Glenn Greenwald spends the last third of his excellent new book, "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State", exposing the mentality and function of pseudo-journalists like David Gregory, who are in fact better understood…
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
From TechDirt: 'Journalist' Argues In NY Times That Publishing Decisions Should Ultimately Be Made By Government
Glenn Greenwald spends the last third of his excellent new book, "No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State", exposing the mentality and function of pseudo-journalists like David Gregory, who are in fact better understood…
Saturday, May 24, 2014
"The Last Letter: A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a Dying Veteran." - Tomas Young, Veteran of the US War on Iraq
|John Hood, honorary commander for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, has a moment of silence for those burried at at Brig. Gen. William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Arneytown NJ before the annual State of New Jersey Memorial Day commemoration ceremony. ( RON TARVER / Staff Photographer ) May 24 2014|
In May, 2013, Tomas decided to stop his medication and nourishment - nourishment received from a feeding tube. Tomas Young had made the decision to die.
From the transcript:
“I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of [those who bear those wounds. I am one of those.] I am one of the gravely injured. I [am] paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.
“I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost parents, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have [done, witnessed, endured] in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.
“Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, [and your privilege and power] cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.
“I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.
“I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the [9/11] attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the [U.S.] I did not join the Army to 'liberate' Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called 'democracy' in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the [Army] to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the biggest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.
“I have, like many other [wounded and many other] disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical [disabilities and] wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your [own] brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.
“I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend our country I love—the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.
"My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness."
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Secrecy, deflection, denial and projection - Freud would have a field day with the Pentagon (and the rest of the US government these days).
Jason Leopold reports for "The Guardian":
"A top-secret Pentagon report to assess the damage to national security from the leak of classified National Security Agency documents by Edward Snowden concluded that 'the scope of the compromised knowledge related to US intelligence capabilities is staggering.'
The Guardian has obtained a copy of the Defense Intelligence Agency's classified damage assessment in response to a Freedom of Information Act (Foia) lawsuit filed against the Defense Department earlier this year. The heavily redacted 39-page report was prepared in December and is titled 'DoD Information Review Task Force-2: Initial Assessment, Impacts Resulting from the Compromise of Classified Material by a Former NSA Contractor.'
But while the DIA report describes the damage to US intelligence capabilities as 'grave', the government still refuses to release any specific details to support this conclusion. The entire impact assessment was redacted from the material released to the Guardian under a presidential order that protects classified information and several other Foia exemptions.
Only 12 pages of the report were declassified by DIA and released. A Justice Department attorney said DIA would continue to process other internal documents that refer to the DIA report for possible release later this year."
So, it appears the Justice Department, White House and Pentagon choose to continue their attacks on Snowden but expect everyone just to take it, on faith, that their assertions are based on fact (sadly, those who prefer to believe, without proof, hear that loud, obnoxious whistle...."Cuz, Cuz, Cuz Snowden"), without allowing access to why it is Snowden's actions created "grave" damage to US Intelligence capabilities.
I suspect, without evidence to the contrary, the "grave" damage was more embarrassment at being caught and at being other than the image those entities attempt to promote, as the world, once again, is given reason to distrust the US and her out of control, grandiose and paranoid government "intelligence," defense and executive communities.
There is a reason we are named the biggest threat to world peace by the planet but we still don't quite get it.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981 armed with a quixotic strategy for reducing the size and scope of federal government and for closing the budget deficit. The President;'s strategy required a massive reduction in taxes and, simultaneously, even greater reductions in expenditures, But by 1984, President Reagan had failed to translate his commitment to minimalist government into reality. Although President Reagan sought and achieved large tax reductions in 1981, his budget proposals, due to sustained real growth in defense expenditures, actually increased gross federal spending.
The Reagan administration's initial approach failed, in part, becasue it ignores the strength of coalitions of beneficiaries, service providers, activists, and members of Congress, all of whom had definite interests in the preservation and expansionism of particular programs. Members of the Reagan Administration erroneously had assumed that an arithmetical imperative would constrain federal expenditures once the President was successful at choking off the revenue sources that finance federal programs. Despite the failure of its earlier efforts, the Administration did not give up its hope of somehow reducing the size and the scope of the federal sector. In President Reagan's second term, the Administration embraced "privatization" as a new, supplementary strategy for minimalist government and deficit reduction.
"Privatization" defies easy definition; advocates do not agree on a single definition, nor do they agree on the practical limitations of privatization policy. However privatization advocates share a common assumption, whether grounded in ideology or in economics, that the public sector is too large and that it engages in activities more properly or more efficiently performed by the private sector. This belief is echoed in the Administration's own definition of privatization. It defines privatization as:
a strategy to shift the production of goods and services from the government to the private sector in order to reduce Government expenditures and to take advantage of the inefficiencies that normally result when services are provided through the competitive marketplace.
Since Reagan, subsequent presidents and Congress, as well as state and local governments, have continued the process of privatization of nearly every aspect of government - from Mental Health to National Defense (NSA, military contractors acting as security and ground forces in war zones) to prisons - contractors replacing personnel, companies replacing divisions, voucher programs replacing direct payment.
1. Costs - Higher costs to consumers, cost overruns, and hidden costs to the government and the community2. Quality - Reduced quality of services and the degradation of assets through poor maintenance3. Accountability and Transparency - Lack of public information, lack of public input in decisions affecting the public interest, and loss of recourse if the public is harmed4. Access - Loss of public access to services or assets, and inequitable access based on race, class, income, gender, or other factors.5. Corruption - Conflicts of interest, insider dealings, kickbacks, price-fixing or bid-fixing, fraud, misconduct, and revolving doors between government and contractors6. Environment - Practices that are wasteful or harmful to the environment, inadequate assessment of environmental impact, and bypassing environmental regulations7. Core Public Capacity - Loss of institutional knowledge and workforce capacity to perform public functions, and loss of the ability to recruit and retain staff if the contractor fails or leaves8. Human Rights - Violation of human rights and basic constitutional rights, privacy violations, and the lack of adequate avenues for redress9. Workforce issues - Loss of wages and health benefits, reduced labor standards, worksite safety problems, and inequitable treatment
For decades we’ve been subjected to constant propaganda that government is inefficient, bureaucratic and expensive. We’re told that the answer is to “privatize,” or “outsource” government functions to private businesses and they will do things more efficiently and everyone comes out ahead. As a result we have experienced decades of privatization of government functions.
So how has this wave of privatization worked out? Has privatization saved taxpayers money and improved services to citizens? Simple answer: of course not. If a company can make a profit doing something the government had been doing, it means that we’re losing out one way or another. It’s simple math. And the result of falling for the privatization scam is that taxpayers have been fleeced, services to citizens have been cut way back and communities have been made poorer. But the companies that convinced governments to hand over public functions have gotten rich off of the deal. How is this a surprise?
|From POGO report, 2011, |
"Bad Business: Billions of Taxpayer Dollars Wasted on Hiring Contractors"
Let's look at just one of the problems with privatization US, Inc, style...
It doesn't save money, it actually costs more money to outsource government jobs and government functions.
From 2011, the following infographic ("How Outsourcing Government Work Fattens the Federal Budget")
based on POGO's (Project On Government oversight) research and report, Contract Oversight :
The Executive Summary from that report:
Based on the current public debate regarding the salary comparisons of federal and private sector employees, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) decided to take on the task of doing what others have not—comparing total annual compensation for federal and private sector employees with federal contractor billing rates in order to determine whether the current costs of federal service contracting serves the public interest.
The current debate over pay differentials largely relies on the theory that the government pays private sector compensation rates when it outsources services. This report proves otherwise: in fact, it shows that the government actually pays service contractors at rates far exceeding the cost of employing federal employees to perform comparable functions.
POGO’s study analyzed the total compensation paid to federal and private sector employees, and annual billing rates for contractor employees across 35 occupational classifications covering over 550 service activities. Our findings were shocking—POGO estimates the government pays billions more annually in taxpayer dollars to hire contractors than it would to hire federal employees to perform comparable services. Specifically, POGO’s study shows that the federal government approves service contract billing rates—deemed fair and reasonable—that pay contractors 1.83 times more than the government pays federal employees in total compensation, and more than 2 times the total compensation paid in the private sector for comparable services.
Additional key findings include:
Federal government employees were less expensive than contractors in 33 of the 35 occupational classifications POGO reviewed.
In one instance, contractor billing rates were nearly 5 times more than the full compensation paid to federal employees performing comparable services.
Private sector compensation was lower than contractor billing rates in all 35 occupational classifications we reviewed.
The federal government has failed to determine how much money it saves or wastes by outsourcing, insourcing, or retaining services, and has no system for doing so.
POGO’s investigation highlights two basic facts about outsourcing government work to contractors. First, comparing federal to private sector compensation reveals nothing about what it actually costs the government to outsource services. The only analysis that will shed light on the true costs of government is that of contractor billing rates and the full cost of employing federal employees to perform comparable work. The Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan recently completed a fundamental study of costs, and found that, in certain contingency operations, although savings resulted from hiring local or third-country nationals, military and civilian employees cost less than hiring American contractors.
Second, the federal government is not doing a good job of obtaining genuine market prices, and therefore the savings often promised in connection with outsourcing services are not being realized. The argument for outsourcing services is that, by outsourcing services on which the government holds a monopoly, free market competition will result in efficiencies and save taxpayer dollars. But our study showed that using contractors to perform services may actually increase rather than decrease costs to the taxpayers.
POGO found several failures in government procurement, employment, and data systems that limit the government’s and the public’s abilities to assess and correct excessive costs resulting from insourcing or outsourcing federal services. Failures included the lack of standards for calculating cost estimates and justifying insourcing or outsourcing decisions; the lack of data related to negotiated service contract billing rates; not publishing government information about the number of actual contractor employees holding a specific occupational position under any given contract; and that there is no universal job classification system.
For decades there have been increasing political pressures to reduce the size of the federal government. In response the government has awarded service contracts, resulting in an expanding “shadow government” that costs hundreds of billions of dollars annually. The focus on comparing federal and private sector salaries needs to shift because they have nothing to do with what the government actually pays for services. Instead, the focus properly belongs on analyzing the full costs of paying contractors to perform federal services. Given the nation’s ongoing economic problems, this analysis has become even more relevant—approximately one-quarter of all discretionary spending now goes to service contractors.
POGO’s recommendations include:
Congress should require all federal agencies, when awarding service contracts, to use service coding systems that are consistent with OPM’s job classification system. Congress should also require the collection, reporting, and oversight of life-cycle costs associated with government services performed by federal employees or contractors.
Congress should pass legislation requiring greater transparency and improved pricing on GSA Schedule service contracts.
Congress should strengthen the FAIR Act to enhance service contract reporting.`
Congress should remove full-time equivalents ceilings, and decrease the maximum benchmark compensation amount applicable to contractor employees.
Agencies should use their existing authorities to hire federal employees for short-term projects.
Unfortunately, the US government is hell bent on shirking its responsibility to the people by outsourcing everything they can. There is a lot of money to be made by handing the keys to the kingdom to Wall Street and job security in being the politicians who do it.
Based on the above analysis, Reagan failed miserably in his privatization scheme to downsize government and reign in costs. Actually, what he succeeded in doing was raising costs, expanding the budget and increasing the deficit.
Of course, we can't blame it entirely on Reagan. Every president and Congress, since Reagan, has increased privatization and outsourcing of government services.
Unfortunately for the American people, the US government is hell bent on shirking its responsibility to the people by outsourcing everything they can. There is a lot of money to be made by handing the keys to the kingdom to Wall Street and future job security in being the politicians who do it.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Colorado has rarely been known as a state to lead the way in social change, but over the past few years, Colorado has come out of the shadows to lead on more than one issue.
First it was Weed - Legalization went into effect on January 1, 2014, and a new cottage industry was formed - Greenhouses, confectioners and storefronts opened throughout Denver and other areas (though some towns still will not allow them within their city limits).
Then, today, Governor Hick (John Hickenlooper) signed the "Right To Try" bill into law.
Colorado is now first in the nation to allow terminal patients the opportunity to use experimental drugs outside of clinical trial and without federal approval - drugs that are still in the long, laborious process of FDA approval.
From Channel 7 News coverage of the AP story:
"Nick Auden didn't live to see the legislation, but the case of the Denver melanoma patient who died while seeking access to an experimental drug helped inspire a first-of-its kind law in Colorado.
The "Right To Try" law allows terminally ill patients to obtain experimental drugs without getting federal approval. It's a proposal being advanced in several states by patient advocates who are frustrated by the years long federal approval process for experimental drugs in the pipeline.
'There are experimental drugs out there that can and do save lives, and access needs to be expanded,' said Auden's widow, Amy Auden of Lone Tree, Colorado. Nick Auden died in November at age 41 after unsuccessfully lobbying two drug companies to use an experimental treatment outside of clinical trials. Auden himself had acknowledged there was no guarantee the drug would work.
Gov. John Hickenlooper Saturday afternoon will sign Colorado's 'Right To Try' bill, which was passed unanimously in the state Legislature.
Similar bills await governors' signatures in Louisiana and Missouri, and Arizona voters will decide in November whether to set up a similar program in that state."
The full text of House Bill 1281 can be found "here":
Another move towards the end of "The Drug War" policies that deny the relief of suffering and the beginning of compassionate treatment for all.
Friday, May 16, 2014
"A federal judge late Friday ordered the Obama administration to halt the force-feeding of a Guantanamo prisoner and to preserve more than 100 videos that show the captive being forcibly removed from his cell and force-fed.
U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler's unprecedented ruling also temporarily barred military officials at the detention facility from subjecting the prisoner, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, to so-called forced cell extractions “for the purposes of” tube-feedings until May 21, the date of the next hearing in the case.
Dhiab has been cleared for release or transfer out of Guantanamo since 2009. His attorneys have been waging a lengthy legal battle to permanently end his force-feeding.
'This is a major crack in Guantanamo's years-long effort to oppress prisoners and to exercise total control over information about the prison,' said Cori Crider, one of Dhiab's attorneys who works for UK-based charity Reprieve.
'Dhiab is cleared for release and should have been returned to his family years ago,' Crider added. 'He is on hunger strike because he feels he has no other option left. I am glad Judge Kessler has taken this seriously, and we look forward to our full day in court to expose the appalling way Dhiab and others have been treated.'
Last year, Kessler declined to rule on an attempt by Dhiab's attorneys to stop his force-feeding, saying she was powerless due to a congressional law that prohibited judges from making decisions over the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners. But she noted that the Obama administration could immediately end what she said was a 'a painful, humiliating and degrading process.'"
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The Name Game: When is a Hunger Strike not a hunger strike? When it gets filtered through GTMO's command
The continuing saga of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center almost seems surreal. Abuse, torture .... a modern day Andersonville except war, for the detainees at least, may never end.
Tonight, Jason Leopold reports for Al Jazeera, "US manipulates number of GTMO hunger-strikers, says detainee,":
A Yemeni Guantanamo prisoner who was cleared for release four years ago claims 17 people held at the detention facility have been waging a hunger strike and are being subjected to brutal force-feedings by medical officers.
In harrowing letters sent to his attorneys at the UK-based human rights charity Reprieve, and obtained by Al Jazeera, Emad Hassan said the hunger strikers have been 'divided into two groups.'
'First there is ‘the long term group’ which consists of [six prisoners] who have spent a long time on hunger strike,” wrote Hassan, who has been on a hunger strike since 2007 and is suing the U.S. government to end his force-feeding. “We are treated completely differently to those in the second group. The second group are the other hunger strikers who are treated awfully.'
Hassan said the nurses and corpsmen who conduct the so-called 'forced cell extractions' and administer the feedings are using nasogastric tubes that are too big, and pushing the liquid nutritional supplement through the tube too quickly, causing the prisoners, including one who Hassan said weighs 80 pounds and has a broken arm, to vomit.
Force-feeding Guantanamo style - torture by any other name...
Last December, officials at Guantanamo imposed a new standard operating procedure for the hunger strikes - they are now rebranded “long-term non religious fasts.”
But the reality - these 17 men, on hunger strike, are still starving for OUR humanity.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
|File photo of the mother and son of Baha Mousa (R in the picture), |
an Iraqi man who was kicked and beaten to death
in British Army custody. From Reuters.
"In a statement released on Tuesday, the ICC said: 'The new information received by the office alleges the responsibility of officials of the United Kingdom for war crimes involving systematic detainee abuse in Iraq from 2003 until 2008.
'The reopened preliminary examination will analyse, in particular, alleged crimes attributed to the armed forces of the United Kingdom deployed in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.'
But Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, said the government rejected any allegation that there was systematic abuse carried out by the British armed forces in Iraq.
'British troops are some of the best in the world and we expect them to operate to the highest standards, in line with both domestic and international law,' he said. 'In my experience, the vast majority of our armed forces meet those expectations.'
Grieve added that, although the allegations were already being "comprehensively investigated" in Britain, 'the UK government has been, and remains, a strong supporter of the ICC and I will provide the office of the prosecutor with whatever is necessary to demonstrate that British justice is following its proper course'".
|Photos released by Piers Morgan of The Daily Mirror in 2004,|
Photos found to be "faked" but allegations against UK
for torture and abuse remained - In 2006, ICC investigated and dismissed allegations.
Monday, May 12, 2014
5/23/2014 Global Day of Action to Close Guantánamo: Not Another Broken Promise! Not Another Day in Guantánamo!
The Boko Haram has released a video showing the first images of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls since their abduction nearly one month ago. Close to half of the nearly 300 girls are seen on the tape, chanting what appears to be a verse from the Koran. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is also shown and appears to offer the girls’ freedom in exchange for the Nigerian government’s release of all the group’s prisoners. Three of the girls are interviewed, saying they have not been harmed and have been converted to Islam.
From the CBS article:
A video distributed Monday shows the leader of the Nigerian Islamic extremist group Boko Haram saying he is willing to trade more than 200 kidnapped teenage girls for imprisoned members of his group, and offered the first evidence that most of the girls are still alive.
The video, which was obtained by the French AFP news agency, shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau addressing the camera with an automatic weapon in his first online appearance since claiming responsibility for the mass-kidnapping and threatening to sell the girls into slavery.
In another portion of the video dozens of young women in traditional Muslim dress are seen gathered in an outdoor area, chanting verses from the Koran in unison. Approximately 150 young women can be seen in the video. At one point a single girl addresses the camera in front of the group, appearing nervous, and recites Koranic verse.
Shekau addresses the camera in a different setting, appearing alone with his assault rifle and speaking in his native Hausa language. He asserts that Boko Haram has "liberated" the girls already, referring to many who he claims have "become Muslims."
"If you want us to release your girls we kidnapped, those of them that have not accepted Islam, they are now gathered in numbers. And we treat them well the way the prophet would treat well any infidel he seized. They are staying (with us). We will never release them until our brethren are released," Shekau says in the video. He does not name or identify any specific Boko Haram prisoners he would want released in exchange for the girls, but rather seems to suggest the Nigerian government would need to free imprisoned militants en-mass in any exchange deal.More of this story to come.
"It is now four years or five years that you arrested our brethren and they are still in your prison," Shekau says, calling for the release of prisoners held across the nation. There was no immediate reaction from Nigerian officials.
The video appears to confirm information from a source who told CBS News on Friday that Boko Haram was interested in making a prisoner swap deal. Correspondent and CBS News contributor Debora Patta reported Monday for "CBS This Morning" that the source had suggested the new video could contain a coded message to the Nigerian government, which is believed to be involved in back-channel negotiations with the militants already.
Experts have expressed concern that many of the kidnapped girls may already have been smuggled across Nigeria's borders into Chad, Niger or Cameroon.
Patta reported Monday that, according to her source, the Nigerian government was using a two-pronged approach; continuing search and rescue operations in conjunction with its international partners, while also setting up a committee to negotiate directly with Boko Haram.
Kleptocrats, terrorists and the poor people left in the middle to suffer.
Friday, May 9, 2014
Damning testimonies gathered by Amnesty International reveal that Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings about Boko Haram’s armed raid on the state-run boarding school in Chibok which led to the abduction of more than 240 schoolgirls on 14-15 April.After independently verifying information based on multiple interviews with credible sources, the organization today revealed that the Nigerian security forces had more than four hours of advance warning about the attack but did not do enough to stop it.“The fact that Nigerian security forces knew about Boko Haram’s impending raid, but failed to take the immediate action needed to stop it, will only amplify the national and international outcry at this horrific crime,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director, Research and Advocacy.“It amounts to a gross dereliction of Nigeria’s duty to protect civilians, who remain sitting ducks for such attacks. The Nigerian leadership must now use all lawful means at their disposal to secure the girls’ safe release and ensure nothing like this can happen again.”Amnesty International has confirmed through various sources that Nigeria’s military headquarters in Maiduguri was aware of the impending attack soon after 7:00 PM on 14 April, close to four hours before Boko Haram began their assault on the town.But an inability to muster troops – due to poor resources and a reported fear of engaging with the often better-equipped armed groups – meant that reinforcements were not deployed to Chibok that night. The small contingent of security forces based in the town – 17 army personnel as well as local police –attempted to repel the Boko Haram assault but were overpowered and forced to retreat. One soldier reportedly died.More than three weeks later, the majority of the girls remain in captivity in an unknown location. A climate of confusion and suspicion has so far scuppered efforts to secure their release.
A man who titles himself Imperial Wizard of the New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan has announced a KKK rally this summer at the group’s Upstate headquarters in South Carolina which he calls a “KKK Jam.” Their website does not describe the ‘…
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Fracking Colorado: Scientists find Front Range oil & gas fields emitting 3 times more methane than previously reported
From the article:
For years, CDPHE and EPA officials have estimated air pollution primarily by measuring ground-level sources. State agencies didn't begin monitoring methane until 2012.The new study marks one of the first efforts to investigate pollution in the atmosphere above ground level. Petron led atmospheric scientists who used a small airplane in May 2012 to test air. Previously, Petron and colleagues have gathered air-pollution data using vehicles packed with instruments and a 985-foot tall tower east of Erie.
Using the airplane, they found that oil and gas operations in Weld County emitted 19.3 tons of methane per hour — about 75 percent of total methane emissions in the area. That's about three times higher than an hourly average based on the EPA's annual estimates, which are drawn from industry-reported emissions.
Petron and her team also measured benzene emissions from oil and gas operations at about 380 pounds per hour — nearly eight times higher than a CDPHE estimate of 50 pounds per hour.
And they measured industry volatile organic compound emissions, which contribute to ozone pollution, at 25 tons per hour. That's nearly double the state estimate of 13.1 tons. For years, Colorado's Front Range has failed to meet federal ozone air quality standards.More aerial testing is planned this summer in Colorado. The Environmental Defense Fund plans to support a similar study in Texas, EDF chief scientist Steven Hamburg said.
"These data show how very important Colorado's regulations are in ensuring we address climate change as effectively and quickly as possible," Hamburg said. "We need to minimize methane associated with production of oil and gas, and the amount of carbon dioxide coming out of smokestacks and tailpipes. That combination will be powerful in reducing the rate of warming."
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
......bringing us to today's Benghazi-gate, Act II:
Sunday, May 4, 2014
|Kurdistan Map given to the League of Nations in Geneva,1938, by the Kurdish delegation|
- July 1920, Koçgiri Rebellion
- September 3, 1924, Beytüşşebap rebellion (tr:Beytüşşebap İsyanı)
- 1925, Sheikh Said rebellion
- May 26, 1927, Mutki rebellion
- October 1927, Ararat rebellion
- July 7, 1930, Seyidan and Berazan rebellion (tr:Tutaklı Alican İsyanı)
- 1930, Savur rebellion (tr:Savur Tenkil Harekâtı)
- March 20, 1937, Dersim Rebellion (in response to the Turkish Resettlement Law of 1934)
Dersim-Gesellschaft für Wiederaufbau e.V. (Gemeinnützig)Holweider Str.40, 51065 KölnTel.: 02216160611www.dersim-wiederaufbau.deFür Ihre Spenden: Postbank DortmundKontonummer: 687 152 466; Bankleitzahl: 440 100 46
To the Attention of Press and Public
“DERSIM ‘38 CONFERANCE“
WE WILL NOT FORGET OR LET FORGET THE DERSĐM GENOCIDE!!
It’s the 70th anniversary of the Dersim Genocide. Although 70 years have passed since the genocide by the Turkish Government in Dersim in 1937-38, this massacre has never been forgotten nor will it be forgotten as the culprits have not been brought out into light.
Dersim massacre started with the Turkish Republic regime presenting Dersim as a target by stating “Dersim is a ‘Pandora’s Box’”.
First by means that aren’t very common the name of Dersim was changed to ‘Tunceli in 1935.
In order to carry out this massacre, the Council of Ministers came together in Ankara on 4 May 1937 and formed ‘Tunceli Questioning Operation’ Council of Ministers and signed the half a page document classed as “Top Secret” which was the order for the Dersim massacre.
According to the people of Dersim 70 thousand people were massacred. After this atrocious act thousand of people were banished from their homeland.
On 16 November 1937, Seyit Riza who was one of the Kurdish leaders and seven of his comrades were hanged in Elazığ. Despite all attempts by the families, the grave sites of Seyit Riza and his comrades still haven’t been disclosed. Dersim Genocide is not the only genocide the Republican Turkey has committed towards Kurds and Alevis. During the reign of the Ottoman emperor Ahmet I. between 9 December 1606 and 5 August 1611, the “fire wells” of ‘Murat Pasha the Well digger’ who had murdered almost 100 thousand Kurdish Kizilbash Alevis, are still remembered by many. The problem Yavuz Sultan Selim couldn’t solve in 1514 by murdering 40 thousand people by sword was attempted to be solved during 1935-1938 in Dersim once again by a massacre.
The 1938 tragedy has not only left behind the dead, the wounded and banishments, it has left behind a depopulated region whose name and all presence has been banned. The Dersim Kurds has faced a planned, systematic genocide and an extremely cruel assimilation process because of their; identity, language, culture and religious beliefs.
The “one language and one nation” policy of the Republic of Turkey that continues in today’s
society as been the source of serious massacres first in Kocgiri, then at Seyh Said Revolt, at Zilan and at Dersim.
During the Dersim Genocide the Turkish government has massacred thousands of people, those
who survived were banished, Dersim was depopulated. The cause of these merciless acts was being Kurdish, Alevi and Kizilbash. Although 70 years have passed, Turkey is not willing to acknowledge this Genocide like many other Kurdish Genocides. Those responsible for the deaths of thousands of people have never been tried nor have they been brought out into light. The broken families could never discover their past. Thousands of people still haven’t received news from their families and close friends. The whereabouts of the Kurdish children taken by the Turkish Government at the time are unknown. Many other world counties who have had a similar experiences and committed genocide against its people have acknowledged the injustice and sorrow they have caused and have apologised. However Turkey is continuing to resist and use “it does not exist” strategy with the Kurdish Genocide just as they have with the Armenian Genocide.
Latin America called it “Making Peace”; the Japan called it “Leaving the past behind”; Italy had the “Cleaning Operation”; Austria took up “Nazi Cooperation”; Switzerland faced the “Nazi Accounts” and the “Nazi Gold”. Australia said “Sorry” to the Aborigines. Canada did the same for the Quebecois. South Africa put an end do the racist regime of Apartheid. This and similar examples prove that it is only possible to cleanse ourselves from the outworn traces and influences of the past by abandoning ‘denial’ and ‘destroying strategies’. As evident by these examples, the road to living together in peace goes through a democratic mentality transformation.
However, Turkey has not abandoned its desire for massacre, which it uses as a government policy. Kurdish regions are still being bombed, villages are being emptied, people being murdered because of their identity and culture.
To remind the world public of Dersim Genocide in its 70th year, we are organising the “Dersim ‘38 Conference” at the European Parliament on 13 November 2008. We will be there to face our history, to show that we have not forgotten nor will forget our ancestors and mothers who had been massacred.
We convey that the solution for our difference is not to kill or to die as it was the case in the Dersim Genocide and various other Kurdish Revolts, but to be seen as cultural richness. The solution for the Kurdish problem can be achieved not by denial or annihilation but by a peaceful approach. However, having a safe and secure future can be achieved if the government can face its past. Otherwise this pain and trauma will not end and it will not contribute to the solution to this problem.
Armenians, Greeks, Kurds, Jews, Alevis-Kizilbashes, Syrians, Assyrians, all citizens of Turkey and those who were classed as “the other” are the real owners of this move for Turkey to accept its past.
It is for this reason the Association of Reconstruction of Dersim is organising a conference regarding the Dersim ’38 Genocide at the EU Parliament with the left party acting as the host.
We invite all EU counties, UN, civil public organisations and Kurdish people to show sympathy to this conference which will take place on 13 November 2008.
ASSOCIATION of RECONSTRUCTION of DERSIM MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE