Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 17, 2007

News & Views ...

The blog lives off comments. Please add yours.

Open thread ...

Posted by b on November 17, 2007 at 5:49 UTC | Permalink


This is by no means breaking news but anecdotal evidence would make one think that the use of lists, intimidation, detainment and out right arrests is a growing phenomenon in the US and, of course, elsewhere -- how one would run statistics I don't have a clue.

On the one hand Michel Shehadeh, finally got his name cleared -- after 20 years! -- on the other hand, the intimidation and harassment of political activists continues, apparently to grow.

We have a strange case here in Denmark. Just before the national elections last Tuesday, a young fellow (22) was arrested on terrorism charges. He was said to have sent email to terrorists encouraging then to kidnap Danes. The news mentioned that it was US intelligence which had tipped the Danish police.

However, two days after the election a tape surfaced where police agents are heard trying to recruit the fellow as an informer, promising him a number of things. The fellow refused and was arrested shortly thereafter. He is now in isolation for the next two weeks.

I am afraid that this sort of thing is endemic.

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Nov 17 2007 6:45 utc | 1

After the Washington Post gave ample space to and promoted Benazair Bhutto, former premier, first crook and rich landowner, it now has switched sides - kind of.

Today we get a WaPo op-ed by Nawaz Sharif, former premier, first crook and rich business owner: Pakistan's One-Man Calamity who, like Bhutto, wants to be premier again.

Pakistan should have the chance to elect people they trust. My party, the Pakistan Muslim League, and Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party enjoy tremendous support across the country. Both of these parties are more progressive and forward-looking than the general's ineffective autocracy.
Sharif (and Bhutto) are "progressive"???

This from CSM:

Sharif, in his two terms as prime minister, had earned a reputation as a corrupt and dull leader. By the time the tanks rolled around he had become one of the most unpopular leaders to rule the country. Even the most educated and politically liberal in Pakistan publicly celebrated his fall from power at the hands of the military.
Musharraf, Bhutto and Sharif, the "saviours" of Pakistan ...

Posted by: b | Nov 17 2007 8:13 utc | 2

analysis: Pluralism Bursts into the Western Hemisphere

* While Russia, Europe and China are wooing Latin America and the Caribbean, the Monroe Doctrine now becomes the “Putin, Zapatero and Chinese – Corollary”

* Iran’s increased presence in the region may lead to bad press, but for now only shows increased investments

* The “Great Game” of political and economic influence is set to be played in the southern hemisphere

No one is arguing that Latin America and the Caribbean have become a priority matter for international diplomacy, save for the U.S., which has witnessed a massive retreat of Washington's vigilance for what it once insisted were its longtime national interests and influence in the hemisphere. Concentrating on its "War on Terror" has resulted in a detour of the U.S. military and diplomatic corps to a series of sorties, like Afghanistan, Iraq, and now, likely enough, to Iran. The 1823 Monroe Doctrine is no longer relevant as nations like Russia, the People's Republic of China as well as the European Union (and its individual members) increase their influence in the Western Hemisphere. This penetration is due to the fact that numerous hemispheric countries are themselves looking to diversify their pool of allies and trading partners by contracting ties to other nations besides the U.S., with Venezuela being at the core of this movement.

From Brussels to Moscow and Beijing, not to mention other emerging middle powers like India, it seems as though everyone wants a piece of Latin America these days. With Washington's grip on the region loosening, there is an increase in opportunity for potentially valuable non-traditional relationships – Iran's aggressive courting of Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua is one example– demonstrating that the Western Hemisphere has become a multipolar continent, with Washington no longer being the exclusive choice, and with diplomatic initiatives originating from around the globe.

Posted by: b real | Nov 17 2007 8:14 utc | 3

b real -- an excellent point: easy to see that, for example, Chavez is diligently chasing after allies. But the allies he is chasing, are also very, very interested in alliances with Venezuela.

And here are some interesting pictures illustrating US manipulation of protest movements --

(sorry for no link)

Scroll down to July 24, 2007 post, "Just a coincidence?"

Pictures of fists for student protests before regime change -- in Serbia and Georgia. Very similar fists for protests in Russia & Venezuela. Some CIA mastermind decided to save money on graphics artists ?

Fascinating how the fist used to be a symbol of the left -- now it has been taken over by Right/Conservative students in Venezuela.

Posted by: Owl | Nov 17 2007 10:31 utc | 4

Tony Karon on Pakistan (best analysis I have read sofar: Benazir vs. Musharraf is Punch vs. Judy

Musharraf and Bhutto are both viewed as allies by Washington, the latter enlisted to broaden the base of stability of a U.S.-backed regime in Pakistan. But proxies always have their own agendas, and the precise balance of power between them remains very much in play — indeed, if anything, the current “showdown” is part of their contest over the balance of power in Pakistan’s Team USA.

So Bhutto calls on Musharraf to quit, and Musharraf responds by contacting Nawaz Sharif for a chat. This is like “War of the Roses.”

Musharraf didn’t declare emergency rule because he feared Bhutto’s challenge; he declared emergency rule because the Supreme Court was about to rule that he was not, in fact, legitimately the president of Pakistan, because he violated the constitution by standing for the presidency while in command of the military. And the reason Bhutto appeared to hesitate when it happened was obvious: She has as much to fear from the independent judiciary in Pakistan as Musharraf does.

Posted by: b | Nov 17 2007 11:16 utc | 5

The Independent on its title page: The dollar's decline: from symbol of hegemony to shunned currency

There is a theory of the "cover curse". If the cover of major magazines carries something like "A is very bad" you can be sure A will get better. The other way around - 2000/2001 there were cover pages on how one MUST buy tech stocks. ...

If the curse is right here, the Dollar will now rally a bit.

Posted by: b | Nov 17 2007 11:43 utc | 6

from [email protected]
Fascinating how the fist used to be a symbol of the left -- now it has been taken over by Right/Conservative students in Venezuela.

"Taken over" is exactly the right phrase. Just as every era has it's Pepsi or Coca Cola jingle that appropriates the sound of a musical movement, just as every popular sound gets possessed by business execs, every word and every symbol also get taken over.

It's important for us to remember, though, that the symbol or the sound have not 'switched sides'. Rather, they are hostages of power, taken over and replicated endlessly till they no longer give us that taste of moving toward our own minds and our own power.

Nothing wrong with the fist. We just have to be aware that for those who come after each corporate soul-stealing, the symbol does not help them be free. Perhaps we are in the same boat.

Posted by: | Nov 17 2007 14:15 utc | 7

There is a theory of the "cover curse". If the cover of major magazines carries something like "A is very bad" you can be sure A will get better.

lol, you link...

The site is down for a short while for essential maintenance. We apologise for any inconvenience and hope to return within 30 minutes at the longest.

Thank you for bearing with us.,/I>

essential maintenance??

Posted by: annie | Nov 17 2007 15:42 utc | 8

Broadcast Blunder

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, rejected a proposal by Iran and Venezuela to discuss the weak dollar at this weekend's OPEC summit in Riyadh, saying it didn't want the U.S. currency to ``collapse.''

Saudi Arabia won't discuss pricing oil in currencies other than the dollar, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said, speaking at a meeting of oil and finance ministers today that was accidentally broadcast to journalists.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps more than 40 percent of the world's oil, has seen its revenue diminish because of the decline in the dollar over the past three years. OPEC holds a heads of state summit in Riyadh tomorrow.

``As for the monetary aspect and the dollar I would like to ask his Excellency, the minister of Iran, to leave this question to the appropriate party, the ministers of finance, without mentioning that we gave them this task so that there won't be negative impact from OPEC,'' Al-Faisal said, speaking in reaction to an Iranian proposal to discuss the currency.

Posted by: annie | Nov 17 2007 15:58 utc | 9

last night i read a newyorker article i cannot find online about the french comedian Dieudonné who the writer claims has become a demagogue. if you get a chance to read the article, i recommend.

he is known for turning the most unlikely cause into a vehicle for attacking Jews. Mentions the Jewish writer and commentator Bernard-Henri Levy, the heir to a timber fortune, who is one of Dieudonné’s fiercest critics. Briefly discusses Dieudonné’s recent visit to Iran for a “resistance weekend” (resistance to the Zionist conspiracy, that is). France, which has the world’s third-largest Jewish population, has recently seen an increase in anti-Semitic violence. Writer quotes Alain Finkielkraut, a philosopher and memoirist, who characterizes Dieudonné’s views as “anti-racist anti-Semitism, which inverts traditional anti-Semitism by asserting that the Nazis today are in fact the Jews… Dieudonné’s followers say that they don’t hate Jews, they hate Jewish racism.” Dieudonné’s humor is rooted in an intense, anthropological examination of French society that goes far beyond mocking Jews. Describes some of Dieudonné’s routines, including one that lampoons the banning of Muslim headscarves in French schools. Writer meets Dieudonné, who discusses his fascination with the Code Noir, a 1689 edict outlining the rules of the French slave trade, which banned Jews from participating. Briefly discusses Dieudonné’s childhood in Fontenay-aux-Roses and tells about his early comedy career, including his partnership with Elie Semoun. Their act, a multicultural banlieue version of Laurel and Hardy, was a satire of the life of the French underclass. Dieudonné parodied racism in his later solo career. Discusses Dieudonné’s 2003 appearance on the political talk show “You Can’t Please Everyone” during which he surprised the show’s host and the viewers by delivering a speech about “the Americano-Zionist Axis.” Two months later, he opened a show called “Mes Excuses,” furthering his anti-Semitic stance. Writer visits Bernard-Henri Levy, who says that Dieudonné’s anti-racist anti-Semitism is effective in making the Jews’ “memorial pornography” appear responsible for the world not caring enough about the history of slavery and the suffering of blacks. Mentions Dieudonné’s friendships with conspiracy theorists and Holocaust deniers. Briefly discusses the torture and murder of Ilan Halimii, a Jew, in February of 2006 and accusations that the killers were inspired by Dieudonné’s rhetoric.

Posted by: annie | Nov 17 2007 16:25 utc | 10


dieudonné has become a clown in the worst sense of that word. his vulgar polemics serve the high zionism of most french intellectuals. an element of this is that in the 20th century anti semitism - active & exterminatory anti-semitism infected almost the entire milieu culturel

high zionism is articulated today by finklekraut, by glucksmann, by levy but also by a goupil,a bruckner - these so called philosophers & they are a meagre lot really - merleau-ponty i imagine wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire - there is not a substantive thinker amongst them. they are mere commentators dressed up as scholars. scholars they are not

interesting the applicatory human & social science fields are as a group almost entirely a group supporting the just demands of palestinians

the arabophobia which informs both the intellectual class & the media is completely convergent with the earlier antisemitism of a drumont, a maurras, a celine or a brassillach. it is crude & brutal. it is the semiotics of the stupid

the country of my birth & the country of my adoption reflect an active & quotidian rascism that disgusts me

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 17 2007 18:01 utc | 11

thanks r'giap, i was wondering what your take on this fellow is, i had never heard of him.

Posted by: annie | Nov 17 2007 18:28 utc | 12


contrary to public myth - music in france is & has been sublime with the exception of johnny halliday. the melody, the lyricism & the rhythm are & remain extraordinary

there is a sweet humanity which informs the best of it whereas i find i can't listen to anglo music for example trampling as they do on the same melody used on let it be

however, intentional comedy or humour is an entirely different question. in 20 years i don't think i have laughed once. just joshing, but what passes for entertainement in this field for a long time has left me very cold, indeed. dieudonné at his best was not particularly funny

for humour here you want to see how the ptrons - the bosses - explain their thefts & appropriations & their more common frauds

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 17 2007 18:55 utc | 13

Remarkabable how 'effective' these bodyguards are ...

Gunfire hit most of Afghan bomb victims

Up to two-thirds of the 77 people killed and 100 wounded in a suicide bombing last week were hit by bullets from visiting lawmakers' panicked bodyguards, who fired on a crowd of mostly schoolchildren for up to five minutes, a preliminary U.N. report says.

Posted by: b | Nov 17 2007 20:41 utc | 14

Obvious: Basra attacks down 90% since British troops left

The British army says violence in Basra has fallen by 90% since it withdrew from the southern Iraqi city earlier this year.

Around 500 British soldiers left one of Saddam Hussein's palaces in the heart of the city in early September and stopped conducting regular foot patrols.

A spokesman says the Iraqi security forces still come under attack from militants in Basra, but the overall level of violence is down 90% since the British troops left.

Posted by: b | Nov 17 2007 21:06 utc | 15

Ron Paul seems to be internet savvy.

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Posted by: Cloned Poster | Nov 17 2007 23:02 utc | 16

I went to hear Robert Parry today at a local library, and then at a book signing afterward at a nearby restaurant. I have occasionally read his work, and respected what I read. Good reporting on various schemes and screw-ups by Bush and by TPTB generally over the years. I was wondering how well attended the event would be. It was packed - at least 100 people, I estimated. Interestingly diverse crowd too, age-wise, gender, racially, everything. A couple of NPR reporters were there in the crowd, not to report on it, but just off duty to hear a fellow reporter they evidently respect.

FYI, Parry's website is

Posted by: Maxcrat | Nov 18 2007 1:39 utc | 17

Classic middle-aged couch potato I fell asleep last night with the TV on and woke scrunched on the settee to the sounds of some fishwife screeching about Brian De Palma being a traitor. I had been watching an old movie on one of the local small town channels which had flicked over to Fox News when the movie ended.

I've heard nothing as venomous from Fox as they are on De Palma.

All complete bulldust of course. I have seen "Redacted" albeit in installments to try and keep the outrage volume down. De Palma doesn't portray all amerikan soldiers to be criminals.

He shows two of them to be criminals, two others to be morally conflicted (weak really) and a military structure driven from above designed to exploit these weakness amerikan society has developed in its citizens.

Apart from showing one bloke crying into his beer at the end; the last act isn't an attempt to do a 'yes but' as I had feared it may be.

As in "Yes some soldiers are rapists, but that's what you get when the military have to deal with ay-rab terrarists".

There is none of that. De Palma's use of diverse media adds credibility to the movie as does the use of seemingly inexperienced actors.

Nobody is ever relaxed in their own skin at any stage of the story which is probably true of what life has been like for everyone since USuk illegally invaded Iraq.

Fox are obviously concerned about the impact of this movie which comes at a time when mainstream media are trying to argue the worst is over.

The Iraq mess is getting better they claim.

This movie is a fly in the ointment for that because it argues concisely and cogently exactly why amerika needs to be gone from the place yesterday.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 18 2007 3:39 utc | 18

for anyone who hasn't been following driftflass's 4 part series take down of david brooks.. it's fantastic.

Posted by: annie | Nov 18 2007 4:54 utc | 19

yikes, driftglass..

Posted by: annie | Nov 18 2007 4:56 utc | 20

"'Cause You Don't Know What You Got 'Til It's Gone"

'Stop Codex' - Rath Protests Plans For Supplements

The Nutrition Committee of Codex Alimentarius, an international standard-setting body of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization, is deliberating harmonized world-wide guidelines for vitamin and mineral supplements in Bonn, Germany this week, starting Monday, 1 November. The proposal goes back ten years and was introduced by the German delegation to the committee. At the time the text seemed extremely restrictive, prompting me to comment in a rather critical way. Since then, the proposal has inched its way through the legislative machinery of the international agency. A major change was to advocate "scientific risk assessment" instead of RDA dosage limits for vitamins and minerals, but detractors say that the rules are a ploy to drastically limit supplement use.

"The American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US."

Posted by: JohnThomas | Nov 18 2007 8:19 utc | 21

Corporate Fox covers their corporate GOP pony and corporate CNN covers their corporate DNC pony. Why do people say the media has a "left" or "right" bias? The corporate bias all looks the same to me. The corporate bias is so indistinguishable that Markos Moulitsas and Karl Rove can comfortably shill for the same "news" outlet.

Belatedly discovering that Left is Right and vice versa, Barack Obama is shocked (SHOCKED!) to discover that there is a "secret pact of ambition" between Chez Bush and Chez Clinton. Incredible connecting of the dots there, Barack. How did you ever put that together... open a friggin'newspaper?

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 18 2007 8:38 utc | 22

The New York Times has known details of the secret program for more than three years, based on interviews with a range of American officials and nuclear experts, some of whom were concerned that Pakistan’s arsenal remained vulnerable. The newspaper agreed to delay publication of the article after considering a request from the Bush administration, which argued that premature disclosure could hurt the effort to secure the weapons.

The issue is some U.S. sponsored security measure for Pakistani nuclear weapons. At heart of this are "permissive action links", special switches that demand a code number before a nuke can be launched. Officially to share information abouts these could be interpreted as a break of nun-proliferation info, but that is a quite conditioned "could".
Nothing really new or unsuspected in there and I have no idea why the NYT would hide that at all on the admins say-so.

It of cause opens the question on what else the NYT is hiding. They had delayed the domestic spying issue for a year or so and over elections. The stuff above for three years. What else do NYT and the Pravda (WAPO) know and do not tell?

The Pakistani were certainly right to be paranaoid here and that was not for "pride" reasons. They had quite some other reason to be suspicious. Question is - were they suspicious enough?

But while Pakistan is formally considered a “major non-NATO ally,” the program has been hindered by a deep suspicion among Pakistan’s military that the secret goal of the United States was to gather intelligence about how to locate and, if necessary, disable Pakistan’s arsenal, which is the pride of the country.

Posted by: b | Nov 18 2007 8:56 utc | 23

The nuts are at it again:

Hanlon and Fredrick Kagan of "surge" fame are discussing military "intervention" in Pakistan in a NYT op-ed: Pakistan’s Collapse, Our Problem

So, if we got a large number of troops into the country, what would they do? The most likely directive would be to help Pakistan’s military and security forces hold the country’s center — primarily the region around the capital, Islamabad, and the populous areas like Punjab Province to its south.

We would also have to be wary of internecine warfare within the Pakistani security forces. Pro-American moderates could well win a fight against extremist sympathizers on their own. But they might need help if splinter forces or radical Islamists took control of parts of the country containing crucial nuclear materials. The task of retaking any such regions and reclaiming custody of any nuclear weapons would be a priority for our troops.

If a holding operation in the nation’s center was successful, we would probably then seek to establish order in the parts of Pakistan where extremists operate. Beyond propping up the state, this would benefit American efforts in Afghanistan by depriving terrorists of the sanctuaries they have long enjoyed in Pakistan’s tribal and frontier regions.

Pro-American moderates in the Pakistani military???!!!

A big "western" force in the middle of a country of 160 million of which 90% dislike "western" intervention?

These guys are so nuts and know so little it's unbelievable

Posted by: b | Nov 18 2007 9:32 utc | 24

Monolycus #22,
Yes, good links concerning the debate. I am ashamed to admit that I watched that sorry excuse for a Presidential debate. It was obvious something was awry.
Criticism of Hilary Clinton by Obama and Edwards was met with boos from the audience. And Kucinish was hardly given a chance to speak, and quickly cut off by Blitzer when he tried to mention impeachment.
But then, just to show that not only Republicans can have tunnel vision, if you have time to waste, look at this pitiful review from ">"> Firedoglake. . And if you really want to waste your time, read the moronic comments, over 300 of em!!! Sadly, to quote Bea on an earlier thread, “America is lost”.

A note to b,
Even though the comments have been down lately, please don’t get discouraged. I would rather read 1 or 2 intelligent comments than wade through 300 comments as is typical on some of the more ‘popular’ blogs as noted above. Your topics and posts b have been excellent as ususal.

Posted by: Rick | Nov 18 2007 11:06 utc | 25

Venezuela, in the whirlwind once again
Details and perspective from the Cuban news,

Posted by: Rick | Nov 18 2007 11:22 utc | 26

@Rick #25

So who the hell is "scarecrow" who is credited with throwing together that bit of headache-yellow journalism...? I thought James Carville's login was MrClean.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 18 2007 13:20 utc | 27


Always good to see your name on the comments list. I agree that quality is better than quantity.

I watched the Dem Las Vegas debate. Awfully difficult to pick a good candidate. I like Joe Biden, but I don't trust him. Edwards is perhaps the very worst. Obama was revealed as a lightweight puppet. President Hillary sounds awful. My recurring sense is that the Democrats made a huge mistake by not nominating Lee Hamilton in 2000. Mistakes of that size are not made innocently. Maybe the Dems are really kaput historically, which is scary. Permanent rule by the Republicans and Goldman?

I'm sorry to say I think what may be best is for Dems to switch to Ron Paul as an independent, throw the election into the House of Representatives.


Posted by: Wolf DeVoon | Nov 18 2007 15:37 utc | 28

First white majority on NOLA council in more than 20 years

Very fascinating and insightful must watch interview with anthropologist David Harvey author of The Urban Experience. He speaks on city landscape, hegemony, territorial logic, private property, land ownership, systemic gentrification among other things. In particular, his new work entitled, 'The New Imperialism' goes further and speaks on economic accumulation by dispossession.and re estate repossession.

Finally, he quotes ideals of Engels, in that, what the liberalità Bourgoisie only have one way to solve the crisis in captital and that is to move it around.

Hence, to my mind is what Katrina and Klein's 'Disaster Capitalism' is all about. And further, is what the coming world war will be about.

Finally, at the risk of being called a moon bat, everything in my being suspect's if truth really be known, that Hurricane Katrina was a result of Militarized weather modification.

I'll have a tall glass of scotch now.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 18 2007 16:14 utc | 29

Militarized weather modification

i put nothing past them. good to see you back

Posted by: annie | Nov 18 2007 16:21 utc | 30

Fan, meet shit!

Oil leaders' private debate televised by mistake

For those about to rock...

of course I do not believe for a second this was an accident.

Posted by: | Nov 18 2007 16:23 utc | 31

31, check out bloomberg @ #9.

Concern is increasing that the dollar's weakness may augur the end of the U.S. currency's reign as the world's main international currency for trade, financial transactions and central-bank reserves.


It was not in the declaration in the first place and it won't be in the final declaration, period,'' el-Badri said to journalists. ``It's not Saudi Arabia's position, it's everybody's position.''

Posted by: annie | Nov 18 2007 16:47 utc | 32

Fucking hilarious (bankwise, not for the poor NINJA sods caught up in it.)

Transparency, transparency, people:

NEW YORK, Nov 15 (Reuters) - As banks work to clean up some of the subprime mortgage mess, they are finding new obstacles in unraveling the massive paper trail used to pool individual loans into mortgage-backed securities.

A US federal judge in Ohio threw out 14 foreclosure proceedings brought on behalf of Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE: Quote, Profile , Research) National Trust Company last month, saying the Trust had not proved it legally owned the mortgage loans when it filed the foreclosure proceedings.

Banks can't have it both ways - either they slice n dice or they own the risk.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Nov 18 2007 16:56 utc | 33

Holy smokes, something is going on here, especially with regards my last post in mind...

Thank you for calling PolitiChoice®

Is someone fighting back in the media???


Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 18 2007 16:59 utc | 34

Sorry annie, and thanks

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 18 2007 17:07 utc | 35

Speaking of Militarized weather mod...

Local news station confirms barium in chemtrails

CHEMTRAILS: Is U.S. Gov't. Secretly Testing Americans 'Again'?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 18 2007 17:21 utc | 36

24 These guys are so nuts and know so little it's unbelievable

the framing is mind boggling..

We do not intend to be fear mongers..... (oh really!)... The most likely possible dangers are these: a complete collapse of Pakistani government rule that allows an extreme Islamist movement to fill the vacuum; a total loss of federal control over outlying provinces, which splinter along ethnic and tribal lines; or a struggle within the Pakistani military in which the minority sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda try to establish Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Posted by: annie | Nov 18 2007 18:23 utc | 37

@Maxcrat - 17

Parry - his recent piece on consortium news is Why We Write and is very recommendable.

I have come to view the core problem as the use of mass media to inject Americans with a synthetic reality that misrepresents recent history, exaggerates external dangers and ridicules the few citizens who object.
Though it’s easier to sell distortions about events overseas than those closer to home, domestic false narratives can be especially effective by concentrating derision on, say, a dissenting politician who speaks up at an inopportune time or by spreading distrust of a journalist reporting an unpopular story.
In the mid-1970s, the neocons allied themselves with more traditional conservatives and became, in effect, the “vanguard” for an assault on how large portions of the U.S. citizenry saw the world. The neocons were the shock troops for what became known as the “war of ideas.”

Yet, what was most striking about the neocon approach was that it reversed the traditional empirical method. Instead of studying the facts and then drawing conclusions, the neocons started with their conclusions – what they felt had to be done – and then “cherry-picked” the available evidence to guide the public to that position.
Rather than accept that the Nixon-Ford détente-ists had been right about signs of Soviet weakness in the 1970s, the narrative became that Ronald Reagan had “won” the Cold War by supporting brush-fire wars, lavishing money on the Pentagon, and telling Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down that wall.”

An accurate narrative might have suggested that Reagan and the neocons had unnecessarily extended the Cold War, enriched military contractors, inflicted needless bloodshed, and strengthened future enemies like bin Laden. But the accepted narrative essentially justified all the carnage and corruption as essential to victory.

Posted by: b | Nov 18 2007 19:45 utc | 38

Annie @ 9 and anon @ 31, seems they can't evade the issue after all.

OPEC Agrees Dollar Talks After Forex Basket Proposal

OPEC states agreed their finance ministers would meet before December 5 to discuss the sliding dollar's impact on their economies after Iran and Venezuela recommended pricing oil against a currency basket.

The ministers would meet before the next gathering of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' energy ministers in the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi, Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabor told Reuters on Sunday.

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah el-Badri confirmed the talks would take place before the Abu Dhabi meeting on December 5.

Tangentially related, there is also this - (and, whatever happened to Iran's oil bourse anyway?)

Iran President proposes formation of OPEC bourse

The Iranian president called for drawing up of a comprehensive plan for OPEC and establishment of an specialized bank called "OPEC Bank" to safeguard the hard currencies of OPEC member states.

He also called for formation of an "Oil Bourse" by OPEC members to meet their demands.

As an aside, I found this interesting:

Ahmadinejad says real oil value much higher than market price

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the value of oil is much higher than current prices, largely due to weakness in the US dollar and the fact consumer nations pay large amounts of tax transferring wealth from producers to industrial governments.

Just last week I heard an interview with a former refinery industry CEO about the skyrocketing oil prices, and the one thing he said that was new to me was the above in bold. That the oil producing countries are not fools; they see the huge taxes consuming gov.s put on gas, five times or even seven times the price of a barrel, and they are starting to think that's where re-pricing can begin.

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 19 2007 0:05 utc | 39

Welcome to Air Force 2025

future study conducted 1995-1996
for the Air Force Chief of Staff

"The importance of precipitation modification is also likely to increase as usable water sources become more scarce in volatile parts of the world."

Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025

Environmental Warfare and US Foreign Policy:
The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction
by Scott Gilbert
January 2004
January 2004

Environmental Warfare and US Foreign Policy:
The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 19 2007 0:08 utc | 40

The Telegraph
Pioneering 'heat wave' gun may be used in Iraq

'The group's director, Edward Hammond, said: "If we are not prepared to use it as a crowd control technique on our own citizens, then we really shouldn't be using it in Iraq either."' Just so you all don't feel left out.

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 19 2007 0:15 utc | 41

b, maxcrat, (i don't want to sound like a broken record because i have mentioned this conference numerous times lately) i had the opportunity to hear parry speak (and socialize afterward) at the project censored conference a couple weeks ago. since the focus is media censorship the info presented in the 38 link was part of his excellent presentation @the final panel w/hartmann. parry's No Habeas Corpus for “Any Person” report was the #1 story this year. b real is in good company.

Posted by: annie | Nov 19 2007 1:38 utc | 42

the project censored link again... No Habeas Corpus for “Any Person”

Posted by: annie | Nov 19 2007 1:42 utc | 43

From the Department of the Bleeding Obvious... experts are suddenly saying that depleted uranium might not be as safe as they had formerly said it was. As a matter of fact, it just might be monstrously inhuman that it is used at all.

'Safe' uranium that left a town contaminated


The US federal government and the firm that ran the factory, National Lead (NL) Industries, have been assuring former workers and residents around the 18-acre site for decades that, although it is true that the plant used to produce unacceptable levels of radioactive pollution, it was not a serious health hazard.

Now, in a development with potentially devastating implications not only for Colonie [former site of NLI weapons plant] but also for the future use of some of the West's most powerful weapon systems, that claim is being challenged. In a paper to be published in the next issue of the scientific journal Science of the Total Environment, a team led by Professor Randall Parrish of Leicester University reports the results of a three-year study of Colonie, funded by Britain's Ministry of Defence.

Parrish's team has found that DU contamination, which remains radioactive for millions of years, is in effect impossible to eradicate, not only from the environment but also from the bodies of humans. Twenty-three years after production ceased they tested the urine of five former workers. All are still contaminated with DU. So were 20 per cent of people tested who had spent at least 10 years living near the factory when it was still working...


When DU 'penetrators' - armour-piercing shells that form the standard armament of some of Britain's and America's most commonly deployed military aircraft and vehicles - strike their targets, 10 per cent or more of the heavy DU metal burns at high temperatures, producing oxide particles very similar to those at Colonie.

TV footage shot in Baghdad in 2003 shows children playing in the remains of tanks coated with thick, black DU oxide, while there have long been claims that the DU shells that destroyed Saddam Hussein's tanks in the 1991 Gulf war were responsible for high rates of cancer in places such as Basra.

Parrish's team includes David Carpenter, an environmental health expert from Albany University. 'DU burns, it releases particulates that can be breathed in, and it doesn't go away,' he says. 'The issue does not concern military personnel as much as civilian populations in theatres where they are used. Now we know that we can still find measurable levels of DU among the people of Colonie, we need a much bigger study to establish whether they have suffered disproportionate ill-effects such as cancers as a consequence. If they have, it would raise a serious ethical challenge to the use of these weapons. Arguably it could constitute a war crime.'


The main difficulty the campaigners faced in the past is that DU eventually dissolves and is passed in the urine. The US government claimed that the plant had been shut so long that it would be impossible to determine who had been contaminated - so rendering a full health survey pointless.

However, Parrish has developed new, more sensitive methods. At the same time, his impartiality is impeccable. Before his work in Colonie, Parrish tested more than 400 Gulf war veterans, failing to detect DU in any of them - so dealing a serious blow to those who claimed that DU is one of the causes of Gulf war syndrome. 'I did not expect to find it in Colonie,' he says.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 19 2007 3:29 utc | 44

some more on that story out of nigeria about an incredible number of police killings

human rights watch: Nigeria: Investigate Widespread Killings by Police

Police Chief Boasts of 785 Killings in 90 Days

(New York, November 18, 2007) – Nigeria’s government should launch an independent public inquiry in light of official statistics indicating that police have shot and killed more than 8,000 Nigerians since 2000, Human Rights Watch said today. The figures show 785 killed in just three months this year, while the true number of people killed by the police since 2000 may exceed 10,000.

On November 14, 2007, Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro announced that 785 suspected “armed robbers” were shot and killed in gunfire exchanges with the police between June and the beginning of September 2007. According to the same set of statistics, 1,628 armed robbers were arrested during the same period. Police personnel also killed one person for every two firearms they managed to recover.

“It’s stunning that the police killed half as many ‘armed robbery suspects’ as they managed to arrest during Okiro’s first 90 days,” said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “And it’s scandalous that leading police officials seem to regard the routine killing of Nigerian citizens – criminal suspects or not – as a point of pride.”

The figures suggest that police have routinely resorted to disproportionate and illegal use of lethal force and may have committed multiple extrajudicial killings in the course of police operations. Such indications are especially worrying in light of numerous well-documented cases of deaths of detainees in police custody. Almost as disturbing as the numbers themselves is that leading police officials appear to regard these grim statistics as an indication of effective police work rather than as a scandal. Okiro announced the statistics to the House of Representatives’ Police Affairs Committee in a speech chronicling the “achievements” of his first three months in office.

i'm not even sure that okiro has even been confirmed in his position yet. in an interview w/ a paper in the capital abuja, the interviewee asks

Many Nigerians are worried that your appointment has not been confirmed despite your excellent performances since assuming office. What is responsible for this?

I cannot say what is responsible for it. You know that appointment is the prerogative of Mr. President. Mr. President appointed me as acting Inspector General of Police. He equally wants to confirm me; I am not going to ask him. And I can't read his mind why it has not been done. However, you should realise that everything comes from God. God uses the President as instrument to fulfill his wishes. I could say that I'm doing job either as a confirmed IG or as acting IG, I will do my job, as a Nigerian police officer serving my country. So, whichever way it is, I will do my job.

and in that same interview okiro says

Talking about high crime wave, I disagree with you. The crime wave in Abuja has come down in the past two months. It is not what it used to be when I assumed office. It has actually come down.

and in an article from back in june when he assumed his role as acting IG of police,

The new Police chief maintained that operating under a democratic dispensation requires that the process of law must take its normal course.

He stressed: "In all our actions, due process must be followed. There is no room for arbitrariness. Law and law alone must be our guiding principles when acting in furtherance of our statutory duties. The Constitution provides for the freedom and liberty of citizens, which can only be abridged as required and provided for by law.

"The law also presumes the innocence of suspects unless proven otherwise. I must, therefore, warn that wrongful arrests and detention will not be tolerated as this would be visited with appropriate sanctions."

however, it'd be wrong to single only okiro out for his hypocrisy. as the HRW press release states

According to the police’s own statistics, police personnel have shot and killed more than 8,000 people since January 2000 in circumstances that remain largely unexplained. In 2005, police officials told Human Rights Watch that from January 2000 to March 2004 police personnel killed 7,198 “armed robbers” in “combat.” Remarkably, during the first three months of 2004, the police claimed to have killed 422 armed robbers in shootouts, while recovering only 300 firearms.

The figures available to Human Rights Watch do not include any data for police killings during most of 2004, 2005, 2006, or the first half of 2007. If police killings were carried out at even half the average rate during that period, Nigeria’s police have killed in excess of 10,000 people.

Posted by: b real | Nov 19 2007 3:45 utc | 45

a little sunday night music over at Down with Tyranny

Posted by: Siun | Nov 19 2007 6:10 utc | 46

great video siun, thanks for the post btw.

Posted by: annie | Nov 19 2007 9:37 utc | 47

Rep. Dennis Kucinich,, and the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, comfort a crying Adriana Bartow, center, after placing a cross at the gates of Army school at Fort Benning (torture 'school of the americas'), during the 18th annual protest of the school which trains Latin American soldiers, police and government officials Sunday Nov. 18, 2007, in Columbus, Ga.

Kucinich Protests Army Training School

Posted by: annie | Nov 19 2007 10:04 utc | 48

20 yr old Man dies after police jolt him with stun gun

Amnesty International has reported that, since June 2001, more than 150 people have died in the United States after being subdued with a stun gun. The organization has called for police departments to suspend use of the devices pending study of their possible risks.

Few have done so, said Amnesty, which added that more than 7,000 of the nation's 18,000 law enforcement agencies use the devices.

Last week, an airport security officer in Vancouver International Airport in Canada used a Taser device on a distraught 40-year-old man on his first airplane trip outside Poland. He died.

Posted by: annie | Nov 19 2007 10:10 utc | 49

Ethanol Bust

Nov. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Ethanol, the centerpiece of President George W. Bush's plan to wean the U.S. from oil, is 2007's worst energy investment.
The corn-based fuel tumbled 57 percent from last year's record of $4.33 a gallon and drove crop prices to a 10-year high. Production in the U.S. tripled after Morgan Stanley, hedge fund firm D.E. Shaw & Co. and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla helped finance a building boom.
Even worse for investors and the Bush administration, energy experts contend ethanol isn't reducing oil demand. Scientists at Cornell University say making the fuel uses more energy than it creates, while the National Research Council warns ethanol production threatens scarce water supplies.
As oil nears $100 a barrel, ethanol markets are so depressed that distilleries are shutting from Iowa to Germany. An investor who put $10 million into ethanol on Dec. 31 now has $7.5 million, a loss of 25 percent. Florida and Georgia have banned sales during the summer, when the fuel may evaporate and create smog.

Posted by: Rick | Nov 19 2007 11:04 utc | 50

Bloomberg has an update this morning on the dollar story. Quite a good summary of the issue.
Arabs' Dollar Losses Increase Pressure to Sever Pegs (Update4)

The widening difference between prices for riyal and dirhams in the so-called spot market and the cost to buy them in a year shows traders expect the links to weaken.
Contracts to buy dirhams in 12 months rose 0.6 percent on Nov. 15, the most in 10 years, after al-Suwaidi, the central bank governor, said the dollar decline will trigger a ``review'' of the peg. The contracts traded at 3.58 per dollar today, compared with the currency's spot market rate of 3.6713, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The Saudi riyal rose as much as 0.8 percent to 3.7118 today, its biggest one-day advance since 1989, before paring its gain to 0.2 percent. Contracts to buy riyals in 12 months time rose as much as 0.9 percent to 3.66.

Posted by: Rick | Nov 19 2007 11:34 utc | 51

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal places first order for A380 flying palace

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding company, has signed a firm order with Airbus for an A380 Flying Palace, becoming the first customer for the VIP version of the new double-deck airliner.

The A380 will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines. It will undergo cabin outfitting at a yet to be chosen completion centre.

Hey Alwa, can you lend me a few bucks

And tonight can you get us a ride ...

Posted by: b | Nov 19 2007 18:35 utc | 52

so much for negroponte's visit to nigeria last week...

Nigeria rejects hosting of new U.S. military command for Africa

ABUJA, Nigeria: Nigeria formally announced Monday that it won't host the U.S. military's new Africa-wide military command, taking Africa's most-populous nation and a top source of American oil imports out of contention.

Nigerian leaders have been vocal critics of the new U.S. military command for Africa, which is seeking a home on the world's poorest continent. The government made its position official on Monday as President Umaru Yar'Adua met with state governors and federal lawmakers.

Nigeria is also against the U.S. command basing its headquarters elsewhere in West Africa, where the country of 140 million is a major military and diplomatic heavyweight, said Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki, who announced the government's position after the meeting.

south africa is also against AFRICOM so it will be up to the other "anchor" nations of kenya & ethiopia to decide whether they are going to betray africa on this issue. neither has a good track record in that area, and meles has already said he's pro-AFRICOM but didn't comment on whether he'd act as a host.

Posted by: b real | Nov 19 2007 19:09 utc | 53

just heard one of those talking head on the television speak of the "last incarnation" of the supreme court in pakistan. what fucking world are we living in

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 19 2007 23:11 utc | 54

Annie and B: thanks for the additional mentions, updates on Robert Parry. I think he is blacklisted by the mainstream media because he has steadfastly reported on government corruption. I live in a fairly liberal area, but still it was gratifying to see both the library and the restaurant packed out to hear him.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Nov 20 2007 1:30 utc | 55

thanks for that ethanol story, rick.

- - - -

Venezuela: OPEC Should Become a Political Actor against Imperialism

Caracas, November 19, 2007 ( - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should reclaim its "anti colonial roots" and "convert itself into a geopolitical actor" in the fight against imperialism and exploitation, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez argued at the 3rd OPEC summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, over the weekend. Opposing him was key US ally, Saudi King Abdullah, who argued the organization's goal was simply to ensure market stability and economic prosperity.

In particular, Chavez demanded that OPEC take a stand against US threats to member nations. "If the United States is crazy enough to invade Iran, oil prices will shoot up not to US$100 but $200 per barrel," he warned.

"The basic reason for all this aggression is oil. We have seen it in the situation in Iraq and the threats against Iran," he added.

However, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said OPEC wouldn't take a stand on a possible U.S. invasion of Iran. "These are issues that can be raised in other forums, not in OPEC," he said.

Chavez also argued that OPEC should lead the way in promoting a humanist, solidarity-based global economy. While he said $100 a barrel is a "just price" for developed countries, he proposed that OPEC countries establish an OPEC bank and sell crude oil to poor countries at a discounted price. OPEC "must stand up and act as a vanguard against poverty in the world" he added.

OPEC, which produces 40% of the world's oil, has only held two full summits before, once in 1975 in Algiers and then in 2000 in Caracas.

In 1973 Arab members suspended oil exports to countries that supported Israel in the Middle East war sending oil prices skyrocketing and producing long lines at gas stations in the US and Europe and contributing to inflation. Since then former US president Ronald Reagan sought to bring OPEC "to its knees . . . and almost succeeded," Chavez said.

However, the Caracas Summit in 2000 was the "rebirth of OPEC," Chavez said, "We received the presidency with oil at around $10 a barrel and we are handing it over with oil at nearly $100."

The falling US dollar was also at the center of controversy at the summit, between Iran, backed by Venezuela, and recently rejoined leftist member Ecuador on one side and US ally Saudi Arabia on the other. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters on Sunday that despite opposition from Saudi Arabia OPEC member nations showed interest in changing hard currency reserves into a currency other than the U.S. dollar, which he described as a "worthless piece of paper."
The euro is a much better option than the dollar Chavez told reporters on Sunday. The US dollar is in "freefall without a parachute" he added.

The US prints dollar bills with no real economic foundation, Chavez continued, saying the fall of the dollar signifies, "the fall of imperialism."

"The day will arrive not only in OPEC, but also in Latin America, when we will be liberated from the dollar," he declared.

the scam only works so long as marks other countries continue to buy into it. perhaps a big correction really is in the cards.

Posted by: b real | Nov 20 2007 5:00 utc | 56


also, while anti-imperialism is the most important factor behind South Africa's opposition to Africom, trade is also a key factor too. In particular, trade with Nigeria which also serves as gateway to even more opportunites in West Africa. And South-Africa/Nigeria trade seeems to be moving along very well and there is much more coming down the pipeline. South Africa's Whites are very comfortable anywhere in Africa. They will do business anywhere it makes sense. They are also steadily bringing in more & more South African Blacks into the game. And like everyone else, they have no problem with Chinese trade & money where it makes sense.

And one impact of this is that South Africa is probably now well secured as Nigeria's most preferred & trusted trading partner. It was already probably in the works but Africom literally delivers it on a platter of gold. Hence, from now, no favor for South Africa will be too big for the Nigerians.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 20 2007 12:38 utc | 57

I think I'm going to be sick...

Genetic future of Iraqis 'for the most part is destroyed'

By firing radioactive ammunition, the U.S., U.K., and Israel may have triggered a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East that, over time, will prove deadlier than the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan.

So much ammunition containing depleted uranium(DU) has been fired, asserts nuclear authority Leuren Moret, “The genetic future of the Iraqi people for the most part, is destroyed.”

“More than ten times the amount of radiation released during atmospheric testing (of nuclear bombs) has been released from depleted uranium weaponry since 1991,” Moret writes, including radioactive ammunition fired by Israeli troops in Palestine.

Moret is an independent U.S. scientist formerly employed for five years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, both of California.

Father forgive them, for, er fuck that! Goddamn them Father for they know exactly what they do...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 20 2007 15:49 utc | 58

jony_b_cool - do you have any good links on south african-nigerian trade relations? thanks.

Posted by: b real | Nov 20 2007 15:52 utc | 59

Former Ambassador Joe Wilson is now working for a U.S. resource extraction fund meddling in South Sudan ...

Posted by: b | Nov 20 2007 18:43 utc | 60

More please.

Posted by: beq | Nov 20 2007 20:22 utc | 61

Protesters arrested at Gonzales UFlorida speech

Embattled former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was a few minutes into his speech Monday night when the first two protesters took the stage, their heads covered and hands tied behind their backs like Abu Ghraib prisoners.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 21 2007 0:00 utc | 62

A shocker:

Pak nukes already under US control: Report

In a stunning disclosure certain to stir up things in Washington's (and in Islamabad and New Delhi's) strategic community, the journal Stratfor reported on Monday that the "United States delivered a very clear ultimatum to Musharraf in the wake of 9/11: Unless Pakistan allowed US forces to take control of Pakistani nuclear facilities, the United States would be left with no choice but to destroy those facilities, possibly with India's help."

"This was a fait accompli that Musharraf, for credibility reasons, had every reason to cover up and pretend never happened, and Washington was fully willing to keep things quiet," the journal, which is widely read among the intelligence community, said.

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 21 2007 0:37 utc | 63


Posted by: beq | Nov 21 2007 1:53 utc | 64

luckily, some warmth from comrade chavez in france today - shining his light on the old world

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 21 2007 2:09 utc | 65

Thought about plushtown when I read this.

'Noah's Flood' Kick-started European Farming?

'Noah's Flood' Kick-started European Farming?

— The flood believed to be behind the Noah's Ark myth kick-started European agriculture, according to new research by the Universities of Exeter, UK and Wollongong, Australia. New research assesses the impact of the collapse of the North American (Laurentide) Ice Sheet, 8000 years ago. The results indicate a catastrophic rise in global sea level led to the flooding of the Black Sea and drove dramatic social change across Europe.

The research team argues that, in the face of rising sea levels driven by contemporary climate change, we can learn important lessons from the past.

The collapse of the Laurentide Ice Sheet released a deluge of water that increased global sea levels by up to 1.4 metres and caused the largest North Atlantic freshwater pulse of the last 100,000 years. Before this time, a ridge across the Bosporus Strait dammed the Mediterranean and kept the Black Sea as a freshwater lake. With the rise in sea level, the Bosporus Strait was breached, flooding the Black Sea.

If you take a look at a map, they are saying that when the ice sheet covering northern North American collapsed this had catastrophic impacts on the people living along the lake of the Black Sea. That is a bit from the main direction of tsunamis. I wonder how the people on the coasts of pre-historic Portugal, France, Britain, North Africa, eastern US, Caribbean, northern South America faired?

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Nov 21 2007 3:06 utc | 66

b [email protected]

I will see what I can come up with. For now, MTN-Nigeria is the biggest GSM network. Its South African controlled. Also, a lot of Nigeria money is being placed in South African real estate & investments. South African Airlines won some major Nigerian routes a while back. South African service industries are appearing. And just about any material or machinery thats purposeful & well-priced in South Africa is building up movement to the Nigeria/West-Africa markets.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Nov 21 2007 3:39 utc | 67

Getting fairly formulaic here.

1.) Sell your soul and work tirelessly to advance the agenda of the forces of darkness. Crony up to a cabal of fascist, hate-mongering self-avowed overlords. Excuse all wrongdoing with bluster, rhetoric smear, spin, cover-up and obfuscation. In short, become a role model for bootlicking toadies the world over.

2.) Announce your sudden resignation to "spend more time with your family" well before the cronies you had been so faithful to have the opportunity to throw you to the wolves.

3.) Make a tidy profit on the sales of your new book in which you explain how you had no idea what extremists you were dealing with and how you were the sole voice of reason that nobody would listen to. Tell how you had the noblest of intentions and had hoped to turn everything around from the inside. Excuse everything you did in step 1 by announcing that you had no idea at the time that the bluster, rhetoric, smears, spin, cover-ups and obfuscations you had so actively engaged in weren't, strictly speaking, entirely true.

4.) Enjoy your retirement and get a good night's sleep.

I'm in the wrong line of work.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 21 2007 4:08 utc | 68

Via FeralScholar:

The Dismantling of Yugoslavia: A Study in Inhumanitarian Intervention (and a Western Liberal-Left Intellectual and Moral Collapse)

The breakup of Yugoslavia provided the fodder for what may have been the most misrepresented series of major events over the past twenty years. The journalistic and historical narratives that were imposed upon these wars have systematically distorted their nature, and were deeply prejudicial, downplaying the external factors that drove Yugoslavia’s breakup while selectively exaggerating and misrepresenting the internal factors. Perhaps no civil wars—and Yugoslavia suffered multiple civil wars across several theaters, at least two of which remain unresolved—have ever been harvested as cynically by foreign powers to establish legal precedents and new categories of international duties and norms. Nor have any other civil wars been turned into such a proving ground for the related notions of “humanitarian intervention” and the “right [or responsibility] to protect.” Yugoslavia’s conflicts were not so much mediated by foreign powers as they were inflamed and exploited by them to advance policy goals. The result was a tsunami of lies and misrepresentations in whose wake the world is still reeling.

Posted by: b | Nov 21 2007 7:23 utc | 69

Newspeak: Bush More Emphatic In Backing Musharraf

President Bush yesterday offered his strongest support of embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying the general "hasn't crossed the line" and "truly is somebody who believes in democracy."

Posted by: b | Nov 21 2007 7:27 utc | 70

Interesting>Kunstler simplification of the last 200 years of paper(formerly known as money):

[...]In any case, finance for the purpose of deploying capital has prevailed as reality among people who use the implements of the dinner table, but something weird has happened to it in recent years. It has entered a stage of grotesque, hypertrophic metastasis that now threatens the life of the industrial organism it evolved to serve. Its current state can be understood in direct relation to the run-up to peak oil (peak fossil fuel energy, really, since coal and gas figure into it, too). The oil age, we will soon discover, was an anomaly. Many of the things that seemed "normal" under its regime will turn out to have been rather special. And as the beginning of the end of the oil age becomes manifest, these special things are starting to self-destruct pretty spectacularly.

For one thing, finance in the past twenty years has evolved from being an organ serving a larger organism to taking over the organism, becoming a kind of blind, raging dominating parasite on its former host. Or to put it less hyperbolically, it has become an end in itself. That is what they mean when they say that the financial sector has been "driving" the economy. A feature of this ghastly process has been the evolution of financial instruments into ever more abstract entities removed from reality-based productive activities. Stocks and bonds were understood to represent direct investment in enterprise. Sometimes the enterprise was a failure, and sometimes the people running it were swindlers, but no one doubted that common stock represented the hope for profit in a particular venture like making steel or selling laxative chemicals. The new "creatively-innovated" financial "derivatives" of recent years are now so divorced from any real activities or product that often the people trafficking in them don't understand what they're supposed to represent. I'd bet that more than half the people in the New York Stock exchange any given day could not explain the meaning of a credit default swap if a Taliban were holding their oldest child over a window ledge across Wall Street.[...]

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 21 2007 9:39 utc | 71

Scotty sez Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Libby were all in on Plame outing.

Posted by: catlady | Nov 21 2007 15:20 utc | 72

For Star Trek fans: Steam Trek (video)

Posted by: b | Nov 21 2007 16:29 utc | 73

Looking from the outside it is funny how dirty U.S. campaigns tend to act.

Push calls defaiming the candidate who pays for them all to gain some positive outrage for the candidate?

In response to questions from TPM Election Central, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed that the campaign had failed to disclose this info to reporters. Madden suggested that the campaign had identified them as "supporters," which is a far cry from being directly paid by the campaign, as the two call recipients were.

The revelation could add grist to the theory -- now spreading on conservative blogs and even getting coverage by news organizations -- that the Romney campaign itself is behind the calls. Some have speculated that the calls -- which attack Romney and refer to his Mormon faith while saying positive things about McCain -- are an effort by the campaign to test negative messages about itself while getting McCain blamed for the calls.

The new revelation could give more ammo to those who question whether the firm making the calls -- which is already reported to have on staff several people who have donated to the Romney campaign -- knowingly called Romney supporters because they could be counted on to tell the press about the calls and to suggest to reporters that Romney rival John McCain was behind them.

Posted by: b | Nov 21 2007 17:28 utc | 74

quotidian scum

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 21 2007 17:51 utc | 75

& it is unbelievable the disasters washing over the people of the middle east directed from the corrupt state dept & the demonic white house

these fools have compacted all catastrophes, the politicisation of islam in indonesia & the phillipines, fucking up almost completely for some time to come - pakistan, in afghanistan every day heralds a return of the taliban in one form or another

in the occupied territories we witness an ethnic violence against the palestinians that the world has witnessed before only in the warsaw ghetto or the city of sarejevo

the people of palestine are being wiped off the map - literally as the likudniks & their mustachioed & toupéed goodtime girl john bolton desires - & this murder is not a question of translation - as with the iranians - but a day to day fact - grinding us all into the dust

in lebanon & also in egypt the empire is destroying whatver democratic impulse exists in their people under waves of threat, violence & torture

syria is menaced at every move & iran awaits an illegal assault

& iraq is falling to kingdom come from where it may never return

the fools from the corridors in washington are destroying us & our destiny

fuck them all

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 21 2007 19:02 utc | 76

WhateverItIs asks:Hillary’s new ad says the Republicans are attacking her “because they know that there’s one candidate with the strength and experience to get us out of Iraq.” Er, exactly what experience does she have that would get us out of Iraq?

Answer: A drivers license.

This was todays installment of simple answers to simple questions.

Posted by: b | Nov 21 2007 19:32 utc | 77

@catlady @72 - Scotty sez Bush, Cheney, Rove, and Libby were all in on Plame outing.

He didn't say that. Read what Scotty said carefully and keep in mind that he is a spinmeister. He didn't say anything like that involved.

He says he didn't know that the non-involvement of Rove and Libby that he publicly claimed was wrong.

He says Bush/Cheney were "involved" in Scotty not knowing that was wrong.

That's all he says!

His next claim will be that Bush/Cheney were involved because they didn't knew either.

Scotty wants to sell his book. He's not a whistle blower.

Posted by: b | Nov 21 2007 19:41 utc | 78

the correct treatment of journalists

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 21 2007 21:00 utc | 79

& a little of the troubled peace of sinéad in our troubled times

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 22 2007 0:04 utc | 80

never in my life have i so depended on music. on melody. perhaps even of lyricism. never in my life have i so detested language especially the twin languages of my being - french & english.

listening to the lies in information has become harrowinf for me - so i understand a little of our uncle $cams - depressive states - though i imagine they are not that but waves of an even more terrible melancholi which is informed by us witnessing the brutalities of our age

& i insist - & i am an old & efficient streetfighter - never have we known an age so vulgar - so empty of anything approaching wisdom

the terrible agitation of our times is not even drama - it is noise - a brutal & unending noise - & all that it seems to do is to shift shit

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 22 2007 1:17 utc | 82

speaking of stuffing..

yesterday i purchased an excellent wheatberry bread w/the chewy nuggets i love ($4 a loaf for god's sake) and set about browning them at low temp but forgot about them somewhere on the OT (your fault?) and Absurd Terror Stats thread. needless to say they became very very crisp yet due to the low temp they didn't burn. previously i had roasted pumpkin seeds w/some herbs from the garden (rosemary, thyme, oregano.. got a little sidetracked in the gargen natch) plus garlic (keep the vampires at bay), olive oil and TAMARI OF COURSE.

yikes, i mixed the seeds and the very crisp croutons but was a little concerned about the rock texture of the croutons. i decided i should consult a recipe and went on line. my oh my. why not just mix any and everything i read!

i purchased some sausage (maple flavor on sale, my apple cider brine has enough salt in it not to mention the tamari again)and proceeded to fry it w/a huge sweet onion w/dash of butter/olive oil. normally i wouldn't have added that last ingredience (because of the sausage fat) but having concern the croutons were brick hard....i then went back to my garden and collected more of the same herbs plus sage this time. after it was soft i took it off the heat but not before finely chopping the turkey heart and simmering it along w/.

then i added the remainder of the figs i had collected off the neighbor trees last month when they were at work (they just let them rot on the ground for heaven sake! plus..they sort of (!, open to interpretation) gave me an open invitation once apon a bright sunny day when they were feeling generous). i added a few gala apples (from the branches of my other neighbors tree that hangs over our fence, harvested last august i swear i can't give them away fast enough they fill up my veggie bin in the fridge) crisp of course and finely chopped, mixed in the pumpin seed/brick croutons mixture and started massaging the mixture. i love that part. hmm. it does seem the crouton's brick hardness is relenting... surrendering. nice. i don't like it too squishy but for god's sakes i don't want it all separating.

shit. i just remembered i totally forgot the celery. damn, and i already stuffed the turkey.


do i unstuff it, or settle for less?

how could i be so dense, i knew i was forgetting something.

maybe i will just sautee the celery and add it to the extra stuffing. then i can compare.

oh yeah, one more thing. i added a few light splashes of the apple cider brine at the finale before mixing the stuffing.

on preview when i came to the 'at bay' i realized i also forgot to include the bay leaves i collected on my hike monday.

i am so spaced. but so far, my stuffing tastes great. i licked my fingers (repeatedly).

maybe tomorrow i will sautee my celery w/the bay leaves.

Posted by: annie | Nov 22 2007 3:39 utc | 83

oh yeah. being a very lucky person, i do have a lot to be thankful for.

that includes you guys.

in the midst of reality, happy T day tomorrow.

and a prayer for all america's victims.

Posted by: annie | Nov 22 2007 3:45 utc | 84

Happy T-day, Annie and all.

Posted by: Bea | Nov 22 2007 4:22 utc | 85

Somewhat appropriate to the spirit of the holiday they're celebrating in the States, I've been wondering how Arlo Guthrie's perennial Thanksgiving favorite Alice's Restaurant would be updated to reflect advancements in the real police state.

I expect Arlo would be tased in the first three minutes of the song followed by 16 minutes of screaming and threats issued by jack-booted police officers.

Meh. I've">">I've heard that one coming over the dashboard already. Even a techno-beat isn't going to make that one a chart topper.

Happy Thanksgiving... unless you happen to be a sponsored authoritarian thug on a state, local or federal level. In that case, kindly choke to death on your stuffing.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 22 2007 5:26 utc | 86

Foreign Fighters in Iraq Are Tied to Allies of U.S.

Surrounded by desolate prairie and desert, Sinjar has long been a way station for foreign fighters. The insurgent cell raided by American troops was believed to have been smuggling up to 90 percent of all foreign fighters into Iraq, military officials say.

The raid happened in the predawn hours of Sept. 11, when American forces acting on a tip surrounded some tents six miles from the Syrian border.
In addition to $18,000 in cash and assorted weapons, troops found five terabytes of data that included detailed questionnaires filled out by incoming fighters. Background information on more than 900 fighters was found, or about 750 after eliminating duplicates and questionnaires that were mostly incomplete.

Are we expected to believe that? 5 terrabytes in some tents in the desert? Like 10 or so harddrives?

Posted by: b | Nov 22 2007 5:53 utc | 87>Happy Metal Thanksgiving. Like turkey, once a year it tastes really good!

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 22 2007 6:11 utc | 88

Looks like>General Sanchez is at it again, this time siding with the new democrat spending plan for Iraq. This guy has gotten one serious case of buyers remorse - its either that missing star or that christ like figure with the hood and wires floating over his bed every night.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 22 2007 10:26 utc | 89

David Axe is a war reporter and currently on his way to Mogadishu, Somalia. He was working for a McGraw-Hill magazine and they just told him not to go. He simply quits and goes anyway.

You can read his dispatches at War is Boring. I often don't agree with his political take, but he knows what he's talking about and honest and open in his reporting.

Posted by: b | Nov 22 2007 10:43 utc | 90

File that under tribal gang wars not "Al Qaida"

34 killed as Qaeda fighters attack Iraqi villages

At least 34 people were killed in fierce gun battles as suspected Al-Qaeda fighters -- some dressed as Iraqi soldiers -- attacked three villages, officials said Thursday.

Gunmen dressed in army uniforms launched an attack on Howr Rajab, a Sunni village south of Baghdad, killing three soldiers and wounding three, a security official said.

They then commandeered a Humvee armoured vehicle and charged into the village where they assaulted the headquarters of the Howr Rajab Awakening Council, a local anti-Qaeda front made up of Sunni Arab men.

Witnesses said fierce clashes ensued when Iraqi troops and Awakening members fought back. At least 10 civilians were killed and four wounded in the clashes.
"Dozens of men wearing Iraqi army uniforms entered the area and opened fire randomly at people," said an Awakening member who accompanied the four wounded people to hospital.

"The Iraqi army intervened and along with Awakening members fought back. There were fierce clashes," he added, asking not to be named for security reasons.

The story stinks.

The capture one Humvee to drive downtown but are "dozens of men"? How did they fit in there? Also too many "Iraqi army uniforms" in play here ...

Posted by: b | Nov 22 2007 18:56 utc | 91


axe's Wednesday November 21st 2007, 1:58 am so entirely misrepresents the facts on what he writes about that i have serious reservations about any benefit to be derived from his reportage.

This summer, for the first time in history, all of Somalia’s roughly 300 clans – plus business leaders, diaspora representatives and women’s advocates – gathered in Mogadishu to parley … and to draft a plan for national reconciliation. It was a remarkable event, and one of the best chances to end 16 years of civil war that have killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.

But the secular transitional government (headquartered in the northern city of Baidoa), which late last year aided an Ethiopian invasion that unseated the hardline Islamic Courts regime, failed to capitalize on the clans’ brief harmony.

the first sentence is complete bullshit, the second uses unfounded superlatives to misdirect the audience, and from there it doesn't get any better.

for a more accurate analysis of that period, try swiss peace's aug 15-oct 15 somalia team FAST rpt -- somalia - trends in conflict and cooperation(pdf)

it's not attributed to him, but it plagiarizes much of michael weinstein's analyses at PINR, of which the two most relevant on the NRC are
Somalia's Compromised National Reconciliation Conference
The Failure of 'Reconciliation' and 'Reconstitution' Opens Up a Political Vacuum in Somalia

from the former, dated 19 july,

Put in the bluntest terms -- and they are justified -- the N.R.C. is a nuanced yet simple power play by the T.F.G. executive to maintain its position by keeping international financial, military and diplomatic support; keeping the Ethiopian occupation in place barring the deployment of an adequate African Union (A.U.) or preferably U.N. peacekeeping force; and controlling the electoral process that is supposed to result in a permanent government and is mandated to take place in 2009. It is in the T.F.G.'s interest to ride out the remainder of the transition period and to prolong itself into any permanent arrangement. Part of staying in the saddle is to frame the reconciliation process to accord with its interests, which it has done for the time being, and to drag it out, attempting to use clan negotiations to build support and, if necessary, to divide and rule.

from the latter, dated 19 sept,

After the U.S.-supported Ethiopian intervention into Somalia, the Western powers had pinned all of their hopes on an "inclusive" national reconciliation process that would bring together all political forces and isolate revolutionary jihadists. The conditions for such a process were that the T.F.G. "reach out" to the political opposition and that the opposition be coherent and willing enough to engage in negotiation. Neither condition has been met; the N.R.C. was clan-based and held under the aegis of the T.F.G. and secured by Ethiopian forces; and the S.C.L.R. took on an uncompromising militant hue.

The Western powers and associated international and regional organizations, and interested states are left without options.

axe's spin is plain wrong.

he also writes, in that dispatch quoted above,

In October, at the halfway point of the transitional government’s planned five-year tenure, with Mogadishu in flames, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi saw the writing on the wall. He quit before parliament could fire him.

bullshit. regardless of parliamentary actions, gedi was fired - forced out - by foreign interests (primarily the u.s. according to local observers) to [1] appease president yusuf and [2] to head off further clan conflict at the top levels of the TFG. as the FAST rpt, linked above & written prior to gedi's ouster, makes clear,

Apart from the failed reconciliation efforts, the internal rifts of the TFG deepened severely during the reporting period. In particular, conflict surfaced between President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi over the mandate of traditional institutions. Among other events, divisions were displayed by the sacking of the public prosecutor that was initiated by Gedi in order to punish the prosecutor and by the prosecutor's refusal to leave his post supported by Yusuf. The personal dispute of the leadership had been growing for over a year but hardened significantly over the granting of oil concessions to foreign companies and the USD $32 million Gedi received from Saudi Arabia.

As a consequence of the growing power battle, the two men are said to have established their own personal militia and Gedi, in particular, is seeking much closer ties with his own clan platform than before.

yusuf is from the darod clan, which comprises much of nothern somalia (see map), while gedi is from the a subclan of the hawiye, the dominant clan group in central and southern somalia, which includes the capital mogadishu. this gives only one indication why the darod-led TFG is very unpopular throughout much of somalia, esp in the capital. gedi was attempting to build up clan support based on these sentiments. he was also reportedly skimming a lot of money (allegedly now has a large estate in kenya), attempted to undermine oil deals that yusuf and his clan-mates had made in the north, including puntland, and was pretty damn ineffective at performing in any capacity to build a govt institution, no matter that the TFG was never popular w/ the majority of somali's to begin with. he was also seen as a puppet of the occupier ethiopia, having long connections w/ its present dictator meles zenawi.

so, based on the little reportage of his that i've looked over, axe obviously has a large gap in comprehension to make up if his dispatches are to be very useful as honest accounts & appraisals of the context & situation currently engulfing somalia.

Posted by: b real | Nov 22 2007 19:53 utc | 92

but what do i know...

Posted by: b real | Nov 22 2007 20:06 utc | 93

Posted by: b real | Nov 22 2007 20:35 utc | 94

@breal - but what do i know...

Certainly more than any other person writing/reading here.

Sorry if I offended you by posting the Axe link. I certainly didn't intend to. I know he is not really knowledgable on the facts there. Still I would like some views of his "from the ground". It will teach him too.

Ken Silverstein at Harpers is following his trails:Dissent from the Pentagon’s Blogger Roundtables: David Axe has second thoughts about DoD effort

Axe said that he values being put in touch with deployed military officers, who are almost impossible to reach otherwise. Furthermore, there are no restrictions put on what questions can be asked during the calls.

But Axe said he’s noted something curious: at most of the conference calls, Jack Holt, chief of new media operations at the Pentagon, tells everyone that if there’s a topic they’d like to discuss in the future, he’d be happy to arrange it. Axe tells me he’s requested talks on several topics–he specifically mentioned a number of requests he’s put in on the Pentagon’s plans in Africa–and has gotten nowhere. “[Holt] always says ‘great,’ he’s very reassuring, but then nothing happens,” Axe said. “Any attempts to deviate course go nowhere. I don’t know why, but my guess it that it doesn’t match their agenda.”

Axe isn't swallowing the propaganda. He recently did get a junket luxuary flight from Boeing and published it (he will not get another). So there is some resistance to propaganda in him.

You could send him some insight. Chance is he will look into it - much better attitude than any of the usual NYT/WAPO journos ...

Posted by: b | Nov 22 2007 20:37 utc | 95

why south african white suprematists feel right at home in australia

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 22 2007 20:54 utc | 96


in australasia - how much of the prison system is privately owned? how recent? any opposition? its cool hand luke territory

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 22 2007 20:57 utc | 97

Aviation Week: U.S. Electronic Surveillance Monitored Israeli Attack On Syria

The U.S. provided Israel with information about Syrian air defenses before Israel attacked a suspected nuclear site in Syria, Aviation Week & Space Technology is reporting in its Nov. 26 edition.

The U.S. was monitoring the electronic emissions coming from Syria during Israel's Sept. 6 attack, and while there was no active American engagement in the operation, there was advice provided, according to military and aerospace industry officials.

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 22 2007 23:22 utc | 98

Another baby-step away from the dollar

Brazil, Argentina may ditch US dollar in bilateral transactions: minister

Brazil and Argentina could cease conducting bilateral financial transactions in US dollars next year and start using their own currencies, the real and the peso, Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega said Wednesday.

"I think that at the beginning of next year this system of currency exchange will be functioning," he told reporters.

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 22 2007 23:28 utc | 99

b @95 - sorry about leaving my remark too open to misinterpretation. it wasn't aimed at anyone & i wasn't offended or anything else, but rather expressing some doubt about my own certitude which i seemed to be conveying in the previous comment. a quick explanation is in order.

one thing that really bothered me about axe's hyperbole on the NRC was a perceived similarity to that of a professional disinformation specialist's lies about that very same NRC which i drew attention to recently in another post. the conference was pushed on somalis by outsiders who tried, in vain, to sell it to the outside world as proof of the legitimacy of the TFG & its efforts to seek a solution to the state of conflict there. as far as i can tell from multiple sources of reports & accounts, it was never an inclusive process nor were there expectations that much would result from it because of the fact that it did not include the opposition or represent all of the sub/clans or actually focus on national reconciliation, despite the title. and if there ever was a report of members of the diaspora flying in to mogadishu to attend, i completely missed it.

so, of course, this makes me question what axe's angle is in writing what he did. top that off w/ his effort to make it sound like gedi left office of his own will -- gedi was issuing stmts right up to oct 29th saying he had no intentions on resigning after appearing to have swung a majority backing in parliament to support him -- and a flag goes up that just maybe there's something else going here.

only a hunch on my part, and not enough information to draw any conclusions.

i'll follow his reportage, of course, and i realized after i posted #92 that i cannot sit in front of 'puter thousands of miles away from the action & claim any true authority of knowledge of the facts on the ground, nor should i dismiss anyone's "usefulness" who is actually putting their head in the line of fire. so my followup was made in that context & never implied anything else.

Posted by: b real | Nov 23 2007 18:45 utc | 100

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