Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 31, 2006

Fresh Open Thread

News & views ...

Posted by b on October 31, 2006 at 9:02 UTC | Permalink

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Zawahiri Was Target in U.S. Attack on Religious School in Pakistan

Ayman al Zawahiri was the target of a Predator missile attack this morning on a religious school in Pakistan, according to Pakistani intelligence sources.

ABC News has learned the raid was launched after U.S. intelligence received tips and examined Predator reconnaissance indicating that al Qaeda's No. 2 man may have been staying at the school, which is located in the Bajaur region near the village that is thought to be al Qaeda's winter headquarters.

Despite earlier reports that the missiles had been launched by Pakistani military helicopters, Pakistani intelligence sources now tell ABC News that the missiles were fired from a U.S. Predator drone plane.

That may be very well the end of Musharraf ...

Posted by: b | Oct 31 2006 10:46 utc | 1

Gen. Odem How to cut and run

THE UNITED STATES upset the regional balance in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but "cutting and running" must precede them all. Only a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops — within six months and with no preconditions — can break the paralysis that now enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public.

Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others.

But reality can no longer be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. All of these things and more became unavoidable the day that U.S. forces invaded.

Posted by: b | Oct 31 2006 11:00 utc | 2

Will the Tories shaft Blair over Iraq this afternoon?

MPs will on Tuesday debate a motion tabled by Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru which demands an immediate investigation of the war by a committee of senior MPs.

But a Conservative amendment calls for an inquiry along the lines of the Franks Report into the Falklands War at an "appropriate time" within the next year.

And a senior aide to Tory leader David Cameron warned that if it was not accepted, the Conservatives would back the nationalists' call for an immediate inquiry.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Oct 31 2006 11:51 utc | 3


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 31 2006 14:54 utc | 4

The Myth of the Omnipresent Enemy

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 31 2006 15:01 utc | 5

Culture warriors conspiring...
The insular world of intelligence reaches out for a few new ideas

Also see, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS): Chairman of the Senate Cover-up Committee

They're woking hard on the 'hearts and minds', not in Iraq, but here at home.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 31 2006 15:18 utc | 6


are you less my uncle than my nephew because yr energy in supplying links sometimes task even my promethean energies

still steel

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 31 2006 15:43 utc | 7

Bush White House: "A Cataclysmic Fight to the Death"

I resonate much w/ what Debs is dead says, and with much respect to conchita, I mean no ill, but what the kossacks don't get is that the congress both repunk and demo's are nothing short of boot lickers of the dynasty.

So, to translate, when they say, "A Cataclysmic Fight to the Death", it not a fight with the congress, it's a war on the people of America, for example see my above #6.

Make no mistake, you are the enemy.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 31 2006 15:47 utc | 8

will someone one day explain the site meter

i have watched it only for a week or two & have noticed we have guests from africa, latin america & the middle east - yet it says they rest for 0 seconds

that is true also for what are obviously military centres which have appeared also byt for the same 0 seconds

i know i'm an imbecile but it mystifies me

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 31 2006 15:48 utc | 9

Can anyone access the site meter? How do you view it?

Posted by: Bea | Oct 31 2006 16:08 utc | 10

Can anyone access the site meter? How do you view it?

Bottom left on the main page. Foreground font is black over the dark blue of the background - hover your mouse around if you cannot see it.

Posted by: LittlePig | Oct 31 2006 16:23 utc | 11

I found this at Blah3 yesterday and I just cannot stop thinking about this. This was passed on the same day as the torture bill was approved. Yet, as far as I know it has never been mentioned on any media outlet. I do not remember hearing anything about this until it hit me in the face yesterday. It just scares the crap out of me.

In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President's ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

The original story was from TowardFreedom and it just freaks me out that this was sneaked in by Senator Warner on the same day the Torture Bill was approved. I believe they are connected in some pretty scary ways.

Posted by: apishapa | Oct 31 2006 16:24 utc | 12


The third and final act in the national tragedy that is the Bush administration may soon play itself out. The Okhrana reports increasing indications of “something big” happening between the election and Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on Iran.

An attack on Iran will not be an invasion with ground troops. We don’t have enough of those left to invade Ruritania. It will be a “package” of air and missile strikes, by U.S. forces or Israel. If Israel does it, there is a possibility of nuclear weapons being employed. But Israel would prefer the U.S. to do the dirty work, and what Israel wants, Israel usually gets, at least in Washington.

That this would constitute folly piled on top of folly is no deterrent to the Bush administration. Like the French Bourbons, it forgets nothing and it learns nothing. It takes pride in not adapting. Or did you somehow miss George W. Bush’s declaration of Presidential Infallibility? It followed shortly after the visit to the aircraft carrier with the “Mission Accomplished” sign.

The Democrats taking either or both Houses of Congress, if it happens, will not make any difference. They would rather have the Republicans start and lose another war than prevent a national disaster. Politics comes first and the country second. Nor would they dare cross Israel.
What I fear no one forsees is a substantial danger that we could lose the army now deployed in Iraq.
The danger arises because almost all of the vast quantities of supplies American armies need come into Iraq from one direction, up from Kuwait and other Gulf ports in the south. If that supply line is cut, our forces may not have enough stuff, especially fuel, to get out of Iraq. American armies are incredibly fuel-thirsty, and though Iraq has vast oil reserves, it is short of refined oil products.
If the U.S. were to lose the army it has in Iraq, to Iraqi militias, Iranian regular forces, or a combination of both (the most likely event), the world would change. It would be our Adrianople, our Rocroi, our Stalingrad. American power and prestige would never recover.

Posted by: b | Oct 31 2006 17:08 utc | 13

@rgiap - 9

Why do some of my visitors have visit lengths of 0:00?

That means the visitors are only staying to view a single page and then leaving. The only way that Site Meter knows how long someone is on a site is by the times of each page view. If they only look at a single page and then leave, we don't know how long they looked at the page. If they looked at two pages and left we would know they at least were on the site during the time of the first page view and the second page view. The difference between those two times would be the length of the visit.


Posted by: b | Oct 31 2006 17:25 utc | 14


Posted by: stoy | Oct 31 2006 17:30 utc | 15

it just freaks me out that this was sneaked in by Senator Warner on the same day the Torture Bill was approved.

Don't forget that Sen. John Warner (ie Mr. Elizabeth Taylor) was General Counsel for the CIA before they urged him to run for Senate.

Posted by: jj | Oct 31 2006 17:32 utc | 16

was that because it is Halloween?

Talking about the sitemeter reminded me that the "comments(x)" on the main page looks really slow today, for example it claims no more then 12 posts on this thread.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Oct 31 2006 17:36 utc | 17

STOY!! good to see you. hope all is well.

Posted by: conchita | Oct 31 2006 17:37 utc | 18

welcome stoy
& thanks b for illuminating the mystery of site meter

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 31 2006 17:47 utc | 19

stoy! nice to see you. what are you going to be for halloween?

Posted by: fauxreal | Oct 31 2006 17:48 utc | 20

‘Tupperware navy’ to protect Gulf oil route
Two of the Navy's smallest but most sophisticated and expensive warships are preparing to leave their Clyde base at Faslane for a two-year deployment to the Persian Gulf.
The Navy role will be vital in safeguarding passage for tankers in the narrow sea lanes around the Straits of Hormuz if Tehran decided to disrupt supplies in response to international sanctions over its nuclear programme.

Posted by: Alamet | Oct 31 2006 18:04 utc | 21

watched cspan on th 'internets' & there was a reunion of pollsters & others at george washington university

their names elude me but there was an extremely rigorous democrat pollster (mellman?) who was very optimisic & a republican operative (fehde?) of almost mephistopholean arrogance who tersely sd there would be no change - because the republicans were the true grassroots master

i waste what little holidays i have being snapped at by the mediocre interpreters of a quite special moment in history. do they breed journalists in pigpens these days, their mouth forever in the trough

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 31 2006 18:11 utc | 22

Katherine Harris is writing a tell-all book? Or is this just a threat b/c she needs campaign funds...

Katherine Harris, who is trying to become a U.S. senator, says she is writing a tell-all about the many people who have wronged her. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to: the Republican leaders who didn't want her to run, the press that has covered her troubled campaign, and the many staffers who have quit her employ, whom she accuses of colluding with her opponent.

She is vague about what, precisely, makes her a victim, but she says she has it all documented.

I don't really expect to read anything close to reality from her (read the rest of the article). Because surely she knows (or maybe not) that she would be caslaroed" if she did write about, oh, say the 2000 election in an honest way.

(btw, two former Time reporters, not exactly a whacky conspiracy mag, wrote about their belief that Casolaro was murdered in their book about BCCI. Jonathan Beatty was one award-winning reporter who noted that Casolaro cleaned up after himself -- all the blood on the floor -- after he committed suicide.)

Maybe she's just fishing for a payoff since she's invested 3 million of her own money in her campaign.

Posted by: fauxreal | Oct 31 2006 18:19 utc | 23

just a learned a new english vocable - sycophancy


Bush's interview with Hannity is worth watching simply as a spectacle of sycophancy.

Here's a sample question:

"HANNITY: Let's talk about the nature of fighting the war here. We've got political disagreements. Nancy Pelosi, the woman who'd love to be speaker, she's against the NSA surveillance program.

"BUSH: Yes.

"HANNITY: She's been against the Patriot Act, voted against the creation of the Homeland Security Department, has cut intelligence, voted against the border fence. Is it then fair to say she is weak on national security issues?"

Here's a partial transcript ; and video parts one , two , and three .

Posted by: b | Oct 31 2006 19:26 utc | 24

Worth your time:

Tristero at Hullaballo: The American Theocracy Movement

It is a serious mistake to underestimate these people. They have more cash, and more followers than we do. More importantly, they know, as we yet don't, that they are in a culture war. And they know, as incredible as it surely sounds to Rosenfeld and Yglesias, that the culture war is a continuation of the ancient struggle between the priests and the philosophes and ideals of the Enlightenment. Go ahead, Matt and Sam, read what they actually say. Listen to their speeches. That's what this is about.

and Garry Wills at NYRB A Country Ruled by Faith
Bush promised his evangelical followers faith-based social services, which he called "compassionate conservatism." He went beyond that to give them a faith-based war, faith-based law enforcement, faith-based education, faith-based medicine, and faith-based science. He could deliver on his promises because he stocked the agencies handling all these problems, in large degree, with born-again Christians of his own variety.
It is common knowledge that the Republican White House and Congress let "K Street" lobbyists have a say in the drafting of economic legislation, and on the personnel assigned to carry it out, in matters like oil production, pharmaceutical regulation, medical insurance, and corporate taxes. It is less known that for social services, evangelical organizations were given the same right to draft bills and install the officials who implement them.
There is a particular danger with a war that God commands. What if God should lose? That is unthinkable to the evangelicals. They cannot accept the idea of second-guessing God, and he was the one who led them into war. Thus, in 2006, when two thirds of the American people told pollsters that the war in Iraq was a mistake, the third of those still standing behind it were mainly evangelicals (who make up about one third of the population). It was a faith-based certitude.

Posted by: b | Oct 31 2006 19:54 utc | 25

a silly holiday deserves a silly song, even if it is from last year -- shrub singing Monster Hash

Posted by: b real | Oct 31 2006 20:47 utc | 26

Bush promised his evangelical followers faith-based social services, which he called "compassionate conservatism." He went beyond that to give them a faith-based war, faith-based law enforcement, faith-based education, faith-based medicine, and faith-based science. He could deliver on his promises because he stocked the agencies handling all these problems, in large degree, with born-again Christians of his own variety.

(from: a country ruled by faith, linked just above)

Bush never followed thru, and never intended to. Social services were simply downgraded somewhat, as happens with all right wing Gvmts. The war(s) on Afgh. and Iraq have never had anything to do with faith and Bush never pretended that it was so. (Though he sent covert and fakey signs, easily denied.) Law enforcement has not changed, if anything it has become more lax - against real crimes committed by white men. Medecine has continued down its natural path, not different from that in some other countries, more expensive, more class-based, less accessible to the poor. That has nothing to do with any kind of faith.

Science - now there is a point. But that is carefully managed. Real scientists continue to know real science, it is only in the media (fox tv, etc.) that garbage is presented. Well that is not quite right, because presenting the garbage also entails suppression of real science, but that has been done only in areas of concern to the economy and Bush admin: climate science, health stats, poverty, and especially, energy and the environment. None of it has anything to do with faith. The only area where true faith-based ideals were implemented are the trivial stuff of aid for AIDS (no condoms, etc.) in far off Afreeka - in any case the money is never given in full, what is reported in the press is fanciful, has no correspondence to what happens on the ground. However, it is true that the US has a separate Aids program. (Also some minor stuff about family planning in the US which no one pays any attention to.)

No. What the Democrats and the free thinkers and the Greens or the non-voters or whomever should understand is that faith is not an issue - mocking it or kicking in doors that have been left open purposely is a waste of time and energy, falling into that trap for the foolish. The ‘faith based’ stuff fools many, specially outside the US. Sometimes I think that that is its main purpose. Faith is a pink herring, serves to distract - the issues are deeply political and only political, and even the most faithful know it in their heart of hearts. But it serves its purpose, or one of its purposes; it stops opponents from acting, challenging, moving forwards, as they take irrationality for granted, whinge about stumbling blocks that don’t exist, and enjoy mocking, deriding - poor people, blacks, etc., thus making the overall situation even worse...

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 31 2006 20:47 utc | 27

@uncle I usually make a point of never returning to a thread I have commented on, that way hopefully avoiding the cat fighting and mud-slinging which I never seem able to resist, but I was a bit taken aback to see that any sort of alignment with Did spoutings implies a conflict with Conchita, because although I don't agree with Conchita's point of view on a number of issues, she is a much better person with far more sensible points of view than she appears to let herself be (shit that came out all patronising which isn't how I'm feeling).

Me, I'm just sick of thousands of Arabs dying for no good reason. Even worse for those who believe all politics is local, Deputy John Howard has taken a leaf outta Dubya's book in regard to taking unilateral international action to serve the interests of the corporates in one's own country.

His arrogance mixed with self serving ignorance has wreaked havoc in Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and now Fiji. Apart from Timor Leste those nations make up the bulk of what used to be called Melanesia. Melanesia is a group of Pacific Islands populated by a particular race, as opposed to Polynesia which comprises Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Nuie, New Zealand amongst others.

Polynesia is chiefly coral atolls perched upon recent volcanic cones, whereas Melanesia is much older, breakaway bits from Gondwanaland.

Sorry for the Melanesians, that means their home islands are rich in minerals and oil and alla that shit which destroys non-developed nations. When the deputy's work has been done those nations with be bogs leavened with toxic swamps, all the forests having been burned and logged prior to strip mining (see Bouganville) and the reefs surrounding them destroyed by destructive foreign trawling more akin to vacuum cleaning than angling.

I will write a much larger piece on this if anyone is interested. Maybe in the hiatus between the farce, and the reality of the farce striking home.

Certainly something needs to be said. I was speaking to a member of the whanau who lives in Australia and has done so for 40+ years. He is normally reasonably on the mark in his assessment of what is going down but on this issue the Oz media has been spinning with one top just as the amerikan MSM were/are.

He has been bludgeoned into believing that all the senior Australian officials seconded into various powerful civil service positions through Melanesia, (eg Police Commissioner, Treasury Secretary or even chief justice of the supreme court in one melanesian nation), are merely doing their duty to enforce local constitutions when they raid Prime Ministers offices or impound military supplies enroute to the Fijian army.

The loyal opposition, the Australian Labor Party, (note amerikan spelling), is behaving just as the demopublic party of of amerika behaves. eg telling the faithful that they are appalled at the govt's actions before going onto the hustings and implying that "we aren't doing enough" .

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 31 2006 21:43 utc | 28

Mike Stark rules.

Film at eleven (or earlier).

Posted by: beq | Oct 31 2006 21:46 utc | 29

Just turned in my absentee ballot.

Posted by: beq | Oct 31 2006 21:47 utc | 30

pieter botha i hope you find yr friends in hell - may whatever was left of your soul burn

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 31 2006 23:07 utc | 31

& unsurprisingly the gutless piece of garbage that passes for parliament in england has of course been buggered by blair

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 31 2006 23:17 utc | 32

B: Lind is right on the money, as often.
I've already been on record here and in other places, but I'll say it again. I've always been of the opinion that the most dangerous days weren't October and its lacking surprise. The most dangerous time will be between the election (GOP defeat) and the moment the new Congress comes into power.
I won't get into the cranky and crankiest ideas I have at times about how bad things could go and what BushCo would try to do, it's not pretty at all.

And Lind is absolutely right, as others have said since years, Gilliard not the least, that going to war against Iran may threaten the survival of the entire expeditionary corps in Iraq. Apart from the not-uncommon comparison to Afghanistan, Lind had already compared the whole lunacy to the infamous Athenian expedition against Sicily.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Nov 1 2006 0:22 utc | 33

the magisterial mercedes sos pour conchita

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 0:34 utc | 34

the last declaration of salvador allende

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 0:50 utc | 35

And not to forget, from the archives of early 20th century history, the British in Mesopotamia...

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4

Posted by: Bea | Nov 1 2006 1:00 utc | 36

Pentagon unit to push US message

The Pentagon plans to focus more of its resources on so-called new media, such as the internet and web logs, or blogs under the scheme.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 1 2006 1:03 utc | 37

Greetings, comrades.

Clueless Joe #33: This is right on target. The period from October to January is going to be volatile and ripe for some monstrous mischief from these cretins.

R'Giap: Thanks for the Mercedes Sosa....I first heard her sing this song 25 years ago (on tape - "desde en vivo de Argentina")...still haunting, still moving.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Nov 1 2006 1:13 utc | 38


i was hoping to find a film of a concert she gave in managua - during the sandinistas - where she kept on crying campesino campesino campesino until you could not breathe air - i think of it now & feel the chills of wonder that song gave me

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 1:30 utc | 39

Complaints Mount at U.S. Fortress in Iraq

Several months before a U.S. construction foreman named John Owen would quit in disgust over what he said was blatant abuse of foreign labourers hired to build the sprawling new U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Rory Mayberry would witness similar events when he flew to Kuwait from his home in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.

Posted by: annie | Nov 1 2006 1:54 utc | 40

memo reveals Air America advertiser blacklist

An internal ABC Radio Networks memo obtained by Media Matters for America , originally from a listener to The Peter B. Collins Show , indicates that nearly 100 ABC advertisers insist that their commercials be blacked out on Air America Radio affiliates. According to the memo, the adverstisers insist that "NONE of their commercials air during AIR AMERICA programming." Among the advertisers listed are Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, Federal Express, General Electric, McDonald's, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, and the U.S. Navy.

Posted by: annie | Nov 1 2006 3:31 utc | 41

Israeli air strikes kills Palestinian, wounds 17

"...An Israeli military spokesman confirmed "there is ground action in northern Gaza now" and said there had been two air strikes targeting gunmen either approaching troops or planting a bomb."

"...Israel withdrew its army and Jewish settlers from Gaza last year after a 38-year occupation but tension has risen on the frontier since the Islamic militant Hamas movement came to power after winning Palestinian elections in January."

Okay... sorry for being a dim bulb here, but I'm just trying to collate this data. Israelis are firing on Palestinians for approaching troops in Gaza that they had allegedly withdrawn a year ago? Let me do some math here... nothing into nothing... carry the zero... no, this doesn't add up at all.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 1 2006 4:36 utc | 42

@Monolycus #42

Israel has decided to "take action" in the Gaza Strip. Note that in the same announcement PM Olmert is quoted as indicating that Israel has killed 300 "militants" in Gaza in recent months -- as if this was not "taking action" already in a territory that they ostensibly "withdrew" from a year ago. The Palestinians, sealed off from the world and already weakened by poverty and now hunger (due to Israel and American witholding of funds to put pressure on the elected Hamas government to capitulate to their demands), are completely and utterly without protection. The situation is just unimaginable.

Israel to intensify action in Gaza

Posted by: Bea | Nov 1 2006 5:02 utc | 43

One US-coup candidate taken to Amman for safekeeping

As noted a couple of days ago, Azzaman reported on the weekend details of what Washington had in mind as a possible military government for Iraq, and one of the points was there could be nine to eleven military people involved. Today's Al-Quds al-Arabi (Tuesday October 31) tells what happened to one of these persons already, Muhammad Abdullah al-Shahwani, described as head of Iraqi intelligence. Citing sources close to Shahwani in London, the paper says US forces had to suddenly airlift him to Amman after learning of a plan to assassinate him, along with members of his group. The Americans told Shahwani to stay in Amman until further notice, and someone else has been appointed to replace him as head of Iraqi intelligence. This report says the supposed assassination plot was involved "armed militia tasked with the protection and escort of senior officials in the government and ministers, and the protection of their houses in the Green Zone".

Posted by: annie | Nov 1 2006 5:15 utc | 44

Over in the West Bank, the situation is increasingly grimmer as well:

West Bank Under Lockdown

WEST BANK - The number of roadblocks and checkpoints in the West Bank has risen by 40 per cent since the start of 2006, with 528 permanent and temporary checkpoints and physical roadblocks disrupting all aspects of Palestinian life, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Jerusalem.

In addition to stifling Palestinians' ability to work, these obstacles are causing increasing desperation among the population.

"My city is nothing more than a big prison," said Tamer Mohammed, a 26-year-old Nablus Municipality employee.

Like every male between the ages of 16 and 35 carrying a Nablus identification card, Tamer is not allowed to travel south of Nablus, a city of 191,000 inhabitants in the north of the West Bank, to the central and southern areas of the West Bank.

In theory, he is also banned from travelling north of Nablus, although he said soldiers at the northern checkpoint are more lenient and, depending on their mood, may let young Nablus men through.

The restriction on men such as Tamer is just one of an increasing number of limitations on Palestinian movement between different areas of the West Bank, the UN has warned.

"The ability to get to work or get goods to market is severely compromised. It's a continuing shutting down and locking down of the Palestinian areas," said David Shearer, head of OCHA's office in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"We are seeing an increasing fragmentation of the West Bank, which has been chopped into three areas - north, central and south - and it is increasingly difficult for Palestinians to move from one area to another. The whole fabric of life for Palestinians has been disrupted," he added....

Shoot on sight policy

However, they say Israeli soldiers have now adopted a shoot-first-ask-questions-later policy for anyone suspected of trying to get past checkpoints. In September, Israeli troops opened fire on a Palestinian car passing near Huwwara, killing one Palestinian civilian and wounding two others....

Before the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, there were a maximum of 30 checkpoints in the West Bank, the UN's Shearer said. The checkpoint and permit system had eased at the time of Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip last year but had already begun tightening before the Hamas government was elected in January 2006 and has continued to tighten progressively since, he added.

Posted by: Bea | Nov 1 2006 5:15 utc | 45

Wonder if advertisers warned off supporting non-repug radio?

Posted by: jj | Nov 1 2006 6:33 utc | 46

Shredding with Dick
Spotted on 10/19, by an eagle-eyed Wonkette reader: The Mid-Atlantic Shredding Services truck making its way up to the Cheney compound at the Naval Observatory.

Oh, and be damn sure not to forget the recent fire, because a lot of people have a lot of motivation to lie, obfuscate, destroy evidence, etc. ...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 1 2006 6:50 utc | 47

Grrr... my other link didn't post, I was referring to the recent Fire at Fort Meade.

I wonder what it was that Patrick Fitzgerald wanted from those files...
Is it CYA? A data purge before stepping it up to the next level (change of hands?)? Or something completely different?

what a mafia these sons of bitches are....

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 1 2006 7:23 utc | 48

Re: the ol' courthouse fire trick...

I can imagine the first accountability hearing or war crimes tribunal against Michael Hayden...

Prosecutor: General, what happened to the records that we've subpoenaed?

Hayden: I don't know, they were burned in the fire of 2006.

This fire and this report of shredding provides the entire "intelligence" community with blanket immunity from this point forward. It must be nice for the traitors among them to get a clean slate in the event that their wild days of impunity could come to (hopefully somewhat of) an end.

Goddamn I can't believe this is happening and no one is connecting the dots.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 1 2006 7:37 utc | 49

good of you to stop by

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 1 2006 7:56 utc | 50

Security Council Seat Tied to Aid

Republican and Democratic administrations have insisted for decades they do not engage in the grubby vote-buying practices that are common in elections for key U.N. posts.

Yet poor countries that serve on the influential Security Council typically receive substantially more U.S. aid dollars and find it easier to obtain loans or grants from financial institutions that are strongly influenced by the United States and other economic powerhouses, according to recent academic studies.
A two-year seat on the Security Council, for instance, can generate a 59 percent spike in U.S. assistance, according to a study by two Harvard University scholars that tracked U.S. economic and military assistance from 1946 to 2001. In times of crisis, U.S. aid to some member countries has increased by as much as 170 percent. Those aid levels tend to recede after the country leaves the 15-nation council.

Posted by: b | Nov 1 2006 9:00 utc | 51>Cutler has a take on the relationship between the new oil laws being discussed and partition:

Liberally sprinkled amidst the news about Iraq is ongoing talk of “partitioning” the country. An article in the New York Times today includes a rather prominent discussion of support for such a policy among Democrats like Senator Joseph Biden and adivsors like Peter Galbraith.

Are there any signs that the Bush administration is seriously considering such an option?

I tend to think that the function of the partition chatter has little to do with real options on the table and much more to do with ongoing negotiations over the Iraqi hydrocarbons law that will govern relations with the oil industry.

The US is firmly committed to centralized national control over the development of new oil fields. In this, they have the support of Sunni Arab political forces along with nationalist Shiite forces in Southern Iraq, including those loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr.

The threat of partition, however, is being used to pressure these Sunni and Shiite forces to embrace particular oil policies that will be very unpopular with Iraqi nationalists, even as they are sought after by international oil majors.
Most observers believe that the involvement of BearingPoint, as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - as a condition of cancelling 30% of Iraq’s $39bn debt to the Paris Club of creditors - in drafting of the petroleum law is likely to result in handing over control of the development of Iraq’s oil fields to foreign oil companies. This policy, although supported by many in the government - namely Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi and Oil Minister Shahristani, who see a major role for foreign oil companies in Iraq’s oil industry - is understood to be strongly opposed by the majority of Iraqi people and by the oil industry trade unions. It could be seen as confirming the belief that the war was about oil after all.

There is no way that the oil majors would support the actual partition of Iraq. This is a bluff. And they will have to weigh the popular backlash–in the context of ongoing insurgencies–to an oil regime that appears to strip Iraqis of national treasure.

A June 2, 2004 analysis from the World Market Research Centre captures the idea:

[The] most important task… is the establishment of a new state-owned Iraqi national oil company (NOC) to oversee the existing functional companies (without ruffling too many oil industry feathers) and to set in place a framework by which INOC can most effectively co-operate with private investors, without antagonising the Iraqi nationalist constituency. This will be the issue on which [the Oil] ministry performance will be assessed and the one that will be most integral to shaping Iraq’s oil and gas future in the coming years.

How much more will the US and the oil majors risk further antagonising the Iraqi nationalist constituency in the hope of leveraging more lucrative oil deals?

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 1 2006 9:57 utc | 52

Thank you, anna missed, for the link to Crude Benchmarks at Prof. Cutler's blog.

Reading between the lines of the NYTimes article that he quoted

Though American officials would describe Mr. Hadley’s talks only in the vaguest of terms... proposals now being discussed inside and outside the two governments range from how to permit greater autonomy for Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish sections of the country without splitting the country apart; how to share oil revenues among Iraq’s population; and an amnesty for those who attacked Iraqi or American troops.

Nearly a year after national elections, the Sunnis, and not just the insurgents, remain unreconciled to the loss of primacy they enjoyed for generations — and to the loss of revenue they enjoyed under Saddam Hussein. “The problem is that in 2003 the Sunnis got 70 percent of the oil, and now they are being asked to take 20 percent,” Mr. Galbraith said.

Some American experts have suggested that the Bush administration should abandon the effort to create a Western-style democracy and throw its weight behind a stronger Iraqi government. Mr. Cohen, in the Wall Street Journal article, which the White House e-mailed to reporters because it concluded that a withdrawal of American troops would be disastrous, wrote that “a junta of military modernizers might be the only hope of a country whose democratic culture is weak, whose politicians are either corrupt or incapable.” But he also highlighted the downsides of returning to a strongman government.

Iraqi newspapers have adopted the theme of a government change, speculating on the possible composition of a “national salvation government,” backed by the United States, that would wrest power from the Shiite alliance that chose Mr. Maliki for prime minister.

leaves room for Pepe Excobar's observations (Coalition of the drilling) right in the center of the Iraqi debacle.

The US is going to make a grab for Iraqi oil setting the Sunnis up under a new Sadaam as the enforcers of the deal and the protectors of the big oil rapists in return for a bigger cut of the oil revenues than they would get as the minority that they are in Iraq.

And the Demoplicans, Joseph Biden in particular, seem to be on board all the way.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Nov 1 2006 10:45 utc | 53

the Sunnis/insurgents do not seem to be overwhelmed by taking on both the US military & the Shia militias at the same time. Not a good indicator that they will be easily pacified.

And all this talk about what-to-do with Iraqs oil just seems like so much pie in the sky, at least until the civil war is resolved one way or another.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 1 2006 11:33 utc | 54

Posted by: Dismal Science | Nov 1 2006 12:37 utc | 55

From Dept of Meet the New(s) Trolls, Same as the Old Trolls. (Uncle's link @ #4):

Because Tricky Dick Che-Che-Cheney is concerned to redress the "balance" in the infowar on our beloved, but obviously terrortastic, internets:

Speaking in an interview with Fox News, Mr Cheney said that insurgents were using the internet to time their attacks, although he did not provide any evidence to that effect.

"There isn't anything that's on the internet that's not accessible to them. They're on it all the time. They're very sophisticated users of it," Mr Cheney said.


The White House is particularly concerned that insurgents are using the internet to disseminate their message and give the impression they are more powerful than the US, our correspondent says.

In response the US defence department has set up a new unit to better promote its message across 24-hour rolling news outlets, and particularly on the internet.

The Pentagon said the move would boost its ability to counter "inaccurate" news stories and exploit new media.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said earlier this year the US was losing the propaganda war to its enemies.

The newly-established unit will use "new media" channels to push its message and "set the record straight", the Pentagon's Mr Ruff said.

"We're looking at being quicker to respond to breaking news, being quicker to respond, frankly, to inaccurate statements," he said.

A Pentagon memo seen by the Associated Press news agency said the new unit would "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and aim to "correct the record".

The unit would reportedly monitor media such as web logs and would also employ "surrogates", or top politicians or lobbyists who could be interviewed on TV and radio shows.

Mr Ruff said the move to set up the unit had not been prompted either by the eroding public support in the US for the Iraq war or the US mid-term elections next week.

Stand by your beds and prepare to be monitored!

Posted by: Dismal Science | Nov 1 2006 13:04 utc | 56

great open thread guys.

Posted by: onzaga | Nov 1 2006 13:14 utc | 57

Israel's scandalous siege of Gaza

Israel has killed 2,300 Gazans over the past six years, including 300 in the four months since an Israeli soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit, was captured in a cross-border raid by Palestinian fighters on June 25. The wounded can be counted in the tens of thousands. Most of the casualties are civilians, many of them children.

The killing continues on a daily basis - by tank and sniper fire, by air and sea bombardment, and by undercover teams in civilian clothes sent into Arab territory to ambush and murder, an Israeli specialty perfected over the past several decades.

How long will the "international community" allow the slaughter to continue?

Until every damn last one of 'em is dead!
Would be my guess.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Nov 1 2006 13:21 utc | 58

On a positive note: it is snowing in Sweden.

Beautiful white snow, making everything white and fuzzy.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Nov 1 2006 14:10 utc | 59

news from oaxaca

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 16:25 utc | 60

Old News... you've been warned. No acting surprised later.

And, apparently, I'm never too drunk too HTML.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 1 2006 16:56 utc | 61

cnn so scandalous

focusing on kerry instead of the war itself

focusing on jefferson in louisiana while a whole swather of republican have systematically stuck their porcine bodies inside the trough itself - with good ol jack abramoff throwing chaff

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 17:02 utc | 62

ebogjonson on blackface.

Posted by: Sunrunner | Nov 1 2006 17:25 utc | 63

the parallel here seems to be blindingly obvious

scream at john kerry but don't speak of the war

reproach billmon but never really discuss the fact that racism is as american as apple pie to paraphrase h rap brown

in the sense & context of the post it was paranthetic

& don't give me my best friends...

i have sturggled for over 4o years at every possible level with black brown yellow brothers & sisters in struggle

& we look at the facts of an existence not at the momentary maldroitness that we are all guilty of

my own gonnoreah ridden golem for blitwer also goes terribly close to an anti-semitism that i am humanly & politically opposed to

i imagine in & of itself a site such as this is forever an open interrogation of all our thinking on class, race & gender. on ideologies & absolutes

the real war sunrunner is happening on the streets of america as you well know & it is happening in ramadi mosul & in the baghdad that is burning down

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 17:41 utc | 64

finally, when reduced to>this, the magnitude of disaster is>comprehensible:

A one-page slide shown at the Oct. 18 briefing provides a rare glimpse into how the military command that oversees the war is trying to track its trajectory, particularly in terms of sectarian fighting.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 1 2006 18:20 utc | 65

Billmon created this entire incident of-a-piece and in response to an inciting incident that had absolutely nothing to do with race at all.

it has everything to do w/ power. i understand the volatility of the blackface sign, but am less certain the use of it in this way dilutes the particularity of its historical uses. that sign is an effective parody of the deadly insidiuousness of media complaisance to power. it sure got my attention.

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 1 2006 18:42 utc | 66

politics, as usual (on a day home sick i imagine myself uncle $cam)

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 1 2006 19:03 utc | 67

@slothrop #65

Finally, a color code that we can grasp! Yup, it is all about how close or how far we are on the rainbow to red.... just like our well-known red and orange alerts here on the "home front."

Yes, methinks we are now at the level (pre-kindergarten) at which perhaps lightbulbs might begin go off... or blow out, as it were.

Posted by: Bea | Nov 1 2006 20:33 utc | 68

b, i liked having jana's link on the homepage. it's gone now . she's still on the homepage if we scroll tho.

Posted by: annie | Nov 1 2006 20:42 utc | 69

They just don't give up, do they?

Posted by: Tantalus | Nov 1 2006 21:13 utc | 70

1 - it has everything to do w/ power. i understand the volatility of the blackface sign, but am less certain the use of it in this way dilutes the particularity of its historical uses. that sign is an effective parody of the deadly insidiuousness of media complaisance to power. it sure got my attention.

2 - reproach billmon but never really discuss the fact that racism is as american as apple pie to paraphrase h rap brown

Item #1 is a defensive rationalization that has little unique to say about the incident in question, as "attention-gettingness" strikes me as a poor ethical test. And item #2 is a typically ill-informed assumption about the squeaky wheels here, as the folks who have posted about this issue are, like, you know, Asian, black, Native American and Latino bloggers, meaning that discussing "the fact that racism is as american as apple pie" is pretty much already their bread and butter. (This is just a random piece of advice, but if you are ever invited to speak before an ethnic audience, try not to lecture them about what “real” racism is or isn’t, as that usually falls a little flat.)

I will 100% cop to the fact that in the scheme of things, this isn't a lynching and, yes, folks “like Billmon” are not the most common culprits when it comes to incidents of inadvertent racism. But if you think any of that buys him some kind of pass, well, you're flat wrong is really the only thing I can say.

The Kerry issue is a telling comparison, in so much as white progressives invariably treat discussions of their own racism as a distraction from some or another more pressing bit of business. (Everyone else’s racism is fair game, especially when it helps your electoral calculations.)

If you all believe that the end (tagging an cut-rate media hack like Wolf Blitzer for the pleasure of the local peanut gallery) justifies the means (offending a large portion of this coalition's last reliable voting block), well, I guess that your call. But if this is ever over don't expect me to hug you, as this was obviously a marriage of temporary convenience.

Posted by: ebogjonson | Nov 1 2006 21:52 utc | 71

egojonson, there are 2 threads devoted tho this topic here">">here and here">">here

just sayin'

Posted by: annie | Nov 1 2006 22:32 utc | 72

I frankly don't see how excluding any use of the blackface to expose basic relations of power benefits african americans or for that matter proves an "unintended" expression of racism. as I understand it, the image subtends the privileged construction of racial stereotypes robbing the dignity of blacks to do the same. as far as I can tell, cnn itself, in a vastly more complexly disingenuous way, does the same thing to everyone who is not white, rich, and powerful. it's not the fault of oppressed and concerned people this sophisticated institutional racism/chauvinism lacks the immediate clarity of representations once widely supplied by simple signs like the blackface. the use of the blackface, in this case, helps to reduce the complexity of domination to the grotesquely obvious meaning(s) of the blackface--meanings which persist in inferentially racist ways even in wolf blitzer's claims of "nonpartisanship."

Posted by: slothrop | Nov 2 2006 0:07 utc | 73

It has begun...Pentagon Launches Pre-Emptive Strike on Media there are now some 13 Kerry vids on youtube...all by new members, all prop-agenda all the time. Get em fighting about faux issues,same ol' Elite divide and conquer. Two sides same coin.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 2 2006 0:31 utc | 74

Great post up on Andrew Sullivan's blog, and he repeated all this on CNN today. You can watch the interview with him and Christopher Hitchens on AMERICAblog.

For anyone who is unaware, Andrew Sullivan is a conservative Republican, and he is nonetheless speaking thus:

George W. Bush just gave the most powerful reason for voting Democratic next Tuesday. He has reiterated unconditional support for the two architects of the chaos in Iraq, Cheney and Rumsfeld. He intends to keep Rumsfeld in his job until 2008! Why not a medal of freedom while he's at it?

Let me put this kindly: anyone who believes that Donald Rumsfeld has done a "fantastic job" in Iraq is out of his mind. The fact that such a person is president of the United States is beyond disturbing. But then this is the man who told Michael Brown he was doing a "heckuva job." And, yes, our Iraq policy begins to look uncannily like the Katrina response.

The president, in other words, has just proved that he is utterly unhinged from reality, in a state of denial truly dangerous for the world. He needs an intervention. Think of this election as an intervention against a government in complete denial and capable of driving the West off a cliff. You can't merely abstain now. Bush just raised the stakes. And he must be stopped.

For anyone overseas who doesn't know the lingo, "intervention" is from the lingo of Alcoholics Anonymous -- it is what you do to an alcoholic in deep denial about his drinking problem, when you bring in his or her relatives and friends to confront the drinker en masse until denial is no longer possible.


"Intervention means to interfere or to break in to the cycle of drinking in which the alcoholic is involved. It could also mean 'presenting reality to a person out of touch with reality in a receivable manner.' It is a means of bringing the alcoholic to treatment as early in his drinking history as possible.

"This is usually done by having a group of people who are most closely emotionally tied to the alcoholic (family and loved ones), or in whom he places much credence (doctor, lawyer, pastor), get together with the alcoholic and confront the alcoholic with his alcoholic behavior. This is done by letting each one recite from a written script the exact behavior they have witnessed the alcoholic taking and the exact time and date it was taken. They usually add how this behavior made them feel, but if they do so this must be said in a non-judgmental manner. Each of these statements should end with the statement that they believe the alcoholic should go to treatment "now" or they will no longer ....(whatever their supportive behavior has been to this point)...."


Posted by: Bea | Nov 2 2006 3:13 utc | 75

Diebold demands that HBO cancel documentary on voting machines

"Hacking Democracy" is "replete with material examples of inaccurate reporting," Diebold Election System President David Byrd said in a letter to HBO President and Chief Executive Chris Albrecht posted on Diebold's Web site. Short of pulling the film, Monday's letter asks for disclaimers to be aired and for HBO to post Diebold's response on its Web site.

The legal grounds for Diebold's objection apparently rests on the fact that HBO would be violating intellectual property rights... since Disney/ABC already owns the technique of using "material examples of inaccurate reporting in the production of documentaries", which were purchased shortly before the airing of The Path to 9/11.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 2 2006 4:27 utc | 76

(rhetorical questions... we all know the answers. No need to respond)

So why isn't this story getting as much press as the one about their initial arrest did? And why do we live in an age of such increasingly psychotic paranoia that some element of society apparently does actually believe that an imaginary enemy will rain down death and destruction upon us all by travelling with a hotel-sized bottle of shampoo in their carry-on bag?

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 2 2006 5:29 utc | 77

nicaragua's presidential election is this sunday & w/ ortega leading in the polls, the u.s. keeps waving it's big stick around, threatening to beat down the people of nicaragua even further should they not vote in the interests of the u.s.

early last month,

Congressman Dan Burton, Chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House´s Committee on International Relations, threatened in a press conference that if Nicaraguans elect former president Daniel Ortega, the U.S. could be forced to cut $175 million in aid through the Millenium Challenge Account and prohibit Nicaragua´s participation in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Burton also claimed that Ortega´s promise for the state to take over remittance services would result in families earning "much, much less money"--a grave threat for the many families that depend on remittances.


Burton ... threatened Nicaraguans with the loss of remittances, thus taking advantage of Nicaraguans' economic desperation to bribe them into voting against Ortega. Referring to a campaign promise by Ortega to "make sure that Nicaraguans get 100% of their remittances" (usually private companies such as Western Union take out a healthy commission, hovering around 20%), Burton stated that a state-run remittance program would result in "families receiving much, much less money and a significantly reduced quality of life". Remittances are the primary source of income for many families and for the country itself, equalling 16.9% of the country's GDP in 2005 and 99% of the total value of the country's exports. [The Congressman, His Stick and the Upcoming Elections: Dan Burton in Nicaragua]

late october, passing the stick around

In a last-ditch effort to undermine Ortega, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the House’s International Relations Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, sent a letter on Friday, October 27, to Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security. Rohrabacher enjoined Chertoff “to prepare in accordance with U.S. law, contingency plans to block any further money remittances from being sent to Nicaragua in the event that the FSLN enters government.” The nearly half million Nicaraguans currently living in the U.S. send around $500 million each year to their family members in Nicaragua, according to Nicaraguan economist Nestor Avendaño.

Nicaraguans have reason to believe Rohrabacher may not be bluffing. In the buildup to Nicaragua’s 1990 elections, the United States promised Nicaraguan voters that it would continue fueling the decade-old contra war and maintain its economic embargo on Nicaragua, both of which were wreaking havoc on Nicaragua’s economy, if Daniel Ortega were reelected as President. Beleaguered by a crippling war, food rationing, and empty supermarket shelves, Nicaraguans opted for U.S.-backed Violeta Chamorro over Ortega. Satisfied, the U.S. then released its stranglehold on the Nicaraguan economy.

Seeing that the FSLN now has a chance to return to power, Rohrabacher seems eager to once again target Nicaraguans’ stomachs with callous pressure. Thousands of Nicaraguan families depend on remittances to augment the meager wages paid for picking coffee, sewing jeans in assembly factories, or selling water at intersections. In an economy sacked with underemployment, stagnant salaries, and rising costs, remittances keep Nicaragua afloat by generating an income equivalent to 70% of the country’s total annual exports, according to the most recent estimates. Avendaño projects that a U.S. embargo on remittances would prove as disastrous for Nicaraguans as the U.S.-imposed trade embargo of the 1980’s. Once again, the hardest hit would be the impoverished majority.

Nicaraguan voters are not unaware of this reality. Nor is Rohrabacher, no doubt. Nicaraguans’ direct dependence on remittances is what makes his open threat particularly potent. In the face of a potential Ortega victory, Rohrabacher is striving to make longstanding U.S. interference more personal by pushing Nicaraguans to see a vote for Ortega as a vote against their own pocketbooks. [Targeting Nicaraguans’ Stomachs]

so that's what congress has been up to, huh? bullying the voters of the 2nd poorest nation in the hemisphere. a couple of swell guys. not.

and definitely not alone. continuing from the same article,

Rohrabacher’s letter is but one voice in a recent cacophony of U.S. meddling. Headlines of the last week have been laden with unsolicited U.S. opinions on Daniel Ortega and the sort of President Nicaraguans should want. The day after Rohrabacher sent his letter, Florida governor Jeb Bush authored a letter published in a La Prensa paid ad. Bush’s letter declares that Nicaraguans must choose between a “tragic step towards the past,” which he identifies as the “totalitarianism” of the Sandinistas, and “a vision towards the future.” Jeb Bush’s own vision for Nicaragua’s future is revealed at the bottom of the ad, where the Alianza Liberal Nicaraguense party, which is running the U.S.-preferred presidential candidate Eduardo Montealegre, is named as the ad’s sponsor.

"totalitarianism"? jeb's been hanging w/ jean kirkpatrick & her IRI friends, methinks.


Just a few pages away from Bush’s ad appears an article in which Adolfo Franco, USAID’s Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean, warns that a FSLN victory next week could limit USAID support for Nicaragua, citing worries that Daniel Ortega might significantly alter Nicaragua’s current economic model. USAID’s admonition piggybacks on US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez’s more explicit pressure in an interview publicized one week earlier. Gutierrez threatened that an Ortega win could preclude a $230 million combined investment from three foreign companies that would generate 123,000 jobs, a $220 million aid package promised through the Millenium Challenge Account, and implementation of CAFTA in Nicaragua.

On October 29, the day after printing Jeb Bush’s letter, La Prensa published an editorial by Otto Reich, former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, in which he accuses the FSLN of maintaining ties with terrorist groups, a claim that Reich does not attempt to substantiate. Though Reich does not currently hold a position in the U.S. government, he writes as if he does, stating, “If the Sandinistas control the government of Nicaragua, there will be strong pressure in Washington to review all aspects of the bilateral relationship, including remittances.” Reich equates a Sandinista victory with “a return to a past of poverty and international isolation.” Such a dismal outcome indeed seems likely if the U.S., as the party responsible for the isolation of the past, would implement Reich’s thinly cloaked threat of aid and remittance cutoffs.

Ironically, Reich precedes all the above statements with the disclaimer, “No one can tell [Nicaraguans] who to vote for.” Jeb Bush, Adolfo Franco, and other outspoken U.S. figures have similarly acknowledged Nicaraguans’ sovereign right to pick their own leaders. Unfortunately, such statements come across as meaningless niceties when subsequently contradicted with threats and admonishments against choosing a president not to the U.S.’s liking.

i'm thinking of another word, and it isn't "ironic".

on the subject of otto reich & nicaragua, here's a link to an illuminating excerpt from greg grandin's book, Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, on reich & the office of public diplomacy for latin america and the caribbean in the mid-eighties, working overtime to bullshit the u.s. public while screwing over the nicaraguan people.

teddy "big stick" roosevelt: All that this country desires is that the other republics on this continent shall be happy and prosperous; and they cannot be happy and prosperous unless they maintain order within their boundaries and behave with a just regard for their obligations toward outsiders.

- - -

To Roosevelt by rubén darío (1905)

It is with the voice of the Bible, or the verse of Walt Whitman,
that I should come to you, Hunter,
primitive and modern, simple and complicated,
with something of Washington and more of Nimrod.

You are the United States,
you are the future invader
of the naive America that has Indian blood,
that still prays to Jesus Christ and still speaks Spanish.

You are the proud and strong exemplar of your race;
you are cultured, you are skillful; you oppose Tolstoy.
And breaking horses, or murdering tigers,
you are an Alexander-Nebuchadnezzar.
(You are a professor of Energy
as today's madmen say.)

You think that life is fire,
that progress is eruption,
that wherever you shoot
you hit the future.


The United States is potent and great.
When you shake there is a deep tremblor
that passes through the enormous vertebrae of the Andes.
If you clamor, it is heard like the roaring of a lion.
Hugo already said it to Grant: The stars are yours.
(The Argentine sun, ascending, barely shines,
and the Chilean star rises...) You are rich.
You join the cult of Hercules to the cult of Mammon,
and illuminating the road of easy conquest,
Liberty raises its torch in New York.

But our America, that has had poets
since the ancient times of Netzahualcoyotl,
that has walked in the footprints of great Bacchus
who learned Pan's alphabet at once;
that consulted the stars, that knew Atlantis
whose resounding name comes to us from Plato,
that since the remote times of its life
has lived on light, on fire, on perfume, on love,
America of the great Montezuma, of the Inca,
the fragrant America of Christopher Columbus,
Catholic America, Spanish America,
the America in which noble Cuahtemoc said:
"I'm not in a bed of roses"; that America
that trembles in hurricanes and lives on love,
it lives, you men of Saxon eyes and barbarous soul.
And it dreams. And it loves, and it vibrates, and it is the daughter of the Sun.
Be careful. Viva Spanish America!
There are a thousand cubs loosed from the Spanish lion.
Roosevelt, one would have to be, through God himself,
the-fearful Rifleman and strong Hunter,
to manage to grab us in your iron claws.

And, although you count on everything, you lack one thing: God!

Posted by: b real | Nov 2 2006 6:38 utc | 78

history is a weapon

Posted by: b real | Nov 2 2006 7:02 utc | 79

Fitting to b real's:

U.S. Reports Plot to Topple Beirut Leaders

But administration officials said they had little evidence of an impending physical attack. Instead, they said they believed that Hezbollah might stage a political crisis to bring about the fall of the government. For the Bush administration, that possibility poses a vexing problem: if the Siniora government collapses because of domestic political infighting, any change of government may look more like parliamentary politics than a coup.
Imagine such a incredible problem - like the lebanese voting for a government ...

Posted by: b | Nov 2 2006 7:26 utc | 80

monolycus #76

bradblog reports

But ironically, as The Hollywood Reporter is reporting tonight, Byrd has not only never seen the film, but his claims that the film is "Riddled With Errors and Slipshod Reporting" apparently refer to a completely different film!

Confusing a different film called VoterGate with the short film called VoterGate, which was an early version of the film now known as Hacking Democracy, Byrd writes a two page letter [PDF] to HBO refuting several points in the other film!

While Diebold's letter from Byrd claims that the film is "so egregious that HBO should pull the documentary," the letter itself is not only riddled with errors and slipshod reporting, it also makes a sad attempt at playing the partisan card, which Diebold has been trying to deny for years! Note this graf…
"Hacking Democracy" is directed by the directors of "VoterGate" and contains much of the same material. "VoterGate" was produced with special thanks to Susan Sarandon and The Streisand Foundation.

Never mind that the VoterGate Diebold refers to is the wrong VoterGate, but what the hell do either Susan Sarandon or The Streisand Foundation have to do with Diebold's claim that the film is inaccurate?

Not disingenuous enough for you? Byrd has more…
Harri Hursti is shown attacking a Diebold machine in Florida. But his "attack" proved later to be a complete sham. Hursti was invited by California Secretary of State's office to demonstrate his supposed ability to "hack" a Diebold optical scan system. He declined…

Of course, we know that Byrd never saw the Hursti Hack in Hacking Democracy (it hadn't occurred by the time either VoterGate film was released), the disingenuous claim that it "proved later to be a complete sham" is itself a complete sham:

Not only did the California Secretary of State's own technical advisory board at UC Berkley write that "Harri Hursti's attack does work" and that it was "definitely real" in their report [PDF] on the hack, but they also found "more serious vulnerabilities…that go well beyond what Mr. Hursti demonstrated, and yet require no more access to the voting system than he had. These vulnerabilities are consequences of bugs–16 in all."

We would later learn that the invitation to which Diebold refers, from the CA SoS "inviting" Hursti to try his hack out in California, was drafted by a Diebold employee and disinformation operative by the name of Rob Pelletier, and sent to Hursi on CA SoS stationery!

As revealed by this investigative report [PDF] released over the Summer by (one of the film's main subjects) entitled "The Diebold Pursuasion Machine," it appears that Pelletier drafted the letter for CA SoS McPherson's office. The "invitation" would later come to be regarded as a "setup" using special Diebold machines and designed for Hursti to fail.

Posted by: annie | Nov 2 2006 8:44 utc | 81

Kagan with some observations on Europe vs. US

Indeed, the preferred European scenario -- "Bush hobbled" -- is less likely than the alternative: "Bush unbound." Neither the president nor his vice president is running for office in 2008.
This President Bush doesn't have to worry about getting anyone elected in 2008 and appears to be thinking only about his place in history. That can lead him to act in ways that please Europeans -- for instance, the vigorous multilateral diplomacy on Iran and North Korea. But it could also take him in directions they will find worrisome if that diplomacy fails.
This tendency toward continuity is particularly striking on the issue that most divides Americans from Europeans today: the use of military force in international affairs. Americans of both parties simply have more belief in the utility and even justice of military action than do most other peoples around the world. The German Marshall Fund commissions an annual poll that asks Europeans and Americans, among other things, whether they agree with the following statement: "Under some conditions, war is necessary to obtain justice." Europeans disagree, and by a 2 to 1 margin. But Americans overwhelmingly support the idea that war may be necessary to obtain justice. Even this year, with disapproval of the Iraq war high, 78 percent of American respondents agreed with the statement.
Even today leading Democrats who oppose the Iraq war do not oppose the idea of war itself or its utility. They're not even denouncing a defense budget approaching $500 billion per year. While Europeans mostly reject the Bush administration's phrase "the war on terror," leading Democrats embrace it and accuse the administration of not pursuing it vigorously or intelligently enough. Nor do leading Democrats reject the premise of the United States as the world's "indispensable nation" -- a notion that most Europeans find offensive at best and dangerous at worst.
Today Democrats insist that the United States will be such a [benevolent] force as soon as George W. Bush leaves office. Although they pretend they have a fundamental doctrinal dispute with the Bush administration, their recommendations are less far-reaching. They argue that the United States should generally try to be nicer, employ more "soft power" and be more effective when it employs "hard power." That may be good advice, but it hardly qualifies as an alternative doctrine.

Many around the world will thrill at the defeat of Republicans next week. They should enjoy the moment while they can. When the smoke clears, they will find themselves dealing with much the same America, with all its virtues and all its flaws.

That's what I fear ...

Posted by: b | Nov 2 2006 9:22 utc | 82

Can we hope thathe will now talk? Sanchez has apparently been forced into retirement.

Posted by: ww | Nov 2 2006 10:07 utc | 83

I HIGHLY recommend that you take the time to watch this latest Keith Olbermann commentary. It is soooooo good, and brutally, brutally honest. Watch it, don't just read it, if possible.

Keith Olbermann's Latest and Greatest

Posted by: Bea | Nov 2 2006 14:17 utc | 84

The rumors have started. Messaged to me at 9:25 New York time, regarding the S&P futures pits in Chicago:

chatter of iranian missle firing on the pit floor
haven't seen a headline

Posted by: mats | Nov 2 2006 14:38 utc | 85


I believe this was announced in advance and has been covered:

Iran Tests Long-range Missiles

Posted by: Bea | Nov 2 2006 14:44 utc | 86

I'd wait and take it w/salt but do take it...

CBC (Israel's newest whore) reports...

Iran fires long-range missile as part of new manoeuvres

Also see,

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 2 2006 14:47 utc | 87

Thx both, that was a bit of futures traders trying to make things sound other than they were so as to squeeze out a few extra points. Par for the course.

Posted by: mats | Nov 2 2006 14:54 utc | 88

Bea #84: Thanks for link. It was excellent.

Posted by: aw | Nov 2 2006 16:02 utc | 89

Alyssa Peterson:“non-hostile weapons discharge.”

U.S. Soldier Killed Herself After Objecting to Interrogation Techniques

“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed….”

She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. “But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle,” the documents disclose.

Suicide, yeah, that's it. All those candy-asses who don't support abuse and torture are self-destructive, aren't they?

Well, at least they didn't turn her into a cartoon character like they did Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman.

To give this human a face:R.I.P. Alyssa...

"But, much as a good hunter trains his hounds to bring the game to him rather than eating it, a good ruler has to restrain his henchmen from devouring the prey lest he be left empty-handed. Investigation is a subtle process, requiring patience and fine analytical ability, as well as a skill in cultivating one's sources. When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists"

God, now I need a drink and it's not even 10am yet...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 2 2006 16:55 utc | 90

Because there wasn't enough ample proof that my countrymen are irremediably stupid... SUV sales spike during October while gas prices are temporarily lowered for the election. Just something for them to slap some A HREF="">yellow ribbons all over when they can't afford to operate the friggin' behemoths in a few months.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 2 2006 17:18 utc | 91

Gaaahhh... close your friggin' tags, Wolfie! I got so caught up in wondering how small a person's penis would have to be to justify owning an SUV that I forgot to watch my HTML codes.

Yellow Ribbons

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 2 2006 17:21 utc | 92

Uncle's link above is to a sober, convincingly-argued essay in the Washington Post written by "Vladimir Bukovsky, who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities ..."

He explains exactly what happens to torturers and the system that spawns them:

Investigation is a subtle process, requiring patience and fine analytical ability, as well as a skill in cultivating one's sources. When torture is condoned, these rare talented people leave the service, having been outstripped by less gifted colleagues with their quick-fix methods, and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists. Thus, in its heyday, Joseph Stalin's notorious NKVD (the Soviet secret police) became nothing more than an army of butchers terrorizing the whole country but incapable of solving the simplest of crimes.

degenerates into a playground for sadists

Posted by: | Nov 2 2006 17:27 utc | 93

me, above. It's a powerful article.

Posted by: jonku | Nov 2 2006 17:29 utc | 94

Hi all. First time, long time...yadda, yadda.

The Alyssa Peterson story (comment 90) is all the more pointed to me as the soldier in question was from Flagstaff, AZ (where I lived for a better part of 10 years), and went to the same college as me (NAU), and she lived in the Netherlands for awhile, as I did (though for very different reasons). Aside from the massive loss of life and other tragedies stemming from war, there is a little-considered but terrible price - paid in the currency of the soul and psyche - for the things being done for the cause of "victory" and "security". Neither of these ethereal goals will ever be achieved, of course, but even if they were, it won't make us safe from ourselves, and the monsters created within.

Perhaps most disturbing, is that the problem's obviously widespread enough to justify a "suicide prevention class". Any decent therapist would would try to address the source rather than just the symptoms, but given that the source here was actually "policy", that's gonna be a problem. Of course, instead of reexamining the activities that cause these psychological issues, they create some half-assed training class - which in Alyssa's case, only served to educate her on how most to efficiently end her life. But hey, from the government's perspective, problem solved - much more economical and expedient than years of VA-funded counseling (not to mention eliminating the risk of her ever talking to the media). One day (hopefully), all of these young (and not so young) men and women are going to return home. God only knows what demons they'll bring back with them, and how that will affect them and their loved ones (or even total strangers, if they end up externalizing their trauma in some random public place).

Feeling safe yet?

Posted by: Daldude | Nov 2 2006 17:38 utc | 95

paul craig roberts

"In an attempt to "resolve conflicts by talking, rather than by aggression," the venerable Scottish University of St. Andrews invited Khatami to the United Kingdom for an honorary degree, followed by a speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. However, a spanner was thrown into the works by two Iranian exiles, who claim to have been unlawfully imprisoned and tortured in Iran during the period of Khatami's presidency. Under Section 134 of Britain's Criminal Justice Act of 1988, torture wherever committed in the world is criminal under British law and triable in the UK. Thus, Khatami might still be arrested as he tours the UK in the interest of opening communication.

If Khatami can be arrested in the UK for torture, how does British Prime Minister Tony Blair escape arrest for the torture of Afghans and Iraqis by coalition forces? Why are not US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Richard Cheney, and President George W. Bush arrested when they visit the UK?

Does the British law excuse Anglo-Americans from its reach? Does it exclude government officials while they are in office and pursue them only when they have become private citizens?

Or are we witnessing the operation of the neoconservative assumption that there is one rule of law for the US and its allies and another rule for countries that do not support the neocon agenda? Neocons maintain that whatever the US and its allies or puppets do in the interest of US hegemony is defensible and permissible but is a crime if any other country does it.

When the president and vice president of the United States publicly defend and advocate torture and ram torture legislation through the US Congress, it is hypocrisy for the US to condemn others for torture.

Perhaps Americans don't notice, but the rest of the world does see the double standard applied when Saddam Hussein is put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity, while US, UK, and Israeli government officials commit far greater crimes by illegally invading countries, targeting civilian populations, and torturing detainees.

Considering the enormous bloodshed and destruction of civilian lives and infrastructure in Afghanistan and Iraq by US and UK troops, why do British left-wing academics and human rights activists want to help the neoconservatives in the US and UK spread the war to Iran? Helping to spread war is what the British left is doing when they agitate for the arrest of Khatami while leaving Labour Party PM Tony Blair free to commit more crimes against humanity. Could it be that the two Iranian exiles are acting as neoconservative agents to block any possible rapprochement with Iran? This is not a wild speculation in view of the role Iraqi exiles played in deceiving the the American public and making false accusations against Iraq that Bush used to justify his invasion.

The Iraq and Afghanistan invasions have turned out to be a catastrophe for the US and UK as well as for the Iraqis and Afghans.
Only a totally deranged political leadership would want to spread the catastrophe to Iran.

According to a BBC news report (October 30), British private security firm personnel--mercenaries to some--outnumber British soldiers in Iraq six to one. A British charity group accuses PM Tony Blair of "allowing mercenary armies to operate completely outside the law."

In Britain it is no longer permissible to hunt foxes, because it is "cruel and inhumane," but it is perfectly alright for private mercenaries and British soldiers to murder Iraqi and Afghan men, women, and children for the sake of Anglo-American-Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

Saddam Hussein was overthrown and indicted, and Iraq largely destroyed, in part because Saddam is "an evil man who tortured political opponents." Evidence of US torture of Iraqis is all over the Internet in vivid photos. According to Amnesty International, "Adequate safeguards against torture and ill-treatment are not in place in Multinational Force detention facilities, and thousands continue to be held without charge or trial." The president and vice president of the US advocate torture not only of Iraqis but also of everyone declared, correctly or incorrectly, by some US government official to be a "terrorist suspect."

Why are not Bush, Cheney and Blair on trial? Their crimes dwarf any that could possibly be attributed to Khatami.

The only possible answer is that "might makes right." Yet, Bush, Cheney and Blair parade around draping themselves in moral justifications for their inhumane deeds and despicable acts.

The fact that Americans tolerate crimes against humanity by their own leaders is evidence that Americans are exceptional only in their hubris.

Paul Craig Roberts

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 2 2006 19:30 utc | 96

Man claims 3-year sexual relationship with pastor Ted Haggard

Mike Jones told 9 Wants to Know Investigative Reporter Paula Woodward he has had a "sexual business" relationship with Pastor Ted Haggard for the past three years.

Haggard is the founder and senior leader of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The church has 14,000 members.

He is also president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents millions of people.

Jones also claims Haggard used methamphetamine in his presence on several occasions.

Posted by: annie | Nov 2 2006 20:33 utc | 97

The pogrom continues

Israeli military tightens grip on Gaza town
02/11/2006 - 18:23:33

Israeli helicopter gunships, tanks and ground troops tightened their grip today on a northern Gaza town, killing an elderly civilian, two militants and a police officer in Israel�s biggest push in months to stop Palestinian rocket fire.

Amid the clashes, men between the ages of 16 and 40 were ordered over loudspeakers to gather in one of the main squares of Beit Hanoun by Israeli army officials, but few complied.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | Nov 2 2006 23:45 utc | 98

The continued war on Journalist's...
In this case AP Photojournalist Bilal Hussein

14,000 detained without charge by US

Posted by: | Nov 3 2006 0:22 utc | 99

"You join the cult of Hercules to the cult of Mammon,
and illuminating the road of easy conquest,
Liberty raises its torch in New York."

Posted by: b real | Nov 2, 2006 1:38:05 AM | 78

It's hard to believe that the Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario wrote these words in an open letter to President Roosevelt a hundred friggin' years ago.

Posted by: pb | Nov 3 2006 3:04 utc | 100

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