Friday, August 13, 2010


If you happen to be in northern New Mexico, you should know that Winona LaDuke will be speaking on August 18th in Santa Fe on climate change and what is to be done.

Winona LaDuke
Wednesday • August 18 • Tipton Hall • 7:00pm
Tipton Hall, College of Santa Fe 1600 St. Michael's Drive, Santa Fe (just south of Cerrillos)
Ojibwe prophecies speak of a time when we will have a choice between two paths. The first path is well-worn and scorched. The second path is new and green. It is our choice as communities and as individuals how we will proceed. We've already raised the average temperature of the globe one degree. The question is whether we can stop it from rising much more: this is at the core of our survival. It is essential for us to look at the world's economic and environmental realities in order to make critical decisions about our future.

That means we must address issues such as climate change, peak oil and food insecurity.

Photographs by Subhankar Banerjee will also be on display.
Banerjee's photographs and writings have reached tens of millions of people around the world and he continues to give lectures on issues of climate change, resource development, biological diversity, human rights, and eco-cultural sustainability.

We must decide whether we want to determine our own future or lease it out for royalties.

This event is co-sponsored by TEWA Women United.

As Winona LaDuke says "We gotta enjoy and get used to the taste of winning!"

Let's win together,
Lilia Diaz
Outreach Director
New Energy Economy


This one I'll let speak for itself.  It is from People of Color Organize!


African Internationalist revolutionary
George Jackson

August 1619 – Arrival of first African slaves in 13 colonies
August 21, 1791 – Haiti slave uprising for independenceAugust 30, 1800 – Gabriel Prosser’s slave revolt discovered
August 21, 1831 – Nat Turner’s slave rebellion
August 1850 – Underground Railroad
August 17, 1887 – Birth of Marcus Garvey
August 24, 1943 – Birth of Russell “Maroon” Shoatz
August 30, 1948 – Birth of Fred Hampton
August 8, 1949 – Birth of Dr. Mutulu Shakur
August 1963 – March on Washington
August 1965 – Watts Rebellion
August 25, 1967 – FBI circulates internal order to “disrupt” Black Liberation groups
August 7, 1970  Courthouse Slave Rebellion
August 18, 1971 – Capital of Republic of New Afrika attacked by FBI and police
August 21, 1971 – Assasination of George Jackson
August 28, 1971 – Jalil Muntaqim and Nuh Washington captured
August 8, 1978 – Police raid on MOVE
August 17, 1995 – Mumia scheduled for execution; stopped by resistance


 Remember how the media howled about the violence and chaos in New Orleans after Katrina?  For example, on September 2, 2005, the Washington Post wrote, "Federal and local authorities struggled Thursday to regain control of this ruined and lawless city...".

Turns out they were right about the violence, but they left out an important point.  The violence was coming largely from the cops...

The following is from the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans police's actions on Religious Street after Hurricane Katrina: An editorial
Published: Friday, August 13, 2010, 6:28 AM
Editorial page staff, The Times-Picayune 

New Orleanians are no longer surprised by the breadth of alleged police brutality around the time of Hurricane Katrina. Disgust, instead, is the likely response to allegations that officers beat and terrorized two men on Religious Street three days after the storm.
religious-street-scene.JPGA group of New Orleans police officers stands over the prone bodies of Ernest Bell and Robert Williams at the corner of Religious and Richard streets on Sept. 1, 2005.
This much is certain: On Sept. 1, 2005, Times-Picayune reporter Gordon Russell and freelance photographer Marko Georgiev saw several officers standing over the prone bodies of two men at Religious and Richard streets. The journalists couldn't determine at the time whether the men were dead or alive or why they were in custody.
But Mr. Russell recently tracked down Robert Williams and Ernest Bell. The men said they had been driving a stolen limousine, trying to escape the chaotic city, when police detained them and falsely accused them of shooting at officers. Mr. Williams and Mr. Bell said police handcuffed them and brutally beat them.
Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk witnessed part of the beating. He said one of the men had been stomped so badly that he had apparently lost control of his bowels. Mr. Oleniuk also saw officers punch one of the men in the head and kick him on the torso. Police then forcibly confiscated the memory cards in Mr. Oleniuk's cameras.
williams-religious-street.JPGNew Orleans police officer Andrew Whitaker escorts Robert Williams, in handcuffs, up Religious Street on Sept. 1, 2005. Williams says that shortly after the photo was taken, police beat him brutally.
One of those photos released recently by police shows Mr. Williams, in handcuffs, being escorted by officer Andrew Whitaker. Mr. Williams' front teeth are visible in the photo, filling a space where he now has only gums. He said he lost his teeth during the police beating.
"I was thinking we was gonna die," Mr. Williams recalled. "I was begging them to shoot me and get it over with." Mr. Bell estimated seven to 11 officers were involved in the beating.
There is no police report of the incident, and neither Mr. Williams nor Mr. Bell was arrested or charged with any crime.
Mr. Williams, who said he's worried about his safety now that he's spoken out, said he was glad someone took pictures of him and Mr. Bell that horrifying day. "I thought maybe this won't happen to someone else because of that," Mr. Williams said.
The sadistic abuse that is alleged in this case should never happen to anyone. The community and its law enforcement leaders should ensure that it doesn't. 
© 2010 All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 12, 2010



Justice as it applies to American Indians is a strange creature. One would think if a court agreed that yor land had been stolen from you they might rule that you could have it back, maybe compensated for your troubles, maybe the thief would be punished. Apparently that isn't the case if you are American Indian.

Are w
e surprised?

The following is from Indian Country Today.

Oneida Nation dispossessed of right to reclaim land or compensation
By [Gale Courey

NEW YORK – If an appeals court ruling stands, Indian nations may not be able to reclaim their illegally taken ancestral lands or receive compensation for their loss, because it would be too disruptive to those who are currently occupying and benefitting from the land.

A panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision Aug. 10 that the Oneida Indian Nation has no “possessory right” to reclaim the 250,000 acres that were illegally taken by the state of New York in the 18th and 19th centuries and sold for profit, nor does it have a “non-possessory right” to claim restitution from the state for the loss of its land. The nation estimated it is owed at least $500 million.

The appeals panel also said the state has sovereign immunity and cannot be sued.

The Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the Oneida of the Thames are also named as plaintiffs in the case.

Second Circuit Judges Joseph McLaughlin and Debra Ann Livingston ruled in the majority. District Judge Nina Gershon wrote the dissenting opinion.

“With this decision, the majority forecloses (the Oneida Nation) from bringing any claims seeking any remedy for their treatment at the hands of the state,” Gershon wrote.

She agreed that the Oneidas could not reclaim their land, but she said the tribes had a right to be paid for their losses.

The appeals panel ruling upheld a federal court’s 2007 dismissal of the Oneidas’ possessory claim and reversed the lower court’s ruling that the nation could pursue a non-possessory claim for compensation.

The current case was filed in 1974 but lay dormant for almost 25 years while the Oneidas pursued a “test case” seeking fair rental value from Madison and Oneida counties for occupying a small portion of their ancestral lands. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court twice.

The high court said the nation had a common law right to pursue the action, but questioned whether “equitable considerations” – a set of legal principles under which people cannot assert their legal rights if it would be “unconscionable” for them to do so – “should limit the relief available to the present day Oneida Indians.”

In the 1974 filing, the Oneida Nation claimed the 250,000 acres of ancestral lands and relief going back more than 200 years to the period between 1795 and 1846 when the lands were conveyed in multiple transactions to the state of New York.

The 2nd Circuit ruling relied heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling in City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York.

Sherrill cited the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, which acknowledges the Oneidas’ 300,000-acre reservation and guarantees their “free use and enjoyment” of the land, and it noted that New York state continued to purchase Oneida land in violation of the 1790 Non-Intercourse Act, prohibiting the sale of tribal lands without the permission of the federal government, but it used the Doctrine of Laches to conclude that – treaty or no treaty – it was just too late for the nation to claim the land.

The “standards of federal Indian law and federal equity practice precluded the tribe from rekindling embers of sovereignty that long ago grew cold,” the majority in Sherrill wrote.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the dissenting opinion, said the majority’s action failed to fully protect the interests of Indians and, therefore, breached its responsibilities to the Oneida Nation under the Indian Trust Doctrine.

The controversial Sherrill decision generated much comment and debate among legal scholars. Sarah Krakoff, an associate professor at Colorado University School of Law at the time, said the high court’s “odd and cowardly” ruling avoided substantive legal questions.

The ruling “obscures the historical record, and makes unwarranted assumptions about the future. City of Sherrill appears in many ways to revive the underlying assumptions of some federal and state courts at mid-20th century – that tribal sovereignty is a waning concept, a historical relic that has outlived its usefulness, and has little, if any, legal force. As many commentators have noted, this assumption is directly at odds with the federal policies of the last three decades, which promote tribal independence and self-determination. In applying equitable defenses to the Oneida Indian Nation, the court is embracing an apologist stand toward the many instances of immoral and illegal governmental actions against the tribe, and ultimately suggesting that the passage of time renders that history irrelevant, indeed even unmentionable,” Krakoff wrote in the Tulsa Law Review in 2006.

The 2nd Circuit ruling echoes Sherrill’s assertion that time erases the nation’s claims for justice regarding the “many instances of immoral and illegal governmental action.”

“A tremendous expanse of time separates the events forming the predicate of the ejectment and trespass-based claims and their eventual assertion,” Judge Livingston wrote for the 2-1 majority.

“In that time, most of the Oneidas have moved elsewhere, the subject lands have passed into the hands of a multitude of entities and individuals, most of whom have no connection to the historical injustice the Oneidas assert, and these parties have themselves both bought and sold the lands, and also developed them to an enormous extent.

“These developments have given rise to justified societal expectations. ... under a scheme of ‘settled land ownership’ that would be disrupted by an award pursuant to the Oneidas’ possessory claims,” Livingstone wrote.

Oneida Indian Nation Spokesman Mark Emery issued the following statement on the ruling: “This was a claim for money damages, and the court decided that money damages are not available to compensate the Oneidas for the illegal taking of their aboriginal lands.”

The ruling does not affect the status of nation lands, he said.

“The nation continues to pursue federal trust to protect these lands, as indicated by the Supreme Court in the Sherrill case, and this decision does not affect the trust land process. Nor does this decision affect any of the earlier decisions from the federal courts, including the same Court of Appeals, that Oneida reservation remains intact and has not been disestablished, and that the counties cannot foreclose on nation lands.”

The nation can seek a rehearing by an en banc panel of the 2nd Circuit or file a petition for review with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen delivers remarks during a National Press Club Newsmaker Luncheon July 8, 2009 in Washington, DC. Mullen was asked about the changing mission in Afghanistan, about recent cyber attacks on government Web sites and other defense subjects.You have to admit there is something sick about US generals and admirals pointing their fingers at WikiLeaks and saying it has blood on its hands. You ask yourself, are these military leaders (and their political allies) really that detached from reality, that insane that they can miss the total absurdity of themselves.

Who has blood on th
eir han
ds? Who is responsible for all those "botched" raids, "mistaken" air strikes, "unfortunate "collateral damage," "messed up" drone attacks? I don't think it is WikiLeaks.

As the following article concludes about these finger pointing hypocrites, "So much blood. So many hands. So little culpability. No remorse.


Whose Hands? Whose Blood?
"The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women, and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path."
By Tom Engelhardt

Consider the following statement offered by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a news conference last week. He was discussing Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks as well as the person who has taken responsibility for the vast, still ongoing Afghan War document dump at that site. "Mr. Assange," Mullen commented, "can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."
Bradley Manning
Now, Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst deployed to eastern Baghdad, who reportedly leaked the video of the event to Wikileaks and may have been involved in leaking those 92,000 documents as well, is preparing to face a court-martial and on a suicide watch, branded a "traitor" by a US senator, his future execution endorsed by the ranking minority member of the House of Representatives' subcommittee on terrorism, and almost certain to find himself behind bars for years or decades to come.
Now, if you were the proverbial fair-minded visitor from Mars (who in school civics texts of my childhood always seemed to land on Main Street, USA., to survey the wonders of our American system), you might be a bit taken aback by Mullen's statement. After all, one of the revelations in the trove of leaked documents Assange put online had to do with how much blood from innocent Afghan civilians was already on American hands.
The British Guardian was one of three publications given early access to the leaked archive, and it began its main article this way: "A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents. They range from the shootings of individual innocents to the often massive loss of life from air strikes..." Or as the paper added in a piece headlined "Secret CIA paramilitaries' role in civilian deaths": "Behind the military jargon, the war logs are littered with accounts of civilian tragedies. The 144 entries in the logs recording some of these so-called ‘blue on white' events, cover a wide spectrum of day-by-day assaults on Afghans, with hundreds of casualties." Or as it also reported, when exploring documents related to Task Force 373, an "undisclosed ‘black' unit" of US special operations forces focused on assassinating Taliban and al-Qaeda "senior officials": "The logs reveal that TF 373 has also killed civilian men, women, and children and even Afghan police officers who have strayed into its path."
Admittedly, the events recorded in the Wikileaks archive took place between 2004 and the end of 2009, and so don't cover the last six months of the Obama administration's across-the-board surge in Afghanistan. Then again, Admiral Mullen became chairman of the Joint Chiefs in October 2007, and so has been at the helm of the American war machine for more than two of the years in question.
He was, for example, chairman in July 2008, when an American plane or planes took out an Afghan bridal party—70 to 90 strong and made up mostly of women—on a road near the Pakistani border. They were "escorting the bride to meet her groom as local tradition dictates." The bride, whose name we don't know, died, as did at least 27 other members of the party, including children. Mullen was similarly chairman in August 2008 when a memorial service for a tribal leader in the village of Azizabad in Afghanistan's Herat Province was hit by repeated US air strikes that killed at least 90 civilians, including perhaps 15 women and up to 60 children. Among the dead were 76 members of one extended family, headed by Reza Khan, a "wealthy businessman with construction and security contracts with the nearby American base at Shindand airport."
Mullen was still chairman in April 2009 when members of the family of Awal Khan, an Afghan army artillery commander on duty elsewhere, were killed in a US-led raid in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan. Among them were his "schoolteacher wife, a 17-year-old daughter named Nadia, a 15-year-old son, Aimal, and his brother, employed by a government department." Another daughter was wounded and the pregnant wife of Khan's cousin was shot five times in the abdomen.
Mullen remained chairman when, in November 2009, two relatives of Majidullah Qarar, the spokesman for the Minister of Agriculture, were shot down in cold blood in Ghazni City in a Special Operations night raid; as he was—and here we move beyond the Wikileaks time frame—when, in February 2010, US Special Forces troops in helicopters struck a convoy of mini-buses, killing up to 27 civilians, including women and children; as he also was when, in that same month, in a special operations night raid, two pregnant women and a teenage girl, as well as a police officer and his brother, were shot to death in their home in a village near Gardez, the capital of Paktia province. After which, the soldiers reportedly dug the bullets out of the bodies, washed the wounds with alcohol, and tried to cover the incident up. He was no less chairman late last month when residents of a small town in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan claimed that a NATO missile attack had killed 52 civilians, an incident that, like just about every other one mentioned above and so many more, was initially denied by US and NATO spokespeople and is now being "investigated."
And this represents only a grim, minimalist highlight reel among rafts of such incidents, including enough repeated killings or woundings of innocent civilians at checkpoints that previous Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal commented: "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force." In other words, if your basic Martian visitor were to take the concept of command responsibility at all seriously, he might reasonably weigh actual blood (those hundreds of unreported civilian casualties of the American war the Guardian highlighted, for example) against prospective blood (possible Afghan informers killed by the Taliban via names combed from the Wikileaks documents) and arrive at quite a different conclusion from Chairman Mullen.
In fact, being from another planet, he might even have picked up on something that most Americans would be unlikely to notice—that, with only slight alterations, Mullen's blistering comment about Assange could be applied remarkably well to Mullen himself. "Chairman Mullen," that Martian might have responded, "can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he is doing, but the truth is he already has on his hands the blood of some young soldiers and that of many Afghan families."

Killing Fields, Then and Now
Let me get this straight. Robert Gates, the Secretary-Of-Defense-For-Life, is touring the TV news shows and major newspapers pleading with great angst lines in his forehead that WikiLeaks is “guilty” and “morally culpable” for releasing 75,000 field reports from Afghanistan to the American public because they endanger Afghans allied with US forces.
But he and the US militarists who initiated the war in Iraq and who have continued the war in Afghanistan for nine years, the people who keep everything about these wars secret except what is useful to sustain them, the people who finance these wars on credit without raising taxes, dumping the costs on future generations – these people are not “morally culpable,” “guilty” or endangering anyone?
Do I have that right?
In other words, to reveal information about the war makes one morally guilty of endangering people, while being responsible for the war itself does not.
Truthout, Aug. 4, 2010
Fortunately, there are remarkably few Martians in America, as was apparent last week when the Wikileaks story broke. Certainly, they were in scarce supply in the upper reaches of the Pentagon and, it seemed, hardly less scarce in the mainstream media. If, for instance, you read the version of the Wikileaks story produced—with the same several weeks of special access—by the New York Times, you might have been forgiven for thinking that the Times reporters had accessed a different archive of documents than had the Guardian crew.
While the Guardian led with the central significance of those unreported killings of Afghan civilians, the Times led with reports (mainly via Afghan intelligence) on a Pakistani double-cross of the American war effort—of the ties, that is, between Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, and the Taliban. The paper's major sidebar piece concerned the experiences and travails of Outpost Keating, an isolated American base in Afghanistan. To stumble across the issue of civilian deaths at American hands in the Times coverage, you had to make your way off the front page and through two full four-column Wikileaks-themed pages and deep into a third.
With rare exceptions, this was typical of initial American coverage of last week's document dump. And if you think about it, it gives a certain grim reportorial reality to the term Americans favor for the deaths of civilians at the hands of our forces: "collateral damage"—that is, damage not central to what's going down. The Guardian saw it differently, as undoubtedly do Afghans (and Iraqis) who have experienced collateral damage firsthand.
The Wikileaks leak story, in fact, remained a remarkably bloodless saga in the United States until Admiral Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (who has overseen the Afghan War since he was confirmed in his post in December 2006) took control of it and began focusing directly on blood—specifically, the blood on Julian Assange's hands. Within a few days, that had become the Wikileaks story, as headlines like CNN's "Top military official: WikiLeaks founder may have 'blood' on his hands" indicated. On ABC News, for instance, in a typical "bloody hands" piece of reportage, the Secretary of Defense told interviewer Christiane Amanpour that, whatever Assange's legal culpability might be, when it came to "moral culpability... that's where I think the verdict is guilty on Wikileaks."
Moral culpability. From the Martian point of view, it might have been considered a curious phrase from the lips of the man responsible for the last three and a half years of two deeply destructive wars that have accomplished nothing and have been responsible for killing, wounding, or driving into exile millions of ordinary Iraqis and Afghans. Given the reality of those wars, our increasingly wide-eyed visitor, now undoubtedly camping out on the Washington Mall, might have been struck by the selectivity of our sense of what constitutes blood and what constitutes collateral damage. After all, one major American magazine did decide to put civilian war damage front and center the very week the Wikileaks archive went up. With the headline "What Happens If We Leave Afghanistan," TIME magazine featured a cover image of a young Afghan woman whose nose and ears had reportedly been sliced off by a "local Taliban commander" as a punishment for running away from an abusive home.
Indeed, the Taliban has regularly been responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians, including women and children who, among other things, ride in vehicles over its roadside bombs or suffer the results of suicide bombings aimed at government figures or US and NATO forces. The Taliban also has its own list of horrors and crimes for which it should be considered morally culpable. In addition, the Taliban has reportedly threatened to go through the Wikileaks archive, ferret out the names of Afghan informers, and "punish" them, undoubtedly spilling exactly the kind of "blood" Mullen has been talking about.
Our Martian might have noticed as well that the Time cover wasn't a singular event in the United States In recent years, Americans have often enough been focused on the killing, wounding, or maiming of innocent civilians and have indeed been quite capable of treating such acts as a central fact of war and policy-making. Such deaths have, in fact, been seen as crucially important—as long as the civilians weren't killed by Americans, in which case the incidents were the understandable, if sad, byproduct of other, far more commendable plans and desires. In this way, in Afghanistan, repeated attacks on wedding parties, funerals, and even a baby-naming ceremony by the US Air Force or special operations night raids have never been a subject of much concern or the material for magazine covers.
On the other hand, the Bush administration (and Americans generally) dealt with the 9/11 deaths of almost 3,000 innocent civilians in New York City as the central and defining event of the twenty-first century. Each of those deaths was memorialized in the papers. Relatives of the dead or those who survived were paid huge sums to console them for the tragedy, and a billion-dollar memorial was planned at what quickly became known as Ground Zero. In repeated rites of mourning nationwide, their deaths were remembered as the central, animating fact of American life. In addition, of course, the murder of those civilian innocents officially sent the US military plunging into the "Global War on Terror," Afghanistan and then Iraq.
Similarly—though who remembers it now?—one key trump card played against those who opposed the invasion of Iraq was Saddam Hussein's "killing fields." The Iraqi dictator had indeed gassed Kurds and, with the help of military targeting intelligence provided by his American allies, Iranian troops in his war with Iran in the 1980s. After the first Gulf War, his forces had brutally suppressed a Shiite uprising in the south of Iraq, murdering perhaps tens of thousands of Shiites and, north and south, buried the dead in mass, unmarked graves, some of which were uncovered after the US invasion of 2003. In addition, Saddam's torture chambers and prisons had been busy places indeed.
His was a brutal regime; his killing fields were a moral nightmare; and in the period leading up to the war (and after), they were also a central fact of American life. On the other hand, however many Iraqis died in those killing fields, more would undoubtedly die in the years that followed, thanks to the events loosed by the Bush administration's invasion. That dying has yet to end, and seems once again to be on the rise. Yet those deaths have never been a central fact of American life, nor an acceptable argument for getting out of Iraq, nor an acknowledged responsibility of Washington, nor of Admiral Mullen, Secretary of Defense Gates, or any of their predecessors. They were just collateral damage. Some of their survivors got, at best, tiny "solatia" payments from the US military, and often enough the dead were buried in unmarked graves or no graves at all.
Similarly, in Afghanistan in 2010, much attention and controversy surrounded the decision of our previous war commander, General McChrystal, to issue constraining "rules of engagement" to try to cut down on civilian casualties by US troops. The American question has been: Was the general "handcuffing" American soldiers by making it ever harder for them to call in air or artillery support when civilians might be in the area? Was he, that is, just too COIN-ish and too tough on American troops? On the other hand, little attention in the mainstream was paid to the way McChrystal was ramping up special operations forces targeting Taliban leaders, forces whose night raids were, as the Wikileaks documents showed, repeatedly responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians (and so for the anger of other Afghans).

Collateral Damage in America
Here, then, is a fact that our Martian (but few Americans) might notice: in almost nine years of futile and brutal war in Afghanistan and more than seven years of the same in Iraq, the United States has filled metaphorical tower upon tower with the exceedingly unmetaphorical bodies of civilian innocents, via air attacks, checkpoint shootings, night raids, artillery and missile fire, and in some cases, the direct act of murder. Afghans and Iraqis have died in numbers impossible to count (though some have tried). Among those deaths was that of a good Samaritan who stopped his minivan on a Baghdad street, in July 2007, to help transport Iraqis wounded by an American Apache helicopter attack to the hospital. In repayment, he and his two children were gunned down by that same Apache crew. (The children survived; the event was covered up; typically, no American took responsibility for it; and, despite the fact that two Reuters employees died, the case was not further investigated, and no one was punished or even reprimanded.)
That was one of hundreds, or thousands, of similar events in both wars that Americans have known little or nothing about. Now, Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst deployed to eastern Baghdad, who reportedly leaked the video of the event to Wikileaks and may have been involved in leaking those 92,000 documents as well, is preparing to face a court-martial and on a suicide watch, branded a "traitor" by a US senator, his future execution endorsed by the ranking minority member of the House of Representatives' subcommittee on terrorism, and almost certain to find himself behind bars for years or decades to come.
As for the men who oversaw the endless wars that produced that video (and, without doubt, many similar ones similarly cloaked in the secrecy of "national security"), their fates are no less sure. When Admiral Mullen relinquishes his post and retires, he will undoubtedly have the choice of lucrative corporate boards to sit on, and, if he cares to, lucrative consulting to do for the Pentagon or eager defense contractors, as well as an impressive pension to take home with him. Secretary of Defense Gates will undoubtedly leave his post with a wide range of job offers to consider, and if he wishes, he will probably get a million-dollar contract to write his memoirs. Both will be praised, no matter what happens in or to their wars. Neither will be considered in any way responsible for those tens of thousands of dead civilians in distant lands.
Moral culpability? It doesn't apply. Not to Americans—not unless they leak military secrets. None of the men responsible will ever look at their hands and experience an "out, damned spot!" moment. That's a guarantee. However, a young man who, it seems, saw the blood and didn't want it on his hands, who found himself "actively involved in something that I was completely against," who had an urge to try to end two terrible wars, hoping his act would cause "worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms," will pay the price for them. He will be another body not to count in the collateral damage their wars have caused. He will also be collateral damage to the Afghan antiwar movement that wasn't.
The men who led us down this path, the presidents who presided over our wars, the military figures and secretaries of defense, the intelligence chiefs and ambassadors who helped make them happen, will have libraries to inaugurate, books to write, awards to accept, speeches to give, honors to receive. They will be treated with great respect, while Americans—once we have finally left the lands we insistently fought over—will undoubtedly feel little culpability either. And if blowback comes to the United States, and the first suicide drones arrive, everyone will be deeply puzzled and angered, but one thing is certain, we will not consider any damage done to our society "collateral" damage.
So much blood. So many hands. So little culpability. No remorse.


On one side you got the Taliban, on the other side you have the US led NATO forces, in the middle you have the people, and most especially the women, of Afghanistan. Where, oh where, in their some sort of, at least, progressive force to support. You know there are such folks in Afghanistan, but whether or not they exist in an organized fashion capable of battling everybody else, well, you tell me. What I would give to hear of something called the People's Revolutionary Front of Afghanistan...

In the meantime...after nine years of war...

The following is from RAWA.

Taliban Hang a 47-year Old Woman
The source further added that the execution sentence for the woman was passed by one of the judges of the Taliban in the area called Ahmad
By Abdul Latif Ayubi
Armed Taliban hung a 47-year old woman in the Qaadis District of Badghis Province.
The Taliban accused Sanubar of having an "illicit affair" that left her pregnant. She was first punished with 200 lashes in public before being shot, deputy provincial police chief Ghulam Mohammad Sayeedi told AFP.
"She was shot in the head in public while she was still pregnant," Sayeedi said.
AFP, Aug. 9, 2010

This was reported to PAN by Mullah Muhammad Yousuf, one of the local commanders of the Taliban in the Qaadis Khordak area of Badghis Province, this morning (August 8th).

He said that the woman named Baidi Sanam, resident of the Qaadis Khordak in Qaadis District, was hung for the crime of getting pregnant. He added that the woman had given birth to a stillborn baby. According to his information, the husband of the woman had died four years back, two of her sons were refugees in Iran and the woman was living alone.

The source further added that the execution sentence for the woman was passed by one of the judges of the Taliban in the area called Ahmad.

Abdul Wahid one of the residents of the districts said that the woman was a widow. While confirming her pregnancy, he said that she shouldn’t have been hung but punished in some other way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


 So where are all those yokels who write into the newspaper on a warm winter today and make stupid jokes about global warming? They haven't been very active this summer...anywhere in the world.

What those fools fail to realize, or just won't accept, or just pretend not to know is that global warming is really global cli
mate change. It doesn't mean we just get hotter and hotter every day. It means lots of torrential rains and flood, it means lots of heat and fires, it means lots storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, it means, more blizzards and snow. In short, it means as the globe gradually heats up all weather becomes more extreme.

Gee, isn't that what we are seeing as we look around the world today, and I do mean today.

Get used to it. It isn't going away. 

A man stands with his cattle in a flooded area of Ghouspur, about 100 kilometers from Sukkur

A man stands with his cattle in a flooded area of Ghouspur, about 100 kilometers from Sukkur
Picture: AFP/GETTY

I'm so tired of even those who know what is going on always saying, "one storm, one flood, one this or that doesn't mean anything." We all know that. However, when everyday, every year, every decade, the one mores just keep adding up only a dunce wouldn't come to the conclusion that the jigs up.

As Midnight Oil once sang, it's time to pay the rent.

The following is from The Telegraph (UK).  The article below that one is from the Toronto Star.

Pakistan floods: Climate change experts say global warming could be the cause
The world weather crisis that is causing floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Russia and landslides in China is evidence that global warming predictions are correct, according to climate change experts.

Almost 14 million people have been affected by the torrential rains in Pakistan, making it a more serious humanitarian disaster than the South Asian tsunami and recent earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti combined.
The disaster was driven by a ‘supercharged jet stream’ that has also caused floods in China and a prolonged heatwave in Russia.

It comes after flash floods in France and Eastern Europe killed more than 30 people over the summer.
Experts from the United Nations (UN) and universities around the world said the recent “extreme weather events” prove global warming is already happening.
Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-president of the body set up by the UN to monitor global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the ‘dramatic’ weather patterns are consistent with changes in the climate caused by mankind.
“These are events which reproduce and intensify in a climate disturbed by greenhouse gas pollution," he said.
"Extreme events are one of the ways in which climatic changes become dramatically visible."
The UN has rated the floods in Pakistan as the greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history, with 13.8 million people affected and 1,600 dead.
Flooding in China has killed more than 1,100 people this year and caused tens of billions of dollars in damage across 28 provinces and regions.
In Russia the morgues are overflowing in Moscow and wildfires are raging in the countryside after the worst heatwave in 130 years.
Dr Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, said it was impossible to attribute any one of these particular weather events to global warming alone.
But he said there is “clear evidence” of an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events because of climate change.
"The odds of such extreme events are rapidly shortening and could become considered the norm by the middle of this century," he warned.
Dr Stott also said global warming is likely to be make extreme events worse. For example, when there is more heat in the atmosphere it holds more water and therefore floods in places like Pakistan are heavier.
“If we have these type of extreme weather patterns then climate change has loaded the dice so there is more risk of bad things happening,” he said.
Professor Andrew Watson, a climatologist at the University of East Anglia, which was at the centre of last year's 'climategate' scandal, said the extreme events are "fairly consistent with the IPCC reports and what 99 per cent of the scientists believe to be happening".
"I'm quite sure that the increased frequency of these kind of summers over the last few decades is linked to climate change," he said.


Gwynne Dyer

It cannot be proved that the wildfires now devastating western Russia are evidence of global warming. Once-in-a-century extreme weather events happen, on average, once a century. But the Russian response is precisely what you would expect when global warming really starts to bite: Moscow has just banned all grain exports for the rest of this year.
At least 20 per cent of Russia’s wheat crop has already been destroyed by the drought, the extreme heat — around 40 degrees C (104F) for several weeks now — and the wildfires. The export ban is needed, explained Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, because “we shouldn’t allow domestic prices in Russia to rise, we need to preserve our cattle and build up supplies for next year.” If anybody starves, it won’t be Russians.
That’s a reasonable position for a Russian leader to take, but it does mean that some people will starve elsewhere. Russia is the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter, and anticipated shortages in the international grain market had already driven the price of wheat up by more than 80 per cent since early June. When Putin announced the export ban, it immediately jumped by another 8 per cent.
This means that food prices will also rise, but that is a minor nuisance for most consumers in the developed countries since they spend only about 10 per cent of their income on food. In poor countries, where people spend up to half their income on food, the higher prices will mean that the poorest of the poor cannot afford to feed their children properly.
As a result, some will die — probably a hundred or a thousand times as many as the more than 50 Russians who have been killed by the flames and the smoke. But they will die quietly, one by one, in under-reported parts of the world, so nobody will notice. Not this time. But when food exports are severely reduced or banned by several major producers at once and the international grain market freezes up, everybody will notice.
Two problems are going to converge and merge in the next 10 or 15 years with dramatic results. One is the fact that global grain production, which kept up with population growth from the 1950s to the 1990s, is no longer doing so. It may even have flat-lined in the past decade, although large annual variations make that uncertain. Whereas the world’s population is still growing.
The world grain reserve, which was 150 days of eating for everybody on the planet 10 years ago, has fallen to little more than a third of that. (The “world grain reserve” is not a mountain of grain somewhere, but the sum of all the grain from previous harvests that is still stored in various places just before the next big northern hemisphere harvest comes in.)
We now have a smaller grain reserve globally than a prudent civilization in Mesopotamia or Egypt would have aimed for 3,000 years ago. Demand is growing not just because there are more people, but because there are more people rich enough to put more meat into their diet. So things are very tight even before climate change hits hard.
The second problem is, of course, global warming. The rule of thumb is that with every one degree C rise (1.8 degrees F) in average global temperature, we lose 10 per cent of global food production. In some places, the crops will be damaged by drought; in others by much hotter temperatures. Or, as in Russia’s case today, by both.
So food production will be heading down as demand continues to increase, and something has to give. What will probably happen is that the amount of internationally traded grain will dwindle as countries ban exports and keep their supplies for themselves. That will mean that a country can no longer buy its way out of trouble when it has a local crop failure. There will not be enough exported grain for sale.
This is the vision of the future that has soldiers and security experts worried: a world where access to enough food becomes a big political and strategic issue even for developed countries that do not have big surpluses at home. It would be a very ugly world indeed, teeming with climate refugees and failed states and interstate conflicts over water (which is just food at one remove).
What is happening in Russia now, and its impacts elsewhere, gives us an early glimpse of what that world will be like. And although nobody can say for certain that the current disaster there is due to climate change, it certainly could be.
Late last year, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Change produced a world map showing how different countries will be affected by the rise in average global temperature over the next 50 years. The European countries the Hadley map predicts will be among the hardest hit — Greece, Spain and Russia — are precisely the ones that have suffered most from extreme heat, runaway forest fires and wildfires in the past few years.
The main impact of global warming on human beings will be on the food supply, and eating is a non-negotiable activity. Today Russia, tomorrow the world.
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based political commentator. The second edition of his latest book, Climate Wars, has just been published in Canada by Random House.