Will Bunch: Reagan Would Be 102, and Against Obama's Drone Policy!

Ronald Reagan was born on this date 102 years ago today. He died in June 2004, but I've written quite a bit about him in the intervening years, especially while, and after I wrote a 2009 book about Reagan and his legacy called "Tear Down This Myth." Why focus so much on a man who left the Oval Office 24 years, who died nearly eight years ago? The main and most important reason is that the modern Republican Party has warped Reagan's legacy for its own 21st century political purposes, twisting his actual views and his official actions on everything from war to taxes into a right wing vision that the "Gipper" himself probably wouldn't recognize. So it's useful from time to time to remind ourselves who Ronald Reagan really was, and wasn't, in order to beat back dumb ideas in the present. Beyond that, I'm a huge fan of recalling our history, in general, because remembering where we've been, can teach us a thing or two about where we are going now. As we debate reducing the federal deficit, for example, it's useful to remember that Reagan saw raising taxes, something he did 11 times as president, as part of the solution. The tale of how Reagan deregulated the savings and loan industry, with disastrous results, should have warned us about deregulating the banksters, even though it clearly didn't. Let's be clear, that there was quite a lot about the real, non mythical Ronald Reagan not to like, his encouragement of a Gordon Gekko economy, that created a yawning gap between rich and poor, his embrace of death squads, and other atrocities by US surrogates in Central America, and his failure to address problems from the Aids crisis, to growing homelessness.        

Jim W. Dean: Uri Avnery Attends the New Knesset!

Israel's preeminent political observer gives us a personal Knesset tour, as no one else can. Turning a new leaf, or the same old thing? We have been anxiously awaiting how the post election maneuvering might give some clues of where the 25% of the seats the Netanyahu Lieberman team ended up, for better or worse. Uri's analysis seems to be still up in the air, but that we should not hold our breath waiting for the tooth fairy to come sprinkling magic dust. I use that analogy, because when I was a kid, this was my first choice of a job when I grew up. It wasn't a cross gender thing at all, but the big stash of cash she had, and magic part being so cool, that attracted me. But mother put the kabosh on that. She threatened to kill me, if she caught me playing tooth fairy, or any other kind. Israeli politics is virtually never covered by American media, and there is good reason for that. America's opinion of Israel, and Israeli's in general would go way down. After all, a fortune has been spent propagandizing us, they are all this homogenous monolithic one mind group, forged together by 2000 years of persecution, which by the way, we are all guilty of, and anything can be done to us out of righteous retribution. You remember that part of the "schtick", I am sure. Everybody else that was persecuted during the 2000 years, sorry: you must go to the back of the bus, and stay there. We will call for you when it is time to clean up. In my early research on the wonderful world of Zionism, I ran across a delightful resolution passed by the Knesset, that listed all the nasty names that members could no longer use, when describing fellow Knesset members. The list went on and on, and on. It was astounding. It was like the Guinness World Record for the longest list of nasty things to call people. What I learned is, that if they are unhappy or upset about anything, you were going to hear a lot about it, and maybe more than you wanted to. Gentiles listening to Israeli Jews getting this treatment and think, "Gee, those are a lot of anti semitic comments I am hearing, but none of them are calling each other anti semites."    

Stephen Lendman: Obama Declares Global Cyberwar!

Throughout his tenure, Obama governed lawlessly for the monied interests that own him. He's waged no holds barred war on humanity. Strategy includes homeland tyranny, fear mongering, saber rattling, hot wars, proxy ones, drone ones, domestic political ones, geopolitical ones, financial ones, anti populist ones, sanctions, subversion, sabotage, targeted assassinations, mass murder, cyberwar, and more. In May 2009, Obama prioritized cyber security. He called cyber threats "one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation." "America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cyber security." He ordered a top to bottom review. A Cyberspace Policy Review report followed. He waged cyber war on Iran. He did so cooperatively with Israel. In spring 2010, Iranian intelligence discovered Stux net malware contamination. The computer virus infected its Bushehr nuclear facility. At the time, operations were halted indefinitely. Israel was blamed. Washington was involved. Had the facility gone online infected, Iran's entire electrical power grid could have been shut down. A more destructive virus called "Flame malware" is known. Internet security experts say it's 20 times more harmful than Stuxnet. Iran's military industrial complex is targeted. So is its nuclear program. Maximum disruption is planned. Obama supports draconian cyber security bills. Passage threatens constitutional freedoms. Targeted assassinations eliminate America's enemies. Lawless domestic spying is policy. So is warrantless wiretapping. Americans are as vulnerable as others. Obama's waging war on humanity. He's doing it multiple ways. Last October, he signed an executive order. It expanded military authority. It authorized cyber attacks. It redefined defense. Doing so lawlessly legitimizes aggression. In November, Presidential Policy Directive 20 followed. It's secret. It set guidelines for confronting cyberspace threats. Last fall, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a "cyber Pearl Harbor." It could "cause physical destruction and loss of life," he said. It could "paralyze and shock the nation, and create a new profound sense of vulnerability." 


Common Rights: Genocide Warnings and Updates 2006

The status of these treaties changes. Occasionally. "Reservations," "Understandings," or "Declarations," are attempted by individual countries at signing or ratification. These and the current status of each treaty, are listed with The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in Geneva Switzerland. The applicability of The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide may be affected by the creation of the permanent International Criminal Court, which is empowered to deal with "the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression", based on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, "the most serious crimes of concern to the international community." The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, treaty, and ratification status in both French and English, are available from the United Nations through: http://www.un.org/law/icc/. December 30, 2006, Argentina: Madrid: Rodolfo Almiran, a former police officer, alleged by Argentinian judges to be a member of an anti communist terrorist, death squad group "AAA", operating under President Peron , and wanted for specific murders in Argentina, is arrested in Spain for extradition to Argentina. "Spanish police arrests ex policeman Almiron," Reuters, December 28, 2006, Reuters foundation Alertnet, "Argentine death squad man held, December 28, 2006. Luis Patti, accused of rights abuses was prevented from taking his seat in Congress, partly due to the testimony of a construction worker Luis Gerez, tortured by police during the "dirty war", who disappeared December 27th on the way to buy groceries. His is the second recent disappearance of witnesses testifying against police crimes during the "dirty war".
Montevideo Uruguay: Juan Maria Bordaberry, former President of Uruguay, then dictator under military rule, arrested November 17th, is to be held responsible at law for ten deaths as a result of "the detention and torture to which these people were subjected, as part of a regime installed by Bordaberry, without which these crimes would not have been committed". Information: "Uruguay ex dictator to be tried on 10 more murders," Reuters, December 20, 2006. Many of those who committed crimes under Plan Condor are protected by amnesty laws, serving political and military interests, rather than justice.     

Tom Dispatch: Todd Miller, Locking Down the Borders!

In the always good news category, a Monday front page New York Times piece by David Sanger and Thom Shanker, filled with obvious administration leaks, lays out another step in the White House's march out of American legality. As it has codified its drone assassination strikes, so it has been codifying and "legalizing" another new right of the Executive Branch, the right to launch preemptive cyber-attacks "if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, even if there is no declared war." Of course, the White House has already launched such a set of attacks against Iran's nuclear program, without even the excuse of a threatened "major digital attack." In other words, in total secrecy it initiated the planet's first state run cyber war, without notice to, or consultation with anyone, and keep in mind that someday, given the potential devastation cyber attacks could wreak on our highly electronic way of life, cyber weapons will surely be reclassified as weapons of mass destruction. In the meantime, with the Pentagon quickly expanding its new Cyber Command, the White House has taken another major form of potential aggression, and given itself the right to use it without the say so of anyone else. It is essentially codifying, and declaring legal a cyber version of George W Bush's post 9/11 doctrine of preemptive war and, for all we know, heading for Dick Cheney's infamous one percent doctrine. Even a one percent chance of an attack on the United States, went Cheney's thinking, especially involving weapons of mass destruction, must be dealt with as if it were a certainty. Yet here's the strange thing. Even when such news hits the front page of the newspaper of record, it somehow doesn't make much of an impression on us. As various forms of perpetual war are made legal by the White House, remarkably few find this worth the bother to discuss or debate, no less protest. Nonetheless, this week Tom Dispatch remains focused on the issue of legality or illegality, and our National Security Complex, as well as on the lock down of this country, since the two are so intertwined. On Sunday, Noam Chomsky explored why "the United States has the right to use violence at will,"and why, when it does, it's "legal."      

Gordon Duff: With UN Report,Will Israeli Settlers be ,

Prosecuted for War Crimes? "Yigal Palmor. speaking for Israel, made it clear that Israel planned to continue to violate international law, and felt it was not subject to UN resolution, the Geneva Convention, or the International Criminal Court at The Hague." On January 31, 2013, a three member UN panel cited Israel as in violation of the human rights of Palestinians, and the sovereignty of the Palestinian  nation. Though a legal case was made for the immediate forcible removal of all Israeli citizens from the West Bank, citing the authority of the nations that are signatory to the Geneva Convention and or members of the International Criminal Court, the real meaning of today's findings is unclear. Typically, the United Nations Security Council, a body that has, historically, protected Israel from compliance with international law through American vetoes, is the deciding body in breaches of the Geneva Convention. However, today's report cites "grave breaches" of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, particularly involving forced deportation, collective punishment and systematic violation of human rights. Precedent established for tribunals, involving Rwanda and Yugoslavia, have established universal jurisdiction under the ICC, under procedures that are not subject to the political wranglings of UNSC politics. Thus, the establishment today of "grave breaches", combined with the newly recognized status of the Palestinian State, if precedent is followed, opens the door for war crimes prosecutions, something otherwise impossible previously. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that he was in complete agreement with commission findings, and reiterated his previous statement that "all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law." The Secretary General made it clear, that the commission's findings, that Israeli settlements contravened the Fourth Geneva Conventions forbidding the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territories. An immediate demand was made for Israel to cease all construction, and to withdraw up to half a million "settlers", whose continued occupation has been deemed illegal. The United Nations was very specific, any and all "settlers" face potential indictment as war criminals.         


Stephen Lendman: Hillary Clinton. Profile of Imperial Arrogance

and lawlessness: She was Washington's 67th Secretary of State. She served from January 21, 2009 to February 1, 2013. She's arguably America's worst. From 2001 to 2009, she was US Senator from New York. In 2008, she challenged Obama for the Democrat party's presidential nomination. Supporters urge her to run again in 2016. She's noncommittal. When asked, she says "I am not not thinking about anything like that right now." She also said she'll do everything she can to make sure that women compete at the highest levels, not only in the United States but around the world." Husband Bill urges her to run. Some suspect she already made her move. With or without her support, a "Ready for Hillary" political action committee was formed. It's raising money for 2016. Campaigning never ends. America's electoral season is seamless. Hillary for 2016 T-shirts are for sale. Friends of Hillary Facebook send regular messages. When launching her 2008 campaign, she said: "I'm in to win." Insiders say she hasn't changed her mind. In 2016, she'll be 69. In December, she scored high in public approval. A Washington Post ABC News poll showed 57% of Americans support her presidential ambitions. Over 80% of Democrats back her candidacy. Two thirds of US women do. Two thirds of Americans give her high marks as America's top diplomat.. She scored higher than any previous Secretary of State in 20 years of polling. In four years, she visited 112 countries. She traveled nearly a million miles. She self promoted everywhere. She has larger than life ambitions. She's gone from State. She's very much still involved. The New York Times profiled her. She's "at the peak of her influence," it said. She's "an instant presidential front runner." She's gone from State. She's very much still involved. The New York Times profiled her. She's "at the peak of her influence," it said. She's "an instant presidential front runner." She's got lots of time to pursue her goal. "We need a new architecture for this new world," she says. Obama exceeded the worst of George Bush. Clinton joined his war cabinet. She's ideologically hardline. She was a Wellesley College Goldwater Girl. She was president of Wellesley's Young Republicans. She's militantly pro war. In the 1990's, she was very much part of Bill's foreign policy team. As an aggressive first lady, she had lots of influence.       

Devon DB: The Crisis in Mali. A Historical Perspective on the Tuareg People!

Currently the ongoing situation in Mali is gaining traction in the media with the reporting of Al Qaeda members within the ranks of the Tuareg rebels. The situation is quite complicated, and involves not only France, but also the US, and partially Canada, and links to the interests of these Western powers with not just Mali, but with the African continent as a whole. However, in order to get a better handle on the situation, there must first be an understanding of the domestic actors, namely the Tuareg people. The Tuareg are a people that have lived in northern Mali, as early as the fifth century BCE, according to Herodotus. After establishing the city of Timbuktu in the 11th century BCE, according to Herodotus. After establishing the city of Timbuktu in the 11th century, the Tuareg traded, traveled, and conquered throughout Saharan over the next four centuries, eventually converting to to Islam in the 14th century, which allowed them to gain great wealth, trading salt, gold, and black slaves. This independence was swept away when the French colonized Mali, when they defeated the Tuareg at Timbuktu, and established borders and administrative districts to rule the area until Mali declared independence in 1960. The Tuareg people have consistently wanted self independence, and in pursuit of such goals, have engaged in a number of rebellions. The first was in 1916 when, in response to the French not giving the Tuareg their own autonomous zone, called Azawad as was promised, they revolted. The French violently quelled the revolt, and subsequently confiscated important grazing lands, while using Tuaregs as forced conscripts and labor, and fragmented Tuareg societies through the drawing of arbitrary boundaries between Soudan (Mali) and its neighbors. Yet, this did not end the Tuareg goal of an independent, sovereign state. Once the French had ceded Mali independence, the Tuareg began to push toward their dream of establishing Azawad once again with several prominent Tuareg leaders lobbying for a separate Tuareg homeland, consisting of northern Mali, and parts of modern day Algeria, Niger, Mauritania. "However, black politicians like Modibo Keita, Malis first President, made it clear that independent Mali would not cede its northern territories.   

Stephen Lendman: Obama Jobs Destroyer

Phantom numbers conceal dire conditions. Reports are manipulated to distort reality. Last year's data overstated about half a million jobs. Seasonal adjustments turn reality on its head. So does the so called "birth death model." It estimates net non reported jobs from new businesses, minus losses from others no longer operating. During current economic hard times, it magically creates nonexistent jobs. Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) admits misreporting, saying: "The confidence level for the monthly change in total employment, is on the order of plus or minus 430,000 jobs." Mark Twain's maximum about lies, dams lies and statistics perhaps applies mostly to government managed news misinformation. What matters most is concealed. Claiming economic conditions are sound, when real unemployment is 23%, is one of the worst damn lies. Bipartisan complicity to destroy America's social contract, when it's most needed, shows total disregard for vital needs. It proves government officials are enemies, not allies. Labor market reality reflects it. Monthly jobs reports are more trick than treat. Nearly 25 million Americans remain jobless. Low pay, poor benefit part time or temp ones replace full time ones. Each fall and winter, well above trend job gains are reported. Every spring and summer, they're reversed and then some. Hundreds of thousands of previously reported jobs vanish. They never existed in the first place. Phantom numbers replace real ones. Official ones are statistical illusions. Obama is more jobs destroyer than creator. The latest jobs reports underwhelmed. Economist David Rosenberg said "classic measures of employment dispersion or breadth receded significantly." He asked how can growth be sound, when 212,000 part time jobs replaced full time ones for "economic reasons." "And the broadest measure of unemployment remains stuck at a depression like 14.4%." For the past four years, long term unemployment practically doubled to nearly five million. I'll take years to undo the damage. It'll never be undone, if destructive policies substitute for constructive ones.  


Gordon Duff: With UN report, will Israeli settlers be prosecuted for war crimes?

"Yigal Palmor, speaking for Israel, made it clear that Israel planned to continue to violate international law, and felt it was not subject to UN resolution, the Geneva Convention, or the International Criminal Court at the Hague." On January 31, 2013, a three member UN panel cited Israel in violation of the human rights of Palestinians, and the sovereignty of the Palestinian nation. Though a legal case was made for the immediate forcible removal of all Israeli citizens from the West Bank, citing the authority of the nations that are signatory to the Geneva Convention and, or members of the International Criminal Court, the real meaning of today's findings is unclear. Typically, the United Nations Security Council, a body that has, historically, protected Israel from compliance with international law through American vetoes, is the deciding body in breaches of the Geneva Convention. However, today's report cites "grave breaches" of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, particularly involving forced deportation, collective punishment and systematic violation of human rights. Precedent established for tribunals involving Rwanda and Yugoslavia have established universal jurisdiction under the ICC, under procedures that are not subject to the political "wranglings" of UNSC politics. Thus, the establishment today of "grave breaches", combined with the newly recognized status of the Palestinian State, if precedent is followed, opens the door for war crime prosecutions, something otherwise impossible previously. UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon stated that he was in complete agreement with commission findings, and reiterated his previous statement that "all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, is illegal under international law." The Secretary General made it clear that the commission's findings that Israeli settlements contravened the Fourth Geneva Convention, forbidding the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territories. An immediate demand was made for Israel to cease all construction, and to withdraw up to half a million "settlers", whose continued occupation has been deemed illegal. The United Nations was very specific, and any and all "settlers" face potential indictment as war criminals. Israel's response was to cite the UN commission for bias, and to dismiss its findings out of hand.       

Gordon Duff: Hysterical Obama Hoax Shows Zionist Trail.

Timed by Israel to undermine Defense Secretary nominee, Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam War combat vet, and first "tough on Israel" American to survive the smears, so far, a shocking and utterly groundless fairy tale has been spread, traced down to World Net Daily, and a bizarre coalition of neo-cons, white supremacists, "neo Nazis" and Zionist extremists. This is more than a story, it is an investigative project. This is a rare opportunity to scour the internet, make notes, see the bloated underbelly of "the enemy' exposed. The sites carrying this vicious hoax will begin running for cover. You may have to move quickly. "You just can't make stuff like this up", as Jim Dean so often says, whom I nominated for a Nobel Prize the last four years. Below is a review of Jim Garrow's "famous book." The review is totally damning: "The overall issue with Jam's book, is that he provides no specific names, places, or events with which to confirm his story". The Internet is filled with it, mystery man "Dr. Jim Garrow," said to be a nominee for a Nobel Prize, said to be a "renowned author," spreads a bizarre slander about President Obama. However, when we try to find "Dr Garrow," we are led to ultra right wing "World Net Daily," a fanatic site run by the Israeli lobby and  the article below, the only real investigation into Garrow and who and what he really is. The filth, and I can't call it anything else, spewed in millions of emails, and across hundreds of phony news websites is a gift from heaven. As the net fills with finger-pointing about "dis-info" types,we finally have a complete list. Any site that carries the carefully crafted hoax, can only be one of two things, totally controlled or, well, you figure it out! The reading is extremely unpleasant. What have we learned? Garrow's claim that Obama has set a litmus test, forcing all military officers, in order to retain their commissions, to swear to kill Americans if ordered, is totally unsupported. Moreover, if you want to know what websites are carrying this, a thinly veiled AIPAC attack on Obama, Hagel and Dempsey, the only independent American voices for decades, simply go to www.google.com, and enter "jim garrow Obama."Dr. Jim Garrow Claims Obama asked military leaders if they will "fire on US citizens" http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=13046 

Dr Paul Craig Roberts: Extermination of The Truth

In America Law no longer exists: In the 21st century Americans have experienced an extraordinary collapse in the rule of law, and in their constitutional protections. Today, American citizens, once a free people protected by law, can be assassinated and detained in prisons indefinitely, without any evidence being presented to a court of their guilt, and they can be sentenced to prison on the basis of secret testimony by anonymous witnesses not subject to cross examination. The US justice system has been transformed by the Bush-Obama regime into the justice system of Gestapo Germany and Stalinist Russia. There is no difference. In an article available here, Stephen Downs, formerly Chief Attorney with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and Kathy Manley, a criminal defense attorney, and member of the New York Civil Liberties Union, report on how the US government destroyed a charity, the Holy Land Foundation, which provided money for feeding the poor, and for building schools and hospitals in Palestine. The charity, aware of the perils of being based in the US, and doing anything for Palestinians, relied on the US State Department and the US Department of Justice for guidance on where to send humanitarian aid. The charity sent its aid to the same aid committees in Palestine that the US Agency for International Development, and the UN used to distribute aid to the Palestinians. In the first trial of the Holy Land Foundation, the US government admitted that none of the charity's donations had gone to terrorist organizations, and the federal prosecutors failed to achieve a conviction. So the prosecutors tried the charity again. In the second trial, the judge permitted the prosecutors to call an anonymous expert to tell the jury that some of the committees used by USAID and the UN, and approved by the US Department of State were controlled by Hamas, the elected government of Palestine that Israel requires the US government to brand as terrorist. As Downs and Manley point out, an anonymous expert, cannot be challenged because he is unknown. There cannot be a cross examination. The expert could be anyone, someone paid to lie to the jury, a Jew who believes all help to Palestinians comprises aid to terrorists, or a member of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service that has thoroughly infiltrated the US, according to US intelligence experts. 


BBC: GOP Attacks on Hagel Exposed. Chuck Hagel's ;

hectoring aimed at Obama: Mr Hagel went out of his way to stress he had always been a "strong friend" of Israel: The man President Barack Obama wants as his defense secretary has suffered a torrid time at the hands of his former colleagues. You would never guess that Chuck Hagel had been a Republican senator for 12 years. The men he once sat next to, treated him as an ideological enemy, with views that are repugnant. Some were also trying to settle personal scores, with a man they regard as a turncoat. In attacking him, they are also seeking to define Mr Obama, portraying his policies as defeatist and disloyal: Mr Hagel had been under attack for claiming "the Jewish lobby" had too much influence on America's politicians. So he went out of his way to stress that he had always been a "strong friend" of Israel, underscoring the fact for some Republicans, any criticism of Israel's government is unacceptable. A fellow Vietnam veteran, Senator John McCain, said he had fundamental questions about his one time friend, who broke ranks with his party over Iraq. He said he questioned Mr Hagel's judgment and his world view. He tore into the nominee for suggesting, at the time, that the Iraq surge was a potentially disastrous policy. Senator McCain wanted only "yes" or "no" answers, not explanations. It is interesting that both men assumed the surge was a potentially disastrous policy. Senator McCain wanted only "yes" or "no" answers, not explanations. It is interesting that both men assumed the surge was beyond criticism. While it is unarguable that it was a military success, it is at least possible to contend it has had little long term impact. Repeatedly, the senators insisted he gave a simple "yes" or "no" to complex questions. These are old men who hold themselves in high regard, but seem to see serious examination of difficult problems as a personal affront.   

Felicity Arbuthnot: Illegal Invasions, Rogue States,

Forgotten Victims and a Shaming Plea: The usual suspects have embarked on another mass butchery- sorry, training exercise, in mega resource rich Mali, and are meddling, with lethality, in Algeria. The UK, ever keen to kill, has gone from the Prime Minister's no boots on the ground assurances, to Operation Creep in barely over a week. The US, says a spokesman, assesses that intervention may last for years. He was talking Mali. Think Africa. The US plans a drone base on the Mali Niger border, as John Glaser has written, one of a constellation of secret drone bases in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, in Ethiopia, Djibouti, the Seychelles, and beyond, which bomb Yemen and Somalia, and most likely perform surveillance missions in East Africa and the Persian Gulf. The disaster of a recent African foray, the ruins of Libya, lives lost ranging from 30,000 to 100,000, the horror of the plight of the country's Leader, his children, grandchildren, the murder of the US Ambassador, torching of his Benghazi residence, and deaths of three US government employees, are seemingly forgotten. No lessons learned. The British Embassy in Tripoli has received credible threats with the Foreign Office, advising against travel to the country, with Westerners facing a high threat from terrorism. Yesterday's gift of democracy to Afghanistan, where US soldiers are being killed with relentless regularity by their Afghan colleagues who, of course, they have trained, has brought poverty and desperation such that the BBC, usually loyal to a fault, to any colonial invasion is reporting that some families resort to selling one child, in order to gain enough money to feed the others. In the horror of the country's prisons, the UN reports this month that torture is on the rise, and as Iraq, the unspeakable continues. In Iraq, the occupation abuses continue to haunt the invaders and the Iraqis. Today the tireless Phil Shiner, of the UK's Public Interest Lawyers, presents another case on behalf of one hundred and eighty Iraqis, in Britain's High Court, alleging they were systematically abused and tortured by British troops, using methods chillingly reminiscent of the Americans at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. The claim is of a systematic policy between 2003 and 2008 of lawless torture and killing.   

Noam Chomsky: The Paranoia of the Superrich and Superpowerful!

"Is America over?" It's a standard complaint of those who believe they should have everything. Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had? The major energy producing countries are still firmly under the control of the Western backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab Spring is limited, but it's not insignificant. The Western controlled dictatorial system is eroding. In fact, it's been eroding for some time. So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources, the main concern of US planners, have been mostly nationalized. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded. Take the US invasion of Iraq, for example. To everyone except a dedicated ideologue, it was pretty obvious that we invaded Iraq, not because of our love for democracy, but because it's maybe the second or third largest source of oil in the world, and is right in the middle of the major energy producing region. You're not supposed to say this. It's considered a conspiracy theory. The United States was seriously defeated in Iraq by Iraqi nationalism, mostly by nonviolent resistance. The United States could kill the insurgents, but they couldn't deal with half a million people demonstrating in the streets. Step by step, Iraq was able to dismantle the controls put in place by the occupying forces. By November 2007, it was becoming pretty clear, that it was going to be very hard to reach US goals, and at that point, interestingly, those goals were explicitly stated. So in November 2007, the Bush II administration came out with an official declaration about what any future arrangement with Iraq would have to be. It had two major requirements: One, that the United States must be free to carry out combat operations from its military bases, which it will retain, and two, "encouraging the flow of foreign investments in Iraq, especially American investments." In January 2008, Bush made this clear in one of his signing statements. A couple of months later, in the face of Iraqi resistance,, the United States had to give that up. Control of Iraq is now disappearing before their eyes. Iraq was an attempt to re-institute by force, something like the old system of control, but it was beaten back. In general, I think, US policies remain constant, going back to the Second World War. But the capacity to implement them is declining. Declining because of economic weakness? Partly because the world is just becoming more diverse. It has more diverse power centers. At the end of the Second World War, the United States was absolutely at the peak of its power. It had half the world's wealth , and every one of its competitors was seriously damaged or destroyed.     


Roitov.com: Assad's Best Friend Attacks Syria!!

Do you know what love is? I'll tell you: It is whatever you can still betray. John le Carre, The Looking Glass War. A thick fog covered the affair from its beginning. Considering its circumstances, this was unlikely to continue. After all, it had been captured on video by several news agencies. The pictures were the same in all the networks. However, the descriptions varied wildly. In the beginning, Israeli media reported that in the afternoon of January 29, 2013, four F16 fighters had entered Lebanon, and left it towards the Mediterranean Sea after five hours. This was not a formal acknowledgment by the IDF, since the main source quoted was the Lebanese army website. Yet, as it often happens, the Hebrew article warned Syria of transferring weapons to the Hezbollah or of losing control on their rockets. Moreover, Israel announced the deployment of two Iron Dome batteries in its north, one of them next to the city of Haifa. Shortly afterwards, confused reports were broadcast. Venezuela's "teleSUR" reported it at first as two separate events. After a while it dropped its initial report. The first event described an Israeli attack on the Lebanon Syria border, the second claimed that a research center of the Syrian army, located near Damascus had been heavily damaged by Israel. Regardless of the report, the images were the same. They showed F16 fighters from below, firing flares. Was this disinformation? Israeli propaganda? Syrian propaganda? It was impossible to tell. Iron Dome in Haifa: Absolute Friends. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. China, Russia, Iran and Syria formally denounced and condemned the attack, yet, they didn't provide details. Israel was silent. The Venezuelan network denounced the UN Secretary General for not condemning the attack on Syrian sovereignty. At this stage, they stopped providing specific details. Apparently, even they felt that something was wrong with the report. I kept waiting. The issue was unlikely to be kept secret for much longer. Following Hebrew media protocols, the issue was clarified on Saturday, February 2, by citing foreign media. A Syrian army convoy transferring Russian SA17 rockets to Lebanon, was hit, while at the Jamraya Research Center of the Syrian Army, which is located between Damascus and Lebanon, eight kilometers from the border. Both stories were true, and related to the same event, though they were both partial reports. After this was revealed, the event became of little interest due to the delay. Maybe this was the aim of the early informational mayhem.    

Stephen Lendman: Iran's Legal Right to Enrich Uranium

Unchallenged. It's been that way for years. Iran fully complies with Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) provisions. Its nuclear program is peaceful. US intelligence says so. Annually, it repeats earlier assessments. Washington, other Western countries, and Israel know what they won't admit publicly. So do media scoundrels. They target Iran unfairly. They report what's not true. They hype fear. They spread Big Lies. They claim non existent existential threats. They do it for political, not security reasons. Iran threatens no one. It hasn't attacked another country in centuries. Its neighbors have no reason for concern. Israel points fingers the wrong way. It's the region's only nuclear power. It's heavily armed and dangerous. It's got sophisticated chemical and biological weapons. It threatens to use its arsenal, if endangered. On January 31, Iran announced plans to enhance uranium enrichment. It told IAEA officials it intends to use IR2m centrifuges. An agency communication said: "The Secretariat of the Agency received a letter from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), dated 23 January 2013, informing the Agency that 'centrifuge machines type IR2m will be used in Unit A-22 at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz." It's Tehran's main enrichment facility. It's used to to enrich uranium to 5%. Faster enrichment runs counter to Western demands. They want Iran to abandon its legitimate rights altogether. Dozens of other nations have similar nuclear operations. Demands to suspend activities don't follow. Tehran alone is targeted. It's solely for political reasons. On January 29, IAEA officials asked Iran to provide technical and other information about its plans. The unit Tehran plans to upgrade can house over 3,000 centrifuges. International Institute for Strategic Studies, nuclear expert Mark Fitzpatrick said upgraded centrifuges could be "a most unfortunate game changer." It depends on the number installed. "If Iran introduces them in a large scale, the timeline for being able to produce fissile material would be significantly reduced," he said. Tehran does so for power generation and medical research. Its program is peaceful. Claiming otherwise is false. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calls Iran's enhanced enrichment plans acceptable. They're within legal limits. It's "doing everything in line with its commitment under the Safeguards Agreement," he said. 

Abayomi Azikiwe: Malian War Spreading into Niger:

French Military moves Further into Northern Region. Reports emanating from the West African state of Mali, indicate that French ground forces, accompanied by the national army from the capital of Bamako, along with a small contingent of regional troops from Niger, Burkino Faso, Togo, Senegal, Benin, Chad and Nigeria, are moving towards the northern historic city of Timbuktu. Although there has been a media blockade by the French and Malian governments about the impact of the war, details of the conditions taking place, inside the country are emerging. In the northern city of Gao, French and Malian forces claim that they have taken the airport, and are moving to occupy the city. A military press release from Paris stated that they were fired on by Al Qaeda linked terrorist elements who were destroyed, per the Associated Press, January 28. Nonetheless, the ministry of defense in France has attempted to sanitize the actual situation in the contested areas. One report asserted that no civilians have been killed in the imperialist military operations, although other news agencieshave contradicted these statements. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a press release issued on January 22, stated that air bombing and fighting continue in Mali, as refugees are continuing to cross into neighboring countries. In Mauritania, 4,208 Malian refugees are continuing to cross into neighboring countries. In Mauritania, 4,208 Malian refugees have arrived since January 11. (UNHCR) This same media advisory continues, noting that after being registered at the Fassala transit center, they are being transported further inland to the Mbera refugee camp, which is already hosting 55,221 people from earlier displacements. Curing the same time period 1,300 refugees have arrived in Niger, and 1,829 entered Burkina Faso. Malians arriving in these neighboring states, say that they are fleeing air strikes, being carried out by French fighter jets. They are complaining about shortages of food, fuel and water. Many new arrivals are traveling in vehicles, but others are on foot and on donkeys. The refugees are anticipating that other members of their families will be crossing the borders very soon. Since the escalation of fighting in the north of Mali in January 2012, which was largely the result of the US NATO war against Libya, some 147,000 refugees have fled the country. 


The Economist: Democracy in America: Immigration reform g

is not enough: If November's presidential election, in which some exit polls had Mitt Romney winning just 27% of the Latina vote, was a wake up call to Republicans, the sleep must have been deep indeed. For months, it had been clear enough to anyone with half an eye on the polls, that the Republicans were tanking among Latinos. In August, Mr Romney emerged 39 percentage points behind Barack Obama in the first of 11 weekly tracking polls carried out by Latino Decisions. Those, of course, turned out to be the good days. Whether or not Mr Romney's fondness for self deportation was to blame, the Republican pre election spin, that a focus on jobs and growth would be enough to win around Latino voters, is not only risible in retrospect, it was obviously wrong at the time. OK, election campaigns do funny things to people's brains. At least the Republicans are on board now. After all, as Reagan is once supposed to have said, Latinos are natural Republicans. They just don't know it yet. Ditch the crazy rhetoric, silence the wing-nuts, and take at least partial ownership of immigration reform, and the shared values of Republicans and Latinos, aspiration, pro enterprise, social conservatism, should emerge clearly enough to help satisfy Reagan's formula. This is certainly how John McCain is selling the proposals put forward by his "Gang of eight" senators. His home state of Arizona, where the Latino population grew by almost half between 2000 and 2010, is one that many Democratic strategists see as ripe for competition in 2016. The state has backed the Republican candidate in every presidential election, bar one since 1848. Elsewhere in the mountain west Latino votes have already helped shift the 20 electoral college votes of Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico, all of them once reliably red states, into the Democratic column in the last two elections. Mr McCain acknowledges the danger, but because of "small business, less regulation, big service in the military, pro life, all these reasons," he argues, Republicans should be able to attract enough Latino support to keep the demographic tide at bay. Mr McCain's commitment to sorting out America's broken immigration system is not in doubt, and the Republican tin ear to immigration concerns certainly helps explain Mr Romney's dismal performance among Latinos.      

The Liberty Beacon: Supreme Court to Review Case

on Obama's forged documents. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court scheduled a birther case brought on by Orly Taitz, which calls into question Barack Hussein Obama's eligibility to be president of the United States. Dr. Taitz, a lawyer from Santa Margarita California, also made the announcement on her website on January 9. As of this writing, major news networks, such as ABC, Fox News, CBS, and NBC, have yet to report on the high court's decision to review Barack Hussein Obama's eligibility to hold political office in the United States or any of its territories. The case is identified as Edward Noonan, et al., v. Deborah Bowen, California Secretary of State. On February 15, all nine justices will gather in conference to review, whether Obama used forged government documents, and fake identification in order to get elected as commander in chief. Edward Noonan, et al., contend that if Obama had been ineligible to run in 2008, other Democratic candidates should have replaced him on the presidential ballot. Additionally, electoral votes from states such as California, that went towards Obama should have been deemed null and void. The Supreme Court's website shows that docket file no. 12A6O6 was originally denied by Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, on December 13. On January 9, Chief Justice Roberts sent Dr. Tait's application to the full court, for a review scheduled for February 15. Despite the lack of exposure from the mainstream media,, the issue appears to have gained some steam among conservative bloggers. On January 9, New York Times best selling author Jerome Corsi suggested that the president's nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, may have played a role in removing birther evidence from Barack Obama's passport records. It appears that in 2008, a State Department insider was simultaneously employed by Analysis Corporation of McLean, Virginia, then headed by Mr Brennan, and was reprimanded for accessing, and possibly altering Obama's passport records.On Wednesday, Dr. Orly Taitz, who represents the birther cause, posted the following on her website: The case provides a mountain of evidence of Barack Obama using a last name not legally his, forged Selective Service application, forged long form and short form birth certificate, and a Connecticut Social Security number 042-68-4425, which was never assigned to him, according to E-Verify and SSNVS. Additionally, this case provides evidence of around one and a half million invalid voter registrations in the state of California alone. 

Allen L Roland: Chuck Hagel is Right Person at Right Time!

Chuck Hagel is the right person at exactly the right time as Secretary of Defense, for his thinking is in concert with main street America, but not necessarily in agreement with our AIPAC cominated Congress. Chuck Hagel is a potential breath of fresh air in the corporate polluted and AIPAC dominated belt way, which enjoys a good or excellent Congressional approval rating, from a scant 9% of American voters, and where 53% of Americans still rightfully feel that neither party represents the American people. Watch and listen to Hagel's opening statement, and you'll witness a humble and plain speaking American patriot, who has seen war and carnage first hand as an infantryman in Vietnam, and who is committed to this refreshing declaration "that our military policies must be worthy of the sacrifices of our military and their families." At the end of these nomination hearings, the impact of the Hagel nomination could well be more about the future of the Republican Party. Susan Eisenhower correctly writes on January 9th: "The Republican Party is now at a crossroads. Over the last decade, moderate Republicans have felt increasingly out of place in its ranks. If the GOP confirms Hagel, it could bolster the idea of a "big tent" Republican Party. A GOP led rejection of a Republican war hero with impeccable centrist credentials, however, could well be a fatal blow to that concept, along with some of the party's longest and most successful traditions. Uri Avery in Israel, precisely summed up my feelings about the Hagel nomination on January 12, 2013: I find Chuck Hagel eminently likeable. I am not quite certain why. Perhaps it's his war record. He was decorated for valor in the Vietnam War. He was a mere sergeant. Since I was a mere corporal in our 1948 war, I find it elating to see a non commissioned officer become Minister of Defense. Like so many veterans, who have seen war from close up, he has become an enemy of war. Wonderful, now Hagel is violently attacked by all the neo-con warmongers. Almost none of whom has ever heard a bullet whistle in the wars to which they sent others, and the combined political regiments of the American Jewish establishment. His main sin seems to be that he objects to war against Iran.