SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!
Note: Comments (sigh) working again...
Saturday, November 01, 2003
ADMINISTRATION REJECTED PLEA TO CLEAR TREES BEFORE FIRE
U.S. Rejected Davis on Aid to Clear Trees
By Gregg Jones and Dan Morain, LA Times Staff Writers, October 31, 2003
SACRAMENTO — The Bush administration took six months to evaluate Gov. Gray Davis' emergency request last spring for $430 million to clear dead trees from fire-prone areas of Southern California.
The request was finally denied Oct. 24, only hours before wildfires roared out of control in what has become the largest fire disaster in California history. link
GOVT. INTERVENTION STIFLES STUDENT CREATIVITY
Students expelled for making sex video
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) --Three high school students were expelled for making a sexually explicit video that was distributed around their private school.
The video was made last spring by a sophomore girl and two junior boys, who were not identified by officials with Milken Community High School. Two of the three students involved thought the video was recorded only for a small group of friends, said school head Rennie Wrubel.
"They thought they were just doing it for fun," Wrubel said. "And then it showed up in school."
The video was discovered by parents and the school when a boy who watched it told his parents last month... LINK
- These kids could've been the next generation's Larry Flynt!
NOTE TO CONSERVATIVE READERS: By posting a real criticism and a satirical one, I am testing your powers of handling cognitive dissonance. OK?
RUMSFELD DRUG ADDICTION MAY EXPLAIN IRAQ POLICY
...Shortly after the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, confused Afghanistan with Iraq at a news conference, the US embassy in Bucharest had to apologise to the president of Romania, Ion Iliescu, for the Pentagon decorating his table with a Russian flag when he lunched with Mr Rumsfeld earlier this week... LINK
-Russia, Romania, they both start with 'R's - anyone could make that mistake... Or could it be Rumsfeld is on drugs? Maybe speed? Maybe the Iraqi WMDs were just a hallucination?
Move over Rush, Rummy may be your new roommate...
THIS OUGHTA WORK!
US to boost public relations efforts in Iraq
Thursday, 30-Oct-2003 3:20PM ,2003 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)
WASHINGTON, Oct 30 (AFP) - The State Department said Thursday it would send two dozen more diplomats to Iraq in a bid to boost the US image throughout the country amid increasing popular resentment of the occupation of the country.
Spokesman Richard Boucher said all 24 would be trained in "public diplomacy" and would supplement the 53 US diplomats now on the ground in Iraq working in the Coalition Provisional Authority and with the interim government.
"We're sending 24 public diplomacy officers into Iraq to help us get the message out," he told reporters.
The diplomats, all of whom volunteered for the duty, are to be stationed in each of Iraq's 18 regions and will be charged with explaining and promoting US policies in the country and throughout the world, officials said.
Washington has become increasingly concerned that its foreign policy is being misinterpreted, particularly in the Arab and Muslim world, and has been on a campaign to improve its plummeting image there since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. LINK
-I think they need more "Baghdad is getting better" billboards!
Friday, October 31, 2003
HALLOWEEN STUNNER! BUSH REVEALED AS ANTICHRIST -TURNS PLANET INTO JACK'O'LANTERN
WASHINGTON (The Globe) - In a stunning irony and a disheartening setback to his born-again supporters, President George W. Bush revealed himself to be the Anti-Christ today. His first official act was to turn the world into a fiery Jack'O'Lantern.
White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan denied any hypocrisy in President Bush's latest actions. "He never said he was a Godly person, it was his followers who said so. President Bush always said he is a sinner, and now he's just saying how."
When asked if this meant Vice President Cheney would assume the office of President, McLellan replied, "Well you know, as it turns out tommorrow Vice President Cheney will reveal himself to be Beelzebub himself, so we will have to see how that goes..."
YUMMM... CLONED FOOD!
In Initial Finding, F.D.A. Calls Cloned Animals Safe as Food
By ANDREW POLLACK, NY TIMES, Published: October 31, 2003
Milk and meat from cloned animals are safe to consume, the Food and Drug Administration has tentatively concluded, a finding that could eventually clear the way for such products to reach supermarket shelves and for cloning to be widely used to breed livestock...
...if the preliminary conclusion stands, labeling would not be needed and there would be little regulation, Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the agency's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in an interview... LINK
Let's see... We feed them pesticided, radiated, genetically modified grain (thats grown with sewage sludge) and ground animals, antibiotics and hormones. Then we radiate the meat. Why NOT clone them, we already know clones are genetically deficient and incapable of a normal lifespan.
Can we get any more poisoned? Excuse me, I have to mutate now...
AT LEAST WE'RE BETTER THAN SADDAM
Iraqis tell grim stories of U.S.-run camps:
Former Iraqi detainees tell of riots, punishment in the sun, good Americans and pitiless ones
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - In Iraq's American detention camps, forbidden talk can earn a prisoner hours bound and stretched out in the sun, and detainees swinging tent poles rise up regularly against their jailers, according to recently released Iraqis.
In these secretive islands in a scorched landscape, "they don't respect anyone, old or young," Rahad Naif said of his U.S. Army guards. He and others told of detainees in wheelchairs, and of a man carried into a stifling hot tent in his sickbed. "They humiliate everybody.'' ...
The prisoners staged protests or hunger strikes demanding better care for their sick comrades. At other times, they would erupt in anger over their own plight.
"Twenty or so of us would start shouting, `Get us out! Let us go!'," said Muslim, who was freed Sept. 20 after two months' detention, accused of attempted carjacking.
"The demonstrations happened almost every day at Bucca," said Rahad Naif, who described scenes in which military police countered with the tools of U.S. prison guards.
"Sometimes we'd fight the Americans with tent poles. The Americans would come at us behind riot shields, firing plastic bullets and electric pistols (stun guns). We can't fight against that. We knew they'd win. We'd never manage to get out.''
The ex-detainees said the common punishment, even for such lesser infractions as shouting over to the next tent or stealing food, was "The Gardens" - a razor-wire enclosure where prisoners were made to lie face down on the burning sand for two or three hours, hands bound. ...
"The worst thing was their treatment of the women," said Saad Naif, who spent time both at the airport and at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, where tents spread across the prison yards.
"Innocent women were kept for months in the same clothes," he said. He said he remembered in particular an elderly woman "whose hands were tied up and she was lying in the dust.''
... "Death would be better than the Americans again!" she said
[But] Ex-detainee Muslim says he knows of a worse fate - to have been imprisoned under Saddam Hussein, as his late father was for three months in 1995. Torture and summary execution became routine in the Baathist political prison system.
"Compared to Saddam, the Americans are better," he said. link
WHY FOX BEATS CNN
Last month I ran into this website that breaks down CNN content and comes up with the conclusion that CNN stands for "contains no news". To be precise, less than 5 minutes per hour.
Since the Bush coup its been hard to watch cable news, but I decided to watch this morning while on the treadmill at the work out room and check it out. I flicked on Headline News to see what was on, but after 10 minutes my autonomic nervous system rebelled. Nary a headline had I heard.
My autonomic nervous system, as if under a spell, clicked over to Fox. Sigh of relief. Actual News. Biased to be sure. Propaganda, even. But mostly non-fluff. Even the commercials were more entertaining - most of which were - NOT AVAILABLE IN STORES. There was even audience participation, when I threw my sweaty towel at the screen during the most blatant propaganda.
It is a strange and dangerous time when to see actual news on TV, you must control your impulse to kill the newscasters. And I wasn't even watching O'Reilly or Hannity and Colmes, for whom death is not good enough.
In the words of Thomas Jefferson, "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is Just, and his Justice will not sleep forever." :O)
Thursday, October 30, 2003
PRIVATE PARA-MILITARY CONTRACTORS NOW LARGEST COALITION "PARTNER"
FROM: AP: Private Firms Do U.S. Military's Work
By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer
...In Iraq and Afghanistan, important buildings in the capitals bristle with gun-toting Americans in sunglasses. They favor khaki photographers' vests and a few military accoutrements, but lack the name tags and identifying patches of a soldier.
Ask who they work for and one often hears "no comment" or "I can't tell you that."
Contractors' deaths aren't counted among the tally of more than 350 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. No one is sure how many private workers have been killed, or, indeed, even how many are toiling in Iraq for the U.S. government. Estimates range from under 10,000 to more than 20,000 - which could make private contractors the largest U.S. coalition partner ahead of Britain's 11,000 troops.
Global Risks Strategies, a security firm with about 1,100 workers on the ground - mainly armed former Nepalese and Fijian soldiers - is among security companies that have more personnel in Iraq than some other countries taking part in the occupation...
To the consternation of U.S. lawmakers, there is little or no Congressional oversight of contractors hired by the executive branch of government - whether through the State Department, Pentagon or the CIA....
... The connection between companies and politicians in Washington raises the specter of executives lobbying for a hawkish U.S. foreign policy since they profit from war...
...Iraq contractors DynCorp, Bechtel and Halliburton donated more than $2.2 million - mainly to Republican causes like the 2000 Bush presidential campaign - between 1999 and 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. LINK
FOX NEWS "GRUNT" EXPOSES THE LIE ABOUT "FAIR AND BALANCED"
Charlie Reina posts at Jim Romanesko's Forum:
My advice to the pundits: If you really want to know about bias at Fox, talk to the grunts who work there - the desk assistants, tape editors, writers, researchers and assorted producers who have to deal with it every day. Ask enough of them what goes on, promise them anonymity, and you'll get the real story.
The fact is, daily life at FNC is all about management politics. I say this having served six years there - as producer of the media criticism show, News Watch, as a writer/producer of specials and (for the last year of my stay) as a newsroom copy editor. Not once in the 20+ years I had worked in broadcast journalism prior to Fox - including lengthy stays at The Associated Press, CBS Radio and ABC/Good Morning America - did I feel any pressure to toe a management line. But at Fox, if my boss wasn't warning me to "be careful" how I handled the writing of a special about Ronald Reagan ("You know how Roger [Fox News Chairman Ailes] feels about him."), he was telling me how the environmental special I was to produce should lean ("You can give both sides, but make sure the pro-environmentalists don't get the last word.")
Editorially, the FNC newsroom is under the constant control and vigilance of management. The pressure ranges from subtle to direct. First of all, it's a news network run by one of the most high-profile political operatives of recent times. Everyone there understands that FNC is, to a large extent, "Roger's Revenge" - against what he considers a liberal, pro-Democrat media establishment that has shunned him for decades. For the staffers, many of whom are too young to have come up through the ranks of objective journalism, and all of whom are non-union, with no protections regarding what they can be made to do, there is undue motivation to please the big boss... MUCH MORE
WHAT IS UP WITH THIS?
Secret 9/11 case before high court
The justices consider a petition for a case with no public record.
By Warren Richey | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
MIAMI - It's the case that doesn't exist. Even though two different federal courts have conducted hearings and issued rulings, there has been no public record of any action. No documents are available. No files. No lawyer is allowed to speak about it. Period.
Yet this seemingly phantom case does exist - and is now headed to the US Supreme Court in what could produce a significant test of a question as old as the Star Chamber, abolished in 17th-century England: How far should a policy of total secrecy extend into a system of justice?
Secrecy has been a key Bush administration weapon in the war on terrorism. Attorney General John Ashcroft warns that mere tidbits of information that seem innocuous about the massive Sept. 11 investigation could help Al Qaeda carry out new attacks.
Yet this highly unusual petition to the high court arising from a Miami case brings into sharp focus the tension between America's long tradition of open courts and the need for security in times of national peril. At issue is whether certain cases may be conducted entirely behind closed doors under a secret arrangement among prosecutors, judges, and docket clerks.
While secret trial tactics have reportedly been used by federal prosecutors to shield cooperating drug dealers, it's unclear whether the high court has ever directly confronted the issue. But that may change if they take up MKB v. Warden (No. 03-6747).
This is among the first of the post-Sept. 11 terrorism cases to wend its way to the nation's highest tribunal. There was no public record of its existence, however, until the appeal was filed with the clerk of the US Supreme Court.
A federal judge and a three-judge federal appeals-court panel have conducted hearings and issued rulings. Yet lawyers and court personnel have been ordered to remain silent.
"The entire dockets for this case and appeal, every entry on them, are maintained privately, under seal, unavailable to the public," says a partially censored 27-page petition asking the high court to hear the case. "In the court of appeals, not just the filed documents and docket sheet are sealed from public view, but also hidden is the essential fact that a legal proceeding exists."
Despite the heavy secrecy, a brief docketing error led to a newspaper report identifying MKB by name in March. The report said MKB is an Algerian waiter in south Florida who was detained by immigration authorities and questioned by the FBI.
MKB's legal status remains unclear, but it appears unlikely from court documents that he is connected in any way to terrorism. He has been free since March 2002 on a $10,000 bond.
The case is significant because it could force a close examination of secret tactics that are apparently becoming increasingly common under Attorney General Ashcroft. In September 2001, he ordered that all deportation hearings with links to the Sept. 11 investigation be conducted secretly. In addition, the Justice Department has acknowledged that at least nine criminal cases related to the Sept. 11 investigation were being cloaked in total secrecy.
MKB v. Warden is the first indication that the Justice Department is extending its total secrecy policy to proceedings in federal courts dealing with habeas corpus - that is, an individual's right to force the government to justify his or her detention.... MORE
-OK, a non-terrorism case that's using terrorism statutes to justify its complete and utter secrecy. AND on Habeas Corpus to boot. I don't like the sound of THAT... I know I've been catapulted into a dimension where the US becomes the capitalist version of the Soviet Union...
WAR IS HELL, BUT NOT FOR HALLIBURTON
Halliburton says KBR unit revenue profit, sales soar
Wed Oct 29,11:57 AM ET
HOUSTON, United States (AFP) - US oil industry services giant Halliburton said Thursday its Kellogg Brown and Root unit's profits rose four-fold and sales leapt 80 percent, boosted by work in Iraq.
Profits from the unit's operations soared to 49 million dollars in the three months to September from 12 million dollars a year earlier, helped by "government services activity in the Middle East," Halliburton said.
KBR, the engineering and construction division that netted a no-bid government contract to help rebuild Iraq's shattered oil industry, also posted an 80-percent jump in sales to 2.3 billion dollars. link
IN MY OPINION, DONALD LUSKIN IS A STALKER
Most folks in the blogosphere know about how a blogger and self-proclaimed "stalker" Donald Luskin is trying to subpoena blogspot.com to out Atrios because he linked to article about him and titled it "Dairy of a stalker".
Any libel case like that would be thrown out as without merit, of course, based on the self-proclamation, or that Luskin is a public figure [Times v. Sullivan, 1964].
In my opinion, it's likely that Luskin has no intention to sue Atrios. In my opinion, he wants to stalk Atrios, too!
BTW, opinion is pretty much bulletproof defense [its called opinion and fair comment]
Meanwhile the Luskin -stalker meme is growing roots... [Click thumbnail]
MEME REPORT - "GEORGE BUSH, MISERABLE FAILURE"
As you know many in the blogosphere are engaged in a meme breeding project, the genetic linking of two related concepts - that of "George Bush" and "miserable failure". Here is an early indicator of success:
Google search on "miserable failure": (Click on thumbnail to get full size OR just try it yourself)
WHERE HAVE ALL THE NATIONAL GUARDSMEN GONE?
(You know, the ones usually mobilized in emergencies, like our big California fire sh*tstorm?)
4 letters: I-R-A-Q.
Meanwhile we keep hearing about how the firefighters are so under-manned...
thnx: Dean S comments at wageslave
YOU MEAN THEY ARE NOT OUTSIDE AGITATORS?
Commanders Doubt Syria Is Entry Point: Officers See No Sign Of Foreign Fighters
By Vernon Loeb, Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, October 29, 2003; Page A19
SINJAR, Iraq -- Commanders of U.S. military forces responsible for monitoring the border between Iraq and Syria say there is no evidence from human intelligence sources or radar surveillance aircraft indicating that significant numbers of foreign fighters are crossing into Iraq illegally. LINK
-Now WHO was it saying it was FOREIGN fighters? Don't want say it, but were his initials GEORGE BUSH?
UPDATE QUESTION: Isn't that the George Bush, who is known as the "Miserable Failure"?
PARANOIA STRIKES DEEP: FBI INVESTIGATES COMMUNITY COLLEGE TEACHER FOR DISCUSSING SMALLPOX
... [Jamie] Deneris, a College of Marin biology professor who has been under FBI investigation for discussing smallpox in her class two years ago, said her students have also been contacted and questioned by the FBI...
... Deneris, who holds a doctorate in parasitology from UC-Berkeley, teaches the ecology of infectious diseases, microbiology, and principles of biology. She said that smallpox has long been a part of her curriculum, but after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, students were asking more questions about the disease and about bioterrorism...
...She said the FBI told her they were contacting her because two students had claimed she had a culture of smallpox at College of Marin. Deneris said she told them that was ridiculous, and that she had never had a smallpox culture. The FBI asked her why she discusses smallpox and biological weapons in class. "It is part of my curriculum, and everybody is curious about it since it is all over the newspapers," Deneris told them...
..."What's so outrageous is that so much money has been wasted and so many lives have been affected, particularly Jamie's, because of one misinterpretation of the facts," said nursing instructor Jeannie Langinger. "When you are asked leading, probing questions (by the FBI), you are going to give them what they want. Some students perhaps have, and this continues the insane investigation."... LINK
-Well, let's see... she went to UC Berkeley, a well known haven of anti-Americanism, she taught in Marin, home of John Walker Lindh, and other rich liberal terrorist sympathizers. I'd say she was a natural bioterror suspect. Wait, but aren't the bioterror suspects actually right-wingers? Oh well.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
PROTECT OUR FORESTS BY CUTTING THEM DOWN?
Steve Lopez, LA TIMES:
...Not long after the first house went up in flames last week, various elected officials and Bush administration surrogates said it was time to cross the Ts on the president's Healthy Forests fire-prevention initiative...
[BUT]...The Healthy Forests initiative wouldn't have done squat to prevent our fires. In a more splendid irony, critics argue that it wouldn't even do much to create healthy forests.
Essentially, the forests would become "healthier" by cutting them down. The initiative would give loggers greater access to federal wild lands as a means of thinning them, thereby lowering fire risk. (You'll be shocked to learn the White House's point man on forestry is a former logging industry lobbyist.)
Healthy Forests would do zero to address fire hazards where suburbs meet wild lands, as Sen. Dianne Feinstein has argued in trying to broker a compromise. ...
Peter Galvin of the Center for Biological Diversity called proponents of Healthy Forests utterly shameless for exploiting Southern California's tragedy. Jay Watson of the Wilderness Society was even more riled.
"It's searing in its ruthlessness and irresponsibility," he said. "The Healthy Forests initiative would have nothing to do with chaparral fires in Southern California, because no money is being made available to treat that or do brush removal near threatened communities."... link
WE BROKE IT BUT IT STILL AIN'T OURS TO FIX
To the very honorable Sean-Paul at the agonist ,who said:
...all of that does not take away from the moral imperative we face in Iraq. In the words of Carol Mosley-Braun: "We blew the place up; we have to fix it back."And I agree with Chris Suellentrop that this idea is one of the primary moral responsibilities of those who wage war.
Morally, we do have an obligation, but we have neither the ability nor the legitimacy to pull it off. The lesson of Vietnam was that half a million US troops could not neither hold the line, nor win the hearts and minds of the people of that nation. As in Viet Nam, we face an implacable enemy, militant Islam instead of Stalinist communism, deluded as it may be.
Will we pay the price of their delusion, because of delusions of our own? Or will we fight the battles we need to fight, and only those battles? If we choose the former we will raise another generation of terrorism, out of the ashes of our occupation and the fire of our guns.
Let us give Iraq back to whoever will take it, with apologies and sincerity. Let us repay our moral obligation in the form of aid and reparations to that government which arises, so long as it is committed to peace.
Many people felt if we gave up Vietnam we would be fighting them in Thailand or even in Mexico. That did not happen. After a generation on their own, the communists saw the error of their ways and began reform.
If our system is any better than theirs, let them find out for themselves.
TURKEY GOES OUT ON A LIMB FOR US, GETS IT SAWED OFF
Turkey slams US "ineptitude" in request for troops to Iraq
Tuesday, 28-Oct-2003 11:21AM
ANKARA, Oct 28 (AFP) - Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Tuesday charged that the United States had been inept in handling a plan for the deployment of Turkish troops in neighboring Iraq, Anatolia news agency reported.
"Of course, there is ineptitude here. First they came, very enthusiastic, and said 'please do not be late' and then they saw that there are many different issues. They have many hesitations themselves," Gul was quoted as saying.
Faced with mounting casualties in postwar Iraq, Washington asked Ankara for military help, but then appeared to back-pedal on the idea in the face of unabating opposition from Iraq's interim leadership.
Ankara, in the meantime, won parliamentary approval to dispatch troops, braving the ire of public opinion which is overwhelmingly opposed to extending military help to the United States in Iraq....
.... "The Americans do not know the region very well. They did not pay much attention to the advice given to them. If the officials who are currently administering Iraq had known the region better, things would have been better today," Gul said. LINK
OUR FLIGHT SECURITY IS LITERALLY DOG SH*T (WELL, MAYBE DOG F*RT)
Bomb alert over 'break-wind' dog
[BBC] A novelty toy dog which breaks wind sparked a major security alert at an American airport.
Page designer Dave Rogerson's life-size mechanical terrier set off a security detector at Norfolk Airport in Virginia.
Armed security staff were alerted when the toy's wind-breaking mechanism registered as a high explosive on sensitive monitoring equipment.
Mr Rogerson, 31, from Thorner, Leeds, was questioned by FBI agents and looked on in amazement as they took a series of swabs from the mechanical toy's rear end.
The toy animal was eventually returned to him, but he was not allowed to take his planned flight and had to take an alternative route to North Carolina. LINK
HE BOILS HIS OWN PEOPLE - BUT THATS OK HE'S ON OUR SIDE
Britain and the US claim a moral mandate - and back a dictator who boils victims to death
George Monbiot, Tuesday October 28, 2003, The Guardian
The British and US governments gave three reasons for going to war with Iraq. The first was to extend the war on terrorism. The second was to destroy its weapons of mass destruction before they could be deployed. The third was to remove a brutal regime, which had tortured and murdered its people....
...There are over 6,000 political and religious prisoners in Uzbekistan. Every year, some of them are tortured to death. Sometimes the policemen or intelligence agents simply break their fingers, their ribs and then their skulls with hammers, or stab them with screwdrivers, or rip off bits of skin and flesh with pliers, or drive needles under their fingernails, or leave them standing for a fortnight, up to their knees in freezing water. Sometimes they are a little more inventive. The body of one prisoner was delivered to his relatives last year, with a curious red tidemark around the middle of his torso. He had been boiled to death.
His crime, like that of many of the country's prisoners, was practising his religion....
But Uzbekistan is seen by the US government as a key western asset, as Saddam Hussein's Iraq once was. Since 1999, US special forces have been training Karimov's soldiers....
...So, far from seeking to isolate his regime, the US government has tripled its aid to Karimov. Last year, he received $500m (£300m), of which $79m went to the police and intelligence services, who are responsible for most of the torture... LINK
GULF WAR 2.5
-Well folks, its now happened:
U.S. Postwar Death Toll in Iraq Hits New Milestone
By Alistair Lyon, 2 hours, 56 minutes ago
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. postwar combat death toll in Iraq climbed past the number of soldiers killed during the invasion when the U.S. military said Wednesday it had lost two more dead in a roadside bomb north of Baghdad. link
And that means we are now in GULF WAR VERSION 2.5. Please update your computer settings.
FORGET THE TERRORISTS, GET THEM POT SMOKERS!
Marijuana Arrests For 2002 Near Record High Despite Feds' War On Terror, FBI Report Reveals
Pot Smokers Arrested In America At A Rate Of One Every 45 Seconds
PRESS RELEASE: NORML -October 28, 2003 - Washington, DC, USA,
Washington, DC: Police arrested an estimated 697,082 persons for marijuana violations in 2002, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, released yesterday afternoon. The total is among the highest ever recorded by the FBI, and comprised nearly half of all drug arrests in the United States.
"These numbers belie the myth that police do not target and arrest minor marijuana offenders," said Keith Stroup, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), who noted that at current rates, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds in America. "This effort is a tremendous waste of criminal justice resources that should be dedicated toward combating serious and violent crime, including the war on terrorism."
Of those charged with marijuana violations, 88 percent - some 613,986 Americans - were charged with possession only. The remaining 83,095 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses - even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use.
The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeded the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Since 1992, approximately six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, a greater number than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined. Nearly 90 percent of these total arrests were for simple possession, not cultivation or sale. During much of this period arrests for cocaine and heroin have declined sharply, indicating that increased enforcement of marijuana laws is being achieved at the expense of enforcing laws against the possession and trafficking of more dangerous drugs.... LINK
SNUBS AND HAM SANDWICHES FOR IRAQI WHO SAVED JESSICA LYNCH
Jessica Lynch snubs Iraqi who helped to free her
By Marcus Warren in New York (Filed: 29/10/2003)
A journey to the home town of Jessica Lynch by the Iraqi lawyer who helped to free the young American soldier ended in embarrassment for all concerned when she snubbed him....
...The Lynchs' lawyer, Stephen Goodwin, denied that rivalry between the 20-year-old former soldier and her Iraqi benefactor over competing media projects was to blame for her absence. "Absolutely not," he said.
Miss Lynch's book, I Am a Soldier, Too, the fruit of a £600,000 publishing deal, will be released next month and the countdown to her first television interview in two weeks' time has already begun.
But she has been beaten into print by Mr al-Rehaief, whose own work, Because Each Life is Precious, was published earlier this month. In it he describes how he braved bullets to reach the advancing American military and tip them off about the young female private lying wounded in a hospital in the city of Nasiriyah.
...But the misunderstandings were not confined to Miss Lynch's refusal to attend any of the ceremonies. Local people laid on an impressive spread at a reception to greet the al-Rehaiefs, only to discover that the family was fasting for Ramadan.
Even if the guests had been hungry they would have been unlikely, as Muslims, to tuck into the ham sandwiches on offer. link
Tuesday, October 28, 2003
INFORMANT WARNED OF AL-RASHID ATTACK
At The Spy Game, I've posted an article detailing how an informant warned US authorities of infiltration of the Al-Rashid Hotel by Baath party spies who used sexual favors to gain access to information leading to Sunday's bombing. link
MORE "RATS" DESERTING SINKING IRAQ "SHIP"
Nations back off sending troops to Iraq
By Tom Squitieri, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Bangladesh and Portugal, two nations the Pentagon has pressed to send combat troops to Iraq, have decided against contributing to the U.S.-led force there. A third nation that once promised to send troops, South Korea, says it has not made up its mind and has delayed a decision pending further study. LINK
Sort of playing "create a meme" here. I took this from Blah3 via Turquoise Waffle Irons in the Back Yard:
From this day forth, I will refer to George W. Bush as a Miserable Failure at least once a day. Why, you ask? Well, someone came up with this great idea to link George W. Bush and Miserable Failure in popular search engines. If you have a blog or web site, help raise the link between George W. Bush and the phrase 'Miserable Failure' by copying this link and placing somewhere on your site or blog.
Thank you very much for your participation. LINK
OK, then... George W. Bush as a Miserable Failure, George W. Bush = Miserable Failure, George "Miserable Failure" Bush , George W. Bush IS a Miserable Failure, George W. Bush as a MISERABLE Failure. George W. Bush is, was and shall be a Miserable Failure.... Google, are you listening?
DIEBOLD VOTING FRAUD IN 2000 GAVE ELECTION TO BUSH
Maybe you missed this from last Friday. I did. Its more of the Bev Harris material that's been flying fast and furious. Anyway:
"DELAND, Fla., Nov. 11 - Something very strange happened on election night to Deborah Tannenbaum, a Democratic Party official in Volusia County. At 10 p.m., she called the county elections department and learned that Al Gore was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000. But when she checked the county's Web site for an update half an hour later, she found a startling development: Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000--all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters."...
- Washington Post Sunday , November 12, 2000 ; Page A22
..."If you strip away the partisan rancor over the 2000 election, you are left with the undeniable fact that a presidential candidate conceded the election to his opponent based on [results from] a second card that mysteriously appears, subtracts 16,022 votes, then just as mysteriously disappears." Check it out
BUSH TO AMERICA: "I AM NOT A CROOK"
Bush Says Americans Not Misled on Iraq Campaign
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Struggling to maintain public support for his Iraq policy, President Bush vowed on Tuesday U.S. forces would not leave Iraq and said he never misled Americans about the difficulties of occupying the country. LINK
NO LESSONS LEARNED: POPULAR ARMY INTELLIGENCE WEBSITE TAKEN DOWN
I've posted on the Spy Game an email From FAS about the dismantling of the popular Army web site Lessons Learned:
EMBARRASSED ARMY WEB SITE GOES OFFLINE
The Army has taken one of its popular web sites offline after
the Washington Post reported on a critical account of U.S.
intelligence posted on the site.
The web site of the Center for Army Lessons Learned
(call.army.mil) was promptly disabled following a Post story
about an "unusually blunt" report on the inadequacies of U.S.
military intelligence in Iraq... LINK
COMING SOON TO YOUR EMAIL INBOX
My name is Bani Al-Hussein, from Iraq. I am the nephew of the missing president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, who disappeared six months ago. My uncle used his position being the president of the country to make for him and us a fortune. My uncle disappeared after an American invasion. I was studying overseas when my uncle disappeared and I was forced to return home. After my return, his attorney notified me and my family about my uncle’s will with his chambers. When I was going through the will, I discovered that my missing uncle has deposited a consignment containing money with a private security company called Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton Inc. This consignment was moved through a diplomatic means and deposited as family treasures and valuables in Texas. The Security Company does not know that the consignment contains cash money except his attorney and me. The amount is Twenty Million Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars [US$20.5 MILLION].
In addition my uncle’s two sons, Uday and Qusay have met with untimely ends. It appears their fortunes are also stored in the same locale. If you would be willing to help me pay a small fee for the documentation necessary to receive my fortune, I would grant you 25% of all I obtain.
HONEY, I BROKE IRAQ
Bush Blames Baathists, Foreigners for Iraq Attacks
By Adam Entous, 22 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Tuesday blamed a wave of violence in post-war Iraq in part on "foreign terrorists," and said he expected Syria and Iran to enforce border controls to stop infiltrators.
-No, I meant it's them Outside Agitators!
IRAQI CONTRACTS FLOW TO AL QAEDA FUNDER
by LAURA ROZEN
THE NATION, November 10, 2003
One reason the Bush Administration gave for going to war in Iraq was Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorists. So it is ironic that one of the partners in a big Iraqi firm being used by US contractors in Iraq is also a founding partner in an organization that's been identified as helping fund Al Qaeda. So far, however, neither the government nor the contractors have shown much concern.
Sadoon Al-Bunnia is one of three principals in one of Iraq's oldest companies, the Al-Bunnia Trading Company. The Iraqi firm has become a major subcontractor for US firms working under US government contracts in Iraq. But, as documents obtained by The Nation from the Lugano office of the Swiss Federal Commercial Registry show, Sadoon Al-Bunnia is also a founding partner of a Swiss-registered firm called the Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber (MIGA), which the US government and the United Nations Security Council have designated as funders of Al Qaeda... LINK
But its OK, he's rich and rich people can get along.
FOOD FOR THINKIN'
A NY TIMES headline: Iraq Paradox: Cracking Down While Promoting Freedom
But a deeper thought (from the peace movement): "How can you promote peace while preparing for war?"
MORE GOOD P.R.
Arabs Blame United States for Baghdad Bloodbath
By Edmund Blair, 56 minutes ago
CAIRO (Reuters) - Most Arab media said Tuesday that U.S. security failures were to blame for the latest suicide bombings in Baghdad and some said the bloodbath in Iraq's capital might only prolong the presence of U.S. troops.
Despite its military might, commentators said Washington had failed the Iraqis by not providing enough security to stop the devastating attacks that killed 35 people Monday at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
"Iraq, on the first day of Ramadan, was the scene of a bloodbath and occupation forces are directly responsible for this because of the instability. LINK
Monday, October 27, 2003
IF 13 PEOPLE DYING IN CALIFORNIA MAKE IT A DISASTER AREA, WHAT DOES 40 PEOPLE KILLED IN TWO DAYS MAKE IRAQ?
CHENEY IS STILL THE ONE
Dick Cheney, Commander in Chief
By Jim Lobe, AlterNet, October 27, 2003
...While the mainstream media mostly continue to cast Bush as the captain of his ship, hints that Cheney is the dominant figure shaping Washington's diplomatic policy have become too numerous to ignore. A recent Washington Post article assessing Condoleezza Rice's performance as national security adviser revealed a most stunning example of this lopsided state of affairs. According to the Post, Bush had ordered Cabinet officials not to give any preferential treatment to Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) when U.S. forces moved into Iraq last spring. But soon after, in flagrant violation of his directive, the Pentagon flew Chalabi and 600 of his armed followers into southern Iraq in early April, "with the approval of the vice president."
It would not be the first or last time that Cheney simply ignored his commander-in-chief. ...
...Cheney's dominance has been the decisive factor in the ongoing battle between the Pentagon and the State Department over U.S. foreign policy. Secretary of State Colin Powell, according to Biden's account, has sometimes talked Bush into pursuing a more conciliatory foreign-policy line, as he has done with North Korea or the United Nations from time to time. But thus far Cheney's views have always won out in the long run... LINK
ZOGBY DOES IRAQ
And what he found won't please Bush:
• Asked about the kind of government that would be best for Iraq, half of all respondents (49%) said they preferred "a democracy with elected representatives guided by Sharia (Islamic law)." Twenty-four percent prefer an "Islamic state ruled by clerics based on Sharia." Only one in five (21%) preferred a "secular democracy with elected representatives."
• Three out of five made it clear that they wanted Iraqis left alone to work out a government for themselves, while only one in three want the United States and Britain to "help make sure a fair government is set up." Two out of three Iraqis — and seven in 10 Sunnis — want U.S. and British forces out of Iraq in a year.
• Three out of four Iraqis want the leaders of Hussein's Baath Party punished. Osama bin Laden is viewed favorably by 36% and unfavorably by 47%.
• Half of all Iraqis interviewed say the United States will hurt Iraq over the next five years. Only 36% say the U.S. will help.
One thing is clear: The predicted euphoria of Iraqis has not materialized. link
WHAT'S UP WITH THIS?
Apparently, the Selective Service already has 11,000 volunteers lined up and ready to go as local Draft Boards if a military draft is reinstated.
Look for an announcement in Jan 2005, if Bush is re-elected (I mean, reappointed).
DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT
US warns of bomb threat to Baghdad hotel used by westerners
WASHINGTON, US: The United States on Saturday warned that Islamic extremists are plotting an attack, possibly a suicide car bombing, against a hotel in a specific Baghdad neighborhood that is frequented by westerners.
In a notice to Americans now in Iraq, a State Department consular officer in Baghdad said the US military had become aware of the threat recently but could not pinpoint the targetted hotel... LINK
MUST READ: NEWSWEEKS COVER STORY
THE $87 BILLION MONEY PIT
SAFQUA BACKFIRES - ALLOWED IRAQIS TO KEEP THEIR WEAPONS TO ATTACK US LATER
Guerrillas in no danger of running out of arms
By John Diamond, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Iraqi guerrillas have an abundant supply of small arms and explosives that could allow them to maintain their pace of attacks indefinitely, Pentagon and U.S. Central Command intelligence analysts have concluded.
The guerrillas' shoot-and-scoot tactics use up relatively little ammunition while inflicting serious casualties and even deeper psychological damage....
...Iraq's armed forces disbanded and melted into the countryside in late April during the final stages of the U.S.-led effort to topple Saddam Hussein's regime by force. The Iraqi soldiers took their weapons home with them...
...The combination of readily available small arms and explosives with tactics that require relatively little use of ammunition indicates that Iraqi forces will be able to sustain their ambush-style attacks indefinitely, these two intelligence officials said... MORE
This is partially, or maybe more than just partially, a result of the infamous SAFQUA, the deal that allowed US forces to march into Baghdad without a fight in return for letting Iraqi generals and maybe Saddam himself escape. Iraqi soldiers were told to disband and took their weapons home with them.
Those weapons are with them to date.
NUTSHELL REVIEW OF TOM DELAY'S IRAQ "GOOD NEWS" WEBSITE
Long on graphics, short on substance. Highlight: Very funny article by Rep. Ron Portman [R-Ore] on how Saddam sought and hid the WMDs he didn't have.
Even shorter version:
Don't bother. He's nuts.
LATEST ATTACKS SHOW WHY U.S. MUST GET OUT OF IRAQ NOW
As the horrific bombings against the International Red Cross and civilian Baghdad law agencies show, there will be no easy exit from Iraq. If anything, the US occupation has totally undermined the ability of the UN to manage Iraq after the US leaves.
The only thing that MAY work, is to turn over the occupation of Iraq to the nations of the Arab league. It may not result in democracy for the Iraqis, but then neither will our occupation. And at least WE will be out of the tarpit.
It is not naiveity for the US to leave now, as I have argued before there will be no "peace with honor".
HOW OUR $87 BILLION IS BEING SPENT
...The United States is doing everything it can to fight their [Iraqis'] fears. All over the city, the occupying authorities have put up large billboards featuring bucolic scenes of date palms arched over a river bank. Inspirational messages are splashed over the pretty pictures. "Baghdad is getting better," says one.... link
-Pretty reassuring I would say...
DESPERATE, BUT SUCCESSFUL?
Bush Sees Attackers as Growing Desperate Amid Progress
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Published: October 27, 2003, Filed at 9:41 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush said Monday that U.S. progress in Iraq is making insurgents more ``desperate'' and spurring attacks such as the bombings at the international Red Cross headquarters and four police stations across Baghdad that killed dozens of people.
``The more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity that's available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become,'' Bush told reporters at the White House. LINK
-Next, Bush is going to call the terrorists "anti-education."
Sunday, October 26, 2003
ATTACK ON WOLFIE'S HOTEL A MAJOR COUP?
Iraq Attack a Media Coup for Opposition, Experts Say
By Alissa J. Rubin, LA Times Staff Writer 6:27 PM PST, October 26, 2003
BAGHDAD -- The guerrilla assault on the Rashid Hotel on Sunday morning was designed to grab public attention by flaunting the ability of the anti-American resistance to inflict casualties on U.S. soldiers and civilians, even those who are ensconced within the most secure compound in Iraq, according to terrorism experts and law enforcement officials in Baghdad.
The onslaught, in which one U.S. colonel was killed and 15 people were wounded, exhibited the growing sophistication of the opposition's tactics and raised hard questions about whether it will be possible to stem such attacks....
...The attack on the hotel, which is within the "green zone," a highly secure area of several square miles -- the only one in Baghdad within which the Americans and coalition forces can move with relative freedom -- was particularly audacious because it was executed at relatively close range, U.S. officials said. It represented the first serious damage to a building and individuals within the secure area, which, with its multiple checkpoints, high sandbags and double helixes of razor wire, has become a symbol of the embattled American occupation.
"They are getting better," said a member of U.S. military police who responded to both incidents and said they involved the same kind of homemade explosive device. The resistance's ability to launch attacks has increased dramatically over the past three months, doubling from about 12 to 25 a day, according to Pentagon figures....
..."This is not a soft target in comparison with other possible targets in Iraq," [Terrorism Expert] Wilkinson said. "It's a hardened target, and given that it's a hardened target the choice of a rocket attack is significant because to fire these weapons requires some training, some preparation, reconnaissance. It really shows the coalition is dealing with sophisticated, open terrorism. ... It's not coming from one source."... LINK
NO TROOPS FOR IRAQ "AT ANY COST"
Pakistan not to send troops to Iraq
by AL JAZEERA, Sunday 26 October 2003 4:15 PM GMT
Pakistan has turned down a US request to send military forces to Iraq.
After months of foot-dragging and speculation, the Pakistani Information Minister on Sunday declared that his country "will not send its troops to Iraq at any cost.".... LINK
-So much for Bush's threats and bribes.
ARMY ONLINE POLL INDICATES SUPPORT FOR CLARK OVER BUSH
Also indicates dissatisfaction over protection for convoys. link
NEWS: SHORTER VERSION - 10/26/03
Humor, of some sort:
IRAQI “MOLES” LEAD TO HELICOPTER, HOTEL ATTACKS AGAINST WOLFOWITZ
I am posting on my companion site, THE SPY GAME some speculation about the attacks against Wolfowitz at Tikrit and Baghdad...
The Iraqi mortar barrage against the hotel that Paul Wolfowitz stayed at, and the downing of a Black Hawk helicopter in Tikrit shortly after his departure, have intelligence professionals in Baghdad wondering how the Iraqi resistance discovered his itinerary... MORE
TWO MORE COUNTRIES TO INVADE?
India, Pak race for bio weapons
PTI[ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2003 09:58:38 PM ]
WASHINGTON: Claiming that India has 30 to 35 nuclear weapons with yields varying between 5 to 25 kilotons, a US Congress body has said there is now danger of India and Pakistan developing a dreaded biological weapon or weapons.
As of 2002, India has 30 to 35 nuclear weapons with yields varying between 5 to 25 kilotons "despite an Indian claim that it had detonated a nuclear device on May 11, 1998 with a 43 KT yield," the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which advises the US Congress, claimed in a report.
It puts the number of Pakistani nuclear weapons at 24 to 48. ... "It is possible that Pakistan has higher yield weapons that have not been tested," it said.
The report said there was a danger that nuclear-armed India and Pakistan may now develop biological weapons.
"India, a 1973 signatory of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), is believed to have an active biological defence research programme as well as the necessary infrastructure to develop a variety of biological agents," it claimed. LINK
Of Course, since they're our allies, it makes everything fine and dandy.