Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media

Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media

Pulitzer Prize winner explains how to fix journalism, saying press should 'fire 90% of editors and promote ones you can't control'
Seymour Hersh
Seymour Hersh exposed the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. Photograph: Wally McNamee/Corbis
Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.
It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist".
He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.
Don't even get him started on the New York Times which, he says, spends "so much more time carrying water for Obama than I ever thought they would" – or the death of Osama bin Laden. "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true," he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011 [see footnote].
Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an "independent" Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. "The Pakistanis put out a report, don't get me going on it. Let's put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It's a bullshit report," he says hinting of revelations to come in his book.
The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him.
"It's pathetic, they are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on this guy [Obama]," he declares in an interview with the Guardian.
"It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight. Now that doesn't happen any more. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.
He isn't even sure if the recent revelations about the depth and breadth of surveillance by the National Security Agency will have a lasting effect.

Snowden changed the debate on surveillance

He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden "changed the whole nature of the debate" about surveillance. Hersh says he and other journalists had written about surveillance, but Snowden was significant because he provided documentary evidence – although he is sceptical about whether the revelations will change the US government's policy.
"Duncan Campbell [the British investigative journalist who broke the Zircon cover-up story], James Bamford [US journalist] and Julian Assange and me and the New Yorker, we've all written the notion there's constant surveillance, but he [Snowden] produced a document and that changed the whole nature of the debate, it's real now," Hersh says.
"Editors love documents. Chicken-shit editors who wouldn't touch stories like that, they love documents, so he changed the whole ball game," he adds, before qualifying his remarks.
"But I don't know if it's going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America – the president can still say to voters 'al-Qaida, al-Qaida' and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic," he says.
Holding court to a packed audience at City University in London's summer school on investigative journalism, 76-year-old Hersh is on full throttle, a whirlwind of amazing stories of how journalism used to be; how he exposed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, how he got the Abu Ghraib pictures of American soldiers brutalising Iraqi prisoners, and what he thinks of Edward Snowden.

Hope of redemption

Despite his concern about the timidity of journalism he believes the trade still offers hope of redemption.
"I have this sort of heuristic view that journalism, we possibly offer hope because the world is clearly run by total nincompoops more than ever … Not that journalism is always wonderful, it's not, but at least we offer some way out, some integrity."
His story of how he uncovered the My Lai atrocity is one of old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism and doggedness. Back in 1969, he got a tip about a 26-year-old platoon leader, William Calley, who had been charged by the army with alleged mass murder.
Instead of picking up the phone to a press officer, he got into his car and started looking for him in the army camp of Fort Benning in Georgia, where he heard he had been detained. From door to door he searched the vast compound, sometimes blagging his way, marching up to the reception, slamming his fist on the table and shouting: "Sergeant, I want Calley out now."
Eventually his efforts paid off with his first story appearing in the St Louis Post-Despatch, which was then syndicated across America and eventually earned him the Pulitzer Prize. "I did five stories. I charged $100 for the first, by the end the [London] Times were paying $5,000."
He was hired by the New York Times to follow up the Watergate scandal and ended up hounding Nixon over Cambodia. Almost 30 years later, Hersh made global headlines all over again with his exposure of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Put in the hours

For students of journalism his message is put the miles and the hours in. He knew about Abu Ghraib five months before he could write about it, having been tipped off by a senior Iraqi army officer who risked his own life by coming out of Baghdad to Damascus to tell him how prisoners had been writing to their families asking them to come and kill them because they had been "despoiled".
"I went five months looking for a document, because without a document, there's nothing there, it doesn't go anywhere."
Hersh returns to US president Barack Obama. He has said before that the confidence of the US press to challenge the US government collapsed post 9/11, but he is adamant that Obama is worse than Bush.
"Do you think Obama's been judged by any rational standards? Has Guantanamo closed? Is a war over? Is anyone paying any attention to Iraq? Is he seriously talking about going into Syria? We are not doing so well in the 80 wars we are in right now, what the hell does he want to go into another one for. What's going on [with journalists]?" he asks.
He says investigative journalism in the US is being killed by the crisis of confidence, lack of resources and a misguided notion of what the job entails.
"Too much of it seems to me is looking for prizes. It's journalism looking for the Pulitzer Prize," he adds. "It's a packaged journalism, so you pick a target like – I don't mean to diminish because anyone who does it works hard – but are railway crossings safe and stuff like that, that's a serious issue but there are other issues too.
"Like killing people, how does [Obama] get away with the drone programme, why aren't we doing more? How does he justify it? What's the intelligence? Why don't we find out how good or bad this policy is? Why do newspapers constantly cite the two or three groups that monitor drone killings. Why don't we do our own work?
"Our job is to find out ourselves, our job is not just to say – here's a debate' our job is to go beyond the debate and find out who's right and who's wrong about issues. That doesn't happen enough. It costs money, it costs time, it jeopardises, it raises risks. There are some people – the New York Times still has investigative journalists but they do much more of carrying water for the president than I ever thought they would … it's like you don't dare be an outsider any more."
He says in some ways President George Bush's administration was easier to write about. "The Bush era, I felt it was much easier to be critical than it is [of] Obama. Much more difficult in the Obama era," he said.
Asked what the solution is Hersh warms to his theme that most editors are pusillanimous and should be fired.
"I'll tell you the solution, get rid of 90% of the editors that now exist and start promoting editors that you can't control," he says. I saw it in the New York Times, I see people who get promoted are the ones on the desk who are more amenable to the publisher and what the senior editors want and the trouble makers don't get promoted. Start promoting better people who look you in the eye and say 'I don't care what you say'.
Nor does he understand why the Washington Post held back on the Snowden files until it learned the Guardian was about to publish.
If Hersh was in charge of US Media Inc, his scorched earth policy wouldn't stop with newspapers.
"I would close down the news bureaus of the networks and let's start all over, tabula rasa. The majors, NBCs, ABCs, they won't like this – just do something different, do something that gets people mad at you, that's what we're supposed to be doing," he says.
Hersh is currently on a break from reporting, working on a book which undoubtedly will make for uncomfortable reading for both Bush and Obama.
"The republic's in trouble, we lie about everything, lying has become the staple." And he implores journalists to do something about it.
• This article was amended on 1 October 2013. The original text stated that Hersh sold a story about the My Lai massacre to the New York Times for $5,000 when in fact it was the Times of London. Hersh has pointed out that he was in no way suggesting that Osama bin Laden was not killed in Pakistan, as reported, upon the president's authority: he was saying that it was in the aftermath that the lying began. Finally, the interview took place in the month of July, 2013.

Criminal Charges: Lord Monckton Talks Sheriff Joe Obama Forgery Case


Criminal Charges: Lord Monckton 
Talks Sheriff Joe Obama Forgery Case

Lord Monckton lays out 7 steps that he says will land Obama in jail over his use of forged identity documents.

WND reports: 7 STEPS THAT'LL LAND OBAMA IN JAIL -Exclusive: Lord Monckton has timeline of Sheriff Joe's ongoing forgery case against BHO - Excerpt:

Hundreds of other relevant officials have deliberately looked the other way and have thus repudiated their oaths of office. Not one has replied to the effect that the evidence is insufficient to warrant action. Nearly all have not replied at all.

In effect, the bureaucratic class have become conspirators with Mr. Obama in a corrupt betrayal of the Constitution. Those who should have acted will all be prosecuted. They will be jailed with him when their failure to act when the evidence was put under their noses becomes a focus of the ever-widening investigation the implacably determined sheriff continues to conduct.

Step 3: Get briefed. For two reasons, the GOP caucus should get its wobbly bottom down to Phoenix and get itself up to speed on the investigation.

First, the chief investigator, Mike Zullo, is no longer making public the results of his inquiries. The initial findings were publicized to attract people with evidence to come forward. That tactic worked. It is now clear to the investigators that criminal charges will be brought. So they cannot compromise the coming prosecution by saying what they know.

Secondly, the sheriff has now called in professional, full-time detectives to supplement the unpaid volunteers who have, until now, doggedly worked unrewarded and unthanked. Joe Arpaio would never have taken that step unless he were very sure of his ground.

Step 4: Prepare a bill to remove from the statute-book every act of Congress or executive order signed by Mr. Obama. They are all invalid.

Step 5: Don’t expect anyone to arrest Mr. Obama while he is still the people’s tenant. The sheriff is all too conscious of the extraordinary extent to which every relevant federal investigating authority is willfully providing cover for Mr. Obama on the flimsy ground that the international community would think less well of America if the scandal became public.

However, in 2016 Mr Obama will no longer be protected by the office to which he is not on any view entitled. At that point, various agencies will belatedly scramble to start doing the job they should be doing now, in the vain hope of evading prosecution for acting as accessories after the fact of forgery. [...] - Continued @ WND.


FLASHBACK:

New York Times Had Reporter 'Talking to the Attackers' During Benghazi Massacre

New York Times Had Reporter 'Talking to the Attackers' During Benghazi Massacre

The New York Times had a reporter talking to attackers on the ground during the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans in September of 2012, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, and that reporter may know the identity of some of the murderers and perpetrators.

David Kirkpatrick is the Times reporter who wrote the story that forced the paper's Editorial page editor to defensively declare on Monday that it has not chosen to endorse Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. The editor said that the paper had a reporter on the ground who was witnessing the attacks. 
That admission is even in Kirpatrick's story, which, as Breitbart News reported, has received considerable blowback for attempting to "whitewash the Benghazi tragedy." The Times alleges that there was no al-Qaeda involvement in the attacks that killed four Americans (contradicting the paper's own reporting), that murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had "little understanding" of the region, and that the terrorists were motivated by an anti-Muhammed YouTube video:
Soon scores, if not hundreds, of others were racing to the scene. Some arrived with guns, some with cameras. The attackers had posted sentries at Venezia Road, adjacent to the compound, to guard their rear flank, but they let pass anyone trying to join the mayhem. Witnesses said young men rushing inside had left empty pickup trucks from Ansar al-Shariah, but also all the other big militias ostensibly allied with the government.
There is no doubt that anger over the video motivated many attackers. A Libyan journalist working for The New York Times was blocked from entering by the sentries outside, and he learned of the film from the fighters who stopped him. Other Libyan witnesses, too, said they received lectures from the attackers about the evil of the film and the virtue of defending the prophet.
Kirkpatrick tweeted Monday night that the Times had "a reporter on the scene talking to the attackers during the attack." His tweet prompted those on Twitter, including a former U.N. spokesperson for George W. Bush, to wonder if the Times knew who the attackers were and whether the reporter who was on the ground witnessed the murder of a U.S. Ambassador without calling for help:
@RichardGrenell we had a reporter on the scene talking to the attackers during the attack- still invaluable
— David D. Kirkpatrick (@ddknyt) December 30, 2013
NYT reporter says NYT knows who Benghazi attackers are > @ddknyt: we had a reporter on the scene talking to the attackers during the attack
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) December 31, 2013
@RichardGrenell @ddknyt Was the @nytimes reporter supposedly in #Benghazi witnessing the murder of Amb. Stevens an American?
— Robert C. O'Brien (@robertcobrien) December 31, 2013
@RichardGrenell @ddknyt Did the @nytimes supposedly in #Benghazi have a SAT phone? Did he call for help for Amb. Stevens & Sean Smith?
— Robert C. O'Brien (@robertcobrien) December 31, 2013

EUPHRATES RIVER DRYING UP: New York Times notes connection to Book of Revelation and the End Times

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2009 at 1:49 am
NYT caption: "A boy rested on the mud in a dried-up section of the Euphrates River near Jubaish, Iraq, in June."
NYT caption: "A boy rested on the mud in a dried-up section of the Euphrates River near Jubaish, Iraq, in June."
UPDATE — Diplomats: Iran has means to test bomb in 6 months
The front page of Tuesday morning’s New York Times had a stunning headline: “Iraq Suffers as the Euphrates River Dwindles.”
The drying up of this historic river in the land of ancient Babylon is so stunning, that even the Times had to note that Bible prophecy says this will happen in the “last days” of history, in the lead up to the apocalyptic battle of Armageddon described in the Book of Revelation.

Excerpts from the Times story: “Throughout the marshes, the reed gatherers, standing on land they once floated over, cry out to visitors in a passing boat. ‘Maaku mai!’ they shout, holding up their rusty sickles. ‘There is no water!’ The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by the water policies of Iraq’s neighbors, Turkey and Syria; a two-year drought; and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago. Some officials worry that it could soon be half of what it is now. The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, has left fishermen impoverished and has depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the cities looking for work.” [More photos of the drying-up Euphrates from the NYT.]

Please note that I did not add in the link above to the “Bible Gateway” website for Revelation 16:12. The Times’ online edition includes that link themselves. Apparently the newspaper of record now believes that the future of Iraq in light of Bible prophecy is part of “all the news that’s fit to print.”
To be clear, we will not see the complete fulfillment of Revelation 16 until during the seven-year period of judgment and bloodshed that the Bible calls the “Tribulation.” Indeed, it is possible that we will see the drought end and the Lord bless Iraq with abundant water in the coming years that will make the prophecy cited seem all that more dramatic in its proper time. Only time will tell. But it’s certainly another curious development.

I’d recommend skeptics stay tuned. This is just the beginning of the dramatic headlines to come.
* To learn more about the upcoming 9/11 event — the “National Town Hall Meeting on the Threat of Radical Islam and the Church’s Response” — and/or to sign up your church or ministry for the special, high resolution webcast, please click here.
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NEW YORK – Atrocities by Syrian jihadist rebels have reached sensational new levels, according to a revered nun working with persecuted Christians and an explosive new video report.
Sister Hatune Dogan told WND in a Skype interview that members of the Syrian opposition are draining the blood of Christians they behead and selling vials to Islamic radicals for $100,000 a piece.
The Syrian Orthodox nun explained that the blood is used in a ritual washing of hands in the belief the act atones for sins and provides privileged access to heaven.
The Christians, she said, are beheaded in ceremonies in which they are forced to kneel, with their hands and feet bound, as the Muslim radicals read a death sentence imposed because the victim refuses to renounce Christianity and embrace Islam.
She detailed how the head of the victim is brutally severed with knives. The blood spurting from their necks is captured in basins and then bottled.
“The Muslims sever the necks and collect the blood in vessels to sell the blood. The Muslims believe that if they kill a Christian and wash their hands in the blood of the Christian, they will go to heaven,” she explained.
She said the sale of the Christian blood “is a big business.”
“With this money, the Muslim terrorists can buy more weapons,” she explained.
Walid Shoebat, a native Arabic-speaking Christian who was a member of the PLO, has called Hatune a Mother Teresa figure in an article that featured her presenting the results of an independent investigation of Christians in Syria under the rule of Muslim fundamentalists.
A video posted on YouTube shows Hatune presenting the results of the investigation in which she discusses how women held captive by Muslims for ransom have been raped and mutilated. She also presents evidence for her claim Muslims are beheading Christians and selling their blood.
See Sister Hatune’s presentation of her findings:
“Hatune’s willingness to help the persecuted is so immense that it surpasses what anyone is doing today in the Middle East,” Shoebat has written on his blog.
“Her righteous deeds, of course, receive the vociferous wrath of the jihadists,” Shoebat said.
The nun says she gets “18 death threats in seven languages.”
“But Sister Hatune is no pacifist,” Shoebat writes. “As she ardently believes in denying one’s self, helping the oppressed and turning the other cheek, like a true warrior, she as well zealously believes in taking up a whip and driving out the wicked.”
Independently, Shoebat has published a video of Sunni Muslims playing soccer with the heads of the people they murdered.
WND Middle East correspondent Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the office of the secretary of defense, said the “vociferous wrath” from jihadists that Hatune is receiving because of her vigorous effort to protect Christians has made her a prime target of al-Qaida and its affiliate, the Jabhat al-Nusra.
“Al-Nusra, which wants to establish caliphates in Syria and throughout the Middle East, has amply demonstrated that it will kill any ‘infidel,’ even Muslims, who do not subscribe to a strict form of Shariah,” Maloof said. “This places all Christians and other minorities in peril which, in turn, puts Sister Hatune and her companions in al-Nusra’s crosshairs.”
Hatune explained to WND that she was born into a Christian family in Zaz, a village in Turabdeen, Northern Mesopotamia in Turkey, at a time when Christians were being persecuted by both by Turkish and Kurdish Muslims.
According to a biography, her family migrated from Turkey to Germany in 1985 to escape persecution.
She completed her education in Germany. In 1988, she joined the Morephrem Monastery in Losser, Holland, where she entered the sisterhood under the leadership of the Mother Superior Seyde Atto.
In Germany, she completed her degree in practical theology at the Theological Seminar in Mienz, Germany, in 1996. Later, she worked as a psychotherapist in Kathekese Psychotherapy Institute in Augustburg, Germany.
She has visited 38 countries and worked in the Ministry of Charitable and Social Service in Turkey, Africa, India and the Middle East.
She is a member of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church under the Holy See of Antioch.
Hatune is the founder of the Sister Hatune Foundation, registered in the United States in New York. The foundation has a Facebook page. Her various country-specific Internet websites are frequently hacked and often inoperable.
Shoebat has begun accepting contributions through a foundation he created for Hatune, RescueChristians.org.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/nun-slain-christians-blood-drained-and-sold/#BTeES4xucIZTbaR1.99
“A young woman was restrained, force-fed and injected with cosmetics in a high street shop window as part of a hard-hitting protest against animal testing.
Jacqueline Traide was tortured in front of hundreds of horrified shoppers in a bid to raise awareness and end the practise.
The 24-year-old endured 10 hours of experiments, which included having her hair shaved and irritants squirted in her eyes, as part of a worldwide campaign by Lush Cosmetics and The Humane Society.
The disturbing stunt took place in Lush’s Regent Street store, one of the UK’s busiest shopping streets.
Jacqueline appeared genuinely terrified as she was pinned down on a bench and had her mouth stretched open with two metal hooks while a man in a white coat force-fed her until she choked and gagged.
The artist was also injected with numerous needles, had her skin braised and lotions and creams smeared across her face.
Passers-by were gobsmacked to see Jacqueline, a social sculpture student at Oxford Brookes University, forced to have a section of her head shaved.
The gruesome spectacle aimed to highlight the cruelty inflicted on animals during cosmetic laboratory tests and raise awareness that animal testing is still a common practise.
The Humane Society International and Lush Cosmetics have joined forces to launch the largest-ever global campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics.
The campaign, launched to coincide with World Week for Animals in Laboratories, is being rolled out simultaneously in over 700 Lush Ltd shops across forty-seven countries including the United States, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Russia.
Lush campaign manager Tamsin Omond said: “The ironic thing is that if it was a beagle in the window and we were doing all these things to it, we’d have the police and RSPCA here in minutes.
“But somewhere in the world, this kind of thing is happening to an animal every few seconds on average.
“The difference is, it’s normally hidden. We need to remind people it is still going on.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.fightinganimaltesting.com”
I HOPE EVERYONE READS THIS AND REBLOGS IT!
A young woman was restrained, force-fed and injected with cosmetics in a high street shop window as part of a hard-hitting protest against animal testing.
Jacqueline Traide was tortured in front of hundreds of horrified shoppers in a bid to raise awareness and end the practise.
The 24-year-old endured 10 hours of experiments, which included having her hair shaved and irritants squirted in her eyes, as part of a worldwide campaign by Lush Cosmetics and The Humane Society.
The disturbing stunt took place in Lush’s Regent Street store, one of the UK’s busiest shopping streets.
Jacqueline appeared genuinely terrified as she was pinned down on a bench and had her mouth stretched open with two metal hooks while a man in a white coat force-fed her until she choked and gagged.
The artist was also injected with numerous needles, had her skin braised and lotions and creams smeared across her face.
Passers-by were gobsmacked to see Jacqueline, a social sculpture student at Oxford Brookes University, forced to have a section of her head shaved.
The gruesome spectacle aimed to highlight the cruelty inflicted on animals during cosmetic laboratory tests and raise awareness that animal testing is still a common practise.
The Humane Society International and Lush Cosmetics have joined forces to launch the largest-ever global campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics.
The campaign, launched to coincide with World Week for Animals in Laboratories, is being rolled out simultaneously in over 700 Lush Ltd shops across forty-seven countries including the United States, Canada, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Russia.
Lush campaign manager Tamsin Omond said: “The ironic thing is that if it was a beagle in the window and we were doing all these things to it, we’d have the police and RSPCA here in minutes.
“But somewhere in the world, this kind of thing is happening to an animal every few seconds on average.
“The difference is, it’s normally hidden. We need to remind people it is still going on.”
For more information about the campaign, visit www.fightinganimaltesting.com
I HOPE EVERYONE READS THIS AND REBLOGS IT!

50 USC Chapter 13 - INSURRECTION


 

50 USC Chapter 13 - INSURRECTION


LII has no control over and does not endorse any external Internet site that contains links to or references LII.
 
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Bybee torture letter
 
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Back in the USSR: The Sovietization of American Life

Back in the USSR: The Sovietization of American Life
The ordeal of Ilija Trojanov
by , October 04, 2013
Ilija Trojanov was at the airport in Brazil’s Salvador da Bahia, on September 30, checking in for his flight to the United States, when the person behind the American Airlines counter told him that the computer had issued a "Border Security Crossing" alert – and that it was necessary to contact the American authorities before he could be issued a boarding pass. As the time for his flight approached he was told the airline was forced to refuse him entry to the flight – and that he must return to Germany.
Trojanov is an acclaimed author of 20 books, including Along the Ganges, Collector of Worlds, and Mumbai to Mecca. He is the co-author of Angriff auf die Freiheit (Attack on Freedom), with Juli Zeh, a 2009 jeremiad against State surveillance. Trojanov was on his way to the Denver conference of the German Studies Association, and had been issued an invitation to appear at the Goethe-Institut’s "New Literature From Europe" Festival in November.
He had earlier been denied a visa to enter the United States, but with the help of an American university he was finally granted his travel papers: thus the "security alert" came as a surprise.
So why all the trouble over traveling to the US?
In response to media queries, the US embassy in Berlin had "no comment" to make. That’s because no comment was necessary: Trojanov was among the prominent signers of an open letter addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel protesting NSA surveillance on German soil as an "historic attack on our democratic, constitutional state." That is clearly the reason for this Soviet-style harassment by the Obama administration.
This latest outrage is part of a disturbing pattern of repression that all points to one ineluctable conclusion: the United States is the Soviet Union of the new millennium – an ideological state with global ambitions that holds itself up as the epitome of "freedom" and yet is the single most powerful enemy of liberty worldwide.
Trojanov’s history makes this Soviet-style persecution all the more ironic: he and his family fled Bulgaria when he was very young, seeking refuge in the former Yugoslavia and finally being granted political asylum in Germany. During the regional uprising against Soviet domination and the revolts against the dictatorship of the Communist parties of the Warsaw Pact, the peoples of Eastern Europe looked to the United States as the torchbearer of freedom and the symbol of all their hopes for a better future: that one of those hopefuls is now being barred from entering "the land of the free and the home of the brave" on account of his political views is utterly sickening.
The American PEN Center, representing thousands of American writers, has issued a formal protest to our clueless Secretary of State, who’s too busy arguing for funding Al Qaeda jihadists in Syria to be bothered with answering for travel restrictions on ideological grounds: the German government is also making "inquiries." Washington’s response continues to be "no comment."
Okay, so it’s only this one guy, and maybe it’s a mistake, and why am I making such a big deal about this?
Because it isn’t only just one guy: as the Pen Center points out, "Mr. Trojanov is at least the third member of one of our international affiliates who has been barred from entering the United States since September 2001" on ideological grounds, and it doesn’t stop there. While the Bush administration was no friend of the freedom to travel, the Obamaites have escalated the government’s attack on visitors it deems politically incorrect.
When writers and journalists are targets of government repression, you know you have a problem – a big problem – on your hands. And that is precisely the case here in the US. Why else would the Committee to Protect Journalists be doing a study – for the first time – of the mounting difficulties put in the way of reporters in America? Facing prosecution for "espionage" on account of their probing into Washington’s spying on its own citizens, as well as others worldwide, US journalists find themselves increasingly in the crosshairs of Justice Department prosecutors, who are taking some lessons from their Soviet forebears:
"For three decades, the Committee to Protect Journalists has reported on assaults on press freedoms in China, Iran, Syria and other countries with government regimes traditionally hostile to a free and robust news media.
"This year, for the first time, the Committee is conducting a major investigation of attacks on press freedoms by the U.S. government, led by an Arizona State University professor.
"’Journalists working in the United States have told us that their work has become more difficult as aggressive leak investigations and prosecutions have chilled certain kinds of reporting,’ said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists."
What in the name of all that’s holy is going on?
An empire is, invariably, a tyranny, no matter how it starts out. In its efforts to extend its frontiers, and protect its conquests, the US imperium must inevitably repress those who stand against it, who question it, and who report its depredations to the world. As the great Old Right polemicist Garet Garrett put it in his 1952 pamphlet, Rise of Empire:
"A second mark by which you may unmistakably distinguish Empire is: ‘Domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy.’
"That happened to Rome. It has happened to every Empire. … the fact now to be faced is that it has happened also to us.
"It needs hardly to be argued that as we convert the nation into a garrison state to build the most terrible war machine that has ever been imagined on earth, every domestic policy is bound to be conditioned by our foreign policy.
"The voice of government is saying that if our foreign policy fails we are ruined. It is all or nothing. Our survival as a free nation is at hazard.
"That makes it simple, for in that case there is no domestic policy that may not have to be sacrificed to the necessities of foreign policy – even freedom."
Our "small government" conservatives may labor in the vineyards of politics, pushing back here and there, and perhaps even winning a victory or two on occasion, but their efforts will prove ephemeral and utterly doomed unless and until they take aim at the Empire. As long as the frontiers of "American interests" are indefinitely extended until they cover the earth from Thailand to Timbuktu, all efforts to rein in the Leviathan must end in defeat. As Ron Paul has pointed out time and again: our foreign policy is the problem, the number one reason why liberty is being martyred to the gods of authority.
Trojanov must be denied entry because, after all, isn’t the NSA our great Bulwark Against Terrorism? Isn’t its all-pervasive presence necessary for our very survival as a nation? Aren’t we engaged in a Global War on Terrorism in which defeat is not an option?
And so we go from naming terrorists in a cave somewhere as our enemies to targeting writers, journalists, and indeed anyone who raises his or her head and questions this fatal monomania.
It this fearsome tide irreversible? No. But the hour grows late, and the confusion amongst the last remaining friends of liberty is considerable. Either we rid ourselves of the albatross of imperial ambition or else we lose what once made this nation worth fighting for.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).

A Guide to the Memos on Torture

OMPLETE COVERAGE

A Guide to the Memos on Torture

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have disclosed memorandums that show a pattern in which Bush administration lawyers set about devising arguments to avoid constraints against mistreatment and torture of detainees. Administration officials responded by releasing hundreds of pages of previously classified documents related to the development of a policy on detainees.
Additional documents were released in December and January by the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a civil lawsuit seeking to discover the extent of abuse of prisoners by the military. Those papers are posted at aclu.org.
2002
JANUARY A series of memorandums from the Justice Department, many of them written by John C. Yoo, a University of California law professor who was serving in the department, provided arguments to keep United States officials from being charged with war crimes for the way prisoners were detained and interrogated. The memorandums, principally one written on Jan. 9, provided legal arguments to support administration officials' assertions that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to detainees from the war in Afghanistan.
RELATED SITES
Yoo's Memo on Avoiding Geneva Conventions (PDF document)

Gonzales JAN. 25 Alberto R. Gonzales, the White House counsel, in a memorandum to President Bush, said that the Justice Department's advice in the Jan. 9 memorandum was sound and that Mr. Bush should declare the Taliban and Al Qaeda outside the coverage of the Geneva Conventions. That would keep American officials from being exposed to the federal War Crimes Act, a 1996 law that carries the death penalty.
RELATED SITES
Gonzales's Memo to Bush (PDF document)

Powell JAN. 26 In a memorandum to the White House, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the advantages of applying the Geneva Conventions far outweighed their rejection. He said that declaring the conventions inapplicable would "reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practice in supporting the Geneva Conventions and undermine the protections of the laws of war for our troops." He also said it would "undermine public support among critical allies."
RELATED SITES
Powell's Memo to White House (PDF document)

FEB. 2 A memorandum from William H. Taft IV, the State Department's legal adviser, to Mr. Gonzales warned that the broad rejection of the Geneva Conventions posed several problems. "A decision that the conventions do not apply to the conflict in Afghanistan in which our armed forces are engaged deprives our troops there of any claim to the protection of the conventions in the event they are captured." An attachment to this memorandum, written by a State Department lawyer, showed that most of the administration's senior lawyers agreed that the Geneva Conventions were inapplicable. The attachment noted that C.I.A. lawyers asked for an explicit understanding that the administration's public pledge to abide by the spirit of the conventions did not apply to its operatives.
RELATED
Taft's Memo on Rejection of Geneva Conventions (PDF document)

FEB. 7 In a directive that set new rules for handling prisoners captured in Afghanistan, President Bush broadly cited the need for "new thinking in the law of war." He ordered that all people detained as part of the fight against terrorism should be treated humanely even if the United States considered them not to be protected by the Geneva Conventions, the White House said. Document released by White House.
RELATED SITES
Bush's Directive on Treatment of Detainees (PDF document)

Bybee AUGUST A memorandum from Jay S. Bybee, with the Office of Legal Counsel in the Justice Department, provided a rationale for using torture to extract information from Qaeda operatives. It provided complex definitions of torture that seemed devised to allow interrogators to evade being charged with that offense.
RELATED SITES
Justice Dept. Memo on Torture (PDF document)
Letter by Author of Memo on Torture to White House Counsel

Dec. 2 Memo from Defense Department detailing the policy for interrogation techniques to be used for people seized in Afghanistan. Document released by White House.
RELATED SITES
Defense Dept. Memo on Afghanistan Detainees (PDF document)

2003
MARCH A memorandum prepared by a Defense Department legal task force drew on the January and August memorandums to declare that President Bush was not bound by either an international treaty prohibiting torture or by a federal anti-torture law because he had the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation's security. The memorandum also said that executive branch officials, including those in the military, could be immune from domestic and international prohibitions against torture for a variety of reasons, including a belief by interrogators that they were acting on orders from superiors "except where the conduct goes so far as to be patently unlawful.'
APRIL A memorandum from Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to Gen. James T. Hill outlined 24 permitted interrogation techniques, 4 of which were considered stressful enough to require Mr. Rumsfeld's explicit approval. Defense Department officials say it did not refer to the legal analysis of the month before.
RELATED SITES
Rumsfeld's Memo on Interrogation Techniques (PDF document)

DEC. 24 A letter to the International Committee of the Red Cross over the signature of Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski was prepared by military lawyers. The letter, a response to the Red Cross's concern about conditions at Abu Ghraib, contended that isolating some inmates at the prison for interrogation because of their significant intelligence value was a "military necessity," and said prisoners held as security risks could legally be treated differently from prisoners of war or ordinary criminals.
Other Memorandums
Some have been described in reports in The Times and elsewhere, but their exact contents have not been disclosed. These include a memorandum that provided advice to interrogators to shield them from liability from the Convention Against Torture, an international treaty and the Anti-Torture Act, a federal law. This memorandum provided what has been described as a script in which officials were advised that they could avoid responsibility if they were able to plausibly contend that the prisoner was in the custody of another government and that the United States officials were just getting the information from the other country's interrogation. The memorandum advised that for this to work, the United States officials must be able to contend that the prisoner was always in the other country's custody and had not been transferred there. International law prohibits the "rendition" of prisoners to countries if the possibility of mistreatment can be anticipated.
Neil A. Lewis contributed to this report. Online Document Sources: Findlaw.com and National Security Archive, George Washington University (gwu.edu)

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nterview by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Interfax news agency, 21 December 2013

Interview by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Interfax news agency, 21 December 2013

    
 
 
Question: Sergey Viktorovich, was the outgoing year successful for the Russian foreign policy? What were main things for the Russian diplomacy in 2013?
Answer: Principled assessments of the international situation, actions of the Russian diplomacy in priority directions were described by the President Vladimir Putin in his Address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of 12 December. For my part, I would like to make the following note.
The outgoing year will stay in our memories as uneasy period in international affairs. The world development acquired more contradictory and dynamic nature both at global and regional level. The process of the establishment of a new polycentric system of the world order was accompanied by the complication of international relations, escalation of global competition, rivalry of value navigators and development models.
In these conditions, Russia acted in a firm, thought-out and balanced way, as any large and responsible state should act, on the basis of the updated Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation approved by the President Vladimir Putin in February. Basic principles of the foreign policy course of the country, which proved their efficiency, were further developed in it. First of all, these are autonomy, independence, pragmatism, openness, multi-vector nature, consequent, but confrontation-free advancement of Russian national interests.  Full story Full Story
 
 
 
 
 
Interview by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to RIA Novosti news agency, Moscow, 20 December 2013

    
 
 
Question: Sergey Viktorovich we review the results of the outgoing year, which was sufficiently important for the Russian diplomacy: there were many events, which have become a noticeable success, for example, agreements on Syria, Iran. What is the secret of your success?
Sergey Lavrov: If we review the main things in brief, all these years we have been following a consistent foreign policy. It is not volatile. It is based on principles of respect for international law, the central role of the UN, ensuring exclusively peaceful nature of conflict settlement, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity of states, unacceptability of forceful methods of interference in one or another crisis bypassing the UN Security Council. These principles together with pragmatism, multivectoral nature and readiness to defend our lawful national interests without any confrontation are stipulated in the Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation approved by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of 12 February 2013. The President Vladimir Putin in his Address to the Federal Assembly of 12 December emphasised sufficiently clearly that we do not interfere into affairs of other states, we teach nobody to live, but attempt to be leaders in defence of universal norms of international law, which I have already mentioned.  Full story Full Story
 
 
 
 
 
Speech by the Russian Foreign Minister and his answers to questions from the mass media summarizing the results of the Committee for the Russian-Polish Cooperation Strategy, Warsaw, 19 December 2013

    
 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have held a session of the Committee for the Russian-Polish Cooperation Strategy, where we reviewed main areas of our bilateral interaction. Representatives of ministries and agencies of the two countries dealing with issues of trade, economic and investment cooperation, development of cultural, humanitarian and educational ties participated in the session.
We consider this format to be rather effective, and we are delighted to report that our work resulted in the signature (in front of your eyes) of the Programme 2020 in Russian-Polish relations. This is the first such document and I think that it will let us achieve more impressive results in our interaction to attach new quality to the relations between our countries, peoples, which we have always viewed as friendly and neighbourly. We wish to further reinforce these feelings between our people.
Programme 2020 consists of three large sections – all are related to our interaction on the international stage. We agreed to further develop and strengthen cooperation in the UN, including the reinforcement of the role of this Organisation in international affairs, to interact within the OSCE, the Council of Europe, within the ambit of the relations between Russia and the European Union, as well as to build up efficiency and trust within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council.  Full story Full Story
 
 
 
 See Also:
 
 31.12.2013 
 Comment by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexander Lukashevich regarding the legalisation of cannabis in Uruguay
 
 
 31.12.2013 
 Comment by the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexander Lukashevich in connection with the visit to the Yasukuni Shrine by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinz┼Ź Abe
 
 
 31.12.2013 
 Reply by the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Alexander Lukashevich, to the question of the mass media regarding the position of Belgrade in the South Stream project in connection with the forthcoming initiation of talks about Serbia’s accession to the European Union
 
 
 31.12.2013 
 Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding new terrorist attacks in Iraq
 
 
 31.12.2013 
 Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the escalation in Palestinian territories
 
 
 31.12.2013 
 Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the further aggravation of the situation in South
 
 
 31.12.2013 
 Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the terrorist attack in Egypt
 
 
 27.12.2013 
 Article of Vladimir Chizhov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the EU, “Freedom of movement in changing Europe: example of Russia and the EU”, published in “New Europe”, December 15, 2013
 
 
 20.12.2013 
 Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the US draft UNSC press release
 
 
 20.12.2013 
 Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the development of the situation around the Syrian chemical site in Sukkari District
 
 
 20.12.2013 
 Meeting between the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Head of the Israeli National Security Council Yossi Cohen