December 30, 2010 - The Constantine Report    
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

Benazir Bhutto Assassination Probe: ‘Murder Plot Hatched at Brigadier’s Home’

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

By Rauf Klasra
International Herald-Tribune | December 31, 2010

Related: “Benazir Bhutto’s assassination: PPP lawmaker points finger at security establishment”

ISLAMABAD: A fresh probe has uncovered the role of nine men, including an army brigadier, in the December 27, 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The assassination plot was hatched in the official residence of the army brigadier mentioned in the investigation report.

The findings of the probe, conducted under the interior ministry’s supervision, have deliberately been kept under wraps — even from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party’s leading lights. The report is in the possession of Interior Minister Rehman Malik and has only been seen by President Asif Ali Zardari in its entirety.

Earlier this week, President Zardari temporarily shelved plans to share the contents of the inquiry report. The president was keen to first take the army leadership into confidence before ordering the arrest of certain uniformed personnel over their alleged involvement in Benazir’s assassination.

Five of the nine co-conspirators are still alive, according to the inquiry report. They were the ones who hired the killers and gave them shelter and logistical support. The five men will now be formally charged-sheeted and put on trial. The remaining four men, including those sent to kill Benazir, are already dead.

Both logistical support and rehearsals for the murder were arranged by uniformed persons, who were part of the plot. Militant groups, which were working closely with the nine plotters, provided the manpower.

It has also been confirmed to The Express Tribune that the joint investigation team had traced two new mobile phone sims that were used to communicate on the day Benazir was assassinated.

Sources said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had drawn up a tough questionnaire for General Pervez Musharraf on the basis of investigations conducted by the joint investigation team. The questions were framed once the role of the nine plotters became clear and the inquiry team managed to lay its hands on the main accused who was part of the plot to eliminate Benazir.

Sources said that Zardari was still undecided on how to handle the more explosive contents of the inquiry report. They claimed that President Zardari had deliberately withheld presentation of the inquiry report before the PPP central executive committee in Naudero.

Although Zardari had agreed in principle to make the report public, he wanted to give it some more thought. The president and his party leaders are keen to fight off the somewhat popular impression that they are disinterested in tracking down Benazir’s killers.

At one stage, President Zardari had made up his mind to unveil the inquiry report on Benazir’s third death anniversary, sources said. But he changed his mind at the eleventh hour and told the interior minister to drop the idea for the time being. The absence of Bilawal Bhutto from the CEC meeting was only used as a pretext to delay the presentation of the report. The president did not want the present army leadership to be caught off guard when the names of certain uniformed persons feature in the report.

For their part, the military leadership signalled their willingness to cooperate with the civilian government and put any accused military officer on trial, sources said. Even when a cabinet inquiry team led by Rauf Chaudhry was constituted, the military leadership had backed the initiative to an extent that the director general of Military Intelligence, Nadeem Ejaz, was made available to a three-member inquiry committee.

Sources said that the committee chairman was even told by the top military authorities that a serving lieutenant general would be available round the clock for as many days as they need for questioning, till they reached any conclusion about his innocence or guilt.

The interior minister refused to comment on the inquiry report on the pretext that the matter was in a court of law. When asked whether he intended to share the findings of the probe with the PPP’s CEC members, the minister said he would definitely place the inquiry report before his party’s elders.

“… While it is true that my brother suffers from paranoia, it is also true that he fell victim to a conspiracy of psychological researchers who used deceptive tactics to study the effects of emotional and psychological trauma on unwitting human subjects. My brother was harmed by psychologists who recognized – at least tangentially – that they were hurting him yet who made no attempt to undo or ameliorate the harm they’d caused to their young and vulnerable subject. Thus, it would be fair to say that my brother’s paranoia had a reference point in reality. … How could my brother kill people and feel no apparent remorse? Maybe his mind was severely damaged. It could also be that he became a spiritual prisoner of the very thing he hated. …”

Ted and the CIA

by David Kaczynski
Albany Times Union | December 19, 2010

Was my brother, Ted Kaczynski (AKA “the Unabomber”), a sort of “Manchurian candidate” – programmed to kill by our government in a CIA-funded thought-control experiment gone awry?

I hope you will excuse the provocative question – especially since I don’t know the answer to it.

What I do know is that my brother was a guinea pig in an unethical and psychologically damaging research project conducted at Harvard University where he attended college in the early 1960′s. While it is true that my brother suffers from paranoia, it is also true that he fell victim to a conspiracy of psychological researchers who used deceptive tactics to study the effects of emotional and psychological trauma on unwitting human subjects. My brother was harmed by psychologists who recognized – at least tangentially – that they were hurting him yet who made no attempt to undo or ameliorate the harm they’d caused to their young and vulnerable subject. Thus, it would be fair to say that my brother’s paranoia had a reference point in reality.

Fifteen years after his experience at Harvard, Ted Kaczynski embarked on a mail bomb campaign that targeted leading researchers in technology, behavioral psychologists among them. Is there a connection between my brother’s violent behavior and his earlier experience as a guinea pig at Harvard? It seems there must be some connection. But how much connection? And what role might the US government have played in unleashing the Unabomber’s anti-social behavior?

After the revelation of Nazi atrocities following World War II, the civilized world struggled to absorb the lessons of such overwhelming horror. “Never again!” became a catch phrase that summed up civilization’s moral resolve to prevent a recurrence of organized dehumanization on such a grand scale. Moreover, the post-war Nuremberg trials revealed the extent to which Germany’s scientific establishment had lent itself to the Nazi agenda through cruel, harmful, and often lethal experiments performed on unwitting or unwilling human subjects. From the Nuremberg revelations emerged the so-called Nuremberg Code – an ethical standard that limited scientific research on human subjects, requiring that research participants provide “informed consent” to researchers before they could be studied at all.

However, it is by no means clear that the “mad” Nazi scientists represented a purely negative example to all. Some Nazi scientists deemed highly useful in our post-war competition with the Soviet Union were readily absorbed into what President Eisenhower later called “the military-industrial complex.” Pressures of the cold war insinuated top-secret government agendas into civilian universities through the funding of various clandestine projects, including research on human subjects. In 1967, according to the CIA’s internal assessment, there were literally hundreds of college professors on more than 100 American college campuses under secret contract to the CIA. Needless to say, universities like Harvard that wanted a piece of the action decided to dispense with the ethical standard embedded in the Nuremberg Code. From 1953 to 1963, federal support for scientific research at Harvard increased from $8 million per year to $30 million.

One secret CIA research project that used unwitting American citizens as subjects was code-named MK Ultra. It lasted 10 years and ended in 1963, shortly after Ted graduated from Harvard. MK Ultra experiments used sensory deprivation, sleep learning, subliminal projection, electronic brain stimulation, and hallucinogenic drugs to study various applications for behavior modification. One project was designed to see if subjects could be programmed to kill on demand. Experiments were conducted in penal institutions, mental institutions, and on university campuses. Some hapless human subjects went crazy, and some are known to have committed suicide.

When the media began to catch wind of a program of secret government experimentation on American citizens, former CIA director Richard Helms ordered many records pertaining to MK Ultra destroyed. Thus, the full scope of the program and its abuses may never be known.

The Harvard study my brother participated in was called “Multiform Assessments of Personality Development Among Gifted College Men.” It was overseen by the noted psychologist Henry Murray, who during WWII worked for the OSS (which later became the CIA), where he developed methodologies for interrogating prisoners of war. In his professional life, Murray was known for his brilliance and his grandiosity. In his personal life, according to his biographer, he displayed sadistic tendencies. His research on college men bears a certain resemblance to his research on prisoners of war. He was quite a big wheel in his day, perhaps as well known and influential in military and government circles as he was in academia.

Were the so-called “Murray experiments” part of MK Ultra? It may be that no one living knows the answer to this question. We know that the experiments were highly unpleasant for my brother and for some others who participated. We know that the basic premise of the research was to study how bright college students would react to aggressive and highly stressful attacks on their beliefs and values.

It may seem that I am trying to provide my brother with a handy excuse – a deflection of blame – for having killed three people and devastated numerous lives. But that is not my point. I believe that we are both individually responsible for our actions, and collectively responsible for conditions of harm and injustice that exist in our world. My brother was a victim before he victimized others – and in this he is hardly unique. Those who victimized him exercised cruelty with impunity, and quite possibily with the best of  intentions. Status and power are hardly guarantees of good judgment or good character. Thus, the lessons we must learn are complex. The search for one quintessential villain is generally a mistake, a displacement of both understanding and responsibility.

What was done to my brother at Harvard should never be allowed to happen again. Our best insurance against inflicting harm on others – as was done to Ted and by Ted – is to avoid objectifying human beings, and to approach others with compassion.

How can a reasoning person conflate his personal issues with a cause so that he ends up killing people wantonly and almost randomly?

I’ve struggled with this question for a long time. One answer comes immediately to mind: My brother became the Unabomber as a result of a mental illness involving paranoia and delusions of reference. Clearly, he personalized his sense of the world’s wrong in a way that most of us do not. He wrote in his diary that he’d decided to take “revenge” on society – as if there were some actual entity answering to the name “Society,” as if his victims somehow represented Society with a capital S, as if they had consciously harmed him, as if the concept of revenge made any sense in this context.

The longer I live, the more impressed I am with the remarkable complexity of the human mind. Our minds demonstrate capacities for knowing, remembering, imagining, and balancing all sorts of sensations and polarities. We have the capacity to think (whatever that means) on various levels simultaneously. The focus of thinking shifts involuntarily as well as voluntarily. Even without intending to, we speak like poets, instilling the universe with meanings beyond categorization. The mind is a miracle of integrative functions. It has seemingly infinite ways of apprehending the wider world and of relating to itself. What we call “reality” is arguably a seamless integration of mind and world.

Either by aspiration or accident, we often grow wiser with age. The mind is always changing. Sometimes it decays. It also discovers new ways of enhancing its breadth and power. Meanwhile, the mind is also highly vulnerable – to trauma, to disease, to propaganda, to uncorrected mistakes in thinking. How can a mind, lacking any transcendental reference point, know how to heal or correct itself?

Buddhist teachers say that we all are on a path to mental health, i.e. “enlightenment.” I’ve often argued that violence in the surest sign of a mind in serious trouble; and conversely that practicing compassion is the best antidote to mistaken thinking – the best way to restore our mind’s exquisite balance and integrative functions. A similar analysis, I suppose, can be applied to the behavior of communities and nations.

So, back to the question posed in my latest post:  Was my brother a sort of “Manchurian candidate” – programmed to kill by our government in a CIA-funded thought-control experiment gone awry?

This question can be distilled further: Were the Murray experiments – imposed on my brother at Harvard – part of the CIA’s secret MK Ultra mind-control project that used unwitting American citizens as experimental subjects?

I applaud investigative reporters who research such topics, and advocates who push for greater transparency in government. The government has no business getting involved in things like MK Ultra – and if it is, we should know about it.

As concerns Ted, however, I’m not sure that the answer to this particular question matters very much. The outcome is the same even if the Murray experiments were not closely linked to MK Ultra. The human mind – because of its inherent complexity – may be easy to damage and disrupt, but it is also very difficult to control. Thinking clearly and keeping an open mind, I believe, entails some considerable tolerance for ambiguity and mystery. So, while it is not implausible that my brother may have been harmed in a mind-control project funded by the CIA,  I think there is insufficient evidence to say that he was.

What seems clear, however, is that Harvard research psychologist Henry Murray and his team were part of scientific culture that failed to learn and recoil from the grotesquely unethical conduct of Nazi scientists who treated human subjects with no more empathy than they would have treated an inanimate object. Science is especially vulnerable to misuse because it has no inherent loyalty to humane values. Its style of inquiry – even when studying humans – is purely objective. In this respect, its understanding of human beings is fundamentally limited. The potential for abuse increases as technology is used to promote hidden agendas of institutions focused on power or profit.

How could my brother kill people and feel no apparent remorse? Maybe his mind was severely damaged. It could also be that he became a spiritual prisoner of the very thing he hated.

By Victor Simpson
Independent | December 13, 2010

The Vatican Bank is under new scrutiny in a case involving money-laundering allegations that led police to seize €23m (£19.25m) in September.

The Vatican calls the seizure of assets a “misunderstanding” and expresses optimism it will be quickly cleared up. But fresh court documents show that prosecutors say the Vatican Bank deliberately flouted anti-laundering laws “with the aim of hiding the ownership, destination and origin of the capital”. The documents also reveal investigators’ suspicions that clergy may have acted as fronts for corrupt businessmen and Mafia.

The documents pinpoint two transactions that have not been reported: one in 2009 involving the use of a false name, and another in 2010 in which the Vatican Bank withdrew €650,000 from an Italian bank account but ignored bank requests to disclose where the money was headed.

The new allegations of financial impropriety could not come at a worse time for the Vatican, already hit by revelations that it sheltered paedophile priests. The corruption probe has given new hope to Holocaust survivors who tried unsuccessfully to sue in the United States, alleging that Nazi loot was stored in the Vatican Bank.

Yet the scandal is hardly the first for the bank, already distinguished from other banks by the fact that its cash machines are in Latin and priests use a private entrance.

In 1986, a Vatican financial adviser died after drinking cyanide-laced coffee in prison. Another, Roberto Calvi, was found dangling from a rope under London’s Blackfriars Bridge in 1982, his pockets stuffed with money and stones. The incidents blackened the bank’s reputation, raised suspicions of ties with the Mafia, and cost the Vatican hundreds of millions of dollars in legal clashes with Italian authorities.

On 21 September, financial police seized assets from a Vatican Bank account. Investigators said the Vatican had failed to furnish information on the origin or destination of the funds as required by Italian law.

The bulk of the money, €20 million, was destined for the American JP Morgan bank branch in Frankfurt, Germany, with the remainder going to Banca del Fucino, an Italian bank.

Prosecutors alleged the Vatican ignored regulations that foreign banks must communicate to Italian financial authorities where their money has come from. All banks have declined to comment.

Guantanamo: A Dismal Week For The US

By Andy Worthington
The Public Record | December 17, 2010

Just when it seemed that President Obama’s paralysis regarding Guantánamo couldn’t get any worse — with any further trials or prisoner releases apparently on permanent hold because any other course of action would be politically inconvenient — the House of Representatives and the Director of National Intelligence have stepped in to make the prospect of closing Guantánamo even more remote.

A U.S. Army soldier with Echo Company, 629th Military Intelligence Battalion, keeps watch from a guard tower at the Joint Task Force Guantanamo detention center on Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nov. 13, 2006. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy

Congress has an extremely poor record when it comes to Guantánamo, having pretty much endorsed whatever cruel and illegal nonsense came its way during the Bush years, and having demonstrated, in 2009, that it had no interest in any reforms proposed by President Obama.

Last October, by 258 to 163 votes (with the majority including 88 Democrats), the House of Representatives backed a motion proposed by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ken.), which was designed to “[p]rohibit the transfer of GITMO prisoners, period,” and which, in Rep. Rogers’ words, was concerned with “protecting the American people from all threats … including the warped intentions of terrorists and radical extremists.” It was telling that Representatives would vote in such large numbers for a motion based on such unsubstantiated information, given that there is no confirmation whatsoever that the majority of the prisoners held at Guantánamo are, or have ever been, “terrorists and radical extremists.”

Under pressure from the administration, the Senate foiled this plan, voting, by 79 votes to 19, to allow the administration to bring prisoners to the US mainland to face trials, as part of a $42.8 billion bill for Homeland Security, although no cleared prisoner could be resettled on the US mainland by the country that had wrongly imprisoned them in the first place — a veto that, it should be noted, was also endorsed by Obama’s Justice Department, the D.C. Circuit Court, and by President Obama himself, when he quashed a plan by White House Counsel Greg Craig to bring a handful cleared prisoners — out of 17 Uighurs, wrongly imprisoned Muslims who could not be returned to China because of the risk of torture — to live in the United States.

The House of Representatives’ plan to keep Guantánamo open

Last week, the House of Representatives was at it again, voting by 212 votes to 206, as part of a $1.1 trillion appropriations bill, to prohibit the President from spending any money to transfer prisoners to the US mainland or to acquire facilities to hold them on US soil.

In the two relevant sections of the bill, those who drafted the legislation took particular aim at the administration’s plans to hold federal court trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, which were announced by Attorney General Eric Holder last November, but delayed by the President in the face of widespread opposition, and also at plans, announced last December, to buy a prison in Illinois to house prisoners designated for trials (34 at present) — and, more contentiously, 48 other prisoners designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial.

Cleared prisoners — the 33 or so men awaiting third countries prepared to offer them new homes, because of fears of torture in their home countries, and because of the US ban on housing them in the US — would remain at Guantánamo, as would the 58 Yemenis cleared for release, who are now held as political prisoners because of a moratorium that President Obama announced last January, in response to widespread hysteria following the news that the failed Christmas Day plane bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, had been recruited in Yemen.

There was no word about what would happen to the one man who had been convicted in a trial by Military Commission — Ali Hamza al-Bahul, sentenced to life in November 2008 for producing a promotional video for al-Qaeda, after a one-sided trial in which he refused to mount a defense — but it was presumed by commentators that he would continue to be held at Guantánamo (even if the prison closed around him), and in the last six months he has been joined by two others — Ibrahim al-Qosi, a sometime cook for al-Qaeda, who accepted a plea deal in summer and is expected to serve just two more years, and Omar Khadr, the Canadian former child soldier, who accepted a plea deal in October, and who will be transferred to Canadian custody next October.

The first of the two sections in the appropriations bill that refer to Guantánamo (Section 1116) states, “None of the funds made available in this or any prior Act may be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release to or within the United States, its territories, or possessions Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other detainee who (1) is not a United States citizen or a member of the Armed Forces of the United States; and (2) is or was held on or after June 24, 2009, at the United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the Department of Defense.”

The second (Section 2210) states,

“None of the funds provided to the Department of Justice in this or any prior Act shall be available for the acquisition of any facility that is to be used wholly or in part for the incarceration or detention of any individual detained at Naval Station, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as of June 24, 2009.”

How House Democrats were fooled — and Obama was asleep at the wheel

What is particularly ridiculous about the vote is not so much that the House of Representatives contains so many elected representatives who are opposed to the President’s plans because they are either fearful and credulous about Guantánamo, or cynical and fearmongering, but, as The Hill reported on Thursday, that many Democrats in the House of Representatives had not even bothered to read the bill, and had failed to notice the two sections, and, moreover, that neither President Obama nor Eric Holder had alerted the House about its contents either.

As The Hill explained:

[Many] Democrats, including Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee, said they didn’t even know the provision was included. Moran’s anger with the president boiled over in a short interview Thursday with The Hill about the provision and the tax debate held shortly after the Democratic Caucus voted to reject Obama’s tax-cut deal. “This is a lack of leadership on the part of Obama,” fumed Moran “I don’t know where the f*** Obama is on this or anything else. They’re AWOL.”

Most Democrats didn’t know the provision was included in the continuing resolution until the rule for the bill hit the floor, when liberal members began defecting in large numbers. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a leading voice on national security issues, and the four top Democrats on the Judiciary Committee found out during the vote on the rule, Moran said. At one point, the rule governing the bill was hanging by just one vote while Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rushed around the floor doing damage control.

As The Hill also reported, Eric Holder finally responded the day after the vote, calling on the Senate to remove the provisions in the bill when they come to vote on it. The Hill explained that, in a letter, Holder “called the move an unprecedented grab of executive authority by Congress,” and stated, ”We have been unable to identify any parallel … in the history of our nation in which Congress has intervened to prohibit the prosecution of particular persons or crimes.” He did not, however, explain why, as Jim Moran explained, the administration was “AWOL” when it came to recognizing the poison pills tucked away in the bill.

Another unsubstantiated “recidivism” report

While we wait to see whether the Senate will indeed remove these two sections, supporters of Guantánamo secured another propaganda victory last week when the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed, since August 5 this year, by Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper, issued a “report” — actually a two-page “Summary of the Reengagement of Detainees Formerly Held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba” — which was about as damaging to the government’s plans to close Guantánamo as it was possible for a report to be. It makes me wonder who is running the show when Clapper, the former head of the Pentagon’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, “played a key role in promoting the Bush administration’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction prior to the 2003 invasion,” as Democracy Now! explained in August.

I have previously complained about the Pentagon’s tendency to produce unsubstantiated claims about the “recidivism” of released Guantánamo prisoners, which are then promoted enthusiastically by a mainstream media that loves shocking headlines for their own sake, and is prepared to abandon all pretense that they exercise journalistic rigor when presented with propaganda by the Pentagon. The last example of this distressing trend was in January this year, when the Pentagon claimed — without providing any supporting evidence whatsoever — that 1 in 5 of the prisoners released from Guantánamo had returned to militant activities.

Last week, again without providing any evidence, the Director of National Intelligence, “consistent with direction in the Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act,” reported that, of the 598 detainees released from Guantánamo, “The Intelligence Community assesses that 81 (13.5 percent) are confirmed and 69 (11.5 percent) are suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer.” The assessment also noted, “Of the 150 former GTMO detainees assessed as confirmed or suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities, the Intelligence Community assesses that 13 are dead, 54 are in custody, and 83 remain at large.” It was also noted that, of the “66 individuals transferred since January 2009″ — under President Obama, in other words — “2 are confirmed and 3 are suspected of reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities.”

Predictably, the assessment’s own claims were amplified in subsequent headlines, which failed to distinguish between “confirmed” and “suspected” terrrorists or insurgents. Fox News ran with “25 Percent Recidivism at Gitmo,” and there was an unhinged, and completely inaccurate report on GOP USA, which claimed, in defiance of what had actually been proposed, “Guantánamo recidivism rate skyrockets under Obama early release program.” However, even the New York Times, which was badly stung last year when it ran a front-page story backing a claim that 1 in 7 released prisoners were recidivists, failed to report the story accurately. Although the Times‘ headline was the modest, “Some Ex-Detainees Still Tied to Terror,” the article itself stated that the report “offered the most detailed public accounting yet of what the government says has happened to former Guantánamo detainees, a matter that has been the subject of heated political debate.”

“The most detailed public accounting yet”? The report provided no such thing, and the Times reinforced its journalistic failures by refusing to ask who these 150 men might be. We know of a handful of suspected — and disputed — recidivists in Russia, of a dozen or more in Saudi Arabia, of a Kuwaiti who became a suicide bomber, and of Afghans who resumed their opposition to the US — or took up arms for the first time — after their release, and we also know that some of these men were released because they fooled the US authorities in Guantánamo, and their captors were too arrogant to liaise with the Afghan authorities, who would have known who they were.

Why “recidivists” are not necessarily terrorists

However, there are three major problems with this current assessment: firstly, “suspected” terrorists or insurgents is a remarkably vague claim for an intelligence assessment, and is, I would suggest, worthless; secondly, the only way that this report could be remotely accurate would be if 3 out of every 4 released Afghans had taken up arms against US forces; and thirdly, focusing on the word “terrorist” — even in those unsubstantiated cases which are apparently “confirmed” — rather tends to obscure the fact that, if released Afghans are fighting against US forces, it may be that this is because they are from a country that is still under US occupation.

In conclusion, I have seen no evidence to suggest that more than a few dozen released prisoners have ever engaged in anything that could honestly be labeled “terrorism.” It may well be that dozens of released Afghan prisoners are fighting the US in their home country, but if so, the hysteria that is allowed to flourish at the mention of this information reveals a major failing on the part of the Obama administration.

In sitting back and continuing to hold prisoners at Guantánamo under legislation passed the week after the 9/11 attacks — the Authorization for Use of Military Force — the Obama administration persists in endorsing the false basis of the “War on Terror”: that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are, essentially, interchangeable. It is distressing that such a damaging piece of propaganda as this latest report should emerge from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under Obama’s very nose, but it is more distressing that, by refusing to tackle the fundamental detention problem head-on — telling the American people in no uncertain terms that Guantánamo held, and in some cases continues to hold, a small number of criminal suspects (terrorists) and a far larger number of soldiers, as well as all the innocent men rounded up for bounties — the administration continues to foster and allow the type of counter-productive hysteria that regards all Guantánamo prisoners, past and present, as terrorists, when this has never been the case.

Originally published on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Andy Worthington, a regular contributor to The Public Record, is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison and the definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009. He maintains a blog at

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled 11 possible options for cleaning Seattle’s most polluted waterway, the Duwamish River.

AP/News Tribune | December 29, 2011

SEATTLE – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled 11 possible options for cleaning Seattle’s most polluted waterway, the Duwamish River.

The choices in the draft plan range in estimated cost from $220 million to $1.3 billion, and in duration from four years to more than four decades, The Seattle Times reported. They call for dredging and removing nearly 300 acres of toxic sediments, capping pollutants with rock, letting nature take its course, or some combination of all three.

But those most closely tied to the cleanup say that after a century of industrial pollution, the Duwamish is unlikely to ever be pristine. Anglers will still be advised to avoid regularly eating certain fish. That’s a concern for neighborhood groups that have spent years complaining that their blighted river doesn’t seem to receive the same attention as others.

“If everything in there works, it would be 90 percent cleaner, but that remaining 10 percent has serious health impacts on the low-income, immigrant and tribal people who are out there every day catching fish,” said BJ Cummings, with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. “We have a menu of options that basically guarantees failure in meeting that basic goal.”

Contractors are already preparing to demolish one of the most contaminated buildings along the Duwamish River: Boeing Co.’s Plant 2, where the airplane maker once produced B-17 bombers. Years ago, state and federal investigators ordered King County, the city of Seattle, the Port of Seattle and Boeing to begin cleaning up a handful of the most dangerous sites, such as Plant 2.

Boeing reached an agreement with federal prosecutors this year to restore fish habitat in Seattle’s Duwamish Waterway and pay $2 million to settle federal charges that it broke environmental laws by dumping oil and other toxic substances.

The overall cleanup bill would be paid by Boeing, local taxpayers and an assortment of South Seattle businesses, The Times reported.

The river cuts through Seattle’s Georgetown and South Park neighborhoods. High levels of long-lasting polychlorinated biphenyls and other toxic substances are in river sediments and along its shorelines, and more comes in every day.

The $66 million already being spent on early work, such as the razing of the Boeing plant, alone will reduce river contamination by nearly half. EPA predicts each of the remaining cleanup options ultimately could reduce contamination by about 90 percent.

Halting the pollution running off all the toxic sites and into the river will itself take years and millions of dollars more. Pollution from the Green River upstream is expected to continue flushing into the Duwamish for decades.

“We live in an urban environment; there are a lot of urban places where you can’t drink surface water,” said Steve Tochko, environmental remediation manager for Boeing. “Eating fish from urban areas is in the same category. It’s why we have fish-consumption advisories around every urban area in the Puget Sound region. If you really want a place where there’re no fish advisories you generally have to get to a place where there are no people.”

Eventually, the Port of Seattle and the city will be responsible for a significant portion of the cleanup work, and officials with those agencies aren’t willing to identify which options they prefer. But it’s clear they don’t support the most expensive and slowest one, which relies almost exclusively on dredging and removing most of the sediments.

The city’s program manager for the Duwamish, Dave Schuchardt, said officials should take cost and disruption to the Seattle’s trade corridor into account.

The EPA is expected to put together a final list of cleanup options next year and choose one of the options in 2012.

Rick Rozoff 
Op-Ed News | December 29, 2010

In its Yearbook 2010, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) documents that the United States accounts for 43 percent of world military spending and 30 percent of global arms exports, making it preeminent in both categories.

Aggregate spending on American defense and on wars abroad is substantially larger than the official Pentagon budget and in fact may account for half of international military expenditures. [1]

In his Nobel Peace Prize address in December of 2009, President Barack Obama unabashedly celebrated his nation as the world’s sole military superpower [2], and his actions in the interim have been dedicated to confirming, prolonging and magnifying that status.

Last July it was reported that although the U.S. “is currently the world biggest weapons supplier — holding 30 per cent of the market … the Obama administration has begun modifying export control regulations in hopes of enlarging the U.S. market share, according to U.S. officials.” [3]

Obama first advocated the streamlining of arms sales controls in August of 2009 and reiterated the demand in his State of the Union address on January 27 “as an element toward doubling exports by 2015.”

The White House plan entails expediting overseas weapons transfers by establishing a single agency to oversee proposed exports.

Among what were identified as the “possible beneficiaries” of relaxed weapons export requirements is India, described at the time as “seeking 126 fighter-jets worth over $10 billion, 10 large transport aircraft worth $6 billion, and other multi-billion dollar defense sales….” [4]

Early this November the American president visited India and secured $10 billion in business transactions, an estimated half of which are in the military sphere [5], a deal that “would make the US replace Russia as India’s biggest arms supplier” and “help India curb China’s rise.” [6]

The contracts include one for India’s $5 billion purchase of ten Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft, “the sixth biggest arms deal in U.S. history” according to William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. [7]

Regarding overall global arms exports, SIPRI’s calculations from earlier this year confirm that the average annual level grew by 22 percent from 2000-2004 to 2005-2009.

Russia accounted for 23 percent of sales last year, followed by the U.S.’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies Germany [8], France, Britain and Spain. The first five nations collectively represented 76 percent of all weapons exports in the world over the period of 2005-2009.

The largest purchasers of weapons were, in descending order, in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and the Middle East.

Again according to SIPRI’s estimates, worldwide military spending in 2009 was $1,531 trillion, a six percent increase in real terms since the year before and a 49 percent rise over that in 2000. The U.S. and its NATO allies accounted for 70 percent of last year’s figure. [9]

Last week the U.S. Congress approved a $725 billion Defense Department authorization for 2011, in absolute dollars the largest military budget in human history and in constant dollars the largest Pentagon allocation since the Second World War.

American weapons deals abroad are of course a source of lucrative contracts for domestic arms manufacturers, but serve a more important function: The integration of scores of nations around the world into Washington’s military network.

A recent analysis in China’s Global Times detailed how the U.S. employs the sale and provision of military hardware – from firearms to armored combat vehicles, warships to warplanes and other military aircraft, missiles (including interceptors) to entire weapons systems – to advance its global geostrategic objectives:

“The Cold War political map is being redrawn. Arms sales are helping the US extend its influence in the Asia-Pacific region and pave the way for a new global hegemony.”

“After the Cold War, apart from a few rogue states, the US targeted almost every country in the world for arms sales and is also keen to sell military technology to Russia. High-tech weapons – including missile defense systems – are the main items on the list of US arms sales.”

“The US is unabashed about using high-tech weapons to expand its sphere of influence. In Europe, the US has continued to entice Eastern European countries into NATO and to squeeze Russia’s traditional sphere of influence.” [10]

With the absorption of twelve Eastern European nations into NATO from 1999-2009, Russia in fact has been driven out of the arms markets of its former Warsaw Pact allies. The development of NATO partnerships with Europe’s formerly neutral countries has also opened Finland and Sweden to the Pentagon and American weapons concerns. [11]

In 2003 Washington signed a $3.6 billion contract with Poland for 48 F-16 jet fighters which were delivered between 2006 and 2008. The sale was the largest military deal in Poland’s history. In 2006 the U.S. struck an agreement to provide Poland with five C-130 Hercules military transport planes.

Earlier this month a senior Polish government official disclosed that U.S. F-16s and Hercules C-130s (with their American crews) would be deployed to his country in addition to those purchased from the U.S.

Last year Romania’s defense minister announced plans to acquire 48-54 jet fighters to replace Russian-designed MiG 21 Lancers currently in use “to make the transition to fifth generation equipment” – the Lockheed Martin-produced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

“We are currently waiting for the U.S. side to send information on the likely acquisition of several F-16 aircraft,” Mihai Stanisoara stated. [12]

After the U.S. exported its 2008 financial crisis to Europe, Romania has scaled back on its plans and is discussing the purchase of 24 used F-16s.

This June Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon and their discussions included “the possibility of Bulgaria buying multi-purpose F-16 fighter jets from the US.” [13]

The Bulgarian news media stated that a preferential arrangement for obtaining American multirole warplanes would be part of a quid pro quo to allow U.S. interceptor missile facilities to be based in Bulgaria.

Last year Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to deliver 30 new F-16 combat jets to Turkey.

The Global Times article mentioned the Asia-Pacific area, where this year began with the U.S. antagonizing China by confirming it would complete a $6.4 billion weapons deal with Taiwan, supplying the latter with 200 Patriot anti-ballistic missiles. [14]

This month Japan released its new National Defense Program Guidelines which detail plans to expand the deployment of U.S.-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 and ship-based Standard Missile-3 interceptors. [15]

South Korea is also being integrated into the Asia-Pacific and broader international American missile shield system along with Australia and in the not too distant future India.

The Global Times feature also mentioned:

“The US has sold Patriot missile systems to Japan, South Korea, India, Saudi Arabia, Poland and China’s Taiwan island.

“Regionally, Patriots are present in Northeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. These countries and regions cannot catch up with US military technology and inevitably have to rely on the US for missile defense.

“The US has been accused of trying to redraw the political map by using high-tech weapons to make purchasing countries more dependent on the US for their national defense.” [16]

There have been reports that nations like Saudi Arabia and even Japan are considering the purchase of longer-range U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-ballistic missiles.

Citing the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, news sources in the Persian Gulf recently revealed that the U.S. emerged as the largest supplier of weapons to the region over the preceding five years. The U.S. “accounted for 54 percent of the Gulf region’s total volume of imports, followed by France, which accounted for 21 percent.” [17]

The Global Times analysis added:

“In the Middle East, the US uses arms as a means to influence regional security trends. The Middle East has always been a major US arms export zone. This year the US and Saudi Arabia signed arms deals worth up to $60 billion, said to be the largest US arms contract in history.

“The US is also mulling sales of advanced weapons and equipment to Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries.”

On October 21 Washington announced a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for advanced jet fighters, helicopters, missiles and other weaponry and equipment. It includes the sale of 84 new F-15 jet fighters and the upgrading of 70 more as well as 178 military helicopters and advanced missiles, bombs, radar and other equipment.

Earlier in the year reports surfaced of American plans to sell Patriot and other interceptor missiles to Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

This September the Financial Times reported that planned American arms sales to the Persian Gulf will amount to $123 billion: A $67.8 billion package for Saudi Arabia, $35.6 billion for the United Arab Emirates, $12.3 billion for Oman and $7.1 billion for Kuwait.

A major expansion of U.S. arms sales to the nations of Southeast Asia will follow suit and just as NATO expansion has opened almost all of Europe to American weapons manufacturers, so the new U.S. Africa Command will allow the Pentagon and affiliated arms merchants to further penetrate an entire continent.

Subjugated and occupied lands like Iraq and Afghanistan are captive markets for U.S. arms firms.

SIPRI states that in boosting arms exports from $6,795 billion in 2008 to $6,795 billion in 2009 and in so doing securing 30 percent of the world market, the U.S. sold weapons to 70 nations and NATO, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting for 39 percent of the sales, the Middle East for 36 percent and Europe for 18 percent. Revealingly, “Combat aircraft and associated weapons and components accounted for 48 per cent of the volume of US deliveries of major conventional weapons during this period.” [18]

An integral aspect of supplying weapons to over a third of the world’s nations is to ensure military interoperability for joint actions, including war, and to bring the receiving countries more firmly and inextricably into Washington’s political orbit.

Providing arms is intimately related to and is often a precondition for developing closer diplomatic, financial, trade and comprehensive military ties with other nations. No country has more influence over international lending agencies than the U.S. and weapons aren’t supplied free of charge.

Over the past decade the Pentagon has constructed and gained access to new military bases, camps, airfields, training centers and surveillance and missile shield installations in at least thirty nations, bilaterally and through NATO: Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Colombia, Djibouti, Estonia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mali, Pakistan, the Philippines, Poland, Oman, Qatar, Romania, Seychelles, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and Zambia among them.

Weapons sales necessarily entail training and instruction, joint military exercises, parts replacement, maintenance and repairs, and upgrading and other modifications. In short, an integral and long-term partnership between the supplier and the purchaser. A mechanism for eliminating competitors in Washington’s drive for worldwide military and political dominance.

1) Pentagon’s Christmas Present: Largest Military Budget Since World War II
Stop NATO, December 23, 2010
2) Obama Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind
Stop NATO, December 10, 2009
3) McClatchy Newspapers, July 29, 2010
4) Ibid
5) Obama, Gates And Clinton In Asia: U.S. Expands Military Build-Up In The
Stop NATO, November 7, 2010
6) Global Times, July 13, 2010
7) Anika Anand, The Real Reason For Obama’s Trip To India: The Sixth
Biggest Arms Deal In U.S. History
Business Insider, November 6, 2010
8) Germany: World Arms Merchant In First Post-WW II Combat
Stop NATO, July 24, 2009
9) Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Yearbook 2010
10) Han Xudong, Arms sales help US extend its sphere of influence
Global Times, December 28, 2010
11) Pentagon’s New Global Military Partner: Sweden
Stop NATO, August 25, 2010
12) The Financiarul, September 9, 2009
13) Sofia Echo, June 29, 2010
14) U.S.-China Military Tensions Grow
Stop NATO, January 19, 2010
15) U.S. Builds Military Alliance With Japan, South Korea For War In The
Stop NATO, December 14, 2010
16) Global Times, December 28, 2010
17) Arabian Business, December 26, 2010
18) SIPRI Fact Sheet, March 2010

Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: