Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 28, 2007

OT 07-81

The elder is filled so here is new open thread.

Please comment. This blog subsists on comments ...

Posted by b on November 28, 2007 at 19:58 UTC | Permalink

Comments

Fucking idiots (or is it the plan?): NATO Airstrike Kills 14 Afghans

A NATO airstrike killed 14 laborers working for an Afghan road construction company that had been contracted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to build a road in the mountainous province of Nuristan in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

The strike occurred late Monday night in the Norgram district of Nuristan when the Afghan workers of Amerifa Road Construction Company were sleeping in tents after a day’s work.

“Fourteen of our mechanics and laborers were killed as they were asleep in their tents,” said Nurullah Jalali, the executive director of the construction company. “We just collected pieces of flesh from our tired workers and put them in 14 coffins.”

The governor of Nuristan, Tamim Nuristani, said he could confirm that 13 workers had been “mistakenly” killed when NATO forces bombed the area based on what he said was an intelligence report that insurgents were infiltrating the area.
...


There were no NATO troops nearby - there had been no signs of Talibs in the area before. Just a fucking "intelligence" report and an unobserved night target ... and 14 now dead sleeping roadworkers.

Posted by: b | Nov 28 2007 20:20 utc | 1

Really scary stuff:

A Generalized Meltdown of Financial Institutions -- Worldwide, happening right now.

Bernhard, can you comment please??

Posted by: Bea | Nov 28 2007 21:44 utc | 2

So very off thread, but I just came away from a link Glenn Greewald gave for a Billmon post.

Thank you all here for keeping the flame alive.

I do miss Billmon so very, very much.

I'm actually tearing up a bit.

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 28 2007 22:09 utc | 3

two strong editorials out of nigeria today supporting president yar'adua's official public rejection of AFRICOM & on the day that a u.s. military delegation, led by AFRICOM's deputy to the commander for military ops rear adm moeller, was headed to abuja for more bullshittin'

daily trust: Nigeria rejects US’ Africa Command (page down a couple times)

The United States government’s decision to establish an Africa Command (AFRICOM) as a military mechanism for "resolving" Africa’s internal crises in pursuit of its "war on terror" was received by most African pundits with concern or resignation, but little surprise. Whether viewed as a strategy for hegemony or self-defence, the establishment of such commands worldwide is but the logical outcome of the US push for global dominance.

There being no corner of the world where US interest or honour lies beyond the reach of "evil-minded forces," the whole aim of the "global war on terror" – which foresees an unlimited number of indecisive battles - may be no more than to so menace the governments and peoples of the world with an endless series of imaginary enemies as to compel them to rely on US support for survival and provide façades behind which Uncle Sam could rule the planet unchallenged. That is standard twenty-first century imperialism whose grace notes are "free market," "human rights," and a democracy enforced by awesome military power.

The strategy of all imperial masters has always been to impose norms of right and wrong, possibility or impossibility, sanity or insanity and good or bad on their subjects, the majority of whom conform without question on account of their herd mentality. The masters then manipulate these norms to divide the masses into diverse factions, thus gaining the leverage to create conflicts or restore order among the masses at will. While parallel US efforts to destroy all established traditions in promoting worldwide regional integration are but parts of its ploy to create a US-dominated global economy and administration, we remain supremely confident that the good people of the United States and its allied countries are neither militaristic enough nor rich enough to condone the endless bailouts, police actions and wars which their governments’ hegemonic aspiration would entail.

What the US and its allies really care about is to establish a military presence at the heart of every resource-rich region in order to control the supply of hydrocarbon fuels as global capitalism becomes increasingly overwhelmed by crises of overproduction and overcapacity. It is logical that they should seek to strengthen their military presence in Africa as China and India begin to cast furtive glances at our continent’s resources.
...
Accordingly we welcome the recent decision of our Council of States to reject AFRICOM as a neo-colonial imposition and work instead towards the establishment of an African Standby Force to address whatever crises may arise in African countries.

daily sun: The African Command initiative

The Federal Government, at the end of the recent National Council of State (NCS) meeting in Abuja, formally confirmed its rejection of the hosting of the long–touted United States’ (U.S) African High Command (AFRICOM) anywhere in Nigeria or elsewhere in the sub-region.

The confirmation brought to an end, speculations that a U.S – sponsored and administered military base planned for Africa would be located in Nigeria. It also doused fears that the African High Command, under U.S control, would promote the expansion of American influence in the country and seriously undermine Nigeria’s sovereignty. Instead of the United States–sponsored AFRICOM initiative, President Umaru Yar’Adua has proposed the establishment of an African Standby Force for the Gulf of Guinea.

We commend the Federal Government for its rejection of an AFRICOM base in Nigeria and welcome the proposal of an African Standby Force. The proposed African Standby Force is expected to be a truly African initiative, by and for Africans.

We have always expressed our reservations about America’s long – standing interest in establishing military bases in all parts of the world. We find this American resolve extraneous and repugnant to the concept of sovereignty and independence of nations.

The U.S is always seeking to expand its military outposts but Nigeria, as a sovereign state and a leader on the African continent, has a duty to reject this plan which cannot be in our national interest, in the long run. We simply do not see the need for AFRICOM on Nigeria’s territory.

Posted by: b real | Nov 28 2007 22:48 utc | 4

Towards the end of the sixth book of the Aeneid Anchises tells his son Aeneas about the greatness of Rome which is not that of casting beautiful statues or creating splendid poetry as the Greeks have done but that the greatness of Rome resides in establishing the rule of Law and under this rule of law "debellare superbos, parcere subiectis" that is annihilate those that resist and spare those that submit. There you have summarized in a famous verse the essence of Empire. But that attitude requires an enormous optimism about oneself and there is no better demonstration of the boundless optimism of the American people than the behavior of the stock market yesterday and today. Simply we cannot imagine that events may go wrong, that we have to pay our debts. All problems will be solved, according to market speculators, through more debt creation, actually free money. This boundless optimism is what sustains the American power.

Posted by: jlcg | Nov 28 2007 23:17 utc | 5

Domestic Spying, Inc.

A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time.

Under a proposal being reviewed by Congress, a National Applications Office (NAO) will be established to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites. If the plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the U.S. one of the world's most closely monitored nations. Until now, domestic use of electronic intelligence from spy satellites was limited to scientific agencies with no responsibility for national security or law enforcement.

The intelligence-sharing system to be managed by the NAO will rely heavily on private contractors including Boeing, BAE Systems, L-3 Communications and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). These companies already provide technology and personnel to U.S. agencies involved in foreign intelligence, and the NAO greatly expands their markets. Indeed, at an intelligence conference in San Antonio, Texas, last month, the titans of the industry were actively lobbying intelligence officials to buy products specifically designed for domestic surveillance .

Also see, DOJ attempts subpoena for list of 24,000 Amazon customers

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2007 2:13 utc | 6

two on the cia's memo to destabilize the venezuelan govt (w/ conflicting translations of the operation name)

eva golinger: CIA Operation "Pliers" Uncovered in Venezuela

Last night CNN en Español aired the above image, which captions at the bottom "Who Killed him?" by "accident". The image of President Chavez with the caption about killing him below, which some could say subliminally incites to assassination, was a "production error" mistakenly made in the CNN en Español newsroom. The news anchor had been narrarating a story about the situation between Colombia and Venezuela and then switched to a story about an unsolved homicide but - oops - someone forgot to change the screen image and President Chavez was left with the killing statement below. Today they apologized and admitted it was a rather "unfortunate" and "regrettable" mistake. Yes, it was.

On a scarier note, an internal CIA memorandum has been obtained by Venezuelan counterintelligence from the US Embassy in Caracas that reveals a very sinister - almost fantastical, were it not true - plan to destabilize Venezuela during the coming days. The plan, titled "OPERATION PLIERS" was authored by CIA Officer Michael Middleton Steere and was addressed to CIA Director General Michael Hayden in Washington. Steere is stationed at the US Embassy in Caracas under the guise of a Regional Affairs Officer. The internal memorandum, dated November 20, 2007, references the "Advances of the Final Stage of Operation Pliers", and confirms that the operation is coordinated by the team of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) in Venezuela. The memo summarizes the different scenarios that the CIA has been working on in Venezuela for the upcoming referendum vote on December 2nd.
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Operation Tenaza has the objective of encouraging an armed insurrection in Venezuela against the government of President Chavez that will justify an intervention of US forces, stationed on the military bases nearby in Curacao and Colombia. The Operation mentions two countries in code: as Blue and Green. These refer to Curacao and Colombia, where the US has operative, active and equipped bases that have been reinforced over the past year and a half in anticipation of a conflict with Venezuela.

The document confirms that psychological operations are the CIA's best and most effective weapon to date against Venezuela, and it will continue its efforts to influence international public opinion regarding President Chavez and the situation in the country.

james petras: CIA Venezuela Destabilization Memo Surfaces

On November 26, 2007 the Venezuelan government broadcast and circulated a confidential memo from the US embassy to the CIA which is devastatingly revealing of US clandestine operations and which will influence the referendum this Sunday, December 2, 2007.

The memo sent by an embassy official, Michael Middleton Steere, was addressed to the Director of Central Intelligence, Michael Hayden. The memo was entitled 'Advancing to the Last Phase of Operation Pincer' and updates the activity by a CIA unit with the acronym 'HUMINT' (Human Intelligence) which is engaged in clandestine action to destabilize the forth-coming referendum and coordinate the civil military overthrow of the elected Chavez government.
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The ultimate objective of 'Operation Pincer' is to seize a territorial or institutional base with the 'massive support' of the defeated electoral minority within three or four days (presumably after the elections though this is not clear. JP) backed by an uprising by oppositionist military officers principally in the National Guard. The Embassy operative concede that the military plotters have run into serous problems as key intelligence operatives were detected, stores of arms were decommissioned and several plotters are under tight surveillance.

doesn't look like the original of the alleged memo is up anywhere yet, only the spanish translation

Posted by: b real | Nov 29 2007 5:03 utc | 7

I've noticed that it never bodes well when US Presidential advisors and cabinet members start suddenly resigning their posts to "spend more time with their family". Al Hubbard, chairman of the National Economic Council, is the latest rat to suddenly swim away with a flimsy pretense.

Might want to start measuring the distance between you and the lifeboats.

Posted by: Monolycus | Nov 29 2007 5:13 utc | 8

quick note that just maybe the u.s.-trained burundi peacekeepers are honestly headed for mogadishu to ... do what exactly? stop the ethiopians from indiscriminately killing somalis? anyway, there was a very brief mention in the ugandan press that

Burundi peace keepers are deploying in Somalia in two weeks time to bolster the pacification efforts by the Ugandan contingent, the UPDF Chief of Training and Operations, Brig. Silver Kayemba has said.

"In a fortnight's time, Burundi's peace keepers will be deploying in Somalia," Brig. Kayemba said at the award of French language diplomas to 24 UPDF officers yesterday.

they've been saying that they're on the way for a couple months now, but then it turns out that they're not ready yet, not equipped properly, not enough money, and so on, though who in their right minds would want to step into a situation like what is going on in occupied mogadishu currently, and then an article from monday sorta provides a context for how the u.s. finally convinced burundi to deploy some forces.
Airmen provide optometry care to deploying African troops

Air Force optometry speicialists [sic] provided eye care to two battalions of African military members prior to the battalions leaving on a peace keeping mission in Somalia.

The team, which saw 1,597 Burundi, Africa, military troops Nov. 6 to 15 at Gakumbu military base, Africa...

The team was sent to provide optometry and eye care because International Crisis Operations and Peace Keeping trainers reported that individual weapons qualifications and accuracy beyond 50 meters were hindered due to poor eyesight. The trainers placed a request for an eye-care team to evaluate and provide glasses for the two battalions.

The 52nd AMDS Optometry Flight was given four duty days to build their team and gather the necessary equipment to deploy into the austere environment.

Additionally, the team went in expecting to face further challenges due to illiteracy.

gotta hurry up & get them there before they start reading up on what they're getting themselves into ;-)

Posted by: b real | Nov 29 2007 5:34 utc | 9

LA Times on Perle, Ghadry and Fakhravar(!) ...

Grooming the next Ahmad Chalabi

People such as 32-year-old Amir Abbas Fakhravar, an Iranian dissident now living in exile in the United States. In a 2006 Washington Post Op-Ed article, Perle promoted Fakhravar as a heroic and inspirational figure around whom oppressed Iranians could rally, if only he were given America's support. Fakhravar is president of the Iran Enterprise Institute, which takes its name and some of its financial support from the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, of which Perle is a resident fellow. In the coming weeks, Fakhravar will be speaking at a conference in Palm Beach, Fla., on the subject of regime change in Tehran, addressing the Heritage Foundation in Washington and then heading to Rome to deliver a lecture on "Democracy in the Islamic World." Just recently, he was the honored guest at DePaul University's "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week," where he was introduced as "the hero of our age."

His story, as he and his supporters tell it, could be a Hollywood script. Young, handsome, bold Iranian student leads the oppressed and downtrodden against the crushing tyranny of the mullahs, rising up, a la "Les Miserables." He stands atop the barricades during student protests in Iran in 1999 and is then imprisoned and tortured. He communicates with the West from Tehran's maximum-security Evin prison via a cellphone and escapes to freedom, with a shoot-to-kill order hanging over his head.

Unfortunately, Fakhravar's detractors, including some Iranian dissidents and exiles, insist that his story might as well be a Hollywood script. In a report last November in Mother Jones, Laura Rozen interviewed Iranian dissidents and journalists who cast doubt on Fakhravar's story. They claim, for example, that in their experience, political prisoners at Evin weren't allowed to use cellphones to communicate with the outside world. And, they say, he did not so much escape from prison, he simply went AWOL while on a kind of furlough that prisoners could sometimes arrange. As for other harrowing details, in reality he took a regular flight to Dubai (where he was met by Perle). Most important, Rozen's sources told her, Fakhravar was never a major figure in the student uprising of 1999.

Writing in Progressive magazine, Muhammad Sahimi, a chemical engineering professor at USC, lists Fakhravar among the exiles who have no credibility in Iran: "They are not even known there." Although Amnesty International lists Fakhravar among those tortured by the Tehran regime, it uses the word "reportedly" to describe his ordeal.

Perle insists that Fakhravar is being smeared by forces opposed to aggressive regime change.
...
So, in his quest for idealistic dissidents to do in the Middle East what the Walesas and Havels achieved in Eastern Europe, Perle and his acolytes have tapped the discredited Ahmad Chalabi for Iraq, the suspect Amir Abbas Fakhravar for Iran and the allegiance-challenged Fahrid Ghadry for Syria. They're just not making heroes like they used to.

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2007 7:38 utc | 10

bea (all MoA's), watch this: video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279

It's important not to become dazzled by the pundits and polls and latest news rolls.

In due history, they'll all be dead. Just audit the estate. Nothing else matters.

Posted by: Schmellow Yellow | Nov 29 2007 7:43 utc | 11

William Lind offers some pure conjecture
on other reasons for the relative quiet in Iraq.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 29 2007 7:59 utc | 12

There was an odd news item on the Danish Radio this morning:

[from memory...] ...the US has tried for several years to get countries -- including Denmark -- to accept released prisoners from Guantanamo who present no danger but cannot be sent to their homeland because they risk being executed/jailed/tortured. Denmark has refused, as have the other (unnamed) countries, even though the US assures that these people are no risk and do not need surveillance...

As I understood it, it was a question of some 300 people. All I can say is WTF!!!

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Nov 29 2007 9:06 utc | 13

Iraqi lawmakers protest U.S. guards
Legislators walk out of parliament, complaining that troops at Green Zone entry points are overly aggressive and humiliate them.

On Wednesday, the issue was raised in parliament, and many lawmakers vented their anger.

The parliament speaker stopped the proceeding for half an hour to protest the behavior of U.S. troops, and as many as 100 lawmakers left the hall. Most returned, but the Kurdish bloc boycotted the remainder of the session, attendees said.

Rawandozi said he had mentioned the concerns over treatment of Iraqi lawmakers to U.S. officials, including Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, but said nothing had been done to address the issue.

Hmm - the Kurds went away ...

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2007 9:46 utc | 14

As we document the details of the US, and of course in my case Canada, and the UK, AUS, other 'free' countries' vector towards the police state, I must say this.

I have always lived knowing this is happening, it is no surprise.

The surprise may be in that the details are showing in public laws, transcripts of conversations, interviews.

My two-score and seven years in fortress north america have been informed, well informed, about what happens if you step out of line.

Anyone who has ever taken an extra day off work knows what I'm talking about -- you gotta do what you gotta do.

The machine can carry on without you, just take the day off.

I don't mean to be obscure, just saying that petty disobedience is a good example for learning how to do the more grievous version. We all know how to speak to our friends on the phone when someone is listening in, you just talk about "him, them" or "her" without naming names.

I've known that there is a surveillance society, or at the least the hope for same, since I was 7 years old.

I read science fiction (written in English by English speaking engineers, mathematicians and scientists during the '60s and '70s) and they sure the * knew what was going on.

The fact that today's technology realizes the dreams of the post war era doesn't mean that we should be shocked by it.

It's no surprise, we've spent decades sitting in our bunkers waiting for this.

Posted by: jonku | Nov 29 2007 10:07 utc | 15

For you economy watchers...Subprime.

Humor so dry, at times you might not be entirely sure. The Long Johns mull over the sub-prime mortgage mess.

Some background. They do these interviews in much the same way every week, taking on exactly the same characters. However, the person the interviewee claims to be changes every week: sometimes a government minister, sometimes a businessman, sometimes a civil servant. It's often a real person who's in the news.

The interviewer always keeps the same attitude of apparent credulity, seeming to believe anything he's told, however unlikely. I believe they're largely improvised, too.

So yes, he is in character when talking about "an unemployed black man in a string vest", and the other guy is in character when echoing what he says without challenging it.

However, UK comedy tends to be less politically correct than in the US. So, they probably wouldn't have thought too deeply about using the phrase. You wouldn't have had a team of twenty writers agonizing about it for days as you might in US comedy.

That's the good news, to soften you up, you see.

Here's the bad:

Democracy Now today: Abu Dhabi Becomes Largest Citigroup Shareholder With $7.5B Investment, Bailout Comes Amidst Subprime Mortgage Crisis, Record-High Oil Prices

To discuss the state of US economy today we are now joined by two guests:

* Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University. He was an economic adviser under the Clinton administration and maintains the widely-read Global Economics Monitor website. He was among the first economists to predict the housing slump and now warns that a severe US recession is "inevitable."
* Michael Klare, Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College. He is author of several books including "Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum." Klare's latest article for the Nation is called Beyond the Age of Petroleum.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 29 2007 16:17 utc | 16

a couple of updates re AFRICOM

xinhua: UMA rejection frustrates U.S. efforts to find home for AFRICOM

The U.S. efforts to seek a home for the Africa Command (AFRICOM) have suffered one more blow as the Arab Maghreb Union (UMA) stated strong opposition Tuesday to any foreign military establishments on the soil of African countries.

The UMA, founded in 1989 by Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Moroccoand Tunisia, said through its consultative committee that such foreign establishments would not bring any benefit to the UMA or the African Union countries.

Instead, they will risk catastrophic results for host countries and might be used as an excuse for certain factions to launch attacks on organizations of foreign, especially U.S., interests.

The rejection was not the first to U.S. plans to find a host country for its military headquarters in Africa, approved by President George W. Bush in February.

Many African countries, starting from those in the north of the continent, have already made it clear that they would not host the AFRICOM or provide permanent bases for the U.S. forces.

Nations including Uganda, Algeria, Libya and the 14 members of the Southern African Development Community all refused to provide a home for the headquarters.

Analysts said refusals from so many countries showed that African nations have reached a broad consensus on rejecting the U.S. military headquarters for fears of sacrificing their own sovereignty.

and in #4 i mentioned that an AFRICOM delegation was headed to abuja, nigeria for "more bullshittin'". well, here's the verification

panapress: US military officials consult with Nigeria on AFRICOM

Abuja, Nigeria - Worried by Nigeria's opposition to the possible siting of military bases in the country under the aegis of the newly-established US Africa Command (AFRICOM), US military officials have met with key Nigerian officials to explain the security initiative for Africa.

Deputy to the AFRICOM Commander for Military Operations, Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, and the Deputy to the AFRICOM Commander on Civil-Military Activities, Ambassador Mary Carlin, said they had spent the past three days explaining the concept of the command to the officials.
...
"It has nothing to do oil resources in the Gulf of Guinea. The resources there are Nigerian. They belong to Nigeria and to the countries of the region. What we do is work with partner nations to make sure that the resources are available for the global community, and for what they are intended for," Moeller said.
...
Ambassador Carlin admitted that AFRICOM had "been misunderstood", saying the result of her discussions with top Nigerian leaders showed that they should have come for consultation "earlier."

Admiral Moeller noted that "the US AFRICOM does not intent to station large troops in the African continent. We don't have need for stationing garrisons in the continent. But small number of forces can come into the continent, carry out a particular duty and leave.

"If some future expansion makes it imperative for the AFRICOM to come in and stay, it will be on the invitation of the leadership of the host country. We will only discuss future presence with such countries," he said.
...
Ambassador Carlin added that "AFRICOM has no intention of undermining the sovereignty of any African nation."

She also said in future, the body would bring in military personnel of partner nations into the headquarters of AFRICOM in order to "allow us to be better organized to reach our goal of a peaceful and better Africa."

hah. imagine the nigerian military setting & then talking about their goals for a "better" usa.

"AFRICOM does not intent to station large troops in the African continent ... AFRICOM has no intention of undermining the sovereignty of any African nation"

we all know what they say about intentions & the road to hell.

the argument of concern about 'stationing large troops' on the continent is really a red herring, as military strategies are trending away from large permanent bases to small nodes of access across the planet ("lilypads"). along w/ the increasing number of u.s. military-led training programs & exercises taking place on african soil, which create various military dependencies on the the superpartner in these contexts, the u.s. military can quietly gain control over african nations through their militaries. and, along w/ the objectives of protecting capital investments, developing export infrastructure for extraction industries, and controlling africa's resources, the access that the u.s. military is gaining on the continent facilitates the u.s. battle against its main global challenger.

that article/report i pointed out recently on renewed u.s. basing in the philippines is particularly instructive in this subject.

How the US got its Philippine bases back

Last year, the United States Quadrennial Defense Review, a public and official document required by the US Congress from the Pentagon to express US military strategy, announced that: "Of the major and emerging powers, China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional US military advantages absent US counter-strategies."

Capping a series of pronouncements by high-level US officials warning China not to challenge the US as well as a series of actions indicating US moves to encircle China with US military assets and allies, the document confirmed what many had long suspected to be the case: that the US sees China as the rival whose rise it must prevent and whose military power it must contain. One of the countries in which the US has been deepening its military presence in is the Philippines - considered by US analysts as firmly located within what they call "the dragon's lair" - that strategic area around China where decisive battles could erupt in certain war-planning scenarios.

Though the US military officially vacated the Philippines and its mammoth Subic Bay base in 1991, since 2001 it has moved to re-integrate the Philippines firmly within what it now calls its "global defense posture". Despite the US and Philippine governments' efforts to play down their presence, a clearer but still incomplete picture of the extent and depth of the re-establishment of the US's military presence in the Philippines has emerged.

First, the US has stepped up deploying troops, ships and equipment to the country, ostensibly for training exercises, humanitarian and engineering projects and other missions, even though its military officially vacated the Philippines and its mammoth Subic Bay base in 1991.
...
Though presented largely as efforts to improve the skills of Filipino soldiers, the aim is also to gain strategic ground. As former US Pacific Command chief Thomas Fargo himself has pointed out: "The habitual relationships built through exercises and training and a coherent view of regional security with regional partners is our biggest guarantor of access in time of need ... Access over time can develop into habitual use of certain facilities by deployed US forces with the eventual goal of being guaranteed use in a crisis, or permission to preposition logistics stocks and other critical material in strategic forward locations."

As US troops come and go in rotation for frequent regular exercises, their presence - when taken together - makes up a formidable forward-presence that brings them closer to areas of possible action without need for huge infrastructure to support them - and without inciting a lot of public attention and opposition.
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And as US troops depart then come back again, they leave behind the infrastructure that they had built and used ostensibly for the exercises and which could still be of use to the US military in the future for missions different from those for which they were initially built.
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Second, the US has secured arrangements and built infrastructure that would allow it to use ports and airfields to pre-position equipment, secure logistics support and engage a broad range of locally-provided services that would enable it to launch and sustain operations from the Philippines if necessary.
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In September 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo granted the US free access to its ports and offered it over-flight rights to its airspace. In November 2002, the US and Philippine governments signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), which has been described by researchers with the US Congressional Research Service as "allowing the United States to use the Philippines as a supply base for military operations throughout the region". The MLSA obliges the Philippine government to exert "best efforts" to provide the US logistics supplies, support and services during exercises, training, operations and other US military deployments.

The agreement defines these to include food, water, petroleum, oils, clothing, ammunition, spare part and components, billeting, transportation, communication, medical services, operation support, training services, repair and maintenance, storage services, and port services. "Construction and use of temporary structures" is also covered. In other words, the MLSA gives the US access to the full range of services that the US military would require to operate in and from the country. Also through the MLSA, the US has secured the services that it would normally be able to provide itself inside a large permanent base but without constructing and retaining large permanent bases - and without incurring the costs and the political problems that such bases often pose.

In 2003, an analyst reported that among all Southeast Asian countries only the Philippines has provided a "forward positioning site" for the US to store equipment to be used for regional operations. In August 2005, the Overseas Basing Commission, the official commission tasked to review US basing, identified the Philippines as one of the countries - along with Thailand, India and Australia - in which so-called "Cooperative Security Locations" (CSLs) are being developed by the US in the region. According to the Pentagon, CSLs are a new category of bases that refer to facilities owned by host-governments but are to be made available for use by the US military as needed.
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The terms of the MLSA and the establishment of CSLs reflect the US's increasing emphasis on just-in-time logistics support and pre-positioning of equipment to ensure that US forces - dispersed as they are around the world, often far away from main bases where they store equipment and tap all kinds of services - are always ready and rearing to go. It is not so much the size of the base that matters, but whether it can provide the US military with what it needs and when it's needed.
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Third, the US has already succeeded in stationing indefinitely a US military unit in the Philippines. Since 2002, a unit now called the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) has been deployed to and based in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and other areas in Mindanao in the southern Philippines.

While initially presented as part of on-again, off-again temporary training exercises, it has since been revealed that this unit has continuously maintained its presence in the country for the past six years.
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In an apparent effort not to draw attention to the unit, the US and Philippine governments have publicly revealed little about the real nature and mission of the JSOTF-P, except to project it as part of the US-led "war on terror" and to highlight the humanitarian and civil engineering projects that it undertakes.
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In terms of profile and mission, the JSOTF-P is similar to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-Horn of Africa), which was established in Djibouti in eastern Africa in 2003 and also composed mostly of Special Forces. Like the JSOTF-P, the CJTF-Horn of Africa has also been conducting "humanitarian"missions and aid projects. Similar to the Philippines, Djibouti has also seen a dramatic increase in the amount of military aid it receives from the US. As a sample of the US's new austere basing template, the CJTF-Horn of Africa has been described as the "model for future US military operations".
...
In his 2005 Annual Defense Report, Rumsfeld said that the US military "will improve its global force posture to increase strategic responsiveness while decreasing its overseas footprint and exposure. In place of traditional overseas bases with extensive infrastructure, we intend to use smaller forward operating bases with prepositioned equipment and rotational presence of personnel ... We will maintain a smaller forward-presence force in the Pacific while also stationing agile, expeditionary forces capable of rapid responses at our power projection bases."
...
Strategically positioned between two routes at the entrance of a major sea lane, the Makassar Strait, at the southwestern rim of the South China Sea, closer to Malaysia and Indonesia than most of the rest of the Philippines, the JSOTF-P, according to C H Briscoe, the unit's official historian, is "now better able to monitor the pulse of the region".

also, the CJTF-HOA is comfortably positioned at a bottleneck in the red sea

Posted by: b real | Nov 29 2007 16:32 utc | 17

@Uncle - wonderful British comedy
Besides your video link on subprime there is another on on bailout.

Moral hazard? What's that? I understand hazard, but what is the first word?

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2007 17:22 utc | 18

McClatchey: U.S. sponsorship of Sunni groups worries Iraq's government

The American campaign to turn Sunni Muslims against Islamic extremists is growing so quickly that Iraq's Shiite Muslim leaders fear that it's out of control and threatens to create a potent armed force that will turn against the government one day.
The U.S. wants 100,000 of these "concerned (sunni) citizens". The costs is $300 per month per head so it's relative cheap.

But what happens when the U.S. stops to pay (which it will evidently do at some point)?
What happens when these people fight the Iraqi Army and official police?

The U.S. calculation is obvious. It buys off part of the guerillia and then has the back free to attack al-Sadr's force which should be back in January/February. It is also a nice guesture towards Saudi Arabia (which may pick up the bill).
The most important effect might be that there are then three large Iraqi groups with weapons, the official (Shia) government, the Kurdish Peschmerga and the Sunni "concerned citizens". The U.S. can play off one against the other and be the indispensible "judge".

Posted by: b | Nov 29 2007 17:53 utc | 19

#17 quote:


Though presented largely as efforts to improve the skills of Filipino soldiers, the aim is also to gain strategic ground. As former US Pacific Command chief Thomas Fargo himself has pointed out: "The habitual relationships built through exercises and training and a coherent view of regional security with regional partners is our biggest guarantor of access in time of need ... Access over time can develop into habitual use of certain facilities by deployed US forces with the eventual goal of being guaranteed use in a crisis, or permission to preposition logistics stocks and other critical material in strategic forward locations."
[...]

In his 2005 Annual Defense Report, Rumsfeld said that the US military "will improve its global force posture to increase strategic responsiveness while decreasing its overseas footprint and exposure. In place of traditional overseas bases with extensive infrastructure, we intend to use smaller forward operating bases with prepositioned equipment and rotational presence of personnel ... We will maintain a smaller forward-presence force in the Pacific while also stationing agile, expeditionary forces capable of rapid responses at our power projection bases."

Its nice that on occasion they come right out and define the real overall foreign policy objective of the U.S.A. If it were possible to be more literal here, they would have said
something like "seeing that the foreign policy of the United States is to establish flexible military bases (lily pads) in strategically located countries around the globe, it is necessary, for propaganda purposes, to do this under the false pretense of fighting terrorism and/or providing training and enhanced security development within the host country. Indeed, the entire war on terror is simply a false pretext whereby the host country can plausibly (must) initiate itself into a permanent dependency relationship with the United States. As the Philippine example clearly illustrates, that once such a relationship is established - and despite trumped up evidence to the contrary, the United States will never leave that country free from its hegemony, once established. It should serve as fair warning to all countries of the world be it Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the African nations courted by AFRICOM, that the Philippine model of permanent peripheral dependency will apply to you in perpetuity"

Unambigiously, this is what they are saying.

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 29 2007 19:56 utc | 20

nice, a.m., it's good to spell it out from time to time.

Posted by: citizen | Nov 29 2007 22:00 utc | 21

Let the Eagle Soak.

Posted by: Ghost of Saddam Hussein | Nov 29 2007 22:29 utc | 22

'good germans' u s a 2007

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 30 2007 0:05 utc | 23

Just lurking,

Uncle, the only way to solve Wall Streets speculation is to pull all retirement funds from 401Ks, IRAs etc and put the money in local banks, state banks and credit unions.

Wall Street needs the alcohol pulled from their wine so all they get is grape juice. They are drunk on money and retirement funds are feeding their alcoholism.

Posted by: jdp | Nov 30 2007 0:07 utc | 24

After watching r'giap's #23 and reading Ghost's #22 I have to ask, Are We Sane?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 30 2007 0:32 utc | 25

@ r'giap 23 - I used to see a bumper sticker on a car in my neighborhood that said: "Lord Please Save Me From Your Followers"

Verily.

Posted by: beq | Nov 30 2007 1:21 utc | 26

the worrying news of today amongst a multitude of others- is the very clear attempts to destabilise both bolivia & venezuela. these attempts at destabilisation are happening on a whole lot of levels with the complete complicity, as is its habitude - of the media(s)

"they carry out their plans with knife like precision, nothing matters to them, to them blood equals medals & slaughter an act of heroism"
victor jara

beq , i don't know if you have it there but there is a channel here on the cable called godchannel which possesses both a mind numbing criminality as well as a stupidity so implacable that it directs you towards involuntary trances but largely there is only a quantitative difference between the babblers of god & the junk bond journalists who jack off to the juggernaut

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Nov 30 2007 1:42 utc | 27

THE TREASURY'S MISSING MINUTES

In essence, the Treasury's Freedom of Information officials said that the Working Group - affectionately nicknamed the Plunge Protection Team - doesn't keep records of its meetings.

How interesting and convenient!


Yes,jdp but that will never happen, ever try an intervention on a addict? My experience is, they get worse. I also find it interesting that a known alcoholic dry drunk runs the country, and that, as Robert Parry says, The Bush Family Gets Away with Crimes That Would Land Anyone Else in Jail. Anne Wilson Schaef wrote about these things two decades ago...THE ADDICTIVE ORGANIZATION,

--Even though there is a plethora of books about organizations and corporate life and millions of dollars each year are spent on consultants and packages designed to "fix up" what is wrong with organizations, corporations continue to search desperately for models that will reverse a slipping economy and enliven a poorly producing work force. Individuals look forward to weekends so that they can recover from their "crazy-making" experiences at work only to find that they must face the same dynamics on Monday. Often, persons who come from dysfunctional families find their organizations repeating the same patterns they learned in their families. Even though these patterns feel familiar, they do not feel healthy. Though consulting packages seem to alleviate some problems for a few days or a week, those same problems reemerge with even greater force and tenacity. Even after our favorite committees have had workshops on communications skills, breakdowns in communication, dishonesty, isolation, anger, and withdrawals continue. What is going on? What are we missing?

and particularly, in When Society Becomes an Addict, and more recent synopsis in The Paradigm Conspiracy: Why Our Social Systems Violate Human Potential.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 30 2007 1:51 utc | 28

Well Uncle,

It all comes down to the American people will be completely bankrupt, (are bankrupt) before they catch on. I was at a statewide conference this fall and I brought up the 401K thing to a fellow that teaches at the University of Michigan and he's a fellow at the Brookings Institute. He looked at me dumbfounded. His seminar was about angel investors. We have been instilled with Wall Street finance. Wall Street is considered the free market. They are strip mining assets from the US heartland just as DC does in taxes. DC set the model.

These people have been brainwashed since the start of the Reagan years and have no concept of local investment in local communities. It all started with the Feds taking more money and then sending it back to states in grants (now called investment). The dis function comes from who the leaders are as you so well point out. That model of investment was adopted by Wall Street where Wall Street talked Federal Legislators into creating investment funds and then Wall Street invest the monies giving greater returns.

Our Governor just went looking to California for investment monies. She does not realize that Calpers (the large California pension fund invest 20% directly into California business. We could do the same here. We have to stop looking global and start looking local. We need to bring the money back to the local level.

Sorry for skipping around.

Posted by: jdp | Nov 30 2007 2:26 utc | 29

Psychopathic Bosses Get Promoted

In a Reuters article Bad bosses get promoted, not punished?: we learn that "In the study to be presented at a conference on management this weekend, almost two-thirds of the 240 participants in an online survey said the local workplace tyrant was either never censured or was promoted for domineering ways."

One of the study's authors, Anthony Don Erickson, Ben Shaw and Zha Agabe of Bond University in Australia, wrote that:

"The fact that 64.2 percent of the respondents indicated that either nothing at all or something positive happened to the bad leader is rather remarkable -remarkably disturbing."

Posted by: | Nov 30 2007 3:08 utc | 30

time magazine keeps up its reputation as a reliable state propaganda/disinfo outlet w/ a new story on somalia, the horn of africa, & islamic terrorists -- Remember Somalia?
worth a read for students of propaganda

Posted by: b real | Nov 30 2007 3:25 utc | 31

Some desperately needed Fun & Hopeful Stuff.

Larry Flynt is still promising a "bombshell". Personally I wish he'd out Orrin Hatch, long mentioned on male homosexual sites as homosexual. (I reserve the term "gay" for women or males who neither hate themselves nor women. Obviously piggybacking here on the age old horrible feelings held toward them & deservedly so in this context.) But word spreading about is focusing on darlin' li'l Trent Lott. Time again to get yr. regular updates from blogactive(.com).

From the ridiculous to the optimistic - I've been waiting for decades for some type of spray on solar technology. It seems to be in the pipeline, though zero mention of if it's ready for production, or if when it would be available. The great news is that it harnesses IV rays. The scary news is that it uses nanotechnology. Unfortunately technocrats tend to think of "evolution" as something that they can read about in an early chapter of their Biology book & then move happily through their career never hearing about it again, at least until Fundies start acting out. That's assuming they aren't engineers who aren't required to take biology. The rub here is that we evolved before nanotechnology & it's so tiny our bodies may well have no defenses against utter penetration. Goddess only knows how it'll deal w/such intruders, but guess we'll find out when who new crops of diseses join those of the chemical age - Cancer, Parkinsons (from pesticides, which themselves are derived from military nerve gas research), etc.

Anyway, here's link for more info. Spray-On Solar-Power Cells Are True Breakthrough

Posted by: jj | Nov 30 2007 3:28 utc | 32

@jj #32:

RE: spray-ons

My former boss told me 15 yrs ago about a guy who invented this stuff, and sprayed it all over his electric VW. He 'disappeared' and the tech went unreported...until now. I believe this is the same goo that was used to make mylar-substrate cells for use on spacecraft (and now elsewhere).

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Nov 30 2007 4:05 utc | 33

Dr. Well - he disappeared? Are you serious? Can you tell us more?

(didn't edit above post - sorry for the zig-zag english, shall we say...)

Posted by: jj | Nov 30 2007 4:33 utc | 34

jj:

Going to do some research, and probably contact my old boss. I'm doing some cursory searches, and finding that about 1990 or so a lot of labs were working on this stuff.

Slightly OT -- My boss was NASA- and Hughes-connected, and also a Larry Niven fan, attending occasional parties with Niven and other SF authors and various super-geeks (pardon the colloquialism) from the aerospace and computer fields. He's told me some interesting stories...

Will post again if I find anything conclusive.

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Nov 30 2007 5:43 utc | 35

Evolution Debate Led to Ouster, Official Says

AUSTIN, Tex., Nov. 29 (AP) — The state’s director of science curriculum said she resigned this month under pressure from officials who said she had given the appearance of criticizing the teaching of intelligent design.

The Texas Education Agency put the director, Chris Comer, on 30 days’ paid administrative leave in late October, resulting in what Ms. Comer called a forced resignation.

The move came shortly after she forwarded an e-mail message announcing a presentation by Barbara Forrest, an author of “Creationism’s Trojan Horse.” The book argues that creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Ms. Comer sent the message to several people and a few online communities.

Ms. Comer, who held her position for nine years, said she believed evolution politics were behind her ousting. “None of the other reasons they gave are, in and of themselves, firing offenses,” she said.

Education agency officials declined to comment Wednesday on the matter. But they explained their recommendation to fire Ms. Comer in documents obtained by The Austin American-Statesman through the Texas Public Information Act.

“Ms. Comer’s e-mail implies endorsement of the speaker and implies that T.E.A. endorses the speaker’s position on a subject on which the agency must remain neutral,” the officials said.

Next: Everybody how denies the flatness of the planet will be incarcerated.

Posted by: b | Nov 30 2007 7:57 utc | 36

jdp,

those are the commentaries (local to national issues) I've missed from you - welcome back

Posted by: anna missed | Nov 30 2007 8:08 utc | 37

Nice rant by Craig Murray:

I have a lingering personal faith which won't quite die, irrespective of the continuing evidence on the Dawkins side of the equation that the religious, given any power, are evil and dangerous. George Bush did no harm when he was just a parasitic alcoholic, then he discovered Christ and look what happened. Which just goes to show that alcohol is a much more benificent social force than religion.

Blair has revealed he didn't tell us about his religious faith while in office in case people thought he was a "nutter". If he thinks we didn't notice he was a nutter, he is more deluded than I thought - plainly religion hasn't helped his thought processes.

Posted by: b | Nov 30 2007 8:32 utc | 38

An interesting cold-warrior op-ed by Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Short version:

"Let's work with China to negotiate with Iran. A U.S. conflict with Iran would be to the benefit of Russia and we can not have that."

Some people have lifelong boogeyman.

Posted by: b | Nov 30 2007 10:17 utc | 39

a "functional" tin-foil hat

Posted by: jcairo | Nov 30 2007 10:42 utc | 40

Annals of dumb headlines:

The Guardian: Berezovsky jailed in absentia

Posted by: b | Nov 30 2007 11:08 utc | 41

via chris floyd, here's a cogent interview w/ scott ritter

Bombs away? Arms expert Scott Ritter says the U.S. plans to attack Iran. MT asks why he's so sure
To learn what he thinks the future holds for Iran, and the consequences of a U.S. invasion, we recently sat down for a 90-minute phone interview with Ritter. What follows is a condensed version of that conversation.

Posted by: b real | Nov 30 2007 16:05 utc | 42

i've missed you too jpd.

Posted by: annie | Nov 30 2007 16:32 utc | 43

After watching r'giap's #23 and reading Ghost's #22 I have to ask, Are We Sane?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 30 2007 23:37 utc | 44

Alan: Well, last week we showed you how to become a gynaecologist. And this week on 'How to do it' we're going to show you how to play the flute, how to split an atom, how to construct a box girder bridge, how to irrigate the Sahara Desert and make vast new areas of land cultivatable, but first, here's Jackie to tell you all how to rid the world of all known diseases.

Jackie: Hello, Alan.

Alan: Hello, Jackie.

Jackie: Well, first of all become a doctor and discover a marvellous cure for something, and then, when the medical profession really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there'll never be any diseases ever again.

Alan: Thanks, Jackie. Great idea. How to play the flute. (picking up a flute) Well here we are. You blow there and you move your fingers up and down here.
Monty Python


Saturday am TV is never particularly elucidating, this morning's dose taken whilst waiting for the teenagers to surface was remarkably disturbing.

It featured a famous movie actor with art with a capital A pretensions and a former soccer player allegedly of some note flitting about poverty stricken Swazi communities, while picking holes in the HIV remedy programs.

It seems so simple to those of us born into a 20th century science and technology based society. One provides the pills, people take them and AIDS disappears.

Of course it is nothing like that simple, firstly contrary to normal practice the fix is distributed by someone they don't even know much less respect as a community leader. The drugs have no obvious linkage to the disease in the way that many African people of animist bent would consider a linkage, and because the remedies must be taken many times at fixed times often requiring transport to the clinic dispensing them, major changes to the lifestyle of the HIV infected person will be required if the treatment is to be successful.

The mummer and the soccer player regarded these impediments to a 'good outcome' as mere obstacles to be overcome by playing upon white middle class guilt sufficiently to get the guilty parties to reach for their wallets and throw cash at the problem.

No one discussed the fucking huge pachyderm in the parlor.

The only way to cure Africa of AIDS and make it fit for decent white people to visit and sexually exploit the kaffirs once more, is if we make them just like us.

Wearing wristwatches, trusting science, commuting outside their communities, becoming good little consumers.

Is it any wonder Gambian President Yahya Jammeh claims to have found an alternative? Of course CNN disparages his remedy only slightly less hysterically and patronizingly than a Murdoch mouthpiece would; but considering the obstacles to science based cures in traditional African communities, I wonder if Jammeh will be more successful. Surely what science calls the placebo effect is more likely to take hold with a remedy that aligns with the patients culture? And one would think that the anti-retro-viral regimes pushed by the western medical charities are likely to rely more on a placebo cure than the types of results they expect in a society which understands the precepts of their medicine.

I have no idea of which method is best for the people of Africa now or in the long term, but I do know that the people who are required to give 'informed consent' prior to an anti-retro-viral treatment are unlikely to be informed that they are signing up for the destruction of their traditional culture.

Another of the questions for which there is no 'right' answer. But that's OK we (western technology based society 'we') will answer that question for 'them'.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 1 2007 0:45 utc | 45

to go along w/ the focus on aids & the int'l aids/hiv conference in accra, ghana, two editorials from that nation's public agenda that illustrate another POV, shaped, no doubt, by historical memory.

Black Africa Was Bombed With AIDS

On the sidelines of the African HIV/AIDS conference which opened yesterday November 29 in Accra, Public Agenda plays back incriminating evidence that HIV was created in a United States laboratory and funded by the U.S. Congress specifically to reduce Black African population.

According to orthodox dogma in the 1980s, AIDS is caused by HIV, a natural virus that, by one account, allegedly crossed over from monkeys into the human population in Africa.

Though that is the view maintained by the governments of the west and by their medical and scientific establishments and disseminated by the western global media, it has not gained universal assent from independent scientists across the world.

Alerted by the many anomalies in the epidemiology of AIDS, a small growing number of scientific researchers began, by the mid 1980s, to put forward the Alternative AIDS Hypothesis: that AIDS is the product of a lab-made virus, a Biological Warfare Weapon, which somehow got deployed on Africans and other deliberately targeted groups.

The West Must Own Up On HIV/AIDS

Currently going on in Accra is the first international conference on HIV/AIDS, which is being attended by over 150 delegates, including Persons Living With HIV/AIDS, Media Advocates, Researchers, Medical Officers, NGOs and National AIDS Commission.

The conference will focus on ‘Strengthening Interventions towards the Elimination HIV/AIDS in Africa.’ No doubt, as the conference seeks to find a solution to eliminate HIV/AIDS in Africa, the debate about its origin and the intention for creating it will continue until Christ’s Second Coming.

How HIV/AIDS came to be the world’s biggest catastrophe will never go away as far as countless number of people, especially Africans continue to die needlessly, thanks to a group of misguided scientists and their government who claimed the divine right to reduce the population of the world.

Clearly, as Dr. Boyd E. Graves’ research has shown, the virus was artificially created to target the Black race in particular. Small wonder that Africa has become the international face of HIV/AIDS.

Some researchers and analysts have come public that despite the seemingly gloomy situation in the search for an AIDS cure, a cure has been found and is being kept a secret. If indeed a cure exists, and was known to the inventors of AIDS, even before the disease was let loose on humanity, why is that the cure is not being aggressively used to end the plague.

Perhaps, the widespread use of any cures would defeat the genocidal purpose for which the AIDS virus was invented. So the powers that commissioned AIDS have, presumably, worked to prevent general knowledge and use of any cures. Instead they promote the use of ARVs [Anti-Retroviral drugs] that don’t cure AIDS, but instead, earn mountains of money for the pharmaceutical companies.

Is it any surprise that the HIV/AIDS drugs industry has so soon become a profitable industry, with western pharmaceutical companies making billions of profit on patented ART drugs. How else can one explain the refusal of western pharmaceutical companies to allow cheap production of generic ART drugs for people plagued by the virus? The reason is that patenting has become a major source of revenue for rich countries, led by the U.S, if it means people dying.

Posted by: b real | Dec 1 2007 4:18 utc | 46

http://www.veteransforcommonsense.org/articleid/8843>Confirming Bernhards long held suspicion that drug use in Iraq by U.S. soldiers is problematic and covered up:

Veterans' advocacy groups charge that the problem of substance abuse is much greater than the Army wants to publicly acknowledge, and it's growing.

"I've met with veterans from coast to coast, and I will tell you that there is a catastrophe on the horizon," said Paul Sullivan, director of Veterans for Common Sense.

Three thousand fifty-seven veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were potentially diagnosed with a drug dependency from fiscal year 2005 through March 2007, according to figures provided to ABC News from the Veterans Health Administration. From 2002 through 2004, only a total of 277 veterans were diagnosed with drug dependency, the numbers show.

"The military right now can say whatever they want, but the truth on the ground is that the soldiers are in a lot of pain, emotional and physical pain, and they're turning to drugs in order to alleviate that," said Sullivan.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 1 2007 6:20 utc | 47

And some more http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=3936723&page=1>HERE on who the drug pusher might be.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 1 2007 6:24 utc | 48

I have been avoiding any 'news' of the 'peace process' especially Annapolis as much as possible since once should never intentionally cause apoplexy brought on by frustration at selfish instransigence, but I couldn't help but notice:

US suddenly withdraws UN resolution an AP story on Israeli reaction to amerika's attempt to set the tiny and limited outcomes of last weeks photo op in concrete.

Of course it won't have been Zalmay Khalilzad's idea but now the whole thing has back-fired on State it's always a good plan to blame a arab when something goes wrong in Israel's drive for world domination.

One can assume Dr Rice, who must be becoming increasingly frustrated at her inability to create any legacy other than as an enabler of the illegal invasion of Iraq, decided to get the Security Council stamp on the festivities in Maryland, thereby making it a 'reference point for peace' (count the lies etc)

Anyway that wouldn't have suited the Israeli's one little bit - the trouble being that if the agreement is subject to a security council resolution it makes it tough for a lying parasite of a state to go back on it's word.

Israel has always been big on pulling other nations up for breaching Security Council resolutions. The amerikan veto has meant that the only resolutions Israel breaks are ones from the general assembly. This time amerika was putting the motion up, there would be no veto, so the zionists spoke to their mates who know that loyalty to Israel is a far more important pre-requisite for an amerikan power-broker than loyalty to the amerikan Secretary of State. Israel before amerika!

Fuck me dead it never end, because Israel says the UN is anti-Israel? Of course in effect it is really saying amerika is anti-Israel but that has always been the subtext of the 'holocaust trumps all' line.
Hence even an amerikan resolution has an anti-Israel bias.

There is no point in even trying to highlight that by the Security Council resolving what Israel had agreed to the other allegedly anti-Isaeli general assembly resolutions will have been superseded. Surely by setting in place what had been agreed to by Israel that is a good thing?

No - murderers, rapists and thieves know that this week's weasel words may become next weeks denials.

When Israel goes back on it's treaties as it has more times than can be counted, it uses the excuse of a change of government causing a change of policy. In other words for Israel democracy is the right to never have to keep your word. The UN never ever pulls Israel up for lying and cheating on agreements, meanwhile Arab states are hounded and bombed and invaded over nothing.

amerikan taxpayers wake up. These pricks are taking your money, going back on their word, then calling you the wrong doer.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 1 2007 6:44 utc | 49

The always interesting China Matters blog offers an interesting discussion on Beating a (Kitty) Hawk in the Water, and further down further analysis on the on-going ballet
in Pakistan. In particular, the later comments contain a link to another worthwhile site for those trying to understand (screen pixels mediating information about) Pakistani politics.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 1 2007 8:25 utc | 50

Jordan's Spy Agency: Holding Cell for the CIA Foreign Terror Suspects Tell of Torture

AMMAN, Jordan -- Over the past seven years, an imposing building on the outskirts of this city has served as a secret holding cell for the CIA.

The building is the headquarters of the General Intelligence Department, Jordan's powerful spy and security agency. Since 2000, at the CIA's behest, at least 12 non-Jordanian terrorism suspects have been detained and interrogated here, according to documents and former prisoners, human rights advocates, defense lawyers and former U.S. officials.
...
The General Intelligence Department, or GID, is perhaps the CIA's most trusted partner in the Arab world. The Jordanian agency has received money, training and equipment from the CIA for decades and even has a public English-language Web site. The relationship has deepened in recent years, with U.S. officials praising their Jordanian counterparts for the depth of their knowledge regarding al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic networks.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, however, the GID was attractive for another reason, according to former U.S. counterterrorism officials and Jordanian human rights advocates. Its interrogators had a reputation for persuading tight-lipped suspects to talk, even if that meant using abusive tactics that could violate U.S. or international law.
...


Posted by: b | Dec 1 2007 9:39 utc | 51

The really significant & encouraging part of b-'s, post above (#51) is that WaPo is reporting it. That suggests to me that the elites are tacking, or preparing to do so, otherwise they'd continue to cover this up. Agreement/disagreement?

Posted by: jj | Dec 1 2007 11:05 utc | 52

geez...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 1 2007 15:21 utc | 53

Rogue "Defense" Mercenaries Holding 200,000 American Citizens Hostage!!!
President Says Funding Military Is Congress's Only Priority

By Hank Rosenstern

Dec. 1 (BoomNBustTimes) -- President George W. Bush said that funding "wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other undisclosed national security interests" is Congress's only priority when it returns to Washington next week, and he lashed out at Democrats for not delivering on military spending demands.

"Continued delay in funding our troops will soon begin to have a damaging impact on money operations of our mercenaries," Bush said in his weekly radio address today. "If Congress fails to deliver, we will cut off their security detail privileges."

Congress, which returns to work Dec. 3 after recess, hasn't acted on a $50 billion down payment on the mercenary's $190 billion extortion demand made earlier this year because the legislation contains language calling for a military force reduction. Senate Republicans have blocked majority Democrats from passing the legislation, and Bush has threatened to veto any measure that includes a withdrawal provision.

In response, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has directed the military service chiefs to start planning for the layoff of 200,000 civilian employees by mid-February if Congress doesn't approve the supplemental hostage demand before current US war payments run out on December 14, magically at midnight, although there has been no spending reconciliation to date, and no whisper of an audit.

The threatened hostage situation is a first for the Pentagon, which in March of last year temporarily looted the annual Fed budget of "wartime" spending until Congress passed an emergency funds bill, with DoD's fiscal gun held to its head.

"It is time for the Congress to do its job and pay the hostage money Defense demands to protect (sic) America," Bush said in his radio address.

Bush also called on Congress to update the foreign intelligence surveillance act, legalizing torture and the unwarranted surveillance of anyone, anytime, anywhere.

So far, Congress has approved just one of the 12 annual appropriations bills that funds government operations. Democrats are seeking to end a budget fight with Bush by drafting a single catch-all measure that contains a smaller increase in domestic spending than they had previously demanded, but doubles US hostage payments to mercenaries.

Posted by: Pil Firage | Dec 1 2007 22:37 utc | 54

For those of you who feast on military analysis, I have a question to ponder over the weekend.

China recently finished up massive navy exercises around Taiwan - just before the War Dept. put out what b- said was a bogus press release about them sneaking up undetected on the Am. fleet. Does anyone know if the Chinese Navy (etc?) is ready now to retake Taiwan? My thinking is this - is China ready militarily to say to xUS - you attack Iran? Ok, but while you're thusly pre-occupied we'll take back Taiwan? Obviously, they're planning for the day that they will have the military to do so, but has that day arrived? I've just read & heard that Chinese military exercises "were massive".

Posted by: jj | Dec 1 2007 23:31 utc | 55

jj

i await eagerly the chinese conquering completely the american empire. i think i would sleep better. & so would the world

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 1 2007 23:45 utc | 56

jj-55- Does anyone know if the Chinese Navy (etc?) is ready now to retake Taiwan? My thinking is this - is China ready militarily to say to xUS - you attack Iran? Ok, but while you're thusly pre-occupied we'll take back Taiwan? Obviously, they're planning for the day that they will have the military to do so, but has that day arrived? I've just read & heard that Chinese military exercises "were massive".

Mainland China could take Taiwan by force but it would be very, very bloody and could end with nukes. Why use force?

The Chinese will just wait. They need a credible military threat position to prevent Taiwan from openly declaring itself independent and getting a UN seat. But that is it.
See China Matters for the longer argument.

I’ve previously argued that the objective of China’s naval build up is not to slug it out with America’s Seventh Fleet, or create a deterrent to U.S. intervention opposing a Chinese move on Taiwan.

The Chinese do intend to use military power for Taiwan reunification, but only to demonstrate to Taipei the advantages and inevitability of coming to terms peacefully with the dominant power in the west Pacific.

And the true inauguration of the Chinese century—if it’s really coming—will be marked by the arrival of the Chinese navy at Taiwan—during a peaceful, invited port call.

By this reading, the strategy is to establish the Chinese navy as the credible security guarantor (in superpower parlance) for the smaller Pacific nations falling within its economic sphere--or biggest bully on the block in the west Pacific in blunter terms--to a line extending out to the “second line” Pacific Island chain.

A Chinese navy with reach—but not necessarily hyper-power sized technology or muscle-- removes the “the world can’t accept a power vacuum out here” justification for a forward U.S. naval presence in the region, which currently conducts massive exercises in Asian waters on anti-piracy, disaster relief, and near-shore interdiction missions that seem better suited to the Coast Guard.
...

Posted by: b | Dec 2 2007 6:48 utc | 57

@46,

there is plenty of information in the public domain on research into bio-weapons that can be targeted against individuals & communities with specific genetic/racial markers.

has any of such weapons ever been used ? will any of these weapons ever be used ? on a massive scale ? will any of these weapons ever be used clandestinely behind a well prepared mask (such as HIV/AIDS or some other "disease") ? will the use of these weapons be cynically justified via population control, resource-control ..., will the public once again succumb to its own historical biases & self-interested moralizations ? can the public be manipulated to accept the outcomes of any of the above with little or no outrage ?, will progressives & intellectuals collectively fail (once again) to challenge any of this before its too late, even given the availabillity of adequate information?

history suggests that any of the above is quite possible.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Dec 2 2007 14:38 utc | 58

has any of such weapons ever been used ?
Who spread the Anthrax?

---
US says it has right to kidnap British citizens

AMERICA has told Britain that it can “kidnap” British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States.

A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.
...
Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.

The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington.
...

Posted by: b | Dec 2 2007 14:43 utc | 59

scum rises to surface again & again

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 2 2007 18:02 utc | 60

Interesting NYT piece about Malawi - Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts

Malawi told the World Bank to sell it's neo-liberal junk talk elsewhere and suddenly - no more famine.

Malawi hovered for years at the brink of famine. After a disastrous corn harvest in 2005, almost five million of its 13 million people needed emergency food aid.

But this year, a nation that has perennially extended a begging bowl to the world is instead feeding its hungry neighbors. It is selling more corn to the World Food Program of the United Nations than any other country in southern Africa and is exporting hundreds of thousands of tons of corn to Zimbabwe.
...
Over the past 20 years, the World Bank and some rich nations Malawi depends on for aid have periodically pressed this small, landlocked country to adhere to free market policies and cut back or eliminate fertilizer subsidies, even as the United States and Europe extensively subsidized their own farmers. But after the 2005 harvest, the worst in a decade, Bingu wa Mutharika, Malawi’s newly elected president, decided to follow what the West practiced, not what it preached.

Stung by the humiliation of pleading for charity, he led the way to reinstating and deepening fertilizer subsidies despite a skeptical reception from the United States and Britain.

Posted by: b | Dec 2 2007 20:39 utc | 61

Posted by: b real | Dec 3 2007 4:35 utc | 62

adding to #62, i meant to also point out that not only is the AFP article incorrect in stating that the new cabinet was "sworn in at the Villa Somalia presidential palace in Mogadishu," but, as the bylines show on the other article, the announcement took place in baidoa, the "alternative" seat of the TFG -- since the capital is so hot & unwelcoming of the transitional govt -- and not in mogadishu.

Posted by: b real | Dec 3 2007 4:43 utc | 63

It seems that Chavez has lost the referendum, and has accepted the defeat
gracefully. I assume the "destabilization operations" will continue (and
continue to be denied). Perhaps the Bushies can teach Chavez how to steal a close election.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 3 2007 7:12 utc | 64

Here's a link for the result of the referenda in Venezuela. I'd be interested in a more detailed analysis of the two referenda, the "presidential" part and the "parliamentary" part.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 3 2007 7:19 utc | 65

When ever I look forward to a night of insomnia, I make sure to read http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/clusterfuck_nation/>Kunstler just to make sure.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 3 2007 9:06 utc | 66

I've long said that any idiot can shove a hook into a fish's mouth but an artist will convince the fish to do it themselves.

That said, if one more person sends me an invitation to sign up for this creepy-ass, malware infested garbage, I'm gonna scream.

Posted by: Monolycus | Dec 3 2007 15:18 utc | 67

I've never set foot in Pakistan, speak none of the local
languages, and have no notion of the realities of daily life
in Karachi, Islamabad or Peshawar. Nevertheless, this ATOL article alleges that the neo-cons in Washington have a fundamental misunderstanding of Pakistan certainly fits right in with my biases.

By the way, has anyone here tried viewing this Iranian satellite TV channel? It's not nearly as slick as its western competitors, but I do find it useful for getting an English language Iranian point of view on the news. To me it's quite fascinating to note that 1) many of their "correspondents" have distinctly U.S. accents;
2) their broadcasts from the U.S. tend to feature pundits you seldom if ever will find on the "mainstream media";
3) the PRESSTV woman correspondents all observe hijab, but, as far as I can tell, without much to-do.

One fairly recent broadcast featured an extensive and "frank" discussion of an Egyptian TV program dealing with sexual education for Arab women.
sexual education

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 3 2007 16:01 utc | 68

CNN mistake or CIA PsyOps ?

Yeah, Monolycus, many are victims of the Devil's NSA's greatest trick of, convincing the world it doesn't exist.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 3 2007 16:03 utc | 69

thanks monolycus- exactly what i was looking for last week after rcv'g an invite

Posted by: b real | Dec 3 2007 16:04 utc | 70

@ Monolycus, breal, and Uncle $scam:
I share your distaste at being invited to make surveillance
easier for our guardians, but assume that we are already surveilled anyway, presumably with robots, crawlers, key-word
filters and compendious data-bases of our sins, and only occasionally by in-the-flesh spooks. Those who are seeking non-violent and democratic methods for implementing change might want to consider questions relating to "help the system change itself". If the already bloated "security apparatus" were forced to expand exponentially by hiring thousands of new "operatives" to deal with the false positives produced by their web crawlers and a vast school of red herrings, one might create a class or subclass of "guardians" who were quite aware that their activity was pretty much on a par with that of the Stasi at its acme. I'm too old, too cowardly, and too
technically inept to undertake such a project, but I can't help wondering if this may not indeed be the way the "surveillance world" ends, not with a repressive bang, but rather with a whimper of self-disgust.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 3 2007 16:25 utc | 71

This is a sucker: U.S. Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work

A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.
...
“Some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways might — if perceived by Iran’s leaders as credible — prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program,” the estimate states.
...
The new assessment upends a judgment made about Iran’s nuclear capabilities in 2005. At the time, intelligence agencies assessed with “high confidence” that Iran is determined to have nuclear weapons and concluded that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program.
The IAEA has not found any real hint that Iran had, has or will have a nuke program. The Intelligence agencies are simply backpaddling here, the had "high confidence in 2005 and now say they are wrong. But this way Bush can keep up the pressure on Iran because "they only stopped".

Posted by: b | Dec 3 2007 18:42 utc | 72

now the putchist opposition are obliged to respect all parts of the bolivarian constitution . it's win win for chavez but i would be arming the people just in case

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 3 2007 18:44 utc | 73

update on #62 wrt the cabinet announcement in mogadishu

garowe online: Disorder in Somalia parliament as MPs debate new Cabinet

BAIDOA, Somalia Dec 3 (Garowe Online) - Somali lawmakers meeting in the southern town of Baidoa on Monday failed to agree on a vote ratifying the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Nur “Adde” Hassan Hussein.
...
Lawmakers exchanged heated arguments with regard to the new Cabinet, with many MPs voicing serious concern that the new Cabinet is not different from the “old” Cabinet.

Many Cabinet ministers under the government of former Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi were returned to their posts by Premier Nur Adde, a development observers believe to be the source of friction within parliament.

The Somali MPs could not even agree on the way to vote, parliament sources said.

Many MPs wanted voting by secret ballot, while another group of lawmakers “seemed only to oppose the entire process,” according to one legislator who spoke privately with Garowe Online.

Neither President Abdullahi Yusuf nor Prime Minister Nur Adde was present at parliament hall in Baidoa today, but Deputy Speaker Dalha was requested to show up at the presidential palace while the debate was in session.

Dalha asked the MPs to give him ten minutes to go to the presidential palace, but angry lawmakers refused, arguing that they "do not take orders” from the president.

The deputy Speaker agreed to stay, but then adjourned the meeting minutes later. Parliament would continue the debate tomorrow, according to Dalha.

Meanwhile, Somali politicians are voicing their dissatisfaction with the new government of Prime Minister Nur Adde.
...
..many Somalis fear Prime Minister Nur Adde's government will be paralyzed by internal squabbling, much like his predecessor.

if the cabinet is essentially the same, which garowe is reporting to be the case, how could one expect anything else?

---

bob gates was in djibouti today talking up AFRICOM; AFRICOM's commander from another planet, gen kip ward, will be in angola tuesday to reach out to that country's govt after nigeria continues to say no to AFRICOM; condie rice is scheduled to visit several outposts of tyranny in central & east african nations starting later this week (provided she doesn't cancel again at the last minute as happened last july); and i guess shrub has travel plans to visit the continent soon. i'll try to work up an article on all this, time permitting.

Posted by: b real | Dec 3 2007 19:08 utc | 74

'they have been using us for experiments' (Gitmo)

It's short so here's all...

Habib points finger at 'inhumane' Australia

December 3, 2007 - 11:58AM

Mamdouh Habib says he was beaten until his final days in the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and has accused Australian officials of having "no humanity" for failing to intervene.

Mr Habib is suing Nationwide News over a February 2005 newspaper column that implied he made false claims about torture.

A jury found he had been defamed by the article, and Nationwide News is now mounting a defence of truth and justification in the NSW Supreme Court.

Mr Habib today said he was beaten from the day of his arrest in Pakistan in 2001 until his final moments in 2005 at Guantanamo Bay, where he claimed he was experimented upon.

"People have no humanity, they have been using us for experiments," he told the court.

"They [were] using us like rats and dogs and animals.

"Every single injection, I take it by force."

Mr Habib denied a number of claims made by an Australian team which visited Guantanamo Bay in May 2002, including statements allegedly made by him that he was being treated well and had no major complaints.

"I say that's not true, I never been treated well in Guantanamo Bay, or Egypt, or Pakistan," Mr Habib said.

"They drag me (to interrogations) maybe half a kilometre in the gravel," he said.

Mr Habib said he told "every single person I saw" about his torture and mistreatment and Australians were "definitely" involved.

"Australians, they aware of my torture and they be involved, definitely, with my torture," he said.

Alec Leopold, acting for Nationwide News, asked Mr Habib whether he was accusing Australian officials of being inhumane.

"If Australian team was there when I was tortured, when I was given injection, yes," he replied.

The hearing continues.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 3 2007 23:22 utc | 75

Senate Aide In Kiddie Sex Bust

FBI: Staffer for Sen. Maria Cantwell sought tryst with boy

The Smoking Gun, Dec 3

DECEMBER 3--A U.S. Senate aide was arrested Friday after allegedly arranging a lunchtime sexual encounter with a teenage boy, according to federal court records. James McHaney, 28, was nabbed by FBI agents after he arranged the afternoon liaison via a "cooperating witness" working with investigators. According to the below felony complaint and an accompanying statement of facts filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the CW and McHaney were conversing online Friday afternoon when the CW asked whether McHaney was interested in engaging in anal sex with a 13-year-old boy. "I'll be there," McHaney allegedly replied. He later asked for a photo of the child with whom he and the CW would have sex and whether the boy had "any pubes." When told no, McHaney allegedly replied, "That's hot." McHaney was nabbed in the lobby of an unnamed "predetermined location," where he had arranged to meet CW. Until his arrest Friday, McHaney had worked as the D.C. scheduler for Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell. A caller to Cantwell's office was told late today that, as of last Friday, McHaney no longer worked for the Washington state politician.


And a Democrat no less.

I sure would be interested in seeing any stats which present the percentages of these kinds of things in politicians of all stripes and levels compared to general population.

More men describe sexual encounters with Larry Craig

Snip:

Allegations made since news of the Minneapolis case broke lend weight to rumors about Craig

Idaho Statesman
12/02/07

Audio clip disclaimer: Some of the audio interview excerpts contain explicit descriptions of sex not appropriate for children and listeners who find such content offensive. The Statesman provides the excerpts so Idahoans can hear these accounts and decide for themselves about accusations against Sen. Craig.

David Phillips. Mike Jones. Greg Ruth. Tom Russell.

Four gay men, willing to put their names in print and whose allegations can't be disproved, have come forward since news of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's guilty plea. They say they had sex with Craig or that he made a sexual advance or that he paid them unusual attention.

Snip:

The denials began June 30, 1982, when CBS broke news of a scandal alleging gay sex between congressmen and underage pages. The following day, before any public allegation that he was involved, then-Rep. Craig issued a denial. Craig married a year later and adopted the three children of his wife, Suzanne. In 1990, the Idaho Statesman asked Craig about an allegation that he was gay made by an opponent in his first Senate race. "Why don't you ask my wife?" Craig replied.

Oh, and has anyone heard anything about the Mark Foley scandal? Another one that just went away...

Lest ye forget...Homeland Security official trying to lure kids.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2007 3:32 utc | 76

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2007 6:37 utc | 77

@b-real - this is an interesting - WaPo: U.S. Debating Shift of Support in Somali Conflict

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, Dec. 3 -- The escalating conflict in Somalia is generating debate inside the Bush administration over whether the United States should continue to back the shaky transitional government in Mogadishu or shift support to the less volatile region of Somaliland, which declared independence in 1991, U.S. defense and military officials said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates discussed regional issues during a visit to Djibouti on Monday, including Somalia and the presence there of about 8,000 Ethiopian troops, the officials said. Ethiopian forces intervened a year ago to install the fledgling government in Mogadishu and they continue to fight Islamic radicals in Somalia.
...
One approach, Pentagon officials argue, would be to forge ties with Somaliland, as the U.S. military has with Kenya and other countries bordering Somalia. A breakaway region along Somalia's northwestern coast, Somaliland has about 2 million people and an elected president, and offers greater potential for U.S. military assistance to bolster security, even though it lacks international recognition, they say.

"Somaliland is an entity that works," a senior defense official said. "We're caught between a rock and a hard place because they're not a recognized state," the official said.

The Pentagon's view is that "Somaliland should be independent," another defense official said. "We should build up the parts that are functional and box in" Somalia's unstable regions, particularly around Mogadishu.

In contrast, "the State Department wants to fix the broken part first -- that's been a failed policy," the official said.
...
The issue is diplomatically sensitive because recognizing Somaliland could set a precedent for other secession movements seeking to change colonial-era borders, opening a Pandora's box in the region.

In Djibouti, U.S. military officials say they are eager to engage Somaliland. "We'd love to, we're just waiting for State to give us the okay," said Navy Capt. Bob Wright, head of strategic communication for the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.
...

Posted by: b | Dec 4 2007 8:35 utc | 78

@b 78
Yeah, if I recall correctly there have been a number of "black" flights
into "Puntland", presumably with weapons shipments, over the last year.
It's interventions like this that ought to bring isolationism back in the U.S. (or at least it's weak-sister "non-interventionism").

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 4 2007 8:42 utc | 79

Iraqis in Syria face food shortages

DAMASCUS, Syria — Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees in Syria face a bleak winter, with rising fuel costs that could leave many without enough money for food, the director of the World Food Program said Monday.

About a third of Iraqi respondents in a recent United Nations study said they skipped one meal a day to feed their children. Nearly 60 percent said that they're buying cheaper, less nutritious food to cope with a dramatic increase in prices.

With the weather turning colder and heating prices rising, humanitarian workers predict more Iraqis will go hungry in order to keep up with rent and utilities.
...

Posted by: b | Dec 4 2007 9:45 utc | 80

Peace Now: IDF carried out only 3% of settlement demolition orders

The Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration carried out only three percent of its own demolition orders for illegal construction in West Bank settlements over the past ten years, according to a Peace Now report published Tuesday.

According to the report, from 1997-2007 the Civil Administration issued 3449 demolition orders for illegally built structures in the settlements and settlement outposts, but evacuated and demolished only 107 of them, the report stated.

Posted by: b | Dec 4 2007 14:27 utc | 82

b @78 - that is interesting

three things come to mind initially on this:

1. location, location, location. geostrategically, somaliland is in a sweet spot for both the u.s. and ethiopia interests.

2. oil. most of somalia's oil potential (& current activity) is in the northern part of the country - somaliland and puntland. both have been been fighting over territory, with somaliland regaining control of the sool region in october which probably has as much to do w/ oil contracts as anything else.

3. perhaps this is a move to protect ethiopia as the powerhouse of the region. as michael weinstein @ PINR noted back in october

[Somaliland's seat of govt] Hargeisa's nightmare scenario is that Puntland unites with south and central Somalia under a Darod-dominated government led by the Darod president of the T.F.G., Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who has his power base in Puntland, has served as its president and its strongman, and has fought against Somaliland. Yusuf, who is in the process of making a power play to eliminate his rivals in the T.F.G., seeks to set himself up as the power broker of a united Somalia after projected elections for a permanent government in 2009.

Although Yusuf's ambitions are likely to fail, Hargeisa has watched developments to the south with concern, particularly Yusuf's success in getting Puntland's president, Mohamud Adde Muse, to agree to closer ties to the T.F.G., including the merger of Puntland's security forces with the T.F.G.'s forces. As long as Yusuf remains the major player in Somalia's politics, Puntland appears to be on track to give up its autonomy if it can make a favorable deal, leaving Hargeisa with the possibility of confronting a restored Somalia, which would have irredentist aims to match its own, on its doorstep.

A united Somalia holding the Sool and Sanaag regions would shift the regional balance of power to Hargeisa's serious disadvantage, impairing its territorial claims diplomatically and foreclosing the possibility of making good on them militarily, thereby diminishing its chances for international recognition and increasing the possibility of international pressure to federate with Somalia or of an invasion from Somalia.
...
More than anything else, Somaliland needs allies, but it is difficult to imagine where they would come from. In mid-October, Hargeisa sent out feelers to the Arab states, which desire to contain Ethiopia, requesting that they open diplomatic offices in Somaliland as a stepping stone to recognition by the African Union and United Nations. Thus far, the initiative has not borne fruit, but it shows a direction that Hargeisa is likely to try to take.

Were Hargeisa to succeed in realigning itself, which is currently a slim possibility, the balance of power would shift slightly against Ethiopia and deprive it of leverage over Hargeisa. Such an eventuality would further complicate the conflicts in the Horn of Africa by introducing a wild card.

At the remotest edge of possibility, a tilt by Hargeisa away from Addis Ababa and toward the Arab states would lead to its joining with Eritrea in the anti-Ethiopian bloc and increasing its chronic tensions with Djibouti that center on rivalry for trade conducted through their respective ports. That would bring Hargeisa into conflict with the Western donor powers, which support Djibouti -- Washington and Paris have military bases there -- and have chosen Ethiopia over Eritrea. PINR projects this unlikely scenario only to highlight Somaliland's growing isolation. It does not reflect Hargeisa's present strategy; it is a limit case of what PINR sees as Hargeisa's underlying desperation.


or maybe all this talk is designed to provide the u.s. more leverage over meles. or yusuf. or both.

will have to investigate further.

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2007 16:26 utc | 83


@ b - as always you really connect the dots and have offered some of the best posts regarding Africom and the conflicts in the Horn.

Thanks for your good work.

Posted by: BenIAM | Dec 4 2007 16:40 utc | 84

file this under my first item in #83 above

stratfor rpt from december 10, 2001, prior to the u.s. choosing to base in djibouti

Somalia port extends U.S. anti-terror reach

Reports are surfacing that Washington is finalizing an agreement to move intelligence and naval assets to the key Somali port of Berbera, near the Arabian Sea.
...
Using the base at the northwestern city of Berbera would give the United States several strategic advantages in conducting military operations throughout East Africa and the Middle East. However, in the process, Washington will also contribute to the de facto partitioning of Somalia.
...
While Ethiopian troops are driving Islamic militants out of the north, it appears that Washington is also making a deal to secure access to Berbera in Somaliland. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily, reported in November that U.S. and German officials toured Berbera and were negotiating to use the port and airfield.

London-based Arabic daily Al-Zaman also reported a similar story Dec. 3, though it said only U.S. forces would use the facilities. A U.N. publication later that week reported Germany would likely make a basing agreement with nearby Djibouti.

Berbera has several advantages for Washington. The deepwater port, developed by the Soviet navy in the 1970s, is one of the best in the Indian Ocean. The airfield also has one of the longest runways in North Africa. Washington once stationed assets at Berbera in the early 1980s when tensions in Iran forced Washington to look for new bases in the Middle East.

The United States was interested in the region even before Sept. 11. Washington last year was trying to persuade the government of Yemen to allow U.S. warships to dock at the port of Aden – right across the water from Berbera – before the terrorist attack on the USS Cole derailed negotiations.

Stationing U.S. assets at Berbera gives the same benefits to Washington without it having to negotiate the minefield of Yemeni politics. In addition, the United States would have a difficult time persuading the Yemeni government to permit port access at Aden as Washington is considering military operations against militant Islamists in Yemen.

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2007 16:42 utc | 85

@ b real
You seem to actually know the area. I only
read about it, but can't help wondering if the Berbera port in Puntland wouldn't fit nicely with the already in place Israeli-American base in Eritrea's Dahlak archipelago, also a former Soviet base, now used (according to Debka, caveat lector) for Israeli submarines as well as for SIGINT operations.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Dec 4 2007 17:01 utc | 86

hkol - actually, i'm just coming up to speed on the area. berbera is in somaliland, though; puntland's main port is bosaso. benIAM mentioned the israeli-eritrean connection previously but i haven't had time to explore it.
before the age of hi-tech satellites, the kagnew station outside asmara was a key SIGINT post due to the atmospherics in the highlands. i haven't found a whole lot of info on the nsa-israeli jointly-operated "8200" SIGINT island post, which i assume is still current. (e.g., village voice, chicago sun times) if you have any good links, please share.

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2007 18:05 utc | 87

b real, et al...

What if anything do MOA's know about:

Afrigator. An Africa Aggregator.


Also see, Global Voices Sub-Saharan Africa.

(Global Voices is supposedly an aggregator with translators, run by Harvard, to let English speakers peek into the non-English speaking blogs/media).

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2007 18:07 utc | 88

uncle - never heard of the former; the latter i've seen occassionally, as it picks up a lot of stuff from the blog'osphere but i've rarely found much there that helps me in my research (found more in gv-latin america than africa) & haven't parsed it close enough to discern any specific agenda. no time to explore afrigator now. is there a reason to be skeptical?

two similar websites that i've been checking weekly are africa news, whose content is also penned by africa journalists and provides a glimpse into what people are talking about, and pambazuka news, which typically posts very intelligent & useful reports/articles/commentary.

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2007 18:25 utc | 89

another mention in the news today lends more reason for an earlier speculation that the spin on the story about somali "pirates" apprehending the japanese chemical tanker may be offbase.

U.S., German warships surround Somalia pirates

BOSSASO, Somalia Dec 4 (Garowe Online) - Two United States Navy warships and a third warship from Germany have surrounded a group of pirates holding a ship hostage off of Somalia’s northeastern coast, government sources said.

The pirates hijacked the Golden Nori, a Panama-registered chemical tanker that was transporting a shipment from Singapore to Israel, according to a Reuters report.
...
Pirates seized the ship in late October and have thus far refused to surrender, arguing that the ship was “dumping toxic waste” on Somalia’s shores, according to sources familiar with the story.

the seafarer's assistance program lists one of the groups associated w/ piracy off somalia's coasts as

Major Factions and Groups:

* The Puntland group operates from a small village near Bossaso

- Conducts Illegal Smuggling and Piracy
- Uses Modified Fishing Vessels and Seized Vessels for Continued Attacks

* Somali Marines (Central Somalia- North of Mogadishu to Puntland)

- Conducts Piracy and Kidnap and Ransom
- Uses Mother-ships and Seized Vessels for Continued Attacks

* Scattered Smaller Marka Factions (South of Mogadishu to Kismayo)

- Conducts Illegal Smuggling and Piracy/Armed Sea Robbery
- Uses Modified Fishing Vessels with Mounted Weapons

* Somali National Volunteer Coast Guard and the Terrorist group Al-ithad al-Islamia (Koyema Island- South of Kismayo)

- Conducts Kidnap and Ransom
- Uses Modified Fishing Vessels
- Vigilante-Style Self Proclaimed Organization Demanding Payment of Fines for Illegal Fishing against Ransomed Seafarers

see my original link for some rpts on toxic waste dumping off the coasts of somalia.

- - -

timing is suspect on the following.

garowe: Somalia’s aging president off to UK for medical treatment

NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 4 (Garowe Online) - A high-level Somali government delegation led by President Abdullahi Yusuf departed from the southwestern city of Baidoa Tuesday en route to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
...
A diplomat in Nairobi said President Yusuf met with doctors there and reportedly agreed to travel to London to see his regular doctor for further medical evaluation.

The president, who is said to be in his mid 70s, suffers from fatigue and complications from a past liver transplant.

His medical trip to London postponed a planned trip to Ethiopia, where United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is leading the push towards the completion of an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force to replace Ethiopian troops backing Yusuf's weak government in Somalia.

Instead, Prime Minister Nur Adde will represent the president in talks with U.S. and AU officials in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Nur Adde’s first foreign trip as Somali premier comes at a sensitive time, with parliament divided about ratifying his new Cabinet, many of whose members are old Cabinet ministers.

At least four Cabinet ministers resigned from their posts today, and a fifth deputy minister categorically refused to accept his appointment in front of President Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Adde, according to parliament sources.

is yusuf out now too?

Posted by: b real | Dec 4 2007 19:56 utc | 90

Gentrification by any other name...

Merry Christmax we bulldoze New Orleans on December 12th...

Justice for New Orleans.

The advancement project.


On the 12th day before Christmas, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is planning to unleash teams of bulldozers to demolish thousands of low-income apartments in New Orleans. Despite Katrina causing the worst affordable housing crisis since the Civil War, HUD is spending $762 million in taxpayer funds to tear down over 4600 public housing subsidized apartments and replace them with 744 similarly subsidized units – an 82% reduction. HUD is in charge and a one person HUD employee makes all the local housing authority decisions. HUD took over the local housing authority years ago – all decisions are made in Washington DC. HUD plans to build an additional 1000 market rate and tax credit units – which will still result in a net loss of 2700 apartments to New Orleans – the remaining new apartments will cost an average cost of over $400,000 each!

Palfrey's escort service user David Vitter (R-La.) likes to fuck people.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2007 21:10 utc | 91

Blackwater and Child Porn

Cliff Schecter: Nothing like kiddie porn addicts carrying AKs in a country filled with lost and desperate children...

Oh well, they are Republican after all. Which means a financial scandal just couldn't be enough. There had to be some illicit sex. And like clockwork...:

Harry "Doc" Kinard, 54, was arrested Nov. 2 on a charge of sexual exploitation of children after authorities said child pornography was discovered on a computer at the animal shelter. Kinard spent a week in the detention center before posting bond.

According to Capt. Ronald King of the Sheriff's Department, Kinard faces five to 20 years in prison if he's convicted of the felony charge.

Kinard could not be reached for comment. His phone number is not listed, and County Manager Luther Smart said he had been advised by the Sheriff's Department not to release it.

The animal shelter computer was seized by sheriff's deputies in October and sent to the GBI's forensics laboratory for examination. The GBI found that the computer contained child pornography, King said, and an arrest warrant was issued for Kinard.

On the same day that Kinard was arrested, his home computer was taken and sent to the GBI. The GBI has yet to return the computer or the results of the forensics examination, King said.

Kinard has a military background and worked with Blackwater USA, the controversial firm employed by the U.S. government to provide security in Iraq. He was hired in August to run the Animal Control Department based on his management experience, Smart said.

Why don't they ship him on over to Iraq? Nothing like kiddie porn addicts carrying AKs in a country filled with lost and desperate children....Maybe Blackwater's next contract will only be worth $8 billion to punish them for this...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2007 21:48 utc | 92

Grrrr... disregard the above #92

I posted this hit and run without checking it out --which is something I rarely do-- because, well, mainly because it was an alternet article.

What the fuck alternet!? that's some pretty sloopy publishing. There is no there, there...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 4 2007 21:58 utc | 93

@77,

did Mungo Park, the English explorer really claim to have "discovered" the Niger (a huuuuuge huge river) ? Probably one of the most debated questions regarding British Imperial history, by 9 year olds in the area.


Posted by: jony_b_cool | Dec 5 2007 2:08 utc | 94

@94

park was scottish & didn't set eyes on the niger until 1796, eight years after the formation of the african association in england w/ one of its primary objectives being to find the sources of africa's major rivers, among them the niger. and park wasn't even the first euro to set out in search of the niger's source. he was the first to report back to his financier's some success in traveling a stretch of it however and, while not actually getting too far, the marketing team at the AA did a bang-up job promoting his exploration in an effort to drum up investors for export biz. since history is typically written by powerful whitefellas, what knowledge of the river by africans & arabs existed didn't really count, and making the river all the more mysterious only added to the appeal of conquering africa's interiors.

according to a short history of west africa: a.d. 1000 to the present (editors: t.a. osae, s.n. nawabara, and a.t.o. odunsi; university of london press, 1973)

It had been known for centuries that the Niger was the major river in the Western Sudan. In the whole of Africa it was second only to the Nile, the source of which also remained unknown. During the early part of the nineteenth century all sorts of fantastic ideas and theories were were entertained concerning the course and termination of the Niger. It was thought by some that it flowed progressively eastward until it mixed with the waters of the Nile. Some said it disappeared somewhere under the hot sands of the Sahara Desert.

Posted by: b real | Dec 5 2007 3:45 utc | 95

Gitmo prisoner slashes his throat with sharpened fingernail


Dec 4

By Ben Fox, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - A Guantanamo Bay prisoner slashed his throat with a sharpened fingernail last month, spilling a lot of blood but surviving, a U.S. military commander said Tuesday.

Guards administered first aid and took the prisoner to the prison clinic, said navy Cmdr. Andrew Haynes, the deputy commander in charge of the guard force.

"There was an impressive effusion of blood," Haynes told reporters visiting the base. He would not disclose the man's name or nationality. A medical officer, who could not be identified under military rules for journalists, said the prisoner received several stitches and spent a week under psychiatric observation.

There have been four suicides since the United States opened the military prison at Guantanamo in January 2002 for men suspected of involvement in terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Haynes said he doubted the latest incident was a real suicide attempt, and characterized it instead as an act of "self-harm."

The incident occurred while the man was taking his daily five-minute shower in early November, around the time when more than two dozen journalists were visiting Guantanamo for a military court hearing.

Haynes said there have been up to half-dozen "self-harm incidents" in the two months he has been assigned to Guantanamo Bay. He described suicide as a "paramount tactic" used by prisoners to discredit U.S. forces. But defence lawyers and human rights groups say the suicides are a result of the prisoners' despair.

Many of the 305 men held at Guantanamo have been there for more than five years without charge. The military has said it plans to prosecute up to 80 of the prisoners.

In other developments, a Guantanamo prison manual from 2004 that was posted anonymously on the Internet on Tuesday indicated that some detainees were prevented from having any contact with representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The military said it could not immediately confirm the document's authenticity.

...

Jesus fucking Christ, how desperately hopeless do you have to be to cut your own throat with your own nails? God, I would offer my life to see this criminal crew rot behind bars at the Hague. I almost said 'shot', at the Hague but, I'm A)against the death penalty and B)don't want them to get out that easy, I want to see them while away their remaining days in a cell.

It really pisses me off that I have to be put in the position of hating someone so much, I'd contemplate their death and my own personal values and morals.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 5 2007 5:22 utc | 96

Haynes said he doubted the latest incident was a real suicide attempt, and characterized it instead as an act of "self-harm.".......Haynes said there have been up to half-dozen "self-harm incidents" in the two months


jesus. how many in the last year? 1/2 dozen? why don't they just say 6. 3 a month? once a week give or take?

SELF HARM INCIDENCE???

sorry, going back into my hole now.

Posted by: annie | Dec 5 2007 5:43 utc | 97

adding to Uncle - 96

In interviews with reporters Tuesday, officials said nine detainees remained on hunger strikes and were being force-fed daily. The detainee engaged in the longest of the hunger strikes, the officials said, has been force-fed for 816 days.

Posted by: b | Dec 5 2007 7:36 utc | 98

Somalia: - Somali President Hospitalized in Nairobi
Premier Will Take His Place at Meeting With Rice; Food Aid Delayed in South

MARKA, Somalia, Dec. 5 -- Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf checked into a Nairobi hospital Tuesday complaining of difficulty breathing, according to Western diplomats in the region, who said his health problem is unlikely to trigger a new political crisis in this fragile Horn of Africa nation.

Yusuf, who is 72 and had a liver transplant in 1996, was expected to fly to London for medical treatment Wednesday, when he had been scheduled to meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, U.S. officials said.

His newly appointed prime minister, Nur Hassan Hussein, will represent him in that meeting, the officials said. Rice will be in Addis Ababa for consultations with leaders from the region.
...
Somalia's national security chief, quoting an order from Yusuf, had directed that all ports and roads in the country's south be closed to the United Nations and international relief organizations, according to Peter Smerdon of the U.N. World Food Program. No explanation was given, Smerdon said.
...

Posted by: b | Dec 5 2007 9:33 utc | 99

RE#96 98,

There is even a point where the impacts on the torturer becomes a documented fact of concern ie as the SS on concentration camp duty on its soldiers. Who exactly force feeds a prisoner, a couple of times a day for over 2 years? Where's the documentation on procedure, participation, and the inevitable lingering psychological effects. Do they get a little scull and cross bones medal to wear, a fifth of whiskey a day, or what?

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 5 2007 9:43 utc | 100

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