Saturday, May 14, 2011

Obama's Indonesian Death Squads

Last July, Obama restored aid to a notorious Indonesian unit called Kopassus. The aid had been cut off at the time of East Timor because of the pile of evidence that this unit was involved in torture, killings and other atrocities. So, of course, Obama had to restore aid to this unit under the guise of 'fighting terrorism'.

Instead, what this unit does is to attack the people of Indonesia. Especially in the West Papua region where people are struggling for Independence.

Journalist Allain Nairn has released leaked documents detailing the crimes and atrocities of this US backed terror unit.

Kopassus is the most notorious unit of Indonesia's armed forces, TNI, which along with POLRI, the national police, have killed civilians by the hundreds of thousands.

Yep, that sounds like America's kind of people. US 'Intelligence' had of course maintained ties to Kopassus during the cutoff of aid to the killers. After all, we can't abandon our kind of people when they are faced with people demanding freedom.

When the US restored Kopassus aid last July the rationale was fighting terrorism, but the documents show that Kopassus in fact systematically targets civilians.

A detailed 25-page secret report by a Kopassus task force in Kotaraja, Papua defines Kopassus' number-one "enemy" as unarmed civilians. It calls them the "separatist political movement" "GSP/P, " lists what they say are the top 15 leaders and discusses the "enemy order of battle."

All of those listed are civilians, starting with the head of the Baptist Synod of Papua. The others include evangelical ministers, activists, traditional leaders, legislators, students and intellectuals as well as local establishment figures and the head of the Papua Muslim Youth organization.

The secret Kopassus study says that in their 400,000 - person area of operations the civilians they target as being political are "much more dangerous than" any armed opposition since the armed groups "hardly do anything" but the civilians -- with popular support -- have "reached the outside world" with their "obsession" with "merdeka" (independence/ freedom) and persist in "propagating the issue of severe human rights violations in Papua," ie. "murders and abductions that are done by the security forces."

Yep, that's official US policy from the land of the free. We finance the killers of human beings whose only crime is that they want "merdeka" or "independence/freedom".

But hey, Indonesia has oil. Guess which side the US is on? Is it going to be on the side of the people who have oil? Or, is the US on the side of the people who are doing radical things like holding press conferences where they talk about independence or freedom? When that starts to occur in a country that has oil, one can expect to see Washington's bullets flying again. Doesn't matter if its Indonesia or Bahrain.

Given that the Kopassus report states as settled fact that security forces do "murder, abduction," those who they define as being the enemy can be presumed to be in some danger.

In its' discussion of "State of the enemy" Kopassus identifies the enemy with two kinds of actions: "the holding of press conferences" where they "always criticize the government and the work being done by the security forces" and the holding of private meetings where they engage in the same kind of prohibited speech. (LAPORAN TRIWULAN p. 9)

And yes Virginia, you are paying for this. Obama's administration re-started aid to this Kopassus group last year. The man does love his killers.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Honduras is Open for Business / Plunder

Honduras Is Open For Plunder

Click on this link for a must-read account of an SOA Watch delegation to Hondurus.

Change did arrive that June 28th. Only not in the anticipated form but in one that was all too familiar - at the barrel of a gun and on the orders of School of the Americas graduates. President Manuel Zelaya was picked up from the presidential palace in his pajamas and deposited on the runway of San Jose, Costa Rica. What followed was familiar script:a swell of resistance brutally repressed, media voices of truth silenced, and an "election" conveniently held to whitewash a coup (never mind that there were few electors and no observers). End of the story, according to the State Department, time to move on.

To what? To business as usual, albeit at a cost of some 80 deaths. As our delegation arrived in Honduras, so did 350 businesses from around the world, including some of the globe´s biggest billionaires. A conference convened by "President" Lobo called "Honduras is Open for Business" was taking place at the same time.

and ...

This dynamic duo of government leaders and business moguls is using murder and repression to try to hold a growing resistance movement at bay with fear. All this, however, would not be possible without a third player: the U.S. government. Funds from our government´s coffers continue to train many of their military and police and provide them with helicopters, tanks, guns, tear gas and more. This point was made graphicially at a meeting that our delegation held with families of victims since the coup. Mery Agurcia, a human rights activist with COFADEH, held up a tear gas canister, "made in the USA", collected at the same site of where teacher Ilse Velasquez died after a a similar one hit struck her violently in the head.

More Catastrophe

Meanwhile, we get to see the best 'democracy in the middle east' in action. The Palestinians like to mark what they call the Nakba ... that is the catastrophe. For Israel, its a celebration of independence, but for the Palestinians, the same day is known as the catastrophe.

Israel doesn't like to be reminded of the ethnic cleansing that was a part of their nation's founding. They like to believe this myth that the land was empty before they arrived, so having Palestinians marking the day of catastrophe of when they lost that land seems to upset the Israelis.

Teen critically injured as Israel cracks down on Nakba demos from the International Solidarity Movement.

17 year-old was critically injured from live fire in East Jerusalem. An American protester suffered serious head injury after being hit by a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him from close range.

Israeli military and police forces responded heavy handedly to demonstrations commemorating 63 years to the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948 today all over the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Morad Ayyash, a 17 year old from the Ras el-Amud neighborhood was shot in the stomach with live ammunition. He has reached the Muqassed hospital with no pulse and the doctors are now fighting for his life.

Tension also rose in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where 19 protesters have been injured and 11 were arrested. During the evening hours, large police forces raided houses in Silwan and carried out additional arrests.

In the village of Ma’asara, south of Bethlehem, two protesters were arrested during a peaceful demonstration that was attacked with tear-gas for no apparent reason. One of those arrested is a member of the village’s popular committee. In Nabi Saleh – a regular target for military aggression recently – soldiers and Border Police officers injured no less than 25 protesters, including a Palestinian women in her 50s who was beaten up so badly that her wounds required her removal from the Salfeet Hospital to the bigger and more advanced Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus. A 25 year-old American demonstrator suffered a serious head injury and an Israeli activist was diagnosed with two open fractures in his hand. Both were injured by tear-gas projectiles shot directly at them from short range, in violation of the Israeli Army’s open fire regulations. Four protesters were arrested in Nabi Saleh, including two Palestinian women.

At least in the US we don't go slaughter the Indians again on every Fourth of July. Well, I should probably be careful with that, because somewhere there's probably a town in America where just exactly that happens. But, at least it isn't a large scale, pre-planned operation by the army and the secret police.

UPDATE from ISM (5-14-11)
Milad Ayyash, the 17 year-old who was critically injured yesterday in East Jerusalem passed away at the Muqassed Hospital, after all attempts to save his life failed.

When liberals champion imperialism

When liberals champion imperialism by Socialist Worker

THE KILLING of Osama bin Laden was greeted with plenty of flag-waving and gushing tributes to the U.S. military.

And look who's leading the chorus. Many of the same Democratic Party politicians and liberal media luminaries who criticized George W. Bush for his unilateral and militaristic foreign policy have changed their tune--because Barack Obama gave the order to kill bin Laden.

Liberals, as's Glenn Greenwald wrote, "were able to take the lead and show the world (and themselves) that they are no wilting, delicate wimps; it's not merely swaggering right-wing Texans, but they, too, who can put bullets in people's heads and dump corpses into the ocean, and then joke and cheer about it afterwards."

and ...

The cheerleading wasn't confined to the mainstream media. Last week's cover of the liberal weekly Boston Phoenix newspaper featured a picture of Barack Obama over a headline that declared "American Badass: Progressive Politics for a Safer World." Inside, writer Greg Cook proclaimed: "[F]or the sake of the country's progressives, Obama needs to take credit where credit is due. It's not simply lucky timing that resulted in bin Laden being found on Obama's watch. It was a result of the president's specific, pragmatic focus."

Then there's Jon Stewart, the host of Daily Show who relentlessly challenged the lies of the Bush administration and its "war on terror"--and who occasionally criticizes Obama for failing to live up to the expectation that his presidency would be more of a change from Bush's.

But on May 2, Stewart's celebration of bin Laden's killing was as ugly and jingoistic as any. "I suppose I should be expressing some ambivalence about the targeted killing of another human being," Stewart said. "And yet, no. I just want details." He concluded his monologue with the words "We're back, baby"--and a graphic meant to show that America finally "grew a pair."

Always interesting to see where people really stand.

Here's the thing, if you support freedom, if you support any set of rights that human beings have in this world, then you have to stand up and say that you support Osama Bin Laden having these same rights. Because, as soon as you say that Osama is a special case who doesn't have any rights, you've admitted that some human beings don't have any rights. After that, its just a negotiation about who has rights and who doesn't. And, the people who don't want anyone to have any rights will always keep pushing. Once you tell them that its ok for someone to be denied their rights, then you'll constantly be fighting the next fight over the next person or group whose rights are being taken away.

The only way anyone has any rights is if everyone has rights. The only way you can be certain that you have the right to a fair trial is if Osama Bin Laden has a right to a fair trial. The only way you can be certain that you won't be killed by an assassin in black in the night is to stand up and assert that it was illegal for an assassin in black to kill Osama in the night.

That's why its interesting to see which opinion leaders on the 'left' seem to agree that some people don't have any rights. That means, some day, you might be seeing them say that you don't have any rights. It means you can't trust them to have your back if its ever unpopular to do so.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

I realize my earlier post about how it took US intelligence 5 years to find Osama Bin Laden after he'd stopped running might alarm some people.  So, I felt it was my patriotic duty to let everyone see our government hard at work protecting us from obvious terrorists trying to bomb our airplanes.  One can see from these pictures that this was important work, and one can easily see why this was more important than catching up to Osama in his villa where he'd stopped running from the US five years ago.

Hmmm, maybe the TSA needs some (undoubtedly expensive) retraining.  Maybe some basic cue-card drills.  "This is a terrorist.  This is a child.  This is a terrorist.  This is a child."
Today, they obviously can't get that little quiz correct.

BTW, I love the way the little girl in the last picture is forced to stand with her feet very widely spread apart in the adult size shoe outlines.  Ze Rules Must Be Obeyed!  Himmler would have loved this lady.  She'd probably try to tell you that she's just a nice lady who was only following orders.  And so it goes.

I guess these kids are lucky that the 'shoot terrorists on sight and don't even give them a chance to surrender' rule hasn't quite yet been approved for home use by the TSA bureaucracy. But hey, whatever starts in Pakistan soon comes to the US.  Just go read about unmanned drones if you don't believe me.

Of course, now you also know why the TSA has always tried to vigorously enforce a rule banning cameras and pictures at security stations.  CYA before all else is always the golden rule of any bureaucracy.  When you give them the right to trump your freedom in the name of 'security', you can bet the first thing they'll try to do is to make sure you can't take any embarrassing pictures of them.  And, doing their jobs in such a way that they don't embarrass themselves or this nation is not an option.  So,  ..... No Cameras!

ICE has goal to deport 400,000 this year.

From the Don't Tase Me Bro blog.
ICE: Pumping Up Detention Quotas

Post quotes the Washington Post as saying ...
In a Feb. 22 memo, James M. Chaparro, head of ICE detention and removal operations, wrote that, despite record deportations of criminals, the overall number of removals was down. While ICE was on pace to achieve "the Agency goal of 150,000 criminal alien removals" for the year ending Sept. 30, total deportations were set to barely top 310,000, "well under the Agency's goal of 400,000," and nearly 20 percent behind last year's total of 387,000, he wrote.

Beyond stating ICE enforcement goals in unusually explicit terms, Chaparro laid out how the agency would pump up the numbers: by increasing detention space to hold more illegal immigrants while they await deportation proceedings; by sweeping prisons and jails to find more candidates for deportation and offering early release to those willing to go quickly; and, most controversially, with a "surge" in efforts to catch illegal immigrants whose only violation was lying on immigration or visa applications or reentering the United States after being deported.

So, watch out. ICE is low on its quotas and looking for people to deport. Remember, in any bureauracracy, internal goals are always important. Regional managers will probably each have portions of this assigned to their region, and they'll be reporting regularly to the director how they are progressing to meet those goals. The same for the next layer down, and the each layer below that, before each individual ICE agent in the field is told that they have to deport more people.

Note that this is the opposite of justice. You'd expect ICE to be making decisions on a case-by-case basis related to the facts of the case. Instead, ICE agents are like traffic cops in a small-town speed trap, with a quota of how many people they need to deport this year, this month, this week.

Welcome to freedom and justice, American style.

I'd better keep an eye on this. Since ICE acts like any bureaucracy, you can expect that if the quota isn't met by the end of the year, then I'm sure they'll work their way back to looking at the descendants of German immigrants from a hundred years ago and seeing if our semi-litterate ancestors with weak English language skills made any mistakes on their Ellis Island immigration forms. Ze Quota Must Be Filled!

Rapture or Inferno?

Hairy-Chested Liberals Exult: Big Question, Who Do We Kill Next? by Alexander Cockburn includes the following:

We’ve only got a week. Then, as I reported in this Diary two weeks ago, it’s all over. May 21 at around 6pm Pacific Time. Swig that martini down quickly for that's the hour when the Rev Harold Camping, the preacher from Oakland, California, is predicting the Second Coming. At about 6pm, he estimates 2 per cent of the world's population will be immediately "raptured" to Heaven, with the 98 per cent bustled off to the Inferno, doomed to listen to broadcasts of Thomas Friedman’s columns for all eternity. “We're not talking about a ball game, or a marriage, or graduating from college,” Camping emphasizes,  “We're talking about the end of the world, a matter of being eternally dead, or being eternally alive, and it's all coming to a head right now."

So, lets start a little pool. Who's going to get rapture, and who's going to get inferno?

Me, I've always felt that all the kind, generous peaceful hippies I know are going to get rapture. Meanwhile, I've also always felt that the sort of Christians who support war, torture, murder, and destruction are in for a big surprise should their long awaited day of rapture indeed arrive. Likewise all the Christians who support tax cuts for the wealth at the expense of programs that aid the less fortunate. Can you really picture Jesus supporting budget cuts for the needy in order to for the rich to get richer?

The Rev. Camping would seem to agree, if you look at his numbers. He says about 2% will be saved by the rapture. Well, if you look at American election results, that seems to track very well with the 2% or so of Americans who vote for candidates like McKinney or Nader in American elections. But, it definitely doesn't agree with the 40% or so who vote for McCain and Palin and who so loudly proclaim their Christian-hood. If the Rev. Camping is indeed correct, then it looks like all those wealthy, Christian McCain voters who support war and torture are indeed going to have a rough time fitting through that eye of a needle come rapture day.

It also doesn't seem to bode well for all those Obama voters who think that supporting a Democratic War on Terror over a Republican War on Terror will get them into heaven. Not by Rev. Camping's numbers.

Lets take a look at some more famous names

Barrack Obama -- Inferno. If it was close before, and it probably wasn't, then surely ordering an assasination a few days before the rapture tilted the scales against him. I have a hard time picturing Jesus welcoming to heaven a man who just ordered a cold-blooded execution. If Obama gets rapture, then all those good Catholic Mafia bosses are probably getting in as well. Seems like that would kinda ruin the place.

George W. Bush -- Inferno. Of course. This one wasn't even close. The man has the blood of over a million people on his hands.

Joe Biden. -- Inferno. The Senator from Mastercard finally gets his final bill. Included will be the price for a lifelong support for war and destruction and torture.

Dick Cheney --- Inferno. But really, isn't it more likely that he's always been one of Satan's minions sent to earth to try to lead others into his evil course of war and murder for the benefit of the wealthy?

Nancy Pelosi -- Inferno. A young Nancy Pelosi might have had a chance. But, she long ago abandoned any human decency in her quest for personal power. She's become a strong supporter of the bankers, a strong supporter of war and torture. She made sure the wars continued during her time as speaker, which means there's a lot of blood on her hands. She'll probably try to argue about the good she did when she was young, but that's an awful lot of blood on her hands.

Cynthia McKinney -- Rapture. She's spent her life fighting for peace and justice. Since she and Pelosi were once both left-wing back-benchers, she shows that there was another path for the Pelosi's of the world to follow. Cynthia's a no brainer. And, it also reinforces the percentages that Rev. Camping is putting forward, as about 2% of Americans seem to support Cynthia, while the other 98% have all been convinced by the corporate media that this decent and kind person is some sort of devil incarnate.

Ralph Nader -- Rapture. Because of Ralph, no one can say that there hasn't been a choice on recent US Presidential ballots. If someone has voted for the candidates of war, murder and torture, then they can't say there wasn't another choice. Mr. Nader has spent his adult life trying to keep people from being killed or screwed by corporate greed and power.

Who else? Add some names in the comments. Although, I have to admit that for almost all American politicians who's names you know, the likely answer appears to be "Inferno". But not everyone. Who are the exceptions who don't have blood on their hands, and who haven't screwed over someone to make bigger profits for their wealthy contributors?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

US Prison Labor builds Missiles Fired at Libya

Defense Contractors Using Prison Labor to Build High-Tech Weapons Systems by Mike Elk, Alternet

It is a little known fact of the attack on Libya that some of the components of the cruise missiles being launched into the country mayl have been made by prisoners in the United States. According to its website, UNICOR, which is the organization that represents Federal Prison Industries, “supplies numerous electronic components and service for guided missiles, including the Patriot Advanced Capability Missile (PAC-3)”.
In addition to constructing electronic components for missiles, prison labor in the United States is used to make electronic cables for defense items like “the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing (BA) F-15, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, Bell/Textron’s (TXT) Cobra helicopter, as well as electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems”.

Let see, one of the reasons we are told that China is evil is because the Chinese Red Army uses prison labor in its industries.

So, the bastion of freedom and the shining beacon on the hill not only locks up more of its population than anywhere else, but now they use those prisoners as cheap labor to build missile components.

During WWII, the slaves working in German factories used to deliberately sabotage the armaments they were tasked with building. So, for the soldiers on the front lines, using prison labor to built armaments isn't such a good idea. But then again, its been obvious for a long time that the welfare of the frontline soldiers isn't the highest priority. Profits for the merchants of death are the highest priority. To the point where now we use our slaves to build our weapons.

Just missed OBL by 6700 miles

Osama was hiding in Abbottabad.  That's 6,714 miles away from this FBI counter-terrorism unit in Seattle.  Gawd, I can't believe they didn't catch OBL sooner when they were obviously so close.

The Long Con By Brendan Kiley.

"The degree of surveillance and monitoring has been extremely expensive," the officer tells Rick, sounding equal parts intimidating and frustrated. "When you've gone to the QFC and Corsair and Tubs. Think over the last two years—everything you've done in private and on the streets, people you've talked to, what you've had in your possession, conversations, intentions, plans... I have to emphasize the level of surveillance we've run over the last two years. Tell us about all the drug deals in The Yard. You want me to tell you about the red cabinet where you keep the drugs? The cocaine? We have hundreds of hours of surveillance, wire, video..."

"That would seem to be an absurd waste of state financing and funding," Rick says. "And that actually scares me more than the charges... You guys aren't after anything bigger than this? This is it?"

Later, Rick asks them pointedly: "Didn't it, at some point in this investigation, get frustrating to discover that there's nothing?"

"We have enough to charge you with multiple crimes that could put you away for 30 to 40 years," the officer snaps back. Later, FBI agent Simmons says, "I hate to keep beating a dead horse, man, but we've been looking at you for a year at least."

"Well," Rick replies, "that must have been pretty unsatisfying for you."

The FBI agent doesn't answer.

The government was running a sting operation in Seattle where they ran and financed illegal 'after-hours' parties.  Then, they busted anyone they could get charges on, and then tried to get them to talk about big ELF eco-terrorist-conspiracies in the US.

Here's the scary part ... how many people that they busted were tempted to make up fake lies about ELF plots to get the FBI off their back on the other charges?  When places like East Germany have collapsed, the recovered files of the secret police are full of such stories.

Gee, if they were looking for terrorists in after-hours parties in Seattle, I guess its not a big surprise after all that it took them five years to find Osama's villa in Abbottabad. If the world's biggest terrorist is hiding in Abbottabad, isn't searching in Seattle just a bit off target? I was watching the classic movie "Major League" the other day, so I've got Bob Uecker's voice in my head saying "Juuuuust aaaaa Bit Outside" as the FBI counter-terrorism equivalent to Wild Thing Charlie Sheen bounces another fast ball off the backstop.  I guess the FBI agents thought the coffee was better in Seattle. After all, who wants to be transferred to Abbottabad?

Simple career self interest of FBI agents mandates that they try to create terrorists in places that are good places to live and work for them and their families.  If there aren't any terrorists in Seattle, then they risk being transferred to someplace like Pakistan where there really are terrorists.  Good luck convincing the wifey that its good news that you are being transferred to Pakistan.  Thus, better find some terrorists in Seattle.

The problem is,  there seems to be a shortage of real terrorists in Seattle.  After all, you haven't seen any video of planes crashing into the space needle-like building there, have ya?.  So to get around that problem then I guess what you do is set up a fake speakeasy and just video small time gamblers and drug dealers and other hustlers.  Then, you give them the choice of either spending the next 30 years in jail under our draconian sentencing laws in the nation that imprisons more of its people than anywhere else, or lying to help create some fake terrorists in Seattle where the schools are better and the wifey is happier than she would be in Abbottabad.

Meanwhile, Osama was only 6714 miles away, sitting in a villa, for five years, waiting for the US to come and make him a martyr.  And waiting.  And waiting ....

Hmmm, you always hear the news stories about how most Americans can't find anything on a map.  Maybe we need to do some tests on the US intelligence community.  Anyone who can't properly differentiate Seattle from Abbottabad on a map needs to go for a special (undoubtedly expensive) retraining course.

BTW, I'm a just old enough hippie to have talked to the older hippie activists from the 60's.  The one basic rule that I've always heard about undercover FBI agents  is this .... "The person who's trying to get you to go do something illegal is the FBI agent."    Apparently, that rule is still true after all these years.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Butch and Sundance

There's the classic movie image of Butch and Sundance being chased by the persistent posse. "Who are those guys?" is the question that they ask every time they show up on their trail. "Who are those guys?"

Osama Bin Laden stopped running five years ago. We are told that he'd lived in this same villa in Abbottabad for five years. We are told that the torture at Guantanamo prison led to his killing becuase they interrogated some people 5 years ago.

Osama stopped running five years ago. Osama stopped moving around five years ago. He'd settled in to a comfortable house in a pretty area of the country just down the road from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point.

I like spy novels. Here's the drill from spy novels. If someone is captured, they are told that no matter what is done to them, that they can't talk for 48 hours. The 48 hours gives all the people that they know time to realize that someone is missing, and then run and hide as best they can before the captive does start to talk under torture. Just give every one 48 hours to run.

The US supposedly captured and interrogated someone back in 2004 and 2005 who's information led to Abbottabad and Osama Bin Laden. Gee, I'm guessing Osama wasn't using the 48 hour rule, was he?

You constantly hear that Osama Bin Laden wanted to be a martyr. That apparently was quite true. It seems he had stopped running from the US years ago, and was just sitting there, basically unarmed (one person in the house was armed is now the story), just him and his wife waiting for the US to come get him.

Waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. For five long years.

Osama is sitting there in a house that he knows that US intelligence has links to. He knows that US intelligence has captured the people who know his secret courier. And still, he sits there living in that same house for five years. Osama wanted to be a martyr.

US Intelligence doesn't exactly come off as the posse chasing Butch and Sundance. Osama stopped running five years ago, at a house that was connected to people in Guanatanamo, and it takes five years for US intelligence to find Osama? Osama wasn't exactly asking "who are those guys?" who were so closely dogging his steps.

At least that's the official story.