March 21, 2012
By Nina Totenberg
“So apparently it’s now a crime to disagree with your elected officials. Dick Cheney is a war criminal.” –KTRN
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case involving the arrest of a Colorado man who was thrown in jail after telling Vice President Cheney in 2006 that the Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq were “disgusting.”
Environmental consultant Steven Howards is suing the Secret Service agents who arrested him, contending that the arrest violated his First Amendment rights because it was nothing more than retaliation for the views he expressed to the vice president. The case pits the need for protecting public officials against the rights of citizens to express their views to the people elected to represent them.
What makes this case doubly fascinating is the fact that even the Secret Service agents involved in the arrest do not agree on what happened. The agents who actually saw the encounter testified they saw no threatening action.
In contrast, the agent who made the arrest, Virgil Reichle, accused the others of covering up, and some of Reichle’s fellow agents have testified that he asked them to change their reports to match his. All have acknowledged that if any of these accusations is true, it would amount to a crime under federal law.
March 15, 2012
By Eric Blair
“The world hates George Bush and Dick Cheney so much that they can’t even travel outside of the US. Why are they not in jail?” –KTRN
Everyone in the world seems to recognize the obvious crimes perpetrated by the Bush/Cheney regime. Their overwhelming negative status in the world has now confined them to personal prisons where they can no longer travel abroad for public events. It appears they’re only welcome in heavily-secured private dragon lairs for the rest of their waking years. But even those locations are shrinking for these torturers and mass murderers.
Cheney, scheduled to speak in Toronto with his daughter next month, had to cancel the speaking appearance due to “security concerns stemming from their experiences in Vancouver in September 2011,” according to a press release about the event.
The September event referred to in the press release was hardly a public event at all. It cost $500 a ticket to attend and took place at the Vancouver Club which the Canadian Press called “one of Vancouver’s most exclusive clubs.” Still, the public caught wind of the event and staged a rambunctious protest calling for Cheney’s arrest. The angry crowd caused Cheney to be locked in the club for seven hours longer than he was scheduled.
In February of last year, George W. Bush had to cancel a speaking engagement in Switzerland because human rights groups put pressure on the Swiss government to arrest him over torture allegations if he enters the country. Even though officials claimed Bush had diplomatic immunity because he was a former head of state, they recognized that torture is a legitimate crime under international law. Organizers of the event felt the “atmosphere had become too threatening” and the gala went on without Bush.
Since Bush left office he has traveled outside the United States on two occasions with former president Bill Clinton. The first was a 2010 trip to Haiti after the devastating earthquake where he made a complete fool of himself. After shaking hands with a desperate survivor he scowled in disgust and wiped his hand on Clinton’s shoulder as if it was covered in filth:
March 14, 2012
By Shlomo Sprung
“Aww, poor Dick Cheney. If he was a decent human being, he wouldn’t have to fear for his life traveling to the evil country known as … Canada.” –KTRN
After sending tens of thousands of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan during his eight years as U.S. Vice President, Dick Cheney canceled a speaking engagement in Canada because it was deemed “too dangerous.”
George W. Bush’s former right-hand man was scheduled to appear in Toronto on April 24 to discuss his time in office and the current American political situation, but bowed out because of demonstrations last fall in Vancouver when Cheney visited. The demonstrations stemmed from Cheney’s approval and endorsement of water boarding and sleep deprivation as methods of interrogation during the Bush administration.
March 12, 2012
By Stephen Lendman
“Even though the people want no more wars, the government can’t wait to keep fighting. And for what?” –KTRN
Cheerled by America’s major media scoundrels, war looks increasingly likely. Syria and Iran both are targeted.
Imagine the potential catastrophic consequences, especially if nuclear weapons are used. They were before. Why not now. The prospect’s chilling.
In his Der Ring des Nibelungen operas (the Ring), Richard Wagner portrayed his apocalyptic version musically. Gotterdammerung (Twilight of the Gods) prophesied the end of the world.
Einstein suggested it, saying he didn’t know what WW III weapons would be used, “but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
Around the same time, Bertrand Russell warned:
“Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war” and live in peace. The stark choice is clear. The wrong one suggests consequences too grim to imagine.
It’s terrifying to imagine nuclear bunker-buster bombs used against underground targets. Whatever the physical damage, irradiating vast areas could kill millions, and set a precedent to keep using them like king-sized hand grenades.
A 13,600-kilogram bunker-buster’s being developed. Called “the massive ordnance penetrator,” allegedly it can smash through 65 meters of reinforced concrete before detonating.
Defense Secretary Panetta said work on an array of military options are being considered if sanctions don’t curb Iran’s nuclear program. He added they’ve been underway “a long time,” and Washington’s “weighing all of the ramifications of how best to deal with Iran.”
It’s hard imagining the mindset of hawkish policy makers. Grave consequences aren’t considered, let alone waging permanent wars against nonbelligerent countries threatening no one.
Yet Obama’s fulfilling Dick Cheney’s promise about wars not ending in our lifetime. Former CIA Director James Woolsey said America’s “engaged in World War IV, and it could continue for years….This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us.”
In his September 11, 1990 joint session of Congress speech, GHW Bush called it a “New World Order” ahead of Operation Desert Storm.
February 2, 2012
By Paul Joesph Watson
“They exclude the only candidate who tells the truth. Nice, really nice.” –KTRN
Despite winning the event’s annual straw poll for the last two years running, Ron Paul has seemingly been excluded from this year’s CPAC conference, with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich announced as keynote speakers but Paul appearing nowhere on the roster.
The exclusion of Paul is likely a maneuver by GOP insiders to re-align CPAC, the biggest annual conservative confab, with the Republican establishment and prevent an embarrassing straw poll defeat for likely presidential pick Mitt Romney, who Paul beat in 2010 and 2011.
According to the CPAC website, fellow presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will all address the event scheduled to take place Feb. 8-11 in Washington, but Ron Paul will be absent.
“Although a combination of factors might be at play, including Paul’s focus on the Maine caucuses, a changing of the guard at the top of CPAC’s management team is likely behind Paul’s exclusion,” notes Stephen Woodward.
Indeed, the selection of former chairman of the Florida Republican Party Al Cardenas to lead CPAC has brought with it a decidedly neoconservative flavor to the 2012 event.
Besides Romney and Gingrich, the likes of Ann Coulter, John Bolton, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Herman Cain and Rick Perry will all speak at the conference.
During a post CPAC 2011 interview, American Conservative Union (ACU) chief Cardenas put Ron Paul supporters on notice by warning them that they would not be invited to the 2012 event if they failed to act with “civility” after previous speakers Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were booed by Paul activists.
January 10th, 2011
By: Mike Adams
As yet more proof that Big Pharma corruption crosses all political lines, Republicans are now considering putting a Pfizer lobbyist, Maria Cino, into the top position at the RNC. Cino was a strong supporter of Obama’s health care reform and yet is a favorite pick of former Vice President Dick Cheney. She’s also been helped by House Speaker John Boehner. GOP strategist Mary Matalin even hosted a fundraiser for her.
Cino was active in the Bush Administration which, as NaturalNews regularly reported over the years, was deeply corrupted by Big Pharma’s profit interests. It was the Bush Administration, for example, that structured a deal with Big Pharma to actually remove the ability of the federal government to negotiate bulk price discounts with the drug companies. This is part of the reason why Medicare is so expensive today: The Bush Administration locked in monopoly pricing for the drug giants, including the very same drug company (Pfizer) for which Maria Cino had lobbied.
Pfizer, by the way, pushed the hardest for passage of Obamacare reforms. As the Wall Street Journal reports, Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler was keen to see Obamacare become law:
“In 2009 Pfizer became the fourth largest federal lobbyist, spending nearly $25 million. The strategy: The industry would pledge $80 billion to reform. In return it would get greater volume and a requirement that people buy brand-name drugs. Democrats would also fight against drug reimportation and forgo price controls. No one pushed harder than Mr. Kindler. The CEO made no fewer than five trips to the White House last year. He was the man prodding Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America head Billy Tauzin every step. He wrote an op-ed with the SEIU’s Mr. Stern demanding reform. He pressed the industry’s $150 million ad campaign promoting ObamaCare, rolled out with liberal activist groups.”
The illusion of a two-party system
So how could the RNC be headed up by a political operative named Maria Cino who openly lobbied for Pfizer and pushed for Obama’s health care reform? The answer is simpler than you think: What we are witnessing here is yet more evidence of the illusion of a two-party political system in America. Regardless of whether a politician is a Democrat or Republican, they all answer to the corporations.
America is no longer a democracy as much as it is an Oligarchy, where the wealthy elite control both the global corporate interests and the national political agendas. People like Maria Cino are mere pawns in this global power struggle that seeks to control the world’s economies, banking systems, health care systems and media outlets while squashing independent thought (and natural medicine, for that matter).
December 16th, 2010
The Raw Story
By: John Byrne
The massive industrial conglomerate Halliburton has reportedly offered to pay $250 million to settle charges against its former chief executive, ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, in a multi-million dollar bribery case.
Nigeria filed charges against Cheney last week in an investigation of alleged bribery estimated at $180 million. Prosecutors named both Halliburton and KBR in the charges, as well as three European oil and engineering companies — Technip SA, EniSpa, and Saipem Construction. Eleven Halliburton officials were arrested last month and freed on bail Nov. 29.
The charges allege that engineering contractor KBR, until 2007 a subsidiary of Halliburton, was among companies that paid bribes to secure a $6 billion contract for a natural gas plant. KBR pleaded guilty to the same bribes in a US court in 2009, and agreed to pay a $382 million fine. The Nigerian charges appear to stem from the US case — though, in that trial, Cheney was never directly charged.
The $250 million figure would include a direct $130 million fine by the company and an agreement to repatriate another $120 million from Switzerland.
Representatives for Cheney and Halliburton met with Nigerian officials in London over the weekend.
In the United States, KBR has already admitted bribing Nigerian officials. In February 2009, the company agreed to pay a $402 million fine. Halliburton itself paid $177 million to settle allegations paid to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but didn’t admit wrongdoing. Still, despite the settlements, Halliburton’s spokeswoman said “there is no legal basis for the charges” in a statement Dec. 8.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission spokesman Femi Babafemi told Reuters the company had offered to pay up to $250 million.
“They have made offers of fines to be paid in penalties. They offered to pay $120 million in addition to the repatriation of $130 million trapped in Switzerland,” Babafemi said.
“It will need to be ratified by the government and we expect a decision by the end of the week,” he added.
Earlier this month, Halliburton said they hadn’t seen the new charges, but still denied their involvement.
“Halliburton’s oil-field services operations in Nigeria have never in any way been part of the LNG project and none of the Halliburton employees have ever had any connection to or participation in that project,” Tara Mullee Agard, a spokeswoman for the Houston-based company, said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg.
Cheney led Halliburton as CEO and Chairman of the Board from 1995 to 2000.
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December 6th, 2010
By: Mara Gay
Julian Assange may be getting some unlikely company.
If Nigeria has its way, former Vice President Dick Cheney will be next on Interpol’s international “wanted” alert, for bribery charges related to his time as the CEO of Halliburton.
Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency says it plans to file charges against Cheney in connection with $180 million in bribes a Halliburton subsidiary paid to Nigerian officials to help secure a $1.2 billion contract during his tenure as head of the company. “We are filing charges against Cheney,” Femi Babafemi, the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission chief, told Reuters today.
Halliburton admitted to the charges in a U.S. court last year and paid $579 million in civil penalties, but Cheney himself was not implicated.
Now, though, Nigerian officials want to try Cheney, and on their own turf at that. Apparently they plan to ask Interpol, the international police agency, to issue an alert for the former vice president in the next three days, similar to the one issued for WikiLeaks head Assange. The alert “will be issued and transmitted through Interpol,” Godwin Obla, chief counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, told Bloomberg.
October 11, 2010
Barack Obama is being politically crushed in a vise. From above, by elite opinion about his competence. From below, by mass anger and anxiety over unemployment. And it is too late for him to do anything about this predicament until after November’s elections.
With the exception of core Obama Administration loyalists, most politically engaged elites have reached the same conclusions: the White House is in over its head, isolated, insular, arrogant and clueless about how to get along with or persuade members of Congress, the media, the business community or working-class voters. This view is held by Fox News pundits, executives and anchors at the major old-media outlets, reporters who cover the White House, Democratic and Republican congressional leaders and governors, many Democratic business people and lawyers who raised big money for Obama in 2008, and even some members of the Administration just beyond the inner circle.
On Friday, after the release of the latest bleak unemployment data — the last major jobs figures before the midterms — Obama said, “Putting the American people back to work, expanding opportunity, rebuilding the economic security of the middle class is the moral and national challenge of our time.” But elites feel the President has failed to meet that challenge and are convinced he will be unable to do so in the remainder of his term. Moreover, there is a growing perception that Obama’s decisions are causing harm — that businesses are being hurt by the Administration’s legislation and that economic recovery is stalling because of the uncertainty surrounding energy policy, health care, deficits, housing, immigration and spending.
And that sentiment is spreading. Many members of the general public appear deeply skeptical of Obama’s capacity to turn things around, especially, but not exclusively, those inclined to dislike him — Tea Partyers and John McCain voters, but also tens of millions of middle-class Americans, including quite a few who turned out for Obama in 2008.
The misery afflicting the country has no political affiliation. Listen to the voices from this striking TV ad for Rob Portman, the Republican former Congressman and Bush budget director who is running for Senate from Ohio. One woman at a Dayton career fair says starkly, “There are no jobs.” A man announces plaintively and with obvious frustration, “I’ve been looking for a job now for 13 months.” Events like this job fair are becoming the grim iconic gatherings of our time, the breadlines for the Obama years.
Most of Obama’s private (and sometimes public) rebuttals to the voices slamming him on all sides are justified or spot on. He did inherit a lot of problems from the Bush Administration. He did act quickly in the initial weeks of his Administration to stave off a worldwide depression. His efforts at job creation have been obstructed by Republicans (even the proposals based on policies supported by the GOP in the past). His opponents haven’t put forth specifics of their own, nor offered genuine compromise, while the media have allowed the right’s activists and gabbers to run wild with criticism without furnishing legitimate alternative solutions.
But Obama has exacerbated his political problems not just by failing to enact policies that would have actually turned the economy around, but also by authorizing a series of tactical moves intended to demonize Republicans and distract from the problems at hand. He has wasted time lambasting his foes when he should have been putting forth his agenda in a clear, optimistic fashion, defending the benefits of his key decisions during the past two years (health care and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, for example) and explaining what he would do with a re-elected Democratic majority to spur growth.
Throughout the year, we have been treated to Obama-led attacks on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Congressman Joe Barton (for his odd apology to BP), John Boehner (for seeking the speakership — or was it something about an ant?) and Fox News (for everything). Suitable Democratic targets in some cases, perhaps, but not worth the time of a busy Commander in Chief. In the past few days, we have witnessed the spectacle of the President himself and his top advisers wading into allegations that Republicans are attempting to buy the election using foreign money laundered through the Chamber of Commerce, combining with Karl Rove and his wealthy backers to fund a flood of negative television commercials. Not only is this issue convoluted and far-fetched, but it also distracts from the issues voters care about, frustrating political insiders and alienating struggling citizens (not that many are following such an offbeat story line). Feinting and gibing can’t obscure those job numbers.
The President and Democrats have passed many significant measures (the stimulus spending, the auto-company rescue, the health care law and the financial regulation effort) that someday may be seen as brave and bold, the foundation for a better economy. Obama and his closest aides certainly think that will happen. But the President was correct when he said Friday, “the only piece of economic news that folks still looking for work want to hear is, ‘You’re hired,’” and that’s still not occurring for too many Americans.
The politically good news for Obama is that no matter what the outcome of the midterm elections, everything changes in January. Republicans will have a greater obligation, politically and morally, to help govern, rather than thwart and badger. The President will get a chance, in his State of the Union address and in his budget proposal, to show he is turning the page on the political horrors of 2010 for his party and the nation. But before then, Republicans are almost certainly going to demonstrate that you can beat something with nothing, especially when Americans seem to think that the Obama Administration hasn’t much to offer either, except more of the same that isn’t working.