Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 24, 2007

OT 07-009

News & views ...

Posted by b on January 24, 2007 at 7:47 UTC | Permalink


WaPo: Iraq Struggles to Finish Oil Law

Despite the immense risks of working in Iraq -- pipeline explosions, kidnappings, insurgency, political infighting -- the oil company executives were lured by the potential rewards, which are immense, too.
"Exxon Mobil has more seismic data on Iraq than on Houston real estate," says Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. who used to work for Mobil. "If Exxon had security on the ground, the following day it would have crews there," Gheit said. "And money would be no object."
"We need to close the deal on one or two small issues," Saleh said. "A number of the major issues have been resolved."

But an adviser to the Kurdish authorities said those "small issues" included some significant details. On Friday, the Kurdistan Regional Government posted an item on its Web site denying news reports that a deal was complete. The "important annexes to the law are still pending," it said.

Outstanding issues include how much oil revenue will go to the central government; a charter for the new national oil company; the role of the oil ministry; and the principles upon which the new commission could reject regionally negotiated contracts. Also unsettled is whether the commission will require a simple majority vote or a two-thirds vote to reject a contract's terms. Those provisions must all be part of one package with the petroleum law, Kurdish leaders said.
The United States has been pressing Iraq to complete the law. "As awful as the Saddam Hussein government was, it did have a record of dealing with foreign investors that wasn't that bad," said James A. Placke, an expert at Cambridge Energy Research Associates. "That's gone and hasn't been replaced."
Tariq Shafiq, a former executive of Iraq National Oil and director of the consulting firm Petrolog & Associates, has drawn up three contracts -- service, buyback and production-sharing -- that the government will use in its new petroleum law. He said the Kurdish production-sharing contracts give away too much to the foreign companies; he said that after paying for capital and operations costs, as much as 55 percent of the oil goes to the foreign firms. "These, in the eye of many, are illegal and would have to undergo review to bring them in line with this law," he said.
Some major companies from other nations -- Russia's Lukoil, a Chinese state company, France's Total -- are hoping to get their big Hussein-era concessions back. Their prospects remain uncertain.

Posted by: b | Jan 24 2007 8:08 utc | 1

U.S. Stages 2nd Airstrike in Somalia; Ethiopians Leaving Capital

A U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship staged an airstrike against suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Somalia on Monday, the second such attack this month, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

There was no immediate information on specific targets or the strike's results.
Word of the new attack came the same day as a long line of Ethiopian artillery, armored vehicles and trucks loaded with soldiers rolled toward the edges of Mogadishu, beginning a withdrawal from a fragile capital that many residents fear will now slip further into chaos
If Mogadishu descends into another period of clan warfare, some regional analysts say, that is precisely what Ethiopian Prime Minister Zenawi Meles wanted all along. As evidence, they point to an Ethiopian government foreign policy report submitted to that country's Parliament two years ago.

According to an English translation, Ethiopian security officials wrote that Somalia was so divided that it "no longer posed a threat" to Ethiopia.

The two U.S. airstrikes in southern Somalia this month have been undertaken in close cooperation with Ethiopian forces, which have conducted their own ground and air assaults in the same area with shared intelligence and operational information. In addition to the three alleged al-Qaeda operatives, believed responsible for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, targets have included Somali Islamic leader Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys and Aden Ayrow, who served as de facto defense minister of the Islamic government.

U.S. officials have said that none of the targeted individuals was hit in the initial strike Jan. 7, which killed at least 10 and perhaps as many as 20 people. Although a U.S. military team entered Somali territory to assess the strike site and recover bodies, no information has been released on their identities.

Posted by: b | Jan 24 2007 8:13 utc | 2

Amira Haas: Checkpoint comradeship

Each of the many dozens of checkpoints has developed its own methods of harassment over the years. They derive from the implicit order behind the existence of every checkpoint: Prevent Palestinian freedom of movement for the sake of the welfare of the Jewish settlements; that is to say - Israel. One gets sick of reading about the checkpoints. One gets even sicker of writing about them. And the most sickening thing of all is to pass through them. But because the Palestinians have no alternative but to continue to pass through them, these checkpoints will continue to be the representatives of Israeli society.

Posted by: b | Jan 24 2007 12:40 utc | 3

Israeli separation barrier is cutting off Palestinians from their livelihood

A British government-funded report says the route of Israel's separation barrier is trapping 250,000 Palestinians in enclaves designed to protect Jewish settlers in the occupied territory.

It says that creation of the enclaves cutting Palestinian communities off from the rest of the West Bank "almost totally ignores the daily needs of the Palestinian population" and is "focused almost exclusively on the desire to maintain the fabric of life of Israeli settlers".
The second ­ and larger ­ category are "internal enclaves" which are bound in, sometimes virtually encircled, by the barrier and roads forbidden to Palestinians to protect "fingers" of occupied territory inhabited by Jewish settlers and to ensure the settlers' access to Israel proper.

The report cites the example of the Bir Nabala enclave in which residents of five villages traditionally linked to Jerusalemwill have only two ways out, through tunnels, to Ramallah or the area of the West Bank village of Biddu.

The report also says, despite a series of Supreme Court decisions in favour of rerouting the barrier, "there has been no meaningful change in the system of considerations guiding the planners".

Posted by: b | Jan 24 2007 12:55 utc | 4

Wesley Clark becomes the second major American politician to dare to speak out about Israel and experience The Anti-Semitic Treatment.

Smears for Fears

Everything Clark said, in short, is true. What's more, everybody knows it's true. The worst that can truthfully be said about Clark is that he expressed himself in a slightly odd way. This, it seems clear, he did because it's a sensitive issue and he worried that if he spoke plainly he'd be accused of trafficking in anti-Semitism. So he spoke unclearly and, for his trouble, got … accused of trafficking in anti-Semitism.

James Taranto, who writes the hack "Best of the Web" column for the online version of The Wall Street Journal's hack editorial page, likened Clark's views on this to the notorious anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Scott Johnson of the influential and moronic right-wing Power Line blog argued that "Clark's comments are not simply 'anti-Israel,'" and asked "[i]s it a only a matter only of parochial concern to American Jews that they are now to be stigmatized without consequence in the traditional disgusting terms -- terms that used to result in eviction from the precincts of polite society -- by a major figure in the Democratic Party?"

Do I sense that the terror hold of the anti-Semitic smear may just be breaking?

Also, Jimmy Carter spoke at Brandeis University yesterday.

Reports from the NYT, Boston Globe

Posted by: Bea | Jan 24 2007 14:30 utc | 5

Edwards, speaking via satellite to an Israeli audience (a high-level conference about the Iranian threat), sounds mighty different than he did in his anti-war speech in NYC on Martin Luther King Day:

Edwards Falls in Line

Hinting to possible military action, Edwards stressed that "in order to ensure Iran never gets nuclear weapons, all options must remain on table."

Posted by: Bea | Jan 24 2007 14:46 utc | 6

I have to admit that Meles and his gang is taking what I described as the smart way and withdraws the troops now that the threath of a united Somalia is gone. I know that I guessed that they would stay and I admit I was wrong.

Just goes to show that one should not use the standards of western leaders trained at the worlds most expensive schools when one looks at african presidents who has clawed their way to the top one bloody war at the time. When it comes to military matters the latter is apparently way superior.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 24 2007 15:59 utc | 7

Falujah or Stalingrad in Baghdad: U.S. helicopters strike high-rises in Baghdad

U.S. helicopters attacked gunmen holed up inside high-rise buildings in Baghdad on Wednesday in what the U.S. military said was an operation to regain control of a major street cutting through the heart of the city.

U.S. armored vehicles firing their heavy machine guns joined the day-long battle between U.S. and Iraqi forces and militants in Haifa Street, U.S. military spokesman Major Steven Lamb told Reuters.

He said U.S. troops also fired mortars after coming under machinegun, mortar and rocket-propelled grenade attack during the operation to restore Iraqi security control of the Sunni insurgent stronghold, which lies within 2 km of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified compound housing Iraq's government.
Lamb had no details on casualties, but the Iraqi Defense Ministry said at least two terrorists had been killed and 11 suspects detained. A local resident said he had counted six bodies, all men, one of whom had a rifle lying next to him.

A local journalist said he helped transport 37 wounded people to hospital, including women and children, in three ambulances that managed to get through the security cordon.

Posted by: b | Jan 24 2007 16:06 utc | 8

James Woolsey, former head of the CIA, spoke thus in Herzliya:

"There is a very substantial likelihood that if the diplomatic approach failed -- and I think it will -- and non-violent regime change won't work (in Iran), there is no alternative except for the U.S. to use force," said James Woolsey, according to The Jerusalem Post....

As a former chief of the world's largest intelligence agency, Woolsey dismissed claims by Iran and its apologists that the Islamic Republic seeks nuclear capability for peaceful means.

"With its huge oil and natural gas reserves, Iran is not the least bit interested in nuclear power," Woolsey said.

Woolsey also warned that the United States, Israel, and their allies could face an empowered threat if various extremist factions in the region align. "The Wahhabis, al-Qaida, the Vilayat Faqih in Teheran, although often lethally competitive with one another in the way the Nazis and communists were in the 1930s, are capable of unification," Woolsey said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Questioned about the likelihood that President George W. Bush would launch an attack on Iran, Woolsey replied, "The president is a man of great character and principle."

Woolsey said he believes Bush is a man "who means what he says, and he said we're not going to let Iran have a nuclear weapon."

Posted by: Bea | Jan 24 2007 16:24 utc | 9

wrt #2 on more u.s. airstrikes in somalia, that article stated

In addition to the three alleged al-Qaeda operatives, believed responsible for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, targets have included Somali Islamic leader Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys and Aden Ayrow, who served as de facto defense minister of the Islamic government.

here is an interview w/ aweys from sept 2005
African al-Qaida?
"The only reason Western powers say that al-Qaida is in Somalia is because they are afraid that Somalia will become an Islamic state and they will do everything they can to stop that," Aweys says. "I believe there's not even one person in Somalia connected to al-Qaida. We are one clan, one color, one language. We would not accept foreigners (al-Qaida) here."

Aweys, with penetrating eyes and a red, henna-tipped beard, is deeply suspicious of Western journalists. I am just the second to interview him within his guarded compound in Mogadishu.

As I a set up my camera and tripod, he asks me if I am an American -- and a Jew. He looks at me askance, as if I were a spy, but consents to the interview anyway.

I ask him about the March 2005 United Nations report that claimed Somalia has become a haven for jihadists and has no fewer than 17 mobile terrorist training camps on its soil.

"The FBI, people like you (journalists) and other groups who are often in the shadows always say al-Qaida is in Somalia," says Aweys, dismissively.

Interim President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed "also said two years ago there were al-Qaida training camps here. Well, the FBI came here, journalists came here and there were no training camps. It's just not true. We all know each other in Somalia. We would know if al-Qaida was here."

Aweys says he is, however, sympathetic to "jihads" being waged against Western forces around the world.

"If you lock a cat in a room all the time," Aweys says, "what do you think it will do? It's going to fight back."

as i've linked to before, naylor critically assesses the u.s. claims of links between al-ittihad and al-qa'idah, finding them to be opportunistic fantasy.

as for today's report on more airstrikes in southern somalia, it uncritically relays the u.s. line

U.S. officials have said that none of the targeted individuals was hit in the initial strike Jan. 7, which killed at least 10 and perhaps as many as 20 people. Although a U.S. military team entered Somali territory to assess the strike site and recover bodies, no information has been released on their identities.

at the time, we could read in the AFP press that "Clan elders and residents in southern Somalia have said that about 100 civilians were killed this week in US and Ethiopian air strikes on suspected Al-Qaeda targets in the region."
"We estimate about 100 innocent civilians have been killed," said Dhobley elder Moalim Adan Osman. "Some are still missing and I think their bodies are somewhere in the forest."

"The airplanes have bombed large areas and the whole zone is jungle and no one can classify what is inside," he said. "They have bombed the nomads in the area indiscriminately."

today one can read that the humanitarian sitch in southern somalia is quite bad
IRIN: Somalia: Risk of Worse Crisis in the South - Early Warning Agency
The serious humanitarian crisis in Somalia's Lower Juba region could escalate unless immediate steps are taken to mitigate the effects of multiple shocks on the pastoralists and agro-pastoralists living there, an early warning agency warned.

Months of drought followed by heavy flooding in late 2006 created the crisis, but ongoing conflict in southern Somalia and the suspected spread of Rift Valley Fever (RVF) from Kenya could exacerbate the situation, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) said.

"An immediate increase in emergency assistance and protection is urgently needed to prevent the already serious humanitarian crisis from worsening," the agency said in a report on Tuesday.

The conflict, between the Ethiopian-backed Somali transitional government and the remnants of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), in addition to RVF, had driven "pastoral and agro-pastoral districts of the Lower Juba region, especially in Afmadow and Badhadhe districts, into a deeper crisis", it added.

Conflict, drought, crop failures and the recent floods have stretched the inhabitants of Lower Juba Region to breaking point.
FEWS Net said civilians fleeing the fighting had been prevented from crossing the border into Kenya. In Dobley, 18km from the border, aid agencies estimate that 7,000 civilians from different parts of southern Somalia are living rough and urgently require food, medicine, water and shelter.

bet they were looking at all the planes yesterday saying WTF???
Witnesses reported many civilians were wounded, while number of livestock was killed in the latest US air strike.

Shabelle reporter Qorane Ibrahim in Dhobley district near the Kenyan border, said the US air strike on the settlements in Jubba provinces, about 500 km south of the capital Mogadishu, has inflicted casualties which are still are unknown.

American warplanes were seen flying overhead Somali settlements near the Kenyan border yesterday, Qorane said.

Witnesses have also indicated that they saw nearly 20 planes flying over the areas where the strike took place, but said they heard no sounds of gunship shots or explosions.

Posted by: b real | Jan 24 2007 16:24 utc | 10

edwards is off my list. i refuse to vote for anyone tooting aipacs horn, re #6.

when i read yesterday he was giving a speech at that meeting via satellite i was disappointed, after reading it, i am disgusted

Posted by: annie | Jan 24 2007 20:29 utc | 11

I think it was fauxreal whom had a post recently on E. Howard Hunt's death, however, I can't seem to find it to link to it. Perhaps she can repost it.

In the meantime...

For your amusment, edification, or both...

The Strange Death of Dorothy Hunt

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 24 2007 20:42 utc | 12

annie what about this.... better have a bucket nearby when you read it. You might just throw up:

Covenant Alliances

"Congressional Israel Allies Caucus of the United States Congress" Pow Wows with "Knesset Christian Allies Caucus of the Israeli Knesset..." in the U.S. capitol... at our expense....

I want my country back!

Truly, I wonder if there is any historical precedent. Has any other country established such a caucus in our Congress?

Posted by: Bea | Jan 24 2007 20:54 utc | 13

bea, it's on valentine's day. how lovey dovey.

yer right, makes me want to barf

Posted by: annie | Jan 24 2007 21:06 utc | 14

Ali Allawi not Ijad, the former prime minister, has some interesting takes in this interview:

And as much as the United States, or the Bush Administration, has objected to possibility of negotiations with Iran, the only alternative course that they have is to confront it, and to challenge it, and to raise the cost of its apparent intervention in the Iraqi crisis.

This of course creates a serious problem for the Iraqi government itself, which is to an extent anchored around the Islamist parties of the United Iraqi Alliance. On the surface it appears to be a contradiction. I mean how can the United States expect that by confronting Iran and Iraq, it is going to get the support of the UIA, which is to some extent dependent on Iranian support—ongoing support—politically and otherwise?

So it’s a way of trying to break this conundrum. Now I don’t think it’s likely to succeed because the only thing that can happen out of this strategy is basically the breakup of the United Iraqi Alliance. You are going to get possibly a new governing majority in parliament, but that would not necessarily reduce the violence or the instability inside the country.
NIo: And why do you think he was not tried for those other crimes?

AA: Well, there are a number of reasons I think. One of them was the fear on the part of senior Iraqi ministers that the United States might spring him. I don’t mean spring him and set him free, but maybe take him outside of the country. There was a fear about that.
AA: Well, the Mahdi Army is part of a movement. It’s true, parts of it are undisciplined, parts of it have turned to criminality, but they form part of a political movement that has very strong street support. Under normal conditions I would say these people account for up to 70 percent of the Shi‘a street, as it were. We’re talking about six, seven million people whose political representation takes on various forms. Politically they’re part of the Sadrist movement, in terms of militias, various elements of the Mahdi Army.
the geopolitical unit that was created in the early ‘20s had now ended. We now have to come up with a different formulation and we have to deal with the requirements of the major constituent groups as to how they see their role in this state, in this new country, assuming it maintains its geographic and geopolitical boundaries.

Posted by: b | Jan 24 2007 21:24 utc | 15

secrecynews: Army Seeks to Catalyze Open Source Intelligence

A new U.S. Army Field Manual is intended to advance the development and use of open source intelligence (OSINT), which is intelligence that is derived from publicly available data legally obtained.

"The value of publicly available information as a source of intelligence has... often been overlooked in Army intelligence operations. This manual provides a catalyst for renewing the Army's awareness of the value of open sources; establishing a common understanding of OSINT; and developing systematic approaches to collection, processing, and analysis of publicly available information."

The growing military appreciation of open source intelligence arises from the ever-increasing quality of public sources and the evident limitations of traditional classified approaches.
Characteristically, perhaps, the new Army manual on OSINT is marked "for official use only" and it has not been approved for public release. As such, it would not have qualified as an "open source." Until now.

A copy of the manual was obtained by Secrecy News and posted on the Federation of American Scientists web site.

See "Open Source Intelligence," U.S. Army Field Manual Interim FMI 2-22.9, December 2006 (161 pages, 2 MB PDF).

Posted by: b real | Jan 24 2007 22:21 utc | 16

one story from mogadishu today tells us U.S. says AU force in Somalia by mid-Feb

U.S. officials continue to insist that African peacekeepers will begin replacing Ethiopian troops in Somalia within weeks, despite challenges.

Regional experts said that the Ethiopians, who booted Islamic extremist militias from Mogadishu at the end of last year and installed an internationally recognized but weak Transitional Federal Government, need to be replaced by a U.N.-authorized force as soon as possible, but said it was still unclear that was possible.

"(Ugandan) President (Yoweri) Museveni said that it would happen within two weeks," Jendayi Frazer, assistant secretary of state for African Affairs said last week.

"It's probably an optimistic timeline, but we have to get them -- the Ugandan forces -- in as soon as possible."

"By the end of the month to maybe two weeks out, by mid February -- within that window is when I see the first forces arriving into Somalia," she told an audience at Washington [neocon] think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Nonetheless, her view is "somewhat rose-colored," David Shinn, a former senior U.S. diplomat who held several posts in the region and now studies it at George Washington University, told United Press International.

"The Ethiopians are champing at the bit to get out of there," he said.

an editorial writer from eritrea seems to have the clearest perception
A Task That Collapsed Before Off Ground

After the open US invasion was carried out in Somalia through its mercenary agent, the TPLF regime, an immediate extension of the planned invasion was the deployment of a peacekeeping force. By bribing, enticing and alluring different clan leaders and warlords so as to make them lay their weapons, the process of deployment was assumed to take place hastily. Because the government which entered Mogadishu , tailored by out side forces can't stay one sole night alone.

However, as the UN and the US Administration itself had observed in the past, the failed scheme of deploying peacekeepers in Somalia couldn't be successful this time, and obviously this doesn't require any analyst or expert mind. ‘Peacekeepers' as the name denotes, are mandated to keep peace upon the agreement of contending parties and can't be engaged in situations like that of Somalia, where peace is out of hand. The people of Somalia have made their desire and aspirations clear and they expect to fulfill their choice and above all reject outside intervention. The political will expressed through the Union of Islamic Courts that focused on unity can't be smothered by the old trick of deploying so called peacekeeping force. Instead, the fire continues flickering and rages day by day. As the daily attacks waged against the invading forces of the TPLF regime as well as the militias of the puppet government foretell and the strong popular protests clearly manifest, the people of Somalia like all other people want to instate a government of their own choice and obviously they can't accept a foreign agent enthroned by invading forces.

The objective of the US Administration and the TPLF regime is to put in place a puppet government in Somalia that guarantees the interest of foreign forces through a multinational peacekeeping force. However, any government can't stand for long shielded by peacekeepers. How long? Any sane mind can't perceive how such a people who didn't succumb to an invading force will succumb to the heels of a peacekeeping force.

Hence, the solution is respecting the option of the Somali people. Their choice can't be obliterated or erased by any regional or international force. Though it appears to be the case for a time, it is not possible to muffle the voice of the people for long by gathering forces and invading their land. The Somalis have distinctly and unequivocally expressed their own choice. Ultimately by overcoming the harmful clan and kinship based polarization, the people of Somalia have opted to stand as a united people and country, and they will surely prevail. There is no other choice than the choice of the people. Hence, the campaign of deploying UN troops in Somalia could be described as a project that collapsed before taking a single step.

Posted by: b real | Jan 24 2007 22:50 utc | 17

b real,

Has somebody told them they can read stuff on the internets? And actually learn something?

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 24 2007 22:53 utc | 18

After the domestic response to the London subway bombing, I had formed the opinion that Brits were less hysterical and more far-sighted than their US counterparts.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 24 2007 23:32 utc | 19

Som brits see through the smoke and mirrors, like the director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald.

Sir Ken pointed to the rhetoric around the "war on terror" - which has been adopted by Tony Blair and ministers after being coined by George Bush - to illustrate the risks.

He said: "London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 7 2005 were not victims of war. And the men who killed them were not, as in their vanity they claimed on their ludicrous videos, 'soldiers'. They were deluded, narcissistic inadequates. They were criminals. They were fantasists. We need to be very clear about this. On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a 'war on terror', just as there can be no such thing as a 'war on drugs'.

'There is no war on terror'

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 25 2007 0:41 utc | 20

First this caught my attention (January 22):
Iraqi Palestinians are Facing Massacre.

Then this story on Tuesday (January 23):
27 Palestinians abducted in Baghdad on Tuesday.

Today (January 24) there is this plea from the U.N:
Iraq: UN calls on world community to help Palestinians facing attacks, intimidation.

Are the U.S., U.K. and Israel governments (and media) seemingly turning a blind eye (or even more direct involvement?) to such tragedies of these people?

Posted by: Rick | Jan 25 2007 3:32 utc | 21

here ya go, uncle.

this is a strange bit on google video about the secret service hanging back, seemingly on orders. you probably know that one already.

I find it's more implausible to believe that Oswald could have done that whole thing alone than that the killer(s) were some combination of right wing creeps and crooks, whose reign of terror has culminated in President Pinhead.

Posted by: fauxreal | Jan 25 2007 4:27 utc | 22

What fuels "radicalism" in the Muslim world

Someone must tell General Musharraf that terrorism is not a Muslim problem. Muslim problem is puppet leadership and colonialism that continues with the force of economic and military terrorism. That the United States and its allies (like Israel) claim a right to bypass United Nations, ignore international law and short-circuit legal procedure through the use of wars of aggression and so-called targetted killing[5] — in full knowledge that innocent lives will inevitably be lost — carry no more moral authority than a drunk driver's plea of innocence when he says he didn't intend to kill anyone. Likewise, an airborne gunner and his ground support cannot escape culpability simply because they are following orders.

The military might of the United States is presented to be helpless before the so-presented Al-Qaeda network: a powerful, organized, well-coordinated international force, which doesn’t come to an end. Al-Qaeda pops up where the United States and its allies need an illegitimate intervention. "Killing terrorists" is not a sport, nor is it a grim but noble task that "needs to be done." It has become a cloak for indiscriminate violence; a flimsy lie used to hide the fact that one form of terrorism is being used in an effort to thwart another.

Like the use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan, American officials will no doubt defend the use of gunships in Somalia on the basis that Somalia's lawless condition limits the U.S.'s counterterrorism options. Yet according to the Washington Post’s Craig Timberg, law and order had in fact already been established six months ago — for the first time in 15 years.[6] But whether this Islamist order was acceptable to the majority of Somalis, it was thoroughly unacceptable to Washington.

Both the colonial administrations and their puppets ruling Muslim countries are indifferent to the question of whether a nation's order arises from within or is imposed from the outside. Oblivious to that distinction they stubbornly refuses to see that American-backed "order" is no such thing — it is a form of instability glued together by the threat of financial and military terrorism. Inevitably, sooner or later it fractures.

The U.S. government, its allies and their puppets in the Muslim world are simply confirming the widespread belief that America is engaged in a war on Islam and for those who see the propaganda value in that perception, America is also unwittingly the "best friend of Islam" as it "wakes up the sleeping Muslim" masses.[7]

For a more enlightened administration might have seen in Somalia an opportunity to reverse the expectation across the Islamic world that the United States will always act in visceral opposition to any system and any act in the name of Islam. The U.S. could have thereby empowered the more pragmatic leadership in Somalia. Instead, the American response simply confirmed the widely held view that the U.S. and its allies are at war with Islam because that provides an alternative to the existing, oppressive and exploitative political and economic order, which cannot sustain without subjugating others and exploiting their resources.

If there's one thread that seems to endure in U.S. foreign policy it is that the will of the people is the least thing among Washington's considerations. The same is approach of all the puppet regimes in the Muslim world. Peoples’ will simply doesn’t count. When masses of people around the world are led to believe that America and the puppet its supports view their aspirations and desire for self-determination with contempt, this is what fuels “radicalism” — the resistance to de facto colonization.

Posted by: b real | Jan 25 2007 4:27 utc | 23

From Jim Webbs rebuttle speech:

Like so many other Americans, today and throughout our history, we serve and have served, not for political reasons, but because we love our country. On the political issues those matters of war and peace, and in some cases of life and death we trusted the judgment of our national leaders. We hoped that they would be right, that they would measure with accuracy the value of our lives against the enormity of the national interest that might call upon us to go into harm's way.

We owed them our loyalty, as Americans, and we gave it. But they owed us sound judgment, clear thinking, concern for our welfare, a guarantee that the threat to our country was equal to the price we might be called upon to pay in defending it.

The President took us into this war recklessly.....

And a response from john Warner:

And Virginia Republican John Warner, a powerful member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who opposes the surge but is against Hagel's nonbinding resolution, was more complimentary of Democratic Sen. Jim Webb's response than he was of Bush's speech.
After praising Bush for his "gracious" introduction of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Warner added that Webb's "heartfelt" message "earned the respect of military families across America.

One of the several little epiphanies from the 5 minute speech. The Iraq war is now officially open to criticism/outrage by those in the military itself. How long before bush appears before a military audience and they remain stoney silent?

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 25 2007 6:43 utc | 24

[The] American Monkey Cage

I find it some what disturbing and yet amusing, that some of the best posts, the ones that should make thinking people and in particular, so called 'democrats'-- see what a scam both parties are--are mostly always thrown away to the dumpster. I have a little game I play over at dkos, I go right for Susan G's, Diary Rescue first and foremost. I call it 'dumpster diving' because, the real treasures, the ones that have any depth are in the dumpster with little or no comments to them. Read the above and see if you can see why. Bonus points if you can comment on why a kossack wouldn't want to acknowledge the info given here.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 25 2007 7:13 utc | 25


The following was part II i.e. a supplement to and of my above post somehow typepad didn't see it that way, perhaps you will...

One nation, under Choice Point
Greg Palast has an important response to the State of the Union speech:

First, there was the announcement the regime will, “give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers.” In case you missed that one, the President is talking about creating a federal citizen profile database.

There’s a problem with that idea. It’s against the law...


Will Big Brother abuse these snoop lists? The biggest purveyor of such hit lists is Choice Point, Inc. – those characters who, before the 2000 election, helped Jeb Bush purge innocent voters as “felons” from Florida voter rolls. Will they abuse the new super-lists? Does Dick Cheney shoot in the woods?

I never thought that the argument over immigration was intended to protect American jobs; indeed, Bush made clear his view that we should legalize underpaid Mexican labor. Bush is making a list, checking it twice -- a list of who are you and where you are, without which you can neither buy nor sell.

Why haven't the Apocalypse-spotters glommed onto Choice Point? 'Bout time those wackos did something useful ...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 25 2007 7:32 utc | 26

anna missed, after your earlier comment last night about webb's speech i went looking for it. for anyone who hasn't seen it..

very impressive

Posted by: annie | Jan 25 2007 7:39 utc | 27

Uncle there's a wee bit of a problemo. If any of the devotees of that site, or it's originators, read yr. link (#25) they'd have to either shut down the site, or radically redirect it as they could clearly no longer support the JackAss/Police State Party...

Posted by: jj | Jan 25 2007 7:48 utc | 28

While a meeting is being held in Paris for donors to rebuild Lebanon after the merciless bombing by Israel, (no war reparations here, get someone else to pay), the UN is busy with a new resolution for Iran to be in violation of.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in December, shortly before he took office, that it was unacceptable for Iran to deny the Holocaust or call for Israel to be wiped off the map.

I guess is doesn't matter that there is some controversy over whether those words were said.

Posted by: ww | Jan 25 2007 9:16 utc | 29

Haifa Street: In a New Joint U.S.-Iraqi Patrol, the Americans Go First

Eventually the Americans realized that the Iraqis were searching no more than half of the apartments; at one point the Iraqis completely disappeared, leaving the American unit working with them flabbergasted.

“Where did they go?” yelled Sgt. Jeri A. Gillett. Another soldier suggested, “I say we just let them go and we do this ourselves.”

Then the gunfire began. It would come from high rises across the street, from behind trash piles and sandbags in alleys and from so many other directions that the soldiers began to worry that the Iraqi soldiers were firing at them. Mortars started dropping from across the Tigris River, to the east, in the direction of a Shiite slum.

The only thing that was clear was that no one knew who the enemy was. “The thing is, we wear uniforms — they don’t,” said Specialist Terry Wilson.

At one point the Americans were forced to jog alongside the Strykers on Haifa Street, sheltering themselves as best they could from the gunfire. The Americans finally found the Iraqis and ended up accompanying them into an extremely dangerous and exposed warren of low-slung hovels behind the high rises as gunfire rained down.

American officers tried to persuade the Iraqi soldiers to leave the slum area for better cover, but the Iraqis refused to risk crossing a lane that was being raked by machine-gun fire. “It’s their show,” said Lt. David Stroud, adding that the Americans have orders to defer to the Iraqis in cases like this.

In this surreal setting, about 20 American soldiers were forced at one point to pull themselves one by one up a canted tin roof by a dangling rubber hose and then shimmy along a ledge to another hut. The soldiers were stunned when a small child suddenly walked out of a darkened doorway and an old man started wheezing and crying somewhere inside.

Ultimately the group made it back to the high rises and escaped the sniper in the alley by throwing out the smoke bombs and sprinting to safety. Even though two Iraqis were struck by gunfire, many of the rest could not stop shouting and guffawing with amusement as they ran through the smoke.

Posted by: b | Jan 25 2007 9:59 utc | 30

First snow for Hamburg today.

The video is from Portland ...

Posted by: b | Jan 25 2007 11:58 utc | 31

Our mercenaries in Iraq

he president called on Congress to authorize an increase of about 92,000 active-duty troops over the next five years. He then slipped in a mention of a major initiative that would represent a significant development in the U.S. disaster response/reconstruction/war machine: a Civilian Reserve Corps.

"Such a corps would function much like our military Reserve. It would ease the burden on the armed forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them," Bush declared. This is precisely what the administration has already done, largely behind the backs of the American people and with little congressional input, with its revolution in military affairs. Bush and his political allies are using taxpayer dollars to run an outsourcing laboratory. Iraq is its Frankenstein monster.
The president's proposed Civilian Reserve Corps was not his idea alone. A privatized version of it was floated two years ago by Erik Prince, the secretive, mega-millionaire, conservative owner of Blackwater USA and a man who for years has served as the Pied Piper of a campaign to repackage mercenaries as legitimate forces. In early 2005, Prince — a major bankroller of the president and his allies — pitched the idea at a military conference of a "contractor brigade" to supplement the official military. "There's consternation in the [Pentagon] about increasing the permanent size of the Army," Prince declared. Officials "want to add 30,000 people, and they talked about costs of anywhere from $3.6 billion to $4 billion to do that. Well, by my math, that comes out to about $135,000 per soldier." He added: "We could do it certainly cheaper."

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

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

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

Posted by: b | Jan 25 2007 12:02 utc | 32

@Uncle #26

Will Big Brother abuse these snoop lists?

Ummm... they also announced they plan a "civil service reserve..." -- that goes right into this mix, doesn't it? So not only do they use it to verify your legal status and stop you from flying and buying at their discretion, but they also use it to forcefully deploy you to war zones to "contribute" your special skills....

Posted by: Bea | Jan 25 2007 12:26 utc | 33

Woops b, you beat me to it in #32... that will teach me to post a response before reading through the entire thread...

Posted by: Bea | Jan 25 2007 13:25 utc | 34

@Bea et al...

"So not only do they use it to verify your legal status and stop you from flying and buying at their discretion, but they also use it to forcefully deploy you to war zones..."

Total war, indeed. Everyone one will be used, --that's you and me, brother, sister--and most are/will be expendable cannon fodder. Whither dost thou grasp the grim meathook future dear citizen?

Now, one should ask at this point, where did it all begin, how long has this been going on, where is all this going...??

Homefront: the grim meathook future of the long war...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 25 2007 14:19 utc | 35

Anna missed: ”One of the several little epiphanies from the 5 minute speech. The Iraq war is now officially open to criticism/outrage by those in the military itself.”

I find your statement very political. Jack Murtha served with a distinguished military record and has been spoken out against “the way the Iraq war is being fought” before the 2006 election and was not rewarded for it by leaders of the Democratic Party. It is unfortunate that Americans in the military need the Democratic Party or any group to “officially” state that it is now OK to disagree with the war. OOPS – I mean “the way the war is being fought”.

I heard and saw the official “Democratic” rebuttal live on television. Jim Webb was oh so careful to toe the (Party) line. As I noted before, he started to say that Americans wanted an end to this war, then caught himself in mid-sentence, and corrected himself, and said they wanted an end to the way the war is being fought. When lives are at stake, I could never vote for a party that puts politics above lives and national interests. I use the words lives and interests to mean both American and Iraqi lives and interests.
Without a doubt, what bothered me most that sad evening, was that neither Bush nor Webb made any mention of the tremendous number of Iraqi deaths and the tremendous destruction America has caused and continues to cause while ‘they’, the political parties, posture. Bush was asked last week if he owed the people of Iraq an apology. Not to anyone surprise, Bush answered flatly no, instead saying that “Iraqi’s should be thanking the U.S.” for what America has done in Iraq.. Yes, yes, I know that these speeches were about the State of the American Union but isn’t the Iraq War the major issue of Americans and isn’t the major reason claimed by both parties that Americans are fighting now in Iraq is to help the Iraqi people and not just fight it ’the right way’ to save American lives?

In short, the world does not need “Moon of Alabama” to become an echo chamber of “Misty Dog Lake”, “Fkos” or even “Little Green Pukeballs”.

Posted by: Rick | Jan 25 2007 14:22 utc | 36

Well said rick, @36...

Bush was asked last week if he owed the people of Iraq an apology. Not to anyone surprise, Bush answered flatly no, instead saying that “Iraqi’s should be thanking the U.S.”

Reminds me of one of the techniques employed by abusers* is the 'blame the victim' stance. Projection, they call it in recovery circles. An apt cliche is the saying, "when you point the finger at someone, you have three pointing back at you"...

*mostly used by psychopaths, serial rapist's etc...

I have been saving the following, because I am still processing it, however, it seems to fit well with the comments and discussion here, and is a very thought provoking read, however flawed... and would truely love to hear other moonies thoughts on the matter.

Is it the system?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 25 2007 14:55 utc | 37

grrr... sorry, scroll up in my above post or click this read the op.

Goddamn, I hate typepad...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 25 2007 15:00 utc | 38

For God, Country and that Bass Boat: The Contractor's Creed

It's not the hysterical laughter that bothers me, but my inability, to stop, oh and the tears...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 25 2007 15:22 utc | 39

Crimes & Misdemeanors: Reflections on The Death of Howard Hunt [h/t to zmag]

Most telling about the AP story this morning regarding the death of E. Howard Hunt is what is glossed over in this story. Thus, while the AP Story notes in passing that Hunt “helped orchestrate a coup in Guatemala,” the story goes on to talk in detail about what, as the article notes, Hunt is most famous for: the Watergate burglary. However, the Watergate burglary, which Hunt ended up serving time for, was merely the act of a small-time prankster compared to coup in Guatemala which the article tells us nothing about and for which Hunt was never punished.

Of course, the coup in Guatemala which Hunt was intimately involved in as a CIA officer at the time, was the overthrow of President Arbenz in 1954. Arbenz was a democratically-elected president who the U.S. unseated, with Hunt’s leadership, at the behest of the United Fruit Company which opposed Arbenz’s land reform program. While the Arbenz overthrow may be a mere footnote in the minds of U.S. newspaper publishers, the event was much more significant for the people of Guatemala.
Despite the terror and genocide which Hunt helped to unleash upon Guatemala, Hunt was never punished for this high crime. Rather, after a short sentence for his role in the Watergate burglary, he lived a tranquil life, dying peacefully at the ripe age of 88 in Miami. The fact that Hunt, and his co-conspirators, escaped punishment for this crime, and the fact that the U.S. press to this day views this crime as a mere footnote in the life of Mr. Hunt, and indeed in the history of the U.S., speaks volumes about how our nation has become inured to such violence and imperial aggression.

Posted by: b real | Jan 25 2007 15:34 utc | 40

Reading your post b real I am prompted to ask whether anyone has ever written a different type of history of the United States -- a history of all of our meddling in other countries? I think it would be a very worthy project, or web site. Can you imagine? Click on a given year and then you have photos and multimedia displays from the time and the country bringing to life the consequences of our "intervention..." And we could see, year by year by year, what we have wrought...

Posted by: Bea | Jan 25 2007 17:22 utc | 41

Without a doubt, what bothered me most that sad evening, was that neither Bush nor Webb made any mention of the tremendous number of Iraqi deaths and the tremendous destruction America has caused and continues to cause while ‘they’, the political parties, posture.


Posted by: Bea | Jan 25 2007 17:26 utc | 42

Bea- that's probably an impossible task for one person, even as an editor - the work necessary to do the topic justice would likely require multiple series comprised of multiple volumes, which would then require continuous updating as more documentation & information becomes available - as the united states has meddled (or attempted to meddle) in nearly every government in nearly every country in the hemisphere (and beyond) at one time or another since the birth of this nation.

william blum's book Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II is valuable attempt at documenting one slice of that history over a large portion of the globe. pick a continent and there are loads of stories to tell. on the history of u.s. interventions in latin america alone over the past in the past 230 years, there have been numerous books offering fascinating insight into the tactics & adventures of our empire. two that i've read last year that i can recommend are david healy's Drive to Hegemony: The United States in the Caribbean, 1898–1917 and walter lafeber's Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America.

Posted by: b real | Jan 25 2007 18:18 utc | 43

bea#41, i would buy the book

Posted by: annie | Jan 25 2007 18:50 utc | 44

bea @41, adbusters did an issue a few years ago that treated this quite well, but was more of a chronology than an in-depth study. it was the may/june 2004 issue. often and sadly, their back issues are out of print, but it may be able to order a copy from their website. thanks to you, annie, and b real this is a good reminder to me to subscribe again.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 25 2007 19:30 utc | 45

When I start to go insane due to the presidential campaign silly season, things can turn out a little better when I remember that Matt Taibi is on the case.

Will the 2008 campaign see the world's first ten-focus-word sentence? I used to think that was an impossibility, but I'm beginning to wonder. Would you put a sentence like the following past Hillary Clinton?

The promise of America requires bold new leadership, leadership based on the principles and values of hope and optimism -- leadership with the vision to honor America's heroes and stand up to any challenge.

Posted by: Rowan | Jan 25 2007 19:35 utc | 46

two from today's asia times online

since there's no billmon transmissions from davos this year, here's one take on what's on elite minds
Elite ponder threats to globalization

The high-profile Davos meeting of the international political, business, economic and academic elite began on Wednesday on the somber note that globalization is facing major threats due to worsening climate change, growing income disparities, escalating barriers to the movement of people, and global political and economic instability.

"We are living in a schizophrenic world," Klaus Schwab, founder and chief executive of the World Economic Forum, said at a press conference, arguing that "there are so many underlying imbalances, fragilities, and inconsistencies" that need to be addressed on a war footing if the world is to be made a safe place.
He said there are 23 risks that are posing a major challenge to globalization, especially climate change and the stalemate in global trade negotiations. The situation in the Middle East is another major problem that needs to be addressed on a firm footing, he suggested, indicating that Davos is the best platform that can set the stage for arriving at appropriate answers on these global risks.

The central theme of this year's meeting is "shifting power equations", which aims to grapple with ongoing changes in the world.
Climate change tops the list of issues at this year's meeting, with Schwab calling for concerted action at various levels, but there is no consensus among the world's corporate bosses on how to address this issue.

The consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers released a study on Tuesday indicating that 31% of chief executives are "not at all concerned" about global warming and climate change, while 28% are "not very concerned". The study suggested that only 14% are "extremely concerned" about climate change, while 26% are "somewhat concerned".

If this is what companies think about climate change, it is not clear what impact the Davos meeting can make on this issue, said an Asian business representative, arguing that the focus on climate change is constantly shifting to emerging economies, particularly China and India.

undecided if this is good or bad. it's good in the sense that in times of uncertainty & confusion, along w/ making even more poor decisions, people tend to turn to fundamentalistic beliefs. in the case of capitalists, that's not a pretty scenario for the disposable & superfluous amongst us, which would be very bad. at any rate, we really should stop relying on business leaders to lead us in the changes that are necessary to preserve our species, nor can we realistically expect them to change & it is not logical to identify ourselves w/ their worldview.

Cambodia's coming energy bonanza

f the United Nations, World Bank and Harvard University are to be believed, Cambodia is poised to become a major new global energy exporter, with a fossil-fuel windfall that promises to double the country's current gross domestic product (GDP) and potentially lift millions of Cambodians out of poverty.

stop right there. when has this ever happened - this lifting millions out of poverty after oil is found under their feet?
US oil giant Chevron has indicated a huge oil-and-gas find off Cambodia's south coast, where it has reportedly hit black in four out of five well tests. Cambodian energy official Te Duong Tara last week estimated that the 6,278-square-kilometer Block A that Chevron is drilling could contain as much as 700 million barrels of oil, or nearly twice the earlier 400-million-barrel estimate.
An energy-rich Cambodia would appreciably enhance the war-torn country's geostrategic significance, particularly as the United States and China aggressively joust for access to new fuel sources around the globe. It is relevant that a US oil company made Cambodia's initial find, and perhaps even more significant that a Chinese energy firm has lobbied heaviest to win majority rights to the geographically adjacent Block B, where a small Chinese software outfit has quietly helped local energy authorities conduct so-called "logging" seismic tests.

Beijing is in hot pursuit of any new Asia-based energy sources that would allow its fuel shipments to bypass the congested Malacca Strait, through which nearly 80% of its oil imports now flow. Chinese leaders have openly expressed their worries that in a potential conflict, US naval vessels could block China's fuel imports from the Middle East at the narrow channel that separates peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesia island of Sumatra.

so how long before we start seeing corporate news stories featuring un-named officials expressing concerns about al-qa'idah in cambodia?

Posted by: b real | Jan 25 2007 19:35 utc | 47

Well Rick,
I did say little epiphanies. My post was merely an observation, and not an advocacy. However I do think Webb's statements were an important ratchet click, or dead weight attached, to the war effort in general. It is of some importance that the public be givin a succinct and unambigious argument for resisting on principal, what is trumpeted as "the national interest". That members of the military (and the public) not only have the right, but an active responsability to demand a clear accounting of both the real costs and the true nature of what those "national interests" are.

If in fact, members of the military (and the public) are so deadened to the actual consequences of their actions upon their victims -- the Iraqi people, in this case -- which they are, then lets assume the first step toward empathy begins at home. With the military, with the public, and their consequences at hand. If the american people are so dumbed and cowed (by false patriotism) to willingly pour their sons and daughters into the imperial meatgrinder, how can we rationally expect either abhorance or resistance, to the plight of their victims. In this respect, what Webb did was to give people the language to see the bigger picture, and resist it.

Posted by: | Jan 25 2007 19:36 utc | 48

me above a.m.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 25 2007 19:50 utc | 49

me above a.m.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 25 2007 19:51 utc | 50

wayne madsen points out something sounds plausible

On January 24, the military demonstrated its Active Denial System (ADS) millimeter wave directed energy beam in a test designed for the media, and hence, the public. Using enlisted airman, acting as "rioters," as "guinea pigs," a beam was directed at them from a parabolic antenna located 500 yards away atop a Humvee. The wave heated the skin of the "rioters" to 130 degrees, creating the feeling in the targets that they were being burned alive, scattering them in the process.
The public testing of such a weapon by the military just prior to what may be the largest anti-war march in Washington since the Vietnam War is a clear message by the Pentagon to marchers that the millimeter wave technology exists and is deployable. Psychologically, most people find the idea of being burned alive frightening and this Pentagon "show and tell" was an obvious ploy to scare away marchers, especially those planning to bring their families.

Posted by: b real | Jan 25 2007 19:54 utc | 51

@b real - Say Hello to the Goodbye Weapon is a Wired Story about the "Active Denial".

The big problem:
The effect makes people want to run away, and that's the idea, but what happens if they can not run away? Having been in lots of crowded protests I know there is no way to run .

The system will therby just grill people in place. Nothing "un-lethal" about that.

Posted by: b | Jan 25 2007 20:29 utc | 52

what Webb did was to give people the language to see the bigger picture, and resist it.

i agree. i just finished watching an old bill moyers documentary faux linked to yesterday

The Secret Government ... The Constitution in Crisis

the concept of what has happened over the last few decades, and the stakes at risk have to be driven home. there was something ominous in webb's speech, especially the timing coming fater the tired old propaganda about 9/11. people are thirsty and his speech provided nourishment that could be recieved by the common man. i was reminded when i veiwed sir no sir, the documentary about the rejection by members of military over the basic premises for our reasons for killing the vietnamese, how powerful that movement was in shifting sentiment about the war.

although webb speech was delivered to the nation there was a sense he was speaking not only directly to, but more importantly as a soldier. wrt the bolded sections in #24.

also, i would imagine there is a growing resentment w/in the military towards the private army. how could there not be? how could one not have a sense of 'whats really going on here?' when covert actions superceed and/or are integrated into their operations in ways they often can only respond to. in ways that must place them in danger.

Posted by: annie | Jan 25 2007 20:34 utc | 53

Video: Battle For Haifa Street


Posted by: b | Jan 25 2007 20:38 utc | 54

Bea@41 - try this - excerpt from A People's History of America, Howard Zinn

Posted by: jcairo | Jan 25 2007 21:12 utc | 55

Planning to go to DC on Saturday?

I can only go one day - dog care issues - and am trying to decide which would be more effective - Saturday for the march or Monday for lobbying. Any thoughts out there?

Also for those who are interested in attending the march and would like to join with other blogger types, this diary at dkos provides spirited information about where and when people are meeting up. Sounds like it could be a good group to hang with in the cold.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 25 2007 21:13 utc | 56


some really tough & wonderful research & links this week

i am in awe at the skill of you/all

breal has become our african & latin american correspondant

no, really really important work being done in these most treachorous of times

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 25 2007 21:32 utc | 57

more info about the helicopter that was shot down earlier this week:

The List of Casualties from this attack contains the following:

2 Colonels
1 Lieutenant Colonel
1 Major
1 Captain
2 Command Sergeant Majors
1 First Sergeant
1 Sergeant First Class
2 Staff Sergeants
1 Corporal

That's one hell of a lot of brass on a single helicopter flight. This could indicate infiltration into the Green Zone of untold proportions.

Let's be clear, half of the manifest includes four field grade officers and two CSMs. That's a huge loss for a small and agile force such as what we've got deployed in Iraq. On top of this fact is also the fact that CSMs are the enlisted equivalent of general officers. CSMs run the army. CSMs can bring any company grade officer down with little effort. The only officers that will generally stand up to a CSM and call them on the carpet would be full bird colonels (two of which were lost on this flight) and command officers (i.e. generals).

The loss of a single CSM can often bring a full brigade to a standstill.

When faced with an insurgency using guerilla tactics, taking out four field grade officers with a single shot is a victory of epic proportions.

The military indicates it is investigating the event. Two questions must be answered:

1. Why were so many high value targets placed on a single helicopter flight?

2. Who knew so many high value targets would be on this flight, especially who within the Iraqi government and military?

the diarist at dkos says: The loss of this single helictoper is a disaster. This needs to be corrected immediately or no surge, regardless of how many troops are sent in the surge, will do anything but exact a toll in blood and lives. bernhard and anna missed, wondering how you see this?

Posted by: conchita | Jan 25 2007 22:18 utc | 58

wow. i had heard (here?) there was brass on the helicopter but that is astounding.

Posted by: annie | Jan 25 2007 22:39 utc | 59

I was stunned by this Image (cached outside firewall) from the Economist article "Waking up and catching up" showing electricity consumption per person in the Red vs Blue (2004) states.

Quite a difference - over 50% greater in red states. California half the blue state average (and perhaps accountable for much of the difference)... Certainly would account for some of the cultural divide re global warming etc.


Posted by: PeeDee | Jan 25 2007 23:25 utc | 60

Continuing on our theme of the Civilian Reserve Corps :

Rangel’s dumb and astronomically expensive idea:[ not to mention highjacked and dangerous...] emphasis mine.

I have already established what I believe the elite ptb would do with this, which is nothing short of highjacking it under aesopian control , ideals and language. Where politics trumps free speech, ideals and good intentions. Not so much the 'meaningless rhectoric' but the ideal of asimmilating the program and using it for their own ends.

For example, the above talks of how Rangel was making noises about something similar to this not too long ago. Seems to me this kind of proposal (non-voluntary) would offer our government an endless supply of cannon fodder and so would Bush's (SAYS it's voluntary, but will it really be if it comes to pass?

HR 163

Declares that it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a two-year period of national service, unless exempted, either as a member of an active or reserve component of the armed forces or in a civilian capacity that promotes national defense. Requires induction into national service by the President. Sets forth provisions governing: (1) induction deferments, postponements, and exemptions, including exemption of a conscientious objector from military service that includes combatant training; and (2) discharge following national service. Amends the Military Selective Service Act to authorize the military registration of females.

Pretty ominous...I guess since they are Orwell purists, and replaced "escalation" with "surge", they now need to replace the word "draft", but are smart enough to know this time mere word replacement will not cut it: they need a mechanism to make it look and sound new and different. The only question is what word or term will they come up with to replace the word "draft"? From this, it looks it will sound something like "Critical Skills Needful Hiring" They need you?...they'll "hire" you.

The countdown to the draft, as of this speech, has begun.

It is also the real reason Bush wants to open the borders and let all the Mexicans come over here...we've are ready begun it as talked about here at the bar...they will be offered citizenship for serving the nation at war. More cannon fodder.

Yeah, if anyone is sold on this Bush "openness toward the Mexican culture" hailing from his days as Texas governor, and thus his agreeable attitude toward Mexicans crossing the border in droves, as some fair-minded compassionate conservatism, then count yourself conned.
It is just more end game.
Shit, Poppy himself probably sat governor W down, and said. "Look, we'll need them someday. Now work it."

Please. Border crossing mexicans are the same class as the New Orleans refugees in the astrodome in the eyes of the BFEE, and we know what the bitch matriarch of the Bush aristocracy thought of that scene.

Useless eaters?? Hell no...expendable eaters. Not useless.

Also, I'd still be interested in hearing thought's on my #37/38 post above re: the American left, deomcrats, Jane Smiley's post etc...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 25 2007 23:29 utc | 61

Has anyone reported this yet here?

Mortar Attacks in Green Zone Target US Embassy, followed by Bomb at Green Zone entrance

And this:

The violence erupted as Maliki won unanimous parliamentary support for the joint US-Iraqi plan aimed at ending the bloodletting in Baghdad, even from lawmakers linked to a powerful Shiite militia targeted by the security forces.

All 160 MPs present in the 275-seat parliament raised their hands in favour of the plan, including the 32 lawmakers from the Sadr bloc which only ended a two-month boycott of the Iraqi government on Sunday.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 0:02 utc | 62

At a donor's conference for Lebanon, the US pledges $770 million to help Lebanon rebuild. What could $770 million have paid for in this country, had we not given Israel the green light to go ahead and destroy the Lebanese infrastructure? Not to mention the money spent on giving ISrael the weapons in the first place, and then replenishing the weapons used...

But further down we see this:

The reform program "won't be sufficient by itself to steer the economy on a viable financial path," said John Lipskey, a senior official with the International Monetary Fund.

"The program will need to be supported by very substantial and sustained donor assistance if Lebanon is to return to a path of financial stability," he said.

Ah, now we get it. For the price of all of those billions of dollars, we have bought long-term dependence, not to mention taking Lebanon off the table as a competitor in the regional marketplace. Was it worth the price?

And then we come to the piece de la resistance, which is this, from Condoleeza Rice (elsewhere I've seen her nicknamed "KindaSleezy Lice"):

"The people of Lebanon deserve to live in peace, they deserve to make decisions about their political future, free from the threat of violence and free from political intimidation," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the conference.

"The United States is dedicated to this task."

The statement deserves to be entered into the Hypocrisy Hall of Fame. Kinda sleezy, indeed.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 0:15 utc | 63

Oops - forgot to include a link in my #63.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 0:16 utc | 64

bea #62

linkee no workee....

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 26 2007 0:22 utc | 65

More details on the>helicopter shot down on jan.20th.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 26 2007 0:59 utc | 66

Command sergeant major is the Army's highest enlisted grade.

ok, i have a stupid question. what is the meaning of this? how else can someone join the arms forces w/out enlisting? does it mean you have to come in thru a militry school like west point or something?

it angers me beyond frustration our national guard is dying over there. what a hideous waste.

Posted by: annie | Jan 26 2007 2:30 utc | 67

sorry, obviously i meant military. of course it angers me any part of our armed forces are there. futile.

Posted by: annie | Jan 26 2007 2:33 utc | 68

Ethiopian soldier exposes direct involvement of US mechanized force in Somalia’s invasion

Asmara, 25 January 2007 - A soldier of the TPLF regime who arrived in Eritrea along with eight others fleeing the war during Somalia’s invasion has exposed the direct involvement of the US mechanized force on top of providing information and advice to the invaders.

He stated that the mechanized force had stayed for 9 months in Somalia since April 2006. Besides, the invading Ethiopian forces came across a garrison of US Army officers in the border area named Gojiland, the soldier added. He further pointed out that US soldiers took direct participation in the tank and heavy armaments units at the time the invasion was launched.

Moreover, the Ethiopian soldier also revealed that clandestine meetings were held in which directives were passed by one of the TPLF regime’s senior officers, Gen. Syoum Hagos, to kill Somali soldiers resembling Eritreans in a bid to justify the regime’s false accusation alleging Eritrean involvement in the Somali war and present this concocted information to the Americans posted in Somalia.

The Conoco - Somalia Declassification Project

Conoco Somalia Limited

Posted by: b real | Jan 26 2007 3:45 utc | 69


Command Sergeant Major is the highest enlisted rank, non-commisioned officer, as opposed to (commissioned) officer corps. Commissioned officers always out-rank non-commissioned officers, except the sergeant major, who can (in some circumstances) trump a decision by his equivelant commissioned officer. Saw it happen once.

Posted by: | Jan 26 2007 4:19 utc | 70

thank you

Posted by: annie | Jan 26 2007 4:59 utc | 71

Uncle $cam: ”… I'd still be interested in hearing thought's on my #37/38 post above re: the American left, democrats, Jane Smiley's post etc...”

Uncle, I would enjoy a discussion regarding such issues. One can see in my typos (post 36) that it was written in a hurry. I had much more to say, but was already late for an appointment for my usual work. Still being upset after the Bush address and then the Webb rebuttal speech, I thought posting quickly this morning would calm me down; but it hasn't.

Uncle, I checked out your link Is it the System?-and found an excellent discussion there at Huffington Post. I would say the system is broke, but that would imply it was working correctly before. That is not to say some things haven’t gotten better for “We, The People”. In the two to three hundred years that our country has struggled to become an exemplary nation, there certainly have been successes. There have been definite improvements in human dignity regarding race and creed, definite improvements in social programs for the poor, and generally (except during specific instances of war and economic depressions), definite improvements in our standard of living. In fact, overall, one would have to admit that some positive implementations of socialism have improved many lives here in America. In that respect, as noted months ago, I don’t necessarily subscribe to the “Ratchet Effect” theory, at least as experienced in the long term. The effects of advanced technology and larger populations work together to require additional socialistic solutions no matter what political persuasion one subscribes to. I have problems with politicians of the left and of the right, with those who call themselves conservative and those who call themselves liberals. In short, I have problems with political labels, and more recently, I have deep misgivings with those who directly support one party over another without true examination of our broken and corrupt “Two Party System”. Political misuse of labels certainly contributes to our broken political system. Let me explain by an example:

Last week, Vice President Cheney, in a live television interview, was asked if Hillary Clinton, would make a good President. The response from Cheney was quick and short, and although I don’t have the transcript in front of me, if my memory serves me half-way correct, Cheney answered something like the following: “no she would not, she is a Democrat, and I don’t agree with the principles of the Democratic Party”. There were not any further details from Cheney on exactly what and why Hillary’s principles were insufficient to run the country. With Rush Limbaugh speaking to over 13 million devoted listeners weekly, and Limbaugh’s distinguished use of divisive tactics, how easy it is for millions of “ditto heads” (and a million or so others that these ditto heads influence) to accept Cheney’s poor response. Our politicians constantly use labels and division to our detriment. In a less obvious and extreme way, our American political system reminds me of Iraq; that is, labels are used by both parties and even by non-party citizens of America, sort of like Iraqis now being allowed to live or die on whether they are Shiite or Sunni. Are such labels as left or right, so commonly used, so really important here in America, or do they serve a more devious purpose?

Personally, I consider myself a “Conservative”. And I do not see free enterprise as necessarily an enemy of social cooperation. Now before every social progressive shouts me down with personal attacks in all capital letters, let me further say that for example, just off the top of my head, I would have no problem with:
1) Socializing American energy (gas, oil, etc.).
2) Socializing our communication infrastructure.
3) Having a decent socialized medical program available for all.
4) Removing and/or changing much of the overly protective copyright/patent rights.
5) Federal and State funded/regulated campaigning open to anyone regardless of party or persuasion.
6) Removing from corporations, however possible, any political power/influence on our political system and political decision-making.

The last issue is of most importance. Readers here at Moon have heard me time and time again speak out against Corporatism. It is truly, in my mind, a form of Fascism. The problems in America are readily apparent but naturally not addressed by our "elected" representatives. The academic definition of Fascism is extreme nationalism. But that definition is surely incomplete in today’s global corporate world. Since even before the East India Trading Company, multinational operating corporations have afflicted populations. But such ill consequences have never been on a scale that the poor and marginal of the world are experiencing today. By the term marginal, I am addressing most of us in the developed world.

Regarding my last post concerning Bush’s State of the Union Speech and Webb’s rebuttal, I wish to expound to further explain some points above. Again, not to beat a dead horse, and definitely Jim Webb is not a dead horse, but I do fault Webb for being part of the system yet not speaking out more clearly against the ills that this system brings - not only to Americans, but to all people of this world. Examining his speech once more from ">"> annie’s link to Crooks & Liars:
First the headline from the linked post:
Sen. Webb’s Democratic Response to the SoTU: The war’s costs to our nation have been staggering
This headline is not too off the mark in summary of the Democratic rebuttal. As noted earlier, no mention of the massive loss of Iraqi lives and treasure. Concerning Iraq and speech specifics, Jim Webb compares Iraq to the Korean War where Eisenhower called for an end to a bloody stalemate. Looking up “stalemate” synonyms from, one finds: impasse, standoff, standstill. To be sure, The Iraq War is not a stalemate. And as an aside note, the U.S. continues to maintain troops in Korea, and at some significant cost. Certainly, such an ending for Iraq would have repercussions in the area and would probably not respect the sovereignty of Iraq. And I am not implying that this is what Webb recommends.

Looking at Jim Webb’s impressive background, it is discouraging to see Webb, above all people, quoting Eisenhower in such a manner. For most Internet and independent (independent as to thinking, not relating to the political party) thinkers, and I take the liberty of using “we” here, we think of a different quote by Eisenhower, a quote that warns Americans of military/government corporate collusion. However, looking at the Iraq picture from a political party point of view – from either the Republican or the Democratic Party, such evisceration is exactly what one can expect. The political parties have become nothing more than a cancer upon the American people, feeding on our military tax dollars and the dollars we are all but forced to pay to large corporate entities.

I would like to expand more, but again, time is limited. In summary though, it is not just America’s political system that is broken, but America’s religious institutions, social support systems, and unfortunately, even our culture is diseased with some form of this cancer. Most surprising, is how this cancer has eaten away our religious institutions. Unimaginable that today we see many -so-called “Christians” accepting the notion of torture for the “common good”. I can only explain this by divisive actions (labeling, i.e. distorting the character and removing the human dignity of the detainee), tactics used by those with influence and power.

As a footnote, I refer again to Webb’s reference of an American and Iraqi “stalemate”. Such a characterization is not just an understatement, but such a comparison was wrong on so many levels. As for the understatement, it is surely wrong to compare evils, such as U.S. to Iraqi body counts, but let not any of us ignore the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives lost. Our collective guilt for lost lives is engraved in stone in a monument that stands before the whole world. Moreover, the question left unanswered, and not even asked, is: “What exactly is to follow this so called “stalemate”. Any attempt to describe the bleakness of Iraq’s future was avoided, a bleakness due totally by faults of our American Congress and President, and I say this with emphasis that American transgressions were performed by Administrations of both political parties, beginning with the first Gulf War, then the sanctions under both Clinton and Bush, then the second invasion with almost full support of both parties, and now the continued totality of U.S. involvement. What specifically wasn’t said, with all its implications, is that the puppet Iraqi government can not self- exist in its present form. Again, I am more than unimpressed and more than thoroughly disgusted with both of our major political parties. I cannot even imagine the rage that an Iraqi has towards America.

Stalemate? No, there is no stalemate in Iraq. The stalemate is in our broken political system and culture.

[This comment was lifted up to a full post. Please respond there - b.]

Posted by: Rick | Jan 26 2007 5:22 utc | 72

Need some outrage?

From a letter to the editor of the NYT (emph.add.):

To the Editor:

Re “Iraq Parliament Finds a Quorum Hard to Come By” (front page, Jan. 24):

This is an insult to Americans. As we send our young men and women abroad to bring order to Iraq, many of its so-called leaders, democratically elected leaders, have abandoned their posts. Why aren’t these members of Parliament discussing and arguing and trying to find solutions to their country’s problems?

We have given the Iraqis an opportunity, a sanctuary where they can iron out their differences, and they throw it back in our face. Iraq does not deserve our help.

Roger Woody
Mancos, Colo., Jan. 25, 2007

Posted by: b | Jan 26 2007 8:21 utc | 73

"Personally, I consider myself a “Conservative”. And I do not see free enterprise as necessarily an enemy of social cooperation. Now before every social progressive shouts me down with personal attacks in all capital letters..."

They'll be no capitial letter's or admonishment from this stool. Unlike what John Dean writes about in 'Conservatives Without Conscience' if in fact you are a conservative, your writing, ideals above and seeminly deeds have proven you are a conservative with a conscience. Within which I can admire and respect. I suspect you have a profound admiration for the spirit of humanity, regardless of the label. I wish there were thousands more like that whom consider themselves conservative, and indeed, I suspect there are , however they and we are being and have been drown out.

As Hannah Arendt, in his 'Origins Of Totalitarianism' wrote, "In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. ... Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness."

Of course that is a blanket statement and simply does not cover all labels as we talked about above, but generally seems true of the masses as a whole. Especially the educatedly dumbed down American civilization. Which perhaps, could be argued --in the emmbedded link anyway--could be taken out of context.

I saw the same subtle governing of thought (i.e., what I call prop-agenda) in the recent cheering of Senator Chuck Hagel as you speak of, and rightly so, in Web. These so called 'public servants', have no vision, no loyalty to country nor constitution, no compassion for their fellow men and women here in America let alone any where else.

" is not just America’s political system that is broken, but America’s religious institutions, social support systems, and unfortunately, even our culture is diseased.."

I can agree with the above, as a way of understanding your prior point, as well as observed events in the material world, I have come to at least provisionally accept the counter-initiation thesis of Rene Guenon. At least in part, In that he talks of the spiritually empty shell of true civilization and religion, he writes, "If you remove the esotericism of a living tradition then it atrophies and becomes a dead shell, if not a "counter traditional" movement itself." In that I do resonate with the ideal of the rachet effect, or the pendulum paradigm.

"Democracy, in actual working, rarely permits a country to be governed by its ablest. The opinions of the mass prevail over those of the thinking few. Simply because they are dupted by the elite. We must strive for some better way of conducting human affairs than the lottery of the ballot box".

What has been happening in our country during the past 58 years has been lucidly, and with prophetic vision, described by Rene Guenon in his book "The crisis of the world", translated by Arthur Osborne.

I myself am a praying atheist, however the only god I believe in is a god with skin, that's you and me, brother, sister. I don't know where I'm going with this, I am not a good writer, but I am a deep thinker, hence the reason for asking patrons what the thought of the said post. And I resonate with the vast majority of what you have shared here. So thank-you for responding. Left/right, what about right and wrong, it ultimately gets down to morals, ethics nad human dignity and relations. None of which these 'law makers' believe in. It's like negotiating with insanity. They fancy themselves benevolent, hell, their ego's tell them they are 'little gods', titans among us mere mortals.


It's like what 70's punk rocker Jello Biafra said, "when the law braks the law , there is no law". If I have learned anything in my anthropological training, and more so in my autodidatic thirst, it is that Inequality is not a natural phenomenon, it requires an active effort by the ptb. Plato speaks of levels of madness, as the highest being Divine madness, more over, levels of eros or great love of deity; he was wrong. These self proclaimed calavnist's are drunk on love of cruelty hubris and greed, and futher and much more the worse, indifference. A dark eros. A pathos of pathology of power.

We are the witnesses of a barely perceptible transformation in ordinary language by which verbs that formerly designated satisfying actions are replaced by nouns that denote packages designed for passive consumption only: for example, "to learn" becomes "acquisition of credits." A profound change in individual and social self-images is here reflected. And the layman is not the only one who has difficulty in accurately describing what he experiences. The professional economist is unable to recognize the poverty his conventional instruments fail to uncover. Nevertheless, the new mutant of impoverishment continues to spread.

- Ivan Illich, Toward a History of Needs

[this comment has been copied to another thread - please respond there - b.]

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 26 2007 8:38 utc | 74

Milbank: In Ex-Aide's Testimony, A Spin Through VP's PR

Memo to Tim Russert: Dick Cheney thinks he controls you.

This delicious morsel about the "Meet the Press" host and the vice president was part of the extensive dish Cathie Martin served up yesterday when the former Cheney communications director took the stand in the perjury trial of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
"I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format."
Relatively junior White House aides run roughshod over members of the president's Cabinet. Bush aides charged with speaking to the public and the media are kept out of the loop on some of the most important issues. And bad news is dumped before the weekend for the sole purpose of burying it.

With a candor that is frowned upon at the White House, Martin explained the use of late-Friday statements. "Fewer people pay attention to it late on Friday," she said. "Fewer people pay attention when it's reported on Saturday."
At length, Martin explained how she, Libby and deputy national security adviser Steve Hadley worked late into the night writing a statement to be issued by George Tenet in 2004 in which the CIA boss would take blame for the bogus claim in Bush's State of the Union address that Iraq was seeking nuclear material in Africa.

After "delicate" talks, Tenet agreed to say the CIA "approved" the claim and "I am responsible" -- but even that disappointed Martin, who had wanted Tenet to say that "we did not express any doubt about Niger."
For all the elaborate press management, things didn't always go according to plan. Martin described how Time wound up with an exclusive one weekend because she didn't have a phone number for anybody at Newsweek.

"You didn't have a lot of hands-on experience dealing with the press?" defense attorney Theodore Wells asked.

"Correct," Martin replied. After further questions, she added: "Few of us in the White House had had hands-on experience with any crisis like this."

Posted by: b | Jan 26 2007 9:01 utc | 75

DemocracyNow today: Blackwater, Civilian Reserve Corps. Must hear...

I'll re-up when they update their site. You really need to hear this...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 26 2007 14:21 utc | 76

Iraqi Refugee Crisis -- What You Won't Hear from the MSM

(01-16) 04:00 PST Washington -- Iraq is in the throes of the largest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Palestinian exodus from Israel in 1948, a mass flight out of and within the country that is ravaging basic services and commerce, swamping neighboring nations with nearly 2 million refugees and building intense pressure for emigration to Europe and the United States, according to the United Nations and refugee experts.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which appealed for $60 million in emergency aid last week, believes 1.7 million Iraqis are displaced inside Iraq, whose prewar population was 21 million. About 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing inside Iraq each month, the United Nations said, and 500,000 have been displaced since last February's bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra. These figures are as of January 2007.

The Bush administration and the governments of Jordan and Syria, the nations that accept the bulk of the refugees, have been reluctant to acknowledge the humanitarian crisis, experts said.

"I think everyone at this point is in denial about the human consequences of the war," said Kathleen Newland, director of the Migration Policy Institute, who is familiar with the State Department's views....

Roughly 40 percent of Iraq's middle class is believed to have fled, the U.N. said. Most are fleeing systematic persecution and have no desire to return.

Other incredible details from this article:

* Jordan has absorbed the equivalent of 10% of its population of 6 million (as if 30 million (!!!) Iraqis came to the US)

* In Iraqi culture, revenge is passed on to the next generation, so many refugees feel that neither they NOR THEIR CHILDREN can ever return...

* And of course, the US is worried about "security risks" from accepting any Iraqi refugees, and so we admitted a whopping 220 last year....

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 15:09 utc | 77

@ all

Thanks to everyone who posted sources on the US covert wars. I am going to look at all of them. I started with the Bill Moyers video that annie posted the link to and it is just amazing. I really really recommend it.

Thanks annie & faux & whoever originally posted it. This should be in our "Hall of Fame" somewhere. By the way can we have a Hall of Fame? Somewhere to keep links to sources that are just so incredibly informative that we want to pull them out and archive them in an easily retrievable place? We could organize it by subject and we could have a process whereby if a certain number of posters recommend a linked article for the hall of fame it would go in there...

Also, to Conchita, thanks for continually linking to worthwhile diaries from dKos. The one on the helicopter deaths was amazing. I keep thinking about it and wondering, how did this happen? And then freaking out about what it really might mean? And then trying hard not to think about it any more... until I think about it again.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 15:25 utc | 78

on u.s. efforts to preserve their client regime in somalia, now that ethiopian forces are staging withdrawals. think they're worried a bit?

Official says U.S. ready to fund AU Somalia force

Addis Ababa - The United States is ready to offer more funds to help African Union troops deploy quickly to Somalia as Ethiopian forces wind down their presence there, Reuters reported from Brussels quoting a U.S. official.

U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary on Africa James Swan called on other international bodies to provide urgent financial and logistical support to the AU as it struggles to raise a force of about 8,000 peacekeepers for Somalia, the report said.

"We are eager to see a rapid movement to deployment of the AU peace support operation," Swan said in an interview in Brussels with Reuters and a European weekly magazine after talks with EU officials on the conflict.

"To that end, we have identified funding that could be made available to fund (air) lift and equipment initially for the Ugandans but that could also be available to other troop contributors later," Reuters quoted Swan as saying.

Such funding would be in addition to the 14 million USD already earmarked by the United States for the AU force in a wider 40.5 million USD package announced earlier this month, the report added.

"We would also hope that not only ourselves but also other partners would provide additional assistance to the AU as it may request it," Swan said.

on that announcement earlier this month
US Becomes First to Set up African Union Mission

The United States has become the first country to establish a permanent diplomatic mission with the African Union, at a time when the U.S. is also planning to set up a new military command responsible for the continent.

Cindy L. Courville, a former special assistant to the president and a senior director for African affairs at the National Security Council, will head the mission to be based at the A.U. headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Foreign ambassadors to Ethiopia typically double up as envoys to the A.U., but this will be the first dedicated permanent mission to the 53-nation bloc.

A.U. spokeswoman Habiba Mejri-Cheich said the decision was a mark of confidence in and appreciation for the role the A.U. plays in the continent.

The new move is seen here as a reflection of the increasing importance Africa holds for the U.S., which has boosted development aid levels to new highs, according to the State Department.
Among the first key tasks for the new permanent U.S. mission will be helping the A.U. to assemble a new peacekeeping force for Somalia - where Islamists seized power last June but were ousted by Ethiopian forces late last month - and to expand an existing A.U. peacekeeping mission in Sudan's conflict-ridden Darfur region.

According to Konare, peacekeeping missions are also needed to help ensure security in other areas of instability, including Chad, the Central African Republic, and Cote D'Ivoire.

In another reflection of U.S. priorities in the region, the Pentagon has indicated it plans to establish a new Africa Command that will specifically deal with peace support efforts in Africa's trouble spots.

"peace support efforts"? from a combatant command? not surprising, one supposes, coming from the orwellian named "department of defense." but by peace they mean stability & not the abscence of conflict, for that is what more direct imperialist interventions on continent will bring. here's where an understanding of the history of the u.s. military in latin america will come in handy.

Posted by: b real | Jan 26 2007 15:47 utc | 79

Here is a detail that I stumbled on -- putting it up here although I have no idea how it fits in the larger picture:

Soldiers were first abducted, then killed by attackers in Karbala last week

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Contrary to U.S. military statements, four U.S. soldiers did not die repelling a sneak attack at the governor's office in the Shiite holy city of Karbala last week. New information obtained by The Associated Press shows they were abducted and found dead or dying as far as 25 miles away.

The brazen assault 50 miles south of Baghdad was launched Jan. 20 by a group of nine to 12 militants. They traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles - the type used by U.S. government convoys, had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues and spoke English.

In a written statement, the U.S. command reported at the time that five soldiers were killed while ''repelling the attack.'' Two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials now say three of them were found dead and one mortally wounded in locations as far as 25 miles east of the governor's office.

The U.S. officials said they could not be sure if the soldiers were killed as the attackers drove them to the place where they abandoned the Suburbans or afterward. Iraqi officials said the men were killed just before the vehicles were abandoned.

The daring commando team also took an unclassified U.S. computer with them as they fled with the four soldiers and left behind an American M-4 automatic rifle, senior U.S. military officials said.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 15:50 utc | 80

in the bibliography for that u.s. army war college strategy research project paper which i linked to in #79 above, 13 of the 42 sources are fox news!!! and only 6 of thoses 13 are cited in the paper's endnotes.

now i know that fox is cheney's favorite source of "information", but frickin' masters level students too? unreal

Posted by: b real | Jan 26 2007 16:15 utc | 81

@uncle et al:

Reposting the broken link from my #62

Apologies to all.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 16:38 utc | 82

George Galloway at the debate that Blair hadn't the balls to attend.

When I was his warm-up act, I used to describe the right honourable member for Manchester Gorton [Gerald Kaufman] as the best foreign secretary we never had, and his speech this evening showed why.

Indeed, an alternative administration of all the talents became clear on the Labour benches, including the right honourable gentleman's friends, the right honourable member for Holborn and St Pancras [Frank Dobson], and the honourable members for Islington North [Jeremy Corbyn] and for Liverpool Walton [Peter Kilfoyle].

How much stronger the Labour Party's position would be in the opinion polls today if those were the men sitting around the cabinet table, rather than the men and women who are.

What a contrast there was between those shafts of light and the myopia displayed by the foreign secretary. So rose-tinted were her glasses that she had even spotted the first elections in Saudi Arabia.

As one who follows events in the Arab world closely, I must tell the house that I missed the first elections in Saudi Arabia, probably the un-freest, most undemocratic and most anti-democratic country on earth. So keen was the Foreign Secretary to describe the success of Anglo-American policy in the Arab world that she prayed in aid [appealed to] a grant to the youth parliament in Bahrain.


But those were not the most foolish of the things that the foreign secretary said in her long speech. She talked about supporting the government and people of Lebanon. Well, let us split that proposition.

She was not much help to the government of Lebanon when its prime minister was weeping on television and begging for a ceasefire, and when the British and American governments alone in the world were refusing, indeed blocking, any attempts to demand an immediate cessation of the Israeli bombardment.

Worse, she was not much help to the government or the people of Lebanon when British airports were being used for the trans-shipment of American weapons to Israel that were raining down death and destruction on the very people of Lebanon whom she now claims to stand beside.

But, of course, that was code for saying that she does not support the one million demonstrators in the square in Beirut who are demanding democracy.

The foreign secretary describes the government of Lebanon as a democratic government. If the minister will listen, I can educate him. There is no democratic government in Lebanon. The minister should know that.

If there were a democracy in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah would be the president, because he would get the most votes. But of course he cannot be the president, because you have to be a Christian to be the president, and you have to be a Sunni to be the prime minister, and you have to be a Shi'ite to be the speaker.

What they have in Lebanon is precisely the opposite of democracy. It is a sectarian building-block government that they have in Lebanon, and moreover one based on a census that is more than 50 years out of date.

If those one million demonstrators had been in Ukraine or Belarus or Georgia, they would be described as the orange revolution, or given some other epithet – perhaps even "the cedar revolution".

Palestine and Iraq

So myopic was the foreign secretary that she talked about the peace process in Palestine and refused to condemn the theft, as the right honourable member for Manchester Gorton put it – he used the word – of $900 million, stolen from the Palestinian Authority.

The right honourable member for Liverpool Wavertree [Jane Kennedy], without a hint of irony, advanced the extraordinary proposition that we are fighting for democracy in Iraq, while we can steal the money of the Palestinian Administration in the occupied territories because the people voted for a government whom Olmert, Bush and Blair did not like.

So myopic was the foreign secretary's view that she prayed in aid an opinion poll from Basra which told us that the people had every confidence in the police – we had to send the British in to blow up a police station and kill umpteen Iraqi policemen because we said that they were about to massacre the prisoners in their jails.

The foreign secretary prayed in aid the Iraqi government – a virtual government – saying that, more importantly, the Iraqi government do not consider that they have a civil war.

Of course they do not, because there is no Iraqi government. As the right honourable member for Manchester Gorton put it, we have installed a gang of warlords in power in Baghdad, the heads of competing militias, some of them at war with our own soldiers in the south of Iraq.

It is not a government, but Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" that we have put in charge in Baghdad. That is not my concept. That is the concept of the right honourable member for Manchester Gorton.


So myopic was the foreign secretary that she had her finger out and wagging at Iran, warning it of what it must do, or must not do in terms of nuclear weapons.

She is the foreign secretary of a government who are about to spend £75 billion on our own nuclear weapons, who declare themselves the best friend of Israel, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons and refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty, and who say nothing about Pakistan, a military dictatorship acquiring nuclear weapons. It would make you laugh if it did not make you cry.

Most serious of all was the extent to which the foreign secretary sought to lull us to sleep walk into a coming conflict with Iran. Invited by one of her colleagues to describe, as the former foreign secretary had, an attack on Iran as inconceivable, she refused, preferring instead the formulation that no one is contemplating it.

But they are contemplating it. Israel has a war plan carefully worked out to do it. As we know from the journalism of Seymour Hersh, the greatest of all American journalists, who brought us the stories from Vietnam, American generals have to the nth degree worked out an attack upon Iran.


The foreign secretary says that we stand by our soldiers. We stand by them so much that we pay them so little. We had to give them a Christmas bonus to make up their wages. Their families are claiming means-tested benefits and living in houses that you would not put a dangerous dog in. We send them, ill clad, ill equipped, ill armed, without armour, on a pack of lies into war after war after war.

Let me invite the house to contemplate this and see if I am as right about this as I was about Iraq four years ago. If a finger is raised against Iran by Israel or the United States, the first people to pay the price will be the 7,000 young men and women of the British armed forces that we have stationed in the south of Iraq, where Iran, thanks to us, is now top dog.

If members want to know what that will look like, think about the film "Zulu", but without the happy ending. That is how irresponsible our government are. They are part of an axis that is contemplating a war against a country that we have made powerful in a place where we have our soldiers standing in a thin red line in the sand.

For the moment, the trial of Tony Blair merely takes place on Channel 4 television. The day will come, and it is coming soon, when a real trial of Tony Blair will take place in a real court.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jan 26 2007 17:21 utc | 83

#80 can we have a Hall of Fame? Somewhere to keep links to sources that are just so incredibly informative that we want to pull them out and archive them in an easily retrievable place?

this is an excellent idea!

b, after you finish the billmon project (plus search engine of course) you don't mind adding another incredible resource here at the bar do you? PP w/sugar on it? just because you are moving shouldn't be any reason not to take on new projects. :)

#70. about those ranks...

i too tossed and turned again last night considering the implications of the downed helicopter. my mind twisted around several ideas mainly who exactly would have inside knowledge of the workings of the green zone in order to infiltrate to this degree.

i started considering tha actors on the stage and my mind wandered towards the mercenaries. does anyone know who they take their orders from on the field? does an ex officer working for blackwater follow orders from a military commander if his private officer sends a differnt message? obviously they must work somewhat in conjunction but how do the orders filter down. are they stovepiped from the VP office via ex military cronies bypassing the chain of command?

do they operate w/their own intellegence? are they basically oil militias? wtf's going on?

Posted by: annie | Jan 26 2007 18:13 utc | 84

Upps - the Pentagon is lying?

AP Disputes Military Claims on Deaths of Americans in Iraq

Contrary to U.S. military statements, four U.S. soldiers did not die repelling a sneak attack at the governor's office in the Shiite holy city of Karbala last week. New information obtained by The Associated Press shows they were abducted and found dead or dying as far as 25 miles away.

The brazen assault 50 miles south of Baghdad was launched Jan. 20 by a group of nine to 12 militants. They traveled in black GMC Suburban vehicles - the type used by U.S. government convoys, had American weapons, wore new U.S. military combat fatigues and spoke English.

In a written statement, the U.S. command reported at the time that five soldiers were killed while "repelling the attack." Two senior U.S. military officials as well as Iraqi officials now say three of them were found dead and one mortally wounded in locations as far as 25 miles east of the governor's office.

The above misses that earlier reports included that these folks also American ID's.

American ID's, weapons, uniforms, vehicles, language ...

Walks like a duck, looks like a duck, talks like a duck ...

Posted by: b | Jan 26 2007 19:19 utc | 85

Walks like a duck, looks like a duck, talks like a duck ...

in my #84 post i mentioned my wandering mind...

Posted by: annie | Jan 26 2007 19:25 utc | 86

I cannot imagine they would have willingly gone with Iraqis as hostages. They would have died resisting first, no? So...

Posted by: Bea | Jan 26 2007 19:32 utc | 87

DoD is denying this, but there are rpts of
American soldiers seized in southern Somalia, Arab and Western diplomats say

Mogadishu 26, Jan.07 ( Sh.M.Network) There have been mounting reports that number of American soldiers was missing in southern Somalia following the recent US air operations on the Islamist and al-Qaeda hideouts in southern jungles of the country, alsharqa, an Arabic newspaper based in Qatar reported on Friday.

The paper also reported that Kenyan police have seized armed Asians crossing from Somalia into the Kenyan border. The Kenyan police believe the foreigners were fighting alongside with Somalia’s defeated Islamists.

According to the paper, Arab diplomats, who have asked anonymity, confirmed that unspecified number of US foot soldiers was seized in southern Somalia where Islamists are believed to be hiding after their loss of the capital Mogadishu to the UN and internationally backed transitional government of Somalia and the Ethiopian troops in the country.

Western diplomats, who have not been named, also affirmed that US soldiers were missing in southern Somalia, Alsharqa reported.

It added that Michael Ranneberger, the US ambassador to Kenya, who met with Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the defeated Islamist leader under the Kenyan custody, has asked Ahmed to explain where the missing Americans are lingering.

unable to find a web prescence for alsharqa

Posted by: b real | Jan 26 2007 20:08 utc | 88

The History of Democracy Prevention in Venezuela - Part 3
Elite Democracy: When Washington Reigned Supreme in Venezuela

When Hugo Chávez spoke at the United Nations last September, he accused Washington of promoting "elite democracy" in the world. Most people who heard the speech might not have realized what exactly he meant by the term "elite democracy". Few people probably understood just how relevant his words were. But Chávez was speaking from personal experience. Like much of the world, Venezuela has experienced the frustrations of an elite democracy and its devastating results. Chávez understands that in order to confront the crisis of modern democracy in the world, we must understand the tragedy that is elite democracy.

Throughout history, Washington has been dedicated to the exclusion of the masses and the prevention of true democracy. A long history of installing and supporting dictatorships in countries around the world is evidence enough of this. But when dictatorships become a public relations issue, Washington promotes a form of democracy of the elites, modeled after the system in the U.S., to pacify the population. Both dictatorship and elite democracy play the same role of preventing the "risk" of a truly democratic system. Whether through elite democracy, or dictatorship, the participation of the masses must be minimized. Real democracy must never be allowed to function.

Venezuela is a perfect case study of how this Washington strategy functions. In the 20th century, Venezuela transitioned from dictatorship to elite democracy and, finally, to that other dictatorship known as neoliberalism. The transitions were carefully orchestrated by Washington and the Venezuelan elite. The "risk" of true democracy was carefully avoided. Not suprisingly, U.S. corporations got exactly what they wanted from Venezuela; huge amounts of cheap oil and the best customer for U.S. goods in Latin America.

parts I & II here

Posted by: b real | Jan 26 2007 20:24 utc | 89

@ PeeDee #60

I will hazard a guess as to why states with more democratic voters use less electricity per capita than do those with a republican majority. It probably is a combination of density and availability of other energy sources.

fer instance, in the countryside nearly all appliances as well as heating and cooling are powered by electricity. Liquid propane can be a hassle because you have remember to keep it filled and you get a big bill all at once. Electricity is always there and you pay it each month. City gas or methane or natural gas are cost prohibitive in sparsely populated areas.

then you have perhaps a slightly better educated population in the democratic voting states, people with a few life skills who have figured out that you can save money by spending more on an energy efficient light bulb, or a high efficiency refrigerator/freezer, insulation and double or triple glazed windows. Poorer less savvy folks don't think that far ahead and want to spend the minimum immediately and simply do not calculate the total cost and end up paying a lot more.

finally, given that a lot of red states are in the south, they probably pay a lot for air conditioning. for some dumb reason most US citizens insist on having the temps so low in the summer that you have to wear a sweater. Quite unbelievable but thermostats are set lower in the summer than they are in winter.

My hat is off to all of you. there has been some mighty fine commenting going on here. I have spent some time over at Glen Greenwald's site and there are some pretty smart people over there too.

and it is finally snowing here. first snowfall this season, just enough to cover the ground. I guess I am relieved even though I don't like snow all that much. somehow it seems that the world is right again.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 26 2007 22:47 utc | 90

Regarding the abduction story, this detail seems noteworthy:

The daring commando team also took an unclassified U.S. computer with them as they fled with the four soldiers and left behind an American M-4 automatic rifle, senior U.S. military officials said.

So we have a helicopter full of top brass shot down and the abduction of 5 U.S. soldiers during which a "top official's license plate stolen from the Green Zone was on one of the vehicles," an informant claiming that 'high officials' were involved, and a computer taken over a weapon. I'm not sure I am able to go so far as to think Blackwater, but it does not seem a far leap to recognize how deeply infiltrated the meatgrinder is.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 27 2007 1:00 utc | 91

hmmm, i may be eating my words, this from a comment on a dkos diary -

This is one of the weirder incidents I've read about over there.

The guys at the security checkpoint say the convoy had Americans in it who spoke English, the driver of one of the vehicles was a blond guy according to them. What's up with that?
Were the people at the checkpoint lying? If so, why? Were kidnapped US soldiers forced to provide cover for the insurgents in the convoy? If so, what happened to them?

Then, after the attack the US military denied that any US soldiers were missing and they had five Americans at the compound who died valiantly repelling the sneak attack. Initially they said the bodies found in the abandoned convoy vehicles belonged to the insurgents who carried out the raid. Except then it was confirmed that the dead people they found were white. Now it turns out they are American soldiers who were apparently kidnapped during the raid. Another weird little details, the insurgent took at least one computer from the compound.

So what the hell is going on here?

there are lots of links and i am reading further.

Posted by: conchita | Jan 27 2007 1:16 utc | 92

So, what sort of a list does it get you on to actually guess the obvious from conchita's description that these 4 dead soldiers may have actually partnered witht he Iraqi raiders, but then found themselves getting killed by the end of the day?

I recall the story from (what was it South Carolina?) stateside of soldiers who commando-robbed a bank not far from their base. Where do you think they might get ideas like that? everyday life in Iraq?

I think this is the sort of thing we mean when we use the words "broken military".

Posted by: citizen | Jan 27 2007 5:21 utc | 93

as an offline companion to the subject of #89 above, eva golinger's book the chavez code: cracking us intervention in venezuela provides a very informative case study of u.s. strategies to topple chavez. this book originally came out in march 2005 though it has only been available in an english edition in the u.s. since may 2006. golinger, through heavy use of foia documents, covers the period from 1998, when chavez was first voted into office, thru mid 2004. it's an illuminating book, well-argued, and detailed, esp wrt the operations of NED & USAID. (golinger released a new book last year that covers the period beyond where the first book left off & makes use of the documents she continues to uncover. haven't read the new one yet - don't believe it's available in this country at this time.)

a central factor in the elite's interest in venezuela, as we know, is oil. but what you may not know -- i didn't -- is just how central it is. consider the following: golinger has a DOS cable from april 11, 2002, the day of the coup in caracas. here's golinger (PDVSA is the state-owned oil company)

One of [U.S.] Ambassador Shapiro's first cables up to Washington after the intense events of the day began thus:
Televised scenes of joy have marked the return of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) employees to their La Campina headquarters building. Fired employees have been reinstated. Former Vice Presidents Karl Mazeika, Eduardo Praselj, and Vicenzo Paglione will act as coordinators in the selection of a new board. PDVSA executives underline that the company should return to normal operations by early next week. PDVSA spokesperson stated publicly that no oil will be sent to Cuba

Evidently, the least of the US government's concerns was the harsh disruption of constitutional order instigated by a coup d'etat led by its benefactors. The primary preoccupation of the US government appeared to be Venezuela's oil flow.

the next section of the cable is under the subheading "PDVSA Governability" and shapiro informed washington that

the elite do have their priorities down, obviously.

another of those priorities is that the elites must prevent the model of a good alternative to what they offer, hence we've got hillary clinton telling lies & lining up chavez in the dem's sights

Look at what‘s happening in Latin America, where we are seeing anti-American regimes gain ground. We don‘t engage with bad guys, so we don‘t engage with, you know, Chavez and try to, you know, see if there is any way to pull him back, or at least prevent others from following his lead.

meanwhile, as the blog oilwars shows us,
Now Venezuela's oil helps millions

It is certainly true that prior to Chavez coming to power Venezuelan oil was being managed to help the wealthy elite and PDVSA executives more than anyone else. A big part of the Chavez's first 5 years in office were spent fighting to gain control over the State oil company and redirect its resources to Venezuela's poor. This effort by Chavez brought fierce resistance, a coup, and an a oil strike aimed at driving him from office.

Fortunately Chavez prevailed. And by prevailing not only was democracy preserved in Venezuela but Venezuela's oil revenue started bringing big dividends for ordinary Venezuelans.

that, mi amigos, is the lead which hillary & her elite pals do not want others to emulate.

Posted by: b real | Jan 27 2007 6:16 utc | 94

i started considering tha actors on the stage and my mind wandered towards the mercenaries. does anyone know who they take their orders from on the field? does an ex officer working for blackwater follow orders from a military commander if his private officer sends a differnt message? obviously they must work somewhat in conjunction but how do the orders filter down. are they stovepiped from the VP office via ex military cronies bypassing the chain of command?

do they operate w/their own intellegence? are they basically oil militias? wtf's going on?

i'm baaack. (#84)does anyone have any idea who controls the 48,000 fighting mercenary militia? not the other 50k who make up support, but the ones w/the guns?

i wonder what our military think of these guys? the top brass. wonder if they conflict on issues. who ever the anon person who answered my last question...

dan... It probably is a combination of density and availability of other energy sources...fer instance, in the countryside nearly all appliances as well as heating and cooling are powered by electricity.

have you ever been to northern california? oregon? fyi, after you leave santa rosa you enter into one of the most fiercely rural independent places on earth. combine that w/an abberation toward all things corporate (read up on arcadia lately?) and the apex of anarchial thinking.. lots of people live off the grid. not only that, i was raised in marin. although it is a wealthy society, people conserve energy as a LIFESTYLE. consuming energy is totally uncool. we were always having droughts when i was young and one just DOES NOT let the water run. we only flush for #2. this is just the way i was raised. its normal. in seattle water is probably priced normally, but damn, they charge you twice as much to process it ON THE WAY OUT. thats right, your sewer is monitored and cost more than the water. you also get charged for not recycling. (seriously, they fine you for bottles and cans in the garbage, even one). dump fees in calif and washington are REALLY EXPENSIVE. recycling/green dumping isn't. it is a lifestyle and once you are raised w/it you never forget.

another thing about the pacific northwest. calif is the numero uno agricultural area in the country. y'know what the #1 crop is. you guessed it.. marijuana. year round. they figured out a long time ago they could moniter the electric bills to find out who was operating out of their homes in the winter when all the seedlings were getting started. people are very inventive there. they don't like paying the masters. lots of people actually hang there clothes out to dry! most people do not use air conditioners no matter how hot it gets (i have never lived in an air conditioned house, even in arizona.. ) it's just against my nature, the way i was raised. it is a matter of consciousness. i'm just speaking as a california girl, not all the blue states.
also, wood burning stoves are very popular in the rural areas.

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 7:48 utc | 95

secdef gates refuses to open up

from friday's press briefing

Q: Mr. Secretary, can you share with us any details of the results of the airstrikes in Somalia? And can you comment on the international law aspect of it? Does the United States assert the right to attack anywhere in any country where you suspect that there might be some terrorists?

SEC. GATES: We've made pretty clear -- it's my impression for quite some time that members of al Qaeda and others who have attacked the United States, that we will seek them out and try to capture or kill them.

Q: And in Somalia –

SEC. GATES: And we will do that wherever possible with partners.

Q: And the results in Somalia, sir?

SEC. GATES: I'll just leave it at that.

Q: Thank you.

well, gates is wise enough to not try to offer any legalities to make the case that the rogue u.s. has the right to view the world as its stomping ground. i'll just leave it at that...

a couple of interesting & informative analyses/links in the following two threads. the first is from early november, during the buildup to the invasion & has some good comments too
How Bush created a regional war in Africa

and the second is from december 28th, shortly after the invasion took place
The Legitimate Government of Somalia

How we got here

It was a subtle irony that almost everyone missed. Ethiopia began their invasion of Somalia by bombing the Mogadishu airport. It was ironic because the rise of the Islamic Courts began because of violence at the Mogadishu airport. Both times it was foreign nations that sponsored that violence.

Back in January it was American-sponsored warlords under the umbrella of the laughably named Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT). This time it is Ethiopia, on the receiving end of $800 million a year from the Bush Administration, trying to impose a foreign government.

from the first article is a linked article on what ethiopia gains from an invasion, which contains this passage
an anti-Islamist war in Somalia would enable Zenawi to position himself as a key ally in the war on terror. Zenawi reasons that if his country plays an essential role in supporting Somalia's transitional government against the UIC, the United States will provide economic and diplomatic support, despite other objections to Ethiopia's policies. All Zenawi has to do is wait for civil war in Somalia to reignite - an outcome made more likely by his deployment of troops.

from a link in the second article above re the $800 million
In December 2002, Meles Zenawi visited the White House, and one of the dicussions that Mr. Zenawi had with Bush was related to "the global war on terrorism." Obviously, the frame time of this meeting between Bush and Zenawi came at the early stage of the "war on terror." For instance, this meeting came after the terrorist attacks of the hotel in Mombasa. In the meantime, there was and still are finger points at some individuals from Somalia, who have been alleged to be the "masterminds" of the Mombasa attack in 2002. Therefore, the whole reason of Zenawi’s visit in Washington, in my opinion, was to sell his idea that he can be a partner to defeat " the terrorist cells" that may be found in the Horn of Africa. Nevertheless, according to an article that is written by Yohannes Woldemariam in Sudan Tribune, Zenawi receives now $800 million yearly from the US for just his support and being an ally on the "war on terror."

that sounds high to me, but the author referenced, an eritrean, if that means anything, even says there's more than that
The Bush administration is trying to buy stability at the expense of liberty in the Horn of Africa and neither of these goals is attainable without liberty. Zenawi has been warmly courted by the United States since the Clinton era and continues to be pampered by the George W Bush administration which has anointed him as an ally on the open ended “War on Terror” in the Horn of Africa. He is propped up by the U.S. and the international financial institutions. From the U.S. alone, he receives $800 million a year and $500 million worth of food assistance. Ethiopia is set to have its debt cancelled that will forgive $18.3bn owed to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others. Despite his massacre of students and workers demanding democratic rule, Meles continues to enjoy western support simply because he has had the wit to call himself an ally on the “War on Terror.” As long as you are on the right side of the "War on Terror," it is a safe time to be a dictator and tyrant.

whatever the dollar figure, that meles is a u.s.-supported dictator is not disputed. and now that he's pulling his troops out of somalia, meles leaves the u.s. to spend yet more money to bribe countries to fill out AU peacekeeping forces in the hopes of propping up the TFG, in which case it's quite counterproductive to keep plying the booga-booga oh my gawd there's al-qa'idah terrorist cells in somalia ruse. be interesting to be a fly-on-the-wall when the brass is discussing lessons learned.

Posted by: b real | Jan 27 2007 8:13 utc | 96

annie #95

All of the things you note do give a reason for California having the lowest consumption per capita. You also seem to reinforce my suggestion that blue staters have better life skills irt spending less for basic needs.

I do not deny that there are rural areas practicing energy conservation, I gave a guess based on my experience living and visiting the Great Plains states, the Southwest (especially Texas), and the deep South.

I hazard another guess as to your question on mercs. I believe most of them provide security to US puppet Iraqis. Some are involved in wet work but I doubt that it is anything our government directs, although it is possible. They are now accountable to the military under a recent revision to the UCMJ as far as punishment for illegal acts are concerned.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 27 2007 10:05 utc | 97

thanks dan. i actually had to look up the term wet work. check out the graphic from Zayed @ healing iraq

Iraqi Parliament has failed to reach quorum since October 2006. Understandably, it's hard to attend parliamentary sessions when you live in the Green Zone, or the Rashid Hotel, or Amman, or Dubai, or London. MP Adnan Al-Pachachi, who spoke from Dubai, complained that their salaries can only afford 20 security guards, while they need at least 40 to make it from the Baghdad Airport to the Green Zone. .........

Funny, too, that he would complain about the salary. Iraqi members of parliament receive up to $120,000 in salaries and benefits, or about $10,000 a month, plus the additional salaries of 20 security guards - which most MPs choose to pocket instead. Actually, the first bill Iraqi MPs (of all sects and ethnicities) passed unanimously was the one in which they defined their salaries, privileges and benefits. That session was conveniently closed to the media.

it appears only about 20% of parliment are in town. that's a lot of out of work security guards. what do these guys do when their charges are out of town? there are 275 members of parliment. if each of them operated 40 security guards full time that still only accounts for 11 thousand security guards. ok, probably some of these members are incountry and use their security guards locally. still, where are the other aprox 40,000 security guards? what do they do all day? unless these 'guards' are dispersed equally @ aprox 200 per parliamentary member (enough for a small militia) there are a boby of guards worthy of a small army operating out there. who directs these guys? what are the chances they co ordinate w/eachother? likely i would presume. if ten members of parliment pooled their resources they could have an army of 2000. anyway, i don't buy it. what are the chances sadr's representatives in parliment are funded w/1600 private blackwater security forces.

which still leaves me to wonder how many puppets are there. what if hakim gets a few thousand to direct? does maliki get his own private milita w/5000 mercenaries? it wouldn't make sense that the puppeteer wouldn't also direct the charges of the puppets.

whose stovepiping directions to these militias? do they work w/the oil companies? congress contracts them.

I doubt that it is anything our government directs

this just doesn't make sense! that we allow 50,000 expertly trained highly equipped ( better than our soldiers) force, most of them originally trained w/our armed forces operating independently? do i think our military directs them? probably not. do i think our government has imput, of course. we hire them. they have to be accountalble to someone and they don't just hang at the hotel in kuwait all day playing cribbage.

the only time we hear about them is when one of them dies. but i've visited their online forums and these guys seem fairly ruthless.
i read the army has lost many of their career soldiers to the private sector for the obvious reason of $$.

contractors like titan are directly linked to the CIA, of course. we don't have characters like foggo/wilkes w/connections to the salvadoran option driving people from the airport to the green zone. we operate private militias and it isn't just 1000 rouge guys.

i wonder how many are hired by the oil companies to protect their 'interests'? does lockheed have there own militia? when the former head of the cia counterterrorism , cofer black vice-chairman of blackwater, potentially supplies contractors to multiple corporations wouldn't it stand to reason we have people at the top (lockheed=WH) co ordinating directly in a chain of command similar to what we have in the military and at some point their paths intersect, where? gates? was goss pushed out in relation. is all this connected to bush firing federal prosecutors (say, in san diego)? while stories like hookergate and cunningham zero in on pork belly spending , illegal contracts , juicy pedophile bla bla.. maybe the real scandle is the kind of war these people are waging to keep themselves in business.

Posted by: annie | Jan 27 2007 17:36 utc | 98

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