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James Bovard

Surrendering Liberty: America’s Fatal Freedom Apathy

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According to our civic folklore, Americans are more devoted to freedom than any other nationality on earth. But it is increasingly appears that this dogma is a relic of bygone times.

A Gallup poll last July asked a thousand Americans: “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your freedom to choose what to do with your life?” Only twenty-one percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied.

Admittedly, the percentage of Americans who say they don’t have sufficient freedom has doubled since the previous Gallup poll on this question in 2006, when only 9% complained. That number was stunningly low, considering the controversies back then over the Patriot Act and repressive “free speech zones,” and the first round of explosive revelations of National Security Agency illegal wiretaps on thousands of Americans. Obama in 2008 exploited the Bush administration’s dreadful civil liberties record to portray himself as America’s constitutional savior.

Jon Clifton, the managing director of the Gallup World Poll, observed last summer that the 2006 freedom poll “ numbers make sense in terms of our classic self-perception. The recent numbers do not.” But has the “classic self-perception” been bogus for decades?
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Bill Clinton’s Body-Snatchers: The Truth About the 'Humanitarian' War on Yugoslavia

Clinton Blair

Former president Bill Clinton continues to be feted around the world as a progressive champion of human rights. But a European Union task force last week confirmed that the ruthless cabal he empowered by bombing Serbia in 1999 has committed atrocities including murdering individuals to extract and sell their kidneys, livers, and other body parts.

Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor of a special European Union task force, declared that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had engaged in “unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites.”

A special war crimes tribunal is planned for next year. But the New York Times reported that the trials may be stymied by coverups and stonewalling: “Past investigations of reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo have been undermined by witnesses’ fears of testifying in a small country where clan ties run deep and former members of the KLA. are still feted as heroes. Former leaders of the KLA. occupy high posts in the government.” American politicians have almost entirely ignored the growing scandal. Vice President Joe Biden hailed former KLA leader and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in 2010 as “the George Washington of Kosovo.” A few months later, a Council of Europe investigative report tagged Thaci as an accomplice to the body trafficking operation.
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9/11 Commission: 10th Anniversary of a Bootlicking National Disgrace

Ten years ago, the 9/11 Commission released its report on the challenges to the nation. Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chairman and vice chairman of the commission, have a platitude-laden piece this morning in USA Today: “The 'generational challenge' against terrorism we anticipated 10 years ago has entered a new and dangerous phase. America cannot afford to let down its guard.”

But the 9/11 Commission let down its guard for the American people long before they issued their final report.  The commissioners were content to be deceived by the Pentagon, CIA, and other federal agencies. When their inquiries were stonewalled, they groveled like lapdogs – vindicating the Bush administration’s selection of pliant tools for a commission whose report boosted the president’s reelection campaign.
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US Foreign Food Aid Hurts the Poor

USAID Soldiers

The U.S. government loves to preen about its generosity to the world’s downtrodden. However, a long series of presidents and their tools have scorned the evidence that their aid programs perennially clobber recipients. Nowhere is this clearer than in the sordid history of U.S. food aid.

Food for Peace was devised in 1954 to help dump abroad embarrassingly huge crop surpluses fomented by high federal price supports. The primary purpose of Public Law 480 (in which the program is embodied) has been to hide the evidence of the failure of other farm programs. Although PL-480 sometimes alleviates hunger in the short run, the program disrupts local agricultural markets and makes it harder for poor countries to feed themselves in the long run.

The Agriculture Department (USDA) buys crops grown by American farmers, has them processed or bagged by U.S. companies, and pays lavishly to send them overseas in U.S.-flagged ships. At least 25 percent of food aid must be shipped from Great Lakes ports, per congressional mandate. Once the goods arrive at their destination, the Agency for International Development (USAID) often takes charge or bestows the food on private relief organizations.
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