Monthly Archives: September 2012

The one indispensable nation.

“[…]The president, speaking to silent mourners in a cavernous hangar at Andrews Air Force Base just outside Washington, D.C., said, ‘Even as voices of suspicion and mistrust seek to divide countries and cultures from one another, the United States of America will never retreat from the world. Even in our grief, we will be resolute.’ […] ” ––election.html

Never retreat, eh?  Too bad.  I think the rest of the world could use a break from us right about now.

September 12, 2012

Jose Diaz Balart – MR. President, Gracias.

Pres. Obama: Gracias.

Jose Diaz Balart – For the first time since 1979, a sitting ambassador, Christopher Stevens, plus three other Americans were killed in the line of duty. We send more than a billion dollars a year to Egypt, tens of millions to Libya after its liberation. Is it time to reconsider foreign aid to countries where many of the people don’t want us around?

Pres. Obama: Well, look, the Unites States doesn’t have an option of withdrawing from the world. And we’re the one indispensable nation. Countries all around the world look to us for leadership, even countries where sometimes you experience protests. And so it’s important for us to stay engaged. […] But, you know what we have to do now is to do a full investigation. Find out the facts. Find out who perpetrated these terrible acts and bring them to justice.

Jose Diaz Balart – What does that mean, bring them to justice? What are your options?

Pres. Obama: Well you know, I hope it’s to be able to capture them, and, But we’re going to have to obviously cooperate with the Libyan government and I have confidence that we will stay on this relentlessly[…]  And we have to understand that, but the message we’ve communicated to the Egyptians, to the Libyans and everybody else is that there are certain values we insist on, that we believe in.  And certainly the security of our people and protecting diplomats in these countries is something that we expect and so we’re going to continue to look at all aspects of how our embassies are operating in those regions. […]

Jose Diaz Balart – Would you consider the current Egyptian regime an ally of the United States?

Pres. Obama: I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy. They’re a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. How they respond to, for example, maintaining the peace treaty in isr..with Israel. So far, at least, what we’ve seen is that in some cases they’ve said the right things and taken the right steps. In others, how they’ve responded to various events may not be aligned with our interests. […]

Jose Diaz Balart – Let’s talk about some other issue that’s been brought up politically. The issue of Israel. Have you drawn a red line on Iran and its nuclear power future? And do you feel that there is any kind of disagreement with the government of Israel?

Pres. Obama: The government of Israel and the United States government are entirely united in believing that it would be a grave threat for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. That’s why I’ve helped to organize an international coalition that’s unprecedented, to put incredible pressure and sanctions on the Iranian regime. They are seeing a huge amount of economic turmoil as a consequence of those sanctions. What we’ve said is that we are willing to offer them a path to resolve this diplomatically, but we reserve all options on the table.

Jose Diaz Balart – So there is a red line?

Pres. Obama: Well, I’ve stated repeatedly, publicly that red line, and that is we’re not going to accept Iran having a nuclear weapon, not only because it threatens Israel, not only because it could potentially threaten the United State, it could also fall into the hands of terrorists and it would trigger a nuclear arms race in the region that could be incredibly dangerous so, I’ve been very clear about my position. The Israelis, I think, understandably, are nervous, given the terrible things that the Iranian regime has said about Israel and the actions they’ve taken through proxies like Hezbollah in attacking Israel. So we are going to continue to consult with them very closely in moving this issue to the kind of resolution that ensures greater peace and stability in the region and in the world.[…]

We think we are indispensable.  Yet what exactly are we providing the world that is indispensable?  We have a diplomatic corps that is armed with mercenaries and which flies its own drones.  We have a Secretary of State who laughed – actually cackled with bloodthirsty and insane glee – when we were able to capture, torture and kill the leader of a sovereign nation. (See:  We were pleased to create a new government for Libya, one might call it government-in-a-box, and simply announced that this was now the recognized government that they would answer to.  There has been no inquiry from anyone in the media or in Congress, aside from Dennis Kucinich, as to the legality of this invasion and forced regime change under international laws.  We call this “spreading democracy”; yet it is the very antithesis of democracy.  We said not a word when the nations of Greece and Italy were forced to accept new “leaders” by the global banking cabal. (See:  We must think, judging by our silence and the fact that the austerity measures are soon going to be inflicted on us without our protest, that it’s quite acceptable to turn the banking mafia loose to collect the vig on the debts they imposed on every country through fraud and their own gambling.

We insist that the new “democracies” value certain things and behave in a manner which suits our interests even though one might think that the core idea of democracy is that a country and its people determine their own values and interests.  (“And we have to understand that, but the message we’ve communicated to the Egyptians, to the Libyans and everybody else is that there are certain values we insist on. That we believe in.”)  (“…how they’ve responded to various events may not be aligned with our interests.”)  We are so worried about the possibility of Iran making a nuclear weapon, which it is not doing, that we have imposed sanctions strong enough to cause distress, joblessness and hunger on Iran’s people and told repeated lies about Iran’s words and actions.  Sanctions are a form of warfare; that should go without saying.  We have killed their scientists, invaded their airspace with drones, clandestinely interfered with their politics and waged cyber-war on their computer systems.  We are concerned about nukes getting into the wrong hands, yet we have armed Israel with nuclear weapons and ignore their threats to use them against a nation that has not started a war in over 200 years.  Our idea of diplomatic, democratic foreign policy is summed up in documents like Obama’s Strategic Guidance (see:, which contains wording such as this: “In order to credibly deter potential adversaries and to prevent them from achieving their objectives, the United States must maintain its ability to project power in areas in which our access and freedom to operate are challenged” and this: “We will field nuclear forces that can under any circumstances confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage“.  This is not diplomacy, nor is it democratic.

We could choose to use our resources to work toward peace.  In a world facing the issues of peak oil, rapidly declining sources of fish and fresh water, toxins in the air and food supply, climate changes and corporate greed, we could be truly indispensable in leading the way in bringing countries together to face and handle these problems head-on.  We have deliberately chosen a different path.  Instead of taking down the big banks which are ruining one country after another in order to grab all the assets, we bailed them out, enriched them, and sent them out to wreak havoc around the globe.  Instead of leading by example on the issues of torture and illegal invasions, we have refused to bring torturers to justice (when they work for us) and make lame excuses for our claim that we have the right to invade any country we want in order to make them obey our dictates.  We talk about women’s and minority rights abroad while our own politicians try to reverse the rights of women and minorities here.  While we insist our way is “the best”, our own president claims the right, and has used it, to summarily kill some of us without trial or hearings.  The government so wants the power to arrest and detain us indefinitely that it took only a matter of hours for the administration to find a judge willing to overturn another judge’s ruling that such power was unconstitutional.  (  Fastest legal action since Saddam’s “trial”. They really, really want to be able to lock people up forever. And notice, the government lawyers’ arguments were not that the NDAA doesn’t say what the judge or the plaintiffs thought it said; the argument was that the judge’s ruling (that the NDAA was unconstitutional) interfered with the President’s unfettered “war authority”.  I.e., it does say what they thought it said, you can be held forever, and it is unconstitutional, but that should just be the president’s prerogative now.

Our largest corporations are brought into other countries at the point of a gun so they might make obscene profits from everyone on the planet.  We are so intent on giving everything in the world to these bloated corporations that the administration is working on a secret trade agreement that will rid the world of any pernicious notion of national sovereignty altogether, leaving the world to be ruled by corporate lawyers for the express benefit of a few companies that will be allowed to rape and pillage as they wish.  Our members of Congress are not even permitted to see, much less have any input into, this trade agreement.  (See:  Not that too many of them give a rat’s ass about which lobbyists are writing which agreements and legislation in any case.  It’s less for them to have to think about, in between vacations.

It’s easy to see what our priorities really are.

The Congressional Research Service’s latest annual compendium of global arms sales shows the U.S. to be the behemoth when it comes to such commerce. Some highlights:

– Per the pie chart, the U.S. accounted for 79% of the world’s weapons sales to developing nations in 2011, up from 44% in 2010.
The U.S. accounted for 56% of the world’s weapons sales to all nations from 2008 to 2011, up from 31% from 2004 to 2007.

Many of the weapons are being purchased by Saudi Arabia and other nations in its neighborhood, bulking up for a possible war with Iran.

Notes the report, by CRS’s Richard F. Grimmett and Paul K. Kerr:
In 2011, the United States led in arms transfer agreements worldwide, making agreements valued at $66.3 billion (77.7% of all such agreements), an extraordinary increase from $21.4 billion in 2010. The United States worldwide agreements total in 2011 is the largest for a single year in the history of the U.S. arms export program.


Pentagon plans drone sales to 66 countries

The use of drones might be raising questions within the United States, but overseas the demand is mounting. The US Defense Departments says they are preparing to make unmanned aerial vehicles commercially available to 66 outside nations.

If approved by Congress and the US State Department, the Pentagon could soon be peddling the remote-controlled war machines that have become a hallmark of America’s overseas wars to dozens of its allies. It’s a not deal that’s likely to be cut without a sound, however, as the use of UAVs has become one of the most debated issues regarding the US military at home.

Last year, however, the DoD put together a list of 66 countries they hope they will be cleared to sell drones too, and today the Defense Department says they are just as eager as ever to get the ball rolling.

Countless watchdog groups have condemned the use of drones, calling the aircraft responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.[…] Even so, adding UAVs to the wish-lists of other countries could be a consideration favored by much of Washington, especially those who have feared than planned budget cuts will nix billions from the Pentagon’s budget over the next decade.[…]

To Reuters on Wednesday, Northrop Grumman Corp CEO Wes Bush says that the Obama White House is working to make it easier for his company and others to deal drones as part of their international arms exchange, but roadblocks remain in place, regardless.[…]

We are arming both sides of any conflict and busy stirring up new conflicts so that the sale of weapons continually increases. This is happening at the same time that the United Nations is talking about making the use of drone warfare illegal.  But then, we were one of the few countries which did not sign the bans on cluster bombs and depleted uranium, either.  We did sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, however; despite that pledge, we have no intention of drawing down our nuclear arsenal.

To the best of my knowledge from information gleaned from internet data sources, there are three countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They are India, Pakistan and Israel. One additional country — North Korea — withdrew in 2003 after being a signatory for 18 years.

Iran signed in 1968 and ratified the treaty in 1970. […]

And it’s not just the nuclear weapons program that the U.S. is improving; it’s the bombs. The Washington Post confirms, “At the heart of the overhaul are the weapons themselves.” […]

But wasting money on weapons when the U.S. is reeling from overwhelming debt and consequently slashing assistance to the needy isn’t the only reason to question this enormous expenditure. […]

Here’s what we pledged in 1968 and our Senate ratified in 1970, according the U.S. State Department, “countries with nuclear weapons will move towards disarmament; countries without nuclear weapons will not acquire them; and all countries can access peaceful nuclear energy.”

How can the upgrade of the entire U.S. nuclear arsenal — to make it more effective and assure its deadliness — possibly be a move “towards disarmament?”[…]

But because I spend most of my time writing about poverty this plan by the U.S. to invest an estimated $352 billion dollars making nuclear war more likely — in direct violation of a treaty we have signed to the contrary — I insist we recall the words of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”[…]

Doing a little quick math, each hungry person in the world could have more than $380 for food — all 925 million of them — for what the U.S. alone will spend on upgrading its nuclear arsenal.

But those are only hungry people. What sort of investment could be made on behalf of those children dying of starvation? The United Nations puts that number at 18,000 per day. 18,000 kids dying of hunger each day! That means about six and a half million children die of starvation each year. If the U.S. spent the $352 billion on them, we could spend about $53,576 per kid and obey the terms of a treaty we signed more than 40 years ago.


[…]On May 9, 2011, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon released details about H.R. 1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012. The chairman’s “mark” of the annual defense authorization bill would fully fund NNSA at the President’s requested levels.  The document also reveals the long planning horizon for nuclear weapons, specifying, “The planned Ohio-class ballistic submarine replacement is expected to be in operations through 2080.”

A 1998 study by the Brookings Institution found, as a conservative estimate, that the U.S. spent $5.5 Trillion dollars on nuclear weapons from 1940–1996 (in constant 1996 dollars).  Nuclear weapons spending during this period exceeded the combined total federal spending for education; training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general science, space, and technology; community and regional development, including disaster relief; law enforcement; and energy production and regulation.[…]

“[…]Historian William Blum last year wrote that, since 1945, the US has attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most of them democratically elected. It has attempted to suppress a populist or national movement in 20 countries. It has grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries. It has dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries. And it has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.[…]” –

We could have chosen a different set of priorities, a different path.  If we do not change direction soon, it may be too late for humanity as a whole to survive our idea of “democracy”.  We have wealth in the US.  We choose to give it to a few people who do not intend, ever, to use it for anything but increasing strife and war, which they consider profitable.  The human cost, the cost to other forms of life, the cost to the planet itself, does not matter.  While we Americans do not, by and large, understand societies abroad very well, we are quite willing to kill them for their perceived differences from us.  Our media and our politicians encourage our mistaken perceptions.  But then, they profit from war, too.

“Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“John and Yoko spent a lot of time in the late ’60s and early ’70s working to promote peace. In 1969, they put up billboard advertisements in major cities around the world that said, ‘War is over! (If you want it).’ Two years later this slogan became the basis for this song when Lennon decided to make a Christmas record with an anti-war message.” -

Warning: graphic images.  The images in this video reflect the path we have acquiesced to with our silence and stand in stark contrast to the hopes for an end to wars as expressed by the words Lennon wrote.  It is time to insist our leaders let the world walk a different path.


(Happy Christmas Kyoko
Happy Christmas Julian)

So this is Christmas

And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young
A very Merry Christmas

And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (if you want it)
And so happy Christmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let’s stop all the fight (now)
A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
And so this is Christmas (war is over)
And what have we done (if you want it)
Another year over (war is over)
A new one just begun (if you want it)
And so happy Christmas (war is over)
We hope you have fun (if you want it)
The near and the dear one (war is over)
The old and the young (now)
A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now
Happy Christmas


Lies about Iraq, same lies about Iran.

Number of countries Iran has invaded in the last 200 years: zero.


by Dr. Zoltan Grossman

The following is a partial list of U.S. military interventions from 1890 to 2011.
Below the list is a Briefing on the History of U.S. Military Interventions.
The list and briefing are also available as a powerpoint presentation.
This guide does not include:
•    mobilizations of the National Guard
•    offshore shows of naval strength
•    reinforcements of embassy personnel
•    the use of non-Defense Department personnel (such as the Drug Enforcement Administration)
•    military exercises
•    non-combat mobilizations (such as replacing postal strikers)
•    the permanent stationing of armed forces
•    covert actions where the U.S. did not play a command and control role
•    the use of small hostage rescue units
•    most uses of proxy troops
•    U.S. piloting of foreign warplanes
•    foreign or domestic disaster assistance
•    military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat
•    civic action programs
•    and many other military activities.

Among sources used, beside news reports, are the Congressional Record (23 June 1969), 180 Landings by the U.S. Marine Corp History Division, Ege & Makhijani in Counterspy (July-Aug, 1982), “Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798-1993” by Ellen C. Collier of the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service, and Ellsberg in Protest & Survive.[…]

COUNTRY OR STATE/ Dates of intervention

SOUTH DAKOTA  1890 (-?)
300 Lakota Indians massacred at Wounded Knee.
Buenos Aires interests protected.
CHILE 1891
Marines clash with nationalist rebels.
HAITI 1891
Black revolt on Navassa defeated.
IDAHO 1892
Army suppresses silver miners’ strike.
HAWAII 1893 (-?)
Naval, troops
Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed.
Breaking of rail strike, 34 killed.
Month-long occupation of Bluefields.
CHINA 1894-95
Naval, troops
Marines land in Sino-Japanese War
KOREA 1894-96
Marines kept in Seoul during war.
Troops, naval
Marines land in Colombian province.
Marines land in port of Corinto.
CHINA 1898-1900
Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies.
PHILIPPINES 1898-1910 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos
CUBA 1898-1902 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, still hold Navy base.
PUERTO RICO 1898 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, occupation continues.
GUAM 1898 (-?)
Naval, troops
Seized from Spain, still use as base.
MINNESOTA 1898 (-?)
Army battles Chippewa at Leech Lake.
Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.
SAMOA 1899 (-?)
Battle over succession to throne.
Marines land at port of Bluefields.
IDAHO 1899-1901
Army occupies Coeur d’Alene mining region.
Army battles Creek Indian revolt.
PANAMA 1901-14
Naval, troops
Broke off from Colombia 1903, annexed Canal Zone; Opened canal 1914.
Marines intervene in revolution.
U.S. interests protected in Revolution.
KOREA 1904-05
Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.
CUBA 1906-09
Marines land in democratic election.
“Dollar Diplomacy” protectorate set up.
Marines land during war with Nicaragua
Marines intervene in election contest.
Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.
U.S. interests protected in civil war.
CHINA 1911-41
Naval, troops
Continuous occupation with flare-ups.
CUBA 1912
U.S. interests protected in civil war.
Marines land during heated election.
Marines protect U.S. economic interests.
Troops, bombing
10-year occupation, fought guerillas
Americans evacuated during revolution.
Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo.
Breaking of miners’ strike by Army.
MEXICO 1914-18
Naval, troops
Series of interventions against nationalists.
HAITI 1914-34
Troops, bombing
19-year occupation after revolts.
TEXAS 1915
Federal soldiers crush “Plan of San Diego” Mexican-American rebellion
8-year Marine occupation.
CUBA 1917-33
Military occupation, economic protectorate.
WORLD WAR I 1917-18
Naval, troops
Ships sunk, fought Germany for 1 1/2 years.
RUSSIA 1918-22
Naval, troops
Five landings to fight Bolsheviks
PANAMA 1918-20
“Police duty” during unrest after elections.
Marines land during election campaign.
intervene for Italy against Serbs in Dalmatia.
2-week intervention against unionists.
Troops, bombing
Army intervenes against mineworkers.
Fought nationalists in Smyrna.
CHINA 1922-27
Naval, troops
Deployment during nationalist revolt.
MEXICO and HONDURAS 1923, 1924-25
Airpower defends Calles from rebellion
Landed twice during election strife.
Marines suppress general strike.
CHINA 1927-34
Marines stationed throughout the country.
Warships send during Marti revolt.
Army stops WWI vet bonus protest.
WORLD WAR II 1941-45
Naval, troops, bombing, nuclear
Hawaii bombed, fought Japan, Italy and Germay for 3 years; first nuclear war.
Army put down Black rebellion.
IRAN 1946
Nuclear threat
Soviet troops told to leave north.
Nuclear threat, naval
Response to shoot-down of US plane.
Nuclear threat
Bombers deployed as show of strength.
GREECE 1947-49
Command operation
U.S. directs extreme-right in civil war.
Nuclear Threat
Atomic-capable bombers guard Berlin Airlift.
CHINA 1948-49
evacuate Americans before Communist victory.
Command operation
CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion.
Command operation
Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.
KOREA 1951-53 (-?)
Troops, naval, bombing , nuclear threats
U.S./So. Korea fights China/No. Korea to stalemate; A-bomb threat in 1950, and against China in 1953. Still have bases.
IRAN 1953
Command Operation
CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah.
Nuclear threat
French offered bombs to use against seige.
Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat
CIA directs exile invasion after new gov’t nationalized U.S. company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua.
EGYPT 1956
Nuclear threat, troops
Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis; Marines evacuate foreigners.
Troops, naval
Army & Marine occupation against rebels.
IRAQ 1958
Nuclear threat
Iraq warned against invading Kuwait.
CHINA 1958
Nuclear threat
China told not to move on Taiwan isles.
Flag protests erupt into confrontation.
VIETNAM 1960-75
Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats
Fought South Vietnam revolt & North Vietnam; one million killed in longest U.S. war; atomic bomb threats in l968 and l969.
CUBA 1961
Command operation
CIA-directed exile invasion fails.
Nuclear threat
Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.
LAOS 1962
Command operation
Military buildup during guerrilla war.
CUBA 1962
Nuclear threat, naval
Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union.
IRAQ 1963
Command operation
CIA organizes coup that killed president, brings Ba’ath Party to power, and Saddam Hussein back from exile to be head of the secret service.
Panamanians shot for urging canal’s return.
Command operation
Million killed in CIA-assisted army coup.
Troops, bombing
Army & Marines land during election campaign.
Command operation
Green Berets intervene against rebels.
Army battles African Americans, 43 killed.
After King is shot; over 21,000 soldiers in cities.
CAMBODIA 1969-75
Bombing, troops, naval
Up to 2 million killed in decade of bombing, starvation, and political chaos.
OMAN 1970
Command operation
U.S. directs Iranian marine invasion.
LAOS 1971-73
Command operation, bombing
U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion; “carpet-bombs” countryside.
Command operation
Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas.
Nuclear threat
World-wide alert during Mideast War.
CHILE 1973
Command operation
CIA-backed coup ousts elected marxist president.
Troops, bombing
Gassing of captured ship Mayagüez, 28 troops die when copter shot down.
ANGOLA 1976-92
Command operation
CIA assists South African-backed rebels.
IRAN 1980
Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing
Raid to rescue Embassy hostages; 8 troops die in copter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution.
LIBYA 1981
Naval jets
Two Libyan jets shot down in maneuvers.
Command operation, troops
Advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash.
Command operation, naval
CIA directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbor mines against revolution.
LEBANON 1982-84
Naval, bombing, troops
Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions. 241 Marines killed when Shi’a rebel bombs barracks.
GRENADA 1983-84
Troops, bombing
Invasion four years after revolution.
HONDURAS 1983-89
Maneuvers help build bases near borders.
IRAN 1984
Two Iranian jets shot down over Persian Gulf.
LIBYA 1986
Bombing, naval
Air strikes to topple Qaddafi gov’t.
Army assists raids on cocaine region.
IRAN 1987-88
Naval, bombing
US intervenes on side of Iraq in war, defending reflagged tankers and shooting down civilian jet.
LIBYA 1989
Naval jets
Two Libyan jets shot down.
St. Croix Black unrest after storm.
Air cover provided for government against coup.
PANAMA 1989 (-?)
Troops, bombing
Nationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ killed.
Foreigners evacuated during civil war.
Troops, jets
Iraq countered after invading Kuwait. 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.
IRAQ 1990-91
Bombing, troops, naval
Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports, air strikes; 200,000+ killed in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait; large-scale destruction of Iraqi military.
Naval, bombing, troops
Kuwait royal family returned to throne.
IRAQ 1991-2003
Bombing, naval
No-fly zone over Kurdish north, Shiite south; constant air strikes and naval-enforced economic sanctions
Army, Marines deployed against anti-police uprising.
SOMALIA 1992-94
Troops, naval, bombing
U.S.-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction.
NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.
BOSNIA 1993-?
Jets, bombing
No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbs.
HAITI 1994
Troops, naval
Blockade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup.
ZAIRE (CONGO) 1996-97
Troops at Rwandan Hutu refugee camps, in area where Congo revolution begins.
Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
SUDAN 1998
Attack on pharmaceutical plant alleged to be “terrorist” nerve gas plant.
Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies.
IRAQ 1998
Bombing, Missiles
Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.
Bombing, Missiles
Heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo. NATO occupation of Kosovo.
YEMEN 2000
USS Cole, docked in Aden, bombed.
NATO forces deployed to move and disarm Albanian rebels.
Jets, naval
Reaction to hijacker attacks on New York, DC
Troops, bombing, missiles
Massive U.S. mobilization to overthrow Taliban, hunt Al Qaeda fighters, install Karzai regime, and battle Taliban insurgency. More than 30,000 U.S. troops and numerous private security contractors carry our occupation.
YEMEN 2002
Predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda, including a US citizen.
Troops, naval
Training mission for Philippine military fighting Abu Sayyaf rebels evolves into combat missions in Sulu Archipelago, west of Mindanao.
US special forces sent to rebel zone to back up Colombian military protecting oil pipeline.
IRAQ 2003-?
Troops, naval, bombing, missiles
Saddam regime toppled in Baghdad. More than 250,000 U.S. personnel participate in invasion. US and UK forces occupy country and battle Sunni and Shi’ite insurgencies. More than 160,000 troops and numerous private contractors carry out occupation and build large permanent bases.
Brief involvement in peacekeeping force as rebels drove out leader.
HAITI 2004-05
Troops, naval
Marines & Army land after right-wing rebels oust elected President Aristide, who was advised to leave by Washington.
Missiles, bombing, covert operation
CIA missile and air strikes and Special Forces raids on alleged Al Qaeda and Taliban refuge villages kill multiple civilians. Drone attacks also on Pakistani Mehsud network.
SOMALIA 2006-?
Missiles, naval, troops, command operation
Special Forces advise Ethiopian invasion that topples Islamist government; AC-130 strikes, Cruise missile attacks and helicopter raids against Islamist rebels; naval blockade against “pirates” and insurgents.
SYRIA 2008
Special Forces in helicopter raid 5 miles from Iraq kill 8 Syrian civilians
YEMEN 2009-?
Missiles, command operation
Cruise missile attack on Al Qaeda kills 49 civilians; Yemeni military assaults on rebels
LIBYA 2011-?
Bombing, missiles, command operation
NATO coordinates air strikes and missile attacks against Qaddafi government during uprising by rebel army.

List not updated since last year.  There are several more countries to be added to the list since Libya, 2011.  These would include Pakistan (drone bombings), Philippines (drone bombing and CIA/US Army training of the Filippino forces in the use of drone technology against Muslims in southern Philippines), Somolia (drone bombings), Yemen (continued drone bombings), and Syria (covert CIA operations in coordination with al Qaeda  in civilian uprising).

Ten-minute video regarding the lies being used to promote a US/Israeli invasion against Iran:


Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Iran, MIC


Make it so, Number One.

Updated below.

What does a President do when Congress won’t enact legislation he likes?  What can he do when the American people hate legislation he wants to see in place?  The answer, my friend, is this: When all else fails, issue an Executive Order.  Presto-chango, we have a new law without all the fuss and muss of democracy.  Obama has issued executive orders sanctioning entire countries.  He likes executive orders.  He likes secrecy, too; so much so that one of his executive orders never made it to the Executive Orders section of the White House website, but was hidden within a news release, in the Press Releases section.  See:

He likes secrecy so much, his trade negotiator has been authorized to negotiate a trade agreement that will forever alter the idea of the sovereignty of nations.  [see: ]

He also likes the idea of cyber security and, daggone it, Congress is not getting the freaking job done.  I wrote about the train of cyber security bills working its way through Congress in the following excerpt from an April post:

By the way, Obama is proving himself to be the original three-card monte man.  (“Find the lady in red, cherchez la femme rouge, that’s all you have to do. Up and down, all around, in and out, all about, to and fro, watch ‘em go, now they’re back, they’re side by side, so tell me, dollface, where’s she hide?” – from dialogue in “Hearts in Atlantis” by Stephen King.)

As everyone watches for the fate of the cybersecurity bill called CISPA, which has passed the House under threat of Obama veto, there are three other cybersecurity bills quickly lining up behind it.  Obama said he would veto CISPA because it invades our privacy.  The bill that he prefers and is pushing hard for is the Senate version, the Leiberman-Collins bill called The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 2105).  Yet, while CISPA suggests cyber data and social network companies should share information with the government, the Leiberman-Collins bill requires that cyber data and social network companies share information with the government under the aegis of Homeland Security (i.e.; all meta-data in the country would be required to go to Homeland Security).  Obama likes this one so much, he had Janet Nepolitano stage a special mock cyber attack to scare the shit out of invited senators.  (No) Surprise!  It worked.  But then, these guys have been perpetually cowering and wetting themselves since 9/11.

About Obama’s preferred plan, the Lieberman-Collins bill (The Cybersecurity Act of 2012) and John McCain’s bill (the SECURE IT Act; and wait until you see what those letters stand for.  He wanted to call it the SECURITIZE THE INTERNET ACT, but couldn’t think of enough words and didn’t know hardly any z-words at all):

[Outside article excerpt] The director of the National Security Agency (NSA) endorsed Senate legislation that would place the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in charge of setting cybersecurity standards for private industry during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander, NSA director, told the panel that it was appropriate that his agency and US Cyber Command, the organization at the Department of Defense (DoD) in charge of organizing cyberdefenses, maintain an outward-facing stance for combating foreign threats while DHS works internally to collaborate with private companies to set cybersecurity objectives….

Alexander further called for liability protections for companies to share information with NSA and DHS, providing them with the intelligence they require to fight cyberattacks…
NSA can best assist the private sector by providing its capabilities and technical expertise to DHS, Alexander said.

He stated, “I think the lead for working with critical infrastructure and helping them defend and prepare their networks should lie with DHS.”

As such, Alexander embraced the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 2105), introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). That legislation would empower DHS to produce a regulation that requires private companies owning designated critical infrastructure to certify their cybersecurity capabilities rise to an appropriate level.

The general’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has introduced competing legislation known as the Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information and Technology (SECURE IT) Act of 2012 (S. 2151). The SECURE IT Act would not provide any additional authorities to DHS or NSA but it would provide liability protections for the private sector to share cyberthreat information through established channels and the Department of Commerce…

Alexander disagreed, noting that DHS should take the lead domestically on building national resilience and working with civilian agencies while DoD takes on foreign cyberthreats. Along with the FBI, the agencies would then work in concert, as “cyber is a team sport,” Alexander said…


[Outside article excerpt]….A CDT analysis found both bills have broadly written provisions that would:
• Share private communications with the National Security Agency and other federal entities, or with any other federal agency designated by the Department of Homeland Security.
• Monitor private communications passing over the networks of companies and Internet service providers.
• Employ countermeasures against Internet traffic.

In an effort to smooth passage, one provision has already been removed from the Lieberman-Collins bill that critics claimed would have given the president a “kill switch” to essentially turn off the Internet.
Meanwhile, Senator McCain’s competing bill would not offer new regulations, but instead promote information sharing with the government by providing immunity protection from lawsuits, among other things.


There have been rumors floating around for a couple of months that Obama will handle the internet security issue via executive order.  Now a reporter at the Federal News Radio claims that his news organization has seen a draft of the proposed executive order.  Furthermore, the fact that a White House spokesperson was willing to go on record with the statement that the WH was considering an executive order on the matter is indicative that such an order will likely be forthcoming.  When the ACLU and various other watchdog groups warned about CISPA, the Lieberman-Collins bill, etc., they suggested we send letters to our Congresspersons voicing our concerns.  I am not sure how effective a petition or letter is when the legislation you don’t want to see enacted is being written and passed by the King President alone.  Just how seriously he takes “the people” is pretty well indicated by the fact that he is considering issuing an executive order on this in the first place.  And let’s get real – this is the same guy who claims the right to kill whomever he chooses anywhere in the world.

With Congress still unable to iron out a cyber-security bill that both sides of the Legislative Branch can get behind, the White House has drafted an Executive Order that they will roll out if efforts on Capitol Hill remain unproductive.

Despite repeated pleas from lawmakers and other federal officials to have a cybersecurity legislation adopted by the United States government, members of the House and Senate have been unwilling to compromise on a bill. With every attempt at passing cybersecurity legislation ending with roadblocks, the White House has now announced that it is considering taking measures into their own hands.

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden tells the Washington Post that “an Executive Order is among the things we’re considering to fulfill the president’s direction to us to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyberthreats,” though has not confirmed how far along the White House is with efforts to enact such an order.

It has been rumored since the congressional stalemate was first reported earlier this year that the White House may bypass Capitol Hill and create legislation on their own, especially after the Obama administration’s cybersecurity coordinator, Howard A. Schmidt, resigned from his post in May. Schmidt had been perhaps the administration’s most adamant opponent of the House of Representatives-approved Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, and was said by many to be the key White House staffer siding against the bill. Now with Schmidt out of the White House and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle still asking for a CISPA-like bill to be approved into law, US President Barack Obama may sign an order that’ll ensure that America’s computer infrastructure is safe guarded under a new directive immediately.

Federal News Radio reporter Jason Miller says his outlet has seen a draft of the order and compares it heavily with the comprehensive cyber legislation introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R- Maine) this past July that has been unable to clear the Senate. If the copy Federal News claims to have seen is adopted, Miller writes that it will required the US Department of Homeland Security to establish a cybersecurity council within 90 days that will “develop a report to determine which agencies should regulate which parts of the critical infrastructure.”

The Post adds that the council will consist of representatives from the Commerce, Defense, Treasury, Energy and Justice departments, as well as another from the Director of National Intelligence’s Office.

Miller also adds that the order, in its latest incarnation, would include information-sharing provisions similar to what was included in CISPA, but would not, however, necessarily reward private sector corporations with incentives for openly sharing intelligence with the government.

“Sources say it doesn’t advocate for rewards or more tangible incentives such as liability protection like the Lieberman-Collins bill does,” Miller adds.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), one of the most outspoken opponents of CISPA, said that the House’s original attempt at cybersecurity legislation paved the way for some serious problems because of those protections. Back in May, Sen. Wyden said, “Our job is to write a cyber-security bill that protects Americans’ security and their fundamental right to privacy,” but argued that all attempts had been misguided.

“I believe these bills will encourage the development of a cyber-security industry that profits from fear and whose currency is Americans private data” he said. “These bills create a Cyber Industrial Complex that has an interest in preserving the problem to which it is the solution.”

Update, Thursday, 13 Sept.

It looks as though there will indeed be an executive order forthcoming.  Note particularly this sentence, which indicates that the order can be added to later on based on recommendations from staffers: “More so, however,the executive order appears to lay down the groundwork for federal staffers assigned to a committee established under the directive to design further cybersecurity acts once the order is signed.”  From the wording, it can be assumed that any later additions to the order are likewise not expected to need Congressional approval.

This is from the AP, via RT, which has seen a draft of the order:

White House leaks draft of CISPA-like cybersecurity executive order
Published: 12 September, 2012, 21:21
Edited: 12 September, 2012, 21:21

The White House has leaked further details on a planned executive order that lets US President Barack Obama lay out blueprints for a program tasked with protecting America’s computer infrastructure following Congress’ failure to do so themselves.

The Associated Press has obtained a draft of what they describe as the cybersecurity executive order that has long been rumored as on the way but only recently confirmed by White House insiders. Last week, officials within the Obama administration acknowledged that the president was planning to release a directive to expedite protection of America’s cyber infrastructure, and now the AP says they have come into possession with a copy of it.

Among the AP’s claims, the executive order will establish a critical infrastructure cybersecurity council manned by the US Department of Homeland Security that will be staffed by members of the departments of defense, justice and commerce, and national intelligence office, who “would submit a report to the president to assess threats, vulnerabilities and consequences for all critical infrastructure sectors.”

The AP says the draft outlines rules for federal agencies to propose new regulations or broaden existing ones and includes other provisions involving the sharing of data between private corporations and the federal government.

The White House has not announced when the president will authorize the executive order, but its mere existence is all but certain to be a response to the Legislative Branch’s inability to compromise on a cybersecurity bill between members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Lawmakers in the House were able to largely agree on one such bill this year, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, but efforts on the part of the Senate to draft a similar bill on their own end were futile, leaving Washington essentially deadlocked on the issue, much to the chagrin of those they have made hawkish calls for an immediate and extensive law.

Had CISPA been signed into law, it would have offered incentives to private companies who shared personal user info submitted online with the US government under the guise of being a necessity for national security. The White House released a statement of administrative policy in response back in April condemning CISPA on the basis that it failed “to provide authorities to ensure that the nation’s core critical infrastructure is protected while repealing important provisions of electronic surveillance law without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality and civil liberties safeguards.”

“Moreover, information sharing, while an essential component of comprehensive legislation, is not alone enough to protect the nation’s core critical infrastructure from cyber threats,” the White House originally wrote.

The Obama administration said earlier this year that president would veto CISPA if a copy of the bill made its way to the oval office, but skeptics have been unsure of Mr. Obama’s take as of late, specifically after cybersecurity coordinator Howard A. Schmidt left his position within the administration in May. Now the White House has revealed their own plans for a cybersecurity bill that, while largely different from CISPA in some aspects, certainly borrows from some parts of that bill.

The AP reports that third-party companies will not necessarily be bound to sharing intelligence with the government in exchange for certain incentives, although they will be able to voluntarily provide information. Federal News Radio reporter Jason Miller claims to have seen excerpts from the executive order last week and described it more closely related to the comprehensive cyber legislation introduced by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R- Maine) than CISPA, but added, “Sources say it doesn’t advocate for rewards or more tangible incentives such as liability protection like the Lieberman-Collins bill does.”

More so, however, the executive order appears to lay down the groundwork for federal staffers assigned to a committee established under the directive to design further cybersecurity acts once the order is signed.

“The private sector would collaborate with the cybersecurity council and also cooperate with NIST in the development of cybersecurity guidance,” the AP describes the order, while also seeking “better digital defenses for critical infrastructure while encouraging economic prosperity and promoting privacy and civil liberties.”

White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told the Washington Post last week, “an Executive Order is among the things we’re considering to fulfill the president’s direction to us to do absolutely everything we can to better protect our nation against today’s cyberthreats.”

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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in Congress, security state, trade agreements


The DNC and the RNC: the party at Versailles.

Security is the topic.  It is The Topic.  The main thing, the primary concern.  Terrorists of all stripes seek to wreck our way of life and we must be secure at all costs.  You may have questions about other things: jobs, the economy, the fate of Medicare and Social Security, the lack of criminal proceedings against banker fraud and theft or against those who torture, the lack of environmental safeguards, crumbling infrastructure, subsidies to big oil and big ag, rising food costs, skyrocketing poverty in America.  You might wonder how it is that one rich man can plan a massive experiment with the atmosphere and risk the health of an entire state or two and will apparently be allowed to just go ahead and do as he wishes.  []  The Republican answers to those pressing questions are fairly simple and straight-forward.  Give more money to rich people.  And post the Ten Commandments in all government buildings.  Oh, and increase the Pentagon budget.  Your opinion notwithstanding.  Security, doncha know.  You may wonder how the Democrats would address these concerns, but what you are going to hear about from the main speakers at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte, SC next week will be Security.

Obama’s speech at the DNC will focus on national security.

Democrats plan to emphasize President Barack Obama’s record on national security and veterans on the night he delivers his address at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

An Obama campaign official says the party will discuss Obama’s handling of national security issues and his work with veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan on Sept. 6, the final night of the convention. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement was pending.[…]

John Kerry, another keynote speaker, will also talk about security.

TAMPA ­— President Obama is tapping Senator John F. Kerry to deliver a speech focused on national security issues during the closing night of next week’s Democratic National Convention.

The three-day gathering in Charlotte, N.C., will have a heavy national security focus, underscoring the administration’s intention to highlight its work to end combat operations in Iraq, draw down forces in Afghanistan, and approve a military raid that killed Osama bin Laden and contrast these accomplishments with the rhetoric of Republican nominee Mitt Romney. […]

The truth is, most of what you have heard about the conventions relates to security – but not necessarily yours.  The conventions are not given for your benefit or edification.  We have finally reached the point where the dissipation and self-indulgence of American politics is obvious.  The conventions are held for the kings and princes, the royalty; and at them, they speak to their retinues, donors, courtiers and functionaries.

[…]Super PACs continue to be tools used by a small number of wealthy individuals and institutions to dominate the political process.

•    Just over 57% of the $230 million raised by Super PACs from individuals came from just 47 people giving at least $1 million.  Just over 1,000 donors giving $10,000 or more were responsible for 94% of this fundraising.

•    Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have given a combined $36.3 million to Super PACs in the 2012 cycle.  It would take more than 321,000 average American families donating an equivalent share of their wealth to match the Adelsons’ giving. […]

Those are the people who have seats at the venues and dinners within the American Versailles.  They are protected with layers of security, prepared for months in advance, with new laws in place just for these events.  They are being protected from you.  They don’t want to hear you or see you – you are the threat against which they protect themselves.  Your vote barely matters at this point – what, after all, is the difference between the candidates?  After the President of the United States claims he has the right to kill you at his whim, to detain you indefinitely without trial, what is there left to say about democracy in America?

There have been very few articles about the conventions that don’t include a mention of the massive security apparatus in place in both host cities.  This is reminiscent of the APEC conference in Hawaii last year where the gathered elites were kept secure through the use of military displays rarely seen outside a war zone.  (I hate to reference my own work, but here is a summary: )  The only major incident at the APEC conference turned out to be the murder of a local man by one of the State Dept. security team, who took it upon himself at 3 a.m. after a night of bar-hopping, to “save” the patrons of a McDonald’s from a bit of verbal harassment by shooting the unarmed “offender” at point-blank range.

In both Tampa and Charlotte, the police spokesmen bragged about the massive security in place as though they had been preparing for the land and sea invasion of hundreds of thousands of armed terrorists and national enemies.  But notice that the “terrorists” they fear are….US citizen protesters.  Said protesters may include a few (the horror!) anarchists or other unsavory sorts who might dare to cover their faces – that being the defining look of homeland terrorism or something.  Never mind that the protesters are held at bay by closed roads, barricades, and sheer distance from the venues in “free speech” corrals.  (So much for the rights to peaceable assembly and free speech.)  The potential protesters drew forth a remarkable military jingoism from the police departments.  This is the public statement from the sheriff in Tampa prior to the RNC.  Notice how similar it sounds to military forces taking over a hostile territory:

The upcoming Republican National Convention will transform the Tampa Bay area on an international level. Like no other, this event will showcase the area’s communities as well as the Herculean task to provide security for citizens, delegates, visitors and everyone in between.[…]

The challenges of preparing for and executing a security/safety plan for an event of this magnitude are daunting. There are many pieces of the puzzle, most known but some unknown.[…]

The RNC demands thousands of law enforcement officers to converge on downtown Tampa for a 24-hour-a-day presence.[…]

Tactically, we are ready. Security plans for the venue and the perimeters are set. Boundaries, protests zones and parade routes are established for the thousands expected in downtown Tampa. […] To the agitators and anarchists who want only to bring a dark cloud to this event, let me be clear: criminal activity and civil disturbances will not be tolerated and enforcement actions will be swift.[…]

The most visible aspect our security plan will be the boots on the ground – the law enforcement officers on the street, manning perimeter posts and designated protective locations.[…] What the public won’t see is the staging of quick reactionary forces, tactically deployed at locations around the city to handle an emergency situation. These special contingents of law enforcement officers are trained, equipped and prepared.[…]

There will be arrests. The question is how many. We are prepared to handle any number of RNC-related arrests through our Orient Road Jail.[…]

The sheriff in Charlotte similarly worded his message to the public, warning specifically about the threat of “anarchists” and the “black bloc”.

In Tampa, the numbers of protesters was small, maybe due to the weather or perhaps because people are starting to get the idea that there is no point in spending their money traveling just to be caught permanently on facial recognition cameras and possibly arrested while the royalty, meantime, is completely unaware of their presence and reasons for being there.  […”After three days, however, only a few hundred to, at most, a couple thousand protesters have appeared, scattered around the downtown area…. just three protesters have been arrested heading into the Tampa event’s third day. That includes a protester toting a machete Sunday, one who wouldn’t remove a bandana over his face Monday and one accused of battery following a fight over a piece of cardboard at a protest camp on Tuesday, police said...”  ]  The special laws enacted in Charlotte are similar to the ones that were passed in Tampa for these events.

Starting Saturday, someone walking through Charlotte’s central business district could run afoul of the law by carrying water bottles, hair spray, socks or magic markers under sweeping security rules enacted ahead of the Democratic National Convention.

It would take a particularly strict reading of the rules for someone to be arrested simply for possessing one of those items, but the possibility exists — which worries protesters and free speech advocates. They fear authorities could trample on people’s constitutional rights in the name of protecting public safety.

The changes to city ordinances adopted earlier this year for “extraordinary events” ban a long list of actions and items that would otherwise be legal from a more than 100-square-block zone. The area includes spots as much as a mile from the sports venues where the Democratic Party events are to be held.

The new rules have already been used for events before the convention and will remain on the books after it’s over.  The special rules that went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday could also bar anyone other than government employees from carrying handbags and backpacks or possessing soda cans, drink coolers, scarves, bike helmets, baby strollers or pets not specifically permitted as service animals.

A section banning “a container or object of sufficient weight to be used as a projectile” could be interpreted to include almost anything, from an apple to an iPhone.

Those caught violating any of these prohibitions could be subject to arrest and jail.[…]
At the rain-soaked Republican Convention in Tampa earlier this week, officials banned umbrellas, baseballs and puppet-making materials.[…]

Since the new ordinances were approved in January, officials have already applied the “extraordinary” designation to other events where protesters were expected, including recent shareholder meetings for Bank of America and Duke Energy. Hagemann said the rules may be revisited after the DNC.

Protest leaders fear some the more than 1,750 Charlotte police officers might abuse their enhanced powers during the convention. Another concern is whether the 3,400 officers on loan from other departments have received adequate training on the Charlotte ordinances.[…]

Michael Zytkow, an activist with Occupy Charlotte, was arrested after he spoke beyond his allotted 3 minutes during the meeting where the ordinances were approved. The misdemeanor charge against him was later dropped.[…]  “I think this is an attempt to vilify protesters,” he said of the ordinances. “I think it’s an attempt to prevent us from coming out and joining and expressing our rights to march on the street and express our grievances.”

The cities get to keep all the hardware and gear that they amassed against the threat of protesters.  That means all those security cameras, etc. will now be permanently in place.  A surprising number of people seem to like this idea.  If you read the comments attached to any of these articles, you will get an idea of how far gone we are in the notions that spying on your neighbors and giving up any pretense of privacy is a good thing.  The propaganda has worked.  In Charlotte, there will be special vehicles to handle hazmat and hostage negotiation.  [ ]

“[…]The city will be able to keep the equipment purchased with the millions from the federal government which Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe says is a good thing for the police department.

“The money will likely be spent on security cameras and other technology, but Monroe promises it will be ‘spent wisely.'[…]”

From the wikipedia article on the 2012 DNC:

[…]Protest activity and demonstrations are being anticipated at the convention. Over sixty organizations have gathered into a group known as The Coalition to March on Wall St. South, and have declared their intention to protest at the convention. The left-leaning coalition reflects the rhetoric and ideology of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and several Occupations from North Carolina are endorsers of the coalition. Demonstrators say they want to call attention to the influence of corporations on politics as well as the role of the military-industrial complex in US politics; they have scheduled a dance party to honor imprisoned soldier Bradley Manning. One group of illegal alien workers is traveling to the convention via bus. They risk deportation if they are arrested for civil disobedience.

Charlotte has received a $50 million grant from the federal government for convention security. The city plans to spend $25 million on its police force. Some of the money has been allocated to police bicycles ($303,596), software ($61,000), and a ‘command center upgrade’ ($704,795). The city also plans to spend $937,852 on officers from neighboring forces.
In anticipation of protest activity, the city of Charlotte has also passed a variety of new laws. These include:
•    Rules prohibiting camping on public property.
•    Restricting the use of a list of different items: “cables, bars, projectiles, spray guns, breakable containers,” aerosol containers, fireworks, smoke bombs, pepper spray, mace, masks, scarves, body-armor, helmets, and police scanners.

These laws are permanent and will remain effective after the end of the convention. They may also have ramifications before the convention: namely, the eviction of Occupy Charlotte from its encampment downtown.

The DNC has been designated National Special Security Event, which means that the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security will do some of the policing. However, the Charlotte Police Department will be responsible for the areas outside the convention venues. Police note that it will be relatively easy to surround protestors in the city’s downtown business district, which is enclosed by expressway.[…]

Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer at The Atlantic, just wrote a great article which gives the feel of Tampa during the RNC.  He chonicles the strange odyssey he embarked on looking for the dreaded protesters.  At one point, he meets a photographer for a another publication and they join ranks.  The photographer relates to him the story of how he was walking on the wrong side of a barricade and was told by a police officer that he should get on the other side if he didn’t want to be shot by a police sniper.

Friedersdorf writes:

[…]All sorts of city blocks are closed off to pedestrians for no apparent reason. Getting from point A to point B might require going a quarter-mile out of your way five or six times. Law enforcement is generally polite, but the demeanor invariably changes immediately if someone inadvertently walks a few paces on the wrong street. Anyone who has traversed airport security is familiar with the sudden feeling that an agent of the state thinks you’re a suspicious potential terrorist for crossing an arbitrary line painted on the ground. And to enter the building itself is even more surreal.

Consider this.

Want to carry a concealed handgun to a crowded movie theater? The Republican Party will defend your right to do so. But credentialed journalists traversing a random block in downtown Tampa several blocks from the GOP convention, with scores of police officers and tons of concrete barriers still separating them from the delegates?

Apparently that’s too much of a security risk.

And if we want inside the convention hall itself?

Forget concealed weapons. Banned items include unopened envelopes, flashlights, and whole fruit. In fairness, the Constitution nowhere guarantees the right to bear bananas.

The men in fatigues and the atmosphere of military occupation is disturbing, but somehow I found the several helicopters hovering in place at all times to be the most unnerving single element.[…]

Really terrific article – I suggest you read it in full.

A summary of some little facts and on the equipment brought in for the two conventions:

•    Date on which the Democratic National Convention begins in Charlotte: Sept. 3
•    Amount in federal funds the city will spend on security for the gathering, expected to draw 6,000 delegates and 30,000 visitors: $50 million
•    Number of officers the money will be used to hire from outside departments: 3,400
•    Miles of 9-foot-tall “anti-scale” fencing the funds will be used to purchase: about 5
•    Miles of concrete barriers the Secret Service has requested for the event: 2
•    Date on which the Charlotte City Council, in anticipation of the convention, passed a law empowering the city manager to declare an “extraordinary event,” designating a section of the city where police have broad powers to search and arrest people carrying potential weapons, projectiles or other items, including permanent markers, coolers and backpacks: Jan. 23[…]
•    Number of national groups involved in “The Coalition to March on Wall Street South,” a reference to Charlotte’s position as the second-largest U.S. financial center behind New York, that are planning to peacefully protest at the convention: 80
•    Estimated number of churches that will gather Sept. 2 in Charlotte’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for a service organized by anti-gay rights and anti-abortion activists: 40
•    Percent of Charlotte’s Uptown commercial district that will be inside the DNC’s “extraordinary event” perimeters: 60
•    Amount of federal money the Republicans received for their convention in Tampa, Fla., which begins Aug. 27: $50 million
•    Number of officers who will be patrolling channels and waterways in the downtown area at any given time in boats mounted with automatic machine guns: 150
•    Number of organizations that have endorsed the March on the RNC, a protest set for Aug. 27: more than 60
•    Number of people expected to occupy pink tents inside a protest camp on leased land in downtown Tampa dubbed “Romneyville”: 300

I would like to emphasize something here; 100 million dollars of tax-payer money has been spent for these two conventions combined.  100 million dollars.  So when the city fathers and convention planners try to say that these events will not cost the people who live in these cities any money, that is not entirely true.  It will cost all of us something, to the tune of 100 million bucks.  Imagine what we could do with that money…instead, it is being used to keep you away from the royalty in Versailles.  These “leaders”, who we are supposed to trust with our national financial decisions, are throwing themselves a couple of parties, and they just spent 100 million of your dollars for security to keep you out.  The new laws and security measures will remain in effect after the conventions; several Occupy locations are wiped out permanently and thousands of security cameras will remain in place to record your every step down the sidewalks.  Fencing and barricades will be stored for future use, to be brought out during the next board meeting of Bank of America or Monsanto, perhaps.  Your opinion is irrelevant.  Your worries and concerns are unheard, by design.  Aside from the facial recognition software storing your photo (should it be needed at some point as evidence against you if you forget your place in the scheme of things), you are invisible.  Your only purpose is to provide the cash for the very security being used to keep you, the riff-raff, out.  Even the reporters will mostly ignore the protesters and peasantry in favor of jotting down the words, as exactly as possible, of the princes and kings.  It does not matter that the words are untrue or stupid.  100 million dollars.  Of your money.  To keep you out, to pat you down and take away your backpack and magic markers.  The whole dismal situation could not be more obvious if the wealthy American royalty hung up banners in the convention halls reading, “Let them eat cake.”

This is but one of the signs that we have reached the end point.  All the years of propaganda has worked and Security is The Only Issue.  Even, sadly, security provided at our expense to protect the elite decision-makers from the rest of us.  We have somehow accepted the idea that this is necessary and smart.  The last of our rights is wiped out with huge segments of the American public cheering for the police state – obsequiously grateful for and applauding the flying monkeys who, we think, “protect us” from each other – the idea that our real enemies are the other poor slobs just like ourselves is one we have bought completely.  We are no longer even capable of understanding who is being protected, and from whom.


Posted by on September 1, 2012 in civil rights, elections, Occupy, security state