Friday, October 28, 2011

Homeless thrown out with trash; Occupy protesters facing homelessness issues; stringent laws undermine basic human dignity


Police terrorize, shake down homeless; batter them in attempt to get them to flee cities then go home to nice, warm beds:  Orders come from city authorities

Al Jazeera
By Barbara Ehreneich
10/27/2011

Some of the Occupy Wall Street encampments now spreading across the US have access to "porta-potties" (eg: Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC) or, better yet, restrooms with sinks and running water (as in Fort Wayne, Indiana). Others require their residents to forage for toilet facilities on their own.

    At Zuccotti Park, just blocks from Wall Street, this means long waits for the restroom at a nearby Burger King - or somewhat shorter queues at a Starbucks a block away. At McPherson Square in DC, a twenty-something occupier showed me the pizza parlour where she can use the facilities during the hours the restaurant is open, as well as the alley she uses late at night. Anyone with restroom-related issues - arising from age, pregnancy, prostate problems or irritable bowel syndrome - should prepare to join the revolution in diapers.


The shame of America:  no morals, compassion
Of course, political protesters do not face the challenges of urban camping alone. Homeless people confront the same issues every day: how to scrape together meals, keep warm at night by covering themselves with cardboard or tarp, and relieve themselves without committing a crime. Public restrooms are sparse in US cities - "as if the need to go to the bathroom does not exist", travel expert Arthur Frommer once observed. And yet to yield to bladder pressure is to risk arrest. A report entitled "Criminalising Crisis", to be released later this month by the National Law Centre on Homelessness and 

    Poverty, recounts the following story from Wenatchee, Washington:

    "Toward the end of 2010, a family of two parents and three children that had been experiencing homelessness for a year-and-a-half applied for a two-bedroom apartment. The day before a scheduled meeting with the apartment manager during the final stages of acquiring the lease, the father of the family was arrested for public urination. The arrest occurred at an hour when no public restrooms were available for use. Due to the arrest, the father was unable to make the appointment with the apartment manager and the property was rented out to another person. As of March 2011, the family was still homeless and searching for housing."

Illegal to be homeless

    What the Occupy Wall Streeters are beginning to discover, and homeless people have known all along, is that most ordinary, biologically necessary activities are illegal when performed in American streets - not just urinating, but sitting, lying down and sleeping. While laws vary from city to city, one of the harshest is in Sarasota, Florida, which passed an ordinance in 2005 that makes it illegal to "engage in digging or earth-breaking activities" - that is, to build a latrine - cook, make a fire, or be asleep and "when awakened, state that he or she has no other place to live."


Photo by Robert S. Finnegan
It is illegal, in other words, to be homeless or live outdoors for any other reason. It should be noted, though, that there are no laws requiring cities to provide food, shelter or restrooms for their indigent citizens.

    The current prohibition on homelessness began to take shape in the 1980s, along with the ferocious growth of the financial industry (Wall Street and all its tributaries throughout the nation). That was also the era in which we stopped being a nation that manufactured much beyond weightless, invisible "financial products", leaving the old industrial working class to carve out a livelihood at places such as Wal-Mart.

    As it turned out, the captains of the new "casino economy" - the stock brokers and investment bankers - were highly sensitive, one might say finickity, individuals, easily offended by having to step over the homeless in the streets or bypass them in commuter train stations. In an economy where a centimillionaire could turn into a billionaire overnight, the poor and unwashed were a major buzzkill.
Starting with Mayor Rudy Giuliani in New York, city after city passed "broken windows" or "quality of life" ordinances, making it dangerous for the homeless to loiter or, in some cases, even look "indigent", in public spaces.

Story of a pregnant woman:

     No one has yet tallied all the suffering occasioned by this crackdown - the deaths from cold and exposure - but "Criminalising Crisis" offers this story about a homeless pregnant woman in Columbia, South Carolina:

"During daytime hours, when she could not be inside of a shelter, she attempted to spend time in a museum and was told to leave. She then attempted to sit on a bench outside the museum and was again told to relocate. In several other instances, still during her pregnancy, the woman was told that she could not sit in a local park during the day because she would be 'squatting'. In early 2011, about six months into her pregnancy, the homeless woman began to feel unwell, went to a hospital, and delivered a stillborn child."


Elderly homelessness is a product of our terminally-ill society
Well before Tahrir Square was a twinkle in anyone's eye, and even before the recent recession, homeless Americans had begun to act in their own defence, creating organised encampments, usually tent cities, in vacant lots or wooded areas. 

   These communities often feature various elementary forms of self-governance: food from local charities has to be distributed, latrines dug, rules - such as no drugs, weapons, or violence - enforced. With all due credit to the Egyptian democracy movement, the Spanish indignados, and rebels all over the world, tent cities are the domestic progenitors of the US occupation movement.


Homeless encampment under freeqway overpass in Sacramento
There is nothing "political" about these settlements of the homeless - no signs denouncing greed or visits from left-wing luminaries - but they have been treated with far less official forbearance than the occupation encampments of the "American autumn". LA's Skid Row endures constant police harassment, for example, but when it rained, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had ponchos distributed to nearby Occupy LA. 

'Out of sight' 

    All over the country, in the past few years, police have moved in on the tent cities of the homeless, one by one, from Seattle to Wooster, Sacramento to Providence, in raids that often leave the former occupants without even their minimal possessions. In Chattanooga, Tennessee, last summer, a charity outreach worker explained the forcible dispersion of a local tent city by saying: "The city will not tolerate a tent city. That's been made very clear to us. The camps have to be out of sight."


Dog food dinner for homeless grandmother
What occupiers from all walks of life are discovering, at least every time they contemplate taking a leak, is that to be homeless in the US is to live like a fugitive. The destitute are our own native-born "illegals", facing prohibitions on the most basic activities of survival. They are not supposed to soil public space with their urine, their faeces or their exhausted bodies. Nor are they supposed to spoil the landscape with their unusual wardrobe choices or body odours. They are, in fact, supposed to die, and preferably to do so without leaving a corpse for the dwindling public sector to transport, process and burn.


    But the occupiers are not from all walks of life, just from those walks that slope downwards - from debt, joblessness and foreclosure - leading eventually to pauperism and the streets. Some of the present occupiers were homeless to start with, attracted to the occupation encampments by the prospect of free food and at least temporary shelter from police harassment. Many others are drawn from the borderline-homeless "nouveau poor", and normally encamp on friends' couches or parents' folding beds.


Homeless grandfather digs for food scraps
In Portland, Austin and Philadelphia, the Occupy Wall Street movement is taking up the cause of the homeless as its own, which of course it is. Homelessness is not a side issue unconnected to plutocracy and greed. It's where we're all eventually headed - the 99 per cent, or at least the 70 per cent, of us, every debt-loaded college graduate, out-of-work school teacher, and impoverished senior - unless this revolution succeeds.


    Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (Picador, 2011).


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

UPDATE - Scott Olsen To Undergo Brain Surgery, Statement From Oakland Mayor


Mayor's statement comes too little too late, should resign along with police chief; Marines weighing options on action to take; 5th Estate publisher calls Alameda County DA on shooting, demands murder charges for Oakland cops resopnsible

The Guardian
Andrew Gumbel in Oakland
Adam Gabbatt, Ewen MacAskill
10/28/2011

Olsen's condition has been upgraded after an incident that has prompted calls for Oakland mayor's resignation.*

    Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran who suffered serious head injuries after being hit by a projectile fired by police during the Occupy Oakland protests, will require surgery to alleviate brain swelling.  Doctors at Highland Hospital in Oakland have upgraded Olsen's condition from critical to fair, a source told the Guardian, though they would not discuss whether the 24-year-old had regained consciousness.

    Olsen's roommate Keith Shannon, who served with him in Iraq, said Olsen would be undergoing surgery "within a day or two."

Marines deciding on what action to take against cops
Shannon, who lives with Olsen in Daly City, a city south of San Francisco, said it was "great" that Olsen had been upgraded to "fair" status, but said concerns remained as to whether he may have suffered brain damage.

He was sedated upon arrival at the hospital on Tuesday night. His parents flew in from Wisconsin and were at his bedside on Thursday.

Oakland's police chief Howard Jordan has promised a vigorous investigation into the incident which has provoked heavy criticism across the US, sparking solidarity marches in dozens of Occupy camps in the country.

   The Oakland protesters were back in force on Wednesday night, 24 hours after they were supposed to be gone for good, demanding the resignation of the city's mayor.

    This time the police did nothing except circle around the demonstrators and discourage them from jumping on to an overhead freeway. More than 1000 protesters kept marching through the city streets until long after midnight, shouting an occasional "shame on you" at motorcycle cops and taking care to pick up their own litter. They even picked up pieces of a fence they had earlier pulled down and stacked them in neat piles around Frank Ogawa Plaza, in front of City Hall.

United States Marine Scott Olsen
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, herself a veteran of street protests from Berkeley in the 1960s to a public demonstration against police brutality in Oakland just lastyear, is facing demands for her recall or resignation. "Mayor Quan, you did more damage to Oakland in one evening than Occupy Oakland did in two weeks," one hastily scrawled slogan left near the entrance to her offices read.

In a news conference, Quan sought to distance herself from the police action, saying she was away in Washington at the time and had not expected it to unfold the way it did. "I only asked the chief to do one thing: to do it when it was the safest for both the police and the demonstrators," she said.

From earlier report:

Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran who suffered serious head injuries after being hit by a projectile fired by police during the Occupy Oakland protests, has woken up and is lucid as he awaits surgery, hospital officials and family members have said.

Olsen, a 24-year-old former US Marine, was struck in the head during anti-Wall Street protests on Tuesday night. He has been upgraded from critical to fair condition.

Unarmed Marine Scott Olsen shot by Oakland pigs
Olsen "responded with a very large smile" to a visit from his parents, Highland General hospital spokesman Warren Lyons said. "He's able to understand what's going on. He's able to write and hear but has a little difficulty with his speech," Lyons said.

Doctors had not operated on Olsen yet and were waiting to see if swelling in his brain eased, Lyons said.

Olsen's aunt, Kathy Pacconi, told Reuters in an email that her nephew was showing signs of improvement.

Olsen, 24, has become a figurehead of the Occupy Wall Street movement and Oakland organisers have said they will stage a general strike over what a spokeswoman called the "brutal and vicious" treatment of protesters, including the former Marine.

Oakland's police chief, Howard Jordan, has promised a vigorous investigation into the incident which has provoked heavy criticism across the US, sparking solidarity marches in dozens of Occupy camps in the country.

This week's violent clashes with police in Oakland appear to have re-energised the Occupy movement in America, creating political liabilities for civic leaders across the United States, who had seemed poised to follow Oakland's lead and, in some cases, issued orders to clear the streets.

U.S. Marine Scott Olsen evacuated from scene by hero bystanders
The White House said yesterday that Barack Obama understood the frustration of the Occupy Wall Street protesters but stressed the need to uphold the law.

White House spokesman Jay Carney, responding to reporters' questions about the Oakland violence, said he had not discussed protests in specifiic cities with the president, only the protests in general.

Obama has tried to maintain a balancing act as the protests have grown, leaning towards support while avoiding a full embrace of the movement. But it would be a huge step for the president to go on to criticise any police force.

Carney said the president could sympathised with the frustration over the role of Wall Street writ large in the worst recession since the Great Depression. There was a long and noble expression of free expression in the US, he said. But, as to the violence, he said the federal government obviously insisted that everyone behave in a lawful manner even as they expressed their frustration.

The Oakland protesters were back in force on Wednesday night, 24 hours after they were supposed to be gone for good, demanding the resignation of the city's mayor.

This time the police did nothing except circle around the demonstrators and discourage them from jumping on to an overhead freeway. More than 1000 protesters kept marching through the city streets until long after midnight, shouting an occasional "shame on you" at motorcycle cops and taking care to pick up their own litter. They even picked up pieces of a fence they had earlier pulled down and stacked them in neat piles around Frank Ogawa Plaza, in front of City Hall.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, herself a veteran of street protests from Berkeley in the 1960s to a public demonstration against police brutality in Oakland just lastyear, is facing demands for her recall or resignation. "Mayor Quan, you did more damage to Oakland in one evening than Occupy Oakland did in two weeks," one hastily scrawled slogan left near the entrance to her offices read.

In a news conference, Quan sought to distance herself from the police action, saying she was away in Washington at the time and had not expected it to unfold the way it did. "I only asked the chief to do one thing: to do it when it was the safest for both the police and the demonstrators," she said.

Her interim police chief, Howard Jordan, was similarly defensive when he spoke to reporters, denying that his men had used rubber bullets or flash-bang grenades, as some protesters alleged and adding: "It's unfortunate it happened. I wish that it didn't happen. Our goal, obviously, isn't to cause injury to anyone."

    *United States Marine Scott Olsen is in what is probably THE BEST hospital in the State, Highland in Oakland, where doctors from around the world come to train in their trama trama unit - Ed


    This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

OPINION: Immunity and impunity in elite America


The deluded, parasitic American rich believe themselves omnipotent; seek to destroy average Americans and create eugenicist fantasy paradise

Al Jazeera
10/27/2011
By Glen Greenwald

OPINION

As intense protests spawned by Occupy Wall Street continue to grow, it is worth asking: Why now? The answer is not obvious. After all, severe income and wealth inequality have long plagued the United States. In fact, it could reasonably be claimed that this form of inequality is part of the design of the American foundation - indeed, an integral part of it.

Income inequality has worsened over the past several years and is at its highest level since the Great Depression. This is not, however, a new trend. Income inequality has been growing at rapid rates for three decades. As journalist Tim Noah described the process: "During the late 1980s and the late 1990s, the United States experienced two unprecedentedly long periods of sustained economic growth - the ‘seven fat years’ and the ‘long boom’. Yet from 1980 to 2005, more than 80 per cent of total increase in Americans' income went to the top one per cent. Economic growth was more sluggish in the aughts [the first decade of the new century], but the decade saw productivity increase by about 20 per cent. Yet virtually none of the increase translated into wage growth at middle and lower incomes, an outcome that left many economists scratching their heads."

    The 2008 financial crisis exacerbated the trend, but not radically: the top one per cent of earners in the US have been feeding ever more greedily at the trough for decades.

Inferiors and superiors

    In addition, substantial wealth inequality is so embedded in US political culture that, standing alone, it would not be sufficient to trigger citizen rage of the type we are finally witnessing. The American founders were clear that they viewed inequality in wealth, power, and prestige as not merely inevitable, but desirable and, for some, even divinely ordained. Jefferson praised "the natural aristocracy" as "the most precious gift of nature" for the "government of society". John Adams concurred: "It already appears, that there must be in every society of men superiors and inferiors, because God has laid in the… course of nature the foundation of the distinction."

Not only have the overwhelming majority of those in the US long acquiesced to vast income and wealth disparities, but some of those most oppressed by these outcomes have cheered it loudly. Americans have been inculcated not only to accept, but to revere those who are the greatest beneficiaries of this inequality.

    In the 1980s, this paradox - whereby even those most trampled upon come to cheer those responsible for their state - became more firmly entrenched. That's because it found a folksy, friendly face. Ronald Reagan, adept at feeding the populace a slew of Orwellian clich├ęs that induced them to defend the interests of the wealthiest. "A rising tide," as one former US president put it, "lifts all boats". The sum of his wisdom being: It is in your interest when the rich get richer.

Implicit in this framework was the claim that inequality was justified and legitimate. The core propagandistic premise was that the rich were rich because they deserved to be. They innovated in industry, invented technologies, discovered cures, created jobs, took risks, and boldly found ways to improve our lives. In other words, they deserved to be enriched. Indeed, it was in our common interest to allow them to fly as high as possible, because that would increase their motivation to produce more, bestowing on us ever greater life-improving gifts.

Gratefulness for the leadership

    We should not, so the thinking went, begrudge the multimillionaire living behind his 15-foot walls for his success; we should admire him. Corporate bosses deserved not our resentment but our gratitude. It was in our own interest not to demand more in taxes from the wealthiest but less, as their enhanced wealth - their pocket change - would trickle down in various ways to all of us. 

This is the mentality that enabled massive growth in income and wealth inequality over the past several decades without much at all in the way of citizen protest. And yet something has indeed changed. It’s not that Americans suddenly woke up one day and decided that substantial income and wealth inequality are themselves unfair or intolerable. What changed was the perception of how that wealth was gotten and so of the ensuing inequality as legitimate.

    Many Americans who once accepted or even cheered such inequality now see the gains of the richest as ill-gotten, as undeserved, as cheating. Most of all, the legal system that once served as the legitimising anchor for outcome inequality, the rule of law - that most basic of American ideals, that a common set of rules are equally applied to all - has now become irrevocably corrupted and is seen as such.

While the founders accepted outcome inequality, they emphasised - over and over - that its legitimacy hinged on subjecting everyone to the law’s mandates on an equal basis. Jefferson wrote that the essence of America would be that "the poorest labourer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionaire, and generally on a more favoured one whenever their rights seem to jar". Benjamin Franklin warned that creating a privileged legal class would produce "total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections" between the rulers and those they ruled. Tom Paine repeatedly railed against "counterfeit nobles", those whose superior status was grounded not in merit but in unearned legal privilege.

Definition of tyranny

    After all, one of their principal grievances against the British king was his power to exempt his cronies from legal obligations. Almost every founder repeatedly warned that a failure to apply the law equally to the politically powerful and the rich would ensure a warped and unjust society. In many ways, that was their definition of tyranny.

Americans understand this implicitly. If you watch a competition among sprinters, you can accept that whoever crosses the finish line first is the superior runner. But only if all the competitors are bound by the same rules: everyone begins at the same starting line, is penalised for invading the lane of another runner, is barred from making physical contact or using performance-enhancing substances, and so on.

    If some of the runners start ahead of others and have relationships with the judges that enable them to receive dispensation for violating the rules as they wish, then viewers understand that the outcome can no longer be considered legitimate. Once the process is seen as not only unfair but utterly corrupted, once it’s obvious that a common set of rules no longer binds all the competitors, the winner will be resented, not heralded.

    That catches the mood of the US in 2011. It may not explain the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it helps explain why it has spread like wildfire and why so many Americans seem instantly to accept and support it. As was not true in recent decades, the American relationship with wealth inequality is in a state of rapid transformation.

It is now clearly understood that, rather than apply the law equally to all, Wall Street tycoons have engaged in egregious criminality - acts which destroyed the economic security of millions of people around the world - without experiencing the slightest legal repercussions. Giant financial institutions were caught red-handed engaging in massive, systematic fraud to foreclose on people’s homes and the reaction of the political class, led by the Obama administration, was to shield them from meaningful consequences.

    Rather than submit on an equal basis to the rules, through an oligarchical, democracy-subverting control of the political process, they now control the process of writing those rules and how they are applied.

Writing laws

    Today, it is glaringly obvious to a wide range of those in the US that the wealth of the top one per cent is the byproduct not of risk-taking entrepreneurship, but of corrupted control of our legal and political systems. Thanks to this control, they can write laws that have no purpose than to abolish the few limits that still constrain them, as happened during the Wall Street deregulation orgy of the 1990s. They can retroactively immunise themselves for crimes they deliberately committed for profit, as happened when the 2008 Congress shielded the nation’s telecom giants for their role in Bush’s domestic warrantless eavesdropping programme.  

It is equally obvious that they are using that power not to lift the boats of ordinary Americans, but to sink them. In short, Americans are now well aware of what the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Illinois’s Dick Durbin, blurted out in 2009 about the body in which he serves: the banks "frankly own the place".

    If you were to assess the state of the union in 2011, you might sum it up this way: rather than being subjected to the rule of law, the nation’s most powerful oligarchs control the law and are so exempt from it; and increasing numbers of Americans understand that and are outraged. At exactly the same time that the nation’s elites enjoy legal immunity even for egregious crimes, ordinary Americans are being subjected to the world's largest and one of its harshest penal states, under which they are unable to secure competent legal counsel and are harshly punished with lengthy prison terms for even trivial infractions. 

‘Two-tiered justice system’

    In lieu of the rule of law - the equal application of rules to everyone - what we have now is a two-tiered justice system in which the powerful are immunised, while the powerless are punished with increasing mercilessness. As a guarantor of outcomes, the law has, by now, been so completely perverted that it is an incomparably potent weapon for entrenching inequality further, controlling the powerless, and ensuring corrupted outcomes.

The tide that was supposed to lift all ships has, in fact, left startling numbers of Americans underwater. In the process, we lost any sense that a common set of rules applies to everyone, and so there is no longer a legitimising anchor for the vast income and wealth inequalities that plague the nation.

    That is what has changed, and a growing recognition of what it means is fuelling rising citizen anger and protest. The inequality under which so many suffer is not only vast, but illegitimate, rooted as it is in lawlessness and corruption. Obscuring that fact has long been the linchpin for inducing Americans to accept vast and growing inequalities. That fact is now too glaring to obscure any longer.

    Glenn Greenwald is a former constitutional and civil rights litigator and a current contributing writer at Salon.com. He is the author of two New York Times bestselling books on the Bush administration's executive power and foreign policy abuses. His just-released book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful (Metropolitan Books), is a scathing indictment of America's two-tiered system of justice.  He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

    A version of this article previously appeared on TomDispatch.com.

 
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
 

U.S. withdrawal from Iraq; Obama leaves country in turmoil


Director of Military Analysis Nathan Hughes examines the logistical and security implications of the impending withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

Editor's Note:  Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy. 

STRATFOR
10/21/2011

On Oct. 21, U.S. President Barack Obama formally announced that, with a few minor exceptions, all U.S. military personnel would be leaving Iraq before the end of the year in accordance with the status-of-forces agreement between Washington and Baghdad.

The U.S. has spent most of the year, both officially and unofficially, attempting to arrange some sort of an extension for as many as 20,000, and as few as a couple thousand, U.S. troops to remain in Iraq beyond the end of the year deadline for a complete withdrawal. What none of this would do is address the underlying issue of resurgent Iranian power, not just in Iraq, but the wider region, and this is something the U.S. has yet to come up with a meaningful response for. From a military perspective, the U.S. training presence’s advisory and assistance role, particularly in issues of maintenance, planning and logistics, will inherently leave the Iraqi military and Iraqi security forces less capable than they are now.

    The U.S. military presence in Iraq has been pivotal to U.S. situational awareness across the country. In some cases, U.S. forces were still operating alongside Iraqi forces, but even where they were not, the disposition of American forces and the nature of their presence meant that the U.S. had a considerable awareness of the way in which Iraqi forces were being employed and their operational performance on the field, as well as the ways in which Iraqi commanders were directing and employing those forces. The U.S. also maintained considerable freedom of action in terms of the way in which it employed intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance platforms in Iraqi airspace. 

Total U.S. dead unknown; for what
This means that even as the U.S. inevitably ramps up its covert collection capabilities, both inside Iraq and by other means, there will be a considerable lapse and degradation of the U.S. intelligence gathering and situational awareness capabilities in Iraq.

In terms of the drawdown itself, while contingency plans have long been in place and forces in Iraq have been preparing for the contingency of drawdown, just under 40,000 U.S. troops remain in the country, positioned at over a dozen facilities that have to be sanitized and handed over to Iraqis. This means that an enormous challenge remains for the U.S. in Iraq, in terms of managing vulnerabilities and exposure during the process of withdrawal. But the other significant question was the security of U.S. nationals that remained behind beyond the deadline for withdrawal. Some military forces, a couple hundred total, remain behind to facilitate the transfer of U.S. arms, training and the presence at the U.S. Embassy.

Number of dead Iraqi civilians in hundreds of thousands



The U.S. military has been an enormously important backstop for the overall security of U.S. nationals in the country.

Without the presence of nearly 50,000 U.S. troops that has defined the security environment in recent years, there will inherently be a greater exposure and vulnerability of the U.S. personnel that remain behind in the years ahead.


    This STRATFOR intelligence artivcle republished with permision and thanks from The 5th Estate.

Gilad Atzmon: By Way Of Deception do we make war (Mossad)


The abominable terrorist Bush/Cheney/Rice/Rumsfeld regime made it possible for the various "intelligence agencies" (CIA, Mossad, ISI) and their agents to come into the open, protected by bragging Bush and Co. and the spreading terror of public, government sanctioned murder throughout the world

World News
By Gilad Atzman

Examining Alan Dershowitz's and Abe Foxman's arguments against The Wandering WhoEarlier this week I learned from the Jerusalem post how desperate notorious Zionists Alan Dershowitz and ADL's Abe Foxman are to stop my new book 'The Wandering Who'.

The Mossad boys like it rough; Dershowitz bends over for them
It seems that Foxman, Dershowitz and their allies amongst the Jewish 'anti'-Zionists (aka anti-Zionist Zionists' or AZZ) are in a state of total hysteria. So far, the book has been endorsed by some of the most distinguished academics, writers and humanists in contemporary discourse. It has been praised on every dissident outlet around the world.But it's also obvious to every person who reads me that there is not a drop of racism, bigotry or anti Semitism in any of my writing. In my entire writing career I have never criticized Jews as people, ethnicity or race. Nor do I criticise Judaism. What I do is to scrutinize Jewish ideology and culture and I argue that if Israel defines itself as the 'Jewish State' and drops bombs on civilians from airplanes decorated with Jewish symbols, then surely it is our moral duty to question what this 'Jewishness' is all about.In fact my biggest contribution to the discourse is my attempt to offer a critical argument against Jewish identity politics that is both ethically grounded and based on universal thought.

Mossad's U.S. Big Daddy:  War Criminal Bush
But it seems that those who try to stop the book refuse to read it. Instead, they recycle empty labels that cannot be substantiated. The Jerusalem Post wrote this week, "The Wandering Who, has been described as contemporary cultural racism and as an attack on Jewish identity inspired by Soviet anti Semitism." Needless to say, 'cultural racism' is a misnomer. There is nothing wrong with cultural criticism as long as it is not racist, and racism is clearly something that will not be found in any of my texts. And what about 'Soviet anti- Semitism', what is that exactly, and how specifically do I fall into such a category?

    Alan Dershowitz seems to forget that defending an alleged wife- killer may be somewhat easier than promoting an ideological racist, expansionist and murderous collective*. Dershowitz told the Jerusalem Post that the "book has crossed the line from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism."


Atzmon
Here, I'm puzzled. Is Dershowitz, getting soft in his old age? Is he now suggesting that 'anti Zionism' is actually legitimate or even kosher? This would certainly be a most welcome development, but no, it seems that Dershowitz also hasn't read the book. And if he has, he has clearly failed to explain why the book is 'anti-Semitic'?As well as being intellectually lame, Dershowitz is also both a bully and a coward, "I challenge Mearsheimer and Falk to a debate on whether they have endorsed an anti-Semitic book," Dershowitz proclaims. I believe that if Dershowitz has a problem with the book, he should have the guts to debate this with its author.
 
    Dershowitz prefers to intimidate rather than debate. This is neither new nor surprising and 'The Wandering Who' attempts to explore the depth, and the characteristics and the origins of those tactics that are employed regularly by Dershowitz and his ilk. In the book I try to explain why they prefer to lie and intimidate rather than engage in fruitful critical dialogue. And the answer is simple. Blindness and detachment are inherent in Jewish identity political discourse. They are there to maintain the club, so consequently the history of Jews may be understood as one long tale of the brutal silencing of any form of dissent. Another laughable character in a panic about my book is Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti- Defamation League. 

"Heil Hitler:"    John Mearsheimer
"With his glowing endorsement of a book by a known Hitler apologist and Holocaust denier, John Mearsheimer has revealed himself to be an anti- Semite." Yet this master of 'Anti- Defamation' fails to inform us what exactly it is that makes me into a 'Hitler apologist' or a 'Holocaust denier'. The truth of the matter is that within the Jewish Ghetto some Zionists and AZZ just get so carried away tagging me with their own outrageous labels, probably projecting their own symptoms on myself, that they miss that no one outside the Jewish ghetto believes any of this spin.

    In 'The Wandering Who' I try to grasp at this deep culture of deceit - so symptomatic of modern Jewish political national activism - while they, for some reason, believe that 'by way of deception' is the true materialisation of Jewish wisdom.

    So, unable to produce a single intelligible argument, Foxman reverts to his Talmudic bullying tactics; "For years, Mearsheimer paraded as an objective analyst, professor and critic, and for years we were very careful not to label him as an anti-Semite. Now he has clearly aligned himself with the worst kind of anti-Semitism."

Uncle Adolph; popular with Mearsheimer
Being intellectually retarded, Foxman here admits that the 'anti-Semitic' tag is attached to people and even distinguished academics without any evidence of any form of hatred towards Jews or 'Semites'. 

Mearsheimer's sin, according to Foxman, is simply that he endorsed my writing and so Foxman labels the American professor as an 'anti-Semite' without presenting a shred of evidence of hatred towards Jews or anyone else. I honestly can't make up my mind whether Foxman's blunder here is sad or funny. But certainly, it is revealing. Foxman and his ilk attribute the anti-Semitic label to anyone who fails to surrender to their command. But the tide has turned. Foxman, Dershowitz and their AZZ collaborators will have to either adapt or accept defeat. They can neither stop me nor my book. 'The Wandering Who' has now been read by thousands - it now has a life of its own, and it will quickly spread.

   If Dershowitz, Foxman and any other hasbara campaigners want to do themselves a big favour, they should engage in an open debate. They should dig deep into my writing in the hope that they might manage to produce a valid counter argument.

    Do they posses the wisdom or intellectual integrity to do this? I doubt it, but I truly hope they do. It's really starting to get a bit boring over here.

    You can now order The Wandering Who on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

    *According to an Israeli poll, at the time of operation Cast Lead, a whopping 94% of the Israeli Jewish population strongly supported the operation and IDF's tactics that included carpet bombardment and WMD warfare.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

 

Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force Vets Vow to Protect Innocent Protesters



As one Marine just commented:  "You shoot one of us, you shoot us all..."  Semper Fidelis, Brother; The Marines are ready to sacrifice their lives once more to protect American citizens 

Washington's Blog
10/27/2011

In response to the police brutality against peaceful American protesters – here, here, here, here, here and here – military and police groups are forming to protect American citizens.
 

In fact, many in the military support the protests (and see this).

As of today, OccupyMarines, Occupy Police, Occupy Navy, Occupy Airforce, and Occupy Army have formed to protect the people against police brutality.

After Veterans for Peace member Scott Olsen – a Marine Corps veteran twice deployed to Iraq – was critically wounded in the Occupy Oakland protest, Occupy Marines tweeted:

    WHEN YOU SHOOT ONE MARINE, YOU SHOOT AT ALL OF US. OORAH.  Do It Peacefully Occupy We Stand In Solidarity

Marine Scott Olsen:  Your Brothers will avenge you





MARINES!




Change.org petition on Oakland Occupation


While the 5th Estate believes in more "hands on" action against the fascists, this is a good way to let them know they are not going to get away with using violence on peaceful protesters; If cops continue to fire on peaceful, unarmed protestors then State of California deadly force laws need to be applied to them

Change.org
10/26/2011

For two weeks, hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered in Oakland's Oscar Grant Plaza as part of that city's installation of the Occupy Wall Street movement. For two weeks, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told the police to leave the protesters alone -- she said that she supported the protests, that sometimes "democracy is messy."

Marines to coward cops:  we will take no more of your shit
But yesterday, without warning, Mayor Quan reversed her stance. Protesters say that, on her orders, the Oakland police fired tear gas, bean bags, and stun grenades.

When they peacefully gathered outside the plaza again last night, protestors -- who included veterans, children, and a woman in a wheelchair -- were met with more tear gas and police violence.


    Oakland resident Shanelle Matthews saw her city's violent crackdown on Occupy Oakland and knew something had to be done.  

 

Coward cops gas grandma, won't take on Marines without their guns
In just one month, people fed up with wealth inequality and the influence of Wall Street have staged occupations in more than 900 cities across the globe. 

    Cities like Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC have so far allowed their residents to keep up continuous protests, with city officials even joining the occupations.

    In Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan has gone from allowing Occupy Oakland to protest to having tear gas fired at her citizens who gathered for a peaceful demonstration. Quan's crackdown has forced a quiet encampment into the streets, threatening the safety of thousands of people.

Fascist cops looting personal belongings of ousted Occupiers
It's critical to create a safe space for Occupy Oakland to protest in the city as part of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement. 
    
  
    Please sign Shanelle's petition on Change.org asking Oakland Mayor Quan to allow Occupy Oakland to stay outside City Hall and stop her crackdown on demonstrators in the city:

http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-quan-let-occupy-oakland-keep-oscar-grant-plaza


Thanks for being a change-maker,

- Jess and the Change.org team


Marines will avenge our Fallen Brother Scott Olson




Oakland police action utilizes terror tactics on peaceful protesters


Storm trooper "blitzkrieg" tactics of coward Oakland pigs accomplishes primary mission:  To terrorize unarmed, peaceful civilian protesters

Associated Press
By Terry Collins
10/26/2011

OAKLAND, Calif. - The display of police force in Oakland, Calif., and Atlanta has unnerved some anti-Wall Street protesters.

    While demonstrators in other cities have built a working relationship with police and city leaders, they wondered on Wednesday how long the good spirit would last and whether they could be next.

Oakland protesters evacuate wounded victim of Oakland pigs
Will they have to face riot gear-clad officers and tear gas that their counterparts in Oakland, Calif., faced Tuesday? Or will they be handcuffed and hauled away in the middle of the night like protesters in Atlanta?

"Yes, we're afraid. Is this the night they're going to sneak in?" said activist William Buster of Occupy Wall Street, where the movement began last month to protest what they see as corporate greed.

    "Is this the night they might use unreasonable force?" he asked.

   An Iraq War veteran marching with demonstrators suffered a cracked skull in the chaos between officers and protesters in Oakland, further raising concern among some in the movement. Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Marine veteran, was in critical condition Wednesday after he had been struck, said a spokesman for Highland Hospital in Oakland.

Port of Oakland pigs in full military gear fire on protesters
It was not clear exactly what type of object hit the veteran or who might have thrown it, though the group Iraq Veterans Against the War said it was lodged by officers.

Police Chief Howard Jordan said at a news conference that the events leading up to Olsen's injury would be investigated as vigorously as a fatal police shooting.

    The message, meanwhile, from officials in cities where other encampments have sprung up was simple: We'll keep working with you. Just respect your neighbors and keep the camps clean and safe.

    Business owners and residents have complained in recent weeks about assaults, drunken fights and sanitation problems. Officials are trying to balance their rights and uphold the law while honoring protesters' free speech rights.

   "I understand the frustration the protesters feel ... about inequity in our country as well as Wall Street greed," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said. 
    
    "I support their right to free speech but we also have rules and laws."*

    Some cities, such as Providence, R.I., are moving ahead with plans to evict activists. But from Tampa, Fla., to Boston, police and city leaders say they will continue to try to work with protesters to address problems in the camps.

High on steroids, speed; Oakland pigs destroy, loot encampment
In Oakland, officials initially supported the protests, with Mayor Jean Quan saying that sometimes "democracy is messy."

But tensions reached a boiling point after a sexual assault, a severe beating and a fire were reported and paramedics were denied access to the camp, according to city officials. They also cited concerns about rats, fire hazards and public urination.

    Demonstrators disputed the city's claims, saying that volunteers collect garbage and recycling every six hours, that water is boiled before being used to wash dishes and that rats have long infested the park.

    When riot gear-clad police moved in early Tuesday, they were pelted with rocks, bottles and utensils from people in the camp's kitchen area. They emptied the camp near city hall of people, and barricaded the plaza.

Oakland protest encampment totally destroyed by pigs
Protesters were taken away in plastic handcuffs, most of them arrested on suspicion of illegal lodging.
Demonstrators returned later in the day to march and retake the plaza. They were met by police officers in riot gear. Several small skirmishes broke out and officers cleared the area by firing tear gas.

The scene repeated itself several times just a few blocks away in front of the plaza.

    Tensions would build as protesters edged ever closer to the police line and reach a breaking point with a demonstrator hurling a bottle or rock, prompting police to respond with another round of gas.

    The chemical haze hung in the air for hours, new blasts clouding the air before the previous fog could dissipate.

    The number of protesters diminished with each round of tear gas. Police estimated that there were roughly 1,000 demonstrators at the first clash following the march. About 100 were arrested.

    On Wednesday, Oakland officials allowed protesters back into the plaza where their 15-day-old encampment had been raided but said people would be prohibiting from spending the night, potentially bringing another clash with police.

Helicopter hunts protesters
In Atlanta, police in riot gear and SWAT teams arrested 53 people in Woodruff Park, many of whom had camped out there for weeks as part of a widespread movement that is protesting the wealth disparity between the rich and everyone else.

    Mayor Kasim Reed had been supportive of the protests, twice issuing an executive order allowing them to remain.

    Reed said on Wednesday that he had no choice to arrest them because he believed things were headed in a direction that was no longer peaceful. He cited a man seen walking the park with an AK-47 assault rifle.

Atlanta's Idi Amin:  Mayor Kasim Reed cops a quick snort
"There were some who wanted to continue along the peaceful lines, and some who thought that their path should be more radical," Reed said. "As mayor, I couldn't wait for them to finish that debate."

Reed said authorities could not determine whether the rifle was loaded, and were unable to get additional information.

    An Associated Press reporter talked to the man with the gun earlier Tuesday.

Peaceful protesters no match for coward pigs firepower
He wouldn't give his name , identifying himself only as "Porch," an out-of-work accountant who doesn't agree with the protesters' views , but said that he was there, armed, because he wanted to protect the rights of people to protest.

People who were arrested trickled out of jail as a crowd of several dozen supporters chanted "freedom" as they left.

   "I think Mayor Reed would do well to learn quickly that you cannot intimidate, you cannot threaten, you cannot jail something whose time has come," activist Derrick Boazman said. "The fact of the matter is this movement's time has come."

    In Portland, Ore., the protest seems to be at a crossroads. Organizers have been dealing with public drunkenness, fighting and drug abuse for weeks, especially among the homeless who are also in the camp.
Some are floating the idea of relocating it, possibly indoors. Others see that as capitulation.

Marine Scott Olson shot in the face; Marines vow revenge on pigs
"I don't know if it would be a good idea. Part of the effectiveness of what's going on here is visibility," protester Justin Neff said. "Though I'd do it if there's a possibility that we'd get seen and noticed. I don't know how that would work indoors."

    City officials haven't said what would cause them to forcibly evict the protesters. They said they evaluate the camp daily.

    In Baltimore, protesters like Casey McKeel, a member of Occupy Baltimore's legal committee, said he wasn't sure aren't sure what to expect from city officials, noting that some cities have arrested protesters in recent weeks.

    "Across the country we're seeing a wide range of reactions," he said. "For now we're hoping the city will work with us."

    The mayor, Rawlings-Blake, said she is willing to work with them, but they should realize that they are camping out in a city park and that was not its intended use. She said their free-speech rights don't trump the public's right to enjoy the space.

    "I have absolutely no interest in a violent exchange," she said. "We want to work with the protesters, but the point is to talk about inequity and talk about how we can work together to have a more just society or more equitable Baltimore.

    "It's not about pitching a tent. It's about getting the work done," she said.
,,,

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Marcus Wohlsen in Oakland; Nigel Duara in Portland, Ore.; Sarah Brumfield in Baltimore, Md.; Verena Dobnik and Samantha Gross in New York; Harry R. Weber, Errin Haines and Jeff Martin in Atlanta; Erica Niedowski in Providence, R.I.; Michael J. Crumb in Des Moines, Iowa; Ben Nuckols in Washington; and Jay Lindsay in Boston.

*  The mayor obviously does not understand shit:  If Marine Scott Olsen dies she and her police are up on murder charges.  She has now managed to piss off the entire Marine Corps - quite an accomplishment for an idiot who has no business playing Mayor of Oakland.  The Marines have already vowed to revenge their fallen Brother, and  if the cowards of the Oakland police department think they will win a confrontation with us, they are sadly mistaken - Ed.


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.




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ANDREW KREIG: EXPERTS REJECT FIRE AS CAUSE FOR 9/11 WTC COLLAPSES

The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

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Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of

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The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

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STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.

READ MORE >>

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Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

 photo capitalism_zpsah78uy5p.jpg
We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.

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By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...

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UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak

UPDATED 01/07/2015 : FOX NEWS CORPORATE PHARMA SHILL MEGAN KELLY AND FOX NEWS QUACK DOCTOR NOW PUSHING TAMIFLU FOR PREGNANT WOMEN AND CHILDREN;

 photo TAMIFLU_small_zpssojx6okt.jpg
THE 5TH ESTATE UNEQUIVOCALLY WARNS THE PUBLIC NOT TO TAKE OR GIVE THIS PROVEN DANGEROUS, INEFFECTIVE DRUG TO ANYONE

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...

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 photo WHO02_zpsplmhtlpr.jpg
The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .

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By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.

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