The president had considered naming Mr. Brennan to head the CIA when he took office in 2009. But some human rights advocates protested, claiming that as a top agency official under President George W. Bush, Mr. Brennan had supported, or at least had failed to stop, the use of interrogation techniques like waterboarding that are widely considered to be torture. Mr. Brennan denied those accusations but withdrew from consideration, and Mr. Obama gave him the advisory position, which did not require Senate confirmation.
That Brennan was a supporter of torture is not a claim or an accusation, though–it’s a matter of public record. As we pointed out after Brennan’s name was withdrawn in 2009, here’s what he had to say to CBS News in 2007 (Early Show, 11/2/07):
The CIA has acknowledged that it has detained about 100 terrorists since 9/11, and about a third of them have been subjected to what the CIA refers to as enhanced interrogation tactics, and only a small proportion of those have in fact been subjected to the most serious types of enhanced procedures…. There have been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the agency has in fact used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives. And let’s not forget, these are hardened terrorists who have been responsible for 9/11, who have shown no remorse at all for the deaths of 3,000 innocents.
If the words “support” and “torture” have any meaning, then Brennan is supporting torture there. This is another example of how in order to be an “objective” reporter, you have to deny that there’s any such thing as objective reality.
Since Dick Cheney wasn’t available, Obama is picking the next best thing to run the CIA, John Brennan.
Here’s what some of the qualification checklist may have looked like.
I’ve never understood the need to cloak the titles of government positions in Orwellian nonsense. Brennan’s title of counterterrorism adviser should actually have been something like ‘Head of US Terrorism.’ At least then we could have given the administration a ✔ for transparency.
West Bank – Israeli occupation forces in Hebron raided a home, arrested a Palestinian and smashed his family’s belongings in the early hours of the morning.
Thirteen soldiers who came with two dogs broke down the door, arrested Ahmed Sharabati, 22, and vandalised the property without giving an explanation. As of this moment, Sharabati’s whereabouts are currently unknown.
The soldiers were present in the home for an hour and a half, during which time the terrified family was harassed, furniture was turned upside down and a window was smashed. The family spent six hours cleaning up after the raid.
The family’s home is located in H2, the Israeli controlled part of Hebron. The close proximity of soldiers and illegal settlers means that Palestinians are always under threat from violence and harassment. Palestinians returning home from the city centre are subjected to humiliating checkpoints and the area is infamous for its “Gas the Arabs” graffiti.
The Israeli occupation forces soldiers in H2 are soon due to be replaced by other soldiers and the locals believe they are intentionally being more aggressive to leave a lasting impression.
- Local activist detained in Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Security video of killing of Hebron circus student shows claim of ‘toy gun’ fraudulent (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli forces kill teenager on his 17th birthday in Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Second group of journalists beaten in Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Nedda confronted the settlers after seeing them on their property cutting olive trees, warning them off with a solid wooden walking stick and a firm voice. At around 4 p.m. twelve settlers returned accompanied by around 12 jeeps and 60 Israeli Occupation Soldiers.
A small group from the local village confronted the settlers and soldiers to defend the farm and a conflict erupted. Consecutive rounds of tear gas were then shot onto the farm land and the settlers and the local youth (shabab) confronted each other. During the skirmish two shabab were shot at close range with rubber bullets: one in the shin and the other in the upper thigh. Both required hospital treatment, with the shabab who was shot in the upper thigh remaining in hospital for further treatment as the rubber coated bullet passed into the front of his thigh and out the side. One of the stones thrown by a shabab hit a settler in the head. In addition to this the Israeli Army fired several rounds of live ammunition. The village Mayor rang the DCO to report the incident and the DCO warned him that the settlers would return for ‘‘revenge’’.
As four volunteers from the ISM, we arrived at the village around 7p.m. and were welcomed to stay overnight at the small farm house of Abu Nasser and Nedda. The following day the settlers were seen gathering across the valley with Israeli soldiers. We were driven to the hilltop across from them and made our presence known, shortly after which they left. During our time in the village we learnt of other attacks on the village that occurred as frequently as 3-4 times a week. We were shown several olive fields where the olive trees had either been broken or cut. The villages estimate that in the previous 3-4 days around 400 olive trees had been killed in their surroundings by settlers from the illegal settlements Esh Kodish and Kida.
During a similar settler attack on the village on the 23/09/2011, the local villages went to stop settlers from cutting the trees and the Israeli Army arrived and shot dead a 32-years old father of 5, Islam Badram.
- Red Crescent attacked during settler raids in Qusra (palsolidarity.org)
- Israeli army dogs attack elderly Palestinian, two-year-old child injured in the head in Jewish settlers’ attack (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers raid Nablus village homes and a tractor. Uproot 190 olive trees and burn Hebron car (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Settlers raid Nablus village, fire live ammo (altahrir.wordpress.com)
“The Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here.”
“I’m not an Israeli senator. I’m a United States senator.”
Chuck Hagel’s most famous words may give hope to some that Obama’s nomination of him for Secretary of Defense is a sign that the influence of Israel is waning. Hagel has even been cautious about war with Iran and has indicated he prefers talking over shooting.
Take a look at his voting record and some of his stances while senator. Not exactly progressive. He voted for going into Afghanistan. He also voted to go into Iraq before he said he was somewhat against that war and did a little criticizing of the Bush administration. Patriot Act? No problem. He twice cast his lot for it.
FISA? Yep, he likes spying.
Hagel’s campaign contributors included a lot of bankers and we all know how well they like war and military contractors.
Proper disclosure has not been one of his strong suits. Could his own electronic voting machine company have ‘aided’ in his senate campaign wins?
For the first ten weeks of 1996, Hagel served as chairman of American Information Systems (AIS), a voting machine company which later changed its name to ES&S. He also had holdings in the firm’s parent group, McCarthy Group Inc., worth between $1 and $5 million. In November 1996, Hagel was elected to the Senate, the first Republican elected from Nebraska since 1974. He came from behind twice during his run (according to polls), first against well known Republican Attorney General Don Stenberg in the primary, and then against popular Democratic Gov. (and eventual senator) Ben Nelson. In fact, one Nebraska newspaper described his victory as a “stunning upset.” In January 1997, the Washington Post called Hagel’s victory, “the major Republican upset in the November election.” According to Bev Harris of Blackboxvoting.org, a group aimed at “consumer protection for elections,” Hagel won virtually every demographic group, including many largely African-American communities that had never before voted Republican. AIS was responsible for counting approximately 80% of the votes in the election.
In a disclosure form filed in 1996, Hagel did not report that he was chairman of AIS during 1996 or go into detail regarding the company’s underlying assets. Rather, he cited his holdings as an “excepted investment fund,” which is exempt from detailed disclosure rules.
Hope and change with Hagel? It seems somewhat odd that Obama would pick such a controversial Republican for the cabinet post. It’s often said that no one reaches these positions without being bought and/or blackmailed. No word on if Hagel would approve of the military being used against the American people and I doubt the question will come up in the confirmation hearings.
With all the corruption in the merging of government, banks and corporations and the continued influence of the jewish lobby, even if Hagel is ‘approved’ I’m not holding my breath that it will be anything but business as usual.
A US-made reconnaissance drone has been recovered in waters off Ticao Island of the Philippines, a navy official says.
Captain Rommel Jason Galang, a Philippine navy commander, said the drone was recovered on Monday, after it was found by fishermen floating near the island.
Galang also said the navy had deployed a ship with ordnance experts to the scene after the fishermen reported that the 3.65-meter object could have been a bomb.
“We will first study this drone but initially it appears to be a UAV used largely in reconnaissance,” he stated, adding that it was not clear why the BQM-74E drone had crashed.
The US embassy in Manila was informed of the discovery of the drone, which is expected to be turned over to US authorities.
The Philippines has seen a resurgence of US troops since late 2011, when the White House announced a turn in Washington’s foreign, economic and security policy toward the region.
Some 600 US soldiers have been stationed in the southern Philippines since 2002 to train local troops there.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino said last year that US drones were allowed to fly over the country for reconnaissance purposes.
- US Drone Crashes Off Masbate Waters (rappler.com)
Bolivia has “concrete evidence” that the US is plotting to destabilize the Latin American nation, Minister Juan Ramon Quintana said. Proof of US “harassment” of the Bolivian government will be handed over to President Obama, he added.
The Bolivian government is “scrupulously following” US activity in Bolivia, Minister for the Bolivian Presidency Quintana said in a press conference
“There is so much evidence to hand over to the President of the USA to say to him: Stop harassing the Bolivian government, stop politically cornering and ambushing us!” Quintana stressed. He added that investigations into drug-trafficking and human rights abuses would reveal a “permanent battle” waged by the US to impede progress in Bolivia.
“In the offensive against the government there are no visible subjects… What we’re seeing are the political machinations of the US Embassy,” which seeks to damage the image of the Bolivian government, Quintana said.
The country’s US ambassador was ejected in 2008 after being accused of plotting against the Bolivian government by President Evo Morales. The US quickly followed suit, removing its Bolivian ambassador.
A charge d’affaires now heads the American Embassy in La Paz; both nations signed a deal in 2011 that would pave the way for the reinstatement of the ambassadors. However, diplomatic relations between the two countries have yet to be normalized.
Larry Mermmot, the US diplomatic representative in La Paz, said that he was confident that 2013 would see the ambassadors restored in both countries.
A significant bone of contention in these tensions is drug-trafficking in Bolivia. A damning report released by the American government last year ranking Bolivia, along with Venezuela and Burma, as “failing demonstrably during the previous 12 months to adhere to their obligations under international counternarcotics agreements.”
President Morales denied the findings, accusing the US of hypocrisy and calling the illicit drugs trade with Latin America the US’ “best business.”
A thorn in the US’ side
Bolivia has been a thorn in the US’ side because of its anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist policies, pioneered by President Evo Morales; the US also could not permit challenges to its policies in the heart of Latin America, Minister Quintana said in an interview with state radio station El Pueblo.
“What we have been fighting since 2006 and what we will continue to fight is a war against Bolivian progress,” he said, adding that the political objective of the US was to dismantle the “process of rebellion” by any means necessary.
Bolivia is currently led by Evo Morales, the country’s first indigenous leader, who is a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. The three leaders are known for their anti-American rhetoric, and have often been critical of what they criticize as the US overstepping its authority in Latin America.
Ecuadorian President Correa spoke out over the weekend, voicing concerns of a possible CIA plot to remove him in the run-up to governmental elections in February. He cited a report written by a Chilean journalist, which described an alleged US plot to destabilize the region.
- Bolivia’s GDP and Minimum Wage double under Evo Morales’ MAS ‘process of change’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- - Bolivia: US embassy actively working to undermine govt. (Press TV)