Archive for the 'war' Category

American War

Shot against the backdrop of the presidential campaign, Simon Schama travels through America to dig deep into the conflicts of its history to understand what is at stake right now.

Watch entire episode here.

In American War, Simon reveals how different the American attitude to war is from what outsiders assume it to be. Two of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, disagreed about whether America should even have a professional army – a division still evident when Simon visits America’s premier military academy at West Point. From the Civil War right through to Mark Twain’s denunciation of President Teddy Roosevelt’s imperial adventure in the Phillipines, American wars have inspired profound debate. And nowhere more so in the 2008 election than San Antonio, Texas, nicknamed Military City because of its high population of veterans and serving soldiers, where Simon finds feelings about the war are deeply divided. As with the great war elections of the past, it’s a debate which forces America to dig deep and rediscover what it stands for.

For prosecution of Bush war crimes, planning begins

Stephen C. Webster | Raw Story | Tuesday, Sept 16, 2008

On Saturday morning in Andover, Massachusetts, as about 120 activists, adademics, constitutional scholars, public officials and legal experts gathered in the Wyndham hotel, the building suddenly went dark.

Electricity had been cut off just prior to the start of a landmark war crimes conference, the goal of which was to plan the prosecution of Bush Administration officials. The first of its kind conference, already featuring a laundry-list of notable speakers, was suddenly in flux … If only for a few moments.

“We were already so effective, the government tried to shut us down,” said conference organizer Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, in an interview with RAW STORY.

Continue reading ‘For prosecution of Bush war crimes, planning begins’

My Journey to 9/11 Truth and the Real Reasons for the Invasion of Iraq

My own journey from swallowing the official story of 9/11, when we were all traumatised by the events of that terrible day and psychologically suggestible to whatever the authorities told us, to my current position, which is that elements of the Bush administration were almost definitely somehow involved, and that aircraft fuel cannot explain the Twin Towers’ collapse, I mean, disintegration, is very similar to betmo’s.

My reaction was one of great hatred directed towards the man who was said to have masterminded the attacks, Osama bin Laden, and a desire to see him caught, tried, and punished.

Despite the fact that most of the Muslim adults I know (and I know many), are fine, upstanding, God-fearing, law-abiding folk, it also coloured my attitude towards this people and their religion in a very negative way. Whenever I saw a Muslim woman wearing the chador or a Muslim man in Muslim dress, I felt a strong urge to say out loud, “Bang! bang!” As if all Muslims secretly support suicide bombers and the perpetrators of 9/11, which I now realise is certainly not the case.

When we went into Iraq, I also initially accepted the official reasons. But as the months wore on, and there was no sign of the famed Weapons of Mass Destruction, I became more and more puzzled by the invasion. Was it all just a hugely embarrassing mistake on the part of the Bush and Blair administrations?

It wasn’t until the September of 2006, when I read an article in a British newspaper about 9/11 scholars for truth, that I began to investigate what really happened. My initial reaction, when I realised that 9/11 was an inside job, was burning anger and a desire to see those involved brought to justice, an anger that burnt all the more fiercely for having been misled by the real perpetrators as to who really did it.

And as for the Bush and Blair administrations being misled about WMDs, I no longer buy it. They knew all along that there were none, and the invasion of Iraq, far from being one huge mistake, was, in reality, nothing more than a blatant and nakedly obvious oil grab, as the awarding of non-tender oil contracts to big western oil companies shows. Likewise, the invasion of Afghanistan, which has less to do with the war on terror, than with safeguarding a pipeline from the Central Asian oilfields to US-friendly Pakistan.

By rights, both Blair and Bush should be brought before the International Court of Justice to be tried for war crimes. But will it ever happen? Will it, heck? Though an evil man, former Serb leader Haralan Karadzic was right when he stated that the Court, which is to try him for war crimes committed against the Bosnians, was nothing more than a NATO court.

There’s no justice! At least, not in this world. I can take consolation only in the fact that, one day, both Bush and Blair will have to meet their maker, in whom they claim so ardently to believe but whom, by their actions, they so tragically betray.

Who is Wrecking America?

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS | Counterpunch | Saturday, Sept 6, 2008

Does the liberal-left have a clue? I sometimes think not.

In his book, “What’s the Matter With Kansas?,” Thomas Frank made the excellent point that the Karl Rove Republicans take advantage of ordinary’s people’s frustrations and resentments to lead them into voting against their best interest.

Frank’s new book, “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule,” lacks the insight that distinguished his previous book. Why does Frank think that conservatives or liberals rule?

Neither rule. America is ruled by organized interest groups with money to elect candidates who serve their interests. Frank’s book does not even mention the Israel Lobby, which bleeds Americans for the sake of Israeli territorial expansion. Check the index. Israel is not there.

Continue reading ‘Who is Wrecking America?’

There Is an Alternative to Corporate Rule

Video: Mark Engler on Global Economics

By Mark Engler, Nation Books. Posted September 1, 2008.

All over the world, alternative approaches to capitalist greed are bubbling up from the grassroots.

Editor’s Note: This article is adapted from Mark Engler’s new book How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy (Nation Books, 2008).

One of the remarkable features of modern political life is how consistently global elites deny that viable alternatives to the current global order exist, even as the terrain of international politics rapidly shifts. The “imperial globalists” that rose to power in the Bush years contend that without U.S. military strength decisively projected abroad, the forces of evil will sweep the globe. Meanwhile, “corporate globalists” of Wall Street persist in their belief that, in the post-Cold War world, we have no choice but to embrace the continual advance of the “free” market.

Neither idea is credible. The disastrous war in Iraq has firmly contradicted the neocons’ argument that preemptive war can create security. Meanwhile, mainstream pundits continue to proclaim neoliberalism — the radical free market doctrine that has defined the “Washington Consensus” in international economics in recent decades — to be inevitable and irreplaceable. Yet as that ideology falls into disrepute across the globe, their contention is revealed as ever more deeply disingenuous. Today, there exist scores of books and hundreds of reports that offer new directions for the global order — plus innumerable initiatives at local, national, and international levels to create political and economic systems that uphold human rights and defend the environment.

In truth, a lack of viable ideas is hardly the problem for those who reject both corporate and imperial models of globalization. Whether they are part of boisterous national uprisings or quiet, persistent community efforts to fuel a truly democratic globalization — a globalization from below — members of grassroots networks are now engaged in a debate about the proper balance of vision, program, political strategy, and tactics needed to move forward. Continue reading ‘There Is an Alternative to Corporate Rule’

Bush quietly seeks to make war powers permanent, by declaring indefinite state of war

John Byrne | Raw Story | Sunday, Aug 31, 2008

As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring that America remains in a state of permanent war.

Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received scant attention — and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with al Qaeda, the Taliban and “associated organizations.”

Part of a proposal for Guantanamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”

The New York Times’ page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries broad legal implications that could imperil Americans’ civil liberties and the rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.

Continue reading ‘Bush quietly seeks to make war powers permanent, by declaring indefinite state of war’

Conyers Questions Iraq ‘Forgery’

Jason Leopold | The Public Record | August 22, 2008

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers has asked current and former White House aides and ex-CIA officials to respond to questions about an alleged scheme to create a bogus letter in late 2003 linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.

In sending the interview requests Wednesday, Conyers is following up on a disputed story in journalist Ron Suskind’s new book, The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism, which includes an account of how the mysterious letter originated.

The book cites statements from former CIA associate deputy director of operations Rob Richer and John Maguire, the former chief of the CIA’s Iraq Operations Group/Near East Division, as indicating that the White House ordered the CIA to produce the bogus letter to retroactively justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Richer and Maguire gave Suskind on-the-record interviews, which the author recorded, discussing the reasons the letter was created and saying that it likely emanated from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. Both men have since recanted their statements.

Conyers, who has held periodic hearings on abuses of power by George W. Bush’s administration, sent letters to former CIA Director George Tenet; the CIA’s former executive director A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard; Cheney’s former chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby; and John Hannah, another Cheney assistant – as well as to Richer and Maguire.

“I am writing to follow up on recent serious allegations regarding the creation of a false letter from Tahir Jalil Habbush, Saddam Hussein’s former Chief of Intelligence, to Saddam Hussein,” Conyers said.

“The letter, which was allegedly backdated to July 1, 2001, attempted to establish an operational link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in the period before the 9/11 attacks by specifically stating that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta had received training in Iraq.

“At the time of the alleged decision in 2003 to concoct the false letter, the Vice President’s Office had been reportedly pressuring the CIA to prove this connection as a justification to invade Iraq. The letter also falsely noted that Iraq had received a ‘shipment’ (presumably uranium) from Niger with the assistance of al-Qaeda.

“Upon careful review of the allegations concerning this matter, I have become very concerned with the possibility that this administration may have violated federal law by using the resources of our intelligence agencies to influence domestic policy processes or opinion.

“The law specifically provides that ‘no covert action may be conducted which is intended to influence United States political processes, public opinion, policies, or media.’”

Suskind wrote in his book that such a violation might constitute an “impeachable offense.”

Continue reading ‘Conyers Questions Iraq ‘Forgery’’

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