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Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's killing us...

“Nine-eleven” license to surveil, lie and destroy — Can we afford domestic and foreign policies of violence?
NEW YORK CITY Britannica image
Compiled and edited, re-reporting with comment by Carolyn Bennett

Washington officials returning at least to the Nixon era with a vengeance have continued their mission in violence against the United States, its people and institutions, against world states and peoples; and it will be darn hard to pull back from this deepening gulch in lawlessness as future administrations, congresses and courts take to the helm.

“Unusual [and illegal] partnership”

New York State Britannica image
In the two years following the 9/11 attacks, the New York Police Department’s Intelligence Division, the Associated Press reports, had an unusual partnership with Lawrence Sanchez, a respected veteran CIA officer who was dispatched to New York. Officials said he was instrumental in creating programs such as the Demographics Unit and met regularly with unit supervisors to guide the effort, all while on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency.

After a two-year CIA rotation in New York, [CIA officer Lawrence] Sanchez took a leave of absence, came off the agency’s payroll and became the NYPD’s second-ranking intelligence official. He formally left the agency in 2007 and stayed with the NYPD until last year.…

“When the CIA launched drone attacks in Pakistan,” the AP reported this week, “the New York Police Department would dispatch ‘rakers’ to Pakistani neighborhoods [in New York] to listen for angry rhetoric and anti-American comments.… The ‘rakers’ were looking for indicators of ‘terrorism’ and criminal activity … but they also kept their eyes peeled for other common neighborhood sites such as religious schools and community centers.” The operatives focused on “a list of 28 countries along with ‘American Black Muslim’” communities that CIA and NYPD operatives “considered ‘ancestries of interest.’ Nearly all countries were Muslim.”

In July this year, “the CIA deepened its ties to the NYPD. It sent one of its most senior spies to New York to work out of police headquarters, on the CIA payroll. He is a special assistant in the intelligence division [an assistant to Deputy New York Police] Commissioner David Cohen.…”

Wednesday of this week the Associated Press published findings of its month of investigations revealing “that the NYPD (New York Police Department] has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as ‘rakers,’ into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program.”

These officers, conducting operations aided in their construction by the Central Intelligence Agency,  have reportedly “monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as ‘mosque crawlers,’ to monitor sermons, even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.”

Thursday of this week after the AP’s report of this unusual [and unlawful] partnership between NYPD and CIA, the New York police commissioner [Cohen], after first lying about the situation, admitted “that a CIA officer is working inside New York’s police headquarters.”

U.S. law prohibits the CIA from gathering intelligence inside the United States.

MONEY TO BURN for “partners”
Not to fund, sustain and improve quality public education for society
WASHINGTON, DC Britannica image

Wasteful spending in defense projects and cost overruns topping $295 billion “comes from investments in unproven technologies… lack of oversight… influence peddling and indefensible no-bid contracts that have cost American taxpayers billions of dollars…,” the new U.S. president said shortly after taking office in March 2009. “We will stop outsourcing services that should be performed by the [U.S.] government and open up the contracting process to small businesses.” 
“We will end unnecessary no-bid and cost-plus contracts that run up a bill that is paid by the American people and we will strengthen oversight to maximize transparency and accountability,” President Barack Obama was speaking a month after taking office, March 2009.

However, author of ‘Windfalls of War’ Sharon Weinberger said Friday on the Democracy Now program that in more than two years since the president first said he wants to “get rid of [or] decrease no-bid contacting — there has been zero improvement.”

In ten years (since 911 2001) a KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown and Root) no-bid contract alone “has grown to $37 billion … — $37 billion in 10 years of work that has not been competed.”

Umbrellas and subs, shifting peas and laddered companies

The Pentagon has “a real problem overseeing where is the money going, who is doing what and who is performing on the contract,” Weinberger said.

KBR Inc has a rap sheet [my term] of “upwards of 37 referrals for possible fraud in the contract, almost unprecedented in the number of billing irregularities, in fraud referrals — in just basically waste, fraud and abuse.” The company responds, “‘why demonize us?’”; and they “may have a point,” Weinberger says, because “it is less about which company has the contract than basically the contract — the way the contract is set up sets itself up to fail and to waste money.”

pretexts to kill
Crimes of WAR, neglect, provocation

AFGHANISTAN Britannica iimage
In southern Afghanistan today another U.S.-led soldier died. Foreign, occupying troops continue to experience their deadliest days in this war-torn country.

Also September 1-3, 2011: “3 killed in E Afghanistan shooting—Latest reports say at least three people have been killed after an Afghan soldier fired at US-led troops in Logar Province in troubled eastern Afghanistan”

“U.S.-led forces kill Afghan woman — U.S.-led foreign forces have killed an Afghan woman in the northern province of Balkh in Afghanistan, according to U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)”

September 1
“Blast kills 8 militants in Afghanistan — Eight Taliban militants have been killed after a bomb in their possession exploded in Afghanistan’s southern province of Kandahar”

AFRICA Britannica image
Some 12.4 million people in the Horn of Africa (including parts of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda) are suffering the worst regional drought in decades.

Some 75 percent of all cases of highly infectious acute watery diarrhea, according to the World Health Organization, are among children under the age of five, 30,000 of whom have died in the past three months.

Until the next year’s harvest, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees announced on Thursday, three million people are at the risk of starvation in southern Somalia.

This week the United Nations warned that communicable diseases are rising in famine-hit southern areas of Somalia. The humanitarian crisis continues to worsen.

A report issued on Friday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, “Internal displacement is decreasing [but] rates of malnutrition and mortality are increasing and communicable diseases continue to spread.”

The Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) said today that Iran is sending to Somalia a humanitarian aid shipment by sea from its southern port of Bandar Abbas. The cargo would include almost 5,000 tons of rice, flour, and legumes.

The UN reports 3.2 million Somalis need immediate life-saving assistance.

BAHRAIN Britannica image
Home of U.S. Fifth Fleet

Today in the Bahraini city of Sitra, Saudi-backed regime forces opened fired on anti-government protesters. Several protesters reportedly suffered wounds.

Bombings and other forms of violence escalated in this country shortly after the U.S.-led invasion began in 2003.

Press TV is reporting today a senior Iraqi official, media advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, having said on Friday (AFP) that his country will launch a probe into a massacre by U.S. troops in 2006 of at least 10 Iraqis, among them women and children.

The comment follows release of a U.S. diplomatic cable made public by WikiLeaks providing evidence that American troops executed at least one Iraqi man, four women and five children in the central Iraqi town of Balad, north of the capital Baghdad, during a raid on March 15, 2006.
ASIA Britannica image

September 1-3
Since late 2009, there has been a surge in militant and bomb attacks in Pakistan. Ten years after the U.S. occupation of Pakistan-neighbor Afghanistan — and despite U.S. claims of invading to curb militancy and bring regional peace and stability, the region remains unstable and militancy has expanded into Pakistan.

This week at least 30 Pakistani boys disappeared during festivities of Eid al-Fitr in the troubled northwest Bajaur tribal region. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

Also this week in Pakistan September 2 Press TV reports, “Gunmen kill four people in NW Pakistan — Unknown gunmen have killed at least four people and injured several others in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region of Kurram Agency”

“Militants kidnap 30 boys in NW Pakistan — At least 30 Pakistani boys have been kidnapped by unknown gunmen in the militancy-hit northwestern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan”

“Bomb attack kills 6 in NW Pakistan — At least six people have been killed and 20 others injured after a bomb attack hit a police station in Pakistan's troubled northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”

“Gunmen kill seven in Pakistan — Unidentified militants have killed seven Shia Muslims and wounded four others in an attack on a passenger van in troubled northwestern Pakistan”

September 1

“‘Indian forces kill 3 Pakistani troops’ — Pakistan says three of its soldiers were killed after Indian forces fired across the de facto border in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir”

SYRIA Britannica image
Since the middle of March, Syria has experienced pro and anti- (President Bashar al-Assad) government demonstrations.

The European Union on Friday bowed to U.S. pressure to step up sanctions against Syria by banning imports of Syrian oil.

Today, the Russian Federation condemned the European Union for imposing unilateral oil sanctions on Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is reported to have said the action “‘destroys a partnership approach to any crisis,’ and would ‘lead to nothing good.’” 

Reaffirming his country’s position, he said Russia is against unilateral sanctions, they will do no good, and, in general, “‘sanctions rarely solve anything.’”

In the wake of a UN report on last year’s Israeli attack on an aid flotilla to Gaza and Israel’s refusal even to apologize for killing people on the boat, Turkish officials announced their country “will seek legal action against the Israeli regime.”

Turkey Britannica image
Turkey’s embassy in Washington released a statement to Reuters saying, “‘Turkey will take legal actions against the Israeli soldiers and all other officials responsible for the crimes committed and pursue the matter resolutely,’”

The statement also reaffirmed “‘that relations between Turkey and Israel will not normalize as long as Israel does not apologize and refuses to pay compensation for what it has done.’”

The UN report had concluded that Israel had used unreasonable force in its raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea in May 2010. Nine Turkish people died in the Israeli attack.

Again, from Russia, its president takes exception to the U.S./NATO’s expanding missile systems toward Eastern Europe. Reported by Agence France-Presse on Friday, “Russia has censured a NATO plan to base an early warning radar system in Turkey and denounced efforts by the Western military alliance to advance eastward.

Russian Federation Britannica image
“The Russian foreign ministry said Turkey’s radar plan would mark another step in the deployment ‘of the European segment of a global U.S. missile defense system.’”

In 2010, NATO agreed to deploy a missile system that it claims would serve to protect Europe. U.S. officials have said NATO’s early warning radar system scheduled for deployment in Turkey will be operational by the end of 2011. Ankara has confirmed that talks over the deployment of the system have reached the final stage.

UNITED STATES war against homeland, constitutional rights
Except Jews and Catholics, no headgear allowed

New York Britannica image
Muslim women with Hijab were denied permission to get on rides at the Westchester County Park and “violence broke out.”

Patrons in the park reported they were arguing with park officials the park’s no-headgear policy and things got out of control. Muslim civil rights leaders have accused authorities of using excessive force against Muslims celebrating Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Ramadan.

Pretext for wars

Ever since the September 1, 2001, hijackings and attacks left an estimated 3,000 people dead, U.S. officials have destroyed countries and assassinated leaders — based on false claims (1) that the 9/11 attacks had been carried out “by members of al-Qaeda harbored by the then-Taliban regime in Afghanistan” and (2) that Iraq held “weapons of mass destruction” — in their “war on terrorism.”

These acts of aggression by U.S. officials, analyst Brian Becker tells Press TV this week, attempted to scare the people in the United States into supporting wars, which have turned into absolute disasters for the people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and for the people in the United States.

No time for care for our own 

August this year in the United States “is the first month of ZERO JOB GROWTH since 1945.” Employers added no jobs in August and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Friday.

USA Britannica image
The jobless rate remains unchanged and the U.S. economy worsens.

U.S. Imam joins AP CIA-NYPD findings

Muslims in the United States live in a state of fear — fear of lost privacy in their homes, fear of starting businesses, fear of going to prayer or Eid celebrations. Muslims feel very oppressed and spied on here in America— this according to Abdul Alim Musa, Imam of Masjid al-Islam in Washington.

Almost 43 percent of Muslims, according to a new poll, reported experiencing harassment by airport security, law enforcement officers and others in the past year — an increase from the 40 percent reported in 2007.

Abdul Alim Musa’s comments came in reaction to the AP's reports this week indicating that the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have singled out Muslim communities for surveillance after the 9/11 incidents.

U.S.-created financial crisis still falling out
 Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank are among the accused

The U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is reportedly set to file lawsuits against several large banks in connection with the U.S. mortgage crisis that triggered a global financial meltdown. The regulatory agency has accused more than ten major banks of misrepresenting the quality of mortgage securities they sold. The agency now seeks billions of dollars in compensation.

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for regular demonstrations in Yemen’s major cities since late January, calling for an end to corruption and unemployment and demanding the ouster of their head of state, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
YEMEN Britannica image

Friday, thousands of Yemeni pro- and anti-government protesters again poured into the streets across Yemen chanting anti-regime slogans and continuing their call for an end to the current rule. Press TV reports “anti-government demonstrators called for a swift fulfillment of their revolutionary goals.”

Do you really believe we afford U.S. domestic and foreign policies of violence? 

I don't. 

Violence is the antithesis of progress. Whether in the form of war or conflicts with or against people, the overthrow of governments or institutions, or war on poppy plants and coca leaves—violence is the main offender, the stop to progress.
Violence among or within nations or families is not only repressive, it is regressive. If development for “developing” nations is the goal, violence is its antithesis. If eradication of poverty is the goal, violence is the creation and perpetuation of poverty.
Violence opposes progress. Whether the death penalty or war, the overthrow or disestablishment of institutions, failing states, violence denies human possibility at every level: intellectual, political, societal, structural or infrastructural. This violence has permeated Washington’s domestic and international policies. Violence is the way of America that causes and epitomizes BREAKDOWN. The heart of BREAKDOWN is violence.

We (progressivists) cannot “partisan” our response — violence if okay when this or that political party practices it, executes, prosecutes or approves it, legislates or executive orders it.

As the instrument, as a means of policy and relations at home and abroad, of sharing and partaking of resources in the world  our no to violence must be unequivocal, nonnegotiable.

The course we are on is the wrong course and we must do better.

Sources and notes

August 24, 2011, Associated Press
“With CIA help, NYPD moves covertly in Muslim areas” (Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman),
August 25, 2011, Associated Press
“NYPD confirms CIA officer works at department” (Eileen Sullivan)
August 31, 2011, Associated Press
“NYPD monitored where Muslims ate, shopped, prayed” (Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman),
Search also AP’s NYPD documents


August 25, 2011, Inter Press Service Agency News
U.S. CIA-NYPD Alliance – Systematic Racial Profiling (Kanya D’Almeida), http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=104886

“U.S. Wasting Billions While Tripling No-Bid Contracts after Decade of War in Iraq, Afghanistan,” August 2, 2011, http://www.democracynow.org/2011/9/2/us_wasting_billions_while_tripling_no

Sharon Weinberger is author of the investigative series for the Center for Public Integrity on no-bid contracts called ‘Windfalls of War.’ A U.S. journalist and writer on defense and security issues, she has been a Carnegie/Newhouse School Legal Reporting Fellow examining an intersection between ethics and fraud in military contracting and an International Reporting Project fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Weinberger#Bibliography

KBR is the largest non-union construction company in the United States; its corporate offices are in the KBR Tower in Downtown Houston, Texas.

KBR, Inc. (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root) NYSE: KBR is an American engineering, construction and private military contracting company, formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton, headquartered in Houston.

The company also has large offices in Arlington, Birmingham, Newark, Delaware and Leatherhead, UK. After Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries in 1998, Dresser’s engineering subsidiary, The M. W. Kellogg Co. merged with Halliburton’s construction subsidiary, Brown & Root to form Kellogg Brown & Root.

KBR and its predecessors have had many contracts with the U.S. military, including during the Second World War and wars against Vietnam and Iraq, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kellogg,_Brown_and_Root

“U.S.-led soldier killed in S. Afghanistan,” September 3, 2011,
Afghanistan, September 1-3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/section/351020403.html

Contagious diseases on rise in Somalia, September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197251.html

“Iran to send major aid convoy to Somalia,” September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197238.html

“Bahrain regime forces injure protesters,” September 3, 2011,
“Iraq to probe 2006 US carnage of Iraqis,” September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197178.html

“Militants claim abducting Pakistani boys,” September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197216.html

Pakistan September 1-2, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/section/351020401.html

“Russia slams EU oil embargo on Syria,” September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197205.html

“Turkey vows legal action against Israel,” September 3, 2011,

“Russia slams NATO radar gear in Turkey,” September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197163.html

Black Sea— a large inland sea situated at the southeastern extremity of Europe bordered by Ukraine to the north, Russia to the northeast, Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west.

“NYPD used force against Muslims on Eid,”
September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197064.html

“‘9/11 pretext for Bush to launch wars,’” September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197219.html

“U.S. unemployment crisis deepens,” September 2, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197060.html

“‘U.S. Muslims live in state of fear,’” September 2, 2011,

“U.S. banks face suits on mortgage crisis,” September 2, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197038.html

“Yemenis continue anti-regime protests,” September 3, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/197156.html

ʿĪd al-Fiṭr

Arabic Festival of Breaking Fast (also spelled Eid al-Fitr, also called  al-ʿĪd al-Ṣaghīr; Turkish  Küƈük Bayram (Minor Festival) —  first of two canonical festivals of Islam.

ʿĪd al-Fiṭr marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, and is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar (though the Muslim use of a lunar calendar means that it may fall in any season of the year).

As in Islam’s other holy festival, ʿĪd al-Aḍḥā, it is distinguished by the performance of communal prayer (ṣalāt) at daybreak on its first day.

It is a time of official receptions and private visits, when friends greet one another, presents are given, new clothes are worn, and the graves of relatives are visited. [Britannica note]


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