The Patriot Act in El Salvador

May 11, 2009

Nothing new here, this is old news but I’m going to cover it again because it’s 2009 and we have a new president who, sadly, is a carbon copy of the last one.

The U.S. Patriot Act’s provision for warrantless seizure of medical records got the ball rolling. President Obama and the NSA are committed to the spying provisions of the act.  Will they follow through on the penalty provisions as well, as El Salvador did?

Water Protest-El Salvador

Water Protest-El Salvador

In 2007 El Salvador, under the control of the right wing ARENA party, used a version of America’s Patriot Act to arrest peaceful members of a peaceful resistance group for protesting the privatization of its water supply and public health system.  The federal water supply had lately been distributed to municipalities which in turn sold it to private interests. Salvadorans complained of the high cost and poor quality of the water received from the private water distribution interests.

The government plans to try them under the country’s new anti-terrorism laws, which could make them the first political prisoners in the nation’s post-war era.

Several nurses were also arrested for protesting the privatization of the health care industry.

Charges were eventually reduced but many resisters served as much as nine months in prison. Upon release, one of the leaders of the opposition was murdered.

This case not only points up the problems with the growing cancer of globalization and privatization of essential resources but the way governments may react when they encounter opposition to their plans.

At the protest several persons were arrested under a provision of an anti terrorist act which converted misdemeanor acts of civil disobedience to felonies punishable by up to 60 years in prison.  The provision of the El Salvador act was similar to the Violent Radicalization and Home Grown Terror Prevention Act.

VRAHTPA establishes a new federal commission tasked with investigating Americans with “extremist belief systems” and those who may engage in “ideologically based violence.” This effort is expected to cost $22 million.
You can get a feel for where this commission is heading in this excerpt from the legislation to create it, which has already cleared by the House of Representatives by a 404-6 vote and is now headed to the Senate:
he Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.

What is ideological terror and how will they decide what one can believe?  Who will be the terrorists in a world where the “war on terror” never ends, but expands into infinity?  Nothing is clear cut with the Patriot Act.  I feel uneasy about handing over my medical records to the worldwide pharmaceutical and health care industries just because they gave Obama and Pelosi a bunch of money.  In fact, I feel downright pissed off.  What would happen if we just refused to do it?  Would we be left off of the medicare and health care grid?  Would we be able to receive medical treatment? How about some types of social security?

Could we be arrested?  Don’t know.   And I sure don’t trust Obama and the oligarchs.

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It’s All About Oil.

March 29, 2009

To quote the French:  The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Change you can believe in.

On January 28, 2009, Obama appointee, retired 4 star Admiral Dennis Blair was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director of National Intelligence.  The DNI chief reports directly to the president and defense department chief and co-ordinates all other national intelligence agencies. It prepares the National Defense Estimate annual report to congress.  The office of DNI was created by the Bush administration in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Admiral Blair has an impressive resume: Rhodes Scholar, Russian speaker, attended East-West Center at the University of  Hawaii in 1968, former Commander-in -Chief of U.S. Pacific Command:

PACOM area of responsibility

PACOM area of responsibility

From 2003 to 2007, Blair was president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a nonprofit corporation that manages federally funded national security research and development centers. He stepped down in the face of concerns that his positions on the boards of major defense contractors presented a conflict of interest.

Excerpt from article by

Author:
Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor

updated: February 9, 2009

Dennis Blair

Retired four-star Admiral Dennis C. Blair is President Obama’s director of national intelligence (DNI)–confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 28, 2009. Blair, a thirty-four-year Navy veteran, is the former commander-in-chief of U.S. Pacific Command.

He also served as associate director of central intelligence for military support, coordinating intelligence and military operations under the Clinton administration. He was director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, and commanded the Kitty Hawk Strike Group aircraft carrier and the destroyer Cochrane.

Admiral Blair advised congress in 1999 that U.S.-Indonesian  military co-ordination should be resumed. The above article does not mention that Admiral Blair’s 1999 advice came  just one day after the outbreak of an Indonesian Army massacre of civilians in Dili, East Timor.  Blair has contended that he was not aware of the Indonesian army’s  massacre, although evidence has been produced indicating that he did.  The army killings in Dili increased after the congressional approval of the new pact.  What is clear is that for some time the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have had a cordial relationship with Indonesia’s murderous dictators.

The massacre in Dili was about oil.

USPACCOM unified command

The top U.S. officer in the Pacific (unidentified, not Blair) met with Indonesia's president to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the region and applaud Indonesia’s role in security initiatives.

Blair Senate Appearance.

In a 2007 appearance before the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation,  retired admiral Dennis Blair urged the U.S. to pursue increased automobile mileage efficiency among the major auto makers in order to relieve stress on the military in the security of oil supplies.

Blair clearly emphasizes, throughout his senate testimony, that a large part of U.S. military commitment in the Pacific theater and Central Asia and the Middle East is the protection and preservation of energy (oil, natural gas) supplies.  In my post of March 1, 2009 I noted that the U.S. interest in Afghanistan and support of the Taliban throughout Afghanistan’s war with the invading Soviet Union  (which began in 1979-1980), included  an interest in extending an oil pipeline connecting the Middle East and Asia.  An effort to build the pipeline with the aid of trained Taliban workers was discontinued due to pressure from American feminist groups over the Taliban’s treatment of women.  Unocal attempted to take over the pipeline project from the U.S. Government but dropped the proposal.

It’s about oil.

Here’s an excerpt from Dennis Blair’s committee presentation:

In the late 1970s two serious threats to Persian Gulf oil were identified by the Carter Administration, which became seized by the issue. The first was a potential Soviet invasion from the north into the oil regions around the Gulf, a concern heightened by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The second was an aggressive and fundamentalist Iran, which was led by a regime that had permitted and then exploited the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran. In response, the department of defense created the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, the RDJTF, a planning headquarters and contingency force that could quickly deploy to the Gulf to defeat a major land invasion.  In 1983 as part of its general military build up against the Soviet Union, the Reagan administration upgraded this task force to a regional command like the European Command and the Pacific Command, where I served and where I ultimately commanded. So this Central Command had full time responsibility for U.S. interests in the region.

U.S. interests in the region – does that mean oil?

This article has an interesting timeline of events for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.  I can’t vouch for all the facts but it is tantalizing.

Obama plans to send 17,000 additional troops into Afghanistan to beef up the “war on terror”.  Along with this change comes an offer by his administration to “negotiate” with the “moderate” factions of the Taliban.  Thus Obama can argue that he will have two options for bringing peace to Afghanistan, a carrot and stick approach, if you will:  more troops and more bombing, or a settlement of differences.  In addition to bringing peace, the carrot and stick will also help build a new pipeline.  I doubt that feminist groups  this time will be able to stand in the way of the pipeline — not under a “progressive, feminist friendly” president.

Recall Ann Dunham Soetoro’s resume of helping poor women:  with microloans in Pakistan and Indonesia, cataloging various native crafts during major massacres in Indonesia under the auspices of the Ford Foundation (working for Peter Geithner, the Treasury Secretary’s father), USAID, and the World Bank (all of which are widely believed to have CIA associations).  Ann Dunham Soetero’s connection to these mineral rich regions is Barack Obama’s connection to these mineral rich regions.

Here’s a little bit of history about past DNI chiefs:

George W. Bush’s first DNI chief was John Negroponte, who previously held a position under Condaleeza Rice when she was NSA chief.  Negroponte served under Ronald Reagan as ambassador to El Salvador during Reagan’s dirty wars in Central America in the 1980’s, and was implicated in the training of death squads and the cover-up to congress of their barbarous activities.  A staunch anti-communist, he was appointed ambassador to Mexico during the populist Chiapas uprising, and suspected of using ruthless countermeasures against them. George Bush’s second DNI chief was Mike McConnell, a member of the controversial and influential quasi-governmental body, the Carlyle Group. Recall that the Carlyle Group is a conglomerate of American defense department chiefs, the two Bush presidents, and Saudi oil interests, among others.

Dennis Blair is Obama’s new DNI chief –another man with a strong resume protecting oil.

The more things change … the more it’s still about oil.