Sunday, August 21, 2005
August 21st, 2005
Jeffrey Steinberg, in an article appearing in the August 26 issue of the Executive Intelligence Review, mentions Col. Paul E. Vallely, the Commander of the 7th Psychological Operations Group, United States Army Reserve, and a document he authored entitled From PSYOP to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory (note: link is a PDF document). “MindWar must be strategic in emphasis, with tactical applications playing a reinforcing, supplementary role,” Vallely wrote in 1980. “In its strategic context, MindWar must reach out to friends, enemies, and neutrals alike across the globe—neither through primitive ‘battlefield’ leaflets and loudspeakers of PSYOP nor through the weak, imprecise, and narrow effort of psychotronics [the relationship between matter, energy, and consciousness]—but through the media possessed by the United States which have the capabilities to reach virtually all people on the face of the Earth.” In short, the corporate media, Vallely wrote 25 years ago, is an integral and essential component and “force multiplier” of forever war waged against enemies, including the American people.
Steinberg spends a lot of time documenting the occult and paranormal activities of Pentagon researchers (and also “weapons that directly attack the targetted population’s central nervous system and brain functioning,” including “such phenomena as atmospheric electromagnetic activity, air ionization, and extremely low frequency waves), but for my dime the interesting part of Steinberg’s analysis concerns the use of fake terrorism, or “pseudo gang” terrorism and “psychological operations” of the sort used against the “targetted population” here in the United States since nine eleven and, more recently, in Britain. For instance, Steinberg references Seymour Hersh, who quoted Naval Postgraduate School defense analyst and Pentagon counterinsurgency advisor John Arquilla (see my January blog entry on Hersh and Arquilla in regard to pseudo terrorism and the kidnapping and apparent murder of Margaret Hassan). “Hersh hinted [in his New Yorker article, The Coming Wars] that U.S. Special Forces units were being unleashed to create their own terrorist ‘pseudo gangs’ to more easily infiltrate terrorist groups like al-Qaeda,” as Steinberg summarizes. “When conventional military operations and bombing failed to defeat the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya in the 1950s, the British formed teams of friendly Kikuyu tribesmen who went about pretending to be terrorists,” writes Arquilla. “These ‘pseudo gangs,’ as they were called, swiftly threw the Mau Mau on the defensive, either by befriending and then ambushing bands of fighters or by guiding bombers to the terrorists’ camps. What worked in Kenya a half-century ago has a wonderful chance of undermining trust and recruitment among today’s terror networks. Forming new pseudo gangs should not be difficult.”
It is my contention al-Qaeda (or more precisely, al-CIA-duh) is just such a “pseudo gang,” initially created in Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight the Soviets but held over—as are all successful intelligence operations (and the CIA admits the creation of the Islamic Terror Network is its largest and most successful operation to date; see Chalmers Johnson). As the corporate media (as a willing participant in psychological warfare against the American people) would have it, al-CIA-duh reformulated itself without intelligence assistance after the United States abandoned Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet defeat in that backwater and more or less strategically meaningless country (that is until a consortium of oil and natural gas corporations decided they wanted to build a pipeline there in the 1990s). There is ample evidence that al-CIA-duh remained a valued intelligence “asset” (and covert warfare workhorse) after Afghanistan, the primary example being its activities in the Balkans (see my From Afghanistan to Iraq: Transplanting CIA Engineered Terrorism) and elsewhere.
As Steinberg notes, once again referencing the detective work of Hersh, “[Evangelical Christian Lieutenant-General William “Jerry” Boykin] and his immediate boss, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone, are directly in charge of the Special Operations search-and-kill squads touted by John Arquilla in his pseudo-gang promo.” Joe E. Kilgore, writing for Special Warfare in the Winter of 2002, declares that the “future holds great promise for the Center and School and for the students it trains. The commanding general of SWCS [John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School], Major General William G. Boykin, is developing the ARSOF School of the Future, an innovative concept designed to ensure that SWCS instructional facilities and techniques will meet the challenges of the 21st century. The SWCS Special Forces Evolution Steering Committee is developing a road map to facilitate the transformation of the Special Forces Branch. Improvement plans for both CA and PSYOP have been approved, and those plans are scheduled to be implemented beginning in FY 2002.” An integral component of the Pentagon’s ambitious psyop program is Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG). “P2OG would launch secret operations aimed at ’stimulating reactions’ among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction, meaning it would prod terrorist cells into action, thus exposing them to ‘quick-response’ attacks by US forces. The means by which it would do this is the far greater use of special operations forces,” David Isenberg wrote for the Asia Times in November, 2002. P2OG, however, is only the public relations face of a much larger and sinister plan that stretches back at least to 1980 and Col. Paul E. Vallely’s seminal MindWar document and the idea of psychological warfare waged against the American people.
Vallely, of course, does not mention “pseudo-gang” warfare explicitly and instead puts forward the idea of “full spectrum” warfare in all fronts, including disinformation or propaganda warfare waged against the American people. Indeed, the idea of fake or deceptive terrorism is much older and originated in its modern form and was field tested by General Frank Kitson, a British officer “who first thought up the concept that was later used in the formation of Al Qaeda. He called it the ‘pseudo gang’—a state sponsored group used to advance an agenda, while discrediting the real opposition. The strategy was used in both Kenya and Northern Ireland. In the case of Northern Ireland, most of the violence that was attributed to ‘Loyalists’ was in actuality not their handiwork, but the result of the activities of the death squads affiliated to the British secret state,” writes Ian Buckley (see my General Frank Kitson: Trail Blazing Fake Terrorism).
Revelations about the shooting of an innocent Brazillian in the wake of the London bombings focus attention on Britain's police
Searching for Answers
BY HELEN GIBSON / LONDON
The image of the unarmed British bobby took a hit last week after new details emerged about the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian killed by police when he was mistaken for a suspected suicide bomber the day after the failed July 21 terror attacks. In line with a shoot-to-kill policy put in place after Sept. 11, Menezes was shot eight times after boarding a London Underground train.
Eyewitnesses said Menezes wore a heavy jacket, and that he vaulted over the ticket barrier. These observations seemed to tally with the limited information provided by police, who said that Menezes' clothes and behavior at the station had added to their suspicions. But in documents leaked from an ongoing inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, other witnesses gave a different account. These documents and police photos, obtained by itv News, revealed that Menezes was in fact wearing a denim jacket and had walked through the ticket barrier.
A leaked statement from one of the surveillance officers described how Menezes had been restrained before he was shot. "We need to look very, very closely at the police shoot-to-kill policy," says former Deputy Mayor of London Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority's complaints committee. "At the very least, people have a right to know exactly what it is." Menezes' family lashed out at police.
"For three weeks, we have had to listen to lie after lie about Jean and how he was killed," Menezes' cousin Alessandro Pereira said at a press conference in London, during which he also demanded that Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair resign. "We never believed the English police," Menezes' 17-year-old cousin Leide told Time by phone from the small Brazilian town of Gonzaga. "We always knew he never ran. The British police say they are so efficient. But what kind of efficiency is this?" Amid claims from the family of a police cover-up — vigorously denied by Blair — Brazilian investigators prepared to fly to London for talks about the case with their British counterparts. Blair continues to defend the integrity of his force, and with the risk of more attacks still real, the British public want to believe him.
Former Head Of Pentagon's Depleted Uranium Project Says Thousands Of Troops Are Sick And Dying From Illegal DU Use And Military's Failure To Admit Responsibility
After Maj. Doug Rokke went public in 1997 exposing the military's flawed DU program, his life has been threatened but he still continues to search for solutions in order to save the lives of those afflicted.August 20, 2005
By Greg Szymanski
Army Major Doug Rokke has been shot at, run off the road, threatened, harassed, black-balled, intimidated, called a liar and treated like a “hated enemy” not by opposition forces in Iraq, but by ‘secret ops’ in the U.S. government, obviously acting on orders from top military brass.
And in May 2000 he was subjected to the biggest scare of his life when bullets rang through his son’s bedroom window while living in Jacksonville, Alabama, in what he calls “another near miss” by government hit men bound and determined to remove his presence from the planet.
Maj. Rokke, living in Rantoul, Illinois, and still active in the Army Reserves, has been a government target ever since going public in a May 1997 article in the Nation Magazine, criticizing the military for failing to clean-up depleted uranium used in Iraq during the first Gulf War.
Although Maj. Rokke’s accusations have been echoed by many others, what makes his statements so electrifying – so damaging to the military - is that he was one of the Pentagon’s ‘top boys.’ In fact, he was not only one of the Pentagon’s elite, he was “the man” so to speak when it came to determining the causes and effects of depleted uranium (DU) used in the battle field.
Being so well-respected by the Pentagon brass, Maj. Rokke was the military expert assigned as director of the 1994 U.S. Army Depleted Uranium Project in response to congressional inquiries and direct Department of Defense (DOD) orders.
The study was commissioned after it was found the military lacked adequate preparation to deal with the adverse health and environmental effects regarding the use of DU in the battle field. This highly efficient ‘killing tool,’ which amounts to nothing less than a radioactive nuclear assault, has been extensively used in U.S. weaponry in the first Gulf War as well as the present Iraqi conflict, even though it is a direct violation of the Geneva Convention and United Nation regulations.
In simple terms, Maj. Rokke was asked to evaluate the extent of DU used and asked to advise the military how to adequately comply with its own existing regulations of training, clean-up and medical care involving soldiers and civilians contaminated.
In his final report, Maj. Rokke, however, didn’t beat around the bush or provide a technical escape for evading regulations. He simply laid it on the table plain and simple, saying if the military intended to keep using DU, it needed to address the above problems, as regulations mandated, or simply cease and desist from its use.
And, in hindsight, it was probably the words “cease and desist” or Maj. Rokke’s simple ultimatum of “clean-up or don’t use” that initially ticked-off military brass, since behind the scenes the ‘big boys” never really intended to open up a can of worms caused by Maj. Rokke’s report.
But when the implacable army officer went public about the extent of the DU problems in 1997, letting the cat out of the bag about the military’s outright refusal to comply with existing regulations, the ‘big boys’ put their boxing gloves on and are still trying to punch Maj. Rokke into submission today.
“They have been after me ever since I went public,” said Maj. Rokke in a telephone conversation this week from his country home in the heartland of Illinois. “I’ve been shot at, run off the road several times, harassed, threatened and whatever else they could think of doing to discredit me for what I was doing.
“They even shot bullets through my son’s bedroom window. These guys don’t play around and the first thing I was told when I went public was to keep my 45 loaded at all times.”
Even though Maj. Rokke’s obviously right and the military wrong, the cold and hard truth is that the big brass tried to crucify him for simply telling the truth. The cold hard truth is that even though the military admits using DU, it never has admitted to the legal causal connection between its use and its adverse effects on human and environmental health.
And critics contend that such outright contempt for its own regulations and the military’s failure to provide adequate medical care for those exposed to DU has left hundreds of thousands of military personnel and civilians sick or dying, including Maj. Rokke.
“It’s really very simple,” added Maj. Rokke. “I was asked to report on what they needed to do about the DU problem. Our team of experts then reported and provided our recommendations, plain and simple.
“But when I realized in 1997 we were being ignored and thousands of people, including myself, were sick and possibly slowly dying from DU exposure, I had to go public and blow the whistle.”
And Maj. Rokke said his warnings as well as warnings from many other experts were not only dismissed by the military, but also by every other bigwig on Capital Hill, including President Clinton, Senator John Kerry and every other member of Congress, all very much aware of his position since he even addressed the 2000 Fall Congressional Coalition Leadership at its quarterly breakfast in Washington D.C.
Adding that the DU problem is even worse today, Maj. Rokke pointed out the military continues to bombard the Iraq and Afghanistan with “increased levels’ of nuclear weaponry, leaving in its wake even higher levels of nuclear fallout then were present in Gulf War I.
And like President Clinton, his predecessor, President Bush has failed to address or even recognize the problem, leaving behind ‘hot zones’ in the Middle East while, at the same time, failing to care for radiation illnesses in returning troops.
“President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair must acknowledge and must accept responsibility for the willful use of illegal uranium munitions, their own ‘dirty bombs,’ resulting in adverse health and environmental effects,” wrote Maj. Rokke in recent open letter, criticizing the two major leaders of the Iraq occupation.
And being crystal clear about his demands in compliance with existing military regulations, he added:
“President Bush and Prime Minister Blair need to immediately order medical care for all DU casualties, order thorough environmental remediation, issue immediate orders for the cessation and retaliation against all of us who demand compliance with medical care and ban the further use of depleted radiation munitions.
“They arrogantly refuse to comply with their own regulations, orders, and directives that require United States Department of Defense officials to provide prompt and effective medical care all exposed individuals. Look to Medical Management of Unusual Depleted Uranium Casualties, DOD, Pentagon, 10/14/93, Medical Management of Army personnel Exposed to Depleted Uranium (DU) Headquarters.
"They also refuse to clean up dispersed radioactive contamination as required by Army Regulation- AR 700-48: Management of Equipment Contaminated With Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities(Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., September 2002) and U.S. Army Technical Bulletin- TB 9-1300-278: Guidelines For Safe Response To Handling, Storage, And Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions Or Armor Which Contain Depleted Uranium" (Headquarters, Department Of The Army, Washington, D.C., JULY 1996)."
To further bolster Maj. Rokke’s accusations and his detailed analysis, all of the following regulations are also being violated, specifically section 2-4 of United States Army Regulation-AR 700-48 dated Sept.16, 2002, requiring:
(1) "Military personnel "identify, segregate, isolate, secure, and label all RCE" (radiological contaminated equipment).
(2) "Procedures to minimize the spread of radioactivity will be implemented as soon as possible."
(3) "Radioactive material and waste will not be locally disposed of through burial, submersion, incineration, destruction in place, or abandonment" and;
(4) "All equipment, to include captured or combat RCE, will be surveyed, packaged, retrograded, decontaminated and released IAW Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278, DA PAM 700-48.”
With the military’s blatant violations placed in the public eye due to Mj. Rokke’s courage to buck the system, other experts and scientists quickly came to his side, offering startling information and detailed statistics showing the seriousness of the DU problem and the government’s failure to take responsibility even though it obviously caused the problem.
Radiation experts Leuren Moret and Marion Fulk, along with others like Dennis Kyne, Bob Jones and Mark Zeller, have provided documentation for an explosive video just released, written and produced by Joyce Riley and William Lewis, called “Beyond Treason,” providing an in depth look at DU used in the Gulf Wars and its likelihood of causing numerous civilian and military illnesses.
“It has been determined that the equivalent of more than 400,000 Nagasaki bombs has been released in the middle east since 1991,” said Moret, citing a report and subsequent speech at a 2000 depleted uranium conference given by Professor Yagasaki, a physicist and well-respected nuclear radiation expert.
Moret, who has spent a life time working in the nuclear field, first as a staff scientist at the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory in California, is now a member of The Radiation and Public Health Project (RPHP), a privately funded group studying the devastating effects of depleted uranium especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And the writers of Beyond Treason added more ammunition to Rokke’s accusations regarding the government’s failure to recognize the DU problem 15 years after it was first exposed:
“The ailing Gulf War heroes from all 27 coalition countries slowly die from of “unknown causes,” they wait for answers from their respective governments, but no satisfying or even credible answers have come forth from the military establishment. Records that span over a decade point to negligence and even culpability on the part of the U.S. Department of Defense and their ‘disposable army” mentality.
“The VA has determined that 250,000 troops are now permanently disabled, 15,000 troops are dead and over 425,000 are ill and slowly dying from what the Department of Defense still calls a mystery disease. How many more will have to die before action is taken?”
Although Maj. Rokke has been fighting to save the lives of thousands of afflicted veterans, he is also trying to save his own life as he was originally exposed to DU in 1990 and 1991 while deployed in Iraq and looking into the hazards of DU.
“First, I remember experiencing breathing problems, then a rash and then bleeding sores that never go away,” said Rokke, 56, adding DU exposure is slowly, day by day, turning him into an invalid. “The sad thing is that only several hundred military personnel have even been tested for DU exposure since the beginning when there are literally hundreds of thousands afflicted.
“In fact, it took the military more than two years to even tell me that I was ‘hot,’ withholding my urine tests and hiding the truth. One of the reasons I went public is because so many soldiers are dying from the same symptoms I have and the military simply still refuses to take medical responsibility and care for them.”
Recently, to keep the DU issue alive, Maj. Rokke published an article in the Nov. 27, 2004 edition of the popular Vanity Fair magazine, where he updated his concerns with new information about Gulf War II.
After the article appeared, he said the Pentagon and others in military circles immediately unleashed another attack on his character, accusing him of lying and even saying he never headed up the Pentagon’s DU program in the first place.
“I guess if I played their game, I would sitting somewhere with a cushy $100,000 a year job,” said Mj. Rokke. “But I decided to do what’s right no matter what the consequences. But, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a peace-nick. I am a military officer and a warrior. I would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons only, however, if it was a last resort. But I also feel the military should live up to its responsibilities and follow regulations, which is not the case now and why I am speaking out.”
Although declaring himself a warrior, Maj. Rokke tempered that statement, writing in September, 2002, what he called a “A Commitment To Peace.” In this short open letter, however, much is revealed about the inner-man, his obvious choice of peace versus war and his ultimate fears about the ramifications of the Iraqi invasion, which at the time of his writing was just on the horizon:
“As I sit here tonight unable to sleep, my mind is considering the ramifications of potential and ongoing military actions and economic sanctions. As a disabled warrior with combat experience in two wars, Vietnam and Desert Storm, I can only hope and pray that the outcomes of these actions do not leave another trail of adverse health and environmental problems.
“I have concluded that we must unite in a concerted effort to prevent additional suffering. Throughout the history of the world those who make a commitment to peace have endured isolation and retaliation when they challenged the individuals and governments seeking economic and political advantages. A vision of peace where all nations can live together for the common good is an ideal dream but may be unrealistic.
“War is the ultimate weapon a nation or leaders can use to control the allocation and use of food, water, terrain, shelter, and mineral resources. War occurs when nations or individuals fail to reach a satisfactory compromise on sharing of these limited resources.
"Today we are reaching another crossroads in history where we must decide which road we follow. We can select peace or go to war. One means life the other means death! The prevalent modus operandi at this time of those seeking power and control is to threaten economic sanctions or military attacks in order to achieve their goals and objectives.
“This is unacceptable. We must act to with a unified and strong voice to prevent nations and leaders from imposing their demands on others. At the same time we must make sure that those nations and leaders who pose a viable threat to peace are checkmated. But that does not mean that we result to military force.
“There are many options but only wise persons are willing to discuss and mutually select the option most beneficial to all. Today information control is used to prevent discussion and debate. If a person does not have adequate and validated information they will be unable to contribute to the resolution of serious problems. We must ensure the complete dissemination of information even if that information reveals illegal or disturbing actions by our own or any other nation.
“These ways to achieve peace will require a commitment of time, financial resources, knowledge, attitudes, life, liberty, and willingness to endure and retaliation by any person who wishes to contribute towards the resolution of local, state, national or international problems. The choice is ours. We can select a life as a mushroom or we can select to act. I select action for if peace is to be achieved then I must let peace begin with me.”
ABC Online Soldier 'instructed' to abuse Abu Ghraib prisoners. 21/08/2005. ABC News Online [This is the print version of story http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200508/s1442489.htm]
First Posted: Sunday, August 21, 2005 . 10:03am -->Last Update: Sunday, August 21, 2005. 10:03am (AEST)
Scene of the crime: Sgt Davis says he found some of the abuses disturbing. (AFP)
Soldier 'instructed' to abuse Abu Ghraib prisoners
One of the US soldiers convicted of mistreating prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison says his superiors made it clear those incarcerated were to be abused.
Sergeant Javal Davis was sentenced to six months in jail after admitting to having deliberately stepped on the hands and feet of handcuffed prisoners.
In an interview aired on Channel 7, Sgt Davis said he was instructed to make life as unpleasant as possible for those he was guarding.
"I was left with an open door to pretty much almost do whatever I want, you know like 'hey, make sure this guy has a bad night you know' or 'make sure this guy gets the treatment'," he said.
Sgt Davis says he found some of the things he was asked to do distressing.
"For example, the nakedness, the hooding, the handcuffing of the detainees in compromising positions, like handcuffed behind their back in an uncomfortable way or handcuffed to the bar door door or something," he said.
He says he asked that orders he was given to abuse prisoners be put in writing.
But despite repeated requests, his superiors never agreed to do so.
Sgt Davis was a military policeman who worked as a guard at Abu Ghraib prison for three months in late 2003.
The pictures of the mistreatment by the guards, which included sexual humiliation, sparked international outrage.
© 2005 Australian Broadcasting CorporationCopyright information: http://abc.net.au/common/copyrigh.htm
Privacy information: http://abc.net.au/privacy.htm
What Democrats don't understand
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Category: Political Commentary - Moderate
Posted Sun Aug 21,2005 4:02 AM Last Edited:
I've been sparing with my comments regarding Cindy Sheehan and her crusade. I have also stayed away from the John Roberts debate. So many others, obviously more learned and informed than me, on both sides, have very profound things to say regarding both of the people and the issues that surround them. What more could I possibly add? Anything I might say would seem to only serve to contribute to the redundancy.
This summer I've been teaching four college English Composition courses - two in the day, and two at night. My students range in age from eighteen to sixty-two. They are white, Hispanic, African American, and any mixture that you can imagine. Women out number the men three to one and most of them are holding full time jobs and raising families while they pursue their college careers. They are not what we typically imagine college students to be, but they represent a significant segment of those who are seeking higher education as a way to better themselves and their lives. Most of them are serious and they all understand what it means to excel in their studies.
English Composition has never been high on anyone's list of courses to take unless they are a journalism major. The school I teach at keys in on Medical Assisting, Nursing, Business, and Information Technology. English Comp is a required course and a necessary "evil."
The course syllabus I've developed exposes students to basic sentence and paragraph construction, as well as basic essay development. I also place a large amount of emphasis on "Truth" in writing.
It is not necessarily my truth, or what I perceive truth to be, but the truth the students have inside of them and the ability to express it in their writing. That includes making them address controversial subjects and write how they feel regarding them. As long as they can factually support their thesis and not become emotionally wrapped up in rhetoric and jingoism, they are never wrong. Using that premise, I decided to make the week's assignment interesting and informative, while conducting an experiment at the same time.
I wrote the name Cindy Sheehan on the board in my Wednesday day and my first Wednesday evening classes. I asked who knew who that person was? No one raised their hands because no one knew. There was a time when I might have been surprised, but now, realizing the situations and the circumstances my students live in, I wasn't. It was exactly what I expected.
Instead of telling them about Cindy Sheehan as I might have done in the past, I sent them off to the library to do research and form an analysis of the woman and the circumstances surrounding her. The students were aware that when they returned for the second half of the class they would be required to write an argumentative essay either supporting or not supporting the woman and her cause. I repeated the process with my second Wednesday evening English Comp class and my Thursday day class, except I used the name of John Roberts. Again, no one knew who he was and again I sent them off to do research.
Now if you are a pundit, a party activist, or a person with a cause, you might find this hard to believe. How is it possible anyone living in these times does not know Cindy Sheehan or John Roberts? How is it people do not understand the significance of the issues that surround both of these people?
As startling as it might sound, it was true. My students, adult college students, did not know either person. They were more concerned with their families, their jobs, and succeeding in their studies that they were regarding a mother set on embarrassing the President of the United States or a man who was appointed to the Supreme Court of the nation. Neither person nor the issues surrounding them figured into the students' circles of important issues.
My experiment or study was far from scientific and credible. It involved a total of only fifty students. I don't know if I could call them a cross section of anything or representative of any group other than adult students in a north central Florida college. But as unscientific as it might have been, it certainly did represent something that the people who live and die for causes like supporting Cindy Sheehan or opposing John Roberts all seem to either ignore or completely miss. That is the average American just doesn't know.
We tend to judge other people and their interests by our own. For some reason Democrats are more guilty of this than are Republicans. Republicans, from the days of Ronald Reagan, grasped the concept of a short, hard hitting, sound bite. Bill Clinton stole it from them with "It's the economy, stupid", and it cost the first George Bush the election. What "Bubba" knew instinctively, Gore, Kerry, and the rest of the Democrats all missed as they expounded thoughts and high minded concepts lost to the average person caught up in worrying about their safety and trying to afford a tank of gas and rent. It became very apparent as I read the finished essays.
Cindy Sheehan and John Roberts had little impact on my students. Alone or together, they are no more major issues than were the Downing Street memos or Weapons of Mass Destruction. That fact is reflected in what my students wrote in their assessments.
"What will another meeting with Bush accomplish?" one student wrote. "I feel sorry for her, but the president can't meet with everyone. Her son knew what he was doing when he volunteered and reenlisted."
Another student, a woman, wrote: " Mrs. Sheehan needs to pack it up and get on with her life." She saw no reason for her to be doing what she was.
Still another said: "I think Mrs. Sheehan needs to come to terms with her son's death. She should hold her head high and be proud of the hero that volunteered to save his county."
Of nineteen students who did their own research on a subject they knew nothing about, sixteen were sympathetic to her, but did not agree with what she was doing. Only three supported her completely.
The same held true for John Roberts.
"I think Roberts would be a good replacement. He is at a good age to setting in to this position. If I had to vote I would say yes for him," one student wrote.
Another student, someone who is not a Bush supporter, said: "I agree with the President on how much impact John Roberts can have on society. I also share the President's respect for John Roberts."
Even women who caught on to his stand on Rove v Wade and other issues, including voter's rights, had faith that he would judge issues fairly. "I am for Judge Roberts in spite of some of the issues he has fought against and for. He was doing a job and the people he represented expected him to present their case. That is all he was doing."
I was surprised at the depth and insight some of the students exhibited. Of thirty-one students, twenty supported Roberts rather than opposing him. That is two to one and it shocked me. However, the more I thought about it the more I understood the reason for the outcome.
I had given each class fifty minutes to research subjects they originally knew nothing about. Fifty minutes is a long time and in that time a person can certainly find facts to form an opinion. It is also about forty-five minutes more than most people who recognize the names Cindy Sheehan and John Roberts have spent considering the issues.
I made no attempt to influence their thinking. I let them find their own sources and form their own conclusions. They did not accept Cindy Sheehan as a credible source in opposition to the war and they saw no reason why a bright, young, Federal Appeals Court Judge should not be appointed to the Supreme Court.
What are major issues to the Democrats are of no real importance to my students. I had to think about it. Why? Are the Democrats really disconnected from a large segment of society that for all practical purposes they should own?
I thought about it. These adults were low paid hourly workers, many of them heads of single parent households, all struggling to make ends meet. They are not the wealthy upper or upper middle class. Tax cuts mean nothing to them and a vacation is a week in which they don't have to go to school. They are not in tune with the issues because they are too busy working and trying to make that last buck so they can hang in there one more week.
Not one of them has a moment of spare time to participate in evening vigils, nor can they take a Friday morning to oppose the privatization of Social Security. They don't travel to Washington to demonstrate and they certainly can't take a week to go to Crawford to join Cindy. They can't because they are busy trying to survive their lives.
What was once a party of the common man has now manifested itself into an erudite group of elitists who are too good to deal with the problems that really affect the people who genuinely need some relief. Should we be surprised that Democrats continually lose at the polls?
The Democratic Party has become issue oriented. It responds to the issue at hand and has not set forth an agenda with a clear direction for this nation. While they might understand and embrace their issues with zeal, people worried about day to day life and life issues could really care less. Cindy Sheehan and John Roberts might as well be Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
Even when they are forced to care, as I forced them with the assignment, the issue has to have a major impact on them individually before they will break with the President of the United States. Neither issue has that kind of impact on these adult college students.
The war in Iraq is being fought by a volunteer army and as much as they each dislike the war and the fact our soldiers are dying, it has no personal impact on them. If there was a mandatory draft and their sons and daughters were eligible to fight, then it would become a different issue. That, however, is not the case.
The same holds true for John Roberts. He has even less of an impact on their daily lives than the war in Iraq. They truthfully don't care. If the president believes John Roberts is the man for the job, they will go along with him.
A brutal fact of life, one the Democrats are missing, is my fifty students are representative of Mr., Mrs. and Ms. America. Forget the polls and forget popularity and approval ratings. They mean nothing until an issue has some sort of impact on them. They complain more about the price of a gallon of gas and a gallon of milk than the war or a judicial appointment.
Where are the Democrats on those issues? Why haven't we been hearing Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden speaking out about the price of oil and food? Why aren't they feeling our pain? Why do they go along with the Republicans and remain silent as these real issues slowly strangle the life out of the working people at the bottom? What am I missing here and why are we so wrapped up with concepts rather than fixes?
Could it be they are on the same gravy train as the Republicans? Is it possible the three I mentioned, along with a whole lot more, are very busy cashing in on the generous donations and gifts from the corporations who are cleaning up at our expense?
Maybe, just maybe, Ted, Hillary and Joe have caught on, as have the other Democrats, that being in the minority has its benefits. You really don't have to do a whole lot, just act and talk as if you want to. It is an ingenious concept. No one will ever hold you responsible for anything, and isn't that the dream of every politician?
Perhaps the Democrats, or at least the Democratic leadership isn't missing anything. Perhaps they have finally perfected what they are doing down to a very fine science. Perhaps we are the ones who are missing what has and is really going on. Perhaps, but even a blind dog can occasionally find a flea that is biting it. The leaders might want to take that into consideration.
Bud Beck, also known as Harold Thomas Beck is the former host of the Bud Beck Show and the author of: Ripe For The Picking (The Story of the Kathy Wilson Murder), Cornplanter Chronicles, The First Terrorist Act, and Tyrannus Bush? He is currently teaching English at Webster College.
Blooger Thoughts: Old Info (2004), just happened across. Berlet, of course, wrote an article attempting to discredit David Ray Griffin's arguments from his book: "New Pearl Harbor". Berlet's article is fairly trivial, pointing out the Griffin doesn't prove anything (in the sense of a logical proof). Berlet's approach and tone was a bit like the Popular Mechanics "debunking".
August 21, 2005
Bush Confidante Begins Task of Repairing America's Image Abroad
By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 - For years, President Bush has called on Karen P. Hughes, his confidante from Texas, to help devise replies to attacks from political foes. Now Ms. Hughes, installed at the State Department, plans to set up "rapid response" teams to counter bad news and defend administration policies around the globe.
The teams, to be set up in the Middle East and elsewhere, are one of several initiatives being prepared by Ms. Hughes, who took office this week as under secretary of public diplomacy. The initiatives are part of what Bush administration officials say will be an aggressive drive to repair America's poor image abroad, particularly in Muslim countries.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview this week that the units would "work to deal with misinformation and misinterpretation." During the war in Afghanistan, Ms. Rice said, the administration discovered that it had to rebut "all kinds of lies about what we were doing."
For instance, Ms. Rice said, the administration discovered that allegations of Koran desecration at the Guantánamo Bay detention center, particularly what turned out to be an unfounded report of a Koran being flushed down a toilet, were spread throughout the media in Muslim countries before the United States could respond.
"What we found with rapid response is it does have to be 24-hour and at least a lot of it has to be in the field, not back in Washington, just because of the nature of the time cycle," she said.
In addition, State Department officials say, Ms. Hughes, a former television reporter, plans to lead an interagency "public diplomacy" operating group, including top public affairs officials at the Pentagon, and to change the way Foreign Service officers are evaluated for promotion, placing more emphasis on public relations skills.
Ms. Rice suggested further that the administration would increase funds for educational exchanges and try to make it easier to get visas for such programs. This year, the administration has asked Congress for $430 million to bring students, academics, cultural figures and others to the United States, and to send Americans abroad, a 20 percent increase from last year.
In recent years, State Department officials say, proportionately more of these programs have been focused on the Middle East and South Asia, which now account for about 25 percent of the financing.
Though President Bush and Ms. Rice promised a revamped "public diplomacy" drive in January, it has taken months for Ms. Hughes to begin her job, partly because she has wanted to get her son ready for college. In the summer of 2002, Ms. Hughes resigned from the White House to take her family back to Texas.
Ten days ago, Ms. Hughes laid out her plans for public diplomacy at a meeting with Mr. Bush at the president's ranch in Crawford, Tex. She was joined by Ms. Rice and Ms. Hughes's deputy, Dina Powell, a former White House personnel director. But she has declined interview requests, saying that she needs more time to flesh out her ideas.
Other officials, asking not to be identified because the plans are not final, provided some details, including information about what they said were Ms. Hughes's plans to travel to Europe and the Middle East and to do as much listening as talking on her trips.
She has met with Muslim students, clerics and academics in Washington and with ambassadors of Muslim countries. Early in the week, she directed the State Department to send new summaries of American policies on the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the Iraqi constitution to embassies overseas.
Various independent reports on the problem of public diplomacy have said that most of America's image problems stem from American policies, like the detainees at Guantánamo Bay and support for Israel.
Ms. Rice, in the interview on Wednesday, said that in the future, more weight would be given to public diplomacy in the policy-making process but that this did not mean that the United States would shut down the Guantánamo Bay detention center.
"What I don't want to imply is that we're going to change policy because it's unpopular," Ms. Rice said. "It's a hard problem. Public diplomacy isn't going to help us with the fact that there's still some hard problems that we're going to have to deal with."
Some State Department officials involved in public diplomacy for many years say that Ms. Hughes's arrival will simply reinforce practices already being carried out.
Among the officials consulted by Ms. Hughes is Edward P. Djerejian, a former ambassador and White House spokesman, who headed a task force that concluded in 2003 that hostility toward the United States had reached "shocking" levels.
Mr. Djerejian said that in talking with Ms. Hughes and Ms. Rice, it was clear that they understood that roughly 80 percent of the explanation for the poor American image stemmed from American policies, but that much could be done to improve the communication of those policies to affect the other 20 percent.
He said he expected that Ms. Hughes would more closely track what was said about the United States on the television networks Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya and in other Arab news media and try to counter bad publicity quickly. The effort to respond to reports on Koran desecration, he said, was "a disaster."
Some State Department officials said part of the problem in that episode was the difficulty of having the State Department defending policies on detaining suspected terrorists when the policies were made by the Pentagon.
Officials at Al Jazeera, for example, said they invited a Pentagon spokesman to discuss the Koran allegations but could not get anyone to go on the air. Pentagon public affairs officials countered that they were unaware of the requests from Al Jazeera.
Mr. Djerejian said his committee had recommended that a high-level official at the White House be in charge of the administration's public diplomacy but dropped that idea when Ms. Hughes was appointed at the State Department because of her closeness to the White House.
"Conceptually and strategically they are seized with the importance of this problem," said Mr. Djerejian, referring to Ms. Hughes and Ms. Rice. "They have the ability to do something about it because they have the ear of the president."
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
Blogger Comment: Same story again, but worthing repeating
Detractors dismiss Discovery as a fundamentalist front and intelligent design as a clever rhetorical detour around the 1987 Supreme Court ruling banning creationism from curriculums.
AN INNOCENT MAN SHOT DEAD ON THE LONDON TUBE BY POLICE ... since then everything we’ve been told has been wrong. - [Sunday Herald]
"Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson called for “the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen” to protest President Bush’s appearance Monday before a national veterans convention."
SENATE PROBERS TALK TO 'PRE-9/11' WHISTLEBLOWER
By NILES LATHEM
WASHINGTON — The military intelligence official who recently disclosed that a secret Pentagon computer unit was blocked from alerting the FBI to the presence of the 9/11 hijackers in the United States has met with Senate investigators, in advance of possible hearings this fall.
Mark Zaid, a lawyer for Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, confirmed to The Post his client briefed the staff of Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) about Able Danger, the Pentagon unit set up to look for terror threats within the states.
Shaffer's claims that Able Danger detected the presence of 9/11 lead hijacker Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers has created an uproar.
The 9/11 commission and the Pentagon say they've seen no documentary evidence to support Shaffer's claims.
But Republicans in Congress are interested in probing Shaffer's claim that Able Danger managers were blocked by the Clinton administration from disclosing their evidence to the FBI.
The information was supposedly blocked for fear of violating laws barring the military from domestic spying.
Able Danger — whose work remains classified — was run out of the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., in 2000. It was shut down after nine months.
Shaffer, the Defense Intelligence Agency liaison to the unit, also claims there are other members of Able Danger who want to come forward but are still on active duty and may be barred from speaking.
NEW YORK POST is a registered trademark of NYP Holdings, Inc. NYPOST.COM, NYPOSTONLINE.COM, and NEWYORKPOST.COMare trademarks of NYP Holdings, Inc. Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.
By E&P Staff
Published: August 20, 2005 1:30 PM ET
NEW YORK In what must be a first, the editor of The New York Times has written a letter to the editor ripping a recent book review in his own paper.
The lengthy broadside by Bill Keller, executive editor, appears in tomorrow’s edition of The New York Times Book Review. Others, including Bill Moyers and Eric Alterman, join Keller in protesting the review of several recent books on the media. That review, by conservative legal scholar Richard A. Posner, appeared on July 31.
Keller calls the Posner essay “mostly a regurgitation, as tendentious and cynical as the worst of the books he consumed.”
He charges that Posner “weirdly” makes almost no distinction “within the vast category of American media, between those that are aggressively partisan and those that strive to keep opinion sequestered from news, between outlets that invest in serious reporting and those that simply riff on the reporting of others, between the sensational and the more high-minded, between organizations that hasten to correct errors and those that could not care less, between the cartoonish shout shows on cable TV and the more ambitious journalism of, say, the paper you are holding in your hands.
“Then he swallows almost uncritically the conventional hogwash of partisan critics on both sides: that '’the media’ (as accused from the right) work in tireless pursuit of a liberal agenda, and that they have (as accused from the left) become docile house pets of the Bush administration because they fear offending the powers that be.
“Finally, to explain the workings of this undifferentiated ‘media,’ simultaneously liberal and supine, he applies his trademark theory of market determinism. Whether conspiratorially or instinctively (Posner is unclear on this), the media have changed course in response to economic threats. The liberal news organizations, he says, have become even more liberal in order to protect their market share — to secure their base — in times of mounting competition from blogs and conservative cable upstarts. At the same time they have grown more timid for fear of offending the '’social consensus, however dumb or even vicious the consensus.’ (He may despise the media, dear reader, but Posner doesn't think much of you, either.) In his view, the news media are '’just satisfying a consumer demand no more elevated or consequential than the demand for cosmetic surgery in Brazil or bullfights in Spain.’ In this, Posner the polemicist is sadly consistent with Posner the federal appeals court judge, who has been notably hostile to the idea that the First Amendment affords journalists special protections. …
“The saddest thing is that Judge Posner's market determinism leaves no room for the other dynamics I've witnessed in my 35 years in newspapers: the idealism of reporters who think they can make the world better, the intellectual satisfaction of puzzling through a complicated issue, the competitive gratification of being first to discover a buried story, the pride in striving to uphold a professional code of fair play, the quest for peer recognition and, yes, the feedback from attentive and thoughtful readers. He makes no allowance for the possibility that conscientious reporters and editors are capable of setting aside their personal beliefs or standing up to their advertisers (and the prejudices of their readers) to do work they believe in.”
Tags: 9/11 09/11/2001 Weldon FBI Atta Hijackers Deception Commission
Nowhere To Run
I had an idea occur to me yesterday, and in researching it, I found more than enough material to support the contention. But yet, I had the feeling that something was missing. As it turns out, something WAS missing, and I was far from the first to discover this phenomenon.
As luck would have it, someone who noticed this actually took the time not only to name this phenomenon, but to describe both how they derived its existance and how they define it: the ghost in the news.