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New Signs of a Revolt at the CIA
(Ken Silverstein, Harpers, April 19, 2006)
With the war in Iraq an utter debacle and public opinion turned against the White House, anger within the armed forces towards Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Administration is growing . . . But what's been little noted thus far is what looks to be a similar revolt brewing at the CIA. An ex-senior agency officer who keeps in contact with his former peers told me that there is a "a big swing" in anti-Bush sentiment at Langley. "I've been stunned by what I'm hearing," he said. "There are people who fear that indictments and subpoenas could be coming down, and they don't want to get caught up in it." . . . This former senior officer said there "seems to be a quiet conspiracy by rational people" at the agency to avoid involvement in some of the particularly nasty tactics being employed by the administration, especially "renditions" - the practice whereby the CIA sends terrorist suspects abroad to be questioned in Egypt, Syria, Uzbekistan, and other nations where the regimes are not squeamish about torturing detainees. . . . "There's an SS group within the agency that's willing to do anything and there's a Wehrmacht group that is saying, 'I'm not gonna touch this stuff'." [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Isn't it interesting that people in the CIA are using Nazi references to describe their co-workers?] . . . "When the shit hits the fan," he explained, "the administration scapegoats lower-level people. It doesn't do a lot in terms of inspiring confidence." . . . Today's "Wehrmacht" officers at the CIA are right to be worried about subpoenas: a legal analysis prepared by a senior FBI attorney in 2002 deemed that renditions to countries that torture detainees were illegal. The attorney concluded that such actions were designed to circumvent American laws against torture and that anyone even discussing such a plan could be found criminally liable. If the political winds shift, some "bad apples" in the CIA could find themselves indicted for torture.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:35 AM
Iraq War Costs Spiral Out of Control
(Keith Garvin, ABC News, April 20, 2006)
There are many uncertainties about the progress made by coalition forces and the future prospects for stability and democracy in Iraq, but there is at least one indisputable fact: The Bush administration vastly underestimated the costs of the Iraq war. . . . Not only in human lives, but in monetary terms as well, the costs of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq far exceed the administration's initial projection of a $50 billion tab. . . . The price is expected to almost double after lawmakers return to Capitol Hill next week when the Senate takes up a record $106.5 billion emergency spending bill that includes $72.4 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House passed a $92 billion version of the bill last month that included $68 billion in war funding. That comes on top of $50 billion already allocated for the war this fiscal year. . . . "When the administration submitted its original budget for the Iraq war, it didn't provide money for continuing the war this year or any other. We could end up spending up to $1 trillion in supplemental budgets for this war." . . . According to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the United States spent $48 billion for Iraq in 2003, $59 billion in 2004, and $81 billion in 2005. The center predicts the figure will balloon to $94 billion for 2006. That equates to a $1,205 bill for each of America's 78 million families, on top of taxes they already pay. . . . As the cost of military equipment escalates, the cost of the war escalates. In fact, developing state-of-the-art weapons to defeat insurgents and their roadside bombs will hit the wallets of American taxpayers for years to come. . . . "The Department of Defense has increased its investment in new equipment from $700 billion to $1.4 trillion in the coming years," Cordesman said. . . . Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker recently warned lawmakers that the cost of upkeep and replacement of military equipment would continue even after U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq. To fully reequip and upgrade the U.S. Army after the war ends will cost $36 billion over six years, and that figure assumes U.S. forces will start withdrawing from Iraq in July, and be completely out of the country by the end of 2008.
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posted by Lorenzo 5:18 AM
Pentagon Studying The Effect Of The Internet On The Military
(Matthew Borghese, All Headline News, April 18, 2006)
The Pentagon's Defense Science Board will study the military implications of Internet search engines, online journals and "blogs." . . . Officially, it will be a study on "Information Management for Net-Centric Operations," as it was requested by Kenneth Krieg, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics and a former Defense Science Board member himself. . . . Krieg notes the military's ever-increasing reliance on these networks, saying, "Our increasing ability to leverage information and networking will be a critical enabling factor in developing better ways to work with others in the [U.S. government] and with both coalition and nontraditional partners as we, collectively, undertake the challenging missions of the 21st century." . . . "As information becomes more critical to military operations, the military will need to ensure it has the information networks needed to meet future challenges." . . . The study should prove informative, if the internet has really become what Krieg calls, "the lifeblood of military and civil-military operations." . . . In fact, Krieg adds, "'Googling' and 'blogging' are making their way into military operations at all levels." . . . "But the full implications of this revolution are as yet unknown, and we have no clear direction and defined doctrine."
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posted by Lorenzo 8:48 AM
What Is Plan B?
(Terrence McNally, AlterNet, February 2, 2006)
Eradicate poverty, reforest the earth, restore fisheries, eliminate overgrazing, protect biological diversity, stabilize climate -- Lester Brown says it's all possible. . . . Of all the resources needed to build an economy that will sustain economic progress, none is more scarce than time. That is one of the key messages of Lester Brown's new book, "Plan B. 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble." The world may finally be listening. . . . China now consumes more grain, meat, coal and steel than the United States. If China's income grows as projected, in 2031 its income per person will match incomes in the United States today. At that point, it will be consuming the equivalent of two-thirds of the current world grain harvest, driving 1.1 billion cars (versus 800 million in the world today) and using 99 million barrels of oil per day, well above current world production of 84 million barrels. That's Plan A. . . . . . . New threats -- climate change, environmental degradation, the persistence of poverty and the loss of hope -- call for new strategies. Brown -- who left World Watch in 2001 to found Earth Policy Institute -- says it's time for Plan B -- a renewable-energy-based, reuse-recycle economy with a diversified transport system: time to build a new economy and a new world. The world is now spending $975 billion annually for military purposes. Plan B -- social goals and earth restoration -- requires an additional annual expenditure of $161 billion.
[NOTE: The above are excerpts from Terrence McNally's introduction of his guest, Lester Brown. If you click on the link above you will be taken to the Alternet page that has the full text of this important interview.]
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posted by Lorenzo 6:28 AM
U.S. Blind to Harbinger of Its Decline
(Ramzy Baroud, OhmyNews International, April 11, 2006)
The miscalculated policies of the U.S. administration in the Middle East are quickly depleting the country's ability to sustain its once unchallenged global position. Winds of change are blowing everywhere, and there is little that Washington's ideologues can do to stop that. . . . The above claim is increasingly finding its way into the realm of mainstream thinking, despite all attempts to mute or relegate its import. . . . "Our power has the grave liability of rendering our theories about the world immune from failure. But by becoming deaf to easily discerned warning signs, we may ignore long-term costs that result from our actions and dismiss reverses that should lead to a re-examination of our goals and means," [U.S. Republican congressman Henry] Hyde said. . . . In his poignant analysis -- decoding Hyde's deliberately implicit thoughts -- Jacques argued, "The Bush administration stands guilty of an extraordinary act of imperial overreach which has left the U.S. more internationally isolated than ever before, seriously stretched financially, and guilty of neglect in east Asia and elsewhere." . . . Ironically, the invasion of Iraq with its "thousands" of "tactical" mistakes -- as recently admitted by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- was meant to solidify and ensure the U.S.'s post Cold-War global dominance. According to Jacques, as inferred from Hyde's notable speech, "It may well prove to be a harbinger of its decline." . . . . . . It can also be argued that the U.S. adventurism in Iraq has provided the coveted opportunity to other countries to further their national and regional interests without the constant fear of U.S. reprisals. . . . "What's happening is something completely new in the history of the hemisphere. Since the Spanish conquest, the countries of Latin America have been pretty much separated from one another and oriented toward the imperial power. For the first time, they are beginning to integrate and in quite a few different ways." . . . That integration is evident, according to Chomsky, not only by examining the unbridled rise of the Left in these countries and the almost immediate alliances -- economic cooperation, for example -- that these populace governments have achieved. There is a simultaneous rise of the political relevance of the indigenous Indian population in Bolivia, and the opportunities it represents to the Indian population of Ecuador and Peru. . . . For the first time since then, says a BBC news analysis, a foreign country has challenged American influence in that region, and successfully so. Indeed, China is upgrading its economic relations with Brazil -- both increasingly formidable economic powers -- in ways that will eventually help Brazil break away from a domineering U.S. hold. . . . U.S. policy planners seem as ever insistent on following the same destructive course that has compromised their nation's global standing like never before. . . . The rise of the neoconservatives (also known as the Likudists for their open support of, and direct involvement with Israel's right wing policies) helped create the false impression that the U.S. and Israeli policies are one and the same, including their mutual interests in maintaining Israel's military "edge" over its neighbors, which eventually led to the invasion of Iraq. . . . While the neocons are washing their hands from any responsibility in the deadly Middle East impasse, the U.S. administration's arrogance is stopping it from immediately withdrawing its troops from Iraq and seriously reassessing its relationship with Israel. . . . The world is changing, yet the U.S. government refuses to abandon its old ways: militaristic, self-defeating and overbearing. . . . For once, the U.S. administration needs to tap into its sense of reason, and discern the "warning signs," that should lead to "the re-examination of [its] goals and means." A first step is to bring the troops home, and with them the entire doctrine that unrestrained violence and perpetual wars can further the cause of an already dishonored superpower.
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posted by Lorenzo 12:01 PM
AT&T Forwards ALL Internet Traffic Into NSA
(ByteEnable, LinuxElectrons.com, April 06 2006)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Wednesday filed the legal briefs and evidence supporting its motion for a preliminary injunction in its class-action lawsuit against AT&T. . . . "The evidence that we are filing supports our claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "More than just threatening individuals' privacy, AT&T's apparent choice to give the government secret, direct access to millions of ordinary Americans' Internet communications is a threat to the Constitution itself. We are asking the Court to put a stop to it now." . . . EFF's evidence regarding AT&T's dragnet surveillance of its networks includes a declaration by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T telecommunications technician, and several internal AT&T documents. This evidence was bolstered and explained by the expert opinion of J. Scott Marcus, who served as Senior Technical Advisor for Internet Technology to the Federal Communications Commission from July 2001 until July 2005. . . . "The public deserves to know about AT&T's illegal program," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "In an abundance of caution, we are providing AT&T with an opportunity to explain itself before this material goes on the public docket, but we believe that justice will ultimately require full disclosure." . . . The NSA program came to light in December, when the New York Times reported that the President had authorized the agency to intercept telephone and Internet communications inside the United States without the authorization of any court. Over the ensuing weeks, it became clear that the NSA program has been intercepting and analyzing millions of Americans' communications, with the help of the country's largest phone and Internet companies, including AT&T. . . . "Mark Klein is a true American hero," said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "He has bravely come forward with information critical for proving AT&T's involvement with the government's invasive surveillance program." . . . In the lawsuit, EFF is representing the class of all AT&T residential customers nationwide. Working with EFF in the lawsuit are the law firms Traber & Voorhees, Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP and the Law Office of Richard R. Wiebe.
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posted by Lorenzo 9:27 AM
Star Wars Program Director Says Cheney Main 9/11 Suspect
(Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones, Prison Planet.com, April 4 2006)
The former head of the Star Wars missile defense program under Presidents Ford and Carter has gone public to say that the official version of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory and his main suspect for the architect of the attack is Vice President Dick Cheney. . . . [Dr. Robert M.] Bowman worked secretly for the US government on the Star Wars project and was the first to coin the very term in a 1977 secret memo. After Bowman realized that the program was only ever intended to be used as an aggressive and not defensive tool, as part of a plan to initiate a nuclear war with the Soviets, he left the program and campaigned against it. . . . In an interview with The Alex Jones Show aired nationally on the GCN Radio Network, Bowman stated that at the bare minimum if Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were involved in 9/11 then the government stood down and allowed the attacks to happen. He said it is plausible that the entire chain of military command were unaware of what was taking place and were used as tools by the people pulling the strings behind the attack. . . . . . . "The exercises that went on that morning simulating the exact kind of thing that was happening so confused the people in the FAA and NORAD....that they didn't they didn't know what was real and what was part of the exercise," said Bowman . . . "I think the people who planned and carried out those exercises, they're the ones that should be the object of investigation." . . . Asked if he could name a prime suspect who was the likely architect behind the attacks, Bowman stated, "If I had to narrow it down to one person....I think my prime suspect would be Dick Cheney." . . . Bowman said that privately his military fighter pilot peers and colleagues did not disagree with his sentiments about the real story behind 9/11. . . . Bowman agreed that the US was in danger of slipping into a dictatorship and stated, "I think there's been nothing closer to fascism than what we've seen lately from this government." . . . Bowman slammed the Patriot Act as having, "Done more to destroy the rights of Americans than all of our enemies combined." . . . "There needs to be a true investigation, not the kind of sham investigations we have had with the 9/11 omission and all the rest of that junk," said Bowman. . . . Asked if the perpetrators of 9/11 were preparing to stage another false-flag attack to reinvigorate their agenda Bowman agreed that, "I can see that and I hope they can't pull it off, I hope they are prevented from pulling it off but I know darn good and well they'd like to have another one." . . . In addition, from the very start we have put forth eminently credible individuals only for them to be ignored by the establishment media. Physics Professors, former White House advisors and CIA analysts, the father of Reaganomics, German Defense Minister and Bush's former Secretary of the Treasury, have all gone public on 9/11 but have been uniformly ignored by the majority of the establishment press.
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posted by Lorenzo 6:25 AM