Friday, June 29, 2012

Cruel And Unusual

Ex-US President Indicts Obama As Assassin

By Bill Van Auken on World Socialist Web Site 27 June 2012

A column published Monday in the New York Times by Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, constitutes an extraordinary indictment of the Obama administration for engaging in assassinations and other criminal violations of international law and the US Constitution.

Titling his column “A Cruel and Unusual Record,” Carter writes: “Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended.”

Referring to the infamous provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by Obama on December 31 of last year, Carter writes: “Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist organizations or ‘associated forces,’ a broad, vague power that can be abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress.” He goes on to refer to “unprecedented violations of our rights” through warrantless wiretapping and electronic data mining.

Elaborating on the US drone strikes, the former president adds, “Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable… We don’t know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times.”

Carter’s column appeared on the same day that Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations testified before the UN Human Rights Commission, denouncing US drone attacks on his country in which “thousands of innocent people, including women and children, have been murdered.” He said that in 2010 alone, 957 Pakistanis were killed.

Carter goes on to indict the administration for the continued operation of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where, he notes, out of 169 prisoners “half have been cleared for release, yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom,” and others “have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either.”

In the few cases where prisoners have been brought before military tribunals, he notes, the defendants “have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers.” He continues: “Astoundingly, these facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of ‘national security.’”

Aside from moral qualms, and there is no reason to doubt that these play a significant role in Carter’s case, the former president expresses profound concerns that the brazen criminality of the actions carried out by the US government is undermining American foreign policy. Not only are these methods fueling popular hostility around the globe, they are depriving Washington of the ability to cloak its policies in the mantle of human rights and the defense of democracy, a method employed to significant effect by US imperialism since its advent at the end of the 19th century.

Carter himself played the “human rights” card prominently during his presidency, even as his administration sought to prop up the torture regime of the Shah in Iran, initiated the CIA-backed Islamist insurgency in Afghanistan, and affirmed—in the Carter Doctrine—America’s right to use military force to assure its domination of Persian Gulf oil supplies.

A former senior naval officer and submarine expert, Carter was brought into the White House in 1977 to restore the credibility and stature of the American presidency in the wake of US imperialism’s debacle in Vietnam and the criminality surrounding Watergate.

Yet, nearly four decades later, the extra-constitutional methods and criminality in the White House go far beyond anything done under Richard Nixon.

There is no question that Carter chose each word of his column carefully, avoiding hyperbole. Indeed, the name Obama does not appear. In the first word of the piece, however, he inserted a link to the lengthy New York Times article of June 1 documenting how Obama personally directs the preparation of “kill lists,” choosing victims and signing off on drone strikes when it is known that innocent civilians will be killed.

In this context, Carter’s use of the word “assassination” to describe the drone attacks has an unmistakable meaning. The president of the United States, this former president is saying, is guilty of war crimes and murder.

At the age of 88, Carter is a disinterested observer, concerned more with his legacy than any political gain. His testimony is all the more extraordinary in that he occupied the same office as Obama, is a member of the same party, and supported Obama’s election.

What could impel him, with little more than four months until the presidential election, to level such charges at his party’s candidate and the sitting president? He must believe that the political setup in America has descended so far into criminality and the threat of a police state is so great that it is imperative for him to speak out.

Carter makes the telling point that these criminal actions have been carried out with “bipartisan executive and legislative” support and virtually “without dissent.” Indeed, as if to prove his point, his own statements in the column—which have explosive political significance—have been largely passed over in silence by the mass media.

Twelve years after the stolen presidential election of 2000, the central lesson of that crucial episode in American political life has been driven home ever more forcefully: there exists within the US corporate and political establishment no significant constituency for the defense of democratic rights and constitutional methods.

The unprecedented gulf between a ruling financial oligarchy and the masses of working people—which has grown uninterruptedly throughout this period—is wholly incompatible with such rights and such methods.

Carter’s words are a warning. The threat of an American police state and the use of the murderous methods employed by US imperialism abroad against the working class at home is real and growing. The working class must prepare accordingly, mobilizing its independent political power against the capitalist profit system from which these threats arise.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Egypt Vote

Capitalism Isn't Working

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Confronting Trauma

MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders) has been providing medical and mental health support to Palestinians in need since 1989. MSF is committed to its presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, where the consequences of the military occupation continue to limit people's access to medical treatment and mental health care.

Confronting Trauma, was compiled from a nine part MSF video presentation. Those are subtitled "Symptom and symbol of the occupation", "Caring for people in need", "The suffering of children", "The strong man", "Violence close to home", "Children in detention and children exposed to violence", "Limited access to health care", and "Dealing with trauma - The challenge of mental health care"-

The original MSF collection is at

The posting here honors a companion in struggle, indispensible Further Left supporter, and friend who gave of herself doing what the film depicts.

Monday, June 11, 2012


The creators of Debtocracy, a documentary with two million views broadcasted from Japan to Latin America, analyze the shifting of state assets to private hands. They travel round the world gathering data on privatization in developed countries and search for clues on the day after Greece's massive privatization program.

Amoral Psychopath

 US President Obama’s “Kill List” and Bloodthirsty Americans: “A Totally Amoral Psychopath”?

09 Jun 2012

Barack Obama, who lots of deluded people not too long ago imagined was a man of peace, wants the American people to think of him as a cold killer. Violence-wise, the U.S. is the home of the depraved, says Black Agenda Reporteditor Margaret Kimberley, underscoring that recent revelations about the U.S. president’s personal prerogative to decide who will live and who will die have not made a dent in public opinion.

What can one say about people who continue to support war criminals among their elected representatives? It is easy to blame the presidents and the Congress and the media for endless war and rising body counts around the world. They are indeed responsible for promoting mass killing as an acceptable, indeed beneficial means of living among the world’s people.
It is true that Americans have far less input into their government’s decisions than they seem to think. They play a very small role in choosing elected officials, including the president. The power of money means that rich people and corporations call the shots to a greater extent than citizens of a so-called democracy are willing to admit.

But the people do still have the right to their own opinions. We can proclaim what we do and do not like. When the president feeds a story to the New York Timeswhich proclaims that he gladly accepts responsibility for killing people, he believes that said story will increase his support among voters.

That is what Barack Obama did last week. His advisers sat down with New York Times reporters in order to tell the world that he decides who will live and who will be blown to bits by drones in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Somalia.

The Obama marketing juggernaut knows that the killer president image can only be helpful in a country so certain of its right to be violent.

The anniversary of his assassination of Osama bin Laden was celebrated and turned into an argument for a second Obama term in office. Nor was the gloating limited to the president and his campaign team. His supporters were also beside themselves as they made the case for the killer president, using his navy seal hit as one more reason to love Barack Obama.

Condemnation should not just be directed towards Barack Obama and his henchmen and women, but at the American people too. Americans love to make war and revel in their nation’s military superiority. Politicians surmise, correctly, that being on the side of war is a surer path to victory than working for peace.

To be sure, there is better fundraising to be had for the hawk than for the dove, but there is also a visceral level of support for invasion, occupation and drone strikes. The oldest and strongest form of propaganda in this country is the belief that white America has the right to dominate everyone else on the earth, and as president Obama functions as the whitest man in the country.

The siren song of Manifest Destiny outlived the 19th century and is still alive now in the 21st. It has been called many things, anti-communism during the Cold War, and the war against terror now, but it all amounts to the same thing.

We are told to fear the communist, or militant Islam, or whatever the enemy du jour happens to be. The end result is the same from a people who are convinced of their own goodness and paradoxically their right to have their violent way in the world. It is never very difficult to get support for killing and maiming among people who think themselves morally superior.

If anything Americans are morally inferior to people in the rest of the world. Barack Obama was certain that news of his personal “kill list” would benefit his chances of being re-elected, and he was not wrong.

He solved the problems presented by Guantanamo by not taking any prisoners at all. He just kills people and any innocent bystander is labeled as a militant, all so that the president can look good and the people in his country can feel good. According to the well orchestrated story, the president even invokes theological theories of just war, as he pours over a “nominations” list of those marked for death.

These revelations did not cause outrage or inspire people to take to the streets. It was left to the usual suspects who are truly progressive and proudly leftist to point out the evil inherent in a president who thinks he should be judge, jury and executioner.

It seems that our president is a totally amoral psychopath, and the revelation of his condition has not hurt his popularity. Apparently the president governs psychopaths too, because too few of them will say or do anything to oppose his commitment to breaking the law, violating the Constitution, and the word of the god he claims to believe in.

The evil is not limited to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but can be found on Main Street U.S.A. just as easily.
Obama is giving most Americans exactly what they want, a world living in fear of them.

Margaret Kimberley Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Bombs for Syria

Syrians stand next to a destroyed and abandoned army tank on
March 10, 2012, in the Syrian town of Rastan (AFP Photo/Str)

 US sings to Syria:
‘We will, we will bomb you!

When they want something, the US and its allies will insist until they get it. That’s what they’re doing to Syria right now, where they NEED to give it a Libya-like treatment in order to further their Imperial Overdrive goals in the Middle East.

Just as rock star Freddy Mercury & Queen used to sing “we will, we will rock you!!”, today’s US/UK/EU/Israeli war cry mantra goes something like this: “We will, we will BOMB you!!”. And if they can’t do the bombing “officially” themselves or through NATO as they’ve done in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Serbia or Pakistan, then they’ll do the bombing through suitable proxies, especially their present favorite errand-boy Al-Qaeda.

We may be seeing examples of this in the horrendous attacks taking place inside Syria which the Western powers and media systematically blame solely on the Bashar al-Assad government, which from the very beginning of the “Arab Spring” warned his country and the world against Western covert operations and a powerful media PsyWar.

Common sense tell us that it would be monstrous and idiotic for al-Assad to purposely carry out such attacks that only play into the hands of the Western powers giving them further excuse for armed intervention. The Houla massacre came just as UN Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan was beginning his mission inside Syria; now the el-Quebeir killing comes just as Annan is about to submit his report to the UN Security Council. It makes no sense, so one must ask: who benefits from all this?

Clearly, the Annan Mission is being sabotaged and – oh, coincidence – his proposed plan is the only one that counts with Russian and Chinese support after these two countries blocked US, British and French attempts at imposing a Libya-like Resolution 1973 against Syria at the end of 2011 and early 2012, which would have predictably led to Libya-like results in Syria.

Annan proposes a six-point plan that includes cessation of hostilities and Syrian-led dialogue amongst ALL warring parties, unrestrained access of humanitarian aid, freedom for journalists to report what’s really happening and UN monitoring. Naturally, that does not please Hilary, Obama, Cameron, Hague, John MacCain, Joe Liberman and their controllers at AIPAC – American Israeli Public Affairs Committee – for it thwarts Western invasion plans against Syria.

So the Annan Plan MUST be sabotaged. And what better way to do that then to carry out covert dirty tricks false flag-like horrendous killings as we’ve seen in Houla, Hama, and now el-Quebeir, putting all the blame, naturally, on “the Assad regime’s repressive troops” giving it the goriest of Western media coverage?

But who are fighting inside Syria? We hear about a “Free Syrian Army”, “Local Coordination Committees”, a “Syrian National Council” and – most notably – good old Al-Qaeda. All wonderfully armed, trained, financed and supported by the Western Powers and Media and by groups like the UK-based “Syrian Observatory on Human Rights”, all suitably “appalled” and “outraged” over the killings and massacres.

What options does a country’s legitimate government such as Syria’s have when confronted with civil war? Basically, two: they either fight the imported armed insurrection or they surrender and give up their country to the US, UK, NATO military, together with their darlings at ExxonMobil, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, and Halliburton… They call it “democracy”, and we’ve seen where that leads to in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

So now the Western Powers are having a temper tantrum and want to see “regime change” in Syria one way or another. If Russia and China blocked NATO bombings, well then let’s just bring in the Al-Qaeda “SWAT” Team and other “freedom fighting” thugs so they can do the bombing for us.

Isn’t it strange that over the past two years Hilary Clinton has publicly admitted on FoxNews and CNN that it was the US who “created, trained and armed Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet invasion of the 80’s”, and that “once the Soviets left, we just washed our hands and left the Taliban, Muhadejeen and Al-Qaeda with all those Stinger missiles and arms” running around Afghanistan?

Wasn’t it Tony Blair’s Foreign Secretary Robin Cook who told The Guardian newspaper in June 2005 that “Al Qaeda was created by the US and the name means ‘the file’” – the CIA file containing lists of all those cute Al-Qaeda operatives? Too bad for big-mouth Robin as he promptly “died of a heart attack” just two months later in rather dubious circumstances…

Wasn’t it Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinksi – co-founder and ideologue of the Rockefeller/Rothschild Trilateral Commission – who told the French “Nouvelle Observateur” magazine in 1998 that he masterminded the CIA’s “Operation Cyclone” which in early July 1979 whipped-up Taliban fighters against the pro-soviet regime in Kabul, thus triggering the soviet invasion of Afghanistan; boasting with president Carter that the soviets now had their Vietnam War?. All trained, financed, armed and supported by the US, Saudi Arabia, UK, Pakistan and Israel?

So, is it any surprise that over the past year and a half of “Arab Spring”, we hear many times that Al-Qaeda is involved in the worst fighting, even raising their flag over a police facility in “liberated Libya”? Now we learn Al-Qaeda is working hard to “liberate” Syria…

How much of the horrific killing is attributable to them and their insurrection partners which, in the final instance all goes back to their original controllers at the CIA, MI6 and Mossad?

Is it a mere coincidence that during the secretive Bilderberg meeting earlier this month in Chantilly, Virginia (USA) that brought together key global power brokers and decision-makers of this world, they also invited Bassma Kodmani, member of the Executive Bureau and Head of Foreign Affairs at the Syrian National Council to attend?

Surely Mr Kodmani must have met and chatted with other Bilderberg attendees like Henry Kissinger, the “black prince” Richard Perle of Destroy-Iraq-fame, and key think-tank bosses like the Council of Foreign Relations’ Robert Rubin, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Hudson and Hoover institutes, the neo-con American Enterprise Institute and – oh, yes! – Thomas Donilon, Obama’s powerful national security advisor…

The message is clear, gentlemen: this is Total War. So, Syria, if we cannot bomb you to smithereens and impose regime change with UN and NATO backing as we did in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, then we’ll use our proxies at the Syrian National Council and call in our Al-Qaeda Global SWAT team killers.

Either way, Hilary, Obama, Hague and Cameron will rock‘n’roll to the tune of “We will, we will BOMB you!!!

Who’s directing the orchestra you ask? I think I see Bibi Netanyahu and the AIPAC and ADL boys playing the strings there, behind the curtain…

Adrian Salbuchi for RT

Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina.

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