Friday, April 24, 2009

I Am Going Home To Hallowed Ground Watered With The Blood Of Liberty.

I Am Going Home To Hallowed Ground Watered With The Blood Of Liberty.


I  am going home to my Campus of “The Four Crosses” to a hill where history changed, where my life changed with a wound that will not heal.

I am going home; not because I want to, 

but because I must.


The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. “It is its natural manure."

-Thomas Jefferson-


William Knox Schroeder | Sandra Lee Scheuer | Jeffrey Glenn Miller  | Allison Beth Krause
39th Annual May 4 Commemoration

Kent State University

May 3-4, 2009


Sunday, May 3, 2009:

Poetry Reading: Remembering the Past and Coming Together

7:30pm, KIVA

Join the May 4th Task Force and several Kent poets for a poetry reading featuring selections from Come Together:

Imagine Peace now available from Bottom Dog Press. 

Annual Candlelight March

10:30pm, Commons (March begins at 11pm)

Join us for this silent, solemn march. It is approximately 1.3 miles long and is wheelchair and stroller accessible. 

Monday, May 4, 2009:

Annual Silent Candlelight Vigil

Midnight-12:24pm, Prentice Parking Lot

The Annual Silent Vigil will be held through the night in the Prentice Parking Lot. Participants stand for half hour shifts. To reserve your space, please contact the May 4th

Task Force 

39th Annual Commemoration

Noon-2:30, Commons

Rain location: KSU Ballroom, Student Center 

Speakers Include: 

Pun Plamondon

Native American activist and author 

John Filo

Kent State student photographer who took the

Pulitzer Prize-winning May 4, 1970 photo 

Mary Vecchio

Eyewitness to the shootings and subject of John

Filo’s famous photo 

Alan Canfora

Wounded at Kent State May 4, 1970 

Laurel Krause

Sister of slain student Allison Krause 

Special performance by:

Color in December 

Presentation of Eyes Wide Open Ohio:

AFSC of Ohio 

*All events funded by Undergraduate Student Fees

Download your own flier NOW!


KENT STATE 1970: May 1 through May 4

Description of Events

written by
May 4 Task Force students

On April 30th, President Nixon announced on national television that a massive American-South Vietnamese troop offensive into Cambodia was in progress. "We take these actions," Nixon said, "not for the purpose of expanding the war into Cambodia, but for the purpose of ending the war in Vietnam, and winning the just peace we all desire."

These were familiar words to a war-weary public. Some felt that this decision was essential for attaining a "just peace" and sustaining America's credibility in the world. Yet others, particularly students, believed that this action represented an escalation of the war and a return to ex-President Johnson's earlier hopes for a military victory. As the fires from the artillery began to burn in Cambodia, a raging fire of protest spread across the United States.

read more


May 4, 2009: JOIN US at noon -- Kent State University -- 39th ANNUAL COMMEMORATION of 1970 Kent State tragedy.

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Mon, 2009-04-20 03:28. 

Join us at Kent State University, May 4, 2009, for the 39th annual commemoration of the May 4, 1970 tragedy. At noon, outdoors on the KSU Commons, join the modern KSU students of the May 4 Task Force and their invited guest participants/speakers, including:

May 4 eyewitness Mary Ann Vecchio; Pulitzer-prize winner photographer John Filo; Laurel Krause, sister of Allison Krause; 1969 Ann Arbor White Panther leader Pun Plamundon; May 4 casualty Alan Canfora; 1970 eyewitness Steve Drucker; May 4 eyewitness Chic Canfora & other speakers & musicians.

May 3 evening events:
7pm: Kiva, Student Center, POETRY readings.
11pm: CANDLIGHT MARCH departs KSU Commons.
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL all night long: sign up with M4TF students to reserve your 30-minute vigil spot.

For more information, contact the May 4 Task Force students:

See also, regarding the 2009 May 4 Symposium sponsored by the KSU administration:

Finally, KSU is planning a new May 4 Site Visitor's Center in Taylor Hall:

JOIN US. All events are free & open to the public. *In case of rain, May 4 Commemoration will be held in the KSU Student Center Ballroom.

ASSOCIATED PRESS, December 29, 2008: "Kent State shootings voted top Ohio story of last 75 years"

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Tue, 2008-12-30 05:04. 

PUBLIC SURVEY RESULTS ANNOUNCED: According to the web site of the OHIO NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION, "Kent State shootings voted top Ohio story of last 75 years"...

"Since the Oct. 4 launch of, more than 4,600 people have visited the website, including those from 47 different foreign countries. Nearly 59,000 page views have been logged in that time."

Why did the BEACON JOURNAL & RECORD-COURIER newspapers omit these important facts while attempting to minimize the historical significance of this epic tragedy?

Here's their aborted version, as published December 29, 2008:


"Kent State shootings voted top Ohio story of last 75 years"

By Associated Press

POSTED: 03:11 p.m. EST, Dec 29, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio: The National Guard's deadly shooting of students at Kent State University during a Vietnam War protest tops a list of Ohio news events of the last 75 years.

The Ohio Newspaper Association asked visitors to a Web site to rank 75 major news events from 1933 through 2007 as part of the trade group's 75th anniversary. The Kent State shootings in 1970 left four students dead and nine wounded.

Coming in second was the 1969 moon walk by Wapakoneta's Neil Armstrong, followed by Ohio's mourning of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Jesse Owens winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic games and the blizzard of 1978.

Rounding out the list was Ohio joining the war effort after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, followed by the 1986 explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, which killed Akron's Judith Resnik, the 1974 tornado that leveled Xenia, the Cleveland Indians winning the 1948 World Series and the 2003 blackout.

» read more


Submitted by Alan Canfora on Sun, 2008-11-23 17:45. 

Nov. 23, 2008: Kent May 4 Center Director Alan Canfora extends his condolences to the family of Charles Fassinger who died November 22, 2008, at his home in Tennessee. Mr. Fassinger was being treated for leukemia but died in his sleep unexpectedly at home, according to his daughter Susan Crawford.

On May 4, 1970, Lt.-Col. Charles Fassinger was the highest-ranking uniformed officer on Blanket Hill at Kent State University when a different officer shouted the verbal command ordering Troop G shooters to fire 67 gunshots into a crowd of unarmed student anti-war protesters.

In recent years, Mr. Fassinger was the most visible spokesperson representing the guardsmen. Fassinger visited the campus & spoke casually with KSU students, professors and May 4 Task Force students.

Fassinger extended his hand to Alan Canfora on the KSU campus in April of 2007. On May 15, 2008, Canfora & Fassinger appreared together onstage at an educational forum in Columbus, Ohio, sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society. Again, we had the opportunity to meet privately and speak cordially. I believed Chuck Fassinger was getting close to revealing certain truths so I especially regret his passing as a lost opportunity for truth born of diplomacy.

As I said to Mr. Fassinger at that time, I personally welcome the opportunity to meet any of the 1970 Kent State guardsmen, publicly or privately, to discuss truths of our tragedy of May 4, 1970. Here in Kent, Ohio, we do not seek vengeance or retribution at this late date, we only seek the truth.

Hence, my own personal heartfelt sympathy is extended to the family of Charles Fassinger at this time.

» read more

MAY 4 MOVEMENT for TRUTH & JUSTICE: major progress in 2009?

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Fri, 2008-11-14 19:42.

DECEMBER 1, 2009: Anticipating the election of our progressive new President Obama, the Kent May 4 Center has been preparing our inevitable approach to a new Attorney General & US Justice Department in early 2009.

We're consulting attorneys now in New York, San Francisco & Columbus, Ohio. We will be presenting our case for renewed investigations of our longstanding injustices at Kent & Jackson State based upon suppressed evidence including our recent proof of the verbal commands to fire upon unarmed students & other new information.

Stay tuned. Here's quotes from today's NEW YORK TIMES newspaper, re: new US Attorney General Eric Holder:;eric%20holder&%2334;&scp=1

"...[HOLDER] began to read book after book on World War II and biographies of public servants, drawing inspiration from the story of redemption he saw in "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."

"...When he arrived at Columbia in 1969 as a boyish-looking freshman, he was recruited by upperclassmen to help take over the R.O.T.C. office. Armed with pillowcases and sheets, he joined several dozen students and christened the office as a student center named for Malcolm X...

"...As history unfolded around him — the shootings of students at Kent State and Jackson State — Mr. Holder saw the law as an instrument of change.

"The law inevitably is wound up with some great political movements, social movements," he said. "I wanted to be a part of that." [END OF SELECTED QUOTES]

Our new US AG and the Ohio AG will hear our appeals for justice in 2009. Get ready.

» read more

DEVO founder GERALD V. CASALE comments: eyewitness to May 4, 1970 Kent State tragedy

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Tue, 2008-10-07 18:05.

October 17, 2008! info:

"THE DAY THAT NEVER ENDS: May 4, 1970" --
2008 exclusive interview/commentary: Gerald V. Casale,
questions by Alan Canfora, KM4C Director.

1) Would you describe your general or specific recollection of Kent's student and/or anti-war culture in 1970? In your opinion, what percentage of 1970 Kent students were identifiable as part of the anti-war, counter-culture or "hippie" subcultures?

CASALE: By 1970 there seemed to be evidence to suggest that about 1200 students belonged to and/or participated in various anti-war groups on campus. That would still account for less than 10% of registered students at Kent State at that time. SDS, of which I was a member, was certainly the most threatening of those groups by virtue of their somewhat militant, politically and socially astute, articulated attacks on the hypocrisy of our federal, state and local government in a supposed free, democratic society. Their ideological, Gestalt type analysis went way beyond passively opposing the Vietnam War. To us, that war was just a symptom of the corrosive power of the military-industrial complex married with corporate capitalism. The co-option of true freedom and the dissolution of local community power were points of serious contention. In light of present day culture all we can say is "I hate to say I told you so".

Our SDS chapter's presence on campus at Kent was certainly an anomaly to mainstream midwest culture and just as much an anomaly to a state university fueled by sports, fraternities, and curriculums favoring career opportunities in business and technology. Having said that, the intense and pioneering artistic/anti-war subcultural community at Kent State during the period of 1966 to 1972 was at least on par with those usually only attributed to famous "A" list Universities such as Columbia in NY and Berkeley in California. We may have been a small, land-locked group but we were harboring a powerhouse of unsung radical talent. Maybe we were outnumbered 10 to one by marquee name university students hogging the credit but in any category, be it political speech making, radical organizing and demonstrations, musical performance art (before it was so-named), agi-pop paintings and posters, independent films, gay and lesbian activists, and yes, even hippie fashion shops and drug dealers, we had a local star that could stand with the best in the nation.

» read more

REMEMBER ROBBY STAMPS & JIM RUSSELL: gunshot casualties at Kent State -- May 4, 1970

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Sat, 2008-04-05 21:12.


Join us at Kent State University, Saturday, October 4, 3:30pm, in the Governance Chamber on the 2nd floor of the Student Center.

Sponsored by the KSU students of the May 4 Task Force and the Kent May 4 Center, we welcome your attendance. This event is free and open to the public. Video and photo images of Robby will be presented and public tribute comments will follow.

The event will conclude with a walk outdoors to the May 4 site where Robby was shot in 1970.

Robby Stamps died in June of 2008 after suffering the deadly effects of Lyme Disease. One of the nine KSU students shot and wounded by bullets at KSU on May 4, 1970, Robby was a longstanding outspoken advocate seeking truth and justice at Kent State.

Robby is the second of our 1970 injured casualties to pass away. Jim Russell died of a heart attack in Oregon in June of 2007. Russell's family will join us again on Saturday in Kent.

Others wounded by bullets on May 4, 1970, will also join us in Kent on Saturday to memorialize our fallen brother, including: Dean Kahler, John Cleary. Joe Lewis, Tom Grace, Douglas Wrentmore and Alan Canfora. Only Scott Mackenzie cannot join us due to distant commitments elsewhere.

You are invited.

Robby Stamps to be honored at weekend service

May 4 victim died this summer

by Nicole Stempak -- DAILY KENT STATER

Issue date: 10/3/08 Section: News

Former classmates and friends will gather at a memorial for Robert "Robby" Stamps, one of the nine students wounded May 4, 1970, at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Governance Chambers.

» read more

37th and 38th Annual May 4 , 1970, Commemorations: KSU, May 2-4, 2007 and 2008

Submitted by webmaster on Wed, 2007-04-18 01:04.

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Sat, 2008-04-05 21:19.
May 3-4, 2008: JOIN US in Kent
38th annual Commemoration -- all events free and open to public -- sponsored by May 4 Task Force students at KSU:

May 3: 7pm, Kiva Auditorium of the KSU Student Center, RON KOVIC will introduce his film, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. Kovic will also answer audience questions after the film. A brief poetry reading session will occur to start the program.

May 3: 11pm-midnight: Annual candlelight march across the KSU campus. March culminates at Prentice Hall Parking Lot where our martyrs died in 1970. All-night vigil from midnight to noon. Contact May 4 Task Force students to sign-up for your 30-minute vigil reservation:

May 4: 11am-noon: pre-Commemoration music by Tropidelic Band.
May 4: Noon-2pm: 38th annual commemoration event sponsored by the dedicated KSU students of the May 4 Task Force.
Speakers include: Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector, expert on Iraq/Iran crisis; Ron Kovic, anti-war activist Vietnam Veteran and author; the family of revolutionary hero & attorney William Kunstler; 1970 KSU wounded students Dean Kahler and Joe Lewis, Jr.; other speakers to be announced. LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF KENT AND JACKSON STATE!

NOTE: the annual anti-Iraq War march from KSU to downtown Kent will follow the commemoration.

May 4: 6pm: The Kent Stage, East Main Street, downtown Kent: music event with several live bands and more.

» read more

Kent May 4 Center exposes secret 1970 verbal order to shoot. KENT STATE COVER-UP ENDED May 1, 2007! New investigations?

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Fri, 2007-01-26 03:48.

“RIGHT HERE, GET SET, POINT, FIRE!” – exact words of the recently-discovered Ohio National Guard verbal command to shoot unarmed Kent State students on May 4, 1970. Seconds before the massacre, which ONG officer shouted this order? General Robert Canterbury? Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fassinger? Major Harry Jones? KENT STATE COVER-UP ENDED May 1, 2007!

Click here for EXCLUSIVE April 30, 2007, Alan Canfora preview announcement of proof of 1970 ORDER TO FIRE by KBOO radio in Portland, Oregon -- audio file (Windows Media)

* MEDIA INQUIRIES: phone KM4C director Alan Canfora: 330-745-1097.

AOL NEWS audio, video and poll results 52% support new 2007 investigation

Yahoo ABC-TV news video Alan Canfora, May 1, 2007

MSNBC video interview Alan Canfora, May 1, 2007

two audio files of order to fire command revealed by Alan Canfora

NPR: National Public Radio audio, Alan Canfora announcement, two versions audio

Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Connie Schultz article re: Alan Canfora news, May 1, 2007

» read more

May 4 Center video of 2006 Protest

Submitted by webmaster on Fri, 2006-05-19 13:43.

On May 4, 2006 following the Commemoration, a large group of students marched from Kent State University into downtown Kent. The following is a video taken by Alan Canfora and Brock Brown, edited by Karen Kilroy.

Click here to watch the video

Click here for photos of 2006 protest


Beware of California author William A. Gordon: Kent State vendetta: 1984-2007

Submitted by Alan Canfora on Sun, 2006-04-02 14:24. 

Beware of California tourist-guide author William A. Gordon.

Beware of his misleading books about Kent State 1970: FOUR DEAD IN OHIO and also THE FOURTH OF MAY. Both are the same bogus 1981 book sold with two titles in 1990 and 1995.

Beware of his repeated attacks against Alan Canfora, Kent May 4 Center (KM4C), May 4 Task Force (M4TF) students, KSU professors and many others.


William A. Gordon's Kent State vendetta: 1984-2007

During 37 years of our ongoing May 4 Movement for truth and justice at Kent State in Kent, Ohio, one peculiar individual has maintained a perpetual vendetta against Alan Canfora, Kent May 4 Center, May 4 Task Force, Kent State University, KSU Professor Jerry M. Lewis, the late KSU Professor Glenn Frank and others too numerous to mention here.

William A. Gordon, aka Bill Gordon, was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, and attended Akron University as a freshman when the students were killed at Kent State in 1970. Bill Gordon transferred to KSU, curried favor with KSU student government leaders and, for a brief time, played a small role in the early KSU movement seeking truth and justice until he graduated KSU in 1973.

Later, saying he was writing a book, Bill Gordon won the trust of our 1970 victims’ families until he began to associate with attorneys for the Ohio National Guard during our 1975 civil lawsuit trial in Cleveland’s Federal Court House. I was chosen by the plaintiffs to stop Gordon’s ongoing attempts to attend our families’ meetings with our attorneys in Cleveland.

Later, in 1975-76, the first year of our May 4 Task Force student organization at KSU, Bill Gordon was the apartment room-mate of M4TF leader Steve Timinsky until Timinsky bitterly denounced Gordon and exposed Gordon’s repeated subterfuge.

» read more  | 12next ›last

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama, facing perhaps the trickiest political issue of his young presidency, is trying to appease his liberal base without losing control of a potentially volatile inquiry into George W. Bush administration's use of harsh interrogation tactics against terrorism suspects.

One step to the left or right could land him in political trouble.

If Obama seems inclined to stifle an investigation and possible prosecution of Bush administration officials who approved rough interrogations by the CIA, he may infuriate liberal activists who were crucial to his election. But if Democratic lawmakers appear too zealous in pursuing departed GOP government officials, they might be portrayed as vindictive and backward-looking, undermining Obama's image as a forward-looking figure of hope and progress.

While Obama struggles to calibrate the matter, Republicans sense a possible gap in his armor.

In the past few days, the White House signaled that it would not try to prosecute Bush administration lawyers who had justified the interrogation tactics, which Obama has likened to torture. Later, Obama said the attorney general would make such decisions.

On Tuesday, Obama said he wanted to look forward, not back, but he would prefer an independent commission to a completely congressional investigation if a full-blown inquiry is pursued. On Thursday, his press secretary suggested Obama does not care for an independent panel.

The absence of such a commission could leave hearings totally in the hands of House and Senate committees, which are controlled by Democrats. The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, has an especially large number of sharply partisan Democrats and Republicans, who could produce televised fireworks and unpredictable results.

Terry Holt is among the Republican strategists who think Obama and his allies will suffer because the scenario is apt to look more like a witch hunt than a sober search for justice.

"It would be a total circus and be complete chaos and expose them to terrible risk," Holt said. "Obama's political strength is based on the notion that he is the future, moving forward. I felt Obama's first instinct was the correct one: to let this stuff go."

But liberal groups, blogs and Web sites are afire with calls for full-bore inquiries and possible prosecutions of the lawyers and officials who justified the tactics. Those tactics included 11 days of sleep deprivation for some detainees and repeated waterboarding, an ordeal that simulates drowning.

Recently released memos from the Justice Department "provide shocking confirmation of high-level involvement in the sadistic interrogation methods the Bush administration authorized the CIA to use on detainees," the American Civil Liberties Union says on its Web site. "It is indefensible to avoid investigating and prosecuting those responsible for these heinous crimes."

Liberal talk show host Ed Schultz said this week on MSNBC that many liberal Democrats "want to see prosecution. Does the president just ignore them?"

After 2,000 viewers texted their opinions, Schultz said, "Ninety-four percent want to see Bush officials prosecuted."

The White House is walking a careful line. On one hand, Obama cannot spurn his liberal backers too often, and he already has disappointed them on issues such as taxing the rich, controlling greenhouse gas emissions and cracking down on domestic surveillance.

But the president cannot afford to let Republican strategists portray the CIA interrogations matter as a case of Democratic overreaching, perhaps comparable to the GOP's strategic overreach in impeaching then-President Bill Clinton.

Matt Bennett, vice president of the moderate-Democratic group Third Way, said the potentially unconstitutional actions of the Bush administration officials require looking into. But he's wary of a potentially partisan food fight if congressional committees alone conduct the investigations.

"If this were to proceed," Bennett said, "the best model is the 9/11 Commission, with unquestionably responsible leaders, like Lee Hamilton." Hamilton, a former Democratic lawmaker from Indiana, co-chaired the highly regarded commission that investigated the 2001 terrorist attacks.

But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs seemed to throw cold water on the independent commission idea Thursday. That leaves Congress and the White House with an unclear path on how to pursue a combustible question.

The torture debate is about to become even more contentious ...
However, Bush administration officials—most notably former Vice President Cheney—have argued that the Obama administration should now also release the memos which show that these techniques produced information which helped prevent ... Here we go, the first steps in the attempt to impeachGeorge W Bush by the Obama Administration, the Congressional Democrats and the, seemingly, transatlantic media. As the incredibly marked 6/10 Obama Administration sinks deeper and deeper ...
The Coffee House | Politics and... -

OpEdNews » Free John Walker Lindh, Bush's and Cheney's First ...
John Walker Lindh was buried away under a 20-year gag order in federal prison by the Bush/Cheneyadministration to hide evidence that he was the first victim of a new program of torture of detainees. ...His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). His work is available atwww.thiscantbehappening.net Dave Lindorff, a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! ...

OpEdNews - OpEdNews.Com Progressive,... -

Emptywheel » Yet Another Warning against Torture Ignored
By emptywheel 
Gosh, you mean even Bybee can't even claim good faith reliance in his impeachment hearing. Reply. SparklestheIguana April 24th, 2009 at 5:12 pm. 3. Fortunately for Haynes, Rizzo, Bybee, Mitchell, Jessen, et al, the psychological .... Any attempt by the Obama Administration to prosecute theBush/Cheney folks for torture is likely to run right head smack into the Bush/Cheney-designed judicial firewall of both the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. ...
Firedoglake -

Kristen Breitweiser: Torture Twister: Why Democrats Own Torture, Too
By Kristen Breitweiser 
Jeremy Scahill: Impeach Bybee: The Growing Movement to Unseat Bush Torture Lawyer Turned Federal Judge. The UN has indicated that Obama's refusal to prosecute torturers may be a violation of International law. ... David Bromwich: Follow the Evidence. The truth about what Bush and Cheney and Addington and Yoo and Cambone and Feith and a handful of others did must be known before it can be judged, and all that can be judged is the content of their actions. ...
Barack Obama on The Huffington Post -

Althouse: Jane Hamsher, get out your pitchfork.
By Ann Althouse 
I think he should go after Bush and Cheney with every fibre of his being. Because every poll out there indicates that the biggest issue on every American's mind is not the economy, not rising unemployment not a DOW down 50% from a year ..... such the heinous issue which Democrats are so completely clean of and noble about then why-when the Democrats had control of both the House and Senate in 2006 did you not start Impeachment proceedings against the Bush Administration? ...
Althouse -

Torture debate rages as Pentagon prepares to release 2000 new photos
Los Angeles Times Blogs - Los Angeles,CA,USA
Yesterday, ironically formed as a grassroots online political organization to urge Congress to just "move on" from the Bill Clinton impeachment ...
See all stories on this topic

Gallup To Release Poll On Bush Investigations
By The Huffington Post News Team 
The real result of any poll regarding Bush torture will be the percentage of naive persons who still believe the lies told by the talking, flapping mouths of those Republicans including Cheney, Limbaugh, Hanity and the rest of the .... Especially since they completely ignored polling on whether Bush should beimpeached. Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 11:57 AM on 04/24/2009. - + New greatlardini See Profile I'm a Fan of greatlardini I'm a fan of this user permalink ...
Huffpolitics on The Huffington Post -

Jane Hamsher: FBI Weren't the Only Ones Objecting to Torture in ...
By Jane Hamsher 
The truth about what Bush and Cheney and Addington and Yoo and Cambone and Feith and a handful of others did must be known before it can be judged, and all that can be judged is the content of their actions. ... Just think about how much misery this country would have been spared if impeachmenthad not been taken off the table. Even if it had not actually happened, a congressional investigation might very well have prevented us from coming to this sad state of affairs. ...
The Huffington Post Full Blog Feed -

Feinstein: Senate Committee Has Completed Torture Investigation ...
By The Huffington Post News Team 
"I hate to think we will have to impeach Obama if we have a hope of getting real accountability, but it may well be necessary." I think someone has lost their d.a.m.n mind. Gawd help us all. I can't tell if it was a Repub or a Dem you ... Do you want him to do as Bush did? Give himself super powers over the Congress and the Attorney General. That's what's part of the problem is Bush had every branch of the Government by the ballz. Bush and Cheney were overstepping their ...
Huffpolitics on The Huffington Post -

New Torture Photos Being Released By Obama
By The Huffington Post News Team 
Second, there seems to be a conclusion reached that former President Bush should be impeached. It seems like a premature conclusion. If Nancy Pelosi knew about the torture will she be impeached as well? Third, however this is handled it should be within the United .... Pure and simple, they are trying to make everyone else the villans, except the real perpetrators: Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and their legal advisors! Reply Favorite Flag as abusive Posted 03:55 PM on 04/24/2009 ...
President Obama on The Huffington Post -

Thousands of Pages of Evidence and a Quarter Million Signatures ...
By Liliana Segura, AlterNet 
From the push to impeach former OLC lawyer turned judge Jay Bybee, who currently enjoys a seat on the federal bench, to the heckling of former OLC attorney John Yoo (the veritable godfather of the OLC's pro-torture rationale) at a ... The Bush-Cheney world was the epitomy of criminal delusion. It is over now: as was proclaimed 40 yr ago, "The Whole World Is Watching". Obama and Holder cannot run from That audience. If they try the millions who demand justice will force ... Ray McGovern -

Congress Shouldn't Impeach BybeeMuch as he deserves it.
Slate - USA
By Frank BowmanPosted Friday, April 24, 2009, at 4:57 PM ET It is now the fashion to call forimpeachment of 9 th Circuit Judge Jay Bybee for his role in ...
See all stories on this topic

Paul Begala: Yes, National Review, We Did Execute Japanese for ...
By Paul Begala 
David Bromwich: Follow the Evidence. The truth about what Bush and Cheney and Addington and Yoo and Cambone and Feith and a handful of others did must be known before it can be judged, and all that can be judged is the content of their actions. ... I have no hesitation in asserting that Judge Bybee should be subjected to impeachment proceedings, and that Bybee, Yoo, Addington et al. should face disbarment proceedings. ...
The Huffington Post Full Blog Feed -

Free John Walker Lindh, Bush's and Cheney's First Torture Victim ...
By dlindorff 
US Code, even constitute a crime of cover-up. He should be the first witness in any official investigation by Congress or the attorney general's office into the origins of the Bush/Cheney torture campaign. Free John Walker Lindh! ... blogs -

Obama Plays Hamlet; Shredders Hum


Tortured Wrong Guys, Didn't Prevent Attacks, and Oh Yes, Helped Al Qaeda

by Ralph Lopez


With Bush FBI Director Robert Mueller confirming that we heard him right, that he didn't "believe" torture had disrupted any attacks, the last of the moral ambiguity hanging over the torture issue is being removed.  Mueller directly contradicts what Dick Cheney has repeated many times, that "enhanced interrogation methods" such as slamming prisoners' heads into walls, sodomy with instruments, electric shocks to the genitals, and the host of tortures we are not even aware of conducted by our allies like Egypt during extraordinary rendition "did work. They kept us safe for seven years," as Cheney said last week on Fox News Sunday.  In one case documented in a report byGeneral Anthony Taguba, a prisoner was forced to drink urine.  Taguba concludes that the tortures were a result of:

[a] permissive environment created by implicit and explicit authorizations by senior US officials to "take the gloves off"...

The additional testimony of former Air Force interrogator Matthew Alexander that,in the course of his interrogations in Iraq, he found repeatedly that the claims that the Americans torture whether you are innocent or guilty to be Al Qaeda's number one recruiting tool, and the reason most Iraqis joined the resistance.  

This, combined with former Bush official Col. Lawrence Wilkerson's revelation that Bush knew most of those he had at Gitmo were in the wrong place at the wrong time when caught by bounty-hunters, puts a very different sheen on Bush's claim that he was "protecting America."  

   largely unreported is that several in the U.S. leadership became aware of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released.

      But to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership from virtually day one of the so-called Global War on Terror and these leaders already had black marks enough: the dead in a field in Pennsylvania, in the ashes of the Pentagon, and in the ruins of the World Trade Towers. They were not about to admit to their further errors at Guantanamo Bay. Better to claim that everyone there was a hardcore terrorist, was of enduring intelligence value, and would return to jihad if released.

Individual detail of the innocent being tortured are emerging randomly.  These should be the focus of any commissions.  Damage control is being attempted by, for example, cleverly placing the spotlight on stories like Khalid Shiek Mohammed being waterboarded 180-something times.  Take a man firmly convicted in the public mind (who knows what the truth is anymore?) as one of those closest to the 9/11 attacks, then make the debate over how right it is to torture him.  Getting less coverage is the story of Dilawar, the 22-year-old taxi-driver who made the mistake of driving past Baghram AFB a few days after a rocket attack with three paying fares.  The New York Times revealed:

"In February, an American military official disclosed that the Afghan guerrilla commander whose men had arrested Mr. Dilawar and his passengers had himself been detained. The commander, Jan Baz Khan, was suspected of attacking Camp Salerno himself and then turning over innocent "suspects" to the Americans in a ploy to win their trust, the military official said.

One form of torture used on Dilawar was the peroneal Strikes. Peroneal strikes are a specific form of beating, consisting of blows to the soft tissue and nerves just above the knee. Dilalwar was beaten to death at Bagram had been given so many peroneal strikes that a coroner testified that his leg tissue had ‘"basically been pulpified.’"

Orders from the top bring out sadists at the bottom.  Dilawar, was 5'9", 122 pounds.  Dysblog quoting the Times report tells us:

one guard noticed, for instance, that the bruise on his leg was "the size of a fist."  Why would guards torture a man they considered innocent? At first it was all in fun: M.P.'s would drop by to give him common peroneal strikes just to hear him scream, "Allah! Allah! Allah!" This was done to him perhaps 100 times, according to one of his tormentors, Specialist Corey E. Jones: "My first reaction was that he was crying out to his god... Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny."

19-year-old Murat Kurnaz disappeared into the House of Horrors That Bush Built even though according to 60 Minutes:

there seemed to be ample evidence that Kurnaz was an innocent man with no connection to terrorism. The FBI thought so, U.S. intelligence thought so, and German intelligence agreed. But once he was picked up, Kurnaz found himself in a prison system that required no evidence and answered to no one.

Kurnaz says shocked him with electricity, and that he was hoisted up on chains suspended by his arms from the ceiling of an aircraft hangar for five days.

"Every five or six hours they came and pulled me back down. And the doctor came to watch if I can still survive to not. He looked into my eyes. He checked my heart. And when he said okay, then they pulled me back up,"

Former prosecutor and tireless accountability activist Elizabeth De La Vega warns us against jumping the gun in appointing a special prosecutor too soon, before a cohesive and irrefutable public narrative of the criminal activity is developed and an opportunity is given for victims to be heard in an open forum.  She fears the appointment of an SP before open commissions with subpoena powers do their work will result in congresscritters clamming up with "no comment during an ongoing official investigation" gambit.

The narrative must indeed be focused, and public.  Leahy's comission must have a narrow title like "Commission on the Torture and Detention of the Innocent," otherwise the defenders of torture will shift the debate onto ground they like, that of the non-existent "ticking-bomb" scenario.  And it must be public, broadcast on CSPAN full-blast, rather than letting them pull a "Conyers" which is to have hearings guaranteed to go nowhere because they let no one in the media know that they are taking place.

Making the truly awful even worse is that it was all done in your name.  Only the loud shouts that this cannot stand has forced the politicians to address it this far.  They can do whatever they want in their own names, but sure as hell not in mine.

Please circulate and forward this post to your congressmember and to the White House. 

Link To Congress Emails.   Link To Email White House.




The Torture Week That Was
CBS News - New York,NY,USA
(CBS) It's been a frenetic week filled with relentless, jaw-dropping news about the Bush Administration's torture policies and the way the current White ...
See all stories on this topic

Putting the Bush Years on Trial
CounterPunch - Petrolia,CA,USA
So it's still not clear whether BushCheney, Rumsfeld and their subordinates will have to endure the soft option of a bipartisan commission of enquiry, ...
See all stories on this topic


CIA Official: No Proof Harsh Techniques Stopped Terror Attacks


By Mark Seibel and Warren P. Strobel | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — The CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to recently declassified Justice Department memos.

That undercuts assertions by former vice president Dick Cheney and other former Bush administration officials that the use of harsh interrogation tactics including waterboarding, which is widely considered torture, was justified because it headed off terrorist attacks.

The risks and effectiveness of waterboarding and other enhanced techniques are at the center of an increasingly heated debate over how thoroughly to investigate the CIA's secret detention and interrogation programs.

"It is difficult to quantify with confidence and precision the effectiveness of the program," Steven G. Bradbury, then the Justice Department's principal deputy assistant attorney general, wrote in a May 30, 2005, memo to CIA General Counsel John Rizzo, one of four released last week by the Obama administration.

"As the IG Report notes, it is difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks. And because the CIA has used enhanced techniques sparingly, 'there is limited data on which to assess their individual effectiveness'," Bradbury wrote, quoting the IG report.

Nevertheless, Bradbury concluded in his May 2005 memos that the program had been effective, although the still secret reports by Inspector General John Helgerson had been disseminated a full year earlier.

Helgerson also concluded that waterboarding was riskier than officials claimed and reported that the CIA's Office of Medical Services thought that the risk to the health of some prisoners outweighed any potential intelligence benefit, according to the memos.

The IG's report is among several indications that the Bush administration's use of abusive interrogation methods was less productive than some former administration officials have claimed.

Even some of those in the military who developed the techniques warned that the information they produced was "less reliable" than that gained by traditional psychological measures, and that using them would produce an "intolerable public and political backlash when discovered," according to a Senate Armed Services Committee report released on Tuesday.

President Bush told a September 2006 news conference that one plot, to attack a Los Angeles office tower, was "derailed" in early 2002 — before the harsh CIA interrogation measures were approved, contrary to those who claim that waterboarding revealed it.

Last December, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Vanity Fair magazine that he didn't believe that intelligence gleaned from abusive interrogation techniques had disrupted any attacks on America.

The New York Times first reported Helgerson's inspector general's report in November 2005, but details of its contents have remained secret. A version of the report that the CIA turned over to the ACLU in May 2008 in response to a lawsuit consisted primarily of heavy black lines and notations of sections that had been redacted.

A CIA spokesman said Friday that he knew of no plans to release a more complete version.

Jameel Jaffer, the director of the ACLU's National Security Project, said the declassification of the Helgerson report is the subject of a court case before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"We hope that we'll be able to negotiate a less redacted version of that report," Jaffer said, adding that the release of the Justice Department memos has increased pressure for more revelations.

"It's a crucial document," he said. "It will shed light on what kind of measures the CIA was using before August 2002" and whether they exceeded limits imposed by the Justice Department lawyers.

Two of the memos declassified last week, however, cite the IG report at least 34 times, often quoting it verbatim. Those citations provide the first glimpse of the spy agency's inspector general's analysis of the interrogation program.

The Bradbury memos that cite the inspector general's report reveal that officials at CIA headquarters insisted on the repeated waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, the first prisoner to undergo the technique, even after the interrogators on the scene sought to discontinue the technique.

"According to the IG Report, the CIA, at least initially, could not always distinguish detainees who had information but were successfully resisting interrogation from those who did not actually have information," Bradbury wrote in his May 30, 2005, memo. "On at least one occasion, this may have resulted in what might be deemed in retrospect to have been the unnecessary use of enhanced techniques.

"On that occasion," Bradbury continued, "although the on-scene interrogation team judged Zubaydah to be compliant, elements within CIA Headquarters still believed he was withholding information . . . . At the direction of CIA headquarters, interrogators therefore used the waterboard one more time on Zubaydah."

Bradbury wrote that CIA headquarters dispatched officials to observe that waterboarding session. After that session, "these officials reported that enhanced techniques were no longer needed," Bradbury wrote, citing the IG report.

Bradbury's May 2005 memos authorized both waterboarding and a technique called "walling," in which a prisoner is pushed against a plywood wall, but stressed that the Justice Department was doing so only so long as interrogators stuck to the procedures the CIA had outlined to the Justice Department. "Our analysis assumes adherence to these descriptions and limitations," Bradbury noted in the May 10, 2005, memo.

The memos, however, also suggest that interrogators went beyond what the Justice Department initially authorized in an Aug. 1, 2002, memo by then-Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee.

Quoting IG Helgerson's report, then-deputy assistant attorney general Bradbury noted that in addition to waterboarding Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times, some prisoners had been subjected to walling "20 to 30 times consecutively."

"We previously concluded that the use of the waterboard did not constitute torture," Bradbury wrote in a May 10, 2005 memo. "We must reexamine the issue, however, because the technique, as it would be used, could involve more applications in longer sessions (and possibly using different methods) than we earlier considered."

As for walling, Bradbury wrote in the same May 10 memo that the Justice Department's initial 2002 authorization of walling "did not describe the walling technique as involving the number of repetitions that we understand may be applied."

Despite the information from the IG's report, Bradbury subsequently concluded that the techniques weren't torture.

Among the other details in the IG's report revealed in the Justice Department memos:

_ Contrary to Bush administration's insistence that waterboarding carried few risks and that medical concerns were a priority, the CIA didn't initially seek the help of medical professionals in setting up or carrying out the procedure.

"OMS (the CIA's Office of Medical Services) was neither consulted nor involved in the initial analysis of the risk and benefits of (enhanced interrogation techniques)," Bradbury wrote in his May 10, 2005, memo, quoting from the IG's report.

_ The Bush administration erred by depending on a military training program, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, (SERE) to assess the risks that a suspected terrorist might face when being waterboarded.

"Individuals undergoing SERE training are obviously in a very different situation from detainees undergoing interrogation; SERE trainees know it is part of a training program," Bradbury wrote, borrowing from the IG report's conclusion.

_ Waterboarding terrorist suspects also differed substantially from its limited use in the SERE program.

Quoting from the IG report, Bradbury wrote, "The waterboard technique . . . was different from the technique described in the DOJ opinion and used in the SERE training . . . At the SERE school . . . the subject's airflow is disrupted by the firm application of a damp cloth over the air passages; the interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth in a controlled manner. By contrast, the Agency interrogator . . . applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee's mouth and nose."

Bradbury said the inspector general reported: "OMS contends that the expertise of the SERE psychologist/interrogators on the waterboard was probably misrepresented at the time, as the SERE waterboard experience is so different from the subsequent Agency usage as to make it almost irrelevant."

After the medical services office became involved in the possible use of waterboarding — a step that didn't occur until after the inspector general's report was issued, according to the memos — the technique wasn't used again.

Waterboarding was rejected in the case of a prisoner who was believed to be a courier between Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist in Iraq, because the suspected courier was obese and complained of chest pressure, even though the CIA thought he might have critical information about plans to disrupt the 2004 U.S. presidential election, according to the memos.

The OMS issued guidelines in December 2004 setting out that the use of the waterboard required the presence of a physician," Bradbury wrote. Those guidelines, however, were issued more than a year and a half after the last known CIA use of waterboarding.


A copy of the censored inspector general's report released last year to the American Civil Liberties Union


Pressure grows on Obama to call for interrogation panel

Document: Cheney, Rice signed off on interrogation techniques

Bush-era interrogations: From waterboarding to forced nudity

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a former CIA chief, tells reporters he supported releasing memos on detainee interrogation methods because he viewed their ultimate disclosure as inevitable, The Washington Post’s Ann Scott Tyson relates. “Almost all the [CIA] officials I worked with on these issues were good people who felt as I did about the use of enhanced techniques: it is un-American, ineffective and harmful to our national security,” an ex-FBI supervisory agent writes in The New York Times. “Starkly opposing narratives” have arisen about what, if anything, was gained by the CIA’s use of such tactics, and consensus may prove elusive, the Times’ Scott Shane also spotlights. Check, too, Secrecy News for an unredacted Senate survey of Justice’s torture opinions.

Feds: federal judge has adopted the Obama administration’s standard for retaining terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, The Associated Press’ Nedra Pickler reports — while the Los Angeles Times’ Julian E. Barnes says the administration is preparing to admit into the United States as many as seven Chinese Muslim Guantanamo detainees. The intel expert who prepared a still-secret cybersecurity study for President Obama cautions that the danger of attacks on U.S. computer networks cannot be fixed easily or quickly, Reuters’ David Lawsky relates. Congress and the administration are considering ceding key ground in a long-running battle between the federal government and the states over the Real ID law, Stateline’s John Gramlich recounts. The White House yesterday nominated G-man Philip Mudd as DHS’s top spook, Homeland Security Watch’s Philip J. Palin spotlights.

Napolitano complex: Canada’s envoy to D.C. rebukes DHS boss Janet Napolitano for suggesting that 9/11 hijackers entered the United States from Canada, asking for a private meeting to set the record straight, Canwest News Service’sSheldon Alberts recounts — and check FOX News’ Bret Baier. “Napolitano wasted little time in going after President Obama’s most beloved opponents, pro-life Americans, Cybercast News Service’s” Judy Brown blasts in re: of course, the infernal right-wing threat assessment. “The question is: Is Napolitano just a dimwit or is she willfully misrepresenting [immigration] law as a rationale for not enforcing it?” The National Review’s Andy McCarthy questions.

State and local: Southern Nevada authorities look to rely on thousands of resort valets and housekeepers for tip-offs to possible criminal or terrorist activity, The Las Vegas Review-Journal has Clark County’s sheriff testifying. A network of mystery hackers, most based in China, have been making 70,000 attempts a day to break into the NYPD’s servers, The New York Daily News cites the commish. Kansas officials fear a Lone Star consortium’s threatened lawsuit alleging that DHS improperly chose Kansas over Texas for a $450 million biolab will slow the project, The Lawrence Journal-World relates. Exempting National Canal Museum mule tenders from onerous TSA regs seems the least of the hurdles the beleaguered Pennsylvania tourist attraction faces, The Bucks County Courier Times spotlights. An Island Packet editorial frowns on South Carolina’s bid to use homeland security as a cloak for exempting harbor pilot boats from speed limitsmeant to protect endangered right whales.

Chasing the dime: Minnesota state solon says he will seek to block nonprofit status and state grants to any organization that helps foreigners accused of piracy or terrorism, The Minneapolis Star Tribune tells. “The business of protecting citizens from terrorism and natural disasters can be messy. It’s good to know that DHS has so copiously appreciated the need for slick logos to make such business more appealing,” The Atlantic snarks in re: $3 million the agency has spent on branding. More than 3,200 items of commercially available off-the-shelf equipment for combating terrorism will be displayed during next month’s Force Protection Equipment Demonstration in Virginia, PRNewswire transmits. U.S. prosecutors unsealed a superseding indictment this week against an Afghan man charged with narcoterrorism and conspiracy to fund terrorism, Reuters reports.

Bugs ‘n bombs: Close to closing a probe into the disappearance of deadly pathogens at Fort Detrick’s infectious disease lab, Army investigators have found no evidence yet of criminal misconduct, the Post reports — and see Danger Room on how it’s no big deal that the deadly vials “may never be found.” New Jersey’s Gloucester County plans a full-scale exercise bioterror emergency response drill today, The Camden Courier-Post recounts — while Colombia Report has CBP agents in Gulfport earlier this month alerting to a possible “agroterrorism” threat in response to a strange insect hitchhiking in a banana shipment. A House investigation into Bayer’s alleged cover up of last August’s West Virginia plant explosionsays the blast “came dangerously close” to rivaling the 1984 Bhopal disaster in which 4,000 Indians perished, Bloomberg reports. An experimental vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus “is one step closer to realization,” having proven itself in animal models, The Science Daily relays.

Air turbulence: Charleston’s Yeager Airport was evacuated briefly Wednesday after screeners found the proverbial “suspicious item” in a passenger’s carry-on, The Daily Mail mentions. The Air Forwarders Association’s director told shippers this week to buckle up for a “turbulent ride” in the days ahead on security mandates, Logistics Management relates. A Kiwi review of aviation security prompted by an alleged hijacking last year finds some domestic flights to be at high risk, TheNew Zealand Press Association reports. “Private operation of the airport does not, it seems to us, obviate the need for state involvement in its security; certainly not in the context of the post 9/11 world,” The Jamaica Gleaner editorializes after the operator of an airport hijacked on Monday finds no fault in its procedures.

Coming and going: In contrast to North Carolina, which handles security on its 21 ferries by training crew members to meet post-9/11 Coast Guard regs, Virginia pays a contractor $1.6 million annually to place armed guards on the Scotland-Jamestown ferry, The Smithfield Times says. Congress should continue its fiscal support for 287(g) and other ICE programs bolstering state and local immigration enforcement, a Heritage WebMemo advises. “Don’t expect police officers in Utah’s 10 largest cities or anywhere in the Salt Lake Valley to be asking about your citizenship status anytime soon,” The Salt Lake Tribune, relatedly, leads. Michigan’s new enhanced driver’s licenses and ID cards are designed as a cheaper alternate to passports that can speed up border crossings, The Detroit Free Press spotlights.

Courts and rights: A Staten Island businessman was given nearly six years in prison yesterday for providing satellite services to Hezbollah’s television station, The New York Times tells. The third terrorism trial of the Liberty City Six will enter its last throes with closing arguments today, The Miami Herald mentions. The brother of an “enemy combatant” held for seven-plus years tells AP the isolation has eased now that he’s allowed to make phone calls from prison. Families of 17 sailors lost in the 2000 USS Cole terror bombing are due between $200,000 amd $1.2 million in compensation with a judge’s release of federally frozen Sudanese moneyAP also reports. A South African has been handed 20 years in American prison forconspiring to sell illegal arms to a supposed go-between for international terrorists, The Cape Times tells.

Over there: Britons are becoming more anxious due to worries ranging from terrorism to bird flu — and the general air of anxiety is adding to the economic crisis, Agence France-Presse has a study finding. It appears uncertain whether yesterday’s international donors meeting in Brussels will draw in the hefty pledges needed to boost security in Somalia that organizers hope for, Voice of America reports. After four-plus months, a Canadian diplomat and his assistant have been released by al Qaeda-tied terrorists in Mali, The Ottawa Citizen says — while The Times of London has a suspected leader of an al Qaeda-linked militant network being captured by Iraqi military forces.

Stage and screen:“For the last 30 years, Hollywood has perpetuated the myth of the ‘troubled vet,’ egged on by the cacklers on the coasts, nearly all of whom have never met a war vet in their life. To them, every uniform is worn by Timothy McVeigh,” FOX News’ Greg Gutfeld growls.Bollywood exporters and Pakistani film exhibitors “blame two major factors — terrorism and [video] piracy — for negating their efforts to bring people back to cinema halls,” The Hindu surveys. “It’sSamuel Beckett meets Larry King... When an expert on terrorism appears on a TV talk show, the conversation becomes a perverse satirical rant,” The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Wendell Brock writes in a capsule review of “The Extremists,” a new play by C.J. Hopkins.

Kulture Kanyon: Terrorism “is violence as theater. 9/11 was a performance, a show for America to make us quake,” a Columbine H.S. massacre expert tells Time Magazine. DHS is dropping some newspaper and magazine subscriptions — New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time — to save moneyAP’s Suzanne Gamboa says. A Sikh civil rights group objects to the DEA, in an exhibit in its Museum & Visitors Center, citing “Sikh terrorists” as the cause of the 1984 Golden Temple bloodbath, The Panthic Weekly reports. “Thanks to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s insistence on constructing an ironically named Museum of Tolerance atop a Muslim cemetery, the organization has driven yet another nail into the coffin of coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land,” The Guardian’s Seth Freedman frowns.

Cruel and unusual: “President Obama’s decision to close down the controversial detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, speaking strictly from an economic standpoint, could have disastrous consequences,” Ridiculopathy reports. “Critics argue that such a move would be utterly irresponsible at a time like this, eliminating thousands of jobs and turning hundreds of detainees out on the street with no place to stay. ‘He ran on a promise to generate jobs and heal the nation,’ a Guantanamo worker complained, ‘but now he wants to curtail the fastest growing sector of the American labor market.’ Desperate and out of options, counter terrorists filed a formal request with Capitol Hill for a $10 trillion bailout (figure expressed in Pentagon dollars) to keep Guantanamo Bay running for a few more years. Hopefully by then the terror industry could be in high gear once again. However, even if Congress acts, it may already be too late.”


A Late And Special Addition For Your Consideration And Thought:


The US Is Facing a Weimar Moment | By Robert Freeman | Provided by Tom Finnell.


March 16, 2009 “Common Dreams” ---  -- In early 1919, Germany put in place a new government to begin rebuilding the country after its crushing defeat in World War I. But the right-wing forces that had led the country into the War and lost the War conspired even before it was over to destroy the new government, the “Weimar Republic.” They succeeded.


The U.S. faces a similar “Weimar Moment.” The devastating collapse of the economy after eight years of Republican rule has left the leadership, policies, and ideology of the right utterly discredited. But, as was the case with Germany in 1919, Republicans do not intend to allow the new government to succeed. They will do everything they can to undermine it. If they are successful, the U.S. may yet go the way of Weimar Germany.


World War I left Germany utterly devastated. The landed aristocrats, industrial magnates, wealthy financiers, weapons makers, and the officer corps of the military that formed the locus of right wing power were completely discredited. Their failure in provoking and prosecuting the War was catastrophic, undeniable, and complete.


The economy was destroyed. Prices were at 800% of pre-war levels and rising quickly. Agriculture, pillaged for the War, lay in ruins. Social insurance payments for the War’s injured, to widows and orphans, and newly unemployed soldiers were astronomical. And all this was before the cost of rebuilding was even begun.


At the same time, Germany faced massive reparations payments to the Allied victors, France and England. But Germany’s foreign properties had been confiscated and its colonies turned over to the victors. The combination of these conditions, both domestic and international, made it extraordinarily difficult for the German economy to recover.


As a result of the failure of the right, the German people elected a moderately leftist government to lead the nation’s rebuilding. It was named the Weimar Republic for the city in which the new post-imperial constitution was written. The new government was led by Friedrich Ebert, head of the German Socialist Party.


But the country’s new parliamentary system had allowed dozens of parties to run, making it impossible for any one party to win an outright majority. Ebert’s party had achieved the highest portion of votes, 38%, in the first post-War elections, held in January 1919. Ebert would have to govern by coalition.


It was at this time that the right wing made its crucial decision. Despite its shocking, naked failure over the prior decade, despite the horrific devastation it had wrought on the German people, despite the discrediting of everything they had purported to stand for, they would fight Ebert, his new government, and its plans for recovery. They would do everything they could to make sure that the new government failed.


Their strategy was two-fold: first, stoke the resentment of the population about the calamitous state of its living conditions-no matter that those conditions had been created by the very right-wing oligarchs who now pretended to befriend the little guy. Rage is rage. It is glandular and unseeing. Once catalyzed it is easy to turn on any subject.


And stoking resentment was easy to do. Just before the War ended, the military concocted its most sensational lie: the German army hadn’t actually been defeated. It had been “stabbed in the back” by communists, traitors, and Jews. It was an easy lie to sell. It entwined an attack on an alien political ideology - liberalism- with the latent, pervasive myth of German racial superiority.


The second strategy of the right was to prevent the new government from succeeding. To begin with, success of the left would conspicuously advertise the failure of the right. Moreover, success by the left would legitimize republican government, so hated by the oligarchs of the right. Much better for the people to be ruled by the self-aggrandizing right-wing autocracy that had governed Germany for centuries.


So the rightists set out to do everything they could to make it impossible for the leftists to govern. They would use parliamentary maneuver, shifting coalitions, domination of the new mass media, legislative obstruction, staged public relations spectacles, relentless pressure by narrow but powerful interests, judicial intimidation and, eventually, outright murder of their political opponents.


Contrition for their abject failure, humility for their destructive hubris, compassion for their crippled country-those had nothing to do with it. All they possessed was a blinding, visceral hatred of the left and a masturbatory lust for the return to power.


Eventually, they succeeded. Every setback in recovery - and there would inevitably be many - was met with hysterical demonizing of the left wing government. The lie was repeated relentlessly that the government was run by communists, traitors, and Jews-the same furtive cabal that had purportedly stabbed the country in the back at the end of the War. They steadily chipped away at the efficacy and, thereby, the legitimacy of successive republican governments.


By the time of the Great Depression, Adolph Hitler’s ironically named National Socialist Party had become the biggest vote getter in the nation. The Nazis had once been derided as the lunatic fringe of the far right. But the “respectable” right-wing power brokers who had started and lost the Great War anointed Hitler Chancellor in January, 1933.


He immediately suspended the constitution, abolishing most civil liberties. He outlawed opposition parties, began a massive military build-up and a relentless propaganda campaign, and set Germany and the world onto the path of the greatest destruction it would ever know.


America now faces its own “Weimar moment.”


The failure of right wing policy and leadership over the past eight years, especially in matters economic, is comparable to Germany’s right-wing failure in World War I. It is catastrophic, undeniable, and complete.




According to the World Economic Forum, forty percent of the entire world’s wealth has been destroyed in the recent financial collapse. In the U.S. alone, between housing and the stock market, more than $18 trillion in wealth has already been destroyed.


The private mega-banks that anchor the financial systems of the western world are bankrupt. This makes it all but impossible to jump-start the western world’s economies which are heavily dependent on bank-system credit to operate.


More than 10,000 homes go into foreclosure every day. More than 20,000 people lose their job every day. And the collapse is accelerating, developing its own self-reinforcing dynamic. Job losses breed foreclosures, reducing demand, leading to more job losses and further degradation of the financial system. None of the stopgaps designed to stanch the bleeding have yet worked. There is no bottom in sight.


Meanwhile, debt has risen to astronomical levels. Reagan and Bush I quadrupled the national debt in only twelve years. Bush II doubled it again in only eight. It is now ten times higher than it was in 1980 when Reagan was elected. Total public and private debt exceeds 300% of GDP, half again higher than it was in 1929.


The government’s unfunded liabilities, promises it has made to the American people but for which no payment source can be identified, now exceed $60 trillion, a literally inconceivable sum that can never, will never, be paid. Federal Reserve economist Lawrence Kotlikoff has suggested that the U.S. government is “actuarially bankrupt.”


The full measure of the nation’s plight is revealed in Hillary Clinton’s first trip as Secretary of State. It was to China, to beg them to fund Obama’s new fiscal deficits. Without loans from China, the U.S. economy cannot be revived. The significance of this cannot be overstated: the U.S. no longer exercises sovereignty over its own economic affairs. That sovereignty now resides in the hands of China, the U.S.’s greatest long-term rival.


Thanks to Republican policies of massive debt and shipping jobs abroad, the U.S. has technically become a colony of China. It exports raw materials and imports finished goods, together with the capital to make up the difference. Should the Chinese decide not to lend the trillions of dollars the U.S. is begging for, the U.S. economy will implode, plummeting onto itself in a World Trade Center-like collapse that will leave dust clouds circling the planet for decades.


Notwithstanding the destruction inflicted on the economy by Republican policies, the most devastating breakdown is in the intellectual foundation on which right wing economic ideology itself is premised. Free market doctrine, the secular religion of right-wing America, is in utter, irretrievable shambles.


One of the most lofty tenets on which free markets are premised is their claim for themselves that they are “efficient,” that is, that market prices always reflect “fundamental values” of assets. But if that’s true, how could the world’s largest insurance company, AIG, have lost 99.5% of its market value in only 18 months? How could the world’s largest bank, Citibank, have lost 98% of its value over the same period?


How could the world’s largest brokerage company, Merrill Lynch, have gone bankrupt and need to be bought by Bank of America? How could the world’s largest car company, General Motors, have lost 95% of its value and stand on the threshold of extinction? How could the world’s largest industrial conglomerate, General Electric, have lost 85% of its value in only 18 months?


If the largest companies in the world, those at the very heart of the capitalist system itself, can lose virtually all of their value in only 18 months, what is the possible meaning of the phrases “efficient markets” and “fundamental value”?


The other core tenets of free market ideology are equally compromised. Major actors are clearly not rational - a breakdown of theological proportions admitted by no less an avatar of the cult than its pope himself, Alan Greenspan. Free markets clearly cannot, will not, regulate themselves. It is precisely their innate, irrepressible propensity for sociopathic greed and predatory fraud that has brought the whole of the world’s economy to the precipice of collapse.


Free markets clearly do not align risk and reward, allocating capital to its most productive uses, as its promoters advertise. They clearly do not automatically return to equilibrium, but must be bailed out with trillions of dollars of injections from the shrinking coffers of the public to the ever-bulging coffers of a private priesthood of pillage and plunder.


And in perhaps the greatest indictment of all, one going back to its primeval roots in Adam Smith’s eighteenth century opus, The Wealth of Nations, the unrestrained behavior of self-interested individuals clearly, manifestly, does not “coalesce as if by an Invisible Hand to the greatest good for the greatest number.”


These are not peripheral premises that have failed. They are not tangential tenets. Efficient markets. Rational actors. Market equilibrium. Risk and reward. Self interest. These are the essential sacraments on which the entire free market system is founded. They are in tatters. And it isn’t that any one of them has been discredited by the glaring, merciless force of events. All of them have been. All of them together. And all of them at the same time.


Free markets have long been the basis for a legitimate - though rightly debated - economic policy framework. But they have become little more than a robotically-recited cultural catechism, a mindless mantra mumbled to mask the looting of the nation’s resources that is the true purpose of Republican economic policy as demonstrated by the staggering upward transfers of wealth that inevitably occur under Republican regimes. A more complete, conspicuous, catastrophic, and irrefutable repudiation of right wing leaders, right wing policies, and right wing ideology could not possibly be contrived.

So what is the right wing response?


They have adopted the strategy and tactics of the failed right wing plotters in Weimar Germany. First, stoke the resentment of the population about the increasingly dire state of its living conditions-no matter that those conditions were created by the very right-wing oligarchs who now pretend to befriend the little guy. Rage is rage. It is glandular and unseeing. Once catalyzed it is easy to turn on any subject.

Second, prevent the new government from succeeding in any meaningful endeavor. The Republicans have set all their efforts to doing everything they can to make sure the Obama administration fails. Rush Limbaugh’s infamous, “I hope he fails” pronouncement is only the beginning of the fomenting of hatred from the right. As Limbaugh said, “Let’s be honest. Every Republican in America is hoping for Obama’s failure.”


The same malignant hope oozes unadulterated from all the other Dogpatch Demagogues that rent themselves out to the Republican party to foment resentment against anything liberal: Joe the “Plumber,” Rick Santelli, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, and virtually every other wing-nut operative whose intellectual stock in trade has been vaporized by the collision of right-wing policies with objective reality.


Equally so for the “respectable” members of the party, the all-but-three Republican members of Congress who refused to sign on to Obama’s first stimulus package and continue to grandstand against every effort toward any form of progress. Contrition for their own abject failure, humility for their destructive hubris, compassion for their crippled country-those have nothing to do with it. All they possess is a blinding, visceral hatred of the left and a masturbatory lust for the return to power.


And what else can they do? Bereft of ideas, bankrupt in ideology, architects of collapse, obstruction is all they have. If Obama is successful, it will not only advertise the full extent of their failure, it will provide a model of liberal governance that would render Republicans irrelevant for decades, much as FDR’s success left them out in the political cold for an entire generation. Liberal failure is a matter of life and death for Republicans.


And it’s not at all clear that the liberals won’t fail. No one should underestimate the task at hand. Never before - not even during the Great Depression - has the country inherited such a daunting, intractable set of economic problems: a debt burden so crushing; inequality so vast; a loss of financial sovereignty so constricting; an intellectual edifice so bankrupt; a private economy so uncompetitive; or an opposition so callously self interested in its own recovery and so cavalierly disinterested in the nation’s.


The economy has been so damaged, successful rescue requires threading a series of policy needles, each of them so complex in their own right that none could be solved by any administration of the past 50 years. This includes rehabilitating and re-regulating the nation’s banking system, restructuring health care, reducing national dependence on oil, reviving manufacturing so as to reduce the trade deficit, rebuilding the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, dealing with a soaring national debt, trying to resuscitate a collapsing housing market, and all the while maintaining the safety net under 77 million baby boomers entering retirement with a net worth 60% what it was only 18 months ago.


Success will require much more than luck, hard work, brilliant policy, or soaring rhetoric. It will require cooperation and contribution from every American. It is those two offerings, cooperation and contribution, that Republicans are intent on withholding, the better to ensure Obama’s failure. Simply put, the Republicans hate Democrats more than they love America.


If they succeed in derailing Obama’s efforts, the cost will be incalculable.


After World War I, one of the consequences of the liberal government’s failure was Adolph Hitler. Hitler had a genius for exploiting the resentment of the German people for their condition. More than 80% of the Nazi party’s members were unemployed. It was these legions of idle thugs who made up the ranks of Hitler’s brownshirt militia, the SA. The right wing oligarchy that had set out from the beginning to destroy the Weimar Republic recognized the potency of resentment and Hitler’s genius at exploiting it. It was they who sponsored Hitler’s ascension to Chancellor in 1933.


Resentment and obstruction are all the right wing in America have to peddle. Their policies are utterly discredited. Their ideology - even by its own standards - is a sham. They are so bereft of leaders, their de facto leader is a former drug addicted, thrice-divorced radio talk show host. That is literally the best they can muster. But they have built a national franchise inciting the downwardly mobile to blame the government, not the right, for their problems, exactly as Hitler did in the 1920s.


The Republican propensity for fascism must not be underestimated. Witness their phony justifications for the war in Iraq, fanning the flames of nationalistic aggression, just as Hitler did with Austria, the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, and Poland in the 1930s. Consider their symbiotic embrace of corporate interests in the oil, weapons, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, finance, and other industries-the same type of corporate interests that sponsored Hitler’s ascent to power. Look at their efforts to dismantle civil liberties with the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act. Or their relentless, pervasive propaganda laundered through their corporate-owned right-wing media machine.


These are the classic hallmarks of fascism. The strategy is to obstruct recovery, facilitate collapse, and then incite the faux-populism of public resentment to re-install a corporatist oligarchy which has failed, but which will not abide a reduction of its privileges or a diminution of its control. It is a fetid, seditious agenda, awaiting only its own latter day mustachioed messiah for its final fulfillment.


World War I was a once-in-a-millennium upset in the architecture of global power. In four years, it shifted the center of that power from Europe to the United States. But failure now by the U.S. will shift that center once again, from the United States to China, out of the western world where it has resided for the past 500 years. The psychic shock to the billion-odd people living in western civilization, with its liberal democracies, capitalist economies, and Enlightenment ideals, will be incalculable, irretrievable.


This shift may be inevitable and only a matter of time. It is quite possible that the damage inflicted on the western world’s economy by rapacious Republicans is already beyond repair. But it will be tragedy beyond measure if such a shift is consummated by the very wrecking crew that took us down the road to ruin, all the while so unctuously proclaiming “patriotism” as its crowning ideal. They are not patriots and their goal is not the revival of American power. It is the revival of their own power, even at the expense of America’s. They represent a very dangerous threat to the nation’s future.


Robert Freeman writes on history, economics and education. He can be reached at



No comments:

Post a Comment

Fair Use Notice: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.