Saturday, May 28, 2005

Impeach Bush Spring Offensive

 
 


The arrogance of undiluted power in the hands of elected officials who are not bound to respect the law is manifesting its deadly consequences every day as Bush's Iraq invasion unravels into non-stop bloodshed and carnage. The human toll is staggering and there is no let up in sight.

New revelations of Bush’s fabrications in his campaign to wage illegal war have led to a sharp drop in his approval rating. With each day the disgust of the people is mounting not only with the endless bloodshed in Iraq but with the Administration’s trashing of the Constitution.

Bush lied to the people. He lied to Congress. He waged an unprovoked war of aggression based on a neo-conservative fantasy that might makes right. More than 100,000 Iraqis have now died. Nearly 1,000 have been killed in just the last three weeks. The real casualty numbers for U.S. personnel are not really known. Thirty thousand have been evacuated from Iraq due to severe wounds, psychiatric and other illness, while nearly 1,600 have been killed so far.

Wolfowitz’s Admission Should Cause Impeachment

A number of recent revelations confirm that the Administration knowingly lied about the war and its causes. From their own mouths we know with certainty that they cooked up an explanation for the war that would most scare people - the facts be damned. Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld’s key aide, was quoted in Vanity Fair magazine as saying, "For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."  Since the Administration was flooded with angry letters, undoubtedly many from families of U.S. soldiers, following the publication of the Wolfowitz interview, the Pentagon attempted to do damage control, asserting that he was misquoted. But that didn't help much either. The Pentagon’s own version of the interview has Wolfowitz saying: "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason."

The public now knows, as does every member of Congress, that in April 2002 Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair secretly agreed to wage unprovoked war against Iraq at a meeting at Bush’s Crawford ranch in Texas. This fact and other incriminating information about the secret maneuvers to wage unprovoked war are contained in British government documents, obtained by Michael Smith, a defense specialist writing for the Sunday Times of London. They include a memo of the minutes of a meeting July 23, 2002, between Blair and his intelligence and military chiefs; a briefing paper for that meeting, and a Foreign Office legal opinion prepared before an April 2002 summit between Blair and Bush in Texas.

In a letter to Bush earlier this month 89 House Democrats expressed shock over the documents. They asked if the papers were authentic and, if so, whether they proved that the White House had agreed to invade Iraq months before seeking Congress' OK. (Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2005)

"If the disclosure is accurate, it raises troubling new questions regarding the legal justifications for the war as well as the integrity of our own administration," the letter says.

"While the president of the United States was telling the citizens and the Congress that they had no intention to start a war with Iraq, they were working very close with Tony Blair and the British leadership at making this a foregone conclusion," the letter's chief author, Rep. John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, said Wednesday.

The evidence is clear. As Ramsey Clark recently stated: "Impeachment now is the only way we, the American people, can promise ourselves and the world that we will not tolerate crimes against peace and humanity by our government. Knowing what we know, to wait longer is to condone what has been done and risk more."

Impeachment Drive Heats Up - Join the Impeach Bush Spring Offensive

Between now and the July 4 weekend the ImpeachBush/VoteToImpeach.org movement is unleashing its own Impeach Bush Spring Offensive. Using the quick and easy-to-use advocacy mechanism on the ImpeachBush.org website, people across the country will be able to send personal customized letters to the representatives from each of their districts and states. To send a letter, just click here.

Impeach Bush Lawn Signs, T-Shirts and Stickers - Help Spread the Word!

We have ordered another large quantity of Impeach Bush lawn signs, T-shirts and stickers. Before the November elections people had lawn signs for candidates. The election is over but the movement to stop Bush is heating up. The lawn signs are a wonderful way to keep neighborhood visibility of this campaign to Save the Constitution. With the arrival of warm weather there is no reason not to occasionally sport an ImpeachBush.org T-shirt. Everyone who does reports that they get an unexpectedly friendly response. Be sure to visit the Impeach Bush Resource Center materials to order lawn signs, t-shirts and stickers for you and your friends.

Please help continue to make the Impeach Bush campaign reach people across the country. This campaign has become a powerful force only with the generous contributions of people who believe that impeachment is an imperative requirement to Save the Constitution. Please make a contribution now by clicking here for access to the online donation form and the secure server, where you can also get information to write a check.

 


 

Friday, May 27, 2005

Martin, We Miss You!

Beyond Vietnam

By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

The Importance of Vietnam
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:


O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Strange Liberators
And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not "ready" for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.

Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators -- our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change -- especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy -- and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us -- not their fellow Vietnamese --the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go -- primarily women and children and the aged.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one "Vietcong"-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them -- mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force -- the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?

Now there is little left to build on -- save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.

Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front -- that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the north" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them -- the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.

When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

This Madness Must Cease
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:


End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.

Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.

Protesting The War
Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

 

 

 

 

 

LIES, LIES, LIES, LIES...Can Anyone Stop the Lies

STEPHEN PELLETIERE: Debunking the Bush Administration
 
The CIA’s senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, and then, from 1988 to 2000, Pelletiere was senior professor of national security affairs and the U.S. Army’s expert on the Persian Gulf at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA. Interview topics include: the probable Mossad involvement in the assassination of President Rafik Harriri in Beirut; Israel’s pursuit of Kirkuk’s oil as part of the spoils of war on Iraq and Israel as an adjunct of the Pentagon. In America’s Oil Wars, Pelletiere “explores the context of events that produced the attacks of September 11, 2001.” The book’s cover observes that the author “debunks the Bush Administration’s claim that the U.S. was beset by Islamic terrorists bent on destroying western civilization and set the stage for other possible motives.” We pose new questions to the retired CIA analyst, using cui bono as our uppermost question: who benefits but the Bush Administration (and its allies, what Pelletiere calls the coalition) from the attacks of 9-11? Had Pelletiere ever heard of the skyscraper WTC Building 7 and its 6.5-second implosion on September 11? Or the flight skills of Hani Hanjour? Or Mohamed Atta’s high living in Florida? Or the $100,000 delivered to Atta on the instructions of Gen. Mahmoud Ahmad, the head of Pakistan’s ISI (a client spook and black ops agency of the CIA)? For these and other questions, Pelletiere sat with forbearance, and answered in the negative.
38 min. 22meg isdn quality winmedia file - thanks to ARCHIVE.ORG
LINK

Sanity...Can we handle the Truth?

ABOLISH NUCLEAR WEAPONS: May 1, 2005 Central Park, NYC  Thousands from across the world rally in to expose nuclear weapons, past and present. Among the speakers and artists are: David Rovics who sings 'Nagasaki' as the camera pans the faces of people who live with memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Representatives of Mayors for Peace, Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton, California and Tadadoshi Akida, mayor of Hiroshima call for a world that works for everybody. “Unfortunately,” Mayor Akida observes, “we still live in world still dominated by a handful of barbarians who believe they can make the world better by killing someone.” Soldier/translator Anita Cole describes the dehumanizing process the barbarian’s army took her through in basic training. Bruce Gagnon calls attention to the Prometheus Project, a NASA/DoE/Pentagon project to develop and deploy a nuclear propulsion rocket, and efforts by Rep. Cynthia McKinney et al. to stop it www.space4peace.org. Ex CIA analyst Ray McGovern, noting that the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal called a war of aggression the supreme war crime (committed twice now by the Bush administration), says that the UN remains the most important institution standing up to the neo-con determination to do away with international law. Daniel Ellsberg offers a timely update of the heroic opposition to Israel nuclear arms by Mordecai Vanunu. And Helen Caldicott reminds us: “There is a nuclear war going on right now where they’re using depleted uranium weapons. The incidents of childhood cancers in those areas have gone up 7 times. The half-life or uranium 238 is 4.5 billion years. So America has conducted a nuclear war in the Cradle of Civilization and those people will never recover and are condemned to congenital abnormalities and cancer for the rest of time. Please, American people, rise up.”  29 min. 8.6 meg 56k winmedia file - thanks to NYCIMC
LINK

Bentagon vs. Newsweak

Hypocrisy, they name is BushCo
 
By Ted Lang

05/27/05 "
ICH" - - What fury and outrage, especially when one considers the source! I mean, that Newsweek report about American soldiers flushing the Holy Koran down the crapper. Not only did the Pentagon brass get really bent out of shape, but even resident White House white washer and Mighty Mouth, Scott McClellan, conveyed the Bush administration’s anger and outrage, almost losing it himself! Clearly, the issue couldn’t be the absurdity that falsehoods and lies kill people – the Bush administration has demonstrated its total contempt for human life since it maneuvered itself into power. This outrage is about its sensing of rebellion and disloyalty to the state! 

American soldiers flushing the Koran down the drain? Maybe our troops might blow up a dozen or so mosques, schools and hospitals; and maybe they’d cut off Fallujah’s water supply and electrical service before carpet-bombing and napalming every living soul within the city walls. And maybe we might hang two innocent Afghanis by their wrists from the ceiling of their cells for days, and beat their legs with bats until their bones became mashed potatoes. They’re the enemy, no? 

We’ve been trained by the media to hate, loathe and despise these rag-headed camel stinkers; they’re not human! They deserve to be humiliated and tortured. We are learning, day by day, to enjoy their screams, especially when they are suffering and appealing to their maker for mercy. So maybe we might torture innocent, helpless prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, or kill twenty [?] or so – so what?! These vermin are Untermenschen! Gott mit Uns! Zeig Heil!!! 

So it is completely understandable that members of the Bush administration and the neocon Pentagon would become so outraged when the truth is revealed. Where’s Newsweek’s loyalty to our Republican form of Government? As Frank Rich of the Bush-supporting New York Times points out, quoting Mighty Mouth McClellan: “‘Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care.’” 

The Koran is treated with care, but Iraqis, Afghanis, Muslims and Arabs can be beaten to death, have electric shock treatment administered to their genitals, have their faces smeared with fake menstrual blood, can be made to crawl while naked and chained wearing a dog’s collar and led on a leash by a wimpy female “soldier,” and can be forced into a river by Coalition heroes where non-swimmers are drowned. But this, by no means at all, should lead anyone to the erroneous conclusion that the great United States of America, and its “duty-honor-country” military, would ever condone any display of contempt or disdain for the venerable Holy Koran! 

Rich’s May 22nd commentary, entitled “It’s All Newsweek’s Fault,” points out the wording used by the administration in denouncing the magazine: “Yet there’s something weirdly self-incriminating about the language it uses to do it. Richard Boucher, the State Department spokesman whose previous boss, Colin Powell, delivered a fictional recitation of Saddam Hussein’s weapon capabilities before the United Nations Security Council, said it’s ‘shocking’ that Newsweek used ‘facts that have not been substantiated.’ Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, attacked Newsweek for hiding ‘behind anonymous sources,’ yet it was an anonymous source, an Iraqi defector known as Curveball, who fed the fictions that Mr. Powell spouted to gin up America for war. Psychological displacement of this magnitude might give even Freud pause.” 

Did I read that right? News isn’t news until The New York Times reports it? And now it is I who wish to point out that there is “something weirdly self-incriminating” regarding Rich’s choice of words. In fact, Rich does a little backward stretch when he cites the analogy of an “anonymous source” referring to “Curveball” feeding “fictions” to Colin Powell. Are both Frank Rich and the editorial board of The New York Times aware of the news? Aren’t they aware that a Sunday London Times article exposed the Bush administration and provided conclusive, irrefutable proof that Bush engineered the false intelligence himself? 

If Rich is so disgusted with the Bush regime’s bullying of the press and Newsweek’s cave, why doesn’t his venerable newspaper report on what is now termed the “Smoking Gun Memo?” Even after the establishment media’s own watchdog group, FAIR, protested this spiking of what could easily be termed as the greatest blockbuster headline of the 21st century, Rich has to fumble his way through his published outrage by employing the term “anonymous source.” There is nothing at all anonymous about the President of the United States, George W. Bush!

Ted Lang <tlang1@optonline.net> is a political analyst and freelance writer. 

What have the Zionists done for the Jews?

Get a whole bunch killed, that is for sure!

Wonder how many Jews will have to die, on that spit of sand at the other end of the Mediterranean, before most will say," ENOUGH!"

By LENNI BRENNER

On May 4th, an article, "Board's Amazon Appeal," appeared on Jewish News, a Zionist website. It reported that the Board Of Deputies Of British Jews, pro-Zionist religious Jewry's central organization, had complained to Amazon re a book I edited, 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis.

I wrote the Board. It responded. I answered their critique & challenged them to publicly debate the issue. Below is the Jewish News article and the correspondence between me & the Board.

The Holocaust is being heavily memorialized this year, the 60th anniversary of the end of WW ll. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan attended the opening of Israel's new museum at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Institute. NYC's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, running for reelection, was Bush's official representative. Documentaries have appeared on TV re differing aspects of Nazism & the atrocity.

Altho historians have examined Nazism in detail in all its complexity, the present general public, world-wide, is interested in little more than the Holocaust, the Jews as victims. Few, Jew or gentile, know anything about the range of Jewish politics in the Hitler era.

What happened to the Jews is constantly utilized in Zionist propaganda as justification for the creation of the Israeli state, the silver lining around the dark cloud of desolation. That's the tip off that there is something missing: What did the Zionists do for the Jews? There is no 51 Documents: Zionist Resistance to the Nazis.

The Board's attempt to discredit my book with Amazon, and their response to me, permitted me to briefly document some of my charges. But this is no substitute for delving deeper into the controversy. For this, I recommend looking at my 1st book, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators, in conjunction with 51 Documents, which contains complete texts of much of the material cited in the earlier work. Zionism in the Age of the Dictators is out of print, but is on the internet at <www.marxists.de/middleast/brenner/index.htm>.

I must thank the Board. Its crude attempt to discredit the book with Amazon backfired. They have put some of their later-day rationalizations for such collaboration out there for the world to see. Now they will have to debate me, or demonstrate, once & for all & forever, that they don't dare defend Zionism's shameful politics during Jewry's desperate hour.

LINK to other articles

A Must See Site; Our War Criminals....

Is the U. S. guilty of Crimes against Peace?
    To many Americans, the idea that U. S. leaders could be prosecuted for war crimes comes right out of left field.
    "What do you mean war crimes? Our leaders are only protecting our nation! No foreign court should be allowed to bring politically motivated charges against our leaders! It's a new world order! In the age of terrorism the old rules of war no longer apply!"

    When you see a peace protestor shouting that Bush is a war criminal, you're hearing more than partisan hyperbole. When you hear someone refer to the war in Iraq as an illegal war, such an accusation is not made lightly. As Americans we are all party to having allowed this war to take place.
   
    In the following articles we will look at American objections to being held accountable to the rest of the world. We'll look at the issues of World Court jurisdiction and International Law,the so-called Pre-emptive Doctrine, the so-called "Enemy Combatant" exemption, and the U. S. attempt to redefine "torture."
 
Americans, please get with it...there are criminals in our government, the likes of which have never been seen in our history.
 
Are we self-governing or not?
 
Do we deserve to be free or not?
 
Do we have a clue what our government is doing, in our name, or not?
 
Do we care, or not?
 
Do we have a soul, or not?

If People are acting, without any hint of reason, the problem is always fear...and deception.

One benefit of the new AM progressive talk radio in cities around the United States is that the call-in shows have opened a window onto the concerns – and confusion – felt by millions of Americans trying to figure out how their country went from a democratic republic to a modern-day empire based on a cult of personality and a faith-based rejection of reason.

“What went wrong?” you hear them ask. “How did we get here?”

You also hear more detailed questions: “Why won’t the press do its job of holding George W. Bush accountable for misleading the country to war in Iraq? How could the intelligence on Iraq have been so wrong? Why do America’s most powerful institutions sit back while huge trade and budget deficits sap away the nation’s future?”

There are, of course, many answers to these questions. But from my 27 years in the world of Washington journalism and politics, I would say that the most precise answer can be summed up in one word: fear.

It’s not fear of physical harm. That's not how it works in Washington. For the professionals in journalism and in intelligence, it’s a smaller, more corrosive fear – of lost status, of ridicule, of betrayal, of unemployment. It is the fear of getting blackballed from a community of colleagues or a profession that has given your life much of its meaning and its financial sustenance.

Dynamic of Fear

What the American conservative movement has done so effectively over the last three decades is to perfect a dynamic of fear and inject it into the key institutions for generating or disseminating information.

This strategy took shape in the latter half of the 1970s amid the ashes of the Watergate scandal and the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. Conservatives were determined that those twin disasters – getting caught in a major political scandal and seeing the U.S. population turn against a war effort – should never happen again.

As I describe in Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, the initial targets of the Right's “war of ideas” were the national news media and the CIA’s analytical division – two vital sources of information at the national level.

The U.S. press was blamed for exposing President Richard Nixon’s dirty tricks and for spreading dissension that undermined morale in the Vietnam War. The CIA analysts had to be brought under control because the driving rationale for the conservative power grab was to be an exaggerated threat assessment of America’s enemies.

If the American people saw the Soviet Union as a leviathan coming to swallow the United States, then they would surrender their tax dollars, their civil liberties and their common sense. Conversely, if the CIA analysts offered a nuanced view of the Soviet Union as a rapidly declining power falling farther behind the West technologically and desperately trying to keep control of its disintegrating sphere of influence, then Americans might favor a shift in priorities away from foreign dangers to domestic needs. Negotiation – not confrontation – would make sense.

Neocon Wars

So, one of the first battles fought in this historic neocon conquest of the U.S. government occurred largely behind the walls of the CIA, beginning in 1976 (under George H.W. Bush’s directorship) with the so-called “Team B” assault on the CIA’s fabled Kremlinologists. In the 1980s, this attack on the professional objectivity of the CIA’s analytical division intensified under the watchful eye of CIA Director William J. Casey and his deputy, Robert Gates.

Through bureaucratic bullying and purges, the neoconservatives eventually silenced CIA analysts who were reporting evidence of Soviet decline. Instead, a “politicized” CIA analytical division adopted worst-case scenarios about Soviet capabilities and intentions, estimates that supported the Reagan administration’s costly arms buildup and covert wars in the Third World.

The neocon strategy was so successful that the battered CIA analytical division largely blinded itself to the growing evidence of the coming Soviet collapse. Then, ironically, when the Soviet Union fell apart in 1990, the neoconservatives were hailed as heroes for achieving the seemingly impossible – the supposedly sudden collapse of the Soviet Union – while the CIA’s analytical division was ridiculed for “missing” the Soviet demise. [For details, see Secrecy & Privilege.]

The second important target in these Neocon Wars was the U.S. national press corps. The strategy here was twofold: to build an ideologically conservative news media and to put consistent pressure on mainstream journalists who generated information that undercut the conservative message.

The so-called “controversializing” of troublesome mainstream journalists was aided and abetted by the fact that many senior news executives and publishers were either openly or quietly sympathetic to the neocons’ hard-line foreign policy agenda. That was even the case in news companies regarded as “liberal” – such as the New York Times, where executive editor Abe Rosenthal shared many neocon positions, or at Newsweek, where top editor Maynard Parker also aligned himself with the neocons.

In the 1980s, reporters who dug up hard stories that challenged the Reagan administration’s messaging found themselves under intense pressure, both externally from well-funded conservative attack groups and behind their backs from senior editors. Any false step – if it offended the Reagan-Bush White House – could prove fatal for a career.

The New York Times’ Central America correspondent Raymond Bonner was perhaps the highest profile journalist pushed out of a job because his reporting angered the neoconservatives, but he was far from alone. The Reagan administration even organized special “public diplomacy” teams to lobby bureau chiefs about ousting reporters who were deemed insufficiently supportive of government policies.

[For details, see Robert Parry’s Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & Project Truth.]

Disproving Liberalism

Also, by popularizing accusations of “liberal media,” the conservatives both justified the existence of their own ideological news outlets and put mainstream news organizations in the constant position of trying to prove they weren’t liberal. To protect their careers, journalists made a point of writing stories that would please the Reagan-Bush White House.

Similarly, in the 1990s, mainstream journalists wrote more harshly about President Clinton than they normally would because they wanted to show that they could be tougher on a Democrat than a Republican. This approach was not journalistically sound – reporters are supposed to be equal-opportunity abusers – but it made psychological sense for journalists who knew how vulnerable they were, having seen how easily the careers of other capable journalists had been destroyed.

As the years wore on, the survivors of this bureaucratic Darwinism – who had avoided the Right’s wrath both in the worlds of journalism and intelligence analysis – rose to senior positions in their respective fields. The ethos shifted from truth-telling to career-protection. [For an extreme example of how this dynamic worked, see Consortiumnews.com's "America's Debt to Journalist Gary Webb."]

The consequences of these changes in journalism and intelligence analysis became apparent when the neocons – the likes of Paul Wolfowitz and Elliott Abrams – returned to power under George W. Bush in 2001 and especially after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

As happened with the hyping of the Soviet threat in the mid-to-late 1980s, a pliant intelligence community largely served up whatever alarmist information the White House wanted about Iraq and other foreign enemies.

When an individual analyst did challenge the “group think,” he or she would be called unfit or accused of leftist sympathies, as occurred when State Department analysts protested Undersecretary of State John Bolton’s exaggerated claims about Cuba’s weapons of mass destruction. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “John Bolton & the Battle for Reality.”]

Meanwhile, in the mainstream media, news executives and journalists were petrified of accusations that they were “blaming America first” or didn’t sufficiently “support the troops.” Mainstream news outlets competed with conservative Fox News to wrap themselves in red, white and blue. News executives transformed their networks and newspapers into little more than conveyor belts for the Bush administration’s propaganda.

Poorly sourced allegations about Iraq’s supposed nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs were trumpeted on Page One of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Skeptical stories were buried deep inside.

This journalistic fear has lessened somewhat since the discovery by Bush’s own investigators that the U.S. claims about Iraq’s WMD were “dead wrong,” but the residual intimidation remains. News executives still realize it’s safer for their careers to downplay stories that cast a harsh light on Bush’s rationale for invading Iraq.

So, in May 2005, when the British press disclosed a secret government memo from July 2002 stating that everyone knew the Iraq WMD evidence was “thin” but that Bush had decided to go to war anyway – months earlier than the official story – these revelations were treated as old news in the U.S. press.

The Washington Post’s national security writer Walter Pincus used the so-called Downing Street Memo as a way to reexamine the evidence that some U.S. intelligence analysts were warning the Bush administration about the weak WMD case in 2002. But the Post’s editors followed their long-set pattern and stuck the article on Page A26. [Washington Post, May 22, 2005]

Reasons Why

On the progressive talk radio shows, both callers and hosts struggle to explain this phenomenon of downplaying important life-and-death stories.

Some put the fault on media profiteering that invests little money in investigative journalism and favors circuses like the Michael Jackson trial. Others blame corporate consolidation that wants to reward Bush for lucrative deregulation policies at the Federal Communications Commission.

Though there’s some truth in these analyses, I believe the more fundamental motivation is career fear.

The major U.S. news outlets didn’t shut their eyes about the Downing Street Memo because it lacked news interest. Indeed, many readers would have dropped 50 cents into a newspaper vending machine to read about how the nation was duped into war or they’d watch a penetrating segment about the issue on a TV news program.

But news executives judged that whatever financial gain they might receive from playing this story up was outweighed by the grief they would get from Bush administration defenders. So the news judgment was to play the story down.

Too many journalists had lost jobs over the preceding quarter century to take the risk. The neocons had instilled enough fear in the American news business – from executive suites to beat reporters – that nearly everyone wants to err on the side of not offending the powers that be.

Career fear trumped the profit motive.

What is perhaps even more troubling is that this fear is spreading to other institutions. Academia is now feeling the heat from conservatives who want to eliminate it as the last bastion of liberal thought. Corporate leaders also appear to be suffering from paralysis in the face of policies that are threatening the long-term future of the United States.

As New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman observed after traveling to American cities, CEOs are mostly staying on the sidelines in these crucial debates.

“America faces a huge set of challenges if it is going to retain its competitive edge,” Friedman wrote. “As a nation, we have a mounting education deficit, energy deficit, budget deficit, health care deficit and ambition deficit. …

“Yet, when I look around for the group that has both the power and interest in seeing America remain globally focused and competitive – America’s business leaders – they seem to be missing in action. … In part, this is because boardrooms tend to be culturally Republican – both uncomfortable and a little afraid to challenge this administration.” [NYT, May 25, 2005]

How to Build Courage

So, what’s the answer? If a big part of the problem is fear, how can fear be overcome?

It’s simply not enough to tell journalists, politicians and others that they must buck up and do the right thing, especially when people who do show courage are systematically destroyed and made into object lessons for colleagues left behind.

If individuals are expected to be courageous, there must be courageous institutions to surround and protect them. That’s why the creation of a counter-infrastructure – one that will take on both the powerful conservative infrastructure and the cowardly mainstream media – is so vital.

Examples of how this counter-dynamic could work can be found in the take-no-prisoners ethos of the anti-Bush Internet sites, or in the irreverent comedy of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” or in the unabashed liberalism of the fledgling progressive talk radio.

All have shown toughness in refusing to genuflect before Bush and his enormous political power.

Just as cowardice can come in small pieces, none seeming to be that important alone but which added together can destroy a worthy cause, so courage can build one piece on top of another until a solid foundation is established from which a mighty edifice can rise.

But it is urgent that progressives begin immediately to invest in the building blocks of this new infrastructure. It's the only hope for a healthy political balance to be restored.


Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His new book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at Amazon.com, as is his 1999 book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth.'

Website should be, at least, a weelky visit for us all.

Road to Damascus: Next Step for the Crawford Caligula?

Corrente notes some ominous moves of US Naval forces sent on an "unexpected mission" to "support anti-terrorist efforts" in "the Balkans and the Middle East." Meanwhile, Condoleeza Rice has moved from condemning Syria for "not doing enough" to stop insurgents moving across its borders into Iraq to blasting Damascus for knowingly allowing insurgents to stage their operations on Syrian soil. And US forces in Iraq are carrying out large-scale attacks near the Syrian border. How long before "hot pursuit" of insurgents carries them into Syria itself, or some other border incident -- contrived or genuine -- gives rise to war fever among the chickenhawks of the Potomac?

All the recent Zarqawi noise seems to be part of this buildup as well. Would a jihadi website controlled or supporting Zarqawi really be posting a stream of stories about his being wounded, taken out of action, passing on the baton to an aide, etc.? Wouldn't they instead be singing the praises of their invicible leader, or other such freeper-like propaganda? One possibility is that it's dat ole debbil psy-ops at work again -- possibly setting up a scenario that finds the "jihadis" confessing that their boss is safe and sound in Syria: yet another casus belli for Bush agression.

The Syrians are desperately trying to stave off the impending strike -- first by withdrawing from Lebanon, and today by announcing their large-scale efforts in arresting would-be foreign insurgents trying to get into Iraq. Over and over they keep signaling how cooperative they've been in the "War on Terror," hoping, perhaps, they'll win brownie points for taking part in Bush's priority project. But of course, the "war on terror" is demonstrably NOT Bush's priority: the domination of world energy resources -- by force and threat -- and the imposition of Bush-style crony capitalism -- again by force and threat -- are the real foreign policy priorities of the Bush Administration.

Syria is in the cross-hairs: when Bush is ready to pull the trigger, he will. It wouldn't matter if Syria handed over Osama bin Laden on a platter. It's not about terrorism, it's not about "keeping America safe" -- it's about the brutal expansion of elite power.

This has been obvious for a long time. Here's a take on the Syrian situation that I wrote about in The Moscow Times -- in April 2003:

As shovels scoop the shredded viscera of cold collaterals in Baghdad, and brisk hoses scour the blood from market stalls and children's bedrooms – festive preparations to make ready for the enthronement of the new lords of Babylon – we cast an anxious gaze beyond the barbed steel of the security perimeter, to a column of troops and ordnance rumbling toward the horizon. Whither are they bound? Who's next to feel the mailed fist of liberation?

At the moment, all signs point to Syria. Iran, of course, would be a more glittering prize – not to mention a more remunerative one for the unholy trinity of Oil, Arms and Construction whose mephitic spirits brood over the rising American Empire. But Iran is a big beast; first Iraq must be chewed, swallowed and digested before there is sufficient room in the imperial gut – and sufficient loot in the imperial treasury – for another sumptuous banquet.

Syria, however, would make a tasty snack – rough fare gulped down on the long, circuitous march to Persia and Cathay. What's more, a dose of shock and awe for Damascus would secure the rear for any eventual push on Teheran. And once recalcitrant Syria is brought to heel, the juicy olive of Lebanon would surely fall of its own ripe weight, without any need of brutal plucking. Then, with the equally cowed Jordan, it could serve as a – what should we call it? repository? refuge? – yes, a refuge for the troublesome hordes of Palestine, transferred – humanely and happily, of course – from the newly cleansed lands of Judea and Samaria...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

ACTION ALERT: Demand Inquiry

Coalition of citizen groups seek formal inquiry into whether Bush acted illegally in push for Iraq war

Larisa Alexandrovna


May 26, 2005 - A coalition of activist groups running the gamut of social and political issues will ask Congress to file a Resolution of Inquiry, the first necessary legal step to determine whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in misleading the country about his decision to go to war in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

The formal Resolution of Inquiry request, written by Boston constitutional attorney John C. Bonifaz, cites the Downing Street Memo (
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html
) and issues surrounding the planning and execution of the Iraq war. A resolution of inquiry would force relevant House committees to vote on the record as to whether to support an investigation.

The Downing Street Memo (
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1593607,00.html
) , official minutes of a 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, members of British intelligence MI-6 and various members of the Bush administration, notes that MI-6 director Richard Dearlove said, “Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

Bonifaz says the minutes were the impetus for his request.

“The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people,” Bonifaz wrote in a memo (
http://rawstory.com/exclusives/alexandrovna/memo_bush_impeac
hable_offenses_526
) to the ranking House Judiciary Committee Democrat John Conyers (D-MI), outlining the case
(read his memo here:
http://rawstory.com/exclusives/alexandrovna/memo_bush_impeac
hable_offenses_526
).

Blair and other British officials have not questioned the minutes’ veracity.

In response to the revelations in the Downing Street memo, Conyers and eighty-eight other members of Congress issued a letter to the White House on May 5 requesting an explanation and answers to questions about whether the President misled Congress into voting for the Iraq war.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan waived off the letter, saying he had “no need to respond,” according to the New York Times (
http://www.nytimes.com/auth/login?URI=http://www.nytimes.com
/2005/05/20/politics/20weapons.html&OQ=pagewantedQ3DprintQ26 ...
).

Frustrated by the media’s silence, save a few articles buried in major American newspapers and pieces in the alternative media such as Air America Radio, the Ed Schultz Show, Salon and RAW STORY, a grassroots progressive movement has pushed the story forward, culminating in a formal request for a Resolution of Inquiry.

Bonifaz wrote the request and outlined the case on behalf of a joint effort by several groups, including: Veterans for Peace, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), 911Citizens Watch, Democracy Rising, Code Pink, Global Exchange, Democrats.com, Velvet Revolution, and Gold Star Families for Peace.

“The president, among other alleged crimes, may have also violated federal criminal law if the evidence from the Downing Street memo is proven to be true, including the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996,” Bonifaz wrote.

Some have criticized the media’s coverage of the memo.

"To me it's kind of the smoking gun, or maybe the latest in a number of smoking guns,” Editor and Publisher senior editor Dave Astor told RAW RADIO Saturday. “And the fact that the media either didn't cover it or buried the coverage or poo-pooed it is appalling.”

“It goes back to the fact of who owns the media and the media being intimidated by this administration,” he added. “I think that memo indicates an impeachable offense, personally. If we had a Congress that had some spine, and was maybe Democratic-controlled, it could be an impeachable offense.”

Coalition member Medea Benjamin, founding director of Global Exchange, said she supports legal proceedings.

“When a president so callously distorts the facts, manipulates the public and is responsible for so much needless death and destruction, he must be held accountable,” Benjamin told RAW STORY.

Other members of the coalition, loosely titled “After Downing Street,” concur.

“We will be organizing the grassroots to demand Congress move forward with a Resolution of Inquiry,” PDA director Tim Carpenter stated.

As part of Congressional approval for H.R.Res. 114; Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, the administration was required to report to Congress that diplomatic options had been exhausted before or within 48 hours after military action had started.

In a conversation with RAW STORY, Bonifaz expressed the disappointment of many who put their faith in the President.

“Within 48 hours after the attack on Iraq, the president wrote a letter to Congress indicating that Iraq posed a serious and imminent threat to national security and if he knew that was not true at the time he submitted that letter it is a clear violation of the False Statements Accountability Act of 1996,” Bonifaz said.

Under this Act, amending 18 U.S.C. § 1001, it is a crime knowingly and willfully (1) to falsify, conceal or cover up a material fact by trick, scheme or device; (2) to make any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) to make or use any false writing or document knowing it to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; with respect to matters within the jurisdiction of the legislative, executive, or judicial branch.

He goes on to discuss the other statutes and laws that may have been violated, including but not limited to the Federal Anti-Conspiracy Statute (more per above link).

When asked if the Inquiry of Resolution would apply to others involved in the alleged effort to mislead the public into war, Bonifaz explained that the procedure requires that a full inquiry begin from the top of the chain of command.

“Provisions in U.S. Constitution guarantee that when a President abuses power, engages in excesses, and subverts the constitution, the people have a recourse through their elected officials in congress,” he said.

Other member groups behind this coalition want that recourse.

We are "behind this resolution of inquiry because our loved ones were killed for deception and betrayal from George Bush and the rest of the administration," said Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan. "We would like to see George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al, be held accountable for their lies and arrogance for sending our children off to die in a war that is illegal and immoral."

“We support this resolution of inquiry because we stand for truth and accountability,” said co-founder of 911CitizensWatch Kyle Hence. “It's more important than ever as whistleblowers stand up and documents emerge that point to potential crimes in high places all too often of late veiled by government secrecy.”

Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, agrees with the need for transparency.

"We believe that a proper inquiry into the facts underlying the Downing Street memo are vital to our constitutional democracy because only Congress can declare war, and a President and his appointed officials cannot be allowed to run the country if indeed they have misled and lied about the basis for the Iraq war,” said Friedman.

Bonifaz hopes the groups, which boast a total membership of several million, are just the beginning of the grassroots groundswell.

The others agree.

“It is time for Congress to do its duty and ask: “Did the administration mislead us into war by manipulating and misstating intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction, suppressing contrary intelligence …and exaggerated the danger Iraq posed to the United States and its neighbors?” said Kevin Zeese, founder of Democracy Rising.

Bonifaz and others ask that citizens of all party affiliations and backgrounds help support his request by writing to their Congressional leaders. They are also seeking other groups to sign on.

More information will be up shortly at: http://www.afterdowningstreet.org.

http://rawstory.com/exclusives/alexandrovna/coalition_inquir
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