Do We Already Have Our Pentagon Papers?

They can’t help themselves. They want to confess.How else to explain the torture memorandums that continue to flow out of the inner sancta of this administration, the most recent of which were evidently leaked to the New York Times. Those two, from the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department, were written in 2005 and recommitted the administration to the torture techniques it had been pushing for years. As the Times noted, the first of those memorandums, from February of that year, was “an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.” The second “secret opinion” was issued as Congress moved to outlaw “cruel, inhuman, and degrading” treatment (not that such acts weren’t already against U.S. and international law). It brazenly “declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard”; and, the Times assured us, “the 2005 Justice Department opinions remain in effect, and their legal conclusions have been confirmed by several more recent memorandums.”

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Why, Even If You Have Nothing To Hide, Government Surveillance Threatens Your Freedom:

“I’ve got nothing to hide, so electronic surveillance doesn’t bother me. To the contrary, I’m delighted that the Bush Administration is monitoring calls and electronic traffic on a massive scale, because catching terrorists is far more important that worrying about the government’s listening to my phone calls, or reading my emails.” So the argument goes. It is a powerful one that has seduced too many people.Millions of Americans buy this logic, and in accepting it, believe they are doing the right thing for themselves, their family, and their friends, neighbors, community and country. They are sadly wrong. If you accept this argument, you have been badly fooled.

This contention is being bantered about once again, so there is no better time than the present to set thinking people straight. Bush and Cheney want to make permanent unchecked Executive powers to electronically eavesdrop on anyone whom any President feels to be of interest. In August, before the summer recess, Congress enacted the Protect America Act, which provided only temporary approval for the expanding Executive powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). These temporary powers expire in February 2008, so Congress is once again addressing the subject.

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The March to War: NATO Preparing for War with Serbia?

Today in the globalized realm of international relations everything is interlinked. Eurasia is all but a giant jigsaw in name. Two opposite forces are creating a synthesis. This state is a result of the dynamic and static pushes to infiltrate the Eurasian Heartland and those opposed to the American-led drive of infiltration, the Eurasian reactionary outward counter-drive.A Second Kosovo War Scenario against Serbia: NATO’s Noble Midas 2007

NATO has performed military exercises based on the scenario of a military conflict in an unnamed breakaway province in the Balkans. [1] The breakaway province is clearly the predominately Albanian inhabited Serbian province of Kosovo. The exercises took place from September 27 till October 12, 2007 in the Adriatic Sea and Croatia according to the NATO Public Information Office in Naples, Italy. [2] The exercise was inaugurated as a “peace enforcement exercise” in the Adriatic Sea. [3]

The problems that have arisen between Kosovar Albanians and Serbia have been problems that have been mostly fueled by NATO powers. In fact the issue of full independence was not a problem between Serbia and the Kosovar Albanians before 1999. Kosovo’s Albanians also enjoyed autonomy from Belgrade for many years. It has only been under the influence of NATO that animosity has been raised between the two sides.

Croatia and Albania have also participating in the NATO exercise and both are projected to have roles in any future war against Serbia and its regional allies and supporters inside Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro over the fate of Kosovo. Many Croats are also unhappy about their government’s decision to coordinate or cooperate with NATO, which they view with suspicion and as a destabilizing force in the Balkans.

According to a NATO press release, “Approximately 2,000 military and 50 civilian personnel, over 30 ships and submarines and 20 fixed-wing aircraft from NATO and the Croatian Armed Forces will train together in a Crisis Response Operation scenario, where NATO is appointed by the U.N. to build up an immediate reaction in a fictitious country on the brink of civil war.” [4]

It is clear that NATO intends to settle the issue of Kosovo through military means. Rear-Admiral Alain Hinden, the French commandant of the NATO exercise has made a statement that is a dead giveaway about the underlying intentions of NATO in regards to the exercise: “This exercise has been designed for years. The U.N. and NATO are training for this type of real intervention, of humanitarian assistance be it in this region [the Balkans] or anywhere else in the world.” [5]
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Clinton bucks the trend and rakes in cash from the US weapons industry

The US arms industry is backing Hillary Clinton for President and has all but abandoned its traditional allies in the Republican party. Mrs Clinton has also emerged as Wall Street’s favourite. Investment bankers have opened their wallets in unprecedented numbers for the New York senator over the past three months and, in the process, dumped their earlier favourite, Barack Obama.

Mrs Clinton’s wooing of the defence industry is all the more remarkable given the frosty relations between Bill Clinton and the military during his presidency. An analysis of campaign contributions shows senior defence industry employees are pouring money into her war chest in the belief that their generosity will be repaid many times over with future defence contracts.

Employees of the top five US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics and Raytheon – gave Democratic presidential candidates $103,900, with only $86,800 going to the Republicans. “The contributions clearly suggest the arms industry has reached the conclusion that Democratic prospects for 2008 are very good indeed,” said Thomas Edsall, an academic at Columbia University in New York.

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Claims of secret CIA jail for terror suspects on British island to be investigated

 Legal charity urges action on Diego Garcia claims
· Prisoners may have been held in ships off coast

Ian Cobain and Richard Norton-Taylor
Friday October 19, 2007
The Guardian

Diego Garcia island in the Indian Ocean
Diego Garcia Island in the indian Ocean. Photograph: Corbis
 

Allegations that the CIA held al-Qaida suspects for interrogation at a secret prison on sovereign British territory are to be investigated by MPs, the Guardian has learned. The all-party foreign affairs committee is to examine long-standing suspicions that the agency has operated one of its so-called “black site” prisons on Diego Garcia, the British overseas territory in the Indian Ocean that is home to a large US military base.

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Gates: Security contractors conflict with U.S. mission in Iraq

The Defense secretary says guards who protect clients at any cost are working ‘at cross-purposes’ with soldiers trying to gain Iraqis’ trust.

By Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 19, 2007

WASHINGTON — The behavior of private security contractors in Iraq is in direct conflict with the goals of the U.S. military, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Thursday in an unusually frank critique, adding that the guards’ mistreatment of Iraqis is hindering Pentagon efforts at winning hearts and minds.

Gates said at a Pentagon news conference that he planned to meet with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in coming days to iron out new regulations governing the conduct of the estimated 8,500 armed guards working for the Pentagon and State Department in Iraq.

Last month, the Defense secretary sent a five-man team to Iraq to investigate contractor oversight after the high-profile killing of 17 Iraqis in a Baghdad shooting involving Blackwater USA, the private security contractor hired to protect U.S. diplomats.

Although Blackwater works for the State Department, the Pentagon employs the vast majority of such hired guns in Iraq — about 7,300 — and Gates within days ordered commanders in the country to be more aggressive in using military law to discipline contractors in their areas of responsibility.

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Coroner says hero James Zadroga didn’t die from WTC dust

NEW YORK – He became the face of post-Sept. 11 illness after his death in early 2006, galvanizing lawmakers and health care advocates to lobby for research and treatment for thousands who breathed the debris-filled air at ground zero.

James Zadroga, the 34-year-old retired police detective who died of respiratory failure after working hundreds of hours at the World Trade Center site, was often cited by those advocates as a “sentinel case” – the first health-related casualty linked to ground zero, suggesting there would be more to follow.

The city’s medical examiner stunned that community this week in a letter declaring that Zadroga’s death had nothing to do with the toxic air he breathed while working at ground zero.

Rejecting another medical examiner’s autopsy, New York City Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch said in a letter to Zadroga’s family that his death was not caused by exposure to trade center dust.

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