Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Daily Digest October 3, 2012



OCTOBER 3_____

Former PM Mulroney: Underestimate Justin Trudeau at your own peril
Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau has "the ingredients" needed
to help propel his party to an election win, former prime minister Brian Mulroney says.

Justin Trudeau and a brief history of political coronations
Justin Trudeau will be a wild card in the race to be next prime minister
Star power, yes, but what does Justin Trudeau stand for?
Don't underestimate Trudeau again
Justin Trudeau shows Liberals haunted by Ghost of Glories Past
Understanding Justin Trudeau through Twitter
The naysayers are forgotten
What should we do about the CBC?
When Omar Khadr gets out
John Baird doesn't even understand the UN
Despite Tory carping, Canadians value the United Nations
Prime Minister Harper should keep gender balance in mind for the Supreme Court
B.C. has no case for bigger share of pipeline pie
Hard left is a risky strategy for the PQ
Conservative backbench has lost its fear of Stephen Harper
NDP backs Stoffer for Anders rant Investigators narrow focus on Copenhagen Embassy allegations
Supreme Court set to go where members of Parliament fear to tread: The minefield of deciding when life begins
Port of Montreal issue draws Harper's office into Quebec corruption questions
Alison Redford ordered $24 coffee on taxpayers' dime, and other revelations from her expense reports
Redford charged taxpayers for law society dues
B.C. could withhold electricity from proposed pipelines, Premier suggests
Ottawa would commit 'treason' by approving Nexen takeover: NDP's Pat Martin
Emission guidelines need 'regulatory flexibility,' report says
EU head accuses Inuit group official of 'EU bashing'
U.K.-Canada embassy deal kicks off worldwide flag race
Agriculture Minister to visit plant at centre of tainted beef storm
Class-action lawsuit launched against XL Foods
Furlong calls allegations 'humiliating,' 'demeaning'
No repeat of hotel room fiasco, Alberta tourism minister vows
Critics slam B.C. teachers' federation Northern Gateway Pipeline lesson
Ambitious plans for oil sands would create lakes from waste
Ham, bacon thrown outside B.C. mosque

OCTOBER 2_____
There's no easy way out of Liberal funk, Trudeau says in launching leadership bid
Justin Trudeau is launching his Liberal leadership bid by making it clear that he has no quick fix for the party's current political funk
and needs time and outside help to achieve his dreams for the country.
Related []
An address for a new Liberal beginning
The federal Liberal leadership conundrum
Justin Trudeau poised to work B.C. connections in leadership bid
Justin Trudeau makes Canadian politics exciting again
Calling Trudeau's Credentials Thin? A Fat Lie
Privacy vs. political marketing in the age of big data
Strengthening the Parliamentary Budget Office
Whether seen as a victim or a terrorist, Omar Khadr is a perpetual political wedge issue
Khadr myths
Omar Khadr has returned, and the sky isn't going to fall
Keep Khadr behind bars
Conservative backbench has lost its fear of Stephen Harper 
Alison Redford ordered $24 coffee on taxpayers' dime, and other revelations from her expense reports
B.C. could withhold electricity from proposed pipelines, Premier suggests
Port of Montreal issue draws Harper's office into Quebec corruption questions
Quebec's corruption inquiry zeroes in on man with ties to Harper PMO
Former top bureaucrat accused of pocketing money at Quebec inquiry
Former construction boss now under protection of Quebec police
Former MP John Nunziata fined more than $10,000 for lying about assault
The Commons: Who is responsible for three million pounds of suspect meat?
Agriculture Minister to visit plant at centre of tainted beef storm
Another person sickened by E. coli as beef recall investigations widen
Court tosses fines against environmentalists
Issues Poll Hints At Motivation For Conservative Policies
Clement takes aim at pension contributions and parking subsidies in effort to transform government
Harper nominates Quebec judge Wagner to Supreme Court
NDP says public opinion crystallizing against Nexen deal
Clement Says Cnooc-Nexen Public Hearings Would Be Illegal
Contempt motion against Ontario energy minister passes key vote
[] New debate looms over sex-selective abortion motion
Tories look to amend food safety legislation
CFIA admits it didn't 'connect the dots to get the big picture' on beef recall
From kill floor to cutting table: How bacteria evaded detection
RCMP report gives voice to harassed Mounties
Gruesome details emerge of how early Canadian politician arranged to have stomach sliced open after death
NDP hits out at Calgary MP's 'insensitive' Layton remarks
Repaying disabled vets may cost $600-million
Ex-VANOC head John Furlong met his first wife at Burns Lake
Quebecers don't support federal government's embassy-sharing initiative: Forum Research poll
Former jihadist Omar Khadr a model student, instructor says
5 questions about the future of Omar Khadr
Pipeline impasse remains after Clark, Redford hold 'frosty' meeting
Alberta government lost $113,000 in unused hotel rooms during London Olympics
Dix's plan to scrap balanced-budget law causes few ripples
Inquiry offers insight into power soon-to-be-released Rizzuto once held
Australian tycoon sails Northwest Passage ­ racks up thousands in alcohol and fireworks fines on the way
'Defeat jihad' posters, gas bottle left at P.E.I. mosque

OCTOBER 1_____

Justin Trudeau, a white knight in bleak armour
A long road ahead of Justin Trudeau … if he becomes Liberal leader
Vote was democracy in action
A discussion we cannot discuss
PROTECTING PRIVACY: Challenges growing
Gays shocked by Jason Kenney's invasion of their privacy
Pro tip: embarrass the voters
No more Mr. Fixit at the UN
Don't turn the CBC into an on-air beggar
The great free-trade election of 1988
Get tough on needling felons
Khadr: No reason to keep him locked up
The Khadr case pits extreme against extreme, with no room in the middle
Omar Khadr comes home to Canadian justice
Ex-VANOC head John Furlong met his first wife at Burns Lake
Canadians kept in the dark for two weeks over tainted meat scandal: Liberals
Quebecers don't support federal government's embassy-sharing initiative: Forum Research poll
Anders sorry for saying Mulcair helped hasten Layton's death
Mulcair 'helped to hasten' Layton's death, backbench Tory MP says
Lunch with Anders: Speaks from conviction and going nowhere
From the vaults: Parliament Hill is alive with celibate cries
The Commons: Ministerial accountability means the minister will hold someone to account
Name of fugitive businessman who once travelled in federal Conservative circles emerged during U.S. drug probe
Khadr's rehabilitation undermined by Tories, Dallaire says
Khadr having a hard time adjusting to Canadian prison: lawyer
Public safety minister threatening integrity of parole system with Khadr comments: lawyers
Is that Baird or Bard?ys.
Baird criticizes UN in speech to general assembly
NDP slips nationally as Quebec support weakens
Trudeau seen by senior Liberals as a risk worth taking
Court case for former PMO aide Bruce Carson to resume later this month
Opposition MPs accuse PCO Clerk Wouters of 'protecting PMO'
Liberals out-fundraise NDP in 2011: Elections Canada reports
Speaker urged to stem tide of partisan vitriol in House of Commons
Embassy-sharing agreement 'anglicizes' Canada's image abroad: some experts
Sen. White vows to step down after nine years, even if Senate reforms not passed
Tory MP Woodworth lashes out at M-312 opponents, but spares Prime Minister
Canada Revenue investigating family trusts in offshore tax havens
Nexen deal divides Canada's top executives
PS downsizing creates big rise in requests for counselling
Twin budget axes expected to carve $2.5 billion out of DND: report
More beef recalled from plant as province seeks to reassure consumers
U.S. rushes in to fund Afghan school for girls after CIDA failed to renew funding
The Omar Khadr headache
Omar Khadr gets ready to adapt to new expectations of prison life
Khadr a victim, Queen's prof says
Canada took Omar Khadr early due to U.S. pressure, John Baird says
Search warrant reveals details of feverish RCMP terror investigation post 9/11
Ottawa looks into hydrogen fuel cell technology for coast guard ships
Disgraced former RCMP deputy commissioner demands justice
A lawyer fights to strike down Canada's 'failed' prostitution laws
Energy firms guaranteed revenue in sweetheart deals with Ontario
Ontario Liberals deliver resounding endorsement of Dalton McGuinty
Clark heads to Calgary on frosty terms
Olympian injured in confrontation with motorist while cycling
Montreal mayor's party got kickbacks, contractor says
Ex-construction boss alleges 3 per cent of contracts went to Montreal mayor's party

Harper poll-axed
Justin Trudeau's name is not enough
Shameful campaign vs. injured vets
War of 1812: Not as much fun as you think
Canada-China investment deal allows for confidential lawsuits against Canada
Former child soldier Khadr must be handled with care
Will Dalton McGuinty pull off another political miracle?
Barbara Ann Scott dies at 82
PS downsizing creates big rise in requests for counselling
Race to replace Jean Charest as head of Quebec Liberals heats up
Trudeau's bid - just who is this guy?
Justin Trudeau faces a world much different from that his father faced
Canada took Omar Khadr early due to U.S. pressure, John Baird says
Disgraced former RCMP deputy commissioner demands justice
THIS WEEK IN FINANCE: Growth "too slow" to cut jobless rate
CIA welcomed 'pragmatic' Mulroney in wake of 'negative' Trudeau: documents
Khadr doing 'remarkably well' after one day: lawyer
Shameless Liberals try to score points on Omar Khadr's return
Khadr 'relieved' as return to Canada puts his fate in prison system's hands
Jail officials mum as Khadr settles in at 'Guantanamo North'
Khadr family evades media at their Scarborough highrise home
Khadr requires 'substantial management' to re-integrate: Toews
T.O.Star: Omar Khadr deserves parole, now that he's home
Quebec student leaders want to spark national anti-Harper movement
Reporter says she will countersue former Vancouver Olympics chief John Furlong
Canada to send mobile lab to fight Ebola outbreak in Congo
Conservative campaign assassins about to reawaken
Vulnerabilities in Canadian IT systems are nothing to joke about
Nexen takeover decision a crossroads for Canada and China
Government takes aim at two more pharmacies over phoney-claim allegations
B.C. pedophile, homeward bound after Thai prison term, arrested at Vancouver airport
CRA finds millions in lost taxes
Sneak peek: 'Predator: The Life and Crimes of Serial Killer Clifford Olson'
Be 'fearless' in face of wage-freeze furor, McGuinty urges Ontario Liberals
Dalton McGuinty wins leadership review
Minister backs Alberta beef as more product recalls issued
CAW workers at Chrysler accept new contract


Massive NATO War Games in Persian Gulf May Trigger World War 3 recognize the obvious: Israel has reached the end of its shelf-life," Barrett concluded.

But even so, Israel seems unconcerned about risking World War 3.

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Gangs of convicted terrorists recruit prisoners for Al Qaeda in UK Source
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US trade embargo on Cuba violates international law, Uruguayan FM says Source
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>>>>>>>>>>INFOS <<<<<<<<<<


15h27 - PLC · Justin Trudeau récolte les appuis
        Moins de 24 heures après s'être lancé dans la course à la direction du Parti libéral du Canada, Justin Trudeau reçoit l'appui d'un      député au sein du caucus. Agence QMI Mer
15h16 - Gentilly 2 · Fermée d'ici la fin de l'année
        La ministre des Ressources naturelles, Martine Ouellet, a confirmé mercredi que la centrale nucléaire Gentilly-2 sera   définitivement fermée à la fin de l'année. Agence QMI Mer
14h42 - Sherbrooke | CHUS · Déversement d'acide acétique
        Des mesures d'urgence ont dû être appliquées au CHUS Hôpital Fleurimont, alors que de l'acide acétique glacial s'est déversé de         façon accidentelle. Agence QMI Mer
14h18 - Mort des sœurs Bélanger en Thaïlande · La police met fin à l'enquête
        Selon un journal local, l'enquête policière thaïlandaise sur la mort des sœurs Audrey et Noémi Bélanger de Pohénégamook est     terminée. Agence QMI Mer
14h02 - Pointe-Claire · Accident de travail mortel
        Un travailleur de la construction de 29 ans a connu une fin horrible, mercredi matin, sur un chantier de Pointe-Claire, dans l'ouest    de Montréal. Agence QMI Mer
13h08 - Lac Brome · Homme trouvé mort derrière un bar : un suspect est arrêté
        Les enquêteurs de la Sûreté du Québec (SQ) ont arrêté un suspect en lien avec le meurtre survenu très tôt mercredi matin,       derrière un bar de Lac-Brome, en Montérégie. Agence QMI Mer
12h46 - Bas-Saint-Laurent · Un poisson tropical s'échoue
        Un poisson-lune, aussi appelé môle, a été retrouvé mort sur les berges du Saint-Laurent, à Sainte-Flavie, dans le Bas-Saint-    Laurent. Agence QMI Mer
12h36 - Démission de Gérald Tremblay · Le sujet demeure tabou à Québec
        Le maire de Montréal Gérald Tremblay doit-il démissionner? La question indispose les partis politiques provinciaux qui n'osent  pas s'aventurer sur ce terrain glissant. Agence QMI Mer
11h59 - Commission Charbonneau · Failles majeures dans les appels d'offres
        Des fonctionnaires de la Ville de Montréal sont en mesure d'étendre leur influence sur le choix des entreprises qui décrochent  des contrats publics. Agence QMI Mer
11h11 - Politique · Philippe Couillard à la conquête du PLQ
        «J'ai la conviction d'être celui qui est en mesure de rassembler tous les libéraux.» Agence QMI Mer
10h25 - Perquisitions · Entreprises de Tony Accurso visées
        Neuf perquisitions sont menées par Revenu Québec depuis 8 h 30 mercredi matin à Laval, Montréal et St-Eustache. Agence
08h53 - Grande barrière de corail · L'Australie admet sa négligence
         L'Australie a admis mercredi sa «négligence» dans la préservation de la Grande barrière de corail dont une étude a révélé qu'elle       avait perdu plus de la moitié de ses prairies coralliennes en trois décennies. AFP Mer
08h34 - Conflit en Syrie · Attentats à Alep: au moins 48 morts
        Au moins 48 personnes, en majorité des militaires, ont été tuées et près de 100 autres blessées dans une série d'attentats à la         voiture piégée qui ont secoué mercredi le centre d'Alep, deuxième ville de Syrie. AFP Mer
08h18 - Présidentielles · Premier face-à-face entre Obama et Romney
        Barack Obama et Mitt Romney s'affrontent mercredi soir au premier des trois débats présidentiels à Denver dans le Colorado, un  test de personnalité à haut risque devant des dizaines de millions d'Américains. AFP Mer
07h59 - Québecor Média · Transaction de 1,5 milliard $ conclue avec la Caisse
        La transaction globale va faire passer la participation de la Caisse dans le géant des médias de 45,3% à 24,6%. Agence QMI Mer
02h33 - Ex-académicien · Pas de détention pour le «gars de Normétal»
        Le chanteur de 37 ans aura manqué de jugement en février dernier, lorsqu'il travaillait pour une agence de sécurité. JDM Mer
02h28 - Corruption · Inquiets et découragés
        Les déclarations de Lino Zambito secouent les élus municipaux. JDM Mer
02h27 - Trafic de drogue · Agent double dans le trouble
        Il s'est retrouvé séquestré et a été menacé avec une hachette. JDM Mer
02h21 - Alcool · Les bars surpris
        Bien que les propriétaires de bars n'aient pas de responsabilité légale à l'égard de leurs clients ivres qui conduisent, plusieurs      sentent le devoir de réagir. JDM Mer
02h04 - Bars · 26 verres et le volant
        Des serveurs laissent leurs clients saouls partir avec la clé d'auto à la main. JDM Mer
[]  []

23h02 - Direction du PLC · Justin Trudeau se lance dans la course
        Mettant fin aux rumeurs, il a finalement décidé de marcher dans les traces de son défunt père. Agence QMI Mar
22h54 - Commission Charbonneau · Deux proches du maire Tremblay éclaboussés
        Comme la veille, Gérard Tremblay, lui, n'a pas voulu faire de commentaires, préférant attendre les conclusions de la    commission. Agence QMI Mar
22h33 - Taxe santé · Marceau cherche à sortir du pétrin
        La volonté du gouvernement Marois d'augmenter rétroactivement les impôts des contribuables gagnant plus de 130 000 $ par        année ne passe pas la rampe. Agence QMI Mar
21h58 - Commission Charbonneau · Le témoignage de Zambito met le feu aux poudres
        Marc Deschamps, le représentant officiel d'Union Montréal, affirme que les allégations de l'ex-entrepreneur Lino Zambito devant         la commission Charbonneau éclaboussant le parti du maire Gérald Tremblay sont «grotesques». Agence QMI Mar
18h35 - Allégations de Lino Zambito · Trois employés de la Ville de Montréal suspendus
        Ils ont été suspendus à la suite des allégations de Lino Zambito devant la commission Charbonneau. Agence QMI Mar
17h41 - Soupçonné d'avoir lancé de l'acide · Stefanatos reste détenu
        La défense a échoué dans sa tentative de faire libérer son client. Agence QMI Mar
17h38 - Tuerie d'Aurora · Un survivant interpelle Obama et Romney
        Dans la salle d'un cinéma d'Aurora, James Holmes a ouvert le feu sur les spectateurs. 70 personnes ont été touchées, dont 12    mortellement. Agence QMI Mar
17h16 - Viol en tunisie · Une femme devant un juge pour «atteinte à la pudeur»
        Une femme violée par des policiers a été interrogée mardi par un juge d'instruction de Tunis qui doit décider de l'inculper ou non      d'«atteinte à la pudeur». AFP Mar
16h26 - Stationnement à Montréal · De plus en plus cher
        Montréal est la deuxième ville au pays où les automobilistes dépensent le plus pour stationner leur voiture au centre-  ville. Agence QMI Mar
15h45 - Fonction publique fédérale · Les chefs de cabinet devront payer leur stationnement
        Le gouvernement fédéral économisera 2,6 millions $ par année en éliminant les subventions publiques qui permettaient de payer   le stationnement des cadres de la fonction publique fédérale. Agence QMI Mar
15h19 - Rappel de bœuf · Plus de produits sont visés au Québec
        L'Agence d'inspection des aliments (ACIA) a mis à jour mardi sa liste des aliments touchés pour y inclure de nouveaux   produits. Agence QMI Mar
10h09 - Cour suprême · Harper recommande un juge québécois
        Le premier ministre Stephen Harper a annoncé mardi que le juge québécois Richard Wagner est le candidat recommandé par son      gouvernement afin de siéger à la Cour suprême du Canada. Agence QMI Mar
08h33 - Australie · La Grande barrière de corail a perdu la moitié de ses coraux
        La Grande barrière de corail en Australie a perdu plus de la moitié de ses prairies coralliennes au cours des 27 dernières      années. AFP Mar
08h06 - Hong Kong · Une collision entre deux bateaux de passagers fait 37 morts
        Une collision entre deux bateaux de transport de passagers a fait au moins trente-sept morts et une centaine de blessés lundi   soir à Hong Kong, dans des eaux saturées d'embarcations à l'occasion du feu d'artifice de la fête nationale chinoise, ont annoncé       mardi les autorités. AFP Mar
07h40 - Carlton de Lille · DSK blanchi des accusations de viol
        La jeune femme concernée, une escorte de nationalité belge, « n'avait pas déposé plainte » lors de son interrogatoire par des   enquêteurs français puis belges fin 2011. AFP Mar
07h34 - Délit de fuite mortel · Trois personnes se rendent à la police
        Trois personnes se sont rendues, lundi soir, aux policiers de la Sûreté du Québec (SQ), admettant leur implication dans le délit de     fuite ayant causé la mort de Louis Filipe Granadeiro de Laval, sur l'autoroute 640, le matin même. Agence QMI Mar
06h00 - Commission Charbonneau · Zambito sous haute protection policière
        Lino Zambito, ses proches et son commerce ont été placés sous haute protection par la Sûreté du Québec. Agence QMI Mar
04h39 - Ex-douanière · La Couronne veut cinq ans
        Pour la famille, cela fait déjà six ans que l'accusée purge sa peine. JDM Mar
04h23 - Santé · De toxicomane à intervenante
         L'infirmière a consommé du Demerol pendant deux ans. JDM Mar
04h19 - Hommage au Métropolis · «Un baume sur le cœur»
        La mère de Denis Blanchette est touchée par l'intervention de Céline Dion. JDM Mar
04h10 - Obésité en prison · Une offre jugée raisonnable
        «Big Mike» pourrait bien être indemnisé à hauteur de 10 000 $ et deux centres forcés d'adapter leurs cellules. JDM Mar
03h59 - Prédateur sexuel · Robert Laramée envoyé en prison
        L'accusé, qui avait déjà été condamné en 2002 pour des agressions sexuelles sur des enfants, présenterait en plus des   tendances prédatrices avec un risque élevé de récidive. JDM Mar
03h52 - Écofrais · La confusion règne
        Les frais environnementaux entrent en vigueur sans directive claire. JDM Mar
[]  []


Frankly after guests for two weeks and a week with Abbie and Kay whilst Janet and Chris
were in Europe I'll never catch up in the BELOW (30) posts that have come in.

Consequently, necessarily and hence a focus today on what Canada has been and is
participating in in international affairs as a member of the modern day Deliam League.

You may disagree with this analogy and the article Becky posted in today - if so write in, s.v.p.

US pledges $45 million and UK pledges £8 million to Syrian rebels

Massive NATO War Games in Persian Gulf May Trigger World War 3 recognize the obvious: Israel has reached the end of its shelf-life," Barrett concluded.
But even so, Israel seems unconcerned about risking World War 3.
Related posts:
On the brink of Third World War – 2012
NATO secretly authorizes Syrian attack
Russia and China vow to protect Syria from becoming another Libya
Battle plan for Iran ready – US envoy to Israel
Russia upgrades Syria-based electronic station to warn Iran of US/Israeli attack

Canada participated proudly in creating the current situation in Libya.
To the best of my knowledge we are not funding rebellion as are the Yankees and the Brits.
Canadians are undoubtedly present in the Persian Gulf NATO War Games

Canada's in this has been a fellow traveler in aggression - to me not our proper international role.

From: Henry Atkinson
Subject: Fwd: Reverse Onus clause violates the Constitutional Rights of Violent Offenders, but is okay for law-abiding gun owners?


Joe--just as in Canada--it doesn't matter who we vote for--they are all the same.

He sees some potential in their Supreme Court - what about ours?

The Anti-Empire Report

October 2nd, 2012
by William Blum

Syria, the story thus far

"Today, many Americans are asking ­ indeed I ask myself," Hillary Clinton said, "how can this happen? How can this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated, and at times, how confounding the world can be." 1

The Secretary of State was referring to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya September 11 that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. US intelligence agencies have now stated that the attackers had ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. 2

Yes, the world can indeed be complicated and confounding. But we have learned a few things. The United States began blasting Libya with missiles with the full knowledge that they were fighting on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. Benghazi was and is the headquarters for Muslim fundamentalists of various stripes in North Africa. However, it's incorrect to claim that the United States (aka NATO) saved the city from destruction. The story of the "imminent" invasion of Benghazi by Moammar Gaddafi's forces last year was only propaganda to justify Western intervention. And now the United States is intervening ­ at present without actual gunfire, as far as is known ­ against the government of Syria, with the full knowledge that they're again on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. A rash of suicide bombings against Syrian government targets is sufficient by itself to dispel any doubts about that. And once again, the United States is participating in the overthrow of a secular Mideast government.

At the same time, the Muslim fundamentalists in Syria, as in Libya, can have no illusions that America loves them. A half century of US assaults on Mideast countries, the establishment of American military bases in the holy land of Saudi Arabia, and US support for dictatorships and for Israel's genocide against the Palestinians have relieved them of such fanciful thoughts. So why is the United States looking to forcefully intervene once again? A tale told many times ­ world domination, oil, Israel, ideology, etc. Assad of Syria, like Gaddafi of Libya, has shown little promise as a reliable client state so vital to the American Empire.

It's only the barrier set up by Russia and China on the UN Security Council that keeps NATO (aka the United States) from unleashing thousands of airborne missiles to "liberate" Syria as they did Libya. Russian and Chinese leaders claim that they were misled about Libya by the United States, that all they had agreed to was enforcing a "no-fly zone", not seven months of almost daily missile attacks against the land and people of Libya. Although it's very fortunate that the two powers refuse to give the US another green light, it's difficult to believe that they were actually deceived last spring in regard to Libya. NATO doesn't do peacekeeping or humanitarian interventions; it does war; bloody, awful war; and regime change. And they would undoubtedly be itching to show off their specialty in Syria ­ perhaps even without Security Council blessing ­ except that NATO and the US always prefer to attack people who are exceptionally defenseless, and Syria has ballistic missile capabilities and chemical weapons.

It's likely that the American elections also serve to keep Obama from expanding the US role in Syria. He may have concluded that there are more votes in the Democratic Party base for peace this time than for waging war against his eighth (sic) country.

The propaganda bias in the Western media has been extreme. Day after day, month after month, we've been told of Syrian government attacks, using horrible means, almost invariably with the victims described as unarmed civilians; without any proof, often without any logic, that it was actually the government behind a particular attack, with the story's source turning out to be an anti-government organization; rarely informing us of similar behavior on the part of the rebel forces. In May, the BBC included pictures of mass graves in Iraq in their coverage of an alleged Syrian government massacre in Houla, Syria. The station later apologized for the pictures saying that they had been submitted to the BBC by a rebel group. 3 On June 7, Germany's leading daily, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, citing opponents of Assad, reported that the Houla massacre was in fact committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants, and that the bulk of the victims were members of the Alawi and Shia minorities, which have been largely supportive of Assad.

According to a report of Stratfor, the private and conservative American intelligence firm with high-level connections, many of whose emails were obtained by Wikileaks: "most of the [Syrian] opposition's more serious claims have turned out to be grossly exaggerated or simply untrue." They claimed "that regime forces besieged Homs and imposed a 72-hour deadline for Syrian defectors to surrender themselves and their weapons or face a potential massacre." That news made international headlines. Stratfor's investigation, however, found "no signs of a massacre", and warned that "opposition forces have an interest in portraying an impending massacre, hoping to mimic the conditions that propelled a foreign military intervention in Libya." Stratfor then stated that any suggestions of massacres were unlikely because the Syrian "regime has calibrated its crackdowns to avoid just such a scenario ... that could lead to an intervention based on humanitarian grounds." 4

Democracy Now ­ long a standard of progressive radio-TV news ­ has been almost as bad as CNN and al Jazeera (the latter owned by Qatar, an active military participant in both Libya and Syria). The heavy bias ofDemocracy Now in this area goes back to the very beginning of the Arab Spring. The program made some unfortunate choices in its mideast news correspondents, seemingly only because they spoke Arabic and/or had contacts in the region. Where have you gone Amy Goodman? RT (Russia Today) has stood almost alone amongst English-language television news sources in offering an alternative to the official Western line.

Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research, notes that "Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria are but a sequence of stops on a global roadmap of permanent war that also swings through Iran. Russia and China are the terminal targets." When the Syrian government is overthrown ­ and in all likelihood the Western forces will not relent until that happens ­ the al Qaeda types will be dominant in the Syrian version of Benghazi. The American ambassador would be well advised to not visit.

Can you believe that I almost feel sorry for the American military?

In Afghanistan, the US military has tried training sessions, embedded cultural advisers, recommended reading lists, and even a video game designed to school American troops in local custom. But 11 years into the war, NATO troops and Afghan soldiers are still beset by a dangerous lack of cultural awareness, officials say, contributing to a string of attacks by Afghan police and soldiers against their military partners. Fifty-one coalition troops have been killed this year by their Afghan counterparts. While some insider attacks have been attributed to Taliban infiltrators, military officials say the majority stem from personal disputes and misunderstandings.

So the Afghan army is trying something new, most likely with American input: a guide to the strange ways of the American soldier. The goal is to convince Afghan troops that when their Western counterparts do something deeply insulting, it's likely a product of cultural ignorance and not worthy of revenge. The pamphlet they've produced includes the following advice:
  • "Please do not get offended if you see a NATO member blowing his/her nose in front of you."
  • "When Coalition members get excited, they may show their excitement by patting one another on the back or the behind. They may even do this to you if they are proud of the job you've done. Once again, they don't mean to offend you."
  • "When someone feels comfortable in your presence, they may even put their feet on their own desk while speaking with you. They are by no means trying to offend you. They simply don't know or have forgotten the Afghan custom." (Pointing the soles of one's shoes at someone is considered a grievous insult in Afghanistan.)
  • The guide also warns Afghan soldiers that Western troops might wink at them or inquire about their female relatives or expose their private parts while showering ­ all inappropriate actions by Afghan standards. 5

Hmmm. I wonder if the manual advises telling Afghan soldiers that urinating on dead Afghan bodies, cutting off fingers, and burning the Koran are all nothing more than good ol' Yankee customs, meaning no offense of course.

And does it point out that no Afghan should be insulted by being tortured in an American military prison since the same is done at home to American prisoners.

Most importantly, the Afghan people must be made to understand that bombing them, invading them, and occupying them for 11 years are all for their own good. It's called "freedom and democracy".

I almost feel sorry for the American military in Afghanistan. As I've written about the US soldiers in Iraq, they're "can-do" Americans, accustomed to getting their way, habituated to thinking of themselves as the best, expecting the world to share that sentiment, and they're frustrated as hell, unable to figure out "why they hate us", why we can't win them over, why we can't at least wipe them out. Don't they want freedom and democracy? ... They're can-do Americans, using good ol' American know-how and Madison Avenue savvy, sales campaigns, public relations, advertising, selling the US brand, just like they do it back home; employing media experts, psychologists, even anthropologists ... and nothing helps. And how can it if the product you're selling is toxic, inherently, from birth, if you're ruining your customers' lives, with no regard for any kind of law or morality, health or environment. They're can-do Americans, used to playing by the rules ­ theirs; and they're frustrated as hell.

In case you're distressed about the possibility of a Romney-Ryan government, here's some good news:

There are many people in the United States who are reluctant to be active against US foreign policy, or even seriously criticize it, because a Democrat is in the White House, a man promising lots of hope and change. Some of them, however, might become part of the anti-war movement if a Republican were in the White House, even though pursuing the same foreign policy. And we can be sure the policy would be the same for there's no difference between the two parties when it comes to foreign policy. There's simply no difference, period, though each party changes its rhetoric a bit depending on whether it's in the White House or on the outside looking in.

Similarly, the movement for a national single-payer health insurance program has been set back because of President Obama. His health program is like prescribing an aspirin for cancer, but the few baby steps the program takes toward bringing the United States into the 21st century amongst developed nations is enough to keep many American health-care activists content for the time being, especially with Obama facing a tough election. They are satisfied with so little. With a Republican in the White House, however, there might be a resurgence of a more militant health-care activism.

Moreover, if the Republicans had been in power the past three years and done EXACTLY what Obama has done in the sphere of civil liberties and human rights, many Obamaites would have no problem calling the United States by its right name: a police state. I mean that literally. Not the worst police state in the history of the world. Not even the worst police state in the world today. But, nonetheless, a police state. Just read the news each day, carefully.

Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review, has written: "Barack Obama is the most conservative Democratic president we've ever had. In an earlier time, there would have been a name for him: Republican."

Oh but there's Social Security and Medicare, you say. Can Romney be trusted to not make serious cuts to these vital programs? His choice of running mate, Paul Ryan, is practically a poster child for such cuts.

Well, can Obama be trusted to not make such cuts? Consider this recent comment in the New York Times: "[Obama] particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security." 6

As somebody once said, the United States doesn't need a third party. It needs a second party.

The only important cause that might significantly benefit from a Democratic administration is appointments to the Supreme Court, if there is in fact an opening. But does this fully override the benefits of Obama being out of office as outlined above?

Dear Reader: I truthfully do not want to be so cynical. Despite the quips, it's not really fun. But how else can one react to the Republicans and Democrats given their behavior at their recent conventions? If they can so obviously ignore the wishes of their own delegates, what can the average American citizen expect? Have a look at these remarkable scenes caught on video or read this account of the voice votes at the recent conventions.

How many voters does it take to change a light bulb?

None. Because voters can't change anything.

So what to do?

As I've said before: Inasmuch as I can't see violent revolution succeeding in the United States (something deep inside tells me that we couldn't quite match the government's firepower, not to mention its viciousness), I can offer no solution to stopping the imperial beast other than this: Educate yourself and as many others as you can, raising their political and ideological consciousness, providing them with the factual ammunition and arguments needed to sway others, increasing the number of those in the opposition until it raises the political price for those in power, until it reaches a critical mass, at which point ... I can't predict the form the explosion will take or what might be the trigger ... But you have to have faith. And courage.

Some further thoughts on American elections and democracy:

Richard Reeves: "The American political system is essentially a contract between the Republican and Democratic parties, enforced by federal and state two-party laws, all designed to guarantee the survival of both no matter how many people despise or ignore them."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): "In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from one side to the other, thinking they will be more comfortable."

Alexander Cockburn: "There was a time once when 'lesser of two evils' actually meant something momentous, like the choice between starving to death on a lifeboat, or eating the first mate."

U.N. Human Development Report, 1993: "Elections are a necessary, but certainly not a sufficient, condition for democracy. Political participation is not just a casting of votes. It is a way of life."

Gore Vidal: "How to get people to vote against their interests and to really think against their interests is very clever. It's the cleverest ruling class that I have ever come across in history. It's been 200 years at it. It's superb."

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: "The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject."

Michael Parenti: "As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter."


  1. USA Today, September 12, 2012
  2. Washington Post, September 28, 2012
  3. BBC News, May 29, 2012
  4. Huffington Post, December 19, 2011
  5. Washington Post, September 28, 2012
  6. New York Times, " Obama Is an Avid Reader, and Critic, of the News", Amy Chozick, August 8, 2012

William Blum is the author of:
  • Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
  • Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
  • West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
  • Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website.

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