Iraq war costs taxpayers $357,000,000,000

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2007 by blindnation

The Iraq war has cost hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, with no end in sight. This clip on CNN explains it all. Imagine if that money had been spent on education or health care.

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Bush OKs Grants To Preserve Japanese Consentration Camps In U.S… Are They For Us?

Posted in Government Watch on December 23, 2006 by blindnation

The Japan Times | December 2006

News photo    U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law a $ 38 million grant program to preserve notorious internment camps where Japanese-Americans were kept behind barbed wire during World War II.

The money will be administered by the National Park Service to restore and pay for research at 10 camps. The objective of the law is to help preserve the camps as reminders of how the United States turned on some of its citizens in a time of fear.

The camps housed more than 120,000 Japanese-American U.S. citizens and residents under an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942, when the country still was in shock over the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

At the time, there were fears that Japanese-Americans were loyal to Japan, and Roosevelt’s order prohibited such people from living on the West Coast in a position possibly to help an invasion force.

Thousands of families in California and parts of Washington state, Oregon and Arizona were pushed from their homes and into camps surrounded by armed guards. The sites named in the legislation are in California, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.

The last of the camps closed in 1946, and President Ronald Reagan signed a presidential apology to Japanese-Americans in 1988.

Cosponsors of the bill included the two current members of Congress who spent time in the camps as children: Democratic Reps. Mike Honda and Doris Matsui of California. Matsui was born in the Poston camp in Arizona.

The National Park Service already operates facilities at two of the 10 camps: the Manzanar National Historic Site in California and the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Idaho.

U.N. Unanimously Approves Iran Sanctions

Posted in In The News on December 23, 2006 by blindnation

AP | December 2006

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday imposing sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, culminating two months of negotiations aimed at pressuring Tehran to clarify its nuclear ambitions.

The resolution orders all countries to ban the supply of specified materials and technology that could contribute to Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. It also imposes an asset freeze on key companies and people in the country’s nuclear and missile programs named on a U.N. list.

If Iran refuses to comply, the resolution warns Iran that the council will adopt further nonmilitary sanctions.

Russia and China, which both have strong commercial ties to Tehran, have pressed for a step-by-step approach to sanctions. By contrast, the United States has pushed for very tough sanctions, with Britain and France taking a slightly softer view.

Iran insists its nuclear program is aimed solely at the peaceful production of nuclear energy, but the Americans and Europeans suspect Tehran’s ultimate goal is the production of nuclear weapons.

President defiant
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated Tuesday that possible Security Council sanctions would not stop Iran from pursuing uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used to produce nuclear fuel for civilian purposes or fuel for a nuclear bomb.

The resolution authorizes action under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. It allows the Security Council to impose nonmilitary sanctions such as completely or partially severing diplomatic and economic relations, transportation and communications links.

If Iran fails to comply with the resolution, the draft says the council will adopt “further appropriate measures” under Article 41.

During negotiations, a mandatory travel ban was dropped at Russia’s insistence.

Instead, the draft resolution calls on all states “to exercise vigilance” regarding the entry or transit through their territory of those on a U.N. list that names 12 top Iranians involved in the country’s nuclear and missile programs. It asks the 191 other U.N. member states to notify a Security Council committee that will be created to monitor sanctions when those Iranians show up in their country.

The resolution also says the council will review Iran’s actions in light of a report from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, requested within 60 days, on whether Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and complied with other IAEA demands.

If the IAEA verifies that Iran has suspended enrichment and reprocessing, the resolution says the sanctions will be suspended to allow for negotiations. It says sanctions will be terminated as soon as the IAEA board confirms that Iran has complied with all its obligations.

Moscow seeks to protect its work in Iran
Before the final text was circulated, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin pressed for amendments to ensure that Moscow can conduct legitimate nuclear activities in Iran.

Russia is building Iran’s first atomic power plant at Bushehr, which is expected to go on line in late 2007. A reference to Bushehr in the original draft was removed earlier — as Russia demanded.

Churkin complained that some organizations suspected of conducting proliferation-sensitive activities had been included on the list subject to financial sanctions “without even proving that is the case, and therefore you cannot do any business with that institution — and that can raise all sorts of issues.”

Jones Parry said the list of 11 organizations and 12 individuals that would be subject to having their assets frozen was not changed.

The six key parties trying to curb Iran’s nuclear program — Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States — offered Tehran a package of economic incentives and political rewards in June if it agreed to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and committed itself to a freeze on uranium enrichment before talks on its nuclear program.

With Iran refusing to comply with an Aug. 31 council deadline to stop enrichment, Britain and France circulated a draft sanctions resolution in late October, which has been revised several times since then.

To meet concerns of Russia and China that the original resolution was too broad, it was changed to specify in greater detail exactly what materials and technology would be prohibited from being supplied to Iran and to name those individuals and companies that would be affected.

Drudge Report plays up AP photo of Bush with ‘devil horns’

Posted in In The News on December 22, 2006 by blindnation

The Raw Story | Mike Sheehan | Dec 21 2006

Photo  “BUSH ‘DEVIL HORNS’ PIC HITS WIRES…” blared the headline at the right-wing Drudge Report.

The site suggests that an Associated Press photograph of President Bush, credited to Lawrence Jackson, had intentionally been taken at an angle, or otherwise changed or cropped by the news organization, to portray the president in an evil light. Bloggers were quick to put their own spin on the charge by the Drudge Report, which follows several recent press photos that have come under fire for various forms of alteration.

A commenter at Hot Air had this to say of the “horns” shot:

It’s not the photographer. Lawrence Jackson is a good photographer with no history of this type of thing, but the cropping is obvious. Why would you crop a photo almost to his chin, and then so high above his head unless you were purposely attempting to frame in the “horns?”

It is unknown at the present time if the AP has issued a public comment about what, if anything, was done to the picture of the president.

This latest alleged “photo manipulation” compares with a slew of press photos taken earlier in Bush’s tenure that made him appear remarkably “holier”–such as this 2003 AP photo by Charles Dharapak, in which the president’s head seems to be surrounded by a spectral halo. The “halo” is in fact a presidential seal mounted on the wall behind him, faded out in the distance–not unlike the somewhat clearer seal in the Drudge-hyped picture.

The Drudge Report has since taken the “devil horns” headline off the page, but it remains in their archives.


U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S. Cities to Provoke War With Cuba

Posted in Government Watch on November 20, 2006 by blindnation

ABC News | David Ruppe |Novemeber 7 2001

N E W  Y O R K, May 1 — In the early 1960s, America’s top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.

Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.

The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba’s then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.

America’s top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: “We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,” and, “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.”

Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America’s largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes.

The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy’s defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years.

“These were Joint Chiefs of Staff documents. The reason these were held secret for so long is the Joint Chiefs never wanted to give these up because they were so embarrassing,” Bamford told ABCNEWS.com.

“The whole point of a democracy is to have leaders responding to the public will, and here this is the complete reverse, the military trying to trick the American people into a war that they want but that nobody else wants.”

Gunning for War

The documents show “the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government,” writes Bamford.

The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.

Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, “the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic].”

The plans were motivated by an intense desire among senior military leaders to depose Castro, who seized power in 1959 to become the first communist leader in the Western Hemisphere — only 90 miles from U.S. shores.

The earlier CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles had been a disastrous failure, in which the military was not allowed to provide firepower.The military leaders now wanted a shot at it.

“The whole thing was so bizarre,” says Bamford, noting public and international support would be needed for an invasion, but apparently neither the American public, nor the Cuban public, wanted to see U.S. troops deployed to drive out Castro.

Reflecting this, the U.S. plan called for establishing prolonged military — not democratic — control over the island nation after the invasion.

“That’s what we’re supposed to be freeing them from,” Bamford says. “The only way we would have succeeded is by doing exactly what the Russians were doing all over the world, by imposing a government by tyranny, basically what we were accusing Castro himself of doing.”

‘Over the Edge’

The Joint Chiefs at the time were headed by Eisenhower appointee Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who, with the signed plans in hand made a pitch to McNamara on March 13, 1962, recommending Operation Northwoods be run by the military.

Whether the Joint Chiefs’ plans were rejected by McNamara in the meeting is not clear. But three days later, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer directly there was virtually no possibility of ever using overt force to take Cuba, Bamford reports. Within months, Lemnitzer would be denied another term as chairman and transferred to another job.

The secret plans came at a time when there was distrust in the military leadership about their civilian leadership, with leaders in the Kennedy administration viewed as too liberal, insufficiently experienced and soft on communism. At the same time, however, there real were concerns in American society about their military overstepping its bounds.

There were reports U.S. military leaders had encouraged their subordinates to vote conservative during the election.

And at least two popular books were published focusing on a right-wing military leadership pushing the limits against government policy of the day. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee published its own report on right-wing extremism in the military, warning a “considerable danger” in the “education and propaganda activities of military personnel” had been uncovered. The committee even called for an examination of any ties between Lemnitzer and right-wing groups. But Congress didn’t get wind of Northwoods, says Bamford.

“Although no one in Congress could have known at the time,” he writes, “Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs had quietly slipped over the edge.”

Even after Lemnitzer was gone, he writes, the Joint Chiefs continued to plan “pretext” operations at least through 1963.

One idea was to create a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so that the United States could intervene. Another was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base — an act, which Bamford notes, would have amounted to treason. And another was to fly low level U-2 flights over Cuba, with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for a war.

“There really was a worry at the time about the military going off crazy and they did, but they never succeeded, but it wasn’t for lack of trying,” he says.

After 40 Years

Ironically, the documents came to light, says Bamford, in part because of the 1992 Oliver Stone film JFK, which examined the possibility of a conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy.

As public interest in the assassination swelled after JFK’s release, Congress passed a law designed to increase the public’s access to government records related to the assassination.

The author says a friend on the board tipped him off to the documents.

Afraid of a congressional investigation, Lemnitzer had ordered all Joint Chiefs documents related to the Bay of Pigs destroyed, says Bamford. But somehow, these remained.

“The scary thing is none of this stuff comes out until 40 years after,” says Bamford.  

Is U.S. Hyping The Terror Threat In Africa?

Posted in Government Watch on November 17, 2006 by blindnation

Reuters | Mark Trevelyan | November 16 2006

 

BAMAKO (Reuters) – The question made the Malian army officer laugh out loud.

After four years of counter-terrorism training from the U.S. military to tackle what Washington sees as a militant Islamist threat, did this West African nation feel part of the global war on terror?

“No, not at all,” came back the reply.

So what about the U.S. argument that al Qaeda or its offshoots could find sanctuaries in countries like Mali, just as Osama bin Laden took refuge in Sudan and Afghanistan in the 1990s?

“No, no, I don’t believe this, no.”

It was a rare departure from the official U.S. line — loyally supported by other Malian commanders in interviews this week — that Mali and its neighbors on the fringe of the Sahara desert risk becoming destabilized by militant Islamists.

A senior U.S. military official said Washington is set to channel some $600 million over the next five to seven years into the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership, a program to boost security ties with nine countries: Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria and Tunisia.

“Broad expanses of marginally governed areas can become havens for terrorists and criminals and have become … attractive to terrorist groups increasingly denied sanctuaries in Afghanistan and the Middle East,” Gen. James Jones, head of United States European Command (EUCOM), said earlier this year.   Continued…

FOX NEWS INTERNAL MEMO: “Be On The Lookout For Any Statements From The Iraqi Insurgents…Thrilled At The Prospect Of A Dem Controlled Congress”…

Posted in Documents, Government Watch, Uncategorized on November 17, 2006 by blindnation

The Huffington Post | November 15 2006

Huffington Post has obtained an internal Fox News memo written by the network’s Vice President of news. The memo details Fox’s game plan the day Democrats won control of both the Senate and the House.