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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
AMERICA'S IMPERIAL OLIGARCHS ACT LIKE TALIBAN:
The Fatal Thread: Torture, War and the Imperial Project
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
It is now undeniable that the Bush-Cheney Administration began this torture program long before they had captured even one "high-profile al Qaeda detainee," and that they were using these heinous techniques to produce spurious data about the non-existent link between Iraq and al Qaeda.With the release of the U.S. Senate's report on the Bush Administration torture program, it is now incontrovertibly clear – and officially established by the highest, most respectable Establishment institutions – that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a host of other top officials deliberately, willingly, and with malice aforethought, established a system of interrogation using brutal techniques that they knew were against the law. Hence the need for the torture memos that attempted to give retroactive legal cover for atrocities that were already taking place at the orders of the White House and the Pentagon. They were also told repeatedly that these tortures were ineffective at producing useful intelligence. (For more detail, see the excellent stories at Salon.com here and here.)
What's more, it is now undeniable that they began this program long before they had captured even one "high-profile al Qaeda detainee," and that they were using these heinous techniques not in a desperate bid to save the nation from further attacks – which has long been their preening, self-serving claim – but instead to produce spurious data about the non-existent link between Iraq and al Qaeda. In other words, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld ordered their minions to beat and torment captives in order to get them to say something – anything – that could then be used to "justify" a war of aggression that these grand statesmen had been planning long before the September 11 attacks.
You cannot disentangle the torture program from the war of aggression in Iraq – nor from the illegal wiretapping program, the corrupt war profiteering, and all the other degradations of liberty and law that have been so accelerated in the past eight years. They are all of a piece, part and parcel of a plan to expand and entrench America's "unipolar domination" of world affairs with a thoroughly militarized state led by an unaccountable, authoritarian "Unitary Executive."
This is one reason why Barack Obama is so obviously reluctant to tug on the torture thread too hard. If you tear it out, with full-scale prosecutions and top officials locked up behind bars, the whole rotten skein would fall apart. Once you start genuinely subjecting government officials – including security apparatchiks and military brass – to the full extent of the law, there would be no end to the unraveling: senators, contractors, representatives, bureaucrats, generals, lobbyists, judges, corporate chiefs – the whole edifice of Establishment power would be shaken to the core as its leading lights went down, one after the other.
Thus the mere act of applying the ordinary, bourgeois laws of the land as they stand right now would constitute a world-shaking revolution, an overthrow of the existing order every bit as radical as any ideologue's dream of mass uprising. It would be, in effect, a re-founding of the Republic – and the end of the empire, which cannot survive without continual war, lawless rule and endless corruption.
And that's why we will not see Barack Obama follow such a course. He might, in the end, have to pull much harder on the torture thread than he wants to; as we noted yesterday, a few upper-level middlemen might have to be offered up as scapegoats to quell the PR tempest. But he has already demonstrated, over and over, that he has no intention or desire to unravel the skein of imperial power. Indeed, he is trying to strengthen that skein and bind it more tightly, as we have seen in his various court cases seeking to uphold or even expand authoritarian powers claimed by Bush, in his escalation of the Afghan war, in his continual expansion of attacks in Pakistan, in his servile coddling and protection of the CIA, and in his celebration of the "success" and "extraordinary achievement" of the war crime in Iraq.
Ironically, the torture issue that he is so desperately trying to shake off his hands is in fact the one opportunity for the historical greatness that Obama – and his ardent fans – obviously yearn for. It holds forth the best chance – the last chance? – for dismantling the imperial machine of brutality and corruption, and starting anew. But he would not be where he is today if he were the kind of man to see – and seize – such an opportunity.
He will let it go – and all hope for change, for renewal, for a re-founded Republic, will go with it.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on April 23, 2009.
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