Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 06, 2007

OT 07-35

News & views ...

Posted by b on May 6, 2007 at 11:30 UTC | Permalink

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Something sweet :-)

Posted by: b | May 6 2007 11:56 utc | 1

Frank Rich on Rice: Is Condi Hiding the Smoking Gun?

If former or incumbent national security advisers like Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski could testify before Congress without defiling the Constitution, so can she. As for her answers to Senator Levin’s questions, five of eight were pure Alberto Gonzales: she either didn’t recall or didn’t know.

No wonder the most galling part of Ms. Rice’s Sunday spin was her aside to Wolf Blitzer that she would get around to reflecting on these issues “when I have a chance to write my book.” Another book! As long as American troops are dying in Iraq, the secretary of state has an obligation to answer questions about how they got there and why they stay. If accountability is ever to begin, it would be best if those questions are answered not on “60 Minutes” but under oath.

Posted by: b | May 6 2007 13:01 utc | 2

@b#1 - :)

(love the eclairs, somehow I relate to that)
Thanks.

Posted by: beq | May 6 2007 13:36 utc | 3

...as to #2, this should henceforth be called the Raygun Defense, however, in his case it might (just) have been true.

Posted by: beq | May 6 2007 13:48 utc | 4

Are you familiar wuth Julian Beever's work, b?

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 6 2007 14:39 utc | 5

O, the chocolate eclairs -- mmmmn! -- it's one of my favorite memories from child-time in Hobart, Indiana.

Here's a story from last week: the Danish Defence Minister was at the Danish military compound NE of Basra for a photo-op and while the cameras were running, there were in-coming mortar rounds and we were treated on TV to a nice view of the minister's posterior as he dove under a desk. If it wasn't so serious it would have been funny (Basra is "safe" and will be handed over to Iraqi security when the Danes along with the Brits leave soon)

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | May 6 2007 15:13 utc | 6

belge tv is saying sarkozy 53 & royal 47

Posted by: r'giap | May 6 2007 15:51 utc | 7

New Clout, Antiwar Groups Push Democrats

Every morning, representatives from a cluster of antiwar groups gather for a conference call with Democratic leadership staff members in the House and the Senate......

Over the last four months, the Iraq deliberations in Congress have lurched from a purely symbolic resolution rebuking the president’s strategy to timetables for the withdrawal of American troops. Behind the scenes, an elaborate political operation, organized by a coalition of antiwar groups and fine-tuned to wrestle members of Congress into place one by one, has helped nudge the debate forward.......

Many of the major players in Americans Against Escalation in Iraq earned their stripes not from sit-ins, marches and other acts of civil disobedience but as Democratic operatives on Capitol Hill and in political campaigns. The sophisticated political operation they have built is a testament to how far the antiwar movement has come since the Vietnam era.

But Tom Andrews, a former Democratic congressman from Maine and the national director of Win Without War, a member of the coalition, said there existed a “healthy tension” between working closely with Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill, many of whom were former colleagues and friends, and continuing to prod them to end the war.

“Our constituency is the people across this country who want to shut this war down,” Mr. Andrews said. “It’s not the Democratic Party.”....

“The principle under which we’ve been operating is more like a political campaign,” Mr. Matzzie said. “The central strategy is creating that toxic environment for people who want to continue this debacle.”

...planning meetings for traditional political campaigns, with presentations on polling, strategy and field operations....concentrated its activities on 57 House districts and senators in nine states, places where they believe Republican lawmakers face tough races in 2008 or have shown signs of wavering in their support for the president.

The service employees’ union has mobilized its phone bank in New York City and asked local leaders to call members of Congress. Leaders of the union, long closely allied with liberal lawmakers, helped assuage many progressives who were uneasy about voting for the war-financing bill, fearing criticism from the left.

The National Security Network, a collection of liberal-leaning military and foreign policy experts headed by Rand Beers, former national security adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry, has deployed former generals and officials to persuade individual lawmakers....

One of the coalition’s strengths is its diversity, bringing to together groups like MoveOn.org and organized labor on one end and former Iraq veterans in the group Votevets.org on the other, members said. But that diversity can also create some tense moments, as each of the groups have different constituencies and some of the groups are more invested in the Democratic Party than others.

But the organizations came together based on a sense of pragmatism, said Mr. Woodhouse, of Americans United for Change, “that we’re better fighting together than fighting apart.”

After the president’s veto this week, the coalition organized 358 rallies and more than 20 news conferences across the country. Organizers had met with leadership staff members the week before to coordinate. .....“The latest word from them is they are talking more and more about a short-leash option"......“This is act one of a three-act play,” he said. “Act two will be the summer. During the summer, our job is to create a firestorm of opposition.”

faster please.

On Thursday, leaders of the liberal group MoveOn.org, including Tom Matzzie, the group’s Washington director who also serves as the campaign manager for the coalition, sent a harshly worded warning to the Democratic leadership.

“In the past few days, we have seen what appear to be trial balloons signaling a significant weakening of the Democratic position,” the letter read. “On this, we want to be perfectly clear: if Democrats appear to capitulate to Bush — passing a bill without measures to end the war — the unity Democrats have enjoyed and Democratic leadership has so expertly built, will immediately disappear.”

i can't remember if i posted this next one yesterday. while the left is pushing the dems to the left, (direct link) NRO is writing about invading the dem primary to push them to the right.

I’m sure that the first reaction of most conservatives will be to say that any involvement in the Democratic party is unthinkable. They view it as the party of treason and socialism. They could no more involve themselves in Democratic politics than a God-fearing Christian would consider working with Satan just because it looked like he was going to win.

For those of you who feel this way, stop reading. There is nothing more in this column for you. But for those conservatives who don’t see the 2008 election as a race between good and evil, but merely a contest between rivals within the same league, I think there is a good case for participating in the Democratic nominating process.

who is the neocon NRO promoting? hilary.

Posted by: annie | May 6 2007 17:03 utc | 8

my compatriots have chosen darkness - now they will taste it

they will finally understand how thatcher & blair ran a country into the ground & sold it to the rest of the world as a victory

Posted by: r'giap | May 6 2007 17:29 utc | 9

are you sure r'giap, is it a done deal?

Posted by: annie | May 6 2007 17:43 utc | 10

who is the neocon NRO promoting? hilary.

Republicans defect to the Obama camp

Tom Bernstein went to Yale University with Bush and co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team with him. In 2004 he donated the maximum $2,000 to the president’s reelection campaign and gave $50,000 to the Republican National Committee. This year he is switching his support to Obama. He is one of many former Bush admirers who find the Democrat newcomer appealing.
...
The current issue of the New Yorker contains a profile of Obama, which highlights his appeal to conservatives.

For his optimism about the future, Obama has been dubbed the “black Ronald Reagan”.

Posted by: b | May 6 2007 17:44 utc | 11

massive bummer

Supporters of Nicolas Sarkozy erupted in cheers Sunday, celebrating unconfirmed reports of a resounding victory for the rightwinger in France's presidential election, AFP reported.
Cries of "We won!" rose from the crowd of supporters gathered at a concert hall in Paris where the rightwing leader was scheduled to give an election night speech.
French law forbids the publication of projections until the last polling booths close at 8 pm (1800 GMT) although the figures are distributed to media and party headquarters up to 90 minutes in advance.
Sarkozy, the former interior minister, ran against Socialist Segolene Royal in the election to succeed President Jacques Chirac who is stepping down after 12 years in office.
After voting in the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly sur Seine, Sarkozy went to his Paris campaign headquarters in the late afternoon, smiling broadly and shaking hands with members of the crowd that gathered outside to await the result.
At Royal's campaign headquarters, some 300 supporters were gathered in a somber mood, with a few members of the Socialist youth movement defiantly shouting "Segolene, President!".
Technicians were erecting a stage in the Place de la Concorde in central Paris late afternoon at the spot where celebrations were planned for a Sarkozy victory.
Around 100 television crews and some 15 police buses were also at the scene.
The first projections from exit polls were to be flashed across the screens of major television stations immediately after the polling stations close at 1800 GMT.
Thousands of police, anti-riot units and gendarmes were on standby to quell any outbreak of violence in the suburbs where Sarkozy is hated by many in the poor neighbourhoods that exploded into rioting in late 2005.
Sarkozy, 52, says he wants to get France "back to work" and is proposing tax cuts and incentives to free up the labour market. He also supports tougher controls on immigration.

Posted by: annie | May 6 2007 17:48 utc | 12

the only hope - that between now & the legislatives they parti socialiste show a solidity - but unfortunately that is not their history

Posted by: r'giap | May 6 2007 17:51 utc | 13

@r'giap - I don't know much about french politics, but can you explain why people voted for Sarkozy?

With him Liberte and Egalite are doomed - so why?

Posted by: b | May 6 2007 18:23 utc | 14

in part because the ps is incapable of solidity - not 2 minutes after the announcement strauss kahn already makes a play for the leadership

b, all over the world people are rushing towards absolutes except in central & latin america, in the west the rush for absolutes - which is represented by a rejection of a real complexity & mutiplicity in daily life & an embrace of a kind of infantilism - a retour when no such retour is possible

more & more - the fear directs public life but because sarkozy will be so hard on the people perhaps it will allow a revitalisation of the forces of the left

also there was in this campaign & soft selling of the anglosaxon approach which is in reality a disaster, they never speak of the defecit for example, neither of the underclass, they never speak of the impoverished services the legacy of thatcher & blair have led that model to

yes the real fear - is a proximity to the us in foreign affairs & a direct attack on the poorest & most marginal & there will be little liberté & egalité & fraternité for thos who need the most help

practically it means in the midst of life i will have to work a great deal harder

Posted by: r'giap | May 6 2007 18:33 utc | 15

there is a pretty good discussion of this over at eurotrib. the consensus is that a lot of people hated Royal, for whatever reason....probably the same kind of people who hate HRC.

another interesting comment about why people vote against their own interests was that on the whole, folks have no clue but are able to recite what is printed in the press. we all knew that Sarkozy was the winner months ago because all the papers said so. reading some of the news stories just released on google it is obvious they were written long ago and the conclusion was a done deal.

the only way to win in politics is to own the newspapers. ideas don't count for shit.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 6 2007 18:44 utc | 16

b, 11. i read that newyorker profile yesterday in my paperback edition. i am a voracious newyorker reader, can read behind the lines and judge this piece as hardly being up to their standards. it painted a very mealy mouth message without coming out and calling him a fraud. but then, hillary is the new york senator and the new yorker is commonly a friend to israel. frankly i haven't made up my mind what to think of obama, or what kind of leader he would be but i am not so sure the kagan piece is not designed to turn dems away from obama.

in full disclosure you might mention the shit storm you were part of over @ kos and eurotribune (more links at the link). then there are the rebuttals

When Obama refers to rogue nations and muscular alliances, he makes damn sure to stress that "we must use effective diplomacy" in the same breath. Notice that Kagan took that out? The "strong nuclear deterrent" line? That's from this carved-up beauty: "We can maintain a strong nuclear deterrent to protect our security without rushing to produce a new generation of warheads." In other words: No new nukes. And the rest about "seizing the moment" and a "world anew" is from Obama's ending rhetoric flourish about writing new chapters in America's history that include his father's acceptance to an American university - nothing to suggest military might. Kagan's attempt to use these quotes here starkly betrays what he's doing .... it's not a gleeful Mr. Kagan in this article anyway, but a mocking one. He says "realists, call your doctors" at one point. At the end of the article, he accuses Obama of pandering to the debate audience last week. Kagan loves Obama? Maybe someone isn't reading the entire article either.

am i disturbed obama is calling stronger military? who isn't. on the other hand one way you can make your military stronger is to bring them home and let them do training excercises for a decade.

my point is i am not promoting obama, but having a republican starting a support group for the opposition is an ol sorry trick. who do you think funded naders campaign? the greens? maybe the guys sincere but it is not the same as when a neocon supreme writes a condescending article that gets plastered all over the web and picked up by every rightwing site this side of timbuktu. you can bet this was a smear job, whether it has merit remains to be seen but i do not believe it was designed to promote anyone. we are going to be treated to some very creative campaigning this election season.

timesonline?? isn't that the london version of washington times?? i think we should hold onto our hats, whatever they are telling us is probably another rovian lie.

Posted by: annie | May 6 2007 18:56 utc | 17

dan

like you sd - a done deal in a certain way - the hostility towards royal was engineered by the press - but they also are the people who rush first towards absolutes

they learn nothing

but the people of france are more than most a complex people & they are not foreign to struggling - we will see whether their capacity to resist is not drowned by a triumphalism which hides the crisis that is contemporary france

i love this trouble country dan & i will work with it in the dark times - & the dark times i signify as the ultraliberal attack on the poor, the vengeful & cruel right

Posted by: r'giap | May 6 2007 19:07 utc | 18

r'giap,

I suspect that when the tallies are known the words of Hunter Thompson will come back to haunt us. He said that we were depending on the youth to get us out of this mess and the little bastards let us down.

I don't see any of the idealism we had when we were young these days. seems like everyone is born old, serious and bitter.

what annie linked to in #8 is good news but I am a bit suspicious. this seems to be a press release written by Move-on and I really never saw them as being anti-war as much as pro-democrat. I believe this needs a bit more investigation.

Posted by: dan of steele | May 6 2007 19:18 utc | 19

dan

people in the west have no right to bitter - but they are - & they are not bitter from struggle but from fear

it is in france that i really understood civic life in a way it has completely dissapeared elsewhere - perhaps its dissapearance here is only a question of time

the first person to thank sarkozy was bush & that worries me greatly

the atlanticist approach which is paraded as a 'special relationship' elsewhere is nothing other than bowing down before the empire

at a time - in global terms - when self criticism ought to be something fixed in all political conciousness - it is absent

how otherwise can you end up with the two clowns in poland who bark the the old songs of hatred

it is that hatred - which as a history here - with the action française for example, which mor^phs both into the national front & the ump - nikos hatred of 68 has its roots in the groupuscule the 'occident' who are amongst his closest companions

if it is fear that runs public life - then it is a life so impoverished as to not be worth living

mystery - both public & intime - are borne in life's complexity & multiplicity

the contrary forces all public & intime gestures vulgar & cruel

a central tenet of the left i was borne into was a muscular compassion - not one of sentiment but that of heart

from the fragility of a community arrives both its force & its invention

Posted by: r'giap | May 6 2007 19:48 utc | 20

i don't what it is like in other villes but there is a grand demonstration here tonight

Posted by: r'giap | May 6 2007 20:29 utc | 21

what annie linked to in #8 is good news but I am a bit suspicious.

me too. i don't trust move on as far as i can throw a stick. but i do think it is an important step for the left to consolidate and not fracture on their goals. i also think it is true there has been movement not only in the dems but in the national dialog.

how many people thought they could pass the bill the prez vetoed? ok, it came to nothing.

hmm, maybe not. was there a backlash against the dems or did i just hear the the presidents poll numbers drop?

another interesting phenomena WTF?
all of a sudden the msm is mentioning what we all know? it seems like people are getting antsy.

Iraq's prime minister has created an entity within his government that U.S. and Iraqi military officials say is being used as a smokescreen to hide an extreme Shiite agenda that is worsening the country's sectarian divide.

GEE, YA THINK?

a central tenet of the left i was borne into was a muscular compassion - not one of sentiment but that of heart

r'giap, to avoid people becoming carrion it is going to take an alignment of the left and beyond.
i think once there is a grasp of the enormity.. what has been happening in the US, could it happen in france.

this morning i received an email from my friend in baghdad trying to make me not feel guilty. here is part of what she said.

Please do not take the whole blame like this. We are as Iraqis to be blamed even more. We should have done something about it but we decided to be fooled and accept division into groups to be even weaker and breakable.

i think it is going to take much more than heart

Posted by: annie | May 6 2007 20:59 utc | 22

r'giap- how do the French cast their ballots? I know the U.S. tried to install the election-stealer machines in Venezuela a few years ago but they were returned as "substandard."

I just wonder.

Royal seemed nothing like HRC to me. I was hoping France would finally elect a woman. It seems that only right wing women, or militaristic ones get elected to lead nations.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 6 2007 21:09 utc | 23

fauxreal #23

we've got them here and there i understand...some argue that they will be good for the "vote blanc" which is a sort of abstention vote that is not counted. of course the same person that told me this is a good thing so the electronic voting machines are therefore good, wasn't aware of problems of these machines and the opposition to them in the US and elsewhere.

esme in paris

Posted by: esme | May 6 2007 21:28 utc | 24

it içs a bit of every method including the election stealers but mostly by hand & ballot

i'm ambivalent about royal but the rest are so clannish in the ps - that i think they need to get behind her for any chance in the legislatives

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 6 2007 21:46 utc | 25

it içs a bit of every method including the election stealers but mostly by hand & ballot

i'm ambivalent about royal but the rest are so clannish in the ps - that i think they need to get behind her for any chance in the legislatives

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 6 2007 21:46 utc | 26

Condolences, r'giap. Many of my ancestors were French; I studied French language and literature both in high school and university; and I have always felt very close to that country. This loss feels personal to me.

Posted by: Copeland | May 6 2007 22:01 utc | 27

copeland

the later the night gets here - the commentary on the television gets a little triumphalist & some of the fangs are being brought out

employers organisations salivating at the bright new days ahead for them & their kind

tonight i am worried for the communities i work with who are already under great, great pressure & other than at the local or the regional level - the left has failed them

& internationally the situation is so precarious that i imagine shifts like this in france affect worlds disproportionally

its past midnight & there are still demonstrations on the streets

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 6 2007 22:51 utc | 28

thanks, esme. nice to see you post here again.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 6 2007 22:52 utc | 29

8 U.S. military killed in Iraq on Sunday.

Posted by: R.L. | May 6 2007 23:57 utc | 30

annie @obama:

Did you read Obama's speech that b linked? It is a clear statement of American imperialist intent. A b points out, where did his $20+ million bucks come from. There's a reason they're called Demoplicans.

I hope a general uprising of the people who voted the Demoplicans into power, that would be me to the extent of my vote, can force them to end the war.

In reality it is not hard to do. Pass an appropriations bill for Iraq that funds the immediate repatriation of all American forces from Iraq over a period of sixty days and forbids the use of those funds for any other purpose.

In terms of politics it will take a common legislative draft of the above seized upon by everyone committed to ending the war and emailed, faxed, snail mailed, read over the phone to the Congress, both House and Senate, both Republicrat and Demoplican, and posted on lamposts and telephone poles everywhere for all of us to see.

If we persist and accept nothing other than the people's proposed legislation then it will become reality. Pass it again and again, each time by a slightly greater margin until in the end it overrides the veto and ends the war.

What's needed is the common legislative draft. Mike Gravel had said he would provide it... if he cannot do so... someone else must.

Edwards has already embraced Gravel's exhortation to persistence with his reference to his own, Gravel's, one man filibuster against the draft when he, Edwards, said that the present Demoplican appropriation bill ought to be passed again and again and delivered to the President for non-signing.

Hillary is afraid that a campaign such as I outline is going to get traction, so she has accepted the tactic of making the war illegal, if that will allow it to continue. She is going to sign on to some measure said to rescind the authority to wage the war when Byrd delivers it at some future time.

I think the plan outlined above, originally Gravel's as I understood him, has a real chance of success. Once the draft is in hand it can proceed with out any further coordination and it costs next to nothing.

I would like to hear of any other plans that we can undertake to speedily end the war in Iraq.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 7 2007 1:11 utc | 31

r'giap,

I think we have plenty of reason to be bitter, in the west. We're sold a model society that gives us what we think we want, yet we're often unhappy, lacking in friendship and camaraderie. Fraternité, perhaps? We can't disregard the society which leaves us unhappy without uprooting everything we've been taught to believe, which is an immense sacrifice. So bitterness results.

Posted by: Rowan | May 7 2007 2:45 utc | 32

Gaza school festival attacked


Armed men have opened fire and thrown grenades near a children's festival at a UN-operated elementary school in the southern Gaza Strip, killing a local Fatah leader's bodyguard and wounding seven people.

No one has claimed responsibility for Sunday's attack but earlier armed men outside the school had warned authorities not to hold the event.

Majed Abu Shamaleh, the Fatah official whose bodyguard was killed, said the men had also tried to enter the school in Rafah as the celebration took place.

The group had apparently announced that any festivities held where girls and boys mixed, showed dissent against Islam.

I have the sinking feeling that this is the result of Elliot Abrams' funding of militant Islamic extremists in Palestine.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 7 2007 5:20 utc | 33

I suspected the answer to outcome of French election was the same as that in Am. '00 & '04. Wayne Madsen says that is precisely the case. Similarly in Scotland, etc. so Predators can force their agenda on the unwilling peoples.

Posted by: jj | May 7 2007 7:30 utc | 34

Those of us interested in George Lakoff's books on Frame Semantics may also
like 'Unspeak' -by Steven Poole

Here's an extract from the chapter 'Freedom'

. . . The idea that everything is now subordinate to what 'capital' wants to 'see' is not merely an idée fixe of paranoid anti-globalisation protesters, but stated clearly in public by those who minister officially to capital's desires. Back in the US, George W. Bush declared: 'We need to reform our legal systems so the people, on the one hand, can get justice; on the other hand, the justice system doesn't affect the flows of capital.' First a hasty sop to liberals -acknowledging that, sure, people should still be able to 'get'justice, just as they pop down to the store to get a can of soda - and then the remarkable notion that justice, on the other hand, should never interfere with the operations of money. So justice is a subeconomy within the larger one (you can 'get' justice), but it has no right to interfere with overarching systems of profit. Justice is subordinate to and dependent on capitalism, as is even 'the strength of our families', according to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin . . .

The order of priorities in western 'freedom' and 'democracy' was again evident in the spiritually ascendant language of another Bush
pronouncement: 'In every region, free markets and free trade and free societies are proving their power to lift lives.' It seemed the
commercialists had finally got their way: markets were indeed
acknowledged to be quasi-divine autonomous systems raising all to
heaven. Why, then, if they were so free, could they not be left alone
to function in their utopian way? Bush was not just compelled to tell
Vladimir Putin how to change his country in order to clear a path for the march of free markets. The mollycoddling was necessary
domestically as well: 'It's important for the markets to see that we've got enough discipline in Washington, D.C. to make hard decisions with the people's money,' Bush said in 2004. This speech was reported the next day in the New York Times under the headline 'Bush Says Social Security Plan Would Reassure Markets', as though 'markets' were frightened children.

How protean, indeed, these markets were. On the one hand, they
dispensed God's justice, free from any interference by merely human
justice; yet on the other hand, when the rhetorical occasion demanded, the markets were vulnerable little flowers, in desperate need of 'reassurance'. It is true that markets, being essentially consensual
hallucinations, depend on confidence, but calls to 'reassure' them on one point or another are often made for unstated ideological reasons, if not to disguise a simple motive of private profit. Similar kid gloves were apparent in former UK Trade Secretary Margaret Beckett's announcement that 'Britain's businesses need to be able to trade throughout the world's markets as easily as they can in home markets without facing high tariffs, discriminatory regulations or unnecessarily burdensome procedures.' Businesses may indeed want these things, but for Beckett to say that they 'needed' them, presumably in
order to flourish maximally, was to endorse their wants without weighing them against the wants of others.

After her trip to Latin America, Condoleezza Rice had gone on to
declare: 'A region that trades in freedom benefits everyone.' She did
not mean, we can assume, trading in freedom like trading in textiles
or precious metals: I will sell you this much freedom for so many
bananas. Celebrating the signing of the Central American Free Trade
Agreement, Rice was invoking again the concept of 'free trade', under
the auspices of which, as British chancellor Gordon Brown once
explained, poor countries have 'obligations' to 'create the conditions for new investment'.

The freedom granted by 'free trade' was not quite symmetrical. Among
the 'obligations' of poor countries under World Bank and International
Monetary Fund deals have been, for example, the obligation to import
food from the heavily subsidised US and EU agricultural industries,
thereby driving local producers out of business; the rich countries
kept high tariffs on imports such as clothing and leather goods, thus
preventing the poor countries from competing freely. Meanwhile,
'creating the conditions for new investment' meant, for example,
allowing western companies to take over indigenous public services and
run them for profit. Water privatisation in Manila and electricity privatisation in India have resulted in price increases of up to 80 per cent; in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, 'profit-maximising behaviour
has led privatised companies to keep investments below the necessary levels, with the result that rural communities and the urban poor were further marginalised in terms of access to electric power and water supply'. Tens of millions of pounds of the UK's aid budget were given to 'privatisation consultants' at big accountancy firms, the acceptance of whose advice was made a condition of aid to poor countries.

To render the enlargement of such 'free trade' more palatable to an
increasingly informed and concerned public, the IMF, in a transparent
coup of Unspeak, had simply changed the name of its 'structural
adjustment programmes' to 'poverty reduction and growth programmes'.
No one would be so churlish as to disagree that 'poverty reduction'
was a fine idea, yet there was no new evidence that the same old
policy, thus relabelled, would actually achieve it.

One meaning of bringing freedom to Iraq, in particular, was clear in
George W. Bush's May 2004 explanation of why things were going so well in that country:

[A] growing private economy is taking shape. A new currency has
been introduced. Iraq's Governing Council approved a new law that
opens the country to foreign investment for the first time in decades.

Iraq has liberalized its trade policy, and today an Iraqi observer
attends meetings of the World Trade Organization.

International lawyer Philippe Sands explains that Coalition
Provisional Authority Order Number 39 had 'opened much of Iraq's
economy to foreign ownership [and] ... stretched the limits of what an
occupying power was entitled to do under long-established rules of
international law.' Note that what Bush acclaims as 'foreign
investment', implying generosity, Sands translates bluntly as 'foreign ownership'. The order, in fact, made possible total foreign ownership of industries in all sectors except that of 'natural resources', defined closely as oil and gas; in a subsequent interview, trade minister Ali Allawi did not rule out future foreign ownership in those industries either. Business and income taxes for 'investors' would be capped at 15 per cent.

The Iraq economy was thus obliged to be much more 'free' than, say,
the US itself, which has laws governing foreign ownership of media companies, among others, and whose politicians worked hard in the summer of 2005 to ensure that a Chinese takeover bid for its oil
company Unocal would fail. Bush's implication that the Governing
Council was the source of the Iraq ruling, meanwhile, hid the fact
that the Council was essentially obliged to rubber-stamp ('approved') the US order. Of course, these agreements were not simply a one-way street, and Iraq enjoyed some quid pro quos. In July 2005, for example, it was announced that the US would reduce to zero its import tariffs on Iraqi dates.

The US Congress had voted to spend $18.4 billion of taxpayers' money
to reconstruct post-war Iraq. By the end of June 2004, Paul Bremer's
Coalition Provisional Authority had spent only $300 million of this
sum. Instead, up to $20 billion of the Iraqi people's own money, kept
in the Development Fund for Iraq and meant by the UN to be used 'in a transparent manner to meet the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people [...] and for other purposes benefiting the people of Iraq', had been handed out, most in no-bid contracts to American corporations such as Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root, and in ways that were poorly accounted for. It was later alleged by Henry Waxman and the House Committee on Government Reform that in one such contract, Restore Iraqi Oil, Halliburton had overbilled by 'more than $177 million', charged to the Iraqi people. (In logistical contracts paid by the Defense Department, Halliburton charged $100 to clean a bag of laundry, and hundreds of millions for meals that were never served to troops.) In September 2004, the $18.4 billion of US money meant for reconstruction was reassigned to counter-insurgency warfare. For
Iraqis, it seemed, freedom came at a rather hefty price.

Meanwhile, George W. Bush had quietly signed an Executive Order
(#13303) granting blanket immunity from criminal prosecution or civil
lawsuits in the US to any American company or individual working in
any industry related to the Iraqi oil business. Perhaps that was what
he meant when he scrawled, on a note from Condoleezza Rice informing him that 'Iraq is sovereign' in June 2004, the possibly rehearsed reply: 'Let freedom reign!'

Sorry about the formatting and length...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 7 2007 8:21 utc | 35

Bush administration arresting American citizens without warrants

No way! /snark

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 7 2007 8:55 utc | 36

I suspected the answer to outcome of French election was the same as that in Am. '00 & '04.

yep

Posted by: annie | May 7 2007 9:43 utc | 37

I think the plan outlined above, originally Gravel's as I understood him, has a real chance of success.

no, that is not originally gravel's because i heard first over a year ago, repeatedly by anti war groups.

everyone knows presidential candidates say whatever it takes to get into office. i have no idea what obama will do. gravel hasn't a chance in hell of winning and that is just plain ol reality.

Posted by: annie | May 7 2007 9:52 utc | 38

annie:

Well I hope you're wrong about Gravel. But the 2008 election is far away and the war is now. I think that the plan as outlined, who ever iis author, has a good chance of bringing the war to an end and I hope to pursue it. Good luck with the "top tier".

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 7 2007 11:15 utc | 39

'Shadow Wolves' prowl the U.S.-Mexico border

It's just second rate class warfare if the marginalised groups aren't doing all the grunt work themselves. Maybe next, they can train poor people to taze and torture one another so that the fat cats don't need to get their hands dirty. Oh, wait...

Posted by: Monolycus | May 7 2007 15:18 utc | 40

Two insightful articles at Asia Times Online :

Damascus moves to center stage
About Saudi/Lebanese/Syrian detente and the fall of Bandar.

Why Iran spurned a US handshake
About Iran's view of US "talk-talk, fight-fight" "diplomacy".

There is one, almost off topic, reference to Palestine in the second article :


On the other hand, during his visit to the West Bank last month, Louis Michel, European commissioner for development and humanitarian assistance, noted that conditions in the Palestinian territories had never been worse.

Some 60% of the population live below poverty line (on 2 euros - about US$2.70 - per day); some 35% of the population is going hungry; more than half of the children suffer from anemia; a quarter has no access to drinking water. As American commentator on Middle Eastern affairs Patrick Seale put it recently, Israeli security has reduced the Palestinian population to a "situation of permanent siege and permanent terror". Michel asked whether Israel's security justified such measures.


The criminals at the scene are the Israelis of course.

But they could only seethe and hate, and stew in their own juices; they could never realize their remorseless oppression of the Palestinians and their expropriation of Palestine if not for the Gang of 4 Enforcers : US, EU, Russia, the UN.

Posted by: ๋John Francis Lee | May 7 2007 16:08 utc | 41

Good luck with the "top tier".

good luck to you too. i did not post the article on 8 because i 'believed' in it. i posted it because it was news to me. whether it can be effective i don't know.

we've had some discussions lately about the left and american participation etc etc. i don't know anything else about these groups meeting but when i read

“Our constituency is the people across this country who want to shut this war down,” Mr. Andrews said. “It’s not the Democratic Party.”.... i was impressed. i don't know anything about mr andrews or win without war or code pink for that matter. i do think that it is time for all the purity freaks to put down their banners and join together.

am i feeling positive having people organizing the voice like a political campaign? district by district. ahhh, sure JFL, why not? i feel positive about anything anybody comes up with hopes it makes a difference . i'm kind of in a beggars can't be choosers mode right now.

Pass it again and again, each time by a slightly greater margin until in the end it overrides the veto and ends the war.

and if they don't? shall we roll over and play dead. this pretty much sounds exactly like the plan they talk about in the article. there are those dems who want to compromise and those in that group that are threatening them w/no support if they do which i think it totally appropriate.

the get out now crowd have already compromised w/ the legislation already because it leaves a limited amount of troops there.

just because i post an article like this , or one about obama, does not mean i am gang ho, it is more of an update.

if our election process is fair and square (big if) i think it will go to the dems. ok, i know you don't think there is a difference between the parties. if we have edwards or obama we may as well have another 8 years of cheney,right?

i am not planning on canvasing or otherwise working on a campaign this year like i did in 04 when i really gave it my all 4 days a week on the dean campaign for 6 months.. watching that implode from an attack most likely orchestrated by the dlc was a bummer.

i am merely stating what i think is a reality. if you think you can further gravels campaign from asia all power to you. i signed up for his updates and so far haven't gotten even 1 email from his campaign. i heard the interview where he said if he only had 2 million dollars he was sure he could win. i really wish he was in the debates because he has an important voice that needs to be heard and pushes the dialog left. this is exactly like the nadar arguments from past years.

so back to my theory. i think a dem is going to win. which means we are either going to have a prez clinton or a prez obama or maybe an edwards unless the rethugs get this thompson guy and pull off another fast one.

so, we basically have a known (hillary) or an unknown (obama). the thing about obama is he came out publicly in the run up to the war (before he was big and famous) in his state legislature as anti war, he has always been against this war. running for president is a high stakes game. people say what they say. i belong to a local dem listserve and the guy who runs it is ubber pro obama so i have read enough obama crap to last me a lifetime. i practically vomited when i read his aipac speech. i have had argument over argument with this guy over each step obama has taken in his perceived capitulation.

Good luck with the "top tier"

bottom line, i wish america good luck w/the top tier, because i think when the chips fall that is who we have to work with. i think i will just avoid posting any of these presidential or domestic politics articles in the future so i don't have to defend myself all the time on why i think the lesser of 2 evils is better than the worst evil.

Posted by: annie | May 7 2007 16:48 utc | 42

annie posted this on the occupiers evolution thread and I think it's imp. reading, to me, to get some sense of a few other perspectives (commenters, too, whatever their position).

Al queda/Taliban in Iraq

There are so many stories to be told about the new Talibanization in Iraq. All kinds of explosions, kidnappings, killings and beheadings, but one specific article made it pretty clear that it is official now that Iraq is out of control and that the government is hiding behind the blast walls which the Americans built for them when the end of modern Iraq started with their invasion which came with no future plans, except capturing and executing Saddam.

the only thing I agree with that "anonymous" said on that thread is that other nations in the middle east should work out a way to help stop what is going on in Iraq...if nothing else b/c it threatens their populations with the same sort of backward medievalist repulsive ideology.

if someone wants an analogy to hitler's evil, the taliban does it for me.

this story, of course, does not concern americans killing Iraqis...or rather, peripherally as a consequence of their actions, so it doesn't fit that narrative.

it also makes me wonder who would be considered "an insurgent" - by what definition - on the dead thread (you know the one I mean.)

the situation is so full of despair I can hardly read what the people experience there without crying in shame.

Posted by: fauxreal | May 7 2007 17:11 utc | 43

i have never had any illusion about this country i love every bit as much as nikolas sarkozy -but i have always been entranced by its rejection of absolutes but in these last few years - mainly through the organs of media & the little functionaries à la anglais - they have sold a myth - that is so far from the truth - about the life/lives of anglosaxons

the political life is every bit as important as the intimate life - it is one & the same - to function in a society - even one you detest is amongst the highest duties

i left australia nearly 20 yrs ago precisely because the public life had become impoverished - already even then & a horrific ignorance of the interior of the aboriginal people & an arrogance before the suffering of the world - under successive conservative govt there they have turned that country into a civic shithole. i have returned only once to participate in a documentary on my work & i know i will die here & i want that

i knew engand as a youn poet participating in rock against rascism & i saw the unique things of that country destroyed - the civic life just a plaything in murdochs hands - i have been invited there quite often to perform - i am simply not capable of doing that - it would give me the horrors

for the elites of this century - we are in essence slaves - who possess nothing of value - not even our bodies - for them we possess no interior or at least no interior worthy of their disdain. for them we are empty pits to piss into & if i evidenced anything in these last two decades is how full of vengeance are the elites & how low they will go

but i am as convinced of their imbecility, of their utter incapacity to cope with contemporary life. they are only capable of creating problems, they do not have any solutions that are not simple & implicitly will never work. their wars are the wars of deranged men, their policies are so shortsighted as to be a joke - if there was not so much suffering & impoverishment of people's lives connected to it

we here in france will now get a real taste of impoverishment à la anglais & perhaps the people will learn from that

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 7 2007 17:13 utc | 44

perpetually choosing twixt lesser evils changes nothing but garners more evil whilst engendering false hope

Posted by: jcairo | May 7 2007 17:53 utc | 45

jcairo, i'm up for a revolution! take me to your leader! as long as we are having this election politics the lessor of 2 evils is the name of the game.

Posted by: annie | May 7 2007 18:35 utc | 46

Beyond the the dizzy run of daily news, the Bush Gvmt. bashing:

1989, the fall of the wall;

subsequently, the rape of Russia (Yeltsin, oligarchs, free market);

the invasion of Yugoslavia, a test case, run by Germany (it is re-arming big time btw, afaik?) with the US, with Islamics jihadists as proxies - they come pretty cheap, they are very eager, slavering, any deal is good;

Merkel, the prime Atlanticist;

and now, and now, rgiap posted:

my compatriots have chosen darkness - now they will taste it
they will finally understand how thatcher & blair ran a country into the ground & sold it to the rest of the world as a victory

Oh it is a done deal alright.

Posted by: Noirette | May 7 2007 18:58 utc | 47

should be in f'ing jail. won't argu w/this audience.

Posted by: annie | May 7 2007 19:10 utc | 48

Tangent - Jerome a Paris posted this on EuroTrib about the economic (macro) ‘decline’ of France, it is worth reading:

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2007/5/4/113029/9034>link

He goes moves towards revealing hype and BS that the French pubic has in part latched on to, with solid ‘numbers.’ (Arguments can be made against, notably that the ‘problems’ of France cannot be measured in this way, or should be treated differently.)

Posted by: Noirette | May 7 2007 19:10 utc | 49

well, annie, unfortunately this is my fuhrer and I know of five people that would be onside with a general strike, so the issue is getting the dormant dolts to realize their job as a citizen of democracy is to scrutinize the cockwallopers we elect to work for us.

It is not to pick a side and cheer it on every four years.

I haven't voted for a major party in a long time, which most people cannot understand because they consider my vote wasted and they have a palpable fear of smaller parties - "but you can't win". For many that is all it is about - my party won, on with the bread and circuses...

Posted by: jcairo | May 7 2007 19:30 utc | 50

France:

1) the future pres. could not make the promises they did, it is the PM who has charge the Gvmt. But then, media, etc.

2) Both candidates ran a slogan campaign, with buzz words, emotion: A rigorous France, a Kinder France - pure pol BS. Technical details, such as the 35 hr. work week, which deserve deep discussion, and referral to the many serious and thorough economic studies made, were turned into a buzz word ideology scream fest

3) the important, long term issues, were shunted aside, or were sloganised (wd?)

--> Europe; Energy; Peak Oil; Agriculture; Immigration and emigration; Foreign policy in general; War in the ME; Territorial Organization: The Army (not one word!); post Colonialism (ex. Algeria), Education, Globalisation, and more.

Both ‘sides’ collaborated in that, as mentioning any of it is practically bound to loose votes.

Sarko went for right wing rubbish about national identity dirty foreignors more controls security ‘kill’ the criminals liberate the work place reduce taxes stimulate the economy so on. Sego played a similar nationalist card (each household should possess a French flag, she said, and the Socialists should sing the Marseillaise!); and nanny-state wise promised she would take care of raped women and sick dogs, preserve work rights, the people need respect, and so on...pay out a lot of money for whatever..some good props. though but that is not my topic now..

Sarko then promised to respect dogs (excuse my sarcasm) and old ppl, and crack down on crime, be ecological, etc. etc. (He said anything to anyone, anytime, anywhere, pure pol posturing. Sego was a little more consistent, as a new pol, woman must be.)

And so? the French elected the big boss who is aggressive and postures. Sarko, though, was elected I guess (haven’t seen breakdowns yet of the vote), by ppl over 60, or 65. That was all calculated.

Sarko will not do much internally, either because he won’t try (while wasting a lot of spit, Chirac did nothing after all, it is becoming a habit), or because the street will rise up and he will be stopped. Or he may ‘reform’ a bit, be supported by the media, as he can’t be discredited right away - after all, what a superb democracy! So much emotion! A great turn out! The best man wins! Everyone wins! Respect!

Meanwhile, foreign policy will remain practically invisible, veiled by some fears of terrorism, or scandals about raped children, dying old ppl, more quarrels about work contracts, etc etc.. Sarko supports the Iraq invasion by the US (that was not mentioned during the campaign), is a closet Zionist, not because of personal inclination or roots but because of desperate need to latch into global power (think Blair.) The French will wake up and notice too late, or not; we will see.

Posted by: Noirette | May 7 2007 20:16 utc | 51

jcairo, Thanx for the cows wit guns cartoon - what a hoot

Posted by: rapt | May 7 2007 22:17 utc | 52

when i see the fucking face of that cretin blair i could almost believe in alien habitation except i know there does not exist a species more stupid than he except perhaps in the cabinets of either pap doc or baba doc duvalier, blair is bokassa withiut brains, he is mobutu without mojo or means, he is mugabe without mischief - blair is like stroesner frpm parugauy or one of his lesser officials - & when i hear him speaking french i become like the little austrian corporal & i commence to eat the carpet & do a dirge in honour of disraeli - i cry & cry & cry & i chant my songs of cromwell

richard the 111 was a gentelman compared to that cretin & macbeth reminfs you that maybe in the middle ages women & men were more reflexive, that they thought more about their acts or at least had the capacity to meditate on them

today these imbeciles - these moronic mujahadeen of modernism - everywhere except central & latin america & province of china or two & maybe vermont & a place just outside montreal & of course my beloved naples & palermo where a man of honour is a man of honour - after all is said & done

riina & provenanzo were statesemen compared to these criminals & now they orgy even on al jazeera blowing their kisses to one another - they warn us of the dark caliphates of the future - well, for some time as dylan has sd it has already been getting dark getting darker by the decade - but ist suez without the sex, its profumu without the poofs, its the thrid man without the first & second, its dirk bogarde in some self regarding movie in englan in the sixties where even the women have moustaches, its david frost when he was funny, it's the malaysin emergency without chin peng

& as someone once sd its all a bit of a drag

& as bogart sd i only came here for the waters

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 7 2007 22:39 utc | 53

r'giap,

Here's some background on your friend Mr Blair, and his rise to power.


Link

Posted by: john | May 7 2007 23:01 utc | 54

annie:

I was not attacking you. You don't need to defend yourself. I don't want to fight.

I do think that the Republicrat/Demoplican complex is utterly corrupt, that Obama/Clinton/Dodd/Edwards is not in any meaningful way different from whoever the Republicrats come up with.

I am not a partisan of Mike Gravel. I view him as a third party candidate running in the Demoplican Primary. He looks like an unusually viable third party candidate to me right now. It he wins the nomination he takes out one the pillars of corruption.

Your summary of our political circumstances does sound like a self-fulfilling prophecy to me.

Get mad at me if you want to. I don't mind. I still think you're the top.

The Democrats Don't Own the Antiwar Movement


In our local Portland, Maine newspaper on May 6 the editorial page editor explained why the paper had last week announced they had decided to come out against the war in Iraq after long supporting Bush's shameful and illegal occupation. The editor said, "We've not renounced our belief in American exceptionalism. Speaking for myself, I've withdrawn my support for the war for pragmatic reasons, not because my underlying world view has changed. I believe we should use our strength as the world's only military superpower with great caution, but I do believe we should use it.....Our nation has a unique role in the world, and with it come unique responsibilities and unique privilege."

In other words he supports U.S. empire and all that comes with it. The bases, the killing, the domination of cultures is all acceptable. In this case he is "withdrawing" his support for Bush's Iraq operation primarily because "this war has been mismanaged by the president to the point where turning things around is impossible."

This is largely the Democratic Party position as well. The war is not necessarily bad, the U.S. has the right and responsibility to take out anyone that we decide should be eliminated, but it must be handled well so that world opinion and the American people do not turn against the policy. (You might call it Winning Without an unpopular War.) In this case Bush and his crew "mismanaged" the operation. It reminds me of the 2004 debates between Bush and John Kerry when Kerry said he'd do a better job of "killing terrorists" than Bush would and that he'd spend "$100 billion more on the military" than Bush would. Kerry would do the war/occupation better than the Republicans.

Posted by: ๋John Francis Lee | May 8 2007 0:29 utc | 55

Lucky, lucky Europe. They are getting a branch office!

Billionaire Soros Plans European Council on Foreign Relations

Posted by: Alamet | May 8 2007 0:44 utc | 56

Report: Saudis, US sponsoring covert action against Iran

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States are working with other states in the Middle East to sponsor covert action against Iran, according to a report in this month's edition of The Atlantic. The report also suggests that covert attacks may occur against Iran's oil sector.
(snip)

Posted by: Alamet | May 8 2007 0:47 utc | 57

but, as we've been repeatedly admonished by a fuckin english major, there just isn't a US empire. Just well intentioned, good natured incompetants

Posted by: jcairo | May 8 2007 0:55 utc | 58

Get mad at me if you want to. I don't mind. I still think you're the top.

oh don't be silly JFL i am not mad at you at all, sometimes i just get a little cranky. 04 was the only election i ever worked on because i was so depressed.

I do think that the Republicrat/Demoplican complex is utterly corrupt, that Obama/Clinton/Dodd/Edwards is not in any meaningful way different from whoever the Republicrats come up with.

well, i can think of a dozen democrats that if elected in 00 wouldn't have chosen to invade iraq. gore being one of them. we also would have no oversite going on right now w/a rethug congress, not that i think it will necessarily make a difference, but it certainly is entertaining.. i have no idea who this dodd character is, but other than that, you're right.

Posted by: annie | May 8 2007 2:30 utc | 59

When talking about... just well intentioned,good natured incompetants, along with choices between the lesser of two evils, we've drafted the opening chapters in the "Decline and Fall" series of great books.

Face it: We are engulfed by dementia all around. Do you really think that, given the opportunity, this present society couldn't crucify the Son of God all over again. None of the current crop of leadership hopefulls throughout the West has any compelling vision of the future outside of their own naked ambition.

No political party has your best interests at heart, so don't give them even a piece of yours.

Posted by: Allen/Vancouver | May 8 2007 3:09 utc | 60

NO THE FRENCH PEOPLE DIDN'T CHOOSE DARKNESS. ELITES PUT IN ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES, so they could STEAL THE ELECTION. There was a massive uprising when this happened in Mexico. Will the French people be over-educated Sheep like Americans when that happened here, or will they honor their democratic traditions & rise Up?

Posted by: jj | May 8 2007 3:33 utc | 61

Seismology, Schmeizology

Seismologist Paul Richards teaches a course on Weapons of Mass Destruction at Columbia, during which he shows this amazing interview with a 1980s Richard Perle.

Perle—then Assistant Secretary of Defense and well on his way toward earning the moniker “Prince of Darkness”—is asserting the existence of “significant evidence that the Soviets have violated the 150 kiloton threshold” in the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, despite utter lack of such evidence.

You really may want to read this post. As team B is now in full control, you know, working "on the darkside" and all.

And thank-you for the heads up at #57 Alamet, as we here at Moon have long since known, and I hate that I was right, Bolton:[had] No "Inhibition" Supporting Some Terrorists like the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK).

I do not take pleasure in I told you so's. Bolton and his crew have and are working hand in hand with the NSA, the CIA and other agencies which has since become Feith’s Office of Special Plans on steroids... Deep Black ops.

Scott Ritter, has already said that we already have US Marines in Iran working w/the MEK terrorist's. And bolton has no problem with it. At the time the State Department continued to resist pressure to remove the MEK from the FTO list. Knowledge found on the Congressional Research Service from a 2004 report entitled: Foreign Terrorist Organizations (pdf):

On August 15, 2003, the State Department added the group’s political wing, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCR)296 to the group’s designation. (tip of the hat to B). But since then the Soviet style purges and hiring/firing pushing out etc.. replacing seasoned veterans with political operatives throughout Government have become far and wide, as anyone whom has been keeping up with these things knows the DOJ, IS JUST THE TIP OF THE VAST ICEBERG. What is becoming clear is that this restructuring and replacing agents SWORN to the constitution with Rove's ideology cells-- also know as Roves republic titans-- has dire repercussions that work "on the darkside" (ask Cheney) and further, these "sleeper cells" will do their nastiness even when and if Jr. leaves office. Like any good network, it routes around obstacles and perceived damage to continue connecting nodes. And even further even when and if a Democrat gets in office.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 8 2007 4:10 utc | 62

Well well, the plot thickens: Iran ex-nuclear negotiator arrested on 'security' charge

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 8 2007 4:25 utc | 63

I thought some but not all would be interested in the following: Parallel History Project on Cooperative Security "By far the most ambitious and integral project in the burgeoning field of cold war history"

Also, in light of my recent posts I would like to link to the following however the link has been scrubbed hence the full article from cut and paste, from my own personal cache of documents. I think you will find it well worth the bandwidth and space used.

PRINTED FROM OFFICIALWIRE.COM
THE INTERNET'S NO. 1 ONLINE NEWSWIRE & PR SERVICE!
Former NSA Intelligence Analyst & Action Officer Urges To Be Heard By Congress Regarding Unlawful Conduct By NSA

Official's open letters to Intelligence Committees

by National Security Whistleblowers Coalition

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- (OfficialWire) -- 12/22/05 -- Russ Tice, former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst and action officer, has sent the following two letters to the chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Mr. Tice intends to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while he was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). These acts involved the Director of the National Security Agency, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs (SAP). SAP programs and operations are more commonly referred to as “black world” programs and operations. Mr. Tice was a technical intelligence specialist dealing almost exclusively with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.

Mr. Tice stated: “As a Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) officer it is continually drilled into us that the very first law chiseled in the SIGINT equivalent of the Ten Commandments (USSID-18) is that Thou shall not spy on American persons without a court order from FISA. This law is continually drilled into each NSA intelligence officer throughout his or her career. The very people that lead the National Security Agency have violated this holy edict of SIGINT." A pivotal question in this case is whether Americans were being spied on via a vacuum cleaner approach wherein vast amounts of information are sucked in. FISA warrants require a name of the target and would not cover such a mass approach. He also added: “In addition to knowing this fundamental commandment of not violating the civil rights of Americans, intelligence officers are required to take an oath to protect the United States Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. It is with my oath as a US intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to congress acts that I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.”

"These actions by the current administration are a compulsion to secrecy, an expansive view of presidential authority, and reluctance to answer to the people and Congress. Woodrow Wilson, himself no novice concerning secrecy, claimed that it is a 'fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety'. That is a presumption that we have been called upon to suspend in the name of national security, but with recent disclosures that suspended judgment appears to have been unwise. We urge the congress to hold hearings and let patriotic witnesses like Russ Tice testify,” stated Sibel Edmonds, the director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC).

Michael Ostrolenk, National Director of the Liberty Coalition agrees with Mrs. Edmonds and stated further “I am glad to know that Mr. Tice takes his oath to the Constitution seriously. He obviously knows that his obligation is not to this or any Administration but to our Republican form of government with its proper checks and balances and to protect the rights it was instituted to secure.” He continued “This is less about a particular Administration and more about the natural tendency for government to become destructive to the very ends it was created to fulfill. I hope that Congress takes it oversight responsibilities seriously and investigates Mr. Tice’s allegations in an open and non-partisan manner.”

Here is the letter by Mr. Tice, sent on Dec 18, 2005, to the Senate & House Intelligence Committee:

Dear Chairman Roberts,

Under the provisions of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), I intend to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). These acts involve the Director of the National Security Agency, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

These probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs (SAP)s. I was a technical intelligence specialist dealing almost exclusively with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.

Due to the highly sensitive nature of these programs and operations, I will require assurances from your committee that the staffers and/or congressional members to participate retain the proper security clearances, and also have the appropriate SAP cleared facilities available for these discussions.

Please inform me when you require my appearance on Capitol Hill to conduct these discussions in relation to this ICWPA report.


Very Respectfully,


Russell D. Tice
Former Intelligence Officer, NSA


Tice, Russ; Former Intelligence Analyst & Action Officer, Air Force, Naval Intelligence, DIA and NSA
Russ Tice worked technical intelligence issues as an all-source analyst, systems instructor, special programs expert, technical missions operations action officer, tasking agent, field intelligence on-site analyst and liaison, and advanced capabilities officer. Known as a stickler for technical detailed analysis and “by the book” on security regs. After returning from a temporary overseas assignment in 2001, he observed that a DIA coworker exhibited the classic signs of involvement in espionage. After quietly reporting this, his suspicion was quickly dismissed by DIA’s counterintelligence (CI) office. He continued to observe activity to suggest there was a problem and reported such. He returned to the National Security Agency and, busy with the Iraqi War, dropped the issue. When noting a report that FBI CI agents availed secrets to a China source for sex, he questioned the FBI’s competence. NSA retaliated by having him declared crazy, revoking his security clearance, and terminating his employment in May 2005.


About National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), founded in August 2004, is an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nation’s security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nation’s borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct. The NSWBC is dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods, including advocacy of governmental and legal reform, educating the public concerning whistleblowing activity, provision of comfort and fellowship to national security whistleblowers suffering retaliation and other harms, and working with other public interest organizations to affect goals defined in the NSWBC mission statement. For more on NSWBC visit www.nswbc.org.

About Liberty Coalition
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Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 8 2007 4:49 utc | 64

A little refresher is due about now, in light of Alamet's recent post...

The [Saudi intelligence] Enron pipeline connection to 9/11

Back in the 1970's and 80's, Saudi intelligence (not the CIA as has been reported) funded the early Taliban faction and later Al Qaida as part of the insurgency to throw the Russians out of Afghanistan. A few years afterwards, US energy companies (Enron, as the Afghan pipeline consultant for UNOCAL) used the Saudi intelligence connection to the Taliban to begin negotiations for a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Prince Turki, chief of Saudi inteligence, has publicly admitted making
several trips into Afghanistan to negotiate a peace mission with the
Taliban. My sources say he was the pipeline mediator for Enron. Prince
Turki was fired as head of Saudi intelligence immediately after the
pipeline discussions collapsed in August 2001.

Prince Turki is allegedly close to the Bin Laden family which was allegedly promised the construction contract in return for a percentage to the Saudi Royal family. This is a common business practice initiated by the Carlyle Group's contracts in Saudi Arabia.

As the Republican IPO magazine, Red Herring, confirms, President Bush'
father was business partners in the Carlyle Group with the Bin Laden family during this period . This company is a Who's Who of former Democratic and Republican intelligence and political officials, whose specialty is acting as super-lobbysists at the highest levels of government. They are also suspected of arranging construction kickbacks to the Saudi royal family in return for discount oil sales.

Before it was shut down in 1991, BCCI was used by U.S. and Saudi intelligence to fund the mujahideen.

Also see, What Congress Does Not Know about Enron and 9/11


Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 8 2007 5:42 utc | 65

It's always interesting to try to desconstruct the Debka-file line,
perhaps even more than usual in this case which
would seem to undermine standard rhetoric regarding "the only democracy
in the Middle East". By-passing elected governments in favor of military
and intelligence establishments is doubtless standard Pentagon procedure
in such benighted purlieus, but in this case the "announcement" itself
is puzzling, unless one reads it as de facto installation
of Bibi Netanyahu's forthcoming Likud government. In that case, Laura Rozen's comment might clarify matters:

It's been strangely underreported in the US press what's clear listening to Israeli officials, that Israel is anticipating fighting a new war with Hezbollah in the coming year that would if it happens likely take the war to Syria. That is why the urgency over the issue of whether talks or no talks with Syria.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 8 2007 6:42 utc | 66

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your
herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the
income.

SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows, and you give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the
other, then throws the milk away...

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the
other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to
analyse
why the cow has dropped dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your
publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your
brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an
associated general
offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five
cows. The
milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman
Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the
rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says

the
company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Sell one cow to buy a
new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance
sheet
provided with the release. The public buys your bull.

THE ANDERSEN MODEL: You have two cows. You shred them.

A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot,
and block the roads, because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are
one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You
then create a clever cow cartoon image called 'cowkimon' and market it
worldwide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live
for
100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don't know where they
are.
You decide to have lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You count them and learn you have
five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them
again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another
bottle
of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You
charge the owners for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity, and
arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.

A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad.

IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that
you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and
invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part
of a
Democracy....

WELSH CORPORATION: You have two cows. The one on the left looks very
attractive.

AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You
close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.


Posted by: | May 8 2007 6:56 utc | 67

People here probably saw it already, but the new War nerd about Who lost Iraq? is quite a good reading - though most of this won't be news or surprising to people here, and some enlightened people saw it coming before 2003.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | May 8 2007 10:47 utc | 68

From Hannah's #66

For this reason, military and intelligence officials have taken matters in their own hands to make sure that the most pressing issues with Washington were attended to without further delay

gosh, that sure does sound like a coup d'etat. what the hell is going on? who is this message for?

Posted by: dan of steele | May 8 2007 10:49 utc | 69

oh god, commiserations r'giap

Posted by: Dismal Science | May 8 2007 11:38 utc | 70

well, i can think of a dozen democrats that if elected in 00 wouldn't have chosen to invade iraq. gore being one of them.

this isn't true. in 1998/99, clinton was ramping-up the war:

So what were we doing bombing Iraq? Back in February 1998, we wanted to bomb Iraq when Saddam prevented UN arms inspectors from entering his palaces. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan produced a "memorandum of understanding" to allow the UN to make a one-time inspection, in the company of foreign diplomats, of these supposed symbols of Iraqi sovereignty. But once Saddam objected to the American UN inspectors, it was "chocks away": he now almost certainly wished to be bombed-because he had given up any hope of sanctions being lifted and knew that the Arab world would sympathise with Iraq. Journalists became frightened of the figure of half a million children dead under sanctions; it was safer to debate the rights and wrongs of killing eighty-two civilians in the December air raids. Arabs did not see events in so distorted a way. However deplorable their regimes, they were possessed of an overwhelming sense of fury and humiliation; [724] the conviction that the raids on Baghdad were all staged to avoid Clinton's impeachment seemed to place events beyond the immoral.

Then-and only then, in the New Year, in the first week of January 1999, less than three weeks after the attacks were staged on Iraq because Saddam had "blocked" the UNSCOM teams-came the revelation. American arms inspectors were spies. CIA men had been planted among the UN teams-along with M16 agents from Britain, if a report in The Independent was correct-and the UN was forced to admit that "UNSCOM directly facilitated the creation of an intelligence collection system for the United States in violation of its mandate." U.S. agents had installed a "black box" eavesdropping system into UNSCOM's Baghdad headquarters that intercepted Saddam Hussein's presidential communications network. Operation Shake the Tree was supposed to uncover the regime's weapons concealment system, but UN officials quickly realised that the SIGINT operation run by the CIA's Near East Division-which was led by Ritter's nemesis Steve Richter-was not sharing its intelligence information with UNSCOM. The UN arms mission to Iraq had become a U.S. spying operation against the regime. Few bothered to recall that Saddam's reasons for expelling the U.S. inspectors-the official cause of the December bombardment-had now been proved true. But UNSCOM was finished.

The military assault on Iraq was not. For with little publicity-and amid virtual indifference in Western capitals-U.S. and British aircraft staged well over seventy air strikes against Iraq in just five weeks during January and February 1999, inflicting more damage than the pre-Christmas Anglo-American bombardment. Pilots flying out of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were now given new rules of engagement that allowed them to open fire on Iraqi installations even if their aircraft were not directly threatened. The air offensive was carefully calibrated to avoid criticism or public debate, although it coincided with further attempts by Washington to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime.

At my home in Beirut that great rain-washed winter, I spent hours searching through back copies of the Arab and British press for details of these raids. I visited Tewfiq Mishlawi, a veteran Palestinian-Lebanese journalist whose daily Middle East Reporter was meticulous in recording each Western air attack on Iraq-and its political consequences in the Arab world-and found that his own archives were filled with small, often apparently inconsequential quotations from Western military spokesmen. Yet, sitting in his cold drab offices near the centre of Beirut, I placed these paragraphs of copy next to one another and found myself reading a coherent and all too disturbing account of a near-secret war. One-inch news items-nibs, as we call them in the trade-would turn into longer stories as I photocopied them and pinned them, one after the other, into my file. The file began to thicken. Every hour, I would have to open a new folder for the next stack of cuttings.

Iraqi missile sites were being attacked without warning and radar stations targeted solely because their presence-rather than any offensive activity-was said to menace American forces in the Gulf. In early February, for example, U.S. aircraft bombed a CSSC-3 "Seersucker" anti-ship missile battery on the Fao penin [725] sula which, according to a spokesman, "could [sic] have threatened shipping in the Gulf." Military sources said that there was no evidence the missiles were about to be fired, although American and British government officials continued to maintain for more than a year afterwards that pilots responded only to specific threats against their aircraft. In an article in The Independent on 7 August 2000, for instance, Foreign Office minister Peter Hain-the same Peter Hain who had condemned Halliday and von Sponeck for their outspoken criticism of UN sanctions-wrote that "there have been about 85o direct threats against our aircrew in the past year and a half, including missile attacks and heavy anti-aircraft fire. Our pilots have taken action only to defend themselves against this kind of attack" (my emphasis).

This was obviously untrue. But by attacking Iraq every day while issuing only routine information about the targets, American and British officials had also ensured that their salami bombardment attracted little or no interest in the press; newspapers now frequently carried little more than four lines about air-strikes that would have captured front-page headlines a year earlier. Only when U.S. missiles hit civilian areas was the mildest criticism heard. Often, these attacks turned out to be even more bloody than the Iraqis admitted at the time. When an American AGM-i3o missile exploded in a Basra housing complex, initial reports spoke of eleven civilian casualties, although a total of sixteen died on that day and almost a hundred were wounded. Von Sponeck, who was still the UN humanitarian coordinator in Baghdad at the time, stated that two missiles hit civilian areas 30 kilometres apart, the first in Basra--where a woman and five children were among the dead-and the second in the village of Abu Khassib, where five women and five children were killed. In other words, most of the victims were children; a Pentagon spokesman later admitted the Basra attack, responding to the casualties with the words: "I want to repeat that we are not targeting civilians."

The 1999 air offensive had begun at the New Year with five American attacks in two weeks and was followed on 11 January when U.S. aircraft attacked Iraqi missile sites from air bases in Turkey. Almost daily air raids continued to the end of January, by which time British fighter-bombers were joining U.S. planes in the attacks. On 31 January, eight British and American jets were bombing "communications facilities" in southern Iraq. A statement from the Americans on 4 February that U.S. and British planes had by then destroyed forty missile batteries-adding that this alone caused greater damage than was caused to Iraq in the whole December air bombardment--passed without comment. Neither Washington nor London explained whether the attacks had UN backing-they did not-and a warning by Britain's socialist elder statesman, Tony Benn, went unheeded.

On i t February, General Sir Michael Rose, Britain's former UN force commander in Bosnia, condemned the offensive in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute. "The continual TV images of the West's high-technology systems causing death and destruction to people in the Third World will not be tolerated for ever by civilised people," he said. But his remarks were largely ignored. Instead, U.S. officials continued their fruitless attempts to form a united Iraqi opposition to Saddam and to seek Arab support for their plans. By declaring the Western "no- [726] fly" zones invalid-which they were in international Law-Saddam could encourage his air defences to fire at U.S. and British aircraft. He even offered a reward of $14,000 for ground-to-air missile crews who shot down raiding aircraft. It went unclaimed; Iraq's air defence batteries were hopelessly inferior to American and British technology.

Yet still this near-secret war went on. In Baghdad, six more civilian deaths were announced-one in an air raid near Najaf on ro February 1999, and five more, with twenty-two wounded, in southern Iraq five days later. After The Independent published the details of this war-by-disinterest, I continued my trawl through the daily Arab press. On 22 February, for example, it was reported that U.S. and British jets had attacked an Iraqi missile site and two communications bases near Amara and Tallil. On I March, American jets dropped more than thirty 2,000-pound and goo-pound laser-guided bombs on radio relay sites, "communications targets and air defence guns" in northern Iraq. Defence Secretary Cohen said the same day that U.S. pilots had been given "greater flexibility" in their attacks. When an air raid disrupted Iraqi oil exports to Turkey, the executive director of the UN's Oil-for-Food programme, Benon Sevan, complained that there was already a $9oo million shortfall between expected revenues and what was needed to fund the humanitarian programme under sanctions, and that continued raids could frustrate efforts to supply food and medicines to Iraqi civilians. Like Benn and Rose, he was ignored. Robert Fisk, The Great War for Civilization

Posted by: slothrop | May 8 2007 15:47 utc | 71

The Hard Bigotry of the New York Times

A good read.

~Snip:

A puppet government in an occupied land can only be legitimate if it obeys its master. True enough. But why must the New York Times agree so wholeheartedly with Fox News that Americans should only reduce the occupation after Iraqis have shown they can contain the insurgency? The Americans can't contain it. It's going from bad to worse. And were the occupation to go away, so would most of the insurgency. There must be some grim humor intended and secret laughter resulting from this policy of telling the Iraqi people that we will occupy them until their government has shown that it can contain the resistance to our occupation after the occupation is gone.

Then the New York Times goes after Bush for not demanding more of his victims:

"Mr. Bush acknowledges that these benchmarks are important. Yet he refuses to insist, or let Congress insist, that Baghdad achieve them or face real consequences. Each time Baghdad fails a test, Mr. Bush lowers his requirements and postpones his target dates - the kind of destructive denial Mr. Bush called, in another context, the soft bigotry of low expectations. Consider the Baghdad security drive. Last week, The Washington Post reported that Mr. Maliki's office had helped instigate the firing of senior Iraqi security officers who moved aggressively against a powerful Shiite militia. After betting so many American lives, the combat readiness of the United States Army and his own remaining credibility on this bloody push to secure the capital, it is a mystery why Mr. Bush would allow the Iraqi leader to undermine it."

So, even while we pretend that the Iraqis have their own government, Bush is understood to be responsible for what that government does or does not do. Thus we can stand up to Bush by criticizing dark-skinned Arab-speaking Muslims, and avoid the whole unpleasantness of ending the war.

"Then," the New York Times continues, "there is the endless soap opera that is one day supposed to produce a fair share-out of Iraqi oil revenues. The Bush administration prematurely popped champagne corks in February when Mr. Maliki's cabinet agreed on a preliminary draft. Now, in May, there is no share-out, no legislation and even the preliminary agreement is starting to unravel. The leading Sunni Arab party in Mr. Maliki's cabinet is now threatening to withdraw its ministers, declaring that it has 'lost hope' that the Iraqi leader will deal seriously with Sunni concerns."

"Share-out" is a stock market term meaning "hand over the damn oil." The adjective "fair" in this instance is used to mean "handed over primarily to white English-speaking Christians."

There is nothing "soft" about the bigotry that allows the belief that Iraqis cannot best run their own country and manage their own resources.

Posted by: Bea | May 8 2007 15:52 utc | 72

Six dopes watched some videos and some had stupid ideas - the FBI tried to sell them weapons - yawn ...

Fort Dix Soldiers Targets of Plot

Whenever the FBI has "infiltrated" such a group like in this case, you can be 99% sure that the FBI agents came up with and financed the "bad idea" that the boys will be hanged for ...

Posted by: b | May 8 2007 18:27 utc | 73

ditto annie and sean penn @ 48

RFK: Rove And Rove’s Brain, ‘Should Be In Jail,’ Not In Office

Monday, May 7, 2007

NEW YORK — Voting rights attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has called for prison time for the new US Attorney for Arkansas, Timothy Griffin and investigation of Griffin’s former boss, Karl Rove, chief political advisor to President Bush.

“Timothy Griffin,” said Kennedy,”who is the new US attorney in Arkansas, was actually the mastermind behind the voter fraud efforts by the Bush Administration to disenfranchise over a million voters through ‘caging’ techniques - which are illegal.”

. . .‘Caging’ lists are “absolutely illegal” under the Voting Rights Act, noted Kennedy on his Air America program, Ring of Fire. The 1965 law makes it a felony crime to challenge voters when race is a factor in the targeting. African-American voters comprised the bulk of the 70,000 voters ‘caged’ in a single state, Florida.

. . .Kennedy, a voting rights attorney, fumed, “What he [Griffin] did was absolutely illegal and he should be in jail. Instead [Griffin] was rewarded with the US Attorney’s office.”

“They [Griffin, Rove and their confederates at the RNC] knew it was illegal.”

Kennedy has called on the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to expand their investigations of the firing of US Attorneys to include a probe of their replacements, especially Griffin, as well as Rove’s knowledge of the caging operation. . .

Posted by: manonfyre | May 8 2007 22:09 utc | 74

@ 67... whoever you are, thanks for the nifty cow-peration analysis of the world and the great giggle before turning in.
g'night barlies :)

Posted by: esme in paris | May 9 2007 0:44 utc | 75

Global rush to energy crops threatens to bring food shortages and increase poverty, says UN

The global rush to switch from oil to energy derived from plants will drive deforestation, push small farmers off the land and lead to serious food shortages and increased poverty unless carefully managed, says the most comprehensive survey yet completed of energy crops.

The United Nations report, compiled by all 30 of the world organisation's agencies, points to crops like palm oil, maize, sugar cane, soya and jatropha. Rich countries want to see these extensively grown for fuel as a way to reduce their own climate changing emissions. Their production could help stabilise the price of oil, open up new markets and lead to higher commodity prices for the poor.
...
"Expanded production [of biofuel crops] adds uncertainty. It could also increase the volatility of food prices with negative food security implications", says the report which was complied by UN-Energy.

"The benefits to farmers are not assured, and may come with increased costs. [Growing biofuel crops] can be especially harmful to farmers who do not own their own land, and to the rural and urban poor who are net buyers of food, as they could suffer from even greater pressure on already limited financial resources.

"At their worst, biofuel programmes can also result in a concentration of ownership that could drive the world's poorest farmers off their land and into deeper poverty," it says.

Posted by: b | May 9 2007 7:46 utc | 76

Great rant on Blair by rgiap.

For those interested in La Belle France, the rays of hope are:

a) Sarkozy is not as clever, as confident, as knowledgeable, as educated, as persuasive, as Tony B Liar. Sarkozy also does not relate well to collaborators, underlings, partners, or the public (excepting his groupies, or when on a platform, or for a short time at the start, pats on the back, glitter...etc.), and doesn’t have, amongst the elite, the same ‘base’ as Tony. The French equivalent of paleo-conservatives, and a fair chunk of the Le-Pen type electorate despise him or are very suspicious.

b) Perhaps most important, he doesn’t know and understand the ‘dossiers’ - the facts of the matter, and French pols are supposed to. He is a real upstart, pulling the strings of power, or amassing them, in a primitive way, using the traditional discourse of French politics, which is easy to do... The one who took leaves out of Blair’s third-way book was Sego, both in style and substance.

c) The French are different from the British; their relation to authority is oppositional rather than subservient or accepting, collaborative: that’s a caricature - consequences all the same.

d) rumor has it (I can’t repeat) that he has stumbled badly once, and it was covered up. Watching the faces on tv, reading the editorials, it is obvious that his personality (independently of *any* political stance) has many people extremely worried, mostly in the right wing camp. This is, in my eyes, new in French politics, in the sense that personalia (Mitterand had two ‘wives’, after all), while they are becoming more important (eg. media pix of the happy family), following US influence, are not taken seriously by the elite or the ‘educated’ public - but for Sarko, they are. A an example is Chirac’s enmity and his late lame endorsement..not, as I read it, merely due to rivalry or difficulties in endorsing a ‘successor’ ...

e) then there is the delicate matter of Sarko’s wife who has now announced (as was expected) that she will play no official role at all. Ever.

It is not a good beginning - even Bush’s was better; Tony’s was stellar.

Posted by: Noirette | May 9 2007 15:15 utc | 77

Thanks to Noirette for her comments at 77. Naturally I'm most interested
in the rumor you can't repeat, but assume you have good reasons for your
reticence. In any case, what you say serves to crystalize some amorphous
epidermic "feelings" I have had regarding Sarko. It will be interesting to see the extent to which he is restrained by European and internal French
counterforces.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 9 2007 15:23 utc | 78

Yes, alongside the "surge" efforts in Iraq it's now clear that here at home, there was a very substantial campaign to "purge" -- purge democrats from voter rolls, that is. New details are emerging daily. Here are two good video reports that everyone should really watch, because they do an excellent job of synthesizing a complex situation that in essence is horrifying:

Keith Olbermann: Where Does the Politicization of Justice End?


TPM TV [Scroll down to May 8/4:36 pm to "Meet new Attorney Purge bigwig Bradley Schlozman in today's episode of TPMtv."]

FYI Schlozman is being called to Capitol Hill to testify later this week. Should be very very interesting.

Posted by: Bea | May 9 2007 15:29 utc | 79

It's Game Time:

The vice president had arrived unannounced in Baghdad early Wednesday to tell Iraq's government "it's game time," a senior Bush administration official said.

The senior administration official summarized Cheney's message: "We've got to pull together. We've got to get this work done. It's game time."

An important topic on Cheney's agenda is to persuade the Iraqi Parliament to forgo its planned two-month recess. The Bush administration is pushing for members to keep working on legislation, such as a measure on oil revenues.

"The reality is, with the major effort we're making, the major effort the Iraqi security forces and military are making themselves, for the Iraqi Parliament to take a two-month vacation in the middle of summer is impossible to understand," Ryan Crocker, the United States' new ambassador to Iraq, told reporters.

You get the Puppet you protect.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 9 2007 16:14 utc | 80

I just noticed in the link above that the picture of Cheney has him wearing a flak jacket. Last throes of the "insurgency" indeed.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 9 2007 16:21 utc | 81

...for the Iraqi Parliament to take a two-month vacation in the middle of summer is impossible to understand," Ryan Crocker, the United States' new ambassador to Iraq, told reporters.

Nobody wants to stick around when the Maliki government implodes from lack of support, the oil deal crashes, the Sadrists form a new national alliance with the new Reform and Jihad Front, and the surge can't even find a blue dress.

Cheney's visit is more about showing how we've NOT become irrelevant.

Posted by: | May 9 2007 17:36 utc | 82

above

Posted by: anna missed | May 9 2007 17:37 utc | 83

Excitement in Hamburg today b?

Posted by: beq | May 9 2007 22:17 utc | 84

noirette

on the buffoons that made britain
i suggest in parallel - the two series based on john le carre' novels 'tinker, tailor, soldier, spy' & 'smileys people' followed very quickly by an itv documentary in 4 parts -'the mayfair set' (annie's link google video)
you could not see a clearer picture
& as they say it's no oil painting

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 9 2007 22:41 utc | 85

& speaking of crooks - what is happening with that canadian creep conrad black (oh! lordy) & his valet & ventriloquists richard perle & henry kissinger

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 10 2007 0:04 utc | 86

amy goodman remembers journalist anthony mitchell, killed recently in the kenyan airliner crash
A Shining Light Goes Out in Africa

On Saturday, May 5, Anthony Mitchell died in the crash of Kenyan Airways Flight 507, which killed all 114 people on board. Based in Nairobi, he was an Associated Press reporter who had recently broken a story on secret prisons in Ethiopia and the U.S. involvement in the detention and interrogation of prisoners there. The world has lost another journalist, one who was taking the necessary risks to get at the heart of the complex and often ignored story of Africa.

amy also writes "Make no mistake about it, the Horn of Africa is in the cross hairs of the United States. There is oil in Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia."

here's to hoping future democracynow reporting reflects that clarity of judgement. (the recent focus on 'save darfur' was quite lacking in enough facts for the audience to form a clear understanding of the sitch, to say the least...)

- - -

Sudanese minister says oil production increased in 2006

May 9, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mining Awad Ahmed al-Jaz has told the federal parliament that production of crude oil during 2006 has reached half a million barrels daily, the national TV reported.

In a statement before the National Assembly on May 7, al-Jaz said that production of crude oil had touched 500,000 barrels per day in 2006. Sudanese TV reported that the increase was due to additional production from Blocks 3 and 7 in the provinces of Upper Nile and White Nile state, Block 5a in Wihdah state, and Block 6 in south Kordofan state.
...
The minister also said that 66 exploratory wells were drilled, in addition to 21 wells to define location and 181 developmental wells. This resulted in adding another 212.5 million barrels to the country’s oil deposits.
...
Sudan’s finance minister had said average oil production for 2007 will run at 520,000 barrels per day (bpd) as new fields that were delayed last year are now fully on stream.

Posted by: b real | May 10 2007 3:58 utc | 87

Psychiatrists, Children and Drug Industry’s Role

From 2000 to 2005, drug maker payments to Minnesota psychiatrists rose more than sixfold, to $1.6 million. During those same years, prescriptions of antipsychotics for children in Minnesota’s Medicaid program rose more than ninefold.

Those who took the most money from makers of atypicals tended to prescribe the drugs to children the most often, the data suggest. On average, Minnesota psychiatrists who received at least $5,000 from atypical makers from 2000 to 2005 appear to have written three times as many atypical prescriptions for children as psychiatrists who received less or no money.
...


Posted by: b | May 10 2007 7:24 utc | 88

@beq - 84

yes some exitement -

There are big protests planed for the G8 meeting next month.

The fascistoid Secretary of the Interior ordered houses of activists raided yesterday to look for "evidence" of planing of disruptive protests.

In answer to those raids there were of course protests all over Germany yesterday night and in Hamburg the usual ritual was followed when police tried to stop an spontanious march of some 2000 people.

It is an attempt to criminalize the G8-protests - in consequence, those protests will grow.

Posted by: b | May 10 2007 10:08 utc | 89

Putin takes swipe at US and Estonia

Vladimir Putin used the annual celebrations of the defeat of the Nazis in Red Square to make veiled criticisms of the US and Estonia.

The Russian president renewed attacks on what he calls US unilateralism, saying there were “new threats” based on “the same disregard for human life and the same pretensions to international exclusivity and diktat as in the Third Reich”.

Posted by: b | May 10 2007 12:51 utc | 90

There was an hour interview with Mike Gravel on KAOS Radio 95.9 Austin, TX with Scott Horton on 7 May apparently. The tape is available over the wire.

At about 4 and 1/2 minutes into the interview :


04:35 "I have drafted a piece of legislation, and it's a law, and it's very clear, and it's a one-pager, and essentially what it says is that the Congress directs, by law, the chief executive to get the troops out within 60 days... real simple, you introduce the law in both chambers and then Pelosi brings it up for a vote... you could have it up for a vote within a week's time... you get the troops out in 60 days, you certify that, and if you don't have 'em out in 60 days... and then certify every few months that you have kept them out... the penalty for not doing that is 5 years in jail and a million dollar fine... and in jail with no possibility of parole."

At about 17 minutes in :


17:00 "I'm prepared to go public on it, and I'm going to have a press conference next Monday [14 May 2007] releasing the specific legislation and the specific document outlining the tactics that I have just outlined with you."

The main point it calls for is the repatriation of American troops within 60 days of the bill's passage. I don't know that it will work but I am certainly going to be sending copies of the bill to my Representative and Senators, and to Demoplican Central everyday and demanding that they pass it and requesting my friends to do so too.

On Monday as well the Iraqi oil workers, the 26,000 member IFUO, are going out on strike against the BearingPoint Oil Bill for Iraq. Solidarity with the IFOU.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 10 2007 14:10 utc | 91

Pope says pro-choice lawmakers should be denied sacraments


SAO PAULO, Brazil - Pope Benedict XVI kicked off a historic five-day visit to Brazil on Wednesday by sending a tough anti-abortion message that sparked a hemisphere-wide debate over the Roman Catholic Church's efforts to influence politicians.

In answer to a question about Mexico City's recent legalization of abortion, Benedict indicated that he would support Mexican bishops if they were to decide to excommunicate lawmakers who voted for the law.


"How about pro-right-wing Pontiffs should be denied visas"?

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 10 2007 15:06 utc | 92

I'm sure this will be old news by the time everyone gets here (if it hasn't already been posted), but:

Britain's Blair says he is resigning

For R'Giap.

Posted by: Monolycus | May 10 2007 15:08 utc | 93

Trouble ahead
the lady in red
take my advice
you be better off dead....


We used to play for silver
Now we play for life
One's for sport and one's for blood
At the point of a knife
Now the die is shaken
Now the die must fall
There ain't a winner in this game
Who don't go home with all
Not with all...

Posted by: | May 10 2007 20:42 utc | 94

according to William Blum the argument - "If the United States leaves Iraq things will really get bad." is The Last Argument of Fools

To better understand this argument, it helps to keep in mind the following about the daily horror that is life in Iraq: It did not exist before the US occupation.

The insurgency violence began as, and remains, a reaction to the occupation; like almost all insurgencies in occupied countries -- from the American Revolution to the Vietcong -- it's a fight directed toward getting foreign forces to leave.

The next phase was the violence of Iraqis against other Iraqis who worked for or sought employment with anything associated with the occupation regime.

Then came retaliatory attacks for these attacks.

Followed by retaliatory attacks for the retaliatory attacks.

Jihadists from many countries have flocked to Iraq because they see the war against the American Satan occupiers as a holy war.

Before the occupation, many Sunnis and Shiites married each other; since the occupation they have been caught up in a spiral of hating and killing each other.

Posted by: jcairo | May 10 2007 23:26 utc | 95

Before the occupation, many Sunnis and Shiites married each other; since the occupation they have been caught up in a spiral of hating and killing each other.

you mean the violence coincides with the beginning of post-saddam iraq in which power is up for grabs?

well, duh.

Posted by: slothrop | May 11 2007 1:24 utc | 96

Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation


More than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected for the first time on Tuesday the continuing occupation of their country. The U.S. media ignored the story.

On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

Posted by: John Francis Lee | May 11 2007 2:25 utc | 97

http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0705/06/tww.01.html>nic robertson on the sunni insurgency in al-anbar:

ROBERTSON: Well, what the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad and indeed what the original American vision for Iraq had been was to create a national army that was drawn from across the country that could go and fight in any part of the country that you wouldn't have an al Anbar army fighting only in al Anbar. I was in a meeting where the defense minister about a year and a half ago angrily told a gathering of al Anbar tribal sheiks, they couldn't have their own Iraqi army division, but this essentially is what is being created here, al Anbar force to fight al Anbar's interests in al Anbar and the tribal leaders I talked to who are the guys behind the support right now for defeating al Qaeda, are telling me that they still expect to fight with the Shias and they expect these tribal members to be the vanguard of that part of the force. There is another quote and we've been talking about quotes here from TE Lawrence and he says to go to war with a rebellion is messy and slow. It's like eating soup with a knife. And I think American officers have found that as they have tried to eat the soup with a knife, learn new tactics, it's taken a long time to turn the American army around. The tribal leaders I've talked to have sat and complained that they felt undermined and not understood. Now there's been a coming together and this is a positive step. But clearly, more developments to head off what might happen are really important, Tom.

Posted by: slothrop | May 11 2007 3:01 utc | 98

This op-ed by Gregory Clarke on the limits (and virtues) of free trade from undoubtedly fits with the prevailing views here at MOA. It would, therefore, be of interest to see a reasoned critique.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 11 2007 5:32 utc | 99

The enclosure of Jerusalem ...

Israelis plan more homes on occupied land

Jerusalem's city council plans to build three new Jewish settlements on land it occupied in 1967, in contravention of international law, it was announced yesterday. The estates will be built on land that has been earmarked for a future Palestinian state, close to Bethlehem and Ramallah.

International law forbids construction on land acquired by war, but since 1967 Israel has built homes for around 500,000 Israelis in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The construction is planned to link existing Jewish settlements in Jerusalem with each other and with settlements in the West Bank.
...
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the new communities would be aimed at housing ultra-orthodox Jews, the fastest growing sector of the Jewish community in Jerusalem.
...
To ensure its hold on East Jerusalem Israel has built a series of settlements which divide the city from its hinterland in the West Bank. The annexation was condemned by the UN and has not been recognised by any major country.

"By severing East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank," Mr Erekat said, "the Jerusalem-area wall and settlements mean no viable Palestinian state, no Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem, and thus no viable two-state solution."


Posted by: b | May 11 2007 5:35 utc | 100

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