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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 04/29/2012 - 05/06/2012
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"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Glenn: Not a single War on Terror victim and not a single government official has faced the courts - not one...!


rule of law...? accountability... ? the justice system...? blind lady justice...? fuhgedaboudit...

[O]f all the American institutions that have so profoundly failed in the wake of 9/11 to protect the most basic liberties — Congress, both political parties, the establishment media, the Executive Branch, the DOJ specifically — none has been quite as disgraceful as the federal judiciary, whose life tenure is supposed to insulate them from base political pressures that produce cowardly and corrupted choices. And yet, just consider these two facts:
(1) not a single War on Terror victim — not one — has been permitted to sue for damages in an American court over what was done to them, even when everyone admits they were completely innocent, even when they were subjected to the most brutal torture, and even when the judiciary of other countries permitted their lawsuits to proceed; and,
(2) not a single government official — not one — has been held legally accountable, either criminally or even civilly, for any War on Terror crimes or abuses; perversely, the only government officials to pay any price were the ones who blew the whistle on those crimes.

Even worse, if you’re a Muslim accused of any Terror-related crime, your conviction in a federal court is virtually guaranteed, as federal judges will bend the law and issue pro-government rulings that they would never make with a non-Muslim defendant; conversely, if you’re a government official who abused or otherwise violated the rights of Muslims, your full-scale immunity is virtually guaranteed. Those are the indisputable rules of American justice. So slavish and subservient are federal judges when it comes to Muslim defendants that if you’re a Muslim accused of any Terror-related crime, you’re probably more likely at this point to get something approximating a fair trial before a Guantanamo military tribunal than in a federal court; that is how supine federal judges have been when the U.S. Government utters the word “terrorism” in the direction of a Muslim or any claims of “national security” relating to 9/11.

it's a pretty pass we've come to in the land of the free and the home of the brave...

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Friday, May 04, 2012

Detainee Processing Technique

this ought to inspire chills...
Restricted U.S. Army Internment and Resettlement Operations Manual

FM 3-39.40 Internment and Resettlement Operations

4-33. Upon capture, Soldiers must process detainees using the “search, silence, segregate, speed, safeguard, and tag (5 Ss and T)” technique. This technique provides a structure to guide Soldiers in conducting detainee operations until they transfer custody of detainees to another authority or location. Complete the “5 Ss and T” technique as follows:
  • Search. Neutralize a detainee and confiscate weapons, personal items, and items of potential intelligence and/or evidentiary value.
  • Silence. Prevent detainees from communicating with one another or making audible clamor such as chanting, singing, or praying. Silence uncooperative detainees by muffling them with a soft, clean cloth tied around their mouths and fastened at the backs of their heads. Do not use duct tape or other adhesives, place a cloth or either objects inside the mouth, or apply physical force to silence detainees.
  • Segregate. Segregate detainees according to policy and SOPs (segregation requirements differ from operation to operation). The ability to segregate detainees may be limited by the availability of manpower and resources at the POC. At a minimum, try to segregate detainees by grade, gender, age (keeping adults from juveniles and small children with mothers), and security risk. MI and military police personnel can provide additional guidance and support in determining the appropriate segregation criteria.
  • Speed. Quickly move detainees from the continuing risks associated with other combatants or sympathizers who may still be in the area of capture. If there are more detainees than the Soldiers can control, call for additional support, search the detainees, and hold them in place until reinforcements arrive.
  • Safeguard. Protect detainees and ensure the custody and integrity of all confiscated items. Soldiers must safeguard detainees from combat risk, harm caused by other detainees, and improper treatment or care. Report all injuries. Correct and report violations of U.S. military policy that occur while safeguarding detainees. Acts and/or omissions that constitute inhumane treatment are violations of the law of war and, as such, must be corrected immediately. Simply reporting violations is insufficient. If a violation is ongoing, a Soldier has an obligation to stop the violation and report it.
  • Tag. Ensure that each detainee is tagged using DD Form 2745. Confiscated equipment, personal items, and evidence will be linked to the detainee using the DD Form 2745 number. When a DA Form 4137 is used to document confiscated items, it will be linked to the detainee by annotating the DD Form 2745 control number on the form.

coming soon to a neighborhood near you...

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Adbusters Tactical Briefing #31 - Three challenges Occupy must overcome

food for thought...

Three challenges Occupy must overcome

Hey you nimble dreamers, believers and jammer tacticians out there.

Our movement has reemerged from winter hibernation to find that this spring we are different but so too is the political and tactical situation. Occupy now faces a series of existential challenges that will define the month of May and set the tone for our long-term future.

#1 challenge: Jump over the corporate media

It took the New York Times two weeks last year to wake up to the insurrection percolating in their own backyard. This May Day, we saw an insidious attempt to ignore and discredit us right across the mainstream media. Time to jam the corpo-commercial lie machine and shift the way information flows and meaning is produced. Here is occupier Charles Young’s take on the blackout:
“I know. It’s just a coincidence. Or conspiracy theory. The .01% who rule the United States would never stoop to such stunts to knock Occupy Wall Street off the front page and surround it with mentions of terrorism… But Occupy wasn’t on the Times’ front page, online or in print, either.” Read more at Counterpunch.

#2 challenge: Block the co-optation of our movement

Last September, the old left didn’t want to touch us. Then Occupy captured the world’s imagination and now they are jumping in to channel our energy into electoral politics and symbolic actions. Founding Zuccotti Marisa Holmes warns that the co-opters are a deep threat to our movement:
“This is an election year. Everything is at stake. There will be many more attempts like The 99% Spring to come. The 1% … seek to manage social movements via foundations thru resource allocation, top-down structures, and co-opting language. In the past this strategy has proven effective at dividing, conquering, and integrating movements into respectable forms of activism, and it’s starting to take hold… We must not be pacified!” Read more in the Occupy! Gazette #4.

#3 challenge: Occupy the future

Our most difficult task of all is to describe, build and sustain the post-capitalist future we want to live in. Here is Slavoj Žižek’s stab to get your juices flowing:
“It is not enough to reject the depoliticized expert rule as the most ruthless form of ideology; one should also begin to think seriously about what to propose instead of the predominant economic organization, to imagine and experiment with alternate forms of organization, to search for the germs of the New. Communism is not just or predominantly the carnival of the mass protest when the system is brought to a halt; Communism is also, above all, a new form of organization, discipline, hard work.” Read more at the Guardian.

Hey occupiers: the old world has no future; their leaders have no solutions. Now everything from how we live to how we love and how the world is governed is up for grabs. Can we rise to the challenge? Let the tactical brainstorm begin.

for the wild,
Culture Jammers HQ

i guess we'll see what happens, won't we... to me the key dates are the may 20-21 nato summit in chicago...

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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Stiglitz: Moral deprivation, all the apples in the barrel are rotten and capitalism is broken

when i read stiglitz' book, globalization and its discontents, in 2003, it opened my eyes... that was the first year i worked in international development and i was witnessing first-hand a lot of different dynamics that i was trying to make sense out of... sitting in a former communist country and watching the mad scramble to shift to a market economy would have simply been undecipherable chaos for me if i had not had stiglitz as a guide... i was left with a deep impression of a profoundly moral person of great intellect who was nonetheless gifted in making hugely complex forces understandable in ways that upheld what i had come to believe was basic common sense... i'm pleased to see him still out in front as a rational, moral force at a time when the quasi-religious ideology of capitalism is collapsing under its own weight...

this is an excerpt from a daily beast article quoting stiglitz from his latest book, from cairo to wall street: voices from the global spring...
If no one is accountable, the problem must lie in the economic system. This is the inevitable conclusion and the reason that the protesters are right to be indignant. Every barrel has its rotten apples, but the problem, as MIT Professor Susan Silbey has written, comes when the whole barrel is rotten.

Much of what has gone on can only be described by the words moral deprivation. Something wrong had happened to the moral compass of so many of the people working in the financial sector. When the norms of a society change in a way that so many have lost their moral compass—and the few whistle-blowers go unheeded—that says something significant about the society. The problem is not just the individuals who have lost their moral compass but society itself.
What the protests tell us is that there was outrage and that outrage gives hope. Americans have always had an idealistic streak, reflected both in the instruction in schools and in political rhetoric. Kids read the Declaration of Independence, “all men are created equal,” and they read the words literally, all men, white and black, and they believe them. They recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which promises “justice for all,” and they believe it.

The political system seems to be failing as much as the economic system, and in some ways, the two failures are intertwined. The system failed to prevent the crisis, it failed to remedy the crisis, it failed to check the growing inequality, it failed to protect those at the bottom, and it failed to prevent the corporate abuses. And while it was failing, the growing deficits suggested that these failures were likely to continue into the future.
Americans, Europeans, and people in other democracies around the world take great pride in their democratic institutions. But the protesters have called into question whether there is a real democracy. Real democracy is more than the right to vote once every two or four years. The choices have to be meaningful. The politicians have to listen to the voices of the citizens. However, increasingly, and especially in the United States, it seems that the political system is more akin to “one dollar one vote” than to “one person one vote.” Rather the correcting the market’s failures, the political system is reinforcing them.


[P]rotesters are asking for so little: for a chance to use their skills, for the right to decent work at decent pay, for a fairer economy and society. Their requests are not revolutionary but evolutionary. But at another level, they are asking for a great deal: for a democracy where people, not dollars, matter; and for a market economy that delivers on what it is supposed to do. The two demands are related: unfettered markets do not work well, as we have seen. For markets to work the way markets are supposed to work, there has to be appropriate government regulation. But for that to occur, we have to have a democracy that reflects the general interests, not the special interests. We may have the best government that money can buy, but that won’t be good enough.

i will put stiglitz' argument into my own words... i believe he's making a case for a return to the concept of the common good, a concept i believe has been under constant assault by the social darwinian mindset of our super-rich elites... we can't get back to it fast enough to suit me...

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Gareth Porter: None of the official line on bin Laden is true

gareth porter has one of the more credible reputations in investigative journalism and in this truthout exclusive, blows the lid off the inflated and conflated mythology being dispensed as fact...
A few days after US Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a "senior intelligence official" briefing reporters on the materials seized from bin Laden's compound said the materials revealed that bin Laden had, "continued to direct even tactical details of the group's management." Bin Laden was, "not just a strategic thinker for the group," said the official. "He was active in operational planning and in driving tactical decisions." The official called the bin Laden compound, "an active command and control center."

The senior intelligence official triumphantly called the discovery of bin Laden's hideout, "the greatest intelligence success perhaps of a generation," and administration officials could not resist leaking to reporters that a key element in that success was that the CIA interrogators had gotten the name of bin Laden's trusted courier from al-Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo. CIA Director Leon Panetta was quite willing to leave the implication that some of the information had been obtained from detainees by "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Such was the official line at the time. But none of it was true. It is now clear that CIA officials were blatantly misrepresenting both bin Laden's role in al-Qaeda when he was killed and how the agency came to focus on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

In fact, during his six years in Abbottabad, bin Laden was not the functioning head of al-Qaeda at all, but an isolated figurehead who had become irrelevant to the actual operations of the organization. The real story, told here for the first time, is that bin Laden was in the compound in Abbottabad because he had been forced into exile by the al-Qaeda leadership.

i am not going to immediately claim that everything porter reports in this story is true - after all, how could i? - but i will go so far as to say that it's completely plausible... and, if it is true, what a glimpse it provides behind the smoke and mirrors of our government and its campaign of endless war...

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Glenn: The War on Terror is the end in itself, and Terrorism is merely its pretext

as with so many other things i've posted about on this blog, i find myself endlessly posting about and repeating the same sad litany of abuses and outrages time after time...

glenn greenwald...
In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s summary execution one year ago, many predicted that the War on Terror would finally begin to recede. Here’s what has happened since then:
*With large bipartisan majorities, Congress renewed the once-controversial Patriot Act without a single reform, and it was signed into law by President Obama; Harry Reid accused those urging reforms of putting the country at risk of a Terrorist attack.
* For the first time, perhaps ever, a U.S. citizen was assassinated by the CIA, on orders from the President, without a shred of due process and far from any battlefield; two weeks later, his 16-year-old American son was also killed by his own government; the U.S. Attorney General then gave a speech claiming the President has the power to target U.S. citizens for death based on unproven, secret accusations of Terrorism.
* With large bipartisan majorities, Congress enacted, and the President signed, a new law codifying presidential powers of worldwide indefinite detention and an expanded statutory defintion of the War on Terror.
* Construction neared completion for a sprawling new site in Utah for the National Security Agency to enable massive domestic surveillance and to achieve “the realization of the ‘total information awareness’ program created during the first term of the Bush administration.”
* President Obama authorized the use of “signature” drone strikes in Yemen, whereby the CIA can target people for death “even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known.”
* The U.S. formally expanded its drone attacks in Somalia, “reopening a base for the unmanned aircraft on the island nation of Seychelles.”
* A U.S. drone killed 16-year-old Pakistani Tariq Aziz, along with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed, three days after the older boy attended a meeting to protest civilian deaths from U.S. drones (another of Tariq’s cousins had been killed in 2010).
* NATO airstrikes continued to extinguish the lives of Afghan children; in just the last 24 hours, 5 more Afghan children were killed by the ongoing war.
* The FBI increased its aggressive attempts to recruit young Muslim-American males into Terror plots which the FBI concocts, funds, encourages, directs and enables, while prosecuting more and more Muslims in the U.S. for crimes grounded in their political views and speech.
Does it sound like the War on Terror and its accompanying civil liberties erosions are ending, or going in the opposite direction? The morning after the bin Laden killing, I wrote that the killing of bin Laden would likely re-ignite American excitement over militarism and would thus likely further fuel, rather than retard, the War and its various implications. As always: combatting Terrorism is not the end of the War on Terror; the War on Terror is the end in itself, and Terrorism is merely its pretext.

 as much as it pains me to say it (and it pains me every time i do say it), i believe the u.s. has quite deliberately and consciously fostered a strategy of endless war... there is so much money to be made from ceaselessly fighting yet another menacing enemy that our super-rich elites and all those who profit immensely from war and military action that they will never allow it to come to a halt, even if it means engaging in deliberately provocative acts carefully calculated to inflame conflict...

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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Candidates for election in the U.S. have to be vetted by high concentrations of private capital

chomsky talks with laura flanders on free speech tv via counterpunch...
In the US, first of all, the electoral system has been almost totally shredded. For a long time it’s  been pretty much run by private concentrated spending but now it’s over the top. Elections increasingly over the years have been [public relations] extravaganzas. It was understood by the ad industry in 2008, they gave Barack Obama their marketing award of the year.  This year it’s barely a pretense.

The Republican Party has pretty much abandoned any pretense of being a traditional political party. It’s in lockstep obedience to the very rich, the super rich and the corporate sector.


[I]n the United States [candidates] have to be vetted by high concentrations of private capital. You can’t run in an election unless you can collect millions of dollars.

there's much more, all worthwhile reading...

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Nation of Assassins

jeremy scahill spoke at a weekend conference on u.s. drone policy...
International law experts, peace activists, journalists and human rights advocates from around the world gathered in Washington, DC over the weekend to inform the American public about US drone policy and the impact it is having on human populations throughout the world.


During his speech, journalist Jeremy Scahill, who has done in-depth reporting on the US drone program in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, questioned the Obama Administration's policy of assassination. "What is happening to this country right now?" asked Scahill after noting that recent legislation in the US Congress opposing the assassination of US citizens abroad without due process received only six votes in the House of Representatives. "We have become a nation of assassins. We have become a nation that is somehow silent in the face of -- or embraces, as polls indicate -- the idea that assassination should be one of the centerpieces of US foreign policy. How dangerous is this? It's a throwback to another era  -- an era that I think many Americans thought was behind them. And the most dangerous part of this is the complicity of ordinary people in it."

here's the video clips of his speech...

part 1...

part 2...


 part 3...

  part 4...


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Chomsky on May Day: If you get to a point where the existing institutions will not bend to the popular will, you have to eliminate the institutions

i'm inclined to think we're at that point...

noam chomsky...
People seem to know about May Day everywhere except where it began, here in the United States of America. That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning. For example, Ronald Reagan designated what he called, “Law Day”—a day of jingoist fanaticism, like an extra twist of the knife in the labor movement. Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution.

If you’re a serious revolutionary, then you are not looking for an autocratic revolution, but a popular one which will move towards freedom and democracy. That can take place only if a mass of the population is implementing it, carrying it out, and solving problems. They’re not going to undertake that commitment, understandably, unless they have discovered for themselves that there are limits to reform.


Perhaps sometimes the system will accommodate to needed reforms. If so, well and good. But if it won’t, then new questions arise. Perhaps that is a moment when resistance is a necessary step to overcome the barriers to justified changes. Perhaps the time has come to resort to coercive measures in defense of rights and justice, a form of self-defense.


If you get to a point where the existing institutions will not bend to the popular will, you have to eliminate the institutions.

i am not now nor have i ever been in favor of revolution... the history of the world is littered with revolutionary legacies that have turned out to be worse than the insanity they were meant to remedy... even the "soft" revolutions we've seen in recent years have spawned regimes that, while well-intentioned at first, have ultimately resulted in the same old super-rich elites calling the shots... however...

given the current state of world affairs, i'm strongly inclined toward a need to wipe the slate clean and start over... i've thought that perhaps a constitutional convention for the u.s. might serve that end but that is really only taking the idea of reform to a more advanced level and that's not even taking into account that our rulers would never allow it to happen...

so, what's left...? i'm not sure exactly what form "eliminating the institutions" might take but i think it's rapidly becoming the only viable option...

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WHO: one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression

chris hedges in truthdig...
When the most basic elements that sustain life are reduced to a cash product, life has no intrinsic value. The extinguishing of “primitive” societies, those that were defined by animism and mysticism, those that celebrated ambiguity and mystery, those that respected the centrality of the human imagination, removed the only ideological counterweight to a self-devouring capitalist ideology. Those who held on to pre-modern beliefs, such as Native Americans, who structured themselves around a communal life and self-sacrifice rather than hoarding and wage exploitation, could not be accommodated within the ethic of capitalist exploitation, the cult of the self and the lust for imperial expansion. The prosaic was pitted against the allegorical. And as we race toward the collapse of the planet’s ecosystem we must restore this older vision of life if we are to survive.


Rebuilding this older vision of community, one based on cooperation rather than exploitation, will be as important to our survival as changing our patterns of consumption, growing food locally and ending our dependence on fossil fuels.
The demented project of endless capitalist expansion, profligate consumption, senseless exploitation and industrial growth is now imploding. Corporate hustlers are as blind to the ramifications of their self-destructive fury as were Custer, the gold speculators and the railroad magnates. They seized Indian land, killed off its inhabitants, slaughtered the buffalo herds and cut down the forests. Their heirs wage war throughout the Middle East, pollute the seas and water systems, foul the air and soil and gamble with commodities as half the globe sinks into abject poverty and misery. The Book of Revelation defines this single-minded drive for profit as handing over authority to the “beast.” 
The conflation of technological advancement with human progress leads to self-worship. Reason makes possible the calculations, science and technological advances of industrial civilization, but reason does not connect us with the forces of life. A society that loses the capacity for the sacred, that lacks the power of human imagination, that cannot practice empathy, ultimately ensures its own destruction.

what i've never been able to adequately grasp is why more of us haven't been able to see through such an empty, shallow view of life, one so completely devoid of any spiritual dimension...

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Glenn exposes the manipulation and hypocrisy behind the latest Obama-Osama hype

glenn shows it for what it is, a bald-faced abuse of executive power all in the name of secrecy and national security...
Selective bin Laden leaking

The WH tells a court the bin Laden raid is top secret, as it keeps leaking snippets to glorify the President

a worthwhile read...

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