Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 29, 2007

OT 07-69

News & views ...

Posted by b on September 29, 2007 at 03:09 AM | Permalink

Comments

"Quiet" FDIC shut downs in the US following "quiet" bank runs in the UK? Well, this consumer is certainly feeling quietly confident.

Posted by: Monolycus | Sep 29, 2007 4:27:10 AM | 1

Whenever I visit the UK, it strikes me that nearly every third advert (or commercial) on TV is either for cheap loans, low-rate mortgages - or debt consolidation.

Except at the start of the new year, when every third spot is for a detox cure. I fear that this new year could see one heck of a hangover...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 29, 2007 4:51:12 AM | 2

"Israel will not take US Dollars for free.
Secretary of State Rice has acknowledged a communique from Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Levni which requests that all foreign aid payments and loans from the United States be made in Euros rather than in Dollars. Foreign Minister Levni cited the rapidly declining dollar and it's disfavor as a world currency as reasons for the request."

http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/3689

b: did you knew this news?

Posted by: curious | Sep 29, 2007 5:19:37 AM | 3

@curious - certainly NOT news -

You missded the tags of that post:

Posted in

* Bean and Rice
* Foreign aid
* Gotcha
* Israeli parasites
* leech nation
* satire
* Secretary Rice
* sucking sound
* ziostan


Posted by: b | Sep 29, 2007 5:25:13 AM | 4

I thought, that news was a bad joke.
I am sorry.

Posted by: curious | Sep 29, 2007 6:57:24 AM | 5

The last laugh will come the day that oil is no longer traded in US Dollars but in Euros.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Sep 29, 2007 7:14:36 AM | 6

Update from the Happy Little Kingdom which crossdresses as a member of the Coalition of the Willing:

Two Danish soldiers were killed this week in an ambush in Helman province, Afghanistan + one serious wounded. This brings the total dead to 13, including casualties in Iraq. Doesn't sound like much, but it hits hard in a little country with only a thousand troops committed as a fig leaf in Bush's ego war.


Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Sep 29, 2007 7:41:13 AM | 7

Seymour Hersch in Spiegel Online: "The President Has Accepted Ethnic Cleansing [in Iraq]

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the options in Iraq?

Hersh: There are two very clear options: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: A lot of people have been saying that the US presence there is a big part of the problem. Is anyone in the White House listening?

Hersh: No. The president is still talking about the "Surge" (eds. The "Surge" refers to President Bush's commitment of 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in the spring of 2007 in an attempt to improve security in the country.) as if it's going to unite the country. But the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We've basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They've simply split.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is that why there has been a drop in violence there?

Hersh: I think that's a much better reason than the fact that there are a couple more soldiers on the ground.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So what are the lessons of the Surge (more...)?

Hersh: The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he's talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He's not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You're going to have a Kurdistan. You're going to have a Sunni area that we're going to have to support forever. And you're going to have the Shiites in the South.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 29, 2007 10:15:53 AM | 8

b can you correct the typo in Hersh's name in the link for me? It should not have a "c" - my oversight. thanks.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 29, 2007 10:16:48 AM | 9

Refugees prepare return to Lebanon camp

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon
(snip)
"We hope that a first group (of Palestinian refugees) may return in two days. That depends on the speed of restoration of the buildings that are still upright," Khalil Mekkawi, head of the Committee for Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue, said.
(snip)

Let us hope...

Posted by: Alamet | Sep 29, 2007 12:18:59 PM | 10

Another color revolution going bad:

Georgia in political turmoil after opposition leader's arrest

Georgia plunged into political turmoil on Friday following the arrest of a former minister who made stinging accusations against the country's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Irakli Okruashvili, once a key figure in the government of the former Soviet republic, was arrested on Thursday after alleging Saakashvili had ordered the killing of high-profile figures.
(snip)
Okruashvili had been in Saakashvili's inner circle since before the mass protests of the 2003 Rose Revolution propelled Saakashvili to power. He also served as prosecutor general and interior minister before being ousted.

Georgia is to hold presidential and parliamentary elections next year and analysts said Okruashvili has the credibility and power base to pose a threat to Saakashvili in the polls.
(snip)

Posted by: Alamet | Sep 29, 2007 12:22:06 PM | 11

the moron from the white hous i keep on seeing on aljazeera is named brad blakemen

he is so stunningly stupid, so cravenly coarse & screams so shrilly - perhaps he was taught all this at the school of americas

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 29, 2007 1:07:28 PM | 12

wouldn't ya know it blakeman is of course connected with - aipac

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 29, 2007 1:32:14 PM | 13

liberated txt of greg grandin's oct 15th article in the nation --
Chávez: 'Galbraithiano'

Posted by: b real | Sep 29, 2007 2:08:01 PM | 14

noam chomsky interview by eva golinger
A Revolution is Just Below the Surface


...
EVA: Do you think the revolution in Venezuela serves as an example for people in the United States? That change is possible from the ground up?

CHOMSKY: It will if two things happen: One, if it's successful and two, if you can break through the media distortion of what's happening. Two things have to happen, ok? So, I mentioned that I was in Chile last October. The picture of Venezuela that is presented by the media, say in El Mercurio is about the same as it would have been in the old El Mercurio under Pinochet. So as long as that's the picture, that's the prism through which events are perceived, you can't have much of an effect. But if you can change the prism so that things are reported more or less accurately, and if what's happening in fact does constitute a possible model, if those two achievements can be reached, then yes, it could be.


Posted by: b real | Sep 29, 2007 2:20:47 PM | 15

I shared a few pints of Guinness with my brother tonight. He is big into oil exploration in the 'stans, I asked him are the US going to attack Iran, his response was that Israel are going to do it anyway, de facto, war.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Sep 29, 2007 6:49:32 PM | 16

Update on Nahr al-Bared: Return is Promised, But Not Likely Soon

Posted by: Bea | Sep 29, 2007 7:08:32 PM | 17

Largest Workers' Strike in 20 Years Goes Forward in Egypt:

...at the state run textile and weaving company Ghazl Al-Mahala began one of the largest industrial protests of the past two decades, with 27,000 workers downing tools. The strike, say the workers, is a continuation of the action taken in December, when production at the plant was halted. On Saturday night, police forces had surrounded the factory only to withdraw, fearing direct confrontation with the workers. Meanwhile , Minister of Manpower Aisha Abdel-Hady said that action can only be taken once the strike is ended.

The workers have repeated many of the demands they first made in December, and to which the government agreed, only to backtrack on its promises. They include the payment of overdue bonuses, an increase in salaries and better medical services and transport facilities. The workers are also insisting that board chairman Mahmoud El-Gibali be suspended pending investigation into the alleged misuse of funds, and that union officials attached to the state-controlled General Federation of Trade Unions be impeached.

Mohamed Attar, a factory worker and one of the organisers of the current strike, spoke to Al-Ahram Weekly shortly before he was detained, and said workers were more determined than ever to achieve their goals.

"It has become an issue of life and death for us now," he said, explaining that the workers had no choice but to strike after factory and union officials had failed to act and the government broke its earlier promises.

"There was real hope and confidence that the government understood our plight last December and would act accordingly," said Attar. Now, he added, the workers feel betrayed and are in much more militant mood.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 29, 2007 8:56:21 PM | 19

The One Who Makes People Talk

Israeli soldiers talk to a psychologist about their genuine feelings about serving as occupiers.

From Haaretz Hebrew edition.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 29, 2007 9:06:44 PM | 20

All used up and spit out to rot... US soldiers come home to a life not worth living; the cost is already higher than society can bear, and this is just the beginning

Economic forecasts vary widely for the federal costs of caring for injured veterans returning from the Middle East, but they range as high as $700 billion for the VA. That would rival the cost of fighting the Iraq war. In recent years, the VA has repeatedly run out of money to care for sick veterans and has had to ask for billions more before the next budget.

"I wouldn't be surprised if these costs per person are higher than any war previously," says Scott Wallsten, of the conservative think tank Progress and Freedom Foundation.

This piece is heartwrenching.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 29, 2007 9:44:19 PM | 21

Not sure this if this has already been posted on here, and not sure about the reliability of the source, but I found it amusing so I am posting:

months ago, i wrote a post making fun of the bush administration for burning so many diplomatic bridges that it couldn't find an african country willing to host its new african command center for u.s. military operations.

there are 46 countries in africa, more than in any other continent in the world. and that number bumps up to 53 if you include the disputed western sahara and island nations like cape verde, são tomé and príncipe, madagascar, the comoros, the seychelles, and mauritius. together that's about 25% of the total number of nations on earth. and yet, even among some of the poorest countries of the world who would surely reap economic benefits from a large first world military base, we could find not a single taker.

until now that is. yes, africom has finally found a home: the african nation of germany.

Posted by: Bea | Sep 29, 2007 11:04:57 PM | 22

bea - yep, i saw that one the other day. there are some problems w/ it though. first, CENTCOM is HQ'd in tampa, fla, and SOUTHCOM is HQ'd in miami, fla so it's not w/o precedent that a command be based outside of its area of responsibility. currently AFRICOM is starting out as a "sub-command" under the wings of EUCOM, which is HQ'd there in stuttgart, and the plans actually do call for it to be based on the continent of africa by oct 2008 when they take the training wheels off & it becomes its own fully-fledged combatant command.

and, even though there are so many nations on the continent, that doesn't mean the u.s. considers all of 'em potential sites for a HQ or regional cmd ctr. in the written answers that i pointed out last night in the previous OT, gen zippy kip ward listed

Some of the criteria includes: political stability; security factors; access to regional and intercontinental transportation; availability of acceptable infrastructure; quality of life; proximity to the African Union and regional organizations; proximity to USG hubs; adequate Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The transition team has used these criteria to narrow down potential sites. Those potential sites have been briefed to the Dept of State informally and we have begun dialogue on the advantages and disadvantages of those sites.

of course the major disadvantage is that none of the sites on their wishlist has openly agreed to submit, but those criteria, assuming they stick to them, automatically limit the number of candidates that could even be considered. for instance, i don't believe that kenya has signed a SOFA since 1980, which is one of the regional anchors, even though they have had long military relations w/ the u.s.

and, depending on how many personnel are actually stationed at the HQ -- i recently saw an estimate of 800 for AFRICOM staff -- a major consideration is where their families could be planted. gotta have a certain level of infrastructure -- schooling, medical, shopping, transport, communication lines, etc -- just to accomodate the people that tag along. for instance, the school season in stuttgart began w/ a bit of tension as the influx of kids associated w/ parents working at the new cmd resulting in the initial decision to bus some kids to schools as much as 90 minutes away, until parents complained enough that another solution had to be implemented.so any host nation/city has to be able to meet these type of criteria.

my guess would be addis ababa in predominantly-christian ethiopia that is also the HQ for the AU. of course there is the issue of the autocratic meles regimes sad human rights record, its anti-democratic election history (killing 200 or so unarmed protestors disputing the last rigged elections is not the kind of thing that plays well w/ the u.s.' democracy rhetoric), the secret prisons, and the genocides of anuak peoples, the oromo, in the ogaden, and in somalia amongst the hawiye clan. not the kind of reputation that the u.s. can afford to be associated w/, which is why they're spinning hard to put lipstick on this pig. look for more marketing focus on the number of prisoners meles ("the humanitarian") has released this year, ethiopia's GDP & their allegiance to the GWOT to attempt damage control & crafting a cleaner image. at the same time, public pressure & continued exposure of just how unpopular & lethal meles & team are can play a large role in determining whether AFRICOM winds up in addis ababa or not. for those in the u.s. that like to put pressure on the people in dc that claim to be their representatives, congressman payne's H.R. 2003 may be one avenue worth following through on.

Posted by: b real | Sep 30, 2007 1:37:37 AM | 23


to put things in context, Africom is the knee-jerk reaction to the economic & military challenges (from the point of view of USA imperialist minds) posed by diminishing strategic posture vis-a-vis petroleum in Iraq, Venezuela & Iran, all occcuring as China continues to gain all over including Africa. On another front, Russia continues steady gains in the Euro oil & gas sector.

and going by the record of this admin so far, it cannot be a surprise that Africom is not well thought through. Like other policies, its heavy on the military component and light on the diplomatic front.

perhaps most damaging is that it has had the effect of confirming the ages-old worst fears of many Africans that USA policy towards Africa is primarily about resource extraction & divide-&-rule. And what makes it even more damaging is the fact that China's rapidly expanding profile in Africa in effect reduces the timeline available for USA to correct its recent mis-steps. And the list is growing ---- proxy invasion of Somalia, falure to support the AU in Darfur, alienation of Eritrea, South Africa & Nigeria, the condescending & uneffective manner in which Africom continues to be pitched to the Africans.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Sep 30, 2007 4:45:23 AM | 24

I know that there a few contributors here at the Moon that still have a hard time coming to grips with the evidence that point toward disastrous consequences from anthropogenic alteration of the world’s environment, especially the atmosphere.

That scientists on the forefront investigating climate change have been predicting many of these consequences for years and are now seeing their predictions happening doesn’t prove anything, does it?

Well here is just one more example that doesn’t prove anything especially after the energy industries put their big bucks PR spin on it.

The Arctic summer sea ice shrank by more than 20 percent below the previous 2005 record low in mid-September...

I’m looking forward to see how they debunk this one.

Posted by: Juannie | Sep 30, 2007 9:51:18 AM | 25

sheesh Juannie, that's easy. all ya gotta do is listen to Rush Limbaugh. He reads so you don't have to. anyway, Guess what? Antarctica's getting colder, not warmer

Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 30, 2007 11:54:07 AM | 26

actually, my previous link is old news, here is the story that got the ditto heads chattering.

Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 30, 2007 12:05:41 PM | 27

Firsthand story of a selected conduit for 'unnamed intelligence sources':

Spies and their lies

British intelligence has long used clandestine "deniable briefings" to release information real and false to tame hacks including David Rose...

(snip)
Every national paper and broadcasting outlet has one - and usually, only one - reporter to whom each agency will speak, provided they observe the niceties. For these fa voured few, there will be access likely to grow as the journalist proves his or her "worth", along with considerable perks.
(snip)
I remember one particular conversation I had with an official in the early summer of 2003, not long before Andrew Gilligan's BBC broadcast about the government having "sexed up" its dossier on Iraqi WMDs in September 2002. Already it was becoming apparent that the threat had probably been a chimera. "Don't worry," my source said soothingly. "We'll find them. We're certain they're there. It's just taking longer than we expected. Keep your nerve."

Since then, the cloak of plausible deniability has allowed those same spooks to claim they never believed in WMDs at all, and that they were the victims of neocon and Blairite pressure. One source in particular I find particularly hard to forgive - a very senior US official who told me time and again that Saddam really did have operational links with al-Qaeda, only to state very publicly much later that the CIA had never properly endorsed this view, and that its dissemination was all the fault of the Bush administration and Chalabi.
(snip)
Adopting the US model may not be the answer. Milton Bearden, the former head of the CIA's Soviet and eastern Europe division who also led the CIA's covert campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan, warns that journalists' relationships with spooks leave much to be desired. "The energy in the UK seems to be devoted to keeping the media at bay," Bearden says. "In the US, our style has been to spin them into submission. You don't want to get starry-eyed about the way we do business [at the CIA headquarters] in Langley, Virginia." He says he knows of cases where reporters have been taken into agents' confidence - and spun pure disinformation, no less pernicious for being on the record. "There is a structural problem here. The interests of journalists and those of secret intelligence agencies just don't always coincide."
(snip)


Found via the Spin and Spinners blog.

Posted by: Alamet | Sep 30, 2007 1:25:20 PM | 28

Interesting Daily Kos diary (and it is almost equally interesting that it made the recommended list):

U.S. Detention Centers are Part of Long-Term DHS Plan: "ENDGAME," Part I

In summary, ENDGAME is the second phase of a Reagan-era program, COG, furthered by Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to thwart the constitutional process of succession in case of an national emergency or disaster. ENDGAME is now aligned with the immigration arm of government, and also terrorism. It's goal, or "endgame" is to round up and detain "all" deportable aliens or "potential terrorists" before 2012, some 12 million is a conservative estimate. A heady feat, but well on its way with a $400 million contingency contract awarded to Halliburton's subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown, and Root by the Department of Homeland Security.

Posted by: Alamet | Sep 30, 2007 1:30:03 PM | 29

Just for the record dan, here is a link to Dr Peter Dornan’s (lead author of the 2002 Nature paper describing localized cooling in the Antarctic) response to the Antarctic cooling article you linked to. At least for me it puts this climate cooling scenario back in perspective.

So much data and so many interpretations. I spent the first 20 years of my professional career in instrumentation and process (as in chemical, power generation, pulp & paper etc. processes) control engineering. I soon learned that forcing/perturbing a multivariable process in equilibrium usually resulted in wild gyrations and ever increasing cycles of instability. I once almost blew up a nitric acid plant I was trying to optimize with our newly installed process control computer.

The world climate is most certainly a multivariable interactive process that is so complex that we (atmospheric scenists and modelers actively working in the field) are delighted to just get a 24 to 48 hour local forecast 95% correct. From my (a control engineer’s) perspective, homo sapiens have indeed forced or perturbed this system and we are witnessing the beginning of the wild gyrations and probably increasing cycles of instability. I never refer to global warming. I speak of global climate change. The warming trends we are documenting today are but one oscillatory swing in a system/process going unstable. For every push there is a shove. Where it is going I don’t know and nobody does. What I do know is that we have forced a stable process and we are experiencing the beginnings of it shoving back. To anyone honestly observing the data, this is glaringly obvious.

The Limbaugh’s, Colters and other ditto heads trying to debunk the data need no elucidation from me for those at this bar. The question is what to do about them and their ilk and I have no ready answer. I guess I just wanted to rant a little.

Bottom line: Global Climate Change, not global warming.

I guess I should be and probably am more concerned about the detention centers than the chatter signifying nothing from climate change debunkers. Climate change is well under way and there’s little we can do about it but maybe we can expose and do something about the detention centers. Thanks for bringing me back to my senses Alamet.

Posted by: Juannie | Sep 30, 2007 2:16:19 PM | 30

in ecuador tonight, the people of latin & central america have brought another vistory - with their choce of the constitutional assembly

they are bringing light to us - the barbarians

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 30, 2007 7:12:46 PM | 31

Bea @ 19,

Apparently the Mahalla strikers have won! Government delegation has agreed to the workers' demands.

(Arabawy is a good source for Egypt activism.)

Posted by: Alamet | Sep 30, 2007 7:43:32 PM | 32

@juannie I never refer to global warming. I speak of global climate change. I try to remember to refer to it as "climate destabilisation".

Posted by: DeAnander | Sep 30, 2007 7:50:36 PM | 33

Eric Margolis on Blackwater, Sept 24:

The US State Department now has its own little army in Iraq and Afghanistan of about 3,000 Blackwater gunmen who protect American officials and their local collaborators. [emph added] ...

This unprecedented use of mercenaries has masked the depths of US involvement in Iraq and clearly shows how little the occupying forces can rely on the locals, whom they supposedly 'liberated'. It has also allowed the US to sustain an imperial war that could never have been waged with conscripted American soldiers, as Vietnam clearly showed.

Vice President Dick Cheney took Vietnam’s lesson to heart by championing use of mercenaries for nasty foreign wars. But democracies should have no business unleashing armies of hired gunmen on the world. ...

Congress should outlaw them absolutely. ...

How ironic that colonial America, which rose up in arms in response to the British crown’s use of brutal German mercenaries, is today resorting to the same tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan. Europe wants no more of private armies. Americans have yet to learn this painful lesson.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Sep 30, 2007 8:28:14 PM | 34

Sorry, I killed the code. The 'emph added' bit was this:

Some reports say State has spent $678 million alone with Blackwater since 2003. ...

Posted by: Dismal Science | Sep 30, 2007 8:30:18 PM | 35

Darfur Rebels Kill 10 in Peace Force

Hundreds of Darfurian rebels overran an African Union peacekeeping base in the central Darfur region of Sudan in a surprise raid over the weekend, killing at least 10 soldiers, possibly kidnapping dozens more and seizing supplies that included heavy weapons, African Union officials said Sunday.
I wonder how long/how much it will take until the UN will ask the government of Sudan to reign in those rebels.

Posted by: b | Oct 1, 2007 4:45:22 AM | 36

LAT on Darfur - finally some sane reporting pointing to the real problems: Another disaster brews in Darfur

"The clashes could all stop tomorrow and we won't have moved any closer to solving the real problems of Darfur, which I think come down to the environment," said Cate Steains, acting head of U.N. humanitarian operations in El Fasher, capital of the region's northern province.
...
For decades, western Sudan has grappled with climatic changes, particularly in northern Darfur, which lies along the edge of the encroaching Sahara.

Over the last 50 years, annual rainfall in El Fasher has been down 34%, turning millions of acres of grazing land into desert, a recent United Nations Environment Program study found.

Tree coverage in Darfur has dropped as low as 18%, from 48% in 1956, Sudanese forestry researcher Kamil Shawgi said. During the same period, the population of the region -- a territory a quarter the size of California -- swelled fivefold to 6.5 million; the number of grazing animals increased from 30 million to 130 million.
...
Part of the problem, experts say, is that no one is monitoring how much water residents take. It was assumed that each person would use about 4 gallons a day, but average consumption is 6 gallons, and some residents take 15.

Water is intended to be used for drinking and washing, but as the conflict drags on, residents are using it to generate income. Some are filling up donkey-drawn steel drums with free water from Abu Shouk and selling it in El Fasher, according to a recent report by Tearfund, a British-based Christian relief group.

Even more ends up poured into dirt pits to create mud for a booming brick-making enterprise. Workers, mostly young men and boys, can earn $5 a day.
...
But as lines grow longer, friction is more common at the pumps, said Asha Abdulla Noor, 50, who has lived in Abu Shouk for three years. "They shouldn't use the water for bricks," she said. "But you can't tell people not to take the water. They just say, 'This water is from the foreigners, and I'm free to take it.' "

The presence of more than 12,000 aid workers and 7,000 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur is adding to the strain because foreigners tend to use four times as much water as locals. Finding enough water for the 26,000-troop U.N. peacekeeping force approved this summer will be yet another drain.


Posted by: b | Oct 1, 2007 7:11:46 AM | 37

The view from Israel on Attorney General nominee Mukasey

Though the U.S. Senate has yet to approve the recent nomination of Michael Mukasey, a retired federal judge and Modern-Orthodox Jew from New York, as a replacement for outgoing U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, the Jewish community has embraced him....

Secular and religious Jews and opinion shapers alike have over the past weeks expressed unreserved support for Mukasey's candidacy for the U.S. justice system's top executive officer.

As with every other year, Mukasey could be found this Yom Kippur at Kehilath Jeshurun in Manhattan's Upper East Side. At the synagogue, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein describes Mukasey as a veteran frequenter. "He hasn't missed a single prayer during the High Holidays," says Lookstein. "He might skip a prayer here and there, but he's a believer and a devout Jew."

It has been two weeks since U.S. President George Bush announced Mukasey as his candidate to replace Gonzales, who was forced to step down following accusations of illegitimate dismissals of federal prosecutors. Many in the Jewish community regarded the nomination as a gift for the holidays, and leaders and opinion shapers are pouring out the compliments.

Posted by: Bea | Oct 1, 2007 9:11:12 AM | 38

just a note that AFRICOM officially began operations today as a subcommand out of stuttgart, germany w/ a starting staff of 120. not to read too much into it, though i find it foreshadowingly suggestive, but the only source so far is a widely-circulated AP wire story; no press release on the DoD or EUCOM sites, nor have the AFRICOM sites been updated for weeks.

Posted by: b real | Oct 1, 2007 11:15:55 AM | 39

And I thought that Stuttgart was the capital of the German province of Swabia, not the African state of Swaziland...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Oct 1, 2007 11:37:22 AM | 40

another einstein & another apeh

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 1, 2007 12:12:02 PM | 41

another einstein & another ape

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 1, 2007 12:13:20 PM | 42

historic victory for ecuador

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 1, 2007 12:16:12 PM | 43

Posted by: b | Oct 1, 2007 1:14:30 PM | 44

saw that reuter's article yesterday & still wondering how it qualifies as "analysis". i guess you have to read b/w the lines. but i did like the zambian official's line "It is like allowing a giant to settle in your home. And what would you do if you find him with your wife?" meaning why invite the superpower in to take what isn't theirs...

Posted by: b real | Oct 1, 2007 2:11:27 PM | 45

Take this very serious: UNDOF commander concerned about Israeli offensive build-up on Golan Heights

Berlin, 30 September - Major General Wolfgang Jilke, the Austrian commander of the UN Disengagement and Observer Force deployed on the the Golan Heights, voiced out his concerns over the continuing military build-up on the Israeli side of the 75-km long buffer zone. In an interview released to the German Der Spiegel, Jilke alerted public opinion to the danger of clashes breaking out due to Israel's unpreceented concentration of troops and military build-up in the Golan Heights.

He stressed that contrary to what is currently being reported in the Israeli press, the Syrian side has not enhanced its troops' deployment and has remained absolutely quiet, whereas the Israeli side is going into the fourth month of continuous build-up, involving a massive surge of military exercises and an enormous construction activity.

Furthermore, the Israeli army is digging many kilometers of trenches. According to observations of Jilke, the Israeli activities are clearly aimed at preparing for a military offensive involving heavy artillery and air force.

The original interview with Maj.Gen Jilke in German. It is even much sharper than the stuff excerpted above.

He says Syria is doing "absolutly nothing" on its side of the boarder, while Israel is doing maneuvers and preparations of a size never seen before.

Posted by: b | Oct 1, 2007 3:09:06 PM | 46

just watched an interview of the eye doctor & president of syria bashar al assad

it is a very comic turn of affairs when all the demons of the bush cheney regime - are such reasonable people - even awkward people - but not the monsters they want them to be

assad seems quite calm in face of what is clearly an intensification of preparations for war by israel

assad comes across - without spin, without hype - as a doctor who has found himself leading his people - he has always seemed uneasy with his leadership role but every interview i have read or seen - he always appears level headed

while in israel they have gone from one cross dressing hysteric to an obese general who was more murdererer than soldier & otherwise brutes like begin or netanyahu - the last thing they appear to be is level headed

for all the gifts that reside in the jewish people - i don't think israel has ever, ever had a leader of real substance

israel cannot boast of a nasser for example, a person possessing the grandeur of his people

on the contrary we have found from presidents to prime minister for the last 20 or 30 years that there have been issues of corruption or of ethical problems that should shame their elites, but doesn't. it wouldn't be so bad if the aipac hoods did not continually sell the likudniks as closer to god than thee

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 1, 2007 5:32:34 PM | 47

more morales

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 1, 2007 7:45:08 PM | 48

Last week, Burma's junta decisively chose violence over civility. It's soldiers fired automatic weapons at unarmed civilians. This obviously isn't Gorbachev that Burma's peaceful protesters are up against. The junta crossed a line, and that Only 10 out of 200 remained alive The second to last picture on this post says it all. That was last week, this week:

shhhh!! keep it quite, Bangkok got bombed last night.

One of the two English dailies buried the story. The other failed to report the story at all. Almost without exception, every international news service ignored the story.

One bomb went off in Bangkok last night and a second was found to have been planted across the street from Thai Military Headquarters (photo). Two Bangkok men suffered terrible injuries in the blast.



Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 1, 2007 9:39:29 PM | 49

Israeli banks terminate all financial dealings with Gaza

An Israeli journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, commented on the decision, saying that Israeli banks were more serious than the Israeli security cabinet in the designation of Gaza as an 'enemy entity'.

The journalist expressed astonishment at the weak Arab and Palestinian reaction to the decision, saying that "if Israeli banks end their financial dealings with banks in Gaza, the Israeli shekel will disappear from the strip, causing a serious crisis in the local market. The Israeli shekel will be sold on the black market and may reach exceptionally high prices."

The Palestinian stock exchange announced that it will investigate the matter and begin consultations with Israelis to guarantee the security of bank performance in the Palestinian territories.

Posted by: Bea | Oct 1, 2007 10:37:57 PM | 50

The War on Gaza's Children

An entire generation of Palestinians in Gaza is growing up stunted: physically and nutritionally stunted because they are not getting enough to eat; emotionally stunted because of the pressures of living in a virtual prison and facing the constant threat of destruction and displacement; intellectually and academically stunted because they cannot concentrate -- or, even if they can, because they are trying to study and learn in circumstances that no child should have to endure.

Even before Israel this week declared Gaza "hostile territory" -- apparently in preparation for cutting off the last remaining supplies of fuel and electricity to 1.5 million men, women and children -- the situation was dire.

As a result of Israel's blockade on most imports and exports and other policies designed to punish the populace, about 70% of Gaza's workforce is now unemployed or without pay, according to the United Nations, and about 80% of its residents live in grinding poverty. About 1.2 million of them are now dependent for their day-to-day survival on food handouts from U.N. or international agencies, without which, as the World Food Program's Kirstie Campbell put it, "they are liable to starve."

An increasing number of Palestinian families in Gaza are unable to offer their children more than one meager meal a day, often little more than rice and boiled lentils. Fresh fruit and vegetables are beyond the reach of many families. Meat and chicken are impossibly expensive. Gaza faces the rich waters of the Mediterranean, but fish is unavailable in its markets because the Israeli navy has curtailed the movements of Gaza's fishermen.

Posted by: Bea | Oct 1, 2007 10:45:19 PM | 51

now that AFRICOM has breached that institution-speak threshold of "initial operating capability" today in a low key manner, it may be worthwhile to keep an eye on the air force as they look to the sky, pondering what lay head for the vast african continent...

from june

air force link: C-27J Spartan named as Joint Cargo Aircraft

6/14/2007 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The U. S. Army announced a $2.04 billion contract award June 13 to L-3 Communications Integrated Systems for their C-27J Spartan to be the Joint Cargo Aircraft.

This JCA program is a combined Air Force and Army effort to have an airframe that will meet warfighter needs for intratheater airlift.
...
This underutilization of the cargo area in a C-130 is a main reason the JCA was developed. The C-130 and the Army's C-12, C-26 and C-23 do not efficiently satisfy the requirements for the warfighter, the joint leaders said.

"We have always been there to support the warfighter," General Sabol said. "Where this aircraft will fit extremely well (is where) it will relieve the C-130s usage and provide us the ability to meet the time-sensitive, mission-critical needs to the forward deployed warfighter."

also from june

army times: C-27J tapped for Joint Cargo Aircraft

Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Mundt, director of Army aviation, declined to speculate on the total number of JCAs that will ultimately be purchased.

“But I would be very, very surprised if the number turned out to be less than 145,” he said.

Analysts had recently predicted a purchase of about 75 planes for the Army and 70 for the Air Force.

The numbers again may change,” said Maj. Gen. Marshall “Keye” Sabol, operational capability requirements director for the Air Force. “The world is changing. The Army is changing. We have a new command coming up in Africa.

The Army will field the first Spartan unit, which is expected to become operational next year. The Air Force is expected to take delivery of its first plane in 2010.

yesterday

air force times: Will JCA become the next blue gunship?

The Air Force is eyeing the Joint Cargo Aircraft for more than just hauling pallets, the service’s top uniformed leader said Monday.

Throw a couple guns on there, and you’ve got a minigunship.

“We’ve ... talked in terms of looking at a variant of this airplane that looks a lot like a gunship with a 30mm gun,” Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley told reporters.

Speaking at the Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition, Moseley said the Air Force is taking the 40mm and 25mm guns out of its AC-130U gunships and replacing them with 30mm guns.

“If that works,” Moseley said, “then could it be adapted to this airplane to provide additional capacity and capability to Special Ops Command?

also from yesterday

defensenews: U.S. AFRICOM Faces African Concerns

Meantime, U.S. Air Force officials at the AFA conference said they are still in the early stages of determining just what the increased focus on and presence in Africa will mean for the service.

“We don’t have the answers yet,” said Lt. Gen. Arthur Lichte, new Air Mobility Command chief.

But Lichte and other top air service officials said the Joint Cargo Aircraft appears to be the perfect kind of plane, with its medium-lift capacity and ability to use short runways, for the rugged continent.

today

air force magazine online: COIN Operated Lift

The Air Force doesn’t have to overhaul its whole airlift fleet to handle counterinsurgency operations, said a new study by the RAND Corp. Moreover, the report claimed, USAF is probably taking the right approach in buying the Joint Cargo Aircraft, because it needs an airplane to fill the COIN “niche.”
...
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley has touted the JCA as also being an ideal platform with which to engage smaller, poorer nations whose resources are limited and for whom airlift is a priority. Moseley has said the JCA is just the right way to build coalitions in the new US Africa Command.
...
Having such an airplane would enhance USAF’s own COIN capabilities while also “improving its ongoing efforts to help allies develop useful and sustainable airlift forces,” according to the RAND statement. Such an airplane would make the small partner countries better able to defend themselves and offer a way they could participate in larger coalition operations.

remember that the planes won't be delivered for another three or so years, but just keep that in mind while taking in all of the public relations spiel being laid on right now about AFRICOM being there to assist africans, to help them build their own "capacity", to establish free trade & good governance by bringing the 3-D's to the continent (defense, development & diplomacy), and so on and so on.

as the deputy asst secdef for africa, theresa whelan, admitted at the aei panel last week

i think it's important for everyone to understand that we do not believe that we've got this right. ... we are firmly convinced that we've probably screwed it up somehow, but we're not quite sure exactly how. ... so we're also convinced that what AFRICOM looks like on Oct 1st 2008 when it stands up as a fully operational unified command will be quite different from what it looks like 5 years down the line.

Posted by: b real | Oct 1, 2007 11:16:14 PM | 52

great work b real.

Posted by: Bea | Oct 1, 2007 11:33:13 PM | 53

Bolivia’s Evo Morales Wins Hearts and Minds in US

While Iranian President Ahmedinejad stole the headlines during the United Nations meeting last week in New York, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales - a humble coca farmer, former llama herder and union organizer - stole the hearts of the American people. At public events and media appearances, Bolivia’s first-ever indigenous president reached out to the American people to dialogue directly on issues of democracy, environmental sustainability, and social and economic justice.

Morales appeared at a public event packed with representatives of New York’s Latino, labor, and other communities, speaking for 90 minutes - without notes - about how he came to power, and about his government’s efforts to de-colonize the nation, the poorest in South America. At first, he said, community organizations did not want to enter the cesspool of politics. But they realized that if they wanted the government to act in the interest of the poor Indigenous majority, they were going to have to make alliances with other social movements, win political representation democratically, and then transform the government.

Now having been elected to office, they have a clear mandate based on the urgent needs of the majority: to organize a Constitutional Assembly to rewrite the Constitution (controversial with the traditional elites, but well on its way), engage in a comprehensive program of land reform and decriminalize the production of coca for domestic use (in progress), and reclaim control over the oil and gas industries (mission accomplished.)

While other heads of state were meeting with bankers and billionaires, Morales asked his staff to set up a meeting with U.S. grassroots leaders so he could learn about our struggles and how we could work together. The meeting included high-ranking labor leaders, immigrant organizers, Indigenous leaders, peace activists and environmentalists. “I’ve lived in New York during a lot of UN meetings, and I’ve never seen a president reach out to the labor community like Evo did today,” remarked Ed Ott, Executive Director of the New York City Central Labor Council.

Posted by: b real | Oct 2, 2007 12:19:12 AM | 54

Should an 'activist' edit the editorial and opinion pages of a major newspapers?

Staff writer Glenn Kessler in today's WaPo:

China Rejects Attempt to Link Developments in Burma to Beijing Olympics

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy said yesterday that his government is working hard to stem the violence in Burma and argued against efforts by activists to link participation in the Beijing-based 2008 Summer Olympics to China's handling of Burma.

WaPo opinion and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt yesterday:

What We Owe the Burmese

[H]ere's something else I would do: Tell China that, as far as the United States is concerned, it can have its Olympic Games or it can have its regime in Burma. It can't have both.

Just asking ...

Posted by: b | Oct 2, 2007 4:20:50 AM | 55

Andrew Bacevich's take on Petraeus is worth reading. Its collocation at a conservative
web-site is also worth noting.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Oct 2, 2007 5:11:44 AM | 56

A neocon writer at weekly standard cautions you not to be ridiculous and paranoid if you chance to read, as some are these days, Sinclair Lewis' novel It Can't Happen Here, in which "an illiterate dweeb with sleazy charm and animal cunning," backed by "a smooth and duplicitous political mastermind," becomes president, "cooks up a war to extend his own power, cows Congress, corrupts the courts, bankrupts the country and all but destroys the press."

Because it can't happen here.

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 2, 2007 5:41:02 AM | 57


its interesting to note that despite the deceitful & condesceding charade being put forth by pro-Africom sources, virtually all African sources with the exemption of proxies Ethiopia, Uganda & wanabee-proxy Liberia are clear-eyed & unanimous in their opposition to Africom and their reasons why.

yet, its laughable that the Africom planners continue to insist that over time, Africom will prove its worth & the Africans will come around. This is the same old White-Mans-Burden, all over again. It worked in the past because the Africans lacked awareness of their adversary and they have since payed the price. But Africoms planners do not understand that todays conditions are completely different.

over & over, opinion makers in Africa have stated their discomfort with the nature of moral superiority (or some refer to it as cultural superiority) that underlies perceptions & actions of the West towards Africa. And it gets dangerous as Westerners feel compelled to help Africa via any means, regardless, the ends will justify it. And the West will inevitably convince itself that regardless of the outcome of their interactions with Africa, the Africans are still better off, with the exception of those encounterss that result in clear disasters, in whch case the West will convince itself that Africa failled itself once again, despite the Wests honorable intentions. But the Africans can increasingly see through all of this & they see a scam.

hence, given this background, what is Africom capable of achieving ?

also, one has to be concerned for nations Ethiopia, Uganda & Liberia. These nations are agreeing to be used as proxies against their neighbors. But history tells us this can often lead to serious backlash over time.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 2, 2007 7:00:31 AM | 58

Talk by Naomi Klein September 27, 2007 at Town Hall Seattle, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism"

Well worth you time.

I'd love to get Naomi together with Antonia Juhasz.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 2, 2007 7:12:09 AM | 59

US Senate Vote [on Partition] Unites Iraqis in Anger

BAGHDAD — Iraq's political leadership, in a rare show of unity, skewered a nonbinding U.S. Senate resolution passed last week that endorses the decentralization of Iraq through the establishment of semiautonomous regions.

The measure, which calls for a relatively weak central government and strong regional authorities in Sunni Arab, Shiite and Kurdish areas, has touched a nerve here, raising fears that the United States is planning to partition Iraq.

"The Congress adopted this proposal based on an incorrect reading and unrealistic estimations of the history, present and future of Iraq," said Izzat Shahbandar, a member of former interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's secular parliamentary bloc.

He was reading from a statement also signed by preeminent Shiite Muslim religious parties and the main Sunni Arab bloc.

"It represents a dangerous precedent to establishing the nature of the relationship between Iraq and the U.S.A.," the statement said, "and shows the Congress as if it were planning for a long-term occupation by their country's troops."


Posted by: Bea | Oct 2, 2007 11:18:10 AM | 60

Chaos and Unity in a Fragmented Iraq

Interesting analysis.

What General David Petreaus and his master, President George W. Bush, would like us to believe is that recent American policy in Iraq can be seen as a military success but a political failure judged in terms of the inability of the country's sectarian leaders to unite. What they cannot see is that the two are much more closely related than they are willing to admit....

The major reasons why sectarian leaders cannot come together to create a united leadership for a united Iraq is that, rather than being able to control their followers outside the Green Zone, they are now, to a larger extent, controlled by them....

The result: a patchwork of local groups and alliances no longer neatly split, if they ever really were, into different sectarian parties, management of which has mutated far beyond the capacity of the Maliki government, the occupying forces or even the Iranians to understand, let alone direct or control.

The implications are that Anglo-American policy aimed at building a central government consisting of a working arrangement among the leaders of all the larger sectarian parties has failed. Without the power over their constituents that comes from their ability to provide them with resources, these leaders have become largely captive to the more bellicose and outspoken among their followers....

If this analysis is correct, then Bush is right to believe that the presence of a large American military force is all that now holds the country together. But, by the same token, it cannot succeed in uniting Iraq behind a strong central government because the forces of disintegration unleashed by the occupation are now far too strong.

As a result Iraq faces a situation roughly analogous to Lebanon during its civil war in the late 1970s and 1980s or Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Soviet Army in the 1990s; a situation in which warlord militias will increasingly rule the roost until one or other of them, or perhaps a combination, can obtain enough strength to create the beginnings of a new order.

Posted by: Bea | Oct 2, 2007 11:27:09 AM | 61

Pepe Escobar:The Southern Axis of Evil

Blowback: How the US's overreach is freeing countries, particularly in South and Latin America, from the shackles of "free trade" -- or more precisely, "western capital" -- and opened the possibility for an entirely new world system - one without a hegemonic power.

~Snip

The big picture

One does not need to be the invaluable Immanuel Wallerstein, professor emeritus at Yale and director of the Fernand Braudel Center in New York, to read the writing on the wall. Wallerstein argues that the Bush administration's endless-war ethos has not only exposed all the limits of US bombs-and-bullets power but has also laid bare to the world US political impotence.

This is the real talk of the town in western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa: US hegemony coming to an irreversible end, revealing, Wallerstein would say, "multiple poles of geopolitical power". We are entering "a situation of structural crisis towards the construction of a new world system" - with no hegemonic power.

The multiple poles include the US, western Europe, Russia, China, Japan, India, South Africa, Iran, Brazil and the southern cone and, Wallerstein would add, "maybe South America as a regional bloc".

South America already boasts a powerful regional economic bloc, Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay as full members; Venezuela to be ratified soon). Mercosur could eventually gobble up the Andean Pact nations as well (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia). Internal tensions are rife - even if most are now under leftist/progressive governments. But every actor now knows the name of the game is to push toward true geopolitical autonomy.

Posted by: Bea | Oct 2, 2007 11:33:29 AM | 62

The Ultimate Mission

An exciting and thrilling new way to experience Israel!

Meet the "heroes" who carry out targeted killings...

Observe/participate in a live penetration of Arab territory...

Gain first-hand understanding of what Life in Israel is all about... living in round-the-clock fear of extinction, all for the bargain basement price of $2,185! (not including air fare, of course).

Need I say more?

Posted by: Bea | Oct 2, 2007 11:58:44 AM | 63

struck with deep pang of brotherly concern last night tuning in to watch democracy now. something has happened to our dear sister, amy goodman, causing her some kind of facial paralysis. the right side of her face is unmoving -- her right eye unblinking. caught her interview with seymour hersh this morning -- same situation.

this might sound facil or overblown, but, truly, one of the very high points of my life in the last decade was hearing the radiant delight and exuberance in amy's voice as she reported the protests around the world that preceeded the invasion of Iraq. like, if amy is happy, wowwie-wow-wow-wow, we can all be happy! eh?

that broadcast is immortalized in a song by a group called le tigre: Peace Now! -- a song that can still crack through my cynicism and despair, and break my heart open!

have been googling this morning, trying to learn what's happened to amy, but, so far, find nothing. any news out there?

send her some love!

Posted by: manonfyre | Oct 2, 2007 1:14:28 PM | 64

manonfyre- she explained on today's program right after the news (10:48 in) that she has "a temporary condition called bells palsy" affecting a facial nerve that will last for several weeks.

Posted by: b real | Oct 2, 2007 1:24:29 PM | 65

Did anyone notice this - did anyone report but the wire services reported it?

Thwarted in efforts to bring troops home from Iraq, Senate Democrats on Monday helped pass a defense policy bill authorizing another $150 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vote was 92-3.
House Moves on Troop Withdrawal Plan

I didn't see this in any of the major papers and the headline obviously is about something different

Can you say suppressed news?

Posted by: b | Oct 2, 2007 2:35:56 PM | 66

update: the two germans filmmakers were released by the nigerian govt, but the u.s. lady is still being held, though the story is now getting pretty silly

Nigeria: Espionage - SSS Implicates American Lady

The American lady, Dr. Judith Burdin Asuni, arrested with two Germans on suspicion of spying in the Niger Delta, may have been found culpable.

The two Germans said to be journalists have been cleared of any involvement in the espionage case being investigated by the State Security Services (SSS) and have been released.

Intelligence sources told THISDAY in Abuja yesterday that SSS investigation so far has shown that the woman has a case to answer.
...
According to sources, Asuni was said to have deceived the two German journalists who were coming to Nigeria to report on the Niger Delta crisis to apply as working for her non-governmental organisation (NGO) as she reportedly claimed they would be denied visas if they applied as journalists.

The journalists' acquiescence to this was said to be their only involvement in the matter.

SSS Spokesman, Ado Muazu, told THISDAY that the journalists had been left off the hook after it was established that the American lady who is still being held tricked them into the deal.

sounds like they're throwing everything they can at her, hoping something manages to stick

"Ongoing investigations have revealed unbelievable wide spy network being run by the lady," the source said, while also confirming that the American Embassy in Nigeria has distanced itself from the woman as the embassy was not willing to defend her. ... Investigations also revealed that the woman who was said to be very close to former President Olusegun Obasanjo used his name to coerce, intimidate and harass people to clear road for her numerous deals including collection of money from oil companies (Shell and Chevron) and state governments in the Niger Delta region.

Aside Obasanjo, former governors of Rivers and Delta States, Peter Odili and James Ibori, were also known to have come in contact with the woman.

Among the activities that landed her in trouble was the alleged unholy and questionable romance with hostage takers, cult members and militias in Bayelsa State.

She is also alleged to have stage-managed a phony hostage taking aimed at embarrassing the Nigerian Government.
...
It was also learnt that SSS investigation confirmed an unbelievable level of penetration of top government functionaries, oil companies and embassies by the lady.

Tactics allegedly employed by Asuni included dropping names of prominent persons; intimidation and collection of sensitive information on the activities of government.

She was also said to have brazenly exploited the crisis in the Niger Delta and was believed to have coerced some Niger Delta governors into sponsoring her activities.

Oil companies are said to have paid billions of naira to sponsor her activities like seminars, conflict management talks all in the name of peace making which is the official and stated aim of her NGO, the Academic Associates Peace Work, which began in Ibadan, Oyo State, a few years ago. She has since changed from peace making to what some intelligence experts called 'conflict entrepreneur.'

The most intriguing revelation, according to sources, is the alleged attempt by the woman to penetrate the nation's security system.

From the classified and sensitive information alleged to be in her possession, security sources concluded she must be running an espionage network.

"What is unmistakable is that she must be running an espionage network for some countries," one security source said.

ah yes, the old name-dropping trick. they fall for it every time

probably can't take the charges too seriously, as another report "informs" its readers that

Competent sources within the security outfit told LEADERSHIP in Abuja, "The most damning revelation is how she attempted to penetrate the nation's security system. Classified and sensitive information was found in her possession. It was discovered that she was running an espionage network for some countries. She is also believed to be the source of information to some American and western election observers that made them to conclude the 2007 elections were flawed."

never mind the active national media that covered the elections, the citizen voices, or the international observers...

Posted by: b real | Oct 2, 2007 2:53:20 PM | 67

@ b real, #65

thank you!

Posted by: manonfyre | Oct 2, 2007 3:29:20 PM | 68

@ b 66

TPM reports:

Dem Rep. David "Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, just said at a presser that he'll use his power as committee chair to block future war funding measures if they don't contain clear timetables for withdrawal from Iraq and don't allow for longer troop rest times.

“I would be more than willing to report out a supplemental meeting the President’s request if that request were made in support of a change in policy that would do three things.
-- "Establish as a goal the end of U.S. involvement in combat operations by January of 2009."

-- "Ensure that troops would have adequate time at home between deployments as outlined in the Murtha and Webb amendments."

-- "Demonstrate a determination to engage in an intensive, broad scale diplomatic offensive involving other countries in the region."

“But this policy does not do that. It simply borrows almost $200 billion to give to the Departments of State, Defense, Energy, and Justice with no change in sight.

... “I also have no intention of acquiescing in a policy that will result in draining the treasury so dry that it will result in the systematic disinvestment of America’s future.

It is true that the Senate can pass as many spineless resolutions as it wants, but the purse strings reside exclusively with the House. If the house doesn't open the purse, funding does not happen. All actual spending appropriations must originate in the House, which makes the Chair of the Appropriations Committee and the chairs of some other appropriations subcommittees quite powerful.

In fact, something like this actually happened WRT Nicaraguan contras under Reagan. Both Houses actually passed a resolution which basically approved US resistance to Sandinistas in Nicaragua. But funding bills move separately.

A Dem US congressman, who headed the appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding contras, disagreed with fighting, as did many of this Dem colleagues. He sat on the funding bill, simply would not report it out of committee. Thus, to oversimplify, there was no funding for fighting Sandinistas, and the Reagan administration birthed Ollie North and the Iranian weapons deals to fund the fight illegally.

Congressional rules have probably been changed since that time, to reduce the power of individual committee chairs. Nevertheless, if Obey sticks, he can certainly turn the speed of funding way down.

Posted by: small coke | Oct 2, 2007 4:27:45 PM | 69

@62

Immanuel Wallerstein pov makes a lot of sense

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 2, 2007 7:38:13 PM | 70

@67
"Ongoing investigations have revealed unbelievable wide spy network being run by the lady," the source said, while also confirming that the American Embassy in Nigeria has distanced itself from the woman as the embassy was not willing to defend her. ...

so if this is true, this courageous White American woman, having put in so much to help the oppressed peoples of the Niger-Delta, gets left to hang out to dry

then again, it does'nt help her case that she married a Black African man. So moral of the story -- White women beware, if you must have a mission, go to Peoria !!!

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 2, 2007 8:04:53 PM | 71

the essential evil of the u s empire is on full display at the hearings into blackwater

anyone who has any ambivalence at all - need only watch the carrion eating away at itself

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Oct 2, 2007 8:19:23 PM | 72

from the prepared testimony of the human right's watch panelist at today's house subcommittee hearing, Ethiopia and the State of Democracy: Effects on Human Rights and Humanitarian Conditions in the Ogaden and Somalia

The Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in the Horn of Africa: The Cases of Somalia and the Ogaden Region of Ethiopia

...

..today Human Rights Watch would like to focus on the conduct of the Ethiopian military, not only because the Ethiopian government’s military forces have systematically committed atrocities and violated the basic laws of war, but because Ethiopia is a key ally and partner of the United States in the Horn of Africa.

The crimes committed by Ethiopian forces in the Ogaden and in Somalia are not unique, on the contrary they add to a mounting toll of abuses that have made Ethiopian security forces among the most abusive on the continent. Human Rights Watch has previously documented crimes against humanity by Ethiopian military forces in Gambella, and serious abuses in Oromia, Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia.

We recognize that Ethiopia has legitimate and serious domestic and regional security concerns, and that all of the warring parties share responsibility for atrocities against civilians. Nevertheless, nothing justifies the severe violations we are witnessing today in the Ogaden, or the conduct of Ethiopian forces and their allies in Mogadishu.

In the Ogaden, we have documented massive crimes by the Ethiopian army, including civilians targeted intentionally; villages burned to the ground as part of a campaign of collective punishment; public executions meant to terrify onlooking villagers; rampant sexual violence used as a tool of warfare; thousands of arbitrary arrests and widespread and sometimes deadly torture and beatings in military custody; a humanitarian and trade blockade on the entire conflict area; and hundreds of thousands of people forced away from their homes and driven to hunger and malnutrition.

The Ogaden is not Darfur. But the situation in Ogaden follows a frighteningly familiar pattern: a brutal counter insurgency operation with ethnic overtones in which government forces deliberately attacks civilians and displace large populations, coupled with severe restrictions on humanitarian assistance.

Unlike in Darfur, however, the state that is perpetrating abuses against its people in Ogaden is a key US ally and recipient of seemingly unquestioning US military, political, and financial support. Furthermore the crisis in Ogaden is linked to a U.S.-supported military intervention by Ethiopia in Somalia that has been justified in terms of counter terrorism. Because the United States has until now supported Ethiopia so closely, there is a widespread and growing sentiment in the region that the United States also shares some of the blame for the Ethiopian military’s abusive conduct. The increasing resentment produced by the silence over these atrocities risks radicalizing parts of the large Muslim population in the region and undermining the United States’ stated goal of combating militant Islamist groups in the region. It is imperative for the United States to use its influence in the region to end these abuses and ensure the well-being of civilians caught in these conflicts.

A crucial first step would be for the U.S. government to publicly acknowledge the depth of the suffering, especially in the Somali region of Ethiopia—and then, immediately, take concrete steps to alleviate that misery. Doing so would comply with the United States’ obligations under international law. It would also be the right thing to do, and, I’m sure of some interest to you, it would probably serve the national interest of the United States much better than the Administration’s current policy. We hope this hearing will help achieve those results.

the hearing today puts pressure on the u.s. govt to modify its relationship w/ the ethiopian govt.

the chair of the ogaden human rights committee canada, fowsia abdulkadir, spelled out to the committee how what the ethiopian govt is doing in the ogaden is categorically genocide:

I would submit to you that, the actions of the Zenawi regime placed upon the Ogaden, could be defined as genocide. And to that end, it is morally imperative that action be taken to mend broken lives.

Furthermore, my presentation would be incomplete if I did not mention the one big difference between Ogaden and Darfur. And that is, the government is doing the very acts of terrorizing the communities.

The currently accepted definition of genocide is the one contained in the 1984 United Nations Convention on Genocide:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national ethnical, or religious groups, as such: 1) Killing members of the group; 2) Causing serious bodily harm to members of the group; 3) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; 4) Imposing measures intended to prevent birth within the group; 5) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”.

Actions by the Ethiopian military such as these listed below are to genocide.

· On July 22nd, 2007, in Qoriile, Ethiopian armed forces came in with a list of names, and then arrested a number of civilians. They transferred them to their barracks, where they were subjected to extensive torture. On July 24th, 2007, the Ethiopian armed forces killed the detainees in their custody, in Babaase. Most of the victims were hanged from acacia trees and then shot to ascertain their death. Ridwan Hassan Rage survived, and told about this massacre.

· Mr. Chairman, in November 20th, 2005, Ethiopian forces razed to the ground the village of Fooljeex, which is located 44 Km east of Qabridaharre. Before torching the residences, they looted personal properties and burned all the things they could not carry with them including the village’s barns, which contained more than 6000 Quintals of sorghum and maize. Pastoral development and Relief Association’s educational project in the area has also been damaged. (OHRC report 2007:18)

· Earlier in 2005, Ethiopian armed forces committed mass killings in Qabridaharre, Farmadow, Shilaabo, Madax-Maroodi, Karin-Bilicle and Gurdumi. (OHRC report 2007:18)

Mr. Chairman, I would submit to you that these acts fit very well within Article I and II of the current UN definition of genocide.

(and wtf -- another congressional hearing re africa where yet again somebody has placed j. peter pham as an "expert" witness.)

the house today passed H.R. 2003 - Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act of 2007

The House of Representatives passed a measure Tuesday that would require the U.S. government to withhold security assistance to Ethiopia and impose travel restrictions on its leaders unless the African country met democratic benchmarks.

If the measure becomes law and sanctions were imposed, Ethiopia could risk losing travel assistance and the U.S. could impose bans on government and security officials from traveling to the United States.
...
The bill, called the Ethiopia Democracy and Accountability Act, would require the U.S. president to certify that Ethiopia had made reforms before dropping the restrictions.

The steps that Ethiopia would have to take to be certified include releasing political prisoners, strengthening its independent judiciary, punishing security forces involved in atrocities and ensuring independent media.

The measure would have to be passed by the Senate and signed by the president to take effect. It would allow the president to waive the restrictions and travel bans by certifying to the Congress that doing so was in the U.S. national interest.

Training for peacekeeping and counter terrorism would also be exempted from the restrictions on security assistance.

The bill included language that criticized the 2005 Ethiopian elections and a crackdown on opposition afterward.

still has to get through the senate though & signed by the executive office, which isn't likely to happen in this day & age where aggression & murder are, if not encouraged, understood as necessary & acceptable so long as it can be justified w/ GWOT narratives.

Posted by: b real | Oct 3, 2007 12:18:10 AM | 73

latest PINR analysis on somalia
Somalia's President Yusuf Loses His Grip on Power

Determining the present moment of Somalia's political history is the fate of the T.F.G. Unpopular, weak and dependent on an Ethiopian occupation force for survival, the T.F.G. is nonetheless backed by the Western donor powers that sustain it, and the international and regional organizations that follow their lead, as the sole means of achieving stability in Somalia.

In PINR's judgment, the T.F.G. has now become too divided to be the vehicle of a coherent transition to permanent institutions scheduled to be in place for elections in 2009. There are signs that the international community has also reached that judgment, but that it cannot act on it because it has given itself no other option than support of the T.F.G. If the T.F.G. implodes, the external actors will be left without a policy.
...
Meanwhile, Somalia's devolutionary cycle accelerates.

Posted by: b real | Oct 3, 2007 12:40:07 AM | 74

It isn't news for MOA visitors, but Badger's latest post documents the point of view of a leading Saudi cleric on who really controls the jihadis. It's not hard to imagine the countries on his list of suspects, although the Mufti is too discreet to name them.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Oct 3, 2007 12:57:51 AM | 75

Eritrea aspires to be self-reliant, rejecting foreign aid

"We need this country to stand on its two feet," Isaias said in an interview. Fifty years and billions of dollars in post-colonial international aid have done little to lift Africa from chronic poverty, he said.
...
"These are crippled societies," Isaias said of neighbors whom he described as relying on donors rather than developing their economies. "You can't keep these people living on handouts because that doesn't change their lives."
...
Isaias said he was being punished for opposing Ethiopia's troop deployment to Somalia last year, which helped oust the Islamic Courts group from Mogadishu. The U.S. government supported the overthrow of the Islamists.
...
The Eritrean leader insisted he was not trying to isolate his country but was attempting to protect it from foreign influences that he said hurt developing countries. He said Eritrea would rejoin regional and global markets once it developed a manufacturing and production capacity and could compete on an equal footing. Until then, he added, "we say, leave us alone. Let us do our work."

not quite sure yet what to make of this, but African countries seriously need to get away from the traps, moral superiorities & deceits that comes with foreign aid entanglements.

blow-back can come in different shapes & form. And this one presents a major challenge for USA & its Ethiopia proxy. its probably not the result they were hopinng for from their big Horn adventure.

the Chinese will be watching this with great interest. Likewise the Russians, Venezuela, Cuba.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Oct 3, 2007 4:18:05 AM | 76

Interesting that this story of the Israeli bombing of the http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-liberty1002,0,3053738.story?coll=bal_tab01_layout>USS Liberty is the second story this week revising the incident. In the link our friend http://www.turcopolier.typepad.com/>Pat Lang is mentioned as one of the protagonists privy to original transcripts, and just happens to be currently "out of town".mmmmmm, I wonder about a gathering push back among the intelligentsia against the Israeli lobby in advance of the upcoming http://www.turcopolier.typepad.com/>AIPAC trials of Rosen/Weissman, set to take place in January. And in the process muddy the waters on any joint U.S./Israeli attack on Iran.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 3, 2007 4:49:46 AM | 77

fpif article by the senior analyst for cdi responsible for that recent 25-nation study i've linked to a few times

The GWOT Effect of Arms for Dictators

U.S. arms export policy, which is codified in the Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act, is supposed to prohibit U.S. weapons exports and military assistance that would undermine long-term security and stability, weaken democratic movements, support military coups, escalate arms races, exacerbate ongoing conflicts, cause arms build-ups in unstable regions, or be used to commit human rights abuses. Yet since Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration has eagerly pushed those restrictions aside. It has provided billions of dollars of weapons and military training to countries the U.S. State Department repeatedly assesses as having weak and undemocratic governments, appalling human rights records, and in some cases having supported terrorism.

Using U.S. government data alone, I have analyzed military assistance data to 25 countries1 that have been identified by the United States as having a strategic role in the “war on terror.” Seventeen of the countries are also part of the 28 “front-line” states identified by the Bush administration as “countries that cooperate with the United States in the war on terrorism or face terrorist threats themselves”; others reflect new priorities for counter-terrorism operations around the world or are strategically located near Afghanistan and Iraq.

My analysis shows that in negotiating arms deals, the administration has elevated efforts to eradicate international terrorist networks and cooperation with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan above traditional arms export criteria. Military assistance to these countries is increasing despite the recipients’ documented human rights abuses and undemocratic governance. During the first five years after Sept. 11, 2001 the United States sold nearly five times more weapons (through Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sales ) to these 25 countries than during the five years before 9-11. Sales increased from $1,771,753,000 to $8,741,686,000. Total Direct Commercial Sales (DCS are sales directly between U.S. companies and recipients, including foreign governments) for the 25 countries since Sept. 11, 2001 have reached new highs, rising from $72 million between FY 97 and FY 01 to more than $3 billion between FY 02 and FY 06.

and borev.net points out how wapo & newsweek recently edited two versions of the same interview (w/ ecuador's rafael correa) for their respective publications

Yesterday we linked to that mock-tastic Washington Post interview with hot-hot-hot Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. Today, a reader informs us that reporter Lally Weymouth was conducting the interview on behalf of Newsweek as well as the Post (corporate media hegemony etc. etc. etc.) Ok, fine.

Interestingly, all of those unbelievably arrogant questions we complained about in the Post interview never made it into the Newsweek edition, but even weirder is that both outlets industriously edited the questions and the answers. Newsweek trimmed things in order to make the interviewer look (mercifully) smarter and less cocky, while the Washington Post’s edits aimed to make Correa look terse and hostile. Fine goals each, I’m sure, but neither is particularly journalistic.

Posted by: b real | Oct 3, 2007 3:05:44 PM | 78

Look amerika! Here is a country that is undemocratic:


'Spoiled child' demands Tonga democracy

A Tongan pro-democracy MP who has demanded immediate political changes has been described as a "spoiled child" by the country's Prime Minister.

Pro-democracy politician Akilisi Pohiva said there would be ongoing demonstrations and civil disobedience unless Tonga became more democratic soon.

There are only nine people in Tonga's Parliament who are directly elected by voters. Nine MPs are appointed to represent the nobles and 15 people are directly appointed by the King.

A report last year recommended that a new 26-member parliament be made up of 17 people's and nine noble's representatives.

A committee to investigate the changes recently became deadlocked over the date reforms should begin, and the Parliament voted to put constitutional changes on hold until 2010.

It has many resources - thousands of different postage stamps and cheap passports for crims on the run being the two largest, yet the King of Tonga won't relinquish control of the political system. There is no trickledown of the kickbacks he cops for the passports, or dodgy web sites he embarasses his deeply religious people with by flogging off rude domain names. He told them to "get back to their basketweaving or whatever it is they do" during a memorable TV interview after his accession to the throne last year.

The western media particularly the Australian media in this patronisingly racist article think he is a great joke getting about in his monocle, dressed like a victorian colonial governor in ostrich feather hats and silly Gilbert and Sullivan uniforms, but the people of Tonga aren't laughing.

Last year they burned down the CBD which had been taken over by migrant businessmen the only people with the money for kickbacks in that society where cash is in short supply. They were sick of being ripped off by high prices for the pittance they earned in a country where union leaders and newspaper editors risk imprisonment without due process.

So can someone tell the big boss of amerikaland George W Bush that here is a country which suffers from a democracy deficit disorder and has a beatable military (about 20 soldiers and an aging boeing aircraft). Although the king may challenge him to pistols at dawn or somesuch to decide who rules the joint.

Dubya can claim a great victory over the Chinese here as PRC was making investments until the riots burned them out I suppose they came back since amerika left a vacuum. An excerpt:

The US Congress last month received a 30-page report, “The Southwest Pacific: US Interests and China’s Growing Influence”, drafted by the foreign affairs, defense, and trade division of the Congressional Research Service (CRS), its public policy research arm.

The document provided a blunt assessment of Washington’s strategic interests in the South Pacific. It noted increasing opposition to Australian government interventions in the region and warned that the regional hegemony established by the US and its allies in the aftermath of World War II was being undermined by China. . .

. . . A striking feature of the paper was its frank elaboration of Washington’s interests. While sections of the document included pro forma declarations of US support for democracy, these were jettisoned when it discussed the key issue of intensifying regional great power rivalry. . . .

. . . .The Congressional report paid particular attention to China’s encroachments into Australian and New Zealand spheres of influence—Melanesia (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu) and Polynesia (Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands) respectively.

The report noted that the US scaled back its presence in these areas in the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR lessened their perceived strategic significance. The last US bilateral development aid program ended in 1996, with the closure of USAID’s regional aid mission office in Fiji. Diplomatic programs such as the Peace Corps missions were also scaled back, and a number of embassies in the smaller Pacific states closed or amalgamated. . . .

I don't particularly want amerikan influence back, if there must be 'regional bosses' from the superpowers at the moment China seems the best since they leave you pretty much alone, but the Tongans don't want the mad king with his silly Oxbridge accent and dubious sexual practises to be left alone, so if Shrub really needs to get a win on the board before his duck loses all it's legs why doesn't he 'liberate' Tonga?

Can someone please point his chief god botherer in the direction of Tonga so he can wise Dubya up to the predicament these 'good xtian folks' find themselves in.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Oct 3, 2007 4:42:38 PM | 79

Bush & co have been raising bureaucratic roadblocks to providing healthcare insurance to children.

Yesterday Congress passed a bill to override these blocks. A group of state governors file suit against Bush Administration charging them with illegal interference.

Today Bush vetoes the SCHIP bill from Congress. Will Congress override the veto? Will the governors' slower move through the courts succeed?

A national consensus is forming. How long can Bush hold back the tide?

Elliot Spitzer, Gov - NY
Why I Am Suing the Bush Administration

Somebody had to do it.

After months of negotiation and countless attempts at compromise, the Bush administration is still refusing to let New York and other states across the country expand their State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP). The president is refusing to back down from destructive new rules his Administration has imposed -- the sole purpose of which are to curb bi-partisan state efforts to insure more of our nation's children.

The reason? As the president himself put it: "I mean, people have access to health care in America. They can just go to the emergency room."

The bureaucratic barriers to coverage the Bush administration has imposed are not only fundamentally misguided, but also illegal...

...They conflict with the statute authorizing SCHIP. Moreover, they were issued without the opportunity for public comment, as required by federal law. Accordingly, I have joined Democratic and Republican governors from states across the country to bring a lawsuit challenging these new rules in court.


Posted by: small coke | Oct 3, 2007 4:48:33 PM | 80

update on #67

after earlier rpts that they'd been released & cleared, reuters is reporting that the two german filmmakers are now being charged in nigeria
Nigeria charges two Germans over oil delta images

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria charged two German men on Wednesday with breaching its Official Secrets Act and endangering national security by taking photographs and video footage of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

An American woman based in the delta and a Nigerian man were also charged with violating the secrets act for helping the Germans, and with advising them to make false declarations to get visas.

"Florian Alexander Orpitz, 35 ... and Andy Lehmann, 26 ... did for a purpose prejudicial to the security of Nigeria take photographs and video shots of pipelines, refineries, petroleum installations, ships," said one of the charges against the Germans.

Nigeria's director of public prosecutions, Salihu Aliyu, told reporters after the Germans were arraigned that they faced a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

Judge Binta Murtala-Nyako adjourned the case until Friday and ordered that the suspects be held in the custody of the State Security Services (SSS), a secret police force.

hmmm

Posted by: b real | Oct 3, 2007 11:57:37 PM | 81

William Pfaff on U.S. elections: Dehumanizing America's Presidential Candidates

Americans will soon near the end of the first year of the 2008 presidential campaign, which actually began before the congressional mid-term election of 2006. The candidates of both parties have already lost much if not most of their human recognizability and have increasingly come to resemble synthetic creatures uttering programmed opinions that relate to a virtual rather than real national and international society.
...
All these individuals at the start had individual convictions about how to accomplish such goals. The election industry with all but unvarying success turns them into people who say exactly the same things about everything,
...
The dissident will have revealed himself or herself as less than a strong leader, a policy irresponsible, and not presidential material.

The problem in American foreign policy today is that an ideological orthodoxy has emerged within the intellectual and political community concerned with foreign relations, and this orthodoxy now is imposed upon everyone who wishes to shape national policy at the Washington political and media level. The apparent debate that takes place in America on Sunday mornings on television, or in the national press, and in the Congress, is really a knockabout vaudeville performance without serious content: both sides in essential respects are on the same side.

If you listen to it from abroad, it is unrecognizable as real debate because it is totally inwardly-directed, failing to touch external reality, as seen, felt, and suffered anywhere else.


Posted by: b | Oct 4, 2007 3:01:21 AM | 82

Today a friend took me on an errand to meet his eccentric friend, who had built his own crazy world out in the woods. A virtual shanty town of various cobbled together sheds, workshops, and tree houses full of building materials, tools and all kinds of assorted junk. But what caught my attention was right next to the upside down satellite dish fish pond was a towering 10 foot tall concrete Easter Island head sculpture replica. It turned out this guy was manufacturing these things in one of the sheds, complete with jigs, piles of materials, and a special trailer he fabricated to transport them. All in spite of not ever selling one or not even knowing really why he was doing it. But there they were.

I took it as an omen.

Posted by: anna missed | Oct 4, 2007 3:46:19 AM | 83

anna missed, maybe he's related to this guy...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 4, 2007 3:59:29 AM | 84

Several links (perhaps already signaled in other threads):


Badger chronicles a critical response to a response to the fatwah linked to in #75.


If the friend of Bush's friend is a drug king-pin, what might we logically conclude?


Josh Landis signals this note regarding the Sept. 6 Israeli raid on Syria article from Haaretz , from which, to my mind, the money quote is

The farce came to a partial end
yesterday, and even though there is still a gag order on
most of the juicy details, we can safely say that behind
the successful blackout campaign lies an enormous
failure. The silence of official Israel was not meant to
protect military secrets.


Finally Xymorpha
links to a number of items belonging to the category of "things you already knew, but which are now being openly admitted". In this instance, in the second article scrolling down, intelligence agency "guidance" to journalists, and in the first the effect of money on politicians.

With regard to the NSA "seminars", I am coming to share the spooks belief in the efficacy of secrecy: nothing seems more likely to corrode the bars of the cast-iron cage of faith that restrains opposition to the crypto-U.S. government, than a resolute effort on its part to impose perfect hermeticism over an ever-widening swath of governmental activity and to define an ever-narrowing range of "acceptable" political or journalistic discourse.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Oct 4, 2007 4:22:30 AM | 85

HKOL quoting Haaretz: we can safely say that behind
the successful blackout campaign lies an enormous
failure. The silence of official Israel was not meant to
protect military secrets.

Lauding myself a bit here (I need that once a while):

On September 11 I wrote:

Turkey found external fuel tanks of an Israeli jet that had fallen on its soil near the Syrian border. Military aircrafts jettison their externals tanks to gain maneuverability when under fire.
...
For the IAF the recent operation has to be seen as a failure. Last year it was possible for them to buzz the Syrian president's summer palace without any trouble. This time the Syrians did detect their planes and even were able to defend themselves to some extend. Also a new 'big hole in the desert', if true, is certainly not the intended effect.
This while so many were juicing up that "successful" raid on an "important target" ...

Posted by: b | Oct 4, 2007 4:51:59 AM | 86

@ b 86 You deserve a pat on the back, in this case as in many many others.

Meanwhile the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq continues
to make new oil deals . This one is a doozy: at the center is Heritage Oil
founded by Anthony Buckingham: see here for his social network, which includes such mercenary ops as Sandline International, Executive Outcomes, and the founder of Aegis, Tim Spicer. The links between oil interests and mercenaries is not surprising, but to put it all out there on public view seems brazenly squalid, cf. 85 above, with regard to "open admissions".
By the way, in an earlier Kurdish deal Hunt Petroleum received a lot of attention, but the (Canadian, like Heritage) firm Impulse Energy largely escaped scrutiny. It too might have interesting "silent partners" (pure conjecture, of course).

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Oct 4, 2007 5:10:43 AM | 87

Often quoted here, doubted as authentic by some and seldom mentioned in any serious paper is Oded Yinon's The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

Now David Ignatius, part of the Washington news establishment, writes in a WaPo column:

One of America's mistakes in Iraq has been an easy contempt for that nation and its history. People often spoke of Iraq as an artificial construct of British imperialism and suggested that things would go better if, like the former Yugoslavia, it dissolved along its ethnic boundaries. Israeli analysts certainly encouraged that view. I wrote 25 years ago about an enthusiastic proposal by an Israeli academic in the journal Kivunim to dissolve Iraq into three enclaves. But such analyses overlooked the surprisingly durable Iraqi identity, which has persisted for centuries.
Oded's piece was published 1982 in Kivunim.

If anybody could find (Nexis?) Ingatius' original piece on Oded's colonial plan, please let me have it.

Posted by: b | Oct 4, 2007 6:40:33 AM | 88

World Bank accused of razing Congo forests

The World Bank encouraged foreign companies to destructively log the world's second largest forest, endangering the lives of thousands of Congolese Pygmies, according to a report on an internal investigation by senior bank staff and outside experts. The report by the independent inspection panel, seen by the Guardian, also accuses the bank of misleading Congo's government about the value of its forests and of breaking its own rules.

Congo's rainforests are the second largest in the world after the Amazon, locking nearly 8% of the planet's carbon and having some of its richest biodiversity. Nearly 40 million people depend on the forests for medicines, shelter, timber and food.

Posted by: b | Oct 4, 2007 6:59:43 AM | 89

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