SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!
Note: Comments (sigh) working again...
Saturday, October 18, 2003
A.T.T. RIPPING OFF SOLDIERS PHONING HOME FROM IRAQ
Military families protest big jump in price of soldiers' calls from Iraq
By MICHAEL D. SORKIN
Some American soldiers in Iraq have made heavy use of phones there to keep in
touch with families back home. Now some military families say those calls have
virtually stopped because of a hefty increase in phone charges.
"The guys are very upset over there," Edith Beach of Kirksville said Thursday.
Her husband is an Army reservist stationed in Baghdad. Sgt. 1st Class David
Beach survived an ambush in which one of his comrades was wounded. He and his
wife last spoke Monday night.
"My husband said morale stinks," Edith Beach said. She said he and
his comrades now were paying up to $2 a minute to call home.
The phone problem appears to be partly a result of access to government phones
that allow soldiers to call home less expensively. Also at issue are the [$2] rates
AT&T is charging at calling centers.
"I'm outraged that they could treat the military like this," Edith Beach said...
... Bob Nersesian, an AT&T spokesman, disputed the calling costs and said the
average cost per minute was 35 cents. Beach and Monagle responded that AT&T had
its figures wrong.
Reach out and touch someone... RIGHT?
HUNDREDS OF SICK & WOUNDED US TROOPS WAIT IN SQUALOR
Sick, wounded U.S. troops held in squalor
By Mark Benjamin, UPI Investigations Editor
Published 10/17/2003 3:36 PM
FORT STEWART, Ga., Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait -- sometimes for months -- to see doctors.
The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers' living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day.
"I have loved the Army. I have served the Army faithfully and I have done everything the Army has asked me to do," said Sgt. 1st Class Willie Buckels, a truck master with the 296th Transportation Company. Buckels served in the Army Reserves for 27 years, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first Gulf War. "Now my whole idea about the U.S. Army has changed. I am treated like a third-class citizen."
Since getting back from Iraq in May, Buckels, 52, has been trying to get doctors to find out why he has intense pain in the side of his abdomen since doubling over in pain there.
After waiting since May for a diagnosis, Buckels has accepted 20 percent of his benefits for bad knees and is going home to his family in Mississippi. "They have not found out what my side is doing yet, but they are still trying," Buckels said.
One month after President Bush greeted soldiers at Fort Stewart -- home of the famed Third Infantry Division -- as heroes on their return from Iraq, approximately 600 sick or injured members of the Army Reserves and National Guard are warehoused in rows of spare, steamy and dark cement barracks in a sandy field, waiting for doctors to treat their wounds or illnesses.
The Reserve and National Guard soldiers are on what the Army calls "medical hold," while the Army decides how sick or disabled they are and what benefits -- if any -- they should get as a result. ... MORE
This is how we treat our citizen-soldiers. Makes ME sick.
"A TOTAL MELTDOWN IN AMERICA'S INTELLIGENCE"
Spies Attack White House Secrecy
By Noah Shachtman, WIRED, 02:00 AM Oct. 16, 2003 PT
NEW ORLEANS -- There's a "total meltdown" in America's intelligence services -- and the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy is one of the major reasons why, current and former top U.S. spooks charged Tuesday.
George W. Bush's White House has pushed like few before it to put government information out of the public's grasp. Moves to classify documents are up 400 percent from a decade ago, to more than 23 million such actions in 2002, according to the Information Security Oversight Office, a division of the National Archives.
But despite their cloak-and-dagger reputation, several of the country's leading spies, past and present, aren't happy about the rush to make things secret. To counter far-reaching, stealthy terrorist cabals, the country needs more openness, not less, they said Wednesday at Geo-Intel 2003, a first-of-its-kind conference here on the use of satellites in war, intelligence and homeland security.
"Our secrecy system is all about protecting secrecy officers, and has nothing to do with protecting secrets. It's a self-licking ice-cream cone," said Rich Haver, until recently Donald Rumsfeld's special assistant for intelligence, now with Northrop Grumman. "We're compartmentalizing the shit out of things. It's causing a total meltdown of our intelligence processes." FROM WIRED via The Spy Game
So there it is. BushCo's secrecy is double edged. Harming intelligence officers and weakening intelligence. No wonder they are up in arms.
INADVERTENT DISCLOSURES CAUSE CHAOS
Inadvertent disclosures of classified nuclear-weapons related materials in publicly available records at the National Archives are causing chaos, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
But these materials may well be incorrectly classified, and the hunt for them has brought research in some areas to a standstill. For example, materials about Japanese and German efforts during WWII have been restricted.
"I wonder if the Civil War is next," said intelligence historian Jeffery Richelson. MORE
THE SHORTER VERSION News and Comments:
I've always felt that the media focusses too much on just a few stories. That happens too in the blogosphere, usually on some of the stories the media hasn't focussed on, but its still too narrow. In a perhaps pathetic attempt to broaden the focus, I present my cut'n'pasted Yahoo.news page with marginal comments. You can call it THE SHORTER VERSION.
Friday, October 17, 2003
US consumers underestimate presence of genetically modified food: survey
AFP - Wed Oct 15, A majority of US consumers are unaware they are buying and eating genetically modified food despite the dominating presence of such ingredients in products sold at grocery stores nationwide, according to a survey....
..."basically it's in all processed foods and we are all eating it."
I wonder WHY we underestimate it. Could it be we were not INFORMED?
Let's see we pesticide, hormone-ize, radiate and genetically modify our food. Excuse me while I become a breatharian.
Study: S. America Glaciers Melting Faster
AP - Melting of glaciers in the Patagonian ice fields of southern Argentina and Chile has doubled in recent years, caused by higher temperatures, lower snowfall and a more rapid breaking of icebergs, a study suggests.
But then, as Rush once said, "Mother Nature has an amazing ability to heal herself."
Bush Dines in Japan, Currencies on the Menu
Hopefully, he'll barf.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
GETTING OUT OF THE TARPIT
Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina today became the party's first major presidential contender to oppose President Bush's request for $87 billion to secure and reconstruct the country....
"It is clear to me that President Bush is not going to change direction unless someone stands up to him and says no," said Edwards, who had voted in 2002 to authorize the war in Iraq -LA TIMES
Sen. Edwards is the first of the major candidates to endorse what I think should be THE major issue of the 2004 campaign.
Let's shoot straight here (pardon the metaphor). It does not matter a whit whether you voted for or against the war last year. It matters what you want to do NOW.
Several candidates have come out against the war. But most indicate they would, now that we are in, "stay the course." This would be throwing good lives after bad.
There is no such thing as a bad war ending with "Peace with honor." Tens of thousands of American lives were lost in Vietnam AFTER we made the decision to leave - all in pursuit of that chimera.
Henry Kissinger himself noted that a peace reflects the balance of forces on the ground.
There are 40 million Iraqis. If only 1% of them are vehemently opposed to the American presence, then they outnumber our forces by better than 2-1. The real number is without a doubt much higher.
Iraq is a national fiction, sprouted from the roots of empire and colonialism. No doubt it would break apart if we left. It was only Saddam's totalitarian regime that held it together, much like Communism held together the former Soviet Union.
Power abhors a vaccuum. It is true that if we leave, the chance is great that Iran or Turkey will abscond with parts of Iraq. Iran will become a greater threat to the region. It was that calculation which caused the first President Bush to abandon the Kurds and Shi'ites after the first Gulf War and leave Saddam in place.
But if we stay it is likely the same results would occur, albeit in a far more painful and drawn out fashion. If elections were to occur, the winners would be the Shi'ites and the result an Iranian style Islamic Republic, a result we would never tolerate.
Any one of the Democratic candidates would be superior to Bush. There is no doubt in my mind, no matter which way they voted, they would not as President have attacked Iraq. Yet Iraq will not go away on January 20, 2005. It will be there to haunt whoever is the American president.
Let us stand up to President Bush. Let us learn the lesson of Vietnam or we will, in Santayana's words, "be condemned to repeat it."
NEW IRAQ RESOLUTION IS MEANINGLESS
A Toothless Resolution
Even if the Security Council approves the U.S. proposal, it won't change a thing in Iraq.
By Fred Kaplan, SLATE, Wednesday, October 15, 2003, at 4:06 PM PT
Hip, hip, but not hurray. The U.N. Security Council is expected to approve the Bush administration's revised draft of a resolution designed to legitimize the U.S.-led occupation authority and the U.S.-commanded security force in Iraq. However, the vote will probably be close and, in any case, the support is certainly tepid.
There is good reason for this lack of enthusiasm. The resolution essentially changes nothing. Its drafters have paid lip service to accelerating the process of Iraqi self-governance and strengthening the United Nations' role in this process. But a close reading of the resolution indicates that all power remains in American hands, that no real authority is transferred to the United Nations, and that a new Iraqi government remains a long way off.
The resolution may pass, but the act will have no effect. It will not compel or persuade other countries to donate money or manpower. Nor will it convince anyone who needs convincing on the ground in Iraq that the U.S. occupation is short-term or legitimate. In short, the resolution fails to accomplish the main diplomatic tasks at hand—to share the burdens of building postwar Iraq and to quell the violent resistance so the rebuilding can proceed securely. LINK
SISTER BLOG IS IN NEW BLOG CONTEST
In trying to get exposure to the Novak-Johnny Spann story I started a companion blog The Spy game, and entered it into the new blog contest at Truth laid bear. If you have a blog consider entering the following link: The Spy Game. It should help get the story out.
A BASELESS REFUTATION
Powell dismisses accusations
October 16, 2003 - 10:05AM
US Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed as "nonsense" criticism from a former aide who accused him of misleading the American people by exaggerating the threat posed by Iraq. LINK
Read the article and see if you can find a single fact or basis for said dismissal.
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
WHAT THEY TOLD YOU, WHAT THEY DIDN'T TELL YOU
What they told you:
Bush: Iraq's new currency symbol of progress
WASHINGTON (Reuters) --President Bush, seeking to bolster public support for his Iraq policies, on Saturday hailed the launch of the country's new currency as a sign of economic promise. link
What they didn't tell you:
Dealers defy Central Bank on exchange rates
By Sarmad S. Ali, IRAQ TODAY
BAGHDAD- Moneychangers and major bourse traders, known as "Big heads", say they will refuse to comply with the Iraqi Central Bank's plan to set the dinar-dollar exchange rate. The traders' challenge to the central bank may come as a blow to the Central Bank's plans to take control of Iraq's money supply...
....The news that dealers still have no intention of complying with Central Bank demands will come as a disappointment to consumers, the traditional losers in the battle. Consumers have long been duped by traders and have been liable to their tricks and their expert manipulation of the rates of exchange... LINK
MORAL OF THE STORY: There's nothing to small to be distorted in the Bush disinformation campaign.
HOW TO POLITICALLY SURVIVE THE BUSH FINANCIAL JUGGERNAUT
Nicholas Hoffman in NY Observer via Dean For America Blog:
No effective campaign-finance law will ever be passed by Congress, as matters stand now. There is just too much money on the other side; any candidate with itchy fingers can easily skip around the federal public-finance scheme. The only candidates to use it are those who cannot raise any money to speak of. Winners don’t. George W. Bush doesn’t....
... The Democratic middle class cannot be happy with the sale of their party on the political eBay to celebrities, AIPAC, trial lawyers, etc. Since nothing else is going to succeed, the people will have to buy back the political system and make it their own.
The middle classes—say those making between $40,000 and $150,000 a year collectively—can do it if they cultivate the habit of giving $200 or $300 every year, and some years even a little more. Aggregated, that makes the ordinary people competitive with the extraordinarily rich. Think of the donations as the rich people do—as bribes, as payoffs on getting the $10,000 insurance tab cut. You are buying "access," as the K Street fixers do. Once we get this going, we can give tax credits for small political contributions and gradually reintroduce into politics men and women who have something else in mind besides where they are going to snatch the next dollar.
The American political system cannot be redeemed, but it can be repurchased.
HOW GOOD WAS U.S. DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN?
According to the information just released by Ambassador Wilson, actually not that good.
The memo details 5 different Psyops targets: US public, Iraq, the West, the Arab world, and the rest of the world. He concludes that the latter three were pretty much unaffected by US efforts. The Iraqi target disinformation campaign succeeded at "some desired influence", and only the US campaign achieved "desired influence."
I think everyone would agree it is highly problematic when the main successful target of PsyOps is the US public.
In any case it is worth reading what these operations were. One example was the creation of a domestic peace organization called "Empower Peace". One problem though, it violated the 1948 Smith-Mundt Act which prohibited domestic dissemination of materials designed for foreign disinformation. check it out.
TALE OF TWO JOURNALISTS
David Corn, THE NATION
Two different journalists refuse to reveal their sources to the Justice Department. One is a bit-player in a Houston crime drama. The Bush Administration declares it doesn't believe she's even a journalist, and has her locked up. The other's a long-time Washington fixture who holds the key to a burgeoning scandal: Who in the White House unmasked a CIA agent working to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction -- endangering that agent's life, and revealing CIA front companies she worked at? The Bush Administration's response: Yeah, we're probably not going to get to the bottom of that one.
I'm not suggesting Robert Novak be locked up. I am suggesting that the Bush Administration is the very definition of shifty-eyed hypocritical cowardice.
They imprisoned Vanessa Leggett, a novice crime writer who had researched a Houston society murder prosecutors felt confident they had sewn up -- only because Leggett refused to surrender her notes and sources when the government demanded them. Leggett had promised otherwise -- and it's a journalist's perogative not to reveal sources who quietly have agreed to share truths and information. So the Feds threw her in jail. With John Ashcroft looking on in stony silence, and ignoring letters and pleas from First Amendment advocates, the president's legal geniuses kept her there for a record-breaking 5 and 1/2 months. During this period, the United States joined Cuba as the only other nation in the Western hemisphere to hold journalists in jail over their work.
So if they play that kind of hardball when the stakes are so low, one would expect real fireworks when the stakes are as high as a White House operative destroying a CIA agent. Right?
Nah. President Bush says we'll probably never get around to figuring out who in his Administration used Robert Novak and others to unmask the agent-wife of one of his critics. LINK
GAZA ATTACK MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FIRST ATTEMPT AT AMERICAN DIPLOMATS
The Gaza attack which killed 3 American security personnel today may not have been the first attempt to attack American diplomats by Palestinian militants,as it has been reported in the media.
In December 2001 a large truck bomb exploded in the path of negotiator Gen. Anthony Zinni just minutes before he was to pass through the area. His convoy had been delayed, saving his life. LINK
Later in the day, American security officials
investigating the bomb attack left the scene
abruptly after Palestinian youths threw stones
and rocks at them. The investigators were
taking pictures of the bloodied, twisted
remains of the van when half a dozen kids threw
stones and rocks at them as about 200
Palestinians looked on.
Palestinian police fired in the air to chase
away the stone throwers, and U.S. officials
rushed into their cars and sped off.
Palestinian police beat some people in the
crowd, while pushing the spectators back.
TURKS TO USE N. IRAQ AS LOGISTICS, STAGING AREA
TURKEY SEES N. IRAQ AS LOGISTICS AREA
ANKARA [MENL] -- Turkey's military plans to use northern Iraq as a logistics supply route for the deployment of up to 10,000 troops in a U.S.-led coalition effort to stabilize Iraq.
Turkish officials said the General Staff has determined that despite Kurdish opposition northern Iraq would be employed as a route for convoys of troops and equipment to areas north and west of Baghdad. The officials said Turkey's military has still not reached agreement with the United States regarding the route of the logistics effort as well as the area and size of the troop deployment.
Turkish Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug told a news conference on Monday that the military would use "main supply lines in northern Iraq for logistics purposes." Basburg said this would ensure the safety of military supply convoys from the Turkish border to points south through the Sunni Triangle.
"If any attack on our convoys occurs, they will be met with the proper response," Basburg said. "I am telling you openly that this will not be a factor in our decision. The Turkish Armed Forces has the power to ensure safety of its convoys." LINK
Prediction #1: Turks and Kurds fight
Prediction #2: It gets bad
'Those who broke Iraq should pay to fix it’
By Zia Iqbal Shahid
BRUSSELS: Prior to an important meeting of the European Union heads of state and government, anti-war EU member states have expressed their ‘considered opinion’ that "those who broke Iraq should pay to fix it," a prominent EU diplomat told The News....
...The European Council is meeting after European Union foreign ministers endorsed a pledge of only 200m euros ($236m), which is seen as the tiny proportion of the $55bn that the World Bank says is required over the next four years to rebuild the war-ravaged country.
The European Union is the world’s biggest aid donor, but in the case of Iraq EU member states are showing trepidation as some European Union countries, which opposed the war are uncomfortable with the way the United States runs Iraq, and are reluctant to make any major contribution arguing that European Union budget is already stretched with priorities such as Afghanistan, Liberia and the West Bank and Gaza Strip and more funds cannot be made available for reconstruction in Iraq.
-Seems only fair, doesn't it? But maybe we could send the bill to Halliburton?
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Spoils of war
US plans to sell off Iraqi businesses are simply the modern equivalent of pillage, says Brian Whitaker
...Last month, Mr Bremer issued CPA order number 39, giving foreign investors unrestricted rights to establish businesses in Iraq and/or buy up Iraqi companies.
The order also allows foreign investors to repatriate profits, dividends, interest and royalties immediately and in full. In other words, they can make a fast buck if they want to, without putting anything back...
... [Bremer] has already acknowledged that his plans will create large-scale unemployment, at least in the short term. His earlier decision to disband the Iraqi army exacerbated the country's fragile security situation by leaving several hundred thousand disgruntled ex-soldiers with nothing better to do than cause trouble.
That is now widely regarded as a major blunder, and Mr Bremer now seems intent on repeating the exercise with the civilian population. According to the UN, the current level of unemployment in Iraq is around 50-60%: the last thing the country needs is more job losses.... link
IS THE WORM TURNING?
The person responsible for analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Colin Powell says the Secretary of State misinformed Americans during his speech at the U.N. last winter....
“…The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence...
“Various people [analysts] would laugh at various times [during Powell’s speech] because the information he was presenting was just, you know, didn't mean anything -- had no meaning,” [he said] LINK
Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina today became the party's first major presidential contender to oppose President Bush's request for $87 billion to secure and reconstruct the country....
"It is clear to me that President Bush is not going to change direction unless someone stands up to him and says no," said Edwards, who had voted in 2002 to authorize the war in Iraq LINK
EXCUSE ME, CUBA DOESN'T HAVE ANY WMDs
US eyes second-tier threats in terror war
It signals hardening stance by focusing on Syria, Libya, and Cuba.
By Howard LaFranchi, Christian Science Monitor
...The triad of WMD-seeking states that President Bush first targeted in his January 2002 State of the Union address no longer includes Iraq. But the club otherwise made up of North Korea and Iran has grown to include Syria, Libya, and Cuba, in the administration's eyes, as it seeks to keep the nation and the world focused on the dual threats of weapons proliferation and state-sponsored terrorism.
Nor does Cuba sponsor terrorism. But then, neither evidently did Iraq.
WOW! NOW WILSON TO EXPOSE WAR PROPAGANDA MACHINE
Wilson adds ammo to hit war credibility gap
US News- Washington Whispers - Paul Bedard
Just as former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's story that Bushies blew his CIA wife's cover to get back at his criticism of the war in Iraq was getting old, he has stumbled on new ammo to hit the administration's credibility. Wilson tells us he plans to circulate the text of a briefing by analyst Sam Gardiner that suggests the White House and Pentagon made up or distorted over 50 war stories.
MUST READ: LINK See .pdf file links. (via: TGoddard)
BUSH'S BIG TURKISH FOLLY
...With virtual unanimity, analysts, scholars and veterans from across the political spectrum say that, moral issues aside, introducing Turkish soldiers into an already volatile ethnic and sectarian situation is counterproductive.
"The decision is a very bad one, for Turkey and for Washington," says Graham Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA during the Reagan administration and author of "The Future of Political Islam." Fuller, like many others, believes Turkish troops will further fracture the region, causing tensions in the north, spurring other neighboring governments, especially Iran, to step up their involvement in Iraq, and, if things go wrong, potentially weakening America's important strategic relationship with Turkey.
"Iran will see this as an effort by Turkey to create a foothold in Iraq," he says, and will be likely to send more of its own proxies into the country. He also dismisses the American hope that shared religion will lead to Turkish rapport with the Iraqis in the fractious Sunni triangle.
"My sense is that Turkey will be treated as the functional equivalent of Americans," he says. "This business of being fellow Muslims will have no relevance. Indeed, you could argue that Turkey has baggage from being a former colonial power."
As if to underscore the point -- CNN: Suicide blast hits near Turkish Embassy in Iraq
A quarter of U.S. troops in Iraq lack body armor
By Matt Kelley
Oct. 13, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nearly one-quarter of the 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq still have not been issued a new type of ceramic body armor strong enough to stop bullets fired from assault rifles.
Delays in funding, production and shipping mean it will be December before all troops in Iraq will have the vests, which were introduced four years ago, military officials say.
Congress approved $310 million in April to buy 300,000 more of the bulletproof vests, with 30,000 destined to complete outfitting of the troops in Iraq. Of that money, however, only about $75 million has reached the Army office responsible for overseeing the vests' manufacture and distribution, said David Nelson, an official in that office.
Angry members of Congress have denounced the Pentagon. They say up to 44,000 troops lack the best vests because of the sluggish supply chain, significantly more than the Pentagon figure. Relatives of some soldiers have resorted to buying body armor in the United States and shipping it to their troops, congressional critics say....
"I'M IN CHARGE" SAYS BUSH - OK, THEN WE KNOW WHO TO BLAME
Bush Insists He's 'In Charge' of Iraq Policy
Mon October 13, 2003 04:49 PM ET,By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Monday rejected complaints from some members of Congress that he needs to assert more control over Iraq policy, saying, "The person who is in charge is me."
Showing his firm control, he then went golfing.... See link
It's kind of different though from the story put out last month that he was led astray by Cheney and Rumsfeld LINK
Monday, October 13, 2003
It struck me I haven't posted any late night jokes for a while. Probably because I have to go to NEWSMAX to get em. But it was worth it. I learned a lot of things: That the Dems misled poor Bush on WMDs, Valerie Plame was already burned ( a highly slective interpretation) before Novak, and aliens are controlling Tom Daschle (wait, maybe that was Weekly World) - anyway here they are:
# This is the six-month anniversary of the fall of Saddam, and we still haven’t found him yet. But you know what bothers me the most? We haven’t even found any of his look alike doubles. Wasn’t there like ten look alikes? Where did they go? Shouldn’t we get partial credit for getting one of them? There’s ten of them, we can’t get any of them?
# And today President Bush vowed to weaken Fidel Castro’s hold on power. Let me tell you something, if Bush does the same thing to Castro he did to Saddam and Osama, this guy’s got a job for life.
# Well he said Castro was threatening the United States with cigars of mass destruction.
# See now that we got Iraq’s oil, Bush wants to go after Cuba’s baseball players. If we can get them over here.
# Well at least things are peaceful now in America, there’s no way Bush is going to go to war with anybody until the playoffs are over. He’s a huge baseball guy.
# And listen to this, this is unbelievable. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is now working on legislation to change the Constitution of the United States to allow foreign-born citizens to run for president. This is what I love about Republicans, they’re a hundred percent against giving immigrants driver’s licenses, but you can be president, that’s OK. You just can’t drive. link
Well, just be glad I did the heavy lifting for you...
REPACKAGED DOG FOOD THAT AIN'T SELLING
Mark Shields on the Bush Iraq Policy Offensive
from PBS Newshour:
...the reality is this: They're trying to sell something trying to repackage dog food that ain't selling.
You can't go out and sell the idea that we've built school rooms, that we've completed three stop signs and put up seven traffic lines when you've got nine people being murdered, you've got a terrorist bomb going off, a Spanish embassy attaché being assassinated and American troops being shot...
That's why Shields is the Iguana's favorite pundit.
HALLIBURTON ENERGY BILL GUTS EPA PROTECTIONS
Bill would benefit energy industry
By Dan Morgan, Washington Post, 10/13/2003
WASHINGTON -- For several years the Environmental Protection Agency has been studying whether an increasingly popular but environmentally controversial drilling technique used by Halliburton Co. and other big oil and gas operators pollutes underground drinking water supplies.
Republicans drafting broad energy legislation have decided not to wait for the EPA to issue its final report. Instead, the House-Senate compromise on the energy bill exempts the technique, known as hydraulic fracturing, from some controls of the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act.
The decision shows the extent to which the far-reaching energy legislation has become a catchall for environmental provisions long advocated by industry lobbyists.
Some controversial initiatives, such as one allowing oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, could be removed from the bill to improve its chances of passage in the politically-divided Senate.
But other less prominent environmental provisions, especially ones dealing with water issues, seem likely to survive, according to congressional aides in both parties.
For example, language agreed to by House-Senate negotiators would end, for the first time, a requirement that construction activities related to oil and gas exploration operate with a permit under the Clean Water Act.
In a letter sent last week to GOP negotiators, Representative James L. Oberstar, Democrat of Minnesota, called the provision "a complete, unprecedented end run around one of our nation's most successful environmental laws."... LINK
-Why don't we just change our damn name to United Colors of Halliburton?
WILL IRAQ END UP PARTITIONED?
Turks trade troops for hard U.S. cash
By ERIC MARGOLIS -- Contributing Foreign Editor, TORONTO SUN
...The de facto partition of Iraq, long predicted by this column, could be accelerating. Washington may decide to carve up the country into "Iraq utile," as France used to define Chad, and "Iraq inutile" - or useful and useless Iraq. Oil is in the north and southeast. Let the Turks and Kurds divvy up the north; the U.S. and Britain will control the bigger southeast fields; the oilless Sunni triangle, where resistance to U.S. occupation is fiercest, will be sealed off and left in isolation.... LINK
SAINT GEORGE THE SECOND CANONIZED
LUBBOCK, TX - In a radical break with hundreds of years of Protestant tradition, the Southern Baptist Convention announced the canonization of President Bush as its first saint.
According to Elmer Frankenford, the Convention Secretary, the canonization was in line with Baptist beliefs.
"Our President is truly Godly. You can see it in the halo that appears in his photographs and you can see it in his actions against Godless liberals and infidel terrorists,"
"Its not like them child-molesting Catholic saints who bought their way into sainthood. He is the real thing and we see it everytime he has a press conference or a speech at a military base or lands on an aircraft carrier," he said, sniffing back tears.
DIGBY HAS IT ABOUT RIGHT
Atrios is featuring an interesting Novak note (Via Cosmic Iguana) [ed: hey, that's us!] about CIA disgruntlement over the leak of Johnny “Mike” Spann’s name in the media in November 2001.
You do have to wonder if Novak ran his Plame story past the same CIA contacts who expressed such outrage over Spann. Why would they have such completely differing views on what should have been the same issue --- unless his CIA sources are not very well informed and didn't know Plame's status. (Then again, maybe Novak is a lying piece of garbage and never bothered to check it out with the CIA, always a possibility, considering his political bias and habit of believing traitors when they tell him what he wants to hear.)
There was a difference between the Spann case and Plame, though --- and not just because Spann was dead.
The CIA itself made the early determination that revealing Spann's name wouldn't compromise anyone in the field because of the kind of operative he was. This is from the NewsHour November 29, 2001:
TED GUP: I think Jim Risen is right in his read on this. I would caution that we not read too much into this disclosure. I don't think that it represents a sudden break with tradition or policy at the agency, a sudden rush towards revelation and openness. I think that the reason that his identity could be revealed was not only because it was somewhat compromised by the media, because in the past others have been outed, so to speak, by the media in life and in death. And the agency has not owned up to it. But in this case, I think he was purely paramilitary in his functions, as opposed to the sort of clandestine case officer working in an embassy who has a long-running relationship with foreign nationals, running them as agents, getting intelligence and documents and such.
So in this case, exposing his identity, I think, did not run the risk of endangering foreign nationals who are who were reporting to him. I think he was in country a brief time. He had only been at the agency for two years, and so I think they could afford to disclose his identity without those other ramifications.
Larry Johnson, angry Novak critic on the Plame affair, was also a big critic of the administration's admitting Spann's CIA affiliation. His fear in that case, was that Spann's family would be in danger from terrorists.
Here is the CIA’s official response to critics about the Spann revelation.
It is very interesting, though, that somebody leaked Spann's identity to the media and proceeded to turn him into the first military hero of the WOT, replete with Arlighton burial. Tenet was right out front in the beatification, most people believing at the time that he was desperately trying to salvage the CIA's tattered reputation after having failed to predict 9/11. We must remember that the Spann revelation took place only about 6 weeks after that day. The country was in a frenzy.
But looking back it sure reeks of the administration using the CIA for self-serving politics and PR --- much the same as the Plame scandal, if less dark and sinister.
Perhaps the best defense at this point for any leaker, if caught, is to say that since the administration had been leaking the names of CIA operatives since November, 2001 they just didn’t realize that there was anything wrong with it. It has been SOP from the very beginning. LINK
BRING ON THE MONKEY POX!
Incredibly, just months after imported giant Gambian rats brought monkey pox to our shores BushCo has decided to LOOSEN import restrictions on animals, in specific, ENDANGERED species:
U.S. Seeks Looser Rules on Wild Animal Imports
Limited trade in items from endangered species is urged to help foreign conservation efforts.
By Alan C. Miller, Times Staff Writer, October 13, 2003
WASHINGTON — In a break with long-standing practice, the Bush administration is proposing to permit limited imports of endangered wild animals as hunting trophies and commercial products, potentially ranging from skins for leather handbags to aquarium pets.
The policy shift is intended to provide incentives for poor countries to expand established conservation programs with profits from the sale of live animals, as well as parts and trophies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said.
The change would not affect endangered species in the United States.
In the past, the U.S. government permitted certain species on the verge of extinction abroad to be brought into the United States for research, breeding and educational purposes. But this would be the first time in the 30-year history of the Endangered Species Act that this country has allowed such animals killed in the wild to be imported.
Many conservation groups are intensely opposed to the proposal and express skepticism that allowing increased trade will result in greater preservation. Among their concerns is that expanding legalized exploitation will spur illegal smuggling.
"This is an absolutely radical departure from what they've been doing up to this point," said Carroll Muffett, director of international programs for Defenders of Wildlife, a Washington-based nonprofit conservation group. "This would throw open the door to allow imports potentially of any of 500 endangered species." LINK
Somehow you know they just hate endangered species, don't you?
Sunday, October 12, 2003
FLORIDA ELECTION SCRUBBER IS INVADING PRIVACY IN CENTRAL AMERICA
Choicepoint, the data processing company that illegally prevented thousands of Florida citizens from voting thus giving the election to George Bush, is involved in collecting data on millions of Central Americans in their own countries without their knowledge:
U.S. data mining investigated
`Information trafficking' riles Latin America
By Hugh Dellios, chicagotribune.com, Tribune foreign correspondent, October 12, 2003
MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- For a people who have grappled with American meddling for more than a century, Nicaraguans were surprised to find that Uncle Sam's long reach may now extend right into their private lives.
The latest intrusion was by information companies rooting out identity documents, driver's license numbers, phone records and other personal data, all of which were made available to the U.S. government for screening.
Prosecutors in Nicaragua, Mexico and elsewhere across Latin America have opened investigations into the business of private information mining after discovering that the U.S. Justice Department hired a Georgia company to collect personal information on up to 300 million people throughout the region without their knowledge.
The company, ChoicePoint Inc., in turn hired local subcontractors to dig out the information. Company officials said they only collect data from the public realm and never deal in sensitive information such as bank records. But investigators across the region want to know who is collecting what information and how it might be used.
The project is part of the U.S. government's attempt to expand its intelligence sources in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. link
I think its because of all the South American terrorists we've been seeing lately...
BRITISH PAPER SAYS 'IRAQ IS FAR WORSE NOW'
Contradicting the Bush spin that Iraq is "better than you probably think," the reporter for this British paper says the situation now is more tenuous than at any point:
IRAQ: IT'S FAR WORSE NOW
JAMES GARNETT, DEFENCE REPORTER, 12:00 - 11 October 2003
Crack Plymouth Royal Marine boat teams on patrol in Iraq today said the country was more dangerous now than at any point in the war. Six months after the conflict officially ended, specialist commandos from 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (ASRM) have told the Herald they are being regularly shot at while patrolling the Shatt Al Arab waterway near Basra.
Only a few days ago their headquarters - one of Saddam's Basra riverside palace compounds - was mortar-bombed by fighters loyal to the deposed regime.
And the danger is set to increase as they enter a new and more aggressive phase of patrolling, during which they will stop and arrest oil and weapons smugglers pouring into southern Iraq. link
FRENCH INVESTIGATING HALLIBURTON
Cheney's former company in probe
By Jon Henley, Paris, October 12, 2003
The French public prosecutor's office is to open a judicial inquiry into alleged corruption by a French engineering firm and the American oil services giant Halliburton, which was headed until two years ago by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President of the United States.
The investigation is the first of its kind in France under laws introduced as part of an international convention on cross-border corruption signed in 1997 by about 35 countries, including the US.
The financial crimes squad in Paris believes a French oil and gas engineering firm, Technip, and particularly the Halliburton subsidiary KBR, were jointly involved during the 1990s in the payment of up to $US200 million of under-the-counter "commissions" in relation to a huge gas contract in Nigeria... LINK
That's what's so GREAT about the American system of FREE ENTERPRISE. They didn't have to bribe Cheney for the Iraq contracts, they still had him on SALARY!
BTW: Note that link- story about Cheney's pay broke in UK in March but wasn't reported in US until September!
WE HAVE COMPETITION!
An Anti-American Iraqi Cleric Declares His Own Government
By IAN FISHER, NY TIMES, Published: October 12, 2003
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 11 — An anti-American cleric, whose forces clashed on Thursday with American soldiers and killed two of them, has proclaimed his own government in Iraq.
The move failed to produce any signs of popular support on Saturday but did appear to notch up his defiance of the American-led occupation. LINK
You know this could be a GOOD thing. As our Chamber of Commerce likes to remind us, "When there's competition, products get BETTER!"