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May 3, 2010

Britain faces payout shame as hundreds of detainees claim soldiers abused them*

War criminals are going to be sued beyond bankruptcy. Now you got to pay what you voted for.

The Times - May 3, 2010

The cash-strapped Ministry of Defence faces the prospect of further
compensation payouts as hundreds of Iraqis held in British custody file
complaints of abuse, described to The Times by former detainees.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has already paid millions of pounds to
claimants who alleged physical and sexual abuse in detention in southeast
Iraq, where British forces were based between 2003 and 2009.

The family of Baha Musa, an Iraqi who died in British custody in 2003,
shared a £2.83 million MoD settlement with nine others. An inquiry into his
death saw evidence suggesting that the illegal treatment of prisoners, such
as hooding and sleep deprivation, was widespread.

Substantial out-of-court settlements have also been reached with nine men
who made allegations of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of British
soldiers in 2003 at a base known as Camp Breadbasket.

The MoD admitted in 2008 that Iraqis were unlawfully assaulted at the base
in Basra.

Leigh Day solicitors, who represented the nine men, said that a further 14
have since come forward. The law firm also represents about 100 other Iraqi
citizens in claims against the MoD for alleged maltreatment by British
forces, mainly relating to arrest and detention. “Fresh allegations continue
to come forward, so the number of cases will undoubtedly rise,” a spokesman
for the firm said.

Another British law firm, Public Interest Lawyers, represents 65 clients
with similar claims and is expecting “many, many more”.

In Basra, Iraqis who had been detained at Camp Breadbasket said that the
abuses became so notorious that former detainees were assumed to have been
sexually abused by men and were ostracised after their release.

A 35-year-old Iraqi man, who received a financial settlement from the MoD
after being held at Camp Breadbasket for one day in 2003, told The Times
that he was stripped to his underwear, beaten and forced to sit outside with
his back against a wall in intense heat for five hours without water.

He said: “The main problem is that my reputation is ruined. The people in
our area, when they hear I have been arrested by the British Army, assumed I
had been abused by British soldiers. People associate the British Army with
sexual abuse.”

He said that when he reported his experience to the British authorities he
was asked to look at an album of photographs of other detainees. “I was
astonished,” he said. “I saw photographs of my friends being abused by the
forces, totally naked, hanging upside down, being sexually abused.”

The MoD declined to comment on his case because it had been settled out of
court.

Another former Camp Breadbasket detainee, 25, who has a claim being
investigated by the MoD, broke down in tears when he said that he found two
male British soldiers kissing in a storeroom. He alleged that the soldiers
beat him and raped him repeatedly at knifepoint. He showed The Times his
arms covered in scars.

Afterwards, he said, “my life began to be like hell and disaster”. He left
Basra because of the scandal. He married in 2005 and had two daughters, but
he said that the shame of the attack contributed to his separation from his
wife.

He said: “I hope to sue [those responsible] in front of all the Iraqi
people. The important thing to me is to see them convicted for crimes.”

Other former detainees in Basra alleged similar experiences in Camp
Breadbasket. One man described being held in a nearby detention facility at
Shaibah, alleging that he had been hooded, beaten, deprived of water and had
money stolen.

In March the MoD announced the creation of the Iraq Historic Allegations
Team to investigate claims of abuse by Iraqis against British service
personnel because there were too many claims to deal with individually.

An MoD spokesman said that the investigation was likely to take two years
and that it would address cases brought by Public Interest Lawyers. Leigh
Day confirmed that the investigation team would also address claims brought
by them.

The nature of the investigation team and whether it will travel to Iraq to
hear statements has yet to be decided, but it has been confirmed that it
will report to the Royal Military Police.

Between 2003 and 2009, 651 Iraqi detainees were held in the British Shaibah
prison. Dozens have alleged abuse. In the months after the invasion
thousands of Iraqis were detained, often for short periods.

Separately yesterday at least one person was killed and 100 wounded when two
bombs exploded minutes apart near buses carrying Christian university
students in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. A security official said that
the dead victim was a shop owner and the injured included students.

“Today was terrible and I will not forget it for the rest of my life,” said
Wisam Jarji, a student who was wounded in the blast. “After the explosion
the situation in the bus was chaotic and I could see bloodstains and hear
screams all over the place.”

Sunni Muslim insurgents have frequently targeted Iraq’s Christian minority,
considering them to be supporters of the Shia-led Government.


Related: Study: Two-Thirds of Boys in Afghan Jails Are Brutalized
by Gareth Porter - Inter Press Service

Nearly two of every three male juveniles arrested in Afghanistan are physically abused, according to a study based on interviews with 40 percent of all those now incarcerated in the country's juvenile justice system.

The study, carried out by U.S. defense attorney Kimberly Motley for the international children's rights organization Terre des Hommes, reveals a justice system that subjects juveniles, many of whom are already innocent victims, to torture, forced confessions, and blatant violation of their rights in court.

Motley, who may be the only practicing Western defense attorney in Afghanistan, told IPS that the study shows the need for alternatives to introducing juveniles into what she calls the "injustice system."
The author personally interviewed 250 of the 600 juveniles in jails and rehabilitation centers across the country, including half the 80 girls and 40 percent of the 520 boys, as well as 98 professionals working in the system.

Although only two of the girls interviewed reported being beaten by police, 130 out of the 208 boys under the age of 18 interviewed said they had been beaten. The interviews were carried out by Motley in 28 provinces from September through December 2009.

Those statistics parallel the findings of a study published by the UN Children's Fund and the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in 2008, which found that 55 percent of boys and 11 percent of girls reported having been beaten upon their arrest.

Virtually all the male juveniles said the police beatings were aimed at forcing them to sign a confession. They said they had signed either while being beaten or threatened with being beaten and that the confessions were then used to convict them.

The testimony of the juveniles themselves on brutalization by police was consistent with Motley's interviews with juvenile-court judges. Forty-four percent of the judges interviewed indicated that juveniles complained routinely about torture and physical abuse by police officers. Another 33 percent refused to answer when asked whether they had heard such complaints.

Many of the boys interviewed by Motley reported that they had been beaten by several police simultaneously. In one case, a 17-year-old said he was "kicked liked an animal" by six or seven policemen after his arrest.

One juvenile charged with putting up signs around the city threatening terrorist acts told Motley that he signed a confession only after having been subjected to electric shock and hung from the ceiling by the National Security Police. The torture continued for more than two months, according to the boy.

The prosecutor in the case admitted to Motley that she had not only been aware of the accusations of torture but had seen marks on the boy's body indicating that the confessions had indeed been obtained under torture.

The prosecutor further acknowledged that no witnesses or other evidence had been presented in support of the charges against the boy.
The judge in the case told Motley that when asked in court why the case had not been dismissed as required by Afghan law, the prosecutors admitted that it was because they were afraid of the National Security Police and felt they had no choice.

In addition to the male juveniles who had signed coerced confessions by their thumbprint, 24 percent of all the male and female juveniles interviewed told Motley they had signed confessions prepared by police without realizing it until they had gone to court. In some cases, they were tricked into signing a blank sheet of paper which was then used for the confession.

Almost half the children brought before a court in Afghanistan are also denied the right to speak in their defense, according to Motley's study. Forty-seven percent of those interviewed, including 62 percent of those in the western region, were not allowed to testify on their own behalf.

One of the male juveniles denied the right to testify in court was a boy charged with pederasty, or sexual relations between an adult male and a child. As is often the case, he was the victim of rape, after having been kidnapped by three adults, all of whom were released and never charged.

When the boy tried to explain in court that he was raped, however, he was told by the judge not to speak or even look at her, Motley recounts. The attorney for the child "barely spoke out for him," and he was sentenced to five years in jail.

Motley also found, however, that 71 percent of the judges surveyed expressed the view that, if a juvenile remains silent in court when asked questions by a judge, they must be guilty.

Mohammad Ibrahim Hassan, a human rights activist in Afghanistan for two decades, told IPS the bias against presumption of innocence is deeply imbedded in Afghan culture. "A majority of the people in Afghanistan are against the presumption of innocence," he said in a recent interview in Kabul.

In the Afghan justice system, he observed, "When they arrest somebody, they think you have to expect the worst punishment."
A recent visit to the Kabul juvenile rehabilitation center, on which this reporter was accompanied by Motley, further confirmed the prevalence of brutalization of juvenile males by police.

In one the center's male dormitory rooms, which was chosen at random, the 10 juveniles present were asked through an interpreter how many had been beaten by police after their arrest.

Half of the boys raised their hands. One recalled having been subjected to electric shock in order to get him to sign a confession. "They put the cables on my toes and fingers," he said, "and they turned on the electricity many times for a few seconds."

He agreed to sign, and the police handed him a piece of paper on which to put his thumbprint.

Describing his treatment at the hands of the police, another boy said, "They would ask us, `Have you committed this crime?,' and if we said no, they would beat us."

The Subprime Conspiracy: Was There A Plan to Blow Up The Economy?

By Mike Whitney
May 03, 2010 "Information Clearing House" --Many people now believe that the financial crisis was not an accident. They think that the Bush administration and the Fed knew what Wall Street was up to and provided their support. This isn't as far fetched as it sounds. As we will show, it's clear that Bush, Greenspan and many other high-ranking officials understood the problem with subprime mortgages and knew that a huge asset bubble was emerging that threatened the economy. But while the housing bubble was more than just an innocent mistake, it doesn't rise to the level of "conspiracy" which Webster defines as  "a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an unlawful act."  It's actually worse than that, because bubblemaking is the dominant policy, and it's used to overcome the structural problems in capitalism itself, mainly stagnation.
  The whole idea of a conspiracy diverts attention from what really happened. It conjures up a comical vision of  top-hat business tycoons gathered in a smoke-filled room stealthily mapping out the country's future. It ignores the fact, that the main stakeholders don't need to convene a meeting to know what they want.They already know what they want; they want a process that helps them to maintain profitability even while the "real" economy remains stuck in the mud.  Historian Robert Brenner has written extensively on this topic and dispels the mistaken view that the economy is "fundamentally strong". (in the words of former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson)  Here's Brenner :

"The current crisis is more serious than the worst previous recession of the postwar period, between 1979 and 1982, and could conceivably come to rival the Great Depression, though there is no way of really knowing. Economic forecasters have underestimated how bad it is because they have over-estimated the strength of the real economy and failed to take into account the extent of its dependence upon a buildup of debt that relied on asset price bubbles. In the U.S., during the recent business cycle of the years 2001-2007, GDP growth was by far the slowest of the postwar epoch. There was no increase in private sector employment. The increase in plants and equipment was about a third of the previous, a postwar low. Real wages were basically flat. There was no increase in median family income for the first time since World War II. Economic growth was driven entirely by personal consumption and residential investment, made possible by easy credit and rising house prices. Economic performance was weak, even despite the enormous stimulus from the housing bubble and the Bush administration's huge federal deficits. Housing by itself accounted for almost one-third of the growth of GDP and close to half of the increase in employment in the years 2001-2005. It was, therefore, to be expected that when the housing bubble burst, consumption and residential investment would fall, and the economy would plunge. " ("Overproduction not Financial Collapse is the Heart of the Crisis", Robert P. Brenner speaks with Jeong Seong-jin, Asia Pacific Journal)

What Brenner describes is an economy that's flat on its back; an economy that--despite unfunded tax cuts, massive military spending and gigantic asset bubbles--can barely produce positive growth.  The pervasive lethargy of mature capitalist economies, poses huge challenges for industry bosses who are judged solely on their ability to boost quarterly profits. Goldman's Lloyd Blankfein and JPM's Jamie Dimon could care less about economic theory, what they're interested in is making money; how to deploy their capital in a way that maximizes return on investment. "Profits", that's it.  And that's much more difficult in a world that's saturated with overcapacity and flagging demand.  The world doesn't need more widgets or widget-makers. The only way to ensure profitability is to invent an alternate system altogether, a new universe of financial exotica (CDOs, MBSs, CDSs) that operates independent of the sluggish real economy. Financialization provides that opportunity. It allows the main players to pump-up the leverage, minimize capital-outlay, inflate asset prices, and skim off record profits even while the real  economy endures severe stagnation. 

 
Financialization provides a  path to wealth creation, which is why the sector's portion of total corporate profits is now nearly 40 percent. It's a way to bypass the pervasive inertia of the production-oriented economy. The Fed's role in this new paradigm is to create a hospitable environment (low interest rates) for bubble-making so the upward transfer of wealth can continue without interruption. Bubblemaking is policy.

As we've pointed out in earlier articles, scores of people knew what was going on during the subprime fiasco. But it's worth a quick review, because Robert Rubin, Alan Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, and others have been defending themselves saying, "Who could have known?".

The FBI knew ("In September 2004, the FBI began publicly warning that there was an "epidemic" of mortgage fraud, and it predicted that it would produce an economic crisis, if it were not dealt with.") The FDIC knew. ( In testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, FDIC chairman Sheila Bair confirmed that she not only warned the Fed of what was going on in 2001, but cited particular regulations (HOEPA) under which the Fed could stop the "unfair, abusive and deceptive practices" by the banks.) Also Fitch ratings knew, and even Alan Greenspan's good friend and former Fed governor Ed Gramlich knew. (Gramlich personally warned Greenspan of the surge in predatory lending that was apparent as early as 2000. Here's a bit of what Gramlich said in the Wall Street Journal:
"I would have liked the Fed to be a leader" in cracking down on predatory lending, Mr. Gramlich, now a scholar at the Urban Institute, said in an interview this past week. Knowing it would be controversial with Mr. Greenspan, whose deregulatory philosophy is well known, Mr. Gramlich broached it to him personally rather than take it to the full board.
"He was opposed to it, so I didn't really pursue it," says Mr. Gramlich. (Wall Street Journal)
So, Greenspan knew, too. And, according to Elizabeth MacDonald  in an article titled "Housing Red flags Ignored":
"One of the nation’s biggest mortgage industry players repeatedly warned the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other bank regulators during the housing bubble that the U.S. faced an imminent housing crash....But bank regulators not only ignored the group's warnings, top Fed officials also went on the airwaves to say the economy was "building on a sturdy foundation" and a housing crash was "unlikely."
So, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America [MICA] also knew. And, here's a clip from the Washington Post by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer who accused Bush of being a ‘partner in crime’ in the subprime fiasco. Spitzer says that the OCC launched “an unprecedented assault on state legislatures, as well as on state attorneys general just to make sure the looting would continue without interruption. Here's an except from Spitzer's article:
 
"In 2003, during the height of the predatory lending crisis....the OCC promulgated new rules that prevented states from enforcing any of their own consumer protection laws against national banks. The federal government’s actions were so egregious and so unprecedented that all 50 state attorneys general, and all 50 state banking superintendents, actively fought the new rules. (Washington Post)
So, the Fed knew, the Treasury knew, the FBI knew, the OCC knew, the FDIC knew, Bush knew, the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America knew, Fitch ratings knew, all the states Attorneys General knew, and thousands, of traders, lenders, ratings agency executives, bankers, hedge fund managers, private equity bosses, regulators knew. Everyone knew, except the unlucky people who were victimized in the biggest looting operation of all time.
  Once again, looking for conspiracy, just diverts attention from the nature of the crime itself. Here's a statement from former regulator and white collar criminologist William K. Black which helps to clarify the point:

"Fraudulent lenders produce exceptional short-term “profits” through a four-part strategy: extreme growth (Ponzi), lending to uncreditworthy borrowers, extreme leverage, and minimal loss reserves. These exceptional “profits” defeat regulatory restrictions and turn private market discipline perverse. The profits also allow the CEO to convert firm assets for personal benefit through seemingly normal compensation mechanisms. The short-term profits cause stock options to appreciate. Fraudulent CEOs following this strategy are guaranteed extraordinary income while minimizing risks of detection and prosecution." (William K. Black, "Epidemics of 'Control Fraud' Lead to Recurrent, Intensifying Bubbles and Crises", University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law)

Black's definition of "control fraud" comes very close to describing what really took place during the subprime mortgage frenzy. The investment banks and other financial institutions bulked up on garbage loans and complex securities backed by dodgy mortgages so they could increase leverage and rake off large bonuses for themselves. Clearly, they knew the underlying collateral was junk, just as they knew that eventually the market would crash and millions of people would suffer.

But, while its true that Greenspan and the Wall Street mandarins knew how the bubble-game was played; they had no intention of blowing up the whole system. They simply wanted to inflate the bubble, make their profits, and get out before the inevitable crash.  But, then something went wrong. When Lehman collapsed, the entire financial system suffered a major heart attack. All of the so-called "experts" models turned out to be wrong.

Here's what happened: Before to the meltdown, the depository "regulated" banks got their funding through the repo market by exchanging collateral (mainly mortgage-backed securities) for short-term loans with the so-called "shadow banks" (investment banks, hedge funds, insurers) But after Lehman defaulted, the funding stream was severely impaired because the prices on mortgage-backed securities kept falling. When the bank-funding system went on the fritz,  stocks went into a nosedive sending panicky investors fleeing for the exits. As unbelievable as it sounds, no one saw this coming.

The reason that no one anticipated a run on the shadow banking system, is because the basic architecture of the financial markets has changed dramatically in the last decade due to deregulation. The fundamental structure is different and the traditional stopgaps have been removed. That's why no one knew what to do during the panic. The general assumption was that there would be a one-to-one relationship between defaulting subprime mortgages and defaulting mortgage-backed securities (MBS). That turned out to be a grave miscalculation. The subprimes were only failing at roughly 8 percent rate when the whole secondary market collapsed. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill explained it best using a clever analogy. He said, "It's like you have 8 bottles of water and just one of them has arsenic in it. It becomes impossible to sell any of the other bottles because no one knows which one contains the poison."

  And that's exactly what happened. The market for structured debt crashed, stocks began to plummet, and the Fed had to step in to save the system. Unfortunately, that same deeply-flawed system is being rebuilt brick-by-brick without any substantive changes.. The Fed and Treasury support this effort, because--as agents of the banks--they are willing to sacrifice their own credibility to defend the primary profit-generating instruments of the industry leaders. (Goldman, JPM, etc) That means that Bernanke and Geithner will go to the mat to oppose any additional regulation on derivatives, securitization and off-balance sheet operations, the same lethal devices that triggered the financial crisis.

   So, there was no conspiracy to blow up the financial system, but there is an implicit understanding that the Fed will serve the interests of Wall Street by facilitating asset bubbles through "accommodative" monetary policy and by opposing regulation. It's just "business as usual", but it's far more damaging than any conspiracy, because it ensures that the economy will continue to stagnate, that inequality will continue to grow, and that the gigantic upward transfer of wealth will continue without pause.
  

Understanding the IMF/EU Bluff

A pill of wisdom and and easy forecast from Robert Wenzel on The Economic Policy Journal, MONDAY, MAY 3, 2010:


The unprecedented IMF/EU bailout of Greece has to be viewed as the greatest bluff in the history of world finance. It is a stop-gap measure that won't solve the financial problems in Greece, more importantly, it won't solve the problem for the PIIGS overall.

The fundamental problem with the PIIGS is that they have governments and economies structured to fail financially. They give and give (money) to the politically favored and tax and tax the ever shrinking productive elements in their countries--and they attempt to borrow whatever they can't squeeze out in taxes to continue their giveaways.

The first point of collapse  in this mad scheme is, of course, the bond market when bond buyers realize they might not get paid. That's what the soaring interest rates on Greek debt last week was all about. It was early stage panic. A crazed economic structure was about to collapse. It should have been allowed to do so.  It would have hurt the international bankers that held the Greek debt, but that would have been about all.

Instead, the international bankster controlled IMF and EU stepped in to bailout the, well, the international banksters. The plan is to squeeze the Greeks with even more taxes to kick upstream to the banksters. In the interim, other EU members and the IMF will provide emergency money that will also be kicked upstairs to the international banksters. Even Americans will pay a bit out of their pockets as the IMF kicks in $40 billion, with the U.S. member quota roughly 17%, that's a ding to the U.S. of $6.8 billion.

But, as large as this bailout is, it is a bluff. It is an attempt to calm the markets before the Mother PIIG has to rise money, Spain.

For the IMF and EU to bailout Spain based on the same formula as Greece, the Spanish tab would not be  the record breaking $146 billion announced for Greece. It would be $544 billion.

By bailing out Greece, the IMF/EU is hoping that this calms the markets enough so that there is no panic out of Spanish debt. No one knows if it will work. If the markets are not calmed, the question then becomes one of whether the Germans, the IMF and EU are willing to run the check writing drill again. This time for checks five times the size.

All this check writing, mind you, is only stop gap as long as the PIIGS continue their current socialized economic structures that provide huge disincentives for productive work. The PIIGS will get fatter with debt and stuck deeper in the  mud of their economic structure.The bailouts do nothing but hose the PIIGS down before they head back into the mud and the debt feeding troughs. Eventually, the problem will become  so large that only massive money printing or massive bankruptcies will solve the problem.

The realeconomik solution is to end the EU in its current format, make it a NAFTA-like trade organization, with every country returning to its own currency, and thus allowing every country to fend for itself, versus creating these huge pyramid type structures that will grow and grow until it all results in a huge global collapse.

Vote: "None Of The Above"


Thanks the gods that there are only a few more days of bullshitting to go before the Genital Selection. Roll up, roll up Ladies and germs. You have not one, not two but three choices for the great shafting that awaits us.

Not one of these crime syndicates has had to speak the truth on where the public debt came from. 
Suraci has a few questions for them. No mention of a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. No mention of the illegal wars already being fought and the more wars in the pipeline. No mention of the kidnapping and torture of civilians. No mention of MI5 and Mossad’s links to the 7/7 bombings.

The British government managed to sink to same level of corruption and depravity under New Labour as under of the previous Tory regime. The LibDems are thoroughly PC, pro Europe and pro war. None of the parties are fit to govern. The expense fraud would have never seen the light of day unless one brave soul had not released the original receipts. Cash for questions proved that these whores work for the lobby groups and not the electorate.

If you need no other pointers then the leading figure in the current regime is Mandy the Maleficent. He has been disgraced out of pubic orifice TWICE and is still haunting the stage like a demonic Boris Karloff. He has survived this long because he is the anointed Rothschild point man. Don’t get me started on the 
Milibands.

The British Government also wedded itself to the teat of Bush the pigmy Caligula. They started 2 wars of aggression. They have the blood of more than 1 million dead civilians on their hands. They enabled the massacre of men, women and children in the butchering of Gaza. They kidnapped, disappeared, tortured and raped thousands of captives – often until they were dead. They murdered their own civilians in false flag bombing to provide the political cover to continue to do so. So far the steady parade of dead fathers, sons and brothers in uniform are the only grim fruit of those actions. The Nazi’s were hung by the neck for the exact same crimes.

These ghouls have no power except what the public gives them. If anyone casts a vote for any of these crooks they are implicitly condoning and excusing our recent history. No matter who you vote for the government ALWAYS gets back in. Ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. 
Aangirfan has had lots of interesting background on them all.

If you insist on voting and they are your only choices, spoil the ballot. Write “None of the above” on the ballot paper if you like. Withholding our support is a valid and legitimate exercise of the voting franchise. On May the 6th vote “none of the above” and let the devil look after his own.

Drinking Government Kool-Aid Along with the Tea

by Kevin Carson - c4ss.org
May 3, 2010

Medea Benjamin of Code Pink reports an informal survey she conducted of Tea Partiers at a Tax Day rally.  The survey included six questions on foreign policy, including ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, cutting the military budget, and closing overseas military bases.  Attendees split 70-30 in favor of an activist foreign policy.  Even asking the question got Code Pink called “communists, leftists and idiots.”

“One woman spat at me and shouted, ‘Don’t you know that Muslims are trying to take over the world? If it weren’t for our military fighting in Afghanistan you wouldn’t be standing here asking those stupid questions.’ Another woman got so hysterical about the question on aid to 
Israel that she tore up the survey.”

Jim Bovard, in a newspaper op-ed piece, threw out this gauntlet:  “Many ‘tea party’ activists staunchly oppose big government, except when it is warring, wiretapping, or waterboarding.  A movement that started out denouncing government power apparently has no beef with some of the worst abuses of modern times.”  Aside from support for wiretapping and waterboarding, common sentiments expressed by Tea Partiers included demands that Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions be thwarted and that the tide of “illegal aliens” be stemmed.  One woman carried a sign reading “Proud to be a Military SUPERPOWER.”

This last was apparently a riff on the Palin-Obama controversy over his statement that, “like it or not,” we are a military superpower.

If the Tea Party divide is framed as a split between Palinistas and Paulistas, as Reason Magazine’s Jesse Walker puts it, the movement is overwhelmingly pro-Palin.

Tea Partier comments at the Yahoo News posting of Bovard’s piece referred to Bovard—to Bovard!—using such words as “far LEFT,” “a truly socialist article,” “liberal,” “HOW VERY COMMUNIST OF YOU,” “your beloved Obama,” “The Demacrats, Liberal Demacrats, Progressives, Socialists, whatever you call yourselves,” “a pile of leftist BS,” etc. 
  Not to mention some reaffirmations of wiretaps and waterboarding, and dismissals of anyone who objected to them as a “liberal idiot.”

You have to wonder just what the word “freedom” means to these people. 
Probably the same thing the copiously used “Freiheit” meant to the brownshirts.  Apparently, as Matt Yglesias recently suggested, the word “freedom” is devoid of content on the authoritarian Right:

“…talk about ‘freedom’ is just talk about conservatism. Conservatives side with business over unions and environmentalists, with police and prosecutors over criminal defendants, with nationalists against cosmopolitans, with majoritarian ethnic and religious groups against  annoying weirdos, and with the military against peaceniks. Ideas about freedom and small government are totally irrelevant to the actual political agenda and the Tea Party is no different from any other conservative movement in this regard.”

When Palin celebrates America’s status as a military superpower, you have to wonder whether she thinks the armed forces are part of the government, or maybe whether she just thinks Acton’s Law has been suspended outside America’s borders.  Does she think national security 
policy is made by a different set of human beings than the ones that make “big government” domestic policy?  Or to put it in Madisonian terms, do men become angels at the water’s edge?   Sarah Palin must be singularly ignorant of history.

Unfortunately, when Palin appears at a Tea Party event she could well be the smartest one in the room.

C4SS Research Associate Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy and Organization Theory: An Individualist Anarchist Perspective, both of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation and his own Mutualist Blog.

Israeli Intel Group Shows Its Hand in Times Square Bomb Hoax


Just in from Infowars:
Gordon Duff
May 3, 2010
Who would have believed it? Only days after a warning of an Israeli “false flag” bombing against the US “in the works” a massive car bomb is discovered in Time Square! Better yet, though no intelligence organization in the world could discover anyone claiming responsibility for this embarrassing failure, SITE Intelligence, a group rumored as the “voice of the Mossad” has placed the blame on the Pakistani Taliban.
This is the same group that has come up with numerous bin Laden “audio” tapes, seemingly, though tiny and nearly totally unstaffed, whenever it is convenient for Israel to point a finger at someone, magically Site Intelligence, run by former IDF soldier Rita Katz, whose father was executed as a spy by Saddam Hussein, makes another “unbelievable” intelligence find.
Site Intelligence finds are not only timely for Israel, when the world is focused on claims they have been planning a ‘dirty bomb’ attack to send the US to war against Iran, but always tend to support mysterious organizations run from the caves of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.
SMOKING GUN?
After the demise of Iraq, victim of falsified intelligence, now eliminated as an Israeli competitor, all eyes turned to Pakistan, Islam’s only nuclear state. To establish footholds to destabilize Pakistan, a pro-Indian/Israeli government under President Karzai was installed in Kabul.
After 9 years, no evidence of any terrorist activity involved in 9/11 has been found in Afghanistan. The great “net” meant to catch Osama bin Laden and armies of Al Qaeda terrorists came up empty. Instead, we are told from reliable sources that Arab nations friendly to the US released criminals, transporting them to Afghanistan.
These “foreign fighters” actually little more than “extras” in a massive global theatre, kept the small US forces engaged for years, all without any purpose other than to establish that a terrorist organization must have been in Afghanistan because there certainly was one after 2002.
SURROGATE WARFARE ON PAKISTAN
In addition to installing a government that would work directly with Israel and India to organize terrorist attacks on Pakistan, funding to destabilize the oil and gas rich republics of the former Soviet Union had to be raised.
Opium production under the Taliban had been eliminated. The new government quickly began a resurgence of opium production and heroin processing. Aided by agents of the Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad, the governments of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan quickly fell under the influence of the 65 billion dollar a year Afghanistan drug empire.
Though the drugs may have been from Afghanistan, multiple intelligence agencies from Israel, India, Turkey and others, aided by military contracting firms contracted to the CIA, carried this plan forward.
Continual news stories tying Pakistan to failures to suppress terrorism or rumoring involvement in terrorism themselves flowed onto the world scene through western mainstream media, providing a clear footprint of a classic Mossad operation.
NO SO “UNEXPECTED”
  • With the demise of Al Qaeda, an unnamed Taliban organization with a website only visible to one person on earth has now declared a mysterious and shadowy war against the United States, in New York City, a city under tight security but one with a very large Israeli/Mossad presence.
This was the same city where the “dancing Israeli’s,” celebrated 9/11 after filming the attacks. Their advance knowledge of the attacks has been one of the many puzzle pieces tying Israel to 9/11.
However, it wasn’t until the “crotch bomber” of last Christmas that the breadth of Israel’s penetration of US security was demonstrated with Abdulmohammed’s attack tying directly to Tel Aviv.
Anyone who visits New York is aware that security there, especially in Time Square is the highest of anywhere in the world. The intelligence organizations protecting New York, including the world’s best police force, leave only one organization as capable of this kind of effort, an organization with massive resources in the area, numerous Israeli/American assets and many residual relationships with Gulliani/Kerik/Bush era friends, friends conveniently “asleep at the switch” on 9/11.
TIMING
Recent intelligence leaks from several agencies have warned of an impending “9/11 style” attack on a high value target in the US and Israel. Reports that a conventional bomb enhanced with nuclear material would be used.
With Iranian president Ahmandinejad and Secretary of State Clinton both scheduled to be in New York in the next 24 hours, and recent stories out of Israel trying to tie Iran to the Taliban, the issue of “timing” is a critical one.
ISREAL TIES TO PAKISTAN TALIBAN WELL ESTABLISHED
The group blamed in the Site Intelligence/Israeli report, the Pakistani Taliban has been responsible for hundreds of attacks in Pakistan, killing thousands of citizens. However, reliable sources have tied this group directly to Mossad/RAW training camps inside Afghanistan and Balochistan. The Pakistani Taliban have long been allies of Israel and India with 2000 terrorist trainers inside Afghanistan arming Pakistani Taliban terrorist group.
This has been confirmed, not only in direct briefings with the Pakistani ISPR and ISI but US military intelligence sources as well, who dispute the number of terrorist trainers, not their presence.
Terrorist groups inside Balochistan, the remote Pakistan province said to be a haven for Mossad attacks against Iran, claim to be headquartered in Israel. These groups work directly with the Pakistan Taliban and are another indication of this current “stunt” turning back on non-Islamic planners.
ALWAYS THE SAME, “WHO GAINS?”
With Iran taking the propaganda offensive to the United States, a nation increasingly distancing itself from, not only the idea of supporting an Israeli attack on Iran, Israel is under pressure to reestablish itself as America’s partner in a long discredited “war on terror” that has been a huge embarrassment to the US.
With over 90% of America’s terror arrests turning out to be innocent bystanders, some tortured for years, untold numbers “disappeared,” Bush era failures have soured public support for hunting terrorist leaders who have increasingly been either captured by Pakistan or have been found to be negotiating with US forces.
With the signature of this bombing being so close to that of the “crotch bombing,” an attack with Israeli fingerprints from Nigeria to Yemen to Amsterdam, the “superfast” accusation against a Pakistani group was no surprise.
ONGOING INVESTIGATION/FOX “ISRAELI ASSET” NEWS ATTACKS OBAMA
With New York police discounting the Pakistan connection to the bombing immediately, Fox News has unleashed an attack on the Obama administration in a well orchestrated manner, accusing democrats of “failing to protect the American people.”
With both Site Intelligence and Fox News tied directly to Israel and the signature and timing of this attack showing clear Israeli fingerprints, Fox may be right.
America may be unable to protect itself from a nation still seen by most Americans as a close ally. No other nation has the capability of such an attack or the influence to orchestrate the news, an act already in motion.
If any finger is pointing anywhere, Fox News is telling us “Israel did it.”
_______________________________________________


Related: 

THE SOUTH PARK FRAUD!

The Radical "Muslim" Group That Threatened South Park Creators Was Founded and Run by Joseph Cohen, a Former Israeli Radical Who Used to Live in a Settlement in the West Bank. Fundamentalist Jews who pretend to be Radical Muslims, a growing problem...
WRH permalink

Phoenix program is alive and kicking

For the annals of the US shame (they would fill a library):

by Prof. E. San Juan Jr.

May 2, 2010 - The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) occupies center-stage again in the Philippines, the laboratory in 1950-1960s for the Phoenix assassination program in Vietnam inspired by CIA agent Edward Lansdale who is credited for defeating the communist-led Huk uprising. Attention is being given to the CIA systematization of coercive techniques in handling prisoners, including diverse forms of torture, zealously implemented by the police/military officials of the corrupt, unpopular Gloria Arroyo regime. Since the Abu Ghraib and the Guantanamo prison scandals, the world public has now become sensitized to the moral/political problem of torture, whether used in peace time or in war.

In 1997 The Baltimore Sun first exposed the CIA’s training manual applying torture against anti-government subversives in Central America. The manual refers to the 1983 Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual based on the Vietnam-era predecessor called the 1963 "KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation." Interviews of both victims and security agents in Honduras confirmed that kidnapping, surveillance, infiltration of spies, crowd control, torture and murder in the 1980s were committed by the U.S.-supported Honduran, El Salvadoran and Guatemalan military in the war against communism during President Reagan’s administration...

Read all

Related: 

Images of American Global Exterminism: The Philippines 1899 -1916




UPDATES on Gulf oil spill

Just in from Vaticproject on the platform incident:
UPDATE: 5/2/10 11:35 PM Mtn time - See update above VN: Gulf oil spill: The Halliburton connection - Part I: "
UPDATE: The hole in the platform could not have been made by fire or burning, please read this from a reader and check out the links, its important. Also read the blog just put up BELOW about the military secret space flight that is top secret with a mission of experimentation with obviously weapons.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
'Here are some pics of the burning oil rig. Note the helideck with a large size hole in it which would appear to be burned. I did a search on 'can aluminum helidecks burn' and found that they do NOT burn......many tests have been done. Plus the decks are equipped with valves all around the deck to spray either water or foam should a fire occur on the deck which would automatically spray. I will pass on some of the links I found in next post.


Some are suggesting it was hit with a lazer beam or other weapon. Considering what I found, I tend to believe this.............so what are they hiding?'

http://www.captainsvoyage-forum.net/showthread.php?p=30852
Think about it: if aluminium burns, could you pour molten aluminium into castings? ... So, you can stand on an aluminium helideck immediately after the fire ...


http://aluminium-offshore.com/our-business/standard-helidecks/commentary-on-solas
Watch video: A Sea King helicopter crashes and burns on the helideck of a ship ... vapour burn-off can be extinguished in seconds with minimal water spray. ...


http://www.ruineiva.com.br/aluminium/enhancedsafetyhelidecks.htm
Split fuel is quickly and safely drained away unburned and any remaining vapour burn-off can be extinguished in second with minimal water spray. ...


http://www.aluminum.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Marine&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=18868
Aluminum does not burn and presents no thermite sparking risks. ... Marine grade aluminum alloys are used for helidecks, telescoping bridges, ... Larger, lighter aluminum structures can be handled and lifted with smaller, less expensive ...


http://www.helipad.nl/offshore_helidecks/safedeck/
Aluminum Helidecks & Heliports. Why Aluminum? ... structural failure or any other signs of distress to the helideck after a 10 minute burn test. ...


http://www.jastramtechnologies.ca/orga/orga2.htm
Jun 1, 2005 ... 10 watt Fluorescent Tube, 10000 burning hours, approx 15 watt, ... body coated aluminum alloy resistant to salt laden atmosphere, ... Complete helideck packages can be quoted to your specifications upon request. ...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Vatic Note: I wonder if that is why Halliburton moved their entire corporate headquarters to Dubai??? They are no longer hdqtred here in the states. The other point I wish to make while considering this below, is that there was a huge hole on the platform of the oil rig which cannot be explained away with just the fire. It had to have had either a missle or explosion that drove some massive huge piece of something through it, that created that hole. Check this out. No fire around the platform, so what made that hole??? Its huge! Its also "white" and not blackened like a missle or some other ordinance type projectile would look. Its shape and size suggests something else and we will get back to you when we have finished investigating this further. Just some facts recently to be kept in mind when thinking about this.

1. Obama was going to sign an EO banning commercial fishing in coastal waters here.
2. The military "the day before the "accident" on the rig sent up a new kind of ship with top secret military experiments scheduled in advanced space weaponry, possibly Lasers. The day before now......
3. Halliburton coincidentally on this project just finishing up "something" it was doing hours before the "accident".
There's more, but read this in the meantime and keep the other factors in mind as you do. THIS IS ALL VERY VERY FLUID RIGHT NOW.

Gulf oil spill: The Halliburton connection

By Margot Roosevelt and Jill Leovy, LA Times blog, LA times

April 30, 2010
9:13 pm

Investigators delving into the possible cause of the massive gulf oil spill are focusing on the role of Houston-based Halliburton Co., the giant energy services company, which was responsible for cementing the drill into place below the water. The company acknowledged Friday that it had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week.



In a letter to to Halliburton Chief Executive David J. Lesar on Friday, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, called on Halliburton officials to provide all documents relating to 'the possibility or risk of an explosion or blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig and the status, adequacy, quality, monitoring, and inspection of the cementing work' by May 7.

In a statement Friday, Halliburton said 'it is premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues.' The company had four employees stationed on the rig at the time of the accident, all of whom were rescued by the Coast Guard. 'Halliburton had completed the cementing of the final production casing string in accordance with the well design,' it said. 'The cement slurry design was consistent with that utilized in other similar applications. In accordance with accepted industry practice ... tests demonstrating the integrity of the production casing string were completed.'

More than two dozen class action lawsuits have been filed after the explosion against BP PLC, the British company that leased the Deepwater Horizon rig, against the rig's owner, Transocean Ltd. and against Halliburton. BP is 'taking full responsibility' for the spill and will pay for legitimate claims by affected parties, company spokeswoman Sheila Williams said.

Cement is used at two stages of the deep-water drilling process. It is used to fill gaps between the well pipe and the hole drilled into the seabed so as to prevent any seepage of oil and gas. And it is used to temporarily plug an exploration hole before production begins. At the time of the accident, the Halliburton statement said, 'well operations had not yet reached the point requiring the placement of the final cement plug which would enable the planned temporary abandonment of the well.'

Experts say cementing is a basic part of drilling, exploration and production of oil on the sea floor. Drill ships or rigs plant large pipes called 'conductors' on the sea floor, and casings, or nested pipes, are placed inside of them. The pipes are fixed in place by cement, some hanging inside other pipes, and a drill string is run down a casing, and extended to the sea floor to bore holes.

Mud works its way back up the pipes and the “riser,” a pipe that connects the drill site to the ship or rig above. Or oil is brought up. Cement fixes the operations in place. Cement may also be used to plug a well, pumped down the string until it comes up on the sides, and stops the hole.

Cementing a deep-water drilling operation is a process fraught with danger. A 2007 study by the U.S. Minerals Management Service found that cementing was the single most important factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period -- more than equipment malfunction. Halliburton has been accused of a poor cement job in the case of a major blowout in the Timor Sea off Australia last August. An investigation is underway.

According to experts cited in Friday's Wall St. Journal, the timing of last week's cement job in relation to the explosion -- only 20 hours beforehand, and the history of cement problems in other blowouts 'point to it as a possible culprit.' Robert MacKenzie, managing director of energy and natural resources at FBR Capital Markets and a former cementing engineer, told the Journal, 'The initial likely cause of gas coming to the surface had something to do with the cement.'

In its statement, the company said, 'Halliburton originated oilfield cementing and leads the world in effective, efficient delivery of zonal isolation and engineering for the life of the well, conducting thousands of successful well cementing jobs each year.'

The company, which was once headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney, has been in the media spotlight before -- under under fire in recent years for its operations as a private contractor in Iraq.

--Photo: The Halliburton sign adorns a machine at a site in Rulison, Colo. Credit: David Zalubowski/AP



More: Mike Ruppert: Oil Spill to Send Oil to $100, Possibly $200 (A Must Read)





Wall Street Journal: U.S. Navy Called In to Help Stop Gulf Coast Oil Spill


Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device - WSJ.com



Additional Links
  • Deepwater Horizon.pdf  - brief history and photos of fire.
  • http://www.state.nj.us/dep/watershedmgt/waterbook_chp10.htm - Motor Oil: "One part per million (1ppm) can make water unsafe to drink; 35 ppm can produce a visible oil slick that damages aquatic life, including fish and shellfish; and 50 ppm can foul a wastewater treatment plant."
  • Leaked report: Government fears Deepwater Horizon well could become unchecked gusher 30 Apr 2010 'The following is not public' document --A confidential government report on the unfolding spill disaster in the Gulf makes clear the Coast Guard now fears the well could become an unchecked gusher shooting millions of gallons of oil per day into the Gulf. "The following is not public," reads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Emergency Response document dated April 28. "Two additional release points were found today in the tangled riser. If the riser pipe deteriorates further, the flow could become unchecked resulting in a release volume an order of magnitude higher than previously thought."
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