Backtalk, October 15 2007

The Ron Paul Breakthrough

Is he really antiwar?: “Paul Calls for Congressional Declaration of War with Iraq.

~ Roger Kulp Albuquerque

Eric Garris replies:

Ron Paul used the same tactic used by antiwar members of Congress for many years. In fact, his “Declare War” resolution was cosponsored by many antiwar Democrats.

Mike Gravel did the same thing over the Vietnam War when he was in the Senate. In fact, his “Declare War” resolution was cosponsored by many antiwar Democrats.

The Congress hasn’t declared war since 1941, and it is accepted that there would be much less intervention if Congress was required to declare war in each case (as the Constitution mandates). Ron had publicly stated that he would vigorously oppose his own resolution, but he wanted it debated.

I have known Ron Paul personally for 32 years. He is opposed to all U.S. intervention into the affairs of other nations.

Heat Turns Up on Blackwater Inquiry

The claim that Blackwater is outside the law simply is not true. In fact, private military contractors are accountable several times over. First, they are accountable to the tightly written terms of their State Department contracts. As a result of congressional legislation, they are also accountable to FBI investigation and U.S. criminal prosecution. Finally, the claim that they are immune from Iraqi prosecution is mostly false. Order 17, issued in 2004, stipulates that “Contractors shall be immune from Iraqi legal process with respect to acts performed by them pursuant to the terms and conditions of a Contract or any subcontract thereto.” In other words, contractors getting drunk and causing trouble in their spare time get no immunity. This is quite different from national military forces, which are unequivocally “immune from Iraqi legal process.” In this regard, Blackwater is actually MORE accountable than the U.S. military.

~ Aaron R. Linderman

Brussels’ End

If the article is just in all aspects and information, it dramatizes a little bit the situation. Dramatization is a source of paranoia and misinformation, which are used by several states to pursue their objectives. I’m Belgian, and I don’t care about what happens now in my country. There was no hard repression. Some neo-Nazis were taken by the police out of the demonstration. It’s possible for the country to be divided into two parts.

~ Francois Barzin

Nebojsa Malic replies:

Monsieur Barzin,

Believe me, I do not wish to create more drama or sensationalize things. The demonstration and its accompanying repression were just an illustration of tensions that objectively exist. It is not up to me to judge whether Belgium should split or remain together; that’s up to the folks living there. I do, however, have the right to point out the incongruity of advocating a European super-state when its own source, Belgium, is disintegrating. I don’t know to what extent, if any, other governments are involved in the current Belgian crisis. But I do wish the people who live in what is today Belgium to resolve their differences peacefully (and if that means partition, so be it), rather than in the manner of Yugoslavia – which had much foreign “assistance” in its bloody divorce.

Bush, Oil – and Moral Bankruptcy

I love and appreciate McGovern’s work. Just one comment: When are we going to stop saying things like “an unnecessary, counterproductive war,” and start talking war crimes – the highest crime on the planet. The UN Charter is not just international law. It was ratified by the Senate and is U.S. law, equal to any other part of the constitution that George W. swore to uphold.

Whether we impeach and convict in the Senate or not, Bush et al. must be tried for war crimes once they are out of office and surrender their diplomatic immunity from prosecution. To do otherwise is to allow our leaders to get away with mass murder. This will only encourage future leaders to do more of the same in the name of “protecting the national interest.”

~ Chris Meyer

‘A Coup Has Occurred’

During Oliver North’s Iran-Contra phase, the White House was using – by today’s standards – fairly basic telex and e-mail technology. Thousands of messages and policy statements passed between those working secretly on various projects. Back-channel contacts with Iran, with whom at the time Iraq was at war, were under way. The reason for the contacts was to enable North and McFarlane to secretly supply arms to Iran. Meanwhile Dow Chemical was selling chemical precursors to Iraq. Then there was the secret arming of the mujahedin in Afghanistan, notably with the help of Vincent Cannistraro. Then there was Cannistraro’s successful 1986 attempt to persuade Dewey Claridge to sign off on an illegal international program of CIA kidnappings and renditions. There was Richard Stark’s joking discussion of the possibility of manufacture of evidence to bring down the government of Yemen. These and many other projects were revealed in the 4,000 or so messages that survived in spite of Poindexter and North’s attempt to delete them, on the specious excuse that they were “clearing out the files ready for the next administration.” The messages formed the basis of the Tower Commission investigation, which in turn led to the Iran-Contra trials.

Sadly, the system was then changed. It has now become unbreakable. As one example, the Lockerbie bombing took place 19 years ago. It was known that Cannistraro was put in charge of the CIA team at Lockerbie. Much was revealed in the trial, but nothing whatever emerged as regards CIA involvement in the investigation, and Cannistraro did not appear as a witness, so, in effect, the shutters came down.

And the word “Lockerbie”? Where is it in the National Security Archives?

In fact, it is nowhere. If we go by official records in the NSA, or declassified records, Lockerbie never happened. As with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s 914 page memoirs, the event never took place. …

~ Peter Biddulph, Worcestershire, England,

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