Subject : ON CARING FOR OTHERS WHO CARE FOR YOU, AND UNDERSTANDING THOSE WHO WOULD DESTROY YOU.
29 August 2010
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Preparing for our new academic year, which will begin in a couple of weeks, involved reading some 2000 pages of political sociology and history while visiting Russia this summer. This exercise brought me to realize that we have made some progress since the bad ol' days of the 1980s, when the political slogan in southern California was: "If you're yellow, better mellow; if you're brown, stay around; if you're white, you're alright; if you're black, stand back!" Today, we have barbie dolls of all colors, and not all of "Charlie's Angles" on American TV are white women, and we even have an African-American president. That ill-conception of "identity politics" of the 1970s and 80s seems to have run its course, and this detour has brought us back to "class consciousness" and its liberal variation, "rational choice" theory. Skin pigment, gender, sexual preference, and even linguistic accents and geographical origins carry very little political capital today. According to today's rules of "possessive individualism," money has no odor, and in large quantities it works miracles (up to a point) for the owners of capital. Only the oligarchs and their managers know the true limits of the power of money. Today, these people come in both genders, many sexual preferences, and in all shapes, sizes, and colors; their strategies and tactics are governed by their class consciousness, or lack thereof --of this we can be certain. Knowing the objective of any game prepares one to understand its rules which govern the players. Class struggle is no different. [For an explicit lesson on how to play "class struggle," CEIMSA readers may want to look at Bertell Ollman's creative attempt at producing a socialist primer by the same name, Class Struggle, the Board Game. Also recommended is Howard Zinn's book, You Can't be Neutral on a Moving Train.]
After a recent discussion of how best to rid oneself of parasites, my 14-year-old daughter lent me a book she thought "I might need to read." It was the French translation of Michael Ende's remarkably prescient story, Momo et les voleurs de temps (1973). It's a fast read and a wonderful reminder of the power of the imagination and the importance of solidarity --of caring for others who care for you.
The 8 items below may offer CEIMSA readers the opportunity to reevaluate the meaning of their lives from new perspectives offered by some of today's best investigative reporters and scholars who have taken that proverbial walk where angles fear to tread and, in some cases, have seen a glimpse of "the promised land."
Item A. is a copy of John Pilger's new documentary film, "The War on Democracy."
Item B. is a Real News Network interview with Doug Henwood, Editor of Left Business Observer, discussing ruling class assessments of the current economic crisis and ruling class proposals to solve this "problem."
Item C., from Information Clearing House, is the ABC Australia documentary film, Overdose (23 August, 2010), about the coming economic crisis, featuring Gerald Celente and Peter Schiff.
Item D., from GritTV, is a report from the US Social Forum, held in Detroit from 22 to 26 June 2010: "The solutions must come from us."
Item E., sent to us by New School University of New York Professor, Richard Wolff, is a short critique of the "so-called economic recovery" and its hidden designs.
Item F. is an article by Greg Palast on "New Orleans, Five Years Later: Who Done it?"
Item G., sent to us by University of Pennsylvania Professor, Edward Herman, is an article by Fred Branfman on the expansion of US military tactics of political assassination in recent years.
Item H. is a article by Josh Mitteldorf, sent to us by NYU Professor Mark Crispin Miller, raising the question: Was Pat Tillman murdered?
And finally, we invite CEIMSA readers to reflect on the quality of their lives in the historical context provided by this documentary film:
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Universit Stendhal Grenoble 3
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 25 August 2010
Subject: "War on Democracy".
"The film tells a universal story," says Pilger, "analysing and revealing, through vivid testimony, the story of great power behind its venerable myths. It allows us to understand the true nature of the so-called war on terror".
from The Real News :
Date: 11 June 2010
Subject: What future our current economic crisis?
A 3-part interview with Doug Henwood, Editor of Left Business Observer in New York City.
"The Economic Outlook for the United States"
from Information Clearing House :
Date: 1 July 2010
Subject: "Overdose": The Story of the Greatest Financial Crisis We Will Ever See. . . The one that is on the way.
Have you maxed out your credit card? Bought shares with borrowed money? Taken out a large home loan believing that prices always go up? Then you may be living on borrowed time. Filmmaker Martin Borgs takes a provocative look at the events leading up the Global Financial Crisis and asks if the attempts to avoid a ruinous collapse of banks and other major finance houses may set the world on the path to an even bigger meltdown.
When the world's financial bubble blew, the solution was to lower interest rates and pump trillions of dollars into the sick banking system. On the face of it this seemed the only way to deal with impending disaster, but was it?
"The solution is the problem, that's why we had a problem in the first place," Economics Nobel laureate Vernon Smith says. For him, the Catch 22 is self-evident. Interest rates have been at rock bottom for years, and governments are running out of fuel to feed the economy. He asks:
"The governments can save the banks, but who can save the governments?"
from GritTV :
Date: 28 August 2010
Subject: From Detroit, Michigan.
"We're tired of just going out in the streets and demonstrating or listening to other people speak to us," says organizer Rocio Valerio of her hopes for the U.S. Social Forum. "We're actually going to come up with alternatives, to really come up with a plan."
The Social Forum, this week in Detroit, provides space for organizers like Rocio to come together and work for a better U.S.--and Laura will be reporting from the Forum this weekend. Stay tuned for more!
From Greg Palast :
Date: 27 August 2010
Subject: New Orleans: Who done it?
Five years ago this week, a beast drowned New Orleans. Don't blame Katrina: the lady never, in fact, touched the city. The hurricane swept east of it.
You want to know the name of the S.O.B. who attacked New Orleans? Locals call him "Mr. Go" - the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MR-GO).
MR-GO was undoubtedly the most bone-headed, deadly insane project ever built by the Army Corps of Engineers. It's a 76-mile long canal, straight as a gun barrel, running right up from the Gulf of Mexico to the heart of New Orleans.
In effect, MR-GO was a welcome mat to the city for Katrina. Experts call it "the Hurricane Highway."
[Note: The Palast Investigative Fund is offering a download free of charge for the half-hour documentary, Big Easy to Big Empty during this week of commemoration.]
Until the Army Corps made this crazy gash in the Mississippi Delta fifty years ago, Mother Nature protected the Crescent City with a green wreath of cypress and mangrove. The environmental slash-job caused the government's own hydrologist to raise alarms from Day One of construction.
Unless MR-GO was fixed or plugged, the Corps was inviting, "the possibility of catastrophic damage to urban areas by a hurricane surge coming up this waterway." (I'm quoting from a report issued 17 years before The Flood.)
A forensic analysis by Dr. John W. Day calculated that if the Corps had left just 6 miles of wetlands in place of the open canal, the surge caused by Katrina's wind would have been reduced by 4.5 feet and a lot of New Orleaneans would be alive today.
The Corps plugging its ears to the warnings was nothing less than "negligence, insouciance, myopia and shortsightedness."
That list of fancy epithets poured from the angry pen of Federal Judge Stanwood Duval who heard the evidence in a suit filed by the surviving residents of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard's Parish. His Honor ruled that the drowning of the Ninth Ward and St. Bernard Parish was a man-made disaster.
"The Corp's lassitude and failure to fulfill its duties resulted in a catastrophic loss of human life and property in unprecedented proportions."
In November 2009, Judge Duval ordered the federal government to pay to rebuild homes, and compensate families of the dead.
The day Duval issued his verdict, I wrote in my notebook, "Barack Obama has before him a choice to make, one that will reveal the soul of his Presidency more than his choice of troop levels in Afghanistan: whether he will compensate the families who lost all they ever had, or appeal the court's decision, and thereby 'Bush' New Orleans once again."
But President Hope said 'Nope.' As the fifth anniversary of the drowning of the city approached, Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder flat out refused payment and filed a notice of appeal.
It was George W. Bush who gave the middle finger to the victims of the Corps' cruel negligence and fought the claims for compensation. Now, Obama has made Bush's pitiless renunciation of New Orleans his own policy just as Obama turned Bush's war in Afghanistan into his own.
In fact, other presidents have said, we owe, we pay.
In 1974, President Gerald Ford ordered payment to the victims of the collapse of the Army Corps' poorly built Teton Dam, Idaho, saying, "No government has the power to eliminate tragedy from human experience, but government can and government should act quickly to minimize the pain of a great disaster. Today, I am signing a bill which provides legislative authority for the compensation of personal and property damage sustained by the victims of the flood."
Then, in 1994, after sea barriers built by the Army Corps failed in a storm washing away homes in Westhampton Dunes, New York, the Clinton Administration paid to rebuild every one of the $3 million mansions. Not only that: To insure that the hedge-fund sharks and media moguls in this wealthy Hamptons resort wouldn't get their beach blankets wet, the feds paid an extra $25 million for sand to recreate the beachfront.
But the Ninth Ward isn't the Hamptons, is it?
The facts are undeniable; even the government accepts that MR-GO threatened New Orleans. Congress has ordered the Army Corps to dump nearly half a million tons of rock into MR-GO to shut the damn thing.
Still, the Administration drags its feet on payment under the legal theory of "Discretionary Function." In lay terms, that means, "Nyah, nyah, nyah! You can't hold the Army Corps responsible for gross negligence." The Justice Department also argued that the court should not consider the number of people drowned. Ugh.
Judge Duval slapped away the government's cockamamie defense.
So then, Why oh why oh why would Obama, after his grandstanding about BP's responsibility to the people of the Gulf Coast, refuse to compensate some of the same people for the far greater damage caused by the Corps?
Let me tell you: it goes beyond the money. To "make things right" means Obama would have to face down powers fiercer than any Taliban: Big Oil.
The widening of Mr. Go drowned New Orleans; it was not an Act of God. It was an Act of Chevron. An Act of Shell Oil. And, yes, an Act of BP.
The Army Corps admitted that it used its "discretion" to put shipping above safety. The choice was made to help the Gulf oil giants move their crude.
I talked with Jonathan Andry yesterday, the litigator for the Katrina survivors. Obama's decision to appeal the verdict really set him off. "We gave $185 billion to AIG to pay off crooks. I represent people who lost their lives, their family homes, their jobs in one day."
He seemed far more upset than I expected from an experienced litigator. On a hunch, I said, "Did you lose your own home?"
Andry was quieter. "Evacuated in one car with four kids, three cats, one dog and one wife to Faraday." And they never came back. The home on Lake Pontchartrain, in the family for generations, was washed away. Just dirt there now.
Ever the reporter, I asked if he'd taken a photo of it. "Can't look. Too painful."
I think back to the river city where I once worked, where my own kids played and where I fell in love; and then I look at my President cowering behind his "discretionary function," and I too find that what I see is much too painful.
Investigator Greg Palast's film, Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans [see trailer] was created for Democracy Now! and LinkTV.
The Palast Investigative Fund is offering a free download of the film in commemoration of the 5th Anniversary of Katrina. Or make a tax-deductible donation and get the signed DVD which includes Amy Goodman interviewing Palast.
Subscribe to Palast's Newsletter and podcasts.
Follow Palast on Facebook and Twitter.
from Edward Herman :
Date: 24 August 2010
Subject: Murder, Inc.
Terrifying stuff, and showing a close continuity of present policy and that of Bush-Cheney, but unfortunately an important part of reality.
General Petraeus's unprecedented act of making mass U.S. assassination of Muslims the heart of U.S. policy towards the Muslim world is reckless and foolish. Rather than protecting American lives it endangers them.
Of course, the idea that a small group of U.S. leaders are now secretly and unaccountably murdering anyone they choose in any country on earth is the kind of undemocratic, immoral and illegal behavior which made the Gestapo and Soviet Secret Police worldwide symbols of evil.
But Petraeus is also sowing a whirlwind which could consume us all in the years and decades to come. His policies threaten long-term U.S. national security and each of us. I hope you will consider sending the article below to your lists.
Greatly expanded U.S. military Special Ops teams, U.S. drone strikes and private espionage networks run by former CIA assassins (please see interview<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNgCyDsvi84> with Duane Dewey Clarridge, described at the end of this piece *) create a threat to our security.
"[GENERAL MCCHRYSTAL SAYS THAT] FOR EVERY INNOCENT PERSON YOU KILL, YOU CREATE 10 NEW ENEMIES." --
The truth that many Americans find hard to take is that that mass U.S. assassination on a scale unequaled in world history lies at the heart of America's military strategy in the Muslim world, a policy both illegal and never seriously debated by Congress or the American people. Conducting assassination operations throughout the 1.3 billon-strong Muslim world will inevitably increase the murder of civilians and thus create exponentially more "enemies," as Gen. McChrystal suggests -- posing a major long-term threat to U.S. national security. This mass assassination program, sold as defending Americans, is actually endangering us all. Those responsible for it, primarily General Petraeus, are recklessly seeking short-term tactical advantage while making an enormous long-term strategic error that could lead to countless American deaths in the years and decades to come. General Petraeus must be replaced<http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090602_replace_petraeus/>, and the U.S. military's policy of direct and mass assassination of Muslims ended.
The U.S. has conducted assassination programs in the Third World for decades, but the actual killing -- though directed and financed by the C.I.A. -- has been largely left to local paramilitary and police forces. This has now has changed dramatically.
What is unprecedented today is the vast number of Americans directly assassinating Muslims -- through greatly expanded U.S. military Special Operations teams, U.S. drone strikes and private espionage networks run by former CIA assassins and torturers* (Please see box at end of piece). Particularly significant is the expanding geographic scope of their killing. While CENTCOM Commander from October 2008 until July 2010, General Petraeus received secret and unprecedented permission to unilaterally engage in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, former Russian Republics, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, the Horn of Africa, and wherever else he deems necessary.
Never before has a nation unleashed so many assassins in so many foreign nations around the world (9,000 Special Operations<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304965.html> soldiers are based in Iraq and Afghanistan alone) as well as implemented a policy that can be best described as unprecedented, remote-control, large-scale "mechanized assassination." As the N.Y. Times <http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/world/asia/04drones.html> noted in December 2009:
"For the first time in history, a civilian intelligence agency is using robots to carry out a military mission, selecting people for killing in a country where the United States is not officially at war."
This combination of human and technological murder amounts to a worldwide Assassination Inc. that is unique in human affairs.
The increasing shift to direct U.S. assassination began on Petraeus's watch in Iraq, where targeted assassination was considered by many within the military to be more important than the "surge." The killing of Al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was considered a major triumph that significantly reduced the level of violence. As Bob Woodward reported in The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2008:<http://www.amazon.com/War-Within-History-2006-2008-ebook/dp/B001EHF8VY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&m=A3DMKJ0F07UVW3&s=digital-text&qid=1282650558&sr=8-4>
"Beginning in about May 2006, the U.S. military and the U.S. intelligence agencies launched a series of top secret operations that enabled them to locate, target and kill key individuals in extremist groups. A number of authoritative sources say these covert activities had a far-reaching effect on the violence and were very possibly the biggest factor in reducing it. Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) responsible for hunting al Qaeda in Iraq, (conducted) lightning-quick and sometimes concurrent operations When I later asked the president (Bush) about this, he offered a simple answer: 'JSOC is awesome.'" [Emphasis added.]
Woodward's finding that many "authoritative sources" believed assassination more important than the surge is buttressed by Petraeus' appointment of McChrystal to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan. McChrystal's major qualification for the post was clearly his perceived expertise in assassination while heading JSOC from 2003-08 (where he also conducted extensive torture at "Camp Nama<http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/international/middleeast/19abuse.html>" at Baghdad International Airport, successfully excluding even the Red Cross).
Another key reason for the increased reliance on assassination is that Petraeus' announced counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan obviously cannot work. It is absurd to believe that the corrupt warlords and cronies who make up the "Afghan government" can be transformed into the viable entity upon which his strategy publicly claims to depend -- particularly within the next year which President Obama has set as a deadline before beginning to withdraw U.S. troops. Petraeus is instead largely relying on mass assassination to try and eliminate the Taliban, both within Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The centrality of assassination to U.S. war plans is revealed by the fact that it was at the heart of the Obama review of Afghan policy last fall. The dovish Biden position called for relying primarily on assassination, while the hawkish McChrystal stance embraced both assassination and more troops. No other options were seriously considered.
A third factor behind the shift to mass assassination is that Petraeus and the U.S. military are also determined to attack jihadi forces in nations where the U.S. is not at war, and which are not prepared to openly invite in U.S. forces. As the N.Y. Times reported on May 24<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/25military.html>, "General Petraeus (has argued) that troops need to operate beyond Iraq and Afghanistan to better fight militant groups."
The most significant aspect of this new and expanded assassination policy is President Obama's authorizing clandestine U.S. military personnel to conduct it. The N.Y. Times has also reported<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/world/15shadowwar.html>:
In roughly a dozen countries -- from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife -- the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations, pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists (Military) Special Operations troops under secret "Execute Orders" have conducted spying missions that were once the preserve of civilian intelligence agencies. (Emphasis added)
Particularly extraordinary is the fact that these vastly expanded military assassination teams are not subject to serious civilian control. As the N.Y. Times<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/25military.html> has also reported<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/25military.html>, Petraeus in September 2009 secretly expanded a worldwide force of assassins answerable only to the military, without oversight by not only Congress but the president himself:
The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents. The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa. Unlike covert actions undertaken by the C.I.A., such clandestine activity does not require the president's approval or regular reports to Congress. [Emphasis added]
Although sold to the American public and Congress as targeted, selective assassination aimed only at a handful of "high value" insurgent leaders, the program has in fact already expanded far beyond that. As personnel and aircraft devoted to assassination exponentially increase, so too do the numbers of people they murder, both "insurgents" and civilians.
While it is reasonable to assume that expanding the number of Special Operations commandos to its present worldwide level of 13,000 will result in increasing assassinations<http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latest-news/us-secret-war-expands-globally-special-operations-forces-take-larger-role>, the secrecy of their operations makes it impossible to know how many they have murdered, how many of those are civilians, and the effectiveness of their operations. It is not known, for example, how many people U.S. military assassins murder directly, and how many they kill indirectly by identifying them for drone strikes. Much of their activity is conducted, for example, in North Waziristan in northwest Pakistan which, as the N.Y. Times reported on April 4<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/world/asia/05drones.html> "is virtually sealed from the outside world."
More information, however, has emerged about the parallel and unprecedented mass mechanized assassinations being carried out by the C.I.A. drone programs. It is clear that they have already expanded far beyond the official cover story of targeting only "high-level insurgent leaders," and are killing increasing numbers of people.
The CIA, of course, is no novice at assassination. Future CIA Director William Colby's Operation Phoenix program in South Vietnam gave South Vietnamese police quotas of the number of civilians to be murdered on a weekly and monthly basis, eventually killing 20-50,000 people. CIA operatives such as Latin American Station Chef Duane "Dewey" Clarridge (please see box below) also established, trained and operated local paramilitary and death squads throughout Central and Latin America that brutally tortured and murdered tens of thousands of civilians, most notably in El Salvador where CIA-trained and -directed killers murdered Archbishop Romero and countless other Salvadorans.
But the present CIA assassination program in Pakistan and elsewhere is different not only because it is Americans who are themselves the assassins, but because of the unprecedented act of conducting mechanized mass assassination from the air. The CIA, as Nick Turse has reported for TomDispatch.com<http://www.tomdispatch.com/archive/175195/nick_turse_the_forty_year_drone_war>, is exponentially increasing its drone assassination program:
"(Drone) Reapers flew 25,391 hours (in 2009). This year, the air force projects that the combined flight hours of all its drones will exceed 250,000 hours. More flight time will, undoubtedly, mean more killing." (Emphasis added)
There were already signs in 2009, when drone strikes were a fraction of what they are now, that they were striking large numbers of civilians and proving militarily and politically counterproductive. Most Pakistanis believe it is largely civilians who are being killed, and anti-American hatred is growing accordingly. A Gallup poll conducted in July 2009, based on 2,500 face-to-face interviews, found that "only 9 percent of Pakistanis supported the drone strikes." A Global Research study documented<http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=17343> the drone murder of 123 civilians in January 2010 alone.
A particularly significant indication of the drone strikes' military ineffectiveness has come from Colonel David Kilcullen, a key Petraeus advisor in Iraq, who testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee<http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_PUB:SB10001424052748704671904575193943741433332.html> on May 23, 2009, that, "Since 2006, we've killed 14 senior Al Qaeda leaders using drone strikes; in the same time period, we've killed 700 Pakistani civilians in the same area. We need to call off the drones."
Kilcullen's testimony was ignored, however, and as drone strikes have not only been continued but exponentially increased, there are increasing signs that they have vastly increased the scope of the killing far beyond the claimed "high-level insurgent leaders." The N.Y. Times reported on Aug. 14<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/world/15shadowwar.html>:
[The CIA has] broadened its drone campaign beyond selective strikes against Qaeda leaders and now regularly obliterates suspected enemy compounds and logistics convoys, just as the military would grind down an enemy force.
Reuters reported on May 5 that<http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6450KT20100506>:
The CIA received approval to target a wider range of targets in Pakistan's tribal areas, including low-level fighters whose identities may not be known, U.S. officials said on Wednesday. Former intelligence officials acknowledged that in many, if not most cases, the CIA had little information about the foot soldiers killed in the strikes. (Emphasis added)
What this means is clear: the CIA is assassinating an expanding number of "low-level" people, labeling them as "fighters," but has little if any idea of who they really are. The history of such mechanized campaigns from the air, such as Laos where I have studied the U.S. 1964-73 air war intensively, is that increased warfare from the air inevitably becomes increasingly indiscriminate, destroying civilian and military targets alike. As the drone program continues to expand, it will inevitably wind up killing more civilians -- and, if McChrystal is right, exponentially create more people committed to killing Americans.
Numerous moral, legal and ethical objections have been raised to this program of mass assassination. Philip Alston, the United Nations special representative on extrajudicial executions, has stated<http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/06/02-8> that "this strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions."
The notion that a handful of U.S. military and CIA officials have the right to unilaterally and secretly murder anyone they choose in any nation on earth, without even outside knowledge let alone oversight, is deeply troubling to anyone with a conscience, belief in democracy, or respect for international law. It was precisely such behavior that made the Gestapo and Soviet secret police symbols of evil. Since the U.S. Congress has never reined in an Executive Branch that has routinely ignored international law since 1945, however, it is likely that the question of whether this program will be continued will be determined by its perceived effectiveness, not its morality.
The evidence is mounting that U.S. assassinations are so ineffective they are actually strengthening anti-American forces in Pakistan. Bruce Reidel, a counterinsurgency expert who coordinated the Afghan review for President Obama, said:<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/weekinreview/09sanger.html> "The pressure we've put on (jihadist forces) in the past year has also drawn them together, meaning that the network of alliances is growing stronger not weaker."
Reidel's striking conclusion that jihadi forces in Pakistan are stronger after six years of drone airstrikes the CIA claims are weakening them, is echoed by numerous other reports indicating that General Petraeus' strategy of using military force against Al Qaeda, Afghan and local insurgent forces in Pakistan has pushed them further east<http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/01/opinion/la-oe-riedel-pakistan-20100801> from isolated northwest areas into major cities like Karachi, where they operate freely and work together far more closely than before. The general's miscalculations regarding Pakistan are reason enough for him to be replaced.
In the long run, General Petraeus' strategy of expanding both ground and mechanized assassination throughout the 1.3 billion-strong Muslim world is likely to do the greatest disservice to his country's interests. It is true that U.S. leaders have used local forces to assassinate tens of thousands since 1945 and that while these programs were largely ineffectual, they did not lead to attacks on American soil.
But 9/11 has changed the calculus. It is clear that in today's wired and globalized world, marked by large-scale immigration, cheap telecommunications and airline travel, where crude technologies like car bombs or IEDs can be as easily detonated in New York as in Kandahar, and where America's enemies are growing increasingly technologically sophisticated even as nuclear weapons proliferate and become miniaturized, it is the height of folly to foment geometrically growing anti-American hatred in the volatile Muslim world.
A growing number of military and counterinsurgency experts support Colonel Kilcullen's belief that these assassination programs abroad are not protecting Americans at home. Both the "Underwear" and the "Times Square" bombers attributed their attempts to blow up Americans to their anger at the drone strikes. While Americans were saved by their incompetence, the U.S. may not be so lucky the next time, and the time after that. One thing is crystal clear: inflaming anti-American hatred throughout the Muslim world can only exponentially increase the numbers of those committed to killing Americans.
Such fears are increasing in Washington, as the N.Y. Times reported in the wake of the Times Square bombing<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/weekinreview/09sanger.html>:
A new, and disturbing, question is being raised in Washington: Have the stepped-up attacks in Pakistan -- notably the Predator drone strikes -- actually made Americans less safe? Are they inspiring more attacks on America than they prevent? As one American intelligence official said, "Those attacks (on two Pakistani Taliban leaders) have made it personal for the Pakistani Taliban -- so it's no wonder they are beginning to think about how they can strike back at targets here." (Emphasis added)
As General Petraeus and the U.S. military "make it personal" to increasing number of people throughout the Muslim world, they are recklessly sowing a whirlwind for which many of us, our children and grandchildren may well pay with our lives for decades to come.
It is difficult for most Americans to grasp the fact that their leaders' incompetence -- Republican and Democrat, civilian and military -- poses one of the single greatest threats to their own safety. But only when Americans do so will there be any hope of making America more secure in the dangerous years to come.
A clear place to begin protecting America is to abandon the assassination approach to war, ditch General Petraeus, end the military and CIA's focus on worldwide and mechanized mass assassination, and halt its reckless expansion of U.S. war-making into nuclear-armed Pakistan and so much more of the Muslim world.
*DUANE 'DEWEY' CLARRIDGE: THE TRUE FACE OF U.S. POLICY TOWARD THE MUSLIM WORLD
We'll intervene whenever we decide it's in our national security interest. And if you don't like it, lump it. Get used to it, world!" -- Duane Dewey Clarridge, interviewed by John Pilger in "The War on Democracy"<http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3739500579629840148>
As the N.Y. Times<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/world/15shadowwar.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print> has reported, Clarridge is presently advising CIA assassination efforts in Pakistan. ("Duane R. Clarridge, a profane former C.I.A. officer who ran operations in Central America and was indicted in the Iran-contra scandal, turned up this year helping run a Pentagon-financed private spying operation in Pakistan.")
I had observed types like Clarridge in Laos, e.g. the night in 1968 when a group of CIA and Air America types at the next table in a restaurant broke into loud laughter and cheering at the news that Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated.
But I have never seen the true character of such operatives revealed on film until British filmmaker John Pilger's interview. (Please see this 3 minute version<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNgCyDsvi84>.)
It is not President Obama's speeches but the assassins like Dewey Clarridge who are the true face of U.S. foreign policy toward the Muslim world, and for which innocent Americans may well pay a growing price in the decades to come.
Fred Branfman, the editor of Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War (Harper & Row, 1972), exposed the U.S. secret air war while living in Laos from 1967 to 1971.
In Budapest: 3620-234-8470
from U.S.: 805-284-9391 (rings in BP)
from Mark Crispin Miller :
Date: 24 August 2010
Subject: Was Pat Tillman murdered?
From Josh Mitteldorf:
Though I have no firsthand knowledge, I've seen enough research to find it plausible that the truth was that Tillman was murdered by a military firing squad because the Bush Administration saw his potential to become a potent spokesman for the anti-war movement.
Here's that piece (from July, 2007):
New Evidence Clearly Indicates Pat Tillman Was Executed
Army medical examiners concluded Tillman was shot three times in the head from just 10 yards away, no evidence of "friendly fire" damage at scene, Army attorneys congratulated each other on cover-up, Wesley Clark concludes "orders came from the very top" to murder pro-football star because he was about to become an anti-war political icon.
Prison Planet | July 27, 2007
Paul Joseph Watson
Astounding new details surrounding the death of Pat Tillman clearly indicate that top brass decided to execute the former pro football star in cold blood to prevent him from returning home and becoming an anti-war icon.
These same criminals then engaged in a sophisticated conspiracy to create a phony "friendly fire" cover story.
Shocking new facts emerged about the case last night but were bizarrely underplayed by the Associated Press under nondescript headlines like 'New Details on Tillman's Death' - a complete disservice to the horrific implications that the new evidence carries.
Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
"The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators.
The doctors - whose names were blacked out - said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away .
The report also states that "No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene - no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck."
The article also reveals that "Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments."
So there was no evidence whatsoever of friendly fire, but the ballistics data clearly indicated that the three head shots had been fired from just 10 yards away and then the Army tried to concoct a hoax friendly fire story and sent gloating back-slapping e mails congratulating each other on their success while preventing the doctors from exploring the possibility of murder. How can any sane and rational individual weigh this evidence and not come to the conclusion that Tillman was deliberately gunned down in cold blood?
The evidence points directly to it and the motivation is clear - Tillman abandoned a lucrative career in pro-football immediately after 9/11 because he felt a rampaging patriotic urge to defend his country, and became a poster child for the war on terror as a result. But when he discovered that the invasion of Iraq was based on a mountain of lies and deceit and had nothing to do with defending America, he became infuriated and was ready to return home to become an anti-war hero.
As far back as March 2003, immediately after the invasion, Tillman famously told his comrade Spc. Russell Baer, "You know, this war is so fucking illegal," and urged his entire platoon to vote against Bush in the 2004 election. Far from the gung-ho gruff stereotype attributed to him, Tillman was actually a fiercely intellectual man with the courage of his convictions firmly in place.
Tillman had even begun to arrange meetings with anti-war icons like Noam Chomsky upon his return to America before his death cut short any aspirations of becoming a focal point for anti-war sentiment.
According to Daily Kos, Wesley Clark appeared on Keith Olbermann's Countdown last night and stated that "the orders came from the very top" to murder Tillman as he was a political symbol and his opposition to the war in Iraq would have rallied the population around supporting immediate withdrawal.
The notion that the U.S. government gave orders for Army top brass to execute Pat Tillman in cold blood is the most damaging indictment of the Iraq war since it began, trumping the lies about weapons of mass destruction tenfold, but if the establishment media continue to soft-peddle and steam-valve one of the biggest stories of the century its impact will be completely diluted.
It is up to us to make this story go viral because the implications are so dire that they could act as the final death knell for the blood-soaked and illegal occupation of Iraq and become the clarion call to bring our troops home.
Mark Crispin Miller wrote:
The Truth about Pat Tillman's Death
by Rory O'Connor
Of the many lies George W. Bush told us about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some were larger but none worse than that told about the death of Pat Tillman.
In 2004 - just after Bush's invasion of Iraq which was justified by those non-existent weapons of mass destruction - Tillman became a military-and media-manufactured symbol of duty, sacrifice, patriotism and heroism.
But the truth about Tillman's life was much more complex, and his death ultimately far more heroic, than the convenient, self-serving lie served up by the military and then sent out by the ever-gullible U.S. media.
Tillman, a truly remarkable young man who walked away from a multi-million-dollar contract as a professional football player to enlist in the Army Rangers after the 9/11 attacks, is the subject of "The Tillman Story," a moving documentary directed by Amir Bar-Lev that opens in theatres in New York and Los Angeles this week.
Although the film rightly tells the story of Pat Tillman's remarkable life, it also focuses on a parallel "Tillman story," that of the struggle his family went through to learn the truth about Tillman's death from "friendly fire" and the ongoing cover-up of how and why U.S. military and political leaders lied in order to exploit his heroism for propaganda purposes.
Tillman was on his second tour of duty when he was killed in Afghanistan - a victim of "fratricide," inadvertently killed by his own troops during an ill-fated expedition. U.S. leaders should have told the truth - namely, that Corporal Tillman's death was a senseless accident coupled with incompetence.
Instead they lied - to all of us, but most despicably to his family - rewrote the details of his death, awarding Tillman a posthumous Silver Star, America's third-highest military decoration, and turned the tragedy into an opportunity to promote their endless and unpopular wars.
Why did they lie? No doubt it began because at the time of Tillman's death, in April 2004, the Bush war machine was roiled by a number of negative images that threatened to adversely affect public perception of the war in Iraq.
Remember those haunting photographs and videos of the bodies of American contractors strung up in Fallujah? Can you ever forget the searing images depicting abuse by U.S. soldiers working as guards in the Abu Ghraib prison?
Adding the news the fact that American soldiers had gunned down a celebrated NFL star certainly wouldn't help the war effort So Pat Tillman was recast, in death, as a war hero and lesson to us all.
"The Tillman Story" excels in teaching us other lessons, however - not only about Corporal Pat Tillman, but also about his remarkable family, led by his indefatigable mother Dannie.
It shows the arduous journey his family undertook to find the truth about what happened and to have someone held accountable not only for their son's death but also for the added insult of its use as a propaganda tool.
Handed a massive, confusing box of intelligence records - thousands of pages of documents about her son's death - Dannie Tillman patiently dug through the voluminous material to uncover the roots of a carefully coordinated cover-up.
Her efforts, along with that of Tillman's father and other family members and friends, eventually forced a congressional hearing into the matter.
As the film dramatically demonstrates in its stunning climax, however, the ultimate fix was in and although the many obvious lies and cover-ups can be tracked up to and even well beyond such military brass as the recently fired General Stanley McChrystal, in the end no one among the higher-ups was ever found blameworthy or even responsible for lying to the Tillman family and to the nation.
In lieu of presenting a hagiography, Director Bar-Lev does an excellent job of humanizing Tillman and offering a multi-dimensional look at his actual character.
Scenes with Tillman's family as they lovingly describe his character and his close, funny and frequently profane relationship with two brothers (the film is unfortunately and unfairly burdened with an "R" rating as a result) along with testimony from family friends and fellow soldiers paint a clear portrait of who Tillman really was - warts and all.
As Bar-Lev points out, Pat Tillman was no "paragon of moral certitude; he was curious and tried to see things from every possible point of view."
That impulse is what the director attempts to give back to his subject, after he had been dehumanized and exploited for political gain by America's leaders, aided and abetted as usual by the complicit cheerleaders of the national news media.
"I hope the story of Tillman tells us that heroism and humanity are not contradictory and heroism is complex," Bar-Lev told Documentary magazine. "'Hero' is a problematic word that says a lot more about the people using it than the person they're speaking about.
"I knew there were myths around his death," Bar-Lev added, "but what began to intrigue me was when we found out there were equally as many myths about his life."
"Ultimately, what I would want to have happen is just the truth," Pat's youngest brother Richard told ESPN.com. "At the end of the day, Pat deserves the truth. This isn't about our family. This isn't about the Tillmans. This is about Pat Tillman. And he deserves the truth, period.
"He sacrificed so much for his country, and then the government turns around and uses him for propaganda. That is totally unacceptable."
I urge you to go see "The Tillman Story," an insightful, powerful and truthful film that not only calls to task the entire chain of command but also questions our very notion of heroism itself - another topic in need of some determined truth-telling!
Rory O'Connor is a journalist and filmmaker, and co-founder of the media firm Globalvision. He is author of Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio. [This story appeared at http://www.roryoconnor.org/]
To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.
For more News From Underground, visit http://markcrispinmiller.com