• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 21 april 2012

Obama 210


How Obama Became a Civil Libertarian's Nightmare

Obama has expanded and fortified many of the Bush administration's worst policies.
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When Barack Obama took office, he was the civil liberties communities’ great hope. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, pledged to shutter the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and run a transparent and open government. But he has become a civil libertarian’s nightmare: a supposedly liberal president who instead has expanded and fortified many of the Bush administration’s worst policies, lending bipartisan support for a more intrusive and authoritarian federal government.
It started with the 9/11 attacks. Within a week, Congress, including many liberals, gave the White House blanket authority to wage a war on the terrorists. A month after that, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, authorizing many anti-terrorism measure including expanded surveillance. By mid-November, the White House ordered creation of military tribunals to try terrorists who were not U.S. citizens.
Bush quickly expanded covert operations, creating a shadow arrest, interrogation and detention system based at Guantanamo that violated international law and evaded domestic oversight. While the Supreme Court eventually ruled that detainees have some rights, the precedent that the Constitution does not restrict how a president conducts an endless war against a stateless enemy was firmly planted. In response, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union proposedreforms the newly elected president could make. What few anticipated was how he would embrace, expand and institutionalize many of Bush’s war on terror excesses.
President Obama now has power that Bush never had. Foremost is he can (and has) order the killing of U.S. citizens abroad who are deemed terrorists. Like Bush, he has asked the Justice Department to draft secret memos authorizing his actions without going before a federal court or disclosing them. Obama has continued indefinite detentions at Gitmo, but also brought the policy ashore by signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which authorizes the military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone suspected of assisting terrorists, even citizens. That policy, codifying how the Bush treated Jose Padilla, a citizen who was arrested in a bomb plot after landing at a Chicago airport in 2002 and was transferred from civil to military custody, upends the 1878’s Posse Comitatus Act’s ban on domestic military deployment.
Meanwhile, more than a decade after the 9/11 attacks, Washington’s wartime posture has trickled down into many areas of domestic activity—even as some foreign policy experts say the world is a much safer place than it was 20 years ago, as measured by the growth in free-market economies and democratic governments. Domestic law enforcement has been militarized—as most visibly seen by the tactics used against the Occupy protests and also againstsuspected illegal immigrants, who are treated with brute force and have limited access to judicial review before being deported.
One of Bush’s biggest civil liberties breaches, spying on virtually all Americans via their telecommunicationsstarting in 2003, also has been expanded. Congress authorized the effort in 2006. Two years later, it granted legal immunity to the telecom firms helping Bush—a bill Obama voted for. The National Security Agency is now building its largest data processing center ever, which Wired.com’s James Bamforth reports will go beyond the public Internet to grab data but also reach password-protected networks. The federal government continues to require that computer makers and big Web sites provide access for domestic surveillance purposes. More crucially, the NSA is increasingly relying on private firms to mine data, because, unlike the government, it does not need a search warrant. The Constitution only limits the government searches and seizures.
The government’s endless wartime footing is also seen in its war on whistleblowers. Obama has continued cases brought by Bush, such as going after the "leaker" in the warrantless wiretapping story broken by the New York Times in 2005, as well as the WikiLeaks case, prosecution of Bradley Manning, and others for allegedly mishandling classified materials related to the war on terrorism. Its suppression of war-related information given to journalists extends overseas, where the State Department this month has blocked a visa for aPakistani critic from speaking in the U.S. The White House also recentlypressured Yemen’s leader to jail the reporter who exposed U.S. drone strikes. Meanwhile, the administration has stonewalled Freedom of Information Act requests, particularly the Justice Department, which has issued the secret wartime memos.
How bad is it? Anthony Romero, the ACLU executive director, exclaimed in June 2010 that Obama “disgusted” him. Meanwhile, the most hawkish Bush administration officials have defended and praised Obama.
Last summer, liberal lawyer-journalist Glenn Greenwald tallied a list of Bush warrior endorsements. Jack Goldsmith, the former DOJ officials who approved the torture and domestic spying efforts, wrote in The New Republic in May 2009 that Obama actually was waging a more effective war on terror than Bush.
“The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expended some of it, and has narrowed only a bit,” Goldsmith wrote. “Almost all of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol and rhetoric.” Bush’s final CIA director, General Michael Hayden—whose confirmation Obama opposed as a senator—told CNN there was a “powerful continuity between the 43rd and 44th presidents.” And in early 2011 Vice-President Dick Cheney told NBC News, “He’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate.”
All of these civil liberties issues—executive authority to order assassination of citizens, unlimited detention without charges at Guantanamo, authority to deploy the military domestically to arrest and indefinitely detail terrorism suspects, a parallel "due process" that is outside the judicial branch, the expansion of the surveillance state, the increased militarization of local police and federal agencies especially ICE, the increasingly punitive treatment of protesters including strip searches, the war on whistleblowers, and others—are very complicated. The details are filled with shades of gray.
Bradley Manning’s harsh treatment, for example, is thought to be tied to the White House’s fear that the vast WikiLeaks cache contained references to the pursuit of Osama Bin Laden before his assassination—and could have alerted Al Qaeda. Better data mining and analysis could have detected the 9/11 attacks, the Patriot Act’s defenders past and present have repeatedly argued. But from a civil liberties perspective, Obama has more than chipped away at freedom from federal intrusion. The underlying problem is the tactics and values forged in foreign war have seeped into domestic policing.
“We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national security state,” Jack Balkin, a liberal Yale University Law School professor,told the New Yorker in a 2011 feature about a prominent NSA whistleblower. “The question is not whether we will have a surveillance state in the years to come, but what sort of state we will have,” he wrote in a prescient law review articlepublished early in Obama’s presidency.
The larger dangers, Balkin said, was that the government is creating a “parallel track of preventative law enforcement that bypasses traditional protections in the Bill of Rights.” Moreover, he worries “traditional law enforcement and social services will increasingly resemble the parallel track.” And because the Constitution only restricts government actions, not “private parties, government has increasing incentives to rely on private enterprise to collect and generate information for it.”
“The major defining feature of the Obama administration on this issue is the eagerness with which it embraced the stunning evisceration of civil rights and liberties that was a hallmark of the Bush administration, and then deepened those outrageous programs,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, who is an attorney representing many Occupy protesters swept up in last fall’s mass arrests. “He has successfully counted on the acquiescent silence of the liberals.”
Eric Holder, the Defender
The biggest difference between Bush and Obama on civil liberties and the war on terror is the Obama administration is more attuned to the optics of trying to appear reasonable as it conducts much of the same policies. To be fair, Obama has not kidnapped innocent people en masse in Afghanistan and warehoused them in Cuba, as Bush did. But he has launched drone strikes in numerous counties, where the victims include children.
In 2010, the ACLU and New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented many Guantanamo detainees, filed a suit asking a federal court to set legal standards when the government could use lethal force against a U.S. citizen who was overseas but not on an active battlefield. That suit was dismissed. But Eric Holder, perhaps giving a victory to critics who have condemned the administration’s secrecy, gave an speech this March at Chicago’s Northwestern University School of Law explaining Obama’s wartime actions and authority. The speech was exactly what Goldsmith had described a year earlier in The New Republic—nearly identical on substance to Bush administration policy, but with more attention to the packaging for the public.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger,” Holder began, quoting President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural at the height of the Cold War. “But just as surely as we are a nation at war, we are also a nation of laws and values,” Holder continued, saying, “Our actions must always be grounded on the bedrock of the Constitution.”
Holder explained the challenge for government was what to do after someone is found who is suspected of participating in a terrorist plot against the United States. He said the federal courts have done an excellent job in dealing with suspected terrorists since 9/11—and those who claim otherwise “are simply wrong.” But then Holder built the case for using a “reformed” military commission system—granting foreign detainees a right to counsel, a right to see evidence against them, and a right to cross-examine witnesses.
Moreover, Holder defended the administration’s right to transfer a terrorism suspect from civilian courts to military custody “based on the considered judgment of the President’s senior national security team.” And he said that in a “war with a stateless enemy” that the federal government has a right an obligation “to target specific senior operational leaders of Al Qaeda and associated forces,” just as the military shot down the plane with the top Japanese Admiral who led the Pearl Harbor attacks in World War II. “It is important to explain these legal principles publicly,” Holder said. “The Constitution does not require the President to delay action until some theoretical end stage of planning—when the precise time, pace and manner of an attack become clear.”
Holder then said there is no constitutional requirement that the President “get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of Al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate. ‘Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”
Holder’s arguments sound reasonable until you stop and ask where it ends up. The U.S. is still involved in dubious warfare efforts overseas—particularly Afghanistan. But the full wartime powers invoked by Obama to endlessly fight stateless terrorists, which are on par to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s suspension of civil liberties in World War II, arguably are disproportionate to the scope of military actions. Moreover, people like Obama who are schooled in constitutional law know there are reasons why the foundation of American democracy is based on being a nation of laws—not arbitrary decisions by men—and are expected to respect that distinction govern with due deference and restraint.
Those who understand Obama’s civil liberties failing best include lawyers serving in the military, like David Frakt, a lawyer in the Air Force and Barry University School of Law professor. He recently wrote on Jurist.org that Obama’s targeted assassinations—a word Holder rejected in the speech—was the foreign policy equivalent of the domestic "Stand Your Ground" laws that led to Trayvon Martin's killing.
“During the Bush administration, we developed the rule of ‘we can kill you, but you can’t kill us,’” Frakt wrote. “Now, under the Obama administration, we have added a corollary… namely, ‘you can’t kill us, only we can kill us,’” referring to killing U.S. citizens abroad where “capture is not feasible.” The Stand Your Ground laws “are the logical domestic criminal counterpart to our nation’s aggressive pre-emptive self defense doctrine, under which we have gone to war on the same flimsy suspicions that George Zimmerman acted upon.”
The problem—as seen with more than 600 innocent people taken to Guantanamo—is that the White House can make mistakes. Cheney famously called them“the worst of the worst,” but by 2009 only one in seven were seen as being enemy combatants. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, responding to Holder’s talk, saidthat, “Based on what I’ve heard so far, I can’t tell whether or not the Justice Department’s legal arguments would allow the president to order intelligence agents to kill an American inside the United States.”
Domestic civil liberties are fragile. They are not the same as a World War II battlefield where a grunt shoots first and asks questions later. Civil liberties take years to create and accrue, whereas a domestic terrorist attack can occur in a flash and then unwind those protections quickly and for many years. What started under Bush and has continued under Obama are battlefield values that have been conflated with domestic policing.
Just as Stand Your Ground laws turn every American going about their lives into a threat that needs to be measured, so too does a growing surveillance state encroach on privacy and specific constitutional rights, such as freedom from warrantless searches, judicial review and other constitutional checks and balances.
The question, as Balkan noted at the start of the Obama presidency, is not whether we will have a growing surveillance and police state, but what that state will be like. Obama has begun to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he hasn’t begun to roll back the most extreme civil liberties abuses tied to the earliest phases of that war. Liberals expected otherwise from a former constitutional law professor and candidate who campaigned against the excesses of the Bush administration.   

Steven Rosenfeld covers democracy issues for AlterNet and is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).'

vrijdag 20 april 2012

Late-Stage Capitalism

'The Botox of Late-Stage Capitalism
Thursday, 19 April 2012 09:38By Phil Rockstroh, Consortium News | Op-Ed
As America’s Great Middle Class crumbles, the Rich are again grasping for every possible regulatory rollback and tax cut, all the better to fund some final bacchanal of late-stage capitalism, a well-catered cocktail party of aging men and women wearing the false face of Botox, as poet Phil Rockstroh observes.
Wall Street is again flush with the electronic facsimile of the stuff once known as money. But this is a Botox Recovery: A superficial procedure, accomplished with a nerve paralyzing poison, reserved for the wealthy whose vanity has driven them to transform their faces into caricatures of corruption … to acquiring a countenance, frozen as a creepy doll, incapable of showing emotion — a grotesque simulacrum of the human face.
A Botox-distorted face reveals an individual with a distorted view of existence: that life’s limits, in this case the process of aging, must be hidden, and by doing so, artifice trumps reality. In a similar manner, life under our current Botoxed economic and political structure seems a gruesome distortion of life itself — a desperate gambit to veil the carnage inflicted by the monstrous excesses of oligarchic and Anthropocene Ageexploitation of populace and planet. 
Upon seeing the face of a narcissist whose features have been willingly disfigured by Botox, one wonders the obvious: Does he even look in the mirror?
Yes. But, as is the case with the One Percent, he only sees what he is desperate to see. He has succeeded in fooling himself, thus he believes he fools all who have the misfortune to gaze upon him.
A stammered truth is more resonate to the heart than a well-told lie. Unfortunately, a habitually dissembling mindset will view the situation in reverse. All too often, internalized systems of viewing an unfolding event will determine an individual’s take on a given situation.
If the institutions (e.g., familial, religious, governmental, mass media) that have influenced one’s method of perception are themselves compromised by internalized, self-resonating biases, then a type of carnival funhouse mirror effect comes into play (both on an individual and culture-wide basis) whereby distortions reflect distortions that, in turn, reflect those distortions … ad infinitum.
Reality is made grotesque, and gross distortions are perceived as reality. This is why it is essential, on an individual basis, to develop a method of viewing that includes the heart, the gut, and all of one’s senses. A lie only fools the mind; in contrast, truth reverberates throughout one’s entire being.
“All I have is a voice / To undo the folded lie.” — W.H. Auden
At present, only slightly more than 40 percent of the population of the U.S. accepts the verifiable reality of global climate chaos. A constant barrage of propaganda in the form of fake science, contrived and propagated by massive, obscenely wealthy multi-national energy corporations, is one reason for the dismal and still declining number of the populace who cannot discern truth-seeking scientific inquiry from the dissembling of a big money-bribed cadre of hacks and PR flacks.
This development, troubling enough on its own, is emblematic of a larger dilemma. The pervasive false consciousness, engendered by the atomized, artificial nature of existence within the corporate/consumer state — e.g., the Media Age usurping of the innate longings of the human heart by transmuting desire into consumer craving — has not only left consumerist true-believers bereft of the ability to honestly process information — but has rendered all too many unable to locate the source of their own suffering.
It is impossible to sate empty appetite by more empty consumption. Conversely, the hollowness at the core of consumer state anomie can only be remedied by an awakening of the heart.
How does one take this course of action? The answer is neither recondite nor inaccessible: by the time honored methods of grief, gratitude, and embracing an enthusiasm for social and political engagement. At present, the current societal and governmental arrangements give us ample opportunity for practice.
Begin by: grieving for our abuse of the flora and fauna of this living planet; then, grieve for the suffering we bring to ourselves by these callous actions. Because, as long as we believe it is our birthright to exploit the planet, it follows that we will continue to believe it permissible to ruthlessly exploit one another by the same heartless methods.
There is no need for a vengeful god above to punish us for our transgressions … we’re doing just fine on our own. Trudging through life devoid of the warmth bestowed by a compassionate heart amounts to divesting one’s self of soul — i.e., rendering oneself not fully alive within life.
What an awful form of punishment this is: to construct in the place within yourself where your heart should be positioned, a dungeon where you have become both the torturer and the tortured — all ordered by a merciless despot (your willful mind, untempered by the counsel of a compassionate heart) who lords over the wasteland of misapprehensions that you have mistaken for the whole of existence.
Both economic depression and so-called psychological depression are engendered by some of the same sources: clinging to a dying system of belief (such as the death cult of late capitalism) and refusing to embrace the end of things; the gripping grief of one who refuses to honor the dead by the closure provided by a decent burial.
Thus not allowing the departed to rest … engaging them in an obsessive, one-sided conversation … demanding of the dead to do what they cannot do … rise and bring comfort to the living.
Also, depression can originate from being made subject to dehumanizing repression vis-à-vis demeaning forces of exploitation. Often, individuals who are subject to depression, by force of habit, press down anger, imagination, eros – vital sources of propulsion and purpose. Hence, feelings of hopelessness will descend upon the psyche.
Contrary to the highly profitable propaganda of pharmaceutical industry giants, depression, in the vast majority of cases, is not caused by a chemical imbalance. Anti-Depressants serve as palliatives for the demoralized workforce of the capitalist state.
And these compounds are ineffective to boot. Study after study reveals antidepressants (SSRIs, in particular) are no more effective than a placebo. Although, these substances are not as harmless as sugar pills. Withal, anti-depressants are addictive. Withdrawal from these drugs is as painful and dangerous as with any other overused drug.
The neurological model has proven to be a self-serving reductionist fallacy. Regardless of abstruse (demonstrably false) jargon involving neuron receptors, depression is a state of mind — the stuff of subjective imaginings — a means of giving shape to and describing the mysteries of the self and the world.
Once depression (more accurately, sadness or grief or melancholia or ennui or the blues) is accepted as a changeable condition of the multi-verse of the human mind, its grip loosens … One’s grieving soul simply longed for dialog … to leave its decrepit tower (after a necessary period of mourning, of course) and journey among other regions of the psyche; only it, in its isolation, had forgotten how to do so.
If you’re depressed to the point of contemplating suicide, your soul is not advising you to kill yourself … It is suggesting you kill the false consciousness that has tricked you into believing its imprisoning concepts apply to the totality of yourself and to your conception of life. Do not commit suicide; instead, expose and depose the usurper who schemes in the throne room of your heart.
Send out dispatches from both the cityscape of your soul and its most remote regions. Give voice to your spirit’s elations and your heart’s suffering. The sterile nothingscape of depression blooms to vivid life by the embrace of the living images that rise from an open heart. And decaying beliefs make excellent compost.
If not, desperation arrives. For example, the despair-engendered fantasy … of being raptured heavenward, or its secular counterpart … to be relieved of the stress and uncertainties, inflicted by commodified life, by winning the lottery.
Deep within, one realizes that one has little prospect of escaping the stultifying, exploitative nature of the present order; as a consequence, citizens of the corporate state seize upon these desperate fantasies of release from its all-encompassing demands and burdens.
Under late capitalism, people feel imprisoned by their social and financial circumstances; large numbers no longer believe they can change the course of their lives by means of their initiative and labor.
The operatives of the One Percent (the shapers of cultural awareness) are dream twisters … usurpers of yearning. They are well aware that the heart’s language is expressed in the lexicon of transformation … of the deep-dwelling human longing to find the sublime in quotidian experience … a mode of being we term freedom i.e., a desire to have one’s unique character forged by one’s choices in life, as one negotiates the happenstance of unfolding fate.
Lottery mania and End Time fantasies reveal that the central premise of capitalism is a lie. Ergo, people realize under the current set-up that they will never be unburdened financially enough to pursue their heart’s calling … only a highly unlikely spin of Fortuna’s Wheel or a fairy tale-like summoning to a burden-free Heaven will ever set them free.
These are the fantasies of a shattered people — the craven beliefs and palliative remedies that are seized upon by a populace governed by entropy-ridden institutions that have lost any purpose other than self-perpetuation. Therefore, one has to be prepared to act as the structure crumbles.
Accordingly, construct within yourself an authentic inner structure, as outwardly you do your part to help imagine and to create new political and cultural models … In short, act as if the inevitable collapse has already occurred.'

Iran 349

'The US and Iran Are Talking. Why Is the New York Times Peddling Iran Islamophobia?
Friday, 20 April 2012 11:00By Robert Naiman, Truthout | News Analysis
Ayatollah KhameneiA mural in Tehran, Iran, depicts Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, and his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the revolution. (Photo: Shawn Baldwin / The New York Times)At long last, the United States and Iran are engaged in serious talks about Iran's nuclear program. But instead of celebrating the fact that President Obama is keeping his promise to the people who voted for him to pursue diplomatic engagement with Iran, The New York Times has suggested to its readers that Iran's supreme leader is uniquely and intrinsically untrustworthy when he says that Iran will never pursue a nuclear weapon. Why? Because, according to the Times, Iran's leaders are Shiites and Shiites have a religious doctrine called "taqiyya," which allows them to lie.
No scholar or analyst was cited by The New York Times in support of this argument, which should have been a red flag for Times' editors for an argument claiming that the leadership of a country against which the United States has threatened war is essentially different from us because they belong to a different religion.
Last Saturday - the same day the United States and Iran were having "constructive and useful" discussions on Iran's nuclear program in Istanbul, according to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton - The New York Times published a piece titled, "Seeking Nuclear Insight in Fog of the Ayatollah's Utterances," over the byline of James Risen.
That piece contained the following paragraph:
Complicating matters further, some analysts say that Ayatollah Khamenei's denial of Iranian nuclear ambitions has to be seen as part of a Shiite historical concept called taqiyya, or religious dissembling. For centuries an oppressed minority within Islam, Shiites learned to conceal their sectarian identity to survive and so there is a precedent for lying to protect the Shiite community.
No "analyst" at all was specifically cited in support of this argument anywhere in the article. It should be obvious that when the United States has threatened war against a country, it treads in the precincts of racist war propaganda for a news article about that country to essentially say, "Because of their religion, their leaders aren't like our leaders - they lie," without substantiating that claim at all or presenting balanced views of experts on the topic.
In his blog Informed Comment, Middle East scholar Juan Cole notes that taqiyya has been "widely misrepresented by Muslim-haters and does not apply in Khamenei's case." Cole explains that, historically, taqiyya was not a license to lie about anything, but permission to conceal one's religious identity in the face of life-threatening sectarian prejudice. He also notes that, in the 20th century, the tide of Shiite legal opinion ran against taqiyya; and that Imam Khomeini, who led the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, demanded that taqiyya be abandoned. Cole concludes by saying that the taqiyya argument is "just some weird form of Islamophobia."
Writing in The Nation in 1980, Edward Said noted the tendency of US reporting on the Muslim world to present "a series of crude, essentialized caricatures of the Islamic world presented in such a way as to make that world vulnerable to military aggression."
Sadly, thirty years later, the Risen New York Times piece represents the pro-war media world that Said was describing.
Of course, the point of all this is not that the US, or anyone, should automatically take the statements of Iranian leaders that they will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons at face value, any more than anyone would automatically take the statements of US leaders, or any other leaders, at face value. The point is that is it quite reasonable to take the repeated statements of Iranian leaders that they will not pursue nuclear weapons as a starting point of negotiations on agreements that would increase US confidence in the truth of those words, and that is exactly what the Obama administration is doing.
The Risen piece contained another spectacular misrepresentation. Referring to Ayatollah Khamenei's statements that Iran would never pursue nuclear weapons and his religious edicts against Iran having nuclear weapons, Risen wrote,
But those comments are not only at odds with some of Iran's behavior but also with what Ayatollah Khamenei has said in the past. For evidence, analysts can point to remarks Ayatollah Khamenei made last year that it was a mistake for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya to give up his nuclear weapons program.
Referring to Colonel Qaddafi, Ayatollah Khamenei said that "this gentleman wrapped up all his nuclear facilities, packed them on a ship and delivered them to the West and said, 'Take them!'"
"Look where we are and in what position they are now," he added.
But according to what the Times reported Khamenei actually said, Khamenei never said it was a mistake for Qaddafi to "give up his nuclear weapons program." Khamenei talked about "nuclear facilities."
The conflation of "nuclear facilities" with "nuclear weapons" in the Times' reporting on Iran is a longstanding issue of dispute.
As Juan Cole noted,
What Khamenei said about Qaddafi does not imply that Khamenei wants a nuclear weapon for Iran. Qaddafi did not have a nuclear weapon. But having a nuclear program of some sort could function as a deterrent to foreign invasion ... Nuclear latency or a nuclear breakout capability, where a country could quickly construct a nuclear warhead if it felt sufficiently threatened, is probably what Iran is actually trying for. Khamenei's statement on Libya is perfectly in accord with the principle that nuclear latency can have deterrent effects.
Some have characterized the Risen piece as an example of the general tendency of Fox-like arguments to penetrate liberal discourse. If that's true, then we ought to be able to do something about it. We can't stop Fox from spewing out garbage, at least in the short run. But The New York Times has a different reputation and, therefore, can be called to account. You can help do so by asking The New York Times to correct its reporting and to report these issues fairly, accurately and with balance in the future.'