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Sat, 23 Sep 2023
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US: How Our Government Has Merged With Corporations

© Alternet
The government of the United States is largely rented to corporations.

The 20th century was the bloodiest and most violent in human history. This led some countries to fascism - a system characterized by the state and large business becoming almost indistinguishable. The first decade of the 21st century suffers from that anti-democratic legacy.

The government of the United States, for example, is largely rented to corporations. Big business sends multiple thousands of lobbyists to Washington, DC, to buy favors and get their point of view across in Congress and the executive branch: The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the new war in Libya have been a boon to munitions manufacturers, "security" companies and private mercenary armies. They are part of a permanent war economy, making the US the world's sheriff.

This so-called "defense" has spawned America's largest businesses, besides being the mother of the military-industrial complex. One company, Lockheed Martin, gets more than $29 billion per year for making weapons for the Pentagon. Lockheed Martin also makes foreign policy for America.(1)


Bomb Targets French Embassy Car in Iraq

© AFP, Ali al-Saadi
Smoke billows from a burning car after an attack on a French embassy convoy
Baghdad - A bomb exploded next to a French embassy car in south Baghdad on Monday wounding seven Iraqis, but four French security personnel inside the armoured vehicle escaped unhurt, the embassy and Iraqi sources said.

The embassy told AFP the bomb exploded as a single armoured car with four French guards on board was passing, but an interior ministry official said the improvised bomb was aimed at a French convoy and that four Iraqi guards protecting it were wounded, together with three passers-by.

"The bomb targeted a passing French diplomatic convoy. Four Iraqi guards protecting the convoy were hurt, and three people passing by were also wounded," the interior ministry official told AFP immediately after the explosion.

A medical source at Ibn Nafis hospital said it had received seven wounded Iraqis, among them four guards.

The bomb struck near the French ambassador's residence in the Mesbah district of southern Baghdad, and an embassy vehicle damaged by the explosion was left at the site, an AFP journalist said.

"A single armoured vehicle carrying four French embassy guards was damaged by a roadside bomb at 8:17 am (0517 GMT)," said Denis Gauer, the French ambassador who recently arrived in Baghdad to take up his post.

Red Flag

US: Vietnam Agent Orange Cleanup Starts

© Activist Post
Editor's Note: Taxpayers paid Monsanto to make it, paid for the medical effects on soldiers, and now are paying to clean up the toxic environment left in Monsanto's trail of death. Interestingly, Monsanto's name does not appear anywhere in this article.

Hanoi - The first step of a US-funded operation to clean up Agent Orange contamination at a wartime American base in Vietnam began Friday, officials said, almost four decades after the end of the conflict.

Authorities started by removing unexploded ordnance at the site, part of the grounds of an airport in the central Vietnamese city of Danang, having identified it as a "hot spot" of potentially cancer-causing dioxin.

"This effort is a key first step... to clean up the dioxin-contaminated soil and sediment at the airport," the US embassy said in a statement.

The project will remove dioxin from 29 hectares (71.6 acres) of soil "that can be used for economic and commercial activities, and reduce human exposure to the chemical and potential health impacts," Vietnamese Major General Do Minh Tuan said in the release.

Comment: The following article The World According to Monsanto: The History of Agent Orange has video footage that summarizes the history of Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide produced by Monsanto, Dow Chemical, and other companies.


Obama's Broken Promises

The US president blazed a path to the White House on a platform that promised a complete break with George W Bush.

© Reuters
A protester in Colombo, Sri Lanka rails against US military involvement in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan
For the first time in a decade, the mainstream Republican consensus around war in the Middle East and western Asia is fractured. During a recent debate among candidates for the Republican Party's nomination for president, former Massachusetts state governor Mitt Romney declared that US troops ought to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan as soon as possible. That sentiment was echoed by several other debate participants. At the same time, US President Barack Obama appears to be incapable of ending any of America's ongoing wars. Therefore, one of several Republican presidential candidates may be preferable to the incumbent, at least among people who would like to see an end to US-led military adventures.

Barack Obama blazed a path to the White House on a platform that promised a complete break with the George W Bush presidency. On Guantanamo Bay, rendition, corporate accountability, finance reform, habeas corpus, illegal wiretapping, domestic spying, whistleblowers, Afghanistan - and a host of other issues - the current president promised change. In reality, however, he only offered continuity and in some cases, such as the prosecution of whistle blowers and the assassination of US citizens overseas, he outstripped his predecessor's zeal.

Many people who took Obama's campaign promises at face value were disappointed by the gaping chasm between his words and actions. The president famously derided liberals' credulity and purported naiveté at a $30,000-a-plate fundraising dinner; they expected too much change too quickly, he said. But as Glenn Greenwald noted recently, the main problem isn't that change is coming too slowly, it's that the president is "doing the opposite [of changing the dynamic]". Indeed, on most meaningful counts, this president has engineered the entrenchment and growth of the Bush-era security state and imperial presidency.

Bizarro Earth

Letter: Defund Unconstitutional Wars

© Alex Wong/Getty Images
It is now being reported that President Barack Obama is engaged in a covert war in Yemen. That makes at least five wars in the Middle East that the U.S. is involved in. Which Middle Eastern country is next? The Democrats were attacking former President George W. Bush for invading Afghanistan and Iraq. When the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 they had the chance to end the wars, but they did nothing. Now the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives and are calling for balancing the budget and reducing the debt. If they are truly serious about reducing the deficit, they should start by defunding these unconstitutional wars that are costing untold billions of dollars. The Federal government is broke. The U.S. can no longer afford to be the Police Force for the "New World Order." It is time other countries start to provide for their own defense.

Bad Guys

Obama Libya War Powers Debate: Obama's Lawyers Are Worse Than Bush's, Glenn Greenwald Says

© The Associated Press
President Barack Obama overruled top lawyers from the Justice Department and the Pentagon and decided he has the legal authority to continue the air war in Libya without congressional approval, the New York Times reported Friday night.
Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military's activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to "hostilities." Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team -- including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh -- who argued that the United States military's activities fell short of "hostilities." Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.


Israelis decry US refusal to let spy see dying father

© AFP/David Buimovitch
Israelis protest in front of the US embassy in the coastal city of Tel Aviv to call for the release of Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard. Several Israeli leaders on Sunday urged the United States to allow jailed Pollard to attend his father's funeral, after he was not granted permission to join him at his bedside before he died.
Several Israeli leaders on Sunday urged the United States to allow jailed Jewish-American spy Jonathan Pollard to attend his father's funeral, after he was not granted permission to join him at his bedside before he died.

Several politicians had tried in vain to convince US authorities to allow Pollard, who is serving life imprisonment, to visit his father before his death on Saturday.

"I know that the prime minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) did his best to enable Pollard to see his sick father," Culture Minister Limor Livnat told reporters.

"Unfortunately, there was no response to our requests for Pollard to meet his father before his death," said Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz.

Arrow Up

Moody's threat to downgrade Italian debt raises eurozone contagion fears

© Unknown
Italy's potential downgrade highlights the risks facing indebted European countries as they struggle to avoid a Greece-style crisis.
Moody's has threatened to cut Italy's credit ratings on concerns over a possible rise in eurozone interest rates may derail the country's fragile economic recovery, raising more fears of contagion from the Greek debt crisis

Moody's announcement placing Italy's Aa2 rating on review for downgrade of the next 90 days came after European markets had closed for the weekend.

The agency said structural weaknesses such as a rigid labor market posed a challenge to growth.

Italy's potential downgrade highlights the risks facing indebted European countries as they struggle to avoid a Greece-style crisis.

Markets are worried that Italy, like Greece, will struggle to make the necessary spending cuts and other fiscal measures needed to cut its debts to affordable levels.


Syria Sacks 'Comical Sally' After Her Posh Accent and Bizarre Excuses for Atrocities Fail to Fool the World

  • Haddad axed after claim Syrians are fleeing imposters in stolen army uniform
  • She also said flood of terrified refugees are visiting 'relatives' in Turkey
  • Troops storm town of Maaret al-Numan as EU prepares sanctions
For weeks she has been ridiculed for putting forward outlandish explanations for Syrian atrocities - all in a perfect cut-glass English accent.

But the Damascus regime has finally ditched its flame-haired spokesman Reem Haddad, otherwise known as 'Comical Sally'.

Haddad was absent from the airwaves yesterday in the wake of a series of interviews in which she has bizarrely claimed residents were fleeing 'armed groups' dressed in stolen army uniform, and the flood of refugees to Syria were doing the equivalent 'visiting the next street'.

She also accused journalists of being swept up in an 'eyewitness phenomenon' when she was faced with requests for independent verification of her 'facts'.


Axed: Reem Haddad said Syrian refugees were fleeing 'armed groups' who had stolen army uniforms

Bad Guys

IDF holds drill simulating mass missile attacks across Israel

© Alon Ron
Home Front Command drill in Tel Aviv
Home Front Command launches fifth major drill to prepare civilians in case of attack; sirens to sound across country on Wednesday, when citizens will be requested to retreat to nearby shelters.

The Israel Defense Forces began a nation-wide Home Front defense drill on Sunday, to prepare security forces for an array of possible attacks.

The exercise, codenamed Turning Point 5, includes a number of scenarios, including a strike on a power plant, missiles being fired at targets across the country and one of hackers breaching into key Israeli computer systems.