Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Sunday, 14 November 2010
F* Corporate Media - Do I have to Explain This? - Watch The Video ((( i )))
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: F* Corporate Media
Topic: MEDIA
11.14.10
.
Cool
.
Fuck The Corporate Media


 
A compilation of video footage that is explained by the title

Posted by Joe Anybody at 7:30 PM PST
Updated: Sunday, 14 November 2010 8:37 PM PST
Monday, 8 November 2010
Bush & Cheney used Torture and Both Admit It - sound funny? its not!
Mood:  d'oh
Now Playing: Bush Admits He Authorized the Use of Torture, But No One Cares
Topic: TORTURE

No Appetite for Prosecution: In Memoir, Bush Admits He Authorized the Use of Torture, But No One Cares

by Andy Worthington

With just days to go before George W. Bush's memoir, Decision Points, hits bookstores (on November 9), and with reports on the book's contents doing the rounds after review copies were made available to the New York Times and Reuters, it will be interesting to see how many media outlets allow the former President the opportunity to try to salvage his reputation, how many are distracted by his spat with Kanye West or his claim that he thought about replacing Dick Cheney as Vice President in 2004, and how many decide that, on balance, it would be more honest to remind readers and viewers of the former President's many crimes - including the illegal invasion of Iraq, and the authorization of the use of torture on "high-value detainees" seized in the "War on Terror."

As I fall firmly into the latter camp, this article focuses on what little has so far emerged regarding the President's views on Guantánamo, and, in particular, on his confession that he authorized the waterboarding of "high-value detainee" Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, which is rather more important than trading blows with a rapper about whether or not his response to the Katrina disaster was racist, as it is a crime under domestic and international law.

On Guantánamo

On Guantánamo, the only comments in the book that have so far emerged are insultingly flippant, which is disgraceful from the man who shredded the Geneva Conventions and authorized an unprecedented program of arbitrary detention, coercive interrogation and torture. In addition, Bush's baleful legacy lives on in the cases of the 174 men still held, in the recent show trial of Omar Khadr, and in the complacency regarding the basis for detaining prisoners of the "War on Terror" - the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress the week after the 9/11 attacks - on which Barack Obama continues to rely, despite its formidable shortcomings.

As Michiko Kakutani explained in a review of the book for the New York Times:

He tries to play down the problems of Guantánamo Bay, writing that detainees were given "a personal copy of the Koran" and access to a library among whose popular offerings was "an Arabic translation of Harry Potter."

On torture

On torture, however, Bush remains as casual about authorizing waterboarding (a form of controlled drowning used on at least three "high-value detainees" held in secret CIA prisons), as he did in June this year, when he told the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, "Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I'd do it again to save lives."

In his book, he writes that his response, when asked if he would approve the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was, "Damn right!" He added,  "Had I not authorized waterboarding on senior al-Qaeda leaders, I would have had to accept a greater risk that the country would be attacked."

On Thursday, Reuters revealed more about the passages in the book in which Bush discusses waterboarding. This largely revisits the scenario as he described it in a press conference in September 2006, when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (the three men waterboarded by the CIA), plus 11 other "high-value detainees," were transferred to Guantánamo from the secret CIA prisons whose existence, until that moment, had been strenuously denied by the administration.

On that occasion, he spoke at length about Abu Zubaydah, the supposed "high-value detainee" for whom the torture program was specifically developed, who, according to the "torture memos" released last year (written by lawyers in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel in 2002 and 2005) was waterboarded 83 times.

Revisiting his claims that, "When Abu Zubaydah stopped answering questions from the FBI, CIA Director George Tenet told Bush he thought the detainee had more information to offer" (as Reuters described it), Bush explains that "CIA and Justice Department lawyers conducted a careful legal review and came up with an ‘enhanced interrogation program,' which he said complied with the US Constitution and all applicable laws, including those that ban torture."

"No doubt the procedure was tough, but medical experts assured the CIA that it did no lasting harm," Bush writes, adding that the methods were "highly effective," and that Abu Zubaydah "revealed large amounts of information about al-Qaeda's structure as well as the location of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who he called the logistical planner of September 11 attacks" - an analysis that is unconvincing, as FBI interrogator Ali Soufan explained in an op-ed for the New York Times in April 2009. Soufan wrote:

Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed ... This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh's capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods.

Bizarrely, Bush also attempts to explain how Abu Zubaydah began cooperating, in a troubling passage in which he seems to be trying to make out that waterboarding was some sort of specific test for Muslims. He writes, "His understanding of Islam was that he had to resist interrogation only up to a certain point. Waterboarding was the technique that allowed him to reach that threshold, fulfill his religious duty, and then cooperate." He adds that Abu Zubaydah then explained, "You must do this for all the brothers."

Writing of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times, according to the OLC memos, Bush describes him as "difficult to break," as Reuters put it, "but when he did, he gave us a lot." As Reuters explained, "He disclosed plans to attack American targets with anthrax and ‘directed us to three people involved in the al-Qaeda biological weapons program,' among other breakthroughs."

Again, this is a claim that is not backed up with any evidence. As David Rose explained in an article for Vanity Fair in December 2008, "according to a former senior CIA official, who read all the interrogation reports on KSM, ‘90 percent of it was total f*cking bullsh*t.' A former Pentagon analyst adds: ‘KSM produced no actionable intelligence. He was trying to tell us how stupid we were.'"

In conclusion, however, Bush claims that "the CIA interrogation program saved lives," as Reuters described it, and states, "Had we captured more al-Qaeda operatives with significant intelligence value, I would have used the program for them as well."

Why waterboarding is torture, and torture is a crime

The problem with Bush's off-hand acknowledgment that he authorized the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - and Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri - is that waterboarding is torture, and torture is a crime.

As Isabel Macdonald of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) explained in 2008 in an excellent overview of US reporting on waterboarding, "During the insurrection against the US occupation of the Philippines, the Washington Post described how the US military tortured suspected members of the Filipino resistance using "the form of torture known as the water cure." That was in September 1902, but after the Second World War, when US military tribunals tried Japanese military officials for war crimes for torturing prisoners of war with techniques including waterboarding, the New York Times described the procedure as "forced drownings," and it was referred to by the Washington Post as "water torture."

Similarly, in March 1968:

"water torture" was mentioned in the headline of a Washington Post article about the Australian army's admission that a soldier had administered the "water treatment" to a Vietnamese woman suspected of being a guerilla. Six months later, the Post published a front-page photographic exposé of US soldiers administering this same "water treatment" to a Vietnamese prisoner. A follow-up report in the Post [in 1970] referred to this practice, which resulted in charges against the commander of the US Army troops in South Vietnam, as "an ancient Oriental torture called ‘the water treatment.'"

Moreover, when it comes to torture in more general terms, the US anti-torture statute (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C of the US Code, introduced in 1994) describes torture as "an act ... specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering ... upon another person within his custody or physical control," and, as I explained in an article in July this year about Jay S. Bybee, the former OLC head (and now a judge in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) who signed his name to the most notorious of the "torture memos," written by John Yoo in the summer of 2002:

The US anti-torture statute [also] requires a fine, or 20 years' imprisonment (or both) for "[w]hoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture," and a death sentence, or a prison sentence up to and including a life sentence, "if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection."

In addition:

The UN Convention Against Torture [ratified by Ronald Reagan in 1987] stipulates (Article 2.2), "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat or war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture." Moreover, the Convention also stipulates (Article 4. 1) that signatories "shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law" and requires each State, when torture has been exposed, to "submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution" (Article 7.1).

These facts are generally ignored by mainstream media outlets, where those in charge have, since 2004, when waterboarding under the Bush administration was first introduced to the US public, coyly - and deceptively - chosen to refer to it as "a form of simulated drowning condemned by human rights activists as torture" (as Reuters did on Thursday), thereby helping to foster the culture of impunity which has allowed Bush to make this statement so publicly, and which, in February, allowed Dick Cheney to tell Jonathan Karl, on ABC News' "This Week," "I was a big supporter of waterboarding."

Why the Obama administration bears responsibility for Bush's impunity

In addition, the Obama administration is also responsible. Neither President Obama nor Attorney General Eric Holder has chosen to hold Bush administration officials and lawyers - up to and including the former President - accountable for their crimes, even though, as I explained in an article in March 2009:

In an interview with ABC News on January 11, 2009, President-Elect Obama responded to a recent CBS interview with Dick Cheney, in which the then-Vice President had sounded his usual alarms about the need for "extraordinary" policies to deal with terror suspects, by stating, "Vice President Cheney I think continues to defend what he calls extraordinary measures or procedures and from my view waterboarding is torture. I have said that under my administration we will not torture."

Two days later, at his confirmation hearing, Eric Holder reinforced Obama's opinion. Noting, as the New York Times described it, that waterboarding had been used to torment prisoners during the Inquisition, by the Japanese in World War II and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, and adding, "We prosecuted our own soldiers for using it in Vietnam," he stated unequivocally, "Waterboarding is torture," and reiterated his opinion on March 2, 2009, in a speech to the Jewish Council of Public Affairs in Washington. "Waterboarding is torture," he said again, adding, "My Justice Department will not justify it, will not rationalize it and will not condone it."

Instead, after a promising start on torture, which involved the President upholding the absolute ban on torture in an executive order issued on his second day in office, and the release of the OLC "torture memos" last April, in response to a court order, the Obama administration has retreated to a place where every attempt to seek accountability for the Bush administration's torturers has been resolutely blocked.

In January this year, it was revealed that Holder had appointed - or had allowed - the veteran Justice Department fixer David Margolis to override the conclusions of a four-year internal investigation into the behavior of John Yoo and Jay Bybee, in which the author's conclusions - that both men had been willfully guilty of "professional misconduct" - were watered down so that they were merely reprimanded for exercising "poor judgment."

In addition, the administration's stock response to attempts to investigate torture claims in court - as, for example, in the cases of five men subjected to "extraordinary rendition" and torture, who sought to sue Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a Boeing subsidiary that acted as the CIA's torture travel agent - has been to slam all the doors shut mercilessly, inappropriately invoking the little-known "state secrets" privilege to prevent anyone with a valid complaint from even getting anywhere near a court.

This is unlikely to change in the near future, of course, leaving George W. Bush able to boast openly about his crimes, apparently secure in the knowledge that he is untouchable, although as David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University, and a long-standing critic of the Bush administration's interrogation and detention policies, told the Washington Post on Thursday, "The fact that he did admit it suggests he believes he is politically immune from being held accountable ... But politics can change."

At present, it is difficult to see how, but those compiling evidence will have taken note that, in the very public forum of an internationally available memoir, George W. Bush has failed to rehabilitate his legacy and has, instead, openly confessed to war crimes.

Note: For a perceptive analysis of George W. Bush's thoughts about his responsibility for the Iraq fiasco, see this post by Amy Davidson of the New Yorker.

Andy Worthington is a journalist and historian, based in London. He is the author of The Guantánamo Files, the first book to tell the stories of all the detainees in America's illegal prison. For more information, visit his blog here.


Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:10 PM PST
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Suicides in the Military rate is rising - What are we doing about it
Mood:  crushed out
Now Playing: Suicides in the Military and PTSD cries that only get ignored
Topic: WAR

Hi Z3 Readers,

This serious article was in my email box this morning from the great folks at VFP chapter 72.

My cousin Ted Westhusing comitted suicide in Iraq in 2005.


Subject: Soldiers fed up with mistreatment at Ft. Lewis


November 2, 2010 JOINT BASE LEWIS MCHORD, WASHINGTON ? An anonymous group of soldiers in 4-9 Infantry Brigade have released a statement detailing how the Army drove one soldier to suicide. It details the humiliation that soldiers who seek help for mental problems face from their superiors. This comes on the heels of a rash of incidents involving soldiers from JBLM who had untreated mental issues, including one soldier who shot a police officer in Salt Lake City, UT.

The letter reads: ?On March 17, 2010, Spc. Kirkland returned home from his second deployment to Iraq. Three days later he was dead?killed by the Army. Spc. Kirkland was sent home from Iraq because the burden of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder became too great?so much that he wanted to take his own life. Many of us also struggle with the effects of PTSD, which is a completely natural, human response to what we are exposed to overseas. It is not a sign of weakness or cowardice, but the inevitable result of serving in combat. It is a burden we all share, and we all deserve adequate treatment and understanding for the sacrifices we have made. Upon returning home, Spc. Kirkland was not more than three steps into the barracks before the acting First Sergeant publicly ridiculed him, calling him a ?coward? and a ?pussy,? knowing full well that Kirkland was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. He was then carelessly assigned to a room by himself, and like every other soldier !
 with PTSD, given substandard care by Army mental health doctors. Forty-eight hours after he was in the care of 4-9 Infantry, he was dead. Spc. Kirkland had a wife and young daughter. Before his blood had even dried off the floor, our respected leadership was already mocking his death.

Spc. Kirkland did not kill himself. He was killed by the Army. The Army inadequately treats PTSD, while it re-enforces a culture of humiliation for the soldiers who suffer from it. Spc. Kirkland was accused of faking his trauma. PTSD is a legitimate medical condition that is unavoidable in a combat zone. As soldiers who lay down our lives every day, we deserve adequate treatment for the wounds we receive in combat. We deserve to be treated for PTSD just like we would for a bullet wound or shrapnel. Spc. Kirkland received the opposite. But what happened to Spc. Kirkland is not an isolated incident. This is happening at such a high rate in the Army that it is becoming an epidemic. Now, more active duty soldiers commit suicide than are killed in combat. Every year, the number of suicides far surpasses the year before, and 2010 is already dwarfing last year?s numbers. How has the Army responded?

Scandal after scandal has broken out about Army officers ordering doctors not to diagnose PTSD; to instead deny veterans the care they deserve, pump them full of pills, and return them to combat. It has become Army policy to do everything possible to avoid diagnosing PTSD. And when it is diagnosed, the care is inadequate. Throughout the Army, soldiers have to fight for simple medical care. The Army doesn?t care at all about us, our lives, or our families?and hundreds of us are dying because of it.

We are denied care because the Army needs bodies to throw into two quagmires, and because the VA doesn?t want to pay us the benefits we deserve. Maj. Keith Markham, Executive Director of 4-9 Infantry, put it very clearly in a private memo to his platoon leaders: ?We have an unlimited supply of expendable labor.? That?s what we soldiers are to the Army and the Officer Corps: expendable labor. Spc. Kirkland was expendable, and we witness that fact every day. But soldiers all over the Army are standing up. At Ft. Hood, the base with the highest number of suicides, protests have been held both outside the base and in the hospitals, consisting of active duty soldiers demanding better treatment. All over the country soldiers are organizing in their units to fight for adequate care.

The Army will never give us the care we deserve unless we force it to do so. As soldiers, we have rights. Mental health care is a right for the job we were made to do. We have the right to be adequately treated and compensated for PTSD?but the Army is not doing that, so we have the right to collectively organize and demand proper treatment. Actual defense spending in the U.S. is over 1 trillion dollars a year. Most of that money goes into the pockets of defense contractors, while only a tiny fraction is allocated for mental health care.

There are hundreds of billions of dollars for new fighter jets, or to open Burger Kings and KBR facilities overseas, but when extra resources are needed to combat a suicide epidemic, we only get scraps from the table.? The Army has taken no disciplinary actions against the leadership involved with SPC Kirkland?s death. Nor has the Army released any statements regarding the circumstances behind the incident. GI Voice, DBA COFFEE STRONG, is a veteran owned and operated coffee house for soldiers, veterans, and military families to speak out about their experiences in a comfortable and safe environment. We provide free GI rights counseling, veterans benefit advocacy, and PTSD counseling for soldiers and veterans.

Coffee Strong is located 300 meters from the Madigan Gate of Fort Lewis at 15109 Union Ave. SW Ste B.

For more information please contact: Seth Manzel Executive Director GI Voice, DBA COFFEE STRONG 253-228-8912 http://www.facebook.com/l/87f8bB1GvdHR4Lf9QOCGQ2-eO9Q;www.coffeestrong.org


Dennis W. Mills, Board Member
Coffee Strong
(360) 867-1487
Skype: dennismills


Posted by Joe Anybody at 10:06 PM PDT
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
cough cough Vote results for House district 3 in Oregon
Mood:  down
Now Playing: earl blumenauer (cough) wins House dist. 3
Topic: POLITICS
LAST UPDATE
Nov-02-2010      11:50 PM       Pacific Daylight Time

 

U.S. Representative OR 3rd District

WinnerCandidateVotesVote %
XEarl Blumenauer118,70870%
 Jeff Lawrence26,44515%
 Delia Lopez22,36313%
 Michael Meo3,3562%

Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:54 PM PDT
Thursday, 28 October 2010
Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Bill Quigley: author - Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law at Loyola University New Orle
Topic: HUMANITY

Socialism? The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer


by Bill Quigley

The rich and their paid false prophets are doing a bang up job deceiving the poor and middle class. They have convinced many that an evil socialism is alive in the land and it is taking their fair share. But the deception cannot last – facts say otherwise.

Yes, there is a class war – the war of the rich on the poor and the middle class – and the rich are winning. That war has been going on for years. Look at the facts – facts the rich and their false paid prophets do not want people to know.

Let Glen Beck go on about socialists descending on Washington. Allow Rush Limbaugh to rail about “class warfare for a leftist agenda that will destroy our society.” They are well compensated false prophets for the rich.

The truth is that for the several decades the rich in the US have been getting richer and the poor and middle class have been getting poorer. Look at the facts then make up your own mind.

Poor Getting Poorer: Facts

The official US poverty numbers show we now have the highest number of poor people in 51 years. The official US poverty rate is 14.3 percent or 43.6 million people in poverty. One in five children in the US is poor; one in ten senior citizens is poor. Source: US Census Bureau.

One of every six workers, 26.8 million people, is unemployed or underemployed. This “real” unemployment rate is over 17%. There are 14.8 million people designated as “officially” unemployed by the government, a rate of 9.6 percent. Unemployment is worse for African American workers of whom 16.1 percent are unemployed. Another 9.5 million people who are working only part-time while they are seeking full-time work but have had their hours cut back or are so far only able to find work part-time are not counted in the official unemployment numbers. Also, an additional 2.5 million are reported unemployed but not counted because they are classified as discouraged workers in part because they have been out of work for more than 12 months. Source: US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics October 2010 report.

The median household income for whites in the US is $51,861; for Asians it is $65,469; for African Americans it is $32,584; for Latinos it is $38,039. Source: US Census Bureau.

Fifty million people in the US lack health insurance. Source: US Census Bureau.

Women in the US have a greater lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related conditions than women in 40 other countries. African American US women are nearly 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women. Source: Amnesty International Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA.

About 3.5 million people, about one-third of which are children, are homeless at some point in the year in the US. Source: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

Outside Atlanta, 33,000 people showed up to seek applications for low cost subsidized housing in August 2010. When Detroit offered emergency utility and housing assistance to help people facing evictions, more than 50,000 people showed up for the 3,000 vouchers. Source: News reports.

There are 49 million people in the US who live in households which eat only because they receive food stamps, visit food pantries or soup kitchens for help. Sixteen million are so poor they have skipped meals or foregone food at some point in the last year. This is the highest level since statistics have been kept. Source: US Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

Middle Class Going Backward: Facts

One or two generations ago it was possible for a middle class family to live on one income. Now it takes two incomes to try to enjoy the same quality of life. Wages have not kept up with inflation; adjusted for inflation they have lost ground over the past ten years. The cost of housing, education and health care have all increased at a much higher rate than wages and salaries. In 1967, the middle 60 percent of households received over 52% of all income. In 1998, it was down to 47%. The share going to the poor has also fallen, with the top 20% seeing their share rise. Mark Trumball, “Obama’s challenge: reversing a decade of middle-class decline,” Christian Science Monitor, January 25, 2010. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2010/0125/Obama-s-challenge-reversing-a-decade-of-middle-class-decline

A record 2.8 million homes received a foreclosure notice in 2009, higher than both 2008 and 2007. In 2010, the rate is expected to be rise to 3 million homes. Sources: Reuters and RealtyTrac.

Eleven million homeowners (about one in four homeowners) in the US are “under water” or owe more on their mortgages than their house is worth. Source: “Home truths,” The Economist, October 23, 2010.

For the first time since the 1940s, the real incomes of middle-class families are lower at the end of the business cycle of the 2000s than they were at the beginning. Despite the fact that the American workforce is working harder and smarter than ever, they are sharing less and less in the benefits they are creating. This is true for white families but even truer for African American families whose gains in the 1990s have mostly been eliminated since then. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/swa08_00_execsum.pdf

Rich Getting Richer: Facts

The wealth of the richest 400 people in the US grew by 8% in the last year to $1.37 trillion. Source: Forbes 400: The super-rich get richer, September 22, 2010, Money.com

The top Hedge Fund Manager of 2009, David Tepper, “earned” $4 billion last year. The rest of the top ten earned: $3.3 billion, $2.5 billion, $2.3 billion, $1.4 billion, $1.3 billion (tie for 6th and 7th place), $900 million (tie for 8th and 9th place), and in last place out of the top ten, $825 million. Source: Business Insider. “Meet the top 10 earning hedge fund managers of 2009.” http://www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-top-10-earning-hedge-fund-managers-of-2009-2010-4

Income disparity in the US is now as bad as it was right before the Great Depression at the end of the 1920s. From 1979 to 2006, the richest 1% more than doubled their share of the total US income, from 10% to 23%. The richest 1% have an average annual income of more than $1.3 million. For the last 25 years, over 90% of the total growth in income in the US went to the top 10% earners – leaving 9% of all income to be shared by the bottom 90%. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/01/19.pdf

In 1973, the average US CEO was paid $27 for every dollar paid to a typical worker; by 2007 that ratio had grown to $275 to $1. Source: Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz, State of Working America. http://www.stateofworkingamerica.org/tabfig/2008/03/SWA08_Wages_Figure.3AE.pdf

Since 1992, the average tax rate on the richest 400 taxpayers in the US dropped from 26.8% to 16.62%. Source: US Internal Revenue Service. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/07intop400.pdf

The US has the greatest inequality between rich and poor among all Western industrialized nations and it has been getting worse for 40 years. The World Factbook, published by the CIA, includes an international ranking of the inequality among families inside of each country, called the Gini Index. The US ranking of 45 in 2007 is the same as Argentina, Cameroon, and Cote d’Ivorie. The highest inequality can be found in countries like Namibia, South Africa, Haiti and Guatemala. The US ranking of 45 compares poorly to Japan (38), India (36), New Zealand, UK (34), Greece (33), Spain (32), Canada (32), France (32), South Korea (31), Netherlands (30), Ireland (30), Australia (30), Germany (27), Norway (25), and Sweden (23). Source: CIA The World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html

Rich people live an average of about five years longer than poor people in the US. Naturally, gross inequality has consequences in terms of health, exposure to unhealthy working conditions, nutrition and lifestyle. In 1980, the most well off in the US had a life expectancy of 2.8 years over the least well-off. As the inequality gap widens, so does the life expectancy gap. In 1990, the gap was a little less than 4 years. In 2000, the least well-off could expect to live to age of 74.7 while the most well off had a life expectancy of 79.2 years. Source: Elise Gould, “Growing disparities in life expectancy,” Economic Policy Institute. http://www.epi.org/economic_snapshots/entry/webfeatures_snapshots_20080716/

Conclusion

These are extremely troubling facts for anyone concerned about economic fairness, equality of opportunity, and justice.

Thomas Jefferson once observed that the systematic restructuring of society to benefit the rich over the poor and middle class is a natural appetite of the rich. “Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to…the general prey of the rich on the poor.” But Jefferson also knew that justice can only be delayed so long when he said, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

The rich talk about the rise of socialism to divert attention from the fact that they are devouring the basics of the poor and everyone else. Many of those crying socialism the loudest are doing it to enrich or empower themselves. They are right about one thing – there is a class war going on in the US. The rich are winning their class war, and it is time for everyone else to fight back for economic justice.

Bill is Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans.
You can reach Bill at quigley77@gmail.com

Posted by Joe Anybody at 8:39 PM PDT
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
JOHN ASHCROFT’S IMMUNITY AND THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM – DR. LAWRENCE DAVIDSON
Mood:  loud
Now Playing: The criminal - Ashcroft - and the US double standards
Topic: TORTURE

JOHN ASHCROFT’S IMMUNITY AND THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM – DR. LAWRENCE DAVIDSON

26. Oct, 2010
http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2010/10/john-ashcroft%E2%80%99s-immunity-and-the-u-s-legal-system-dr-lawrence-davidson/print/
by Dr. Lawrence Davidson

Court Rules Ashcroft Can Be Held Liable For U.S. Citizen’s Post 9/11 Detention

The Situation

One of the cases the Supreme Court of the United States will take up in its 2011 session is
Ashcroft vs. al-Kidd. John Ashcroft was the Attorney General under President George Bush Jr. In that capacity he appears to have knowingly violated the U.S. Constitution (as well as periodically forced his employees to listen to his horrendous singing voice). Abdullah al-Kidd is a Muslim American citizen who Ashcroft illegally ordered detained through the illicit use of a material witness warrant. Kidd was one of 70 detained in this manner. He was picked up at Dulles International Airport after the FBI lied to a judge in order to get the warrant for his seizure. Al-Kidd was subsequently held for long periods in a security cell where the lights never went out.

That John Ashcroft is the criminal and al-Kidd his victim is certain. That is how the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sees it. That court has refused to dismiss al-Kidd’s lawsuit against Ashcroft noting that the former Attorney General can be held personally responsible for action
“repugnant to the Constitution.” That he knowingly and criminally acted to “arrest and detain American citizens for months on end, in sometimes primitive conditions, not because they have committed a crime, but merely because the government wants to investigate them for possible wrongdoing.” Ashcroft’s lawyers avoid the question of the illegality of his actions and simply say that he is immune from lawsuits for actions he took as Attorney General. On that basis they have asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the suit. The Justices have now decided to consider Ashcroft’s request.

Certainly John Ashcroft is not the first high U.S. official to reveal himself as an alleged criminal. Nor is it the first time that high government officials have acted in an unconstitutional manner. Right out of the starting gate , so to speak, the young United States created the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) through which the Federalist party sought, quite unconstitutionally, to jail its political opponents. Andrew Jackson spit in the eye of both the Supreme Court and the Constitution by evicting the Cherokee Indians (1838), James Polk should have been impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors for lying to the Congress in order to start the Mexican-American War (1846), Abraham Lincoln probably violated the Constitution by some of his police actions during the Civil War, the raids and deportations that took place as a result of the Red Scares of the 1920s were at least in part unconstitutional, then you have Watergate, Irangate and now multiple potential Bushgates. Few of the politicians who ordered these criminal actions, or those who carried out those orders, ever faced punishment.
[NOT TO SPEAK OF COINTELPRO]

The Position of the Obama Administration

What is interesting about the present case of Ashcroft vs. al-Kidd is that the Obama administration has decided to make illegality acceptable by institutionalizing the concept of immunity for highly placed men like Ashcroft. The administration will try to do this not through legislation, but through precedent– by defending Ashcroft’s claim to immunity before the Supreme Court. At first it seems strange that a professed liberal president such as Barack Obama would do this. But unfortunately, it is quite consistent with the illiberal stance he has maintained on the question of the constitutional responsibility of his predecessors in the Bush White House. From the beginning of his presidency, Obama decided to shield them from the consequences of their crimes. This position was initiated by the president’s
“we should look forward” statement in January of 2009. In this statement he made it clear that he did not want to pursue those who had ordered or implemented (in this case) torture under the Bush administration. When popular pressure forced the president to allow his attorney general , Eric Holder, to open an investigation of the issue of torture it was arranged so the inquiry would have no teeth. Publically and up front we were told that no one would be prosecuted whatever the outcome of the probe. That is the last anyone has heard of Holder’s investigation of torture American style. The long and short of this is that the principle set down at Nuremberg, to wit following orders is no excuse for criminal behavior, will not be applied. Nor will giving the orders incur a penalty. The decision to defend Ashcroft’s claim of immunity is in solid accord with this position.

The logic of this position, and its likely consequences, warrants close examination. If we were to ask President Obama why he has decided to defend the immunity of alleged criminals who happen to be high government officials, and if he were to be perfectly candid in his reply, here is what he might say:

1. President Obama – It would be difficult for the president, or those who carry out his orders, to act freely and as needed if they had always to worry about litigation after the fact. This is particularly true in time of war and emergency.

My Reply – This assertion has been made by leaders of states from time immemorial. It is a variation on the raison d’etat argument that has historically allowed all manner of bad behavior under the guise of state interests. On the other hand, it is true that following the law can prove inconvenient under wartime or emergency conditions. Nonetheless, in the long run, lawlessness is much worse than inconvenience. It is to be noted that, in the American case, appointed and elected high officials (particularly attorney generals!) are sworn to uphold the law not to transgress it.

2. President Obama – While I have stopped the more egregious policies of the Bush administration, I am still responsible for the safety of all American citizens and, in our modern age, I have to be able to use all the methods, high tech and otherwise, to achieve this goal. Some of these methods might very well prove unconstitutional (warrantless wiretaps, for instance) and yet I must be free to use them because another 9/11 style attack must be prevented. And, if I am to use these methods, then I can not prosecute those who have done so before me. Otherwise I would be accused of being a hypocrite by my political foes.

My Reply – This argument juxtaposes unattainable 100% security against the traditional freedoms that makes America the country its founders intended. Do we want to sacrifice the latter for the illusion of the former? As James Madison once observed, “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become instruments of tyranny at home.” That is the slippery slope President Obama seems willing to take us down. It also prioritizes the president’s political interests over the Constitution. This latter point of view can be carried further.

3. President Obama – You have to understand, that if I do not do all that is possible, be it constitutional or otherwise, to protect the nation I put myself in mortal political danger. I open myself to the accusation by my political rivals that I am “soft” on security or terrorism. And, if something does happen, such as another terrorist attack, then I am politically dead.

My Reply – Well, yes, this is so. However, what is also true is that prioritizing politics above law always leads us in the direction of corruption, or worse. By defending Ashcroft isn’t President Obama saying it is all right to break the law if you are highly placed and so lacking in imagination that you can not figure out a legal way of dealing with an emergency? For let us be clear, there is no evidence that after 9/11 the unconstitutional route was the only possible route to defend the country. Were the legal options and their constitutional variants ever seriously itemized and discussed? The Obama administration, like the Bush operatives, have never publically addressed this question.

Likely Consequences

If the Obama Justice Department proceeds with its plans to defend Ashcroft’s immunity claim and if, as is likely, the Supreme Court upholds that claim, we will be left with a politically based two tier legal system. It will set free to break the law every highly placed federal official every time he or she can claim an emergency situation. Then, after the fact, they will cite the immunity precedent. In the meantime, the fact that high federal officials are sworn to uphold the laws of the land will be rendered worthless, just another bit of political hypocrisy.

So what is it that we want for America? Do we want a two tier legal system where presidents and their appointees can break the law with impunity? Do we want a legal system where it is accepted that citizens and residents can disappear into federal dungeons? Is it all right with us that our fellow citizens, following the orders of the president, will torture, detain, shackle and otherwise abuse others without any regard for law – and they too will be immune? Because, whether they realize it or not, that is what the Obama Justice Department is arguing for when it defends John Ashcroft.

Dwight Eisenhower once asked the question, “how far can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?” It is time for us to ask this question about the heinous “security” tactics of President George Bush Jr. as well as President Barack Obama’s unfortunate willingness to defend them.

Lawrence Davidson
Department of History
West Chester University
West Chester, Pa 19383
USA



--
"FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!"

Oregon Jericho
The Jericho Movement for Political Prisoner Amnesty
oregon.jericho@gmail.com
oregon-jericho.org
(503)-750-0523
P.O. Box 17420
Portland, Oregon 97217

Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:45 PM PDT
SOA - Take It To The Streets PROTEST!
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Close the School of Americas
Topic: PROTEST!
SOA Watch News & Updates

 
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Engage in Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the SOA/WHINSEC
Para información en español ver abajo clíc aquí


November 19-21, Vigil to Shut Down the SOA
Gather at the gates of Ft. Benning in nonviolent resistance to let our voices be heard.

This year there will be different ways for people to be involved in the Saturday action including crossing the line of the base of Fort Benning which risks federal arrest, or a city side action, outside the permitted area. But note that you may also participate without risking arrest. SOA Watch has permits for the activities in front of the base, and the acts of civil disobedience for those risking arrest will be clearly marked.

Want to participate in nonviolent direct action, but can’t risk a federal arrest?

This year some in our community are inviting interested individuals and groups to join in an action of civil disobedience in Columbus Georgia on Saturday. This will be an action on city property, not the base, and carries different legal risks. Individuals who participate in the action could expect after arrest to
a) be in jail until they are bonded out and to have to appear in court, and bond money may be applied to possible fine. The jail schedule lists $1000 bond for misdemeanors and city offenses for out-of-staters and $300-500 for in-staters;
b) stay in jail longer without paying a bond and appear in court and possibly pay a fine.

Folks that are interested should:
  • Form an affinity group
  • Get in touch with Charity Ryerson from the Direct Action Working Group at charityryerson@gmail.com
  • Attend a nonviolence training on Friday, November 19th in the morning or afternoon. If you are not able to attend either time periods please contact joannepsheehan@gmail.com for things to do prior to coming to vigil.
  • Attend the Direct Action preparation meeting on Friday night 7:30-9:30pm, Convention Center 207; or Saturday after the plenary at 10:45am
  • Attend the Saturday Morning Plenary 9-10:30 at Convention Center
  • For last minute nonviolence training please meet on Saturday, November 20th, at 1:30pm near the Food Not Bombs tent on Ft. Benning road.
  • For Legal advice please consult Alison at alimc02@yahoo.com or Nikki at nikkithanos@gmail.com.

    People willing to risk federal arrest by crossing the line onto the base of Fort Benning, please contact Judith Kelly at silverdove(at)verizon.net. People cross the line of the base in order to get closer to the School of Americas, the place where many abuses throughout Latin America begin.

  • Join human rights activists from religious communities, unions, student groups, among others, in non-violent direct action. We look to the thousands before us, who have participated in civil disobedience by "putting their bodies on the line" leading to 297 different people serving time in federal prison leading to almost 100 collective years. These Prisoners of Conscience are part of the inspiration and strength of the movement. Click here for more information on last years Prisoner of Conscience.

    Brian DeRouen and Meagan Doty arrested in 2004, prisoners of Conscience crossing the line to the base in 2004

    "While these brave peacemakers have been incarcerated and sentenced to probation for their courageous acts, those responsible for the use of the torture manuals at the SOA and for training human rights abusers have never seen a jail cell from the inside. We are here to change that." -Father Roy Bourgeois


    Due to our presence at the gates of Fort Benning every year, SOA Watch has become known as one of the largest, grassroots movements in the U.S. We gather in the diverse traditions of nonviolence of those who walk before us. It is one of our strongest strategies of defiance to U.S. militarism that is increasing throughout the Americas. This direct action is also what keeps pressure on the Department of Defense and Congress to SHUT DOWN THE SOA/WHINSEC.

  •   

    See you at the gates of

    Fort Benning, Georgia!

     

    SOA Watch
    202-234-3440


    We appreciate your interest!

    Posted by Joe Anybody at 11:18 AM PDT
    Updated: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:46 PM PDT
    Monday, 25 October 2010
    Wikileaks - documents released (links)
    Mood:  special
    Now Playing: U.S./NATO occupiers worry under their own trumped up fear mongering
    Topic: WAR
    Thanks to the heroic leakers in the US military and to Julian Assange and the hundreds of Wikileaks staffers and volunteers: Iraq War Logs was released Friday. Its 391,000 records reveal the standard operating procedures of a huge military occupation over the years 2004 - 2009.

    Ray McGovern writes that Assange was presented the Sam Adams Award for integrity from Veteran Intelligence Professions for Sanity Saturday in London by Daniel Ellsberg and Craig Murray. The New York Times reported Sunday that Assange is a "hunted man," having been denied residency in Sweden, or in any country where the U.S. government's influence is significant enough to endanger him.  The Robert Gates (Defense) and Robert Gibbs (Obama's Press Secretary) team repeats the same threat they did in July when Afghan War Diary came out: Wikileaks somehow "may have blood on their hands," for letting the truth out. 

    But who is the more dangerous force with blood on its hands?  The U.S./NATO occupiers, whose presence destroyed civil society in Iraq, and fueled the sectarian violence, based on aggressive war, planned to last a generation by Bush and Cheney! See
    They Hate Us for Our Occupations by Glenn Greenwald.

    The major news media, including the NY Times, is spinning their own messages, consistent with their unquestioning reportage of the unjust, immoral US war -- based on lies -- these many years.  World Can't Wait is coompiling the best analysis we can find on our site, and will keep digging for what people living in this country need to know.

    Key themes in the
    Iraq War Logs show:


    Abuse, rape, torture, murder of detainees: Hundreds of incidents of abuse and torture of prisoners by Iraqi security services, up to and including rape and murder. These are so egregious that the UN is calling for further investigation.

    Civilians are dying in greatest numbers: Rumsfeld always said "we don't do numbers" on civilian deaths.  Iraq War Log reveals that they kept some numbers. The US & allies killed civilians much more frequently than those they identified in the Log as "insurgents."  Still, we'll never know the total.

    Hundreds of civilians killed at checkpoints: Robert Fisk says, "Out of the 832 deaths recorded at checkpoints in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, analysis by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggests 681 were civilians. Fifty families were shot at and 30 children killed. Only 120 insurgents were killed in checkpoint incidents."

    Private contractors non-uniformed, unsupervised, wreak havoc: Blackwater (now Xe) and the thousands of civilian "security" operatives got away with murder, over and over again. And there are even more contractors in Afghanistan now than the larger troop force Obama sent in.

     

    More on the new Wikileaks release

    FireJohnYoo.org reports on U.S. torture of Iraqis

    Atrocity Now: Wikileaks Release Puts Spotlight Back on Continuing War Crime in Iraq by Chris Floyd

    Because this all continues in Afghanistan: Inside a Secret DOD Prison in Afghanistan by Scott Horton

     

    ** TODAY - at 2pm Eastern (7pm London Time) - Watch Daniel Ellsberg and Julian Assange of Wikileaks speak live at the Frontline Club


    Stop the Crimes of Your Government: Collateral Murder and Targeted Assassination

     

    Below are clips from the enlightening and informative webcast World Can't Wait produced October 20 with Pardiss Kebriaei and Ethan McCord. Stay tuned for more from Ethan McCord.

    Ethan McCord interviewed on GritTV with Laura Flanders 10/21/10: "The one thing I couldn't live without in Iraq was my own humanity"

    Watch "Collateral Murder and Targeted Assasination:"

    Debra at Collateral Murder event

    Introducing the event: we are about to learn more about the crimes we denounced in the Crimes Are Crimes statement (printed in the NY Times 10/7/10)

    Pardiss

    Pardiss Kebraei speaks about "targeted assassination" - the Obama administration authorizing the extrajudicial killing of a US citizen without trial or even charges.


    Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:21 PM PDT
    Updated: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:48 PM PDT
    Wikileaks Just Releases Iraq Documents - Oct 22 2010
    Mood:  incredulous
    Now Playing: Wikileaks Did It Again 400, 000 documents on Iraq
    Topic: WAR

    Hey everybody,

    Wikileaks did it again:
    http://wikileaks.org/

    400,000 documents on Iraq. Make sure you make a donation to Wikileaks - their
    source of funding was recently cut by the US Government.


    Here's the release on their site:


    At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports ('The Iraq War Logs'), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a 'SIGACT' or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.



    The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 'civilians';
    23,984 'enemy' (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 'host nation' (Iraqi
    government forces) and 3,771 'friendly' (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the 'Afghan War Diaries', previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivallent population size. 



     

    Posted by Joe Anybody at 12:12 AM PDT
    Sunday, 24 October 2010
    Video: Charlie Rose Interviews Robert Reich
    Mood:  not sure
    Now Playing: A 20 min video about the economy by Robert Reich
    Topic: Economy and Labor

    Globalization and automation undermined mindless work

    http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11253

     (more) http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2010/10/403176.shtml


    Robert Reich is a professor of economics at UC Berkeleyand former Labor secretary under Clinton. Many of his articles are available at www.truth-out.org


    1993-97 was the Sec. of Labor under Clinton

    Robert Reich, author of
    "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future"
    He has written 12 books.


    "Wealth disparity beteewn the rich and poor has led to......"

    "We are nearly at the end of our coping mechanisms.. Globalization and automation undermined mindless work.. We deregulated and privatized according to the myth of trickle down.. The top 2% don't need a continuance of the Bush tax cuts..

    Consumers don't have money..

    Wall Street should help distressed homeowners and small business.. TARP was another example of trickle down that doesn't.. From 1947-73, the economy was working for everyone.."

    to hear the 20-minute interview broadcast on The Charlie Rose Show October 21, 2010, click on

     http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11253

    homepage: homepage: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11253
    address: address: http://www.freewebs.com/mbtranslations

     


    Posted by Joe Anybody at 5:54 PM PDT

    Newer | Latest | Older

    « November 2010 »
    S M T W T F S
    1 2 3 4 5 6
    7 8 9 10 11 12 13
    14 15 16 17 18 19 20
    21 22 23 24 25 26 27
    28 29 30
    You are not logged in. Log in
    Ben Waiting for it ? Well Look Here!
    Robert Lindsay Blog
    ZEBRA 3 RAG
    Old Blogs Go to Joe's Home Web Site
    joe-anybody.com
    Underground
    Media Underground
    Joe's 911 Truth Report
    911 TRUTH REPORT

    OUTSIDE THE BOX
    Alex Ansary