Sunday, October 31, 2010

Viciously Attacking Israeli Arabs

Viciously Attacking Israeli Arabs - by Stephen Lendman

Reminiscent of Kristallnacht violence, Israeli Arabs in Haifa District's Umm al-Fahm community were attacked, Haaretz writers Fadi Eyadat, Jack Khoury, and Chaim Levinson headlining, "Police clash with Arab protesters as rightists rally in Umm al-Fahm," saying:

In Arab Umm al-Fahm, "Dozens of extreme rightists (hooligan West Bank settlers) held a protest against the Islamic Movement," an initiative advocating Islam among Israeli Arabs on three levels - religious, social, and support for Palestinian self-determination.

Clashes followed, pitting Arab residents against 1,500 police, including special paramilitary and undercover forces, aiding hooliganism, "fir(ing) tear gas and stun grenades" to scatter crowds. Nine Arab residents were arrested, portrayed as instigators when they responded in self-defense.

Haaretz said about "30 right-wing demonstrators traveled in buses from Jerusalem to Umm al-Fahm on (October 27), led by far-right activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir." Their purpose - in league with police, to hold a provocative demonstration march to incite violence, calling on Israel to outlaw the Islamic Movement (headquartered in Umm al-Fahm), as well as condemn Sheikh Raed Salah's (its leader) Gaza Freedom Flotilla participation.

Head of the religious Jewish National Front party, Marzel is a notorious bigot, a man saying he was Rabbi Meir Kahana's "right hand man" - Kahana, the extreme racist former Kach party head until Israel banned it in 1988, calling it a "threat to security." Gviv is a Knesset aide to MK Michael Ben-Ari (a protest march participant), and spokesman for Marzel's Jewish National Front party. Both men are fascists.

Their actions, and others like them, defile core Judaic tenets. Exhibit A - holding a provocative/racist/violent rally in an Arab community where they're not wanted and don't belong. It was held close the 20th November 5 anniversary of Kahana's assassination, a man who lived and died by the sword, a rabbi in name only.

On October 27, Al-Jazeerah covered the incident headlining, "Israeli Occupation Forces Attack Palestinians in Um Al-Fahm, During a Provocative March by Fascist Israeli Settlers," saying:

Violent clashes resulted, "Israeli occupation government policemen....protected dozens of extremist Jewish settlers holding a provocative protest against the Islamic Movement...."

Besides assaulting residents with tear gas and stun grenades, police "physically attacked them which led to injuries and suffocation cases." MK Haneen Zoubi was harmed, struck in the back and neck by rubber bullets when police opened fire. She believes snipers deliberately targeted her for her Gaza Freedom Flotilla participation, after which she received death threats and calls to expel her from parliament.

Angrily, she denounced police violence, saying: They "proved that they are a far more dangerous threat to me and other Arab citizens than the fascist group that came to Umm al-Fahm," though for sure former Kahanists and others like them pose a serious threat. Unaccountable, they're lawless, menacing, and rampage freely in the West Bank.

Umm al-Fahm is Israel's largest Arab community, its population exceeding 43,000. Before settlers arrived, police and paramilitary goons deployed within and around the city, ready to initiate assaults when they came. Arab residents, of course, reacted defensively.

MK Afu Agbaria was also injured, telling Al Jazeerah that right-wing settlers and police "attack(ed) the legitimacy of the Arab presence in the country in coordination with the right-wing extremists in the government."

Umm al-Fahm's Deputy Mayor Mustafa Ghalin told Haaretz that the city "will never be open to those extreme right-wingers," arriving to incite violence.

On October 28, Muslims.net said "Palestinian leaders called for (a) city-wide strike....in protest (against) premeditated Israeli police brutality and violence." The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee wants it. It also demands that Israel investigate the violence, committee chairman Mohammed Zeidan saying:

"What happened (on October 27) was a very dangerous occurrence. This wasn't a Marzel incident. It was an attack by security forces who came to the city" with that in mind. "They planted undercover officers (dressed like Arabs) among us who threw stones (to provoke) and attack. Their decision was clear from the beginning, even though they knew there were Knesset members in the crowd. What we felt on our flesh today has taught us that a new era has started. Racism is no longer found only in documents or on the margins, like with Marzel, but has become a phenomenon among decision makers and carried out on the ground. What happened in Umm al-Fahm is a menacing escalation."

The committee plans to circulate a message to human rights groups and global figures, highlighting the growing danger. It's reminiscent indeed of 1930s Germany that escalated from racist laws to widespread violence to death camps and mass extermination. Afterward, worldwide Jewry said "never again," a hollow slogan given Israel's decades long slow-motion genocide against Palestinian and Israeli Arabs, former victims now world-class hatemonger/persecutors, committing horrendous daily crimes.

Umm al-Fahm residents understand. So do West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians as well as 1.5 million besieged Gazans. Suffocating under imposed harshness, their very existence is threatened. Yet they endure despite little outside aid, knowing it's up to themselves to survive, what they've done heroically for over six decades and have no intention now of quitting, a lesson Israelis haven't learned or that what they're doing is self-destructive.

A Final Comment

On October 27, Haaretz writer Jack Khoury headlined, "Israeli Arab activist confesses to spying for Hezbollah." Well not exactly. Falsely accused and given a choice of life in prison or less, Ameer Makhoul signed a plea bargain, "approved by the highest ranking levels of prosecution, including the state prosecutor."

According to Haaretz, he admitted to espionage, contact with a foreign agent, and abetting an enemy, Makhoul saying in court that the story "is not yet finished." He claims many charges were irrelevant, but took the lesser of two choices. His lawyer said he passed no classified documents or materials to anyone, let alone an enemy agent. All cited information was well known and publicly available. On December 5, he'll be sentenced. Prosecutors want 10 years. His counsel seeks seven.

Information about him can be accessed through the following link:

http://freeameermakhoul.blogspot.com/

Two earlier Makhoul articles can be found through the links below:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/05/israeli-persecution-of-human-rights.html

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/10/israels-persecution-of-ameer-makhoul.html

Makhoul is an Israeli citizen, human rights activist, and head of the internationally recognized Ittijah organization for Palestinian empowerment. He also chairs the Public Committee for the Defence of Political Prisoners within the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee in Israel. Moreover, he supports the global BDS movement. Like many others, he was targeted for his activism and faith. In his case, for his prominence as well.

He committed no crime, yet was arrested in May on spurious charges of spying for Hezbollah. In fact, his outspokenness and legal discussions, within and outside Israel, were called communicating with a "state enemy," outrageous by any standard.

According to Ittijah's founder, Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh, "there is no doubt" that he was targeted for his political views. His wife, Janan, said "The story is not finished, it will be told later." Accepting a plea "was a choice between bad (or) worse" in a nation where Arabs get no justice. It bears testimony to Israel's lawlessness, its mockery of democratic principles, ones even eroding for Jews.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Farooque Ahmed: Entrapped by an FBI Sting

Farooque Ahmed: Entrapped by an FBI Sting - by Stephen Lendman

The story is disturbingly familiar. FBI agents arrest a suspect on terrorism related charges, nearly always a Muslim, photographed full bearded to look menacing. Media reports highlight it, headlining government charges to incite fear. Announced arrests are strategically timed, this one days before mid-term elections. The message - Obama keeps America safe, vote Democrat.

Though too early to conclude guilt or innocence, what's so far known is worrisome, involving an FBI sting to entrap. Based on numerous previous cases, without exception, innocent men and occasionally women have been targeted, evidence later showing no plot and no crime. Yet suspects are arrested, charged, tried, and convicted by manipulated/intimidated juries, right-wing judges sentencing them to long prison terms.

Since America declared war on Islam post-9/11, Muslims have been the target of choice. As a result, hundreds have been wrongfully incarcerated, guilty only of practicing Islam in America at the wrong time. So far, Ahmed's case has all the earmarks of another man, victimized for political advantage.

On October 27, a Department of Justice press release headlined, "Virginia Man Arrested for Plotting Attacks on DC-Area Metro Stations with People He Believed to Be al Qaeda Members," saying:

"Today's case underscores the need for continued vigilance against terrorist threats and demonstrates how the government can neutralize such threats before they come to fruition."

How reassuring!

The DOJ accused Ahmed "of plotting with individuals he believed were terrorists to bomb our transit system, but a coordinated law enforcement and intelligence effort was able to thwart his plans....Today's arrest highlights the terrorism threat that exists in Northern Virginia and our ability to find those seeking to harm US citizens and neutralize them before they can act."

On October 27, a United States of America v. Farooque Ahmed indictment listed three familiar counts:

(1) Attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO).

It stated that from about April 18 - October 25, 2010, Ahmed plotted with believed Al Qaeda operatives to cause "mass casualties" in Washington DC Metrorail stations through "multiple bombings."

It mentions a visit to a Dulles, VA hotel to meet with "a courier he believed to be affiliated with a terrorist organization who provided Ahmed with a document which provided potential locations for future meetings."

Subsequent ones at other locations followed, during which the DOJ alleged that "he might be ready to travel overseas to conduct jihad in January 2011 after a Hajj Saudi Arabia pilgrimage in November."

Other allegations included a willingness to photograph the Arlington Cemetery Metrorail station and a DC hotel "to obtain information about their security and busiest periods." Other alleged surveillance followed, subsequent meetings as well, including to get "suggestions as to where explosives should be placed on trains" for simultaneous attacks. Email communications were also mentioned.

(2) Collecting Information to Assist in Planning a Terrorist Attack on a Transit Facility

Alleged is that Ahmed "did knowingly and unlawfully surveil, photograph, videotape, diagram, and otherwise collect information with the intent to plan or assist in planning" the above listed attacks.

(3) Attempting to Provide Material Support to Terrorists

Alleged is that he "did knowingly and unlawfully attempt" to do it.

On October 27, a grand jury indicted him on all counts. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Ahmed came to America in 1993 and became a citizen in 2005. He worshipped at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, known to be very mainstream. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 50 years in prison with little chance for parole. At age 34, it's perhaps a life sentence.

Disingenuously, DOJ's press release ended saying, "Indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty."

Rest assured, Ahmed's fate is sealed with or without proof. His indictment, as in similar cases, provides none, only circumstantial claims couched in inflammatory rhetoric to be highlighted at trial and already in major media reports. In addition, no mention of a sting is explained - the fact that paid FBI informants arranged everything, entrapping Ahmed in an alleged plot, one he might never have planned on his own. Moreover, he perhaps didn't realize the potential implications of whatever meetings and discussions he had. No matter. It's too late, another testimony to US injustice.

On October 27, New York Times writers Sabrina Tavernise and Eric Schmitt headlined, "Virginia Man Is Charged in Plot on Capital Subway," saying:

Ahmed was "accused of trying to help men he believed to be militants plot bombings at Washington-area subway stations, the Justice Department announced." Cited were unnamed FBI officials "confirm(ing) that Mr. Ahmed's contacts had been FBI agents who were part of a sting operation," without saying his entrapment perhaps involved an alleged plot he might otherwise not have planned. Omitted also is his side of the story, likely very different from DOJ's.

On October 29, Washington Post writer Spencer Hsu headlined, "Suspect in Metro plot aspired to kill troops abroad, FBI says," saying:

Besides allegedly planning Metro attacks, he "wanted to battle US troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and trained himself to fight, authorities alleged Thursday." Again no proof, only what paid FBI informants claimed.

On October 27 Washington Post writers Caitlin Gibson and Scott Butterworth were more circumspect headlining, "Farooque Ahmed: Neighbors describe the Metro plot suspect," saying:

He was "reserved." Living next door, Barbi Shires "said she was stunned to learn that he was suspected by federal officials in the alleged plot." She also called him "a very nice gentleman."

Referring to Ahmed and his wife, Sahar Mirza-Ahmed, she said: "They were very nice. Every time we would see them, we sp(oke)."

Another neighbor, Jay Britton, called him "Definitely not social," but had rarely encountered him in the past year. According to Shaya Fitzgerald, "He seemed like a loner."

Ahmed has a BS degree in computer science from City University of New York. He moved to Virginia from Staten Island to work for Ericsson, a telecommunications company. Online with Aspen University, he was pursuing a masters degree in risk management and data security.

On October 28, Findlaw said he asked to be provided an attorney the previous day. "In cases like this," it explained, "where a sting operation is in place and the alleged plan has yet to be carried out, questions of intent and entrapment are often raised as defenses."

Ahmed's lawyer can and should question the legitimacy of charges, demanding proof, not allegations from FBI informants paid to provide what DOJ prosecutors want to hear. Can real intent be proved? Did Ahmed buy or make explosives? Did he actually wish to bomb DC Metro stations and fight Americans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or did idle, egged on, talk alone take place? Was he, in fact, entrapped in what he never would have planned on his own?

So far, indications strongly suggest it. Proving it against skilled prosecutors is another matter, especially using a court-appointed attorney with a case load too full to devote enough time and resources to his client. As a result, Ahmed's task ahead is all uphill, a very steep one.

Another Fake Bomb Plot?

Remember past ones, including a fake shoe bomber, a fake underwear bomber, a fake Times Square bomber, an earlier fake one there, still another by a fake Al Qaeda woman, fake 9/11 bombers, and others in a fake democracy with fake elections and fake public servants. Some system!

Understand that terror threats are announced repeatedly, strategically timed, and entirely bogus, despite alleged confessions gotten by torture or pressured plea bargains to accept the lesser of two bad choices. Now the latest on October 29. Again, note the timing, four days before mid-term elections, delivering a familiar message:

With Democrats preventing terror attacks, retain them on November 2, Obama appearing on national television for emphasis saying:

Involved are "two suspicious packages bound for the United States - specifically, two places of Jewish worship in Chicago." Found in Dubai and Britain, "An initial examination of those packages has determined that they do apparently contain explosive material."

Assuring viewers of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) readiness, he stressed that "additional protective measures (will be pursued) for as long as it takes to ensure the safety and security of our citizens."

He said packages originated from Yemen, Al Qaeda operatives based there. They "plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies....The events of the past 24 hours underscore the necessity of remaining vigilant against terrorism....As we obtain more information, we will keep the public fully informed (at strategically timed moments, of course)....And the American people should be confident that we will not waver in our resolve to defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates and to root out violent extremism in all its forms."

How reassuring indeed!!

The major media, of course, are all over this story, including an October 29 New York Times Scott Shane report headlined, "US Hunts for More Suspicious Packages," without suggesting perhaps that this alleged bomb attack is fake, like all the others. Instead, in lockstep with Washington, Shane noted that:

Alleged "explosives" were "packed in toner cartridges (inside laser printers), based on a tip from (unnamed) Saudi intelligence officials." They were clearly tampered with, visible wires sticking out of them, running to external circuit boards with white powder dust on top.

"Discovery" triggered a terrorist alert "that included scrambling fighter jets to accompany a passenger flight as it landed safely in New York."

In addition, at Newark and Philadelphia airports, arriving cargo planes were moved to secure areas for inspections. A Brooklyn UPS truck was also stopped and searched. Nothing was found. Neither perhaps in alleged Yemeni originated ink cartridges, especially ones so inexpertly assembled.

Obama's press conference was brief and uninformative. A longer one followed, conducted by press secretary Robert Gibbs and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security John Brennan, "rais(ing) more questions than (they) answered," according to one analyst.

Providing no proof of any plot or why alleged US-based "terrorists" need crude overseas shipments for one, they claimed two packages (one from Fedex, the other from UPS), aboard US-bound cargo planes, contained trace amounts of explosives, both originating from Yemen, Muslims again the bad guys. Whether homegrown or abroad is irrelevant when those cited are invented, even nameless.

Villains, however, are the same. So are motives - to incite fear; maintain public support for imperial wars, outsized military budgets, repressive laws, harsh domestic crackdowns, and whatever other initiatives Washington undertakes, especially if claimed for national security.

No matter that America is now a police state, waging permanent wars for unattainable peace because new adversaries replace old ones. The cycle never ends. Intimidated/distracted people never catch on. As a result, lawless policies continue, the public, of course, the loser, mindless of how they're betrayed, never served. It's truer today than ever under both major parties, beholden to privilege, not vital popular interests.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reviewing Project Censored's Top 2009-10 Stories

Reviewing Project Censored's Top 2009-10 Stories - by Stephen Lendman

Founded in 1976 by Carl Jensen, Mickey Huff now heads PC, working cooperatively with former director Peter Phillips' Media Freedom Foundation (MFF) and other investigative research and media related organizations. Together they counter major media real news and information censorship and suppression - what PC and MFF call "managed news" along with infotainment and miscellaneous "junk food news."

As a result, a "truth emergency" exists at a time, more than ever, real information is needed because media giants:

-- support privilege over populism;

-- endorse imperial wars and sham elections;

-- suppress corporate lawlessness;

-- ignore growing poverty, hunger, homelessness, despair, and

-- an unprecedented wealth gap;

-- 9/11 truth;

-- a private banking cartel controlling the nation's money and stealing it at public expense;

-- democracy for the select few alone; and

-- much more of what matters most to working Americans.

PC and MFF provide antidotes. Besides annual PC editions, both offer daily web site daily updates, accessed through the following links:

http://www.projectcensored.org/

http://www.mediafreedominternational.org/

The latest Censored 2011 covers the top 2009-10 stories and more in PC's richest ever volume, a collector's item like previous ones. Besides the top 25, it includes Junk Food News and News Abuse, Signs of Health, and FAIR's 10th anniversary of Fear and Favor in the News Room.

In addition, a new Truth Emergency section addresses State Crimes Against Democracy plus analysis of corporate media misinformation - the kind promoting imperial wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, expanded to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Occupied Palestine, as well as covert actions in dozens of countries, and atrocities wherever America encroaches.

PC and MFF are there and expanding with over 30 college and university affiliates, because growing numbers of people everywhere know corporate and state-controlled news suppress what informed citizens need to know. Instead they're fed sanitized junk and treated like mushrooms - well-watered, in the dark, and distracted by "everything to sell and nothing to tell."

PC's Latest Top 25

(1) Global Plans to Replace the Dollar

In his book "Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of Imperial America," PC award-winner Michael Hudson explained the dollar's importance, and how a "dollar glut" finances:

-- US corporate takeovers;

-- speculative investments creating bubbles and economic crises;

-- America's reckless spending, foreign wars, and hundreds of global military bases;

-- its overall imperial agenda; and

-- culture of militarism and belligerence at the expense of democratic freedoms, beneficial social change, and human and civil rights.

It also keeps America economically dominant as long as other nations go along under a Washington controlled WTO/IMF/World Bank/Bank for International Settlements (the Central Bank of Central Banks in Basel) system, using the dollar as the world's reserve currency.

Other nations, however, are now balking, a June 2009 Yekaterinburg, Russia meeting with top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (led by China and Russia) took the first step to end dollar supremacy, perhaps replacing it eventually with a single global currency.

Today, America remains unchallenged militarily, its economic supremacy, however, weakening as it staggers under growing debt, while nations like China, Brazil, India, Russia and others are rising.

In July, 2009, Russian President Medvedev advocated a supranational currency. In September, the UN Conference on Trade and Development proposed an artificial one to replace the dollar. Other alliances, including nine Latin American countries, support a regional currency. China wants its yuan protected, and Russia plans to begin trading in the ruble and local currencies.

If these ideas take hold, America's permanent war agenda and overall hegemony will falter. Under the present system, what Hudson calls a "sinister dynamic:"

"the US payment deficit pumps dollars into foreign economies (that have) little option except to buy US (debt) which the Treasury spends on financing an enormous, hostile (global) military build-up," and its ready-to-unleash-anytime war machine. In other words, foreign US Treasury buyers may, in fact, be financing their own endangerment.

Many now weary want it stopped, Hudson saying:

Foreign countries seek "to create an international monetary system in which central bank savings do not fund the United States' military deficit....Russia, China, India and Brazil have taken the lead...." Look for others to follow.

The situation, however, remains fluid. The Fed keeps flooding markets with dollars. "Finance has become the new mode of warfare." Currency wars are in play for economic competitiveness, one nation jockeying against others during a transition period toward more stability and a fairer world economy. Because of today's global weakness, that condition may be years in the making with no assurance of winners or losers.

(2) US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet

Given America's imperial wars, global presence, heavy reliance on oil, and use of radioactive and other toxin emitting weapons, it's no surprise that the Pentagon "is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet." Yet virtually none of this gets reported, nor do environmental groups show concern. Worse still, "the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements," effectively giving it carte blanche to contaminate air, water and soil freely wherever it operates.

According to Barry Sanders, author of The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, "the greatest single assault on the environment, on all of us around the globe, comes from" America's military, spreading death, destruction and contamination virtually everywhere. Expect no major media reports explaining it. Instead they hail America's armed forces as defenders of democracy, and governments under both major parties as servants of the people - omitting which ones, why global wars are waged, who pays for them, and who wins and loses.

(3) Internet Privacy and Personal Access at Risk

Post-9/11, both Bush and Obama administrations expanded intrusive government surveillance, including through Internet monitoring of personal communications. On April 1 last year, the Senate introduced two bills endangering a free and open Internet - S. 773: Cybersecurity Act of 2009 and S. 778 to establish a White House cybersecurity czar.

Both measures would give federal authorities unprecedented power over the Internet by:

-- federalizing critical infrastructure, shifting power away from providers and users to Washington; and

-- letting the president shut down Internet traffic for reasons of "national security" or during a claimed "emergency."

If passed, these measures will compromise personal privacy and security through one provision alone - by giving the Commerce Secretary access to all relevant data relating to critical infrastructure networks without restriction. In other words, privacy and judicial review protections guaranteed under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Privacy Protection Act, and financial privacy regulations no longer will apply.

Post-election, perhaps during the lame duck session, cybersecurity will again be addressed by combining S. 773 and 778. The new measure will let the executive shut down parts of the Internet, as well as businesses and organizations, not complying with national emergency declared orders.

In addition, on September 20, 2010, S. 3804: Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced. Its purpose - to literally break the Internet one domain at a time, by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. In other words, if passed, COICA will let Washington suppress free speech and block access to non-infringing material, inflicting enormous constitutional damage in the process.

Because of widespread criticism, the bill stalled. It may be softened, but in some final form will likely move ahead. Moreover, another post-election unnamed measure is planned - one that will end personal privacy by requiring all Internet communication providers (including ISPs, Facebook, Skype and others) to rebuild their systems to give Washington backdoor access to everyone's personal Internet communications.

In addition, Net Neutrality is seriously threatened. In fact, plans are to subvert it, according to a leaked September 2010 House Energy and Commerce Committee draft bill. If enacted, it will let cable and telecom giants establish, among other provisions, premium higher-priced lanes (two Internets), effectively destroying Net Neutrality, compromising the last free and open space.

An October 2007 global measure, overriding national sovereignty, also threatens Net Neutrality, consumer privacy, and civil liberties. Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), secret negotiations seek to subvert them, ostensibly to protect copyrighted intellectual property, including films, photos, and songs. ACTA remains a work in progress, but developments going forward bear watching, especially if a global agreement is reached.

These and perhaps other measures, including presidential Executive Orders, threaten America's First Amendments freedoms, without which all others are at risk.

(4) ICE Operates Secret Detention and Courts

On November 25, 2002, the Homeland Security Act (HSA) established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Then in March 2003, its largest investigative and enforcement arm was created - the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Charged with protecting public safety by identifying and targeting "criminal" and "terrorist" threats, most often undocumented immigrants are victimized, most here because NAFTA globalized trade rules destroyed their livelihoods at home. As a result, they came out of need, not choice, and aren't terrorists.

Yet they're treated that way - sought, rounded up, and detained oppressively, thousands in unlisted, unmarked subfield offices before secret court hearings deport them.

"People are held in a vast network of more than three hundred detention facilities in nearly every state in the country," yet no major media reports explain it or how they're treated. Instead victims are racially profiled, vilified and terrorized as criminals, laws like Arizona's making all resident Latinos suspected intruders, authorities empowered to demand citizenship if asked or be detained and then deported.

In the past decade, constitutional protections have seriously eroded en route to eliminating them altogether, repressive agencies like ICE, the FBI, local goon squads, and others on the prowl against anyone for any reason, including peaceful demonstrators.

(5) Blackwater (Xe): The Secret US War in Pakistan

Operating covertly with CIA and Special Forces operatives, America wages war with Pakistan despite official Pentagon denials, saying "There are no US military strike operations being conducted in Pakistan." In fact, they've been ongoing for years on the ground and through predator drone attacks, mainly against North and South Waziristan provinces, targeting suspected militants and civilians alike, including by assassination squads.

America's imperial strategy flouts US and international laws, including letting trained killers operate extralegally throughout the world. Obama, in fact, acts more aggressively than Bush while claiming he's working for peace.

(6) Health Care Restrictions Cost Thousands of Lives in US

America's new healthcare legislation enriches providers at the expense of consumers by making a dysfunctional system worse. As a result, available care "remain(s) dismal for many Americans, resulting in continuing deaths and personal tragedies."

Besides exponentially rising costs, the uninsured will get no help until 2013, and when all provisions take effect, millions will remain uninsured. No wonder Ralph Nader calls Obamacare a "pay-or-die system that is the disgrace of the Western world." Even worse, for some who can pay, it's a death sentence for anyone gravely sick whose plans don't cover expensive treatments, only cheaper ineffective ones with big deductables.

(7) External Capitalist Forces Wreak Havoc in Africa

US major media almost never report on Africa, a continent plagued by conflicts, repression, land grabs, resource exploitation, extreme poverty, and in places starvation, disease and early deaths. As a result, press silence helps Western profiteers plunder hugely, and when not enough, America's long imperial arm helps more.

(8) Massacre in Peruvian Amazon over US Free Trade Agreement

Under US/Western free trade, provisions exclude fairness, the US/Peru deal one of many examples, its one-sided rules harming indigenous people gravely. By opening their land to extractive mining, oil exploration and logging, besides agribusiness biofuel plantations, poor Peruvians are entirely left out.

As a result, they reacted by protesting against "a conspiracy afoot to (exploit their land and keep them) from making use of (their) natural wealth." In response, government forces responded, killing around two dozen and wounding 100 more. As public opposition continues, state-sponsored terrorism confronts it, the way repressive states always operate, regional militaries taught at the School of the Americas (SOA), now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), the new name leaving SOA's school of assassins mission unchanged.

(9) Human Rights Abuses Continue in Palestine

For decades they've included:

-- violence;

-- regular incursions;

-- home invasions and demolitions;

-- land and resource theft;

-- dispossessions;

-- targeted assassinations;

-- mass imprisonment;

-- torture;

-- free movement, assembly and expression restrictions; and

-- overall denial of virtually all freedoms under military occupation, ongoing for over 43 years.

Palestine is occupied and oppressed. Israeli Arabs are also denied rights afforded solely to Jews, but not without growing outraged millions. Unsupported by Western and most other nations, human rights groups, ordinary people of all religions, and initiatives like the Global BDS campaign have effectively raised public awareness. It's not enough, yet combined, it's an important step toward Palestinian liberation on their own land in their own country, what surely one day will come.

(10) US Funds and Supports the Taliban

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em off, or at least try. As a result, "American tax dollars end up paying members of the Taliban and funding a volatile environment in Afghanistan." Part of it is a protection racket, America and private contractors paying resistance fighters to grant supply convoys free passage. More funds them not to fight coalition forces. Yet no strategies helped end America's nine year war, being lost, not won.

(11) The H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: Manipulating Data to Enrich Drug Companies

The WTO-declared "pandemic" was, in fact, a mouse that didn't roar, a hoax to enrich drug giants and expose billions globally to toxic vaccines crucial to avoid. Word spread, millions reacted, avoiding potentially grave illnesses later on, but likely new campaigns lie ahead, as deceptive and dangerous as the 2009 H1N1 one. Forewarned is forearmed. According to Viera Scheiber, the world's foremost vaccine expert, all vaccines are dangerous and should be avoided, especially experimental, untested, toxic ones like for H1N1.

(12) Cuba Provided the Greatest Medical Aid to Haiti after the Earthquake

After the January 12, 2010 quake, America militarized Haiti, opened it for business, protected well off areas, ignored Haitian needs, and obstructed aid deliveries. In contrast, Cuba was first there with medical aid, providing hundreds of doctors and supplies, setting up facilities, and delivering heroic services under the most adverse conditions.

Yet virtually no major media accounts reported it, or that America came to exploit like it always does, not help. As a result, nearly 11 months post-quake, 1.5 million or more Haitians remain homeless, lacking basic essentials, including sanitation, enough food, and adequate healthcare for the sick because Cuban and other volunteer doctors can't do it all when donated funds aren't coming. Instead, they're earmarked for development and predatory NGOs. Affected Haitians thus struggle on their own, unwanted and abandoned, despite a potential disastrous cholera outbreak.

(13) Obama Cuts Domestic Spending and Increases Military Corporate Welfare

Especially since the 1980s, it's been America's way - handouts to rich, austerity for the poor, and open-checkbook spending for the nation's war machine, fueling its permanent imperial agenda.

It gets worse with deeper austerity planned by more social program cuts. Moreover, on the pretext of reform, destroying Medicare and Social Security are also planned by privatizing them, earmarking them for Wall Street, the same way 401ks killed corporate pensions.

Moreover, Washington plans to control the remaining private pension plan trillions. The scheme involves exchanging them for a guaranteed government annuity, but watch out. In the words of one independent expert, it won't be worth "the paper it is written on," and the real idea is to expropriate the funds covertly, giving government more resources for militarism and corporate welfare.

(14) Increased Tensions with Unresolved 9/11 Issues

Growing millions know the official 9/11 story is bogus, a bald faced lie. Clear evidence proves it, but coverup and media suppression continue relentlessly. Nonetheless, over 1,200 Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (http://www.ae911truth.org/) demand "a truly independent investigation with subpoena power in order to uncover the full truth surrounding the events of 9/11-01 - specifically the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers and Building 7."

Clearly the official story was falsified to protect culpable top officials. It also created a climate of fear to enact repressive homeland laws, and enlist public support for imperial wars, ongoing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Occupied Palestine, and elsewhere covertly. Given how roguish America has become, revealing the true 9/11 story is more crucial than ever.

(15) Bhopal Water Still Toxic Twenty-Five Years After Deadly Gas Leak

On December 2, 1984, 40 tons of toxic gas poisoned Bhopal's air. To this day, it's the worst ever industrial disaster, killing 8,000 immediately, later on up to 20,000 or more. In addition, "Hundreds of thousands of others were harmed, in many cases permanently, with lung, liver, kidney, and immune system damages, and blindness."

It was later determined that over 520,000 people, to one degree or other, were affected, "poisons circulating through their bloodstream(s) causing different degrees of damage to almost all systems in their bod(ies)." Twenty-five years later, Bhopal's water is still toxic, disaster survivors getting little more than $500 "for a lifetime of suffering...."

(16) US Presidents Charged with Crimes Against Humanity as Universal Jurisdiction Dies in Spain

The well-established UJ principle holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore, including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity. Thus, under UJ, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won't, can't, or hasn't for any reason.

Previously, Spain had been a venue against human rights violators in Guatemala, Argentina, China, Israel, and elsewhere. However, in October 2009, "under great pressure from the United States, (its) government.... decided to limit its own jurisdiction in cases of genocide and crimes against humanity, thus closing one of the last windows of opportunity" to prosecute culpable US officials, guilty of these heinous crimes. As a result, they're free to commit them with impunity unless another nation dares offer a venue, what most or likely all fear doing.

(17) Nanotech Particles Pose Serious DNA Risks to Humans and the Environment

Atom-sized nanotech particles are everywhere in products few suspect and think are harmless, including cosmetics, articles of clothing, personal hygiene items, drugs, paints and others. Yet in some cases, they "sicken and kill workers in plants using nanotechnology," because of permanent lung damage. Moreover, many species of aquatic wildlife are also affected that, in turn, "threaten the global food chain."

(18) The True Cost of Chevron

The world's second most profitable US company in 2008 is also one of the most dangerous because its handsome returns depend on imperial wars, lost lives, harmed health, "communities destroyed, environments decimated, livelihoods ruined, and political voices silenced."

Chevron is a global predator. In America alone, it "buys political influence" locally and nationally "to circumvent or (disregard) laws that would (otherwise) protect people and environments from (its) destructive practices." Of course, practically all other large and many smaller companies also do it, bottom line interests trumping public welfare, the way America protects the powerful, not the people.

(19) Obama Administration Assures World Bank and International Monetary Fund a Free Reign of Abuse

Under the WTO's Financial Services Agreement, over 100 nations must implement "major deregulation, or in effect, mandate policies that caused today's financial crisis harming them most. Yet none of these countries voted for it in their parliaments," and were instead so ordered under WTO rules. Moreover, according to Jesse Griffiths of the London-based Bretton Woods Project:

Throughout their existence, IMF, World Bank, and WTO policies have been destructive. Besides the current economic crisis, their "system has failed to create equity and eradicate poverty. (They) failed to ensure that human rights are protected, and (they) failed to address environmental issues." Instead they ran roughshod over popular interests, serving powerful ones alone.

(20) Obama's Charter School Policies Spread Segregation and Undermine Unions

Like Bush, Obama embraces destructive public education privatizations, his Race to the Top continuing No Child Left Behind policies and more. As a result, quasi-public/private "Charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and sometimes language, and (more) racially (isolate students) than traditional public schools" in virtually all large metropolitan areas nationally.

Ultimately, non-union privatized public education is planned, charter schools an interim step to get there by destroying a 375 year tradition, one getting inner city kids like this writer into two top schools, followed by a successful career for four decades.

Bush and ObamaEd want millions of others denied that chance, under marketplace rules, commodifying education, ending government responsibility for it, and making it another business profit center.

(21) Western Lifestyle Continues Environmental Footprint

Evidence shows Western consumption levels are unsustainable, their environmental effects alone proving hugely destructive. Radical lifestyle changes are thus essential to avoid serious, likely irreversible consequences.

(22) 1.2 Billion People in India to be Given Biometric ID Cards

They'll contain a person's name, age, birth date, fingerprints or iris scans, "though no caste or religious identification." Then in five years, a giant computer will hold data for half of them, receiving a 16-digit ID number by 2014 during the project's first phase.

Thereafter, its use will be required for all government and private services from drivers' licenses to hospitals to banking. Critics, however, balk, saying "the project will turn India into an Orwellian police state (able to) spy on citizens' private lives." Despite government denials, it may be precisely for that purpose.

Thus far not enacted, America's Real ID Act plans the same thing, widespread state opposition over the cost having stopped it up to now.

(23) Afghan War: Largest Military Coalition in History

Under NATO and other coalition contributors, the Afghan war is being waged by "the largest military coalition in history," overall including contingents from up to 50 nations as part of the US-led NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The war's only beneficiary is America and "a rapidly emerging global NATO" as its imperial strike arm.

(24) War Crimes of General Stanley McChrystal

A man James Petras called a "notorious psychopath," McChrystal served as a hired gun, an assassin, a man known for committing war crime atrocities as head of the Pentagon's infamous Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Established in 1980, it used special ops teams as a virtual executive office assassination wing engaged in extrajudicial killings, systemic torture, bombing of civilian communities, and various search and destroy missions.

Its war crimes are legendary, McChrytal a known expert at committing them. It's why he got command authority in Iraq and Afghanistan. His mission wasn't to win hearts and minds. It was to bludgeon both countries into submission, objectives thus far not achieved nor will they under Petraeus, his successor in Afghanistan, a man with more than Generalissimo aims, hoping to parlay his position to high political office, the nation's highest if he succeeds and our loss.

(25) Prisoners Still Brutalized at Gitmo

Though promising to close Guantanamo and end torture, Obama continued it more aggressively though media accounts suppress it, and the fact that victims are entirely innocent, not dangerous terrorists as claimed.

Challenged in late October on the Daily Show about delivering business as usual not change, Obama disingenuously responded:

"When we promised during the campaign 'change you can believe in,' it wasn't change you can believe in 18 months. It was change you can believe in but, you know what, we're going to have to work for it."

Rubbish! Committing high crimes at home and abroad, Obama so far delivered global wars, failure, betrayal, economic ruin for millions, a climate of instability and insecurity, and a burgeoning police state threatening everyone. Whatever lies ahead, his legacy is indelibly written.

A Final Comment

Like all previous editions, especially more recent ones, PC's latest volume is a triumph of democracy in action, offering the best of what corporate media reports censor or suppress. With its great team and Media Freedom Foundation alliance, credit goes to Mickey Huff, working cooperatively with former director Peter Phillips.

His first effort as director is solid, impressive, powerful must reading, promising more of the same ahead as an antidote to major media's "managed news." Avoid its harmful worthless kind to be spurned and challenged by vital truths, the kinds PC and MFF deliver daily on their web sites, as well as PC in annual editions.

The new volume is highly recommended as an essential addition to everyone's library, its reference value alone worth the price.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Adnan Mirza: Another US War on Terror Victim

Adnan Mirza: Another US War on Terror Victim - by Stephen Lendman

Post-9/11, Mirza is one of legions of war on terror victims - framed, charged, indicted, tried and convicted on bogus terrorism related charges.

On October 22, the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas headlined, "Pakistani Student Sentenced to prison for conspiring to support the Taliban and unlawful possession of firearms," saying:

Adnan Mirza was "convicted in May 2010 (on nine counts) following a jury trial....Senior US District Judge Ewing Werlein (imposed) the maximum applicable prison term for each" one, complying with prosecutors' request for terrorism enhancements, used when they claim a crime aimed to influence or coerce government policy. Mirza was also fined $1,000 for each count, $9,000 in total.

"An FBI (sting) resulted in (alleged) proof that Mirza and others intended to send funds to the Taliban and had engaged in weekend/training and practice sessions with firearms to prepare for 'jihad' on six different occasions beginning in May 2006 at a location on the north side of Houston."

On May 27, New York Times writer Daniel Cadis headlined, "Texas: Student Convicted of Aiding Taliban," giving Mirza one paragraph with no explanation on the FBI's sting, using two paid informants to entrap, its common way snare victims - innocent, yet bogusly convicted and imprisoned.

On the same date, MyHarlingen News.com headlined, "Jury Convicts Adnan Mirza of Conspiring to Support the Taliban and Unlawful Possession of Firearms," saying he's a Pakistani citizen, here on student visa to attend college in 2005 and 2006 when arrested and charged.

Mirza's Background

Born in Kuwait to Pakistani parents, he attended college in Cyprus. On student visa, in August 2001, he came to America, attended the University of Atlanta, then Houston Community College. Living with his aunt and uncle, he performed volunteer services for the Islamic Community of North America (ICNA) and WHYIslam.

Regularly, he collected food from local restaurants, distributed it on weekends to Houston's homeless and refugees, along with clothes and other non-perishables, continuing his education as a full-time student. Fond of camping, he regularly attended Young Muslim ones, what led to his entrapment and imprisonment. More on that below.

Arrested in November 2006, he was held without bond, remaining in custody until convicted and imprisoned. At the time, a leading Pakistani Urdu-language daily accused the FBI of paying informants to entrap him, Jim Coates and Malik Mohammad. On camping trips, they secretly taped conversations, photographed Mirza and others holding guns, after which prosecutors fabricated charges, unrelated to conspiracy to commit terrorism or other crime.

At Mirza's Masjid Lel-Farouq mosque, members expressed shock, one identified only as Mohamad saying "He's the kindest, sweetest person. He would not harm a fly." Another named Ali called him "a very decent person. Just because he has a beard and you like to go hunting doesn't mean that you are a terrorist."

Mirza's lawyer, David Adler, said his client expressed anger over US war crimes, explained that he collected funds for victims, small amounts sent to families, hospitals, women and children, not the Taliban or supportive groups. At trial, he called him a good student who regularly fed Houston's homeless, and worked with local police on a public access channel, explaining Islamic religion and culture to area viewers.

Interviewed on Democracy Now on October 21, Mirza explained his volunteer charity work, helping Houston's homeless and refugee population. Reacting to his conviction and sentence, he said his lawyer:

"did not put up a good defense. I mean, we were not - I mean, I did not spend a whole bunch of time with (him). So (the sentence) wasn't unexpected. But I still have the appeals process, and hopefully that will come through for me."

Events unfolded as follows. As explained above, Mirza and others regularly took camping trips, infiltrated in 2005 by two FBI informants, pretending to be Muslim friends. One brought guns for target practice. He later learned that his student visa prohibited even holding one. However, he admitted having a hunting license, saying he took hunting education instruction.

"That's when I first possessed my - I mean, a firearm. I mean it was under the Texas government program. And after it was confirmed that I could, that's when I really went ahead and started target practicing, just so that, you know, I could go hunting" with friends. He didn't know two planned to entrap him and succeeded.

Before trial, pressure to accept a plea bargain was applied, under which he'd be free to continue school. He declined wanting to clear his name, stay in America, and avoid deportation. He gambled, lost, and, unless reversed on appeal, will spend 15 years in prison, though innocent of all charges. Another war on terror victim, Eric Holder prosecutors entrap them as relentlessly as earlier ones under Ashcroft, Gonzales and Mukasey.

A Final Comment

Omar Khadr is another war on terror victim, imprisoned at Guantanamo at age 15, there today at 23, accused of being an "unlawful enemy combatant," now called an "unprivileged enemy belligerent," the spurious designation with no legal validity.

Nonetheless, he was accused of throwing a hand grenade in Afghanistan, killing a US soldier. His capture followed a gunfight during which he was shot twice in the chest and blinded in one eye. Seriously injured, he was taken to Bagram air base, interrogated on a hospital gurney, then sent to Guantanamo, held incommunicado, and repeatedly tortured and interrogated to extract a confession.

On October 25, he pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges, including murder for throwing a grenade and spying. Though uncertain, the agreement calls for eight more years imprisonment, most, as a Canadian citizen, perhaps in Canada.

Khadr is one of many others lawlessly treated, Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights calling his plea:

"....a 'show plea.' He pleaded guilty to crimes he was never charged with and crimes about which there was almost no evidence, except a confession made under torture including threats of gang rape. So why did he do it?" He faced life in prison "even without a trial. He was being tried in a military commission, not a real court," with no right of appeal, and no chance for judicial fairness. "Under these circumstances his conviction was almost guaranteed."

"So why did the US offer him a plea (it if sticks)....that likely includes no more than (another) year at Guantanamo and then he is off to Canada, where it is likely he will soon be freed? The sentencing process going on now is a similar charade; Khadr cannot get more than he agreed to. But it gives the administration a chance to parade out all the horribles - none of which will have much to do with Khadr."

"The Obama administration is trying to" do the impossible - "save any 'face' they have left: this was the first trial of a child soldier by a Western power since World War II....Such charges and trials of juveniles are utterly illegal. Top that off with torture," inflicted on all detainees at Guantanamo and other US offshore prisons, gulags of the worst kind, operating lawlessly with no letup. Obama uses them as ruthlessly as Bush after promising change.

Imagine, trying to make a 15-year old look like "a really bad guy and guilty. The Khadr case is one of the most disgusting chapters in a post-9/11 detention system that should have long ago been relegated to a trash bin."

Though little consolation, he'll fare better than former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz, the US puppet Maliki government sentencing him to death by hanging, the same barbarism dealt other Saddam Hussein officials, himself included.

As foreign minister, Aziz was a diplomat, who voluntarily surrendered in 2003, believing his credentials and reputation protected him. Instead, though aging and ill, he spent seven years in solitary confinement, most recently in Iraqi custody. In total charge, Washington ordered his hanging, more victor's justice following kangaroo court proceedings during which he had no legal representation, the verdict a fait accompli to assure truths he knows are buried.

Last August, in his only prison interview, Aziz told the London Guardian:

"We are all victims of America and Britain. They killed our country." He's next, joining millions of other Iraqis for nearly two decades, casualties of one of history's greatest crimes, unpunished and ongoing.

On October 26, The New York Times gave a contemptuous account of his case, calling him a "staunch" regime defender, saying he lived in a "magnificent villa," who turned himself in for his own safety.

On October 25, The Times was dismissive about Khdar, saying nothing about torture or America's illegal war and occupation, only (as a concluding afterthought) that "child soldiers are almost never prosecuted for war crimes. That meant that the coverage of Mr. Khadr's case around the world (but not in America) was dominated by persistent questions about whether the case was appropriate." It was lawless and "disgusting," what no Times account suggested.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Franklin Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights

Franklin Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights - by Stephen Lendman

Ferdinand Lundberg's "Cracks in the Constitution" deconstructed what framers, in fact, created, men he equated with a Wall Street crowd, given their economic status and prominence as bankers, merchants, lawyers, politicians, judges, and overall wheeler-dealers. In 1787, they convened for their own interests, not the general welfare as most people believe.

As a result, they produced no "masterpiece of political architecture (falling far short of) one great apotheosis (bathed) in quasi-religious light," as Lundberg masterfully explained. His book, if not the Constitution, is an epic work, must reading about America's most important document, the Bill of Rights added belatedly in the first 10 Amendments, again not for reasons commonly believed.

They protected property owners, not ordinary people, who wanted:

-- free speech, press, religion, assembly and petition rights for their interests, not "The People;"

-- due process of law and speedy public trials for themselves if charged;

-- quartering troops in their homes or on their land prohibited;

-- protection from unreasonable searches and seizures;

-- the right to have state militias protect them;

-- the right to bear arms, but not the way the 2nd Amendment today is interpreted; and

-- and various other rights for them, privileged elites who, like today, lied, connived, misinterpreted, misrepresented, and pretty much operated as they wished for their own self-interest, law or no law.

Yet, the Constitution is hailed as the "supreme law of the land," including its 27 Amendments, the last one first proposed on September 25, 1789 (no typo), enacted over 200 years later on May 7, 1992, preventing congressional salaries from taking effect until the beginning of the next term.

Franklin Roosevelt's Proposed Economic Bill of Rights

On January 11, 1944, in his last State of the Union Address, Roosevelt proposed a second bill of rights, saying the initial one "proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness." His solution: an "economic bill of rights," guaranteeing:

-- employment with a living wage;

-- freedom from unfair competition and monopolies;

-- housing;

-- medical care;

-- education; and

-- social security, overall what he provided inadequately in his first 11 years, except for measures like the 1935 Wagner Act letting workers, for the first time, bargain collectively on even terms with management, and the landmark Social Security Act, keeping millions of retirees, disabled, and qualified survivors from the ravages of poverty.

These benefits are fast eroding today, Obama administration neoliberal ideologues wanting social benefits slashed, and Social Security and Medicare privatized so Wall Street racketeers can pillage them for profit until nothing's left for the needy.

Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will recommend austerity measures during Congress' lame duck session. Legislation will likely follow, focusing heavily on Medicare and Social Security, gutting them over time, leaving millions high and dry. What Roosevelt proposed but couldn't implement, the entire Washington establishment plans to take away, cleverly so most people won't notice until it's too late to matter.

With WW II nearly won, Roosevelt stressed focusing the nation's energies and resources on finishing it, suggesting among other measures:

-- "A realistic tax law - which will tax all unreasonable profit," corporate and individual;

-- "A cost of food law" with floor and ceiling limits on prices; and

-- reenactment of the October 1942 stabilization statute, pertaining to prices, wages and salaries affecting the cost of living.

He continued saying:

"We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made."

"In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security can be established for all - regardless of station, race, or creed." He then listed what he meant, covering:

"Opportunity.

The right to a useful and remunerative job.

The right to a good education.

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies.

Security.

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

The right of every family to a decent home.

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation."

Though partly implemented at best, they were positive recommendations, mirror opposite of policies under both parties since the 1980s, and Obama's proposed austerity at a time stimulus is desperately needed.

For example, the 1944 Servicemen's Readjustment Act (the GI Bill) provided college or vocational education for 7.8 million returning vets plus a year of unemployment compensation. In addition, 2.4 million got VA-backed low-interest, no down payment home loans at a time their average cost was under $5,000, enabling millions of families to afford them, many with government help.

Roosevelt called his proposal "security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these happiness and well-being" measures in the interest of democracy, humanity, fairness, justice, and a nation discharging its responsibilities for all its citizens equitably.

Today, these ideas are lost at a time of an unprecedented wealth gap, and officials ignoring essential needs by growing millions, on their own and out of luck because both major parties spurn them.

Instead they focus on imperial wars, handouts to bankers and other corporate favorites, repressive laws, and eroding freedoms, destroying them one at a time or in bunches, creating banana republic harshness in their place.

FDR's prescription was different, a patrician who gave back to save capitalism with policies mirror opposite of today's that will end up destroying it and America - its political and economic dominance, afterwards its military might when little money's left to fund it, then bankruptcy when it's gone, leaving only a short epitaph saying rest in peace.

Perhaps humanity will then exhale, absent America's belligerence and no shyness unleashing it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

America's Gulf: Ongoing Coverup and Denial

America's Gulf: Ongoing Coverup and Denial - by Stephen Lendman

On October 22, AP reported that over 7,000 square miles of Gulf waters off Florida's Panhandle were declared oil-free and reopened to fishing. According the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 96% of Gulf waters are now safe and reopened, spokeswoman Jane Lubchenco saying, "Our tests continue to reveal seafood from the reopened areas is safe to eat." Others disagree. More on that below.

The newly opened area is about 60 miles east of the Macondo wellhead. About 9,400 square miles of fishing waters remain closed, 4% of federal waters, down from 37% earlier.

From the start, The New Times provided cover for BP and the administration, at first denying the existence of a spill, then minimizing the disaster. On May 3, writers John Broder and Tom Zeller Jr. headlined, "Gulf Oil Spill Is Bad, but How Bad? saying "news analysis" indicates it's really not serious after all, when evidence showed the potential for disaster.

On August 4, writer Justin Gillis headlined, "US Finds Most Oil From Spill Poses Little Additional Risk," saying:

"The government is expected to announce....that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated - and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm."

This at a time, and later on, when independent research showed most oil remained. Corexit dispersants increased toxicity manyfold. Seafood was contaminated and unsafe. Vast areas of the Gulf and shorelines were (and continue to be) hazardous, and the risk to wildlife and human health was extreme. In other words, by downplaying the disaster, The Times defended government and BP lies, fearing the April 20 explosion provided "new fodder" for opponents.

Other Times reports highlighted the vanishing oil, low concentrations of deep sea toxic compounds, and conditions slowly returning to normal. In an October 12 update, The Times said:

"....evidence is increasing that through a combination of luck (a fortunate shift in ocean currents that kept much of the oil away from shore) and ecological circumstance (the relatively warm waters that increased the breakdown rate of the oil), the gulf region appears to have escaped the direst predictions of the spring."

"And preliminary reports (suggest) the damage already done (may) be significantly less than was feared - less, in fact, than the destruction from the much smaller Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989."

In fact, the truth is mirror opposite. BP and administration officials are responsible for the greatest environmental crime in history, an ongoing disaster, affecting vast parts of the Gulf, coastal waters from Texas to Florida, most or perhaps all wildlife, and the health of millions of residents, no longer safe since April.

Drill Baby Drill

On October 12, the May imposed moratorium was lifted, six weeks ahead of its scheduled November 30 date, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declaring:

"We are open for business....We have made and continue to make significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deepwater drilling." (Therefore), I have decided that it is now appropriate to lift the suspension on deepwater drilling for those operators that are able to clear the higher bar that we have set."

In fact, so-called "new rules" mimic old ones. Drilling remains unregulated and unsafe, so it's just a matter of time before the next disaster strikes, besides natural seepage and annual hundreds of smaller, unreported spills. Cumulatively over time, their toxicity destroys global water and human health. Moreover, according to former NOAA supervisory researcher Jeff Short:

"Once you have a spill, you are pretty much screwed. That's because oil spreads on water at a rate of one-half football field per second. Recovery can take decades," so calling the coast clear and water safe is willfully deceptive, echoed by the dominant media, The New York Times in the lead.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Coverup

The level is staggering, numerous reports countering BP and administration claims. On September 3, Boston Chemical Data Corp. laboratory findings, commissioned by the United Commercial Fishermen's Association, revealed toxic Corexit levels in test samples, meaning, besides oil contamination, Gulf seafood is extremely hazardous and unsafe.

Moreover, though BP denies it, Corexit spraying continues, mostly at night but some during day time. Fishermen report seeing it, in some cases hit by its mist. Reports say BP hired out-of-state contractors using unregistered boats, besides nightly aerial spraying. The administration's response to the entire disaster remains firm - coverup and denial, helped by a major media blackout after BP reported sealing the Macondo well on September 19.

In early October, however, four working reports issued by investigators from the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling revealed systemic coverup and censorship to suppress the disaster's magnitude, one very much ongoing.

They explained that stonewalling began in April and continued, one report concluding:

"By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then, at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oil remaining in the gulf, the federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem."

In fact, willful misinformation was released. In contrast, independent researchers produced accurate findings. BP, the administration, and major media accounts suppressed them, including evidence of criminal negligence.

Local Reports Exposing the Big Lie

On October 23, New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Bob Marshall headlined "Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico," saying:

"Just three days after (Coast Guard admiral Thad Allen, BP's front man) declared little recoverable surface oil remained in the Gulf of Mexico....Boat captains working the BP clean-up effort" reported seeing it, confirmed by Times-Picayune photojournalist Matt Hinton in a fly-over. In addition, "fishermen's groups....insist their members have" spotted it all along, refuting official claims that don't explain large fish kills, big enough to suggest widespread toxicity, affecting humans as well as wildlife.

On the six month anniversary of the disaster, marine biologist Riki Ott reported "people (are) now dropping dead," adding:

"I am dealing with about 3 - 4 autopsies right now....I know of people who's esophagus' are de-solving, disintegrating....I know of people with 4.75% of their lung capacity, with enlarged hearts....All of these people have oil (and dispersants) in their bodies."

She added that "4 to 5 million people in the Gulf were exposed to oil (and dispersants) at dangerous levels that is going to have incredible public health ramifications...and possibly force the President out of office for lies." In fact, he should be impeached and prosecuted for war crimes abroad and ones against humanity at home.

Deaths continue to be reported as well as people finding volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other toxins in their blood. According to one observer, corruption, coverup and poisoning are occurring in plain sight. The entire region is affected and will be for decades, the dirty secret BP, government officials, and major media won't explain.

Local accounts, however, are disturbing. On October 21, New Orleans WWL-TV reported:

"The oil is not evaporating. It's not dissipating. It's sitting there," according to PJ Hahn, Plaquemines Parish Coastal Zone Management Department head.

On October 20, AP reported Byron Encalade, president of the Louisiana Oystermen Association, saying "oyster beds are all dead or dying....I'm very pessimistic about it."

In early September, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources officials found 80 - 90% of oysters dead, citing no cause. Clearly oil and Corexit are responsible.

On October 21, Cynthia Sarthou, Gulf Restoration Network executive director, said:

"There is still so much oil and dispersant in the environment, and the Gulf has not yet begun to heal because we have yet to determine what the injury is that it has suffered," and its extent. For sure it's massive and destructive.

On October 16, the Louisiana Shrimp Association's Clint Guidry called using Corexit a "horrific mistake," adding:

"Potential ecosystem collapse caused by toxic dispersant use during this disaster will have immediate and long term effects on the Gulf's fishing communities' ability to sustain our culture and heritage."

On October 22, a pilot said he "was surprised (and saddened) to witness a seemingly unrelenting tide of oil hammering our beaches, bays, and estuaries."

Other recent reports included:

-- fishermen sprayed while sleeping in groups of boats tied together;

-- a boat captain, Lori DeAngelis, said her vagina and anus are bleeding, adding: "This thing is killing me;"

-- Lorrie Williams in Ocean Springs, MS said the oil sheen is "a lot worse" now than earlier, calling it an "absolute mess;"

-- tides keep washing up tar balls and sheen on coastal beaches and other areas;

-- large deposits are found buried in sand;

-- researchers found "vast volumes" of oil on the seafloor, including "thick raw crude;"

-- a massive shelf of exposed tar was found on Pensacola beaches;

-- fishermen said "we're starving; there are no fish in the waters" or not enough; and "any fish we would see, we would not eat;" and

-- various other reports were just as disturbing - clear evidence of an ongoing disaster because of the worst ever environmental crime.

A Final Comment

On June 14, as conditions worsened, AP reported that Obama "pronounce(d) Gulf seafood safe to eat....things are going to return to normal....I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before."

In fact, then, now, and for decades, contamination will remain, hazardous to wildlife and human health, what he knew yet lied and said otherwise, fronting for BP and other industry giants.

Oil and dispersants contaminate much, perhaps the entire Gulf. It's now poisoned and will remain potentially lethal for decades, maybe generations. Nothing in it should be ingested. Millions in the region are at risk. Families with small children should leave. No one should swim in coastal waters or eat any Gulf seafood, perhaps ever again. Responsible officials should ban it.

Instead, Obama, the Interior Department, NOAA, the Coast Guard, state governors, coastal mayors, regional health officials, BP, and major media reports gave the all-clear, saying conditions are nearly again normal, claiming the worst of the crisis was avoided.

In fact, a silent epidemic of cancers and other diseases will ravage coastal and inland areas for decades. The livelihoods of many residents are lost, and southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida may never be the same again, at least not for those now living there.

Moreover, 4,000 Gulf oil platforms now operate, the deepest and most hazardous by a consortium of companies, including BP. In addition, about 50,000 old wells pockmark the seabed, thousands with temporary or failing plugs believed to be leaking oil, gas and other toxins.

Yet deepwater drilling continues. Oil and gas pipelines keep compromising Gulf marshes, causing 15,000 acres to be lost annually, eroding wetlands and other areas. According to experts, unless restorative changes are made, the entire ecosystem will be lost in a generation.

On November 2, consider that before voting. Remember Obama's complicity in the greatest ever environmental crime, but don't imagine Republicans or Tea Party extremists will fix things. They're all beholden to power, not popular interests at a time they're being systematically eroded to divert money for militarism, imperial wars, bankers, BP, and other corporate favorites, ordinary people and ecological considerations be damned.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anti-Defamation League Demagoguery and Islamophobia

Anti-Defamation League Demagoguery and Islamophobia - by Stephen Lendman

Founded by B'nai B'rith in 1913, its stated mission is "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all," calling itself "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency, (fighting) anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry...."

In fact, Abraham Foxman, its national director, uses high-mindedness and unfounded anti-semitism hysteria as cover for backing Jewish supremacy and the right of Israelis over Arabs, including by occupation and belligerently enforced apartheid.

One of the 52 listed Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization (CPMAJO) Zionist organizations, ADL disseminates pro-Israeli propaganda and conducts smear campaigns against Israeli critics, under the guise of fighting anti-semitism and supporting human rights equitably. Overall, in fact, its long history is disturbing.

In the late 1930s and 40s, it spied on suspected communist sympathizers, working with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), later called the House Committee on Internal Security until abolished in 1975, its functions transferred to the House Judiciary Committee.

Later in the 1980s, it engaged in private spying, the San Francisco Chronicle reporting that, in April 1993, police raided its offices, revealing a political spy operation aided by a corrupt police officer, Tom Gerard. Working with Roy Bullock, a political informant, files about thousands of Arab Americans and hundreds left-of-center northern California organizations were pilfered.

Among them were the National Lawyers Guild, ACLU, NAACP, the Rainbow Coalition, Greenpeace, the Nation of Islam, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Bay Area anti-Apartheid Network, Asian Law Caucus, CISPES, and 20 Bay area labor unions, none supporting hate or revolutionary activities.

Later it was revealed that ADL conducted similar operations nationally through its LEARN program (Law Enforcement Agency Resource Network), infiltrating local law enforcement agencies, bribing police officers, and securing non-public information illegally.

Its penchant for spying is now exposed, if not acknowledged, yet so far it's escaped prosecution and harsh class action suit judgments by admitting no wrongdoing, and agreeing to remove improperly obtained documents from its files. Henceforth, it promised:

-- to refrain from seeking non-public information;

-- contribute $25,000 to a Hate Crimes Fund;

-- another $25,000 for a public school course; and

-- $25,000 more to a fund for improving relations among Jews, Blacks, and other minorities.

After Israel's "War of Independence," its publication, "The Facts," called supporters of Palestinian justice anti-semites, including Barnard College Dean Virginia Gildersleve, Kermit Roosevelt (grandson of Theodore Roosevelt), and former American University of Beirut President Bayard Dodge. Its May 1948 publication charged:

"Their espousal of the Arab League cause and opposition to Zionism has been marked by the increasingly hostile attitude toward the Jewish people themselves. While anti-Zionism and sympathy for the Arab cause are not necessarily indications of anti-Semitic prejudice, there are many whose pro-Arab utterances and activities have contained sufficiently expressed or implied anti-Semitism to give cause for genuine alarm."

Thereafter, ADL used the same "guilt by association" and "guilt by juxtaposition" smears against other Israeli critics and pro-Palestinian supporters.

For example, in 1983, its handbook titled, "Pro-Arab propaganda in America: Vehicles and Voices" listed university faculty and staff members, critical of Israel and Zionism, calling them anti-semites, extremists, and radicals seeking to abolish the state of Israel and incite prejudice against Jewish Americans. Charges were, in fact, smears based on lies, distortions, and half truths, censuring numerous anti-Israeli critics.

Along with AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, and other prominent CPMAJO-listed groups, the ADL exerts enormous influence in America. Working closely with Mossad, the FBI, CIA, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ADL fronts for Israel without registering as a foreign agent. Using pressure, cajoling, and smear threats, it also demands media compliance, assuring one-sided pro-Israeli coverage.

ADL's Top US Anti-Israeli Groups

In early October, ADL published its top 10 list, including one Jewish-led one, Abe Foxman announcing:

"While there are hundreds of groups that organize and participate in various anti-Israeli activities, we have identified the largest and most well-coordinated anti-Israeli groups. These groups are not promoting peace. They are spreading propaganda to assault Israel's legitimacy. We want Americans to know who (they) are and what it is they really stand for, which is to delegitimize the Jewish state."

"These groups demonize Israel through various public campaigns. Their messages are one-sided and fail to take the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into account. They unfairly attack israel while ignoring Palestinian terrorism and incitement. They apply a different standard to Israel than other countries, condemning it for implementing policies to protect its citizens."

The above statement reflects the last refuge of a scoundrel, blaming victims and their supporters, in this case, organizations for peace, equity and justice, unlike ADL and other pro-Israeli groups. Like all Jewish supremacists, they're for Israeli lawlessness, violence, aggressive wars, isolation, home demolitions, land theft, dispossessions, mass imprisonments, torture, targeted assassinations, and continued slow-motion genocide against millions of Palestinians, including besieged Gazans.

ADL's top 10 include:

(1) Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER)

Formed post-9/11, it's been activist against war, imperialism, bigotry, and represents other issues, including civil and human rights, and support for Palestinian equity and justice.

(2) Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

It's "committed to comprehensive public education on the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands of origin, and to full restitution of all their confiscated and destroyed property," according to international law.

(3) Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

In defending civil liberties, freedom of religion, diversity, tolerance, and democratic freedoms, it combats hate groups vilifying Islam and Muslims.

(4) Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA)

It "promotes awareness and understanding" of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict "through educational programs for North American Christians....FOSNA seeks reconciliation between people of the Holy Land in a vision of peace based on principles of a just peace," including "the urgency of ending US support for Israel's illegal military occupation."

(5) If Americans Knew (IAK)

Its mission is "to inform and educate the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported, underreported, or misreported in the American media." It believes conflict resolution and justice depends on revealing truths, ones major US media sources suppress, supporting the worst of Israeli lawlessness.

(6) International Solidarity Movement (ISM)

A Palestinian-led initiative, it's committed to resisting Israel's occupation, oppression, domination, and apartheid through nonviolent, direct-action methods.

(7) Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)

It seeks equity, peace, security, and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians alike, through "grassroots organizing, education, advocacy, and media." It's the only US Jewish organization providing a voice for Jews and their allies, who believe that Middle East peace is only possible "through justice and full equality" for Jews and Muslims alike.

(8) Muslim American Society (MAS)

As a religious, charitable, social, cultural, and educational group, its mission is to "move people to strive for God consciousness, liberty, and justice, and to convey Islam with utmost clarity."

(9) Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP)

By "visualiz(ing) the Palestinian struggle," it opposes apartheid and occupation through protests, memorials, and other ways, highlighting their plight against Israeli aggression and occupation.

(10) US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO)

It's a "diverse coalition working for freedom from occupation and equal rights for all by challenging US policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Based on human rights and international law, it seeks peace, justice, and conciliation by "chang(ing) the US role," the essential way to do it.

A Final Comment

The contrast between ADL and the above groups is stark and revealing. Claiming human rights credentials, ADL backs the worst of Israeli lawlessness. Organizations like its top 10 support the rule of law, self-determination, equity, nonviolence, conciliation, and the right of everyone in the region to co-exist peacefully - notions Israel and its acolytes won't tolerate, ADL prominent among them.

Asking Obama to take the lead in an October 19 Jerusalem Post interview, Foxman expressed disdain for Palestinian self-determination, saying:

"Now is the time to send a message to the Palestinians and Middle Eastern and European nations that the US will not tolerate and sanction" Palestinians' creating a state unilaterally. "It has to be made clear to the Palestinians that they have to give up this pipe dream that their Arab and European friends (which ones he didn't say) will give them a state without them having to make concessions or sacrifices."

From most people this comment would shock. From Foxman it reflects his advocacy for enforced apartheid, the harsher the better, demanding all, giving nothing, what he's supported throughout his entire professional life, masquerading as a human rights champion.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Congressional Fleecing the Public Legislation

Congressional Fleecing the Public Legislation - by Stephen Lendman

On February 23, HR 4646: Debt Free America Act was introduced "To establish a fee on transactions which would eliminate the national debt and replace the income tax on individuals."

Sponsor Representative Chaka Fattah's (D. PA) same day press release said:

The bill offers a "simple new approach to paying off the debt now escalating past" $13.6 trillion as of late October. "The breakthrough legislation proposes a 1 percent fee (on) all payment instruments including cash transactions, checks, credit cards, those processed through the Federal Reserve Bank, and those collected at the point of sale."

"In addition, taxpayers would receive a 1 percent tax credit for gross income up to $250,000 to offset the impact of the fee," supposedly helping middle and lower-earning households. The bill will also establish a Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action "to control and limit federal spending." Once the debt "is paid down...broad-based tax reform" would follow.

The bill's text says:

(1) "The current tax structure creates economic distortions that limit growth and job creation."

(2) Complying takes five billion hours and about $200 billion.

(3) Tax code restructuring will promote economic prosperity.

(4) Replacing the federal income tax with a transactions fee will eliminate systemic inefficiency.

The bill aims to raise enough revenue in seven years to begin phasing out the personal income tax, a goal helping big earners more than lesser ones, and provides no help for the millions of low income households paying little or no tax. They, however, will be saddled with an immense burden if this bill passes.

The Bill's Key Section

SEC. 4501. IMPOSITION OF TRANSACTION FEE would impose "on every specified transaction a fee in an amount equal to 1 percent," defined as:

-- those "us(ing) a payment instrument, including any check, cash, credit card, transfer of stock, bonds, or other financial instrument;" and

-- those involving "retail and wholesale sales, purchases of intermediate goods, and financial and intangible transactions."

Persons become liable "at the moment (they exercise) control over a piece of property or service, regardless of the payment method."

Fees will be collected by sellers and will be paid to the Treasury Secretary. In case a person doesn't collect and pay as required, "such person shall become liable for the fee not so collected and paid over."

Exclusions include:

-- "transactions involving stock (and any options or derivatives with respect to stock) until -

(1) such time as the United States enters into an international agreement that regulates domestic and international stock exchanges, or

(2) the (Treasury) Secretary issues recommendations regarding the application of the fee as it applies to stock."

In other words, this bill will fleece middle and lower income Americans through a 1% national sales tax per transaction, exempting the rich from their stock and related financial ones. So imagine its unfair impact, esspecially against low income earners paying little or no federal income tax. They'll face a painful new burden if HR 4646 passes, but so will many middle income earners likely ending up more heavily taxed than now, and when it's clear it'll be too late to matter.

According to factcheck.org, Fattah originated the bill in 2004, called the Transform America Transaction Fee. He tried again in 2005 and 2007. Each attempt failed with no action taken. In late 2009, he introduced a fourth bill, still unaddressed in committee.

As of late October 2010, HR 4646 is stalled, but Fattah and others hope for lame duck session action. Though no administration official suggested it, anything is possible after November 2, given the hysteria for fiscal austerity, including constraining the national debt.

Fattah's bill has no sponsors. It remains in committee. Some reports falsely attribute it to Rep. Peter DeFazio (D. OR) and Senator Tom Harkin (D. IA) for a Senate version. Through a spokesperson, DeFazio said he neither co-sponsored or supports the measure:

"because it wrongly targets all financial transactions, rather than just focusing on the Wall Street speculators that got us into this economic mess. An average American making normal day-to-day transfers of money should not be taxed on" them.

In 2009, DeFazio, in fact, introduced HR 1068: Let Wall Street Pay for Wall Street's Bailout Act of 2009. He proposed a 0.25% tax, applied only to securities and commodities transactions, and would become zero once TARP (Troubled Asset Relieft Program) funds were repaid. It allocated $700 billion, a tiny fraction of the trillions recipients got.

Senator Harkin's co-measure was, S. 2927: Wall Street Fair Share Act. Both House and Senate bills stalled in committee.

In the last dozen years alone, various measures have surfaced to replace the income tax. None passed, hopefully the same fate for HR 4646.

According to Lanny Davis (former Clinton White House Counsel), writing in The Hill:

"I don't believe any new tax proposal can pass unless, at the same time, liberals are ready to cut entitlement programs (a distinct possibility post-election) and conservatives are ready to close corporate tax loopholes (not ones that matter and likely none at all). But of one thing I am certain: We are not going to dig ourselves out of this deep hole of debt that will burden our children and grandchildren and beyond unless all of us - Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives - are forced to hold hands and jump into the pool together."

Davis represents elitists. His favored pain distribution affects ordinary people most, to continue shifting more wealth from them to the rich, and make America even more unequal than now.

A Final Comment

In the lame duck session, anything from wheeler-dealer pols is possible. Expect nothing for ordinary people. Whatever passes will cause greater pain for most at the worst time, so watch out.

Among other proposals, up for grabs are Social Security, Medicare, IRAs, and 401ks, the scheme being privatize them, earmark them for Wall Street, turn private pensions into worthless government annuities, and scam Americans out of their futures.

Fattah's 1% national sales tax fits right in, a stealth proposal to steal, largely exempting the rich, of course. America already has its greatest ever wealth disparity. Democrats and Republicans want it greater, a sad testimony to politics, American style, too deeply corrupted to fix.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for October 28, 30 and 31

The Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for October 28, 30, and 31, 2010

Thursday, October 28 at 10AM US Central time: Jack Shaheen

Shaheen is an essayist, media critic, lecturer, "committed internationalist," "humanist," and author or five books, including the TV Arab, Arab and Muslim Stereotyping in American Popular Culture, Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, and GUILTY Hollywood's Verdict on Arabs after 9/11.

America's vilification and persecution of Arabs and Islam will be discussed.

Saturday, October 30 at noon US Central time: Peter Dale Scott

Peter Dale Scott is a poet, author, researcher, and former Canadian diplomat and UC Berkeley English Professor. He's also been an anti-war activist since the 1960s.

His important new book will be discussed titled, American/War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan.

Sunday, October 31 at noon US Central time: Mickey Huff

Huff is a California-based Professor of History at Diablo Valley College and new Director of Project Censored (PC) and the Media Freedom Foundation. MFF supports First Amendment freedoms and investigative research, and works closely with PC and other media related organizations.

PC is the media democracy advocacy group that publishes vital news stories suppressed or censored in the mainstream.

Each year it ranks the top 25 and publishes them in its yearbook, Censored: Media Democracy in Action. The latest Censored 2011: The Top Censored Stories of 2009-10 is now out and can be purchased at projectcensored.org/store.

Discussion will be wide-ranging on major world and national issues.