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Working the Line

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The hidden life of the U.S. Border Patrol

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Luis Alberto Urrea, Orion magazine<http://www.orionmagazine.org>

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The Border Patrol agent was driving us to supper in a desert border city. Since the publication of my book The Devil’s Highway, I have found myself in this situation with regularity. When I started writing that book, there was no indication that the migra agents would come to consider me their confidant. Even, for some agents, a friend. If you had told me this in my more radical days, or in my Tijuana boyhood, I would have laughed.

It wasn’t late, but the night was already heavy on the land, dropping hard like it does in desert winter. We rode in a late-model pickup—club cab. And the agent was looking up at a railroad bridge as we passed under. “Saw this guy once,” he said, almost to himself. “Three guys, actually. Two on either side, holding up the third. They were staggering down the tracks, you know. So I lit ’em up with my spotlight and got out of the truck.” In my memory, this moment lasts forever. Saguaros splash in our headlights, looking like landscape in black-and-white noir films. He said: “The guy in the middle . . . the train had cut off his feet. But the weight of the train . . . it had pinched his ankles closed. He didn’t seem to know it. He was trying to walk on his stumps.”

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The Devil's Highway ~ Luis Alberto Urrea, Reviewed in LiP Magazine
The Devil's Highway is a strip of deadly desert along the US-Mexico border in a region where, on average, at least one migrant has died every day of the past few years. For the thousands of immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America, and even sometimes Asia and Africa who cross the border here, it really is like hell on earth: an endless swath of jagged mountains and blazing stretches of sand, teeming with Border Patrol agents, corrupt police officers, brutal smugglers, scorpions and rattlesnakes, all under a relentlessly cruel sun.

Section(s): 

The Point of No Return

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Image Credit: Alex Williamson

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  • In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? Here’s an inside look at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold.
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  • Targeting Iran: Is the US Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust?
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Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic

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It is possible that at some point in the next 12 months, the imposition of devastating economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran will persuade its leaders to cease their pursuit of nuclear weapons. It is also possible that Iran’s reform-minded Green Movement will somehow replace the mullah-led regime, or at least discover the means to temper the regime’s ideological extremism. It is possible, as well, that “foiling operations” conducted by the intelligence agencies of Israel, the United States, Great Britain, and other Western powers—programs designed to subvert the Iranian nuclear effort through sabotage and, on occasion, the carefully engineered disappearances of nuclear scientists—will have hindered Iran’s progress in some significant way. It is also possible that President Obama, who has said on more than a few occasions that he finds the prospect of a nuclear Iran “unacceptable,” will order a military strike against the country’s main weapons and uranium-enrichment facilities.

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But none of these things—least of all the notion that Barack Obama, for whom initiating new wars in the Middle East is not a foreign-policy goal, will soon order the American military into action against Iran—seems, at this moment, terribly likely. What is more likely, then, is that one day next spring, the Israeli national-security adviser, Uzi Arad, and the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, will simultaneously telephone their counterparts at the White House and the Pentagon, to inform them that their prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has just ordered roughly one hundred F-15Es, F-16Is, F-16Cs, and other aircraft of the Israeli air force to fly east toward Iran—possibly by crossing Saudi Arabia, possibly by threading the border between Syria and Turkey, and possibly by traveling directly through Iraq’s airspace, though it is crowded with American aircraft. (It’s so crowded, in fact, that the United States Central Command, whose area of responsibility is the greater Middle East, has already asked the Pentagon what to do should Israeli aircraft invade its airspace. According to multiple sources, the answer came back: do not shoot them down.)

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Targeting Iran: Is the US Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust? Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research

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  • The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of World Peace. "Making the World safer" is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.
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  • The Real Aim of Israel’s Bomb Iran Campaign
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Section(s): 

Summary: The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Week of August 15

4 New Items including:

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  • How the Military Destroys the Lives of Soldiers Who Try to Tell the Truth
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  • Beautiful Women Used to Obscure the Horrors of War
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

Gable

Read Huffington Post's Afghanistan Big News Page, Huffington Post
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski
Some News So Big It Needs It's Own Page

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The War on Iraq : Five US Presidents, Five British Prime Ministers, Thirty Years of Duplicity, and Counting...,Felicity Arbuthnot, Global Research
"Out of the mirror they stare,
 Imperialism's face
 And the international wrong." (W.H. Auden, 1907-1973, writing in 1939.)

How the Military Destroys the Lives of Soldiers Who Try to Tell the Truth, Justine Sharrock, AlterNet

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  • Bradley Manning is not the first military whistleblower to have his life ruined. The military is infamous for trying to silence soldiers who speak out against the war.
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  • Support Bradley Manning!
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Beautiful Women Used to Obscure the Horrors of War, Daisy Hernandez, ColorLines

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  • http://evergreenedigest.org/c
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  • Today (August 8), Time hits newsstands with a photo of a beautiful young woman with her nose cut off. Western photography, war, and beautiful "victims" have a long and fraught history.
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  • Time isn't the only with Photoshop and a political agenda.
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Section(s): 

US - Venezuela: The Empire Strikes Back (and Loses)

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  • Washington has not given up nor reconciled itself to coming to terms with the elected government of President Chavez.  Instead with each defeat of its internal collaborators, the White House has increasingly turned toward an ‘outsider’ strategy, building up a powerful ‘cordon militaire’,  surrounding Venezuela with a large-scale military presence spanning Central America, northern South America and the Caribbean.
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  • The Quiet Revolution
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James Petras, Axis of Logic

US policy toward Venezuela has taken many tactical turns, but the objective has been the same:  to oust President Chavez, reverse the nationalization of big businesses, abolish the mass community and worker based councils and revert the country into a client-state.

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Washington funded and politically backed a military coup in 2002, a bosses’ lockout in 2002-03, a referendum and numerous media, political and NGO efforts to undermine the regime.  Up to now all of the White House efforts have been a failure – Chavez has repeatedly won free elections, retained the loyalty of the military and the backing of the vast majority of the urban and rural poor, the bulk of the  working class and the public sector middle class.

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The Quiet Revolution, Andrew Kennis, In These Times

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  • Venezuelans experiment with participatory democracy.
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  • Communal councils are an effort to combat red tape and the corruption related to it. They are also the product of a long history of movement politics.
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Section(s): 

The Quiet Revolution

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  • Venezuelans experiment with participatory democracy.
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  • Communal councils are an effort to combat red tape and the corruption related to it. They are also the product of a long history of movement politics.
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Andrew Kennis, In These Times

Selling goods to passersby on the street, Jenny Caraballo describes her local communal council. “Some of our members are homemakers who want their community to be pretty,” Caraballo says while trying to make eye contact with potential clients in 23 de Enero, a barrio popular that is one of many rough areas in Caracas, Venezuela.

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The balmy weather southwest of Caracas, in the state of Táchira, does not stop Pedro Hernandez, 77, from playing chess with his retired friends in San Crist—bal’s city square. “Before, the government didn’t help the people,” he says. “Now they give us benefits. “Now there is culture, dance and programs free to the public and organized by our communal council.” Hernandez does his part by organizing chess tournaments.

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Section(s): 

Targeting Iran: Is the US Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust?

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The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of World Peace. "Making the World safer" is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.
The Real Aim of Israel’s Bomb Iran Campaign

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research

The US and its allies are preparing to launch a nuclear war directed against Iran with devastating consequences.

This military adventure in the real sense of the word threatens the future of humanity.

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result  from a  Third World War, using "new technologies" and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality.  

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The Real Aim of Israel’s Bomb Iran Campaign, Gareth Porter, FireDogLake.com

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  • What is important to understand about this campaign is that the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran.
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  • The Republican back door to war with Iran
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  • Iran scientist: CIA offered me $50m to lie about nuclear secrets
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  • Write and speak out!  Silence is complicity!
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Section(s): 

Summary: The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Week of August 8

5 New Items including:

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  • The Trouble With Unconstitutional Wars
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  • The Lunatic’s Manual
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Bruce Beattie

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Read Huffington Post's Afghanistan Big News Page, Huffington Post
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski
Some News So Big It Needs It's Own Page

The Trouble With Unconstitutional Wars, Ron Paul, R-TX

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  • We should follow constitutional protocol when going to war. It is there for a reason. The founders knew that heads of state are far too eager to engage in military conflicts. That is why they entrusted the power to go to war with the deliberative body closest to the people – the Congress.
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  • Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
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Kiss This War Goodbye, Frank Rich, New York Times | NY

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  • The one thing no one imagined back then was that four decades later it would be South Asia, not Southeast Asia, that would still be beckoning America into a quagmire.
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  • Why Wikileaks’ Doc-Dump Is Such a Big Deal
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Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War ~ Andrew Bacevich, Reviewed by Andrew Bast, Newsweek

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  • Groupthink is alive and thriving in Washington, D.C., argues Bacevich, who's convinced that America's mightily militaristic and endlessly idealistic approach to the rest of the world is costing the country dearly. Boiling down his argument to the simplest terms: the world would get along just fine without this overarmed global policeman, and more important, the United States would fare far better at home if it weren't squandering so many of its gifts abroad.
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  • The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's
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The Lunatic’s Manual, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY
War is a meat grinder for service members and their families. It grinds people up without mercy, killing them and inflicting the worst kinds of wounds imaginable, physical and psychological.

Section(s): 

Still Hoping For Haiti

While the U.S. government has funneled roughly $4 billion into Haiti's economy to counter the country's "dismal economic trajectory" since 1990, Haiti still "continued to languish as the poorest in the Western Hemisphere," with the U.S. and neoliberal economic policies partially at fault.

Progress Report

On Jan. 12, 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.3 on the Richter scale shook Haiti for 35 seconds. The most powerful to strike the country in 200 years, the earthquake devastated the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, killing over 200,000 people and leaving nearly 300,000 injured. Despite the outpouring of international assistance, six months later, the impoverished country is still struggling to get back on its feet. Basic living conditions -- including access to shelter, water, sanitation, and health care -- have yet to be restored to a majority of Haitians.

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Rebuilding Haiti successfully requires re-evaluating the flow of aid and bolstering a shattered public sector. More than anything, however, rebuilding Haiti requires an enduring commitment from the United States. As USAID Haiti Task Team coordinator Paul Weisenfeld told NPR earlier this month, "U.S. military provided invaluable support -- under the leadership of USAID," but nonetheless, Haiti will need "sustained attention because the rebuilding effort is going to be an effort that will take many years to come."

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The Real Aim of Israel’s Bomb Iran Campaign

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  • What is important to understand about this campaign is that the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran.
  • \r\n

  • The Republican back door to war with Iran
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  • Iran scientist: CIA offered me $50m to lie about nuclear secrets
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  • Write and speak out!  Silence is complicity!
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Gareth Porter, FireDogLake.com

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Coleen Rowley

Reuel Marc Gerecht’s screed justifying an Israeli bombing attack on Iran coincides with the opening the new Israel lobby campaign marked by the introduction of  House resolution 1553 expressing full support for such an Israeli attack.

What is important to understand about this campaign is that the aim of Gerecht and of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is to support an attack by Israel so that the United States can be drawn into direct, full-scale war with Iran.

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That has long been the Israeli strategy for Iran, because Israel cannot fight a war with Iran without full U.S. involvement. Israel needs to know that the United States will finish the war that Israel wants to start.

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In her message contributing this article, Coleen writes:

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So far 46 Republicans have signed H. Res 1553 supporting Israel’s attack of Iran.  The signers include Michele Bachmann.  Although I don’t think any Democrats have yet signed, they all seem afraid to speak out against this terribly bad idea and it’s probably not long before those Democrats so entrenched with AIPAC, do so.  Last time we were this close to launching war on Iran was in 2007 when our military generals Fallon and Mullen were able to keep Cheney from doing so. 

Please everyone call Obama and Congress and tell them to oppose Israeli attack of Iran as it’s designed to draw the U.S. into a new war.  If anyone knows his number, it might be good to call General Mullen and thank him for stopping this insanity back in 2007 and asking that he do everything in his power to stop it again. 

Write and speak out!  Silence is complicity!   Coleen R.

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The Republican back door to war with Iran, Jamal Abdi, Foreign Policy

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  • A game plan to draw the United States into a third war in the Middle East may be quietly unfolding before our eyes.
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  • The Republican back door to war with Iran
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  • The Real Aim of Israel’s Bomb Iran Campaign
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Iran scientist: CIA offered me $50m to lie about nuclear secrets, Patrick Cockburn, The Independent | UK, in Axis of Logic

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  • The US claims to have received useful information from him in return for the money, but is clearly embarrassed by his very public return to Iran. The offer of a large bribe is reportedly part of a special US programme to get Iranian nuclear scientists to defect.
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  • House GOP to Support Israeli Strike on Iran
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