How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Trust the Government

Engineering "Trust of the Indigenous Population":
How Some Anthropologists Have Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving the Army
by Dahr Jamail  | t r u t h o u t
Anthropologist Audrey Roberts works for Human Terrain System (HTS), a Pentagon program. Referring to the information produced by HTS scholars, she says, "If it's going to inform how targeting is done - whether that targeting is bad guys, development or governance - how our information is used is how it's going to be used. All I'm concerned about is pushing our information to as many soldiers as possible. The reality is there are people out there who are looking for bad guys to kill. I'd rather they did not operate in a vacuum."

In a recent article on this site I have described HTS as comprising American scholars, primarily in the field of anthropology, along with sociologists and social psychologists, embedding themselves with the US military in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their brief is to enable the military to make better decisions by helping it to understand the social mores and customs of the cultures it is occupying.

As a program that is likely to have a long tenure, it deserves further examining. The US military would like the US public to believe it is a benevolent program, but it does not require a crystal ball to recognize the insidious reality. HTS teams actively engage in targeting the "enemy" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Team members often wear military uniforms and body armor, and even carry weapons. Like Ms. Roberts, they are not overly concerned about the fact that the "intelligence" they produce is instrumental in capturing and killing people. The social scientists who choose to employ themselves within HTS clearly are not having a moral struggle with the fact that they are allowing their knowledge to be used as a weapon of war.
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Legacy of Mohawk Resistance at Akwesasne Border

Forty-One Year Legacy of Mohawk Resistance at Akwesasne Border - Next march: May 29, 2009
by MNN
Over 250 Mohawks marched on May 8, 2009, against guns and violence at the U.S.-Canada border.  [link at end] Canada is militarizing all borders across Canada.  Guards will carry Beretta 8 mm guns for a start on June 1, 2009.  The safety of Mohawks and all border crossings in Canada are being jeopardized.  The Akwesasne checkpoint is on a large island in the St. Lawrence River, in the middle of a highly populated residential area.  It is the border-crossing from NYS to Cornwall, Ontario.  The day-to-day security provided by an unarmed Mohawk security has always been enough.   

We are the most policed people in the world.  Almost 20 U.S. and Canadian enforcement agencies traverse our community.  Canada has two alternatives:  to peacefully operate on our land or to move the customs building and compound off the island.   

After construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the International Bridge in the 1950s the customs station was placed on the island.  We tried but could not stop it.  A commitment was made that armed guards would never be put in the middle of our neighborhood, which we saw as dangerous for both Customs and Mohawks.    

Mohawks have not fallen for this trap.  Daily disagreements have been instigated against Mohawks who must pass through the checkpoint on a daily basis.  There have been serious injuries, hospitalizations, charges and assaults.  So far there have been no fatalities.  There has been a steady increase in racial profiling and slurs direct at us sanctioned by Canada.  Incidents are being provoked to justify armed guards.  

Hundreds of complaints have been filed with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Canada Justice Department and the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  No peaceful resolution has come forward.
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A Tribute to Jason Peacemaker

Remembering Jason Peacemaker
by Ian Dakers
Hello friends: Recently a friend of mine passed away on Commercial Drive. He was a first nations singer/songwriter who had recently become homeless again and was already dealing with AIDS. His songs were brilliant and he made his living on the street singing where everyone knew him and loved him. He was always being funny. He was very generous with whatever he had. And most of what he had was his heart in his songs.

The footage starts with Clarence Dennis, the elder and chief of the Grandview Homeless nation tribe, speaking about homelessness and interactions with the police.  I have spent much time with Clarence and it is a joy to sit by his side. He is a Canadian icon and yet little known in the white world other than his stands for First Nations Defense and numerous breaches of the 'legal system' that enslaved his people. He has victories under his belt as well as many years of imprisonment. He is well loved by many to whom he always brings a bright disposition. Our police forces need some major retraining regarding the use of force and how they handle first nations people, drunk or otherwise.

Jason speaks of his condition (this is a few weeks before he dies). He sings 4 songs overall in the documentary, one of which "We are One" has the same quality of "We are the World". A song to bring people together.He also makes up a brilliant song on the can witness his gift for songwriting and singing.
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Oh, Mr. Rumsfeld...

You're A War Criminal
from Democracy Now!
At the entrance to the White House Correspondents Dinner,
Donald Rumsfeld remained by Codepink "You're A War Criminal"
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Getting to Know Obama's New Man in Afghanistan

Obama and Osama - McChrystal clear
No one really knows the fate of the man who was the reason for the Bush administration-proclaimed "war on terror." Some influential Pakistanis say the Americans don't know it. The Americans admit they don't know it. President George W. Bush wanted him dead or alive. No one really knows whether he's dead or alive. President Barack Obama says he and his organization remain the number one threat to the US But even America's most media-savvy general admits his organization is not in Afghanistan anymore. Would that be reason enough for the US to finally leave Afghanistan? On the contrary: now there's a new - counterinsurgent - top boot on the ground.  
Pepe Escobar: The more it changes, the more the "war on terror" stays the same
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Pat Tillman and Obama's New Hitman in Afghanistan

Red Team, Blue Team: Return Engagements
by C. L. Cook
Way back in 2004, past professional footballer, Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan. Tillman had left his lucrative National Football League career to join the army. His death was used as a timely distraction from the gruesome failures of George Bush's Iraq fiasco. 
The tale of Pat Tillman's demise was worthy of a Hollywood film; that is, it was a scripted fantasy, released with great fanfare, with the president himself addressing a filled football stadium remembrance ceremony.
The Tillman family were never satisfied with the Army's account of Pat's final day and conducted a lengthy public campaign to get at the truth. One of the generals responsible for pushing and maintaining the fictionalized version of Tillman's fateful end is in the news again. 
Lt. General Stanley McChrystal has taken over command of the Afghanistan mission, a move that has many who know of his past duties very worried, and his appointment has renewed interest in his role in awarding Pat Tillman the Silver Star and other things.
We'll doubtless hear more of McChrystal as Afghanistan unravels, but here is the article I ran in December of 2004.
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Confessions of a Twittering Newbie

Tweet Tweet: Confessions of a Twittering Newbie
by Danny Schechter
Can the Latest Technology Be Useful for an Aging News Dissector? I am now following and being followed - still not sure what that means - but I am told it’s a good start. I am on Twitter, tweeting to the beat.

I realize I am really a retrograde product of another time, when my ultimate goal in journalism was creating substantive investigative reports or long form documentaries. That is increasingly passé. What is valued, now I am told, is short bursts of information speedy technology that reaches the world, or your part of it. It’s that old KISS Axiom — keep it short and sweet, or simple and stupid.

Everyone is adapting to and using the technology — some as a messaging service, some as a networking tool, some to call projects or films or news to public attention, and some just as a goof. I am a macro blogger trying to go micro.
What does it mean?

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War President Obama: Same Shit, Different Pile

Veterans For Peace to Obama: 'You Will Find Us in the Streets'
by Mike Ferner
Dear President Obama: We write to you again, this time to say we are saddened to see that you now clearly believe in the tired, inhumane and unworkable assumption that violence will somehow work; that might makes right. But that is not the only thing we need to tell you.

We are not just saddened. We are angry. We are outraged by these actions, this practice of "death from above" you are ordering, causing the killing and wounding of hundreds of innocent people, as exemplified by the recent horrific attacks in Afghanistan.

When will it be enough, Mr. President? What is the number of dead and injured at which you will say "this can't go on;" the number at which you will decide it's time to turn away from violence and find another way? This really is the question upon which everything else will turn - how many bodies are too many? You know it is impossible to kill our way to a resolution, if for no other reason than every death and injury creates even more people willing to fight and die to remove us from their land.
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Monkey See? U.S. Charges Taliban Using White Phosphorus

Burn After Reading: Intel Dump Muddies Dirty War Waters
by Chris Floyd
Throughout the long history of the Afghan War, the United States has never accused the Taliban of using white phosphorus weapons -- until now.
Gaza: IDF White Phosphorus attack - U.N. compound January 2009
Suddenly, after the emergence of glaring evidence of Afghan civilians being seared and maimed by these chemical weapons following American airstrikes and combat operations, the Pentagon has released "classified information" claiming that the Taliban have actually been using white phosphorus weapons for six years, since 2003: a practice that the Pentagon -- which has been using white phosphorus weapons in Afghanistan since 2002 if not before -- denounced as "reprehensible."
This is very curious. The bipartistan managers of the Terror War have always been eager to trumpet -- even exaggerate -- the atrocities committed by the various armed groups opposing the imposition of foreign troops in Afghanistan. But now we are to believe that the Pentagon has been keeping evidence of the Taliban's chemical weapons use -- chem weapons! WMDs! -- under wraps for years.

The "classified intelligence" was released in friendly territory: The Times (UK), owned by Fox News' own Rupert Murdoch.

(By the way, isn't it strange that super-duper top-secret material which would threaten the very existence of the United States and its way of life if it were divulged to, say, lawyers for torture victims or members of the public who've been illegally spied upon, can always be released when there are PR gains to be made? Why, it almost makes you think that Arthur Silber might be right when he tell us that "the 'secret' knowledge, which goes by the viciously misnamed designation 'intelligence' ...  is almost always wrong... and is primarily used as propaganda, to provide alleged justification to a public that still remains disturbingly gullible and pliable -- and it is used after the fact, to justify decisions that have already been made.")
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Who Would Rule America

Who Rules America?
by Paul Craig Roberts
What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?
A president who does a good job for the ruling interest groups is paid off with remunerative corporate directorships, outrageous speaking fees, and a lucrative book contract.  If he is young when he assumes office, like Bill Clinton and Obama, it means a long life of luxurious leisure.
Fighting the special interests doesn’t pay and doesn’t succeed.  On April 30 the primacy of special over public interests was demonstrated yet again.  The Democrats’ bill to prevent 1.7 million mortgage foreclosures and, thus, preserve $300 billion in home equity by permitting homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages, was defeated in the Senate, despite the 60-vote majority of the Democrats. 
The banksters were able to defeat the bill 51 to 45. 
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Send in the Drones: Obama's War Stooge Jamboree

The Drones Are Coming: New War on Civilians
by Ramzy Baroud
US President Barack Obama took the podium in a White House press conference and stood with an all-embellished confidence that often accompanies new presidents. He was flanked by two leaders whose apparent grandeur barely reflected their embattled situations on the ground: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

The meeting at the White House on 6 May was fashioned to give the impression that the new US administration is both "serious" and "committed" about resolving the crises plaguing Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are imprudently reduced to that of a Taliban resurgence in the former, and a Taliban- inspired militant encroachment in the latter. Obama declared the meeting "extraordinarily productive" as the three nations, he said, are joined by the common goal to "defeat Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan".

The skewed reading of reality didn't cease there. "I am pleased that these two men, elected leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, fully appreciate the seriousness of the threat that we face and have reaffirmed their commitment to confronting it," Obama said.
Both leaders listened solemnly as to reflect the level of their "seriousness."
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Untold and Uncounted Casualties of War

By Jack Random
A disturbed Sergeant serving his third term of duty in Iraq picked up a weapon and killed five of his fellow soldiers.  

Sergeant John Russell of the 54th Engineer Battalion became the latest entry in the unsung casualties of war – a victim that few outside his circle of family and friends will mourn but a victim just the same.  

Sergeant Russell is one of the rare cases whose story is told on national media.  Soldiers under constant duress are frequently pushed beyond the breaking point, they frequently commit acts of violent desperation, but their stories are usually confined to the back pages of local newspapers.  

The army says some 102 soldiers ended their own lives in 2006, another 115 in 2007 and 140 in 2008.  In the opening months of 2009 the numbers continue to mount.  Suicide stories rarely draw attention, their faces are not pictured, and the essential facts of their lives are briefly sketched in obituary columns, lacking content and meaning.  They are not counted in the casualties of war.  There are no songs to pay tribute.  There are no flags buried in their honor.  Yet each of them had dreams, hopes and desires as rich as yours or mine.  Each felt a charge of patriotic fervor when they volunteered for service at a time of war.  

Each had families and loved ones who will also not be counted in the casualties of war but their lives have been altered as well.  Their tears flow as others do and their grief runs as deep in mourning.  
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