Posted 8 months ago on Sept. 11, 2012, 6:27 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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Colombia's Displaced People Speak Out in New Oral History Collection
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 09:43 By Alissa Bohling, Truthout | Book Review
Before right-wing paramilitaries came to kill and torture the people of Emilia González's* farming community on Colombia's Caribbean coast, they more or less sent a holiday card. "Enjoy yourselves on New Year's Eve," read the pamphlets the paras floated down from a helicopter. "Kill a turkey, make sancocho, be happy - because later on, just wait." González and the rest of her village didn't have to wait very long. The next month, a helicopter rained bullets instead.
Eleven Years Later, We Are Still at War
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 13:09 By Johnny Barber, War Is a Crime | News Analysis
We are at war. Somebody is going to pay." -George W. Bush, Sept 11th, 2001.
Eleven years later, we are still at war. Bullets, mortars and drones are still extracting payment. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions have paid in full. Children and even those yet to be born will continue to pay for decades to come.
On a single day in Iraq last week there were 29 bombing attacks in 19 cities, killing 111 civilians and wounding another 235. On Sept 9th, reports indicate 88 people were killed and another 270 injured in 30 attacks all across the country. Iraq continues in a seemingly endless death spiral into chaos. In his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for President, Obama claimed he ended the war in Iraq, well... not quite.
Bush White House Was Deaf Before the 9-11 Storm
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 12:51 By Kurt Eichenwald, International Herald Tribune | News Analysis
It was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history.
On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning's "presidential daily brief" — the top-secret document prepared by America's intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.
On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document's significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda's history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.
That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release.
The Persecution of John Kiriakou: Torture and the Myth of Never Again
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 14:30 By Peter Van Buren, TomDispatch | News Analysis
Here is what military briefers like to call BLUF, the Bottom Line Up Front: no one except John Kiriakou is being held accountable for America's torture policy. And John Kiriakou didn't torture anyone, he just blew the whistle on it.
Voter Suppression: The Unraveling of American Democracy
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 11:04 By Ruth Rosen, History News Network | News Analysis
How will the American presidential election be won in November 2012? By the Republicans buying the election? Perhaps. But money cannot always buy an election. That is why Republicans have spent the last four to six years passing a spate of voter suppression laws in "swing states" that will make it more difficult and costly for the young, the elderly, minorities, union members and single and elderly women to cast a vote for Barack Obama.
Although the Republican effort is not exactly a secret, few Americans are discussing it with the urgency it deserves. The nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law says that since the start of 2011, 16 states -- which account for 214 electoral votes—have passed restrictive voting laws. Each law is different: some curb voter registration drives; others require new and costly forms of identification; and still others insist that voters produce government-issued photo IDs at the polls. The Brennan Center also points out that:
"[T]he scope of the suppression movement and its potential impact are staggering ... as many as 11 percent of eligible voters -- roughly 21 million Americans—lack current, unexpired government-issued photo IDs. The percentages are even higher among seniors, African Americans and other minorities, the working poor, the disabled and students -- constituencies that traditionally skew Democratic and whose disenfranchisement could prove decisive in any close election."
What Voting Can Look Like
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 10:31 By Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism | News Analysis
Last week in Quebec, they held a provincial election. Quebec Liberal Charest lost and claims to have left politics, and Parti Quebecois Pauline Marois won, and formed a minority government. But although the election may turn out to be important to the fortunes of the carré rouge movement, it’s not the subject of this post. Instead, I want to talk about the dry topic of voting systems. You see, in Canada, they use hand-marked paper ballots, hand counted in public. Among other things, that process means that we can actually be sure who won. And if the elections of 2000 and 2008 are any guide, and the race stays as close as the pollsters sat it is, we might, on Wednesday, November 7, not be sure who won.
Hand marked, hand counted paper ballots are “the gold standard* of democracy.” Brad Friedman of Brad Blog writes:
Paul Lehto, a U.S. election attorney and Constitutional rights expert, summarized the German court’s unambiguous, landmark finding:
•“No ‘specialized technical knowledge’ can be required of citizens to vote or to monitor vote counts.”
•There is a “constitutional requirement of a publicly observed count.”
•“[T]he government substitution of its own check or what we’d probably call an ‘audit’ is no substitute at all for public observation.”
•“A paper trail simply does not suffice to meet the above standards.
•“As a result of these principles,…’all independent observers’ conclude that ‘electronic voting machines are totally banned in Germany’ because no conceivable computerized voting system can cast and count votes that meet the twin requirements of…being both ‘observable’ and also not requiring specialized technical knowledge.
Why Did Monsanto Support Labeling GE Food in the UK But Not in California?
Monday, 10 September 2012 16:31 By Mike Ludwig, Truthout | News Analysis
Despite a 2003 ad campaign in the UK, which voiced support for identifying and labeling genetically engineered ingredients in groceries, Monsanto has recently spent more than $4 million - so far - in California to defeat a similar initiative to inform consumers of what's in their food.
When Monsanto's genetically engineered crops first hit the overseas market and stirred up controversy in the European Union, the biotech and agrichemical giant told the British public that it supports the voluntary labeling of genetically engineered foods by retailers.
But this year Monsanto has already spent $4.2 million to defeat California's Proposition 37, a popular ballot initiative that would require groceries containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled as such. Big biotech, chemical and processed food producers, such as DuPont, Bayer and Nestle, also contributed millions of dollars to the No on 37 campaign group that has drastically outraised the pro-labeling campaign, which is largely funded by organics and alternative health firms.