In the Belly of the Beast: 3/24/11: ‘Kill team’ trial opens with guilty plea


The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 117

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell


Headlines for March 24, 2011

from Democracy Now! | Healthcare Reform by (Democracy Now!)

1 person liked this

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 117

from The Nation Blogs: Media Fix by Greg Mitchell

‘Kill team’ trial opens with guilty plea

The guilty plea was expected as it was in return for testifying against the co-defendants. Seymour Hersh, who has been writing about similar war crimes since My Lai, had an interesting article this week about the trend of committing such acts and photographing them.

This surely won’t be the last ‘kill team’ by the US or any other country.

Morlock told the judge, Lieutenant Colonel Kwasi Hawks, that he and the other soldiers began plotting to murder unarmed Afghans in late 2009. To make the killings appear justified, the soldiers planned to plant weapons near the victims’ bodies, Morlock said.

Asked by the judge what his intent was, Morlock replied, “The plan was to kill people.”

“Did everybody know, `We’re killing people who are completely innocent’?” the judge asked.

“Generally, yes, sir, everyone knew,” Morlock replied.

Christine Romer criticizes Obama’s lack of jobs focus as ‘shameful’

From Ben Smith at Politico:

President Obama’s former top economic advisor sharply criticized the federal government for failing to take more aggressive action against unemployment.

“I frankly don’t understand why policy makers aren’t more worried about the suffering of real families,” former Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer, who left the Administration last fall, said during a discussion at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tuesday. “I think there are tools we have tools we have that we can use, and I think it’s shameful that we’re not using them.”

Romer had been a voice inside the Obama Administration pressing for a larger ec[o]nomic stimulus and more aggressive government action from the early days of the Administration, and she’s continued to make that case from the outside in a New York Times column.

Romer blames the Fed, meaning Tim Geithner, an ex-Federal Reserve official and the lead administration economy-hawk:

“We need to realize that there is still a lot of devastation out there,” Romer said, calling the 8.9% unemployment rate “an absolute crisis.” … [W]e’re not doing enough,” she said. “That goes all the way up to the Federal Reserve, [which] could be taking more aggressive action.

So two comments. First, Geithner again. That’s twice in two days. Last we heard, Geithner was fingered as part of the sabotage of Elizabeth Warren. Is he acting alone, or carrying water? Who knows, but I wouldn’t take bets he’s a soloist.

Second, on Romer. As Matt Taibbi said at the time of Romer’s resignation:

In economics as in all other things, it all depends on how you look at things – and if everyone in the Obama White House is looking at things from the same vantage point, that sucks and is dangerous. Not that Christina Romer was a savior by any stretch of the imagination (one source of mine called her “totally mediocre”), but she was at least not completely a Wall Street pod job – she was pretty much the last inner-circle adviser who wasn’t, and now she’s gone, for whatever that’s worth.

Not a Wall Street pod job. High praise, and given her environment, I mean that.

I have a feeling that 2012 is not going to be a slam dunk.



If only Washington understood what “shameful” means. I can’t help but think the economy is going to become a lot more painful in the coming months and year or two. Think about how many states (Texas comes to mind immediately) fudged their real budget numbers with stimulus money, and now that’s gone. Because the GOP has this obsession with not raising taxes no matter what, something will have to give. Stagnation seems to be a best case scenario. Of course, the bankers have bounced back nicely, so that will no doubt trickle down about as well as trickle-down economics has worked since the Reagan days.

NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ host hits back at O’Keefe’s lies

Steve Inskeep, co-host of Morning Edition:

A video editor created a faux organization, set up a meeting, and secretly recorded the bone-headed remarks of an NPR executive. The editor, activist James O’Keefe, spliced together clips to suggest that NPR was prepared to take money from an Islamist group allegedly founded by members of the “Muslim Brotherhood in America.”

Emails show that NPR refused the money, and the conservative website The Blaze discovered that the executive’s remarks were repeatedly lifted out of context. Nevertheless, the executive and his CEO were dismissed.

I congratulate Mr. O’Keefe for upholding his values: faith in the power of video to mislead. As columnist Michael Gerson noted in the Washington Post, by selectively misquoting the executive’s words, rearranging events, and other devices, Mr. O’Keefe made him sound sympathetic to Islamic radicals and unfairly tarnished NPR with “an elaborate, alluring lie.”

It’s nice to see someone at NPR finally defending themselves and calling a liar a liar. Republicans want to destroy NPR, period. They didn’t need O’Keefe’s lies the last time they tried to defund NPR, during the 90s, and they don’t need them today. O’k\Keefe’s video is simply a convenient pretext for what the GOP wanted to do all along. And if the lie helps move the agenda forward, all the better.

The only way NPR is going to win this battle is by fighting back and calling a liar a liar. If Republicans want to kill Big Bird, NPR should make sure everyone in the country knows that simple fact.

Planned Parnethood Slams GOP Leaders for Doubletalk

from PA Editors Blog by Political Affairs

From an e-mail to the press from PPFA PR person:

Will the real Mike Pence please stand up? The Indiana Republican has lately been on a campaign against family planning and preventive health care, voting to eliminate the nation’s 40-year old family planning program (Title X) and trying to cut off Planned Parenthood health services to anyone who receives federal assistance.

The same Mike Pence just told National Public Radio that he understands the value of Title X health centers and the importance of the preventive care they offer. But in a classic example of political doublespeak, Pence did not mention that Planned Parenthood health centers make up a full third of all Title X health centers, and they provide the very same preventive care he praises, using federal funds to deliver it.

This from a recent report by National Public Radio:

“But even staunch anti-abortion legislators like Rep. Mike Pence, the Indiana Republican who has crusaded against federal funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, say that jettisoning the Title X program, may be going too far.

“‘I’ve never advocated reducing funding for Title X,’ Pence said during a recent radio interview with the chairman of a county Right to Life organization in his home state.

“‘Title X clinics do important work in our inner cities,’ Pence said. ‘They provide health services for women and children that might not otherwise have access to them.’”

This is the same Rep. Pence who just weeks ago voted for H.R. 1, which included the extreme provision of eliminating the Title X national family planning program (Roll Call Vote 147)

If Rep. Pence has changed his mind about Title X, he should also rethink his crusade to cut off Planned Parenthood services to Title X patients. Planned Parenthood is the single largest provider of preventive health care under the Title X program.

In fact, Planned Parenthood health centers receive 25% of the funds under Title X but care for 33% of the patients who get care through Title X. The very success of Title X depends on the participation of Planned Parenthood.

If those patients lose access to Planned Parenthood health centers, many of them will have nowhere to turn for basic, preventive health care. As Pence’s own hometown newspaper, the Muncie Star Press, observed in a recent editorial, “by pulling the rug out on Title X funding, (Rep. Pence is) also denying many low-income women, and women without a regular health-care provider, access to preventive health services such as contraception, medical exams, breast cancer screening and counseling. Options for health care are limited for low-income families. Pence’s amendment narrows, if not outright eliminates, alternatives.[…]”

Planned Parenthood is taking this message directly to Rep. Pence’s district. This morning, the Planned Parenthood Pink Bus will stop in Muncie, Indiana (Rep. Pence’s district) to highlight the widespread support for Planned Parenthood and the preventive health care our doctors and nurses provide — and to underscore Rep. Pence’s doubletalk on Planned Parenthood and Title X.

Read about it here:
I Stand With Planned Parenthood

Lawrence O’Donnell: Catholics actually support LGBT equality, including same-sex marriage

I posted this clip earlier today at AMERICAblog Gay. It’s worth watching. That loudmouth homophobe Bill Donohue doesn’t speak for most American Catholics. Nor do the Bishops. Catholics are NOT more conservative than the general population. In fact, they’re very support of gay rights, including same-sex marriage.

This latest poll from the Public Religion Research Institute, to which O’Donnell refers, can be found here.

Donald Trump: No photos exist of Obama before the age of 13 (lie) and no one has seen Obama’s birth certificate (lie)

Donald Trump on the View:

“Show me a picture [of Obama],” he says. “I’ve seen 14-year-old, I’ve seen 13-year-old. I haven’t seen early pictures.”

Perhaps because you’re an idiot?

Here’s an obscure photo, never seen before today, that Dave Weigel somehow dug up from an old shoe box:


“I want him to show his birth certificate. There’s something on that birth certificate that he doesn’t like.”

Uh, Obama “showed” it over two years ago. Here it is, via Snopes.

Dave has the video of Trump saying all of this garbage.

Look, Trump doesn’t believe a word he’s saying. What’s sad about this Academy Award winning performance by Trump on the View is that Trump thinks he has to become a neanderthal in order to win the GOP presidential nomination. And sadly, he’s right. Look at the field. Try to find anyone presenting themselves as a moderate. Even Giuliani, who used to dress in drag no less, had to present himself as some born-again Rambo last time around (who can forget: A noun, a verb and 9/11?) just to get noticed.

But think about it. The issue isn’t even that the GOP candidates need to move to the right for the primary. That’s often expected in either party. What’s troubling is that you have to move into crazyland in order to even consider becoming the GOP candidate. Thus Trump’s newfound embrace of birtherism, full of new detailed lies such as the “fact” that no one has ever seen a photo of Obama before the age of 13, and no one has seen his birth certificate, even though both are on this page right now.

And for anyone still not sure about the birth certificate issue, go to Snopes, “the” number one site on the Web for debunking and/or confirming urban myths and read what they found out about Obama’s birth certificate.

Radioactivity in Food, Water Sparks Fears of Widespread Contamination in Japan

Japan_food2Japan is facing growing fears as radiation leaking from the badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station has contaminated food and water supplies. Bottled water was in short supply across Tokyo after Japanese authorities warned that tap water is too dangerous for consumption by infants. Thousands of people remain without potable water in areas of northern Japan ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami. We speak with Aileen Mioko Smith of Kyoto-based Green Action, one of Japan’s leading voices challenging the production, commerce and transport of nuclear material, and calling for sustainable energy policies. [includes rush transcript]

Portugal PM resigns following austerity vote loss

Somewhat surprisingly, the euro has been holding fairly strong against the dollar during this brewing crisis. Maybe it has something to do with the increased price of oil and the latest war which the US can’t afford. What happens next in Portugal is anyone’s guess but the choices are limited. The PM had proposed a mix of austerity cuts and increased taxes though it was rejected.

The longer the economic crisis drags out (and it’s hard to see it ending any time soon) the more angry many are with their respective governments for giving such easy rides to those responsible for the crisis. It won’t come as a surprise if the US dips again thanks to the irresponsible Republicans who refuse to increase taxes due to some strange connection to Reagan that doesn’t actually exist. When the economy does dip again, will voters finally demand responsibility? One can hope. The Guardian:

Sócrates is said he tendered his resignation to President Aníbal Cavaco Silva tonight, leaving the country in a political limbo that would place further pressure on Portugal’s record-level bond yields.

Sócrates had said before the vote that he would resign if the measures to cut spending and increase taxes – designed to see off a bailout similar to those taken by Greece and Ireland – were rejected.

The measures had aroused the fury of trade unions, and railway engineers walked off the job in the morning, causing widespread travel disruption.

This entry was posted in Background & Analysis, Bradley Manning, Events, Human Rights, Imperialism, Imperialist Interference & Views, Military, Nuclear Power, Obama, US, US Economy, US Electoral Politics, US Foreign Policy, Wisconsin. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s