The Bush administration routinely bypassed or overruled Pentagon experts on international law and the Geneva convention to construct a sweeping legal justification for harsh tactics in the war on terror...
The head of the interrogation center at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq told an Army investigator in February that he understood some of the information being collected from prisoners there had been requested by "White House staff," according to an account of his statement obtained by the Washington Post...
From Information Clearing House
Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization intent on deposing Saddam Hussein that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990's to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say...
Ausstieg statt Neubau: Forderung nach neuen Atomkraftwerken ist verantwortungslos
Der Bundesverband Bürgerinitiativen Umweltschutz (BBU) und der hessische Landesverband des Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) kritisieren den hessischen Ministerpräsidenten Roland Koch für seine Aufforderung an die Stromwirtschaft, neue Atomkraftwerke zu beantragen. Dies sei verantwortungslos und gegen den Willen der Mehrheit der Bevölkerung. Nach einer aktuellen Forsa-Umfrage des stern sprechen sich 79 Prozent der Befragten gegen den Bau neuer Atomkraftwerke aus. BBU und BUND kritisieren, dass sich Ministerpräsident Koch einseitig von der Atomlobby täuschen lasse und wichtige Fakten schlichtweg ignoriere.
Die ganze Nachricht im Internet:
The 2000 Presidential Election is the riveting story about the battle for the Presidency in Florida and the undermining of democracy in America...
A leaked Pentagon memo cast serious doubt yesterday on the Bush administration's insistence that its treatment of prisoners was bound by laws and treaties banning torture...
From Information Clearing House
Iraqis are denied the right to manage their own affairs. Democracy and human rights have been denied to Iraqis, not because Iraqis do not like democracy and human rights, but because the U.S. feared democracy. The U.S. considered sovereignty as the duty of the U.S. to take possession by conquest...
Links to the United States run deep among many in the interim Iraqi government, even as the diverse, 33-member body gears up to assert its independence from the U.S. government...
From Information Clearing House
In its latest assault on Alberta's fragile Castle Wilderness, Shell Canada has proposed a six-year plan to drill up to six new "sour gas" wells in the region's Carbondale foothills. Sour gas wells contain large amounts of hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas that can leak into the environment and cause serious harm to humans and wildlife, even in small doses. In the Castle, emergency-planning zones for accidental leaks would reach for six kilometers around each new well.
While Shell claims to practice sustainable energy development, the energy giant has continued to expand its activities into critical wildlife areas. The Carbondale foothills, which produce nourishing foliage earlier in the spring than the Castle's higher alpine ridges, are key habitat for elk and grizzlies. With license applications on the table for the first two sour gas wells, Shell Canada hopes to start construction of access roads and wells this summer.
Tell Shell Canada to shelve its plans for new sour gas wells in the Castle:
Thanks in large part to heavy pressure from our BioGems Defenders, an Oregon-based wood products company has withdrawn from negotiations to reopen the Ketchikan veneer mill in southeast Alaska. BioGems Defenders recently sent the Timber Products Company nearly 60,000 messages to protest its plans to revive the mill, which would increase demand for wood from Alaska's Tongass National Forest, a vital rainforest habitat for wild salmon, bald eagles and the Sitka black-tailed deer. Late last year, the Forest Service used the potential reopening of the mill to justify removing federal restrictions on roadbuilding and logging in pristine areas of the forest.
NRDC's BioGems News, June 2004
The Timber Products Company's withdrawal is a big win for the Tongass. But Ketchikan officials are trying to find another operator for the plant, and have asked the Environmental Protection Agency for a permit to use nearby Ward Cove for storing and transporting logs. Without the permit, reopening the mill would be much less viable.
"The End of "Better", a commentary by Neale Donald Walsch
And so it has ended. Any last illusion that Americans may have been hanging onto that their country is a "better" country, that their people are "better" people, and that their military is a "better" military, because Americans are fair, honest, and kind has been shattered into a million pieces in the past 36 months.
First, our faith in the fairness of our political system was shaken as we watched a man who received over 100,000 fewer votes nationwide than his opponent become president of the United States. Then our faith in the fairness of our economic system-and those at the top of it-was wiped out by the unbelievable, endless and continuing accounting scandals that have shown us just what kind of integrity our corporate world possesses.
Then the man who we didn't elect ordered his country to do what we never thought we'd live to see the United States of America ever do: attack a foreign nation and kill hundreds of innocent people with no justification other than a suspicion. And now, finally, we weep inside for the losing of the last of our dream of who Americans are as we see sickening photographs emerge from a prison called Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
If people living in the United States really thought that Americans were "the good guys," and that it was only the rest of the world they had to worry about, they're now learning the truth. We're no better than anyone else. Period. End of sentence.
So we can stop, already, with our righteous protestations about the cruelties and unfairness of the rest of the world, about her "rogue nations" and her terrorist states and her brutal militaries and her unfair economic systems. It turns out that what many others in faraway places have been saying about us for decades is true: we are the pot calling the kettle black.
Yet even though we are now seeing ourselves as we really are, we are still shrinking from asking the painful questions. How has this all happened? How can humans cheat each other and brutalize each other and torture each other in prison cells and kill each other the way we do? What is the real problem in the world today? What is the cause of our massively dysfunctional behavior?
This is the question no one seems to want to ask. Not a single head of state has asked it. Not a single military official has looked at it. Not a single prominent politician, economist, educator, or journalist has seriously made the inquiry. Tellingly, not even one leader of any of the world's exclusivist organized religions has posed the question-much less offered an answer. Why?
Because to pose the question would be to put into question the basic human values that most of those people in positions of such power and influence have adopted-and that most of the human race has embraced, following their lead. Yet now let us consider the answer that no one wants to consider as even being possibly true: the problem in the world today is not a political problem, it is not an economic problem, and it is not a military problem. The problem in the world today is a spiritual problem.
Our problem has to do with what we believe. And beliefs are spiritual matters. It is what we believe-about God, about life, about each other-that allows us to act the way we act with each other with impunity. Our most basic beliefs support (indeed, sponsor) our behaviors. And this is one thing we don't want to look at. What is it we are believing that promotes such behaviors? We believe that we are separate from each other. We believe that there is not enough of what we need on this planet to survive and to be happy. We believe that God gives us the moral authority to use violence against each other for whatever reason we choose so long as we label it "justice" or "self defense."
Fascinatingly, we believe that whatever is buried in the portion of the earth on which we live-the minerals and rocks and oil and whatever other substance we find there-is "ours" by virtue of the fact that it exists in "our land.," raising the interesting international political question, "How far down is ' down'?" We also believe that we own the sky above us, insofar as it covers " our" land, raising the interesting international political question, "How far up is 'up'?"
Many of us also believe that our way is the only way-not the best way or the fastest way, but the only way-to heaven. Further, many of us believe that persons who believe in other ways will be condemned by God, and are therefore open to humiliation and condemnation by us. These and other of our beliefs give us plenty to fight about, but we don't ever examine these beliefs seriously to see if they are true, because our beliefs are sacrosanct. They are not open to question.
Recently, U.S. President George W. Bush told the audience at a ceremony commemorating the National Day of Prayer in the United States, "God is not on the side of any nation, yet we know He is on the side of justice. Our finest moments ...have come when we have faithfully served the cause of justice for our own citizens, and for the people of other lands." I wonder if anybody but me shivers when observing that those words could just as easily have been spoken by the spiritual leader of Hamas.
This invoking of God to add moral authority to, and thus to justify, ungodly acts is apparently not only the tactic of that militant Islamic movement, which has openly taken credit for many suicide bombing missions in the Middle East, and has issued many similar statements in the past.
What the world desperately needs now is a new form of spirituality. A spirituality that teaches not of a God who Himself uses condemnation, torture and violence as a means of control (and who encourages others to do so), but of a God who invites all of humanity to explore a new way of living and being. A spirituality that, instead of sending messages of separation and scarcity, sends messages of unity and sufficiency.
We are all one, and there is enough for all. The problem in our world is not one of supply, it is one of distribution. We have enough stuff, we simply don' t have enough will. It is the job of our spiritual and political leaders to give us the will. They are not doing it.
(Neale Donald Walsch has had five titles on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list in the past seven years. His current book is Tomorrow's God: Our greatest spiritual challenge from Atria Books, March 2004)
The one main thing I would disagree with in Neale's article is the last two sentences. I think that the everyone-for-themselves system itself is flawed to the point where leaders are not able to fix it. In order to transform the planet, people need to see a better model. That model can be demonstrated by 3,000 people in the Community model we propose. Until that is done, the people and our leaders just do not have the vision necessary for the needed changes. What I agree whole-heartedly with is that it's going to take a change in consciousness—a new Spirituality as Neale puts it. In our model the form of living in a Highest-Good- For-All Community and the necessary consciousness of the Highest Good go hand-in-hand. It will be the abundance on all levels in these Communities that will inspire people to change their consciousness. More about that next time.
Community Planet Foundation Newsletter
Volume 1: Issue 1
Memo Says Bush Not Restricted by Torture Bans
Tue June 08, 2004 06:49 PM ET
by Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush, as commander-in-chief, is not restricted by U.S. and international laws barring torture, Bush administration lawyers stated in a March 2003 memorandum.
The 56-page memo to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cited the president's "complete authority over the conduct of war," overriding international treaties such as a global treaty banning torture, the Geneva Conventions and a U.S. federal law against torture.
"In order to respect the president's inherent constitutional authority to manage a military campaign ... (the prohibition against torture) must be construed as inapplicable to interrogations undertaken pursuant to his commander-in-chief authority," stated the memo, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
These assertions, along with others made in a 2002 Justice Department memo, drew condemnation by human rights activists who accused the administration of hunting for legal loopholes for using torture.
"It's like saying the Earth is flat. That's the equivalent of what they're doing with saying that the prohibition of torture doesn't apply to the president," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Media reports of the two memos prompted a fierce exchange in a congressional hearing, at which Attorney General John Ashcroft refused to release the documents while Democrats accused the Bush administration of undermining prohibition on use of torture.
The administration says it observes the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and other situations where the treaty applies and that it treats terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere in a way consistent with the spirit of the accords.
The March 2003 memo was written by a "working group" of civilian and military lawyers named by the Pentagon's general counsel.
It came to light as the Pentagon reviewed interrogation techniques used on foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amid concerns raised by lawyers within the military and others about interrogation techniques approved by Rumsfeld that deviated from standard practice.
"It may be the case that only successful interrogations can provide the information necessary to prevent the success of covert terrorist attacks upon the United States and its citizens," the memo stated.
"Congress may no more regulate the president's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield," the memo stated.
The memo labeled as unconstitutional any laws "that seek to prevent the president from gaining the intelligence he believes necessary to prevent attacks upon the United States."
The memo offered numerous explanations for why U.S. officials and military personnel were immune from bans on torture under U.S. and international law. The memo recommended a presidential directive from Bush allowing for exercise of this power by "subordinates," although it remained unknown whether Bush ever signed such a document.
"It shows us that there were senior people in the Bush administration who were seriously contemplating the use of torture, and trying to figure out whether there were any legal loopholes that might allow them to commit criminal acts," said Tom Malinowski, Human Rights Watch's Washington advocacy director.
PRESIDENT'S FREE HAND
"They seem to be putting forward a theory that the president in wartime can essentially do what he wants regardless of what the law may say," Malinowski added.
Amnesty International called for a special counsel to investigate "whether administration officials are criminally liable for acts of torture or guilty of war crimes."
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Rumsfeld in April 2003 approved 24 "humane" interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo, four of which required Rumsfeld's personal review before being used. Whitman said 34 techniques were considered by a working group of Defense Department legal and policy experts before Rumsfeld approved the final list.
"None were determined to be tortuous in nature (by the working group). They were all found to be within internationally accepted practice," Whitman said.
Informant: Dean Ruby
The Grand Canyon is ailing, but panel can't agree on a prescription
It's hard to get the sense anything is wrong in the Grand Canyon while floating through it. On a recent spring morning, the Colorado River was cool and calm. Trout leapt, splashing back into the river with a plop. Stands of salt cedar lined the banks, offering shade from the desert heat...
NEW YORK TIMES
June 9, 2004
In response to the outrages at Abu Ghraib, the Bush administration has repeatedly assured Americans that the president and his top officials did not say or do anything that could possibly be seen as approving the abuse or outright torture of prisoners. But disturbing disclosures keep coming. This week it's a legal argument by government lawyers who said the president was not bound by laws or treaties prohibiting torture.
Each new revelation makes it more clear that the inhumanity at Abu Ghraib grew out of a morally dubious culture of legal expediency and a disregard for normal behavior fostered at the top of this administration. It is part of the price the nation must pay for President Bush's decision to take the extraordinary mandate to fight terrorism that he was granted by a grieving nation after 9/11 and apply it without justification to Iraq.
Since the Abu Ghraib scandal broke into public view, the administration has contended that a few sadistic guards acted on their own to commit the crimes we've all seen in pictures and videos. At times, the White House has denied that any senior official was aware of the situation, as it did with Red Cross reports documenting a pattern of prisoner abuse in Iraq. In response to a rising pile of documents proving otherwise, the administration has mounted a "Wizard of Oz" defense, urging Americans not to pay attention to inconvenient evidence.
This week, The Wall Street Journal broke the story of a classified legal brief prepared for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in March 2003 after Guantánamo Bay interrogators complained that they were not getting enough information from terror suspects. The brief cynically suggested that because the president is protecting national security, any ban on torture, even an American law, could not be applied to "interrogation undertaken pursuant to his commander-in-chief authority." Neil A. Lewis and Eric Schmitt reported yesterday in The Times that the document had grown out of a January 2002 Justice Department memo explaining why the Geneva Conventions and American laws against torture did not apply to suspected terrorists.
In the wake of that memo, the White House general counsel advised Mr. Bush that Al Qaeda and the Taliban should be considered outside the Geneva Conventions. But yesterday, Attorney General John Ashcroft assured the Senate Judiciary Committee that Mr. Bush had not ordered torture. These explanations might be more comforting if the administration's definition of what's legal was not so slippery, and if the Pentagon, the Justice Department and the White House were willing to release documents to back up their explanation. Mr. Rumsfeld is still withholding from the Senate his orders on interrogation techniques, among other things.
The Pentagon has said that Mr. Rumsfeld's famous declaration that the Geneva Conventions did not apply in Afghanistan was not a sanction of illegal interrogations, and that everyone knew different rules applied in Iraq. But Mr. Rumsfeld, his top deputies and the highest-ranking generals could not explain to the Senate what the rules were, or even who was in charge of the prisons in Iraq.
We do not know how high up in the chain of command the specific sanction for abusing prisoners was given, and we may never know, because the Army is investigating itself and the Pentagon is stonewalling the Senate Armed Services Committee. It may yet be necessary for Congress to form an investigative panel with subpoena powers to find the answers.
What we have seen, topped by that legalistic treatise on torture, shows clearly that Mr. Bush set the tone for this dreadful situation by pasting a false "war on terrorism" label on the invasion of Iraq.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
Informant: Walter Lippmann
by Charley Reese
Once more, Americans will be forced to vote for a man instead of a policy. It doesn't say much for self-government that the American people are almost never given a chance to vote on major policy issues. The trouble is that Sen. John Kerry, as his campaign has developed, is saying essentially this: I support the same goals as President Bush, but I can pull them off better than he can. What about those Americans who don't share President Bush's goals? ... Well, too bad. You can stay home. Once more, the Democratic Party is proving that it is not really a party of opposition, but rather a tweedledee to the Republican tweedledum. I had some hope and faith in Howard Dean, but unfortunately Kerry has decided to run on the platform 'I am not Bush.'"
Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
by Lance Broughton
We all know what's going to happen in Iraq. The invaders will eventually discover that saving the world for democracy doesn't work in the Middle East. They've never had our sort of democracy because it doesn't work with the various religious factions jostling for power. Like it or lump it, Muslims aren't going to lie down and play dead just to suit political upstarts who consider themselves superior. The Middle East and its oil belong to the Arabs, not the United States and her few allies. The almighty dollar no longer rules supreme. Now we're told that a massive terrorist attack will hit the American mainland shortly. Simply put, the threat of attack is a long established way of frightening the public into subjugation. If you don't back us, the bogeyman will get you. Twin Bang!
Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, warned that he might be risking a contempt citation from Congress, told lawmakers he won't release or discuss memoranda that news reports say offered justification for torturing suspected terrorists. Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked Ashcroft about reports in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times that the Justice Department advised the White House in 2002 and 2003 that it might not be bound by U.S. and international laws prohibiting torture. Ashcroft said he wouldn't reveal advice he gave to President George W. Bush or discuss it with Congress.
Informant: Thomas L. Knapp
Die Theo Müller GmbH & Co. zieht gegen Greenpeace vor Gericht und will die Kampagne gegen Gen-Milch stoppen. Besonders ärgert Müller sich über unsere satirische E-Card
und die Sammlung von Stimmen gegen Gentechnik
Am 9. Juni um 14.00 ist Verhandlung in Köln. Weitere Informationen unter:
Auf unserer Homepage werden wir Sie über den Verlauf der Verhandlung auf dem Laufenden halten.
Viele Grüße aus Hamburg
Um die Überwachung der Ein- und Ausreisenden noch zu steigern und die "virtuellen Grenze" zu schließen, darf die Firma "Accenture" Überwachungstechnik und KnowHow für die USA beschaffen. Bis zu zehn Milliarden USD dürfen die Kontrollphantasien kosten. Die EU ist ja "durch den politischen Streit um Einzelheiten" noch nicht so weit:
Accenture baut digitalen Grenzschutz für USA
In den nächsten fünf bis zehn Jahren will die Behörde unter der Führung von Accenture das Konzept einer "virtuellen Grenze" umsetzen.
Dazu gehört die möglichst lückenlose Registrierung von Reiseunterlagen, Fingerabdrücken und Fotos aller ein- und ausreisenden Ausländer.
Die Investitionen für die digitale Grenzkontrolle, die unter dem Etikett "US-Visit" bereits seit Januar umgesetzt wird, liegt nach Darstellung der Behörde bei "mindestens 10 Mio. $ und maximal 10 Mrd. $".
Die Daten - bislang sind 4,5 Millionen Reisende gespeichert – werden sicherheitshalber erst einmal auf Vorrat gehalten...
Ursprünglich hatte die US-Regierung 27 Länder, darunter auch Deutschland, bis Oktober dieses Jahres zur Einführung von Biometrietechnik in Reisepässen zwingen wollen. Mittlerweile ist der Termin auf Ende 2006 verschoben.
Fingerabdrücke sind ein bewährtes Mittel der elektronischen Identifizierung, das bereits millionenfach in elektronischen Ausweisen eingesetzt wird. Die elektronischen Sensoren sind preiswert, aber bislang einfach zu überlisten. Störend ist das Verbrecher-Image, das der Technik anhaftet.
Quelle: quintessenz-list Digest, Vol 15, Issue 4