Wednesday, January 31, 2007

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Another UK Terror Plot Foiled?

News Commentary – January 31, 2007

British police arrested nine men in and around the city of Birmingham in anti-terror raids early Wednesday morning.

Although police stressed that their investigations were still at an early stage, there was speculation that the raids may have foiled a plot to kidnap a British Muslim soldier.

The raids were carried out after intelligence was received from “security sources”; quoted by the BBC as claiming the plot marked a “different approach” to terror in the UK.

It's nothing if not lurid.

The alleged plot was to carry out a "close quarters" style abduction of a Muslim soldier, which would have mirrored the kidnappings of the British hostages Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan by Iraqi insurgents.

The victim would have been filmed, made to plead for his life and ultimately executed, it was alleged.

Rather than plans to bomb trans-Atlantic airliners, as the mainstream media reported last year, the latest terror outrage would have involved a "beheading" in front of cameras.

You could almost imagine a seasoned scriptwriter writing it for a TV thriller.

The reported switch of tactics by terror suspects had been worrying the police for some time, according to security analyst Crispin Black. "The best thing British intelligence services can do is to study the methods used in Iraq and prepare themselves to see them appearing here," he said.

It was also claimed that a target for the alleged plot had already been identified.

However, locals in the areas where some of the men were arrested expressed disbelief and cynicism over news reports.

Mohamed Barber told BBC News his cousin was one of the men arrested. "We can vouch for him he is innocent. He doesn't even have time to go to Friday prayers - that's how busy he is," he added.

Leaders at the Alum Rock Islamic Centre, the main mosque in the area where several of the suspects were arrested, said the community was shocked at events, but urged calm and appealed to people to co-operate with the police.

Ayub Pervaz, the mosque's president, said: "If people have broken the law they should be brought to justice…but we also appeal for no trial by media. If any of those arrested turn out to be innocent, this should be made clear."

In point of fact, many of those arrested in previous “anti-terror raids” have later been freed, without charge and with minimal media attention.

So this is becoming a familiar tale and with each new “terror plot” foiled public cynicism grows. Largely because with repeated official talk of “imminent” and “immense” terror threats, it is all beginning to sound a little hollow, if not contrived.

Particularly as no hard evidence has yet been presented for public scrutiny.

Could it be then that the authorities are actually fomenting a climate of fear and mistrust in the communities involved? This is not so outlandish as it may sound, particularly when one considers what Britain’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray has pointed out: that many of the alleged plots exposed have little real substance and are often more propaganda ploy than plot.

Almost as if a team of PSYOP specialists were writing the scripts and using the police and media to flesh out the prospect of an “imminent threat”. Like stage conjurers of yore, contriving "terror" out of nothing at all.

Alleged Liquid Bomb Plot Credibility Crumbles

War on Shampoo

Terror Suspects Freed

Met chief’s terror warning

The Forest Gate Raid

London Terror Raid

Rat Bastard

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Wayne Madsen Report January 31,2007


January 31, 2007 -- WMR spoke to a leading law scholar about the significance of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald granting former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer use immunity rather than transactional immunity. Transactional immunity protects an individual from prosecution for anything involving the planning and carrying out of a crime, i,e., transactional immunity protects the witness from any prosecution brought about relating to transactions to which they gave testimony. Use immunity, on the other hand, lifts the Fifth Amendment protections of self-incrimination by replacing that privilege with an assurance that neither compelled testimony nor any fruits of it can be used against the witness. It was use immunity that gave Oliver North and John Poindexter "get out of jail free" cards for their roles in the Iran-Contra scandal.

It is still too early to determine how Fleischer's use immunity will affect the case against Libby, however, the criminal conspiracy by senior White House officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, is incrementally being laid bare every day. This Cheney-Libby memo is a significant smoking gun against both Cheney and Libby in their roles in exposing Plame. With prosecution and defense agreeing that Cheney was at the center of the criminal conspiracy to disclose the name of a covert CIA agent and her covert front company, there is still much doubt about Cheney appearing as a witness. If he refuses, expect interlocutory appeals from Cheney's attorneys to the pro-administration U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia and a possible Supreme Court showdown.

All evidence in Libby trial points to Cheney as kingpin in outing of CIA agent.

Yesterday's testimonies, including those of Cheney's Counsel, David Addington, and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, painted a picture of the close relationship between the Bush White House and the corporate media. Addington's December 16, 2003 memo to a number of White House staffers, including Lewis Libby (Chief of Staff), Catherine Martin (Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs, Neil Patel (Assistant to the Vice President and Staff Secretary), Victoria Nuland (Principal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs [the present U.S. Representative to NATO and the wife of Project for the New American Century co-founder Robert Kagan]), and Debra Heiden, Executive Assistant to the Vice President.

The Addington memo asks for the preservation of all documents between these staffers and specified members of the media, an indication that there was a concerted effort by the certain White House employees to spread Valerie Plame Wilson's covert status to a multitude of media members, including White House Press Corps member and male prostitute Jeff Gannon and his right-wing funded Talon News. Forty-one members of the media and media entities (which would include unnamed producers and editors) were identified in the Addington memo, clear evidence of the scope of the White House program to out Plame to the media.

Number one on the list of 41 is Robert Novak, the first person who wrote about Plame and her Brewster Jennings covert CIA business counter-proliferation team. It should also be noted that Libby was the longtime attorney for fugitive American-Israeli smuggler and crime boss Marc Rich (Reich), who was pardoned by Bill Clinton. Rich has been a major asset for the Mossad and has violated embargoes against Iran during the same time George H. W. Bush was illegally shipping arms to Iran before the 1980 election to embarrass President Jimmy Carter.

The list of media members and entities identified in the Addington memo is as follows:

1. Robert Novak [Chicago Sun Times syndicated columnist]

2. Crossfire [CNN]

3. Capital Gang [CNN]

4. Chicago Sun-Times (owned by Lord Conrad Black's and Richard Perle's Hollinger Corporation. Black was indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald for securities fraud).

5. Knut Royce (Newday)

6. Timothy Phelps (Newsday)

7. Newsday

8. Walter Pincus [Washington Post]

9. Richard Leiby [Washington Post]

10. Mike Allen [Washington Post]

11. Dana Priest [Washington Post]

12. Glenn Kessler [Washington Post, Kessler is also named in the indictments of America Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC) officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman who are charged with receiving classified information from convicted Israeli spy Larry Franklin. Kessler's July 21, 2004 meeting with Rosen and Weissman, in which all three joked about “not getting in trouble" over the passing of the classified information, was taped by the FBI].

13. Washington Post

14. Matthew Cooper (Time) [married to Many Grunwald, longtime consultant to Hillary Clinton]

15. John Dickerson (Time)

16. Massimo Calabresi (Time)

17. Michael Duffy (Time)

18. James Carney (Time) (married to ABC News senior correspondent Clair Shipman)

19. Time magazine

20. Evan Thomas (Newsweek)

21. Newsweek

22. Andrea Mitchell (NBC News) [married to Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan]

23. Meet the Press (NBC)

24. Chris Matthews (MS-NBC, NBC) [married to Washington ABC Channel 7 Albritton Communications anchor Kathleen Matthews]

25. Hardball (MSNBC)


27. Tim Russert (NBC, married to Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair)

28. Campbell Brown (NBC, married to Dan Senor, then Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman in occupied Iraq)

29. NBC (owned by defense contractor General Electric)

30. Nicholas Kristof (New York Times) [married to Sheryl WuDunn, New York Times editor]

31. David Sanger (New York Times)

32. Judith Miller (New York Times)

33. New York Times

34. Greg Hitt (Wall Street Journal)

35. Paul Gigot (Wall Street Journal)

36. Wall Street Journal

37. John Solomon (Associated Press)

38. Associated Press

39. USA Today

40. Jeff Gannon (proprietor of and other gay escort websites operated by Bedrock Corp). ("Yabba Dabba Doo!")

41. Talon News (owned by Republican activist group GOPUSA run by Bobby Eberle).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

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Here We Go Again

Iran Blame Game Shifts into High Gear
Tuesday January 30th 2007, 8:34 pm

As expected, the attack Iran hype has slipped into overdrive.

“The Pentagon is investigating whether an attack on a military compound in Karbala on January 20 was carried out by Iranians or Iranian-trained operatives, a U.S. official told CNN on Tuesday…. Some Iraqis speculate that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps carried out the attack in retaliation for the capture by U.S. forces of five of its members in Irbil, Iraq, on January 11, according to a article published Tuesday.”

In other words, CNN, as a faithful propaganda handmaiden, is speculating, thus adding fuel to the attack Iran fire now smoldering, ready to break out into a five alarm conflagration, as planned, with the appropriate admixture of irresponsible speculation, as usual backed up with little more than thin air.

“Some Iraqis speculate that the IRGC has already started a campaign of revenge with the killing of five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20, nine days after the arrest of the IRGC [Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.] members in Erbil. As the logic of the rumor goes, five American soldiers were killed for five Iranians taken; [the attack at the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in] Karbala was an IRGC message to release its colleagues—or else,” writes Robert Baer for Time Magazine, basing his story on rumor and hearsay, a common enough modus operandi for corporate journalists these days. “There is nothing the IRGC likes better than to fight a proxy war in another country,” never mind this would play right into the hands of the neocons, thus providing yet another pretext for an ultimate attack, as long planned.

Meanwhile, the Butcher of Honduras, Order of Death alumni (otherwise known as Skull and Bones), Council on Foreign Relations member, Kissinger flunky, currently grand poobah of intelligence, John Negroponte, “told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that an emboldened Iran presented new difficulties for U.S. interests in Iraq, the Gulf region, Lebanon and in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking,” reports Reuters. Naturally, the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, its continuing occupation, its support for reactionary and decadent Gulf monarchies, and above all else its unfailing and unconditional support for the brutal settler state of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians has nothing to do with these ostensible “new difficulties.”

Unable to contain themselves, Democrats as well as Republicans kissed Negroponte’s hem. “Democratic and Republican lawmakers praised Negroponte’s record. The panel’s Democratic chairman, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, predicted its members would vote quickly to recommend his confirmation by the full Senate,” never mind that the “death-squad manager nonpareil” and “gangster-diplomat extraordinaire,” as Toni Solo pegs him apropos, who micromanaged the “Salvador Option” in Iraq, should be in a war crimes docket with the rest of the neocons, not taking up residence, with the profuse blessing of “lawmakers,” as deputy secretary of state.

Iranians and Syrians, averred Negroponte, “know what they need to do,” that is they will need bend over backwards, jump somersaults, and generally act like domesticated pets, ready to grovel, beg forgiveness, and plead for their lives.

Short of that, they are advised to build bomb shelters.
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No More Rules
Jim Kirwan

The Decision-maker has decided 'there are no more rules' when it comes to what he can do-regardless of the constitution, the congress or the people-but that definition has never had a place in American government. Because when there are no rules of law; there is no nation, only another deluded and demented class of Outlaws at the helm of yet another failed country!
"I fully understand that they {the Congress} could try to stop me from doing it. But I've made my decision. And we're going forward." President George W. Bush, (in an interview broadcast on CBS 60 Minutes, Jan. 14, 2007)
Four years of military and diplomatic failure and mindless slaughter without any gains at all! Now this nation is in free-fall. Four years ago Bush attacked Iraq massively-a nation that had not attacked us. Then when he took Baghdad, the world actually watched while Iraq's government and intelligence records went up in smoke, along with everything except the Ministry of Oil. Then the Decider had to face the fact that he had no idea who he was fighting, still he decided that he must "Stay the Course!" Now he's ignoring the full blown civil war (300 dead just this morning), and demanding that Iraq take responsibility for maintaining civil order; for the reconstruction of all that was destroyed, and for doing everything that the coalition-of-the-willing could not and has not done ­ despite all the firepower and taxpayer money expended. To date this is costing us $8.4 billion a month, and that's just in money!
Yet through it all 'the Decider' has continued to "Stay the Course"! This man couldn't lead sheep, much less a nation of aroused and angry citizens. In his State of the Union the Decider pleaded for yet another chance-and the Senate responded with a non-binding measure that said his response to the elections and the current course of his war was "not in the nation's best interests." The time for lame gestures by congress is over-if this congress does not act with force and commitment, then they'll be added to the list of those that must be fired. Cheney-Bush may think these things are just some corporate decisions to be made, but that's not true! These are decisions that bleed and die and that will continue to kill and maim long after the criminal-idiots that made them, have vanished. That's why it was criminal to allow the media to have covered-up the truth of who these people really are that run this government.
When public demonstrations begin to happen during the workweek, and not just on the weekends, then the world will know that Bush & the Bandit's days are numbered-for real! This will be the next step in protest, and congress would be wise to clearly declare which side of this war-against us-they are on.
The Decider's Tarnished House is fond of denouncing dissenters for failing "to Support the Troops." Yet the records tell a very different story. It was the Decider who continually ordered cuts in military benefits, cuts in military housing, cuts in combat pay; and it was he who failed to provide body armor, and it was he that slashed medical-treatment after the life-crippling wounds were incurred. His most recent slash, cut all but three locations, for medical treatment nationwide, for the most seriously wounded retuning from the Wars. These charges constitute a whole range of basically traitor-like-actions, against the troops - in a time of war. These are the same troops he uses for campaign photo-ops and who he claims to value so highly. The public needs to know who is failing to "Support the Troops," and that it is Bush that keeps their deaths a secret from the public that he says they are defending-the person in question-is none other than George W. Bush and his collaborators in his War-upon-the-World!

The Decider has a quietly privatized army of 100,000 mercenaries that he's using to expand the wars and to augment US troop strength inside Iraq, and elsewhere. These mercenaries were formed under Cheney's secretive direction, and they have grown to become the equivalent of a Praetorian Guard for the Outlaws. These are guns for hire, at a huge cost increase over ordinary GI's, and they exist beyond congressional or public oversight: yet Cheney and his mercenary armies are paid with taxpayer dollars. "Blackwater" a book by, Jeremy Scahill, describes one organization composed of ex-special forces from many nations.

"They really are the frontline in what the Bush administration views as a necessary revolution in military affairs. In fact they represent the life's work of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

Amy Goodman: What do you mean - 'the life's work'?

JC: Well Dick Cheney, when he was Defense Secretary under George HW Bush during the Gulf War - one of the things he did before leaving office was to create an unprecedented lucrative market for the firm he would go on to head - Halliburton. He commissioned Halliburton to do a study on 'how to privatize the military bureaucracy.' That effectively created the groundwork for the absolute war-profiteer bonanza, that we've seen unfold in the aftermath of 911... . after he left office when the first Bush was president, Cheney went on to work at the neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute; which really led the push for the privatization of government- not just the military:"(1)

Scahill's book probably contains more than he alludes to in his interview and this means that we may soon face even more falsified evidence inside Iraq, concerning the "the Iranian Resistance" and those who will be killed to create the Middle-Eastern version of what happened in Cambodia and Laos in the Vietnam War. The Decider's shoot-to-kill order on Iranians inside Iraq, coupled with the expose on Blackwater's unsupervised adventures, may give the US government a Middle-Eastern excuse like the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in Vietnam-to justify a similar bombing of Iran-by either the US or Israel.
In the State of the Union - The Decider mentioned our energy problems. But if Cheney had been forced to testify about what happened in those Energy Policy meetings that were secretly held almost immediately upon their joint-ascension to power, in 2001: Then we would not have these energy problems. There are real secrets and motivations for everything we continue to do in the Middle-East that are buried in those policies. Congress must unlock Cheney's secret meetings, the outcomes of which directly affected every American citizen: meetings that were held in the public's White House! The records of the participants have been sealed by special arrangement with the Secret Service, so that no hint of whoever attended those meetings ever becomes public. The records are not the property of the White House or the Secret Service ­ they are the property of the people who pay all American political salaries. True we don't pay these traitors the big-bucks ­ but without us they wouldn't be where they are, and they couldn't get those bribes that amount to millions: So give us back our records and let us decide what to do with Cheney and the illegally written Energy Policies that he and his shadow-government crafted. A Special Prosecutor must be appointed and a grand-jury convened ­ pending Impeachment proceedings against the Vice-President of the United States.

Since the failure of this nation to ever seriously question the events of 911, we have gone from bad to worse with every passing month. There is no way for this administration to explain away their lies and their every-shifting justifications that turned into nothing more than an unbroken chain of cul-de-sac's along an unlit path that was never envisioned by anyone in power. We attacked without a plan and when "victory" was denied, time after time, it finally became clear that we never had an exit strategy either. Now-the decider has chosen to ignore any and all other considerations beyond his own self-appointed and arrogantly misguided fiats. Incidentally 'the Decider' is not immortal, he's a "subject employee" and he can be fired by the people, for cause!

The Speaker of the House has said that 'Impeachment is not on the table.' That may be her political preference-but that is not her call to make, and it never was. The Congress of the United States has all the powers needed to 'do the right and legal things; in the case of The People of the United States of America vs. George W. Bush ­ It's all in the letter that was sent to every member of congress that was signed by 21,000 constitutional scholars, which is discussed here: (2).

By any measure there must be impeachments. Cheney-Bush has committed hundreds if not thousands of crimes for the sole purpose of enriching their sponsors and their agendas. The actions of George W. Bush go well above and beyond any and all the laws of this Republic. A "president" who has no respect for the constitution for the laws, and especially not for the people-is not a president in this country­he's just a tyrant and a traitor to the people of this land. If Bush or Cheney disagree with this rendering they can try to disprove it before the Senate at their trials ­ which is far more than they ever allowed to any of those they have tortured and who they currently and illegally have imprisoned!
1) Our Mercenaries in Iraq, Democracy Now ­ Blackwater Inc and Bush's undeclared Surge:

Partial Transcript:
2) The Powers of Congress
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Bush: The Division-Maker
Filed under: Constructive Criticism — MrBogle @ 8:15 pm
I’ve officially become one of those people I loathe to encounter in movie theaters. You know, the ones who yell “Don’t open that door!” at the screen during a slasher film. With me, the TV set proves my undoing. Whenever Bush (or one of his flunkies) appears, I immediately start bellowing “Shut the &%$# up, you steaming sack o’ *&#@!” Or civilized words to that effect.

When Bush gave Congress the shaft in regards to the Iraq “surge,” last week, declaring “I’m the decision-maker,” two things resulted. My blood pressure shot up and the number of throat lozenges I consume on an hourly basis hit triple digits. As long as Bush is in power, I’m doomed to sound like Joe Cocker gargling razor blades.

You can always tell when this administration is embarking on yet another “BANZAI!” plan of action. Republicans get into their clown cars and swarm the airwaves like flies on…the aforementioned plan of action.

Bush got the ball rolling mid-week, following a State of the Union address that was as hot as a week-old urine sample.

Pumping up the appointment of his new “go to” guy in Iraq, General Custer, I mean, Petraeus, Bush defended his dismissal of the anti-war mood of the American people and the majority of Congress by stating (with a smirk): “One of the things I’ve found in Congress is that most people recognize that failure would be a disaster for the United States. And, in that I’m the decision-maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster. In other words, I had to think about what’s likely to work.”

That quote is worth at least five lozenges. Has Bush made ANYthing work in six years? I mean, if you look up the word “disaster” in the dictionary, there’s just Bush’s photo.

Since Bush realized he had a captive audience, (It’s considered rude for the press to run from the room either laughing hysterically or vomiting.) Bush then addressed the spectre of a seething Democratically controlled Congress.

“And my call to the Congress is, is that I know there is skepticism and pessimism, and that they are — some are condemning a plan before it’s even had a chance to work. And they have an obligation and a serious responsibility, therefore, to put up their own plan as to what would work.”

I guess this new plan will be placed next to at least a dozen other plans the Dems have come up with that, somehow, haven’t registered with the Prez. Next time, Dems might want to consider the use of festive balloons and, perhaps, wads of shiny tin foil whilst presenting a plan to der Monkey King.

“I’ve listened a lot to members of Congress. I’ve listened carefully to their suggestions. I have picked the plan that I think is most likely to succeed, because I understand, like many in Congress understand, success is very important for the security of the country.”

And don’t forget to floss after every meal, ‘cause terrorists are just waiting to send in Mr. Tooth Decay! He’s backed by Iran!

Had Bush been given more time to wax eloquent, he would have seemed totally delusional. Last week, however, the mantle of “Master of Delusion” went to veep Dick Cheney who, apparently, has been inhaling his oxygen through a bong, of late.

Radiating the charm of Bela Lugosi circa “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” Cheney appeared with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, offering his own views on Iraq and the current political crisis in America. Mr. Magoo would have been proud.

Asked why we haven’t captured Osama bin Laden, Cheney opined: “Well, obviously, he’s well hidden. We’ve been looking for him for some time. I think the fact is he’s gone totally to ground. He doesn’t communicate, except, perhaps, by courier. He’s not up on the air. He’s not putting out videos, the way he did oftentimes in the past.”

Who can ever forget the bin Laden/Green Day “American Idiot” video? Man, that was smokin’.

Queried about the entire Iraq misadventure, Cheney screwed on his best “The Penguin” visage and declared: “You can go back and argue the whole thing all over again, Wolf, but what we did in Iraq in taking down Saddam Hussein was exactly the right thing to do; the world is much safer today because of it. (Note: If you don’t figure in the entire Middle East.) There have been three national elections in Iraq, there’s a democracy established there, a constitution, a new democratically elected government, Saddam has been brought to justice and executed, his sons are dead, his government is gone and the world is better off for it.”

Sorreeem, I cannut write. Tooo manny lozenges in mouf. Gack!

Cheney then barked: “Now, you can argue about that all you want, but that’s history, that’s what we did. And you and I can have this debate — we’ve had it before — but the fact of the matter is, in terms of threats to the United States from al Qaeda, for example, attacks on the United States, they didn’t need an excuse. We weren’t in Iraq when they hit us on 9/11.”

Uh, neither was al Qaeda.

When Wolf said that there is a terrible situation in Iraq, Cheney sneered: “No, there is not. There is not. There’s problems, ongoing problems, but we have, in fact, accomplished our objectives of getting rid of the old regime, and there is a new regime in place that’s been there for less than a year, far too soon for you guys to write them off. They have got a democratically written constitution, first ever in that part of the world. They’ve had three national elections. So there’s been a lot of success.”

If you consider trading purple inked fingers for drilled eye sockets a success.

Cheney, dismissing any rumors of wartime blunders as “hogwash,” declared that the biggest threat to Iraq was…uh…American democracy.

“But the biggest problem we face right now is the danger that the United States will validate the terrorist strategy, that, in fact, what will happen here with all of the debate over whether or not we ought to stay in Iraq, with the pressures from some quarters to get out of Iraq, if we were to do that, we would simply validate the terrorists’ strategy that says the Americans will not stay to complete the task – that we don’t have the stomach for the fight.”

Maybe I should just start injecting lozenges.

Cheney did admit that mistakes were made. “Oh, I think in terms of mistakes, I think we underestimated the extent to which 30 years of Saddam’s rule had really hammered the population, especially the Shia population, into submissiveness. It was very hard for them to stand up and take responsibility in part because anybody who had done that in the past had had their heads chopped off.”

In other words, the current cataclysm in Iraq has arisen because Iraqis are beaten, cowardly wimps. But we still love ‘em, right?

When confronted with the fact that Congress is considering several resolutions decrying Dumbya’s new Iraqi surge, Cheney said…screw ‘em.

“It won’t stop us, and it would be, I think detrimental from the standpoint of the troops, as General Petraeus said yesterday. He was asked by Joe Lieberman, among others, in his testimony, about this notion that somehow the Senate could vote overwhelmingly for him, send him on his new assignment, and then pass a resolution at the same time and say, but we don’t agree with the mission you’ve been given…

“We are moving forward. We are moving forward. The Congress has control over the purse strings. They have the right, obviously, if they want, to cut off funding. But in terms of this effort, the President has made his decision. We’ve consulted extensively with them. We’ll continue to consult with the Congress. But the fact of the matter is, we need to get the job done. I think General Petraeus can do it. I think our troops can do it. And I think it’s far too soon for the talking heads on television to conclude that it’s impossible to do, it’s not going to work, it can’t possibly succeed.”

There will be a short pause, here, while I play Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.”

Later, Cheney (carefully) puffed out his chest and stated: “Implicit in what the critics are suggesting, I think, is an obligation to say, well, here’s what we need to do, or we’re not going to do anything else. We’re going to accept defeat. Defeat is not an answer. We can, in fact, prevail here, and we need to prevail. And the consequences of not doing so are enormous.”

Let me pop a bag of lozenges before I add: “What the $^()+ are you &^%$#@ talking about you flabby, gas-bagging, draft-dodging, pasty-faced +*&^%$#@!”

Or civilized words to that effect.

Bush, meanwhile, in the Presidential clown-car, zoomed off to speak to Republican House members, flinging his wartime crap against the wall before concluding. “I have confidence in the future of this country, because we’re a country full of such decent and courageous and loving people.”

So decent and loving that we’re willing to illegally invade and occupy a sovereign nation because of a grudge and kill nearly a half-million innocent civilians. (Translation for George: That’s a whole buncha people!)

Bush and his flunkies, still trying to squelch the growing anti-surge noise from Congress, even went so far as to send out our new Defensive Secretary Robert (open the flood) Gates who gave a press conference on Friday with a furrowed brow (and a few fingers crossed).

“It’s pretty clear that a resolution that in effect says that the general going out to take command of the arena shouldn’t have the resources he thinks he needs to be successful certainly emboldens the enemy and our adversaries,” Gates said, ignoring the fact that no such resolution was proposed and betting on the fact that nobody in the MSM would bother to note that.

“I think it’s hard to measure that with any precision, but it seems pretty straightforward that any indication of flagging will in the United States gives encouragement to those folks,” Gates said, referring to the anti-government forces in Baghdad - now most of the population. He added that he was certain this was not the intent of those who support the congressional resolution, “but that’s the effect.”

Screw lozenges. I need morphine.

By the weekend, Biggus Dickus was doing mop-up work in a “Newsweek” interview summing up anti-surge Republican foe Chuck Hagel with: “Let’s say I believe firmly in Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. But it’s very hard sometimes to adhere to that where Chuck Hagel is involved.”

He also dismissed his critics with a snarky “Well, I’m vice-president and they’re not.”

Talk about your existential conflict!

Okay. We’ve clearly passed the “officially insane” tipping point. These murderous buffoons have to get out of office. Now.

Impeachment will take too long. Congressional investigations will grow moss on their North sides before any of our troops come home.

My solution? Operation Nouveau Noriega! Hotcha!

Remember back in ’89 when beleaguered Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega sought sanctuary in the Holy See embassy to escape Bush Senior’s troops? What did Daddy Bush do? He surrounded Noriega with loudspeakers and ordered U.S. Psychedelic-Ops to play loud rock music 24/7. Noriega surrendered a week later.

Let’s all kick in a couple of bucks and set up speakers around the White House, the Crawford ranch and Cheney’s bunker and blast rock continuously.

Start off with songs like: Edwin Starr’s “War,” Country Joe’s “Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag,” Phil Ochs’ “I’m Not Marchin’ Anymore,” The Doors’ “The Unknown Soldier,” The Animals’ “We Got To Get Out Of This Place,” The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance,” Bobby Fuller’s “I Fought The Law (And The Law Won),” Moby Grape’s “Murder In My Heart For The Judge,” Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction,” Earth Opera’s “The Great American Eagle Tragedy” and Zappa’s “Help, I’m A Rock.”

Imagine. Bush sprinting to reach his mountain bike for a quick get-a-way. Cheney attempting to burrow into his bunker in-between fuzz-box guitar solos. Rice, torn, picking up a kazoo to join the Country Joe solo.

That’s when we bring in the big guns: Outkast’s “Bombs Over Baghdad,” Neil Young’s “Shock and Awe,” Pink’s “Mr. President,” Pearl Jam’s “Worldwide Suicide,” Thin Lizzy’s “Holy War,” Green Day’s “American Idiot,” Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” The Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready To Make Nice” and Talking Heads’ “Psycho-Killer.”

And, they are OUTTA THERE!

Okay. You may call me a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.

Here are Freda Payne’s thoughts from the late 60’s, via: “Bring The Boys Home.”

“Fathers are pleading, lovers are all alone
Mothers are praying-send our sons back home
You marched them away-yes, you did-on ships and planes
To the senseless war, facing death in vain –

“Can’t you see ‘em march across the sky, all the soldiers that have died
Tryin’ to get home-can’t you see them tryin’ to get home?
Tryin’ to get home-they’re tryin’ to get home
Cease all fire on the battlefield
Enough men have already been wounded or killed.”

That song was a hit, almost four decades ago, when Nixon’s “Silent Majority” was digging its heels in over ‘Nam and every war protestor was considered a “commie.” The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Maybe, if someone re-recorded it as “Bring Them All Home,” it would make a dent in the pro-war citizenry, today.

And help oust “the collision-maker.”

Or the “derision-maker.”

Or the “revision-maker.”

Or whatever the Hell King George is calling himself, today.

Me? I need another lozenge just to play it safe.

Monday, January 29, 2007

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The Power of One
Monday, 29 January 2007
By Jim Austin

"The authority to kill U.S. citizens is granted under a secret finding signed by the President,,,"

This cheery note was included in a newspaper article written by John Lumpkin of the Associated Press. The article goes on to say that the CIA will only kill us if they think we are members of Al Qaeda.

01/29/07 "ICHBlog" -- - Just what the hell is a "secret finding?" Sounds like George was hunting for Easter eggs in the Rose Garden and found an authorization to kill American citizens under a birdbath.

I don't want to be an alarmist but you realize what this means right? It means that you or I or any citizen of this country can be snuffed out like a birthday candle on the say so of the CIA, or the FBI, or I presume anyone who can convince the President that someone is a member of Al Qaeda. Wow, if Nixon had thought of this one his enemies list could have been a lot shorter.

That Canadian bureaucrat who called Bush a moron was wrong. He may talk like a moron but he knows what he wants and he won't let a little thing like our Constitution stand in his way.

Under his gentle guidance a man named Jose Padilla, an American citizen, has been held in a military jail for the past seven months without being allowed to see a lawyer.

The CIA dropped a bomb on the head of an American in Yemen recently. He wasn't the target but he was hanging with a suspected Al Qaeda leader so tough souvlaki for him, I guess.

There is a very famous quotation by a survivor of Nazi prison camps named Reverend Martin Neimueller. He said:

First they arrested the Communists - but I was not a Communist, so I did nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats - but I was not a Social Democrat, so I did nothing. Then they arrested the trade unionists - and I did nothing because I was not one. And then they came for the Jews and then the Catholics, but I was neither a Jew nor a Catholic and I did nothing. At last they came and arrested me - and there was no one left to do anything about it.

"They" in this case, are the minions of the Bush administration. They have declared war on an amorphous body of men and women who have neither army nor country. They can be black, white, or any color in between. They can be named Osama or Jose or John Walker. These enemy combatants can be anyone George says. They get no trial, they get no , they get nothing but a bullet or a bomb if George says so.
We, as a people, have been horribly attacked by fanatics suffused with hate and envy. These murdering terrorists were spawned in countries ruled by dictators, royal families, and military strongmen. Democracy to them is as foreign as summary execution is supposed to be to us.

We cannot let George Bush turn us into one of them. We cannot give up our civil rights in hopes that we can catch some terrorists. We certainly cannot let an administration of proven bad faith like Bush and his cronies decide who lives and who dies.

The administration says that capturing and questioning Al Qaeda operatives and their "American" cohorts is preferable and the decision to murder an American can only be made at the highest level. I do not trust the Bush administration to make the "preferable" choice.

I believe that they will make the choice that is expedient or that would save them from embarrassment or that would allow them to profit. I don't think we should turn anyone loose with the power to kill one of us without trial, representation, or, as in the case of Kamal Derwish, compunction.

I hope we won't stand by while fellow citizens are imprisoned without hope of trial or representation or even killed without proof of crime. As the good Reverend says, you never know who might be next.
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US plans to 'fight the net' revealed

Source: BBC News

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.

The document says information is "critical to military success"

Bloggers beware.

As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern media offer.

From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war.

The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.

Information Operations Roadmap
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The "roadmap" calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military's ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.

The document says that information is "critical to military success". Computer and telecommunications networks are of vital operational importance.


The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.

All these are engaged in information operations.

The wide-reaching document was signed off by Donald Rumsfeld

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.

"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.

"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on.

The document's authors acknowledge that American news media should not unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. "Specific boundaries should be established," they write. But they don't seem to explain how.

"In this day and age it is impossible to prevent stories that are fed abroad as part of psychological operations propaganda from blowing back into the United States - even though they were directed abroad," says Kristin Adair of the National Security Archive.

Credibility problem

Public awareness of the US military's information operations is low, but it's growing - thanks to some operational clumsiness.

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone. It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system

Late last year, it emerged that the Pentagon had paid a private company, the Lincoln Group, to plant hundreds of stories in Iraqi newspapers. The stories - all supportive of US policy - were written by military personnel and then placed in Iraqi publications.

And websites that appeared to be information sites on the politics of Africa and the Balkans were found to be run by the Pentagon.

But the true extent of the Pentagon's information operations, how they work, who they're aimed at, and at what point they turn from informing the public to influencing populations, is far from clear.

The roadmap, however, gives a flavour of what the US military is up to - and the grand scale on which it's thinking.

It reveals that Psyops personnel "support" the American government's international broadcasting. It singles out TV Marti - a station which broadcasts to Cuba - as receiving such support.

It recommends that a global website be established that supports America's strategic objectives. But no American diplomats here, thank you. The website would use content from "third parties with greater credibility to foreign audiences than US officials".

It also recommends that Psyops personnel should consider a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, "miniaturized, scatterable public address systems", wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet.

'Fight the net'

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone.

It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system.

"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads.

The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap.

The authors warn that US networks are very vulnerable to attack by hackers, enemies seeking to disable them, or spies looking for intelligence.

"Networks are growing faster than we can defend them... Attack sophistication is increasing... Number of events is increasing."

US digital ambition

And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum".

US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum".

Consider that for a moment.

The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are they real?

The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.

And that the scale and grandeur of the digital revolution is matched only by the US military's ambitions for it.

January 27 2007


It was a great weekend in DC. Here I am along with at least 500,000 plus like minded people. Truth will set us all free! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 27, 2007

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More Neocon Bullshit

Submitted by davidswanson on Sat, 2007-01-27 04:06.
By David Swanson

President Bush claimed in his State of the Union speech to have prevented four terrorist plots. Phew! It's a good thing to know that we tossed out our Bill of Rights for some actual REASON – I mean other than turning Iraq into a training ground for terrorism.

Except that we didn't.

1.-"We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast."

An October 8, 2005, LA Times story, headlined "Scope of Plots Bush Says Were Foiled Is Questioned," cited "several counter-terrorism officials" as saying that "the plot never progressed past the planning stages.... 'To take that and make it into a disrupted plot is just ludicrous,' said one senior FBI official….At most it was a plan that was stopped in its initial stages and was not an operational plot that had been disrupted by authorities."

On Feb. 10, 2006, the LA Times quoted a "US official familiar with the operational aspects of the war on terrorism," who said that "the Library Tower plot was one of many Al Qaeda operations that had not gone much past the conceptual stage….The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying that those familiar with the plot feared political retaliation for providing a different characterization of the plan that that of the president."

Michael Scheuer, an al Qaeda expert in the CIA's counter-terrorism center, told the Voice of America: "This doesn't sound like anything that I would recall as a major threat, or as a major success in stopping it….My impression [was that the National Security Council] culled through information to look for something that resembled a serious threat in 2002. It doesn't strike me, either as someone who was there or as someone who has followed al Qaeda pretty closely, that this was really a serious sort of effort."

A February 10, 2006 Washington Post story cited "several U.S. intelligence officials" who "said there is deep disagreement within the intelligence community over the seriousness of the Library Tower scheme and whether it was ever much more than talk."

A February 10, 2006, New York Daily News story cited one senior counterterrorism official who said: "There was no definitive plot. It never materialized or got past the thought stage."

Back on June 17, 2004, the New York Daily News quoted John Pistole, the FBI's counterterrorism director. Asked to comment on a CIA agent's statement that "I think we've probably prevented a few aviation attacks against both the East and West coasts," Pistole at first said he was "not sure what [the CIA] was referring to." The Daily News reported that "Even after consulting CIA officials, Pistole still would not call the alleged threat uncovered in the summer of 2003 an advanced plot."

2.-"We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America."

An October 31, 2006, Washington Post article describes al Qaeda's efforts as well short of "developing" and the case to tie them to the anthrax attacks in the United States as leading nowhere. A September 25, 2006, Washington Post article describes the FBI's investigation of the anthrax attacks in the United States as still open, but just barely active. If that investigation has reached any conclusion, or if Bush has discovered a plot of some other attacks that were prevented, he should produce evidence of such.

3.-"Just last August, British authorities uncovered a plot to blow up passenger planes bound for America over the Atlantic Ocean."

Well, the British "authorities" did arrest two dozen people at the insistence of the Bush Administration, but numerous reports found consensus among experts that those arrested could not have possibly mixed together on an airplane the liquid explosives they allegedly planned to use. And common sense suggested that if they had managed such a sophisticated plot, it was unlikely anyone else was working on the same thing (the assumption that prevents us all from traveling with toothpaste and deodorant unless sealed in a proper protective plastic bag, and leads to government employees carelessly tossing deadly dangerous toothpaste tubes into trashcans in the middle of unsuspecting crowds).

Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, summed this case up well:

"None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time. In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.

"What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year - like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests. Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes - which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn't give is the truth."

4.-"We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States."

Was this the one broken up in 1995, before Bush, when we still had much of our Bill of Rights intact? Is this the "tallest building on the West Coast" story by another name in order to expand the list? I've seen a lot of reports on Bush's speech, but no explanation of what he's talking about here.

5.-Of course, such claims are not new: They follow the pattern of the Padilla radiation bomb claim. The announcement of that supposed success was made at a time when Bush needed a boost in the media, even though the man had been locked up for a month already; and then the charges were later dropped. Keith Olbermann once ran a segment highlighting the suspicious timing of ten such announcements, each one of which ended up amounting to nothing at all. Olbermann's story left out plenty of more recent examples, but then, so did Bush's speech. Have we forgotten the heroic way in which he saved the Sears Tower already?


Richard Matthews provided research assistance for this article.

Friday, January 26, 2007

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Yeah, Right, George – You’re Some Decider!
You’re a decider, George? Come on, get real. You haven’t made a serious decision in your entire life about anything more vital than what brand of beer to guzzle or what grade of cocaine to snort. Strutting around the White House claiming to be ‘the Decider’ is a laugh and a half, George. You said it before and no one cared. You said it again today and it’s just as pathetic. So, just what is it you’ve actually decided?

Face, it George, for six years now, you’ve been unable to make a single decision about anything that made a difference to any of us. From day one, others made the decisions and you just followed along as best you could Karl (Houdini) Rove was the one who decided your public image, the Supreme Court decided your election, hackable Diebold machines decided your second term, the religious right decided your domestic policy and PNAC decided your war plans. So, when did you buy in to that nonsense about being a “Decider,” George?

But, okay, George, - we’ll play along with you. Let’s pretend for the moment that you actually have some historical background, some worldly knowledge, some international experience, or some intellectual curiosity – a few of the things that are really needed to make important decisions in this time of crisis. Let’s look at just a FEW of the less than impressive decisions that were made during your presidency and see if you will really take responsibility for making them:

Think on it, George, if you are truly the DECIDER, then it was YOU who decided:





















Had enough, George? I could go on, but this will have to do for now. Read the list slowly and deliberately if you can focus long enough to deal with it. Then, if you have the guts, stand in front of the American people and declare yourself the DECIDER! Tell them that it was YOU, not your handlers or your puppeteers or your advisors or your caretakers who made these decisions. Tell them how proud you are of your decisions, and how much the nation and the world has benefited from your leadership.

Oh yes, George, just one more thing. Give us some idea of the credentials you claim to have that allow you the right to make a single military decision about the war you lied us into. Tell us why YOU, and not the American people, the generals, the Congress, the Baker-Hamilton Group, or anyone else can be ignored while YOU parade around as the sole DECIDER of the fate of the nation and the world.

And then, George, - for kicks - read the US Constitution, and discover that YOU WORK FOR US, the people. You are a public servant, George, not the Emperor or Dictator of this nation, and you are beholden to us all for every move you make.

Until then, Mr. Decider, it’s you and Barney and Laura against the rest of humanity. This “Decider” nonsense really would be a laugh and a half, George, if the consequences were not so terrible. Perhaps it’s time for you to go back to making decisions about beer and coke, - and leaving the really important stuff to those who are equipped to handle it.
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January 26, 2007 -- Save your aluminum foil "hats." According to a technology expert who is familiar with the Raytheon Active Denial System (ADS), tested January 24 at Moody Air Force base in Georgia, the millimeter microwave directed beam weapon can be defeated by a crowd of people using aluminum- or gold-coated Mylar to conduct the beam to ground or even direct it back to the Humvee housing the ADS system. Although the Humvee is shielded, any law enforcement or military personnel standing near the Humvee would get a burning taste of their own medicine if the directed beam were reflected back to its source or to a crowd of police. In addition to aluminum or gold coated Mylar, Mylar reflective space blankets, aluminum coated windshield heat protective screens, and more sophisticated and precise corner cube retro-reflectors or Luneburg spheres can all be used to reflect the millimeter wave beam back to its source.

The source we spoke to also revealed that the ADS technology has already been used in Iraq against civilian rioters even though the Pentagon claims it will not be deployable until 2010. The source added that even if the ADS Humvee is present at the anti-war march in Washington tomorrow, Raytheon would not permit its use because of liability issues stemming from potential eye damage and human rights violations. However, WMR has learned that Raytheon is offering the ADS technology to police departments and as a component of home security alarm systems.
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Death and Dishonor: Bush's New Assassination Order
Written by Chris Floyd
Friday, 26 January 2007
Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq (WP)
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort...

Three officials said that about 150 Iranian intelligence officers, plus members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Command, are believed to be active inside Iraq at any given time. There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said...The new "kill or capture" program was authorized by President Bush in a meeting of his most senior advisers last fall.

The real story here is the story behind the story. After all, George W. Bush has already authorized his agents to kill American citizens -- without arrest, charge, trial, or even any warning -- if the victim has been designated -- arbitrarily, at the whim of the "Leader," outside any judicial process or oversight -- as an "enemy combatant." This "authority," claimed by Bush in October 2001 (I first wrote about it in print in November 2001) extends to every person on earth, not just Americans, so Iranian "agents" or "Revolutionary Guards" or anyone else Bush or his minions decide to kill has always been fair game. The only new wrinkle here is the specific authority given to the U.S. military to carry out these "extrajudicial" assassinations -- a license to kill that had hitherto been reserved for the security organs.

For assassination -- Phoenix-program style -- is definitely what we're talking about here. Let's be very clear about this, and not get tangled up in all the euphemistic jargon that Beltway reporters are so enamored of. Who decides that an Iranian in Iraq is an "operative" with ill intent, a member of a Revolutionary Guard or an accomplice to the insurgency (which, by the way, is led almost entirely by Sunni Arabs, the sworn enemies of the Shiite Persians)? And will these "operatives" be arrested, charged and tried, provided with defense counsel? No; the story makes clear -- and is intended by the White House to make clear -- that Iranian "operatives" are to be killed outright; indeed, "Bush administration officials have been urging top military commanders to exercise the authority." Thus any one of the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Iranians who stream across the border into Iraq each year, almost all of them involved in either religious rites or trade, can be arbitrarily denounced by someone for any reason -- good or bad, personal, political, ideological, financial -- and then be shot dead by U.S. forces. This is what Bush's direct "authorization" means, this is what it is: an order to commit murder outside all bounds of legality, morality and military honor.

It is certain that any Iranian "agent" connected to the Tehran government is in Iraq with the full knowledge of the "sovereign" Iraqi government and/or the "legitimate" political factions in that government -- the same government which Bush himself has empowered and supports, the government for which more than 3,000 Americans and 600,000 Iraqi civilians have given their lives to create. The factions controlling the Bush-backed Iraqi government openly declare their friendship with Iran -- naturally so, as many of these groups were formed, sustained, trained and armed by the Iranian government during their years in exile.

Iraq's top leaders travel to Tehran, seeking aid, trade and closer ties between the governments. It is the clear, demonstrable, undeniable wish of the "sovereign" Iraqi government to welcome the assistance of the Iranian government. How then is it "illegitimate" for Iranian agents to be operating in Iraq? This same "sovereign" Iraqi government also welcomes the assistance of the American government (albeit with far less warmth and, one might say, at gunpoint, since the Baghdad government was installed via the unprovoked invasion and destruction of the country). Why then is the presence of, say, American Special Forces and intelligence agents (not to mention the 140,000 regular troops) in Iraq any more legitimate than the presence of Iranian Revolutionary Guard operatives and intelligence agents in Iraq?

And the fact is that there is almost no evidence that Iran is involved in supplying the Iraqi insurgent with weapons to kill Americans. They may very well be continuing their decades-long work of training, arming and funding the Iraqi Shiite militias -- but these militias are part and parcel of the "legitimate" factions running the "sovereign" Iraqi government installed, armed, and supported by George W. Bush. It's true that Bush is now trying to foment yet another front in Iraq's hydra-headed civil war by forcing Shiite-on-Shiite bloodshed between the Maliki government and its main political supporter, the faction led by Shiite cleric Motqada al-Sadr. But Iran has nothing to do with this bloodthirsty and frankly lunatic plan. (Ironically, Sadr's faction is almost the only Shiite group in the government that grew up on native soil, and was not created in or by Tehran.)

So again, let's be clear. If Iran is not arming their bloodsworn enemies, the Sunni insurgents, and if any Shiite group they are assisting is an integral part of the "sovereign" Iraqi government backed by the Bush Administration, then what on earth can be the purpose of a direct presidential order to the troops to kill Iranians in Iraq? The answer is simple: the purpose of the order is to provoke Iran into some action that can be trumpeted as a casus belli for the Bush Faction's long-planned war against Iran.

What Bush has done with this order is to turn the American military into his own private death squad. It is an act of breathtaking dishonor, of unspeakable moral filth. That this pathetic little man and the jumped-up thugs around him – especially the hulking, smirking, lying coward Dick Cheney – are allowed to show their faces among civilized people, much less exercise power over a mighty nation, remains an unfathomable mystery...and a source of deep shame for all Americans. ***

Thursday, January 25, 2007

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Congress' unanimous vote to nuke Iran
By Jorge Hirsch

What is going on in America today is equivalent to the following fictitious news story:

Jan. 31, 2007: By unanimous vote, the two Houses of Congress passed today a joint "sense of Congress" resolution directing President Bush to "launch nuclear strikes against any non-nuclear-weapon state that undertakes military programs or operations that threaten US interests or those of allies and friends".

The passage of the joint resolution followed a series of appropriation bills enacted by Congress to fund the development, building and deployment of nuclear earth penetrators (so-called "bunker busters") of a wide range of yields, with the ability to destroy targets of adversary non-nuclear nations that are "able to withstand non-nuclear attack" , particularly UGF's ("underground facilities for military purposes").

The text of the resolution emphasizes the importance ascribed by Congress to launch strikes as soon as possible, to "demonstrate US intent and capability to use nuclear weapons to deter adversary use of WMD".

"The reason we restricted the bill to non-nuclear-weapon-state targets is simple", explained the House and Senate speakers in a joint press conference: "launching a nuclear strike against a nuclear nation would invite nuclear retaliation against us, and that is not something the American people would stand for."

The bill points out that "integrating conventional and nuclear attacks will ensure the most efficient use of force", remarked the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Chair of the Budget Committee added: "Americans want to know that their hard-earned tax dollars are not used in wasteful ways".

Several Congressmembers emphasized that the urgency in passing the bill stemmed from the desire of Congress that President Bush launches nuclear strikes against Iran at the earliest possible time. "We know that Iran is a non-nuclear-weapon state, it has been certified by the International Atomic Energy Agency", explained the speaker of the House. "So it falls under our resolution, hence there is no reason whatosever for the President to wait any longer."

The new law incorporates the provisions of H.R. 6198 passed last year, "To hold the current regime in Iran accountable for its threatening behavior and to support a transition to democracy in Iran". "We passed that Act to encourage the President to follow the same path as he did with Iraq, what's taking him so long?", complained the House minority leader. "Vice-President Cheney said recently "There's no reason in the world why Iran needs to continue to pursue nuclear weapons", so our resolution will ensure that Iran stops."

"What we are asking the President is to act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self defense", added the Senate whip. "There will always be some uncertainty about the status of hidden programs, and we cannot remain idle while dangers gather. The reasons for our actions will be clear, the force measured, and the cause just."

Added the House speaker: "The President has said ' The United States will not resort to force in all cases to preempt emerging threats'. Congress disagrees, we and the American people feel there should be no exceptions. That's why we have taken it upon ourselves to exercise our constitutionally assigned duties to legislate this issue for the national interest."

A beaming President Bush signed the joint resolution into law, and added the following signing statement: "Every one of the provisions of this law was already covered in the Nuclear Posture Review that I submitted to Congress in 2001, in the 2005 Pentagon Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations that Secretary Rumsfeld produced under my direction, in the National Security Strategy that I proclaimed in 2002 and 2006, and in a myriad of Presidential Directives that I issued over the past 6 years including the deployment of B61-11 nuclear bunker busters. I have publicly announced that the the option of a nuclear strike against Iran is on the table, and that the diplomatic effort vis-a-vis Iran must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided, and have carried out all necessary steps, including refusing to talk to Iran, capturing Iranian diplomats, increasing the deployment of our military forces in the Persian Gulf and securing UN sanctions against Iran's activities allowed by the NPT, to ensure that the diplomatic effort will fail. Consequently there was absolutely no need for Congress to pass this resolution. If Congress had disagreed with any of my actions they should have passed a different bill. Nevertheless, I am happy to know that it provided an excuse for Congressmembers to feel they earned their paycheck".

This resolution was not passed by Congress, but President Bush has the legal authority to carry out its provisions without consulting Congress. If Congressmembers do not believe such actions are in the best interest of the American people they purportedly represent, they should pass legislation to make the actions described in this resolution an impeachable offense.
Ask your Congressperson to pass legislation as proposed in

Jorge Hirsch is a Professor of Physics at the University of California at San Diego, a fellow of the American Physical Society, and organizer of a recent petition, circulated among leading physicists, opposing the new nuclear weapons policies adopted by the US in the past 5 years. He is a frequent commentator on Iran and nuclear weapons. Email to:
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Blackwater, Inc. and the Privatization of the Bush War Machine
Our Mercenaries in Iraq

January 25, 2007

As President Bush took the podium to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, there were five American families receiving news that has become all too common: Their loved ones had been killed in Iraq. But in this case, the slain were neither "civilians," as the news reports proclaimed, nor were they U.S. soldiers. They were highly trained mercenaries deployed to Iraq by a secretive private military company based in North Carolina - Blackwater USA.

The company made headlines in early 2004 when four of its troops were ambushed and burned in the Sunni hotbed of Fallouja - two charred, lifeless bodies left to dangle for hours from a bridge. That incident marked a turning point in the war, sparked multiple U.S. sieges of Fallouja and helped fuel the Iraqi resistance that haunts the occupation to this day.

Now, Blackwater is back in the news, providing a reminder of just how privatized the war has become. On Tuesday, one of the company's helicopters was brought down in one of Baghdad's most violent areas. The men who were killed were providing diplomatic security under Blackwater's $300-million State Department contract, which dates to 2003 and the company's initial no-bid contract to guard administrator L. Paul Bremer III in Iraq. Current U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who is also protected by Blackwater, said he had gone to the morgue to view the men's bodies, asserting the circumstances of their deaths were unclear because of "the fog of war."

Bush made no mention of the downing of the helicopter during his State of the Union speech. But he did address the very issue that has made the war's privatization a linchpin of his Iraq policy - the need for more troops. The president called on Congress to authorize an increase of about 92,000 active-duty troops over the next five years. He then slipped in a mention of a major initiative that would represent a significant development in the U.S. disaster response/reconstruction/war machine: a Civilian Reserve Corps.

"Such a corps would function much like our military Reserve. It would ease the burden on the armed forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them," Bush declared. This is precisely what the administration has already done, largely behind the backs of the American people and with little congressional input, with its revolution in military affairs. Bush and his political allies are using taxpayer dollars to run an outsourcing laboratory. Iraq is its Frankenstein monster.

Already, private contractors constitute the second-largest "force" in Iraq. At last count, there were about 100,000 contractors in Iraq, of which 48,000 work as private soldiers, according to a Government Accountability Office report. These soldiers have operated with almost no oversight or effective legal constraints and are an undeclared expansion of the scope of the occupation. Many of these contractors make up to $1,000 a day, far more than active-duty soldiers. What's more, these forces are politically expedient, as contractor deaths go uncounted in the official toll.

The president's proposed Civilian Reserve Corps was not his idea alone. A privatized version of it was floated two years ago by Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, conservative owner of Blackwater USA and a man who for years has served as the Pied Piper of a campaign to repackage mercenaries as legitimate forces. In early 2005, Prince - a major bankroller of the president and his allies - pitched the idea at a military conference of a "contractor brigade" to supplement the official military. "There's consternation in the [Pentagon] about increasing the permanent size of the Army," Prince declared. Officials "want to add 30,000 people, and they talked about costs of anywhere from $3.6 billion to $4 billion to do that. Well, by my math, that comes out to about $135,000 per soldier." He added: "We could do it certainly cheaper."

And Prince is not just a man with an idea; he is a man with his own army. Blackwater began in 1996 with a private military training camp "to fulfill the anticipated demand for government outsourcing." Today, its contacts run from deep inside the military and intelligence agencies to the upper echelons of the White House. It has secured a status as the elite Praetorian Guard for the global war on terror, with the largest private military base in the world, a fleet of 20 aircraft and 20,000 soldiers at the ready.

From Iraq and Afghanistan to the hurricane-ravaged streets of New Orleans to meetings with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about responding to disasters in California, Blackwater now envisions itself as the FedEx of defense and homeland security operations. Such power in the hands of one company, run by a neo-crusader bankroller of the president, embodies the "military-industrial complex" President Eisenhower warned against in 1961.

Further privatizing the country's war machine - or inventing new back doors for military expansion with fancy names like the Civilian Reserve Corps - will represent a devastating blow to the future of American democracy.

Jeremy Scahill is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute and the author of the forthcoming "Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army." He can be reached at
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Worse To Come
The Bush Presidency Is Over
Pierre Tristam/Candide’s Notebooks, January 25, 2007

Not Bush's kind of doubt, unfortunately
Toward the end of Travels With Charley Steinbeck makes this observation: “My own journey started long before I left, and was over before I returned. I know exactly where and when it was over. Near Abingdon, in the dog-leg of Virginia , at four o’clock of a windy afternoon, without warning or good-by or kiss my foot, my journey went away and left me stranded far from home. I tried to call it back, to catch it up—a foolish and hopeless matter, because it was definitely and permanently over and finished.” Anyone who’s taken a long journey knows what Steinbeck is talking about. It isn’t always the end point of a journey that determines its end, nor is it ever the person who takes the journey who determines it. The same can be said of presidencies. Some of them begin long before inauguration day. Bill Clinton’s began sometime in late summer, about the time when Maureen Dowd noticed that the elder Bush just wasn’t interested anymore. “This,” she wrote in a Sept. 6, 1992 dispatch co-written with Thomas Friedman, “may be the first Administration in history that is scrambling for its first-100-days plan in its last 60 days before facing the voters.” Johnson’s presidency ended in February 1968, Jimmy Carter’s on April 24, 1980, when eight servicemen were killed in the Iranian desert as an attempt to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Teheran disintegrated in a sand storm, and Reagan’s ended in Reykjavik in 1987, when he was about to sign away the American nuclear weapons arsenal in an abolitionist deal with Gorbachev. His aides stepped in and ensured that he’d be nothing more than the acting president for the remainder of his scandal-ridden term.

The second Bush’s administration unfortunately began early, too, on that turbid Election Night in 2000 when Fox News set the tone of the unmaking of Gore’s legitimate win and the Supreme Court sealed the fix thirty-six days later. But if W.’s presidency started more than two months too soon, it ended two years early. Bush’s Abingdon was his January 10 speech, the so-called “surge” speech. It became evident then why he couldn’t make up his mind before Christmas about what to say, let alone how to say it. He had nothing to say: His administration was in disarray, his policies bankrupt, his integrity a nightly punch-line. Even his beloved speech-writer was gone, loyal no more. Not long from now when the stories begin to creep out about these final days of the Bush junta we’ll be told that the White House was a menagerie of chaos and backbiting, of uncontrolled tempers and lusted-after booze. We’ll discovered to what extent the nation’s business was unmoored and the nation’s executive off his rockers, his wife or maybe his dog, or an obscure corporate friend, his last remaining link with reality. His advisers either inflated his bubble or betrayed him, or both, if the advisers in question are Condoleezza Rice and Karen Hughes, the two who had his trust and could have made a difference. The January 10 speech proved that neither they nor Bush were interested in recasting the last two years of the presidency into a workable surge of its own, the way even Clinton managed to do despite the Lewinsky affair (and the Clinton presidency, as we’ll also discover, has yet to end).

The State of the Union confirmed the drift announced on January 10. The proposal on energy—cutting gasoline consumption by 20 percent from projected consumption in 2017—is a non-binding promise that rests on undeveloped technologies. Improving fuel efficiency is a great idea, if only it weren’t two decades too late, if it wasn’t so timid (one mile per gallon in improved efficiency per year, for just a few years), if Bush hadn’t been so opposed to the idea in the last six years. His desperation was clearest in his appeals for bi-partisanship, a notion no other president in the twentieth century worked so hard to demolish after making it the centerpiece of his inaugural in 2001. But we knew even then that he was a liar of magnificent proportions. He was the man who’d spent the electoral campaign selling the public on his massive tax cuts while promising to save entitlement programs and pay down the national debt. It wasn’t his fault that the public bought the lie whole, though, let’s always remember, the majority of the public never did.

Resigning would be too statesmanlike an act for a man who likes to rule by edicts, and to whom power is its own reward. So we’ll spend the next two years sustaining his chaotic clock-running, watching the flashpoints of disasters he lit up spread their fires from Iraq to Afghanistan to Iran to North Korea, watching the promises he made about New Orleans sink in a flood of indifference and government incompetence, watch the machinery of government, corrupted by his years of nepotism and contempt, become its self-fulfilling prophecy of shoddiness and mistrust. The damage done by the Bush junta in the last six years may yet be outdone by the damage of the next two, because at least in the last six there was the hint that some of the criminals involved in the mugging believed in what they were doing, Bush among them. The faith-based business, remember. Now the worst part of the end of the Bush presidency, the most palpable part of that end, as we saw it on January 10 and again in the State of the Union , is that Bush himself, like his father in 1992, no longer believes. He’s given up. He quit. As he has always quit. What’s left is the old shell, the reconstructed drunk without a goal, the resentful loser. And there’s nothing more dangerous when he remains, all ridicule aside, the “decider” and worse: the commander-in-chief.
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Everything your denial keeps you from seeing: "Children of Men"
By Carolyn Baker, Ph.D.
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 25, 2007, 00:54

Director Alfonso Cuaron has adapted P.D. James' 1993 futuristic novel written in the genre of George Orwell into a stunning film that many people will not see -- dare not see, because it depicts the world we all fear we are being catapulted into at lightning speed. That world of the year 2027 is one that folks my age may or may not be around for, but if given the choice, I prefer to pass.

Cuaron's futuristic thriller/downer almost immediately dispenses with the United States as in the first five minutes of the film, we are told that along with a plethora of other nations, it has collapsed, while "England soldiers on." All other modern empires have crumbled, and only the last vestiges of the former British empire remain as millions of refugees and immigrants from around the world, hoping to survive, inundate the country, which has managed to remain relatively calm and prosperous. Hence, a massive Homeland Security apparatus has been deployed to round up and incarcerate them. Meanwhile, pollution has rendered humankind infertile with the oldest child on earth being only 18 years old. In this bleak, morbidly gray world, not only do terrorist groups abound and urban warfare prevail, but citizens are offered free suicide pills with the Shakespearean pharmacological brand-name, Quietus.

Amid the burgeoning chaos of this futuristic world, the film's protagonist, Theo, is kidnapped by a terrorist organization, the Fishes, led by his former lover, Julian, a diehard activist who pressures him to help smuggle one of their members out of the country -- a young black woman, Kee, who is especially politically valuable to the Fishes because, astonishingly, she is pregnant.

Theo embarks on a mission to fulfill the Fishes' request -- a journey which takes him across the English countryside, formerly known for its beauty and serenity, but now, while still eerily bucolic, is strewn with piles of burning human bodies. Although the film does not tell us directly, we can assume that they are the corpses of executed refugees -- a logical deduction based on the film's detailed description of such atrocities.

Ultimately, Theo and Kee end up in Bexhill, a gigantic refugee prison camp, somewhat of a foggy, dismal Guantanamo by the Sea where incessant gun battles occur between the English army and the terrorists. It is in Bexhill, in a cold, grimy attic-like room, that Kee gives birth to a baby girl. Relentlessly on the run in search of a boat that will take them to a ship named "Tomorrow" and away from the horrors of Bexhill, Theo and Kee carrying and concealing the infant, navigate one hellish gun battle after the next in a frantic effort to escape.

Cuaron's choreography of the gunfire is chillingly authentic, reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam in Full Metal Jacket or Bosnia in Harrison's Flowers, and reverberates not only through the viewer's ears, but throughout the entire body. Yet somehow in the throes of a cacophony of exploding bullets, one begins to hear the faint cry of an infant which gradually increases in volume until it becomes apparent to everyone that the youngest child on earth is none other than the wailing infant in their presence. At this point Cuaron gives us what I believe is the most poignant, riveting moment of the film -- about one minute of abject silence in which all gunfire ceases and men and women alike dumbfoundedly stare at Theo, Kee, and the crying baby. For that precious moment in time, war stops, and the life of a newborn human being captures the hearts and minds of a host of adults surrounding her who are hell bent on killing each other. Merciless gunfire quickly resumes, but not without a breath-taking juncture of peaceful quietude in which warriors delirious with destruction are paralyzed by the heart-stopping reality of an infant's cry. In the ghastly, grotesque world of Bexhill, 2027, that cry stupefies warring humans, if only for a few seconds, with their humanity, the preciousness of life, and a world that they had come to believe was gone forever.

Despite one reference to "the pandemics of 2008", what Children Of Men did not show us was future certainties such as unspeakable climate chaos resulting from global warming, the abject hunger and malnutrition brought about by worldwide famine and disappearing food supply, the horrific consequences of hydrocarbon energy depletion, or a global economic Armageddon. Therefore, in that sense, its depictions were not as accurate as they could have been, but the authenticity of the consequences of other issues such as pollution, war, depression, and despair were nothing less than chilling in their plausibility.

As the world stands on the threshold of unremitting global! resource wars, the triumph of fascism in the United States, and most disheartening of all, a community of politicians and a citizenry within the Empire that are absolutely intractable in their unwillingness to acknowledge these realities and address their root causes, Children Of Men could not be more timely. It offers us a grisly snapshot of a future that does not have to happen but one that is guaranteed if humans continue to infantilize themselves with denial -- literally choosing to be "children" rather than mature "men" and women.

Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. is author of "U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You." Her website is where she may be contacted.

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