PFC Manning was Forced to Spend Seven Hours Naked Again

So, are we better than the evil Russians? No matter what PFC has, or has not done, he is still an American soldier, and deserves decent treatment when captured by enemy forces. In this case, the enemy is US. Like those who were captured and water boarded by our "interrogators" in Guantanamo, PFC Manning was forced to strip naked and humiliated in front of his jail cell, according to his lawyer, David E. Coombs. The decision to force him to be stripped of all clothing was made by Chief Warrant Officer -2 Denise Barnes. Ten months after he was arrested for allegedly leaking classified material, including diplomatic cables, "our" military brought 22 "new" charges against him, including "aiding" the enemy, to be stripped naked for seven hours at the prison during the past two nights. His supporters, and attorney David Coombs continued to charge that the conditions of his confinement were overly harsh and punitive, while the Pentagon continues to deny that: With Manning gaining worldwide attention now, it's worth recalling that three months ago he was largely forgotten. How did so much change? Even amid the vast Cablegate coverage, Manning got little notice, although the blog FireDogLake kept on the case. Then, on December 15, Glenn Greenwald at Salon delivered a strong piece on Manning's 'inhumane detention'!

Veterans and Service Members Against War and Racism!

Here is our 10-Point Program: 1. We demand the right to refuse illegal and immoral orders: Service members should no longer be bound to carry out the plans of the Pentagon and Wall Street in violation of US law, international law and people's right to self-determination. Service members deserve the right to resist, without persecution, orders that conflict with their own conscience. 2. We demand an immediate end to the criminal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Service members should no longer be sent to fight, kill, die, be seriously wounded and/or psychologically scarred furthering the domination of US corporations over other nations. We have nothing to gain from these wars. The occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan serve only the interests of the rich, not the service the service personnel who are sent over and over to repress people who have the right to determine their own destiny. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan are not our enemies. The more than 800 US bases in 130 countries around the world should be shut down and the troops, fleets and air power brought home. 3. We demand an end to the existing officer corps. The existing class stratification in the military must end. Officers, who are overwhelmingly from more privileged sectors of society, enjoy a much higher standard of living. They are paid significantly more, are provided much higher quality housing, and have access to services not available to enlisted personnel. For the complete 10 Point Program, please check answercoalition.org


Senator Rand Paul Says Over $500 Billion Can Be Hacked From the Budget!

Newly elected Senator Rand Paul(R-Ky.) introduced on Jan.25 the Cut Federal Spending Act, which cuts a whopping $500 billion out of the federal government's budget for fiscal year 2011. That amounts to an unprecedented 25 percent of Washington's total spending for the year. In the Feb. 7 issue, AFP editors detailed a proposal by the Republican Study Committee, which proposed dumping some $100 billion from federal appropriations. AFP published the list of programs that the conservative caucus wants to terminate, but even that proposal pales in comparison to Paul's landmark measure. In announcing his new bill, Paul said: "The solution to the government's fiscal crisis needs to begin by cutting spending at the heart of the problem - right here, on Capitol Hill." In a nutshell, Paul plans on returning government spending to 2008 levels, cutting almost all federal programs down to the bone. He wants to completely defund the Government Printing Office, which will save taxpayers billions. He is also looking to significantly cut the budgets of the federal judiciary ($2.4 billion) the Environmental Protection Agency ($3.2 billion) and departments such as Agriculture ($42 billion), Commerce ($5.3 billion) Energy ($27 billion), Education ($16 billion), Health and Human Services ($26.5 billion), Interior ($11 billion), Labor ($2.8 billion) and Housing and Urban Development. Paul also wants to scale back US war spending by $70 billion and cut Homeland Security by $25 billion. Finally, he calls for collecting unpaid taxes from federal employees ($3 billion), freezing federal workers' pay ($2 billion), selling off unused federal property ($19 billion), and repealing the banker bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program ($4.5 billion).

Woodrow Wilson: "An Invisible Empire Has Been Set up Above the Forms of Democracy!

We have an empire of lies: "Curveball" was the CIA code-name for an Iraqi exile, Rafeed al-Janabi. Eight years ago, Janabi made the US invasion of Iraq possible. His testimony bolstered claims by the Bush Administration that Iraq's president, Saddam Hussein, had developed an advanced program producing "weapons of mass destruction". Curveball's account included the details of mobile biological weapons trucks, presented by Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, to the United Nations in early 2003. Powell's apparently compelling case on WMD was used to justify the US attack on Iraq a few weeks later. Eight years later, "Curveball" revealed to the Guardian, that he had fabricated the story of Saddam's WMD back in 2000, shortly after his arrival in Germany to seek asylum. He told the paper he had lied to German intelligence in the hope his testimony might help to topple Saddam. Several disturbing facts emerged from his report: One was that the German authorities had quickly proven his account of Iraq's WMD to be false. Both British and German intelligence had travelled to Dubai to meet Bassil Latif, his former boss at Iraq's Military Industries Commission. Dr. Latif had proven that "Curveball's" claims could not be true.


Veterans and Service Members Standing Up Against War and Racism!

1. Our Service Members demand the right to refuse illegal and immoral orders. Service members should no longer be bound to carry out the plans of the Pentagon and Wall Street in violation of US law, international law and the peoples' right to self-determination.
2. They demand an immediate end to our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
3. They demand an end to the existing officer corps. They should no longer be sent to fight, kill, die, be seriously wounded, furthering the domination of US corporations over other nations.
4. They demand an end to racism, sexism, and homophobia currently prevalent in our military.
5. They demand an end to racism, sexism and homophobia now prevalent in the military.
6. They demand the right to a job, housing, health care and education for all.
7. They demand the immediate end to all military aid for governments in service to US imperialism.
8. They demand the immediate dismantling of the military-industrial complex.
9. They demand that all of those involved in pursuing war for profit be indicted.
10. They demand full reparations paid, with interest, to all victims of the US military.

Our Real US National Security Budget is $1.2 Trillion

Normally, in media accounts, you hear about the Pentagon budget and the war-fighting supplementary funds passed by our Congress for our conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but that's barely more than half of it: If Americans were ever presented the real bill for the total US national security budget, it would add up to more than $1.2 trillion a year. It's true, you won't find that figure in your daily newspaper or on your nightly newscast, but it's no misprint. It may even be an underestimate. In any case, it's the "real thing", when it comes to your tax dollars! The simplest way to grasp just how Americans could pay such a staggering amount annually for "security" is to go through what we know about the US national security budget, step by step, and add it all up. Fortunately, on February 14th, the Obama administration officially released its Fiscal Year 2012 budget request: For 2012, the White House has requested $558 billion for the Pentagon's annual "base" budget, plus an additional $118 billion to fund military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. At $676 billion, this is just the barest of beginnings when it comes to what American taxpayers will actually spend on "national security."


Governor Walker's Insane Budget Cut Proposal!

As the protests in Wisconsin continue into their third week, with thousands holding strong in the capitol of Madison, a huge showering of support for the economic rights of union members and the restoration of a strong middle class. From what I hear, it looks as though many of the merchants in that state are now fully in support of the strikers: Un-employed or under-employed workers are not good candidates for the wares of these 'former' employees, so the businessmen in Walker's state will not be able to afford the goods of these merchants. No one will be watching Gov. Scott Walker's budget address this afternoon closer than the teachers and administrators in Wisconsin's 425 school districts. Walker has said his budget will include more than $1 billion in funding cuts to schools and local governments. Schools must deal with the cuts first, and across Wisconsin administrators, school boards and teachers' unions are preparing for the fallout: Here's a roundup from the morning papers around Wisconsin: In Appleton, teachers are pushing for a contract agreement before the budget is passed. Aswaubenon schools have sent initial layoff notices to 13 teachers. In the Kiel school district, initial layoff notices have been sent to all 114 of its teachers. Get ready for a substantial rise in our illiteracy rate until this crisis has been averted!


Chris Hedges: No Other Way Out!!

Chris Hedges is a man's man, but there is a limit to what even he can endure! In his long career, he has watched mothers and fathers grief-stricken over the frail corpses of their children in hospitals in Gaza,and rural villages in El Salvador, Bosnia and Kosovo. The faces of these dead children, their bodies ripped apart by iron fragments or bullets tumbling end over end through their small, delicate frames, appears to him almost daily like faint and sadly familiar ghosts. The frailty and innocence of his own children make these images difficult to bear. A child a day dies in war-related violence in Afghanistan. Children die in roadside explosions. They die in air-strikes. They die after militants lure them to carry suicide bombs, usually without their knowledge. They die in fire-fights. They are executed by the Taliban, after being accused, sometimes correctly, of spying for the Afghan National Army. They are tiny pawns in a futile and endless war. They are robbed of their childhood. They live in fear and surrounded by the terror of indiscriminate violence. The United Nations, whose most recent report on children in Afghanistan covered a two-year period from Sept. 1, 2008 to Aug.30, 2010 estimates that in the first half of last year at least 176 children were killed and 389 more wounded, but the real number is probably much, much higher. There are big parts of the country where research can no longer be carried out!

Are Dictators Using US Weapons to Kill Their People?

According to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the region's dictators are using weapons they had purchased from the United States and its allies to kill their own people. Today, those who had embraced dictatorship in our world claim to be advocates of democracy. The Iranian president made the remarks as Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi, who has ruled that country for nearly 42 years, ordered his forces to shoot pro-democracy protesters who have taken to the streets to demand their basic rights. The Libyan people have been bombarded several times in different cities, including Zawiyah, located some 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. Two thousand people have reportedly been killed in the violence so far, despite the regime's denial that any force had been used. Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tehran supports the Libyan people's movement, and expressed the Islamic Republic's readiness to send humanitarian aid to the country.

Is Syria Developing Its Own Nuclear Program?

Earlier, Syria was blamed for the secret development of a nuclear program by Israel, and now our US government has chimed in to those accounts. The Washington Institute for Science and National Security (ISIS) has recently published a series of photographs made from spy satellites that capture a 'strange' building in Syria. Always suspicious, US experts do not rule out the fact that they are looking at secret nuclear facilities. In particular, they are concerned about an object located at a military base near the town of Marj al-Sultan. According to American sources, it was intended to be used for the enrichment of uranium from "yellow cake". Syrians allegedly planned to deliver the treated raw material to their reactor at Al-Kibar, which had been destroyed by Israeli aircraft in September 2007. According to the intelligence services of Israel, North Korean experts helped the Syrians to build the reactor, but some of these were killed during the Israeli strike. In addition to Marj al-Sultan, two more nuclear facilities meant to serve the needs of Al-Kibar were identified in Syria. Damascus has flatly refused to let IAEA inspectors on its territory to verify these reports!


Gadaffi: Crazy Like a Fox!

Though events in Libya are moving very fast, their outcome is uncertain: Muammar Gadaffi is hunkered down in Tripoli, defended by army units from his tribe and mercenaries from black Africa. Watching Colonel Muammar deliver a bombastic, defiant speech last week from the ruins of Tripoli's Bab al-Azizia barracks brought Eric Margolis back to 1987, when Libya's leader led him by the hand through the wreckage of his former residence. On 14 April, 1986, US aircraft attacked Libya after a Berlin disco frequented by US soldiers was bombed. US President Ronald Reagan blamed Libya, and denounced Gadaffi as the "mad dog of the Middle East." But a defector from Israel's Mossad later claimed the US had been duped by a false flag operation into believing Libya was behind the attack. A 2,000 lb US bomb crashed through the ceiling of Gadaffi's private quarters. He was outside in his trademark tent, but his 2-year old adopted daughter was killed. Some 87 other civilians and a few French diplomats were also killed. Americans thought this raid was "dandy": "Why Mr. Eric," a clearly confused Gadaffi plaintively asked him, "why are the Americans trying to kill me?" "Because they think you are funding every kind of anti-western group" replied Eric Margolis, and they will never forgive you for provoking the rise in Arab oil prices."