Saturday, October 31, 2009

My other Best Friend in the LA Times - @ UCLA Protesting Animal Experimentation (ANIMAL TORTURE)

UCLA rally
Animal rights activist Valerie Barkhordar shouts across the street to pro-animal research supporters gathered at the Westwood campus.
Spencer Weiner and Jay L. Clendenan / Los Angeles Times

Animal rights activist Valerie Barkhordar shouts across the street to pro-animal research supporters gathered at the Westwood campus.


Antiwar Activists Reawaken as Obama Weighs Afghanistan Strategy


Sitting in the front row at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, directly in sight of committee Chairman John Kerry, two women discreetly held up two pink cardboard signs that read "U.S. War = Terrorism" and "Drone Attacks Kill Civilians."

The women, Toby Blome and Martha Hubert, are part of Code Pink, a nationwide antiwar group that formed in 2002. They were quietly protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as former CIA agent Robert Grenier testified that a significant increase in troops is required to fend off al-Qaida in the latter country. Since the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003, Code Pink protesters had been a common, often colorful, presence on Capitol Hill.

But starting in 2006, when the Democrats took control of Congress, Code Pink and other antiwar groups lessened their activity. After Barack Obama was elected president, the antiwar movement stagnated.

"Fewer and fewer people were showing up for national meetings, and the fundraising dried up to almost nothing," said Susan Lamont, former president of the board of directors of the now defunct "Not in Our Name" antiwar group. Lamont said such organizations had assumed that Obama's election would mean a speedy withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, but they placed too much hope in him, considering his calls for a new focus on the Afghanistan war.

However, Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center, said that people got what they wanted from Obama. "The protests that were associated with the war in Iraq have declined, but that's because the war in Iraq is winding down," he said. Keeter said it's important to makes a distinction between the general public and antiwar movement. "Generally speaking, Americans have never been much on movements," he said.

The public, according to Keeter, was staunchly opposed to the war in Iraq, but not the one in Afghanistan. "In public opinion, only a minority opposed" both, he said. So when Obama announced the Iraq withdrawal timetable, many people were satisfied and no longer saw the need to actively protest. But there were other factors in the decline of the antiwar movement, according to Eric Garris, director and founder of He cited a combination of war fatigue, domestic issues taking the forefront in public debate and the Bush administration leaving office.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the antiwar movement during the Bush administration was more anti-Bush than antiwar," said Garris, who added that Americans are more occupied with issues such as health care reform and the economic crisis. And many people were disillusioned after years of protesting without results.

With waning public approval of the Afghanistan war, however, antiwar groups have noticed an increase in support. "We've had a lot of decentralized action in October," said Gael Murphy, co-founder of Code Pink.

Antiwar actions such as the committee hearing protest, in which Blome and Hubert participated in earlier this month, have slowly started to reemerge. So far this year there have been eight official "disruption of Congress" arrests, compared with only four in all of 2008, according to Capitol Hill Police. These types of protests are likely to increase, said Murphy.

"There is a growing dissatisfaction with Obama's foreign policy and people are mobilizing," she said. "And I think we're going to see much more activity in the fall."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Malalai Joya: 'A Woman Among Warlords'

'A Woman Among Warlords'Listen to the Story
Talk of the Nation

October 27, 2009 - NEAL CONAN, host:

Malalai Joya was born in a small mountain village in western Afghanistan. Three days later, a communist coup overthrew the government in Kabul. The Soviet Union invaded not long afterwards. War, she writes, is all we Afghans have known.

She lived as a refugee in Iran and Pakistan, ran an underground school for girls during the rule of the Taliban, and went on to become the youngest member of Afghanistan's parliament. She's a staunch advocate for women's rights in a country where such rights often exist only on paper. In her memoir, Joya writes about her family's struggle against Islamic fundamentalists, warlords and foreign occupation.

If you'd like to speak with her about her past and about her country's future, our telephone number is 800-989-8255. Email us: You can also join the conversation on our Web site. That's at, click on TALK OF THE NATION.

Today, Malalai joins us from NPR's bureau in New York. She tells her story in a book called "Woman Among Warlords." And Malalai Joya, nice to have you on the program today.

Ms. MALALAI JOYA (Author, "A Woman Among Warlords"): Thank you. Thanks for this interview.

CONAN: And you write that one of your early memories as a child was clinging to your mother's legs while a policeman ransacked your house searching for your father.

Ms. JOYA: Yes, it is true. As - when I was child, after four days that I born, Russia occupied Afghanistan and their puppets come in power. So the situation was very risky for freedom-loving fighters, especially democrats, the people of my country.

As my father was one of the democrat person who was a student of university, and when - and they were occupied my country together with other freedom-loving fighters. They start to fight against occupation. That's why they killed millions of Afghan, innocent Afghan and also thousand democrat in Afghanistan, and my father was one of those unfortunately. And he did struggle against and now he's alive.

CONAN: Yes. But he lost his leg. And there were many months after the incident in which he was injured when you didn't know whether was dead or alive.

Ms. JOYA: No. Never I know as (unintelligible) so you can read some stories that when I was a baby that he lost one of his legs and have to go or have to leave Afghanistan. He went to refugees - neighbor countries. So after four years, when I was four years old, I left Afghanistan. And for the first time, I met my father and my uncle.

The older brother of my father took care of our family as well. And she - he was very close to me. And they're crying to me and I called him always daddy, father. So, for me, it was difficult to accept that that's not my father. And that means that my uncle is not my father and my father is my father.

CONAN: There's a touching story you tell, after your family moves to the - Iran to be with your father who's in exile there in a refugee situation. And he overhears you, a small child, one day singing a silly song about my father only has one leg.

Ms. JOYA: Yeah, still my families remember. And a friend of my father also made jokes because first time that I accept that - I said, this is my father and I was singing that silly song that, as you said, with my salsa(ph) and then my father - I didn't know that he was listening to me - and then he recognized I was (unintelligible) just lost.

CONAN: Yes, because he understood at that moment you accepted him as your father.

Ms. JOYA: Yes.


Ms. JOYA: Yes.

CONAN: Then later, your family moves to Pakistan, to a refugee camp, first in Quetta and then up in - near Peshawar. And these are - well, million of Afghans were forced into refugee status during the struggle against the Soviet occupation and later during the civil war.

Ms. JOYA: Yeah.

CONAN: But this was where you first became exposed to the politics as you tried to go to school to get an education.

Ms. JOYA: Yeah. Like, as you said, like many Afghan, millions of Afghan, we also become refugee and because Iran was not - no school for a garrison -Afghan (unintelligible) in Pakistan (unintelligible). And on that time, a refugee (unintelligible) class in high school when I was, I thought to be a social activist. And in the morning I was a student of the school, in the evening I was a teacher for literacy courses.

So we belong to political situation. We are (unintelligible) generation. As I said, I was four-days-old baby that Russia occupied Afghanistan. Then criminal Mujahideen come in power, these warlords, this civil war from '92 to '96. Then Taliban, these fascist people come in power. Then back after 9/11 tragedy, these warlords, these criminal Mujahideen (unintelligible) democracy, they come in power.

And we saw nothing in our life, just war and these violences. And I believe even children (unintelligible) Afghanistan through politics, even stones of Afghanistan (unintelligible) speak, that politics (unintelligible) like children of Palestine that always inspired me, that they fight against occupation, even children with the stone.

CONAN: And there is - you've described a lot of history in very quick terms there. But there is a chapter of your story that I think most people would find fascinating, and this is during the rule of the Taliban. Your family returns home to Western Afghanistan. And in fact you run an underground school to teach girls.

Ms. JOYA: Yes. I was activist of organization of promoting Afghan women capabilities called OPAC, even on that time it was not register. They had health and education activities for women and children, underground activities, especially in the period of Taliban in '98. I was famous in the camp (unintelligible) they were searching for activist and they contacted me.

And I like the idea and as a social activist because there was no education for girls and women, so that's why I moved with my family and my father, as democrat, and they will agree. And we moved to (unintelligible) and there also underground activist I was since after 2001 (unintelligible) but now when you compare my life with the dark period of Taliban as activist and now, on that time it was risky.

But now, even with (unintelligible) bodyguard it's not safe. There's many assassination attempts (unintelligible) changing the safe house to safe houses, many death threats receiving, not only me, many other democrat of my country, the social activists and political democrat activists.

CONAN: We'll get to the present day in just a moment. But I think listeners would be interested to hear. You were forced during the Taliban time to wear the burqa, a piece of clothing which you detest. Nevertheless, it made it possible for you to smuggle schoolbooks underneath it without being detected.

Ms. JOYA: Yeah, it is true. It was difficult (unintelligible) burqa, I had some funny memory in the meantime, not only sad but how my other friends, these colleagues of OPAC, and even my father was saying that among all women when I see you, I recognize who you are, because it was really difficult how to (unintelligible) and, but now…

CONAN: He said you walked like a penguin.

Ms. JOYA: Yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. JOYA: But now even with the burqa and bodyguard, as I said, it's not safe. And now this disgusting burqa, which for me, as always I'm saying, this is like symbol of oppression. And I'm sure for most of women of my country, and it's like (unintelligible) but now it gives life.

CONAN: Let me ask you a question. You describe the situation of your country over the past 30 years, and of course much suffering caused by the Soviet invasion and occupation and the long war then, as you mentioned it, the terrible civil war, which Americans know relatively little about that followed, and then the Taliban, which came to power, and then, of course, the war that has continued ever since September the 11th and the United States and NATO forces led, a war which you say, described as just another occupation.

Ms. JOYA: Yeah.

CONAN: And you described the terrible criminals, you say, the warlords and many of whom are in power now. Yet you also say in your book - and I wanted to ask you about this, it's a statement of great optimism: A longing for freedom beats in every Afghan's heart and we have eventually repelled every foreign occupier. After all of that, the fundamentalists, the warlords, the Taliban, do you believe that a longing for freedom beats in every Afghan heart?

Ms. JOYA: You know, in the mind and also in the hearts of my people, this criminal has already brought to the court, has been faced to the court. People do not support them. Karzai's corrupt mafia system is a good example how much (unintelligible) and this election is another example, non-democratic election. Millions of Afghan, they did not attend in the election.

And now that my (unintelligible) people, that the reason I'm not - I'm alive that - because of support of these poor people. And they wish that one day these criminals must be paying into the International Criminal Court. But they imposed on my people, that was the main reason of the wrong policy of US government and its allies, that they replace one terrorist like Taliban with another terrorist, these warlords, these criminals.

So that's why situation of Afghanistan goes to a disaster, especially for a woman. In most of provinces, it's like hell. First of all, they change my country to the center (unintelligible)…

CONAN: Let's get a caller in on the conversation. And Pauline is with us. Pauline calling from East Hampton in New York.

PAULINE (Caller): Yes. Hi. I wanted to ask you - I just got a little bit of a hint of how you feel from your last statement. But I wanted to ask you how Afghans feel about the American occupation right now and the ratcheting up of -potential ratcheting up of the occupation.

There's a lot of reporting here that tries to tell us that the Afghans want the Americans in to protect them from the Taliban. Can you give us a little more insight into that?

Ms. JOYA: Yes, why not? You know, my people, now they're sandwiched between two powerful enemies. From the sky, this occupation forces bombing and killing innocents of our lands under the name of Taliban, most of them women and children. In the ground, these warlords in Taliban is now negotiating with each other, continue to their fascism. For example, these occupation forces as they did the bombing in (unintelligible) Province, maybe you hear through media. And one day more than 150 civilians has been killed, even they used white phosphorus and cluster bomb.

I think democracy never come by white phosphorus or cluster bomb or by war. Also, on 9th of September they did bombing in Kunduz Province, this month, recently, and 200 civilians has been killed.

After all of these crimes, White House says apologize and Karzai's puppet, corrupt mafia system says thank you. No, my people are fed up. They don't want to listen anymore thank you and apologize. Even they're bombing our wedding parties, what they did in Jalalabad and also Nuristan, that day by day, civilians are the victims. You can go and see Professor (unintelligible) and these troops themselves are the victim of the wrong policy of their government as they send them for bad cause for war.

I said condolences and I say condolence to those family who lost their sons, but they must raise their voice against this wrong policy. But now Obama want to surge more troops in Afghanistan, which will bring…

CONAN: Excuse…

Ms. JOYA: Yeah?

CONAN: I don't mean to cut you off. And Pauline, thank you very much for the call. But we just have a minute left, and I wanted to ask you if US forces did withdraw, which you want them to do, why would we think for a moment that it would not either be the Taliban or the warlords still in control in Afghanistan?

Ms. JOYA: When these occupation forces stop bombing and killing civilians and their government do not support warlord in Taliban, then - as I said, now we are fighting two enemies, against occupation and these warlords and Taliban.

With the withdrawal of one enemy, it's much easier to fight against one enemy instead of two. If really Obama honest for my people first, in this occupation, they are saying civil war will happen, but today (unintelligible) civil war. We do not have security - poverty, corruption. It's increasing rapidly in Afghanistan, the situation of woman is getting disaster.

Obama, first of all, must say apologize to my people and bring this criminal Bush to the International Criminal Court. (Unintelligible) power in Afghanistan. Now they are negotiating with Taliban (unintelligible) these terrorists as a moderate, while (unintelligible).

Obama must support democratic minded people of my country while we have a lot. There are many risks for them. Educationally support my people and also (unintelligible) the U.N. must stop neighbor countries like Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan that support Taliban and these warlords. So as long as these occupation forces be in Afghanistan, the worse civil war will be.

CONAN: Malalai Joya, we thank you for your time today and good luck with the book.

I should note you said some facts about the bombing in Kunduz, which are disputed by the U.S. government about the use of white phosphorus and cluster bombs. But anyway, these are in dispute.

Anyway, thank you very much for being with us today.

Ms. JOYA: Thank you. At the end, I want to say that democracy never come by war. Please raise your voice, great democrat American people, first of all, against the war crime of your government. And I want to say they will destroy all of the flowers, but they never can stop this pain. No history except occupation and no nation can donate liberation to another nation.

CONAN: Her book is called "A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice." She joined us from our bureau in New York.


Book Excerpt:
Dust in the Eyes of the World

I come from a land of tragedy called Afghanistan.

My life has taken some unusual turns, but in many ways my story is the story of a generation. For the thirty years I have been alive, my country has suffered from the constant scourge of war. Most Afghans my age and younger have only known bloodshed, displacement, and occupation. When I was a baby in my mother's arms, the Soviet Union invaded my country. When I was four years old, my family and I were forced to live as refugees in Iran and then Pakistan. Millions of Afghans were killed or exiled, like my family, during the battle-torn 1980s. When the Russians finally left and their puppet regime was overthrown, we faced a vicious civil war between fundamentalist warlords, followed by the rule of the depraved and medieval Taliban.

After the tragic day of September 11, 2001, many in Afghanistan thought that, with the ensuing overthrow of the Taliban, they might finally see some light, some justice and progress. But it was not to be. The Afghan people have been betrayed once again by those who are claiming to help them. More than seven years after the U.S. invasion, we are still faced with foreign occupation and a U.S.-backed government filled with warlords who are just like the Taliban. Instead of putting these ruthless murderers on trial for war crimes, the United States and its allies placed them in positions of power, where they continue to terrorize ordinary Afghans.

You may be shocked to hear this, because the truth about Afghanistan has been hidden behind a smoke screen of words and images carefully crafted by the United States and its NATO allies and repeated without question by the Western media.

You may have been led to believe that once the Taliban was driven from power, justice returned to my country. Afghan women like me, voting and running for office, have been held up as proof that the U.S. military has brought democracy and women's rights to Afghanistan.

But it is all a lie, dust in the eyes of the world.

I am the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament, but I have been banished from my seat and threatened with death because I speak the truth about the warlords and criminals in the puppet government of Hamid Karzai. I have already survived at least five assassination attempts and uncounted plots against me. Because of this, I am forced to live like a fugitive within my own country. A trusted uncle heads my detail of bodyguards, and we move to different houses almost every night to stay a step ahead of my enemies.

 To hide my identity, I must travel under the cover of the heavy cloth burqa, which to me is a symbol of women's oppression, like a shroud for the living. Even during the dark days of the Taliban I could at least go outside under the burqa to teach girls in secret classes. But today I don't feel safe under my burqa, even with armed guards to escort me. My visitors are searched for weapons, and even the flowers at my wedding had to be checked for bombs. I cannot tell you my family's name, or the name of my husband, because it would place them in terrible danger. And for this reason, I have changed several other names in this book.

I call myself Joya — an alias I adopted during the time of the Taliban when I worked as an underground activist. The name Joya has great significance in my country. Sarwar Joya was an Afghan writer, poet, and constitutionalist who struggled against injustice during the early twentieth century. He spent nearly twenty-four years of his life in jails and was finally killed because he would not compromise his democratic principles.

I know that because I refuse to compromise my opposition to the warlords and fundamentalists or soften my speeches denouncing them, I, too, may join Joya on the long list Afghans who have died for freedom. But you cannot compromise the truth. And I am not afraid of an early death if it would advance the cause of justice. Even the grave cannot silence my voice, because there are others who would carry on after me.

The sad fact is that in Afghanistan, killing a woman is like killing a bird. The United States has tried to justify its occupation with rhetoric about "liberating" Afghan women, but we remain caged in our country, without access to justice and still ruled by women-hating criminals. Fundamentalists still preach that "a woman should be in her house or in the grave." In most places it is still not safe for a woman to appear in public uncovered, or to walk on the street without a male relative. Girls are still sold into marriage. Rape goes unpunished every day.

For both men and women in Afghanistan, our lives are short and often wracked by violence, loss, and anguish. The life expectancy here is less than forty-five years — an age that in the West is called "middle age." We live in desperate poverty. A staggering 70 percent of Afghans survive on less than two dollars per day. And it is estimated that more than half of Afghan men and 80 percent of women are illiterate. In the past few years, hundreds of women have committed self-immolation — literally burned themselves to death — to escape their miseries.

This is the history I have lived through, and this is the tragic situation today that I am working with many others to change. I am no better than any of my suffering people. Fate and history have made me in some ways a "voice of the voiceless," the many thousands and millions of Afghans who have endured decades of war and injustice.

For years, my supporters have urged me to write a book about my life. I have always resisted because I do not feel comfortable writing about myself. I feel that my story, on its own, is not important. But finally my friends persuaded me to go ahead with this book as a way to talk about the plight of the Afghan people from the perspective of a member of my country's war generation. I agreed to use my personal experiences as a way to tell the political history of Afghanistan, focusing on the past three decades of oppressive misrule. The story of the dangerous campaign I ran to represent the poor people of my province, the physical and verbal attacks I endured as a member of Parliament, and the devious, illegal plot to banish me from my elected post — all of it illuminates the corruption and injustice that prevents Afghanistan from becoming a true democracy. In this way it is not just my story, but the story of my struggling people.

Many books were written about Afghanistan after the 9/11 tragedy, but only a few of them offer a complete and realistic picture of the country's past. Most of them describe in depth the cruelties and injustices of the Taliban regime but usually ignore or try to hide one of the darkest periods of our history: the rule of the fundamentalist mujahideen between 1992 and 1996. I hope this book will draw attention to the atrocities committed by these warlords who now dominate the Karzai regime.

I also hope this book will correct the tremendous amount of misinformation being spread about Afghanistan. Afghans are sometimes represented in the media as a backward people, nothing more than terrorists, criminals, and henchmen. This false image is extremely dangerous for the future of both my country and the West. The truth is that Afghans are brave and freedom-loving people with a rich culture and a proud history. We are capable of defending our independence, governing ourselves, and determining our own future.
But Afghanistan has long been used as a deadly playground in the "Great Game" between superpowers, from the British Empire to the Soviet empire, and now the Americans and their allies. They have tried to rule Afghanistan by dividing it. They have given money and power to thugs and fundamentalists and warlords who have driven our people into terrible misery. We do not want to be misused and misrepresented to the world. We need security and a helping hand from friends around the world, but not this endless U.S.-led "war on terror," which is in fact a war against the Afghan people. The Afghan people are not terrorists; we are the victims of terrorism. Today the soil of Afghanistan is full of land mines, bullets, and bombs — when what we really need is an invasion of hospitals, clinics, and schools for boys and girls.

I was also reluctant to write this memoir because I'd always thought that books should first be written about the many democratic activists who have been martyred, the secret heroes and heroines of Afghanistan's history. I feel the same way about some of the awards that I have received from international human rights groups in recent years. The ones who came before me are more deserving. It is an honor to be recognized, but I only wish that all the love and support I have been shown could be given to the orphans and widows of Afghanistan. For me, the awards and honors belong to all my people, and each distinction I receive only adds to my sense of responsibility to our common struggle. For this reason, all of my earnings from this book will go toward supporting urgently needed humanitarian projects in Afghanistan aimed at changing lives for the better.

As I write these words, the situation in Afghanistan is getting progressively worse. And not just for women, but for all Afghans. We are caught between two enemies — the Taliban on one side and the U.S./ NATO forces and their warlord friends on the other. And the dark-minded forces in our country are gaining power with every allied air strike that kills civilians, with every corrupt government official who grows fat on bribes and thievery, and with every criminal who escapes justice.

During his election campaign, the new president of the United States, Barack Obama, spoke of sending tens of thousands more foreign troops to Afghanistan, but he did not speak out against the twin plagues of corruption and warlordism that are destroying my country. I know that Obama's election has brought great hopes to peace-loving people in the United States. But for Afghans, Obama's military buildup will only bring more suffering and death to innocent civilians, while it may not even weaken the Taliban and al-Qaeda. I hope that the lessons in this book will reach President Obama and his policy makers in Washington, and warn them that the people of Afghanistan reject their brutal occupation and their support of the warlords and drug lords.

In Afghanistan, democratic-minded people have been struggling for human and women's rights for decades. Our history proves that these values cannot be imposed by foreign troops. As I never tire of telling my audiences, no nation can donate liberation to another nation. These values must be fought for and won by the people themselves. They can only grow and flourish when they are planted by the people in their own soil and watered by their own blood and tears.

In Afghanistan, we have a saying that is very dear to my heart: The truth is like the sun: when it comes up nobody can block it out or hide it. I hope that this book and my story will, in a small way, help that sun to keep shining and inspire you, wherever you might be reading this, to work for peace, justice, and democracy.

From A Woman Among Warlords by Malalai Joya. Copyright 2009 by Malalai Joya. Excerpted by permission of the publisher.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

James Joyce-iness

=On the Beach at Fontana=

Wind whines and whines the shingle,
The crazy pierstakes groan;
A senile sea numbers each single
Slimesilvered stone.

From whining wind and colder
Grey sea I wrap him warm
And touch his trembling fineboned shoulder
And boyish arm.

Around us fear, descending
Darkness of fear above
And in my heart how deep unending
Ache of love!


Works read by James Joyce - Anna Livia Plurabelle (8.32) - London, 1929


Pot Is More Mainstream Than Ever, So Why Is Legalization Still Taboo?

By Steven Wishnia, AlterNet

Obama's drug czar has said "legalization" isn't in his vocabulary. Here's why it should be.

More members of Congress have publicly questioned whether President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii than have endorsed legalizing marijuana.

This comes despite the birth announcements printed in the Honolulu Advertiser in August 1961 and marijuana's deep inroads into the cultural mainstream.

Almost every voter under 65 in this country has either smoked cannabis or grew up with people who did. 

Among its erstwhile users are the last three presidents, one Supreme Court justice and the mayor of the nation's largest city. The pot leaf's image pervades popular culture, from Bob Marley T-shirts to billboards for Showtime's Weeds.

So why is actually legalizing it still considered a fringe issue? Why haven't more politicians -- especially the ones who inhaled -- come out and said, "Prohibition is absurd and criminal. Let's treat cannabis like alcohol"?
Allen St. Pierre, head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, blames the hypocrisy of the "baby boomer elite." There are many people in Washington's political and media circles "who know the right end of a joint to light, but are too embarrassed to admit their knowledge," he says. There are members of Congress, he adds, who will greet him at a party with "Allen, got any weed?" but are afraid to go out on a limb for legalization.

Only two current members of Congress have openly advocated ending cannabis prohibition: Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Ron Paul, R-Texas.

Even in a Congress inhabited by Republicans Tom "Lesbians Are Terrorizing Our High Schools" Coburn of Oklahoma and Michelle "Carbon Dioxide Is Natural, It Is Not Harmful" Bachmann of Minnesota, the left-liberal Kucinich and the libertarian-conservative Paul might be the two most widely derided as kooks.

A handful of others, such as Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., have given some indications that they would support legalization. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has sponsored a bill to end federal penalties for possession of less than 100 grams, but has not explicitly endorsed making marijuana as legal as alcohol.

In contrast, Salon in July identified 17 members of Congress as "birther" sympathizers who had either openly questioned Obama's birth, co-sponsored a bill on the issue or refused to answer yes when asked if they believed he was a natural-born citizen. The 17 included Sens. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

St. Pierre particularly resents the way the media treat the issue as a joke, in which almost any headline has to include a bad pun on "doobie," "high" or "mellow."

It's deadly serious when more than 800,000 people a year are arrested for it, he argues. Obama's "chuckle," he says, was emblematic. When legalizing marijuana was the top issue cited by visitors to Obama's transition Web site, the president dismissed it with a joke implying that there must be a lot of stoned people on the Internet.

"It's still an issue people are giggling about, not taking seriously," says Noelle Davis, former head of Texans for Medical Marijuana.

State legislators who have sponsored marijuana-related bills say that the two biggest obstacles are fear and cultural stereotypes.

"Elected officials are largely very concerned about being labeled 'soft on drugs,'" says New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the state's 1977 decriminalization law, has introduced several bills to legalize medical marijuana.

Polls have shown medical marijuana to have the support of 70 to 80 percent of New Yorkers, he says, but "many legislators are afraid to touch it."

Washington State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles says that many legislators, particularly in the state's more conservative rural areas, "buy into the cultural stereotypes about marijuana," such as the idea that it's a gateway to harder drugs.

The Seattle Democrat, who is sponsoring a bill to reduce the penalty for less than 40 grams of pot from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, says that the state's prosecutors' support for legalizing medical marijuana gave conservatives political cover to vote for it but that law enforcement has largely opposed her decriminalization bill.

One reason for the lack of urgent political pressure, says Deborah Small of Break the Chains, is that the people most likely to get busted for pot are the ones who "don't have a political voice" -- young people of color from poor neighborhoods. In Atlanta, Baltimore and New York, which have among the highest marijuana-arrest rates in the nation, three-fourths of those popped are black or Latino and under 25, she points out. Adults and more affluent youths are largely safe from arrest, she adds.

Frontlines of the Debate
California is the one state where legalization is legitimately on the agenda. "Obama might have dismissed it, but we're having the most serious conversation in 35 years," says Quintin Mecke, spokesman for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, is sponsoring a bill that would legalize marijuana in California. It would let people grow up to 10 plants for their own use and license commercial cultivation and sales, with a smoking age of 21 and a $50-an-ounce tax.

Hearings on the bill are scheduled for January. It would obviously conflict with federal law, but Mecke says, "the intent is to provoke a states' rights conversation A lot of folks are looking to California to push that issue."

Several factors make legalization politically possible in California, Mecke explains. First, it has had legally regulated medical marijuana for 13 years, and people have "seen that the sky did not fall. California may be in a fiscal crisis, but it's certainly not due to marijuana." Taxes and fees on cannabis could raise $1.4 billion in revenue for the cash-strapped state, the state Board of Equalization estimates. In addition, marijuana cultivation is an integral part of the local economy in many areas, especially the rural north.

"We're not expecting this to happen overnight," Mecke says. "But looking at the poll numbers, it will happen."
A Gallup poll conducted in early October backs that prediction. It found 44 percent of the people surveyed supporting legal marijuana, with 54 percent against. In contrast, previous surveys showed Americans rejecting legalization 73 percent to 23 percent in 1985 and 64 percent to 31 percent in 2000.

An overwhelming majority of liberals supported it, as did more than half of Westerners, Democrats and people under 50. Opposition was strongest among Republicans, conservatives and people over 65, but even in those groups, more than a quarter backed legalization.

"Public mores on legalization of marijuana have been changing this decade and are now at their most tolerant in at least 40 years," the Gallup organization stated. "If public support were to continue growing at a rate of 1 to 2 percentage points per year, as it has since 2000, the majority of Americans could favor legalization of the drug in as little as four years."

Disconnect Between the Country and Its Capital
There is a "huge disconnect" between the corridors of power in Washington and the rest of America on marijuana, contends St. Pierre.

Today, even the hardest-line prohibitionists rarely argue that people should go to jail for possession. In Washington, says Kohl-Welles, police and prosecutors claimed that decriminalization would be unnecessary because they don't put a lot of resources into making such minor arrests.

In New York, where Mayor Michael "You Bet I Did -- And I Enjoyed It" Bloomberg has continued 
Rudolph Giuliani's war on pot smokers, a police department spokesperson tried to convince reporters that there was no such crackdown, because the number of summonses issued for marijuana possession declined over the last decade. (Having less than 25 grams carries only a $100 fine under state law, but possession in public is a misdemeanor. New York City police have been arresting more than 40,000 people a year on that charge, mostly young black and Latino men.)

Liberal politicians who believe that the laws are too harsh but don't want to take the risk of siding with stoners often support decriminalization as a middle ground. Decriminalization has definitely been an improvement -- as Gottfried points out, it's made the difference between spending a night in jail and a year in prison for having a small bag of pot -- but it is actually a harsher regime than alcohol Prohibition was. Under Prohibition, home winemaking and medical use of alcohol were legal, and people could keep liquor acquired before the law went into effect in 1920. (The New York governor's mansion had one such stash of booze, and the Yale Club in Manhattan stockpiled a 14-year supply.)

Obama's Oct. 19 guidelines that federal prosecutors not pursue medical-marijuana cases in states where it's legal are encouraging. On the other hand, like so much in Obama's tenure, they might also be far more symbolic than real. They contain enough wiggle room to permit federal aid to local prosecutors who go after medical marijuana, such as Steve Cooley in Los Angeles.

In general, Obama's positions have evolved in a typically hypocritical manner. He endorsed decriminalization when he was an Illinois state legislator campaigning on a college campus, but he now states flatly that he does not support legalization -- although he wrote in his autobiography that while pot didn't solve your problems, "it could at least help you laugh at the world's ongoing folly and see through all the bullshit and cheap moralism." (There are photos of Obama as a straw-hatted college student, smoking an ambiguous cigarette with his thumb and forefinger and looking blissfully slit-eyed.)

"Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it is not in mine," federal drug czar Gil Kerlikowske has reiterated, although he is relatively liberal on other drug issues.

According to St. Pierre, the staff of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., specifically warned the pot-legalization movement not to pressure the Obama administration or congressional Democrats because they were preoccupied with the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and health care. The message, he says, was "We are not going to advance this issue, and you need to cut us some slack."

Change You Can Put in Your Pipe
What can be done? What would change the political climate to enable a reasonable discussion of legalizing and regulating marijuana?

Deborah Small says it would take a society that cared about black and Latino youth instead of criminalizing them in the name of "quality of life" policing.

Politicians talk about keeping young people in school and getting them jobs, but then they support "policing tactics guaranteed to bring them into the criminal-justice system for relatively minor offenses." If Obama had been busted for pot when he was a young man, she asks, would he be president today? "Certainly not."
She finds it remarkable that the hip-hop generation that emerged after the crack epidemic of the late '80s eschewed hard drugs in favor of marijuana -- and the system responded by arresting them more, with policies that rewarded large numbers of petty-possession busts.

Kohl-Welles says legalizing cannabis would take a critical mass of legislators, and that budget issues might help create the climate for that. Gottfried says that it will take "very strong public support for it to become part of mainstream debate, let alone pass the Legislature."

To win that support, St. Pierre says, the legalization movement needs to sustain grassroots activism and become more multiracial instead of being almost all-white and mainly male. Advancing legalization would also need the support of charismatic politicians early in their careers, as "it's impossible to flip a 50- or 60-year-old alpha male in Washington."

Another danger, he says, is politicians who modify their positions to suit their ambitions. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, he notes, was an early and "full-throated" supporter of medical marijuana, but is now running for governor of California and opposes legalization.

In Texas, says Noelle Davis, activists face the daunting task of trying to persuade legislators in the Republican majority -- and the primary voters who elect them. This would require educating them about the safety of marijuana versus alcohol and the economic benefits that cannabis cultivation and sales could bring to the state.

One largely overlooked issue in Texas, she says, is drug violence on the border. Infighting among rival smuggling gangs has claimed hundreds of lives in the Mexican cities of Nuevo Laredo, just across the river from Laredo, and Juarez, across from El Paso.

For all the hype about potent domestic homegrown, commercial-grade Mexican dominates the cheaper end of the cannabis market, and "a lot of marijuana comes up IH-35," from Laredo through San Antonio, Austin and Dallas.

"We're still putting our hands over our ears and saying 'la-la-la,' " she says. "If marijuana were legal on a federal level, it would dramatically reduce the deaths associated with the drug trade."

Meanwhile, she says, the "silent majority" of pot smokers has to overcome their fear and get vocal. "When I was circulating a petition for medical marijuana, often people would giggle and say 'I'm not putting my name on a list,' " she recalls. "Don't be afraid of your legislator. Take time and build a relationship."

St. Pierre agrees. "We have not achieved the political legitimacy of the gay and lesbian community," he concludes. "As long as 0.1 percent of cannabis consumers are involved with their own liberation, reform is unlikely." If just 1 percent of the nation's estimated 36 million pot smokers would get involved, he says, that would be a constituency of 360,000 activists.

Legalizing cannabis may not be as life-and-death an issue as health care, global warming or the war in Afghanistan, but it is not a frivolous cause. Not any more than repealing Prohibition was in the depths of the Depression.

When the nation is mired in an economic and environmental crisis, why should we waste lives and money enforcing repressive, racist and crime-creating laws? In May 1932, thousands of people marched in the streets of New York, Detroit and other cities to demand the legalization of beer. They carried signs reading "We Want Beer and We Will Pay the Tax" and "We Want Beer but We Also Want Jobs."

Later that summer, the Democratic party, battered for being "wet" in the previous presidential election, endorsed the repeal of Prohibition. On Dec. 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment went into effect, and Americans could legally drink again.

Of course, there was a fanatical former Prohibition official named Harry Anslinger, who had recently become head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics -- and was looking for a new way to advance his career.

Steven Wishnia is a New York-based journalist and musician. The author of Exit 25 Utopia and The Cannabis Companion, he has won two New York City Independent Press Association awards for his coverage of housing issues. He is looking for a job.

Happy 40th Birthday, Internet!

October 29th, 2009
From: by Stan Schroeder

I remember when I first saw it. My dad called me over to his office, where he had a x86 PC with a 1200 bit/s modem, which I’d mostly used for games (I was 15 at the time) and connecting to various BBS‘. He said: there’s this new thing, they call it the Internet. I think it’ll be really important.

What can you do with it, I asked? You can see what’s on other computers, far away, he said. You can do it via Gopher, or FTP, or Cello (the predecessor of today’s WWW browsers). There wasn’t a lot to see there, so I quickly moved onto other things, but soon after that day, a new way to browse the Internet came out: Netscape.

And suddenly, the Internet became great. I could find out about games and bands I’d never heard of before. I could see what the weather is like in South Dakota. I could create a personal page (that’s what people did on the Internet before blogs came to be) with my biography and picture for everyone to see. I jumped on the train and never looked back.

The real beginning was a couple of decades earlier, although no one can really set the exact date for Internet’s birth. But on October 29, 1969, the first two nodes of ARPANET were interconnected between UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and SRI International (SRI) in Menlo Park, California. It took 12 years for 213 computers to get linked in the network.

Somewhere after that, things started changing, fast. Netscape – the archetypal browser – was overrun by Internet Explorer (Internet Explorer). It took about 10 years for Netscape’s market share to fall from over 90% to less than 1%. Then Firefox started eating away at Internet Explorer’s market share. Who knows what we’ll be browsing on in 10 years?

Fast forward to today, and the Internet has over 1.5 billion users, and most of them can’t imagine the world without it. Most of you don’t need an explanation of what it is and how it works; it’s one of the fundamental things you encounter, like rain or electricity. It’s in our blood. It brought us the ability to communicate fast, to connect with our friends, to create stuff together; it brought us social media, Twitter (Twitter) and Facebook (Facebook).

But unlike rain or electricity, it changes, faster and faster, each day. Its first 40 years were just the beginning, and I’m really, really interested in what it will look like in another 40 years. Whatever it is, it’ll probably be unimaginable from today’s standpoint.

Do you remember how you learned about the Internet? What was your first experience with it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto (iStockphoto), Eraxion

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The President does not write condolence letters to loved ones of those who commit suicide in the theater of combat

By Amy Goodman

U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Chancellor Keesling died in Iraq on June 19, 2009, from “a non-combat related incident,” according to the Pentagon. Keesling had killed himself. He was just one in what is turning out to be a record year for suicides in the U.S. military.

In August, President Barack Obama addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, saying, “[T]here is nothing more sobering than signing a letter of condolence to the family of [a] serviceman or -woman who has given their life for our country.” To their surprise, Jannett and Gregg Keesling, Chance’s parents, won’t be getting such a letter. Obama does not write condolence letters to loved ones of those who commit suicide in the theater of combat. [After making inquiries, the Keeslings discovered that this was not because of an oversight. Instead, it’s because of a longstanding U.S. policy to deny presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who take their own lives.]

Jannett told me: “Chancellor was recruited right out of high school, and this was something he was passionate about, joining the military. I wanted him to go to college, but he said that he wanted to be a soldier.” Gregg added: “We had doubts about him joining. ... When the war broke out in 2003, when many of us were trying to retreat, Chancy decided, ‘This is my duty.’ ... But once he did his first tour ... his marriage broke up during that deployment.”

Chance was very troubled during his first tour of duty in Iraq, although he performed admirably by all accounts. At one point he was put on a suicide watch and had his ammunition taken away for a week. After Iraq, Chance declined a $27,000 reenlistment bonus and transitioned to the U.S. Army Reserves, hoping to avoid another deployment. He sought and was receiving treatment at a Veterans Affairs facility. Gregg said, “We sat down as a family, and we said, ‘President Obama is going to be elected, and President Obama will end this war, and you won’t have to go.’ ” But then his son’s orders to deploy came again.

Current laws prevent transfer of mental health information from active-duty military to the reserves, so Chance’s commanders did not know of his previous struggles. Last June, troubled again, he sent his parents a dire e-mail, mentioning suicide. Jannett recalled: “I spoke to Chancellor the night before he died for about four minutes. And as always, he wore a really tough exterior. ... But what he did tell me that night is that he was going to have a very long, difficult day. His conversation was quite brief. Normally he would say that he loves me, and he would say goodbye. But this time he simply hung up.”

The next morning, Gregg said, Chance “locked himself in the latrine and took his own life, with his M-4 ... our grief is deep. The letter won’t stop [our pain]—we’ll still be hollow inside for the rest of our lives, but the acknowledgment from the president that our son gave his life in service to the causes of the United States is important to us.”

The Pentagon admits to a mounting suicide crisis in its ranks. Numbers of acknowledged suicides have steadily climbed, from fewer than 100 in 2005, by one report, to nearly 200 in 2008, with a like number among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Gregg Keesling said that when he and Jannett went to Dover Air Force Base to greet Chance’s coffin, a master sergeant encouraged him to speak out, saying: “I’m greeting a suicide body almost every day. There’s something going on.”

The Keeslings credit Maj. Gen. Mark Graham with helping them through their grief, and working to reduce the stigma of suicide within the military. One of Graham’s sons committed suicide in 2003, while studying as an Army ROTC cadet in college. His other son, also in the Army, deployed to Iraq months later and was killed by a bomb not long thereafter. But the GI Rights Hotline, which advises active-duty soldiers on options for leaving the military, says outside psychological professionals can help suicidal soldiers obtain a medical discharge: “The military wants to know whether the patient can perform their duties without causing trouble, embarrassment or expense. His or her welfare is distinctly less important.”

The United States is engaged in two intractable, massive military occupations, with no end in sight. Obama should certainly write letters of condolence to the Keeslings and to others whose loved ones have found that the only sure way to end the living hell of war, or to escape the horror of its aftermath, is to kill themselves. But an immediate withdrawal from the wars Obama inherited is the only way to stem the bleeding.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 800 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback.

© 2009 Amy Goodman

Obama and G-7 Head of State given UFO/ET briefing documents as disclosure information war escalates


Article VI in an ongoing series on the Obama administration and extraterrestrial disclosure.

The information war to secure or deny disclosure by the U.S. government of long-standing secret human-extraterrestrial liaison programs has escalated to new levels with the public release by the Disclosure Project of the summary of a Special Presidential Briefing Document given to U.S. President Barack Obama, and the Head of State of a G-7 nation, which unconfirmed reports have indicated may be France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In a letter dated October 24, 2009, Disclosure Project director Steven Greer MD states, “the summary of the Special Presidential Briefing (SPB) that we have provided to the President and to his senior military and intelligence team, the full Briefing contains detailed information on the projects, project code numbers, names, corporations, locations etc., associated with the UFO/ET subject. (The full briefing is too lengthy to release at this time.) In short, the President now has the key information that he needs to act. The President must now engage in executive action to oversee, control, and direct these operations for the benefit of the American people and the world.

“This SPB has also been provided to the head of state of at least one G7 country, senior
members of Congress, and other key government officials via known and reliable points
of contact (POCs) directly to these leaders.”

The Disclosure Project has requested that the summary and transmittal letter be published in their entirety, and these are set out later in this article.  Dr. Greer asks readers to contact Mr. Obama and the U.S. Congress with their opinions on extraterrestrial disclosure.

The Disclosure Project held a May 9, 2001 Press Conference at the National Press Club with a number of high-ranking former governmental, military and scientific witnesses related to the UFO and extraterrestrial presence.

Disclosure information wars

Some analysis indicates that there appears to be an information war underway to either accelerate UFO/ET disclosure by the Obama administration, or delay or prevent it through known disinformation techniques.  In this war, it is difficult to confirm sources or precise dates or outcomes.

One Oct 21, 2009 article entitled “Official disclosure of extraterrestrial life is imminent” reports that “An official announcement by the Obama administration disclosing the reality of extraterrestrial life is imminent. For several months, senior administration officials have been quietly deliberating behind closed doors how much to disclose to the world about extraterrestrial life. Dissatisfaction among powerful institutions such as the U.S. Navy over the decades-long secrecy policy has given a boost to efforts to disclose the reality of extraterrestrial life and technology.”

The article adds, “Finally, two independent and confidential sources have revealed to me [reporter Michael E. Salla, PhD] that face to face meetings have recently occurred between U.S. military officials with one or more groups of extraterrestrial visitors. This has allegedly led to confidence being built for future cooperation with the extraterrestrials that will be formally announced to the world public either at the end of 2009, or early 2010.”

ABC Alien Invasion series V : Preemptive propaganda against real Extraterrestrial Disclosure

One analyst has remarked that a major ABC-TV alien invasion series “V” appears to be designed as “preemptive propaganda against real extraterrestrial disclosure.”

This analyst states, “Now, considering that ABC will only run four episodes in 2009 during November with the remainder set for the spring of 2010, and given the current meme regarding UFO disclosure on November 27th, we can't shake the feeling that what we will be witnessing might have something to do with the Illuminati's ritual called the Revelation of Method: the usage of symbolism in popular entertainment for complete mass mind control.

“We think the latest ABC alien invasion series V is clearly a preemptive propaganda against real Extraterrestrial Disclosure.

“If you don't believe, maybe we need to remind you of the pilot for the X-Files' spinoff, the Lone Gunmen, which depicted a U.S. Government plot to crash a hijacked Boeing airplane into the World Trade Center. The pilot, which was co-written by X-Files creator Chris Carter was filmed in New York and Vancouver, B.C. and was first aired on Fox TV on March 4, 2001.

“Six months before the tragic events on 9/11.”

Is Obama “a potentially transformative American President”?

In his October 23, 2009 transmittal letter, Disclosure Project director Steven M. Greer MD states, “Nine months after the inauguration of a new and potentially transformative American President, we await significant progress on official Disclosure on the UFO/ET subject. While the UK, France, Denmark, Brazil and other countries around the world have increasingly opened their official government files, the US is found lagging behind her sister nations.”

Whether Obama is a potentially transformative American President appears to be a key factor in efforts directed at securing disclosure of the extraterrestrial presence by educating and lobbying the Obama administration.

Some opinion, notably that of some members of a panel at the Barcelona Exopolitics Summit, July 25-26, 2009, believes that Obama lacks the political strength or vision to champion extraterrestrial disclosure early in his term.  You can view a Project Camelot video of this panel by clicking here or below.

AP: French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy, Oct 16, 2009

Special Presidential Briefing

The summary of Special Presidential Briefing given by the Disclosure Project to President Barack Obama and a G-7 Head of State is as follows:




“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath
of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is
the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to

Robert F. Kennedy 1966 Speech

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Albert Einstein

© Copyright 2009 Steven M. Greer, M.D. All Rights Reserved

Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence

The Disclosure Project

Steven M. Greer, MD, Director and Founder

January 23, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Since the mid-1950s, classified projects connected to extraterrestrial matters have operated outside of
constitutionally required oversight and control by the President and Congress. This constitutes a grave
and ongoing threat to US national security and global security and peace.

The implications of this subject are such that no aspect of life on Earth will be unaffected by its
Disclosure. We are acutely aware that this subject is highly controversial and suffers from great social
opprobrium within certain elite circles and within the mainstream media.

Indeed, secrecy on the subject has, in part, been maintained by a carefully orchestrated psychological
nexus of ridicule, fear, intimidation and disinformation that makes it difficult for any public figure to
openly address the matter.

Moreover, the ‘bubble’ of security and access restrictions that surround the Office of the President
makes it very difficult for POTUS to receive accurate information and advice on the subject. The
consequences of this secrecy, combined with the psychological aspects mentioned above, have ensured
that none of your predecessors have been able to effectively manage this problem. This has led to an
unacknowledged crisis that will be the greatest of your Presidency.

Because of this misguided secrecy, the wondrous new sciences related to advanced energy generation,
propulsion and transportation have been withheld from the people. These advances include the
generation of limitless clean energy from the so-called zero point energy field and quantum vacuum flux
field from the space around us, and propulsion that has been termed (incorrectly) anti-gravity. The field
of electromagnetic energy that is teeming all around us and which is embedded within the fabric of
space/time can easily run all of the energy needs of the Earth – without pollution, oil, gas, coal,
centralized utilities or nuclear power.

POTUS Briefing – prepared by Steven M. Greer, MD – Director, The Disclosure Project – January 2009
© Copyright 2009 Steven M. Greer, M.D. All Rights Reserved


The disclosure of these sciences and their wise application during your first term as President is the most
pressing matter before you. These sciences will create a true new energy economy allowing mankind to
solve our most pressing problems of global warming, poverty and resource depletion.

The constellation of problems that include global warming, biosphere degradation, air pollution, energy
security, Mid-East policy, a collapsing geo-economic order, growing disparity between the poor and rich
of the world, over-population and human sustainability on Earth, to name but a few, are all
interconnected and directly affected by the secrecy surrounding this subject. The solutions lie not in old
thinking and technologies but in a new consciousness applying new sciences. These sciences were born
in the late 19th and 20th centuries but were abandoned and suppressed due to the lust for power, greed
and out of fear of unsettling the status quo.

It is time for a new Emancipation Declaration -one that frees all of humanity from the shackles of
economic slavery that results from secret centralized power, corruption and global economic hegemony.
The world will not find justice and peace so long as half of the world’s population lives in poverty while
the other half cannibalizes the Earth to maintain its standard of living. This dire situation can and must
be transformed into a world of abundance, clean and plentiful energy and genuine sustainability. On this
foundation, with these new sciences, technologies and a new consciousness, we can move forward as a
people, united and in peace. Then and only then will we be welcome amongst the other civilizations of
the cosmos.

That we are not alone in the universe is now a scientific given. That we have been visited already by
advanced civilizations -whose interests here are likely ancient -is controversial. However, in my
discussions with European, Vatican, Canadian and other leaders around the world, a growing consensus
exists that we have been visited and the time for disclosing this information is long past due. More
importantly, an appropriate diplomatic initiative is needed to communicate with these extraterrestrial
visitors within a framework of universal peace, free from the past dominance of militarism and paranoia.

Insofar as upwards of 80% of the American people think that ‘UFOs’ are real, and that some aspect of
the government is lying to them about it, continued secrecy redounds only to the benefit of the precious
few who profit from such secrecy. This secrecy undermines the credibility of the US and other
governments, and allows the cancer of unchecked covert power -forewarned by President Eisenhower
in his last address to the nation -to metastasize throughout the world. It now threatens the very life of

Moreover, there exists a secret, ‘unacknowledged’ operation that has used very advanced
electromagnetic weapon systems to track, target, and on occasion, but with increasing accuracy, down
extraterrestrial vehicles. This reckless behavior constitutes an existential threat to all of mankind and
must be reined in immediately.

POTUS Briefing – prepared by Steven M. Greer, MD – Director, The Disclosure Project – January 2009
© Copyright 2009 Steven M. Greer, M.D. All Rights Reserved


The so-called MJ-12 or Majestic group that controls this subject operates without the consent of the
people, or the oversight of the President and Congress. It functions as a transnational government unto
itself, answerable to no one. All checks and balances have been obliterated. While as a governing entity
it stands outside of the rule of law, its influence reaches into many governments, corporations, agencies,
media and financial interests. Its corrupting influence is profound and, indeed, it has operated as a very
powerful and embedded global RICO whose power to date remains unchecked.

Upwards of $100 billion of USG funds go annually into this operation, also known as the ‘black budget’
of the United States -enough to provide universal health care to every man, woman and child in

When I first briefed Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey on this matter in December of 1993,
only a third of this governing group was in favor of what we were recommending: Disclosure of the fact
that we are not alone in the universe and the careful release of advanced energy generation systems
that would replace oil, gas, coal and nuclear power. Sources now inform me that upwards of two-thirds
of this group now support such an initiative.

Interests in Europe, the Vatican and Asia, especially France and China, are urging Disclosure. If the
United States does not move forward, these other interests will, and America will be left behind and
become increasingly irrelevant in the world. This cannot be allowed to happen.

The European and Asian arenas will move with or without US involvement at some point in the very
near future, as well they should. Six decades of secrecy is enough.

We are also morally obliged to warn you of an existing highly secretive plan to use advanced
technologies to hoax an ‘alien attack’ on Earth. There exists within the direct control of this Majestic
group assets capable of launching such a false flag operation and virtually every person on Earth, as well
as most leaders, would be deceived by it. Components of this operation have been tested on the public
over the past 50 years and include, but are not limited to:

Alien Reproduction Vehicles (ARVs) -these are advanced anti-gravity aircraft that have been
fully operational since at least the late 1950s to early 1960s. Many so-called UFO reports by
civilians and military personnel are of such ARVs. They constitute an unacknowledged or
‘black’ Air Force and these ARVs are capable of extraordinary speed, maneuverability and
lift/hover. By 2009, these technologies had gone through many generations of refinement
and, if deployed, could easily hoax or simulate an Extraterrestrial Vehicle (ETV). (Note that a
UFO is a nonspecific term and could be either an ARV or an ETV.)

Programmed Life Forms (PLFs) -these are well-crafted alien-appearing creatures that, while
completely manmade, often deceive unknowing people as ‘aliens’. The stagecraft, genetics
and other sciences associated with these creatures are beyond the scope of this brief, but
POTUS Briefing – prepared by Steven M. Greer, MD – Director, The Disclosure Project – January 2009
© Copyright 2009 Steven M. Greer, M.D. All Rights Reserved


are very well developed. I have personally been briefed by multiple independent
corroborating sources regarding the development and deployment of PLFs. These
creatures, used in conjunction with ARVs, have convincingly launched the pop culture fervor
over ‘alien abductions’. Victims of such paramilitary human-controlled abductions genuinely
believe that they have been abducted by ‘aliens’ and often have physical stigmata and
‘implants’ to prove it. These implants are also manmade and we have information about the
laboratory and corporation making these items. (See attached documents)

Chemical, optical and electromagnetic systems to assist with creating an alteration in
awareness are components of the ‘stagecraft’ used to hoax an ‘alien’ event.
The vast majority of information in the public domain on the UFO subject is, therefore, carefully
orchestrated disinformation designed to prepare the populace, as well as our leaders, for a non-existent
‘alien threat’. The psychological warfare implications of this were described in the 1950s in CIA
documents and are further elucidated by other documents and testimony. No less a figure than
Wernher Von Braun warned of this cosmic deception.

The objective of such a false flag operation is the creation of an enemy in space that would unite the
world behind a global military power against such an ‘alien threat’. President Reagan and other leaders
have been targeted with such disinformation, which is designed to secure their silence or cooperation
with the agenda of secrecy and space weaponization. The President needs to be careful to avoid being
similarly deceived.

After very careful review of all data and documents and after interviewing hundreds of top secret
witnesses, we have concluded that the actual extraterrestrial presence is distinctly non-hostile. In light
of the reckless and aggressive nature of many of our covert military actions and the extraordinarily
advanced technologies that permit interstellar travel by these extraterrestrial civilizations, if
they were
hostile, human civilization would have been dealt with decisively at the dawn of the nuclear era.

These visitors, however, appear to be very concerned with unchecked human hostility, war-making and
weapons of mass destruction, combined with our early potential for space travel. The tendency for
people to engage in anthropocentric projection leads many to assume a threat where none exists. It is
more likely that humanity may be seen as a threat to the cosmic order, insofar as we have failed to
restrain the expansion of weapons of mass destruction while attempting to push farther and farther into
space. Moreover, we have failed to initiate an enlightened and peaceful diplomatic mission to these
extraterrestrial visitors. This needs to change immediately.

Disclosure of this subject must be very carefully planned and positioned as a hopeful and elevating
moment in human history. A poorly positioned Disclosure that demonizes these visitors or frightens the
public may prove more harmful than secrecy.

POTUS Briefing – prepared by Steven M. Greer, MD – Director, The Disclosure Project – January 2009
© Copyright 2009 Steven M. Greer, M.D. All Rights Reserved


As you may know, my uncle was the senior project engineer who worked on the Lunar Module that took
Neil Armstrong to the moon. The reason we were not welcome in space then is because the passport to
traverse the universe is a stable peaceful world civilization that will go into space united and in peace.

In this regard, world peace and universal peace are two sides of the same coin. Once we vow to live
peacefully on Earth and go into space only in peace, we will be welcome with open arms. Until then, a
type of cosmic quarantine exists -rightly -around the Earth.

Unfortunately, the media and movie industry are highly penetrated by interests loyal to the Majestic
group, which has used the media to, in turns, ridicule the subject and present terrifying images of ‘alien
invasion’. In short, the populace is almost thoroughly brainwashed on the matter, and this presents a
further hurdle that must be carefully taken into account when planning Disclosure.

Nevertheless, the status quo can no longer hold and fundamental change is urgently needed. To this
end, we urge the President to undertake a number of initiatives as soon as possible. We recommend
that the President:

Appoint a Special Presidential Task Force to investigate this matter, identify covert facilities
and assets (see attached summary) and reassert Executive control over these projects;

Identify and immediately stand-down operations that are covertly targeting Extraterrestrial
Vehicles, weaponizing space and engaging in rogue disinformation projects;

Develop response plans to minimize the risks related to potential false flag operations that
intend to hoax a hostile ‘alien’ presence, including preparations with military, intelligence
and international institutions;

Form The Council on Interplanetary Relations to coordinate a peaceful, forward looking and
non-militarized response to the extraterrestrial presence. The Center for the Study of
Extraterrestrial Intelligence (see has an 18 year ongoing project to establish
such contact and can assist with this process. CSETI, working with other governments and
world figures, will form such a Council if the US government decides not to do so within the
next 12 months;

Immediately fund the study, development and careful release of those new energy
technologies that can quickly replace fossil fuels and nuclear power. (See Note that these technologies, since they acquire energy from
the zero point energy field of space/time, will allow for the retirement of the electric energy
grid. We are in possession of documents and information regarding key facilities and assets
connected to these technologies (see attached documents). We recommend that the
POTUS Briefing – prepared by Steven M. Greer, MD – Director, The Disclosure Project – January 2009
© Copyright 2009 Steven M. Greer, M.D. All Rights Reserved


propulsion and transportation aspects of these technologies (electro-magneto-gravitic
systems) be released at a later time when the world security situation has improved;

Establish high-ranking liaisons with Congress, the UN and other governments to coordinate
these projects and the release of the new energy technologies;

The National Security Council needs to form a section specifically addressing the
international, interplanetary and macroeconomic implications of this disclosure and
urgently prepare for the release of these technologies;

The Orion Project ( has identified key scientists to assist with the
development of these new energy technologies. They have agreed to work with us, but are
being prevented from doing so, one by a compartmented operation (TS SCI) to which he is
assigned. We request an action by the Office of the President to specifically permit them to
work with us with the full support and protection of the President. We cannot overemphasize
how important it is that these people be assigned to this critical task: In less than
1 year, we would have new energy generators developed to run America free from oil, gas,
coal or nuclear power.
President Obama, we stand ready to assist you and your Administration with these and other tasks, and
pledge to you our full support. I will personally fulfill any request from your office with the utmost
integrity, discretion and confidentiality.

Please be assured of my heartfelt prayers on your behalf for your guidance, protection and success as
you begin your historic role as President of the United States.


Steven M. Greer MD
The Disclosure Project

POTUS Briefing – prepared by Steven M. Greer, MD – Director, The Disclosure Project – January 2009
© Copyright 2009 Steven M. Greer, M.D. All Rights Reserved

Disclosure Project Dir. Steven M. Greer MD
Disclosure Project Transmittal Letter dated October 24, 2009

Dear Friends of Disclosure,

Nine months after the inauguration of a new and potentially transformative American President, we await significant progress on official Disclosure on the UFO/ET subject. While the UK, France, Denmark, Brazil and other countries around the world have increasingly opened their official government files, the US is found lagging behind her sister nations.

This is, in large part, because - up until now - the President has been denied access to such files. The so-called Majestic group illegally compartmentalized their secret operations away from Presidential and Congressional oversight. This secret, satellite government, which is transnational and answers only to itself, must now answer to the people and to this new President.

As you can see from the attached summary of the Special Presidential Briefing (SPB) that we have provided to the President and to his senior military and intelligence team, the full Briefing contains detailed information on the projects, project code numbers, names, corporations, locations etc., associated with the UFO/ET subject. (The full briefing is too lengthy to release at this time.) In short, the President now has the key information that he needs to act. The President must now engage in executive action to oversee, control, and direct these operations for the benefit of the American people and the world.

This SPB has also been provided to the head of state of at least one G7 country, senior members of Congress, and other key government officials via known and reliable points of contact (POCs) directly to these leaders.

Now it is time for we, the people, to be heard! Please write to these leaders and ask that they act NOW, as they are sworn to do, on our behalf. Please write to the President, to your two US Senators, and to your member of Congress and ask:

    * That President Obama investigate the matter, gain proper control over these operations, end for once and forever the secrecy surrounding the UFO subject, and work with other nations to quickly coordinate an official Disclosure;

    * That President Obama stand-down any covert offensive targeting of ET spacecraft;

    * That President Obama, working with other leaders around the world, initiate open, peaceful Contact with these Extraterrestrial Civilizations;

    * That President Obama move swiftly to release the Earth-saving new energy technologies contained within these illegal covert Majestic programs so that we may be freed from the death grip that oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy have on the planet;

    * That the Congress hold open, secrecy-free hearings on these matters immediately.

If you are or know of a reliable, bona fide POC to a member of Congress, or other senior government official in the US or other country, who would like the full Briefing, please let us know.

The President was elected with the vision of transformative change. Nothing would so transform the world as the ending of this secrecy, peaceful open contact with the Extraterrestrial Civilizations visiting Earth and the release of these wondrous new energy technologies for peaceful energy generation. In just a few years, the world will be made anew.

Thank you for acting NOW to ensure the good future that most assuredly awaits humanity.

Steven M. Greer, MD
CSETI and The Disclosure Project

White House phone number: 202-456-1111
White House fax number: 202-456-2461
Email: or

    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
    Washington, DC 20500

U.S. Senators -
U.S. Congress -

For more info: 
For more info: Barack Obama’s inaugural speech predicts “extraterrestrial event” on scale of Iraq war says expert

For more info: Will Obama and Clinton honor a U.N. decision and release U.S. secret UFO and extraterrestrial files?
For more info: What can we expect during the Obama administration on UFOs and extraterrestrial life?
For more info: U.S. presidents have vetoed or approved false flag operations against the U.S. homeland 
For more info: Ronald Reagan and Russian leader Gorbachev promoted a future “UFO alien” false flag invasion
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