoners try to convey to the free is how the presence of time as something being done to you, instead of something you do things with, alters the mind at every moment. For American prisoners, huge numbers of whom are serving sentences much longer than those given for similar crimes anywhere else in the civilized world—Texas alone has sentenced more than four hundred teen-agers to life imprisonment—time becomes in every sense this thing you serve.

For most privileged, professional people, the experience of confinement is a mere brush, encountered after a kid’s arrest, say. For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under “correctional supervision” in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States. […]

READ @ http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/01/30/120130crat_atlarge_gopnik#ixzz1kIcuz6Z9

———————————————————————–

* US MARINES KILLS WOMEN AND CHILDREN GETS 3 MONTHS — MARINE REACHES PLEA IN HADITHA MASSACRE

Source: CBS / AP

A Marine accused of killing unarmed Iraqi women and children pleaded guilty Monday to dereliction of duty in a deal that will mean a maximum of three months confinement and end the largest and longest-running criminal case against U.S. troops to emerge from the Iraq War.

Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich of Meriden, Conn., led the Marine squad in 2005 that killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha after a roadside bomb exploded near a Marine convoy, killing one Marine and wounding two others.

It was a stunning and muted end to a case once described as the Iraq War’s version of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

Watch Wuterich’s interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2007 http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=2582353n 

[…]

READ @ http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30339.htm

———————————————————————–

* U.S. MEDIA IRAQ REPORTING: SEE NO EVIL

By Dave Lindorff, This Can’t Be Happening

The Iraq war may be over, at least for US troops, but the cover-up of the atrocities committed there by American forces goes on, even in retrospectives about the war. A prime example is reporting on the destroyed city of Fallujah, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war took place.

On March 31, 2004, four armed mercenaries working for the firm then known as Blackwater (now Xe), were captured in Fallujah, Iraq’s third largest city and a hotbed of insurgent strength located in Anbar Province about 40 miles west of Baghdad. Reportedly killed in their vehicle, which was then torched, their charred bodies were strung up on a bridge over the Euphrates River.

Pictures and videos of Fallujah residents mocking the bodies, which, unlike the images of burned and mutilated Iraqi victims of American forces, were broadcast on American television and displayed on the front pages of American newspapers, created a wave of indignation and outrage in the U.S., and led the Bush/Cheney administration and the Pentagon to decide they needed to punish the city of over 300,000. […]

READhttp://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1019

———————————————————————–

* OBAMA TO USE PENSION FUNDS OF ORDINARY AMERICANS TO PAY FOR BANK MORTGAGE “SETTLEMENT”

By Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism

Obama’s latest housing market chicanery should come as no surprise. As we discuss below, he will use the State of the Union address to announce a mortgage “settlement” by Federal regulators, and at least some state attorneys general. It’s yet another gambit designed to generate a campaign talking point while making the underlying problem worse.

The president seems to labor under the misapprehension that crimes by members of the elite must be swept under the rug because prosecuting them would destablize the system. What he misses is that we are well past the point where coverups will work, and they may even blow up before the November elections. If nothing else, his settlement pact has a non-trivial Constitutional problem which the Republicans, if they are smart, will use to undermine the deal and discredit the Administration.

To add insult to injury, Obama is apparently going to present his belated Christmas present to the banking industry as a boon to ordinary citizens. He refused to appoint a real middle class advocate, Elizabeth Warren, to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but he’s not above stealing her talking points. […]

READ @ http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/01/obama-to-give-banks-mortgage-get-out-of-jail-almost-free-card-pressures-state-attorneys-generals-to-capitulate.html

———————————————————————–

* WORLD UPRISING — THE ANTIDOTE TO THE NEW WORLD ORDER (VIDEO)

Source: youtube

http://www.youtube.com/embed/F9T-hiAZakI

VIDEO @ http://www.youtube.com/embed/F9T-hiAZakI

Dec 242011
 

 

* A CHRISTMAS CLASSIC WITH AN OCCUPY TWIST: GOD BLESS US, EVERY 1 PERCENT

By Frank Lesser, Washington Post

Ebenezer Scrooge was alphabetizing unpaid mortgages on Christmas Eve when the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley appeared, moaning and rattling his chains. “Great, another protester,” Scrooge muttered, before shouting, “Cratchit!,” at which point his clerk burst through the door in riot gear and pepper-sprayed Marley in his ashen face.

“Sorry, Jacob,” Scrooge said as the ghost writhed upon the floor, “but I learned a few things after dealing with the urchins camping outside my office. Incidentally, you can’t stay on the floor — I need to keep it clear so it can be cleaned. Cratchit?”

Cratchit splashed a bucket of grayish water on the ghost, and Marley melted away into the floorboards.

“You owe me one, Bob,” Scrooge said to his impoverished clerk. “Even though it seemed like he was coming after me, he was really coming to raise your taxes.”

Marley’s ghost reappeared an hour later with an ice pack over his eyes. He locked the door this time, then turned his infernal aspect upon Scrooge and said in a grave voice, “Ebenezer Scrooge, tonight you will be visited by three ghosts.”

Scrooge frowned. “Three ghosts? What exactly are you protesting — my past, my present, or my future? Your message is confusing.”

Marley tried again. “I am here tonight to warn you that you have yet a chance to escape my fate.”

“What’s so awful about your fate? You’re dead, so by my calculations you don’t even pay income tax, you freeloading corpse.”

“I pay sales tax on chain polish,” Marley said quietly, and he held up a few shiny links as evidence.

“Hah, yum-hug!” exclaimed Scrooge. Noticing Marley’s puzzled expression, he added, “I had my exclamations focus-grouped by a political consultant, and ‘Bah, humbug’ doesn’t test well with peddlers.”

Marley gritted his teeth. “Perhaps this will convince you.” He set up another cry, clanked his chains and unwrapped the bandage round his head. His lower jaw dropped down upon his chest.

Scrooge recoiled in horror. “I suppose now you’ll expect me to pay for your health care.”

Marley disappeared to rethink his strategy.

By the time the ghost returned it was nearly dawn. “Ebenezer, I beg you!” he cried. “Have you no shred of compassion to spare for the less fortunate, or have you hoarded away your mercy alongside your wealth? Can you not see that while the poor have gotten poorer, you and your fellow misers have gotten richer?”

“I’m going to stop you there,” Scrooge said, casually leafing through a money-lending chart. “We don’t call ourselves misers anymore. We prefer the term ‘joy-creators.’ And what you and your fellow ghosts are asking for is a radical redistribution of Christmas spirit.”

On Christmas morning, Marley was too discouraged to materialize. He hailed a carriage from the graveyard to Scrooge’s office.

“So, how were the other ghosts’ visits?” Marley asked after making cautious small talk about the weather. “Did they show you how a paltry sacrifice on your part would make an immeasurable difference in the lives of the less fortunate?”

In response, Scrooge held up a copy of that day’s newspaper with the headline, “Ghost of XXX-mas: Spirit Arrested for Peeping.”

“I called the cops when I caught the Ghost of Christmas Present outside my nephew’s house,” he said. “He was crouching in the bushes beneath his window, spying on the cheer inside.”

“He was trying to show you that the wealth of a man is not measured by his bond portfolio, but by his bond with his fellow man!”

“Yum-hug! I suppose next you’ll tell me friendship is golden, but I checked with commodities speculators and they assure me it’s tin, at best.”

Marley started heading for the door.

“Cheer up, Marley, it wasn’t all for naught. When the Ghost of Christmas Future wasn’t looking, I asked one of the mourners at my funeral who won the World Series, and come October I’m hoping to make a killing.”

Marley didn’t reappear till New Year’s Eve. When he did, he found Scrooge alone in his office writing a generous check.

“I’m glad our message of charity warmed some small cobwebbed corner of your heart,” Marley said.

“Charity?” Scrooge said. “I have to get this donation to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform Foundation before the end of the year for the deduction to count.”

Marley slumped into an armchair and wept. Scrooge laid his hand on where Marley’s shoulder would have been. “I appreciate what you tried to do,” he said, “but times have changed. For instance, thanks to Tiny Tim’s sugary soft drink consumption, we now call him that only ironically. If you ghosts really wanted to influence someone’s opinion, you’d have bought your own newspaper like I did.”

He showed Marley that day’s paper, headlined, “Bedford Falls FAIL: George Bailey Gets Bailout From Socialist Townsfolk.” Marley continued his sobbing.

“Why don’t you get a job?” Scrooge challenged Marley. “It’ll take your mind off this whole income inequality thing, which if you ask me is just typical postmortem liberal guilt. Tell you what, I’ll hire you back at half your old salary. I’m going to be swamped next year collecting debts from all the paupers that those other ghosts showed me.”

Marley’s spirit’s spirit finally slackened. “I do miss the end-of-year bonuses,” he sighed. Scrooge handed him a W-4 form.

Frank Lesser is a writer for “The Colbert Report” and the author of “Sad Monsters: Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Inside.” […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-christmas-classic-with-an-occupy-twist-god-bless-us-every-1-percent/2011/12/20/gIQAJ8RQCP_print.html

———————————————————————–

* THE INTELLECTUAL COWARDICE OF BRADLEY MANNING’S CRITICS

By Glenn Greenwald, Salon

After imprisoning Private First Class Bradley Manning for eighteen months, the U.S. Army last week finally began the preliminary stage of his court-martial proceeding, and that initial process ended on Thursday. Manning faces over 30 charges; the most serious — “aiding the enemy” — carries a death sentence (though prosecutors are requesting “only” life in prison for the 24-year-old soldier). The technical purpose of this week’s hearing was to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant a full court-martial proceeding; the finding (that there is such evidence) is a virtual inevitability. Manning’s counsel, Lt. Col. David Coombs, spent the week challenging the Army’s evidence, suggesting that his client may have suffered “diminished capacity” by virtue of his gender struggles and emotional instability, and finally, forcefully arguing that the leaks were an act of political conscience and that the Army has severely “overcharged” Manning in an attempt to coerce incriminating statements against WikiLeaks (Kevin Gosztola and The Guardian were at the hearing and have recaps of what happened over the last week; my general view of Manning was set forth in an Op-Ed in The Guardian last week, and my specific view of the gender defense is here).

For the moment, I want to make one narrow point about Bradley Manning. I’ve made it before but it was really underscored for me by a debate I had on an Al Jazeera program Thursday night regarding Manning with Daniel Ellsberg and the neocon activist Cliff May, who vigorously defended the Obama administration’s treatment of Manning (the video of our segment is embedded below; it was preceded by a short interview of P.J. Crowley):

Ever since Manning was accused of being the source for the WikiLeaks disclosures, those condemning these leaks have sought to distinguish them from Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers. With virtual unanimity, Manning’s harshest critics have contended that while Ellsberg’s leak was justifiable and noble, Manning’s alleged leaks were not; that’s because, they claim, Ellsberg’s leak was narrowly focused and devoted to exposing specific government lies, while Manning’s was indiscriminate and a far more serious breach of secrecy. When President Obama declared Manning guilty, he made the same claim: “No it wasn’t the same thing. Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified in the same way.”

One problem for those wishing to make this claim is that Ellsberg himself has been one of Manning’s most vocal defenders, repeatedly insisting that the two leaks are largely indistinguishable. But the bigger problem for this claim is how blatantly irrational it is. As Ellsberg clearly details in this Al Jazeera debate, he — Ellsberg — dumped 7,000 pages of Top Secret documents: the highest known level of classification; by contrast, not a single page of what Manning is alleged to have leaked was Top Secret, but rather all bore a much lower-level secrecy designation. In that sense, Obama was right: “Ellsberg’s material wasn’t classified in the same way” — the secrets Ellsberg leaked were classified as being far more sensitive. […]

READ @ http://www.salon.com/2011/12/24/the_intellectual_cowardice_of_bradley_mannings_critics/singleton/

———————————————————————–

* TORTURED

By Kathryn Sikkink, UTNE Reader

Illustration: Zina Saunders @ www.zinasaunders.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I first began to learn about the human rights violations of the George W. Bush administration after 9/11: I still recall an email from an Argentine colleague asking me whether they were starting to “disappear” people in the United States. At the time, I thought she was referring to Middle Easterners residing in the United States who were being detained for long periods without charges in the period after 9/11. I wrote back to say that although this was indeed arbitrary detention without trial, these people were not disappeared. We now know that I was wrong.

By 2002 the CIA was indeed taking detainees to “black sites,” secret detention centers where they were tortured and interrogated. American officials were denying that they knew the whereabouts of these detainees, and they did not allow the International Red Cross to visit them. This fits the technical definition of disappearance. U.N. experts have clarified that international law completely prohibits such secret detention.

By the spring of 2004, after the photos of torture and degrading treatment of inmates in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq appeared, and the report of U.S. General Antonio Taguba, who investigated the abuses, was leaked to the press, I walked into the last human rights class of the semester at the University of Minnesota and said to my students: “I have been teaching this class for over 10 years, and I have to stand up and say something today that I have not said before. We have clear proof that the United States government has engaged in torture and cruel and unusual punishment of detainees.” […]

READ @ http://www.utne.com/print-article.aspx?id=2147492021

———————————————————————–

* OBAMA AGAIN UNCONSTITUTIONALLY CLAIMS UNCONSTITUTIONAL POWERS IN A SIGNING STATEMENT

By David Swanson, War Is A Crime

As you know if you’ve been awake the past several years, Bush began the unconstitutional practice of rewriting laws with signing statements, there was a little scandal when people found out, candidate Obama promised not to do it, Obama did it, Obama declared it OK in an executive order, and now it’s all perfectly fine.

As you know if you give a damn about the future of this country, it isn’t really perfectly fine.  Here’s Obama’s latest.  This is from a signing statement on a spending bill, not the “Defense” Authorization Act which is yet to come (perhaps on Christmas just to rub it in):

“Section 113 of Division H requires the Secretary of Defense to notify the Appropriations Committees of both Houses of Congress 30 days in advance of “any proposed military exercise involving United States personnel” that is anticipated to involve expenditures of more than $100,000 on construction. Language in Division I, title I, under the headings International Organizations, Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities, disallows the expenditure of funds “for any United Nations peacekeeping mission that will involve United States Armed Forces under the command or operational control of a foreign national,” unless my military advisers have advised that such an involvement is in the national interest, and unless I have made the same recommendation to the Congress. In approving this bill, I reiterate the understanding, which I have communicated to the Congress, that I will apply these provisions in a manner consistent with my constitutional authority as Commander in Chief.

“Certain provisions in Division I, including sections 7013, 7025, 7029, 7033, 7043, 7046, 7049, 7059, 7062, and 7071, restrict or require particular diplomatic communications, negotiations, or interactions with foreign governments or international organizations. Others, including sections 7031, 7037, and 7086, hinder my ability to receive diplomatic representatives of foreign governments. Finally, section 7041 requires the disclosure to the Congress of information regarding ongoing diplomatic negotiations. I have advised the Congress that I will not treat these provisions as limiting my constitutional authorities in the area of foreign relations.

“Moreover, several provisions in this bill, including section 627 of Division C and section 512 of Division D, could prevent me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibilities, by denying me the assistance of senior advisers and by obstructing my supervision of executive branch officials in the execution of their statutory responsibilities. I have informed the Congress that I will interpret these provisions consistent with my constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

“Additional provisions in this bill, including section 8013 of Division A and section 218 of Division F, purport to restrict the use of funds to advance certain legislative positions. I have advised the Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility to recommend to the Congress’s consideration such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient.

“Numerous provisions of this bill purport to condition the authority of executive branch officials to spend or reallocate funds on the approval of congressional committees. These are constitutionally impermissible forms of congressional aggrandizement in the execution of the laws. Although my Administration will notify the relevant committees before taking the specified actions, and will accord the recommendations of such committees appropriate and serious consideration, our spending decisions shall not be treated as dependent on the approval of congressional committees. In particular, section 1302 of Division G conditions the authority of the Librarian of Congress to transfer funds between sections of the Library upon the approval of the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate. I have advised the Congress of my understanding that this provision does not apply to funds for the Copyright Office, which performs an executive function in administering the copyright laws.

“BARACK OBAMA”

I have bolded the Bush-speak lines that mean “Here are the parts of this law that I am signing into law rather than vetoing but fully intend not to comply with.”

I have both bolded and colored red a bit wherein our Constitutional scholar in chief dictates to the First Branch of our government how spending decisions will be made. […]

READ @ http://warisacrime.org/content/obama-again-unconstitutionally-claims-unconstitutional-war-powers-signing-statement

———————————————————————–

* A THIRD-RATE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY FOR A FAILING SUPER-POWER: THE CIA’s GLOBAL DEMISE

By Wayne Madsen, Strategic Culture Foundation

Based on its recent string of failures, most notably those that have occurred under America’s top general-turned-spymaster David Petraeus, the CIA has become a third-tier intelligence agency that is trying to prop around the world up a failing, financially bankrupt, and over-extended super-power the United States.

The CIA, started in 1947 with veterans of the war-time Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and military personnel, who were soon supplemented by economists and international relations graduates of America’s top Ivy League universities, is now attempting to promote itself as a “made-for-television” futuristic high-tech spy and covert warfare agency, operating intelligence-gathering and armed drones from over 60 bases around the world. All that is missing from the CIA’s over-inflated view of itself are the X-Men and Jason Bourne.

The record of the CIA speaks otherwise. The agency has become a bloated and ineffectual spy agency that is heavy on inflating intelligence reports while being responsible for major intelligence failures.

Recent major failures of the CIA in its drone operations in the Middle East and Africa have some congressional sources wondering what is afoot with the CIA.  Under Petraeus’s watch the CIA has experienced its worst foul ups since those that occurred when it failed to foresee the Iranian embassy hostage situation and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Petraeus’s first major failure, Lebanon, involved Hezbollah’s exposure of the CIA’s agent network in the country. The CIA station chief, Daniel Patrick McFeely, has been outed as the CIA station chief at the U.S. embassy in the Awkar neighborhood of Beirut. Not only was Hezbollah able to out McFeely, who operates as “official cover” as part of the embassy staff, but they identified his predecessor, Louis Kahi.

By conducting surveillance of meetings at Pizza Huts and Starbucks in Lebanon between CIA case officers and agents, Hezbollah — and their Iranian allies — were able to construct the CIA’s network that included over 1000 top Lebanese politicians, academics, medical doctors, journalists, military personnel, and celebrities. Essentially, the CIA’s network in Lebanon has been largely rolled up. According to Al Manar television, the code names of the agents, names like Nick, Jim, Youssef, Liza and Jonah, were also exposed.

The U.S. corporate media has refrained from publishing the names of the CIA station chiefs or the cover names of their Lebanese agents. In more and more cases, the U.S. media has run from its duty to report all the facts about intelligence-related matters, succumbing to either appeals or threats from spy agencies that they should not write about intelligence-related matters because of some nebulous and non-provable “threat” to national security.

Almost simultaneous to the Lebanon roll up, Iran announced it discovered a network composed of at least 42 CIA agents operating within its territory, operatives that worked in nuclear and other scientific centers, the military, biotechnology, and various universities. Iran’s chief prosecutor has already indicted fifteen of the 42 for espionage on behalf of the CIA.

On November 26, a U.S. air strike killed 24 Pakistani military personnel on the Pakistani border with Afghanistan. The incident, which frayed already poor relations between the United States and Pakistan, resulted in the U.S. being expelled from the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan, one from which CIA drones were launched, with few successes and many failures, against “terror” targets in Pakistan’s volatile mountainous frontier region bordering Afghanistan.

The debacle that resulted in the loss of the Shamsi drone base was followed by the biggest intelligence failure to date, the downing by accident or hostile action, including through possible electronic warfare “spoofing,” of an RQ-170 Sentinel stealth-enabled drone over Iran. President Barack Obama was under pressure to launch a commando raid on Iran to retrieve the state-of-the art technology drone or bomb it and its security detail once it was discovered to be in Iranian hands. Obama chose to ask the Iranian to return the drone to the United States, something Tehran has refused to do, without, at the very least, an official apology.

Obama had on his hands a “Jimmy Carter moment” and his Republican opponents eagerly jumped on him for not sending in a commando team to retrieve the drone or order air strikes to destroy it. Obama left himself open to charges that he is a weak and ineffectual president because he allowed the RQ-170 to fall into the hands of not only the Iranians, but, as the rhetoric from his political enemies has alleged, the Russians and Chinese, as well. The right-wing claims that Russia or China, or both, will attempt to re-engineer the CIA’s expensive toy, what is known as the mysterious “Beast of Kandahar,” in order to leap frog the United States in stealth drone technology by years. […]

READ @ http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2011/12/21/a-third-rate-intelligence-agency-a-failing-power-cia-global-demise.html

———————————————————————–

* HOW DID THIS WEEDKILLER END UP IN OUR WATER, AIR, RAIN AND FOOD?

By Sayer Ji, OpEdNews

Monsanto’s Herbicide May Be Contaminating The World’s Drinking Water

In a groundbreaking study published in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry last month, glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide “Roundup,” is flowing freely into the groundwater in areas where it is being applied. The researchers found that 41% of the 140 groundwater samples taken from Catalonia Spain, had levels beyond the limit of quantification — indicating that, despite manufacturer’s claims, it does not break down rapidly in the environment, and is accumulating there in concerning quantities.

Why Is Groundwater Contamination An Important Finding?

Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface, that supplies aquifers, wells and springs.  If a chemical like glyphosate is mobile enough to get into the groundwater and is intrinsically resistant to being biodegraded (after all, it is being used to kill/degrade living things — not the other way around), significant environmental exposures to humans using the water are inevitable. After all, according to the USGS, 88,000 tons were used in the US in 2007 alone.

Keep in mind that glyphosate is considered by the EPA as a Class III toxic substance, fatal to an adult at 30 grams, and has been linked to over 20 adverse health effects in the peer-reviewed, biomedical literature.

This groundwater contamination study adds to another highly concerning finding from March, published in the journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, where researchers found the chemical in 60-100% of all air and rain samples tested, indicating that glyphosate pollution and exposure is now omnipresent in the US. When simply breathing makes you susceptible to glyphosate exposure, we know we are dealing with a problem of unprecedented scale.

Who Is Responsible For The Groundwater Contamination? 

Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation, presently dominating the global genetically engineered seed market, with 90% market share in the US alone. It is also the world’s largest producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as “Roundup,” among other brand names.  If you are eating corn and soy, or any of their ten thousand plus byproducts — and it does not have a USDA organic logo — you are getting the Monsanto “double whammy”: the health effects that follow the consumption of GM food (because we are — literally — what we eat), and ceaseless chemical exposure to glyphosate, as all Monsanto-engineered plants have been designed to be glyphosate-resistant, and therefore are saturated with it.

Is Monsanto’s Herbicide A New Agent Orange?

Roundup is not Monsanto’s first entry into the systemic herbicide market. Monsanto admits it manufactured the herbicide/defoliant Agent Orange from 1965 to 1969, which Vietnam estimated killed and maimed 400,000 people and resulted in the 500,000 children being born with birth defects.

The true devastation caused by Agent Orange was covered up for many years. We may find that Monsanto’s Roundup, and its primary active ingredient glyphosate, may be causing a similar degree of devastation to both environmental and human health under the lidless, though not very watchful eye (as far as business interests are concerned), of our regulatory agencies.

Indeed, glyphosate is a powerful endocrine disrupter. Exceedingly small amounts are capable of mimicking and/or disrupting hormonal pathways, cell receptor sites and signaling. Research culled from The National Library of Medicine links it to 17 adverse pharmacological actions, including carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, neurotoxicty, hepatoxicity, and nephrotoxicity.

But what is most disturbing, and which may make its comparison to Agent Orange all the more appropriate, is its potential teratrogenicity, i.e. ability to cause fetal malformations.

A 2003 study of pregnant, glyphosate/Roundup-exposed rats indicated the formulation exhibited significant tetragenicity. The researchers commented: “We may conclude that glyphosate-Roundup is toxic to the dams and induces developmental retardation of the fetal skeleton.”

A study published in 2004 revealed that glyphosate exhibits endocrine-disruptive and embryotoxic effects. Researchers found the chemical alters the expression of the enzyme aromatase in both fetal and placental cells and tissue — changes which indicate it may contribute to birth defects and abnormal fetal development.

Another study published in 2009 showed that glyphosate formulations induce cell death and necrosis in human umbilicial, embryonic and placental cells.

Now that glyphosate has been found in the majority of air and rain samples tested in the US, and is now likely contaminating our wells, springs and aquifers, exposure is not only likely, its inevitable — the difference being only a matter of degree. […]

READ @ http://www.opednews.com/populum/printer_friendly.php?content=a&id=143184

———————————————————————–

* ANNOUNCEMENT OF “COLD SHUTDOWN” OF FUKUSHIMA REACTORS IS BASED ON A POLITICAL DECISION, NOT SCIENCE

By Washington’s Blog

If The Reactors Are “Cold”, It May Be Because Most of the Hot Radioactive Fuel Has Leaked Out

The Japanese Government and Tepco say that they have achieved a “cold shutdown” of Fukushima nuclear reactors. Specifically, they claim that the water inside the reactors is now below the boiling point.

In reality, no one knows what’s really going on inside the reactors.

A representative of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it doesn’t know what’s going on inside the reactors (video at link).

NHK reports:

  • At Reactor No. 1 they believe most of the molten fuel has fallen from the pressure vessel to the bottom of the containment vessel where there is no thermometer
  • The amount of water has not been measured accurately with a water gauge and has only been guessed at
  • Tepco has installed systems to test for new “criticalities” – i.e. new nuclear reactions – in Reactors No. 1 and 2, but hasn’t done so in No. 3 – so no one can even tell if there are ongoing reactions in No. 3

By way of background, the New York Times noted on November 30th:

“This is still an overly optimistic simulation,” said Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor of physics at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, who has been a vocal critic of Tepco’s lack of disclosure of details of the disaster. Tepco would very much like to say that the outermost containment is not completely compromised and that the meltdown stopped before the outer steel barrier, he said, “but even by their own simulation, it’s very borderline.”

“I have always argued that the containment is broken, and that there is the danger of a wider radiation leak,” Mr. Koide said. “In reality, it’s impossible to look inside the reactor, and most measurement instruments have been knocked out. So nobody really knows how bad it is.”

***

Tepco now assumes that “100 percent of the fuel at Unit 1 has slumped” into the outer primary containment vessel.

In addition, the simulation suggests that the fuel bored more than two feet into the concrete, Mr. Matsumoto said. […]

READ @ http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/12/announcement-of-cold-shutdown-of-fukushima-reactors-is-based-on-a-political-decision-rather-than-science.html