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Karachi calling

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ZoneAsia-Pk

Urban violence has become a permanent affliction in Karachi. Anyone explaining the roots of this violence to you would say ‘it’s complicated’ – and that is indeed an accurate summary of the bloodshed that erupts across the city in random spurts. The plague of violence in Pakistan’s biggest city and commercial hub is multifaceted. From ethnic strife to gang wars to politically motivated crimes to just petty theft – Karachi has it all. Where does it start? And more importantly, where would it end?

This is strange because less merely 25 years, Karachi was the land of opportunity in Pakistan. Once the capital of the country, this economic hub bustled with life and activity with little thought spared to the horrors awaiting citizens a few years down the road. Fast forward to 2012, Karachi faces (in the words of Bilal Baloch) feeble security, over-population, poor public transportation and housing, weak law and order, abuse of public services by the wealthy and powerful, illegal land-grabbing and squatter settlements, pollution so pervasive that it contaminates food and water for all, ethnic divisions, sectarian divisions, meager education; in short, institutional inadequacies on a grand scale. At the same time, it is this city that allows unbridled port access to NATO, fishermen and businessmen. The city has seen the likes of Alexander the Great, Sir Charles Napier, Muhammad Bin Qasim, poets, authors, bloggers and artists. The City of Lights continues to function under such paradoxical circumstances, with violent bloodshed in one corner of the city and celebrations in another.

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Tear down the Freedom Tower

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By Tom Engelhardt

Let’s bag it.

I’m talking about the 10th anniversary ceremonies for 9/11, and everything that goes with them: the solemn reading of the names of the dead, the tolling of bells, the honoring of first responders, the gathering of presidents, the dedication of the new memorial, the moments of silence. The works.

Let’s just can it all. Shut down Ground Zero. Lock out the tourists. Close “Reflecting Absence,” the memorial built in the “footprints” of the former towers with its grove of trees, giant pools, and multiple waterfalls before it can be unveiled this Sunday. Discontinue work on the underground National September 11 Museum due to open in 2012. Tear down the Freedom Tower (redubbed 1 World Trade Center after our “freedom” wars wentawry), 102 stories of “the most expensive skyscraper ever constructed in the United States”. (Estimated price tag: $3.3 billion.)

Eliminate that still-being-constructed, hubris-filled 1,776 feet tall building, planned in the heyday of George W Bush and soaring into the Manhattan sky like a nyaah-nyaah invitation to future terrorists. Dismantle the other three office towers being built there as part of an $11 billion government-sponsored construction program. Let’s get rid of it all. If we had wanted a memorial to 9/11, it would have been more appropriate to leave one of the giant shards of broken tower there untouched.

Ask yourself this: 10 years into the post-9/11 era, haven’t we had enough of ourselves? If we have any respect for history or humanity or decency left, isn’t it time to rip the Band-Aid off the wound, to remove 9/11 from our collective consciousness? No more invocations of those attacks to explain otherwise inexplicable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our oh-so-global “war on terror”.

No more invocations of 9/11 to keep the Pentagon and the national security state flooded with money. No more invocations of 9/11 to justify every encroachment on liberty, every new step in the surveillance of Americans, every advance in pat-downs and wand-downs and strip downs that keeps fear high and the homeland security state afloat.

The attacks of September 11, 2001, were in every sense abusive, horrific acts. And the saddest thing is that the victims of those suicidal monstrosities have been misused here ever since under the guise of pious remembrance. This country has become dependent on the dead of 9/11 – who have no way of defending themselves against how they have been used – as an all-purpose explanation for our own goodness and the horrors we’ve visited on others, for the many towers-worth of dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere whose blood is on our hands.

Isn’t it finally time to go cold turkey? To let go of the dead? Why keep repeating our 9/11 mantra as if it were some kind of old-time religion, when we’ve proven that we, as a nation, can’t handle it – and worse yet, that we don’t deserve it?

We would have been better off consigning our memories of 9/11 to oblivion, forgetting it all if only we could. We can’t, of course. But we could stop the anniversary remembrances. We could stop invoking 9/11 in every imaginable way so many years later. We could stop using it to make ourselves feel like a far better country than we are. We could, in short, leave the dead in peace and take a good, hard look at ourselves, the living, in the nearest mirror.

Ceremonies of hubris

Within 24 hours of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the first newspaper had already labeled the site in New York as “Ground Zero”. If anyone needed a sign that we were about to run off the rails, as a misassessment of what had actually occurred that should have been enough. Previously, the phrase “ground zero” had only one meaning: it was the spot where a nuclear explosion had occurred.

The facts of 9/11 are, in this sense, simple enough. It was not a nuclear attack. It was not apocalyptic. The cloud of smoke where the towers stood was no mushroom cloud. It was not potentially civilization ending. It did not endanger the existence of our country – or even of New York City. Spectacular as it looked and staggering as the casualty figures were, the operation was hardly more technologically advanced than the failed attack on a single tower of the World Trade Center in 1993 by Islamists using a rented Ryder truck packed with explosives.

A second irreality went with the first. Almost immediately, key Republicans like Senator John McCain, followed by George W Bush, top figures in his administration, and soon after, in a drumbeat of agreement, the mainstream media declared that we were “at war”. This was, Bush would say only three days after the attacks, “the first war of the twenty-first century”. Only problem: it wasn’t.

Despite the screaming headlines, Ground Zero wasn’t Pearl Harbor. Al-Qaeda wasn’t Japan, nor was it Nazi Germany. It wasn’t the Soviet Union. It had no army, nor finances to speak of, and possessed no state (though it had the minimalist protection of a hapless government in Afghanistan, one of the most backward, poverty-stricken lands on the planet).

And yet – in another sign of where we were heading – anyone who suggested that this wasn’t war, that it was a criminal act and some sort of international police action was in order, was simply laughed (or derided or insulted) out of the American room. And so the empire prepared to strike back (just as Osama bin Laden hoped it would) in an apocalyptic, planet-wide “war” for domination that masqueraded as a war for survival.

In the meantime, the populace was mustered through repetitive, nationwide 9/11 rites emphasizing that we Americans were the greatest victims, greatest survivors, and greatest dominators on planet Earth. It was in this cause that the dead of 9/11 were turned into potent recruiting agents for a revitalized American way of war.

From all this, in the brief mission-accomplished months after Kabul and then Baghdad fell, American hubris seemed to know no bounds – and it was this moment, not 9/11 itself, from which the true inspiration for the gargantuan “Freedom Tower” and the then-billion-dollar project for a memorial on the site of the New York attacks would materialize. It was this sense of hubris that those gargantuan projects were intended to memorialize.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, for an imperial power that is distinctly tattered, visibly in decline, teetering at the edge of financial disaster, and battered by never-ending wars, political paralysis, terrible economic times, disintegrating infrastructure, and weird weather, all of this should be simple and obvious. That it’s not tells us much about the kind of shock therapy we still need.

Burying the worst urges in American life

It’s commonplace, even today, to speak of Ground Zero as “hallowed ground”. How untrue. Ten years later, it is defiled ground, and it’s we who have defiled it. It could have been different. The 9/11 attacks could have been like the Blitz in London in World War II. Something to remember forever with grim pride, stiff upper lip and all.

And if it were only the reactions of those in New York City that we had to remember, both the dead and the living, the first responders and the last responders, the people who created impromptu memorials to the dead and message centers for the missing in Manhattan, we might recall 9/11 with similar pride.

Generally speaking, New Yorkers were respectful, heartfelt, thoughtful, and not vengeful. They didn’t have prior plans that, on September 12, 2001, they were ready to rally those nearly 3,000 dead to support. They weren’t prepared at the moment of the catastrophe to – as secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld so classically said – “Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”

Unfortunately, they were not the measure of the moment. As a result, the uses of 9/11 in the decade since have added up to a profile in cowardice, not courage, and if we let it be used that way in the next decade, we will go down in history as a nation of cowards.

There is little on this planet of the living more important, or more human, than the burial and remembrance of the dead. Even Neanderthals buried their dead, possibly with flowers, and tens of thousands of years ago, the earliest humans, the Cro-Magnon, were already burying their dead elaborately, in one case in clothing onto which more than 3,000 ivory beads had been sewn, perhaps as objects of reverence and even remembrance. Much of what we know of human prehistory and the earliest eras of our history comes from graves and tombs where the dead were provided for.

And surely it’s our duty in this world of loss to remember the dead, those close to us and those more removed who mattered in our national or even planetary lives. Many of those who loved and were close to the victims of 9/11 are undoubtedly attached to the yearly ceremonies that surround their deceased wives, husbands, lovers, children, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters. For the nightmare of 9/11, they deserve a memorial. But we don’t.

If September 11 was indeed a nightmare, 9/11 as a memorial and Ground Zero as a “consecrated” place have turned out to be a blank check for the American war state, funding an endless trip to hell. They have helped lead us into fields of carnage that put the dead of 9/11 to shame.

Every dead person will, of course, be forgotten sooner or later, no matter how tightly we clasp their memories or what memorials we build. In my mind, I have a private memorial to my own dead parents. Whenever I leaf through my mother’s childhood photo album and recognize just about no one but her among all the faces, however, I’m also aware that there is no one left on this planet to ask about any of them. And when I die, my little memorial to them will go with me.

This will be the fate, sooner or later, of everyone who, on September 11, 2001, was murdered in those buildings in New York, in that field in Pennsylvania, and in the Pentagon, as well as those who sacrificed their lives in rescue attempts, or may now be dying as a result. Under such circumstances, who would not want to remember them all in a special way?

It’s a terrible thing to ask those still missing the dead of 9/11 to forgo the public spectacle that accompanies their memory, but worse is what we have: repeated solemn ceremonies to the ongoing health of the American war state and the wildest dreams of Osama bin Laden.

Memory is usually so important, but in this case we would have been better off with oblivion. It’s time to truly inter not the dead, but the worst urges in American life since 9/11 and the ceremonies which, for a decade, have gone with them. Better to bury all of that at sea with Bin Laden and then mourn the dead, each in our own way, in silence and, above all, in peace.

India – World Leader in Arms race

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ViewPoint

COPENHAGEN, Denmark-American think tanks, government officials and CIA have often accused Pakistan to be too India-fixated and have advised, even cajoled Pakistan to shift its forces from Indian border to the Afghan front to fight America’s losing war on terrorism.

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These anti-Pakistan lobbies often present India as a peace loving country, which has no designs and ill will towards Pakistan. These self-styled pundits as well as pro-Indian lobby in Pakistan should be ashamed of such a behavior and now think deep and hard about such a misguided discourse.

Here is why.

A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says that India accounted for 9% of all global weapons imports between 2006 and 2010. The study also shows that India has overtaken China to become the world’s largest importer of arms. As it was not enough, the report predicts that India will continue to be to the leading arms importer in the coming future, the report adds.

India’s present defense budget is a whopping $32.5 billion and it is looking to spend more than $50 billion over the next five years to modernize its armed forces, including a $10 billion deal to buy 126 new fighter jets. Last October, India announced that it would buy 250 to 300 advanced fifth-generation stealth fighter jets from Russia over the next 10 years. The deal, which could be worth up to $30 billion, is believed to be the largest in Indian records. Now it has decided to buy even more hardware by short-listing two European fighters and ruled out two US rivals for a key $11 billion military contract. (BBC News. 28 April 2011)

It is said by western experts that India’s increased spending on arms comes amid rising concerns about China’s growing power, and India’s traditional rivalry with neighboring Pakistan, with which is has fought three wars.

Well, we all know that India with all its weapons is no match for China. The billion-dollar question is this: Where will all these expensive and latest jetfighters be used? Not in Himalaya Mountains or in dogfights over Tibet.

Naturally, all this hardware would be used against Pakistan to fulfill the old Hindustani dream of Nehru, who, during the partition of British India and the independence of Pakistan very arrogantly remarked, “Let them have their Pakistan. It will come crawling back to Mother India in six months.”

AIPAC ORDERED BUSH TO ATTACK IRAN

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By Gordon Duff STAFF

In a unique interview with an official at the highest policy levels of the Pentagon, White House and, eventually, CIA, we are offered a unique “behind the curtains” look at areas of policy making during the period between 1999 and 2007. Extensive notes have been taken of meetings with President Bush and all his top policy advisors. This is only a teaser.

A highly placed source within the White House and CIA confirmed, in an interview, that the invasion of Iran was sheduled for 2006 but planned in 1999. We have heard some of this before but not with so many pieces and, I am told, more to

WHITE HOUSE INSIDERS PLAN WAR ON TERROR

come. In an interview with a Bush administration policy official:

Q. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your work at the White House? You have read my articles, what do you think of my take on things?

A. You are closer than anyone else in understanding how things worked, the only person willing to simply put it out there. You also come at things like the Pentagon people I have worked with, the ones who stood against Bush, Cheney and the AIPAC gang at the NSC (National Security Council.) I can also see that you don’t have background material that you need. Some of it you have wrong, particularly the motives for Iraq. It was always Iran, Iraq was simply a door.

“The Iraq invasion was a ‘done deal’ in 1999, but not as you thought to steal oil and bilk billions, that was all gravy. Iraq, the entire Bush presidency, had one purpose, to remove Iran from the picture.”

Q. You talk about journalists. What has your experience been?

A. I have good friends at the New York Times, Time Magazine, the Washington Post and others. They know all of this. They aren’t fooled. They could write anything but it would never hit print.

Q. Back to the 2000 election. The first impediment was, I am told, removing John McCain from the picture. Was this the case?

READ ABOUT SEX, LIES AND VIDEO TAPE, 9/11, IRAQ AND NEOCON AMERICA

A. “He was enemy # 1, stubborn, unpredictable and already tarnished by the Keating 5 scandal, with all his faults, he didn’t have the serous skeletons in his closet that would fit the bill. McCain couldn’t be blackmailed like Bush, thus McCain is a risk. Unless you can be controlled, blackmailed or bought or both, you will go nowhere in Washington.

McCain is a womanizer, the real thing. For a war hero, with McCain’s charm that’s nothing, he would never fall into the kind of trap Clinton did. Rove was assigned the job of getting rid of McCain. We all saw what was done in South Carolina. It was a masterful job.”

Q. When you talk about McCain not being vulnerable, he certainly was in South Carolina, a few rumors and smears and he was gone. You say Bush is more vulnerable?

A. “A window into a lot of this can be found in the Rosen-AIPAC lawsuit. Bush has serious issues, let’s just leave it at that.

As for Rosen, he just wasn’t an AIPAC lobbyist, he sat inside the National Security Council until 2005 as the Rand Corporation’s Director of Foreign Policy. When the press talks about an AIPAC employee and spying, he didn’t join AIPAC until later, after his arrest.

The FBI investigation and his indictement for spying covered a time when he was at the center of the Bush administration, a key policy formulator at the highest levels of government. Rosen, indicted in 2004 for spying for Israel, was responsible for formulating American policy in the Middle East and largely responsible for the fate of the Palestinian people, a bit of a conflict of interest for an Israeli lobbyist and accused spy.”

Q. Rosen has made some accusations, says AIPAC spies all the time and that they do nothing but watch pornography there. You worked with this guy, what do you know?

A. “Rosen has dirt on absolutely everyone. His divorce depositions are fascinating reading. They are sealed now but there are copies out there. I know that reporters at Time Magazine have them, others too. The FBI has tons, they were after Rosen for years. As for AIPAC, Rosen told me of their spy operations many times, but nobody needed telling, they were more than obvious to all of us.

Q. You talk about Rosen and his “black book,” that he has dirt on “everyone.” The news stories mentioned only porn. That doesn’t sound so
serious. Dirt, not just porn, what kind of dirt?

A. “Mostly sex stuff, gay bondage, clubs, expense money being spent on sex, liasons in public restrooms, that kind of thing. Many of the key people around the president are involved and there is FBI surveillance, massive amounts of it, photographs, videos, and one or more undercover informants recorded conversations with top National Security Council members. Spying, nuclear secrets passed to Israel, this was common place.

I witnessed, with two others, the top Bush counter-terrorism official, actally primary advisor to Bush on counter-terrorism, who had served Clinton and others, pass nuclear weapons plans to an Israeli agent, like it was nothing.”

Q. Did the FBI know about this?

A. “For years, FBI agents, I have a list of names, worked to stop this. Then I learned that the Department of Justice killed the prosecution, Rosen’s lasted into the Obama administration before it was dropped. Witnesses were threatened with prosecution and the guilty, the spies, were allowed to keep doing what they are doing. This is what Rosen knows and what he is talking about when he says AIPAC was involved in spying. It isn’t just that AIPAC is said to receive information it is that it came from top administration officials.”

Q. Let’s get back to the sex thing. How high up does it go?

A. “One famous joke around the NSC, there was a photo of someone kissing Laura Bush on the cheek and shaking hands with President Bush. The same person had, not that long before, using those same lips and hands in a men’s restroom.”

Q. What do you know about 9/11?

A. “9/11 was planned as early as 1999 or before, to be executed as soon as the Bush team was in place. One meeting in April 2001, a meeting outlining the invasion of Iraq, may have been the green light.’ Chalibi was in place early on, from day number one. I remember telling them he was a known crook, totally disreputable and that things in Iraq would fall apart immediately. Nobody in the National Security Council ever spoke about what they would do once Saddam was overthrown. Nobody really seemed to care.

Of course, none of those people have real experience with military issues or, in fact, much of anything else.”

Q. How was the Iran invasion supposed to work?

A. “This is where so many have it wrong. In fact, there was never serous discussion about terrorism or Al Qaeda or bin Laden. These things weren’t even a sideshow. The only talk about any of it was how it could be used to justify going into Iraq and then attacking Iran.

Q. The intel on Iraq, we all know it was wrong. When was that learned?

A. “The administration didn’t believe false intelligence, it created it, order it in place before the election to be ready for, well I guess, 9/11. Silencing Plame and Joe Wilson, those were the same people who planned the creation of the phony intelligence. There was never a discussion of a serious terrorist threat against the United States. These guys would have fallen off their chairs laughing themselves to death. It was all a joke to them, 9/11, the Iraq invasion, all of it.”

Q. Back to Iran, how was the invasion to start?

A. “Everything was going to happen in Bahrain. Plans were to attack Americans, blow up clubs, restaurants. There were plans to stage a “Tonkin Gulf’ type attack and blame it on Iranian torpedo boats. Guys in the military were aware of this and there was strong opposition. Marine Colonel Joe Molofsky was the real hero here. He did more to scramble administration plans than anyone else, Molofky and General Mattis. These were really straight shooters, how I learned to trust the Marine Corps.

The government there, their security services, I believe they were deeply involved. It would have been good to see something about this in Wikileaks.”

Q. You said that war had to start by 2006. Was there a timetable?

A. “Absolutely. General Petraeus was sent to Iraq to quiet things down, not to win a war or create a lasting peace, nothing like that. His job was to shut things down so an operation against Iran could be staged from Iraq.”

Q. But that never got off the ground…

A. “No kidding, and Bush was enranged. It was the only reason he was put in office in the first place, as long as Iran survived, he was a failure, no matter what happened to the US.”

Q. Didn’t they know that war with Iran would have driven oil to $300 a barrel and collapsed the American economy?

A. “There were never briefings on that like there were never briefings on stabilizing Iraq. Nobody cared, nobody noticed and it was never discussed. It was really all about Iran and orders came in and people did what they were told like good little soldiers.”

Q. Orders? From where?

A. “All of it, all foreign policy issues, were out of AIPAC, they ran everything in the Bush adminsitration. That was the whole point of it. We never were told why we had to destroy Iran only that it had to be done. Nobody ever asked why. Nobody ever believed Iran had a credible nuclear program and, eventually, we were all very certain they never would. There was never an issue about Iran being a threat or not. There was never an issue of motive of any kind. These were orders, plain and simple, the administration that will come into office in 2001 will be tasked with destroying Iran, tasked by AIPAC who will control all key position in the administration.”

Q. Was there talk about Lebanon and the threat of Hizbollah?

A. “There really weren’t talks at all, only planning on how to follow policy, never on what policy should be or what was right or wrong. There was never a discussion about the United States, what was good for America or bad for America. People were generally oblivious to there being an America.”

India reiterates warning over US arms supply to Pakistan

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NEW DELHI: India described Monday the scale of US military assistance to Pakistan as “disproportionate” to Islamabad’s needs and warned that it could be used to target India.


Defence Minister A.K. Antony said he had raised New Delhi’s concerns during talks last week with visiting US National Security Advisor James Jones and Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony said he had raised New Delhi’s concerns during talks last week with visiting US National Security Advisor James Jones and Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.

The military equipment being supplied to Pakistan is “disproportionate to the war on terror” for which it was intended, Antony told reporters.

“We feel that there is every possibility of diverting this sophisticated equipment against India,” he was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

India has previously protested the proposed delivery of unmanned US drones to Pakistan.

Washington sees Pakistan as integral to winning the war in Afghanistan, as Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents targeting coalition forces roam the mountainous region dividing the two countries.

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.

President Obama’s Relationship with American Muslims is a Quiet One

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Monday, nearly 11 months after addressing the Muslim world from Cairo, President Obama delivered a major speech to Muslims in this country. But his audience was a group of entrepreneurs, investors and educators from more than 50 countries where Muslims are a majority of the population. The speech launched a two-day summit aimed at expanding business ties between the U.S. and the Muslim world.

Obama has yet to deliver a major speech to the American Muslim community and yet Muslim leaders in the U.S. say relations with the White House have never been better. At the same time, some conservatives say White House sensitivity to issues that might offend Muslims, is compromising U.S. security.

In Cairo, Obama said “let there be no doubt, Islam is a part of America.” But in post 9/11 America it remains a politically sensitive part.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., says “the fact is we are fighting terrorism today but terrorism is coming primarily from the Muslim world and the Muslim community.”

That kind of thinking makes public White House outreach to American Muslims politically risky, and perhaps for that reason the Obama administration’s outreach has been quiet and conducted by the president’s aides. But there has been outreach.

James Zogby, of the Arab American Institute, says “the ongoing relationship with the White House is…significantly improved over the 8 years in the Bush administration,” during which he says “there was not a single Arab American briefing.”

In a February speech at New York University, John Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism advisor, said American Muslims have endured “surveillance that has been excessive” and “over-inclusive no-fly lists,” among other grievances. Muslim leaders say frequent contact with administration officials is changing that. They point to the relatively short period of time that passengers from 14 Muslim countries were subjected to extra airport scrutiny, following the failed Christmas Day airline bombing attempt.

Still, some of the Obama administration’s efforts to avoid offending Muslims have attracted sharp criticism, particularly the decision to drop the Bush administration phrase “war on terror.”

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., one of two Muslim members of Congress, feels the Bush administration approach was too simplistic. Ellison said “You can’t just have this mono-statement where you say, ‘we denounce terrorism’ and rattle our sword.” But Lisa Curtis, of the Heritage foundation, says sensitivity constrained the White House response to last November’s bloody massacre at Ft. Hood, Texas, when a gunman identified as a Muslim Army Major killed 13 people and wounded 30 more.

“I think there was too much attention given to trying to downplay the fact that this was an act of terrorism.” In fact it was two months after the incident before administration officials called it terrorism.

And today, Ct. Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced the administration has failed to provide some of the information his committee has subpoenaed and has provided none of the witnesses he wants to interview, to determine if the shootings could have been prevented.

Ellison also says former President Bush doesn’t get enough credit for his outreach to Muslims. He notes Bush launched the tradition of holding Iftar dinners at the White House during Ramadan. Ellison says “in many ways some of the good things he tried to do were overshadowed by Iraq and Afghanistan.”

President Bush also named the first American representative to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). President Obama’s OIC representative, Rashad Hussain, drew sharp criticism from conservatives for calling the prosecution of some terror suspects “politically motivated,” a comment both Hussain and the White House initially denied.

Zogby believes the U.S. relationship with Muslims at home and abroad has evolved under the Obama administration. He cheers the decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, though Obama is finding it difficult to actually accomplish. Conservatives almost universally oppose the decision, which they see as a mistaken belief that the “war” on terrorism can be treated as a “criminal matter.”

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, goes a step further, accusing the Obama administration of “trying to label some things profiling and off limits that actually have always been good law enforcement practices.”

The White House, meanwhile, denies that political sensitivity is keeping the president from making a public outreach to American Muslims.

When asked if Obama feared it would fuel radical internet claims that he’s not an American citizen and is hiding Muslim roots, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said “The president has dealt with the crazy Internet rumors for — for years. I don’t think that’s deterred anything that he’s done in understanding what the right thing is to do for this country.”