Obama at 99: The Ambiguity of Dissent

99 DAYS OF OBAMA: The Ambiguity of Dissent
by Jack Random
I began writing the political commentaries in earnest in the year 2000 when Republican operatives used staged protests and Machiavellian legal maneuvers in the theft of a presidential election.  (How strange that an administration begun by circumventing the democratic process would soon lead us into war on the pretense of championing democracy in the Middle East.)  I was compelled to write.  Words flowed onto the page in horror and outrage and they never stopped for eight long years.  

Now we are officially in the age of Obama.  Tuesday marks the 99th day of the Obama administration, one day short of the media’s traditional grading period – a tradition founded in the administration of Franklin Roosevelt.  

The tradition of dissent goes back much further to the founding of the nation and the first amendment of the Bill of Rights.  Dissent is the heart of democracy and its defense is every democratic government’s most solemn responsibility.  

It is ironic that a government which sought to suppress dissent, that accused its critics of appeasing the enemy, that painted its opposition in the colors of treason, that in fact arrested, detained and defamed dissidents for opposing its oppressive policies, should have brought forth a tidal wave of dissent that expressed itself on the internet, on the streets of protest and eventually on the editorial pages of newspapers and in the commentaries of talking heads.  
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American Torture: No News is New News

Terror and Torture
by Jim Miles
The current media frenzy concerning Obama’s coming release of more information on U.S. torture between 2000 and 2005 is a political storm conveniently kept out of context.  There are two aspects to the context that are missing.  
First, this is not new information and well before current events erupted into the news, the case has been made all along that the Bush administration in general – Bush and Cheney, their political advisors and legal representatives – are all complicit in contravening the Geneva Conventions on torture and the treatment of prisoners of war.  
Secondly, terror and torture go hand in glove, the two are fully related and have been used by the U.S. and its proxies in many different contexts around the world – and are still doing so as Obama has put an end to torture at Guantanamo, but has not denied renditions to friendly torturers elsewhere.

The spin-doctors in the White House are no longer allowing the use of the term “war on terror” although the facts of the war have not changed.  
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Hyping the Flu for NWO

Flu Pandemic Hype: Another Pretext for World Government 
by Kurt Nimmo - Infowars
During the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) Summit in Montebello, Canada in 2005, the “three amigos” (Bush, Harper and
Calderon) released “North American Plan for Avian and Pandemic Influenza,” described as a “collaborative North American approach that recognizes that controlling the spread of avian influenza or a novel strain of human influenza, with minimal economic disruption, is in the best interest of all three countries.” The plan outlines how “Canada, Mexico and the United States intend to work together to prepare for and manage avian and pandemic influenza.”

Ban Ki-moon said the Mexican flu outbreak is the “first test” of the “pandemic preparedness work undertaken by the international community over the past three years.”

It was hardly a coincidence that at the same time the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, created a webpage dedicated to avian flu and subsequently ran exercises in preparation for the possible use of U.S. military forces in a continental domestic emergency involving avian flu or pandemic influenza.
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Politics and the Picture of Death

the politics of death
by janine bandcroft
the may street newz is on the streetz, and apparently some of the vendors are taking some slack about the cover photo. the theme of this month's issue is 'harm reduction,' because it's a year since the fixed site needle exchange was closed. the photo is courtesy of reuters.
i have access to those because of our membership in the international street newspaper association. i could probably have gone downtown, in any major city of the world and got a more horrifying photo to suit the month's theme. harm reduction. connected to addiction. connected to poverty, hopelessness, and death.

the title of the paper is 'street newz.' it's not the 'feel-good newz,' or the 'pretend this shit isn't really happening' newz. it's the 'street' newz. the cover price on the paper is 50 cents or by donation.
it's a newspaper from the streets, about the streets, for the street community. that others buy it is wonderful, and that's what keeps us alive, but ultimately the street newz is about telling the truth, sharing the reality, of street life in victoria bc canada. the street newz is keeping it real.

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Taking Torture to the Top

Straight to the Top
by Scott Horton
The torture trail starts and ends in the White House. That is perhaps the most inescapable conclusion to be drawn from the flurry of documents released in the last week—first the OLC memoranda, then a newly declassified report of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and finally an amazing document that Attorney General Eric Holder released yesterday, which has still gained little attention.
The Holder note presents a summary of CIA interaction with the White House in connection with the approval of the torture techniques that John Yoo calls the “Bush Program.” Holder’s memo refers to the participants by their job titles only, but John Sifton runs it through a decoder and gives us the actual names. Here’s a key passage:

“[The] CIA’s Office of General Counsel [this would include current Acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo] met with the Attorney General [John Ashcroft], the National Security Adviser [Condoleezza Rice], the Deputy National Security Adviser [Stephen Hadley], the Legal Adviser to the National Security Council [John Bellinger], and the Counsel to the President [Alberto Gonzales] in mid-May 2002 to discuss the possible use of alternative interrogation methods [on Abu Zubaydah] that differed from the traditional methods used by the U.S. military and intelligence community. At this meeting, the CIA proposed particular alternative interrogation methods, including waterboarding.”
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Gorilla Radio with Chris Cook, Will Horter, Ingmar Lee, Janine Bandcroft April 27, 2009

This Week on GR
by C. L. Cook
This week Dogwood Initiative Executive Director and Conservation Voters of B.C. Chair, Will Horter and another kind of war in the woods in B.C.'s enviro. community; long-time front line eco-activist, Ingmar Lee and smelling the political winds blowing through the wild coasts of the province; and Victoria Street Newz publisher, Janine Bandcroft keeping an eye of the capital's streets.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: http://cfuv.uvic.ca. He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, www.pacificfreepress.com. Check out the GR blog at: http://GorillaRadioBlog.blogspot.com
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SOA: So Many Grads, So Many Death Squad Leaders

An Odd Coincidence: Many SOA Grads Become Latin Death Squad Killers
by Sherwood Ross
If the Pentagon's instructors haven't been teaching assassination at the School of the Americas(SOA) in Fort Benning, Ga., is it just coincidental that so many of its star pupils graduate to become mass murderers?
Take the strange case of Francisco del Cid Diaz, an SOA-educated second lieutenant in the El Salvadoran army who ordered his unit to drag 16 people out of the Los Hojas cooperative of the Associacion Nacional de Indigenas, beat them, shoot them, and dump their bodies into the Cuyuapa River.

Not content with his SOA undergraduate work, Diaz re-enrolled after the massacre and was accepted again in 2003. By then the Pentagon had renamed SOA The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, (WHINSEC) as Latins joked SOA stood for "School of Assassins." Perhaps the most infamous Salvadoran SOA grad was Major Roberto Aubuisson, who ordered the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and who operated a death squad that used blowtorches on his victims.

Aubuisson might not have learned to use this device at SOA, of course, as he also attended the CIA-run International Police Academy in Washington, one of the classier D.C. "finishing" schools.
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Israel-Palestine: The Coming of the Drummer

Emanuel Trumpets the Coming of the Drummer
by William A. Cook
Perhaps Rahm Emanuel’s announcement that the President is committed to a Palestinian State prophesizes a return to justice as the foundation for peace in Palestine and Israel just as it declares in no uncertain terms that he is not subservient to an Israeli Prime Minister; he is his own drummer, suggesting that Netanyahu and Lieberman had better fall in line and step to his beat or stand on the sidelines as America advances toward a real and tangible resolution to the “crisis” that has crippled the countries of the mid-East for more than 60 years.

Obama’s assertion that there must be a Palestinian State forces the issue front and center if only because both Netanyahu and Lieberman have declared it moribund. Despite years of implied recognition by Israel that negotiations between the PLO and the Israeli government would result in the creation of a Palestinian State, Israel has never stated in writing that it would accept the reality of such a state.
Rather, for 60 years, Israel has slowly and methodically devoured virtually all of the land that would comprise such a state so that the Jewish people now control and occupy 93% of the area of former Palestine exclusive of the 14% left to the Palestinian people. That means there can be no contiguous Palestinian state large enough to accommodate the people of Palestine and its refugees without reverting to the original partitioning of Palestine as drawn up by the United Nations in 1947 as a just beginning.  
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Pakistan Crisis: What Crisis?

Pakistan Crisis and Social Statistics
by Juan Cole - Informed Comment
Readers have written me asking what I think of the rash of almost apocalyptic pronouncements on the security situation in Pakistan issuing from the New York Times, The Telegraph, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in recent days.

And Stephen Walt also is asking why there are such varying assessments of Pakistan's security prospects. He suggests that one problem is the difficulty of predicting a revolutionary situation. But Pakistan just had a revolution against the military dictatorship! The polling, the behavior in the voting booth, the history of political geography, aren't these data relevant to the issue? Why does no one instance them?

As I have said before, although the rise of the Pakistani Taliban in the Pushtun areas and in some districts of Punjab is worrisome, the cosmic level of concern being expressed makes no sense to me.
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After 100 Days of Obama: Where's the Change?

How Should We Assess the Change Administration: What The World Thinks?
by Danny Schechter - Author of Plunder
How would you do on a “stress test? ” Even as the soundness of banks is supposedly measured—with many expected to show signs of insolvency---the whole stress idea demands a broader focus.

How many of the as many as 20 million Americans out of work could pass a stress test, in flying colors? How many among the millions of families facing foreclosure? Or students defaulting on student loans? What about the reported 31 million maxed out on their credit cards, or the many million more bombarded with “debt consolidation” commercials on their cable TV channels at 3 AM when so many anxious people watch because anxiety keeps them from sleeping?

And now,  what about the real threat of a deadly swine flu pandemic? That’s something new to get stressed about.
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Chemtrails over Vancouver Island Concern Citizens

Chemtrails Cause for Concern
by Tanya MacDonald - from the Comox Valley Record
Dear editor, I am writing with great concern over the recent chemtrail activity above the Comox Valley, and in the hopes of raising public awareness on this issue.

Over the past weeks, I have observed numerous chemtrails (trails left behind after military jets spray chemicals in the sky), which last several hours (normal jet contrails disappear after about 22 seconds). On at least a couple of days recently, almost  all of the "clouds" above Courtenay were artificial (over time, chemtrails fan out, creating what appear to be long, wispy clouds).

Since the arrival of the Snowbirds, chemtrail activity has slowed considerably, presumably because there are more people watching the sky than usual, which could naturally spark a lot of questions, which the military apparently doesn't want to deal with.
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British Columbia's War on Global Climate Change

British Columbia's War on Global Climate Change
by C. L. Cook
It's election time in British Columbia, and again the big issue is: How do we living in this beautiful and blessed part of the world best utilize our environment to meet the needs of the people and wildlife that make B.C. such a wonderful place to be?"
The new face of B.C.'s environmental movement? British Columbia Environment Minister, Barry Penner

The two party system is also on trial again, with yet another STV referendum question added to the poll. It's fitting, as perennial third paddle in the ping pong racket that is B.C.'s back and forth political scene, the Green Party threaten again to split the popular left-leaning vote, perhaps granting again majority government to incumbent premier Gordon Campbell's decidedly brown B.C. Liberals.

The twist this time around is the strange bed-fellows the Liberal party has made of some of the province's best-known environmentalists in its effort to create of the environmental question an "Us or Them" dichotomy.
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