Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 15, 2005

Open Thread 05-117

Sorry, I am busy with some job related stuff, so there is no real post today and tomorrow.

But there are a few reads out there that you might want discuss here:

The End of News in U.S. media?

Is it a democracy if a leader uses the military for partisan attacks? And if people, who are officially proven to be innocent, are kept in jail anyhow?

Now which was this empire that did throw people in into lion cages

Also in a few days it's the 60th anniversary of the start of the main Nuremberg Trial.  Is there hope for another one?

You also may use this as an open thread.

Posted by b on November 15, 2005 at 21:41 UTC | Permalink

next page »

hope it is good news re work

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2005 21:53 utc | 1

The Pentagon has confirmed that US troops used white phosphorus during last year's offensive in the northern Iraqi city of Falluja.

US used white phosphorus in Iraq

Posted by: GM | Nov 15 2005 22:03 utc | 2

yes indeed`the bbc in an alrming & inabitual confrontation & proximity to the truth has today run a number of stories detailing what is actually happening

won't last long i am sure

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2005 22:14 utc | 3

r'giap - don´t know yet

On white phosphor read Monbiot in todays Guardian.

Posted by: b | Nov 15 2005 22:21 utc | 4

i hope it does work out for you b

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2005 22:26 utc | 5

Um, remind me again about the reason for regime change re Saddam Hussein ... something about torture and human rights, illegal detention, executions, etc ... seems the Coalition and our 'puppet' government and proxy troops are really into it too ... ah, the moral high ground ...

Iraq detainees 'found starving'

There have been persistent claims of abuse by Iraqi security forces
Iraq's government says it has begun an investigation into the alleged abuse of more than 170 detainees held by Iraqi security forces in Baghdad.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 15 2005 22:30 utc | 6

Saddam, facing a possible death sentence, is accused of mass murder, torture, false imprisonment and the use of chemical weapons. He is certainly guilty on all counts. So, it now seems, are those who overthrew him.
- from Monbiot

Ah, to be an Iraqi, so privileged, so incredibly fortunate to be enjoying their 'liberation' [occupation ?] and new found freedoms [detentions ?] at the hands of the 'Coalition of the willing [killing ?]' ...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 15 2005 22:38 utc | 7

that would be alarming & inhabitual

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2005 23:21 utc | 8

bbc & the truth, that is

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 15 2005 23:23 utc | 9

Thought I'd move this up here...

Remember the drones Sad-damn Eye-Rack was suppose to have? well...guess what? Guess who really has them?


HONEYWELL is developing a micro flying spy drone -- that would be used for civilian law enforcement.

Look up Albert Wheelon and the Corona Program...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 16 2005 0:07 utc | 10

Rednecks rejoice! 'Merica rocks! 'Merica is the baddest! Our balls are the biggest!

/sarcasm off

Marines Get Brutal New Weapon
The Marines have begun using a weapon that is easily capable of turning buildings—and humans—into bits of rubble. This is called the SHAW-NE (shoulder mounted assault weapon – novel explosion) and it uses a thermobaric mixture that produces a shockwave in the air easily crushing walls and sending entire buildings collapsing to the ground.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 16 2005 2:49 utc | 12

Wronskian Realpolitik

Suspend your loathing for numerology for a brief moment.

There is a sub-class of functions of second-order ordinary
differential equations such that, when they are multiplied by
constants, that is, for csub1 a(x) , csub2 b(X) ... csubn z(x),
if the sum of the constants equals zero, then the variables
can be called 'dependent'. 'Bi-polarity' and 'co-dependence'
are two sociological manifestations of the minimal equation,
for just two functions. When one function goes up, the other
goes negative to (im)balance. This is a Wronskian condition.
The business-sucks call this condition a 'net sum zero'.

Much like Rome vers the Visigoths, or the Church of Rome
vers the Church of Constantinople, the Catholic Papacy
vers the King of England, Robber Barons vers Populists.
Much like the Left Blogistans vers the Neo-Deficistas.

Rather than plot their course against the stars, Left B's have
a tendency, as they sail off away from the Land of Bushmania,
to suddenly veer on their course in a long elliptic, circling the
island of their discontent, and throwing animal bones, charms,
fetishes and curses at the despotic, scrooge natives of Neo.

The Neo's are only too happy to indulge this strange phenom.
If the Left B's were to keep on sailing, most of the island's
population would eventually join them in some far off Tahiti
of the mind, an elyssian world of forested communes living
blissfully between the sun and the sea, each to their ability.

But the Left B's, whether they admit it or not, are dependent
on the Neo's for their weltzeit, their realpolitik. When the Neo's
trot out a Wall of Steel on Syria, visions of Cambodia long past
swim in the Left B's heads, and out they'll trot Joan Baez for a
little folksing, a little schnapps and a little sponge cake. Oi!

This strange dependence isn't lost on the Neo's. They know,
for example, that for every Abu Ghraib and Niger Yellow Cake,
there's a hundred ways to damp the rising fury of Blogistan down,
and to diffuse those angry crowds on the beach. "See," they'll say,
"Here come the Left B's back again. Everything is as it should be."

Not for nothing did Spiro call the Left B's 'effete liberals'.

Nothing is more dangerous than an insurrection which, once begun,
returns again and again, as a servile dog to it's master's compound,
to beg for a bone, and bark to be let back in by the roaring fire.
Free peoples don't turn back from their quest, and don't look back.
A Wronskian condition only occurs among sedentary co-dependents.

Ut tensio sic vis. (As the force, so the displacement). In fewer words:
the Neo's are beating US like a drum. There is only one thing we have
that they must hold onto. Not our labor, they can offshore that. Not
our votes, they can buy those in the media. They need our T-A-X-E-S!

May your world be free from cell phones, billboards, cops and the blues.
In fewer words, *any* direction away from slavery is towards freedom.
And you don't all have to hold hands and sing-a-long to get there.

Posted by: tante aime | Nov 16 2005 2:51 utc | 13

So make it a consumption free day not only on the day after Thanksgiving day but as many days as possible. Stop by the shack selling veggies and fruit as, oops, they are more likely to forget to report for fiscal duty? Starve the beast that wants to starve us. The new feminism and the coming menism is to go brand-less.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti who established City Lights (oops bookshop) in the recent mini-interview at the New Pravda Magazine reminded all that Ram Das said be here now. Go without the wireless phone, the ipod, as it keeps us out of our daily reality.

Posted by: christofay | Nov 16 2005 3:25 utc | 14

More developments in Plamegate:

So the news is out from the Post now -- both in a statement from Bob Woodward and in an article from the Post. The details still seems sketchy and I suspect we're going to find out a lot more in the next few days. But it now seems that Woodward -- who has long been publicly critical of the Fitzgerald investigation -- has been part of it from the beginning. Literally the beginning. From the Post account it appears that Woodward was told of Valerie Plame's identity before any other journalist by an as-yet-unnamed senior administration official who is not Karl Rove or Scooter Libby.

Woodward's statement here.

Posted by: lonesomeG | Nov 16 2005 4:54 utc | 15

Hi all,

Excuse the shameles plug, but I hought you might like to see my impression of a Billmon quote post.

It's called: Bush Promises Victory at Stalingrad.

Posted by: Night Owl | Nov 16 2005 5:39 utc | 16

Not guilty. The Israeli captain who put 17 bullets into a Palestinian schoolgirl

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday.

your tax dollars at work...excuse me while I go puke.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 16 2005 5:45 utc | 17

Woodward: books no longer worth buying. Flack for the W adminstration. Ugly sight seeing an old man giving W a mental blow job. Abbie Hoffman says, steal this book, if you must.

Posted by: christofay | Nov 16 2005 6:09 utc | 18

From the latest on-line New Pravda, urh, NYTimes, "'Kerik Is Accused of Abusing Post as City Official," Save Article (what for, it's on-line so can't use the back side for scratch paper) By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM, Published: November 16, 2005
New Jersey officials said yesterday that Bernard B. Kerik abused his position as New York City correction commissioner in the late 1990's by accepting tens of thousands of dollars from a construction company that he was helping to pursue business with the city. They say the company has long had ties to organized crime."

Guiliani on the morning of the yet to be revenged 9/11 terrorist attacks on his city turned to his right hand man Bernard B. (B for ball slapping on the tax payers' dime) Kerik and said, "I'm glad we have George Bush in the White House rather than Gore." This quote might not be verbatim, and it might be part of the post myth making machinery. Remember Groucho Marx, "I object" whether to B52 Bernanke, Alito or now Woody Woodstein.

Kerik small time NJ official, let's imagine what he would have done for a big time operation like the Dept of Homeland Security.

Posted by: christofay | Nov 16 2005 8:31 utc | 19

Hey, Bungalow Bush
What did you kill
Bungalow Bush?

He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun
In case of accidents he always took his mom
He's the all American bullet-headed saxon mother's son
All the blogistan sing


The children asked him if to kill was not a sin
Not when he looked so fierce, his mother butted in
If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him

but I'm joining hands and almost joining in in the sing-a-long will whirling down the drain.

Posted by: christofay | Nov 16 2005 8:58 utc | 20


You're a pal. And a brave one.

Thanks for gathering together all these assorted pegs that can't seem to fit properly into the hole. And enduring the resulting friction.

Posted by: jm | Nov 16 2005 10:08 utc | 21

For those following the Al Arian case in Tampa, Florida
John Sugg has an interview with the accused which I believe to be well worth reading. If the facts stand as Sugg indicates we will either have another legal set-back for the trash-the-Bill-of-Rights crowd or a genuine political prisoner in the U.S. Of course, others may see things in a different light.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 16 2005 10:29 utc | 22

I find this quite bizarre ..

Adelaide 'lock down' underway for Rumsfeld visit

Road closures are now in force on North Terrace in Adelaide in preparation for tomorrow's visit by US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

The east-bound lanes of North Terrace between the railway station and the exhibition centre will be closed until Friday morning.

Streets around the Adelaide Town Hall will be closed from tomorrow, when Mr Rumsfeld is scheduled to arrive at Adelaide Airport.

Five hundred police officers are involved in the operation to protect Mr Rumsfeld, who will hold talks with the Foreign Affairs Minister and Defence Minister on Friday.

Assistant Commissioner Garry Burns says nothing is being left to chance.

"We will be doing bomb searches, we'll be securing venues," he said.

"That's part of the reasons why we lock down events prior to the actual dignitaries visiting or public being put into certain areas and the reason for that is to make sure that we secured areas and that they remain sterile in terms of no more threat within that area."

Now, Adelaide is just a big country town. I find it hard to imagine that they have 500 police. When you need a veritable fucking army to protect one lousy politician, it’s pretty hard to reconcile this with ‘government of the people’.

We really are entering a new era. (And when I listen to the crap on NPR playing in the background here, I have the feeling that we are in for even more interesting times.)

Posted by: DM | Nov 16 2005 11:47 utc | 23

Perhaps others will find this historical discussion
of the libertarian critique of fascism interesting. It's probably too "naive" for our philosophical heavy weights,
but I found it quite worthwhile.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 16 2005 12:43 utc | 24

On Busholini

"Mussolini soon learned that the camera mercilessly emphasized every grimace and tic in this gestures, and I think that if you went through the films of his speeches chronologically you would see how his control of each gesture and pause and acceleration in oratorical rhythm became more and more effective. However, the essential style of his performances did not change. Nowadays, when young people see old films of Mussolini they find him ridiculous and cannot understand how it was that vast crowds praised him to the skies. And yet the Mussolini model of oratory has continued to find imitations and variations all over the world, even in our own time, especially under populist or Third World auspices that exploit the same regressive techniques." Italo Calvino, Il Duce's Portraits

Posted by: christofay | Nov 16 2005 14:13 utc | 25

The so-called U.S. Marine that opportunistically appeared and then disappeared on these pages recently to launch a pre-emptive (albeit failed) damage limitation in advance of the breaking 'Oh yes, we did use white phosphorus' story was uninformed on so many levels that it is remarkable that posters, especially Pat, tried to give him any credibility whatsoever. A cursory examination of his claims set against what had already been admitted by the U.S. military would have convinced anyone, even Pat, that the poster was bogus.

Fallujans all left, only terrorists remained.

This lie, and lie is is, nothing else can describe it, is contradicted by the eye witness testimonies of U.S. military personnel and journalists who actually saw the tens of thousands of civilians who remained trapped in Fallujah. It is a lie that can be set against the crocodile tears of U.S. military personnel who conceded to journalists, who subequently reported the facts, that, yes, U.S. soldiers gunned down surrendering families waving white flags trying to leave scenes of carnage and horror, events which seem to have stimulated the sudden flurry of 'terrorists used white flags as false surrenders' reports, which screaming (unsubstantiated) headlines superceded the (substantiated) incidents of innocents, including children, being shot to death despite their pathetic white flags. The fake U.S. Marine, who surprisingly even Pat semed to find credible, balked at addressing the fact that males between the ages of 15-65 (or 16-55, depending on sources), were refused permission to leave Fallujah with their families and were sent back to face American military might, a war crime that flouts all decency and morality as well as the Geneva Conventions that forbid the turning back of civilians trying to flee the scene of any conflict. I have no intention of laboring on this post with links, I think anyone who wishes to learn the truth need only Google for the words of a senior U.S. military officer responsible for the massacre at Fallujah to read of his boasts that 'preventing all males leaving was key to the success of the mission' (i.e. attaining a massive body count of slaughtered Arab males who could be posthumously awarded the appellation 'terrorist'. Even the formerly useful Christian Science Monitor's journalist-gone-U.S. military hack should have alerted careful readers to something of what was taking place at the time with his references to 'unarmed sleeper cells' in Fallujah, such 'cells' of course comprising unarmed, trapped civilians who also received, both in death and in advance of it as a justification for their slaughter, the appellation 'terrorist'. Add to the admissions of U.S. military personnel and journalists the eye witness accounts and statements from that other presence in Fallujah, the civilians themselves, add the stark and horrifying photographs of dead women, children, babies, men murdered in their beds et cetera, and spend only minutes Googling to learn of these things, the incontrovertible facts of these things, and the fake U.S. Marine, who strangely Pat wishes we had taken seriously, is immediately apparent as someone who is not speaking with any authority whatsoever about Fallujah. Ditto with regard to his lies about ROE, as U.S. military spokespersons, journalists and subsequent post-massacre accounts of events all contain confirmation of 'fire free' zones, of orders being given to shoot on sight any males 'or hostile persons' appearing on the streets (the Arab use of robes permitted the slaughter of women too, as any apparent women could have been men in disguise, see?). These are not allegations from me, they are facts, widely and massively reported and disseminated by U.S. military officers, journalists and American soldiers who took part in the massacre.

The media was heavily controlled by the U.S. military as the killing was taking place, indeed some uppity raghead journalists were assaulted and detained during the slaughter as their accounts did not match the spin to which the murders of so many people - armed and unarmed - was subject. Even so press accounts of the time carried factual statements about the ROE that were obtained from the U.S. military and which are totally at odds with the lying posts of the fake U.S. Marine that among others Pat, of all people, found to be 'credible'.

Let's be even more 'illuminating' - let's move on to the technicalities of the use of white phosphorus at Fallujah. Doubtless not every reader or poster here is familiar with the use of explosives but some may well be. White phosphorus, used to illuminate is fired into the air to burst and flare for anything from three to five minutes, one shell providing providing enough illumination to light up an area approximately the size of a massive football stadium. Even the non-explosives experts among you will understand that the shells do not 'flare' upon leaving the muzzles of the artillery firing them, but are time-fused so that a particular altitude can be reached before the shell explodes. The flaring is so bright as to render absolutely useless the sophisticated night vision goggles with which the U.S. military is equipped. In other words, a heavy dose of white phosphorus, even used as illumination, would blind U.S. soldiers relying on night vision goggles to both observe and to defend themselves from attacks.

How then would white phosphorus shells be of any use when fired into trenches or buildings to burn and demoralize those alleged to be within? In an unaltered state the answer is precisely zero as the time delay on the fuses would give ample time for the occupants to flee. Yes, even ragheads wouldn't take long to work out the horrific nature of these shells and once exposed to them it wouldn't have taken long before their 'efficacy' was rendered null and void. Except, the shells used at Fallujah were not 'ordinary' shells, but shells whose fuses had been specially modified to burst far earlier than was usual. Surprisingly, the fake U.S. Marine, who claimed to have been associated with artillery support, the same fake poster who Pat, surprisingly, thought we should have been having a debate with that discounted his being a serial liar, surprisingly this bogus artilleryman seemed to be blissfully unaware of the high level decisions that must have been taken to modify the fuses on white phosphorus shells all the better to incinerate the men, women and children who were to be the targets of these chemical weapons. The bogus U.S. Marine we may discount as a pathetic troll, but surely Pat, of all people, could have addressed the process whereby battlefield ammunition that is ordinarily intended to be fired to specific altitudes to provide illumination, undergoes deliberate modification to ensure that it explodes almost on impact? Surely the decision making process that underlies the use of chemical weapons against civilians in this way is not the preserve of a few innovative grunts? The conversion of shells to burn anyone and anything within a wide radius and gas anyone who wasn't burned, such handiwork is not the bright idea of a handful of N.C.O.s and grunts who never got to mess around in the chemistry lab at high school, is it? Using such shells as weapons, and blinding your own soldiers' night vision equipment in the process thus rendering them vulnerable, this wouldn't be done unless you were reasonably sure that there could be no response from your 'enemy', would it? And the actual, physical modification of the shells, that would have been the work of more than two men and a small boy, wouldn't it?

Personally, I get sick and tired of trolls trying to promote the discredited lies of last year in order to justify the mass murder of men, women and children in a city where 35,000 houses were destroyed. I get sick and tired of the lie that claims that civilians had been evacuated when it is a fact that tens of thousands of innocents were trapped in Fallujah because they were too old, sick, young or ill-equipped to leave it. I get sick and tired of reading the lie that men and youths were allowed to leave Fallujah when the U.S. military is on record as having boasted that they were prevented from leaving and that this was a good thing. I get sick and tired of reading sick and tiring people arguing that because the U.S. military ordered Iraqis to get out of their own homes those who did not or could not or who were prevented from doing so somehow deserved being roasted to death.

More sickening than any troll, though, is someone who ought to know better trying to minimize the horror of the massacre of Fallujah and playing semantic games with the words 'chemical' and 'illumination'. Behind such mental cowardice lie the screams and death gasps of incinerated men, women, children and babies.

Pat, for instance, might prefer us to take on a troll than honestly examine the conduct of U.S. Marines who roped dead bodies to their vehicles and drove them through the streets of Fallujah, who sprayed the streets with shells and bullets and killed anyone who moved on them, who played 'Team America, World Police' over loudspeakers on their vehicles as they gleefully butchered their way through district after district, burning, killing, shooting prisoners and injured people, all under the cover of a lying press operation that many people, Pat, for instance, still seem to have an unswerving loyalty towards. Being distracted by, or encouraging others to be distracted by, trolls is no way to get to the heart of the vile behavior of the U.S. military and knee jerk expressions of loyalty 'to the troops' are not really what those murderous bastards deserve by way of consideration. An examination of the decision making process that saw U.S. officers ordering the modification of ordnance to make it a worthy weapon with which to commit war crimes is surely a more useful exercise than the nauseating defense of the indefensible that we have seen here.

Posted by: Spit | Nov 16 2005 15:08 utc | 26

Powerful posting by Spit. Here's the Google cache version on an ABC news story confirming at least the basic thrust of his assertions. Interestingly the original seems to have been removed, or at least shuffled to a new location. Also, if memory serves it was widely reported that the insurgency "moved to Kirkuk" during the November 2004 Fallujah operations.

GIs Force Men Fleeing Fallujah to Return
U.S. Troops Force Men Trying to Flee Assault on Fallujah to Return to City

NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq Nov 12, 2004 — Hundreds of men trying to flee the assault on Fallujah have been turned back by U.S. troops following orders to allow only women, children and the elderly to leave.

The military says it has received reports warning that insurgents will drop their weapons and mingle with refugees to avoid being killed or captured by advancing American troops.

As it believes many of Fallujah's men are guerrilla fighters, it has instructed U.S. troops to turn back all males aged 15 to 55.

"We assume they'll go home and just wait out the storm or find a place that's safe," one 1st Cavalry Division officer, who declined to be named, said Thursday.

Army Col. Michael Formica, who leads forces isolating Fallujah, admits the rule sounds "callous." But he insists it's is key to the mission's success.

"Tell them 'Stay in your houses, stay away from windows and stay off the roof and you'll live through Fallujah,'" Formica, of the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd Brigade, told his battalion commanders in a radio conference call Wednesday night.

Many of Fallujah's 200,000 to 300,000 residents fled the city before the assault, at which time 1,200 to 3,000 fighters were believed in militant stronghold.

Later Prime Minister Ayad Allawi imposed a 24-hour curfew on Fallujah and ordered roads in the area closed, providing the legal background for the U.S. blockade.

Troops have cut off all roads and bridges leading out of the city. Relatively few residents have sought to get through, but officers here say they fear a larger exodus.

On Wednesday, a crowd of 225 people surged south out of Fallujah toward the blocking positions of the Marines' 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. The Marines let 25 women and children pass but separated the 200 military-age men and forced them to walk back into Fallujah.

"There is nothing that distinguishes an insurgent from a civilian," the 1st Cavalry officer said. "If they're not carrying a weapon, you can't tell who's who."

Also Wednesday, troops halted two ambulances leaving Fallujah and found 57 refugees packed inside. Most were women and children who were allowed to leave. Smaller bands of refugees have also turned up at U.S. roadblocks, some allowed to pass and others turned back.

Single refugees have made their way out of the city by swimming across the broad Euphrates River or sneaking out across desert paths, military officials said.

On Wednesday and Thursday, American troops sunk boats being used to ferry people and in some cases, rebel arms across the river.

The ongoing U.S. advance is bottling up Fallujah's insurgents and others fleeing the fighting in the southern section of the city, where U.S. forces were moving Thursday night.

Most of the remaining attacks by insurgents inside Fallujah have been on Marines blocking the roads and bridges leaving the city, reports show. Marines have returned fire killing numerous insurgents trying to escape, officers here said.

The military estimates 600 insurgents have already been killed, about half the total of guerrillas in the city.

Fallujah has been under relentless aerial and artillery bombardment and without electricity since Monday. Reports have said residents are running low on food. An officer here said it was likely that those who stay in their homes would live through the assault, but agreed the city was a risky and frightening place to live.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 16 2005 15:43 utc | 27

heartbreaking and excruciating post, spit. and informative, b/c I do not know about weapons.

followed by HkOL's cache, it reminds me of a story those christian soldiers must surely know...that passover event...that slaughter was also certainly justified at that time.

I read Outraged's questions of the person calling him/herself the marine and also learned much.

...and let me add to the thanks of others on the previous thread for the time that Outraged takes to provide links to keep the horrors from falling down the memory hole.

It feels shameful to be a U.S. citizen right now...and infuriating after spending months in vigil protest against the invasion before it happened, for being ignored by both parties when calling reps, for seeing counter-protestors who asked why we didn't care that Saddam tortured and killed his own people...

if karma is embodied in shiva, the U.S. is looking at some mighty fury to come.

Posted by: fauxreal | Nov 16 2005 15:59 utc | 28

EIR's Jeffrey Steinberg offers the hopeful news that
Cheney is on the way out. One hopes that the thesis is correct. There isn't much new in the essay, but the interpretations offered might be of interest even to non-Larouche admirers.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 16 2005 16:07 utc | 29

After re-reading Spit's post I find the final remarks
particularly cogent

being distracted by, or encouraging others to be distracted by, trolls is no way to get to the heart of the vile behavior of the U.S. military and knee jerk expressions of loyalty 'to the troops' are not really what those murderous bastards deserve by way of consideration. An examination of the decision making process that saw U.S. officers ordering the modification of ordnance to make it a worthy weapon with which to commit war crimes is surely a more useful exercise than the nauseating defense of the indefensible that we have seen here.

I agree completely, but who can lead us into this horror chamber? It would indeed be interesting to hear who was pushing in that direction, who gave the explicit orders, and who implemented the necessary modifications.
How much was the entire operation motivated by revenge for the Blackwater mercenary murders? Was it a strictly American initiative or did we have helpful advice from allies? Up to now, those talking seem to have operated at lower levels. Will a voice of conscience be raised from the higher strata of the officer corps? Is such a thing even imaginable?

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 16 2005 16:33 utc | 30

thank you, spit. the only part left out was the photo mention of two domestic goats on a bombed out street, terrified and lost without their human family, fully suggesting the abhorance in loss of a closely entwined domestic agriculture and life. all of this was covered thoroughly by dahr jamail - photos of gassed, and not, victims and destroyed houses. music blaring, guns blasting, napalm melting indiscriminately and testoserone flowing visibly. there was a book published after first invasion called, i think, 'material world'. many photos of families from various countries around the world, inclduing iraq, where an old woman stood guard over a bombed out basement, protecting the memories of her family killed by us bombs. was shocking then when we thought it was over - but now unimaginable hell we have brought forth, magnified infinitely.

Posted by: | Nov 16 2005 17:04 utc | 31

In other words, spit, a troll is someone who provides an account of his own experience and does not attest to what he did not experience or witness. Nice.

As for this:

"More sickening than any troll, though, is someone who ought to know better trying to minimize the horror of the massacre of Fallujah and playing semantic games with the words 'chemical' and 'illumination'. Behind such mental cowardice lie the screams and death gasps of incinerated men, women, children and babies."

Thing is, spit, I do know better. Outraged, our expert in residence, would have MoA readers believe that WP is a chemical weapon. It is a conventional weapon. He would have MoA readers believe that its use against enemy positions is illegal. It is not. He is misinformed. I am not.

Outraged would also have MoA readers believe that the atrocities of Abu Ghraib reflected DoD interrogation policy in force at the time and that they were primarily related to intelligence objectives. Neither of these has been borne out in subsequent investigation.

IIRC, Outraged is here, at least in part, to atone for what be believes to be his own sins against humanity, and in that atonement
he projects those sins upon others. His demons are not merely his own; he invests the innocent with them as well. This is rather repugnant.

I have pointed out before that one serious weakness of the anti-war movement, as it is reflected here at MoA, is a basic misunderstanding of how the Armed Forces operate. High crimes are assumed with regularity by those without the least knowledge of the legal and regulatory apparatus upon which the military depends and according to which it functions. What this means is that its readers and posters will continue to exhaust themselves along unproductive lines. All sound and fury. No progress. And quite possibly, in the greater scheme of things, inviting a backlash that any such movement can ill afford. And we've been down that road before, haven't we?

Posted by: Pat | Nov 16 2005 17:55 utc | 32


... WP is a chemical weapon. It is a conventional weapon. He would have MoA readers believe that its use against enemy positions is illegal. It is not. He is misinformed. I am not

Ours isn't the only military, and certainly not in recent times, to use ordinance in such a manner. Yet, we've been caught out ... and its not the poor gunner, artilleryman, whose responsible, it is the officer or NCO who separately requests and then authorizes the fire mission.

A screwdriver is an innocent screwdriver, until you employ it as a 'shiv', and thence through intent and 'use' it magically transforms into - a weapon.

WP is categorized as an incendiary munition unless you intentionally use its 'properties and effects' to directly target humans, even animals ..

Not according to me, nor numerous others, but to the CCW to which we are a signatory and whose authoritative UN representative spokesman more than clarifies the specific issue of 'prohibited use', ahem 'legality', unequivocally.

When a mix of HE and WP or for that matter HE and napalm (including the newest, not-called-napalm) is directly targeted at an enemy position, not in front, behind, or to its flanks, but directly at a position ... is it to create illumination ? to create a smokescreen ? What is the deliberate and intended use of its properties ? What is then the purpose of a 'Shake and Bake' by air-strike or artillery fire ?

Pat, since you state 'I know better', pray tell, please enlighten us, with an informed, knowledgeable explanation/clarification of the above ... something more substantive than a simple declarative statement or opinion, please.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 16 2005 19:59 utc | 33


who are you to do a psychoanalysis on the run about the intentions of outraged?

that seems to me to be a form of argumentation that is both inirect & insulting

outraged's honesty for me is beyond question - he has been very clear & honest about his own fragility - you on the other hand have been unusually discreet

all that i know is that you are in a military family - perhaps for generations- & that you once worked in the same field as outraged - that of intelligence, interrogation or worse you have admitted as much

your disproportionate belief in the appareils whether they are military or juriprudential mask a cynicism about the human condition that is terrifying

you demand clear language yet at each turn you try to mask semantically act & procedures that are boyh illegal & immoral

you manage by inference to leave many things out of your commentry that are in the taguba report for example & refer to a poster who says he is a marine as if his 'lived' evidence is exemplary. i did not find it so. i did not believe it

i think mmy commentaries are easier for you to ignore because they are impassioned & in a sense are barely literate on the other hand the post of outraged or of spits cut too close to the career bone for you to express anything other than anger & a bitter anger at that

your interrogations of exacitude aresometimes worthy but here in relation to outraged you demean both yourself & your experience

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 16 2005 20:05 utc | 34

Geez, can't you guys agree to disagree? I read w/high regard both Pat and Outraged, It seems both have a Parallax View on a fucked situation.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 16 2005 20:16 utc | 35

High crimes are assumed with regularity by those without the least knowledge of the legal and regulatory apparatus upon which the military depends and according to which it functions.


see, for instance, an excellent "legal" analysis of "command authority," here: Shirking Responsibility, by Scott Horton

(just one of many excellent "anti-terror memos" posted at Balkinization)

see also how, "The Pentagon effectively signed off on a strategy that mimics Red Army methods.," here:

Do Unto Others As They Did Unto Us

and on use of WP in Iraq:

In March 2005, Field Artillery magazine carried an article by U.S. soldiers who fought in the battle. They wrote:

"WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out... We used improved WP for screening missions when HC smoke would have been more effective and saved our WP for lethal missions."

On November 15, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Barry Venable confirmed to the BBC that white phosphorus had been used as an incendiary weapon in Fallujah.

"We use them primarily as obscurants, for smokescreens or target marking in some cases. However it is an incendiary weapon and may be used against enemy combatants. ... Yes, it was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants. When you have enemy forces that are in covered positions that your high explosive artillery rounds are not having an impact on and you wish to get them out of those positions, one technique is to fire a white phosphorus round into the position because the combined effects of the fire and smoke - and in some case the terror brought about the explosion on the ground - will drive them out of the holes so that you can kill them with high explosives." [6]

excerpted from wiki article on WP, here


In defense of his own [mis]deeds, Tom Delay recently said:

"We are witnessing the criminalization of conservative politics."

Pat's defense of DOD policy and tactics both in Iraq and in the broader "war on terror" has a similar ring:

"We are witnessing the criminalization of DOD policy and tactics."

And if read correctly, these statements are, very sadly, true. DOD and conservative political tactics have indeed become criminal operations.


My new bumpersticker/protest sign:


Posted by: manonfyre | Nov 16 2005 20:37 utc | 36


Outraged would also have MoA readers believe that the atrocities of Abu Ghraib reflected DoD interrogation policy in force at the time and that they were primarily related to intelligence objectives. Neither of these has been borne out in subsequent investigation.

Again, you obsess with Abu Ghraib ... why ?

I do not believe that the majority of MI interrogators are actively crossing the line.

Yet to contend that undoubtedly some have not been specifically co-opted into a new paradigm of working with and supporting agencies and paramilitaries in a clearly sanctioned 'from above', 'gloves off policy' is, given the evidence, frankly, remarkable.

In the testimony before congress re Abu Ghraib it was put that Gen Sanchez never authorized 'harsh' interrogation techniques, yet subsequently we have documented evidence of him having authorized military dogs in interrogations by the MI brigade, amongst other previously prohibited techniques. How does this gel with your incomprehensible faith and belief that the 'rules and regulations' can never be abrogated or overridden ? With Individual dog-handlers being commended for taking a 'character' stand against 'unlawful orders' so as not to breach their own training and regulations ?

Why did the MPs and MI NOT process, i.e. document, 'ghost detainees', actively concealing them during ICRC visits, in breach of the UCMJ and the Geneva conventions, their own training and SOPs ? To what purpose ? Were these 'ghost detainees' also only magically processed, held and interrogated on a single night shift by some MP 'bad apples' ?

Remember the 'ghost detainee' that died during interrogation, the 'packed in ice' 'detainee', who's death was concealed for 24 hours and then the corpse surreptitiously 'disappeared' via gurney thence ambulance masquerading as 'wounded' complete with catheter and plasma drip ? Yep, that must have also been organized, sanctioned and actioned by rogue MPs who actually had no direct involvement.

He wasn't murdered by MPs, nor Navy Seals, whilst being interrogated in a Military run prison under the operational command of Col Pappas and the MI brigade. Did the MP 'bad apples' do that ? How could these events occur without command authority/direction within your idealized military if it's all just attributable to a single night shift of low ranking rogue MPs ?

PS To no-one in particular - can we 'Play the ball and not the man', please.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 16 2005 20:52 utc | 37

IIRC, Outraged is here, at least in part, to atone for what be believes to be his own sins against humanity, and in that atonement
he projects those sins upon others. His demons are not merely his own; he invests the innocent with them as well. This is rather repugnant.

A desire to see society return to, express faith in humanity, morals, principles, the overarching Rule of Law and to in an irrelevant and largely futile(?) way challenge the opposite on this forum I do not view as repugnant.

I contend I project nothing, invest nothing. However, I do strive to be factual, accurate, nuanced if possible and constant. Yes, occasionally I transgress from a self-disciplined approach to generalized, imprecise, sometimes confronting, 'devils advocate' positions on emotive issues.

For when I talk about the issues we discuss and debate here at MOA with my students at my local community college, and others, I do so through the prism of my own knowledge and personal experiences to prompt individual critical thought or analysis.

For that and my contributions here, I will neither apologize nor regret.

Why do you personally assail me ? Through nothing other than mere text have I so aggrieved and wounded thee ?

No such ill will do I hold against you, Pat.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 16 2005 21:48 utc | 38

IIRC, Outraged is here, at least in part, to atone for what be believes to be his own sins against humanity, and in that atonement
he projects those sins upon others. His demons are not merely his own; he invests the innocent with them as well. This is rather repugnant.

I think we all do this. Isn't this intellectual analysis and obsession with the criminal acts of others masking our own guilt? Moral superiority is one of the most dangerous positions to take. These hideous acts of others remind us of our own capability to do harm to others, even though most of us keep it in check. The knowledge still lurks. And know one knows who the guilty and the innocent really are. It's outrageous, the way we so blithely judge with such certainty. Even when we are engaged in the endless guessing game of what really happened and who did exactly what to whom and why.
Even when you are present at the scene of the crime, confusion reigns.

Posted by: jm | Nov 17 2005 0:34 utc | 39

The earth is filled with the graves of trillions of criminals and the prisons today filled to capacity, and still the crimes continue.

Fallujah was one of the worst, but another chapter in a continuing saga. I haven't recovered personally from having to witness this horror, but the exposure might eventually prove valuable as a gaping wound that continues to draw attention. Iraq, in general. As coverup fails. It's far worse when these things continue undercover. I think with the advent of the blogosphere, there is a new window to peer through and we are suffering the shock of seeing so much. We feel overwhelmed and helpless, but we'll work it out in time.

Metaphysically(and this is in no way a justification of mundane crime), the perpetrator and the victim are in collusion. The victim is egaged in a contract with the criminal, and both are complicit, of course, not consciously.

The myth of the Terra Cotta Warriors from ancient China is interesting in that these warriors purposely fought on the front lines without armor, in hopes that the suffering they invited would bring them redemption. Victims in a metaphysical way might be doing this and buying good time, while the perpetrators are bringing guilt and doom upon themselves. The victims are at least free from guilt.
But from this perspective they are not free from responsibility since they are victims in a sense, by choice.

This of course is impossible to reconcile with what we see around us, but I have always instinctively wondered when I have been victimized what I did to get into the situation. Many people can't afford the luxury of this kind of thought, especially when they are dead. Or when fire bombs are coming down every day like some godforsaken cocktail hour. But in between the blasts, we can try to reason it out.

Whatever the truth is, progress does not seem to be happening, and I think there is a huge underground reservoir of knowledge that needs to be tapped.

Posted by: jm | Nov 17 2005 1:32 utc | 40

There are two seperate issues here that seem to have become commingled.

The first is one that I am going to keep harping on about ad nauseum I'm afraid and that is the understandable but fallacious tendency of debaters to analyse their opponents character and motives rather than the substance of what they are saying.

Just as good people can get it wrong, 'bad' people can get it right so telling the rest of us about another poster's alleged character flaw is pointless. But worse than that it is frequently unfounded and off-target and extremely destructive to the group which like any gathering of sentient beings is easily diverted into the 'real issue' that is defending/protecting one's sense of self. Everyone is vulnerable to another's judgement so this sort of pseudo psychological examination of another is a debating tactic which confuses issues rather than illuminating them.

The second issue which is seperate is about why we believe what we believe. All of us at some stage have probably had to tolerate some moron whose voice is dripping with condescension tell us:"They say if you aren't a socialist at 20 you've got no heart but if you're still a socialist at 25 you've got no brain."

For me anyway the concept that beliefs are like fashions to be picked up and discarded in the same way people swap between stovepipes and flared trousers really doesn't convey a sense of nobility about the person who does it! Still people are often confused about what their real motives are as opposed to their intellectual justification for their actions.

Perhaps sometime we should have a debate on why we believe what we beleive but until that debate occurs why the fuck are we trying to look past the the words all the time? The chances of anyone getting to the 'truth' are so slim as to be negligible.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 17 2005 1:38 utc | 41

And I ask this question as this regime in the USA falls, "How and why did we create a government like this?"

Posted by: jm | Nov 17 2005 1:52 utc | 42

White House Hijacks Patriot Act Reauthorization
With a renewal vote imminent, lawmakers buckled to high-level pressure and stripped away meaningful bipartisan reforms.

Also, EPIC has obtained a copy of the Alito Paper on Privacy the final report (pdf) prepared by Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for a 1972 conference on "the Boundaries of Privacy in American Society." The paper proposes far-reaching protections for the right of privacy, and specifically addresses such topics as the use of census data, polygraphs, domestic surveillance, communications privacy, computer security and encryption, consumer protection, and homosexuality.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 17 2005 2:23 utc | 43

"And I ask this question as this regime in the USA falls, "How and why did we create a government like this?" "

Well if that's the question you're asking you're halfway there. Too often the question asked has been "Why are they doing this to us?" or even worse "What did we do to deserve this?"

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 17 2005 2:47 utc | 44

The Free Press
Tue Nov 15 2005
Election Issues
Has American Democracy died an electronic death in Ohio 2005's referenda defeats?
by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman
November 11, 2005
While debate still rages over Ohio's stolen presidential election of 2004, the impossible outcomes of key 2005 referendum issues may have put an electronic nail through American democracy.
Once again, the Buckeye state has hosted an astonishing display of electronic manipulation that calls into question the sanctity of America's right to vote, and to have those votes counted in this crucial swing state.
The controversy has been vastly enhanced due to the simultaneous installation of new electronic voting machines in nearly half the state's 88 counties, machines the General Accountability Office has now confirmed could be easily hacked by a very small number of people.
Last year, the US presidency was decided here. This year, a bond issue and four hard-fought election reform propositions are in question.
Issue One on Ohio's 2005 ballot was a controversial $2 billion "Third Frontier" proposition for state programs ostensibly meant to create jobs and promote high tech industry. Because some of the money may seem destined for stem cell research, Issue One was bitterly opposed by the Christian Right, which distributed leaflets against it.
The Issue was pushed by a Taft Administration wallowing in corruption. Governor Bob Taft recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanors stemming from golf outings he took with Tom Noe, the infamous Toledo coin dealer who has taken $4 million or more from the state. Taft entrusted Noe with some $50 million in investments for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, from which some $12 million is now missing. Noe has been charged with federal money laundering violations on behalf of the Bush-Cheney campaign. Taft's public approval ratings in Ohio are currently around 15%.
Despite public fears the bond issue could become a glorified GOP slush fund, Issue One was supported by organized labor. A poll run on the front page of the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday, November 6, showed Issue One passing with 53% of the vote. Official tallies showed Issue One passing with 54% of the vote.
The polling used by the Dispatch had wrapped up the Thursday before the Tuesday election. Its precision on Issue One was consistent with the Dispatch's historic polling abilities, which have been uncannily accurate for decades. This poll was based on 1872 registered Ohio voters, with a margin of error at plus/minus 2.5 percentage points and a 95% confidence interval. The Issue One outcome would appear to confirm the Dispatch polling operation as the state's gold standard.
But Issues 2-5 are another story.
The Dispatch's Sunday headline showed "3 issues on way to passage." The headline referred to Issues One, Two and Three. As mentioned, the poll was dead-on accurate for Issue One.
Issues Two-Five were meant to reform Ohio's electoral process, which has been under intense fire since 2004. The issues were very heavily contested. They were backed by Reform Ohio Now, a well-funded bi-partisan statewide effort meant to bring some semblance of reliability back to the state's vote count. Many of the state's best-known moderate public figures from both sides of the aisle were prominent in the effort. Their effort came largely in response to the stolen 2004 presidential vote count that gave George W. Bush a second term and led to U.S. history's first Congressional challenge to the seating of a state's delegation to the Electoral College.
Issue Two was designed to make it easier for Ohioans to vote early, by mail or in person. By election day, much of what it proposed was already put into law by the state legislature. Like Issue One, it was opposed by the Christian Right. But it had broad support from a wide range of Ohio citizen groups. In a conversation the day before the vote, Bill Todd, a primary official spokesperson for the opposition to Issues Two through Five, told attorney Cliff Arnebeck that he believed Issues Two and Three would pass.
The November 6 Dispatch poll showed Issue Two passing by a vote of 59% to 33%, with about 8% undecided, an even broader margin than that predicted for Issue One.
But on November 8, the official vote count showed Issue Two going down to defeat by the astonishing margin of 63.5% against, with just 36.5% in favor. To say the outcome is a virtual statistical impossibility is to understate the case. For the official vote count to square with the pre-vote Dispatch poll, support for the Issue had to drop more than 22 points, with virtually all the undecideds apparently going into the "no" column.
The numbers on Issue Three are even less likely.
Issue Three involved campaign finance reform. In a lame duck session at the end of 2004, Ohio's Republican legislature raised the limits for individual donations to $10,000 per candidate per person for anyone over the age of six. Thus a family of four could donate $40,000 to a single candidate. The law also opened the door for direct campaign donations from corporations, something banned by federal law since the administration of Theodore Roosevelt.
The GOP measure sparked howls of public outrage. Though again opposed by the Christian Right, Issue Three drew an extremely broad range of support from moderate bi-partisan citizen groups and newspapers throughout the state. The Sunday Dispatch poll showed it winning in a landslide, with 61% in favor and just 25% opposed.
Tuesday's official results showed Issue Three going down to defeat in perhaps the most astonishing reversal in Ohio history, claiming just 33% of the vote, with 67% opposed. For this to have happened, Issue Three's polled support had to drop 28 points, again with an apparent 100% opposition from the previously undecideds.
The reversals on both Issues Two and Three were statistically staggering, to say the least.
The outcomes on Issue Four and Five were slightly less dramatic. Issue Four meant to end gerrymandering by establishing a non-partisan commission to set Congressional and legislative districts. The Dispatch poll showed it with 31% support, 45% opposition, and 25% undecided. Issue Four's final margin of defeat was 30% in favor to 70% against, placing virtually all undecideds in the "no" column.
Issue Five meant to take administration of Ohio's elections away from the Secretary of State, giving control to a nine-member non-partisan commission. Issue Five was prompted by Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell's administration of the 2004 presidential vote, particularly in light of his role as co-chair of Ohio's Bush-Cheney campaign. The Dispatch poll showed a virtual toss-up, at 41% yes, 43% no and 16% undecided. The official result gave Issue Five just 30% of the vote, with allegedly 70% opposed.
But the Sunday Dispatch also carried another headline: "44 counties will break in new voting machines." Forty-one of those counties "will be using new electronic touch screens from Diebold Election System," the Dispatch added.
Diebold's controversial CEO Walden O'Dell, a major GOP donor, made national headlines in 2003 with a fundraising letter pledging to deliver Ohio's 2004 electoral votes to Bush.
Every vote in Ohio 2004 was cast or counted on an electronic device. About 15%---some 800,000 votes---were cast on electronic touchscreen machines with no paper trail. The number was about seven times higher than Bush's official 118,775-vote margin of victory. Nearly all the rest of the votes were cast on punch cards or scantron ballots counted by opti-scan devices---some of them made by Diebold---then tallied at central computer stations in each of Ohio's 88 counties.
According to a recent General Accountability Office report, all such technologies are easily hacked. Vote skimming and tipping are readily available to those who would manipulate the vote. Vote switching could be especially easy for those with access to networks by which many of the computers are linked. Such machines and networks, said the GAO, had widespread problems with "security and reliability." Among them were "weak security controls, system design flaws, inadequate security testing, incorrect system configuration, poor security management and vague or incomplete voting system standards, among other issues."
With the 2005 expansion of paperless touch-screen machines into 41 more Ohio counties, this year's election was more vulnerable than ever to centralized manipulation. The outcomes on Issues 2-5 would indicate just that.
The new touchscreen machines were brought in by Blackwell, who had vowed to take the state to an entirely e-based voting regime.
As in 2004, there were instances of chaos. In inner city, heavily Democratic precincts in Montgomery County, the Dayton Daily News reported: "Vote count goes on all night: Errors, unfamiliarity with computerized voting at heart of problem." Among other things, 186 memory cards from the e-voting machines went missing, prompting election workers in some cases to search for them with flashlights before all were allegedly found.
In Tom Noe's Lucas County, Election Director Jill Kelly explained that her staff could not complete the vote count for 13.5 hours because poll workers "were not adequately trained to run the new machines."
But none of the on-the-ground glitches can begin to explain the impossible numbers surrounding the alleged defeat of Issues Two through Five. The Dispatch polling has long been a source of public pride for the powerful, conservative newspaper, which endorsed Bush in 2004.
The Dispatch was somehow dead accurate on Issue One, and then staggeringly wrong on Issues Two through Five. Sadly, this impossible inconsistency between Ohio's most prestigious polling operation and these final official referendum vote counts have drawn virtually no public scrutiny.
Though there were glitches, this year's voting lacked the massive irregularities and open manipulations that poisoned Ohio 2004. The only major difference would appear to be the new installation of touchscreen machines in those additional 41 counties.
And thus the possible explanations for the staggering defeats of Issues Two through Five boil down to two: either the Dispatch polling---dead accurate for Issue One---was wildly wrong beyond all possible statistical margin of error for Issues 2-5, or the electronic machines on which Ohio and much of the nation conduct their elections were hacked by someone wanting to change the vote count.
If the latter is true, it can and will be done again, and we can forget forever about the state that has been essential to the election of every Republican presidential candidate since Lincoln.
And we can also, for all intents and purposes, forget about the future of American democracy.
Updated November 13, 2005
Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of HOW THE GOP STOLE AMERICA'S 2004 ELECTION AND IS RIGGING 2008, available at and, and, with Steve Rosenfeld, of WHAT HAPPENED IN OHIO, available from The New Press in spring, 2006.

Posted by: brodix | Nov 17 2005 3:07 utc | 45

Documents Show Nixon Deception on Cambodia Also, the Nixon Papers Show Worry Over Israel Nukes; A 1969 memo reported intelligence findings that "Israel is rapidly developing a capability to produce and deploy nuclear weapons," despite promises it would not introduce nuclear arms to the region.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 17 2005 3:46 utc | 46

The tantalising little crumbs that get shaken off the luncheon napkins are the only things that lift warmongers and mainchancers actions above the banal.

We will never know this was about but it sure stretches the brain speculating. A short quote from the article:

"Four Australian women have been detained while trying to board a plane in Syria, reportedly after gun parts were found inside a child's toy.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) said two women from Victoria and two from NSW were with two Iraqi women when they were detained at Damascus airport on Tuesday.

All six were of Iraqi origin, the department said. "

However I have no doubt that this little snippet will be cropping up in all sorts of theories 'supporting' all sorts of contentions.

Maybe we should have a MoA award for the most outlandish theory concocted from the least evidence. Points would be given for synergy ie the ability to incorporate the facts in the most simultaneous scenarios, originality eg blaming the CIA or Sunni dead enders would normally attract a low score unless there was considerable orginality in the actual plot, humour and presentation.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 17 2005 3:57 utc | 47

White House gearing up new "wag the dog" scenarios?

It bears repeating that this administration -- more than any other in recent times -- has employed deception and innuendo to mold public opinion and advance its political agenda. Indeed, the very scandal now enveloping the White House -- the apparent conspiracy to punish whistle-blower Joseph Wilson by revealing the covert CIA identity of his wife, Valerie Plame -- is rooted in the President's drive to mobilize support for the invasion of Iraq by willfully distorting Iraqi weapons capabilities. Why then would he and his handlers shrink from exaggerating or distorting new intelligence about other hostile powers, and then using such distortions to ignite an international crisis?

. . . There are many who claim that Bush could not possibly contemplate military action against Iran, Syria, or any other hostile power at present. American forces, they argue, are stretched to the limit in Iraq and so lack the capacity to undertake a significant campaign in another country. At the very least, these analysts overlook the massive American air and naval capabilities hardly engaged in Iraq, and certainly available for use elsewhere. But this is not the point. As Wag the Dog [the film] suggested, war itself is not the only way to distract public attention from the President's domestic woes. An atmosphere of crisis in which rumors of war or preparations for war come to overshadow all else might well do the trick -- and administration officials don't need fresh armies to accomplish this, only plausible scenarios for the escalation of existing foreign troubles. These, unfortunately, are all too easy to find.

from, What Are They Cooking Up in the White House?, by Michael T. Klare

Posted by: | Nov 17 2005 4:54 utc | 48

tony lagouranis, the u.s. army interrogator that amy interviewed the other day on democracy now, said a lot of things about his experience in iraq that are key to understanding what is going on over there

I was interrogating at the detention facility at Forward Operating Base, CALSU. I was getting prisoners that were arrested by Force Recon marines, and they -- every time Force Recon went on a raid, they would bring back prisoners who were bruised with broken bones, sometimes with burns. They were pretty brutal to these guys
. . .
I was believing the intelligence reports that came in with the prisoner. I believed the detainee units, but later it became clear to me that they weren't -- they were picking up just farmers, you know, like these guys were totally innocent and that's why we weren't getting intel.
. . .
I did more than 300 interrogations in Iraq, and I'm guessing like 20 people, I got any like real intel out of
. . .
how many people did we get intel out of in Guantanamo? You know, a small handful, and in Abu Ghraib also. I didn't work there for that long, but many of my friends did they worked there all of 2004, and they told me, they got nothing. They got no intel out of that place.
. . .
you know, we were trained to do interrogations according to the Geneva Conventions with enemy prisoners of war. And we trained using role players using a conventional army prisoner, and also a terrorist organization, and we treated both of them as though they were enemy prisoners of war. We weren't allowed to cross any lines. So, I don't know why I allowed the army to order me to go against my training, and against my better judgment and against my own moral judgment. But I did. I should have just said no.

at what point do otherwise reasonable people begin to draw the conclusion that so little intel has been gleaned from these actions b/c intel itself was never really the goal in the first place? the u.s. is engaged in a counterinsurgency war. these attrocities and massacres that so disgust & demoralize us are not the abberations of a program, but the program itself. it's a continuation of the focus on counterinsurgency & 'limited wars' that kennedy accelerated & which rumsfeld has been pushing the military toward since 2000. iraq et al are both battlefield and laboratory.

a counterinsurgency must destroy the base of support for the insurgency, prevent them from accessing safe areas & establishing liberated areas, and try to overcome the ideological truths that mobilizes the insurgents w/ propaganda & psyops. thus we witness their use of mass civilian round ups, torture, and various intimidation tactics to attempt to dilute the sea in which the insurgents swim through, or as the counterinsurgents phrase it, 'drain the swamp'. incarceration & detainment deprives the insurgency of recruits & cadres, breaking up underground political structures. torture & psychological damage render them ineffectual. we witness the collective punishment of falluja which serves both to level a safe base for insurgents & as an intimidation tactic to other communities of what lengths the occupiers will go to in order to punish those sympathetic to the insurgency aims. a mini-genocide in the middle of a larger terror campaign whose message goes not unnoticed by those targeted. (the timing was probably more oriented to the period of ramadan than it was to the u.s. presidential elections outcome ..after all, they already knew the outcome, right?) we witness a very coordinated series of psyops campaigns to tarnish world opinion of the insurgency revolution, attempting to cut off any external reinforcement at the head (literally...think back to the nick berg video).

this counterinsurgency war is just getting started. president blinky has ratcheted up the rhetoric over the past couple of month, laying a new foundation for the next several generations (he hopes), replacing the well-worn, but effective 'int'l communist conspiracy' w/ a broader 'int'l radical islam conspiracy'. this will undoubtedly be their rationale for continued interventions, regime changes, and other clandestine operations. and should the bad cops (rethugs) find public tolerance of their behavior too much of a liability in our consumer-driven society, surely the good cops (demopublicans) and their liberal 'stronger america' mantra can be counted on to not venture too far from the agenda (and probably refine it as well!)

this is sounding bleak, i know, but really, if we're still not able to call things as they really are wrt everything that the u.s.a., in particular, is standing for these days, what hope is there of any deviation from the path we are stumbling down? the winnebago elder reuben snake once said "if we don't change directions, we're going to end up where we're headed." where is that vision that will allow us to get through this? it's always easy to react and analyze, compared to what is really needed - authentic moral authority, a vision that engenders mass support & cogent political awareness, an organizational plan for establishing viable institutional & systemic alternatives to the current system, the realization of self-managed communities, mobilization against hypocrisy/lies/state propaganda/state violence/state terrorism, and so on...


Posted by: b real | Nov 17 2005 5:02 utc | 49

Bodies still being found in NOLA You know, it's hard to imagine anything worse than coming back to your home in New Orleans and finding it completely destroyed. But, tonight, as you're about to hear, there is something worse, much worse. Dozens of families have returned to what is left of their homes and found, lying amidst the mold and the wreckage, a body, forgotten, abandoned. Maybe it's their mother or their grandmother, sometimes even their missing child.

More Here

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 17 2005 5:27 utc | 50

FWIW: Wayne Madsen never fails to deliver
something sexy, from the White House horror collection, but corroboration will undoubtedly be a long time in coming.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 17 2005 7:11 utc | 51

hannah, i love reading wayne but i always keep the salt shaker nearby.

Posted by: annie | Nov 17 2005 7:18 utc | 52

@ annie I agree completely, and yet right now I would love to believe that there is an organized cross-fire in progress to keep the Bush administration pinned down: Madsen's revelation (which I tend to believe but consider
unlikely to be verifiable) could potentially produce fundy apoplexy and make W seem worse than Clinton in their eyes for "Clintonian" (i.e. sexual) reasons. Meanwhile, the Plame case revelations represent another opposition pill box raining fire on the "general quarters" (RGiap will like that Maoist reference). On that flank, the Woodward-Hadley story may well open a new breach in the defensive positions. As the theleftcoaster puts it

And which is worse for Bush: the fact that he knowingly promoted two people to senior positions in the government (Secretary of State and NSA) who may have been involved in this, and lying about his knowledge of this all this time to the American people in advance of a presidential election, or not knowing any of this was going on right underneath his nose for the last two years. And tell me again why, if Bush did know this, did he let both Condi and Hadley keep their security clearances, to this day?

This definitely pulls the whole thing inside the Oval Office, and “high crimes and misdemeanors” is back in the lexicon. The president's current NSA talked to a reporter about the identity of a critic's wife, who happened to work at the Agency on WMDs, and we are supposed to believe that Condi, our current Secretary of State and the NSA at the time kept this information from Bush?

Of course it may all just be coincidence and over-correlation of unrelated stories, but to me it smells like "the establishment" has decided that they can't really afford to go on risking the consequences of allowing the traitorous meathead to remain the White House for 3 more years. Pure conspiratorial thinking on my part, of course: I don't know who actually constitutes that establishment or how its decisional process evolves. Nevertheless, there really are signs that even the most obedient media flacks are starting to disseminate the newly approved gospel. I think the reaction to DID's letter to the Times may be indicative. DID is, IMHO, absolutely right to suggest that the media facilitators of an agressive war should also consider themselves as potential defendants in a War Crimes Tribunal. Some of them may even know that although that may be considered a loony position in the U.S. it isn't in other countries. The fact that the white phosphorous story "got traction" as a result of Italian TV and U.S. bloggers can't be lost on those with guilty consciences about covering up war crimes.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 17 2005 8:09 utc | 53

I've been reading the link that b real provided to an interview with a former US army interrogator in Iraq. I don't share b reals bleak outlook on this but some of this stuff is surreal and banal at the same time. How can that be possible?

Well the guys is talking about a squad of marines he worked with who "would go out and do a raid and stay in the detainee's homes, and torture them there. They were far worse than anything that I ever saw in a prison. They were breaking bones. They were smashing people's feet with the back of an axe head. They burned people. Yeah, they were doing some pretty harsh stuff."

So I'm just carefully absorbing that stuff. I hate thinking about it but we have to know so this stuff is never forgotten anyway the interviewer asks a question about where this is happening and this is what was said "AMY GOODMAN: And FOB?

TONY LAGOURANIS: FOB is Forward Operating Base. So, it's Forward Operating Base CALSU that I was at.

AMY GOODMAN: That's where, exactly.

TONY LAGOURANIS: It’s in north Babel, south of Baghdad. "

it's Monty Pythonesque really "north Babel, south of Baghdad" you know the place in the bible with the tower, it used to get a bit noisy there by all accounts.

We have managed to seperate the feelings and stories associated with the images these places used to have as part of the seat of human civilisation from the awful reality of blood terror and explosion those places have become.

In wasn't that long ago when someone said "Baghdad" and I would think of minarets and magic carpets, now I imagine shattered bodies and pools of blood lying in the streets of grey buildings manufactured from concrete tilt slabs.

Part of slowing the slaughter must be to get middle amerika to acknowledge the humanity of Mespotamians. I am sure that calling the people Mesopotamians rather than Iraqis is part of that process along with giving out the real story of Sinbad the sailor (born in Baghdad), The Story of ‘Ala-ed-Din and the Wonderful Lamp, and some of the other great yarns in One Thousand and One Nights (Click the link they're all there).

I can understand why b real feels pretty bleak about the immediate future of the Mid East. The sort of oppression excess and miserable existence b real describes is pretty much 21st century Palestine. drain the swamp has almost but not quite worked there.

Certainly the average Palestinian has such an awful existence that many are demoralised enough to help their oppressor just as some Jewish people helped facilitate their oppression in Nazi Germany.

However in both those situations te oppresors had sheer weight of numbers. Yep te numbers are pretty evenly matched between Jews and Palestinians in larger Palestine where as Nazi Europe Jewish people were hopelessly outnumbered, however in Iraq and the rest of the Mid East the numbers would be all in favor of the resistance. Be hard to drain a swamp in those circumstances. The iraqi puppet regime is in a cleft stick. If the uses and it's assorted brown noses leave Iraq the puppets couldn't hold power for longer than a few short weeks, but as long as the crusaders are there it will be nigh on impossible to get more popular support.

As we have said in here many times it's impossible to tell from this distance what is really going on. For example we can only speculate that Zarquawi is a Golstein but Iraqis will be hearing much more accurate gossip about who he is and his real agenda than any hotel entrapped journalist could.

Iraqis of all creeds have a pretty fair idea of what's going on and unless they are SCRI loyalists indoctrinated in Iraq, there is no way they could tolerate the quislings in the puppet govt.

So in a nutshell b real I have no doubt that BushCo would love to undertake a bit of 'swamp draining' thing is they can't find or develop sufficient numbers of normal Mesopotamians to drain any swamp.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 17 2005 10:25 utc | 54

Don't forget Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Debs. A story about a cave full of treasure will win the heart of a middle american in a second.
My personal favorite is Sinbad in the Valley of Diamonds with the giant snakes.

It's true that Americans have a hard time wrapping their tongues around the appellation given to their friends/enemies/terror producers/torture victims/liberated oppression victims/demons, innocents, and democracy craving fellow humans.

The variations are many:


Indicative of the overall confusion. I think the pandemonium there has exceed the furthest stretches of the PNAC imagination and the whole thing has a comlete life of its own. No one can really do anything but wait and see what it does. I agree that it isn't Bushco's for the taking.

Posted by: jm | Nov 17 2005 11:58 utc | 55

Are You Listening, Samuel Beckett?

Torturer's Theater

... But who discovers what when is not as important as what keeps unraveling. When the "liberators" and the "liberated" are torturers, doing their work in the same places and (usually by proxy for the Americans) the same manners in which Saddam once did, there isn't any skin left to peel off the face of the occupation's purpose or credibility. There is no skeleton beneath. There is only the silent scream of condemnation no one wants to hear. In this theater of the absurd, even the tax-paying audience underwriting the show is deaf.

One last absurd irony: On December 15, we will have been in Iraq exactly one thousand days, crowning Christmas Day as more than a rhetorical Thousand and One Nights. What a present. The only number that matters on this side of the stage, of course, is that there are only 39 shopping days left till then.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 17 2005 15:31 utc | 56

I notice Murtha "choked back tears" addressing journos about the war.

I notice repub senators/politicians weeping often (the nut senator from ok, bob dole, bush, etc.)

creepy. IMO, such emotional fragility is scary.

Also, I notice repub men have very thin lips. women too. why?

These are phrenological and psychological signposts of fascism?

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 17 2005 18:11 utc | 57

"...decent church-going women with their mean, pinched, bitter, evil faces..."--William S. Burroughs

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 17 2005 18:15 utc | 58

Read a few of Cheney's "pushback" remarks from last night -- his critics, he says, are "dishonest and reprehensible . . .[spewing] cynical and pernicious falsehoods" -- which brought to mind something Rumsfeld once said about protecting (hiding) the truth behind "a bodyguard of lies."

Searched the phrase and found this blog entry at "charlotte street:"

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Nightmares & Bodyguards of Lies

Was reminded in conversation the other day of 'The Power of Nightmares', a BBC programme that I missed a few weeks ago. Anyway, it can be watched online, albeit in a barely watcheable version and with a useful transcript. It concentrates, initially, on the US neo-cons and their Straussian doctrines of the 'noble lie,' and the strict policing and propagation of the friend/ foe distinction. The idea was consciously to exaggerate various external threats in order to secure domestic cohesion. (All this also ties in with Strauss’s ideas about esoteric and exoteric meanings). Its contemporary relevance is obvious.

See also this article:

... our Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld once noted in an off the cuff remark, strategic truths sometimes need be defended by a “bodyguard of lies.”[i] Here Rumsfeld was thinking no doubt of Churchill’s famous quip defending Operation Fortitude, the mock invasion force aimed at Calais that drew the attention of Herr Hitler and his high command away from the Normandy beaches and hid the Allies’ operational plans in the summer of 1944. Rumsfeld’s critics in Washington and London, however, have in mind more the history of contemporary philosophy than the history of WWII.

In the past few months, the “bodyguard of lies” metaphor has been redeployed and used to characterize the Bush Administration’s raw manipulation of the CIA and other intelligence agencies for propaganda purposes and for the gross deceit that seems to characterize the rationales put forward for their Iraq policy. Of these there were many--WMDs, a suspected connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, or the humanitarian rescue of the Iraqi people. They shifted depending on their intended audience and perhaps the day of the week. The “imminent threat” of WMD’s were emphasized for the British public while links to “Al Qaeda-like terrorism” were stressed at home – where the fiction that Saddam was directly involved in the September 2001 attacks has been firmly embraced by over two thirds of the American public. As Olivier Roy rightly noted last May, ”Washington’s stated war goals were not logically coherent, and its more intellectually compelling arguments were usually played down or denied.” ii

posted by Mark Kaplan at 1:06 AM

Posted by: manonfyre | Nov 17 2005 18:16 utc | 59

Tamiflu! the saga continues

The Japanese have learned that Tamiflu kills the hard way:
"Japan's health ministry says it plans to reissue a warning of dangerous behavioral side effects linked to the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu. This comes amid reports that several children in Japan died after taking the medication. Governments around the world are stockpiling the medicine amid growing fears of a possible human pandemic of avian influenza."

I heard this story in passing last night and spent a little time this am chasing it up. When I first went hunting by looking for information about the effects of Tamiflu on young people, all I could find was Roche information on approval for use with those aged 1 year to 12y.o. That was from April 2005 when the FDA widened it's approval to include children. Long after the Japanese had begun to notice that it has been implicated in the deaths of children and has been known to have caused adverse psychiatric events in 64 instances in the last 4 years.

I have been unable to access the site of Donald Rumsfield's Corporation, Gilead, who are the primary patent holders for Tamiflu. However Google cache informs that the FDA has just given approval for Tamiflu to be dispensed in a "Tutti-Frutti flavored" suspension!

Rummy's mate World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has been doing his bit too. As in:

"the World Bank said $1 billion will be needed to combat the current bird flu outbreak and make preparations for an impending human flu pandemic. While the World Health Organization said at least $500 million will be the cost of developing drugs and vaccines."

So the most recent effort to bilk the sick and the poor out of their health resources, now that every last cent has been wrung out of energy costs, seems to be going swimmingly.

It also seems the issue of prescribing this muck to kids is a biggie, perhaps their focus groups have told them that adults are more likely to shell out for medicine for their children than themselves, because as Of April 2005 Roche have issued an investor update informing:

"Roche has filed a supplemental new drug application (sNDA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), requesting an extension of the prophylaxis indication for Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) to include children ages one through 12. Currently, Tamiflu is indicated for the prophylaxis of influenza in adult patients and adolescents 13 years and older. Tamiflu is also indicated for the treatment of uncomplicated acute illness due to influenza type A or type B infection in patients one year and older who have been symptomatic for no more than two days. Roche is optimistic that FDA will complete their review of the sNDA before the next flu season. "

So does this mean that in addition to wasting billions of scarce public health resources on a campaign for a 'pandemic' that will probably never occur, if it does develop into a pandemic, the 'cure' is going to send our children into raving psychosis? What's up with that?

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 17 2005 18:36 utc | 60

Well, via C&L,>Murtha's press conference. Stuff to cry about, for sure.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 17 2005 19:55 utc | 61

the vid's there. thought I could jusdt link to the file. sorry bout that.

definitely, something to see.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 17 2005 19:57 utc | 62


Also, I notice repub men have very thin lips. women too. why?

Very true. And you can watch them get so thin they almost disappear when they are defensive.

I think fleshy lips are associated with generosity. giving of the self.

Posted by: jm | Nov 18 2005 0:25 utc | 63

Let's cut the racism right there, folks.
Lots of fleshy-lipped neo-cons: Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol......

Let's not even go down that street in jest, before we all descend to "darkie" jokes.

Posted by: Malooga | Nov 18 2005 1:17 utc | 64

It ain't racism, Malooga. It's like reading lines on the hand. It might be closer to hocus pocus.

Posted by: jm | Nov 18 2005 1:24 utc | 65

Thankyou for the link. It does work. Ya'll can download or play the file directly.

Representative Murtha's (D. Pa) press briefing and call for the IMMEDIATE withdrawal of U.S. troops is patently heartfelt and sincere, though he's still a little 'iffy' re foreign policy (IMHO).

Hopefully this call will have resonance amongst the rest of the Reps.

Highly recommend viewing and passing on the CNN footage. If you can, view it, the transcript is no substitute.

Finally, a former career Marine, a moral politician of principle and intellect speaks the truth so concisely.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 1:41 utc | 66

F___ing scum !!! Oh, may they rot in hell.

This is the White House' Press Secretary response to Murthas press conference:

"Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled-nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer."

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 1:50 utc | 67

Murtha in Full [transcript]

Democratic Congressman John Murtha gave a press conference today introducing his resolution for redeployment of American troops in Iraq. Below is a transcript of his remarks and the text of the resolution itself.


"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 2:28 utc | 69

F___ing scum !!! Oh, may they rot in hell.

They are too busy creating it here on earth. I remain sick with anxiety. How did it come to this? How is it possible that people don't rise up and protest it? I have never felt so young and stupid. I just don't understand how this can be happening. No one prepared me for this and the shame of my impotence is overwhelming.

Posted by: Enough | Nov 18 2005 2:38 utc | 70

Seldom overtly political, Murtha uncharacteristically responded to Vice President Dick Cheney's comments this week that Democrats were spouting "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges" about the Bush administration's use of intelligence before the war.

"I like guys who've never been there that criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done," Murtha said.

Referring to Bush, Murtha added, "I resent the fact, on Veterans Day, he criticized Democrats for criticizing them."

Murtha once worked closely with the vice president when Cheney was defense secretary. During Vietnam, Bush served stateside in the National Guard while Cheney's five deferments kept him out of the service entirely.

With a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, Murtha retired from the Marine Corps reserves as a colonel in 1990 after 37 years as a Marine, only a few years longer than he's been in Congress. Elected in 1974, Murtha has become known as an authority on national security whose advice was sought out by Republican and Democratic administrations alike.

Murtha was an Intelligence officer in the Marines and has recently partnered the 'anti-torture' amendment in congress shoulder to shoulder with Sen. John McCain.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 2:59 utc | 71

this barbaric & barbarian empire bark while bodies are burning in their beds in baghdad

in samarra, tal afar, mosul

any nulber of sacred sites that have been turned to shit

& with the holy roller hatemongers hunting their careeers down the corridors of congress

i consider for what they have done, what they are doing & what they are about to do their beliefs, faiths, customs, speeches & words mean absolutely nothing at all. null & void

account sheets that do not take into account the murder which is its foundation

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 18 2005 3:13 utc | 72

Pentagon agrees to probe Feith's role in Iraq intel [and the Office of Special Plans (OSP)]

Thu Nov 17, 2005 8:42 PM ET
By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon's inspector general has agreed to review the prewar intelligence activities of former U.S. defense undersecretary Douglas Feith, a main architect of the Iraq war, congressional officials said on Thursday...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 3:13 utc | 73

Did I hear something about the Nuremburg paper headlining "Have City Will Host Trials All Expenses Paid", or was I dreaming? Happy Anniversary, Germany. Now we understand.

P.S. Are you coming to our rescue this time?

Love, America

Posted by: jj | Nov 18 2005 3:16 utc | 74

I stopped by to bring to everyone's attention one of the larger events that may be getting lost in the minutae...2 Former Presidents, probably the only living ones who are still coherent, were sent out on the Attack. As a matter of policy past presidents keep their mouths shut - united country & all that bullshit. That may be unprecedented, but it certainly is of Extreme Importance. They didn't just wake up one day & decide to do it....Clinton may even be doing some interesting stuff in ME.

Posted by: jj | Nov 18 2005 3:25 utc | 75


Thomas Moore's Dark Eros: The Imagination of Sadism explains alot of Merican culture. From the jacket:

In Dark Eros: The Imagination of Sadism, Thomas More turns to a shocking subject: the hidden values in the repulsively fascinating fiction s of the Marquis de Sade. Moore offers a fearlessly new reading of sexual sadism, as he exposes the psychological and imaginative implications of torture, violence, and victimization. Moore, whose eye is always on the soul, advocates a third way of dealing with life's inherent problems of power and tyranny - not moralistic repression, not idealist transformation, but rather than the ancient paradox that the cause of a disease is its cure. Imagination cures literalism, opening a way through the cruelties that affect family, education, love affairs, the work place, and politics.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 18 2005 3:27 utc | 76

Democratic leadership does not support Murtha statement or his call for withdrawal...

An Unlikely Lonesome Dove

By Dana Milbank
Friday, November 18, 2005; Page A06

In his 37 years in the military, John Murtha won two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with a Combat "V," and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. As a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania for the past 31 years, he has been a fierce hawk, championing conflicts in Central America and the Persian Gulf.

Yesterday, he was called a coward.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 4:06 utc | 77

This is some sort of a sick joke, right?

Posted by: DM | Nov 18 2005 6:14 utc | 78

This is some sort of a sick joke, right?

Nope. It's as if aMerica has fallen into some kind of Illearth War .

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 18 2005 6:44 utc | 79

Sorry DM but it isn't. I dunno if we ever debated this delightful little insight into the foulness of the human condition here or I just read about this Mengeles mimicking at Counterpunch or somewhere similar but it is true.

I am finding it all a bit difficult to deal with at the moment (that's it. Make it all about meself) I can't just keep saying that my first duty is to the children or I need to complete my treatment or whatever.

I don't think I'm a drama queen and am usually reluctant to do the sky is falling in routine but things are getting so foul and fucked that anything less than total front on opposition to these inhuman parasites on the asshole of humanity feels like consent.

I doubt its just me. The way that everyone has been 'going for the goolies' when a debate breaks open suggests few are doing their best thinking. We have been getting so overwhelmed we have been turning on each other.

See this Murtha bloke got me real mad although the Amerikans and ex-pats who know a bit about the bloke cheer at his 'honesty' and suggest that his opposition to troops remaining in Iraq tells us tipping point is here.

If the US pulls out on the pretext that they have a body of professional and dedicated soldiers who are being needlessly sacrificed in the name of Haliburton, it virtually guarantees that there will be another Iraq type adventure within a generation.

I took the time to watch the bloke's spiel and he's a professional warmonger whose reason for pulling out isn't to prevent further needless civilian deaths. He goes through this litany of terrible things:

""Our military has been fighting a war in Iraq for over two and a half years. Our military has accomplished its mission and done its duty. Our military captured Saddam Hussein, and captured or killed his closest associates. But the war continues to intensify. Deaths and injuries are growing, with over 2,079 confirmed American deaths. Over 15,500 have been seriously injured and it is estimated that over 50,000 will suffer from battle fatigue. There have been reports of at least 30,000 Iraqi civilian deaths."

And look the poor old Iraqi civilians are by far the highest number of deaths but those figures are only 'reported' not real hard statistical data like the numbers of 'our boys' dead. The fact that the Iraqi casualties are mentioned last suggests they have been thrown in as an afterthought.

If it weren't for the horrible cost to the people of Iraq I would advocate that the US forces be made to stay and slowly get picked off like dog ticks. No, not for revenge but so that Amerikans are forced to confront the reality of their actions.

If these rapists and murderers leave because Murtha says it's time; then within a couple of years there'll be memorials glorifying their attempt to avenge the killers behind the 9/11 terror. Anyone who even mentions torture in polite company in the US will be branded a traitor or a lunatic.

Some of you Amerikans or ex-pats may have arced up at the description of the troops in Iraq all being rapists and murderers, but I am just applying the same US law to the military, that all too often the US establishment does to young non-white males.

I used to try and follow the details of executions in the US, primarily because I wanted to witness the penny dropping, but it never did.

But several young men were shot, gassed, injected or otherwise murdered because whilst on a burglary with 'mates'; these unfortunates bumped into a resident who was raped and murdered by one of the other members of the crew.

The actual rapist then turned state's witness and copped a plea for life imprisonment in return for testifying in a capital trial against the bloke who 'just' burgled.

So if just being along for the ride gets you called a rapist and a murderer in Texas why is it different in Iraq?

Praise the young Amerikans who didn't go despite the lack of employment or having no saleable skills after 12 years of underfunded public education. But the very suggestion that the kids who managed to keep their conscience under control until they finished their tour, are heroes, has me upchucking on the carpet.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 18 2005 8:47 utc | 80

@Debs is Dead
Was caught up in the 'moment' of the 'call' and missed the actual message ...

I see your point re the danger of the framing of his concept of withdrawal and what it is that Murtha truly fears ... internal destruction of the Army, the financial costs to rebuild it, the loss of the utility of freely exercising military might ... ultimately loss of Empire.

If there is no acceptance of the wrongness of the acts and deeds ... no acceptance of obligation to the innocent Iraqis as our victims ... compensation for the destruction of their countries infrastructure ... no recanting of the policies that led to this ... no deeper reflection on our flawed system of representation and government and what our true goals were ... no accountability ... then the Lie lives on ... we will wrap it all up in the jingoism of the flag, rebuild, re-arm and do it all again ... in merely just a few years ...

From Vietnam to Grenada ... from Iraq to ... Venezuela ?

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 15:00 utc | 81

Reading Bamford's Rolling Stone article on the Rendon Group has strengthened some feelings initiated by earlier comments of Debs. While we are waiting for the Rapture (i.e. a War Crimes Tribunal for American war criminals) why not aid the process by preparing a suitable list of defendants? Some choices are too obvious to need specification here, but if we review the major historical precedent, then the case of Hans Fritzsche may suggest useful guidelines. It would seem that not only the Rendon Group, but also many other top tier news media executives and reporters are, prima facie no less indictable than Fritzsche, who was acquitted at the Nuremberg Tribunal of Crimes against Peace, though later convicted on other charges by a German Tribunal. This is not a new idea but perhaps it can now be seriously discussed in "civil society". After all, the case of Fritzsche established both the principal of media liability for complicity in crimes against peace, and the possibility of acquittal. Including media figures among the defendants could yield two further minor advantages: it might be the only way to ensure serious coverage of the trial, and announcing suitably motivated "nominations" for this ignominy might stimulate useful discussion and re-thinking of positions.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 18 2005 15:00 utc | 82

Bush in 'Nosedive' as Murtha Urges Iraq Retreat

By JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
November 18, 2005

President Bush's power appears to have reached a nadir in Washington, with important legislative measures stalled in Congress, top administration officials shadowed by a leak scandal, and mainstream politicians launching strident critiques of America's strategy in Iraq.

The administration's current impotence was on clear display yesterday as a bipartisan group of senators tripped up a White House-backed reauthorization of the Patriot Act, a major appropriations bill was voted down on the House floor, and a moderate Democratic congressman, Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, called for an immediate withdrawal of American forces from Iraq...

- snip -

However, Mr. Hess warned against pronouncing Mr. Bush's political demise. "Be cautious about making assumptions like that. This president still has three-plus years in office. He's not going to be impeached," the longtime Washington observer said...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 16:40 utc | 83

here's the link to bamford's article on john rendon
The Man Who Sold the War: Meet John Rendon, Bush's general in the propaganda war

Posted by: b real | Nov 18 2005 16:45 utc | 84

Some excerpts from 'The Man who Sold the War' posted by B Real ...

By law, the Bush administration is expressly prohibited from disseminating government propaganda at home. But in an age of global communications, there is nothing to stop it from planting a phony pro-war story overseas -- knowing with certainty that it will reach American citizens almost instantly. A recent congressional report suggests that the Pentagon may be relying on "covert psychological operations affecting audiences within friendly nations." In a "secret amendment" to Pentagon policy, the report warns, "psyops funds might be used to publish stories favorable to American policies, or hire outside contractors without obvious ties to the Pentagon to organize rallies in support of administration policies." The report also concludes that military planners are shifting away from the Cold War view that power comes from superior weapons systems. Instead, the Pentagon now believes that "combat power can be enhanced by communications networks and technologies that control access to, and directly manipulate, information. As a result, information itself is now both a tool and a target of warfare."

Rendon is one of the most influential of the private contractors in Washington who are increasingly taking over jobs long reserved for highly trained CIA employees. In recent years, spies-for-hire have begun to replace regional desk officers, who control clandestine operations around the world; watch officers at the agency's twenty-four-hour crisis center; analysts, who sift through reams of intelligence data; and even counterintelligence officers in the field, who oversee meetings between agents and their recruited spies. According to one senior administration official involved in intelligence-budget decisions, half of the CIA's work is now performed by private contractors -- people completely unaccountable to Congress. Another senior budget official acknowledges privately that lawmakers have no idea how many rent-a-spies the CIA currently employs -- or how much unchecked power they enjoy

Three weeks after the September 11th attacks, according to documents obtained from defense sources, the Pentagon awarded a large contract to the Rendon Group. Around the same time, Pentagon officials also set up a highly secret organization called the Office of Strategic Influence. Part of the OSI's mission was to conduct covert disinformation and deception operations -- planting false news items in the media and hiding their origins. "It's sometimes valuable from a military standpoint to be able to engage in deception with respect to future anticipated plans," Vice President Dick Cheney said in explaining the operation. Even the military's top brass found the clandestine unit unnerving. "When I get their briefings, it's scary," a senior official said at the time.

Indeed, Rendon is already thinking ahead. Last year, he attended a conference on information operations in London, where he offered an assessment on the Pentagon's efforts to manipulate the media. According to those present, Rendon applauded the practice of embedding journalists with American forces. "He said the embedded idea was great," says an Air Force colonel who attended the talk. "It worked as they had found in the test. It was the war version of reality television, and for the most part they did not lose control of the story." But Rendon also cautioned that individual news organizations were often able to "take control of the story," shaping the news before the Pentagon asserted its spin on the day's events.

"We lost control of the context," Rendon warned. "That has to be fixed for the next war."

So this is the 'Real America', hey ?

Still believe in our so-called 'Democracy' ?

This has got to stop !

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 17:36 utc | 85

Dems distracted by wrong war

November 18, 2005

The elections last week proved that Democrats can still win elections. Recent surveys also show that solid majorities want a Democratic Congress next year and that a substantial majority of Americans think President Bush does not tell them the truth. The only problem is, there is little evidence that the Democrats' appeal goes beyond the fact that they are not Republicans. Do they need anything more than "turn the rascals out" as a campaign slogan?...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 18:32 utc | 86

but my friend, outraged, it will not stop

it will not stop until the american people as a people understand their complicity in these crimes. practically & morally

it will not stop until this empire is taught a lesson it will not forget in a generation

it will not stop until the suicide bombs that wreack iraq this day - are finally blamed on the people who organised this war - the empire & its allies & secondary victims

it will not stop until the crimes of this administration are jurisprudentially understood to be the same crimes for which the nazi administration of germany went before the nuremberg tribunal & that they should be judged under those exact laws

if milosevic & karadic go before such a tribunal it is absolutely consistent for a bush or a cheney or a rumsfield or an abizaid

it will not stop until these criminals face a real & permanant justice

knowing that will not happen - i look forlornly to a future that is drenched in blood

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 18 2005 19:10 utc | 87

even the scum at cnn are sometimes obliged to tell the truth :

"LONDON, England -- Former CIA director Stansfield Turner has labeled Dick Cheney a "vice president for torture."

In an interview with Britain's ITV news Thursday, Turner said the U.S. vice president was damaging America's reputation by overseeing torture policies of possible terrorist suspects, the UK's Press Association reported.

"I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture," Turner said, according to ITV's Web site. "He condones torture, what else is he?"

Turner said he did not believe U.S. President George W. Bush's statements that the United States does not use torture.

Turner ran the Central Intelligence Agency from 1977 to 1981 under former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

"We have crossed the line into dangerous territory," PA quoted Turner as saying. "I think it is just reprehensible."

Referring to Cheney, Turner said: "I just don't understand how a man in that position can take such a stance."

In Washington, Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, is leading a campaign to ban cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody. (Full story)

The administration says the legislation could tie the president's hands, and Cheney has pressed lawmakers to exempt the CIA, according to The Associated Press.

While international law and treaty obligations forbid torture and inhumane treatment, classified memos have given the government ways to extract intelligence from detainees "consistent with the law," administration officials say.

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 18 2005 19:15 utc | 88

Propaganda is a difficult 'art' to master.

The propagandist must be careful not to lose touch with actual 'reality', become too arrogant or overconfident and never fall into the trap of self-delusion, actually believing ones own lies.

To work most effectively, especially over time, it must be constantly based on facts, a core of truth. Otherwise a loss of faith and trust occurs and then almost everything is perceived by the intended audience as a dishonest lie.

Bush&Co have spun masterfully complex, sustained and sophisticated propaganda in the political, military and economic spheres. They even create and plant false stories, even manufacture news segments in the foreign press in order feed it back into the domestic media. Thus creating false legitimacy and simple to manufacture artificial corroboration granting 'weight' to utter falsehoods spun from whole cloth.

Yet, as in their grand strategies of empire, have they not again 'over-reached' ?

IIRC, something like almost two thirds now believe Bush is personally dishonest and that the Iraq War was launched on an ocean of lies. More than half think we should get out of Iraq.

Having created such a complex web of propaganda only to have major portions unravel as total falsity merely accelerates the public's almost unconscious, instinctive suspicion and lack of trust. Reminds me a little of the post Watergate days ...

It is so remarkably ironic that this was one of the very issues we championed against the 'evil empire', the Soviets, re their blatantly propagandistic and State suborned, manipulated press. Damned godless commies.

Though they may largely control the domestic press and can 'plant' foreign stories, they don't control the rest of the worlds press, even if they may 'influence' sections of it. Just as the false stories feed into the U.S. media, so too do 'undesirable', or alternate 'objective' foreign press articles become instantly available to Americans who care to look.

Reaching or having reached a critical public mass re such perceptions of dishonesty, faithlessness, distrust how does the great propaganda machine recover 'control' ? Ah, if only they had restricted themselves to 'little lies' rather than layer upon layer of 'great lies'.

Checkout the following article from NewsDay and parse the painful, strained contortions they struggle with having painted themselves into a corner into a virtual corner ...

Senate mood shows end of Bush's war has begun

Nov 18, 2005

The Senate's two votes on the Iraq War earlier this week seemed, on the surface, to be a victory for President George W. Bush.

First, it rejected a Democrat-sponsored plan to set a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Then, it voted on a compromise version that only called upon the president to report quarterly on progress there. Bush himself said he could live with that.

But it is far more likely that the Senate votes represent the beginning of the end of Bush's war in Iraq.

- snip -

What I will never understand is how experienced national security hands such as Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld allowed this inexperienced and history-challenged president to put himself in such a position. Indeed, they encouraged him to do so.

It was always going to take years - years as measured in decades - and considerable sacrifice of life and treasure, to rebuild Iraq. By not preparing the American people for that reality before the war began, the Bush administration set itself up for what is happening now: a massive loss of support for the effort.

Likely the administration believed it could never get the support it needed for an invasion if it had been honest from the beginning about what the costs of the war could be. Better to underplay the risks and exaggerate the threat, and worry about the consequences later. Now it is later, and the second Senate vote is an ominous signal that the American people will not support this effort much longer. Bush has lost his gamble.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 19:18 utc | 89

No, it will not stop.

Nor is it back and white without shades of grey.

The CIAs 'realists' have been progressively sidelined, the agency gutted, its functions stripped, duplicated and detached.

The military, more precisely the Pentagon is now clearly the major executive organ of government. Along with it's security contractors (mercenaries), DIA and compartmented covert, psyops, propaganda and black ops. Not to mention its energy and arms industry corporate companions and beneficiaries. Rumsfeld and the Vice Prez, the OSP, the WHIG and the OITF ...

All above and beyond the formerly minor mechanisms of oversight, control, restraint, accountability.

It's impossible to imagine the 'new improved' expanded powers Pentagon ever being brought to heel.

My heart yearns to believe this might possibly occur without greater tragedies, yet my mind knows it almost cannot be so...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 19:43 utc | 91

My friend, these times must truly be desperate for you to quote, reference, a former agency director as a transient ally ? ;)

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 19:48 utc | 92

not stop until this empire is taught a lesson it will not forget in a generation

I too have used "ermpire" as a metaphor for power/US military.

"Empire" is misleading because it connotes unitary location of power in American government. The word does not adequately capture the tortuous way present day capitalism insinuates a power-arrangement including Chinese bankers, Indian industrialists, Korean financiers, Russian oil-oligarchs, Euro-capitalists of every describable vocation.

"Complicity" in the maintenance of this network of power is not borne by "the people"--they are nothing more than abstract labor-power whose legitimation of power is tenuously extracted by the false-consciousness of social relations. "The people" are the workers of the world. The struggle is global, and the consciousness needed to oppose this global power is not peculiarly absent in the minds of average Americans, but is also a remission in the consciousness of all workers about ther practical affairs of life guided by capitalist exploitation of labor.

"Empire" is therefore too often a reproduction of the distracting ideology that "Americans" are the only ones who must change, and therefore obscures the one true struggle: global class war.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 18 2005 19:52 utc | 93

Fitzgerald says he needs a new grand jury.

Posted by: | Nov 18 2005 20:02 utc | 94

"ermpire" = empire.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 18 2005 20:03 utc | 95

Fitzgerald says he needs a new grand jury.

Posted by: | Nov 18 2005 20:03 utc | 96


global class war ?

Though political science or theory is hardly my strong suit, I would (naively ?) like to believe that capitalism and the unfettered power of the ultra-rich and corporations could be harnessed to support/benefit community via counter-balancing grass-roots and community movements ... if only people were not so apathetic and frankly, 'indoctrinated' ...

Something akin to Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution perhaps ? Though I fear his movements possible seduction by authoritarianism in service of an ideal ...

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 20:16 utc | 97

The dilemna, to paraphrase ... Power, in anyones hands, can corrupt, absolute power, absolutely.

Posted by: Outraged | Nov 18 2005 20:20 utc | 98


there was the military theory of lin piao - 'the field & the city' - which fifty years later seems very prescient in the nature of empires

Posted by: r'giap | Nov 18 2005 20:21 utc | 99

in this dark time

justice would be enough - something that approaches even a normative sense of justice

tho the idea of tombrils in washington does gives me a certain frisson

Posted by: r'giap | Nov 18 2005 20:23 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.