Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 05, 2007

OT 07-013

News & views ...

Posted by b on February 5, 2007 at 03:33 AM | Permalink


Question: What is the connection between a possible American attack on Iran and the perjury trial of I. Lewis Libby? Answer: Vice President Dick Cheney.


One alleged radiation hot spot on Manhattan's east side has the potential for becoming a political hot spot: A strong radiation spike from the area of the Israeli Embassy. Officials would not comment on why they thought that particular area allegedly showed such a stunning peak in radiation.

Lest ye forget...

and wildly speculative...

50 tunnels discovered running under U.S. Mexico border

See you in the camps..

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 5, 2007 3:58:10 AM | 1>General David Patraeus's band of 4th gen warfare experts.

To little to late, but since its the last hope in Iraq it will be left holding the bag, and be conviently forgotten the next time around -- if there is a next time.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 5, 2007 4:27:59 AM | 2

via Juan Cole: Arabic singer mocks Bush

Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2007 4:41:36 AM | 3

Any Barflies Ever think you'd read Paul Craig Roberts quoting Noam Chomsky?? (The list of bloggers who thought they were self-proclaimed "lefties" who were too terrified to read him is loong...) Failed States: The US and Israel

Hard to disagree w/his last paragraph:

What the US and Israel are attempting to do is to turn the entire Muslim Middle East into failed states, that is, into puppet regimes. By extending their hegemony in the Middle East, the US and Israel hope to prolong their own failed existence.

{How different is this than a Vampire who drains the blood of living beings to prolong their existence?}

Posted by: jj | Feb 5, 2007 5:40:47 AM | 4

Some sanity:
Prominent Jews call for open debate on Israel

A group of prominent British Jews will today declare independence from the country's Jewish establishment, arguing that it puts support for Israel above the human rights of Palestinians.

Independent Jewish Voices will publish an open letter on the Guardian's Comment is Free website calling for a freer debate about the Middle East within the Jewish community. Among the more than 130 signatories are Stephen Fry, Harold Pinter, Mike Leigh, Jenny Diski and Nicole Farhi, as well as leading academics such as Eric Hobsbawm and Susie Orbach.

"We come together in the belief that the broad spectrum of opinion among the Jewish population of this country is not reflected by those institutions which claim authority to represent the Jewish community as a whole," the letter says. Jewish leaders in Britain, it argues "put support for the policies of an occupying power above the human rights of an occupied people" in conflict with Jewish principles of justice and compassion.

A time to speak out
We have therefore resolved to promote the expression of alternative Jewish voices, particularly in respect of the grave situation in the Middle East, which threatens the future of both Israelis and Palestinians as well as the stability of the whole region. We are guided by the following principles:

1. Human rights are universal and indivisible and should be upheld without exception. This is as applicable in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as it is elsewhere.

2. Palestinians and Israelis alike have the right to peaceful and secure lives.

3. Peace and stability require the willingness of all parties to the conflict to comply with international law.

4. There is no justification for any form of racism, including anti-semitism, anti-Arab racism or Islamophobia, in any circumstance.

5. The battle against anti-semitism is vital and is undermined whenever opposition to Israeli government policies is automatically branded as anti-semitic.

Who speaks for Jews in Britain?
[T]oday an oppressive and unhealthy atmosphere is leading many Jews to feel uncertain about speaking out on Israel and Zionism. People are anxious about contravening an unwritten law on what you can and cannot discuss, may or may not assert.

It is a climate that raises fundamental questions: about freedom of expression, Jewish identity, representation, and the part that concerned Jews in Britain can play in assisting Israelis and Palestinians to find their way to a better future.

As the situation in the Middle East deteriorates yearly, more and more Jews watch with dismay from afar. Dismay turns to anguish when innocent civilians - Palestinians and Israelis - suffer injury and death because of the continuing conflict. Anguish turns to outrage when the human rights of a population under occupation are repeatedly violated in the name of the Jewish people.

No one has the authority to speak for the Jewish people. Yet during Israel's war with Lebanon last summer, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, told an American audience: "I believe that this is a war that is fought by all the Jews." His belief is not based on evidence: it is an article of faith, a corollary of the doctrine that Israel represents Jewry as a whole - in Britain included.

Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2007 6:20:19 AM | 5

Attacking Iran would be disaster, report says

The report by 15 organisations - backed by Britain's former ambassador to Iran - comes as the US appears to be upping the ante in an increasingly hostile war of words with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.

The previous foreign secretary, Jack Straw, has said that military action against Iran would be "inconceivable". Margaret Beckett, his successor, has also insisted that no one is planning action against Tehran.

Today's report, entitled "Time to Talk: The Case for Diplomatic Solutions on Iran", comes from the Foreign Policy Centre, backed by trade unions, Muslim and Christian groups and Oxfam.

It says that the UK could prove the vital catalyst between the EU and US on reopening talks with Iran.

Launching the document, Sir Richard Dalton, the British ambassador to Iran until last year, said that a pre-emptive strike on Iran would be "a disaster for Iran, the region and quite possibly the world".

Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2007 6:48:25 AM | 6

After hope dies, there is either submission, death or action: Occupations to end the occupation

Here's a good example of action that can be accomplished right now - an occupation and sit-in of your Congressman/woman's local office until they agree to vote to defund the Iraq war, Stop the coming Iran war. Barring something like this happening in, say, 200 - 300 Congressional offices throughout the U.S., we're all hosed.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 5, 2007 7:11:25 AM | 7

Yet another dumpster dive, at the dkos...

What is it like to be a Bush ?
good read...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 5, 2007 7:45:15 AM | 8

Blogging 101 for Right Wingers

1. Include ‘facts’ in your comments that were discredited years ago (e.g. ‘Saddam was responsible for September 11′). Those Lefty clowns won’t know whether to waste time proving once again that you’re wrong, or to ignore you, allowing you to keep making baseless points. Either way you win!

2. Attribute views to the moonbats that they don’t hold and have never expressed (e.g. ‘you want the terrorists to win’). The dickheads won’t know whether to try and rebut an argument that they can’t actually find anywhere or to ignore you again, allowing you to crow that they’ve effectively admitted the accusation. Either way you win again!

3. Make absurd claims such as ‘The mainstream media is controlled by the Left.’ Yet again, your opponents will nearly blow a fuse trying to refute your silly argument. It’s vital that you never provide evidence for your more outrageous statements. That way the silly old Lefties have to produce facts of their own to rebut you and sooner or later you can seize on one and argue that it’s wrong. You win again!

4. Remember that the point of the whole exercise is to steer the discussion away from the original issue. This is absolutely essential because let’s face it, these arseholes have turned out to be much better than us at understanding the world and predicting the future.

5. If all else fails, resort to gratuitous personal abuse. Adopting a patronising tone helps too. Claim superior wisdom on the grounds of age, prior military service, travels to foreign countries, not having a university education etc. The aim is to goad your opponents into returning your insults, allowing you immediately to dismiss all their arguments as ad hominem and claim the high moral ground.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Feb 5, 2007 9:43:07 AM | 9

Attacking Iran would be disaster, report says

Right. But a disaster for whom, why and how?

Attacking Iraq was considered disastrous as well; attacking Afgh was considered vain, perilous or useless; both went forward without a hitch. Only the break up of Yugoslavia was a success, of a kind, possibly because it is so small and was, is, heavily policed / funded by Europe, as it is so close by, a careful watch is needed. Haiti, Somalia, Congo...the Philippines, all these are forgotten.

A disaster for those bombed; a disaster for the soldiers fighting; a disaster for ordinary people on the ground; all that goes without saying.

Creating failed states is kinda fashionable - anything goes and thus gangsters may win. Not today, where control of territory and resources requires stability for the alarmingly complex organization and structure required to suck resources away. The days where the darkies grew and picked coffee and the Brits could make money out of that by handing out snuff and some medical services and policing with rifles, coupled with the authority and prestige of the local Commissioner in his mansion, with his wife holding prayer meets with free cookies and veggies for the dancing poor are long gone...

Still it is interesting to see the Brits at least nominally digging their heels in.

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 5, 2007 11:13:46 AM | 10

not sure how somalia's "transitional federal government" thinks this is gonna help win hearts & minds

Somali government arrests 10 traditional elders in south of the country

Mogadishu 05, Feb.07 ( Sh.M.Network) - The Somali government forces have today incarcerated number of traditional elders in the district of Afmadow, near the Kenyan border.

The elders reportedly failed to accumulate local militias that were supposed to go to the government army training camps in Lower Jubba province, southern Somalia.

Nearly 10 traditional elders have been placed in jail, a freelance journalist Adan Suqar told Shabelle by phone from Afmadow on Monday.

He said the government troops were still tracking down other elders in the district.

Adan Mohomood Ibrahim, the government police commander in Afmadow, has given the order to arrest the men, Suqar said.

The elders have been accused of ignoring the government order to gather and send local militias to government military compounds in 25 days.

the TFG has already imposed martial law in the few areas it currently has control over, though that has not stopped increasing attacks & killings in those zones. and there is some question about exactly who may be responsible for some of these attacks.

Mortar bombs targeted at Mogadishu seaport after midnight

Mogadishu 05, Feb.07 ( Sh.M.Network) - Mortar rounds and rockets have rained down around Mogadishu international seaport after mid night. At least six rockets were targeted at the seaport by unknown gunmen.

Witness reported that the incident did happen at 3:45 am local time when everyone in Mogadishu was asleep at the time.

No casualties have been reported.

Residents near the seaport said heavy exchanges of automatic gunfire followed the mortar attacks. The rocket attacks came as a fuel tanker docket at the port, unloading barrels of patrol and diesel.

As usual, no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. The government blames remnants of the defeated Islamists in the capital Mogadishu.

The secular government raised suspicion in the deadly nightly attacks against the government and Ethiopian military bases.

During a speech delivery to the transitional parliament, which elected a new speaker, President Abdullahi Yusuf said members of the government are also to blame for the attacks against the government positions in Mogadishu.

He said, “There are at least 21 parliamentarians in Djibouti. They oppose the government,” urging the present parliamentarians to work honestly with the new speaker, Sheik Aden Mohammed Nour Madobe who replaced the influential speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden.

Posted by: b real | Feb 5, 2007 11:20:21 AM | 11

That VDARE piece by Paul Roberts is a pivotal statement.

Pivotal as in, once you see things that way, once you accept and admit that Israel and America are simply foisting their own state failures upon the nation states of the Middle East, you have stepped out of the mirror and into the real world.

The mirror is nationalism, exceptionalism, patriotism, Zionism, and whatever other ism lets you go kill people in order to avoid negotiating your "way of life."

The reality is that humankind is killing hundreds of species, and its own species, in such a wholesale manner that keeping track of the dead is almost more than man's celebrated mental capacity to keep up with. And yet, all over the world, we will kill whatever we have to kill in order to keep at it. That's us.

That's us. I'd like to think that America, the best fed group of mammals on the planet, could take the lead in extricating we humans from this rut. But America seems to be the group most interested in getting out of this hole by digging faster.

If little green men landed in the National Mall tomorrow in sparkling ships that circumvent light speed, and if they spoke of advanced civilizations waltzing across ten thousand galaxies as casually as we cross the street, we would immediately begin planning how to take it away from them, and not share it with the Russians and the Chinese and the damned Irish.

We're stuck, as a species. We need people to pivot. We need lots of people to throw this shit up in the air, and say "what's the other way, cuz this one isn't working.'

Posted by: Antifa | Feb 5, 2007 11:30:53 AM | 12

@Antifa #12

The mirror is nationalism, exceptionalism, patriotism, Zionism, and whatever other ism lets you go kill people in order to avoid negotiating your "way of life."

I agree completely.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 5, 2007 1:25:04 PM | 13

Here is a note of gratitude from a region that is finally breaking free:

From Latin America With Love: Thank You, America, for Ignoring Us!

Enough! No more PR safety-valves for global exploitation by predatory capitalists and their supporting governments. Doesn’t it make sense that Latin Americans are ecstatic as America, under Bush, pays full attention to the mess it has created in the Middle East ignoring its Latin protégé? Can we, at least this once, let people in other parts of the world determine what’s good for them… instead of homicidally intruding in their affairs?

It would be most difficult to refute that… “Bliss is being ignored – by the United States!”

Posted by: Bea | Feb 5, 2007 1:26:04 PM | 14

delusions of grandeur

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2007 1:56:58 PM | 15


[The mirror is nationalism, exceptionalism, patriotism, Zionism, and whatever other ism lets you go kill people in order to avoid negotiating your "way of life."]

And the ironic thing is that we're killing them by foisting the structure of our own failure our exceptionalism, our nationalism,etc on them, to do it. And then blame them for failing to embrace it.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 5, 2007 2:02:45 PM | 16

it looks like the israelis might release marwan bhargouti because they want a stronger fatah - or they are seeking a holy bloodbath of the palestinian people

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 5, 2007 2:11:02 PM | 17

Read this and weep:

Cheney's Own Investment Funds Manager Issues a Scathing Attack on US Energy Policy


There is also a political and economic cost to our oil dependency, Grantham notes. Yet America could have eliminated its oil dependency on the Middle East years ago with just a "reasonable set of increased efficiencies." All it would take is 10% fewer vehicles, each driving 10% fewer miles and getting 50% more miles per gallon. Under that "sensible but still only moderately aggressive policy," he writes, "not one single barrel would have been needed from the Middle East." Not one.

I repeat: This is not some rainbow coalition. This is not even Al Gore. Grantham is the chairman of Boston-based fund management company Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo. He is British-born but has lived here since the early 1960s.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 5, 2007 2:20:36 PM | 18

Vanity Fair on Nigeria - (long) - Blood Oil

Posted by: b | Feb 5, 2007 2:52:45 PM | 19

43-minute docu on Africa: US Oil's New Target

America has set its sights on Africa, which, according to a White House national energy policy document, is predicted to be - together with Latin America - "one of the fastest growing sources of oil and gas" for the future American market. But in the global hunt for oil, America has to compete with an increasingly successful and aggressive major competitor - China

China's oil safari

China has a straightforward strategy for diminishing its dependence on Middle East oil: buy from Africa. This year Angola has replaced the world's largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, as China's main oil supplier.

A mere eight years after its first foray into Africa's oilfields, an investment in Sudan after then US President Bill Clinton imposed economic sanctions on the country in 1997, China is now importing 30 % of its oil from Africa, compared with 47 % from the Middle East.
China has adopted an aid-for-oil strategy that has resulted in increasing flows of oil from African countries in return for China building lavish infrastructure projects such as hospitals, railways and sports stadiums and cutting trade and debt-forgiveness deals. Not only does that gain Beijing natural resources. It also wins the Chinese new friends -- and their votes it needs in international forums like the United Nations and World Trade Organization as it takes an ever larger role on the world stage.

China's involvement in Africa's oil, as well as the more recent presence of Malaysia's and India's state oil companies, not only adds a new dimension to China's long-standing political influence on the continent. It is also disrupting the long dominance of Western oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and Total.

Three state Chinese oil companies now have interests in nearly 20 African countries, from Libya in the north, to Nigeria in the west, Angola in the south and Ethiopia in the east. They are China National Petroleum, which is the parent of New York-listed PetroChina; China National Petrochemical (Sinopec), whose listed arm is China Petroleum & Chemical; and China National Offshore Oil Co., a.k.a. CNOOC.

Posted by: b real | Feb 5, 2007 3:01:10 PM | 20

Thanks everyone at Moon for keeping track of the world for me. Feel that I am slacking in the community effort here. Spending all my blogging time and more these days lurking at firedoglake's trial coverage. Looks like Slothrop is there too. Others?

Summary: No way to assess the jury. For me, prosecution's case is proved against Libby. And enough details of Cheney's involvement have been revealed to make clear that he was at the center of 1) the whole WMD falsification and 2)campaign to discredit Wilson and disable CIA's Counterproliferation Division.

It is hardly reading between the lines to recognize that CIA-CP had been a thorn in the side of Cheney and his WMD argument, opposing his conclusions and war, since well before the invasion of Iraq. Wilson's oped was the undercover battle going public, and calling out the VP publicly.

Whether or not the trial convicts Libby, it certainly lays out a roadmap for Congressional investigations of Cheney & co lies manufactured to sell their war. A direct road to impeachment, except for all the "national security" roadblocks that Cheney/B43 will throw in the road.

Timelines and narratives derived from the trial are popping up around the web, some narrowly constructed of trial assertions only, others following the logic of trial testimony more broadly.>Scarecrow at #69 in this FDL thread paints a scenario that sounds credible to me.

Cheney and his man ... put their people in key intelligence spots throughout the intelligence community to stovepipe faulty intelligence right into the WH and into the media (Miller). The normal intelligence community fights back. There is constant war between Cheney’s liars and the normal truth tellers. They jockey for for the President’s ear and fight over the contents of his speeches. But the truth tellers don’t know that the liars have backdoor access.
Wilson is the truth tellers’ way to fight back; they can’t go public, but Wilson can.

Another outrageous detail: eRiposte points out another, probable>instance of flagrant deception in the WMD affair. Not only did VPOffice a) ignore Wilson's findings in Niger in 2002 that there was NO EVIDENCE of recent Iraqi attempts to purchase yellowcake uranium, but b) in early 2003, when Cheney/Bush had to justify the SOTU 16 words to the IAEA, they cited the Italian docs (which they knew to be forgeries, as IAEA recognized in hours) and, in desperation for a second source, turned WIlson's report inside out and cited it as a 'sensitive source" corroborating Iraqi's shopping in Niger.

Posted by: small coke | Feb 5, 2007 5:00:09 PM | 21

it looks like the israelis might release marwan bhargouti because they want a stronger fatah - or they are seeking a holy bloodbath of the palestinian people

Or maybe they realize that they have just about unleashed total anarchy and they are saying "oopsie." Maybe they got around to reading Virginia Tilley:

But what are you going to do, Israel, if five million Palestinians are finally living leaderless under your sovereignty? What will you do, when they lose their capacity to negotiate with you? Have you thought that, within the territory you control, they are as many as you? And that now you are destroying their unified voice? Have you thought about what will happen to you if they truly lose that voice?....

But if you actually reap the chaos you are crafting for the Palestinians, you will find that no one else is responsible for these five million civilians except you.

So what will you do, Israel, with five million people living under your rule, when you can no longer pretend to the world that you intend to negotiate with them? What will you do with people you detest, and who finally utterly detest you, when visions of coexistence have finally failed? You will be the only sovereign power over them. You will be able neither to digest them nor to vomit them out. And they will stare at you.

And we will stare at you, too.

Because there will be no one left to blame, and no one to take care of them, except you.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 5, 2007 10:18:42 PM | 22

Here is a nice piece from Froomkin: How the Press Can Prevent Another Iraq

He offers several groups of suggestions. My favorite group is below, and the best one is bolded:

Watch for Rhetorical Traps

* Keep an eye on how advocates of war frame the arguments. Don’t buy into those frames unless you think they’re fair.

* Keep a particular eye out for the no-lose construction. For example: If we can’t find evidence of WMD, that proves Saddam is hiding them.

* Watch out for false denials. In the case of Iran, when administration officials say “nobody is talking about invading Iran,” point out that the much more likely scenario is bombing Iran, and that their answer is therefore a dodge.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 5, 2007 10:31:30 PM | 23

According to Democrat Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), as reported by Newsweek, Bush sees himself as the new Harry Truman.

[Bush] compared his situation to the crisis Harry Truman faced in the early days of the cold war. Then, as now, Bush said, the United States confronted a dangerous ideological foe. Truman had answered with the Truman Doctrine, a vow to protect free peoples wherever they were threatened with communist domination. Truman's policies had been unpopular in their time, but "history showed he was right," said Bush, according to Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.

A moment's reflection on the implications of this sentiment, if accurate, should scare the hell out of everyone.

Maybe you need to think about it.

Posted by: Monolycus | Feb 5, 2007 11:02:21 PM | 24

music interlude,>if you look closer, you'll see its all lies

Is this the new face of pop music? Hope so.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 6, 2007 3:56:08 AM | 25

New Fort Detrick BioDefense Laboratory May Reflect a Bush Germ War Effort

The latest development, according to the Associated Press, is that the U.S. Army is replacing its Military Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., "with a new laboratory that would be a component of a biodefense campus operated by several agencies." The Army told AP the laboratory is intended to continue research that is only meant for defense against biological threats.

But University of Illinois international law professor Francis Boyle charged the Fort Detrick work will include "acquiring, growing, modifying, storing, packaging and dispersing classical, emerging and genetically engineered pathogens." Those activities, as well as planned study of the properties of pathogens when weaponized, "are unmistakable hallmarks of an offensive weapons program."

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 6, 2007 6:11:45 AM | 26

Mind Games

New on the Internet: a community of people who believe the government is beaming voices into their minds. They may be crazy, but the Pentagon has pursued a weapon that can do just that.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 6, 2007 6:16:08 AM | 27

That’s why we have elections.

In 2008, we can finish putting together the governing team that will end the war. [Gee isn’t that what Hilliary just said in ger DNC speech]

Had we not made huge gains in 2006, we’d be a lot further away from making that happen in 2008.

by kos on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 04:46:15 PM PST

[ Parent ]

Funny… how he forgets to mention that the Dems in the same position as the GOP were unable to block rightwing SCJs being seated, or Abu Gonzales, Bankruptcy Bill….etc etc etc… so basically Kos has been lying the past four years…

Jesus fucking Christ...

There is something very disturbing about kos putting out this message. I get an odd “America: love it or leave it” message with this “we’d be a lot worse off if we didn’t make as many gains as we had” bullshit argument. Pacifying the masses. “We’re doing the best we can.” “Hey, things could be worse. What if we hadn’t “won?” I mean, he’s really grasping here, chumming pure bullshit to a school of hungry denial-fish.

The alternative is too painful for them to contemplate: That they’ve been sold down the river by these corporate congressional hacks.

And of course the ever-present: “Just wait. Wait until 2008.” In 2004, it was “just wait until 2006.” In 2003, it was “just wait until 2004.” They’ll be waiting ’til the cows come home...

One would think there would be defections from the site. I mean, how long can people swallow this propaganda pill that the Dems are anything but turncoats? It’s baffling to me why these hangers-on continue to engage in this massive shitstorm of denial and betrayal by their “own party.”


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 6, 2007 8:20:26 AM | 28

Taking a few more steps toward the abyss:

Iranian Diplomat Kidnapped in Baghdad By Iraqis with Official ID

BAGHDAD, Tuesday, Feb. 6 — An Iranian diplomat was abducted Sunday evening when his convoy was stopped by men with official Defense Ministry identification in the Karrada neighborhood here, senior Iraqi and American officials said Monday.

Iraqi security forces captured several suspects after pursuing their vehicles through the streets of Baghdad, two of the Iraqi officials said.

The vehicle with the diplomat was not caught, though....

The abduction of the Iranian took place in a largely Shiite section of the city not far from where a truck bomb killed at least 135 people on Saturday and where residents have complained that the slow pace of the increase in American troops has left them open to attacks.

The men captured in the chase by Iraqi forces on Sunday were Iraqis with Defense Ministry identification, Iraqi and American officials said, raising serious questions about whether government forces themselves were involved in the abduction.

A senior Iraqi official said that the credentials initially appeared to be genuine but that investigators later received conflicting information about whether the men had been dismissed from the ministry but somehow kept their identification....

If the kidnappers’ credentials turn out to be genuine, there will be enormous pressure on the Iraqi government to recover the diplomat and capture all of those involved. The Iraqi government has been critical of recent raids by American forces in which Iranians working with diplomatic offices in Iraq have been detained.

Can we say "an utter and complete mess"??

Iran Accuses U.S. Diplomat Over Kidnapping

Iran blamed America for the "terrorist" kidnapping of a Iranian diplomat in Baghdad today in the latest chapter of the two countries' increasingly hostile competition for influence in Iraq.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Tehran said that Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary of the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, was abducted on Sunday by Iraqi troops acting "under US supervision" and that the Iranian Government expects Washington to organise his release.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns the terrorist act which runs counter to international regulations and the Vienna Convention," said Mohammad-Ali Hosseini.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran considers it a responsibility of US forces in Iraq to protect members of the diplomatic community, including Iranian diplomats, and will hold them responsible for obtaining the release of the abducted Iranian diplomat."

I swear sometimes it feels to me that Iran and the U.S. are dancing a pas de deux cheek to cheek down the path to war.

Posted by: Bea | Feb 6, 2007 9:18:19 AM | 29

for the geekazoids among us, with love.

Web 2.0

Posted by: fauxreal | Feb 6, 2007 10:47:41 AM | 30

reuters: US to create new military command for Africa

President George W. Bush has approved a Pentagon plan to create a new military command for operations in Africa to coordinate action and counter potential threats from the continent, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday.

"This command will enable us to have a more effective and integrated approach than the current arrangement of dividing Africa between Central Command and European Command -- an outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War," Gates told a congressional panel.
Pentagon officials increasingly point to the growing strategic importance of Africa and raise concerns about potential threats, including terrorist threats, that could emerge in war-torn areas, such as Somalia.

jim lobe: Africa to Get Its Own US Military Command

Of particular concern are Africa's role in the "global war on terror," or, in Pentagon parlance, "the long war," the growing importance of the region's natural resources, especially oil and gas, to the world economy, and increased competition with China, among other countries, for those resources.
"An Africa Command would help the US military focus on a continent that is essential to our national security," according to Democrat Russell Feingold, one of the most liberal members of the Senate who also chairs its subcommittee on Africa.

"Our national security strategy needs to evolve, and so does our capability to meet new and emerging threats," he said. "An Africa Command is vital to strengthening our relations with African nations and preventing them from becoming staging grounds for attacks against the US or our allies."

Posted by: b real | Feb 6, 2007 10:59:04 AM | 31

a classic from a USAWC research paper on the new combatant cmd in africa

Along with failed and impoverished states, Africa is also a continent which has vast spaces, many of which are extremely harsh and desolate. These failed states and ungoverned areas present breeding grounds for criminals and terrorist alike.

as everyone knows, extremely harsh & desolate environments make idea breeding grounds

Posted by: b real | Feb 6, 2007 11:11:55 AM | 32

dinosaurs lived on earth at the same time as humans.

the earth was created in 7 days.

and Ted Haggart is completely hetereosexual

oh, and he bought meth but didn't use it....

I can only imagine his "therapy" -- from what I understand fundies use aversion therapy -- electric shock, that sort of thing, when homosexuals have an emotional/physical response to a picture of a person of the same sex. (and I know someone in my town whose mother wanted her to attend just such a place.) Everytime I think about such a place, I cannot help but see toothpicks in the eyelids, Beethovan's Ode to Joy...or the Fifth? and a little ultra-violence.

no wonder he's "cured." who would want to undergo such treatment?

god, deliver us from fundies.

Posted by: fauxreal | Feb 6, 2007 11:13:25 AM | 33

following the notion of only reading the last paragraph in MSM stories to get to the crux of issue, in today's AP wire on the AFRICOM announcement

Officials say that Africa also is strategically more important because of increased efforts by China to involve itself and gain influence on the continent.

Posted by: b real | Feb 6, 2007 11:22:11 AM | 34

Poll: 57% Say War With Iran Likely

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of American adults say it is at least somewhat likely that the United States will be at war with Iran before another year goes by (see crosstabs).

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 adults found that 23% believe that War with Iran is Very Likely. Another 34% say it is Somewhat Likely. Thirty-two percent (32%) disagree and say War with Iran is Not Very Likely (26%) or Not at All Likely (6%).

Fifty-five percent (55%) of Republicans believe war is likely along with 59% of Democrats. Younger Americans are more likely to believe that war is coming than their elders.

The survey also found that 75% of Americans believe it’s likely that Iran will soon develop nuclear weapons. That figure is little changed since last September.

The propaganda worked ...

Posted by: b | Feb 6, 2007 1:20:22 PM | 35

uncle #27. the comment section of that article is rather amazing. i recommend

Posted by: annie | Feb 6, 2007 1:42:07 PM | 36

secrecynews: Army Manual on Psychological Operations

A U.S. Army manual on psychological operations (pdf) elaborates upon the role of PSYOP in military activities.

"The employment of any element of national power, particularly the military element, has always had a psychological dimension. Foreign perceptions of U.S. military capabilities are fundamental to strategic deterrence. The effectiveness of deterrence hinges on U.S. ability to influence the perceptions of others."

"The purpose of PSYOP is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to U.S. national objectives... When properly employed, PSYOP can save lives of friendly and adversary forces by reducing the adversaries' will to fight. By lowering adversary morale and reducing their efficiency, PSYOP can also discourage aggressive actions and create dissidence and disaffection within their ranks, ultimately inducing surrender."

The 179 page manual has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Psychological Operations [pdf]," Field Manual FM 3-05.30, April 2005.

Posted by: b real | Feb 6, 2007 1:47:03 PM | 37

aljazeera international committed to the facts that the iranian diplomat was kidnapped by iraqui forces under direct u s orders

also of note is the cached destruction of al aqsa mosque under yet another guise

the provocations against the arab & persian people are daily

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 6, 2007 2:53:36 PM | 38

Speaking of manufacturing provocations - and after the pure verbiage they used for Iraq, I fear a real attack this time - check out itinerary of Queen Mary 2. Would they dare do such a thing?? I think they have to do something that causes popular fury, not only in Am. but throughout Europe too if possible. ( don't want to officially link, lest it be misunderstood, so I'll give the URL.)

Posted by: jj | Feb 6, 2007 3:38:47 PM | 39

Digby had a great post on Cheney's creation/expansion of the Vice Presidency as a Fourth Estate. The comments are pretty informative too.

I'd not really thought before about the opportunity that office gives to wily operators by virtue of its role as President of the Senate as well as VP of the Executive Branch. Worth reading, if only to round out what you know about the idea of a Unitary Executive. Cheney may go down in history as the guy who made the VP job the most powerful in the land.

Posted by: citizen | Feb 6, 2007 5:45:41 PM | 40

Chalmers Johnson whose Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic is out today, provides something the CIA won't: a National Intelligence Estimate for the United States.

@annie..thanks for the heads up on the comments re my #27

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 6, 2007 5:54:28 PM | 41

@Uncle+annie - more follow up on the mindcontrol crazies at Defense Tech:
200 Years of "Mind Control"
Inside the Mind Control Conspiracy
Inside the Mind Control Conspiracy, Part II

Posted by: b | Feb 6, 2007 6:09:15 PM | 42


every time i see his criminal mug i want to throw up - there are faces - & facists arrive at it with perfection - is for there to be a permanant sneer or grimace

you know just by looking in that man's eyes - as you might have speers - both how empty & venal the specimen is - you know there is no lie to low he cannot tell & not a person he cannot blame for what is essential to his species - incompetence

i hope one day soon his defribilator will malfuinction

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 6, 2007 6:22:14 PM | 43

r'giap - He should first share a ward with Arial Sharon and afterwards pickle both their brains and put'em together in a jar labeled "POISON".

Posted by: beq | Feb 6, 2007 7:01:00 PM | 44

A National Intelligence Estimate for the United States? It's damn easy to estimate the national intelligence of the Unites States Elite... :)

I don't have time to excerpt this EXCELLENT op-ed, as I'm late, but knew that barflies would def. want to read this outline of xUS-Saudi strategy in ME, hashed out on Chainey's recent trip over there. 21,500 troops for Iran

Marc Parent seems to have some good things up today as well.

b-, how much of European Oil comes from Russia - do you happen to know? Along those lines, this also is of interest: The USA and Saudi Arabia Combat the Axis of Oil - Iran, Russia and Venezuela

Posted by: jj | Feb 6, 2007 9:11:39 PM | 45

some more on AFRICOM

first, some moron -- excuse me, rear adm. -- in a stars & stripes article by charlie coon

STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. military’s approach toward African nations has been touted as proactive: “Helping people to help themselves” is one of its mantras.

U.S. and African troops train together, medics treat sick people and engineers dig wells for fresh water. But while trying to win friends and influence people, the threat of terrorism also is being targeted by the military and its latest endeavor, the establishment of an African Command.

“The groups we are most worried about … are the ones who have the ability to influence nations, plural,” said Rear Adm. Richard K. Gallagher, director of the U.S. European Command’s Plans and Operations Center.

“Groups,” he said, “that threaten us, and not just the United States, but the European continent, the African continent and elsewhere.”

Groups like the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, or GSPC, Gallagher said, has sworn allegiance to al-Qaida and wishes to create an Islamist state in Algeria and across northern Africa, much like the Islamic caliphate of centuries past.
The groups might be small for now, Gallagher said, but can be deadly.

“These are not local groups that are unhappy with the local situation in a particular country,” Gallagher said. “When I’m talking about transnational characters, these are groups that freely flow their people across the spectrum.”
Factors that make Africa ripe for terrorist activity, Gallagher said, include huge, ungoverned spaces where people can roam freely, and large numbers of restless young people who are vulnerable to anti-Western propaganda.

The fight against terrorist organizations will be a long one, Gallagher said. The military, he said, is trying to make African nations more able to crack down on transnational extremists.

“It’s to enable local governments to deny that ability,” he said, “and to decrease the environment that allows them to do their business and to do their evil deeds.”

not so, according to charles cobb jr, the senior correspondant for, who does not like the idea of the new combatant command

...the question is whether this development will be a good thing for the continent.

I think not.

First, without significant and protective checks and balances, excessive “security” tends to erode, if not crush, civil liberties, and those governments on the continent that already show little inclination to support democratic freedoms will almost certainly use “security” as an excuse to clamp down on things they don’t like. This is already happening in the US, where despite checks and balances there is a steady erosion of constitutional rights in the name of “homeland security”.

A second and related point is that no other command will be as politically defined. None of the five other military commands will require as much, or as direct, intervention in the political affairs of their region. We already see this in Somalia, where US strategic concerns trump local needs. US money helped prop up the warlords, enabling them to continue the chaos that keeps that tragic nation trapped in failure as a state, even though the transitional government the warlords are part of was trying to install itself in Mogadishu. The US needed the warlords to help fight Islamic “terrorists”. Never mind that those warlord militias were terrorising Somalis.

A few years ago, this was played out in a different way in the effort to crush Algeria’s Islamist rebel organisation, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat. A chase across the Sahara in 2004 involving US, Algerian, Malian and Chadian soldiers resulted in a huge swathe of the Sahara-Sahel today being described as an anti- terror front aimed at al-Qaeda. In the future, Africom would be involved in such an operation. The problem is that the Salafist Group has little to do with al-Qaeda and a great deal to do with trying to topple the Algerian regime in order to set up an Islamist state -- a local matter from my viewpoint, although I personally would not like to see the Algerian government toppled, nor am I in favour of religious states. Still, you cannot say that if a state is Islamist, it is by definition, “terrorist”. And US soldiers certainly don’t belong on the ground in local conflicts.

After years of reporting, the cynic in me concludes that there is no more dangerous combination than foreign-backed military power and foreign alignment with the political goals of local regimes. You can always count on the worst oppression rising to the surface as the norm in the name of security and stability.

And that leads to the final reason for looking with suspicion at Africom. Ultimately, it simply does not seem to serve genuine US interests in Africa: fostering economic growth, fighting chronic disease, conveying the idea that military muscle and the willingness to use it ruthlessly is not a path to stability.

All these will surely be reduced to rhetoric about what needs to be done after Africa is “secure”.

the military views africa thru impaired GWOT goggles, seeing problems everywhere. are we to understand that "huge, ungoverned spaces where people can roam freely" is a really bad thing? sounds like freedom, to me, but obviously these military types are hammers looking for nails.

as cobb writes,

The establishment of “Africom,” as the Pentagon and state department are already calling it, is being driven by two main strategic concerns: first, the growing demand for African oil and gas (Africa is expected to be supplying 25% of US hydrocarbon imports by 2015) and the vulnerability of those supplies, concentrated as they are in some of Africa’s most unstable states; and second, the perceived danger of Islamic radicals.

it is entirely a matter of perception. that us army war college paper i linked to above, making the argument for AFRICOM back in 2005 march, provides concrete evidence to their warped vision & comprehension of africa. in the paper, the framing of terrorist activity thoughout africa is accepted unquestioningly as a truth so overwhelming that not even a single attempt to provide an example of a terrorist activity is required to make its case for the "perceived us national interests" which, incredibly, fails to acknowledge the continent's vast resources, esp oil.

refering to the 2002 national security strategy (nss), the author writes,

The NSS focuses on the global war on terrorism and recognizes that terrorist cells are located thoughout the world and that the U.S. must locate those cells in order to destroy them. "Thousand of trained terrorists remain at large with cells in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and across Asia. Our priority will be first to disrupt and destroy terrorist organizations of global reach and attack their leadership; command, control, and communications; material support; and finances." The seams that have been created in Africa between the three Combatant Commands make a coordinated effort against terrorist cells more difficult. The seeds of terrorism must be recognized. Washington must wage a war of ideas with those who support terrorists and their causes in the unstable areas of Africa. America must support moderate governments, especially in the Muslim regions of Africa, so that they can educate their populations before terrorist elements gain a foothold with their youth." [emphasis mine]

how exactly does that address "the seeds of terrorism?" just take, for instance, washington's support for the warlords in somalia who terrorized the population. along w/ cobb above, i see plenty of "seeds of terrorism" germinating from military doctrine like this. their perceptions appear to be formed entirely around self-justifying validations for the use of force & domination. i sense they picture a variation of the arcade game whack-a-mole in their washed brains. making up for their lack of brain cells by projecting vast numbers of terrorist cells across the planet. someone please take their tokens away & stop funding this madness.

on this talk of "seams"

These seams potentially have been and will continue to be used by terrorists, rogue states, and other criminal elements to avoid detection from the United States efforts to track and apprehend them. [emphasis mine]

how 'bout that wording, eh?

[Africa] is a complex continent defined by increasing resources, new lines of communication between itself and the rest of the world, and an expanding economic codependence, yet Africa also has an evolving terror infrastructure, is a provider of instability into Europe by way of refugees, human trafficking, and smuggling, and Africa has a continental AIDS epidemic that is both catastrophic, expanding, and invisible at the same time. ... What Africa lacks today is a continental wide stabilizing mechanism. ... National economic instability, throughout the majority of countries in Africa, provides the breeding ground for political, military, and religious instability which ultimately has provided the welcome mat to terrorist. [sic]

actually, it sounds like they've already inviting themselves

Posted by: b real | Feb 7, 2007 1:05:55 AM | 46

Any Mac users out there? i've got the dreaded "kernal panic - we are hanging here..." catastrophe.

Yesterday I was tidying up my text folders in my IMac hard drive window and stupidly gathered up all the system folders into a new folder that I labeled Apple Stuff, forgetting that this would mess up the hierarchical structure of levels, or whatever. When I couldn't open Entourage or Safari I realized what i'd done and tried to move all the system folders out of the Apple Stuff folder and couldn't, they just bounced back in. i turned off the computer and on again and I got a gray screen with the message to turn off the computer and superimposed code and the panic/hanging message.

We tried to reinstall the OS using the "Archive and install" option to no avail. I hope to avoid reinstallation that will will delete all email and book marks, not to mention everything else.

I have OS X (10.3 maybe) Can someone advise?

Posted by: Help Hamburger | Feb 7, 2007 2:58:38 AM | 47

In case there's anyone around here who is interested in the elite war on America - unlike billmon who grew fat on it - it's finally time for them to say Screw America, Who needs it 'cuz we sure as hell don't: Cisco shifts top brass from Silicon Valley to India

SAN JOSE, Calif. — For the better part of a decade, India has been the outsourcing destination-of-choice for American IT companies looking to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.

While that trend appears to be holding steady, India could soon become home to a bevy of top level executives from the choicest global technology giants. And ushering in this era is Wim Elfrink, the chief globalization officer at Cisco Systems Inc., who along with a seven member team has shifted base from Silicon Valley to Bangalore, India.


"From Cisco's point of view, this deal makes absolute sense — it gets them access to lot of very bright talent at low prices," Wadwha said. "It's all good for Cisco, but it's also good for India because it brings to the country a lot of new jobs and high technology.

If it's not good for Americans, fuck 'em...Meanwhile they're told to "get an education so they can compete".

Posted by: jj | Feb 7, 2007 3:07:29 AM | 48

unlike billmon who grew fat on it

by all means, elaborate.

Posted by: annie | Feb 7, 2007 3:21:27 AM | 49

Attack on DNS root servers

From another board I visit, it was mentioned that, "Today’s operation against the root DNS systems may have been more reconnaissance than attack." I’ve thought along these lines as well, especially re: a strategic, false flag takedown of the Internet mainly to blame “the terrorists” for economic collapse, and to wipe away evidence of past crimes. Don’t ask me how “the terrorists” would manage to destroy redundant backup and data systems… But “the terrorists” are a crafty lot. Like Satan, et. al. * sigh *

The way to think about it is: What would kill the most birds with the fewest stones? That’s why I thought “the terrorists” will finally focus on the undefended infrastructures that make the Internet possible:

1) End the criticism of the regime.
2) Cut off people like us from real information.
3) Cut off people like us from communicating with each other.
4) People, rendered helpless, jobless, Walmartless, etc, would beg for the government to save them.
5) Anyone who dares speak out against the government would probably be killed by a mob of troglodytes.
6) Oh yeah, the theft of trillions of dollars? What are these trillions of dollars you speak of, Senator? Who? Where?


That’s one possible scenario, anyway.

I don’t think that it’s possible to know which trick is going to be pulled with any precision. But they’re going to have to try to fit ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag, and soon. I feel certain something major is in the works. The question is how to blame “the terrorists” for the crash without the thing leading to nuclear war. I’m guessing that this Brzezinsk thing is like saying, “Don’t do it ‘that’ way. Go back to the drawing board. We don’t want it to play out like ‘that.’” Iraq is clearly out of control. Add Iran to the mix? I don’t see how they maintain any level of control (militarily, politically, economically, take your pick) with an order of magnitude increase in the chaos on the ground. I think this crossed Brzezinski’s mind, and the minds of his handlers.

via AP / Wired:

Hackers briefly overwhelmed at least three of the 13 computers that help manage global computer traffic Tuesday in one of the most significant attacks against the Internet since 2002.

Lest ye forget...

US plans to 'fight the net' revealed

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.

Bloggers beware.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 7, 2007 8:19:45 AM | 50

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Feb 7, 2007 9:09:33 AM | 51

wallerstein: The World Social Forum: From Defense to Offense

The World Social Forum (WSF) met in Nairobi, Kenya from January 20-25. The organization, founded as a sort of anti-Davos, has matured and evolved more than even its participants realize. From the beginning, the WSF has been a meeting of a wide range of organizations and movements from around the world who defined themselves as opposed to neo-liberal globalization and imperialism in all its forms. Its slogan has been "another world is possible" and its structure has been that of an open space without officers, spokespeople, or resolutions. The WSF has been against neo-liberal globalization and the term alterglobalists has been coined to define the stance of its proponents - another kind of global structure.
...the WSF is presenting a real alternative, and gradually creating a web of networks whose political clout will emerge in the next five to ten years. Participants at the WSF have debated for a long time whether it should continue to be an open forum or should engage in structured, planned political action. Quietly, almost surreptitiously, it became clear at Nairobi that the issue was moot. The participants would do both - leave the WSF as an open space that was inclusive of all those who wanted to transform the existing world-system and, at the same time, permit and encourage those who wanted to organize specific political actions to do so, and to organize to do so at WSF meetings.

The key idea is the creation of networks, which the WSF is singularly equipped to construct at a global level. There is now an effective network of feminists. For the first time, at Nairobi, there was instituted a network of labor struggles (defining the concept of "worker" quite broadly). There is now an ongoing network of activist intellectuals. The network of rural/peasant movements has been reinforced. There is a budding network of those defending alternative sexualities (which permitted Kenyan gay and lesbian movements to affirm a public presence that had been difficult before). There is an anti-war network (immediately concerned with Iraq and the Middle East in general). And there are functional networks on specific arenas of struggle - water rights, the struggle against HIV/AIDS, human rights.

Posted by: b real | Feb 7, 2007 10:41:32 AM | 52

link for #52 -- The World Social Forum: From Defense to Offense

Posted by: b real | Feb 7, 2007 10:42:52 AM | 53

Laura's war and piece...Duke Cunningham, Wilkes, K. “Dusty” Foggo CIA contracts and the Cunningham investigation.

And speaking of contracts... be sure to not miss this one over at the slowly disintegrating dkos...

363 tons of cash

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 7, 2007 11:17:57 AM | 54

long, good piece from chossudovsky: The Criminalization of US Foreign Policy: From the Truman Doctrine to the Neo-Conservatives

Posted by: b real | Feb 7, 2007 1:55:34 PM | 55

b real, could you check your #55 link please

Posted by: annie | Feb 7, 2007 2:19:44 PM | 57

sorry annie, all

The Criminalization of US Foreign Policy: From the Truman Doctrine to the Neo-Conservatives

Posted by: b real | Feb 7, 2007 2:30:36 PM | 58

From the Stratfor newswire:

Iran's Revolutionary Guards launched a two-day air and naval war game in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to test missile defenses. Equipment to monitor incoming enemy missiles will be tested and missiles will be test-fired. The TOR-M1 air defense missile system recently supplied by Russia was successfully tested at the exercises.

I don't think Iraq had this one...

Posted by: PeeDee | Feb 7, 2007 3:55:55 PM | 59

Uncle, if you haven't been banned from that site, why don't you post a response explaining how far right it is. That it is not & never has been a "leftist" anything. That kos doesn't pay the bills, Geo. Soros has historically. Exc. article about him in New Statesman. Explain that it's his function to fund things that CIA used to fund, w/express purpose of co-opting grass roots so no leadership develops than challenges, much less threatens Pirates Power. Yesterday, I was thinking how kos should be called Mr. AstroTurf - then to read this from you today.

It's so dangerous when right-wingers like this call themselves Leftists, as it leaves even centerists called dangerous radicals, not to mention moderate leftists. But then as someone less deluded than these pathetic clowns recently wrote, after the empire falls, it will be to Chomsky that everyone will turn to to explain it.

Posted by: jj | Feb 7, 2007 6:59:56 PM | 60

p.s. re 363 Tons of Cash - carted directly from the Fed Banks - Defines Looting the Treasury. Can't make this shit up. Bankrolling Civil Wars is getting expensive...

Posted by: jj | Feb 7, 2007 7:01:31 PM | 61

Bankrolling Civil Wars is getting expensive...

You meant to say lucrative?

Posted by: b | Feb 7, 2007 7:34:04 PM | 62

b-, that too :) Expensive to me, lucrative to them...

Speaking of Mr. Astroturf, in light of those poor clowns claiming they are lefties, consider serious conservative Paul Craig Roberts nominees for Nobel Peace Prize. Not one person he nominates who wouldn't scare the hell out of The Lost Souls of Kosdom. A Prize for the Truth

Not surprisingly, Asia Times has to be elevated from the impt. reading to essential reading list these days...too much to link...Marc Parent has entry indicating that Israeli yearning to go after Hezzy again - prob. to co-ordinate w/Nutjobs' "word fail me utterly" against Iran...Anyone else think that yesterday's so-called web-attack is dry run for them taking out net when they nuke Iran??? christ, I very rarely have a drink, and even I'm wondering where the nearest liquor store it...

Speaking of Asia Times, would an econ. literate barfly translate this from their Feb. 2 art. on China changing mgmt. of its cash reserves, please? Implications? And if Europe is dependent on Russia for their oil, won't that preclude them from supporting this madness in actuality rather than in their blather for the masses - she asks hopefully?

China has begun taking specific steps to diversify its US$1 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves. It plans a 1.5 trillion yuan bond issue to raise funds to buy out US$200 billion of its reserves, much of which will then be invested overseas. All of this entails a shake-up in the foreign reserve management regime

Posted by: jj | Feb 7, 2007 7:50:57 PM | 63

b-, that too :) Expensive to me, lucrative to them...

Speaking of Mr. Astroturf, in light of those poor clowns claiming they are lefties, consider serious conservative Paul Craig Roberts nominees for Nobel Peace Prize. Not one person he nominates who wouldn't scare the hell out of The Lost Souls of Kosdom. A Prize for the Truth

Not surprisingly, Asia Times has to be elevated from the impt. reading to essential reading list these days...too much to link...Marc Parent has entry indicating that Israeli yearning to go after Hezzy again - prob. to co-ordinate w/Nutjobs' "word fail me utterly" against Iran...Anyone else think that yesterday's so-called web-attack is dry run for them taking out net when they nuke Iran??? christ, I very rarely have a drink, and even I'm wondering where the nearest liquor store it...

Speaking of Asia Times, would an econ. literate barfly translate this from their Feb. 2 art. on China changing mgmt. of its cash reserves, please? Implications? And if Europe is dependent on Russia for their oil, won't that preclude them from supporting this madness in actuality rather than in their blather for the masses - she asks hopefully?

China has begun taking specific steps to diversify its US$1 trillion worth of foreign exchange reserves. It plans a 1.5 trillion yuan bond issue to raise funds to buy out US$200 billion of its reserves, much of which will then be invested overseas. All of this entails a shake-up in the foreign reserve management regime

Posted by: jj | Feb 7, 2007 7:51:37 PM | 64

Yikes - sorry, I have no idea how that happened.... :(

Posted by: jj | Feb 7, 2007 7:52:46 PM | 65

US Army clears itself of abuse in Gitmo An Army officer who investigated possible abuse at Guantanamo Bay after some guards purportedly bragged about beating detainees found no evidence they mistreated the prisoners — although he did not interview any of the alleged victims.
So, they investigate one rumor of alleged abuse, interview only those who might have committed or enabled the abuse, and in finding nothing, clear the entire Gitmo operation of abuse?

Or is it just a badly worded headline?

I'm sorry officer, but after an independent review conducted by myself, it was found that I was not speeding.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 7, 2007 9:17:19 PM | 66

Foreign Minister: Venezuela Rejects U.S. Blackmail in Fight Against Drugs

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro stated yesterday that Venezuela will not give in to U.S. “blackmail” in the fight against drug trafficking. Monday the U.S. State Department had announced that it was cutting Venezuela’s anti-drug trafficking aid of $2.2 million due to Venezuela’s supposed lack of cooperation in the anti-drug effort.

Responding to the decision, Maduro said, “As a sovereign country [Venezuela] does not accept blackmail from any other nation. [U.S. officials] can take their resources and do whatever they think they need to do." Maduro added, "We will continue fighting against drug-trafficking."

Last Sunday Maduro had already warned that a new international campaign to discredit Venezuela, to make it seem like it is under a dictatorship, was underway that is being directed by the U.S. government. However, according to Maduro, “the reality of Venezuela is a different one, is one that bumps up against the imperialist and dominator interests of the current U.S. administration.” “It is not just Venezuela but the entire region that is giving an example of how to construct new social, economic, and political models,” said Maduro.

Venezuelan drug interdiction efforts have been increasing fairly steadily over the past few years, despite constant complaints from the Bush administration that Venezuela is not doing enough. In August 2005 Venezuela suspended its cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), saying that it was violating Venezuelan sovereignty by engaging in unauthorized activities.
Last September, when Venezuela arrested Farid Feris Dominguez, a major drug lord, the then Minister for the Interior and Justice, Jesse Chacón, said that Venezuela had arrested three times as many drug traffickers since it broke its cooperation agreement with the U.S. “Here we are hitting the mafia that are involved in narco-trafficking hard. After breaking the agreement with the DEA, because what they were doing here was espionage (..) The DEA is infiltrated by narco-traffickers, the CIA is infiltrated by narco-traffickers,” said Chacón at the time.

humorous line from condi today at the congressional budget hearing

"I believe there is an assault on democracy in Venezuela..."

no kidding. and she has the gall to ask for more money to continue it!

Posted by: b real | Feb 8, 2007 12:26:35 AM | 67

Thankfully we still have Pravda to put things into perspective when xUS press fails as usual:

In yet another shocking prelude towards becoming a Total Police State, Russian Intelligence Analysts are reporting today that the American War Leaders have issued orders to the United States Military Northern Command authorizing the jailing, and military tribunals, for any American citizen critical of the 'war effort'.

Russian Legal Analysts familiar with American Law state in these reports that the significance of these actions being taking against American citizens by the US War Leaders shows the 'complete ascendancy' to 'total power' of the American President, and who now is free to rule his Nation by decree free from interference by either the US Congress, or the American people themselves.

Russian Intelligence Analysts in these reports to President Putin have asked, "If President Bush feels that he is not constrained by either the elected representatives of the American people, or the American people themselves, we must then consider that he, and his Administration, have become powers unto themselves and that the United States should therefore be considered a dictatorship, not a democracy."link

Has anyone ever heard of that first one?

Posted by: jj | Feb 8, 2007 2:28:49 AM | 68

WTF?...U.S. companies prepare for bird flu pandemic


ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - Exxon plans to keep some refinery workers living in the plants to keep them going. A small Southern grocery chain is thinking about drive-through pickup of soup and bread.


Some companies plan to offer moral support, too.

"We employ approximately 200 chaplains of many faiths," said Ken Kimbro, a vice president at Tyson Foods Inc. "We rely very heavily upon this group in times of stress."

Also see, Quarantine U.S.A.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Feb 8, 2007 4:27:24 AM | 69

what's goin' on

Posted by: annie | Feb 8, 2007 5:25:39 AM | 70


Too many people with too much time on their hands?

- Read Uncle's Quarantine link - don't miss the comments ! ..

One of my neighbors got anonymous notes in her mailbox regarding her many cats "Cats spread bird flu you and your cats are terrorists"

Posted by: DM | Feb 8, 2007 5:37:58 AM | 71

@Help Hamburger, re:#47:

Well, you're in trouble, that's all. (Not that you need me to tell you that.) Technically, it should be possible to fix the problem while booted from the install CD, by using the option to run Terminal and issuing the right commands. (You would need to move into the folder you made, and then use "mv" to move "System", "Library", "Users", and "Volumes" back out to the root level of the disk, then run "Repair Permissions", which is inside Disk Utility.) In actual fact, unless you know a lot about Unix, that isn't likely to work for you. You see, you've moved some, but not all, of the directory structure around, and probably broken some dependencies. All the hidden Unix-y stuff that the Finder doesn't show is still there, the stuff with names like "/bin" and "/usr", but all the stuff that runs the GUI and allows you to boot is no longer where it should be.

The "easy option", which is still hard, is to get an external drive of some kind -- Firewire or USB -- plug it in, install the OS on it, then set the startup disk to it. (You will need at least 2GB of space on the external drive, I think, and you'll want to do a custom install with pretty much everything turned off -- all you want is the Finder.) Boot up, back up your stuff, erase the disk, and reinstall. (Alternatively, you could do a fresh install without erasing, and then just manually delete the old stuff.)

If you don't have an external drive, then you can go to the Apple Store and ask at the help desk, they can help you. In the U.S., they might do it for free, depending on circumstances, and whether you get a nice rep. According to r'giap, the European ones aren't so nice.

And a tip: when you get the thing working again, make a new account which doesn't have administrative access, and use that for day-to-day stuff. Not only will it prevent you from doing this again, it will also make the machine much more secure. Right now, there are no active Mac viruses. Someday there may be. If you don't run as administrator, you're that much safer than otherwise. It will still let you copy things around inside your user folder, and if you need to run an installer it'll ask for the admin password, but it will protect the system directories.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Feb 8, 2007 6:09:49 AM | 72

And as US casualties skyrocket, Bush will inevitably blame Tehran. We're back, ominously, once again, to the heart of darkness: the path cleared for a US "defensive" strike against Iran.

After reading this Asia Times Escobar article -- I'm still trying to second-guess the end-game.

The sane thing would be that the Americans go home. I don't see how any of the Pentagon's PhD warriors could game a victory for America.

But Empires have their own momentum, and I'm now of the opinion that in the balance of probability, this thing will have to burn itself out.

Read Pepe's article. Sounds like he is pretty convinced about what's coming.

But even coyotes in the Mojave Desert now know that Admiral William J Fallon, the new head of CentCom, a specialist in planning air/sea warfare, may be itching to set fire to the Strait of Hormuz. They also know that US President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney hold constitutional power to order a preemptive nuclear strike against Iran.

Posted by: DM | Feb 8, 2007 6:53:34 AM | 73

Israeli "Invasion" in the FIR of Athens

According to exclusive information of "Diplomatia", shock, awe, and panic grieped the Headquarters of the Greek Air Force yesterday, February 5, 2007, when radars detected a large formation of military aircraft flying inside the FIR of Athens, heading from Israel to Carpathos (a greek island, south west of Rhodes, cm).

Immediately two pairs of F-16s of the Greek Air Force scrambled from Crete to identify the invaders.

They were a formation of military aircraft of Israel consisting of 7 Boeing 703 (refurbished Boeing 707) tankers, 1 Golfstream electronic warfare aircraft, and 25 F-15 Strike Eagle and F-16 fighters, flying at altitudes of 22-44,000 feet.

The Israeli formation turned and departed towards Israel 12 miles southeast of Carpathos, after having flown for 20 minutes inside the FIR of Athens.

Looks like the Israeli are training a bit for a "long reach" attack ...

Posted by: b | Feb 8, 2007 8:26:30 AM | 74

Dear Bernard and TTGVWYCI @ 72,

Thank you so much for coming to my aid. Truth, we've made some progress and many thanks for your tips.

B, as my dad used to say: You are a jewel of the deepest dye.

Are Moonbats great, or what?

Posted by: Hamburger | Feb 8, 2007 9:00:26 AM | 75

Interesting piece in the Asia Times about how the Bush Administration totally misplayed the Shiite card -- good historical perspective:

Shiite Power a Law Unto Itself

Posted by: Bea | Feb 8, 2007 9:33:43 AM | 76

The Release of 15 US soldiers in southern Somalia underway--Yemen paper

Mogadishu 08, Feb.07 ( Sh.M.Network) - Reports that more than 11 US soldiers were seized by Somalia’s routed Islamists in southern Somalia are once again surfacing.

According to Al-nedaa, a newspaper based in Yemen, the Islamic Courts Executive Council leader, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, has told the newspaper that his release by the Americans and Kenyan authority in Nairobi came after negotiations were made over the discharge of 15 US marines in the hands of the fugitive Islamists in south of the country.

Islamist groups based in some unidentified Arab countries are reportedly arbitrating the US agents in East Africa and the Union of Islamists over the release of the American soldiers.

Sources close Sheik Sharif say that Sheik Ahmed stipulated the discharge of US captives with the condition that he should have his own freedom on which the, sources said, the US agreed.

The sources said at least 15 American soldiers were seized after they landed on the ground around Raskamboni near the Kenyan border where the US warplanes were striking.

The paper said during the capture, four US soldiers were wounded.

Sheik Sharif said the deal he made with the US would be implemented next week.

Posted by: b real | Feb 8, 2007 10:47:28 AM | 77

somalinet news is reporting essentially the same story
Somalia: The story of US captives in Somalia gains weight

The report of the seizure over 11 American soldiers by the ousted Islamist movement in southern Somalia is getting momentum on Arab media.

The Yemeni Nedaa newspaper reports that US diplomats are negotiating with top Islamist leader Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed over the release of American captives in return of bringing Islamist leaders back to the political arena.

Reports say American hostages were 15 soldiers who were seized after they landed on the ground around Raskamboni near the Kenyan border where the US warplanes were air bombing.

They involved in clashes with the Islamists on the ground where four US marines were wounded and others were captured, as sources report.

The paper quoted Sheik Ahmed saying that his trip to Yemen came after agreement with US government over efforts to release the US marines that are in the hands of Islamist hardliners at large in southern tip of Somalia.
Sources close to the Islamists in Somalia say that Islamist groups based in unmentioned Arab countries are mediating between Washington, which misses 11 personells in Somalia, and the Islamists.

google's translation tool here for the al-nedaa link in #77

Posted by: b real | Feb 8, 2007 11:11:25 AM | 78

on the discrepancy of the reported number of marines captured in somalia is this -- allegedly 15 were captured on january 24, of which 4 died during a firefight, leaving 11 living captives. this may be why we heard reports of subsequent u.s airship activity in the area, although it's not clear if there was actually any bombing in the last one. villagers in dohley reported seeing planes, but no attacks.

Posted by: b real | Feb 8, 2007 11:26:34 AM | 79


wikipedia article on The Battle of Ras Kamboni only covers up to jan 17

Posted by: b real | Feb 8, 2007 11:39:47 AM | 80


yes TTGVWYCI is a better angel of our mac nature

& that is true of b, i love & have never heard that phrase, "You are a jewel of the deepest dye"

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 8, 2007 1:14:56 PM | 81

john foster bellamy: The Ecology of Destruction

cool penguin photos (and a couple of pumped-up sea lions)

nice tune from colin & malka's latest project

Posted by: b real | Feb 8, 2007 3:09:40 PM | 82


it pleases me that my dad's phrase pleases you. he long used it somewhat ironically before he spent a short time in a nursing home, when it was conveyed with sincerety to the helpers and nurses assistants there.

Posted by: Hamburger | Feb 8, 2007 4:56:07 PM | 83

have just been watching cspan on the 'internets' with waxman's hearing on contractors - blackwater et al - you could not find a more sanctimonious, cruel & venal mob. their arrogance before the hearing is almost unwatchable & their helpful assistants from the republicans is a sight to behold - i am also surprised in large part by the emasculated questions of the democrats

it is a cruel circus where only the poor pay

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 8, 2007 7:06:42 PM | 84


i think your opinions of dkos are spot on.

Posted by: slothrop | Feb 8, 2007 7:07:03 PM | 85

one of the more interesting questions was asked of the goo from blackwater whether they have or are in the process of leasing helicopters for large scale evacuations - the fool sd he couln't reply because either it was classified or it was client attorney relationship

jurisprudence on junk

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 8, 2007 8:22:41 PM | 86

Ah, this is good.

Bush takes lead as person 'most disliked' by Arabs

An annual poll of six Arab countries puts President George W. Bush at the top of the world's 'most disliked' for the first time in the history of the poll, CNN International reported today.

According to the poll's author, Shibley Telhami, past results have always placed the Prime Minister of Israel as the most disliked among Arabs. "In the past few years, the President of the United States has become number two. In the most recent survey, the striking thing is for the very first time in the Arab world the most disliked person is the President of the United States of America, and superceded the combined numbers for both the Prime Minister of Israel and his hated predecessor Ariel Sharon, who's in a coma," said Telhami.

The poll, which did not give those polled choices for the most liked and disliked, allowed people to suggest any person outside of their own country. In past years, France's Chirac was chosen as the most liked person. This year, Arabs selected Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, because of the "black eye" given to Israel after they withdrew from their attack on Lebanon, according to the report.

Be sure and watch the video -- the newscasters look somewhat shocked, I thought. Funny, I didn't find this result in the least bit surprising... note the banter between the newscasters about Sunni and Shi'a... as if they have a clue what they are talking about...

Posted by: Bea | Feb 8, 2007 8:46:35 PM | 87

b real thanks for the Bellamy article! excellent summary of the physical contradictions of capitalism.

Posted by: DeAnander | Feb 8, 2007 8:59:31 PM | 88

An excerpt from a John McCain speech_-- (which I thought might be aimed at MoA)

I thought I might do a little evangelizing while I'm here for the cause that motivated my late, lamented -- lamented by me at least -- campaign for the Republican nomination for president. That cause, my friends, is sustaining our nation's greatness. I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe we were meant to transform history. I believe that the progress of all humanity will depend, as it has for many years now, on the global progress of American interests and values. I believe we are still the last, best hope of Earth.

I used my campaign for the presidency to call for the reform of the practices and institutions of our democracy, and I was deeply gratified by the public's strong support to a commitment to break the iron triangle of money, lobbyists, and legislation, to reform government institutions to meet the demands of a new day, and to shake up our political system and restore a sense of purpose to politics beyond the personal ambitions of politicians.

But the reforms I called for were not ends in themselves, they were means to repair the American people's relationship with their government. Because I fear that if Americans no longer believe their government embodies the founding ideals that are the basis for American exceptionalism, then Americans will stop seeing themselves as part of something greater than the pursuit of their self interests. The cynicism, indifference and selfishness that will fill the void of declining civic pride and love threaten a swifter and more certain end to our civilization's greatness than any foreign enemy ever posed.

Yahhaaawwwsssaaa. The next president? At least he's unambiguious!!

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 8, 2007 11:06:53 PM | 89

good post over at oil wars from tuesday

Playing it S.A.F.E.

The other day I did a post on the illuminating Senate testimony of Robert Hormats. As he mentioned in that testimony he is a member of the Energy Leadership Council of Securing America's Energy Future (S.A.F.E.) which is a rather interesting group.

Just as Mr. Hormats alluded to in his testimony this group sees energy security (and by that they mean access to needed oil supplies) as a very important foreign policy and military matter. In fact, it bares noting that 8 out of their 16 directors come straight out of the Pentagon. That surely is no coincidence.

Their web-site contains a wealth of information regarding the world oil industry and world oil consumption in addition to studies on how the oil markets work.

one of the studies is that oil shockwave crisis simulation that was mentioned in the vanity fair article on the nigeria delta that b linked to this week.

one paper that the blog highlights, Oil Dependence: A Threat to U.S.Economic & National Security [89KB pdf], actually states the following:

Military Cost and Risk

The need to secure global oil supplies requires substantial defense expenditures and involves risks to American forces – none of which are factored into the market price of a barrel of oil.

- CENTCOM troops ensure “unfettered access” to oil supplies in the Middle East.
- SOUTHCOM troops defend Colombia’s Cano Limon pipeline.
- EUCOM soldiers are training locals to guard the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and working to curb corruption and improve the security of facilities in West Africa.
- PACOM ships and planes patrol tanker routes in the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, and the Western Pacific.

well, they can add AFRICOM to that list now, and you can bet your sweet bippy that securing/protecting oil ventures will be a central role there.

on wednesday, Center for International Policy announced the release of a new paper on u.s. oil interests in nigeria, Convergent Interests: U.S. Energy Security and the 'Securing' of Nigerian Democracy [0.97MB pdf]

In its anxious search for energy security, the United States has embarked on a risky strategy to arm and train the militaries of oil-producing West Africa, all as part of an expansion of the Global War on Terror. Over the past 15 years, amidst a deepening crisis in the Middle East and tightening petroleum markets, the U.S. has quietly institutionalized a West African-based oil supply strategy, closely focused on an "Oil Triangle," centered around the Gulf of Guinea. Nigeria, which currently provides 10-12 percent of U.S. oil imports, serves as the cornerstone of this strategy even though, since the end of 2005, the on- and offshore oilfields of the Niger Delta -- the major source of the country's oil and gas -- have essentially become ungovernable.

In a new International Policy Report published by the Center for International Policy in Washington, D.C., three University of California experts report on the motives, actions and potential consequences of this strategy, and argue that militarization policies are not only short-sighted but also deeply flawed.

have only skimmed through the 24-page rpt, but it looks to be most informative & relevant to this week's announcement of the latest combatant cmd.

-- American military interest in the Gulf of Guinea has been stoked by the energetic activities of an oil lobbyist whose connections include a Jerusalem-based think tank, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and neoconservative institutes and consultants (pp. 10-13).

-- Pentagon analysts and generals claim that vast "uncontrolled spaces" in Saharan and Sahelian Africa are rife with terrorists seeking to damage the United States, even though the evidence for such claims is woefully thin. Nevertheless, a $500 million "Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative" (TSCTI), which will tie African militaries to American policies, is in the works (pp. 16-20).

-- Militarization will exacerbate an already tense situation in Nigeria, having nothing to do with terrorism, which has the potential to destabilize the rest of the region. Only a concerted effort to support Nigeria's democratic forces and its legislature's oversight of the country's presidency can ensure American and Nigerian security interests and quell wholesale theft of oil revenues as well as the insurgencies, criminality and social banditry now rampant in the Delta (p. 20).

and i haven't been following all the controversy, but it sounds like wole soyinka's been speaking both truth to power & pointing out blatant voting machine fraud for the past several weeks back in nigeria. would love to read a synopsis of the events/exchanges if anyone comes across one.

Posted by: b real | Feb 9, 2007 12:31:47 AM | 90

@b real #82:

To compensate for the resulting decline in soil fertility the British raided the Napoleonic battlefields and the catacombs of Europe for bones with which to fertilize the soil of the English countryside.

Did this really happen???!?

Posted by: Rowan | Feb 9, 2007 1:20:10 AM | 91

Yippeee - Time to plunder Gaza & West Bank...

The new Palestinian unity government creates a real problem for Israel. It will be headed by a senior Hamas figure, Ismail Haniyeh. Moreover, it will not recognize Israel and does not pretend to meet the Quartet's conditions, as one Hamas leader said.

Yet the same time, it is not a Hamas government, and Hamas will not have a majority in the cabinet. The finance minister-designate, Salem Fayad, is the White House's darling. The foreign minister-designate, academic Ziad Abu Amar, has lectured at many American universities and does not have extremist positions on Israel. And the interior minister, who commands the security forces, will be an independent rather than a Hamas member, though he will be appointed on Hamas' recommendation.

Under these circumstances, Israel and the U.S. will have trouble demanding that the international economic boycott of the Palestinian government remain in place. A real problem for Israel

Posted by: jj | Feb 9, 2007 3:11:33 AM | 92

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