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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters

Star of David

Israel: God's Chosen Rogues

There is no country in the world - perhaps in history - like Israel. It has done wonderful things like turning deserts into lush agricultural farms. It has also turned itself into a singularly evil State. Its resort to cruelty against Palestinians has few parallels in modern history. Its nuclear hypocrisy is unparalleled too.

Israel's greatest exceptionality is the immunity it commands in the world. It can do pretty much what it likes - and get away with it. Other countries get damned by "the international community" for all kinds of assorted sins: India is attacked for not signing the nuclear proliferation treaty; Iran is threatened for following a nuclear policy; Iraq was blown up for possessing nuclear arms it never possessed; China and Russia are criticised for persecuting their dissidents; Serbs and African leaders are tried for war crimes.

War Whore

Human-rights Lawyers say George W. Bush Should be Prosecuted for Torture in Canada


Matt Eisenbrandt and Katherine Gallagher released a 70-page indictment laying out the legal case for prosecuting George W. Bush.
Legal groups in Canada and the United States have asked Justice Minister Robert Nicholson to open a criminal investigation against former U.S. president George W. Bush.

At a news conference today at the Vancouver Public Library central branch, two lawyers explained why there is a factual and legal case to hold Bush legally accountable in Canada for torture.

Katherine Gallagher, a senior lawyer with the U.S.-based Center for Constitutional Rights, said that a 70-page indictment and more than 4,000 pages of supporting material have been delivered to Nicholson in his role as the attorney general of Canada.

She said that this provides the legal basis for investigating and ultimately charging Bush under the Criminal Code of Canada's torture provisions. She indicated that this should occur when he visits the Vancouver suburb of Surrey on October 20 for a speaking engagement.

"Over the last 10 years, our organization, working on behalf of individual survivors of torture and individual detainees at Guantanamo Bay, has tried to seek accountability and an end to the torture program in the United States," Gallagher said. "As you all likely know, there has been no investigation and certainly no prosecution of George Bush for his individual criminal responsibility for torture. We have also tried to hold U.S. officials accountable in various European countries, including France and Germany, and we have an ongoing investigation that we are a part of in Spain."

Arrow Down

US Drone Strike Kills Three in Pakistan

© Bonny Schoonakker/Agence France-Presse
A US Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile
A US drone strike on Friday killed three Taliban fighters in Pakistan's tribal badlands bordering Afghanistan, blowing their vehicle into a ball of flames, local officials said.

It was the first deadly missile strike in a week and comes as Washington appeared to ease pressure on Islamabad demanding action against the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network based in the North Waziristan tribal district.

The militants were killed in Baghar village of neighbouring South Waziristan, where the Pakistan military carried out a sweeping offensive against homegrown militants in late 2009.

"A US drone fired two missiles at a vehicle and at least three militants were killed," a senior Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to media.

Bad Guys

Sex and the Single Drone: The Latest in Guarding the Empire

Predator drone
In the world of weaponry, they are the sexiest things around. Others countries are desperate to have them. Almost anyone who writes about them becomes a groupie. Reporters exploring their onrushing future swoon at their potentially wondrous techno-talents. They are, of course, the pilotless drones, our grimly named Predators and Reapers.

As CIA Director, Leon Panetta called them "the only game in town." As Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates pushed hard to up their numbers and increase their funding drastically. The U.S. Air Force is already training more personnel to become drone "pilots" than to pilot actual planes. You don't need it in skywriting to know that, as icons of American-style war, they are clearly in our future -- and they're even heading for the homeland as police departments clamor for them.

They are relatively cheap. When they "hunt," no one dies (at least on our side). They are capable of roaming the world. Someday, they will land on the decks of aircraft carriers or, tiny as hummingbirds, drop onto a windowsill, maybe even yours, or in their hundreds, the size of bees, swarm to targets and, if all goes well, coordinate their actions using the artificial intelligence version of "hive minds."

"The drone," writes Jim Lobe of Inter Press Service, "has increasingly become the [Obama] administration's 'weapon of choice' in its efforts to subdue al-Qaeda and its affiliates." In hundreds of attacks over the last years in the Pakistani tribal borderlands, they have killed thousands, including al-Qaeda figures, Taliban militants, and civilians. They have played a significant and growing role in the skies over Afghanistan. They are now loosing their missiles ever more often over Yemen, sometimes over Libya, and less often over Somalia. Their bases are spreading. No one in Congress will be able to resist them. They are defining the new world of war for the twenty-first century -- and many of the humans who theoretically command and control them can hardly keep up.

Bad Guys

US Congress blocks £128m in aid for Palestinians

© Gary Dwight Miller/ Zuma Press/Corbis
A group of Palestinians rally in New York while President Mahmoud Abbas calls for the UN to formally recognise the Palestinian state.
Palestinian Authority accuses Congress of holding back aid to punish Mahmoud Abbas' bid for UN statehood.

The Palestinian Authority has accused the US of "collective punishment", after the US Congress blocked $200m (£128m) in aid in response to President Mahmoud Abbas' bid for UN statehood.

The decision to freeze the payments was reportedly made by three congressional committees on 18 August, before Abbas' planned bid for statehood recognition at the UN the following month.

The funds, intended for food aid, health care, and infrastructure projects, were supposed to have been transferred within the US financial year, which ends today. The Obama administration is reportedly negotiating with congressional leaders to unlock the aid.


Corruption in high places is rampant in France: French 'supercop' arrested on suspicion of colluding with drugs barons

© Philippe Merle/AFP
Corruption in high places: Michel Neyret of the Lyon Police force.
Lyon's deputy police chief suspected of compensating informants with batches of confiscated drugs and working with criminals

The French police force has been shaken by what could become its biggest corruption scandal in decades after Lyon's deputy police chief, nicknamed "Supercop" for his fight against drugs, was arrested on suspicion of colluding with international drugs barons.

Michel Neyret, 55, the bouffant-haired and charismatic Lyon detective, was arrested at home along with his wife and is being held in custody.

He is suspected of having compensated informants with batches of confiscated drugs; police claim that Nyret then worked with the criminals to resell the products. He is being questioned about corruption, international drugs trafficking and money-laundering.

Neyret, however, is regarded as a hero for his success in cutting drug crime and stopping jewellery heists in the Lyon area. He had appeared regularly in the media to talk about Lyon's success in busting crime; he was also a script adviser on a recent feature film about Lyon gang crime.

Comment: This is the kind of police force that is "investigating" SOTT/QFG?


Absence of Evidence: The Progressive Policy of Imperial Murder

drone strike
© Unknown
Aftermath of unmanned US drone strike in Pakistan
The president of the United States murdered two American citizens this morning. He had some nameless functionary -- who was sitting comfortably and safely at a computer console somewhere on a well-guarded, probably secret military base -- push a button. A missile was then fired from a robot drone buzzing maleovently in the sky over Yemen. The missile then murdered two American citizens who -- let it be carefully noted -- had not even been charged with a crime, much less tried and convicted in a court of law of any offense.

The New York Times story on the murders relates a number of accusations against the chief target of the attack, Anwar al-Awlaki. Assertions are made, mostly by anonymous officials, that al-Awlaki was "operationally" involved in terrorist plots, although not a shred of evidence for this "operational" involvement has been offered. (Another American, Samir Khan, was also reported to have been killed in the drone hit. It goes without saying that Khan had also not been charged with any crime nor was there any evidence that he ever took part in a terrorist operation.)

It is true that the two American citizens murdered by the president did engage in a great deal of fiery rhetoric urging violent uprising against the American state. This might not be very nice -- but it does happen to be protected speech under the Constitution of the United States. Of course, that quaint document from the horse-and-buggy era has long since ceased to apply, even fitfully and imperfectly, to the operations of the United States government.

Che Guevara

Martial Law and the Authoritarian Follower

© Unknown
On the 22nd of September, Ark and I were on the road to Marseille where he was scheduled on the 23rd to give a seminar at Luminy for a select group of French scientists. The expenses for our trip were covered by the French University system. Thus, it was particularly ironic to receive a phone call from my children telling me that convocations from the Police Judiciaire in Toulouse had just been delivered by the local police (most of whom know us and can't figure out what is up with those people in Toulouse - but they do their jobs). Needless to say, this was disturbing. But, our trip wasn't entirely spoiled because we had a good time meeting with Ark's colleagues and telling them about the witch-hunt over dinner.

Monday morning of this week, I received two books in the mail from a professor of psychology in Montenegro (educated in the U.S.) which had been rudely torn open, and stapled shut. The next day, a package from Germany, sent to me, but for my daughter, containing a set of coloring markers, had similarly been ripped open and barely re-closed. The following day, a letter from my insurance company arrived having been slit open, and then taped shut at the top. Today, a package sent from a friend containing sheep's butter had been opened...


Can U.S. legally kill a citizen overseas without due process?

Is it legal for the federal government to kill a U.S. citizen overseas, someone who has never been charged or convicted of a crime? Civil liberties groups are condemning the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, but many legal scholars say it is justified.

No U.S. court has ever weighed in on the question, because judges consider these sorts of issues exclusively matters for the president.


Canada-U.S. border-patrolling aircraft hunt 'bad people doing bad things'

unmanned aircraft
© Paul Koring/The Globe and Mail
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has used these unmanned aircraft to monitor the 49th parallel since 2009
Unmanned aircraft fly the skies south of the 49th parallel in an effort to bolster border security

The unmanned planes look north toward the long, lightly defended and admittedly porous Canada-U.S. border - the best route many Americans believe for jihadists seeking to attack the United States to sneak across.

Like their missile-carrying military cousins prowling Pakistan's skies targeting al-Qaeda suspects, the unarmed Predator aircraft that have patrolled the 49th parallel since 2009 are high-tech, sophisticated and little understood. And they are part of the same diffuse and determined effort the Unites States is making to secure its borders and defend itself.

"We're here to protect the nation from bad people doing bad things," says John Priddy, U.S. National Air Security Operations director for the Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine. He heads the Predator operation guarding American's northern airspace.

Comment: Since terrorism is the fabricated lie spread by the US war-mongers in order to advance their tactics of invading other countries and confiscating their natural resources (of which Canada has in abundance still) it is only natural to conclude that the Predators (interesting name, no?) are there to invade Canadian privacy, no matter what the "reassurances" are from the US side of the fence.