The Greanville Post • Vol. VIII All captions, well-deserved insults, and pull quotes provided by the editors, not the authors. Fri, 28 Nov 2014 03:56:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Washington Insane Asylum Sends War Signals to Russia Fri, 28 Nov 2014 03:54:36 +0000

putin-Russian_President-dailyMailOn November 22 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow that Washington treats Russia as “subhumans” and has forced Russia into a “game of chicken” in order to determine whether Russia will blink or defend its national interests. As Russia will not blink, Washington is driving the world to war.

Read Lavrov’s address:

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the XXII Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, 22 November 2014

I’m happy to be at this annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (Russian abbreviation SVOP). It is always a great pleasure for me to meet people and feel the intellectual potential, which enables the Council, its leaders and representatives to respond to global developments and analyse them. Their analysis is always free from any hysteria, and its members offer well-grounded and solid arguments, taking a step back, since those caught in the midst of events can hardly adopt an unbiased perspective. We are inevitably influenced by the developments, which makes your observations, analysis, discourse and suggestions even more valuable to us.


As far as I know, this year’s Assembly will focus on prospects for accelerating domestic growth in Russia. There is no doubt that concerted efforts by our society as a whole to bring about comprehensive economic, social and spiritual development are a prerequisite for making Russia’s future sustainable. That said, by virtue of my professional duties, I have to focus on foreign policy issues, which are still relevant for the Assembly’s agenda, since in this interconnected, globalised world, isolating internal development from the outside world is impossible.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin provided a detailed analysis of the international developments at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi, as well as in his interviews during his trip to Asia. For this reason, I won’t offer any conceptual observations, as everything has already been said.

Nevertheless, I would like to share with you some considerations based on our day-to-day foreign policy efforts. It is not my intention to deliver a comprehensive or clear outlook, since at this stage all forecasts are provisional, no matter who makes them. Moreover, diplomats seek to influence developments as they unfold, not contemplate them.

Naturally, I will start with Ukraine. Long before the country was plunged into the crisis, there was a feeling in the air that Russia’s relations with the EU and with the West were about to reach their moment of truth. It was clear that we could no longer continue to put issues in our relations on the back burner and that a choice had to be made between a genuine partnership or, as the saying goes, “breaking pots.” It goes without saying that Russia opted for the former alternative, while unfortunately our Western partners settled for the latter, whether consciously or not. In fact, they went all out in Ukraine and supported extremists, thereby giving up their own principles of democratic regime change. What came out of it was an attempt to play chicken with Russia, to see who blinks first. As bullies say, they wanted to Russia to “chicken out” (I can’t find a better word for it), to force us to swallow the humiliation of Russians and native speakers of Russian in Ukraine.


Honourable Leslie Gelb, whom you know all too well, wrote that Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU had nothing to do with inviting Ukraine to join the EU and was aimed in the short term at preventing it from joining the Customs Union. This is what an impartial and unbiased person said. When they deliberately decided to go down the path of escalation in Ukraine, they forgot many things, and had a clear understanding of how such moves would be viewed in Russia. They forgot the advice of, say, Otto von Bismarck, who had said that disparaging the millions-strong great Russian people would be the biggest political mistake.

President Vladimir Putin said the other day that no one in history has yet managed to subjugate Russia to its influence. This is not an assessment, but a statement of fact. Yet such an attempt has been made to quench the thirst for expanding the geopolitical space under Western control, out of a mercantile fear to lose the spoils of what they across the Atlantic had persuaded themselves was the victory in the Cold War.

The plus of today’s situation is that everything has clicked into its place and the calculus behind the West’s actions has been revealed despite its professed readiness to build a security community, a common European home. To quote (singer/song-writer) Bulat Okudzhava, “The past is getting clearer and clearer.” The clarity is becoming more tangible. Today our task is not only to sort out the past (although that must be done), but most importantly, to think about the future.

Talks about Russia’s isolation do not merit serious discussion. I need hardly dwell on this before this audience. Of course, one can damage our economy, and damage is being done, but only by doing harm to those who are taking corresponding measures and, equally important, destroying the system of international economic relations, the principles on which it is based. Formerly, when sanctions were applied (I worked at the Russian mission to the UN at the time) our Western partners, when discussing the DPRK, Iran or other states, said that it was necessary to formulate the restrictions in such a way as to keep within humanitarian limits and not to cause damage to the social sphere and the economy, and to selectively target only the elite. Today everything is the other way around: Western leaders are publicly declaring that the sanctions should destroy the economy and trigger popular protests. So, as regards the conceptual approach to the use of coercive measures the West unequivocally demonstrates that it does not merely seek to change Russian policy (which in itself is illusory), but it seeks to change the regime — and practically nobody denies this.

President Vladimir Putin, speaking with journalists recently, said that today’s Western leaders have a limited planning horizon. Indeed, it is dangerous when decisions on key problems of the development of the world and humankind as a whole are taken on the basis of short electoral cycles: in the United States the cycle is two years and each time one has to think of or do something to win votes. This is the negative side of the democratic process, but we cannot afford to ignore it. We cannot accept the logic when we are told to resign, relax and take it as a given that everyone has to suffer because there are elections in the United States every two years. This is just not right. We will not resign ourselves to this because the stakes are too high in the fight against terror, the threats of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and many bloody conflicts whose negative impact goes far beyond the framework of the corresponding states and regions. The wish to do something to gain unilateral advantages or to endear oneself to the electorate ahead of another election leads to chaos and confusion in international relations.

We hear the daily repeated mantra that Washington is aware of its own exclusiveness and its duty to bear this burden, to lead the rest of the world. Rudyard Kipling spoke about “the white man’s burden.” I hope that this is not what drives Americans. The world today is not white or black, but multi-coloured and heterogeneous. Leadership in this world can be assured not by persuading oneself of one’ exclusiveness and God-given duty to be responsible for everyone, but only by the ability and craft in forming a consensus. If the US partners committed their power to this goal, this would be priceless, and Russia would be actively helping them.

However, so far, US administrative resources still work only in the NATO framework, and then with substantial reservations, and its writ does not reach beyond the North Atlantic Alliance. One proof of this is the results of US attempts to make the world community follow its line in connection with the anti-Russian sanctions and principles. I have spoken about it more than once and we have ample proof of the fact that American ambassadors and envoys across the world seek meetings at the highest level to argue that the corresponding countries are obliged to punish Russia together with them or else face the consequences. This is done with regard to all countries, including our closest allies (this speaks volumes about the kind of analysts Washington has). An overwhelming majority of the states with which we have a continuing dialogue without any restrictions and isolation, as you see, value Russia’s independent role in the international arena. Not because they like it when somebody challenges the Americans, but because they realise that the world order will not be stable if nobody is allowed to speak his mind (although privately the overwhelming majority do express their opinion, but they do not want to do so publicly for fear of Washington’s reprisals).

Many reasonable analysts understand that there is a widening gap between the global ambitions of the US Administration and the country’s real potential. The world is changing and, as has always happened in history, at some point somebody’s influence and power reach their peak and then somebody begins to develop still faster and more effectively. One should study history and proceed from realities. The seven developing economies headed by BRICS already have a bigger GDP than the Western G7. One should proceed from the facts of life, and not from a misconceived sense of one’s own grandeur.

It has become fashionable to argue that Russia is waging a kind of “hybrid war” in Crimea and in Ukraine. It is an interesting term, but I would apply it above all to the United States and its war strategy – it is truly a hybrid war aimed not so much at defeating the enemy militarily as at changing the regimes in the states that pursue a policy Washington does not like. It is using financial and economic pressure, information attacks, using others on the perimeter of a corresponding state as proxies and of course information and ideological pressure through externally financed non-governmental organisations. Is it not a hybrid process and not what we call war? It would be interesting to discuss the concept of the hybrid war to see who is waging it and is it only about “little green men.”

Apparently the toolkit of our US partners, who have become adept at using it, is much larger.

In attempting to establish their pre-eminence at a time when new economic, financial and political power centres are emerging, the Americans provoke counteraction in keeping with Newton’s third law and contribute to the emergence of structures, mechanisms, and movements that seek alternatives to the American recipes for solving the pressing problems. I am not referring to anti-Americanism, still less about forming coalitions spearheaded against the United States, but only about the natural wish of a growing number of countries to secure their vital interests and do it the way they think right, and not what they are told “from across the pond.” Nobody is going to play anti-US games just to spite the United States. We face attempts and facts of extra-territorial use of US legislation, the kidnapping of our citizens in spite of existing treaties with Washington whereby these issues are to be resolved through law enforcement and judicial bodies.

According to its doctrine of national security, the United States has the right to use force anywhere, anytime without necessarily asking the UN Security Council for approval. A coalition against the Islamic State was formed unbeknownst to the Security Council. I asked Secretary of State John Kerry why have not they gone to the UN Security Council for this.

He told me that if they did, they would have to somehow designate the status of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Of course, they had to because Syria is a sovereign state and still a member of the UN (no one excluded it from UN membership). The secretary of state said it was wrong because the United States is combating terrorism and the al-Assad regime is the most important factor that galvanises terrorists from around the world and acts as a magnet attracting them to this region in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian regime.

I believe this is perverse logic. If we are talking about precedents (the United States adheres to case law), it is worth remembering the chemical disarmament in Syria when the Assad regime was a completely legitimate partner of the United States, Russia, the OPCW and others. The Americans maintain talks with the Taliban as well. Whenever the United States has an opportunity to benefit from something, it acts quite pragmatically. I’m not sure why the ideologically-driven position took the upper hand this time and the United States chose to believe that Assad cannot be a partner.

Perhaps, this is not so much an operation against the Islamic State as paving the way for toppling al-Assad under the guise of a counter-terrorist operation.

Francis Fukuyama recently wrote the book, Political Order and Political Decay, in which he argues that the efficiency of public administration in the United States is declining and the traditions of democratic governance are gradually being replaced with feudal fiefdom ruling methods. This is part of the discussion about someone who lives in a glass house and throws stones.

All of this is happening amid the mounting challenges and problems of the modern world. We are seeing a continued “tug of war” in Ukraine. Trouble is brewing on the south border of the EU. I don’t think the Middle Eastern and North African problems will go away all by themselves. The EU has formed a new commission. New foreign actors have emerged, who will face a serious fight for where to send their basic resources: either for the continuation of reckless schemes in Ukraine, Moldova, etc., within the Eastern Partnership (as advocated by an aggressive minority in the EU), or they will listen to the Southern European countries and focus on what’s happening on the other side of the Mediterranean.

This is a major issue for the EU.

So far, those who are not guided by real problems, but rather by a desire to quickly grab things from freshly turned up ground. It is deplorable.

Exporting revolutions – be they democratic, communist or others – never brings any good.

State, public and civilisational structures are actually disintegrating in the MENA region. The destructive energy released in the process can scorch states that are located far beyond this region. Terrorists (including the Islamic State) are claiming a national status. Moreover, they are already beginning to create quasi-governmental bodies there that engage in the administrative work.

On this backdrop, minorities, including Christians, are banished. In Europe, these issues are deemed not politically correct. They are ashamed when we invite them to do something about it together at the OSCE. They wonder why would we focus specifically on Christians? How is that special? The OSCE has held a series of events dedicated to keeping memories about the Holocaust and its victims alive. A few years ago, the OSCE started holding events against Islamophobia. We will be offering an analysis of the processes leading to Christianophobia.

On 4-5 December, OSCE ministerial meetings will be held in Basel, where we will present this proposal. The majority of EU member states elude this topic, because they are ashamed to talk about it. Just as they were ashamed to include in what was then the EU constitution drafted by Valery Giscard d’Estaing a phrase that Europe has Christian roots.

If you don’t remember or respect your own roots and traditions, how would you respect the traditions and values of other people? This is straightforward logic. Comparing what’s happening now in the Middle East to a period of religious wars in Europe, Israeli political scientist Avineri said that the current turmoil is unlikely to end with what the West means when it says “democratic reforms.”

The Arab-Israeli conflict is dead in the water. It’s hard to play on several boards at a time. The Americans are trying to accomplish this, but it doesn’t work for them. In 2013, they took nine months to sort out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I will not go into the reasons, they are known, but they failed at this as well. Now, they asked for more time to try to achieve some progress before the end of 2014, so that the Palestinians wouldn’t go to the UN and sign the Statute of the International Criminal Court, etc. Suddenly, it transpired that negotiations on Iran are underway. The US State Department dumped Palestine to focus on Iran.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and I agreed to talk on this subject some time soon. It’s important to understand that you can’t keep the problem of the Palestinian state deeply frozen forever. Failure to resolve it for nearly 70 years has been a major argument of those who recruit extremists in their ranks, “there’s no justice: it was promised to create two states; the Jewish one was created, but they will never create an Arab state.” Used on a hungry Arab street, these arguments sound quite plausible, and they start calling for a fight for justice using other methods.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi that we need a new version of interdependence. This was a very topical statement. The leading powers must return to the negotiating table and agree on a new framework that takes into account the basic legitimate interests of all the key parties (I can’t tell you what it should be called, but it should be based on the UN Charter), to agree on reasonable self-imposed restrictions and collective risk management in a system of international relations underpinned by democratic values. Our Western partners promote respect for the rule of law, democracy and minority opinion within countries, while failing to stand up for the same values in international affairs. This leaves Russia as a pioneer in promoting democracy, justice and rule of international law. A new world order can only be polycentric and should reflect the diversity of cultures and civilisations in today’s world.

You are aware of Russia’s commitment to ensuring indivisibility of security in international affairs and holding it in international law. I won’t elaborate on this.

I would like to support the point the SVOP has been making that Russia won’t succeed in becoming a major, successful and confident power of the 21st century without developing its eastern regions. Sergei Karaganov was among the first to conceptualise this idea, and I fully agree. Taking Russia’s relations with the Asia Pacific countries to a new level is an absolute priority. Russia worked along these lines at the Beijing APEC meeting and the G20 forum. We will continue moving in this direction in the new environment created by the upcoming launch of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on 1 January 2015.

We have been treated as “subhumans.” For over a decade, Russia has been trying to establish partnership ties with NATO through CSTO. These efforts were not just about putting NATO and CSTO “in the same league.” As a matter of fact, CSTO is focused on catching drug dealers and illegal migrants around the Afghan border, and the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the backbone of the international security forces, which, among other things, were tasked with fighting the terrorist threat and eliminating its financing schemes, which involve drug trafficking. We tried everything: we pleaded and then demanded real-time contact, so that once NATO detects a caravan transporting drugs and is unable to stop it, it alerts us across the border, so that this caravan could be intercepted by CSTO forces. They simply refused to talk to us. In private conversations, our NATO well-wishers (and I actually mean this in the positive way) told us that the alliance can’t view CSTO as an equal partner for ideological reasons. Until recently, we saw the same condescending and arrogant attitude with respect to the Eurasian economic integration. And that despite the fact that countries intending to join the EAEU have much more in common in terms of their economies, history and culture than many EU members. This union is not about creating barriers with anyone. We always stress how open this union is expected to be. I strongly believe that it will make a significant contribution to building a bridge between Europe and Asia Pacific.

I can’t fail to mention Russia’s comprehensive partnership with China. Important bilateral decisions have been taken, paving the way to an energy alliance between Russia and China. But there’s more to it. We can now even talk about the emerging technology alliance between the two countries. Russia’s tandem with Beijing is a crucial factor for ensuring international stability and at least some balance in international affairs, as well as ensuring the rule of international law. We will make full use of our relations with India and Vietnam, Russia’s strategic partners, as well as the ASEAN countries. We are also open to expanding cooperation with Japan, if our Japanese neighbours can look at their national interests and stop looking back at some overseas powers.

There is no doubt that the European Union is our largest collective partner. No one intends to “shoot himself in the foot” by renouncing cooperation with Europe, although it is now clear that business as usual is no longer an option. This is what our European partners are telling us, but neither do we want to operate the old way. They believed that Russia owed them something, while we want to be on an equal footing. For this reason, things will never be the same again. That said, I’m confident that we will be able to overcome this period, lessons will be learned and a new foundation for our relations will emerge.

The idea of creating a single economic and humanitarian space from Lisbon to Vladivostok can now be heard here and there and is gaining traction. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has said publicly (while we have been saying it for a long time) that the EU and the EAEU should engage in dialogue. The statement President Vladimir Putin made in Brussels in January 2014, when he proposed the first step by launching negotiations on a free-trade zone between the EU and the Customs Union with an eye on 2020, is no longer viewed as something exotic. All of this has already become part of diplomacy and real politics. Although this is so far only a matter of discussion, I strongly believe that we will one day achieve what is called “the integration of integrations.” This is one of the key topics we want to promote within the OSCE at the Ministerial Council in Basel.

Russia is about to assume BRICS and SCO presidency. The two organisations will hold their summits in Ufa. These are very promising organisations for the new age. They are not blocks (especially BRICS), but groups where members share the same interests, representing countries from all continents that share common approaches regarding the future of the global economy, finance and politics.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.


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Carry a Badge and Gun? Carry a Body Camera. Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:25:44 +0000


Joe Giambrone

Pictured is San Jose Police Department officer Michael Ceballos wearing a video/audio recording device during a press conference at SJPD headquarters on Dec. 18, 2009. Since November of last year, the San Jose Police Department has been working with the Taser International Corporation as Taser has been designing a video/audio device that patrol officers could wear in the field to capture details of what is occurring as they handle calls for service. The device, known as the AXON device, is now ready to be deployed, and SJPD will be working with Taser on a pilot project to test the devices in the field. (Dai Sugano/Mercury News)
The video camera idea is an idea whose time has come. Pictured is San Jose Police Department officer Michael Ceballos wearing a video/audio recording device during a press conference at SJPD headquarters on Dec. 18, 2009. (Dai Sugano/Mercury News)

Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.”
-Brown Family Statement

Let a real evolutionary leap come out of this Ferguson fiasco. Police will be required to wear body cameras at all times when on duty. Their actions will be recorded and not fall into the black hole where only one side of a story remains, as dead men tell no tales.

Police are to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us for several reasons. It is their job to enforce laws, and they are given discretion as well as deadly weaponry to do so. Regular citizens have no such priviledge. Police are a special case where accountability, oversight, accuracy, and the public trust need to be maintained. Right now these are all at an all-time low.

Where cameras have been in use, “public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months, and officers’ use of force fell by 60%.


A combination body camera radio microphone from Wolfcam is seen during a press conference at City Hall September 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department is embarking on a six- month pilot program where 250 body cameras will be used by officers. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

A combination body camera radio microphone from Wolfcam is seen during a press conference at City Hall September 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department is embarking on a six- month pilot program where 250 body cameras will be used by officers. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Paterson, Newark and Jersey City plan on equipping their forces with body cameras, and this is just the beginning. “The federal court in New York has ordered some police officers to carry cameras, while departments in Albuquerque, Fort Worth, Texas, and Oakland, California, have voluntarily started the practice.”

This is still a land of sovereign citizens with Constitutionally protected rights. As such we need to make sure that these rights are not systematicallly stripped away by law enforcement that operates above the law, beyond the law, outside the law. How much more difficult would it be for a dirty cop whose shifts are recorded? Think about it.

The citizens’  demand for police body cameras (along with patrol car cameras) should be universal, irrefutable, and irrepressible, implemented even in jurisdictions whose officials resist such regulations. Either by an act of Congress, or by referendum, this is a development that can no longer be denied.

The Michael Brown slaying, whether one wishes to believe it or not, is an unclear situation. We have only the testimony of the officer, and some forensic evidence that may or may not have come about as claimed by the officer. If the officer was wearing a body camera then this entire shooting incident would be recorded frame by frame without the possibility of embellishment or of deception. It would also provide clear evidence against the assailant… or not.

In the UK, another state where police abuses are rapidly escalating, body video cameras are also being tested.

In the UK, another state where police abuses are rapidly escalating, body video cameras are also being tested.

The body camera has proven to be one of the most powerful and revolutionary tools of community policing to come about in decades. Where they have been in use, “public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%.

In a land where the police are turning into militarized organizations from out of 1984, or The Hunger Games, we are now at a crossroads. Either all that rhetoric about freedom, liberty, rights, law and order was meant to be taken seriously, or else we are to tolerate a fascistic system of double standards and unaccountable state power, including the wholesale murder in the streets of the poor and of minorities. 

It’s time we put the solutions on the front page. Sixty percent decrease of police use of force. Nearly ninety percent reduction in citizen complaints. That means better policing, honest policing, trust built with the communities they are meant to serve. That is a solution that is beyond money, beyond empty slogans and has already been proven to work.

The White House has already responded to a petition demanding body cameras on police officers. Empty rhetoric so far, the usual bland say nothing, do nothing vapidity of politicians. This is going to take citizens to stand up and demand a just system of justice. It will take awareness, political pressure and local action across the land. The structures of police departments are largely local and respond to local pressure.

Even the ACLU has gotten on board the recording of on-duty police officers. While the unaccountable surveillance of the public remains a violation of the 4th Amendment, the oversight of policing falls into a different category. ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley said that, “all parties stand to benefit — the public is protected from police misconduct, and officers are protected from bogus complaints.” Interactions with police tend to be kept to a higher standard when there is a video record of everything said and done.

I have no idea if Michael Brown is the best icon for this cause, but he is clearly one of many, many victims of police violence against civilians in the US. Today there are 8,790,000 videos of “police brutality” searchable through Google. These are not taken as seriously as an official record, from the officer’s own body camera. Yet they are all one would need to make a reasoned case that it is time to hold police to the standard of the law.

Society only works when the social contract is honored by all parties. The citizens of Ferguson are telling us this week that one party has broken this contract.


Joe Giambrone publishes Political Film Blog.


Joe Giambrone
The Political Film Blog



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The 9/11riddle that never dies Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:42:41 +0000

Steven Jonas

Why were all the warnings ignored and a mountain of evidence contradicting the official findings never investigated by a dependable and open citizens’ commission? 

The clueless, bumbling but ultimately malignant G.W. Bush. He should have been impeached—at least—for criminal negligence in the conduct of his office. And then prosecuted for crimes against humanity, along with his entire gang of foreign policy advisors and cronies.
The morally clueless, bumbling, but ultimately malignant G.W. Bush. He should have been impeached—at least—for criminal negligence in the conduct of his office. And then prosecuted for crimes against humanity, along with his entire gang of foreign policy advisors and cronies. The establishment media are currently enthusiastically rehabilitating his justly tarnished image, with plenty of help from leading Democratic party stars like Bill Clinton and Obama.

As is my wont, over the years I have visited and revisited various aspects of the subject of 9/11 (1 — 4).   In recent years very important articles have been published on what the Cheney/Bush Administration was told about the al Qaeda threat and what they chose to pay attention to (nothing).  

One has received a great deal of worthwhile attention (5), the other not so much (6).


Both writers have had access to much more information on just what briefings the Cheney/Bush Administration received before the tragic event.   It has been common knowledge that the Presidential Daily Briefing paper of August 6, 2001 warned that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike in the United States.   To which Bush responded to its deliverer with words to the effect of “OK, you’ve covered your ass.”   But both Eichenwald and Parry (who relies on the Eichenwald material a good deal but also supplies additional information) tell us that repeated briefings on the danger were repeatedly ignored by Cheney/Bush and their National Security Council.

In the meantime, the CIA, which was gathering this information (yes, the CIA can do other stuff besides organize coups against unwanted governments, spawn ghastly death squads in cahoots with the Pentagon—as was done in numerous unfortunate lands, from Central America to Iraq, Syria, etc.—and simulate “homegrown” protest movements against same when it puts its mind to it), was going increasingly nuts over the non-response.

The indestructible and untouchable Cheney: The gallows is too good for this fellow.

The indestructible and untouchable Cheney: The gallows is too good for this fellow.

Furthermore, Richard Clarke, the Clinton Administration’s point man on al-Qaeda had told Bush, Cheney and Rice on Jan. 21, 2009 that al-Qaeda was becoming increasingly dangerous and very close attention needed to be paid.   But every time Clarke said words to the effect of “al-Qaeda” on that first day, he tells us (7), Bush said words to the effect of “Iraq.”   It happens that the FBI’s point man on al-Qaeda, John O’Neill, in August, 2009 quit in disgust at the inaction of his agency and the Administration and took the job as director of security for the World Trade Center.   Tragically he was killed in the disaster.   What a tale he might have told had he lived.

And so, the conclusion usually is, Cheney/Bush/Rice were negligent, they were incompetent.   That’s the conclusion Eichenwald and Parry come to.   But there is another possible one.   And of course the 9/11 truth movement (8) has been all over this one for years.   But while the “birther” conspiracy theorists get all the access to the mainstream media they want (I bet you didn’t know that those Barack Obama birth announcements that appeared in the Honolulu papers at the time were planted as part of a truly long-range conspiracy to make him President of the United States someday, did you?), not even the “left” mainstream media (Rachel, et al) will touch this one.   Let me just cherry-pick some of my favorite pieces of evidence that some conspiracy involving at least the Vice-President at some level, from knew-something-was-coming to actually organizing it was indeed ongoing that summer.

All available evidence points to the famous “Building 7,” not hit by anything, being brought down by a controlled explosion.   And oh yes, it happened to contain the City’s emergency command center (which the so-called “America’s Mayor” [ha!] Rudy Giuliani had placed in it against the advice of all of this security experts) as well as the local offices of the FBI and CIA.   (Files, anyone?)   Giuliani was also responsible for the failure to fund a system that would have connected the radios of the New York City police and fire departments.   The command of the former knew when the collapse of the Twin Towers was imminent and got most of its men out.   However, there was no way to directly communicate the danger to the firefighters still working inside.   343 of them perished.   Interestingly enough there is a “Firefighters for Truth” organization right there alongside the architects and engineers (9).   Giuliani was also responsible for having the wreckage moved as quickly as possible and buried in New Jersey swamps, before a full forensic analysis of it could be performed.   Coincidence here too, for the “Subject, Predicate, 9/11″ mayor, as Joe Biden dubbed him during the 2008 Presidential campaign?   And oh yes, Giuliani was right there with then-EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman (10) in saying “no worries” about the inhaled smoke which, as it turns out, will be killing people for years.


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Click here to learn more

What is Building 7?

Building 7 was a 47-story skyscraper and was part of the World Trade Center complex. Built in 1984, it would have been the tallest high-rise in 33 states in the United States. It collapsed at 5:20 pm on September 11, 2001. It was not hit by an airplane and suffered minimal damage compared to other buildings much closer to the Twin Towers.


1) If fire caused Building 7 to collapse, it would be the first ever fire-induced collapse of a steel-frame high-rise.

2) Building 7’s collapse was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

3) According to a Zogby poll in 2006, 43% of Americans did not know about Building 7.

4) It took the federal government seven years to conduct an investigation and issue a report for Building 7.

5) 1,700+ architects and engineers have signed a petition calling for a new investigation into the destruction of Building 7, specifying that it should include a full inquiry into the possible use of explosives.

6) Numerous witnesses say the possibility of demolishing Building 7 was widely discussed by emergency personnel at the scene and advocated by the building’s owner.

7) Building 7 housed several intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the NYC Office of Emergency Management’s Emergency Operations Center, more commonly known as “Giuliani’s Bunker”.



Building 7

Photos of Building 7 in normal conditions:

Building 7 Read more on this topic.

END OF SIDEBAR—normal text resumes here

A large group of reputable architects and engineers believe that the Twin Towers were actually brought down the same way (see the referenced website) as Building 7 surely seems to have been.   There are the mysterious trades in stock of the affected airlines just before the Day.   The Attorney General John Ashcroft had stopped flying commercial back in July.

The Cheney/Bush White House fought very hard to prevent the formation of the 9/11 Commission, wouldn’t testify under oath before it, did not testify in public, testified only together not separately.   There has never been an investigation of the Pentagon bombing, much less any explanation of how a hollow aluminum tube (that is an airliner) could penetrate two walls, leave a symmetrical 16 ft.-in-diameter whole in the inner one that it reached, and left no airline wreckage or debris or human remains.   On President Clinton’s watch two massive al Qaeda conspiracies were averted, the 1998 “25 airliners” plot and the 2000 “Millennium bomb” plot to blow up LAX.   During the three-day banning of commercial flight sin the U.S., 18 members of the bin Laden family living in the United States were flown out before the FBI could get to interview them.

And as I have noted before (4), ” as to folks much more important than I who have raised their own serious questions, the list includes (thanks to Allen Roland, Ph.D., (11) and an email of 9/12/10):  9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton, 9/11 Commissioner Timothy Roemer, 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland (who resigned from the Commission), 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey,  Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer), Daniel Ellsberg,  27-year CIA veteran, Raymond McGovern (who handled National Intelligence Estimates),  29-year CIA veteran, former National Intelligence Officer (NIO) and former Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis William Bill Christison, CIA Operations Officer Lynne Larkin, decorated 20-year CIA veteran Robert Baer, Division Chief of the CIA’s Office of Soviet Affairs Melvin Goodman, Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, Senator Patrick Leahy, Republican Congressman Ron Paul, Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Republican Congressman Jason Chafetz,  former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel, former Republican Senator Lincoln Chaffee, former U.S. Democratic Congressman Dan Hamburg, and former U.S. Republican Congressman and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, Curt Weldon.  All of the above people have all raised serious questions about the official conspiracy theory, as have many other current and former intelligence and law enforcement operatives.”

It may well be that anyone who could and would possibly talk about really happened on that day and the months leading up to it is dead, from natural or other causes.   But it appears so obvious that the ignoring of all of those warnings from the CIA, for gosh sake was not because of negligence.   In reference to the possibility of there being weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Cheney once talked about the “The One Percent Doctrine” (12).   He held that if there was even a one percent chance that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that the US invasion of Iraq was justified.   Funny how he never applied that doctrine to the overwhelming evidence that trouble right here in River City was well on its way in the summer of 2001.


Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In addition to being a Trusted Author for OpEdNews, Dr. Jonas is a columnist for, Managing Editor and a Contributing Author for The Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy (; a Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post; a Contributor to The Planetary Movement; a Contributor to Dandelion Salad (, and a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter. 


1.        Jonas, S., “Ann Coulter: The New Face of the Republican Party,”  .

2.        Jonas, S., “They Made Us Safe,”  .

3.        Jonas, S., “Terror in the Skies: from 9/11 to the Underwear Bomber,”  .

4.        Jonas, S., “Reflections on 9/11 and What is Patriotism,”  The Greanville Press: July 3, 2012, click here=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheGreanvillePost+%28The+Greanville+Post%29 

5.        Eichenwald, K., “The Deafness Before the Storm,” The New York Times, Sept. 11, 2012,  .

6.        Parry, R., “The Neocons and 9/11,”  .

7.        Clarke, R., Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror,  .

8.        9/11truth,  ; Julie Levesque, “9/11: Facts, Fiction and Censorship,” 


10.      “White House Ordered EPA to Lie About 9/11 Pollution danger, 

11.  , Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012.

12.      Suskind, Ron, The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of its Enemies Since 9/11, New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005.


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RAELISM: Latest proof that human imbecility (still) thrives in our midst. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 23:23:15 +0000
We recently received the following report from FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE. It made us laugh, but also repulsed us. Apparently humanity does not have enough charlatanry with the Judeo-Christian bunch of Abrahamaic religions, plus all the oriental beliefs, African superstitions, and so on and on, ad nauseam, not to mention the latter-day (literally) imbecilities created in guileless America, all the way from the Mormons to Christian Science and the rest of the stinking lot.

Claude Vorilhon: another Mary Baker Eddy or is it Joseph Smith, or L. Ron Hubbard? More grist for the gullible.

Alexandra Bruce

The Raelian movement is a UFO religion that was founded in 1974 by retired French race car driver, Claude Vorilhon, now known as Rael.

Raelians attend Hug-Love festival in Seoul, South Korea.

Raelians attend Hug-Love festival in Seoul, South Korea.

The Raelian Movement teaches that life on Earth was scientifically created by a species of extraterrestrials, which they call the Elohim. Raelians believe messengers, or prophets, of the Elohim include Buddha, Jesus, and others who informed humans of each era. The founder of Raelism, members claim, received the final message of the Elohim and that its purpose is to inform the world about Elohim and that if humans become aware and peaceful enough, they wish to be welcomed by them.

Many of their beliefs seem harmless enough, and even positive, like free sexuality and opposition to war, but humanity does not need a “religion” to assume morally advanced and liberated positions.

From 1980 to 1992 Rael and his movement became increasingly global. In 1980 Claude Rael’s fifth Raelian book ‘Sensual Meditation’ was published and formal publication of the Raelian Messages in the Japanese language began, as part of the Raëlian mission to Japan. Two years later, Africa became another target area in the mission to spread the Raëlian messages.

Rael founded Clonaid in 1997. In 2002 the church claimed that an American woman underwent a standard cloning procedure that led to the birth of a daughter, Eve (b. 26 December 2002). Although few believe the claim, it nonetheless attracted national authorities and the mainstream media to look further into the Raelians’ cult status.

These modern-day cults and bizarre beliefs are manifestations of a profoundly diseased society that offers no real succor to the masses, and that, opportunistically, makes no effort to combat retrogade imbecility in the name of “free speech and religion.”


Raelian woman reclining with modified Swastika symbol on the wall.

The Raelians frequently use the swastika as a symbol of peace. The religion also uses the swastika embedded on the Star of David. Starting around 1991, this symbol was often replaced by a variant star and swirl symbol as a public relations move, particularly toward Israel.

Raelians recruiting in Japan.

Raelians recruiting in Japan.

Two ex-Roman Catholic Priests, Victor Legendre and Charles-Yvan Giroux converted to Raelianism. A former bishop of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) joined the Raelian Movement so he could be openly gay. Raelian spokesperson, Mark Woodgate, stated that 8% of Raëlians worldwide are former Latter-day Saints.

Religiously mixed couples are common, especially with spouses who are Christians or Buddhists. In addition to espousing sexual freedom, the Raelians are predictably anti-war but perhaps the oddest of their religious views is that of being pro-GMO (?!)

The Monsanto corporation found an unlikely ally in the Raelian Movement of Brazil, when a Brazilian farmers’ lawsuit against the widely-despised corporation led to that country’s ban on GMOs. The Raelian movement recently asked for land in Canada to construct an embassy, which will house the Elohim and welcome their alien spiritual creators.

Raelian symbols.

Raelian symbols.

This religious movement is discussed further on the Lip News with Elliot Hill and Mark Sovel. -



The religion's logo (one of several versions).

The religion’s logo (one of several versions).

 SOURCE: Raelian Movement Wants Sexy Alien Embassy

Alexandra Bruce
Daily Videos from the Edges of Science
Producer, ‘Heal for Free,’ Feature Film 

From the City of Film



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Stoking Fear as the US Prepares for the Next War in the Middle East Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:10:44 +0000

You read it in USA Today: The latest “threat to America” is “thousands of jihadis” with Western passports,” returning from battle in Syria and Iraq to wreak havoc and destruction in the “US homeland.”

It’s a nightmare profoundly hoped for by the US Department of Homeland Security, that massive security-state bureaucracy looking for a raison d’être.

According to the USA Today article [1], there “may be” thousands of so-called Islamic State fighters who have western passports, including “perhaps” some 150-300 Americans. The fear expressed in this heavy-breathing piece is that since these fighters, once in Syria or Iraq, will be coming under fire by US planes, which are bombing IS forces and, reportedly, killing hundreds of them, and that they will turn their anger from the apostates they went abroad to fight to the US government and perhaps the American people who were supporting this campaign that is trying to kill them and their IS comrades-in-arms.

Another way to look at this would be to say, “A fine mess you’ve gotten us into Mr. Obama!”

The hapless Mossadegh: His big crime was to be a nationalist in possession of a precious commodity coveted by the international vultures. 

Kermit Roosevelt: Malignant frat pranks by a spoiled brat of the Roosevelt clan. The consequences of his "success" in Iran would prove disastrous for all parties concerned.

Kermit Roosevelt: A key player in the Anglo-American overthrow of Iran’s dutifully elected government. Malignant frat pranks by a spoiled brat of the Roosevelt clan. The consequences of Kermit’s “success” in Iran would prove disastrous for all parties concerned.

What we’re talking about here, really, if these numbers are to be believed (and who knows if they are correct really?), is old-fashioned blow-back — that term hailing from the cloak-and-dagger Cold War world of the CIA that refers to how covert wars and covert overthrows of governments can have a nasty habit of producing unintended consequences which end up turning the tables on the initiator of an action. The CIA’s overthrow of the elected government of Iran and installation of the dictatorial Shah of Iran is a good example. It led ultimately to an anti-American revolution led by the fanatic if anti-imperialist imam Ruhollah Khomeini and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran — hardly the intent of the original CIA plotters and their Washington masters.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 orchestrated by Vice President Dick Cheney and his neo-con braintrust is another example of blowback. By destroying the government of Saddam Hussein, Cheney and his gang destroyed the country of Iraq, ignited a vicious civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites, and ultimately brought forth the Islamic State forces. In a smaller example of blowback, the CIA and Pentagon secretly trained and armed fanatic Islamic Sunni fighters opposed to Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad, only to have those fighters decide a better target was the oppressive Shi-ia regime in Iraq. The US-trained Sunni fighters became the core of the Islamic Republic which the US is now committed to trying to destroy. Hence the concern about US jihadi fighters who are part of the IS army turning their wrath on the US.

How serious a risk do these perhaps dozens of IS fighters with US passports pose to the security of American citizens here in the US? Probably not much. Certainly no more of a risk than that posed by some of the hundreds of thousands of frustrated and angry US soldiers who are shipped off to fight America’s imperial wars, only to find out later that they have been simply enforcers of US imperialism, and that the buddies they lost, or the limbs or parts of their brains that they themselves lost, were sacrificed not to “protect America’s freedom,” but to make the world safe for Exxon, Goldman Sachs and RJ Reynolds, or to enrich the likes of Boeing, Litton Industries and Halliburton.

You won’t read an article in USA Today warning about the risk of some American GI’s and Marines returning to US shores with mayhem on their minds, but I suspect that the threat posed by some angry vets fed up with being lied to by the politicians in Washington, and shunned or patronized by the American public just flipping out and “going postal” is probably greater than the threat posed by a few dozen angry returning American IS fighters.

Nonetheless, there are some in Congress and among the American public who would would like to see the US yank the passports of any US citizen who left this country to go fight with IS in the Middle East. In fact, as one article in FireDogLake [2] points out, they are already doing that, and probably, in secret, they are doing it on a significant scale.

This induced panic about “returning American jihadis” is just the latest example of an ongoing campaign by Washington leaders to deliberately stoke fears of terrorism, the better to continue what by one estimate has been a totally failed 13-year, $4-trillion War on Terror [3], of which the expanding but undeclared US war on the so-called Islamic State is just the latest example.

The reality of course is that this “war” has not only done nothing to prevent, much less eliminate terrorism, but has caused it to expand exponentially, from one poorly organized and dispute-riven outfit called Al Qaeda, to a welter of organizations, some armed to the teeth with captured and even government-provided US weapons. Worse yet, the US itself has become the world’s number one terrorist organization,(1) a rogue state extraordinaire, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands(2) of innocent men, women and children (all deemed simply “regrettable” collateral damage). And at the same time, although even today terrorism poses no existential, or even significant threat to the American people or to the country, this “War” on Terror has also been a very effective war on American democracy and on our freedoms, with the Bill of Rights now little more than a museum relic and a bit of patriotic mythology, on a par with that apochrophal story about little George Washington and the cherry tree.

Let’s be clear: the only way to reduce all the violence and killing in the Middle East is for the US to pack up and go home, and to stay there. And that includes ending all military support for Israel. Nothing the US has done for decades in that troubled region has achieved anything good. In fact, US policy in the Middle East has been a primary agent promoting sectarian violence, military dictatorship, and international conflict. Oh, and by the way, if and when some returning US jihadi does try to blow something up in the US, when the plot is foiled, history suggests [4] that we’ll eventually learn there was an FBI undercover operative who suggested the idea, provided funding and set the whole thing in motion.

We don’t need any more War on Terror. We need a war on the terrorizers and the US war machine they keep promoting.




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Why Iraqis May See ISIL as Lesser Evil Compared To U.S.-Backed Death Squads Wed, 26 Nov 2014 06:45:45 +0000

85% of American troops in Iraq believed that their mission was “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9/11 attacks.” Add to this the thick ignorance of the American population and the result is an army with few thinking people capable of realizing what their true mission is.

The mostly Sunni Arab population of western and northern Iraq is faced with a diabolical choice between the brutal rule of IS and the even more murderous rule of their own government. Their life and death predicament is the direct result of past and present U.S. policy in Iraq.

In 2004, the U.S. responded to resistance in Iraq with a “divide and rule” strategy that relied heavily on recruiting, training and deploying Special Police commandos to detain, torture and summarily execute tens of thousands of young men and boys in areas that resist the illegal U.S. invasion and occupation of their country. At its peak in 2006, this genocidal campaign delivered over 1,600 corpses [3]per month [3] to the morgue in Baghdad.

Nouri-al-Maliki_2091217bThe impetus for the West to vilify the once lauded Maliki, seems to lie in the fact that he consolidated much of Iraq’s security and military forces over recent years, while simultaneously casting out US planners, in addition to excluding Sunni branches within the Iraqi government. 

One thing is certain – The US, Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) could not have a Shi’ite head of state in Iraq considering western war plans for both Syria and Iran. Washington and Tel Aviv could not bear to watch Maliki negotiate in good faith with Shi’ite allies in either Syria, or Iran. Earlier this year, Maliki did launch air strikes against ISIS along the Iraq-Syria border with the full consent of the Assad gov’t. Many believe that this was the beginning of the end for Maliki. (

The killing wound down along with U.S. combat operations in 2008, but leaders of the Badr Brigade militia [4]retained control of the Interior Ministry and their campaign of detention, torture and extrajudicial execution continued, albeit on a smaller scale. As Iraq’s political crisis has exploded in the last year or two, the Interior Ministry has relaunched its death squads [5] with a vengeance, leaving Iraqis in a large swathe of the country caught between IS and the death squads. After all they have suffered for the past 12 years, it is a rational choice for them to see IS as the lesser evil.

Much as he did during his tenure in Latin America, John Negroponte helped to organize local death squads. The scion to a Greek shipping fortune, Negroponte has a special talent for criminal jobs, and it is that quality that has propelled him to the top of the empire's repression and "intelligence" apparatus.
Much as he did during his tenure in Latin America, John Negroponte, as ambassador to Iraq, helped to organize local death squads. The scion to a Greek shipping fortune, Negroponte has a special talent for criminal and sordid jobs, and it is that quality that has propelled him to the top of the empire’s repression and “intelligence” apparatus. 


The U.S. role in the recruitment, training and deployment of these Interior Ministry forces was shrouded in secrecy and disinformation. But a great deal is known, and there are three chapters on America’s “dirty war” in Iraq in my book, Blood On Our Hands, the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq [6].

Within six months of the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, the CIA warned [7] that the occupation faced growing resistance from many sectors of Iraqi society. It also warned that armed resistance in the center of the country could spread to Shia majority areas, implying that only a “divide and rule” strategy could preempt the emergence of a unified national resistance movement.

At the time of that CIA report, U.S. forces were being hit by 35 attacks per day and only 400 Americans had so far died in Iraq. Over the next three years, resistance grew to 150 attacks per day, and 4,488 U.S. troops [8] have now been killed in Iraq, including 2 in 2014. But U.S. leaders were caught in a trap of their own making.  Having conquered and occupied Iraq, they were not about to allow indigenous constituencies in Iraq to claim the right to govern their own country and snatch away the fruits of their victory. The U.S. and its Kurdish and formerly exiled Iraqi allies were determined to retain control of politics in Iraq and to silence anyone who challenged their legitimacy, and this remains the case today.

 SEE ALSO, Mark Fuller’s Death Squads in Iraq (Vets Help


In December 2003, Seymour Hersh reported [9] that U.S. special forces were being trained in Israel and North Carolina by Israeli assassins (Mista’aravim) to carry out assassination operations in Iraq. U.S. forces had killed or captured most of the leaders of the Iraqi government, but resistance was still growing.  U.S. officials believed the resistance was being led by “mid-level Baath Party members,” effectively making the entire Iraqi middle class targets for assassination, from former military officers to academics [10].

A U.S. official in Baghdad told Hirsch, “The only way we can win is to go unconventional.  We’re going to have to play their game.  Guerrilla versus guerrilla. Terrorism versus terrorism. We’ve got to scare the Iraqis into submission.” A U.S. officer told Newsweek [11], “The Sunni population is paying no price for the support it is giving the terrorists. From their point of view, it is cost-free. We have to change that equation.”

As these officials made clear, and as in previous U.S.-led dirty wars in Latin America and South-East Asia, the purpose of such a campaign is not to precisely identify and kill actual resistance fighters but to target and terrorize the civilian population that supports them. In many parts of Iraq, the occupation became a war against the entire population, characterized by indiscriminate violence, mass arrests, torture, collective punishment, extra-judicial executions and illegal rules of engagement.

These rules included orders to “kill all military-age males” [12] during certain operations; “free fire” or “weapons free” zones [13]“dead-checking” [14] or killing wounded resistance fighters; standing orders to call in air-strikes in civilian areas, even on apartment buildings full of people; and “360-degree rotational fire” [15]on busy streets. For most of the young Americans carrying out these orders, they were justified by propaganda falsely linking the people of Iraq to terrorist crimes in the U.S. A Zogby Poll in 2006 [16] found that 85% of American troops in Iraq believed that their mission was “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9/11 attacks.”

The U.S. also began recruiting Iraqi forces to fight under U.S. command. The first units [17] were drawn from the Kurdish Peshmerga militia and 3 former exile groups: the CIA-backed Iraqi National Congress and Iraqi National Accord and the Iranian-trained Badr Brigades. As the U.S. dirty war in Iraq exploded over the next few years, U.S. propaganda obscured its American roots, blaming the Iraqis for the terror unleashed in their midst.

After Ayad Allawi [18] was appointed Interim Prime Minister in June 2004, with John Negroponte [19] as U.S. Ambassador, the U.S. dirty war in Iraq moved to its next phase, the recruitment of the first battalions [20] of Special Police commandos in September 2004. Steven Casteel [21], who had run the Iraqi Interior Ministry under Paul Bremer, stayed on as senior U.S. adviser to the Interim Interior Minister, Falah al-Naqib [22]. Retired Colonel James Steele [23] was appointed to lead U.S. Special Police Training Teams.

The backgrounds of these five men, Allawi, Negroponte, Casteel, Naqib and Steele encompassed some of the darkest chapters in recent U.S. history and should have been a giant flashing neon sign of what was to come. But throughout the coming reign of terror, Western journalists would faithfully report that this very experienced team of American dirty warriors were mystified and troubled by evidence of torture and the endless tide of mutilated corpses overflowing from morgues and mass graves in Iraq.

The two Iraqis, Allawi and Naqib, had long ties to the CIA. As a medical student in London, Ayad  [18]Allawi [18] was an MI-6 double agent, reporting dissent among fellow Iraqi students to the Iraqi government while secretly working for British intelligence. He was tapped by the CIA to lead the failed coup [24] that led to the arrest of every CIA agent in Iraq in 1996. As Interim Prime Minister, his brutality led Iraqis to dub him “Saddam without a mustache.”

Naqib was the Iraqi-American son of General Hassan al-Naqib, the former Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army, who defected to the U.S. in the 1970s and co-founded the Iraqi National Congress (INC) [25] in 1992 with Ahmad Chalabi and the Rendon Group, a PR firm under contract to the CIA. The CIA funded the INC to the tune of $52 million, and the INC touted its “Information Collection Program [26]” as the primary source for 108 newspaper and magazine articles about Iraq’s fictitious WMDs and links to terrorism between October 2001 and March 2003.

As Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon from 1964 to 1968, John Negroponte [27] was involved in the rise of Nguyen Van Thieu and his election as President of South Vietnam in 1967. As U.S. Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, he oversaw the “disguised, quiet, media-free” [28]approach to dirty war in Central America, which now serves as a global model for U.S. covert wars. As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2001 to 2004, he provided diplomatic cover for U.S. aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq.

Steven Casteel [21] was the former Chief of Intelligence of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. He worked for the DEA for 30 years, in the U.S., Peru, Bolivia and notably Colombia, where the DEA collaborated with Los Pepes [29], one of the death squads that merged to form the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), which was  responsible for about 75% of violent civilian deaths during a decade of dirty war.

After taking part in the U.S. covert war in Cambodia, James Steele [23] commanded the U.S. Military Advisor Group in El Salvador from 1984 to 1986, working with Salvadoran forces who killed tens of thousands of civilians. He lied under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee [30] about his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, overseeing arms shipments to the Contras from Ilopango airbase, but he avoided prosecution by testifying against U.S. Ambassador Edwin Corr.

Naqib appointed his uncle, General Adnan Thavit, to head the Special Police Commandos [20]. By October 2004, two battalions were operational, and four more were being recruited and trained.  General Thavit told Reuters that they included “police who have previous experience fighting terrorism, and also people who received special training under the former regime.” An American officer in Iskandariya told Reuters [31], “The hardest fighters we have are the former special forces from Saddam’s days.” But one of the first units, the Wolf Brigade, was recruited mainly from the Iranian-trained Badr Brigade militia and was under the command of a Shiite general named Mohammed Qureshi, known as Abu Walid.

In January 2005, U.S. forces built a high-tech national operations center [32] for the Special Police, complete with satellite phones, computers with uplinks to U.S. forces networks and direct connections to U.S. bases and the Iraqi Interior Ministry. A Special Police commander told a U.S. military reporter, “This is the first Iraqi force created in the organization of the Ministry of the Interior to fight the insurgency. The Americans have provided the equipment, supplies, munitions, phones and training.”

Generals Thavit and Abu Walid soon became household names in Iraq thanks to a grotesque reality TV show called “Terrorism in the Grip of Justice [33],” in which a parade of badly beaten Iraqis confessed to resistance activities, gruesome murders and often homosexuality for good measure, on the U.S.-backed Al-Iraqiya TV channel. The program was quickly linked to real crimes when the body of a policeman who “confessed” to killing two of his fellow officers was delivered to his family a few days after his confession was broadcast. In July 2005, an Iraqi lawyers’ association identified 27 people who were still alive[34] despite the televised confessions of their alleged murderers, exposing the program as a farcical form of propaganda.

The sectarian Shiite government that took office in 2005 appointed the head of the Badr Brigade militia, Bayan al-Jabr, to the post of Interior Minister and another Badr commander, Adnan al-Asadi as his deputy. Steven Casteel stayed on in Baghdad through 2005 as senior U.S. adviser to Interior Minister Jabr. The Los Angeles Times reported [35] that the new government planned to “unleash well-trained Iraqi commandos in Baghdad and other trouble spots,” adding that, “The special forces units have a reputation for effectiveness and brutality.”  General Abu Walid of the Wolf Brigade made no secret of what was to come, “We are studying Baghdad now, to be ready for any mission we are assigned. Baghdad is filled with terrorists.”

On April 4, 2005, the Interior Ministry announced an expansion of the Special Police to 24 battalions. In May, they were unleashed on Baghdad. The first sign of the campaign was the discovery of 14 bodies [36] in a shallow grave in the Kasra-Wa-Atash industrial district. The bodies bore classic signs of torture, including broken skulls, other broken bones and burns. Many had their right eyeballs removed. They were identified as 14 farmers who had been arrested at a vegetable market in Baghdad on May 5. They were from Maidan, a hotbed of resistance, and the message to the people of Maidan was clear: this was the price they should expect to pay for resistance to the occupation.

As dozens of similar incidents were reported, Arab media immediately acknowledged the role of the Special Police in the atrocities. Hareth al-Dari of the Muslim Scholars’ Association told Islam Online [37] on May 17, 2005, “The mass killings and the crackdown and detention campaigns in northeastern Baghdad over the past two days by members of the Iraqi police or by an Interior Ministry special force known as the Wolf Brigade are part of a state terror policy.” Even the commander of the Iraqi National Guard identified the Wolf Brigade as one of the units committing the atrocities. Muqtada al-Sadr issued a public statement to prohibit his followers [38] from taking part in this campaign. “Any action targeting unarmed civilians is forbidden under any circumstances,” he said in Najaf. “All Sunnis cannot be held responsible for the terrorist deeds of the occupiers and the Wahabis.”

American reporting on the dirty war in Iraq quickly took an Orwellian turn. Steven Casteel was regularly quoted blaming detentions that led to torture and extrajudicial execution on “insurgents in stolen police uniforms.” Knight Ridder’s Yasser Salihee conducted a thorough investigation [39], but he was shot and killed by an American sniper before his work could be published. When it posthumously published the results of Salihee’s investigation, Knight Ridder pointed out that Casteel’s denials were not consistent with the numerous eyewitness accounts of Special Police raids that Salihee had collected, but it failed to follow up on its own questions, “about how insurgents are getting expensive new police equipment. The Toyotas, which cost more than $55,000 apiece, and Glocks, at about $500 each, are hard to come by in Iraq, and they’re rarely used by anyone other than Western contractors and Iraqi security forces.”

But Salihee’s investigation had already established that none of these cases involved small groups of men with police uniforms and one or two police vehicles. They all involved well-organized raids by large groups of Special Police commandos with 10 to 30 clearly marked police vehicles and the full complement of equipment issued to the commandos by their American trainers. That included radios connected to U.S. military networks via the high-tech Special Police Command Center, which was jointly staffed by U.S. and Iraqi personnel, exposing U.S. official denials as a transparent smoke-screen.

The Surge was a devastating climax to five years of bombardment, torture, murder and collective punishment inflicted on the people of Iraq.

The U.S. cover story for these crimes gradually transitioned from “insurgents in stolen police uniforms” to the now familiar narrative of “sectarian violence.” Once the perpetrators’ links to the occupation government could no longer be denied, they were simply deemed irrelevant to their crimes, which were instead presented as the result of the infiltration of legitimate security forces by Shiite militias.

The term “Shiite militia” was used to obscure the fundamental distinction between the Badr Brigade’s role in the occupation government’s Special Police death squads and the organizing of local militias and al-Sadr’s Mahdi militia to defend local neighborhoods against attacks by U.S.-led forces. U.S. and Iraqi officials blamed al-Sadr’s militia for atrocities whenever they could get away with it.

By July 2005, the Guardian was able to identify six facilities in Baghdad [40] where torture was taking place: the seventh floor of the Interior Ministry; al-Hadoud prison in the Kharkh district; the basement of a clinic in Shoula; al-Muthanna airbase; the old National security headquarters; and of course the Nissor Square headquarters of the Wolf Brigade. Credible reports of torture included the use of hot irons and electric drills, and of being “sat on the bottle.” The torture chambers on the seventh floor of the Interior Ministry were only one floor below the offices of U.S. advisers and the reputed headquarters of the CIA [41] in Baghdad.

In September 2005, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq published the first of many Human Rights Reports [42], with more details of atrocities committed by the Special Police. John Pace, the author of the report, left Iraq in February 2006 and gave several interviews [43], in which he identified Interior Minister Bayan al-Jabr as the commander of the Badr Brigade militia, confirmed that U.S. officials knew about torture in Iraqi prisons and estimated that 80 to 90% of the victims were innocent of any crime, making their plight all the more frightful.  Asked to compare the U.S.-led reign of terror with that of Saddam Hussein, Pace replied, “It is certainly as bad. It extends over a much wider section of the population.”

The horrors of the Interior Ministry’s prisons were publicly exposed when a U.S. regular army unit discovered the al-Jadiriyah interrogation center [44]. U.S. officials expressed shock at the discovery, but an official finally admitted [45] eight months later that, “The military had been at the bunker prior to the raid in November, but they said nothing.” A U.N. investigation found that 101 of the 168 prisoners had been tortured, and that at least 18 others had already been tortured to death. One of the prisoners was Professor Tareq Sammaree [46], the former director of Baghdad University’s School of Education. He was missing his front teeth and three toenails, he had a wound on his shin caused by a hot skewer and his spine was damaged by beatings with electric cables. His captors had also threatened to rape his daughters if he did not reveal the locations of other academics they were searching for, but Sammaree kept silent because he was convinced that he would be killed as soon as his captors thought he had told them all he knew. He was hospitalized after the U.S. raid and escaped from the hospital with the help of an American soldier. He smuggled his family out of Iraq and sought political asylum in Europe.

The New York Times questioned [47] former interim Interior Ministry Falah al-Naqib about the composition of the Special Police. The U.S. propaganda narrative by now blamed their atrocities on infiltration by “Shiite militias”, but Naqib admitted that “the majority of commando officers working in the ministry now were appointed by him.” He acknowledged recruiting many Badr Brigade members, although “not nearly as many as Mr. Jabr.” Naqib’s statement confirmed that, despite their expansion under Jabr, the nature and composition of these forces was largely consistent from their formation under Allawi, Negroponte, Casteel, Steele and Naqib in 2004 through the depths of the dirty war in Baghdad in 2005 and 2006.

The role of U.S. Special Police Transition Teams working with these forces throughout this period is also well documented [48].  Each Iraqi unit worked with U.S. advisers [49], usually from U.S. Special Forces units, and the Special Police Command Center was jointly staffed by U.S. and Iraqi personnel. In November 2005, the U.S. advisers attached to the Wolf Brigade [50] were from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, [51] known as the “Nightstalkers.” One of these officers blogged about taking part in a battalion-sized operation in southern Baghdad on November 10 that netted “vehicle after vehicle of blindfolded detainees.” It is a reasonable suspicion that the “advisers” from this U.S. special forces air support regiment were in fact ferrying victims of the Wolf Brigade by helicopter to remote areas outside Baghdad where they were summarily executed and buried in mass graves (like the ones found near Badhra on the Iranian border [42]).

As the Interior Ministry’s role in atrocities became harder and harder to cover up, the Badr Brigade’s Bayan al-Jabr was replaced as Interior Minister by the independent Jawad al-Bulani, with promises to reform the now rebranded “National Police.” But Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Asadi retained control of these forces [52], and their reign of terror climaxed over the next few months under cover of U.S. Operations Together Forward I & II. Bulani signed arrest warrants for 52 officers accused of torture and extra-judicial killing, but UN Secretary General Kofi Annan noted in a report [53] months later [53] that the warrants were never served.

Tens of thousands of mostly Sunni Arab men and boys fell victim to the campaign of arbitrary detention, torture and extra-judicial execution, leading ultimately to the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad. The tide of death peaked during the U.S. Operations Together Forward I & II between July and October 2006, with over 1,600 bodies of victims [3] per month delivered to morgues. In April 2006, an Iraqi human rights group, the Organization for Follow-Up and Monitoring [54], matched thousands of morgue records with reports of arrests and abductions. It found that 92% of the bodies brought to morgues matched the names and descriptions of people who had been detained by Interior Ministry forces.

The deployment of an extra 15,000 U.S. troops to Baghdad in Operations Together Forward I & II was billed as an effort to counter “sectarian violence.” But the Iraqi forces that got extra U.S. support were the forces committing the atrocities in the first place, and the targets of these operations were precisely the districts that had until then resisted the death squads, such as Adhamiya, Dora, Mansour and Ghazaliya. The numbers of corpses brought to morgues only began to decline in November 2006 after these U.S. operations ended.

Operation Together Forward I & II were followed by the so-called Surge in 2007, a direct escalation of U.S. firepower that included a five-fold increase in air strikes [55], the use of Specter gun-ships and artillery in urban areas and more assassinations and night raids by U.S. Special Forces. Despite reduced violence between Iraqis, the rate of U.S. air strikes did not peak until January 2008, with 400 air strikes that month. The Surge was a devastating climax to five years of bombardment, torture, murder and collective punishment inflicted on the people of Iraq.

After tribal leaders in Anbar province and local warlords in Baghdad were bought off as part of the “Sahwa” or “Awakening” campaign, remaining resistance-held areas were targeted with overwhelming firepower, mainly from the air. The U.S. abandoned the mainly Sunni Arab leaders of the Sahwa campaign as soon as they had served their purpose, and they became new targets for the Iraqi Army and National Police death squads. Survivors of the 100,000 Iraqis who joined Awakening councils in 2007 are unlikely to make the same mistake again today.

Violence in Iraq subsided with the gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces between 2008 and 2011. During the Arab Spring in 2011, like people across the Arab world, Iraqis set up protest camps and held demonstrations in public squares [56]. They were met by arrests, beatings, torture, snipers firing from roof-tops and U.S. helicopters flying over to dump garbage on protesters in a square in Mosul.

The political crisis in Iraq escalated [57] over the next three years. The sectarian U.S.-backed government met every popular demand for civil and political rights with violence and repression, until tribes in Anbar province once again took up armed resistance and formed a new alliance with the Islamic State, formerly Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The new Interior Minister, Mohammed al-Ghabban, is another Badr militia leader, and Adnan al-Asadi has now been Deputy Interior Minister for over nine years. Asadi may be the only Iraqi official to have held such a senior position for so long. He also served as Acting Interior Minister, reporting directly to Prime Minister Maliki, while the position of Interior Minister was vacant from 2010 to 2014. What does it say about the U.S.-backed government of Iraq that the one official who seems to be irreplaceable is the commander of its death squads?

Ten years of U.S. efforts to impose a brutal military solution on the political crisis in Iraq have only brought more death, destruction and chaos to its people. The 10-year-long genocidal campaign to target Sunni Arabs in Iraq with air strikes and U.S. and Iraqi death squads has killed at least 10% of them and driven millions from their homes. The one thing our leaders have never tried is the very thing they promised the people of Iraq when they illegally invaded their country: a new political order that honors the civil and political rights of all Iraqis, not least the right to life.

Ali Hatem al-Suleiman, the leader of the Anbar Tribes Revolutionary Council, claims that no more than 7% of Iraqi resistance forces owe their primary loyalty to IS. Abu Muhammad al-Zubaai [58], another Anbar tribal leader, told the BBC they will “guarantee to get rid of IS” in exchange for a real political solution. It’s hard to judge Suleiman’s and Zubaai’s claims, but they underline the reality that the central problem in Iraq is not the atrocities of IS, but the reign of terror by the U.S., the Iraqi Interior Ministry and its “Federal Police,” which have cast IS in the role of protecting Iraqis from their own government. (The Special/Nation Police were re-rebranded as the “Federal Police” in 2009.)

The problem with the death squads is not that they need more U.S. support or another new brand. The problem is that they are death squads [5]. This is not a tactical problem, or an image problem, it’s a reality problem. Changing that reality is the first essential step on the path to peace in Iraq.



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You’ve Got to Stop Voting Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:12:22 +0000

Mark E. Smith,

(This article was edited and updated on April 8, 2012. It is reposted here per reader request)

The most common activist strategies, such as street demonstrations, protests, etc., rarely seem to bring about any change in government. There is only one nonviolent tactic that has been proven to work. Recently I asked the new president of a local activist group that had banned me from speaking, if I would be allowed to speak under the new leadership. I explained that I’m an election boycott advocate. The reply I got was:

“So my question is – how does NOT voting change anything? I can see actually writing in someone you believe in – but not voting simply is giving up.”

I decided to answer the question as thoroughly as I could. Here’s what I wrote, which I’m posting here with the person’s name removed:

South Africa endured many years of violence under the Apartheid regime. Many people and countries worldwide boycotted Apartheid, but the US government insisted on supporting the Apartheid regime, saying that while the US abhorred Apartheid, the regime was the legitimate government of South Africa. Then the Apartheid regime held another election. No more than 7% of South Africans voted. Suddenly everything changed. No longer could the US or anyone else say that the Apartheid regime had the consent of the governed. That was when the regime began to make concessions. Suddenly the ANC, formerly considered to be a terrorist group trying to overthrow a legitimate government, became freedom fighters against an illegitimate government. It made all the difference in the world, something that decades more of violence could never have done.
In Cuba, when Fidel Castro’s small, ragged, tired band were in the mountains, the dictator Batista held an election (at the suggestion of the US, by the way).  Only 10% of the population voted. Realizing that he had lost the support of 90% of the country, Batista fled.  Castro then, knowing that he had the support of 90% of the country, proceeded to bring about a true revolution.
In Haiti, when the US and US-sponsored regimes removed the most popular party from the ballot, in many places only 3% voted. The US had to intervene militarily, kidnap Aristide, and withhold aid after the earthquake to continue to control Haiti, but nobody familiar with the situation thought that the US-backed Haitian government had the consent of the governed or was legitimate.  (It still isn’t.)
Boycotting elections alone will not oust the oligarchy, but it is the only proven non-violent way to delegitimize a government. 
A lot of people here are complaining about the Citizens United decision. Some want to amend the Constitution because there is no appeal from a Supreme Court decision (their edicts have the same weight as the Divine Right of Kings), but getting enough states to ratify is a long drawn out and not always successful process, as I’m sure you recall from the ERA. But suppose that the corporations spent ten to fifteen billion dollars on an election (they spent at least five billion on the last midterms, so that’s not unreasonable) and almost nobody voted. Do you think their boards of directors would let them do it again?
Here are some of the most common canards that political party operatives use to argue against not voting:

1. Not voting is doing nothing. 

If you’re doing something wrong, or something that is self-destructive or hurting others, stopping might be a good idea. If delegating your power to people you can’t hold accountable has resulted in the devastation of your economy, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your authority to people you can’t hold accountable has resulted in wars based on lies that have killed over a million innocent people, do you really want to keep doing it? If granting your consent of the governed to people you can’t hold accountable has resulted in government operating on behalf of big corporations and the wealthy instead of on behalf of the people, do you really want to keep doing it? 
2. If we don’t vote the bad guys will win.
We’ve been voting. When did the good guys win? Besides, it is often hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Suppose Gore had won, and then died of a heart attack. Do you think the Democrats who voted for him would have been happy with Joe Lieberman as President? Besides, Gore actually did win the popular vote. The Supreme Court stopped the vote count and put Bush in office. So just because the good guys win doesn’t mean that they get to take office. Kerry also won the popular vote, but before anyone could finish counting the votes, he had to break both his promises, that he wouldn’t concede early and that he would ensure that every vote was counted, in order to get the bad guy back in office again. Our Constitution was written to ensure that those who owned the country would always rule it, so the popular vote can be overruled by the Electoral College, Congress, the Supreme Court, or by the winning candidate conceding, and is not the final say. Even if we had accurate, verifiable vote counts, and everyone who voted, voted for a good guy, it doesn’t mean that good guy could take office unless the Electoral College, Congress, and the Supreme Court allowed it. Even then, the good guy might fear that the Security State might assassinate him they way they killed JFK, and either concede or stop being a good guy in order to survive. The Supreme Court, of course, has the Constitutional power to intervene on any pretext, and its decisions, no matter how unconstitutional, irrational, unprecedented, or even downright insane, cannot be appealed, so they do have the final say. 
3. If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.
What good does complaining do? When successive administrations of both parties tell you that they will not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions, you can complain all you want and it won’t do you any good. But you don’t need to vote to have the right to complain. The Declaration of Independence is a long list of complaints against a king by colonists who were not allowed to vote. The right to gripe is one of those unalienable rights that is not granted by governments or kings. If you’re treated unjustly, you have the right to complain. A lot of people who voted for Obama are now angry with his policies and are complaining loudly. He couldn’t care less.
4. It is a citizen’s responsibility and civic duty to vote.
Only if the government holding the election has secured your civil and human rights. If it has not, if it has instead become destructive of your civil and human rights, “…it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” —Declaration of Independence
5. Your vote is your voice in government.
  In a democratic form of government it would be. In a democratic form of government, such as a direct or participatory democracy, people can vote on things like budgets, wars, and other important issues, and have a voice in government. In our “representative” government, people can only vote for representatives who may or may not listen to them or act in their interests, and who cannot be held accountable during their terms of office, which is the only time they hold power and are needed to represent the interests of their constituents. Waiting until somebody has killed a million people in a war based on lies, destroyed the economy, and taken away your civil rights, and then trying to elect somebody else, is much too late because by then much of the damage cannot be undone and your grandchildren will still be paying for it.
6. Just because things didn’t work out the way we wanted last time, and the time before that, and the time before that, doesn’t mean that they won’t this time.
Some say that Einstein defined insanity as repeating the same experiment over and over and expecting different results.
7. If we don’t vote, the Tea Party, the Breivik-types, and all the lunatics will, and they’ll run the country.
They’re a minority, no more than 10% at the very most. Of the approximately 50% of our electorate that votes, fewer than 10% vote for 3rd parties. The Apartheid regime in South Africa tried to seat the winning candidates after a successful election boycott where there was only a 7% turnout, but nobody thought they were legitimate or took them seriously.
8. You don’t have the numbers to pull off an election boycott.
There are already more people who don’t vote, who either don’t think our government is relevant to them, don’t think their vote matters, or don’t think that anyone on the ballot would represent them or could, since anyone who represented the people would be a small minority with no seniority in government, than there are registered Democrats or Republicans. We have greater numbers than either major party, but they haven’t given up so why should we?
9. People who don’t vote are apathetic.

When you vote, you are granting your consent of the governed. That’s what voting is all about. If you knowingly vote for people you can’t hold accountable, it means that you don’t really care what they do once they’re in office. All you care about is your right to vote, not whether or not you will actually be represented or if the government will secure your rights. Prior to the ’08 election, when Obama had already joined McCain in supporting the bailouts that most people opposed, and had expressed his intention to expand the war in Afghanistan, I begged every progressive peace activist I knew not to vote for bailouts and war. They didn’t care and they voted for Obama anyway. That’s apathy. But it’s worse than that. Once I had learned how rigged our elections are, I started asking election integrity activists if they would still vote if the only federally approved voting mechanism was a flush toilet. About half just laughed and said that of course they wouldn’t. But the other half got indignant and accused me of trying to take away their precious right to vote. When I finished asking everyone I could, I ran an online poll and got the same results. Half of all voters really are so apathetic that they don’t care if their vote is flushed down a toilet, as long as they can vote. They really don’t know the difference between a voice in government, and an uncounted or miscounted, unverifiable vote for somebody they can’t hold accountable. They never bothered to find out what voting is supposed to be about and yet they think that they’re not apathetic because they belong to a political party and vote.

10. If you don’t vote, you’re helping the other party.

No, *you* are. By voting for an opposition party, a third party, an independent, or even writing in None of the Above, Nobody, Mickey Mouse, your own name, or yo mama, you are granting your consent of the governed to be governed by whoever wins, not by the candidate you voted for. If there is a 50% turnout, the winning candidate can claim that 50% of the electorate had enough faith in the system to consent to their governance.

11. If we don’t vote, our votes will never be counted and we’ll have no leverage.

True, if we don’t vote, our votes will never be counted. But how does hoping that our votes *might* *sometimes* be counted, provide leverage? The election just held in the UK had only a 32% turnout. Where people did vote at all, since UK votes actually have to be counted, they threw out major party candidates and voted for third parties (George Galloway’s Respect Party for one, the Pirate Party for another) and in Edinburgh, a guy who ran dressed as a penguin, calling himself Professor Pongoo, got more votes than leading major party candidates. That’s leverage, but it is only possible when the votes have to be counted and are verifiable. Those conditions do not apply in the US.

12. The choice is bullets or ballots, so it’s a no-brainer.

The Department of Homeland Security has just used the authority that you delegated to the government when you voted, to purchase 450 million rounds of hollow-point ammunition that cannot be used in combat by law and therefore can only be used against US citizens. Your ballots authorized those bullets. There is a third option: not voting, not fighting, but simply withholding our consent. That has the result of delegitimizing a government that doesn’t represent us and demonstrating that it does not have the consent of the governed. It is a legal, nonviolent, effective option called noncompliance. Noncompliance can take other forms, such as not paying taxes or creating alternative systems, but these cannot delegitimize a government. Since governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed,” withholding our consent is the only way to nonviolently delegitimize a government that fails to represent us.

13. Evil people are spending millions of dollars on voter suppression to deny minorities the vote, and people have fought and died for the right to vote, so the vote must be valuable.

Nobody fought and died for an uncounted vote. While corporations do spend millions of dollars pushing through Voter ID laws and other voter suppression legislation, they spend billions of dollars funding election campaigns to get out the vote for the major parties so that they can claim the consent of the governed for their wholly-owned political puppets. If they didn’t want people to vote, those proportions would be reversed and they’d be spending more suppressing the vote than getting out the vote. Voter suppression efforts are aimed at trying to fool the ignorant into thinking that just because somebody is trying to take their vote away from them, their uncounted, unverifiable votes for oligarchs who won’t represent them, must be valuable. 

(Items #10, #11, and #12 were added on 5/5/2012, #13 on 5/8/2012, and were not sent with the original email)
I waited a couple of days, and when I got no response, wrote to ask why. This was the answer:
“I did not respond because I have nothing to add to your excellent feedback – one way or the other. All valid arguments for your case. But most of us, and I do admit to including myself, do not act on reason – we act on gut. That sort of makes you a lonely person? But courageous nonetheless. Keep speaking out.”
In other words, it is saying that I’m right, but since it makes people feel uncomfortable, I still won’t be allowed to speak. I have been speaking out for six years, but since most organizations are in some way political party, candidate, or electoral issue related, they will not allow me a forum. In fact, most activist organizations are non-profit corporations themselves, so when they claim to be opposing corporate rule or specific corporate actions, it appears that they have an inherent conflict of interest.

Election Boycott News

To stay up to date on the latest Election Boycott News & Planning, subscribe to our new free mailing list:

Easy reference–

Five of Fubar’s top essays on voting (including this one) are now in one place for ease of access:

The link is also on our front page, on the top right hand side of the blue banner, as “Consent to Tyranny: Voting in the USA”

Last week Terri, who is organizing a 2012 election boycott as a direct action, reposted “You’ve Got to Stop Voting” in the diary section of a site called FireDogLake and it was deleted by the admins, which led to this discussion on Fubar getting about 2,000 more hits from folks who wanted to know what it was that they weren’t supposed to be allowed to read. Permission is granted to anyone to repost my writing anywhere they wish–spread the word! If you post parts or all of any of my essays to a website that has banned me, such as OpEdNews (dot) com or BlackBoxVoting (dot) org, a website that suspended me indefinitely like Care2 (dot) com, or a website that just doesn’t like me, like BradBlog (dot) com, you can delete my name as author in hopes that it won’t be censored as quickly.

The Powers That Be are spending at least six billion dollars trying to get out the vote for the 2012 election and a substantial part of that goes to political operatives and websites dedicated to protecting capitalist imperialism and the status quo.


I wish Rossi had lived to see this.

As a very small, relatively unknown website, where it was unusual for an article to get more than 150 total hits, in rereading this thread I noticed where only a little over a year ago we were all very excited when Rossi noticed that this essay was getting about 10 unique hits a day.

It now has over 17,000 views and consistently gets more than 200 unique hits a day. Rossi would have been very happy. As an expatriate who lived most of his adult life in Germany, he never lost his Kansas roots and never gave up on the citizens of the United States, no matter how far from coming to our senses most of us appeared to be. Rossi knew, after serving in Germany when he was in the army, that he no longer wanted to live here, and he was fully appreciative of Germany’s superior labor laws, honest elections, socialized medicine, and other benefits. He griped cheerfully about being a wage slave for a large multinational corporation, and he remained an unrepentant far left radical in his politics.

Rossi qualified for full German citizenship, but never applied. I remember when he decided to vote in a US election and went through all the trouble of obtaining an absentee ballot and spending close to $10 to mail it, to be absolutely certain that it would arrive in time, only to learn later on that his ballot had never been counted because his state had no requirement that absentee ballots be counted. He never did it again.

This is for you, Rossi. We’re not as good as you wanted us to be, but we’re better than we thought possible only a year ago. Thanks for supporting us through our Dark Ages–I hope you’re in a place where you can see that we’re waking up.


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The US War Culture Has Come Home to Roost Tue, 25 Nov 2014 21:54:48 +0000

Gilbert Mercier


Police violence in the United States should not surprise anyone. In Ferguson, Missouri, we have witnessed the use against US citizens of Iraq-tested war technologies. On August 17, 2014, a police force using armored vehicles and military tactics fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at peaceful protesters who had been demanding justice against Darren Wilson, a killer cop who took the life of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Wilson discharged 12 shots. According to an autopsy, Michael Brown was shot six times: four times in the right arm and twice in the head. One of the head shots blasted his right eye, rattled through his head, then came out through his jaw to penetrate his collar bone; another penetrated his head from above, which could indicate an “execution style” for the killing attributed to Wilson.

A return to violent tactics rather than the community policing promised by the authorities to the people of Ferguson, and a decision by Governor Jay Nixon to call up the National Guard were very much part of an escalation.


For decades and all over the world, the US has worked to spread “freedom and democracy” via warfare. As long as this was being done in the towns of Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq, ordinary Americans often applauded the endeavor, lured by the disinformation, but mostly they ignored the crimes being committed in their names, because these were not in their own backyard. As the streets of Ferguson look more and more like those of Fallujah, it is impossible to dismiss that the US’ best exports, warfare and civilian repression, have come home to roost. When the war machine runs out of places to occupy abroad, it mutates into an occupying force at home, starting in Black or Latino neighborhoods, and it manifests itself as police violence, curfews and a state of emergency. This is what happens when the military-industrial complex becomes the cornerstone of an economy.

Fetguson-NoJusticNo Peace

The US economy is a war economy. Together with fostering warfare aboard, a climate of insecurity at home has become a necessary business model for the growth of the war and security business. Between 2001 and 2014, US military spending more than doubled to exceed the staggering level of $700 billion dollars a year. This represents about 20 percent of the overall federal budget despite not including retirement and medical care for veterans, which represent an additional 3.5 percent of the budget. Furthermore, this 23.5 percent of the budget per year does not include emergency and supplemental bills for the specific wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor does it include moneys for the vast domestic “security” apparatus that comprises the Department of Homeland Security, FBI counter-terrorism or NSA intelligence gathering.


To give a sense of the gargantuan size represented by a more than $700 billion expenditure on defense per year, consider the fact that the US spends more on its military per year than on benefits for federal retirees, transportation infrastructure, education, and scientific research combined. Or if you prefer, consider the fact that the US spends more on its military budget per year than the military expenditures of China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Australia and Canada combined.


Police and military have become almost impossible to tell apart due to two little-known Federal programs: the Department of Defense Excess Property Program (DOD 1033) and the 1122 Federal Program. The DOD 1033 Program lets the DOD provide surplus equipment to state and local police under the pretext of “counter-narcotic, counter-terrorism operations and to enhance public safety.” The 1122 expansion was voted in 2009 under the Duncan Hunter National Authorization Act. According to the US General Service Administration, the 1122 Program “offers Americans peace of minds.” The 1122 Program enabled state and local police to become militarized by getting gear from the Pentagon, which is allowed to give local US forces billions of dollars worth of sophisticated weapons of war, including high-caliber automatic weapons, armored vehicles, armed drones, and stun grenades. The 1122 Catalog for “all your local war needs” is extensive.  The state of Missouri benefits from both the DOD 1033 and the 1122 Federal Programs.

Police officers are supposed to enforce the public safety against crimes. Community policing should never include high levels of militarization, systematic intimidation and denial of constitutional rights. Police officers were never supposed to be used to crack down on dissent and protest. Some people still call them “peace officers,” although this is a role they no longer fulfill. It is not surprising that protests and riots have erupted in Ferguson. What is surprising is that they have not occurred simultaneously in more towns on a much larger scale.

Many times in the past few years, unacceptable police brutality went largely unchallenged. In Florida, for example, an unarmed 22-year-old Haitian called Raymond Herisse was riddled with 116 bullets by killer cops in Spring 2011. This followed the killings of six other youths in Florida by police in 10 months, without so much as an investigation. In New York, the death of Jamaican 18-year-old Ramarley Graham at the hands of a policeman in Summer 2012 was one of three police killings of black youths in one week. The reaction in Ferguson was the first time since the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992 when people, driven by a need for justice, took their anger to the streets. Popular anger is justified when the clear and present danger to freedom is the introduction of a militarized force into our vanishing democracies.


Gilbert Mercier is the Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post and one of its co-founders. Mercier is a French journalist, photojournalist and filmmaker — writer/concept writer, director, producer and art director — based in the United States since 1983. In the early 1980′s Mercier hosted and produced “Performance”, a radio show in France.

Mercier’s coverage of New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina received international praise. Over the years, he has been a guest as an analyst on television and radio programs for RT (Russia Today), BBC World News, Progressive Radio Network, Al Hurra TV and Radio Islam. Mercier’s articles have been republished by Alternet, Truthout, CounterPunch, Z Communications, Signs of the Times, Popular Resistance, and Global Research Canada and quoted by news outlets including The Atlantic and MSNBC. 


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