PNN - 3/17/13 call in 909-265-9104
Women's Rights = Human Rights
Women Leaders Speak
Faith Olivia Babbis 7:10 - 7:35PM
Emine Dilek – 7:36 - 8:01PM
Prof. Sommer Gentry 8:02PM - 8:27PM
Eve Samples 8:28PM - 8:58PM
Luis Cuevas Co-Host
VEGGIE PRIDE PARADE NYC 2013
to take place early this year:
Sunday, March 24
Visit Web site:
We believe that the Reduction of Youth Solitary bill (SB 812) will be heard by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday, March 18 from 1 – 3pm.
Are there people in your region, especially folks in committee members’ districts, who could contact their state senator to support the bill?
PDA CONFERENCE CALL
(Health Care for All)
Come to our Call - Healthcare For All!
What Day: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
What Time: 9:00 PM ET 8:00 PM CT 7:00 PM MT 6:00 PM PT
1. AMY GOODMAN:
What about the transcripts of decisions, of what's going on in court?
GLENN GREENWALD: Well, the irony of this proceeding is that what led Bradley Manning to do what he did was that virtually everything the U.S. government does is cloaked in secrecy, everything it does of any significance, and that whistleblowing and leaks, unauthorized leaks, is the only way we find out about what our government is doing. And a perfect microcosm illustrating how true that is is the Manning proceeding itself.
There is more secrecy at this proceeding than there is even at Guantanamo military proceedings under George Bush. The docket is often classified and kept secret. Court orders are kept secret.
There is no transcript available, so Alexa O'Brien had to transcribe his statement, Bradley Manning's statement, using whatever instruments that she could. It really is a mockery of justice, what has taken place, and it really reflects the motivations that led Manning to do this in the first place.
AMY GOODMAN: The decision that came down from the Supreme Court on surveillance, you see it in some ways tying into this.
GLENN GREENWALD: I see it completely connected. That decision last week -- in 2008, the Democratic-led Congress passed a law essentially authorizing massive new surveillance powers, allowing the U.S. government to surveil and eavesdrop on the conversation of American citizens without warrants. And instantly, the ACLU filed a lawsuit saying that this law, this major new eavesdropping law, is unconstitutional.
And they got all kind of journalists and activists and human rights groups to say that the mere existence of this eavesdropping power severely harms them. Five years later, the Supreme Court said, because this eavesdropping program is shrouded in secrecy, nobody can prove that they're being subjected to the eavesdropping, and therefore nobody has standing to sue; we won't even allow the law to be tested in court about whether it violates the Constitution.
So, this has happened over and over. The government has insulated its conduct from what are supposed to be the legitimate means of accountability and transparency -- judicial proceedings, media coverage, FOIA requests -- and has really erected this impenetrable wall of secrecy, using what are supposed to be the institutions designed to prevent that. That is what makes whistleblowing all the more imperative. It really is the only remaining avenue that we have to learn about what the government is doing. And that is why the government is so intent on waging this war against whistleblowers, because it's the only thing left that shines light on what they were doing. And those who want to stigmatize whistleblowing as illegal would have a much better case if there were legitimate institutions that were functioning that allow the kind of transparency that we're supposed to have. But those have been all shut down, which is what makes whistleblowing all the more imperative and the war on whistleblowing all the more odious.
2. Podesta Says Show us the Papers
John Podesta is chairman of the Center for American Progress and a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University. He served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff from 1998 to 2001.
From Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, we learned that the Obama administration is “struggling” with how to provide more information on its so-called targeted killing program; that senior officials have “talked about a greater need for transparency” about the program; and that we “will hear the president speak about this” in the future. After a limited document review by the Senate intelligence committee; a spirited 13-hour filibuster led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.); and a last-minute admission by Holder that the president does not have the authority to use drones to kill a U.S. citizen on American soil who is not engaged in combat, the White House is still bobbing and weaving on whether to share with Congress the legal opinions and memorandums governing targeted killing, which include the legal justification for killing U.S. citizens without trial.
The Obama administration is wrong to withhold these documents from Congress and the American people. I say this as a former White House chief of staff who understands the instinct to keep sensitive information secret and out of public view. It is beyond dispute that some information must be closely held to protect national security and to engage in effective diplomacy, and that unauthorized disclosure can be extraordinarily harmful. But protecting technical means, human sources, operational details and intelligence methods cannot be an excuse for creating secret law to guide our institutions.
In refusing to release to Congress the rules and justifications governing a program that has conducted nearly 400 unmanned drone strikes and killed at least three Americans in the past four years, President Obama is ignoring the system of checks and balances that has governed our country from its earliest days. And in keeping this information from the American people, he is undermining the nation’s ability to be a leader on the world stage and is acting in opposition to the democratic principles we hold most important.
This is why I say, respectfully: Give them up, Mr. President.
Begin by fully sharing with the congressional committees that have jurisdiction all of the documents used by your administration to legally substantiate and govern the targeted killing program, including the justification for targeting U.S. citizens. The law that directs our government’s activities should not be kept secret.
All branches of the people’s government have the right to know the rules and standards under which the other branches act. Congress has the power to oversee the conduct of the executive branch, and lawmakers must be permitted to use it. As Woodrow Wilson wrote: “The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function.” Appropriate congressional oversight is critical in building long-term credibility with the public across the political spectrum for the actions the administration undertakes in the people’s name.
This isn’t to say that the executive branch is obligated to disclose information on operational details or case-specific profiles that are, deservedly, highly classified. But that information can be redacted without undermining the public’s understanding of the legal justification on which the government’s actions are based.
The American people have the right to know the laws they live under. In addition to allowing Congress to properly fulfill its oversight duties, the administration should make available to the public the criteria justifying the targeted killing of Americans and the safeguards put in place to protect against wrongful death.
This level of transparency is important for our democracy and for governments around the globe. The United States is not the only country with drone technology. We are not the only country with the ability to deploy cyberweapons. We are not the only country grappling with how to apply the rule of law — and the laws of war — when the nature of conflict has changed dramatically, and in a short time.
But we cannot lead if the American people are kept in the dark. We cannot lead if the world does not know the principles and laws that guide us, or if others can credibly say that our commitment to a government of the people, by the people and for the people is simply window-dressing, or that we sacrifice our constitutional principles when it is expedient.
James Madison said that “a popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy; or, perhaps, both.”
March 16 is Madison’s birthday. Mark it, Mr. President, by upholding the promise of openness and transparency you made in your State of the Union address last month. Release the legal guidance governing your targeted killing programs, including the justifications for targeting Americans, and take charge of the informed, free and vigorous debate that undoubtedly will follow.
3. First time since 1948, propaganda is now legal in the U.S.
Posted on February 11, 2013 by maxkeiser| 18 Comments
On 12/29/12, President Obama signed HR 4310, the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1078 (thomas.loc. gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.4310:) of the bill authorizes the use of propaganda inside the US, which had previously been banned since 1948 when the Smith-Mundt Act was passed.
History of Section 1078:
1) First version of NDAA is proposed, does not include domestic propaganda legislation (3/29/12)
2) Domestic propaganda legislation introduced by Rep. Thornberry as stand-alone legislation not related to NDAA, HR 5736, entitled ‘Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012.’ Defeated in committee vote. (5/10/12)
3) Exact text of HR 5736 introduced as Section 1097 of third version of NDAA, which was approved by the house. House sends bill to Senate. Section 1097 is entitled ‘Dissemination Abroad of Information about the United States.’ The text of this Section 1097 is virtually identical to that of HR 5736, except one word is removed (see below)*. (5/18/12)
4) NDAA referred to Senate. Section 1097 appears in fourth version of bill, ‘Referred in Senate’ version. In this version, there is a Section 1078, listed as ‘Authority for Corps of Engineers to Construct Projects Critical to Navigation Safety’ (6/19/12)
5) Section 1097 does not appear ‘Public Print’ version, nor does Section 1078. There is no section regarding ‘Dissemination Abroad of Information.’ (12/4/12)
6) In, ‘Engrossed Amendment Senate’ version, Section 1097 reappears as ‘Transportation of Individuals to and from Facilities of Department of Veterans Affairs.’ There is no section regarding ‘Dissemination Abroad of Information.’ (12/12/12)
7) Final version of bill is returned to House and Senate for re-approval. Section 1097 does not appear, and the ‘Transportation of Individuals’ clause does not appear elsewhere in the bill. Section 1078 reappears, now entitled ‘Dissemination Abroad of Information about the United States.’ The text of this Section 1078 is identical to the text of Section 1097 from the third version of the bill discussed in point #3. (12/21/12)
8) Obama signs this final version of HR 4310. (12/29/12)
That is the basic history of this bill. All information is sourced from Library of Congress.
*There is only one difference between the text of HR 5736 and Section 1078, and it is that the word ‘primarily’ from ‘intended primarily for foreign audiences’ appears in HR 5736 but is removed in Section 1078 of HR 4310 and the wording is ‘intended for foreign audiences.’
Below I’m going to paste the important parts of the bill’s text to help your writers. Bracketed text is mine. The beginning of the bill is misleading, and apparent reversals of clauses in it are made in subsequent subsections (however, if the reader uses a broad interpretation, they’re not really reversals, only expansions on the original meaning):
SEC. 1097. DISSEMINATION ABROAD OF INFORMATION ABOUT THE UNITED STATES.
(a) United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 [aka Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which banned domestic propaganda]- Section 501 of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1461) is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 501. (a) The Secretary and the Broadcasting Board of Governors are authorized to use funds appropriated or otherwise made available for public diplomacy information programs to provide for the preparation, dissemination, and use of information intended for foreign audiences abroad about the United States, its people, and its policies, through press, publications, radio, motion pictures, the Internet, and other information media, including social media, and through information centers, instructors, and other direct or indirect means of communication.
[using a broad interpretation, 'intended for foreign audiences abroad' could apply to any material that could at any point after release be potentially made available to any person who lives outside of the US]
SEC. 208. CLARIFICATION ON DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION OF PROGRAM MATERIAL
(a) In General- No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States. This section shall apply only to programs carried out pursuant to the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1431 et seq.), the United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (22 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.), the Radio Broadcasting to Cuba Act (22 U.S.C. 1465 et seq.), and the Television Broadcasting to Cuba Act (22 U.S.C. 1465aa et seq.). This section shall not prohibit or delay the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors from providing information about its operations, policies, programs, or program material, or making such available, to the media, public, or Congress, in accordance with other applicable law.
(b) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors from engaging in any medium or form of communication, either directly or indirectly, because a United States domestic audience is or may be thereby exposed to program material, or based on a presumption of such exposure. Such material may be made available within the United States and disseminated, when appropriate, pursuant to sections 502 and 1005 of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 (22 U.S.C. 1462 and 1437), except that nothing in this section may be construed to authorize the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors to disseminate within the United States any program material prepared for dissemination abroad on or before the effective date of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012.
[Note that section B expressly allows the use of propaganda domestically, as long as there is some possibility that at least one non-US-citizen will eventually receive the given communication]
This bill appears to not only open the door to legalization of the dissemination of propaganda in America, but would also legalize covert infiltration of media organizations by government agents and even the creation of media outlets that legally operate entirely as government fronts.
4. BP Appeals Spill Compensation Ruling
Published: March 15, 2013
BP asked a judge on Friday to temporarily halt claims paid out as business economic losses, saying many were “fictitious” and “absurd.” In a filing in federal court in New Orleans, BP said it could be “irreparably harmed” because the payouts could cost billions more than it budgeted for when it agreed to a settlement last April. BP was appealing a March 5 ruling that upheld the way it is paying business claimants seeking compensation for losses caused by the 2010 spill.
5. 25 disturbing facts about psych drugs, soldiers and suicides
March 14, 2013
We are living in an age of upside-downs, where right is wrong, fiction is truth and war is peace. Those who fight the wars are subjected to their own house of mirrors via pharmaceutical “treatments.” Instead of providing U.S. soldiers and veterans with actual health care, the government throws pills at them and calls it “therapy.”
Stimulants, antidepressants, anti-psychotics, sedatives and pain meds are the new “fuel” for America’s front-line forces. While the idea of sending medicated soldiers into battle was unthinkable just three decades ago, today it’s the status quo. And the cost in human lives has never been more tragic.
Here are 25 disturbing facts about psych drugs, soldiers and suicides. They are disturbing because everybody seems to be pretending there is no link between psychiatric drugs and soldier suicides. So soldiers and veterans keep dying while the Pentagon (and the VA) keep pretending they don’t know why. (Sources are listed at the bottom of this article.)
1) 33% of the U.S. Army is on prescription medications, and nearly a quarter of those are on psychotropic drugs
2) In 2010, the Pentagon spent $280 million on psychiatric drugs. That number has since risen.
3) There are now over 8,000 suicides each year by U.S. soldiers and veterans; that’s over 22 a day
4) 33% of those suicides are attributed to medication side effects
5) That means medications are killing more U.S. soldiers and veterans than Al-Qaeda
6) 500% more soldiers abuse prescription drugs than illegal street drugs
7) Under the Obama administration, the number of veterans waiting for VA care has risen from 11,000 in 2009 to 245,000 today
8) More active duty soldiers die from suicide than from combat: 349 dead last year
9) The number of prescriptions for Ritalin and Adderall written for active-duty soldiers has increased 1,000% in the last five years
10) For every active-duty service member who dies in battle, 25 veterans die by suicide
11) Only 1 percent of Americans have served in the Middle East, but veterans of combat there make up 20% of all suicides in the United States
12) The suicide rate of active-duty soldiers in the Civil War was only 9 – 15 per 100,000 soldiers. The suicide rate of active-duty U.S. soldiers in the Middle East is 23 per 100,000. And casualty rates were far higher in the Civil War, meaning the Civil War was more psychologically traumatic.
13) In the Korean War, the suicide rate among active-duty military soldiers was only 11 per 100,000
14) To date, the Pentagon has spent more than a billion dollars on psychiatric drugs, making it one of the largest customers of Big Pharma
15) In 2010, over 213,000 active-duty military personnel were taking medications considered “high risk” by the Pentagon
16) In the years since the Iraq War began, twice as many soldiers of the Texas Army National Guard have died of suicide than in combat
17) Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls military suicides an “epidemic”
18) Of all the branches of the military, the Army has the highest number of suicides each year, almost 400% more than the Marines
19) Most active-duty soldiers who take psychiatric medications consume a combination of three to five prescriptions
20) The use of prescription medications by active-duty soldiers is largely unregulated. Soldiers are given a bottle of meds and sent into combat. If they run out of meds, they are given a refill, no questions asked.
21) The mainstream media says the answer to lowing suicides of veterans is to take away their guns so that they cannot shoot themselves. This is the logical equivalent to trying to fix your car’s engine by removing the “check engine” light.
22) The Pentagon is initiating new research (in 2013) to try to figure out why psychiatric medications cause soldiers to commit suicide. The research involves tracking brain activity by attaching electrodes to the skull.
23) One-third of military suicides are committed by soldiers who have never seen combat
24) In the last year, the military wrote over 54,000 prescriptions for Seroquel to soldiers, and all those prescriptions were “off label,” meaning the intended use has never been approved by the FDA as safe or effective.
25) Dr. Bart Billings, a retired Army Colonel and former military psychologist, refers to psychiatric drugs as a “chemical lobotomy” for soldiers.
6. My letter to Senator Nelson
Senator Elizabeth Warren has been asking tough questions of the Treasury the Department of "Justice" and the various "REGULATORS" who have the responsibility for overseeing BANKS (ever heard of HSBC?)
And asking under what conditions they might PROSECUTE a Bank or a Wall Street firm? HSBC, has been in the news, maybe you heard, they were laundering DRUG CARTEL MONEY and trading with Nations against whom we have sanctions. "Terrorist Nations" Iran, Somalia, Yemen etc. Sure there was a fine but no actual prosecutions. So Where were you when the freshman Senator was getting the usual pass the BUCK - "We're hoping to get hired by these guys RUN-AROUND?
You say your investigating SENIORS and ISSUES OF AGING. Thats NICE? When were you going to stand up against CUTS to MEDICARE? MEDICADE? When are you going to stand up not just against CUTS but for a COLA for Seniors.
Saying your investigating is "NICE" doing something to actually help is SO MUCH BETTER.
Please Senator, save the platitudes for the hard of hearing. We who actually watch what your doing - we see you you huddle with on the Senate Floor - When are you going to quit STUDYING SENIOR ISSUES and actually DO SOMETHING for Todays Seniors and tomorrows. Just don't tell me your ah, Studying Senior Issues - if you don't know we're hurting then just start setting out the CATFOOD
7. Fearing Radiation Poisoning from Fukushima, Lawsuit Against TEPCO Grows
Plaintiffs say Japanese energy company lied about dangers of working near destroyed nuclear reactors
Claiming that TEPCO, the Japanese energy company that owns the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor, knowingly withheld vital information about the levels of radiation released following the plant's disaster in 2010, a growing number of US service members are joining a lawsuit seeking more than $2 billion in damages.
Sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan scrub down the flight deck in an effort to remove any potential radiation contamination during Operation Tomodachi, March 23, 2011. (Photo: Kevin Gray/U.S. Navy, Flickr) Though first filed by US sailors stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan—which responded to the tsunami disaster by conducting search and rescue operations in the immediate aftermath—the suit has now grown to include nearly thirty others who fear they, too, were exposed to high levels of nuclear radiation. As many as one hundred other people are in the process of joining.
Reporting in Stars & Stripes says that "plaintiffs claim they have suffered a number of ailments they say are linked to their exposure, ranging from headaches and difficulty concentrating to rectal bleeding, thyroid problems, cancer, tumors and gynecological bleeding."
According to the official complaint: “At all relevant times, [TEPCO] knew that the reactors and storage tanks at the [Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant] were then leaking and emitting high levels of radiation,” the complaint reads.
And Stars & Stripes adds:
The Defense Department stands by its claim that while some service members experienced elevated levels of radiation, they weren’t high enough to make people sick. It started the Operation Tomodachi Registry so employees in Japan could look up radiation dose estimates.
Two years after the disaster, it remains incomplete; DOD spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said several reports are expected to be added to the site in the “next few months.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
8. The War Powers Resolution (Section 4(b)) mandates that “the President shall provide such other information as the Congress may request in the fulfillment of its constitutional responsibilities with respect to committing the Nation to war and to the use of United States armed forces abroad.” Yet only insistent congressional pressure has forced the Obama administration to disclose some of its internal legal memoranda concerning drones, apparently in exchange for senate approval of Brennan’s nomination. It continues to resist the spirit of Section 4(b).
Hopefully, the Congressional Progressive Caucus will take up the reform of war-making powers as a major priority. Already, one of the CPC’s co-chairs, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), has expressed the need to reform and reverse the administration’s secret drone war. In the Senate, strong leadership on transparency has come from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Libertarian Republican senator Rand Paul is demanding to know whether the White House will unleash drone strikes on American citizens. Longtime activist groups like Code Pink suddenly are finding themselves in the center of a national conversation.
Three senators – Wyden, Mark Udall, and Susan Collins – who voted for Brennan’s confirmation also issued a call on March 5, “to bring the American people into this debate and for Congress to consider ways to ensure that the president’s sweeping authorities are subject to appropriate limitations, oversight and safeguards.”
By most accounts, this fuss over the Imperial Presidency was not supposed to be happening. The drone wars were supposed to be cheap for the taxpayer, erase American military casualties, and hammer the terrorists into peace negotiations. The assassination of Osama bin Laden was supposed to be the turning point. But even with the wars being low-intensity and low-visibility, the “secrets” have remained in the public eye, especially the drone war.
From a peace movement perspective, pressure from anywhere for any steps that will complicate and eventually choke off the unfettered use of drones will be an improvement over the status quo. For some like Ramberg, a reform of the 1973 War Powers Resolution is overdue. That resolution, which passed during an uproar against the Nixon presidency, actually conceded war-making power to the president for a two-month period before requiring congressional authorization. The original 1973 Senate version of the war-powers bill, before it was watered down, required congressional authorization except in the case of armed attack on the US or the necessity of immediate citizen evacuation. No president has ever signed the war powers legislation, on the grounds that it encroaches on the executive branch, although most presidents have voluntarily abided by its requirements.
Ramberg lists the US military actions undertaken after the War Powers Resolution “with minimal or no congressional consultation,” as: Mayaguez (1975), Iran hostage rescue action (1980), El Salvador (1981), Lebanon (1982), Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Panama (1989), Iraq (May 1991, 1993), Somalia (1993), Bosnia (1993-95), Haiti (1993, 2004), Kosovo (1999), leaving out Sudan (1998) and the dubious authorizations for Iraq and Afghanistan.
The immediate issue ripe for attention is the drone policy, conducted in Pakistan by the CIA in utter secrecy, but also spreading through Afghanistan, Mali, Somalia, and Yemen.
Drone attacks clearly are acts of war as defined by the War Powers Resolution, although the WPR was written mainly to contain the deployment of American ground forces. The drone war rests more squarely on the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), the underlying legal rationale for the “Global War on Terrorism.”
The challenge of reform, as opposed to emergency tinkering, will require prolonged efforts to amend and clarify both the WPR and AUMF. Allowing any president a 60-day period before seeking congressional authorization, as the WPR does, makes no sense in drone warfare. Instead, the president should be required to seek congressional permission if he wishes to target a clearly definable “enemy,” and be required to issue public guidelines, including necessary disclosure, governing the use of force he contemplates. That means:
First, Congress should establish a special inspector general, like the SIGUR created for Iraq and Afghanistan, to define, monitor and determine civilian casualties (“collateral damage”) from drone strikes. Currently that information is collected by the CIA, which has a conflict-of-interest, not to mention a curtain of secrecy.
Second, Congress will need to draft guidelines sharply narrowing - or even banning - the use of “signature strikes” which permit drone attacks against targets profiled according to identity, such as young males of military age (which could be civilians, participants in awedding or funeral, etc).
Third, Congress or the courts will have to restore the open-ended concept of “imminent threat” to its traditional meaning, as an immediate operational threat aimed at American citizens, US territory or facilities. Under the elastic formulation employed by Brennan and others, the simple fact of ill-defined jihadists holding meetings anywhere on the planet is an “imminent threat” justifying military action. And according to the CIA interpretation, the threat is a “continuous” one, carrying over from war to war. But if every “potential” threat is defined as “imminent,” and all the threats are continuous, the CIA, Special Forces and American military will be spread thin indeed from the jungles of the Philippines to the ghettos of Britain.
The 2001 AUMF was written to justify the unofficial military doctrine of the “long war,” developed by counterinsurgency advisers to Gen. Petraeus and the State Department, like David Kilcullen, who project a conflict of 50 to 80 years duration against ill-defined Muslim fundamentalists. The designated targets of the AUMF are “Al Qaeda” and “associated” terrorist groups. That overly broad definition authorizes a global war in the shadows against forces whose actual links to Al Qaeda are difficult to discern and who may or may not be threats against the United States. If targeted by the US, however, the likelihood of their becoming threats will only increase.
A recent example in a long list of these targets is Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the 40-year-old Algerian who may or may not have been killed last week in Chad. (New York Times, March 3, 2013) Belmokhtar allegedly carried out the January attack on an Algerian gas plant in which 37 foreign hostages died. He did so in retaliation against France’s military intervention in its former colony of Mali, and against Algeria’s siding with Western counter-terrorism policies. Otherwise Belmokhtar was nicknamed the “Marlboro Man” because of his decades-long involvement in smuggling cigarettes. Ten years ago he led one faction of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, before breaking away to form his own force in the Sahel.
The question is whether the 2001 war on terrorism authorization was written to cover a regional warlord like the “Marlboro Man” whose history is “smuggling, kidnapping and fighting for decades in the Sahel,” or whether the 2001 AUMF is being used as a blanket authorization for official kill lists and CIA drone assassins everywhere.
Finally, Congress should commission an independent body to evaluate whether the war on terrorism, including the drone attacks, has made Americans “safer.” The rise of the drones, and cyber-war as well, has a lulling effect on public opinion since American group operations are ending and casualties are down. But the 9/11 attacks took place unexpectedly as a result of burning grievances in the Muslim world. The official metrics of safety – how many jihadist “leaders” have been killed, whether insurgent attacks are up or down, etc. – ignore the incendiary hatred and desire for revenge building in Muslim communities suffering from remote drone attacks. A few empirical studies (see Robert Pape, Dying to Win, 2006) have shown a direct correlation between the rise of suicide bombers and US/Western occupation of Muslim lands, but the mass illusion of safety from terrorism tends to persist. A national conversation including the forgotten ways in which we are made less safe by the war on terrorism is sorely needed.
In perspective, the effort to prevent the restoration of an Imperial Presidency is long and politically difficult, something like reversing the mass incarceration policies and police buildups that followed the neo-conservative’s “war on gangs” campaign of the early 1990s, which the Clinton administration adopted. Many liberals in general, and Democrats in particular, cringe at being labeled “soft on crime” (or “soft on terrorism”). Some on the Left, on the other hand, seem to think that the threat of terrorism is manufactured. However, if another attack should occur against the US, the danger that a second Patriot Act will pass is real. Current US policies inadvertently provoke that possibility, with the drone strikes the equivalent of attacking a hornet’s nest. Therefore, the open window for “reining in” the President’s executive powers could close at any time. Hearings to reform of the 2001 AUMF and the 1973 WPR could not be more urgent.
Article originally appeared on tomhayden.com (http://tomhayden.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.
9. Japan fishing crippled 2 years after tsunami
Lucy Craft, Reporter: [...] This fishing boat is only 12 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. They’re out catching fish just as they did before the accident, but only a fraction of their usual catch. None of this will be allowed to go on sale — it’s only for testing purposes. Some fish still show high levels of radioactive cesium. Of the coastal fish tested, the government finds roughly 10 percent are safe to eat. [...]
Ken Buessler, marine chemist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute: Those reactors — either by the cooling water that’s still being put on there that’s leaking out, or the contamination of the site — are still releasing cesium to the ocean. [...]
10. Japan Experts: Up to 93 billion becquerels a day may still be leaking into Pacific from Fukushima plant
NHK News translated by EXSKF, March 15, 2013: The density of radioactive cesium in the seawater inside the harbor at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant has stopped going down for some time. [...] The research group at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology did its own calculation in order to figure out why the density of cesium-137 in the seawater inside the Fukushima I Nuke Plant harbor has remained at about 100 becquerels/liter since spring of 2012 [...] According to the calculation, 44% of seawater inside the harbor is replaced by the current and the tides in one day. In order for the cesium-137 density to be what is published, 8 to 93 billion becquerels per day must be flowing into the harbor. [...]
NHK WORLD, March 15, 2013: [Experts] are calling for a thorough investigation. [...] According to their calculation, about 16.1 trillion becquerels of cesium 137 may have leaked into the sea in the year since June 2011. [...] Professor Jota Kanda, one of the team members, said that based on the data, it is unlikely the contaminants resulted from rainwater draining through the soil. He said groundwater may be the source. He said another possibility is damaged pipes in the compound. TEPCO officials [...] say they don’t think that radioactive substances are leaking into the sea from the plant compound. [...]
11. Continuing 137Cs release to the sea from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant through 2012
Author: J. Kanda, Department of Ocean Sciences, Graduate Faculty of Marine Science, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
Rate of cesium-137 (137Cs) release to the sea from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant was estimated until September 2012. Based on publicly released data of 137Cs in seawater near the power plant by Tokyo Electric Power Company, a continuing release of radionuclides to the sea is strongly suggested. [...]
[...] In this paper, I examined cesium-137 (137Cs) radioactivity in seawater around the power plant. 137Cs radioactivity in the harbour facility of the power plant was especially 10 informative. From these data, I obtained an exchange rate of harbour water with outer seawater. With the exchange rate and a relatively stable 137Cs radioactivity inside the harbour, I estimated a rate of continuous 137Cs release from the harbour to the sea. [...]
Results and Discussion
[...] 137Cs radioactivity at 2I in the unit 1–4 intake canal was consistently larger than at ULD in the main harbour (Fig. 2a). Also, 137Cs radioactivity at ULD was consistently larger than at T1 and T2 in the outer sea (Fig. 2a, b). [...] the consistent gradient of radioactivity between these waters indicates that radionuclides are still being released continuously somewhere around the reactor housings. [...]
I also conclude that 137Cs release from June 2011 until September 2012 is significant [...]
12. the inspector general's report on Iraq Rebuilding - reports that the expenditures just for rebuilding - Average $15M a day for 9yrs
13. ACLU OF FL REQUESTS:
We believe that the Reduction of Youth Solitary bill (SB 812) will be heard by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Monday, March 18 from 1 – 3pm.
Are there people in your region, especially folks in committee members’ districts, who could contact their state senator to support the bill?
14. Historic number of sea lions washing up in S. California — Has reached “epidemic proportions” — Center declares state of emergency
March 16, 2013: Along Southern California’s pristine coastline, ailing sea lions are turning up in record numbers. “We have a lot of little pups this year,” said veterinarian Lauren Palmer [...] Usually, around this time of year, there might be a dozen sick sea lions in San Pedro, said David Bard, operations director for the San Pedro Marine Mammal Care Center. But so far, the care center has taken in nearly 200 and counting. Last week alone, there were 50 new cases. [...] Last week, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach declared their organization in a “state of emergency” as it continues to see an onslaught of California sea lion pups in need of medical attention.
March 12, 2013: “We don’t know what the problem is now,” said Susan Chivers, a biologist with the National Marine Fisheries Service. [...] Chivers said marine mammal experts are beginning to discuss the problem and gather data to try and better understand why the pups are dying. [...] “There’s something going on oceanographically that there’s not sufficient food available for the moms to nurse their pups or the pups, as they’re starting to eat on their own, to find,” said Chivers.
If the pace of stranded sea lions remains at roughly nine times more than normal [...] “There’s really not any indication that it’s slowing down,” [Pacific Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Melissa] Sciacca said.
Link to Faith's Video
VEGGIE PRIDE PARADE NYC 2013
to take place early this year:
Sunday, March 24
Visit Web site:
I've set up a petition at www.No-Cuts.com to make it easy for you.
Please sign it. If you'd like, you can explain why you, personally,
oppose cuts to these programs.