Posted on Nov 27, 2007
By Amy Goodman
Every Saturday, the president of the United States gives a radio address to the nation. It is followed by the Democratic response, usually given by a senator or representative. This past Saturday the Democrats chose retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez to give their response, the same general accused in at least three lawsuits in the U.S. and Europe of authorizing torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners in Iraq. This, combined with the Democrats’ endorsement of Attorney General Michael Mukasey despite his unwillingness to label waterboarding as torture, indicates that the Democrats are increasingly aligned with President Bush’s torture policies.
Sanchez headed the Army’s operations in Iraq from June 2003 to June 2004. In September 2003, Sanchez issued a memo authorizing numerous techniques, including “stress positions” and the use of “military working dogs” to exploit “Arab fear of dogs” during interrogations. He was in charge when the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison occurred.
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who headed Abu Ghraib at the time, worked under Gen. Sanchez. She was demoted to colonel, the only military officer to be punished. She told me about another illegal practice, holding prisoners as so-called ghost detainees: “We were directed on several occasions through Gen. [Barbara] Fast or Gen. Sanchez. The instructions were originating at the Pentagon from Secretary Rumsfeld, and we were instructed to hold prisoners without assigning a prisoner number or putting them on the database, and that is contrary to the Geneva Conventions. We all knew it was contrary to the Geneva Conventions.” In addition to keeping prisoners off the database there were other abuses, she said, like prison temperatures reaching 120 to 140 degrees, dehydration and the order from Gen. Geoffrey Miller to treat prisoners “like dogs.”
And it’s not just about treatment of prisoners. In 2006, Karpinski testified at a mock trial, called the Bush Crimes Commission. She revealed that several female U.S. soldiers had died of dehydration by denying themselves water. They were afraid to go to the latrine at night to urinate, for fear of being raped by fellow soldiers: “Because the women, in fear of getting up in the hours of darkness to go out to the portolets or the latrines, were not drinking liquids after 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon. And in 120-degree heat or warmer, because there was no air conditioning at most of the facilities, they were dying from dehydration in their sleep. What [Sanchez’s deputy commanding general, Walter Wojdakowski] told the surgeon to do was, ‘Don’t brief those details anymore. And don’t say specifically that they’re women. You can provide that in a written report, but don’t brief it in the open anymore.’” Karpinski said Sanchez was at that briefing.
Former military interrogator Tony Lagouranis, author of “Fear Up Harsh,” described the use of dogs: “We were using dogs in the Mosul detention facility, which was at the Mosul airport. We would put the prisoner in a shipping container. We would keep him up all night with music and strobe lights, stress positions, and then we would bring in dogs. The prisoner was blindfolded, so he didn’t really understand what was going on, but we had the dog controlled. The dog would be barking and jumping on the prisoner, and the prisoner wouldn’t really understand what was going on.”
Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch elaborated on Sanchez: “For those three months of mayhem that were occurring right under his nose, he never stepped in. And, also, he misled Congress about it. He was asked twice at a congressional hearing whether he ever approved the use of guard dogs. This was before the memo came out. And both times he said he never approved it. [W]e finally got the actual memo, in which he approves ‘exploiting Arab fear of dogs.’ ” Brody dismissed the military report clearing Sanchez of any wrongdoing: “It’s just not credible for the Army to keep investigating itself and keep finding itself innocent.”
This is not about politics. This is about the moral compass of the nation. The Democrats may be celebrating a retired general who has turned on his commander in chief. But the public should take pause.
The Democrats had a chance to draw a line in the sand, to absolutely require Mukasey to denounce waterboarding before his elevation to attorney general. Now they have chosen as their spokesman a discredited general, linked to the most egregious abuses in Iraq. The Bush administration passed Sanchez over for a promotion, worried about reliving the Abu Ghraib scandal during the 2006 election year. Now it’s the Democrats who have resuscitated him. Have they no shame?
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 500 stations in North America.
© 2007 Amy Goodman
The Zionist Power Configuration Defeats Big Oil, the Military Industrial Complex, the White House and the Pentagon
The debate on which forces determine US Middle East policy has cut across the usual political spectrum: On one side most neo-conservative and progressive writers, academics and journalists argue that the military-industrial complex and Big Oil interests are the most influential forces shaping US policy. On the other, a small group of conservative and leftist writers and a few academics have identified what some call the Israel or Zionist Lobby and others refer to the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) as the prevailing influence in deciding US strategic policies in the Middle East.
While the debate rages over who and what interests got us into the Iraq war and the escalating confrontation with Iran, there is no better test of conflicting positions than the proposed US sale of $20 billion dollars of military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
The Pentagon led by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed to the sale; it was backed by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and at least tacitly by the entire executive branch, including the National Security Council. All of the biggest US, European and Asian multi-national petroleum companies, refiners and importers were in favor of upgrading the military defensive capacity of the world’s biggest oil producer since hundreds of billions in commercial and financial profits are transacted there every year. The US Middle East Command (CENTCOM) with major air bases and strategic logistic support systems in Saudi Arabia could not but support Saudi acquisition of a defensive high-tech air reconnaissance system.
Saudi Arabia is the most reliable and biggest single supplier of petroleum to the US world-wide. Saudi Arabia has been a staunch ally of the US — more like a client state — in all the US military and surrogate wars and interventions from the co-financing of anti-Soviet Muslim fundamentalist in Afghanistan, the attack on Yugoslavia and support of break-away Bosnia and Kosovo, to the two Gulf Wars and present confrontation with Iran, to its opposition of each and every Arab nationalist or leftist regime over the past 60 years. From the perspective of US imperial interests, dominance and influence in Asia, the Balkans and especially the Middle East, one would think that a military sale worth $20 billion dollars to the Saudi monarchy would be automatically and overwhelmingly approved by the US Congress.
This is especially the case because a $20 billion dollar sale will generate thousands of new jobs and will lessen the huge trade deficit. At the recent OPEC meeting, the Saudis strongly opposed dumping hundreds of billions of depreciating dollars they currently hold as foreign reserves — or even discussing the matter.
There is no greater contrast from the point of view of costs-benefit in comparing Saudi Arabia to Israel. The latter is subsidized by the US, having been gifted over $120 billion dollars over the last 30 years, while it competes, as the second largest arms exporter, with the US-military industrial complex thus costing American jobs, and it supplies absolutely no strategic materials to the US economy. Indeed, Israel has direct access to the most up-to-date US funded military technology, which it then sells to its clients. This is in stark contrast to Saudi Arabia’s servile relation with the US. Israel has constantly demanded and received US support and financing for its wars, its illegal colonization of Palestinian land, and it has unwavering US support for its repudiation of international law and numerous violations of United Nations mandates. While Saudi Arabia supports the US economy and is a strategic supplier of petroleum, Israel drains the US economy and secures its petroleum from it. Beginning in early 2007, the entire ZPC mobilized to block the US arms and military technology sales to Saudi Arabia. Zionist pressure was so intense and its control over Congress was so evident to the White House and Pentagon that Defense Secretary Gates did not even try to counter the ZPC’s campaign in the US Congress. Instead he went straight to the ZPC’s control center in Israel and not with empty hands. He pleaded with Israel to call of its American attack dogs in exchange for a ‘donation’ of over $30 billion dollars in US military handouts to Israel over the next ten years. Olmert accepted Gates offer: The US had paid the price but still the ZPC did not turn over their hostage Congress. President Bush and Secretary Gates were convinced that Israel would muzzle the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations to allow the Saudi sale to go through. This did not happen. Why should it? President Bush could not withdraw the well-publicized pay-off to Israel; it was already in the legislative books. He could not retaliate; the ZPC-controlled Congress would oppose any and all counter measures.
So Bush and Gates went ahead and sent the bill to Congress authorizing the $20 billion sales to Saudi Arabia, a trillion dollar economy with a two-bit military wholly dependent on its US military protector.
Immediately the ZPC rounded up its automatic 190 members of the House of Representatives to sign a letter opposing the sale. The ZPC formulated the position embodied in the letter and oversaw its draft with the collaboration of its co-religionists in Congress. Zionist Congress members Shelley Berkeley and Anthony Weiner teamed up with Michael Ferguson. The Zion-Cons claimed justifiably that they could mobilize over three quarters of the Congress on any issue affecting Israel’s ‘security’. Zionist lawmakers claimed, “the sale would undermine Israel’s superiority in the region”. Every major independent military think tank would dispute this argument since Israel is the only nuclear power in the region, has the biggest and most technologically sophisticated air force and missile system, while Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf States have trouble even controlling local ground level bomb throwers.
There are two likely outcomes both demonstrating categorically that it is the ZPC that dictates US policies in the Middle East:
The military sales will not fly.
The military sale will be approved on conditions that Israel is privy to all its details and can modify or omit any part of the agreement.
The ZPC was even able to strong arm the Congress-people who have made a lifelong career out of aggressively promoting the interests of Big Oil (BO) and the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) to switch sides and vote against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia — BO’s strategic partner and the MIC’s best overseas customer. Congress members from BO states like Texas and states with large military industries like California endorsed the ZPC letter prejudicing their constituents and big campaign financers. The feeble ‘lobbying’ by BO and the MIC in favor of the White House were crushed by the ZPC Congressional juggernaut.
The major trade unions of the AFL-CIO, like the steel workers, machinists, oil and chemical workers, electrical workers — whose members’ jobs were at stake, did not protest, let alone challenge the ZPC, demonstrating the high degree of Zionist influence over the trade union bosses. The obvious point is that the Congress and the ZFL-CIO are both Zionist colonized institutions.
The issue is not whether the US should or should not sell arms to Saudi Arabia (I oppose all arms sales and the MIC and BO around the world). The fundamental issue is whether we, the citizens, the elected representatives and the trade unionists in the United States, can be free of foreign colonization to decide the issue. The issue is whether we are or can be a free and independent nation or a subject of a tiny powerful elite acting for a foreign power.
The narrative on the US proposed multi-billion dollar arms sales to a wealthy third rate military power demonstrates once again that Israeli interests have priority over US trade, jobs and geopolitical interests. Secondly the narrative confirms that the Israeli state dictates US political relations in the Middle East through its US conduit: the ZPC. Finally it refutes the Zionist geo-politicians and ‘oil’ and ‘military experts’ who cover up for the ZPC by falsely blaming Big Oil for policies they oppose because it prejudices their strategic partnership.
By blackmail and deceit, the Israelis got their additional $30 billion dollars over the next ten years and they double-crossed ‘their’ president by unleashing their Fifth Column to block his military sales to the Saudis. And if Bush dares a complaint, he will be added to the list of ‘anti-Semites’ — the only honorable list in his entire 8 years in office.
“Again, if PETA is putting something out, I will always have my doubts - they see things one way and one way only. Theirs. In many ways the activists in this country are terrorists of a kind….” [Excerpt from an email written by a heavily indoctrinated and reactionary US American]
By Jason Miller
For a year now I have been an ethical vegetarian. Last Thanksgiving, I made what I thought was an enlightened moral decision to stop eating meat and to severely restrict my egg and dairy consumption. However, an email recently hit my inbox that presents such a powerful argument justifying the wanton torture and slaughter of animals (so we can please our palates) that my moral sensibilities and capacity to reason have been utterly disarmed. Signed with a cryptic “JC,” this missive pummeled me with points I had not even considered when I made what I now rightly view as my ridiculous decision to go “meatless.”
In fact, rarely a day goes by that I don’t catch scent of the pungent aroma of the famous Kansas City barbeque I still crave—one can barely travel a mile or two in KC without finding oneself in olfactory range of restaurants that prepare extraordinarily delicious servings of non-human animal flesh. I fully admit that I miss devouring tender, succulent sauce-drenched ribs, burnt ends, sliced beef, brisket….As I write this, I’m salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs tethered to the Cathedral Tower in Limerick on a Sunday morning….
What an extraordinary dilemma JC has created for me. At times I am still consumed by an almost overwhelming temptation to indulge myself in the consumption of one of my fellow animals. Feasting on sentient beings that had endured tortured, miserable existences (existences that were mere warm-ups for the sheer savagery that awaited them in the slaughterhouse) was one of my favorite pastimes.
So the question is, do I continue denying myself the sublime pleasure of dining on animal tissue in order to appease my conscience, or do I embrace JC’s brilliant justification of meat consumption and satiate my hunger with a thick rare burger drowned in Heinz?
Allow me to examine and dissect some of JC’s eloquent and illuminating conclusions:
JC: “I can’t be held responsible for how turkeys or any animals are slaughtered. I’m never going to give up meat or fish or fowl, as our diet does require us to have protein and other nutrients that we receive from these products and I and many others enjoy eating them.”
So forget the notion of the banality of evil. As a consumer, even if I eat meat I am absolved of ALL responsibility for the unimaginable horrors the producers inflict upon factory-farmed animals from “cradle to grave.”
For Christ’s sake! I’ve been subsisting for over a year without said “protein and other nutrients” from meat! I am a miracle of modern science!
And I find it nearly impossible to disagree with JC’s statement that “I and many others enjoy eating them.” (The “them” being animals of course— I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy eating meat). As I was growing up my mother frequently confronted me with the question, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too?” Obviously the “correct” response was “no.” Sorry, Mom, but JC’s lemming logic is a hell of a lot more enticing than going against the grain and “doing the right thing.” Screw that—I’ll have the porterhouse, please!
JC: “People have to eat and the bulk of their protein comes from animal sources. They have been doing it since the cave man and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Tofu just doesn’t cut it for most people as a meat substitute, nor those grotesque meat imitations made from veggie products and then shaped into meat like looking products.”
Now that is a truly impenetrable Maginot Line of reasoning. I can’t begin to argue with the assertion that people have to eat. And the bulk of my protein did indeed come from animal sources for about 39 years of my life. JC is a tough nut to crack! And to think I’ve actually been eating tofu and “those grotesque meat imitations made from veggie products and then shaped into meat like looking products.” I cannot imagine what I’ve been thinking. Hunks of blood-saturated animal flesh, fat, and muscle that at some point in the production process were commingled with various organs, hooves, fur, and shit–forget those “grotesque meat imitations.” I can really wrap my appetite around mutilated and raw animal parts that quickly rot if they aren’t refrigerated.
Sorry Bossy, Wilbur and feathered friends. Since we human animals don’t find “meat like looking products” to be delectable, we’re going to continue confining you in dark, cramped quarters throughout your rueful lives, pumping you full of a toxic stew of antibiotics and growth hormones, causing you to grow so rapidly that you become crippled, performing surgery on you with no anesthetic, ripping out your teeth and clipping off your beaks so that when you go insane from the conditions we keep you under you can attack your fellow victims without damaging our product, loading you into severely over-crowded trucks in which you will do without food or water for several days, and ultimately hanging you by your hind legs, slitting your throats, crushing your skulls, and boiling you to death.
Besides, consuming animal flesh worked well for Neanderthals and a mere 50,000 years have passed. Don’t rush us into making changes.
JC: “All the people that chose to eat vegetarian style to attempt to make a statement, can do so, but their numbers will never increase enough to make a difference in the amount of animals that are slaughtered. Its supply and demand and it appears that the demand is still there. I think a more riveting point in considering limiting human consumption of some of these products is to be more careful about the meat/fowl/fish one eats is because
of all the contamination w/ e.coli, salmonella & mercury. That to me, is the real concern.”
She’s right. Every last one of us who “eat vegetarian style” just wants “to make a statement.” It has NOTHING to do with ethics, moral or conscience. We’re just showing off, carving out a niche and making a name for ourselves. And there are so damn few of us that the immutable laws of capitalism (which all good libertarians from Texas KNOW were handed down to Moses along with the Ten Commandments) will inevitably prevail. It is God’s will that we adhere to the law of supply and demand as the chief guiding principle of humanity. So when JC so astutely observes, “it appears the demand is still there,” who are we humble herbivores to argue?
And what self-respecting speciesist inflated with the hubris of humanity’s inherent right to subjugate and exploit “lesser” beings wouldn’t agree with this gem from JC?
“I think a more riveting point in considering limiting human consumption of some of these products is to be more careful about the meat/fowl/fish one eats is because of all the contamination w/ e.coli, salmonella & mercury. That to me, is the real concern.”
Fuck the non-human animals. Humans are the REAL concern. Why didn’t I think of that before I wasted 12 months of prime meat-eating time? Keep brutalizing the cows, pigs and chickens. Just take care not to get sick when you eat them.
JC: “This is not one plight that I’m going to worry about - especially since itis an American tradition. If people want to eat plain lasagne for T-day or just a green bean casserole for any holiday they can certainly do so, but it isn’t something that I would personally choose to do.”
Inflicting unconscionable pain and abuse upon non-human animals so that we can eat them is an “American tradition.” JC is right! And you don’t fuck with traditions, especially American ones. Like bombing smaller countries into the Stone Age. Manifest destinying our way across the North American continent. Installing and supporting ruthless dictators who adhere to the Washington Consensus. Wielding our economic power like a cudgel to beat sovereign nations into submission. Lynching. Jim Crow. Slavery. Native American genocide. Just to name a few.
And I have to admit that there is something fundamentally flawed with anyone who would “want to eat plain lasagna for T-day or just a green bean casserole for any holiday.” That is just plain un-American. Let’s start carving that bird!
JC: “Again, if PETA is putting something out, I will always have my doubts - they see things one way and one way only. Theirs. In many ways the activists in this country are terrorists of a kind. They think they are more civilized in their behavior but they try to terrorize people “by educating them” to the extreme conditions some animals face and are unable to be reasoned with at all. Its their way or the highway.”
“If PETA is putting something out, I will always have my doubts - they see things one way and one way only.” Amen to that, JC. Simply examine their name. Can you imagine a more arrogant, rigid group than the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? Thanks to JC’s email, I too am beginning to harbor many doubts about them. Where the hell do Ingrid Newkirk and her band of “terrorists of a kind” get off thinking they are “more civilized in their behavior?” As human beings, don’t we have the God-given right of dominion, which would mean we can abuse animals whenever we damn well please? And PETA members, don’t you dare terrorize us with your knowledge. The reality is that we enjoy eating the flesh of dead animals and the more ignorant of their pain we remain, the better. So PETA, you can take OUR way or the highway. I think you know where the meat-eating population wants you to shove your ethics. We’re broiling pork chops tonight!
So for a year now I have engaged in this rotten behavior known as vegetarianism. I have been depriving my body of protein, have been eating “grotesque” meat substitutes for no reason, have been violating sacred American traditions, have been “making a statement,” have been engaging in a form of elitism, and have been a “terrorist of a kind.” Somebody stop this bus! I want off!
And just how many pounds of meat must I consume before I am once again practicing the “American Way of Life” and reveling in its “non-negotiable” splendor?
Jason Miller is a recovering US American middle class suburbanite who strives to remain intellectually free. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com
Dr. Roger Nelson, Director of the Global Consciousness Project will speak at the Sedona Creative Life Center, 333 Schnebly Hill Road, Friday, November 30, 2007 from 7-9pm. Admission: $15.
Sedona, AZ - Dr. Roger Nelson, Director of the Princeton Global Consciousness Project presents An Epiphany of Scientific Findings on Global Consciousness at the Sedona Creative Life Center, 333 Schnebly Hill Road, Friday, November 30, 7-9 PM. Admission: $15.
Find out what scientists are discovering about how we can collectively empower global consciousness to heal the world and transform reality.
Dr. Nelson’s professional degrees are in experimental cognitive psychology, with a special focus on the lesser known aspects of perception. His primary work in design and analysis is supplemented by a background in physics, statistical methods, and multi-media production.
Until his retirement in 2002, he served as the coordinator of experimental work in the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) lab, directed by Robert Jahn in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering/Applied Science, Princeton University.
Dr. Rogers gives most of his time to the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), which he directs. The GCP is an international, multi-laboratory collaboration (independent from the PEAR program) that maintains a network of random event generators (REGs) around the world that send data continuously over the internet to a server in Princeton, NJ. The purpose is to examine subtle correlations that reflect the presence and activity of consciousness in the world.
GCP says it has learned that when millions of us share intentions and emotions created by powerful global events, such as the funerals of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa, the network shows correlations that can be interpreted as evidence for a growing global consciousness. It suggests we have the capability and responsibility for conscious evolution. We make the world we live in.
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Dr. Nelson discuss his involvement in PEAR and the various projects in which he was involved.
For more information on the GCP, visit: http://noosphere.princeton.edu.