SADDAM CAUGHT..... WAR OVER..... LET'S GO HOME!
Note: Comments (sigh) working again...
Saturday, December 13, 2003
STUPID IS, AS STUPID DOES: DOLLAR CRASHES ON COMMENT BY JOHN SNOW (Again)
Dollar hits record low vs euro after Snow comment
By Manuela Badawy
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The dollar touched a lifetime low against the euro Friday after Treasury Secretary John Snow said the dollar's decline was "orderly," a comment dollar bears took as a green light to sell the currency, analysts said.
"This is a deja vu of this spring when John Snow was asked about the dollar decline. And just about when the dollar had taken a sharp drop, he said the decline had been 'orderly,' which accelerated the fall in the currency. We are seeing some of that now," said Ashraf Laidi, chief currency analyst at MG Financial Group in New York. LINK
- One thing you can say about BUSHCO is that they never learn. Like their new attempt to balance the budget by cutting tax revenues.
UNION BUSTING IN IRAQ
From Estimated Prophet:
In 1987, the regime of Saddam Hussein reclassified most Iraqi workers--those who labored in the huge state enterprises that are the heart of the country's economy--as civil servants. As such, they were prohibited from forming unions and bargaining.
The occupation, however, didn't lift this decree....
Here's how union-busting is done in Iraq.
On Dec. 6, according to a union spokesperson interviewed by phone, a convoy of 10 Humvees and personnel carriers descended on the old headquarters building of the Transport and Communications Workers union, in Baghdad's central bus station, which has been used since June as the office of the Iraqi Workers Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). Twenty soldiers jumped out, stormed into the building, put handcuffs on eight members of the Federation's executive board, and took them into detention....
....While unions are being suppressed, international conferences in Washington and London take place every week, at which Iraqi assets are put on sale to private buyers. At one recent conference, ExxonMobil, Delta Airlines and the American Hospital Group all expressed interest in various Iraqi enterprises.
Workers fear new foreign owners will cut labor costs through layoffs. Resistance at the work site has been made illegal by laws banning unions and by the arrest of their leaders. link
- Boy, nothing like bringing Democracy to Iraq. Of course, its not like we're qualified to bring it anywhere any more...
HALLIBUTON'S MAKEOVER INTO K.B.R.
Parent Company Name Removed From Halliburton Corporate HQ, Renamed KBR
The Houston corporate headquarters for Halliburton-Kellogg, Brown and Root has had the old building sign removed and replaced with a new KBR sign.
The story did not appear as a regular news story, but rather as a series of captions for ten Reuters photos.
Today, President Bush announced that Halliburton will be forced to pay back any money overcharged for Iraqi oil. SOURCE
ONE REASON WHY IRAQ MIGHT BE IN CHAOS
"There's nothing I am worse at than long-term planning. I have never run my life that way. I believe that serendipity or fate or divine intervention has led me to a series of wholly implausible steps in my life. And I've been open to those twists and turns because I didn't have a long-term plan."
-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (Quoted in Lou Dobbs Tonight)
- Well maybe Christ's return will occur in downtown Baghdad?
FED PLANNING TO JACK UP ECONOMY FOR BUSH 04, BUT BY DESTROYING COUNTRY'S FUTURE
FED GETTING READY FOR MASSIVE NEW LIQUIDITY PUMPING
[Source: New York Post, Dec. 9] Financial columnist John Crudele reports that top Federal Reserve officials are privately telling people that they plan to add massive amounts of liquidity to the banking system this coming year.
With interest rates so low, Crudele says, the only way they can do this is by monetizing the national debt - buying back government securities that it sold years ago, tossing them in the trash, and selling massive amounts of new debt to cover the massive budget deficit.
This will admittedly create more problems for the dollar's value, scare away foreign investors, and jack up interest rates, Crudele says....
- In other words, yet again the nation's future is being mortgaged to help Bush today.
MICROSOFT TO ABANDON SUPPORT FOR EARLIER VERSIONS OF WINDOWS
Microsoft to abort Win 95, 98
AP [ SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13 ]
REDMOND: Microsoft Corp will stop offering support services next month for computer users whose machines are still running Windows 95 and Windows 98, though the company said it might still release security patches if threats appear serious enough.
About 20 per cent of all Windows -based computers in the US still run Windows 95 or 98, according to International Data Corp, a technology market research firm. People with those machines no longer will be able to call Microsoft for help after January 16.... LINK
- Windows 95 was the last version to be completely stable. And of course, the main reaon why they introduce new versions of Windows is to make people update it, and make them upgrade their others made by Windows. That's what happens when you have a monopoly.
BRITS NOW TOO WEAK TO FIGHT
British Army now too weak to fight war
GETHIN CHAMBERLAIN, DEFENCE CORRESPONDENT, The Scotsman
BRITAIN is no longer capable of launching a major military action against another nation state without the help of the United States, the government conceded yesterday.
The admission, in the long-awaited defence white paper, coincided with the publication of a damning report on the handling of the war in Iraq and an accusation from the chairman of an influential Commons committee that British troops in Iraq had been "shamefully let down" by the government.... LINK
Friday, December 12, 2003
NEVADA PASSES UP DIEBOLD VOTING FOR VERIFIABLE MACHINES, SAYS DIEBOLD MACHINES THREAT TO INTEGRITY OF ELECTION
Nevada decides on new voting machines
Dec. 11, 2003 | Secretary of State Dean Heller said Wednesday that Nevada has become the first state to demand a voter-verifiable receipt printer on new touch-screen voting machines being purchased for the 2004 elections.
Heller picked Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems over Diebold Election Systems of North Canton, Ohio, as the supplier of the new direct-recording electronic voting machines that will be bought with federal funds...
...The decision to go with Sequoia machines was based in part on a review by the state Gaming Control Board's slot machine experts who issued a report saying the Diebold machine that was analyzed "represented a legitimate threat to the integrity of the election process."... LINK
-And they should know!
WAR BY PROXY: $30 BILLION OF THE IRAQ $87 BILLION GOING TO PRIVATE CONTRACTORS
"There is a slight risk that things can get out of hand and these companies become small armies themselves."
The privatisation of war
Ian Traynor, Wednesday December 10, 2003, The Guardian
Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.
While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the ground.
The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are 10....
...While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy, the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on contracts to private companies....
... It also enables the Americans, in particular, to wage wars by proxy and without the kind of congressional and media oversight to which conventional deployments are subject.
From the level of the street or the trenches to the rarefied corridors of strategic analysis and policy-making, however, the problems surfacing are immense and complex.
One senior British officer complains that his driver was recently approached and offered a fortune to move to a "rather dodgy outfit". Ex-SAS veterans in Iraq can charge up to $1,000 a day....
...."There is a slight risk that things can get out of hand and these companies become small armies themselves."
And in Baghdad or Bogota, Kabul or Tuzla, there are armed company employees effectively licensed to kill. On the job, say guarding a peacekeepers' compound in Tuzla, the civilian employees are subject to the same rules of engagement as foreign troops.
But if an American GI draws and uses his weapon in an off-duty bar brawl, he will be subject to the US judicial military code. If an American guard employed by the US company ITT in Tuzla does the same, he answers to Bosnian law. By definition these companies are frequently operating in "failed states" where national law is notional. The risk is the employees can literally get away with murder.
Or lesser, but appalling crimes. Dyncorp, for example, a Pentagon favourite, has the contract worth tens of millions of dollars to train an Iraqi police force. It also won the contracts to train the Bosnian police and was implicated in a grim sex slavery scandal, with its employees accused of rape and the buying and selling of girls as young as 12. A number of employees were fired, but never prosecuted. The only court cases to result involved the two whistleblowers who exposed the episode and were sacked. ... LINK
MORE DIRT ON THE TURKEY'S TRIP
A Baghdad Thanksgiving's Lingering Aftertaste
By Dana Milbank, WASHINGTON POST, Friday, December 12, 2003; Page A35
...Stars and Stripes is blowing the whistle on President Bush's Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad, saying the cheering soldiers who met him were pre-screened and others showing up for a turkey dinner were turned away....
...Of more concern, air traffic controllers in Britain are seething over the flight, in which the president's 747, falsely identified as a Gulfstream, traveled through British airspace. Prospect, the controllers union in the United Kingdom, says the flight broke international regulations, posed a potential safety threat and exposed a weakness in the air defense system that could be exploited by terrorists...
...Luxton said that by identifying itself as a Gulfstream V instead of the much larger 747, Air Force One could have put itself and other airplanes in danger. The Gulfstream can climb faster and maneuver more nimbly than a 747, which means controllers could have assumed the president's plane was capable of a collision-avoiding maneuver that it couldn't actually do. And the "wake vortex" of a 747, much larger than a Gulfstream's, could jeopardize smaller planes that were told by unsuspecting controllers to follow in the mislabeled plane's wake.... LINK
Atrios and his regular commenters have been busy thinking up variations on Old Fashioned Patriot's "miserable failure" project of a couple months ago...this time the search terms are unelectable and vast right wing conspiracy.
Now, no offense to these fine people -- because, hey, I love the idea myself, as I've posted before -- but after giving this a bit of thought, I'm thinking there just might be an even better way to do it. The conclusion the ol' Mudshark has come to is: if ya wanna spread what some folks call memes (yeah, I know, I said I wouldn't use that word) about Shrub, then ya gotta use search terms that people will actually search for -- say, when doing research for a term paper or whatever. I mean, yeah, he may well be unelectable (without the aid of Diebold, at least), and he's indisputably a miserable failure, but how many people are actually gonna type those phrases into a Google searchbox?
Here's the way you do it, y'all:
FASCISM (or FASCIST)
EXECUTING THE WOUNDED THEN CHEERING
WRH has linked to this CNN videoclip from the invasion , where soldiers kill a wounded Iraqi lying on the ground and then cheer. It was recently broadcast on a CNN special on the effects of killing on the soldiers who do it called "Learning to Kill." The larger question of the killing an apparently helpless wounded man lying on the ground was not addressed.
FRIDAY McWAR ON TERROR UPDATE
Shortages in the Land of Plenty: Iraq Oil Ministry Imposes Rationing of Gasoline. Guess Halliburton isn't even doing well the job it's overcharging for.
Mortars Hit US Headquarters in Baghdad - no rest for the wicked, there. Also 2 US troops were killed and another is missing, as well as 2 TIME magazine reporters injured in another attack.
Apparently we aren't allowing some rats to desert the sinking ship - US Officials say Dominicans Must Stay Full Year in Iraq. Guess they ought to know who is boss by now...
McWar on Terror (tm) is a semi-official slogan of the Cosmic Iguana. What else you call a war on terror that attacked the wrong enemy?
Thursday, December 11, 2003
AFGHAN OPERATION A TOTAL FLOP
U.S. says biggest Afghan push fails to find rebels
By Yousuf Azimy
BAGRAM, Afghanistan, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Nearly a week into a sweeping drive across Afghanistan's tribal badlands, thousands of U.S. soldiers have so far failed to engage any Taliban or allied militants, the army said on Thursday.
Instead, the U.S. army has angered the very people it is trying to win over by killing 15 children in two botched raids.
U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Bryan Hilferty said soldiers of the U.S. 501st parachute infantry regiment helicoptered into Paktia province on Monday as part of Operation Avalanche had yet to make contact with the enemy...
..."The fact that we did not hit the jackpot here is not indicative that the air assault was not successful," he said.... link
CIA LEADERSHIP HELPING BUSH COVER UP PRESIDENTIAL BRIEFING ABOUT 9-11
While the rank and file of the CIA have been outraged by Bush's compromising of its intelligence and the Valerie Plame incident, the leadership is still engaged in helping Bush cover up.
I've posted in THE SPY GAME a lengthy message from Stephen Aftergood of the Federation Of American Scientists Secrecy Project detailing new policies designed to protect the Presidential briefing of 8-6-01 from scrutiny. That's the briefing where Bush apparently blew off reports of the impending terrorist attacks.
THERE'S FREE SPEECH IN IRAQ, BUT WE MIGHT BE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
In the looters' market, a DVD singing the praises of the so-called resistance is selling like the hot bread of Bab al-Agha
Salam Pax, Wednesday December 10, 2003, The Guardian
..."The men of Falluja are all as brave as wolves./They hit in the darkest nights with great precision./The sun of freedom will never set down on them./They fight in the name of Allah, followed by a big army."
It was in Arabic verse, so it rhymes better than my loose translation. It went on and on, praising the bravery of the so-called resistance. The driver was playing it really loud, as if to make sure everybody in the neighbourhood was aware of his peculiar musical tastes....
...all the stalls were playing the same thing - the scary disc I heard in the taxi. On each stall, people crowded around watching that thing. It was selling like the hot bread of Bab al-Agha.
The strangest moment was when an American convoy came out of the nearby tunnel while the maddah was praising the deeds of the so-called resistance, the TV sets showing pictures of funerals of Iraqis killed by coalition fire. Everyone turned around and looked at the convoy. Not good.... LINK
- Yes, we've certainly won those hearts and minds...
THE BENEFITS OF MEDICARE "REFORM": HMOs GET $1.3 BILLION NOW, SENIORS NOTHING UNTIL 2006
HMOs will reap benefits from new Medicare law more quickly than seniors
WASHINGTON - Health maintenance organizations will start reaping the benefits of the new Medicare law with higher payments beginning in March, well before most seniors get significant help with their pharmacy bills.
The new prescription drug benefit does not begin until January 2006. Even the new physical exam for new enrollees in Medicare won't be covered until 2005.
But the HMOs in Medicare, serving 4.6 million seniors, will receive an additional $1.3 billion in 2004 and 2005 under the law President Bush signed Monday, according to the Congressional Budget Office... LINK
- Let's get that money into the hands of those who really need it - the HMOs!
HALLIBURTON CHARGES DOUBLE FOR IMPORTING OIL INTO IRAQ
High Payments to Halliburton for Fuel in Iraq
By DON VAN NATTA Jr., NY TIMES, Published: December 10, 2003
The United States government is paying the Halliburton Company an average of $2.64 a gallon to import gasoline and other fuel to Iraq from Kuwait, more than twice what others are paying to truck in Kuwaiti fuel, government documents show.... LINK
- I'm never sure which I should be more outraged by: the ripoff or that w have to import oil into Iraq in the first place...
2.1 MILLION JOBLESS TO LOSE BENEFITS FOR CHRISTMAS THANKS TO G.O.P.
GOP allows jobless aid to expire
300,000 in state could face cutoff
Zachary Coile, SF Chronicle, Tuesday, December 9, 2003
Washington -- More than 300,000 Californians stand to lose their federal jobless benefits because the House adjourned Monday without reauthorizing a program to help the nation's unemployed that is set to expire at the end of the year.
House Republican leaders said there is no need to continue offering 13 weeks of federal assistance to those whose state unemployment benefits run out after Dec. 20 because the economy is improving and jobless claims are dropping.
But Democrats and some Republicans from high unemployment states, including California, argue the benefits should be extended for six more months because the economy has not created enough new jobs to help the 8.8 million Americans who are out of work... Nationwide, an estimated 2.1 million people will lose their aid if the program is not extended. .... LINK
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
OVER 1/3 OF NEW IRAQI BATTALION QUITS
Pentagon: One-third of new soldiers in Iraq army quit just before starting operations
By Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press, 12/10/2003 15:19
WASHINGTON (AP) Plans to deploy the first battalion of Iraq's new army are in doubt because a third of the soldiers trained by the U.S.-led occupation authority have quit, defense officials said Wednesday.
Touted as a key to Iraq's future, the 700-man battalion lost some 250 men over recent weeks as they were preparing to begin operations this month, Pentagon officials said....
... The battalion was highly celebrated when the newly retrained soldiers, marching to the beat of a U.S. Army band, completed a nine-week basic training course in early October. The graduates, including 65 officers, were to be the core ''of an army that will defend its country and not oppress it,'' Iraq's American administrator, L. Paul Bremer, said at the ceremony.... LINK
CANADIAN CITIZEN DESCRIBES HOW U.S. TURNED HIM OVER TO SYRIA FOR TORTURE ON A FALSE SUSPICION
Delivered Into Hell by U.S. War on Terror
Maher Arar is back in Canada. He's seeking a public investigation there and preparing a lawsuit, with the help of the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, against the U.S. government.
By Maher Arar, LA TIMES, December 10, 2003
I recently spent 10 1/2 months in a grave-sized cell in Syria, unsure why I was there, unsure how to get out. Fear paralyzed my wits when I needed them most. I was beaten and I was tortured and I was constantly scared. Every day I worried that I would never be released, that I would disappear into that concrete grave forever.
Why was I being held? I still don't really know... My ordeal began on the afternoon of Sept. 26, 2002, when my flight back from a family vacation in Tunisia stopped over in New York and American immigration officials pulled me aside to answer a few questions.... My interrogation in the United States took days. Shuttling in shackles among immigration officials, FBI agents and police officers, I asked repeatedly for a lawyer but was told that I didn't have the right to one because I was not an American citizen. There were no phone calls home either.....In the early hours of Oct. 8, 2002, I was formally notified that the U.S. government had classified information about me that it would not reveal — and it would be deporting me that very day, without a word to my family, to the long-forgotten place of my birth, Syria....
.... I describe my cell in Syria as a grave because it was just 3 feet wide, 6 feet long, 7 feet high and unlit. While I was there I sometimes felt on the verge of death after beatings with a black electrical cable about two inches thick. They mostly aimed for my palms but sometimes missed and hit my wrists. Other times, I was left alone in a special "waiting room" within earshot of others' screams. At the end of the day, they would tell me that tomorrow would be worse. In those 10 1/2 months I lost about 40 pounds. I never saw, but only heard, the agony of my fellow prisoners. I was so scared I urinated on myself twice... LINK
RIGHT WINGER GROVER NORQUIST OUTED BY CONSERVATIVES AS TERRORIST SUPPORTER
...On the basis of the evidence assembled here, it seems beyond dispute that Grover Norquist has formed alliances with prominent Islamic radicals who have ties to the Saudis and to Libya and to Palestine Islamic Jihad, and who are now under indictment by U.S. authorities. Equally troubling is that the arrests of these individuals and their exposure as agents of terrorism have not resulted in noticeable second thoughts on Grover’s part or any meaningful effort to dissociate himself from his unsavory friends.
As Frank Gaffney’s article recounts, Grover’s own Islamic Institute was initially financed by one of the most notorious of these operatives, Abdurahman Alamoudi, a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah who told the Annual Convention of the Islamic Association of Palestine in 1996, “If we are outside this country we can say ‘Oh, Allah destroy America.’ But once we are here, our mission in this country is to change it.” Grover appointed Alamoudi’s deputy, Khaled Saffuri to head his own organization. Together they gained access to the White House for Alamoudi and Sami al-Arian and others with similar agendas who used their cachet to spread Islamist influence to the American military and the prison system and the universities and the political arena with untold consequences for the nation.... LINK
NO RELIGION IS TO SMALL TO INSULT
White House Aide Angers Pagans
Towey Suggests Groups Lack Concern for the Poor
By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, Monday, December 8, 2003; Page A23
H. James Towey, director of the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, has stirred up a pot of trouble by suggesting that pagans don't care about the poor.
Wiccans, Druids and other pagans across the country, along with the Washington-based advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, are demanding an apology from Towey for his remarks in a White House-sponsored online chat Nov. 26.
According to the official transcript, Towey was asked by someone in Centralia, Mo., whether pagan groups "should be given the same considerations as any other group" that applies for government funds.
"I haven't run into a pagan faith-based group yet, much less a pagan group that cares for the poor!" Towey wrote.
"Once you make it clear to any applicant that public money must go to public purposes and can't be used to promote ideology," he wrote, "the fringe groups lose interest. Helping the poor is tough work, and only those with loving hearts seem drawn to it."... LINK
- I especially like the line about "loving hearts", which only the born-agains apparently have. Loving hearts that hate gays, and condemn them and Jews, Moslems and even Catholics to eternal damnation in everlasting fire....
That's my kind of "loving hearts". And by the way, what kind of "loving heart" does Bush have for the poor when he cuts their benefits?
MORE ORWELLIAN HISTORY: REWRITING THE RECESSION?
Revisions: Economy Shrank Pre-Recession
By Andrea Hopkins, Wed Dec 10, 8:38 AM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy shrank in the third quarter of 2000, the government said on Wednesday in revisions to official figures that showed America was on the brink of recession months earlier than previously thought... LINK
- Is it just me, or are they trying to blame Clinton for the recession?
FBI INTIMIDATING WITNESSES IN 9-11 PROBE?
INTIMIDATED BY FBI, WITNESSES CLAIM "COVER-UP IN PROGRESS IN 9-11 PROBE
by Daniel Hopsicker, December 10--Venice, Florida
FBI agents harassed and intimidated witnesses to the 9/11 terrorist conspiracy’s activities in Florida, issuing warnings to avoid talking with reporters, say current and former residents in Venice, Florida.
At least one eyewitness, who knew Mohamed Atta because he lived next door for a time, received regular visits for over six months after the attack from FBI agents eager to ensure she continued to remain silent. Several said they felt unfairly singled out because what they saw and heard is at considerable variance with the official story... LINK
JAMES BAKER WILL DO TO IRAQ'S FINANCES WHAT HE DID TO THE FLORIDA VOTE
Baker Takes the Loaf
By Greg Palast, AlterNet, December 9, 2003
Well, ho ho ho! It's an early Christmas for James Baker III.
All year the elves at his law firm, Baker Botts of Texas, have been working day and night to prevent the families of the victims of the September 11 attack from seeking information from Saudi Arabia on the Kingdom's funding of Al Qaeda fronts.
It's tough work, but this week came the payoff when President Bush appointed Baker Botts' senior partner to "restructure" the debts of the nation of Iraq.
And who will net the big bucks under Jim Baker's plan? Answer: his client, Saudi Arabia, which claims $30.7 billion due from Iraq (plus $12 billion in "reparations" from the First Gulf war).
Let's ponder what's going on here.
We are talking about something called 'sovereign debt.' And unless George Bush has finally named himself Pasha of Iraq, he is not their sovereign. Mr. Bush has no authority to seize control of that nation's assets nor its debts.
But our President isn't going to let something as meaningless as international law stand in the way of a quick buck for Mr. Baker. To get around the wee issue that Bush has no legal authority to mess with Iraq's debt, the White House has crafted a neat little subterfuge. The President, says the official press release, has not appointed Baker, rather Mr. Bush is, "responding to a request from the Iraqi Governing Council." That is, Bush is acting on the authority of the puppet government he imposed on Iraqis at gunpoint. ... LINK
WEDNESDAY McWAR ON TERROR UPDATE
Another US raid in Afghanistan kills 6 MORE kids, 2 more US soldiers killed in Iraq, "Surrender Monkeys" denied contracts by War Pigs, and Iraq won't count its own civilian casualties anymore since it makes Poppa look bad.
McWar on Terror is a duly non-registered trademark of Cosmic Iguana. What else would you call a war that has the same relationship to a REAL war on terror that , say, pretzels have to real food?
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
'WE'VE GOT TO SCARE IRAQIS INTO SUBMISSION"
Will the counter-insurgency plan in Iraq repeat the mistakes of Vietnam?
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH, THE NEW YORKER, 12/9/03
The Bush Administration has authorized a major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq. In interviews over the past month, American officials and former officials said that the main target was a hard-core group of Baathists who are believed to be behind much of the underground insurgency against the soldiers of the United States and its allies.
A new Special Forces group, designated Task Force 121, has been assembled from Army Delta Force members, Navy seals, and C.I.A. paramilitary operatives, with many additional personnel ordered to report by January. Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination....“The only way we can win is to go unconventional. We’re going to have to play their game. Guerrilla versus guerrilla. Terrorism versus terrorism. We’ve got to scare the Iraqis into submission.”...many of the officials I spoke to were skeptical of the Administration’s plans. Many of them fear that the proposed operation—called “preëmptive manhunting” by one Pentagon adviser—has the potential to turn into another Phoenix Program. Phoenix was the code name for a counter-insurgency program that the U.S. adopted during the Vietnam War, in which Special Forces teams were sent out to capture or assassinate Vietnamese believed to be working with or sympathetic to the Vietcong. In choosing targets, the Americans relied on information supplied by South Vietnamese Army officers and village chiefs. The operation got out of control. According to official South Vietnamese statistics, Phoenix claimed nearly forty-one thousand victims between 1968 and 1972; the U.S. counted more than twenty thousand in the same time span. Some of those assassinated had nothing to do with the war against America but were targeted because of private grievances....
HERSH ARTICLE: LINK
IDAHO SUPREME COURT RULES YOU CAN BE FIRED FOR ATTENDING PUBLIC MEETING
Shut Up, Don't Think, Don't Learn From Others or You're Fired
By Starr Kelso, OpEdNews.Com
...A public meeting was posted on the company bulletin board encouraging all to attend a meeting to “Save Elk City.” He went to the meeting. He did not speak up at the meeting or express any opinions to fellow employees at work or otherwise on the issues discussed.
Within days of Michael’s attending the meeting a decision to fire him was made by the company’s general manager...
...The general manager testified that he fired Michael for attending the public meeting and, when he made the decision, he was not aware of his “very good” work evaluation.
The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not establish a “public policy” supporting free speech/free association. Thus under Idaho’s “at-will” doctrine where an employee can be fired at any time for any reason so long as it doesn’t violate “public policy,” the Idaho Court held that the firing was fine because free speech/free association is not a public policy of Idaho, and apparently not any state other than Montana.
The lone dissent on Idaho’s Court warned that “allowing employers to terminate employment based on an individual’s association and speech regarding public issues . . .invites employers to squelch the association, speech and debate so necessary to our system of government.” As Idaho’s largest daily paper, The Idaho Statesman, concisely stated in its editorial, “Supreme Court speaks: Shut up and get to work.”
The Idaho Court, during questioning by one of the members of the majority decision, clarified the extent of the ruling. He asked employer’s counsel whether Michael could be legally fired just for marrying a woman of color. The answer was yes! .... LINK
- Sounds like Communist China to me...
MUST READ: SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL ON THE WAR ON TERROR
Interview: Sidney Blumenthal with William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Interview, Monday 08 December 2003
SB: There were many terrorist attacks that were stopped during the Clinton presidency. There were planned embassy bombings. There was a whole series of attacks on the scale of September 11 that were stopped around the Millennium. There was, in effect, a coordinated and highly effective struggle against terrorism going on. It lacked the kind of support it ought to have had from Congress, and from certain nations that were complicit with the terrorists. Pakistan, for example. Uzbekistan was not helpful.
There was not a single Republican member of Congress who ever raised a single question or put a query to the Clinton National Security Council about its efforts against terrorism. Not one. When we left office, our National Security team conducted three extensive briefings of the incoming Bush team. Their attitude was, essentially, dismissive, that it was a “Clinton thing.” It was considered to be part of the package of soft foreign policy issues. They thought of themselves as the adults, the real men, interested in hard things like Star Wars. So they blew off the Middle East peace process. They blew up the long negotiations involving North Korea, and humiliated the South Korean president, who had won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. This has set us down the road to where we are today with North Korea, as they try to rediscover, essentially, the Clinton position.
On terrorism, they assigned the matter to Vice President Dick Cheney “for study.” Anyone who has been in government knows that when you do that, you are essentially taking it off the table and not taking it seriously. As I reported in my book, Donald Kerrick, who is a three-star general, was a deputy National Security Advisor in the late Clinton administration. He stayed on into the Bush administration. He was absolutely not political. He was a general. He told me that when the Bush people came in, he wrote a memo about terrorism, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. The memo said, “We will be struck again.” As a result of writing that memo, he was not invited to any more meetings. No one responded to his memo. He felt that, from what he could see from inside the National Security Council, terrorism was demoted.
Richard Clarke was Director of Counter-Terrorism in the national Security Council. He has since left. Clark urgently tried to draw the attention of the Bush administration to the threat of al Qaeda. Right at the present, the Bush administration is trying to withhold documents from the 9/11 bipartisan commission. I believe one of the things that they do not want to be known is what happened on August 6, 2001. It was on that day that George W. Bush received his last, and one of the few, briefings on terrorism. I believe he told Richard Clarke that he didn’t want to be briefed on this again, even though Clarke was panicked about the alarms he was hearing regarding potential attacks. Bush was blithe, indifferent, ultimately irresponsible. The public has a right to know what happened on August 6, what Bush did, what Condi Rice did, what all the rest of them did, and what Richard Clarke’s memos and statements were. Then the public will be able to judge exactly what this presidency has done.... LINK
GETTING HARDER TO FOOL THE PEASANTS
Poll: Americans Skeptical of Medicare Changes in New Bush Legislation
Analysis By David Morris, ABC NEWS
Dec. 8— Americans are casting a skeptical eye on the Medicare changes signed into law by President Bush, according to an ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll. More disapprove than approve of the legislation, with doubts peaking among senior citizens and among those who've been following the issue most closely.
Among all Americans, 38 percent disapprove of the Medicare changes, slightly more than the 32 percent who approve (many, 30 percent, are withholding judgment). But it's a broader spread — 47 percent to 26 percent disapproval — among senior citizens, and a similar 46 percent to 32 percent disapproval in the next age group, 55- to 64-year-olds.
Moreover, disapproval is highest among the one-sixth of the public — many seniors among them — who have been following the issue most closely. Most people in this highest-attention group, 56 percent, disapprove of the plan; indeed, many of them disapprove "strongly.... LINK
Bush Numbers Virtually Unchanged by Thanksgiving Trip To Visit Troops in Iraq, New Zogby Poll Reveals
President George W. Bush’s unannounced trip to have Thanksgiving Dinner with troops in Baghdad has had relatively little impact on his job performance rating, which remains relatively unchanged from Mid-October and early November polling.
The most recent Zogby America poll of 1,002 likely voters chosen at random was conducted December 4-6, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. Margins are higher in sub-groups.
Bush Job Performance
December 4-6, 2003 49 - 51
November 3-5, 2003 48 - 52 LINK
AARP REALLY HAS SOLD OUT, SIDES W/ NURSING HOME OWNERS
AARP Reconsiders Position On Nursing Home Lawsuits
By MIKE SALINERO, TAMPA TRIBUNE, Dec 8, 2003
TALLAHASSEE - A powerful senior citizens lobbying group may reverse its earlier opposition and join forces with nursing home owners seeking greater protection against abuse and neglect lawsuits, a move that has caught some political observers by surprise... LINK
BUSH TO UNEMPLOYED: TOUGH LUCK!
No Cheer for the Unemployed
NY TIMES, OP-ED
With a perverse sense of holiday timing, President Bush and the Republican leaders of Congress are blithely accepting the expiration of emergency benefits badly needed by the nation's long-term unemployed. This vital program ends on Dec. 21, crushing the hopes of an estimated 80,000 or more jobless Americans each week who will find their state benefits expiring. The emergency benefits, which provide 13 extra weeks of help, were approved by Congress early last year as hard-core unemployment became entrenched. The problem continues today as the economic recovery shows only a meager turnaround in job creation... LINK
McWAR ON TERROR - TUESDAY UPDATE
US arrested elected leaders, replaced them with Baathists in Karbala
(CBS) When the U.S. invasion came last spring with promises of democracy and self-rule, people in Karbala were among the first to try and take charge of their own affairs.
Religious and community leaders got together and selected a city council to represent them, and a security force to protect them. They had assumed that their experiment in democracy would be applauded by the American military.
It was not. U.S. troops disarmed the protection force, arrested popular city councilmen and put back into power some of the same people who had served Saddam. link
Mosul Bombing Wounds 41 GIs, US Helicopter Downed in Fallujah
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Dec. 9 — A suicide car bomber wounded 41 U.S. soldiers and three Iraqis Tuesday when he charged the gates of a U.S. military base in northern Iraq. In Baghdad, meanwhile, a car bomb hit a Sunni mosque, killing three Iraqis. And near Fallujah a U.S. observation helicopter came down in what the military described as a “controlled, hard landing.” link
Taliban target ‘left 10 days before’ US air strike killed nine children - link
Monday, December 08, 2003
Ozzie Injured, Janklow convicted, Medicare signed away, Dean endorsed.
-That's quite a flurry of stories. There must be something up. I know....they're trying to cover up something.... like maybe Bush escaped from the White House!
PATRIOT ACT A BUST, LITERALLY
Terrorism cases fizzling out in US courts: study
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
A new study of terrorism prosecutions in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks shows that while 184 people have been convicted of crimes deemed to involve "international terrorism", defendants were sentenced to a median prison term of just 14 days and, in many cases, received no jail sentence at all... LINK
-For this we gave away our civil liberties... feh!
FIRST OF LAWSUITS HIT SCHWARTZY
Woman sues Schwarzenegger for libel
- Prepare for a blizzard of these puppies, Anuld... This one's from the woman he accused of being a convicted felon, after her accusation of groping. Turns out his accusation was false. Hers wasn't. Hasta la vista, baby.
US WASTES MONEY INSTALLING CLOSED CIRCUIT CAMS ON AFGHAN BORDER
CCTV Systems On Pak-Afghan Border
By Zafir Jamaal, Jihad Unspun, Dec 05, 2003
The Northern Alliance in conjunction with American forces have installed advanced CCTV systems along the stretch of the Pak-Afghan border check post at Ghulam Khan. They are trying to stop the increasing number of people joining the ranks of Taliban to help them in their jihad. The cameras and other sophisticated devices can be easily seen from a distance so it is unlikely that this equipment will have much effect...
DIRTY BOMB MATERIALS GO MISSING, BUSH CUT FUNDING IN 2001
'Dirty bomb' missiles apparently missing, expert says
Associated Press, Dec. 8, 2003 11:20 AM
CHISINAU, Moldova - Dozens of rockets outfitted with so-called "dirty bombs" - warheads designed to scatter deadly radioactive material - appear to be missing in a breakaway region of Moldova, an expert said Monday.
Oazu Nantoi, a political analyst who works at the non-governmental Institute for Policy Studies in Chisinau, said he had seen photocopies of Russian military documents showing that the dirty bomb warheads - 24 ready to use, 14 dismantled - were missing from a storage depot near the Trans-Dniester Tiraspol military airport. link
- It was only a matter of time, esp. since the Bush Administration dropped the ball on buying up the ex-Iron curtain nukes.
CITIZEN FINDS IRAQ IS WORSE THAN MEDIA PORTRAYS NOT BETTER
Despite Preznit Bush's assertion that Iraq is better off than the media is showing us, an average citizen finds out it is WORSE:
...East Valley restaurateur Mike Lopercio is part of a human rights group delegation to Iraq, grabbing a firsthand look at life after the war. He has serious concerns about the lack of progress with reconstruction and is stunned with the differences between the Iraq seen on the television news and the Iraq he sees by walking the streets.
"What you see on the TV doesn't really brace you for what's here," he said in an interview this week. "The town is barricaded up, tanks rolling down the street. Visually, it's arresting. It's shocking."...
...Postwar Iraq is the two hospitals he visited that didn't have any drugs, or the schools that don't have lights or heat. Some neighborhoods have trash and sewage in the street. Cars line up for blocks waiting for gas. All the while, Iraqi frustration is high.... link
IS WOLFIE GOING TO TAKE THE FALL FOR IRAQ?
And maybe Rummy, too?
USNEWS: Word is that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz may bow out as soon as February. Replacement requirements: a strong manager, one who can repair relations with the military and could take over for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Several names have bubbled up, including Deputy White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, a former Pentagon assistant, and NASA boss Sean O'Keefe, a former secretary of the Navy.
THE "MOOT" PRESIDENCY
Card dismisses questions over prewar intelligence as `moot'
SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press Writer
(12-07) 10:53 PST WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's chief of staff dismissed as "a moot point" any lingering question about whether Bush relied on faulty intelligence to justify the invasion of Iraq... LINK
-Yes, just like the 2000 elections were "moot". Once we get what we want, how we got there is always "moot", because after all might makes right... doesn't it?
ANOTHER SUSPICIOUS SUICIDE
Top Secret Advisor To 4 Presidents Dies 'Violently' In DC
From 'DC' Dave Martin, RENSE.COM
Gus W. Weiss, 72, adviser to four presidents on top secret policy matters, died violently in Washington, DC, on November 25, 2003, but his death was not reported by The Washington Post until December 7, 2003, in the obitiuary section at the bottom of page C12. His home town newspaper, The Nashville Tennessean, was only a week late in reporting his death, but at that late date all they could say was, "The circumstances surrounding his death could not be confirmed last night."..
...''He was wired into the intelligence community, and there were a lot of mystical secrets we weren't privy to,' said Harris Gilbert, a Nashville attorney who had been friends with Mr. Weiss since childhood. 'He was very interested in diplomatic strategy and was VERY, VERY OPPOSED TO THE IRAQ WAR. It was the first military action he ever opposed, but he believed we shouldn't go to war in the Middle East without knowing what we were getting into.''... LINK
-Shades of John Kokal! Is there a snuff campaign against top analysts and advisors against the war?
Sunday, December 07, 2003
DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY
Or, How to train a generation of fools:
Maine teacher sues over curriculum prohibiting teaching of non-Christian civilizations:
... Cole alleged that complaints by "a small group of fundamentalist Christian individuals" led to the creation of a curriculum "which never mentions religions other than Christianity and never teaches the history of civilizations other than Christian civilizations."...
..."How can you explain the evolution of democracy in the Western world without talking about ancient Greece?" link
-That's what we need in this country, publically funded Christian madrassas. We're getting more and more like the Taliban every day.
MILITARY FIRES ARABIC TRANSLATORS FOR BEING GAY, SAYS DEMOCRACY NOW
The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy has led the Pentagon to fire 37 Arabic translators at a time when the military needed them more than ever. LINK
BRITISH I.T.V. CORRESPONDENT CHALLENGES MILITARY ON SAMARA CASUALTIES
ITV reporter attacks military 'spin'
Claire Cozens, GUARDIAN
..."The US military spokesman, who caused an excited ITV news desk to wake me at 1am, claimed that they had defeated co-ordinated attacks by about 200 'terrorists', some of them wearing the uniform of the feared Saddam Fedayeen," he wrote in today's Spectator magazine.
"We arrived half expecting to see the bodies of dead insurgents littering the streets. Instead, at the town cemetery, we found that one of the first bodies to be buried under the speedy Muslim rite was that of a female employee of the town's drugs factory, Ameera Sahil, who had been shot dead while waiting for a bus near the factory gate."
According to Manyon's account, just six fresh graves had been dug at the local cemetery and hospital officials put the final death toll at eight...
...The US military has been criticised repeatedly over its briefings to journalists with the head of Sky News, Nick Pollard, describing them as "poor" and dominated by spin....
WHEN PORK ATTACKS!
LA TIMES is reporting that the new Omnibus Spending bill has over 7,000 "earmarked" (read pork) items in it:
Before they took control of Congress nearly nine years ago, Republicans often mocked the Democratic practice of larding government spending bills with provisions that earmarked funds for pet projects in particular lawmakers' districts and states.
But a $328.1 billion bill that the Republican-led House expects to pass Monday, funding a grab-bag of government agencies, takes earmarking to new heights and uses it for what Democrats claim are new, partisan purposes....
...Lately, Republican critics such as Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona are isolated voices when they criticize their own party for outdoing the Democrats in the lavishing of pork.
"Republicans ridiculed this forever, but now we're `in' and we see how much fun it is," Flake said. "There's no shame anymore." Among his favorites in the omnibus spending bill: $75,000 for a North Pole Transit System in Alaska, $200,000 for a program at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and $325,000 for a swimming pool in Salinas, Calif...
Is The US military refusing to issue Purple Heart medals to US soldiers in order to keep the casualty count low?
Denial of Purple Heart Medals Raises Questions About Casualty Count
by Patrick Peterson
GULFPORT, Miss. - An influential Mississippi congressman has raised the possibility that the Pentagon has undercounted combat casualties in Iraq after he learned that five members of the Mississippi National Guard who were injured Sept. 12 by a booby trap in Iraq were denied Purple Heart medals.
The guardsmen were wounded by an artillery shell that detonated as their convoy passed the tree in which it was hidden, but their injuries were classified as "noncombat," according to Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss. Taylor, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, learned of the classification when he visited the most seriously injured of the guardsmen, Spc. Carl Sampson, 35, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.... LINK
ARE US SOLDIERS IN AFGANISTAN BECOMING ADDICTS?
Russian Deputy Drug Czar: US Soldiers Becoming Drug Addicts in Afghanistan
MOSCOW, December 5. US soldiers are developing a drug addiction problem in Afghanistan, said Deputy State Drug Controller Alexander Mikhailov. He said that there have already been several occurrences of drug addiction among US soldiers in Afghanistan, but the US leadership is keeping it quiet. 'They don't have control of the situation. This should be a good example for our troops in Tajikistan,' said Mikhailov.
The state drug controller's office and the Russian Orthodox Church have decided to step up joint efforts against drug use, said Mikhailov. At the present time more than 90% of narcotics in Russia come from Afghanistan through Central Asia. Only 10% of narcotics are produced in Russia.
McWAR O' TERROR WRAPUP:
ALQAEDA GOES IRAQI, WRAPPING VILLAGES IN BARBED WIRE, "HONEY I BOMBED SOME KIDS!"
Report: Qaeda Shifting to Iraq from Afghanistan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda told the Taliban last month it planned to divert a large number of anti-American fighters from Afghanistan ( to Iraq...
...Newsweek cited Taliban sources as saying that bin Laden ordered the shift of resources away from Afghanistan to Iraq because he saw it as an opportunity for killing Americans and their allies in Iraq and neighboring countries such as Turkey.... link
Tough New Tactics by U.S. Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns
By DEXTER FILKINS, December 7, 2003, NY TIMES
ABU HISHMA, Iraq, Dec. 6 — As the guerrilla war against Iraqi insurgents intensifies, American soldiers have begun wrapping entire villages in barbed wire.
In selective cases, American soldiers are demolishing buildings thought to be used by Iraqi attackers. They have begun imprisoning the relatives of suspected guerrillas, in hopes of pressing the insurgents to turn themselves in.... LINK
US bombing kills Afghan children
US forces have admitted mistakenly killing nine children when they bombed a target in southern Afghanistan.
US military spokesman Major Christopher West said they had acted on information that a suspected terrorist was at a house near the city of Ghazni.
Ground forces later found the body of the intended target along with those of the children nearby, he said.
Major West said the US military regretted the loss of innocent life and would seek to explain the incident.... LINK
-All in all, a typical week in the McWar on Terror