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Jefferson23's Journal - Archives
Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Sat Dec 10th 2011, 07:16 PM

December 9, 11:03 AM, 2011

By Jeremy Keehn

Harper’s Magazine contributing editor Jeff Sharlet recently published Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country In Between, a beautifully written bricolage of reported narrative, character study, and memoir tracing his travels among the faithful in the United States. Since then, Sharlet has been spearheading Occupy Writers, which brings together authors in support of Occupy Wall Street and collects their responses to the movement. (David Bezmozgis, Lemony Snicket, Alice Walker, and many others have contributed.) Harper’s put six questions to Sharlet about his new collection and his immersive approach to journalism:

1. Sweet Heaven When I Die includes chapters reported all over the country, covering people as different as Chava Rosenfarb and Brad Will. Given the book’s disparate threads, what unites it for you? Or, put another way, what animated the project for you?

The short version of what unites the book, for me, is that these are the stories I wrote to stay sane during my long immersion in the authoritarian culture of American fundamentalism for my last two books, The Family and C Street. They’re stories about the tightrope between despair and desire, and about the imagination — political imagination, in the broadest sense — required to walk that line.

So there’s Chava Rosenfarb, in “For Every Life Saved,” the last great Yiddish writer, a graduate of the Lodz Ghetto who wrote her first book of poems on the wooden planks of a concentration-camp barracks. There’s Brad Will, in “Quebrado,” an anarchist journalist who while covering a massive uprising in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006, filmed his own murder; that story is ultimately as much about those he left behind, trying to make meaning and find justice in his death, as about Brad, who lived a life of brilliant holy-fool hedonism. And there’s maybe the most unlikely of heroes, a young woman named Valerie, the subject of “She Said Yes,” whom I met while covering a fundamentalist-youth movement called Battlecry. Valerie believes in her cause, which is as extreme a variation of fundamentalist politics as I’ve encountered. But she was also a reader, and she was a human, and that meant she wanted to tell me about loving Dostoyevsky, and to confess that she’d adored the brief sex life she’d had before she joined the movement. There was nothing flirtatious about it. It was a statement of desire in its most essential sense. Desire is a positive concept, but in all these stories, the recognition of desire demanded the ability to reject the world as you find it, to imagine more.

in full: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/12/hbc...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Thu Dec 08th 2011, 07:47 PM
Growth is needed in order to save the euro, not sermons and homilies, says Nobel Prize-winning economist.

Last Modified: 08 Dec 2011 09:11

New York, New York - Just when it seemed that things couldn't get worse, it appears that they have. Even some of the ostensibly "responsible" members of the eurozone are facing higher interest rates. Economists on both sides of the Atlantic are now discussing not just whether the euro will survive, but how to ensure that its demise causes the least turmoil possible.

It is increasingly evident that Europe's political leaders, for all their commitment to the euro's survival, do not have a good grasp of what is required to make the single currency work. The prevailing view when the euro was established was that all that was required was fiscal discipline - no country's fiscal deficit or public debt, relative to GDP, should be too large. But Ireland and Spain had budget surpluses and low debt before the crisis, which quickly turned into large deficits and high debt. So now, European leaders say that it is the current-account deficits of the eurozone's member countries that must be kept in check.

In that case, it seems curious that, as the crisis continues, the safe haven for global investors is the United States, which has had an enormous current-account deficit for years. So, how will the European Union distinguish between "good" current-account deficits - a government creates a favourable business climate, generating inflows of foreign direct investment - and "bad" current-account deficits? Preventing bad current-account deficits would require far greater intervention in the private sector than the neoliberal and single-market doctrines that were fashionable at the euro's founding would imply.


Race to save the euro under way

In Spain, for example, money flowed into the private sector from private banks. Should such irrational exuberance force the government, willy-nilly, to curtail public investment? Does this mean that government must decide which capital flows - say into real-estate investment, for example - are bad, and so must be taxed or otherwise curbed? To me, this makes sense, but such policies should be anathema to the EU's free-market advocates.

remainder in full: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Wed Dec 07th 2011, 01:27 PM
December 6, 2011

Dafna Linzer and some of her colleagues at ProPublica have published a two-part feature in the Washington Post based on their year-long study of the American presidential-pardons system. The story’s conclusions are depressing, but they will surprise no one who has closely studied the Department of Justice in recent years:

White criminals seeking presidential pardons over the past decade have been nearly four times as likely to succeed as minorities, a ProPublica examination has found. Blacks have had the poorest chance of receiving the president’s ultimate act of mercy, according to an analysis of previously unreleased records and related data.

Figures from the Clinton and Bush Administrations later respond to these findings with the usual amazement at just how this could be. Their reactions may have been sincere, but if so, they were extremely naive.

The ProPublica story is backed by a considerable collection of data and some compelling side-by-side comparisons:

An African American woman from Little Rock, fined $3,000 for underreporting her income in 1989, was denied a pardon; a white woman from the same city who faked multiple tax returns to collect more than $25,000 in refunds got one. A black, first-time drug offender — a Vietnam veteran who got probation in South Carolina for possessing 1.1 grams of crack — was turned down. A white, fourth-time drug offender who did prison time for selling 1,050 grams of methamphetamine was pardoned.

in full: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/12/hbc...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Tue Dec 06th 2011, 08:16 PM
Monday, Dec 5, 2011 2:27 PM

by Glenn Greenwald

The fact-checking site PolitiFact serves a valuable purpose when it actually performs its stated function: to “help you find the truth in American politics” by “fact-check<íng> statements” from political and media figures. But it undermines its own credibility when it purports to resolve subjective disputes of political opinion under the guise of objective expertise. That’s precisely what it did yesterday in this incredibly sloppy and often factually false analysis of Ron Paul’s condemnation of the new AUMF and detention authorities embedded in the pending Levin/McCain bill. What matters here more than PolitiFact‘s obvious, specific errors is the reason they were led to such error: namely, reliance on supposedly neutral, ideology-free “experts” who are anything but that.

PolitiFact rated as “mostly false” Paul’s argument that the new explicit standards in Levin/McCain defining the scope of the War on Terror are so vague and broad that they allow virtually anyone to be targeted by the President with force or detention; to support his claim, Paul cited the fact that, under this new language, the President is explicitly authorized to use force not only against members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban (as the original 2001 AUMF provided), but also against anyone who “substantially supports” those groups or “associated forces.” As Paul put it in his supposedly false statement: “It’s (now) anybody associated with (those) organizations, which means almost anybody can be loosely associated — so that makes all Americans vulnerable.”

Paul is far from the only person making this argument. The ACLU (see p. 10) — along with countless lawyers for detainees — have repeatedly argued that these expanded AUMF standards are so vague and broad as to allow the President virtually unfettered discretion to detain or otherwise use force against anyone he wants, on the ground that almost anyone can be said to provide “substantial support” to an “associated force.” Just last week, Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum observed about the new AUMF in Levin/McCain: “From now on, military force will be perpetually pre-authorized against anyone who ‘supports’ any group ‘associated’ with something that looks like al-Qaeda. In other words, pretty much anyone at all.” And here is what Seton Hall Law Professor and long-time detainee lawyer Jonathan Hafetz told me today in explaining how this expanded interpretation of the AUMF is already giving rise to exactly the dangers about which Paul warned and could be even worse in the future:

As to “associated forces”, among the most outrageous uses thus far has been the Uighurs, whom the government detained for years based on their alleged membership in an (associated) Uighur independence group. Another concern is expanding AUMF-detention authority to new groups operating in other regions besides Afghanistan (e.g., Horn of Africa) on the theory that they are “associated” with AQ. thus helps entrench the notion of a global war on terror....

remainder in full: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/05/politifact... /
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Mon Dec 05th 2011, 10:44 PM
The Black Friday shopping spree was more about consumer desperation than about consumer confidence.

Danny Schechter Last Modified: 05 Dec 2011 13:12

We all saw the shopocalpyse, as Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping calls it, on Black Friday. The big story became a shopper pepper-spraying others, and then a shot being fired. Not in most of the news: Occupy protesters in Oklahoma arrested at a Walmart for challenging blind consumerism.

That was the immediate news. The big story came a day later, calling this year's shopping surge the biggest ever, up 30 per cent.

Wow.

This news was viewed as a sign of consumer confidence that, with an earlier government report on a new wave of optimism released a week earlier, sent markets up.

But, as is so often the case, figures like these are designed more to foster public perceptions, not report truth. I have been following these numbers ever since making the film In Debt We Trust in 2006 and find them invariably misleading, perhaps by design.

First there is the good news in reports like this one on Bloomberg that get picked up widely: "Black Friday sales increased 6.6 per cent to the largest amount ever as US consumers shrugged off 9 per cent unemployment and went shopping".

remainder: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Sat Dec 03rd 2011, 09:55 AM
November 30, 2011

The German newsweekly Spiegel takes the latest disclosures concerning Herman Cain and the rise of Newt Gingrich as an opportunity to offer a foreign bird’s-eye view of the current Republican Party and the American media froth around it. My translation:

“Africa is a country. The Taliban rule in Libya. Muslims are terrorists. Immigrants are mostly criminals, Occupy Wall Street protesters are always dirty. And women who claim to have been sexually molested should kindly keep quiet.”

Welcome to the wonderful world of the Republican Party. Or rather: to the distorted world of its presidential campaign. For months it has coiled through the country like a traveling circus, from debate to debate, from scandal to scandal, contesting the mightiest office in the world — and nothing is ever too unfathomable for them… These eight presidential wannabes are happy enough not only to demolish their own reputations but also that of their party, the once worthy party of Abraham Lincoln. They are also ruining the reputation of the United States.

They lie, deceive, scuffle and speak every manner of idiocy. And they expose a political, economic, geographic and historical ignorance compared to which George W. Bush sounds like a scholar. Even the party’s boosters are horrified by the spectacle…

remainder: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/11/hbc...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Fri Dec 02nd 2011, 07:58 PM
December 1, 2011

On Monday, Admiral Denis Blair, former National Intelligence Director for President Obama, presented remarks concerning military readiness and potential defense budget cuts at a function hosted by the Aspen Institute. In response to a question from Fox News’s Catherine Herridge about the development of drone policy, Blair offered a surprisingly forceful critique of the CIA’s drone war in Pakistan:

Covert action that goes on for years doesn’t generally stay covert. And you need a way to make it something that is part of your overt policy. I think that the way that we know about to do that is to make it a military operation and to — therefore, when you are going to be using drones over a long period of time, I would say you ought to give strong consideration to running those as military operations.

Within the armed forces we have a set of procedures that are open, known for how you make decisions about when to use deadly force or not, levels of approval degrees of proof and so on and they are things that can be and should be openly put out. So yet another of the problems of trying to conduct long-term sustained covert operations is this secrecy, which you do for other purposes but then puts you in this position which we said. So, I argue strongly that covert action should be retained for relatively short duration operations which — no kidding — should not be talked about and should not be publicized. That if something has been going for a long period of time, somebody else ought to do it, not intelligence agencies.

The remarks can be viewed on CSPAN here, beginning at the 1:17 mark.

Blair was sharply critical of the CIA-run drone war in Pakistan in his final months in the Obama White House, and he has acknowledged that friction with the CIA led to his departure. But his critique (which is almost identical to the one I have been raising for the past three years) is firmly rooted in American national-security doctrine.

remainder: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/12/hbc...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Thu Dec 01st 2011, 07:50 PM
By Pepe Escobar

Target Syria - the strategic prize that outstrips Libya. The stage is set. The stakes couldn't be higher. Libya 2.0 equals Syria? It's more like Libya 2.0 remix. With the same R2P (''responsibility to protect'') rationale - starring civilians bombed into ''democracy''. But with no UN Security Council resolution (Russia and China will veto it). Instead, Turkey shines, fanning the flames of civil war.

US Secretary of State Hillary ''we came, we saw, he died'' Clinton set the scene on Indonesian TV a few weeks ago, when she prophesied there would be ''a civil war'' in Syria, with a well financed and ''well-armed opposition'' crammed with army deserters.

Now it's up to NATOGCC to make it happen. NATOGCC is of course the now fully accomplished symbiosis between selected


North Atlantic Treaty Organization members such as Britain and France and selected petromonarchies of the Gulf Cooperation Council, aka the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

So feel free to bask in the glow of yet another mercenary paradise.

in full: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/M...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Wed Nov 30th 2011, 11:05 AM
By Peter Van Buren

Here's the First Amendment of the US Constitution, in full: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Those beautiful words, almost haiku-like, are the sparse poetry of the American democratic experiment. The Founders purposely wrote the First Amendment to read broadly, and not like a snippet of tax code, to emphasize that it should encompass everything from shouted religious rantings to eloquent political criticism. Go ahead, re-read it aloud at this moment when the US government seems to be carving out an exception to it large enough to drive a tank through.

As the occupiers of New York City's Zuccotti Park, like those pepper-sprayed at the University of California Davis, or the Marine Corps veteran shot in Oakland, California, recently found out, the government's ability to limit free speech, to stopper the First Amendment, to undercut the right peaceably to assemble and petition for redress of grievances, is perhaps the most critical issue our republic can face.

If you were to write the history of the last decade in Washington, it might well be a story of how, issue by issue, the government freed itself from legal and constitutional bounds when it came to torture, the assassination of US citizens, the holding of prisoners without trial or access to a court of law, the illegal surveillance of American citizens, and so on.

in full: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Econom...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Mon Nov 28th 2011, 10:38 PM
Mark Ames

11/22/2011


A friend of mine sent me this link claiming that UC Davis chancellor “Chemical” Linda Katehi, whose crackdown on peaceful university students shocked America, played a role in allowing Greece security forces to raid university campuses for the first time since the junta was overthrown in 1974. (H/T: Crooked Timber) I’ve checked this out with our friend in Athens, reporter Kostas Kallergis (who runs the local blog “When The Crisis Hits The Fan”), and he confirmed it–Linda Katehi really is the worst of all possible chancellors imaginable, the worst for us, and the worst for her native Greece.


First, some background: Last week, The eXiled published two pieces on Greece’s doomed struggle against global financial institutions—an article on how the EU and Western bankers essentially overthrew the nearly-uppity government of prime minister George Papandreou, and replaced it with a banker-friendly “technocratic” government that includes real-life, no-bullshit neo-Nazis and fascists from the LAOS party, fascists with a banker-friendly fetish for imposing austerity measures. One of those fascists, Makis “Hammer” Voridis, spent his early 20s “hammering” non-fascist students for sport. Voridis was booted out of Athens University law school after ax-bashing fellow law students who didn’t share his fascist ideology. Today, Mikaes Voridis is the Minister for Infrastructure in the “technocratic” government. Imagine Lt. John Pike in leather and an 80s hairdo, carrying a homemade ax rather than a pepper spray weapon, and you have Makis “Hammer” Voridis.

We also published a powerful and necessary history primer by Greek journalist Kostas Kallergis on the almost-holy significance of the date November 17 in contemporary Greek history. On that day in 1973, pro-democracy students at the Athens Polytechnic university were crushed by tanks and soldiers sent in by the ruling junta dictatorship, which collapsed less than a year later, returning democracy to Greece. With CIA backing, the generals in the junta overthrew Greece’s democracy in 1967, jailed and tortured suspected leftists (meaning students and union leaders), and even went the extra-weird-fascist mile by banning the Beatles, mini-skirts, long hair, along with Mark Twain and Sophocles. The student rebellion at the Polytechnic, and its martyrdom, became the symbol for Greeks of their fight against fascism and tyranny, something like the briefcase man at Tiananmen Square, or the slaughtered rebels of the Boston Tea Party Massacre.

That is why, as soon as the junta was overthrown and democracy restored in 1974, Greece immediately banned the presence of army, police or state security forces on university campuses. This so-called “university asylum” law turned Greece’s university campuses into cop-free zones of “political asylum,” where no one could interfere in the students’ rights to dissent against the government.

in full: http://exiledonline.com/how-uc-davis-chanc...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Israel/Palestine
Mon Nov 28th 2011, 06:37 PM
It took some 1000 children from United Nations schools to create Pablo Picasso's dove outside the West Bank city of Jericho, produced as part of the "Peace on Earth" project.

Palestinian children stand to form Pablo Picasso's Dove of Peace as part of a project by British aerial artist John Quigley and the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), at the foot of the Mount of Temptation in the West Bank city of Jericho November 25, 2011. It took some 1000 children from United Nations schools to create the project produced as part of the "Peace on Earth" project, a global musical prayer for peace which will be ...
http://news.yahoo.com/photos/palestinian-s...


25 November 2011 – Hundreds of children from United Nations-run schools in the Jericho area of the occupied Palestinian territory today created a massive aerial image jointly with the renowned artist John Quigley to send out a peace message to the world.
The children, who attend schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), gathered at the foot of the Mount of Temptation, outside Jericho, to form the shape of the Peace Dove created by the artist Pablo Picasso. They were directed by Mr. Quigley, who has created mass images from groups of people for over a quarter of a century.

snip*The image by the Palestinian schoolchildren was created as part of the PeaThese kids are planting seeds of peace into the heart of the Middle East conflict. They deserve the kind of positive future we wish for all childrence on Earth project, which will stage concert that will be broadcast across the world from Bethlehem’s Manger Square on Christmas Day.

“These kids are planting seeds of peace into the heart of the Middle East conflict. They deserve the kind of positive future we wish for all children,” said Quigley.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp/%20h...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Mon Nov 28th 2011, 01:24 PM
November 23, 2011

By Thomas Frank

On September 15, House Speaker John Boehner announced that the nation’s “job creators” — a flattering euphemism for “business owners” — were on strike. This was the proximate cause of the nation’s unemployment woes, Boehner maintained. Until those business owners received the low-tax, deregulated world they wanted, they would continue to keep their wallets in their pockets.

Boehner is not the first to imagine a strike by society’s well-to-do, but he is certainly the first conservative political leader to make a formal statement on the matter. In times past, a “capital strike” was a thing to deplore, not something to be announced proudly with the obvious expectation that the world would promptly surrender to capital’s demands. But times have changed.

Herewith, a brief history of the capital strike.

There were two distinct “capital strikes” during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt. The first, which is still referenced on the website of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s historical society, consisted of a decline in new stock and bond issues in the first years of the New Deal.

The second was a more general revolt of business interests, which were supposedly struggling to preserve laissez-faire political conditions by withdrawing investment from the economy in 1937, sabotaging the recovery and the chances of President Roosevelt. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes delivered a ferocious iteration of this theme in December of that year, warning that “the United States is to have its first general sit-down strike — not of labor, not of the American people — but of the sixty families and of the capital created by the whole American people of which the sixty families have obtained control.” Should Americans yield to the demands of the walkout, Ickes warned, “then the America that is to be will be a big-business Fascist America—an enslaved America.”

in full:
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/11/hbc...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Sun Nov 27th 2011, 05:45 PM
*** With the predictable failure of the “Super Committee,” Washington is now coasting toward mandatory cuts to the holiest of holies within the Beltway: the defense budget. Against this backdrop, David Trilling’s excellent investigative piece in Foreign Policy, entitled “Propagandastan,” uncovers one of the most ridiculous wastes of taxpayer funds ever: the payment of tens of millions of dollars to a subsidiary of the massive defense contractor General Dynamics for the purpose of whitewashing the human rights records of dictators in Central Asia. How does this advance America’s national security? Presumably the Pentagon will get around to explaining that, someday. (Scott Horton)
http://www.harpers.org /



Why is the Pentagon spending tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars to whitewash the image of Central Asian dictatorships?

BY DAVID TRILLING | NOVEMBER 22, 2011

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – When people read a news website, they don't usually imagine that it is being run by a major producer of fighter jets and smart bombs. But when the Pentagon has its own vision of America's foreign policy, and the funds to promote it, it can put a $23 billion defense contractor in a unique position to report on the war on terror.

Over the past three years, a subdivision of Virginia-based General Dynamics has set up and run a network of eight "influence websites" funded by the Defense Department with more than $120 million in taxpayer money. The sites, collectively known as the Trans Regional Web Initiative (TRWI) and operated by General Dynamics Information Technology, focus on geographic areas under the purview of various U.S. combatant commands, including U.S. Central Command. In its coverage of Uzbekistan, a repressive dictatorship increasingly important to U.S. military goals in Afghanistan, a TRWI website called Central Asia Online has shown a disturbing tendency to downplay the autocracy's rights abuses and uncritically promote its claims of terrorist threats.

Central Asia Online was created in 2008, a time when Washington's ability to rely on Pakistan as a partner in the U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan was steadily waning. In the search for alternative land routes to supply U.S. troops, Uzbekistan seemed the best option. Nearby Iran was a non-starter, and Uzbekistan's infrastructure -- used by the Soviets to get in and out of Afghanistan during their ill-fated war there -- was far superior to that of neighboring Tajikistan. Today, the U.S. military moves massive amounts of cargo across Uzbekistan. By year's end, the Pentagon hopes to see 75 percent of all non-lethal military supplies arrive in Afghanistan via the so-called Northern Distribution Network, a web of land-based transport routes stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Amu Darya River.

Gas-rich Uzbekistan, the most populous of the formerly Soviet Central Asian republics, has been ruled since before independence in 1991 by strongman President Islam Karimov, who is regularly condemned in the West for running one of the world's most repressive and corrupt regimes. Freedom House gives Uzbekistan the lowest possible score in its Freedom in the World report, while watchdog groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have reported on widespread torture and forced child labor. The respected Russian human rights group Memorial says Karimov holds more political prisoners than all other post-Soviet republics combined, often through an "arbitrary interpretation" of the law. The overwhelming majority of those convicted are somehow linked to Islam. Memorial has found that thousands of "Muslims whose activities pose no threat to social order and security are being sentenced on fabricated charges of terrorism and extremism."

in full: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Sun Nov 20th 2011, 08:13 PM
Marc Ambinder and Yochi Dreazen report in the National Journal:

The Justice Department is investigating whether a former top U.S. intelligence official, John Rizzo, improperly disclosed classified information about the CIA’s drone campaign, one of the spy agency’s most secretive and politically sensitive programs.

People familiar with the matter say that the CIA’s general counsel’s office opened the probe in March, shortly after Newsweek published an article in which Rizzo — who had retired in 2009 after serving as the CIA’s acting general counsel — outlined an array of specific details about how CIA officials choose terrorists for drone strikes and which American officials sign off on actually carrying them out.

The CIA’s decision to launch a leak probe targeting a long-time employee who served as its highest legal officer is significant on at least two fronts. First, while the CIA will disclaim this interpretation, the probe should be understood as an acknowledgement of the accuracy of the statements Rizzo made during his interview with Tara McKelvey. McKelvey’s article — Newsweek’s most important national-security reportage of the past year — provided a reasonably detailed description of how the CIA authorizes its drone-strike targets. Rizzo, who candidly referred to the attacks as “murder,” acknowledged that as acting general counsel of the agency, he had vetted strikes before they occurred, approving some and vetoing others based on the cases made by CIA analysts. The decisions did not go through the White House, nor through senior military officials. Harold Koh, Legal Adviser of the Department of State, has argued that U.S. drone-strike policy involves the meticulous observation of international legal standards, including of the laws of war, but readers of the Rizzo interview are unlikely to be persuaded by this claim. (Perhaps the most that can be said of the CIA’s efforts in this regard is that it may have “reached out” for guidance from uniformed lawyers with the U.S. Central Command in the past.)

remainder in full: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/11/hbc...
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Posted by Jefferson23 in Editorials & Other Articles
Mon Nov 14th 2011, 07:15 PM
By Noam Chomsky

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Noam Chomsky has been awarded this year’s Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s only international peace prize.



This is a full transcript of Professor Chomsky’s City of Sydney Peace Prize Lecture, “Revolutionary Pacifism: Choices and Prospects”, reproduced with permission from the Sydney Peace Foundation.

November 06, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- As we all know, the United Nations was founded "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war." The words can only elicit deep regret when we consider how we have acted to fulfill that aspiration, though there have been a few significant successes, notably in Europe.

For centuries, Europe had been the most violent place on earth, with murderous and destructive internal conflicts and the forging of a culture of war that enabled Europe to conquer most of the world, shocking the victims, who were hardly pacifists, but were "appalled by the all-destructive fury of European warfare," in the words of British military historian Geoffrey Parker. And enabled Europe to impose on its conquests what Adam Smith called "the savage injustice of the Europeans," England in the lead, as he did not fail to emphasise.

The global conquest took a particularly horrifying form in what is sometimes called "the Anglosphere," England and its offshoots, settler-colonial societies in which the indigenous societies were devastated and their people dispersed or exterminated. But since 1945 Europe has become internally the most peaceful and in many ways most humane region of the earth – which is the source of some its current travail, an important topic that I will have to put aside.

In scholarship, this dramatic transition is often attributed to the thesis of the "democratic peace": democracies do not go to war with one another. Not to be overlooked, however, is that Europeans came to realize that the next time they indulge in their favorite pastime of slaughtering one another, the game will be over: civilisation has developed means of destruction that can only be used against those too weak to retaliate in kind, a large part of the appalling history of the post-World War II years. It is not that the threat has ended. US-Soviet confrontations came painfully close to virtually terminal nuclear war in ways that are shattering to contemplate, when we inspect them closely.

in full: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/a...
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