Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Killer in Chief

Killer in Chief by Allan Nairn at

I first heard of Allan Nairn sometime back around the early nineties. He was one of the leading journalist going into East Timor and documenting the Indonesian attrocities there. At one point, him and Amy Goodman were hiding in the bushes outside a village that was being massacred.

Don't hear from him so often these days, but he's got a nice short piece up on

As Americans today justly celebrate their sweet win over the country's own racism they should at the same time see that they are now installing the world's new killer in chief. Obama , on taking office, will inherit a state pre-programmed in ways that kill civilians, a vast, globe-spanning machine on autopilot, unconstrained by murder law.

As president, Obama will instantly become the world's number one arms dealer, number one trainer of secret police, number one detonator of bombs, and number one sponsor of forces, US and foreign, that by objective definition do terrorism.

If Obama doesn't stop this immediately upon taking office ...

he'll become responsible for mass murders, and the first victims will likely fall sometime between today's swearing-in and the last inaugural ball.

What else do I see in the news today. Obama's team is working on a 'draft' order that would keep Gitmo open for up to one more year.

When do we start trying to impeach Obama? As Mr. Nairn points out, he probably became a war criminal yesterday before the million dollar balls were over.

UNRWA Chief Appalled at Israeli Destruction in Gaza

UNRWA Chief Appalled at Israeli Destruction in Gaza by Thalif Deen of IPS at

"The Israelis violated every single international convention governing the rules of war and the treatment of civilians," he told IPS. "Their military excesses can, in no way, be justified."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who praised Israel at a press conference in Jerusalem last week, describing the Jewish state as "a responsible member of the United Nations," apparently had second thoughts when he saw the devastation caused in Gaza.

Standing outside a UN compound that was destroyed by Israel, Ban told reporters Tuesday: "I am just appalled. Everyone is smelling this bombing still. It is still burning. It is an outrageous and totally unacceptable attack against the United Nations."

Despite pleas from the secretary-general, Israel bombed UN-run facilities, including schools and warehouses, on four different occasions.

One of the bomb attacks on the UNRWA compound took place on the same day Ban arrived in Israel.

Ok, you know the last bit wasn't an accident. So, what was it? A message to the UN not to mess with Israel or else face terror bombing? Is that why Mr. Ban was being so polite to Israel in his statements while in Israel?

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the final tally read: 1,314 Palestinians killed, including 416 children and 106 women; 5,320 injured, including 1,855 children and 795 women.

In comparison, the number of Israelis killed included four civilians and nine soldiers, along with 84 injured.

And according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the buildings destroyed included 4,100 residential homes (with 17,000 damaged), 20 mosques, 25 educational institutions and medical facilities, 31 security offices, 16 government buildings, and 1,500 factories and shops.

The Office of the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator pointed out that 16 health facilities and an equal number of ambulances were destroyed or damaged during the 22-day conflict.

20 mosques ... 25 schools and hospitals. One can be an accident. But that many of each? What does the civilized world think of a nation that deliberately bombs schools, hospitals and religious buildings? (well, the 'civilized world' paid for it and cheered it on, at least its official organs and government bodies did).

And 16 ambulances were shot up. Think about that for a moment.

Speaking from Gaza, Ging told reporters that the population in Gaza remains shell-shocked, traumatized, and living in real fear.

Asked about the "most outrageous" incident he had witnessed, Ging said: "The dead children."

The dead children indeed.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I tried flipping the Inaguration on TV. It was late. I got laid off from my job last week, so today I'd slept late. By the time I flipped on, the speech and ceremonies were over. So it was just CNN talking heads blathering away. I listened to it for about 30 seconds and couldn't take any more. I'll have to go find a video or transcript of what Obama said somewhere else.

What I couldn't take was more of this blather about how this was a historic day because a man with non-white skin was elected. I'd heard way too much on Monday about how this was the cumlination of Dr. King's Dream. Really?

Was Dr. King's dream really that some Republican with darker skin would be elected as President to continue more Republican rule. And make no mistake, especially back in Dr. King's day, Obama would have been a far right Republican.

Go back and read Dr. King's speech at Riverside Church about the Vietnam war, then ask whether having a black man continue all the wars started by Bush is the culmination of Dr. King's dream. His dream was that we all find a way to live peacefully with each other. Not that a black man be in charge of the killings.

Go back and look at the Poor People's march on Washington that Dr. King was organizing when he died, and ask yourself if having a black man keep Wall Street in charge of the economy was really Dr. King's dream? Or was he dreaming of something more like economic justice for all of us. Remember that Dr. King was in Memphis on that fatal day helping a bunch of garbage men try to organize a union. Can you picture President Obama even talking to a bunch of guys who ride the garbage trucks in between his dinners with neo-cons and his Wall Street friends?

Is it a historic day that all the crimes of the last eight years are being approved and validated? That none of the money that was stolen is coming back. That no one will be facing any charges for the theft of millions, for fraud, for torture and crimes against humanity? Is it a historic day that the Republicans and the generals still control the military and our 'foreign policy', and that Wall Street still controls the money? Is it a historic day that all the rights that we've lost are going to stay gone and that this administration is going to spy on us just like the last two administrations?

Sorry, I couldn't take much of the blather on the TV set today.

Don't get me wrong. If Obama wants to be a force for good in the world, I'd love to see it happen and I'd be glad to support him. But I just don't see it. Seems to me like all that happened was that they changed the face on the stage, but otherwise, nothing much has changed. I hope Obama proves me wrong.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Under Obama, feds may still snoop library files

Under Obama, feds may still snoop library files from SF Chronicle

President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general has endorsed an extension of the law that allows federal agents to demand Americans' library and bookstore records as part of terrorism probes, dismaying a national group of independent booksellers.

Eric Holder said at his confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he supports renewing a section of the USA Patriot Act that allows FBI agents investigating international terrorism or espionage to seek records from businesses, libraries and bookstores. If not renewed by Congress, the provision will expire at the end of 2009.

The searches must be authorized by a court that meets secretly and has approved the government's requests in nearly all cases, according to congressional reports. The target of the search does not have to be suspected of terrorism or any other crime. A permanent gag order that accompanies each search prohibits the business or library from telling anyone about it.

Wow, that's a big change from the last bunch. I really like the Democrats supporting the bit about ...

The target of the search does not have to be suspected of terrorism or any other crime.

Of course, if anyone is really surprised about this, remember that the Democrats voted almost unanimously for the Patriot Act that put this into law in the first place. The Democrats always talk like they oppose this stuff, but they always, repeat ALWAYS, support it when it really comes up for a decision.