Monday, February 27, 2012

Stratfor--The Private U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

Wikileaks released more that five million emails from the private U.S. intelligence gathering company Stratfor today:



The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor.

LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

"[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase" – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the "Yes Men", for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.

Stratfor has realised that its routine use of secret cash bribes to get information from insiders is risky. In August 2011, Stratfor CEO George Friedman confidentially told his employees : "We are retaining a law firm to create a policy for Stratfor on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I don’t plan to do the perp walk and I don’t want anyone here doing it either."

Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in 2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched an idea to "utilise the intelligence" it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund. CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS : "What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor’s intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like". The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested "substantially" more than $4million and joined Stratfor’s board of directors. Throughout 2011, a complex offshore share structure extending as far as South Africa was erected, designed to make StratCap appear to be legally independent. But, confidentially, Friedman told StratFor staff : "Do not think of StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral... It will be useful to you if, for the sake of convenience, you think of it as another aspect of Stratfor and Shea as another executive in Stratfor... we are already working on mock portfolios and trades". StratCap is due to launch in 2012.

The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff. It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and "other government intelligence agencies" in "becoming government Stratfors". Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division. Despite the governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability. Stratfor claims that it operates "without ideology, agenda or national bias", yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US government policies and channel tips to the Mossad – including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks’ contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables to Israel.

Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to get into what it called the leak-focused "gravy train" that sprung up after WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures :

"[Is it] possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused’ gravy train ? This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet... Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information... In fact, I’m not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution."

Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006. Readers will discover Stratfor’s internal email classification system that codes correspondence according to categories such as ’alpha’, ’tactical’ and ’secure’. The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as ’Hizzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or ’Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s "Confederation Partners", whom Stratfor internally referred to as its "Confed Fuck House" are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.

WikiLeaks has also obtained Stratfor’s list of informants and, in many cases, records of its payoffs, including $1,200 a month paid to the informant "Geronimo" , handled by Stratfor’s Former State Department agent Fred Burton.

WikiLeaks has built an investigative partnership with more than 25 media organisations and activists to inform the public about this huge body of documents. The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails. Important revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents.


[See for the following information:]
Public partners in the investigation
Current WikiLeaks status
How to read the data [including glossary]


Monday's WikiLeaks London press conference

The sound doesn't start until a few minutes in.

Video streaming by Ustream

WikiLeaks Publishes 5 Million 'Shadow CIA' E-Mails
Published on Monday, February 27, 2012 by Common Dreams

"Admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations”

WikiLeaks announced tonight that it is publishing documents it is calling "The Global Intelligence Files" which includes over 5 million e-mails from the US-based "Global Intelligence" company Stratfor, the Global Intelligence Company described by Barons as the Shadow CIA, according to a statement the organization released Sunday night.

WikiLeaks has partnered with 25 media organizations to publish the documents including the McClatchy newspapers and Rolling Stone.

"The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal's Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods."

WikiLeaks will hold a noon-time press conference in London on Monday to explain the files. The full press release is available here.

* * *

UPDATE: Monday's WikiLeaks London press conference has ended. The New York Times reports:

“The material contains privileged information about the U.S. government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks,” the group said. “There are more than 4,000 e-mails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange.”

At the London news conference, Mr. Assange said the Stratfor statement seemed to confirm the advice offered by a senior figure in the company in one of the exposed e-mails which he quoted a senior Stratfor executive as saying: “admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations.”Mr. Assange appeared Monday at a streamed news conference from the journalists’ Frontline Club in London.

Stratfor said in a statement that some of the e-mails being published “may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic,” the company said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

“We will not validate either. Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them,” the statement said.

At the London news conference, Mr. Assange said the Stratfor statement seemed to confirm the advice offered by a senior figure in the company in one of the exposed e-mails which he quoted a senior Stratfor executive as saying: “admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations.”

* * *
* * *

Technorati reports:

Wikileaks has begun publishing 5 million e-mails from Stratfor, the Global Intelligence Company described by Barons as the Shadow CIA.

At 00:01 GMT on 27 February 2011, Wikileaks started publishing the confidential e-mail communications between Stratfor and its informants which includes government employees, government agencies and corporations.

In a press release, the inner workings of Stratfor are described, painting a world where the government, corporations and Stratfor are intertwined.

Anti-Sec, part of Anonymous, proclaimed late in December 2011 that they had hacked into Stratfor and had managed to gain access to subscriber data. In a press release, Anti-Sec stated that the main reason they hacked into Stratfor was not for the subscriber data, but the trove of 5 million e-mail data, which would reveal the inner working of Stratfor and government agencies. It seems that it is these e-mails that are now being leaked by Wikileaks.


See Also:
Glenn Greenwald
SATURDAY, DEC 24, 2011
The intellectual cowardice of Bradley Manning’s critics


FEBRUARY 5, 2012 2:23PM
An Open Letter about Pfc. Bradley Manning (Updated)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Interesting Videos: Two by Mark Fiore and one by ClassWar Films


Mark Fiore videos

Declaration of Thingamajig




From Information Clearinghouse:

Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine

Let Your Life Be a Friction to Stop the Machine

Nightmare and insanity are akin: mysterious and involuntary states that skew and distort objective reality. One wakens from nightmare; from insanity there is no awakening.

Whether Americans live in the one state or the other is the paramount question of this era.

For two hundred years Americans have been indoctrinated with a mythology created, imposed and sustained by a manipulating cabal: the financial elite that built its absolute control on the muscle and blood, good will, ignorance and credulity, of its citizenry.

America began with the invasion of a populated continent and the genocide of its native people. Once solidly established, it grafted enslavement of another race onto that base.

With those two pillars of state firmly in place it declared itself an independent nation in a document that nobly proclaimed the equality of all mankind.

In that act of monumental hypocrisy America’s myth had its beginning.
* * *
A Constitution was written that came to be regarded as American Holy Writ. Its central purposes were to defend private property and suppress mass democracy. It has fulfilled both those mandates beyond the wildest dreams of its creators.

Once the existing oligarchy was secure in law and native people largely exterminated, the ruling class increased its wealth and power fantastically in the 19th century, using the government as its enabler, exploiting to the limit the device of chartered corporations.

With its phenomenal money power, the financial elite began to use the military to expand its sway beyond the continent. Regions, territories, islands, and whole countries were annexed, invaded, and possessed outright, their peoples crushed, suppressed, and ruled.

Because ordinary Americans, like any people, need to believe that whatever the ruling elite undertakes in their nation’s name must be essentially benevolent, noble in purpose and justified in fact, the myth had to be radically modified for imperial expansion.

The foundational story was that Americans had come to a howling wilderness teeming with godless savages and, through invincible strength of character and purity of purpose, had tamed the land and honorably earned the right to possess their bountiful home.

In the era of extra-territorial expansion that version was polished to justify and ennoble imperialism. The new corollary was that America could not ignore colonialist brutality but was obliged, by the Manifest Destiny that led us to civilize our own continent, to carry our mission into barbaric darkness wherever tyranny created abuse and suffering.

A national myth that absolutely binds the loyalty of a people to its government must be a subtle and powerful elixir that elevates and aggrandizes that people’s self-regard. National policy will then appear to be an extension of its superior citizenry’s inchoate will, and the basis for a justified arrogance toward the lesser world.

The simple, powerful myth of America’s altruistic and heroic benevolence, shaped and maintained by the financial/political power elite, infused Americans with a deep and outrageously hubristic sense of racial superiority that, mobilized behind various imperial enterprises, has given all such adventures the character of a quasi-religious crusade. In this way insatiable imperialism acquires the apparent moral perfection of a syllogism.
* * *
With WWII, the world was reconfigured. American Capitalism emerged supreme from the horror that had virtually wrecked its capitalist partners. The Soviet Union, though, having absorbed by far the greatest devastation from Nazi Germany, had astonishingly risen above its ruin to become the leading challenger to America as a world power.

This challenge was not competitive, it was systemic: Soviet Communism was a direct threat to American hegemony in that it categorically refuted the philosophical basis of Predatory Capitalism. Grounded in Marx and Lenin, it attacked Capitalism’s inherent evils, monstrous inequities and flagrant injustices that, exacerbated by speculation, exploitation and fraud, would destroy it. And it promoted world revolution to that end.

This face-off of giants in the Cold War necessitated further refinement of the American myth. Now, instead of simply intervening in situations where despotism or tyranny required America to forcefully implant our just and ethical democracy, America had to become the shield and bulwark of the sacred capitalist system in which “free enterprise” was magically and increasingly identified with democracy and equally to be defended.

This version prevailed through many surrogate confrontations around the globe in the era of Mutually Assured Destruction and survived even the debacle of Vietnam, lasting until the collapse of the Soviet Union, as the propaganda stream became ever more intense and pervasive. On radio and television Americans were subjected to an unrelenting barrage of hyper-patriotism in which American moral superiority was a given, and America’s self-touted courage, generosity and decency were its unchallengeable proofs.

The implosion of the Soviet Union left America, in its own terminology, the “Sole Superpower in a Unipolar World”. This, however, did not result in diminution of the myth. The practical effect of having no doomsday enemy--China couldn’t plausibly be cast in that role then--was to supercharge it by increasing its element of pure, hubristic ego. America was no longer just called upon to defend the “Free World” from monstrous heresy; it was now, by virtue of its universally acknowledged, beatific “exceptionalism”, required to oversee and police it in the interests, and for the benefit, of lesser nations.
* * *
“Power corrupts”, said Lord Mahan, “and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

When the only rival and counterweight to American power disintegrated there was a sense within the American power elite that the opportunity existed, for the first time in history, for one country to absolutely dominate and effectively control the entire world.

This consensus was expressed in a policy statement composed by a cadre of major right-wing political players representing massive corporate capitalist interests called the Project for a New American Century. This triumphalist manifesto laid out a plan for absolute American access and control of essential resources and raw materials worldwide, to be guaranteed by the military which would enforce Full Spectrum Dominance.

The American Myth, which had seemed to have lost momentum and its animating principle in the totally unexpected so-called Cold War “victory”, was now re-energized with a less defensive and reactive essence, and given the glowing radiance and patina of a true and, for the first time, self-professed and articulated, imperial mission.

The attack on the Towers, an unimaginable provocation, was the trigger mechanism for the explosive launch of the effort to impose that imperial model in practice on the world.
* * *
It has been without question the most spectacular failure in the history of American misadventure. After a decade marked by the waste of trillions of dollars and tens of thousands of American lives, the stunning bankruptcy of our internally burglarized nation, and a consequent recession more fundamentally damaging than the Great One, Imperial America has nothing to show for the botched folly of its arrogant overreach but unequivocal disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, with no end of madness in sight.

An impartial observer would have to say that the hypnotic hold of the American Myth on the loyalty of the people has led only to disgrace and disaster, and set a direct course to inevitable imperial decline and ruin. That would be inarguable on any rational basis, but it entirely mistakes the motive for, and the purpose of, the myth. The American Myth was never intended to serve the interests either of our country or of our people: it was created solely to buttress, shield, and exalt the ruling financial class. It has done that with astonishing and unbroken success that staggers the imagination from our earliest days.

The massive looting of Iraq/Afghanistan/Pakistan war funding to enrich the Corporate Tyranny—for that is what it has become—is on an unique scale of its own, without anything remotely comparable to its flagrant obscenity in the whole long history of war.

Neither the Pentagon nor any branch of the U.S. government can give any accounting whatever of the many billions of tax-generated dollars that have vanished, evaporated. There is no doubt but that beyond the outrageously inflated, no-bid contracts handed to giant corporate favorites with their preposterous guaranteed profits, much of the money was simply stolen in bulk by, through, or in spite of the military, and distributed among thieves and accomplices, some of it on huge pallets… for convenience, presumably.
* * *
While this wholesale robbery was going on under the oversight of the military abroad, the Corporate Tyranny had evolved a whole set of impenetrably complex devices for the generation of money without any economically productive source or result at home.

The sole driving force and purpose of Capitalism is the realization of profit. According to that calculus, reducing production costs increases profit margin. This leads to the obvious conclusion that as production costs near zero, profit is maximized.

There is no provision for social good in Capitalist theory. Corporations, created to optimize business opportunity through efficient specialization, were originally required to operate for public benefit but that provision was quickly finessed and forgotten.

American law courts have always favored corporate concentrations of wealth since they, like the Congress, exist to serve the moneyed interests. The American Myth was created to provide cover for the financial oligarchy to exploit the country and the citizenry, and the judiciary has consistently cooperated in ruling for corporations against the people.

Indeed, without ever considering the question in law, the Supreme Court long ago endowed corporations with “personhood”, that is with all rights of human beings under our Constitution. The way this travesty occurred--the slipshod by-product of an obliquely related case--shows that the court preferred to incorporate this perversion of the plain intent of the 14th amendment as an unexamined assumption rather than risk an eventual test which would unquestionably have created violent public outrage.
Given the collusion of Congress and the courts in securing legal invulnerability for the Corporate Tyranny and the principle that the only duty of corporations is maximization of profit, it was not surprising that megabanks, huge brokerage houses, giant insurance conglomerates, gilded hedge funds and the credit agencies pretending to certify their work, all engaged in massive and systemic fraud and deception for just that purpose. The result was the crash of ’08, the recession, and the stunning and unprecedented rescue and bailout of the biggest banks, investment houses, and insurance and credit conglomerates with taxpayer dollars. So much for the hallowed Invisible Hand of the Free Market…
* * *
The last decades have seen two related megatrends in American geopolitical mechanics, both with dire effects on the power of the American Myth. First, what belief the world at large had in it has been shattered by a catastrophic series of imbecile and irretrievable military failures and disasters, which has caused erosion of its efficacy at home. Second, in response to this, the State has made increasingly crude efforts to boost the Myth’s waning power by the imposition of totalitarian methods of surveillance, intimidation and coercion on the American people to a degree unprecedented in scope and scale.

The whole clanking, medieval apparatus of Homeland Security that has sprouted like an enormous poison fungus since 9/11 with its brutal police state mindset; the odious Patriot Act with its flagrant subversions of the Bill of Rights; the endless, fantasy-based terror-peddling of the prostitute corporate media with its clowns and harpies churning irrational fear and anger in the uninformed: all this grim, repressive endeavor is a concerted attempt to distract Americans from the real causes of their injury, abuse, and oppression.

And yet, even with the American Myth now totally and irreparably blown full of holes and exposed demonstrably for the tissue of lies, deceptions and frauds that it has always been, it somehow keeps its phenomenal hold on the great mass of the American people. The tragic reality is that, for the majority, their own identities have been so deeply and thoroughly infused with the myth that to disbelieve it is to disbelieve in themselves.
* * *
So the American Myth is dead, and yet it lives on in its deadness, horribly masking our crapshot economy, our bankrupt debtors prison of a society, our Ghost Dance charade of kabuki democracy, while typhoons of impending social, economic and ecological disaster build their enormous, lightning-charged thunderheads above the dark future before us.

And what is it that the dead Myth still imperfectly obscures for Americans? What is outside and beyond the opaque wall of faltering, failing dishonesty and deception? What is the horror that the shoddy, tattered Myth has so long and so effectively concealed?

It is the world that has suffered unrelieved exploitation by the violence of our imperialist mania. It is the many wrecked and pillaged economies financially looted by our imposed predatory capitalist austerity regimes. It is the teeming hundreds of millions of starved, deprived and dying children sacrificed to Wall Street commodities gaming. It is the multitudes of humble, innocent, ignorant people, barely surviving in absolutist and dictatorial regimes propped up in their barbaric cruelty by our military while our banks siphon off the profits left after arming their brutal police and armies and bribing their ruling Kings, Sheikhs or Generals. It is the millions of dead and maimed in the raped populations of simple tribal people whom our indiscriminately murderous juggernaut has left in its bloody wake in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It is the appalling legacy of hate and repulsion, disdain and fear, that America has earned with its appalling hegemonist villainy in every corner of the world.

And at home, what is it we Americans have been so complicit in hiding from ourselves in our devotion to the perverse legend that has come to inhabit our souls like a succubus?

It is the millions of us with no work and no hope in middle age whose jobs and homes have been devoured by the heartless fraud machine of Wall Street. It is the trashed and demolished weedlots of our major cities eroding in crumbling, fire-gutted ruin. It is the many towns and cities with industries shut down and factories deserted or dismantled and shipped overseas. It is our decaying, disintegrating public schools, our bankrupt states and counties, our overtaxed, antiquated public transportation systems, our obsolete, dissolving infrastructure, our bloated, irrational prisons complex, our punishing and inadequate health care disaster, and over it all, the repressive mechanism of our police state, armed and empowered, ready for use against the American people themselves.
* * *
This is where we are. The great question now is whether we as a nation can awaken from this long historic nightmare and face the terrifying and exhilarating prospect of living in the full light of reality without the false props and dishonest constructs of a hoodwinked, herded and dishonored people or, whether we have internalized the falsity and disease to such an extent that it has become an organic, overmastering form of insanity?

In 1846, Henry David Thoreau, offended to his soul by the injustice of the American government’s invasion of Mexico, protested it and went to jail for his convictions. Later, in his essay On Civil Disobedience, he said this:

“If injustice is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.”

To attempt to break the hold of the American Myth will be a titanic, daunting challenge. To even begin to openly rebel against the might of the National Security State will require the courage to face much more than official disapproval and denunciation. Imperial America will not respond to even the most peaceful and orderly protest with anything less than hard police repression and the level of punishment will rise in relation to the scope and seriousness of the action undertaken.

Small protests will have no effect and will be meaningless. Organized mass events, when they occur, will draw the whole fiercely and brutally motivated National Security State apparatus down upon themselves. Americans, excepting those of our underclass who have felt it, have no experience with violent police or military repression. Those who commit peaceful civil disobedience, a first and innocent tactic of serious protest, will swiftly find out to their cost how it works. In a National Security State that has excised and eradicated all defensive laws and regulations intended to prevent abuse of the public, whatever the State does is legal. To such a pass have we in America come as a result of our long historic indoctrination in serving our financial elite, our Ruling Class.

To achieve any redemption for Americans, to make possible any more just, humane and life-honoring society, will require complete abandonment of the system of Predatory Capitalism. If offers no prospect of reform or improvement and we have all been witness to the idiocy of the so-called “democratic process” in action for generations now.

America is nearing the greatest crisis point in its history and the terrific cataclysm, when it happens, will determine the future our country is to have. If we cannot, in dominating numbers, rise to reject the heartless, mindless, soulless machine of Imperial Predatory Capitalism, we will be condemned to a fascistic command and control horror in which human beings are mere possessions of the State, units of production or service, and then perhaps not even that, as excess population in that brave, new world nay be eliminated.

That end is not inevitable. We are not lost. We are not even defeated because to this moment we have not engaged. We have not honored our responsibility as human beings. We have not risen to defend our humanity. We have let ourselves be ruled.

All around the world the thunder of vast and immeasurable discontent can be heard and felt. In Egypt and Spain, Jordan and Greece, Iraq and Sudan, Afghanistan and Ireland, Latin America, the Far East and Africa, the legitimate anger of humanity is expressing itself against the dead and killing hand of Predatory Capitalism and its agencies of violence. And here, in America, so long trapped and encapsulated, frozen like a fly in amber in a false religion of state idolatry, the anger is deep, widespread, and growing.

It is up to those who know and care to lead. As Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Nothing is guaranteed us. That can’t matter. We cannot be concerned with odds or outcomes. We cannot let the Machine of Injustice grind on. We must oppose it with all the moral force we own. We must act with quiet courage to confront a vicious tyrannical system that is destroying the earth, its life, and its people. We must put our lives on the line to oppose it.

The Nightmare Machine of rapacious exploitation has overthrown humanity’s decency and reason and its bloody inhuman treason flourishes over us. This must be ended.

Let your life be a friction now to stop the Machine.

See also - The Century of the Self - How politicians and business learned to create and manipulate mass-consumer society.

Monday, February 20, 2012


[Edited & Updated, links added; 2/21/12]
The Oregon House passed a bill, HB 4158 (Sponsored by Rep. Cliff Bentz, District 60, from cow oriented Malheur, Baker, Harney, and Grant Counties) on Friday, February 17, 2012, that would allow another legislative end run against an endangered species act, this time Oregon's. HB 4158 still must be passed by the Senate, and Democrats outnumber Republicans there by 16-14. The intent is to relieve Oregon ranchers from the responsibility to protect their livestock from wolves by using non-lethal measures, and allow the killing of wolves who prey on livestock, regardless of the circumstances, before recovery has been achieved. In other words, the ranchers, and their legislative sponsors, don't want to change the way ranchers do their destructive business on the lands of Oregon: Ranchers, thinking only of their profits after having grown accustomed to the wolf-free environment they and the government created by killing off the wolves many years ago, refuse to spend the money necessary to protect their livestock. See also:
"Keeping Wolves Out of Harm's Way."

The bill was requested by the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, and here are its sponsors:

BENTZ, R District: 60
SMITH; R  District: 57 Union, Wallowa, Umatilla, Morrow Counties
ESQUIVEL, R-Medford District 6
GARRARD, R  District: 56 Klamath Falls
JENSON, R  District: 58 Pendleton
JOHNSON, R  District: 52 Hood River
KRIEGER, R  District: 1 Gold Beach
SCHAUFLER, D  District: 48 Happy Valley
WHISNANT, R  District: 53 Sunriver

BOQUIST, R  District: 12 Dallas
FERRIOLI, R  District: 30 John Day
GEORGE, R  District: 13 Sherwood
GIROD, R  District: 9 portions of Clackamas, Linn and Marion
KRUSE, R  District: 1 Roseburg
NELSON, R  District: 29 Pendleton
TELFER, R  District: 27 Bend
THOMSEN, R  District: 26 Hood River
WHITSETT R  District: 28 Klamath Falls

ODFW Photo

Why the rush to kill endangered wolves?

By Robert Klavins of Portland, Oregon. Robert is a Wildlife Advocate for Oregon Wild. Last June, Robert contributed "Pay up (and) the wolf gets it!"

There is a lot of bad news coming out of Salem and the state legislature on the environment these days. One deeply cynical ploy—taking health care in Oregon hostage to try and force more clear-cutting on state lands—has generated headlines and public outrage, but it isn’t the only attack on the environment this session. The worst may be HB 4158, a measure that would declare a “state of emergency” in Oregon in order to immediately exempt our state’s 29 wild gray wolves from state Endangered Species Act protections so they can be shot.

After exterminating wolves from Oregon in 1947 to pave the way for a more lucrative livestock industry, the Beaver State is now home to only 4 known packs.

In a state that prides ourselves on our conservation ethic and connection to the outdoors, the elimination of wolves in the last century is an environmental tragedy. Their recovery has the potential to be one of our greatest conservation success stories. But that won’t happen if the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) and their allies in Salem have their way.

In what’s become an annual affair, the OCA and the legislators who promote their agenda have introduced a wolf-kill bill and more tax breaks for their already heavily subsidized industry. In previous years, we’ve seen bills that would make poaching laws unenforceable or allow them to be killed if they get too near a structure. This year, rather than the Three Little Pigs bill, they’ve introduced the Chicken Little Bill.

HB 4158 is a hysterical piece of legislation, but not in a funny way. Not only does the bill threaten Oregon’s fragile wolf recovery, it sets a dangerous precedent for all wildlife. HB 4158 declares that the 29 wolves now residing in Oregon constitutes a “state of emergency”, and as a result immediately strips them of state Endangered Species Act protection. This would pave the way for members of the Imnaha Pack (or any other wolf pack in the state) to be shot despite their endangered status. In a bit of Orwellian double-speak, the original text of the bill declared that shooting wolves is the same as conserving them.

If passed, HB 4158 would set an awful precedent and open a Pandora’s box of copy-cat measures exempting other inconvenient species. Endangered salmon getting in the way of a plan to clear-cut forests? Declare a state of emergency! Protection for humpback whales restricting energy development on the coast? Emergency! Want to pave over an old-growth forest that contains spotted owls? Go to the legislature and declare an emergency!
. . . .
Feb. 17, 2012 | | 9 comments

See Why the rush to kill endangered wolves? for rest of article.


Here is the Petition, that was Created By Brandy Cassandra, Summerville, OR:

SAVE OREGON'S WOLVES, oppose HB 4158 (Click on Petition Letter)


We, the undersigned, urge you to oppose HB 4158, a bill proposed by the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, which allows killing of wolves to address livestock depredation and declares a "state of emergency." With less than 30 wolves in the entire state, we find this declaration absurd. We, and most Oregonians, highly value our wildlife and strongly support endangered species protection and the return of wolves to Oregon, and their strong recovery. 

Oregon has less than 30 confirmed wolves in the entire state and approximately 1.3 million cows. We feel that a Bill establishing a “state of emergency” over the presence of a tentatively recovering endangered wolf population is an attempt to bypass the Oregon Endangered Species Act and would set a dangerous precedent which could be used to circumvent protections of other endangered species at the behest of special interests. Furthermore, we believe it is an effort to short-circuit current litigation which aims to clarify the relationship of the state Endangered Species Act with the Oregon Wolf Plan.

Statements by Oregon Cattlemen's Association members and officers constantly stress the aim of lethal removal over the use of non-lethal measures and tools, which they routinely disparage. As quoted in the Lewiston Tribune Online, 7/2/11, OCA Wolf committee Chair Rod Childers said, “To be able to move to lethal control we as producers have to show we tried nonlethal actions. I can't say if it works or not, it is just things we have been told we have to do, and the whole key to me is getting them to move to lethal control,...” With this in mind, we believe HB 4158 to be an attempt to weaken the commitment to non-lethal measures.

With so many critical issues before this short session of the legislature, devoting precious time to this controversial and unnecessary Bill is a mistake.

Please oppose HB 4158.

Thank you.
[Your name]
[Emphasis Added]

Why This Is Important
Oregon has less than 30 confirmed wolves in the entire state. While a majority of Oregonians support wolf recovery, the livestock industry and hunting organizations have been fighting tooth and nail against protection of the Oregon Endangered Species Act and the Oregon Wolf Plan. The proposed bill HB 4158 declares a "state of emergency" and allows for the killing of wolves to address livestock depredation. We vehemently oppose the slaughtering of endangered native wolves to appease the cattle industry, and we find the declaration of a "state of emergency" absolutely absurd. Please join us in urging our Governor, Senators and House Representatives to oppose this offensive bill. Thank you. 

My Comment:

"The only "emergency" needing to be addressed is to have Oregon ranchers begin using all the non-lethal measures that are available for them to avoid conflicts with wolves. The majority of Oregonians and Americans support wolf recovery for the ecological/environmental benefits they provide. Ranchers, thinking only of their profits after having grown accustomed to the wolf-free environment they and the government created by killing off the wolves many years ago, refuse to spend the money necessary to protect their livestock. It is time to stand up and confront the damage caused to our lands by livestock grazing. One might call it an "emergency."
"Fladry" ODFWPhoto

Please see also: Carter Niemeyer, "Wolfer," and the story, at "The Story."

Sign the petition here if you haven't already: The Governor of OR: SAVE OREGON'S 29 WOLVES, oppose HB 4158

February 17, 2012

Oregon cougar hunting bill is dead. Long live cougars!





Louise du Toit - Ode to the Wolves - Wolf Paintings by Vincent A Kennard

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Iran Nuke Propaganda Debunked, NPR on Iran, and The Greek Experiment

In this Edition:
- Iran Nuke Propaganda Debunked (Video, my comments on NPR & other coverage, several articles & PEW Poll)
- The Greek Experiment
(Videos & Article)

[In my now deleted 2/15/12 post on these subjects, I had forgotten about some comments from a few weeks back on Iran press coverage that I had not yet posted, so I have added them and some articles to fill out the portion on Iran's nuclear program for this new post.]

Iran Propaganda debunked in less than 6 minutes

See Also:
Scott Horton Interviews Flynt Leverett
Scott Horton Interviews Flynt Leverett-- December 30, 2011
Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter
Scott Horton Interviews Gareth Porter--January 19, 2012
Scott Horton Interviews Philip Giraldi

NPR's Navarro lies on Iran Nuke

I like some of the programming on Oregon Public Broadcasting, but I always let out a very loud grumpy groan, which is not unlike the sound of a large tree falling down in a forest far away from any human ear, when during an NPR/PBS/OPB funding drive, I hear the words of some obsequious, allegedly well informed individual say, like many others before them, something to the effect that if it were not for NPR, they would not know what really is going on in the world.

I'm thinking "Really? How unfortunate that you are apparently unplugged from so many alternative news sources on the internet." Sources, I might add, that value truth over the views of administrative overseers, advertisers, or subscriber donations.

Remembering back to the run-up to the Iraq war, NPR was among the others in the mainstream media, like the New York Times, NBC, and the like, that in some cases produced, and at least eagerly repeated, the lies coming out from the Bush administration and the Neocon think tanks. NPR programs, like Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation, even called some of the discredited "experts," or their sponsoring think tanks, back to comment on newer developments years after their previous reports had been show to be utterly baseless and false.

NPR, and even Democracy Now!, to some extent, have given much air time to reporters who told us with righteous glee how Gadaffi was being defeated, but you don't hear many reports now that the country is in a shambles, and the people they supported have turned on each other, and have committed barbarous acts against imprisoned Libyan blacks and others thought to have supported Gaddafi. The corporate media in general behaves the same, and now they all report alleged war crimes and civilian casualties in Syria on the flimsiest of evidence. NPR entertains "experts" who urge US intervention, as they did in Iraq and Libya, without providing much analysis of what the real results of intervention will be. We know what a disaster the wars have become in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Libya and others not far behind.

So now we have had a near constant drumbeat in recent weeks, years really, from that same media, concerning the imminent nuclear threat posed to Israel and the US by Iran.

Without getting in to Iran's actual treaty rights to develop the same nuclear energy for peaceful purposes that the US and Europe have enjoyed for decades, and without bringing into the discussion the fact that the US, some European nations, and Israel, already threaten the world with nuclear weapons, it is important to focus on the lies that NPR (and other media sources) tell us about Iran's nuclear capability.

Here is a recentt lie from NPR:
Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, 12 Noon, 2/3/12, from her base in Jerusalem:

"Most intelligence suggests Iran could have the bomb within a year."

Most intelligence suggests Iran could have the bomb within a year? Who's intelligence? Here are recent statements and articles about US intelligence sources:

Graham Doesn’t Believe Clapper: ‘I’m Very Convinced’ Iran Is Building Nuclear Weapons

By Eli Clifton

February 16, 2012 "Think Progress" - -

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, repeated his position that Iran has not yet decided whether to develop a nuclear weapon. Clapper, both in his prepared remarks [PDF] and in an exchange with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), emphasized that sanctions and diplomacy were the best option for stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and that Iran’s decision making is guided by a a rational “cost-benefit approach.”

Graham — who is currently spearheading a resolution limiting President Obama’s policy options on Iran — tried to push Clapper into acknowledging that Iran has decided to pursue a nuclear weapon, but the top U.S. intelligence failed to agree, leading Graham to disagree with the U.S. intelligence assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions:

LINDSEY GRAHAM: You have doubt about the Iranian’s intention when it comes to making a nuclear weapon?


GRAHAM: So you’re not sure they’re trying to make a bomb? [...]

CLAPPER: I think they’re keeping themselves in a position to make that decision but there are certain things they have not yet done and have not done for some time. [...]

GRAHAM: I guess my point is that I take a different view. I’m very convinced they’re going down the road of developing a nuclear weapon.

Watch it:

James Clapper Discusses Iran's Nuclear Intentions

Read Rest of article at Think Progress.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich:
Fact Checking the Media

"The media coverage on Iran is mirroring the coverage in the lead-up to the Iraq war: grand claims about a smoking gun that doesn't exist. For example, The New York Times incorrectly reported last month that the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran concluded that their nuclear program had a military objective. The paper's public editor, Arthur Brisbane, was forced to acknowledge their mistake and wrote: "Some readers, mindful of the faulty intelligence and reporting about Saddam Hussein's weapons program, are watching the Iran nuclear coverage very closely." Other media outlets such as National Public Radio, PBS and The Washington Post have been challenged on their coverage too. 

A recent publication from the Center for Strategic and International Studies titled "The IAEA's Iran Report and Misplaced Paranoia," noted that "With few exceptions, these revelations are not exactly new. More importantly, neither is the thrust of the report: that Iran is developing some capabilities that can only be understood as preliminaries to the development of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, early coverage of the report's release gives the opposite impression."

Many have recognized that the media failed to do its job in the lead-up to the Iraq war. The potential consequences of treading on that same path with Iran are grave. The U.S. has thus far spent over $1.2 trillion of borrowed money on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military action against Iran would be disastrous for the region and for U.S. moral standing. A serious diplomatic track based on mutual trust and respect is the only way to achieve increased transparency."


Face The Nation, CBS News, January 8, 2012

Defense Secretary, Recently CIA Chief, Leon Panetta:

"Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No."


Israel: No Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program; Barak: Any decision to Strike Iran “Far off.”
Haaretz, via Juan Cole
(no peacenik) January,2012:

“The intelligence assessment Israeli officials will present later this week to Dempsey indicates that Iran has not yet decided whether to make a nuclear bomb. The Israeli view is that while Iran continues to improve its nuclear capabilities, it has not yet decided whether to translate these capabilities into a nuclear weapon – or, more specifically, a nuclear warhead mounted atop a missile. Nor is it clear when Iran might make such a decision.”

This is the same conclusion to which the 16 US intelligence agencies have come in 2007 and 2010. It is also consistent with what the Iranian government itself says, which is that the Iranian nuclear enrichment program is a civilian one and that Iran is not trying to construct a nuclear weapon. Likewise, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which continues to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities, has repeatedly and consistently stated that no nuclear material has been diverted from the civilian program.

Divining the Truth about Iran
February 1, 2012

Exclusive: Like before the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. news media is flooding Americans with alarmist accounts about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. Even when U.S. officials suggest nuance and caution, the media ignores the signals, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern reports.
By Ray McGovern

Watching top U.S. intelligence officials present the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” before the Senate Intelligence Committee, I found myself wondering if they would depart from the key (if politically delicate) consensus judgment that Iran is NOT working on a nuclear weapon.

In last year’s briefing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had stood firm on this key point, despite severe pressure to paint Iran in more pernicious terms. On Tuesday, I was relieved to see in Clapper’s testimony a reiteration of the conclusions of a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of November 2007, issued unanimously by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including judgments like this:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper
“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; … Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.”
Sadly, this judgment still comes as news to many of those Americans who are malnourished on the low-protein gruel of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) – even though the NIE was immediately declassified in 2007 and has been in the public domain for more than four years.


In Iran Dispute, Who’s at Fault?
February 3, 2012

The Israeli government and the major U.S. news media are escalating their rhetoric in support of a new “preemptive” war, this time against Iran. Yet, as with the Iraq invasion, little attention is focusing on the rules of international law and which side is in the wrong, as Nat Parry describes.
By Nat Parry
. . . .
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern recently wrote an article for, reminding readers of a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) from November 2007.
The NIE was issued unanimously by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and included the following conclusion: “We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; … Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005.”
This 2007 joint assessment of the U.S. intelligence community was essentially restated by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last month, who stated frankly on national television that Iran is not currently attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
“Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us,” Panetta told “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer. “And our red line to Iran is to not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”

For its part, Iran has consistently said its nuclear program is peaceful, for electricity and medical purposes. If the Iranian government decides it is in its security interests to attain nuclear weapons, however, it has the legal right under Article 10 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty to withdraw:

“Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.”
But Iran has not chosen to withdraw, and in accordance with its obligations under the NPT, is continuing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has the sole authority under the treaty to ascertain states parties’ commitments on non-acquisition of nuclear weapons.. . . .


Despite the facts cited in the Scott Horton video and articles above, the PEW Research Center tells us 39% of the American People, mostly Republicans, would support Israel if it were to attack Iran over Iran's nuclear program, 51% would stay neutral, and only 5% would oppose. Go figure! The constant barrage of anti-Iranian propaganda from the corporate press seems to have had its predicted effect.

Public Takes Tough Line on Iran’s Nuclear Program

February 15, 2012

Nearly six-in-ten (58%) of Americans say it is important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action. Just 30% say it is more important to avoid a military conflict with Iran.

When it comes to the possibility that Israel may soon attack Iran's nuclear facilities, as has been reported in news stories, 51% say the U.S. should remain neutral. But for those saying the U.S. should take a position, 39% believe it should support an Israeli attack compared to 5% who say it should oppose such action.

Read the summary of the report for a partisan and demographic breakdown of U.S. public opinion on dealing with Iran. The survey also includes findings on overall public opinion about President Obama's plans for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan as well as an analysis of partisan divisions over his plan.

Read Full Report Here

The Greek Experiment


Greek Unrest the Result of Suppressed Democracy

By William Pfaff
[Added 2/16/12]

When the first international effort to impose an economic austerity regime upon Greece was completed, George Papandreou, the prime minister, surprised and infuriated the negotiators from the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank by proposing that the draft agreement be submitted to a popular referendum in Greece. The negotiators and their governments knew very well that the Greek people would reject it.

Mr. Papandreou was hustled out of the limelight, and foreign leaders, the EU, international financial officials, and right-thinking commentators in Europe and the United States all deplored his proposal, since democracy was not part of the deal. . . . .

Greece riots: Athens burns, police fire tear gas as violence flares up

Monday, February 13, 2012

With Liberty & Justice for Some, Video with Glenn Greenwald & Noam Chomsky

The Degradation of The Rule of Law: Punishment for Ordinary Americans and Alleged Enemy States, but Elites and U.S. Allies are Immune.
Please try to watch the whole thing, but the portion that includes the initial comments is less than 45 minutes. The rest is Q & A.

With Liberty & Justice for Some, Video with Glenn Greenwald & Noam Chomsky

Former constitutional rights lawyer, Glenn Greenwald contends that the United States has a two-tiered judicial system, one for the "haves"and one for the "have-nots." Mr. Greenwald presents his argument by tracing the evolution of judicial inequality, from President Richard Nixon's pardon for the Watergate scandal to what the authors deems were economic and political crimes committed during the George W. Bush [and Obama] administration[s]. The author posits that both political parties and the media are culpable for creating an unequal judicial system. Glenn Greenwald presents his thoughts in conversation with political theorist, Noam Chomsky at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(1 hour, 9 minutes)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Idaho Hunter Illegally Kills Collared Oregon Wolf, OR 9; Idaho Fish and Game Shrugs

[Thankfully, this mess was edited 2/11/12]

Gray Wolf (Canis lupis) [USF&WS Photo]

Today, Idaho and their Governor Butch Otter, along with some of their Fish and Game Department officials, are to wolf reestablishment and conservation, as Alabama and Bull Conner were to desegregation and the struggle for the rights of African Americans during the 1960's civil rights campaigns. The applicable words in this instance are ecological bigotry, as opposed to racial bigotry, and the motivation is the political support and special interest economic gain of hunters and the ranching industry.

You may remember the history, from the early 20th century, of the extermination of wolves, and the war by stockmen and the government on other predators as well:

U.S. Department of Agriculture Year Book for 1920

“Evidence that Uncle Sam’s Hunters Get results” U.S. Department of Agriculture Year Book for 1920

For more background please read:
Wolves, Prison Labor, NPR

Idaho's political leaders, in an effort to please livestock producers and hunters, have to date encouraged the killing 290 wolves since they allowed the hunting of wolves with gun and trap. Unfortunately, wolf OR 9, from the travel oriented family of wolves called the Imnaha Pack, in North Eastern Oregon, made the mistake of crossing the Snake River into Idaho, and ultimately encountered one of the West's, in my opinion, ecologically ignorant, and culturally damaged coyote "hunters," who was out entertaining himself during a day dedicated to the pursuit of bloodsport killing. He ended up with a " trophy."

The photo of the hunter and his trophy in the following article says it all--how proud he was to have drained the life out of an Oregon endangered species--and with an expired wolf tag no less. [The human species Homo sapiens contains two major subspecies; Homo sapiens ssp. hypocritcus and Homo sapiens ssp. desructivus--this one appears to be destructivus, but could be a hybrid betwen the two, like Governor Otter.]:

The photo at the Wallowa County Chieftain ( now 2nd link below) has apparently been taken down, but you can still (2/22/12) find it here:

Birds & Wolves post with with OR 9 and the hunter who killed him.

Idaho hunter shoots former Imnaha Pack wolf

See also:

Male wolf OR-9 from Imnaha pack killed by Idaho hunter with expired tag
Published: Friday, February 10, 2012, 1:22 PM     Updated: Friday, February 10, 2012, 1:48 PM

And, more importantly:

Idaho hunter kills the brother of famous wolf that wandered to California
Submitted by Rocky Barker on Fri, 02/10/2012 - 4:31pm, updated on Fri, 02/10/2012 - 4:36pm

But the officer let the hunter off with a warning after checking out his story, said Mike Keckler, Fish and Game communications chief. All he would have had to do was buy a new tag when he brought the wolf in, though it would be illegal.

“He could have done that and we’d have never known,” Keckler said to justify the officer’s decision.

We all know that laws are sometimes, or is that often, selectively enforced. What would happen to a hard-pressed poor person if they had taken a deer or elk with an expired tag? Well, you know. . . .

Here is an Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) video of the Imnaha pack from Nov. 12, 2009. OR 9 is likely one of the young wolves seen in this video.

Imnaha Wolf Pack

Video shows 10 wolves in the Imnaha pack-
A video taken by ODFW on Nov. 12, 2009 in the Imnaha Wildlife Management Unit (east of Joseph, Ore. in Wallowa County) shows at least 10 wolves make up a pack that ODFW has been monitoring since June 2008. The video was taken from an adjacent ridge across a canyon and shows a mixture of gray and black individual wolves moving upslope.

Here is a short video clip of another Imnaha pack wolf, OR 3, who dispersed into areas where wolves are Federally protected, north of Prineville, OR, but to the best of my knowledge, has not been located for a few months. This wolf may be dead too.

Short Clip of Or-3
Imnaha 3-year-old male wolf, May 2011

Now Idaho is considering a bill that would escalate the level of their war on wolves:

Idaho rancher's bill would OK untralights, use of live bait for wolf control

BOISE, Idaho —
. . . .
Under Sen. Jeff Siddoway's plan introduced Thursday, ranchers whose livestock are molested or killed by wolves could employ powered parachutes, as well as traps baited with live animals, to target the predators within 36 hours without a permit.
After that, they could get permits giving them up to 60 days to pursue offending wolf packs.
Idaho now allows gunners aboard powered parachutes to shoot foxes and coyotes.
But shooting wolves from ultralights is forbidden, with wolves classified as big game.
. . . .

See also:
Beastly bingo: Bills allowing wolf killing, defining dangerous dogs and establishing felony animal cruelty offense introduced
Submitted by Dan Popkey on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 8:47am, updated on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 8:49am

Idaho is one of three states without a felony animal cruelty statute, but the livestock industry has so far rebuffed efforts to toughen the law. In 2010, a felony cruelty bill passed the Senate 34-1 but died in a House Committee.
. . . .
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Jeff Siddoway, a Republican sheep rancher from Terreton, authored the bill that would make it easier for a rancher to kill wolves after an attack on his flock.
Siddoway began by declaring a conflict of interest, . . . .


Wolf hunt numbers up; state wants them higher-- Wildlife officials say further control needed

. . . . [Idaho] Department Deputy Director Jim Unsworth said the agency is still worried about wolves in the Lolo zone in northern Idaho.

"We are still having excess mortality on cow elk up there," Unsworth said. "We need to reduce wolf populations."
Cow and calf mortality rates in that region stand at roughly 20 percent, most of which has been from wolf predation, Unsworth said. He said he'd like to reduce that rate to 10 percent from all causes, including other predators such as mountain lions.
. . . .
Garrick Dutcher, program manager for wolf advocacy group Living With Wolves, said the control actions might not have the desired effect. Dutcher argued that predator populations respond to prey populations, rather than the other way around. In other words, fewer wolves doesn't mean more elk.

In Yellowstone National Park, a reintroduced population of wolves grew rapidly as it fed on an "out-of-control" elk population.
"In the park, the wolf population peaked at 174," he said. "Now it's down to 90-something. Now that they have picked off all the easy elk, the wolf population has leveled out.". . . .
(Several of the articles above came to me via Wally Sykes at Northeast Oregon Ecosystems.)

OK. So now, with the wolves back, nature has taken its course, and the ecosystem can begin to recover from misguided human "management."

Some ask how wolf restoration and conservation leads to healthy ecosystems. The two videos and two articles below provide some answers.

Lords of Nature - Trailer

Please See Also:
Predators, Bill Ripple

And the many educational links at:
Trophic Cascades in Terrestrial Ecosystems

Linking Wolves and Plants: Aldo Leopold on Trophic Cascades

And, from Defenders of Wildlife;

Take Action
Will You Pay for Idaho's Aerial Wolf Kills?

Idaho officials want to recklessly gun down wolves from aircraft -- and they want you to pay for it.

State officials want the Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to track down and kill up to two thirds of wolves in northeast Idaho. It's an unscientific plan aimed at artificially boosting big game populations.

Already, nearly 62,000 Defenders' supporters have urged President Obama not to use federal resources to carry out Idaho's misguided wolf cull.


Louise du Toit - Ode to the Wolves - Wolf Paintings by Vincent A Kennard

ODFW Photo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Drones, Decency and Constitutional Rights

[Added link to Repulsive Progressive Hypocrisy, by Glenn Greenwald, with quote, 2/10/12]

Back on January 23rd, 2012, a Herald editorial made what I could only take as a snide and senseless remark about bloggers. The editorial thought that the rhetoric against the SOPA and PIPA internet censorship acts included both "slight exaggerations" and "hysterical claims." They went on to set up a hypothetical example, an example that is unhinged from the realities of the the two bills, between two bloggers expressing their opinions. They conclude with a dig at bloggers by incorrectly suggesting they would still be able to post their "opinion, ad nauseum" (sic), and suggesting that the opinions posted by bloggers everywhere which opposed SOPA and PIPA were "Conspiracy theories." I guess we can be glad that we still live in a country where small newspapers too, can issue their deriding, error prone editorials, ad nauseam.

Oh damn, here I go again with another blogger "ad nauseam" post questioning the behavior of our President and Congress when they violate our basic Constitutional rights. Thankfully the somnolent, apathetic and hypocritical herd can choose instead to read the fluff in the local papers about the Cattlemen's Association, the Super Bowl, or the "Art of the Spud."

Back in 2011, in one of those moments of ad nauseam conspiracy ferver, I had mentioned that killing American citizens by drone strike without formal charge and trial was a grave violation of our Constitutional protections and our long held right of Habeas Corpus and Due Process in courts of law as stated in the Bill of Rights, I.E. the Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.

See for example:

al-Awlaki Assassination Dramatically Steepened the Slippery Slope Leading to the Loss of Everyone's Constitutional Rights

It Must Be Presidential Campaign Season: Obama Produces "Terror" Plot By Iran

TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2010
The "Hope" & the Reality: Obama--talking head pimp (or is that whore?) for corporate America

Now we have leaders from both political parties questioning the Obama administration's authority to order killings of American citizens without due process and asking for the Obama administration's secret interpretations of law that support these killings.

Here are a few recent signs of resistance:

McManus: Who reviews the U.S. 'kill list'?
There has been remarkably little public debate in the U.S. about drone strikes, which have killed at least 1,300 people in Pakistan alone since President Obama came to office.

February 05, 2012|Doyle McManus

When it comes to national security, Michael V. Hayden is no shrinking violet. As CIA director, he ran the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretaps against suspected terrorists.

But the retired air force general admits to being a little squeamish about the Obama administration's expanding use of pilotless drones to kill suspected terrorists around the world — including, occasionally, U.S. citizens.

"Right now, there isn't a government on the planet that agrees with our legal rationale for these operations, except for Afghanistan and maybe Israel," Hayden told me recently.

As an example of the problem, he cites the example of Anwar Awlaki, the New Mexico-born member of Al Qaeda who was killed by a U.S. drone in Yemen last September. "We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him," Hayden notes, "but we didn't need a court order to kill him. Isn't that something?"


Former CIA Director Hayden Against Drone Strikes


Press Release of Senator Wyden
Wyden Continues to Press Justice Department to Explain the Extent of its Authority to Kill Americans

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Washington, D.C. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden called the Administration’s refusal to share legal opinions pertaining to the executive branch’s understanding of its authority to kill Americans “an indefensible assertion of executive authority.” Wyden has been pressing the Justice Department and other administration officials to share its legal interpretations of the government’s authority in this area for more than a year but, as the Senator writes, “it is increasingly clear that [the Justice Department] has no intention of doing so.”

“To be clear, I am not suggesting that the President has no authority to act in this area. If American citizens choose to take up arms against the United States during times of war, there can undoubtedly be some circumstances under which the President has the authority to use lethal force against those Americans,” wrote Wyden. “However, when the United States is engaged in a military conflict with a terrorist group, whose members do not wear uniforms but instead attempt to blend in with civilian populations in a variety of countries around the world, questions about when the President may use lethal force against Americans whom he believes are part of this enemy force become significantly more complicated.

“Members of Congress need to understand how (or whether) the executive branch has attempted to answer these questions so that they can decide for themselves whether this authority has been properly defined. But it is impossible for elected legislators to understand how the executive branch interprets its own authority if the secret legal opinions that outline the Justice Department’s understanding of this authority are withheld from Congress by the Administration.”

Wyden has long asserted that it is inappropriate for the Administration to rely on what he refers to as “secret law” or classified legal interpretations that grant the government authorities without the knowledge and consent of the American people.

“I understand that government officials who choose to rely on secret law almost invariably believe that their decision to do so is justified, and that their secret interpretations of the law would stand up to public scrutiny. But the only way to find out whether this is true is to ensure that this public scrutiny actually takes place,” wrote Wyden, “Intelligence agencies may sometimes need to conduct secret operations, but they should never be in the position of relying on secret law.”

The full text of the Senator’s letter is available below, for more information on Senator Wyden’s efforts to declassify other secret laws [Download letter here.]

And on Drone Strikes Generally:

From The Bureau of Investigative Journalism:
Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals

February 4th, 2012 | by Chris Woods and Christina Lamb

The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of  civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals, an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times has revealed.

The findings are published just days after President Obama claimed that the drone campaign in Pakistan was a ‘targeted, focused effort’ that ‘has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties.’

Speaking publicly for the first time on the controversial CIA drone strikes, Obama claimed last week they are used strictly to target terrorists, rejecting what he called ‘this perception we’re just sending in a whole bunch of strikes willy-nilly’.
‘Drones have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties’, he told a questioner at an on-line forum. ‘This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists trying to go in and harm Americans’.

But research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children.  A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts.

Although the drone attacks were started under the Bush administration in 2004, they have been stepped up enormously under Obama.

There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days. Because the attacks are carried out by the CIA, no information is given on the numbers killed.
. . . .
The legal view
Naz Modirzadeh, Associate Director of the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research (HPCR) at Harvard University, said killing people at a rescue site may have no legal justification.

‘Not to mince words here, if it is not in a situation of armed conflict, unless it falls into the very narrow area of imminent threat then it is an extra-judicial execution’, she said. ‘We don’t even need to get to the nuance of who’s who, and are people there for rescue or not. Because each death is illegal. Each death is a murder in that case.’


See also:

Repulsive Progressive Hypocrisy

By Glenn Greenwald
February 09, 2012 "Salon"

During the Bush years, Guantanamo was the core symbol of right-wing radicalism and what was back then referred to as the “assault on American values and the shredding of our Constitution”: so much so then when Barack Obama ran for President, he featured these issues not as a secondary but as a central plank in his campaign. But now that there is a Democrat in office presiding over Guantanamo and these other polices — rather than a big, bad, scary Republican — all of that has changed, as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll today demonstrates:

The sharpest edges of President Obama’s counterterrorism policy, including the use of drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists abroad and keeping open the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have broad public support, including from the left wing of the Democratic Party. . . . .

Repulsive liberal hypocrisy extends far beyond the issue of Guantanamo. A core plank in the Democratic critique of the Bush/Cheney civil liberties assault was the notion that the President could do whatever he wants, in secret and with no checks, to anyone he accuses without trial of being a Terrorist – even including eavesdropping on their communications or detaining them without due process. But President Obama has not only done the same thing, but has gone much farther than mere eavesdropping or detention: he has asserted the power even to kill citizens without due process.
. . . .

Top official: drone critics are Al Qaeda enablers


U.S. Accused of Using Drones to Target Rescue Workers and Funerals in Pakistan

Monday, February 6, 2012

The War Prayer

, By Mark Twain

[Edited 2/7/12; Music added]
The War Prayer
From Information Clearing House

O Lord our God, ... help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, - Mark Twain -

America and Europe's wars: ["What we say goes" Noam Chomsky -"We are God" added by Chris]

The War Prayer, 

By Mark Twain

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way. 

Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation 

*God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!*

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory -- 

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!" 

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it. 

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the *whole* of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory--*must* follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen! 

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(*After a pause.*) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said. 


Twain apparently dictated it around 1904-05; it was rejected by his publisher, and was found after his death among his unpublished manuscripts. It was first published in 1923 in Albert Bigelow Paine's anthology, Europe and Elsewhere. 
The story is in response to a particular war, namely the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902, which Twain opposed. See Jim Zwick's page "Mark Twain on the Philippines" for more of Twain's writings on the subject. 

Transcribed by Steven Orso (


The War Prayer Pt. 1

The War Prayer Pt. 2


Joan Baez - With God on Our Side (Live 1966)


Bob Dylan With God On Our Side Live at Town Hall 1963 (23/25)


Is It For Freedom?