Sunday, 17. January 2010
Soon-to- be- Launched Boiling Frogs Exclusive Video
I’m going to start with an exciting update on our Boiling Frogs Exclusive Video Project. Again, I’m not known for being very patient, and in this case I’m not able to contain my excitement.
Kristina Borjesson and Katrina Rill have been working very hard on the production side, and have been doing it under extraordinary circumstances. Kristina’s brother lives in Haiti and for almost 4 days they were unable to establish contact with him, know about his well-being or whereabouts. They heard from him yesterday, after days of frantic phone calls, e-mails, and stressful waiting-pacing. I am so very happy and relieved. Additionally, during that chaotic period they had to resolve several software-hardware related problems and glitches. Fortunately, they have now arrived at the ‘happy-satisfied-exciting’ stage where they are putting their final touches on our first four-part video series.
The upcoming video series will be based on exclusive interviews with Larry Wilkerson, with great footage. I don’t believe anyone has ever heard or seen some of the extraordinary revelations and commentaries contained in these clips; at least I hadn’t. Here is a glimpse of what I’m talking about from the transcript:
Larry Wilkerson on Israel:
I have not mentioned one other motivation in here which was, I think very much at work. And that’s Israel… Douglas Feith, for example as many people often said in the state department, including the highest members of the state department, was a card carrying member of the Likud Party… what it meant of course was that he had a double set of interests in mind at most times and those interests were not just America’s interests, they were Israel’s interests…
We have a situation today in both Israel and the United States created in part because of incompetent leadership but in part because of very venal leadership in exploiting the politics of fear, that can’t bring us peace—either of us—and is making lots and lots of money as Andrew Basevitch said, off not bringing us peace. Lots of money.
there are a group of people in this country who have an interest in Israel’s security that goes beyond America’s interests…. When the Cold War ended, Israel in that regard became a strategic liability, not an asset…
LW on our Disappearing Civil Liberties:
…So we’re moving away rapidly from all those things—the constitution, the rule of law, operating within our own revenues instead of debt, debt, debt and so forth, all because the presidency has become so powerful that it can do these things and it has become powerful in some respects because of the politics of fear…
LW on the Role of Military Industrial Complex:
In our country, money is negating democracy. It is doing it in a host of ways. It is doing it in a way Dwight Eisenhower warned it would do in 1961 when departed the Oval Office…
…there’s nothing out there that will tell you how to deal with this. This is not the president of Lockheed Martin, the president of uh, of uh General Dynamics or Graumann or whatever plotting at night to take over Washington or to take your money away from you. This is much more insidious than that. It is power, and building over time as we decided after world war two to build a national security state and to make security the end all and be all of our existence. Just listen to the democratic candidates the other night in the debate. Every one of them I believe as I recall even the guys on the fringes they essentially said the first requirement of any president is to protect the United States of America. Hogwash. The first requirement of any president is to protect the Constitution. The Constitution will, if it’s adhered to, protect America.
Okay, you see what I mean? How could I not be ultra excited?! The interview is loaded with macro points and facts long ignored by the media and others, and issues and realities that have been chosen by our public to be denied rather than being faced and dealt with.
Buckle up and get ready for our soon to be launched video series. For some of you who have not registered with the site, this is a good time and even a better reason to go ahead and do it. The full-length clips will be available only to Boiling Frogs Registered Users, those I refer to as members of the Irate Minority Club.
Boiling Frogs Podcast
We had a great interview session with Chris Hedges. After reading his sound analytical pieces, hearing him articulate issues relevant to our discussion, and knowing a bit about his sincere and non-partisan outlook, I decided to add his ‘corner’ to my ‘must-read’ daily list. I say corner, because I don’t particularly like some of the angles and partisan approaches of the general site, and I believe that’s mutual, since those operating it happen to not like mine either On the other hand, I try to give credit where it’s due, and in this case, having Chris Hedges on board is a major positive.
This week we’ll interview Professor Julien Mercille and Coleen Rowley. I know I’ve said this a gazillion times, but I truly enjoy these sessions, and end up learning so much. I’m looking forward to having both guests this coming week.
Coming up on Friday: Our interview with Andy Worthington.
And here is a round up of a few headlines and news of interest:
US Public Majority: Willing to Sacrifice Liberties for Perceived Security
The following makes us truly members of the irate minority club:
Most OK with TSA full-body scanners
By Thomas Frank, USA Today
Air travelers strongly approve of the government’s use of body scanners at the nation’s airports even if the machines compromise privacy, a USA TODAY/Gallup poll finds.
Poll respondents appeared to endorse a Transportation Security Administration plan to install 300 scanners at the nation’s largest airports this year to replace metal detectors. The machines, used in 19 airports, create vivid images of travelers under their clothes to reveal plastics and powders to screeners observing monitors in a closed room.
In the poll, 78% of respondents said they approved of using the scanners, and 67% said they are comfortable being examined by one. Eighty-four percent said the machines would help stop terrorists from carrying explosives onto airplanes. The survey was taken Jan. 5-6 of 542 adults who have flown at least twice in the past year.
And, this one:
Poll: Most Americans would trim liberties to be safer
By Steven Thomma, McClatchy
After a recent attempted terrorist attack set off a debate about full-body X-rays at airports, a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll finds that Americans lean more toward giving up some of their liberty in exchange for more safety. The survey found 51 percent of Americans agreeing that “it is necessary to give up some civil liberties in order to make the country safe from terrorism.” At the same time, 36 percent agreed that “some of the government’s proposals will go too far in restricting the public’s civil liberties.”
Here are my questions for the ‘majority’ who support giving up privacy and liberties for perceived security:
Let’s say the next attack, or attempted terrorist attack, takes place in a shopping mall on a busy Saturday. What should be our government’s measures and so-called solutions afterwards? Should they place metal detectors at all main entrances of all US shopping malls? And since they happen to be ‘ineffective,’ should they go all the way and have these body-scanners instead? But then, some terrorist or terrorist wanna-be or just mentally deranged person may try to pull the explosive truck in the parking lot trick. Then what? Should we also place search guards and detectors at all entrances of all US shopping malls?
Please feel free to replicate the example, scenario above, for all the mega movie theaters, mega hotels, mega amusement parks, mega restaurants, museums… Each one of them a possible target. Each one of them vulnerable. Each possible attack with a possible large civilian death toll. So I’m asking those supporters of giving up privacy and liberties for some irrational and perceived security: What would you want to be done to make you feel secure, safer? Will you be willing to stand in long lines and check points, spread your legs and arms before government patters, maybe even bend over for a good ole cavity search and enema, for shopping, dining, entertainment…? And don’t pull that ‘oh, that’s different’ line with me. Because it isn’t. Because there are millions of ways for those who are willing to execute terror plots, and there are thousands of places to be targeted. Even if we were to turn the entire country into a massive check point with scanners and patters, even if we were to turn our entire population into security guards and police… So, what you gonna do? Maybe ignorantly do the following:
Fail-Proof Way of Creating Hatred & Terrorism
KABUL — Five Afghan civilians were shot and wounded by US and Afghan troops outside a military base in a restive area of the war-torn country, NATO said Friday, also reporting the death of an American soldier.The incident involving the civilians took place in the Garmsir district of Helmand province on Wednesday, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement — where a violent demonstration took place a day earlier.
An ISAF spokesman said warning shots were fired as a crowd of up to 400 people gathered outside the gate of a military base, Combat Outpost Sher.
On Tuesday seven people were killed during a demonstration sparked by rumours that foreign soldiers had desecrated a Koran in an operation the previous day, officials said earlier this week.Referring to the Wednesday incident, Lieutenant Todd Breasseale told AFP: “The five Afghan civilians were wounded by bullets.”
In what appears to have been the latest in a growing string of civilian killings by the international alliance in Afghanistan, Kandahar police are confirming today that NATO soldiers shot and killed two civilians along the highway.
The United States has unleashed an unprecedented number of missile attacks by unmanned drones in northwest Pakistan over the last two weeks, including one Thursday that officials said killed 12 alleged militants at a meeting of Taliban commanders.
A U.N. investigator said the surge added to the need for the cloak of secrecy to be lifted from the CIA-run program, which has killed civilians as well as insurgents. Critics say the program does more harm than good because it fans anti-U.S. sentiment and anger at Pakistan’s own government.
And of course, thanks to our media the following doesn’t register with the Let’s Give Up Liberties-for-Perceived Security majority:
Were Afghan Children Executed By Us-Led Forces? And Why Aren’t The Media Interested?
Ignoring or downplaying Western crimes is a standard feature of the corporate Western media. On rare occasions when a broadcaster or newspaper breaks ranks and reports ‘our’ crimes honestly, it is instructive to observe the response from the rest of the media. Do they follow suit, perhaps digging deeper for details, devoting space to profiles of the victims and interviews with grieving relatives, humanising all concerned? Do they put the crimes in perspective as the inevitable consequence of rapacious Western power? Or do they look away?
One such case is a report that American-led troops dragged Afghan children from their beds and shot them during a night raid on December 27 last year, leaving ten people dead. Afghan government investigators said that eight of the dead were schoolchildren, and that some of them had been handcuffed before being killed. Kabul-based Times correspondent Jerome Starkey reported the shocking accusations about the joint US-Afghan operation. But the rest of the UK news media have buried the report.
Another Random Story of a Political System Termite
Rep. Gary Ackerman may have broken House ethics rules with no-money-down stock deal
By Benjamin Lesser & Greg B. Smith, NY Daily News
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman hosted a meeting between Israeli officials and a defense-contracting firm in which he had invested money — and made a big profit, a Daily News probe has found.The Queens Democrat put no money down when he obtained private stock in the company, Xenonics Inc., relying on $14,000 borrowed in 2002 from the company’s top shareholder, a longtime friend.The sweetheart loan required no collateral and had no written payback date, a potential violation of House ethics rules.
In the last few years, Ackerman arranged a meeting in his Washington office between Xenonics founder Alan Magerman and two Israeli officials, Magerman said.Magerman said he tried to convince the Israelis to buy Xenonics’ NightHunter, a high-powered flashlight used by the U.S. military. Magerman said Ackerman was “trying to be very helpful.”
Other Noteworthy Stories
George W. Obama
Nat Hentoff, VillageVoice
Groups seek to challenge U.S. gov’t on seized laptops
Pepe Escobar, ATimes
Balochistan halts $3.5bn copper project
Syed Fazl-e-Haider, ATimes