Thursday, April 30, 2009

The State-Secrets Privilege, Tamed

"Of the many ways that the Bush administration sought to evade accountability for its violations of the law and the Constitution under the cover of battling terrorism, one of the most appalling was its attempt to use inflated claims of state secrecy to slam shut the doors of the nation’s courthouses.

Sadly, the Obama administration also embraced this tactic, even though President Obama criticized the cult of secrecy while running for office, leaving it to the courts to stand up for transparency and accountability.

And that is just what a panel of the federal appeals court in San Francisco did on Tuesday by firmly rejecting the claim that the government can prevent a judge from even hearing those who say they were hurt by federal polices and actions.

The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated a civil lawsuit brought against a government contractor by five victims of the extraordinary rendition program, under which foreigners were kidnapped and flown to other countries for interrogation and torture."

Editorial - The State-Secrets Privilege, Tamed -

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Future of Food - Introduction

An EXCELLENT documentary (available on streaming Netflix), that explains the changes taking place in the agriculture business. You might be surprised to find out what you're feeding your family.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pirates vs. Emperors

CIA official: No proof harsh techniques stopped terror attacks on America

"I call on all governments to join with the United States... in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture." -George W. Bush, June 2003

"The Bush administration pledged yesterday for the first time that the United States will not torture terrorism suspects or treat them cruelly in an attempt to extract information, a move that comes as the deaths of two Afghan prisoners in U.S. custody are being investigated as homicides."

U.S. Pledges to Avoid Torture (

China Builds a Navy as US Focuses on Guys in Caves

Why You’ve Never Heard of the Great Depression of 1920

Iraqi oil recovery still a mirage

What Caused the Economic Crisis?

Warren Buffett called them “weapons of mass destruction” in 2003.

President Bush said they had to be regulated.

So did the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the current head of the Federal reserve.

As did the G-20 group of the world’s 20 richest nations.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan - after being one of their biggest cheerleaders - now says they are dangerous.

And a Nobel prize-winning economist said they should be “blown up or burned”, and we should start fresh.

What Are They Talking About?

What are the above-listed folks talking about?

A financial instrument called “credit default swaps” (CDS for short).

What Caused the Economic Crisis?

Ron Paul gets some love from Hillary Clinton 04/22/2009 CSPAN

Monday, April 27, 2009

Our Fearless Independent Media Ignore the Pulitzer Prize That Calls Them On Their Own Conflicts of Interest

Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime

What We Know So Far: A Torture Timeline (Updated)

Waterboarding Approved Specifically To Justify Iraq War

"The excellent and much-respected Marjorie Cohn, President of the National Lawyers Guild of the USA and Professor of Law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, has discovered that waterboarding was first approved in July 2002 by Condoleeza Rice, specifically to force confessions of links between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein."

Craig Murray - Waterboarding Approved Specifically To Justify Iraq War

Pelosi Now Remembers Harman Wiretap

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi acknowledged today that she had indeed been briefed about a wiretap that recorded conversations involving Representative Jane Harman, contradicting a statement she made on Tuesday when she said she didn’t remember being advised of such surveillance."

Pelosi Now Remembers Harman Wiretap - The Caucus Blog -

US interpreter who witnessed torture in Iraq shot herself with service rifle

Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11

"The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa'ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology," says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq.

Torture? It probably killed more Americans than 9/11 - Middle East, World - The Independent

We Executed Japanese for Waterboarding our POWs

"McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as 'water cure,' 'water torture' and 'waterboarding,' according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning." Politifact went on to report, "A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps."

Paul Begala: Yes, National Review, We Did Execute Japanese for Waterboarding

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) says torture photos endanger troops

"Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, strongly disputed that the photos would endanger the United States and argued that practicing harsh interrogation techniques poses risks for the troops.

“What happened at Abu Ghraib is what endangers our troops. It's the practices that were authorized by high-level civilian people in the Bush administration which endangers our troops,” Levin said on the same TV program." - Bond says torture photos endanger troops

Reagan's DOJ Prosecuted Texas Sheriff for Waterboarding Prisoners

"George W. Bush's Justice Department said subjecting a person to the near drowning of waterboarding was not a crime and didn't even cause pain, but Ronald Reagan's Justice Department thought otherwise, prosecuting a Texas sheriff and three deputies for using the practice to get confessions."

t r u t h o u t | Reagan's DOJ Prosecuted Texas Sheriff for Waterboarding Prisoners

We're All Torturers Now

The reaction to the Abu Ghraib scandal was swift and bipartisan. Within days, President George W. Bush had offered a public apology for "the terrible and horrible acts," and his secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, took "full responsibility" for the scandal, promising that the offenders would be brought to justice, because the victims "are human beings. They were in U.S. custody. Our country had an obligation to treat them right. We didn't do that."

Will anything about the U.S. torture scandal ever scandalize us again? - By Dahlia Lithwick - Slate Magazine

Bush in 2003, "War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Income Tax: WWII Disney Propaganda

Is America the new Russia?

"Is the US Russia? The question seems provocative, if not outrageous. Yet the person asking it is Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and a professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In an article in the May issue of the Atlantic Monthly, Prof Johnson compares the hold of the “financial oligarchy” over US policy with that of business elites in emerging countries. Do such comparisons make sense? The answer is Yes, but only up to a point." print article

Ex-Bush official says waterboarding is torture

Armitage: 'Maybe I should have quit'

Richard Armitage, the former US Deputy Secretary of State, tells Avi Lewis on Al Jazeera's Fault Lines why he should have resigned from the Bush administration over its lack of respect for the Geneva conventions.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bailed-out banks to 'lend' staff their deferred bonuses immediately, making mockery of Government ban

U.S. phone intercepts go beyond legal limits: report

NSA spied on member of Congress and broke new laws, report says

Two FBI Whistleblowers Confirm Illegal Wiretapping of Government Officials and Misuse of FISA

US Air Strikes in Iraq Kill Mostly Women, Children - New England Journal of Medicine

Pentagon Closes Office Accused of Issuing Propaganda Under Bush

China buys less U.S. debt as reserve growth slows

"Chinese purchases of U.S. debt help fund the U.S. government's budget deficit. Last month, Premier Wen Jiabao worried publicly about the "safety" of those investments. If China were to sell its massive Treasury holdings, U.S. interest rates could soar."

China buys less U.S. debt as reserve growth slows -

The world is buying less, just as we are creating more than we ever have.

Desperate veterans turn to suicide; VA blamed for failing to help Iraq, Afghan veterans

"Several branches of the military are reporting significant spikes in the number of suicides committed by both active-duty troops and veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Experts are calling the number of military-related suicides sweeping the country an "epidemic.""

Desperate veterans turn to suicide | | The Detroit News

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Study shows that every dollar spent on a lobbyist yields a company $220 in tax breaks

"In a remarkable illustration of the power of lobbying in Washington, a study released last week found that a single tax break in 2004 earned companies $220 for every dollar they spent on the issue -- a 22,000 percent rate of return on their investment."

Investments Can Yield More on K Street, Study Indicates - Wall Street Examiner Forums

...and here is the answer to "how do we fix it?" (It's a Washington Post link, but you have to register at that site.)

Bush officials: After Iraq invasion, Europeans hid Iran intel because they feared a U.S. attack.

"But the American-led invasion of Iraq complicated the Bush administration’s efforts to persuade other countries to take aggressive action to contain Iran’s nuclear threat. […]"

Think Progress » Bush officials: After Iraq invasion, Europeans hid Iran intel because they feared a U.S. attack.

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission."

Why I know weapons expert Dr David Kelly was murdered, by the MP who spent a year investigating his death

US accused of covert operations in Somalia

US accused of covert operations in Somalia | World news | The Observer

Are the pirates nothing more than "blowback" from our lovely CIA running around the world stirring things up?  More unintended consequences from our secret agency.

China Slows Purchases of U.S. and Other Bonds

You're Being Lied to About Pirates

"In 1991, the government of Somalia collapsed. Its nine million people have been teetering on starvation ever since – and the ugliest forces in the Western world have seen this as a great opportunity to steal the country's food supply and dump our nuclear waste in their seas.

Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the 2005 tsunami, hundreds of the dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died....

This is the context in which the "pirates" have emerged. Somalian fishermen took speedboats to try to dissuade the dumpers and trawlers, or at least levy a "tax" on them. They call themselves the Volunteer Coastguard of Somalia – and ordinary Somalis agree. The independent Somalian news site WardheerNews found 70 per cent "strongly supported the piracy as a form of national defence"."

Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent

Hawaiian Gov't Told Them 2 Years and $4 Million to Fix Their Bridge, They Did It Themselves in 8 Hours

Volunteers complete $4 million repair job for free in 8 days

This is a good example of how far gov't estimates can get out of whack.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why We Need to Investigate the Bush Torture Policies

"Former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora told Congress, "There are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the first and second identifiable causes of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq - as judged by their effectiveness in recruiting insurgent fighters into combat - are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo." Providing impunity to those who ordered the torture will be the third recruiting tool.

If the United States refuses to investigate now, it will be more likely that some future administration will repeat this scenario. The use of torture should be purged from our system, much like we eradicated slavery."

Spain investigates what America should - SF Chronicle

Even if you think that starting the war in Iraq was somehow justifiable, you have to admit the WAY the wars have been executed is shameful, inept, and criminally derelict in duty. By investigating the abuses of power and breaches of the law, we can begin to rebuild the good name of the U.S. in the eyes of the world. You cannot put a price on credibility and integrity, and we must attempt to repair this if we want to lead by example. With the world looking to us for guidance and leadership in forming governments and laws, we must not be afraid to admit we were wrong, and follow the facts, wherever they go.

The Best Way To Rob a Bank - Own One

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

This guy understands what's going on with the banks. Watch it.

CIA Stops Using Privately Contracted Interrogators

"CIA Director Leon Panetta yesterday told employees of the spy agency that private contractors will no longer be permitted to interrogate suspected terrorists and that the agency will close down what remains of its secret network of detention centers."

In the Nation | Philadelphia Inquirer | 04/10/2009


Holocaust Survivor Abused by Israeli Security

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Official George W. Bush Presidential Librarium

Officials: Torture confessions not proven useful - White House pressured CIA to extract plots

"Moreover, within weeks of his capture, US officials had gained evidence that made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President Bush had publicly described him as "Al Qaeda's chief of operations," and other top officials called him a "trusted associate" of Osama bin Laden and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed."

Officials: Torture confessions not proven useful - The Boston Globe

Well, I'm glad we gave up our moral authority image in the world for that information. Reagan's shining beacon of hope was bull anyway.

U.S. Banks Operating Without Reserves

The Grand Illusion