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06.17 Oil companies double down on plastics as public outcry grows [Obscene!]

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06.15 'The Changes Are Really Accelerating': Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt

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06.15 Climate crisis: aviation industry hears clamour for electric planes

06.15 We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet [Increased ice melt in polar latitudes has been disguising reality in the middle latitudes. This effect will soon be replaced by record heat as ice volume and seasonal melting increasingly declines.]

06.15 This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion [1:59 video; Bad assumptions foment ignorant actions...]

06.14 The Trans Mountain pipeline is a disaster – but Trudeau can make it right

06.14 The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal, study finds

06.14 Climate crisis: Alaska is melting and it’s likely to accelerate global heating

06.13 Chemical companies at centre of Guardian's Cancer Town series face state legal action [7:56 video]

06.12 'This is not a "what if" story': Tokyo braces for the earthquake of a century

06.12 Plant Species Have Been Disappearing 500 Times Faster Than Normal, Thanks to Humans

06.12 Atmospheric carbon levels are leaping. We can't afford more years like this

06.12 Politics as Usual and Planetary Destruction

06.12 Most 'meat' in 2040 will not come from dead animals, says report

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06.10 Conservatives should change how they think about global warming. I did [Another crisis issue conservatives won't acknowledge...]

06.10 Scottish Power to build vast battery to improve wind energy supply [Who won't understand this?]

06.10 Greenpeace activists board BP oil rig as it is towed out to sea [Fossil fuel company conduct should be illegal...]

06.09 Racism as a Public Health Crisis

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06.17 Jon Stewart takes aim at McConnell in continued fight for 9/11 victim compensation fund [2:56 C-SPAN video]

06.17 Drug Cop Worth $400 Million After Bets on Brooklyn Real Estate [A better role-model than Trump or Kushner!]

06.15 Hard Times in the Imperial Valley

06.15 Ro Khanna Forces Beltway Bandit to Refund Millions From Price Gouging

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06.14 Do Your Jobs: Sick and Dying, They Brought Themselves Down Here to Speak - To No One

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06.13 Where do the 2020 Democratic candidates stand on the key issues?

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06.13 What’s actually in the Green New Deal, explained with a video [7:30 video]

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06.14 Justice Denied, Delayed, or Done Right? Serious Concerns as Prosecutors Throw Out Charges in Flint Water Crisis Cases [A very flawed prosecution using suspiciously limited evidence has been thrown out, a stronger case will be brought using newly found, voluminous evidence.]

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06.17 'Blatant Theft': Netanyahu Unveils Illegal Settlement Named 'Trump Heights' in Occupied Syrian Territory [Great deal: the U.S. gives Israel $Billions every year, and they name an illegal settlement—to be built on Palestinian land—after Trump]

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06.15 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion [More equality or bring back the guillotines!]

06.13 Even the 1% Know They Aren't Paying Their Fair Share: New Poll Shows 60% of Millionaires Support Warren's Ultra-Wealth Tax

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06.17 Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10 [America's “best ally” is psychopathically insane]

06.17 Why Venezuela Is the Vietnam of Our Time [Powerful, clear writing!]

06.17 US Attacks Russia’s Power Grid; Trump Kept in Dark

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06.15 Africa’s Lost Kingdoms

06.15 Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes surge in England and Wales

06.15 Extinction Rebellion protesters stop rush-hour traffic in London

06.15 Hong Kong leader suspends extradition bill amid protest pressure [1:37 video]

06.15 The US must stand with the people of Hong Kong [But this attacks Xi's authoritarianism, which Trump is most envious of for himself...]

06.14 As Angus Taylor ducks, weaves and dithers, China zooms past

06.13 What does it mean to be genetically Jewish? [Doing a mental dance with archanery: could a significant number of Russians and Palestinians be intentionally included or excluded as genetically Jewish? And why would Israel do this?]

06.13 Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman

06.13 Theresa May’s carbon emissions plan will fail if the chancellor remains complacent

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  War? What War?
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EDITORIAL:

War? What War?

Welcome to the One-Party Police State

by DAVE LINDORFF
Bush's phony "War on Terror" is not a war, but an excuse for a police state.
As co-author of The Case for Impeachment, the most common question I get besides "Why hasn't Bush been impeached yet?" comes from right-wing critics, who ask some variant (usually laced with profanities) of: "How can you criticize the president when the country's at war?"

It's understandable that people might ask such a thing, given that we have some 140,000 American troops fighting in Iraq, and another 10,000 or so in Afghanistan, but the truth is that these conflicts aren't what people have in mind (most people don't even think about those wars). They're talking about the so-called "War on Terror."

Let's first dispense with the Iraq "war" and the Afghanistan "war." Neither of these is really a war. The first ended when Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled, in April of 2003--back when Bush told us "major combat" had ended. Today, Iraq has an elected government, they tell us, and the U.S. is there at that government's request, to help police the place. Sure, some Americans are continuing to die, but you can't call it a war, or even an occupation. Not when you've been invited there by the local government.

The same is true of Afghanistan, where the Taliban were defeated way back in 2002. Again there is now an elected government there, and NATO forces, not US forces, at the invitation of that government, are conducting operations against the overthrown government of the Taliban. No way you can call that a war either, any more than the U.S. efforts in Bosnia and Kosovo were a war.

As for the "War" on Terror, the confusion seems to date back to the 1960s, when Lyndon Johnson, deeply involved in a genuine war in Indochina, decided to divert public attention with a second "war"--this one on poverty.

That "war" wasn't much more successful than the Indochina War. The Vietnamese won their war in 1975, and poverty won its "war" almost without firing a shot. The main legacy of Johnson's "war" on poverty, really, was not on poverty, but on political language. It led directly to the subsequent Nixon/Carter/Reagan/Clinton "war" on drugs.

That deceptively titled policy initiative had nothing to do with a war, but everything to do with expanding police power and police tactics within the U.S., and with filling prisons with people who didn't belong there.

In that regard, the "war" on drugs was a model for Bush's subsequent "war" on terror. Claiming that hordes of dark-skinned "Islamofascist" terrorists are out to destroy America, Bush and his cronies, following the 9-11 attacks, declared "war" on the terrorists.

But a strange "war" this has been. First they attacked Afghanistan, reportedly to go after the alleged author of those attacks, Osama Bin Ladin and his Al Qaeda hordes. But then, with Osama reportedly surrounded, Bush pulled his troops out and attacked Iraq, a bankrupt third-world state which had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks and which posed no threat to the U.S. Several hundred thousand US troops, and a handful of troops from a "coalition" of the "willing" were dispatched to Iraq where they have remained (well okay, the "willing allies" have mostly slipped away) since, while the pursuit of Bin Ladin has languished and, by some accounts, been called off altogether.

But as for the "war" on terror? It's going strong, but all along it's been all about not military, but police activity. In Europe, alleged terror cells have been efficiently infiltrated and busted. In Britain, there was the bust of a cell which succeeded in blowing up some buses and subway cars and another bust of an alleged plot to blow up multiple airliners. In the U.S., there have been...well, not much in the way of productive busts of terror actions, but certainly a lot of police activity.

Thousands of people of Islamic faith, or of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin, including American citizens, have been rounded up on the flimsiest of excuses, and jailed without charge, often to later be deported--sometimes to the very countries they were given asylum from earlier. An unknown number have been secretly kidnapped and "renditioned" to third nations to be tortured in secret gulags, before being warehoused indefinitely at Guantanamo's detention and torture center. Massive spying by the high-tech National Security Agency on hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Americans, all without benefit of a court order, has been ordered by the president, in violation of law and Constitution.

A so-called "USA PATRIOT" Act was pushed through Congress undermining the Bill of Rights, due process and the right to privacy.

The CIA and Defense Department Intelligence Agency, and other secret police organizations have been unleashed against the public, and dossiers are piling up on thousands of law-abiding citizens.

Critics of all these police-state tactics are publicly denounced and threatened by government officials and political leaders, including the president, as being "traitors" and "abettors of the terrorists."

This is what Bush's phony "War on Terror" is about in reality: not a war, but an excuse for a police state. He has even claimed that this fake "war" makes him "commander in chief" and since this faux war is global, taking place everywhere including within the U.S., he claims that gives him the power of a generalissimo both internationally and here at home--the power to declare anyone he wants, including you and me, an "enemy combatant" without rights of any kind, the power to ignore the courts, the power to ignore laws passed by Congress, and even the power to ignore the Constitution itself.

It's important to understand what is being done in the name of "war". Those who somehow believe that America's survival as a nation is really threatened by terrorists, and that thus the president needs absolute power, need to ask themselves: How many terrorists do there have to be out there trying to harm America or American interests to justify calling this a "war" and tossing out the Constitution? Is 10,000 a good number? 1000? 100? 10?

Are 10 terrorists enough of a threat that we should suspend the Constitution and let the president be a dictator, or should we hold out for 1000? And should we count in that number "terrorists" like the bozos who were arrested in Miami, who were supposedly planning to take down the Sears Tower in Chicago but didn't even know where it was or how to spell TNT? Or the seven and eight-year olds who were captured in Afghanistan and shipped off to Camp Iguana in Guantanamo? Because let's face it: With America not only the most powerful military power on earth (our military budget exceeds that of all other nations combined), there will always be some people out there who feel aggrieved enough or angry enough at something to want to take violent action.

So do these hyperventilating critics really want a permanent state of war because some terrorists want to hijack a plane, bomb a building, or try to bomb some city? Mt. Rainier near Seattle/Takoma, or the volcanic caldera in Yellowstone Valley could do much more damage than any terrorist bomb if either one blew, and nobody thinks America would be finished if either of those catastrophes struck. Besides, President Bush destroyed a city all by himself a year ago, and the country's still here.

Let's get real: There is no "war" on terror, just a war on the American people and on our Constitution.
Let's get real: There is no "war" on terror, just a war on the American people and on our Constitution.

And we know who the enemies of America are: Not some bunch of loony fanatics in turbans, but rather people in hand-tailored $6,000 suits in Washington, eager to turn a two-centuries-old experiment in democracy into a one-party police state.
Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's new book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com. This story is published in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on August 29, 2006.
 

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