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Posts Tagged ‘Bush’

I was watching the DVD this afternoon and thought I’d share… I know you can find it on the Internet (I pulled this one from Googlevideo), but another copy will not hurt.

It always makes me wonder why G. W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney are not in court and/or prison. For years I was proud of being an American. In less than four years, these men made me ashamed. They have disgraced and disfigured our country and we will feel the reprecussions for many, many years to come.

Isn’t it true that a captain is responsible for the actions that happen when he is in control of the ship? If so, then these “gentlemen” are responsible for the unfettered “theft” of American money, the deaths and murders of hundreds of Americans and Iraqi people, the torture and maiming of individuals for unspecified and highly questionable “crimes,” disregard for the needs of the American and Iraqi countries, mistreatment and disrespect for American soldiers, and numerous other crimes. What a black mark on the history of America.

But, as you know, the Bush’s and his like do not care what we really think; they made BILLIONS from the war. They just insulate themselves and plead ignorance…

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from the Project Syndicate

by Naomi Wolf

Is it possible to fall out of love with your own country? For two years, I, like many Americans, have been focused intently on documenting, exposing, and alerting the nation to the Bush administration’s criminality and its assault on the Constitution and the rule of law – a story often marginalized at home. I was certain that when Americans knew what was being done in their name, they would react with horror and outrage.

Three months ago, the Bush administration still clung to its devil’s sound bite, “We don’t torture.” Now, Physicians for Human Rights has issued its report documenting American-held detainees’ traumas, and even lie detector tests confirm they have been tortured. The Red Cross report has leaked: torture and war crimes. Jane Mayer’s impeccably researched exposé The Dark Side just hit the stores: torture, crafted and directed from the top. The Washington Post gave readers actual video footage of the abusive interrogation of a Canadian minor, Omar Khadr, who was seen showing his still-bleeding abdominal wounds, weeping and pleading with his captors.

So the truth is out and freely available. And America is still napping, worrying about its weight, and hanging out at the mall.

I had thought that after so much exposure, thousands of Americans would be holding vigils on Capitol Hill, that religious leaders would be asking God’s forgiveness, and that a popular groundswell of revulsion, similar to the nineteenth-century anti-slavery movement, would emerge. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if torture is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

And yet no such thing has occurred. There is no crisis in America’s churches and synagogues, no Christian and Jewish leaders crying out for justice in the name of Jesus, a tortured political prisoner, or of Yahweh, who demands righteousness. I asked a contact in the interfaith world why. He replied, “The mainstream churches don’t care, because they are Republican. And the synagogues don’t care, because the prisoners are Arabs.”

It was then that I realized that I could not be in love with my country right now. How can I care about the fate of people like that? If this is what Americans are feeling, if that is who we are, we don’t deserve our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Even America’s vaunted judicial system has failed to constrain obvious abuses. A Federal court has ruled that the military tribunals system – Star Chambers where evidence derived from torture is used against the accused – can proceed. Another recently ruled that the president may call anyone anywhere an “enemy combatant” and detain him or her indefinitely.

So Americans are colluding with a criminal regime. We have become an outlaw nation – a clear and present danger to international law and global stability – among civilized countries that have been our allies. We are – rightly – on Canada’s list of rogue nations that torture.

Europe is still high from Barack Obama’s recent visit. Many Americans, too, hope that an Obama victory in November will roll back this nightmare. But this is no time to yield to delusions. Even if Obama wins, he may well be a radically weakened president. The Bush administration has created a transnational apparatus of lawlessness that he alone, without global intervention, can neither roll back nor control.

Private security firms – for example, Blackwater – will still be operating, accountable neither to him nor to Congress, and not bound, they have argued, by international treaties. Weapons manufacturers and the telecommunications industry, with billions at stake in maintaining a hyped “war on terror” and their new global surveillance market, will deploy a lavishly financed army of lobbyists to defend their interests.

Moreover, if elected, Obama will be constrained by his own Democratic Party. America’s political parties bear little resemblance to the disciplined organizations familiar in parliamentary democracies in Europe and elsewhere. And Democrats in Congress will be even more divided after November if, as many expect, conservative members defeat Republican incumbents damaged by their association with Bush.

To be sure, some Democrats have recently launched Congressional hearings into the Bush administration’s abuses of power. Unfortunately, with virtually no media coverage, there is little pressure to broaden official investigations and ensure genuine accountability.

But, while grassroots pressure has not worked, money still talks. We need targeted government-led sanctions against the US by civilized countries, including international divestment of capital. Many studies have shown that tying investment to democracy and human rights reform is effective in the developing world. There is no reason why it can’t be effective against the world’s superpower.

We also need an internationally coordinated strategy for prosecuting war criminals at the top and further down the chain of command – individual countries pressing charges, as Italy and France have done. Although the United States is not a signatory to the statute that established the International Criminal Court, violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions are war crimes for which anyone – potentially even the US president – may be tried in any of the other 193 countries that are parties to the conventions. The whole world can hunt these criminals down.

An outlaw America is a global problem that threatens the rest of the international community. If this regime gets away with flouting international law, what is to prevent the next administration – or this administration, continuing under its secret succession plan in the event of an emergency – from going further and targeting its political opponents at home and abroad?

We Americans are either too incapable, or too dysfunctional, to help ourselves right now. Like drug addicts or the mentally ill who refuse treatment, we need our friends to intervene. So remember us as we were in our better moments, and take action to save us – and the world – from ourselves.

Maybe then I can fall in love with my country again.

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From Global Research

by Stephen Lendman

May 27, 2008

It’s called “Plan Mexico,” or more formally the “Merida Initiative,” and here’s the scheme. It’s to do for Mexicans what Plan Colombia has done to that nation since 1999, and, in fact, much earlier. Since then, billions have gone for the following:

— to establish a US military foothold in the country;

— mostly to fund US weapons, chemical and other corporate profiteers; it’s a long-standing practice; in fact, a 1997 Pentagon document affirms that America’s military will “protect US interests and investments;” in Colombia, it’s to control its valuable resources; most importantly oil and natural gas but also coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, silver, emeralds, copper and more; it’s also to crush worker resistance, eliminate unions, target human rights and peasant opposition groups, and make the country a “free market” paradise inhospitable to people;

— it funds a brutish military as well; already, over 10,000 of its soldiers have been trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) – aka the School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, Georgia; its graduates are infamous as human rights abusers, drugs traffickers, and death squad practitioners; they were well schooled in their “arts” by the nation most skilled in them;

— it lets Colombia arm and support paramilitary death squads; they’re known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC); for more than a decade, they’ve terrorized Colombians and are responsible for most killings and massacres in support of powerful western and local business interests;

— it funds drug eradication efforts, but only in FARC-EP and ELN areas; government-controlled ones are exempt; trafficking is big business; laundering drugs money reaps huge profits for major US and regional banks; the CIA has also been linked to the trade for decades, especially since the 1980s; after Afghanistan’s invasion and occupation, opium harvests set records – mostly from areas controlled by US-allied “warlords;” the Taliban’s drug eradication program was one reason it was targeted; Colombia’s drug eradication is horrific; it causes ecological devastation; crop and forest destruction; lives and livelihoods lost; large areas chemically contaminated; bottom line of the program – record amounts of Colombian cocaine reach US and world markets; trafficking is more profitable than ever; so is big business thanks to paramilitary terror;

— it’s to topple the FARC-EP and ELN resistance groups; Latin American expert James Petras calls the former the “longest standing (since 1964), largest peasant-based guerrilla (resistance) movement in the world;” it’s also to weaken Hugo Chavez, other regional populist leaders and groups, and destabilize their countries; and

— it supports the “Uribe doctrine;” it’s in lockstep with Washington; its policies are hard right, corporate-friendly and militarized for enforcement.

Plan Colombia turned the country into a dependable, profitable narco-state. Business is better than ever. Violence is out of control and human rights abuses are appalling.

It gets worse. Two-thirds of Columbians are impoverished. Over 2.5 million peasant and urban slum dwellers have been displaced. Thousands of trade unionists have been murdered (more than anywhere else in the world), and many more thousands of peasants, rural teachers, and peasant and indigenous leaders have as well. Paramilitary land seizures are commonplace. Colombian latifundistas profit hugely. Wealth concentration is extreme and growing. Corruption infests the government. Many thousands in desperation are leaving. Colombia’s “democracy” is a sham. So is Mexico’s. Plan Mexico will make it worse. That’s the whole idea, and it’s part of the secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership – aka the North American Union.

It’s planned behind closed doors – to militarize and annex the continent. Corporate giants are in charge, mostly US ones. The idea is for an unregulated open field for profit. The Bush administration, Canada and Mexico support it. Things are moving toward implementation. Three nations will become one. National sovereignty eliminated. Worker rights as well. Opposition is building, but moves are planned to quash it. That’s the militarization part.

Business intends to win this one. People are to be exploited, not helped. That’s why it’s kept secret. The idea is to agree on plans, inform legislatures minimally about them, get SPP passed, then implement it with as few of its disturbing details known in hopes once they are they’ll be too late to reverse.

SPP is ugly, ominous and hugely people destructive. Hundreds of millions in three countries will be affected. Others in the region as well. Plan Mexico is a contribution to the scheme. Below is what we know about it.

Plan Mexico – Exploitation Writ Large

The plan was first announced in October 2007 as a “regional security cooperation initiative.” It’s to provide $1.4 billion in aid (over three years) for Mexico and Central America on the pretext of fighting drugs trafficking and organized crime linked to it. FY 2008 calls for $550 million for starters with about 10% of it for Central America.

In fact, Plan Mexico is part of SPP’s grand scheme to militarize the continent, let corporate predators exploit it, and keep people from three countries none the wiser. Most aid will go to Mexico’s military and police forces with its major portion earmarked back to US defense contractors for equipment, training and maintenance. It’s how these schemes always work.

This one includes a menu of security allocations, administrative functions, and special needs like software, forensics equipment, database compilations, plus plenty more for friendly pockets to keep our Mexican cohorts on board.

After failing on May 15, House passage will likely follow the Senate’s approval on May 22 – below the radar. It’s one of many appropriations tucked into the latest Iraq/Afghanistan supplemental funding request, and its purpose is just as outlandish. It will militarize Mexico without deploying US troops. It will also open the country for plunder, privatize everything including state-owned oil company PEMEX, give Washington a greater foothold there, and get around the touchy military issue by allowing in Blackwater paramilitaries instead to work with Mexican security forces.

Only privatizing PEMEX is in doubt thanks to immense citizen opposition. Thousands of “brigadistas” were in the streets, protesting outside the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, as lawmakers considered ending PEMEX state-control. They paralyzed debate and brought it to a halt – temporarily putting off a final resolution of this very contentious issue. Big Oil wants it. Most Mexicans don’t. The battle continues. Mexico’s military may get involved.

The US State Department describes them as follows:

— ….”impunity and corruption (in Mexico’s security forces are) problems, particularly at the state and local levels. The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings; kidnappings; physical abuse; poor and overcrowded prison conditions; arbitrary arrests and detention; corruption, inefficiency, and lack of transparency in the judicial system; (coerced) confessions….permitted as evidence in trials; criminal intimidation of journalists leading to self-censorship; corruption at all levels of government; domestic violence against women (often with impunity); violence, including killings, against women; trafficking in persons; social and economic discrimination against indigenous people; and child labor.”

Mexico’s military fares little better with promises Plan Mexico will worsen it. President Calderon now deploys troops around the country. People fear them when they come. They’re purportedly against drugs traffickers, but that’s mostly cover. Their real purpose may be sinister – a possible dress rehearsal for martial law when SPP is implemented.

Mexican soldiers are hard line. Their reputation is unsavory. People justifiably fear them. They commit flagrant human rights abuses and get away with them. The major media even report them. The New York Times, CNN, BBC, USA Today and others cite evidence of rape, torture, killings, other human rights abuses, corruption, extortion, and ties to drugs traffickers. Little is done to stop it. Government and military spokespersons often aren’t available for comment. They’re part of the problem, not the solution. Plan Mexico promises more of the same and then some. Billions from Washington back it.

Social protests in the country already are criminalized. Hundreds are filling prisons. Many languish there for years. Labor and social activists are most vulnerable. Injustice and grinding poverty motivate them. Plan Mexico ups the ante. Things are about to get worse.

Militarizing society is toxic. Police state enforcement follows. Accountability disappears. The rule of law no longer applies. Plan Mexico assures it. So does SPP for the continent. In classic doublespeak, the White House claims it will “advance the productivity and competitiveness of our nations and help to protect our health, safety and environment.” Its real purpose is to annex a continent, destroy its democratic remnants, lock in hard line enforcement, and secure it for capital.

SPP Backdrop of Plan Mexico

A detailed SPP explanation can be found on the 2007 article link. It’s titled The Militarization and Annexation of North America – http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6359

Plan Mexico is part of SPP. It will militarize and annex the continent. It was formerly launched at a March 23, 2005 meeting in Waco, Texas attended by George Bush, Mexico’s President Vincente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin. They forged a tripartite partnership for greater US, Canadian and Mexican economic, political, social and security integration. Secretive working groups were formed to accomplish it – to devise non-negotiable agreements to be binding on all three nations.

Details are hidden. No public input is permitted. Pro forma legislative voting is approaching. It will try to avoid a NAFTA-type battle. Legislatures aren’t being fully informed. The worst of SPP is secret. It’s not a treaty, and the idea is to pass it below the radar and avoid a protracted public debate.

What’s known so far is disturbing, and considerable opposition has arisen but thus far too inadequate to matter. SPP, Plan Mexico, and a final continent-wide plan amount to a corporate coup d’etat against three sovereign states and hundreds of millions of people. It’s to erase national borders, merge three nations into one under US control, and remove all barriers to trade and capital flows. It’s also to militarize the continent, create a fortress-North America security zone, and have in place police state laws for enforcement. Billions will fund it. All for corporate gain. Nothing for public welfare.

SPP takes NAFTA and the “war on terrorism” to the next level en route to extending it further for more corporate plunder. It’s based on outlandish notions – that doing business, protecting national security, and securing “public welfare” require tough new measures in a very threatening world.

SPP bolsters US control. It enhances corporate power, quashes civil liberties, erases public welfare, and creates an open field for plunder free from regulatory restraints. It’s being plotted behind closed doors. A series of summits and secret meetings continue with the latest one in New Orleans from April 22 to 24.

Three presidents attended and were met by vocal street protests. They convened a “People’s Summit” and also held workshops to:

— inform people how destructive SPP is;

— strengthen networking and organizational ties against it;

— maintain online information about their activities;

— promote their efforts and build added support; and

— affirm their determination to continue resisting a hugely repressive corporate-sponsored agenda. Opponents call it Nafta on steroids.

Business-friendly opposition also exists. Prominent is a “Coalition to Block the North American Union.” The Conservative Caucus backs it. It has a “NAU War Room.” It’s the “headquarters of THE national campaign to expose and halt America’s absorption into a ‘North American Union (NAU)’ with Canada and Mexico.” It opposes building “a massive, continental ‘NAFTA Superhighway.’ “

It has congressional allies, and on January 2007 Rep. Virgil Goode and six co-sponsors introduced House Concurrent Resolution 40. It expresses “the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in (building a NAFTA) Superhighway System or enter into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada.”

The April summit reaffirmed SPP’s intentions – to create a borderless North America, dissolve national sovereignty, put corporate giants in control, and assure big US ones get most of it. Militarism is part of it. It’s the reason for fortress-North America under US command. The US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) was established in October 2002 to do it. It has air, land and sea responsibility for the continent regardless of Posse Comitatus limitations that no longer apply or sovereign borders easily erased.

Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also have a large role. So does the FBI, CIA, all US spy agencies, militarized state and local police, National Guard forces, and paramilitary mercenaries like Blackwater USA. They’re headed anywhere on the continent with license to operate as freely here as in Iraq and New Orleans post-Katrina. They’ll be able to turn hemispheric streets into versions of Baghdad and make them unfit to live on if things come to that.

SPP maintains a web site. It’s “key accomplishments” since August 2007 are updated on it as of April 22, 2008. Its details can be accessed from the following link:

http://www.spp.gov/pdf/key_accomplishments_since_august_2007.pdf

It lists principles agreed to; bilateral deals struck; negotiations concluded; study assessments released; agreements on the “Free Flow of Information;” law enforcement activities; efforts related to intellectual property, border and long-haul trucking enforcement; import licensing procedures; food and product safety issues; energy (with special focus on oil); water as well; infrastructure development; emergency management; and much more. It’s all laid out in deceptively understated tones to hide its continental aim – enhanced corporate exploitation with as little public knowledge as possible.

Militarization will assure it, and consider one development up North. On February 14, 2008, the US and Canada agreed to allow American troops inside Canada. Canadians were told nothing or that the agreement was reached in 2002. Neither was it discussed in Congress or the Canadian House of Commons. It’s for “bilateral integration” of military command structures in areas of immigration, law enforcement, intelligence, or whatever else the Pentagon or Washington wishes. Overall, it’s part of the “war on terror” and militarizing the continent to make it “safer” for business and be prepared for any civilian opposition.

Congress may soon pass SPP, but with no knowledge of its worst provisions kept secret. It’s to assure enough congressional support makes it law. Nonetheless, federal, state and local opposition is building. It ranges from private activism to vocal lawmakers. In 2008, a dozen or more states passed resolutions against SPP. Around 20 others did it in 2007. Congress began debating it last year with opposition raised on various grounds – open borders, unchecked immigration, a NAFTA Superhighway System, and the idea of giving unregulated Mexican trucks free access to US roads and cities.

There’s also talk of replacing three national currencies with an “Amero.” Unfortunately, little is heard about trashing the Constitution or giving corporate bosses free reign. There’s even less talk about a militarized continent against dissent. SPP is a “new world order.” Companies are plotting to get it. People better hope they don’t. Disruptive opposition might derail them. It’s building but needs more resonance to matter. Time is short and slipping away. These schemers mean business. They want our future. We can’t afford to lose it.


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening any time.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9059

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman

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From Narcosphere

Plan Mexico Passed

It’s official: Congress has approved Plan Mexico.

The House of Representatives approved the Merida Initiative, also known as Plan Mexico, last week by a vote of 256-166. Excelsior reports that 244 Democrats and 32 Republicans voted for the bill and 7 democrats and 159 Republicans voted against it. The Senate approved a slightly different version today, although the specifics of the Senate version are still unavailable.

While Pres. George Bush requested $1.4 billion for Plan Mexico over a period of three years, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) proposed a bill that would authorize up to $1.6 billion. Since Plan Mexico passed, legislative analysts say it’s unclear what will come of Berman’s archaic authorization bill, which is currently languishing in the House.

While Bush requested $500 million in funding for Plan Mexico in 2008, the House approved $400 million over the next two years, and the Senate approved $350 million. Analysts expected deeper cuts to Bush’s proposal, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Mexican Ambassador to the US Arturo Sarukhan rallied at the last minute, using the recent murder of Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez, chief of Mexico’s national police force, the infamous Federal Preventative Police, as a pretext to argue for more funding for Mexico’s War on Drugs. Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez was almost certainly killed by a drug cartel.

Plan Mexico will provide resources, equipment, and training to the Mexican government, police, and military. It will not give Mexico liquid funds. The US military, government agencies such as USAID, and US defense contractors such as mercenary firms and weapons manufacturers will receive funding to carry out Plan Mexico, Plan Mexico is yet another bill to line the pockets of the military industrial complex.

As passed by the House, Plan Mexico will provide $116.5 million over the next two years for training and equipment for the Mexican military, and for “strengthening of military-to-military cooperation between the United States and Mexico.” Bush’s request included eight helicopters and two airplanes for the Mexico military. While funding in this area was cut, Mexico can still expect a couple of new helicopters and/or airplanes.

While Plan Mexico specifically targets drug cartels, the initiative’s counterpart in Colombia, Plan Colombia, demonstrates that drug war equipment and training will inevitably be used against activists and insurgent organizations. Mexico has already demonstrated its propensity to use deadly drug war equipment donated by the US against insurgents and civilians. Following the Zapatista uprising in 1994, the Mexican military strafed Chiapan indigenous communities using helicopters donated by the US to combat drug trafficking and production.

Plan Mexico also includes $210 million over two years to expand the US’s draconian anti-immigrant policy to Mexico’s side of the border. Mexico is a portal to the US for undocumented Central American immigrants. The hope is that Mexico will detect and stop undocumented immigrants in Mexico before they reach the US. The $210 million will be used to modernize and expand Mexico’s immigration database and document verification system, establish secure communications for Mexican national security agencies, procure “non-intrusive” inspection equipment, and support interdiction efforts as well as institution building. $5 million of this money will be used to deploy US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agents to Mexico to support and train their Mexican counterparts. Most alarmingly, at least $168 million of this funding is unspecified, meaning that the Democrat-controlled Congress waived its right to determine legislative policy in favor of giving Bush a free hand in Mexico’s immigration policies and police procedures.

House Democrats’ overwhelming support for Plan Mexico in the face of overwhelming Republican opposition is yet another example of Democrats’ refusal to stand up to George Bush, despite their mandate to do so as a result of the 2006 elections.

George Bush proposed Plan Mexico at the end of 2007 for two very apparent reasons:

Plan Mexico is an indispensable component of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP). Known as “NAFTA on steroids” or “NAFTA plus Homeland Security,” the SPP “calls for maximization of North American economic competitiveness in the face of growing exports from India and China; expedited means of resource (oil, natural gas, water, forest products) extraction; secure borders against ‘organized crime, international terrorism, and illegal migration;’ standardized regulatory regimes for health, food safety, and the environment; integrated energy supply through a comprehensive resource security pact (primarily about ensuring that the US receives guaranteed flows of the oil in light of ‘Middle East insecurity and hostile Latin American regimes’); and coordination amongst defense forces.”

“Over 300 policies and agreements have been scheduled and/or implemented to realize these corporate priorities. Some examples of these agreements are the integration of military and police training exercises, cooperation on law enforcement, and the expansion of the North American Aerospace Defense Command into a joint naval and land defense command. This also includes redesign of armed forces for combat overseas and greater cooperation in global wars as part of the ‘external’ defense strategy of the security perimeter.”

The SPP is NOT a legislative proposal; it is a plan hatched by the executive branches of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and overseen by a board of corporate CEO’s. As such, the legislative branches of the three countries will never vote on the SPP as a policy.

  1. Mexican civil society organizations such as the Center for Economic and Political Investigation for Community Action (CIEPAC) in Chiapas oppose the SPP because they believe that “The United States is making it possible to force Mexico and Canada to change their laws, rules, and regulations in order to secure the economic (“prosperity”) and political (“security”) interests of its government and businesses… in order to appropriate our natural resources for themselves and to increase their profits.”
  2. Plan Mexico reflects the effort of one weak president, George Bush, to support another weak president, Felipe Calderon. George Bush can sympathize with Felipe Calderon. He knows what it’s like to steal an election and then have to rule a country with an iron fist while faced with enormous unpopularity. Seeing as though Calderon is one of only two friends George Bush has in Latin America (the other being Colombia’s President Uribe, also the recipient of mind-boggling military funding), George Bush had to act.When Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 despite massive protests against the electoral fraud that brought him to power, one of the first things he did was deploy the military to drug cartel-dominated states in the north, militarizing a large portion of Mexico without legislative approval. Mexicans and US organizations have argued that this strategy is Calderon’s attempt to bolster a weak president with a strong military alliance and warn that it could signal a return to the “dirty war” era. Plan Mexico represents the further militarization of Mexican society without legislative controls because it will provide US resources and training to the Calderon-controlled military without Mexican congressional approval.

Friends of Brad Will, the Center for International Policy, and Witness for Peace have criticized Plan Mexico for dumping more resources and controversial US training into the Mexican military and police. The Mexican military has a history of utilizing paramilitaries to terrorize leftists and communities in resistance. Paramilitaries in Chiapas are currently experiencing a renaissance unseen since the 1997 Acteal massacre that resulted in the violent deaths of 47 civilians, most of them women and children. The police’s report card is no better: in May 2006 police raped and sexually assaulted dozens of women they detained without charge during a protest in San Salvador Atenco against, ironically, police repression of the community. While some police were charged with “lewd conduct,” even these light convictions were overturned. US journalist Brad Will was murdered in October 2006 while working in Oaxaca City. He filmed his own assassination, and his video clearly shows that the shooters are off-duty police and government officials. After a “thorough” investigation, the Mexican government blamed his murder on Oaxacan activists.While Friends of Brad Will and their allies argue that no human rights safeguards will be adequate to justify US funding for Mexican military and police under current circumstances, Amnesty International fought for human rights safeguards to be included in the House version of the bill rather than opposing it outright. The safeguards approved by the House are painfully inadequate. The so-called “safeguards” require that none other than Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice certify that the Mexican military and police have initiated reforms, that serious investigations into the rape of prisoners in San Salvador Atenco and Brad Will’s murder are undertaken by the US and Mexican governments, and that statements obtained through torture not be used in a court of law. The House bill also states that no police or military unit that is corrupt or engages in human rights abuses will receive aid under Plan Mexico, a laughable and unenforceable standard. If Rice is unable to certify progress in human rights and anti-corruption, a mere 25% of military and police funding will be withheld, meaning that the House of Representatives thinks it’s acceptable to give 75% funding to military and police forces even if Condoleezza Rice believes they are corrupt and brutal.

But the problem with human rights safeguards in Plan Mexico isn’t that they’re inadequate. Legislators included human rights safeguards in Plan Mexico to make military aid from one brutal right-wing government, the United States, to another brutal right-wing government, Mexico, palatable to the US public. Despite irrefutable proof of systematic human rights violations and torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, the CIA’s use of “extraordinary rendition” to disappear and torture suspects in “black sites,” and unlawful and immoral drugging of deportees with overdoses of dangerous psychotropic drugs, the United States still likes to think of itself as the principal defender of human rights globally. But let’s not fool ourselves; the rest of the world does not share the same rosy view of the US. In an editorial criticizing the human rights safeguards in Plan Mexico as a pretext for further US-mandated structural adjustment in the form of mandatory “judicial and legal reforms,” Mexico’s La Jornada also notes the irony of the US “promoting” human rights in other countries: “The United States’ demand to verify respect for human rights in other nations constitutes a grotesque and absurd pretension, taking into account that, on a global scale, the superpower is the principal violator of such rights.”

But Plan Mexico’s human rights safeguards were never meant to be taken seriously. They’re an excuse to slip in a few US-mandated judicial reforms without Mexican Congress’ initiative nor approval, and more importantly, they allow US lawmakers to sleep soundly at night despite the fact that they’ve just unleashed a nightmare on Mexican citizens.

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    From George Washington’s Blog

    Is the U.S. the World’s Largest State Sponsor of Terrorism?

    Preface: As someone who was born in America and has lived here my whole life, and who loves the ideals and Constitution our country was founded on, it has been a rude and painful awakening to learn about my government’s terrorist acts.

    I believe that, if the American public knew what crimes the government was carrying out, they would not stand for it.

    Four headlines this week make it clear that America may be the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism:

    This is on top of previous stories showing that Cheney is directly funding terrorist groups out of his office, and that the U.S. is funding terrorists all over the world to promote its agenda. See also this, this and this.

    And Americans dressed as Arabs have apparently been setting off car bombs in Iraq (when it was discovered that some of the cars used in Iraqi bombings recently came from the U.S., the cover story seemed to become that American cars were involved in car bombings only because they had recently been stolen from the U.S. and then shipped to Iraq — but does it make sense that Iraqi insurgents would steal cars in the U.S. and ship them all the way to Iraq?)

    Unfortunately, this involvement in terrorism is not unique to the Bush administration:

    No wonder the former director of the National Security Agency said “By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation”(the audio is here).

    So next time the warmongers accuse a foreign country of sponsoring terrorism, remind them that – even if that is true – the U.S. is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.

    In addition to being the leading sponsor of terrorism, the U.S. is also the largest purveyor of disinformation and propaganda in the world. Gangsters like Al Capone would be astonished at how successfully the American public has been fooled as to the nature of their government’s actions.

    As one of the leading American media critics says:

    “Little has been done to address the astonishing ignorance of Americans regarding the US role in the world, [including] the extensive use of terrorism by the United States . . . .”


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    You should be reading a lot about biofuels and famine issues these days… If not, please do. These are subjects that you should become familiar with.

    From Online Journal


    Analysis
    Global famine? Blame the Fed
    By Mike Whitney
    Online Journal Contributing Writer


    Apr 29, 2008, 00:19

    The stakes couldn’t be higher for Ben Bernanke. If the Fed chief decides to lower rates at the end of April, he could be condemning millions of people to a death by starvation.

    The situation is that serious. Food riots have broken out across the globe destabilizing large parts of the developing world. China is experiencing double-digit inflation. Indonesia, Vietnam and India have imposed controls over rice exports. Wheat, corn and soya are at record highs and threatening to go higher still. Commodities are up across the board. The World Food Program is warning of widespread famine if the West doesn’t provide emergency humanitarian relief.

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said it best: “It is a massacre of the world’s poor. The problem is not the production of food. It is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis.”

    Right on, Hugo. There is no shortage of food; it’s just the prices that are making food unaffordable. Bernanke’s “weak dollar” policy has ignited a wave of speculation in commodities which is pushing prices into the stratosphere. The UN is calling the global food crisis a “silent tsunami,” but its more like a flood; the world is awash in increasingly worthless dollars that are making food and raw materials more expensive. Foreign central banks and investors presently hold $6 trillion in dollars and dollar-backed assets, so when the dollar starts to slide, the pain radiates through entire economies. This is especially true in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar. That’s why most of the Gulf States are experiencing runaway inflation. This doesn’t mean that oil depletion, biofuel production, over-population, and giant agribusinesses don’t add to the problem. They do. But the catalyst is the Fed’s monetary policies; that’s the domino that puts the others in motion.

    Here’s Otto Spengler’s summary in his recent article in Asia Times, Rice, Death and the Dollar: “The global food crisis is a monetary phenomenon, an unintended consequence of America’s attempt to inflate its way out of a market failure. There are long-term reasons for food prices to rise, but the unprecedented spike in grain prices during the past year stems from the weakness of the American dollar. Washington’s economic misery now threatens to become a geopolitical catastrophe. . . . The link between the declining parity of the US unit and the rising price of commodities, including oil as well as rice and other wares, is indisputable.

    “Never before in history has hunger become a global threat in a period of plentiful harvests. Global rice production will hit a record of 423 million tons in the 2007-2008 crop year, enough to satisfy global demand. The trouble is that only 7% of the world’s rice supply is exported, because local demand is met by local production. Any significant increase in rice stockpiles cuts deeply into available supply for export, leading to a spike in prices. Because such a small proportion of the global rice supply trades, the monetary shock from the weak dollar was sufficient to more than double its price.” [“Rice, death and the dollar”, By Otto Spengler, Asia Times]

    The US is exporting its inflation by cheapening its currency. Now a field worker in Haiti who earns $2 a day, and spends all of that to feed his family, has to earn twice that amount or eat half as much. No wonder that six people were killed in Port au Prince in the recent food riots. People go crazy when they can’t feed their kids.

    Food and energy prices are sucking the life out of the global economy. Foreign banks and pension funds are trying to protect their investments by diverting dollars into things that will retain their value. That’s why oil is nudging $120 per barrel when it should be in the $70 to $80 range.

    According to Tim Evans, energy analyst at Citigroup in New York, “There’s no supply-demand deficit.” None. In fact suppliers are expecting an oil surplus by the end of this year.

    “The case for lower oil prices is straightforward: The prospect of a deep U.S. recession or even a marked period of slower economic growth in the world’s top energy consumer making a dent in energy consumption. Year to date, oil demand in the U.S. is down 1.9% compared with the same period in 2007, and high prices and a weak economy should knock down U.S. oil consumption by 90,000 barrels a day this year, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.” [“Bears Baffled by Oil Highs,” Gregory Meyer, Wall Street Journal]

    There’s no oil shortage; that’s another ruse. Speculators are simply driving up the price of oil to hedge their bets on the falling dollar. What else can they do, put them in the frozen bond market, or the sinking stock market, or the collapsing housing market? The Fed has gummed up the entire financial system with its low-interest credit scam, now it’s on to commodities where the real pain is just beginning to be felt.

    This is what happens when there’s too many dollars sloshing around the system; they all need a place to rest, and when they do, they create equity bubbles. Sound familiar? Indeed. This is Greenspan’s legacy in a nutshell; the dark specter of Maestro will continue to haunt the world until all the hyper-inflated asset-classes (real estate, bonds, stocks, commodities) return to earth and all the red ink is mopped up. That’ll take time, but Bernanke could make things a lot easier if he accepted some responsibility for the current turmoil and raised rates by 25 basis points. That would show speculators that the Fed was serious about defending the currency, which would send the commodities bubble crashing to earth. Prices would go down overnight.

    But Bernanke won’t raise rates because he doesn’t really give a hoot about the people in Cameroon who have to scavenge through garbage dumps for a few morsels to keep their families alive. Nor does he care about the average American working-stiff who goes into cardiac arrest every time he pulls up to the gas pump. What matters to Bernanke is making sure that his fat cat buddies in the banking establishment get a steady stream of low interest loot, so they can paper over their bad investments and ward off bankruptcy for another day or two. It’s a joke; it was the investment banks that created this mess with their putrid mortgage-backed securities and other debt exotica. Still, in Bernanke’s mind, they are the only ones who really count.

    And don’t expect Bush to step in and save the day either. The “Decider” still believes in the unrestricted activity of the free market, especially when his crooked friends can make a buck on the deal.

    From the Washington Times: “Farmers and food executives appealed fruitlessly to federal officials yesterday for regulatory steps to limit speculative buying that is helping to drive food prices higher. Meanwhile, some Americans are stocking up on staples such as rice, flour and oil in anticipation of high prices and shortages spreading from overseas. Costco and other grocery stores in California reported a run on rice, which has forced them to set limits on how many sacks of rice each customer can buy. Filipinos in Canada are scooping up all the rice they can find and shipping it to relatives in the Philippines, which is suffering a severe shortage that is leaving many people hungry.” [Patrice Hill, Washington Times]

    The Bush administration knows there’s hanky-panky going on, but they just look the other way. It’s Enron all over again — where Ken Lay & Co. scalped the public with utter impunity while regulators sat on the sidelines applauding. Great. Now it’s the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) turn; they’re taking a hands-off approach so Wall Street sharpies make a fortune jacking up the price of everything from soda crackers to toilet bowls.

    “A hearing Tuesday in Washington before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission starts a new round of scrutiny into the popularity of agricultural futures, once a quieter arena that for years was dominated largely by big producers and consumers of crops and their banks trying to manage price risks. The commission’s official stance and that of many of the exchanges, however, is likely to disappoint many consumer groups. The CFTC’s economist plans to state at the hearing that the agency doesn’t believe financial investors are driving up grain prices. Some grain buyers say speculators’ big bets on relatively small grain exchanges, especially recently, are pushing up prices for ordinary consumers. [“Call Goes Out to Rein In Grain Speculators”, Ann Davis]

    “The agency doesn’t believe financial investors are driving up grain prices”?

    Prices have doubled, people are starving, and the Bush troop is still parroting the same worn party-mantra. It’s maddening.

    The US has been gaming the system for decades; sucking up two-thirds of the world’s capital to expand its cache of Cadillac Escalades and flat-screen TVs; giving nothing back in return except mortgage-backed junk, cluster bombs, and crummy green paper. Nothing changes; it only gets worse. But this time its different. The world is now facing the very real prospect of famine on a massive scale because 12 doddering old banksters at the Federal Reserve would rather bail out their sketchy friends than save the lives of starving women and children. Bernanke, with one swipe of the pen, now has an opportunity to send more people to their eternal reward than Bush. If he cut rates, the dollar will fall, commodities will spike, and people will starve. It’s as simple as that.

    Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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    From the blog LiberalPro

    usempire2006.gifI cannot watch the news on television anymore. I am tired of the lies told baldly to my face and the “spin” put on everything that is not in the Empires best interests. That is what we are; an Empire that rules the world in order for the benefit of The United States. Listen further my fellow Americans, when I say for the benefit of the United States, I am not talking about the people of the United States, rather I am talking about those that own and manage the United States. These people are the people in our government, our corporate leaders, and our mega-wealthy ruling class. The people of the United States are no more or less important to these people than anyone else in this world save for the fact that we pull the lever to put them in power.

    Today that right is not even guaranteed. If this government can’t convince us with their fear and propaganda along with their wars and economic power over their own citizen’s to vote the cabal’s way, why… they’ll just change the vote! When there is no paper trail to visually verify the vote what are we left with, the word of the government official that tallied up the score? We saw this in our last two Presidential elections, will we see it again? Of course we will, for nothing has changed. We can’t even predict primaries on poll data; do you think something’s wrong here?

    The people that promise to change the status quo are run out of the election by collusion between the corporate-run media and the corporate financed candidates. No one wishing to change the way this country runs can get equal footing with these “sponsored” candidates. What change will any of them bring? They will do as they are told and we will continue to have an Empire, again, not of the people for the people, but for the ones that control this nation’s destiny, and believe me brother, it’s not you or me. To these people that run this Empire we are a nuisance that they must deal with from time to time. We are allowed to believe that we are free by voting for one of them. Once in a blue moon we will actually get to vote for someone that is not part of the Empire, but that is a rare occurrence. We are the serfs of this Empire, back to being plundered by the “Robber Barons” and most people in this nation aren’t even aware of it.

    This Global War on Terrorism is a lie. There are no Al Qaeda cells in every city in America and in over 60 countries in the world. This is the same “Red Scare” tactic our government has used so well since the end of the last World War. It is propaganda, pure bullshit. Deep in your hearts you know it’s true. To say or think differently would be seen as anti-patriotic. Well chew on this for awhile, why has this country been instrumental in bringing down close to 50 governments of other nations? Why did we finance the overthrow of Hugo Chavez in 2002 only to see his people rise up and re-install him? Why is Hugo Chavez, a man that works for the poorest of his country, so savagely attacked by the Empire? The reason is because like Fidel Castro, he won’t play the Washington game. He won’t sell his nation’s resources to the Empire for pennies on the dollar. Is he a threat to you? Is he a threat to any average American? The answer is obvious, but he is a threat to the multi-national oil cartel. The people controlling this Empire’s government will tell you any number of lies to watch out for their interests.

    Why are we fighting in Iraq? Were we ever afraid of Saddam? Give me a break. We are fighting over there to pay for Lockheed-Martin and all the other defense contractors’ budgets. We are in Iraq to give the Empire military bases to control the Persian Gulf and to assert our presence to insure our interests. We care not for the people of Iraq, nor do we care for the soldiers that die on command. This is just another example of Empire at its most malicious. Killing, according to some estimates, over a million Iraqi’s and almost 4,000 American soldiers that die on the ground, many soldiers who died in the air on a medi-vac didn’t make the count. We have destroyed their infrastructure and now pay Halliburton, Cheney’s company to put the country back together with no-bid contracts.

    We threaten Iran with attack for having the audacity to build a nuclear power reactor. The Empire which once overthrew their infant democracy and re-installed the Shah, now tells the people of Iran what they can and cannot do. Meanwhile the Empire is selling nuclear secrets to India and Turkey and is the world’s foremost owner of nuclear weaponry. How insane is this logic? Still, this is the dictatorial nature of the Empire that we let thrive and grow while they scared us with horror stories of “Evil Empires” out to crush us and our “freedoms”. Now we are locked into an Empire that we can’t reign in because they have shredded our Constitution and we have surrendered our rights as citizens.

    In 2006 the American people sent the government a clear and concise message to this government. We elected the opposition party into power in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. We did this on the basis that they would rend the excesses of this administration and stop the war in Iraq. Yet to this day, there have been no meetings of oversight committees that have produced anything of note. Bolton and Miers thumb their noses at the contempt of Congress citation and the Speaker of the House puts out a civil suit. If this Congress had a backbone they would send the Federal Marshall’s to the White House and put them in jail for contempt! This won’t happen, and you want to know why? It’s because the majority of Democrats are a working part of the Empire. The people’s party has been hijacked from the common American by politicians with a median income of $675,000.00 a year in the House and $1.7 Million in the Senate. http://www.opensecrets.org/pressreleases/2008/CongressFinances.3.13.asp

    This, my friends, is what you call an example of “Class War”. In this country we have the rich, the middle-class and the poor. The top 10% of the families in this nation control 71% of its wealth. This means that 90% of the people of this nation share 29% of its wealth. The median income of the Middle-Class is shrinking by $2,000.00 an year as we sell off our industries to countries that provide cheap labor. The individuals that own these industries care not if they stay in America to give its citizens work. We are expendable; the only thing that concerns these huge corporate interests is the bottom line. The Empire exists to serve its masters whether they are Americans or not. This is excessive, ruthless, unchecked capitalism of the worst sort. Unregulated economic barbarism for the influential and wealthy, the divide between the two major political parties has been bridged by wealth. The Unions have been bought off, the politicians work for their corporate masters and the corporate masters work for the American Empire because they are the Empire. We spend more money on the military than all the nations on Earth combined. We have military bases in 130 different countries.

    How did this happen? The truth is that it has been going on for over 60 years. Almost everything our government in Washington tells us is a lie. They are so confident of maintaining power from either party that they hardly disguise the lies that they tell anymore. There is no great political genius waiting in the wings to give our government back to its people. There is no great movement that will restore our Constitution. Those on the left fight amongst themselves and those on the extreme right prepare for survival in a world gone mad. Meanwhile both factions have never been so close on their view of this government. This is underscored by the 9/11 truth movement that has both factions working together to find out what really happened on September 11th and who was involved.

    On Wednesday, March 19th, there will be a mass civil disobedience demonstration on the steps of the Capitol. If you can be there, then be there. If you cannot attend, go to a rally near where you live. The future of this nation is at stake. This means our future is at stake. This monster that has been created must come to an end and this nation must return to its borders and re-join the community of nations. The simple fact is that all Empires fall. Do you want to be here when this one does?

    That’s the way I see it.

    posted by Timothy V. Gatto @ 8:25 PM

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