Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday, December 30
The Rise of the Anti-Christ in the Nation from Hell.

I look in awestruck disbelief at the lies being repeated over and over; bullshit and the tragedy of false belief. In respect of that I would like to set the record straight. I realize only a few people will read this but I can’t let that interfere with the need to say it. Perhaps this will add to the collective outcry across the world and one or another of us may be that final straw that breaks the horned camel’s back.

Once again I am going to direct your attention to the incredible shrinking map of Palestine. You can trace the changes and compartmentalizations that have occurred across the last sixty years of aggressive land theft by Ersatz Israel. We can start at that point sixty or so years ago or we can go back further still. It doesn’t matter, the animal is the same and the intention is the same.

During a short period of time over seven hundred thousand Palestinians were displaced. They were displaced by force at the hands of a rapacious group of avaricious land bandits who poisoned wells and murdered entire families as examples to the rest. Basically it was “move or die.” There’s no disputing this. It is fact. Following the theft of these lands and towns, the areas and towns were renamed in an effort to blot out the history of the previous inhabitants.

The argument for allowance in regard to the murderous operations of these vicious psychopaths marching under the banner of some demon that they call God was the belief that these people had suffered mightily at the hands of a German dictator and that they were deserving of a certain piece of land that was promised to them by this demon according to things written in a book that was also written by these people. In other words these people wrote that the demon told them that they were his ‘Chosen People’. As history has shown, they are correct. They are the chosen people of this demon. However, this demon is not God and the book was not written by God either… unless God really is a bloodthirsty demon who advises his chosen to kill these people and kill those people and that it’s all fine and kosher.

While these people were suffering in Europe, other members of these people did everything possible to make the suffering more and more intense and used the event entirely as a public relations stunt to gain control of this piece of property in order to set out and take over the whole world. Today, through their control of The Federal Reserve (this is not disputable either), they control who gets the money, where the money goes, how much and how little money is available and by pulling on different strings they can make the puppets dance to whatever tune they want to play.

If there’s a God then Israel appears to be the throne of the Devil. It’s possible that the anti Christ is not a person but a nation. In any case, those he rules are part and parcel of the package. It’s eerie indeed to see the old prophecies of the anti-Christ who is said to arise in the Middle East around this time and to see that, in fact, there is one nation seeking to plunge the Earth into global war. Only one nation is assaulting it’s neighbors and blackmailing the super powers into wiping out it’s alleged enemies based on an assault that this nation engineered in the land of the biggest super power of all; soon to be less than super.

Here’s my first point. When you invade someone’s land and kill the people and drive them into exile and when you then continue to steal the land of those remaining until they are forced into ever smaller ghettos. When you routinely kill these people and use their children for target practice; when you bulldoze their olive trees and orchards and homes, when you move violent settlers into their neighborhoods and allow and protect these settlers when they beat and rob and injure and kill the ancient inhabitants of this land, when you arrest the representatives of their LEGALLY ELECTED government and then throw them into jail for no other reason that that they were elected, when you then begin to increase your genocidal practices upon these people by cutting off their power, their water, their medical supplies and opportunities for treatment and causing them to suffer in any way that you possibly can BECAUSE, allegedly they are firing missiles into lands that were STOLEN FROM THEM but which missiles never seem to hit anything THEN… THEN… these people have EVERY RIGHT… EVERY RIGHT to fire any and all missiles they want to fire any time they want to fire them.

It is interesting to note that now, after Israel’s recent bloodbath… now playing… rockets are actually hitting people and things where they almost never did before. Israel has launched rockets on her own people before and when caught said it was a mistake; an accident. This is also not in dispute.

Now we find that the only reason Israel has made this assault is because there is an election coming and certain candidates want to be seen as the sort of murderous scum that the general public likes to have in office. In other words, all of these people are dying for no more than the election concerns of a handful of psychopaths.

In the meantime, all the self-righteous swine on the left and all of the self-righteous swine on the right and the endless rank of indifferent swine in the middle, feeding at the trough of their personal appetites…they make excuses for Israel as if to say that Israel had the right, not only to drive these people off of their lands but also to continuously terrorize them for decades while making the portions of land upon which they live ever smaller and smaller until there is no where for them to stand and- as is their intention- no one left to stand on it.

Here’s my point and this point is indisputable… whether members of Hamas are or are not launching missiles into Israel they have EVERY RIGHT TO DO SO. Is there anyone among you who would tolerate such actions against yourself? Wait a minute… yeah, there’s quite a few of you.

Today Israel is attacking the ship, Dignity. Cynthia McKinney is on that boat along with a handful of the few human beings left on Earth. It’s not in the news because it isn’t news. Oh you vipers… you whores in the governments and in the press. All of you are exposed by your actions and your words. When justice comes you will none of you be overlooked.

It is a very strange thing how events mirror prophecy. If these prophecies are true then; where does that leave you?

In conclusion; Palestine and the Palestinians have EVERY RIGHT to fight back in any way they can because Israel is attempting to exterminate them and prior to that make their life a living Hell every day of the week. The facts are indisputable so what is this argument about bottle rockets really about?

All of you who support this… all the gatekeepers and bought out slaves to personal fortune… all those laughing at their pursuits while dining in the high tower and shopping for shit to gild your walking corpses… all of you who speak for the nations who permit these murders, not just in Palestine but across the world; who staged the assault in India to bring war to Pakistan… you and your mighty ghost armies are nothing more than chaff in the wind and you will reap the whirlwind. Yes you will.

Thursday, December 11, 2008




Continuity Error: Top Dems Want Obama to Keep Bush Torture Program
Written by Chris Floyd

Ray McGovern reports on the Congressional Democrats now urging Barack Obama to seek the same kind of "continuity" in the Bush torture programs as he has displayed in keeping Bush Family capo Robert Gates as top warlord in the Pentagon. (Glenn Greenwald has more.) McGovern:

From change-you-can-believe-in, we seem to be slipping back to fear-you-can-trade-on.

Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, has publicly warned those in charge of the administration transition that “continuity is going to be pivotal in keeping us safe and secure.”

Thus, he argues, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael Hayden should stay in their posts.

If that were not enough, Reyes told Congress Daily’s Chris Strohm that he [Reyes] had advised the Obama team that some parts of what Strohm referred to as “CIA’s controversial alternative interrogation program” should be allowed to continue.

Using some of the same euphemisms and circumlocutions employed by the ersatz-lawyers hired by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, Reyes fired this shot across the bow of Barack Obama’s transition ship:

“It gets back to a world that is very dangerous. … There are some options that need to be available. … We don’t want to be known for torturing people. At the same time, we don’t want to limit our ability to get information that’s vital and critical to our national security. That’s where the new administration is going to have to decide what those parameters are, what those limitations are."
Someone needs to tell Reyes what those parameters – what those limitations – should be. They are set by the Geneva Accords and the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996.

McGovern also notes the Mafia-style squeeze put on one of the few Pentagon figures who tried to shine a light into the great gulag darkness, Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who investigated the tip-of-the-iceberg atrocities at Abu Ghraib:

Taguba issued a tough report, which was then leaked to the press — and thus was largely responsible for preventing the scandal from being swept entirely under the rug. Rather than thank Taguba for upholding the honor of the U.S. military, the Bush administration singled him out for ridicule, retribution and forced retirement.

Taguba told Seymour Hersh of a chilling conversation he had with Gen. John Abizaid, then head of Central Command, a few weeks after Taguba’s report became public in 2004. Sitting in the back of Abizaid’s Mercedes sedan in Kuwait, Abizaid quietly told Taguba, “You and your report will be investigated.”

“I’d been in the Army 32 years by then,” Taguba told Hersh, “and it was the first time that I thought I was in the Mafia.”

Of course, if General Taguba had paid heed to one of his predecessors, Gen. Smedley Butler, he would have already known the true nature of the organization he was running with. Butler, a popular officer who refused to take part in an coup d'etat planned by America's corporate elite (contrast the behavior of, say, Colin Powell, who happily joined the Bush gang after the Supreme Court coup in 2000, then happily helped instigate a war of aggression that has killed a million civilians), had this to say, in 1931, about his tenure in America's war machine:

"I spent 33 years...being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism....

"I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street....

"In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested....I had...a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions....I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents..."

You ought to see the operation now, Smedley. Both you and Capone were pikers compared to the goons in charge today. But yes, by all means, lets have "continuity" in this endless, ever-expanding racket, where the blood money never stops rolling in.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Open-Air Prison Called Gaza Strip
Donna Wallach

December 6, 2008

Gaza Strip, Palestine has been brutally occupied by Apartheid Israel since 1967 and has been under a genocidal siege since mid-2007. Israel controls all the borders, and the southern border is additionally controlled by Egypt. The sea and the air space are as if behind bars too. 1.5 million Palestinians collectively punished – prisoner-like - in the largest open-air prison in the world. Incubatored babies, children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens, all are totally encaged. Israel has deemed them to be terrorists, threats to the security and peace of every Israeli citizen, and all the governments of the world, and many international organizations, comply in this illegal action by their do nothing, say nothing policies.

This hermetic closure on Gaza Strip is preventing fuel, medicine, food, wheat for milling, spare parts, all various and sundry supplies through the border crossings. The fuel which powers the sewage treatment plants, which supplies the power plant that provides electricity and running water to the people in their homes and businesses, i.e. the businesses that are still open among the hundreds of thousands that have closed as a direct result of the siege and occupation, is in short supply. Some areas have electricity and running water only 12 hours a day and some people living in the many refugee camps or in high multi-storied buildings are without running water and electricity for days at a time. All the hospitals use generators for power every day when the electricity goes out. The generators are breaking down and there are no spare parts available to fix them, they are at the border crossing waiting to enter. In addition, hundreds if not thousands of medicines are lacking. There have been various attempts to bring medicines in, but they have all been thwarted by Israel and by Egypt who refuse to allow the medicines in. Sick people have no right to life by Zionist standards.

Nobody comes in or out of Gaza Strip unless Israel approves: businesspeople, foreign travelers, non-violent direct action volunteers, journalists, and of course Palestinians – cannot enter or leave. Sick people, with urgent medical conditions who need treatment in hospitals outside of Gaza Strip, can't get out. As a result at least 258 Palestinians have died, needlessly. 500 students with scholarships and 3,000 students with admittance to Universities abroad, are not permitted to leave Gaza Strip to continue their higher education. They are losing their scholarships and admittances daily, thwarting their attempts to be the future leaders of this area.

Exports of strawberries, flowers, fish and other Gazan produced products can't get out to be sold abroad or even in Israel and so hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in Gaza Strip are denied a livelihood. Why?!

Since the genocidal siege was implemented, the Israeli occupation force Navy has enforced an arbitrary 4 to 6 mile fishing limit on all the fishermen of Gaza Strip. Israeli gunboats enforce this arbitrary limit by patrolling the internationally recognized Gazan waters. You have to understand, war ships are invading the Gazan fishing waters on a daily basis – breaking the ceasefire. The navy soldiers often shoot, wound and kill unarmed Palestinian fishermen while they are trawling and fishing, trying to earn a livelihood for their families. These are acts of war, yet you never hear about it or see it on the news.

On 23rd August 2008, the first two Free Gaza Movement boats entered the waters of Gaza Strip and landed at Gaza City port in Palestine, the first time in 41 years that an international boat has landed in this once thriving port city. Since then, members of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Gaza Strip, who arrived on the boats, have been accompanying some of the Palestinian fishermen from Gaza City when they trawl for fish in their internationally recognized Gazan waters. The volunteers have witnessed the Israeli occupation force Navy shooting machine guns, grenades, and other weapons towards the Palestinian trawling vessels and also using a high-powered water cannon against them while they are trawling for fish, often as they are bringing in the nets. The water cannon shoots high-powered blasts of water onto the boats, damaging the boats and injuring people. A new weapon used by this specific gunboat is blasting high-powered dirty water, with a very bad smell, onto the boats and onto the fishermen and volunteers. Sometimes the gunboat waits to blast this bad smelling water until the trawlers have pulled in a netfull of fish, the fish and decks of the boat are then covered with this horrendous smelly water. It is unknown what is in the water, but it is feared that it is highly toxic and could present a health threat to anybody who has come into contact with the water and anyone who eats the fish sprayed by the dirty water.

On Tuesday 18th November 2008, three Palestinian trawling vessels, fishing 7 miles off the coast of Deir Al-Balah, Gaza Strip, Palestine, clearly inside internationally recognized Gazan fishing waters, were surrounded by nine Israeli naval gunboats. Sixteen unarmed Palestinian fishermen, and three international ISM volunteers, were arrested and kidnapped at gunpoint by commandos of the 4th largest army in the world. The three Palestinian trawling vessels were illegally confiscated. The sixteen fishermen were released at midnight that night, but the international volunteers were kidnapped into Israel against their will and later deported to Europe and to USA, although each of them wanted to return to Gaza Strip. Ten days later the trawling vessels were returned to the Gazan fishing waters, the day after legal briefs were filed in Israel's Supreme Court against the Israeli occupation force Navy.

The farming communities living along the border with Israel also face a difficult situation. The Israeli occupation force army declared an arbitrary Buffer Zone along the entire eastern border of Gaza Strip with Israel. Palestinian farmers who live in the area can't farm their lands, some for 5 – 15 years. This zone is 100 - 500 meters deep inside Palestine. This "Buffer Zone" is on agriculturally-rich soil, but soldiers driving the D9 bulldozers have created a desert by destroying all the olive, fruit, nut trees, the vegetable crops, the hot houses and killing all the sheep and chicken farms – destroying the livelihood of the farmers and their families. Directly on the other side are Israeli farms (kibbutzes) and those farmers farm right up against the fence. Even today when farmers go to their land they are shot at – they are forbidden to work their own land.

"As of March 2005, there are approximately 7,500 Palestinian political prisoners being held in Israeli prisons. Over 750 of these are administrative detainees, held without charge or trial for indefinite periods of time. 344 of the political prisoners are aged 18 and under, 78 of whom are 16 years and under. There are 115 Palestinian female political prisoners, 19 of whom are mothers and 1 of whom gave birth in prison, with their children remaining in prison with them. Of the total 7,500 political prisoners, 3,800 are being held in civil prisons, with the remaining political prisoners held in Israeli military detention centers and prison camps." (1) The above statistics are from three years ago, the number of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons is now over 11,000! The Palestinian political prisoners are from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, all collectively punished for being alive while Palestinian.

It is the Apartheid Israeli occupation force army who have been the aggressors and who make war on the Palestinian people every day, yet the major news media in the US target the Palestinians as terrorists. For decades, the Israeli occupation force army has been sending jeeps, tanks, D9 bulldozers, F-16s, apache helicopters, drones, and Israeli occupation force soldiers into Palestinian farms, villages, cities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, causing death and destruction to all in their path - hundreds of babies, children, women and men killed and thousands maimed for life. Why are they always being vilified? The Palestinian people are a generous, kind, peace-loving people who want to live in peace and dignity with all people in the region. They need the world community to step forward and demand that the violators of their human right to self-determination, their human rights for peace and security, their human right to live in freedom be held to account.

On 29th November 2008, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC), presented its strategic position paper " UNITED AGAINST Apartheid, Colonialism and Occupation DIGNITY & JUSTICE for the Palestinian People (Final Draft, October 2008) Palestinian Civil Society's Strategic Position Paper for the Durban Review Conference, Geneva, 20 – 24 April 2009 ", here is an excerpt from only one of its findings:

" The State of Israel must be held accountable to its legal obligations. Impunity for its massive and systematic violations of international law and treating it as an exception above the law of nations must be ended. Only thus can justice and dignity be restored to the Palestinian people, and lasting, comprehensive peace be established in the Middle East. As states and the United Nations have lacked political will for effective action, the wider international community, in particular churches, unions, NGOs, cultural and academic figures, and independent experts are called upon to develop and strengthen effective measures, such as the civil society Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) and legal action, that can create political will among states and the United Nations to respect their legal obligations to the Palestinian people and halt and reverse Israel's regime of apartheid, settler-colonialism and belligerent occupation." (2)

(1) ADDAMEER Prisoners' Support and Human Rights Association, http://www.addameer.org/addameer/campaigns/manal/factsheet.h

(2) BNC Position Paper Durban, UNITED AGAINST Apartheid, Colonialism and Occupation DIGNITY & JUSTICE for the Palestinian People (Final Draft, October 2008) Palestinian Civil Society's Strategic Position Paper for the Durban Review Conference, Geneva, 20 – 24 April 2009

:: Article nr. 49386 sent on 07-dec-2008 11:30 ECT


Harper's Coup; Power grab in Ottawa

by Mike Whitney

Global Research, December 5, 2008

“We are in the worst crisis since 1929 and we have no government. How can this be good?” Stephen Jarislowsky, chairman of Montreal money manager Jarislowsky Fraser Ltd.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Canada's parliament to avoid a challenge from opposition parties that were planning to oust him from power. The 3-party coalition--the Liberals, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois---decided to remove Harper because of his strong opposition to a stimulus package that was designed to minimize the effects of the financial crisis. They also opposed his "proposed elimination of subsidies for political parties, a three-year ban on the right of civil servants to strike, and limits on the ability of women to sue for pay equity." Governor General Michaelle Jean helped Harper to hang on by using her constitutional authority to close the legislature for seven weeks. Now the country is in a furor.

Harper is a far right conservative ideologue who served as president of the National Citizens Coalition (NCC), a conservative think-tank and advocacy group. The organization opposes national healthcare but supports privitization and tax cuts. It has 40,000 members but the names are kept confidential. It's motto is "more freedom with less government."

The Prime Minister has been a staunch supporter of George Bush and the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of his critics accuse him of being a neoconservative allied to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Bilderburger Group. He is alleged to be a proponent of plans for a North American Union, which is an elitist scheme to end US sovereignty by merging the three countries-- Canada, the US, and Mexico--into one superstate. The plan coincides with Harper's unwavering support for free trade.

Harper's connection to extremist organizations may sound far fetched, until one one sees a video of him giving a speech that was also given by Australian PM John Howard prior to the war in Iraq. The speeches are identical--word for word--indicating that they must have been written by a third party somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon or a nearby think tank. The video dispels any illusion that Karzai, Abbas, and Siniora are the only sock-puppets working for Washington.


Harper is also a trusted ally of Israel and has defended Israel's 31 day invasion of Lebanon in 2006 that killed over 1,300 Lebanese civilians who were fleeing the south to escape Israeli bombing. According to Wikipedia: "the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations presented Stephen Harper with its inaugural International Leadership Award for his support for Israel...the award was given to express the group's appreciation for Canada's "courageous stands" to boycott the Durban 2 Anti-Racism Conference.

On June, Harper was also awarded the Presidential Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism by B'nai B'rith International. He is the first Canadian to be awarded this medal."

Harper is also a committed militarist who has circumvented Parliament and announced a plan that will greatly expand Canada's armed forces. According to Linda McQuaig of the Toronto Star:

"Harper has already laid out an agenda that would fundamentally change this country - in ways most Canadians would oppose. While this agenda is not "secret," my guess is few Canadians know about it... Sometime in the dark of night last June 20, the Harper government posted a plan on the Department of National Defence's website - called Canada First Defence Strategy - to spend an eye-popping $490 billion over the next 20 years on the military.

It's hard to imagine an agenda with more profound consequences for Canadians, beginning with a dramatic reordering of national priorities. Public health care? Child poverty? Fighting global warming?

While the election campaign has focused on economic issues, the military and its combat role in Afghanistan have actually been the centrepieces of the Harper administration. Harper has tried to reshape the way Canadians think about Canada, weaning us off our fondness for peacekeeping (and medicare, for that matter), and getting us excited about being a war-making nation, able to swagger on the world stage in the footsteps of the Americans." (Linda McQuaig, "Stephen Harper: Bulking up Pentagon North", the Toronto Star)

The Putsch Will Be Televised

Harper's nationally televised speech on Monday night was pure political theater; a near-perfect duplication of George Bush's many solemn addresses from the Oval office. Wrapping himself in the Maple Leaf, the smooth-talking Harper rattled off the familiar patriotic buzzwords and catchphrases while trying to affect the appearance of a man genuinely devoted to principle:

"We will use all legal means to resist this undemocratic seizure of power," Harper thundered peering straight into the camera.

Fortunately, Harper doesn't have a leg to stand on. Constitutional scholars unanimously agree that the parties have the right to deliver a "no confidence" vote and strip him of his power. Harper is just trying to brazen it out to buy some time.

"The Canadian government has always been chosen by the people," said the Prime Minister.

Not true, and Harper knows it.

"He's appealing to people who learned their civics from American television," said Henry Jacek, a political scientist at McMaster University. Other scholars... say Harper's populist theory of democracy is more suited to a U.S.-style presidential system, in which voters cast ballots directly for a national leader, than it is to Canadian parliamentary democracy. In Canada, there's no national vote for prime minister. People elect MPs in 308 ridings, and a government holds power only as long as it has the support of a majority of those MPs.

"We have a rule that the licence to govern is having the confidence of the House of Commons," said Peter Russell, a former University of Toronto professor and adviser to past governors general.

"I'm sorry, that's the rule. If they want to change it to having a public opinion poll, we'd have to reform and rewrite our Constitution." ("Harper Wrong on Democracy Experts Claim" CTV)

Harper is just blowing smoke, but his challenge should be taken seriously just the same. Neocons do not go gently into that good night. Americans know that better than anyone.

Mike Whitney is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Destructive World of "Troubled Assets": Paulson shoots another arrow into the heart of the Economy

by Andrew Hughes

Global Research, December 6, 2008

The announcement in the last few days of a deal reached between the U.S. Treasury and the moribund insurance giant, A.I.G. provides a very lucid insight in to the nefarious and destructive world of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, otherwise known as T.A.R.P..Not only have A.I.G. received $152 billion to date and subsequently reported a third quarter loss of $25 billion, now they are to be cleared of their obligation on $53 billion worth of toxic credit default swaps. U.S. taxpayers are now on the hook for $205 billion courtesy of an institution which played in the Wall St. casino that passes for a "Financial Sector" and lost. Under the "Free market" system, so expounded upon by Government and Wall St. alike, A.I.G should be in chapter 11. Bailing out A.I.G and other failing institutions does absolutely nothing to address the fundamental issues at hand.

The economy is in crisis because unemployment and overarching debt levels pushed thousands of families in to the untenable situation where they did not earn enough to cover their debts. This burst the real estate bubble inflated by Alan Greenspan, crashed real estate prices, consumer spending and manufacturing. What we are seeing now is the inevitable result of lack of Financial regulation, lax monetary policy and a symbiosis between Government and the Financial industry. The mortgages taken out by buyers had been bundled into complex financial instruments; Mortgage backed securities. The latter along with Credit default swaps and derivatives set the stage for a global financial meltdown. The Glass-Steagal act of 1933 had been conceived to prevent the Banking sector from indulging in high risk investments to protect the depositors of these institutions. This was repealed at the end of the Clinton Administration through the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 which opened the gates to financial destruction. With the stroke of a pen, the financial services sector was given the power to literally bring down an economy

The most urgent matter for Treasury to address is the toxic derivatives market. The notional amount of outstanding derivatives, as noted by the Bank of International settlements, comes close to $512 trillion. This represents a figure that is impossible to settle and is the real Armageddon which Banks are preparing for by hoarding the cash that they have received through the T.A.R.P..Unless this time bomb is defused by bringing the undeclared positions on the table, the duration and gravity of this crisis can only increase. As the underlying assets of these instruments crumble the Banks' exposure to counterparty risk increases and will lead to the inevitable collapse of even more banks and reduce the availability of investment credit even more. The underlying assets include interest rates, mortgages, foreign exchange rates, credit ratings on companies and even creditworthiness of entire countries. This is the level of insanity that has passed for "Leveraged Investment"

With over $3 trillion of taxpayer money injected in to Banks, insurance companies, commercial paper, Fannie and Freddie what has come back to benefit the dying economy ? A reduction in lending, increased interest rates on credit card payments and further losses for these same institutions. No big surprise as the real economy has never stopped it's nosedive. Does the Treasury really not realise that there is no point in investing in companies that have no chance of redemption ? By handing over Americans' hard earned tax dollars and indebting future generations, the Treasury has been engaging in the biggest transfer of wealth in Human history. The U.S. is now the biggest debtor on the planet and the rest of the world has noticed. China, Japan and the Oil kingdoms that buy U.S. debt are losing faith and it's only a matter of time until they turn off the tap.

Andrew Hughes is a frequent contributor to Global Research

Obama's War Cabinet

by Stephen Lendman

Global Research, December 5, 2008

December 1 brought more disappointment but no surprises. Obama's national security appointees (like all his earlier ones) aren't "change to believe in" or what people expected for their votes. They're recycled establishment figures. Their agenda is business as usual, and they'll continue the same failed Bush administration policies at home and abroad. Washington's criminal class is bipartisan. Obama was chosen to lead it and is assembling a rogue team that's little different from the one it's replacing.

For "security", it means:

-- maintaining the "strongest military on the planet" and do it by outspending all other countries combined;

-- continued foreign wars;

-- possibly another against Iran;

-- permanent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan - directly and with proxy forces; Obama saying he'll withdraw all US forces from Iraq in 16 months (around mid-2010) is false and misleading;

-- a reinvented Cold War against Russia;

-- an "absolute" commitment "to eliminating the threat of terrorism (with) the full force of our power;"

-- inciting instability anywhere it serves US imperial interests with special emphasis on resource-rich Eurasia, including the Asian sub-continent; Exhibit A: the Bombay (Mumbai) terror attacks that Michel Chossudovsky explains have "the fingerprints of a (carefully planned) paramilitary-intelligence operation (and) are described as India's 9/11," or at least a mini version of it; the usual suspects are blamed; the purpose is to incite fear and more violence; the consequences - an internal hard line crackdown, increased tensions between India and Pakistan, and a military opening for Washington to intervene further in the region; and

-- additional North American militarization as evidenced by a disturbing December 1 Washington Post report - that (on the pretext of national security) the Pentagon will deploy 20,000 troops nationwide by 2011 "to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear attack or other domestic catastrophe;" three "rapid-reaction" combat units are planned; two or more additional ones may follow; they'll be supplemented by 80 smaller National Guard units and will be trained to respond to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high-yield explosive, and other domestic "terror" attacks or disturbances; in other words, homeland militarization and occupation is planned using combat troops trained to kill.

Media Reaction to Obama's National Security Appointees

The New York Times suggested he's "put(ting) the rancor and even some of the rhetoric of the presidential campaign behind him on Monday as he welcomed his chief Democratic adversary into his cabinet and signaled flexibility in his plans to withdraw troops from Iraq." He stated: "I will listen to the recommendations of my commanders (and it's) likely to be necessary to maintain a residual force to provide potential training (and) logistical support to protect our civilians in Iraq."

According to the Cato Institute's foreign policy director, Christopher Preble, Obama chose Iraq war supporters, so it "suggests that we will only get more of the same."

The Washington Post highlighted Obama's "high-powered national security team....to face a complex security picture." It quoted him calling for "a new beginning, a new dawn of American leadership (and) the power of our moral example."

According to UN ambassador-designee Susan Rice, it's a team "to prevent conflict, to promote peace, combat terrorism, prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons, tackle climate change, end genocide, fight poverty and disease." More on those aims below.

The Wall Street Journal suggested that Obama's national security team will make "a clean break from Bush administration policies on Iraq, Afghanistan and overseas diplomacy." It will differ from "an over-reliance on the military and a failure to devote enough resources to political reconciliation and economic development in those nations." More on that below as well.

Obama's National Security Designees

On December 1 in the UK Guardian, author Jeremy Scahill called them a "Kettle of Hawks" so it's no surprise that hard line neocon writer Max Boot was jubilant over the selections and said they "as easily (could) have come from a President McCain." He and like-minded ideologues believe this puts "an end to the 16-month timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, the unconditional summits with dictators (aka democrats like Chavez, president Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Fidel and Raul Castro), and other foolishness that once emanated from the Obama campaign." His selections "should be powerful voices for neoliberalism which is not so different from neoconservatism."

According to Boot, Obama will pick up right where Bush left off with a near-seamless transition. "Only churlish partisans of both the left and the right can be unhappy with the emerging tenor of our nation's new leadership."

According to former Chicago congressman, federal judge, and Clinton White House Counsel Abner Mikva in a Chicago Jewish News article, it's also true for the nation's Jews and the state of Israel. As some call Clinton 'the nation's first black president,' "I think when this is over, people are going to say that Barack Obama is the first Jewish president." Rabbi Arnold Wolf agrees in saying Obama is "embedded in the Jewish world." Given the team he's assembling, there's every reason to believe they're right.

Hillary Clinton

She's co-heading the team (with Robert Gates) as Secretary of State designee, so it's clear no change is planned given her hard line neocon ideology. As one analyst puts it: it's why many on the left "are grinding their teeth" about her and other former Clinton administration appointees.

Back in May, CounterPunch co-editor Jeff St. Clair referred to her "Gothic politics" that offer no hope for needed change. He called her "constitutionally wedded to a stern neoliberalism, a disposition (she's unable to) camouflage."

Darker still is her hawkishness, far enough to the right to be indistinguishable from Joe Lieberman or John McCain. It's why one analyst calls her a "war goddess" and with good reason. She supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and still does. She voted for the Patriot, Homeland Security, and other repressive acts.

She's extremely bellicose, endorses attacking Iran, supported Israel's destructive 2006 Lebanon war, praised Israel's apartheid wall, demeans the Palestinian people, equates them with terrorists, calls any Israeli criticism anti-Semitism, is close to AIPAC, and at its June convention said "The United States stands with Israel now and forever....We have shared interests....shared ideals....common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security. (Against Islamic extremists) our two nations are fighting a shared threat....I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense....I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats."

"I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror....Its charter calls for the destruction of Israel....Iran (also) threatens to destroy Israel....I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."

In other speeches, Clinton has been extremely belligerent and blatantly malicious in accusations mirror opposite of the truth. She called Iran a strategic long-term threat, a country that practices state terrorism, that uses "surrogates to supply explosives that kill US troops in Iraq," and that must be dealt with with "all options on the table."

She also said that if Iran attacks Israel (that's implausible on its face), America would respond by "obliterating" the country - in other words, incinerate its entire population through a nuclear holocaust. During the 2008 campaign, she told ABC's Good Morning America:

"I want the Iranians to know, if I am the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that (if) they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

She's just as extremist on all foreign policy issues. She opposes an international treaty to ban land mines and was against banning cluster bomb exports to countries that use them on civilians. She backs arms transfers and police training to human rights abusing countries like Israel, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and similar US allies.

She's for a larger military budget, continuing the "war on terror," the nation's illegal wars and occupation, and Israel's repressive Palestinian occupation. In July 2004, she denounced the UN, accused it of opposing aggressive US policies, its judicial arm for challenging Israel's Separation Barrier, and she sponsored a Senate resolution "urging no further action by the UN to delay" its construction.

She's done nothing to contain nuclear proliferation except to condemn Iran's legal commercial development. It's in full accord with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) unlike the world's greatest nuclear outlaw - America. Israel, India, and Pakistan as well, but they're US allies unlike Iran. Clinton also supports the Bush Doctrine and his administration's unilateral position on using first strike nuclear weapons, including against non-nuclear states.

Hillary Clinton at State sends a strong message to free people everywhere and especially to all Muslims and the Arab world - the "war on terror" will continue. Your people are its main target, and America will continue to invade and occupy your lands. It also tells the anti-war movement that it's work has just begun and will be no simpler under Obama than it's been up to now. Clinton is a powerful bulwark against it and to all freedom loving people everywhere. "Gothic" indeed - dark and foreboding in the same "war party" under new management.

Robert Gates

He'll remain as Defense Secretary and is a clear signal of Bush administration policy continuity. After being named to succeed Donald Rumsfeld in November 2006, this writer said about him: The appointment of Robert Gates "replac(es) one controversial (defense) secretary and accused war criminal with an unindicted liar and equally controversial former Reagan and senior Bush official." Earlier he was involved "in cooking the intelligence to fit the policy in the Iran-Contra scandal he was never held to account for." He also had a hand "in secretly arming Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. When he takes over (at DOD), expect the Pentagon under (his) management to be no different" than the leadership it's replacing. In all respects, Gates lived up to expectations and will continue the same policies under Obama.

In an October 28 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he argued for expanding the Bush administration's pre-emptive war doctrine to include first strike nuclear weapons. He said that pacifist illusions shouldn't deter planning for a broader war.

He added that "As long as other states have or seek nuclear weapons - and can potentially threaten us, our allies and friends - then we must have a deterrent capacity that makes it clear that challenging the US in the nuclear arena - or with weapons of mass destruction - could result in an overwhelming, catastrophic response." In other words, if non-US allies seek nuclear weapons or if Washington (without evidence) claims it, they then become potential targets for a nuclear response even if their intentions are peaceful.

Gates' other credentials include 26 years with the CIA where he was its deputy director from 1986 - 1989 and director from 1991 - 1993. Former CIA official, turned political activist, Ray McGovern knew him there and wrote about his "dexterity in orchestrating his own advancement (and) never (being) one to let truth derail (his) ambition."

Former CIA analyst Mel Goodman described how he "tried hard to anticipate the views of policy makers in order to pander to their needs" and played a major role in politicizing the agency. One of his key distortions led to higher military spending under Ronald Reagan - by exaggerating the Soviet menace (along with CIA director Bill Casey) as a "military behemoth with a robust economy rather than a decaying power with a shriveling GDP."

Goodman added: "While serving as deputy director for intelligence from 1982 - 1986, Gates wrote the manual for manipulating and centralizing the intelligence process to get the desired intelligence product." He promoted pliable CIA careerists to top positions while sidelining or retiring more independent ones. In 1991 under GHW Bush, his colleagues staged an unprecedented revolt for his role in destroying the agency's commitment to objectivity.

At the time, Harold P. Ford, former National Intelligence Council vice-chairman, told the Senate Intelligence Committee: "Bob Gates has often depended too much on his own individual analytic judgments and has ignored or scorned the views of others whose assessments did not accord with his own. This would be okay if he were uniquely all-seeing. He has not been."

Throughout his career, Gates was devious and opportunistic. He'll bring those "qualities" to the new Obama administration.

He's also a past president of Texas A & M University (a position gotten with considerable Bush family help), a member of several corporate boards, served on the Baker Iraq Study Group, and was George Bush's first choice for Department of Homeland Security secretary but declined to remain at Texas A & M.

Retired Marine General James Jones

He's the announced National Security Advisor designee to head the White House National Security Council (NSC). Since inception under Harry Truman, it's to advise the president on national security and foreign policies as well as coordinate them among various government agencies (including the military branches, CIA, and other intelligence agencies).

Jones is a former NATO commander (from 2003 - 2006), Commandant of the Marine Corp (from 1999 - 2003), and 40 year veteran after retiring from the Corp in 2007. He's now a US Chamber of Commerce executive and last November was named the administration's special Middle East envoy with this endorsement: he's the "person we need to take up this vital mission....an experienced leader who can address the regional security challenges comprehensively and at the highest levels...." His assignment was to draft a strategic security stabilization plan to complement (so-called) Israeli - Palestinian peace talks. He supports stationing US forces in Occupied Palestine under the pretext of NATO peacekeepers.

He also investigated the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, concluded that America "t(ook) its eye off the ball" in Afghanistan and is losing. That view supports Obama's wanting 10,000 more combat troops there (30,000 according to some reports) and also plans "as our first priority" increased regional military operations - against Afghanistan and Pakistan with a more convenient than ever pretext in the wake of the Bombay (Mumbai) terror attacks in the part of the world he calls the greatest menace to US security.

Increasing numbers of US missile strikes are killing more Pakistani civilians. They're inciting growing anger in the country, are escalating the Afghan war, and threaten to expand the war theater to a much larger area with potentially catastrophic consequences - a strategy Obama and his incoming team apparently support.

In his latest article titled "Afghanistan, Another Untold Story," Michael Parenti has a different view. After reviewing the country's recent history, he says:

"US intervention in Afghanistan has proven not much different from US intervention in Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Panama, and elsewhere. It had the same intent of preventing egalitarian social change, and the same effect of overthrowing an economically reformist government. In all these instances, the intervention brought retrograde elements into ascendance, left the economy in ruins, and pitilessly laid waste to many innocent lives."

"The war in Afghanistan, a battered impoverished country, continues to be portrayed in US official circles as a gallant crusade against terrorism. If it ever was that, it also has been a means to other things: destroying a leftist revolutionary social order, gaining profitable control of one of the last vast untapped reserves of the earth's dwindling fossil fuel supply, and planting US bases and US military power into still another region of the world....In the face of all this, Obama's call for 'change' rings hollow."

It also suggests a frightening prospect under his leadership - a continuation of Bush's (preventive war) Doctrine against countries we claim (true or false) practice "terrorism," harbor "terrorist" elements, or aid "terrorist" groups. In other words, an agenda that needs enemies, invents them strategically, and intends to wage permanent aggressive wars to expand US imperialism globally and especially over resource-rich parts of the world like Eurasia.

Eric Holder

As Attorney General designee, he's another very troublesome choice because of his hard line law-and-order reputation. He's Obama's senior legal advisor, a former District of Columbia Superior Court judge, and Deputy Attorney General under Bill Clinton.

As senior Democrat Party legal advisor during the Bush administration, he was actively involved in his party's complicity in enacting repressive police state laws.

In 1998, he issued a statement known as the "Holder memo" in which he supported government intervention into policing Internet free speech. It stated:

"Because of the nature of the Internet and availability of agents trained in conducting criminal investigations in cyberspace, investigation and prosecution of Internet obscenity is particularly suitable to federal resources."

In a 1998 letter to Morality In Media (an extremist religious right front group against pornography), he said: "I appreciated having the opportunity to meet with you recently to discuss the prosecution of obscenity cases." Holder supported multi-jurisdictional prosecutions of Internet web sites and businesses on such charges, even in cases of First Amendment-protected material.

Some claim his strategy wasn't to win, but to burden defendants with mounting legal costs, exhaust them through repeated litigation, and perhaps drive them into bankruptcy. It's a tactic very similar to so-called SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) lawsuits that are used to intimidate and silence critics.

Holder was also involved in Bill Clinton's indefensible last day in office Mark Rich pardon, the billionaire fugitive commodities trader. In 1983, Rich and his partner were indicted on 65 counts of defrauding the IRS, mail fraud, tax evasion, racketeering, defrauding the Treasury and trading with the enemy. Holder was deputy attorney general at the time.

As US attorney for the District of Columbia, he also pushed for stiffer marijuana penalties, and according to one report, advocated "minimum sentences of 18 months for first-time convicted drug dealers, 36 months for second offenses, and 72 months for each subsequent conviction." He also wanted to "make the penalty for distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana a felony, punishable with up to a five-year sentence." The DC Council enacted Holder's recommendation into law in 2000. His hard line stance against non-violent drug offenders runs counter to Obama's softer position, apparently about to harden.

Holder also played a lead role in the 2005 Patriot Act reauthorization, supported at the time by Obama. In addition, after his Clinton administration service, he was a partner in the Covington & Burling law and lobbying firm at which he defended Chiquita Brands International executives on charges of aiding terrorism by financing and arming Colombian (AUC) death squads. In spite of overwhelming evidence and the company's own admission, he got it off with a fine of around half of one percent of its annual revenue.

Holder also believes that accused "terrorists" have no Geneva Convention rights. In a January 2002 CNN interview he said:

"One of the things we clearly want to do with these prisoners is to have an ability to interrogate them and find out what their future plans might be, where other cells are located; under the Geneva Convention you are really limited in the amount of information that you can elicit from people."

"It seems to me that given the way in which they have conducted themselves, however, that they are not, in fact, people entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention. They are not prisoners of war."

Holder left unaddressed the question of torture, guilt or innocence. The fact that they were captured and imprisoned is good enough for him.

As the nation's top law enforcement official, he'll assure more of the same criminal abuses under George Bush. He's no civil libertarian or what people should expect from the nation's top law enforcement officer. He represents business as usual, and a sign of continued dark times ahead.

Keeping FBI Director Robert Mueller as his chief law enforcement deputy (even though his term runs until 2011) is an even stronger signal. Mueller enforced the worst of "war on terrorism" policies, including witch-hunt prosecutions, illegal spying, and targeting political dissent.

The possible appointment of former George Tenet aide John Brennan as new CIA chief is also disturbing although reportedly he's out of the running. He heads Obama's intelligence transition team, supported warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition, and was involved in politicizing intelligence alleging Saddam's WMDs in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Possible CIA Directors

On December 2, The New York Times reported that "Obama Faces a Delicate Task" in choosing his CIA chief - "one of the more treacherous patches of his transition to the White House" given the agency's disturbing involvement in extraordinary renditions, torture, and other illegal practices under Bush.

Even so, "some senior Democratic lawmakers who are vehement critics of the Bush administration's interrogation policies seemed reluctant in recent interviews to commit the new administration to following the Army Field Manual in all cases."

Diane Feinstein will become Senate Intelligence Committee chairperson in January. She says extreme cases and potential terrorist threats call for flexibility, so her message is clear even though in a subsequent statement she softened it. Repressive interrogations, including torture, will likely continue under Obama even if Guantanamo is closed and even though they're illegal under US and international law.

During the campaign, Obama aides said he'd let CIA keep holding prisoners in overseas jails but that International Committee of the Red Cross representatives should be given access to them. It matters little because, when allowed, their tours are carefully orchestrated to conceal repressive practices and no contact with prisoners most aggrieved by them.

The Army Field Manual (No. 27-10) is explicit on the rule of law. It incorporates the Nuremberg Principles prohibiting crimes against humanity, and in paragraph 498 states that any person, military or civilian, who commits a crime under international law bears responsibility and may be punished. In addition, paragraph 499 defines a "war crime." Paragraph 500 refers to conspiracy, attempts to commit it and complicity with respect to international crimes. Paragraph 509 denies the defense of superior orders in the commission of a crime; and paragraph 510 denies the defense of an "act of state."

Most members of Congress from both parties have been complicit with the administration in egregiously violating both US and international laws. All signs point to little, if any, change under the incoming Obama administration.

The Times reports that Obama will replace CIA director Michael Hayden. Possible candidates include:

-- deputy director (since 2004) Stephen Kappes, a 27-year CIA veteran;

-- former Indiana congressman and member of the 9/11 commission Tim Roemer; he's now president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington-based national security think tank;

-- Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel who's retiring from the Senate in January; he's also a former conservative talk-show host and is (or was during his runs for the Senate) part owner, chairman, and CEO of the Election Systems & Software (ES&S) electronic voting machine company; it installed, programmed and operated the equipment used by most voters for the elections in which he ran; he won a second term in 1982 with 83% of the vote - the largest ever political victory in the state; some critics called it a dress rehearsal for Bush's 2004 electoral theft and various state ones favoring Republican candidates; and

-- Jack Devine, a 32-year CIA veteran, now retired, and former head of clandestine service; he describes himself as "a covert action person (who believes) we should be out there pushing US policy wherever we can, covertly and overtly."

Admiral Dennis Blair

Reports are that retired Admiral Dennis Blair is top choice to be Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The office was established by the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act and was formed in April 2005. It's the president's principal national security intelligence advisor; heads the nation's 16 intelligence agencies; and oversees and directs the National Intelligence Program.

Now retired, Blair is a 34 year Navy veteran and currently holds the (former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman) John Shalikashvili Chair in National Security Studies at The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). Also the General of the Army Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at Dickenson College and the US Army War College. He's the immediate past president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a US government Washington, DC think tank that calls itself "a non-profit corporation that administers three federally funded (R & D) centers to assist the (government) in national security issues."

Blair was also an Oxford classmate of Bill Clinton and a Naval Academy classmate of Senator Jim Webb. If appointed, he'll bring more militarist credentials to Obama's war cabinet. In his various command assignments during the Bush administration, he was a point man in the "war on terrorism." He'll continue that role as the nation's intelligence chief.

An obstacle in his way was in a Pentagon inspector general finding regarding DOD conflict-of-interest standards. Earlier he was involved with a study of a major military contract for the F-22 fighter while a board member of the company that makes it, Lockheed Martin. It occurred while Blair was president of the Institute for Defense Analyses. Whether this will derail him is an open question, but it highlights the pervasive Washington revolving-door and overall corrupted culture.

Janet Napolitano

According to Michael Lacey of LA Weekly News, the current Arizona governor and designee for Homeland Security secretary is a troublesome choice. He cites her sorrowful Arizona service "consorting with anti-immigrant enforcers, indulging rank opportunism, and adhering to failed policies (that make for) an unlikely recipe for change we can believe in. And yet this very cocktail of mediocrity" made her Obama's choice for DHS chief or what this writer calls the nation's Gestapo.

As Arizona governor, Napolitano defended her states border with a "pitchfork. Her multi-pronged strategy: embrace the nation's most regressive legislation; empower a notorious sheriff using cynical political calculations; (and) employ boots on the ground" - shock troop enforcers against defenseless Latino immigrants forced north because of destructive NAFTA policies.

Lacey goes on to describe Napolitano's "bungled billions," hiring companies embedded with former state agency employees and cronies, ducking hard choices, using accounting gimmicks in state budgets, and various other practices amounting to "corruption, greed, and the cupidity of boondoggle bookkeeping in hard times." She also signed legislation criminalizing the need to work and support one's family and created a state atmosphere reminiscent of Prohibition - today against Latino immigrants driven north to find work. Now she'll do for America what she's doing to Arizona.

Susan Rice

She'll be Obama's nominee for UN ambassador. Earlier under Bill Clinton, she was on the National Security Council and served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Some call her progressive but recommending the unilateral use of military force against any country violates the Charter of the organization where she'll work. In 2006, she recommended it against Sudan in stating:

"History demonstrates that there is one language Khartoum understands: the credible threat or use of force....After swift diplomatic consultations, the United States should press for a UN resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the UN force within one week or face military consequences."

Chapter VII of the UN Charter authorizes only the Security Council to "determine the existence of any threat to the peace, or act of aggression (and, if necessary, take military or other actions to) restore international peace and stability." It permits a nation to use force only under two conditions: when authorized by the Security Council or under Article 51 allowing the "right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member....until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security."

Calling for unilateral force against another state for any reason is illegal and criminal. Susan Rice did it, yet will serve as America's UN ambassador as her reward.

Obama continues to round out his team, and each appointment mirrors the others. On his watch, it'll be business as usual, but what else would we expect.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM - 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.


Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman

Wednesday, December 03, 2008




Continuity Error: Guts, Goo and Obama's Imperial Dream
Written by Chris Floyd

Barack Obama's new "national security team" is a grim conglomeration of war criminals, warmongers and apologists for torture and empire who have been praised justly by some rightwingers as a continuation and validation of the Bush Regime's foreign policy. But despite the growing unease these choices have induced in some "progressive" quarters, they in no way constitute a "betrayal" on Obama's part. He has always made it abudantly clear that he stands squarely on the side of a militarist empire – expansive, dominating, brooking no challenge or hindrance to its actions or its preeminence. An empire conceived in bloodshed and dedicated to the proposition that no nation is created equal to the divine American state, whose "interests" – as self-servingly defined by whatever faction of the ruling elite holds temporary sway in Washington – must be pursued at any and every cost. A cost to be paid, of course, by the lesser breeds beyond the Homeland's borders, and, increasingly, by the American people themselves.

Obama's forthright stand on the issue of empire was evident throughout the campaign, in speeches, on his website, in his Senate votes and in his publicly announced positions – such as his always conditional, circumscribed promise to "end" the war in Iraq, on essentially the same terms by which George W. Bush claims to be ending it now. At no point in his much-ballyhooed "opposition" to the nation-gutting in Iraq did Obama ever once call it what it is: a crime. An abomination. An act of mass murder that has left more than a million innocent people dead.

Who then can be surprised that he has chosen as his own war chief a man who has presided over this pointless slaughter for two of the five years that it has been going on? And who can be surprised that he has chosen as his secretary of state a woman whose chief contributions to foreign policy have been: urging her husband to bomb civilians in an illegal, undeclared war against Serbia; promising to "obliterate" an entire nation of 65 million people from the face of the earth; and voting for one of the worst war crimes in the last half-century – then damning the victims as lousy ingrates for not appreciating America's benevolent destruction of their country and murder of their children?

Really now, what did anyone expect from a man who walks into a room where a dozen children have had their head bashed in by a thug in a silk suit still holding the blood-dripping bat in his hand, and says, "My word! I think a mistake has been made here. By gum, I think beating these children into a steaming pulp of guts and goo might have been a 'stupid policy.' If you give me that bat, I promise to stop beating these children into a steaming pulp of guts and goo within the next 16 months – depending, of course, on the conditions in the room at the time, and the advice of my new top adviser, an experienced, pragmatic, safe pair of hands who has just spent the last two years helping this thug – who should not be prosecuted, by the way, because that would just criminalize political differences – beat these children into a steaming pulp of guts and goo." This, in a nutshell, is Obama's Iraq policy, and always has been. Where then is the betrayal?

Here we must turn, once again, to Arthur Silber, who has long understood the true nature of the Obama candidacy and what its triumph will mean for the future. No talk of "betrayal" from Silber, who knows that Obama's recent appointments are only the inevitable fruit of the imperial, exceptionalist philosophy that has always guided his votes and positions on foreign policy. Silber's new post, "Clinging to the Wreckage I: Murder Inc. -- The Continuing Obscenity of U.S. Foreign Policy," is a masterpiece of bitter clarity about the reality of the American empire -- even in the rosy glow of the false dawn of the era of "hope and change." You should read the whole, devastating piece -- and follow the links in the original -- but below are a few excerpts:

"Our troops did the job they were asked to do. They got rid of Saddam Hussein. They conducted the search for weapons of mass destruction. They gave the Iraqi people a chance for elections and to have a government. It is the Iraqis who have failed to take advantage of that opportunity." – Hillary Clinton

"It's not change when [McCain] promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians..." -- Barack Obama

If you have ever wondered how a serial murderer -- a murderer who is sane and fully aware of the acts he has committed -- can remain steadfastly convinced of his own moral superiority and show not even the slightest glimmer of remorse, you should not wonder any longer.

The United States government is such a murderer. It conducts its murders in full view of the entire world. It even boasts of them. Our government, and all our leading commentators, still maintain that the end justifies the means -- and that even the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents is of no moral consequence, provided a sufficient number of people can delude themselves into believing the final result is a "success."

We are a nation that has voluntarily renounced all its most crucial values, and all its founding principles. We can appeal all we want to "American exceptionalism," but any "exceptionalism" that remains ours is that of a mass murderer without a soul, and without a conscience….

As a nation, we are resolute in our refusal to identify the true nature of our actions, and in our refusal to acknowledge the consequences of what we do. This may well be true of most nations throughout history. Yet there is a direct correlation between a nation's power and influence, and its reliance on myth and other public relations ploys. As the world's sole superpower, the United States via its ruling class saturates its subjects at home and abroad with propaganda on a scale and with an intensity that have rarely been surpassed. As is true of all propaganda, permissible viewpoints are confined within suffocatingly constricted boundaries of thought; variation of any moment from the prescribed guidelines is prohibited.

Consider how far into fantasy we have traveled, consider the scope of our determination to banish facts from our awareness. It should not be controversial or noteworthy in the least to observe that conquest of foreign peoples by force of arms necessarily involves bloodletting, dismemberment and mutilation, that subjugation shatters the mind and the body, not just of the subjugated, but of those who would rule in this manner. History tells this tale repeatedly. Indeed, when our leaders wish to condemn other nations which utilize identical practices, they will examine these evils in endless detail. Our leaders will explain to us with enthusiastic commitment that such practices are deeply immoral and can only lead to disaster. But suddenly, when the United States sets out to conquer entire regions of the world, all these evils are not only transformed into a force for good: the evils miraculously cease to exist. The United States is good -- it is "the culmination of human development" -- and all its works are good. In "respectable" conversation in "respectable" places, you may not say otherwise….

In the context of what the United States has done and continues to do, the statements from Clinton and Obama about the "failure" of the Iraqis to act in a manner they find "acceptable" are loathsome in the extreme. Their views, which I emphasize again are shared by every national politician who actually wields power (by which formulation, I exclude the very few exceptions such as Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul), represent the murderous triumph of "American exceptionalism" -- the doctrine that lauds the United States as uniquely "good" and Americans as "the good guys" in a manner that no other peoples can ever hope to equal, and that, with its always implicit and frequently explicit racism, condemns all other peoples on Earth to sub- or even inhuman status. That final element, of course, makes it considerably easier to slaughter them in large numbers, even when they could never possibly threaten us.

This is the philosophy that has guided American foreign policy for decades; it is the philosophy that has guided it during the Bush Administration; it is the philosophy that will guide it in the Obama Administration. Obama has made this clear, once more, with his "national security" appointments. But he has not betrayed us. He has indeed brought the promised change – a change in the faces that will mouth the required pieties when the next small child is beaten into a steaming pulp of guts and goo.