Monday, August 25, 2008

What did the Bush Administration do with Aafia Siddiqui and her three children?

An American Story:

The disappearance and torture of Aafia Siddiqui at the hands of the U.S. government is also the story of a country that has lost its soul.

To lend your voice to helping with this case, see "CONTACT INFO" in red text, below.

Aafia Siddiqui is but one of many human beings over the past 7 years who have been labeled as terrorists, then covertly 'disappeared' into a secret system of prisons, where they are systematically tortured by the agents of the Bush Administration -- a government that can no longer lay claim to being quite human. Aafia's story is particularly disturbing because, in 2003, along with Aafia, 'disappeared' her three young children, aged 7 years, 5 years and 6 months of age.

Massive protests have been waged in Pakistan, demanding the release of Afia Siddiqui and her children.

To those uninitiated with the torture practices (and the laws, or lack thereof, regarding torturing, including the torture of children) used by our government -- whether at our own hands, or at the hands of those with whom we contract to carry out this torture -- this story can perhaps be read with a comfortable detachment. To those of us who have studied the methods used by our government, and have read the stories of those who have -- and who have not survived -- the story of Aafia and her three children is unbearably haunting.

We cannot add more to her story than has already been published. We can, however, provide links to those stories. We can also add our voices to those who proclaim her innocence. After all, we live in a country where a person's innocence is presumed, until they have proved otherwise. Or, at least, we once did. The Bush Administration has removed this right for any human deemed a terrorist suspect. For this reason, until our government restores the right of due process to "terrorist suspects" we, at the canarypapers, have taken the stance that our government must be presumed guilty, until proven otherwise.

And, lest any of us think we're safe from those hands that would secretly imprison and torture innocent human beings, please know that, just by virture of our researching Aafia Siddiqui's story, we at the canarypapers could legally be deemed terrorist sympathisers or even terrorist suspects. Fact is, our reading habits likely long ago placed us among the hundreds of thousands of Americans already on the FBI's terrorist watch list. The Bush Administration would like us to believe that such truths belong to the realm of conspiracy theorists. Which leaves us but two choices: shall we resign ourselves to blind complacency or be banished to the minions of the conspiracy theorists? We choose the latter.

Were there nothing to hide, our government would not work in secrecy, would not hold suspects for years in secret prisons, torturing them to extract evidence, while denying their existence or, alternately, claiming the secrecy as 'necessary' to their investigation. Were there nothing to hide, our government would not discredit those who, in seeking the truth, ask questions of our government's secret activities. Were our government not committing war crimes, there would be nothing to hide. We, at the canarypapers, join those who demand answers to the many questions about Aafia Siddiqui and her children. We hope that others will read her story and add their voices to the call for the truth.



Call the Capitol Hill switchboard at (800) 828-0498

HOW TO: If you would like to help with this case, you can call your Senator/Representative via the above number to express your concern for the welfare of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakastani prisoner being held in a federal detention center in Brooklyn, NY. When you call the number, above you will reach a general operator. Ask, by name, for the office of your Senator/Representative. Once connected, you will either be able to leave a voice mail or leave your message with an assistant. (Alternately, you could locate email addresses for your representatives and/or phone their local offices. Snail mail may be too slow, due to the urgency of Aafia's needs).

Five primary issues of importance to mention in your calls regarding the case of Aafia Siddiqui (pronounced: OFF-ia Sa-DEEK-ia) :

(1) She is in need medical care. According to her attorney, Aafia Siddiqui's condition has grown critical. As of Tuesday, August 26, her condition was deteriorating, and her attorney is urging that she be admitted to a hospital,

(2) that Aafia Siddiqui's 12-year old son (who is legally a U.S. citizen, and is said to be in U.S. custody in Afghanistan) be returned to the U.S., to the care of his uncle, in Texas,

(3) that an investigation be started immediately to determine the whereabouts of her other two children, now aged 9 years and 5 years of age,

(4) that Ms. Siddiqui be afforded the right of habeas corpus and be allowed unencumbered access to her attorneys, including the ability to have legal counsel without being strip-searched beforehand, and

(5) that an independent investigation be conducted to determine exactly where Aafoa Siddiqui has been for the past 5 years, and the role of the U.S. and Pakistani ISI in this case, as has been alleged by human right groups.


LINK: Asian Human Rights Commission: URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

The Asia Human Rights Commission (AHRC) site at the above link has an Urgent Appeal Program, where you can direct letters (select from a pre-written letter, or customize/draft your own letter) to President George Bush and various officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan, urging them to immediately release Dr. Afia Siddiqui and her 12-year old child. The governments of Pakistan and the U.S. are also urged to reveal the whereabouts of her other two children. (The AHRC has written separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture calling for intervention in this case.)



The links, below, are listed in approx. chronological order, beginning with the April 2003 announcements of Aafia Siddiqui's arrest (later denied by U.S. & Pakastani authorities) and ending with the July 2008 announcement of her arrest after her 5-year disappearance, during which time Aafia alleges she was imprisoned and subjected to horrendous torture and repeated rape at the hands of Pakastani and/or U.S. authorities while imprisoned at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. As certain news articles have a way of 'disappearing' we have cut and paste the 2003 reports of her arrest:


AP (Associated Press) article excerpt, April 22. 2003: Woman sought for ties to al-Qaida in custody in Pakistan Dateline: WASHINGTON A former Boston woman sought by the FBI for questioning about possible ties to the al-Qaida terror network is in custody in Pakistan, U.S. law enforcement officials said Tuesday.
Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Aafia Siddiqui, 31, was detained by Pakistani authorities in the past few days and was being interrogated at an undisclosed location. She originally is from Pakistan. The FBI in March put out a global alert for Siddiqui, who has a biology degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and wrote a doctoral thesis on neurological sciences at Brandeis University in 2001. She also visited the Maryland suburbs near ...

USA Today: Pakistani woman in custody unlikely the one sought
WASHINGTON (AP) — After initial optimism Tuesday, U.S. law enforcement officials backed off claims that Pakistan had detained a former Boston woman wanted by the FBI for questioning about possible links to al-Qaeda. Two federal law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, initially said 31-year-old Aafia Siddiqui recently was taken into custody by Pakistani authorities. Pakistani officials never confirmed the arrest and later the U.S. officials amended their earlier statements, saying new information from the Pakistani government made it "doubtful" she was in custody. It was not clear whether a different woman had been arrested or if the initial information was wrong or misconstrued by U.S. officials. There had been several reports out of Pakistan prior to Tuesday claiming Siddiqui had been detained, but all turned out to be untrue. The U.S. officials said that while earlier reports never were given much credibility by federal authorities, Tuesday's information at first appeared legitimate. The FBI in March put out a global alert for Siddiqui, who has a biology degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and wrote a doctoral thesis on neurological sciences at Brandeis University in 2001. She also visited the Maryland suburbs near Washington in December or January, officials say. Authorities have not charged that Siddiqui is a member of al-Qaeda but believe she could be a "fixer," someone with knowledge of the United States who can support and help get things done for other operatives. She is not charged with any crime in the United States. The FBI also is seeking to question Siddiqui's estranged husband, Dr. Mohammed Khan. His whereabouts are unknown. Alerts for Siddiqui and Khan followed the FBI's announcement last month of a worldwide search for Adnan El Shukrijumah, a 27-year-old Saudi native nicknamed "Jafar the Pilot." He lived for a number of years in South Florida and authorities believe he is an al-Qaeda operative who may have been planning new attacks. His family denies any terrorist ties and he has not been located.

UPI (United Press International) article excerpt, 4/22/2003: Report: First woman al-Qaida suspect detained: A woman with suspected links to al-Qaida has been arrested in Pakistan, NBC News reported Tuesday, although Pakistani officials said they didn't know of any such arrest. Aafia Siddiqui, a former Boston resident, is wanted for questioning by the FBI. Her mother, Ismat Siddiqui, said her daughter disappeared from her hiding place in Karachi 10 days ago. She said that FBI and Pakistani officials she contacted told her that they had no information about their daughter's whereabouts. Pakistan's Interior Secretary Tasneem Noorani told United Press International that Pakistani authorities were not aware of ...


Boston Magazine, October 2004: Who's Afraid of Aafia Siddiqui? She went to MIT and Brandeis, married a Brigham and Women's physician, made her home in Boston, cared for her children, and raised money for charities. Aafia Siddiqui was a normal woman living a normal American life. Until the FBI called her a terror.
Daily Times (Pakistan) Nov. 1, 2004: The strange story of Aafia Siddiqui


CommonDreams: 9/22/2006 Boston Globe article: Fate of Some CIA Detainees Still Unknown -- Missing Boston woman among them, kin say.


Asian Human Rights Commission: URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME (This human rights appeal was issued July 24, 2008. The publicity and outcry from this and other appeals is said to have prompted the FBI's recent "discovery" and arrest of Aafia Siddiqui). This site includes a YouTube video of Al Jeezera news report on this case, which includes testimony by Aafia Siddiqui's family.

US Dept. of Justice: Aafia Siddiqui Arrested for Attempting to Kill United States Officers in Afghanistan

FBI Bulletein on Aafia Siddiqui: Wanted/Seeking Information/In Custody

The Hindu: The mystery of Aafia Siddiqui A diamond-smuggling Al Qaeda operative or an innocent Pakistani woman whose only crime was her Islamic identity and her headscarf?

Asian Human Rights Commission's August 4, 2004 article on Aafia's 'reappearance,' as her arrest is announced by U.S. and Pakastani authorities): PAKISTAN: FBI is responsible for disappearances, illegal detention and torture. The American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), initially admitted that they had arrested Dr. Afia and then later denied it. Now, due to the coverage of the UA both in Pakistan and internationally, the FBI has now announced that “Dr. Afia Siddiqui is alive, she is in Afghanistan but she is injured”. No further details have been provided and the AHRC is especially concerned about the three children who were also abducted along with her. It is reported that after receiving hundreds of responses to the UA initiated by the AHRC, the American and Pakistani authorities were compelled to issue information of the whereabouts of Afia Siddiqui who had been missing for five years after being arrested by the Pakistani Intelligence Agency..... Hoover, the FBI, and Aafia Siddiqui. (British journalist Yvonne Ridley's account of the story.) Ms. Ridley began investigating Aafia Siddiqui after hearing reports of a female prisoner, called Prisoner 650 at Afghanistan’s Bagram prison. According to reports, the Prisoner 650 had been tortured to the point where she has lost her mind. Britain’s Lord Nazeer Ahmed, (of the House of Lords), asked questions in the House about the condition of Prisoner 650 who, according to him is physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at prison. Lord Nazeer has also submitted that Prisoner 650 has no separate toilet facilities and has to attend to her bathing and movements in full view of the other. In the course of Yvonne Ridley's investigation, she came to call Prisoner 650 "the gray lady of Bagram." As Ridley explained, “I call her the ‘grey lady’ because she is almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continues to haunt those who heard her.” Ridley's investigation added to the outcry which is said to have prompted Aafia's release and simultaneous "discovery" by U.S. and Pakastani authorities in July 2008).

LA Times: Siddiqui arrest brings attention to the 'disappeared' issue in Pakistan

Times Online UK: Female 'terror' scientist Aafia Siddiqui facing US court after extradition Aafia Siddiqui appears in US court, denied bail

Free Aafia Siddiqui & Children

Asian Human Rights Commission: URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME: The US Congress must investigate Dr. Afia's case (This human rights appeal was issued August 8, 2008, after Aafia was brought to the U.S. and her allegations and condition became better known).

Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific: (series of three August 2008 articles on Aafia Siddiqui's case)

Reuters: Pakistani accused of U.S. troop attack gets doctor (Reuters report on Aafia Siddiqui -- a prisoner in U.S. care -- as she finally receives medical care, 4 weeks after being shot in the abdomen).

YouTube, August 8, 2008: Protest in Pakistan includes Aafia Siddiqui's sister. Protesters' signs include one reading, "Can a 6-month old baby be a terrorist?"

YouTube, August 8, 2008: ABC propaganda news report, which makes the "official" case that Aafia Siddiqui is a terrorist, calling her "a female bin Laden," with the CIA deeming this "the most significant capture in 5 years," along with the ludicrous, inflammatory and totally unsubstantiated charges including one that she was "told by leaders to have lots of babies; raise little jihadists." No attempt is made to substantiate these charges but, rather, a jubilantly shocking account is given of her case, with no attempt to fake concern or even make mention of the fate of 2 of Siddiqui's children, aged 6 months and 5 years of age when they disappeared with their mother in 2003.

YouTube, August 12, 2008: Press Conference in Islamabad on the legal and human rights issues, along with the many unanswered questions in the Aafia Siddiqui case.

YouTube, August 12, 2008: Protest for Dr Aafia Saddiqui/Speech by Yvonne Ridley


Associated Press of Pakistan (August 26, 2008): Lawyer demands Dr Aafia’s shifting to hospital for urgent treatment

Washington Post (August 26, 2008): Afghan Officials Detain American Boy, U.S. Says Mother Held by U.S. as Al-Qaeda Suspect

UPI: Al-Qaida suspect's U.S. son held


Links to Human Rights Reports that Discuss/Detail U.S. Involvement in Secret Detention, Renditions and Torture:

Amnesty International (pdf file): United States - Below the radar: Secret flights to torture and ‘disappearance’

Amnesty International (pdf file) Off the Record: U.S. Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances in the “War on Terror” There are 3 mentions of Aafia Siddiqui in this report

Amnesty International (pdf file): Pakistan: Human rights ignored in the "war on terror" In this report, Aafia Siddiqui is #33 on the list of "individuals about whom there is some evidence of secret detention by the United States and whose fate and whereabouts" were listed as unknown at the time of the report.

Human Rights First (pdf file): Still Missing: Gaps in the U.S. State Department Human Rights Reports on Secret Detentions and Renditions

Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe (pdf file): Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights: Alleged secret detentions and unlawful inter-state transfers involving Council of Europe member states


We will add more links as time allows, particuarly links to assist with any activism to help ensure that Ms. Siddiqui is afforded the dignity of human rights and due process. A hearing is scheduled for September 3rd, so the timing is urgent. Please feel free to do your own research and to do whatever you can to help her.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Joe Biden: Will He Rip John McCain's Face Off and Restore Truth, Justice and the American Way?

It's pretty bad when the best you can hope for in a VP candidate is that he will rip John McCain's face off. Today, that's about as audacious as we dare hope, having nearly lost all hope of seeing real integrity restored to American politics. Sure, we'll cast our vote for Obama-Biden, even if they, themselves, seem to have lost -- if ever they owned -- the integrity and chutzpah, to state, outright, that the emperor and his entire entourage are stark-raving naked.

As is, it seems that both Obama and Biden tow the main line, the main line being a veritable sewer pipe full of lies, misinformation and innuendo spit out by Bush-Cheney, then sanctified by the media. And it is this raw sewage that forms the "truths" upon which America's domestic and foreign policy is built. This was most recently evidenced in Biden's statement on the Georgia-Russia conflict, when he said, "The war that began in Georgia is no longer about that country alone. It has become a question of whether and how the West will stand up for the rights of free people throughout the region."

Superman couldn't have said it better himself. No need to extrapolate on the not-so-subtle nuances of the situation -- nuances which, in another time, would have been called by name: the truth.

American politicians, on both sides, have lost their bearings and have taken with them the American people. Our politicians have been reduced -- willingly, it seems, even as they've been bribed and blackmailed, too -- into playing understudies to the real truthsayers on the world stage, reading from a playbook written by swaggering warmongers and disreputable liars & cheats. Biden's assessment of the Russia-Georgia conflict more or less echoed Obama's words, which more or less echoed the words of Condi, Bush and McCain. Nowhere in the dialogue-proper of American politics can we hope to hear the truth: "What in the hell is the U.S. doing in the first place, by funding, arming and prodding Georgia to go to war with South Ossetia and, by extension, Russia?"

With few exceptions, truth has evaporated from our polical landscape to the extent that truth, itself, has become so audacious that it offends the sensibilities to even acknowledge that such audacities could be true. But they are. And to ensure that no one speaks these truths, the Bush Administration has effectively, by design, disgraced truth by relegating it to the minions of the conspiracy theorists.

Last February (sometime after Edwards bowed out, yet months before discovering that Edwards was a liar and a hypocrite)we pinned our hopes onto the Obama campaign to forge a renaissance of truthfulness. Then we watched as, molecule by molecule, it evaporated, sort of like a shallow mud puddle on hot summer pavement. At first, we made concessions on his behalf: "He's doing what he has to do to get elected," we told ourselves. "The media will fry him if he doesn't give the appearance of moderating on this particular position."

But at some point, after staring overlong into that non-descript residual of dust on the pavement, we had to acknowledge the truth that Americans don't really want truth, and especially if it takes more than 5 words to convey that truth. What the American attention span best responds to is a dummied down, black and white, right vs. wrong version of the truth -- something that can be condensed into a sound-byte, emblazed below the talking heads on CNN -- a mantra that be quickly transcribed into email missives: freedom fries, the war on terror, the axis of evil, weapons of mass destruction, Barrack Hussein Obama, evil empire, surge success, I'm proud of my country, g.d. America, stay the course, chickens coming home to roost, pledge of allegiance, flag pin, elitist liberal ....

Our politicians more closely resemble the protaganists in dime store novels than the statesmen who forged, then held together our Constitution and our country for over 200 years. But, apparently, this is what the majority of Americans want in their leaders.

After all, it was "they" who voted Bush into office -- not once, but twice. And it is "they" who know, but simply don't care, that the war in Iraq that has killed upwards of 100,00 innocent Iraq citizens was waged on an elaborately designed facade of lies, so that we could steal Iraq's oil. It is "they" who slather their bumpers in American flags and who rabidly salivate over a one-inch flag pin, yet couldn't care less that our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been decimated. It is "they" who have gladly surrendered our economy, our jobs, our homes, our health, our Constitutional rights, our environment, our children's and our grandchildren's futures over to a band of theives.

It is, therefore, "we" who are out of step with America.

Still.... We haven't entirely abandoned all hope. Our hope, today, is that Joe Biden -- in his infamy for speaking before thinking -- will do the right thing and rip John McCain's face off. You never know. The trend could catch on: it may once again be fashionable for politicians to be so outraged by the b.s. and lies that they will state, outright, for all the world to hear, that the emperor and his entire entourage are stark raving mad. It happened to Nixon in the 1970s. It could happen again.

For this reason, and this reason alone, we are glad to see Biden on the ticket, instead of, say, Jack Reed -- an infinitely more qualified politician, who would never have made the cut with Americans: he's too honest, he's intellectual, he's thoughtful, he's solidly grounded in foreign policy and diplomacy, he's well-respected on Capitol Hill and, besides, it would have been only a matter of time before the media took note of his height, or perhaps they would have sleuthed out that he drinks lemon in his tea, or perhaps he was the best in his class at West Point -- something terribly terrible to entirely disqualify him for the office of vice-presidency.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why Are the FBI and Attorney General Mukasey in Cahoots with Barney Fife?

Earlier this week, while America's attention was fixated on the Olympics, John Edwards' love child, and the Georgia-Russia war (necessarily in that order) this tidbit quietly slipped into the headlines: FBI to get freer rein to look for terrorism suspects. Herein, Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that the FBI and the Department of Justice have formed a brand new front in the war on homegrown terror. Working with the existing Joint Terrorism Task Force, this new effort will borrow what little is left of our constitutional rights, and hand them to the care of, say, your local Barney Fife.

Reading the above-mentioned article, it takes a little doing to get to the facts, because -- if there's one thing this administration does well, it's cloaking outrageous truths in the most innocuous language possible. It takes either a skilled translator or a patient researcher to glean facts from the language of this administration -- seeded as it is with vague euphemisms and benign jargon.

Here is one example, pertinent to the article. The word 'agent' was repeatedly used, in reference to those specific individuals, who will be empowered with violating our constitutional rights, while tracking terrorists. While the term 'agent' is nothing new, the word drew our attention after its ninth mention in the article. Just to be sure, we decided to check on the official meaning of the word, 'agent' with specific regard to our government's work in tracking terrorists.

The answers can be found in White House press releases from 2001-2008, along with various documents from the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Department of Justice. As it turns out, until 2005, the word 'agent' referred to only federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials. Beginning in 2005, however, the language morphed to federal, state, local, tribal and private sector officials. Just to be sure, we decided to check on the official meaning of the term, 'private sector.'

Are You a Terrorist? Only Your Hairdresser Knows for Sure

Turns out, a 'private sector' agent can be most anyone. All that's needed is a keen eye for spotting terrorists and the opportunity to spot them. Is your neighbor a computer specialist? A department store security guard? A meter maid? A city sanitation worker? A private eye? A sheriff's deputy? A dog catcher? A beautician? An unemployed mama's boy? An ex-con? A murderer? He or she may have a keen eye for spotting terrorists.

Or maybe you, yourself, have a keen eye for spotting terrorists. If so, the FBI will pay you royally to work as an informant. How about your co-worker? Your ex-spouse? Your ex-spouse's lover? Any of these people have a grudge against you? They could become a paid informant. What about your meter reader, the cable guy, the garbage man, the clerk at city hall? Have any neo-Nazi friends? Know anyone who needs a few extra bucks? If so, they can become a paid informant and finger you to a keen-eyed official, who has the authority to deem you a terrorist suspect, then launch an investigation -- tapping your phone, monitoring your computer and cable TV habits, and physically spying on you. You may even get to be the focus of a real live sting operation! Naturally, there are many in this country who wouldn't feel the least bit threatened to investigated as a terrorist suspect, because they know they're not terrorists and, besides, as President Bush often reminds us, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Are You Sure You're Not a Terrorist?

So you think the FBI could never accuse you of being a terrorist? Before taking that leap of faith, it'd be good -- just to be sure -- to make sure you know the offical definition of a 'terrorist suspect.' (<---- our apologies for the source, but this was the clearest copy we could find on the fly).

You May Be A Terrorist, and Not Even Know It

The reality is, just because *you* know that you're not a terrorist suspect, doesn't mean that *they* will also know. For instance, if you write a letter-to-the-editor speaking out against cruelty to animals, or in defense of free speech or environmental issues, or if you are a vegan, or a peace activist, or a protester, or have a bumper sticker related to any of these issues, the FBI (via local law enforcement or a tip from a keen informant) may deem you a domestic or homegrown terrorist. Alternately, your name (and the names of your friends & associates) may be entered into the FBI's terrorist database. Do you wear certain ethnic clothing, or associate with certain ethnicities, or are you a black activist, or do you resemble one, or are you a Muslim, or do you resemble a Muslim? You may be a terrorist suspect.

Do you have fingerprints? You may be a terrorist suspect.

And what if you're some (or none) of the above, yet get stopped for a speeding ticket by the local Barney Fife....? Are you wearing bulky clothing? Did you forget your driver's license? Are you alone and nervous? You may be a terrorist suspect.

Of course, the Bush Administration has been using these tactics for years now. But as the FBI, the CIA and Department of Justice reach further into our lives, who's to say any one of us couldn't be shoe-horned into their profile? We, here at the canarypapers, are free-thinkers. We disagree with nearly everything. We especially disagree with everything the Bush Administration has ever done. So I guess you could say we're defenders of the Constitution. We certainly make enough references to it in our rantings on the Bush-Cheney regime. We're vegans too, which is another strike against us but, fortunately, we're too anti-social (woops) to attend vegan potluck dinners. Of course Zeus -- darn him to heck -- insists on using his nickname, which is another strike against him and, by association, me.

We'd like to think that justice would prevail if our viewpoints were ever used as evidence to accuse us of heinous crimes we didn't commit. Better still, we'd like to think we live in a country where something like this could never happen. But the truth is, justice doesn't always prevail.

"If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government." --Dwight D. Eisenhower

The power to arbitrarily brand people as terrorist suspects is serious business. It becomes dangerous business when placed in the hands of the wrong person, even if that person happens to be the Attorney General of the United States. This sort of power belongs in corrupt dictatorships, not democratic societies.

This would be a good time to call and/or write your state representatives and any other member of Congress inclined to respond to such issues. Protest this dangerous intrusion into our constitutional rights. Tell your representative you are AGAINST implementing Attorney General Mukasey's 5 new guidlines to transform the FBI/Department of Justice anti-terrorism unit into an elite national security organization, as announced on August 13th.

Tell 'em Checkpoint Chickie sent you.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Is Obama the Antichrist? First, the Good News...

As Barack Obama sat in Hawaii, placidly munching on shaved ice with his daughters, the, uh, liberal media was at work on an important question: Is Obama the Antichrist? This question, posed on Friday by CNN, surely marks the pinnacle in the liberal media's campaign to expose the *real* truth about Barack Obama. Here, they have reached the mountaintop. It's all downhill from now because, as character assassinations go, one simply cannot top the Antichrist. That's the good news.

The bad news is that, the same Americans who voted Bush, Cheney & Co. into office (not once, but twice) are the same Americans who will be pondering the Antichrist question over the next few days. The same Americans who vigorously flapped their wings over a 1" flag pin -- yet who have spent the past 7 years utterly indifferent to the dismantling and desecration of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- will be deciding, for themselves, the answer to the Antichrist question. The same Americans to whom all the evidence has been presented (that the war in Iraq is for oil -- not WMDs, not Osama bin Laden, not 9-11), are the same Americans who perversely still support this ungodly war that has killed and maimed hundreds-of-thousands of innocent men, women and children in Iraq. That these are the same Americans who will be choosing our next president, is bad news indeed. Or maybe not.

It is worth mentioning, that some people have theorized that CNN intentionally orchestrated the Antichrist-question to reinforce the theme of McCain's recent ad, titled, "The One." While we are indifferent to this theory, CNN's Antichrist hijinks do stand as evidence to our own theory: The media coverage of Obama has been little more than an underhanded dart game, waged by hollow puppet heads, orchestrated by fools drunk on power and money. That this game has served to discredit Obama, while validating the campaign of the most feeble and incompetent presidental candidate this country has ever seen, does speak of higher purposes.

Will the McMedia's Antichrist dart stick and draw blood as effectively as the flag pin issue did? Or, better still, will this be the hoped-for coup de grĂ¢ce to Obama's campaign? Nah. This election will be decided on a passing whim, depending entirely on which way the wind happens to be blowing, come November 4th. If we've learned anything over the past seven years, it's that most Americans don't really care about America. If they did, they wouldn't have stood silent to the wholesale rape of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the economy, the environment, the planet, the moral conscience of our country.... Yeah, but we're busy, we're tired, we're distracted, we're broke and, besides, this stuff is depressing. A whim is all it takes. Come November 4th, whoever can promise the likes of a $36 gas holiday, will be carried on America's shoulders, all the way to the White House. Besides, if Americans really, really cared about the Antichrist, they would have long since dethroned him.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Bibliography: The Truths About Georgia's War Against South Ossetia

As a counterpoint to the pervasive U.S. media propaganda about Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia, we are offering links to websites devoted to more accurate and truthful news and perspectives on the U.S.-Georgia offensive against South Ossetia. We'll add to the list as time permits.


AUGUST 20, 2008

It's not rocket science, folks.

Just this past weekend, there seemed to be hope. Georgia and Russia each signed the 6-point peace deal (although, granted, the U.S. pulled a sleazy, petty, underhanded trick and deleted the preamble from Georgia's copy of the peace plan, which stated that the document was the result of an agreement between the presidents of Russia and France.

Still.... Sleazy, petty, underhanded, preamble-deleting tactic aside, a potentially catastrophic war appeared to have been averted as of this past weekend. All that was left was drafting this plan into a U.N. Security Resolution. Yet, here we are today: four of the six points have disappeared; inserted in their place is incendiary language that is not only a flagrant affront to Russia, but is spawned from false premises -- outright lies -- and completely contradicts the terms of the freshly-signed six-point peace plan. The newly-inserted language is the verbal equivalent of Georgia's August 7th brutal attack on South Ossetia. In other words, it has the U.S. written all over it.

The events of today add just a bit more insult to injury. Russia countered the ridiculous 2-point draft U.N. resolution with something the media is now terming, "its own" draft U.N. resolution. The fact is, "its own" draft is no more and no less than the very 6-point peace plan that all sides agreed to and signed this weekend. Here's the view from elsewhere in the world: "The Narrative Versus the News: Journalism in the age of perpetual war" (excellent article, includes Georgia war) "Neocon Crybabies" Although the unfolding drama in the Caucasus has been a tragedy for its innocent victims, the response by America’s political and media elites has been an entertaining and delusional farce.

McClatchy: "Pentagon, White House at odds over aid to Georgia" The White House is frustrated, the officials said, but the Pentagon is unperturbed. "Hegemon Hijinks"

The Moscow Times: "How Sarkozy Ended the Fighting" In clinching a six-point truce between Moscow and Tbilisi in three days, French President Nicolas Sarkozy carried out a diplomatic tour de force that could cement his legacy.But the actual documents signed by Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Mikheil Saakashvili are not identical, and there is a third copy of the peace plan with the signatures of the leaders of Georgia's separatist republics, Abkhazia's Sergei Bagapsh and South Ossetia's Eduard Kokoity.

Reuters: "Russia Circulates Own Draft U.N. Resolution"

Reuters: "White House: Russia needs to return any U.S. equipment" (Bush issues lost and found notice on the U.S. arms given to Georgia's military to wage its brutal war on South Ossetia. )

Salon: Rice: Military power is "not the way to deal in the 21st century" Whatever one's views are on the justifiability of each isolated instance, it's simply a fact that the U.S. invades, bombs, occupies, and interferes in the internal affairs of other countries far more than any other country on the planet. It's not even a close competition.

AUGUST 19, 2008

Were this war truly about democracy and human rights -- and not oil -- the conflict would have been long ago resolved with simple diplomacy. -- Zeus

A re-cap of the events leading to the war in Georgia:


In 2004, the Bush Administration installed puppet-President Saakashvili in Georgia, under the guise of removing a corrupt leader and bringing democracy to Georgia. Three years later, in November 2007, the Georgian citizens, who formerly supported Saakashvili, were now protesting in the streets, charging him with corruption and demanding his resignation. The Georgian military (now armed to the teeth with U.S. democracy) brutalized the protestors with high-tech, mob-control weaponry from the U.S. Saakashvili was re-elected in a corrupt, rigged election, much like the previous two U.S. presidential elections, only more violent.


In mid-July 2008, the U.S. and Georgia staged joint NATO military exercises on the Russian border, which heightened existing tensions between Russia and the U.S.-Georgia. Two weeks later, Georgia attacked South Ossetia, one of two Russian-allied, independent states within Georgia's borders. Russia counter-attacked, claiming defense of its ally. The U.S. media correctly reported that Georgia had invaded South Ossetia. War ensued, soon joined by a fullscale propaganda war, as the U.S. media stopped reporting that Georgia had started the war, and began blaming Russia. Russia termed Georgia's assault a U.S. war-by-proxy.


As tensions escalated, a peace plan was forged. The plan called for, among other things, a cease in hostilites and for both sides to return to their pre-war positions: Georgia in Georgia, and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. Georgian president, Saakashvili, initially refused to sign the plan, because it was "just a political document." The U.S. and Georgia upped the war rhetoric, defying the terms of the peace plan AND the wishes of the South Ossetians and Abkhazia, by insisting that these two independent states would now fall under Georgia's control. To make it look like Russia (not the U.S.) was defying the peace plan, the U.S. media began referring to South Ossetia and Abkhazia as "ethnic Georgia," and accusing Russia of refusing to leave Georgia. Russia's anger escalated. It stepped-up its assault in Georgia-proper, and began destroying U.S. military installations within Georgia, deeming them a threat to Russia. Bush responded by announcing the U.S. installation of missile bases in Poland. Russia accurately deemed this a threat against Russia, and threatened a nuclear response to these missiles being placed in Poland.


Concurrent to the bilateral threats of nuclear holocaust, a 2nd peace plan was drafted, which reinforced and clarified Russia's right to defend South Ossetia and Abkhazia until such a time when international discussions could take place to establish the political future of these two states. Russia signed the plan. Saakashvili signed a peace plan, too, which Russia claims lacked the introductory clause contained in the peace plan Russia signed. While the U.S.-Georgia may have agreed, on paper, to the plan, they are hoping that no one will notice that they are, in practice, violating the treaty by insisting that South Ossetia and Abkhazia belong under Georgia's control, even tho neither state wants to be under Georgia's control. The U.S. is further insisting that Russia withdraw entirely from the two independent states, despite that the treaty allows Russia's presence there. These covert lies are a flagrant display of agression against Russia. In this, the Bush Administration is forcing Russia's hand. If one didn't, uh, know better, it would appear that the U.S. wants to go to war with Russia.


Russia claims to be destroying U.S. stocks and supplies at Georgia's military installations, which it deems as threats to Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia.The U.S. has promised to replace whatever military arms Georgia has lost in this war. U.S. is accusing Russia of slaughtering Georgians, which seems true, but to what extent is difficult to discern because both the South Ossetian and the Abkhazian armies are now ruthlessly attacking Georgia-proper. These armies likely have Russian backing, the same way Georgia has U.S. backing, ergo, the U.S. and Russia are staging covert wars against each other. Russia also claims that Georgian and U.S. mercenary forces are dressed in Russian military garb, attacking their own citizens in Georgia and filming it, to use as propaganda to further villify Russia to the world community, gaining support for future aggression against Russia. What a mess.

Let us be the among the first to state the obvious: When a peace plan is drawn up and signed, it is customary for all parties to then abide by the agreement.

This war is an evil game. We fault the Bush Administration for starting this war and for sidestepping the terms of the peace plan by intentionally perpetuating this war through lying and using aggressive war rhetoric to exacerbate tensions and undermine any possibility for a real peace. That innocent people are, indeed, being slaughtered in this game is criminal. Many in the U.S., including presidential candidate, McCain, want to see more slaughtering. They want the U.S. to bomb Russia, even if this means fullscale nuclear holocaust. Americans are so enamored of the Bush brand of democracy, that it's worth the annilhation of all life on this planet to spread this democracy. Even as Americans are still stinging from the knowledge that the war in Iraq had nothing to do with spreading democracy and freedom, and had everthing to do with controlling Iraq's oil. Oh, the short memories of these stupid, stupid Americans, who are once again eating Bush's war propaganda like candy. So who's the puppet now?

Unless U.S. citizens want to see the entire planet engulfed in nuclear holocaust, they would be well-advised to call their representative to voice opposition to Bush-Cheney's support of Georgia and this war for oil. Were this war truly about democracy and human rights -- and not oil -- the conflict would have been long ago been resolved with simple diplomacy.


It seems the closest we can find to truth in the media on this war is through political cartoons. The above cartoon sums things up quite well. With propaganda occupying all sides of this war, it's a rarity to find verifiable, trustworthy, factual news articles. Here are a few we found for August 16-18:

ANTIWAR.COM/REUTERS: "Georgia rebel region sacks government, declares emergency" The president of Georgia's separatist region of South Ossetia fired his government on Monday and declared a month-long emergency to cope with the aftermath of an armed conflict with the central government.

AUGUST 17, 2008


AUGUST 16, 2008

THE NATION: "Ceasefire and Chaos in Georgia" After nearly two weeks of war, most of Georgia remains in chaos. A bridge thirty miles west of the capital city of Tbilisi was blown up on Saturday afternoon, severing the country's east-west rail link.

PRAVDA: "Georgian President Saakashvili eats his tie on TV live " The BBC has recently aired a TV report, in which Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili ate his tie. The report was about the situation in the area of the conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia. The footage showed Saakashvili making a call to a top Western official. It could be clearly seen that Mr. Saakashvili was having a nervous breakdown. Watch the video here

AUGUST 14-15, 2008

ANTI-WAR.COM: "Blowback From Bear-Baiting" Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and John McCain, and America's lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.

COMMON DREAMS.ORG: "Putin’s War Enablers: Bush and Cheney" -- All sides have committed massacres and behaved abominably. There are no clean hands involved.... Still, not everyone in NATO agrees that Saakashvili is a hero. While traveling with the negotiating team of President Nicolas Sarkozy, one French official observed that “Saakashvili was crazy enough to go in the middle of the night and bomb a city” in South Ossetia. The consequence of Russia’s riposte, he said, is “a Georgia attacked, pulverized, through its own fault.”

CONSORTIUMNEWS: "Washington Post and the Great Disconnect" On Tuesday, the sub-head for the Washington Post’s lead editorial read, “The West confronts an unfamiliar sight: a nation bent on conquest.”

FAIRNESS & ACCURACY IN REPORTING (FAIR): "Georgia/Russia Conflict Forced Into Cold War Frame" -- U.S. corporate media frequently evoked the Cold War as a key to understanding the conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia. This was certainly true of the media themselves, which generally placed black hats or white hats on the actors involved depending on whether they were allied with Moscow or Washington.

IRISH TIMES: "Rivals say they plan to remove Georgian president" -- Georgian opposition politicians have wasted no time in trying to undermine president Mikheil Saakashvili, who remains broadly popular in Georgia but is still widely perceived in the country as having started the war with Russia.

THE NATION: "Georgia's First Mistake: Taking McCain Seriously" -- What was Mikheil Saakashvili thinking when he started poking at Russia in a manner that Mikhail Gorbachev correctly observes has "turned out to be a time bomb for Georgia's territorial integrity."? That question is easily answered.

WASHINGTON POST: "McCain's Focus on Georgia Raises Question of Propriety" -- After Chiding Obama, He Dwells on Crisis as a President Might


AUGUST 14, 2008

Question of the Day:

Who's telling the truth: the U.S. or Russia?


We can't speak for Russia, but we can state, unequivocally, that the U.S. has stacked lies upon lies into this conflict, the core lie being that Georgia is a sovereign, fledgling democracy. Georgia is a U.S.-installed puppet regime, a corrupt, pseudo-democracy run by thugs, guilty of myriad crimes against its people, not to mention its more recent crimes -- war crimes -- committed against the independent territory of South Ossetia. That the lies of the U.S. administration have been so thoroughly promulgated through the media into a deliberate propaganda campaign to canonize Georgia and demonize Russia is a reckless and dangerous thing to do. For these reasons, we cannot accept, on its face, any information originating from the U.S. administration. We suspect, however, that Russia is now doing some of the same. The fact is, none of us knows the truth -- not even those in charge of the facts. As we've seen in other wars for oil over the past several U.S. administrations, truth is the first victim of war. By the time it returns home (if ever) its pertinence is merely academic. The damage has long-since been done.


AUGUST 13, 2008

ANTI-WAR.COM: "'Poor Little Georgia' – Not!" Bill Kristol and the Menshevik myth of democratic Georgia "

".... refusing to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states allows the U.S. and the European community to maintain the fiction of Russian "expansionism." According to Washington, the Russians invaded "Georgia"; Saakashvili's invasion of South Ossetia doesn't qualify as aggression, since how can you invade your own country? South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia, you see. Just like a small mammal is part of the anaconda that swallowed it whole.....
....(The) dictatorial tradition is today carried on by President Mikheil Saakashvili, who unleashed police on demonstrators, injuring 500 people, during the hotly contested elections and shut down independent media with the same alacrity displayed by his Menshevik predecessors. It is little short of astonishing that Kristol holds up this smarmy regime of small-time hoodlums with big-time regional ambitions as some kind of model, the ideal U.S. ally whose fate we might even go to war over. Georgia, in Kristol's view, is worthy not only of U.S. support, but of membership in an imaginary "League of Democracies," a neocon project touted by John McCain and pushed by the neocon-dominated wing of the GOP as the "conservative" answer to the United Nations."

COMMONDREAMS.ORG: This War Has Been Approved by Your Government

THE GUARDIAN: Mikhail Gorbachev Speaks: "We had no choice." Leaders in the Caucasus must stop flexing military muscle and develop the grounds for lasting peace.

THE GUARDIAN: "Bush rebuking Russia? Putin must be splitting his sides"
Moscow has to take some of the blame. But it is the west's policy of liberal interventionism that has fuelled war in Georgia

THE GUARDIAN: 'I've never heard anything so monstrous as people shelling a hospital' Tom Parfitt travelled to Tskhinvali, in a trip organised by the Kremlin, to witness first hand the destruction caused by the battle for South Ossetia

THE NATION: "Georgia War: A Neocon Election Ploy?" Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the US presidential election?

THE NATION: "The War We Don't Know" Five days after Georgia invaded and seized the breakaway separatist region of South Ossetia, sparking a larger-scale Russian invasion to drive Georgian forces back and punish their leaders, Russia surprised its Western detractors by calling a halt to the country's offensive.

THE NATION: "The New American Cold War" Published almost exactly two years ago, this article by Stephen F. Cohen provides a backdrop against which to understand the current Russian-Georgia crisis.

REUTERS: "Pentagon says no plans to control Georgia ports" (We, here at the canarypapers, wonder just where Georgia President, Mikheil Saakashvili, got the, uh, crazy idea that Georgia's "ports and airports would be taken under the control of the U.S. defense ministry"?)


Question of the Day:

Why is there an outpouring of world aid being sent to Georgia, the instigator of this brutal war, and not to South Ossetia, where up to 2000 innocent citizens died and thousands more were injured in Georgia's savage attack?


Because, gradually, over the past week, the U.S. media have stopped calling South Ossetia and Abkhazia by their proper names, and have started calling them "ethnic Georgia." This way, the U.S. can neatly pretend that the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are *not* Russian-allied, autonomous regions within Georgia, and pretend, instead, that they *are* Georgia, itself, (which they are not, and have not been since 1991). The beauty of this lie is three-faced: (1) The U.S. can now pretend that Georgia never invaded South Ossetia (after all, how does a country invade itself?) and therefore claim that Georgia didn't start this war, and didn't slaughter thousands of South Ossetians. (2) The U.S. can now invade South Ossetia under the guise of offering humanitarian aid to "ethnic Georgians" (despite that Russia is already tending humanitarian aid in South Ossetia), and can also accuse Russia's presence in both autonomous regions (which is allowed under the terms of the peace deal) of being a breach in the peace deal, since -- in the make-believe world of George Bush and the U.S. media -- South Ossetia and Abkhazia no longer *quite* exist. (3) This way, if Russia protests the U.S. invasion of these two territories, the U.S. can now -- in words, anyway -- claim to be supporting the sovereign democracy of Georgia-proper (and, heavens no, not in Russian-allied territories), and can then accuse Russia of most anything, including hampering the U.S. relief efforts in Georgia, and thereby gain world support for.... for what? War?

And just what happens, from here, to the tens of thousands of South Ossetians, who fled to the safety of Russia in the wake of Georgia's brutal assault, is any one's guess.


AUGUST 1-12, 2008

American Chronicle - Bush Administration Behind Conflict Between Russia and Georgia - The Real Aggressor: Georgian invasion of South Ossetia sets the stage for a wider war

Chimes of Freedom - How the BBC is Deliberately Distorting the News from the Georgia Region

Creative i - Israel and U.S. Behind Georgian Aggression?

Creative i - The Real Reason Behind the Military Buildup of Ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia and Its Invasion of Russian South Ossetia

Dandelion Salad - “Georgia’s aggression on South Ossetia is ethnic cleansing" plus media briefing of Russia’s General Staff

Dandelion Salad - “Bush’s War in Georgia; Will it be the Flyswatter or the Blunderbuss?"

Dandelion Salad - "Georgia vs. South Ossentia: A Story of Genocide" (plus, "See the Ugly Face of War")

Dandelion Salad - American Says U.S. and Georgia to Answer for Violence

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) - Assess medical needs of wounded in South Ossetia & Georgia

EurasiaNet - GEORGIA: TENSIONS FLARE OVER BREAKAWAY SOUTH OSSETIA (three days before war started)

Global Research - South Ossetia: The War Has Begun!

Global Research - South Ossetia says over 1,000 dead after Georgian attack - August 12 Conditions on the Ground, Peacetalks & Propaganda

The Guardian - Plucky little Georgia? No, the cold war reading won't wash

Information Clearing House - "Bodies are lying everywhere. It's hell."

Lenin's Tomb -Putin Wins, Probably

Nation (The) - Getting Georgia's War On

Otago Daily Times - Georgia's folly

Pravda - War between Russia and Georgia orchestrated from USA

Pravda - The Two-Faced, Underhanded Foreign Policy of Georgia

Reuters - U.S. Troops Start Training Exercises in Georgia

Seattle Times - Russia orders halt to military action in Georgia (Tuesday, August 12)

Spiked - Georgia: the messy truth behind the morality tale

Turkish Weekly - Russia Warns Georgia Over South Ossetia (one day before the war started)

***see also YouTube video clips, below, for addt'l current news reports


All Headline News - Police Clearout Shuts Down Georgia's Pro-Opposition Media Station - Comrade Cheneyvs. President Putin - Does Putin Not Have a Point?

BlackAnthemMilitaryNews - U.S., Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine conduct exercise in Georgia

Consortuium News - Bush, Georgia & Authoritarianism

Deutsche Welle - Russia, US Swap Warnings as Condoleezza Rice Visits Georgia

Foundation for Defense of Democracies - Georgia on His Mind - George Soros's Potemkin Revolution - Georgia must stop hostile actions to improve relations with Russia

The Guardian - Georgia on Their Mind

Human Rights Centre June 2008 Report: "Georgia's Parliamentary Elections - Unprecedented Brutality and Election Fraud"

International Herald Tribune - Russia warns Georgia on 'provocations'

Newsweek - (2006) War in the Caucasus? The dispute between Georgia and Russia has all the makings of a tragic conflict.

Radio Free Europe - Overwhelming Support For South Ossetia Independence

Radio Free Europe - Criticism Mounting Over Georgia's State Of Emergency

Radio Free Europe - Georgia: Groups Urge U.S. To Tie Aid To Human Rights Progress

The Seattle Times - Thousands protest delay in Georgia's election

The Tiraspol Times - Georgia in US-financed arms race for war on Abkhazia, South Ossetia

Toronto Sun - Shevy's Big Mistake: Crossing Uncle Sam
Turkish Weekly - South Ossetia votes for independence, West and Russia split

Workers World - Mass Protests Shake Former Soviet Republic


YouTube Video "Russia Today" news broadcast, 7/12/07: Georgia and South Ossetia: the propaganda war goes on

YouTube - "Russia Today" news broadcast, 4/4/08: Putin says NATO expansion a 'direct threat to Russia'

YouTube - "Russia Today" news broadcast, 4/29/08: Russia Not Planning War with Georgia

YouTube - "AlJazeera" news broadcast, 8/5/08: Ossetian Children Evacuated to safety

YouTube - "Russia Today" news broadcast, 8/8/08 : Georgia begins war to retake South Ossetia

YouTube - "Freedom Movement Info" video, 8/9/08: Georgian aggression and war crimes against Ossetia

YouTube - "Russia Today" news broadcast, 8/10/08: A Reporter's View from South Ossetia, calls it "a massacre"

YouTube - Still-photo slide show of the damage in South Ossetia, August 11, 2008

YouTube - "Russia Today" broadcast, 8/12/08: CNN (stupidity or complicity?) airs misleading footage of Tskhinvali ruins (in South Ossetia) to portray "devastating" damage to Gori, Georgia!

YouTube - "Russia Today" broadcast, 8.12.08: McCain's & Obama's statements on the war

YouTube: "WorldNews4You" video, 8/12/08: Russia & Europe draw up peace plan

YouTube: "WorldNews4You" video, 8/12/08: Western allies vs. Russian allies -- mixed to peace plan from world leaders

YouTube - "Russia Today" broadcast, 8.13.08: McCain & Obama statements mirror Bush party line, vs. statements of unknown US presidential candidate, Gloria LaRiva, who speaks the truth

YouTube - "Russia Today" broadcast, 8/12/08: South Ossentian survivors speak out

YouTube - "Russia Today" broadcast 8/12/08: Reports on the ground: Cities destroyed in South Ossetia, 2000 dead, thousands injured, 35,000 refugees. Georgia firing on fleeing refugees, even as peacetalks under way.

YouTube - "Russia Today" news broadcast, 8/13/08: Saakashvili uses western media as his weapon against Russia

YouTube: "Russia Today" news broadcast 8/13/08: No more fighting, but victims' misery continues

YouTube: "Russia Today" news broadcast 8/13/08: Severely wounded airlifted to Moscow

YouTube - "Russia Today" broadcast, 8/13/08: A child born as the war began



Lastly, some additional words to chew on:

1.) This is a war for oil. Much like Iraq. More like Somalia.

2.) Georgia is a corrupt, pseudo-democracy -- a puppet-government, installed by Bush-Cheney. The rosy coup that hailed President Saakashvili into office turned out to be a farce. The people who cheered him IN now want him OUT. Increasingly reviled by Georgians (much like Bush in our country, and for many of the same reasons) Saakashvili is the target of widespread protest, which he violently suppresses. Georgia's recent history is a carbon copy of our own (stolen elections, the firing of Supreme Court judges, a powerless Congress, and media censorship).

3.) The U.S. has given billions to Georgia over the past 10 years (70% of Georgia's budget is spent on defense) and has been training and arming their military -- recently staging JOINT exercises called "Partnership for Peace" right at Russia's border.

4.) Georgia invaded South Ossetia. Not the other way around. South Ossetia did not need or ask to be "saved" by Georgia. Russia came to South Ossetia's defense AFTER they were attacked by Georgia. Georgia slaughtered 1500 people in South Ossetia on the first day of this war.

5.) About the 'disproportionate' force Russia is waging against Georgia .... The death toll, as of yesterday, was Georgia 40; South Ossetia 2000. At least the Russians have not targeted innocent men, women and children, as the U.S. and Georgia forces have in South Ossetia.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Media Whiteout: Who's the Real Bully in the Russia-Georgia War?

Looks like business as usual: The U.S. installs a corrupt, pseudo-democratic puppet regime in an oil-strategic country, then arms and trains its military to the teeth, so that they can (and, rest assured, they always do) stage a U.S. war-by-proxy, so that the US can wrest control of yet more oil-strategic territory. Only, this time, Bush-Cheney are playing a game of Russian Roulette, their guns aimed straight into the mouth of World War III.

For years, Washington has been supporting and/or installing Georgian politicians who are favorable to the U.S. oil agenda -- most recently the corrput autocrat, Mikhail Saakashvili -- while pouring military aid into the Georgia, and arming and training their troops for... for.... For what? For war. This has been utterly clear to Russia over the past several years, and especially over the past several months, as they've watched U.S. and Georgia forces amass on the Russian border, as part of the euphemistically named "NATO Partnership for Peace program."

Russia has been warning, for several years now, against Georgia invading South Ossetia. Russia has also, through its Foreign Ministry, urged treaties to forge peaceful resolutions to the escalating tension between Georgia and South Ossetia. And as these efforts have failed, the warnings have only grown stronger: Do not attack South Ossetia. Or else. These efforts have all fallen on deaf ears -- the treaties left unsigned by U.S./Georgia leaders -- with the reporting of this history virtually whited-out by the U.S. media and its allies, with very few exceptions. By the same token, the Bush Administration's repeated promises to put "heavy pressure" on Mikhail Saakashvili to not attack South Ossetia have fallen on deaf ears in Russia. Perhaps this is due to the billions of dollars the U.S. government has spent arming and training Georgian soldiers to fight the war on terror, while waging chronic aggression against South Ossetia and performing those joint "peace exercises" at the Russian border.

Courtesy of the U.S. media (and the media of all allies of the U.S., who depend on our ill-gotten oil) the truth about this war is in white-out mode, replaced by the sort of propaganda and lies necessary to bolstering support for waging an illegal, immoral war that has been called, by one reporter in South Ossetia, "a massacre" of its citizens. Much like the war in Iraq. This dearth of media truth and balance in the U.S. media nicely dovetails into the Bush Administration's claims that Russia "does not want peace," and that Russia is the savage, the war monger in this scenario. The media accounts of this war make increasingly rare mention to the fact that it was U.S.-backed Georgia (not Russia!) that instigated this war -- invading South Ossetia and destroying their towns, their homes, and brutally killing their citizens. Either the media are stupid or complicitous: 90% of South Ossetia's citizens are Russian; and South Ossetia has been harmoniously allied with the Russian government for years now. These are not opinions or conspiracy theories. They are facts.

"... Now you're starting to see the American media shift its coverage from calling it 'Georgia invading Ossetian territory,' to the new spin, that it's 'Russian imperial aggression against tiny little Georgia.'"

Our media have ignored the build-up to this war, the same as they are now whitewashing the real bully in this war. The media, instead, perpetuate the myth that South Ossetia is somehow being "saved" by the U.S. and Georgia, despite that they do not want to be "saved" from a willing alliance with Russia. Make no mistake: This is a war of choice. This is a war for oil. This is a war started by the Bush Administration, using Georgia's Mikhail Saakashvili as its pawn, and Russia as the ruse. Perhaps our administration didn't really believe all those Russia warnings of retaliation. Perhaps Bush-Cheney thought their Georgia pawns and mercenary armies could overwhelm the pro-Russian province of South Ossetia (and likely their neighbor, Abkhazia, too) as brutally as America's Ethopian pawns have overwhelmed Somalia. Or, perhaps Bush-Cheney couldn't care less what anyone things or says about the atrocities they commit in the name of spreading freedom and democracy.

As recent history has shown, the war crimes of the Bush Administration are so layered in lies that -- by the time the rest of the world figures out the real truth -- the death and destruction are little more than a footnote in the history of one more nation, swallowed up by the Bush-Cheney war machine. Soon forgotten in George Bush's crafty war rhetoric will be the 1500 South Ossentian citizens -- that's 1500 innocent men, women, children and vulnerable elderly citizens -- who were brutally slaughtered in the first day alone of this war. The rest of South Ossentia citizens -- those 'lucky' ones, who have scrambled for safety, toward the Russian border, and whose lives have been forever altered as their homes and their villages have been decimated -- will likely not even be allowed the trivial dignity of a footnote.

And this aspect deserves bold-face type: these citizens are fleeing -- not into Georgia, but into Russia. Whose media version does this part of the story fit? The American media version -- in which Russia is waging an unprovoked and 'disproportianate' war on Georgia? The American version, in which the U.S. and Georgia merely sought to save the poor little, independent province of South Ossentia from the evil empire? Or the version told by both Russia and South Ossetia -- versions that paint Georgia and the U.S. as war criminals, slaughtering innocent citizens in their illegal invasion of South Ossetia?

Do you suppose the South Ossentians are lying? Do you suppose that Sarmat Laliyev, a 28-year old South Ossentian, fleeing toward Russia, was lying, when she said, "We lost our city ... The Georgians are like Nazis, they are killing civilians, women and children with heavy artillery and rockets"?

Russia sends Teams of Buses to Evacuate 15,000 South Ossetia Citizens Forced to Flee Their Homes

With the war in full swing, the U.S. propaganda machine is running at full-pitch. The U.S. pretends that Georgia is being victimized, as their pleas for a cease-fire go unheard by Russia. The U.S. accuses Russia of 'disproportionate' force against Georgia, while ignoring the fact that a ceasefire is hardly possible, until Georgia withdraws from South Ossetia, which they've so far failed to do, despite repeated demands by Russia. Cheney says that, "Russia's military action against Georgia must not go unanswered." Bush is urging "peace." He is urging Russia to stop the violence. His lies about who started what are delivered "in a serious and somber tone," as he claims the United States is "deeply concerned" about the fighting, and calls this a "dangerous escalation" that is “endangering regional peace.” Duh.

No doubt, the majority of US citizens, in their perennial ignorance of world politics, in general (and of any issue, in particular, that doesn't involve Paris, Brittney, J-Lo, Angelina or Madonna) will start waving American flags and railing against the godless evil empire: Bush is the good guy, here. After all, he's calling for peace, right? And peace is good. Even George Bush's brand of peace, is good, right? I mean, sometimes peace means you gotta go to war, but that's okay, too, so long as it's not on American soil....

... so long as the war happens to someone else, not us.

One important difference between Georgia and, say, Kosovo-Yugoslavia is that, this time around, the US is staging its proxy war right on Russia's border. And Russia has made clear that they are not going to be so indifferent this time around. Bush-Cheney knew this, of course, before they equipped Georgia to attack South Ossetia, which begs the question: What are they thinking?

The answer here, as in all modern U.S. conflicts -- from Kosovo, to Iraq, to Colombia, to Afghanistan, to Somalia and the entire continent of Africa -- can be summed up in one word: oil.