by Tony De Renzo ( potony [at] comcast.net )
Tuesday Mar 13th, 2012 11:20 AM
Civil liberties advocates from the San Francisco 99% Coalition stage a protest in front of city hall to urge the Board of Supervisors to join the growing nationwide resistance to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) The San Francisco 99% Coalition
On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history. It could permit the president – and all future presidents – to order the military to imprison indefinitely civilians captured far from any battlefield without charge or trial. The breadth of the NDAA’s worldwide detention authority violates the Constitution and international law because it is not limited to people captured in an actual armed conflict, as required by the laws of war. The law does not require even an allegation that a detained person caused any harm or threat of harm to the United States or to any U.S. interest. Mere allegation of membership in, or support of, an alleged terrorist group could be the basis for indefinite detention. Under the American justice system, we don’t just lock people up indefinitely based on suspicion.
Juan Cole has testified before the U.S. Senate and knows Arabic and Persian. He blogs at Informed Comment and is a historian of South Asia. He has been a guest on PBS News Hour, ABC Nightly News, Nightline, the Today Show, Charlie Rose, Anderson Cooper 360, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, the Colbert Report, Democracy Now! and many others. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years.
Source: Foreign Policy Roundup: U. Michigan’s Prof. Juan Cole
Mossville, Louisiana sits in the shadow of 14 petrochemical refineries. For decades, Mossville residents have complained about their health problems to industry, and to state and federal agencies. They reached past the U.S. regulators to take their case to the highest human rights court in the western hemisphere, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Now a candid comment from the highest U.S. environmental regulator appears to have boosted their petition. Living on Earth and Planet Harmony’s Ike Sriskandarajah reports.
Source: Obama Administration Divided Over Cancer Alley Case
Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist for IPS News, discusses the expansion of U.S. drone strikes. Initially the strikes were limited to Al Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban but now they include groups allied with the Pakistani military. He states that U.S. economic conditions will force military budget cuts and curtail the empire of bases and he asks for a citizens’ movement to end war and empire.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter
Music includes Earth Anthem, We'll Met Again, Taste of Honey, wasted life - stiff little fingers, filled with love, Young - Hollywood Undead, wright johnnie - hello vietnam, pete seeger - Talking Atom, Wings, Jeff Foxworthy- Married and Single, excerpt from grapes of wrath movie
This film could have been titled "The Evil That Men Do". McNamara talks about war crimes he and others have committed. He observes the failures of government officials at the highest level to understand the basis of the wars they direct. I have to ask, can we learn from history?
Source: The Fog of War Movie. Most of the book can be found at The Fog of War Book
Music includes War What Is It Good For, Earth Anthem, I Just Can't Wait to Be King, We'll Meet Again
The Declaration of Independence is best remembered as a declaration of war, a war declared on the grounds that we wanted our own flag. The sheer stupidity and anachronism of the idea serves to discourage any thoughts about why Canada didn't need a bloody war, whether the U.S. war benefitted people outside the new aristocracy to whom power was transferred, what bothered Frederick Douglas so much about a day celebrating "independence," or what the Declaration of Independence actually said.
When you read the Declaration of Independence, it turns out to be an indictment of King George III for various abuses of power. And those abuses of power look fairly similar to abuses of power we happily permit U.S. presidents to engage in today, either as regards the people of this nation or the people of territories and nations that our military occupies today in a manner uncomfortably resembling Britain's rule over the 13 colonies.
Or perhaps I should say, a large portion of us take turns being happy or outraged depending on the political party with which the current president is identified.
... The spate of knee-jerk legislative expansions in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 trauma — the USA-PATRIOT Act — has actually been exceeded by the expansions of the last several years — first secretly and lawlessly by the Bush administration, and then legislatively and out in the open once Democrats took over control of the Congress in 2006. Simply put, there is no surveillance power too intrusive or unaccountable for our political class provided the word “terrorism” is invoked to “justify” those powers.
Not only has nothing like that occurred, but Congress has twice brushed aside the privacy and abuse concerns about the Patriot Act highlighted by the DOJ’s own report and long raised by Senator Russ Feingold. They did so when voting overwhelmingly to extend the provisions of that law unchanged: first in 2006 by a vote of 89-10, and again this year — with the overt support of the Obama administration — when it once again extended the Patriot Act without even a single added oversight protection. Even after The New York Times in 2009 twice revealed substantial and serious abuses in the very warrantless eavesdropping powers which Obama voted to enact, the administration and the Congress show no interest whatsoever in imposing any added safeguards. The logic of the Surveillance State is that more is always better: not just more powers, but in increasingly unchecked form.
Not only has Obama, in the wake of this massive expansion, blocked any reforms, he has taken multiple steps to further expand unaccountable and unchecked surveillance power. For the last year, the Obama Justice Department has been trying to convince federal courts to extend its warrantless surveillance powers beyond even what the Patriot Act provides to encompass private email and Internet browsing records, a position which would allow the FBI and other federal agencies to acquire email and browsing records of American citizens — including those who are not suspected of any wrongdoing — without any warrants or judicial supervision of any kind. With defeat in the courts appearing likely, it was recently revealed by The Washington Post that the administration is agitating for Congressional action to amend the Patriot Act to include such Internet and browsing data among the records obtainable by NSLs