Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Congress’

Obama’s Israel Policy: Speak softly and carry a very big carrot

December 6, 2010

by Maidhc Ó Cathail, Foreign Policy Journal, December 4, 2010

Even those familiar with the long and shameful history of America’s appeasement of Israel were taken aback by the Obama administration’s extraordinary offer to Netanyahu.

In exchange for a paltry one-off 90 day freeze on illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), Israel will get 20 F-35 stealth fighter jets worth $3 billion and a slew of other goodies. Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reportedly gave up to eight hours with Netanyahu trying to persuade him to accept “one of the most generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign power.” Praising the Israeli Prime Minister for eventually agreeing to put the offer to his security cabinet, President Obama took it as “a signal that he is serious.”

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Paul C. Roberts: The Stench of American Hypocrisy, Part 2

November 27, 2010

By Paul Craig Roberts, Foreign Policy Journal, Nov 23, 2010

In a recent column, “The Stench of American Hypocrisy,” I noted that US public officials and media are on their high horse about the rule of law in Burma while the rule of law collapses unremarked in the US. Americans enjoy beating up other peoples for American sins. Indeed, hypocrisy has become the defining characteristic of the United States.

Hypocrisy in America is now so commonplace it is no longer noticed. Consider the pro-football star Michael Vick. In a recent game Vick scored 6 touchdowns, totally dominating the playing field. His performance brought new heights of adulation, causing National Public Radio to wonder if the sports public shouldn’t retain a tougher attitude toward a dog torturer who spent 1.5 years in prison for holding dog fights.

I certainly do not approve of mistreating animals. But where is the outrage over the US government’s torture of people? How can the government put a person in jail for torturing dogs but turn a blind eye to members of the government who tortured people?

Under both US and international law, torture of humans is a crime, but the federal judiciary turns a blind eye and even allows false confessions extracted by torture to be used in courts or military tribunals to send tortured people to more years in prison based on nothing but their coerced self-incrimination.

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Obama wants record $708 billion for military next year

January 15, 2010
Yahoo! News
Associated Press

By ANNE GEARAN and ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writers Anne Gearan And Anne Flaherty, Associated Press Writers Wed Jan 13, 2010

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will ask Congress for an additional $33 billion to fight unpopular wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of a record $708 billion for the Defense Department next year, The Associated Press has learned — a request that could be an especially hard sell to some of the administration’s Democratic allies.

The extra $33 billion in 2010 would mostly go toward the expansion of the war in Afghanistan. Obama ordered an extra 30,000 troops for that war as part of an overhaul of the war strategy late last year.

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Dick Cheney ‘silenced CIA over spy plan’

July 12, 2009
Al Jazeera, July 12, 2009

Cheney has advocated the use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding [EPA]

Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, deliberately withheld details of a secret CIA spy programme from the US congress for eight years, a US senator has said.

Cheney, who was vice-president to George Bush until January this year, ordered the CIA not to tell congress of a new “counter-terrorism” programme in 2001.

Cheney’s role in stifling the information was revealed by Leon Panetta, who now heads the CIA and who ordered the programme to be stopped in June.

Senator Diane Feinstein, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, speaking on a US television show on Sunday, said: “Director Panetta did brief us two weeks ago … and tell us that he was told that the vice-president had ordered that the programme not be briefed to the congress.”

Amid calls for an investigation, senator Dick Durbin said Cheney’s actions had been “inappropriate”.

“To have a massive programme that is concealed from the leaders in congress is not only inappropriate; it could be illegal,” he said.

The details of the intelligence programme, launched after the attacks on the US in September 2001, remain secret.

Covert operations

A spokesman for the CIA said it was not policy to discuss classified briefings, but added: “When a CIA unit brought this matter to Director Panetta’s attention, it was with the recommendation that it be shared appropriately with congress.

“That was also his view, and he took swift, decisive action to put it into effect.”

Under US law, the president is required to make sure intelligence committees are fully informed about covert operations.

The newspaper did not name its sources and said it had been unsuccessful in reaching Cheney for comment.

Cheney has been criticised in the past for supporting controversial interrogation techniques such as waterboarding (where a detainee is made to feel as if he is drowning), sleep deprivation, long periods of standing and exposure to cold.

Many critics have described the methods as being torture.

Controversial move

Eric Holder, the US attorney general is reported to be considering assigning a prosecutor to investigate interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects by the government of George Bush, the former US president.

Such an appointment could lead to a criminal inquiry into the treatment of prisoners by the CIA following the 2001 attacks in New York.

The move is seen as being controversial as Barack Obama, the US president, had previously said he wanted to leave the issue “in the past”.

An official from the US justice department said Holder planned to “follow the fact and the law”.

Holder’s decision is expected to be made in the next few weeks.


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