Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 18, 2007

OT 07-007

News & views ...

and a link to the preceding OT

Posted by b on January 18, 2007 at 10:43 UTC | Permalink


Mikhail Gorbachev: History is not preordained: a new cold war can be averted

The Charter of Paris for a New Europe, signed in 1990, marked the beginning of a process that was expected to lead to a new, peaceful and democratic world order. But the movement in that direction soon stalled. The break-up of the Soviet Union was followed by changes in the political elites of the United States and other countries. The Charter of Paris was forgotten. Instead of moving towards a new security architecture, it was decided to rely on the tools inherited from the cold war. The United States - and the west as a whole - succumbed to the "winner's complex".
There is a real danger of a new division of the world; the possibility of a new cold war is being widely discussed. Without regard for the security council or for the opinion of other countries, including its partners and allies, the United States invaded Iraq with disastrous consequences. The arrogance of military power has led to a grave crisis - and to a decline of the United States' role and influence.
Both in the United States and elsewhere, the prevailing view is often negative. The administration gives ample reason for this view, because it seems to prefer the inertia of the old course. It would appear that all the Bush administration wants is to persuade the world that it is still firmly in the saddle. The president's recent statements and the plans being discussed in his administration are cut from the old cloth.

The Republican leadership clearly wants to leave to the next president a legacy that would tie him to its policies and make a change of course impossible. If so it is not just a tactical blunder but a recipe for an even greater disaster.
If America's leaders have the foresight and the courage to look at the world as it really is, they would choose dialogue and cooperation rather than force. What is needed is not a worldwide web of military presence and intervention, but a restraint and a willingness to solve problems by political means.

Posted by: b | Jan 18 2007 10:50 utc | 1

let's see where this goes...

Congresswomen Propose Troop Withdrawal in Six Months

( - Three California Democrats in Congress are introducing a bill intended to force President Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq within six months. The legislation would repeal the authorization for the use of force, fully fund a six-month withdrawal of U.S. forces and military contractors in Iraq, and prohibit permanent military bases from existing there. It would also provide economic and political aid to the Iraqi government. The bill draws heavily on discussions the three lawmakers -- Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee -- had with former Sen. George McGovern (D-S.D.) and William Polk, co-authors of a new book advocating withdrawal. Full Story

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 18 2007 12:07 utc | 2

Smelling a whole lot of preemptive ass-covering coming off of this one...

Gonzales: Judges unfit to rule on terror policy

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.

In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who “apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences.”

The text of the speech, scheduled for delivery at the American Enterprise Institute, was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press. It outlines, in part, what qualities the Bush administration looks for when selecting candidates for the federal bench.

“We want to determine whether he understands the inherent limits that make an unelected judiciary inferior to Congress or the president in making policy judgments,” Gonzales says in the prepared speech. “That, for example, a judge will never be in the best position to know what is in the national security interests of our country.

Couple this with Bush's statement last week that he will authorize a troop surge in Iraq regardless of whether the US congress attempts to stop him and you have two superfluous branches of the US government. Now that, boys and girls, is one unitary executive.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 18 2007 14:55 utc | 3

Why did the Iraqi bring a bottle of Head and Shoulders shampoo to his brother's hanging?

He thought it was a some kind of glue!

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jan 18 2007 16:16 utc | 4

monolycus #3, chilling in its implications.

Posted by: annie | Jan 18 2007 16:49 utc | 5

Rebuttal to Carter's Critics from Israeli politician Yossi Beilin

This -- published in The Jewish Daily Forward -- is well worth reading in full.


It is not that Israelis are indifferent to what is said about them, but the threshold of what passes as acceptable here is apparently much higher than it is with Israel’s friends in the United States. In the case of this particular book, the harsh words that Carter reserves for Israel are simply not as jarring to Israeli ears, which have grown used to such language, especially with respect to the occupation.


But if we are to read Carter’s book for what it is, I think we would find in it an impassioned personal narrative of an American former president who is reflecting on the direction in which Israel and Palestine may be going if they fail to reach agreement soon. Somewhere down the line — and symbolically speaking, that line may be crossed the day that a minority of Jews will rule a majority of Palestinians west of the Jordan River — the destructive nature of occupation will turn Israel into a pariah state, not unlike South Africa under apartheid.

In this sense, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid” is a stark warning to both Israelis and Palestinians of the choice they must make. That choice is between peace and apartheid, for the absence of one may well mean the other. Carter’s choice is clearly peace, and, for all its disquieting language, the book he has written is sustained by the hope that we choose peace, as well.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 18 2007 16:51 utc | 6

Carter had an OpEd in the Washington Post today. I had excerped it here

Posted by: b | Jan 18 2007 16:55 utc | 7

China has successfully launched an Anti Satellite Test blasting on of their own old satellites into pieces with a rocket 700 miles above the ground.

This was dumb - this will start a new weapon race plus the debris may kill lots of other satellites. The again it was to be expected - the U.S. is building a missile defense system and China does not want to give away the MAD (mutual assured destriction) insurance.

Posted by: b | Jan 18 2007 17:00 utc | 8

as much as i am offended by the reaction here in the states to aipacs efforts to demonize the book and carter, this domonizing is carrying the conversation further, keeping it on the front burner. i was appalled to learn of the resignations from members of his organization. if all we here is aipac are voices of support being drowned out? thanks for the links b&bea

Posted by: annie | Jan 18 2007 17:07 utc | 9

@annie #9

To your point, see this analysis in today's Haaretz:

Jimmy Carter's Offensive Against U.S. Jewry

Jimmy Carter knew just what to expect when he named his book. No matter how American Jewish leaders react, they do the former president's bidding. If they choose to ignore him, they lend evidence to Carter's contention that U.S. Jewish figures are cowed into silence over Israel. If they choose to lambaste him, they lend credence to Carter's argument that pro-Israel bias obviates any genuine discussion of the issues.

Best of all, from Carter's standpoint, is the blistering flak he has taken from an A-list of prominent American Jews. The criticism grants weight to Carter's carefully worded accusations as to Jewish control of the American media, a self-fulfilling charge if ever there was one, and one sure to keep the hardcovers flying off bookstore shelves.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 18 2007 17:37 utc | 11

Posted by: b real | Jan 18 2007 19:28 utc | 12

thanks bea. everytime i visit haaretz i get lost in the comment section. the zionists are just too much!

come clean., there is not one single Israeli who is proud to have killed a child. This is the main difference and one has to acknoledge it before moving on with the peace process.

lol, i shouldn't laugh, it is this mentality that is the enemy to peace, palestine, and israel.

Posted by: annie | Jan 18 2007 21:07 utc | 13

Spiegel Online: READY FOR ITS CLOSE-UP - Hamburg Goes 3-D on Google Earth

Anyone with a computer and an internet connection will soon be able to take a virtual aerial tour of Germany's famous port city.

Most cityscapes on Google Earth are flat -- simple satellite photographs in two-dimensional space. In a few cases, like New York or San Francisco, a user can soar through a forest of blocky white skyscrapers with no detail on the facades; only major landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge have been filled in. But soon -- in the next few days or weeks -- downtown Hamburg will take a bow as Google's first viable three-dimensional city.

"With the textured facades, Hamburg is the first city worldwide that can be seen in such detail," Google spokesman Stefan Keuchel said in Hamburg on Wednesday, without mentioning exactly when hundreds of buildings in Hamburg's downtown were due to go live in 3D.

I am not sure how to post the link to access the photo gallery, but you can access it from the article.

Posted by: Fran | Jan 18 2007 22:15 utc | 14

wrt google earth, saw this at cryptome today

[In-Q-Tel is a CIA-owned company]

Keyhole was acquired by Google in October, 2004, whose shares are traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol GOOG.

Keyhole, Inc., a Google company, is the Internet 3-D Earth visualization pioneer and creator of the groundbreaking rich-mapping Keyhole solution that transforms the way users interact with geographic information and Earth imagery. Keyhole's patent-pending EarthStream™ technology accelerates and enhances decisions for business and government by enabling fast, fluid interaction with multi-terabyte network-resident databases of Earth imagery and geospatial information. Users can "fly" from space to street level seamlessly while interactively exploring layers of information including roads, schools, businesses, and demographics. Keyhole provides solutions to customers in dozens of industries including the real estate, AEC (architecture, engineering and construction), transportation, insurance, and government sectors. Based in Mountain View, CA, the company was founded in 2001 and has strategic partnerships with Intel, DigitalGlobe, and NVIDIA. In-Q-Tel initially invested in Keyhole in February, 2003.

DigitalGlobe provides satellite photos for Google Maps and Google Earth. Thus Google/Keyhole/In-Q-Tel spies on users of its imagery, archives the Google Earth discussion list, records posters of annotations on Google Earth and logs users of Google Maps, in addition to the great snitch, Google Search, all doing evil. More at

btw, where's uncle?

Posted by: b real | Jan 18 2007 22:27 utc | 15

Cool Fran! @ #14 (Very cool.)

I even recognized it.

Posted by: beq | Jan 19 2007 0:40 utc | 16

b real @ #15


Posted by: beq | Jan 19 2007 0:41 utc | 17

Looks like Billmon found the exit right in the nick of time...

Congress to Send Critics to Jail, Says Richard Viguerie


Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the
Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to
500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report
quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220
would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive
intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history,
critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.
"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or
more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.
"On January 9, the Senate passed Amendment 7 to S. 1, to create
criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone 'knowingly
and willingly fails to file or report.'

Thank goodness the Dems now control Congress. I, for one, welcome our new overlords and just want to let them know that I think they're doing a heckuva job on the off-chance that praising them over policy decisions in comments that are read by over 500 persons is somehow legally different than criticising them.

In other news, at least I can stop worrying over our OLD overlords...

Bush won't reauthorize eavesdropping


President George W. Bush has decided not to reauthorize the controversial domestic warrantless surveillance program for terrorism suspects and to put it under the authority of a secret special court, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on Wednesday.

"The president has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires," Gonzales wrote in a letter to Senate leaders.

"Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Gonzales said.

Or will I...? Nowhere that I can find is the actual expiration date for this unconstitutional procedure ever disclosed. I mean, it sounds like good news and all... but, then, I also thought that having a First Amendment right was a good thing. Turns out that it didn't mean quite what I was always led to believe it did. I'll just have to wait until my betters redefine all the words in the English language for me before I can form an opinion about this. And then, in compliance with Minitru procedure, I will share that opinion only with fewer than two inanimate objects.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jan 19 2007 1:09 utc | 18

anyone seen this from BBC ?

Rule by decree passed for Chavez

Posted by: crone | Jan 19 2007 3:55 utc | 19

@b comment #1

link to Guardian is broken...

but then that's a small concern when you guys are having such rough weather...

Posted by: crone | Jan 19 2007 4:01 utc | 20

well I googled for article... found three urls and got same message from the Guardian - "Sorry"

has anyone else been able to read it?

Posted by: crone | Jan 19 2007 4:06 utc | 21

venezuelaanalysis: Venezuela’s Legislature Approves Emergency Sessions for “Mother of Laws”

The proposed law, for which there is express permission in Article 203 of Venezuela’s 1999 constitution, would allow Chavez to pass decrees that have the legal standing of laws in ten different areas. The last time Chavez was allowed to make use of this provision was in 2001, when he passed 49 law-decrees. Previous presidents, such as Carlos Andrés Perez in 1976, were also given temporary authority for such laws.

The ten areas in which Chavez will be allowed to legislate are:

Posted by: b real | Jan 19 2007 4:33 utc | 22

Is there a billmon archive available anywhere on the net please? Preferably not via bittorrent, unless you can explain how I set up my computer so that i can download stuff via bittorrent. Many thanks.

Posted by: Hal | Jan 19 2007 4:43 utc | 23

@ b real #22

thank you so very much for that link... the western media is skewing his actions of course...

Posted by: crone | Jan 19 2007 5:13 utc | 24

hal, re billmon, there are these">">these archives. it's hard finding specific threads. i find it frustrating.

today i went on a search but i couldn't find what i was looking for. it massively bums me out he took his search engine away.

i wanted to earn this t shirt...

In December 2004, a national-reconciliation approach might have offered hope for stability in Iraq. A Badger T-shirt to any reader who can provide a link to an American opinion-maker who pointed that out at the time. Now, by contrast, the rhetoric of national reconciliation seems to have mostly the function of providing cover of various kinds, most important being cover for Sunni Arab regimes to support American belligerence vis-a-vis Iran.

i'd also like to find this link and i don't know how..

URL /archives/000858.html

if anyone knows how to find a link from an old url, i saved many of my favorites and now can't access them. grr

Posted by: annie | Jan 19 2007 7:54 utc | 25

@ crone #20

I think I found it link

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 19 2007 8:07 utc | 26

@crone - 20 - The Guardian seems to have pulled the story. The Google cache still has it: link


@annie - I have a complete billmon archive now and will set it up when I move MoA away from typepad - takes some time but working on it.

Posted by: b | Jan 19 2007 8:32 utc | 27

b, yeah! actually, i have just been poking around over there. either i am getting better at it or he's made some improvements.

do you have everything past may 06? is it going to have the search function??

Posted by: annie | Jan 19 2007 8:50 utc | 28

The Guardian seems to have pulled the story.

that was fast.

Russia's resurgence, its insistence on protecting its interests, and its ability to play a proper role in the world, are not to everyone's liking. Strangely enough, when Russia was mired in crisis, the west applauded it; today Russia is accused of rejecting democracy and of having imperial ambitions.

Still, there are no real reasons to fear Russia. My country is facing many problems. Learning new ways and building democratic institutions is indeed hard work. But Russia will never go back. The most difficult part of the road is already behind us.

Posted by: annie | Jan 19 2007 8:57 utc | 29

Laura Rozen on Iran: The Nonwar War Against Iran

In addition to the ISOG, the Pentagon last spring set up a six-person Iranian directorate in the Office of the Secretary of Defense that includes three former members of the Office of Special Plans, a controversial unit established by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld that produced discredited intelligence analysis linking Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda.

U.S. officials say that multiple inter-agency meetings on Iran are going on every day under the auspices of the Iran-Syria Policy and Operations Group, and that the pace of activity has quickened. "There are so many meetings; we're doing stuff, writing papers; actions are being taken," said one person involved with the group. "It's very intense."

Posted by: b | Jan 19 2007 9:21 utc | 30

Senate Passes Ethics Package

Lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, also talked to lawmakers about excluding from the measure's travel ban trips to Israel sponsored by the group's nonprofit foundation affiliate. The legislation, as written, would allow those trips to continue.

Posted by: b | Jan 19 2007 9:34 utc | 31

even though it (Billmons archives) is not available via BitTorrent I will all the same explain the process of downloading by BitTorrent.

1. You need a torrent-client. That is a program that runs on your computer. There are numberous versions. For windows I usually use uTorrent and for Linux/Mac Azureus. Download and install. For Azureus to wotk you also need the java-package they link too, if that is not already installed on your computer.

2. You need torrents. These are small files that can tell your torrent-client how to find the file you are looking for. They can be found on such sites as The Pirate Bay and Mininova. Go to the site, search for what you want to download, and get the torrent in question. (a good idea is to check the comments for comments on quality, problems and so on). It will typically go faster to download if there are a lot of seeders and a lot of leechers. You want minium one seeder as they are the ones who has the whole file/archive.

3. Open the torrent, typically named something like Movieyouwanttowatch.torrent with the torrent client. Now downloading should start. If it does not work properly the forums on the torrent-client pages are often filled with useful ideas. Generally someone has had your problem before you.

4. When downloading has begun, keep the program running in the background. Typically a movie days 1-24 h to download with a decent broadband connection. When the whole thing is downloaded it is curteous to at least keep your program up for a while, seeding the file in return.

5. Opening the files/watching movies. What you have downloaded might be packed in some archives. It might also be in some formats you do not recognise. There are generally guides out there. Search and you will find.

/End of todays public service announcement

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jan 19 2007 12:53 utc | 32

I had never heard of this before but it looks like a lot of fun, those crazy New Yorkers!

sixth annual No Pants! Subway Ride

hmmm, I wonder if Conchita was riding the 6 train????

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 19 2007 15:02 utc | 33

Question to anyone:

I have just written a post with a number of links in it, all of which I have double checked and they all function. Yet when I hit "Post," I get a message from typepad saying the address I am trying to access does not exist. What am I doing wrong? Or is typepad being tempermental today?

Posted by: Bea | Jan 19 2007 17:35 utc | 34

Bea- there is a threshold for the number of links in a post that typepad will allow. not sure what the magic # is, but i'm guessing the cutoff is somewhere around 5. b may have a suggestion for dealing w/ typepad's tyranny. i've had to split larger posts into separate comments.

Posted by: b real | Jan 19 2007 17:40 utc | 35

and the 'address does not exist' msg is because it can't find the proper spam user msg warning screen, which tells you that typepad thinks you are posting spam & will not permit you to post.

Posted by: b real | Jan 19 2007 17:42 utc | 36

OK, thanks. I will try splitting it into two and see if that works.

Posted by: Bea | Jan 19 2007 19:39 utc | 37

An Open Letter to the People of Iran and Other Nations of the Middle East and Asia

Brother and Sisters:

As but a single citizen of the United States of America, I raise my voice in sadness and shame at the actions of our government, past, present, and future. I strongly believe that my words and views are shared by a growing majority of American citizens.

Many of us opposed our government's war against Iraq before the first missile was launched and many have joined us since, constituting now a majority of our citizens. At the moment of the attacks in September, 2001, I knew that our President and his administration would opportunistically use the event as justification for all manner of aggressive military action. Although we cannot condone the actions of bin Laden and al Qaeda, we also do not condone our own government's actions. Many of us advocate reconciliation . . .

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 19 2007 20:15 utc | 38

Turkish-Armenian writer shot dead

A prominent Turkish-Armenian editor, convicted in 2005 of insulting Turkish identity, has been shot dead outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul.

Crowds of Hrant Dink's colleagues and supporters gathered at the scene, chanting their outrage at his murder. Dink's murder has provoked widespread shock in Turkey

Dink was given a six-month suspended sentence in October 2005 after writing about the Armenian "genocide" of 1915.

Posted by: annie | Jan 19 2007 22:55 utc | 39

dan @33, sad to say i was out of town last weekend collecting my pooch who stayed with my mum in boston while i was in hamburg. sounds like i missed out on a good time. they are lucky they chose last weekend - unseasonably warm - because this weekend is seasonably frigid. can't say new yorkers don't have a playful side....

Posted by: conchita | Jan 20 2007 3:23 utc | 40

Okay conchita, maybe you'll have to hostess a meeting of moonkind for the 7th, 8th, or whatever annual...

(scratch pooch's ears for me)

Posted by: beq | Jan 20 2007 3:40 utc | 41

more proof that the war on terrorism is phony

you've likely heard that luis posada carriles was indicted on seven counts last week - one for fraud in the naturalization process & six for lying to immigration officials, after being transported back into this country - but nothing for his role as an international terrorist. well, two of posada's accomplices, including the guy who supposedly brought him across the border, have also been in prison for over a year & just turned over a sizeable cache of weapons in order to strike a deal w/ prosecutors

Miami Terrorists Make a Deal

Washington, Jan 19 (Prensa Latina) Terrorist Santiago Alvarez handed over to the US police dozens of machine guns, C-4 explosives, and a grenade launcher that he tried to use against Cuba, sources reported on Friday.

This maneuver was a move by Alvarez, an accomplice of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, to obtain a reduction of his four-year sentence for illegal possession of weapons.

The defense also presented rifles, detonators, and ammunition, The Miami Herald reported.

The terrorist and his accomplice Osvaldo Mitat were only convicted for conspiracy to possess weapons, and not for the objective he pursued with the deadly arsenal: terrorist actions against Cuba. Mitat was sentenced to three years in prison.

Due to an agreement with the prosecutor, legal authorities ignored five of the six initial charges. Both criminals will serve a shorter time in prison, discounting their 12-month detention.

Alvarez and Mitat, of Cuban origin, were arrested in November 2005 after a judge authorized an operation to search for evidence in their Hialeah offices in Miami, Florida.

The police found several automatic weapons and some of them had their numbers filed down; gas masks, ammunition, grenades, explosives, other military supplies, and a fake Guatemalan passport.

The defense maneuvered to achieve a parole for Alvarez, the owner of the motorboat that brought Posada Carriles to the United States in March 2005.

now, as if that's wild enough, this comes after an apparent assassination attempt last weekend the key witness -- gilberto abascal -- in the posada trial AND the very person whose testimony against both alvarez and mitat in a separate weapons-conspiracy charge last year resulted in their convictions. the miami-dade bomb squad detonated a pipe bomb after abascal found it in his truck on sunday.

prensa latina reports that this isn't the first time abascal has escaped harm recently.

In August, 2006, Abascal escaped unharmed from another attack carried out by unidentified people, who opened fire against his van on a road near Hialeah Gardens.

meanwhile, people are renditioned b/c they look arab, indicted b/c they thought about doing something, labeled as terrorist b/c of who they get associated with, etc...

Posted by: b real | Jan 20 2007 6:38 utc | 42

eva golinger: Bush Orders More CIA Activity in Venezuela

The new CIA Mission in Venezuela and Cuba, officially created in August 2006 by Negroponte’s National Directorate of Intelligence, is designed to enhance U.S. intelligence operations, information gathering and analysis in the two countries. An August 16, 2006 press release by Negroponte’s office declared the new CIA mission was “critical today, as policymakers have increasingly focused on the challenges that Cuba and Venezuela pose to American foreign policy.”

During the January 18, 2007 intelligence briefing in the House of Representatives, Republican congressman Darrell Issa requested that Negroponte and CIA Director Hayden speak about how the United States is handling the “Chávez phenomenon” and whether or not the intelligence specialists could guarantee that Venezuela will not become a “serious threat in our own hemisphere.” Intelligence czar Negroponte responded that Venezuela “is probably the second country in the hemisphere where we have concentrated the majority of our intelligence and analysis efforts.” According to Negroponte’s comments, Cuba maintains its position as the “top” intelligence priority of the United States Government in this region.

Negroponte further remarked that US policymakers should be “worried about Mr. Chávez,” considering that “he has literally spent millions and millions of dollars to support his extremist ideas in various parts of the world…despite the fact that there is an enormous amount of poverty in his own country.”

Negroponte did not comment on how many millions upon millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars were being used to undermine Venezuela’s re-elected President, who won the most recent presidential elections in December 2006 with a landslide 63% of the vote and record low voter abstention rates (around 25%).

Through the congressionally-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the State Department’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. taxpayers pour more than $7 million of their dollars into funding Venezuela’s undemocratic and unpopular opposition movement each year.

Since 2001, almost 50 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars have been authorized by Congress and distributed through the NED and the USAID to fund a very unsuccessful coalition of anti-Chávez political parties, NGOs, private media groups, labor unions and business associations, to aid in their efforts to oust Venezuela’s democratically elected and majority supported government.
This funding does not include the millions that have been authorized by the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, and the Pentagon to aid intelligence activities and covert action in Venezuela. Per CIA director Hayden’s revelation that under “President Bush’s instructions, we have increased our work in Venezuela,” it is clear the U.S. government views Venezuela as a major focus of attention and a threat to U.S. foreign policy in the region.

let's see... that was january 18th that negroponte testified that chavez "has literally spent millions and millions of dollars to support his extremist ideas in various parts of the world…despite the fact that there is an enormous amount of poverty in his own country." perhaps he overlooked this bloomberg report from five days earlier, which stated
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez today vowed to trim his nation's debt and funnel $8.7 billion of its international reserves from the central bank to a social spending fund as part of his plan to implement socialism in the oil-rich country.
Venezuela's soaring oil income has allowed it to accumulate about $56 billion in international reserves in the Central Bank in two separate spending funds, Fonden and Fondespa. They were created by Chavez to finance social and infrastructure projects as part of his so-called Bolivarian revolution.

even the world bank acknowledges chavez's success at poverty reduction.
“Venezuela has achieved substantial improvements in the fight against poverty. The statistical evidence that we have compiled shows that from 1995 to 2005 the number of homes under the poverty line has decreased,” stated the World Bank.

The organization said that in these years the number of homes in poverty decreased from more than 40% to 30%

It described this advance as important and stated that it is related to Venezuelans’ higher income levels and as a result of the social missions.

poverty reduction is one of the main reasons behind moving away from the model of neoliberalism toward a "21st century socialism."

so far, the century has brought venezuelans things that they have never had before

Public works projects are everywhere, ranging from subway lines in Caracas and Valencia to bridges over the Orinoco River. New medical clinics -- mostly staffed by Cuban doctors provided under Chavez's oil aid program to Fidel Castro -- are within reach of almost everyone in this nation of 25 million people. Illiteracy, formerly at 10 percent of the population, has been completely eliminated, and infant mortality has been cut from 21 deaths per 1,000 births to 16 per 1,000.

Another initiative that could change the lives of millions of poor Venezuelans is a new program aimed at increasing land ownership.

Venezuela is the most urbanized nation in Latin America, with about 86 percent of its people living in cities, but about one-third of those urban dwellers have no title to their land. In legal terms they are squatters, and thus cannot access many government programs.

Over the past year, 57 cooperatives of land surveyors have been formed to scour Caracas' hillside slums, measuring the sprawling neighborhoods that previously were merely blank spaces on official maps.

Ivan Martinez, director of the Urban Land Committee titling office for Caracas, said that more than 200,000 titles had been given out, involving about 1 million people.

"People now can get basic services," he said. "We can hook them up to water, electricity. We can help rebuild their houses. It's a huge change." [link]

naw, it's not negroponte's concern for the poor in venezuela that has his panties all in a bunch, and it's not really that the ideas which chavez is advocating are extreme or threatening to the people of the united states. we know what the beef is really about -- providing/encouraging an example of an alternative to neoliberalism & using "our" oil (meaning big oil's god-given right to any potential wealth naturally available in god's earth) to benefit the peoples of venezuela. so the cia will continue to find ways to topple/neutralize chavez w/o directly implicating themselves or their sponsors.

Posted by: b real | Jan 21 2007 7:36 utc | 43

CIA, FBI, Aussie agents operating in philippines

Several American and Australian intelligence agents are in Mindanao to monitor terrorist activities, military sources here claimed yesterday.

"Mindanao is crawling with CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and even Australian federal agents," a source told The STAR.

The source, who asked not to be named, said aside from the US Special Forces deployed in Zamboanga and assisting in Sulu, foreign intelligence agents are also helping track down Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah militants. The foreign agents pose as tourists, businessmen, consultants or even treasure hunters.

also see focus on the global south's report Unconventional Warfare: Are US Special Forces Engaged in an Offensive War’ in the Philippines?

Posted by: b real | Jan 21 2007 7:45 utc | 44

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