Thursday, January 20, 2011

Can A Criminal State Deal With War Criminals? Can We Stop The Corrosion Of Secrecy And Criminality Conducted In Our Names? Fifty Years Ago Today There Was Another Moment Of Hope!

Can A Criminal State Deal With War Criminals? Can We Stop The Corrosion Of Secrecy And Criminality Conducted In Our Names?

Fifty Years Ago Today There Was Another Moment Of Hope!

John Fitzgerald Kennedy



Gilad Atzmon: Can a Criminal State Deal With War Criminals? : Veterans Today. Haaretz reported today that Israeli citizen Aleksander Cvetkovic, 42, is suspected of participating in the murder of at least 1000 Bosnian Muslims at the ...

[ Sir Gus O'Donnell stops publication of documents Chilcot inquiry says are crucial to understanding how invasion happened]

Britain's top civil servant, Sir Gus O'Donnell, is preventing the official inquiry into the Iraq invasion from publishing notes sent by Tony Blair to George W Bush - evidence described by the inquiry as of "central importance" in establishing the circumstances that led to war.

O'Donnell, the cabinet secretary, consulted Blair before suppressing the documents, it emerged tonight. The Cabinet Office said: "There is an established convention covering papers of a previous administration whereby former ministers would normally be consulted before release of papers from their time in government." The prime minister's spokesman said David Cameron had not been consulted.

Raising the stakes ahead of Blair's recall on Friday, Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry's chairman, released a sharp exchange of letters with O'Donnell in which he repeated requests for the notes to be declassified. Chilcot said: "The material requested provides important, and often unique, insights into Mr Blair's thinking and the commitments he made to President Bush, which are not reflected in other papers."

In a letter dated 6 January, his third to O'Donnell in less than a month, Chilcot wrote: "The question when and how the prime minister made commitments to the US about the UK's involvement in military action in Iraq and subsequent decisions on the UK's continuing involvement, is central to its considerations".

He refers to passages in memoirs, including Blair's autobiography, A Journey, and disclosures by Jonathan Powell, Blair's chief of staff, andAlastair Campbell, his former head of communications. Those publications, and the refusal to disclose Blair's notes, Chilcot said, "leads to the position that individuals may disclose privileged information (without sanction) whilst a committee of privy counsellors established by a former prime minister to review the issues, cannot".

Chilcot, who, with his four-member panel, has privately seen Blair's notes, said the documents "illuminate Prime Minister Blair's positions at critical points".

O'Donnell replied to Chilcot that releasing Blair's notes would damage Britain's relations with the US. and would not be in the public interest.

"We have attached particular importance to protecting the privacy of the channel between the prime minister and president," he told Chilcot.

The Cabinet Office said the refusal to allow Blair's notes to be disclosed conformed to the inquiry's protocols. Chilcot said recently the protocols were "put in place to protect national security, international relations and the personal security of individuals. They are not there to prevent embarrassment."

In evidence to the inquiry last year, Campbell described the tenor of Blair's notes to Bush as: "We share the analysis, we share the concern, we are going to be with you in making sure that Saddam Hussein is faced up to his obligations and that Iraq is disarmed."

Campbell added: "If that cannot be done diplomatically and it is to be done militarily, Britain will be there. That would be the tenor of the communication to the president."

The inquiry has also heard from senior British diplomats that regime change was being discussed by Blair in meetings with Bush in 2002 even though, according to leaked documents, Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, warned that military action aimed at regime change, as opposed to disarmament, would be unlawful.

One document, previously leaked, notes that Blair told Bush at a meeting in Washington on 31 January 2003, less than two months before the invasion, that "he was solidly with the president". That was his response after Bush said military action would be taken with or without a new UN resolution and the day after Goldsmith warned Blair that an invasion of Iraq would be unlawful without a fresh UN resolution. Goldsmith subsequently changed his mind.

An inquiry official said: "It not about what President Bush told Prime Minister Blair. It is about what Mr Blair said to President Bush."

The inquiry has summoned back the former prime minister, to press him about what he promised Bush in private, and why he repeatedly questioned, then shut out, his government's chief law officer, Lord Goldsmith, after receiving unwelcome advice about the legality of an invasion.

Simon Jenkins, page 31

Following A Significant Hike In Oil Prices, An Angry Fox News Host Has Exclaimed That
The Oil From Iraq And Kuwait.

On his Friday show, the Great American Panel, Sean Hannity, said that Iraq and Kuwait should "pay for their own liberation" by the United States.

"I say why isn't Iraq paying us back with oil, and paying every American family and their soldiers that lost loved ones or have injured soldiers - and why didn't they pay for their own liberation?" Hannity asked.

He added that the United States has every right to go into Kuwait and Iraq and "take all their oil." 

Hannity's controversial comments follow a recent hike in global oil prices and a continuing financial crisis in the US.

However, responding to Hannity's remarks, political and military analyst Michael Burns said that the United States "may go bankrupt" even before it leaves oil-rich Iraq and Kuwait.

"We are occupying those countries. We are there for the long term and … we are not going anywhere. But I guarantee that we'll go bankrupt before leaving those countries. That's for sure," Burns told Press TV on Tuesday.

In 1991, the US military drove Iraqi troops out of Kuwait after executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded the country and annexed it to Iraq.

Twelve years later, US troops invaded the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and toppled Saddam to bring what they called "liberation" and "democracy" to the Arab nation.

This is while, since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, more than 1,300,000 Iraqi civilians are estimated to have been killed and some 4.7 million Iraqis have been displaced.

The devastating war has also left 4,435 US troops dead and more than 31,827 others injured

Rights groups, citing own evidence, call for Lithuania to reopen CIA prison investigation 19 Jan 2011 Human rights groups have called on Lithuanian prosecutors to reopen a criminal probe into a secret CIA detention centre set up in the country, and a top national security lawmaker said Wednesday that investigators had failed to weigh all the evidence. Prosecutors closed the case last week, citing a lack of evidence, but human rights groups Amnesty International and Reprieve slammed the decision, claiming they have evidence that the site was used to interrogate and torture terrorism suspects.

Karbala bombing attacks kill 45 

Bombing kills three in Iraq's Diyala 

Bomb attacks claim 17 lives in Iraq 

Baghdad bombings kill one, injure 8 

Bomb attack kills 60 in Tikrit 

US soldier dies in northern Iraq 

'Iraqi Kurds uneasy at US arms sales' 

Bombs kill Baghdad policeman, wound 6 

Larijani warns of Israel-US plots 

Iran deplores US pastor's insulting plan 

'West must end hostile policy on Iran' 

Turkey urges Iran help in Lebanon crisis

Bush gov't desired information on PA and Hamas leaders, Israeli military officials, data on settlements and outposts in West Bank.

The United States told its Middle East diplomats in 2008 to collect data on "encrypted Israeli communications" and create financial and "biometric" profiles of Palestinian leaders, Reuters reported on Wednesday, quoting a document recently released by WikiLeaks.

The document, written on October 31, 2008, and signed by former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, implies that the Bush administration worried about not having enough intelligence despite its close ties with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Reuters said.

US envoys were asked to form a complete overview of Israel's high-tech communications network, including Internet, cellphone, and state-run "information repositories associated with radio frequency identification enabled systems used for passports, government badges, and transportation systems." 

The Bush administration also sought out private contact details on civilian and military officials, as well as their movement. They also wanted comprehensive details on "key PA and Hamas leaders and representative...the young guard in Gaza, the West Bank, and outside."  

According to the needs of US analysts the document presented to American envoys in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and many Arab states with an extensive and prioritized list of information regarding the "Palestinian issues" brokered by the US administration.

The Bush government had desired "evidence of Government of Israel support for or opposition to actions to limit and/or reduce settlement and outpost growth" on land where Palestinians wished to establish a state.

The cable, which was written two months before Israel's offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, sought out "details on IDF operations underway or planned" against Palestinians fighting in the Strip, "including targeted assassinations and tactics/techniques used by ground and air units."

'Anti-Israel motion tests UNSC resolve'

“The draft as a whole, I think, would be a good indication if the Security Council in particular the permanent members of the Security Council are serious to take a positive step forward to stop the [Israeli] settlement [construction] at least, and then beyond that do more things … to assist Palestinians [whose] rights have been deprived in the past few decades,” Iran's Ambassador to the UN Mohammad Khazaei told a Press TV correspondent. 

During the UNSC's Wednesday meeting, representatives of dozens of countries from the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference submitted a draft resolution to the UNSC to pressure Israel to freeze all its settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian lands. 

The resolution sponsored by more than 120 countries reiterates demands that Israel halt all its settlement building in the Palestinian territories. It points out that settlements built in occupied territory since 1967 are “illegal.” 

The resolution was not put into vote on Wednesday. It is still unclear when a vote on the matter may be set. 

Some analysts believe that it is unlikely for the 15-nation panel to take any action on the draft resolution in the near future as all resolutions condemning Israel are vetoed by its closest ally and traditional guardian, the United States. 

US Deputy Ambassador to the UN Rosemary DiCarlo said that Washington was opposed to taking the issue to the UNSC. 

"As we have consistently said, permanent status issues can be resolved only through negotiations between the parties and not by recourse to the Security Council,” she said. 

"We therefore consistently oppose attempts to take these issues to this council and will continue to do so as such action moves us no closer to the goal of a negotiated final settlement." 

US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, however, refused to say whether Washington would veto the resolution. 

"I'm not going to speculate on what happens from this point forward," Crowley said. 

The United Nations has repeatedly declared Israeli settlement construction on Palestinian land as illegal. 

Israeli-Palestinian Dispute Lands Seattle Agency In Court

 (Reuters) - An escalating war of words between supporters of Israel and Palestinians landed the transit agency for Seattle in federal court on Wednesday, accused of censorship.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington sued the city, arguing the transit agency infringed free speech rights of the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign by refusing to carry its pro-Palestinian placards on buses.
The group's advertising bore the words: "Israeli War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars at Work," next to a picture of children standing next to a damaged building.
The Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign had paid for the advertising to run on 12 Metro buses run by King County, shortly after it received approval from a private company that handles advertising for King County's transit system.
In reaction, a pro-Israel group led by conservative commentator David Horowitz said it proposed placards to run on 25 buses. Those ads would have carried the words "Palestinian War Crimes: Your Tax Dollars at Work," next to a picture of a bus engulfed in flames.
The rival advertising campaigns were going to run simultaneously on Seattle's Metro bus system.
But neither side succeeded in having its placards on the buses, because on December 23 King County, which runs public transit in Seattle and neighboring communities, said it would no longer carry political advertising on buses.
Instead, the county said it would restrict itself to commercial advertising and ads from government agencies geared toward a specific purpose.
"In a free and democratic society, we cannot allow the government to suppress lawful speech, even speech that may stir emotions," Kathleen Taylor, executive director of the ACLU of Washington, said in a statement about the suit on Wednesday.
The ACLU's lawsuit against King County and on behalf of the pro-Palestinian group was filed in federal court in Seattle. It seeks a court order to force King County to place the group's placards on Metro buses.
When he issued the ban on advertising, King County Executive Dow Constantine said the "escalation of this issue" from a proposal for 12 placards to an international fracas had created "security concerns that compel reassessment."
In response to the ACLU's lawsuit, King County spokesman Frank Abe said, "We welcome the opportunity for the court to clarify standards regarding Metro's ability to regulate ads on its buses."
(Reporting by Laura L. Myers in Seattle: Additional reporting and writing by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles: Editing by Greg McCune)

Elder Bush Brings Team Together 20 Years After Gulf War
A roundtable discussion by the Bush team is expected to include the 41st president, former vice presidents Dan Quayle and Dick Cheney, who was secretary of ...
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China Could Ask for U.S. to Get Out of Korea, WikiLeaks Cable Warns


Timed with the U.S. visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, WikiLeaks unveiled huge volumes of U.S. diplomatic cables about China. The Norwegian daily Aftenposten published the diplomatic cables on Wednesday. According to the cables, "A peaceful resolution of the threat posed by North Korea might cause China to call for an end to the U.S. base presence on the Korean Peninsula." 

The forecast is part of a report written in January 2009 by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing titled "Looking at the Next 30 Years of the U.S.-China Relationship" marking the 30th anniversary of bilateral ties.


"Over the past thirty years, Chinese officials have come to begrudgingly acknowledge the benefits to East Asia resulting from the U.S. military presence in the Pacific," the report claims but adds, "Perceived threats to China's security posed by Japan's participation in missile defense or by future high-tech U.S. military technologies might cause tomorrow's Chinese leaders to change their assessment and to exert economic pressures on U.S. allies like Thailand or the Philippines to choose between Beijing and Washington." 

China's diplomatic work in the six-party talks or through the Shanghai Cooperative Organization shows that it "plays a leading and often responsible and constructive role in both of these multilateral groups. Future U.S. policy-makers might usefully consider additional international mechanisms that include both U.S. and Chinese membership." Launched in 2001 in Shanghai, the SCO is a regional organization of China, Russia and four Central Asian countries aimed at boosting ties and cooperation. 

On economics, the report said, "More and more experts see the utility of establishing an Asia-Pacific G8, to include China, Japan, and the United States plus India, Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and Russia." It added, "While still reluctant to claim China is a global leader, Chinese officials are gradually gaining confidence as a regional power." The report said China "might choose to pursue some uniquely Chinese path" 30 years from now, rather than be included among the ranks of the world's advanced countries.


Upset by the handling of his first visit to the U.S. in April 2006, when he was treated to a working lunch, Hu sacked then foreign minister Li Zhaoxing, according to another cable written by the consul general in Shanghai on May 14, 2007. According to a U.S.-China specialist, Li "was hastily replaced because President Hu Jintao had become dissatisfied with Li's management of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Hu blamed Li for his less than perfect visit." 

"There were no flags between the White House and Blair house and no state dinner at the White House," while the master of ceremonies at the welcoming ceremony referred to China as the "Republic of China," the name for Taiwan, rather than the "People's Republic of China." Also, the Chinese Embassy in Washington failed to prevent Falun Gong protesters from being present during Hu's speech in front of the White House lawn. 

"Three diplomats defected and at least 60 [ministry] officials were subjected to disciplinary investigations" over the protocol blunders in the year after Hu's U.S. visit, according to the cable.

Politico's Token “Conservative” Blames Right Wing Hate » Pirate's Cove
By William Teach
If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.Pirate's Cove -

Joe Scarborough–“right-wing rage” water carrier
By Bruce McQuain
Anyway, Scarborough has decided these last two days to carry water for the “ right-wing rage” crowd. Apparently if you don't sound like mewling mush-mouthed compromiser, you're in a rage and Joe is here to call you out on that. ...Questions and Observations -

'The Pack of Right-Wing Polemicists Who Make Big Bucks Spewing ...
By Robert Stacy McCain
See also: The Other McCain, who asks who exactly are 'The Pack of Right-Wing Polemicists Who Make Big Bucks Spewing Rage . . .'? [...] JeffS. Don't even bother, booby. HATER!!!!! YOU'RE FULL OF H8, H8TER!1111!!!!!Eleventy-one!!! HATER! ...
The Other McCain -

Right Wing Bloggers: Epic Fail Again : Dispatches from the Culture ...
Charles Johnson at LGF catches several prominent right-wing blogs confusing closed captioning for orders. When President Obama spoke at the memorial in Tucson the audience was often cheering wildly. I found that kind of off-putting ...
Dispatches from the Culture Wars -

Porter Returns to Her Roots In Ohio | Right Wing Watch
By Kyle
Janet Porter got her start in Religious Right politics back in Ohio, serving as the Legislative Director of Ohio Right to Life. Eventually, she was lured away to Florida by D. James Kennedy to serve as the National Director for his ...Right Wing Watch -

Joe Scarborough to right wing: Stop whining about shooting!
Washington Post (blog)
But before you and the pack of right-wing polemicists who make big bucks spewing rage on a daily basis congratulate yourselves for not being responsible for ...See all stories on this topic »

Just a Nut Case: The Post-Tucson Bait and Switch
Mother Jones
And not just any old member, but one who had been targeted, singled out for political attack, reviled by the right wing. And this amidst a call by several ...See all stories on this topic »

Right Wing Blog's Anti-Gay Attack On Barney Frank Too Much Even For Fox Nation
Media Matters for America (blog)
... was right for a pointless homophobic attack on Congressman Barney Frank: Police Given Pics of Giffords' Shooter Wearing Red G-String Posing With Gun. ...See all stories on this topic »

We get it, Sarah Palin. You’re not morally culpable for the tragic shooting in Tucson, Ariz. All of us around the “Morning Joe” table agree, even if we were stunned that you would whine about yourself on Facebook as a shattered family prepared to bury their 9-year-old girl.
The same goes for you, Glenn Beck. You’ve attacked your political opponents with words designed to inspire hatred and mind-bending conspiracy theories from fans. Calling the president a racist, Marxist and fascist may be reprehensible, but it did not lead a mentally disturbed man to take a Glock to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s “Congress on Your Corner” event.
Good on ya, buddy. You weren’t personally responsible for the slaughter at the Safeway. Maybe you can put it on a poster at the next “Talkers” convention.
But before you and the pack of right-wing polemicists who make big bucks spewing rage on a daily basis congratulate yourselves for not being responsible for Jared Lee Loughner’s rampage, I recommend taking a deep breath. Just because the dots between violent rhetoric and violent actions don’t connect in this case doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore the possibility — or, as many fear, the inevitability — that someone else will soon draw the line between them.
Actually, someone already has. When you get a minute, Google “Byron Williams” and “Tides Foundation” to see just how thin a layer of ice Beck skates on every day.
Beck and Palin aside, I do understand why other conservatives pushed back on the media’s initial response to the Giffords shooting. The avalanche of condemnations that came pouring down on Palin, Fox News and the tea party were off base and offensive. Most of the same outlets calling for restraint after the Fort Hood shooting showed no such discipline after Tucson. The fact that the left predictably played to type did more to unite the conservative movement than any event since President Barack Obama’s election.
Now that the right has proved to the world that it was wronged, this would be a good time to prevent the next tragedy from destroying its political momentum. Despite what we eventually learned about the shooter in Tucson, should the right have really been so shocked that many feared a political connection between the heated rhetoric of 2010 and the shooting of Giffords?
Who, other than Palin’s most strident supporters, was not troubled by the bull’s-eye target over Giffords’s district? Or the political advertisement promoting the removal of Giffords from office with the firing of a “fully automatic M16” with her opponent? Or the gunned-down congresswoman’s own warning to NBC’s Chuck Todd that violent words have consequences?
And who on the right is really stupid enough to not understand that the political movement that has a near monopoly on gun imagery may be the first focus of an act associated with gun violence? As a conservative who had a 100 percent rating with the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America over my four terms in Congress, I wonder why some on the right can’t defend the Second Amendment without acting like jackasses. While these types regularly attack my calls for civility, it is their reckless rhetoric that does the most to hurt the cause.
Which brings us back to Palin and the GOP’s field of 2012 candidates.
In Palin’s Facebook manifesto last Wednesday, she didn’t condemn extreme speech and its potential for violence. Instead, she seemed to say, “Deal with it.” Then she proved it, ineptly and offensively naming herself the victim of a “blood libel,” which generations of persecuted Jews know carries connotations much more serious than a drop in the polls.
We know Palin won’t call out irresponsible language or lead the discussion back to civility, but who will?
Where was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who covets the moral authority to lead his party in 2012? Is there anything — anything at all — a member of his own party can say that offends this man?
Or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who refused to call out his state’s best-known congresswoman, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, for saying that the best way to oppose energy legislation is to be “armed and dangerous.”
Or former House Speaker Newt Gingrich? Oh, wait. Never mind.
From their defensive crouch, these candidates are clearly scared to do the right thing by calling out reckless rhetoric. So let me try a different tack by speaking to their politically expedient minds.
Overblown rhetoric is tailor-made for midterm elections like 1994 and 2010, when a conservative movement rises up to check a progressive tide. It’s why Republicans gave Gingrich the keys to the car in 1995.
As the liberal president is checked by the conservative Congress, a new presidential race approaches, the voting base expands and the keys to the car get turned over to more unifying figures. This explains how a party could move from Gingrich in 1995 to Bob Dole as its nominee in 1996.
Presidential-year elections are driven by a completely different demographic. Good luck trying that “Second Amendment remedies” crap on swing voters in the suburbs. It just won’t fly. And neither will the cacophony of crazy talk that has gripped the far right for the past two years.
It’s time to grow up, act responsibly and start planning for the 2012 election.
If you can’t be civil because it’s the right thing to do, then do it because it is in your party’s best interest.
A guest columnist for POLITICO, Joe Scarborough hosts “Morning Joe” on MSNBC and represented Florida’s 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001.

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