unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
What to watch for in 2010:An American world of war


We, of course, think of ourselves as something like the peaceable kingdom. After all, the shock of September 11, 2001 was that "war" came to "the homeland," a mighty blow delivered against the very symbols of our economic, military, and—had Flight 93 not gone down in a field in Pennsylvania—political power.

Since that day, however, war has been a stranger in our land. ...


Although our country delivers war regularly to distant lands in the name of our "safety," we don't really consider ourselves at war(despite the endless talk of "supporting our troops"), and the money that has simply poured into Pentagon coffers, and then into weaponry and conflicts is, with rare exceptions, never linked to economic distress in this country. And yet, if we are no nation of warriors, from the point of view of the rest of the world we are certainly the planet's foremost war-makers. If money talks, then war may be what we care most about as a society and fund above all else, with the least possible discussion or debate.

In fact, according to military expert William Hartung, the Pentagon budget has risen in every year of the new century, an unprecedented run in our history. We dominate the global arms trade, monopolizing almost 70% of the arms business in 2008, with Italy coming in a vanishingly distant second. We put more money into the funding of war, our armed forces, and the weaponry of war than the next 25 countries combined (and that's without even including Iraq and Afghan war costs). We garrison the planet in a way no empire or nation in history has ever done. And we plan for the future, for "the next war"—on the ground, on the seas, and in space—in a way that is surely unique. If our two major wars of the twenty-first century in Iraq and Afghanistan are any measure, we also get less bang for our buck than any nation in recent history.

So, let's pause a moment as the New Year begins and take stock of ourselves as what we truly are: the preeminent war-making machine on planet Earth. Let's peer into the future, and consider just what the American way of war might have in store for us in 2010. Here are 10 questions, the answers to which might offer reasonable hints as to just how much U.S. war efforts are likely to intensify in the Greater Middle East, as well as Central and South Asia, in the year to come.




1. How busted will the largest defense budget in history be in 2010?


Strange, isn't it, that the debate about hundreds of billions of dollars in health-care costs in Congress can last almost a year, filled with turmoil and daily headlines, while a $636 billion defense budget can pass in a few days, as it did in late December, essentially without discussion and with nary a headline in sight? And in case you think that $636 billion is an honest figure, think again—and not just because funding for the U.S. nuclear arsenal and actual "homeland defense," among other things most countries would chalk up as military costs, wasn't included.

MORE
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
I'd known about this for two days, and was trying to figure out how best to blog it, but En tequila es verdad take works:

Dept. of Irony: "Indian Muslim actor racially-profiled in U.S. while visiting to promote film about racial profiling of Muslims"
Way to prove the point, America:
This past Saturday, one of Bollywood’s most recognizable movie stars, Shah Rukh Khan, was detained because of his surname at Newark Liberty International Airport and questioned for over two hours before being released. The Wall Street Journal reports that Khan was in the U.S. to promote his new film about the racial profiling of Muslims...
Somewhere, an irony meter just exploded...
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)

Obama’s First Rendition Looks Very Questionable

If his first publicly known rendition case is any indication, there may well be a legitimate question as to whether Obama's rendition program is even more repulsive than that of George Bush. More evidence will be required for an informed answer, but Obama is off to a very inauspicious beginning. From Scott Horton in an exclusive for Huffington Post:
[I]n a federal court in suburban Washington, a case is unfolding that gives us a practical sense of what an Obama-era rendition looks like.

Raymond Azar, a 45-year-old Lebanese construction manager with a grade school education, is employed by Sima International, a Lebanon-based contractor that does work for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also has the unlikely distinction of being the first target of a rendition carried out on the Obama watch.

According to court papers, on April 7, 2009, Azar and a Lebanese-American colleague, Dinorah Cobos, were seized by "at least eight" heavily armed FBI agents in Kabul, Afghanistan, where they had traveled for a meeting to discuss the status of one of his company's U.S. government contracts. The trip ended with Azar alighting in manacles from a Gulfstream V executive jet in Manassas, Virginia, where he was formally arrested and charged in a federal antitrust probe.

This rendition involved no black sites and was clearly driven by a desire to get the target quickly before a court. Also unlike renditions of the Bush-era, the target wasn't even a terror suspect; rather, he was suspected of fraud. But in a troubling intimation of the last administration, accusations of torture hover menacingly over the case. According to papers filed by his lawyers, Azar was threatened, subjected to coercive interrogation techniques and induced to sign a confession. Azar claims he was hooded, stripped naked (while being photographed) and subjected to a "body cavity search."
MORE
And now, it has gone to the point where we are conducting renditions for alleged contractor fraud. So much for breaking laws to protect the country from terrorism. Meanwhile, what about the contractor fraud from Halliburton and Blackwater and KBR?  Oh yeah.



 
Amazing isn't it that the US government can snatch Azar at gunpoint, bag him, tag him and fly him to Virginia for minor contracting fraud by his employer, yet they cannot seem to do so much as stop giving bonuses to KBR who kills American soldiers through their reckless disregard. Nor have they bagged and sensory deprived anybody from DynCorp, who has engaged in major fraud on defense contracts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Go figure.



The rot deepens.
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
Let Talk about Tasers


...
Nowadays, the theme of civil liberties seem to be a sub-plot to a James Bond flick rather than "To Kill A Mockingbird." And yet, I think the two are intertwined much more closely that we think. In our apparent acceptance of torture as a legal method of interrogation, the bar of civilized official behavior has been lowered to the point where we are accepting torture in everyday life as if it's nothing. Indeed, we are using it as a form of entertainment. I'm speaking of the ever more common use of the Taser, an electrical device used by police and other authorities to drop its victims to the ground and coerce instant compliance. The videos of various incidents make the rounds on the internet and you can see by the comments at the YouTube site that a large number of Americans find tasering to be a sort of slapstick comedy, the equivalent of someone slipping on a banana peel, with a touch of that authoritarian cruelty that always seems to amuse a certain kind of person. "Don't tase me bro" is a national catch phrase.
Tasers aren't benign however. They kill people. Nobody knows exactly why some people die from being tasered, and they certainly don't know how to tell in advance which ones are at risk. But there have been hundreds of deaths similar to the one below, which nobody can adequately explain:

A Detroit teenager who police say fled a traffic stop Friday died after being subdued with a Taser. He is the second Michigan teen to die following a Taser stun in less than a month. Warren Police say they don't know why the 15-year-old bailed out of a Dodge Stratus he was riding in during the stop on Eight Mile near Schoenherr, leading officers on a half-block chase that ended in an abandoned house on Pelkey in Detroit. The car was stopped for having an expired license plate. In the scuffle, officers shocked the teen one time with a Taser, police said. Shortly after, he became unresponsive and died.
Taser International has successfully defended themselves in lawsuits by attributing the deaths to drug use and if that doesn't work do to the fact that drugs were not present in the victim, they rely on an unrecognized medical condition called "excited delirium", a disease that only afflicts people who die in police custody. Juries apparently find this convincing. Taser has only lost one case.MORE
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
Inside USA - The Other Hawaii - Sept 26 - Part 1


This week Avi Lewis visits the people behind the native movement for self-determination in Hawaii. Well over 200 years old the movement has recently been gaining on strength.
Archive footage courtesy of www.namaka.com.

Inside USA - The Other Hawaii - Sept 26 - Part 2

*Whistles*

Aug. 4th, 2009 09:13 pm
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
via:crooks and liars...


Erik Prince's company Blackwater (now known as XE) has been embroiled in controversy for years. Company employees have posted videos online of their own ruthless behavior and abuses against Iraqi citizens, and can be heard laughing off camera. We're now finding out that this brutality most likely came from the top, down from Prince himself -- former employees are finding their consciences and telling horrifying stories about their former boss:
A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."
In their testimony, both men also allege that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq. One of the men alleges that Prince turned a profit by transporting "illegal" or "unlawful" weapons into the country on Prince's private planes. They also charge that Prince and other Blackwater executives destroyed incriminating videos, emails and other documents and have intentionally deceived the US State Department and other federal agencies. The identities of the two individuals were sealed out of concerns for their safety.
These allegations, and a series of other charges, are contained in sworn affidavits, given under penalty of perjury, filed late at night on August 3 in the Eastern District of Virginia as part of a seventy-page motion by lawyers for Iraqi civilians suing Blackwater for alleged war crimes and other misconduct. Read on...



It would be nice if the news networks would stop trying to dig up MJ's life and turn their investigative skills to this atrocity.
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
I REPEAT, WE TORTURED 100 INMATES TO DEATH, AT LEAST!


Are you listening Americans? The press? The President? WHAT THE FUCK?????


Fer instance:
No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as the result of mistreatment. In the first case, an unnamed detainee under C.I.A. supervision in Afghanistan froze to death after having been chained, naked, to a concrete floor overnight. The body was buried in an unmarked grave. In the second case, an Iraqi prisoner named Manadel al-Jamadi died on November 4, 2003, while being interrogated by the C.I.A. at Abu Ghraib prison, outside Baghdad. A forensic examiner found that he had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs. Military pathologists classified the case a homicide. A third prisoner died after an interrogation in which a C.I.A. officer participated, though the officer evidently did not cause the death. (Several other detainees have disappeared and remain unaccounted for, according to Human Rights Watch.)
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
Trapped Gaza journalist talks to Al Jazeera - 09 Jan 09




While some foreigners have left Gaza, the vast majority cannot.

One such person trapped in Gaza is Taghreed El-Khodary, a journalist.

She talks to Al Jazeera.

Weapons expert talks on Israel 'phosphorus use' - 13 Jan 09

Allegations of the use of white phosphorus have been made against Israel in their attack on the Gaza Strip and firework-like explosions during the offensive like those made when using the chemical have been widely seen. Al Jazeeras Jacky Rowland spoke with Marc Garlasco, a weapons expert, on the border with Gaza about the viability of these claims.



Israeli army 'using white phosphorus' - 12 Jan 08




Human rights groups say Israel is indiscriminately using white phosphorus in Gaza's densely populated areas.

When ignited, the chemical can burn the flesh off of a person, down to the bone.

Israel says the use of white phosphorus is permitted under international law, although it hasn't openly admitted using the chemical.

Ayman Mohyeldin reports from Gaza City.


Following the White Phosphorous trail 16 Jan 09
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
Via: commenter on Firedoglake




Bruce Cockburn- The Trouble With Normal (3:35)

Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage
Suddenly it's repression, moratorium on rights
What did they think the politics of panic would invite?
Person in the street shrugs -- "Security comes first"
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Callous men in business costume speak computerese
Play pinball with the 3rd world trying to keep it on its knees
Their single crop starvation plans put sugar in your tea
And the local 3rd world's kept on reservations you don't see
"It'll all go back to normal if we put our nation first"
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse

Fashionable fascism dominates the scene
When ends don't meet it's easier to justify the means
Tenants get the dregs and landlords get the cream
As the grinding devolution of the democratic dream
Brings us men in gas masks dancing while the shells burst
The trouble with normal is it always gets worse
unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
Torture prosecutions finally begin in the U.S.

While fiercely loyal establishment spokespeople such as The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus continue to insist that prosecutions are only appropriate for common criminals ("someone breaking into your house") but not our glorious political leaders when they break the law (by, say, systematically torturing people), the Bush administration has righteously decided that torture is such a grotesque and intolerable crime that political leaders who order it simply must be punished in American courts to the fullest extent of the law . . . . if they're from Liberia:
MIAMI (AP) -- U.S. prosecutors want a Miami judge to sentence the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 147 years in prison for torturing people when he was chief of a brutal paramilitary unit during his father's reign.
Charles McArthur Emmanuel, also known as Charles "Chuckie" Taylor Jr. is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9 by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. His conviction was the first use of a 1994 law allowing prosecution in the U.S. for acts of torture committed overseas.


...
Acts which, when ordered by Liberians, are "criminal torture" meriting life imprisonment magically become, when ordered by Americans, mere "aggressive interrogation techniques." And while not all of the "techniques" used by the Liberians were authorized by Bush officials ("hot clothes irons" and "biting ants shoveled onto people's bodies"), many of the authorized American techniques are classic torture tactics and resulted in the deaths of many detainees and the total insanity of many more.
Worse, AP -- with canine-like subservience -- mindlessly recites the Bush administration's excuses (Abu Ghraib was due to low-level rogue bad apples and "there has been no systematic mistreatment of detainees") without even mentioning the ample evidence proving how false those government claims are. That's standard American "journalism" for you: "Our Government says X, and even if it's false and even if it's intensely disputed, we'll just leave it at that." Doing anything more -- as NBC News' David Gregory pointed out -- is "not their role."MORE

Profile

unusualmusic_lj_archive: (Default)
unusualmusic_lj_archive

January 2010

S M T W T F S
     12
3 4 5 6 789
10 11 12 13 14 1516
17 18 19 20 21 2223
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Aug. 18th, 2017 06:56 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios