Object: ON REFORM FROM THE BOTTOM-UP, AND REPRESSION/COOPTATION FROM THE TOP-DOWN.
Israeli Navy Attacks Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Click here to read Iara Lee's new blog at the Huffington Post!
In the pre-dawn hours of Monday, May 31, showing a terrifying disregard for human life, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely.
Despite the Israeli government’s thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee and Director of Photography Srdjan Stojiljkovic were able to retain some of the video they captured. Below is the unedited footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos’ assault on the Mavi Marmara. Click here for the press release. You can also download this footage by clicking here.
from The Real News :
Date: 11 June 2010
Subject: Toronto, a City of the Future?
Toronto is just starting to deal with the aftermath of the events that took place during the G20 world leaders summit. For days, basic human rights protections were suspended, as police subjected people subjected to searches, excessive use of force, detention without due process, and other violations. Toronto Chief of Police has said the actions were justified by the massive destruction that took place on Saturday afternoon, when people smashed storefronts to corporate franchises, banks, and torched police cars. By Monday morning, over 1000 people had been imprisoned, of which more than 700 were never charged. Detainees have emerged from the jail, which is a converted film studio, with serious accusations against police, ranging from witholding food and water to sexual assault.
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 1 July 2010
Subject: Dick Cheney’s Song of America - 2002.
Dick Cheney’s Song of America
The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.
By David Armstrong
Harper's Magazine, Oct 2002, Vol. 305, Issue 1829
Few writers are more ambitious than the writers of government policy papers, and few policy papers are more ambitious than Dick Cheney’s masterwork. It has taken several forms over the last decade and is in fact the product of several ghostwriters (notably Paul Wolfowitz and Colin Powell), but Cheney has been consistent in his dedication to the ideas in the documents that bear his name, and he has maintained a close association with the ideologues behind them. Let us, therefore, call Cheney the author, and this series of documents the Plan.
The Plan was published in unclassified form most recently under the title of Defense Strategy for the 1990s, (pdf) as Cheney ended his term as secretary of defense under the elder George Bush in early 1993, but it is, like “Leaves of Grass,” a perpetually evolving work. It was the controversial Defense Planning Guidance draft of 1992 – from which Cheney, unconvincingly, tried to distance himself – and it was the somewhat less aggressive revised draft of that same year. This June it was a presidential lecture in the form of a commencement address at West Point, and in July it was leaked to the press as yet another Defense Planning Guidance (this time under the pen name of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld). It will take its ultimate form, though, as America’s new national security strategy – and Cheney et al. will experience what few writers have even dared dream: their words will become our reality.
The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful.
The Plan is disturbing in many ways, and ultimately unworkable. Yet it is being sold now as an answer to the “new realities” of the post-September 11 world, even as it was sold previously as the answer to the new realities of the post-Cold War world. For Cheney, the Plan has always been the right answer, no matter how different the questions.
Cheney’s unwavering adherence to the Plan would be amusing, and maybe a little sad, except that it is now our plan. In its pages are the ideas that we now act upon every day with the full might of the United States military. Strangely, few critics have noted that Cheney’s work has a long history, or that it was once quite unpopular, or that it was created in reaction to circumstances that are far removed from the ones we now face. But Cheney is a well-known action man. One has to admire, in a way, the Babe Ruth-like sureness of his political work. He pointed to center field ten years ago, and now the ball is sailing over the fence.
Before the Plan was about domination it was about money. It took shape in late 1989, when the Soviet threat was clearly on the decline, and, with it, public support for a large military establishment. Cheney seemed unable to come to terms with either new reality. He remained deeply suspicious of the Soviets and strongly resisted all efforts to reduce military spending. Democrats in Congress jeered his lack of strategic vision, and a few within the Bush Administration were whispering that Cheney had become an irrelevant factor in structuring a response to the revolutionary changes taking place in the world.
More adaptable was the up-and-coming General Colin Powell, the newly appointed chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, Powell had seen the changes taking place in the Soviet Union firsthand and was convinced that the ongoing transformation was irreversible. Like Cheney, he wanted to avoid military cuts, but he knew they were inevitable. The best he could do was minimize them, and the best way to do that would be to offer a new security structure that would preserve American military capabilities despite reduced resources.
Powell and his staff believed that a weakened Soviet Union would result in shifting alliances and regional conflict. The United States was the only nation capable of managing the forces at play in the world; it would have to remain the preeminent military power in order to ensure the peace and shape the emerging order in accordance with American interests. U.S. military strategy, therefore, would have to shift from global containment to managing less-well-defined regional struggles and unforeseen contingencies. To do this, the United States would have to project a military “forward presence” around the world; there would be fewer troops but in more places. This plan still would not be cheap, but through careful restructuring and superior technology, the job could be done with 25 percent fewer troops. Powell insisted that maintaining superpower status must be the first priority of the U.S. military. “We have to put a shingle outside our door saying, ‘Superpower Lives Here,’ no matter what the Soviets do,” he said at the time. He also insisted that the troop levels be proposed were the bare minimum necessary to do so. This concept would come to be known as the “Base Force.”
Powell’s work on the subject proved timely. The Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, and five days later Powell had his new strategy ready to present to Cheney. Even as decades of repression were ending in Eastern Europe, however, Cheney still could not abide even the force and budget reductions Powell proposed. Yet he knew that cuts were unavoidable. Having no alternative of his own to offer, therefore, he reluctantly encouraged Powell to present his ideas to the president. Powell did so the next day; Bush made no promises but encouraged him to keep at it.
Less encouraging was the reaction of Paul Wolfowitz, the undersecretary of defense for policy. A lifelong proponent of the unilateralist, maximum-force approach, he shared Cheney’s skepticism about the Eastern Bloc and so put his own staff to work on a competing plan that would somehow accommodate the possibility of Soviet backsliding.
As Powell and Wolfowitz worked out their strategies, Congress was losing patience. New calls went up for large cuts in defense spending in light of the new global environment. The harshest critique of Pentagon planning came from a usually dependable ally of the military establishment, Georgia Democrat Sam Nunn, chairman of the Senate Armed Services committee. Nunn told fellow senators in March 1990 that there was a “threat blank” in the administration’s proposed $295 billion defense budget and that the Pentagon’s “basic assessment of the overall threat to our national security” was “rooted in the past.” The world had changed and yet the “development of a new military strategy that responds to the changes in the threat has not yet occurred.” Without that response, no dollars would be forthcoming.
Nunn’s message was clear. Powell and Wolfowitz began filling in the blanks. Powell started promoting a Zen-like new rationale for his Base Force approach. With the Soviets rapidly becoming irrelevant, Powell argued, the United States could no longer assess its military needs on the basis of known threats. Instead, the Pentagon should focus on maintaining the ability to address a wide variety of new and unknown challenges. This shift from a “threat based” assessment of military requirements to a “capability based” assessment would become a key theme of the Plan. The United States would move from countering Soviet attempts at dominance to ensuring its own dominance. Again, this project would not be cheap.
Powell’s argument, circular though it may have been, proved sufficient to hold off Congress. Winning support among his own colleagues, however, proved more difficult. Cheney remained deeply skeptical about the Soviets, and Wolfowitz was only slowly coming around. To account for future uncertainties, Wolfowitz recommended drawing down U.S. forces to roughly the levels proposed by Powell, but doing so at a much slower pace; seven years as opposed to the four Powell suggested. He also built in a “crisis response/reconstitution” clause that would allow for reversing the process if events in the Soviet Union, or elsewhere, turned ugly.
With these now elements in place, Cheney saw something that might work. By combining Powell’s concepts with those of Wolfowitz, he could counter congressional criticism that his proposed defense budget was out of line with the new strategic reality, while leaving the door open for future force increases. In late June, Wolfowitz, Powell, and Cheney presented their plan to the president, and within as few weeks Bush was unveiling the new strategy.
Bush laid out the rationale for the Plan in a speech in Aspen, Colorado, on August 2, 1990. He explained that since the danger of global war had substantially receded, the principal threats to American security would emerge in unexpected quarters. To counter those threats, he said, the United States would increasingly base the size and structure of its forces on the need to respond to “regional contingencies” and maintain a peacetime military presence overseas. Meeting that need would require maintaining the capability to quickly deliver American forces to any “corner of the globe,” and that would mean retaining many major weapons systems then under attack in Congress as overly costly and unnecessary, including the “Star Wars” missile-defense program. Despite those massive outlays, Bush insisted that the proposed restructuring would allow the United States to draw down its active forces by 25 percent in the years ahead, the same figure Powell had projected ten months earlier.
The Plan’s debut was well timed. By a remarkable coincidence, Bush revealed it the very day Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait.
The Gulf War temporarily reduced the pressure to cut military spending. It also diverted attention from some of the Plan’s less appealing aspects. In addition, it inspired what would become one of the Plan’s key features: the use of “overwhelming force” to quickly defeat enemies, a concept since dubbed the Powell Doctrine.
Once the Iraqi threat was “contained,” Wolfowitz returned to his obsession with the Soviets, planning various scenarios involved possible Soviet intervention in regional conflicts. The failure of the hard-liner coup against Gorbachev in August 1991, however, made it apparent that such planning might be unnecessary. Then, in late December, just as the Pentagon was preparing to put the Plan in place, the Soviet Union collapsed.
With the Soviet Union gone, the United States had a choice. It could capitalize on the euphoria of the moment by nurturing cooperative relations and developing multilateral structures to help guide the global realignment then taking place; or it could consolidate its power and pursue a strategy of unilateralism and global dominance. It chose the latter course.
In early 1992, as Powell and Cheney campaigned to win congressional support for their augmented Base Force plan, a new logic entered into their appeals. The United States, Powell told members of the House Armed Services Committee, required “sufficient power” to “deter any challenger from ever dreaming of challenging us on the world stage.” To emphasize the point, he cast the United States in the role of street thug. “I want to be the bully on the block,” he said, implanting in the mind of potential opponents that “there is no future in trying to challenge the armed forces of the United States.”
As Powell and Cheney were making this new argument in their congressional rounds, Wolfowitz was busy expanding the concept and working to have it incorporated into U.S. policy. During the early months of 1992, Wolfowitz supervised the preparation of an internal Pentagon policy statement used to guide military officials in the preparation of their forces, budgets, and strategies. The classified document, known as the Defense Planning Guidance, depicted a world dominated by the United States, which would maintain its superpower status through a combination of positive guidance and overwhelming military might. the image was one of a heavily armed City on a Hill.
The DPG stated that the “first objective” of U.S. defense strategy was “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival.” Achieving this objective required that the United States “prevent any hostile power from dominating a region” of strategic significance. America’s new mission would be to convince allies and enemies alike “that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests.”
Another new theme was the use of preemptive military force. The options, the DPG noted, ranged from taking preemptive military action to head off a nuclear, chemical, or biological attack to “punishing” or “threatening punishment of” aggressors “through a variety of means,” including strikes against weapons-manufacturing facilities.
The DPG also envisioned maintaining a substantial U.S. nuclear arsenal while discouraging the development of nuclear programs in other countries. It depicted a “U.S.-led system of collective security” that implicitly precluded the need for rearmament of any king by countries such as Germany and Japan. And it called for the “early introduction” of a global missile-defense system that would presumably render all missile-launched weapons, including those of the United States, obsolete. (The United States would, of course, remain the world’s dominant military power on the strength of its other weapons systems.)
The story, in short, was dominance by way of unilateral action and military superiority. While coalitions – such as the one formed during the Gulf War – held “considerable promise for promoting collective action,” the draft DPG stated, the United States should expect future alliances to be “ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted, and in many cases carrying only general agreement over the objectives to be accomplished.” It was essential to create “the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S.” and essential that America position itself “to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated” or in crisis situation requiring immediate action. “While the U.S. cannot become the world’s policeman,” the document said, “we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends.” Among the interests the draft indicated the United States would defend in this manner were “access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism.”
The DPC was leaked to the New York Times in March 1992. Critics on both the left and the right attacked it immediately. Then-presidential candidate Pat Buchanan portrayed candidate a “blank check” to America’s allies by suggesting the United States would “go to war to defend their interests.” Bill Clinton’s deputy campaign manager, George Stephanopoulos, characterized it as an attempt by Pentagon officials to “find an excuse for big defense budgets instead of downsizing.” Delaware Senator Joseph Biden criticized the Plan’s vision of a “Pax Americana, a global security system where threats to stability are suppressed or destroyed by U.S. military power.” Even those who found the document’s stated goals commendable feared that its chauvinistic tone could alienate many allies. Cheney responded by attempting to distance himself from the Plan. The Pentagon’s spokesman dismissed the leaked document as a “low-level draft” and claimed that Cheney had not seen it. Yet a fifteen-page section opened by proclaiming that it constituted “definitive guidance from the Secretary of Defense.”
Powell took a more forthright approach to dealing with the flap: he publicly embraced the DPG’s core concept. In a TV interview, he said he believed it was “just fine” that the United States reign as the world’s dominant military power. “I don’t think we should apologize for that,” he said. Despite bad reviews in the foreign press, Powell insisted that America’s European allies were “not afraid” of U.S. military might because it was “power that could be trusted” and “will not be misused.”
Mindful that the draft DPG’s overt expression of U.S. dominance might not fly, Powell in the same interview also trotted out a new rationale for the original Base Force plan. He argued that in a post-Soviet world, filled with new dangers, the United States needed the ability to fight on more than one front at a time. “One of the most destabilizing things we could do,” he said, “is to cut our forces so much that if we’re tied up in one area of the world ..... and we are not seen to have the ability to influence another area of the world, we might invite just the sort of crisis we’re trying to deter.” This two-war strategy provided a possible answer to Nunn’s “threat blank.” One unknown enemy wasn’t enough to justify lavish defense budgets, but two unknown enemies might do the trick.
Within a few weeks the Pentagon had come up with a more comprehensive response to the DPG furor. A revised version was leaked to the press that was significantly less strident in tone, though only slightly less strident in fact. While calling for the United States to prevent “any hostile power from dominating a region critical to our interests,” the new draft stressed that America would act in concert with its allies – when possible. It also suggested the United Nations might take an expanded role in future political, economic, and security matters, a concept conspicuously absent from the original draft.
The controversy died down, and, with a presidential campaign under way, the Pentagon did nothing to stir it up again. Following Bush’s defeat, however, the Plan reemerged. In January 1993, in his very last days in office. Cheney released a final version. The newly titled Defense Strategy for the 1990s retained the soft touch of the revised draft DPG as well as its darker themes. The goal remained to preclude “hostile competitors from challenging our critical interests” and preventing the rise of a new super-power. Although it expressed a “preference” for collective responses in meeting such challenges, it made clear that the United States would play the lead role in any alliance. Moreover, it noted that collective action would “not always be timely.” Therefore, the United States needed to retain the ability to “act independently, if necessary.” To do so would require that the United States maintain its massive military superiority. Others were not encouraged to follow suit. It was kinder, gentler dominance, but it was dominance all the same. And it was this thesis that Cheney and company nailed to the door on their way out.
The new administration tacitly rejected the heavy-handed, unilateral approach to U.S. primacy favored by Powell, Cheney, and Wolfowitz. Taking office in the relative calm of the early post – Cold War era, Clinton sought to maximize America’s existing position of strength and promote its interests through economic diplomacy, multilateral institutions (dominated by the United States), greater international free trade, and the development of allied coalitions, including American-led collective military action. American policy, in short, shifted from global dominance to globalism.
Clinton also failed to prosecute military campaigns with sufficient vigor to satisfy the defense strategists of the previous administration. Wolfowitz found Clinton’s Iraq policy especially infuriating. During the Gulf War, Wolfowitz harshly criticized the decision – endorsed by Powell and Cheney – to end the war once the U.N. mandate of driving Saddam’s forces from Kuwait had been fulfilled, leaving the Iraqi dictator in office. He called on the Clinton Administration to finish the job by arming Iraqi opposition forces and sending U.S. ground troops to defense a base of operation for them in the southern region of the country. In a 1996 editorial, Wolfowitz raised the prospect of launching a preemptive attack against Iraq. “Should we sit idly by,” he wrote, “with our passive containment policy and our inept cover operations, and wait until a tyrant possessing large quantities of weapons of mass destruction and sophisticated delivery systems strikes out at us?” Wolfowitz suggested it was “necessary” to “go beyond the containment strategy.”
Wolfowitz’s objections to Clinton’s military tactics were not limited to Iraq. Wolfowitz had endorsed President Bush’s decision in late 1992 to intervene in Somalia on a limited humanitarian basis. Clinton later expanded the mission into a broader peacekeeping effort, a move that ended in disaster. With perfect twenty-twenty hindsight, Wolfowitz decried Clinton’s decision to send U.S. troops into combat “where there is no significant U.S. national interest.” He took a similar stance on Clinton’s ill-fated democracy-building effort in Haiti, chastising the president for engaging “American military prestige” on an issue” of the little or no importance” to U.S. interests. Bosnia presented a more complicated mix of posturing and ideologics. While running for president, Clinton had scolded the Bush Administration for failing to take action to stem the flow of blood in the Balkans. Once in office, however, and chastened by their early misadventures in Somalia and Haiti, Clinton and his advisers struggled to articulate a coherent Bosnia policy. Wolfowitz complained in 1994 of the administration’s failure to “develop an effective course of action.' He personally advocated arming the Bosnian Muslims in their fight against the Serbs. Powell, on the other hand, publicly cautioned against intervention. In 1995 a U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign, combined with a Croat-Muslim ground offensive, forced the Serbs into negotiations, leading to the Dayton Peace Accords. In 1999, as Clinton rounded up support for joint U.S.-NATO action in Kosovo, Wolfowitz hectored the president for failing to act quickly enough.
After eight years of what Cheney et al. regarded as wrong-headed military adventures and pinprick retaliatory strikes, the Clinton Administration – mercifully, in their view – came to an end. With the ascension of George W. Bush to the presidency, the authors of the Plan returned to government, ready to pick up where they had left off. Cheney of course, became vice president, Powell became secretary of state, and Wolfowitz moved into the number two slot at the Pentagon, as Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy. Other contributors also returned: Two prominent members of the Wolfowitz team that crafted the original DPG took up posts on Cheney’s staff. I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who served as Wolfowitz’s deputy during Bush I, became the vice president’s chief of staff and national security adviser. And Eric Edelman, an assistant deputy undersecretary of defense in the first Bush Administration, became a top foreign policy adviser to Cheney.
Cheney and company had not changed their minds during the Clinton interlude about the correct course for U.S. policy, but they did not initially appear bent on resurrecting the Plan. Rather than present a unified vision of foreign policy to the world, in the early going the administration focused on promoting a series of seemingly unrelated initiatives. Notable among these were missile defense and space-based weaponry, long-standing conservative causes. In addition, a distinct tone of unilateralism emerged as the new administration announced its intent to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia in order to pursue missile defense; its opposition to U.S. ratification of an international nuclear-test-ban pact; and its refusal to become a party to an International Criminal Court. It also raised the prospect of ending the self-imposed U.S. moratorium on nuclear testing initiated by the President’s father during the 1992 presidential campaign. Moreover, the administration adopted a much tougher diplomatic posture, as evidenced, most notably, by a distinct hardening of relations with both China and North Korea. While none of this was inconsistent with the concept of U.S. dominance, these early actions did not, at the time, seem to add up to a coherent strategy.
It was only after September 11 that the Plan emerged in full. Within days of the attacks, Wolfowitz and Libby began calling for unilateral military action against Iraq, on the shaky premise that Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network could not have pulled off the assaults without Saddam Hussein’s assistance. At the time, Bush rejected such appeals, but Wolfowitz kept pushing and the President soon came around. In his State of the Union address in January, Bush labeled Iraq, Iran, and North Korea an “axis of evil,” and warned that he would “not wait on events” to prevent them from using weapons of mass destruction against the United States. He reiterated his commitment to preemption in his West Point speech in June. “If we wait for threats to fully materialize we will have waited too long,” he said. “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge.” Although it was less noted, Bush in that same speech also reintroduced the Plan’s central theme. He declared that the United States would prevent the emergence of a rival power by maintaining “military strengths beyond the challenge.” With that, the President effectively adopted a strategy his father’s administration had developed ten years earlier to ensure that the United States would remain the world’s preeminent power. While the headlines screamed “preemption,” no one noticed the declaration of the dominance strategy.
In case there was any doubt about the administration’s intentions, the Pentagon’s new DPG lays them out. Signed by Wolfowitz’s new boss, Donald Rumsfeld, in May and leaked to the Los Angeles Times in July, it contains all the key elements of the original Plan and adds several complementary features. The preemptive strikes envisioned in the original draft DPG are now “unwarned attacks.” The old Powell-Cheney notion of military “forward presence” is now “forwarded deterrence.” The use of overwhelming force to defeat an enemy called for in the Powell Doctrine is now labeled an “effects based” approach.
Some of the names have stayed the same. Missile defense is back, stronger than ever, and the call goes up again for a shift from a “threat based” structure to a “capabilities based” approach. The new DPG also emphasizes the need to replace the so-called Cold War strategy of preparing to fight two major conflicts simultaneously with what the Los Angeles Times refers to as “a more complex approach aimed at dominating air and space on several fronts.” This, despite the fact that Powell had originally conceived – and the first Bush Administration had adopted – the two-war strategy as a means of filling the “threat blank” left by the end of the Cold War.
Rumsfeld’s version adds a few new ideas, most impressively the concept of preemptive strikes with nuclear weapons. These would be earth-penetrating nuclear weapons used for attacking “hardened and deeply buried targets,” such as command-and-control bunkers, missile silos, and heavily fortified underground facilities used to build and store weapons of mass destruction. The concept emerged earlier this year when the administration’s Nuclear Posture Review leaked out. At the time, arms-control experts warned that adopting the NPR’s recommendations would undercut existing arms-control treaties, do serious harm to nonproliferation efforts, set off new rounds of testing, and dramatically increase the prospectus of nuclear weapons being used in combat. Despite these concerns, the administration appears intent on developing the weapons. In a final flourish, the DPG also directs the military to develop cyber-, laser-, and electronic-warfare capabilities to ensure U.S. dominion over the heavens.
Rumsfeld spelled out these strategies in Foreign affairs earlier this year, and it is there that he articulated the remaining elements of the Plan; unilateralism and global dominance. Like the revised DPG of 1992, Rumsfeld feigns interest in collective action but ultimately rejects it as impractical. “Wars can benefit from coalitions,” he writes, “but they should not be fought by committee.” And coalitions, he adds, “must not determine the mission.” The implication is the United States will determine the missions and lead the fights. Finally, Rumsfeld expresses the key concept of the Plan: preventing the emergence of rival powers. Like the original draft DPG of 1992, he states that America’s goal is to develop and maintain the military strength necessary to “dissuade” rivals or adversaries from “competing.” with no challengers, and a proposed defense budget of $379 billion for next year, the United States would reign over all its surveys.
Reaction to the latest edition of the Plan has, thus far, focused on preemption. Commentators parrot the administration’s line, portraying the concept of preemptory strikes as a “new” strategy aimed at combating terrorism. In an op-ed piece for the Washington Post following Bush’s West Point address, former Clinton adviser William Galston described preemption as part of a “brand-new security doctrine,” and warned of possible negative diplomatic consequences. Others found the concept more appealing. Loren Thompson of the conservative Lexington Institute hailed the “Bush Doctrine” as “a necessary response to the new dangers that America faces” and declared it “the biggest shift in strategic thinking in two generations.” Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley echoed that sentiment, writing that “no talk of this ilk has been heard from American leaders since John Foster Dulles talked of rolling back the Iron Curtain.”
Preemption, of course, is just part of the Plan, and the Plan is hardly new. It is a warmed-over version of the strategy Cheney and his coauthors rolled out in 1992 as the answer to the end of the Cold War. Then the goal was global dominance, and it met with bad reviews. Now it is the answer to terrorism. The emphasis is on preemption, and the reviews are generally enthusiastic. Through all of this, the dominance motif remains, though largely undetected.
This country once rejected “unwarned” attacks such as Pearl Harbor as barbarous and unworthy of a civilized nation. Today many cheer the prospect of conducting sneak attacks – potentially with nuclear weapons – on piddling powers run by tin-pot despots.
We also once denounced those who tried to rule the world. Our primary objection (at least officially) to the Soviet Union as its quest for global domination. Through the successful employment of the tools of containment, deterrence, collective security, and diplomacy – the very methods we now reject – we rid ourselves and the world of the Evil Empire. Having done so, we now pursue the very thing for which we opposed it. And now that the Soviet Union is gone, there appears to be no one left to stop us.
Perhaps, however, there is. The Bush Administration and its loyal opposition seem not to grasp that the quests for dominance generate backlash. Those threatened with preemption may themselves launch preemptory strikes. And even those who are successfully “preempted” or dominated may object and find means to strike back. Pursuing such strategies may, paradoxically, result in greater factionalism and rivalry, precisely the things we seek to end.
Not all Americans share Colin Powell’s desire to be “the bully on the block.” In fact, some believe that by following a different path the United States has an opportunity to establish a more lasting security environment. As Dartmouth professors Stephen Brooks and William Woblforth wrote recently in Foreign Affairs, “Unipolarity makes it possible to be the global bully – but it also offers the United States the luxury of being able to look beyond its immediate needs to its own, and the world’s, long-term interests. ..... Magnanimity and restraint in the face of temptation are tenets of successful statecraft that have proved their worth.” Perhaps, in short, we can achieve our desired ends by means other than global domination.
from George Kenney :
Date: 2 July 2010
Subject: Podcast interview w/ Dr. Thomas Fingar re: Iran, North Korea & the intelligence bureaucracy
From May 2005 until December 2008, Dr. Thomas Fingar served as the Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis, and, concurrently, Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. As such, he was the senior analyst in the U.S. intelligence community, the culmination of an extraordinarily distinguished career.
I am extremely pleased to have been able to talk with Tom, at length, on the subjects of Iran, North Korea, and the reorganization of the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy. Hopefully, we'll be able to continue our conversation at a later time, to take up the subject of China.
As always, if you like this podcast please feel free to forward the link.
As thousands protested in the streets of Toronto, inside the G20 summit world leaders agreed to a controversial goal of cutting government deficits in half by 2013. Economists say such a move could usher in sizable tax increases and massive cuts in government programs, including benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, world leaders at the G8/G20 failed to come to an agreement on setting new global rules for big banks or imposing a new across-the-board global bank tax.
Journalist Naomi Klein joins us now from her home in Toronto. Her most recent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. She has an op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail today called "Sticking the Public with the Bill for the Bankers’ Crisis."
Naomi, welcome to Democracy Now! You were out on the streets throughout the weekend. Describe what Toronto looks like and what the G20 decisionstheir significance are.
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, Toronto has pretty much returned to normal. They cleaned up the broken glass, and the leaders have gone home. And I was near the Convention Center last night and saw some sweeping up. And, you know, all weekend the media here has been in hysterics over the broken glass and the burning police cars and saying, you know, nothing like this has ever happened before in Canada, which, first of all, is just not true. We have some pretty intense hockey riots, where in one case sixteen police cars were burned. So it isn’t true that we’ve never seen property destruction like this.
But my feeling, when I went by the Convention Center after all the leaders had gone home, was that this was the real crime scene, not those shattered storefronts, but what actually happened at the summit on Sunday night, when the world leaders issued their final communiqué. And what that communiqué said was that there wouldn’t even be a measly tax on banks to help pay for the global crisis that they created and also prevent future crises. There wouldn’t be a financial transaction tax, which could create a fund for social programs and for action on climate change. There wouldn’t be a real action to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuel companies that have also created so many social and environmental costs around the world, as we see with the BP disaster.
But what there would be was very decisive action on deficit reductions. These leaders announced that they would halve their deficits by 2013, which is shocking and brutal cut. You know, I don’t believemaybe some of the leaders intend on keepingmaking good on this promise, but, on the other hand, they can hide behind this promise as the excuse to do what a lot of them want to do anyway, and say, you know, "We have no choice; we made this commitment." But so, just to put this in perspective, if the US were to cut its deficit, its projected 2010 deficit, in half by 2013, that would be a cut of $780 billion, you know, if there were no tax increases in that period. So, you know, that’s why I wrote the piece that came out this morning in Canada’s national newspaper The Globe and Mail, that what actually happened at the summit is that the global elites just stuck the bill for their drunken binge with the world’s poor, with the people who are most vulnerable, because that is really who’s going to pay, when they balance their budgets on the backs of healthcare programs, pension programs, unemployment programs. And also, the other thing that they did at this G8 summit, that preceded the G20 summit, is admit that they were not meeting their commitments to doubling aid to Africa, once again, because of the debt that was created by saving the banks.
AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Klein, in your piece in The Globe and Mail, you talk about the history of G20, how it was formed.
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, you know, the G20 is a little bit of a mysterious institution. Amy, you and I were both at an event in Toronto on Friday night, both speaking at an event organized by the Council of Canadians. It was a terrific event. And Vandana Shiva was one of the other speakers, and she had a great line. She said, "Ah, the G20, so young and yet so old," referring to the fact that the ideas of the G20 are so old, so predictable. But it is a young institution. It was conceived in 1999 as a summit of finance ministers. It only became a sort of an extension of the G8 as a leaders’ summit in the past two years, and that we saw in London, and we saw it in Pittsburgh, and we have now seen it in Toronto. So this incarnation of the G20 as a leaders’ summit is very young indeed.
But yeah, ten years ago, Paul Martin, who was then Canada’s finance minister, later Canada’s prime minister, was at a meeting with Larry Summers. This is 1999, so Summers at that time was Bill Clinton’s nominee for Treasury secretary. And the two men were discussing this idea to expand the G7 into a larger grouping to respond to the fact that developing country economies like China and India were growing very quickly, and they wanted to include them into this club, and they were under pressure to do so. So, what Martin and Summers didand this history we only learned last week. This really wasn’t a history that had been told. So this story came out in The Globe and Mail. And it turns out that the two men didn’t have a piece of paper. They wanted toI don’t know how this would possibly be the case, but their story is that they wanted to make a list of the countries that they would invite into this club, and they couldn’t find a piece of paper, so they found a manilla envelope and wrote on the back of the manilla envelope a list of countries. And by Paul Martin’s admission, those countries were not simply the twenty top economies of the world, the biggest GDPs. They were also the countries that were most strategic to the United States. So Larry Summers would make a decision that obviously Iran wouldn’t be in, but Saudi Arabia would be. And so, Saudi Arabia is in. Thailand, it made sense to include Thailand, because it had actually been the Thai economy, which, two years earlier, had set off the Asian economic crisis, but Thailand wasn’t as important to the US strategically as Indonesia, so Indonesia was in and not Thailand. So what you see from this story is that the creation of the G20 was an absolutely top-down decision, two powerful men deciding together to do this, making, you know, an invitation-only list.
And what you really see is that this is an attempt to get around the United Nations, where every country in the world has a vote, and to create this expanded G7 or G8, where they invite some developing countries, but not so many that they can overpower or outvote the Westernthe traditional Western powers. So, as this happened, we have also seen a weakening and an undermining of the United Nations. And I think that that’s the context in which the G20 needs to be understood. And that’s why a lot of the activists in Toronto this week were arguing that the G20 is an illegitimate institution and the price tag isthat we, as Canadian taxpayers, have had to take on for hosting this summit, you know, $1.2 billion, is particularly unacceptable, given that we have the United Nations, where these countries can meet in a much more democratic, much more legitimate forum, as opposed to this ad hoc invitation-only club from the back of an envelope in Larry Summers’s office.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to the issue of war. There were a number of feeder marches into the main one on Saturday. The peace groups started in front of the US consulate in Toronto. And there, in a rare moment, a mother of a young Canadian who had just been deployed to Afghanistan, to Kandahar, spoke out against war.
JOSIE FORCADILLA: I’m Josie. I’m employed by the United Church of Canada in the Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations Unit. My son was deployed in Afghanistan in May this year and is currently working in the Kandahar Airfield, where the Canadian forces is located. And he is under the Royal Regiment, the regimentthe battle group, I mean, that is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
AMY GOODMAN: And why are you here in front of the US consulate on this rainy day?
JOSIE FORCADILLA: I’m hereI’m here, even though it’s raining, as you can see, that I just want to convey my message to the members of the G20 and G8, that relatives, a mother like me, doesn’t want to extend this mission in Afghanistan.
AMY GOODMAN: Why?
JOSIE FORCADILLA: Why? Because lots of lives has been lost, not only from this side of the NATO forces or the ISAF, but as well as the Afghan civilian population. We don’t know what’s happening with the civilians. We don’t know how much people have diedhow many people have died in this conflict. So, as a mother, I’m very concerned about that.
AMY GOODMAN: There have just been reports that have come out about torture at the Kandahar air base. Have you heard about this?
JOSIE FORCADILLA: I’ve heard about that, and I’ve read about that. And I think it’sthis government, the Harper government, should come clean with this issue. There should be an impartial investigation, as far as torture is concerned in Kandahar Airfield.
AMY GOODMAN: Josie Forcadilla is the mother of a Canadian soldier currently serving in Kandahar. A hundred fifty Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan. Four civilians have died, two since I actually spoke to her.
Naomi Klein, talk about war in the context of the G20 summit, and Canada’s decision to pull out troops, their 4,500 troops, in a year.
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, we’ll see whether that happens. But I do think that the anger that we saw displayed on the streets of Toronto this weekend did surprise a lot of people. You know, people think of Canada as a very polite country, and there was a lot of anger and a lot of very angry young people. And this has to do with a real transformation that’s taken place in our country. And, you know, I say that without romanticizing the pre-Harper Canada, because it had many, many flaws, and Canada is a colonial country with a very violent history. But having said that, something has changed under this government, and it began under the preceding government, where the country has become much more militaristic. And the tradition that Canadians identify with, which is the tradition of peacekeeping, not these overt combat missions, as we’re engaged with in Afghanistan, is really disappearing. And, you know, one of the things that you really notice as a Canadian traveling internationally is that people are constantly askingcertainly they’re constantly asking you, you know, "What is going on with Canada? You know, Canada used to be such a sort of friendly player on the world stage and, you know, pro-human rights and so on. And now Canada is a really belligerent force." And, you know, Amy, you saw this in Copenhagen around climate change. Canada has the worst record on climate change because of the tar sands.
But, for me, the turning point of realizing just how bad things had gotten was when Jeremy Scahill reported on a speech that Erik Prince, the CEO of Blackwater, the founder of Blackwater, gave inI believe it was Michigan a couple of months ago. And, you know, Erik Prince didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about too many people, but he was positively effusive about the role that Canada was playing in Afghanistan. He said if you ever see a Canadian, stop them and thank them for the role they’re playing in Afghanistan. So, to me, this was a real sort of turning point in terms of really understanding just how bad things have gotten. And we’ve lost a lot of friends in the world, and the new friends we’re making are people like Erik Prince, not the kind of friends we want to have. So, yeah, there have been a lot of ongoing torture scandals, with Canadian officials having knowledge of torture when they transfer prisoners in Afghanistan, allowing it to happen. So, you know, there’s a real identity crisis going on in this country, where a lot of our cherished beliefs about who we are in the world are just being challenged by the facts. And I think that what we saw on the streets this weekend and this expression of anger in the streets needs to be seen in that context.
AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to a young journalist who was beaten and arrested. Among the hundreds of people arrested at the G20 protests in Toronto was Jesse Rosenfeld. He is a freelance reporter who was on assignment for The Guardian newspaper of London. He’s also a journalist with the Alternative Media Center. He was arrested and detained by Canadian police on Saturday evening covering a protest in front of the Novotel Hotel. We reached him just before this broadcast this morning. He was over at the CBC. And he described what happened to him.
JESSE ROSENFELD: They started sending in snatch squads and declared a mass arrest. At that point, I went up to them, and I was with some other media and said,"What about the media?" Their first reaction was, "Well, media is also under arrest." And then the officer came up actually [inaudible], said, "If you had an official lanyard from the G8/G20 summit, then you’re actually going to be OK and you can go through."
Now, it’s interesting, because I filed for my G8/G20 media accreditation on June 11th, back at the deadline, submitted bothyou know, all my documentation, including a letter from The Guardian. And then, what happened was, while the summit kept saying, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m approved, they’re just waiting for the final approval of the RCMP background check before they can send me my lanyard or my official media photo ID, that it basically said it had to declare a background check. And that was basically used to prevent me from getting the media pass. So I only had an Alternative Media Center pass on me, which was the passes that the AMC, the Alternative Media Center, not the government, set up. Alternative Media Center had issued to all the independent journalists that were working with it.
The police told me, "Oh, we don’t recognize these credentials." I explained to them that I was a journalist also with The Guardian, that I was writing for "Comment Is Free." I told them about my editors. I told them about my stories. And they said, "Well, we’ll check your credentials, and then, if it’s fine, we’ll let you go."
At that point, I was sort of taken to the side, after a bunch of media had gotten through the police line, and an officer walked up to me, looked at my ID and saidmyAlternative Media Center press pass, that isand said, "This isn’t legitimate. You’re under arrest," at which point I was immediately jumped by two police officers. I had my notepads in my hands. Grabbed my arms, they yanked back. My notepad went flying. I was hit in the stomach by one officer as I was held by two others. As I was going over, I was then hit in the back and went down. After I went down and as I went down, I smacked my leg. I had officers jump on top of me. I was being hit in the back. My face was being pushed to the concrete. All the time I’m saying, "I’m not resisting arrest. I’m a journalist. Why are you beating me?" My leg was lifted up, and my ankle was twisted, from while I was on the ground not resisting. And at that point, after I started saying these things, the police then started saying, "Stop resisting arrest," as if to try and provide cover for themselves.
Something interesting about when I was jumped, as well, is, just a minute or so after, two other officers had passed by, and they identified me as someone who is, quote-unquote, "a mouthy kid." Basically, I had run into them at demonstrations previously in the week and basically been asking tough questions on the front of the riot line as they were either clashing with media, which they did quite violently through the week, or beating protesters. And so, they had identified me as someone who was challenging them publicly and on the record. And it was at that point that I was jumped by the other officers, you know, and beaten and arrested.
We were then hauled off to jail. I spentI guess I was arrested at around 10:00, 11:30 in the evening, and I didn’t get out of jail 'til 5:00 or 6:00 the next afternoon. And that was basically onwe weren't charged. We were held on thewe were detained on the grounds of, quote-unquote, "breach of peace," which is not a criminal offense. And the conditions in jailI mean, I’ve been working from the Middle East as a journalist for the past three years or so, since 2007, and the jails actually remind me a lot more of the ones I’ve seen that Israelis hold for Palestinians or the Palestinian Authority holds. We were in handcuffs, or at least I was in handcuffs 'til nearly 5:00 in the morning, while being processed in different cells and waiting to be processed and in cells of overovercrowded cells with over twenty people, with a porta-potty, very limited access to water. Then, after I was processed, I was moved to a five-foot-by-eight-foot cell, where there were five other people with me. And there was benches, no washroom, only a concrete floor. And the room was absolutely freezing, not even enough space for us to lie down and sleep all at the same time. It was incredibly difficult to sleep because it was so cold. A lot of the people I was in jail with had been beaten, and beaten quite badlyblack eyes, bloody noses, and been hit all over. And also, a lot of the people fromthere were several people from the Alternative Media Center who had been taken in for just doing their job, which was reporting from the front lines.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Jesse Rosenfeld, freelance reporter on assignment with The Guardian newspaper in London. He was also a journalist with the Alternative Media Center, arrested and detained by the Canadian police on Saturday evening.
Naomi Klein, the level of force that was used, the money that has been put into this, and then I want to end with the Gulf of Mexico, from the G20 to the Gulf of Mexico, and there are connections. I think you make them when you speak and when you write, when we're talking about the power of corporations.
NAOMI KLEIN: Well. we’ll see if we make it to the Gulf of Mexico, Amy. But, yeah, I want to talk a little bit about, you know, that horrifying story from Jesse. And there are many others like it. And, you know, the police rioted after what happened on Saturday. As you mentioned at the top of the show, more than 600 people have been arrested, brutally arrested in many cases, these nighttime raids. There are stories of people waking up with guns pointed in their faces.
And the context for this is really frightening, because the police are feeling really cornered and feeling like they have to justify something which is completely unjustifiable. And that is the price tag that they put on what it would cost to provide security for the G8 and G20 summit. Security for this summit cost, as you mentioned, an estimated $1 billion. Just to put that in perspective, it’s more than security has ever cost for any summit ever in the world. And, you know, Canada is not a country which has a history of terrorist attacks. So, it isn’t at all clear why they felt they needed to spend such a huge amount of money. As a point of comparison, at Pittsburgh G20 summit, the price tag for security was $100 million. So you went in less than a year from a $100 million price tag to $1 billion price tag for security, with no explanation. And as Canadians started to learn about this, they became rightfully very, very angry. And the police were under a lot of pressure to explain why they were treating this summit that Canada was hosting essentially as a cash grab. Basically what happened is they were able to buy all kinds of new toys, water cannons, sound cannons, you know, all kinds of high-tech stuff. But the real cash grab was overtime pay for the police. I mean, they were absolutely extravagant in their overtime demands, unyielding. They said, "If you want security, this is what it costs." So, before the summit started, there was a public opinion poll that was conducted that found that 78 percent of Canadians believed that the cost was unjustified.
So, what happened on Saturday, when you saw those burning cop cars and windows breaking, was what I can only describe as a cop strike. Essentially, they were just letting it happen. And people were watching this, not understanding why, for hours, the same police car was just allowed to burn. I mean, these guys had just bought themselves a brand new water cannon, and yet they couldn’t seem to find themselves a fire extinguisher.
Now, while that was happening, media outlets were getting press statements. And I’ll just read you one. This is from the Toronto Police Department: "All you have to do is turn on the TV and see what’s happening now. Police cars are getting torched, buildings are being vandalized, people are getting beat up, and [so] the so-called 'intimidating' police presence is essential to restoring order." In other words, the police were playing public relations, overtly. They were saying, "OK, you’re telling us our price tag was too high. We’re getting in political trouble for our outrageous demands. So now we’re going to show you this huge threat that we’re up against." And so, we have a police commissioner named Julian Fantino, who’s now started to talk about activists as organized crime. He says it’s not enough to call them thugs, they’re organized criminals. So, what’s dangerous here is that in order to justify their own unjustifiable actions, they need to overinflate a threat.
And so, that has played itself out in two ways: one, by allowing what happened on Saturday to happen with almost no intervention; and thenthat was stage oneand stage two was using that inaction as justification for scooping up hundreds of other activists, beating up journalists, just going on a rampage. Now, it they were serious about getting the people who had broken the windows, they would have done the arrests there at the time. But that’s not what they’d done. They went to other parts of the city. They waited hours. And that’s who they arrested. So, I feel very, very worried about my friends who are in jail right now, becausebecause I think there’s nothing more frightening than, you know, a police force that feels the need to justify itself in this way and using these young activists as their political cover. And, you know, I think it’s a very dangerous situation, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Naomi, we just have a minute, but I would like you to touch on, since you were in the Gulf, and because the G20 is not as much about containing corporate power, but it seems to be augmenting and protecting it. What you see is the connection from the Gulf to Toronto?
NAOMI KLEIN: Yeah, well, Amy, I do have a long piece about the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the cover story in The Nation this week, if people want to read it. It’s called "A Hole in the World." And I won’t try to summarize it here.
But, you know, to meand this is what I spoke about in Torontoone of the most important messages that we really need to learn in this moment is if we are going to oppose the strategy that these G20 leaders have just put on the table for how to deal with the budget crisis that they created, if we’re going to say, "We don’t want to get stuck with the bill for your crisis," then we have to put other revenue sources on the table, and that means cutting military and police spending, like the outrageous police spending we just saw in Toronto, but much larger than that, the losing wars that we’re fightingthat’s a great cost saverand also taxing the banks, financial transaction taxes, but also going after the fossil fuel companies, because the message that we need to learn from the BP disaster is just the incredible costs imposed on societies by this industry. It is not just BP.
And we’ve accepted the principle in the Gulf of Mexico, or most of us have, with the exception of some Republicans, that the polluters should pay. And I think what we need to do is extend that principle, so that [inaudible] paying around the world, so Shell is paying for the environmental devastation it has wrought in Ogoniland in Nigeria and the decimation of the Niger Delta, and Chevron is paying for what its predecessor, Texaco, did in the Amazon in what’s called the Amazonian Chernobyl, in a case, I know, that you’ve covered extensively on Democracy Now!, and on and on. [inaudible] that is the issue of what the whole fossil fuel industry has done, in terms of sticking us with the bill for climate change, the cost of adapting to climate change, but also the cost of shifting away from fossil fuels.
And, you know, one of the things that we just heard at the G20 summit is that they can’tthe leaders don’t believe that they can afford to take real action on climate change. Any action on climate change, according to the G20, has to ensure economic growth, which basically means they can’t take any action on climate change. So, I think we need to very forcefully put on the table, we do need to take action on climate change, and if our governments have a cash flow problem, then they should be going directly after the fossil fuel companies, and they should pay for it, because they created the crisis, they created the problem, and the polluters should pay.
AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Klein, I want to thank you very much for being with us, journalist and author, her latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, has the cover story of The Nation magazine, wrote an op-ed piece today in The Globe and Mail of Canada. Over 600 people have been arrested protesting the G8 and G20 summits, and the amount of money that went into so-called security in Toronto, more than a billion dollars, the most expensive event in Canada’s history.
From Information Clearing House :
Date: 30 June 2010
Subject: The suspicious “suicide” death of whistle-blower Dr. David Kelly.
New revelations in the suspicious “suicide” death of whistle-blower Dr. David Kelly point even more strongly to the possibility of murder and a subsequent cover-up, according to an explosive investigation by the British newspaper Daily Mail.
David Kelly served as a United Nations weapons-of-mass-destruction inspector in Iraq and as a scientist for the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense. He was widely considered the world’s foremost expert in chemical and biological weapons, even serving as a proof reader on the British government’s intelligence report about Iraqi WMDs. He disagreed with some of the claims and told his superiors, but was ignored.
Seven years ago, a strange saga began when Kelly sparked a massive scandal. He leaked details of the government’s WMD lies used to justify invading Iraq to various journalists. His identity was eventually revealed as the source, and Parliament called him to testify for an investigation it was conducting into the explosive allegations. Then, before he could reveal even more devastating secrets, he turned up dead.
The government, led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, immediately quashed the regular coroner’s inquest a legal requirement in cases like this. Instead, it set up a much weaker “inquiry,” headed by Lord Hutton, into the untimely death.
But as soon as the "investigation" concluded that Kelly’s demise was a “suicide” caused by a self-inflicted knife wound, the media began picking the story apart, pointing out inconsistencies and asking tough questions that still have not been answered satisfactorily if they were addressed at all. The inquiry has been labeled a “whitewash” and a “cover-up” by numerous media outlets, investigators, doctors, and researchers.
The two paramedics who were at the scene of Kelly’s body went public with their belief that a severed artery was not the cause of death, as the official report had claimed. "I just think it is incredibly unlikely that he died from the wrist wound we saw," paramedic Vanessa Hunt told the British press. “There just wasn't a lot of blood. When someone cuts an artery, whether accidentally or intentionally, the blood pumps everywhere." The other paramedic offered a similar analysis.
A team of concerned scientists and doctors also banded together to form the “Kelly Investigation Group.” They, too, believed there were serious deficiencies in the inquiry, saying the official conclusion was “highly improbable.”
“Arteries in the wrist are of matchstick thickness and severing them does not lead to life-threatening blood loss,” three members of the group, all medical specialists, wrote in a letter to the Guardian newspaper calling for the inquest to be re-opened. “To have died from haemorrhage [sic], Dr Kelly would have had to lose about five pints of blood it is unlikely that he would have lost more than a pint.”
The team also noted that the alleged amount of pain pills Kelly was said to have ingested would not have contributed to his death. Only a part of one tablet was actually found in his stomach.
Adding more doubt to the official story, documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request showed there were no finger prints on the knife Kelly supposedly used to kill himself.
"Someone who wanted to kill themselves wouldn't go to the lengths of wiping the knife clean of fingerprints,” said British Minister of Parliament and current Transportation Secretary Norman Baker, who wrote a book about Kelly claiming he was killed because he might reveal more about the lies used in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. "It is just very suspicious. It is one of the things that makes me think Dr. Kelly was murdered. The case should be re-opened."
A police spokesperson acknowledged the lack of fingerprints, but said it “does not change the official explanation.”
Suspicions in the case grew even more after it was revealed earlier this year that documents in the official investigation had been secretly classified by the British government for an astonishing 70 years, an unprecedented move that fanned the flames of skepticism. All medical, scientific, and photographic records were totally sealed by Lord Hutton, including the post mortem.
“This inexplicable secrecy can excite only suspicion that the authorities have something very bad indeed to hide,” noted Melanie Phillips in a report for the Daily Mail. “I myself have met people familiar with the shadowy world in which Dr Kelly moved who are certain he was murdered.” Another Daily Mail article reported that the legal basis for the gag order “has baffled experts accustomed to such matters.”
Researchers have raised countless problems with the “official” story too many to go over in detail in one article. But some of the new information collected by the Daily Mail in a more recent article entitled “Dr David Kelly: The damning new evidence that points to a cover-up by Tony Blair's government” is worth recounting.
“Our new revelations include the ambiguous nature of the wording on Dr Kelly’s death certificate; the existence of an anonymous letter which says his colleagues were warned to stay away from his funeral; and an extraordinary claim that the wallpaper at Dr Kelly’s home was stripped by police in the hours after he was reported missing - but before his body was found,” the paper reported, noting that its “rigorous and thorough investigation” had “turned up evidence which raises still more disturbing questions.”
The death certificate, only recently obtained, used peculiar wording in the box meant for entering the place of death. Instead of naming it, the certificate said Kelly was “found dead” at Harrowdown Hill. Experts say the wording alone is enough to open another investigation, especially since there are numerous other irregularities involving the location of Kelly’s body (like heat-sensing helicopters that, based on the official story, should have found the body when flying over).
The death certificate also states that a coroner’s inquest was performed. But it wasn’t. It also lacks a doctor’s or coroner’s signature, something all death certificates in the U.K. are required to have.
"This death certificate is evidence of a failure properly to examine the cause of Dr Kelly’s death. It is evidence of a pre-judgment of the issue. In a coroner’s inquest the cause of death would not be registered until the whole inquiry had been completed. As we see here, the cause of death was registered before the Hutton Inquiry had finished,” said former coroner and law expert Dr. Michael Powers QC, who aims to have a thorough investigation conducted.
“This is remarkable,” he told the paper. “To my mind it is evidence that the inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death was window-dressing because the conclusion had already been determined.”
On top of the Hutton Inquiry’s many obvious shortcomings, a letter received last month by one of the doctors involved in the Kelly Investigation Group claims Kelly’s colleagues were warned not to attend his funeral. Kelly’s widow also said police came to the house and tore off wallpaper, possibly searching for listening devices, shortly after Kelly was reported missing, but prior to the discovery of his body. Authorities refuse to comment on the allegation.
The doctors investigating the suspicious death said “concern about Dr Kelly’s death will continue to deepen until a full coroner’s inquest is heard,” the Daily Mail reported, adding that if such an inquest is performed, Tony Blair might well be expected to testify about why he “went to such lengths to avoid the normal, rigorous and respected course of this country’s law.”
Concluding, the paper noted that Blair’s reputation, as well as the reputation of the British legal system, will continue to suffer until a proper investigation is conducted, which “is the only way the whole truth about the Kelly affair, however uncomfortable, will emerge.”
Now, after all these years, there are hints that the truth may finally come out. The new British Attorney General announced earlier this month that he is considering re-opening the investigation. Meanwhile, the new Justice Secretary is reportedly contemplating releasing some of the records in the case that currently remain classified. Whether it will happen has been a matter of intense speculation in the British press, but if these crucial questions are ever to be resolved, a proper investigation is a must.
from The New York Times :
Date: 1 July 2010
Subject: Myths of Austerity.