1. Poor Archimedes:
“Some might object that this crime was committed by a soldier in an occupying army, not by a civilian police officer. That objection has merit, if only to underscore what should be an obvious fact: Government police officers are an army of occupation, particularly now.
It makes little difference whether law enforcement personnel are of the federal or “local” variety, or whether they are dressed in quasi-civilian attire or kitted out in full paramilitary drag. American civilians are generally expected to render to law enforcement personnel the kind of docile submission that Archimedes — at the price of his life — refused to offer the Roman soldier who was patrolling his neighborhood in Syracuse.”
2. This is great news:
Today, the Obama Justice Department abandoned one of the most prominent phrases of the Bush administration — “enemy combatant.” In a filing with the DC District Court, the DoJ said that it would no longer use the term and asserted a new standard for the government’s authority to hold detainees at Gitmo. The Obama administration is still claiming that it has the authority to hold prisoners there, but it will now be based on authority from Congress and the international laws of war. The Bush administration claimed that the president could unilaterally hold prisoners without charge.“
3. “We are being spoon-fed stupid again
1. How did 5 alleged Al Qaeda members come together to form this statement, given that they are being held each in isolation at Gitmo? Are they allowed to meet and discuss various topics, including their alleged joy at bombing the United States? Somehow I don’t think so. We know that some of their own attorneys were not even aware of this filing or what it said. So was this done telepathically?“
Dick Cheney is almost certainly guilty of war crimes for his role in setting up and promoting the policy of torture. Even Colin Powell’s former chief of staff thinks so.
Does America still follow the rule of law? Or are the high and mighty above the law?
Actions speak louder than words – and so the answer will be provided by whether or not Cheney is actually prosecuted. “
5. “The nixing of Charles “Chas” Freeman from a post as head of the National Intelligence Council is not, as is commonly averred, a victory for the Israel lobby. It is, instead, a Pyrrhic victory – that is, a victory so costly that it really amounts to a defeat for them. Sure, they managed to keep out a trenchant critic of their Israel-centric and grossly distorted view of a proper American foreign policy, and, yes, they managed to smear him and put others on notice that someone with his views is radioactive, as far as a high-level job in the foreign policy establishment is concerned. And yet – and yet ….
They – the Lobby – have now been forced out in the open. “A lobby,” says Steve Rosen, the ringleader of the “get Freeman” lynch mob, “is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.” If so, then the Israel lobby is slated for oblivion, because as frenetically – and pathetically – as they tried to mask the centrality of their involvement, and as much as they tried to make this about other issues (his alleged ties to Saudi Arabia, his supposed views on China), everybody knows it was really all about Israel and Freeman’s contemptuous view of the “special relationship” which requires us giving Tel Aviv a blank check, moral as well as monetary. As a foreign policy realist, he thinks we ought to put our own interests first, in the Middle East and elsewhere, not those of a foreign country, no matter how much political clout – and campaign cash – its American fifth column can muster.
The real fanatics are the Israel-firsters, who have used every subterfuge, no matter how low, to maintain their parasitic grip on the American policymaking process. The really dangerous ideologues are the Likudniks and their American amen corner who willfully distort and deform American policy into a means to empower and succor a militaristic settler colony that is increasingly anti-democratic and aggressive. The Freeman affair has exposed the Israel lobby for precisely what they are: it has flushed them out of the woodwork, and brought them in from the shadows. That in itself is a great victory, one that means much more in the longterm than anyone presently imagines.“
6. “‘We don’t torture’ … right now
It was creepy listening to President Barack Obama speak to Congress recently. He said, “The United States of America does not torture.” This was followed by Congress jumping to its feet in another round of idiotic applause. But before we all get swept away in jubilation, let’s remember a couple of things.
The U.S. government most certainly has engaged in torture and depravity. We’ve seen the pictures: naked men getting punched; men handcuffed against their cells with women’s underwear pulled over their head; prisoners forced to feign masturbation; people getting attacked by dogs.
Before Abu Ghraib, there was the School of the Americas. This U.S.-run institution trains military and police officers from Central and South America. Writing in the Guardian in 2005, Naomi Klein described SOA techniques: “Early morning capture to maximize shock, immediate hooding and blindfolding, forced nudity, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep and food ‘manipulation,’ humiliation, extreme temperatures, isolation, stress positions.”
So let’s not play word games. Any AA member will tell you alcoholism doesn’t end when you stop drinking. The U.S. tortures. Whether it can stay on the wagon is a matter up for debate.
Why should we believe Obama? While Gitmo may close, the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan remains open and has plans to expand.
Bagram is not nearly as well-known as Guantanamo, but by most accounts it is more brutal. According to The New Republic, Bagram’s tactics routinely included “beatings, anal violation with sharp objects, blows to the genitals and ‘peroneal’ strikes [sharp blows to the leg with a baton or leg].”
7. “End presidential secrecy
Congress should swiftly enact a statute prohibiting secret presidential government.
The urgency was demonstrated last week when nine ill-conceived legal memoranda to justify despotism cobbled together by the pliable Jay Bybee and John Yoo in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush were belatedly released.
Their shelf-life would have been nanoseconds if they had been immediately exposed. Their counterconstitutional reasoning would have been instantly discredited. Instead, the memoranda remained intact until the twilight hours of the Bush presidency when their secrecy could no longer be guaranteed under a successor administration.“
8. And this is IN the US – absolutely ludicrous:
“Hardened U.S. Embassies Symbolic of Old Fears
Across the Manhattan street from the landmark buildings of the United Nations, a new architectural symbol of American outreach to the world is rising: an impenetrable concrete tower with 30-inch-thick concrete walls and no windows on its first seven floors.
Built to endure a chemical- or biological-weapon attack or an explosives-laden truck careening up Manhattan’s First Avenue, the new U.S. mission to the United Nations will offer the most secure diplomatic quarters in history when it is completed next year.“
9. “Obama takes US closer to total ban on cluster bombs
The United States has stepped closer to a total ban on the use and export of cluster bombs with the signing by Barack Obama of a new permanent law that would make it almost impossible for the US to sell the controversial weapons.
The decision was hailed by opponents of the weapons as a “major turnaround in US policy” that overrode Pentagon calls to permit their continued export.“
“Canadian Military Units To Undertake “Domestic Security”
The Canadian military is reorganizing its priorities to suit a “post 9/11-world,” by creating reservist units for each area of the country that would be tasked with providing “domestic security,” and involve roles such as the mass internment of citizens in the event of a terrorist attack.
“The Canadian military has embarked on a wide-ranging plan to turn its reserve soldiers into focused units trained and equipped to respond to a nightmarish array of domestic threats,” reports the National Post.
“The remodeling of the reserves will see the development of specialist units in four of the military’s regional divisions — Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and the West.”
This is an open announcement that Canada has been subdivided into military units that will be policed by military reserves, who will take a “dominant role in domestic operations in the future,” according to the article.
Of course, the necessity of the change is dressed up using the notion of troops helping people in the event of earthquakes, floods and nuclear accidents, but we also learn that one of the duties that the reservists would potentially undertake would be mass internment of citizens in camps or quarantine zones after a biological terror attack.
“We are training to establish a perimeter,” said Brigadier-General Jean Collin. “Do I see a scenario when we might be obliged to keep people in? Probably. You need to be trained to be able to make sure that you don’t become a casualty in the process of doing that security.”
Would reservists oppose the use of military units for purposes of domestic law enforcement and not show up, or would they just follow orders under the justification of a breakdown in authority after a biological attack or mass rioting after a total economic collapse?
I’m not so confident that people who have been kicking down doors, abducting, torturing and killing people in Afghanistan for seven years under the justification that they are terrorists would be unwilling to do the same to Canadian citizens if they were drilled with the same propaganda.
The militarization of law enforcement duties in the U.S., Canada and Britain is accelerating at a pace never before seen.
Last week it was revealed that the British Army is on standby to deal with rioting on UK streets as a result of the economic crisis, according to a newspaper report, which states that MI5 is targeting political activists who could help create a “summer of discontent”.
Meanwhile, in the U.S., urban warfare training drills are taking place across the country as Northcom announces that tens of thousands of active duty troops will be stationed inside the U.S. for domestic purposes.
The U.S. Army War College in November released a white paper called Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development. The report warned that the military must be prepared for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,” which could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse,” “purposeful domestic resistance,” “pervasive public health emergencies” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.” The “widespread civil violence,” the document said, “would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.”
11. “There’s nothing unique about Jim Cramer
It’s fine to praise Jon Stewart for the great interview he conducted and to mock and scoff at Jim Cramer and CNBC. That’s absolutely warranted. But just as was true for Judy Miller (and her still-celebrated cohort, Michael Gordon), Jim Cramer isn’t an aberration. What he did and the excuses he offered are ones that are embraced as gospel to this day by most of our establishment press corps, and to know that this is true, just look at what they do and say about their roles. But at least Cramer wants to appear to be contrite for the complicit role he played in disseminating incredibly destructive and false claims from the politically powerful. That stands in stark contrast to David Gregory, Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, David Ignatius and most of their friends, who continue to be defiantly and pompously proud of the exact same role they play.”
12. “CIA Report: Israel Will Fall In 20 Years
A study conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has cast doubt over Israel’s survival beyond the next 20 years.
The CIA report predicts “an inexorable movement away from a two-state to a one-state solution, as the most viable model based on democratic principles of full equality that sheds the looming specter of colonial Apartheid while allowing for the return of the 1947/1948 and 1967 refugees. The latter being the precondition for sustainable peace in the region.”
The study, which has been made available only to a certain number of individuals, further forecasts the return of all Palestinian refugees to the occupied territories, and the exodus of two million Israeli – who would move to the US in the next fifteen years.
“There is over 500,000 Israelis with American passports and more than 300,000 living in the area of just California,” International lawyer Franklin Lamb said in an interview with Press TV on Friday, adding that those who do not have American or western passport, have already applied for them.“