Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 20, 2008

OT 08-19

Open thread ...

Please comment.

Posted by b on May 20, 2008 at 5:15 UTC | Permalink

next page »

China Hand on the importance of planting rice in Myanmar in the next weeks. This is, rightly, the governments biggest concern while Kouchner still blusters about bullshit.

Posted by: b | May 20 2008 5:20 utc | 1

Christopher Ketchum in Radar: The Last Roundup - Is the government compiling a secret list of citizens to detain under martial law?

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, "There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived 'enemies of the state' almost instantaneously." He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

Best guess - sure it is ...

[formating cleaned up]

Posted by: b | May 20 2008 5:23 utc | 2


b, could you clean that up!

8 million? something tells me that figure has tripled. li'l 'ol me too?


Posted by: annie | May 20 2008 5:40 utc | 3

serious dumpster diving

will someone please put this person out of her misery?

"There've been a lot of analysis [sic] about which of us is stronger to win against Sen. McCain, and I believe I am the stronger candidate. And just today I found some curious support for that position when one of the TV networks released an analysis done by -- of all people -- Karl Rove saying that I was the stronger candidate. Somebody got a hold of his analysis and there it is."

i'm shocked. karl rove? all you have to do is check out the comments at the rabid red sites to hear them trashing mccain. they hate him. of course karl wants hillary on the ticket.

Posted by: annie | May 20 2008 5:55 utc | 4

i think it was through Uncle i found the last roundup, and it's not a pleasant read. Naomi Klein's rolling stone article about China's all-seeing eye is also worth reading (sorry i can't find the link)

MAIN CORE is just another nefarious strand in the virtual meta-structure that fuels the extremes of the conspiratorial market (of course it's a market!)...and is it accurate? yeah, it probably is, but when has the will of power ever turned down a chance to control its resources, and isn't that the category most of fall into: things to be used?

to a certain degree the conspiracy niche is just another vein of exploitation charlatans like David Icke use to sell books, and apparently it works, because i'm almost done with the exhausting doorstop of his latest load of shite, and i really can't stand it. just another reality tunnel feigning for attention in the chaos.

and why should David Icke be shunned when Tom Cruise can believe in an intergalactic warlord who vaporized prisoners of a galactic war in volcanoes?

it's all a scam, and these are the golden days never to be had again.

Posted by: Lizard | May 20 2008 6:35 utc | 5


Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 20 2008 10:31 utc | 6

CBOT Commodity Traders Open New Human Slavery Bourse

Tom Terrific, CBOT's chairman, enthused to reporters, "There are 3,000,000,000
potential human futures for CBOT to pimp, er, sell. This is the greatest growth
industry since bottled water, and CBOT expects to be in the forefront! We'll
make trillions for our investors!

Way to go, Team USA!!

Posted by: Tiny Pepe | May 20 2008 15:08 utc | 7

Credit Crisis Will Extend Into 2009, Oppenheimer Says

The U.S. credit crisis will extend into and even beyond 2009 as banks will write off more than $170 billion of additional reserves by the end of next year, according to Oppenheimer & Co. estimates.
With that market shut down in the wake of the credit crunch, banks will struggle to match the funding from their own balance sheets, she added. That will remove about $3 trillion of liquidity from capital markets by the end of the year, and banks' losses will worsen as consumers will be unable to repay debt with fresh loans, she added.

``As the securitization market remains effectively closed for most asset classes, we believe more consumers will face the threat of default and banks will simply face far higher loss rates,'' Whitney said in the report.

U.S. regulators' plans to boost oversight of the credit card industry will force banks to raise borrowing rates and cut the amount of credit available to consumers. Whitney estimates about $2 trillion of credit card lines will be removed by 2010, cutting the credit available to U.S. consumers by almost half.

Cutting credit in a saving-less society by half cuts consumption by how much?

Posted by: b | May 20 2008 17:47 utc | 8,0,1270553.story?page=1>Sons of Iraq Or Baghdad's Soprano's?

But doing business with the gunmen, whom the U.S. military has dubbed Sons of Iraq, is like striking a deal with Tony Soprano, according to the soldiers who walk the battle-blighted streets, where sewage collects in malodorous pools.

"Most of them kind of operate like dons in their areas," said 2nd Lt. Forrest Pierce, a platoon leader with the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. They shake down local businessmen for protection money, seize rivals for links to the insurgency and are always angling for more men, more territory and more power.

For U.S. soldiers on the beat, it means navigating a complex world of shifting allegiances, half-truths and betrayals.

What a great reason to join the Army; go to Iraq and perform muscle work for some anonymous local thug. Sure sounds like freedom on the march to me. Not only are contractors being turned into soldiers, but it looks like soldiers are being turned into contractors.

Posted by: anna missed | May 20 2008 18:36 utc | 9

it will be interesting to see how berlusconi will deal with the situation in naples - when he is a partner & a benificiary of the cammora

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 20 2008 18:49 utc | 10

Abortio debate → Link to it

Posted by: Cloned Poster | May 20 2008 19:27 utc | 11

A funny joke:

House passes bill to sue OPEC over oil prices

Posted by: OtherRouser | May 20 2008 19:34 utc | 12

re #12 - same symbolic crap conyers & the dems passed last yr

No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2007 or NOPEC - Amends the Sherman Act to declare it to be illegal and a violation of the Act for any foreign state or instrumentality thereof to act collectively or in combination with any other foreign state or any other person, whether by cartel or any other association or form of cooperation or joint action, to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product (petroleum), to set or maintain the price of petroleum, or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for petroleum, when such action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price, or distribution of petroleum in the United States.

Denies a foreign state engaged in such conduct sovereign immunity from the jurisdiction or judgements of U.S. courts in any action brought to enforce this Act.

Posted by: b real | May 20 2008 20:11 utc | 13

'Question to the Oracle'

How long, O Kairos, until the Prince is overthrown,
our thralldom ended?
That Prince who burneth the earth with his alchemy
so long extended—
(Not long, maybe, in the eyes of Chronos,
Deep Time thy brother;
But we were born into the world of the Prince
and know no other.)
Kairos, will our children's children's children
survive our labors?

Posted by: Cloud | May 20 2008 20:22 utc | 14

‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails

from Clare in the comments...

I think it is a great idea, I have nothing to hide and so long as you dont use electronic media to transmit personal info, then what is anyone so worried about.

You wouldnt feel so bad if you had been a victim of crime, all this outcry about freedom is idealistic nonsense.

Clare, cambridge, uk

Posted by: dan of steele | May 20 2008 21:18 utc | 15

it is unbearable to see what iust happening in south africa

nelson mandela is a good & just man but his party did a deal with the u s empire & the great poverty which still exists, the absence of a real reparation to its people, & an acceptance of the demented chicago school of economics - means that men will fight their own & it is with great sadness to witness the victim fight the victim

brecht & his helpers wrote this in the 20's & the 30's in the great baal & the jungle of the cities

there are nights when i place walter benjamin on the shelf & wonder at the savagery of our species

Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 20 2008 23:14 utc | 16

@remembering #16>Nomad reports from SA on the ET blog.

more details and debate in the comments.

divide et impera...

Posted by: DeAnander | May 20 2008 23:44 utc | 17

I hear you and actually I am not too surprised at whats going on in South Africa. Just the other day, a friend told me how beautiful Cape-Town is and how tempted he was a few years ago to buy a home and spend some time there but he decided against it as as he observed that the people down there have issues. And thats the legacy of the de-humanizing experience known as apartheid (actually just another word for slavery).

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 20 2008 23:51 utc | 18

and cheers once again to Obama for keeping it real in the face of all that the totally crass, craven, grace-less She who would be president has thrown at him. I actually once admired her and today resent myself for it. It seems the Repugs were right all along about She who would do anything to get what She wants.

also props to the 30% or so Whites who by disposition do not know any better than to give merit where its due regardless of race.

God Bless America

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 21 2008 0:39 utc | 19

Interesting that Whitney sees credit lines going away. That's even worse than if credit lines were frozen or reduced. Fewer lines means lots of accounts going into collection, accruing no interest at all - probably a disproportionately large number of small accounts. Margin declines and rates rise to compensate. The collection industry burgeons and preys on smaller or disputed debts, terrorizing more and more consumers.

The worse, the better.

Posted by: ...---... | May 21 2008 1:46 utc | 20

on the topic of addicts

from secdef gates' prepared testimony tuesday before the senate appropriations defense subcommittee, urging congress to pass the pentagon's 2009 submitted budget even though, as he admits, DoD is already spending fourth quarter funds from the 2008 appropriations:

In addition to the $515.4 billion base budget, the Fiscal Year 2009 request also includes $70 billion in emergency bridge funding. There is, however, a more immediate concern: Congress has yet to pass the pending $102.5 billion Global War on Terrorism request for Fiscal Year 2008 and, as a result, the Defense Department is currently using fourth quarter funds from the base budget to cover current war costs. Shortly, two critical accounts will run dry:

  • First, Army military personnel account. After June 15th we will run out of funds in this account to pay Soldiers – including those currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq; and

  • Second, Operations and Maintenance account. Around July 5th, O&M funds across the Services will run out, starting with the Army. This may result in civilian furloughs, limits on training, and curbing family support activities.

    If war funds are not available, the Defense Department can transfer funds from Navy and Air Force military personnel accounts to pay soldiers, but that would get us only to late July. Using the limited Transfer Authority granted by Congress would also help us get to late July. Doing so, however, is a shell game – a temporary one at that – which will disrupt existing programs and push the Services O&M accounts to the edge of fiscal viability.

  • from defense news
    Gates, Mullen: Base DoD Budget Must Be Passed

    If U.S. congressional leaders opt against passing a 2009 base budget for the Department of Defense, it would trigger dangerous budgetary and programmatic aftershocks, two top Pentagon officials said.

    Some key House aides have let it be known that the chamber is considering forgoing action on the 2008 defense appropriations bill, Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., said during a May 20 Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee session.

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed they have heard such talk, with both expressing concerns about the potential budgetary and programmatic fallout.

    The House Appropriations defense subcommittee, the panel charged with drawing up the lower chamber's annual Pentagon budgets before they are taken up by the full committee, has yet to place a markup of the 2009 spending measure on its docket. Should congressional leaders decide against approving a 2009 base Pentagon budget, lawmakers would instead consider a continuing resolution that would fund programs during 2009 at the levels appropriated for the current fiscal year. That would kick in on Oct. 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.

    and they're worried that they might not have enough "walking around money" for extracurricular activities...

    the hill: Pentagon leaders press for jobs program in Iraq, Afghanistan

    Pentagon leaders are urging Congress to pass the emergency war-spending bill swiftly to avoid closing down a popular program designed to respond to urgent local needs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen told a Senate panel Tuesday that the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) will be out of money by June.

    “It is the single most effective program to enable commanders to address local populations’ needs and get potential insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan off the streets and into jobs,” said Gates in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee.

    The Pentagon requested $1.7 billion for CERP in the 2008 war emergency supplemental, but Congress only approved $500 million as part of 2008 supplemental funding it passed last year. At least one senator has expressed concerns about the growing scope — and expense — of the project.

    Without the remaining $1.2 billion, “this vital program will come to a standstill,” Gates warned. The Pentagon cannot extend funding beyond the $977 million authority provided in the 2008 defense authorization bill, Gates explained.

    CERP is a military-led effort that pays for urgent local projects both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    If field commanders learn that a certain area is in dire need of facilities, such as water compact units, sewage pumps, health centers or school renovations, they can immediately undertake the projects since they have authority over the money. Oftentimes, young captains are given access to this money to respond quickly to the needs of local communities.

    The money is also used to pay salaries for the Sons of Iraq, who provide security in a number of communities, explained Mullen. As the U.S. forces advance in securing more areas across Iraq, CERP has become “ammunition for success throughout Iraq where security has improved,” said Mullen.

    CERP was initially funded w/ the cash stolen from ba'athist party vaults after the invasion of baghdad - rather than return the money to the iraqi people, bremer created CERP and gave the (iraqi people's) money to u.s. commanders to spend however they deemed appropriate in winning/greasing/bribing iraqi heart & minds. (and fixing/protecting the nation's oil infrastructure at the same time!)

    Posted by: b real | May 21 2008 3:53 utc | 21

    "And just today I found some curious support for that position when one of the TV networks released an analysis done by -- of all people -- Karl Rove saying that I was the stronger candidate. Somebody got a hold of his analysis and there it is."

    Curious, all right, considering she's grifting faux praise from an indicted felon.

    Qualifications for office:

    1) Chosen of (KKK Code Word), "hard-working blue-collar Americans"
    2) Will "hit ground running at 3AM," like she used to do with Bill.
    3) Knows already where all the White House china and linen are kept.
    4) Isn't shy about upbraiding unsatisfactory servants' performance.
    5) Has never met a foreign leader's wife she couldn't have tea with.
    6) Knows how to turn a quick buck, and when to shine the light away.
    7) Best prepared for shilling photo-ops with right-wing cover NGO's.
    8) Isn't afraid to play the race card, the sex card or the Rove card.

    Her First Day at the UN

    She Who Would Be Princess of the Pea

    Posted by: Tiny Pepe | May 21 2008 4:19 utc | 22

    Considering that CERP has never been audited, and a cursory examination of open contracts in Aghanistan amounts to little over 3% of CERPs request, while Iraq is
    so awash in overlapping regular fund and emergency fund money it isn't funny, you
    have to wonder what "pot of money" (as NPR started referring to these "critical
    defense funding initiatives") that Cheney and his Black Ops staff are laddering up
    for after the elections, so there's no disruption to the grift pipeline to Dubai.
    CERP is where you go around to the last remaining passengers on the Titanic, and
    demand their furs and jewelry, in return for a lifeboat seat that already sailed.
    The Oil War is bankrupt! CERP's just picking up nickels and dimes off the floor.
    O Kairos, retrograde Kremlin's stars, for the Casa Blanca is in the poorhouse now!

    Posted by: Terrence Michaels | May 21 2008 4:33 utc | 23

    @ 14 -- Cloud, I'm a bit of a poetry nerd -- where does "question to the oracle" come from?

    Posted by: | May 21 2008 5:01 utc | 24

    bwahh twice for me, annie, when bread goes for $15 a
    loaf, gas is $15 a gallon, and your electric bill is
    $15 a day, when all the homeless are filling
    WalMart's parking lots and newly dead are being piled
    up by the street sweepers, then when they stop you at
    the border in your car, or at the airport, or the bus,
    and refuse to let you leave the gulag for warmer climes,
    because you got yourself on a No-Fly computer at Langley.
    People are already living in their cars in hordes in CA,
    and I've seen the dead on the street every morning in NYC.
    First onseys and twoseys, then horders, they'll eat your
    chickens and goats, sell your children for ransom, then
    you'll join their march of tears, trying to reach Tijuana.
    Oh ... wait ... Dancing with the Stars is in finals! GTG!!

    Posted by: Sulaman Shah | May 21 2008 5:02 utc | 25

    To note: Tehran Urges New Round Of Talks

    Tehran has called for new international talks on political, economic and security issues, including its controversial nuclear program and the Arab-Israeli peace process, according to a copy of the proposal released yesterday.

    The proposal, attached to a May 13 letter from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, includes cooperation spanning nuclear disarmament, peaceful nuclear technology, improved supervision by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, and establishing "fuel production consortiums" in several countries, including Iran. It also urges wide-ranging negotiations to help the Palestinians achieve a "sustainable, democratic and fair" solution to the and calls for joint efforts to strengthen democracy in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa and Latin America.

    The proposal also calls for collaboration against terrorism, drugs and illegal immigration.

    The U.S. of course does not want to talk.

    Posted by: b | May 21 2008 5:47 utc | 26

    Sulaman Sulaman Sulaman !

    you'll join their march of tears, trying to reach Tijuana.

    i'll head for the hills! you'll find me on top of some precipice in the sierras! (freezing my ass of in late fall descending, facing the roads blocked by the empire guards at the base of kennedy meadows...

    Posted by: annie | May 21 2008 7:38 utc | 27

    #24: I wrote it.

    Posted by: Cloud | May 21 2008 12:31 utc | 28

    #22 Tiny Pepe: accurate and colorful (ist day is great!), except that at this point there are no gambles, only purchases.

    Posted by: | May 21 2008 13:45 utc | 29

    sorry, #29 me

    Posted by: plushtown | May 21 2008 13:46 utc | 30

    re b #1 chinahand link: thanks. didn't know site before (I've missed a lot of posts, only rarely catch all in a given week)

    less rice = higher rice/food prices. Rice bought by bureaucracies especially drives same up.

    Also whole thing is warning us we're property, Gaia's mad at us, will cleanse a great portion of we "usless eaters".

    Uncle $ recently (3 weeks?) put up here link and this quote

    "Others are engaging even in an
    eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.
    Defense Secretary Cohen 4/28/07 (11 years warning)

    (I've also put up at least once, noting I suspect a vibrational method for the earthquake part)

    and a link to HAARP info after the Christmas tsunami (God's mad too, people can take their pick. Insurance companies have been waiting for an Act of God like this for a long time.)

    It's also looking like the man-made global warming people are right: earth is warming from below. I've mentioned magma under NE Greenland & W. Antarctica here before, also over 200,000 underwater volcanoe cones recently mapped, and estimate of 3 million total. (from story last summer, I didn't see until winter after link on a NY Times blog)

    The great mass of carbon dioxide up there is released from the warming seas, now aide from earth and (no longer) permafrost. Seems to be in tune with a sun cycle, so it looks like cooling instead might indeed happen soon.

    I suspect J.P. Morgan got enough info from when he backed Tesla on the wireless transmission (mostly underground) of very cheap electricity to know such was desirable, but not yet, business can wait until he dies to get the rest, papers claimed by the Feds January '43 when he died. You know OSS loved wacky weapons and CIA loves same and all above love contracts, contracts, contracts in the name of
    sacred Defense.

    It's Bizarro land, and they've made us so cracked we can't realize it, like thinking of your parents having sex. Don't like it, do you?

    sorry my own stuffed animal cartoon website is down, will get back up after I settle personal credit card stuff (have substituted my used bookstore site)

    (or more likely, I'll get a free site)

    Posted by: plushtown | May 21 2008 14:47 utc | 31

    have put a version of below here before, but this is from forum site of Jon Ronson (of titles Them and Men Who Stare at Goats, contractd at Cannes to be a George Clooney movie)

    Have started to think that possession of scary knowledge makes people act squirrelly, best not to judge the theory by the carrier. This comes from observations over 35 years in academic oriented used book business. It may also be that nuts info must be included in otherwise good information, like the purposed flaw by the pious rugmaker, or the disgusting wound of The Wound and the Bow.

    JFK conspiros know that LBJ in 1965 extended the seal on the Lincoln killing conspiracy (Booth was not alone) to 2015, yet don't flourish this when told conspiracies are too complicated to be real. But everything in human organizations, from cricket team to chamber of commerce to above UN follows the same principle: those that pay the bills and provide the labor/skills make the decisions, usually before the meeting.

    Posted by: plushtown | May 21 2008 14:55 utc | 32

    plushtown: i think if we don't entertain the idea that one of the major goals of the global elite is massive depopulation, we miss the scope of what is happening. unfortunately Bizarro land is an uncomfortable realm to explore for most people. even though Tesla's breakthroughs aren't conspiracies, and HAARP's ability to manipulate the ionosphere is no fantasy, these are just a few of the dots that connect to a meta-reality of conspiratorial omnipresence the global elite hope we swallow hook, line, and sinker.

    Posted by: | May 21 2008 15:50 utc | 33

    #33, arrow: fish/swallow part ambiguous, also want links/google words for more dots. Pointillism may result.

    oh, mispelled "useless eaters" #30, "contracted" later. Squirelly indeed.

    Posted by: plushtown | May 21 2008 17:46 utc | 34

    (via secrecy news blog) 2008 Defense Intelligence Strategy

    from the preface by under secretary of defense james clapper

    The Intelligence Community understands that further transformation of the larger national security infrastructure is required to build effectively for the future.
    For defense intelligence professionals, this means our missions will be diverse and multidimensional, punctuated by persistent regional engagements requiring a range of military, humanitarian, and diplomatic capabilities and assets to be used simultaneously. Cultural awareness, social modeling, and language proficiency will be as important as new intelligence systems and technologies. We will need to develop a sizeable cadre of immediately deployable experts with disparate skills.
    As we begin to understand that the threats we will face in the coming decades cannot be addressed by any single government agency, we must not only leverage the capabilities of our partners but also improve our ability to ingest and archive large amounts of data, and extract and disseminate to our customers and partners all relevant information. This data will come from people and sensors deployed worldwide, with the capacity to penetrate areas that have proven difficult to date. Because data management and information extraction will be done increasingly in a networked environment, more research on availability, confidentiality, and the integrity of data is vital.
    This urgent need to prepare—and do so in a logical, thoughtful, and considered manner—is the impetus for development of a Defense Intelligence Strategy. Its purpose is to ensure that the coalition of those involved in protecting the nation’s security understand the direction and priorities of defense intelligence as part of a larger universe of military and intelligence communities.

    no time to digest the doc now, but

    This new strategy highlights the following four strategic goals (four E’s):

    * Extend the full advantage of the U.S. intelligence enterprise to all defense users to ensure timely and accurate decisions, as well as ensure defense intelligence is available to the broader U.S. intelligence enterprise.

    * Enhance all services and capabilities provided by the U.S. intelligence enterprise to satisfy the changing needs of defense intelligence users.

    * Explore concepts, technologies, and strategies to address customer requirements and emerging threats.

    * Enable us to counter and deny adversary capabilities to acquire and exploit our technologies or knowledge of the battle space.

    Posted by: b real | May 21 2008 19:39 utc | 35

    the pieces for a story i mentioned back in april finally come together

    april 14: Suspicion as 40 sport utility trucks unload at Puntland port

    BOSSASO, Somalia Apr 14 (Garowe Online) - A ship from the United Arab Emirates has been docked at the northern Somali port of Bossaso where security forces unloaded at least 40 Toyota sport utility vehicles over the past two days, confidential sources tell Garowe Online.

    Port employees who chose to remain anonymous said the trucks were unloaded "free of charge" by senior officials from the Puntland Intelligence Agency (PIS), the reportedly CIA-funded intelligence arm of the Puntland regional government.

    The vehicles were transported to the Bossaso home of an individual named Liban Muse Bogor, a relative of Puntland President Adde Muse, the sources said.

    Mr. Bogor, a citizen of Canada, is a member of the board of directors of Range Resources, Ltd., a small mining company based in Australia that claims exploration rights to Puntland after signing a controversial deal in 2005 with President Muse.

    In Somalia, sport utility vehicles are equipped with heavy artillery weapons and transformed to armored trucks known locally as "technicals" – war-torn Somalia's version of a tank.

    april 30: Somalia's leader approves controversial Puntland oil project

    MOGADISHU, Somalia Apr 30 (Garowe Online) - The president of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has signed a letter formally approving an oil exploration project in the northern region of Puntland that has been mired in controversy and bloodshed since early 2006, Garowe Online has learned.

    The letter, dated April 25th, was signed by interim President Abdullahi Yusuf, himself a former Puntland warlord before being elected to the Somali presidency in October 2004 at the conclusion of a two-year peace process in neighboring Kenya.

    “This letter serves as an official endorsement by the TFG of the legitimacy of the existing agreements with the concession holders in Puntland,” the letter stated.

    Although the letter did not elaborate, the “concession holders” refers to Australia-based mining firm Range Resources, Ltd., and Canada’s Africa Oil Corp., two companies who claim to have a joint venture to explore for oil and gas in the semiautonomous State of Puntland, northeastern Somalia.

    This is the first time the President of Somalia has officially recognized the “legitimacy” of the Puntland-Range-Africa Oil agreement that was originally nurtured under suspicious circumstances and sparked bloodshed in one of Somalia’s most peaceful regions.

    may 20: Canada's Africa Oil starts Somalia seismic survey

    DHAROOR, Somalia, May 21 (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas exploration company Africa Oil Corp., has started seismic mapping of a remote area in Somalia's relatively stable Puntland region, officials said on Wednesday.

    The survey is in advance of exploratory drilling in Somalia's Puntland region, where the company believes there is a strong prospect of finding rich oil deposits like those in geologically similar Yemen, a neighbour across the Gulf of Aden.

    The predecessor of ConocoPhilips, Conoco, had exploration rights in the semi-autonomous northern Puntland area before the 1991 civil war that plunged the Horn of Africa nation into anarchy from which it has not yet escaped.

    Africa Oil has rights to 80 percent of the Nugaal and Dharoor blocks there, with its joint venture partner, Australian independent Range Resources, holding the remainder.

    "It's an exploration," senior company official Kim Watson told Reuters on the site in Dharoor, as dozens of the engineers from the U.S., Europe and Africa were busy setting up shop under the watch of heavily armed Puntland troops.

    may 20: Oil firms recruit private militia for Puntland exploration

    BOSSASO, Somalia May 21 (Garowe Online) - Two foreign companies with rights to explore for oil in northern Somalia have established a private militia force to help protect assets, Garowe Online can report.

    The companies – Canada's Africa Oil Corp. and Australia-based mining firm Range Resources, Ltd. – have a joint venture to explore for oil and natural gas in Puntland, a relatively calm region in Somalia' s northeast.
    On Wednesday, equipment reportedly owned by Africa Oil but delivered by a contractor – IMC – was transported from the port of Bossaso, 1500km north of the capital Mogadishu.

    The equipment, mostly tents and other equipment necessary for living arrangements, was delivered to a remote town roughly 90km east of Bossaso.

    Hundreds of Puntland security forces and private militiamen aboard armored trucks escorted the equipment to its proper destination, as representatives from Africa Oil and the Puntland administration looked on.

    There was no official word from the government of Puntland regarding the delivery of the equipment or the intentions of the said companies.

    A source close the Puntland government confidentially told Garowe Online that the foreign companies have established a 250-man private militia, which is equipped with light weapons and 50 armored trucks, known across Somalia as "technicals."

    It is not clear why Africa Oil and its Puntland government hosts need the private militia, but critics said the private security force idea is rooted in lessons learned from recent exploration initiatives in the region.

    Posted by: b real | May 21 2008 22:00 utc | 36

    @annie at #27:

    Tehipite Valley on the Kings R. or Nine Mile Camp on the Kern R. are both 'winterable' locales. Very hard to get to, even with helicopters. Plenty of trout, berries, and miner's lettuce and wild onions.

    Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | May 21 2008 22:26 utc | 37

    To breal,

    Add to that Jarch Capital's withdrawal from seeking a concession in Somaliland. There are also reports that the CIA has been operating in Bosaso, Puntland, since November 2007, precisely where these mercs are shipping their supplies through. Lukoil reportedly showed some interest in Somalia back in October of last year, so it is a race to acquire the plots before they do, despite the fact there are still occasional skirmishes between Somaliland and Puntland over border demarcations and clan disagreements, not to mention the French and US efforts to curb the pirating that could potentially hamper supply shipments to Bosaso and Berbera, where Qaran News is reporting that the US Navy visited there in mid-April.

    Posted by: | May 21 2008 23:01 utc | 38

    amazing stuff breal @36. thanks again for sharing your research here.

    Posted by: dan of steele | May 21 2008 23:29 utc | 39


    There are also reports that the CIA has been operating in Bosaso, Puntland, since November 2007...

    i recently copied an indian ocean newsletter story from that period in the last africom thread here

    Lukoil reportedly showed some interest in Somalia back in October of last year, so it is a race to acquire the plots before they do

    i don't know if that's the case at this stage, considering that yusuf & muse allocated these blocks to the canadians since at least the summer of 2005. there are other foreign companies around too - yusuf got money from the chinese for offshore contracts last july, and the norwegians are in the neighborhood too.

    dang. i see that the editors at wikipedia have already picked up on the militia story too. they have a rundown of a lot of the controversies so far.

    article from africa oil dated march 27
    Africa Oil Corp To Start Spudding on Nogal Block in Puntland Somalia

    Africa Oil Corp. reports that mobilization of casing and camp construction equipment is underway in preparation for spudding the first of an initial two well program on the Nogal Block in Puntland, Somalia. The equipment is currently in Djibouti and is anticipated to arrive in Somalia within the next week. The first well is expected to spud in July, 2008.
    The seismic crew is expected to be on the ground in Puntland by the end of April, 2008.

    from may 1st
    Africa Oil Corp. Operations Update in Somalia

    Africa Oil Corp. reports that the mobilization of a seismic crew to the Dharoor Valley block in northern Puntland is proceeding smoothly. Recording is still planned to start before the middle of May. Approximately 2600 km of high quality 2D vibroseis data will be acquired as part of the comprehensive exploration program planned for the Dharoor Valley.

    Preparations for drilling in the Nogal Valley block have also been proceeding well. Although plans to spud the first well in July were well advanced, it has been decided to delay the start of the drilling program. The recent situation of piracy around Somalia's coast have given rise to significant logistical difficulties in shipping large amounts of heavy equipment and supplies to the drilling location. After close consultation with the Puntland Government, it has been decided that the prudent course of action is to delay the drilling program temporarily while local issues are resolved by relevant authorities.
    Having met all other obligations, the Company had initiated an accelerated drilling schedule at the Nogal Valley block well in advance of the January, 2010 expiry of the first exploration period. The aggressive timing of the program was to the benefit of the local communities in Puntland and Somalia. However, under current conditions, it is prudent to relax this operational schedule. The Company has a strong relationship with the Puntland government and will cooperate fully with them as they work to resolve the situation. The company will continue to monitor events and reinstate the drilling program as soon as practicable.

    that's what the private militia are for. as the wikipedia article says,

    Range Resources LTD has issued misleading information to its shareholders that the company can actually operate in eastern Sanaag and Cayn regions -- as shown in the Range map. Range’s deception of its shareholders is not only confined to printing imaginary maps. It also re-named Puntland as the ‘Democratic State of Puntland’ apparently with the intention of impressing its shareholders that the company is operating within a safe and democratic environment.

    Range Resources does not have sanction and agreement from the true authority of Nugaal Valley -- the traditional leaders and the civil society organizations of the SSC regions -- where the most of proven Oil reserves are located.

    they've been driven out by the inhabitants of the area in the past. expect to see range PR referring to the locals as terrorists now.

    Posted by: b real | May 22 2008 4:24 utc | 40

    "and cheers once again to Obama for keeping it real "

    right, heard him the other day giving our shitty, murderous little apartheid mini-me Israel a long, loving fellating on the glorious occasion of their 60th anniversary. dude's "keeping it real" alright.

    Posted by: ran | May 22 2008 4:51 utc | 41

    at least in South Korea they'll pretend to give a shit what their citizens think: (while still actually not giving a shit what their citizens think)

    The government lacked efforts to seek sufficient understanding and collect opinions from the people," Lee said during a nationally televised address. "I humbly accept the point that the government neglected to fathom the people's mind. I feel sorry."

    Posted by: ran | May 22 2008 5:50 utc | 42

    The following two links need not be swallowed whole to be interesting, and this one leaves me wondering about "ER" 's particular virtues and vices.

    Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 22 2008 7:48 utc | 43

    Nightmare Ticket

    "No other ticket is capable of rallying this nation around a clearer, more unified message of chaos and hopelessness,"..... "Together, we will lead this nation into the future—a future where absolute deadlock over even the most minute decisions and total inefficiency on matters of the war, the economy, and the environment will launch a bold new age of confusion and social decay. For America, the only choice is [indecipherable]!"

    Posted by: annie | May 22 2008 7:58 utc | 44

    @44 funny and in reality they'd be feasting on that baby

    Posted by: jcairo | May 22 2008 8:17 utc | 45

    Dr. Wellington Plenty of trout, berries, and miner's lettuce and wild onions.

    i know. ha! can't believe you mentioned the onions and lettuce. been there several times, spent over a month in the region once w/my topo map, ran out of pack food after the first week. granite dome/lewis lakes are a sweet come down if like traversing waterfalls. never been there in the winter tho.

    Posted by: annie | May 22 2008 9:03 utc | 46

    @45 they'd be feasting on that baby

    or themselves ;)

    Posted by: annie | May 22 2008 9:08 utc | 47

    in #31 I misspoke and truncated,in a hurry.Should be:

    It's also looking like the man-made global warming people's critics are right, at least in one thing.The climate changes are not manmade, though we've goosed it some, and may be temporary if indeed the warming spots relate to a sun cycle.

    Earth is warming from below.I've mentioned magma under NE Greenland & W. Antarctica here before, also over 200,000 underwater volcano cones recently mapped, and estimate of 3 million total. (from>story last summer, I didn't see until winter after link on a NY Times blog)

    And the increasing warmth isn't uniform, though the ocean does spread it around, releasing carbon dioxide itself as waters warm. Notice in the articles I've linked to here over the last 3 1/2 years about glaciers melting/lightening and resulting earthquakes that the scientists are always confused about how the warming "gets into" the thick ice, while also noting that the warming salt water licking it beneath seems significant.

    Why do neither Greenpeace/Gore/etc. nor the ones that say it's a scam for more government control use the weapons they each have?

    The supposed left can mention that

    "earthquakes by standard geology occur after glaciers lighten. Even a possibility of such scares me.I never thought I'd sell my East Egg summer house. We must curtail the warming, even though scientists say the atmospheric effects are already in the system for 40-50 years, no slowing possible before 2045-2055.But we must do something, or we won't get any more money for us and the polar bears."

    and on the supposed right:

    "Oh, you'll get your money, even though the scientists are always wrong. Everything's been happening faster than scientists have said, and they're always SO surprised. They're about as reliable as Lucy Ricardo's second set of household expenses she showed Ricky. And we've got people who say things are going to start cooling soon, but in the meantime there's more seismic activity worldwide and millions of hotspots, especially under the oceans, the salt salt oceans, licking at those glaciers. You'll never feel safer than in a Hummer."

    The rest is the same after that. Oh, and $1,000 offer still holds for why standard geology doesn't apply to rock if we don't want it to, or the previous phrasings I've put up here before, also on other websites over last 2 1/2 years.
    (oh, searching "plushtown" here does not get all posts, but it gets a bunch, enough to find different phrasings of the $1000 offer, and only one response, which nicely said, yes seems likely, didn't seem to think the question important. On web it might get a retired petroleum geologist saying yes, my geology is right, and also that man-made seismic events from mines, drilling,draining, dams happened more than acknowledged.But he feared more nuclear power plants on earthquake prone areas built only to withstand x amount Richter but should have been built to y amount, varying by location. I mentioned that many nuclear plants, and other power plants are on coasts, to be cooled via sea water, so flooding's bad too. No further response to me, though he did post a little more.

    Only 2 direct responses I ever got, plus 2 that just said "Oh, this has been well covered".

    (if anyone wants links, e-mail me, current address is

    Posted by: plushtown | May 22 2008 13:01 utc | 48

    #45 annie, #45 jcairo, yes.

    Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, said in '90's and on video sold by Amazon etc that others of the group The Process also killed, idea was to spread "chaos". I encountered Process members in 1971 in the Chicago Loop, in one piece monks robes passing out sheets about "4 Godheads": Jesus, Jehovah, Satan, Lucifer. I figured this meant "anything goes" so best avoid, and was told later by a sophomore that they "had good parties but people disappeared.

    Berkowitz claimed income came for "spreading chaos", also from drug trade and snuff film production. Here's quote from a "letter to a minister"

    "this group contained a mixture of Satanic practices, including the teachings of Aleister Crowley and Eliphas Levi. It was blood oriented...The coven's doctrines are a blend of Druidism, teachings of the secret order of the Golden Dawn, black magic, and a host of other unlawful and obnoxious practices...

    ...Satanists are peculiar people. They aren't ignorant peasants or semi-literate natives. Rather, their ranks are filled with doctors, lawyers, businessmen, and basically highly responsible citizens...They are not a careless group who are apt to make mistakes. But they are secretive and bonded together by a common need and desire to mete out havoc on society. It was Aleister Crowley who said: "I want blasphemy, murder, rape, revolution, anything bad."

    Posted by: plushtown | May 22 2008 13:26 utc | 49

    garowe: Feud erupts inside Puntland Cabinet’s weekly meeting

    BOSSASO, Somalia May 22 (Garowe Online) - A disagreement has erupted within the government of Puntland, in Somalia’s northeast, during Thursday’s regular weekly Cabinet meeting, inside sources told Garowe Online.
    President Muse offered a brief review of his nearly two-month-long trip aboard, where he visited the capitals of the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

    The Puntland leader told his Cabinet that, while in Addis Ababa, he signed an agreement with Ethiopian government officials to “hand over” any individual who is a “threat” to Ethiopia’s national security.

    The Cabinet meeting erupted in discord immediately after President Muse’s revelation, with many Puntland government ministers expressing their opposition to the extradition program, a Cabinet source who did not want to be named in print told Garowe Online.

    Since April 22, a handful of Somalis have been arrested by Puntland security forces and extradited to neighboring Ethiopia, a country that human rights groups accuse of torturing domestic dissidents.

    no doubt a similar agreement exists w/ the u.s.

    Further, Cabinet ministers discussed the nonpayment of the regional government’s civil servants and members of the security forces. According to the Ministry of Finance, Puntland government employees have not received their regular salary for the past five months.

    President Muse announced that he had appointed a committee to investigate the Ministry of Finance and the continued lack of payment for government employees, a development that reportedly angered Finance Minister Mohamed “Gaagaab” Ali.

    Mr. Gaagaab defended himself by arguing that 80% of revenue managed by the Ministry of Finance was used directly by President Muse and Vice President Afqura, “for operations or other purposes.”

    However, the Finance Minister did not detail exactly how those funds were allegedly used by the President and his deputy, according to our sources.


    During the Cabinet meeting, the Puntland leader was specifically asked how money donated by foreign exploration companies was used.

    At one point during the heated debate, a Cabinet minister accused President Muse of spending public funds “like a store he personally owns.”

    The comment angered the Puntland leader, to which he replied by threatening to “fire” Cabinet ministers, although he did not mention any specific names.

    When Garowe Online asked one of our Cabinet sources why Puntland government ministers are now bold enough to question Muse, he replied: “Less than one year remains for this government, so there is no fear.”

    maybe they didn't see this rpt from monday

    Somalia’s leader pursuing one-year extension for Puntland ruler

    GAROWE, Somalia May 19 (Garowe Online) - The interim president of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is secretly backing a measure to extend the four-year term for Gen. Adde Muse, leader of the Puntland region in the northeast of the country, inside sources tell Garowe Online.

    TFG President Abdullahi Yusuf, himself a former Puntland ruler, is secretly backing the initiative and has already begun holding preliminary discussions on the issue with traditional elders and politicians who wield influence in his home region of Puntland.

    The Somali leader held closed-door talks with Puntland leader Gen. Muse in London in late April, where the two men discussed the one-year term extension at length, according to reliable sources who are familiar with the talks.

    Gen. Muse’s constitutional term in office ends in January 2009, when presidential elections are scheduled to be held in Puntland.

    But President Yusuf wants the Puntland elections to be postponed until after the 2009 Somali presidential elections, marking the end of the transitional mandate for Yusuf’s Ethiopian-backed interim government in Mogadishu.
    It is not clear how the local population will respond to a term extension for the incumbent Puntland ruler, who has been criticized for weak leadership and held responsible for the worsening situation in the region since his rise to power.

    But in mid-2001, then-Puntland ruler Yusuf wanted to extend his term in office but faced stiff resistance from local clans and eventually led Gen. Muse to leave his peaceful home in Canada and wage war against Yusuf.

    Although Muse lost that war badly, he later reconciled with Yusuf and supported the latter's election to the Somali presidency in October 2004.

    Muse is deeply unpopular with local clans, many of whom have accused the Puntland leader of catastrophic failure in security and economic issues.

    Under the Muse administration, the Puntland government lost control of the key town of Las Anod to the rival separatist region of Somaliland.

    Piracy and human trafficking activities have been on the increase, attracting international attention and prompting foreign military intervention.

    Most recently, the Muse government has been accused of detaining Somali civilians and handing them over to Ethiopian intelligence services without being charged with any crime against Puntland.

    Posted by: b real | May 22 2008 18:52 utc | 51

    Only in America can we trivialize and discount education to the point of irrelevancy by giving Dog's university degree's . Sure makes me feel good about my 42k worthless degree.

    The Atlantic: Is college necessary?

    Oh, and one thing is for sure, Sallie Mae is the Devil.

    Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 22 2008 18:58 utc | 52

    Please. I want a frog march.

    Posted by: beq | May 22 2008 19:13 utc | 53

    this one's for you beq

    Flying phallus attacks Kasparov

    A large phallus equipped with dual rotary blades, similar to those found on a remote control helicopter, was hovering slowly towards the chess grandmaster.

    Posted by: annie | May 22 2008 19:59 utc | 54

    Heh. Boggles the mind...

    Thank you, annie =)

    Posted by: beq | May 22 2008 23:23 utc | 55


    The Atlantic article nails community college culture. I've been teaching part- and full-time in a community college for four years, and I'm leaving at the end of this term. I can't wrap my brain around it. I've only survived because a small handful of the students know exactly why they're there. The number of students who simply _vanish_ after the first week of each term is staggering. What's really depressing is when they reappear around the 7th week and ask if they can do extra credit to catch up, so they don't lose their financial aid, which they spent on groceries and rent instead of books, and now will owe back because they're failing.

    The colleges and the students and I are bobbing up and down in a great wave of societal forces—social optimism on a large scale, the sense of college as both a universal right and a need, financial necessity on the part of the colleges and the students alike, the desire to maintain high academic standards while admitting marginal students—that have coalesced into a mini-tsunami of difficulty.

    btw, tomorrow is 5/23, on a Friday, no less. Hot dogs and beer all around, for the High Holy Day. Hail Eris!

    Posted by: catlady | May 23 2008 0:10 utc | 56

    Get out the blue pencil. Run-on, pls check punct

    Posted by: catlady | May 23 2008 0:11 utc | 57

    plushtown (48),
    I do not agree. Or rather I agree with some, not others.

    That carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and is rising from our burning fossile fuels has been known for at least a hundred years, though it was not until the 70'ies and the discovery of the chaotic behaviour of weather that it became a great concern. Previously many had reasoned that it will simply be a warmer, greener, planet. With butterfly effects and such it became clear that it would not simply be some degrees warmer, but it would be a climate destabilisation. So concern and studies started.

    Fast forward to now. We are now experiencing a warmer climate. It fits lots of models (though these models are no where near perfect) that it is the effect of the increased greenhouse gases we are experiencing. And I hope it is. Because the alternative is that the destabilisation from the greenhouse gases is still on the way (this planet is a huge system) and that it will come on top of the warming we are experiencing from another source, be it solar activity or geothermal activity. Anyway cutting down on fossile fuels makes all the sense in the world. If we actually are experiencing warming from another source and manages not to irreparably harm the planet we are living on by the increase of greenhouse gases, we should have had much more luck then we deserve.

    On the way ices melt, well, I will not take your bet. It makes to much sense that they will not melt nicely and uniformely, but rather with pangs. And tsunamis fits the pangs. One can always hope you are wrong though.

    Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 23 2008 0:17 utc | 58

    #58, skd, the important part is the sliding precipitated by earthquakes stimulated (or no longer suppressed) by lightening ice. Thanks for looking, saying something. Curtailment of fossil fuel use will come automatically with culling of the herd.

    Posted by: plushtown | May 23 2008 0:31 utc | 59

    Posted by: b real | May 23 2008 3:58 utc | 60

    Spending On Iraq Poorly Tracked - Audit Faults Accounting for $15 Billion in Work

    Of the $7.8 billion in payments detailed in the audit released yesterday, about $1.4 billion did not meet the most minimal requirements for documentation, making it highly possible that waste, fraud or abuse had occurred, according to auditors. In one case, there is a copy of a $5.6 million check from the U.S. Treasury paid to an Iraqi contractor but no documents saying what was purchased. In another, a South Carolina contractor was paid $11 million, according to a voucher, but auditors said they could not tell what goods or services were received.
    Waxman said the poorly documented expenditures of seized Iraqi assets included a $320 million cash payment for employing 1,000 people that was handed over to the Iraqi Finance Ministry with "little more than a signature in exchange."
    The inspector general found that the Defense Department could not account for 12,712 of 13,508 weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers for Iraqi forces.

    Posted by: b | May 23 2008 6:15 utc | 61

    Thanks again to b real @ 60. At least we can now discount use of the Victor Bout cover story to explain the arms trafficking. Being in unblissful ignorance on the matter, I don't know whether the usual (western intelligence agency) suspects are sponsoring the arms dealers while playing both sides against the middle, or if it's just a natural outcome of having fomented a civil war with its consequent "demand" for weapons being met by the "magic of the free market" (in arms).

    I don't know if this review of Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine has already been signaled here. I found it highly stimulating, although 1) I doubt that MOA prevailing opinion will agree with Holmes; 2) the last paragraph is, dare I say, shockingly silent on the "deeper and more impersonal roots" it mentions; 3) I haven't yet read the book.

    Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 23 2008 6:16 utc | 62

    "Game on."

    In Iraq, a Surge in U.S. Airstrikes

    Since late March, the military has fired more than 200 Hellfire missiles in the capital, compared with just six missiles fired in the previous three months.
    On Wednesday, eight people, including two children, were killed when a U.S. helicopter opened fire on a group of Iraqis traveling to a U.S. detention center to greet a man who was being released from custody, Iraqi officials said.
    During a recent visit to the base, a reporter saw a missile addressed to "Haji," an honorific for people who have made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Many U.S. soldiers use it to refer dismissively to Iraqis and Arabs in general. Someone wrote "rock this thang" on another.
    "You've been building up for this for three years and now you're going to get to do what you were trained to do," he said. "You get this bit of excited rush feeling, like right before you get out of the locker room before a game. We got in the helicopter and started flying up and you start looking down and you're like -- wow. I'm in Iraq now. This isn't back in Texas where we were just training. People down there are going to try to shoot me. This is for real. Game on."

    Posted by: b | May 23 2008 6:23 utc | 63

    @ b real I caught an interview with Isaias Afewerki, the Eritrean ras,, last night on Al Jazeera. It was an interesting performance on both sides. I'm wondering what, if anything, you know about him and his sources of power. He certainly didn't seem unduly concerned about paying homage to occidental icons, yet, IIRC, there's an NSA listening post in the Dahlak archipelago, somewhere around the old Soviet Union base built there, now perhaps also being used by Israeli submarines.
    Comments or enlightenment?

    Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 23 2008 7:16 utc | 64

    @ b 61

    Spending On Iraq Poorly Tracked - Audit Faults Accounting for $15 Billion in Work

    This is not new. It was reported on in detail in a long article in I think the London Review of Books back in 2005. It is somewhere on my hard disc.

    The major point made was that there was an absolute difference between the accounting methods used for Iraqi money and for US money under the Bremer CPA in Iraq in 2003-4. US money was very carefully accounted for, but Iraqi money, contractors could walk off with palette-loads of dollar bills. I was slightly involved in this myself, as I received an offer of a job for a million dollars from a US administrator in Iraq at that time. No doubt most of the money was intended to go into his pocket. I didn't take up the offer.

    Posted by: Alex | May 23 2008 8:10 utc | 65


    Spending On Iraq Poorly Tracked - Audit Faults Accounting for $15 Billion in Work

    The link for the LRB article.

    Posted by: Alex | May 23 2008 8:28 utc | 66

    On Isaias Afewerki, I have some comments.

    He is an old guerilla leader and appears to believe firmly in the power that comes from holding the guns. He evidently cares not for diplomacy. The party for Democracy and Justice (formerly Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front) has been purged of internal opposition and now his one person rule is firmly established.

    Both Eritrea and Ethiopia has been trying to become the US "ally" of choice in the region as the means to get the upper hand. Ethiopia has been more successfull at it. US installations in Eritrea can from an Eritrean point of view be seen as lessening the risk of US support for an Ethiopian attack. At the same time Eritrea supports Ethiopia (and thus US) enemies in Somalia. Enemy of my enemy and all of that.

    Posted by: a swedish kind of death | May 23 2008 12:48 utc | 67


    afewerki's story is interesting and, along w/ the history of the region, esp the relations b/w eritrea & ethiopia and isaias & ethiopia's meles zenawi, quite complex. lots of exaggerations, lies, boasts, and political calculations/posturing/rhetoric on all sides make it hard to sort fact from fiction.

    harold marcus' a history of ethiopia did an admirable job of the latter in the updated edition. michela wrong's i didn't do it for you: how the world betrayed a small african nation is a very useful primer on eritrea & presents the int'l critique of isias' single party rule - which is hardly an anomaly in the history of new nations, esp in africa. (i'm still looking for other recommended readings on eritrea, if anyone has suggestions.)

    i don't have my notes & sources w/ me right now, but afewerki has been supported and screwed over by an array of foreign backers throughout the struggle to keep eritrea separate & sovereign, which accounts for part of his cynicism toward "diplomacy", as askod pointed out. he's not afraid to speak bluntly against imperialists, to call out hypocrisy as he sees it, and, though limited financially, still supports revolutionary mvmts in the region (as opposed to other powers supporting repressive institutions & counter-revolutionary mvmts.) i'm not sure which countries are currently sponsoring/financing/investing in eritrea, but i don't get the impression that there is much cash/development flowing in.

    i don't recall seeing anything recent/current on the listening posts - will check into all of this as time permits

    Posted by: b real | May 23 2008 15:52 utc | 68

    Thanks to both skod and b real for your comments, which,
    as always, I read with interest and appreciation. They have helped
    improve my sour mood today, resulting from having read this

    With the senator's health now in question, Kennedy's nephew, former Rep. Joseph Kennedy II, D-Mass., is seen as a possible heir. He is sitting on about $2 million in leftover campaign funds.

    But the younger Kennedy, who provides low-cost heating oil to the poor through Boston-based Citizens Energy Corp., has balked at running for governor in recent years and shows scant interest in jumping back into politics.

    There is the possibility one of the senator's sons, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., or Edward Kennedy Jr., could seek their father's seat. Kennedy's wife, Vicki, has been mentioned, too. There are other Kennedys, too, who could decide to run.

    found here.
    To my knowledge seats in the U.S. Senate are not (yet) hereditary benefices, but, being old enough to remember Ted Kennedy's first election campaign, I won't be surprised if the voters of Massachusetts take another step toward elective aristocracy.

    Even the flying phallus attack on Kasparov couldn't cheer me up (and perhaps that too is no laughing matter).

    Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | May 23 2008 16:33 utc | 69


    i caught the same interview & was a little amused that he kept on asking the al jazeera interviewer whether he had been given his list of questions from langley

    he was no suppliant & that's a change

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 23 2008 18:21 utc | 70

    i'm guessing this is that al jazeera interview - Riz Khan - Isaias Afwerki - 22 May 08

    Posted by: b real | May 23 2008 18:48 utc | 71


    yes, that's it

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 23 2008 19:12 utc | 72

    Israel Arrests Outspoken Academic Norman Finkelstein

    American academic Norman Finkelstein has been arrested and ordered deported from Israel. Finkelstein arrived in Tel Aviv earlier today on his way to the Occupied Territories. He was immediately detained and told he is banned from Israel for ten years. He’s expected to be deported tomorrow. Finkelstein is known one of the most prominent academic critics of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza


    Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 23 2008 21:47 utc | 73

    Oh my aching head! Link.

    Posted by: beq | May 23 2008 22:27 utc | 74


    i guess it's time to assassinate Obama, incite national riots, declare martial law, postpone the election, ignite the middle east, arrest domestic dissidents, publicly execute Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein to send a message to the broken left wing, and generally run amok with unchecked power and well paid death squads peopled by professional mercenaries and desperate soldiers who, without intensive treatment for PTSD, will always carry the war around with them in their head.

    ...and, as i'm typing away, i hear the disembodied voice from liberal feel-good radio, NPR, saying that Denver might look like Chicago circa 1968 if protesters get their chance. well, you know what, fuck NPR because Rush is nudging his audience in the same direction, planting seeds, but if there is violence it will probably come in the form of planted provocateurs, ensuring the shameless corporate whores in the MSM can feed some juicy loops to their endless cycle, you know, like China did with Tibet, and Chavez's CIA backed enemies (who own most the airwaves) did in the failed coup six years ago.

    these next six months should be interesting...

    Posted by: Lizard | May 24 2008 0:31 utc | 75

    Ooops, I Did It Again!

    Hey...everyone is giving Hillary the "she must have been tired" nod-and-wink,
    but face it, this is the second time in as many weeks that Hillary has used
    the same Code Word that Huckabee blatantly used last week, with his Malcolm X
    allusion, and everyone who lives in American immediately understood the intent.

    This is one sick mutherf--king society, and the world is getting a gob smack.
    It's not illegal, she can get away with it, but those standing behind her are
    abandoning Hillary in droves. They realize she's wacko now, and hey, no duhh!

    I went to high school with that broad. Park Ridge is pure Neo-Republican town.
    There was one token black kid in the entire school, upper middle class snoots,
    spent all their time shooting booze and cracking Jewish, Italian and Pole jokes,
    when they're not banging each other's wives, or pulling off some ponzi scheme.

    How come nobody is interviewing Hillary's childhood minister?

    Hillary's not "racist" because she didn't grow up in the South, she's "racist"
    because she grew up in a country-club society where blacks didn't even exist.
    No wonder she's communing with the Rovians, searching for that fatal media hook.
    Her campaign is in debt to her for tens of millions, and the only way she's
    gonna get repaid is by a Congressional bailout, if she steals the nomination.

    Otherwise, New York is not a community property state, Bill will dump her ass.
    Then being a closet socialite uber-white cheerleader republican, Hillary simply
    could not survive the double defeat of public debt and divorce on prime time,
    and she will destroy the Democrat Party any way she has to, to get nominated.

    I feel sorry for her, but millions of other women are caught in the same trap,
    and they don't advocate assassination. She's weak-willed and becoming psychotic.
    Those near her better keep a vigil so she's never alone, ... and hide the knives!
    Maybe we should all pass the plate, so at least she can make it to retirement age,
    and get this sorry chapter in American history behind us.

    Posted by: Elliot Lemiux | May 24 2008 1:46 utc | 76

    more on the un peacekeeper scandal

    inner city press: UN's Congo Scandal was Covered-Up, Former OIOS Investigator Says, Accountability Delayed

    UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- Faced with evidence that UN peacekeepers traded guns for gold with rogue militia leaders in the Eastern Congo, the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services engaged in a cover-up and issued a whitewash report, its deputy chief investigator in the Congo announced in a detailed article published Friday morning.

    that article, by the dismissed "deputy chief investigator with the United Nations Office of Internal Oversight Services in Congo"

    iht: PEACEKEEPERS IN CONGO: A UN whitewash?

    The United Nations, facing criticism that it has failed to police itself, has hit back in recent days. Press officers insist that there is no problem. Based on my own experience, I disagree.

    The BBC and Human Rights Watch have both brought forward evidence that the United Nations covered up evidence of gold smuggling and arms trafficking by its peacekeepers in Congo. The peacekeepers are said to have had illegal dealings with one of the most murderous militias in eastern Congo, where millions have died in one of the bloodiest, yet least visible, conflicts in the world.

    Last month, Inga-Britt Ahlenius, the head of the Office of Internal Oversight Services at the United Nations, told the BBC that her investigators drew the right conclusions based on the evidence they found: that there was little that warranted prosecution or further investigation.

    I wish that were true. I was the investigator in charge of the UN team that in 2006 looked into allegations of abuses by Pakistani peacekeepers in Congo and found them credible. But the investigation was taken away from my team after we resisted what we saw as attempts to influence the outcome.

    My fellow team members and I were appalled to see that the oversight office's final report was little short of a whitewash.

    the inner city press blog has more info & links as he's been right on top of the story. [i linked to some of those sources in an april comment here]

    Posted by: b real | May 24 2008 3:47 utc | 77

    Regarding Uncle $cam Post 73 (Finkelstein's arrest), does anyone on this blog know about Public Law 108-332? The U.S. Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 and on October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the legislation into law (Public Law 108-332).

    Under this law:

    1) Any assertion "that the Jewish community controls government, the media, international business and the financial world" is anti-Semitic.

    2) "Strong anti-Israel sentiment" is anti-Semitic.

    3) "Virulent criticism" of Israel's leaders, past or present, is anti-Semitic. According to the State Department, anti-Semitism occurs when a swastika is portrayed in a cartoon decrying the behavior of a past or present Zionist leader. Thus, a cartoon that includes a swastika to criticize Ariel Sharon's brutal 2002 invasion of the West Bank, raining "hell-fire" missiles on hapless Palestinian men, women and children, is anti-Semitic. Similarly, when the word "Zionazi" is used to describe Sharon's saturation bombing in Lebanon in 1982 (killing 17,500 innocent refugees), it is also "anti-Semitic."

    4) Criticism of the Jewish religion or its religious leaders or literature (especially the Talmud and Kabbalah) is anti-Semitic.

    5) Criticism of the U.S. government and Congress for being under undue influence by the Jewish-Zionist community (including AIPAC) is anti-Semitic.

    6) Criticism of the Jewish-Zionist community for promoting globalism (the "New World Order") is anti-Semitic.

    7) Blaming Jewish leaders and their followers for inciting the Roman crucifixion of Christ is anti-Semitic.

    8) Diminishing the "six million" figure of Holocaust victims is anti-Semitic.

    9) Calling Israel a "racist" state is anti-Semitic.

    10) Asserting that there exists a "Zionist Conspiracy" is anti-Semitic.

    11) Claiming that Jews and their leaders created the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia is anti-Semitic.

    12) Making "derogatory statements about Jewish persons" is anti-Semitic.

    Greetings to all (after a long absence),

    Posted by: Parviz | May 24 2008 11:45 utc | 78


    though it seems rather silly, this law you speak of it nothing more than a resolution that establishes another office in the state department. the co-sponsors are all the usual suspects of course.

    it does beg the question, why is there not a similar resolution for the Church of Latter Day Saints who have experienced state sponsored kidnapping in the great state of Texas?

    Posted by: dan of steele | May 24 2008 13:05 utc | 79

    massive mznofestations here against the cuts in education. in my town it is absolutely raining torrentially & still this is an enormous movement of cadre, teachers parents & students

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 24 2008 13:43 utc | 80

    Why was my thread removed? Have I been banned from this Blog? I simply asked whether anyone in this Blog has ever read the most racist and totalitarian piece of legislation ever passed by the U.S. Congress, namely, the Anti-Semitism Law in which the U.S. State Department lists the following set of beliefs as anti-Semitic":

    1) Any assertion "that the Jewish community controls government, the media, international business and the financial world" is anti-Semitic.

    2) "Strong anti-Israel sentiment" is anti-Semitic.

    3) "Virulent criticism" of Israel's leaders, past or present, is anti-Semitic. According to the State Department, anti-Semitism occurs when a swastika is portrayed in a cartoon decrying the behavior of a past or present Zionist leader. Thus, a cartoon that includes a swastika to criticize Ariel Sharon's brutal 2002 invasion of the West Bank, raining "hell-fire" missiles on hapless Palestinian men, women and children, is anti-Semitic. Similarly, when the word "Zionazi" is used to describe Sharon's saturation bombing in Lebanon in 1982 (killing 17,500 innocent refugees), it is also "anti-Semitic."

    4) Criticism of the Jewish religion or its religious leaders or literature (especially the Talmud and Kabbalah) is anti-Semitic.

    5) Criticism of the U.S. government and Congress for being under undue influence by the Jewish-Zionist community (including AIPAC) is anti-Semitic.

    6) Criticism of the Jewish-Zionist community for promoting globalism (the "New World Order") is anti-Semitic.

    7) Blaming Jewish leaders and their followers for inciting the Roman crucifixion of Christ is anti-Semitic.

    8) Diminishing the "six million" figure of Holocaust victims is anti-Semitic.

    9) Calling Israel a "racist" state is anti-Semitic.

    10) Asserting that there exists a "Zionist Conspiracy" is anti-Semitic.

    11) Claiming that Jews and their leaders created the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia is anti-Semitic.

    12) Making "derogatory statements about Jewish persons" is anti-Semitic.

    13) Classifies the New Testament as "Anti-Semitic" (?!?)

    Here is the link:

    Posted by: Parviz | May 24 2008 15:02 utc | 81

    Sorry, everyone, it suddenly re-appeared. B, please delete the duplicate.

    Sorry Dan, but the Law is here for everyone to read for themselves. It clearly defines anti-semitism under U.S. law:

    Posted by: Parviz | May 24 2008 15:04 utc | 82

    Being Luciferian is anti-Semitic and anti-humanity, but our laws and training go the other way.

    Posted by: plushtown | May 24 2008 15:07 utc | 83

    parvis, the 'law' is defined "Pub.L. 108-332 To require a report on acts of anti-Semitism around the world. NOTE: Oct. 16, 2004 - [S. 2292]"

    i am not sure how this law is being applied. perhaps the definitions are used to determine what constitutes racism against jews for the purpose of inclusion of anti semiticism in hate crimes. but this 'law'in itself doesn't make those acts illegal.

    still it is weird legislation. thanks for posting.

    Posted by: annie | May 24 2008 16:18 utc | 84

    @Parviz - welcome back, and yes it is Public Law - a quite stupid one.

    Posted by: b | May 24 2008 16:18 utc | 85

    Naomi Klein on regime quakes

    Posted by: denk | May 24 2008 17:19 utc | 86

    Parviz, I realize I am not the brightest bulb around here but I did link the public law from the congressional website.

    indeed anyone can read it.

    sometimes it is better to check your facts before going off into a rage

    Posted by: dan of steele | May 24 2008 17:42 utc | 87

    Thanks denk...

    Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 24 2008 20:26 utc | 88

    "Orientalism" and its Discontents

    Historian Robert Irwin reviews two books critical of Edward Said's Orientalism. Irwin's own critique received positive and mixed reviews. In this brief interview, Said explains what he was trying to do in Orientalism.

    Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 24 2008 20:48 utc | 89


    you're as bright a bulb as any of us in these dark & sullen times

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 24 2008 21:44 utc | 90

    just a few hours ago while discussing Hilary's RFK assassination statement (mis-speak or fatigue-gaffe or freudian slip or subliminal interest/wish or whatever ...), a friend referred to her as "Dan Qualye with breasts".

    not to condone the potentially sexist overtone, but its certainly an exceptionally well earned measured insult.

    Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 24 2008 22:04 utc | 91

    actually, don't know what Dan Quayle looks like nowadays.

    Posted by: plushtown | May 24 2008 23:09 utc | 92

    U. Utah Phillips, Wobbly folk singer, has died.

    don't mourn, organize, wait! ...there's a sale on ipods!

    Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 25 2008 0:34 utc | 93

    Oddly my favorite Utah Phillips song was always>Going Away. Guess he finally did. R.I.P. brother U.

    Posted by: anna missed | May 25 2008 1:40 utc | 94


    Perhaps there's too much douglas sirk in me & not enough rw fassbinder
    Watched tonight & needed to - 'La Meglio Gioventù' translated badly in french as nos meilleure années - sometimes i think there is simply not enough tenderness in this world

    the english translation is truer & closer to the poem by pasolini - the best of youth

    that is those who seek beauty truth & justice in a butchershop of a world - of a world confined by the ethics of the slaughterhouse & the easy morality of morgues

    Posted by: remembereringgiap | May 25 2008 2:00 utc | 95

    uncle scam,

    i contribute all cutting in "cut and paste".

    Posted by: denk | May 25 2008 2:49 utc | 96

    this will be interesting to see how the u.s. govt responds, seeing as how they complain about the "pirate" attacks that have multiplied since they installed the TFG to power

    first, a little backstory from a may 18 article at garowe online - Somali rebels seize two more towns

    KISMAYO, Somalia May 18 (Garowe Online) - Islamist rebels in Somalia seized control of two more towns in the central and southern parts of the country, sources said.

    In Somalia's central Mudug region, the town of Harardhere fell to the control of Islamist rebels Sunday morning.
    A rebel commander told Harardhere residents that the Islamists would not allow illegal militiamen to set up extortion roadblocks in or around the town.

    The commander, who did not identify himself, told locals that the Islamists would fight against piracy in the region. The town of Harardhere lies along Somalia's Indian Ocean coast and has been renowned in recent years as a hub for pirate activities.
    Heavily-armed guerrillas entered the town of Kamsuma early Saturday morning, hours after clan militias withdrew towards the southern port of Kismayo, locals reported.

    Kamsuma is located approximately 90km north of Kismayo, the country's third-largest city. Kismayo has been governed by clan militias since June 2007, when Somali government troops divided along clan loyalties and dueled for control of the strategic port town.

    Two days earlier, Islamist gunmen seized control of the town of Jilib, which is part of Middle Jubba region.

    one of the reasons that the islamic courts union gained so much traction in early 2006 was b/c their militias rid the country of illegal roadblocks, banished the bandits, waylayed the warlords, and punished the pirates so that somalia actually stabilized for the first time in more than a decade.

    of course, the illegal invasion by the u.s. and ethiopia destabilized the country again and we appear to be watching early 2006 repeat itself to some degree.

    earlier this week, there was this from mareeg
    Islamists threaten to forcefully free hijacked vessel in central Somalia

    Union of Islamic courts [UIC] forces said that they will intervene and forcefully release a ship being held by pirates near the port town of Hobyo, Mudug region central Somalia.

    Qayre Muhammad Mahmud, a UIC forces senior official, in central regions told the media that they will free the ship by force.

    The UIC official said that they are waiting to hear from the businessmen whose goods are loaded in the ship for a green light.

    Reports from central regions indicate that armoured vehicles belonging to the UIC forces are headed for the location where the ship is being held.

    The statement by the UIC forces comes after the collapse of talks between the pirates, businessmen, and clan elders belonging to the same clan as the pirates.
    Somali pirates hijacked the Jordanian ship carrying sugar to Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday in the latest in a string of attacks off Somalia’s lawless coast, the head of a seafarers association said.

    on friday, the pirates collected a ransom & released the ship

    afp: Six killed in clashes between Somali pirates and Islamists

    MOGADISHU (AFP) — At least six people have been killed in clashes between Islamic fighters and Somali pirates in a Somali port, local elders said Saturday.

    The Islamist fighters attacked the pirates in Hobyo, 450 kilometres (270 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu on Friday, just after they had released a Jordanian-flagged cargo ship seized nearly a week earlier.

    "Two Islamists and several pirates died in the fighting which lasted more than an hour," one of the elders, Abdinasir Diriye, told AFP by telephone.

    An Islamist leader said four pirates and two Islamists had been killed in the shoot-out, adding that they had also arrested several of the pirates.

    iran's press tv reports ICU fighters kill nine pirates in Hobyo

    Fighters from the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) kill nine pirates, who had stormed a Jordanian cargo ship off the coast of Hobyo in Somalia.

    ICU fighters pursued the pirates, who were heading towards Haradheere region in Hobyo on foot after ransacking the ship. Nine pirates were killed and four others captured, said the Press TV correspondent in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

    a saturday article at garowe online reports that

    Six people – four pirates and two Islamist guerrillas – were killed in the gun battle that lasted well over an hour, according to an elder in Hobyo who spoke with Garowe Online by telephone.

    An Islamist commander named Kheyre Mohamed Mohamud confirmed the death toll, but was quick to point out that the Islamists captured six of the pirates alive.
    Hobyo and the surrounding coastal area is considered a hub for pirate operations along Somali shores. Islamist commanders recently issued a strong warning against piracy in the region.

    the press tv article also added

    Meanwhile, armed bandits attacked a truck near the town of Jowhar, 90 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu, killing three civilians and injuring four others. The bandits were also reported to have raped two Somali women.

    A spokesman for Al-Shabaab fighters, ICU's military wing, vowed to capture the bandits, saying they would not escape justice.

    Posted by: b real | May 25 2008 4:47 utc | 97

    happy africa liberation day!

    Africa Liberation Day and the Legacy of Global Anti-Imperialist Struggles

    May 25, 2008 marks the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which was formed by over 30 newly-independent states on the continent in 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. That day was proclaimed Africa Liberation Day, a holiday that has since been commemorated all over the world including various countries in Africa as well as in the former Soviet Union, the United States, Canada, Europe and the Caribbean.


    Posted by: b real | May 25 2008 5:12 utc | 98

    thanks uncle for posting about Utah. i am at a little loss for words. he was such a great story teller. there's so much to say about him. i lived in nevada city for a few years so my appreciation of him stems from my impression of what an intregral part of the local community he was.

    nevada city has got to be hurting tonight. especially north san juan ridge.

    just.. i don't know what to say, there is so much to say.

    what a full person, a full life, very well loved this man.

    Posted by: annie | May 25 2008 5:52 utc | 99

    Uncle@93: Utah Phillips will be missed. thankfully we have recordings of his stories, because that fiery curmudgeon of the working class knew damn well how important the oral tradition is and always will be. the official history of amerika, as spun from text books, is worse than a pile of shit. at least shit can fertilize the ground so something new can grow.

    speaking of shit, i kind of felt like one after walking up to two older ladies at a little pro Hillary table at our local farmer's market and spouted how i thought it was great Hillary is waiting around for Obama to get fucking assassinated like Bobby just days after Ted's medical diagnosis was announced. luckily i left it at that, and walked away.

    well, in the spirit of Utah Phillips, here's a poem by Diane Di Prima i'm sure he would approve of.


    Take a good look
    at history (the American myth)
    check sell out
    of revolution by the founding fathers
    "Constitution written by a bunch of gangsters
    to exploit a continent" is what
    Charles Olson told me.
    Check Shay's rebellion, Aaron Burr, Nathan Hale.
    Who wrote the history books where you
    went to school?
    Check Civil War: maybe industrial north
    needed cheep labor, South had it, how many
    sincere "movement" people
    writers & radicals played
    into their hands?
    Check Haymarket trial: it broke the back
    of strong Wobblie movement: how many jailed, fined,
    killed to stop that one? What's happening to us
    has happened a few times before
    let's change the script

    Posted by: Lizard | May 25 2008 6:17 utc | 100

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