Friday, October 31, 2008

CIA officers could face trial in Britain over torture allegations

CIA officers could face trial in Britain over torture allegations

Attorney General to investigate abuse claims

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Friday, 31 October 2008

Senior CIA officers could be put on trial in Britain after it emerged last night that the Attorney General is to investigate allegations that a British resident held in Guantanamo Bay was brutally tortured, after being arrested and questioned by American forces following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001.

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has asked Baroness Scotland to consider bringing criminal proceedings against Americans allegedly responsible for the rendition and abuse of Binyam Mohamed, when he was held in prisons in Morocco and Afghanistan.

The development follows criticism of US prosecutors by British judges who have seen secret evidence of torture committed against Mr Mohamed, including allegations his torturers used a razor blade to repeatedly cut his penis. The Attorney's investigation is expected to include allegations that MI5 colluded in Mr Mohamed's rendition. Mr Mohamed, 30, an Ethiopian national and British resident, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, when he was questioned by an MI5 officer.

On Tuesday, Government lawyers wrote to the judges hearing Mr Mohamed's case against the UK government in the High Court. In the letter they said "the question of possible criminal wrongdoing to which these proceedings has given rise has been referred by the Home Secretary to the Attorney general for consideration as an independent minister of justice". Baroness Scotland has been sent secret witness statements given to the court and public interest immunity certificates for the proceedings.

Mr Mohamed, 30, accuses MI5 agents of lying about what they knew of CIA plans to transfer him to a prison in north Africa, where he claims he was subjected to horrendous torture. Mr Mohamed, who won asylum in the UK in 1994, has been charged with terrorism-related offences. He awaits a decision on whether he is to face trial at the US naval base. He is officially the last Briton at Guantanamo. Last night his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, said: "This is a welcome recognition that the CIA cannot just go rendering British residents to secret torture chambers without consequences, and British agents cannot take part in US crimes without facing the music. Reprieve will be making submissions to the Attorney General to ensure those involved, from the US, Pakistan, Morocco, Britain, are held responsible."

Richard Stein, of Leigh Day, representing Mr Mohamed in the High Court proceedings, said: "Ultimately the British Government had little choice once they conceded that a case had been made that Binyam Mohamed was tortured. The Convention Against Torture imposes an obligation on signatory states to investigate torture."

In August two judges ruled allegations of torture were at least arguable and that MI5 had information relating to Mr Mohamed that was "not only necessary but essential for his defence".

The judges have read statements and interviews with Mr Mohamed between 28 and 31 July, 2004 when he says he was forced to confess to terrorism. The judges said: "This was after a period of over two-and-a-half years of incommunicado detention during which Binyam Mohamed alleges he was tortured."

He was first held in Pakistan in 2002, where a British agent interrogated him; he was then sent to Morocco by the CIA and allegedly tortured for 18 months. He was rendered to the secret "Dark Prison" in Afghanistan, where his torture is alleged to have continued. Since September 2004, he has been in Guantanamo Bay.



Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


Baltimore Activist Alert Part 2

22] Nominate activists for gala awards – Nov. 1                       

23] Co-founder of Food Not Bombs to speak – Nov. 1                       

24] African Service – Nov. 2                                                

25] Bridge peace vigil – Nov. 2

26] Peace Walk in D.C. – Nov. 2                              

27] The Peace Projections – Nov. 2                       

28] Red Emma’s needs volunteers – Nov. 2                       

29] Pentagon vigil – Nov. 3

30] Protest WYPR management – Nov. 3 - ?

31] Death penalty demonstration – Nov. 3

32] Marc Steiner on WEAA – Nov. 3-Nov. 6

33] Diane Wilson will sign & discuss her book – Nov. 3

34] Stop foreclosures meeting – Nov. 3

35] Pledge of Resistance meeting – Nov. 3

36] Peace Center meeting in Frederick – Nov. 3

37] Single payer study session – Nov. 3

38] Help ACLU protect voting rights – Nov. 4

39] Help Baltimore Climate on Election Day – Nov. 4

40] An opportunity to monitor polls in Pennsylvania – Nov. 4                        

41] Authors of book on Darfur at Barnes and Noble – Nov. 4                        

42] Tuesday peace vigil – Nov. 4

43] Ecolocity D.C. meeting – Nov. 4

44] Peace vigil in Philadelphia – Nov. 5

45] Peace vigil in W. Mount Airy, PA – Nov. 5

46] Chestnut Hill, PA vigil – Nov. 5

47] Mobilization for Global Justice meeting – Nov. 5

48] PG County peace meeting – Nov. 5

49] Bread & Puppet at 2640 – Nov. 5

50] Israel/Palestine roundtable – Nov. 6

51] WIB Peace Stand – Nov. 6

52] First Thursday protest of the war – Nov. 6

53] UNITE HERE planning meeting – Nov. 6

54] Economic Melt Down workshop – Nov. 6

55] Protest at YPR fundraiser – Nov. 7

56] Bioneers Convention – Nov. 7-9                 

57] Ghosts of Iraq War back in court – Nov. 7-9                                    

58] Panel discussion on poisons of war – Nov. 7

59] Green Festival – Nov. 8-9                                     

60] Westminster WIB vigil – Nov. 8                                       

61] Death penalty meeting – Nov. 11

62] Celebrate directors of Project South – Nov. 15                         

63] Film THE PRISONER – Nov. 21

64] MUPJ conference – April 4, 2009

65] Max needs housing  

66] War Is Not the Answer signs for sale

67] Publish your peace article

68] Become a member of the Washington Peace Center

69] Click on The Hunger Site  

70] Join Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil


22] – Send your nominations for the 4th Annual Activist Awards Gala to by Sat., Nov. 1.  The gala will take place on Thurs., Dec. 18 at All Souls Church.  Is there someone you think deserves special recognition from the community for remarkable and inspiring work this year? Send in the name of an individual or organization with a short write-up.   

23] – On Sat., Nov. 1 at 7 PM at the Tabernacle Church, 3700 Chestnut St., Phila., PA, Keith McHenry, the group’s co-founder, will share the story of Food Not Bombs.  Brandywine Peace Community invites you to a presentation & discussion, which will take place in the University City section of the city, just across the street from International House.  Music will be provided by Tom Mullian.

Last August, the FBI raided Food not Bombs houses in Minneapolis to arrest volunteers just before the Republican National Convention.  These volunteers are known for their dedication to nonviolence, and the government's attempt to label them as "terrorists" is sure to backfire in upcoming trials. Call 610-544-1818 or email  Go to

24] –  On Sun., Nov. 2, the KALAFONG AME CHURCH invites you to a Prayer for Africa at 11 AM at the HISPANIC SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST DAY CHUCH, 5100 Edmondson Ave., Baltimore 21229.   Contact Rev. Dr. Duane Rawlings at  Go to\md\kalafong-ame-mission-church/index.html.

25] – Maryland Bridges for Peace welcomes you to stand for peace Sundays from noon (or thereabouts) to 1 PM on the Spa Creek Bridge in Annapolis.  Contact Lucy at 410-263-7271 or Signs are not allowed to be on a stick or pole.   If there is interest, people will be standing on the Stoney Creek Bridge on Fort Smallwood Road in Pasadena [410-437-5379 or]. Go to  

26] – Join the weekly Peace Walk on the Mall at 4 PM on Sun., Nov. 2 starting at the WWII Memorial (17th St.).  Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice do this weekly Peace Walk on the Mall from the World War II Memorial to the Lincoln Memorial and back via Constitution and Independence Aves. Contact Ken at


27] – L. Nef’fahtiti Myrick: the Peace Projections is a performance piece using contemporary art, music, photography and poetry to follow the history of peace in the U.S. since the 1960s.  The cost is $10, and the proceeds will benefit the Trail of Dreams Peace Walk.  The performance will be on Sun., Nov. 2 at 4 PM at the Minas Gallery, 815 W. 36th St. Call 410-732-4258.


28] – Red Emma’s needs volunteers.  Stop in to the weekly Sunday meeting at 7 PM at 800 St. Paul St. or email  The next meeting is Nov. 2. Call 410-230-0450.

29] – There is a weekly Pentagon Peace Vigil from 7 to 8 AM on Mondays, since 1987, outside the Pentagon Metro stop.  The next vigil is Mon., Nov. 3, and it is sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker.  Call 202-882-9649.

30] –  Protest the illegal termination of The Marc Steiner Show from noon to 1 PM Monday through Friday in front of WYPR, 2216 N. Charles St.  You may consider calling the station to complain at 410-235-1395.  Contact Max at 410-366-1637 to join Take Back YPR. 

31] – There is usually a vigil to abolish the death penalty every Monday from 5 to 6 PM, outside the prison complex and across the street from Maryland’s death row, at the corner of Madison Ave. and Fallsway in Baltimore.  The next vigil is scheduled for Mon., Nov. 3. Call 410-233-0488.

32] – The Marc Steiner Show airs Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6 PM on WEAA 88.9 FM, The Voice of the Community.  The call-in number is 410-319-8888, and comments can also be sent by email

 You can listen to interviews by Steiner through his Center for Emerging Media podcasts. To hear the interviews, email   Go to

33] – Nov. 3 at 5 PM, Diane Wilson will sign and discuss HOLY ROLLER GROWING UP IN THE CHURCH OF KNOCK DPWN, DRAG OUT; or, “How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus.” Her appearance is at Busboys and Poets, 14th & V Sts., WDC.

34] – There will be a follow up organizing meeting and work session on Mon., Nov. 3 from 6. to 8 PM at the new "Solidarity Center,” 2011 N. Charles St. (basement).  You are welcome to bring food and beverages.  Baltimore Stop Foreclosures & Evictions has a brand new office and center to facilitate organizing.  If you have donations of computers or any other kind of equipment, please call 410-218-4835.  Donations are needed.  Send to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions at Solidarity Center, 2011 N. Charles St. B, Baltimore, Md. 21218. Go to

35] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore usually meets every Monday.  The next meeting is on Mon., Nov. 3 at 7:30 PM at the AFSC, 4806 York RoadDiscuss the response to the State Police spy scandal, the Ghosts of the Iraq War trial, the spy inside the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance and indicting Bush and Cheney. Call Max at 410-366-1637.


36] – There will be a meeting of the Frederick Peace Resource Center on Mon., Nov. 3 at 7:30 PM at 4 East Church St. Call Gus Fahey at 301-663-6117.


37] – On Mon., Nov. 3 at 7:30 PM at St. John's United Methodist Church, St. Paul St. at 27th St., there will be the 9th study session on what a single payer health insurance system could look like in the U.S. The study will continue on the first Monday of each month.  The topic and presentation will be the same. Go to Call 410-467-7756.  There is single payer legislation HR 676 whose principal sponsor is Congressman John Conyers of Michigan. Go to There are also single payer bills in many state legislatures, including Maryland. Go to

38] – Help the ACLU-MD protect voting rights on Election Day, Tues., Nov. 4. The idea is to address any issues of voter intimidation or disenfranchisement, and solve problems at the polls in real time.  There will be an Election Protection Hotline, the distribution of thousands of Maryland Voter Empowerment Cards designed to inform voters of their rights and how to address potential problems when seeking to cast a ballot. On Election Day, the ACLU will answer calls all day, from 6 AM to 9 PM.  So the ACLU needs your help.  Contact Amy Cruice at

39] – Baltimore Climate is looking for volunteers on Tues., Nov. 4. Volunteers across Maryland will be collecting "votes for the climate" at the polls.  Email   or call 410-812-1447.

40] – Helen Schietinger has volunteered to monitor the polls in Pennsylvania on Election Day and is seeking someone to join her.  She feels her assignment should be done by a two-person team, as she has to monitor 25 polling stations.  If someone is interested in joining her, call 202-722-4333.


41] – Steven Fake and Kevin Funk, co-authors of SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA: DARFUR-INTERVENTION AND THE USA, will appear at 2 PM on Tues., Nov. 4 at the Barnes and Noble, 601 E. Pratt St.  Call 410-203-3295 or go to


42] – There is a vigil to say "War Is Not the Answer" each Tuesday since September 11, 2001 at 4806 York Road. Join this ongoing vigil.  The next vigil is Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. 

43] – There is a meeting of Ecolocity DC every Tuesday from 7 to 9 PM at the EMERGENCE COMMUNITY ARTS COLLECTIVE, 733 Euclid St. NW, WDC 20001.  It is for people who live in, or are interested in making D.C. a transition town starting with an intentional community that will encompass clean energy, freecycle, natural building, organic farming, community salvage, new urbanism, etc. The next meeting will be on Nov. 4.  Go to

44] – Each Wednesday from 4:30 - 5:30 PM, the House of Grace Catholic Worker holds a weekly vigil for peace in Iraq outside the Phila. Federal Building, 6th & Market Sts. The next vigil is Nov. 5. Call 215-426-0364.

45] – Each Wednesday in clear weather, there is a peace vigil from 5 to 6 PM outside the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive (between Wayne & Hortter) in West Mount Airy, PA. The next vigil is Nov. 5. Call 215-843-4256 or email

46] – Each Wednesday, there is a peace vigil from 7 to 8 PM outside the Borders Book Store, Germantown Ave. at Bethlehem Pike in Chestnut Hill, PA. The next vigil is Nov. 5.

Call 215-843-4256 or email


47] – There will be a Mobilization for Global Justice meeting at 7 PM on Wed., Nov. 5 at St. Stephens Church, 16th & Newton Sts., NW, WDC.  Exit at the Columbia Heights Metro stop.  The meeting takes place the first Wednesday of the month.  Email  


48] – The Peace & Justice Coalition of Prince George’s County meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 PM at the Greenbelt Community Center.  The next meeting is Nov. 5. Call 301-577-2350.


49] – Red Emma's invites you to attend a performance of the Bread and Puppet Theater on Wed., Nov. 5 at 7:30 PM at St. John’s, 27th and St. Paul Sts.  The group will perform a new play Storm Office: A Storm Poem with Implementation Machine.  A suggested donation would be between $5 and $10.  Go to


50] – On Thurs., Nov. 6, the WEEKLY ROUNDTABLE SEEKING A JUST PEACE IN PALESTINE/ISRAEL takes place from 12:30 - 1:30 PM at Potter's House, 1658 Columbia Road NW, WDC.  Join a civil discourse which explores the history, issues, myths, realities, and truth of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Contact Alice Azzouzi at 202-232-5483.


51] – There is a WIB peace stand on Thurs., Nov. 6, noon-1PM in Towson at northwest corner of Washington & Chesapeake Aves., across the street from the post office, near the courthouse. Contact This vigil takes place on the first Thursday of the month.

52] – The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore hosts an End the War! End the Occupation! rally on Thurs., Nov. 6 starting at 5 PM in Mount Vernon at Centre & Charles Sts.  The Pledge gathers in Mount Vernon on the first Thursday of the month to protest the war.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.

53] – UNITE HERE is calling for a mass mobilization, a march and food drive, on Tues., Nov. 18 at 4 PM at War Memorial Plaza to support the workers at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel.  They have been without a contract since April 2006.  There is a planning meeting on Thurs., Nov. 6 at the union office, 7-9 W. Mulberry St., Baltimore, 21201. Call 301-461-9544.

54] – On Thurs., Nov. 6, from 6:45 to 8:45 PM, the Institute for Policy Studies' Social Action & Leadership School for Activists presents U.S. Economic Melt Down Simplified at 1112 Sixteenth St. NW, Suite 600, WDC 20036.  Join SALSA as Chuck Collins, director of IPS’ program on Inequality and the Common Good and Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, explain the basics and background of the financial crisis and give a break down of the economic meltdown and its causes --and what lies ahead in 2009. Pre-registration is strongly suggested at There is a request for a $10 donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

55] – Please join Take Back WYPR for a demonstration on Fri., Nov. 7 at 7 AM outside the new Hilton Baltimore Convention Center Hotel, 401 W. Pratt St. Kai Rysdall is the featured speaker at this breakfast fundraiser.  Take Back YPR is still urging citizens not to contribute to a station that ignores community input.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.

56] – The second annual Baltimore Bioneers Conference will take place starting Fri., Nov. 7 and running through Sun., Nov. 9.  Go to

57] – The trial of the Ghosts of the Iraq War was completed on Fri., Oct. 24 with the jury acquitting five defendants and finding the other five guilty.  In a post-verdict hearing, Judge Robert Morin called for an evidentiary hearing at 10 AM on Fri., Nov. 7 in courtroom 312 at Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 500 Indiana Ave., NW.  The U.S. Capitol Police were in possession of a private email of Max Obuszewski, and at the hearing two members of this police force will have explain how the email was obtained.  Chances are the judge will dismiss charges against the defendants found guilty by the jury.  Call Max at 410-366-1637.

58] – There is a “POISONS OF WAR” event, which is a lead-up to the Dream Bridge Concert, on Fri., Nov. 7 at 7 PM at St. Stephen’s Church, 1525 Newton St. NW, WDC 20010.   The Teach-in, “Poisons of War, Past and Present,” will feature panelists who will discuss chemical weapons from World War I to the drug wars in Latin America, atomic weapons in World War II, Agent Orange in Vietnam, depleted uranium (DU) in Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo, and elsewhere … weapons first tested at military proving grounds in the U.S. and all over the world.

59] – At the Washington DC Green Festival, starting at 10 AM on Sat., Nov. 8 and closing at 6 PM on Sun., Nov. 9, come celebrate what’s working in the local communities—across the District, Maryland and Virginia—for people, for business and for the environment.  The Green Festival will feature more than 125 renowned speakers, including Dr. Helen Caldicott, Jim Hightower, Ralph Nader and Amy Goodman.  It will also feature over 350 local green businesses, and will showcase green how-to workshops, green films, a Fair Trade pavilion, yoga classes, organic beer, delicious organic cuisine, live music, and much more.

Cost is $15 per Festival Pass, good for the whole weekend.  $10 discount tickets are available at the door for seniors, college students, bike riders, and union members, with proper identification.  Call 800-58-GREEN.  It is co-sponsored by Global Exchange and Co-Op America, and will take place at the Washington D.C. Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW.

60] – Westminster WIB hosts a vigil the 2nd Saturday of the month from 2 – 3 PM in front of the War Memorial on Main St. The next vigil will be Nov. 8. Email

61] – The Coalition Against the Death Penalty will meet Tues., Nov. 11 at 7 PM at the AFSC, 4806 York Road.  Agenda items will include the spy scandal, the Death Penalty Commission and the stay of execution in Georgia for Troy Davis.

62] – Celebrate Jerome Scott and Walda Katz-Fishman on Nov. 15 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St., NW, WDC 20009.  Walda and Jerome are transitioning from their leadership role in Project South.  For more than twenty-two years, they dedicated their lives to building an organization that stands on a legacy of strong principles, leadership, and purpose in the fight for the poor, working people across the US and the Global South. RSVP by Sun., Oct. 26 to Tomas Encarnacion @ 202-486-7251. 

63] – The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee is hosting its latest FILM & SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS VIDEO SERIES.  The next film, THE PRISONER [USA/GERMANY, 2007], will be shown Fri., Nov. 21 at AFSC, 4806 York Road [three blocks north of Cold Spring Lane].  Doors open at 7 PM, and the video starts at 7:30 PM.  There is no charge, and refreshments will be available.  Call 410-366-1637.

 The film was produced, directed and written by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein, the documentary deploys comic book-style illustrations to tell the story of an Iraqi wrongfully imprisoned in Abu Ghraib.  They follow up on the misadventure of Yunis Khatayer Abbas, a freelance Iraqi journalist rounded up by U.S. soldiers seeking bomb-makers aligned with a terrorist cell.  This filmmaking pair, responsible for the critically acclaimed GUNNER PALACE, offer another stark and unsettling look at post-Saddam Iraq.

64] – The 24th annual Maryland Peace and Justice conference has been set for April 4, 2009 at the Church of the Resurrection in Burtonsville, MD, easily accessible off of Rt. 29. Please put the date on your calendar and try not to schedule any other major events on that day. Thanks so much for your cooperation, and the organizers hope to see you there!  Call Paulette at 410-747-3811.

65] – Max Obuszewski has to move out of his current abode, so he is looking for housing.  If you have any leads, call him at 410-366-1637 or email him at mobuszewski [at]

66] – WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER signs from Friends Committee on National Legislation are again for sale at $5.  To purchase a sign, call Max at 410-366-1637.

67] – Publish Your Peace Article. Daniel Frasier is soliciting peace articles for the biweekly series of commentaries Paths to Peace in the Frederick News Post Religion and Ethics section. For details, email


68] – Become an active member of the Washington Peace Center, which is now located at 1233 12th St. NW.  All members are granted voting rights and are invited to join one or more of our many working groups. Members are asked to pay suggested annual dues of 25 dollars, or volunteer. Email - subject "membership.” The mailing address is The Washington Peace Center, P.O. Box 50032, WDC 20019-0032. Call 202-234-2000. Subscribe at  Send donations to The Washington Peace Center.


69] – The Hunger Site was initiated by Mercy Corps and Second Harvest, and is funded entirely by advertisers.  You can go there every day and click the big yellow "Give Food for Free" button near the top of the page; you do not have to look at the ads. Each click generates funding for about 1.1 cups of food.  So consider clicking.  

70] – Peace Park Antinuclear Vigil takes place every day in Lafayette Park, 1601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 24 hours a day, since June 3, 1981.  Go to; call 202-682-4282.

Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 East 25th St. Baltimore, MD 21218 Ph: 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at]


"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan


Air Force: Nuke missile silo fire went undetected


Air Force: Nuke missile silo fire went undetected


Air Force: Wyo. nuclear missile silo fire caused $1M of damage, went undetected for 5 days



AP News


Oct 30, 2008 18:41 EST


A fire caused $1 million worth of damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site last spring, but the Air Force didn't find out about it until five days later, an Air Force official said Thursday.


The May 23 fire burned itself out after an hour or two, and multiple safety systems prevented any threat of an accidental launch of the Minuteman III missile, Maj. Laurie Arellano said. She said she was not allowed to say whether the missile was armed with a nuclear warhead at the time of the fire.


Arellano said the Air Force didn't know a fire had occurred until May 28, when a repair crew went to the launch site about 40 miles east of Cheyenne, Wyo., and 100 miles northeast of Denver because a trouble signal indicated a wiring problem.


She said the flames never entered the launch tube where the missile stood and there was no danger of a radiation release.


The fire, blamed on a faulty battery charger, burned a box of shotgun shells, a shotgun and a shotgun case that were kept in the room, Arellano said. A shotgun is a standard security weapon at missile silos.


Arellano said the battery chargers at all U.S. missile launch site have been replaced.


She said the incident wasn't reported sooner because of the complexity of the investigation.


The damage from the fire was estimated at $1 million, including the cost of replacing damaged equipment and cleanup.


An Air Force report of the incident released Thursday found flaws in the technical orders for assembling battery charger parts, inspection procedures and modifications of the launch complex ventilation system. It was also critical of the presence of flammable materials.


Cheyenne Mayor Jack Spiker, who said he learned of the incident when contacted by a reporter Thursday, said the fire doesn't undermine his confidence in the safety of the missile operations.


"It's rare that they have an accident, and the accidents have never really, that I know of, amounted to much because of the safety devices that are built into the system," he said.


The revelation was the latest in a string of embarrassing missteps involving the nation's nuclear arsenal. In 2006, four electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan, and in 2007, a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped missiles when it flew between Air Force bases in North Dakota and Louisiana.


The Air Force announced last week it was setting up a new Global Strike Command to better manage its nuclear-capable bombers and missiles.




Associated Press writer Matt Joyce in Cheyenne, Wyo., contributed to this report.


Source: AP News


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


The Ugly America

Published on Monday, October 27, 2008 by The Huffington Post

The Ugly America

by Mike Farrell

"You really do hate America!" This was the parting shot from a man I had just debated on a television show shortly before the invasion of Iraq. Because he's a notorious right-wing blowhard, I laughed it off as the ravings of a crackpot in extremis.

Little did I know...

Soon, those of us who opposed the Iraq war, torture, "extraordinary rendition," Guantanamo, spying on innocent Americans and other illegal tools in the Cheney/Bush black bag began to hear variations on that theme from people one would have expected to know better. And it's gotten worse as they've become more desperate... or do the depths to which we've fallen suggest a fault-line in America's culture?

Only a short time ago we dissenters were called "Saddam-lovers," "America-haters" or, when they really wanted to cut deep, "French!" But that usually came from the relatively unhinged, like my debate-partner. Today, similar imprecations fall readily from the lips of media bloviators while the hoi polloi moves toward lynch-mob tenor with screams of "traitor," "terrorist," "kill him," and "off with his head" - these not aimed at lowly actors but rather the next President of the United States. Worse, it is winked at and ignored, then defended and embraced by some of those from whom we expect better.

As one in the crucible of this volcanic yet potentially transformative moment, John McCain, who claims to put "Country First," should re-read "The Ugly American." Sarah Palin can watch the movie.

Fifty years ago, Eugene Burdick and William Lederer's book exposed the boorish behavior of some of our citizens when abroad, warning that a "mysterious change seems to come over Americans..." when amid people and cultures seen as 'different.' While the ensuing half-century proved those in developing countries to be neither less intelligent, less capable, nor less interested in improving their lives than human beings anywhere, this breed of Americans, inclined to "isolate themselves socially," per Burdick and Lederer, seems to have turned inward, chanting "USA, USA!"

As the world prospered behind their backs, this insular strain of American metastasized into swaggering jingoes full of Cold War machismo, content to wave the flag and "Go for the gold." For them, the collapse of the Evil Empire proved the world's sole Superpower could do as it damned well pleased: "We're Number One," baby! Anybody who doesn't like it should get the hell out of the way.

"[L]oud and ostentatious," per the book, this parochial group bequeathed its "mysterious change" to generations of Know-Nothings who stuck to their own, seeing 'difference' as a threat. Dumbed-down by television and wary of anyone lacking sufficient fervor for their triumphant "Christian nation," they made those of different color, heritage, or belief into "the other," a practice encouraged by coded appeals to racism from would-be leaders. With Nixon's "Southern Strategy" and "silent majority" setting the stage, Reagan's "Welfare Queens" and Bush the First's "Willie Horton" spread the contagion while conferring it legitimacy.

Embraced as true conservatives and stoked by hate-radio millionaires, these changelings seduced the Republican Party, laid claim to the flag and launched a "culture war." Adopted by anti-government hucksters, empire-seekers and profligate free-marketeers, they divided the nation with a 'God and Country' ethos that declared the Bible inerrant, reviled homosexuality, "permissiveness," liberalism and critical thinking, denied women equal rights, children any at all, and cowed the media into submission.

For them, the horror of 9/11 lay at the feet of the enemy within - the ACLU, abortionists, pagans, gays and lesbians, secularists. And a stunned public, reeling from the assault and sinking into Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, was led into a flag-waving frenzy of revenge-seeking and other-hating that targeted "Rag-heads" and "sand-niggers."

Drunk with power, this mob took heart from W's "you're either with us or with the terrorists," their malignant hostility dividing us more sharply at each iteration, until the enemy became the world of Islam and anyone who disagreed. Forsaking constitutional freedoms in favor of "security," they turned our very nation inside out, with Americans pitted against one another in states red and blue.

And today, while some dream of change, a perfect storm of cultural division, failed leadership, lost principles, military disaster and economic collapse have ripped the mask away, exposing a virus that has undermined and rendered quaint American values of tolerance, generosity, equality and fairness, replacing them with chauvinism, avarice, confusion, fear and despair.

But struggles that have trampled the principles urging America toward greatness are not new. That they have not destroyed us but rather helped us grope toward maturity is due to some who have called on our better angels and re-inspired the triumph of decency that ennobles our promise. Even with chaos at the doorstep people look for hope, for change, for reason to believe that the America of song and story persists.

Yet today, unable to rise to the challenge of hope, would-be-president McCain chooses expediency over country, placing the priestess of parochialism, a barb-tongued, inanity-prone neophyte, a heartbeat away from his Oval Office. Schooled in "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" and "American Idol," she energizes the pitchfork mob, dividing "real America" from the rest, reviving faint echoes of white superiority and "manifest destiny" as her sponsor deafens himself to it all.

This failure of leadership affirms the ugly America, the misanthrope nation. Yet the heartbeat of promise persists. There is hope. There is truth. If the people demand them.

Copyright © 2008, Inc.

Mike Farrell, co-chair emeritus of the Southern California Committee of Human Rights Watch and President of Death Penalty Focus, is the author of "Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist [1]."


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs