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Featured News End Wars and Occupations US built 'powerful organs of state terrorism' in Iraq
Saturday, 09 November 2013 19:49

US built 'powerful organs of state terrorism' in Iraq

Written by  Nicolas J.S. Davies | RT.com

Iraq is still suffering from the US invasion because the apparatus of state oppression and terror is still in place, killing people every day. But few in the US seem to realize the scale of the war crimes committed in Iraq, an expert author told RT.

In an exclusive interview with RT, Nicolas J.S. Davies, author of “Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq,” said that the world should learn the lessons from US invasions, such as respect for international law and the futility of military force.

For more on this topic, see RT’s Special Report dedicated to unprecedented raise of violence in Iraq in 2013.

Questionable US objectives in Iraq

RT: Has America achieved any of the goals it had at the beginning of the invasion in 2003?

Nicolas J.S. Davies: That depends how you define those goals. If the intention was to invade a foreign country and destroy its government and its society, then yes, it did.

If you take US officials at their word and accept that they had an intention of replacing that regime and that society with something better, then obviously they did not.

My friend was in Iraq a few months ago and he found very few people in Iraq today who would say that their lives are better now than under Saddam Hussein’s regime. And that is not to say good in any way about Saddam Hussein, it is to say that the United States and its allies destroyed Iraq.

The invasion was not just some sort of mistake. The invasion and occupation were a serious crime, a crime of aggression under the UN Charter as (then-Secretary General) Kofi Annan acknowledged. And aggression was defined under the Nuremberg principles and by the judges at Nuremberg as the supreme international crime. 

‘US blown out UN Charter in the past 12 years’

The wisdom of renouncing aggression and war in the UN Charter is borne out by what we have seen in all the acts of aggression that the US has committed over the past 10-12 years. Not one of them has in fact managed to reduce terrorism, managed to establish a better form of government, or managed to make anybody safer.

So when we look at the absolute chaos today in Iraq, Libya and Syria, I think we have to ask who is responsible – and are these in fact crimes for which people should be held criminally responsible?

RT: Many people blame the US for the current unrest in the country saying America has “stirred up a hornets' nest.” What do you think?

ND: Well, except that Iraq was not a hornet’s nest. And once again this bears out the wisdom of the UN Charter.

Let me read you a very short quote from Norwegian general Robert Mood, who oversaw the peacekeeping force that went into Syria in 2012 to oversee the failed ceasefire.

“It is fairly easy to use the military tool, because, when you launch the military tool in classical interventions, something will happen and there will be results. The problem is that the results are almost all the time different than the political results you were aiming for when you decided to launch it. So the other position, arguing that it is not the role of the international community, neither coalitions of the willing, nor the UN Security Council for that matter, to change governments inside a country, is also a position that should be respected.”

So I think it is a lesson for all of us, for the whole world, to learn from this experience. It is exactly what he just said.

We need a framework of international law respected by all – including the most powerful countries like the United States. 

US soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division prepare to fire a mortar during training at their base in Tikrit, 180 Kilometers (110 miles) north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 29 December 2003 (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

US soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division prepare to fire a mortar during training at their base in Tikrit, 180 Kilometers (110 miles) north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 29 December 2003 (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

‘Every US military intervention since the WWII has been a complete disaster’

The use of military force cannot achieve any constructive goals, as our leaders claim.

You know, since World War II every US military intervention everywhere has been a complete disaster, whether you’re talking about Korea, Vietnam, Central America in the 1960s or all this entire history of the past 12 years.

You know, really, after Vietnam, I think most Americans understood this. Richard Barnet, who founded the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, wrote a book called “Roots of War” in 1972. He said in that book that the irony is that we’re at a point where the No. 1 country has perfected the science of killing; that at the very moment that this has happened, it is no longer a practical means of political domination.

And as I say, this is the irony of our country, the United States, in world history: That at the point where we have these weapons powerful enough to destroy the entire world, we can no longer use them to any practical constructive purpose. And yet, we have virtually bankrupted this country.

Since Richard Barnet wrote these words in 1972, the US has spent at least $17 trillion on its military, which happens to be exactly equal to our supposedly unsustainable national debt.

This is really now just a tragic history, but what we should do is to try and learn from that and recommit to the rule of international law. We just saw how effective it could be in Syria, by actually practicing working diplomacy within the rule of international law, bringing the chemical weapons of the regime to the UN to dismantle them – and how much better that works than launching missile strikes. 

Iraqi children look at US soldiers from the 1st battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division conducting a foot-patrol along a street of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit, 180 Kilometers (110 miles) north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 27 December 2003 (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

Iraqi children look at US soldiers from the 1st battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division conducting a foot-patrol along a street of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit, 180 Kilometers (110 miles) north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 27 December 2003 (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

‘US employed classic divide-and-rule strategy in Iraq’

RT: This year has proved to be most deadliest in Iraq for the last five years. Why is the situation on the ground getting worse?

ND: Well, because Iraq is still suffering from the destruction of its regime and its government and its society by the United States. The United States employed a classic divide-and-rule strategy, pitting people of different sects against each other, inciting violence that is completely unprecedented in that country. And now has instilled a sectarian-based government that only represents people of only one sect. It is still receiving huge amounts of so-called security assistance from the United States.

The United States built powerful organs of state terrorism in Iraq. The CIA sent a retired colonel by the name of James Steele to Iraq in 2004. He eventually recruited 27 brigades of special police commandos who then waged a reign of terror that killed tens of thousands of mostly Sunni men and boys in Baghdad and around the country. They have since been rebranded, first as the National Police, when one of their torture centers was discovered back during that period, and now as the Federal Police. They are still effectively run by Adnan Al-Asadi, who has been the deputy interior minister there since 2005.

So that regime of state repression and terror that the United States installed in Iraq is still functioning, and still conducting extrajudicial executions, in addition to one of the largest numbers of supposedly legal executions in the world.

You know, in Iraq, you can be sentenced to death for property crimes; you can be sentenced to death on accusations of terrorism, in trials that only last, at best, an hour or two, with very little legal representation. Human rights officials from the UN have absolutely condemned the justice system – so-called justice system – that the US has established in Iraq, and have demanded – the UN Human Rights Council has demanded – that Iraq immediately cease these hangings.

Sometimes they hang more than 40 people in one day, including women as well. This is just a reign of terror. And in that sense, some of the worst aspects of the US occupation are still continuing today.

Two US soldiers from the 1st battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division secure the parameters during a foot-patrol along a street of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit, 180 Kilometers (110 miles) north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 27 December 2003 (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

Two US soldiers from the 1st battalion, 22nd Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division secure the parameters during a foot-patrol along a street of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown Tikrit, 180 Kilometers (110 miles) north of Iraqi capital Baghdad, 27 December 2003 (AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)

RT: Can we expect the situation to change?

ND: There has always been resistance in Iraq to this reign of terror, and to this highly illegitimate government. And most of that is political, non-violent resistance. Since 2011 when the Arab Spring began – you know, there were massive demonstrations all over Iraq in 2011 during the Arab Spring, they were not reported very much in the West, for political reasons. There is a great demand from the people of Iraq to change this situation.

But as long as the US continues to support this highly repressive government it is very difficult, and it is continuing to cause the sacrifice of thousands of lives. It is obviously exploited by extremists, by Islamists, Sunni groups supported by the Saudis and others on the other side. So you’ve got an extremist Shiite government and you’ve got extremist Sunni, right-wing fundamentalist terrorism and you’ve got millions of innocent civilians caught up in the middle. But their capacity for resistance was systematically broken down by the US occupation. 

Hundreds and hundreds of academics were killed. Thousands of professionals fled the country during the US occupation. Almost anyone who could get out fled for their lives, amid the threat of death from various militias and factions in Iraq. It will take an awful lot for Iraq to recover from this.

‘US never accounted for war crimes’

But for American viewers watching this, I think it’s important to understand our responsibility and our government’s responsibility for this. President Nixon promised $3.3 billion in reparations to Vietnam, but not a penny of that was ever paid. We should be paying reparations to help the people of Iraq recover for what was done in our name to them. We should be pressing, pressing for our leaders to be held accountable for these crimes.

A couple of weeks ago, I went with a group of people here in Miami to the Canadian consulate and met with the political officer there, because Mr. Richard Cheney, the former vice president of the United States, was scheduled to speak at an economic forum in Toronto. So we along with human rights groups and lawyers in Canada and the United States were asking Canada to please do what we have failed to do, to honor its obligations under the convention against torture. To either bar Mr. Cheney from entering Canada, or if he was allowed into Canada, to please arrest him and investigate his alleged crimes. Unfortunately, the very conservative government in Canada failed – once again – to uphold its obligations under the convention against torture.

Iraqi women wlak past a burnt-out vehicle on October 7, 2013 following a bombing attack in Baghdad's eastern al-Jadidah district the night before. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye)

Iraqi women wlak past a burnt-out vehicle on October 7, 2013 following a bombing attack in Baghdad's eastern al-Jadidah district the night before. (AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye)

The US occupation of Iraq, as well as being an act of aggression, when you consider that probably about 10 percent of the Sunni population were killed, and probably 25 percent of them were driven from their homes, clearly meets the definition of genocide as it is defined in the genocide convention. The occupation included systematic, daily violations of the convention against torture and many, many articles of the Geneva Conventions.

So the US officials responsible for all of that really have many charges to answer. And we should understand, as Americans, that while there have been indictments in Spain, and Mr. Bush was prevented from traveling to Switzerland, Mr. Rumsfeld was almost prevented from traveling to Belgium at one point – the primary responsibility under all the international treaties that the United States has signed is on us. It is our responsibility to hold senior, major American war criminals responsible for their crimes.

And that continues. The Obama administration has not just failed to hold the officials of the previous administration accountable, but has continued many of these crimes. Aggression is aggression, whether it’s a full-scale invasion or simply flying drones over another country and blowing up people’s homes.

So the US crimes continue. After the US was convicted by the International Court of Justice in the 1980s of committing aggression against Nicaragua, it said it would simply no longer recognize the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. It has never recognized the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, which so far is functioning as an international African court because the only people that have been charged have been from Africa. And of course this is completely undermining the legitimacy of the court. Little by little, no one in Africa is going to cooperate with it if they see it as simply targeting their own leaders while leaders of the United States and other countries just completely get off the hook.

So we have a collective responsibility, which we can fulfill by the payment of war reparations, and we have criminal accountability by which we need to charge civilian and military officials who were responsible for the horrors inflicted on the people of Iraq, under our own laws, under the United States War Crimes Act, for the crimes they committed.

A wounded man is carried away following a suicide bombing close to the home of MP Imad Yohana in the northern city of Kirkuk on September 22, 2013, in which some 47 people were wounded including the Christian MP. (AFP Photo / Marwan Ibrahim)

A wounded man is carried away following a suicide bombing close to the home of MP Imad Yohana in the northern city of Kirkuk on September 22, 2013, in which some 47 people were wounded including the Christian MP. (AFP Photo / Marwan Ibrahim)

‘American viewers are not familiar with horrors of modern Iraq’

RT: The mainstream media is often portraying terror attacks and deaths in Iraq as mundane. But the war doesn't seem to be over. Why do the Western media often turn a blind eye to the everyday struggle of Iraqis?

ND: Some of your viewers may be surprised to hear some of the things I’m saying because the US media has simply never addressed this incredible human tragedy in Iraq in these kinds of terms. In fact, I think any reporter who talks to people in Iraq today can ascertain pretty quickly that very few people - only perhaps those affiliated with the government that was installed by the occupation, perhaps some of those people would feel they’re now better off – but for ordinary Iraqis probably very few would say they’re better off today.

And yet, this would come as a surprise to many Americans. Many Americans, because the media has reported in such a bias fashion in this entire catastrophe, many Americans are unaware. You mentioned in your invitation to me that the Iraq Body Count, which as some estimate of 100,000 or 200,000 Iraqis killed, but that is based on passive reporting. Actual epidemiological studies in Iraq have found anywhere from 400,000 to over 1 million Iraqis killed. 

Les Roberts, who pioneered epidemiology in war zones, in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, took part in one of those epidemiological studies in Iraq, and he found exactly the same pattern in Iraq as he found in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo: that passive reporting of deaths in a war zone generally only capture between 5 percent and 20 percent of the actual deaths that emerge from more in-depth studies. So the Iraq Body Count is based on passive reporting, they’re taking numbers from the Iraqi Health Ministry, numbers reported in the Western media and sort of adding those up. Again, Les Roberts found exactly the same thing in Iraq as he found in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, that probably 5 to 20 times as many people as that were actually killed in Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (AFP Photo / Mandel Ngan)

‘The true numbers of victims in Iraq is much higher’

Yes, thousands of people are still being killed, and the exact numbers are probably very hard to know. It is less than during most of the US occupation. Most of the people killed during the US occupation were killed by US or allied forces, or by US-trained Iraqi forces. When the Iraqi Health Ministry reported in 2004 and 2005 that that was the case, that most of the deaths were not from resistance forces or insurgents, but from the occupying forces, that was reported even in The Miami Herald, actually, by McClatchy, by Nancy Youssef who did some very good reporting.

The BBC – but once the BBC got a hold of it and started reporting that, John Simpson reported that in preparing for a Panorama show in Britain for the BBC, but before the actual Panorama show aired, he was contacted by the Iraqi Minister of Health saying, “No, no, no, that’s not what the numbers show,” that these were their own figures, he said, “No, no, we really have no idea who killed all these people.” On the web you can find sites like the Information Clearing House. You can find the original BBC report, and then you can find its retraction and the reedited report sort of apologizing for having reported what the occupation health ministry had told them.

So, really, when we look at Libya, when we look at Syria, we really need to understand. I think Americans deserve more credit than they usually get for grasping these issues, and I think that kind of explains why we saw this massive, massive outcry against the prospect of new US aggression against Syria.

If people want to know more about the US invasion and destruction of Iraq, please get a hold of a copy of my book, it’s called “Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.” People can also read my other work on Syria and on US militarism and war crimes.   

 

Original article on RT.com

Read 2988 times Last modified on Saturday, 09 November 2013 20:09

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    Will high-level Obama officials who leak for political gain be punished on equal terms with actual whistleblowers?

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 02:52 Read more...
  • Big shot banker proves big banks are too big
    Big shot banker proves big banks are too big

    In April, Jamie Dimon–the swaggering chief of JPMorgan Chase–scoffed at critics who warned that his bank's high-flying investment division was dangerously overextended and risking collapse: “A complete tempest in a teapot,” scoffed Dimon.

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 02:43 Read more...
  • Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet--It's Time to Fight the Status Quo
    Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet--It's Time to Fight the Status Quo

    My solution is: get outraged. Campaigners marched in Copenhagen under the banner "System Change, Not Climate Change." On the eve of Rio+20, that message again will rise, but slogans and proposals and will mean nothing without the requisite power standing behind them.

    Written on Friday, 08 June 2012 02:34 Read more...
  • Medea Benjamin on How Drones May Be Used Against US Citizens Soon
    Medea Benjamin on How Drones May Be Used Against US Citizens Soon

    Internationally renowned activist Medea Benjamin has written a compelling case against drones. One of the most fearful aspects is that drone technology is growing so rapidly in so many nations that soon the nations the US deems enemies will be using them against our forces and us.

    Written on Saturday, 02 June 2012 15:42 Read more...
  • Defense contractors eye cuts to jobs, plants
    Defense contractors eye cuts to jobs, plants

    Defense contractors already are preparing for the layoffs and plant closures that will occur if Congress fails to reach a deal on the federal deficit this year, triggering $600 billion in automatic Pentagon spending cuts.

    “We are running towards a cliff, all telling each other like lemmings that somehow this isn’t going to happen,” said Marion C. Blakey, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA). “But the cliff is coming up.”

    Written on Tuesday, 22 May 2012 19:29 Read more...
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Slam Latest Chapter in Republican War on Women
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Slam Latest Chapter in Republican War on Women

    Washington, D.C.--Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) today released the following statement after the House passed H.R.4970, the House Republican version of the Violence Against Women Act:

    Written on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 22:49 Read more...
  • I can best serve from outside the Congress
    I can best serve from outside the Congress

    Dear Friend,

    I would like to thank you for your support, and thank the tens of thousands of concerned Citizens for Kucinich who in the past few months have written, emailed and called to discuss my running for Congress in Washington State.

    Written on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 20:48 Read more...
  • Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia
    Bush Convicted of War Crimes in Absentia

    It’s official; George W Bush is a war criminal.

    In what is the first ever conviction of its kind anywhere in the world, the former US President and seven key members of his administration were yesterday (Fri) found guilty of war crimes.

    Written on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 19:52 Read more...
  • PARODY: Mitt Romney: I Can Relate To Black People, My Ancestors Once Owned Slaves
    PARODY: Mitt Romney: I Can Relate To Black People, My Ancestors Once Owned Slaves

    In yet another seemingly faux pas moment for the former governor and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney tells a crowd of supporters in Alabama that he can relate to the plight of black individuals because his ancestors were slave owners in the 1800′s.

    Written on Saturday, 12 May 2012 16:50 Read more...
  • New York Times reports on NC Marriage Ban, WI Recall
    New York Times reports on NC Marriage Ban, WI Recall

    North Carolina's voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage, joining 29 other states and the rest of the South.

     


     

    Democrats in Wisconsin have a month to persuade voters to unseat the governor, Scott Walker, in a recall election with Tom Barrett as Mr. Walker's opponent.

    Written on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 17:42 Read more...
  • Chicago pulls permit for nurses rally planned for NATO summit
    Chicago pulls permit for nurses rally planned for NATO summit

    The city of Chicago today yanked a permit for the first demonstration planned for the weekend of the NATO summit in a dispute over where the National Nurses United can hold its rally May 18.

    Written on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 13:28 Read more...
  • Socialist Wins in France: Two Articles Explain the Historical and Current Context
    Socialist Wins in France: Two Articles Explain the Historical and Current Context

    "France, Okay, But Could a Socialist Gain Power in the US? Here's How It Almost Happened" by Greg Mitchell of the Nation, and "François Hollande wins French presidential election" by Angelique Chrisafis of the Guardian.

    Written on Monday, 07 May 2012 17:44 Read more...
  • NNU Rally to Tax Wall Street and Heal America
    NNU Rally to Tax Wall Street and Heal America

    Nurses, Robin Hood and the band of merry women and men, and scores of friends
are strapping on their boots and preparing to head to Chicago Friday, May 18.

    Written on Monday, 07 May 2012 16:29 Read more...
  • 9 Swing States, Critical to Presidential Race, Are Mixed Lot
    9 Swing States, Critical to Presidential Race, Are Mixed Lot

    Since the housing bubble burst, Nevada has been plagued with record foreclosures, the nation’s steepest drop in home values and its highest unemployment rate.

    Iowa, on the other hand, may have missed out on some of the boom but was spared the worst of the bust: its housing prices have stayed relatively stable, and it now has the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the country.

    Written on Sunday, 06 May 2012 22:46 Read more...
  • Defense trumps poverty in Republican House
    Defense trumps poverty in Republican House

    American soldiers learned the hard way not to walk down enemy trails in Vietnam — and certainly not twice. But here come the House Republicans, marching into the sunlight by shifting billions from poverty programs to the Pentagon, all within hours of adopting an entirely new round of tax cuts for those earning more than $1 million a year.

    Written on Friday, 04 May 2012 16:50 Read more...
  • McDermott Will & Emery's Pardo discusses impacts of EPA's fracking rule (video and transcript)
    McDermott Will & Emery's Pardo discusses impacts of EPA's fracking rule (video and transcript)

    How will U.S. EPA's oil and gas air rule affect the fracking industry? During today's OnPoint, Jim Pardo, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery, discusses the broader impacts of the rule ....

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:19 Read more...
  • One Year After Bin Laden’s Death, Bring the Troops Home Now
    One Year After Bin Laden’s Death, Bring the Troops Home Now

    Today marks one year since the death of Osama bin Laden. The CIA estimates there are fewer than 100 al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Since ‘getting Bin Laden’ and defeating al Qaeda were the stated reasons the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, President Barack Obama should use the anniversary to announce the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:12 Read more...
  • Obama's Afghanistan Speech: A Guide for the Perplexed
    Obama's Afghanistan Speech: A Guide for the Perplexed

    President Obama’s dramatic speech from Afghanistan should be parsed as a careful election-year orchestration of his plan to “wind down” the war. It is no accident that the speech came during the first-year commemoration of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the event providing Obama the rationale for ending American combat while placing hawks and political rivals on the defensive.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 23:05 Read more...
  • End Student Debt!
    End Student Debt!

    The student loan crisis finally reached center stage in Washington after the House GOP budget called for letting interest rates double on government-subsidized loans (and for deep cuts in Pell grants and other student support). If it passes, students who borrow the maximum will end up paying as much as $1,000 a year in added interest.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 20:13 Read more...
  • Women: Occupy the Left
    Women: Occupy the Left

    Women’s rights have always been a bit of an add-on for the left. At this spring’s Left Forum, only fifteen of 440 panels touched on any feminist issue, broadly understood. New Left Review is famous, at least in my apartment, for its high testosterone content (despite being edited by a woman); ditto Verso, the left’s flagship publishing house, where women authors are as rare as Siberian tigers.

    Written on Thursday, 03 May 2012 20:06 Read more...
  • Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist
    Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist

    Desperate for new revenue, Ohio lawmakers introduced legislation last year that would make it easier to recover money from businesses that defraud the state. It was quickly flagged at the Washington headquarters of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a business-backed group that views such “false claims” laws as encouraging frivolous lawsuits. ALEC’s membership includes not only corporations, but nearly 2,000 state legislators across the country — including dozens who would vote on the Ohio bill.

    Written on Monday, 23 April 2012 19:50 Read more...
  • Meet the US media companies lobbying against transparency
    Meet the US media companies lobbying against transparency

    Corporate owners or sister companies of some of the biggest names in journalism against FCC order to post political ad data. News organizations cultivate a reputation for demanding transparency, whether by suing for access to government documents, dispatching camera crews to the doorsteps of recalcitrant politicians, or editorializing in favor of open government.

    Written on Sunday, 22 April 2012 15:31 Read more...
  • Former ALEC Supporters Now Find Connection Toxic
    Former ALEC Supporters Now Find Connection Toxic

    With thousands of consumers expressing their concerns about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to corporations across America, even former supporters of ALEC are feeling the heat, and some are rushing to distance themselves from the organization. YUM! Brands (owners of KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut) became the 12th corporate member of ALEC to announce it is leaving the organization yesterday.

    Written on Friday, 20 April 2012 15:24 Read more...
  • A Cruel Ethos - Pay Upfront or Die
    A Cruel Ethos - Pay Upfront or Die

    Our acceptance of death for those who can’t afford medical care is unique among the advanced industrialized nations of the world. This ethos allows people who don’t have enough money or enough medical insurance to die everyday. We remain blind to the humanistic healthcare ethos of other nations, that result in greatly reduced costs and superior outcomes.

    Written on Wednesday, 18 April 2012 03:20 Read more...
  • Drug War Nightmare: How We Created a Massive Racial Caste System in America
    Drug War Nightmare: How We Created a Massive Racial Caste System in America

    The drug war has created a new Jim Crow system. Ever since Barack Obama lifted his right hand and took his oath of office, pledging to serve the United States as its 44th president, ordinary people and their leaders around the globe have been celebrating our nation’s “triumph over race.”  Obama’s election has been touted as the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow, the bookend placed on the history of racial caste in America. 

    Written on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 19:15 Read more...
  • How ALEC Is Creating Florida-Style Messes in Other States
    How ALEC Is Creating Florida-Style Messes in Other States

    Wisconsin is a rod-and-gun state, with a hunting history that has fostered traditions of broad gun ownership and respect for the right to bear arms.

    So how did Wisconsin get saddled with a “Castle Doctrine” law that mirrors some of the worst aspects of the Florida legislation that's now at the center of the controversy over the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

    Written on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 17:42 Read more...
  • We Need More Heels Running Around Capitol Hill
    We Need More Heels Running Around Capitol Hill

    "[I]t will come, but I shall not see it ... It is inevitable. We can no more deny forever the right of self-government to one-half our people than we could keep the Negro forever in bondage. It will not be wrought by the same disrupting forces that freed the slave, but come it will, and I believe within a generation."

    Written on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 13:31 Read more...
  • The 1%’s Doctrine for the 99%
    The 1%’s Doctrine for the 99%

    Many on the American Right insist federal actions from the Civil War to recent banking regulations were encroachments on states’ rights and personal liberties, but underlying these claims – in the 1860s and today – is the greed of the richest 1 percent treating the 99 percent as chattel, writes Mark Ames.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 21:21 Read more...
  • Congress Takes a Step or Two Forward, Two Steps Back
    Congress Takes a Step or Two Forward, Two Steps Back

    Watching some of the news coming from Capitol Hill this week, two old music videos started buzzing around in our heads. One was the classic “I’m Just a Bill,” from Schoolhouse Rock, in which a beleaguered piece of legislation sits outside on the marble steps hoping to someday become a law.

    Written on Monday, 26 March 2012 21:15 Read more...

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