Manila Ryce

Pakistan May Turn Over US-Supported Terrorists to Iran

Pakistan has threatened to turn over 6 members of a US-supported terrorist group to Iran. The group, known as Jundullah, operates on both sides of the border between Pakistan and Iran, and has carried out a number of violent attacks on Iranian army facilities and officers inside the country.

Above is an older video from The Young Turks describing the relationship between Jundullah and the US government

Jundullah, which is supported by the United States, has been identified as a terrorist organization by Iran and Pakistan. US intelligence officers have said they are working to block the extradition of the 6 Jundullah members to Iran, where they could face execution if found guilty of espionage (terror suspects actually get a trial in Iran).

The capture of the Jundullah members is seen by intelligence sources in the region as another indication that Pakistan’s new government is distancing itself from the U.S. and U.S. intelligence operations in the country.

Other such steps by Pakistan in recent days include an accord between Pakistan’s government and militant tribal leaders in the country’s Swat Valley region where Taliban figures are believed to be hiding.

The CIA has denied direct ties with Jundullah, despite the fact that US officials have admitted that intelligence officers frequently meet and advise the group. Iran also claims to have “proper documentations� linking the United States with other terrorist activity inside its borders, particularly an April 12th bomb attack at a mosque in Shiraz that killed 14 people.

US Using Prison Ships for Detention of Suspects

The US has been operating “floating prisons� for the detention of suspects held without trial in the so called “war on terror� in order to conceal their numbers and locations. An analysis of the operation of prison ships, set to be published this year by the human rights organization Reprieve, has been compiled from the statements of the US military, the Council of Europe and related parliamentary bodies, and the testimonies of prisoners themselves.

The Reprieve study includes the account of a prisoner released from Guantánamo Bay, who described a fellow inmate’s story of detention on an amphibious assault ship. “One of my fellow prisoners in Guantánamo was at sea on an American ship with about 50 others before coming to Guantánamo … he was in the cage next to me. He told me that there were about 50 other people on the ship. They were all closed off in the bottom of the ship. The prisoner commented to me that it was like something you see on TV. The people held on the ship were beaten even more severely than in Guantánamo.

Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s legal director, said: “They choose ships to try to keep their misconduct as far as possible from the prying eyes of the media and lawyers. We will eventually reunite these ghost prisoners with their legal rights. By its own admission, the US government is currently detaining at least 26,000 people without trial in secret prisons, and information suggests up to 80,000 have been ‘through the system’ since 2001. The US government must show a commitment to rights and basic humanity by immediately revealing who these people are, where they are, and what has been done to them.”

Reprieve says that the US may have used up to 17 ships since 2001. The report also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since President George Bush declared in 2006 that the practice had stopped.


Biofuel is Still a Stupid Idea

It’s fairly common knowledge by now that ethanol increases global warming, is worse to your health than gasoline, and inflates food prices, but what about second generation ethanol that uses cellulose rather than the edible portion of food crops?

On the surface, it may seem resourceful to convert that corn cob into energy, but our hunger for fuel goes far beyond what inedible food scraps can provide. In fact, second generation ethanol is perhaps even more dangerous than first generation ethanol under the simple understanding that if all plant matter is a potential fuel then all forests are potential gold mines for the fuel industry.

US incentives for ethanol production have already contributed to massive deforestation in places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Amazon, where rainforests are being cleared to grow biofuel crops. Cellulose ethanol would further promote this destruction by using the forest itself for fuel.

Americans love the idea that they won’t need to sacrifice. There is no incentive to curb your consumption if science will save you by replacing that fuel in your inefficient internal combustion engine with another. Turning CO2-absorbing trees into gasoline is not progress. It’s just as insane as burning food to run a car. The only clean energies have always been wind, solar, and water. Eyes back on the prize folks. The goal should be to get off of all fuels entirely.

New Study Shows Genetically Modified Crops Produce Less

While many studies have shown that GM foods pose serious health and contamination risks, a new study carried out for three years at the University of Kansas has shown that genetically modified crops also produce less food. This dispels the great corporate myth, perpetuated by the Department of Agriculture, that GM technology is necessary to solve world hunger.

Professor Barney Gordon, of the university’s department of agronomy, began the study when farmers who had switched over to the GM crop had noticed that even under optimal conditions their yields were not as high as expected. The yields of GM soybean were 10 percent less than those of an almost identical conventional variety grown in the same field.

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Chris Hedges Warns of Dangerous Threat Posed by Fundamentalist Atheism

Chris Hedges hits the nail right on the head in this interview with Thom Hartmann while promoting his new book, “I Don’t Believe in Atheists�. In Hedge’s previous book, “American Fascists�, he railed against the new breed of Fundamentalist Christians monopolizing the poor of America. Now Hedges explains why learning about people like Jerry Falwell prepared him for the equally dim mindset of Fundamentalist Atheists like Christopher Hitchens.

Christopher Hitchens is a narcissistic pro-war bigot whose God is his own ego. He attempts to deny human nature by externalizing evil as a byproduct of religious philosophies. Hitchens drives such a hypocritical wedge of superiority between his philosophy and those of theists that he ends up arguing for the infallibility of his own group.

It is important to recognize that history’s worst persons were just as human as you and I. Failing to accept the commonalities of human kind has allowed freedom-loving Americans to stand behind a fascist government and Israelis to defend Nazi-style tactics against Palestinians. Likewise, it’s the same mental dichotomy of “me versus everyone else� which prevents Hitchens from realizing the similarities between him and the religious fanatics he condemns.

Hitchens’ fascist quest to forcibly bring Muslims into “reason� is identical in all respects to the most radical fundamentalist preachers who call for a new Christian crusade in the Holy Land. The most striking difference, however, is that Hitchens is actually taken seriously on shows like Real Time, as if his agenda had more merit than Pat Robertson’s.

Just as Fundamentalist Christianity uses religion to achieve the most un-Christian ends, so too does Fundamentalist Atheism use the spirit of agnosticism to foster intolerance and justify dominance over non-converts. Hitchens’ followers worship the personality of their jingoist god just as much as he worships himself. In my opinion, anyone who confuses Hitchens’ condescending wisecracks for honest intellectual inquiry would do well to read more than just Vanity Fair.

The role of philosophy, religious or otherwise, is to provide assistance in a person’s ongoing quest for truth, not to allow a suspension of rational thought by providing you with a final and absolute answer.

Then again, I could be wrong.

Kucinich Requests Recount of New Hampshire Ballots

Hillary has not only taken policy advice from the Neocons, but advice on how to "win" elections as well. Exit polls are never wrong, yet they predicted that Gore would win Florida in 2000, that Kerry would win Ohio in 2004, and that Obama would win New Hampshire last week. What's the variable that ties all of these anomalies together? Diebold.

Only 20% of New Hampshire's primary ballots were counted by hand. The other 80% were counted exclusively by Diebold machines. Obama secured his predicted lead on the hand-counted ballots, but Diebold-counted ballots ended up giving the lead to Hillary. Stalin once said, "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." Or was it John Kerry who said that after he conceded the 2004 election? Well whoever said it, it's Kucinich who has had the courage above his slighted contenders to request that the New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner recount Tuesday's election.

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Israel to Brief Bush on Strike Against Iran

As Bush arrives in Israel today, Israeli security officials will be briefing him on their latest intelligence about Iran's nuclear program... and how to destroy it.

Despite the fact that a US National Intelligence Estimate from last month had revealed that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barah will be doing his best to convince Bush that an Israeli military strike against uranium facilities in Iran should occur because he has "rock solid" information that it has started up again. Note that this is not being presented as a direct US military engagement, but one by proxy with Israel as our nuclear angel of death. Since Americans are much more concerned about American troops dying than Iranian civilians, they are likely to accept an Israeli strike supported with American weaponry. As they did during the war against Lebanon in 2006, such an agreement would allow the Bush administration to pretend as though it's trying to end the conflict. In fact, Seymour Hersh reported that the war against Lebanon was just a prototype for a future war with Iran.

Recent remarks made by President Bush seem to suggest that he is also intent on ignoring the National Intelligence Estimate. "I read the intelligence report carefully," Bush said. "In essence, what the report said was that Iran had a secret plan to develop nuclear weapons." He continued, "I'm saying that a state which adopted a nontransparent policy and had a secret plan for developing nuclear weapons could easily develop an alternative plan for the same purpose. So to conclude from the intelligence report that there is no Iranian plan to develop nuclear weapons will be only a partial truth."

In addition to the war with Lebanon, America more recently gave Israel the green light to attack a Syrian target last September. Israeli security officials say that Iran should be denied its right to enrich uranium, and that the only way to do so is to destroy Iranian instillations. With Lebanon and Syria successfully bombed, Israelis are now eager to see if Bush will give them a third gift in Iran. Even without the likely possibility of US support, it looks as though Israel may go ahead with its plans regardless. Right-wing opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu remarked soon after the NIE came out, "We always prefer international action, led by the United States, but we have to ensure that we can protect our country with all means."

US Soldiers Stage Mutiny in Baghdad

After an IED attack killed five members of 2nd Platoon Charlie 1-26 in northeast Baghdad, members of the unit gathered and determined that they could no longer function professionally. Several soldiers feared that their anger and want for revenge would result in a massacre of innocent civilians, and thus decided to stage a revolt against the orders of their commanders.

Charlie 1-26 was the hardest hit unit in Iraq so far, losing 14 soldiers in 12 months. Kelly Kennedy of the Army Times, who was embedded with Charlie Company, recalled the hostility the unit had towards Iraqis living under US occupation:

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Anti-Putin Presidential Candidate Beaten and Arrested

This post, written by Manila Ryce, originally appeared on The Largest Minority

Chess grandmaster and Russian presidential candidate Garry Kasparov was forced to the ground, beaten, and arrested by Moscow riot police yesterday during an anti-Kremlin rally of around 3,000 people. Protesters attempted to deliver a petition to the Central Election Commission building, but were stopped and pushed into three police buses. Kasparov is head of Other Russia, an umbrella coalition of several movements opposed to the authoritarian control of President Vladimir Putin.

Kasparov was taken to a city court, where he was sentenced to five days in jail for organizing an unauthorized protest and resisting arrest. "What you've heard is all lies," Kasparov said after the sentence was read. "The testimony is contradictory. There was not a single word of truth." Two riot police testified in court that they were given direct orders before the rally to arrest Kasparov. One of the policemen did acknowledge that the two reports filed were contradictory.

Kasparov has stated his intention to run for the presidency next March, but his party, along with a number of other opposition parties, has been denied registration for the upcoming parliamentary vote. Eduard Limonov, leader of the National Bolshevik Party, was also arrested.


Why Would Wolf Blitzer Want Hillary to Win?

This post, written by Manila Ryce, originally appeared on The Largest Minority

In honor of the terrific job Wolf Blitzer and CNN did in moderating the most recent "debate" in Las Vegas, I thought I'd dig out this blast from the past.

In a recent episode of Hardball, Ed Schultz was asked why he thought Wolf would want Hillary to be elected president. One reason could be that she's the most pro-war candidate who supports Israel's ongoing occupation, ethnic cleansing, and oppression of the Palestinian people. Of course, "Hardball" is anything but, so you're not allowed to say those sorts of things. As Clinton stated in the last debate, she favors security over freedom, just as the Zionists and Neocons do. Here's one disgusting speech in which she declares her unconditional support for the inhumane practices of the Israeli government.

Blitzer himself is a former editor of AIPACs monthly publication, the "Near East Report". It doesn't look good when a network which claims to be "the most trusted name in news" hires a propagandist within such a powerful pro-Israeli organization to disseminate "objective journalism" to the American people. Hopefully, the following debate can offer some context to the abomination we saw just a few nights ago. Corporations such as Time Warner are pure tyrannies. It is in their best interest to crush democracy by limiting legitimate debate within our society. They too believe as Hillary does, that the importance of their security trumps the freedoms of the many.

Man in Airport Tasered to Death by Police

This post, written by Manila Ryce, originally appeared on The Largest Minority

Robert Dziekanski was a 40-year-old Polish immigrant who had arrived at Vancouver International Airport and was on his way to live with his mother in the B.C. Interior. He arrived at the airport at 4 pm on Oct 13th but for some unknown reason did not clear customs until after midnight, more than 8 hours later. Dziekanski's actions were then caught on video by a witness at the airport.

Dziekanski appeared agitated, sweating and yelling in Polish while placing office chairs in front of security doors. In another section of the video, he throws a computer to the ground and is talked down by an employee at the airport. It is then that three personnel arrive. Dziekanski then retreats into the lounge where he is later met by four Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers. It is this part of the video which documents Robert Dziekanski's death.
About 25 seconds after police enter the secure area where he is, there is a loud crack that sounds like a Taser shot, followed by Dziekanski screaming and convulsing as he stumbles and falls to the floor. Another loud crack can be heard as an officer appears to fire one more Taser shot into Dziekanski.
As the officers kneel on top of Dziekanski and handcuff him, he continues to scream and convulse on the floor. One officer is heard to say, "Hit him again. Hit him again," and there is another loud cracking sound.
Police have said only two Taser shots were fired, but a witness said she heard up to four Taser shots. A minute and half after the first Taser shot was fired Dziekanski stops moaning and convulsing and becomes still and silent.
Shortly after, the officers appear to be checking his condition and one officer is heard to say, "code red." The video ends shortly after.
An RCMP spokesman has tried to downplay the incident, saying that the video documenting this excessive use of force is merely "one piece of evidence, one person's view". Dziekanski is shown being tasered in the video even after he is handcuffed. Aside from lying about the number of taser shots fired, the RCMP has also lied about the number of officers at the scene, declaring that only three officers were there when the video clearly shows four. People in the lounge are also heard telling police that Dziekanski does not speak English.

Though his behavior is unusual, Dziekanski does not threaten any of the officers and is eventually able to comply with a direction to stand against a wall, despite not knowing the language. After he does, police begin to taser him.

Dziekanski's mother had arrived at the airport to pick up her son on the previous day, but returned home after waiting several hours. Airport officials did not help her locate him.
Paul Pritchard shot the video with his digital camera, but afterward he surrendered it to police for their investigation on a promise that they would return it within 48 hours. The next day, police told Pritchard they would not be returning the recording as promised.
Carr previously stated investigators kept the video longer than they anticipated in order to protect the integrity of the police investigation while they interviewed witnesses.
Saying he feared a coverup by police, Pritchard then engaged a lawyer to start legal proceedings to reclaim the recording. Police returned the recording to him on Wednesday.

Why Did Ron Paul Vote Against Impeachment?

This post, written by Manila Ryce, originally appeared on The Largest Minority

To paraphrase the late, great Ricky Ricardo, Ron Paul's got some splainin' to do. I would like to urge all first-time pro-Paul visitors to my leftist pinko blog to please save all reactionary hate mail until after you've actually read what I have to say. Paul's vote to table the impeachment resolution, then to refer it to committee is especially troubling coming from a supposed consititutionalist. He voted with the Democratic leadership on both accounts.

There are a few excuses being kicked around the internet which are all rather weak. Firstly, I don't buy the excuse that he knew the bill wouldn't go anywhere so he decided not to vote in favor of it. After all, Paul got the nickname of "Doctor No" by adhering to his constitutional principles regardless of the politics surrounding the issues. Did he not? Secondly, I also don't buy Paul's own line that there isn't sufficient evidence to suggest that the Bush administration has done anything illegal, as there supposedly was to warrant his vote for the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Cheney's own words are sufficient evidence in themselves.

More importantly, impeachment is not an actual trial, and requires no evidence at all (not that there isn't any). It is merely an indictment to formally accuse an official of committing a criminal offense. Voting to table the resolution was a vote to prevent such an investigation. The evidence is presented after the House votes in favor of impeachment, not before.

Perhaps even more confusing is this interview from the far-right website InfoWars from March:
Paul said that Bush should be impeached not under the umbrella of partisan vengeance but for ceaselessly breaking the laws of the land.
"I would have trouble arguing that he's been a Constitutional President and once you violate the Constitution and be proven to do that I think these people should be removed from office."
Opining that the U.S. had entered a period of "soft fascism," Paul noted that the legacy of the Bush administration has been the total abandonment of Constitutional principles.

Condoleezza Rice Is Subpoenaed in Israel Lobby Case

This post, written by Manila Ryce, originally appeared on The Largest Minority

A federal judge has ordered Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, and other senior officials to testify in the trial of two former American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists.

The AIPAC lobbyists are accused of passing classified information from a Pentagon official (who has since been convicted) to Israeli officials and journalists. However, the lobbyists claim they were regularly instructed to do by the US government. This case may shed more light on American foreign policy in the Middle East.

AIPAC is the most powerful foreign lobby in Washington, and is responsible for America's one-sided stance on the Israel-Palestinian issue. In fact, the entire "issue" is only an issue because of America's support for Israel's Zionist regime. Without pressure from AIPAC, American support would crumble and Israel's occupation would end.
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