Posted by: quiscus | September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010

1.  “FBI Launching Mass Raids of Antiwar Activists’ Homes

Other raids were also reported in Chicago, Michigan, and North Carolina.

According to Reuters, Chicago antiwar activist (and longtime gay rights activist) Andy Thayer was also targeted, which he attributed to “solidarity work, for speaking out on the issues of the day.”

CNN also listed the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Twin Cities Antiwar Committee, and Students for a Democratic Society as groups whose members were targeted. The Twin Cities Antiwar Committee’s office was also raided according to the group’s attorneys.”
http://news.antiwar.com/2010/09/24/fbi-launching-mass-raids-of-antiwar-activists-homes/

2.  “Murderers, Cowards, Morons and Thieves: Portrait of an Empire in a Political Season

For viewed in this light – that is, by the declared aims of the American-led coalition of occupation — what is the entire “Af-Pak” war but a gargantuan failure to capture or kill a handful of “high value” targets, who somehow, miraculously, always manage to escape, while civilians are killed by the thousands?

But of course these “high value targets” are not the true aim of the war. The war itself is the aim of the war: the continuation of perpetual – and profitable – conflict, and the expansion of the power and privilege and corrupted wealth that accrues to the bipartisan operators (and lickspittle apologists) of a militarist empire.

Even the perpetrators of these war crimes no longer pretend that these conflicts have any real purpose; the War Machine’s own “intelligence analysts” regularly report that the wars are exacerbating the very problems they are ostensibly designed to quell: violent extremism, divisive tribalism, ignorance and poverty, repression of women, political instability in strategic regions, fear and insecurity at home, etc. But none of this matters – not to the Peace Laureate and his party of spineless corporate servitors, nor to the Republicans and their cretinous Tea Partiers, nor, it seems, to the vast majority of the American public who follow these blood-soaked factions of ruthless, third-rate gangsters, bagmen, morons and courtiers.

And now another election season is upon us. The massive acts of state terrorism committed by the United States will fall even further beneath the media radar (if that’s possible). “Progressive” forces will furiously debate the best way to rouse the “base” to support their admittedly disappointing champion, if only to keep the drooling hordes of zealous Know-Nothings at bay. They will put aside the daily murder of innocent people by their champion in order to play a few “savvy” hands of partisan politics – as if they were living in some kind of ordinary, open political system, instead of a phantasmagorical Grand Guignol of state terror, state murder and corporate rapine, a rigged game where the only outcome is more and more and more of the same.

As for me, I am long past caring about the political fortunes of murderers and cowards – and of those who want to take their places and be murderers and cowards too. I can only repeat – for the nth time – the words of Henry David Thoreau:

“How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it.”

http://www.chris-floyd.com/articles/1-latest-news/2025-murderers-cowards-morons-and-thieves-portrait-of-an-empire-in-a-political-season.html

3.  “Howard Zinn’s last testament to the immorality of war

He is critical of portrayals of any portion of humanity as “lesser” and rightly points out that only by dehumanising the enemy could strategies such as blanket bombing or the dropping of atomic bombs be perceived as possible by people who also saw themselves as moral. I remember an analysis of the media by the sociologist Christie Davies which explained how humanity could at any point be counted as identified humans, nameless members of a group or statistics, and that their moral status shifted within press coverage depending on the degree of humanity ascribed to them. “Eighteen die in bus crash” constructs the dead as a statistic. So it is with war, where “the enemy” is dehumanised or even demonised to the point where killing them is not perceived as murder, and where there are no longer “innocent” victims, just “dead enemies”.

This is a conscious process of state and media which can be seen in the censorship of films documenting the effects of the atomic bombs in the years following the war. Zinn implicitly argues that if we place ourselves into that “enemy” situation and cannot justify the military action proposed, then we are morally at fault. This may end up as a kind of pacifism, but it is one which takes critics on in different ways and asks more pointedly for each proposed action to be examined in a globalising moral light.

In these particular cases – especially the destruction of Royan, which was actually inhabited by allies rather than enemies, Zinn argues that motives of military pride, experimentation of new technology (napalm was used for the first time at Royan) and the desire for revenge outweighed the facts that none of it was strategically necessary – the port was a sideshow which posed no threat to the rapid advance of the allies towards Berlin in June 1945.

That said, the very “evils” that the war was meant to defeat was implicit in the actions of the allies. All of the allied powers had records of colonisation and all had previously invaded other countries for their own good, as they then complained of Germany or Japan doing. All defended their empires against independence movements in the years following 1945. All ultimately carried out military action that killed thousands and thousands of civilians. Blanket bombing in Dresden was described by Churchill as a “heavy raid”. At the time, racism in the US underpinned the social system as much as it fuelled the rhetoric to go to war against Japan and Germany. In this sense too, less happily, “they” were actually just like “us”. Yet, the rhetoric of war relies on “them” being seen as lesser.”
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/sep/23/howard-zinn-the-bomb

4.  “Use of Corexit in 1978 Oil Spill Delayed Recovery by DECADES

I previously pointed out:

Some experts have also said that the use of Corexit has prolonged by decades the presence of toxic crude oil, because the dispersant sinks the oil beneath the ocean surface, where it cannot be quickly broken down by sun, waves and microbes.

And the head of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Ecology Department – Terry Hazen – argues that the use of dispersants can delay recovery of ocean ecosystems by decades:

Hazen has more than 30 years experience studying the effects of oil spills. He says the oil will be damaging enough; toxic dispersants will just make it worse. He points to the 1978 Amoco Cadiz Spill off the coast of Normandy as an example. He says areas where dispersants were used still have not fully recovered, while areas where there was no human intervention are now fine.

As Hazen has noted:

“The untreated coastal areas were fully recovered within five years of the Amoco Cadiz spill,” says Hazen. “As for the treated areas, ecological studies show that 30 years later, those areas still have not recovered.”

Admittedly, chemicals other than Corexit were used in the Amoco Cadiz spill. But the precautionary tale still holds: chemicals should not be applied to oil spills unless scientists are positive that they will provide a net long-term benefit.”
http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/09/use-of-corexit-in-1978-oil-spill.html

5.  “America’s War on Terrorism against Cuba”

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21181

6.  “Israel: “Wiped off The Map”. The Rumor of the Century, Fabricated by the US Media to Justify An All out War on Iran ”

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21188

7.  “Obama argues his assassination program is a “state secret”

both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality.  But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”:  in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate its legality.

A very intense case of food poisoning in New York on Thursday, combined with my traveling home all night last night, prevents me from writing much about this until tomorrow (and it’s what rendered the blog uncharacteristically silent for the last two days).  But I would hope that nobody needs me or anyone else to explain why this assertion of power is so pernicious — at least as pernicious as any power asserted during the Bush/Cheney years.  If the President has the power to order American citizens killed with no due process, and to do so in such complete secrecy that no courts can even review his decisions, then what doesn’t he have the power to do? ”

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/09/25/secrecy/index.html

8. What a wretched idea:

“The Republican Pledge to Privatize Social Security”

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26448.htm

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