Sunday, December 27, 2009
Dennis Spisak -
Green Party candidate for Ohio Governor cites a report by Paul Gipe last week about Ontario's Feed-in tariff program becoming a huge success.
"This is the type of government involvement that is needed to make a successful committment to renewable energy programs and to get them off the ground."said Spisak. "This type of program in Ohio would help people save money and begive the drive toa cleaner and greener Ohio in terms of renewable energies" he concluded.
According to the report, Ontario's new feed-in tariff program got off to an attention-grabbing start December 16, 2009 when the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) announced that it had awarded 700 contracts for renewable energy to homeowners under its expedited microFIT program.
Altogether, OPA received 8,000 MW of applications for wind and solar energy contracts under the province's precedent-setting, feed-in tariff policy.
OPA's remarkable press release was well timed to send a signal, if any was intended, to the Canadian delegation in Copenhagen where Canada was singled out as "Fossil of the Year" by climate change activists for its refusal to limit greenhouse gases.
Ontario is acting independently of Canada's federal government and plans to close all its coal-fired power plants by 2014. The province, Canada's most populous, is also aggressively developing its renewable energy industry. OPA's announcement was the first concrete indication of how fast the Ontario market may grow.
OPA estimates that the feed-in tariff program will stimulate more than $5 billion (Canadian) in new manufacturing, design, construction, and engineering investment in the province.
But the news that generated the most media buzz in Canada and elsewhere was the microFIT contracts. Saying the program "literally brings power to the people," Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Gerry Phillips sounded like a 1960s radical. He went on to add that the MicroFIT program "allows homeowners, farmers, schools and mom and pop businesses" to generate their own power "and get paid for it".
Under Ontario's microFIT program, homeowners generating their own electricity from solar PV will be paid $0.80 CAD/kWh ($0.76 USD/kWh) for a period of 20 years.
Indeed, it does sound radical, a program enabling citizens to profit from the renewable energy that falls on their rooftops. And Phillips wasn't alone in embracing the province's accomplishment-or sounding revolutionary.
Colin Anderson, OPA's chief executive, proudly noted that "We've cut the red tape and made it simpler for ordinary Ontarians to become electricity producers."
For Anderson and the OPA this wasn't idle boasting. They delivered North America's most aggressive renewable energy program in record-breaking time.
OPA said it was continuing to process another 500 micoFIT applications. When awarded, OPA will have issued a total 8.6 MW of contracts--nearly all for rooftop solar PV--to generators with projects less than 10 kW. These residential solar systems will generate nearly nine million kilowatt-hours per year under Ontario conditions.
Ontario's microFIT contracts alone will put Ontario close to one of the top ten markets for solar PV in North America. Yet the microFIT contracts represent just the tip of the iceberg.
Of the 8,000 MW of applications for feed-in tariffs, nearly 1,300 MW were for solar PV, and 6,300 MW were for wind energy.
Unfortunately, there is only 2,500 MW of grid capacity available in the first phase of OPA's feed-in tariff program. Another 1,500 MW of grid expansion is currently under construction.
In the meantime, OPA is giving preference to projects that are "shovel-ready" to get as much renewable energy in the ground as quickly as possible.
Within three to five years there could be as much as 4,000 MW of new renewable capacity in Ontario. Under Ontario conditions this would be roughly 3% to 5% of the province's electricity consumption. If achieved, this would be the most rapid growth of renewable energy in North America outside Texas.
For comparison, California--the one-time renewable energy leader in North America--currently generates only slightly more than 2% of its electricity consumption from new renewables.
Ontario has clearly put itself on the renewable energy map. This time next year we can judge the province by what really counts: not by the contracts awarded, but by the hardware installed.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States must demonstrate that it is not randomly killing people in violation of international law through its use of unmanned drones on the Afghan border, a U.N. rights investigator said on Tuesday.
Philip Alston, a U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, also said the U.S. refusal to respond to U.N. concerns that the use of pilotless drones might result in illegal executions was an "untenable" position.
Alston, who is appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, said his concern over drones, or predators, had grown in the past few months as the U.S. military prominently used the weapons in the rugged border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan where fighting against insurgents has been heavy.
"What we need is for the United States to be more up front and say, 'OK we're prepared to discuss some aspects of this program,'" the Australian law professor told reporters.
"Otherwise you have the really problematic bottom line, which is that the Central Intelligence Agency is running a program that is killing significant numbers of people and there is absolutely no accountability in terms of the relevant international laws," he said.
Critics say attacks using drones have resulted in unnecessary civilian deaths.
The killing of civilians, especially during operations by foreign forces, have infuriated Afghans and increased hostility toward the presence of international troops nearly eight years after the Taliban's fall in Afghanistan.
During a speech to the U.N. General Assembly earlier on Tuesday, Alston stepped up pressure for Washington to answer questions he first raised in June about the drones. He said the United States could well be using the drones legally, but the country needed to be more open about the program.
The United States told the Human Rights Council in June that it has an extensive legal framework to respond to unlawful killings. It also objected to Alston's criticism, saying the U.N. investigator did not have the mandate to cover military and intelligence.
Alston wants to know the legal basis on which the United States is operating the drones, precautions it is taking to ensure these weapons are used strictly for purposes consistent with international humanitarian law, and what mechanisms are in place to review the use of the weapons.
"The response of the United States is simply untenable," Alston said.
"And that (U.S. response) is that the Human Rights Council, and the General Assembly by definition, have no role in relation to killings that take place in relation to an armed conflict," he said. "That would remove a great majority of issues that come before (the United Nations) right now."
© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved
Saturday, October 31, 2009
FDA, FTC threaten Dr. Weil over immune-boosting supplements for H1N1 swine flu
By Mike Adams
Natural News, October 22, 2009
Straight to the Source
In working to protect the business interests of vaccine manufactures, both the FDA and FTC have declared all-out war against any products that might offer consumers options other than vaccines. This week, that war against natural remedies reached the shores of Dr. Andrew Weil, who is perhaps the best-known alternative medicine doctor in America. In an intimidating, threatening letter jointly issued by the FTC and the FDA, these rogue government agencies threatened Dr. Weil with criminal prosecution for making true statements about his immune-boosting formula such as, "Astragalus ... is ... used traditionally to ward off colds and flu, and has demonstrated both antiviral and immune-boosting effects in scientific investigation."
This statement, although scientifically valid and true, is a threat to the profits of the vaccine industry, and so Dr. Weil's company is being targeted by the FTC / FDA vaccine racket tag-team for termination.
You can review the FTC threats against Dr. Weil on the FTC's own website: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/EnforcementActions/WarningLetter...
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Yesterday at five in the morning, the Hospital Garífuna de
Ciriboya was invaded, by elements of the national police and
soldiers that broke in through a window. In the first
operation ,approximately fifteen soldiers and police
participated, which alleged to be participating in an
This action on the part of coup
government of the Ministry of security and Defense, serves to
add itself to the persecution that is occurring in our country
against the national resistance to the coup d'etat. Days before
the Ministry of Health disqualified the hospital turning it
into a simple center of health, to the detriment of the
population garífuna and mestiza of the Municipality of Iriona.
The Hospital of Ciriboya is part of the project Luagu Hatuadi
Waduhenu, first popular hospital garífuna, which is a model
of medical attention in Honduras, taken care of by doctors
trained and graduated from ELAM (Latin American
Medicine School) in Cuba. The social function they are
fulfilling (the graduates of ELAM) in Honduras contrasts
sharply with the the majority of the Honduran trained
doctors, who have been reluctant to serve in the countryside
and remote areas of the country.
The Hospital of Ciriboya was
constructed with the support of unions of California and our
own efforts of the people of the garífuna villages, through the
leadership of Dr. Luther Castillo, who at present has been
one the organizers in the defense of the democracy and the
construction of a participatory government of our country for
all, which includes a constituent assembly .
The isolation in
which the garífunas communities live in Iriona and
Walumugu has been a favorite place used by the narcotics
traffickers in conspiracy with the elite, they are able to use
local people and the desolated areas to make their landings,
having logistical support of gangs associated to the national
elite. The complex phenomenon of the drug trafficking in
Honduras, on the North coast especially, has been going on
for several decades, without ,to this date, the determining
measures to change the course of the situation.
IT is public
knowledge who these people are, and of their untouchable
nature and their ties to the illicit business, those that persist
in using pseudo-clandestine plantations of African palm and
airports, but their economic power acquits them of any
crime. The closing of the hospital is a clear message sent to the
garífuna people, by their participation - especially of Dr.
Castillo and the personnel of the Hospital - in the resistance to
the coup d'etat.
For the OFRANEH the punitive action against the Hospital,
is one more of a sample of racism that prevails between the
followers of the coup participants, those that see the medical
support of the Cubans, as exemplary campaigns of
alphabetization which have been realized in some parts of the
country, and medicine with a social vision seems to threaten
the prevailing feudal regime in the country.
We ask ourselves
if there certainly exists " intelligentsia" between the security
forces, like those coming to search the hospital, with the
pretext that the day before an airplane had landed supposedly
unloaded drugs in the surrounding communities. For our
garífuna people, the closing of the Hospital of Ciriboya, is one
more aggression that demonstrates one of the fundamental
objectives of the government de facto is to destroy the
communitarian vision and to promote the violence.
incredible that one of the best examples of communitarian
health on the the continent, is attacked by a government
conformed by a handful of mercenaries in the service of the
South command and the banana, telephone and oil companies
that want to preserve the Status Quo in Honduras.
IN La Ceiba, 7 of October of the 2009. Honduran Black
Brotherly organization, OFRANEH
ALLANADO HOSPITAL GARIFUNA DE CIRIBOYA
El día de ayer a las cinco de la mañana, fue allanado el Hospital Garífuna de Ciriboya, por elementos de la policía Preventiva y soldados los que irrumpieron al recinto a través de una ventana. En el operativo participaron aproximadamente quince elementos, los cuales adujeron estar participando en un operativo antinarcóticos.
Esta acción por parte de elementos del Ministerio de seguridad y de Defensa, viene a añadirse a la persecución que se está dando en nuestro país en contra de la resistencia nacional al golpe de Estado. Días antes el Ministerio de Salud descalificó al hospital convirtiéndole en un simple centro de salud, en detrimento de la población garífuna y mestiza del Municipio de Iriona.
El Hospital de Ciriboya es la sede del proyecto Luagu Hatuadi Waduhenu, primer hospital popular garífuna, el cual es un modelo de atención médica en Honduras, atendidos por médicos egresados de la ELAM (Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina) con sede en Cuba.
La función social que ha venido cumpliendo los egresados de la ELAM en Honduras contrasta con la visión capitalista de la mayoría de los médicos Hondureños, los que han sido renuentes a prestar sus servicios en las zonas rurales del país.
El Hospital de Ciriboya fue construido con el apoyo de sindicatos de California además de esfuerzos propios del pueblo garífuna, a través del tezón del Dr. Luther Castillo, el que en las actuales circunstancias ha sido uno los abanderados en la defensa de la democracia y la construcción de un proyecto de país para todos, que incluye el imperativo de una asamblea constituyente.
El aislamiento en que viven las comunidades garífunas de Iriona y Walumugu ha sido aprovechado por los narcotraficantes que en contubernio con la elite de poder local han utilizado lugares desolados para efectuar sus desembarcos, teniendo apoyo logístico de bandas asociadas a la elite de poder nacional.
El complejo fenómeno del narcotráfico en Honduras, en especial en la costa norte se viene dando desde hace varias décadas, sin que hasta la fecha existan las medidas determinantes para cambiar el derrotero de la situación. Es de conocimiento público quienes son muchas de los intocables vinculados al negocio ilícito, los que persisten en utilizar sus plantaciones de palma africana y aeropuertos pseudoclandestinos, pero el poder económico que poseen los absuelve de antemano de cualquier delito.
El allanamiento del hospital es un claro mensaje dirigido al pueblo garífuna por su participación - en especial del Dr. Castillo y el personal del Hospital - en la resistencia al golpe de Estado. Para la OFRANEH la acción punitiva en contra del Hospital, es una muestra más del racismo que prevalece entre las huestes golpistas, las que ven el apoyo médico de los cubanos, a las campañas de alfabetización ejemplares que se han realizado en algunas partes del país, y la medicina con una visión social como amenaza al régimen feudal imperante en el país.
Nos preguntamos si ciertamente existe "inteligencia" alguna entre las fuerzas de seguridad, como para proceder a allanar el hospital, con el pretexto que día antes había aterrizado un avión supuestamente cargando droga en las comunidades circunvecinas.
Para nuestro pueblo garífuna, el allanamiento al Hospital de Ciriboya, es una agresión más que demuestra como uno de los objetivos primordiales del gobierno de facto es destruir la visión comunitaria y promover la violencia. Es inaudito que una de los paradigmas en materia de salud comunitaria a nivel del continente, sea agredido por un gobierno conformado por una cúpula de mercenarios al servicio del comando Sur y de las compañías bananeras, telefónicas y petroleras que quieren preservar el Status Quo en Honduras.
La Ceiba, 7 de Octubre del 2009.
Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, OFRANEH
Friday, October 2, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT
GRAND GOVERNING COUNCIL
The Right to Speak
In President Obama’s speech to the United Nations on September 23, 2009, he spoke of a ‘new direction’. Two years ago, four solitary nations voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, they were Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America. The Australian government has since reversed its vote and now support the international human rights standard toward Indigenous people.
The American Indian Movement asks the question of the Obama Administration: Will his administration recognize and support the international standard approved by the vast majority of the world’s nations?
The United Nations 64th year brings world leaders together to our sacred homeland to discuss the effects of the world’s problems to humankind. The American Indian Movement respects the right of all world leaders to speak. We support the right of Moammar Al Gathafi, leader of Libya. We respect the right of Evo Moralas, President of Bolivia. We respect the right of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. We respect the right of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran. We respect the right to speak at the United Nations of all the world leaders visiting our homeland.
We often talk in terms of the first world, or the west; or the second world, the east; or the third world, or the non-aligned nations. Another important dimension to this concept is the fourth world of natural and Indigenous people. Peoples whose populations oftentimes go beyond geo-political boundaries. While these struggles have been going on for hundreds of years, the international community has, for the most part, ignored this reality.
One of the greatest crimes against humanity occurred right here in the United States of America. Support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is a start to right this great wrong.
Clyde Bellecourt, co-founder American Indian Movement
Bill Means, International Indian Treaty Council
Chief Terrance Nelson, Vice Chairman American Indian Movement
Reprinted from Consortium News
By Robert Parry
September 23, 2009
Laurence Silberman, a U.S. Appeals Court judge and a longtime neoconservative operative – part of what the Iran-Contra special prosecutor called “the strategic reserves” for convicted Reagan administration operatives in the 1980s – is back playing a similar role for the Bush-43 administration.
On Sept. 11, the eighth anniversary of the terror attacks on New York and Washington, Silberman issued a 2-to-1 opinion dismissing a lawsuit against the private security firm, CACI International, brought by Iraqi victims of torture and other abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.
Silberman declared that CACI was immune from prosecution because its employees were responding to U.S. military commands. The immunity ruling blocked legal efforts by 212 Iraqis, who suffered directly at Abu Ghraib or were the widows of men who died, to exact some accountability from CACI employees who allegedly assisted in the torture of prisoners.
"During wartime, where a private service contractor is integrated into combatant activities over which the military retains command authority, a tort claim arising out of the contractor's engagement in such activities shall be preempted," Silberman wrote.
But Silberman is not a dispassionate judge when it comes to the crimes of Republicans committed to advance the neocon cause.
In the 1980s, Silberman played behind-the-scenes roles in helping Ronald Reagan gain the White House; he helped formulate hard-line intelligence policies; he encouraged right-wing media attacks on liberals; and he protected the flanks of Reagan’s operatives who were caught breaking the law.
Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, a Republican himself, counted Silberman as one of "a powerful band of Republican [judicial] appointees [who] waited like the strategic reserves of an embattled army," determined to prevent any judgments against Reagan’s operatives who broke the law in the arms-for-hostage scandal.
In his 1997 memoir, Firewall, Walsh depicted Silberman as a leader of that partisan band, even recalling how Silberman had berated Judge George MacKinnon, also a Republican, who led the panel which had picked Walsh to be the special prosecutor.
"At a D.C. circuit conference, he [Silberman] had gotten into a shouting match about independent counsel with Judge George MacKinnon," Walsh wrote. "Silberman not only had hostile views but seemed to hold them in anger."
In 1990, after Walsh had secured a difficult conviction of former White House aide Oliver North for offenses stemming from the Iran-Contra scandal, Silberman teamed up with another right-wing judge, David Sentelle, to overturn North’s conviction in a sudden outburst of sympathy for defendant rights.
Trashing Anita Hill
Less publicly, in 1991, Silberman also went to bat for the U.S. Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas, working with right-wing operatives to destroy the reputation of Anita Hill, a former Thomas employee who testified about his crude sexual harassment.
Author David Brock, then a well-paid right-wing hatchet man who published what he later admitted were scurrilous attacks on Hill, described the support and encouragement he received from Silberman and Silberman’s wife, Ricky. Even after Thomas had won Senate confirmation, Silberman still was pushing attack lines against Hill, Brock wrote in his book, Blinded by the Right.
While George H.W. Bush’s White House slipped Brock a psychiatric opinion that Hill suffered from “erotomania,” Silberman met with Brock to suggest even more colorful criticism of Hill.
“Silberman speculated that Hill was a lesbian ‘acting out’,” Brock wrote. “Besides, Silberman confided, Thomas would never have asked Hill for dates: She had bad breath.”
After Brock published a book-length assault on Hill, called The Real Anita Hill, the Silbermans and other prominent conservatives joined a celebration at the Embassy Row Ritz-Carlton, Brock wrote, noting that also in attendance was Judge Sentelle.
But Silberman’s anything-goes approach to promoting – and protecting – right-wing control of the government dated back even further, to his key role as a foreign-policy and intelligence adviser to Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.
During Campaign 1980, Silberman was a senior figure in what was then a fast-rising neoconservative faction that saw Reagan’s victory – and the defeat of President Jimmy Carter – as vital to expand U.S. military power, to confront the Soviet Union aggressively and to relieve pressure on Israel for a peace deal with the Palestinians.
More than a decade later, congressional investigators discovered that Silberman was assigned to secretive Reagan campaign operations collecting intelligence on what President Carter was doing to secure the release of 52 American hostages then held in Iran.
On April 20, 1980, the Reagan campaign created a group of foreign policy experts known as the Iran Working Group. The operation was run by Richard Allen, Fred Ikle and Silberman, the congressional investigators discovered.
After Reagan’s nomination in July, his campaign merged with that of his vice presidential running mate, George H.W. Bush, who had enlisted many ex-CIA officers who were loyal to Bush as a former CIA director.
October Surprise Obsession
The general election campaign assembled a strategy team, known as the “October Surprise Group,” which was ordered to prepare for “any last-minute foreign policy or defense-related event, including the release of the hostages, that might favorably impact President Carter in the November election,” according to a House Task Force that in 1992 investigated allegations of Republican interference in Carter’s hostage negotiations.
“Originally referred to as the ‘Gang of Ten,’” the Task Force report said the “October Surprise Group” consisted of Allen, Ikle, Charles M. Kupperman, Thomas H. Moorer, Eugene V. Rostow, William R. Van Cleave, John R. Lehman Jr., Robert G. Neumann, Seymour Weiss – and Silberman.
While that reference made it into the Task Force’s final report in January 1993, another part was deleted, which said: “According to members of the ‘October Surprise’ group, the following individuals also participated in meetings although they were not considered ‘members’ of the group: Michael Ledeen, Richard Stillwell, William Middendorf, Richard Perle, General Louis Walt and Admiral James Holloway.”
Deleted from the final report also was a section of the draft describing how the ex-CIA personnel who had worked for Bush’s campaign became the nucleus of the Republican intelligence operation that monitored Carter’s Iran-hostage negotiations for the Reagan-Bush team.
“The Reagan-Bush campaign maintained a 24-hour Operations Center, which monitored press wires and reports, gave daily press briefings and maintained telephone and telefax contact with the candidate’s plane,” the draft report read. “Many of the staff members were former CIA employees who had previously worked on the Bush campaign or were otherwise loyal to George Bush.” [I discovered the unpublished portions of Task Force’s report when I gain access to its files in late 1994.]
Another deletion involved a Sept. 16, 1980, meeting ordered by Reagan’s campaign director William Casey, who had become obsessed over the possibility of Carter pulling off an October Surprise release of the hostages.
On that date, Casey met with senior campaign officials Edwin Meese, Bill Timmons and Richard Allen about the “Persian Gulf Project,” according to an unpublished section of the House Task Force report and Allen’s notes. Two other participants at the meeting, according to Allen’s notes, were Michael Ledeen and Noel Koch.
That same day, Iran’s acting foreign minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh was quoted as citing Republican interference on the hostages. “Reagan, supported by [former Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger and others, has no intention of resolving the problem,” Ghotbzadeh said. “They will do everything in their power to block it.”
Exactly what the Reagan-Bush “October Surprise” team did remains something of a historical mystery.
About two dozen witnesses – including former Iranian officials and international intelligence figures – have claimed the Republican contacts undercut Carter’s hostage negotiations, though others insist that the initiatives were simply ways to gather information about Carter’s desperate bid to free the hostages before the election. [For the most thorough account of the “October Surprise” case, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]
The L’Enfant Plaza Mystery
One of the many unanswered questions about the October Surprise mystery revolved around a meeting involving Laurence Silberman and an Iranian emissary at the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington in September or early October 1980.
Years later, an Iranian arms dealer named Houshang Lavi claimed to be the emissary who met with Silberman, Allen and Robert McFarlane, who was then an aide to Sen. John Tower, R-Texas. Lavi said the meeting on Oct. 2 dealt with the possibility of trading arms to Iran for release of the hostages – and was arranged by Silberman.
Silberman, Allen and McFarlane acknowledged that a meeting happened, but they insisted they had no recollection of the emissary’s name nor who he was.
In 1990, I interviewed a testy Richard Allen about the meeting for a PBS Frontline documentary. Allen said he reluctantly went to the meeting, which he said was proposed by McFarlane. Allen said he took along Silberman as a witness.
“So Larry Silberman and I got on the subway and we went down to the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel where I met McFarlane and there were many people milling about. We sat at a table in the lobby. It was around the lunch hour. I was introduced to this very obscure character whose name I cannot recall. …
“The individual who was either an Egyptian or an Iranian or could have been an Iranian living in Egypt – and his idea was that he had the capacity to intervene, to deliver the hostages to the Reagan forces. Now, I took that at first to mean that he was able to deliver the hostages to Ronald Reagan, candidate for the presidency of the United States, which was absolutely lunatic. And I said so. I believe I said, or Larry did, ‘we have one President at a time. That’s the way it is.’
“So this fellow continued with his conversation. I was incredulous that McFarlane would have ever brought a guy like this or placed any credibility in a guy like this. Just absolutely incredulous, and so was Larry Silberman. This meeting lasted maybe 20 minutes, 25 minutes. So that’s it. There’s no need to continue this meeting. …
“Larry and I walked out. And I remember Larry saying, ‘Boy, you better write a memorandum about this. This is really spaceship stuff.’ And it, of course, set my opinion very firmly about Bud McFarlane for having brought this person to me in the first place.”
Allen described the emissary as “stocky and swarthy, dark-complected,” but otherwise “non-descript.” Allen added that the man looked like a “person from somewhere on the Mediterranean littoral. How about that?”
Allen said this Egyptian or Iranian “must have given a name at the time, must have.” But Allen couldn’t recall it. He also said he made no effort to check out the man’s position or background before agreeing to the meeting.
“Did you ask McFarlane, who is this guy?” I asked Allen.
“I don’t recall having asked him, no,” Allen responded.
“I guess I don’t understand why you wouldn’t say, ‘Is this guy an Iranian, is he someone you’ve known for a while?’” I pressed.
“Well, gee, I’m sorry that you don’t understand,” Allen lashed back. “I really feel badly for you. It’s really too bad you don’t understand. But that’s your problem, not mine.”
“But wouldn’t you normally ask that kind of background question?”
“Not necessarily,” Allen said. “McFarlane wanted me to meet a guy and this guy was going to talk about the hostages. I met plenty of people during that period of time who wanted to talk to me about the hostages. … This was no different from anybody else I would meet on this subject.”
“It obviously turned out to be different from most people you’ve met on the subject,” I interjected.
“”Oh, it turned out to be because this guy is the centerpiece of some sort of great conspiracy web that has been spun,” Allen snapped.
“Well, were there many people who offered to deliver the hostages to Ronald Reagan?” I asked.
“No, this one was particularly different, but I didn’t know that before I went to the meeting, you understand.”
“Did you ask McFarlane what on earth this guy was going to propose?”
“I don’t think I did in advance, no.”
What also was unusual about this meeting was what Allen and Silberman did not do afterwards. Though Allen said that he and Silberman recognized the sensitivity of the approach, neither of Reagan’s foreign policy advisers contacted the Carter administration or reported the offer to law enforcement.
It also defied logic that seasoned operatives like Allen and Silberman would have agreed to a meeting with an emissary from a hostile power without having done some due-diligence about who the person was and what his bona fides were.
Iranian arms dealer Lavi later claimed to be the mysterious emissary. And government documents revealed that Lavi made a similar approach to the independent presidential campaign of John Anderson, although Anderson’s campaign – unlike Allen and Silberman – promptly informed the CIA and State Department.
For his part, Silberman denied any substantive discussion with the mysterious emissary but refused to discuss the meeting in any detail. He did insist that he was out of town on Oct. 2, the date cited by Lavi, but Silberman wouldn’t provide a list of dates when he was in Washington during the fall of 1980.
Though purportedly having arranged the meeting, McFarlare also insisted that he couldn’t recall the identity of the emissary.
Later, when a Senate panel conducted a brief inquiry into whether the Republicans interfered with Carter’s hostage negotiations, a truculent Allen testified – and brought along a memo that he claimed represented his contemporaneous recollections of the L’Enfant Plaza meeting.
However, the memo, dated Sept. 10, 1980, flatly contradicted the previous accounts from Allen, Silberman and McFarlane. It described a meeting arranged by Mike Butler, another Tower aide, with McFarlane only joining in later as the pair told Allen about a meeting they had had with a Mr. A.A. Mohammed, a Malaysian who operated out of Singapore.
“This afternoon, by mutual agreement, I met with Messrs. Mohammed, Butler and McFarlane. I also took Larry Silberman along to the meeting,” Allen wrote in the memo.
According to the memo, Mohammed presented a scheme for returning the Shah of Iran’s son to the country as “a figurehead monarch” which would be accompanied by a release of the U.S. hostages. Though skeptical of the plan, “both Larry and I indicated that we would be pleased to hear whatever additional news Mr. Mohammed might be able to turn up, and I suggested that that information be communicated via a secure channel,” the memo read.
Nearly every important detail was different both in how the meeting was arranged and its contents. Gone was the proposal to release the hostages to candidate Reagan, gone was the abrupt cutoff, gone was the Iranian or Egyptian – some guy from the “Mediterranean littoral” – replaced by a Malaysian businessman whose comments were welcomed along with future contacts “via a secure channel.” The memo didn’t even mention the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel, nor was McFarlane the organizer.
A reasonable conclusion might be that Allen’s memo was about an entirely different meeting, which would suggest that Republican contacts with Iranian emissaries were more numerous than previously admitted and that Silberman was more of a regular player.
Also, Silberman, McFarlane and Butler – when questioned by the House Task Force investigating the issue in 1992 – disputed Allen’s new version of the L’Enfant Plaza tale. They claimed no recollection of the A.A. Mohammed discussion.
Nevertheless, the House Task Force, in its determination to turn the page on the complex October Surprise issue, accepted Allen’s memo as the final answer to the L’Enfant Plaza question and pressed ahead with a broader rejection of any wrongdoing by Republicans – even though that required concealing a host of incriminating documents. [See Secrecy & Privilege.]
The House Task Force also turned a blind eye to another tantalizing clue related to the L’Enfant Plaza mystery. Lavi’s lawyer, former CIA counsel Mitchell Rogovin, provided me a page of his notes from that time period.
Rogovin, who was an adviser to the John Anderson campaign, wrote on his calendar entry for Sept. 29, 1980, a summary of Lavi’s plan to trade weapons for the hostages. After that, Rogovin recorded a telephone contact with senior CIA official John McMahon to discuss Lavi’s plan and to schedule a face-to-face meeting with a CIA representative on Oct. 2.
The next entry, however, was stunning. It read, “Larry Silberman – still very nervous/will recommend … against us this P.M. I said $250,000 – he said why even bother.”
When I called Rogovin about this notation, he said it related to a loan that the Anderson campaign was seeking from Crocker National Bank where Silberman served as legal counsel. The note meant that Silberman was planning to advise the bank officers against the loan, Rogovin said.
I asked Rogovin if he might have mentioned Lavi’s hostage plan to Silberman, who was in the curious position of being a senior Reagan adviser and weighing in on a loan to an independent campaign that was viewed as siphoning off votes from Carter. (Crocker did extend a line of credit to Anderson.)
“There was no discussion of the Lavi proposal,” Rogovin insisted. But Rogovin acknowledged that Silberman was a friend from the Ford administration where both men had worked on intelligence issues, Rogovin from the CIA and Silberman at the Justice Department. Later, Rogovin and Silberman became next-door neighbors and bought a boat together.
In a normal investigation, such coincidences would strain credulity, especially given Lavi’s claim that he took part in a meeting with Republicans at the L’Enfant Plaza on Oct. 2, the same day that he talked with a CIA representative. Lavi also claimed that Silberman had arranged the meeting, which would make sense given Rogovin’s personal ties to Silberman.
However, as on a host of other compelling leads, the House Task Force chose to look the other way.
On Nov. 4, 1980, with Carter unable to free the hostages and Americans humiliated by the year-long ordeal with Iran, Ronald Reagan won the presidency in a landslide.
For his loyal service in the campaign, the neoconservative Silberman was put in charge of the transition team’s intelligence section. The team prepared a report attacking the CIA’s analytical division for noting growing weaknesses in the Soviet Union, a position despised by the neocons because it undercut their case for a costly expansion of the Pentagon’s budget.
Silberman’s transition team accused the CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence of “an abject failure” to foresee a supposedly massive Soviet buildup of strategic weapons and “the wholesale failure” to comprehend the sophistication of Soviet propaganda.
“These failures are of such enormity,” the transition report said, “that they cannot help but suggest to any objective observer that the agency itself is compromised to an unprecedented extent and that its paralysis is attributable to causes more sinister than incompetence.”
In other words, Silberman’s transition team was implying that CIA analysts who didn’t toe the neoconservative line must be Soviet agents. Even anti-Soviet hardliners like the CIA’s Robert Gates recognized the impact that the incoming administration’s hostility had on the CIA analysts.
“That the Reaganites saw their arrival as a hostile takeover was apparent in the most extraordinary transition period of my career,” Gates wrote in his memoir, From the Shadows. “The reaction inside the Agency to this litany of failure and incompetence” from the transition team “was a mix of resentment and anger, dread and personal insecurity.”
Amid rumors that the transition team wanted to purge several hundred top analysts, career officials feared for their jobs, especially those considered responsible for assessing the Soviet Union as a declining power rapidly falling behind the West in technology and economics.
According to some intelligence sources, Silberman expected to get the job of CIA director and flew into a rage when Reagan gave the job to his campaign director William Casey, who also was tied to the October Surprise operations. (The U.S. hostages in Iran were released immediately upon Ronald Reagan taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, 1981.)
Silberman’s consolation prize was to be named a judge on the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, where he helped frustrate the Iran-Contra investigation by overturning Oliver North’s conviction in 1990 and to this day is a defender of the neocons’ foreign policy -- as witnessed by his Sept. 11, 2009, ruling blocking civil lawsuits against U.S. government contractors implicated in torturing Iraqis.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
The right has been living a dream, they need to wake up from... It is our obligation to, kindly, oblige them.
Zbig Brzezinski: Obama Administration Should Tell Israel U.S. Will Attack Israeli Jets if They Try to Attack Iran
Thursday, September 10, 2009
From Ben Carnes Fasting In Lafayette Park For Leonard Peltiers Release and Meeting with the Great Black Father 09/10/09
I wanted to announce that on Wednesday afternoon, I ceased the liquid portion of
my fast due to dehydration. I had taken that as far as I could without
endangering my health. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, when I relieved my
self, I experienced a burning sensation and around Noon Wednesday, I began to
feel as if my kidneys were tightening up.
I made an attempt to contact a
physician, but after a period of time with receiving a response.
At 2:40 PM (Eastern), I consumed some liquids to hydrate myself. It was a
promise I made to Chief Tayac when he visited me at Lafayette Park. He told me
that day that I needed to hydrate myself. He said, ?You are a Chief! Don?t
you dare hit the ground! There are a lot of people depending upon you to be
here for them, and if you die what good would that serve them?? I assured him
that when my body told me that I was beginning to have problems, I would take
care of myself.
Still, I will continue to fast without food until 8:45 AM Saturday. I can assure
you that Leonard would appreciate and respect this decision. He has suffered so
much pain and loss of allies and relatives, that it would only grieve him had I
continued and possibly caused irreparable harm to my health.
My personal prayer will continue on, and I will continue to conduct myself in a
honorable and respectful manner befitting my position. I knew that when I
decided to publicly announce to that I am a Sun Dance Chief and would be taking
this course of action. I would open myself up to criticisms, but that in itself
is a sacrifice I willingly accepted. And there has been none, just messages of
respect and support. It was never my intention to promote myself, but to show
my love and support for my Sun Dance brother.
I had contacted Arvol Looking Horse about the possibility of coming to DC. He
could not since he already had an earlier commitment, but he supported what I
was doing and that he would support me through his prayers from over there. I
am very thankful to have those prayers from the Keeper of the White Buffalo
Calf Pipe in this way.
I know that there are many more people who have joined in this fast as an act of
solidarity for me and for Leonard. This simple course of action has aroused so
much supportive action from around the world. It has done so much more than if
we had tried to have everyone come to DC.
Many of you are organizing in your
communities and creating so much awareness everywhere and that is so important.
The results of this prayer and sacrifice may not be immediately, I feel
something is taking place on a larger spiritual level and we will need to keep
that in mind in all that we do for Leonard. We know that we will prevail, and
it would have been difficult without your support.
Send your cards and letters to Leonard. Let him know how your event went and let
him know that we are all here for him and that we will continue to do all we can
to bring him home.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Mark Crispin Miller Reference:
Scalia's Opinion on a case esssentially calling the constitutional protection of innocence null!:
"The Georgia Supreme Court rejected petitioner's
"actual-innocence" claim on the merits, denying
his extraor-dinary motion for a new trial. Davis
can obtain relief only if that determination was
contrary to, or an unreasonable application of,
"clearly established Federal law, as determined
by the Supreme Court of the United States." It
most assuredly was not. This Court has never held
that the Constitution forbids the execution of a
convicted defendant who has had a full and fair
trial but is later able to convince a habeas
court that he is "actually" innocent. Quite to
the contrary, we have repeatedly left that
question unresolved, while expressing
considerable doubt that any claim based on
alleged "actual innocence" is constitutionally
Essentially this is saying that there is no protection of innocence in the Constitution.
How can any sane or moral person claim such insouciance?
The decision stands as a sign of his deteriorating mental capacity. Would he have the capacity to resign?
Monday, August 17, 2009
Microcenter is giving 4gig thumb drives away with a card in the mail w/2 coupons.
In vista there is a feature that allows a USB to be added to ram called readyboost. In order to get non-compliant drives to work, look here:
here is how to do it on xp
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I would think that if the tax payers were made aware of the costs to them via subsidies from start to decommission costs (in the billions) they would swear off beyond recall. Every nuclear plant has increased costs to the consumer and then there are the stranded costs.
It was reported yesterday that California Edison was purchasing 726 MW from Solar MIllenium.
Let's move into the future and stop living under the fear of another nuclear catastrophe waiting happen.
I have no trust in someone who plays with fire then claims the chances are small. If it goes wrong, we would NEVER recover.
It would take 10 years till completion and the billions invested for a penultimately DIRTY technology could be better spend on renewable infrastructure.
The quote for insuring americans with health insurance was a billion or so? How about the Billions spent in Iraq? Now billions for this?
We can't afford it.
Last but not least, the fear of a catasrophe is enough to relegate this primitive technology to the pages of history. One incicdent is avoidable if it is NOT built.
DON"T GIVE IT CHANCE TO HAPPEN!
Monday, May 11, 2009
Especially since Bush/Cheney worked so hard to get Iran and Libya out from under U.S. Sanctions after the U.S. Iraqi invasion in 2003 so Halliburton could do business there after both countries were under sanction for years but prior this, Halliburton claimed immunity due to offshore business address.
Where is the media follow up to the private hit squad Cheney and Bush were running? We are all the media. Fear not death by private hit squad. Speak OUT. They can't kill everyone.
I doubt they would follow any international law as since they did not while they were in office.
Seymour Hersch Broke the story in a speech in Minnesota,
"It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on," Hersh stated. "Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us." from Raw Story
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Well, we Have been subsidizing the motor vehicle for decades to the extreme. They built a huge highway to newark ohio i.e. 161 and it would have been a heck of a lot cheaper to build a light rail system that would not need all the attention and maintenance that a road requires, and they would not have those pesky RFID readers that the Bush/Taft administration installed.
Remember, it was GM and other large corporate concerns that killed public transportation and if you don’t accept this as fact, it has been proven without a doubt. I lived on an ELECTRIC trolley line as a child. Stop and think, oil is primitive as stone wheels.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
whole. We need to make them intelligently and based on sound etiology.
We cannot be beholden to the a priori assumptions of science or religion. That
being said, it involves us educating ourselves beyond those, who with degrees
and bully pulpits, tell us that which is antithetical to reality and sound
Not with a loud voice but with the murmur of the daily task at hand do we affect
the world in small ways, brick by brick, mouthful by mouthful.
See ProgressOhio Article:
For The Cause Of The Swine Flu Outbreak, Look First To Factory Farms
Friday, April 17, 2009
April 16, 2009, 8 P.M.
Denison University, Swasey Chapel
Karl Rove spoke to a subdued, mixed crowd numbering, 2-300. Sponsored by the Campus Republicans and a group called Young Life (America?).
I did see a vanity plate in the parking garage from New Jersey with that on it, as in YGLFAM or the like.
In a liberal arts college, the house was very civilized. The only outbreak was when a young fellow who had several male family military members involved in several wars asked Karl why we fight for human rights and then deny them for prisoners of war.
Karl spoke on the economy, and about his mistakes in the White House (should have gone for immigration stuff first then the Social Security), with the smirk of Cheney across his lips and nukular (sic) on the tongue. It was apparent he spent a lot of time with these guys. As to the specific content of his speech, it was main stream right, though not very condescending as one might presume. There were applauses from the right on their catch phrases.
He laid the economic collapse in the lap of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even though McCain Campaign Manager Paid Millions To Lobby Against Regulation On Behalf Of Fannie and Freddie.
One of the questioners from Change For Ohio, asked Karl about the "martial law" threat on two republican members of congress, one of whom being Imhoff, for not following the party line, but was poo pooed by Rove and denied after the petitioner claimed to have video proof.
The arguments continued from Rove, as from the right, that our national debt has not been as high as it was since WW2.
(Well personally, I would think that economic excursion got us through many years of middle class progress.)
Of course he railed the high debt and all the consequences, but such forethought was not used before invading Iraq.
He did bring up the election theft of Ohio subject and added, "What did they think I had? I did not have some magic little black box."
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Well I wonder how much of the hemp plant had been emulated as decorations from calumets (peace pipes) of the past.
A onetime spokesperson for National Macrobiotics organization said that lung cancer forms in fat that collects around the lungs. That is where the tumors are found. The fat collects minerals and other toxins. The lungs can't clean that out.
So a high fat diet is not recommended, especially animal fat. And I have never heard of a blind study on vegan smokers, lol. I really believe tobacco is a scape goat for meat eaters. If tobacco is respected, it will teach one to be vegan.
The other observation I have is that now, for alzheimers prevention, they are passing out drugs called: Cholinestearase Inhibitors. What is nicotine? Same thing.
Apparently the blood pressure pills are now supposedly the cause of mental alzheimers.
And can we dispense with the DEA's exclusion from environmental impact studies of hemp removal? PLEASE? I AM DEAD SERIOUS HERE. There is no study on how it affects deer population and other wildlife including birds who used to have 50% of their bird seed as hemp. Let alone the human population without work and who are poor and need employment. Water is the universal solvent.
Hemp is the universal solvent of economic disparity. But we can't have that now can we?
Besides WE NEED JOBS, both here in Ohio and around the world.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
If you dare reach over and try to touch it you will be chided into waiting till later.
Well as the republicans have had their way with things for the last 8 or so years, we realize that the cake of peace and international progress lay in the restraints of the diplomacy of international support.
We can not let that be disturbed.
Hopefully there will be no time when it will:
when the fruition of it gives way to a planetary peace.
An international tribunal elected democratically would disallow ANY extrajudicial killing as in war or international espionage. This will require an international police organization and much restaint on behalf of all nations.
It would be the end the attacks of the predator aircraft, unilateral attacks from one country to another and restraint on all sides.
Essentially this framework has been in place in the United Nations and the Geneva convention. It will take leadership to maintain this bulwark of civilization that has been compromised by this last U.S. administration.
Can we, in the United States, revive the planetary good will in favor of a planetary peace?
Yes we can.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The article below shows:
4 days after pregnancy stem cells invade the brain and create neurons
See the science here:
Monday, January 26, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Money for Tortured Postpartum Depression? Reply
By NationOfGandhis Jan 21st 2009 at 11:15 pm EST (Updated Jan 21st 2009 at 11:15 pm EST)
The problem with continuing pregnancies beyond the mother's desire could lead to post partum depression. I am not a doctor but the money incentive is not a real psychological solice.
There is conclusive evidence that stem cells produced during pregnancy remain with and affect the mother for years if not decades.
Stem cells are not innocuous, we know that. If they come from a relation that is resented as in rape, then the psychological indications must be taken into account.
No one is "for" abortion, we just want fairness and justice. For rape, justice is termination of the fetus.
Fetus worship is just that, when the science is completely ignored and ignorance prevails.
Sounds harsh and cold but faith does not cure reality. Science and religion can agree when they work in harmony and take ALL facts into consideration including the woman's psyche. This is one of those times.
"This is just what a team of researchers from Singapore have found and published in the journal Stem Cells. It’s well known in this literature that fetal cells can enter the blood of circulation during pregnancy and remain there for many years after birth."
"These cells can, just as regular stem cells, develop into different kinds of tissue, including bone marrow, liver an spleen cells. But whether these cells can cross the blood-brain barrier has been less certain.
see the story here:
On a mother’s mind
The expression of fetal stem cells in the mother’s cortex at 4 months after birth. Figure 1-H from the article.
Mind-blowing as this finding may be, little is still known about this phenomenon. The development, mechanism, function and evolution of this process is just beginning to be explored. But it already raises a whole range of questions: can we measure a difference between mother’s and “non-mother’s” brains, both structurally and functionally? Does this “fetomaternal microchimerism” lead to any advantages (i.e. survival) in mothers? What is the range of variation in this kind of expression: are there “good” and “bad” fetuses? Are mothers of many children better off in any respect of those with fewer children? Or is this process just a question of striking the energy balance, the child “paying back” what it deprived the mother of during pregnagcy?
- neuroeconomics — preferences and decision making
- imaging genetics
- development and ageing
- visual cognition
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Where is the Ohio department of Agriculture when
something REALLY needs to get done?
Either we gamble and encourage immorality or we
produce something that can and will improve our
econmic situation and help the environment.
Stop the gambling on our future and start producing!
The chicken farms in Union County get all (err some of) the press yet the thing that would help Ohio farmers and the local economic collapse would be the cultivation of industrial and medical cannibis.
There would be no impact on the environment like the chicken farms would produce, no flys, no watershed pollution, no pesticides, no hormones or antibiotics.
The slippery slope argument by those who would spread fear of this environmentally friendly indigenous crop falls on it's face in respect to the human acknowlegement that herbs have their respective places.
NO ONE has studied the environmental impact of it's eradication and the degradation of it's unknown eco-systems.
Obama's Marijuana Prohibition Acid Test
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman
January 14, 2009
The parallels between the 1933 coming of Franklin Roosevelt and the upcoming inauguration of Barack Obama must include the issue of Prohibition: alcohol in 1933, and marijuana today. As FDR did back then, Obama must now help end an utterly failed, socially destructive, reactionary crusade.
Marijuana prohibition is a core cause of many of the nation's economic problems. It now costs the U.S. tens of billions per year to track, arrest, try, defend and imprison marijuana consumers who pose little, if any, harm to society. The social toll soars even higher when we account for social violence, lost work, ruined careers and damaged families. In 2007, 775,137 people were arrested
in the U.S. for mere possession of this ancient crop, according to the FBI's uniform crime report.
Like the Prohibition on alcohol that plagued the nation from 1920 to 1933, marijuana prohibition (which essentially began in 1937) feeds organized crime and a socially useless prison-industrial complex that includes judges, lawyers, police, guards, prison contractors, and more.
A dozen states have now passed public referenda confirming medical uses for marijuana based on voluminous research dating back 5,000 years. Confirmed medicinal uses for marijuana include treatment for glaucoma, hypertension, arthritis, pain relief, nausea relief, reducing muscle spasticity from spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis, and diminishing tremors in multiple sclerosis patients. Medical reports also prove smoked marijuana provides relief from migraine headaches, depression, seizures, and insomnia, according to NORML. In recent years its use has become critical to thousands of cancer and AIDS sufferers who need to it to maintain their appetite while undergoing chemotherapy.
The U.S. ban on marijuana extends to include hemp, one of the most widely used agricultural products in human history. Unlike many other industrial crops, hemp is powerful and prolific in a natural state, requiring no pesticides, herbicides, extraordinary fertilizing or inappropriate irrigation. Its core products include paper, cloth, sails, rope, cosmetics, fuel, supplements and food. Its seeds are a potentially significant source of bio-diesel fuel, and its leaves and stems an obvious choice for cellulosic ethanol, both critically important for a conversion to a Solartopian renewable energy supply.
Hemp was grown in large quantities by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and many more of the nation's founders, most of whom would likely be dumbfounded to hear it is illegal (based on entries in Washington's agricultural diaries, referring to the separation of male and female plants, it's likely he and his cohorts also raised an earlier form of "medicinal" marijuana).
Hemp growing was mandatory in some circumstances in early America, and again during World War II, when virtually the entire state of Kansas was planted in it. The current ban on industrial hemp costs the U.S. billiions of dollars in lost production and revenue from a plant that can produce superior paper, clothing, fuel and other critical materials at a fraction the financial cost and environmental damage imposed by less worthy sources.
On January 16, 1919, fundamentalist crusaders help pass the 18th Amendment, making the sale of alcohol illegal. The ensuing Prohibition was by all accounts a ludicrous failure epitomized by gang violence and lethal "amateur" product that added to the death toll. Its only real winner was organized crime and the prison-industrial complex.
In 1933, FDR helped pass the 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition, which ended a costly era of gratuitous social repression and gave the American economy---and psyche---a tangible boost.
Marijuana prohibition was escalated with Richard Nixon's 1970 declaration of the War on Drugs. There was a brief reprieve when Steve Ford, the son of President Gerald Ford appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone barefoot and claiming that the best place to smoke pot was in the White House. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter's last year in office, 338,664 were arrested for marijuana possession.
Ronald Reagan renewed the War on Drugs and declared his "Zero Tolerance" policy, despite his daughter Patti Davis' claim the Gipper smoked weed with a major donor. Following Reagan, President George Herbert Walker Bush recorded a low of 260,390 marijuana possession arrests, but the numbers climbed again under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both of whom are reported to have smoked it themselves (though Clinton claims not to have inhaled).
On a percentage basis, at least as many American high school students smoke pot than students in Holland, where it is legal. In the midst of the drug war, U.S. students report virtually unlimited access to a wide range of allegedly controlled substances, including pot. Because so many Americans use it, and it is so readily available, the war on marijuana can only be seen as a virtually universal assault on the basic liberties of our citizenry.
In a 2005 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services survey, more than 97 million Americans admitted to having tried marijuana at least once. President-elect Obama makes it clear in his book Dreams From My Father that he has smoked---and inhaled---marijuana (he is also apparently addicted to a far more dangerous drug, tobacco). His administration should tax marijuana rather than trying to repress it. Like alcohol and tobacco, a minimum age for legal access should be set at 21.
As a whole, the violent, repressive War on Drugs has been forty years of legal, cultural and economic catastrophe. Like FDR, Obama must end our modern-day Prohibition, and with it the health-killing crusade against this ancient, powerful medicinal herb.
Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-authored four books on election protection, available at http://freepress.org, along with Bob's FITRAKIS FILES. Harvey's SOLARTOPIA! is at http://harveywasserman.com. This article was first published by http://freepress.org.