Biological Warfare and the National Security State: A Chronology

9 August, 2009 — Anti-Fascist Calling

The history of bioweapons research in the United States is a history of illicit–and illegal–human experiments.

From the Cold War to the War on Terror, successive American administrations have turned a blind eye on dubious research rightly characterized as having “a little of the Buchenwald touch.”

While the phrase may have come from the files of the Atomic Energy Commission as Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Eileen Welsome revealed in her 1999 book, The Plutonium Files, an investigation into secret American medical experiments at the dawn of the nuclear age, it is as relevant today as the United States pours billions of dollars into work on some of the most dangerous pathogens known to exist in nature.

That Cold War securocrats were more than a little concerned with a comparison to unethical Nazi experiments is hardly surprising. After all, with the defeat of the Axis powers came the triumphalist myth-making that America had fought a “good war” and had liberated humanity from the scourge of fascist barbarism.

Never mind that many of America’s leading corporations, from General Motors to IBM and from Standard Oil to Chase National Bank, were sympathizers and active collaborators with the Third Reich prior to and even during World War II, as documented by investigative journalists Charles Higham in Trading With The Enemy, and Edwin Black in IBM and the Holocaust. Like much else in American history, these were dirty little secrets best left alone.

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The Downing Street memo Pt.2

10 August, 2009

Ray McGovern: The person that leaked the memo did an “incredible” public service

Ray McGovern talks with Paul Jay about the paper trail on the Iraq war, as revealed in the British “Downing Street memo”.

Part One Here

Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was employed under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. McGovern was born and raised in the Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

US strike on Iran 'feasible and credible': retired general

7 August, 2009 — Spacewar

Iran bomb-grade uranium not expected before 2013: State Dept
The State Department’s intelligence bureau has concluded that Iran will not be technically capable of producing weapons grade uranium for nuclear weapons before 2013, the US intelligence director has told Congress. The assessment by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research was included in written responses to questions submitted to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair. Even though Iran has made significant progress in enriching uranium, the State Department bureau ‘continues to assess it is unlikely that Iran will have the technical capability to produce HEU (highly enriched uranium) before 2013,’ Blair said. In his earlier testimony to Congress, Blair has said Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb as early as 2010 or as late as 2015, and noted that INR believed it would not be before 2013 ‘because of foreseeable technical and programmatic problems.’ In the update, he said the judgement was based on an estimate of when Iran would have the functional ability to perform the enrichment rather than when it might make a political decision to produce HEU. The US intelligence community ‘has no evidence that Iran has yet made the decision to produce highly enriched uranium, and INR assesses that Iran is unlikely to make such a decision for at least as long as international pressure and scrutiny persist,’ the document said. ‘INR shares the Intelligence Community’s assessment that Iran probably would use military-run covert facilities, rather than declared nuclear sites, to produce HEU. Outfitting a covert enrichment infrastructure could take years,’ the document said. The document, which was submitted in April, was released to the Federation of American Scientists in response to a freedom of information request.

Washington (AFP) – A devastating US military strike against Iran’s nuclear and military facilities ‘is a technically feasible and credible option,’ a retired general asserted in an article published on Friday.

Retired air force general Charles Wald, a former deputy commander of US forces in Europe, said US policy makers must prepare for a ‘Plan B,’ including the military’s role, should diplomacy fail.

‘A peaceful resolution of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear ambitions would certainly be the best possible outcome,’ Wald wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.

‘But should diplomacy and economic pressure fail, a US military strike against Iran is a technically feasible and credible option,’ he said.

Wald’s views were in striking contrast with those of the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders, who have warned repeatedly that military action against Iran would be highly destabilizing.

In a related development, the State Department’s intelligence arm has concluded that Iran is unlikely to have the technical capability to produce highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons before 2013, according to a newly released congressional document.

US intelligence chief Dennis Blair has said Iran could have the technical means to produce bomb-grade material as early as 2010, although there is no evidence it has made a political decision to do so.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has sought to engage Iran diplomatically, but prospects of a breakthrough have been clouded by political turmoil in Iran over President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad’s disputed re-election.

‘Many policy makers and journalists dismiss the military option on the basis of a false sense of futility,’ Wald wrote.

‘They assume that the US military is already overstretched, that we lack adequate intelligence about the location of covert nuclear sites, and that known sites are too heavily fortified,’ he said. Wald’s views were in striking contrast with those of the Pentagon’s top civilian and military leaders, who have warned repeatedly that military action against Iran would be highly destabilizing.

‘Such assumptions are false,’ he said.

Wald argued that serious military preparations for a strike could in themselves help persuade Iran to end its nuclear defiance ‘without firing a single shot.’

Pressure could be applied by deploying additional aircraft carrier battle groups and minesweepers to waters off Iran and conducting military exercises with allies, he said.

If that failed, he said, the US Navy could blockade Iran’s Gulf ports, cutting off gasoline imports that constitute a third the country’s domestic consumption.

‘Should these measures not compel Tehran to reverse course on its nuclear program, and only after all other diplomatic avenues and economic pressures have been exhausted, the US military is capable of launching a devastating attack on Iranian nuclear and military facilities,’ he wrote.

Wald acknowledged there were ‘huge risks to military action,’ including that Iranians would rally around ‘an unstable and oppressive regime’ and that reprisals and regional unrest would follow.

‘Furthermore, while a successful bombing campaign would set back Iranian nuclear development, Iran would undoubtedly retain its nuclear know how,’ he said.

‘But the risks of military action must be weighed against those of doing nothing,’ he said.”

Media Capitalism, the State, and 21st Century Media Democracy Struggles: An Interview with Robert McChesney by Tanner Mirrlees

9 August, 2009 — Relay

The Media, the Left, and Power

In The German Ideology, Marx said the following about the media: “The class which has the means of material production at its disposal has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” Since Marx’s time, “the means of mental production” in society have expanded into a globalizing capitalist media and cultural industry that encompasses both print and electronic mediums, news and entertainment. The media is a contradictory institution; it is once a means of production and a terrain of struggle. “The class that is the ruling material force of society” continues to rule the media and therefore is a very powerful “ruling intellectual force” in society. Yet, control of the media by the ruling class is being opposed by media democracy struggles.

Robert McChesney, eminent historian and political-economist of the media, founder of the Free Press, leading U.S. and international media activist, and author of The Political Economy of the Media: Enduring Issues, Emerging Dilemmas (Monthly Review Press, 2008) and Communication Revolution: Critical Junctures and the Future of the Media (The New Press, 2008), spoke with Tanner Mirrlees, of the Socialist Project, about contemporary media capitalism and 21st century media democracy struggles to understand and change it. — Tanner Mirrlees.

Tanner Mirrlees: Why do you think it is important for progressives to understand the media and participate in media democracy struggles?

Robert McChesney: The media is one of the key areas in society where power is exercised, reinforced, and contested.  It is hard to imagine a successful left political project that does not have a media platform.  The media was not a major political issue for earlier generations of the Left.  In the 19th century, a very different media system was in place.  19th century socialists wouldn’t be talking much about the need to criticize the New York Herald Tribune because they weren’t organizing people who read the New York Herald Tribune.  It was much easier and more common for the Left to have its own media.  The workers had worker papers.  They weren’t consuming mass-produced commercial media products.  But this started changing in the first half of the 20th century.  Capital accumulation colonized much more of popular culture and communications.  Capitalism became the dominant mode of producing and distributing information in society.  The media has since become central to politics; it is a central concern for anyone that wants to understand politics and intervene politically.  The challenge for us is to understand, use, and struggle to change the existing media.

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The Worldwide H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic collected articles

4 August, 2009 — Global Research

The WHO plans to vaccinate more than half the World’s population


Global Research Editor’s Note
We bring to the attention of our readers a collection of in-depth reports and articles on the H1N1 Flu Pandemic, published by Global Research since the outbreak of the crisis in Mexico in April.

“The U.S. expects to have 160 million doses of swine flu vaccine available sometime in October”, (Associated Press, 23 July 2009)

“Vaccine makers could produce 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario”, Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), quoted by Reuters, 21 July 2009)

Wealthier countries such as the U.S. and Britain will pay just under $10 per dose [of the H1N1 flu vaccine]. … Developing countries will pay a lower price.” [circa $400 billion for Big Pharma] (Business Week, July 2009)

The Worldwide H1N1 swine flu pandemic serves to mislead public opinion.

The 2009 pandemic, which started in Mexico in April, is timely: it coincides with a deepening economic depression. It takes place at a time of military escalation.

The epidemiological data is fabricated, falsified and manipulated. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an epidemic of worldwide proportions now looms and threatens the livelihood of  ”2 billion people [who] could become infected over the next two years — nearly one-third of the world population.” (World Health Organization as reported by the Western media, July 2009). According to the Obama administration,  the “swine flu could strike up to 40 percent of Americans … and as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren’t successful.” (Official Statement of the US Administration, Associated Press, 24 July 2009).

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