Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,757
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 46,757
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How the United States Economically and Politically Strangled Puerto Rico
Sunday, 24 May 2015 00:00
By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview
The suppression of the Puerto Rican independence movement by the US, orchestrated in large part by Herbert Hoover, was massive, bloody and something akin to the actions of a police state. You quote World War I hero General Smedley Butler about his fighting in Latin America as writing, "I was a gangster for capitalism." To what extent was Puerto Rico dominated by US corporations from its conquest by the US in 1898?
(For specific facts and figures about this, please refer to the bottom of page 254, top of page 255 in the book. Also pp. 29-31 and pp. 56-58.)
As early as 1931, historian and Yale professor Bailey W. Diffie wrote that "The sugar industry, tobacco manufacturing, fruit growing, banks, railroads, public utilities, steamship lines, and many lesser businesses are completely dominated by outside capital. The men who own the sugar corporations own both the US Bureau of Insular Affairs and the Legislature of Puerto Rico ... practically every mile of public carrier railroad belongs to two companies - the American Railroad Company and the Ponce & Guayama Railroad Company ... which are largely absentee owned ... about half the towns depend on absentee companies for their lights and power, and more than half the telephone calls go over wires owned by outsiders ... it is the absentee capitalist who makes the profit." (See: Bailey W. Diffie and Justine Whitfield Diffie, Porto Rico: A Broken Pledge, New York: Vanguard Press, 1931, pp. 199-200.)
Posted by Octafish | Wed May 27, 2015, 09:10 PM (0 replies)
An Appreciation: Ray Bradbury: A voice shaped by L.A.
The writer who re-imagined science fiction came into his own in Los Angeles. And although Ray Bradbury rarely wrote about it, whispers of the city can be heard in his works.
June 07, 2012|By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
But you can argue that one of the most important influences on him started when he entered into a lifelong relationship with the Los Angeles Public Library — and libraries in general, which he regarded, in a very real sense, as society's soul.
"Libraries raised me," he said in a 2009 interview while trying to raise money for a library in Ventura County. "I don't believe in colleges and universities.… When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."
Bradbury wasn't kidding; libraries were his education … and his muse. He wrote his breakthrough novel, 1953's "Fahrenheit 451," on a rental typewriter in the basement of UCLA's Powell Library, pumping in a dime for every half hour of typing. (The book cost him nine bucks and change to write.)
Posted by Octafish | Wed May 27, 2015, 06:49 PM (0 replies)
...and what we get is on the other side.
Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.
The people we elect aren’t the ones calling the shots, says Tufts University’s Michael Glennon
by Jordan Michael Smith
The Boston Globe, OCTOBER 19, 2014
THE VOTERS WHO put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.
But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.
Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.
Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.
Glennon cites the example of Obama and his team being shocked and angry to discover upon taking office that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan: The United States could add more troops, or the United States could add a lot more troops. Hemmed in, Obama added 30,000 more troops.
Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. And he’s not a conspiracy theorist: Rather, he sees the problem as one of “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives”—without any meaningful oversight to rein them in.
So, smile! Whaddyawant a pony or something? Your name Glennon, leveymg?
Posted by Octafish | Wed May 27, 2015, 06:39 PM (1 replies)
Important history from 1992 campaign:
Bush Ventures to Clinton Turf, Honors Sam Walton
Republicans: The trip to Arkansas is billed as nonpolitical. The gravely ill Wal-Mart founder is given the Medal of Freedom.
by Douglas Jehl
Los Angeles Times, March 18, 1992
BENTONVILLE, Ark. — On the day Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton emerged as the prohibitive favorite to win the Democratic presidential nomination, President Bush visited the governor's home state on a trip he insisted had nothing to do with politics.
Bush made the journey to present the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, to one of its richest men, Sam Walton, the gravely ill 73-year-old founder of Wal-Mart Stores.
Walton, who built the Wal-Mart empire from one store to a $9-billion fortune, now is confined to a wheelchair, and Bush choked up during the ceremony at the company's headquarters in Bentonville as he praised the entrepreneur as an emblem of "America's success."
"I think it's important that all Americans understand that some things are going very, very well in the United States of America," Bush said. "And one of those things is Wal-Mart."
Wal-Mart has retained its Arkansas roots even as it has grown beyond the region. The chain also has links to the Clintons--the governor's wife, Hillary, has a substantial financial stake in the company and serves on its board of directors.
Walton's family has generously supported many of Clinton's past campaigns. This year, Walton has contributed the legal maximum of $1,000 to both Clinton and Bush.
Walmart continued to grow since then, making the heirs of Sam Walton very wealthy. Most everone else in the USA has not done so well.
Posted by Octafish | Sat May 23, 2015, 01:07 PM (2 replies)
CIA moonlights in corporate world
In the midst of two wars and the fight against Al Qaeda, the CIA is offering operatives a chance to peddle their expertise to private companies on the side — a policy that gives financial firms and hedge funds access to the nation’s top-level intelligence talent, POLITICO has learned.
In one case, these active-duty officers moonlighted at a hedge-fund consulting firm that wanted to tap their expertise in “deception detection,” the highly specialized art of telling when executives may be lying based on clues in a conversation.
The never-before-revealed policy comes to light as the CIA and other intelligence agencies are once again under fire for failing to “connect the dots,” this time in the Christmas Day bombing plot on Northwest Flight 253.
But the close ties between active-duty and retired CIA officers at one consulting company show the degree to which CIA-style intelligence gathering techniques have been employed by hedge funds and financial institutions in the global economy.
The firm is called Business Intelligence Advisors, and it is based in Boston. BIA was founded and is staffed by a number of retired CIA officers, and it specializes in the arcane field of “deception detection.” BIA’s clients have included Goldman Sachs and the enormous hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, according to spokesmen for both firms.
Sometimes a fortune rests on a mere scrap of information, jawohl.
Stratfor: executive boasted of 'trusted former CIA cronies'
By Alex Spillius, Diplomatic Correspondent
9:08PM GMT 28 Feb 2012
A senior executive with the private intelligence firm Stratfor boasted to colleagues about his "trusted former CIA cronies" and promised to "see what I can uncover" about a classified FBI investigation, according to emails released by the WikiLeaks.
Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at the Texas firm, also informed members of staff that he had a copy of the confidential indictment on Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
The second batch of five million internal Stratfor emails obtained by the Anonymous computer hacking group revealed that the company has high level sources within the United States and other governments, runs a network of paid informants that includes embassy staff and journalists and planned a hedge fund, Stratcap, based on its secret intelligence.
Mr Assange labelled the company as a "private intelligence Enron", in reference to the energy giant that collapsed after a false accounting scandal.
Then, there's Booz Allen, NSA's go-to private spyhaus, vacuums and filters the right stuff for Carlyle Group, a buy-partisan business which always seems to know where and what to bomb and make a buck.
The Knights of the Revolving Door
When War is Swell: the Carlyle Group and the Middle East at War
by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
CounterPunch, Weekend Edition September 6-8, 2013
A couple of weeks ago, in a dress rehearsal for her next presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton, the doyenne of humanitarian interventionism, made a pit-stop at the Carlyle Group to brief former luminaries of the imperial war rooms about her shoot-first-don’t-ask-questions foreign policy.
For those of you who have put the playbill of the Bush administration into a time capsule and buried it beneath the compost bin, the Carlyle Group is essentially a hedge fund for war-making and high tech espionage. They are the people who brought you the Iraq war and all those intrusive niceties of Homeland Security. Call them the Knights of the Revolving Door, many of Carlyle’s executives and investors having spent decades in the Pentagon, the CIA or the State Department, before cashing in for more lucrative careers as war profiteers. They are now licking their chops at the prospect for an all-out war against Syria, no doubt hoping that the conflagration will soon spread to Lebanon, Jordan and, the big prize, Iran.
For a refresher course on the sprawling tentacles of the Carlyle Group, here’s an essay that first appeared in CounterPunch’s print edition in 2004. Sadly, not much has changed in the intervening years, except these feted souls have gotten much, much richer. – JSC
Across all fronts, Bush’s war deteriorates with stunning rapidity. The death count of American soldiers killed in Iraq will soon top 1000, with no end in sight. The members of the handpicked Iraqi Governor Council are being knocked off one after another. Once loyal Shia clerics, like Ayatollah Sistani, are now telling the administration to pull out or face a nationalist insurgency. The trail of culpability for the abuse, torture and murder of Iraqi detainees seems to lead inexorably into the office of Donald Rumsfeld. The war for Iraqi oil has ended up driving the price of crude oil through the roof. Even Kurdish leaders, brutalized by the Ba’athists for decades, are now saying Iraq was a safer place under their nemesis Saddam Hussein. Like Medea whacking her own kids, the US turned on its own creation, Ahmed Chalabi, raiding his Baghdad compound and fingering him as an agent of the ayatollahs of Iran. And on and on it goes.
Still not all of the president’s men are in a despairing mood. Amid the wreckage, there remain opportunities for profit and plunder. Halliburton and Bechtel’s triumphs in Iraq have been chewed over for months. Less well chronicled is the profiteering of the Carlyle Group, a company with ties that extend directly into the Oval Office itself.
Even Pappy Bush stands in line to profit handsomely from his son’s war making. The former president is on retainer with the Carlyle Group, the largest privately held defense contractor in the nation. Carlyle is run by Frank Carlucci, who served as the National Security advisor and Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan. Carlucci has his own embeds in the current Bush administration. At Princeton, his college roommate was Donald Rumsfeld. They’ve remained close friends and business associates ever since. When you have friends like this, you don’t need to hire lobbyists..
Bush Sr. serves as a kind of global emissary for Carlyle. The ex-president doesn’t negotiate arms deals; he simply opens the door for them, a kind of high level meet-and-greet. His special area of influence is the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia, where the Bush family has extensive business and political ties. According to an account in the Washington Post, Bush Sr. earns around $500,000 for each speech he makes on Carlyle’s behalf.
One of the Saudi investors lured to Carlyle by Bush was the BinLaden Group, the construction conglomerate owned by the family of Osama bin Laden. According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Bush convinced Shafiq Bin Laden, Osama’s half brother, to sink $2 million of BinLaden Group money into Carlyle’s accounts. In a pr move, the Carlyle group cut its ties to the BinLaden Group in October 2001.
This barely scratches the surface. The reality is that underneath what shows for public navigators is one enormous iceberg made from blood-red ice, invisible to the proles and serfs who are doing their best to keep afloat in a frozen sea of austerity, endless war and debt servitude, thanks to the banksters and warmongers' ability to use the USA PATRIOT Act to their advantage.
Posted by Octafish | Fri May 22, 2015, 12:47 PM (0 replies)
So Bush avoided the hotel and slept aboard a missile destroyer in the harbor.
Here's the story from July 2001:
Why would Osama bin Laden want to kill Dubya, his former business partner?
By James Hatfield
Editor's note: In light of last week's horrific events and the Bush administration's reaction to them, we are reprising the following from the last column Jim Hatfield wrote for Online Journal prior to his tragic death on July 18:
July 3, 2001—There may be fireworks in Genoa, Italy, this month, too.
A plot by Saudi master terrorist, Osama bin Laden, to assassinate Dubya during the July 20 economic summit of world leaders, was uncovered after dozens of suspected Islamic militants linked to bin Laden's international terror network were arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, and Milan, Italy, in April.
German intelligence services have stated that bin Laden is covertly financing neo-Nazi skinhead groups throughout Europe to launch another terrorist attack at a high-profile American target—his first since the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen last October.
According to counter-terrorism experts quoted in Germany's largest newspaper, the attack on Dubya might be a James Bond-like aerial strike in the form of remote-controlled airplanes packed with plastic explosives.
Why would Osama bi Laden want to kill, Dubya, his former business partner?
FTR: The guy died a few days after this was published. A suicide.
You must not know that smoking gun, MohRokTah. Dude.
Posted by Octafish | Thu May 21, 2015, 07:21 PM (1 replies)
Ashcroft Flying High
WASHINGTON, July 26, 2001
Fishing rod in hand, Attorney General John Ashcroft left on a weekend trip to Missouri Thursday afternoon aboard a chartered government jet, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Stewart.
In response to inquiries from CBS News over why Ashcroft was traveling exclusively by leased jet aircraft instead of commercial airlines, the Justice Department cited what it called a "threat assessment" by the FBI, and said Ashcroft has been advised to travel only by private jet for the remainder of his term.
"There was a threat assessment and there are guidelines. He is acting under the guidelines," an FBI spokesman said. Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department, however, would identify what the threat was, when it was detected or who made it.
A senior official at the CIA said he was unaware of specific threats against any Cabinet member, and Ashcroft himself, in a speech in California, seemed unsure of the nature of the threat.
"I don't do threat assessments myself and I rely on those whose responsibility it is in the law enforcement community, particularly the FBI. And I try to stay within the guidelines that they've suggested I should stay within for those purposes," Ashcroft said.
Asked if he knew anything about the threat or who might have made it, the attorney general replied, "Frankly, I don't. That's the answer."
Johnny Ashcan knew. And I remember.
Posted by Octafish | Thu May 21, 2015, 07:18 PM (0 replies)
One of the reasons to be wary when Washington uses secret intelligence as a basis for war.
Tonkin Gulf Intelligence "Skewed"
According to Official History and Intercepts
Newly Declassified National Security Agency Documents Show Analysts Made "SIGINT fit the claim" of North Vietnamese Attack
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 132 - Update
National Security Archive
New York Times reporter Scott Shane wrote that higher-level officials at the NSA were "fearful that (declassification) might prompt uncomfortable comparisons with the flawed intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq."
Anyone ever hear OPLAN 34-A mentioned on tee vee or in history class?
Caro’s Flawed Tale of LBJ’s Rise
Exclusive: Author Robert Caro has labored through decades of his multi-volume study of Lyndon Johnson’s life, only now reaching LBJ’s presidency in The Passage of Power. But the much-praised book misses – or misrepresents – many of the key events, writes Jim DiEugenio.
By Jim DiEugenio
ConsortiumNews July 28, 2012
Caro mentions OPLAN 34A, the plan for covert operations against North Vietnam. The seed for this plan was approved by Johnson as part of NSAM 273 in late November of 1963. Caro actually calls it a “reaffirmation.” (Caro, p. 403) If what he means is a reaffirmation of Kennedy’s policies, then this is just wrong.
Gee. It's been pretty much "Money trumps peace" ever since. What a coincidence.
Posted by Octafish | Thu May 21, 2015, 12:39 PM (1 replies)
CIA Instructions to Media Assets
This document caused quite a stir when it was discovered in 1977. Dated 4/1/67, and marked "DESTROY WHEN NO LONGER NEEDED", this document is a stunning testimony to how concerned the CIA was over investigations into the Kennedy assassination. Emphasis has been added to facilitate scanning.
CIA Document #1035-960, marked "PSYCH" for presumably Psychological Warfare Operations, in the division "CS", the Clandestine Services, sometimes known as the "dirty tricks" department.
RE: Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report
1. Our Concern. From the day of President Kennedy's assassination on, there has been speculation about the responsibility for his murder. Although this was stemmed for a time by the Warren Commission report, (which appeared at the end of September 1964), various writers have now had time to scan the Commission's published report and documents for new pretexts for questioning, and there has been a new wave of books and articles criticizing the Commission's findings. In most cases the critics have speculated as to the existence of some kind of conspiracy, and often they have implied that the Commission itself was involved. Presumably as a result of the increasing challenge to the Warren Commission's report, a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved. Doubtless polls abroad would show similar, or possibly more adverse results.
2. This trend of opinion is a matter of concern to the U.S. government, including our organization. The members of the Warren Commission were naturally chosen for their integrity, experience and prominence. They represented both major parties, and they and their staff were deliberately drawn from all sections of the country. Just because of the standing of the Commissioners, efforts to impugn their rectitude and wisdom tend to cast doubt on the whole leadership of American society. Moreover, there seems to be an increasing tendency to hint that President Johnson himself, as the one person who might be said to have benefited, was in some way responsible for the assassination. Innuendo of such seriousness affects not only the individual concerned, but also the whole reputation of the American government. Our organization itself is directly involved: among other facts, we contributed information to the investigation. Conspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization, for example by falsely alleging that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for us. The aim of this dispatch is to provide material countering and discrediting the claims of the conspiracy theorists, so as to inhibit the circulation of such claims in other countries. Background information is supplied in a classified section and in a number of unclassified attachments.
3. Action. We do not recommend that discussion of the assassination question be initiated where it is not already taking place. Where discussion is active addresses are requested:
a. To discuss the publicity problem with and friendly elite contacts (especially politicians and editors) , pointing out that the Warren Commission made as thorough an investigation as humanly possible, that the charges of the critics are without serious foundation, and that further speculative discussion only plays into the hands of the opposition. Point out also that parts of the conspiracy talk appear to be deliberately generated by Communist propagandists. Urge them to use their influence to discourage unfounded and irresponsible speculation.
b. To employ propaganda assets to and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose. The unclassified attachments to this guidance should provide useful background material for passing to assets. Our ploy should point out, as applicable, that the critics are (I) wedded to theories adopted before the evidence was in, (II) politically interested, (III) financially interested, (IV) hasty and inaccurate in their research, or (V) infatuated with their own theories. In the course of discussions of the whole phenomenon of criticism, a useful strategy may be to single out Epstein's theory for attack, using the attached Fletcher article and Spectator piece for background. (Although Mark Lane's book is much less convincing that Epstein's and comes off badly where confronted by knowledgeable critics, it is also much more difficult to answer as a whole, as one becomes lost in a morass of unrelated details.)
4. In private to media discussions not directed at any particular writer, or in attacking publications which may be yet forthcoming, the following arguments should be useful:
a. No significant new evidence has emerged which the Commission did not consider. The assassination is sometimes compared (e.g., by Joachim Joesten and Bertrand Russell) with the Dreyfus case; however, unlike that case, the attack on the Warren Commission have produced no new evidence, no new culprits have been convincingly identified, and there is no agreement among the critics. (A better parallel, though an imperfect one, might be with the Reichstag fire of 1933, which some competent historians (Fritz Tobias, AJ.P. Taylor, D.C. Watt) now believe was set by Vander Lubbe on his own initiative, without acting for either Nazis or Communists; the Nazis tried to pin the blame on the Communists, but the latter have been more successful in convincing the world that the Nazis were to blame.)
5. Where possible, counter speculation by encouraging reference to the Commission's Report itself. Open-minded foreign readers should still be impressed by the care, thoroughness, objectivity and speed with which the Commission worked. Reviewers of other books might be encouraged to add to their account the idea that, checking back with the report itself, they found it far superior to the work of its critics.
Copy of actual memo: http://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=24678&search=concerning_criticism+of+the+warren+report#relPageId=1&tab=page
Why I bother to post about this when so many are obviously convinced it's impossible: Because the people responsible for killing President Kennedy -- and likely his brother, Sen. Kennedy -- are still at large. One person of interest is George Herbert Walker Bush, who told the FBI he was in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Anyone wants more examples, I'd be happy to oblige. -- Octafish
Posted by Octafish | Thu May 21, 2015, 08:16 AM (0 replies)
Posted by Octafish | Wed May 20, 2015, 02:05 PM (0 replies)