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hat tip: Harper’s
by Scott Horton
This is the full text of an exclusive advance feature by Scott Horton that will appear in the March 2010 Harper’s Magazine. The issue will be available on newsstands the week of February 15.
1. “Asymmetrical Warfare”
When President Barack Obama took office last year, he promised to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great.” Toward that end, the president issued an executive order declaring that the extra-constitutional prison camp at Guantánamo Naval Base “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Obama has failed to fulfill his promise. Some prisoners there are being charged with crimes, others released, but the date for closing the camp seems to recede steadily into the future. Furthermore, new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the George W. Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.
Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.
As news of the deaths emerged the following day, the camp quickly went into lockdown. The authorities ordered nearly all the reporters at Guantánamo to leave and those en route to turn back. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declared the deaths “suicides.” In an unusual move, he also used the announcement to attack the dead men. “I believe this was not an act of desperation,” he said, “but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” Reporters accepted the official account, and even lawyers for the prisoners appeared to believe that they had killed themselves. Only the prisoners’ families in Saudi Arabia and Yemen rejected the notion.
Two years later, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which has primary investigative jurisdiction within the naval base, issued a report supporting the account originally advanced by Harris, now a vice-admiral in command of the Sixth Fleet. The Pentagon declined to make the NCIS report public, and only when pressed with Freedom of Information Act demands did it disclose parts of the report, some 1,700 pages of documents so heavily redacted as to be nearly incomprehensible. The NCIS report was carefully cross-referenced and deciphered by students and faculty at the law school of Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and their findings, released in November 2009, made clear why the Pentagon had been unwilling to make its conclusions public. The official story of the prisoners’ deaths was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centerpiece of the report—a reconstruction of the events—was simply unbelievable.
Read more at Harpers
“I Barack Obama do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Before we report this MSM ignored newspiece, a little introduction is in order… from the Constitution:
Article II – The Executive Branch
Section 2 – Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;
A Press Release from THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
January 11, 2010
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COUNCIL OF GOVERNORS
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 1822 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 (Public Law 10-181), and in order to strengthen further the partnership between the Federal Government and State governments to protect our Nation and its people and property, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Council of Governors.
(a) There is established a Council of Governors (Council). The Council shall consist of 10 State Governors appointed by the President (Members), of whom no more than five shall be of the same political party. The term of service for each Member appointed to serve on the Council shall be 2 years, but a Member may be reappointed for additional terms.
(b) The President shall designate two Members, who shall not be members of the same political party, to serve as Co-Chairs of the Council.
Sec. 2. Functions.
The Council shall meet at the call of the Secretary of Defense or the Co-Chairs of the Council to exchange views, information, or advice with the Secretary of Defense; the Secretary of Homeland Security; the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism; the Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement; the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs; the Commander, United States Northern Command; the Chief, National Guard Bureau; the Commandant of the Coast Guard; and other appropriate officials of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, and appropriate officials of other executive departments or agencies as may be designated by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of Homeland Security.
hat tip: Democracy NOW!
AMY GOODMAN: Well, why don’t you start off with a broad overview, as we move into this first anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration, of his term in office?
ALLAN NAIRN: Well, I think Obama should be remembered as a great man because of the blow he struck against white racism, the cultural blow. And he accomplished that on Election Day. That was huge. This is one of the most destructive forces in world history, and by simply—by virtue of becoming president, Obama did it major damage.
But once he became president, by virtue of his actions, just like every US president before him, just like those who ran other great powers, Obama became a murderer and a terrorist, because the US has a machine that spans the globe, that has the capacity to kill, and Obama has kept it set on kill. He could have flipped the switch and turned it off. The President has—turned it off. The President has that power, but he chose not to do so.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean? Explain more fully.
ALLAN NAIRN: Well, the machine. The US spends about half of all—almost half of all the military spending in the entire world, equal to virtually all the other countries combined. More than half of the weapons sold in the world are sold by the United States. The US has more than 700 military bases scattered across dozens of countries. The US is the world’s leading trainer of paramilitaries. The US has a series of courses, from interrogators to generals, that have graduated military people guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity in dozens upon dozens of countries. The US has a series of covert paramilitary forces of its own that get almost no attention. For example, right now in Iran, there are covert US paramilitaries attacking Iran from within, authorized by secret executive order. This was briefly reported, but it dropped from notice. In addition to that, there are the open attacks, the open bombings and invasions. Just in the recent period, the US has done this to Iran—to, I’m sorry, to Iraq, to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Kenya. Currently in the Philippines, there are US troops in action in the south. And you could go on. This is the machine.
And then, in addition, there’s the support for a series of what the RAND Corporation itself—you know, RAND is an extension of the Pentagon—called US support for repressive non-democratic governments and for governments that commit aggression. There are about forty of them that the US backs. And I could run through the list. And the point is, Obama has not cut a single—cut off a single one of these repressive regimes. He has not cut off a single one of the terror forces. He has increased the size of the US Army, increased the size of US Special Forces. He has increased the level of overseas arms sales. In fact, the Pentagon, his Pentagon, was recently bragging about it. The same thing happened under the Clinton administration with then-Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown. He has tuned it up. But you could just run down the list of countries where civilians are being killed and tortured with US weapons, with US money, with US intelligence, with US political green lights.
By RALPH NADER
Those long-hoping, long-enduring members of the liberal intelligentsia are starting to break away from the least-worst mindset that muted their criticisms of Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign.
They still believe that the President is far better than his Republican counterpart would have been. Some still believe that sometime, somewhere, Obama will show his liberal stripes. But they no longer believe they should stay loyally silent in the face of the escalating war in Afghanistan, the near collapse of key provisions in the health insurance legislation, the likely anemic financial regulation bill, or the obeisance to the bailed out Wall Street gamblers. Remember this Administration more easily embraces bonuses for fat cats than adequate investment in public jobs.
Of all the loyalists, among the first to stray was Bob Herbert, columnist for The New York Times. He wondered about his friends telling him that Obama treats their causes and them “as if they have nowhere to go.” Then there was the stalwart Obamaist, the brainy Gary Wills, who broke with Obama over Afghanistan in a stern essay of admonition.
If you read the biweekly compilation of progressive and liberal columnists and pundits in the Progressive Populist, one of my favorite publications, the velvet verbal gloves are coming off.
Jim Hightower writes that “Obama is sinking us into ‘Absurdistan.’” He bewails: “Ihad hoped Obama might be a more forceful leader who would reject the same old interventionist mindset of those who profit from permanent war. But his newly announced Afghan policy shows he is not that leader.”
By Mike Whitney
Hat tip: Global Research
December 25, 2009
Mike Whitney—President Barack Obama recently visited Dover Air Force Base where he was photographed with the flag-draped coffins of soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why did Obama do this and what was your reaction?
Cindy Sheehan–”I think Obama did this as a publicity stunt and used the dead troops (that he was responsible for killing) as props to show that he “cares” about the troops. This stunt was in the middle of the “discussions” about how many more troops to send to Afghanistan (after he has already sent about 35,000).
It made me sick.
MW—On Thursday, on orders from President Obama, the US military launched cruise missile attacks on Yemen which were followed by raids by the Yemeni Security forces. An estimated 120 people were killed. Obama’s actions indicate that he accepts the Bush Doctrine, that he thinks the US has the right to assassinate people without due process on the mere suspicion they may be linked to a terrorist organization. Is Obama right? Does the US need to be more aggressive in the “post 9-11″ world?
Cindy Sheehan—And Obama reiterated this doctrine during his Nobel acceptance speech–which some are calling the “Obama Doctrine” now.
No, I do not agree with these extra-legal executions. I do not agree that the CIA can be jury, judge and executioner in Pakistan and indiscriminately kill people with their drones.
I adamantly disagree with the doctrine of “pre-emptive” strikes or invasions and I don’t agree that they keep Americans “safer” and, even if they did, innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire and we are creating enemies that we will never be able to kill.
by Gerald Warner
hat tip: Telegraph.co.uk
December 8th, 2009
Who needs tanks on the lawn when you have the Environmental Protection Agency? Barack Obama’s use of the EPA to pressurize the Senate to pass his climate change Nuremberg Decrees shows his dictatorial mentality. He wants to override Congress, which is hostile to his climate gobbledygook because it is representative of the American electorate, and sideline the nation’s elected Senators by ruling by decree, courtesy of the EPA. This is a coup d’état.
And what is the justification for this undemocratic action? The allegedly imminent threat from “Anthropogenic Global Warming”. There is always a supposed threat, when tyrants take the stage. The President of the United States has just reduced his moral authority to the level of any Third World dictator heading a “Government of National Emergency”. Fortunately, the world’s leading democracy, which he is trying to subvert, has guarantees of liberty so deeply embedded in its Constitution that US citizens are well placed to fight back.
In the first place, regulation can be challenged in a way that laws cannot. So the EPA’s proposed ruling on so-called “Greenhouse Gases” can be opposed extensively with litigation, to the point that the ruling might not yet be in force when Obama demits office. In the second place, the EPA is funded by Congress. So, if the Agency is being used to bypass or neuter Congress, why should legislators not play hardball and retaliate by cutting off its funding? The EPA may look formidable, but its situation is rather as if Rommel were buying the fuel for his tanks from the Allies.
hat tip: pakalert
The Lafayette County Republican Central Committee put up a message billboard on I-70 near Grain Valley, Missouri.
Russian Military Analysts are reporting to Prime Minister Putin today that US President Barack Obama has issued orders to his Northern Command’s (USNORTHCOM) top leader, US Air Force General Gene Renuart, to “begin immediately” increasing his military forces to 1 million troops by January 30, 2010, in what these reports warn is an expected outbreak of civil war within the United States before the end of winter.
According to these reports, Obama has had over these past weeks “numerous” meetings with his war council about how best to manage the expected implosion of his Nations banking system while at the same time attempting to keep the United States military hegemony over the World in what Russian Military Analysts state is a “last ditch gambit” whose success is “far from certain”.
And to Obama’s “last ditch gambit”, these reports continue, he is to announce in a nationwide address to his people this coming week that he is going to expand the level of US Military Forces in Afghanistan by tens of thousands of troops, while at the same time using the deployment of these soldiers as a “cover” for returning to the United States over 200,000 additional American soldiers from the over 800 bases in over 39 countries they have stationed around the Globe bringing the level of these forces in America to over 1 million, a number the US Military believes will be able to contain the “explosion of violence” expected to roil these peoples when they learn their economy has been bankrupted.
These reports further state that at the same time Obama will be attempting to keep his Nation from violent disintegration, the tens of thousands of additional troops he will send to Afghanistan are to be ordered to Kandahar where the Americans and their NATO allies will begin their final attempt to secure their TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) pipeline, which without the Western Nations, due to their grave lack of alternative energy resources, and being cut off from these vast Central Asian supplies (which both Russia and China are seeking to insure), are warned will totally collapse.
By Paul Craig Roberts
hat tip: opednews.com
It didn’t take the Israel Lobby very long to bring President Obama to heel regarding his prohibition against further illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Obama discovered that a mere American president is powerless when confronted by the Israel Lobby and that the United States simply is not allowed a Middle East policy separate from Israel’s.
Obama also found out that he cannot change anything else either, if he ever intended to do so. The military/security lobby has war and a domestic police state on its agenda, and a mere American president can’t do anything about it.
President Obama can order the Guantanamo torture chamber closed and kidnapping and rendition and torture to be halted, but no one carries out the order.
Essentially, Obama is irrelevant.
President Obama can promise that he is going to bring the troops home, and the military lobby says, “No, you are going to send them to Afghanistan, and in the meantime start a war in Pakistan and maneuver Iran into a position that will provide an excuse for a war there, too. Wars are too profitable for us to let you stop them.” And the mere president has to say, “Yes, Sir!”
Obama can promise health care to 50 million uninsured Americans, but he can’t override the veto of the war lobby and the insurance lobby. The war lobby says its war profits are more important than health care and that the country can’t afford both the “war on terror” and “socialized medicine.”
The insurance lobby says health care has to be provided by private health insurance; otherwise, we can’t afford it.
The war and insurance lobbies rattled their campaign contribution pocketbooks and quickly convinced Congress and the White House that the real purpose of the health care bill is to save money by cutting Medicare and Medicaid benefits, thereby “getting entitlements under control.”
by Tom Burghardt
President Barack Obama instructed Justice Department attorneys to argue last week in San Francisco before Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker, that he must toss out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Shubert et al v. Obama et al lawsuit challenging the secret state’s driftnet surveillance of Americans’ electronic communications.
This latest move by the administration follows a pattern replicated countless times by Obama since assuming the presidency in January: denounce the lawless behavior of his Oval Office predecessor while continuing, even expanding, the reach of unaccountable security agencies that subvert constitutional guarantees barring “unreasonable searches and seizures.” EFF senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston wrote:
“In a Court filing late Friday night, the Obama Administration attempted to dress up in new clothes its embrace of one of the worst Bush Administration positions–that courts cannot be allowed to review the National Security Agency’s massive, well-documented program of warrantless surveillance. In doing so it demonstrated that it will not willingly set limits on its own power and reinforced the need for Congress to step in and reform the so-called ’state secrets’ privilege.”
In June, Judge Walker dismissed EFF’s landmark Hepting v. ATT lawsuit, when he ruled that the telecoms enjoyed immunity from liability after the Democratic-controlled Congress rammed through the despicable FISA Amendments Act (FAA) in July 2008.