Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering Israeli Military's 1967 Attack On USS Liberty Ship

The Israeli War Machine has a long history of attacking ships in international waters, in violation of international law. As a former Congressional representative from Illinois, Paul Findley, recalled in his 1985 book They Dare To Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby:

"...As the result of a program of concealment supported by successive governments in both Israel and the United States, hardly anyone remembers the...USS Liberty after a devastating assault by Israeli forces on June 8, 1967, left 34 sailors dead, 171 injured, and the damaged ship adrift with no power, rudder or means of communication...

"Certain facts are clear. The attack was no accident. The Liberty was assaulted in broad daylight by Israeli forces who knew the ship's identity. The Liberty, an intelligence-gathering ship, had no combat capability and carried only light machine guns for defense. A steady breeze made its U.S. flag easily visible. The assault occurred over a period of nearly two hours--first by air, then torpedo boat. The ferocity of the attack left no doubt: the Israeli forces wanted the ship and its crew destroyed.

"The public, however, was kept in the dark. Even before the American public learned of the attack, U.S. government officials began to promote an account satisfactory to Israel. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] worked through Congressmen to keep the story under control. The President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, ordered and led a cover-up so thorough that sixteen years after he left office, the episode was still largely unknown to the public--and the men who suffered and died have gone largely unhonored.

"The day of the attack began in routine fashion, with the ship first proceeding slowly in an easterly direction in the eastern Mediterranean, later following the contour of the coastline westerly about fifteen miles off the Sinai Peninsula...

"At 6 a.m. an airplane, identified by the Liberty crew as an Israeli Noratlas, circled the ship slowly and departed. This procedure was repeated periodically over an eight-hour period. At 9 A.M., a jet appeared at a distance, then left. At 10 A.M., two rocket-armed jets circled the ship three times. They were close enough for their pilots to be observed through binoculars. The planes were unmarked. An hour later the Israeli Noraltas returned, flying not more than 200 feet directly above the Liberty and clearly marked with the Star of David. The ship's crew members and the pilot waved at each other. This plane returned every few minutes until 1 P.M. By then, the ship had changed course and was proceeding almost due west.

"At 2:00 P.M. all hell broke loose. Three Mirage fighter planes headed straight for the Liberty, their rockets taking out the forward machine guns and wrrecking the ship's antennae. The Mirages were joined by Mystere fighters, which dropped napalm on the bridge and deck and repeatedly strafed the ship. The attack continued for over 20 minutes. In all, the ship sustained 821 holes in her sides and decks. Of these, more than 100 were rocket size.

"As the aircraft departed, three torpedo boats took over the attack, firing five torpedoes, one of which tore a 40-foot hole in the hull, killing 25 sailors. The ship was in flames, dead in the water, listing precariously, and taking water. The crew was ordered to prepare to abandon ship. As life-rafts were lowered into the water, the torpedo boats moved closer and shot them to pieces...

"At 3:15 p.m. the last shot was fired, leaving the vessel a combination morgue and hospital...

"Shortly after 3 P.M....the Israeli government informed the U.S. naval attache in Tel Aviv that its forces had `erroneously attacked a U.S. ship' after mistaking it for an Egyptian vessel, and offered "abject apologies."...

"In fact, the cover-up began almost at the precise moment that the Israeli assault ended. The apology from Israeli officials reached the White House moments after the last gun fired at the Liberty. President Johnson accepted and publicized the condolences of Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, even though information readily available showed the Israeli account to be false. The CIA had learned a day before the attack that the Israelis planned to sink the ship...The casualties on the Liberty got scant attention...

"...The Navy reported erroneously that the attack lasted only 6 minutes instead of 70 minutes and asserted falsely that all firing stopped when the torpedo boats came close enough to identify the U.S. flag...

"[Former Israeli Defense Minister] Moshe Dayan, identified in a CIA report as the officer who personally ordered the attack, made no mention of the Liberty in his lengthy autobiography. According to the CIA document, Dayan had issued the order over the protests of another Israeli general who said, `This is pure murder.'..."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Irwin Silber's `About The GI Movement' Article Revisited: Part 1

In the booklet that's included with Paredon Records' 1970 vinyl album, FTA!: Songs of the GI Resistance Sung by Barbara Dane with active-duty GIs, former Sing Out! magazine and U.S. Guardian radical newsweekly editor Irwin Silber wrote--in his "About The GI Movement" article--the following:

"Soldiers in the U.S. Army, stationed at Ford Gordon, Georgia, organize a `War Crimes Commission' to investigate the American military machine.

"More than 100 GIs, held prisoner in the stockade in Fort Lewis, Wash., sign a petition supporting the Vietnam Moratorium Day and stage a mess hall boycott for one day.

"Hundreds of U.S. Marines march in an anti-war parade through the streets of Oceanside, Calif., home of Camp Pendleton, largest Marine training camp on the West Coast.

"GIs at Fort Hood, Texas, mimeograph copies of the political program of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam (formerly the National Liberation Front) and distribute them to onlookers and participants in a peaceful demonstration in Houston.

"The Commanding Officer at one of the largest military bases in the U.S.A., Fort Dix, New Jersey, confines his own troops to barracks during an anti-war demonstration for fear they will join the demonstrators. He polices the action with MPs flown in from another base, figuring his own Military Police might be too sympathetic to the protestors.

"19 stockade prisoners at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, sit down in the center of their enclosure and sing `We Shall Overcome' as a protest against inhuman treatment of GIs.

"More than 40 military bases throughout the country cancel traditional Armed Forces Day celebrations (May 16), concerned that anti-war demonstrators will `invade' their bases and propagandize the GIs.

"Incidents such as these, only occasionally publicized in the U.S. press, are occurring daily at the camps, bases and installations of the self-proclaimed most powerful military machine on the face of the earth. Widespread disaffection right within the ranks of the U.S. military has become one of the major political and logistical problems for the Pentagon, whose policy planners have become the High Command of international counter-revolution.

"It is a problem they did not anticipate. Just as the orthodox military mentality has no way of coping with the realities of `people's war' in Vietnam, so the elite officer corps of the U.S. brass, contemptuous of their own enlisted men in the first place, cannot comprehend the depths of alienation and outright political opposition which have infected every branch of the armed forces..."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sec. of State Clinton's Historic Koreagate Scandal Connection

In 1977, The Power Peddlers: How Lobbyists Mold America's Foreign Policy by Russell Howe and Sara Trott noted that "`T.S,' as Park is known to his friends has generated one of his Stateside fortunes and a part of his lobby power by acting as the Korean Government's official broker for American rice supplies" which "means that rice-producing states like California, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana have to sell to Korea through him."

The same book also observed that "Back in 1970, [Edwin W.] Edwards and fellow Louisiana Congressman Otto Passman had arrived in Seoul with Park and stayed as his guests at the luxurious Chosun Hotel," "in the Fall of 1972, Park was back in the bayou country, staying at Governor Edwards' mansion and even helping Edwards' former congressional aide John Breauz get elected to Edwards' old House seat," and "Governor Edwards says he was first introduced to Park by then Congressman David Pryor...of rice-growing Arkansas."

[Former] U.S. Senator David Pryor preceded [Bill] Clinton [Secretary of State Clinton's husband] as Arkansas governor in the 1970s. Pryor's chief of staff while Arkansas governor was [former] Arkansas Electric Cooperative Coperation President Carl Whillock. In The Clintons Of Arkansas: An Introduction by Those Who Know Them best, Pryor's former chief of staff recalled that after [Secretary of State Clinton's husband, Bill] Clinton decided he wanted to run for congress in 1974, "I climbed upstairs and got a card file with the names of people from throughout the congressional district who had helped [former Arkansas Congressional representative] Jim Trimble" and "I volunteered to travel with Bill a few days to introduce him to influential Democrats in northern Arkansas."

Pryor's former chief of staff also recalled that his brother-in-law, Rudy Moore Jr., "managed Bill's first campaign for governor in 1978" and became Clinton's chief of staff when [Secretary of State Clinton's husband, Bill] Clinton was first elected governor. In the 1992 presidential campaign, [former] U.S. Senator Pryor also worked as a Clinton campaign advisor.

Coincidentally, in recent years, former U.S. Senator Pryor has been both the first dean of the University of Arkansas's Clinton School of Public Service branch, which is located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, and a member of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting [CPB] board of directors; and former U.S. Senator Pryor's son now sits in the U.S. Senate as the representative of the Arkansas Establishment and the Arkansas rice producers that apparently still sell some of their rice on the South Korean foreign market.

(Downtown 8/4/93)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Remembering The Koreagate Scandal

One reason around 28,000 U.S. troops are still in South Korea in 2010 is that the South Korean government has, historically, done a lot of lobbying in Washington on behalf of its special interests. In her early 1990s book, The Power House, Susan Trento recalled, for example, how the South Korean Establishment operated in Washington during the 1970s:

"Tongsun Park was no ordinary student when he first came to Georgetown. He was a trained Korean Central Intelligence Agency [KCIA] officer who had been assigned to infiltrate the American political scene as an `agent of influence.' More importantly, Park came from one of the most powerful families in Korea. They owned oil tankers, a huge rice business, and were politically well-connected.

"By the time The George Town Club was in full operation, Tongsun Park, backed by the KCIA, was the exclusive broker for American rice sold to the Korean government...At the height of his power, the congressional investigation that looked into his activities estimated Tongsun Park earned $11 million in one year in illegal rice commissions. In turn, Park used some of the money to bribe influential members of Congress and to pay the enormous costs of subsidizing The George Town Club...In addition, on behalf of the KCIA, Park lobbied for support for foreign and military aid to South Korea...

"The Koreagate scandal broke open in 1977...and five investigations were opened. Of the dozens of congressmen and senators who enjoyed Tongsun Park's hospitality at The George Town Club and who became implicated in the Koreagate scandal, only one of them ever served time in prison..."

The Power House also noted that in the 1990s Park still traveled "freely to live and do business in Washington, and American troops" were "still in South Korea," while "South Korea's intelligence opeations grew stronger, not weaker, in the aftermath of the scandal."

(Downtown 8/4/93)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Goldman Sachs Senior Partner Recommended Kagan For Government Post

The former General Counsel and recent Senior Director of a Wall Street investment banking firm--Goldman Sachs--which is being investigated for alleged securities fraud in connection with its sub-prime mortgage trading, wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in 2009 which recommended that Elena Kagan be confirmed as U.S. Solicitor General in 2009.

In his January 22, 2009 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Arlen Specter, then-Goldman Sachs Senior Director Robert J. Katz stated the following:

"Dear Senators Leahy and Specter,

"I am delighted to write in unreserved support of the President's nomination and the Senate's confirmation of Dean Elena Kagan as Solicitor General of the United States.

"...In 1988 I became General Counsel and a partner (later, managing director) of Goldman Sachs. I served in that capacity for nearly 13 years (and as a member of the firm's management committee and partnership committee) through and beyond the time of our becoming a publicly-held corporation. Since relinquishing leadership of the Legal Department, I have continued to serve Goldman Sachs as a Senior Director.

"I have known Elena Kagan since she was appointed Dean six years ago. Throughout that period, I have worked closely with her as a member of the Dean's Advisory Board, on whose Executive Committee I have sat for the past few years, as well as in various other advisory, fundraising and teaching roles. I even have the peculiarly valuable perspective of being the father of a current student who has spent the past four years in the Law School-Kennedy School joint degree program, and he will graduate this spring.

"With apologies for its length, I wanted to begin from this recitation of background and perspective for my averring without qualification that, if confirmed, Dean Kagan will make not merely an excellent but an exceptional Solicitor General...

"...Elena Kagan is truly a lawyer in the best sense...and...I hope, she is confirmed...

"I will be delighted to respond to any questions that you or your staff may have.

"Robert J. Katz
"Senior Director."

Besides working on the Harvard Law School Dean's Advisory Committee and on "fundraising" work with the former General Counsel of a Wall Street firm accused of securities fraud, Supreme Court Justice-Designate Kagan apparently was paid $10,000 for working on some kind of Goldman Sachs advisory committee in recent years; and Supreme Court Justice-Designate Kagan also gave the keynote address at an American Friends of Hebrew University event in Manhattan that honored the former General Counsel of the Wall Street firm that has been accused of securities fraud.

The Goldman Sachs Senior Director and former General Counsel who recommended Supreme Court Justice-Designate Kagan for her current U.S. federal government position apparently recently purchased a condominium in Manhattan for $7 million; and, besides working with Kagan on the Harvard Law School Dean's Advisory Committee, has also been a member of the board of trustees of another Ivy League university, Cornell University.

Instead of appointing a Goldman Sachs-recommended lawyer and former Harvard University Law School Dean to represent the special corporate interests of Goldman Sachs and Harvard University on the U.S. Supreme Court as a Supreme Court Justice, why didn't the Democratic Obama White House just appoint, for example, some labor lawyer, some civil rights or civil liberties lawyer or some consumer rights lawyer who had no professional connection to Goldman Sachs?

Supreme Court Justice-Designate Kagan's Goldman Sachs Connection?

Did you notice that the former Williams & Connolly D.C. law-lobbying firm associate and Clinton White House Staff member-lawyer that Democratic President Obama recently appointed to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court bench, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan, both sat on a "non-profit" board with an AIG executive and spoke at an American Friends of the Hebrew University/lobby function honoring a Goldman Sachs executive?

As the Equal Justice Works website notes, U.S. Solicitor General Kagan recently sat on the Equal Justice Works “non-profit” board next to Anastasia “Stasia” Kelly; and “Anastasia `Stasia' Kelly is the executive vice president and general counsel and senior regulatory and compliance officer of American Insurance Group (AIG)” who “leads a worldwide legal and regulatory team and manages the Corporate Secretary function of this international insurance and financial services firm.”

And, as the Jewish Forward newspaper’s website revealed:

"Unlike Jewish women comics who tend to malign their mothers, Elena Kagan, dean of Harvard Law School (whose awesome curriculum vitae includes a stint as associate counsel to the president (1995-1999), paid homage to hers. At the October 19 American Friends of the Hebrew University lawyers lunch at Cipriani 42nd Street, Kagan told the sea of suits that (despite all her accomplishments) her mother “would be proud” that she was the keynote speaker at this George A. Katz “Torch of Learning” luncheon honoring Robert Katz, a philanthropist and partner at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc".

So don't expect many Goldman Sachs or AIG executives to be quickly sent to jail if they're convicted of or plead guilty to any white collar crimes--if former Clinton White House staff member-lawyer Kagan is confirmed as the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Black Female Worker Jobless Rate Jumps To 13.7 Percent Under Obama

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black female workers over 20-years-of-age in the United States jumped from 12.4 to 13.7 percent between March and April 2010 under the Democratic Obama Administration; while the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all U.S. female workers over 20-years-of-age increased from 8 to 8.2 percent, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 8.9 to 9.2 percent between March and April 2010; while the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 18 percent in April 2010.

The official “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Hispanic or Latino workers was still 12.5 percent in April 2010; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Asian-American workers decreased from 7.5 to 6.8 percent.

The “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 37.3 percent in April 2010; while the “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was 23.5 percent in April 2010. The “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Hispanic or Latino youth between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 29.2 percent in April 2010.

The official “seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all male workers over 16 years of age in the United States increased from 10.7 to 10.8 percent between March and April 2010; while the “seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all female workers over 16 years of age increased from 8.6 to 8.8 percent.

The official “seasonally adjusted” national unemployment rate in the United States for all workers increased from 9.7 to 9.9 percent between March and April 2010. The total number of unemployed workers in the United States also increased from 15,005,000 to 15,260,000 between March and April 2010.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 7, 2010 press release:

“…In April, the number of unemployed persons was 15.3 million, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent. The rate had been 9.7 percent for the first 3 months of this year…

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites (9.0 percent) edged up in April…

“The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) continued to trend up over the month, reaching 6.7 million. In April, 45.9 percent of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more…

“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged at 9.2 million in April. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

“About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in April…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey…

“Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in April…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…

“Over the month, employment changed little in wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and financial activities.

“Employment in transportation and warehousing fell by 20,000 in April, reflecting a large decline in courier and messenger services…”