BP Stonewalling Compensation to Gulf Residents

Stephen Lendman

On April 23, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Quick Help for the Gulf," mocking grave environmental damage as well as affected communities and residents in typical Times cavalier fashion, saying:

BP's April 21 announced "$1 billion down payment on its obligation to restore the Gulf of Mexico to good health is such welcome news that it seems almost churlish to offer caveats" or question its motives.

In fact, BP committed America's greatest ever environmental crime, destroying the entire Gulf, as well as the welfare, livelihoods, health and futures of millions of coastal residents, a disaster perhaps no amount of money can restore, but don't expect BP even to try.

However, saying "(l)ong-term restoration is a goal we have backed ever since Hurricane Katrina," The Times dismissively suggested $1 billion "is enough for now just to get started." In fact, it's inconsequential pocket change for the incalculable human, economic and environmental toll. But don't expect Times editors to explain.

Others do, however, including Dahr Jamail, detailing Gulf "toxicity, suffering and death" on April 16, and on April 20, its "criminal negligence," discussing mounting lawsuits for what BP won't pay.

Ryan Lambert is one of many affected. Jamail quoted him saying:

"I'm seeing people starving to death and BP won't pay them....They know what they did is wrong and they still won't pay me (or most others). I'm done playing their games. All they are doing is starving people out and trying to get them to take (pocket change settlements to) give up their right to sue. I know thousands of people in the fishing industry, and I don't know one person who has been made whole yet."

In previous articles, Jamail covered similar ground, highlighting the plight of Gulf residents stonewalled by BP and Kenneth Feinberg's firm, paid nearly $1 million a month to administer compensation by denying it, a dirty expertise he developed years ago handling previous settlement cases.

Guantanamo documents reveal US brutality and lawlessness

Patrick Martin

A detainee peers through a plastic window in Camp Iguana detention
facility on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Wednesday,
Nov. 19, 2008. (AP/Brennan Linsley)

A new trove of documents released Sunday night by WikiLeaks profiles more than 700 prisoners who passed through the Guantanamo Bay detention camp between 2002 and 2009. The documents demonstrate that, even in the eyes of the US military/intelligence apparatus, there was no evidence connecting the vast majority of the prisoners to any form of terrorism, let alone terrorist threats against the United States and US citizens.

The documents consist largely of Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), short summaries of the alleged evidence against individual detainees, as well as accounts of their physical and mental health, how they came into US custody, their value as intelligence sources and their eventual disposition, if any. Along with the DABs on 704 prisoners—out of 779 men believed to have been imprisoned at Guantanamo for any length of time—there are documents providing guidelines for interrogators and other procedures at the US-run prison camp in Cuba.

The documents require careful review, but certain preliminary conclusions can be drawn immediately from the digests which have appeared in a dozen newspapers and magazines, some of which are collaborating with WikiLeaks and others which are openly hostile to the whistle-blower web site. There is also a useful summary posted on WikiLeaks itself (http://wikileaks.ch/gitmo/).

Few of the DABs contain any detail on the interrogation techniques practiced by US torturers at CIA “black prisons,” before the victims arrived at Guantanamo, or at Guantanamo itself. But there are several references to torture, without using that word, perpetrated by US allies on a contract basis. Thus, Australian prisoner Mamdouh Habib is described as having undergone “severe duress” at an Egyptian prison before he was sent to Guantanamo. During those interrogations, he made the absurd claim to having personally trained in martial arts six of the 19 terrorists who perpetrated the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Gulf allies: A record of repression and torture

Ed Hightower

US State Department human rights reports

The US State Department recently released its “2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.” This year’s annual report provides details on human rights conditions in over 190 countries. Included are reports on the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which represents the US-backed monarchies of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

This Saudi-dominated alliance backed the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya, and has provided key support for the attack on Libya by the United States and European powers. The GCC has also provided military and police personnel to put down insurrections against the repressive regimes in Bahrain and Yemen.

While the US seeks to cloak its imperialist assault on Libya in “humanitarian” terms, its allies in the GCC are guilty of widespread violations of human rights and practice repression and torture in their own countries. This WSWS series examines these human rights abuses as documented in the State Department reports. This installment covers Bahrain. For our report on Saudi Arabia, click here; for Qatar click here.

CIA in Honduras: the Practice of Selective Terror

Nil Nikandrov

"It is an established pattern that political murders become widespread wherever the US “helps restore democracy”."

President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya was displaced slightly over a year ago in a coup staged by the local oligarchy and the US intelligence community. The coup came as a punishment for Zelaya’s alignment with H. Chavez and other populist Latin American leaders. Since the time, the news flow from Honduras abounds with stories of political assassinations, the victims being activists of trade unions, peasant and student organizations, and the National Popular Resistance Front opposing the pro-US regime of Porfirio Lobo. Ten journalists who expressed support for the ousted Honduran president have been killed this year alone.

The most recent case of the type was the murder of Israel Zelaya, 56, who was kidnapped by an armed group which easily crossed by car numerous police checkpoints set up as a part of the security-tightening campaign. The journalist was taken to a secluded location, tortured, and shot two times in the head and once – in the chest.

Dozens of similar incidents show that a program of ”political cleansing” is underway in Honduras. Killers selectively target potential leaders capable of galvanizing protesters. Peasant leader Maria Teresa Flores, 50, was the coordinator of the Council of Peasant Organizations of Honduras and a proponent of an agrarian reform including the abolition of latifundias and the establishment of rural cooperatives. She was kidnapped, and a week later her bullet-ridden body with numerous traces of machete strikes and one hand cut off was found by the roadside in the Comayagua department.

Only a fraction of the cases of political assassinations in Honduras become widely known. The operations are carried out in secrecy by specially trained and lavishly paid death squads staffed by police agents, bandits, and professional killers of Honduran origin or brought in from Columbia. These days, mass graves of opponents of the current regime are discovered in Honduras increasingly often. It is an established pattern that political murders become widespread wherever the US “helps restore democracy”. Berta Oliva, president of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, told the media a few days ago about the discovery of another mass grave with the bodies of over 100 people reported missing in June-August, that is, after the coup that propelled P. Lobo to power.

Vik, You Are missed

Vera Macht
Gilad Atzmon's Blog

You are missed with such an intensity that makes you even more present. In all of our minds, in all of our hearts. It's your absence that makes your strength, your kindness and your impressive dedication to people and to humanity so incredibly present.

You are missed as a symbol of the struggle for justice, and for the value of each individual, the value of especially those people who seem to have been forgotten.

You are missed in this world. Vik, I miss you in my world. I miss you as my best friend, as the one who was always there in the last year, in good and bad times. You once told me I should smile, because my smile would light you. But Vik, it was you who made me laugh. Not only by your great sense of humor, but through your unique way to make the world around you a little brighter, just by being there. Everybody who knew you knows that, even those who met you even just once.

You cast a spell on people, through your charisma, through your personality, through your warmth. The world has become a bit darker without you, and it is also my own little world that has become a bit darker through your absence.

And Gaza of course, which I can’t imagine without you, probably no one here can imagine it without you yet. Your Arabic vocabulary of: Mushkile? Leeesh? Mish Mushkile! Yallah! was completely enough to brighten up the people around you, and to make everyone in Gaza your rafiq and your rafiqa.

Childhood’s End

Theodore Dalrymple
City Journal

The British, never fond of children, have lost all knowledge or intuition about how to raise them; as a consequence, they now fear them, perhaps the most terrible augury possible for a society.

Britain is the worst country in the Western world in which to be a child, according to a recent UNICEF report. Ordinarily, I would not set much store by such a report; but in this case, I think it must be right—not because I know so much about childhood in all the other 20 countries examined but because the childhood that many British parents give to their offspring is so awful that it is hard to conceive of worse, at least on a mass scale. The two poles of contemporary British child rearing are neglect and overindulgence.

Consider one British parent, Fiona MacKeown, who in November 2007 went on a six-month vacation to Goa, India, with her boyfriend and eight of her nine children by five different fathers, none of whom ever contributed financially for long to the children’s upkeep. (The child left behind—her eldest, at 19—was a drug addict.) She received $50,000 in welfare benefits a year, and doubtless decided—quite rationally, under the circumstances—that the money would go further, and that life would thus be more agreeable, in Goa than in her native Devon.

Reaching Goa, MacKeown soon decided to travel with seven of her children to Kerala, leaving behind one of them, 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling, to live with a tour guide ten years her elder, whom the mother had known for only a short time. Scarlett reportedly claimed to have had sex with this man only because she needed a roof over her head. According to a witness, she was constantly on drugs; and one night, she went to a bar where she drank a lot and took several different illicit drugs, including LSD, cocaine, and pot. She was seen leaving the bar late, almost certainly intoxicated.

The next morning, her body turned up on a beach. At first, the local police maintained that she had drowned while high, but further examination proved that someone had raped and then forcibly drowned her. So far, three people have been arrested in the investigation, which is continuing.

The authoritarian revolution: the US Steers towards a Caste Society

David Kerans
Strategic Culture Foundation

As we discussed in our previous piece, the authoritarian revolution of the US right that has generated so much tumult in various state capitals over the last two months is more than a struggle over economic spoils. Money is at stake, to be sure, in the form of tax policies, pay packages for public sector workers, andproposed cuts to public services. But the key catalysts for mass street demonstrations and the wider mobilization of progressive sentiment in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and elsewhere have been the attempts to strip collective bargaining rights from unions representing public-sector employees. Clearly, the right has in mind to skew the balance of power in society even further towards capital. As we explained, the intended neutering of public-sector unions will hamstring Democratic party mobilizations and fund-raising for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, it will muzzle some of civil society's most important defenders against large corporations' influence over government. In short, once public-sector unions are demoralized, the Republican party will be free to shape the framework of economic relations even more decisively in favor of their large corporate donors.

Although mass media coverage of the authoritarian revolution has not emphasized the above-mentioned dimensions of the struggle, it has at least deigned to acknowledge them. A broadening portion of the adult population, perhaps even a majority, has by now been exposed to the interpretation of the Republican party as brazenly doing the bidding of the extremely wealthy to strip as much power as possible from the working and middle-classes of the country. Other important dimensions of the authoritarian revolution are going almost undiscussed, however. Here we have in mind assaults on women's reproductive rights, on voting rights, on civil rights, and on the integrity of the judiciary itself. Understanding these features of the current right wing aggression will give us a clearer idea of where the US might be headed in the near future.

Al Jazeera's War on Gaddafi

Stephen Lendman

Based on its recent Libyan and Gulf states reporting (or lack thereof), Qatar-based Al Jazeera's credibility appears extremely compromised.

A previous article said the following:

Overall, its Libya misreporting has been deceitful, functioning more as a propaganda arm for Washington, NATO and insurgents, indistinguishable from US and other western media, representing imperial conquest, colonization, and pillaging of another non-belligerent country.

In late March, moreover, Front Page writer Mohammed al-Kibsi accused Al Jazeera of airing old Iraqi prisoner abuse video, broadcast by Al-Arabiya in 2007, in fabricating news about Yemen.

Yet it was aired repeatedly, claiming it showed Yemeni Central Security forces torturing protesters. Later admitting its mistake, Al Jazeera blamed a technical error and apologized, too late to undue the damage to those blamed and its own reputation, badly tarnished by frequent misreporting on the region, despite earlier worthy efforts that built its standing as a reliable broadcaster. That now is very much in question.

California State University Professor As'ad AbuKhalil runs the Angry Arab News Service, accessed through this link.

His recent comments on Al Jazeera's Libya coverage include:

April 20: "According to Al Jazeera's legal opinion," UN Resolution 1973 permits use of nuclear weapons.

America, in fact, has an arsenal of so-called deep-penetrating mini-nuke buster busters, able to destroy underground targets with varying yields from one to 1,000 kilotons. Hiroshima's bomb was about 15 KT, Nagasaki's about 21 KT.

Since the Bush administration's 2001 Nuclear Policy Review, Washington claimed a unilateral right to use first-strike nuclear weapons preemptively, including against non-nuclear states under three conditions:

against targets able to withstand non-nuclear weapons;
in retaliation against nuclear, biological or chemical WMDs; or
against any perceived real or contrived national security threat.

Robber Barons, Revolution, and Social Control

Andrew Gavin Marshall
Global Research

The Century of Social Engineering
Part 1


In Part 1 of this series, “The Century of Social Engineering,” I briefly document the economic, political and social background to the 20th century in America, by taking a brief look at the major social upheavals of the 19th century. For an excellent and detailed examination of this history, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (which provided much of the research for this article) is perhaps the most expansive and detailed examination. I am not attempting to serve it justice here, as there is much left out of this historically examination than there is included. The purpose of this essay is to examine first of all the rise of class and labour struggle throughout the United States in the 19th century, the rise and dominance of the ‘Robber Baron’ industrialists like J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, their convergence of interests with the state, and finally to examine the radical new philosophies and theories that arose within the radicalized and activated populations, such as Marxism and Anarchism. I do not attempt to provide exhaustive or comprehensive analyses of these theoretical and philosophical movements, but rather provide a brief glimpse to some of the ideas (particularly those of anarchism), and place them in the historical context of the mass struggles of the 19th century.

Australia: The stolen election

Walter Starck

A combination photo shows Australia's Prime Minister
Julia Gillard (L) and the leader of the opposition Tony
Abbott during a pre-election televised debate at the
National Press Club in Canberra July 25, 2010. (Photo:
Reuters / Andrew Meares/Pool)

Julia Gillard’s promise of no carbon tax under her government was not just an extemporaneous comment or even an expression of intent which was subordinated by subsequent events. It was a considered statement of policy, unequivocal and repeated.

The only relevant changes in circumstances have been an ongoing weakening of the political, economic and scientific support for any urgent necessity to impose costly measures to curtail use of fossil fuels.

At the time of the last election polls clearly indicated that a majority of the electorate were opposed to a carbon tax and that majority has only increased since then. Gillard’s promise of no carbon tax effectively removed this issue from the election debate. Without this promise it seems certain that the close balance of votes would have favoured the opposition. The attempt to now impose a carbon tax makes it difficult to perceive the promise of no tax as other than a deliberate lie calculated to deceive voters.

This situation clearly constitutes an electoral fraud. It was both a fraud against voters and a defrauding of the Commonwealth government of some millions of dollars in salary, pension and benefits thus falsely obtained. While it is reasonable that politicians be extended some latitude in stating intentions, there is no reason in law or natural justice that they should be exempt from clear and deliberate violations of the statutes prohibiting fraud.

Pakistan: CIA drone kills 25 on eve of mass protest against US missile strikes

Keith Jones

Pakistani protesters belonging to United Citizen Action shout anti-
US slogans during a protest in Multan on April 22, 2011 against the
US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A US predator drone strike killed 25 people in the village of Spinwam in North Waziristan yesterday. According to a Pakistani government official, the dead included at least five children and four women.

In response to mounting public outrage, Pakistan’s government has repeatedly denounced the US drone strikes in recent months, calling them “unhelpful” and urging that they be discontinued or at least massively scaled back. But the Obama administration and the Pentagon have brushed these complaints aside, publicly insisted that the missile strikes are a pivotal part of the AfPak War, and continued to mount such strikes at a rate of well over one per week.

While Washington postures as the foremost proponent of international law, it claims the right to violate Pakistani sovereignty at will, so as to carry out summary executions with callous disregard for civilian life.

Yesterday’s missile strike came on the eve of a two-day mass sit-in against the drone attacks that its organizers claim will mobilize hundreds of thousands of people. Protesters—including persons who have been displaced by the drone strikes and the counterinsurgency war that the Pakistani military has mounted against anti-US militias in the tribal areas of Pakistan’s majority-Pashtun northwest— are to take to the streets of Peshawar, with the stated aimed of disrupting NATO shipments to Afghanistan.

Claiming it fears violence, Pakistan’s government has announced that the US-NATO supply shipments will be suspended for the duration of the protest

The capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkwa (the former North West Frontier Provinces), Peshawar serves as the administrative center for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)—the site of virtually all the US drone attacks.

Peshawar is also the gateway to the Khyber Pass, a vital supply line for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. While the US has gone to great lengths in recent years to develop alternate supply routes, the bulk of the food and fuel that supports the almost 150,000 US-NATO forces in Afghanistan still goes through Pakistan.

GMOs Linked to Organ Disruption in 19 Studies

Jeffrey Smith
Institute for Responsible Technology

A new paper shows that consuming genetically modified (GM) corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. By reviewing data from 19 animal studies, Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and others reveal that 9% of the measured parameters, including blood and urine biochemistry, organ weights, and microscopic analyses (histopathology), were significantly disrupted in the GM-fed animals. The kidneys of males fared the worst, with 43.5% of all the changes. The liver of females followed, with 30.8%. The report, published in Environmental Sciences Europe on March 1, 2011, confirms that “several convergent data appear to indicate liver and kidney problems as end points of GMO diet effects.” The authors point out that livers and kidneys “are the major reactive organs” in cases of chronic food toxicity.

“Other organs may be affected too, such as the heart and spleen, or blood cells,” stated the paper. In fact some of the animals fed genetically modified organisms had altered body weights in at least one gender, which is “a very good predictor of side effects in various organs.”

The GM soybean and corn varieties used in the feeding trials “constitute 83% of the commercialized GMOs” that are currently consumed by billions of people. While the findings may have serious ramifications for the human population, the authors demonstrate how a multitude of GMO-related health problems could easily pass undetected through the superficial and largely incompetent safety assessments that are used around the world.

Poisoning Mother Earth: America's Gulf and Fukushima

Stephen Lendman

As best we know it, the shocking truth is that preventable disasters keep proliferating life destroying contamination globally. Yet news about them is suppressed, so few people everywhere are unaware how calamitously they're being harmed.

As a result, distinguished environmental researcher, Dr. Ilya Perlingieri, now warns to stay out of rain because it's likely radioactive. So is drinking water, food and air with unknown levels because governments like America and Japan won't say.

However, Norwegian Institute for Air Research static and dynamic maps show radiation contamination across the Northern Hemisphere with estimates of potential releases, increasing daily. Access them through this link. Also, Radiation Network.com gives levels across America, accessed through this link.

Minimally, the danger is extreme and worsening as Fukushima releases are expected to continue for months, perhaps years.

Reporting what little is known about Japan, Kyodo News headlined an April 21 article, "Radioactive leaks into sea were 20,000 times above limit: TEPCO," saying:

In early April, "an estimated 5,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances," amounting to 520 tons were released over a six-day period alone. However, leakage began on March 11 and continues daily in unreported amounts. One terabecquerel = one trillion becquerels. Already, contamination levels are disastrous.

2010 State Department Human Rights Report on Egypt

Stephen Lendman

In her book, "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law," Marjorie Cohn quoted a former CIA agent saying:

"If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear....you send them to Egypt."

In fact, Egypt under Mubarak and current military leadership is proficient in all of the above. These practices go on daily but unmentioned in US media reports, claiming September elections promise democracy, when, in fact, everything changed but stayed the same.

Each year, the State Department publishes human rights reports on over 190 countries. Its complete one on Egypt can be accessed through this link.

It bears repeating that practices under Mubarak continue, including harsh crackdowns, mass arrests and torture of protesters and others challenging regime authority. Emerging democracy in Egypt is nowhere in sight - never, in fact, as long as its military has dominant power, with or without the facade of elected civilians.

That said, the State Department's report covered disturbing human rights violations, explaining them by category.

The Arab uprising is a rebellion against Washington's Empire: William Norman Grigg

Interview by Kourosh Ziabari

William Norman Grigg is an author and journalist of Mexican and Irish descent. He was born on February 4, 1963 in Idaho. He was a senior editor of "The New American" magazine and has authored several books from a Constitutionalist perspective. Grigg graduated from Utah State University in political science. He was a "Provo Daily Herald" columnist for a while and also covered the United Nations summits and conferences from 1994 to 2001 for the John Birch Society's official biweekly magazine.

Grigg is also a studio musician and served as lead guitarist in the Wisconsin band "Slick Willie and the Calzones" until his 2005 move to Idaho.
Grigg has interviewed prominent world leaders, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. His investigations of terrorism and international organized crime included interviews with high-ranking officials of the Chinese Communist Party, former operatives of the Soviet KGB, and - long before the group was thrust into the spotlight during the 2008 presidential election - leaders of the New Black Panther Party.

Will writes and publishes the Pro Libertate blog, and is a frequent contributor to LewRockwell.com, the most widely read freedom-oriented website in the world. He also produces the "Liberty Minute," a one-minute syndicated radio commentary archived at www.prolibertate.us.

Grigg has published several books of which we can name " The Gospel of Revolt: Feminism Vs. the Family" by Northwest Publishing Inc. and "Liberty In Eclipse: The Rise of the Homeland Security State" by Welch Foundation.

William Norman Grigg joined me in an exclusive interview to discuss with me the latest developments in the Middle East, the prospect of Egyptian revolution, the massacre of peace activists and pro-democracy demonstrators in Egypt and the blurred destiny of Libyan civil war.

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