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Sunday, November 25, 2007

US is ‘worst’ imperialist

Times ONline UK
The Sunday Times
November 25, 2007
By Abul Taher

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday.

Rowan Williams claimed that America’s attempt to intervene overseas by “clearing the decks” with a “quick burst of violent action” had led to “the worst of all worlds”.

In a wide-ranging interview with a British Muslim magazine, the Anglican leader linked criticism of the United States to one of his most pessimistic declarations about the state of western civilisation.

He said the crisis was caused not just by America’s actions but also by its misguided sense of its own mission. He poured scorn on the “chosen nation myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God’s purpose for humanity”.

Williams went beyond his previous critique of the conduct of the war on terror, saying the United States had lost the moral high ground since September 11. He urged it to launch a “generous and intelligent programme of aid directed to the societies that have been ravaged; a check on the economic exploitation of defeated territories; a demilitarisation of their presence”.

He went on to suggest that the West was fundamentally adrift: “Our modern western definition of humanity is clearly not working very well. There is something about western modernity which really does eat away at the soul.”

Williams suggested American leadership had broken down: “We have only one global hegemonic power. It is not accumulating territory: it is trying to accumulate influence and control. That’s not working.”

He contrasted it unfavourably with how the British Empire governed India. “It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that’s what the British Empire did — in India, for example. "

“It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks and that you can move on and other people will put it back together — Iraq, for example.”

In the interview in Emel, a Muslim lifestyle magazine, Williams makes only mild criticisms of the Islamic world. He said the Muslim world must acknowledge that its “political solutions were not the most impressive”.

He commends the Muslim practice of praying five times a day, which he says allows the remembrance of God to be “built in deeply in their daily rhythm”.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ron Paul and the Money Question

Murray Sabrin

[News2U Note: It's all gonna come crashing down, prepare now]

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas is calling for the return of sound money, i.e., an eventual restoration of the gold standard.

With the U.S. dollar's purchasing power falling on foreign exchange markets, Dr. Paul has diagnosed the greenback's condition correctly; the Federal Reserve is debasing the nation's monetary unit.

All the other candidates have not addressed the money issue because they either do not understand how the Federal Reserve's policies are causing the dollar to depreciate, or they have been told by the financial elites not to talk about the FED.

It is astonishing that as the dollar has lost more than 50% of its value against the Euro in the past four years, the silence is deafening in the presidential debates, except for the insightful statements by Dr. Paul about our nation's monetary system.

Dr. Paul has pointed out time and time again how the FED manipulates interest rates by injecting new money into the economy fueling the unsustainable boom that inevitably ends in a bust.

Dr. Paul also has stated that the U.S. invasion of Iraq as well as the military adventure in Afghanistan is eroding the value of the dollar, because the Federal Reserve prints new money to cover the federal government's budget deficit caused by the welfare-warfare state.

Although the FED does not literally print the new money, it has an unlimited checking account that it uses to conduct "open market" operations. At each meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the FED either pumps in new money to lower interest rates or keeps them stable. However, when the economy begins to feel the inflationary pressures from the FED's previous easy money policies, the FED will raise rates to dampen price inflation.

The country is now mired in a housing depression-a direct consequence of the Greenspan FED dropping interest rates to one percent a few years ago. The flood of easy money and credit fueled one of the biggest housing bubbles in modern American history. With the bubble now burst, the question remains will the fallout spread to other sectors of the economy?

Preliminary indications reveal that consumers are becoming more cautious in their spending just as the Christmas holiday shopping season begins on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Even Starbucks is reporting slower sales as higher gasoline and heating costs are beginning to pinch family budgets.

Whether a Ron Paul presidency could return to a gold standard given the enormous power of the vested interests in favor of fiat money remains to be seen. In the meantime, Dr. Paul is explaining how the Federal Reserve is undermining the dollar's purchasing power, how the FED causes the boom-bust cycle and how war and inflation are interconnected.

For his efforts, Dr. Paul is a breath of fresh air in the presidential debates, while all the other candidates remain silent on the cause of the redistribution of wealth from savers and low and middle income families to the military-industrial complex and the nation's financial elites.

Since the creation of the Federal Reserve nearly one hundred years ago, the American people have been taught by economists and supported by the DC politicians and the clueless media that the FED is necessary to "stimulate" the economy and fight inflation.

Now that Rep. Paul is teaching the public the truth about the "creature from Jekyll Island."
the attacks on him are accelerating every day in the mainstream media. And with Iran's leader calling for an alternative to the U.S. dollar, will Bush and Cheney order an attack on Iran soon?

Above Article Source:

Educate yourself on the money issues confronting your future.

The gold standard is the backbone of the enslaving jewish debt money system which apparently started in Babylon. Read David Astle's THE BABYLONIAN WOE.

Money issuance is very simple. The rule is that "as universal prosperity is dependent upon the ability of money to flow, nothing may be done that would in any way impede that flow." This would include using commodities as money (gold, silver), imposing interest payments on money, or in using money for anything beyond its sole legitimate purpose as a medium of exchange.

During Roosevelt's 1933 bank holiday thousands of counties and communities had the local printer make up a batch of paper money for local use. There is a catalog available for collectors.

I think in this county the Lions club provided the cash to keep business going. Of course this worked so well that the banksters quickly opened the banks back up before everyone got on to the fact that they could do very well without the jewish money lenders.

Today there are hundreds of communities in the US using local currency, just not calling it dollars. Similarly hundreds in Germany, and I'll bet in many other countries if one searched. Do look for "IthacaHours" on the internet.

Today Congressman Ron Paul is demonized for exposing Elite'sFraudulent Federal Reserve System and plans to loot Iran.

For more info on the enslaving financial system imposed on us by the World's Ruling Elite, please watch these video documentaries:

Money as Debt

Explaining the banking money fraud

The Money Masters


Masters of the Universe - The Secret Birth of the Federal Reserve

"Cash (Money)" by Prince Charles and the City Beat Band

Monopoly Men

Collapse of the Federal Reserve: The Second American Revolution

Ring of power"

Money as debt, how the Banking Dynasties Rob YOU

FIAT EMPIRE - A Closer Look at the Federal Reserve

FIAT EMPIRE - Why the Federal Reserve Violates the U.S. Constitution

Plans of the international bankers to dominate the entire world both economically and politically

The Capitalist Conspiracy: An Inside View ... CFR AND BANKS ... The history.

Eustache Mullins on the Federal Reserve System


The Hidden History of Money free PDF download

"Currency Wars" is a book by Song Hongbing released recently.

A new Chinese best-seller, "Currency Wars", claims that disparate events spanning two centuries - from the deaths of six US presidents and the rise of Adolf Hitler to the deflation of Japan's bubble economy and the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis - have a single root cause: the control of money issuance by the Rothschild banking dynasty.

Even today, claims author Song Hongbing, the US Fed remains a "puppet" of private banks, which also ultimately owe their allegiance to the ubiquitous Rothschilds. The book is estimated to have sold about 600,000, including 200,000 from the publisher, a unit of state-owned CITIC group, and 400,000 pirated copies.

An Indictment of The Federal Reserve System and Its BankLords MoneyMasters is the complete document in "Ms Word" format of "Billions for the Bankers, Debts for the People" by American Pastor Sheldon Emry.

It can be downloaded by or viewed at: .

This document on banking is very similar to the one written by J. A. Thauberger of Regina in the mid 90s. J.A. Thauberger's version examines corruption at the core of the Canadian monetary system.

Billions for the Banker, Debts for the People Americans and Canadians have lost control of their money. How can we get it back?

The Money Masters explains how international bankers gained control of America

The Money Trail by Estanislao Carter

The Creature of Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve:

A FULL Explanation of the Federal Reserve and IRS SCAMS

Eustache Mullins on the Secrets of the Federal Reserve System and control by operatives of the BankLords military industrial complex

Monday, November 19, 2007

Crisis in the U.S.: “Plan B”?

By Richard C. Cook Global Research
November 11, 2007
[Emphasis News2U]

Strange events are taking place in the U.S.

By August 2007, a lot of very smart people were reading the tea leaves, convinced that the upper echelons of the U.S. government had their own hidden reasons for forecasting an event even more heinous than the attacks of September 11, 2001.

President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff had been hinting that another 9/11 could be coming.

Figures from the U.S. military had also projected a 9/11-type event. On April 23, 2006, for instance, the Washington Post published a statement by an unnamed Pentagon source that, “Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets.”

9/11 was a turning point in history, and not just because it provided a pretext for the Bush administration to use off-the-shelf plans to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. The 9/11 Commission criticized the government for failing to do enough to act on danger signs that attacks may have been afoot. But a movement has formed which argues that the reality was worse—that 9/11 was an inside job staged to further the geopolitical ambitions of an elite seeking to use U.S. military power to advance its own imperialistic agenda.

What is indisputable is that from the 2000 presidential election through the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, what New York Times columnist Paul Krugman termed a “revolutionary power” took control of the U.S. government.

Krugman’s statement, contained in the introduction to his 2005 book The Great Unraveling, has not been taken seriously enough. George W. Bush had lost the popular vote to Al Gore but was named to office by a Supreme Court that rubber-stamped what Greg Palast and others have proven was an extended process of electoral fraud in Florida. The subsequent actions and policies of the Bush/Cheney administration have been in accord with its dubious beginnings.

From the emergence of the Neocons as an ideological power base dominant over U.S. foreign policy, to destruction wreaked on the Bill of Rights by illegal surveillance of citizens, to the senseless creation of the bureaucratically monstrous Department of Homeland Security and passage of the Patriot Acts, to the initiation of “wars of choice” leading to the devastation of two nations and the killing or displacement of perhaps a million Middle Eastern non-combatants, to violation of international treaties and conventions against wars of aggression and torture of prisoners, to presiding over an economy ruined by the continued export of manufacturing jobs and the creation and deflation of the housing bubble, to the wrecking of the federal budget by over a trillion dollars of wartime expenditure, to the abandonment of the city of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, to tax cuts for the most wealthy while the income of the middle class has drastically eroded, and to threats to start another war, this time against Iran, based on deceptions similar to those which preceded the Iraq invasion, the Bush/Cheney administration has brought the U.S. to the brink of catastrophe.

What is now being asked is whether there was a plan that was to take place in September-October 2007 whereby the rest of the job would have been done. Speculation was that a nuclear device was to have been detonated in a U.S. city, perhaps one of the six attached to cruise missiles that were “inadvertently” carried by the Air Force B-52 bomber that flew from South Dakota to Louisiana just before Labor Day.

Check this link from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette for the official explanation of the incident:

According to the Air Force’s report, the missiles were being mothballed due to “a treaty,” but ground personnel at Minot Air Force Base “grabbed the wrong ones” and loaded missiles with nuclear warheads by mistake.

Some have argued that these nukes were secretly bound for Iran to prepare for a nuclear attack on that country. But would such a Keystone Cops routine have been necessary to prepare for military action as a contingency to implement a possible decision coming from the highest political levels?

Suppose, on the other hand, that one of the nukes was targeted for a false-flag domestic attack, perhaps a city like Portland, Oregon, where military exercises simulating a major terrorist incident had been scheduled and where residents actually were warning each other to leave town.

Was the attack to trigger an economic collapse, leading as a side-effect to a payoff of billions of dollars for the placers of the “bin Laden bets” that were reportedly made in the financial markets anticipating a fifty percent decline in stock prices? Of course such an attack would be blamed on foreign terrorists. The trail of the explosion would be found to lead to Iran, resulting in war against that nation. Would the Constitution then have been suspended and martial law declared? Would citizens have been rounded up and herded into prison camps?

Such a scenario seems unfathomable, horrendous, even incredible. But it still may have been in character for a regime whose actions have led the world to view the U.S. as the greatest existing threat to peace. Rumors about such possible events have been churning on the internet for months.

But the rumors have not been confined to “conspiracy theorists.” Regarding President Bush’s commitment to the sanctity of constitutional processes, Congressman John Olver expressed the prevailing view in government circles when he told twenty of his constituents at a private meeting in Massachusetts on July 5, 2007, that he could not support a movement to impeach Bush. According to an attendee, the reason the Congressman gave was that, “The President would declare a national emergency, institute martial law, and suspend the 2008 elections.”

Therefore we might ask if it is true, as some sources have alleged, that the reason these events have not taken place was that there was a revolt by the U.S. military, which refused to carry out the false-flag attack that may have been intended?

What then has happened differently which indicates that events may have altered or postponed such a sinister denouement to the nightmare of the last seven years?

What has happened appears to be that the U.S. establishment has decided to move to “Plan B.” This may be defined as a decision that the sway of the Bush/Cheney regime must end and that some semblance of normality should be restored, at least in appearance, by making Hillary Clinton the next President.

Of course part and parcel of any Hillary Clinton presidency would be the presence and participation of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. We may rightly speak of “the Clintons” as a unit in this context.

The signs that Hillary Clinton is the President-designee have been appearing in droves.

These include her rise in the polls, especially in Iowa, the emergence of an anti-Bush surge in the mega-media, especially on MSNBC, and the appointment of Democrats with ties to the Clintons at the Defense and Treasury Departments. Other signs include the emergence of a campaign by certain well-connected websites to keep tabs on pro-Neocon news commentators and offensives being launched against some particularly obnoxious right-wing media figures such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

The way Hillary Clinton is being portrayed in the mega-media is of decisive importance, because media-owning conglomerates such as GE, Viacom, and Disney serve the interests of the establishment, not the public. Nothing makes it to the airwaves without the approval of the financial interests which control these giants. Also decisive was the appearance of Hillary and Bill on the cover of the October 6 edition of The Economist, long the keystone publication of the Anglo-American international financial empire.

The Washington Post, another establishment house organ, has noted that Hillary herself is couching her election in terms of “when, not if.” The theme she is projecting is that of an anointed insider calling for “national unity.” For this she is being duly attacked by her competitors, most notably John Edwards.

The best example of how the mega-media is telegraphing establishment intent was Chris Mathews’ lead story on Hardball on Monday night, November 5, which displayed MSNBC’s “Power Rankings” for presidential candidates.

The segment began with an adulatory profile of Hillary’s campaign. Mathews then set a record for premature declaration of victory by predicting her as “the most likely winner of the Democratic nomination and presidential election” a full year before the election is even to take place.

Mathews repeated his judgment several times in what was obviously rehearsed language, even as the members of his three-person panel of commentators were trying in vain to raise objections, including the view that Hillary might not even win the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. Mathews repeatedly overrode his own experts with his insistence that Hillary was the MSMBC pick.

Oh yes, we will have the formality of a presidential election. Doubtless some fur will fly, because Hillary will always be the Clinton the right-wing most loves to hate. So we won’t see a coronation.

It is certain, however, that the current regime will exact a price for accepting at least temporary defeat. So far the price seems to be agreement by Hillary Clinton that the conquest of Iraq is a fait accompli, that the building of the Baghdad supersize embassy will continue, that permanent military bases in Iraq will be maintained a lá Korea, and that the option of an attack on Iran will remain “on the table.”

She has not raised her voice against any of this. The vehicle by which Clinton signed on to a possible attack on Iran was her vote in favor of the Senate resolution naming the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist sponsor. Perhaps there is also an understanding between the Clintons and the Bush/Cheney camp that the latter will not be prosecuted for crimes committed in office.

No matter who becomes president in 2008, that person will be left with a nation in disarray.

This includes a foreign policy that has been sacrificed to militaristic interests, the rise of a militant Russia now allied with China through the Shanghai Cooperative Organization, and a Latin America in open revolt against U.S. domination. Even maintaining a post-Bush foreign policy will be a challenge, given Condoleezza Rice’s legacy of a State Department whose morale is in shreds due to a vicious Neocon takeover of the foreign service that will persist for a generation or more.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is a wreck, with out-of-control debt, the housing collapse in full flower, continued erosion of manufacturing jobs, a sinking dollar, a crumbling physical infrastructure, soaring oil and food prices, out-of-control illegal immigration, and hordes of well-heeled foreigners buying U.S. assets with rapidly depreciating dollars.

The economy is in much worse shape today than when Bill Clinton took over from George H. W. Bush in 1992. It will be a miracle if the next president is able to keep the U.S. from sinking into a depression. The only qualification to this assessment lies with the large companies heavily invested in the growing Chinese economy—GM, GE, IBM, etc.

But a majority of the stock of these and other corporations is owned by financial institutions, while the trickle-down effect of dividends will provide only a fraction of the purchasing power needed to keep the U.S. economy afloat.

While the views of the American public still seem to register to a slight degree, the Democrats have failed to respond to their restoration by the electorate to power in Congress by ending the Iraq War. But by their votes in 2006 and by consistently giving George W. Bush such low ratings in the polls, Americans have delivered a message.

So have the many internet sites covering the real news of the war and the economy.

As well have the two maverick presidential candidates, Ron Paul the Republican and Dennis Kucinich the Democrat, who have been saying things not heard in the supine world of American politics for a long time. Things like getting rid of the inept handling of credit by the Federal Reserve and stopping the war in Iraq by exiting right now, without any more lies or excuses.

But it is by no means certain that there is much immediate hope of salvaging the nation from the current debacle. The interests of millions of Americans have been severely damaged by the financial and political malfeasance that has gone on for so long. Abroad, the deaths or ruin of large numbers of people in the Middle East must be accounted for. That region is now less stable than ever, as the situation in Pakistan shows. A negotiated two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians seems a distant dream.

Finally, sane multilateral systems for sharing of the world’s resources among nations or dealing with global warming are nowhere in sight. And a nuclear holocaust involving the U.S. vs. Russia and possibly China is a growing danger.

Further, the U.S. economy can’t simply be “fixed.” It is too far gone for that. The elite began their takedown of the economy during the 1970s and show no signs of being able to reverse course. It started with the removal of the gold-peg to the dollar in 1971 and continued with the explosion of U.S. currency on the international scene due to the petrodollar, soaring trade and fiscal deficits, action to permanently mortgage us to military-backed dependence on imported Middle Eastern oil, a permanent tilt in favor of Israel vs. the Islamic world, and, finally, the galloping 1970s inflation.

These events led to the Fed-induced crash of 1979-83 which left us with today’s travesty of a “service” economy. Now in 2007 the Fed is trying to engineer a “soft landing” of an economy trapped in unsustainable debt and collapsing bubbles, at least until the 2008 election. But everyone knows a crash is coming, particularly as China and other nations dump the plummeting dollar as their reserve currency.

So what are the Clintons and their government-in-waiting planning? You would think they had something in mind. But maybe not. During the 1990s, Bill Clinton acted in full accord with the globalists’ agenda by continuing with the Reagan/Bush I privatization of the economy, with downsizing of government, and with promotion of the bubble that ended with the 2000 market crash.

Unfortunately, it will not be as simple to engineer a repeat performance of even the ephemeral prosperity of the 1990s when what is lacking today is a real economic driver.

The grievous condition of the U.S. is reflected in an epidemic of mental and emotional illness and a rising violent crime rate. It is reflected in a USA Today poll, where 72 percent of Americans say the nation is moving in the wrong direction (74 percent in a Washington Post/ABC News poll). And who knows what disasters global warming has in store?

To face all this will require a decisive reorientation of U.S. governance. There is little in the history of the Clintons, their opportunistic style, and their passivity to the financier elite that justifies this much optimism. The financial controllers today exert more power over the U.S. economy and the nation’s politics than at any time in history. They are not giving up this power.

In fact, Hillary is their “safest” choice among the Democrats in maintaining control.

Perhaps we may want to indulge in a sigh of relief at how much worse things could have been—or may still be—if Bush/Cheney unleash even more disasters. But stay tuned. The next four years are likely to be decisive—particularly because the plan to elevate Hillary Clinton may be a trap by which she is left holding the bag for an economic collapse that would make it much easier than at present for the Neocon storm troopers to rush back in.

What is absolutely certain is that the people of the world do not want war, regardless of their religion, race, or nationality. The people of the world want economic fairness. The people of the world want to live by honest labor, not bank credit. And the people of the world want an environment that is clean and safe for future generations. The only people who do not appear to want these things have been those who are currently in charge of the U.S. government.

The question now is what are the American people willing to do to assure that what is truly in the best interests of the nation will prevail?

Will they continue to be manipulated by the fear which has been the basis of the Bush/Cheney mode of governance? Will they continue to act as obedient puppets as it becomes harder and harder to earn a living and raise a family in an economy throttled by debt and a declining standard of living? Will they simply vote for whom they are told to support by the media and the pollsters? Or will some decide that enough is enough and resolve to take America back in 2008?

But even if they do, can they succeed?

While Hillary Clinton is likely the designated Democratic nominee, Rudy Giuliani leads the polls for the Republicans. Giuliani, with his own group of Neocon advisers and his militant outbursts promising more war, is the ideological godson of Bush/Cheney.

Whoever is pulling the strings behind the scenes, it is likely obvious to them that to allow a character like Giuliani to step in while so many raw nerves are exposed among the American populace could lead to a premature explosion. Especially since Giuliani spent most of his adult life as a prosecutor putting people in jail. It’s hardly a time in the nation’s life when what is needed as head of state is an expert at slamming people into detention.

So what if Giuliani actually threatens to defeat Hillary while the establishment has decided to support her, perhaps just to buy time?

The establishment is taking precautions. It seems to be doing so by starting to promote a plan that could see Ron Paul running as a third-party candidate. You can see this unfolding, for instance, in his favorable treatment on CNN’s “Situation Room.” And could Dr. Paul really have begun suddenly to raise enormous amounts of campaign cash without someone in the establishment giving a green light?

Ron Paul as a candidate would obviously generate enormous excitement. But he could end up playing the same role as Ross Perot in the 1992 election, where Perot allowed disgruntled voters to let off steam while drawing enough votes to allow Bill Clinton to defeat George H.W. Bush.

One way or the other, the fix is on.

Finally, we should note that the “revolutionary power” Paul Krugman refers to is not just the Bush/Cheney/Neocon regime. They are only the most visible recent manifestation.

The true “revolutionary power” is much less visible but may reasonably be identified with the higher echelons of the “financier elite” and “establishment” referred to throughout this article. The underlying agenda of this group seems to be to destroy the U.S. as the world’s greatest industrial democracy, turn it into a province of a globalist system under their control, and use its land and population as muscle for world monetary and military dominance.

Can anything be done? Of course. The underlying problem is that the power and wealth acquired by the U.S. after World War II has eroded—has perhaps been squandered—as the rest of the world has grown up. Certainly, if the right people were in charge the U.S. could accept the inevitable, rebuild its failed domestic economy on democratic principles, and assume its rightful place as one of several major world powers, with the responsibility this would entail. Instead, we have been trying to hold onto what has slipped away by a continued resort to financial aggression combined with force of arms, rather than altruistic action based on enlightened ideals.

It’s a failed mission. What has happened to America in the last decade is turning into the greatest tragedy of modern history.

And what can ordinary people do while all this is unfolding? The best advice seems to be not to try to hoard paper assets, which the elite are able easily to manipulate or devalue. It’s to get out of debt, hone our manual skills, invest in a small business, grow our own food, stay positive, help others, work hard, eschew the consumption lifestyle, pray and meditate, be sober, and learn to think for ourselves. We might try to work within the political system if we can and want to, but should not count on easy successes, because, as the man said, “It’s a hard rain’s gonna fall.”

Richard C. Cook is a retired federal analyst, whose career included service with the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Carter White House, and NASA, followed by twenty-one years with the U.S. Treasury Department. His articles on economics, politics, and space policy have appeared on numerous websites. He is the author of Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age, called by one reviewer, “the most important spaceflight book of the last twenty years.” His website is at
© Copyright Richard C. Cook, Global Research, 2007
© Copyright 2005-2007


Sunday, November 18, 2007


November 18, 2007
[Emphasis News2U]

I’ve been writing too much about American Jews these days, forgetting my own reasoning that the Middle East problem is essentially a power game. Israel would be occupying southern Lebanon by now, building settlements and stealing water, had they not had their asses kicked by Hezbollah.

Thinking about that vile Cohen essay, I can only come to the conclusion that American Jews, for whatever reason, have decided to make themselves irrelevant to any sane discussion of the Middle East.

There is only one possible peace agreement, the one proposed by the Saudis, and unless and until we get to that agreement, there will be no peace.

That agreement can’t be obtained as long as Israeli politicians or American Jews have even the slightest say in the matter. You wouldn't ask mentally retarded people to do research in physics, and you shouldn’t ask morally retarded people to come up with a peace agreement. Engaging them in any way is wasting time, which is exactly what they want.

Lawrence of Cyberia considers (or here) the latest in the never-ending Israeli list of preconditions placed on the Palestinians before the Israelis will even consider discussing peace.

Why do we even bother? Knock down one illogical precondition, and they’ll just come back with another. It’s obvious with all the bloviation about the Annapolis conference: the Israelis will never voluntarily enter into discussions over a bona fide peace agreement. Never. If there is going to be peace, they are going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming.

The Americans will have to put it point blank: accept the Saudi proposals, or we will consider you to no longer be an ally of the United States.

Philip Weiss considers the Cohen slurring of the left. Note some of the comments to his posting to get a hint of the mess that American Jews are in. While there are some excellent American Jewish writers on the politics of the Middle East, they are overwhelmingly outnumbered, and overwhelmingly outshouted, by the haters.

The growth in sanity in American Jewish opinion is so slow that it will never be a relevant force, at least not within a helpful time frame. If American Jews want to make themselves irrelevant, we have to oblige them.

This is not a pessimistic posting. History is not on the side of Zionism. Israel moves from one disaster to another.

The neocons will attempt a comeback in Washington, and will partly succeed under controlled President Rudary, but the American Establishment is finally alive to the problem and is working against it, and real American opinion, as opposed to what you will see in the chattering classes, is rapidly – more rapidly than most people realize – moving to a firm anti-Israeli position.

The Zionists should know they are in trouble when a discussion at TPM Muckraker is more overtly ‘anti-Semitic’ that you might find at a forum at a traditional ‘anti-Semitic’ site (the new ‘scientific’ anti-Semites consider themselves to be doing research in sociology, which leads to the necessity of objective, unemotional discourse!).

The war in Iraq has been extremely helpful in that regard.

Annapolis won’t directly lead to progress, but it will force Israel to embarrass the Americans in public, an action which the Israelis know will be the beginning of the end of the weird special relationship, especially in this climate where it has become commonplace for vassal states to disrespect the United States.

When the state that depends the most on the United States for its very existence chooses to make Americans look like weak fools, the patronage won’t last much longer.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wolf Blitzer Loses Democratic Debate

[Media organized debate proves to be a sham, the best candidates are marginalized or left out]

By David Swanson

That does it. It's time for the Democratic Party to stage its own debate, ask its own questions, and offer the video to networks as a completed package. Allowing CNN to not just air a debate but to ask the questions proved on Thursday night (even more dramatically than in the past) to be a soul sickening disaster.

A serious debate would begin by asking each candidate (including Mike Gravel, who was locked out of the room) what he or she would do if elected president.

Thursday's debate in the opening 30 minutes had me longing for even the level of honesty and substance of the MSNBC debate hosted by Keith Olbermann in Soldier Field some months back, at which Olbermann managed the superhuman feat of asking things like "Would you cancel NAFTA?"

On Thursday Wolf Blitzer devoted the first 20 minutes to goading Clinton and Obama into bashing each other over how they have run their campaigns. Edwards was given a token 60 seconds to join the fight.

At 8:18 (the debate began at 8:00 p.m. ET) Biden was permitted to add his two cents.

At 8:20, Edwards was asked to bash Clinton from another angle. He took the bait, but then turned to the topic of poverty, in open violation of WB's rules. (Blitzer had announced at the start that candidates would not be permitted to stray from the topics of the questions asked.)

At 8:23 Dodd got to speak, still on the debate over the debate.

At 8:24 Richardson was allowed to add to the same substance-free topic. He introduced himself to the crowd as a way of registering his disastisfaction with being ignored for 24 minutes.

At 8:26, with Kucinich not having had the opportunity to say one word, CNN asked all the candidates to say whether they would support the Democratic nominee no matter what. They all said yes, except for Kucinich, who took the opportunity to say 10 words, receiving huge applause.

His words were: "Only if they oppose war as an instrument of policy." A little vaguely worded, but I don't think that vagueness was Kucinich's intention. I think his intention was to contrast his own position with that of most of the other people on the stage. If he is not nominated, he is not going to be able to support the nominee.

Half an hour into this train wreck, no candidate had had an opportunity to speak to their priorities, but we heard a lot about CNN's. At 8:27 CNN asked Obama about immigration.

At 8:29 WB dumbed this down and asked all the candidates for opinions on giving drivers' licenses to undocumented people.

At 8:32 Kucinich got a chance to say his 11th word. He shifted the topic to NAFTA and took exception to the stupid question, refusing to answer it, winning loud applause.

Then CNN started asking various candidates about education, and for the first time asked Kucinich a non yes/no question.

But instead of sticking with education, the topic of the questions before and after Kucinich's, Wolf Blitzer asked Kucinich what he disagrees with labor unions on. Kucinich's answer was good, but not inspired. Maybe after 37 minutes, the Congressman had drifted off into daydreaming.

After education, CNN asked every candidate except Kucinich about Pakistan.

At the end of this segment, at 8:52, Kucinich said "Hello? Hello?" But CNN refused to ask him a question.

Next CNN turned to Iraq, and this time Kucinich was included. He said that Congress should cut off the funding [big applause]. Then he answered the Pakistan question that CNN had refused to ask him. Blitzer quickly cut him off.

At 8:58, CNN came back to Kucinich on China trade, and he nailed it. And he criticized Edwards for having voted for normal trade relations with China.

Edwards dodged the question. And Edwards criticized NAFTA, although he has made clear he will not end it.

Wolf Blitzer asked Clinton whether NAFTA was a mistake. She answered by talking about Chinese pet food. He asked again, and Clinton said NAFTA did not deliver on what she had hoped it would do. Dodd criticized Clinton and Obama for supporting the Peruvian trade agreement.

At 9:07 CNN's "clean coal" sponsored debate turned to energy questions. By this point, even Obama was criticizing Wolf Blitzer for repeatedly framing questions along the lines of "Assuming we can't find a serious solution, what should we do about ...?"

Criticism of Wolf Blitzer was becoming the easiest way to garner applause. Richardson also rejected Wolf's frame and shifted the topic to renewable energy. CNN quickly brought the blather back to nonsense and specifically the topic of Hillary Clinton being a woman.

The second half of the debate included pre-arranged questions from non-CNN employees.

The first question came from a 3-tour Iraq veteran and his mother. He said he wanted the troops brought home now and not sent to Iran. She asked what the candidates would do now to prevent an attack on Iran.

But CNN only allowed Biden, Clinton, Edwards, and Obama to answer. Clinton talked "carrots and sticks," while the rest of them criticized her vote to name the Quds force "terrorists." But Biden broke from the script in a surprising way.

"If Bush takes the country to war in Iran without an act of Congress," Biden said, "then he should be impeached!" [applause]

Richardson said something useful on the next question: he'd end the occupation by 2010. But Kucinich was not given the opportunity to say he'd end it in 2008.

When Wolf Blitzer finally turned to Kucinich, rewording an audience member's question, he said "You were the only one who voted against the PATRIOT Act..."

"That's because I read it," Kucinich interjected to huge applause.

Kucinich nailed the question and turned to the topic of preventing an attack on Iran as well. Wolf saw what was coming and tried to cut him off, but Kucinich said "Impeach them now!" [huge applause]

Them. He did not say Cheney only.

Kucinich was only permitted to speak that one time during the debate's entire second hour.

A few questions later, Biden got applause for refusing to answer a CNN question and insisting that he would answer the question of the audience member.

Biden also said he had a plan to end the war that could begin the day he becomes president, a promise made by most of the candidates on the stage.

If an intelligent moderator were asking the questions at these debates, the fact that the Senate now faces a vote on another $50 billion for the occupation would have come up, and the fact that neither Biden nor Obama nor Clinton nor Dodd is willing to filibuster it would have been brought up.

Instead, the entire debate included no mention of Wednesday's vote in the House or the upcoming vote in the Senate. A moderator who loves to catch candidates in even the most trivial contradictions had not one word to say about the topic of funding an occupation they all claim to want to end.

Instead, time was found for an audience member to ask Clinton whether she "prefers diamonds or pearls."

Wolf Blitzer lost this one. The ranks of non-voters probably won.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Proof that The Iraq War was planned before 911

A 60 Minutes INTERVIEW and INDICTMENT, which has been BURIED

Paul H. O'Neill, Former George W. Bush Treasury Secretary reveals that from the first days of this Bush administration there had been a plan to start a war in Iraq. There were memos, before 911, showing the planning for "a post Saddam Iraq". There was a plan to assemble oil contractors to divvy up Iraq oil. Paul O'Neill's story is the center piece of a book called "The Price of Loyalty" by Ron Suskind. Ron Suskind reveals a document, (dated March 5 of 2001).

The document is called "Foreign suitors for Iraqi oil field contracts". The actual document is shown in the video. We have to wonder if the fact that George W. Bush is in the oil business has any relevance to his motives for this war.

The plan included "peace keeping troops" and war crimes tribunals.

Don Rumsfeld tried to stop the writing of this book.

With regard to the Iraq war, George W. Bush is quoted as saying:

"Go find me a way to do this."

This video includes the actual segment where George W. Bush promised that he would reverse the spreading of our military around the world.

The video shows George W. Bush, DURING HIS CAMPAIGN, saying:

"If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world, and nation building missions, then we are going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I am going to prevent that."

Text discussion of this suppressed interview is found at:

(CBS) A year ago, Paul O'Neill was fired from his job as George Bush's Treasury Secretary for disagreeing too many times with the president's policy on tax cuts.

Now, O'Neill - who is known for speaking his mind - talks for the first time about his two years inside the Bush administration. His story is the centerpiece of a new book being published this week about the way the Bush White House is run.

Entitled "The Price of Loyalty," the book by a former Wall Street Journal reporter draws on interviews with high-level officials who gave the author their personal accounts of meetings with the president, their notes and documents. [Simon and Schuster, the book's publisher, and, are both units of Viacom.]

But the main source of the book was Paul O'Neill. Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports.

Paul O'Neill says he is going public because he thinks the Bush Administration has been too secretive about how decisions have been made.

Will this be seen as a "kiss-and-tell" book?

"I've come to believe that people will say damn near anything, so I'm sure somebody will say all of that and more," says O'Neill, who was George Bush's top economic policy official.

In the book, O'Neill says that the president did not make decisions in a methodical way: there was no free-flow of ideas or open debate.

At cabinet meetings, he says the president was "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people. There is no discernible connection," forcing top officials to act "on little more than hunches about what the president might think."

This is what O'Neill says happened at his first hour-long, one-on-one meeting with Mr. Bush: "I went in with a long list of things to talk about, and I thought to engage on and as the book says, I was surprised that it turned out me talking, and the president just listening As I recall, it was mostly a monologue."

He also says that President Bush was disengaged, at least on domestic issues, and that disturbed him. And he says that wasn't his experience when he worked as a top official under Presidents Nixon and Ford, or the way he ran things when he was chairman of Alcoa.

O'Neill readily agreed to tell his story to the book's author Ron Suskind and he adds that he's taking no money for his part in the book.

Suskind says he interviewed hundreds of people for the book, including several cabinet members.

O'Neill is the only one who spoke on the record, but Suskind says that someone high up in the administration , Donald Rumsfeld - warned O'Neill not to do this book.

Was it a warning, or a threat?

"I don't think so. I think it was the White House concerned," says Suskind. "Understandably, because O'Neill has spent extraordinary amounts of time with the president. They said, "This could really be the one moment where things are revealed."

Not only did O'Neill give Suskind his time, he gave him 19,000 internal documents.

"Everything's there: Memoranda to the President, handwritten "thank you" notes, 100-page documents. Stuff that's sensitive," says Suskind, adding that in some cases, it included transcripts of private, high-level National Security Council meetings. "You don't get higher than that."

And what happened at President Bush's very first National Security Council meeting is one of O'Neill's most startling revelations.

"From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go," says O'Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11.

"From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime," says Suskind. "Day one, these things were laid and sealed."

As treasury secretary, O'Neill was a permanent member of the National Security Council. He says in the book he was surprised at the meeting that questions such as "Why Saddam?" and "Why now?" were never asked.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying" Go find me a way to do this," says O'Neill. "For me, the notion of pre-emption, that the U.S. has the unilateral right to do whatever we decide to do, is a really huge leap."

And that came up at this first meeting, says O'Neill, who adds that the discussion of Iraq continued at the next National Security Council meeting two days later.

He got briefing materials under this cover sheet. There are memos. One of them marked, secret, says, "Plan for post-Saddam Iraq," adds Suskind, who says that they discussed an occupation of Iraq in January and February of 2001.

Based on his interviews with O'Neill and several other officials at the meetings, Suskind writes that the planning envisioned peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals, and even divvying up Iraq's oil wealth.

He obtained one Pentagon document, dated March 5, 2001, and entitled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield contracts," which includes a map of potential areas for exploration.

"It talk about contractors around the world from, you know, 30-40 countries. And which ones have what intentions," says Suskind. "On oil in Iraq."

During the campaign, candidate Bush had criticized the Clinton-Gore Administration for being too interventionist: "If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that."

"The thing that's most surprising, I think, is how emphatically, from the very first, the administration had said "X" during the campaign, but from the first day was often doing "
Y," says Suskind. "Not just saying "Y," but actively moving toward the opposite of what they had said during the election."

The president had promised to cut taxes, and he did. Within six months of taking office, he pushed a trillion dollars worth of tax cuts through Congress.

But O'Neill thought it should have been the end. After 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, the budget deficit was growing. So at a meeting with the vice president after the mid-term elections in 2002, Suskind writes that O'Neill argued against a second round of tax cuts.

"Cheney, at this moment, shows his hand," says Suskind. "He says, "You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due." … O'Neill is speechless."

"It was not just about not wanting the tax cut. It was about how to use the nation's resources to improve the condition of our society,"
says O'Neill. "And I thought the weight of working on Social Security and fundamental tax reform was a lot more important than a tax reduction."

Did he think it was irresponsible? "Well, it's for sure not what I would have done," says O'Neill.
The former treasury secretary accuses Vice President Dick Cheney of not being an honest broker, but, with a handful of others, part of "a praetorian guard that encircled the president" to block out contrary views. "This is the way Dick likes it," says O'Neill.

Meanwhile, the White House was losing patience with O'Neill. He was becoming known for a series of off-the-cuff remarks his critics called gaffes. One of them sent the dollar into a nosedive and required major damage control.

Twice during stock market meltdowns, O'Neill was not available to the president: He was out of the country - one time on a trip to Africa with the Irish rock star Bono.

"Africa made an enormous splash. It was like a road show," says Suskind. "He comes back and the president says to him at a meeting,"You know, you're getting quite a cult following." And it clearly was not a joke. And it was not said in jest."

Suskind writes that the relationship grew tenser and that the president even took a jab at O'Neill in public, at an economic forum in Texas.

The two men were never close. And O'Neill was not amused when Mr. Bush began calling him "The Big O." He thought the president's habit of giving people nicknames was a form of bullying. Everything came to a head for O'Neill at a November 2002 meeting at the White House of the economic team.

"It's a huge meeting. You got Dick Cheney from the, you know, secure location on the video. The President is there," says Suskind, who was given a nearly verbatim transcript by someone who attended the meeting.

He says everyone expected Mr. Bush to rubber stamp the plan under discussion: a big new tax cut. But, according to Suskind, the president was perhaps having second thoughts about cutting taxes again, and was uncharacteristically engaged.

"He asks, "Haven't we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut's gonna do it again,"" says Suskind.

"He says, "Didn't we already, why are we doing it again?" Now, his advisers, they say, "Well Mr. President, the upper class, they're the entrepreneurs. That's the standard response." And the president kind of goes, "OK." That's their response. And then, he comes back to it again.

"Well, shouldn't we be giving money to the middle, won't people be able to say, "You did it once, and then you did it twice, and what was it good for?"

But according to the transcript, White House political advisor Karl Rove jumped in.

"Karl Rove is saying to the president, a kind of mantra. "Stick to principle. Stick to principle." He says it over and over again, says Suskind. "Don't waver."

In the end, the president didn't. And nine days after that meeting in which O'Neill made it clear he could not publicly support another tax cut, the vice president called and asked him to resign.

With the deficit now climbing towards $400 billion, O'Neill maintains he was in the right.

But look at the economy today.

"Yes, well, in the last quarter the growth rate was 8.2 percent. It was terrific," says O’Neill.

"I think the tax cut made a difference. But without the tax cut, we would have had 6 percent real growth, and the prospect of dealing with transformation of Social Security and fundamentally fixing the tax system. And to me, those were compelling competitors for, against more tax cuts."

While in the book O'Neill comes off as constantly appalled at Mr. Bush, he was surprised when Stahl told him she found his portrait of the president unflattering.

"Hmmm, you really think so," asks O'Neill, who says he isn't joking. "Well, I'll be darned."

"You're giving me the impression that you're just going to be stunned if they attack you for this book," says Stahl to O'Neill. "And they're going to say, I predict, you know, it's sour grapes. He's getting back because he was fired."

"I will be really disappointed if they react that way because I think they'll be hard put to," says O'Neill.

Is he prepared for it?

"Well, I don't think I need to be because I can't imagine that I'm going to be attacked for telling the truth,"
says O'Neill. "Why would I be attacked for telling the truth?

White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked about the book on Friday and said "The president is someone that leads and acts decisively on our biggest priorities and that is exactly what he'll continue to do."

Follow ups:
Bush admits that Iraq Had Nothing To Do With 9/11

Bush Admits Lying to the Press

Bush Caught Lying About September 11th

Bush speaks on September 11, 2001

Bush Gets Caught In His Own Lie

Foreknowledge and Failure


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Media pundits attempt to distort Ron Paul's fund raising victory

Nov 7, 2007

Most Ron Paul supporters had never heard of Guy Fawkes before media pundits attempted to stain Ron Paul's fund raising victory by using its date (Nov. 5, 2007) to allege a connection with Guy Fawkes.

Ron Paul's campaign fund raising promotion never made any mention of Guy Fawkes, or his attempt to blow up the Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605.

In light of the reality that there are only 365 days in the year, we should realize that any date can be arbitrarily associated with some negative historical event.

This is especially true when taking such license as to desperately search back to over 400 years.
The fact that Nov. 5 most often appears as the date for American elections was ignored.

This leads one to discern that such a misrepresentation could not possibly be attributed to mere stupidity.

Recently these pundits had claimed that Ron Paul's support was merely "spammers" and "hackers", who were manipulating the polls.

Now they dodge having to "eat their own words" by "grabbing at straws" with an outlandish fabrication designed to stain this clear demonstration of real support.

The encouraging reality is that Ron Paul is no longer a "long shot", to be ignored by the media.

Gandhi said: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

Ron Paul has just graduated to the next level.

It appears that the intent is to make Dr. Paul appear to be some "radicalized thought crime" candidate.

Ron Paul Raises More Than $4 Million in One Day

By David D. Kirkpatrick
The New York Times
November 6, 2007

Historians and British schoolchildren remember Guy Fawkes as the Roman Catholic, anti-Protestant rebel who on Nov. 5, 1605, tried to assassinate King James I by blowing up the Parliament. Supporters of the Republican primary campaign of the libertarian representative Ron Paul may remember Fawkes as a wildly successful fund-raising gimmick.

On Monday, a group of Paul supporters helped raised more than $4.07 million in one day - approaching what the campaign raised in the entire last quarter - through a Web site called ThisNovember5th. com, a reference to the day the British commemorate the thwarted bombing.

Many fans of Mr. Paul know of the day primarily through a movie based on the futuristic graphic novel "V for Vendetta," by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, in which a terrorist modeled after Fawkes battles a fascist government that has taken over Britain.

The Paul campaign has raised more than $6.84 million in the first five weeks of this quarter, more than the $5 million it raised from July 1 to Oct. 1. Many of the contributions appeared to come through the independent Fawkes effort, but how much was unclear.

On Monday alone, the campaign signed up more than 21,000 new donors, said Jesse Benton, a campaign spokesman.

Among 2008 presidential candidates, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York holds the record for raising the most in a single day: $6.2 million on June 30. But Mr. Paul has surpassed the best day of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, who raised $3.14 million on Jan. 8.

ThisNovember5th. com includes video clips and the text of a speech by Mr. Paul, a 10-term Texas congressman. In it, Mr. Paul declares, "The true patriot challenges the state when the state embarks on enhancing its power at the expense of the individual."

Mr. Paul has stood out from the Republican field for his opposition to the war in Iraq. In the speech he argues that the fight against terrorism is threatening American democracy.

"The American Republic is in remnant status," he says. "The stage is set for our country eventually devolving into military dictatorship, and few seem to care."

Mr. Benton clarified that Mr. Paul did not support blowing up government buildings. "He wants to demolish things like the Department of Education," Mr. Benton said, "but we can do that very peacefully, in a constructive manner."

Follow up:

Message from Ron
November 6, 2007

Amazing! I have to admit being floored by the $4.2 million dollars you raised yesterday for this campaign. And unlike the fatcat operations of the opposition, the average contribution from our 36,672 donors was $103.

I say "you raised," because this historic event was created, organized, and run by volunteers. This is the spirit that has protected American freedom in our past; this is the spirit that is doing so again.

Some of the mainstream media have sat up and taken notice. Others have pooh-poohed our record online fundraising. But the day is coming--far faster than they know--when they will not be able to ignore our freedom revolution.

We are working hard, with you, to spread our message far and wide-in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, in Iowa, and in every other state with a primary. And people are listening.

As you and I know, there is hope for America-in liberty and peace, and the prosperity they bring. There is hope for America--in a sound dollar, the rule of law, and the Constitution. There is hope for America--in a people's revolution that brings us all together, of whatever race and age and background.

What momentum we have! Please help me keep it up. As you and I know, and our opponents are only suspecting, we have Success on our minds, and in our hearts.

Freedom! Surely it is worth all our hard work. Please help me continue to do that work, with your continuing support

Without your help, this campaign would be dead in the water. Help us keep steaming towards victory.



If you haven't guessed I'm a Ron Paul supporter, he represents the type of person that many believe should be leading our country, he's a constitutionalist, he's for a smaller government, fiscal responsibility, honest, intelligent, and he wants our troops out of Iraq now.
Learn more about Ron

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bush Is Right to Worry If Waterboarding Is Defined as Torture

By Jane Smiley
November 3, 2007

There is an article in Thursday's New York Times about the way Michael Mukasey has been hedging on waterboarding.

The difficulty, according to many experts is, as "Jack L. Goldsmith, who served in the Justice Department in 2003 and 2004, wrote in his recent memoir, The Terror Presidency, that the possibility of future prosecution for aggressive actions against terrorism was a constant worry inside the Bush administration." Another expert points out that future prosecutors "... would ask not just who carried it out, but who specifically approved it. Theoretically, it could go all the way up to the president of the United States; that's why he'll never say it's torture."

I have to say that I am both glad and amazed that the Bush administration is with it enough to worry. That is a good sign. And they should worry, because they should be indicted, at least. I hope that they are, and that, indeed, it does "go all the way up to the president."

One of the Attorney General's jobs should be making sure not only that the laws are enforced, but also that the laws are actual laws -- not opinions by John Yoo or David Addington or some other administration apologist. There is an exact definition of what a law is in this country, and it is not the same as a partisan legal opinion.

One of the enraging things about the Bush administration is the way that they have consistently written their own rules, as if governing the nation is like playing a game of stealing the flag, where the stronger team, when it finds itself losing, simply changes the score or the rules until they either technically "win" or wear out the other side (and in fact, George W. Bush, according to Gail Sheehy, was well known among his friends for changing the rules of a game until he could engineer a win -- and isn't that how they won in 2000?).

To do such things is not "courage" or "resolve," it is tyranny.

Mukasey and other Bush administration officials clearly believe that they are going to put over the idea that they "might have gone too far", but that their "intentions were good" and they "just wanted to protect the country." In such a way, they plan to avoid paying the price for their choices and decisions.

The law deals with this sort of defense. Someone whose car hits another person in a crosswalk might have been too frightened to stick around or might not have even realized he had hit someone, but the law still prosecutes these crimes, because a responsible citizen is expected to conform to the laws no matter what his emotional state. Same with Cheney and Bush.

You or I may suspect that they were indifferent to the idea of torture in their names, or possibly relished it, but we will never know that. We do, however, know that they explicitly and knowingly allowed torture. The law has no meaning if they don't have to pay for these crimes.

The number of times the Bush administration has skirted or broken or changed the laws to suit themselves is enormous and outrageous. We cannot hope to correct what they have done to our country without addressing their lawlessness. If this means retroactive prosecution, I say bring it on. The fact that they are worried means they know that they should have known better -- in fact, they did know better. All of them.

A photoseries simulating what waterboarding looks like narrated by David Corn, excerpted from an article

Linked here:

The photographs were taken by Jonah Blank [last year] at Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The prison is now a museum that documents Khymer Rouge atrocities. Blank, an anthropologist and former Senior Editor of US News & World Report, is author of the books Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God and Mullahs on the Mainframe.

He is a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and has taught at Harvard and Georgetown. He currently is a foreign policy adviser to the Democratic staff in the Senate, but the views expressed here are his own observations.

His photos show one of the actual waterboards used by the Khymer Rouge.

In an email to me, Blank explained the significance of the photos. He wrote:

The crux of the issue before Congress can be boiled down to a simple question: Is waterboarding torture? Anybody who considers this practice to be "torture lite" or merely a "tough technique" might want to take a trip to Phnom Penh. The Khymer Rouge were adept at torture, and there was nothing "lite" about their methods. Incidentally, the waterboard in these photo wasn't merely one among many torture devices highlighted at the prison museum. It was one of only two devices singled out for highlighting (the other was another form of water-torture -- a tank that could be filled with water or other liquids; I have photos of that too.) There was an outdoor device as well, one the Khymer Rouge didn't have to construct: chin-up bars. (The prison where the museum is located had been a school before the Khymer Rouge took over).

These bars were used for "stress positions"-- another practice employed under current US guidelines. At the Khymer Rouge prison, there is a tank of water next to the bars. It was used to revive prisoners for more torture when they passed out after being placed in stress positions.

The similarity between practices used by the Khymer Rouge and those currently being debated by Congress isn't a coincidence. As has been amply documented ("The New Yorker" had an excellent piece, and there have been others), many of the "enhanced techniques" came to the CIA and military interrogators via the SERE [Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape] schools, where US military personnel are trained to resist torture if they are captured by the enemy. The specific types of abuse they're taught to withstand are those that were used by our Cold War adversaries. Why is this relevant to the current debate? Because the torture techniques of North Korea, North Vietnam, the Soviet Union and its proxies--the states where US military personnel might have faced torture -- were NOT designed to elicit truthful information. These techniques were designed to elicit CONFESSIONS. That's what the Khymer Rouge et al were after with their waterboarding, not truthful information.

Bottom line: Not only do waterboarding and the other types of torture currently being debated put us in company with the most vile regimes of the past half-century; they're also designed specifically to generate a (usually false) confession, not to obtain genuinely actionable intel. This isn't a matter of sacrificing moral values to keep us safe; it's sacrificing moral values for no purpose whatsoever.

These photos are important because most of us have never seen an actual, real-life waterboard.

The press typically describes it in the most anodyne ways: a device meant to "simulate drowning" or to "make the prisoner believe he might drown." But the Khymer Rouge were no jokesters, and they didn't tailor their abuse to the dictates of the Geneva Convention. They -- like so many brutal regimes -- made waterboarding one of their primary tools for a simple reason: it is one of the most viciously effective forms of torture ever devised.

Jane Smiley is a novelist and essayist. Her novel A Thousand Acres won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992.

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