Monday, April 27, 2009

Lieberman - LovelyMan = The Devil

By Ellen Cantarow

No one doubts that Avigdor Lieberman is a thug. His ultimata ("Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong," etc, New York Times Thursday, April 2, 2009) were designed to shock. On this site Neve Gordon.s revelations of Lieberman's many corruptions, his beating of a 12-year-old child, his exhortation to bomb Gaza as the US bombed Hiroshima, supply further ugly evidence against the man, and fuel the flash-fires burning through the Internet in the wake of his appointment as Israel.s foreign minister.

So he should be denounced by all means, but it is certain that the problems attaching to his name are not going away. On the contrary -- particularly given President Obama.s repudiation of Lieberman during the President.s speech in Ankara, Turkey, and his avowed loyalty to a .two-state solution. . these problems will appear in a different form, specifically in regard to the nature of the .two states. under the guidance of Obama, Netanyahu & Co.

If the Lieberman appointment wasn.t specifically designed to have him play bad cop to everyone else.s good cop, it.s certainly turning out that way. A recent J Street petition urges me and thousands of on-line others to denounce Lieberman as a threat to .our community.s values,. and also to endorse J Street.s offer of .our best wishes and congratulations ... pledging to help Benjamin Netanyahu's government where possible, and push when necessary, to achieve the goal of real peace and security for Israel, the Palestinians, and the whole Middle East..

This is truly a dangerous path. Three years ago, Lieberman proposed annexing to the northern West Bank parts of the Galilee with large Arab populations. At the heart of this region is Wadi Ara, described in a US media account a few years ago as .a seasonal riverbed adjacent to the West Bank.. With a majority Arab population, Wadi Ara has been Israel.s ever since Ben-Gurion wrenched an agreement from Jordan.s King Abdullah that he cede the land as part of the post-war armistice agreement.

The area.s story goes back farther. During a 2005 US trip, Shimon Peres suggested to American listeners that US .disengagement funds. (your tax dollars at work after the famed Gaza .pull-out.) should be employed to .develop. Wadi Ara . that is, to resettle the .dispossessed. Gaza settlers there. This echoed Irving Howe.s suggestion in The New York Times Book Review (May, 16, 1982), that more Jews be sent to the .under-populated Galilee. . .under-populated,. that is, in the sense that New York was .under-populated. by whites until the gentrification projects of the housing .boom years..

Lieberman set the Peres idea on its head with his .land-swap. notion but both proposals have in common their preoccupation with the .the demographic issue.. On this, just about all of Israel . and much of so called .liberal Jewish. America - is united, extreme-right through left, the devil being only in the details how to resolve it for good.

Lieberman.s suggestion was deemed .illegal. by Israeli scholars, but it has found sympathetic supporters ever since. As it stands now, it could easily trot forward as a .two-state solution. under US-Israeli aegis. (1) This is what is ignored in the hysteria about Lieberman.s actual appointment: .transfer,. long an Israeli option, may actually take place in the near future. (Lieberman.s has been called .soft transfer.)

In the Washington Post February, 2006, Henry Kissinger enthusiastically endorsed the idea without mentioning Lieberman by name: .The most logical outcome would be to trade Israeli settlement blocs around Jerusalem ... for some equivalent territories in present-day Israel with significant Arab populations. The rejection of such an approach ... which would contribute greatly to stability and to demographic balance reflects a determination to keep incendiary issues permanently open..

Incendiary issues. no doubt include Wadi Ara Arabs. bitter resistance to the .land swap. notion. .Stability. and .demographic balance. are code for the purity of the Jewish state, once it.s been relieved of its .demographic problem,. and once potentially fractious Arabs have come under the boot of the Palestinian Authority, the US-Israel regional puppet.

Around the same time Kissinger wrote his commentary, Israel National News reported that Knesset member Otniel Schneller of Kadima, .considered to be one of the people closest and most loyal to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,. had proposed something similar to Lieberman.s .swap. idea. Schneller.s plan was .more gradual.. The annexed, former Israeli Arab citizens would still be of the Jewish state. Their land, however, would belong to the Palestinian Authority and they wouldn.t be allowed to resettle anywhere else in Israel. (2)

A more recent recruit to this bandwagon is Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who has said a .Palestinian state. could .be the national answer to the Palestinians. in the territories and those .who live in different refugee camps or in Israel..

One assumes that this plan will keep popping up and that (the incendiary Lieberman kept tidily in the wings while his shoot-from-the-mouth behavior distracts the attention of .the left.) that it could well come to fruition. The New York Times. Ethan Bronner reported February 12 that .the left. likes Lieberman.s .willingness to create two states, one Jewish, one Palestinian, which would involve yielding areas that are now part of Israel.. Note Bronner.s use of .willingness. and .yielding,. suggesting his own tacit endorsement of Israel.s magnanimity. (Bronner, of course, quoted no Arab voices from Wadi Ara, nor did he mention that what Israel would yield is land inhabited by untermenschen. At best the vast majority of Israelis consider the Arabs to be people who need .help. -- as in the suggestion 32 years ago by Irving Howe.s disciple, Michael Walzer, that the indigenous people are .marginal to the nation.. His solution was .helping people to leave who have to leave.. (3)

Again, there.s no need to ask the people of Wadi Ara and such .Arab. areas how they feel because, after all, the land isn.t theirs to begin with. The Jewish National Fund controls more than 90 percent of Israel.s land and the JNF must use charitable funds in ways that .directly or indirectly [benefit] ... persons of Jewish religion, race or origin.. The JNF is .recognized by the Government of Israel and the World Zionist Organization as the exclusive instrument for the development of Israel.s lands.. Such development is open, forever, only to Jews. (4)

And so, amidst much celebration (hand-shakes on the White House lawn, etc.) the new .two-state. solution could well be realized in the not-so-distant future. A Palestinian ghetto would exist alongside a Jewish state, which would of course include the settlements. .The demographic problem. bedeviling Zionists ever since two rabbis returned in the 19th century with the report that the bride was .beautiful but married to another man,. would vanish. Now and then, on a distant hilltop, a lone goatherd might appear, nostalgically suggesting .simpler. and more .traditional. times. Palestinian embroidery would be sold at appointed places, to adorn the persons and furniture of pure Jews commuting back and forth to a now purely Jewish Jerusalem and Tel Aviv from, say, purely Jewish Maale Adumim. American readers wearing exquisite Navajo turquoise jewelry . this writer among them . will recognize these images.

* * *

How could it have come to this? Surely not for want of countless early warning signals. Here, for example, is Moshe Dayan in an interview with BBC reporter, Alan Hart, May 14, 1973:

Alan Hart . Why are you seeking to establish more and more settlements? The Arabs think that your goal is to stay in Transjordan for eternity.
Dayan . That.s right. In fact I think that Israelis should stay in Transjordan for eternity and till the end of time.
Hart.Arabs listening to you now, including President Sadat, will say: .There you are! Dayan has confirmed that he.s only after territorial expansion.
Dayan.OK, if you think the desire to feel at home throughout all of Transjordan is an expansionist ambition. If that.s what you call being .expansionist,. then I.m an expansionist.. -- from Amnon Kapeliouk.s Israel: la fin des mythes (Israel: an end to all myths), Editions Albin Michel, 1975 (translation mine.)

Nor should one forget Dayan.s 1967 comment to colleagues about what they should tell the Palestinians: .[Y]ou shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever prefers.may leave.. (5) Or, farther back in time, Chaim Weizmann.s remarks about the 1917 Balfour declaration, on record with the Jewish Agency Executive: .[W]ith regard to the Arab question . the British told me that there are several hundred thousand negroes there but that this matter has no significance.. In Fateful Triangle, Noam Chomsky quotes US journalist Vincent Sheean, who .arrived in Palestine as an avid Zionist in 1929, [and who] left a few months later a harsh critic of the Zionist enterprise largely because of the attitudes among the Jewish settlers towards what they called the .uncivilized race. of .savages. and .Red Indians,. .squatters for thirteen centuries... (6)

In Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel.s Security & Foreign Policy, (University of Michigan Press, 2006), Israeli security and foreign policy analyst Zeev Maoz shows that Israel was conceived through deliberate policy choices as a .Sparta state.. All of its governments from Ben Gurion forward have relied on Zeev Jabotinsky.s .Iron Wall. doctrine. This doctrine translates as military blows "to convince the Arabs of the futility and illogic of their dreams. Over time, the Arabs will come to accept the Jewish state and to make peace with it." (7) (See this writer.s review at ZNet.) The destruction of Gaza this past winter is the latest of such actions designed to persuade the natives that their dreams are futile and illogical.

It cannot be over-emphasized that without the US, Israel could not have gotten to this point. (8) President Obama is turning out to be more of the same. Announcing the appointment of George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy, Obama said:

.Senator Mitchell will ... help Israel reach a broader peace with the Arab world. Let me be clear: America is committed to Israel's security. And we will always support Israel's right to defend itself against legitimate threats. . . To be a genuine party to peace, the quartet has made it clear that Hamas must meet clear conditions: recognize Israel's right to exist; renounce violence; and abide by past agreements ... I should add that the Arab peace initiative contains constructive elements that could help advance these efforts. Now is the time for Arab states to act on the initiative's promise by supporting the Palestinian government under President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, taking steps towards normalizing relations with Israel, and by standing up to extremism that threatens us all.. (9)

The emphases on Israel.s .right to defend itself,. the requirement that Hamas toe the quartet.s line, the underscoring of the US-Israel puppet regime . all this is obvious. What is not so obvious is Obama.s deliberate choice to eviscerate the Arab League.s 2002 proposal, the body of which requires Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders with some modifications. Obama quotes a corollary to the proposal, a small paragraph requiring Arab states to .normalize. relations with Israel . the corollary has as its premise that first Israel must make real (not bogus) land concessions. This was the solution almost reached at the Israeli-Palestinian talks in Taba, Egypt in 2001: Ehud Barak withdrew. (10)

Just so, Israel refused in 1971 what was then a dazzling prospect, President Anwar Sadat.s offer of full peace. Egypt was the regional Arab super-power, and peace with it would have ensured future treaties with other Arab countries. (The Palestinians were not considered by Sadat, who was interested only in Israel.s withdrawal from the Sinai, which it had taken in 1967.) The consequence of Israel.s rejection, a choice of expansionism over security -- one that Henry Kissinger, backing Golda Meir, enabled -- was the Yom Kippur War. This cost Israel the lives of three thousand Israeli soldiers; a "staggering" loss of equipment (Zeev Maoz.s term); $10 billion in overall damages. On at least two occasions Israel armed its nuclear warheads, bringing the region to the brink of nuclear war. (11)

Israel rejected security for expansionism at Oslo as well, no matter what the .generous offer. myths may say. It continues to do so as I write. More bad news floods our e-mail boxes about the rotting concentration camp in Gaza. US-Israel apparently intends to make it an international charity case, an occasional shooting gallery for WMD testing in dense urban areas, or both. At the same time, bad news comes from the West Bank, where arrests and kidnapping of Palestinians, the shooting of international solidarity workers, home demolitions, settler pogroms, further annexations in East Jerusalem, and all the rest of it, continue at a brisk and unimpeded pace. Such is US-Israel.s history. Such is the present. In all of this Avigdor Lieberman is merely an exclamation mark. Those who want change should focus on the larger picture.

- Ellen Cantarow is a Boston-based musician and writer. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact her at: ecantarow@comcast.net.

Notes:

1. I am indebted to Noam Chomsky.s essay, .Good News, Iraq and Beyond,. for ideas about the Lieberman .land swap. and some of the politicians who embraced it. See Znet.

2. Ibid.

3. .Nationalism, Internationalism, and the Jews: the chimera of a binational state,. in Irving Howe & Carl Gershman, Israel, the Arabs and the Middle East (Bantam, 1972).

4. .Good News, Iraq and Beyond.. Chomsky discusses a recent (only partly successful) challenge to the JNF.s blatantly racist practices.

5. Noam Chomsky, Fateful Triangle (South End Press, 1983, 1989), p. 481. Dayan made this statement in a September, 1967 meeting, suggesting what his colleagues should tell Palestinians. The original sources is Yossi Beilin. Shimon Peres protested that that Israel should preserve its moral stand, and Dayan replied, .Ben Gurion said that anyone who approaches the Zionist problem in a moral aspect is not a Zionist..

6. Ibid.

7. Zeev Maoz, Defending the Holy Land: A Critical Analysis of Israel.s Security & Foreign Policy (University of Michigan, 2006) p. 9

8. A crucial article recently posted at Znet, by Irene Gendzier, proves through her analysis of a rich assortment of quotes by US officials, that in 1948 everyone in US power knew precisely what was happening to Palestine.s Arab population. They looked on . some with horror, some with skepticism. Those who saw in Israel the prospect of a future Spartan guarantor of US .interests. (post-British-French hegemony in the region and access to its oil) looked on with cold curiosity. After 1967 the deal was, so to speak, signed, sealed and delivered.

9. .President Barack Obama Delivers Remarks to State Department Employees,. The Washington Post, January 22, 2009.

10. See Ran HaCohen.s portrait of Barak, whose record is equally as appalling as Lieberman.s, at Antiwar.com. Also see Idith Zerta and Akiva Eldar.s essential Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel.s Settlements In The Occupied Territories, 1967 . 2007, for rich descriptions of Barak.s affection for the most extreme of Israel.s right-wing religious nationalist settlers.

11. Maoz, p. 417.

http://www.palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=15055

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chomsky Obama

Obama new champion of Capitalism
Sun, 26 Apr 2009 01:22:44 GMT
The following is a Press TV interview with sociopolitical analyst and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky on the policies of the new US administration and the chances of 'change' under President Barack Obama.

Chomsky: The best comment on [this issue] was made by advertising industry. They give a prize every year to the best marketing campaign of the year and for 2008 they gave it to Barack Obama. He beat out Dell computers and Apple computers. And the executives said that.exalted this [saying] "as we have been marketing candidates like commodities ever since Ronald Regan, I think, this was the best we ever did." That is when it changed the atmosphere in corporate boardrooms about how to manipulate and manage and so on. And that is about right. It was a very effective advertising campaign. They did what they have to do. Elections are pretty much run by the advertising industry. And they read polls, they know what people think, and they pay a lot of attention to them. So they know that, on a great many issues, both political parties are well to the right of the population. So it is a good idea to keep away from issues and to focus on personalities, body language, qualities, and, what they call, values and things like that.

Press TV: Do you think that America was ready for this change or is this even a change?

Chomsky: Well, America is definitely ready for a change every year. Every party manager knew that. In fact the polls tell you 80% of the public thinks that things are going in the wrong direction. Now that tells every party manger would better focus on change. So both campaigns -- Obama and McCain -- highlighted change.

But does that mean there is going to be change? No, not necessarily. There will be some changes but one change is that the Bush administration was very unusual in American history. There is a pretty narrow spectrum within the political range, but the Bush administration was way off the spectrum. Especially the first term was unusual in its brazen arrogance., its offensive manner. It has alienated even allies. Its violence and aggressiveness.. And, in fact, the attitudes towards the United States throughout the world just plummeted in reaction to this. Now, the second term they sort of moderated that stance to some extent, but it was pretty clear that any candidate who comes in is going to move back more toward the normal centre and Obama has, in fact, done so.

Press TV: So, do you think that the Bush legacy will be marked by these things that you noted?

Chomsky : Well, the Bush legacy will be marked by a series of just incredible catastrophes. Everything they touched turned into a disaster, whether it was the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan or Hurricane Katrina or the financial crisis. There are few things, which did, had a positive impact. A couple of things.. For example, they played a constructive role leading to a partial peace treaty in Sudan between north and south, increased aid to Africa.. So, there were some positive developments, but, by and large, it is a record of just unusual catastrophes. Which is why, if you look at the 2008 elections, it was unusual in that both parties ran against the incumbent president. The Republicans also ran against him because he was so unpopular.

Press TV: There is a perception right now here in the United States right now that with the "Wind of Change" prevailing in the Washington DC, that "we are seeing the end of American capitalism as we knew and the end of American imperialism as we knew it." Would you agree with that theory?

Chomsky: No. For one thing.. The American capitalism.. What is happening now in the financial industry is unusual. The government is stepping in entirely to partly manage and take over part of the financial institutions. But that is the norm. That has happened all the time in the industrial circuit and even in financial institutions. So, for example, Citigroup is now being bailed out with a huge amount of tax payer funds. Ronald Regan did pretty much the same thing in the early 1980s. I think the whole of the advanced industry, the HIGH-TECH industry, comes out of the state circuit, places like MIT is among the places that develop the computers, the internet, lasers, most of HIGH-TECH economy that includes pharmaceuticals and so on.

I mean, the system that we have, which is called capitalism, is basically a system in which the public pays the costs and takes the risks and profit is privatized. That is something of an exaggeration but it is very largely true. In fact, if you take the financial institutions, I mean, a common phrase in Washington and the media these days is "too big to fail".

Now, what does that mean? It means when you have an institution like, say, Citigroup or Bank of America, it is so big that the government can not allow it to fail and then the public will have to pay in or step in and make sure it continues to function pretty much as before. Well, that is a is insurance policy, a publicly-granted insurance policy which permits huge institutions to undertake a very risky behavior, from which, of course, you make a lot of profits but, if anything goes wrong, the public pays. Now, that is high-level protectionism and it undermines competitors who do not have that insurance policy. That is just one of many ways which can go on and on in which the United States departs very sharply from market systems.

Now, will that system remain? Well, we can not be sure but the Obama administration is certainly trying very hard to maintain its structure. So, for example, if it takes a Citigroup or Bank of America or General Motors, it would be much cheaper to buy them than to bail them out but that would mean that they are nationalized and under the public control.

Press TV: Is this almost a loophole? The protectionism that that we are seeing on the part of the government.. Is it a loophole towards nationalization?

Chomsky: It has just.. It has always been like that. As I say, the HI-TECH economy is, to a large extent, publicly subsidized. No, that is protectionism; it is just not called protectionism. The terms are used in such a way that they do not really describe.. They have ideologically tinged the terms that we use.

Press TV: Why are Western societies intimidated by these terms?

Chomsky: They are not intimidated. They act the same way. I mean, that is for economic history. The reason that there is a First World and a Third World., the large reason, part of the reason, is that, from the 18th century, the European societies and their offshoots like the state the United States relied on a very high level of state intervention. Protectionism, subsidy worked in such a way in which the powerful states intervened and they had their economy developed. The colonist societies., they were subjected to free market principles and they declined, they stagnated. Those are some of the major principles of economic history. I mean, let us take look.outside of the European-US world. There is one country that developed, Japan, and that is the one country that was not colonized.

Is that accidental? No, in fact, if you look at the East Asian growth system, you know one of the miracles of took place in the 20th century, they ruled by following pretty much the kinds of policy that the Europe and the United States had followed in their own development. They rejected the rules of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and developed through various kinds of state intervention.

So, it has changed with time. After the Second World War, when the economy allowed much more hi-technology innovation, the government role increased substantially. And so that is why you have places like MIT. Public-funding mostly extended from funding to develop what became a new economy.

So, these are just general features of the economic history. In fact, it is kind of dramatic right now..it is interesting that nobody notices it... Suppose that a Third-World country has an economic, national crisis, say, Indonesia. The IMF comes in..

They come in. They tell.. They give lectures and instructions to Indonesia as to how to deal with the crisis. First, pay off your debts to us. Second, raise interest rates which lower the crippling economy. Third, the population has to pay for the structural adjustment. And fourth, privatize so we can pick up your assets..

Those are the instructions given to the third world uniformly.. If fact they are given right now, Suppose we had the crisis as we do now. The instructions are the opposite. Forget about the debts.. Lower the interest rates. Just do everything to stimulate the economy. Do not suffer as long as you can and do not privatize. Nationalize, but do not call it nationalization. Just help the public to move a couple of bad assets and subsidize.

So, exactly the opposite prescriptions. Now, all this passes without comment. And, I think, the reason is deeply ingrained in the imperial mentality that we act one way and our subjects act the different way and that traces back through modern economic history and it is a large part of the reason for the split between first world and the rest of world.

Press TV: You have constantly warned of propaganda and how the mainstream media is essentially employed to coy the population into submission, if you may. What role do you think the mass media plays in the current American political system?

Chomsky: They pretty much represent the standard ideological framework that grows from the structure of power in the society. I do not think they are being deceptive.. It is their belief. It is their understanding. I mean, if you had a religious theocracy, the media perfectly honest with you and repeat the claims of the religious theocracy. They may do it by force. They may do it because they believe it.. It is not deception. That is what educated, cultivated people believe and that is deeply rooted in the imperial mentality and has developed over hundreds of years. And the class mentality the rich are supposed to do well and the poor have to pay for it. No, it is pretty natural, belief of a part of privileged people.

To be continued.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

What Bolivian democracy looks like

What Bolivian democracy looks like

Author: W. T. Whitney Jr.

People's Weekly World Newspaper, 04/23/09 14:26

Noam Chomsky recently praised Bolivia as .probably the most democratic country in the world.. (Democracy Now, April 13.) .Huge, popular, mass organizations of the most repressed population in the hemisphere [have] entered the political arena [and] were able to elect a president from their own ranks..

Evo Morales represents them .in a sense in which democracy is supposed to work,. Chomsky said. Reacting to their loss of power, elite sectors are .threatening virtual secession..

Short of that, these elites recently tried to sabotage the new constitution approved last January by a 61 percent majority. Toward that end, they mounted a campaign to block a temporary election law, required under the constitution to authorize presidential and national assembly elections set for Dec. 6.

Struggle in the National Congress came to a climax with the approach of the constitutionally-imposed 60-day time limit for passing the law. Without the law, there would be neither elections nor another victory for Morales. He had won the presidency in 2006 by a 54 percent majority and a presidential recall referendum in 2008 by 67 percent.

In the Chamber of Deputies where Morales. Movement Toward Socialism party had command, the election law quickly passed. But opposition deputies in the Senate, who make up a slight majority, refused to compromise, provoking resignation threats from the lower chamber. Some senators went home, depriving the Senate of a quorum. The white, business and landowning elite, led in the Senate by former President Jorge Quiroga, once allied to dictator Hugo Banzer, temporarily had the upper hand.

It was a situation putting Chomsky.s observation to the test. Morales. unique leadership style and political finesse were also on display.

President Morales fasted for five days beginning April 9. Almost 3,000 Bolivians did likewise, including labor leaders, representatives of social movements, and citizens living abroad. Thousands of indigenous and peasant supporters protested in the streets, encircling the National Assembly. Fasting with Morales in the nearby National Palace, Pedro Montes, leader of the Central Bolivian Workers Federation, described the situation to reporters as an emergency.

Inside, the Congress president, Vice President Alvaro García Linera, worked to keep the proceedings alive before and after a brief Easter recess. The opposition senators returned, a compromise was fashioned, and on April 14 the election law passed.

The government had earlier refused to grant an opposition demand to use biometric markers to identify voters. Eventually objections to costs estimated at $35 million, predictions that potential voters would be excluded, and worries about insufficient time for implementation were set aside. The government also agreed to conduct a new census. To raise money for expensive technology, the government dropped plans to buy a presidential airplane. It refused opposition calls for the resignation of José Luis Exeni, president of the National Electoral Court that would superintend the new voter identification program.

Under the new constitution, indigenous communities are allotted dedicated representation in the National Congress, the numbers until now unspecified. The government had opted for 14 delegates, the opposition for three. The compromise solution delivered via the election law was seven delegates.

Government plans for allowing Bolivians living abroad to vote morphed into an agreement that 240,000 would do so, only 6 percent of the total. The Morales forces agreed to accept into the election law widely varying schemes among Bolivia.s nine departments for electing local officials. That some took shape under autonomy statutes fashioned by the eastern departments suggested to critics the government was showing favor to the autonomy movement.

Carping surfaced afterwards that a compliant Morales government wavered in accommodating right-wing stipulations. .Treason to the indigenous movement of the country. was how Adolfo Chávez president of the Indigenous Confederation of Eastern Bolivia put it, referring to allotment of indigenous seats in the National Congress.

At issue, however, was .grave risk to the democratic principle essential for the effective exercise of popular sovereignty,. posed, according to an inSurgente.org analyst, by .representatives of the Bolivian people persisting in not complying with the fundamental law of the state..

With his hunger strike, Morales was able .peacefully to bring opposition legislators back to their responsibilities.. Choosing not to rely upon available legal justifications for using force, he offered a muted response to provocation thereby avoiding violent confrontation.

www.pww.org/article/articleview/15335/

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pentagon controls US media - PULITZER

Stalinist Disinformation Message Machine

Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon.s Hidden Hand

By DAVID BARSTOW Published: April 20, 2008

In the summer of 2005, the Bush administration confronted a fresh wave of criticism over Guantánamo Bay. The detention center had just been branded .the gulag of our times. by Amnesty International, there were new allegations of abuse from United Nations human rights experts and calls were mounting for its closure.

The administration.s communications experts responded swiftly. Early one Friday morning, they put a group of retired military officers on one of the jets normally used by Vice President Dick Cheney and flew them to Cuba for a carefully orchestrated tour of Guantánamo.

To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity, presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as .military analysts. whose long service has equipped them to give authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues of the post-Sept. 11 world.

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration.s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for hundreds of billions in military business generated by the administration.s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly prized.

Records and interviews show how the Bush administration has used its control over access and information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse . an instrument intended to shape terrorism coverage from inside the major TV and radio networks.

Analysts have been wooed in hundreds of private briefings with senior military leaders, including officials with significant influence over contracting and budget matters, records show. They have been taken on tours of Iraq and given access to classified intelligence. They have been briefed by officials from the White House, State Department and Justice Department, including Mr. Cheney, Alberto R. Gonzales and Stephen J. Hadley.

In turn, members of this group have echoed administration talking points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they feared jeopardizing their access.

A few expressed regret for participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.

.It was them saying, .We need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you,. . Robert S. Bevelacqua, a retired Green Beret and former Fox News analyst, said.

Kenneth Allard, a former NBC military analyst who has taught information warfare at the National Defense University, said the campaign amounted to a sophisticated information operation. .This was a coherent, active policy,. he said.

As conditions in Iraq deteriorated, Mr. Allard recalled, he saw a yawning gap between what analysts were told in private briefings and what subsequent inquiries and books later revealed.

.Night and day,. Mr. Allard said, .I felt we.d been hosed..

The Pentagon defended its relationship with military analysts, saying they had been given only factual information about the war. .The intent and purpose of this is nothing other than an earnest attempt to inform the American people,. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said.

It was, Mr. Whitman added, .a bit incredible. to think retired military officers could be .wound up. and turned into .puppets of the Defense Department..

Many analysts strongly denied that they had either been co-opted or had allowed outside business interests to affect their on-air comments, and some have used their platforms to criticize the conduct of the war. Several, like Jeffrey D. McCausland, a CBS military analyst and defense industry lobbyist, said they kept their networks informed of their outside work and recused themselves from coverage that touched on business interests.

.I.m not here representing the administration,. Dr. McCausland said.

Some network officials, meanwhile, acknowledged only a limited understanding of their analysts. interactions with the administration. They said that while they were sensitive to potential conflicts of interest, they did not hold their analysts to the same ethical standards as their news employees regarding outside financial interests. The onus is on their analysts to disclose conflicts, they said. And whatever the contributions of military analysts, they also noted the many network journalists who have covered the war for years in all its complexity.

Five years into the Iraq war, most details of the architecture and execution of the Pentagon.s campaign have never been disclosed. But The Times successfully sued the Defense Department to gain access to 8,000 pages of e-mail messages, transcripts and records describing years of private briefings, trips to Iraq and Guantánamo and an extensive Pentagon talking points operation.

These records reveal a symbiotic relationship where the usual dividing lines between government and journalism have been obliterated.

Internal Pentagon documents repeatedly refer to the military analysts as .message force multipliers. or .surrogates. who could be counted on to deliver administration .themes and messages. to millions of Americans .in the form of their own opinions..

Though many analysts are paid network consultants, making $500 to $1,000 per appearance, in Pentagon meetings they sometimes spoke as if they were operating behind enemy lines, interviews and transcripts show. Some offered the Pentagon tips on how to outmaneuver the networks, or as one analyst put it to Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the defense secretary, .the Chris Matthewses and the Wolf Blitzers of the world.. Some warned of planned stories or sent the Pentagon copies of their correspondence with network news executives. Many . although certainly not all . faithfully echoed talking points intended to counter critics.

.Good work,. Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force general, consultant and Fox News analyst, wrote to the Pentagon after receiving fresh talking points in late 2006. .We will use it..

Again and again, records show, the administration has enlisted analysts as a rapid reaction force to rebut what it viewed as critical news coverage, some of it by the networks. own Pentagon correspondents. For example, when news articles revealed that troops in Iraq were dying because of inadequate body armor, a senior Pentagon official wrote to his colleagues: .I think our analysts . properly armed . can push back in that arena..

The documents released by the Pentagon do not show any quid pro quo between commentary and contracts. But some analysts said they had used the special access as a marketing and networking opportunity or as a window into future business possibilities.

John C. Garrett is a retired Marine colonel and unpaid analyst for Fox News TV and radio. He is also a lobbyist at Patton Boggs who helps firms win Pentagon contracts, including in Iraq. In promotional materials, he states that as a military analyst he .is privy to weekly access and briefings with the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high level policy makers in the administration.. One client told investors that Mr. Garrett.s special access and decades of experience helped him .to know in advance . and in detail . how best to meet the needs. of the Defense Department and other agencies.

In interviews Mr. Garrett said there was an inevitable overlap between his dual roles. He said he had gotten .information you just otherwise would not get,. from the briefings and three Pentagon-sponsored trips to Iraq. He also acknowledged using this access and information to identify opportunities for clients. .You can.t help but look for that,. he said, adding, .If you know a capability that would fill a niche or need, you try to fill it. .That.s good for everybody..

At the same time, in e-mail messages to the Pentagon, Mr. Garrett displayed an eagerness to be supportive with his television and radio commentary. .Please let me know if you have any specific points you want covered or that you would prefer to downplay,. he wrote in January 2007, before President Bush went on TV to describe the surge strategy in Iraq.

Conversely, the administration has demonstrated that there is a price for sustained criticism, many analysts said. .You.ll lose all access,. Dr. McCausland said.

With a majority of Americans calling the war a mistake despite all administration attempts to sway public opinion, the Pentagon has focused in the last couple of years on cultivating in particular military analysts frequently seen and heard in conservative news outlets, records and interviews show.

Some of these analysts were on the mission to Cuba on June 24, 2005 . the first of six such Guantánamo trips . which was designed to mobilize analysts against the growing perception of Guantánamo as an international symbol of inhumane treatment. On the flight to Cuba, for much of the day at Guantánamo and on the flight home that night, Pentagon officials briefed the 10 or so analysts on their key messages . how much had been spent improving the facility, the abuse endured by guards, the extensive rights afforded detainees.

The results came quickly. The analysts went on TV and radio, decrying Amnesty International, criticizing calls to close the facility and asserting that all detainees were treated humanely.

.The impressions that you.re getting from the media and from the various pronouncements being made by people who have not been here in my opinion are totally false,. Donald W. Shepperd, a retired Air Force general, reported live on CNN by phone from Guantánamo that same afternoon.

The next morning, Montgomery Meigs, a retired Army general and NBC analyst, appeared on .Today.. .There.s been over $100 million of new construction,. he reported. .The place is very professionally run..

Within days, transcripts of the analysts. appearances were circulated to senior White House and Pentagon officials, cited as evidence of progress in the battle for hearts and minds at home.

Charting the Campaign

By early 2002, detailed planning for a possible Iraq invasion was under way, yet an obstacle loomed. Many Americans, polls showed, were uneasy about invading a country with no clear connection to the Sept. 11 attacks. Pentagon and White House officials believed the military analysts could play a crucial role in helping overcome this resistance.

Torie Clarke, the former public relations executive who oversaw the Pentagon.s dealings with the analysts as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, had come to her job with distinct ideas about achieving what she called .information dominance.. In a spin-saturated news culture, she argued, opinion is swayed most by voices perceived as authoritative and utterly independent.

And so even before Sept. 11, she built a system within the Pentagon to recruit .key influentials. . movers and shakers from all walks who with the proper ministrations might be counted on to generate support for Mr. Rumsfeld.s priorities.

In the months after Sept. 11, as every network rushed to retain its own all-star squad of retired military officers, Ms. Clarke and her staff sensed a new opportunity. To Ms. Clarke.s team, the military analysts were the ultimate .key influential. . authoritative, most of them decorated war heroes, all reaching mass audiences.

The analysts, they noticed, often got more airtime than network reporters, and they were not merely explaining the capabilities of Apache helicopters. They were framing how viewers ought to interpret events. What is more, while the analysts were in the news media, they were not of the news media. They were military men, many of them ideologically in sync with the administration.s neoconservative brain trust, many of them important players in a military industry anticipating large budget increases to pay for an Iraq war.

Even analysts with no defense industry ties, and no fondness for the administration, were reluctant to be critical of military leaders, many of whom were friends. .It is very hard for me to criticize the United States Army,. said William L. Nash, a retired Army general and ABC analyst. .It is my life..

Other administrations had made sporadic, small-scale attempts to build relationships with the occasional military analyst. But these were trifling compared with what Ms. Clarke.s team had in mind. Don Meyer, an aide to Ms. Clarke, said a strategic decision was made in 2002 to make the analysts the main focus of the public relations push to construct a case for war. Journalists were secondary. .We didn.t want to rely on them to be our primary vehicle to get information out,. Mr. Meyer said.

The Pentagon.s regular press office would be kept separate from the military analysts. The analysts would instead be catered to by a small group of political appointees, with the point person being Brent T. Krueger, another senior aide to Ms. Clarke. The decision recalled other administration tactics that subverted traditional journalism. Federal agencies, for example, have paid columnists to write favorably about the administration. They have distributed to local TV stations hundreds of fake news segments with fawning accounts of administration accomplishments. The Pentagon itself has made covert payments to Iraqi newspapers to publish coalition propaganda.

Rather than complain about the .media filter,. each of these techniques simply converted the filter into an amplifier. This time, Mr. Krueger said, the military analysts would in effect be .writing the op-ed. for the war.

Assembling the Team

From the start, interviews show, the White House took a keen interest in which analysts had been identified by the Pentagon, requesting lists of potential recruits, and suggesting names. Ms. Clarke.s team wrote summaries describing their backgrounds, business affiliations and where they stood on the war.

.Rumsfeld ultimately cleared off on all invitees,. said Mr. Krueger, who left the Pentagon in 2004. (Through a spokesman, Mr. Rumsfeld declined to comment for this article.)

Over time, the Pentagon recruited more than 75 retired officers, although some participated only briefly or sporadically. The largest contingent was affiliated with Fox News, followed by NBC and CNN, the other networks with 24-hour cable outlets. But analysts from CBS and ABC were included, too. Some recruits, though not on any network payroll, were influential in other ways . either because they were sought out by radio hosts, or because they often published op-ed articles or were quoted in magazines, Web sites and newspapers. At least nine of them have written op-ed articles for The Times.

The group was heavily represented by men involved in the business of helping companies win military contracts. Several held senior positions with contractors that gave them direct responsibility for winning new Pentagon business. James Marks, a retired Army general and analyst for CNN from 2004 to 2007, pursued military and intelligence contracts as a senior executive with McNeil Technologies. Still others held board positions with military firms that gave them responsibility for government business. General McInerney, the Fox analyst, for example, sits on the boards of several military contractors, including Nortel Government Solutions, a supplier of communication networks.

Several were defense industry lobbyists, such as Dr. McCausland, who works at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, a major lobbying firm where he is director of a national security team that represents several military contractors. .We offer clients access to key decision makers,. Dr. McCausland.s team promised on the firm.s Web site.

Dr. McCausland was not the only analyst making this pledge. Another was Joseph W. Ralston, a retired Air Force general. Soon after signing on with CBS, General Ralston was named vice chairman of the Cohen Group, a consulting firm headed by a former defense secretary, William Cohen, himself now a .world affairs. analyst for CNN. .The Cohen Group knows that getting to .yes. in the aerospace and defense market . whether in the United States or abroad . requires that companies have a thorough, up-to-date understanding of the thinking of government decision makers,. the company tells prospective clients on its Web site.

There were also ideological ties.

Two of NBC.s most prominent analysts, Barry R. McCaffrey and the late Wayne A. Downing, were on the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, an advocacy group created with White House encouragement in 2002 to help make the case for ousting Saddam Hussein. Both men also had their own consulting firms and sat on the boards of major military contractors.

Many also shared with Mr. Bush.s national security team a belief that pessimistic war coverage broke the nation.s will to win in Vietnam, and there was a mutual resolve not to let that happen with this war.

This was a major theme, for example, with Paul E. Vallely, a Fox News analyst from 2001 to 2007. A retired Army general who had specialized in psychological warfare, Mr. Vallely co-authored a paper in 1980 that accused American news organizations of failing to defend the nation from .enemy. propaganda during Vietnam.

.We lost the war . not because we were outfought, but because we were out Psyoped,. he wrote. He urged a radically new approach to psychological operations in future wars . taking aim at not just foreign adversaries but domestic audiences, too. He called his approach .MindWar. . using network TV and radio to .strengthen our national will to victory..

The Selling of the War

From their earliest sessions with the military analysts, Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides spoke as if they were all part of the same team.

In interviews, participants described a powerfully seductive environment . the uniformed escorts to Mr. Rumsfeld.s private conference room, the best government china laid out, the embossed name cards, the blizzard of PowerPoints, the solicitations of advice and counsel, the appeals to duty and country, the warm thank you notes from the secretary himself.

.Oh, you have no idea,. Mr. Allard said, describing the effect. .You.re back. They listen to you. They listen to what you say on TV.. It was, he said, .psyops on steroids. . a nuanced exercise in influence through flattery and proximity. .It.s not like it.s, .We.ll pay you $500 to get our story out,. . he said. .It.s more subtle..

The access came with a condition. Participants were instructed not to quote their briefers directly or otherwise describe their contacts with the Pentagon.

In the fall and winter leading up to the invasion, the Pentagon armed its analysts with talking points portraying Iraq as an urgent threat. The basic case became a familiar mantra: Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons, was developing nuclear weapons, and might one day slip some to Al Qaeda; an invasion would be a relatively quick and inexpensive .war of liberation..

At the Pentagon, members of Ms. Clarke.s staff marveled at the way the analysts seamlessly incorporated material from talking points and briefings as if it was their own.

.You could see that they were messaging,. Mr. Krueger said. .You could see they were taking verbatim what the secretary was saying or what the technical specialists were saying. And they were saying it over and over and over.. Some days, he added, .We were able to click on every single station and every one of our folks were up there delivering our message. You.d look at them and say, .This is working.. .

On April 12, 2003, with major combat almost over, Mr. Rumsfeld drafted a memorandum to Ms. Clarke. .Let.s think about having some of the folks who did such a good job as talking heads in after this thing is over,. he wrote.

By summer, though, the first signs of the insurgency had emerged. Reports from journalists based in Baghdad were increasingly suffused with the imagery of mayhem.

The Pentagon did not have to search far for a counterweight.

It was time, an internal Pentagon strategy memorandum urged, to .re-energize surrogates and message-force multipliers,. starting with the military analysts.

The memorandum led to a proposal to take analysts on a tour of Iraq in September 2003, timed to help overcome the sticker shock from Mr. Bush.s request for $87 billion in emergency war financing.

The group included four analysts from Fox News, one each from CNN and ABC, and several research-group luminaries whose opinion articles appear regularly in the nation.s op-ed pages.

The trip invitation promised a look at .the real situation on the ground in Iraq..

The situation, as described in scores of books, was deteriorating. L. Paul Bremer III, then the American viceroy in Iraq, wrote in his memoir, .My Year in Iraq,. that he had privately warned the White House that the United States had .about half the number of soldiers we needed here..

.We.re up against a growing and sophisticated threat,. Mr. Bremer recalled telling the president during a private White House dinner.

That dinner took place on Sept. 24, while the analysts were touring Iraq.

Yet these harsh realities were elided, or flatly contradicted, during the official presentations for the analysts, records show. The itinerary, scripted to the minute, featured brief visits to a model school, a few refurbished government buildings, a center for women.s rights, a mass grave and even the gardens of Babylon.

Mostly the analysts attended briefings. These sessions, records show, spooled out an alternative narrative, depicting an Iraq bursting with political and economic energy, its security forces blossoming. On the crucial question of troop levels, the briefings echoed the White House line: No reinforcements were needed. The .growing and sophisticated threat. described by Mr. Bremer was instead depicted as degraded, isolated and on the run.

.We.re winning,. a briefing document proclaimed.

One trip participant, General Nash of ABC, said some briefings were so clearly .artificial. that he joked to another group member that they were on .the George Romney memorial trip to Iraq,. a reference to Mr. Romney.s infamous claim that American officials had .brainwashed. him into supporting the Vietnam War during a tour there in 1965, while he was governor of Michigan.

But if the trip pounded the message of progress, it also represented a business opportunity: direct access to the most senior civilian and military leaders in Iraq and Kuwait, including many with a say in how the president.s $87 billion would be spent. It also was a chance to gather inside information about the most pressing needs confronting the American mission: the acute shortages of .up-armored. Humvees; the billions to be spent building military bases; the urgent need for interpreters; and the ambitious plans to train Iraq.s security forces.

Information and access of this nature had undeniable value for trip participants like William V. Cowan and Carlton A. Sherwood.

Mr. Cowan, a Fox analyst and retired Marine colonel, was the chief executive of a new military firm, the wvc3 Group. Mr. Sherwood was its executive vice president. At the time, the company was seeking contracts worth tens of millions to supply body armor and counterintelligence services in Iraq. In addition, wvc3 Group had a written agreement to use its influence and connections to help tribal leaders in Al Anbar Province win reconstruction contracts from the coalition.

.Those sheiks wanted access to the C.P.A.,. Mr. Cowan recalled in an interview, referring to the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Mr. Cowan said he pleaded their cause during the trip. .I tried to push hard with some of Bremer.s people to engage these people of Al Anbar,. he said.

Back in Washington, Pentagon officials kept a nervous eye on how the trip translated on the airwaves. Uncomfortable facts had bubbled up during the trip. One briefer, for example, mentioned that the Army was resorting to packing inadequately armored Humvees with sandbags and Kevlar blankets. Descriptions of the Iraqi security forces were withering. .They can.t shoot, but then again, they don.t,. one officer told them, according to one participant.s notes.

.I saw immediately in 2003 that things were going south,. General Vallely, one of the Fox analysts on the trip, recalled in an interview with The Times.

The Pentagon, though, need not have worried.

.You can.t believe the progress,. General Vallely told Alan Colmes of Fox News upon his return. He predicted the insurgency would be .down to a few numbers. within months.

.We could not be more excited, more pleased,. Mr. Cowan told Greta Van Susteren of Fox News. There was barely a word about armor shortages or corrupt Iraqi security forces. And on the key strategic question of the moment . whether to send more troops . the analysts were unanimous.

.I am so much against adding more troops,. General Shepperd said on CNN.

Access and Influence

Inside the Pentagon and at the White House, the trip was viewed as a masterpiece in the management of perceptions, not least because it gave fuel to complaints that .mainstream. journalists were ignoring the good news in Iraq.

.We.re hitting a home run on this trip,. a senior Pentagon official wrote in an e-mail message to Richard B. Myers and Peter Pace, then chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Its success only intensified the Pentagon.s campaign. The pace of briefings accelerated. More trips were organized. Eventually the effort involved officials from Washington to Baghdad to Kabul to Guantánamo and back to Tampa, Fla., the headquarters of United States Central Command.

The scale reflected strong support from the top. When officials in Iraq were slow to organize another trip for analysts, a Pentagon official fired off an e-mail message warning that the trips .have the highest levels of visibility. at the White House and urging them to get moving before Lawrence Di Rita, one of Mr. Rumsfeld.s closest aides, .picks up the phone and starts calling the 4-stars..

Mr. Di Rita, no longer at the Defense Department, said in an interview that a .conscious decision. was made to rely on the military analysts to counteract .the increasingly negative view of the war. coming from journalists in Iraq. The analysts, he said, generally had .a more supportive view. of the administration and the war, and the combination of their TV platforms and military cachet made them ideal for rebutting critical coverage of issues like troop morale, treatment of detainees, inadequate equipment or poorly trained Iraqi security forces. .On those issues, they were more likely to be seen as credible spokesmen,. he said.

For analysts with military industry ties, the attention brought access to a widening circle of influential officials beyond the contacts they had accumulated over the course of their careers.

Charles T. Nash, a Fox military analyst and retired Navy captain, is a consultant who helps small companies break into the military market. Suddenly, he had entree to a host of senior military leaders, many of whom he had never met. It was, he said, like being embedded with the Pentagon leadership. .You start to recognize what.s most important to them,. he said, adding, .There.s nothing like seeing stuff firsthand..

Some Pentagon officials said they were well aware that some analysts viewed their special access as a business advantage. .Of course we realized that,. Mr. Krueger said. .We weren.t naïve about that..

They also understood the financial relationship between the networks and their analysts. Many analysts were being paid by the .hit,. the number of times they appeared on TV. The more an analyst could boast of fresh inside information from high-level Pentagon .sources,. the more hits he could expect. The more hits, the greater his potential influence in the military marketplace, where several analysts prominently advertised their network roles.

.They have taken lobbying and the search for contracts to a far higher level,. Mr. Krueger said. .This has been highly honed..

Mr. Di Rita, though, said it never occurred to him that analysts might use their access to curry favor. Nor, he said, did the Pentagon try to exploit this dynamic. .That.s not something that ever crossed my mind,. he said. In any event, he argued, the analysts and the networks were the ones responsible for any ethical complications. .We assume they know where the lines are,. he said.

The analysts met personally with Mr. Rumsfeld at least 18 times, records show, but that was just the beginning. They had dozens more sessions with the most senior members of his brain trust and access to officials responsible for managing the billions being spent in Iraq. Other groups of .key influentials. had meetings, but not nearly as often as the analysts.

An internal memorandum in 2005 helped explain why. The memorandum, written by a Pentagon official who had accompanied analysts to Iraq, said that based on her observations during the trip, the analysts .are having a greater impact. on network coverage of the military. .They have now become the go-to guys not only on breaking stories, but they influence the views on issues,. she wrote.

Other branches of the administration also began to make use of the analysts. Mr. Gonzales, then the attorney general, met with them soon after news leaked that the government was wiretapping terrorism suspects in the United States without warrants, Pentagon records show. When David H. Petraeus was appointed the commanding general in Iraq in January 2007, one of his early acts was to meet with the analysts.

.We knew we had extraordinary access,. said Timur J. Eads, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Fox analyst who is vice president of government relations for Blackbird Technologies, a fast-growing military contractor.

Like several other analysts, Mr. Eads said he had at times held his tongue on television for fear that .some four-star could call up and say, .Kill that contract.. . For example, he believed Pentagon officials misled the analysts about the progress of Iraq.s security forces. .I know a snow job when I see one,. he said. He did not share this on TV.

.Human nature,. he explained, though he noted other instances when he was critical.

Some analysts said that even before the war started, they privately had questions about the justification for the invasion, but were careful not to express them on air.

Mr. Bevelacqua, then a Fox analyst, was among those invited to a briefing in early 2003 about Iraq.s purported stockpiles of illicit weapons. He recalled asking the briefer whether the United States had .smoking gun. proof.

. .We don.t have any hard evidence,. . Mr. Bevelacqua recalled the briefer replying. He said he and other analysts were alarmed by this concession. .We are looking at ourselves saying, .What are we doing?. .

Another analyst, Robert L. Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who works in the Pentagon for a military contractor, attended the same briefing and recalled feeling .very disappointed. after being shown satellite photographs purporting to show bunkers associated with a hidden weapons program. Mr. Maginnis said he concluded that the analysts were being .manipulated. to convey a false sense of certainty about the evidence of the weapons. Yet he and Mr. Bevelacqua and the other analysts who attended the briefing did not share any misgivings with the American public.

Mr. Bevelacqua and another Fox analyst, Mr. Cowan, had formed the wvc3 Group, and hoped to win military and national security contracts.

.There.s no way I was going to go down that road and get completely torn apart,. Mr. Bevelacqua said. .You.re talking about fighting a huge machine..

Some e-mail messages between the Pentagon and the analysts reveal an implicit trade of privileged access for favorable coverage. Robert H. Scales Jr., a retired Army general and analyst for Fox News and National Public Radio whose consulting company advises several military firms on weapons and tactics used in Iraq, wanted the Pentagon to approve high-level briefings for him inside Iraq in 2006.

.Recall the stuff I did after my last visit,. he wrote. .I will do the same this time..

Pentagon Keeps Tabs

As it happened, the analysts. news media appearances were being closely monitored. The Pentagon paid a private contractor, Omnitec Solutions, hundreds of thousands of dollars to scour databases for any trace of the analysts, be it a segment on .The O.Reilly Factor. or an interview with The Daily Inter Lake in Montana, circulation 20,000.

Omnitec evaluated their appearances using the same tools as corporate branding experts. One report, assessing the impact of several trips to Iraq in 2005, offered example after example of analysts echoing Pentagon themes on all the networks.

.Commentary from all three Iraq trips was extremely positive over all,. the report concluded.

In interviews, several analysts reacted with dismay when told they were described as reliable .surrogates. in Pentagon documents. And some asserted that their Pentagon sessions were, as David L. Grange, a retired Army general and CNN analyst put it, .just upfront information,. while others pointed out, accurately, that they did not always agree with the administration or each other. .None of us drink the Kool-Aid,. General Scales said.

Likewise, several also denied using their special access for business gain. .Not related at all,. General Shepperd said, pointing out that many in the Pentagon held CNN .in the lowest esteem..

Still, even the mildest of criticism could draw a challenge. Several analysts told of fielding telephone calls from displeased defense officials only minutes after being on the air.

On Aug. 3, 2005, 14 marines died in Iraq. That day, Mr. Cowan, who said he had grown increasingly uncomfortable with the .twisted version of reality. being pushed on analysts in briefings, called the Pentagon to give .a heads-up. that some of his comments on Fox .may not all be friendly,. Pentagon records show. Mr. Rumsfeld.s senior aides quickly arranged a private briefing for him, yet when he told Bill O.Reilly that the United States was .not on a good glide path right now. in Iraq, the repercussions were swift.

Mr. Cowan said he was .precipitously fired from the analysts group. for this appearance. The Pentagon, he wrote in an e-mail message, .simply didn.t like the fact that I wasn.t carrying their water.. The next day James T. Conway, then director of operations for the Joint Chiefs, presided over another conference call with analysts. He urged them, a transcript shows, not to let the marines. deaths further erode support for the war.

.The strategic target remains our population,. General Conway said. .We can lose people day in and day out, but they.re never going to beat our military. What they can and will do if they can is strip away our support. And you guys can help us not let that happen..

.General, I just made that point on the air,. an analyst replied.

.Let.s work it together, guys,. General Conway urged.

The Generals. Revolt

The full dimensions of this mutual embrace were perhaps never clearer than in April 2006, after several of Mr. Rumsfeld.s former generals . none of them network military analysts . went public with devastating critiques of his wartime performance. Some called for his resignation.

On Friday, April 14, with what came to be called the .Generals. Revolt. dominating headlines, Mr. Rumsfeld instructed aides to summon military analysts to a meeting with him early the next week, records show. When an aide urged a short delay to .give our big guys on the West Coast a little more time to buy a ticket and get here,. Mr. Rumsfeld.s office insisted that .the boss. wanted the meeting fast .for impact on the current story..

That same day, Pentagon officials helped two Fox analysts, General McInerney and General Vallely, write an opinion article for The Wall Street Journal defending Mr. Rumsfeld.

.Starting to write it now,. General Vallely wrote to the Pentagon that afternoon. .Any input for the article,. he added a little later, .will be much appreciated.. Mr. Rumsfeld.s office quickly forwarded talking points and statistics to rebut the notion of a spreading revolt.

.Vallely is going to use the numbers,. a Pentagon official reported that afternoon.

The standard secrecy notwithstanding, plans for this session leaked, producing a front-page story in The Times that Sunday. In damage-control mode, Pentagon officials scrambled to present the meeting as routine and directed that communications with analysts be kept .very formal,. records show. .This is very, very sensitive now,. a Pentagon official warned subordinates.

On Tuesday, April 18, some 17 analysts assembled at the Pentagon with Mr. Rumsfeld and General Pace, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

A transcript of that session, never before disclosed, shows a shared determination to marginalize war critics and revive public support for the war.

.I.m an old intel guy,. said one analyst. (The transcript omits speakers. names.) .And I can sum all of this up, unfortunately, with one word. That is Psyops. Now most people may hear that and they think, .Oh my God, they.re trying to brainwash.. .

.What are you, some kind of a nut?. Mr. Rumsfeld cut in, drawing laughter. .You don.t believe in the Constitution?.

There was little discussion about the actual criticism pouring forth from Mr. Rumsfeld.s former generals. Analysts argued that opposition to the war was rooted in perceptions fed by the news media, not reality. The administration.s overall war strategy, they counseled, was .brilliant. and .very successful..

.Frankly,. one participant said, .from a military point of view, the penalty, 2,400 brave Americans whom we lost, 3,000 in an hour and 15 minutes, is relative..

An analyst said at another point: .This is a wider war. And whether we have democracy in Iraq or not, it doesn.t mean a tinker.s damn if we end up with the result we want, which is a regime over there that.s not a threat to us..

.Yeah,. Mr. Rumsfeld said, taking notes.

But winning or not, they bluntly warned, the administration was in grave political danger so long as most Americans viewed Iraq as a lost cause. .America hates a loser,. one analyst said.

Much of the session was devoted to ways that Mr. Rumsfeld could reverse the .political tide.. One analyst urged Mr. Rumsfeld to .just crush these people,. and assured him that .most of the gentlemen at the table. would enthusiastically support him if he did.

.You are the leader,. the analyst told Mr. Rumsfeld. .You are our guy..

At another point, an analyst made a suggestion: .In one of your speeches you ought to say, .Everybody stop for a minute and imagine an Iraq ruled by Zarqawi.. And then you just go down the list and say, .All right, we.ve got oil, money, sovereignty, access to the geographic center of gravity of the Middle East, blah, blah, blah.. If you can just paint a mental picture for Joe America to say, .Oh my God, I can.t imagine a world like that.. .

Even as they assured Mr. Rumsfeld that they stood ready to help in this public relations offensive, the analysts sought guidance on what they should cite as the next .milestone. that would, as one analyst put it, .keep the American people focused on the idea that we.re moving forward to a positive end.. They placed particular emphasis on the growing confrontation with Iran.

.When you said .long war,. you changed the psyche of the American people to expect this to be a generational event,. an analyst said. .And again, I.m not trying to tell you how to do your job....

.Get in line,. Mr. Rumsfeld interjected.

The meeting ended and Mr. Rumsfeld, appearing pleased and relaxed, took the entire group into a small study and showed off treasured keepsakes from his life, several analysts recalled.

Soon after, analysts hit the airwaves. The Omnitec monitoring reports, circulated to more than 80 officials, confirmed that analysts repeated many of the Pentagon.s talking points: that Mr. Rumsfeld consulted .frequently and sufficiently. with his generals; that he was not .overly concerned. with the criticisms; that the meeting focused .on more important topics at hand,. including the next milestone in Iraq, the formation of a new government.

Days later, Mr. Rumsfeld wrote a memorandum distilling their collective guidance into bullet points. Two were underlined:

.Focus on the Global War on Terror . not simply Iraq. The wider war . the long war..

.Link Iraq to Iran. Iran is the concern. If we fail in Iraq or Afghanistan, it will help Iran..

But if Mr. Rumsfeld found the session instructive, at least one participant, General Nash, the ABC analyst, was repulsed.

.I walked away from that session having total disrespect for my fellow commentators, with perhaps one or two exceptions,. he said.

View From the Networks

Two weeks ago General Petraeus took time out from testifying before Congress about Iraq for a conference call with military analysts.

Mr. Garrett, the Fox analyst and Patton Boggs lobbyist, said he told General Petraeus during the call to .keep up the great work..

.Hey,. Mr. Garrett said in an interview, .anything we can do to help..

For the moment, though, because of heavy election coverage and general war fatigue, military analysts are not getting nearly as much TV time, and the networks have trimmed their rosters of analysts. The conference call with General Petraeus, for example, produced little in the way of immediate coverage.

Still, almost weekly the Pentagon continues to conduct briefings with selected military analysts. Many analysts said network officials were only dimly aware of these interactions. The networks, they said, have little grasp of how often they meet with senior officials, or what is discussed.

.I don.t think NBC was even aware we were participating,. said Rick Francona, a longtime military analyst for the network.

Some networks publish biographies on their Web sites that describe their analysts. military backgrounds and, in some cases, give at least limited information about their business ties. But many analysts also said the networks asked few questions about their outside business interests, the nature of their work or the potential for that work to create conflicts of interest. .None of that ever happened,. said Mr. Allard, an NBC analyst until 2006.

.The worst conflict of interest was no interest..

Mr. Allard and other analysts said their network handlers also raised no objections when the Defense Department began paying their commercial airfare for Pentagon-sponsored trips to Iraq . a clear ethical violation for most news organizations.

CBS News declined to comment on what it knew about its military analysts. business affiliations or what steps it took to guard against potential conflicts.

NBC News also declined to discuss its procedures for hiring and monitoring military analysts. The network issued a short statement: .We have clear policies in place to assure that the people who appear on our air have been appropriately vetted and that nothing in their profile would lead to even a perception of a conflict of interest..

Jeffrey W. Schneider, a spokesman for ABC, said that while the network.s military consultants were not held to the same ethical rules as its full-time journalists, they were expected to keep the network informed about any outside business entanglements. .We make it clear to them we expect them to keep us closely apprised,. he said.

A spokeswoman for Fox News said executives .refused to participate. in this article.

CNN requires its military analysts to disclose in writing all outside sources of income. But like the other networks, it does not provide its military analysts with the kind of written, specific ethical guidelines it gives its full-time employees for avoiding real or apparent conflicts of interest.

Yet even where controls exist, they have sometimes proven porous.

CNN, for example, said it was unaware for nearly three years that one of its main military analysts, General Marks, was deeply involved in the business of seeking government contracts, including contracts related to Iraq.

General Marks was hired by CNN in 2004, about the time he took a management position at McNeil Technologies, where his job was to pursue military and intelligence contracts. As required, General Marks disclosed that he received income from McNeil Technologies. But the disclosure form did not require him to describe what his job entailed, and CNN acknowledges it failed to do additional vetting.

.We did not ask Mr. Marks the follow-up questions we should have,. CNN said in a written statement.

In an interview, General Marks said it was no secret at CNN that his job at McNeil Technologies was about winning contracts. .I mean, that.s what McNeil does,. he said.

CNN, however, said it did not know the nature of McNeil.s military business or what General Marks did for the company. If he was bidding on Pentagon contracts, CNN said, that should have disqualified him from being a military analyst for the network. But in the summer and fall of 2006, even as he was regularly asked to comment on conditions in Iraq, General Marks was working intensively on bidding for a $4.6 billion contract to provide thousands of translators to United States forces in Iraq. In fact, General Marks was made president of the McNeil spin-off that won the huge contract in December 2006.

General Marks said his work on the contract did not affect his commentary on CNN. .I.ve got zero challenge separating myself from a business interest,. he said.

But CNN said it had no idea about his role in the contract until July 2007, when it reviewed his most recent disclosure form, submitted months earlier, and finally made inquiries about his new job.

.We saw the extent of his dealings and determined at that time we should end our relationship with him,. CNN said.

/www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/us/20generals.html

CNN ran an 898-word story on the various Pulitzer winners -- describing virtually every winner -- but was simply unable to find any space even to mention David Barstow's name, let alone inform their readers that he won the Prize for uncovering core corruption at the heart of CNN's coverage of the Iraq War and other military-related matters. No other major television news outlet implicated by Barstow's story mentioned his award, as far as we can tell.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Trouble ahead. UN+chomsky vs USA-militarism

Trouble ahead. UN+chomsky vs USA-militarism

During the first three days of June, the United Nations General Assembly will host a summit
"toward the democratization of our world"

The current president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto, is planning the summit with the assistance of his 15-member board of advisors, who include U.S. leftist authors Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.


The Obama Doctrine And Global Tyranny

April 20, 2009

By Toby Westerman

International News Analysis Today

Enduring the rants of a petty tyrant for almost an hour and giving the "brotherhood" handshake to a Marxist dictator bent on destroying the United States have jointed the presidential bow before an Islamic monarch as expressions of America's new foreign policy initiative - the "Obama Doctrine." David Axelrod, senior advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama, explained presidential actions, repugnant to a host of Americans, in the following manner:
"You plant, you cultivate, you harvest. Over time, the seeds that were planted here are going to be very, very valuable."

A radio broadcast from Radio Havana Cuba is telling who will harvest the most from Obama's diplomatic initiatives.

During the first three days of June, the United Nations General Assembly will host a summit of nations on the global financial crisis and will work "toward the democratization of our world" - the global redistribution of wealth -- according to the broadcast from Radio Havana, one of the Cuban government's official information sources. An ardent advocate of the UN meeting is the Marxist dictator of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, the same Chavez with whom Obama shared the "brotherhood" handshake.

The current president of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d'Escoto, is planning the summit with the assistance of his 15-member board of advisors, who include U.S. leftist authors Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn.

D'Escoto, born in Los Angelus, California, was a Catholic priest in the Maryknoll order until suspended from his priestly duties by Pope John Paul II in 1983. D'Escoto is a long-time advocate of "liberation theology," which portrays Jesus Christ as an early form of Marxist revolutionary, not as the God-man savior of humanity.

He has been a key figure in the Marxist Sandinista government, serving as foreign minister from 1979-90, and won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1985. D'Escoto remains an important figure in Latin American Marxism, and was elected to a one-year term as president of the UN General Assembly in September 2008.

The goal of d'Escoto and his supporters is the domination of the world's economy by the Marxist-oriented UN.

D'Escoto views the June UN summit as "only the beginning of a process of laying the foundation for a new financial economic architecture." The head of d'Escoto's panel of advisors, Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz, has stated that "the international financial structure must be drastically overhauled," and his panel has called for "coordinated approach" which would include all 192 members of the UN. This "coordinated approach" would ensure that every nation, no matter how backward or corrupt, would have a say in the global economy on a par with the United States, the economic powerhouse of the world.

D'Escoto's panel is seeking to establish a "global economic coordination council" at the UN which would direct the world's economy, according to Radio Havana.

Those who are reaping the "harvest" which is to be so "very, very valuable" are Marxists with whom Obama is seeking to have dialogue.

Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, today's Marxists are again on the march, and one of their centers of activity is Latin America .

Chavez preaches his version of Marxism which he calls "21st Century Socialism." His message is anti-capitalist, anti-American, and, so far, very successful in the region. His acknowledged "ideological father" is Fidel Castro, and his allies have gained power in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Nicaragua. Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay cooperate closely with the Chavez regime. Chavez is a friend of the Islamic Republic of Iran and other fundamentalist Muslim organizations. He is a supporter (sometimes openly, sometimes covertly) of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Spanish initials FARC), which has an international reach and may play a significant part in the on-going Mexican drug wars. Chavez receives assistance from China and is obtains military backing from Russia.

When Ortega was berating Obama during the recent Summit of the Americas, the Marxist ruler decried the absence of Cuba at the meeting. The calls for Cuba's return as a respectable member of the society of nations is a long sought goal of Latin America's Marxists. Success is in sight as Obama lifts restrictions on Cuba and extends, again, the hand of friendship to another sworn enemy.

The "harvest" of outreach to Cuba remains uncertain, but as Obama offers new "seeds" of understanding, there are no indications, or even mention, of a cessation the activities of Cuban intelligences services operating within the United States, no sign that the Cubans will close the Chinese electronic surveillance base at Bejucal, and no real indication that the Cuban communists will lessen their hold on the Cuban people, and the Cuban communist party has stated that its members intend to "reeducate" American tourists coming to Cuba as travel restrictions are eased.

Mr. Westerman is the author of the just released LIES, TERROR, AND THE RISE OF THE NEO-COMMUNIST EMPIRE: ORIGINS AND DIRECTION, and editor and publisher of International News Analysis Today (www.inatoday.com).

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CHOMSKY - Open Veins of Latin America

www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2009/04/20/iran-is-too-independent-and-disobedient-chomsky/


Iran is too independent and disobedient: Chomsky
April 20, 2009
by Kourosh Ziabari

Noam Chomsky needs no introductory note. He is inarguably the most significant sociopolitical analyst and lecturer of the contemporary era and .ranks with Marx, Shakespeare, and the Bible as one of the ten most quoted sources in the humanities, and is the only writer among them still alive. as said by the Guardian.

On Chomsky.s .Hegemony or Survival., the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, speaking at the United Nations, .I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it..

Answering to a 2006 interview question by the New Statesman.s correspondent Andrew Stephen on what would he had done if he were the U.S. president, Chomsky proposed: . I would set up a War Crimes Tribunal for my own crimes, because if I take on that position [I would need] to deal with the institutional structure and the culture, the intellectual culture. The culture has to be cured..

In this interview I talked to Prof. Chomsky about Iran, nuclear issue, Washington-Tehran relations and the global impact of Zionist lobbies. An excerpt of this conversation was first published by the Iran.s leading English language daily Tehran Times.

Q: Prof. Chomsky; You have reiterated several times that the majority of world countries, including the members of Non-Alignment Movement, support the nuclear dossier of Iran, yet the American neo-cons are still trumpeting their hawkish mottos. Why?

A: Not only the non-aligned movement, but also the large majority of Americans believe that Iran has the right to develop nuclear energy. But almost no one in the U.S. is aware of this. That includes those who are polled, and probably think they are the only ones who hold these beliefs. Nothing is ever published about it. What appears in the media, constantly, is that the .international community. demands that Iran stop uranium enrichment. Almost nowhere is it brought out that the term .international community. is used conventionally to refer to Washington and whoever happens to go along with it, not just on this issue, but quite generally.

Q: Most of the analysts of international affairs cannot still digest the nuclear double standards of the U.S. government. While supporting the atomic arsenal of Israel, U.S. continuously pressures Iran to halt its civilian nuclear programs. What are the reasons? Does the IAEA have the authority to probe into the cases of Israel.s atomic weaponry?

chomskyA: The basic point was explained very candidly by Henry Kissinger. He was asked by the Washington Post why he now claims that Iran does not need nuclear energy so it must be working on building a bomb, while in the 1970s he insisted forcefully that Iran needs nuclear energy and the U.S. must provide the Shah with the means to develop it. His answer was pure Kissinger: .They were an allied country. so they needed nuclear energy. Now they are not an ally, so they do not need nuclear energy. As for Israel, it is an ally, more accurately a client state. So they inherit from the master the right to do as they please.

The IAEA has the authority, but the US would never permit them to exercise it. The new U.S. administration has given no indication that it is any different.

Q: There are 4 sovereign states which have not yet ratified the NPT and freely pursue atomic weapons. Will Iran be extricated from the frequent pressures; should it halt its ratification and withdraw from the treaty?

A: No, that would simply escalate the pressures. Apart from North Korea, all of these countries receive extensive U.S. support. The Reagan administration pretended it did not know that its ally Pakistan was developing nuclear weapons, so that the dictatorship could receive massive U.S. aid. The U.S. has agreed to assist India in developing its nuclear facilities, and Israel is a special case.

Q: What probable factors may hamper the establishment of direct talks between Iran and the U.S.? Is the influence of Israeli lobby over the corporate regime of America a major one?

A: The Israeli lobby has some influence, but it is limited. That was demonstrated in the case of Iran, once again, last summer, during the presidential campaign, the time when the influence of lobbies is at its peak. The Israeli Lobby wanted Congress to pass legislation that came close to calling for a blockade of Iran, an act of war. The measure gained considerable support, but then suddenly disappeared, probably because the White House made it clear, quietly, that it was opposed.

As for the actual factors, we do not yet have adequate internal records, so it is necessary to speculate. We do know that a large majority of Americans want to have normal relations with Iran, but public opinion rarely influences policy. Major US corporations, including the powerful energy corporations, would like to be able to exploit Iran.s petroleum resources. But the state insists otherwise. I presume that the main reason is that Iran is just too independent and disobedient. Great powers do not tolerate that in what they take to be their domains, and the world.s major energy-producing regions have long been considered the domain of the Anglo-American alliance, now with Britain reduced to junior partner.

Q: Will there be a tactical or systematical transformation in the approach of American mainstream media toward Iran during the tenure of Mr. Obama? Should we expect a cut-off in the mass of anti-Iranian black propaganda?

A: The media generally adhere fairly closely to the general framework of state policy, though policies are sometimes criticized on tactical grounds. A lot, therefore, depends on the stand that the Obama administration will take.

Q: and finally, do you believe that the U.S. President should follow the Iranian proposal and apologize for its historical crimes against Iran?

A: I think that the powerful should always concede their crimes and apologize to the victims, in fact go much farther and provide reparations. Unfortunately, the world is largely governed by the maxim of Thucydides: the strong do as they wish, and the weak suffer as they must. Slowly, over time, the world is becoming more civilized, in general. But there is a long way to go.

Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, freelance journalist and the author of Book 7+1. He is a contributing writer for websites and magazines in the Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, South Korea, Belgium, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. He is a member of Stony Brook University Publications. editorial team and Media Left magazine.s board of editors, as well as a contributing editor for Finland.s Award-winning Ovi Magazine. As a young Iranian journalist, he has been interviewed and quoted by several mainstream mediums, including BBC World Service, PBS Media Shift, the Media Line network, Deutsch Financial Times, L.A. Times and Sky News. He is a contributing writer of Tehran Times newspaper. His articles and interviews have been translated into numerous languages, including Spanish, Italian, German and Arabic. Contact him at kourosh@foreignpolicyjournal.com.

===============

Chavez effect creates bestseller

A book which the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez presented to US President Barack Obama at the Americas summit has become a bestseller in just two days.

The book, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, was ranked 54,295 on the sales charts of bookseller Amazon.com.

Now, it has risen to number two.

Written by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano, the book looks at the impact of foreign intervention in Latin America in the past five centuries.

It covers the continent's conquest by the Spanish nearly 500 years ago right up to the present day.

President Chavez presented his American counterpart with the book, a favourite of leftists, on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad on Saturday.

'Nice gesture'

President Obama looked surprised when Mr Chavez got up from his seat, handed him the book and then shook his hand.

It was a Spanish-language paperback copy inscribed with the message: "For Obama, with affection".

A little later, Mr Obama had this reaction: "Well I think it was a nice gesture to give me a book. I'm a reader."

However, for President Chavez it was a serious matter.

"This book is a monument in our Latin American history. It allows us to learn history, and we have to build on this history," the Venezuelan leader told reporters at the summit.

It is not the first time Mr Chavez's choice of reading matter has given authors a boost, the BBC's Greg Morsbach reports.

His speech at the United Nations three years ago helped to revive the fortunes of the American intellectual, Noam Chomsky.

Mr Chomsky's title, Hegemony or Survival, became the number one bestseller on Amazon after a plug from Mr Chavez during his address.

Bookshops in the US and Europe sold out of copies within days. Tens of thousands more copies were ordered in from the publishers.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8007472.stm

=======

The Bush Six to Be Indicted
Scott Horton

by Scott Horton - April 13, 2009

Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture at Guantánamo. By Scott Horton.

Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge...

====

The Devil's Advocate (with english subtitles)

As was posted a few days ago, Bin Laden was found not guilty by a 5 person civil jury in the Dutch TV show 'The Devil's Advocate'. Here's the show.

It's in four parts:
1/4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxfeZnEKSzk
2/4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcytbEjHoC0
3/4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72vRoZJnB4k
4/4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3SFEY6ONv0

==========

Connect the dots. According to the UN's latest report, under U.S. occupation 92% of the world's opium production comes from Afghan poppies. Most of the heroin going to Europe is manufactured in or transits Turkey. The exact value to Turkey of its heroin exports is unknown but experts estimate a range in the tens of billions of dollars per year. The neocons helped establish and remain closely associated with Turkish lobbying efforts in the U.S. The question is, then: does the seamy side of Turkish influence peddling involve, among other things, money laundering, narcotics trafficking, espionage, bribery of U.S. officials, nuclear proliferation, and aid to terrorist front groups (not to mention whatever motivated the previous administration to invade Afghanistan)? Put differently, how and to what extent has the Turkish "deep state" joined forces with the American "deep state"? To consider some of these questions, and others, I turned to Sibel Edmonds, the renowned whistleblower. It was great to talk with Sibel and I have the highest regard for her courage and principled stand. Total runtime an hour and sixteen minutes. A cover-up is not the answer!

www.electricpolitics.com/media/mp3/EP2009.04.10.mp3

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chomsky Art and Film about DrugWar

http://www.psfk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/joel-cocks-art.jpg

http://www.psfk.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/joel-cocks-art.jpg

Pic: Joel Cocks’ Seethrough Art


On his site, Cocks explains that the piece was create for his final degree project as a reaction to the 2008 election campaigning. On his site he says:

“Elections are run by the same guys that sell toothpaste” (Chomsky, 2005, para. 6). This project is a critical examination of the contemporary election campaign. It explores the role that the public relations industry, political consultancy firms and the media play in shaping the public perceptions of political candidates.


http://www.psfk.com/2009/04/pic-joel-cocks-seethrough-art.html


Movie: Plan Colombia: Cashing in on the Drug War Failure


WMNF Film Series Committee presents the film: Plan Colombia: Cashing in on the Drug War Failure, a documentary about the 1st US war for oil of the 21st century (Narrated by Ed Asner)

"As shocking as it is important, this documentary is a great way to get educated." - San Francisco Weekly.

20 years of US "war-on-drugs" in Colombia paid for by U.S. tax-payers; still, more and more drugs and narco-dollars are entering the US every year.

Is it a failure or a smokescreen by Washington to secure Colombia's oil & natural resources instead?

Now that the U.S. State Department officially shifted its priority in Colombia from "counter-narcotics" to "counter-insurgency" conveniently dubbed "anti-terrorism", what is left today of the alleged anti-drug purpose of the U.S. "Plan Colombia?"

While cocaine trafficking and money-laundering are skyrocketing to unseen proportions, is the U.S. administration even concerned with fighting drugs in Colombia, another top oil supplier to the U.S., when its U.S.-friendly regime is being threatened by powerful leftist guerrilla groups?

  • Shocking facts & original footage shot in Colombia.

  • Exclusive interviews of the late Senator Paul Wellstone; Noam Chomsky; Colombian Presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt and many key-players including guerrilla leaders...


http://www.wmnf.org/events/457
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