Friday, September 30, 2011

The FBI Again Thwarts Its Own Terror Plot

Information Clearing House
Glenn Greenwald

September 29, 2011 "Salon" -- The FBI has received substantial criticism over the past decade -- much of it valid -- but nobody can deny its record of excellence in thwarting its own Terrorist plots. Time and again, the FBI concocts a Terrorist attack, infiltrates Muslim communities in order to find recruits, persuades them to perpetrate the attack, supplies them with the money, weapons and know-how they need to carry it out -- only to heroically jump in at the last moment, arrest the would-be perpetrators whom the FBI converted, and save a grateful nation from the plot manufactured by the FBI.

Last year, the FBI subjected 19-year-old Somali-American Mohamed Osman Mohamud to months of encouragement, support and money and convinced him to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon, only to arrest him at the last moment and then issue a Press Release boasting of its success. In late 2009, the FBI persuaded and enabled Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year old Jordanian citizen, to place a fake bomb at a Dallas skyscraper and separately convinced Farooque Ahmed, a 34-year-old naturalized American citizen born in Pakistan, to bomb the Washington Metro. And now, the FBI has yet again saved us all from its own Terrorist plot by arresting 26-year-old American citizen Rezwan Ferdaus after having spent months providing him with the plans and materials to attack the Pentagon, American troops in Iraq, and possibly the Capitol Building using "remote-controlled" model airplanes carrying explosives.

None of these cases entail the FBI's learning of an actual plot and then infiltrating it to stop it. They all involve the FBI's purposely seeking out Muslims (typically young and impressionable ones) whom they think harbor animosity toward the U.S. and who therefore can be induced to launch an attack despite having never taken even a single step toward doing so before the FBI targeted them. Each time the FBI announces it has disrupted its own plot, press coverage is predictably hysterical (new Homegrown Terrorist caught!), fear levels predictably rise, and new security measures are often implemented in response (the FBI's Terror plot aimed at the D.C. Metro, for instance, led to the Metro Police announcing a new policy of random searches of passengers' bags). I have several observations and questions about these matters:

(1) The bulk of this latest FBI plot entailed attacks on military targets: the Pentagon, U.S. troops in Iraq, and possibly military bases. The U.S. is -- as it has continuously announced to the world -- a Nation at War. The Pentagon is the military headquarters for this war, and its troops abroad are the soldiers fighting it. In what conceivable sense can attacks on those purely military and war targets be labeled "Terrorism" or even illegitimate? The U.S. has continuously attacked exactly those kinds of targets in multiple nations around the world; it expressly tried to kill Saddam and Gadaffi in the wars against their countries (it even knowingly blew up an entire suburban apartment building to get Saddam, who wasn't actually there). What possible definition of "Terrorism" excludes those attacks by the U.S. while including this proposed one on the Pentagon and other military targets (or, for that matter, Nidal Hasan's attack on Fort Hood where soldiers deploy to war zones)?

(2) With regard to the targeted building that is not purely a military target -- the Capitol Building -- is that a legitimate war target under the radically broad standards the U.S. and its allies have promulgated for themselves? The American "shock and awe" assault on Baghdad destroyed "several government buildings and palaces built by Saddam Hussein"; on just the third day of that war, "U.S. bombs turn[ed] key government buildings in Baghdad into rubble." In Libya, NATO repeatedly bombed non-military government buildings. In Gaza, Israeli war planes targeted a police station filled with police recruits on the stated theory that a valid target "ranges from the strictly military institutions and includes the political institutions that provide the logistical funding and human resources" to Hamas.

Obviously, there is a wide range of views regarding the justifiability of each war, but isn't the U.S. Congress -- which funds, oversees, and regulates America's wars -- a legitimate war target under the (inadvisedly) broad definitions the U.S. and its allies have imposed when attacking others? If the political leaders and even functionaries of other countries with which the U.S. is at war are legitimate targets, then doesn't that necessarily mean that Pentagon officials and, arguably, those in the Congress are as well?

(3) The irony that this plot featured "remote-controlled aircraft filled with plastic explosives" is too glaring to merit comment; the only question worth asking is whether the U.S. Government can sue Ferdaus for infringing its drone patents. Glaring though that irony is, there is no shortage of expressions of disgust today, pondering what kind of dasterdly Terrorist monster does it take to want to attack buildings with remote-controlled mini-aircraft.

(4) Wouldn't the FBI's resources be better spent on detecting and breaking up actual Terrorist plots -- if there are any -- rather than manufacturing ones so that they can stop those? Harboring hatred for the U.S. and wanting to harm it (or any country) is not actually a crime; at most, it's a Thought Crime. It doesn't become a crime until steps are taken to attempt to transform that desire into reality. There are millions and millions of people who at some point harbor a desire to impose violent harm on others who never do so: perhaps that's true of a majority of human beings. Many of them will never act in the absence of the type of highly sophisticated, expert push of which the FBI is uniquely capable. Is manufacturing criminals -- as opposed to finding and stopping actual criminals -- really a prudent law enforcement activity?

(5) Does the FBI devote any comparable resources to infiltrating non-Muslim communities in order to persuade and induce those extremists to become Terrorists so that they can arrest them? Are they out in the anti-abortion world, or the world of radical Christianity, or right-wing anti-government radicals, trying to recruit them into manufactured Terrorist plots?

(6) As usual, most media coverage of the FBI's plots is as uncritical as it is sensationalistic. The first paragraph of The New York Times article on this story described the plot as one "to blow up the Pentagon and the United States Capitol." But the FBI's charging Affidavit (reproduced below) makes clear that Ferdaus' plan was to send a single model airplane (at most 1/10 the size of an actual U.S. jet) to the Capitol and two of them to the Pentagon, each packed with "5 pounds" of explosives (para. 70); the Capitol was to be attacked at its dome for "psychological effect" (para 34). The U.S. routinely drops 500-pound or 1,000-pound bombs from actual fighter jets; this plot -- even if it were carried out by someone other than a hapless loner with no experience and it worked perfectly -- could not remotely "blow up" the Pentagon or the Capitol.


(7) As is now found in almost every case of would-be Terrorist plots against the U.S. -- especially "homegrown Terrorists" -- the motive is unbridled fury over (and a desire to avenge) contintuous U.S violence against Muslim civilians. Infused throughout the charging Affidavit here are such references to Ferdaus' motives, including his happiness over the prospect of killing U.S. troops in Iraq; his proclamation that he's "interested in traveling to Afghanistan" to aid insurgents; his statement that "he wanted to 'decapitate' the U.S. government's 'military center' and to severely disrupt . . . the head and heart of the snake" (para 12) and to "essentially decapitate the entire empire" (para 34) (compare that language to how the U.S. described what it tried to do in Baghdad). Using drones to decapitate the leadership and government infrastructure of a nation at war; I wonder where he got that idea.

At least according to the FBI, this is how Feradus replied when expressly asked why he wanted to attack the U.S.:

Cause that would be a huge scare . . . the point is you want to scare them so they know not to mess with you . . . They have . . . . have killed from us, our innocents, our men, women and children, they are all enemies (para 19).

If the FBI's allegations are accurate, then it's clear Ferdaus has become hardened in his hatred; he talks about a willingness to kill American civilians because they have become part of the enemy, and claims that he fantasized about such attacks before the FBI informant spoke to him.

But whatever else is true, it's simply unrealistic in the extreme to expect to run around for a full decade screaming WE ARE AT WAR!! -- and dropping bombs and attacking with drones and shooting up families in multiple Muslim countries (and occupying, interfering in and killing large numbers before that) -- and not produce many Rezwan Ferdauses. In fact, the only surprising thing is that these seem to be so few of them actually willing and able to attack back that -- in order to justify this Endless War on civil liberties (and Terror) -- the FBI has to search for ones they can recruit, convert, convince, fund, and direct to carry out plots.

Complaint Affidavit

Hartmann: Could Hacktivists hack a Diebold Machine?



Today we learned that our democracy could be hacked by an eighth grader with 26 bucks. That's what a security assessment team with the US Department of Energy discovered when they successfully hacked into a Diebold electronic voting machine - and were able to change voting results without leaving a trace behind. These are the same guys that make sure the facilities that manufacture nuclear bombs are secure - and the security assessment team leader said about the voting machine hack, "this is a national security issue." Despite all this - in next year's election - 30% of voters are expected to use these very same "hack-easy" voting machines - that the rest of the world have shelved citing security concerns. And today - with the rise of hack-activist groups like Anonymous - this glaring hole in the security of our elections - could be exploited for absurd purposes...and, the nominee is...Scooby Doo?

Ron Paul: US-born al-Qaida cleric 'assassinated'

Associated Press
Steve Peoples

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is condemning the Obama administration for killing an American born al-Qaida operative without a trial.

Paul, a Texas congressman known for libertarian views, says the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki on Yemeni soil amounts to an "assassination." Paul warned the American people not to casually accept such violence against U.S. citizens, even those with strong ties to terrorism.

Anwar al-Awlaki was considered one of the most influential al-Qaida operatives wanted by the United States. U.S. and Yemen officials say he was killed in a U.S. air strike targeting his convoy Friday morning.

Paul made the comments to reporters after a campaign stop Friday at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. He said America's leaders must think hard about "assassinating American citizens without charges."

Egyptian military regime slammed for massive repressions

Russia Today

video


Egyptians are getting ready to mount further mass protests on Friday. Millions are expected to come onto the streets to express their dissatisfaction at the way their country is being run post-Mubarak.
Public anger is accompanied by threats from dozens of political parties to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Do not judge a book by its cover, Egyptians urge overseas observers. When reading “Post-Mubarak Egypt,” look between the lines and you will find that the country’s “new chapter” has not been rewritten, edited, or even slightly revised.

“We still have the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces as the ruling body in this country, and it is constituted of Mubarak’s army generals,” Cairo-based activist and blogger Hossam Hamalawy told RT. “I cannot say that those rulers, in any sense, have been gearing this country towards democracy.”

Mubarak may be gone but his policies are not. And while his case is ongoing at tribunal, new figures from Human Rights Watch claim more civilians – some 12,000 – have been forced to face military trials over the last six months than during the entire 30-year rule of Mubarak.

“On average, civilians are given five to seven years in prison… a lot of torture has occurred since SCAF has come into power,” journalist and activist Gigi Ibrahim explains.

Actor Aly Sobhy does not clown around when it comes to the Supreme Council or SCARF. He has taken part in protests since day one and still has scars from being detained.

“The marks were much worse. I used to have very long hair. They tied me by my hair to a stick and hung me from it. After that I was shocked with a stun gun and beaten with a bat on the head,” he reveals. “I was released only because I’m well-known. Now I'm not allowed to leave the country for 30 years according to law… If I have to, I will seek asylum, but I want to stay and fight for freedom.”
Like Mubarak, SCAF gets the support it needs to rule Egypt from abroad.

“The aid that we get – the US $1.5 billion a year that Egypt receives from the USA – most of it goes to the Supreme Council, to the army, to SCAF,” Gigi Ibrahim says.

And progress on human rights has come to a stop or even gone into reverse since the “new” regime took over.

“In many human rights areas, it is the same as before January 25, and in others it’s getting worse,” a Cairo-based human rights activist Ramy Raoof told RT.

According to the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, “the Arab Spring is a massive opportunity to spread peace, prosperity, democracy.” But, while the West boasts that the history books will record a change for the better, Egyptians are left reading the writing on the wall.

European Parliament endorses state of Palestine, urges EU to do the same

Occupied Palestine

The European Parliament voted to support the UN recognition of a Palestinian state. According to a statement issued today, the Parliament assures the legitimacy of the Palestinian bid to the UN and asks all EU countries to adopt the same position.

The Parliament endorses the UN recognition of Palestine as a state and recognizes the Palestinians’ right of self determination and sovereignty while stressing the importance of finding a solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during the Arab Spring.

The Parliament said it is important to support the two-state solution based on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. The statement calls for complete freezing of settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The statement assures the solution will only come through non-violent means and asks both sides to go back to negotiations while avoiding any steps that may affect the peace-making process from taking place.

Israel approved to build 1,100 new settlement units in the East Jerusalem settlement of Gilo on Tuesday, just days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas submit the bid to the UN. The West condemned this move and pushed for negotiations between Israel and Palestine.

The Parliament stressed the importance of guaranteeing Israel security while granting Palestinians their rights as a result of the 66th meeting of the General Assembly.

Could censorship of children's art prove a turning point?

IMEU/Mondoweiss
Henry Norr



If I were one of the Zionist operatives who pressured the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland to cancel the exhibit of Gaza children's drawings, I'd be kicking myself right now.

If they'd simply ignored the whole thing and let its scheduled two-month run proceed, probably no more than a few hundred people, most of them school children, would have seen the show. It's not as if MOCHA is a major attraction.

But thanks to the ham-handed censorship engineered by the Jewish establishment - and the determined fight-back of the Middle East Children's Alliance and others opposed to such bullying - thousands of people around the world have seen the kids' pictures.


Last Saturday 500 or so crowded into a makeshift storefront gallery and spilled over into the street outside at an upbeat grand opening of the show around the corner from MOCHA - see Annie's description here, video here (including the music of the Brass Liberation Orchestra, featuring my daughter Sarah on snare drum), more video and photos here and here, and a frustrated Zionist take on the event here. Thousands more have seen at least some of the images online - here at Mondoweiss, on Facebook, on YouTube, even in a slideshow posted on the online editorial pages of the two largest newspapers in the East Bay.

Lots more Bay Area residents and visitors will get a chance to see the pictures in person this fall, as they will remain on display at MECA's new gallery for the next two months at 917 Washington Street in Oakland, a block from Broadway between 9th St. and 10th St. (MECA is still trying to work out hours and staffing, so before you head for the show, check at www.mecaforpeace.org, email meca@mecaforpeace.org, or call (510) 548-0542.)


And after the Oakland run is over, the show will very likely continue elsewhere - MECA's been swamped with requests from groups all over the world who want to show it next.

Powerful as the pictures are, another aspect of this episode may prove even more important in the long run: it has brought the power of the local Israel lobby, and their determination to use it to suppress Palestinian perspectives, out into the open, for all to see. That's partly because the Anti-Defamation League and its allies can't resist boasting about their "victory," Pyrrhic as it may be. But it's also because MECA and friends have worked hard to spell out what we all know really went down here, despite the MOCHA board's attempt at apologetic obfuscation. Outraged activists spread the story far and wide via listservs, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and MOCHA's e-mail account and Facebook page (apparently now closed down) were barraged with indignant messages. A protest rally outside MOCHA last Friday afternoon (video and photos here and here), in the run-up to Saturday's opening, wasn't huge, but it attracted representatives from some important constituencies beyond the usual Palestine-solidarity activists. Much of the organizing energy behind the event came from San Francisco's Arab Resource & Organizing Center, and dozens of Muslim Americans (including a slew of young women in hijab) turned out.


In addition, Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland Education Association (the local teachers' union), read a powerful letter, approved unanimously by the OEA executive boad, condemning the museum board's decision to cancel the show. (Despite its name, MOCHA is mainly an art-in-the-schools program, so the teachers' statement carries particular weight.) And Cecilie Surasky of Jewish Voice for Peace delivered a forceful and well-received speech condemning the censorship from a Jewish perspective.

Obama healthcare battle moves to US supreme court

Guardian


Justices urged by 26 states to strike down requirement that all Americans have health insurance, with decision likely in midst of 2012 election campaign

The Obama administration has asked the US supreme court to back the centrepiece of the president's sweeping healthcare overhaul – the requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

The appeal was largely expected, as a high court ruling against the law could be a fatal blow to Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, and could have major implications for his re-election bid.

The same day the administration filed its appeal, 26 states and a major business group urged the justices to strike down the entire law, which would have a far-reaching impact on future healthcare coverage for Americans and company costs.

The case is likely to be heard and decided in the supreme court's upcoming term, which begins next week and lasts through June 2012. A ruling is likely in the midst of the campaign for the November 2012 elections.

The administration and the opponents of the law called for a quick ruling by the high court to resolve uncertainty affecting the federal government, states and companies about the law's key provisions that are taking effect.

The 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business argued in their appeals the entire law should be invalidated because Congress exceeded its powers requiring that Americans buy health insurance or face a penalty.

The Obama administration filed its own appeal in which the Justice Department argued the so-called individual mandate, due to take effect in 2014, was constitutional and said the issue was appropriate for supreme court review.

"Throughout history, there have been similar challenges to other landmark legislation such as the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, and all of those challenges failed," the Justice Department said.

"We believe the challenges to Affordable Care Act … will also ultimately fail and that the supreme court will uphold the law," the department said in a statement.

White House adviser Stephanie Cutter said the administration asked the supreme court to hear the case "so that we can put these challenges to rest and continue implementing the law to lower the cost of health care and make it more secure for all Americans."

Is Another Depression Possible?: A Comparison of "The Great Depression" and "The Great Recession"

Global Research
Devon DB

In 2007, the world became engulfed in the largest economic slump since the Great Depression. The crisis was so damaging it was coined “the Great Recession” and there was much comparison of the recession to the Great Depression of the 1930s in the mainstream media. However, what many failed to do was an in-depth analysis of both the Great Depression and the Great Recession, to compare and contrast to two. Thus, this article will be a comparison of both economic downfalls, ending in an analysis of the current economic situation America finds itself in and asking the question if another Great Depression is possible.

The decade prior to the 1930s, the US was in a time of great economic boom known as “The Roaring Twenties.” Yet while the nation’s income rose about 20% (from $74.3 billion in 1923 to $89 billion in 1929), the majority of this wealth went to the richest as can be seen by the fact that “in 1929 the top 0.1% of Americans had a combined income equal to the bottom 42%” [1] and that the disposable income per capita rose 9% from 1920 to 1929, while the top 1% enjoyed a massive 75% increase in per capita disposable income. This greatly increased wealth disparity and led to a imbalance in the US economy where demand wasn’t equal to supply and thus there was an oversupply of goods as “those [the poor and the middle class] whose needs were not satiated could not afford more, whereas the wealthy were satiated by spending only a small portion of their income,” [2] which caused the US to become reliant on three things to keep the economy afloat: credit sales, luxury spending, and investment by the rich. However, the major flaw of an economy based on credit sales, luxury spending, and investments was that all three of those activities depended upon people’s confidence in the economy. If confidence were to lower, then those activities would come to a halt and with it the US economy.

The massive inequality in wealth was not solely in terms of socioeconomic status, but also extended to corporations as well. During the first World War, the federal government subsidized farms in earnest as they wanted to feed not only Americans, but also Europeans. However, once the war ended, so did subsidies for farms. The government began to support the automobile and radio industries, with help from then-President Calvin Coolidge in the form of pressuring the Federal Reserve to keep easy credit, as to allow for both industries to easily be heavily invested in.

In the 1920s, the profits of the automobile and its connected industries such as lead, nickel, and steel skyrocketed, so much so, that by 1929 “a mere 200 corporations controlled approximately half of all corporate wealth.” [3] The automobile boom also led to the creation of hotels and motels which in turn led “Americans spent more than a $1 billion each year on the construction and maintenance of highways, and at least another $400 million annually for city streets” [4] in the 1920s. In addition to the massive success of the automobile industry, the radio industry also preformed exceptionally well as “Radio stations, electronic stores, and electricity companies all needed the radio to survive, and relied upon the constant growth of the radio market to expand and grow themselves.” [5]

This dependence on two main industries to support the entire US economy led to quite serious problems as in the case of depending on the spending habits of the upperclass to support the economy, if the expansion of either the radio or automobile industries slowed down or halted, the US economy would meet the same fate.

Still further, there was wealth inequality on the international banking scene. After World War 1, the Americans lent their “European allies $7 billion, and then another $3.3 billion by 1920” and by 1924 “the U.S. started lending to Axis Germany,” eventually “climbing to $900 million in 1924, and $1.25 billion in 1927 and 1928” [6] The Europeans then used the loans to buy US goods and thus were in no shape to pay back the loans. One must realize that after World War 1, virtually all of Europe was hit hard economically by the war and thus unable to make any goods with which to sell, yet the US played a role as well due to its high tariffs on imports, thus increasing the difficulty in which Europe could sell goods and pay off its debt.

Yet, the massive wealth inequalities domestically were not the only problems that led to the stock market crash, financial speculation was rampant also, which allowed corporations to make huge amounts of money. As long as stock prices continued to rise, the corporation itself became near-meaningless. “One such example is RCA corporation, whose stock price leapt from 85 to 420 during 1928, even though it had not yet paid a single dividend.” [7] This was a serious fundamental problem in the stock market as many forgot that if stock prices increase extremely quickly, a bubble is being created and sooner or later it will burst. This speculation greatly distorted the values of corporations. Usually, the stock price somewhat correlates with the performance of the company, but due to the rampant speculation, companies that were doing horribly could now seem as if they were great investments, all based on the increase in their stock price.

A factor that led to rampant speculation was the ability to buy stocks on margin, which allowed for one to buy stocks without actually having the money. Due to this, investors could potentially get extremely high returns on their investments. Buying stocks on margin was quite easy as the process

functioned much the same way as buying a car on credit. Using the example of [the RCA corporation], a Mr. John Doe could buy 1 share of the company by putting up $10 of his own, and borrowing $75 from his broker. If he sold the stock at $420 a year later he would have turned his original investment of just $10 into $341.25 ($420 minus the $75 and 5% interest owed to the broker). That makes a return of over 3400%! [8] (emphasis added)

This massive speculation led stock prices to incredibly high levels, with “the total of outstanding brokers' loans [being] over $7 billion” [9] by mid-1929.

The stock market bubble soon burst as on October 21, 1929, prices began to fall so rapidly that the ticker fell behind. Prices fell even further due to investors fears which led them to sell their shares. The speculation and wealth inequality caused a major undermining of the entire market which led to the wealthy ending their spending on luxury items and investing, as well as “[the] middle-class and poor stopped buying things with installment credit for fear of loosing their jobs, and not being able to pay the interest,” [10] and with it the US economy came to a griding halt. The lack of spending led to a nine percent decrease in industrial production from October to December 1929. This led to job losses, defaults on interest payments, and the destruction of the radio and automobile industries as inventory grew due to no one having the ability to purchase anything.

Internationally, loaning had already come to an abrupt halt earlier in the decade because “With such tremendous profits to be made in the stock market nobody wanted to make low interest loans” [11] and trade quickly ended as the US increased already high tariffs and foreigners quit purchasing US goods.

A topic that is rarely mentioned in regards to the Great Depression is the role of the Federal Reserve. The Fed played a major role in why investment purchases collapsed dramatically. The main problem was that in the onset of the Great Depression, there was rampant deflation. This was caused by the fact that the M1 money supply had reached a peak in 1929 and went downhill from there, yet the Fed didn’t see this. Instead, they saw “only the statistics on the monetary base, the currency in circulation plus the funds held as reserves by the banks with the twelve Federal Reserve Banks,” [12] which showed that the monetary base had been steadily increasing since about 1929. Thus, since the Fed saw that the money supply was increasing, they found no reason to act, when in reality, the M2 money supply was decreasing rapidly. However, in the late 1920s, the Fed acted to end speculative banking and wound up applying more restrictive monetary policies than thought. This resulted in banks closing en masse, which the Fed initially welcomed, yet this caused

the banks and the banking public [to become] alarmed. Some people withdrew their funds from the banks. The banks became worried about withdrawal of deposits and even runs on banks. The banks reacted by holding reserves in excess of what the Fed required. [13]

This massive withdrawal of funds emptied the coffers of banks, thus causing the aforementioned deflation. The Fed’s actions, along with the stock market crash, led to a 90% decrease in investment purchases, cutbacks in the labor force due to business not being able to sell anything, and a downturn in consumer spending.

Thus, due to a mixture of socio-economic and industrial wealth inequality, high tariffs on foreign imports, a stock market bubble, and poor economic management by the Federal Reserve, the United States descended into the Great Depression.

Initially, in the onset of the Depression, then-President Hoover decided against the government taking action to help individuals on the grounds that “if left alone the economy would right itself and argued that direct government assistance to individuals would weaken the moral fiber of the American people.” [14] However, when he was forced by Congress to intervene in the economy, Hoover focused his “spending [on stabilizing] the business community, believing that returning prosperity would eventually ‘trickle down’ to the poor majority,” [15] and thus began the first implementation of what would later be called in the ‘70s, “trickle-down economics.”

The public, being appalled by the lack of empathy from Hoover, voted Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) into office. Once in office, he began embarking on programs that would come to be known as “The New Deal.” However, this was not a deal concerned with easing the pain of the Depression on ordinary people, rather FDR “sought to save capitalism and the fundamental institutions of American society from the disaster of the Great Depression.” [16] While the popular view is that the New Deal was radically different from Hoover’s plan, in reality the two plans didn’t truly differ to much as while some social programs were implemented, overall FDR’s plan “tended toward a continuation of ‘trickle down’ policies, albeit better-funded and executed more creatively.” [17]

He never truly adopted Keynesian economics, which argued that the “government should use its massive financial power (taxing and spending) as a sort of ballast to stabilize the economy.” [18] This can be seen in the Agricultural Adjustment Act which paid farmers to produce less, however, this “did little for smaller farmers and led to the eviction and homelessness of tenants and sharecroppers whose landlords hardly needed their services under a system that paid them to grow less” [19], while also not addressing the main problem of the Depression: weak consumer spending. Overall, the Act benefited mainly moderate and large agriculture operations. Another example is the National Industrial Recovery Act. The National Industrial Recovery Act encouraged industries to avoid selling below cost to attract more customers, and while this was good for businesses in the short run, it “resulted in increased unemployment and an even smaller customer pool in the long-run.” [20] FDR’s overall goal, while he did aid in the creation of social programs such as Social Security and enacted many jobs programs, was to protect capitalism and the very institutions that led to the Great Depression.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Police torture claims rocket

TimesLive
MCKEED KOTLOLO

Though fewer suspects died in police custody this year than last, the number of reported incidents of torture is on the increase, according to police watchdog figures released.

During the 2010-2011 financial year, 797 suspects lost their lives in police custody - 63 fewer than in the previous year.
 
But the number of reports of torture rose from five to 41 cases.

The Independent Complaints Directorate released its report yesterday in Pretoria.

Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu revealed that deaths in custody were among 5869 complaints received nationally by the directorate .
The report also revealed that:
  • KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng led deaths in custody with 248 and 182 respectively. Northern Cape had 20 such complaints;
  • The ICD received 2493 complaints from the public about police and others from police officers. The ICD said the "statistics are by no means a true reflection of the extent of police criminality" because the police were under no obligation to report such offences;
  • Serious assault topped the list of crimes alleged against police officers, with 966 incidents reported. There were 354 attempted murder cases in which policemen were the accused; and
  • Gauteng was the source of the highest number of misconduct complaints against officers at 546, followed by Western Cape and Eastern Cape, at 485 and 448, respectively.
Sotyu welcomed the 7% reduction in deaths in police custody or as a result of police action. She also lauded a 15% drop in the number of misconduct cases.

ICD executive director Francois Beukman said that, of the 797 deaths in police custody, 540 were as a result of "police action".

Eighty percent of the suspects died during the commission of a crime, during escapes or attempted escapes, or during arrests or investigations. Of those, 87 were killed by police in KwaZulu-Natal and 48 in Gauteng.

Most of the suspects killed by the police were shot with service pistols - 443 cases - followed by deaths by natural causes (113) and assault (104).

Of those who died in police custody, 92% were men. Suspects in the 26-to-35 age group accounted for 47% of the total and children 5%.

Game ON!! Collective Group With 1 Million Members Expected To Join Occupy Wall Street Protests!

Alexander Higgins

The plot thickens as more unions pledge support to the Occupy Wall Street movement and a collective group with 1 million members expected to march against the machine.

As I previously reported unions are coming out in full force to support the Occupy Wall Street protests. We received news that the 200,000 member strong Transportation Workers Union would be joining the protests. The Teamster’s union endorsed the protests. Rumors of Verizon workers joining the protests. A scathing endorsement was issued by the Industrial Workers Union has also endorsed the Occupy Wall Street protests. Then news that several more unions had committed to or were contemplating joining the protests, while two the unions scheduled solidarity marches.

Now TPM reports even more unions are joining up to protest against Wall Street and the movement is set to grow rapidly.

The article also comes along with the news that a collective of 8 groups, with over 1 million members. will be joining the Occupy Wall Street movement to show solidarity and march against the machine.
Occupy Wall Street Protests Poised to Grow Rapidly With Union Support
[...]

The Union on Thursday used Twitter to urge members to take part in a massive march and rally on Wednesday, Oct. 5. That effort is being co-sponsored by another eight labor and community outreach organizations.

The Village Voice spoke with TWU Local 100’s spokesman Jim Gannon on Wednesday, who explained the group’s reasons for joining the protests:

“Well, actually, the protesters, it’s pretty courageous what they’re doing,” he said, “and it’s brought a new public focus in a different way to what we’ve been saying along. While Wall Street and the banks and the corporations are the ones that caused the mess that’s flowed down into the states and cities, it seems there’s no shared sacrifice. It’s the workers having to sacrifice while the wealthy get away scot-free. It’s kind of a natural alliance with the young people and the students — they’re voicing our message, why not join them? On many levels, our workers feel an affinity with the kids. They just seem to be hanging out there getting the crap beaten out of them, and maybe union support will help them out a little bit.”

The other eight organizations expected to join in the October 5 rally, based on its Facebook page, are United NY, Strong Economy for All Coalition, Working Families Party, VOCAL-NY, Community Voices Heard, Alliance for Quality Education, New York Communities for Change, Coalition for the Homeless, which have a collective membership of over 1 million.

As Jon Kest, the executive director of New York Communities for Change, told Crain’s New York Business: “It’s a responsibility for the progressive organizations in town to show their support and connect Occupy Wall Street to some of the struggles that are real in the city today. They’re speaking about issues we’re trying to speak about.”

Crain’s also quoted a political consultant who said of the demonstration: “”It’s become too big to ignore.”

Meanwhile, the New York Metro 32BJ SEIU, which represents maintenance workers and security officers and counts some 70,000 members, is also re-purposing a previously planned rally on Oct. 12 to express solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, the Huffington Post reports.

“The call went out over a month ago, before actually the occupancy of Wall Street took place,” said 32BJ spokesman Kwame Patterson. Now, he added, “we’re all coming under one cause, even though we have our different initiatives.”


TPM Announces Collective With 1 Million Members To March On Wall Street


Turkey to escort Gaza aid ships amid row with Israel

The Muslim News
Elham Asaad Buaras

Recep Erdogan has said his country will escort aid ships travelling to Gaza

Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said his country will in future escort aid ships travelling to the Gaza Strip.

Reacting to Israel’s refusal to apologise and a UN report on last year’s Gaza flotilla incident, which failed to condemn the killing of the nine Turkish activists, Erdogan said, “Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorized to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza…From now on, we will not let these ships be attacked by Israel, as happened with the Freedom Flotilla.”

Turkish demands for an official apology from Israel and compensation for the families of the raid’s victims have not been met. Israel has, however, downplayed the diplomatic standoff, saying relations with Turkey are strong enough to weather the current differences.


However, Turkish officials described the standoff as a serious crisis.

“We waited fifteen months for an Israeli apology, but it never came,” said Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Selcuk Unal. “Throughout this period, we continued to consult with Israeli authorities and made our demands clear. But so far Israel has chosen to ignore our demands.”

A UN report commissioned by the UN Secretary General to investigate this incident – The Palmer Report - was leaked on September 1 saying the Israeli soldiers used “excessive and unreasonable” force against passengers of the Mavi Marmara but, contrary to what Turkey has argued, it found that the Israeli blockade of Gaza is legal, a sharp contradiction to the UN commissioned report presented to the UN Human Rights Council almost a year ago, in September 2010.

The report from the UN Human Rights Council found that not only the siege and the attack on the Mavi Marmara was illegal, but that “There is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: wilful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.”

It found that the Israeli blockade on Gaza is illegal, and said, “There is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes…wilful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health.”

It added: “The conduct of the Israeli military and other personnel toward the flotilla passengers was not only disproportionate to the occasion but demonstrated levels of totally unnecessary and incredible violence. It betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality,” the report said.

Erdogan said the raid, which took place in international waters in the Mediterranean, was “inhumane” and “an act of state terrorism and savagery” and asserted that the UN panel’s report “holds no value for us.”

“If the measures [we have] taken so far [against Israel] are part of a Plan B, then there will also be a Plan C. Different steps will be taken depending on the course of developments…We are totally suspending our commercial, military and defense ties. They are being frozen entirely,” he added, without clarifying what the next round of sanctions might include.

Human right groups have slammed Palmer panellists for announcing that it believed Israel’s naval blockade was legal when in the same report declares that the legality of the blockade was not in the panellists remit.

“The Palmer Report was a product of deliberations by two ex-premiers, together with representatives of Israel and Turkey – in contrast, the UN Human Rights Council report was written by three internationally renowned lawyers, who interviewed over 100 passengers,” said a Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) spokesman.

Sarah Colborne, PSC Director, and a passenger on the Mavi Marmara which came under attack, told The Muslim News: “Israel’s desperate attempt to use the Palmer report to justify its blockade, and its attack on civilians in international waters, has run aground. The report clearly states that the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the take-over of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable, and that Israel did not ‘adequately account’ for the forensic evidence showing that seven of those killed were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range.”

Turkey has already cut military ties and expelled Israel’s Ambassador.

It has also said it will challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza at the International Court of Justice.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have worsened since Israeli forces boarded the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May last year as it was heading for Gaza. Nine Turkish activists were killed during the raid.
Spokesman of Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, Salih Bilici, who organised the flotilla told The Muslim News that they were “not expecting any apology or compensation from Israel. We are waiting for international action.”

IWW Endorses Occupy Wall Street

Industrial Workers of the World

On behalf of our union, the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World sends our support and solidarity to the occupation of Wall Street, those determined to hold accountable our oppressors.

This occupation on Wall Street calls into question the very foundation in which the capitalist system is based, and its relentless desire to place profit over and above all else.

When 1% of the ruling class holds the wealth created by the other 99%, it is clear that the watchwords found in our union's preamble, "the working class and the employing class have nothing in common", ring true more than ever.?The IWW does not follow a business union model. We believe that the working class and the employing class have nothing in common and we don't foster illusions to the contrary.

Throughout the world, from Egypt to Greece, from China to Madison, Wisconsin, working class people are starting to rise up. The IWW welcomes this. We see the occupation of Wall Street as another step - no matter how large or small - in this process.

Ten years later, some—like Randy—still believe in Sept. 11 conspiracy theories

TucsonWeekly
Randy Serraglio


After the sustained media frenzy of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, most people are probably ready to move on. I offer this question as a starting point for the next 10 years: "Sure, but move on to what?"

Based on the past 10 years, we can expect more wars that have little to do with Sept. 11, but will sacrifice the lives of far more Americans than the 3,000 who died that day, as well as the lives of many, many more foreign civilians. Our government will continue to justify and codify torture as an indispensable element of U.S. foreign policy and subvert the civil liberties upon which this nation was founded. And we'll face the harsh reality that such actions cause suffering and resentment that generate more terrorism.

Excuse me for jumping to the conclusion that we're moving in the wrong direction.

Here's an alternative: Why not start with a real investigation of the events of Sept. 11? I mean a full-on, independent criminal investigation, with prosecutors, subpoenas and the whole nine yards, not the half-assed, politically constrained nonsense churned out by the 9/11 Commission. I think we owe the victims of this massive crime nothing less.

A lot of the groundwork for such an investigation has already been laid by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a group devoted to the scientific study of the physical evidence of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers.

I spoke with Peter Morse, a Tucson engineer with a lot of experience in the construction of large, steel-framed buildings and a former board member of AE 9/11 Truth. Like 1,600 other colleagues in the group, Peter hardly fits the profile of "conspiracy theorist" that is so commonly used to dismiss anyone who questions the official story of Sept. 11. The group is packed with luminaries and true experts, including National Medal of Science winners, a professor emeritus of physics at Brigham Young University, and the former director of Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative.

It's a highly qualified group, but most of them came to the issue through simple common sense. Like Peter, they watched video, read the official explanation of the towers' collapse, scratched their heads and asked, "How could that have happened?" The closer they looked, the clearer it became that the government's fanciful theories were unsupportable, and the more these professionals were drawn, however reluctantly, into the fight to establish the truth. "It goes against the psyche of engineers in general to invite conflict," as Peter put it. "But we took an oath to protect the public."

If you want to talk conspiracy theories, the official explanation for the collapsing towers is a whopper. It posits that skyscrapers specifically designed to withstand the hottest fires and direct impacts from airplanes somehow succumbed to those stresses and collapsed at virtually free-fall speed, straight down into their own footprints. Never before had such a thing occurred—despite other skyscrapers hit by planes and beset by fires far hotter than those present at the World Trade Center—but on Sept. 11, it happened three times in eight hours.
The alternative case carefully constructed by AE 9/11 Truth researchers is startling. A straight-down, nearly free-fall collapse means that the structures met virtually no resistance on the way down, and all of the reinforced steel support columns must have failed completely and simultaneously. This simple physical law disproves the preposterous theories put forth by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the author of the official collapse story.

Subsequent testing of WTC dust samples established the presence of thermite, a high-powered incendiary that cuts through a steel beam like a lightning bolt through a stick of butter. This evidence is hard proof of the most-likely collapse scenario, one that was completely ignored by NIST, which did not even test for explosives, despite eyewitness testimony of more than 100 New York City firefighters who heard and saw explosions on Sept. 11.

I remember network news anchor Peter Jennings, mesmerized by video of the collapse, observing, "Almost like a controlled demolition." Indeed, thousands of buildings have collapsed straight down at virtually free-fall speed over the years, and every one of them resulted from controlled demolition.
I'd say Mr. Jennings' journalistic instincts were correct. Kudos to Peter Morse and the rest of the patriotic citizens of AE 9/11 Truth for picking up where he left off. Check out their website for yourself at www.ae911truth.org.

When a formal criminal investigation determines who planted those explosives and why, then maybe our nation can start figuring out where it's headed in the next 10 years.

Gore fakes 'proof' of Man Made Global Warming shock

Editor's note: What would this debate look like with honest approach to the science and with open public scrutiny of anthropogenic global warming?

Telegraph
James Delingpole

Like cousin Fat Tail Gore, Al just can't help doing what he does...
Watts Up With That has achieved a truly astonishing scoop. It seems that the world-renowned climatological expert Al Gore may have faked a "high school physics" experiment "proving" that Man Made Global Warming is fact, not fantasy.

Oh all right, I'll turn off the sarcasm.

What I think is most interesting is not so much that Gore has been caught out telling porkie pies, nor that the TV crew faked every last detail of the experiment. Faking it is what TV does all the time, I'm afraid. As for Al Gore and extravagant untruths well, it's scorpions, frogs and rivers, is it not? No, what's so thoroughly cherishable about this story is the forensic attention to detail which Anthony Watts has brought to bear on it.

Read it for yourself and relish every moment. I particularly like the bit where Wattsy goes out to buy the exact same equipment used in the experiment and proves that those thermometers can't possibly have been filmed rising inside the jars because they're just not blurry enough. You might call this obsessive. I call it our salvation.

The point that can't be made often enough about the internet is that it represents our best and perhaps only hope of outmanoeuvring the lies, bullying and control of the political establishment. Nowhere is this truer than with the Man Made Global Warming scam. Had it not been for the internet, Climategate would not have been broken, nor the earlier work of McIntyre and McKitrick disseminated, nor a community created in which scientific experts (and interested laymen) all over the world were able to discuss climate science freely without the risk of being defunded, or having their journal closed down or being ostracised by their colleagues. But though the internet was a necessary condition for this to happen, it was not a sufficient one. The other vitally important ingredient was the trainspotterish diligence of men and women like Anthony Watts, and Richard North and Donna Laframboise and Joanna Nova.

Why is this trainspotterish diligence so essential? Because one of the main planks of the defence used by the climate alarmist establishment against sceptics is that they have all the expertise on their side, all the PhDs, all the notable scientific institutions, and that therefore their "authority" trumps the feeble witterings of all those nonentities, crazed Oxford English graduates, and other such verminous specimens who dare to speak out against the mighty, unimpeachable wisdom.

What the internet has proved in these debates, time and again – from Glaciergate to Amazongate to Polarbeargate – is that when the rebellious amateurs of the sceptical blogosphere go head to head with the climate establishment, the bloggers always win. Not as a result of invective or snarkiness or any of the other things that bloggers also do quite well: but on the actual hard science and raw evidence. Look at almost any tussle between, say, WUWT on the one side, RealClimate on the other, and you'll notice that when it finally boils down to the irreducible truth, the side that emerges triumphant is the sceptical one, not the alarmist one. It's partly because the facts are on our side (so we jolly well ought to win if we're doing our job even remotely properly), but also because, being the underfunded underdogs, we've been forced to raise our game to a higher standard than that of our rather complacent, smug opposition.


Media claims gold "not backed by anything!"




Mass killing and humanitarian disaster in NATO siege of Sirte

empirestrikesblack
Bill Van Auken

Refugees from the Libyan coastal city of Sirte report that thousands have died as a result of relentless NATO bombardment and shelling by the the Western-backed “rebels.”

The two-week-old NATO siege of Sirte has left the city without adequate food, drinkable water, medicine and other basic necessities of life, creating hellish condition for its population of 100,000.

While the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council (NTC) has repeatedly issued announcements that the so-called rebels had advanced toward the city center under NATO air cover, they have again and again been forced to retreat under heavy fire from forces loyal to Col. Muammar Gaddafi, as well as what have been described as citizen volunteers.

In their frustration, the anti-Gaddafi militias have pounded the coastal city with artillery and mortar rounds, tank shells and Grad rockets, wreaking horrific destruction.

Thousands of refugees have tried to flee the city, forced to pass through checkpoints set up by the NATO-backed forces, where many have been taken prisoner, accused of being Gaddafi supporters.
The Wall Street Journal reported from one of these checkpoints, describing lines of cars and trucks, packed with civilians and piled with mattresses and other belongings:

“As refugees gathered, the Misrata fighters checked their names against lists of suspected Gaddafi loyalists. Some men were arrested while others were told to wait on the side of the road with their families.

“‘We’re going to punish even those that supported Moammar with words,’ said a bearded fighter to a man who protested his detention. ‘We are the knights that liberated Libya.’ ”

Reports from inside the city indicate a deepening humanitarian catastrophe. The aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF—Doctors Without Borders) reported Wednesday that it had been in touch with doctors at the main hospital in Sirte, who were facing an increasingly impossible situation.

“If the situation continues for a few more days or weeks, it will be catastrophic. Already the doctors in the hospital can’t do their work properly, and if it persists, the situation will become dramatic,” Dr. Mego Terzian, head of emergency programs for MSF-France, told the Reuters news agency.

“They said the hospital was overwhelmed with wounded,” said Terzian. “There are other kinds of emergencies—pediatric, gynecological and patients with chronic diseases who are not receiving treatment.

“They told us of huge difficulties, a lack of electricity, water and basic medicines to run the emergency room, including anesthetics, antibiotics, analgesics, and blood bags,” he told Reuters.

The MSF representative said that the doctors in Sirte had contacted the group asking for emergency medical supplies, but that the National Transitional Council had “forbidden” MSF volunteers from crossing through its siege lines to aid the population.

Terzian said that the group was investigating whether it could bring in supplies by sea, but that it was not optimistic. NATO warships are maintaining a blockade of Libya’s Mediterranean coast, which is an integral part of the barbaric siege of Sirte.

Another doctor interviewed by the Associated Press said that many of the wounded being brought into the city’s central Ibn Sina Hospital were civilians who appeared to have been hit by rebel shells. The doctor, Eman Mohammed, reported that the hospital had no oxygen in the operating rooms and few staff members to treat patients.

Lack of food, water, electricity and other basic necessities is also taking its toll on the general population, particularly the city’s children. Reporting from a clinic in the town of Harawa, just a few miles outside of Sirte, AFP said that large numbers of families were bringing in young children suffering from severe diarrhea and vomiting.

“Most patients coming to me are children,” Valentina Rybakova, a Ukrainian doctor who has worked in Libya for eight years, told AFP. “I saw 120 patients since morning and 70 percent of them were children. This is a big humanitarian crisis. We are trying to get help from everybody, but the main problem is that these people have no access to clean drinking water.” She said that her clinic, too, was suffering from a shortage of medicines, as well as critical lack of nursing staff.

“The situation in the city is very critical,” Muftah Mohammed, a fish trader who was leaving Sirte, told AFP. “Children are in a particularly bad condition. There is no milk for them. We have all been surviving on just macaroni for several days.”

“There is no food, there is no medicine, and every night, for five or six hours, NATO bombs all sorts of buildings,” Sami Abderraman, 64, told the Spanish daily El Pais as he sought to leave Sirte. “Hundreds of women and children have died like animals.” Abderraman estimated that as many as 3,000 people have been killed in the siege.

Another refugee, who asked not to be named, told El Pais that “The people who remain are going to fight to the death.”

Riab Safran, 28, spoke to the Times of London as his car was being searched at a rebel roadblock outside of Sirte. “It was worse than awful,” he said. “They hit all kinds of buildings—schools, hospitals.” He said that he and his family had slept on the beach to avoid the NATO bombs and rebel shells, which had destroyed his own house on Saturday.

Libya and the Big Lie: Using Human Rights Organizations to Launch Wars

Global Research
Mahdi Darius Mazemroaya

NATO attack on Libyan war ships
The war against Libya is built on fraud. The United Nations Security Council passed two resolutions against Libya on the basis of unproven claims, specifically that Colonel Muammar Qaddafi was killing his own people in Benghazi. The claim in its exact form was that Qaddafi had ordered Libyan forces to kill 6,000 people in Benghazi. These claims were widely disseminated, but always vaguely explained. It was on the basis of this claim that Libya was referred to the U.N. Security Council at U.N Headquarters in New York City and kicked out of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

False claims about African mercenary armies in Libya and about jet attacks on civilians were also used in a broad media campaign against Libya. These two claims have been sidelined and have become more and more murky. The massacre claims, however, were used in a legal, diplomatic, and military framework to justify NATO’s war on the Libyans.

Using Human Rights as a Pretext for War: The LLHR and its Unproven Claims

One of the main sources for the claim that Qaddafi was killing his own people is the Libyan League for Human Rights (LLHR). The LLHR was actually pivotal to getting the U.N. involved through its specific claims in Geneva. On February 21, 2011 the LLHR got the 70 other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to sent letters to the President Obama, E.U. High Representative Catherine Ashton., and the U.N. Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon demanding international action against Libya invoking the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine. Only 25 members of this coalition actually assert that they are human rights groups.

The letter is as follows:

We, the undersigned non-governmental, human rights, and humanitarian organizations, urge you to mobilize the United Nations and the international community and take immediate action to halt the mass atrocities now being perpetrated by the Libyan government against its own people. The inexcusable silence cannot continue.

As you know, in the past several days, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi’s forces are estimated to have deliberately killed hundreds of peaceful protesters and innocent bystanders across the country. In the city of Benghazi alone, one doctor reported seeing at least 200 dead bodies. Witnesses report that a mixture of special commandos, foreign mercenaries and regime loyalists have attacked demonstrators with knives, assault rifles and heavy-caliber weapons.

Snipers are shooting peaceful protesters. Artillery and helicopter gunships have been used against crowds of demonstrators. Thugs armed with hammers and swords attacked families in their homes. Hospital officials report numerous victims shot in the head and chest, and one struck on the head by an anti-aircraft missile. Tanks are reported to be on the streets and crushing innocent bystanders. Witnesses report that mercenaries are shooting indiscriminately from helicopters and from the top of roofs. Women and children were seen jumping off Giuliana Bridge in Benghazi to escape. Many of them were killed by the impact of hitting the water, while others were drowned. The Libyan regime is seeking to hide all of these crimes by shutting off contact with the outside world. Foreign journalists have been refused entry. Internet and phone lines have been cut or disrupted.

There is no question here about intent. The government media has published open threats, promising that demonstrators would meet a “violent and thunderous response.”

Accordingly, the government of Libya is committing gross and systematic violations of the right to life as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Citizens seeking to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are being massacred by the government.

Moreover, the government of Libya is committing crimes against humanity, as defined by the Explanatory Memorandum to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Libyan government’s mass killing of innocent civilians amount to particularly odious offences which constitute a serious attack on human dignity. As confirmed by numerous oral and video testimonies gathered by human rights organizations and news agencies, the Libyan government’s assault on its civilian population are not isolated or sporadic events. Rather, these actions constitute a widespread and systematic policy and practice of atrocities, intentionally committed, including murder, political persecution and other inhumane acts which reach the threshold of crimes against humanity.

Responsibility to Protect
Under the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, you have a clear and unambiguous responsibility to protect the people of Libya. The international community, through the United Nations, has the responsibility to use appropriate diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter, to help to protect the Libyan population. Because the Libyan national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their population from crimes against humanity, should peaceful means be inadequate, member states are obliged to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the UN Charter, including Chapter VII.

In addition, we urge you to convene an emergency Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council, whose members have a duty, under UNGA Resolution 60/251, to address situations of gross and systematic violations of violations of human rights. The session should:

Call for the General Assembly to suspend Libya’s Council membership, pursuant to Article 8 of Resolution 60/251, which applies to member states that commit gross and systematic violations of human rights.

Strongly condemn, and demand an immediate end to, Libya’s massacre of its own citizens.

Dispatch immediately an international mission of independent experts to collect relevant facts and document violations of international human rights law and crimes against humanity, in order to end the impunity of the Libyan government. The mission should include an independent medical investigation into the deaths, and an investigation of the unlawful interference by the Libyan government with the access to and treatment of wounded.

Call on the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and the Council’s relevant Special Procedures to closely monitor the situation and take action as needed.

Call on the Council to remain seized of the matter and address the Libyan situation at its upcoming 16th regular session in March.

Member states and high officials of the United Nations have a responsibility to protect the people of Libya from what are preventable crimes. We urge you to use all available measures and levers to end atrocities throughout the country.

We urge you to send a clear message that, collectively, the international community, the Security Council and the Human Rights Council will not be bystanders to these mass atrocities. The credibility of the United Nations — and many innocent lives — are at stake. [1]

According to Physicians for Human Rights: “[This letter was] prepared under the guidance of Mohamed Eljahmi, the noted Libyan human rights defender and brother of dissident Fathi Eljahmi, asserts that the widespread atrocities committed by Libya against its own people amount to war crimes, requiring member states to take action through the Security Council under the responsibility to protect doctrine.” [2]

The letters signatories included Francis Fukuyama, United Nations Watch (which looks out for Israel’s interests), B’nai B’rith Human Rights Commission, the Cuban Democratic Directorate, and a set of organizations at odds with the governments of Nicaragua, Cuba, Sudan, Russia, Venezuela, and Libya. Some of these organizations are viewed with hostility as organizations created to wage demonization campaigns against countries at odds with the U.S., Israel, and the European Union. Refer to the annex for the full list of signatories for consultation.

LLHR is tied to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which is based in France and has ties to the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). FIDH is active in many places in Africa and in activities involving the National Endowment for Democracy. Both the FIDH and LLHR also released a joint communiqué on February 21, 2011. In the communiqué both organizations asked for the international community to “mobilize” and mention the International Criminal Court while also making a contradictory claiming that over 400 to 600 people had died since February 15, 2011. [3] This of course was about 5,500 short of the claim that 6,000 people were massacred in Benghazi. The joint letter also promoted the false view that 80% of Qaddafi’s support came from foreign mercenaries, which is something that over half a year of fighting proves as untrue.

According to the General-Secretary of the LLHR, Dr. Sliman Bouchuiguir, the claims about the massacres in Benghazi could not be validated by the LLHR when he was challenged for proof. When asked how a group of 70 non-governmental organizations in Geneva could support the LLHR’s claims on Geneva, Dr. Buchuiguir has answered that a network of close relationship was the basis. This is a mockery.

Caught On Camera – NYDP Punches Occupy Wall Street Protestor In The Face For No Apparent Reason

Alexander Higgins



This video shows a peaceful protestor getting punched in the face for no apparent reason and then tackled down and arrested by NYC police at the Occupy Wall Street Protests

In yet another show of the rampant police brutality being waged against the peaceful non-violent Occupy Wall Street protestors, this video captures a NYC police officer grabbing a man by the back of his neck and then punching him in the face for no apparent reason.

The man was then arrested and hauled off in a police van, presumably charged with some frivolous crime to cover up the unprovoked assault he suffered

This is a video I edited down from an original. This shows a protestor getting punched in the face then tackled down. He is arrested then walked to a police van where he is searched (I presume illegally but we cant assume things) then left to wait in the police van. The original videographer got the badge numbers of the arresting officers but not the officer who punched the protestor.


Report: EPA cut corners on climate finding

Guardian
Dina Cappiello


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration cut corners when it produced a key scientific document underpinning its decision to regulate climate-changing pollution, an internal government watchdog said Wednesday.

The inspector general's report says the Environmental Protection Agency should have followed a more robust review process for a technical paper supporting its determination that greenhouse gases posed dangers to human health and welfare, a finding that ultimately compelled it to issue costly and controversial regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time.

The EPA and White House disagreed with the report's conclusions. They said the greenhouse gas document did not require more independent scrutiny because the scientific evidence it was based on already had been thoroughly reviewed.

"The report importantly does not question or even address the science used or the conclusions reached," the EPA said in a statement. The environmental agency said its work had "followed all appropriate guidance."

The greenhouse gas decision — which marked a reversal from the Bush administration — was announced in December 2009, a week before President Barack Obama headed to international negotiations in Denmark on a new treaty to curb global warming. At the time, progress was stalled in a Democrat-controlled Congress on a new law to reduce emissions in the United States.

The IG report does not challenge the scientific consensus around the causes of global warming. In 2010, a survey of more than 1,000 of the world's most cited and published climate scientists found that 97 percent believe climate change is very likely caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

But by highlighting what it calls "procedural deviations," the report provides ammunition to Republicans and industry lawyers fighting the Obama administration over its decision to use the 40-year-old Clean Air Act to fight global warming. While the Supreme Court said in 2007 that the act could be used to control greenhouse gases, after the Bush administration repeatedly said it couldn't, the Republican-controlled House has passed legislation to change that.

The bill has so far been stymied by the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who requested the inspector general's investigation and one of Congress' most vocal climate skeptics, said Wednesday that the report confirms that "the very foundation of President Obama's job-destroying agenda was rushed, biased and flawed."

Environmentalists, meanwhile, said Wednesday the inspector general was nitpicking at the public's expense. The investigation cost nearly $300,000.

"The process matters, but the science matters more," said Francesca Grifo, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists. "Nothing in this report questions the agency's ability to move forward with global warming emissions rules."


A prominent environmental attorney and Columbia University law professor also questioned what effect, if any, the report would have on global warming policy.

Michael Gerrard said that while lawyers and politicians would try to use the report to fight EPA regulations, the scientific case for global warming has only gotten stronger.

The report itself found that EPA "generally" adhered to data quality requirements. But it said while the agency's document was based on well-established and peer-reviewed science, it required additional independent scrutiny because the agency had to weigh the strength of that science. The inspector general specifically pointed out that the EPA did not publicly report the results of the review, and one of a dozen experts who reviewed the document worked at the agency.

The Obama administration has made a big deal about the importance of peer review.

Six weeks after taking office in 2009, Obama issued a memo that said: "When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, the information should be subject to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where appropriate, and each agency should appropriately and accurately reflect that information in complying with and applying relevant statutory standards."

A year later, the president's science adviser, John Holdren, emphasized the "particular importance" of outside review by scientists.
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Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this story.
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Follow Dina Cappiello on Twitter (at)dinacappiello
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Online: 
EPA inspector general's report: http://www.epa.gov/oig/ 


Fukushima and the Battle for Truth: Large sectors of the Japanese population are accumulating significant levels of internal contamination

Global Research
Paul Zimmerman

Fukushima’s nuclear disaster is a nightmare. Ghostly releases of radioactivity haunt the Japanese countryside. Lives, once safe, are now beset by an ineffable scourge promising vile illness and death.

Large sectors of the population are accumulating significant levels of internal contamination, setting the stage for a public health tragedy.

A subtle increase in the number of miscarriages and fetal deaths will be the first manifestation that something is amiss. An elevated incidence of birth defects will begin in the Fall and continue into the indefinite future. Thyroid diseases, cardiac diseases and elevated rates of infant and childhood leukemia will follow. Over the next decade and beyond, cancer rates will soar.

Chernobyl was the harbinger of this heartbreaking scenario. It taught mankind the inescapable biological truths that emerge within populations internally contaminated by heightened levels of fission products. And yet, government and industry schemers attack these truths as unfounded scare-mongering. With cold indifference, they deny that Chernobyl was a mass casualty event. They turn a blind eye to a huge body of research and deviously proclaim that no evidence exists that more than a handful of people suffered harm from the Ukrainian disaster. They publish propaganda, draped in the guise of science, that dismisses the hazard of low levels of internal contamination. Believing their subterfuge to have been successful and intoxicated by their hubris, they are already positioning themselves to stage-manage the public’s perception of Fukushima.

Japan’s government, its Nuclear Safety Commission, and the Tokyo Electric  Power Company have already demonstrated that they will do everything in their power to keep citizens ignorant of what is taking place. The emerging health crisis is scheduled to be erased. Following a time-tested blueprint worked out by prior radiation releases around the world, data relevant to assessing the medical impact of the accident will not be gathered. Radiation doses to the population will be woefully underestimated. The hazards associated with low levels of internal contamination will be obliterated from all discussions of risk. Academic journals that support the nuclear agenda will be flooded with bogus studies demonstrating that no health detriment was suffered by the population. The heightened incidence of childhood leukemia will be attributed to some as yet unidentified virus unleashed by population mixing following the evacuations caused by the tsunami. (This theory is currently in vogue to deny that the heightened incidence of leukemia among children under five years of age living nearby to nuclear reactors is radiation induced.)  The birth defects will be summarily dismissed as impossible because the risk models upheld by the International Commission on Radiological Protection don’t predict them. The possibility that the models are fraudulently constructed escapes consideration. (See a Betrayal of Mankind by the Radiation Protection Agencies, available as a free download at http://www.du-deceptions.com/excerpts.html.)

How is TRUTH to gain ascendancy when blocked by this institutionalized matrix of deceit? What agency can possibly take the lead to accurately document the full scope of the disaster, identify its victims and those at risk, and publish trustworthy public health information? Who is going to take responsibility to protect the children? To wait for the government to come to the rescue is naive. The history of radiation accidents testifies that governments routinely betray their citizens in deference to their nuclear weapons program and the nuclear industry. No, only one alternative is open to the people of Japan. They must become proactive. They must seize the initiative and wrest control from government and industry of the “perception” of the catastrophe.


The accident at Fukushima demands that a peoples’ campaign be initiated to produce an honest assessment of the current situation, catalog the medical consequences as they emerge, and offer accurate advice as to how citizens can protect themselves. Using the internet as a platform, scientists from all relevant disciplines must band together with interested laypeople with something valid to contribute to create a widely distributed open source research project. The evolving online encyclopedia will archive all pertinent data and preserve it from future tampering. The accident from its inception must be documented. With published reports frequently in conflict with one another, all available information, whether from government sources, citizen investigators or eyewitnesses, must be gathered for future evaluation. Worldwide meteorological data since March 11 must be assembled. All official and unofficial measurements of radiation in the environment, both in Japan and worldwide, must be collected and collated. This is essential information required for future epidemiological studies. Contaminated agricultural areas must be identified. Samples of all edible material for human and animal consumption must be evaluated for safety. As suspected radiation-induced illness begins to appear in the population, healthcare providers and victims must make public their experiences.
Initially, this information will be anecdotal but nonetheless invaluable. It will identify emerging trends of morbidity and mortality and define population subgroups requiring more systematic scientific investigation.   Researchers working alone or in groups must seize the initiative to pursue study in their fields of expertise and interest. (One excellent suggestion by Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility is the widespread collection of babies’ teeth to provide objective data on the geographic dispersion and uptake of strontium-90 [1].) Methodologies, data and results need be posted online as they become available. Free access to the whole body of work must be guaranteed so as to allow scrutiny by people from all over the world. Transparency must be paramount. An open dialogue will allow divergent points of view to be fairly represented. Disagreements over research protocols or the interpretation of results will point the way to new avenues of investigation where clarification and consensus might be achieved. Objective investigation via the scientific method will be the final arbitrator of truth. The ultimate goal of this effort will be to produce an unbiased determination of the public health consequences of radiation released into the environment, assess the accuracy of current standards of radiation safety and identify how improvements can be made for the common welfare of humanity.

It is urgent that this initiative commence immediately. Data must be captured while it is remains untainted. Of particular importance is the securing of pre-accident health statistics for the population of Japan. Rates for various pregnancy outcomes; the frequency of different types of birth defects; the incidence of thyroid diseases, heart diseases, cancers and so forth, all must be cataloged. There is good reason why this baseline data need be preserved. The history of radiation accidents is littered with examples of the outright falsification of data that has prevented an honest evaluation of the effects of low levels of internal contamination on human health. For instance, evidence exists that morbidity and mortality data published by the U.S. Government’s Public Health Service was altered in the wake of radiation releases from nuclear weapon production facilities and commercial nuclear power plants so as to hide cancer deaths in the population [2]. The accident at Three Mile Island, persistently painted by government and industry spokesmen as a benign event, in fact produced illness and death among humans and farm animals downwind [3,4]. After the accident at Chernobyl, hundreds of thousands of so-called “liquidators” participated in cleanup operations in close proximity to the destroyed reactor and also built a concrete sarcophagus around the reactor building to entomb the radiation. According to the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR), in subsequent years this population was reported as having a lower rate of leukemia than the general population. Only later did it come to light that Soviet doctors were forbidden from recording leukemia in their diagnoses [5]. The Wales Cancer Registry was cited by the ECRR as excising cases of cancer from its database so as to prevent the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing facility in the U.K. from being blamed for causing illness to the population. Also mentioned by ECRR was the alteration of infant mortality figures in Germany after Chernobyl so as to mask the impact of the accident on public health [5].

Mischief has not been confined to falsifying health records. In 1957, a fire broke out in the graphite reactor at Windscale, England on the site now occupied by the Sellafield facility. The amount of radiation released and the incidence of cancer induced in the population of Ireland has remained fiercely contentious issues. According to the ECRR, at some point after the fire, meteorological records were altered “with the apparent motive of concealing the likely location of any effects” [5]. Similarly, the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Japan suffered a devastating fire in 1995. Prefecture and city officials found that the operator had tampered with video images of the fire to hide the scale of the disaster [6].    

If an accurate documentation of the health consequences of Fukushima is to succeed, one condition is paramount: the project MUST retain its independence from the international agencies that currently dominate the discussion of radiation effects. The tacit mandate of these organizations is to support nuclear weapons programs and the nuclear industry, and they do so by publishing fraudulent scientific studies that downplay the hazards to health of radioactive material released into the environment. For example, the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) and other UN organizations jointly published Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts [7].  This study is routinely cited as proof that Chernobyl had little impact on public health. It concluded that only twenty-eight first responders died from acute radiation syndrome and 4,000 children developed thyroid cancer, fifteen of whom died by 2002. In addition, it estimated that an additional 4,000 fatal cancers might arise in the overall population. This sanitized version of the catastrophe was reached by the devious method of consulting only 350 sources of information, mostly published in English, while ignoring  30,000 publications and 170,000 sources of information available in languages other than English [8]. A summary of this large body of literature, published as Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and Nature, concluded that radiation-induced casualties approached 980,000 [9].