Saturday, August 27, 2005

USS Liberty Veterans File War Crimes Report on Israel Attack

If you read nothing else today, you have got to read this. The men of the USS Liberty have suffered much by the on-going cover-up by one administration after another for 38 years in the effort to continue protecting out 51st state, Israel. This is beyond outrageous, this is nothing less than an indictment on the priorities of this nation.--Jack

Washington Report, August 2005, pages 17-18
Special Report

USS Liberty Veterans Present Pentagon With Report on Israeli War Crimes
By Delinda C. Hanley

There was a palpable, almost electric feeling at this particular gathering in Washington, DC. At past reunions survivors swapped talk of recent surgeries and the continuing struggle to cope with their injuries. Of the original crew of 294 officers and civilians, 34 men were killed and another 173 wounded in action that day in June 1967. Because the few who survived without physical wounds had to gather up their buddies’ body parts, no one left that ship unscathed. Even harder to bear than the physical and mental anguish these Americans have endured, however, has been their government’s betrayal and silence for nearly four decades.
Full must read article here:

The USS Liberty Veterans Association has filed a formal Report of War Crimes Committed Against U.S. Military Personnel, June 8, 1967, by elements of the Israeli military forces.

The Report has been filed with the Department of Defense.

To read the Report as a PDF document, click here

To read the Report as an HTML document, click here.

This is the USS Liberty Memorial Web Site honoring the memory of thirty four Americanswho were brutally killed by the Armed Forces of Israelon June 8, 1967. http://www.ussliberty.org/

This web site is dedicated to the memory of thirty-four fine young men who gave their lives on June 8, 1967, defending the USS Liberty against a sustained air and sea attack by the armed forces of the State of Israel.

During the Six Day War between Israel and the Arab States, the American intelligence ship USS Liberty was attacked for 75 minutes in international waters by Israeli aircraft and motor torpedo boats. Thirty-four men died and 172 were wounded.

The attack, which was a war crime, has been a matter of controversy ever since. Survivors and many key government officials including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, former JCS Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer, and nearly every senior American intelligence professional say it was no accident. Israel and its supporters insist it was a "tragic case of misidentification" and charge that the survivors are either lying or too emotionally involved to see the truth.

Israel claims they mistook our ship for the out-of-service Egyptian horse carrier El Quseir and that we brought the attack upon ourselves by operating in a war zone without displaying a flag. Not so. We were in international waters, far from any fighting, and flew a bright, clean, new American flag. The flag we flew when the torpedo boats approached is on display at the National Cryptologic Museum, Fort Meade, Maryland and can be seen there, or in the USS Liberty Images Archive. The flag we flew during most of the air attack will be permanently displayed at the Cold War Museum near Washington, DC.

Our commanding officer, Captain William Loren McGonagle, received the Congressional Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty during the attack. The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award our country can bestow.

To avoid embarrassing our attackers, Captain McGonagle's Medal of Honor was presented in a quiet ceremony in the Washington Navy Yard instead of in the White House by the President as is customary.

The USS Liberty Web Page presents part of the story along with some historical information and links to other sources. More about the USS Liberty

Two "Green Zones"--Dahr Jamail

Everyone that has someone in uniform in Iraq who support this war, what are they going to do when their loved ones start getting sick from depleted uranium? When their loved ones come back with raging PTSD? When they finally realize what those of us that oppose this mess are in fact the ones who have been telling the truth and their "fearless" leaders, Bush, Cheney et al have, as we have been saying, "killed" more people thru their "nuclear war" than the so-called "terrorists" ever could have. When they realize, ye gads, where is the VA?

Will they still be so willing to label the voices of opposition to the Bush/Cheney cabal as people who "hate" their own country as they do now? Time will tell will it not?

In the meantime the wholesale slaughter this country is the cause of in Iraq continues. The neo-con march to rule the world continues. Somehow we have got to end this madness. Somehow, somewhere we in this country must start putting statesman (if we can find any)in the White House and Congress and not what we keep continuing to do--allow bought and paid for professional politicians to rule according to the will and whims of their corporate minders.--Jack

Two “Green Zones”
Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches
** http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
August 27, 2005

As the US-backed Iraqi puppet government flails about arguing over the so-called constitution, Iraq remains in a state of complete anarchy. There is no government control whatsoever, even inside the infamous “Green Zone” where the puppets seem to have tangled their strings.

Why the harsh tone for the conflagrations of the so-called Iraqi government?Because the price paid for this unimaginably huge misadventure of the neo-conservative driven Bush junta is being paid by real human beings who shed real blood and cry real tears. Because well over 100,000 Iraqis and over 1,800 US soldiers would be alive today if it wasn’t for the puppeteers of Mr. Bush.

The coward sits behind his guards in Crawford, Texas, too afraid to deal with the reality of the grief he and his masters have caused to thousands of military families who have lost loved ones in Iraq. Meanwhile, fires are raging out of control not only in Iraq, but right here in the US.

“I ask you, Mr Bush, if you believe that this war is for “Our Freedom” and “Our Values” why don’t you send your daughters to fight for freedom,” wrote Fernando Suarez del Solar recently, who lost his son in Iraq due to the lies of Mr. Bush.

He continued, “Why don’t your closest associates send their children to defend these values? Why are the children of immigrant families dying? Why are children from working families who are the least privileged dying? Why Mr. Bush? Why?”

Of course Suarez del Solar knows the answer. It’s a rhetorical question asked of a prep school punk who has never earned nor risked anything. A smirking dimwit, who has never truly served his country, let alone fellow human beings outside of his gangster corporate crony pals who inserted him into the highest office…twice.

Today he chooses to ignore the fire which is spreading across the US as he ignores the debacle in Iraq, where the US military must leave, will leave, but are unable to leave for fear of tarnishing what is left of the now sordid reputation of the US.I get emails daily from sources throughout Iraq…both Iraqi and American. Even inside US bases in the newest colony things don’t seem to be going so well, according to an American man who is working there as support.

“I don’t know how much longer I can stand working for these idiots and their brothers’ mothers’ sisters’ cousin,” he wrote me recently, “They have acres of armored air conditioned trucks but won’t pay to fix the alternators, so the drivers must use the worst of the equipment…no armor, no air conditioning…

You know the heat here, now add the heat of an engine to that cab and throw in a few rockets, mortars, and IED’s [roadside bombs] and it makes for a very bad day. I’m trying to expose the corruption of the Third Country National contractors by finding them a forum to send the truth. Prisoners, slaves, concubines. My life may be a contradiction, but I will not compromise with evil. The enemy is inside the wire.”

Wars for empire don’t change…and Iraq is the perfect example. Invading armies using slave labor (foreign in this case due to their deep distrust of Iraqis), taking advantage of those who lack privilege, the poor, minorities, to do the dirty work while the top 1% make more money than ever before.

And the pirates behind the US policy-making in Iraq have chosen, perhaps to their chagrin at this point, to disregard some of the latest history from a past occupation of Iraq.

During the previous British occupation of Iraq, the resistance began in Fallujah. As a response the British shelled half of that city to the ground, much like the US military did recently as part of their failed policy. (US soldiers are now dying in and near Fallujah again.)

It was said that if the British left Iraq civil war would ignite. Just as we are hearing today, even though state-sponsored civil war is in full swing, thanks to the occupiers.

The rule of the British Empire over Iraq went on for three decades before the Brits withdrew. Every year of that time found an uprising against the occupiers…and now less than three years into the failed US occupation, lesser uprisings occur daily.

Attacks on US forces in Iraq are now back up over 70 per day…we’ll cross the 2,000 dead mark before too much longer, and things are about to get much, much worse. As Iraqis continue to say, “Today is better than tomorrow.” The same goes for US troops there.

There is a reason why a relatively recent Army survey found that 54% of all soldiers in Iraq reported either “low” or “very low” morale.

There is also a reason why, again according to the Army, that 30% of all soldiers returning from Iraq develop mental health problems 3-4 months after their return.And there is a reason why soldiers like Nicolas Prubyla come home and join organizations like Iraq Veterans Against the War.

“Up until five days ago, I had large amounts of blood in my stool,” he told me recently, “I’ve felt tired all the time, I have had loss of hair…loss of the feeling in my right arm…I’m battling this stuff.”

What he is battling is exposure to uranium munitions in Iraq. He is battling radiation sickness as the result of the most recent nuclear war waged by the United States of America. There is a reason why over 11,000 veterans from the ’91 Gulf War are dead today, and over 250,000 others are on medical disability.

That reason (hundreds and hundreds of tons of uranium munitions dropped on Iraq) is the same thing Prubyla is battling today.“As the years go on this is going to effect a hell of a lot more people than we think…radioactive dust and the clouds of smoke and dust from firing the DU [depleted uranium] is getting to us now,” he said, “And I know I’m not the only person in my unit-my boss got diagnosed with cancer, one of my other buddies who is 23 years-old is getting rashes….every time I do more research on DU-I’m seeing that I have all the side effects.”

Prubyla has realized what more and more veterans understand…that the powers that be in our military plutocracy (also known as the US government) could care less for their well being. One of the shadow members of the current plutocracy who is also an exalted neo-conservative, Henry Kissinger, has referred to military men as “dumb, stupid animals to be used” as pawns for foreign policy.

People like Prubyla get this; they have had enough, and are now doing something about it.

Meanwhile in the Crawford “Green Zone,” Mr. Bush chooses to ignore the resistance movement that is standing outside his fence. But that is alright, because the hundreds of people there now protesting represent tens (if not hundreds) of millions across the country who, like the Iraqi resistance, are not going to go away.

More writing, photos and commentary at
http://dahrjamailiraq.com

Also see: Letter From A Soldier In Iraq To His Senator:People here are tired of being lied to and are frustrated with the apparent lack or care of anyone.
8-27
http://snipurl.com/h91k
_______________________________________________
Additional Information on Depleted Uranium and PTSD:

Tests on returning troops suggest serious health consequences of depleted uranium use in Iraq.
http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2298/

Depleted Uranium, Anthrax Vaccine & The Gulf War Syndrome, Part 1
By: Dr. James Howenstine, MD. (The link to the article is inserted)

Gulf War Syndrome and Resources
http://www.cfs-news.org/gulfwar.htm

Depleted Uranium Education Project
http://www.iacenter.org/depleted/du.htm

VVA’s Guide on PTSD
http://www.vva.org/benefits/ptsd.htm

V.A. Watchdog
http://www.vawatchdog.org/

Vets For Justice
http://www.vetsforjustice.com/

The Bush/Cheney War of Dominance in Iraq

Tom Hayden was one of the leaders of the anti-war movement during the American war in Vietnam. He was also one of the 8 people who stood trial in federal court behind the Chicago Police Departments riot at the Democratic Convention in 1968—for which Tom Haden, Jerry Rubin, Abby Hoffman, Dave Dellinger, Bobby Seale, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner were charged; and the ones who ended up on trial. See “The Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial”

The way I see it what we are faced with today is a continuation of 35 years ago, only now it’s Iraq and not Vietnam. Everything else is essentially the same. We are being led by the same type of liars, criminals, extortionists and thugs who could care less about the “will of the people” and who are out to create fundamental changes in terms of what this nation will be; and this must not be allowed. It is time to "Take It To The Streets" as the song goes.--Jack

Why the US Is Supporting Civil War
By: Tom Hayden
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0826-22.htm

The search for the "noble purpose" in Iraq is more elusive than the search for weapons of mass destruction. But the logic of U.S. policy is being clarified in the present constitutional talks.

Let's summarize the situation at the moment:

The new U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, has backed language "that would have given clerics sole authority in settling marriage and family disputes." [NY Times, Aug. 21, 05]

Language in the current draft reserving 25 percent of the Assembly's seats for women is being defined as "transitional", which means it lacks constitutional character.[NY Times, Aug. 24, 05]

A former clandestine CIA officer and current neoconservative analyst says on "Meet the Press" that "women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy." [Reuel Marc Gerecht, in [Maureen Dowd, Aug. 24, 05]

Fact: the vast majority of the "Iraqi security forces" are composed of Shiite and Kurdish militias, deployed against Sunnis.

The current Baghdad regime has agreed on opening the oil-export business to private foreign investors, and plans to scale back fuel subsidies after the next election. [NY Times, Aug. 11, 05]

The Washington Post, announcing that the U.S. is "lowering its sights" on what can be achieved in Iraq, reports that "the document on which Iraq's future is to be built [the constitution] will require laws to be compliant with Islam. Kurds and Shiites are expecting de facto long-term political privileges. And women's rights will not be as firmly entrenched as Washington has tried to insist, U.S. officials and Iraqi analysts say...we set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic Republic." [Aug. 14, 05]

Now begins the spin, with simultaneous op-ed articles in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times by leading neo-cons. [Aug. 25, 05] John Yoo, who wrote the torture memos in the Justice Department, is described as a university law professor and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. David Brooks is the snappy neo-con "affirmative action" hire at the New York Times op-ed page. Both argue that achieving a united Iraq was never important anyway, despite several years of official Administration rhetoric. Instead they promote a vision of a "federal" Iraq where power devolves to the Shiite south and the Kurdish north, which happen to coincide geographically with the country's major oil fields. As cover for his argument, Brooks quotes Peter Galbraith, a former Clinton official with liberal credentials, who long has favored dividing Iraq into three parts.

Yoo is very clear in his belief that "free trade" should and must break down nation states like the former Iraq [and Yugoslavia before it]. Brooks says it is "crazy" to envision an Iraq without the ayatollahs in a significant role because they are the "natural" leaders of society. He reprimands his readers against "screaming about a 13th century theocratic state."

With this shift, the US government has erased its last of its rhetorical rationales for the war, the claim that "liberty" and "democracy" and "women's rights" would be installed through armed persuasion in Baghdad. Now they are arguing that Americans should accept the emergence of a flawed Islamic state, just as similar Americans accepted slavery and disenfranchisement as the price of the original constitution.

There's a small practical problem with this revised vision. It is likely to intensify the war on two levels: Iraqis against the Americans and Iraqis against each other. I don't have a particular philosophical preference for centralized government, but the alternative in Iraq is a devolution to warring ethnic and religious fiefdoms under the control of the international market. Yoo, Brooks and Galbraith are silent on this untidy aspect of their scenario, with Yoo even reminding Americans that we had to go through the "fiery experience" of civil war before becoming a nation. Leaving aside the fact that Americans threw the British out by force, that's a macabre future for Iraqis who were promised "liberation." Since the civil war will not be won militarily, the Administration will argue that the occupation must be permanent.

If this sounds mad, manipulative or both, what does it reveal about US intentions in Iraq?

It suggests that the American purpose has been to destroy Iraqi nationalism, as in the previous Baathist state and the continued de-Baathification policies.
It suggests that our "best and brightest" want to weaken any future possibility of a strong Iraqi state with control of its own enterprises and resources.

It suggests that the US has chosen to ally itself with Islamic fundamentalism rather than a secular state with a centralized government.

It suggests that civil war against the Sunnis and any other "diehards" is the US preference rather than a political settlement that brings the nationalist resistance, including the Sunnis, into negotiations rather than war.

This is the same strategy the Israelis chose decades ago when they directly and indirectly supported the Islamic religious groupings as preferable to the secular and "Marxist" Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO] two decades ago.

That strategy contributed directly to the creation of Hezbollah and suicide bombers.

It is the same strategy that led the US to support the mujahadeen, the embryonic Al Qaeda, against the secular, pro-Russian Afghan government. In 1998, two years before 9/11, Zbigiew Brzezinski flippantly dismissed critics of the policy this way:

Question: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Answer: What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?

Question: "Some agitated Muslims"? But it has been said that repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today...

Answer: Nonsense... [Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, Jan. 15-21, 1998]

The US opposes independent nationalism from Iraq to Venezuela. It prefers to weaken independent states to diminish their military potential in either the Middle East or Latin America, and to break down what are described as "protectionist" barriers to the "free trade" model of Halliburton or Wal-Mart.

In seeking to impose both Pentagon dominance and a neo-liberal economic model on the world, the US is prepared to accept alliances with religious forces that insist on strict censorship and punishment of freedom of association and belief. For Bush and the neo-conservatives, it seems, freedom for American investors can't wait, but women - their rights "are not critical to the evolution of democracy."

Far from achieving stability and security, these policies will foment more violent hatred of the US. Far from planting democracy, US policy is squelching what little democracy there is, threatening to dismember Iraq, causing a civil war that will be the pretext for US troops to remain, and re-arranging the Middle East to include a de facto Shiite alliance from Teheran to Basra. That's why Bush can find no "noble purpose".

It is about a war for dominance, not democracy.

Tom Hayden is a former California state senator and the author of "Street Wars" (Dimensions, 2004).



"Bush White House Afraid of the Truth"

To simply say “Bush White House Afraid of the Truth” as does the Democratic Party in the title of the below report is, at least the way I see it, an oversimplification. At the same time, the report is factually correct and helps to point out how far we have been moved by the Bush/Cheney cabal from this nation’s alleged “Democratic principles” upon which the nation was founded.

Bush and Company have no concept of the meaning of the word “truth.” For them truth is nothing more than “perception management” thru which they try and manufacture consent. It’s not that they are, as stated in the title of the following report, “afraid” of the truth, it’s that Bush&Co sees nothing past their Leo Straussian/Machiavellian ideology. For Bush/Cheney & Co, that is the only “truth.”

“Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist David Suskind says a top White House official said to him: "You're part of the reality-based community, one who believes that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality. ... That's not the way the world works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study, too."

An excellent curent example is what the Bush/Cheney & Co attack dog(s) Karl Rove have initiated behind what Cindy Sheehan has stired up in a broad base of the American publics hearts and minds. Bush/Cheney respond with their usual condemnation, denigration and character assassination. After all, it was not that far back the George W. Bush told us, “I’m the commander--see, I don’t have to explain—I don’t need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.” (George W. Bush—Washington Post, 11-19-2002)

In the meantime the slaughter in Iraq continues--So much for spreading “freedom and democracy.” Bush/Cheney & Co. are uniters—they have united most of the civilized world against this nation and still they refuse to step outside the “Twilight Zone” they live in.--Jack

DNC Report: Bush White House Afraid of the Truth

Washington, DC - When the reality of inconvenient facts or opinions collides with their official rhetoric, the Bush Administration will smear and often times fire long-serving and hard-working government employees and bury or withhold crucial information. For example, Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki was fired after he said that the occupation of Iraq would require several hundred thousand troops, and the administration buried a report on poor working conditions in Central American countries prior to CAFTA's approval.

Two more examples of the Bush Administration's fear of the truth came to light this week. According to news accounts, the White House fired a senior Justice Department official after he attempted to "publicize findings that police treated Hispanic and black drivers more aggressively than whites during traffic stops," despite objections from Bush political advisors. [Washington Post, 9/25/05; New York Times, 9/24/05] It was also reported today that the White House is blocking a report it commissioned on bilingual education because it ran afoul of the Administration's political and policy goals by casting "doubt on the efficacy of teaching immigrant children through English-only lessons." [USA Today, 8/25/05]

“When confronted with the truth, the Bush White House smears and fires the messenger or simply buries information that does not toe the Administration line,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. “Honest answers from this Administration are hard to come by. The American people deserve real leadership and responsible government from their Commander-in-Chief, not a disturbing pattern of abusing power.”

See below for a new document from DNC Research:

THE REPUBLICAN SMEAR MACHINE CONSTANTLY IN MOTION

Republicans follow a tried and true tactic of attacking, smearing, and sliming anyone who might get in their way or threaten their political survival. Their ongoing effort to discredit Joe Wilson and their destruction of his wife's career is just the latest in a long line of questionable tactics that the Bush Administration, Karl Rove, and Ken Mehlman consistently use to protect themselves and retain political power.

ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF PUNISHED FOR TROOP LEVEL ASSESSMENT

Shinseki Punished For Honest Assessment Of Troop Levels Needed In Iraq; Retribution Intimidated Commanders.

Then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress in 2003 that the occupation of Iraq would require "several hundred thousand" troops. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz called that estimate "wildly off the mark." The Pentagon leaked the name of Shinseki's replacement months before his scheduled retirement, rendering him a lame duck. The Washington Times reported that some officers said privately that the rebuke intimidated commanders in Iraq. [UPI, 4/12/04; Washington Times, 4/10/04]

FORMER COUNTER-TERRORISM CHIEF SMEARED FOR CRITICISMS

Richard Clarke Smeared After Talking About White House Lackadaisical Attitude Towards Al-Qaeda.

The Bush White House worked hard to discredit its counterterrorism czar, Richard Clarke, after he wrote a book suggesting the president let down his guard on al-Qaida because of an obsession with Iraq. After Clarke testified to White House inadequacies, the White House assailed Clarke's motives. "In an interview evening, Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, dismissed Mr. Clarke's charges as 'politically motivated,' 'reckless' and 'baseless.'" [New York Times, 3/22/04; AP, 11/16/04]

White House Tried To Paint Picture of Disgruntled Former Employee.

After claiming that Clarke is linked to Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said, "Mr. Clarke has been out there talking about what title he had... He wanted to be the deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department after it was created. The fact of the matter is, just a few months after that, he left the administration. He did not get that position. Someone else was appointed to it." [White House Briefing, 3/22/04]

Cheney Claimed That Counterterrorism Chief Was Not "In the Loop."

Cheney: "[Clarke] wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff... It was as though he clearly missed a lot of what was going on." [Cheney to Rush Limbaugh, 3/22/04]

White House Asked the CIA to Declassify Select Material to Highlight "Contradictions."

In response to Richard Clarke's call on "Meet the Press" for "all" of his testimony to be classified, NBC's Andrea Mitchell reported, "NBC News has learned, at the request of the White House, the CIA is already going through Clarke's testimony to Congress to see what could be declassified, supposedly to show contradictions. All part of an unrelenting White House counteroffensive." [NBC Nightly News, 3/29/04]

Frist Called Clarke Apology to 9-11 Families Arrogant and Manipulative.

Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) said "In his appearance before the 9/11 commission, Mr. Clarke's theatrical apology on behalf of the nation was not his right, his privilege or his responsibility. In my view it was not an act of humility, but an act of supreme arrogance and manipulation." [Frist Statement, 3/26/04]

TREASURY SECRETARY FIRED FOR OPPOSITION TO TAX CUTS

O'Neill Fired For Expressing Misgivings Over Bush's Additional Tax Cuts.

Paul O'Neill, his first treasury secretary, was fired after expressing misgivings about the need for additional tax cuts proposed by the president. [AP, 11/16/04]

Administration Launched Investigation After O'Neill Wrote A Book. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called O'Neill twice after hearing he was writing a book on the Bush administration. Rumsfeld called it a "sour grapes" book. Soon after the book was published the Treasury department launched an investigation into whether O'Neill shared secret documents with 60 Minutes. Ron Suskind, the author of the book, who was given access by Mr. O'Neill to 19,000 documents that were turned over to him by the department after his departure, said the document that was shown on "60 Minutes" was the cover sheet for a February 2001 briefing paper on planning for a post-war Iraq. But he said Mr. O'Neill was not provided with the briefing paper itself. [New York Times, 1/13/04; New York Times, 1/14/04]

ECONOMIC ADVISER FORCED TO RESIGN

Lindsey Forced to Resign After Citing Large Cost of Iraq War.

White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey annoyed the White House in September 2002 when he suggested that war with Iraq would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, an estimate administration officials insisted was too high. In December 2002, the White House requested Lindsey resign from his post. "While I think this economic team has clearly had problems working together, I think the criticisms of Larry Lindsey have often been inconsistent and unfair for someone who was loyally carrying out the president's agenda, however much I disagreed with it," said Gene Sperling, Mr. Lindsey's immediate predecessor under Mr. Clinton. [New York Times, 12/8/02; Houston Chronicle, 12/7/02]

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS DIRECTOR FIRED FOR BUDGET CRITICISM

Army Corps Director Fired For Comments On Bush Budget.
"Mike Parker, director of the Army Corps of Engineers and a former Republican congressman from Mississippi, testified on the Hill that Bush budget cuts would have a 'negative impact' on the Corps and that he had no 'warm and fuzzy' feelings toward the administration. A furious [Office of Management and Budget Director Mitchell] Daniels sent a transcript of Parker's comments to the White House. Soon after, he was given 30 minutes to resign or be fired." [Christian Science Monitor, 12/17/02; USA Today, 3/14/02]

PARK POLICE CHIEF FIRED FOR CRITICISM OF BUSH POLICY

Park Police Chief Fired For Comments On Bush Policy.

U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers was suspended from her job when she said her "understaffed department had to curtail critical patrols in Park Service jurisdictions beyond the Mall, such as major parkways and crime-ridden U.S. parkland in neighborhoods, because of Interior Department orders requiring more officers to guard downtown national shrines... For responding with the truth to questions from The [Washington] Post and other news outlets about staffing in her department, U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers has been placed on leave and notified that superiors in the National Park Service and Interior want her fired." [Washington Post, Editorial, 12/24/03]

Department of Interior Threatened Lawsuit Against Chambers; Turns Down Gag Deal.

The Department of Interior's Park Service announced that it wanted to fire Chambers in December and was considering pressing charges related to release of sensitive information, lobbying, insubordination and breaking the chain of command. Chambers rejected an offer from the National Park Service that would have resulted in all charges against her being dropped in exchange for her agreeing to receive permission before speaking to Congress or the media. [Greenwire, 1/21/04]

REPORT CRITICAL OF CAFTA BURIED BY WHITE HOUSE

Bush Administration Worked to Keep Secret a Report that Was Critical of CAFTA.

The Labor Department began in spring 2004 to maintain secrecy for nation-by-nation studies that were critical of working conditions in Central American nations included in the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The contractor, the International Labor Rights Fund, was hired by the Labor Department in 2002 to conduct the studies. The Department instructed the contractor to remove the reports from its Web site, ordered it to retrieve paper copies before they became public, banned release of new information from the reports, and even informed the contractor that it could not discuss the studies with outsiders. [AP, 6/29/05]

Study Had Concluded that CAFTA Nations Had Poor Working Conditions and Failed to Protect Workers Rights.

The Labor Department has now worked out a deal with the International Labor Rights Fund to make the reports public-- provided there is no mention of the Department or government funding. The government-paid Labor Department studies concluded that countries proposed for free-trade status have poor working environments and fail to protect workers' rights. According to the government report by the International Labor Rights Fund, "In practice, labor laws on the books in Central America are not sufficient to deter employers from violations, as actual sanctions for violations of the law are weak or nonexistent." [AP, 6/29/05]

Bush Administration Has Already Begun a Preemptive Campaign to Undercut the Study's Conclusions.

According to the Associated Press, "Used as talking points by trade-pact supporters, a Labor Department document accuses the contractor of writing a report filled with 'unsubstantiated' statements and 'biased attacks, not the facts.'" [AP, 6/29/05]

WHITE HOUSE OMITTED KEY PORTIONS OF MERCURY REPORT

White House Selectively Edited Scientific Findings to Minimize Mercury Risk.

According to hundreds of pages of documents and e-mail messages, White House staffers played down the toxic effects of mercury while writing new rules to regulate mercury emissions from coal fired power plants. The White House staffers deleted or softened information on the health risks associated with mercury from coal-fired power plants. In some cases, White House staff members suggested phrasing that minimized the links between power plants and elevated levels of mercury in fish, the primary source from which Americans accumulate mercury in their bodies. [New York Times, 4/7/04]

REPORTER SMEARED FOR REPORTING ON TROOP MORALE

ABC News Reporter Smeared By Bush Administration For Documenting Low Troop Morale.

After ABC News reporter Jeffrey Kofman did a story on "World News Tonight" detailing low morale among the troops serving in Iraq, the Bush Administration sought to discredit the messenger rather than refute the message. The internet's Drudge Report published a headline that read: "ABC News correspondent who filed troop complaints story is openly gay, Canadian." Site publisher Matt Drudge later told the Washington Post that "someone in the White House communications shop tipped me" to the ABC correspondent's piece and the Advocate profile. [Chicago Tribune, 7/23/03; Washington Post, 7/18/03]

INS AGENTS DEMOTED FOR POINTING OUT LAX SECURITY

INS Agents Demoted for Discussing Lax Security On Canadian Border.

Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Agents Mark Hall and Robert Linderman were demoted from their positions after they told reporters that United States security at Canadian borders was lax. The demotions were later over-ruled by INS Commissioner James W. Ziglar after a report by the INS Office of Special Council found that Hall and Linderman were not aware of rules against INS agents speaking with the media. [Washington Post, 4/6/02]
http://www.democrats.org/a/2005/08/bush_white_hous_1.php

Friday, August 26, 2005

So You Think the North Won the Civil War Do You?

So You Think the North Won the Civil War Do You?

Southerners Most Affected By War: New report reveals Southern region most tied to, impacted by, U.S. military and foreign policy.

The following is a synopsis of the report. Keep in mind when you read this that the big 4 recipients in net gains on all of this are; Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas. Coincidence? I think not.

See:
http://www.southernstudies.org/facingsouth/ for full report. -- Jack

DURHAM, N.C. – As national debate grows over the Iraq war and the course of U.S. foreign policy, a new report shows that the U.S. South – more than any other region of the country – is the most tied to and impacted by the nation’s military and foreign wars.

The study by the non-profit Institute for Southern Studies, “Missiles and Magnolias: The South at War 2005,” analyzed which states provide the most military recruits, where troops are stationed, and which states attract the most defense contracts. “Politically and economically, the South remains the heart of our country’s military,” said Desiree Evans, a co-author of the report and fellow at the non-profit Institute. “The South stands the most to gain – and the most to lose – from the fortunes and misfortunes of war.”

Among the report’s key findings:

*** The South provides a disproportionate share of the nation’s troops. An analysis of Department of Defense state reveals that 35% of the nation’s active-duty military personnel come from 13 Southern states. Of the top 15 states where those serving in the military are born, the South accounts for seven.

*** The South especially dominant in stationing troops. 51% of active-duty U.S. military personnel based in the continental U.S. are stationed in the South. Four of the top states for stationing troops are in the South: Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

*** The South has been the region most highly impacted by the loss of soldiers in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Of the U.S. troops that have died in Iraq, 38% were based in the South. 47% of those killed in Afghanistan were based in Southern states.

*** Southern states draw a substantial share of military contracting and production. An analysis of prime defense contracts reveals that 32% of the contracts granted in 2005 have gone to companies operating in Southern states, led by states rich in defense production such as Virginia, Texas and Florida.

*** Southern leaders play a critical role in promoting a unilateral and aggressive foreign policy. An analysis of voting records reveals the critical role played by the South’s Congressional delegation in promoting military investment and foreign wars. (emphasis added)

For example, in the latest scorecard by Peace Action, 58% of Southerners in the U.S. House and Senate scored in the bottom quarter of the peace group’s ratings on key votes for the Iraq war, arms sales, and support for the United Nations. The report singles out North Carolina as one state especially entangled with current military operations.

Troops from Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne and other North Carolina units have been heavily involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly 12% of the casualties have been military personnel from what a new advertising campaign calls “the nation’s most military-friendly state.”

“This report drives home what most Southerners already know,” says report co-author Chris Kromm, Executive Director of the Institute. “Almost everybody in the South knows someone in the service, who works at a base, or is otherwise connected to the military. That has a big impact on how Southerners view the military and foreign policy.”

The study is an update of a 2002 report by the Institute about the South’s military ties. The study three years ago found that 42% of the country’s troops hailed from Southern states, 56% of continental troops were stationed in the South, and over 40% of military contracts went to companies based in the South or carrying out operations there. “Clearly, the military’s impact on the South hasn’t changed over the last few years,” said Kromm, who was also an author of the 2002 study.

The 2005 report also notes the impact of military base closures and realignments announced this past May. Although the Pentagon proposal recommended closing or trimming over 300 bases and a net cutting of 26,000 military and civilian personnel, the Institute’s analysis found that the South stands to gain a net total of 15,500 positions at over 50 bases that would grow in stature under the plan – a huge shift of base strength southward. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission is now weighing the Pentagon’s proposal and is slated to make final decisions by September 8, 2005.

The Institute for Southern Studies is a non-profit research and education center based in Durham, N.C., and publisher of the award-winning journal Southern Exposure. To view a full copy of the report, please visit www.southernstudies.org

JACK'S NOTE: While you are at it, read this report about the Bush Texasation of our legal ability to bring lawsuits against those companies, among others, who cause us harm:

An Exclusive Southern Exposure/Facing South InvestigationUnder Governor Bush, Texas led the way in making it harder for citizens to get their day in court.


What can we expect if the corporate-backed "tort reform" movement makes Lone Star justice the law of the land?
By Stephanie Mencimer, October 2004

Read the Southern Exposure special investigation here.

OMB Watch and Breaking the "Piggy Bank"

The next time someone, anyone, tries to tell you how good the economy is under the Bush/Cheney cabal, put the following OMB Watch report in front of them.

States are going broke; education is grossly under funded; Veterans healthcare is seriously under funded; Medicare is being disassembled; but you know the lists as well as I do.

So how do Bush/Cheney and an acquiescent congress respond? Easy, prepare more tax breaks for the already rich. With all that is facing this nation right now, congress when it returns to Washington has as its first order of business to cut the taxes on the rich—again.

This time congress is out to rid us all of that nasty old “Estate Tax.” What they fail to tell us however is that the estate tax only affects roughly 2% of the population of this nation.

More “have” for the “haves”. Welcome to American land of equal opportunity for the extremely rich. The disparity of wealth in this nation has never been as wide as it is today since the Bush/Cheney cabal came to power. Time to make more phone calls to your people in congress. -- Jack

Budget Update
http://www.ombwatch.org/article/archive/2?TopicID=1

On the heels of the OMB Mid-Session Review release, the Congressional Budget Office has released an update to their "Budget and Economic Outlook." In the update, the CBO reports on the long-term fiscal and economic outlook (through 2015). Like the OMB, the CBO predicts significantly lower deficits for FY 2005. Yet the CBO splits with the administration concerning deficits over the long-term - predicting over $600 billion more in deficits through 2015 if current policies are continued. The CBO concluded, as they have in the past, that "over the long-term...growing resource demands...will exert pressure on the budget that economic growth alone will not eliminate."

Congress is set to return on Tuesday, September 6 and the Senate faces a dauntingly full schedule with many high priority issues to address. With the Supreme Court nomination of John Roberts, the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, two reconciliation bills, more than half (7) of the appropriations bills to finish (not to mention a
chaotic and tangled web of appropriations committee jurisdictions to sort out with the House), it is hard to understand why the first order of business will be a vote to permanently repeal the estate tax. But the Senate will vote on a motion to invoke cloture on H.R. 8, the House-passed estate tax repeal bill on September 6. Contact your Senators today and urge them to vote NO on cloture on H.R. 8 and finish their more important work before passing more tax cuts for the super-rich.

Latest OMB Watcher articles on budget and tax issues:

Congressional Office Projections: No Change in Bleak Long-Term Fiscal Outlook

Economy and Jobs Watch: Continuing Bad News for Americans

Sgt Kevin Benderman and "Freedom to Make a Choice"

Sgt Kevin Benderman is doing 15 months in a military prison because he made the choice to not be a willing participant in an illegal “war against the peace” in Iraq. Kevin is a declared Conscientious Objector and that just pissed off the Army, a lot.

See: Kevin Benderman Defense Committee for full news, information and updates on Kevin here:
http://www.topia.net/kevinbenderman.html

A couple of days ago I received a phone call from Kevin and we had to the chance to speak for 20 minutes. That the people where he is incarcerated have allowed him to make these types of calls caught me by surprise—but I do like these types of surprises.

Kevin sounded really good. He sounded like a man who is comfortable in his own skin and at peace not only with himself, but at peace with the decision he made to refuse a second deployment to Iraq as a CO.

In this one act of his, Kevin has shown us what moral leadership is and what it is all about. Something our “esteemed” congress members could learn from.

Here is the latest from Monica Benderman:

Freedom to make a choice.
By: Monica Benderman

Sgt. Kevin Benderman sits in confinement at Ft. Lewis, Washington. His crime? Making a choice. He chose Peace.

It’s not about one side winning and the other side losing. Not to Sgt. Benderman. It’s about having knowledge. We all have the right to know the truth about our options, and to be educated in our choices. We deserve to know the truth, and in truth shall come the freedom we all want, the freedom we claim to be fighting for.

Freedom is a personal choice, it is personal responsibility. This comes when every person uses the knowledge he has been given to do what his conscience tells him he must. It is not the reward for dying. It is not the reward for one side winning.

No one can decide for another that war is right or wrong. Each person will have to come to that on their own.

No one can tell another that their sons and daughters died for nothing or for a noble cause. All we can do is tell the truth about the cause, the good and the bad. It is up to each family to know which choice their son or daughter made.

America is at war with itself these days, more than any other enemy we have faced. There are two sides, and no side is winning. As each battle ensues, the divisions become greater, and the goal, PEACE, becomes further from reach.

Every soldier made his choice. Every soldier continues to make his choice, now. The families who love these men and women make their choice as well. The question – did we have the knowledge to make the choice?

Soldiers died. Did they die for what they believed in? Did they believe in an honest cause? Were they given all the knowledge they needed to make the choice for themselves that came from truth? Were their hearts and their consciences betrayed?

Soldiers return from war. Some return with a sense of honor. Many return with a heart that is unable to rest. Why do so many soldiers suffer from PTSD? Why are so many military families at risk of broken relationships, veterans homeless, mental health facilities established all over this country and the world, for our veterans? There is no peace.

What makes peace? Knowing that the freedom of choice led someone to act on their beliefs – beliefs nested firmly in a conviction based on truth. Can we have peace? Only if we are given everything we need to know the truth.

Firsthand experience gives us the best opportunity to know the truth, to know whether the choices we make are honest assessments – convicted beliefs. Firsthand experience told Sgt. Kevin Benderman that he could no longer participate in war. He saw his truth. He made his choice. He is free – even confined at Ft. Lewis, he is FREE, and mostly he is at Peace.

Freedom also comes from acceptance. When we accept each other’s differences, by understanding their right to believe as they choose, we move closer to living free. When we realize that we are all part of the same humanity, and that living matters more than dying, perhaps it will be easier to accept each other’s differences and allow ourselves the right to choose.

Freedom is not free. Freedom is earned, but no one can earn it for us. The price cannot be another’s death in our name. The price is the sacrifice we make for ourselves, to have the knowledge to make our choices based on truth, to do the work we need to do to make the best choice for us, the one that gives us Peace.

What is the truth? In fairness to all, the truth is something that many of us have not yet seen. For our soldiers, for their families, for the lives that have been given – the truth is in the firsthand experiences we have all lived through that those who cannot understand us have not seen.

What is our noble cause? It is asking to be given the knowledge we need to make conscious choices that give our hearts peace. We are not at peace. So perhaps more information is needed.

War – Anti-War. Somewhere in the middle there is Peace.

Monica Benderman may be contacted at:
mdawnb@coastalnow.net


Our Disappearing "Rule of Law" and John Roberts

Our Disappearing “Rule of Law” and John Roberts
By: Jack Dalton 8-26-05

No longer should there be any doubt as to the direction the Bush/Cheney cabal is leading this nation, or the methodologies they are employing to push their neo-con (actually neo-liberal) agenda upon us the unwilling to mindlessly follow and who stand in opposition to what they are doing. Coercion, intimidation, character assassination, extortion—all of the methodologies of a good upstanding crime family.

While preaching about spreading “freedom and democracy” they have turned our own on its head. There are people within the Bush/Cheney cabal who have articulated the need for a limited dictatorship to preserve our “freedoms” and to make us “safe and secure” from all those dirty “terrorists.” That was stated recently by none other than Michael Ledeen as well as
Charles Krauthammer both of whom subscribe to the prevailing Leo Strauss ideology: only the “elite” can rule and that to maintain their power over people they must at times lie their asses off.

I find it rather interesting, a sad commentary actually, that in a discussion with Media Benjamin of CodePink, an Iranian woman stated that the women of Iran do not want the Theocracy they live under, and at the same time said that they ask America not to bring them “American democracy.” That speaks volumes to me. She understands more than those in this country that the “freedom and democracy” being articulated is nothing more than a ramped up “free market capitalism” unrestrained and unrestricted.

The greatest evil we do is to deny the evil we do” and that has been taken to an entirely new and elevated level by the extremists, Bush/Cheney & Co., Inc. that currently occupy the seat of power in this nation. One by one due to an acquiescent congress we are losing one enumerated right after another: equal protection, right to council, free speech zones replacing free speech, military spies in our midst, voting rights, just to mention a very few on an increasingly huge list.

At the same time we are losing our protections corporate American is gaining in their rights to lie, deceive, cause harm, and pollute. In fact so much of what has come out of this current administration and congress is geared to one thing—profits over people and people be damned.

For three decades these very same people have been trying to “take-over” the Supreme Court thru which they will then be able to change what this nation is and is not. The Supreme Court is the last body the cabal needs to completely secure their ability to fundamentally change this nation from what it was founded to be, to what the cabal wants it to be. And what that is stares us right in the face: a nation of obedient sheep that will sit down, shut up and do what we are told.

If John Roberts gains a seat on the Supreme Court there will be no court to hold the Bush/Cheney cabal of self-righteous neo-fascists in check or accountable for anything they do, not that there is one now, but it would get much worse. Roberts will be there to help Scalia and Thomas to insure that happens.

The following is a summary of the 50 page report on John Roberts by
Save Our Courts (PFAW) and should be read closely by everyone. This is one of the most important issues facing us right now, if not the most important. We must not allow ourselves to be sidelined on this issue. We must continue our anti-war efforts but not at the expense of non-involvement or non-action on the single most critical issue facing this nation right now—the Bush/Cheney cabals attempted destruction of the Supreme Court.

If Roberts gains a seat on that court we can kiss the so-called “rule of law” goodbye as it will then become something to repress and oppress at a level not seen before.

Enough from me, on to the report:

People For the American Way Report in Opposition to the Confirmation of Supreme Court Nominee John Roberts

Save the Courts.org

Introduction

Roberts Record: Overview

Civil Rights, Equal Opportunity, and Freedom from Discrimination

Privacy and Reproductive Freedom

Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State

Access to Justice

Presidential Power

Conclusion

Executive Summary

The record of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts demonstrates that his confirmation to the nation's highest court would undermine Americans' rights and freedoms and limit the role of the federal courts in upholding them. People For the American Way calls on the Senate to reject John Roberts' nomination.

The opinions he has issued during his short tenure on the federal bench, the documents from his tenure in senior positions in the Reagan Administration, and what we know of Roberts' tenure as principal deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration, combine to make a compelling case against confirmation.

For much of the past 25 years, Roberts worked to impede or undermine progress toward realizing the Constitution's promise of equal justice under law. He has been an active participant in efforts to advance a legal and judicial ideology grounded in a narrow view of constitutional rights and a restricted role for the federal courts in protecting and enforcing them. As a federal judge, he has indicated support for an approach to the Constitution that would undermine the authority of Congress to take action for the common good in areas such as environmental protection.

As special assistant to the Attorney General in the Reagan Administration, and later as a key legal strategist in the Reagan White House counsel's office, Roberts was an aggressive participant in the administration's attempts to restrict fundamental constitutional and civil rights. In fact, Roberts often came down to the right of ultraconservative legal luminaries, including Robert Bork, William Bradford Reynolds, and Ted Olson. He supported the legality of radical proposals to strip the courts of jurisdiction over certain school desegregation remedies, abortion, and school prayer. He denigrated what he referred to as the “so-called” right to privacy, resisted attempts to fully restore the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, and worked against measures aimed at increasing gender equity. As the Washington Post has reported, at times he was “derisive, using words such as 'purported' and 'perceived' to describe discrimination against women.”

When Roberts became top deputy to solicitor general Kenneth W. Starr in 1989, he continued to advance a right-wing agenda. He urged the Court to limit the remedies women could seek when their rights under Title IX were violated. And he asked the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying it has “no support in the text, structure or history of the Constitution.”

In his limited time as a federal appeals court judge, Roberts has shown enormous deference to the executive branch, with a broad and expansive view of presidential power that threatens the system of checks and balances. A key dissent by Roberts suggests that he has embraced the ideology of a legal and political movement that seeks to weaken Congress' ability to protect Americans' rights and interests, potentially threatening decades of progress made since the New Deal in safeguarding air, water, and public health, and protecting individual rights and liberties. Among the aspects of Roberts' record documented in this report:

**Roberts supported a restrictive interpretation of the scope of civil rights laws banning gender discrimination in publicly funded school programs, including athletics, a position that would have restricted the reach and enforcement of other important civil rights laws as well.

**Roberts played an important role in an unsuccessful Reagan Administration effort to make it harder to prove violations of the Voting Rights Act.

**Roberts referred dismissively to the “so-called 'right to privacy;'” his record strongly suggests that he does not believe that the Constitution guarantees or protects a right to privacy, a position that threatens reproductive choice, gay rights, and families' medical decision-making. He signed a brief on behalf of the first Bush Administration arguing that “[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled.”

**Roberts' record indicates he would allow government endorsement of and favoritism towards religion. His confirmation could open the door to a range of activities that threaten religious liberty, including coercive religious practices in public schools.

**Roberts took the position that Congress could constitutionally strip the Supreme Court of the authority to rule on cases regarding school prayer, abortion, and other issues, a position to the right of that advanced by Theodore Olson and adopted by the Reagan administration.

**Roberts criticized the Supreme Court for overturning a Texas law designed to keep undocumented immigrant children from getting a public education.

**While in the White House, Roberts urged that the administration should “go slowly” on proposed fair housing legislation, claiming that such legislation represented “government intrusion.”

**As a judge Roberts has signaled that he subscribes to the ideas of the new “federalism” that would limit the federal government's power under the Constitution's Commerce Clause to act on behalf of the common good. In Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton, Roberts issued a troubling dissent from a decision upholding the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act. Roberts's dissent suggested that Congress lacked the power under the Commerce Clause to protect endangered species in this case. The consequences of such a radical view, if held by a Supreme Court majority, would extend far beyond the Endangered Species Act to whole areas of Congressional authority, including such longstanding programs as Medicare and Social Security.

**Roberts has written that affirmative action programs were bound to fail because they required “recruiting of inadequately prepared candidates”; and as deputy Solicitor General he unsuccessfully opposed a federal government agency's affirmative action program designed to diversify media ownership.

The White House has broken with precedent and unfortunately continues to deny the Senate access to key documents from Roberts' time as second-in-command to Ken Starr in the solicitor general's office in the Bush I Administration. In the absence of such documents, we must assume that the views expressed in the briefs Roberts signed during his tenure are in fact his own.

Conclusion

John Roberts has spent much of the past two decades in political and legal positions of great influence. The public record that has been revealed over recent weeks demonstrates that Roberts has consistently advocated positions that would undermine Americans' fundamental rights and liberties under the Constitution and federal law. The confirmation of John Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor would bring dramatic change, move the Supreme Court significantly to the right, and shift the balance of the court to the great and lasting detriment of Americans and the constitutional principles and legal safeguards that protect their families and communities. We urge senators to vote against his confirmation.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"No Water in the Land of Two Rivers"--an Iraqi Speaks

Not long ago Monica Benderman “introduced” me to Bassim. Bassim lives in Baghdad and he is a civil engineer. I had asked Bassim if he would be willing to try and describe what life is like for people in Iraq trying to survive in the middle of the “Mad Hatters Tea Party” the U.S. has created. Bassim’s answer: “…as I said before, you can put my name on any thing I write "with editing", I don't fear these dwarfs, I fear only and exclusively the only all mighty, God.”

Cindy Sheehan has been demanding an answer from George W. Bush to a question: What is the “noble cause” her son Casey and all the others have died for? My question behind that asked by Cindy is: What is so “noble” about wholesale slaughter? For that is the result of this illegal, outrageous and criminal invasion/occupation of Iraq—wholesale slaughter.

So while Bush/Cheney & Co., Inc. pontificate about how they are spreading “freedom and democracy” read what Bassim has to say about life in Iraq. Also keep in mind that recently a petition was signed by over 1 million Iraqi people demanding the U.S. leave Iraq. But, Bush/Cheney, true to form, ignores what people have to say, here and in Iraq, as they stay in the twilight zone of illusion, delusion and deception.

Obviously there is a lot I could say here, but will save that all for another time. Read closely what Bassim has to say about life in Iraq since the U.S. invaded and now occupies Iraq. -- Jack

NOTE: Sgt Kevin Benderman who is a conscientious objector is currently serving 15 months in a military prison because he stands as a man of honor in opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. For further info on and about Kevin see: Kevin Benderman Defense Committee
http://www.topia.net/kevinbenderman.html


Salaam Jack,

Why apology Jack? Do you think that I expect you to knock my email box every day just to say hello, sure no, cause I understand that you have many various activities to be done daily or even hourly. Think you've an additional task added recently, to search for cheap Gas, haha. These links are just for that,
http://aaa.opisnet.com/Methodology.aspx, http://www.fuelmeup.com/main.php , http://gasbuddy.com/ , http://www.gaspricewatch.com/new/ .

Bush, the brainy flat worm, is ruining not only human lives, more, the economy in general and the middle class, in particular, in the US as he already did in my country.

Our daily life becomes a real hell; do you know that the stooges’ pet Iraqi government has got the same flat worm's brilliance? In quest to eliminate "chronic" long "3-5 hours" gasoline queues, it issued a new regime for cars refueling according to their license numbers, yesterday the queue was incredibly long to the extent that drivers cannot find the tail of the queue to align with, there was a big roar in Baghdad drew near a full open bloody revolt, the puppet government hastily announced a new regime "after 24 hours of the last" with truck gasoline tankers sent into the streets to absorb the reprobation. We'll watch the effect of the new measures today.

Gasoline become not only important for keeping cars moving, in fact it became, and since the invasion, a vital source to keep individuals life and business. Life is not sustainable in a big crowded city like Baghdad of 6 millions and in temperatures tangents "sometimes exceeds" 150F, without gasoline dependant electric generators seen every where, in every home, in sizes from 500 watts to 7 kva "like mines" depending on the pocket size of individuals. Financially able people are obliged to keep/buy old cars only because their tank has no restricting filter so they can suck gasoline to fill their Gensets. So another financial burden is added to the already severely strained pockets.

Prices of any thing you imagine or can count has sky rocketed because of the "since invasion" chronic fuel crisis. Sure there's more on the issue of the big inflation we had/have, not least, is the subsidized and protected US products we have to import alternatives became taboo while banning the subsidies from our peasants who deserted planting since 2003. There’s a lot of talk on this issue and local industry too.

Businesses including the small grocery shops can't keep even yogurt because of the virtually no grid electric power --1 hour ON against 5-6 hours OFF in best cases -- not to mention bread bakeries who either uses electric or kerosene furnaces, both are dreams.

Repair shops that need high or low electric power to operate their lathes, welders, etc, are desperately struggling to meet the customers needs. In short, we've the facilitations of 500 years ago but with a demanding city life. Mid ages, manual operated machines like belt drills, hand hack saws...revived again to do big jobs.

Ice industrial blocks are gold like in price, a ~3 pounds block is sold for ~$1 and only could be gotten early in the morning and only after joining a long humiliating, dangerous, life threatening queue too. People are wept-ing their grand mothers old wooden ice boxes and natural window air coolers made of compacted thistles and only stops weeping when a waken on the reality of the scarcity of ice and water necessary for the two historical items I mentioned above.

No fuel in the richest land in oil, and no water in the land of two rivers, Mesopotamia.

Baghdad nestles both the Tigris and Dialah, the Euphrates is only 30 miles to the west. The very word Iraq, means veins in Arabic, it had this name because it is patched with beyond counting rivers and streams.

All the life crises I mentioned in this letter applies to the rest of cities and villages of Iraq including the vast regions in the south where little or even no armed resistance exists, while the invaders and their puppets, shamelessly, put the blame on unrest and resistance activities while keeping a complete dodgy silence about the unsurpassed corruption, racketeering and theft carried-out, openly, by both the invasion authorities and their local/imported stooges.

With a small fraction of what have been spent on the alleged reconstruction, several big power plants, potable water and oil installations could have been commissioned during the last 2.5 years given that we never had "or dreamt to have" such crises before the criminal, destructive invasion.

Are such explanations what you want, Jack?, any how I have to go now as I heard 3 consecutive big explosions while my "architect engineer" daughter has just left to work, I have to contact her on her mobile, it's a daily practice. "Frequently the authorities stop mobiles in areas where the resistance hits".

...and as I said before, you can put my name on any thing I write "with editing", I don't fear these dwarfs, I fear only and exclusively the only all mighty, God.

All the best,
Sincerely

Bassim Mustafa
Baghdad-Iraq

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Bush/Cheney and V.A.'s War Against Veterans

The Bush/Cheney and V.A.’s War Against Veterans
By: Jack Dalton 8-17-05

Jim Nicholson, VA Secretary Republican political appointee; Steve Buyer, R-IN, chairman House VA Committee; Larry Craig, R-ID, chairman Senate VA Committee—these three men hold the lives of veterans in their “hands.” These three men are the “axis of evil” for veterans; and these three are moving forward with their plans of eliminating disabled veterans who receive disability payments for combat related PTSD, among other things.

There is a lot I could “say” here about them; the V.A.; congress who for 40 years has never properly funded the VA—both “Parties” are guilty on that point; and the Bush/Cheney cabal who are out to eliminate the VA by privatizing it; but, for now, I will let the
V.A. Watchdog and Vets for Justice do most of my “talking for me; but not all.

Over the past couple of years I have come to rely on both to keep me up with those issues that directly affect and impact all of us that are veterans, their families and friends. That which has direct impact on us veterans affects not only us, but family and friends, directly, as well. We all pay the cost of a screwed up and under-funded VA as it is not only veterans who pay that cost but everyone around us pays the cost also.

The VA system was already a mess, but since Bush/Cheney captured, or stole this nation thru hijacked “elections” (and I use the term elections loosely) what has been happening to the VA in terms of funding has gone past simply being an outrage—it’s criminal!

Bush had appointed Anthony Principi to head up the VA. When Principi started trying to get things done on behalf of veterans Bush replaced him with good “party loyalist” Jim Nicholson. (Side Bar Note:"…the
Moret study may be the reason behind Veterans Administration Secretary Anthony Principi's recent and sudden departure. Bernklau says Principi was "aware that DU was causing illness and death as far back as 2000. He and the Bush administration has (sic) been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to [Lauren] Moret's report, is far too big to hide or to cover up.”)

Twin killers—
PTSD and Depleted Uranium, which is a weapon, and this government is in total denial about both. In fact, a disinformation and misinformation campaign about both is at the top of the Department of War and Pentagon’s “hit” list.

Nicholson’s only qualification for the position he now holds: Nicholson, like David Chu at the Department of War, thinks that continued payments to service connected disabled veterans poses a “threat to national security” as it takes away money needed for the current Bush/Cheney & Co., Inc war machine—which is creating more disabled veterans at an alarming rate, physical and mental—in short, Nicholson is a good party loyalist, period.

How do those “men” respond to this increase of PTSD imbued veterans from pervious wars, and those coming back from this “war of aggression” in Iraq seeking help for their PTSD? They claim “fraud” and start “reviewing” tens of thousands of disabled veterans,
72,000 to be exact, who are currently receiving compensation for combat related PTSD. And they do this at a time when by all accounts PTSD is on a marked increase as a direct result of the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq. But then what do you expect when this government, from top to bottom, is headed up by a bunch of “bean-counters” that can’t see past “cost-benefit” analysis?

Just in the last three years, since Bush/Cheney unleashed the “Dogs of War” on Iraq and Afghanistan the payouts to veterans with PTSD has shot up from a little over $1 billion a year to over $4 billion per year. That’s not fraud, that is a direct result of combat and war. But the three men who make the determinations about the VA and veterans, instead of realizing the madness Bush/Cheney created by their “war against the peace” and the untenable position they have put those in uniform in has been more than enough to generate even more people with PTSD (those of us that spent any time in Vietnam are very familiar with being put in an untenable position by politicians who try their hand at running a war, and an illegal war at that).

For these people, Nicholson, Buyer and Craig, to recognize cause and effect in terms of combat and PTSD would mean they would have to counter the reigning ideology of “perpetual war for perpetual peace” and this not one of the three will do. They are after all part of the Bush/Cheney cabal. Their answer to the self-generating mess their boss has created, simple, use the time “honored and tested” tactic of pitting one group of veterans against another group of veterans, and then pit all the veterans against active duty military.

Keep in mind that it was not that far back that the VA “budget” was placed in the hands of David Chu at the Department of War. The VA now not only has to fight year after year to even have a budget, but it must now compete internally with active duty military family housing; active duty military health-care; and the list goes on.

In the mean time, while this wanna-be Emperor (Bush, Cheney, take your pick) wags his finger at the world, the disabled veterans being created by the war of aggression in Iraq will in the end, not fair any better than those of us from pervious wars, period. It is already happening. Even those that the Bush/Cheney cabal pontificate about being “heroes” who are fighting to spread “freedom and democracy” are being tossed aside when they come home a physical and mental basket case.

The essay,
“Behind the Walls of Ward 54” is but one of many examples of how those coming home from Iraq are being treated—in this case it drove a man to commit suicide at Walter Reed. This is not a singular event as the suicide rate in the military today is on an exponential increase; as are people being killed by those returning from Iraq.

58, 195 soldiers and Marines were killed in Vietnam and suicides as a result of untreated PTSD have claimed the lives of more Vietnam veterans than did the war. Is that what we will allow to happen to the people Bush/Cheney are sending to Iraq? Apparently so as the VA is out to eliminate up to a third of all PTSD disabled vets from the disability rolls. Like I stated earlier, this goes way past just outrageous—this is criminal, period, end of story.

So much for yellow ribbons and supporting the troops.

Who can forget Henry Kissinger when he was the so-called “National Security Advisor” when he stated that, “…people in uniform are dumb animals to be used for our purposes…” Take a hard look around you; look at all the available information about how the VA is not taking care of veterans; take a hard look at how one congress after another has refused to not only properly fund the VA but has refused to make the VA budget a mandatory item; take a hard look at the VA Appeals Court and all the Bush appointed judges that now control it—all but two of the appeals “judges” were appointed by Bush 1 and Bush 2 and how ever since almost no vet wins on appeal.

For this congress and Bush/Cheney to do anything but what they are doing, in terms of continuing this onslaught against this nation’s veterans, would mean they would have to acknowledge they screwed up and that their “war” is in fact nothing more or less than one great big corporate/investor cash cow.


Bush/Cheney have just about bankrupted this nation because of what they are doing in Iraq, and they are willing to sacrifice veterans and their own active duty military and their families in the attempt to pay for their “perpetual wars.”

General Smedly Butler was so very right-on when he wrote that,
“War is a Racket.”

But, enough from me, for now. Read carefully the following information from “V.A. Watchdog” and “Vets for Justice”—and keep in mind that, “The Greatest Sedition is Silence.”

The march on Washington Sept. 24-26 will be a great place and time to end the “silence.”
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V.A. Watchdog
http://www.vawatchdog.org/

How about another look at the VA's decision to review 72,000 already approved PTSD claims? This came from a blogger who posted anonymously to my blog. The beginning quote is from Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. As you know, Buyer is the power behind the radical changes taking place in veterans' benefits. He wants to re-write the entire book and this review of 72,000 PTSD claims is a good start.
.........................................................................
Taken directly from the Congressional Website:

http://www.veterans.house.gov/news/109/7-27-05.html

“The wounds of wartime service are not always as visible as those caused by bullet or shrapnel. Wounds to mind and spirit, however, are just as serious and demand every bit as much care and attention,” Buyer said.

So now we know that the real care and attention to be focused on the veteran is to be only that which will result in the denial of claims for PTSD, Unemployability, or those that are to be rated at 100 percent. Any and all justifications will be used to deny the claim. Furthermore, the brand new second review policy is such a smashing hit with the current Republican leadership that it has been expanded to the application of even the previously awarded claims. Who is to be the next victims selected for review - those who were actually killed in combat?

This could be the makings for a completely new skit in a Monty Python movie - get up; you're not dead; it's only a flesh wound. We will need a second opinion to decide if you really deserve the death benefits also.
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"History is littered with governments destabilized by masses of veterans who believed that they had been taken for fools by a society that grew rich and fat at the expense of their hardship and suffering."--
Anthony J. Principi, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs


"Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people..." Isaiah 10:1-2

If you're a veteran, the
three men at the upper right may hold your life in their hands. That's why VA Watchdog dot Org was founded...to keep an eye on them and their decisions.

VA Watchdog dot Org will follow VA news and let you know about policy, regulation and benefit changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs. You'll find the columns I write for Military.com about VA issues posted here. The SITE DIRECTORY (below) briefly explains the contents of the different pages. Look around and take away lots of great information.

Feel free to email me with any questions you might have about the VA. And, you can be a VA Watchdog, too (click here). And, should any of the "three wise men" step out of line and make decisions harmful to veterans, you'll find out about it here. I'd like to think they'll always do the right thing for veterans...but....... I'll be...Keeping an eye on the VA because somebody has to!
Larry Scott
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The Department of Veterans Affairs, Justice Department, and Veterans Court, Are Involved in A Conspiracy Against Veterans

Vets For Justice:
http://www.vetsforjustice.com/

After receiving thousands of e-mails from Disabled Veterans having problems "using the system" to seek disability benefits a clear pattern of criminal conduct, against those Veterans, by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other government officials has evolved.

For these Veterans to understand their enemy, and who is really cheating them, we have tried to make this complex subject as simple as possible.

Understanding the Enemies of Veterans

"Show me who makes a profit from war, and I'll show you how to stop the war." ---Henry Ford

There are two groups of individuals in power that are united in their goal to steal benefits from America's Veterans.

One group consist of those in power who want to keep the "manpower" cost of war low, so that most of the billions of dollars spent on war can go to members of their group, or individuals associated to their group, who have large investments in war corporations.

Most of this group are the new neocon Bush Republicans, such as most of the present administration in Washington, and their families, and friends.

A small amount of research on the internet quickly reveals that while President Bush wouldn't even provide adequate drinking water for our troops in Iraq, many of whom were passing out from the heat, that President Bush the first, their lawyer Baker, the Vice President, and many of the Bush Family associates were making massive profits off the Iraq War.

The rich make the profit off war, while the poor and working class, die fighting the rich man's war.

If President Bush is really patriotic, and really supports the Iraq War, then why doesn't he donate some of the billions of dollars of profit his family and friends has made off the war to buy some water for our troops?

If President Bush is really patriotic, and really supports the Iraq War, then why aren't HIS daughters, HIS family, serving in it?

It is well documented that the Bush Family has amassed a massive profit off a war they started, yet they would never send THEIR own children to fight in.

There is substantial evidence on the internet that President Bush was planning the Iraq War, long before the attack on 911, mainly to make a massive war profit, and enhance his political power by becoming a "War Time President", since prior to 911 he was being touted by the world as being the American Idiot President, and his rating "numbers" at home was extremely low.

To make sure the war profit went to the Bush Family, and their friends, the Bush Family used the Department of Veterans Affairs as a "Political Pay Off System" appointing close friends, to high level management in the VA, and the former head of the Republican Party, as Secretary of the VA.

By controlling the Department of Veterans Affairs this "clique of criminals raping our country" can make sure the cost of war is kept as low as possible by sending disabled Veterans in endless circles, and under funding Veterans Health Care. By not caring for those that fall in battle.

Meanwhile, massive VA Contracts, such as the 480 million dollars the VA spent on software that does not work, went to associates in the Bush clique.

To assure the "safeguards", the Courts, did not expose this massive rip off of America's Veterans, the Bush Family used the political pay back system to appoint 12 corrupt "yes men", to the Court of Appeals for Veterans.

Republican "Yes Men" judges who would assist the VA in sending Veterans entitled to benefits in endless circles, to cheat them and save tax dollars to be stolen by Bush Republicans with outrageous government contracts.

Judges that would turn their heads, and close their eyes, when VA Officials committed perjury to cheat Veterans, and VA Attorneys hid evidence favorable to Veterans, and used similar illegal tactics.

And President Bush made his good friend, Tim S. McClain, General Counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs to assure that cases brought by disabled Veterans are rigged to assure the Veteran loses, by Tim McClain and his group of extremely corrupt VA Attorneys.

Attorneys who hide evidence favorable to the Veteran, manufacture phony evidence, lie, cheat, and steal to prevail against Veterans.

1. The VA is "rigged" to ignore the law and to send Veterans in endless circles in the hope the Veteran will die or give up.

2. The Court of Appeals for Veterans is "rigged" with moral less, political scum bag Bush puppets intending to cheat as many Veterans as they can, and continue to send Veterans in endless circles.

3. VA Attorneys, as well as Justice Department Attorneys, are political appointees who lack morals and have a goal of working with the VA, and VA Court, to scam Veterans, cheat them, and keep the cost of war, as to manpower, low so that their "political associates" can reap all those tax dollars with their war, and war related, government contracts.

Why doesn't the Democrat Party expose all this corruption?

It's because most of them have their own government hustles ripping off tax dollars with other methods, and getting rich selling our government to lobbyists.

We have went to Nancy Pelosi the Democratic Leader, to Kerry and other Democratic Leaders explaining we have solid evidence of these crimes against Veterans, and asking for an independent investigation of the VA Claims process and not one Democratic Leader has responded!

So What Can Veterans Do to Receive Fair Treatment?

First, the best way, and about the ONLY WAY, to get honest treatment from the government is to somehow receive substantial public exposure.
It is amazing how a VA Claim that has been going in circles for 30 years will be processed in hours if the "right" television show exposes how the Veteran has been cheated.

VA Employees in the Saint Petersburg Florida VA Regional Office process VA Claims for each other in as little as five days. So why does it take 30 years, or more, to process a regular Veterans Claim?

Recently Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq, showed that National Media Exposure can be obtained by demonstrating outside the Bush Ranch in Texas.

If we could UNITE just a couple of hundred Veterans who are tired of being cheated to protest outside the Bush Ranch in Texas we could probably get an independent investigation of the extremely corrupt VA System.

If YOU would be interested in going to Texas to protest the Anti-American Treatment of America's Veterans by President Bush and his "clique" please click here and tell us about it.

If we can get enough Veterans interested we will go to the Bush Ranch and demonstrate.

There is info below about those who profit off the Iraq War.

http://www.mahablog.com/id9.html

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0714-01.htm

http://www.warprofiteers.com/article.php?list=type&type=176

http://www.capitaleye.org/inside.asp?ID=69
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For Additional Information and Resources See:

VVA’s Guide on PTSD
http://www.vva.org/benefits/ptsd.htm

Depleted Uranium Education Project
http://www.iacenter.org/depleted/du.htm

Gulf War Syndrome Resources
http://www.cfs-news.org/gulfwar.htm

Agent Orange News and Information
http://www.lewispublishing.com/orange.htm

From Vietnam to Iraq: Ignoring the Veteran Health Care Crisis (PDF file)
http://www.lewispublishing.com/orange.htm

Jack Dalton is a disabled Vietnam veteran, activist and independent writer that lives in Portland, OR. He is widely published on the internet in addition to his blog,
“Jack’s Straight-Speak.” His email address is, jack_dalton@comcast.net