Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Monday, April 30, 2012

Celebrating our “Warrior President” The Democratic case for Obama's foreign policy greatness is most significant for what it blissfully ignores BY GLENN GREENWALD

Peter Bergen, the Director of National Security Studies at the Democratic-Party-supportive New America Foundation, has a long Op-Ed in The New York Timestoday glorifying President Obama as a valiant and steadfast “warrior President”; it beings this way:
THE president who won the Nobel Peace Prize less than nine months after his inauguration has turned out to be one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.
Just ponder that: not only the Democratic Party, but also its progressive faction, is wildly enamored of “one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.” That’s quite revealing on multiple levels. Bergen does note that irony: he recalls that Obama used his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to defend the justifications for war and points out: “if those on the left were listening, they didn’t seem to care.” He adds that “the left, which had loudly condemned George W. Bush for waterboarding and due process violations at Guantánamo, was relatively quiet when the Obama administration, acting as judge and executioner, ordered more than 250 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2009, during which at least 1,400 lives were lost.”
To explain the behavior of “the left,” Bergen offers this theory: “From both the right and left, there has been a continuing, dramatic cognitive disconnectbetween Mr. Obama’s record and the public perception of his leadership: despite his demonstrated willingness to use force, neither side regards him as the warrior president he is.” In other words, progressives are slavishly supportive of “one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades” because they have deluded themselves into denying this reality and continue to pretend he’s some sort of anti-war figure.
That’s not unreasonable speculation, but I ultimately don’t believe that’s true. Leaving aside Bergen’s over-generalization — some factions on “the left” have been quite vocal in condemning Obama’s actions in these areas — most Democrats are perfectly aware of Obama’s military aggression. They don’t support himdespite that, but rather, that’s one of the things they love about him. After years of being mocked by the Right as Terrorist-coddling weaklings, Obama — strutting around touting his own strength — lets them feel strong and powerful in exactly the way that Bush and Cheney’s swaggering let conservatives prance around as tough-guy, play-acting warriors. Rather than ignore this aggression, Democratic think tanks point with beaming pride to the corpses piled up by the Democratic Commander-in-Chief to argue that he’s been such a resounding foreign policy “success,” while Democratic pundits celebrate and defend the political value of his majestic kills.
Yesterday on his MSNBC morning show, Chris Hayes conducted an excellent,two-part discussion of Obama’s escalated civilian-killing drone attacks, with a heavy emphasis on the innocent people, including numerous children, who have been killed. He showed a harrowing video clip of a Yemeni man’s anguish as he described the pregnant women and children killed by Obama’s 2009 cluster bomb strike; featured the U.S. drone killing of 16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman Awlaki in Yemen; and interviewed human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, who described the 16-year-old Pakistani boy he met at a meeting to discuss civilian drone deaths and who, a mere 3 days later, had his own life ended by an American drone.

Lessons from Charles Koch's Father

May Day By Noam Chomsky

Occupy May Day poster(Image: Rich Black)
by Noam Chomsky
If you’re a serious revolutionary, then you are not looking for an autocratic revolution, but a popular one which will move towards freedom and democracy. That can take place only if a mass of the population are implementing it, carrying it out, and solving problems. They’re not going to undertake that commitment, understandably, unless they have discovered for themselves that there are limits to reform.
A sensible revolutionary will try to push reform to the limits, for two good reasons. First, because the reforms can be valuable in themselves. People should have an eight-hour day rather than a twelve-hour day. And in general, we should want to act in accord with decent ethical values.
 Secondly, on strategic grounds, you have to show that here are limits to reform. Perhaps sometimes the system will accommodate to needed reforms. If so, well and good. But if it won’t, then new questions arise. Perhaps that is a moment when resistance is necessary, steps to overcome the barriers to justified changes. Perhaps the time has come to resort to coercive measures in defense of rights and justice, a form of self-defense. Unless the general population recognizes such measures to be a form of self-defense, they’re not going to take part in them, at least they shouldn’t.
If you get to a point where the existing institutions will not bend to the popular will, you have to eliminate the institutions. May Day started here, but then became an international day in support of American workers who were being subjected to brutal violence and judicial punishment. Today, the struggle continues to celebrate May Day not as a "law day" as defined by political leaders, but as a day whose meaning is decided by the people, a day rooted in organizing and working for a better future for the whole of society.

The Implosion of Capitalism By Chris Hedges

Picking through scraps in a Kolkata, India waste dump.
Picking through scraps in a Kolkata, India waste dump. (Photo: Sterneck)When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “[A]t times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”
The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum. READ MORE



Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Himalaya • Pakistan - India - Tibet - Nepal - China - Bhutan • Part - 6

Lost Treasures of Tibet

Russian Tibet Amazing Journey: Only Buddhist state in Europe


Why all the fuss over a star called Fomalhaut?

The 2008 image of the discovery of Fomalhaut b [NASA/ESA]

Los Angeles, CA - Fomalhaut is a young A-type star approximately twice the mass of our sun, located 25 light years from Earth in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. If you wanted to find bright Fomalhaut in the night's sky, it shouldn't be too hard if you live in the southern hemisphere. Sadly for the northern half of our planet, it can only be spotted slightly above the horizon during early winter. But this isn't "just another" star in the sky. If you could travel the 25 light years and look at it yourself, you'd be greeted by a very bright star surrounded by a belt of gas, dust and the debris of shredded comets. Orbiting around this belt, exoplanets also lurk. Fomalhaut is a hothouse of mystery and intrigue that is proving a challenge to theories of how star systems should behave.
In recent years, Fomalhaut was thrust to new-found fame when the Hubble Space Telescope spotted something hiding in the "Eye Of Sauron"-like ring of dust, approximately 115AU (around three times the average distance between the Sun and Pluto) from the star. In November 2008, Hubble astronomers published their work in the journal Science; they had directly imaged an exoplanet in visible lightfor the first time. It was duly named "Fomalhaut b" in keeping with exoplanetary discovery protocol. The discovery was no mean feat - being able to block the comparatively bright light of a star 25 light years away and resolve the faint glow of reflected starlight from a (possibly) Saturn-sized alien world is nothing short of mind-boggling.
Along with the discovery announced on the same day by the ground-based Keck and Gemini infrared observatories, of a system of worlds orbiting the star HR 8799, the double-whammy of exoplanetary news stunned the world in the winter of 2008. Be under no illusion, the direct imaging of a lone planet orbiting any star was nothing short of historic - it marked the beginning of an era that put exoplanetary studies on the world stage as one of the most profound endeavours mankind has ever embarked upon. During a 2009 Discovery News reader's poll, Hubble's famous Fomalhaut b image was voted the #1 "Space Story of the Decade", beating the detection of dark matter, the demotion of Pluto and the discovery of water on Mars. Fomalhaut b had not only fascinated scientists, it had captured the imagination of the world.
Planet or phantom? READ MORE

The Obama Contradiction Weakling at Home, Imperial President Abroad By Tom Engelhardt

He has few constraints (except those he’s internalized).  No one can stop him or countermand his orders.  He has a bevy of lawyers at his beck and call to explain the “legality” of his actions.  And if he cares to, he can send a robot assassin to kill you, whoever you are, no matter where you may be on planet Earth.
He sounds like a typical villain from a James Bond novel.  You know, the kind who captures Bond, tells him his fiendish plan for dominating the planet, ties him up for some no less fiendish torture, and then leaves him behind to gum up the works.
As it happens, though, he’s the president of the United State, a nice guy with a charismatic wife and two lovely kids.
How could this be?
Crash-and-Burn Dreams and One That Came to Be READ MORE

By Keith Johnson
Perpetual warfare has taken its toll on the young American service men and women the U.S. enlists to maintain its global empire. According to figures recently disclosed by the U.S. Army surgeon general to The Los Angeles Times, “more than 110,000 active-duty Army troops last year were taking prescribed antidepressants, narcotics, sedatives, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety drugs. Nearly 8% of the active duty Army is now on sedatives and more than 6% is on antidepressants—an eightfold increase.” READ MORE

A Berlin Consensus? By Andrew Sheng

This illustration is by Chris Van Es and comes from <a href=""></a>, and is the property of the NewsArt organization and of its artist. Reproducing this image is a violation of copyright law.
Illustration by Chris Van Es
...................................Adaptive systems struggle with order and creativity as they evolve. As the philosopher Bertrand Russell presciently put it: “Security and justice require centralized governmental control, which must extend to the creation of a world government if it is to be effective. Progress, on the contrary, requires the utmost scope for personal initiative that is compatible with social order.”
A new wave of what the economist Joseph Schumpeter famously called “creative destruction” is under way: even as central banks struggle to maintain stability by flooding markets with liquidity, credit to business and households is shrinking. We live in an age of simultaneous fear of inflation and deflation; of unprecedented prosperity amid growing inequality; and of technological advancement and resource depletion.
Meanwhile, existing political systems promise good jobs, sound governance, a sustainable environment, and social harmony without sacrifice – a paradise of self-interested free riders that can be sustained only by sacrificing the natural environment and the welfare of future generations.
We cannot postpone the pain of adjustment forever by printing money. Sustainability can be achieved only when the haves become willing to sacrifice for the have-nots. ...............READ MORE

Confessions of a Drone

They told me I was the best, better than any human.  I didn't hesitate.  I didn't flinch.  I didn't think.  
It wouldn't have occurred to me to think.  I'd been taught to value obedience above all else, and I did so, and they loved me for it.
They told me I could fly faster without a pilot onboard, and that I had no fear.  I didn't know what fear was, but I took it to be something truly horrible.  I was glad I didn't have any of it.
There was something else I didn't have either.  It was something more important than fear.  Even pilots at a desk, even my pilots, suffered from it.  At first I thought it was simply a decline in energy, because it showed up on lengthy missions.  
When I was sent from a base to a target and then immediately told to blow it up, I would do so and return, no problem. READ MORE

Brian Becker, Re: Conference on Socialism

The Mummers Dance - Loreena McKennit - Wolf )( Loup

Enya - Crying Wolf - le chant du Loup

Scotland's Socialist Sunday School certificate, around 1900

Illustrated Socialist Sunday School certificate
1. Thou shalt inscribe on your banner: ‘Workers of all lands unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains: you have a world to win’.
2. Thou shalt not be a patriot for a patriot is an international blackleg. Your duty to yourself and your class demands that you be a citizen of the world.
3. Thou shalt not usurp the right of any man or woman, nor shall you claim for yourself any natural advantage over your fellows; for every man and woman has an equal right to an equal share in the product of their collective labour.
4. Thou shalt not take part in any bourgeois war, for all modern wars are the result of the clash of economic interests, and your duty as an internationalist is to wage class war against all such wars.
5. Thou shalt teach Revolution, for revolution means the abolition of the present Political State, and the end of Capitalism, and the raising in their place an Industrial Republic.
6. Thou shalt demand on behalf of your class, the complete surrender of the capitalist class and all the means of production, distribution and exchange, with the land and all that it contains, and by so doing you shall abolish class rule.
7. Thou shalt wage the class war, by pointing out that the history of all recorded societies is an history of the Class Struggle, and that the emancipation of the working class from wage-slavery must be brought about by themselves.
8. Thou shalt take part at all times in the political and economic struggles of the working class. Thou shalt renounce craft unionism, and work for the organisation of the working class into one vast industrial union, to take and hold the means of life.
9. Thou shalt perform a mission in society by achieving an ideal of a fuller and higher life for all, in the abolition of classes, and by the regulation of industry by the Industrial Republic, which shall end the Political State.
10. Thou shalt remember that the economic structure of Society determines the legal and political super-structure, and the Social, Ethical, Religious, and intellectual lifeprocess in general. It is not men’s consciousness which determines their life; on the contrary it is the social life which determines their consciousness.
Makes sense to me. :-)
True change has never come about by the voting booth, or by legislation.
True change has only come from the streets.
Main St not Wall St.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Problem is Capitalism, The Solution is Democracy at Work | Professor Richard D. Wolff

The Problem is Capitalism, The Solution is Democracy at Work | Professor Richard D. Wolff:

Watch this great video HERE

'via Blog this'

SANTANA: ABRAXAS - Full Album Remastered -

Cincinnati Dumps Duke Energy « EcoWatch: Uniting the Voice of the Grassroots Environmental Movement

Today, Duke Energy found out that more than 50,000 commercial and residential electricity users in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio are dumping Duke and shifting to 100 percent clean energy.
Cincinnati is a trendsetter: it is the first city in Ohio, and the first of its size in the nation, to go 100 percent green.
The city is part of a much larger trend in which major electricity buyers like Cincinnati and even the social network Facebook are committing to shift from coal to clean energy, and in so doing putting companies like Duke-Progress, which will be the largest utility in the country, on notice.
This is big news.
The announcement is the culmination of a campaign that started last fall, whenOhio Citizen Action and Greenpeace ran a successful ballot initiative to allow the City to bargain for electricity on behalf of its residents. The voters passed the initiative by a resounding 59-41 percent. In February, the coalition was successful in rallying the citizens of Cincinnati to give the city a clear mandate to supply 100 percent renewable energy and no ‘fracked’ natural gas. The Council responded with resounding approval of the people’s demands, unanimously passing a motion asking bidders to include a 100 percent Renewable Energy Credit option (in addition to a lowest cost electricity option). READ MORE

Bersih 3.0 protests in Kuala Lumpur

New Documents Spotlight Reagan-era Tensions over Pakistani Nuclear Program

President Reagan meets with Pakistani dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq at the Oval Office on 7 December 1982. Standing across from Reagan is national security adviser Robert McFarlane. During the meeting, Reagan laid out specific parameter for the Pakistani nuclear program: no assembly or test of nuclear devices, no transfer of technology for such devices, no violation of international safeguards, and no unsafeguarded reprocessing (see document 20).
Image courtesy of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, film number C11730-6A.

Click for Larger View
Reagan meets with Ambassador Vernon Walters, 17 April 1986. By then, Walters had undertaken a number of secret missions for the Reagan administration, including visits to Pakistan and to Ethiopia to secure the release of a CIA officer.
Image courtesy of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, film number C30191-16A.

Washington, D.C., April 27, 2012 – Preventing the spread of nuclear weapons has been a significant goal for U.S. presidents but there are instances when diplomatic and other interests have overridden concerns about nuclear proliferation. Israel since 1969 is one example and Pakistan during the 1980s is another.  Concerned by new intelligence about the Pakistani nuclear program, in July 1982, the Reagan administration sent former CIA deputy director General Vernon Walters to meet secretly with Pakistani dictator General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.  U.S. intelligence had detected an upswing of clandestine Pakistani efforts to procure nuclear weapons-related technology and unwanted publicity could jeopardize U.S. government economic and military aid to Pakistan, a key partner in the secret war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan.
According to documents published today for the first time by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, Walters told Zia that Washington had "incontrovertible intelligence" that Pakistani representatives had "transferred designs and specifications for nuclear weapons components to purchasing agents in several countries for the purpose of having these nuclear weapons components fabricated for Pakistan."
Confronted with the evidence, Zia acknowledged that the information "must be true," but then denied everything, leading Walters to conclude that either Zia "did not know the facts" or was the "most superb and patriotic liar I have ever met."   While Zia restated earlier promises not to develop a nuclear weapon and made pledges to avoid specific nuclear "firebreaks," officials from Secretary of State George Shultz on down would conclude time and time again, that Zia was breaking his word.
In 1986, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) director Kenneth Adelman wrote in a memorandum to the White House that Zia "has lied to us again," and warned that failure to act would lead the General to conclude that he can "lie to us with impunity." While the Reagan administration was concerned about nuclear proliferation, it gave a greater priority to securing aid to Pakistan so it could support the Afghan anti-Soviet insurgency.  The White House and the State Department leadership hoped that building a strong bilateral relationship would dissuade Pakistan from building nuclear weapons.
Top levels of the U.S. government let relations with a friendly government supersede nonproliferation goals as long as there was no public controversy that could "embarrass" the President the documents show.  Indeed, Reagan administration officials feared that if the Pakistanis had told them the "truth" about the purpose and scope of their nuclear activities, it would have made it impossible for the administration to certify to Congress that Pakistan was not developing nuclear weapons.  On that certification rode the continued flow of aid to assist the Afghanistan resistance. For the sake of that aid, senior Reagan administration officials gave Pakistan much slack by obscuring its nuclear activities, but that they wrote about lying and "breaking ... assurances" suggests that lack of trust and confidence was an important element in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, as it is today.
Among the disclosures in today's publication: READ MORE

China to Loan South Sudan $8 Billion for Infrastructure Projects

That's with a B not an M as in Billion ! 
China will provide South Sudan $8 billion in development loans over the next two years, a government spokesman said.
The loans will be used for road construction, agriculture, hydroelectricity, infrastructure and telecommunications, which would be built by Chinese companies, according to Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s government spokesman. He declined to reveal the cost of the borrowings.
China signed agreements promising to provide the funding during South Sudanese president Salva Kiir’s visit to Beijing on April 23 to April 26. “It was a very successful visit,” Benjamin said by phone today from the capital Juba. “I think this funding came at the right time.”
South Sudan acquired three quarters of the formerly united nation’s 490,000 barrels of oil a day output when it declared independence on July 9. The export pipelines and processing facilities remain in Sudan and the two countries have been unable to agree on fees for use of the infrastructure. South Sudan lost 98 percent of its revenue when it halted production in January after accusing Sudan of stealing $850 million worth of its oil. Sudan said it confiscated the crude to make up for unpaid fees.
Kiir discussed South Sudan’s plan to build export pipelines that bypass Sudan with Chinese officials, Benjamin said, adding that China didn’t agree to finance such a project.
“They will consider the fact that it is important to have an alternative pipeline,” he said.

Alternative Pipelines READ MORE

Earth’s Magnetic Field Gives Pigeons Built-in GPS

Earth’s Magnetic Field Gives Pigeons Built-in GPS
Certain neurons in the brains of pigeons encode the direction and intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field, giving the birds an inborn internal global positioning system, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science.
Scientists have long known internal magnetic field receptors exist in many animals, perhaps including humans.  However, the current study is the first to actually describe the brain wiring that uses these receptors to provide a sense of direction.
The researchers did it by putting some pigeons in the dark and monitoring their brains.
“We have found cells in the (pigeon) brain that signal the direction, intensity and polarity of an applied magnetic field,” said co-author J. David Dickman, a Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientist, during an interview with Discovery News.
“These three qualities can be used by the brain to compute heading information, like a compass, and latitude on the Earth surface,” he said.

Reports Confirm Existence Of Habitable Exo-Planet

Reports Confirm Existence Of Habitable Exo-Planet
After re-evaluating information collected back in February, scientists reportedly confirmed on Friday that they had indeed discovered a planet outside of our solar system that is capable of supporting life.
The planet, which was been dubbed Gliese 667Cc, orbits around a red dwarf star located 22 light years away from Earth, according to published reports from theTelegraph. Scientists told the newspaper that Gliese 667Cc lies in what they refer to as the “habitable zone,” which means that it is neither located too far from its sun to freeze nor too close to become dry and barren.
The discovery of this new planet was first revealed by an international team of scientists back in February. At that time, the team, which was led by led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution, reported that the planet had an orbital period of 28.15 days, a minimum mass of 4.5 times that of Earth, and received 90% of the light that our planet typically receives. READ MORE

Ex-CIA officer defends interrogation tactics

Malaysian authorites quell anti-government protests in Kuala Lumpur with...

BOOK REVIEW Anti-India agenda costs Pakistan dearly Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan by Ahmed Rashid

Reviewed by Brian M Downing
With the United States ensnarled in the Afghan insurgency and Pakistan headed toward implosion, AfPak and the countries around it are in crisis.
Renowned journalist Ahmed Rashid offers a series of essays drawn from his connections to figures in the state, army, and insurgent groups which succinctly and engagingly analyze the regional troubles. His insights are remarkable, his candor and courage all the more so. As he notes more than once, the Pakistani army has been known to treat roughly, or even kill, turbulent journalists - including in all likelihood Asia Times Online
Pakistan bureau chief Syed Saleem Shahzad last May.
Pakistani political and military elites, he argues, have failed their country in four interrelated regards. First, they have failed to build a national identity embracing the Pashtun, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Baloch ethnic groups. The military has instead only built an identity based on opposition to India, while militants have recently begun building an Islamist one. READ MORE

Could We Stop "Signature" Drone Strikes in Yemen and Pakistan?

US Drone(Photo: Miranda Moorer / Flickr)The US government has been increasingly carrying out drone strikes in countries with which America is not at war, and killing people with drone strikes who have no dispute with the United States. Last week, The Washington Post reported that the CIA had asked for authority to expand its drone strike campaign in Yemen by launching strikes even when it does not know the identities of those who could be killed. Such "signature strikes" allow the CIA to hit targets based solely on intelligence indicating patterns of "suspicious behavior."
But such "signature strikes" increase the risk of killing innocent civilians, as well as the risk of killing people who have no dispute with the United States. This week,The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that authority to expand the drone war in Yemen had been granted.
According to last week's Washington Post report, some US officials voiced concern that incidents in which civilians and local insurgents who are not related to attacks on the US are killed could become more frequent if the CIA is given the authority to use signature strikes in Yemen. "How discriminating can they be?" asked a senior US official. Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen "is joined at the hip" with a local insurgency whose main goal is to oust Yemen's government, the official said: "I think there is the potential that we would be perceived as taking sides in a civil war." Already - even without this proposed expansion in CIA authority to carry out signature strikes - the Long War Journal estimated that the US had killed 48 civilians with drone strikes in Yemen since 2009. READ MORE

No Such Thing as Too Much Truth: Saving Ethnic Studies in Arizona

Precious Knowledge"Tu eres mi otro yo / You are my Other me"
-Luis Valdez, "The Other Me"
Cesar Chavez. Paulo Freire. Karl Marx. Howard Zinn. Are these authors socialists and communists and, if so, does this mean that they should not be taught to American high school students? Should students be taught that the founding fathers such as Benjamin Franklin were racist? Is there such a thing as too much truth? Curtis Acosta and Jose Gonzalez, la raza program teachers in Tuscon, Arizona, who are profiled in the film "Precious Knowledge" believe that there is no such thing as too much truth. As teachers, their goal has been to empower their students with as much truth as possible. To these teachers, knowledge is power, and their goal as educators is to empower their students with the knowledge to conquer the world. It is this transfer of knowledge and power that is at the heart of the battle to save the ethnic studies program in the Tuscan Unified School District. It is a struggle that has been beautifully captured in the powerful and evocative documentary "Precious Knowledge." READ MORE

Symphony of Science - Onward to the Edge!

You Are All Suspects Now. What Are You Going to Do About It? By John Pilger

You are all potential terrorists. It matters not that you live in Britain, the United States, Australia or the Middle East. Citizenship is effectively abolished. Turn on your computer and the US Department of Homeland Security's National Operations Center may monitor whether you are typing not merely "al-Qaeda," but "exercise," "drill," "wave," "initiative" and "organization": all proscribed words. The British government's announcement that it intends to spy on every email and phone call is old hat. The satellite vacuum cleaner known as Echelon has been doing this for years. What has changed is that a state of permanent war has been launched by the United States and a police state is consuming Western democracy.
What are you going to do about it?
In Britain, on instructions from the CIA, secret courts are to deal with "terror suspects." Habeas Corpus is dying. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that five men, including three British citizens, can be extradited to the US even though none except one has been charged with a crime. All have been imprisoned for years under the 2003 US/UK Extradition Treaty which was signed one month after the criminal invasion of Iraq. The European Court had condemned the treaty as likely to lead to "cruel and unusual punishment." One of the men, Babar Ahmad, was awarded 63,000 pounds compensation for 73 recorded injuries he sustained in the custody of the Metropolitan Police. Sexual abuse, the signature of fascism, was high on the list. Another man is a schizophrenic, who has suffered a complete mental collapse and is in Broadmoor secure hospital; another is a suicide risk. To the Land of the Free they go - along with young Richard O'Dwyer, who faces ten years in shackles and an orange jump suit because he allegedly infringed US copyright on the Internet.
As the law is politicized and Americanized, these travesties are not untypical. In upholding the conviction of a London university student, Mohammed Gul, for disseminating "terrorism" on the Internet, appeal court judges in London ruled that "acts ... against the armed forces of a state anywhere in the world which sought to influence a government and were made for political purposes" were now crimes. Call to the dock Thomas Paine, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela.
What are you going to do about it?
The prognosis is clear now: the malignancy that Norman Mailer called "pre fascist" has metastasized. The US Attorney General, Eric Holder, defends the "right" of his government to assassinate American citizens. Israel, the protégé, is allowed to aim its nukes at nukeless Iran. In this looking glass world, the lying is panoramic. The massacre of 17 Afghan civilians on 11 March, including at least nine children and four women, is attributed to a "rogue" American soldier. The "authenticity" of this was vouched by President Obama himself, who had "seen a video" and regarded it as "conclusive proof." An independent Afghan parliamentary investigation produced eyewitnesses who give detailed evidence of as many as 20 soldiers, aided by a helicopter, ravaging their villages, killing and raping: a standard, if marginally more murderous, US Special Forces "night raid."
Take away the videogame technology of killing - America's contribution to modernity - and the behavior is traditional. Immersed in comic-book righteousness, poorly or brutally trained, frequently racist, obese and led by a corrupt officer class, American forces transfer the homicide of home to faraway places whose impoverished struggles they cannot comprehend. A nation founded on the genocide of the native population never quite kicks the habit. Vietnam was "Indian country" and its "slits" and "gooks" were to be "blown away.
The blowing away of hundreds of mostly women and children in the Vietnamese village of My Lai in 1968 was also a "rogue" incident and, profanely, an "American tragedy" (the cover headline of Newsweek). Only one of 26 men prosecuted was convicted and he was let go by President Richard Nixon. My Lai is in Quang Ngai Province where, as I learned as a reporter, an estimated 50,000 people were killed by American troops, mostly in what they called "free fire zones." This was the model of modern warfare: industrial murder.
Like Iraq and Libya, Afghanistan is a theme park for the beneficiaries of America's new permanent war: NATO, the armaments and high-tech companies, the media and a "security" industry whose lucrative contamination is a contagion on everyday life. The conquest or "pacification" of territory is unimportant. What matters is the pacification of you, the cultivation of your indifference.
What are you going to do about it?
The descent into totalitarianism has landmarks. Any day now, the Supreme Court in London will decide whether WikiLeaks' editor, Julian Assange, is to be extradited to Sweden. Should this final appeal fail, the facilitator of truth-telling on an epic scale, who is charged with no crime, faces solitary confinement and interrogation on ludicrous sex allegations. Thanks to a secret deal between the US and Sweden, he can be "rendered" to the American gulag at any time. In his own country, Australia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has conspired with those in Washington she calls her "true mates" to ensure her innocent fellow citizen is fitted for his orange jump suit just in case he should make it home. In February, her government wrote a "WikiLeaks Amendment" to the extradition treaty between Australia and the US that makes it easier for her "mates" to get their hands on him. She has even given them the power of approval over Freedom of Information searches - so that the world outside can be lied to, as is customary.