Sunday, September 25, 2005

Militarization of the US homeland: the more you ask, the more you shall receive 

Given the fact that the Bush administration is a criminal organization, it is naïve and ignorant to expect it to behave in a humanitarian fashion. For any reason. Ever.

On the other hand, it is predictable that it would seize every opportunity, and take advantage of every moment of chaos, vulnerability and inattention, to sink its poisonous fangs deeper into the carcass of American democracy.

To those who have complained about this administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, here is its response: Historic changes possible in military's role in domestic emergencies (AP)

To those who “demanded” a greater federal role for Hurricane Rita and all subsequent “emergencies,” here it is: US Northern Command and Hurricane Rita. If the post-Katrina militarization and pillage of New Orleans was not enough to demonstrate what this administration has in mind for the United States, consider what Bush was doing at Northcom, in Colorado. Ask yourselves why military operations, not “emergency relief,” is always the first (and perhaps only) priority.

To those Americans who have, for the past four years, demanded to be “made safe” from “terrorists,” the administration that gave you 9/11 itself, has given you the “war on terrorism,” the USA PATRIOT Act and a US police state, Afghanistan, Iraq and more “endless war,” and more endless police state.

As Michel Chossudovsky astutely notes, “we are not dealing with a situation of political inertia. Quite the opposite. The military has taken control of the emergency procedures.”

We also are NOT dealing with “incompetence.”

Friday, September 23, 2005

A world catastrophe 'shaped with sewage' 

In The Imperial Rockefeller, the 1986 biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller, author and former Rockefeller speechwriter Joseph Persico wrote the following about a secret Rockefeller policy meeting, and Henry Kissinger:

“Kissinger, though known then [late 1960s] only within the foreign policy community, was already a legend in Rockefeller circles. As we waited, the conversation drifted to Vietnam. I remarked that the effect of the war was so pervasive that it influenced the most unexpected facets of American life. A major Rockefeller objective, for example, had been to end water pollution in New York State. But Vietnam had squeezed environmental concerns out of the defense budget. Thus two army facilities that were dumping wastes into the Hudson had scrapped their plans to build sewage treatment systems. My example failed to move Professor Kissinger, who observed, “We don’t shape national defense policy with sewage.

As Hurricane Rita threatens to bring about the end of the American empire, and America as we know it, I can think of no better crystallization of what brought us to this point of no return than these words of Kissinger.

Not even a token ecological gesture on part of the mighty Rockefellers could slow Kissinger, or his Vietnam War machine. Today, 37 years later, Bush’s “war on terrorism” continues unabated. The Bush administration continues to deny global warming, scientific facts be damned, even while America’s Gulf Coast is reduced to rubble, and a toxic cesspool, and the death toll rises all over the world.

The Bush administration, the modern extension of the Kissinger machine, “doesn’t shape policy with sewage,” either, denying and lying to the final moment of the final hour.

Now, after decades of inaction, quiescence and waste, nature’s most deadly bill collector is coming around, and we are paying dearly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

British prison break and blown covert operation, exposes 'war on terrorism' lie 

On Monday, six British armored vehicles smashed into an Iraqi jail in Basra to free two undercover SAS elite special forces commandos who were engaged in a bungled espionage operation involving the planting of explosives. Michel Chossudovsky has broken down the story down and put it in to context: British "Undercover Soldiers" Caught driving Booby Trapped Car.

See also the mainstream coverage from BBC, Washington Post, The Independent and the Christian Science Monitor.

This incident is as obvious and embarrassing as the 1986 downing of Oliver North’s Southern Air Transport/CIA supply plane over Nicaragua (piloted by Eugene Hasenfus), which started what is known as the Iran-Contra scandal. In the wake of official denials and tap-dancing from the British, a new cover-up is already underway,

What this scandal confirms, in spectacular fashion, is that the “war on terrorism” is a lie. It has been a lie, from the manufactured 9/11 to the present; one huge covert operation spearheaded by the US and the British governments, built upon endless faked intelligence and lies. It further confirms that the lie itself is becoming increasingly difficult to control.

Here we have British agents caught trying to plant explosives, setting up a bombing to murder civilians, and instigating fighting between the British and the Iraqi police (“allies”). Why?

In the timely and thorough analysis Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi Resistance Movement, Chossudovsky asks: “Has the US [and Britain] created as part of a covert intelligence operation, a bogus ‘resistance movement’ made up of its own Al Qaeda sponsored ‘terrorists’? Their suicide attacks target Iraqi civilians rather than the US military. The suicide bombings tend to encourage sectarian divisions not only within Iraq, but throughout the entire Middle East. They serve Washington's interests. They contribute to undermining the development of a broader resistance movement uniting Shia, Sunni, Kurds and Christians against the illegal occupation of the Iraqi homeland. They also tend to create, at the international level, divisions within the antiwar and peace movements.”

The answer to the question, emphatically underscored by the British prison break, is yes.

A manufactured and guided “terrorism,” including suicide bombings set up by Western forces, and blamed on “terrorists” (Zarqawi, etc.), and “real” blowback violence (anti-occupation resistance)—fomented by the West, for geostrategic purposes.

The real terror threat originates from Washington, and its brethren in London and Tel Aviv.

Monday, September 19, 2005

New York police 'came in like gangbusters' and pulled plug on Cindy Sheehan 

From the Village Voice:

NYPD Unplugs Cindy Sheehan
City’s Finest pulls move even Bush wouldn’t have tried

by Sarah Ferguson
September 19th, 2005 5:54 PM

Cindy Sheehan may be the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement. But that didn't stop members of the New York Police Department from marching into the crowd of about 150 people gathered in Union Square Monday to hear her speak and yanking away the microphone.

The NYPD pulled the plug just as Sheehan was calling on the audience not to lose heart in the fight to end the war in Iraq.

"We get up every morning, and every morning we see this enormous mountain in front of us," said Sheehan, speaking on behalf of the other parents and family members of fallen soldiers who have taken up the crusade to bring the troops home.

"We can't go through it, we can't go under it, so we have to go over it," she continued, just as the cops rushed the makeshift podium.

Police dragged away Paul Zulkowitz, a.k.a. Zool, an organizer with “Camp Casey NYC,” the small encampment that he and other activists set up a month ago in Union Square in solidarity with Sheehan’s vigil outside President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. The New York branch existed much to the ire of the city’s Parks Department. Today, Zulkowitz was arrested for failing to obtain a sound permit—a charge that normally warrants no more than a summons.

Moments earlier, Zulkowitz had been chastising Parks officials for refusing to grant a permit to the encampment, and accusing the police of trying to harass the antiwar protest away. Contrasting the liberal Big Apple with the hostile environs Sheehan faced in Crawford, Zulkowitz told the crowd: "You would think that here in New York City, at Union Square—our Hyde Park—you would think that we would little difficulty having a 24-hour vigil to oppose the war. In fact, we've had two arrests and eight summonses and endless harassment from the police for doing what we do."

As the activists hustled away Sheehan and the other family members on the Bring Them Home Now tour, an enraged crowd of about 50 people stormed after the police, chanting, "Shame! Shame!" Meanwhile Iraq war veteran and now peace activist Jeff Key played "God Bless America" on his trumpet.

"Since when can't you talk out here in Union Square?" demanded an Upper West Side social worker who identified herself as Quha, who said she'd taken her lunch break to hear Sheehan because she has a 20-year-old son who is considering enlisting. "I've seen everyone and their mother come out and speak nonsense out here in this park, and for them to shut down Cindy Sheehan is just not right."

"They came in like gangbusters. It was really ridiculous," said Margaret Rapp, a retired teacher from Inwood who added that she planned to file a complaint after an officer forcibly shoved her in the chest. A mother of a 19-year-old, she said she'd come to hear Sheehan because she lost her fiancee during the Vietnam War. "This is very close to home. There is a chord that Cindy hits among people that have lost people in this war and other wars, or who have draft age children like me. We're scared to death.”

Inspector Michael McEnroy, commander of the 13th Precinct, insisted the shutdown order had nothing to do with the content of Sheehan’s speech, but was instead about the "provocation" caused by Zulkowitz. “This has been going on for much longer than today,” McEnroy said, adding of Sheehan, “I don’t even know the woman.” That last part prompted one pissed-off onlooker to shoot back: “Haven’t you watched the news or read a paper in the last three months? ”

Sheehan has been touring the country for the last month with members of Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak out, and Iraq Veterans Against the War. They will be speaking tonight at 6:30 at St. John the Divine (Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street), part of the lead up to Saturday’s big anti-war march in Washington, D.C.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Post-Katrina New Orleans: American police state is here 

Corroborating and adding to mounting evidence of the militarization of New Orleans, investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill noted the following in a September 12 KPFA radio interview:

1. New Orleans is teeming with heavily-armed mercenaries, troops from the US military and national guard, and police from cities around the country.
2. Mercenaries, including Blackwater USA were deputized by Governor Kathleen Blanco. [Blanco’s actions throughout this crisis, noted in a number of previous reports, appear increasingly suspicious and demand investigation.-LC] They are also working for Homeland Security, even though Homeland Security denies it.

3. Blackwater mercenaries were seen looting bars in the French Quarter. Blackwater has also taken over another bar in the French Quarter as their de facto headquarters.

4. Arrogant Blackwater mercenaries that were queried by Scahill boasted about their deputization, and their combat experience in Iraq, which included work for L. Paul Bremer.

5. Mercenaries, troops and New Orleans police are engaged in a terror campaign, intimidating remaining “holdouts,” while continuing to withhold food, medicine and aid.

6. A Blackwater mercenary warned Scahill that the rest of the country will experience the same kind of hell in the future.

Scahill believes, as this writer does, that what is happening in New Orleans is a police state nightmare and an ethnic cleansing, reminiscent of the horrors now being experienced in Haiti and Iraq, and previously in Kosovo—the likes of which has never been seen before on United States soil.

This is the unprecedented tyranny, brought to you by Peak Oil and Gas, made possible by the US government and the Bush administration, with their crime of 9/11. No 9/11, no “war on terrorism.” No 9/11, no USA PATRIOT Act, no Department of Homeland Security. No 9/11, no Afghanistan, no Iraq—no New Orleans.

As the entire Katrina story is already fading from the front pages within the span of one week, its most frightening and important aspects remain the subject of intense cover-up.

The most horrific atrocities, taking place right now in Orwellian New Orleans, are being committed by the American government (federal, state and local) right under the noses of the American people, to the American people.

To borrow a phrase of Mike Ruppert’s, “the children of the Bull Market” are being killed, along with the very foundation of this nation.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina and flood were no surprise; more stories of chaos 

New reports reveal that an extensive hurricane and flood simulation for the New Orleans area was conducted by a Baton Rouge-based company, Innovative Emergency Management, in summer 2004. The IEM led a team of three firms, under a contract from FEMA. The results of the simulation, which forecasted catastrophic damage that virtually mirrored the Katrina reality, were given to more than 270 representatives of federal, state and local government agencies, who submitted extensive disaster preparation recommendations.

Thousands dead, 1 million evacuated. Katrina? No, a simulation run last year (San Francisco Chronicle)

Hurricane simulation predicted 61,290 dead (Associated Press)

This adds to the mounting evidence that FEMA was fully aware of the possibility of catastrophic flooding. Under FEMA/Homeland Security, New Orleans and its inhabitants have been isolated. Aid and relief have been obstructed.

Questions must also be raised regarding the precise nature and timing of the levee breaks. According to some accounts, spirits in New Orleans were high for approximately one day after the storm had passed, when it appeared that the city had survived with only wind damage. There was no flooding.

The levees broke during the subsequent 24-hour period. Were the levees checked or patrolled during this period?

Two other typically harrowing firsthand accounts deserve attention. Police Made Storm Misery Worse is another story about how victims were denied escape from New Orleans. (This same account is also featured in the September 7 broadcast of KPFA's Flashpoints.)

Finally, an e-mail circulated by a doctor at New Orleans’ Charity Hospital confirms that aid from and evacuation by FEMA (and state agencies) were non-existent, as conditions became increasingly nightmarish, and critical care patients were in dire need of help. Hospital staff were forced to evacuate the hospital on their own, using personal connections and opportunistic calls to news media on the scene. Several preventable deaths occurred. This chaos took place after Governor Kathleen Blanco had declared that the hospital had already been evacuated.

The magnitude and scope of this disaster will not be fully realized until and unless more victims and evacuees make it to safety to tell their stories. There is ample and mounting evidence of criminal negligence as well as deliberate murder. The Bush administration would like nothing better than to flush this information down the memory hole, along with New Orleans itself. This can’t be permitted.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

FEMA's primary role is to be tyranny's final enforcer; disaster relief is secondary 

Times of crisis are rife with heroes and villains. Making the distinction is a matter of life and death.

While FEMA and its chief Michael Brown have emerged as obvious villains, now taking heat for failing to respond, and for the (deliberate as well as unplanned) obstruction and mismanagement of relief and rescue efforts (which continue, even as more people die), there is something far more ominous underway, involving FEMA itself.

Few understand what FEMA really is. Its primary role is not benevolent disaster relief.

As Mike Ruppert wrote in Crossing the Rubicon: “Most Americans think of FEMA as a nice, benevolent agency that comes to help out when there is an earthquake, fire, or flood. It is much, much more than that. FEMA is an enormously powerful agency tasked with, among other things, ensuring the Continuity of Government (COG) in the event of a crisis or “neutralization” of key government leaders or institutions . . . Collectively, the Continuity of Government operations under FEMA command have come to be known as the ‘shadow government.’ In a declared major emergency, arising from events even more devastating than 9/11, FEMA’s authority divides the US into ten regions under FEMA control, which then operate semi-autonomously with the full cooperation of the military.” [my emphasis-LC]

These three new articles on FEMA, written in the wake of Katrina, are essential reading.

"Retrospective on the role of FEMA"

"FEMA privatized hurricane recovery disaster planning in New Orleans and Louisiana"

"Greeks Bearing Gifts: Paul Krugman at the New York Times and Clinton FEMA Director James Lee Witt leading America into the next slaughter"

When all hell breaks loose, as it now has in the South, and in the depths of human suffering, beware the cold hand of tyranny.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Another disgrace: Football fans take precedence over Katrina victims 

To the University of Florida, football is more important than the welfare of the victims of Hurricane Katrina who will be evicted today from hotels and motels in Gainesville and surrounding communities to make way for fans arriving for Saturday's season opener between the Gators and Wyoming.

The university didn't have the decency to postpone the game. Then college football is big money. Besides, many of those who made it to the area before Katrina struck southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama will soon be out of money to pay for shelter. So it's out into the street with them.

Americans have such compassion, except when there is a buck to be made. Let the game begin!

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