Montag, 13. April 2009

The Red Cross Torture Report: What it Means

By Mark Danner

For many in the United States, torture still stands as a marker of political commitment-of a willingness to "do anything to protect the American people," a manly readiness to know when to abstain from "coddling terrorists" and do what needs to be done. Torture's powerful symbolic role, like many ugly, shameful facts, is left unacknowledged and undiscussed. But that doesn't make it any less real. On the contrary.

We Must Confront the Torturers who Acted in Our Name

By Robyn Blumner

Let's see, a U.S. court successfully convicted the son of the brutal former president of Liberia, Charles Taylor, of torturing his father's political opponents. But we're going to leave it to a Spanish judge to go after our own Torquemadas?

America's Imperial Wars: We Need to See the Horrors

By Dave Lindorff

We may read the cold fact that the US military, after initial denials, admits that its forces killed not four enemy combatants in an assault on a house in Afghanistan, but rather five civilians-including a man, a female teacher, a 10-year-old girl, a 15-year-old boy and a tiny baby. But we don't see pictures of their shattered bodies, no doubt shredded by the high-powered automatic rifles typically used by American forces.

Dennis Ross's Iran Plan

By Robert Dreyfuss

Diplomats and Middle East watchers hoping Ross would be sidelined are wrong. He is building an empire at the State Department: hiring staff and, with his legendary flair for bureaucratic wrangling, cementing liaisons with a wide range of US officials. The Iran portfolio is his, says an insider.

Australian Government Urged to Conduct Iraq War Probe

Stephen de Tarczynski, Inter Press Service: "The UK government's recent announcement that it will conduct an inquiry into Britain's involvement in Iraq has led to calls here for Australia to review its own participation in the controversial war. Britain's foreign secretary David Miliband said in late March that the government would undertake a 'comprehensive' inquiry into Britain's decision to join the 2003 United States-led invasion of the Middle Eastern nation. The review will be carried out after July, by which time the majority of British troops will have been withdrawn from Iraq."


'UK would not have invaded Iraq if we knew what we know now'

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has said that the UK would not have invaded Iraq in 2003, if it had been clear that the then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

From Information Clearing House

This Isn't Working

Marc Ash, Truthout: "Still well short of the Obama administration's 100th day in office, substantive judgment would normally be premature at best, but these are extraordinary times. The raging inferno of corruption that began in the Bush years burns out of control now, and time is of the essence. Some would argue the corruption was always there, is always there, a flaw in the human spirit that is never gone, but for a time controlled. In either case, the fire is now raging and threatens to consume everything. While the new, and very popular, President Barack Obama appears to mean well, Hillary Clinton's admonishment that he was unprepared for what lays ahead now seems more real than at first imagined."

Mobile phone mast plans for Brighton church

3:00pm Monday 13th April 2009

By Emily-Ann Elliott

Church bosses are considering allowing a mobile phone company to install a mast on the building’s spire.

Members of the congregation at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Dyke Road, Brighton, received a letter informing them that the church’s management team has been approached by New Edge Telecommunications with the proposal.

However church workers insist the plans are at their very early stages and a formal consultation process has not yet begun.


The Obama Deception

We want action on phone mast plan - group

9:00am Monday 13th April 2009

AN ACTION group set up to stop a mobile phone mast being built 70 metres from a Six Bells primary school is calling for a final decision to be made on the issue.

Blaenau Gwent council’s planning officers were due to meet representatives from Vodafone in January to ask them to consider citing the mast further away from Bryngwyn Primary School.


Obama’s weapons of mass distraction

Root for America
by Wayne Allyn Root


Distraction is President Obama’s greatest weapon against the truth. You see Obama can’t afford to allow the average American to see what’s really happening. Obama’s economic plans are so dangerous and deadly to our future that socialist France is warning us that our spending is suicidal; The President of the European Union is scolding us; Russia’s Vladimir Putin recently criticized America for abandoning the free markets; and China is suggesting a new world reserve currency. Get the hint? When Russia is lecturing us that we’ve abandoned capitalism, America is surely in deep trouble...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

International currency and the power to inflate

by Joseph Onorati


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) holds an imaginary currency called Special Drawing Rights (SDR) that acts as a currency reserve for other countries. A reserve currency is held by foreign countries to purchase or sell their national currency in order to manipulate its value. Recently, the dollar and Euro fill the role of reserve currency for 90 percent of global reserves. The SDRs currently represent the value of the Euro, pound, dollar, and yen. The basket of currencies is intended, in the rhetoric anyway, to stabilize the value of the reserve currency rather than putting control in the hands of a single government or central bank. Russia and China are now pursuing the expansion of the program to include their currency and to increase the amount of SDRs available...

Bad regulation drives out good

Foundation for Economic Education
by Sheldon Richman


In 1969 economist Harold Demsetz identified an important flaw in much public policy analysis, the ‘Nirvana Fallacy.’ We would do well to keep it in mind as we think about solutions to the current economic problems. Demsetz described the fallacy thus: ‘The view that now pervades much public policy economics implicitly presents the relevant choice as between an ideal norm and an existing ‘imperfect’ institutional arrangement. This nirvana approach differs considerably from a comparative institution approach in which the relevant choice is between alternative real institutional arrangements’...

Government’s mistakes have deepened this recession

Competitive Enterprise Institute
by Fred L. Smith, Jr.


Steven Gjerstad and Vernon Smith suggest one unexplored aspect of our financial crisis: the role of egalitarian policies. To see this, note their distinction between the impacts of the $10 trillion loss in the 2000 stock market collapse and the $3 trillion loss of the recent housing collapse. A driving force behind all this has been radical egalitarianism — the idea that something that can be afforded by some should be made available to everyone. Our universal housing-ownership passion transformed the housing market...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Good faith?

Unqualified Offerings
by Thoreau


[I]n the case of torture, I can see two reasons why ‘good faith’ should not apply, no matter how many memos John Yoo issued: 1) We’re talking about extreme acts. It’s hard to see a gray area here. If you registered a business vehicle under category XYZ instead of category 123, because it was mostly used for business trips rather than hauling merchandise, even though business vehicles capable of hauling merchandise need to be placed in category 123 and inspected for blah blah blah when operated across state lines, I can see the gray area. But if you want to start talking about crushing a kid’s testicles (yes, Yoo actually talked about this), um, well, I’m sorry, but that should look like a red flag, not a gray area. 2) Their actions indicate that they knew they were committing crimes. They tried to keep it secret, they tried to deny it, and when possible they tried to blame ‘a few bad apples.’ That doesn’t sound like something you do when you’re sure that you’re on the side of the angels...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Afghanistan: Baby shot dead in US troop raid

Telegraph [UK]


A seven-day-old baby has been killed during a bungled US army raid to seize an al Qaeda-linked terrorist in Afghanistan. The boy died alongside four other innocent civilians, including two children, who were shot dead by US forces during the night-time raid. The shootings came amid ongoing anger in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the numbers of innocent civilians killed by US forces during raids, air strikes and missile attacks by unmanned drones...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

Residents in battle over phone mast

Bournemouth Daily Echo - England, UK

By Katie Clark

...residents are fighting to prevent mobile company Vodafone from installing a phone mast just metres from their homes and gardens in...

Is Gates Channeling Cheney on Iraq with "Last Gasp" Remark?

Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers: "Midway through a week of mayhem in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised eyebrows when he said the recent resurgence of violence in Baghdad was 'a last gasp' of Islamic extremists. It was an echo of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who in 2005 said the insurgency was 'in the last throes.' The following two years were the deadliest period of the war."

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