Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Sunday, 14 February 2010
911 truth - anti war - Terror - and the Cheney Rumsfeld COG factor
Now Playing: Google "COG Cheney Rumsfeld"
Topic: 911 TRUTH
Peter Dale Scott: 9/11, Deep Events, and the Curtailment of U.S. Freedoms
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Peter Dale Scott
Submitted by simuvac
on Mon, 02/01/2010 - 11:14am.
9/11, Deep Events, and the Curtailment of U.S. Freedoms
A talk delivered to the New England Antiwar Conference, MIT, January 30, 2010.
By Prof Peter Dale Scott
Global Research, January 31, 2010
I’m honored to be invited to this important anti-war conference. As I am in the final stages of editing my next book, The Road to Afghanistan, I have been turning down invitations to speak. But I was eager to accept this one, and to join my friends and others in debunking the war on terror, the false justification for the Afghan-Pakistan war.
Let me make my own position clear at the outset. There are indeed people out there, including some Muslim extremists, who want to inflict terror on America. But it is crystal clear, as many people inside and outside government have agreed, that it makes this problem worse, not better, when Washington sends large numbers of U.S. troops to yet another country where they don ‘t belong.
A war on terror is as inappropriate a cure as a U.S. war on drugs, which as we have seen in Colombia makes the drug problem worse, not better. The war on terror and the war on drugs have this in common: both are ideological attempts to justify the needless killings of thousands – including both American troops and foreign civilians -- in another needless war.
Why does America find itself, time after time, invading countries in distant oil-bearing regions, countries which have not invaded us? This is a vital issue on which we should seek a clear message for the American people. Unfortunately it has been an issue on which there has been serious disagreement dividing the antiwar movement, just as it divided people, even friends, inside the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s.
Perhaps many of you in this room know that there was disagreement between Noam Chomsky and myself in our analysis of how America entered the Vietnam War. This did not stop Noam and I from speaking out on the same platform against the war, or remaining friends, even after our public disagreements. There was too much on which we agreed.
Let me turn to today’s topic, the war on terror, by reading a long quote from Noam Chomsky in 2002, with which I fully agree:
"the war on terrorism was not declared on September 11 ; rather, it was redeclared, using the same rhetoric as the first declaration twenty years earlier. The Reagan administration, as you know, I'm sure, came into office announcing that a war on terrorism would be the core of U.S. foreign policy, and it condemned what the president called the "evil scourge of terrorism. " …. International terrorism was described as a plague spread by "depraved opponents of civilization itself," in "a return to barbarism in the modern age.”"
Today it is easy to see the falsehood of the government rhetoric in the 1980s about heroic freedom fighters fighting the “evil scourge of terrorism.” Most of the CIA money in the 1980s went to the terrorist drug trafficker Gulbeddin Hekmatyar, remembered for his habit of throwing acid in the faces of women not wearing burkas. Hekmatyar did not represent Afghan aspirations for freedom, but the interests of the U.S. ally Pakistan. As a true Afghan leader said in 1994, “We didn't choose [him]. The United States made Hekmatyar by giving him his weapons.” To describe Hekmatyar’s men as freedom fighters was a fraud.
Chomsky had no trouble perceiving as a “fraud” the Tonkin Gulf incidents that led the U.S. to attack North Vietnam, and the resulting Congressional resolution that had already been drafted some months in advance. But he is not interested in the close analogies between the Tonkin Gulf incidents of 1964 and the 9/11 incidents of 2001, which were almost immediately followed by the Patriot Act, likewise already drafted well in advance. Chomsky argues that the 9/11 movement has drawn “enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism.” But the strong analogies between the Tonkin Gulf deception and the 9/11 deception have energized and activated me, and not me alone.
It is clear that exposure of McNamara’s deceptions about the Tonkin Gulf incidents, especially in the Fulbright hearing of 1968, was an important factor in slowly changing Congress’s mind about Vietnam. It is my earnest hope that exposure of Cheney’s deceptions about 9/11, and particularly about what he did that day, will someday help end Congressional funding for the Afghan War.
I do not know the truth of what happened on 9/11. I do know for a certainty that there has been a cover-up of 9/11; and also, what the 9/11 Commission itself admits, that there has been high-level governmental lying about what happened, and what didn’t happen, on that day. It became clear to me early on that 9/11 was another in a string of what I have called “deep events” -- which I define in my forthcoming book as
events which are systematically ignored, suppressed, or falsified in public (and even internal) government, military and intelligence documents, as well as in the mainstream media and public consciousness. Underlying them is frequently the involvement of deep forces linked to either the drug traffic or to agencies of surveillance (or to both together), whose activities are extremely difficult to discern or document.
For Noam the falsification and lying are not particularly important: he prefers to focus on the continuous imperialist expansion of the United States into other parts of the world, and he hopes to persuade decent Americans to stop this expansion. For me in contrast deep events are of crucial importance, in part because their dishonesty provides us with a chance to counter ideology with truth. Each of us can say, rightly, that the method of the other has not yet stopped America from fighting wars. My appeal to you today is to accept that both approaches are needed in the antiwar movement.
I have been thinking about deep events for two decades, ever since I wrote a book about the Kennedy assassination with the title, Deep Politics. Since 9/11 I have been more and more convinced that
1)by studying deep events as a whole, we can see the underlying aspects of them more clearly.
2)however we analyze them, deep events have contributed collectively to the further erosion and corruption of American politics, which today are in the worst shape they have been since the McCarthyism era in the 1950s.
That is to say, even if you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president and did it alone, it is clear that the Warren Commission used it to increase CIA surveillance of Americans. As I wrote in Deep Politics, this was the result of
the Warren Commission's controversial recommendations that the Secret Service's domestic surveillance responsibilities be increased (WR 25-26). Somewhat illogically, the Warren Report concluded both that Oswald acted alone (WR 22), …, and also that the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, should coordinate more closely the surveillance of organized groups (WR 463). In particular, it recommended that the Secret Service acquire a computerized data bank compatible with that already developed by the CIA.
This pattern would repeat itself four years later, with the assassination of Robert Kennedy. How many of you are aware that, in the 24 hours between Bobby’s shooting and his death, Congress hurriedly passed a statute – again drafted well in advance – that still further augmented the secret powers given to the Secret Service? Don’t think that this was a trivial or benign change: from this ill-considered act, passed under Johnson, flowed some of the worst excesses of the Nixon presidency.
In the chaos and violence at the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968, army intelligence surveillance agents, seconded to the Secret Service, were present, both inside and outside the convention hall. Some of them equipped the so-called “Legion of Justice thugs whom the Chicago Red Squad turned loose on local anti-war groups.” The presence of army intelligence agents at the convention was authorized by the statute passed while Bobby Kennedy was dying.
This brings us to 9/11. On that day, before the last plane had crashed in Pennsylvania, the White House authorized the institution of so-called COG plans. There is no doubt that COG was introduced – The 9/11 Report confirms it twice, on pages 38 and 326. And I have little doubt that the COG plans, still in force today under President Obama, are the justification for the surveillance agents who are with you in the room as I speak to you at this moment. I have written that they are also the probable source for the Patriot Act, and also for the Department of Homeland Security’s Project Endgame -- a ten-year plan to expand detention camps, at a cost of $400 million in Fiscal Year 2007 alone. The worst features of the Bush decade were apparently all sketched out in COG planning – warrantless surveillance, warrantless detention, even suspension of our constitutional right of habeas corpus, first granted by Magna Carta in 1215.
I can’t see you, but I’m going to ask you to raise your hands if you haven’t heard about COG. If you haven’t, please google for Cheney and COG when you get home (2.5 million hits), and perhaps even add “peter dale scott” to the search (9,470 hits).
You will find that officially “COG” stands for “Continuity of Government” planning. I always say that we should think of it as “Change of Government” planning, since it was well summarized 22 years ago by Alphonso Chardy in the Miami Herald as plans for “suspension of the Constitution…emergency appointment of military commanders…and declaration of martial law.”
Much is known about COG plans, and much more is not known. We know that the ultra-secret planning began in 1981 under Reagan and then Oliver North, and continued under George H.W. Bush and Clinton. Two of the key planners were Cheney and Rumsfeld, the two men who implemented it under 9/11, even though when Clinton was president both men, both Republicans, were heads of major corporations and not even in the government.
We learned that COG planning was still active in 2007, when President Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD 51), which extended for one year the emergency proclaimed on September 14, 2001, and empowered the President to personally ensure "continuity of government" in the event of any "catastrophic emergency." He announced that NSPD 51 contains "classified Continuity Annexes" which shall "be protected from unauthorized disclosure." Under pressure from his 911truth constituents, Congressman DeFazio of the Homeland Security Committee twice requested to see these Annexes, the second time in a letter signed by the Chair of his committee.
His request was denied, indicating that (as I wrote in Counterpunch)
the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution would seem to be failing… Continuity of Government planning has arguably already superseded the Constitution as a higher authority.
One of the post-Watergate reforms so detested by Vice-President Cheney was the National Emergencies Act. It requires specifically that “Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, …, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.”
Former Congressman Dan Hamburg and I appealed publicly last year to Obama to terminate the emergency, and to Congress to hold the hearings required of them by statute. But Obama, without discussion, extended the 9/11 Emergency again on September 10, 2009; and Congress has continued to ignore its statutory obligations. One Congressman explained to a constituent that the provisions of the National Emergencies Act have now been rendered inoperative by COG. If true, this would seem to justify Chardy’s description of COG as suspension of the Constitution.
I want to conclude by addressing those of you who may think that I exhibit the kind of conspiratorialist mentality once criticized by G. William Domhoff, the naïve belief “that if we get rid of a few bad people, everything will be well in the world.”
My own position is still that which I articulated two decades ago years ago in response to Domhoff:
I have always believed, and argued, that a true understanding of the Kennedy assassination will lead not to `a few bad people,’ but to the institutional and parapolitical [or deep political] arrangements which constitute the way we are systematically governed.
Michael Parenti has endorsed what I wrote, and added, “In sum, national security state conspiracies [or what I am here calling deep events] are components of our political structure, not deviations from it.”
Thanks to 9/11, followed by COG, we now have a military command in the United States (NORTHCOM), unprecedented surveillance of both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens, and plans for massive detention of folks like you and me, if our protests should begin to threaten the war machine.
I call on you all to devise how to outwit these forces that are distorting our society.
The beginning of an antiwar movement is the time when it is hardest to be hopeful of success. And if what I have been saying is relevant, it will be harder now than in the 1960s to get our message to the American people. . This makes especially relevant some inspiring words I would like to quote from the late Howard Zinn, who died last Wednesday:
To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacriï¬ce, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. …. The future is an inï¬nite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in deï¬ance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
 Cf. RAND Corporation, “How Terrorist Groups End: Implications for Countering al Qa'ida,” Research Brief, RB-9351-RC (2008), http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/index1.html: “Minimize the use of U.S. military force. In most operations against al Qa'ida, local military forces frequently have more legitimacy to operate and a better understanding of the operating environment than U.S. forces have. This means a light U.S. military footprint or none at all.”
 Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002), http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Chomsky/Journalist_Mars.html.
 New York Times, March 13, 1994. Robert D. Kaplan reported his personal experience that Hekmatyar was “loathed by all the other party leaders, fundamentalist and moderate alike” (Robert D. Kaplan, Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan [New York: Random House, 1990], 68-69).
 Noam Chomsky, For Reasons of State (New York: Vintage, 1973), 102; cf. 109.
 “Chomsky Dismisses 911 Conspiracy Theories As 'Dubious,’” Rense.com, December 13, 2006,
 Peter Dale Scott, The Road to Afghanistan: The War Machine, the CIA, and the Global Drug Connection (forthcoming)
 See for example Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (Ipswich, MA: Mary Ferrell Foundation Press, 2008), 341-96.
 Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 280.
 Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch, and Russell Stetler, The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (New York: Random House, 1976), 443-46.
 George O’Toole, The Private Sector (New York: Norton, 1978), 145; quoted in Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 278-79.
 Joan M. Jensen, Army Surveillance in America, 1775-1980 (New Haven: Yale UP), 244.
 9/11 Commission Report, 38, 326; Scott, Road to 9/11, 228-29.
 Scott, Road to 9/11, 238, 240-41.
 Chardy, Miami Herald, July 5, 1987; Scott, Road to 9/11, 241.
 Scott, Road to 9/11, 183-87.
 Peter Dale Scott, “Congress, the Bush Administration and Continuity of Giovernment Planning: The Showdown,” Counterpunch, March 31, 2008,
 50 U.S.C. 1622 (2002); Peter Dale Scott and Dan Hamburg, “Help Force Congress To Observe the Law on National Emergencies,” March 24, 2009,
 Peter Dale scott, "To All Readers: Help Force Congress To Observe the Law on National Emergencies!!!" (with Dan Hamburg), http.//www.truth.org, March 24, 2009,
 White House Press Release, September 10, 2009,
A press briefing by Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs the same day did not mention the extension.
 G. William Domhoff, in Jonathan Vankin, Conspiracies, Cover-Ups, and Crimes: Political Manipulation and Mind Control in America (New York: Paragon House, 1991), 125-26.
 Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, 11.
 Michael Parenti, Dirty Truths: Reflections on Politics, Media, Ideology, Conspiracy, Ethnic Life and Class Power (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1996), 188.
 Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times (Boston: Beacon, 2002), 208.
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Posted by Joe Anybody
at 9:13 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 14 February 2010 9:15 PM PST
One Month Later a report from Code Pink in Haiti
Now Playing: A real report from Haiti 2/14/10
One month and one day since the quake, here is an update from our Code Pink Portland sister, K.*from the trenches in Haiti. It's good to get real info, not just what we see on the TV or hear on the radio.
posted here on 2/14/10
---------- Forwarded message 2.14.10 ----------
This is a letter I wrote to a friend . It tells lot about our camp and thought others might be interested and since my typing skills are limited and so is my time
I thought I would share it with my email list as I can't write to everyone personally . I do love hearing from you .It recharges my batteries Peace K.*(M.*)
Hi J.* thanks for your reply.
Amazing as it may seem most all the ideas that you expressed in your letter are currently being implemented in our camp The core group of people that worked at the school and many OF THE MOTHERS OF THE CHILDREN THAT ATTENDED THE SCHOOL (THEY THEMSELVES also attended classes here at Petit Troll in parenting basic education and computers.
These are our core group and everyone no matter how young has a job in our camp We started having school the day after I arrived (day 5 after the Quake) and the teachers from the school come here every day and there are classes for at least 3 hours a day.
The men do the heavy jobs like building shelters and the women the cooking and cleaning MANY OF THE YOUNG MEN 16 TO LATE 20S DO SECURITY TAKING TURNS. 4 GUARDS ALL THE TIME AT NIGHT IN TWO HOUR SHIFTS
Some take care that the water system is working properly. The young girls 10 to 16 help look after the younger ones and keep the little ones on task picking up litter and getting to younger children( boys especially) to the shower.
The boys are given jobs helping the men . we have activities for the kids art library soccer and have movies at night about 3 times a week shown on a projector (they are mostly in Creole and a few in french so I don,t watch them (that is usually my down time for computer ,if it is working). We use the big metal entrance gate to the school as a "screen" for the movies.
The French Red Cross who visit our camp daily say that ours is he best in the city. Of course we are small We have around 350 in our camp .We feed many others and supply water to the neighbors and are a lifeline for another 47 families (around 250 people) at another location
The help for the big aid agencies is very hard to come by and if we had to depend on it we would all starve , The total amount of food that we have received from them is 1500 lbs of rice .
Divide that by 800 (that is how many we are feeding and you have approximately one point 9 pounds of rice per person . Then divide that by 31 days ( that is how many days since the Quake ) and you come out with 1 ounce of rice per person.a day .
I thank God for the generous people that support our work here that has allowed us to help these families
Peace and Love K. (M.)
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 2:28 PM PST
Saturday, 13 February 2010
Prepare - Share - Skills - Survive
Now Playing: Save Our Skills
Hello Z3 Readers the following items are just to get you interested in some good infromation coming from the Save Our Skills folks
A Simple and Easy to Build Rabbit Hutch
So after several versions, I believe this is the best model that will work for my broods’ needs now. It is quick to build (approximately 3hrs) and the rabbits love the pasture, not to mention having a built-in den. I am going to read the handholds from v2.0 as that makes rotating them around the field much easier for a single person to do, especially now that v 2.1 is 8ft long rather than 6ft. I am also going to see about adding a layer of something to keep out drafts in the thick of winter since we used the galvanized steel roofing for the den segment.
Small Generators Provide Big Power
I picked up this small 1100 watt generator last summer for $40 off of craigslist. It didn’t run when I got it, the guy had probably used the wrong oil/gas ratio or just had old gas in it. I cleaned it up and made it a workable generator.
The video is a small review of the generator and how I hooked it up to my natural gas furnace to power it up during power outages. Many people say they are not powerful enough for this but I show you how to check that out. I have also used it for keeping our chest freezer cold as well, It’s small and only draws about 4 amps @ 120V and the inrush amperage is only 8 amps so the mini generator works just fine powering it up.
Read the Rest of This Article
By John McCann
Emergency Supplies in Tight Places
Our primary pantry is in our cellar which is fairly large. This is where the majority of our food is stored (including water and wine). This would include lots of various macaroni (which my wife, Denise, and I both love), canned food, freeze dried food, and five gal. buckets with Gamma seal lids. These buckets contain things like rice, flour, salt, sugar, and various other things.
However, being in the far corner of the cellar, our primary pantry is a ways from the kitchen. We have a cellar staircase just off the kitchen which is against an outside wall. We used this area to store some emergency supplies, 1st aid supplies, etc. But there weren’t really any shelves and it wasn’t organized (which I’m never happy about). I kept looking at this area and decided I could build a shelving unit at the angle of the stairs, and still have room for plenty of supplies.
Read the Rest of this Article
This is a cool Website
Their URL is:
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 1:04 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 13 February 2010 1:07 PM PST
War is a Racket by Smedley Butler
Now Playing: An excellent free book on the Internet - written by Major General Butler
( PDF | ASCII text formats )
CHAPTER ONE (Sample)
War Is A Racket
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few -- the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket....... (read more)
|War Is A Racket |
|By Major General Smedley Butler |
Smedley Darlington Butler
- Born: West Chester, Pa., July 30, 1881
- Educated: Haverford School
- Married: Ethel C. Peters, of Philadelphia, June 30, 1905
- Awarded two congressional medals of honor:
- capture of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 1914
- capture of Ft. Riviere, Haiti, 1917
- Distinguished service medal, 1919
- Major General - United States Marine Corps
- Retired Oct. 1, 1931
- On leave of absence to act as
director of Dept. of Safety, Philadelphia, 1932
- Lecturer -- 1930's
- Republican Candidate for Senate, 1932
- Died at Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, June 21, 1940
- For more information about Major General Butler,
contact the United States Marine Corps.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:38 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:43 PM PST
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Robotic Wars on the Battlefield
Now Playing: ROBOT WARS
Can battlefield robots take the place of soldiers?
By Chris Bowlby
Robo Wars, BBC Radio 4
Can battlefield land-robots be made to obey the rules of war?
Can war be fought by lots of well-behaved machines, making it "safer for humans"? That is the seductive vision, and hope, of those manufacturing and researching the future of military robotics.
With 8,000 robots already in use, they believe they can bring about a military revolution.
Most of the robots currently deployed on land deal with non-combat tasks such as bomb disposal - unlike lethal aerial drones.
But Bob Quinn, who works for the US subsidiary of the British robot manufacturer QinetiQ, says the future promises more armed robots on the battlefield, including driverless vehicles.
"The closer you are to being shot, the more you understand the value of having a remote weapons capability," he says.
LISTEN TO THE PROGRAMME
is on Radio 4 on Monday 8 February at 2000 GMT
Anyone who has seen the Terminator films may find this vision scary. Quinn admits that, even among senior military figures, "science fiction movies caused a great deal of angst".
He stresses the need to make sure "that the weaponised robots only operate under the control of the soldier and never independently".
But the speed of modern warfare can make direct human control difficult, says Peter Singer, author of Wired for War.
Take the automated counter-artillery system deployed in Afghanistan.
"The human reaction time when there's an incoming canon shell is basically we can get to mid-curse word… [This] system reacts and shoots it down in mid-air. We are in the loop. We can turn the system off, we can turn it on, but our power really isn't true decision-making power. It's veto power now," Singer says.
But if automated systems are taking decisions, how can we be sure they are hitting the right targets and obeying the laws of war?
US academic Patrick Lin was recently commissioned by the US military to study robot ethics.
QinetiQ's Talon robots are used to counter improvised explosive devices
"When you talk about autonomous robots," he argues, "a natural response might be to programme them to be ethical. Isn't that what we do with our computers?"
A striking example of a robot in need of careful programming is a driverless vehicle developed by the Pentagon, called the EATR.
It can refuel itself on long journeys by scavenging for organic material - which raises the haunting spectre of a machine consuming corpses on the battlefield.
Its inventor, Dr Robert Finkelstein of Robotic Technology Inc, insists it will consume "organic material but mostly vegetarian."
"The robot can only do what it's programmed to do, it has a menu," he adds.
But all this worries sceptics like Professor Noel Sharkey, co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control.
"You could train it all you want, give it all the ethical rules in the world. If the input to it isn't correct, it's no good whatsoever," he says. "Humans can be held accountable, machines can't."
If you cannot rely on a robot knowing what to target or distinguishing between enemy forces and innocent non-combatants, Patrick Lin suggests another solution.
"If there's an area of fighting that's so intense that you can assume that anyone there is a combatant," he argues, "then unleash the robots in that kind of scenario. Some people call that a kill box. Any target [in a kill box] is assumed to be a legitimate target."
Other researchers suggest robots may avoid the faults of human soldiers.
"Robots that are programmed properly are less likely to make errors and kill non-combatants, innocent people, because they're not emotional, they won't be afraid, act irresponsibly in some situations," says Robert Finkelstein.
But Christopher Coker of the London School of Economics, an observer of wars past and present, disagrees.
"We should put our trust in the human factor," he says.
"Unfortunately the military in their reports often see the human factor as what they call the weakest link. I don't think it's the weakest link. I think it's the strongest link."
Computers will never be able to simulate the "warrior ethos", the mindset and ethical outlook of the professional soldier, he says.
The military revolution in robotics has already advanced rapidly in the air, where remotely piloted drone aircraft are now central to conflicts such as Afghanistan.
On the ground, use of robots has so far been more limited.
Yet given the political and popular concern about casualties among Nato forces, robot manufacturer Bob Quinn's sales pitch is likely to be persuasive.
"Let's keep our guys safe, and kill the enemy. Unfortunately, in warfare that's the situation you're in."
Robo Wars is on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 8 February at 2000 GMT. Or listen via the BBC iPlayer.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:10 PM PST
Updated: Friday, 19 February 2010 7:14 PM PST
Iraq shoe thrower 'was tortured'
Now Playing: Shoe Thrower in Iraq was Tortured!!!!
Iraq shoe thrower 'was tortured'
An Iraqi television reporter who threw a pair of shoes at President Bush has been released from jail, after serving nine months for the offence.
Muntader al-Zaidi has claimed he was tortured while in prison.
Andrew North reports from Baghdad.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 12:32 PM PST
Indymedia Reporter Detained in "No Mans Land" on his way to Vancouver Olympics
Now Playing: Homeland Security - Claim they "Own You" in the "No Mans Land"
Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS
Indymedia Reporter Detained in "No Mans Land" on his way to Vancouver Olympics - posted 2.10.10
|Another independent journalist was turned away at the US-Canada border Tuesday on his way to Vancouver to cover protests at the 2010 Olympic Games. John Weston Osburn, a long time indymedia activist, drove 2,000 miles from Salt Lake City to cover Games with the Vancouver Media Cooperative. He was interrogated and denied entry into Canada, making him the second US journalist to be denied entry in the last four days. |
VMC: After he was turned around, he went back to the US and tried to re-enter Canada, this time at the truck crossing, where he was again denied entry due to past convictions for misdemeanors. This time, he flipped on his video camera to record the experience. Stopped by homeland security, Osburn was again interrogated about the Olympic protests. When he told homeland security that he wanted to speak to a lawyer,
OSBURN: They told me I didn't have that right, and I wasn't in US or in Canada, I was in no mans land, as the officer described it. I asked again for my lawyer and he replied that he "owned me," he said "I own you," I was told to spread my legs and I was searched, then the put me in a holding cell, I was in the holding cell for about two hours, at one point I asked to use the bathroom, which they later allowed me to do but only, uh, they did so watching me.
VMC: In a disturbing pattern of recent interrogations of journalists coming to Vancouver, border guards seized Osburn's computer and notebooks.
OSBURN: Basically they ransacked my truck, they went through and they took my journals, my sketchbooks, my computer, my digital camera, they thumbed through that, I'm assuming they made copies but that I don't want to speculate on that, but they did definitely go through it. Then I was fingerprinted and I was photographed, when I asked if I had a choice of being fingerprinted and photographed I was told no, my tape of filming being turned away, they erased the tape.
VMC: Osburn says he was prepared to have to deal with some issues at the border, but he was surprised by his experience.
OSBURN: I was kind of expecting, I was expecting to get kind of shook down, but I wasn's expecting the type of just, the animosity and just the humiliation. Even though it was only two hours, it was a really unsettling experience, because they made me well aware that I had no rights, they made me well aware that I had no rights and there was no one there to protect me.
VMC: Though Osburn is the first to be interrogated by US homeland security, his experience shadows that of other independent journalists trying to enter Canada on the eve of the 2010 Olympics. Democracy Now! Host Amy Goodman was interrogated about the games in November.
Last Saturday, US journalist Martin Macias Jr was turned away at the border. At least two other independent journalists were subjected to lengthy interrogations at the US-Canada border on their way to Vancouver to cover resistance to the 2010 Games.
on Media Intimidation by Homeland Security in links below
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 6:23 AM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 February 2010 9:31 AM PST
Monday, 8 February 2010
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui update
Now Playing: Is Dr. Siddiqui a dangerous terrorist?
Author: Debra Sweet
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in Afghan custody July 17, 2008
The U.S. government’s case against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani who holds an advanced degree from MIT in neuroscience, will go to the jury Monday in federal court here in New York City. I’ve been in the courtroom, and several times in the overflow room with dozens of supporters and reporters.
Even when we are only watching the trial through cameras in the overflow rooms, we are forced to give ID to enter, all to bolster the impression that Dr. Siddiqui is a dangerous terrorist, and that we are dangerous for caring what happens to her. Everyone entering the courthouse goes through airport style security screening, but to go into her trial, one must be searched again.
Petra Bartosiewicz wrote for Time magazine in A Pakistani on Trial – With No Pakistani Reporters:
Although Siddiqui is not charged with any terrorism-related crime,security concerns are paramount though the procedures seem to be unevenly enforced. During the lunch break on the first day of the Siddiqui trial a group of Muslim men praying in the waiting areas outside the courtroom were afterwards asked to leave the floor. That prevented them from securing a place in line for the afternoon session. Several Muslim women in hijabs were also given similar instructions, but others in the same area, dressed in business attire, including this reporter, were permitted to stay. On the second day of the trial metal detectors were posted outside the courtroom and individuals were asked for photo identification and their names and addresses were logged by court security officers. At the close of proceedings on Thursday defense attorney Charles Swift protested the practice. “The suggestion is that the gallery may be a threat,” said Swift, calling the measure “highly prejudicial.”
Judge for yourself whether the New York Daily News, which calls Siddiqui “Lady al Queda” (absent any evidence produced at trial), or The Washington Post which headlines “Government: Let al-Qaida-linked scientist testify” is part of the prosecutor’s team.
Petra, who is writing a book on US terrorist prosecutions, has been in the trial every day, blogging and linked at CagePrisoners.com. Her article in November 2009 Harper’s The intelligence factory: How America makes its enemies disappear is a deeply researched piece going behind the US government’s public case against Siddiqui, and, more broadly, the existence of a network of secret detentions and prisons the US operates. On Aafia Siddiqui:
When I first read the U.S. government’s complaint against Aafia Siddiqui, who is awaiting trial in a Brooklyn detention center on charges of attempting to murder a group of U.S. Army officers and FBI agents in Afghanistan, the case it described was so impossibly convoluted—and yet so absurdly incriminating—that I simply assumed she was innocent. According to the complaint, on the evening of July 17, 2008, several local policemen discovered Siddiqui and a young boy loitering about a public square in Ghazni. She was carrying instructions for creating “weapons involving biological material,” descriptions of U.S. “military assets,” and numerous unnamed “chemical substances in gel and liquid form that were sealed in bottles and glass jars.” Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist who lived in the United States for eleven years, had vanished from her hometown in Pakistan in 2003, along with all three of her children, two of whom were U.S. citizens.
The complaint does not address where she was those five years or why she suddenly decided to emerge into a public square outside Pakistan and far from the United States, nor does it address why she would do so in the company of her American son. Various reports had her married to a high-level Al Qaeda operative, running diamonds out of Liberia for Osama bin Laden, and abetting the entry of terrorists into the United States. But those reports were countered by rumors that Siddiqui actually had spent the previous five years in the maw of the U.S. intelligence system—that she was a ghost prisoner, kidnapped by Pakistani spies, held in secret detention at a U.S. military prison, interrogated until she could provide no further intelligence, then spat back into the world in the manner most likely to render her story implausible. These dueling narratives of terrorist intrigue and imperial overreach were only further confounded when Siddiqui finally appeared before a judge in a Manhattan courtroom on August 5. Now, two weeks after her capture, she was bandaged and doubled over in a wheelchair, barely able to speak, because—somehow—she had been shot in the stomach by one of the very soldiers she stands accused of attempting to murder.
Dr. Siddiqui, whose brother Mohammed and many supporters are following the trial closely, is not on trial for terrorism charges, but for, as the government puts it, what happened in the “3 minutes” inside the Afghani police building on July 18, 2008. She denied, on cross examination last week, picking up a gun, or shooting it.
From what I can observe, and have read, Dr. Siddiqui is deeply traumatized and has reason to be distrustful of the courts, the military, the FBI, who questioned her without introduction while she was in hospital recovering from the gunshot wounds. She said, several times in court — and was removed for breaking the rule because she did so — that she was held in a secret prison, and her children were disappeared, and that she was tortured.
I saw reporters snicker at that. Isn’t that a delusional idea, that a Pakistani could be held in a secret prison? Remember George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well: “We do not torture.” She must be crazy, and guilty, to assert such a thing.
Then comes this piece by Anand Gopal, reporting for The Nation this week, Obama’s Secret Prisons:
Sometime in the last few years, Pashtun villagers in Afghanistan’s rugged heartland began to lose faith in the American project. Many of them can point to the precise moment of this transformation, and it usually took place in the dead of the night, when most of the country was fast asleep. In the secretive U.S. detentions process, suspects are usually nabbed in the darkness and then sent to one of a number of detention areas on military bases, often on the slightest suspicion and without the knowledge of their families.
This process has become even more feared and hated in Afghanistan than coalition airstrikes. The night raids and detentions, little known or understood outside of these Pashtun villages, are slowly turning Afghans against the very forces they greeted as liberators just a few years ago.
Andy Worthington reports on a new report from the United Nations, UN Secret Detention Report Asks, “Where Are the CIA Ghost Prisoners?”
“While the report spreads its net wide, the US administration’s response to its findings about the Bush administration’s legacy of “disappeared” prisoners, and its focus on the gray areas of Obama’s current policies, is particularly anticipated. So far, however, there has been silence from US officials, and only the British, moaning about “unsubstantiated and irresponsible” claims, have so far dared to challenge their well-chronicled complicity in the secret detention policies underpinning the whole of the war on terror, which do not appear to have been thoroughly banished, one year after Barack Obama took office.”
How delusional are Dr. Siddiqui’s claims that she was tortured in a secret prison?
Dr. Siddiqui was found, disoriented, in Grazni Afghanistan, having disappeared from her home in Pakistan five years earlier. No one has said where she was. Pakistani human rights organizations, and some at the trial, have urged me to mention, and look into the disappearance of thousands of Pakistanis at the hands of the secret police, ISI, who are paid many millions by the US government to be part of the so-called “war on terror”.
These disappearances and deaths, this police state, are the responsibility of the US government, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, by funding, by political support and pressure to do the dirty work that amounts to the “war on terror” while the US chooses to say “we do not torture.”
But this is an administration which has dramatically the use of unmanned drones to target alleged “terrorists,” thereby killing hundreds of civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now Yemen and Somalia. A poll last year in Pakistan, by al Jazeera found only 9% of adults supporting the drone attacks, because of concerns that they are killing innocent civilians.
Sebastain Abbot in the Huffington Post:
“The U.S. government doesn’t even suggest what the proportion of innocent people to legitimate targets is,” said Michael Walzer, a renowned American scholar on the ethics of warfare. “It’s a moral mistake, but it’s a PR mistake as well.”
As part of this “war on terror”, the US prosecutors have produced no physical evidence that Dr. Siddiqui held or fired a gun on July 18, 2008. As Dr Siddiqui said, “I walked towards the curtain. I was shot and I was shot again. I fainted.”
I don’t expect justice for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui this week. Even if she were to be found not guilty on all charges — which the evidence supports — what will her future be? Where are her children? Will she get back the lost years and be able to tell her story?
And I don’t expect an end to the illegitimate “war OF terror” until people living in the United States reject the dangerous direction their government is taking, against the interests of humanity.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 5:32 PM PST
Updated: Monday, 8 February 2010 5:37 PM PST
Saturday, 6 February 2010
A 'how to' link that is helping people keep themselves private
Now Playing: snoop spy - information
This is a bit sinister: the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) has been dropping digital certificates into the computers of everyone in China, which could potentially allow them to snoop on your normally secure ‘https’ web-surfing, such as your online banking and email.
CNNIC’s digital certificate, which is probably in your computer right now, has not been proved to be maliciously spying, but it’s a matter of trust. Do you really trust CNNIC, the overlords of the ‘Great Firewall’, to not be potentially peeking into your email, Facebook, Paypal account or online bank? Nope, thought not.
These digital certificates are not viruses or malware; they’re genuine tools that sites use to encrypt and verify information, and are issued by third-party Certificate Authorities (CA). For this CNNIC certificate to be on your computer, it has taken numerous levels of consent: by the web browser makers (Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and more obscure ones, such as Opera) and by the CA ‘Entrust’, who will have evaluated, accepted and issued CNNIC’s digital certificate.
So, what’s the drama, you ask… Well, in devious hands, these important data snippets can be configured to pry, spy and snoop on your web traffic and private data. A benign digital certificate could turn malicious if remotely reconfigured, so as to tap into a certain users encrypted web data. In one other scenario, CNNIC could possibly use this tool in conjunction with the Great Firewall to tunnel into your encrypted web sessions. And, remember, CNNIC has a history of putting malware on people’s machines, hence all the alarm bells ringing over this tiny, new development.
So, let’s get about blocking CNNIC’s ass off of your computer: It’s best not to delete it – it’ll only be re-added – so we’re going to need to ‘never trust’ it in your computer’s settings. Then, you’ll be safe and unsnooped upon. It’s pretty easy, taking it step-by-step…
Mac: Safari and Chrome
This applies only to the Safari and Chrome web browser (Firefox needs to be done separately, in its own settings; see below). First, use Spotlight to search for the Keychain Access app (or, find it in Applications > Utilities folder) and launch it. Now, in the Keychain Access app search-box you should type CNNIC, and if their digital certificate is on your laptop, you will see 1 or 2 of them. If there’s nothing, that’s good. But, if you have 1 or 2 of the little buggers, this is what to do next: right-click on one of the digital certificates and select Get Info. A new window will appear; in this, click on the little arrow to the left of the word “Trust” so that more options are revealed. Now, in the first drop-down box you should select “Never trust” which’ll cause all the others drop-down boxes to also change to ‘Never trust’. Now that certificate is never, ever trusted, and will not be re-added since it already sits there. Repeat on the 2nd, if there is one.
To check that it has worked, quit your browser(s), and then restart a browser and go to the website https://www.enum.cn where now a warning should appear saying that the site’s digital certificate is not trusted. If so, that’s great. If not (and the website loads normally), repeat the instructions more carefully.
Firefox (Windows, Mac, Linux)
First go to the Firefox ‘Preferences’ (on Mac), which is called ‘Options’ (I think) on Windows. Then, click the Advanced tab, then the Encryption tab, then click ‘View Certificates’. Next select the Authorities tab, and scroll down to find the CNNIC entry. Highlight the certificate, and then lower down click on the ‘Edit’ button, and in here you should now uncheck all the checkboxes, then click ‘Okay’. OK, that’s one blocked. Also scroll down to the Entrust.net entry, and see if there’s another CNNIC one in there. There’ll either be 1 or 2 in total. If there’s another one, repeat the above instrcutions.
To check that it has worked, quit Firefox, and then restart it and go to the website https://www.enum.cn where now a warning should appear saying that the site’s digital certificate is not trusted. If so, that’s great. If not (and the website loads normally), repeat the instructions more carefully.
Windows: Internet Explorer
I’m afraid I don’t have a clue how to do it on IE. And, seriously, with all the holes and bugs in IE, you should be thinking about ditching it for Firefox, pronto. But the Chinese blogger and techie Felix Yan, who first alerted me to this whole situation with his detailed blog post on the issue, has a step-by-step guide for Internet Explorer, though it’s all in Chinese, over on his site. Here’s the link for it.
Google Chrome browser, for some reason, utilizes the digital certificates stored inside Internet Explorer, so you’ll also need to refer to Felix’s instructions for how to block CNNIC inside IE.
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 9:57 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, 6 February 2010 9:59 PM PST
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Howard Zinn & Speaking Up with Ideas
Now Playing: Speaking Out & Complancy
Topic: ANYBODY * ANYDAY
"No pitifully small picket line, no poorly
attended meeting, no tossing out of an idea
to an audience and even to an individual,
should be scorned as insignificant.
The power of a bold idea uttered publicly
in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be
easily measured. Those special people who
speak out in such a way as to shake up not
only the self-assurance of their enemies
but the complacency of their friends are
precious catalysts for change.
-> From You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
Posted by Joe Anybody
at 7:24 PM PST
Updated: Tuesday, 2 February 2010 7:25 PM PST
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