Obama open to newspaper bailout bill

By Michael O’Brien - 09/20/09 04:24 PM ET

The president said he is “happy to look at” bills before Congress that would give struggling news organizations tax breaks if they were to restructure as nonprofit businesses.

“I haven’t seen detailed proposals yet, but I’ll be happy to look at them,” Obama told the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Toledo Blade in an interview.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) has introduced S. 673, the so-called “Newspaper Revitalization Act,” that would give outlets tax deals if they were to restructure as 501(c)(3) corporations. That bill has so far attracted one cosponsor, Cardin’s Maryland colleague Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D).

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had played down the possibility of government assistance for news organizations, which have been hit by an economic downturn and dwindling ad revenue.

In early May, Gibbs said that while he hadn’t asked the president specifically about bailout options for newspapers, “I don’t know what, in all honesty, government can do about it.”

Obama said that good journalism is “critical to the health of our democracy,” but expressed concern toward growing tends in reporting — especially on political blogs, from which a groundswell of support for his campaign emerged during the presidential election.

“I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding,” he said.

ISI Using CIA Drones to Cull Uzbeks from Pashtun Herd

[Nobody will miss a few hundred Uzbek troublemakers.  This demonstrates the hypocrisy of the CIA Predator program, having the ISI plant tracking devices on Uzbeks, so that the CIA can claim that the drone terminators have a real purpose, other than providing a circus to distract the masses.  What have all the innocent "collaterals" died for?]

Uzbeks main victims of drone attacks

By Mazhar Tufail

ISLAMABAD: A security official has claimed that majority of the militants killed in the US drone attacks in the tribal region during the past one year were Uzbeks, but the ISPR still says drone attacks have done more harm than good to Pakistan.

The official told The News on Thursday: “During the past one year, majority of the militants killed in missile strikes by US unmanned aerial vehicles were Uzbek nationals, who are often referred to as foreign militants in the media.”

He was talking to The News via telephone from the troubled tribal region.

“This is the reason that no protest against their killing has been witnessed in the area wherever they are killed,” the official opined, requesting anonymity.

According to the official, it is also because of the nationality of the killed militants that security forces seldom faced any retaliatory attack. He said the local population has no sympathy with the Uzbek nationals as compared to the local militants, whose death in drone attacks not only triggers protests locally but also security forces face retaliatory attacks by militants.

When approached by The News for comments, the Inter Services Public Relations director-general did not elaborate and only said: “Drone attacks harm more than they help.”

According to the data compiled by the Pakistani authorities, 60 US drone strikes inside Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8 this year killed 701 persons, including 14 wanted al-Qaeda militants.

Of these attacks, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets as besides 14 wanted persons, 687 innocent Pakistani civilians were killed, showing the success ratio of not more than 6 per cent. Two strikes in 2006 had killed 98 civilians while three attacks in 2007 had slain 66 Pakistanis.

Interestingly, only 10 out of 50 drone attacks between January 29, 2008 and April 8 this year hit their targets and killed 14 wanted al-Qaeda operatives.

CIA probe must go to highest level: UN rights head

By Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters

The U.S. Justice Department named a special prosecutor this week to investigate CIA interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States under then-President George W. Bush.

The U.S. Justice Department named a special prosecutor this week to investigate CIA interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States under then-President George W. Bush.

Photograph by: Mandel Ngan, Getty Images

GENEVA – The U.S. prosecutor’s investigation into alleged criminal CIA interrogation techniques must go right to the top political level, the chief UN rights official said on Thursday.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, 67, in a wide-ranging interview with Reuters, urged European and other countries to resettle Guantanamo detainees so that President Barack Obama can close the U.S.-run prison in Cuba by year-end.

She also called for credible investigations into killings of journalists and aid workers in Russia and voiced concern at the fate of detainees arrested in Iran in post-election protests.

The former United Nations war crimes judge, who marks her first year in office next Tuesday, said she has used an “instinctive” blend of quiet diplomacy and public condemnation to highlight violations worldwide.

The U.S. Justice Department named a special prosecutor this week to investigate CIA interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States under then-President George W. Bush.

“Whenever people come under the jurisdiction of the United States, the United States has to be seen to be upholding the very high standards that they claim for their own citizens,” Pillay told Reuters in her office overlooking Lake Geneva.

Any torture or death inflicted on suspects held by U.S. authorities in places including Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan should be part of this investigation, she said.

Asked whether it should go beyond establishing the criminal liability of CIA interrogators, Pillay replied: “That is international law on accountability — that you do not stop at the foot soldiers, you go right up to the ultimate authority that is legally responsible.”

“And these would include those who devised the policy, those who ordered it,” said Pillay, a Tamil from South Africa.

Former U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, a vocal defender of the Bush administration’s security policies, has said intelligence obtained from harsh interrogation techniques had saved lives. 1/8ID:nN25208112 3/8

Pillay said she had pressed Sweden and Switzerland to accept Guantanamo inmates who cannot return home. “The quicker that European and other countries help President Obama to close Guantanamo, the better for the human rights of the detainees.”

She expected Washington to play a significant role in the UN Human Rights Council — where it has taken up a seat for the first time.

But she said she was trying to overcome “regional bloc voting” in the 47-member forum where some states vote together to shield their friends from censure.

The Geneva forum will examine next month a long-awaited report of an investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas militants during Israel’s invasion of the Gaza strip from Dec. 27-Jan. 18.

Richard Goldstone, a former UN war crimes prosecutor leading the international inquiry, is to issue the report in coming weeks ahead of the Council’s debate set for Sept. 29.

The Security Council, acting on a report by Pillay’s predecessor Louise Arbour, asked the International Criminal Court to investigate atrocities in Darfur, Sudan, she noted.

“I hope that they would respond similarly if the Goldstone investigation does point to possible war crimes,” she said.

“Apart from prosecution, I believe that these investigative commissions are very important because they do deliver a sense of justice to victims,” Pillay added.

Goldstone’s inquiry was the first UN rights inquiry to hold public hearings, allowing victims to testify, including Israelis hit by rockets fired into southern Israel, she said.

“I hope that all this does lead to some sort of reparation and compensation for victims,” Pillay said.

© Copyright (c) Reuters

Schedule of Events for G20 Protests in Pittsburgh

[SEE:  Pittsburgh Anarchists Plan G20 Protest, September 22-25]

It has come to my attention that the websites for the organizers of this week’s protests in Pittsburgh, http://www.organizepittsburgh.org/  and  resistg20.org

have both been blocked.  I found the following schedule of events at another anarchist site.  Down with the global state!

US, Pittsburgh G-20 Schedule of Events*

Date Sat, 19 Sep 2009 17:19:49 +0300


A semi-comprehensive overview of G-20 related events in Pittsburgh this coming week.
Schedule of G20 Events and Logistical Information —- Note: Plans are in flux and there
is a lot going on, we apologize in advance for any inadvertent errors. —- List of G20
Related Spaces: —- G20 Convergence Center, *This is where to go if you’re just getting
into town and looking for information, maps, having trouble with housing, etc. 4374 Murray
Ave in Greenfield. The Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project (PGRP) is going to try and keep
it open at least 12-8pm —- Thomas Merton Center, 5125 Penn Ave in Garfield —- Health/
Wellness Space, tba —- Media Convergence Space, 5125 Penn Ave, 2nd Floor, in Garfield
Bail Out the People Tent City, Monumental Baptist Church, 2240 Wylie Ave —-Women’s
Refugee Tent City, Point State Park —- Three Rivers Climate Convergence Tent City,
Schenley Park
Important Phone Numbers!
PGRP Legal Number: 412-444-3553
This number is to report police harassment and police violence, if you are arrested or
witness arrests or want to check if someone was arrested
Convergence Center Number: tba
Call this number to find out about open hours, location of events, etc.
Pittsburgh Indymedia’s G-Infinity Radio: 412 444-3569 (FLOW) This number is used to give
news reports related to the G20 protests for air on the G-infinity radio program.
Rides: There is a rideboard up at http://resistg20.org/ride-board
While we know most folks already have a way here some have asked for a way to coordinate
rides. If you need a ride or want to request one please post as soon as possible.
Housing: See http://resistg20.org/housing and request your housing as soon as possible,
space is really tight due to the number of requests.
Schedule of Events:
All Week: Rustbelt Radio, a project of Pittsburgh Indymedia, will be running its
G-Infinity Media Project- a week of reports and a couple days of live, streaming audio.
The project is a non-corporate, participatory media forum for the voices of the people who
will not be in the room during the summit, who are affected by the G-20 economic policies
but whose stories go largely untold. Indymedia is also attempting to coordinate breaking
news web updates, http://www.indypgh.org
SUNDAY, Sept 20
Start of Three Rivers Climate Convergence camp, Bail Out the People, and Womens Coalition
Tent Cities. Iraq Veterans Against War and Veterans For Peace will be participating in the
Women’s Tent City and Climate Camp, more details TBA.
2:00pm An Introduction to Participating in a Mass Action, G20 Convergence Center, 4374
Murray Ave
2:00pm Bail Out the People Movement March from Monumental Baptist Church
2:00pm G6 Billion Spiritual March, United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield Street.
6:00pm Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project: Welcome to Pittsburgh Presentation, at the G20
Convergence Center, 4374 Murray Ave. This event will give an overview of the week, find
out how to plug in and help, and allow people to ask questions.
MONDAY, Sept 21
Coal Affected Communities Day of Action
4:00pm Climate Change: Which Way Forward? Roundtable USW HQ
6:30pm Showing of Coal Country documentary, discussion panel on the coal industry. Melwood
Theater
7:00-9:30pm People’s Summit: Ending World Poverty, Reversing Economic Decline in Our
Communities
TUESDAY, Sept 22
9:00am-4:00pm International Peace,Justice & Empowerment summit Hosanna House, 807 Wallace ave
? Possible Civil disobedience against PNC banks urging them to end mountain top removal mining
2pm Funeral Procession and March Calling on G-20 to fight AIDS! Grant and Liberty Ave. in
Downtown Pittsburgh
5:00-7:00pm – Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project No to the G20, Yes to Community Gatherings
@ Friendship Park (Friendship Ave and S. Millvale Ave in Bloomfield.
7:00-9:45pm People’s Summit: Another World IS Possible Presentation
WEDNESDAY, Sept 23
9:00am International Peace, Justice & Empowerment summit Hosanna House, 807 Wallace Ave
9:00am Human Rights, Global Justice, and the G-20 USW HQ, Stanwix & Blvd. of the Allies
12:00am, Poets on the loose, Reading for Free Speech Rights, Commonwealth Place at the
entrance of Point State Park
12:30-2:30pm ‘Peoples Voices’ Forum with 4 Global South Finance ministers, 4215 Fifth Ave
in Oakland
3:30-6:00pm ‘Peoples Voices’ Panel with "experts" talking about how the G-20 affect
communities. Monumental Baptist Church, 2240 Wylie Ave
4:00-6:30pm Health and Safety For Activists, Convergence Center, 4374 Murray Ave
5:30-7:30pm Screening of "Terrorizing Dissent", U. of Pitt, 3990 Forbes Ave. Room 111
6:00pm Rally and Concert For Clean Energy Jobs, by United Steel Workers, Al Gore, and others.
7:00pm G20 Resistance Spokescouncil to Discuss Thursday and Friday Actions: The
spokescouncil is a place for affinity groups to share decisions that they have made and
identify things that they need to do and decisions that they need to make. If you are
planning on attending, PLEASE READ this page: http://resistg20.org/wednesday on the
spokescouncil format.
8:00pm Merton Center Film Showing of I.O.U.S.A., 4130 Butler Street
?pm Radical Caroling Organized by Students, after the Spokescouncil.
THURSDAY, Sept 24
11:00am-2:00pm, Student Meet-up and Lunch at Friendship Park in Bloomfield (Friendship Ave
and S. Millvale)
2:30pm, Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project Mass March on the G-20 Summit: The People’s
Uprising! from Arsenal Park. Student contingent will arrive from Friendship Park. This is
not a state-sanctioned event, plan accordingly.
6:30-8:30pm Peoples Tribunal putting G-20 policies on trial, Calvary Methodist Church 971
Beech Ave.
7:00pm, Revolting Enthusiastic Creators for Total Liberation! (RECTL) U. of Pitt, Public
Health Auditorium Corner of 5th and Desota
10:00pm, Bash Back Night March for queer liberation
FRIDAY, Sept 25
?am-11:30am PG20RP Decentralized Actions throughout Pittsburgh: see this map for ideas and
folks are also encouraged to join the publicly announced activities as well.
?-11:30am Palestine Action, info TBA.
9:30-11:30am People’s Voices from South America, David Lawrence Hall, University of Pittsburgh
?-11:30am Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace, Non-state sanctioned march
(probably on sidewalks) and rally probably from Climate Camp to Soldiers and Sailors Field.
10:00-11:30am Mass Meditation for Peace, Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Park,
12:00pm– Thomas Merton Center Anti-War Committee Opening Rally at the corner of Fifth and
Craft Avenues in Oakland, then a march down Fifth Avenue to the City-County Building downtown.
Jail solidarity for those arrested during previous days events
SATURDAY, Sept 26
12pm-3pm Financial Meltdown Animal Adoption, Friendship Park
——————
Copied from infoshop.org
=============
* An antiauthoritarian anticapitalist initiative
_________________________________________
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Pittsburgh Organizing Group

Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) is an anarchist group based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our goal is the creation of a directly democratic, free society capable of maximizing human potential and freedom within a framework of collective responsibility, mutual-aid, and solidarity. In short… Anarchism.

Steel City Revolt! is our quarterly print publication. An organizing and communication tool for POG members and supporters we aim to help build the local anarchist movement by publishing anarchist-related articles on events, theory, history, analysis and culture. Subscriptions are available and some content is published online.

read more
read more

Tactical Training Initiative aims to help people of diverse experience, levels and political involvements learn about protest tactics, radical movements, and successful strategies for social change. We hold trainings locally, both for POG members and for other groups, as well as traveling around the country when asked.

Our Anarchist education and speakers series aims to educate the public on the true nature of anarchism as a non-hierarchical movement for direct democracy. Far from espousing random violence and selfishness as state and corporate interests claim, anarchism is a dynamic and realistic alternative to meet the needs and aspirations of our local community.

read more
read more

.::September 22-25: Resist the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh::.

Important!!! For information about the G20 mobilization, calls to action, housing, schedule of events, and other logisitcal information, see the awesome Pittsburgh G20 Resistance Project at: http://www.resistg20.org

G20 Resistance Organizing Updates:
Aug. 18: Update #7 www.organizepittsburgh.org/G20Update7
Aug. 7: Update #6 www.organizepittsburgh.org/G20Update6
July 24: Update #5 www.organizepittsburgh.org/G20Update5
July 17: Update #4 www.organizepittsburgh.org/G20Update4
July 10: Update #3 www.organizepittsburgh.org/G20Update3
July 4: Update #2 www.organizepittsburgh.org/G20Update2
June 26: Update #1 www.organizepittsburgh.org/G20Update1

POG G20 Related Flyers:
Schedule of Tactical Training Initiative Events! 1, 2

Call To Action: September 22-25: Resist the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh
Join Thousands at a Three Day Convergence of Action, Resistance and Hope

Pittsburghers didn’t ask the G20 to come here, but it is our intention that the worldview the summit represents will die here.

This September 22-25 Pittsburgh will host the next summit of the G20, a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s largest economies who meet twice yearly to discuss and coordinate the international financial system. Around 1,500 delegates, including heads of state, will be here along with more than 2,000 members of the media, and thousands of police and security agents tasked with squelching dissent.

This summit, and the predecessor meetings this past April in London, occurs on the heels of the worldwide financial meltdown that has been severely impacting hundreds of millions around the world. Since its inception, the G20 has been a tool used to promote a world vision based on the ability of capital to move as it pleases, at the expense of labor, human rights and the environment.

Now that the system these leaders have forced on the world is in crisis they continue to operate as if they have the answer. We know that they do not. To save countries, they propose we turn to institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), an entity that has historically imposed murderous structural adjustment programs on the world’s poor.

G20 summits, alongside other meetings of institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization, have rightfully been targeted by hundreds of thousands of people around the world because they represent a global vision based on war-making, social and economic injustice, and corporate greed. Pittsburgh will take its place alongside people around the world who have protested and resisted such gatherings in their hometowns.

Pittsburgh was chosen as the host city because of its history, and because the President is looking to buttress his working class credentials. It is true that our city has much to offer the world in terms of progress, we just happen to disagree with the politicians on what these words mean or what others should take from our experience. Pittsburgh has experienced 50 years of population loss and industrial decline as well as more than 150 years of industrial class conflict. We have gained an instinctual knowledge that you get what you are willing to fight for. We celebrate that worker and community self-organization has often succeeded where government, bosses and the supposedly enlightened have failed.

What has carried us through the tough times has been our relationships, the tight knit nature of our mostly non-corporate dominated neighborhoods, a do-it-yourself ethic, the unpretentious manner in which people treat each other, and a sense of local pride that isn’t based on salary or one’s place in some hierarchy. Pittsburgh never died, and the currently-in-vogue talk of "rebirth" measures success, growth, and progress in terms of the number of corporations based here, the multi-national profits, or the success of our politicians at going from Mayors to County Executives to Governors.

For our measuring stick, we look to whether or not all have the resources needed to lead and pursue rewarding lives, and if we are meeting community needs without the involvement of the state. We look to the health of our environment and the treatment of other living things, the equality of educational opportunities, the degree to which we lessen our participation in the exploitation of others, and how successful we are in moving towards a new kind of society in which your success and ability to survive is not at the expense of others.

And in these respects, our city is making progress. We find inspiration and common cause in the efforts of the multitude of other projects and initiatives that are transforming Pittsburgh into a more just and sustainable place to live, efforts that are in a conflictual relationship with state power, and will be joining resistance to the G20. And truly, if the G20 were about anything besides state power and money it would be these efforts that other countries would be coming here to discuss and look at, because there is much that we have to offer in creating a better world.

Pittsburgh is not without its problems, and there is much that needs to be addressed. During the summit and its lead-up little will be said about the troubling grip the UPMC medical industrial complex and others hold over the region, the chronic illnesses caused by the extremely high levels of particulate matter in our air, the troubling ethical questions posed by the warfare robotics that are being pioneered here, the police violence and acts of unaccountable brutality against the public, a stacked deck against labor organizing, a depressingly inadequate public transit system, and a political process marked by a lack of ethical accountability and transparency.

We should be clear then, we love our city, and in so far as we see the G20 as a threat to our collective health and well-being we intend to be an obstacle to its ability to function. This is an unavoidable decision given what the summit is, and what it represents. The presence of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh will be a major – if short-lived – disruption to the city and the people who work and live here, with or without protests. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has acknowledged as much, stating the summit will result in "chaos" due to security cordons, increased traffic, etc.

The government has already staked out its position: the needs of 20 politicians justify whatever disruption and cost to our city, and the responsibility felt by thousands to participate in resistance to the G20 and to articulate an alternate vision for society is more than unimportant, it’s a threat.

Based on past summits the media will play the state game by focusing on whether protesters will be able to disrupt the ability of the summit to meet, using ominous and sensationalist stories with unsubstantiated claims of evil outsiders come to wreck havoc on the good people, because these stories, even if refuted and later disproved, serve to justify attacks on the public’s liberties and dignity. This must not, and will not, deter resistance. The stakes are too high.

The real value of this summit, to its participants and those resisting it, is not in the substance of the "leaders’" discussions. Our power is not in whether or not we have the ability to prevent a bunch of finance ministers and heads of state from talking. The real importance is in the way an undisrupted ceremony reinforces the dominant worldview. If that view is flawed, it must be rejected, and the spotlight such a gathering creates must be one in which people will manifest liberating social conflict.

We therefore believe that the necessary attempts of thousands to interfere with the summit are not an ends in and of themselves, they are a critical part of the means we can use to achieve the victory we are collectively organizing for in September: to heighten existing social resistance, and to present an alternative narrative of why our world is the way it is. We must make it clear that the world need not be this way, and talk about our vision for a movement towards a new society based not on profit and coercion but rooted in meeting collective needs for both material comfort and the freedom to pursue fulfilling lives of opportunity and dignity.

In this effort we invite and encourage your participation!

In Struggle,
Pittsburgh Organizing Group
www.organizepittsburgh.org

If your group would like to endorse this call, let us know at pog@mutualaid.org

Endorsed by:

Students for Justice in Palestine (Pittsburgh)
Harrisburg Area Anarchist Collective (Harrisburg, PA)
Workers Solidarity Alliance (North America)
Friendly Fire Collective (SF)
Ricanstruction Netwerk (NYC)
Unconventional Action (Frederick, MD)
Dirty Hands Collective (Durango, CO)
Silent City Distro (Ithaca, NY)
Unconventional Action In The Bay (Oakland/San Fran, CA)
Armchair Revolutionaries (West Chester, PA)
Wooden Shoe Books (Philadelphia, PA)
Self-described Anarchist Collective (Washington, DC)
Syracuse Solidarity Network (Syracuse, NY)

Pakistan Is In Serious Trouble

[The opinions expressed by the following writer clearly reflect the opinions of the majority of the nation.  The "elected government" (elected by Bush and Cheney) of Pakistan is a bunch of shadow puppets, representing the will of the American elite.  The Army has lost the trust of a majority of the people simply because of the many ongoing wars fought against Pakistanis on America's behalf and the fact that the generals are afraid to stand-up to the American invasionAmericans in Pakistan are perhaps in the biggest trouble of all the abusers of the Pakistani people's trust, because they are becoming the focal point of the building anger and whatever democratic actions might arise from the groundswell.  I predict something like a repeat of the events of April 30, 1975.]

Threat from America

Roedad Khan

If you want to know what happens to an ill-led and ill-governed, small country which, under the leadership of its corrupt rulers who owe everything to Washington, attaches itself to a powerful country like the United States, visit Pakistan.

With the full knowledge and approval of our government, American predators and ground forces strike wherever they like and kill innocent men, women and children in our tribal territory. With the targets now spreading, an expanding US role inside Pakistan may be more than anyone can stomach. The anger level in the country is reaching a dangerous level.

“The single greatest threat to (Pakistan)”, Obama said recently, “comes from Al Qaeda and their extremists allies”. This is not true. All our major problems, including terrorism, stem from the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire – a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.

“The United States”, Obama said, “has great respect for the Pakistani people”. Bombing our villages and killing innocent men, women and children, Mr. President, is no way of expressing friendship or earning the respect of our people. Who says we are friends? There can be no friendship between the strong and the weak. There can be no friendship between unequals, neither in private life nor in public life. “The strong do what they can”, the Athenians told the intractable Melians, “and the weak must suffer what they must.” This is where Pakistan stands today. With the help of power-hungry generals, like Musharraf, and corrupt civilians now in power, Americans have turned independent, sovereign, proud Pakistan into a “pseudo – Republic” and a “rentier state” and allowed venal dictatorship to take root. Angry. So very, very angry. Unable to speak due to mega-anger washing over every pore and fibre of my being. My anger at the people in power today is not blind rant. It is a righteous, concentrated stream of anger.

The farewell address of George Washington will remain an important legacy for small nations like Pakistan. In that notable testament, the Father of the American Republic cautioned that “an attachment of a small or weak toward a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter”. “It is folly in one nation”, George Washington observed, “to look for disinterested favours from another…it must pay with a portion of its independence for what ever it may accept under that character”. No truer words have been spoken on the subject. Pakistan is paying and will continue to pay a very heavy price for the folly of attaching itself to America.

This is the bleakest era in the history of Pakistan since 1971. The independence of Pakistan is a myth. Pakistan is no longer a free country. It is no longer a democratic country. Today Pakistan is splattered with American fortresses, seriously compromising our internal and external sovereignty. People don’t feel safe in their own country because any citizen can be picked up by FBI agents in collusion with our government and smuggled out of the country, making a mockery of our independence and sovereignty. To apply the adjective sovereign to the people in today’s Pakistan is a tragic farce. American military personnel cross and re-cross our border without let or hindrance. They violate our air space with impunity and kill innocent men, women and children. Everyday I ask myself the same question: How can this be happening in Pakistan?

In the backdrop of this grim situation, American marines are pouring into Pakistan, unchecked and unchallenged, in pursuance of their neo-colonial designs, America has set up bases and fortresses scattered across our country. Why is United States acquiring Pearl Continental Hotel in Peshawar? Why is it acquiring hundreds of houses in all our major cities including Islamabad? What is all this in aid of?

Today Pakistan is virtually under American occupation. Its presence in Pakistan is large, unwelcome and highly disruptive. America has disrupted the solemn agreement between Mr Jinnah and the tribesmen in FATA, and in the process it has destabilized the area. Americans have granted themselves leave to chase their elusive enemies in Pakistan territory. Our so-called democratic rulers have allowed them to bomb our tribal area, an intrusion no patriotic citizen can tolerate for long.

America, for all of its nascent idealism, began as an instance of brutal European imperialism, with the extermination of indigenous peoples and the enslavements of Africans. The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan were, therefore, not isolated episodes. They were the culmination of a

110 –year period during which Americans overthrew 14 governments for various ideological, political and economic reasons. The first foreign leader to be overthrown (January 1893) was Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii. In Puerto Rico, Americans crushed the elected government of Louis Munoz Rivera in 1898 after he had held power for just 8 days. In Philippines, Americans fought poorly armed Filipino rebels in a war of resistance which lasted for three and half years. More than 4000 Americans and 35000 Filipinos were killed.

President Jose Zelaya was the most formidable leader Nicaragua ever had. His attempts to regulate American mining companies, and his insistence on seeking loans from European rather then American banks, led the United States to overthrow him in 1909. In 1911, Miguel Davilla of Honduras was overthrown in an operation staged jointly by the United States Navy and a band of rebels led by the American mercenary Lee Christmas.

The CIA staged its first coup in Iran, when Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh nationalized his country’s oil industry. Mobs paid by the CIA rampaged through Tehran in the summer of 1953. Mossadegh surrendered. “I owe my throne to God, my people, my army – and to you”! A grateful Reza Shah told Kemit Roosevelt, the CIA operator, who had masterminded the coup.

When President Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam refused to promise the Americans that he would not negotiate with communist – led insurgents, he was overthrown six weeks after his meeting with McNamara and Lodge and was killed. President Salvador Allende of Chile was overthrown in an American-sponsored coup. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met afterward with the country’s new leader, General Augusto Pinochet.

These are just a few examples of the most direct form of American intervention – the overthrow of foreign governments – a seemingly unending process which continues till today. Pakistan, it appears, is next on the hit list. It is now abundantly clear that Pakistan, the only nuclear power in the Islamic world, will soon be denuclearized and emasculated.

Why is there no public outrage? Why is the opposition keeping so quiet? Why this conspiracy of silence? One thing is clear. Today the true guardians of Pakistan are the people of Pakistan. People power alone can save Pakistan. Time and again – in 1789, 1848, 1871, and 1968, to name only the most historic years – mass protests have kicked out foreign intruders and their agents. Our rulers and their masters in Washington know that the street is all they have to fear. Confronting them has now become a patriotic duty. Today there is no other path for our country, but the one, which led to the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

The writer is a former federal secretary. Email: roedad@comsats.net.pk and http://www.roedadkhan.com

Benazir had set up bodies to probe ex-generals

Benazir had set up bodies to probe ex-generals

By Muhammad Ahmad Noorani

BAHAWALPUR: Once one of the top confidants of Benazir Bhutto, former law minister Syed Iqbal Haider, has advised his party men and the present rulers to respect Benazir’s philosophy by punishing the Armymen who indulged in any kind of unconstitutional activity.

Haider said Benazir had decided to punish former COAS Mirza Aslam Beg for establishing the IJI and the then COAS, Abdul Waheed Kakar, had supported her.

Haider said the Army would have no objection if the PPP government tried Musharraf for high treason. He said trial of a usurper under Article 6 of the Constitution would have to be initiated against the person who led such a move. The trials of Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan were not possible, as the 1973 Constitution was not present at that time, he said, adding that the man who led the 1977 coup against an elected prime minister was no more in this world.

“Those who are talking about trying the previous Army chiefs are, in fact, on a mission to save the fourth military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, from being tried for high treason.”

Haider said Benazir wanted to act upon the relevant clauses of the 1973 Constitution to save the country from any future military intervention. He said Benazir was very much hostile towards the nefarious designs of intelligence outfits and was willing to restrict them to their professional duties. “But, unfortunately, Benazir was never given an opportunity to materialise her plans,” Haider said.

During her first tenure as prime minister, Benazir had constituted a commission, headed by former air chief Zulfiqar Ali Khan, with members, including then interior secretary SK Mehmood, in 1989 to determine the legitimate role of intelligence agencies.

The commission’s report was not implemented after Benazir’s first government was dismissed on August 7, 1990. During the same tenure, when Benazir came to know about the conspiracy hatched by some military men to topple her government, she got removed the ‘Midnight Jackals’ by ordering the then COAS to take immediate action.

Haider said that during her second tenure, Benazir was willing to punish the military and civil bureaucracy for indulging in unconstitutional acts like establishing the IJI and weakening her political government. He said she intended to prosecute the former Army chief and all those mainly responsible, including General (retd) Mirza Aslam Beg, former ISI chief Hamid Gul and Asad Durrani.

He added that Benazir never took arbitrary decisions and always tried her best to consult almost everyone. For that purpose, she had asked the then COAS, General Abdul Kakar, for his suggestion, he said.

Haider said being a cabinet member, he was also present in that meeting. General Kakar completely agreed with Benazir and asked her to move ahead with her idea. Kakar, however, suggested that a comprehensive probe in this regard should be conducted by two different judicial commissions in a way that one commission should probe the civilians, while the other probe former military jackals, he said.

Among the civilians, Younus Habib was a key person, who was the head of a financial institution, but backed by intelligence outfits for their nefarious designs, Haider said.

The former minister said in order to probe the civilians, a Mehran Bank commission was formed, while another commission, called the Habib Bank Commission, was constituted to try the military men. Both the commissions were headed by judges of the Supreme Court.

“But, again, Benazir’s second government was dismissed unconstitutionally and she was sent home,” Haider said. “The then president, Farooq Leghari, who was the major beneficiary of the Mehran Bank scandal, never let the outcome of inquiry of these two high-level commissions be published and I don’t know where the findings are lying now.”

Haider said the three commissions set up by Benazir Bhutto were reflective of her vision and ideas. She was unable to take them to the conclusion, because her governments were cut short every time, he added.

Haider said: “It is the duty of those who came to power in the name of Benazir Bhutto, to materialise the vision of Benazir by initiating an immediate trial of the fourth military dictator, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, strictly in accordance with the spirit of Zulfikar Ali Bhuttos’ Constitution of 1973.”

The Zionist Belief in the Right to Rule Other Nations

[This Zionist attempt to force the world to solve its perceived problems is the same as it always is, to scare the world to the point of near paralysis in regards to what Israel might do to eliminate Iran.  The thing that sets this report apart from others is the attempt to maintain the threat, while also easing it back a bit, so as not to make the threat level so high that it actually serves to motivate the American reader into taking action against all rogue states brandishing their nukes.  Israel is doing its utmost to put the heat on Korea and Pakistan, instead of upon itself.  Israel is the only state in the world that regularly threatens nuclear attacks upon one of its neighbors, which is its only certain option for eliminating Iranian nuclear science.]

 

Israeli Defence Minister says US should halt N Korea’s nuke programme before Iran’s

JERUSALEM – Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has asked the US to work towards halting North Korea’s nuclear weapons program before Iran’s, as the move would have a big influence on the Islamic republic.

“North Korea is developing long-range missiles in the backyard of China and Russia and nothing happens to them,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Barak, as saying.

“When the Iranian leadership asks themselves, ‘Should we be worried or just go through the ritual of defying and cheating?’ the answer depends on what happens to North Korea. A coherent move toward blocking nuclear proliferation should start with North Korea. It would have very positive ramifications for blocking Iran,” he said.

Barak, who is scheduled to meet US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates this week, said he was opposed to comparing the Iranian threat to the Holocaust era.

“I don’t buy the relevance of comparing the situation with that of Europe in 1938. Then, the hope for a normal Jew looking into the future was to flee. We are not in such a situation. We can defend ourselves against any kind of threat,” he said in

an interview with the New York Times.

On Thursday, Barak had said that Iran did not pose an existential threat to Israel.

“I am not among those who believe Iran is an existential issue for Israel. Israel is strong, I don’t see anyone who could pose an existential threat,” he said.

On the resumption of the Middle East peace process, Barak appeared to be pessimistic, despite the announcement of tripartite meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and US President Barack Obama.

“I fear the Palestinians are going to miss a huge opportunity. There is a president who says determinedly, ‘I am going to put my political capital into making sure there is an independent Palestinian state and solve all the core issues in two years.’ If we bear in mind Israel’s security needs and the demand that a final agreement means an end to the conflict, this is an opportunity that must not be missed,” he said. (ANI)

Study: 44,000 Americans Dead a Year From Lack of Health Insurance

Study: 44,000 Americans Dead a Year From Lack of Health Insurance

Filed under: News — russell @ 3:52 pm

More than 44,000 Americans die every year – 122 every day – due to lack of health insurance.

That’s the startling finding of a new study – Health Insurance and Mortality in U.S. Adults – that appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The 44,000 dead a year estimate is about two-and-a-half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine in 2002.

The Harvard-based researchers found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993.

“The uninsured have a higher risk of death when compared to the privately insured, even after taking into account socioeconomics, health behaviors and baseline health,” said lead author Dr. Andrew Wilper. “We doctors have many new ways to prevent deaths from hypertension, diabetes and heart disease – but only if patients can get into our offices and afford their medications.”

“Historically, every other developed nation has achieved universal health care through some form of nonprofit national health insurance,” said study co-author Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a professor of medicine at Harvard and a primary care physician in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Our failure to do so means that all Americans pay higher health care costs, and 45,000 pay with their lives.”

“Even the most liberal version of the House bill would leave 17 million people uninsured,” Woolhandler said.  “The whittled down version that Senator Max Baucus is proposing would leave 25 million uninsured. That translates into about 25,000 deaths annually from lack of health insurance. Absent the $400 billion in  savings you could get from a single payer system, universal coverage is unaffordable. Politicians in Washington are protecting insurance industry profits while sacrificing American lives.”

The study, which analyzed data from national surveys carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), assessed death rates after taking education, income and many other factors including smoking, drinking and obesity into account.

It estimated that lack of health insurance causes 44,789 excess deaths annually.

Previous estimates from the Institute of Medicine and others had put that figure near 18,000.

The methods used in the Harvard were similar to those employed by the Institute of Medicine in 2002, which in turn were based on a pioneering 1993 study of health insurance and mortality.

Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease.

An increase in the number of uninsured and an eroding medical safety net for the disadvantaged likely explain the substantial increase in the number of deaths associated with lack of insurance.

The uninsured are more likely to go without needed care.

Another factor contributing to the widening gap in the risk of death between those who have insurance and those who don’t is the improved quality of care for those who can get it.

The research, carried out at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, analyzed U.S. adults under age 65 who participated in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) between 1986 and 1994.

Respondents first answered detailed questions about their socioeconomic status and health and were then examined by physicians.

The CDC tracked study participants to see who died by 2000.

The study found a 40 percent increased risk of death among the uninsured. As expected, death rates were also higher for males (37 percent increase), current or former smokers (102 percent and 42 percent increases), people who said that their health was fair or poor (126 percent increase), and those that examining physicians said were in fair or poor health (222 percent increase).

“The Institute of Medicine, using older studies, estimated that one American dies every 30 minutes from lack of health insurance,” said study co-author Dr. David Himmelstein. “Even this grim figure is an underestimate – now one dies every 12 minutes.”

The authors broke down the 44,840 deaths by state.

California leads the nation with 5,302 deaths due to lack of health insurance per year.

Texas follows closely behind with 4,675 deaths due to lack of health insurance per year.

Texas also had the highest rate (in 2005) of uninsured citizens — 29.7 percent.

The Firestorm Ahead

The Firestorm Ahead

September 10, 2009

By Immanuel Wallerstein

There is a firestorm ahead in the Middle East for which neither the US government nor the US public is prepared. They seem scarcely aware how close it is on the horizon or how ferocious it will be. The US government (and therefore almost inevitably the US public) is deluding itself massively about its capacity to handle the situation in terms of its stated objectives. The storm will go from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan to Israel/Palestine, and in the classic expression “it will spread like wildfire.”

Let us start with Iraq. The United States has signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq, which went into effect on July 1. It provided for turning over internal security to the Iraqi government and, in theory, essentially restricting US forces to their bases and to some limited role in training Iraqi troops. Some of the wording of this agreement is ambiguous. Deliberately so, since that was the only way both sides would sign it.

Even the first months of operation show how poorly this agreement is operating. The Iraqi forces have been interpreting it very strictly, formally forbidding both joint patrols and also any unilateral US military actions without prior detailed clearance with the government. It has gotten to the point that Iraqi forces are stopping US forces from passing checkpoints with supplies during daytime hours.

The US forces have been chafing. They have tried to interpret the clause guaranteeing them the right of self-defense far more loosely than the Iraqi forces want. They are pointing to the upturn in violence in Iraq and therefore implicitly to the incapacity of Iraqi forces to guarantee order.

The general commanding the US forces, Ray Odierno, is obviously extremely unhappy and is patently scheming to find excuses to reestablish a direct US role. Recently, he met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of Iraq and President Masoud Barzani of the Kurdish Regional Government. Odierno sought to persuade them to permit tripartite (Iraqi/Kurdish/American) joint patrols in Mosul and other areas of northern Iraq, in order to prevent or minimize violence. They politely agreed to consider his proposal. Unfortunately for Odierno, his plan would require a formal revision of the SOFA agreement.

Originally, there was supposed to be a referendum in the beginning of July on popular approval of the SOFA agreement. The United States was afraid of losing the vote, which would have meant that all US forces would have had to be out of Iraq by Dec. 31, 2010, one full year earlier than the theoretical date in the SOFA agreement.

The United States thought it was very clever in persuading al-Maliki to postpone this referendum to January 2010. Now it will be held in conjunction with the national elections. In the national elections, everyone will be seeking to obtain votes. No one is going to be campaigning in favor of a “yes” vote on the referendum. Lest this be in any doubt, al-Maliki is submitting a project to the Iraqi parliament that will permit a simple majority of “no” votes to annul the agreement. There will be a majority of “no” votes. There may even be an overwhelming majority of “no” votes. Odierno should be packing his bags now. I’ll bet he still has the illusion that he can avoid the onset of the firestorm. He can’t.

What will happen next? At the present, but this may change between now and January, it looks like al-Maliki will win the election. He will do this by becoming the number one champion of Iraqi nationalism. He will make deals with all and sundry on this basis. Iraqi nationalism at the moment doesn’t have much to do with Iran or Saudi Arabia or Israel or Russia. It means first of all liberating Iraq from the last vestiges of US colonial rule, which is how almost all Iraqis define what they have been living under since 2003.

Will there be internal violence in Iraq? Probably, though possibly less than Odierno and others expect. But so what? Iraqi “liberation”? which is what the entire Middle East will interpret a “no” vote on the referendum to be — will immediately have a great impact on Afghanistan. There people will say, if the Iraqis can do it, so can we.

Of course, the situation in Afghanistan is different, very different, from that of Iraq. But look at what is going on now with the elections in Afghanistan. We have a government put into power to contain and destroy the Taliban. The Taliban have turned out to be more tenacious and militarily effective than any one seemed ever to anticipate. Even the tough US commander there, Stanley McChrystal, has recognized that. The US military is now talking of “succeeding” in perhaps a decade. Soldiers who think they have a decade to win a war against insurgents have clearly not been reading military history.

Notice the Afghan politicians themselves. Three leading candidates for the presidency, including President Hamid Karzai, debated on television the current internal war. They agreed on one thing. There must be some kind of political negotiations with the Taliban. They differed on the details. The US (and NATO) forces are there ostensibly to destroy the Taliban. And the leading Afghan politicians are debating how to come to political terms with them. There is a serious disjuncture here of appreciation of realities, or perhaps of political objectives.

The polls — for what they are worth — are showing that the majority of Afghans want the NATO forces to leave and the majority of US voters want the same thing. Now look ahead to January 2010, when the Iraqis vote the United States out of Iraq. Remember that, before the Taliban came to power, the country was the site of fierce and ruthless fighting among competing warlords, each with different ethnic bases, to control the country.

The United States was actually relieved when the Pakistani-backed Taliban took power. Order at last. There turned out to be a minor problem. The Taliban were serious about sharia and friendly to the emergent al-Qaeda. So, after 9/11, the United States, with west European approval and United Nations sanction, invaded. The Taliban were ousted from power — for a little while.

What will happen now? The Afghans will probably revert to the nasty continuing inter-ethnic wars of the warlords, with the Taliban just one more faction. The US public’s tolerance for that war will evaporate entirely. All the internal factions and many of the neighbors (Russia, Iran, India, and Pakistan) will remain to fight over the pieces.

And then stage three — Pakistan. Pakistan is another complicated situation. But none of the players there trust the United States. And the polls there show that the Pakistani public thinks that the greatest danger to Pakistan is the United States, and that by an overwhelming vote. The traditional enemy, India, is far behind the United States in the polls. When Afghanistan crumbles into a full- fledged civil war, the Pakistani army will be very busy supporting the Taliban. They cannot support the Taliban in Afghanistan while fighting them in Pakistan. They will no longer be able to accept US drones bombing in Pakistan.

So then comes stage four of the firestorm — Israel/Palestine. The Arab world will observe the collapse of US projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The US project in Israel/Palestine is a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israelis are not going to budge an inch. But neither now, and especially after the rest of the firestorm, are the Palestinians. The one consequence will be the enormous pressure that other Arab states will put upon Fatah and Hamas to join forces. This will be over Mahmoud Abbas’s dead body — which might literally be the case.

The whole Obama program will have gone up in flames. And the Republicans will make hay with it. They will call US defeat in the Middle East “betrayal” and it is obvious now that there is a large group inside the United States very receptive to such a theme.

One either anticipates firestorms and does something useful, or one gets swept up in them.

Immanuel Wallerstein, Senior Research Scholar at Yale University, is the author of The Decline of American Power: The US in a Chaotic World (New Press).

Taliban leader: Brown and Obama are ‘deceiving’ the world over Afghan war

Taliban leader: Brown and Obama are ‘deceiving’ the world over Afghan war

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  • Chinook helicopters approaching troops from 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, in the Sangin Valley, Afghanistan.

heraldscotland staff

Reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar has issued a bullish statement vowing to defeat NATO troops in Afghanistan and telling Western people to question their leader’s justifications of the Afghan war.

In a statement posted in English on a Taliban website, shahamat.org, marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and attributed to the reclusive Taliban leader, Omar said American and British offensives in recent months had been a failure.

He also said the Taliban had been tainted by the Western media’s ‘black propaganda’ that has incorrectly represented them as a threat to other countries and opponents of education or women’s rights.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls on the public of the West not to be deceived by the assertions of Obama, who says the war in Afghanistan, is a war of necessity. The West does not have to wage this war. This war, in fact, started for clandestine motives under baseless reasons. The humanity, as a whole, suffers from its negative consequences. The global economic meltdown, instability, lack of trust and violation of international norms is the outcome of the baseless policies” the statement said.

“The public of the West should also not be deceived by the assertions of the General Secretary of NATO and British prime minister who claim the war in Afghanistan is for the defense of the West. Such deceiving and baseless utterances must not confuse you.”

The letter continued: “No country in the world has right to meddle in the internal affairs of its neighboring country according to the modern international principles. The arrogant powers-that-be at the White House and its British Ally should know their interference from thousands of kilometers away is never acceptable to the countries of the region and can never be tolerated. The plans of colonial expansionism which is under way in the region under the notorious and unlawful slogan of war on terrorism is, in fact, an endeavor against the universal human values of justice, peace, equal distribution of resources and independence.”

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf, said the statement was genuine. The precise whereabouts and health status of Omar are not known, as he does not appear in public.

Obama, who has already ordered 21,000 extra troops to Afghanistan this year, is expected to consider a request for more troops from his commander there in coming weeks.

There are now more than 100,000 Western troops in Afghanistan, two thirds of them Americans.

“The invaders should study the history of Afghanistan from the time of the aggression of the Alexander,” the statement said.

“Still, if they are bent on ignoring the history, then they themselves saw with their own eyes the events of the past eight years. Have they achieved anything in the past eight years?”

U.S. commanders believe the reclusive Taliban leader has been hiding in Pakistan since he was driven from power in Kabul in 2001 after refusing to turn over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

A press officer for U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, Captain Elizabeth Mathias, declined to comment on the statement.