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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Foreign Policy SitRep - Middle East

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

July 2009 Issue
7 Death of a Myth: Israel's Support of a Two-State Solution—Rachelle Marshall

10 Can Obama Meet Netanyahu's Challenge?—Mustafa Barghouti
11 On U.S. Tour, Dr. Mads Gilbert Gives Eyewitness Account of Gaza Massacre—Jane Adas

12 Israel's New Right-Wing Government—Two Views—Sam Bahour, Uri Avnery

14 FBI Agent Provocateurs and Fusion Centers: Boys Gone Wild—Delinda C. Hanley

16 What He Said: Pope Benedict XVI's Address at the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem

17 Palestinian Christians' Mixed Emotions Over Pope's Visit to the Holy Land—Mohammed Omer

I had dropped in on Current
Good Morning! Gitmo detainees on US soil?

"The Obama administration is looking at creating a courtroom-within-a-prison complex in the U.S. to house suspected terrorists, combining military and civilian detention facilities at a single maximum-security prison.

Several senior U.S. officials said the administration is eyeing a soon-to-be-shuttered state maximum security prison in Michigan and the 134-year-old military penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., as possible locations for a heavily guarded site to hold the 229 suspected al-Qaida, Taliban and foreign fighters now jailed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

The officials outlined the plans — the latest effort to comply with President Barack Obama's order to close the prison camp by Jan. 22, 2010, and satisfy congressional and public fears about incarcerating terror suspects on American soil — on condition of anonymity because the options are under review."

I suggest America spends money on councelling for all these innocent victims, makes a large payment to compensate them, and offers them an American passport ...........and a right to travel wherever they want to, provided they can get a visa. Generally if you have enough money you can go ANYWHERE.

I think that the American taxpayer should not be burdened with this payment, so use the $3billion that you give to Israel as "aid" annually and pay it out to these people over the next three years.

You made the problem.....you fix it.....we don't want to pick up your mess.

5 hours ago

You made me laugh with your suggestion...because it would work to lessen violence and be more affordable than persecuting innocents with 'Cruel and Unusual Punishment'...in many ways. A quick Search was instructive
U.S. Financial Aid to Israel : Figures, Facts and Impact

Opit....your info is much appreciated and is available now for comment on current.

recommended by Highr0ller


This 'goes on' for quite a bit : but you know of 2 people who think the story worthwhile.

Israel – United States military relations : Wikipedia

During the first twenty years following Israel's independence, United States policy in the Middle East was driven by two major policy concerns: The prevention of an arms race in the Near East[8], and the prevention of the spread of Soviet influence.
( Maybe NOT )

Millions of Americans Pushed Into No-Law System by Colluding Banks

Janet Reno Moves From Justice to McJustice By PAM MARTENS

As the newly appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission prioritizes its agenda to investigate how a 200-year old system conceived to establish fair pricing and trading of stocks and bonds morphed into a rigged backroom casino of craps tables piled high with triple-A rated junk that crippled the world’s largest economy, they must place Wall Street’s private justice system at the top of their list for subpoenas.

The rationale is as simple as this:

(a) there is only one industry in America bringing the country to its knees;

(b) there is only one industry in America which requires its workers to contractually relinquish their access to the courts as a condition of employment;

(c) look under that rock first for the thousands of industry whistleblowers who walked out of these kangaroo courts with gag orders, leaving behind their documents, placed under seal by colluding lawyers.

Here’s a sample of what the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission will find when it looks at how corruption was kept in a black box by mandatory employment contracts on Wall Street:

“The Policy makes arbitration the required and exclusive forum for the resolution of all employment disputes based on legally protected rights (i.e., statutory, contractual or common law rights) that may arise between an employee or former employee and the Corporate & Investment Bank or its current and former parents, subsidiaries and affiliates and its and their current and former officers, directors, employees and agents…the arbitrator shall be bound by applicable Firm policies and procedures and shall not have the authority to alter or otherwise modify the parties ‘at-will’ relationship or substitute his or her judgment for the lawful business judgment of Firm management.”

In other words, when you work for Wall Street you enter a twilight zone where the financial elite make their own laws and run their own private justice system to carry out those laws. (Arbitrators, even outside of Wall Street, are not required to follow the nation’s laws or legal precedent or write a reasoned decision based on those laws.)

Ms. Reno showed an early affinity for private justice systems. On April 30, 1998, the Attorney General held a national news conference to announce that in celebration of Law Day, she was, effectively, encouraging lawyers not to overuse the laws.

“Here at the Justice Department, I have instructed every attorney to consider using ADR (alternative dispute resolution) as part of their regular practice. And in the last 3 years, we have quadrupled the number of cases where ADR has been used. But we have to do more. And that is why I urge Congress to pass legislation, pending in the Senate, that would require every Federal district court to establish an ADR program. Every litigant deserves an alternative to expensive, burdensome and all too often unsatisfying litigation.”
Sitting judges were wooed as well. In October 2001, Reynolds Holding penned a devastating three part series for the San Francisco Chronicle on the systemic rigging of these systems:

“Today, the American Arbitration Association, JAMS and several other arbitration providers compete to hire the biggest names on the bench... The attractions for judges are obvious. A Superior Court judge earns $133,055 a year, while top arbitrators can make $10,000 or more a day, in addition to retirement pay… No one has accused judges of issuing favorable rulings to impress arbitration firms. But critics say judges undermine the judiciary's credibility by joining the firms shortly after issuing opinions that uphold controversial arbitration clauses, particularly when those opinions are reversed on appeal…On March 13, 1997, for example, U.S. District Judge Eugene Lynch ruled that securities broker Tonyja Duffield must go to arbitration with the sexual discrimination and harassment claim she had filed against her employer. Duffield argued that she had not agreed to arbitration ‘knowingly,’ which the U.S. Court of Appeals had determined was a requirement for enforcing such agreements against employees. Lynch ruled against her anyway.

Less than four months later, JAMS announced that Lynch was joining its panel of arbitrators…

To perpetuate and expand the privatization of the nation’s court system, JAMS asks its stable of retired judges and lawyers to kick in part of their pay to the JAMS Foundation. Its web site provides a list, dated June 1, 2009, of more than 150 of its “neutrals and associates” who are kicking in at least 1 percent of their monthly pay.

Imagine this scenario: documents surface showing that the private justice system used by the biggest banks in the country has been rigged in hundreds of thousands of cases. Next, evidence surfaces that conclusively shows that the general counsels of these very same banks have huddled together in one room to draft a uniform mandatory arbitration clause banning class action lawsuits in their credit card contracts and shared strategies on its implementation, effectively locking the courthouse doors to every credit card holder in America.

Next consider that many of these were the same Wall Street banks who shackled their stockbrokers to mandatory arbitration clauses and used at least one of these compromised arbitration forums when employees blew the whistle; were the same investment firms that forced their investing customers into mandatory arbitration forums as a condition of opening a brokerage account; and most were the very same banks who had received hundreds of billions of dollars of public funds through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) in order to survive heavy losses of their own making, then paid out billions of dollars to top executives in bonuses, including potentially some who engaged in collusion.

It’s not hard to see that there is a public relations nightmare looming large and RICO charges not far behind.

Where did the information about these colluding, clandestine meetings come from? From a class action lawsuit, of course. It is noteworthy that it did not originate from the thousands of arbitrations against these firms where discovery is limited and frequently abused. In fact, the tip off here came from a lawyer at JPMorgan Chase who, wittingly or unwittingly, disclosed one of these meetings to plaintiffs’ lawyers in discovery and opened the floodgates to discovery of the additional meetings. One suspects that this lawyer is not among the 1,626 JPMorgan Chase personnel who received million dollar (and up) bonuses in 2008.

On Wolffe P.R. Firm's Client List: Exxon Mobil, Northrop Grumman, Republic of Georgia
By Zachary Roth - August 3, 2009, 5:03PM

It's pretty questionable for anyone who works for a lobbying or public relations firm to also host a news show on which issues of interest to those clients' are likely to be discussed -- as we told you MSNBC's Richard Wolffe does.

But to get a sense of just how compromised Wolffe really is on this, it's worth taking a look at the clients of the P.R. firm he works for -- Texas-based Public Strategies Inc.

Read more »

Congress To Bonner: We Want Answers On Forged LettersLink
By Zachary Roth - August 3, 2009,

Last week, we told you about Bonner and Associates, the D.C. lobby firm that was caught sending forged letters -- purporting to come from local Hispanic and black groups -- to a U.S. congressman, urging him to vote against the recent climate change bill.

Rep. Ed Markey, who was one of the lead sponsors of that bill and is probing the issue of the forgeries, has sent a letter to the firm's founder, Jack Bonner, which asks for responses to fourteen detailed questions about the incident.

Among the questions Markey wants answered:

• Who hired Bonner on the climate change campaign?
• Did other lawmakers receive forged letters?
• How did the forgery occur?
• Are employees paid via a quota system?

MSNBC: We'll Disclose Wolffe's P.R. Ties

MSNBC says it will now tell viewers that Richard Wolffe -- who is a regular commentator on the network, and last week guest-hosted Countdown -- works for a corporate P.R. firm.

Network spokesman Jeremy Gaines told TPMmuckraker in an email:
We should have disclosed Richard's connection to Public Strategies. We will do so in the future.

Over the weekend, Salon's Glenn Greenwald expressed outrage about the arrangement, and the lack of disclosure. We picked up the story this morning, and told you a bit about P.S.I.'s corporate work.
( Nothing like getting 'caught with one's pants down' to encourage awareness that the glass house is not One Way. )

Author Of Hyped Iraq Memo Also Wrote Unhinged Attack On Health-Care Reform

A senior American military adviser in Baghdad, whose memo arguing that the U.S. should leave Iraq is currently the top story on the New York Times website, is also the author of an unhinged online screed against health-care reform.

The health-care post, by Colonel Timothy Reese, sketches far-fetched scenarios about forced abortions and accuses President Obama of being "deceitful" in telling Americans they can keep their doctor under his plan. Its harsh tone raises questions about an active duty officer inserting himself into the political arena. And it suggests that that his widely-publicized military advice -- which was posted on the same blog as the health-care post -- should perhaps be treated more skeptically than is currently being done.

The military memo being trumpeted by the Times, was written by Reese in early July and sent to a limited audience of commanders. It identifies problems with Iraqi forces, but nonetheless argues that they're strong enough to maintain basic stability, and that keeping U.S. troops in Iraq past 2010 will fuel growing resentment among Iraqis. It's time "for the U.S. to declare victory and go home," it argues.

The Times notes that Reese posted an earlier version of his memo -- since removed but preserved here -- on a blog called "The Enchanter's Corner," under the byline Tim the Enchanter. The blog is affiliated with the right-wing Townhall site, though the Times leaves that out. A bio describes Tim the Enchanter as "a member of the US Army on active duty for almost 30 years ... currently serving in Iraq as an advisor to the Iraq security forces" and someone who is "passionate about political issues."
Of course, Reese's views on health care don't necessarily reflect on his credentials as a military strategist. Having been on active duty for almost 30 years, it would hardly be surprising if he were better informed about our mission in Iraq than about health care.

But if nothing else, it's worth knowing a bit more about him, and about his approach to thinking about important issues of the day.
( Ho,ho,ho. His views on health care may reflect on credentials for pushing an agenda, however. )

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