r3vliberty

Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan

Pentagon clears itself of propaganda violations

leave a comment »

conveniently positioned to be slurped down the weekend memory hole

WASHINGTON (AFP) — An internal investigation has cleared the Pentagon of violating a ban on domestic propaganda by using retired military officers to comment positively about the war in Iraq in the US media.

In a report posted on its website Friday, the Pentagon’s inspector general said “we found the evidence insufficient to conclude that RMA (retired military analysts) outreach activities were improper.”

The report said the controversy, which erupted in April following an expose in the New York Times, warranted no further investigation.

The Times found that the Pentagon laid on special briefings and conference calls for the retired officers, many of whom then repeated the talking points as military experts on television news shows.

It also found that many of the media analysts also worked as consultants or served on the boards of defense contracting companies, but that those ties often went undisclosed to the public.

US law bars government agencies from using funds for domestic propaganda, but the inspector general’s report said the definition of propaganda is unclear.

The report said historically it has been interpreted to mean publicity for the sake of self aggrandizement, partisanship, or covert communications, and that by those standards the evidence did not show a violation of the ban.

FDR's propaganda machine

FDR's propaganda machine


“Further, we found insufficient basis to conclude that (the office of the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs) conceived of or undertook a disciplined effort to assemble a contingent of influential RMAs who could be depended on to comment favorably on DoD (Department of Defense) programs,” it said.

It said the Pentagon invited retired military analysts to 121 meetings, 16 Pentagon briefings, 105 conference calls and nine trips — four to Iraq and five to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“We determined that those activities were conducted in accordance with DoD policies and regulations,” it said.

It said some 70 retired military officers were involved with the program at one time of another.

One, retired general Barry McCaffrey, was not invited back after he criticized the war effort, the report said. Another was blocked from attending, possibly because of a dispute with an unnamed senior military officer, it said.

It said it found no instances where retired officers with ties to military contractors “used information obtained as a result of the … outreach program to achieve a competitive advantage for their company.”

“Of the 70 RMAs that we examined, we found that 20 (29 percent) had some type of corporate association,” it said.

Advertisements

“Change”: The Iron Fisted reach-around

leave a comment »

…and you’ll just love it to death

    .Joe Biden
    Rahm Emanuel
    Hillary Rodham Clinton
    Madeleine Albright
    Richard Holbrooke
    Dennis Ross
    Martin Indyk
    Anthony Lake
    Lee Hamilton
    Susan Rice
    John Brennan
    Jami Miscik
    John Kerry
    Bill Richardson
    Robert Gates
    Ivo H. Daalder
    Sarah Sewall
    Michele Flournoy
    Wendy Sherman
    Tom Donilon
    Denis McDonough
    Mark Lippert

The American Majority

leave a comment »

The American Majority

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to the doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.

Carroll Quigley – Author of Tragedy & Hope

The coverage of the presidential election is designed to be a grand distraction. This is not new, but this year, it’s more so than ever.

Pretending that a true difference exists between the two major candidates is a charade of great proportion. Many who help to perpetuate this myth are frequently unaware of what they are doing and believe that significant differences actually do exist. Indeed, on small points there is the appearance of a difference. The real issues, however, are buried in a barrage of miscellaneous nonsense and endless pontifications by robotic pundits hired to perpetuate the myth of a campaign of substance.

The truth is that our two-party system offers no real choice. The real goal of the campaign is to distract people from considering the real issues.

Influential forces, the media, the government, the privileged corporations and moneyed interests see to it that both party’s candidates are acceptable, regardless of the outcome, since they will still be in charge. It’s been that way for a long time. George Wallace was not the first to recognize that there’s “not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two parties. There is, though, a difference between the two major candidates and the candidates on third-party tickets and those running as independents.

The two parties and their candidates have no real disagreements on foreign policy, monetary policy, privacy issues, or the welfare state. They both are willing to abuse the Rule of Law and ignore constitutional restraint on Executive Powers. Neither major party champions free markets and private-property ownership.

Those candidates who represent actual change or disagreement with the status quo are held in check by the two major parties in power, making it very difficult to compete in the pretend democratic process. This is done by making it difficult for third-party candidates to get on the ballots, enter into the debates, raise money, avoid being marginalized, or get fair or actual coverage. A rare celebrity or a wealthy individual can, to a degree, overcome these difficulties.

The system we have today allows a President to be elected by as little as 32% of the American people, with half of those merely voting for the “lesser of two evils”. Therefore, as little as 16% actually vote for a president. No wonder when things go wrong, anger explodes. A recent poll shows that 60% of the American people are not happy with the two major candidates this year.

This system is driven by the conviction that only a major party candidate can win. Voters become convinced that any other vote is a “wasted” vote. It’s time for that conclusion to be challenged and to recognize that the only way not to waste one’s vote is to reject the two establishment candidates and join the majority, once called silent, and allow the voices of the people to be heard.

We cannot expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq or the Middle East with either of the two major candidates. Expect continued involvement in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Georgia. Neither hints of a non-interventionist foreign policy. Do not expect to hear the rejection of the policy of supporting the American world empire. There will be no emphasis in protecting privacy and civil liberties and the constant surveillance of the American people. Do not expect any serious attempt to curtail the rapidly expanding national debt. And certainly, there will be no hint of addressing the Federal Reserve System and its cozy relationship with big banks and international corporations and the politicians.

There is only one way that these issues can get the attention they deserve: the silent majority must become the vocal majority.

This message can be sent to our leaders by not participating in the Great Distraction—the quadrennial campaign and election of an American President without a choice. Just think of how much of an edge a Vice President has in this process, and he or she is picked by a single person—the party’s nominee. This was never intended by the Constitution.

Since a principled non-voter sends a message, we must count them and recognize the message they are sending as well. The non-voters need to hold their own “election” by starting a “League of Non-voters” and explain their principled reasons for opting out of this charade of the presidential elective process. They just might get a bigger membership than anyone would guess.

Write-in votes should not be discouraged, but the electoral officials must be held accountable and make sure the votes are counted. But one must not be naïve and believe that under today’s circumstances one has a chance of accomplishing much by a write-in campaign.

The strongest message can be sent by rejecting the two-party system, which in reality is a one-party system with no possible chance for the changes to occur which are necessary to solve our economic and foreign policy problems. This can be accomplished by voting for one of the non-establishment principled candidates—Baldwin, Barr, McKinney, Nader, and possibly others. (listed alphabetically)

Yes, these individuals do have strong philosophic disagreements on various issues, but they all stand for challenging the status quo—those special interest who control our federal government. And because of this, on the big issues of war, civil liberties, deficits, and the Federal Reserve they have much in common. People will waste their vote in voting for the lesser of two evils. That can’t be stopped overnight, but for us to have an impact we must maximize the total votes of those rejecting the two major candidates.

For me, though, my advice—for what it’s worth—is to vote! Reject the two candidates who demand perpetuation of the status quo and pick one of the alternatives that you have the greatest affinity to, based on the other issues.

A huge vote for those running on principle will be a lot more valuable by sending a message that we’ve had enough and want real change than wasting one’s vote on a supposed lesser of two evils.

Ron Paul
Campaign for Liberty

The Real ACME Pipe Full of Fun Kit

with 2 comments

Operation Enduring Pipeline
by Don Bacon

With John McCain and Barack Obama now arguing about widening the Afghanistan war and invading Pakistan, the TAPI natural gas pipeline has a better chance than freedom ever had. It would be an American-controlled cash cow that would hurt Iran. All the US needs to do is pacify Afghanistan with more troops (to safeguard TAPI) and balkanize Pakistan (to stymie IPI) while widening the war and antagonizing India. Freedom be damned. Freedom was never an option anyhow, especially when there’s money to be made by endless war.

Joe Briggs Policy Watch: Afghanistan is about an Oil Pipeline,
w/ Eric Margolis

Afghanistan crisis worse than Iraq
by Haroon Siddiqui

There’s a lot we know about Afghanistan and a lot more we don’t. An expert who knows much more than most of us – whose prescient insights I have benefited from for a decade and whom the John Manley commission consulted last year – says Afghanistan will get worse in the coming months.

Written by mudshark

June 20, 2008 at 4:39 am

Suicide bombings at highest numbers in history since Iraq invasion

with 4 comments

from Raw Story

Surge: 2007 saw double number of bombings of any year ever recorded

Suicide bombings have risen to their highest levels in recorded history since the invasion of Iraq, according to a new report buried on page A18 of Friday’s Washington Post.

Of the 1840 suicide bombings since 1983, the year a suicide bomber attacked the US Embassy in Lebanon, 920 — or 50 percent — of suicide bombings have occurred since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

More than 82% of the suicide bombings last year were in Iraq. The number of bombings last year, 658, was more than twice the number of attacks at any point in the last 25 years.

The unpublished research was compiled by US government experts and leaked on condition of anonymity.

Suicide bombers engaged in 658 strikes across the globe in 2007; 542 were in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan and Iraq.

Full Story and link to WaPo article here

.

Written by mudshark

April 19, 2008 at 1:56 am

GAO: US vulnerable to al-Qaeda

leave a comment »

from Press TV

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 06:24:34

The reports conducted by the Government Accountability Office also says the US can not prevent the Pakistan’s tribal region from being used for launching terrorist attacks on the United States.

President Bush and his senior lieutenants frequently claim that eradicating the threat that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network poses to US and its allies is their top national-security priority.

“No comprehensive strategy for meeting US national-security goals” in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas has been developed even though the administration’s counter-terrorism policy, congressional legislation and the mission of the National Counter-Terrorism Center mandate such an approach, the report says.

Combating Terrorism: The United States Lacks Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas

GAO-08-622, April 17, 2008
Summary (HTML) Full Report (PDF, 32 pages)

Written by mudshark

April 17, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Ray McGovern on Petraeus, Cheney and Yoo

with 6 comments

Also, On AntiWar Radio: Charles Goyette talks with Ray McGovern about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet and much more.

mp3 here [58:23]

Yoo’s on First?
by Ray McGovern

Weren’t Yoo’s co-conspirators careful to keep their fingerprints off the more blatantly offensive memoranda? Sure they were.

But there was one problem. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then-CIA Director George Tenet could not get their people to torture folks without written, signed authorization by the president.

And we have a copy of that authorization? Yes, it’s been available for years. You have to download it to believe it.

In his Feb. 7, 2002, memorandum, Bush wrote: “I determine that common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees.” (Common Article 3 bans “torture [and] outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.”)

Then, drawing on the lawyerly legerdemain, Bush did something really dumb. Using words drafted by Vice President Dick Cheney’s lawyer, David Addington, for a memo dated Jan. 25, 2002, signed by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, the president ordered that detainees be treated, “humanely… to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity.”

Tacked onto the end of that sentence is a classic circumlocution: “in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva.” But that is not what Geneva says, and there is no way to square that circle.

This is the giant loophole through which Rumsfeld and Tenet drove the Mack truck of torture … yes, signed by the president.
The rotten apples were – demonstrably – at the very top of the barrel.

.