11/15 War Warnings Update; Obama's CFR Crew; Brzezinski Cautions Against Change Expectations; "Soft Power Re-branding"

“We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”
David Rockefeller, 1994 Statement to the United Nations Business Council


C.I.A. Chief Says Qaeda Is Extending Its Reach
WASHINGTON — Even as Al Qaeda strengthens its hub in the Pakistani mountains, its leaders are building closer ties to regional militant groups in order to launch attacks in Africa and Europe and on the Arabian Peninsula, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency said Thursday. The director, Michael V. Hayden, identified North Africa and Somalia as places where Qaeda leaders were using partnerships to establish new bases. Elsewhere, Mr. Hayden said, Al Qaeda was “strengthening” in Yemen, and he added that veterans of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan had moved there, possibly to stage attacks against the government of Saudi Arabia. He said the “bleed out” from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also extended to North Africa, raising concern that the countries there could be used to stage attacks into Europe. Mr. Hayden delivered his report in a speech to the Atlantic Council of the United States in Washington, and it offered a mixed assessment of Al Qaeda’s ability to wage a global jihad. ... Mr. Hayden said that Pakistan’s tribal areas remained Al Qaeda’s most significant operations base because the group’s close ties to Pashtun tribes in the region gave Qaeda militants a sanctuary to plan attacks on Western targets.“Today, virtually every major terrorist threat my agency is aware of has threads back to the tribal areas,” he said. His remarks were the first public appraisal of Al Qaeda’s Pakistan sanctuary since the C.I.A. escalated what had been a secret campaign of airstrikes in the tribal areas over the summer. ...
Mr. Hayden deflected questions about whether he would consider remaining at the C.I.A. during the Obama administration and declined to say whether President-elect Barack Obama had asked him to extend his tenure. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/washington/14intel.html?_r=1&oref=slog...

American shot dead in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Gunmen killed a U.S. aid official and his Pakistani driver in a Peshawar neighborhood favored by diplomats and foreign aid workers close to the American Club.

US Attack Kills 12 In Pakistan:
The attack came a day after the Pakistani foreign ministry said that the US has been violating international law by launching missile attacks on the region.

have not found Iranian comment yet
Iranian Diplomat Kidnapped in Northwestern Pakistan
voanews.com [voice of america]
Fri, 14 Nov 2008
A senior [Pakistani] police officer, Jawad Qamar, told VOA by telephone from Peshawar that the Iranian diplomat, Hashmatullah Attarzadeh, was ambushed as he drove to the consulate in the city.... U.S.-led coalition forces based in Afghanistan have stepped up missile strikes in Pakistan's mountainous Waziristan border region targeting al-Qaida bases and training facilities. These attacks have killed scores of people, mostly militants, but Pakistani leaders condemn the U.S. move as a violation of their country's sovereignty, saying the strikes are fueling anti-America sentiment and hurting the government's anti-terror efforts.

Barack Obama warned to beware of a ‘huge threat’ from al-Qaeda
Security officials fear a ‘spectacular’ during the transition period
Barack Obama is being given ominous advice from leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to brace himself for an early assault from terrorists.
General Michael Hayden, director of the CIA, this week acknowledged that there were dangers during a presidential transition when new officials were coming in and getting accustomed to the challenges. But he added that no “real or artificial spike” in intercepted transmissions from terror suspects had been detected. “As far as we know there is nothing from the intelligence world to indicate that anything has changed dramatically in recent months to put us on alert for an attack at the moment,” a source said. The present threat level is “severe”, which is the second-highest alert status. But a senior counterterrorism official suggested last month that this should be regarded as “the severe end of severe”.
James Lewis, a security expert with the Centre of Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said that al-Qaeda may wish to provoke a reaction from the next US Administration designed to show the rest of the world that “America is still the evil crusader”.
Last month Joe Biden, the Vice-President-elect, told campaign donors: “Watch, we’re going to have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle [of Mr Obama].”

[this transparent psywar propaganda [omitted Gen.'l. Powell's date specific threa, ends ominously with select nuclear 'arms race' dates... up to Russia today]

The arms race

1945 US drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki

1953 Russia tests its first atomic bomb

1962 US discovers Soviet Union building a nuclear missile base in Cuba. After seven days of intense talks a naval quarantine is placed around Cuba and is only removed once President Khrushchev agrees to dismantle the base

1983 President Reagan launches the Strategic Defensive Initiative – Star Wars. This would allow the US to detect a nuclear weapon being launched and, by using laser technology, give it time to launch its own weapon to destroy the enemy missile

1986 President Gorbachev proposes a 50 per cent reduction in the nuclear arsenals of both sides. The discussions finally dissolve with no agreement reached

2008 US strikes deal with Poland and Czech Republic on Missile Defence Shield. Russia retaliates on day that Barack Obama is elected US President by threatening to station missiles in Kaliningrad, near its border with Poland

see Fair Warnings part 1 http://www.burbankdigest.com/node/144 & part 2 http://www.burbankdigest.com/node/145

Obama in Indirect Contact With Gates About Staying
In a follow-up on reports earlier this week that President-elect Barack Obama was considering approaching current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates about staying in his position after the handover of power in January, McClatchy is reporting that this has gone beyond the rumors phase, with both sides communicating through surrogates...http://www.uruknet.de/?p=48749

Robert Gates, US defence secretary rejects Kremlin's call to scrap missile shield:
Robert Gates, US defence secretary, rejected calls by the Kremlin for Washington to throw out its European missile shield plans, saying the shield was vital to meet threats from rogue states such as Iran, which had made "active efforts" to develop nuclear weapons. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/nov/14/medvedev-nuclear-missiles-ro...

Medvedev: No missile deployment if Obama drops anti-missile shield:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview published Thursday in the French daily Le Figaro that Russia will not deploy missiles in its European enclave of Kaliningrad if US president-elect Barack Obama cancels the planned American anti-missile defence system .

Russia, U.S. to hold talks on new START treaty by end of 2008
The existing START-1 treaty was signed by Moscow and Washington on July 31, 1991, five months before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moscow has repeatedly stated that the signing of a new nuclear disarmament deal would only be possible if Washington abandoned its plans to place elements of a U.S. missile shield in central Europe.

EU, Russia agree to resume talks on partnership pact
14/11/2008 The European Union and Russia agreed to restart talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement, the president of the European Commission said after an EU-Russia summit in Nice on Friday.

President Medvedev urges swift accession of Russia to WTO
13/11/2008 The decision on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization should be made as soon as possible, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday.
Medvedev’s interview with Figaro

13/11/2008 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed Barack Obama, missile defense, the global financial crisis, relations with the European Union, and Georgia in an interview with the French daily Figaro.
...Regarding the future of the financial system, it needs to be made a lot more transparent, predictable and manageable. It needs to be based upon a solid foundation of international agreements, and we need to establish a new or partially reformed system of international institutions, including the upper echelon credit institutions. We need to establish a new system for corporate reporting, and for risk insurance, and we need a clearer and more transparent system of accounting and financial reporting.... this is why we have proposed examining in addition what we have called ‘the idea of early warning of emerging crises'. This is a system that should be accepted in all countries and that should work in the interests of all and not in the interests of just one country, even if it is the biggest and strongest. Overall, what we need to do is lay the foundations for a new system of Bretton Woods agreements. ...

Russia's Medvedev to attend EU-Russia, G20 summits
12/11/2008 Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will take part in the EU-Russia summit in Nice, France on November 14, and the G20 summit in Washington to be held on November 14-15, a Kremlin spokesman announced on Wednesday.

On 3 December over 100 countries, including the UK, will sign a treaty banning cluster bombs. The world's biggest users - Israel and the USA - will not sign this treaty.

an ambassador soon without portfolio?
Obama and Bush not so far apart says U.S. ambassador:
INTERNATIONAL policy changes from the new Barack Obama administration are unlikely, United States Ambassador to Portugal Thomas Stephenson warned. “I don’t think there will be a lot of difference between Bush and Obama once you have left aside election rhetoric. When you examine the details of their positions on foreign policy there’s not much difference between them,” said Ambassador Stephenson.... Iraq had been a “non-issue” in the election campaign as US armed forces had made inroads into insurgency and gained control over the country... that both the State Department and Defence Department were “difficult institutions to turn around quickly in terms of policy changes” while he argued that the basic fundamental direction would be the same. “While US interests would remain similar, what would differ was the “change in style and approach” from a gung-ho Texas style which had been unpopular in Europe to a more sophisticated and diplomatic approach which would be “more style than substance”. http://www.portugalresident.com/portugalresident/showstory.asp?ID=30259

Obama, Clinton discussed secretary of state job

Obama's Council on Foreign Relations Crew
by Steve Watson
Global Research, November 9, 2008
Meet some of president elect Obama’s leading foreign and domestic policy advisors and likely administration members, every one of them a prominent member of the Council On Foreign Relations:

Susan E. Rice - Council on Foreign Relations, The Brookings Institution - Served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Clinton from 1997 to 2001. Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright is a longtime mentor and family friend to Rice. Critics charge that she is is ill disposed towards Europe, has little understanding of the Middle East and would essentially follow the same policies of Condoleeza Rice if appointed the next Secretary of State or the National Security Adviser.

Anthony Lake - CFR, PNAC - Bill Clinton’s first national security adviser, who was criticized for the administration’s failure to confront the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and now acknowledges the inaction as a major mistake.

Zbigniew Brzezinski - CFR, Trilateral Commission - Brzezinski is widely seen as the man who created Al Qaeda, and was involved in the Carter Administration plan to give arms, funding and training to the mujahideen in Afghanistan.

Richard Clarke - CFR - Former chief counter-terrorism adviser on the U.S. National Security Council under Bush. Notoriously turned against the Bush administration after 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. Also advised Madeleine Albright during the Genocide in Rwanda.

Ivo Daalder - CFR, Brookings, PNAC - Co-authored a Washington Post op-ed with neocon Robert Kagan arguing that interventionism is a bipartisan affair that should be undertaken with the approval of our democratic allies.

Dennis Ross - CFR, Trilateral Commission, PNAC - Served as the director for policy planning in the State Department under President George H. W. Bush and special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton. A noted supporter of the Iraq war, Ross is also a Foreign Affairs Analyst for the Fox News Channel.

Lawrence Korb - CFR, Brookings - Director of National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Has criticized manor of the invasion of Iraq but has detailed plans to increase the manpower of the United States Army to fight the war on terror and to "spread liberal democratic values throughout the Middle East".

Bruce Reidel - CFR, Brookings - Former CIA analyst who wishes to expand the war on terror to fight Al Qaeda across the globe. Considered to be the reason behind Barack Obama’s Hawkish views on Pakistan and his Pro India leanings on Kashmir.

Stephen Flynn - CFR - Has been attributed with the idea for Obama’s much vaunted "Civilian Security Force". Flynn has written: "The United States should roughly replicate the Federal Reserve model by creating a Federal Security Reserve System (FSRS) with a national board of governors, 10 regional Homeland Security Districts, and 92 local branches called Metropolitan Anti-Terrorism Committees. The objective of this system would be to develop self-funding mechanisms to more fully engage a broad cross-section of American society to protect the country’s critical foundations from the widespread disruption that would arise from a terrorist attack."

Madeline Albright - CFR, Brookings - Currently serves on the Council on Foreign Relations Board of directors. Secretary of State and US Ambassador to the United Nations under Clinton. Did not take action against the genocide in Rwanda. Defended the sanctions against Iraq under Saddam Hussein. When asked by CBS’s 60 Minutes about the effects of sanctions: "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" Albright replied: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it." .... by no means an exhaustive list.

Obama Wants Lieberman to Stay With Dem Caucus

Washington secretly authorized military raids on 20 countries since 2004
Bill Van Auken, WSWS
Since 2004, the Bush administration has secretly authorized military raids against up to 20 countries without any declaration of war or even any explicit congressional authorization for armed action, according to a report published Monday in the New York Times. The report, which cites recent attacks on targets in Pakistan, Syria and Somalia, establishes that under an order issued by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and appr oved by President George W. Bush in the spring of 2004, the US military’s Special Operations forces were given license to attack alleged al Qaeda targets "anywhere in the world."... The decision authorizing these operations, known as "Al Qaeda Network Exord" (for executive order), represented a practical corollary to the so-called "Bush doctrine," which arrogated to the United States the "right" to wage aggressive war anywhere in the world in the name of a global struggle against terrorism. In enunciating this doctrine in a June 2002 speech at the US Military Academy at West Point, Bush spoke of the need for the US military to "be ready to strike at a moment’s notice in any dark corner of the world." What is involved in many of these operations is the use of special task forces known as "hunter-killer teams," in essence assassination squads. In most of them, however, the military has utilized air support resulting in the deaths of large numbers of civilians.
The Times report traces the executive order back to a campaign by Rumsfeld to take over operations that had traditionally been carried out by the US Central Intelligence Agency, whose utilization of such methods had earned it the nickname "Murder Inc." Rumsfeld, the paper reported, "pressed hard to unleash the military’s vast firepower against militants outside the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan."

While the Times account describes the order issued by Rumsfeld as "secret" and "classified," there is every reason to suspect that, like the orders involving the use of waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, domestic spying and other criminal actions associated with the Bush administration’s "global war on terror," the directive authorizing the US military to freely conduct raids in violation of the sovereignty of nations across the globe was made known to and received tacit approval from the Democratic leadership in Congress.

Moreover, any illusion that such practices are about to fade into history with the end of the Bush administration and the coming to office of Barack Obama in January would be wholly unfounded. The Democratic president-elect made his advocacy of precisely such raids against targets in Pakistan a persistent theme in his campaign for the Democratic nomination and the presidency. Moreover, his platform prominently features the call for not only the expansion of US troop strength by another 100,000 soldiers and Marines, but also the "building up" of the military’s Special Operations forces for just such acts of aggression.

Obama’s advisers, the Democratic leadership in Congress and the Bush administration are all sending signals that the shift in administrations will be characterized more by continuity than any radical change in US foreign policy. This was spelled out most clearly by Obama foreign policy adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as US national security advisor in the Carter administration, playing a key role in the US strategy of promoting and funding the war by Islamist forces—elements of which went on to found al Qaeda—against the Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan. Speaking to Deutsche Welle last Friday, Brzezinski cautioned against expectations of "a dramatic change" in US foreign policy. "You have to think of foreign policy as, for example, a boat moving on the sea," he said. "A huge ocean liner doesn’t change its course in the way that a fast motor boat does. Therefore it is not possible for the United States to dramatically change every one of its policies."

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a speech to cadets at the Virginia Military Institute in which he described "jihadists" as a "strategic threat to the United States" on a par with that once posed by Nazi Germany. He vowed an unending war against them, while promising a "smooth and graceful transition of power to President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden, as they take up the duty of protecting America. http://www.uruknet.de/?p=48681

"Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel... Why wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel asked if his son's appointment would be good for Israel.

U.S. house cleaning:
Rahm Emanuel forced to apologize for father's fascist comment about Arabs:
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee sent a letter to Emanuel calling on him to distance himself from remarks made by the elder Emanuel in an interview with an Israeli newspaper following his son's appointment last week.... "From the fullness of my heart, I personally apologize on behalf of my family and me. These are not the values upon which I was raised or those of my family," .. The congressman said Obama did not need his influence to "orientate [SIC] his policy toward Israel."

Wikipedia deletes Benjamin Emanuel entry
Wikipedia has deleted Rahm Emanuel's father's page. Benjamin M. Emanuel's entry was recommended for deletion shortly after Obama named the younger Emanuel as his Chief of Staff, and it looks like it had already been deleted (or recommended for deletion) once before in January of 2007. "Benjamin M. Emanuel" is no longer searchable in Wikipedia...

Change We Can Believe In
In June 2003, Rahm Emanuel signed a letter criticizing President Bush for being insufficiently supportive of Israel.
Ali Abunimah
Mr. Emanuel - whose father fought with the Irgun, the pre-state Jewish militia ... that carried out terrorist attacks on Palestinians and the British in the 1940s - has a hawkishly pro-Israel record. He has never publicly distanced himself from his father's contribution to the dispossession of more than 750,000 Palestinians, nor criticized Israel's frequent attacks on Palestinian communities that have killed and maimed thousands of civilians. In June 2003, Mr. Emanuel signed a letter criticizing President Bush for being insufficiently supportive of Israel. "We were deeply dismayed to hear your criticism of Israel for fighting acts of terror," Mr. Emanuel, along with 33 other Democrats, wrote to Mr. Bush. The letter asserted that Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian political leaders "was clearly justified as an application of Israel's right to self-defense." Such killings violate the Geneva Conventions, and the State Department's human-rights report specified that there were more civilian bystanders killed in Israeli assassination attempts than actual targets in 2003.... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=48741

Media blackout? International journalists report being barred from entering, exiting Gaza
Ma'an news
Israel has limited food and fuel shipments into Gaza, and now appears to be preventing journalists from entering and even leaving the area. Several journalists have speculated that Israel hopes to limit press coverage of the effects of its latest blockade. On Tuesday Dirk Jan Visser, a photographer with a foreign news service, was denied entry into the Gaza Strip, on Monday BBC journalist Aleem Maqbool and his colleague we re denied entry into Gaza, and a French journalist, "V" was denied permission to leave...

The concept of the civilian national security force comes from The Plan: Big Ideas for America, co-authored by Obama's White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel.
In a now famous article titled The Book of Rahm, columnist John Walsh reveals some startling information written by 'Rahmbo'
"We need to use all the roots of American power to make our country safe. America must lead the world's fight against the spread of evil and totalitarianism, but we must stop trying to win that battle on our own. We should reform and strengthen multilateral institutions for the twenty-first century, not walk away from them. We need to fortify the military's "thin green line" around the world by adding to the U.S. Special Forces and the Marines, and by expanding the U.S. army by 100,000 more troops. We should give our troops a new GI Bill to come home to. Finally we must protect our homeland and civil liberties by creating a new domestic counterterrorism force like Britain's MI5."

"It is Israel that is threatening Iran and not the other way around," German MP Norman Paech wrote in op-ed piece for the Berlin-based daily Der Tagesspiegel.

" Barack Obama is stepping in the wrong direction"
Iran denies U.S. charges it is seeking to build a bomb, saying its nuclear program is geared only toward generating electricity. Iran's parliament speaker says that Barack Obama is stepping in the wrong direction after the U.S president-elect said it was unacceptable for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons.... "Iran's development of a nuclear weapon, I believe, is unacceptable and we have to mount an international effort to prevent that from happening," Obama said in his first press conference as U.S. president-elect...He also said Iran's support of terrorist organizations was "something that has to cease."... Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Obama's newly chosen White House chief of staff, was among those who stood at his side The president-elect's comments came shortly after Defense Minister Ehud Barak told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Israel would not rule out any course of action to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons.... http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1035367.html

“I think it is important for us to send a signal that we are not hell-bent on regime change, just for the sake of regime change, but expect changes in behavior, and there are both carrots and there are sticks available to them for those changes in behavior.”
Barack Obama

No matter how much you try to clean yourself America your hands will remain dirty, your body splashed with the blood and oil of the world ...
Yousef Abudayyeh
It was impossible to find a major newspaper or magazine anywhere in the world that did not have a headline that read something like "Change has come to America "... But how..? Is the racism inherent in what was to become the United States of America from its colonial beginnings of black slavery and white indentured servitude really gone, changed overnight by the fact of one election victory?

Please allow me to tell you how I see what happened on the 4th of November, 2008.
This election, like the ones before it and the ones to come, was between the two traditional political parties, one governing and one in opposition, the Republican and the Democratic. If you were following the polling results for the last six months and just until the middle of last September, you would have noticed that the two parties were running neck in neck .This after seven years of a Bush Administration that brought nothing but misery not only to the world but also to the American people. This is amazing, because even chained sheep would have acted differently toward a party that financially bankrupted the country, is fighting two wars against 'enemies' that are not 'the enemy', fractured the constitution, threatened it's people's civil rights and liberties and incited unprecedented levels of anti-American feeling among the majority of the globe's population.

As the US economy went from years of crisis to free fall, Obama's campaign was uniquely positioned to take advantage of the banks full stop on credit and a heavily indebted peoples fear of losing everything they have. What changes are people talking about?... Obama's campaign capitalized on the pent up eagerness across many sections of the American electorate to use their vote to get rid of the Bush legacy. So the vote itself was not 'the change'. It was the economic fear factor that overrode racial fears -but not by much.

As for what Obama's win meant to the rest of the world,... The world wants a break from seven years of horror it has lived under. The world wants to know that the gang that robbed them blind and in daylight just few weeks ago is hopefully on its way out. This is what they meant by change has finally come to America, nothing less and nothing more.
But did change really come to America? Does Obama's victory mean that the Democratic party has changed, is really not much different than the Republican party, or neither? Is Obama interested in or capable of delivering on the changes he has promised?

Obama is a member of a party that shares control of the world and its wealth with the Republicans. At the beginning of his campaign it was clear that he was not the Democratic party's first choice to win the nomination and later the presidency. Once it became clear that he was pressing on with his campaign and gaining ground against the establishment's favorite, Hilary Clinton, the party moved in. It set out the terms of what he needed to do to get its full support. After a meeting at Senator Diane Feinstein's residence on the eve of Obama's clinching the party's nomination, the guidelines put forward to him by the party to ensure their full support, were leaked to bring the media and the public to his side. One can note the change in tone and behavior that Obama exhibited ever since, from his stance on war and bringing the troops home to the economy. All the rhetoric was within the parameters of the Democratic party. With the blessing of the party he would eventually win the presidency.

A representative of the Democratic party will not usher in change not nationally, or internationally to alleviate the problems that Americans and the world's inhabitants continue to face. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are willing or capable of changing the nature of this country and to alter the relations within it, and with the rest of the world. That is up to the people, and voting isn't enough. For that to happen America will have to abandon the ruthlessness on which the capitalist system is built. This means universal health care for it's people, and justice, fairness and color and sex equality to all who call this country home. It means that the US abandons its appetite to conquer and control the planet's wealth and resources. Neither Obama nor the US is ready to do this and that's why the change is yet to come and regardless of the color of who is the in control of the White House, the US hands will remain dirty and its body splashed with the blood and oil of the world . http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=48687&s2=12

Barack Obama: The Empire's New Clothes
by Paul Street
"Obama is an act of system-legitimizing brilliance."
"...a candidate who even remotely questions corporate and imperial power is not permitted to make a strong bid for the presidency..."
Barack Obama is no exception to the rule. Anyone who thinks he could have risen to power without prior and ongoing ruling class approval is living in a dream world.

An Early and ‘Quieter Audition' with the ‘Moneyed Establishment.'
Conventional wisdom holds that Obama entered national politics with his instantly famous keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. But, as Ken Silverstein noted in Harper's in the fall of 2006, "If the speech was his debut to the wider American public, he had already undergone an equally successful but much quieter audition with Democratic Party leaders and fund-raisers, without whose support he would surely never have been chosen for such a prominent role at the convention."
The favorable elite assessment of Obama began in October of 2003. That's when "Vernon Jordan, the well-known power broker and corporate board-member who chaired Bill Clinton's presidential transition team after the 1992 election, placed calls to roughly twenty of his friends and invited them to a fund-raiser at his home. That event," Silverstein noted, "marked his entry into a well-established Washington ritual-the gauntlet of fund-raising parties and meet-and-greets through which potential stars are vetted by fixers, donors, and lobbyists." ... Obama was not a racial "polarizer"...

Since his election to the U.S. Senate and through the presidential campaign, the "deeply conservative" (according to New Yorker writer Larissa MacFarquhar) Obama has done nothing to undermine his "palatability" to concentrated economic and political power. He has made his safety to the power elite evident on matters both domestic and global, from his support for bailing out parasitic Wall Street financial firms with hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars (while claiming to be "a free market guy" and proclaiming "love" for "capitalism") to his refusal to question the morality of U.S. colonial wars and his strident support for maintaining a globally unmatched "defense" (empire) budget that accounts for nearly half the world's military spending. As Edward S. Herman and David Peterson note in an important recent article, "in 2007-08, Obama has placated establishment circles on virtually every front imaginable, the candidate of ‘change we can believe in' has visited interest group after interest group to promise them that they needn't fear any change in the way they're familiar with doing business" [5].

It's all very consistent with Obama's history stretching back to his days as the Republican-pleasing editor of the Harvard Law Review and his climb up the corporate-friendly politics of Chicago. As Ryan Lizza noted in The New Yorker last July, "Perhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of anti-establishment revolutionary. Rather, every stage of his political career has been marked by an eagerness to accommodate himself to existing institutions rather than tear them down or replace them" [6].

"Obama enjoyed a remarkable windfall of favorable corporate media coverage."
Obama's business-friendly centrism helped him garner an astonishing, record-setting stash of corporate cash. He received more than $33 million from "FIRE," the finance-real-estate and insurance sector. His winnings include $824,202 from the leading global investment firm Goldman Sachs [7]. He has been consistently backed by the biggest and most powerful Wall Street firms. ...Obama enjoyed a remarkable windfall of favorable corporate media coverage. That media treatment was the key to Obama's success in winning support and donations from the middle-class and from non-affluent people like Deddrick Battle.

This does not mean that the Obama phenomenon has raised no concerns among the rich and powerful. As Herman and Peterson note, "Obama's race, his background, his enthusiastic, and less predictable constituency, and the occasional slivers of populism that creep into his campaign, make the establishment nervous, whereas Hillary Clinton and John McCain clearly posed no such threat.." Still, the moneyed elite's most reactionary wing used its formidable media and propaganda system to keep the Obama "movement" safely within conservative boundaries. It employed a series of neo-McCarthyite anti-radical and related racial scare tactics including the Jeremiah Wright Affair and subsequent public relations campaigns surrounding alleged Obama links to "terrorist" charter-school advocate William Ayers and "radical professor" Rashid Khalidi. It has sought to link the openly capitalist Obama to the "anti-American" threat of "socialism," alleging that that the harbors a nefarious desire to "redistribute" wealth....

His outwardly progressive ‘change' persona is perfectly calibrated to divert, capture, control, and contain coming popular rebellions. Obama's race is no small part of what makes him "uniquely qualified" to perform the key tasks of mass pacification for which he has been hired.

Imperial Soft Power ‘Re-branding'
The logic works at the global as well as the domestic level. A considerable segment of the U.S. foreign policy establishment thinks that Obama's race, name (technically Islamic), experience living (Muslim Indonesia, as a child) in and visiting (chiefly his father's homeland Kenya) poor nations and his nominally anti-Iraq War history will help them repackage the U.S. imperial project (replete with more than 730 military bases located in nearly every nation on Earth) in softer and more politically correct cover [10]. John Kerry, who ran for the presidency four years earlier largely on the claim that he would be a more effective manager of empire (and the Iraq War) than George W. Bush [11], was certainly thinking of these critical imperial "soft power" assets when he praised Obama as someone who could "reinvent America's image abroad" [11A]. So was Obama himself when he said the following to reporters aboard his campaign plane in the fall of 2007:

"If I am the face of American foreign policy and American power, as long as we are making prudent strategic decisions, handling emergencies, crises, and opportunities in the world in an intelligent and sober way....I think that if you can tell people, ‘We have a president in the White House who still has a grandmother living in a hut on the shores of Lake Victoria and has a sister who's half-Indonesian, married to a Chinese-Canadian,' then they're going to think that he may have a better sense of what's going on in our lives and country. And they'd be right" [12].

What Obama didn't tell reporters was that his idea of "prudent" and "intelligent" foreign policy is strongly committed to U.S. global hyper-militarism and world supremacy, including unilateral action whenever "we" deem it necessary to "protect the American people and their vital interests" [13]. ...

Obama is an act of system-legitimizing brilliance - a tour de force for the ruling class. He has been chosen to wear the Empire's new clothes. He is the "managed democracy's" fake-progressive public relations makeover at home and abroad....

At the end of the day Obama's job is to keep the restless poor, working class, and global 'Many' safely pacified while serving the needs of the wealthy and imperial Few. It's a deadly juggling act that could have terrible consequences. How long he can maintain the illusion of serving the interests of the people and the elite at one and the same time is an open question.
The sooner seriously left agitators and activists can expose the corporate-imperial truth behind the progressive Obama façade to disenfranchised people at home and abroad, the quicker we can get to real social and democratic change beyond the ruling class's latest quadrennial candidate-centered electoral extravaganza.

On Tears and Resistance
written by Paul Street , November 13, 2008
I have received numerous e-mails (often from people who identify themselves as black American) from folks who express their horror and disgust at Times liberal Paul Krugman's claim that "there is something wrong with you" if you didn't get teary-eyed over Obama's election.

The last time I got teary-eyed about something political was when I was in a crowd of many thousands (more than 10,000 easy) protesting the onset of the Iraq War in downtown Chicago - a chanting sea of beautiful diverse humanity (Caucasians, Arab Americans, Latinos, and lots of black people, and both young and old). This was in mid-March of 2003.
Anyway, on the Outer Drive and on Michigan Avenue we would come across these CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) buses that were completely marooned by the endless river of marching citizens. And the drivers (usually black females) would smile and hold up their hands with the V-peace sign.I saw this also with an L Train on Lake Street. It wasn't stopped by people of course. It was just stopped above the march and a Latino guy - a train operator - made the same gesture ..the peace sign. Beautiful.
That's the kind of shit that can bring tears to my eyes - also reading about the civilian victims of the imperial wars that Obama and his foreign policy team support in Iraq and Afghanistan

That's what does it for me, not some strategic increase in the racial diversity of the imperial ruling class.

Now Barack Council of Foreign Relations Obama was nowhere to be seen downtown when those marches happened. He may have given his "I'm not against all wars just dumb wars" speech (opposing the planned Iraq invasion on pragmatic not principled or moral grounds) at the Daley Plaza the previous October but by this time he was on the path to the national and indeed international ruling class by that time and indeed he had taken his 2002 "antiwar" speech off his Web site....

People need to get off their electoral ass and hit the pavement again and again. Power never concedes without the threat of radical reconstruction from the bottom up. They must NOT be pacified by the arch-conciliatory Obama (who himself has said repeatedly that change comes from the bottom up...expect to hear that less from him now). Want something decent from the Obama administration? ... MAKE them do it. Make me misty-eyed again in the streets, not sitting in fronting of a glowing Orwellian Telescreen watching the results of another quadrennial corporate-crafted narrow-spectrum candidate-centered electoral spectacle.
Paul Street's books include Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004); Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (New York, 2007), and most recently Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, September 2008). Paul can be reached at paulstreet99@yahoo.com.This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Beware The Obama Hype; What "Change" In America Really Means
By John Pilger
He says he wants to build up US military power; and he threatens to ignite a new war in Pakistan, killing yet more brown-skinned people. That will bring tears, too. Unlike those on election night, these other tears will be unseen in Chicago and London.
... the burden of a form of brainwashing placed on most Americans from a tender age that theirs is the most superior society in the history of the world, and all means are justified, including the spilling of copious blood, in maintaining that superiority....is the subtext of Barack Obama's "oratory". He says he wants to build up US military power; and he threatens to ignite a new war in Pakistan, killing yet more brown-skinned people. That will bring tears, too. Unlike those on election night, these other tears will be unseen in Chicago and London....
Two years ago, th anti-war vote installed a Democratic majority in Congress, only to watch the Democrats hand over more money to George W Bush to continue his blood fest. For his part, the "anti-war" Obama never said the illegal invasion of Iraq was wrong, merely that it was a "mistake". Thereafter, he voted in to give Bush what he wanted. Yes, Obama's election is historic, a symbol of great change to many. But it is equally true that the American elite has grown adept at using the black middle and management class. The courageous Martin Luther King recognised this when he linked the human rights of black Americans with the human rights of the Vietnamese, then being slaughtered by a liberal Democratic administration. And he was shot. In striking contrast, a young black major serving in Vietnam, Colin Powell, was used to "investigate" and whitewash the infamous My Lai massacre. As Bush's secretary of state, Powell was often described as a "liberal" and was considered ideal to lie to the United Nations about Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Condaleezza Rice, lauded as a successful black woman, has worked assiduously to deny the Palestinians justice.

Obama's first two crucial appointments represent a denial of the wishes of his supporters on the principal issues on which they voted. The vice-president-elect, Joe Biden, is a proud warmaker and Zionist. Rahm Emanuel, who is to be the all-important White House chief of staff, is a fervent "neoliberal" devoted to the doctrine that led to the present economic collapse and impoverishment of millions. He is also an "Israel-first" Zionist who served in the Israeli army and opposes meaningful justice for the Palestinians – injustice that is at the root of Muslim people's loathing of the United States and the spawning of jihadism.

Obama, the Prince of Bait-and-Switch
by John Pilger
Those who write of Obama that "when it comes to international affairs, he will be a huge improvement on Bush" demonstrate the same willful naïveté that backed the bait-and-switch of Bill Clinton – and Tony Blair...Eleven years and five wars later, at least a million people lie dead. Barack Obama is the American Blair. That he is a smooth operator and a black man is irrelevant. He is of an enduring, rampant system whose drum majors and cheer squads never see, or want to see, the consequences of 500lb bombs dropped unerringly on mud, stone and straw houses. http://www.antiwar.com/orig/pilger.php?articleid=13197

No serious scrutiny of this is permitted within the histrionics of Obamamania, just as no serious scrutiny of the betrayal of the majority of black South Africans was permitted within the "Mandela moment". This is especially marked in Britain, where America's divine right to "lead" is important to elite British interests. The once respected Observer newspaper, which supported Bush's war in Iraq, echoing his fabricated evidence, now announces, without evidence, that "America has restored the world's faith in its ideals". These "ideals", which Obama will swear to uphold, have overseen, since 1945, the destruction of 50 governments, including democracies, and 30 popular liberation movements, causing the deaths of countless men, women and children... www.johnpilger.com

Obama’s Grande Armada
Gabriele Zamparini
Obama the Fraud named former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (also known as Bloody Madeleine) as his emissary at the international economic summit in Washington. In 1996 Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" - US Ambassador at the United Nations (soon to become Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." CBS - "60 Minutes," May 12, 1996.
Obama the Fraud is leaning toward asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates to remain in his position for at least a year, according to two Obama advisers. The Wall Street Journal understands what it means: "Like the president-elect, Mr. Gates supports deploying more troops to Afghanistan. But the defense secretary strongly opposes a firm timetable for withdrawing American forces from Iraq, and his appointment could mean that Mr. Obama was effectively shelving his campaign promise to remove most troops from Iraq by mid-2010."... Obama the Fraud wants to renew the U.S. commitment to finding al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. "We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority," Obama said during the presidential debate on October 7.... Obama the Fraud is using the bogeyman to escalate the massive crimes against humanity the US and NATO have been committing in Afghanistan: "It’s time to heed the call . . . for more troops. That’s why I’d send at least two or three additional brigades to Afghanistan . . . The terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are still at large and plotting" http://www.uruknet.de/?p=48726

[Obama] will not be attending the talks of the Group of 20 rich countries and major developing economies. Instead, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former Republican congressman Jim Leach will stand in for Obama...
US Vice President Dick Cheney will welcome vice-president elect Joe Biden at his official Naval Observatory residence on Thursday, Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said.


Afghan resistance statement
A Matter to Ponder for Obama
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
...It is imperative for Obama to put an end to all the policies being followed by his Opposition Party, the Republicans and pull out US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq forthwith. If Obama and the Democrats would like to follow into the steps of Bush and see their magnanimity in oppressing and subjugating nations and nurture the ambitions of prolonging the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, it is clear that the fate of the Democrats will be even more shameful and despicable than the Republicans. They will not bring the ship of the downfall of USA safely to the coast of rescue and will not land it securely. It was because of this sky-high expenditure, which is now pushing America to the verge of penury and their economic institutions are melting down. The Europe and the rest of the world are pondering to bring about changes in their financial relations with USA...http://www.uruknet.de/?p=48679

Anti occupation forces killed 19 in attack on U.S. convoy in Afghan market:

Taliban will 'never' negotiate with West: spokesman
CBC.ca, Canada -
The Taliban will never enter into peace negotiations with any Afghan or Western authorities while foreign forces still remain in Afghanistan, and will continue to fight for the country's "freedom," spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi told CBC's As It Happens on Thursday on the telephone through an interpreter from an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, Ahmadi also condemned U.S. president-elect Barack Obama, saying his policies would represent a continuation of by the Bush administration... http://www.uruknet.de/?p=4875

Deadly bomb strike kills 11 in Afghanistan:
10 civilians and an American occupation force soldier were killed when a suicide bomber targeted US-led troops in Jalalabad.

US-Led Forces in Afghanistan Kill 4 "Suspected Militants Linked to "Al-Qaida":
The U.S. military says the suspected militants were killed during a raid Thursday in the Zurmat district of Paktia Province, near the border with Pakistan.

Iraqi surge "to prevent an increase in terrorist operations in the capital."
Baghdad has seen a string of attacks in recent days, most of them targeting Iraqi security forces heavily deployed throughout the capital. Major General Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the Iraqi army in Baghdad said Iraqi security forces were stepping up efforts "to prevent an increase in terrorist operations in the capital."
"During a patrol with the Iraqi army, an Iraqi soldier opened fire on the American soldiers at around 1300 hours (1000 GMT), killing two of them and wounding others," a ministry statement said. A ministry source said a US soldier "slapped an Iraqi soldier during the patrol and he opened fire in response."

Iraqi soldier kills at least two US troops and wounds six more
The incident happened at an Iraqi military base in the Zanjili district of the city, the US military said, not on a joint patrol as earlier reported. Reports suggested the man had been involved in an altercation with a US soldier before opening fire. The US military said it was still investigating the incident.
In Baghdad, meanwhile, at least 21 people were killed and more than 85 injured in a series of bombings - the third day in a row such attacks have taken place....

Iraqi soldier killed four American soldiers: what really happened
Roads to Iraq
Reuters don’t wants to tell you the reason behind the shooting and BBC uses the word "altercation". This is the truth of what really happened: According to eyewitnesses, an Iraqi soldier called "Barzan Mohammed Abdullah" from the northern city of Telkeef" used a machine gun fixed on a military "pick-up" patrol vehicle, shot American soldiers killing four [not two as the news agencies claim] and injured three in Zndjeli district - Mosul. The shooting came after the U.S. soldiers beat Abdullah inhumanly in public in front of the people.

Ensuring salaried 'sovereignty'
Imad Khadduri, Free Iraq
""It is somewhat curious," says Mr Chalabi, "that the intelligence service of a country which is sovereign – that no one really knows who is funding it."
In fact there are very few Iraqis who do not believe they have a very clear idea of who funds Iraq's secret police. Its director is General Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, who once led a failed coup against Saddam Hussein, and was handpicked by the CIA to run the new security organisation soon after the invasion of 2003. He is believed to have been answering to them ever since. (...)
It may be surprisingly "curious" for Al-Chalabi who knows all about the cosy relationship between some of the Iraqi security forces and the US. He himself brought the 'startup team' to Iraq, posing as his own militia. These were several hundred Iraqis trained by the US in Hungary before the war. Many incidents are attributed to Chalabi's 'own militia' acting outside the law and with impunity.... For the record, and to avoid Al-Chalabi any more embarrassing curiousities, there are other Bremer appointed high government officials that have been receiving their salaries, for more than five and a half years now, directly from the Americans and the CIA and not from the Iraqi government. They are:
* The above mentioned head of the "Iraqi" National Intelligene Service - Al-Shawani (see previous posting: The Genocide Option February 05, 2007
* The head of the "Iraqi" Central Bank - Sinan Al-Shibibi
* The presidential advisor - Mowafaq Al-Rubaie
* The head of the High Judicial Council
* The head of the Elections Committee
Which other "sovereign" state can boast such paid loyalties, but a SOFA one? (Well, maybe Obama'a Rahm Israel Emanuel)

Obamania: a collective, frightening madness
Corporate America selected Barack Obama as next emperor of the US global empire.
Idolatry and hope. Since the dawn of the time, we humans create gods to explain what we can't through reason and repose in them our hopes. Cults and religions, gods and idols are as powerful today as they were thousands years ago. Sometimes our times can be much more irrational than our ancestors'.
The imperial cult in ancient Rome was essentially a propaganda tool focused on leaders, a cult of personality. After the emperor's death, the apotheosis of the emperor would strengthen this cult.Fast-forward two thousands years and we are assisting to the apotheosis of Barack Obama, even before he sits on the imperial throne; miracles of our Global Village's propaganda...
Mono-thought society. The corporate media have been joined by most of the progressive media in the celebrations of the new cult. Conservative and liberal intellectuals have been echoed by most of the progressive voices in a depressing, terrifying show of uniformity and banality. The very few, isolated voices of dissent have been silenced by hysterical cries and even leftists and anarchists are still shouting hymns to the new god.... Delighted and united we stand then. The corporate media and their masters are delighted. With very few, isolated exceptions, the progressive media, the anti-war movement and its intellectuals are delighted. And the father of Obama's chief of staff, is delighted too: In an interview with Ma'ariv, Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, said he was convinced that his son's appointment would be good for Israel. "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel," he was quoted as saying. "Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
The looking-glass world. Fox News is delighted about Obama's victory that's become the paladin of African-Americans and all the oppressed...
"Under an Obama presidency those non Blacks who stand in opposition to Barack Obama's de facto pro Wall Street backers and their blood-sucking policies will be branded as racists and traitors, while those Blacks who oppose Obama's policies will be ignored and/or branded as fringe radicals and traitors" wrote BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member, Larry Pinkney...
The Obama mania is a collective madness induced by Corporate America, which was able to exploit our honest thirst for change, peace and social justice. Optimism is a warm feeling but can make us blind. Sooner we wake up from this dream and good-will people the world over realize that nothing has really changed and start to organise to make their voices really count, the better will be for the world. The victims of this rapacious global empire - from our brothers and sisters in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan to those living in our cities' poor neighborhoods - will suffer immensely because of our fantasies and celebrations. And be aware that from now on propaganda will be much more difficult to fight. On guard! http://thecatsdream.com/blog/

Obama to the rescue: a structural foundation of amerikan Black genocide, the potentially revolutionary "army of the unemployed" is also fascist amerika's greatest fear because it knows, as Marx said, capitalism produces its own gravediggers
Black Joblessness: Never a Priority
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

"The criteria for government intervention in the economy is color-coded."

President-elect Barack Obama says he'll put the interests of "Main Street" above those of Wall Street, in tackling the economic crisis. It is appropriate that we ask, Which Main Street is he talking about? It has been a very long time since the main streets of Black America were assigned any priority in terms of unemployment relief. Clearly, the criteria for government intervention in the economy is color-coded, rather than based on objective measurements of social and economic distress. On Black Main Streets, for at least two generations unemployment has consistently registered at least twice as high as on white Main Streets. The two-to-one racial ratio holds true in good times and in bad, as if it were a law of modern American economic life. Therefore, by any comparative analysis, African Americans are ALWAYS in a state of employment crisis.

Yet, Black unemployment levels are almost never considered to be intolerable - that is, a problem of such magnitude it demands fixing. The one exception - the period in which Black unemployment, especially Black youth unemployment, rated a national priority - was during the Sixties, when cities burned.

The unfolding economic collapse promises to disproportionately harm those who are already most damaged by racial employment structures in the United States. Officially, Black joblessness in October stood at 11.1 percent, compared to 5.9 percent for whites, 8.8 percent for Hispanics and less than four percent for Asians. But it has long been apparent that the federal government's methods for counting the unemployed vastly underestimate joblessness, especially in Black America. In 2003, during the last recession, a survey that measured the employment/population ratio showed that only slightly more than half of Black males between the ages of 16 and 65 in New York City, held jobs, although the official Black unemployment rate was just under 13 percent. The difference between 13 percent and 49 percent of Black males being outside the official labor force, is the difference between a community that is gravely challenged by joblessness, and one that has been crushed by it.

"Black youth wind up in the million-strong African American prison gulag - a cohort that is not counted among the officially unemployed."

Measuring the percentage of people who are inside, or outside, the official labor force provides a much better picture of that community's actual relationship to the larger economy and society. It shows us where the real, structural problems are, the places where extended unemployment benefits make only marginal differences because large proportions of people have not been working on the books for a very long time, or have never had an effective chance to enter the official work force. Economic downturns are especially damaging to the employment prospects of Black youth, who then wind up in the million-strong African American prison gulag - a cohort that is not counted among the officially unemployed. These young men, and increasing numbers of young women, join the ranks of the permanently marginalized, who literally do not count in public policy discussions outside the arena of criminal justice or other projects of repression or removal.
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

" it's a war over there and our guys need them."
grand juries verdict: probably basically 'expanded definitions' of legality in wartime, with a few wrist-slaps for grunt mercenaries
New Blackwater Iraq Scandal: Guns, Silencers and Dog Food
By Brian Ross and Jason Ryan, 11/14/08
A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, ABCNews.com has learned. Under State Department rules, Blackwater is prohibited from using certain assault weapons and silencers in Iraq because they are considered "offensive" weapons inappropriate for Blackwater's role as a private security firm protecting US diplomatic missions. "The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant. Six Blackwater employees are under investigation by another federal grand jury, in Washington, D.C., in connection with the shooting deaths of at least 17 civilians in September, 2007 at a Baghdad traffic circle. Prosecutors are expected to return indictments in the next few weeks, according to people familiar with the case. The investigation of the alleged dog food smuggling scheme began last year after two Blackwater employees were caught trying to sell stolen weapons in North Carolina... and became government witnesses, according to court documents. Two other former employees tell ABCNews.com they also witnessed the dog food smuggling operation. They say the weapons were actually hidden inside large sacks of dog food, packaged at company headquarters in North Carolina and sent to Iraq for the company's 20 bomb-sniffing dogs. Larger items, including M-4 assault weapons, were secreted on shipping pallets surrounded by stacks of dog food bags, the former employees said. The entire pallet would be wrapped in cellophane shrink wrap...

Another former Blackwater insider who talked with ABCNews.com said company executives made the decision to smuggle the weapons and silencers in the dog food "because it's a war over there and our guys need them."

A Blackwater spokesperson, Anne Tyrrell, said certain arms shipments were sent to Iraq surrounded by dog food "to secure them on the airplane and not to smuggle them."

In addition to the grand jury investigation, Blackwater sources say the company is facing a multi-million dollar fine for some 900 instances in which it violated State Department licensing requirements for the export of certain weapons. Of the 900 cases, about 100 of them have been referred to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution, according to lawyers briefed on the case. Blackwater hired a team of former federal law enforcement officials and defense experts that it said would review the company's compliance with export laws.
[which is why] Despite four separate federal grand jury investigations of its operations, Blackwater's contract to provide security services for the US State Department was renewed earlier this year. The contract pays Blackwater $250 million a year and runs for five years. Blackwater has been paid nearly $1.25 billion in federal business since 2000.

Obama and the Crisis of Expectations
By Shamus Cooke
Obama will be representing the interests of corporate-elite. How do we know this?
1. Obama’s electoral campaign raised hundreds of millions more than John McCain’s, most of it coming from the rich.
2. Obama’s “dream team” of economic advisers are all top CEO’s and Wall Street insiders (including the richest man in America, Warren Buffet); his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel is a hardened member of the Washington political establishment.
3. Since winning the democratic nomination, Obama has been furiously backpedaling his progressive rhetoric, while preaching a continuous sermon from the book of big business.
4. He joined hands with the Republicans to ensure that the Wall Street bailout was passed!
5. He advocates a “surge” of troops into Afghanistan, while committing nothing concrete in permanently removing troops from Iraq.

Many other examples could be cited.
Recently, Obama has made several speeches where he emphasizes the need for us to “sacrifice” and “tighten belts.” He is not talking to the corporate elite here. Obama also talks incessantly about “cutting programs” and “trimming spending.” We can safely assume the programs he intends to cut are those that benefit working people.
As the crisis deepens Obama’s first priority will be to save the financial institutions and major corporations by providing them with further bailouts, with working people continuing to foot the bill. But opposition has already broken out in response to this perversion of justice:

a left imperialist favorite for explaining the problems...to obscure the source and necessary revolutionary solution
Crisis Is Beyond The Reach of Traditional Solutions
By Paul Craig Roberts
[FYI: Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand.]
...I cannot predict the future. However, I can explain what the problems are, how they differ from past times of troubles, and why traditional remedies, such as the public works programs that Reich proposes, are unlikely to succeed in reviving the U.S. economy.... consumer debt expansion is the fuel that kept the U.S. economy alive. The growth of debt has outstripped the growth of income to such an extent that an increase in consumer credit and bank lending is not possible. Consumers are overburdened with debt. This fact takes monetary policy out of the picture. Americans can no longer afford to borrow more in order to consume more.... The US savings rate is zero or negative. Home mortgage foreclosures are in the millions. Officially, US unemployment is 10 million, but if measured by pre-Clinton era standards unemployment is much higher. Statistician John Williams, who measures the unemployment rate by the pre-Clinton standards concludes that the rate of US unemployment is about 15 percent. President Clinton “reformed” the unemployment statistics by ceasing to count discouraged workers as unemployed.

The financial crisis has cost taxpayers far more than the amount of the bailout. Americans’ savings and pension funds have been devastated. Americans in investment partnerships, who have been required by IRS rules to pay income taxes on gains in the partnerships’ portfolios, have had the accumulated multi-year gains wiped out. They have paid taxes on years of “capital gains” that have disappeared, thus doubling their losses...
For years, the US government’s budget has been dependent on foreigners financing the red ink. Countries such as Japan and China and OPEC suppliers of oil to the US have huge export surpluses with the US. They recycle the dollars by buying US Treasury bonds, thus financing the US government’s red ink budgets.

The open question is: how much longer will they do so?
Foreign portfolios are overweighed in dollar assets. Currently the dollar’s value is benefitting from the financial crisis, as investors flee to the reserve currency. However, sooner or later the huge outpourings of dollar debts will cause foreign creditors to draw back. Already China, America’s largest creditor, has sent a signal that that time might be drawing near. Recently the Chinese government asked, as they do indirectly through third parties, “Why should China help the US to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the US can expand without limit?”

Is the rest of the world, which has demanded a financial summit to work toward a new financial order, going to permanently allocate the world’s supply of capital to covering American mistakes? If not, the bailout and the stimulus package will have to be financed by printing money.

And the bailout needs are growing. Car loans and credit card debt were also securitized and sold. As the economy worsens, credit card and car loan defaults are rising. Moreover, AIG needs more money from the government. Fannie Mae’s loss has widened to $29 billion despite the $200 billion bailout. General Motors and Ford need taxpayer money to survive. General Motors says that its GMAÇ mortgage unit “may not survive.” Deutsche Bank sees General Motors shares “as likely worthless.”...
The bailout funds have been wasted. The expensive bailout does not address the problem of falling employment and rising mortgage defaults. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson could not see beyond saving Goldman Sachs and his bankster friends. The Paulson bailout does nothing except take troubled assets off banks’ books and put them on the overburdened taxpayers’ books, thus endangering the US Treasury’s credit rating.

Shades of the Weimar Republic.
What Reich and the American economic establishment do not understand is that the recession paradigm does not apply. There are no jobs waiting at US manufacturers for a demand stimulus to pull Americans back into work. The problem is not a liquidity problem. To the contrary, there have been many years of too much liquidity. Credit has grown far more than production. Indeed, US production has been moved offshore. Jobs that used to support the growth of American incomes and the tax bases of cities and states have moved, along with US GDP, to China and elsewhere.

The work is gone. All that are left are credit card and mortgage debts. Anyone who thinks that America still has a vibrant economy needs to log onto www.EconomyInCrisis.org and face the facts. Economists associate economic depression with price deflation. However, traditionally, debts that are beyond an economy’s ability to service are inflated away. This suggests that the coming depression will be an inflationary depression. Instead of falling prices mitigating the effects of falling employment, higher prices will go hand in hand with rising unemployment--a situation worse than the Great Depression. America’s economic troubles will rapidly accumulate if the dollar loses its reserve currency role. To protect the dollar and the Treasury’s credit standing, the US needs to curtail its foreign borrowing by reducing its budget deficit. It can do this by halting its gratuitous wars and slashing its unnecessary military spending which exceeds that of the rest of the world combined. The empire has run out of resources, and the 700 overseas bases must be closed.

Can Americans afford massive infrastructure spending when they cannot afford health care? In Florida a Blue Cross Blue Shield group policy for a 60-year old woman costs $14,100 annually, and this is a policy with deductibles and co-payments. Supplementary policies from AARP to fill some of the gaps in Medicare can cost retirees $3,300 annually. When one looks at the economic situation of the vast majority of Americans, it is astonishing that the Bush regime regards wars in the Middle East and taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street criminals as a good use of scarce resources.

US corporations, which have moved their production for US markets offshore in order to drive up their share prices and provide their CEOs with multi-million dollar bonuses, can be provided with a different set of incentives that encourage the corporations to bring employment back to the US. For example, the corporate income tax can be restructured to tax corporations according to the value-added in the US. The higher the value-added in the US, the lower the tax rate; the lower the value-added, the higher the tax rate.

Cutting the budget deficit by halting pointless wars and unnecessary military spending and reducing the trade deficit by bringing jobs back to America are simple tasks compared to confronting inflationary depression. The world has had enough of American irresponsibility and is taking away the reins. At the November 15 economic summit, the world will begin the process of imposing a new financial order on the US in exchange for continued lending to the bankrupt “superpower.”

slimy 'humanitarian soft power' WMD
One Voice: whose voice?
John Hilley
One Voice http://www.onevoicemovement.org/about-onevoice/team.php is a project which apparently promotes peaceful joint Israeli-Palestinian efforts towards a "two state solution". When stripped bare, however, we find a more stealthy agenda serving to disguise Israeli power through appeals to 'moderation' and challenges to 'extremism'. Despite it's elite allies and the failure of a supposedly critical media to highlight it s crimes, Israel is increasingly on the international back-foot. Ever-astute in the PR field, One Voice offers a more accommodating medium and tone through which Israel's fundamental interests can be softened and presented... One Voice is backed by an array of corporate donors, like IBM, Rockefeller Foundation, with strong business connections to Israel, while its board supporters include Likud, Shas and National Religious Party members...

Soros, Falcone Defend Hedge Funds at House Hearing (Update2)
Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- George Soros and Philip Falcone, in a rare appearance by hedge-fund managers before Congress, defended their industry's practices and profits while splitting over whether the U.S. should impose stricter regulations....Falcone, senior managing director of New York-based Harbinger Capital Partners, said in testimony today to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform... urged Congress to oversee the $1.7 trillion industry and require more disclosure of investments, while Soros, founder of Soros Fund Management LLC in New York, cautioned against ``ill-considered'' regulations because the managers are reeling from market losses and client defections.
Soros... chairman of $19 billion Soros Fund Management... warned the committee against ``going overboard with regulation.''... ``The bubble has now burst and hedge funds will be decimated. I would guess that the amount of money they manage will shrink by between 50 and 75 percent. It would be a grave mistake to add to the forced liquidation currently dislocating markets by ill-considered or punitive regulations,'' Soros said.
The hedge-fund managers also defended their multimillion- dollar compensation... profits they were able in many cases to treat as capital gains rather than as ordinary income, which is taxed at a higher rate. Soros, Falcone, Griffin were joined by Paulson & Co.'s John Paulson and James Simons, head of Renaissance Technologies LLC, in testifying as part of a congressional investigation into the credit crunch that has slowed the global economy. ... http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a2kes4jCodUY&refer=n...

Soros says deep recession inevitable, depression possible: hedge funds will be "decimated" by the current financial crisis and forced to shrink their portfolios by 50-75 percent.

Fed Refuses To Identify Recipients Of $2 Trillion In Emergency Taxpayer Loans
The Federal Reserve is refusing to identify the recipients of almost $2 trillion of emergency loans from American taxpayers or the troubled assets the central bank is accepting as collateral. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said in September they would comply with congressional demands for transparency in a $700 billion bailout of the banking system. Two months later, as the Fed lends far more than that in separate rescue programs that didn't require approval by Congress, Americans have no idea where their money is going or what securities the banks are pledging in return. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/10/fed-refuses-to-identify-r_n_142...


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Unconventional warfare (UW) is defined as "Operations conducted by, with, or
through irregular forces in support of a resistance movement, an insurgency,
or conventional military operations... This definition reflects two
essential criteria: UW must be conducted by, with, or through surrogates;
and such surrogates must be irregular forces."

Thus, U.S. support of the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s constituted
unconventional warfare, as did U.S. support of anti-Soviet mujahideen in
Afghanistan in the 1980s.

"The United States has considerable experience in conducting UW," the new
manual observes. "The best known U.S. UW campaigns include OSS activities in
Europe and the Pacific (1942-45), Philippines (1941-44), Guatemala (1950),
Cuba (1960-61), North Vietnam (1964-72), South Vietnam (1967-72), Iraq
(1991-96), Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-02), and Operation Iraqi Freedom

The 248-page manual presents updated policy and doctrine governing
unconventional warfare, and examines its "three main component disciplines":
special forces operations, psychological operations, and civil affairs
operations. Appendices include an historical survey of unconventional
warfare as well as an extensive bibliography.

The unclassified manual has not been approved for public release. But a
copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare," U.S. Army Field
Manual FM 3-05.130, September 30, 2008:

"Moving Towards a 21st Century Right to Know Agenda: Recommendations to
President-Elect Obama and Congress." http://www.ombwatch.org/21strtkrecs.pdf

Other transition-related initiatives on open government were compiled on the
Sunshine Week web site. See "Groups Call for Transparency in New
President's Administration":http://www.sunshineweek.org/sunshineweek/opengroups08

National Security Archive Update, November 12, 2008
Obama administration can act quickly to restore openness, according to new transparency proposals
Dozens of groups sign on to recommend openness from Day One
For more information contact: Thomas Blanton/Meredith Fuchs - 202/994-7000
Washington, DC, November 12, 2008 - The Obama administration can act quickly after taking office in January to reverse the secrecy trend of the last eight years and restore openness in the executive branch, according to a set of new proposals posted online today by the National Security Archive. More than 60 organizations joined the recommendations...Visit the Web site of the National Security Archive for more information about today's posting and to read the full text of the new proposals.http://www.nsarchive.org