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Posts Tagged ‘John McCain’

What Presidential Debates?

Posted by terres on October 21, 2008

In the Public Interest

Debatable Debates
By Ralph Nader

The three so-called presidential debates—really parallel interviews by reporters chosen by the Obama and McCain campaigns—are over and they are remarkable for two characteristics—convergence and avoidance.

A remarkable similarity between McCain and Obama on foreign and military policy kept enlarging as Obama seemed to enter into a clinch with McCain each time McCain questioned his inexperience or softness or using military force.

If anyone can detect a difference between the two candidates regarding

  • belligerence toward Iran and Russia,
  • more U.S. soldiers into the quagmire of Afghanistan (next to Pakistan),
  • kneejerk support of the Israeli military oppression,
  • brutalization and colonization of the Palestinians and their shrinking lands,
  • keeping soldiers and bases in Iraq, despite Obama’s use of the word “withdrawal,” and
  • their desire to enlarge an already bloated, wasteful military budget which already consumes half of the federal government’s operating expenses,

please illuminate the crevices between them.

This past spring, the foreign affairs reporters, not columnists, for the New York Times and the Washington Post concluded that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are advancing foreign and military policies similar to those adopted by George W. Bush in his second term.

Where then is the “hope” and “change” from the junior Senator from Illinois?

Moreover, both Obama and McCain want

  • more nuclear power plants,
  • more coal production, and
  • more offshore oil drilling.

Our national priority should be energy efficient consumer technologies (motor vehicles, heating, air conditioning and electric systems) and renewable energy such as wind, solar and geothermal.

Both support the gigantic taxpayer funded Wall Street bailout, without expressed amendments. Both support

  • the notorious Patriot Act,
  • the revised FISA act which opened the door to spy on Americans without judicial approval, and
  • Obama agrees with McCain in vigorously opposing the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.


Photo: Reuters. Image may be subject to copyright.

What about avoidance? Did you see them speak about a comprehensive enforcement program to prosecute corporate crooks in the midst of the greatest corporate crime wave in our history? Did you see them allude to doing anything about consumer protection (credit card gouging, price of medicines, the awful exploitation and deprivation of the people in the inner city) and the ripoffs of buyers in ever more obscure and inescapable ways?

Wasn’t it remarkable how they never mentioned the poor, and only use the middle class when they refer to “regular people?” There are one hundred million poor people and children in this nation and no one in Washington, D.C. associates Senator Obama, much less John McCain, with any worthy program to treat the abundant poverty-related injustices.

What about labor issues? Worker health and safety, pensions looted and drained, growing permanent unemployment and underemployment, and outsourcing more and more jobs to fascists and communist dictatorships are not even on the peripheries of the topics covered in the debates.

When I was asked my opinion about who won the debates, I say they were not debates. But I know what won and what lost. The winners were

  • big business,
  • bailouts for Wall Street,
  • an expansionary NATO,
  • a boondoggle missile defense program,
  • nuclear power,
  • the military-industrial complex and its insatiable thirst for trillions of taxpayer dollars, for starters.

What’s lost was

  • peace advocacy,
  • international law,
  • the Israeli-Palestinian peace movement,
  • taxpayers,
  • consumers,
  • Africa and
  • We the People.

The language of avoidance to address and challenge corporate power is spoken by both McCain and Obama, though interestingly enough, McCain occasionally uses words like “corporate greed” to describe his taking on the giant Boeing tanker contract with the Pentagon.

Funded by beer, tobacco, auto and telecommunications companies over the years, the corporation known as the Commission on Presidential Debates features only two corporate-funded candidates, excludes all others and closes off a major forum for smaller candidates, who are on a majority of the states, to reach tens of millions of voters.

In the future, this theatre of the absurd can be replaced with a grand coalition of national and local citizen groups who, starting in March, 2012 lay out many debates from Boston to San Diego, rural, suburban and urban, summon the presidential candidates to public auditoriums to react to the peoples’ agendas.

Can the Democratic and Republican nominees reject this combination of labor, neighborhood, farmer, cooperative, veteran’s, religious, student, consumer and good government with tens of millions of members? It will be interesting to see what happens if they do or if they do not. END

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Posted in George W. Bush, national priority, Patriot Act, renewable energy, spy on Americans | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

McCain: The War Criminal!

Posted by terres on October 16, 2008

Just How Sick is John McCain?

ROBERT RICHTER is an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and was political director for CBS News from 1965 to 1968. He says, “McCain cites his military experience as of prime importance, now is the time to focus closer attention on a facet of the Arizona Senator’s … character.”

The following is about his 23 combat missions for Operation Rolling Thunder – the Pentagon’s name for U.S. bombing of North Vietnam.

“McCain: War Hero or War Criminal?”

“I will never forget how stunned I was when Gen. Telford Taylor, a chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials after World War Two, told me that he strongly supported the idea of trying the U.S. pilots captured in North Vietnam as war criminals — and that he would be proud to lead in their prosecution.


Rolling Thunder: The US bombing of North Vietnam. Source: Vietnam War. Image may be subject to copyright.

“An ardent opponent of the Vietnam conflict, Taylor spoke with me in the fall of 1966 when I was looking into producing a documentary on this controversy for CBS News, where I was their National Political Editor. While he did not mention any pilot’s name, then U.S. Navy Lieut. Commander John McCain, who was captured a year later, would have been among the group Taylor wanted to prosecute. …


John McCain is pulled out of a Hanoi lake by a mix of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Vietnamese citizens in this October, 1967 file photo. McCain was shot down by a Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) and had broken both arms and his right knee upon ejection, losing consciousness until he hit the water. Source: Sen. McCain’s office / February 23, 2000. Image may be subject to copyright.

“Taylor’s argument was that their actions were in violation of the Geneva conventions that specifically forbid indiscriminate bombing that could cause incidental loss of civilian life or damage to civilian objects. Adding to the Geneva code, he noted, was the decision at the Nuremberg trials after World War Two: military personnel cannot defend themselves against such a charge with a claim that they were simply following orders. …

“Anti-war critics at the time claimed that despite the Pentagon’s assertion that only military targets were bombed, U.S. pilots also had bombed hospitals and other civilian targets, a charge that turned out to be correct and was confirmed by the New York Times’ chief foreign correspondent, Harrison Salisbury.

“In late 1966 Salisbury described the widespread devastation of civilian neighborhoods around Hanoi by American bombs: ‘Bomb damage … extends over an area of probably a mile or so on both sides of the highway … small villages and hamlets along the route [were] almost obliterated’. …

“In one of his autobiographies McCain wrote that he was going to bomb a power station in ‘a heavily populated part of Hanoi’ when he was shot down. …

“When I passed along Gen. Taylor’s comments to my network superiors the program was scrapped: too hot to handle. Instead Air War Over the North was telecast, about “precision bombing” North Vietnam military targets by U.S. pilots. A few years after that broadcast, a Pentagon public information executive gleefully told Roger Mudd in The Selling of the Pentagon that he, the Pentagon official, not only had persuaded CBS to produce Air War Over the North, he even chose those to be interviewed and coached them about what they should say. This unethical collaboration and intercession by the Pentagon in the news media is sadly all too familiar a tactic repeated in the Bush-Cheney years.” Source: IPA

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Posted in Bush-Cheney years, Hanoi Hilton, U.S. pilots, US War Crimes, war crimes | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Protecting the Crown’s Extrafinancial Investments in Afghanistan?

Posted by terres on September 12, 2008

submitted by a NZ reader:

Heaven knows what the New Zealand SAS are doing in Afghanistan

The British journalist Robert Fisk visiting New Zealand this week to promote his new book spoke to a local journalist in Wellington about western military presence in Middle East:

Concerning New Zealand’s special forces, who are based in Afghanistan, he said:

“Heaven knows what they (the SAS) are doing and Afghanistan is a disaster anyway.”

He said New Zealand was under no threat from any country in the Middle East.

“There are no Syrian soldiers on the streets of Wellington.

“(Western nations) have no business to be there, historically it is a disaster. We never have any business there, we’re always going to the Middle East with huge armies.

The morally castrated New Zealand “Defence Minister”, Phil Goff, immediately declared: “I’d say Mr Fisk should talk to the Hazara people whose civic leaders were executed in the market place, whose 2000-year-old cultural heritage, the Bamyan statutes of Buddha, were destroyed.”

Ah, so the New Zealand SAS are not there to protect the poppy fields and the thriving opium business and the drug warlords, they are there playing Bamyan Buddha dolls with the local kids!

The following is an excerpt from The SAS (SPECIAL AIR SERVICE): Prince Philip’s manager of terrorism,  by Joseph Brewda.

SAS methods and procedures

According to the British Army handbook, the SAS is “particularly suited, trained, and equipped for counter-revolutionary operations,” with a specialization in “infiltration,” “sabotage,” “assassination,” as well as “liaison with, organization, training, and control of friendly guerrilla forces operating against the common enemy.” From its inception in World War II, Special Air Services was detailed to run sabotage behind enemy lines and to organize popular revolt, at first in North Africa, and then in the Balkans, where another Stirling cousin, Fitzroy Maclean, ran British operations.

At the end of the war, SAS was disbanded, but it was soon revived to crush the Malay insurgency in Malaysia, and the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya. The principle employed was to take over the insurgency from within, and use it to destroy the native population. In his 1960 book Gangs and Countergangs, Col. Frank Kitson boasted that the British were covertly leading several large-scale Mau Mau units, and that many, if not all Mau Mau units had been synthetically created by the colonial authorities. As a result of this practice, 22 whites were killed during the insurgency, as compared to 20,000 natives.

Based on this principle, SAS emphasized recruitment of natives, as it received increasing responsibilities for overseeing counterinsurgency within the postwar empire, as well as organizing insurgencies elsewhere. In New Zealand, 30% of SAS was drawn from the indigenous Maori tribes, later supplemented by Sarawak tribesmen from Indonesia. By the 1960s, New Zealand SAS was active throughout Southeast Asia, organizing tribal revolts against the Burmese government, and stirring similar movements in Northeast India. Similarly, SAS squadrons based in Rhodesia ran the 1960s tribal separatist insurgency in Zaire. They later recruited and deployed natives in terrorist raids in Mozambique and Zambia.

Today, there are three known SAS regiments, comprising 4,500 highly trained commandos in total. Training exercises for 15-man teams simulate terrorist assaults, in order, it is said, to “know the mind of the terrorist.” Such teams are often sent abroad, to train British Commonwealth and other military units in the techniques of terrorist assault, as well as the use of tribal auxiliaries in covert warfare. Through such means, SAS has built an extensive terrorist control capability, especially in its former colonies. Its soldiers currently serve officially in some 30 countries.  Full article is available here.

Afghanistan, Opium and the Taliban

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (February 15, 2001 8:19 p.m. EST)
(Source)
U.N. drug control officers said the Taliban religious militia has nearly wiped out opium production in Afghanistan — once the world’s largest producer — since banning poppy cultivation last summer.

A 12-member team from the U.N. Drug Control Program spent two weeks searching most of the nation’s largest opium-producing areas and found so few poppies that they do not expect any opium to come out of Afghanistan this year.

“We are not just guessing. We have seen the proof in the fields,” said Bernard Frahi, regional director for the U.N. program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He laid out photographs of vast tracts of land cultivated with wheat alongside pictures of the same fields taken a year earlier — a sea of blood-red poppies. (Full report)

End of Taliban will bring rise in heroin

By Richard Lloyd Parry in Islamabad
The Independent (Source)
Date: 19 October 2001

The defeat of the Taliban would result in a surge in opium production, which has beenvirtually halted in Afghanistan by the Kabul regime over the last year, United Nations officials have warned.

A new UN survey reveals that the Taliban have completed one of the quickest and most successful drug elimination programmes in history.


Vice creeps back to Kandahar. Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press – (Source) Image may be subject to copyright.

The area of land given over to growing opium poppies in 2001 fell by 91 per cent compared with the year before, according to the UN Drug Control Programme’s (UNDCP) annual survey of Afghanistan. Production of fresh opium, the raw material for heroin, went down by an unprecedented 94 per cent, from 3,276 tonnes to 185 tonnes.

Almost all Afghan opium this year came out of territories controlled by America’s ally in the assault on Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance. Because of a ban on poppy farming, only one in 25 of Afghanistan’s opium poppies was being grown in Taliban areas. (Full story)

Fisk on Israel-led US Foreign policy:

Having studied for 30 years the United States’ Middle East policies, I can tell you that regardless of whether Barack Obama or John McCain won the upcoming American presidential election, the new president would not bring peace to the area, Fisk said.

“Every time there’s an American presidential election the Arabs say `Ah, maybe there’ll be change in the Middle East. Maybe America will be fairer, maybe it will concern itself with the security of the Arabs as well as the Israelis’.

“And then afterwards there’ll be a war in the Middle East and the President will call upon both sides to exercise restraint and there’ll be billions of dollars of weapons sent to Israel to bomb Lebanon, or whoever they are bombing.

“My experience over 32 years is whoever’s in the White House, the bombs go on falling. And they will.”

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Posted in bush, environment, GENOCIDE, human rights, Israel, new zealand, politics, racism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Part 2. Time We Elected an Independent Candidate for President?

Posted by terres on July 25, 2008

submitted by a reader

Must Israeli Politicians Bewail at Pearl Harbor Memorial Before they are Allowed to Become Prime Minister?

The Righteous Gentile?


Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack [
To-Save-One-Life-is-to-Save-a-World] Obama lays a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Young. Image may be subject to copyright. See RTSF Fair Use Notice!

Related Link: How McCain the “war criminal” turned Psywar Stooge Against American Servicemen

Posted in environment, human rights, Israel, palestine, politics, racism | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »