Pentagon May Use Death Squads in Iraq

The Salvador Option: “Newsweek has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported ‘nationalist’ forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success-despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.)

Following that model, one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called ‘snatch’ operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries, officials tell Newsweek.” (truthout)

"Not One Damn Dime Day"

This is circulating widely via email. I’m reposting it here in FmH’s role as a community bulletin board (or, some might say, a spam amplifier).

Jan 20, 2005 – Inauguration Day — please mark your calendars now…

Since our religious leaders will not speak out against the war in Iraq, since our political leaders don’t have the moral courage to oppose it, Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20th, 2005 is “Not One Damn Dime Day” in America.

On “Not One Damn Dime Day” those who oppose what is happening in our name in Iraq can speak up with a 24-hour national boycott of all forms of consumer spending.

During “Not One Damn Dime Day” please don’t spend money. Not one damn dime for gasoline. Not one damn dime for necessities or for impulse purchases. Not one damn dime for nothing for 24 hours.

On “Not One Damn Dime Day,” please boycott Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target… Please don’t go to the mall or the local convenience store. Please don’t buy any fast food (or any groceries at all for that matter). For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down.

The object is simple. Remind the people in power that the war in Iraq is immoral and illegal; that they are responsible for starting it and that it is their responsibility to stop it.

“Not One Damn Dime Day” is to remind them, too, that they work for the people of the United States of America, not for the international corporations and K Street lobbyists who represent the corporations and funnel cash into American politics.

“Not One Damn Dime Day” is about supporting the troops. The politicians put the troops in harm’s way. Now over 1,200 brave young Americans and (some estimate) 100,000 Iraqis have died. The politicians owe our troops a plan – a way to come home.

There’s no rally to attend. No marching to do. No petitions to sign. No left or right wing agenda to rant about. On “Not One Damn Dime Day” you take action by doing nothing.

You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.

For 24 hours, nothing gets spent, not one damn dime, to remind our religious leaders and our politicians of their moral responsibility to end the war in Iraq and give America back to the people.

Jon Stewart Killed ‘Crossfire’

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Who’s your daddy now, Tucker?
“CNN has ended its relationship with the conservative commentator Tucker Carlson and will shortly cancel its long-running daily political discussion program, ‘Crossfire,’ the new president of CNN, Jonathan Klein, said last night.

…Mr. Klein said he wanted to move CNN away from what he called ‘head-butting debate shows,’ which have become the staple of much of all-news television in the prime-time hours, especially at the top-rated Fox News Channel.

‘CNN is a different animal,’ Mr. Klein said. ‘We report the news. Fox talks about the news. They’re very good at what they do and we’re very good at what we do.’

Mr. Klein specifically cited the criticism that the comedian Jon Stewart leveled at ‘Crossfire’ when he was a guest on the program during the presidential campaign. Mr. Stewart said that ranting partisan political shows on cable were ‘hurting America.’

Mr. Klein said last night, ‘I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart’s overall premise.’ He said he believed that especially after the terror attacks on 9/11, viewers are interested in information, not opinion.” (New York Times ; thanks, andy)

Staples Stunner

Staples, Inc. will not renew advertising on local Sinclair Broadcast Group stations: “Media Matters for America today announced that Staples, Inc. will no longer advertise on local news programming on Sinclair Broadcast Group TV stations nationwide. Citing an effort to be responsive to customer concerns about Sinclair’s injection of partisan conservative politics into its nightly newscasts, Staples, Inc. attributed its decision in part to the response the company received from customers visiting the SinclairAction.com website.”

Portable Virtual Privacy machine

“Carry your entire Internet communication system on a tiny USB drive. No installation needed – just plug the drive into any Windows or Linux computer, and click on the Virtual Privacy Machine icon and you’re ready to go. Contains a complete virtual Linux machine with privacy-enabled Open Source Internet applications. Carry your Internet applications, email, bookmarks, history, web cookies, download files in your pocket. Perfect for travellers – nothing to be scanned, started, poked, or prodded at the airport. Get English keyboard support no matter what computer you use. The VPM’s network connection will auto configure and run seamlessly on any machine with a working internet connection. All Internet session data (cookies, history, downloads, etc.) are stored on the VPM, not the host computer. Runs on any rewriteable media (USB drives, Flash Memory cards, Secure Digital devices, iPods, etc.) This PR1 release runs on Windows and Linux – final release version will also run on OS X. Runs in full screen mode (press SHIFT-CTRL-F. SHIFT-CTRL captures and releases focus.) Includes Mozilla Firefox browser, Mozilla Thunderbird News/Email client (with Enigmail plugins for PGP email encryption), persistent Home directory, a demo version of the MetroPipe Tunneler…..(free).”