SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!
Note: Comments (sigh) working again...
Saturday, November 22, 2003
FBI Collecting Data on Anti-War Groups -NYT
Sat Nov 22, 9:20 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been collecting information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators, The New York Times reported in Sunday editions.
In a report sourced to several interviews as well as a confidential bureau memorandum, the Times said that the law enforcement agency has also advised local officials that they should report to counterterrorism squads any suspicious activity at protests...
.... "The FBI is not interested in individuals who are exercising their constitutional rights of protest," FBI spokesman Bill Carter said. "It's only the groups who would be involved in violent or criminal activity where there would be an interest."
"The extent of the scrutiny is that any time there is a large gathering of people ... there is a potential for an act of terrorism," Carter said.
But civil rights groups and legal scholars told the Times that the monitoring program could signal a return to the abuses of the 1960s and 1970s, when J. Edgar Hoover was the FBI's director and agents routinely spied on political protesters including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"The FBI is dangerously targeting Americans who are engaged in nothing more than lawful protest and dissent," Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) told the newspaper. "The line between terrorism and legitimate civil disobedience is blurred, and I have a serious concern about whether we're going back to the days of Hoover." ... link
MEDICARE BILL PASSES HOUSE
But here's Krugman on the issue:
...Senator John Breaux, one of only two Democrats who participated in negotiations over the bill, takes the controversy as a good sign: "No one got everything they wanted." But as Jonathan Cohn points out in The New Republic, drug and insurance companies got exactly what they wanted: no efforts to limit prices, generous subsidies and lots of additional business. For example, insurance companies that offer an alternative to Medicare will not only be able to pick and choose their customers, but will also get 30 percent more per client than the government spends on the average Medicare recipient....
..So it should come as no surprise that Medicare "reform" appears likely to be another triumph for the coalition of the bought-off — a coalition that, sadly, includes AARP. link
CIVIL LIBERTIES AND BRUTALITY ISSUES RAISED IN SUPPRESSION OF PROTESTS AT FREE TRADE MEETINGS
TAIPEI TIMES: VIOLENT INTERVENTION: Police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse thousands of demonstrators against free-trade talks in Miami, before making hundreds of arrests ... LINK
NBC-CHANNEL 6: Advocacy groups Citizens Trade Campaign and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch sent letters to Miami's police chief Friday complaining about police intimidating and harassing workers in their offices.
John DeLeon, an attorney working with the American Civil Liberties Union, said he witnessed police leaving behind personal belongings of people arrested during the protests. He collected two large garbage bags of belongings left behind after arrests, including purses, a camera, eyeglasses, clothes and other personal items. He said this is a "clear violation of the law." LINK
MIAMI HERALD: ...Then... [the protestors] moved to the sidewalk, turned away from the police and began walking in small groups and individually in the other direction.
As they did, a Herald reporter heard shots and smelled pepper gas, and a police spokeswoman confirmed that a small amount of pepper gas was fired. Then, a squad of Miami-Dade police approached from that direction, herded them together and began arresting them.
Protesters yelled: ``Shame! Shame!''
Asked for an explanation, Miami-Dade Police Sgt. Dennis Morales said undercover police agents had earlier reported that some protesters had picked up rocks.
''We informed leaders to disperse or they would be arrested,'' Morales said. ``They were not dispersing.''
Told that live pictures from news helicopters appeared to show the group dispersing on its own, he said: ``They were becoming unruly.''... link
WORSE THAN S.A.R.S.... ITS G.B.A.S.!!!
...The net result of this pandemic is that it has caused chaos and political upheavals the world over....
WHAT IS THIS NEW PANDEMIC? Click here to find out!
WHITE HOUSE TOO EMBARASSED BY IRAQ TO ALLOW GOOGLE SEARCHES
White House Robot
Posted by Lew Rockwell at 09:43 AM, LEW ROCKWELL.COM
Stephan Kolassa writes from Germany: "Take a look at this URL on the White House site.
"Most websites have a file called 'robots.txt'. This file contains information for automated indexing programs, e.g. Google's. 'Robots.txt' basically tells those programs which files to index and to cache (i.e., store temporarily on Google's site). Most robots observe the contents of this file.
"Now look what directories are 'Disallowed' at the White House. Google will not hit anything at the White House in which Iraq was mentioned.
"In the age in which search engines are basically one's only way to find information on the 'net, everything the President said about Iraq's alleged WMDs is effectively consigned to...the Memory Hole. For instance, the State of the Union address 2002 is blacklisted. Even typing 'State of the Union 2002' into the White House search engine will only get you the 2003 address." LINK
AARP RIGS OWN POLL TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR MEDICARE BILL
...A look at the AARP survey itself (available in a PDF file) reveals that AARP misrepresented the results in its article. Of the 494 members surveyed in what was touted as a “nationally representative sample, with a margin of error plus or minus 4.4 percentage points,” it becomes clear, contrary to AARP’s claims, that those members surveyed did not conclude and could not have concluded that the new Medicare package would in any way help low-income elderly and those with high prescription drug costs.
The survey simply shows that AARP and its pollster worded the question in such a way that it creates the illusion of support... LINK
Skepticism Greets U.S. Protestations Over Iran
The failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has left nations wary of accepting Washington's nuclear intelligence.
By Greg Miller and Maggie Farley, LA Times Staff Writers, November 21, 2003
WASHINGTON — For the second time in a year, the United States is trying to persuade a skeptical international community to confront a Middle Eastern nation that the Bush administration believes is bent on acquiring weapons of mass destruction.
This time, the target is Iran instead of Iraq, but much of the script is the same. The administration believes that intelligence shows beyond a doubt that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons, and that the United Nations should respond with punitive action. Key members of the international community disagree on what to do.
And this time, the U.S. must contend with the skepticism raised by its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq... LINK
-Well, you know what they said about The Boy Who Cried Wolf...
PROV. GOVT. DOUBLE-CROSSES RUSSIA ON OIL CONTRACTS IN IRAQ
Russian companies might lose Iraq contracts
Iraq might reconsider Russian oil giant Lukoil's $3.7bn deal to develop the huge West Qurna-2 field, scrapped by ousted President Saddam Hussein's government. Iraqi Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum said earlier this week that all contracts signed under Saddam Hussein’s rule would be reconsidered, including the contract with LUKoil. link
WRH comments: In another stupid move, the US puppet regime in Iraq may cancel a major oil contract with Russia. The reason this is stupid is because prior to the war, the US assured Russia that their oil contracts would be honored, in order to persuade Russia not to intervene in Iraq. Russia is not only feeling double-crossed and that it cannot trust the US (who can?) but now sees a strategic threat to their own energy supply.
Friday, November 21, 2003
CONSPIRACY THEORY: WERE BOMBINGS IN TURKEY AND S. ARABIA REALLY US -SPONSORED?
In The Spy Game, I've posed the question:
The question is Intel work is "Who benefits?" When Moslems kill Moslems, the answer could be the US. That would be a motive, i.e. mobilizing public opinion against Al Qaeda, but is there any chance it could it be real?
There is a precedent: link
CNN SKIPPED PROTESTS
...The media had been full of predictions that the march would be far smaller than expected, citing initial police estimates of less than 30,000. CNN had said they would not even bother covering the event, as the extent of opposition to Bush and the US occupation of Iraq had been exaggerated...LINK
DONKEY CARTS vs 2000lb BOMBS
GULF DAILY NEWS
BAGHDAD: Guerillas fired rockets from donkey carts at Iraq's Oil Ministry and two Baghdad hotels used by Westerners yesterday in audacious strikes on heavily fortified sites linked to the US-led occupation....
ENERGY BILL WHICH SHIELDS MTBE PRODUCERS UP FOR VOTE
Many Democrats, with five Republicans from New England, vowed to block the bill because it would shield makers of MTBE from product liability lawsuits and give the companies $2 billion over eight years to help them shift away from making the additive as it is phased out. LINK
MTBE producers, makers of one of the most volatile pollutants ever, want lawsuit protection because MTBE was a allegedly a "government mandated" oxygenate.
BUT... the SF Chronicle found out it was lobbied into existence by industry itself who wanted a market for the industrial waste.
CLAREMONT INST. REPLACES DRUG ADDICT WITH GAMBLING ADDICT
Yep, gambling addict William Bennett will replace drug addict Rush Limbaugh to receive the institute's coveted Churchill Award.
Somehow, I don't remember hypocrisy being synonymous with statesmanship back in Churchill's day.
MAN'S 3 DAY WOODY JUDGED WORTH $3 MIL
$3M Verdict in Penile Case Sparks Flap
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Published: November 21, 2003
FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) -- A man who had to endure a three-day erection after penile surgery was awarded $3 million by a jury two years ago, but an appeals court ordered a Monmouth County judge to lower the award.
So Superior Court Judge Alexander Lehrer did -- by one penny.
Now the appellate panel has taken the case away from Lehrer, and directed a different judge to further reduce the award to Joseph Tomaino of Neptune. He sued the Male Sexual Dysfunction Institute in Chicago and a doctor after he had to undergo surgery to end a three-day erection he suffered following their treatments in 1992.... LINK
- Meanwhile, a cab driver reported he drove with a woody for 6 days last year...
WATCH OUT, PATRIOT ACT 2 IS READY TO PASS CONGRESS
Patriot Act Expansion Moves Through Congress
by Jim Lobe, ONEWORLD.NET
WASHINGTON -- Congress is poised to approve new legislation that amounts to the first substantive expansion of the controversial USA Patriot Act since it was approved just after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
Acting at the Bush administration's behest, a joint House-Senate conference committee has approved a provision in the 2004 Intelligence Authorization bill that will permit the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to demand records from a number of businesses--without the approval of a judge or grand jury--if it deems them relevant to a counter-terrorism investigation.
The measure would extend the FBI's power to seize records from banks and credit unions to securities dealers, currency exchanges, travel agencies, car dealers, post offices, casinos, pawnbrokers and any other business that, according to the government, has a "high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax or regulatory matters."... LINK
US HIDES INTEL FROM COALITION
US keeps intelligence secret from British
By Michael Smith in Arlington, THE TELEGRAPH (Filed: 20/11/2003)
The Americans are preventing the British and other key allies in the war on terrorism from seeing intelligence that could save lives, a US conference on military intelligence has been told.
British and Australian officers working in allied command centres during the war in Iraq were not allowed access to the intelligence they needed to do their job, one Australian complained.
RAF and RAAF officers were asked to leave the room during briefings, though some of the information they were prevented from seeing had been provided by the British or Australian intelligence services.
"They gave us stuff and we labelled it secret and then they weren't allowed to see it," said Col Allen Roby, director of the US air force intelligence directorate, one of a number of speakers and delegates who complained about the issue.
The US military's failure to share intelligence fully with its major allies dominated the conference after it was raised by Wing Commander Alex Gibbs, a member of the air attache's office at the Australian embassy in Washington.... LINK
AUSSIES MAKE EXCUSES, OPT OUT OF COALITION?
Envoy: Australia Won't Send More Troops
Wed Nov 19, 5:36 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Australia's defense minister said Wednesday that his country does not plan to send more troops to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Defense minister Robert Hill said between 850 and 900 Australian troops are working in and around Iraq, and only a few are in Afghanistan. ... LINK
Thursday, November 20, 2003
"The president ought to be ashamed"
MAX CLELAND OF THE 9-11 COMMISSION:
...This is not a political witch hunt. This is the most serious independent investigation since the Warren Commission. And after watching History Channel shows on the Warren Commission last night, the Warren Commission blew it. I'm not going to be part of that. I'm not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I'm not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I'm not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that. I'm not going to be part of that. This is serious.
[Q] You say you think it should be a national scandal ...
It is a national scandal. Here's the deal. The administration made a connection on Sept. 11, and you can read Bob Woodward's book ["Bush at War"]. He's a private citizen. He got access to documents we don't have yet! Just think about that. He's a great reporter and a good guy. Bless his heart. But he got documents over two years ago, handwritten notes from Rumsfeld tying the terrorism attack into Iraq. This administration had a point of view the day that happened. If you look at 9/11 separately you realize it had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein. Except [vice president Dick] Cheney and [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz put a plan together in '92 to try to convince [president] Bush One to invade Iraq, but here's what Bush One said about it, in his book "A World Transformed," which I think is devastating:
"I firmly believed that we should not march into Baghdad. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a secretly entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war."
Now, this administration bought the Cheney-Wolfowitz plan from '92 hook line and sinker. It was all about using 9/11 as an excuse to go into Baghdad, not as a reason.
[Q] What's the significance?
Let's chase this rabbit into the ground here. They had a plan to go to war and when 9/11 happened that's what they did; they went to war. They pulled off their task force in Afghanistan, their Predator assets, and shifted them over to the war in Iraq. They took their eye off the 9/11 ball and transferred it to the Iraq ball. And that's a very strategic question that ultimately has got to be answered. I'm focused on 9/11 and the administration is not focused on it. They don't want to share information, and they didn't agree with the commission in the first place....
George W. Bush Loves Michael Jackson
By William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Perspective, Friday 21 November 2003
A number of explosions tore through the British consulate in Turkey today, killing scores of people. George W. Bush is in England, surrounded on all sides by enraged British citizens whose massive protests have required nearly every police officer in London to be put on the line of defense.
This is happening in a nation that has been, both in government and among the populace, one of the strongest allies America has ever known. There are a couple of wars happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which are going very well. A great many soldiers and civilians have died in the last year. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, and after nearly 750 days, the American people have still been given no explanation for why September 11 happened.
It is 3:16 p.m. on Thursday afternoon as I write this. CNN has been covering, with total exclusivity, a parking lot outside a police station for the last hour. They covered an airplane landing. They covered the same airplane sitting still on the tarmac. They covered the airplane slowly moving into a hangar. All the while, talking head after talking head explored every conceivable facet of the parking lot, the plane, the tarmac, and the hangar, as well as a variety of parallel issues. No stone of data was left unturned.
Why? Michael Jackson is about to surrender to police.
In the last two years, CNN has not devoted this much energy and coverage to any story in the manner that is unfolding right now. Enron, the stock market, the reasons for September 11, the nomination of Henry Kissinger to chair the investigation into that event, the disinformation that was pushed by the Bush administration before the attack on Iraq, the civilian casualties during the attack on Iraq, the American troop casualties during and after the attack on Iraq, the missing weapons of mass destruction, the missing Osama bin Laden, the war in Afghanistan that is far from over, the outing of a CIA agent by the Bush administration in an act of political revenge, and about two hundred other explosive stories did not get the attention that Michael Jackson is getting now.... . link
SICK PUPPIES: MICHAEL JACKSON'S FANS
It was bad enough on MSNBC all day but tonight...
Eyewitness News [Channel 8 - Las Vegas] provided exclusive coverage of Michael Jackson's plane landing at the Henderson Airport, and of Jackson getting off the plane and getting into a waiting black Lincoln Navigator. His motorcade then circumnaviagted [sp] Las Vegas for 2 hours ending at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson... link to "actual route" [barf]
And that was even worse... But the worst of all was all the fans following him in their cars, coming up to his car, and then jumping for joy after he rolled down the window and shook their hands.
Dudes, you just shook hands with a probable child molester!
James Pinkerton writes:
Today, echoing "Vietnamization," the Bush administration touts "Iraqification." Mysteriously, that process keeps accelerating as the election draws nearer. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.), who voted for the war, recalled recently, "When I was in Iraq in June, I was told it would take five years to recruit and train 75,000 cops and three years to recruit and train a 40,000-man army." And now, just five months later, the administration claims that it has 130,000 Iraqis under arms. Is that huge improvement a miracle of nation-building, or is it a miracle of election-spinning? link
-Well, I think you KNOW what I think...
NEO-IMPERIALISTS DOMINATE TIME'S PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD
Iraq War Dominates Time's Person of the Year Award
By Mark Egan, Wed Nov 19, 7:10 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major players in the Iraq war dominated the shortlist for Time magazine's Person of the Year award and film-star-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also made the cut, Time said on Wednesday.
With most of the year's headlines about Iraq, President Bush Vice President Dick Cheney Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, Secretary of State Colin Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice are all under consideration.... LINK
- Personally, I'll take Schwartzy over the war dudes any day...
CUP o' JOE IS RIGHTEOUSLY PISSED
Dear David Brooks
In answer to your recent essay, where you decry the partisan war between Republicans and Democrats that rages every day in Washington and produces behavior that would be unacceptable in any other arena of life. I mean the war that poisons our airwaves, clogs up our best-seller lists and stagnates our politics, allow me to say this:
Who the hell are you trying to kid, you sanctimonious little smartass? After thirty years of nonstop pounding by a right-wing hate machine that's been built by anti-American, anti-freedom fanatics with hundreds of millions of dollars, you're telling us you want us to play nice?...LOTS MORE
-Way to go Joe!
TOPPLING ANOTHER TYRANT...
WEB CAM on Trafalgar Square
CIA to combat terrorism with Bin Laden video game
Maybe you missed this:
CIA to combat terrorism with Bin Laden video game
September 30, 2003
CIA agents will become make-believe terror chiefs, playing a new video game devised to make them think more like their most wanted enemy, Osama bin Laden, it was revealed yesterday.
The CIA's Counter Terrorist Centre (CTC) is developing the computer game which will help agents adopt the mindset of an evil mastermind character, bent on terror and destruction.
With other agents cast as themselves, or law enforcement officials, they will do battle against one another on the multi-million dollar game.
The CIA said the idea was to help its agents "think outside the box".
A spokesman said: "For out-of-the-box thinking, we are reaching out to academics, think tanks and external research institutes that are critical in the fight against terrorism.
"If it will help us to prevent terrorist attacks, it is worthwhile," he said.
But military sources were quoted condemning the idea as "absurd"... link
BEER SWILLERS FOR BUSH!
LA TIMES: ...In another measure of the evolving social structure of U.S. politics, those who drink wine with dinner prefer a Democrat over Bush for 2004 by 7 percentage points. Those who drink beer back Bush over a Democrat by 23 percentage points...
-Evolving social structure?
I'll make some more predictions: Diet Coke drinkers prefer Dem by 16%, Classic Coke Bush by 8%, Frutopia drinkers prefer Dem by 81%...
As we move into the 2004 election cycle, it is clear that the GW Bush brand name is getting a bit tarnished. And as we know, Republicans are not about fixing reality, they are about marketing. Therefore, I submitted Bush for renaming at the What Brand are You? website. I used as core value - "dynamic" and as main goal - "conspiracy".
The results were impressive:"Fanaticus". 2nd try: "Inexperta." Check it out:
U.S. HIT SQUAD PREPARES TO TERRORIZE OTHER COUNTRIES
Assassins R Us
By Chalmers Johnson, tomdispatch.com, November 17, 2003
...according to a November 7th front-page piece in the New York Times, the Pentagon, in conjunction with the CIA, has announced the creation of a new "task force" – polite language for an assassination squad – to accomplish these ends.
"The new Special Operations organization," according to reporters Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt, "is designed to act with greater speed on intelligence tips about 'high-value targets' and not be contained within the borders where American conventional forces are operating in Iraq and Afghanistan." In other words, this death squad, composed of U.S. Army Special Forces troops, can run down its quarry in countries like Yemen, Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan but presumably also (if the occasion required it) in France, Germany, or even the United States itself... LINK
Iraq = Death
From Anarchy Xero (a new blog): It's becoming more and more clear that America's neo-conservative regime was so blinded by it's dual lust for oil and expanded empire that, not only did they fabricate lies to justify the invasion of Iraq but they also didn't bother to plan for the occupation. Now, just like Afghanistan they have what they want, energy resources and a pliant puppet regime. The rest of the country descending into chaos? That's just fine. Soon enough the war will be "won", that is, when the American people stop paying attention and we've moved on to invade Iran or Syria.... -- link
--Now there's an idea, we could have a mobile Empire, invade and occupy just long enough to suck up all their oil, then move over to the next country. - - And afterwards ask the UN to clean up after us...
WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS - OURS, NOT THE IRAQIS
US forces begin media offensive to counter reports on Iraqi resistance
WASHINGTON: As American troops step up their attacks on Iraqi resistance, US occupation officials also are launching a media offensive under pressure from the White House to do a better job promoting the military campaign against insurgents.
Part of the idea is to give the American public a better sense that US troops are on the offensive and not just passively facing daily, deadly attacks from Iraqi guerrillas. LINK
-It does make me feel SO much better to know we are not just sitting ducks, but going out there and killing Iraqi civilians all on our own.
Plus I am even MORE gratified to know it is not for the benefit of our troops on the ground, but for all of us out here in TV land.
BOMBING BAGHDAD - AGAIN
US airstrikes aren't limited to Tikrit and rural areas - now we are bombing downtown Baghdad too:
US calls in air support against targets in Baghdad --
BAGHDAD: The US-led coalition called in air support against targets in central Baghdad late on Tuesday, deafening the capital with repeated salvoes of aerial cannon fire as it pressed its new get-tough message against the Iraqi resistance.
In one of a spate of barrages that punctured the evening festivities that normally characterise the holy month of Ramazan, nearly 40 separate rounds were audible across the city.
A US military spokesman said the firing was connected with Operation Iron Hammer, a massive military offensive launched in and around Baghdad on November 12, and targeted "downtown Baghdad". "The explosions you have heard are part of Iron Hammer," said Captain David Gercken, spokesman for the 1st Armoured Division which is carrying out the offensive... link
- I hope Baghdad civilians are equipped with the IFF codes. (Identify Friend or Foe)
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKET PREDICTS DEAN VICTORY OVER BUSH
Less than a year before the election, all the major Democratic candidates lead Bush in their respective matchups, led by Howard Dean. The outcome most bet on by traders who put their money where their mouths are is Dean defeating Bush, bet on by nearly 31% of all trading, as opposed to Bush beating Dean bet on by a little less than 30%. The IEM, sponsored by the business school at the University of Iowa is often a more accurate predictor of election results than actual polls. Quotes Data
PRESCRIPTION DRUG BILL - - "CRONY CAPITALISM AT ITS WORST," SAYS THE ONLY PHARMACIST IN CONGRESS
Berry Hits Medicare Bill
By Alison Vekshin, Stephens Washington Bureau email@example.com
WASHINGTON — Calling it the worst piece of legislation he’s ever seen, Rep. Marion Berry, D-Gillett, on Monday blasted Republican-tailored Medicare legislation formed over the weekend.
“It is a cynical attempt to politically trick the senior citizens in this country when they have a desperate need and, at the same time, further enrich the drug companies,” Berry said.
“If it does pass, it would give the drug companies the opportunity to continue to rob the American people and to rob them to a greater extent,”...
...Berry said the final bill prohibits the secretary of Health and Human Services from negotiating lower drug prices.
“That defies logic from a business viewpoint,” he said.
He criticized another provision that would allow insurance companies to set the premiums, saying there is nothing in the law that says the premium can’t be more than $35.
“Obviously I won’t vote for it,” he said. “This is crony capitalism at its worst.”...
BUSH "LOVES" FREEDOM LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON "LOVES" CHILDREN
THINK about it.
"NEW EUROPE" IS FUN AND GAMES
Unlike "Old Europe" which is all protests and anti-imperialism, New Europe could teach even Rummy how to have fun: LINK Just click on Video Highlights to see clips from the 2003 Bucharest Games.
U.S. COUNTERINSURGENCY STRATEGY IS LAUGHABLE
... The "new ‘get tough’ policy" (what was it before?), code-named Iron Hammer, was designed, allied commanders told reporters, to "send a message." Here is how the AP described that "message":
On Thursday, U.S. soldiers with loudspeakers drove through the neighborhood warning occupants to leave before the impending strike. Later, at least nine large-caliber shells were fired into the empty plant, heavily damaging the structure. The tactical goal was not immediately clear since this sprawling metropolis of 5 million people has other sites to launch attacks.
That last sentence, with the "sprawling metropolis" line, is about as sarcastic as wire service reporters get. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the AP has reigned as humanity’s most impenetrable fortress of unfunniness. So when even they are laughing at you, you know you have problems.
And what’s not to laugh at? In response to an actual attack that killed numerous human beings, we race to the edge of town, drive through a neighborhood from the safety of an armored vehicle shouting harried warnings in what was doubtless an hilarious computer-generated Arabic—and then shell an abandoned factory with an AC-130 gunship, not even leveling the thing but just shooting it full of holes. The plant’s owner, Waad Dakhel al-Boulani, said the only weapon found was a Kalashnikov belonging to the plant guard. LINK
Brits Invade London
Posted by Adam Young- Lew Rockwell blog
There are more British police (14,000) protecting George W. Bush in London than there are British troops in Iraq (9,000).
TEFLON FUMES HAZARDOUS - CAN CAUSE "FEVERS"
Maybe you missed this: (Thanx Dawn @ Clarified)
29 MAY 2003
Human Experiment Found that Fumes from Heated Teflon Make People Sick
As the federal government intensifies its review of a toxic Teflon-related chemical that widely contaminates human blood, researchers are raising questions about the scientific basis for DuPont’s assertion that the brand-name product is itself safe in normal use, a claim the company has offered to the public and the media repeatedly over the past year.
An Environmental Working Group (EWG) review of a series of studies published beginning in the 1950s shows that DuPont has known for at least 50 years that Teflon fumes at relatively low temperatures can cause an acute illness known as polymer fume fever....link
REPUBLICANS ARE STEALING CONFIDENTIAL FILES FROM SENATE COMPUTER
Latest victim, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, whose confidential memos on judiciary appointments from 2001, turned up the the Wall Street journal, after being backed up on the Senate server. The incident follows one in which a staffer of Senator Jay Rockefeller of W. Virginia's memo ended up in Republican hands last week. link
Note to journalists... This isn't leaking - its stealing. And these are tactics not seen since Watergate.
DEJA VU ALL OVER AGAIN IN IRAQ
Explosions, shortages, instability: In Baghdad, it's back to the future
By Phil Reeves in Baghdad and Kim Sengupta in Basra THE INDEPENDENT, 19 November 2003
US jets pounding Iraqi positions. City-wide power cuts. And long, long petrol queues.
Yesterday was flashback time for Iraq's disgruntled, unstable and unsafe capital. As night fell the city was repeatedly rattled by the sounds of heavy explosions, part of what the US military said was its largest air bombardment in central Iraq since President George Bush declared an end to major combat in May.... LINK
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION DELAYED, IS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION DENIED
I've posted on the Spy Game a longer excerpt of this article:
U.S. offices take years to provide requested data
FBI, Pentagon, CIA among the worst procrastinators
Tuesday, November 18, 2003, San Francisco Chronicle
The FBI, CIA, the Pentagon and other federal agencies have taken more than a decade to release public records on important events -- despite a law that requires them to disclose documents promptly, a study released Monday showed....
GENERAL THREATENS CIVILIANS IN FALLUJAH
"...we are not going to tolerate .... people jumping for joy in the streets."
-General Swannack, Commander of the 82nd Airborne
It is bad P.R. for Bush, and that's no doubt why he got those orders, but I am curious what the punishment will be. Will they shoot those people? And if so, will it be reported? LINK (SCROLL DOWN)
BEHIND THE A.A.R.P. ENDORSEMENT OF REPUB MEDICARE PLAN
BUZZFLASH notes: Former Ad Agency Exec Who Heads AARP Wrote Preface To Gingrich Book On Healthcare: Novelli Lavishly Praised Healthcare Ideas Of Discredited Former House Speaker And Favorite Wing Nut. link
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
GUERRILLA WAR IS HARD TO WIN
1. Russia in Afghanistan
2. US in Afghanistan
3. US in Viet Nam
4. France in Viet Nam
5. France in Algeria
6. Britain in Malaya 1940s-60s
7. Japan in the Phillipines -WWII (against the US)
8. Japan in Burma - WWII (against the Brits)
9. Britain in Palestine - 1940s
10. Britain in Iraq - 1920s
11. US in the Phillipines - 1900s
12. Britain in Afganistan - 1840s
13. Napoleon in Spain - 1800s
Only 6 and 11 had a successful outcome, and only after a tremendous struggle. Note that it didn't matter who the foreign power was
The LA TIMES has an insightful article:
The Guerrilla Advantage in Iraq
Don't underestimate the insurgents. History is on their side.
By Michael Keane, November 18, 2003
As recently as two weeks ago, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, called the guerrilla attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq "strategically and operationally insignificant."
Insignificant? Actually, it is difficult to identify any military or political objectives that the guerrillas are not making real progress toward achieving.
The insurgents have successfully struck a blow at coalition military forces. According to an extensive survey by Stars and Stripes, 49% of troops reported that their unit's morale was low or very low.
Friendly governments, like Japan's, have either delayed their troop commitments or, like the Italians, are debating their current commitments.
And there are indications that the ranks of the insurgents are swelling with every successful strike against U.S. forces and other targets.
The guerrillas have successfully delayed the reconstruction and economic recovery of Iraq and substantially raised the costs of these efforts. Recurring attacks on miles of unguarded Iraqi pipelines have continued to impair the coalition's ability to improve the vital flow of oil out of the country.
Also, as a result of direct attacks on their offices and personnel as well as the absence of security generally, the 15 largest aid agencies, including the Red Cross, have been driven out of Iraq.
Finally, the insurgents have achieved political success by properly appreciating that the "center of gravity" is the will of the adversary.
Last week, the widely reported results of a top-secret CIA study indicated that Iraqis are losing faith in the U.S.-led occupation forces, resulting in increasing support for the resistance....
...Experience strongly suggests that there is very little hope of destroying a revolutionary guerrilla movement after it has acquired the sympathetic support of a significant segment of the population, ranging from 15% to 25%. This support does not need to be actively sympathetic; it merely needs to not betray the insurgents. The intensely tribal nature of the Iraqi populace, where almost half of all marriages are between first cousins, buttresses this solidarity.
Lt. Gen. Sanchez's comment that the guerrilla attacks are "insignificant" is evocative of an exchange between an American officer and a North Vietnamese colonel just before the fall of Saigon.
"You know you never defeated us on the battlefield," the American said.
The North Vietnamese colonel pondered this remark a moment.
"That may be so," he replied, "but it is also irrelevant." link
ITALIAN OFFICIAL IN IRAQ RESIGNS TO PROTEST US POLICY
OFFICIAL IN IRAQ BLASTS BUSH POLICY -- FROM: BELTWAY BANDIT
An Italian official working for the occupation administration of Iraq resigned today and blamed Bush administration incompetence for the failure to secure a peaceful Iraq.
"The provisional authority simply doesn't work," Marco Calamai, a special counselor to the authority in the province of Dhi Qar, told reporters in announcing his resignation, according to the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.
... He said the American-led administration, headed by L. Paul Bremer, doesn't understand Iraqi society and has muddled reconstruction projects by delaying financing. He said its policies were in part to blame for last week's attack on the Italian Carabinieri barracks that killed 19 Italians, as well as 14 others.
The U.S.-led authority has created "delusion, social discontent and anger" among Iraqis and allowed terrorism to "easily take root," Corriere quoted Calamai as telling Italian journalists Sunday in Nasiriyah.
The attack on the barracks "is the consequence of a mistaken policy and an underevaluation of the complexity of the social structure of Iraq," he said. "There needs to be a radical change with respect to the policies taken so far by the USA."
... Calamai told reporters that reconstruction projects promised and financed by the administration "have had practically no results," and that bureaucratic delays had prevented promised money from reaching some rehabilitation projects.
BRIT INTEL WHISTLEBLOWER ARRESTED FOR EXPOSING U.S. BLACKMAIL ATTEMPT OF U.N.
from Open eyes, open ears
Katherine Gunn ... worked as a Chinese translator for British intelligence for the last few years, and was arrested back in March for leaking to the press a document from the most secretive of the US intelligence agencies, the NSA, asking British intelligence to help them gather information about the UN reps of various countries with critical swing votes that could influence the vote on war with Iraq in the hope that they could use the information gathered to blackmail those countries into voting for the war.. (the information was hushed up until this week)
"HEY G.I. JOE, I PROMISE YOU I'M NOT A TERRORIST"
Pentagon signs up 131,000 Iraqi security workers, acknowledges they're not well-trained
PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer, Monday, November 17, 2003
©2003 Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Questioning Pentagon claims of progress in Iraq, members of Congress and others are asking how the U.S. military has been able to recruit, hire and train more than 60,000 new Iraqi security officers in just six weeks.
The answer: by speeding up recruiting and pressing many of the officers into service with minimal training...
...The downside is that many of the Iraqis weren't screened as well as American officials would have liked and are getting minimal training in a worsening security environment.
"In a perfect world, you'd have a year's vetting process before you included anybody," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said recently. "Unfortunately, we're not in a perfect world. So what we do is we vet them to the best we can."
The speed-up means that Iraqi police start work with three weeks of instruction instead of the eight that advisers recommended. The rest of the training is to follow. Guards watching electric plants and other infrastructure may simply be told what to do and be sent out with a day or so of instructions, American officials said.... LINK
- "You're not a terrorist? Great, now get out there and guard something!"
U.S. Soldiers Kill Three Shopping Iraqis
BAGHDAD (AP) -- A U.S. patrol opened fire Monday on a group of people in Baghdad's gun market, killing three, after the soldiers apparently mistook the gunfire of customers testing weapons for an attack, a witness and an Iraqi police officer said.
In Iraq, it is legal for a family to own one gun for self-defense. That weapon is usually an AK-47 assault rifle.... LINK
- I'm sure they would forgive an honest accident, though.
UN ABANDONING AFGHANISTAN, TOO
U.N. Agency Pulls Staff From Afghanistan
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, November 18, 2003, NY TIMES
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The U.N. refugee agency began pulling foreign staff out of large swaths of southern and eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday in the wake of the killing of a French worker, a decision that could affect tens of thousands of Afghan returnees.
Two men were arrested for the killing of Bettina Goislard, a 29-year-old UNHCR worker, in a drive-by shooting Monday and admitted to belonging to the Taliban, the region's governor said.... LINK
WE'RE NUMBER ONE!
The United States produces more carbon dioxide than any other country by far. Each American, on average, generates about 45,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. That is about twice as much as the average person living in Japan or Europe.
- NYTimes.com, Nov. 4, 2003
- Too bad its not GOOD for you...
Monday, November 17, 2003
CONSCRIPTION TO RETURN IN 2005, SAYS DEM UNDERGROUND
Sat Nov-15-03 01:45 PM-DU SCOOP! (must read) $28 Million to get DRAFT READY BY JUNE 15, 2005!!
Oh, so there are "no plans" to re-instate the draft? No, there are just EXERCISES and $28 million extra to get the whole Selective Service ready and open for business by June 15, 2005!!
Read this official budget carefully and you will see that Bush is gearing up the draft--there is no longer any doubt about it. Selective Service must report to Bush on March 31, 2005, that the system is ready for activation within 75 days. So on June 15, 2005, expect the announcement that the first draft lottery since Vietnam will be held for 20 year-olds.
Here is where the DU rubber hits the road, my friends. This is a DU EXCLUSIVE as far as I know, so please read this one carefully and let me know what we are going to do about it. To put this all into context, the SSS has lain basically dormant for decades and now in the 2004 budget, Bush has added $28 million to get the whole thing ready to fly in 2005....
US CHEMICAL PLANTS STILL HIGHLY VULNERABLE TO TERRORISTS
U.S. Plants: Open To Terrorists
Nov. 14, 2003, cbsnews.com
...There are more than 100 chemical plants - in backyards all across the United States - where a catastrophic accident or an act of sabotage by terrorists could endanger more than a million people. One plant in Chicago could affect almost three million people. And in California, the chemicals at one site have the potential to kill, injure or displace more than eight million people.
If you're wondering who came up with these jaw-dropping statistics, they came from the chemical companies themselves. Federal law requires them to file a "risk management plan" with the Environmental Protection Agency, describing the "worst" case scenario that could happen at their plant.
...“I'm telling you that a ‘worst case scenario’ is a hypothetical example,” says Lebedev. “It is merely used to illustrate the fact that we should secure chemical facilities. And the good news is we do.” But that's not what 60 Minutes found in visiting dozens of plants in major metropolitan areas that could put more than a million people at risk in the event of a terrorist attack. We found gates unlocked or wide open, dilapidated fences, and unprotected tanks filled with deadly chemicals that are used to manufacture everything from plastics to fertilizer....
Bush Says U.S. Is Not Seeking a Quick Way Out of Iraq
By DAVID STOUT, NY TIMES, November 17, 2003
WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 — President Bush emphasized today that the United States was not seeking a quick way out of Iraq, despite plans for an interim government there by mid-2004... (link)
-"No, we're planning on being there many years, sucking their oil dry," he said with his trademark smirk.
SHOOT TO KILL PROTESTORS?
'Shoot-to-kill' demand by US
Martin Bright, home affairs editor, Sunday November 16, 2003, The Observer
Home Secretary David Blunkett has refused to grant diplomatic immunity to armed American special agents and snipers travelling to Britain as part of President Bush's entourage this week.
In the case of the accidental shooting of a protester, the Americans in Bush's protection squad will face justice in a British court as would any other visitor, the Home Office has confirmed.
The issue of immunity is one of a series of extraordinary US demands turned down by Ministers and Downing Street during preparations for the Bush visit.
These included the closure of the Tube network, the use of US air force planes and helicopters and the shipping in of battlefield weaponry to use against rioters. ... LINK
Missing Iraq War Veteran Turns Up Slain
Iraq War Veteran Missing Four Months Turns Up Slain - Allegedly by Men From His Unit
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ga. Nov. 16 — The body was almost a skeleton when investigators found it, hidden in the woods for nearly four months and so decomposed that knife marks etched in its bones were the only way to tell the man had been stabbed.
Spc. Richard Davis had survived the war in Iraq, where he turned 25 during the march to Baghdad, only to be slain after celebrating his homecoming at a topless bar near Fort Benning.
With the discovery of his body earlier this month came a even more disturbing twist. The four men accused of turning on him with fists and a blade, then hiding his body, had served beside him in the same infantry unit in the blazing desert sands, facing Iraqi bullets and rocket-propelled grenades.
Now the Army is on the defensive, accused by Davis' family of writing him off as AWOL instead of quickly investigating his disappearance.
Some people are also questioning the investigators' conclusion that the killing was simply the result of a brawl gone bad, wondering if trauma from the battlefield could have led to bloodshed at home....
...Police don't believe the soldiers' combat experiences were a factor in the killing. Only two slayings have been linked to the 16,500 3rd Infantry soldiers who deployed to Iraq from Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, near Savannah.
"There are murders committed every day, and most murders are committed by people who know you," Cox said. "We see best friends killing each other all the time civilians, military, all walks of life."
Davis' father doesn't buy that argument. He's not sure why his son was slain but insists it wasn't a simple, perhaps drunken, argument.
"You don't go out and stab a guy and set his body on fire after you beat him half to death because you got kicked out of a bar," Lanny Davis said. "You don't go out and kill your buddies. There was something else that happened." LINK
REPOST: ARNOLD'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS
In honor of Arnold's Inauguration we repost verbatim:
SCHWARTZNEGGER GIVES FIRST SPEECH AS GOVERNOR
SACRAMENTO - NOV 16, 2003. Movie Actor Arnold Schwartznegger was inaugurated today as Governor of California and gave his first speech from the steps of the Capitol building.
He promised a new era for Californians and free tickets to all his movies. However, he warned neighboring states and Mexico to beware of getting on California's wrong side.
"Dere are a lot of bad people in dose places, and dey better not come here, or I vill take dem out," he warned pithily.
Strangely, he also warned erstwhile ally President Bush not to tread on California's rights.
"He thinks he is a tough guy, but I am a tough guy. If he is a tough guy, vy did he not go after Saddam single-handed? I can take on Saddam vith or vithout dose veapons of mass destruction. "
He also warned welfare cheats.
"If you go cheat on velfare, I vill kick your ass."
Finally, he promised to solve California's fiscal problems without cutting services or raising taxes.
"Fiscal problems? Dose are easy. I vas a skinny little runt till I started vorking out. Den I had no more fiscal problems. People in California should get off der fat asses and vork out. Den they vill have no more fiscal problems neither."
-ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 8
Sunday, November 16, 2003
JESSICA LYNCH, NEW AMERICAN HERO
...Lynch is also a mite angry about the Pentagon's manipulation of events and can't seem to stop correcting the record.
... The Pentagon "used me to symbolize all this stuff," Lynch told a fawning Diane Sawyer on ABC last week. "It's wrong."
Yikes. Time for Plan B: It isn't our fault.
A senior military official tells Time magazine that, contrary to appearances, the Saving Private Lynch story was not, no way, a calculated PR ploy, but more a "comedy of errors," based on patchy battlefield intelligence. The media just ran with it.
What the Lynch story actually is, say critics, is a star-spangled metaphor for the confusion and deceit that's marked the Iraq foray from the start.
"This White House believes they can spin their way out of anything and they assume reality will surrender to their spin," says Mark Crispin Miller, a media analyst at New York University.
"In this case, they believed Jessica would play along. But she hasn't. She may not appear self-assertive, but she can clearly tell illusion from reality. Good for her." LINK
US TREATS GREENPEACE LIKE TERRORISTS, USING OBSCURE LAW
Drawing on an 1872 law, [the US] filed criminal
charges against Greenpeace USA for boarding a ship before
its arrival in port, and with conspiracy to do so — in a case
scheduled to be heard in December.
Critics and some legal experts say the pursuit of an
entire organization for this type of civil disobedience by its
members is a break with 200 years of American tradition,
and appears to be an attempt by the Bush administration to
silence a vocal critic... link