Here in San Francisco, progressives are furious with Nancy Pelosi for enabling the Bush war machine, Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan, and her utter disdain for (our crappy definition of) democracy, as she has refused to debate her libertarian Republican opponent John Dennis. Although his is clearly a Quixotic campaign, Dennis is running to Pelosi’s left (to some extent) and picking up support from across the political spectrum, including, quite shockingly, former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is a progressive icon who nearly became the first Green Party Mayor of a major American city in 2003, when he picked up 47% of the vote. He was also Nader’s VP running mate in 2008. Gonzalez’s passionate endorsement of Dennis, in an open letter to Pelosi:
Even your most ardent supporters are at a loss to defend your escalation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan after you became Speaker (despite your promises to end the war), and for your support for the Patriot Act, its subsequent reauthorization, and for your support for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, among other things…
Although you may want to dismiss your congressional opponent John Dennis because he is a Republican, I assure you that he is a serious candidate with views worthy of consideration. In addition to being firmly anti-war and committed to defending civil liberties, Dennis is pro-gay rights, opposed the Wall Street bailouts and has joined in the populist call challenging the legitimacy of the Federal Reserve…
As with virtually every politician in America, it turns out John Dennis’ progressivism has a limit. I’ll give you a hint: it starts with an “I” ends with an “L” and has “obliviousness to racist ethnic cleansing and illegal colonization” in the middle.
Check out Dennis’ comments on Israel at 4:40 of this video. The upshot: he wants to not only continue to dole out six billion in military funding to Israel every year, he insists that Israel should be able to build unlimited settlements/colonies, and the U.S. has absolutely no right to criticize what Israel does with the U.S. guns.
John Dennis, where’s the limit? What would Israel have to do with U.S. guns for you to say, “too far”? Outright genocide?
I love Matt Gonzalez – worked on his campaign, in fact – but Gonzalez totally blew it on this one. Gonzalez should run against Pelosi instead of handing out endorsements to pro-Israel sycophants like candy. Gonzalez might actually win.
‘The documents seem to paint a picture that very much favours official U.S. positions on the Iraq war. For example, the American media, which has a well documented history of shilling for the U.S. government highlighted two stories that it supposedly extrapolated from these documents. The first was the fact that the majority of civilian casualties in the Iraq war were caused by Iraqis. This directly contradicts a comprehensive study conducted by John Hopkins University in 2004. It found that “coalition” forces killed over 600,000 Iraqis, the majority of them killed in airstrikes. The leaked documents conveniently contradict this information.
The second major story emanating from the “leaks” is that Iran was actively destabilizing Iraq by funding militants who were assassinating Iraqi officials. One AFP story even highlights the accusation that Iran tried to launch a poison gas attack on the “green zone,” an area where Iraqi and American officials are based. Another factor that makes this “leak” highly suspect is that the Times, a newspaper that played a leading role in validating the illegal invasion of Iraq and is well known for its pro Zionist policy, was one of “few” media outlets that was given “early” access to these “leaked” documents. This meant that the Times was able to weave a narrative around the leaked documents that was then picked up by all the major networks.
The fact that the supposedly damaging leaks are in fact bolstering American accusations against Iran while minimizing American complicity in Iraqi deaths leads some to believe that the leaks are in fact engineered by the Pentagon to either discredit Wikileaks, or are in conjunction with Wikileaks which is a U.S. government outfit.’
Comment by a.h.k:
Ynetnews.com today publishes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “list of millionaires,” a group of people Netanyahu identified as potential donors to him ahead of the 2007 primary elections in Israel.
What’s important about the list of donors that Netanyahu identified is what it says about the Israel lobby and the Democratic Party in the United States. It goes a long way in explaining why hard-right Zionist views can be found among Democratic politicians.
There is little to no difference between how Democrats and Republicans in the United States act towards Israel; criticizing Israel is a “third rail” in American politics, and some of the donors included on this list show why.
It makes sense why this is the case with the Republican Party, as the ideology of neoconservatism and military interventionism is a core part of the party, and matches up nicely with Likud’s way of looking at the world and, in particular, the Palestinians. But with the slightly more rational and liberal Democratic Party, which captured the House and Senate in 2006 in part because of growing opposition to the Iraq War, it makes less sense.
That is, until you look at some of the donors who Netanyahu reasonably thought may give him money and notice that at least a couple are heavy contributors to the Democratic Party.
Among the potential donors listed are Haim Saban and Mortimer Zuckerman.
Saban is a wealthy ”entertainment mogul” whose “greatest concern is to protect Israel” and who is “one of the largest individual donors to the Democratic Party,” according to a May 2010 profile of him in the New Yorker. The profile notes that “in 2002, he contributed seven million dollars toward the cost of a new building for the Democratic National Committee—one of the largest known donations ever made to an American political party.” But his political views match up with the Israeli right-wing, a decidedly illiberal set of viewpoints.
From Marwan Bishara’s blog on Al Jazeera, here’s Saban in his own words, taken from a 2006 interview with Ha’aretz:
On his worries for Israel:
“… Israel does not worry me. Israel’s neighbours worry me … History proved that Sharon was right and I was wrong. In matters relating to security, that moved me to the right. Very far to the right.”
“The Iranians are serious. They mean business. Ahmadinejad is not a madman.
“When I see Ahmadinejad, I see Hitler. They speak the same language. His motivation is also clear: the return of the Mahdi is a supreme goal. And for a religious person of deep self-persuasion, that supreme goal is worth the liquidation of five-and-a-half million Jews. We cannot allow ourselves that.
“Nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious leadership that is convinced that the annihilation of Israel will bring about the emergence of a new Muslim caliphate? Israel cannot allow that. This is no game. It’s truly an existential danger.”
On the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran:
“Is there a higher price than two nuclear bombs on Israel? So they will fire missiles, all right then. Iran is not Lebanon, where you pinpoint specific targets: this bridge here, that building, half of that courtyard over there. In Iran you go in and wipe out their infrastructure completely. Plunge them into darkness. Cut off their water.”
“Would I prefer a defence minister who is capable of looking at a map and saying, ‘Half a division here, two divisions there, send the commandos from the north and let the navy hit from the south’? Yes, I would prefer that. Because to negotiate with management on behalf of the unions is a skill, but it’s a different skill from planning a war. In our situation, for all time, at least in our lifetime, we need a defence minister who has a thorough understanding of these subjects.”
Zuckerman is a media mogul who owns the New York Daily News and is the editor-in-chief of U.S. News and World Report, and is a major contributor to the Democratic Party, according to the Center for Reponsive Politics’ Open Secrets website. He is a former head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and espouses hawkish views when it comes to the Palestinians. For instance, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Zuckerman calls Jerusalem ”its capital” and refers to the illegal settlement of Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem as a “Jewish suburb.”
The Democratic Party is beholden to people like Zuckerman and Saban, who were listed as potential donors to a right-wing Israeli political party whose official platform states that Likud “rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”
No wonder Likudnik views get play within the supposedly liberal party in American politics.
Another condemnation of the Israeli flagrant violations of the Lebanese Telecommunications sector was issued on Friday… the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference in Mexico condemned the Israeli enemy’s violation of Lebanon’s telecommunications sector, saying that the sector has and is still being subject to Israeli interference.
The conference’s final statement said that Lebanon’s “mobile phone and land lines are being subject to Israeli piracy, interference, and obstruction.”
It stressed Lebanon’s “complete right” to be compensated for the harms that have been inflicted on the telecommunications network.
The condemnation came after extensive efforts by Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas to convince the 124 participants to condemn Israel and the outcome was 43 voting in favor, 23 against, and 57 abstentions.
Speaking to Lebanese daily As-Safir, Nahhas praised the efforts of the Lebanese delegation, which faced something similar to a diplomatic war in its complaint and conviction against Israel, adding that the delegation’s decision has the same impact as that of the UN on the telecommunication level.
Meanwhile, the head of the Information and Telecoms parliamentary committee in Lebanon MP Hasan Fadlallah told As-Safir that the condemnation is a “major Lebanese accomplishment and the document is damning evidence that proves the extent of Israel’s assault on the telecommunications sector.”
Fadlallah said that the Israeli telecommunication violations included espionage and technical control, which will need intense supervision and follow up by the government, in order to take advantage of this ITU stance, especially in the context of accusing Israel of its aggression. He also stressed that the government should work thoroughly in protecting the telecommunication sector, under the frame of protecting Lebanon in confrontation with the enemy.
As-Safir reported that Hezbollah will soon hold a press conference during which it will present “very important” facts in the matter and confirm that Israel totally controls the telecommunications sector.
Demonstrations organized by the October 22 Coalition, with the aim of seeking an end to police violence, have been held across the US for the 15th year in a row. Thousands of people participated in protests in major cities in the US on Friday.
Organizers of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation say the situation is getting worse.
In Detroit, people demanded justice for Aiyana Jones, a seven-year old girl who was shot to death by police officers during a raid on her home.
In Los Angeles, people held a rally, where riots broke out in September, in response to the killing of Manuel Jamines, a Guatemalan day laborer. LA resident Alicia Alvarez, whose son Jonathan Cuevas was shot in the back by police officers, participated in the demonstrations.
“There are other methods of dealing with suspects. My son was running away from him, so I don’t think my son was an immediate threat, so he could have used a taser or he could have used rubber bullets, but instead he chose to use a fire arm and kill my son,” Alvarez told Press TV.
“The problem is not a problem with individual officers. We don’t believe in the concept of that there are a few rotten apples on the tree. We say the whole orchard is rotten,” Bilal Ali, an event organizer, told Press TV.
LA Police Sergeant Mitzi Grasso responded by saying that “We have over 3 million calls for service a year, and so very few end up in any type of violent encounters… and our review process is so thorough.”
The Coalition published the second edition of the book Stolen Lives, documenting over 2,000 cases in the 1990′s alone.
Photo – credit Wikipedia
Navy Proposed Warfare Training Range
TIME IS RUNNING OUT! The Final Environmental Impact Report was released September 10, 2010, and according to the Navy’s project contact person Kimberly Kler, all comments will continue to be forwarded to the decision-making body until the Record of Decision is filed, which is expected in late October.
GET INVOLVED: Contact the Navy’s representative Kimberley Kler at 360–396–0927, and demand an extension for additional comments on the several thousand page document. You can write to your local newspapers to get more media attention, contact your congressional representatives*, board of supervisors, and other elected officials and make the case that these operations are unnecessary and would cause an undetermined amount of harm to marine life on our coast.
Click here to sign the Petition to Stop the Navy
By Rosalind Peterson | NewsWithViews.com | August 11, 2009
The United States Navy will be decimating millions of marine mammals and other aquatic life, each year, for the next five years, under their Warfare Testing Range Complex Expansions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Gulf of Mexico. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS under NOAA), has already approved the “taking” of marine mammals in more than a dozen Navy Range Warfare Testing Complexes (6), and is preparing to issue another permit for 11.7 millions marine mammals (32 Separate Species), to be decimated along the Northern, California, Oregon and Washington areas of the Pacific Ocean (7).
U.S. Department of Commerce – NOAA (NMFS) Definition: “TAKE” Defined under the MMPA as “harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, kill or collect.” Defined under the ESA as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.” Definition: Incidental Taking: An unintentional, but not unexpected taking (12).
The total number of marine mammals that will be decimated in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico for the next five years is unknown. [...]
Earlier this year, June 8th through June 16, 2009, a delegation from Connecticut and California spent time walking the halls of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. We left petitions, color fliers, and information about saving our marine mammals, requested a postponement and U.S. Congressional Hearings. Ninety-nine senate offices were visited and 2/3 of offices in the U.S. House of Representatives. The silent response from our elected officials regarding these two requests has been zero…one U.S. Congressman even stated that citizens would be “laughed out of the halls of the U.S. Congress for suggesting that we protect our marine mammals”. Corporate paid “Lobbyists”, who hand out money by the $Millions, on the other hand, are always accepted at hearings, give testimony, and are welcomed in the halls of Congress…apparently the voices of citizens of the United States are not given the same status.
These virtually unregulated Navy Warfare Testing Programs already approved are now taking a toll on marine mammals, the fishing and ocean tourism industries, and on all aquatic life. Many U.S. Senators and Congressmen are ignoring these issues by pretending that they don’t exist even though they have been informed in advance of these programs.
A brief history of the Navy Warfare Testing Program is needed to understand the full implications of this Pentagon/Navy Warfare Testing Program. In 2004, the Bush Administration signed a bill weakening U.S. Environmental Laws (1), with regard to the U.S. Navy. And then in 2008, President Bush signed an executive order allowing the Navy to be exempt from environmental laws which protects endangered and threatened species (2-4). The Navy Southern California Complex was the first one to benefit from this executive order. Soon other Navy Range Complexes were obtaining exemptions from the NMFS with little or no oversight or significant mitigation measures (5).
A partial listing of known Navy Range Complexes (6), shows the amazing scope of the disaster. According to U.S. Congressman Waxman in a letter dated March 12, 2009: “…The Navy estimates that its sonar training activities will “take” marine mammals more than 11.7 million times over the course of a five-year permit…The sonar exercises at issue would take place off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Hawaii, Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico – affecting literally every coastal state. In many regions, the Navy plans to increase the number of training exercises or expand the areas in which they may occur. Of particular concern are biologically sensitive marine habitats off our coasts, such as National Marine Sanctuary and other breeding habitats…In all, the Navy anticipates that its sonar exercises will “take” marine mammals more than 2.3 million times per year, or 11.7 million times over the course of a 5-year permit….” This statement was made in response to public inquiries regarding the Navy Northwest Training Range schedule for Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
KTVU Oakland San Francisco Television Station is the only television station to investigate and air a story about this U.S. Navy program (13), on May 18, 2009. It took a great deal of courage, in the face of the fact that no other major television networks would carry this story. A few courageous radio stations are also helping to get the word out to the public.
Published in the United States Federal Register on March 11, 2009:
The United States Navy published an application, as an addendum to their expanded Warfare Testing program, in the U.S. Federal Register, dated March 11, 2009. This application from the Navy “…requests authorization to take individuals of 32 species of marine mammals during upcoming Navy Warfare testing and training to be conducted in the NWTR areas (off the Pacific coasts of Washington, Oregon, and northern California) over the course of 5 years…”
The Navy Warfare Testing Program will “…utilize mid- and high frequency active sonar sources and explosive detonations. These sonar and explosive sources will be utilized during Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW) Tracking Exercises, Mine Avoidance Training, Extended Echo Ranging and Improved Extended Echo Ranging (EER/IEER) events, Missile Exercises, Gunnery Exercises, Bombing Exercises, Sinking Exercises, and Mine Warfare Training…” (More listed in Navy E.I.S.)
The “taking” of marine mammals negatively impacts the entire ecology of our oceans and the life in them which feeds large numbers of people and other species around the world. It should be noted that the list of toxic chemicals that the Navy proposes to use is a long one as noted in the Navy E.I.S. Depleted uranium, red and white phosphorus, mercury, lead, and a whole host of chemicals known to be toxic not only to man, but to marine life, are being served up on the “Navy Warfare Chemical Menu” that will contaminate our air, water, and soil.
On May 28, 2009, U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson from California, in a Press Release to NOAA, made the following statements which could be directed toward any ocean Navy testing range:
“…I am concerned about the United States Navy’s ability to properly review the environmental impacts of proposed enhancements in its Northwest Training Range Complex (NWTRC)… I am particularly concerned that NOAA’s existing mitigation measures may not be best suited for the protected marine mammals and endangered salmonids present in the Pacific Northwest… I am also concerned about proposed changes to current levels of activity in the NWTRC that focus on training for new aircraft and ship classes and physical enhancements to the training range. The Navy’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) acknowledges that these changes, particularly those related to its increased use of mid-frequency sonar, are likely to have measurable impacts on 32 protected marine mammal species known to inhabit the NWTRC…”
Congressman Thompson continues:
“…As the Navy moves forward with plans to train on new weapons systems, it is essential that NOAA identifies the environmental impacts of these new aircraft, ships and submarines – and their accompanying mitigation measures – specifically with reference to the productive ocean habitats and species that define the Pacific Coast… I am not aware of any specific elements included in the evaluation and am concerned that the review will be inadequate to address the Navy’s EIS with respect to protection of Pacific Coast ocean ecosystems.
NOAA’s comprehensive review is particularly important given that the Navy has estimated shipboard visual monitoring for marine mammals – the most commonly employed sonar mitigation measure – to be effective only 9% of the time. It is important that NOAA take immediate steps to validate its comprehensive review of mitigation measures. Specifically, I request that you provide my office with an outline of the comprehensive review process and answers to the following questions:
1. What mitigation measures will be reviewed during NOAA’s process?
2. What data will NOAA use to identify those mitigation measures best able to protect marine species?
3. How will your agency’s recommendations target specific species, habitats or training activities of concern?
4. How will NOAA’s recommendations address sonar impacts to species other than marine mammals?
5. How will NOAA or the Navy establish performance standards to ensure that recommended mitigation measures are functioning as intended?…”
The public should also be informed of any information received by Congressman Thompson’s office. In addition, there are a few more questions which need to be answered:
1. What are the synergistic and cumulative effects of all the permits that have been issued in the last two years to Naval Range Complex requests?
2. Bomb blasts and toxic chemicals are also being tested by the Navy and NOAA reviews are not including information on the Navy Hazardous Waste and Toxic Chemicals sections of the Navy E.I.S., such as bioaccumulation of chemicals in the food chain, death from exposure to toxic chemicals and bomb blasts.
3. The Navy will also be conducting classified future warfare testing. Since the public is not to be informed of those tests, chemicals being used, electromagnetic weapons systems, and other air or land based tests, who is protecting sea life, human health, water, soil, and air from pollution and other experimental tests?
4. Human health from airborne pollutants, toxic debris, and shoreline contamination from toxic chemicals should also be considered in the NMFS evaluation. The protection of cruise ships, fishermen, ocean tourists, U.S. Coastguard personnel, and the public who swim in the ocean should also be considered in their evaluations. This is not just a marine mammal issue.
It is now time for all of us to weigh in with regard to these warfare programs which will devastate our marine mammals, pollute our air and water, and have negative impacts on human health. We should have U.S. Congressional Hearings and a postponement of these programs until such time as the public can be informed about these issues.
1- Bill Signed into Law by President Bush Summary. 108th Congress H.R. 1588, 2004
2- Associate Press January 18, 2009 – “…President Bush’s decision to exempt the Navy from an environmental law so it can continue using high-power sonar in its training off Southern California _ a practice they say harms whales and other marine mammals…”
3- Los Angeles January 16, 2009- Associated Press President Bush Executive Order Undermining Environmental Laws.
4- U.S. Department of Defense News Release January 16, 2009 Navy Warfare Testing Southern California Range Complex-Use of Sonar.
5- No Significant Mitigation Measures for all of the Navy Range Complexes Listing on this U.S. Map.
6- Partial Listing of known Navy + Air Force Range Complexes:
NOAA Listing (NMFS) August 9, 2009
A - Northwest Training Range Complex – California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon
B - Southern California Training Range Complex, and here
C - Cherry Point Training Range Complex and here
D - U.S. Air Force Eglin Gulf Test+Training Range EGTTR Strike Weapons Tests 2004-5 Years
E - Hawaii Training Range Complex and here
F - Jacksonville, Florida Navy Complex Training Range E.I.S. – Marine Mammal Disaster 2008
G - Virginia Capes EIS/OEIS and see here and here
H - Gulf of Mexico Range Complex EIS/OEIS and Map
I - Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training. See This and This
J - Mariana Islands Range Complex EIS/OEIS
K - NSWC Panama City Division: EIS/OEIS
L - NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex EIS/OEIS
M - Navy Undersea Warfare Training Range Complex. Also see this
7- California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon Decision Pending
8- Navy Cherry Point Range Complex, Table of Contents Environmental Impact Statement – Finalized April 23, 2009, Weapons Systems Descriptions – Note Section on Red and White Phosphorus Hazards, 2003 GAO Report Navy
9- Public Comment Deadline NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service August 12, 2009, Information here for how to file your protest and comments, 2009
10- California, Oregon, Washington & Idaho Navy Environmental Impact Statement
11- NOAA “Take” Requests and Permit Authorization-Note Military & Other Types of Organizations
12- NOAA Glossary of Terms – 2009 Definition: Incidental Taking: An unintentional, but not unexpected taking. More Terms, and
13- KTVU Channel 2 Investigation U.S. Navy Warfare Testing Program May 18, 2009
14- President Obama Restored Species Act Consultation-U.S. Department of Commerce & Interior
© 2009 – Rosalind Peterson
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In 1995, Rosalind, now retired, became a certified California United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency Agriculture Crop Loss Adjustor working in more than ten counties throughout California. Rosalind has a BA degree from Sonoma State University in Environmental Studies & Planning (ENSP), with emphasis on using solar power, photosynthesis, agriculture, and crop production.
Between 1989 and 1993 Rosalind worked as an Agricultural Technologist for the Mendocino County Department of Agriculture. After leaving Mendocino County she took a position with the USDA Farm Service Agency as a Program Assistant in Mendocino, Sonoma, and the Salinas County Offices, where she worked until becoming certified as a crop loss adjustor for the State.