23 November, 2007

GITMO - USA illegal prisons

Naomi Wolf's excellent new book, The End of America, Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot. She makes the point that a secret prison system that is beyond the reach of law, like Guantanamo, is the cornerstone of every dictatorship. Just knowing that it exists serves to discourage dissent.


FROM WIKIPEDIA

Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a cooperative military prison and detention camp under the leadership of Joint Task Force Guantanamo since 2002.[1] The prison, established at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, holds people accused by the United States government of being terrorist operatives, as well as those no longer considered suspects who are being held pending relocation elsewhere. The detainment areas consist of three camps in the base: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and the now-closed Camp X-Ray. The facility is often referred to as Guantanamo, or Gitmo (derived from the abbreviation "GTMO").[2] [3] The detainees held by the United States were classified as "enemy combatants" - a term often criticised for being used in place of "Prisoners of War" after President Bush signed a memorandum stating that no Taliban or al-Qaeda detainee will qualify as a prisoner of war and that Article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions will not apply to them either. Common Article 3 demands fair trial standards and prohibits torture, cruelty, and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." [4]

Since the beginning of the War in Afghanistan, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 420 of which have been released. As of August 09, 2007, approximately 355 detainees remain. More than a fifth are cleared for release but may have to wait months or years because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to line up places to send them, according to Bush administration officials and defense lawyers. Of the roughly 355 still incarcerated, U.S. officials said they intend to eventually put 60 to 80 on trial and free the rest

From the 1970s onwards, the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was used to house Cuban and Haitian refugees intercepted on the high seas. In the early 1990s, it held refugees who fled Haiti in Camp Bulkeley until United States District Court Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. declared the camp unconstitutional on June 8, 1993, and the last Haitian migrants departed in late 1995. In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense announced that a unit of defense contractor Halliburton will build a new $30 million detention facility and security perimeter around the base. Camp Delta is a 612-unit detention center built between February 27 and April 2002 which includes detention camps 1 through 6 and Camp Echo. Most of the security force there is U.S. Army military police, and U.S. Navy Master-at Arms. Camp Echo, part of the Camp Delta compound, is a detention center where pre-commissions are held . its detainees may talk privately to lawyers.[5] However, protocols of the conversations have to be submitted to a commission of the Pentagon, which decides whether to release the information or not.[6][1] Camp Iguana is a smaller, low-security compound, located about a kilometer from the main prison compound. In 2002 and 2003, it housed three detainees who were under age 16, and was closed when they were flown home in January 2004. The compound was reopened in mid-2003 to house some of the 38 detainees who were determined by the Combatant Status Review Tribunals not to be "enemy combatants". Those who could not safely be repatriated to their home countries were moved to Camp Iguana.

Camp X-Ray was a temporary detention facility which was closed in April 2002, and its prisoners transferred to Camp Delta.

The status of this prison is not clear; US courts have partially accepted the status of the prison as existing outside many of the U.S. laws, with the caveat that additional rights be provided regarding due process.[11] In June 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court further restricted the Bush administration's use of military tribunals to try the detainees.{Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 126 S. Ct. 2749 (2006),}

The Administration cites Article 4 of the Geneva Convention as authority for their position that these enemy combatants are not POWs. Article 4 of the Geneva Conventions defines a Prisoner of War as a "Member of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied." The Article states that "such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements," must be "commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, wear a "fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war." [12]

The US government justifies this designation by claiming that they have neither the status of regular soldiers nor that of guerrillas, and they are not part of a regular army or militia. In July 2003, about 680 alleged Taliban members and suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists from 42 different countries were incarcerated there. Some prisoners have been allowed to meet with attorneys.[13][14] In April 2003, the U.S. military moved three juveniles to better conditions at Camp Iguana. There were dozens of detainees who were minors when captured, who were housed in the adult portion of the prison, in violation of International law

Prisoners are held in small mesh-sided cells, and lights are kept on day and night. Detainees have rations similar to those of US forces, with consideration for Muslim dietary needs. Detainees are kept in isolation most of the day, are blindfolded when moving within the camp and forbidden to talk in groups of more than three. United States doctrine in dealing with prisoners of war states that isolation and silence are effective means in breaking down the will to resist interrogation. Red Cross inspectors and released detainees have alleged acts of torture[18] [19], including sleep deprivation, the use of so-called truth drugs[citation needed], beatings and locking in confined and cold cells. Human rights groups argue that indefinite detention constitutes torture.

The use of Guantánamo Bay as a military prison has drawn fire from human rights organizations and other critics, who cite reports that detainees have been tortured[20] or otherwise poorly treated.

members and the Organization of American States, as well as non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International have protested the legal status and physical condition of detainees at Guantánamo. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch has criticized the Bush administration over this designation in its 2003 world report, stating: "Washington has ignored human rights standards in its own treatment of terrorism suspects. It has refused to apply the Geneva Conventions to prisoners of war from Afghanistan, and has misused the designation of 'illegal combatant' to apply to criminal suspects on U.S. soil."

On May 25, 2005, Amnesty International released its annual report calling the facility the "gulag of our times"[40] [41] Lord Steyn called it "a monstrous failure of justice," because "... The military will act as interrogators, prosecutors and defense counsel, judges, and when death sentences are imposed, as executioners. The trials will be held in private. None of the guarantees of a fair trial need be observed. [42]

Another senior British Judge, Justice Collins, said of the detention centre: 'America's idea of what is torture is not the same as the United Kingdom's.[43]At the beginning of December 2003, there were media reports that military lawyers appointed to defend alleged terrorists being held by the United States at Guantánamo Bay had expressed concern about the legal process for military commissions. The Guardian newspaper from the United Kingdom[44] reported that a team of lawyers was dismissed after complaining that the rules for the forthcoming military commissions prohibited them from properly representing their clients. New York's Vanity Fair reported that some of the lawyers felt their ethical obligations were being violated by the process.
In November 2005, a group of experts from the Commission on Human Rights at the United Nations called off their visit to Camp Delta, originally scheduled for 6 December, saying that the United States was not allowing them to conduct private interviews with the prisoners. "Since the Americans have not accepted the minimum requirements for such a visit, we must cancel [it]," Manfred Nowak, the UN envoy in charge of investigating torture allegations around the world, told AFP. The group, nevertheless, stated its intention to write a report on conditions at the prison based on eyewitness accounts from released detainees, meetings with lawyers and information from human rights groups.[48][49]

In February 2006, the UN group released its report, which called on the U.S. either to release all suspected terrorists or to try them. The report, issued by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, has the subtitle Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. This includes, as an appendix, the U.S. ambassador's reply to the draft versions of the report in which he restates the U.S. government's position on the detainees.[50]

European leaders have also voiced their opposition to the detention center. On January 13, 2006, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself being raised in GDR, criticized the U.S. detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the "interrogation technique" known as "waterboarding", calling it a form of torture: "An institution like Guantánamo, in its present form, cannot and must not exist in the long term. We must find different ways of dealing with prisoners. As far as I'm concerned, there's no question about that," she declared in a January 9 interview to Der Spiegel.[51][52] Meanwhile in the UK, Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, stated during a live broadcast of Question Time (February 16, 2006) that: "I would prefer that it wasn't there and I would prefer it was closed." His cabinet colleague and Prime Minister, Tony Blair, declared the following day that the centre was "an anomaly and sooner or later it's got to be dealt with."[53] On 10 March 2006, a letter in The Lancet is published, signed by more than 250 medical experts urging the United States to stop force-feeding of detainees and close down the prison. Force-feeding is specifically prohibited by the World Medical Association force-feeding declarations of Tokyo and Malta, to which the American Medical Association is a signatory. Dr David Nicholl who had initiated the letter stated that the definition of torture as only actions that cause "death or major organ failure" was "not a definition anyone on the planet is using".[54][55] Conversely, the UN War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague ruled that force-feeding was not "torture, inhuman or degrading treatment" when they ordered it be implemented in another case.[56]

In May 2006, the UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith said the camp's existence was "unacceptable" and tarnished the U.S. traditions of liberty and justice. "The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol," he said.[57] Also in May 2006, the UN Committee against Torture condemned treatment at Guantanamo Bay, noted that indefinite detention constitutes per se a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, and called on the U.S. to shut down the Guantanamo facility.[58][59]In June 2006, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion urging the United States to close the camp.[60]

In June 2006, Sen. Arlen Specter claimed that the arrests of most of the roughly 500 prisoners held there were based on "the flimsiest sort of hearsay".[61]In September 2006, the UK's Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, who heads the UK's legal system, went further than previous British government statements, condemning the existence of the camp as a "shocking affront to democracy". Lord Falconer, who said he was expressing Government policy, made the comments in a lecture at the Supreme Court of New South Wales.[62] According to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell: "Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America's justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open and creating things like the military commission. We don't need it and it is causing us far more damage than any good we get for it,". [63]

In March 2007, a group of British Parliamentarians formed an All-Party Parliamentary Group to campaign against Guantanamo Bay.[3]The group is made up of Members of Parliament and peers from each of the main British political parties, and is chaired by Sarah Teather with Des Turner and Richard Shepherd acting as Vice Chairs. The Group was launched with an Ambassadors' Reception in the House of Commons, bringing together a large group of lawyers, non-governmental organisations and governments with an interest in seeing the camp closed. On April 26, 2007, there was a debate in the U.S. senate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay which ended in a draw, with Democrats urging action on the prisoners' behalf but running into stiff opposition from Republicans.[64]

According to polls conducted by the Program on International Policy (PIP) attitudes, .Large majorities in Germany and Great Britain, and pluralities in Poland and India, believe the United States has committed violations of international law at its prison on Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, including the use of torture in interrogations.. PIP found a marked decrease in the perception of the U.S. as a leader of human rights as a result of the international communities opposition to the Guantánamo prison. [65] A 2006 poll conducted by the BBC World Service together with GlobeScan in 26 countries found that 69% of respondents disapprove of the Guantánamo prison and the U.S. treatment of detainees. [66] American actions in Guantanamo, coupled with the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, are considered major factors in the decline of the U.S..s image abroad.

Three British prisoners, now known in the media as the "Tipton Three", were released in 2004 without charge. The three have alleged ongoing torture, sexual degradation, forced drugging and religious persecution being committed by U.S. forces at Guantánamo Bay. The prisoners have released a 115-page dossier detailing these accusations.[68] Former Guantánamo detainee, the Swede Mehdi Ghezali was freed on July 9, 2004, after two and half years internment. Ghezali has claimed that he was the victim of repeated torture. Former Guantánamo detainee Moazzam Begg, freed in January 2005, after nearly three years in captivity, has accused his American captors of torturing him and other detainees arrested in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[69]

Omar Deghayes was blinded by pepper spray during his detention.[70] Former Guantánamo detainee Murat Kurnaz, released on August 24, 2006 alleges mistreatment and torture.

Murat Kurnaz's statements are[citation needed]:

Shock rooms: "(In Guantanamo) I was subjected to severe torture. For three months, I stayed in these cold-hot shock rooms. When you go into the room they pump very hot air inside. After that, they pump extremely cold air. It is a horrifying kind of torture. There were various sorts of torture methods including electrical shocks, drowning in water tanks, depriving of food and water, chaining and hanging to the ceiling."

"I witnessed people dying": "They brought a tub full of water. They dipped our heads and held them in water. There I witnessed many people die. They stripped us of our clothes, chaining and hanging us to the wall. I was kept hung to the wall for 4-5 days. Then doctor used to come and check if we could stand more or not. We were not given any food for 20 days. They only gave us one piece of toast, one carrot or one apple per day."

"Psychological Torture": "When none of these torture methods worked, they applied psychological torture. They threw the Qur'an to the floor and kicked it around, throwing it in the toilet. They were playing Adhan along with other music and dancing to it. They made religious insults. Once I could not feel my feet or hands due to the cold. Then I felt a gun barrel at my head. The soldier was yelling at me saying that he was going to kill me. I started laughing. All other detainees started laughing, too. Because I felt that I was already dead. If they killed me, they would be doing me a favor.

"Sign this document": "One day, they brought this document to me and told me to sign it. For example, there were sentences saying that I would guarantee that I would not get involved in terrorist activities. I told them I never did anything like that anyway, and I would not sign it. I was told that I would not be able to get out of there if I did not sign it. Then they packed my bags and sent me back to Germany."

"All Guantanamo camp footage is fake": "After I was released I saw a lot of photos and video footage of Guantanamo detainment camp. Those are all fake and full of lies. Americans were selecting 2-3 detainees for the footage. They were giving mattresses, blankets, prayer beads and skullcaps to these detainees and were recording these videos. The documentary The Road to Guantanamo is a good work. But it is only telling 20 percent of what happened there. It is hard to show everything that happened over the years in one movie".

Juma Al Dossary claims he was interrogated hundreds times, beaten, tortured with broken glass, barbed wire, burning cigarettes, and sexual assaults.[71] David Hicks also made allegations of torture and mistreatment in Guantánamo Bay, but as part of a plea bargain Hicks withdrew any allegations of mistreatment.

An Associated Press report claims that some detainees were turned over to the US by Afghan tribesmen in return for cash bounties [72] The first Denbeaux study reproduces copies of several of leaflets, flyers and posters the US Government distributed to advertise the bounty program.[73] Some of the posters were in comic form, to reach the bulk of the Afghan population, who are illiterate.

Forced feeding accusations by hunger-striking detainees began around the beginning of Autumn, 2005: "Detainees said large feeding tubes were forcibly shoved up their noses and down into their stomachs, with guards using the same tubes from one patient to another. The detainees say no sedatives were provided during these procedures, which they allege took place in front of U.S. physicians, including the head of the prison hospital."[74][75] "A hunger striking detainee at Guantánamo Bay wants a judge to order the removal of his feeding tube so he can be allowed to die, one of his lawyers has said."[76] Within a few weeks, the Department of Defense "extended an invitation to United Nations Special Rapporteurs to visit detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay Naval Station".[77][78]

This was rejected by the U.N. considering the restrictions "that [the] three human rights officials invited to Guantánamo Bay wouldn't be allowed to conduct private interviews" with prisoners.[79] Simultaneously, media reports ensued surrounding the question of prisoner treatment.[80][81][82] "District Court Judge Gladys Kessler also ordered the U.S. government to give medical records going back a week before such feedings take place."[83] In early November 2005, the U.S. suddenly accelerated, for unknown reasons, the rate of prisoner release, but this was unsustained.[84][85][86][87] Prisoners were force fed with nasal tubes.[4]

In 2005, it was reported that sexual methods were allegedly used by female interrogators to break Muslim prisoners.


According to a June 21, 2005, New York Times opinion article,[88] on July 29, 2004, an FBI agent was quoted as saying, "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more." Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, who headed the probe into FBI accounts of abuse of Guantánamo prisoners by Defense Department personnel, concluded the man (a Saudi, described as the "20th hijacker") was subjected to "abusive and degrading treatment" due to "the cumulative effect of creative, persistent and lengthy interrogations." The techniques used were authorized by the Pentagon, he said.[89]Many of the released prisoners have complained of enduring beatings, sleep deprivation, prolonged constraint in uncomfortable positions, prolonged hooding, sexual and cultural humiliation, forced injections, and other physical and psychological mistreatment during their detention in Camp Delta.

The U.S. government has denied all of the above charges, but on May 9, 2004, The Washington Post publicized classified documents that showed Pentagon approval of using sleep deprivation, exposure to hot and cold, bright lights, and loud music during interrogations at Guantánamo.[90][91]

Spc. Sean Baker, a soldier posing as a prisoner during training exercises at the camp, was beaten so severely that he suffered a brain injury and seizures.[92]

In late January 2004, US officials released three children aged 13 to 15 and returned them to Afghanistan.

http://podcast.thisamericanlife.org/special/310_bonus.mp3
http://www.thisamericanlife.org/extras/radio/310_transcript.pdf
310: Habeas Schmabeas

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posted by u2r2h at Friday, November 23, 2007 0 comments links to this post

10 November, 2007

Sarkozy Iran Israel FIRE Washington

Sarkozy accused of working for Israeli intelligence

by Gamal Nkrumah Global Research, November 3, 2007 - Al Ahram Weekly

Sarkozy's bad week

As if his marital challenges were not enough cause for concern, "Sarco the
Sayan" has suddenly emerged as the most infamous accolade of French
President Nicolas Sarkozy. The influential French daily Le Figaro last
week revealed that the French leader once worked for -- and perhaps still
does, it hinted -- Israeli intelligence as a sayan (Hebrew for helper),
one of the thousands of Jewish citizens of countries other than Israel who
cooperate with the katsas (Mossad case-officers).

A letter dispatched to French police officials late last winter -- long
before the presidential election but somehow kept secret -- revealed that
Sarkozy was recruited as an Israeli spy. The French police is currently
investigating documents concerning Sarkozy's alleged espionage activities
on behalf of Mossad, which Le Figaro claims dated as far back as 1983.
According to the author of the message, in 1978, Israeli prime minister
Menachem Begin ordered the infiltration of the French ruling Gaullist
Party, Union pour un Mouvement Populaire. Originally targeted were Patrick
Balkany, Patrick Devedjian and Pierre Lellouche. In 1983, they recruited
the "young and promising" Sarkozy, the "fourth man".

Ex-Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky describes how sayanim function in By Way
Of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer. They are
usually reached through relatives in Israel. An Israeli with a relative in
France, for instance, might be asked to draft a letter saying the person
bearing the letter represents an organisation whose main goal is to help
save Jewish people in the Diaspora. Could the French relative help in any
way? They perform many different roles. A car sayan, for example, running
a rental car agency, could help the Mossad rent a car without having to
complete the usual documentation. An apartment sayan would find
accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank sayan could fund someone
in the middle of the night if needs be, a doctor sayan would treat a
bullet wound without reporting it to the police.

And, a political sayan ? It's rather obvious what this could mean. The
sayanim are a pool of people at the ready who will keep quiet about their
actions out of loyalty to "the cause", a non-risk recruitment system that
draws from the millions of Jewish people outside Israel.

Such talk sends chills down spines, especially Arab and Muslim ones.
Indeed, the revelation did not go unnoticed in Arab capitals or come as
much of a surprise. Paris can be a sunny place for shady people. When it
comes to intelligence gathering on behalf of Israel, a question mark is
immediately raised on the moral calibre of the person in question. But,
how does this scandal influence France's foreign and domestic politics?

It is of symbolic significance that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was
on a state visit to France in the immediate aftermath of Le Figaro 's
exposé -- ostensibly to discuss Iran's nuclear agenda and the Palestinian
question. Proud and prickly France under its supposedly savvy new
president hopes to play a more prominent role in the perplexing world of
Middle Eastern politics. On Monday, Sarkozy flew to Morocco, the ancestral
home of many of France's Jewry, soon after his Mossad connection was made
public. There is no clear evidence that the revelation is to make France
any more unpopular in the Arab world than it already is, especially not in
official circles.

On the domestic front, however, there are many conflicting considerations.
The Jews of France now display a touch of the vapours, in sharp contrast
to the conceited triumphalism with which they greeted his election: "we
are persuaded that the new president will continue eradicating
anti-Israeli resistance," Sammy Ghozlan, president of the Jewish Community
of Paris pontificated soon after Sarkozy's election. France is home to
500,000 Jews, mostly Sephardic Jews originally from North Africa and
Mediterranean countries.

Sarkozy's own maternal grandfather Aron Mallah, hailed from Salonika,
Greece, and is said to have exercised considerable influence on his
grandson. Even though raised as a Roman Catholic, "Sarkozy played a
critical role in moving the French government to do what is necessary to
address the ill winds that threaten the largest Jewish community in
Western Europe," noted David Harris, the executive director of the
American Jewish Committee. Sarkozy, after all, was a political product of
the predominantly Jewish elite neighbourhood of Neuilly-sur-Seine, where
he long served as mayor.

France's Muslim minority was far from surprised by Le Figaro 's
revelations, even though some may have feigned disappointment. Others have
been more forthright. "France is not run by Frenchmen, but by lackeys of
the Zionist International who control the economy," lamented Radio Islam,
of militant Islamist tendencies. When Sarkozy was France's minister of
interior and clamped down hard on Muslim immigrants, calling mainly Muslim
rioters "scum" in a widely-publicised interview, they retaliated by
calling him "Sarkozy, sale juif [dirty Jew]". Obviously there is no love
lost between the five million-strong French Muslim community, the largest
in Western Europe, and the French president. He has grounds for concern.
He assiduously courts the Israelis. That much is known.

more:
www. globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7245

===============================

Attacking Iran for Israel?

by Ray McGovern - Global Research, November 1, 2007 - ConsortiumNews.com


Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is at her mushroom-cloud hyperbolic
best, and this time Iran is the target.

Her claim last week that ?the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the
single greatest challenge to American security interests in the Middle
East and around the world? is simply too much of a stretch.

To gauge someone?s reliability, one depends largely on prior experience.
Sadly, Rice?s credibility suffers in comparison with that of the head of
the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei, who
insists there is no evidence of an active nuclear weapons program in Iran.

If this sounds familiar, ElBaradei said the same thing about Iraq before
it was attacked. But three days before the invasion, American nuclear
expert Dick Cheney told NBC?s Tim Russert, ?I think Mr. ElBaradei is,
frankly, wrong.?

Here we go again. As in the case of Iraq, U.S. intelligence has been
assiduously looking for evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran;
but, alas, in vain.

Burned by the bogus ?proof? adduced for Iraq?the uranium from Africa, the
aluminum tubes?the administration has shied away from fabricating
nuclear-related ?evidence.?

Are Bush and Cheney again relying on the Rumsfeld dictum, that ?the
absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?? There is a simpler answer.

Cat Out of the Bag

The Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Sallai Meridor, let the cat out of the
bag while speaking at the American Jewish Committee luncheon on Oct. 22.
In remarks paralleling those of Rice, Meridor said Iran is the chief
threat to Israel.

Heavy on the chutzpah, he served gratuitous notice on Washington that
effectively countering Iran?s nuclear ambitions will take a ?united United
States in this matter,? lest the Iranians conclude, ?come January ?09,
they have it their own way.?

Meridor stressed that ?very little time? remained to keep Iran from
obtaining nuclear weapons. How so?

Even were there to be a nuclear program hidden from the IAEA, no serious
observer expects Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon much sooner than five
years from now.

Truth be told, every other year since 1995 U.S. intelligence has been
predicting that Iran could have a nuclear weapon in about five years.

It has become downright embarrassing ? like a broken record, punctuated
only by so-called ?neo-conservatives? like James Woolsey, who last summer
publicly warned that the U.S. may have no choice but to bomb Iran in order
to halt its nuclear weapons program.

Woolsey, self-described ?anchor of the Presbyterian wing of the Jewish
Institute for National Security Affairs,? put it this way: ?I?m afraid
that within, well, at worst, a few months; at best, a few years; they [the
Iranians] could have the bomb.?

The day before Meridor?s unintentionally revealing remark, Vice President
Dick Cheney reiterated, ?We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.?

That remark followed closely on President George W. Bush?s apocalyptic
warning of World War III, should Tehran acquire the knowledge to produce a
nuclear weapon.

The Israelis appear convinced they have extracted a promise from Bush and
Cheney that they will help Israel nip Iran?s nuclear program in the bud
before they leave office.

Never mind that there is no evidence that the Iranian nuclear program is
any more weapons-related than the one Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld persuaded
President Gerald Ford to approve in 1976 for Westinghouse and General
Electric to install for the Shah (price tag $6.4 billion).

With 200-300 nuclear weapons in its arsenal, the Israelis enjoy a nuclear
monopoly in the Middle East. They mean to keep that monopoly and are
pressing for the U.S. to obliterate Iran?s fledgling nuclear program.

Anyone aware of Iran?s ability to retaliate realizes this would bring
disaster to the whole region and beyond. But this has not stopped Cheney
and Bush before.

The rationale is similar to that revealed by Philip Zelikow, confidant of
Condoleezza Rice, former member of the President?s Foreign Intelligence
Advisory Board, and later executive director of the 9/11 Commission. On
Oct. 10, 2002, Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia:

?Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I?ll
tell you what I think the real threat is?it?s the threat to Israel. And
this is the threat that dare not speak its name...the American government
doesn?t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a
popular sell.?

Harbinger?

The political offensive against Iran coalesced as George W. Bush began his
second term, with Cheney out in front pressing for an attack on its
nuclear-related facilities.

During a Jan. 20, 2005, interview with MSNBC, just hours before Bush?s
second inauguration, Cheney put Iran ?right at the top of the list of
trouble spots,? and noted that negotiations and UN sanctions might fail to
stop Iran?s nuclear program.

Cheney then added with remarkable nonchalance:

?Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the
destruction of Israel, the Israelis might decide to act first, and let the
rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.?

Does this not sound like the so-called ?Cheney plan? being widely
discussed in the media today? An Israeli air attack; Iranian retaliation;
Washington springing to the defense of its ?ally? Israel?

A big fan of preemption, Cheney has done little to disguise his attraction
to Israel?s penchant to preempt, such as Israel's air strike against the
Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981.

Ten years after the Osirak attack, then-Defense Secretary Cheney
reportedly gave Israeli Maj. Gen. David Ivri, commander of the Israeli Air
Force, a satellite photo of the Iraqi nuclear reactor destroyed by
U.S.-built Israeli aircraft. On the photo Cheney penned, ?Thanks for the
outstanding job on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981.?

Nothing is known of Ivri?s response, but it is a safe bet it was along the
lines of ?we could not have done it without U.S. help.?

Indeed, though the U.S. officially condemned the attack (the Reagan
administration was supporting Saddam Hussein?s Iraq at that point), the
intelligence shared by the Pentagon with the Israelis made a major
contribution to the success of the Israeli raid.

With Vice President Cheney calling the shots now, similar help may be
forthcoming prior to any Israeli air attack on Iran.

It is no secret that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began to
press for an early preemptive strike on Iran in 2003, claiming that Iran
was likely to obtain a nuclear weapon much earlier than what U.S.
intelligence estimated.

Sharon made a habit of bringing his own military adviser to brief Bush
with aerial photos of Iranian nuclear-related installations.

More troubling still, in the fall of 2004, retired Gen. Brent Scowcroft,
who served as national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush and
as Chair of the younger Bush?s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, made
some startling comments to the Financial Times.

A master of discretion with the media, Scowcroft nonetheless saw fit to
make public his conclusion that Sharon had Bush ?mesmerized;? that he had
our president ?wrapped around his little finger.?

Needless to say, Scowcroft was immediately removed from the advisory board.

An Unstable Infatuation

George W. Bush first met Sharon in 1998, when the Texas governor was taken
on a tour of the Middle East by Matthew Brooks, then executive director of
the Republican Jewish Coalition. Sharon was foreign minister and took Bush
on a helicopter tour over the Israeli occupied territories.

An Aug. 3, 2006, McClatchy wire story by Ron Hutcheson quotes Matthew
Brooks:

?If there?s a starting point for George W. Bush?s attachment to Israel,
it?s the day in late 1998, when he stood on a hilltop where Jesus
delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and, with eyes brimming with tears,
read aloud from his favorite hymn, ?Amazing Grace.? He was very emotional.
It was a tear-filled experience. He brought Israel back home with him in
his heart. I think he came away profoundly moved.?

Bush made gratuitous but revealing reference to that trip at the first
meeting of his National Security Council on Jan. 30, 2001.

After announcing he would abandon the decades-long role of ?honest broker?
between Israelis and Palestinians and would tilt pronouncedly toward
Israel, Bush said he would let Sharon resolve the dispute however he saw
fit.

At that point he brought up his trip to Israel with the Republican Jewish
Coalition and the flight over Palestinian camps, but there was no sense of
concern for the lot of the Palestinians.

In Ron Suskind?s Price of Loyalty, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O?Neill,
who was at the NSC meeting, quotes Bush: ?Looked real bad down there,? the
president said with a frown. Then Bush said it was time to end America?s
efforts in the region. ?I don?t see much we can do over there at this
point,? he said.

O?Neill also reported that Colin Powell, the newly minted but nominal
secretary of state, was taken completely by surprise at this nonchalant
jettisoning of longstanding policy.

Powell demurred, warning that this would unleash Sharon and ?the
consequences could be dire, especially for the Palestinians.? But
according to O?Neill, Bush just shrugged, saying, ?Sometimes a show of
strength by one side can really clarify things.? O?Neill says that Powell
seemed ?startled.?

It is a safe bet that the vice president was in no way startled.

What Now?

The only thing that seems to be standing in the way of a preemptive attack
on Iran?s nuclear facilities is foot-dragging by the U.S. military.

It seems likely that the senior military have told the president and
Cheney: This time let us brief you on what to expect on Day 2, on Week 4,
on Month 6?and on the many serious things Iran can do to Israel, and to us
in Iraq and elsewhere.

CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon is reliably reported to have
said, ?We are not going to do Iran on my watch.? And in an online Q-and-A,
award-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest recently spoke of a
possible ?revolt? if pilots were ordered to fly missions against Iran. She
added:

?This is a little bit of hyperbole, but not much. Just look at what Gen.
[George] Casey, the Army chief, has said...that the tempo of operations in
Iraq would make it very hard for the military to respond to a major crisis
elsewhere. Beside, it's not the ?war? or ?bombing? part that's difficult;
it's the morning after and all the days after that. Haven't we learned
that (again) from Iraq??

How about Congress? Could it act as a brake on Bush and Cheney? Forget it.

If the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with its
overflowing coffers supports an attack on Iran, so will most of our
spineless lawmakers. Already, AIPAC has succeeded in preventing
legislation that would have required the president to obtain advance
authorization for an attack on Iran.

And for every Admiral Fallon, there is someone like the inimitable,
retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a close associate of James
Woolsey and other ?neo-cons.?

The air campaign ?will be easy,? says McInerney, a Fox News pundit who was
a rabid advocate of shock and awe over Iraq. ?Ahmadinejad has nothing in
Iran that we can?t penetrate,? he adds, and several hundred bombers,
including stealth bombers, will be enough to do the trick:

?Forty-eight hours duration, hitting 2,500 aim points to take out their
nuclear facilities, their air defense facilities, their air force, their
navy, their Shahab-3 retaliatory missiles, and finally their command and
control. And then let the Iranian people take their country back.?

And the rationale? Since it will be a hard sell to promote the idea,
against all evidence, of an imminent threat that Iran is about to have a
nuclear weapon, the White House PR machine is likely to focus on other
evidence showing that Iran is supporting those ?killing our troops in
Iraq.?

The scary thing is that Cheney is more likely to use the McInerneys and
Woolseys than the Fallons and Caseys in showing the president how easily
it can be done.

Madness

It is not as though we have not had statesmen wise enough to warn us
against foreign entanglements, and about those who have difficulty
distinguishing between the strategic interests of the United States and
those of other nations, even allies:

?A passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of
evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation facilitates the illusion of an
imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists,
infuses into one the enmities of the other, and betrays the former into
participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate
inducement or justification.? - (George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796)

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the
ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. He was a CIA analyst
for 27 years and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence
Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

=====================


It?s Time to Fire Washington!

by Debbie Lewis -- Global Research, November 2, 2007


When will United States Citizens ever decide enough is enough and fire
Washington?

Congress is pulling another fast one and no one is paying attention. As if
wanting to control the entire population via the latest proposed
commission, H.R. 1955, otherwise known as the ?Violent Radicalization and
Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007,? is a slick piece of
legislation. The way it reads, we are heading straight for an
Authoritarian style government (like we are not in one already!).

This new bill is to be added to Title VIII of the Homeland Security Act of
2002, another questionable piece of legislation. Where, may one ask, is
representation for ?We the People?? The vote for passage in the House of
Representatives was 404 ayes to 6 nays and 22 representatives not voting.
People on the right or the left think their representation is the best,
but quite frankly, there is clearly little difference. Of the fifteen
sponsors for this bill, eleven of them are Democrats. The bill has now
moved to the Senate for approval, with its two sponsors being Republican.

The title, alone, is offensive. ?Homegrown Terrorism?? It will come as no
surprise, but the language is also extremely vague. Take the very first
line: ?To prevent homegrown terrorism and for other purposes.? The Senate
version has similar language: ?To establish the National Commission on the
Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism, and for
other purposes.?

Honestly, ??for other purposes?? We pay these people how much and we get
??for other purposes? in a piece of legislation governing the United
States of America? Can they be more vague? Furthermore, why aren?t more US
citizens outraged at such unclear language?

The definitions for the phrases ?violent radicalization,? ?homegrown
terrorism,? as well as ?ideologically based violence? are almost as
interesting as the terminology ??for other purposes.?

To radicalize means to go through sweeping change, while radicalization
means to go from an active or passive stance to one of a more militaristic
or intense stance. Are they talking about the United States citizens or
the US government? Our government has taken on a vastly more violently
radicalized stance in this War on Terror, but, so far, the citizens are
taking a more peaceful approach, that of public protests. Do they mean to
say that these protests are somehow violently radicalizing? I attended the
rather large End the War rally in Washington DC on September 15, 2007, and
it wasn?t violent at all. In fact, it was inspiring!

What about the oh-so-cleverly coined phrase ?ideologically based
violence?? According to the framers of this piece of legislation, this
string of words is to mean the ?use, planned use or threatened use of
force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or
individual?s political, religious or social belief.? First of all, planned
use? Are they now referring to thought crimes? Secondly, what about the
threats of government to try and force the Real ID card on us, or
vaccines, or the loss of our civil liberties? Would that not fall under
this same category? If so, it appears to me the first casualty of this new
legislation should be?The USA PATRIOT Act!

In light of these definitions, one must wonder if the current Congress
would see our founding father?s actions as homegrown terrorism using
violent radicalization and ideologically based violence to set our country
free from the tyrannical government of England. Better yet, can the
citizens of the United States consider the current administration as using
violent radicalization and ideologically based violence to promote their
agenda around the world or promote an idea, here at home?

This is sounding more and more like the War on Terror is coming home, and
not in a good way! The internet has been sited as an aid in ?facilitating
violent radicalization?.? (Our government hasn?t figured out a way to take
a controlling interest in the internet yet, now have they?) Also,
according to HR 1955, preventing such behavior cannot be readily brought
about by the ?traditional Federal intelligence or law enforcement
efforts.? They plan to include state and local efforts, as well as
including the US Postal Service and university-based Centers of
Excellence, these latter being established by the Secretary of Homeland
Security. This Commission sounds like it is being governed by?The USA
PATRIOT Act!

If I?m not mistaken, though, I do believe President Bush did say, ??either
you are with us, you are with the terrorists.? In light of the growing
disenchantment of the US citizens with regards to this illegal war, does
that make United States citizens the enemy of the United States government
it elects? Apparently so, hence the need for this commission and
legislation!

This newly proposed ten member Commission for the prevention of these
so-called violent radicalizations, homegrown terrorists, and ideologically
based violent groups and individuals is going to look toward governments
in other countries that have knowledge and ?significant experience? in
dealing with such behavior, such as the UK, Canada and Australia. We know
that the UK is one of the most surveilled countries on the planet and
Canada was financially worse off than the US, until recently. I guess I
didn?t realize the UK, Canada, and Australia had such problems with their
citizens behaving so badly!

It is past time for us, as good US Citizens, to hold our elected officials
responsible for the shoddy legislation they are enacting, especially since
they are enacting it on our behalf! When will we learn? When will we take
up the fight for our own freedoms? When will we be educated enough to
realize we need to fire our representatives in Washington and find a
better way to preserve our way of life that doesn?t include thousands of
pieces of unnecessary legislation?

Endnotes:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h110-1955

House of
Representatives Text of H.R. 1955: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown
Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/vote.xpd?vote=h2007-993

House Vote for HR
1955

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=s110-1959

Senate Text
of S. 1959: Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act
of 2007

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radicalization Radicalization is the
transformation from passiveness or activism to more revolutionary,
militant or extreme postures. Radicalization is often associated with
youth, adversity, alienation, social exclusion, poverty or the perception
of injustice to self or others.

http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/radicalization.html

Radicalize-change
fundamentally: to undergo fundamental change, or introduce sweeping
change in something. Make or become politically radical: to adopt
politically radical views or cause somebody to do this.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010920-8.html

Address
to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People

http://www.undersiegemovie.com/moreinfo.html

Documentary ?One Nation
Under Siege?

http://www.dhs.gov/xres/programs/editorial_0498.shtm Homeland Security
Centers of Excellence


http://www.washingtonyourefired.com/

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