Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gigantic Shoe in Tikrit, Iraq

(Or, how you just can't keep a good idea down.)

January 29.

A sculpture of a gigantic shoe has been installed in Tikrit (180 kilometers north of Baghdad) as a tribute to Iraqi journalist Muntazer al Zaidi, who hurled his shoes at former US President George W. Bush.

The work by Baghdad artist Laith al-Ameri measures three meters high by two-and-a-half wide and represents a shoe in which a tree has been planted.

The sculpture was inaugurated Tuesday in the garden of the Children’s Foundation, an Iraqi organization that cares for children whose parents died as victims of the violence unleashed in the country since the US invasion of March 2003.

The sculpture "is a gift to the family of Muntazer al Zaida, a hero whose act of protest permitted all Iraqis to stand tall," said Faten Massiri, an official at the Foundation, during a ceremony attended by the institution’s director Chaha al Juburi.

On December 14, 2008, the journalist stood up in the middle of a press conference being held by Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki and shouted "this is the farewell kiss, you dog," and threw his two shoes at the US president, reported AFP.

Earth after humans - Interactive

Had to post this extremely cool interactive website from National Georgraphic that explores the end of the world.

Aftermath: Population Zero examines the change when humans are extinct. Very fascinating and humbling.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Things I read Jan 30, 09 - Boiling frogs and dollars

Unemployment rate soars
"There are literally millions of workers unemployed with no hope of finding a new job," she said. "The queue is just too long."...A new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management also found that nearly 75 percent of human resource professionals from U.S. companies were expecting deeper job cuts in the U.S. labor force in the next few months.

Special Forces Unconventional Warfare Operations
Yes the past and future from the horses mouth...I have blogged on this before here. Search 'irregular warfare'.

Russian, Chinese PMs seek to seize control of the dollar
Whether or not Americans realise it, this is the worst possible news for them. By far the story they should be most afraid of. This is the beginning of the end for the dollar, Act IV of the tragedy.

"...the Putin and Wen call to regulate the dollar is a clear power play that would threaten the basic sovereignty of the U.S. government. It also reflects a new upsurge in Sino-Russian cooperation against the United States..."

Global Consciousness Project -Trans-Humanity Awakening To Reality
Do you think it's possible to think our way out of this mess??

Military And New Orleans Police Conducting Nite Time Helicopter Drills In City
Yeah no worries folks. If you put a frog in a pot of cold water and bring it slowly to a boil, the frog won't even realize that you are in the process of boiling it.

Congress Seeks To Authorize & Legalize FEMA Camp Facilities

Pew: Almost half of Americans want to live somewhere else

Officials: Army suicides at 3-decade high
WARNING - Taking the blossom of youth and training them to bomb, mutilate and torture other humans could be damaging to their health.

Iraq soldier crying
So many tears from so many people in so many countries. When will we learn that when we kill someone else, we kill ourselves too?

More Orwellian horror for English people.

Why Americans get a distorted View of the Conflict between Israel and Palestinians
The construction of delusion is in the details From Rainbow Warriors blog.

Up Yours
English froggies jumping out of the pot..... GO FROGGIES GO!

Obama's First Acts Of War

Names and Photos of Israeli War Criminals in Gaza
Many of these people may be charged by the Hague. Put nicely in context in Smoking Mirrors blog here. Don't wait long to look...these pictures have a way of disappearing.

I don't like to leave the bad news of the day without a little something...a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go they say. Here is a picture of the 'glass frog'.

My Future As An Arms Manufacturer

By Terry Jones
January 29, 2009

"The Nation" -- I've decided to start manufacturing weapons. Nothing too ambitious, just some small arms, a few automatic weapons, and maybe a couple of bombs. You know the sort of thing.

It's not that I'm keen on killing people. I haven't actually killed anyone myself yet. It's all to do with economics.

You see, I can't help but notice that the arms industry is doing extremely well. In fact in these times of economic disaster, it's the one industry that seems to be expanding.

According to the Government's Defence and Security Organization, the UK has become the top global defense exporter, notching up a golden £10 billion of new business and snagging a walloping 33 percent of the market.

In fact the UK is now the second-biggest player in the global arms market, with a whizzo $53 billion of sales over the past five years, compared with America's $63 billion and Russia's measly $33 billion, France's pathetic $17 billion, and Germany and Israel trailing at $9 billion each.

And even in these difficult economic times, things look good for the future too. In 2007, global arms buying rose by 6 percent to £1. 3 trillion. And according to the Center For Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the US spent $696 billion last year and is set to increase that to $706 billion this year.

US operations in Iraq are currently costing $14 million per hour. That's $343 million per day, or $3, 973 per second. By the time you finish reading this, the United States will have spent another $1 million in Iraq and Afghanistan combined!

That's an awful lot of gravy to share around, and I wouldn't mind putting my knees under the arms industry's table.

What I admire about the arms industry is that it's willing to put its money where its mouth is, when it comes to promoting its members' interests. And it has a lot of money.

Last summer, for example, the National Rifle Association of America announced that it intended to spend $40 million during the 2008 elections. That's quite a lot, isn't it? And $15 million was earmarked merely to persuade the Americans that Barack Obama would be a threat to gun ownership in the US.

They wouldn't throw that sort of money around if they didn't think it was going to do some good. And of course it does.

In the 2000 presidential race, the arms industry gave Bush five times the donations it gave to Al Gore. And Bush duly showed his thanks by doubling the expenditure on defense from just over $333 billion in 2001 to $696 billion in 2008.

And since November, the outgoing president has rushed through a whole slew of arms export deals, just to make sure his friends in the arms industry survive any economic downturn.

With friends like that, I know I'm going to feel right at home as an arms manufacturer.

Another thing that persuades me that the arms industry is the industry for me is its professionalism when it comes to creating markets.

One of the main responsibilities of any industry, of course, is to make sure it creates its own markets. You can't just rely on the demand being there, you have to go out and actually stimulate the demand.

And this is where, for me, the arms industry proves itself to be one of the most responsible in the world--on a par with the heroin and crack cocaine industry.

Take what happened after the collapse of Communism, which had provided the arms industry's bread and butter since the Second World War.

The arms industry was faced with empty order books. As the then-chair of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell put it, they were "running out of enemies"! But it only lasted for about six months.

At the time, I remember reading an editorial in a magazine called Weapons Today that described how the industry had fallen on lean times. But "Cheer up!" the editor wrote, because now that Saddam Hussein has invaded Kuwait, things will start looking up, and in the future we in the arms industry can look forward to Islam replacing Communism to keep our order books full.

To be quite honest, when I read that in 1990 I thought they were off their heads, but now I realize that one should never underestimate the professionalism and skill of the weapons industry in creating markets for their product.

I don't know how they've done it, but I am certain my future colleagues have had a big hand in making their own dreams come true.

And now, as the DSO notes with satisfaction in a recent Market Review, there has been a "return to higher spending in the Middle East." And as long as America keeps encouraging Israel to bomb the hell out of Gaza, thereby fueling the Islamic backlash that we are all praying for, we in the arms industry can look forward to a secure future, safe in the knowledge that the "Middle East regional market" will continue to expand well into the foreseeable golden future.

I can't wait to get manufacturing those shells and landmines.

Terry Jones is a film director and actor and member of the Monty Python comedy group. - Terry Jones's War on the War on Terror: Observations and Denunciations by a Founding Member of Monty Python (Nation Books)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just for the craic - a political riddle

The quote below is from a current event. Just for some fun, I am going to reproduce it here, removing obvious giveaways, to try and guess who said it. Just a bit of Irish craic. The answer is at the end.

MISTER MYSTERY called Wednesday for "profound changes" in U.S. foreign policy including an end to support for Israel...

MISTER MYSTERY urged Washington to withdraw its troops stationed around the world. MISTER MYSTERYwould be closely watching what President Barack Obama's new administration does and would welcome a real shift in its approach.

"Change means giving up support for the rootless, uncivilized, fabricated, murdering ... Zionists and letting the Palestinian nation decide its own destiny," MISTER MYSTERY said. "Change means putting an end to U.S. military presence in (different parts of) the world."


Without mentioning Obama by name, MISTER MYSTERY repeatedly referred to those who want "change," a buzzword of Obama's election campaign.

"When they say 'we want to bring changes', change may happen in two ways: First is profound, fundamental and effective change ... the second ... is a change of tactics," he told thousands of people ...

"We will wait patiently, listen to their words carefully, scrutinize their actions under a magnifier and if change happens truly and fundamentally, we will welcome that," he added....
MISTER MYSTERY cited the U.S.-backed coup that toppled the elected government ...

In an interview with ??? news channel that aired Tuesday, ... "It is important for us to be willing to talk ..., to express very clearly where our differences are, but where there are potential avenues for progress."

Later Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters the U.S. administration is undertaking a wide-ranging and comprehensive assessment of American foreign policy options toward ....

  • Russia
  • China
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Palestine
  • Gaza
  • Bolivia
  • Venezuela
  • Argentina
  • Lebanon
  • Ecuador
  • Cuba

The Origninal Source

How did you do?

News you WANT to read - Microfinance - what it is?

Most people have never heard of microfinance; maybe 1 in 100 might have a foggy notion of what it is. Yet it is the most powerful tool the world has seen to help end poverty and empower the indigenous businesses of the poor in any country.

I will provide a brief overview here and then list many urls for anyone who is interested in learning more and who has a desire to help poor people help themselves. The concept has never been more relevant than now during the financial meltdown of global economy.

In 1976 an man in Bangledesh named Muhammad_Yunus began lending small amounts of money to very poor rural women to help them start small businesses to support their families. There was and still is no loan contract, no penalties for defaulting on the loans (except the person could not borrow again) and the repayment rate is over 95%. In 2006, Yunus won a Nobel Peace Prize for the incredible success of his work.

In fact, now 30 years later, microfinance is everywhere it seems, even helping the poor of New York City. The concept has reached the time when it flowers into hope for millions of poor people the world over.

For anyone who has ever thought, 'I wish I could help, but charities are corrupt and I don't know how.' microfinance is a program well worth knowing about. The stories will touch your soul and give hope in a world that sadly needs it.

I hope you will enjoy the material I have provided here and spread the good word. Recently a man has had the brilliant idea to take Microfinance to the internet on a site called Kiva. It has been wildly successful.

Microfinance is not only a proven way to alleviate poverty but a way to find hope in an increasingly dismal world. And it follows the age old wisdom of helping by allowing people to help themselves without funds siphoned off by corrupt governments and dodgy charities.

Have a looksee. I think you will be as impressed as I have been. And if you are, please spread the word.

The real story of Kehinde Azeez.

Recent articles about Microfiance.

Good News in the Global Economy

Students start Olneyville microfinance bank

Liberia Gets First Microfinance Bank

'Lend to End Poverty' Campaign Calls On World Economic Forum to ...

A stimulus package for the world

Obama, Raytheon and the war machine

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Hope for an new strategy for the American empire under Obama is fading fast. Just as Bush picked Cheney, the CEO for Haliburton for his VP (or was it that Haliburton picked Bush for president? - We shall never know), now we have the Great Hope of America Obama picking a man deeply embedded in the manufacture of products that kill people on a massive scale to his cabinet.

Raytheon is a company that six women in Northern Ireland briefly shut down in protest of the company's part in supplying Israel with the bombs they used on women and children. Derry Anti War Protesters Blockade Raytheon The president now may be more popular, but may a wolf in lambs cloaking. Raytheon's company profile may be found here. Can you imagine a man who has spent his whole life building war machines advocating peace?

The video below also reveals disturbing evidence of Obama's duplicity. Pretty is as pretty does and so far Obama is not looking too good. We all had misgivings about his pick of a cabinet decidedly pro-war and similar to Bush's cabinet. If American's have been fooled again, they will pay with the future of their children.
I believe before the end of 2009, America will again have a mandatory draft for an attack on Iran. I hope I am wrong, but afraid I am right.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Israel to answer for war crimes? Maybe.

Charges filed by international attorneys
against 15 Israeli officials


Bethlehem / PNN – Palestinian and international efforts continue to institute legal proceedings for the prosecution of Israeli officials in the commission of war crimes.

Although Israeli forces are involved in thousands of cases, local experts such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights believe that the recent major attacks on the Gaza Strip will successfully prosecuted.

“They were well-documented, televised and the world was paying attention,” a member of the Gaza City team commented.

After the very public detection of large-scale atrocities which included the use of white phosphorus bombs in enclosed civilian areas and the liquidation of children there is little defense.

Fifteen specific names are now pending for prosecution in The Hague’s war crimes tribunal.

Those listed for prosecution include Israeli political and military officials, namely Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak.

Israelis are being warned internally against leaving its boundaries due to fears of arrest.

French lawyer Gilles Dovers is handling the complaint in Paris calling for the “open investigation into war crimes” committed by Israeli forces during three weeks in Gaza.

Dovers said today that 500 complaints are being submitted by Arab, European and Latin American officials. Bolivia is preparing its own case, as is Venezuela.

Argentine international prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is deciding whether to go ahead with an investigation.

The French lawyer said there is some fear of interference from the United Nations Security Council under pressure from the United States to stop the proceedings and prevent the achievement of access to trial. The founding texts of the International Criminal Court empower the Security Council to suspend its work.

Today’s invitation to try at least 15 Israeli officials is being delivered by 30 international lawyers of several nationalities.

In parallel, the intention of a group of French lawyers to file a complaint on behalf of French citizens of Palestinian origin to the French courts against Israeli officials is gaining attention in the cities of Paris and eastern France.

Coordination with other lawyers in Belgium and Spain is underway as similar complaints against the Israeli officials are being made in Brussels and Madrid. Belgium is among the countries who issued charges against Ariel Sharon in the past.

Moroccan lawyers also disclosed yesterday practical steps toward filing a lawsuit against "the perpetrators of war crimes" in Gaza. Six lawyers are working with the Minister of Justice of Morocco.

As reported by PNN throughout the week, in Tel Aviv Israeli activists published 15 names:

Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Avi Dichter, Carmi Gilon, Dan Halutz, Doron Almog, Ehud Olmert, Eliezer Shkedy, Gabi Ashkenazi, Giora Eiland, Matan Vilani, Moshe Bogi Yaalon, Shaul Mofaz and Tzipi Livni,

along with reasons they are listed and photos on:

included with the note: “Anyone who has information about the suspect when he is outside of the Israeli borders, report immediately to…” and gives contact information for The Hague.

California - 1 week to IOUs

California One Week Away from Issuing IOUs…
Which May Not Be Accepted by Many Banks

January 26th, 2009

The controller says California is down to Plan D on its checklist of paying bills. Its cash reserves are piddling; the special funds it borrows from are tapped out, and no one in the private sector is going to lend it any cash at a reasonable interest rate.

That leaves what in state government circles are called “payment deferrals” and what in real life is called “stiffing your creditors.”

In this case the creditors include income taxpayers expecting refunds, college students waiting on state aid, counties that operate public assistance programs, and companies that sell goods and services to state agencies.

Chiang has said he won’t write $3.7 billion worth of checks for those and other state programs if legislators and the governor haven’t reached a deal by next Sunday to close the budget gap.

The controller said he must conserve what little cash the state has to be able to make constitutionally required payments to schools and interest payments to state bondholders.

“This is a very painful decision,” Chiang said. “It pains me to pull this trigger, but it is an action that is critically necessary.”

The state’s cash situation is somewhat analogous to your family emptying its checking account, drawing down the savings account to cover checks, and only having enough left to pay either the mortgage or the utility bill.

Of course you could then file for bankruptcy protection. Under federal law, the state can’t do that, but it can do something you can’t: Issue IOUs.

Known formally as “registered warrants,” the state’s IOUs are just that. Someone – a vendor, a landlord, the water company – who is owed money by a California government agency gets a piece of paper that says the state owes them money, and will pay them the amount plus interest at some point in the future.

The only time since the Great Depression that the state has issued IOUs was in 1992, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. About 1.6 million of them, worth a total of $3.8 billion, were issued during a two-month budget tiff between then-Gov. Pete Wilson and legislators.

Instead of paychecks, about 100,000 state workers got IOUs, which proved somewhat harder to cash. After the first month, many of the state’s major banks quit accepting the warrants, saying the 5 percent interest they were paid wasn’t worth the arduous processing needed to redeem them.

And after state employees sued, a federal judge ruled that paying workers with IOUs violated federal labor law. The state agreed in 1996 to give the affected workers extra paid vacation to compensate.

If IOUs are issued this year, they won’t go to state workers. They also might not be accepted by many banks.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Anyone who sees the world in terms of 'we' the good guys and 'them' the bad guys will be shocked at the history of the USA told by a man who was hired to create it. The book has been out since 2004 tho I have just stumbled on it. Real life - more shocking than fiction. Following is an interview with John Perkins, the author, and if you prefer video you will find it here.
Book Review
Comments by Greg Palast

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:
How the U.S. Uses Globalization to
Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions

We speak with John Perkins, a former respected member of the international banking community. In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then take over their economies.

John Perkins describes himself as a former economic hit man–a highly paid professional who cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.

20 years ago Perkins began writing a book with the working title, “Conscience of an Economic Hit Men.”

Perkins writes, "The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries, men who had been his clients whom I respected and thought of as kindred spirits–Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.

John Perkins goes on to write: “I was persuaded to stop writing that book. I started it four more times during the next twenty years. On each occasion, my decision to begin again was influenced by current world events: the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1980, the first Gulf War, Somalia, and the rise of Osama bin Laden. However, threats or bribes always convinced me to stop.”

But now Perkins has finally published his story. The book is titled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. John Perkins joins us now in our Firehouse studios.

* John Perkins, from 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas T. Main where he was a self-described “economic hit man.” He is the author of the new book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Transcript of Interview

AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins joins us now in our firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!

JOHN PERKINS: Thank you, Amy. It’s great to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Okay, explain this term, “economic hit man,” e.h.m., as you call it.

JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring—to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It’s been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It’s only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you become one? Who did you work for?

JOHN PERKINS: Well, I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation’s largest and least understood spy organization; but ultimately I worked for private corporations. The first real economic hit man was back in the early 1950’s, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, who overthrew of government of Iran, a democratically elected government, Mossadegh’s government who was Time‘s magazine person of the year; and he was so successful at doing this without any bloodshed—well, there was a little bloodshed, but no military intervention, just spending millions of dollars and replaced Mossadegh with the Shah of Iran. At that point, we understood that this idea of economic hit man was an extremely good one. We didn’t have to worry about the threat of war with Russia when we did it this way. The problem with that was that Roosevelt was a C.I.A. agent. He was a government employee. Had he been caught, we would have been in a lot of trouble. It would have been very embarrassing. So, at that point, the decision was made to use organizations like the C.I.A. and the N.S.A. to recruit potential economic hit men like me and then send us to work for private consulting companies, engineering firms, construction companies, so that if we were caught, there would be no connection with the government.

AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Explain the company you worked for.

JOHN PERKINS: Well, the company I worked for was a company named Chas. T. Main in Boston, Massachusetts. We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan—let’s say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador—and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure—a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, “Look, you’re not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.” And today we’re going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It’s an empire. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. You say because of bribes and other reason you didn’t write this book for a long time. What do you mean? Who tried to bribe you, or who—what are the bribes you accepted?

JOHN PERKINS: Well, I accepted a half a million dollar bribe in the nineties not to write the book.


JOHN PERKINS: From a major construction engineering company.

AMY GOODMAN: Which one?

JOHN PERKINS: Legally speaking, it wasn’t—Stoner-Webster. Legally speaking it wasn’t a bribe, it was—I was being paid as a consultant. This is all very legal. But I essentially did nothing. It was a very understood, as I explained in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, that it was—I was—it was understood when I accepted this money as a consultant to them I wouldn’t have to do much work, but I mustn’t write any books about the subject, which they were aware that I was in the process of writing this book, which at the time I called “Conscience of an Economic Hit Man.” And I have to tell you, Amy, that, you know, it’s an extraordinary story from the standpoint of—It’s almost James Bondish, truly, and I mean-–

AMY GOODMAN: Well that’s certainly how the book reads.

JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, and it was, you know? And when the National Security Agency recruited me, they put me through a day of lie detector tests. They found out all my weaknesses and immediately seduced me. They used the strongest drugs in our culture, sex, power and money, to win me over. I come from a very old New England family, Calvinist, steeped in amazingly strong moral values. I think I, you know, I’m a good person overall, and I think my story really shows how this system and these powerful drugs of sex, money and power can seduce people, because I certainly was seduced. And if I hadn’t lived this life as an economic hit man, I think I’d have a hard time believing that anybody does these things. And that’s why I wrote the book, because our country really needs to understand, if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins. In your book, you talk about how you helped to implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of dollars of Saudi Arabian petrol dollars back into the U.S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the House of Saud and successive U.S. administrations. Explain.

JOHN PERKINS: Yes, it was a fascinating time. I remember well, you’re probably too young to remember, but I remember well in the early seventies how OPEC exercised this power it had, and cut back on oil supplies. We had cars lined up at gas stations. The country was afraid that it was facing another 1929-type of crash—depression; and this was unacceptable. So, they—the Treasury Department hired me and a few other economic hit men. We went to Saudi Arabia. We—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re actually called economic hit men—e.h.m.’s?

JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.‘s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia—new cities, new infrastructure—which we’ve done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn’t buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn’t work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren’t able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had—His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how Torrijos died?

JOHN PERKINS: Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama. Omar Torrijos had signed the Canal Treaty with Carter much—and, you know, it passed our congress by only one vote. It was a highly contended issue. And Torrijos then also went ahead and negotiated with the Japanese to build a sea-level canal. The Japanese wanted to finance and construct a sea-level canal in Panama. Torrijos talked to them about this which very much upset Bechtel Corporation, whose president was George Schultz and senior council was Casper Weinberger. When Carter was thrown out (and that’s an interesting story—how that actually happened), when he lost the election, and Reagan came in and Schultz came in as Secretary of State from Bechtel, and Weinberger came from Bechtel to be Secretary of Defense, they were extremely angry at Torrijos—tried to get him to renegotiate the Canal Treaty and not to talk to the Japanese. He adamantly refused. He was a very principled man. He had his problem, but he was a very principled man. He was an amazing man, Torrijos. And so, he died in a fiery airplane crash, which was connected to a tape recorder with explosives in it, which—I was there. I had been working with him. I knew that we economic hit men had failed. I knew the jackals were closing in on him, and the next thing, his plane exploded with a tape recorder with a bomb in it. There’s no question in my mind that it was C.I.A. sanctioned, and most—many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.

AMY GOODMAN: So, where—when did your change your heart happen?

JOHN PERKINS: I felt guilty throughout the whole time, but I was seduced. The power of these drugs, sex, power, and money, was extremely strong for me. And, of course, I was doing things I was being patted on the back for. I was chief economist. I was doing things that Robert McNamara liked and so on.

AMY GOODMAN: How closely did you work with the World Bank?

JOHN PERKINS: Very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that’s used by economic hit men, it and the I.M.F. But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we’re going to feel secure in this country again and that we’re going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that. I believe the World Bank and other institutions can be turned around and do what they were originally intended to do, which is help reconstruct devastated parts of the world. Help—genuinely help poor people. There are twenty-four thousand people starving to death every day. We can change that.

AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins, I want to thank you very much for being with us. John Perkins’ book is called, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ireland calls on EU to cut ties with Israel

Never underestimate the power of the Ire in Ireland.

148 Irish academics issue call
for EU to cut links with Israel

23 Jan 2009

In a letter published today, Friday, 23rd January in the Irish Times(text below), over 140 Irish academics from a wide variety of disciplines called for a moratorium on EU support of Israeli academic institutions until Israel abides by UN resolutions and ends the occupation of Palestinian territories.

The letter was organised in response to the Israeli attack on Gaza and the Palestinian call for an academic and cultural boycott. The letter demands that the EU cease funding collaborative projects with Israeli institutions and "and an end to the EU's practice of treating Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts".

The letter accuses Israel of destroying the Palestinians right to education as guaranteed by international law. It states: 'we note that during its recent offensive Israel expressly targeted educational institutions including the Islamic University, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, and 3 UN schools which were destroyed with massive loss of civilian life. During the illegal sealing off of the Gaza Strip that preceded the current aggression, Israel had prevented numerous Palestinian students from leaving Gaza to avail of Fulbright scholarships to the USA"

The ongoing Israeli occupation has meant that educational establishments are closed off for many Palestinians. The checkpoints, closures and curfews Israel has imposed, as well as the ongoing harassment of academics and students, have played havoc with university life. In addition, military attacks on universities and schools and the occupation of many schools by Israeli soldiers have turned education into a life-threatening activity.

The letter is signed by 148 academics. Prominent names include author and critic Seamus Deane, poet and academic Louis de Paor, UCD academic Kathleen Lynch, cultural critics Luke Gibbons and Joe Cleary, Israeli political scientist Ephraim Nimni, and former TUI (Teachers Union of Ireland) head Paddy Healy. It follows a similar letter in September 2006 signed by 61 academics.

Text of letter with signatories
There has been widespread international condemnation of Israel's bombardment and subsequent invasion of Gaza, which has been defined by international lawyers as a violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. No civilians, Israelis or Palestinian should be subjected to attack whether from rockets from Gaza or bombs and bullets from Israel. However, while every government has both the right and responsibility to defend its civilian population, we believe that Israel's violent actions are disproportionate and constitute collective punishment of a civilian population.

We also note that Israeli spokespersons themselves have admitted that prior to Israel's killing of 6 Hamas members in the Nov 4 attack on Gaza, Hamas appears to have abided by its ceasefire agreement with Israel, firing no rockets and trying to prevent other groups from doing so. This begs the question: what is the real reason behind the onslaught?

In addition, we note that during its recent offensive Israel expressly targeted educational institutions including the Islamic University, the Ministry of Education, the American International School, and 3 UN schools which were destroyed with massive loss of civilian life. During the illegal sealing off of the Gaza Strip that preceded the current aggression, Israel had prevented numerous Palestinian students from leaving Gaza to avail of Fulbright scholarships to the USA.

We believe that it is time to renew the call made by Irish-based academics in September 2006 for a moratorium on the funding of Israeli academic institutions by national and European cultural and research institutions, and an end to the EU's practice of treating Israel as a European state for the purposes of awarding grants and contracts. Such a moratorium should continue until Israel ends its repressive policies against Gaza, and abides by UN resolutions (which include the ending of the occupation of all Palestinian territories).

We believe that opposition to such a move based on the principle of academic freedom has lost the last semblance of validity in view of the above-mentioned violations of the right to education enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 26), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 28) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 14).

Yours sincerely

1. Dr Kieran Allen, School of Sociology, UCD
2. Professor James Anderson, Dept of Geography, Queen's University Belfast, Co-Director, Centre for International Borders Research (CIBR)
3. Dr Iain Atack, Lecturer and Programme Coordinator, International Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics, (TCD)
4. Dr David Atkinson, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
5. Professor Ibrahim Banat, Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, University of Ulster
6. Darius Bartlett, Department of Geography, University College Cork
7. Professor James Bowen, Computer Science, UCC, Cork
8. Dr. Barbara Bradby, Department of Sociology, TCD
9. Dr. Colin Breen, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
10. Dr Keith Breen, School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast
11. Dr Pat Brereton, Dublin City University.
12. Harry Browne School of Media, DIT
13. Carlos Bruen, Dept of Epidemiology & Public Health Medicine (Division of Population Health Sciences) Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
14. Audrey Bryan School of Education, UCD
15. Noreen Byrne, Department of Food Business and Development, UCC
16. Dr Rachel Cassidy, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
17. Professor Joe Cleary, Department of English, NUI Maynooth
18. Dr. Steve Coleman Department of Anthropology, NUI Maynooth
19. Dr. Maeve Connolly, School of Creative Arts, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, IADT
20. Eddie Conlon, Department of Engineering Science and General Studies, DIT
21. Dr Colin Coulter, Dept of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
22. Dr. Laurence Cox, Dept of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
23. Dr Patrick Crowley, Department of French, University College Cork
24. Tony Cunningham, Department of Sociology NUI Maynooth
25. Charlie Daly, School of Computing, DCU.
26. Dr Kelly Davidson School of Business and Humanities, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, IADT
27. Cormac Deane, School of Business and Humanities, IADT Dun Laoghaire
28. Professor Seamus Deane, University of Notre Dame
29. Dr. Teresa Degenhardt, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work Queens University Belfast
30. Dr Louis de Paor, NUI Galway
31. Derek Dodd, Centre for Public Culture Studies, IADT.
32. Dr Bill Dorris, Dept. Of Communications, DCU
33. Collette Doyle, School of Social Justice, UCD
34. Dr. Paul Dunlop, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster 35. Mary Eldin, University College Dublin
36. Ray English, School of Manufacturing and Design Engineering, DIT
37. Dr. Adel Farrag, Department of Electronic Engineering, ITT Dublin
38. Angela Farrell, Dept. Languages and Cultural Studies University of Limerick
39. Mike FitzGibbon, Food Business and Development Department, University College Cork 40. Richard Fitzsimons, School of Media, DIT
41. Professor Tadhg Foley Department of English & Chair of the Board, Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway
42. Dr Oona Frawley, School of English, NUI Maynooth,
43. Malcolm Garland. Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, RCSI and Consultant Psychiatrist/Post-Graduate Tutor, St Ita's Hospital.
44. Dr Mark Gardiner, Dept of Archaeology, Queen's University Belfast
45. Professor Luke Gibbons, University of Notre Dame
46. Dr. Paula Gilligan, Dept. of Humanities, IADT Dun Laoghaire
47. Professor Robbie Gilligan, School of Social Work and Social Policy, TCD
48. Dr Kathy Glavanis-Grantham, Department of Sociology, UCC
49. Liam Greenslade, National College of Art and Design
50. Fergal Goulding, Cork Institute of Technology
51. Brian Hand, Wexford Campus IT Carlow
52. Dr Brian Hanley, School of History, Queens University Belfast
53. Seán Harrington, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT,
54. Mike Haslam, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT
55. Deena Haydon, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Justice, Queen's University Belfast
56. Paddy Healy, School of Physics, DIT
57. Goretti Horgan, School of Policy Studies, University of Ulster
58. Professor Jane Horgan Dublin City University
59. Dr Kevin Hourihan, Dept of Geography, UCC
60. Dr. John Karamichas, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queen's University Belfast
61. Dr Brian Kelly, School of History and Anthropology, Queen's University Belfast
62. Dr. Sinéad Kennedy, Department of English, NUI Maynooth
63. Dr. Dorothy Kenny, School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, DCU
64. David Landy Department of Sociology, TCD
65. Dr Fintan Lane. Historian
66. Zoe Lawlor, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
67. John J. Lauder, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT
68. Dr. Ronit Lentin, Dept of Sociology, TCD
69. Martin McCabe, School of Media, DIT
70. Professor Madeleine Leonard, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast
71. Tom Lonergan, Dublin City University
72. Professor Kathleen Lynch, Equality Studies Centre, School of Social Justice, University College Dublin
73. Piaras MacEinri, University College Cork
74. An Dr. Seosamh Mac Muirí, Grág na Fearna, Droim Dhá Thiar. Co. Liatroma.
75. Professor John Maguire Professor Emeritus, UCC
76. Dr. Hussain Mahdi, Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, University of Limerick
77. Dr. Sean Marlow, School of Electronic Engineering, Dublin City University,
78. Dr. Chandana Mathur, Dept of Anthropology, NUI Maynooth
79. Dr Cillian McBride, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast
80. Dr Cathal McCall, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, QUB
81. Dr Gerard McCann, European Studies, St Mary's College, Queens University Belfast 82. Dr Conor McCarthy, Department of English, NUI Maynooth
83. Professor John McCloskey, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
84. Professor Terrence McDonough, Dept of Economics, NUI Galway
85. Dr. Karen McElrath, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queens University Belfast
86. Dr Des McGuinness, School of Communication, Dublin City University
87. Dr. Martina McKnight, Queens University Belfast
88. Dr Gerard McMahon, Business Faculty, DIT
89. Dr Bill McSweeney, International Peace Studies, Trinity College Dublin
90. Rosie Meade, Dept. of Applied Social Studies, UCC
91. Dr. Pat Meere, Department of Geology, UCC.
92. Professor Stephen Mennell, School of Sociology, UCD
93. Mick Monk, Department of Archaeology, UCC
94. Anna Maria Mullally, Dept. of Humanities, ITT Dublin.
95. Tony Murray, School of Media, DIT
96. Professor Patrick Murphy, Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, UCC
97. Dr. Suleyman S. Nalbant, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
98. Tom O'Connor, School of Media, DIT
99. Dr. Ephraim Nimni, School of Politics, International Studies & Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast
100. Dr. Emer Nolan, Dept of English, NUI Maynooth
101. Dr. John O'Brennan, Department of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
102. Gerard M. O'Brien, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine
103. Dr Barra O'Donnabhain, Department of Archaeology, University College Cork
104. Dr Ruan.O'Donnell, Historian
105. Professor Liam O'Dowd, School of Sociology, Social Policy & Social Work, Queens University Belfast
106. Professor Patrick O'Flanagan, Dept of Geography, UCC
107. Dr Feilim O Hadhmail, Dept of Applied Social Studies, UCC
108. Professor Denis O Hearn, School of Sociology, Queen's University Belfast
109. Dr. Theresa O'Keefe, Department of Sociology, NUI Maynooth
110. Dr. Des O'Rawe, School of Languages, Literatures and Arts, Queen's University Belfast
111. Dr. Jacqui O'Riordan, Dept. Applied Social Studies, UCC
112. Dr K.C. O'Rourke, Dublin Institute of Technology
113. Eddie O'Shea Head, Department of Architecture+Urban Design, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT
114. Joan O'Sullivan, Dept of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
115. John O'Sullivan, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
116. Maria Parsons, Department of Humanities, IADT
117. Dr Mark Phelan, School of Languages, Literatures and Performing Arts, Queen's University Belfast
118. Professor Barbara Pierscionek, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster 119. Dr Lionel Pilkington, Dept of English, NUI Galway
120. Professor John Pinkerton, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queens University Belfast
121. Professor Paschal Preston, School of Communication, DCU
122. Rory Quinn, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Ulster
123. Dr Mary Roche, Department of Geography, UCC
124. Jim Roche, Dublin School of Architecture, DIT.
125. Professor Bill Rolston, Department of Sociology, University of Ulster
126. Eilish Rooney, School of Sociology & Applied Social Studies, University of Ulster
127. Sima Rouholamin, School of Architecture, Dublin Institute of Technology.
128. Pól Ruiséal, Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha, Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh
129. Brigid Ryan, Dept. of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
130. Dr Colin Sage, Department of Geography, UCC
131. Dr Tam Sanger, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast
132. Professor Phil Scraton, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queen's University Belfast
133. Liz Shannon, Dept of Languages and Cultural Studies, University of Limerick
134. Professor Helena Sheehan, School of Communications, Dublin City University
135. Dr Sally Shortall, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast
136. Ailbhe Smyth, WERCC, School of Social Justice, UCD
137. Professor Mike Scott, School of Computing, DCU
138. Dr. Lisa Smyth, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast
139. Andy Storey, Centre for Development Studies, UCD
140. Karen Sugrue, Department of Humanities, Limerick Institute of Technology
141. Prof. Alan Titley Roinn na Nua-Ghaeilge, Coláiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh
142. Dr Gavan Titley, Dept of Media Studies NUI Maynooth
143. Prof. Mike Tomlinson, School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queens University Belfast
144. Hilary Tovey, Dept of Sociology, TCD
145. Dr Simon Trezise, Department of Music, TCD
146. Theresa Urbainczyk, School of Classics, UCD
147. Judy Walsh, School of Social Justice, UCD
148. Dr Gillian Wylie, International Peace Studies, Irish School of Ecumenics (TCD)

Only the good die young?

That seems such an appropriate saying for the horror the world has witnessed in the past 10 years. Of course, it has applied to other eras as well...but this is our era.

Have you even noticed that the most perniciously evil people are old men? Not that all are evil... just take a look at the neo-con line-up to convince yourself of the above generalisation.

But for the moment, one story in particular seems especially moving: that of a young Brazilian woman whom I first blogged on here. Perhaps it is better that she had died: I cannot even imagine life without hands or feet. In the sea of political atrocities, her story seems insignificant. Yet it has a strange tragic beauty which fills and empties my heart at the same time.

Brazilian amputee model dead at 20

(CNN) -- Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa, whose hands and feet were amputated in a bid to save her from a deadly and little-known illness, died early Saturday, two friends of the model told CNN.

Brazilian model Mariana Bridi da Costa died Saturday after undergoing multiple amputations.
"Unfortunately Mari couldn't resist any longer. She passed away at 3 a.m. today," Henrique Fontes, executive director of Miss World Brazil, said in an e-mail to CNN.

Renato Lindgren, a friend of the model who runs a blog dedicated to her, confirmed da Costa's death.

On his blog, Lindgren wrote that he and other friends were going to the hospital.

"On behalf of all the family, we are grateful for the support and the affection that the entire world has sent to us," he wrote.

Da Costa, 20, had fought a pernicious disease that has ravaged her body and forced doctors to perform the amputations and extract part of her stomach as well as both kidneys.

She had been breathing through a respirator, officials at Dorio Silva Hospital in the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo said Friday.

Da Costa suffered from necrosis, or the fast deadening of tissue, caused by septicemia. Septicemia, triggered by a bacterial infection, causes insufficient blood flow that can lead to organ failure.

Da Costa first sought medical advice after feeling ill in late December. Hospital officials said she was transferred to Dorio Silva on January 3 in "septic shock," a serious medical condition caused by an inflammation.

Da Costa was first diagnosed as suffering a urinary tract infection. By the time the infection was detected, it had developed into septicemia.
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* Fiance: 'Where there's a heartbeat, there's hope'

Doctors decided to amputate first her hands and then her feet after the condition reduced the amount of oxygen being delivered to her limbs.

Just less than one month ago, da Costa was a healthy young woman well on the way to achieving her dream of becoming a world class model.

She placed sixth in the Miss Bikini International competition in China last year and took first place for the "Best in Swimsuit" category. In 2007 and 2008, she came fourth in the contest to become Brazil's entrant for the Miss World pageant.

Thiago Simoes, da Costa's fiance, said she was on her way to international stardom, signing with prominent model scout Dilson Stein, who brought Brazilian models, including Gisele Bundchen and Luize Altenhofen, to the world stage.

"All the agencies were very interested in knowing her. I know for a fact that they would have loved her because Mariana is beautiful," Stein told Brazil's Tribuna newspaper.
Vital Signs
Each month CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta brings viewers health stories from around the world.

Simoes told CNN that da Costa woke up from a coma 10 days ago and told him how much she wanted to be alive.

"She told me she was praying to stay alive, that she still had a lot to do on this earth, that she wanted to go on with her plans," he said.

"She comes from a humble family and she was the main breadwinner," said Simoes, who refuted rumors that da Costa was dieting and that might have affected her health.

"She never dieted, never took pills...she is a very simple, very warm human being," he said.

A doctor who recently published an article in The New England Journal of Medicine on the disease, told CNN that little was known about the illness, although it is the tenth leading cause of deaths in the United States.

"We know a lot about what happens once a patient contracts the illness but we know very little about what causes it," said Dr. Greg Martin of Emory University in Atlanta.

"It is a leading health threat in this country, killing at least 800,000 people a year," he said.

Martin said sepsis is a "response" to an infection that can cause the immune system to lose its balance.

"Basically, the immune system goes haywire after contracting an infection and begins to overreact," he said.

Men are more susceptible than women, Martin said.

News of da Costa's condition spread quickly throughout Brazil and then worldwide. A message on her Web site said that the volume of traffic had caused it to crash, and that the site had received more than 15,000 hits in two days.

"The whole world, I repeat, the whole world is touched by the case of Mariana," it said.

The message said they had received "e-mails of solidarity from all corners of the world: Australia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, France, Italy, USA, Russia, etc."

Friday, January 23, 2009

News you WANT to read - Hope is free.

US intel nominee promises no unlawful surveillance

Agence France-Presse
January 22, 2009

President Barack Obama's nominee to head US intelligence Thursday flatly rejected torture, promised to end special interrogation regimes and refuse the unlawful surveillance of Americans.

Retired admiral Dennis Blair indicated major changes are in store for US intelligence agencies, which have been embroiled in controversy over secret prisons, interrogation practics, and warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

"Torture is not moral, is not legal, is not effective," Blair said at his Senate confirmation hearing.

Blair told the Senate Intelligence Committee he would welcome independent monitoring of the intelligence community "to prevent abuses and protect privacy and civil liberties of Americans."

However, he refused to say waterboarding, a form of simulating drowning, is torture, because he did not want to put in legal jeopardy intelligence officers who engaged in practices authorized at the highest levels.

"I don't intend to reopen those cases of those officers," he said.

Senator Carl Levin said he was "troubled" by Blair's answer.

For the most part, however, Democratic lawmakers praised Blair's candor while some Republicans expressed skepticism about abandoning the more hardline approach of the previous administration.

Blair sketched out a heavy workload for the US intelligence community -- three ongoing wars, concerns about developments in North Korea, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, and newer issues like global warming and energy security.

"President Obama has made it clear, made it clear to me, made it clear to the American people, that he expects independent analysis," he said.

"He wants the facts. He wants all points of view. And if confirmed, I will strive to meet his expectations."

The Senate hearing came as Obama signed a flurry of executive orders directing the closure of the US detention center at Guantanamo within a year, shutting secret CIA prisons, and placing restrictions on interrogations and the treatment of detainees.

Blair acknowledged that striking the right balance between protecting Americans and safeguarding US values and international reputation will be difficult.

The United States, he said, has not yet found "the correct way to treat this new type of campaign that we are engaged in."

"On the one hand, we have to fight it like a war and detain people and get information from them and protect our citizens.

"On the other hand, we have to maintain our stature as the country that is governed by our values and governed by ideals. We've gone back and forth in many different ways.

"These executive orders are going to give this administration a chance to look at those tough issues and come up with creative solutions for them," he said.

He said he supported uniform rules of interrogation for the military and intelligence services, but he said the rules themselves should be developed as part of a comprehensive policy review.

Official: UN may prosecute Bush administration,
regardless of US action

David Edwards
Thursday January 22, 2009

The UN's special torture rapporteur called on the US Tuesday to pursue former president George W. Bush and defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld for torture and bad treatment of Guantanamo prisoners.

"Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation" to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak said, in remarks to be broadcast on Germany's ZDF television Tuesday evening.

He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required "all means, particularly penal law" to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it.

"We have all these documents that are now publicly available that prove that these methods of interrogation were intentionally ordered by Rumsfeld," against detainees at the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nowak said.

"But obviously the highest authorities in the United States were aware of this," added Nowak, who authored a UN investigation report on the Guantanamo prison.

Bush stepped down from power Tuesday, with Barack Obama becoming the 44th president of the United States.

Asked about chances to bring legal action against Bush and Rumsfeld, Nowak said: "In principle yes. I think the evidence is on the table."

At issue, however, is whether "American law will recognise these forms of torture."

A bipartisan Senate report released last month found Rumsfeld and other top administration officials responsible for abuse of Guantanamo detainees in US custody.

It said Rumsfeld authorized harsh interrogation techniques on December 2, 2002 at the Guantanamo prison, although he ruled them out a month later.

The coercive measures were based on a document signed by Bush in February, 2002.

French, German and US rights groups have previously said they wanted to bring legal action against Rumsfeld.

Go to source for video from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Jan. 21, 2009.

Obama Revokes Bush
Executive Order on Presidential Archives

Forces release of Bush Records!

By Hal Turner
January 21, 2009

"Hal Turner Show" -- Washington, DC -- Barack Obama today revoked President George W. Bush's Executive Order which makes presidential records secret for up to 12 years after leaving office!

This would be the first logical step for his Administration to take if they were/are considering going after Bush for criminal prosecution over. . . . . the fraud he perpetrated against the nation by lying to take us to war in Iraq.

The very last section of Obama's Executive Order issued today (Here) states "Sec. 6. Revocation. Executive Order 13233 of November 1, 2001, is revoked." This puts up for public consumption, most of the records from the Bush administration and I suspect those records will provide the legal basis for criminal prosecution of Bush and Cheney.

George W. may want to jump on a plane and head to his family's 100,000 acre refuge in Paraguay so he can be safe from extradition!

Personally, I would LOVE to see Bush criminally prosecuted and, if found guilty, hung by his neck just like Saddam Hussein.
Executive Order 13233
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Executive Order 13233 limited access to the records of former United States Presidents. It was drafted by then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and issued by President George W. Bush on November 1, 2001. Section 13 of Order 13233 revoked Executive Order 12667 of January 18, 1989. The Order was partially struck down in October 2007, and President Barack Obama completely revoked it by executive order on January 21, 2009.

Related here


All blogs are really just small snapshots of a person's mind, heart and soul as they evolve together through life....

Small bits of the thread of life we weave together into the fabric of ourselves, in the hope we will make sense of our existence, individual and collective.

On this page, is the cloak I have fashioned from my fabric to warm myself in a universe which often makes little sense.

Inside my cloak, it is warm enough to face the blistering cold winds of the insane world in which I find myself.

If you find some a bit of 'the good stuff' here, it has been my pleasure.