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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 19 mei 2012

Ken Burns

Ken Burns is een begenadigde documentairemaker:

KEN BURNS TELLS HIS STORY

Who better to talk about the art of the narrative than Ken Burns? In this terrific short documentary about storytelling, filmmakers Tom Mason and Sarah Klein of "Miracle on 22nd Street"-fame (Google it if you haven's seen it. Now.) and redglasspictures.com sit down with the master.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/videos/2012/05/19/ken-burns-tells-his-story.html

Free The Press


On Bill Maher Show, Dan Rather Slams Corporate Media: "To Put it Bluntly, Big Business Is in Bed With Big Government"

On last night's Real Time, Bill Maher interviewed Dan Rather about his thoughts on opinion journalism ("I think it has its place" but "it's not my kind of journalism"), Rather's Bush-going-AWOL story, which famously got him fired, and media consolidation. His thoughts on that:
Whether you're a conservative or a liberal or a progressive, a Democrat or a Republican, everybody can be and should be concerned about this: the constant consolidation of media, particularly national distribution of media, with a few companies -- no more than six, my count is four -- now control more than 80 percent of the true national distribution of news. These large corporations, they have things they need from the power structure in Washington, whether it's Republican or Democrat, and of course the people in Washington have things they want the news to be reported. To put it bluntly, very big business is in bed with very big government in Washington, and has more to do with what the average person sees, hears, and reads than most people know.
Watch the interview below, via Mediaite.

The Military Industrial Complex 3


Anti-NATO Activists Charged With "Providing Material Support for Terrorism" in Apparent Retaliation for Calling Out Police Intimidation

Well this is a deeply screwed up story, even for someone who reads about police wrongdoing and unjust anti-activist measures all the time. Some anti-NATO protesters in Chicago have been arrested and charged with “possession of incendiary or explosive device, conspiracy to commit terrorism & providing material support for terrorism," in apparent retaliation for being involved with a recent video that shed light on Chicago police intimidation practices.
Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola wrote a post late last night about how a group of activists were detained, with some of them released on Friday night:
Two of the nine activists arrested in a preemptive raid of an apartment in Bridgeport on the south side of Chicago were finally released Friday night. They joined four activists that were released earlier. Three activists remained in jail without charge.
The activists had been held without charge for close to thirty-six hours and had been disappeared by Chicago police on Wednesday night. They were moved from the Organized Crime Division to Kedzie-Homan in District 4 of Chicago.
Gosztola writes about how the activists, who had been part of a "Fuck the Police" march earlier in the week, were shackled, taunted, called "junkies," and threatened with felony conspiracy charges after the home they were staying in was ransacked by police wielding guns. One activist said the cops "destroyed everything" in the apartment.
The activists may not be exactly saints -- during the anti-police march they reportedly mocked and taunted police officers and angered residents. But it was a video that some of the activists were involved with, showing Chicago police threatening violence during the upcoming NATO protests and generally intimidating protesters, that may have gotten the activists in the most trouble.
In an update to his post, Gosztola describes what happened to the three activists who remained in custody Friday night:
The three activists that remained in jail have now been charged with “possession of incendiary or explosive device, conspiracy to commit terrorism & providing material support for terrorism,” according to the National Lawyers Guild attorney Sarah Gelsomino who is representing the activists arrested and disappeared in a night raid on Wednesday in Bridgeport, Chicago. (h/t @OccupyChicago)
As noted previously, the three activists remaining — Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, Brent Betterly — appear in the video posted of police threatening violence during the NATO summit. It now seems clear that police are charging them in retaliation for posting the video.
You can watch that video here:
By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet 

Posted at May 19, 2012, 9:02 am

The Military Industrial Complex 2

THE LAND OF THE FREE, HOME OF THE BRAVE!

'Police Repression Escalates Ahead of Mass Protests in Chicago
The Chicago Police Department raided a home where activists were staying late Wednesday night and detained a group of them, alleging that they had equipment used to produce molotov cocktails. Activists and lawyers allege that the police held protesters for 17 hours before acknowledging that they arrested them.
The raid came before a weekend of planned protests against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Cold War-era group of nations from North America and Europe. NATO is set to hold their annual summit in Chicago over the weekend.
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns a preemptive police raid that took place at approximately 11:30pm Wednesday in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and instances of harassment on the street, in which Chicago police are unlawfully detaining, searching, and questioning NATO protesters. The Bridgeport raid was apparently conducted by the Organized Crime Division of the Chicago Police Department and resulted in as many as 8 arrests.
According to witnesses in Bridgeport, police broke down a door to access a 6-unit apartment building near 32nd & Morgan Streets without a search warrant. Police entered an apartment with guns drawn and tackled one of the tenants to the floor in his kitchen. Two tenants were handcuffed for more than 2 hours in their living room while police searched their apartment and a neighboring unit, repeatedly calling one of the tenants a "Commie faggot." A search warrant produced 4 hours after police broke into the apartment was missing a judge's signature, according to witnesses. Among items seized by police in the Bridgeport raid were beer-making supplies and at least one cell phone.
"Preemptive raids like this are a hallmark of National Special Security Events," said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People's Law Office. "The Chicago police and other law enforcement agencies should be aware that this behavior will not be tolerated and will result in real consequences for the city."
The Chicago Tribune reports that four of those arrested have been released without being charged.
The raid and arrests across the city have not deterred the protesters gathering in Chicago, though. This weekend, protests, counter-summits, occupations and more are planned to challenge NATO’s agenda. Demonstrations will also greet the Group of 8 summit at Camp David.
Meanwhile, a mass march led by National Nurses United kicked off with a rally of thousands at the Daley Center Plaza in Chicago, according to the Chicago Sun-Times:
Clad in red shirts and scrubs and green Robin Hood caps with feathers, nurses and other protesters marched across downtown to the Daley Center for the rally organized by National Nurses United, the nation’s largest nurses union, who were joined by members of the Occupy movement, unions and veterans.
Demonstrators, bused in from across the nation for the event, chanted. “Hey, Wall Street, heads up, the people won’t give up” and sang “Taxing Wall Street” to the tune of “Dancing in the Street.”
The main demand of the protesters is for a new tax on Wall Street. National Nurses United explains that they’re calling for a “Robin Hood tax, a small levy of 50 cents or less on $100 of trades of stocks, bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments that could raise up to $350 billion every year in revenue.”
By Alex Kane | Sourced from AlterNet 

Posted at May 18, 2012, 12:54 pm'


The Neoliberal Religion 38



FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE:  My real enemy doesn’t have a name or a face or a party. He’ll never run as president, and so he’ll never be elected, although he does govern. My enemy is the world of finance.

White-collar criminologist and former senior financial regulator William Black addresses the grassroots reaction to austerity measures in Europe -- from the "Indignados" movement in Spain to the anti-bailout elections in France and Greece -- as well as in the United States, where the Occupy movement is re-emerging as the presidential campaign gets into full gear. 
Transcript
AMY GOODMAN: Now, William Black, I wanted to end by asking you quickly about the economic crisis in Europe. In Spain, over 100,000 people took part in anti-austerity rallies Sunday. In Greece, anti-bailout parties won the nation’s recent election. And in France, François Hollande was sworn in today as France’s new president, becoming the first French Socialist in power since the ’90s. He recently said his enemy was the world of finance.
FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE: [translated] My real enemy doesn’t have a name or a face or a party. He’ll never run as president, and so he’ll never be elected, although he does govern. My enemy is the world of finance.
AMY GOODMAN: That is François Hollande, France’s new president. William Black, your final response?
WILLIAM BLACK: Finance is supposed to simply be a middleman to help the real economy. It in fact now completely dominates and is a parasite on the real economy. German austerity has pushed the entire eurozone into recession and the periphery into Great Depression-level unemployment. And the same arguments are being made in the United States and are used as a pretext to try to destroy Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is economically illiterate, but politically attractive.
AMY GOODMAN: Your assessment of President Obama versus President Bush?
WILLIAM BLACK: Well, less bad on this subject, but President Obama is also—feels that he must politically say there’s a vital need to balance the budget, which is to say, to have austerity, even though he’s looked at Europe and seen that the worst possible thing you can do in a great recession, or the attempted recovery from a great recession, is to start reducing the spending and such.
And Obama needs to go back to what he originally proposed, which was brilliant. It was a Republican idea: revenue sharing. We all knew that the states and localities, unlike the federal government, cannot run significant deficits, and that there was going to be a financial holocaust that was going to reduce vital services and throw hundreds of thousands of public workers out of work when they were most needed and exacerbate the great recession and dramatically slow the recovery. So, the recovery bill that—the stimulus bill that President Obama proposed had that provision. The Blue Dog Democrats, the conservative Democrats, and the Republicans got together to kill that. And unfortunately, the Obama administration didn’t fight for it.
Here’s what we know. The Wall Street Journal just ran an op-ed saying, don’t allow the federal government to help the states. That tells you that’s what they’re scared of. It would be economically brilliant, it would be politically brilliant, to bring back the revenue sharing provisions, which are, after all, a Republican idea, and make the Republicans make the call that they want a financial holocaust throughout America, and they want us to slip back into a recession.
AMY GOODMAN: William Black, I want to thank you for being with us, author ofThe Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, also a white-collar criminologist and former senior financial regulator. This is Democracy Now! Back in a minute.

Amerikaans Terrorisme 3


De New York Times bericht:

May 17, 2012

'U.S. Envoy to Israel Says Nation Is Ready on Iran

By 
JERUSALEM — The American ambassador to Israel said this week that not only was America willing to use military force to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but that preparations had already been made for a possible attack.
“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force,” the ambassador, Dan Shapiro, said Tuesday at a meeting of the Israeli bar association. “But that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available. And not just available, but it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”
While American leaders, including President Obama and his defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have frequently said all options are on the table regarding Iran, the notion of specific plans being made is not something they typically talk about.
In fact, at a March speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby, Mr. Obama warned that “loose talk of war” could actually speed Tehran’s move toward weaponization, saying “now is not the time for bluster.”
Some analysts here said Thursday that Mr. Shapiro’s remarks might have been aimed at reassuring an Israeli administration — and an Israeli public — worried that the United States was softening its stance ahead of the talks with Iran and other world powers scheduled for next week in Baghdad.
Israeli officials, who describe a nuclear Iran as an existential threat, constantly talk about the possibility of a military strike if diplomacy fails, and some have tired of Jerusalem always playing the bad cop to Washington’s good cop.
“Any expression that all options are on the table can only strengthen the negotiations,” said Dore Gold, a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and now president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
“There’s an irony in the situation, because a hawkish position on Iran probably makes a peaceful diplomatic outcome more likely, and that could be what he was trying to do,” he said.
Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence who now runs the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said that “what’s important is to make the military option credible” and that Mr. Shapiro’s remarks did so.
“If you’re saying that the military option is on the table and at the same time you transmit that a military option will be a doomsday and will be a World War III and the Middle East will be in flames, then nobody will take you seriously,” Mr. Yadlin noted. “A serious military, even if it’s not on the plan for next week or next month, but strategically thinking that this is an option, they have to prepare a contingency plan, that makes sense.”
In Iran, officials reacted coolly to the ambassador’s remarks. “These are words to calm down the extremists and radicals in Israel,” said Hamid Reza Taraghi, a political analyst who is close to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
He said that if Iranians reacted to the remarks they would “without a doubt” have a negative effect on the coming talks.
Mr. Taraghi, who has inside knowledge of the negotiations, emphasized that threats had never changed Iran’s position, and added, “Nor will such remarks be of any influence now.”
He added, “When Americans understand there will be no Iranian nuclear weapon and our technology is not against their interest, there will be no need for threats.”
While Iran insists its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, Israel and the United States suspect it aims for weaponization, something both governments see as unacceptable. The Obama administration has increasingly focused on diplomacy and sanctions as the crucial tools, while the Netanyahu government has emphasized the possibility of a strike on the nuclear facilities and a ticking clock for its effectiveness.
“We do believe there is time — some time, not an unlimited amount of time,” Mr. Shapiro said, according to The Associated Press, which said it obtained a tape of the remarks. “But at a certain point, we may have to make a judgment that the diplomacy will not work.”
Ambassador Shapiro, who spoke about Iran during a question-and-answer session with about 150 lawyers that was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon, declined to discuss the issue on Thursday. Spokesmen for the prime minister and the defense minister — both of whom were traveling abroad — also had no response.
But one top official in the Netanyahu administration, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to do so publicly, called Mr. Shapiro’s comments “a significant contribution to making the American military threat credible,” though he noted that they were made in a low-profile forum.
“Quite clearly he didn’t mean this to be public,” the official said. “For the Iranians to understand that they really mean it, they have to hear it publicly and clearly.”
Meir Javedanfar, a lecturer on Iranian politics at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzilya, said that Ambassador Shapiro’s statement was not just “a warning to Khamenei’s government in Tehran to take the upcoming negotiations seriously.”
A second audience, he said, was “Republicans in the U.S. who have tried to hurt Obama’s credibility on Iran by saying that the president has been too soft on Iran and that Iran’s leadership don’t take his warnings regarding the existence of a possibly military option seriously.”
Mr. Javedanfar’s colleague Shmuel Bar, director of studies at the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzilya, was unmoved by Mr. Shapiro’s statement.
“Saying it is not enough,” Mr. Bar said. What would have more significant effect, he said, is to show actual preparations for a military option by, for example, increasing deployment in the Persian Gulf.
“What actually the U.S. administration is doing is blowing hot and cold,” said Mr. Bar, who previously worked as an intelligence officer in the Israel Defense Force and in the prime minister’s bureau. “Actions do speak louder than words. The actions say the U.S. has a very strong aversion to any kind of military action.”
Mr. Bar pointed to a recent post on the Web site of the Iranian supreme leader that he described as “an analysis of why the U.S. cannot and will not go to war.”
“That is their candid evaluation of the situation,” he said. “When the Iranians see this, they say the Americans are doing everything they can to prevent Israel from attacking.”

Chris Hedges 4


A Victory for All of Us

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Posted on May 18, 2012
AP/Mary Altaffer

Iraq War veteran Sgt. Shamar Thomas leads a demonstration in New York’s Grand Central Station to call attention to a law signed by President Barack Obama that granted extraordinary powers to the military.

In January, attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran asked me to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that challenged the harsh provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We filed the lawsuit, worked for hours on the affidavits, carried out the tedious depositions, prepared the case and went to trial because we did not want to be passive in the face of another egregious assault on basic civil liberties, because resistance is a moral imperative, and because, at the very least, we hoped we could draw attention to the injustice of the law. None of us thought we would win. But every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, in a 68-page opinion, ruled Wednesday that Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional. It was a stunning and monumental victory. With her ruling she returned us to a country where—as it was before Obama signed this act into law Dec. 31—the government cannot strip a U.S. citizen of due process or use the military to arrest him or her and then hold him or her in military prison indefinitely. She categorically rejected the government’s claims that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to bring the case to trial because none of us had been indefinitely detained, that lack of imminent enforcement against us meant there was no need for an injunction and that the NDAA simply codified what had previously been set down in the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act. The ruling was a huge victory for the protection of free speech. Judge Forrest struck down language in the law that she said gave the government the ability to incarcerate people based on what they said or wrote. Maybe the ruling won’t last. Maybe it will be overturned. But we and other Americans are freer today than we were a week ago. And there is something in this.
The government lawyers, despite being asked five times by the judge to guarantee that we plaintiffs would not be charged under the law for our activities, refused to give any assurances. They did not provide assurances because under the law there were none. We could, even they tacitly admitted, be subject to these coercive measures. We too could be swept away into a black hole. And this, I think, decided the case.
“At the hearing on this motion, the government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [Section] 1021,” Judge Forrest noted. “Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.”
The government has 60 days to appeal. It can also, as Mayer and Afran have urged, accept the injunction that nullifies the law. If the government appeals, the case will go to a federal appellate court. The ruling, even if an appellate court upholds it, could be vanquished in the Supreme Court, especially given the composition of that court.

We had none of the resources of the government. Mayer and Afran worked for weeks on the case without compensation. All of us paid for our own expenses. And few people, including constitutional lawyers of Glenn Greenwald’s caliber, thought we had a chance. But we pushed forward. We pushed forward because all effort to impede the corporate state, however quixotic, is essential. Even if we ultimately fail we will be able to say we tried.
This law was, after all, not about foreign terrorism. It was about domestic dissent. If the state could link Occupy and other legitimate protest movements with terrorist groups (US Day of Rage suffered such an attempt), then the provisions in the NDAA could, in a period of instability, be used to “disappear” U.S. citizens into military gulags, including the government’s offshore penal colonies. And once there, stripped of due process, detainees could be held until, in the language of the law, “the end of hostilities.” In an age of permanent war that would be a lifetime.
Human existence, as I witnessed in war, is precarious and often very short. The battles that must be fought may never be won in our lifetime. And there will always be new battles to define our struggle. Resistance to tyranny and evil is never ending. It is a way, rather, of defining our brief sojourn on the planet. Revolt, as Albert Camusreminded us, is the only acceptable definition of the moral life. Revolt, he wrote, is “a constant confrontation between man and his obscurity. … It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.”
“A living man can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object,” Camus warned. “But if he dies in refusing to be enslaved, he reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”

    NEXT PAGE >>>

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/a_victory_for_all_of_us_20120518

Een lang interview met Chris Hedges  heb ik opgenomen in mijn boek  De Val van het Amerikaanse Imperium.
http://stanvanhoucke.blogspot.com/2012/03/de-val-van-het-amerikaanse-imperium.html

Israel as a Rogue State 343


'May 27, 2006

The Military Industrial Complex

This happens when the military industrial complex has become the most powerful force in an empire:


Congress, Standing Against Public Majority, Votes for More War in Afghanistan

Amendment to end combat operations and withdrawal troops fails with bipartisan support in US House

- Common Dreams staff
By a vote of 303-113, the US House of Representatives rejected an amendment by California's Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) on Thursday that would have swiftly ended combat operations in Afghanistan by limiting funds only to the "safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors from Afghanistan."
Congresswoman Lee (D-CA) discussing her amendment to end the war in Afghanistan.The amendment was among dozens debated during passage of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
"The American people are far ahead of Congress. It's past time to end the war and bring the troops home," Lee said ahead of the vote. "My amendment allows Congress the opportunity to stand squarely with the war-weary American people who want to bring our troops home. The call has been growing across this land to bring this war to an end. It's time now for the Congress to answer the call here today."  It was not to be.
An Associated Press-GfK poll released last week showed that backing for the war has hit a new low and is on par with support for the Vietnam War in the early 1970s, reports theChristian Science Monitor. Only 27 percent of Americans say they support the war effort, and 66 percent oppose it, according to the survey.
Other amendments to reign in military spending and temper a hawkish foreign policy were also defeated during the NDAA debate.
*  *  *
Congresswoman Lee Discussing Her Amendment to End the War in Afghanistan:
*  *  *
The vote came as the House considered a $642 billion defense budget for next year, debating more than 140 amendments to the far-reaching legislation. Final passage of the measure was expected Friday.
Rather than a speedy withdrawal from Afghanistan, the spending blueprint calls for keeping a sizable number of U.S. combat troops in the country. The bill cites significant uncertainty in Afghanistan about U.S. military support and says that to reduce the uncertainty and promote stability the president should "maintain a force of at least 68,000 troops through Dec. 31, 2014, unless fewer forces can achieve United States objectives."
The United States currently has 88,000 troops there. President Barack Obama envisions a final withdrawal of U.S. combat troops in 2014. Earlier this month, he signed an agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the role of America forces in counterterrorism and training of the Afghan military. The president insisted that the U.S. combat role was winding down.
*  *  *
• Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), prohibits the Joint Special Operations Command from conducting drone strikes against targets whose identity is not known or is based solely on patterns of behavior the target (aka "signature" strikes).

• Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), terminates the F-35B aircraft program and would direct the funds authorized for such to procure an additional number of F/A-18E/F aircraft and to deficit reduction.

• Rep. Michael Quigley (D-Ill.), eliminates funds made available for the procurement of the V-22 Osprey aircraft and would direct the funds authorized for such to deficit reduction.'

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/18