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I think it is important that we continue to draw attention to Wikileaks and the fact that U.S. and Icelandic governments have been spying on their activities.

Why should we continue to draw attention to them? Because Wikileaks, a non-profit organization, provides the world with documents, videos, and other releases of information that demonstrate and show us the corrupt activities occurring around the world everyday by the very officials we are supposed to trust.

These same officials have incited violence and created terrorism where those things did not exist before. They intimidate and terrorize the poor to pilfer their resources, and hire mercenary armies to kill and maim the innocent. They use weapons of mass destruction. These “officials” are the true scum of the earth and they serve in the military, hold political office, and work in commercial businesses.

I will continue to support Wikileaks and I hope that you will too. The information that their group makes available to the world is important and helps in the crusade against injustice, at the very least.

So as Vice-Presiden Biden would say, “This is a big fucking deal” so jump off the apathy wagon and listen up. It’s time to spread the word about Wikileaks and let the world know that there are a couple of countries who are acting like big fat godfathers by sending their fucking “hit men” out to harass and threaten them.

EDITORIAL:U.S. must stop spying on WikiLeaks

Fri Mar 26 08:44:46 UTC 2010

Over the last few years, WikiLeaks has been the subject of hostile acts by security organizations. In the developing world, these range from the appalling assassination of two related human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March (an armed attack on my compound there in 2007 is still unattributed) to an unsuccessful mass attack by Chinese computers on our servers in Stockholm, after we published photos of murders in Tibet. In the West this has ranged from the overt, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, threatening to prosecute us unless we removed a report on CIA activity in Kosovo, to the covert, to an ambush by a “James Bond” character in a Luxembourg car park, an event that ended with a mere “we think it would be in your interest to…”.

Developing world violence aside, we’ve become used to the level of security service interest in us and have established procedures to ignore that interest.

But the increase in surveillance activities this last month, in a time when we are barely publishing due to fundraising, are excessive. Some of the new interest is related to a film exposing a U.S. massacre we will release at the U.S. National Press Club on April 5.

The spying includes attempted covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland on Monday night.

I, and others were in Iceland to advise Icelandic parliamentarians on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a new package of laws designed to protect investigative journalists and internet services from spying and censorship. As such, the spying has an extra poignancy.

The possible triggers:

  • our ongoing work on a classified film revealing civilian casualties occurring under the command of the U.S, general, David Petraeus.
  • our release of a classified 32 page US intelligence report on how to fatally marginalize WikiLeaks (expose our sources, destroy our reputation for integrity, hack us).
  • our release of a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik reporting on contact between the U.S. and the U.K. over billions of euros in claimed loan guarantees.
  • pending releases related to the collapse of the Icelandic banks and Icelandic “oligarchs”.

We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away. One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr. What does that mean? We don’t know. But as you will see, other events are clear.

U.S. sources told Icelandic state media’s deputy head of news, that the State Department was aggressively investigating a leak from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. I was seen at a private U.S Embassy party at the Ambassador’s residence, late last year and it is known I had contact with Embassy staff, after.

On Thursday March 18, 2010, I took the 2.15 PM flight out of Reykjavik to Copenhagen–on the way to speak at the SKUP investigative journalism conference in Norway. After receiving a tip, we obtained airline records for the flight concerned. Two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials checked in for my flight at 12:03 and 12:06 under the name of “US State Department”. The two are not recorded as having any luggage.

Iceland doesn’t have a separate security service. It folds its intelligence function into its police forces, leading to an uneasy overlap of policing and intelligence functions and values.

On Monday 22, March, at approximately 8.30pm, a WikiLeaks volunteer, a minor, was detained by Icelandic police on a wholly insignificant matter. Police then took the opportunity to hold the youth over night, without charge–a highly unusual act in Iceland. The next day, during the course of interrogation, the volunteer was shown covert photos of me outside the Reykjavik restaurant “Icelandic Fish & Chips”, where a WikiLeaks production meeting took place on Wednesday March 17–the day before individuals operating under the name of the U.S. State Department boarded my flight to Copenhagen.

Our production meeting used a discreet, closed, backroom, because we were working on the analysis of a classified U.S. military video showing civilian kills by U.S. pilots. During the interrogation, a specific reference was made by police to the video—which could not have been understood from that day’s exterior surveillance alone. Another specific reference was made to “important”, but unnamed Icelandic figures. References were also made to the names of two senior journalists at the production meeting.

Who are the Icelandic security services loyal to in their values? The new government of April 2009, the old pro-Iraq war government of the Independence party, or perhaps to their personal relationships with peers from another country who have them on a permanent intelligence information drip?

Only a few years ago, Icelandic airspace was used for CIA rendition flights. Why did the CIA think that this was acceptable? In a classified U.S. profile on the former Icelandic Ambassador to the United States, obtained by WikiLeaks, the Ambassador is praised for helping to quell publicity of the CIA’s activities.

Often when a bold new government arises, bureaucratic institutions remain loyal to the old regime and it can take time to change the guard. Former regime loyalists must be discovered, dissuaded and removed. But for the security services, that first vital step, discovery, is awry. Congenitally scared of the light, such services hide their activities; if it is not known what security services are doing, then it is surely impossible to know who they are doing it for.

Our plans to release the video on April 5 proceed.

We have asked relevant authorities in the Unites States and Iceland to explain. If these countries are to be treated as legitimate states, they need to start obeying the rule of law. Now.

—Julian Assange (editor@wikileaks.org)

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As U.S. military troops swarmed in large numbers into Haiti after the January 12, 2010 earthquake one had to wonder if more was going on..

Supplies and medicines sat on runways and were slow to get to the needy Haitian people and several countries accused the U.S. military of holding up the planes.

Good ole’ George W. Bush and his pal Bill Clinton joined together, staring at us from U.S. television screens asking for all Americans to please send monies to help the Haitian people.

How fascinating that there seemed to be more interest in the Haitian crisis than the Katrina catastrophe that occurred on “Homeland” soil. Does the American political elite really care that much about the Haitian people??

I doubt it. Human compassion isn’t their style – just the pretense of it.

Looks to me like Haiti is about to become a part of the American Empire.

Well, read and find out what F. William Engdahl says in his article The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti. Engdahl (among others) offers his opinion as to why the U.S. is so interested in Haiti:

The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti

by F. William Engdahl
Global Research, January 30, 2010

President becomes UN Special Envoy to earthquake-stricken Haiti.

A born-again neo-conservative US business wheeler-dealer preacher claims Haitians are condemned for making a literal ‘pact with the Devil.’

Venezuelan, Nicaraguan, Bolivian, French and Swiss rescue organizations accuse the US military of refusing landing rights to planes bearing necessary medicines and urgently needed potable water to the millions of Haitians stricken, injured and homeless.

Behind the smoke, rubble and unending drama of human tragedy in the hapless Caribbean country, a drama is in full play for control of what geophysicists believe may be one of the world’s richest zones for hydrocarbons-oil and gas outside the Middle East, possibly orders of magnitude greater than that of nearby Venezuela.

Haiti, and the larger island of Hispaniola of which it is a part, has the geological fate that it straddles one of the world’s most active geological zones, where the deepwater plates of three huge structures relentlessly rub against one another—the intersection of the North American, South American and Caribbean tectonic plates. Below the ocean and the waters of the Caribbean, these plates consist of an oceanic crust some 3 to 6 miles thick, floating atop an adjacent mantle. Haiti also lies at the edge of the region known as the Bermuda Triangle, a vast area in the Caribbean subject to bizarre and unexplained disturbances.

This vast mass of underwater plates are in constant motion, rubbing against each other along lines analogous to cracks in a broken porcelain vase that has been reglued. The earth’s tectonic plates typically move at a rate 50 to 100 mm annually in relation to one another, and are the origin of earthquakes and of volcanoes. The regions of convergence of such plates are also areas where vast volumes of oil and gas can be pushed upwards from the Earth’s mantle. The geophysics surrounding the convergence of the three plates that run more or less directly beneath Port-au-Prince make the region prone to earthquakes such as the one that struck Haiti with devastating ferocity on January 12.

A relevant Texas geological project

Leaving aside the relevant question of how well in advance the Pentagon and US scientists knew the quake was about to occur, and what Pentagon plans were being laid before January 12, another issue emerges around the events in Haiti that might help explain the bizarre behavior to date of the major ‘rescue’ players—the United States, France and Canada. Aside from being prone to violent earthquakes, Haiti also happens to lie in a zone that, due to the unusual geographical intersection of its three tectonic plates, might well be straddling one of the world’s largest unexplored zones of oil and gas, as well as of valuable rare strategic minerals.

The vast oil reserves of the Persian Gulf and of the region from the Red Sea into the Gulf of Aden are at a similar convergence zone of large tectonic plates, as are such oil-rich zones as Indonesia and the waters off the coast of California. In short, in terms of the physics of the earth, precisely such intersections of tectonic masses as run directly beneath Haiti have a remarkable tendency to be the sites of vast treasures of minerals, as well as oil and gas, throughout the world.

Notably, in 2005, a year after the Bush-Cheney Administration de facto deposed the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Baptiste Aristide, a team of geologists from the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas began an ambitious and thorough two-phase mapping of all geological data of the Caribbean Basins. The project is due to be completed in 2011. Directed by Dr. Paul Mann, it is called “Caribbean Basins, Tectonics and Hydrocarbons.” It is all about determining as precisely as possible the relation between tectonic plates in the Caribbean and the potential for hydrocarbons—oil and gas.

Notably, the sponsors of the multi-million dollar research project under Mann are the world’s largest oil companies, including Chevron, ExxonMobil, the Anglo-Dutch Shell and BHP Billiton.[1] Curiously enough, the project is the first comprehensive geological mapping of a region that, one would have thought, would have been a priority decades ago for the US oil majors. Given the immense, existing oil production off Mexico, Louisiana, and the entire Caribbean, as well as its proximity to the United States – not to mention the US focus on its own energy security – it is surprising that the region had not been mapped earlier. Now it emerges that major oil companies were at least generally aware of the huge oil potential of the region long ago, but apparently decided to keep it quiet.

Rest of article, Cuba’s Super-giant find, here. (Map of mineral and oil reserves on Haiti with article)

Read more at Marguerite Laurent’s website, particularly article Oil in Haiti – Economic Reasons for the UN/US occupation.

Haiti Has Larger Oil Reserves than Venezuela

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Indigenous activists battle for their own lives, and others, on US borders

Mike Wilson, Tohono O’odham, replaces missing water tanks for migrants on the southern border, while Mohawk publisher Kahentinetha Horn recovers on the northern border

By Brenda Norrell

BABOQUIVARI DISTRICT, Arizona – Mike Wilson, Tohono O’odham, has replaced two of his missing humanitarian water stations on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Wilson was ordered by Baboquivari District Chair Veronica Harvey to remove his water stations in August.

“No one should die for want of a cup of water,” Wilson said, after replacing two of the water stations that vanished last week. Wilson said he will continue to pursue dialogue with Tohono O’odham officials, but he will not back down on the right of the dying to water.Wilson did not remove his water tanks as ordered, but respectfully declined when the district order was delivered by tribal police. However, upon return to the water stations in Baboquivari District in September, he found three of the stations had been removed. Wilson replaced two of the stations.

Wilson pointed out the large number of migrants dying here in the desert. By US Border Patrol statistics, 83 migrants died during the first half of 2008 on the Tohono O’odham Nation. However, Wilson says the number is actually greater. Wilson maintains the water stations with Tohono O’odham David Garcia. Wilson also searches the O’odham desert for bodies, like two Mayan women from Guatemala who died walking to a better life with their children. The children survived.

During the Indigenous Peoples Border Summit of the Americas in 2006 and 2007, Wilson and other Tohono O’odham were joined by Mohawks from the north to demand a halt to the militarization of the US borders. Mohawks, including Kahentinetha Horn, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, observed the arrests of Indigenous Peoples on Tohono O’odham land and were outraged at the treatment of Indian people.

Then, in June, Kahentinetha was beaten by Canadian border guards and suffered a heart attack in a police stress hold. Now, recovering, Kahentinetha, who filed suit, said the stress hold was intensified as she was having a heart attack in police custody in a deliberate attempt to kill her.

Like Wilson, Kahentinetha and Katenies, Mohawk Nation News editor also beaten during the attack by border guards in June, said they will not back down on their demands for a halt to the militarization of their lands, carried out by corporate profiteers under the guise of national security.

On the southern border, Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr., has not made a public statement concerning the demand by Harvey for Wilson to remove his water stations. However, Chairman Norris did testify in Texas concerning the violations of federal law by Homeland Security and the border wall contractor Boeing.

Chairman Norris, testifying to a joint Congressional subcommittee in April, said human bone fragments were found in the tracks of machinery undertaking border wall construction in Arizona. Further, Norris pointed out that Homeland Security violated federal laws which protect endangered species and cultural artifacts.

However, Chairman Norris did not point out that O’odham ancestors were dug up from their graves, and later reburied, on the western portion of Tohono O’odham land in 2007 during border wall construction by Boeing.

Meanwhile, Wilson said he will continue maintaining his water stations, including those in Baboquivari District and one across the international border in Sonora. Mexico.

“It is a crime against humanity,” Wilson said of the Tohono O’odham Nation’s failure to respond with water for the dying.

More at: http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

******************************************************************

LEARN MORE: Humane Borders   http://www.humaneborders.org/

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The information that Ron Paul writes about in this article is as valid today as it was in 2006. Construction on the NAFTA superhighway continues, especially in Texas, but there is not one iota of information in mainstream media about it or the protests against it or the fights to stop it. I’ve talked with people who do not even know that this is an issue or that it even exists. Very sad… We need to keep talking to people about these issues and making them aware. We need to help people to wake up!

Dr. Paul’s Writings: The NAFTA Superhighway

From Ron Paul 2008

Summary:

This superhighway would connect Mexico, the United States, and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and up through Kansas City. This will require coordinated federal and state eminent domain actions on an unprecedented scale, as literally millions of people and businesses could be displaced. The loss of whole communities is almost certain, as planners cannot wind the highway around every quaint town, historic building, or senior citizen apartment for thousands of miles. One principal player is a Spanish construction company, which plans to build the highway and operate it as a toll road. But don’t be fooled: the superhighway proposal is not the result of free market demand, but rather an extension of government-managed trade schemes like NAFTA that benefit politically-connected interests.

By now many Texans have heard about the proposed “NAFTA Superhighway,” which is also referred to as the trans-Texas corridor. What you may not know is the extent to which plans for such a superhighway are moving forward without congressional oversight or media attention.

This superhighway would connect Mexico, the United States, and Canada, cutting a wide swath through the middle of Texas and up through Kansas City. Offshoots would connect the main artery to the west coast, Florida, and northeast. Proponents envision a ten-lane colossus the width of several football fields, with freight and rail lines, fiber-optic cable lines, and oil and natural gas pipelines running alongside.

This will require coordinated federal and state eminent domain actions on an unprecedented scale, as literally millions of people and businesses could be displaced. The loss of whole communities is almost certain, as planners cannot wind the highway around every quaint town, historic building, or senior citizen apartment for thousands of miles.

Governor Perry is a supporter of the superhighway project, and Congress has provided small amounts of money to study the proposal. Since this money was just one item in an enormous transportation appropriations bill, however, most members of Congress were not aware of it.

The proposed highway is part of a broader plan advanced by a quasi-government organization called the “Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America,” or SPP.

The SPP was first launched in 2005 by the heads of state of Canada, Mexico, and the United States at a summit in Waco.

The SPP was not created by a treaty between the nations involved, nor was Congress involved in any way. Instead, the SPP is an unholy alliance of foreign consortiums and officials from several governments. One principal player is a Spanish construction company, which plans to build the highway and operate it as a toll road. But don’t be fooled: the superhighway proposal is not the result of free market demand, but rather an extension of government-managed trade schemes like NAFTA that benefit politically-connected interests.

The real issue is national sovereignty. Once again, decisions that affect millions of Americans are not being made by those Americans themselves, or even by their elected representatives in Congress. Instead, a handful of elites use their government connections to bypass national legislatures and ignore our Constitution– which expressly grants Congress the sole authority to regulate international trade.

The ultimate goal is not simply a superhighway, but an integrated North American Union–complete with a currency, a cross-national bureaucracy, and virtually borderless travel within the Union. Like the European Union, a North American Union would represent another step toward the abolition of national sovereignty altogether.

A new resolution, introduced by Representative Virgil Goode of Virginia, expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should not engage in the construction of a NAFTA superhighway, or enter into any agreement that advances the concept of a North American Union. I wholeheartedly support this legislation, and predict that the superhighway will become a sleeper issue in the 2008 election.

Any movement toward a North American Union diminishes the ability of average Americans to influence the laws under which they must live. The SPP agreement, including the plan for a major transnational superhighway through Texas, is moving forward without congressional oversight– and that is an outrage. The administration needs a strong message from Congress that the American people will not tolerate backroom deals that threaten our sovereignty.

Learn more by reading:

NAFTA Superhighway and North American Union a Scary Reality

Kansas City SmartPort Uncovered

Ports to Plains Trade Corridor

Stop the Trucks.org

MOTRAN. org

The NAFTA Superhighway

Canada Openly Proclaims NAFTA Superhighway

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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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    Speeches And Statements


    Statement on H Res 1194, “Reaffirming the support of the House of Representatives for the legitimate, democratically-elected Government of Lebanon under Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.”

    May 20, 2008

    March to War in Lebanon?

    Madam Speaker I rise in opposition to H. Res. 1194 because it is dangerously interventionist and will likely lead to more rather than less violence in the Middle East.

    I have noticed that this legislation reads eerily similar to a key clause in the 2002 Iraq war bill, H J Res 114, which authorized the use of force.

    The key resolved clause in H. Res. 1194 before us today reads:

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives

    (6) urges–

    (A) the United States Government and the international community to immediately take all appropriate actions to support and strengthen the legitimate Government of Lebanon under Prime Minister Fouad Siniora;

    The Iraq war authorization language from 2002 is strikingly similar, as you can see here:

    (a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–

    (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq ;

    I am concerned that this kind of similarity is intentional and will inevitably result in US military action in Lebanon , or against Syria or Iran .

    I am also concerned over the process of bringing this resolution to the Floor for a vote. I find it outrageous that H. Res. 1194, which calls for more risky US interventionism in the Middle East , is judged sufficiently “non-controversial” to be placed on the suspension calendar for consideration on the House Floor outside of normal order. Have we reached the point where it is no longer controversial to urge the president to use “all appropriate actions” — with the unmistakable implication that force may be used — to intervene in the domestic affairs of a foreign country?

    Mr. Speaker, the Arab League has been mediating the conflict between rival political factions in Lebanon and has had some success in halting the recent violence. Currently, negotiations are taking place in Qatar between the Lebanese factions and some slow but encouraging progress is being made. Regional actors – who do have an interest in the conflict – have stepped up in attempt to diffuse the crisis and reach a peaceful solution, and press reports today suggest that a deal between the rival factions may have been reached. Yet at this delicate stage of negotiations the US House is preparing to pass a very confrontational resolution pledging strong support for one side and condemning competing factions. US threats in this resolution to use “all appropriate actions” to support one faction are in fact a strong disincentive for factions to continue peaceful negotiations and could undermine the successes thus far under Arab League moderation.

    This legislation strongly condemns Iranian and Syrian support to one faction in Lebanon while pledging to involve the United States on the other side. Wouldn’t it be better to be involved on neither side and instead encourage the negotiations that have already begun to resolve the conflict?

    Afghanistan continues to sink toward chaos with no end in sight. The war in Iraq, launched on lies and deceptions, has cost nearly a trillion dollars and more than 4,000 lives with no end in sight. Saber rattling toward Iran and Syria increases daily, including this very legislation. Yet we are committing ourselves to intervene in a domestic political dispute that has nothing to do with the United States.

    This resolution leads us closer to a wider war in the Middle East . It involves the United States unnecessarily in an internal conflict between competing Lebanese political factions and will increase rather than decrease the chance for an increase in violence. The Lebanese should work out political disputes on their own or with the assistance of regional organizations like the Arab League. I urge my colleagues to reject this march to war and to reject H. Res. 1194.

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