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

  • I.F. Stone

zaterdag 6 april 2013

Chris Hedges 22


Chris Hedges: Why I Resigned From PEN

Friday, 05 April 2013 11:17By Paul JayThe Real News Network | Interview and Video

Chris Hedges: Suzanne Nossel, new head of PEN - which is supposed to defend human rights - supported war in Iraq and advocates use of military force in the name of democracy, lock step with Obama admin. wars in Afghanistan, drone attacks and more.
TRANSCRIPT:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.
In May, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges was supposed to be speaking at an event for PEN. Instead, he told them he would not be speaking there and actually resigned from the organization.
Now joining us to talk about why he took these steps is Chris Hedges. As I said, he's a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He's a senior fellow at The Nation. He was, previously to that, bureau chief of The New York Times in the Middle East. He's also author of a New York Times bestseller, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.
Thanks very much for joining us, Chris.
CHRIS HEDGES, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Thank you, Paul.
JAY: So what happened?
HEDGES: Well, it was over the appointment of a former State Department official named Suzanne Nossel, who had been one of the most fervent cheerleaders for the Iraq War, indeed had written in support of the war in Foreign Affairs, had embraced the administration's policy, whether that's drone attacks, the assassination of U.S. citizens, the curtailment of civil liberties, had not spoken out against torture. She had left the State Department. She had worked for Hillary Clinton and then gone on to Amnesty International, where she used the resources of Amnesty International to mount a campaign in support of NATO's continued occupation of Afghanistan. She held a kind of a shadow summit when NATO met in Chicago, and invited Madeleine Albright with a bunch of other former officials to speak and locked out antiwar dissidents like Colonel Ann Wright, Coleen Rowley, and others.
And then she moves on to PEN. And PEN is a global organization like Amnesty International that purports to speak on behalf of dissidents. PEN has refused to raise their voice against the draconian incarceration methods used against Bradley Manning. Indeed, they don't even mention Bradley Manning. And that was just, for me, too much. I couldn't be part of this festival in May, nor finally could I continue as a member of PEN if they were going to appoint somebody who in my mind has amply demonstrated utter disdain for all the core values that a group like PEN says it defends.
JAY: And was there a fight in PEN about her appointment?
HEDGES: I'm not in the, you know, upper echelon of PEN to be able to answer that. One would hope there was. This was a long track record of and embrace of preemptive war, which of course under international law is illegal, and utter failure to speak out on behalf of the oppressed, including on the Palestinians. She's been nothing but a cheerleader for the right-wing Israeli onslaught against the Palestinians. But I don't know. I don't know. Maybe the board is that checked out that there wasn't a fight.
JAY: Talk a little bit about what this ideology is. And what I mean by that--and some people call it humanitarian imperialism. But this whole outlook that it's almost like any means is okay if you get to some theoretical end, which is supposedly democracy, although I'm not sure where they would point to where such means ever led to that end. But they seem to believe it.
HEDGES: Well, it's the white man's burden. You know, it comes with a healthy or a hefty dose of racism, a belief that we can impose our values, which are of course deemed to be superior to the values of all other cultures, by using the 101st Airborne to cement those values in place. I mean, I speak as somebody who spent 20 years as a war correspondent. And the whole idea that you can begin to even use the word human rights when you are employing the kinds of weapons systems--and I think if you haven't been around these weapons systems, it's very hard to convey the utterly destructive power. I mean, Hellfire missiles not only throw out fragments that kill, you know, everyone in a radius upwards of half a mile, but they suck the oxygen out of the air. I mean, oftentimes people are just--there's no actual marks on their body. They've suffocated to death. And cruise missiles, 90 millimeter tank rounds, I mean, these are massive ordinances. And at that point, you know, you can't use industrial military power to impose human rights. And Afghanistan and Iraq are perfect examples of that.
But this kind of beknighted imperialism--and that's not particularly new. King Leopold did it in the Congo. You know, we have done it around the globe in the name of democracy and freedom and liberty, all these abstract terms that when you're actually on the ground in places like El Salvador, Nicaragua--I covered both of those wars--it's absurd if not finally obscene.
And she's part of this long tradition, believes that we have a right to use our overwhelming military force to occupy, control, invade other countries in the name of our values. And as someone, of course, who's spent many years, two decades, on the outer regions of empire, you know, Conrad got it in Heart of Darkness: it's the horror, the horror. These people do not want to be occupied. This--you know, Muslims in the Middle East do not want to be occupied, and they are resisting that occupation. And the methods by which that occupation is cemented into place and that resistance is crushed are extremely brutal and violent and cruel and unjust. And she offers a kind of moral veneer for, in my mind, you know, a deeply immoral project. And the idea--I mean, she has no right or no business running any human rights organization. [crosstalk] into these organizations is just a sign of how corrosive this neoliberal ideology has become.
JAY: What reaction have you had from PEN?
HEDGES: They haven't reacted. I don't think they'll lose too much sleep over my resignation.
JAY: They seem to have someone who agrees more or less with this outlook sitting as president of the United States right now. He seems to have made several appointments of people who share this kind of outlook, Susan Rice and others. Do you see any distinction between what this new PEN leader thinks with the leader of America?
HEDGES: No. She's completely in lockstep with this entire project. And that's why she was working for the administration. And again it's this kind of odd revolving door. I mean, we see it in the military and the quote-unquote defense industry. But now we're seeing it from government officials, who push through these policies and refuse to stand up against or to protect the most basic of human rights, including right to trial, freedom from torture, moving into human rights organizations, The hijacking of human rights organizations to promote imperial projects. And, again, that's not new. The misuse of humanitarian agencies is not new. But what's disturbing is that these people are now--are running them.
JAY: Alright. Thanks for joining us, Chris.
HEDGES: Thank you.
JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

NRA List


PETITION: Dear NRA, Please Add Me to Your Enemies List

Did you see the NRA's enemy list last week? Were you surprised you were not on it? Did you feel left out? If you want to be added to their esteemed list, sign our petition and we will will let them know that you oppose their policies as much those they perceive as their enemy.

Obama's Corruption 4


Symbols of Bush-Era Lawlessness Flourish Under Obama



De Nederlandse mainstream opiniemakers, onder wie Geert Mak, dachten dat met de komst van Obama daadwerkelijk het tijdperk van 'change we can believe in' was aangebroken. Het tekent hun onwetendheid en tevens hun onbescheidenheid, want in plaats van beschaamd te zwijgen, leuren onze betaalde opiniemakers nog steeds met hun nonsens. Ter opfrissing:

Symbols of Bush-era Lawlessness Flourish Under Obama

Guantanamo Bay prison plans expansion, while CIA official linked to torture cover-up gets promoted

A man crosses the Central Intelligence Agency logo in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
April 2, 2013 3:00 PM ET
During the George W. Bush years, two of the most controversial elements of what was then called the Global War on Terror were the CIA's rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program and the creation of the prison camps at Guantanamo Bay. The RDI program included waterboarding and other forms of torture, as well as so-calledblack site prisons where detainees were held incommunicado after being abducted by the CIA, and sometimes tortured by members of the host country's security forces.
Guantanamo Bay and the RDI program are both back in the news now, each for their own unsavory reasons, and their reemergence should be a reminder of how fully the Obama administration has embraced the logic underpinning the Bush regime's response to 9/11. The Pentagon is now requesting nearly $200 million for Guantanamo Bay infrastructure upgrades, including $49 million for a new unit for "special" prisoners – likely the so-called high-value detainees currently housed at Camp 7, which include self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Pentagon's reasoning is that neither the president nor Congress have any plans to close the prison anytime soon, so these repairs are necessary.
This massive capital request comes as detainees are engaged in an increasingly dire hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention and to signal their lack of hope for transfer or release. Instead of closing Guantanamo Bay, the Obama administration stands poised to do the very opposite – pour more money into what is alreadythe country's most expensive prison.
Meanwhile, participation in the CIA's controversial RDI program has resulted for at least one person not in prosecution or professional sanctions, but rather in a promotion. For the last several weeks, an unnamed woman has been acting director of the National Clandestine Service – the part of the CIA that runs spying and covert operations, including the CIA's drone program – as first reported by the Washington Post. This is the first time a woman has held that position. But this particular woman was a major figure in the RDI program, once ran a black site prison, and has been linked to the destruction of interrogation tapes that almost certainly documented the CIA's use of torture.
In 2005, the unnamed woman was chief of staff for Jose Rodriguez, then the acting director for the clandestine service. Rodriguez ordered the destruction of at least 92 tapes CIA agents made of the interrogations of two high-value detainees, Abu Zubayah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri – at least some of which included waterboarding, which is widely regarded as a form of torture. The New York Times reported that the woman "and Jose were the two main drivers for years for getting the tapes destroyed" – an anonymous quote they attributed to a "former senior CIA officer." In his memoir, Rodriguez said that the woman drafted the cable allowing the destruction of the tapes after meeting with CIA lawyers.
Rodriguez ordered the tapes destroyed despite a 2004 court order to preserve them, an act which led the American Civil Liberties Union to attempt, unsuccessfully, to hold the CIA in contempt of court. In 2007, The New York Times reported that members of the 9/11 Commission were not aware of the existence or destruction of the tapes, despite their requests for exactly that kind of evidence. Neither were the two highest-ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee in 2005. The Department of Justice has twice investigated the destruction of the tapes, but has not brought charges against anyone involved.
So the prison at Guantanamo Bay is likely to get more funding, including a new prison, and a CIA agent tied to one of the most shameful episodes of the last decade will likely be granted a powerful, coveted spot at the CIA. That she'll be promoted by new CIA director John Brennan, himself a high-level CIA official during the worst torture years, is only appropriate in Obama's age of "look forward, not backward." And instead of robust protest from liberals, there is for the most part either silence or acquiescence. What was once controversial is now institutionalized and accepted – a fact which may ultimately be one of the Obama administration's most lasting legacies.


Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/symbols-of-bush-era-lawlessness-flourish-under-obama-20130402#ixzz2Phr0Lyxm 
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Obama's Corruption 3


Tijdens de uitzending van Pauw en Witteman op 3 oktober 2012 over de Amerikaanse presidentsverkiezing vroeg Witteman zijn gasten het volgende:

'Waarom is de armoede niet de topic van de campagne?' 

De regelmatig als 'Amerikadeskundige' aangekondigde Geert Mak reageerde onmiddellijk met de onjuiste bewering dat de armoede 'onderhuids natuurlijk wel' een topic was. 'Bij Obama speelt het erg over het verdedigen van verworven rechten,' zo verzon Mak ter plaatse. 
Geruststellend liet Mak nog weten dat de almaar breder wordende kloof tussen arm en rijk in de Verenigde Staten tijdens de tweede termijn van Obama kleiner zal worden. Nu de werkelijkheid zoals die in de New York Times afgedrukt staat:


Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal




In a significant shift in fiscal strategy, Mr. Obama on Wednesday will send a budget plan to Capitol Hill that departs from the usual presidential wish list that Republicans typically declare dead on arrival. Instead it will embody the final compromise offer that he made to Speaker John A. Boehner late last year, before Mr. Boehner abandoned negotiations in opposition to the president’s demand for higher taxes from wealthy individuals and some corporations.
Congressional Republicans have dug in against any new tax revenues after higher taxes for the affluent were approved at the start of the year. The administration’s hope is to create cracks in Republicans’ antitax resistance, especially in the Senate, as constituents complain about the across-the-board cuts in military and domestic programs that took effect March 1.
Mr. Obama’s proposed deficit reduction would replace those cuts. And if Republicans continue to resist the president, the White House believes that most Americans will blame them for the fiscal paralysis.
Besides the tax increases that most Republicans continue to oppose, Mr. Obama’s budget will propose a new inflation formula that would have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments for Social Security benefits, though with financial protections for low-income and very old beneficiaries, administration officials said. The idea, known as chained C.P.I., has infuriated some Democrats and advocacy groups to Mr. Obama’s left, and they have already mobilized in opposition.
As Mr. Obama has before, his budget documents will emphasize that he would support the cost-of-living change, as well as other reductions that Republicans have called for in the popular programs for older Americans, only if Republicans agree to additional taxes on the wealthy and infrastructure investments that the president called for in last year’s offer to Mr. Boehner.
Mr. Obama will propose other spending and tax credit initiatives, including aid for states to make free prekindergarten education available nationwide — a priority outlined in his State of the Union address in February. He will propose to pay for it by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“The president has made clear that he is willing to compromise and do tough things to reduce the deficits, but only in the context of a package like this one that has balance and includes revenues from the wealthiest Americans and that is designed to promote economic growth,” said a senior administration official, who, like others, declined to be identified confirming details about the coming budget.
“That means,” the official added, “that the things like C.P.I. that Republican leaders have pushed hard for will only be accepted if Congressional Republicans are willing to do more on revenues.”
But just this week, Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia, the House majority leader, reiterated the party’s antitax stance and called for reducing spending by cutting waste and making changes in federal programs. The growth in the so-called entitlement programs, especially for health care, is a main driver behind projections of mounting federal debt as baby boomers age and medical costs rise.
Mr. Obama’s budget was due in February but administration officials said it was delayed by the year-end fiscal negotiations and resulting tax changes. It will arrive on Capitol Hill hours before the president dines on Wednesday evening with a dozen Senate Republicans — his second such parlay in recent weeks.
While the group is likely to also discuss gun-safety and immigration legislation, the timing of Mr. Obama’s budget release is all but certain to make it a prime topic.
Some Senate Republicans have been urging the president to speak out more to Americans about his ideas for reducing the growth of entitlement programs. While the White House posted the offer to Mr. Boehner on its Web site this year, aides previously said that Mr. Obama would not include its provisions in his official budget documents. To do so, some said, would expose him to Democrats’ criticism that he is too quick to compromise and allow Republicans to embrace the proposals for spending cuts, in particular the C.P.I., but ignore those for tax increases.

Irak 427


After Iraq, Climbing Out of the Moral Abyss

Saturday, 06 April 2013 09:58By Adil E ShamooForeign Policy in Focus | Op-Ed
Iraq war.(Photo: Joao Silva / The New York Times)

The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth. And as a corollary, saving face is much more important than admitting a mistake, no matter how destructive the outcome.

Unfortunately for our children, manipulating the truth became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were convinced Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks and had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war. Many still believe this. Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades and endangers democracy. But by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14, “Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war.” Indeed, this was a war in search of a justification from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.