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Birthers, Deathers, Deniers, Racists and Barack Obama

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WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The latest garbage spewing hate as it circles the Internet in a viral state of panic continues a three year smear against Barack Obama.

The attacks had begun with the extreme right wing spitting out Obama’s full name-Barack HUSSEIN Obama, as if somehow he wasn’t an American but connected to the Iraqi dictator who, despite the Bush Administration’s best efforts, had no connections to 9/11.

When the right-wingers and Tea Party Pack get tired of their “cutesy” attempts to link Obama to militant Muslims, they launch half-truths and lies to claim he wasn’t born in the United States. Like Jaws, Jason, or Freddy Krueger, “birther” propaganda keeps returning, even when independent state officials and analysts proved the claims false.

The issue simmered on Fox TV and talk radio until Donald Trump, the man with the planet-sized ego and the bacteria-sized brain, inserted his persona into the issue, while pontificating about becoming the next president. The media, exhausted from having to cover the antics of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, turned their news columns over to the man who would be God-if only it paid better.

The Wing Nut Cotillion, with Trump getting the headlines, then demanded Obama produce a long-form birth certificate-which he did while leading a combined White House-CIA-Pentagon effort to find and destroy Osama bin Laden. The truth still hasn’t quieted the conspiracy nuts.

Not willing to accept truth and logic, the extreme right wing, grasping for anything they could find, have attacked the raid that killed bin Laden. Among their screeches are that bin Laden isn’t dead . . . that he was killed a week earlier or even years earlier . . . that Obama had hidden the death until there was a more political time to reveal it . . . that it was George W. Bush (who publicly said six months after 9/11 that he didn’t care about bin Laden) who deserves all the credit . . . and that while Navy SEALS should get credit, Obama is too weak to have overseen any part of the mission.

And now from the caves of ignorance and hatred comes a much-forwarded letter, which the anonymous author says “shouldn’t surprise anyone.” Written as fact, the letter informs us Barack Obama: “never held a ‘real’ job, never owned a business and as far as we know, never really attended Harvard or Columbia since those transcripts have never been released and no one remembers him from their time at either school.”

The email of hate further “enlightens” us that “Being a community activist only gives someone insite [sic] on how to assist the less fortunate and dregs of society on how to acquire government housing and government benefits without ever contributing one penny in taxes.”

That’s right. The Whackadoodles Wearing Tinfoil Caps crowd has escaped again.

Among those community activists who worked with the “dregs of society,” apparently on ways to scam the government, are St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), founder of the Franciscan order and patron saint of animals and the environment; Jacob Riis (1849-1914), a journalist and photographer who exposed the squalor of slums and tenement buildings; Dorothy Day (1897-1980), a journalist who founded the Catholic Worker Movement that advocated nonviolent action to help the poor and homeless, and who the archdiocese of New York, at the direction of Pope John Paul II, began a process leading to beatification; and Jane Addams (1860-1935), who fought for better conditions for children and mothers, was active in the progressive campaigns of Teddy Roosevelt and who, like Roosevelt, earned a Nobel Peace Prize. Those who rail against community activists for not having “real” jobs would also oppose Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), who tirelessly established the nation’s most effective organizational structure to help the poor and disenfranchised to gain a voice against political, economic, and social oppression; Dr. Benjamin Spock (1903-1998), America’s foremost pediatrician, for leading antiwar campaigns; Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), who helped get farm workers respectable pay and decent working conditions; Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) who, with hundreds of thousands of others, forced a nation to finally confront its racism; and innumerable leaders of the feminist and gay rights communities who got America to confront their other prejudices. All were community activists.

Not dregs because they have “real” jobs are the bankers and Wall Street investors who brought about the housing crisis that led to the worst depression in the past seven decades. Also exempt from contempt are the business owners who downsized, right-sized, and shipped their production overseas, throwing millions of Americans out of work.

Barack Obama, castigated for not having a “real job,” worked more than a year as research associate and editor at the Business International Corp., three years as director of Developing Community Projects, a church-based group for eight Catholic parishes, and summer jobs at law firms. Other “not real” jobs include being an author, civil rights lawyer, and a professor of Constitutional law at one of the nation’s more prestigious colleges. Frankly, it’s rather nice to have a president who actually understands the Constitution-as opposed to the rabble who misquote, misstate, and misappropriate it all the time.

Those propagating the email of hate believe Obama couldn’t earn degrees from Ivy League colleges; the subtext is as clear as their refusal to believe in an integrated nation. So, I contacted the registrars at Columbia and Harvard. In less than 10 minutes, the registrar at Columbia confirmed that Barack Obama received a B.A. in political science, and the registrar at Harvard Law School confirmed Obama received a J.D. These are public records. Anyone can ask the same questions, and get the same answer. Logic alone should have shot down these accusations. Obama was editor of the Harvard Law Review, something as easy to verify as his graduation, and he passed the Illinois bar exam-which requires graduation from college and law school, and a personal character test-also a matter of public record.

Even if Obama provided official transcripts, which are confidential, the wing nuts of society will claim that, like the birth certificate and the death of bin Laden, the transcripts were faked.

The truth is that the politics of hate, combined with media complicity and Internet access, has led not to a discussion of issues but to character assassination, with racism and bigotry as its pillars.

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Base Building in Afghanistan?

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The National Interest

When President Barack Obama addresses the nation tonight, the expansion of America’s Afghan military bases will be notably absent from his remarks. Given the administration’s commitment to job creation and economic recovery, it may want to disclose that much of those activities over the next several years will be taking place in Central Asia, rather than America.

Nick Turse, associate editor of TomDispatch.com and author of the The Case for Withdrawal from Afghanistan, has done a fantastic job collating which of America’s forward operating bases (FOBs) are being expanded, improved, and hardened:

FOB Shindand in western Afghanistan will receive “new security fencing, new guard towers, and new underground electrical lines.”

FOB Salerno near the city of Khost will be undergoing expansion of its fuel facilities. “Estimated to cost $10 million to $25 million, these upgrades will increase fuel storage capacity to one million gallons to enhance land and air operations, and may not be completed for a year and a half; that is, until well into 2012.”

FOB Shank in Logar Province has a new $12 million, 1.4-mile-long airstrip that can accommodate Lockheed C-130 Hercules and Boeing C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft.

According to Turse, government documents released in August show that in addition, FOB Shank “will be adding a new two-story barracks, constructed of containerized housing units known as ‘relocatable buildings’ or RLBs, to accommodate 1,100 more troops. Support facilities, access roads, parking areas, new utilities, and other infrastructure required to sustain the housing complex will also be installed for an estimated $5 million to $10 million….New aircraft maintenance facilities and 80,000 square feet more of taxiways will also be built at the cost of another $10 million to $25 million.”

FOBs Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan Province, Dwyer in Helmand Province, and Sharana in Paktika Province will undergo “major expansions of infrastructure to support helicopter operations, including increased apron space, taxiways, and tarmac for parking, servicing, loading, and unloading are planned for facilities.”

The mega-base at Bagram will get a “24,000 square-foot, $10-million command-and-control facility as well as a ‘Joint Defense Operations Center’ with supporting amenities-from water storage tanks to outdoor landscaping.”

The mega-base in Kandahar will undergo numerous upgrades, including “a $28.5 million deal for the construction of an outdoor shelter for fighter aircraft, as well as new operations and maintenance facilities and more apron space, among a host of other improvements.”

At the Special Operations headquarters in Mazar-e-Sharif, according to Noah Shachtman of Wired.com’s Danger Room, the Army’s plans to build a “communications building, Tactical Operations Center, training facility, medical aid station, Vehicle Maintenance Facility… dining facility, laundry facility, and a kennel to support working dogs” worth $30 million.

I assume that some of these bases might in the future allow the United States to keep a watchful eye on developments in Iran and Pakistan, have transit control over air and ground space in the “cockpit” of Asia, and retain a permanent outpost in the backyard of Russia and China. But as a critic of primacy, it seems like I’m fighting a losing battle. After all, despite an increasing perception that the war is being lost-and Obama’s pledge to begin withdrawing troops in July 2011-the majority of Americans could care little about the conflict, and probably much less about the expansion, improvement, and hardening of America’s Afghanistan bases.

Mega defence buys lined up for Presidential visits

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The Times of India

NEW DELHI: There is nothing like mega arms deals to sweeten presidential visits. With Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Dmitry Medvedev slated to visit India in quick succession in November-December; India is fast-tracking major defence contracts with US, France and Russia.

The high-profile visits will, of course, see bilateral talks and agreements on a host of non-military issues. But with India being one of the world’s largest importers of military hardware and software, inking contracts worth more than $50 billion since the 1999 Kargil conflict, visits here are often used to push or clinch defence deals to serve larger geo-strategic interests.

So, if France is all set to get the over $2.1 billion Mirage-2000 fighter upgrade contract, India is likely to shell out over $6 billion to join the Russian Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter aircraft project.

The Indian and US governments, in turn, are on course to finalize their biggest-ever defence contract for 10 C-17 Globemaster-III giant strategic airlift aircraft, which will come for upwards of $3 billion, under the American Foreign Military Sales programme.

“The Mirage and FGFA contracts will probably be inked during the visits of Sarkozy and Medvedev in December. The ongoing C-17 negotiations, however, might not be concluded by the time Obama comes visiting early November,” said a senior official.

India and France have been negotiating the upgrade of 56 multi-role Mirage-2000s, which were first inducted into IAF combat fleet in the mid-1980s, for over three years now.

But the bone of contention till now was the upgrade price being demanded by French companies Dassault Aviation (aircraft manufacturer), Thales (weapons systems integrator) and MBDA (missile supplier), which was around 30% more than what India was ready to pay. “But the project has been finalized now, with only a few contractual issues left to be ironed out,” said another official.

Similarly, New Delhi and Moscow have for long been negotiating the detailed commercial and design contract for the FGFA, with India keen on inducting 250 of these fighters from cash-strapped Russia from 2017-2018 onwards, as reported by TOI earlier.

Billed as superior to the American F/A-22 ‘Raptor’, the world’s only operational FGFA as of now, the Sukhoi PAK-FA for India will now be tailored to IAF’s requirements, with Hindustan Aeronautics as a co-developer.

“Our FGFA will be much cheaper than Raptor or the F-35 (being developed jointly by US, UK and seven other countries). Phase-I of the FGFA contract with Russia has been finalized, which will now go to the Cabinet Committee on Security for approval. Later, Phase-II will be finalized,” the official said.

The US, on its part, is now increasingly cornering a major chunk of the lucrative Indian defence market. After the $2.1 billion for eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft inked in 2009, all eyes are now on the C-17 contract. India, in fact, may even go for another six C-17s after the first 10.

Alert: Russia Orders Troops To Prepare For War With US

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PAKALERT PRESS

Reports circulating in the Kremlin today state that Prime Minister Putin [photo top left] has ordered Russian military forces to prepare to confront American military forces in Afghanistan over what Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov warns is the”greatest threat to International peace and security”, Afghanistan’s thriving drug trade supported by the US and NATO.

Not being reported to the American people about the Afghanistan war is that it has nothing to do with their being protected from terrorists, but rather it involves the billions of dollars gained for many of the West’s top intelligence agencies (mainly the CIA) from the heroin produced in this region (90% of World’s total) that by 2001 the Taliban had virtually eliminated.

Immediately after the US invasion of Afghanistan in October, 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) installed one of their main Afghan operatives, Hamid Karzai, as President, who then put into power his brother Ahmed Wali Karzai, who since then has increased heroin production to levels unseen in modern times and resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of Russian citizens

Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service, Russia’s National drug enforcement agency, told parliament in May that it was reasonable to “call the flow of Afghan opiates the second edition of opium wars.” Ivanov was referring to the 19th-century warbetween Britain and China sparked by exports of opium from British India to China.

Ivanov isn’t alone.

“I can name you a lot of politicians in Russia who said that the Americans specially arranged the situation in Afghanistan so that we would receive a lot of drugs, and this is the real aim of their occupation,” said Andrei Klimov, the deputy head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament. “I’m not sure this is true, but who knows.”

One person who definitely knew it was true was German President Horst Koehler, who after returning from Afghanistan last month linked the war with the defense of German economic interests because it was securing free trade routes for the West and had nothing to do whatsoever with terrorism. For his “outspokenness” President Koehler was forced to resign plunging an already battered Chancellor Merkel into even greater political turmoil.

Most shocking to understand about the CIA’s being the World’s largest drug trafficker is that it isn’t even kept secret anymore and has been embraced by their new President, Barack Obama, who has used billions of dollars earned through Afghan heroin deals to fund his sending US Special Forces teams to over 75 different Nations as well as building for them a new $100 million headquarters base in Afghanistan while his own citizens plunge deeper into poverty.

Important to note though is that Obama is far from being the first American President to embrace the drug trade as nearly all of his predecessors were likewise involved in starting and maintaining wars to keep the billions earned from this most despicable of crimes preying on the weakest people in their society, mainly the poor and people of colour.

For those few reporters seeking to inform the American people about this crime the hard and brutal lesson learned from the late Gary Webb’s blacklisting and suiciding by US intelligence agents after his revealing the CIA’s involvement in the drug trade presents a chilling example of what these monsters will do to protect themselves and their right to poison anyone they so choose.

Interesting to note too is that according to the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organized crime were “the only liquid investment capital” available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352 Billion of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.

Though the American people still ignore the crimes being perpetrated by their so called leaders, the lessons of their own history should not be lost upon them, especially when viewed in the light of the use of drug and alcohol laws used for mass imprisonment while at the same time instituting around them a draconian tyrannical society where all their freedoms will be stripped from them.

And for those American’s thinking that their life couldn’t get any worse? They couldn’t be more mistaken! For just this past week Obama’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released what they call a “staff discussion draft” of “potential policy recommendations to support the reinvention of journalism” wherein they called for doctrine of “proprietary facts” that would outlaw anyone writing or reporting on anything that happens unless they use the “facts” provided to them by the government.

But than again, and as the history of these American’s seems to show, with their massive government debt about to eclipse their Gross National Product (GDP) for the first time in history, their once vital Gulf of Mexico region succumbing to the World’s worst oil spill catastrophe, and their NASA scientists now warning that the “awakening” Sun may destroy everything anyway, maybe they truly can’t be told the truth and must be treated like the children they act like.

Pakistan’s nuclear self-belief

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Abu Rasikh Waseem

Exactly 12 years ago, May 28 was pronounced as “Pakistan’s finest hour” by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif when Pakistan detonated five nuclear devices in the Ras-Koh mountain range in Chaghai, in response to the Indian nuclear tests of May 11 and 13, 1998. This was, however, not the first time that India crossed the nuclear threshold. Earlier on May 18, 1974, India used illegally diverted plutonium from the ‘peaceful’ CIRUS reactor to conduct Pokhran-I nuclear weapon test.

Soon after the Indian nuclear tests in May 1998, many in Indian political leadership carried doubts about Pakistan’s nuclear capability. Home Minister L.K. Advani and many other BJP leaders started hurling threats, reminding Pakistan to conform to the new strategic realities in the region. Pakistan, however, did not panic into a reflex action and waited for international community’s response to the Indian nuclear tests.

As witnessed in 1974, international community’s reaction to the 1998 Indian nuclear tests was equally ambivalent. While the US slapped mandatory sanctions against India, EU, France and Russia refused to follow suit. In the absence of achieving security assurances from the US, Pakistan conducted the last nuclear test on May 30, 1998 and thus, restored the disturbing strategic balance of power in the region. Since then and despite many crises, nuclear deterrence has effectively prevailed in the region.

Above notwithstanding, this May 28, 2010 brought together a unique coincidence. At one side the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference was being concluded where the world powers were struggling to defend this discriminatory instrument of global non-proliferation regime. And on the other side was Pakistan standing tall, consolidating itself as a responsible and an established nuclear power.

Two recent events symbolises Pakistan’s this nuclear self-belief in the milieu of so-called ’emerging nuclear order’. Firstly, it is Pakistan’s resolute and principled stance on the issue of Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).

The proposed FMCT aims to ban the future production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Pakistan with a modest level of fissile stocks considers that such a ban would put it in a position of strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis India, and thus, undermine the credibility of its nuclear deterrent. Pakistan, therefore, propagates an FMT (minus the cut-off) that besides banning the future production, must also take into account the pre-existing fissile stocks.

Pakistan’s resolve was manifest in January 13 National Command Authority (NCA) statement that noted: “Pakistan’s position (on FMCT) will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of the strategic stability in South Asia, and that Pakistan will not support any approach or measure that is prejudicial to its legitimate security concerns.”

The NCA further noted (the destabilising effects of Indo-US nuclear deal and): “The India-specific exemption made by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and subsequent nuclear fuel supply agreements with several countries, would enable India to produce substantial quantities of fissile material for nuclear weapons by freeing up its domestic resources.” It is estimated that these nuclear deals would enhance India’s nuclear weapons production capability from seven to 40-50 nuclear weapons per year.

Second is Pakistan’s rightful recognition at the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) hosted by the US from April 12 to 13, 2010, at Washington DC. Through its proactive involvement in the negotiating process of the Joint Communiqué and the Work Plan, issued at the culmination of the NSS, Pakistan ensured that its interests were safeguarded and it did not undertake any commitment which was not consistent with its international obligations or national laws.

Pakistan silenced all such evil voices that created a specific linkage between Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and their falling into the hands of terrorists. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was one of the lead speakers at the Summit, underscored that the nuclear terrorism was a global concern and all states must be in a state of constant preparedness for effective and timely response to the threat. He also said that Pakistan has put in place a multi-pronged robust nuclear security regime to ensure that its nuclear assets remain secure from insider as well as outsider threats. Complementing his views, President Barack Obama expressed confidence in Pakistan’s security around its nuclear weapons and admitted that no nation, including the US, was exempt from taking better steps to ensure security of its nuclear weapons.

Pakistan also amply utilised the event to put forward its legitimate energy needs for power generation. In a national statement, issued at the Nuclear Security Summit, it was contested that with more than 35 years of experience in operating nuclear power plants, Pakistan fully qualified for participation in civil nuclear cooperation at the international level.
As a country with advance fuel cycle capability and strong nuclear safety and security culture, Pakistan also offered its nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards and showed its readiness to share competence in the areas of nuclear security, particularly prevention, detection and response to illicit trafficking.

Pakistan’s nuclear self-belief should be comforting and assuring to the nation that Pakistan would earn its rightful place in this era of nuclear renaissance and it will not submit to international pressures, what so ever, to compromise the viability of its nuclear deterrent.