Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 15, 2005

Open Thread 05-38

Your news, views and visions  -  and a link to the forerunner

Posted by b on April 15, 2005 at 7:00 UTC | Permalink


Jim McGovern : What I didn't see in Iraq

I even had armed guards accompany me to the bathroom.

....Everything we have been told about Iraq by the Bush Administration has either been an outright lie or overwhelmingly false. There were no weapons of mass destruction; we have not been greeted as liberators; and the cost in terms of blood and treasure has outpaced even their worst-case scenarios. Trust is something I cannot give to this Administration.

If things in Iraq are so much better, why are we not decreasing the number of US forces there? Why is the insurgency showing no signs of waning? Why are we being told that in a few months the Administration will again ask Congress for billions of dollars more to fight the war? Why, according to the World Food Program, is hunger among the Iraqi people getting worse? It's time for some candor, but candor is hard to come by in Iraq.

....During one such briefing, Lieut. Gen. David Petraeus, tasked with overseeing training of Iraqi security forces, informed us that 147,000 Iraqis had been trained. That sounded good to me. Perhaps we could start reducing the number of American forces, I suggested. But upon further questioning, General Petraeus conceded that less than one-fourth of the 147,000 were actually "combat capable." Why didn't he say that to begin with? I asked--respectfully--our military and diplomatic officials what the gap was between the Iraqis we have trained and the number we needed to train in order to draw down the number of US troops. I could not get a straight answer.....

....I asked both General Petraeus and our embassy about US plans to build military bases in Iraq, which in my view would indicate a prolonged US presence. I was told--emphatically--that there are no plans to construct military bases. Yet Congress recently passed a huge supplemental wartime appropriations bill that includes, at the request of the Bush Administration, $500 million for military base construction. In Iraq.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 7:22 utc | 1

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 7:37 utc | 3

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 7:40 utc | 4

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 7:52 utc | 5

I give up. It's eating all my links and they're not appearing.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 7:55 utc | 6

Last try:

I give up. It's eating all my links and they're not appearing.

Death toll in Paris hotel fire at least 15

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 7:56 utc | 7

Fire engulfs Baghdad's central food market

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 8:12 utc | 8

Is Chirac endorsing the EU constitution going to increase or decrease the chances of it passing in France?

Posted by: Colman | Apr 15 2005 8:37 utc | 9

Look what I found on a Volkswagen's site!

Experts from the German Geosciences and Raw Materials Agency (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe) in Hanover forecast that some time between 2008 and 2023 the extraction of conventional oil (excluding oil sands, oil shale, etc.) will have reached its maximum level. The extraction rate will then fall, even though global energy demand will continue to rise.

Posted by: Greco | Apr 15 2005 9:23 utc | 10

10,000 americans were rounded up and arrested in a 24hr period yesterday and i haven't seen one site talk about it.i know they were all apparently criminals but when something like this is called a practice run doesn't it make anyone nervous or am i just parinoid? maybe i just dreamed it.i don't know how to link(don't tell me i won't remember,or won't be able to find where i wrote it down)i just think its odd that no one has mentioned it.first the criminals were taken and i wasn't one ect.and so far i can only find 5000 of them in any particular catagory (murderer,drug related)what about the other 5000?

Posted by: onzaga | Apr 15 2005 9:54 utc | 11

Here you are onzaga:

Round up nets 10,000 fugitives

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 10:10 utc | 12

More than 150 of those nabbed April 4-10 were wanted for murder, 550 were sought on rape or sexual assault charges, and more than 600 had outstanding arrest warrants for armed robbery, federal officials said Thursday.

Among those captured were 150 gang members and 100 unregistered sex offenders

And the other 8-9 thousand (one person might be wanted for more then one serious crime, thus the uncertainty) had what? Unpaid parking tickets? Black skin? Muslim faith? Voted Kerry?

I understand your worrying onzaga, the government strenghting its ability to do mass arrests - and getting the public used to it - is a bad thing.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 15 2005 10:41 utc | 14

So, we're hated
By Dennis Prager
The correct explanation is so obvious that only one who already hates America or who is simply morally confused would choose the first.
To assess the veracity of this, all one need do is compare America — a country that has liberated more people from tyranny than any other, and which has been a place of refuge, tolerance and opportunity for more people from more backgrounds than any other in history — with those who hate America.
Militant Muslims hate America. These people include the Taliban of Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists, the Islamic regimes of Iran and Sudan, members of Hamas and the many Palestinians and other Muslims who support it. Now, what types of people are these, and what societies have they made or seek to make?
To call the Taliban primitive is to insult the many primitive peoples who were light years more civilized than these totalitarians who forbade girls to get an education and prohibited women from such innocent activities as going to the zoo. They murdered anyone who loved liberty, beheaded any Muslim who converted to another religion, and blew up some of the most priceless sculptures of the ancient world because those works of art were of a different religion. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that the Taliban hated this country?
Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists seek to impose Taliban-like regimes on everyone in the world, beginning with the Muslim world. They routinely slaughter innocent people — literally slaughter, as cutting off the heads of their human sacrifices is their preferred method of murder. They are monsters in human form. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that Al Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists hate this country?
The Islamic regime of Iran has taken one of the brightest nations on earth back into the darkest past of human civilization. Their great ally is the genocidal regime of North Korea. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that the Islamists in Iran hate this country?
The Arab Islamic regime in Sudan has killed about one million non-Arab, non-Muslim blacks in the south of its country. Rape and enslavement of these blacks is routine. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that the Sudanese regime hates this country?
Hamas and its many supporters among Palestinians have developed a new theology of cruelty and death — that a Muslim boy who blows himself up while maiming and murdering as many innocent Jews as possible goes to heaven where he is then sexually serviced by dozens of virgins. In the annals of the history of religion, no analogous theology of cruelty and vulgarity has ever been devised. Is it a good or bad reflection on America that Hamas and its Palestinian supporters hate this country?
One more point. When you look at the roster of the America-haters and realize that none of them hates France or Sweden, this assessment of America-hatred is rendered even more obvious. America, largely alone, calls these groups and regimes what they are — evil. America, largely alone, wages war against them. America, largely alone (with Israel), prevents them from assuming far more power.
As I said to my synagogue on the Sabbath after 9-11, "I stand before you as a proud member of the world's two most hated peoples — Americans and Jews."

Posted by: JWR | Apr 15 2005 10:47 utc | 15

Oh bloody hell, JWR, why don't you just lift pages from "Mein Kampf" and be done with it? What a pile of pigs' bollox. "They hate us because we're so noble." In his synagogue? He'd dare defile a place of worship with that nonsense? Who or what is that idiot?

Posted by: Colman | Apr 15 2005 10:59 utc | 16

So do we have a troll policy? The classical "do not feed" or something more innovative?

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 15 2005 11:00 utc | 17

I'm hoping that that wasn't trolling and that JWR was simply drawing our attention to that nonsense: it seems to be a quote from a longer article. I believe I recognise the handle from elsewhere, though I could be imagining that.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 15 2005 11:05 utc | 18

As a reminder to people, if you place <blockquote> and </blockquote> around quoted blocks of text they'll be formatted so as to make them clearly quotations rather than your own words.

It makes life easier for those who have imbibed a little too much.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 15 2005 11:08 utc | 19

And with quotations, provide a link to the online source if one exists. Either as a link or just the adress.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 15 2005 11:16 utc | 20

JWR Link

Old article. Still linked from front page.
simply drawing our attention to that nonsense

Posted by: Sorry | Apr 15 2005 11:33 utc | 21

Dennis Prager far rightwing talkradio guy. The piece above is from Townhall.
Wikipedia says:

In his articles, broadcasts, and speeches, Prager accuses liberals of promoting a culture of "moral idiocy." He believes that leftist or liberal state policies in Europe and Canada have led to a breakdown in those societies—they have "a broken moral compass"—and to a lamentable post-1960s status quo which he dubs "the Age of Stupidity." Prager claims that the US is engaged in a "culture war," which he describes as "our second civil war." He characterizes this as a battle between "American" values--which he portrays as traditional religious observance and conformity to rules of propriety as widely understood during his childhood in the 1950s--versus the "European" secular and liberal cultural values as epitomized by the youth counterculture of the 1960s.
When you read his stuff you really come to believe that he is living in an "Age of Stupidity."

Posted by: b | Apr 15 2005 11:35 utc | 22

Tongsun Park. Iraq oil for Food scandal. I have a long day ahead of me and just don't have the time to bring this dirty fish to the boat. But this is a shadowy figure that's worth exploring. You'll have fun with this little fellow and his associations from the 1970's on. Hope Billmon does his magic with this player. Don't let this one get away!

Posted by: diogenes | Apr 15 2005 12:01 utc | 23

Possibly an Age of Self-Justification. The priesthood of the right, from the Missionaries of Religiosity to the Social-Darwinists-but-not-the-other-kind to the High Priests of Free Market Capitalism specialise in providing justifications for selfishness, both personally and as a country, without realising the side effects.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 15 2005 12:12 utc | 24

I should be the one to apologize. Sorry, I must have been in looking-for-troll-mode as showers of trolls had been predicted after the Billmon post.

Posted by: A swedish kind of death | Apr 15 2005 12:16 utc | 25

Check this chart of the KSE-100, the Pakistan "S&P500" equivalent. During the last half year the index climed from 5,000 to over 10,000. EVERYBODY was speculating. Now the bubble made poff and the index is down some 30% within just 2 weeks.

Police had to guard the exchange.

Musharaf has a huge problem now and if he falls the US will have a problem too. But has anyone seen this in the news somewhere?

Posted by: b | Apr 15 2005 12:28 utc | 26

b, nope, no sign of that one, and I read a whole pile of good international stuff. Not even Zaman have that, and they tend to cover stuff you don't see elsewhere.

Posted by: Colman | Apr 15 2005 13:24 utc | 27

Those of us who were "Hand Grenades of Perpetual Tranquilty" yesterday need not completely despair.

We'll be Napoleon or Teddy Roosevelt tomorrow:


Posted by: Marshal Ney | Apr 15 2005 13:36 utc | 28

He believes that leftist or liberal state policies in Europe and Canada have led to a breakdown in those societies—they have "a broken moral compass"—and to a lamentable post-1960s status quo which he dubs "the Age of Stupidity."

Considering that stupidity is the guy's meal ticket, you'd think he'd show more respect for it.

Posted by: Billmon | Apr 15 2005 13:57 utc | 29

hey billmon glad i've found this comment site. keep up the good work...

Posted by: moi | Apr 15 2005 14:25 utc | 30

wow. just read that article about 10,500 "fugitives" being arrested.

More than 3,000 officers from 960 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies took part.

"Our goal was to find out what impact we'd have in a nationwide effort"

Some of those arrested, particularly for the most violent crimes, would have been high on the marshals' lists no matter when warrants were issued. But officials said it was important to get state, local and federal officials to work together on such a broad initiative.

can't help but connecting this to the article i linked to yesterday on preparations for code red alert. "citizens are being prepared and gradually conditioned for the unthinkable."

Posted by: b real | Apr 15 2005 15:00 utc | 31

Chris Floyd (Moscow Times etc) has a blog.

Posted by: Friendly Fire | Apr 15 2005 15:03 utc | 32

Sign o' the times, and brilliant as ever, the Poor Man has an important initiative going: Michael or John: how to oppose all forms Boltonism. Perhaps both Boltons should try to complain to the UN about the violation of their human rights? (Can I touch you there, uhuhu, touch you deep inside...)

Posted by: teuton | Apr 15 2005 15:47 utc | 33

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 16:23 utc | 34

I'll give Prager credit for getting one thing right: We are in a second civil war. The right has openly declared war on the "culture" and has been fighting it for at least 25 years. Unfortunately, only one side has mobilized for the war.

All the right wing screaming about morals - with no response along the same lines - just allows them to define for the masses what morals are, what they like to call "framing the debate." They're yelling becomes ever more shrill and what is the "opposition" response? Liberals must become more red in order to win red states. The "debate" then is over shades of red rather than first principles, with the shades getting redder as time goes on. They have successfully painted anyone who opposes their vision of America as America-haters. I don't oppose this country; I oppose their vision of what it should be. It is long past time to join the war they declared and respond fearlessly with firm but measured tones, to distinguish us from them, right between their beady little red eyes with our own vision of what we want this country to be and contrast that with the right's vision.

(Just an aside, but it is odd to me that the right's leader in this crusade to destroy all vestiges of the 1960's culture is one who indulged whole heartedly in all it's excesses. Their symbols of the 60's, the Clintons, were mere dabblers whether they inhaled or not.)

I'd also like to see some discussion within the Christian community about all this. For example, Dobson calls tolerance a subterfuge designed to generate mass acceptance of things the right considers evil. Therefore, tolerance itself is evil. How does that square with the words and actions of Jesus as documented in the Bible Christians claim to revere? Are they comfortable with the likes of Dobson defining for them what is evil and what is not? If the Christian right is unwilling to ask these questions of themselves, their opposition - when it appears - must do it. Some of them will begin to think if the questions are asked in the right way, like the Alabama gov who opened his Bible and decided Jesus would raise taxes to help educate the poor. The right's strategy is to divide us by an appeal to fear over our differences; the opposition should counter with an appeal to our common humanity. I'm not a Biblical scholar or even a Christian, but it is hard for me to imagine that Jesus would argue with that.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Apr 15 2005 16:53 utc | 35

Yup-- Our Age of Stupidity up here in Canuckistan sure is a weird one.....

After all, it's a place where everybody gets to go to the doctor AND we're running surpluses.....

Imagine that.

Posted by: RossK | Apr 15 2005 17:54 utc | 36

Iraqi Resistance video : The killing of Dale Stoffel, C.I.A. Director (Iraq)

Iraqi Resistance video : Further evidence regarding the killing of ( CIA Director - Iraq ) Dale Stoffel in Iraq.

Iraqi Resistance video : How the C.I.A. looted $40 billion worth of military equipment from Iraq

In the Name of God Most Merciful Most Compassionate

Hear, you who were born as Iraqi.

Do you believe that a man slaughters his children in order to drink their blood, or a mother laughs when seeing her children eaten by wolves?

You have to believe that, just when Bremer has appointed the gangster of hate to dry out the two rivers (Rafidain) in order for us to die of thirst and to burn the crops so as we die of hunger, and demolishing of homes of religion and prayers and destroying the state and history. Yes, believe it, after seeing the documents which scandalize the sons of poisonous snakes. They have given for free, all Iraqi weapons and arms to Stoffel , Bush’s envoy in Iraq. The actual value of these military equipments was 40 billion dollars. It is the biggest crime that has ever been committed through the ages and wars, which has never happened or been heard of through the history of mankind. This theft was committed by an order from the United States and England and with the full agreement and acknowledgment of Alawi, the Chalabi and Al-Shaalan.

Sons of Iraq watch and observe our future detailed communiqués which show:

1- The delivery contract dated 16/08/2004 was agreed upon and signed by the defence minister, the traitor Hazim Al-Shaalan.

2- It was acknowledged and signed by the war criminal prime minister Alwai in 04/08/2004.

3- The absolute permission of delivery dated 16/08/2004 was given to a single person with the support of the United States army and the coalition forces and was signed by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence.

4- Absolute permission for passing, transporting and exporting in Iraq dated 01/10/2004 was signed by the Secretary General of the Iraqi Ministry of Defence.

What do you say, you who were born as Iraqi, to those who have given Iraq’s weapons to the enemy for free?

To whom your weapons were, under the cover of darkness exported, to Jordon and to Kuwait, this to become disarmed, and in the future easily killed?

Why the slaughter of our tanks, rockets and aircraft and take all means and symbols of power and glory from us?

Rafidan says to the gangs, who have committed the era’s biggest crime and to those who have planned it and signed it, you are not human beings and not from this land. You were born in the bodies of snakes, nurtured by wolfs and raised by pigs.

We swear by God our creator; you will never escape from Iraq’s punishment however the time is long, what kind of death do you chose!

We swear by God Almighty we will rebuild our strong army to protect our land and to make and regain our glory, for glory is crafted in our Baghdad.

What has the devil Stoffel achieved in Iraq?

1- He has constructed a company in Baghdad called Wye Oak Technology, and its address is known by us. Its employees are defectors and renegade traitors who live in Europe.

2- After the occupation of Iraq he received ten helicopters and flew all over Iraq for a whole year photographing military and civilian sites, plants and factories, airports, and confiscated all documents concerning the possessions of the Iraqi army, and has photographed the arms they found in the ground stores and depots, and have designed programs to totally disarm Iraq according to their colonial plans which fit their goals.

3- Formed a special committee before the occupation composed of the two colonial servants Alawi and Chalabi to work after invasion on a declared goal in the name of the Transitional Government which is the foundation of Al-Haras Al-Wathani (National Guard force), supplied with arms and other equipments paid for by oil revenues, and implement an undisclosed goal which is removing all possessions of the Iraqi army and allocate them outside Iraq by all means know by arms merchants and smugglers.

My Iraqi bother, your life is your country; and the best of Iraqis are those who serve the country and the people. Watch out and be aware of the election’s opium which was designed by the occupiers and their servants to serve their aims and purposes. You have seen what they have designed, implantation of religious feuds and sectarian ideas in the society, stealing of Iraqi oil.

You will soon be able to read the documentations of the biggest crime ever committed through history, and know that we are resisting and will be victorious by God will.

Rafidan, The Political Committee

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 17:57 utc | 37

He characterizes this as a battle between "American" values--which he portrays as traditional religious observance and conformity to rules of propriety as widely understood during his childhood in the 1950s--versus the "European" secular and liberal cultural values as epitomized by the youth counterculture of the 1960s.

har de har har... seems to me that in the late 50's and very early 60's it was wingnut Europeans and Brits who were decrying the "immoral" (and -- gasp -- "coloured") music that came over from America (R&B, blues, etc) and demoralised their youth. then of course came the British R&B explosion and the pop music trade reversed direction... but I do seem to remember a time when it was America that was the sinister source of "jungle music", indecent new dances, etc.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 15 2005 18:14 utc | 38


Jesus was a liberal. The left should be hammering that message instead of the usual and useless atheism as counterpunch. The left has forgotten that the audience is majority Christian and that one must play to the majority to win elections. So no wonder the right gets all the audience's attention.

Posted by: gylangirl | Apr 15 2005 18:37 utc | 39

This thing about 10,000 fugitives captured has me intrigued. I did a little bit of googling and came up with some tidbits. This is probably Ashcroft sponsored stuff and the weasel Gonzales was on TV gloating about this operation. Strange stuff, maybe it is just the cleaning up operation after the coup.

So, too, the Marshals Service has changed dramatically! Not in its underlying responsibility to enforce the law and execute the orders issued by the court, but in the breadth of its functions, the professionalism of its personnel, and the sophistication of the technologies employed.

Oficial history

Though out the late Sixty's and early Seventy's, Deputy US Marshals found themselves dealing with an increasingly violent populace. Deputy Marshals were routinely being called on to respond to large scale, and sometimes extremely violent, anti government protests; to apprehend heavily armed criminals and terrorists; and to provide additional protection at vulnerable federal facilities.

Special Operations Group

Sometimes there are bad apples

Deputy U.S. Marshal Shoots and Kills Driver Following Confrontation

Montgomery Police Charge U.S. Marshal With Murder

Interview with the top gun under Reagan

"How I like to describe the Marshals," Ray says, "is if you looked at the federal law enforcement system, you see the hub of a wheel. The Marshals are the center of that wheel, because everything flows to the Marshals and comes back to the Marshals. All federal warrants must go through the U.S. Marshals Office and return to the court after being served. Marshals consider unserved warrants as fugitives from justice and do not give up the chase until they are apprehended."

In fact, he points out, the Marshals arrest more people every year than all the other law enforcement agencies combined.

The Wheel's Hub

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 15 2005 19:05 utc | 40

Bushes report gross income of $784,219 - outperformed by the Cheneys

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 19:33 utc | 41

Europe and Canada societies in breakdown? Funny, I never noticed they were. Though I noticed their murder and overall crime rates are far lower than in the US, as is their illiteracy rates and their teen pregnancy rates.

As for "a country that has liberated more people from tyranny than any other, and which has been a place of refuge, tolerance and opportunity for more people from more backgrounds than any other in history"
I'm pretty sure the Romans of the dying Republic and the Revolutionary French entering the Napoleonic times thought the same, and were quite proud of it. Actually, he may well have copied it straight out of Polybius.

gylangirl: Sure he was. What most people both atheists and Christians don't see is that you can be atheist and support the huge majority of Jesus' views and teachings, so there's a lot of common ground at least on the beginning. And since, somehow, I don't think most Christians are only worried about afterlife but would also like to have a decent real life on Earth, they have a common interests down here.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Apr 15 2005 20:09 utc | 42

U.S. stocks in tailspin over inflation fears: Dow tumbles 198 on economic worries

NEW YORK - Stocks plunged again Friday, with Wall Street suffering its worst day of 2005 and the third straight triple-digit loss for the Dow Jones industrial average. Deepening concerns over economic growth and higher prices led to the worst week of trading so far this year.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 20:38 utc | 43

Onzaga up above posted ::

Roundup Nabs More Than 10,000 Fugitives>Yahoo


"We now have over 10,000 very dangerous people off the streets and awaiting their day in court," he replied. "I consider it a very successful effort. It is only a start." (Gonzales).

And so it goes. The distracted public, preoccupied with their latest interpretation of Hegel or Naomi Klein, the growth of organic mulberries, or Britney Spear’s pregnancy, turns the other way. “Fugitives” (err--- from whom or what?) sounds good. Fugitive implies guilt, signals desperation, previous crime conviction, tattered no-goods, murderous druggies... Yup...

Stooping low but straight: How are middle-class people who type and have broad-band going to feel when their son, aunt, boss, mistress, coach, niece, gets rounded up in one of these sweeps? Are they going to scream, weep, hire three lawyers, what? Be astonished, appalled? Might their actions not be, following ancient wisdom, a little late ? Is this not an old, old story?

This is a great example of how fascism (now re-labelled Americanism) is stealthily normalised. One criminal is chased, one hapless person is tortured, one person is shot down at a check point, one child is imprisoned and beaten, and all is explicable - true evil brooks no mercy and -- duh...mistakes happen. Bad apples. Chance, Fate. Sad.

In 1933, it was: Moishe’s papers were not in order. He agressed a policeman when he was summoned. Chance. Fate. Sad. Too awful. The law is just.

And then, 10,000 people. 10,000!

Not a peep.

Posted by: Blackie | Apr 15 2005 21:36 utc | 44

Apr 15 - In addition to citing a Halliburton subsidiary for failing "to adequately control and report costs" in its Iraq oilfield reconstruction work, the office charged with managing the reconstruction of post-invasion Iraq acknowledged last week that contracting rules and procedures established by the former Coalition Provisional Authority have contributed to the sluggishness of reconstruction efforts.

Kellogg Brown & Root is the largest US military contractor in Iraq, and the State Department’s Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO) said KBR has performed so poorly in its work repairing the country’s southern oil pipelines that US officials at one point threatened to terminate the company’s arrangement and have begun working with another contracting firm to finish uncompleted work, a recent State Department report to Congress reveals.

The report also noted that Iraq’s civilian infrastructure was far more damaged from more than a decade of harsh economic sanctions - supported enthusiastically by the US and UK governments -- than had previously been understood.

Soon after US-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein, Coalition administrators in Iraq began awarding the vast number of contracts for reconstruction projects to large Western, mostly US-based corporations, granting contracts of only $50,000 or less to private sector Iraqi firms. An analysis by Iraq Revenue Watch, a watchdog group funded by billionaire George Soros, found that American and British companies received 85 percent of the value of all contracts paid for with funds derived from Iraqi sources and reallocated by the Coalition, while Iraqi firms received just 2 percent.

KBR and other firms favored by the Coalition have also benefited from so-called "cost-plus" contracts, which promise to pay the contractor for all expenses plus an additional percentage for profits. As a result, the US has been forced to pay many contractors even when they are behind schedule or not working.

....As part of an economic privatization strategy, the Coalition Provisional Authority also refused to award contracts to state-owned companies in Iraq, which in many cases were most qualified to do local reconstruction work, according to a report released last summer by the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC), a US-based human rights group.

Thus, Iraqi businesses and technicians - including many who helped rebuild the country’s electrical system in less than a year after the 1991 Gulf War, only to see it deteriorate under sanctions before Coalition air strikes finished the job during the 2003 invasion -- were effectively barred from participating substantively in the reconstruction of their own country’s infrastructure. This has, in turn, exacerbated unemployment and fueled resentment among many Iraqis against US officials and Western contractors....

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 21:44 utc | 45


are you at all surprised, really

nixon when he was godking established concentration camps for people like us

his heritier bush has only gone one step further

their law is a mockery & there is no justice & whatever justie there is is being meted out by the iraq resistance

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 15 2005 21:50 utc | 46

Iraqi Pacman

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 15 2005 23:34 utc | 47>A Wonderful Opportunity

That's what Condi Rice called the Tsunami. Naomi Klein explains why Condi was -- from her perspective as trusted lackey of the global ruling class - being absolutely truthful. Klein asks what any observer of the Iraq smash-n-grab raid would ask: is global capital running out of "undeveloped territories" to loot and virgin markets to exploit -- and resorting to smashing functioning nations in order to create new "empty frontiers".... or in this case, ambulance-chasing after natural disasters?

[Kassandra asks: if global climate change really does lead to an increase in the number of meteorological disasters per decade, then the plutes will be cheering it on if this ambulance-chasing becomes an established lucrative practise, no?]>Stan Goff points out the marked failure of the MSM to mention the disproportionate impact of the tsunami on Asian women --,15671,1445967,00.html>The Guardian being one counter example. The G actually saw fit to publish the arresting statistic that four times as many women as men died in the disaster. This shouldn't be>too surprising, as women and kids are always the majority of bodies counted after any major disaster including man-made ones:

Since the end of World War II in 1945, there have been more than 250 major wars, resulting in over 23 million casualties.(1) In the wars of today, 90 percent of casualties are civilians, 75 percent of whom are women and children.(2)

Needless to say, the piratisation and corporatisation campaigns being conducted by the WB and IMF on the recently-razed areas will not disproportionately benefit women in compensation; if their track record established around the world holds good, it will be>quite the reverse -- these "structural adjustment" policies hit hardest at women and school-age children, and girls are the first to be denied education when education becomes expensive as the state and the commonwealth are piratised -- or privateered -- and sold off.

Tsunamis, wars, WB/IMF policies -- what do they have in common? Women and children hurt first and most. Three kinds of disaster.

Posted by: DeAnander | Apr 16 2005 1:32 utc | 48

I have been using TV as a wind-down device lately, and I've seen some very strange visuals. Has anyone noticed the sports drink ad that has athletes shattering into black fragments after they dehydrate and make a stressful move? It's stomach turning to see a body shatter like that, almost a waking dream of all that news we try not to see, or maybe preparation for seeing bodies blown to fragments. At the end a sports-drink swilling athlete runs through the fragments, oblivious to the bits of former person scattered all around.

It makes one wonder what's waiting in the wings for our local U.S. history. that ad was like a nightmare. to what kind of a society does one use nightmares to draw customers?

Posted by: citizen | Apr 16 2005 2:19 utc | 49

Blackie, I wrote about this today in a couple of different places.

Most of the responses seemed to be in favor of arresting these "fugitives" rather than, say, focusing on imaginary terrorists.

OK, noted.

However, the language of the Yahoo article, as it was pointed out by someone upthread - ASKOD, maybe? - was difficult to understand. OK, more than 10K people, but only 200 were accounted for in terms of their "dangerousness"? Further investigation revealed

Those arrested included nearly 4,300 suspects in major drug cases, 1,727 people wanted on assault charges, 638 suspects in armed robberies, 553 suspects in rapes and sexual assaults and 162 suspects in killings, officials said.

Found here.

That certainly helps the math, but I detest the vagueness of "major drug cases". What does that mean? Possession? Even with intent to distribute, that doesn't make a person "dangerous". It isn't murder or rape or assault.

What aggravated me the most was the fact that none of the people reading what I wrote had a problem with the number of people "rounded up".


Most ominous is this from Gonzalez:

"I consider it a very successful effort. It is only a start."

Posted by: Lisa B-K | Apr 16 2005 2:20 utc | 50


yes. creepy. have to cut through the clutter somehow, so advertizing uses increasingly disturbing images. like the>benetton ads.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 16 2005 2:47 utc | 51

"Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy"

…..The model for our heuristic consists of four independent components: simulated annealing, active networks, flexible modalities, and the study of reinforcement learning……We implemented our scatter/gather I/O server in Simula-67, augmented with opportunistically pipelined extensions……

Confused? Don’t worry, it’s just a snippet from a paper accepted for presentation at the World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), scheduled to be held July 10-13 in Orlando, Florida.

Oh yes, and it’s really computer-generated gibberish that was submitted to the conference by three MIT graduate students.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 16 2005 3:25 utc | 52

Everything changed after 9/11 : Well, everything except airport security perhaps.

WASHINGTON - Two upcoming government reports will say the quality of screening at airports is no better now than before the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a House member who has been briefed on the contents.

"A lot of people will be shocked at the billions of dollars we've spent and the results they're going to see, which confirm previous examinations of the Soviet-style screening system we've put in place," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., told The Associated Press on Friday....

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 16 2005 3:36 utc | 53

Sunday is Bill Frist Day in churches across America as God Himself/Herself is suddenly uniquely interested in ending the fillibuster.Looks liek the right wing has emptied out all the toys in the box for this piece of drek. I saw the cover of the video which has a young man with a gavel and a Bible and a puzzled look on his face. Apparently this will be a swift-boat like campaign with Democract portrayed as blood thirsty Christ-killer, empowered to their misdeed by the fillibuster and activist judges to a captive million tithing sheep. Sorry. This has gone too far! Since when does fundamentalism speak for all Christians? There are tens of millions of Christians Bush and his pack seem to have forgotten. They are not sitting down silent for this. I see the level of anger starting to rise against these upstarts. I see a backlash in the works that may might fracture the "unity" of the religious right worse than the Shiavo dramatics did. I hope they realize too late that they are playing with fire and wearing parafin suits! Politics and religion do not mix. Let them learn the hard way!

Posted by: diogenes | Apr 16 2005 4:42 utc | 54


First they came for the criminals, and I didn't say anything because I wasn't a criminal...

Does anyone remember the Greek Colonels Coup brought about at the insistence of the USgov? First thing they did after seizing power, was take a CIA supplied computer generated list and immediately arrest everyone on it as the CIA ordered.
They're building and testing the machinery of rapid nationally ordered and co-ordinated mass arrests.

As the Torturer General said after the first publicly acknowledged test - using so-called criminals, to which few could object, That's just the start.

Posted by: jj | Apr 16 2005 4:54 utc | 55

re: 10,000

How do you find 10,000?

Try Dept. of the Treasury

File for anything and they've got you. One of the other functions of the Fed and the Treasury.

Posted by: biklett | Apr 16 2005 5:19 utc | 56

While it's quiet around here, I would just like to canvass other people's opinion.

I know we are at the bottom of a deep rabbit-hole, but I still can't get used to the absurdity of "American" organizations like JINSA, and why they are tolerated by Americans.

We don't need a long diatribe about where they are coming from ...

Al Qaeda Preparing for Another Attack in U.S., WMD Use Probable, Better Detecting Technologies May Thwart Terrorist Plans

... but would Americans tolerate :-

The Arab/Islam/Chinese/Russian/Hindu Institute for National Security Affairs ?


Posted by: DM | Apr 16 2005 7:19 utc | 57


We have organizations like JINSA because somebody has to do the hard work that the shrub talks about all the time. JINSA and AIPAC are working hard doing hard work so that junior will know what he has to say.

It really is awfully nice of them to put up websites telling us what they are going to do, that eliminates guessing as to who is in charge.

Posted by: dan of steele | Apr 16 2005 7:30 utc | 58

How to hoodwink the American people into believing you’re winning the ‘War on Terror’ : Step One: Bury the evidence that suggests you aren’t : Bush administration eliminating 19-year-old international terrorism report

WASHINGTON - The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered. ….

Instead of dealing with the facts and dealing with them in an intelligent fashion, they try to hide their facts from the American public.”

Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department terrorism expert.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 16 2005 8:27 utc | 59


I have found this on UPI:

Closing oil prices, Apr. 15, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $50.63

West Texas intermediate crude oil: $50.61

Brent more expensive than WTI? Wow!

Is it for real? Or is it a typo?

What does it mean? Is it significant?

It's a first or has happened again in the past?

Posted by: Greco | Apr 16 2005 9:21 utc | 61

i was a bit worried when billmon sort of opened us up for more comments,but so far i am enjoying seeing so many long missed posters come back.welcome back i missed ya'all.

Posted by: onzaga | Apr 16 2005 12:10 utc | 62

and nugget & sweedish,thankyou for your posts.i had thought i was alone in my worry.

Posted by: onzaga | Apr 16 2005 12:12 utc | 63

@DM - you ask "... but would Americans tolerate :-
The Arab/Islam/Chinese/Russian/Hindu Institute for National Security Affairs ?"
and I'm happy to inform you that Americans can and do tolerate all such things - so you can stop worrying that the Jews have special powers. There is a powerful and strange Korean fellow who calls himself the Messiah and has congressmen attend his "crownings" and owns an influential newspaper in DC. The IRA used to openly solicit funds in NYC bars - "got something for the boys"? George Bush 1 was found to have many important aids from various fascist Baltic state organizations in his campaign, and Americans tolerate the House Majority leader taking money from Russian Intelligence - albeit laundered through a "orthodox jew" so maybe you can add it to your theory. In earlier times, Taiwanese/KMT organizations openly bribed congress and so on. Despite the fears of some and the self-delusions of people in AIPIC/JINSA, any points where the interests of truly powerful in the US diverge from Likud are points where the favored servant is reminded who is Master.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 16 2005 15:50 utc | 64

citizen k

It's puerile or disingenuous to condemn the occassional criticisms of Likudnik lobbyists here at MoA as mere events of antisemitic slander. Especially here. Most MoA posters are sensitive to qualify such criticisms in order to avoid accusations of anti-jewish chauvanism.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 16 2005 16:12 utc | 65

Dear raketenmensch

Occassonal or even non-stop critiques of Likudnik lobbyists are fine by me. DM asked a question implying uniqueness, and while Likudniks are near the top of my "to despise" list, I feel compelled to note that they are far from unique.

Posted by: citizen k | Apr 16 2005 16:22 utc | 66

This is from Stars and Stripes viaThis is Rumour Control

In response to “‘Because we gave our word’” (letter, April 6), about people who are dodging military service and refuse to serve overseas: Yes, I did give the oath, I did swear to uphold the Constitution against foreign and domestic enemies. I swore to preserve freedom, but what they left out was to preserve freedom of other countries. Iraq had nothing to do with Sept. 11. I understand fighting for freedom when it’s necessary, and Afghanistan was necessary, but not Iraq.
How many troops are left in the United States? If there were an attack on U.S. soil right now, God forbid, they’d get all the way to Iowa before we could attempt to stop them. By the time we could get all our troops back home, the entire country would be lost.
The letter writer said people are refusing to fight. That’s easy to say from Arifjan, Kuwait. Come to Iraq for a year. In fact, come here for two years. This is my second tour here.
I also made a promise to my country, and I stand by that promise. Don’t bash others because they think this mission is complete crap, because it is. It’s stupid and we’re risking other soldiers’ lives. For what? Iraqi liberation? Weapons of mass destruction? Neither one of those has been even close to being found.
Bring soldiers home to protect what we’ve come to love so dearly — the United States, to protect those freedoms we take for granted, to protect our people, our children, wives, sons, daughters and husbands.
Pfc. Bradley Robb
Camp Striker, Iraq

Posted by: Friendly Fire | Apr 16 2005 18:25 utc | 67

@FF - That PFC is right on Iraq and will stay Pfc forever for doing so, but to imagine someone invades the U.S. "up to Iowa" is tin foil hat stuff of the highest degree.

It nearly reaches the level of Senators Kyl's OpEd in the Washington Post today: Unready For This Attack where he suggests that terrorists buy a Scud rocket for $100,000, fit it with some "nuclear material missing from storage sites in Russia" and fire it from one of "80 Al Qaida owned vessels" in international waters for an electromagnetic pulse attack on the U.S. killing all electric tranformer stations etc.

(I first thought it was an Onion piece that slipped through.)

Posted by: b | Apr 16 2005 19:00 utc | 68

A longish rightwing thing about>Ward Churchill

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 16 2005 20:24 utc | 69

well written rightwing gonzo. one thing jumped out at me: the style of hst intended brutal exposure of ironic existence in a society of rightwing jackals and religious usedcar salesmen: nixon, hell's angels, etc. the same style used by this guy simply enters the target (could be churchill or any other 'liberal') into the logic of commonsense reality of Our Great Country--a reality which cxannot suffer contradiction because it is completed, is nature. So, anyone like churchill who confronts this reality is immediately exposed as an idiot. really depressing read.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 16 2005 20:39 utc | 70

Tried to email you b; but yd has a rant worth reading.

Posted by: Friendly Fire | Apr 16 2005 21:08 utc | 71


apologies for my snappy reaction.

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 16 2005 21:11 utc | 72

Actually, citizen k and citizen are different people. But I can understand the confusion.

Just hear the word, "Rosebud" and we resolve into two.

Posted by: citizen | Apr 17 2005 0:30 utc | 73

Marla Ruzicka has been killed in Baghdad.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 17 2005 7:41 utc | 74

It is known to people in Baghdad that Marla Ruzicka has been killed. Reports are unclear at present but it is being said that she died somewhere on Baghdad's airport road. There have been two serious incidents on Baghdad's airport road in recent hours.

2 OFWs injured in shooting near Baghdad airport

Car bombs hit US military convoys in Baghdad, Mosul

…. In Baghdad, a suicide car bomber blew his car up at a US military convoy on the main road near Baghdad's airport, killing one Iraqi civilian and wounding three others, police said. There was no immediate information about any US casualty….

With regard to the second, more serious incident, there are no further reports yet to be found anywhere online except for the following information retrieved from a Reuters photograph caption:

The following is news found in a Reuters photo caption, published on the front page of the April 16 issue:

"A U.S. Army M1 Abrams tank blocks the road during a military operation in Baghdad April 16, 2005. Iraqi police said a car bomb blew up two vehicles on Baghdad's airport road, killing one Iraqi civilian and wounding two others. Police sources also said two Americans were killed in the blast and one wounded. It was not clear if they were involved with the U.S. military or if they were working for private companies in Iraq". (Photo by Ali Jasim/Reuters, 4/16/05).

It seems very possible that Marla Ruzicka lost her life in this incident. A committed humanitarian she is a loss to the whole world. inna lillahi wa-inna ilaihi rajiun, may she rest in peace.

Posted by: Nugget | Apr 17 2005 8:12 utc | 75

This is funny. The corruption of the radical right - just follow the money...

Think Tank's Ideas Shifted As Malaysia Ties Grew

For years, the Heritage Foundation sharply criticized the autocratic rule of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, denouncing his anti-Semitism, his jailing of political opponents and his "anti-free market currency controls."

Then, late in the summer of 2001, the conservative nonprofit Washington think tank began to change its assessment: Heritage financed an Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2001, trip to Malaysia for three House members and their spouses. Heritage put on briefings for the congressional delegation titled "Malaysia: Standing Up for Democracy" and "U.S. and Malaysia: Ways to Cooperate in Order to Influence Peace and Stability in Southeast Asia."

Then-Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad was assailed by the Heritage Foundation but later honored by its president.

Heritage's new, pro-Malaysian outlook emerged at the same time a Hong Kong consulting firm co-founded by Edwin J. Feulner, Heritage's president, began representing Malaysian business interests. The for-profit firm, called Belle Haven Consultants, retains Feulner's wife, Linda Feulner, as a "senior adviser." And Belle Haven's chief operating officer, Ken Sheffer, is the former head of Heritage's Asia office and is still on Heritage's payroll as a $75,000-a-year consultant.

On Sept. 27, 2001, Belle Haven hired Alexander Strategy Group, a Washington lobby firm run by Edwin A. Buckham, a former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), to help represent Malaysian clients. Linda Feulner works as a consultant for Alexander Strategy Group as well as for Belle Haven. Experts say that the relationship between one of Washington's most influential conservative think tanks and a network of lobbying firms collecting fees from Malaysian business interests -- well in excess of $1 million over two years -- could pose a problem for Heritage's tax status as a nonprofit group. The fees were disclosed in reports filed with Congress and the Justice Department.

Posted by: b | Apr 17 2005 9:26 utc | 76

Lethal Injection Execution 'Cruel' - U.S. Researchers (Yahoo)

American researchers have called for an halt to lethal injection, the most common method of capital punishment in the United States, because it is not always a humane and painless way to die.

Some executed prisoners may have suffered unnecessarily because they had not been sedated properly, they said.

The current way inmates are given lethal injections does not even meet veterinary standards for putting down animals, they added.

I also put up a diary on this topic for your recommendations:
US death penalty 'does not even meet veterinary standards'

Posted by: Jérôme | Apr 17 2005 12:52 utc | 78

All these activist librul judges:

Ninety-four of the 162 active judges now on the U.S. Court of Appeals were chosen by Republican presidents. On 10 of the 13 circuit courts, Republican appointees have a clear majority. And, since 1976, at least seven of the nine seats on the U.S. Supreme Court have been filled by Republican appointees
LA Times

Posted by: b | Apr 17 2005 16:25 utc | 79

ô dear ô dear

Kasparov calls attack 'political'
Posted: Saturday April 16, 2005 9:59PM; Updated: Saturday April 16, 2005 10:00PM
MOSCOW (AP) -- Garry Kasparov, the world's former No. 1 chess player who quit the professional game last month to focus on politics, said Saturday he had been hit over the head with a chessboard in a politically motivated attack.

Kasparov, an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was not injured Friday when he was hit with the chessboard after signing it for a young man at an event in Moscow.

A spokeswoman for Kasparov, Marina Litvinovich, said the assailant told the chess champion: "I admired you as a chess player, but you gave that up for politics."

She said the unidentified attacker -- who did not reveal his political allegiance -- tried to hit Kasparov again but was hauled away by security guards.

"It was a fairly nasty incident, it was not very pleasant psychologically," Kasparov told the private NTV television

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 17 2005 17:00 utc | 80

Here's a couple HST requia. As one might expect, a minor distance from the event of his honorable suicide would provoke some of our boringly sober luminaries to decry the excesses of Hunter's private life.

Recently, from the>NYT.

And, from>Ann Taylor Fleming: "A lifetime of drugs and alcohol isn't cool."

Posted by: slothrop | Apr 17 2005 17:02 utc | 81

g-girl....i always thought jesus was a socialist. he shared his possessions with everyone. liberals just talk about sharing with everyone.;-)

Posted by: lenin's ghost | Apr 17 2005 21:44 utc | 82

Toba 1
Toba 2

Posted by: DM | Apr 18 2005 19:58 utc | 83

OT (the Pope might be a Catholic but I'm not)

... but an interesting (different) perspective on ME issues might be a lighter subject.

The Association of University Teachers in the United Kingdom is set today to begin blacklisting Israeli professors who refuse to condemn their country's policies toward Arabs.

Let me give you my perspective on this action – the perspective of an Arab-American.
Israel is not a colonial state. It is not a racist state. The Arabs who live in Israel are among the freest Arabs in the world.
You can see just how well that insidious plan is working among Europe's hateful, anti-Semitic pseudo-intellectuals. It's working to perfection.

Europe is undergoing the kind of mass psychosis it experienced once before – in the late 1930s.

This is how it started then. Self-delusion is a pre-requisite for the justification of holocaust, of genocide, of ethnic cleansing.

If you doubt what I am saying, ask yourself the following questions:

Why are there no boycotts of Syrian universities?

Why are there no boycotts of Saudi Arabian universities?

Why are there no boycotts of Iranian universities?

Why are there no denunciations of the police state totalitarianism that is the norm throughout the Middle East with one notable exception – Israel?

Posted by: DM | Apr 20 2005 9:49 utc | 84

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