Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 02, 2012

Open Thread 2012-31

News & views ...

Posted by b on December 2, 2012 at 18:05 UTC | Permalink


Three Iraqi kids killed by a sergeant in 2007 - investigators find it to be murder, the army covers it up.

Five-year legacy of Iraq mission gone awry

Army investigators determined that Barbera committed two murders and lied to officials about what happened. But generals at Fort Bragg refused to put him on trial. Instead, the 82nd Airborne Division slapped the New York native with a light reprimand and promoted him.

He's now a sergeant first class at Alaska's Fort Richardson, according to Army records released to the Tribune-Review.

Barbera declined comment to the Trib.

In the years that followed the slayings, wounded soldiers in Barbera's squad told the Trib they were punished for blowing the whistle on acts they consider tantamount to war crimes. They say the Army covered up the killings to protect higher-ranking officers and to uphold the image of Fort Bragg and the 82nd Airborne.

They believe the boys' deaths triggered twin reprisal suicide truck bombings that destroyed their outpost and killed 10 fellow paratroopers.

Posted by: b | Dec 2 2012 18:08 utc | 1

The U.S. military encourages their soldiers to commit war crimes such as those, and has done this from its very inception. It's part of psychological warfare against their opponents, to create fear and helplessness in their minds. When caught by a disapproving public and world opinion, the U.S. then pretends to punish a few low level participants, but leaves the rest in place to continue with the cowardly war crimes. And cowardly these people are. They call themselves "warriors", but they are the exact opposite of the warrior mindset. They are cowards through and through, and this shows most blatantly through their preference to use terrorist tactics against foes who cant hurt them back.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 2 2012 19:00 utc | 2

An uplifting tale of people's war avant la lettre. Also, the first use of the red flag.

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 2 2012 19:16 utc | 3

back in september, islamists in Mali executed a algerian diplomat;

a strange breed of fundamentalism: 'In recent years they have been involved in drug trafficking and abductions of foreigners, she said.'

Posted by: brian | Dec 2 2012 20:41 utc | 4

On Syria, there is alot of talk about the FSA gearing up for another offensive on Damascus (I'm guessing this is the fourth or fifth big offensive on the city). Mohammed Assafir has a good look at the military picture (note article is translated from Arabic, some unclear terms in parts).

On the FSA army side:

A prominent opposition person, closely associated with the FSA, estimates that the number of fighters that have entered the Damascus district is close to 40,000, they have a huge arsenal of weapons and ammunition, and they are battle ready for an extended period as they have secure supply lines despite the aerial bombing. According to a well-informed Syrian source, units of the FSA have abandoned their post in Huran and went to join the fight in the Damascus district and he adds that the increase in numbers is another indication that the Syrian opposition is trying to take the battle to Damascus by giving it priority in the attack against the Syrian Army and to drag the Special Units that are barricading around Damascus down to the battlefield.

However, the Syrian Army might be hoping for this, and encouraging another charge on Damascus.

On the other hand, an internal circular within the FSA ranks looks with great suspicion at the quick progress its units have been able to achieve in the Damascus district and this circular warns of the possibility that the regular Army has deliberately retreated from some areas around the airport and the district in general for the purpose of luring the FSA into a situation that they cannot match. The circular clearly hints to a scenario of a huge ambush that the Syrian Government is possibly preparing for the FSA by pretending that it is has been overwhelmed and is retreating only to turn around later and strike devastatingly.
There are a lot of indications on the ground that indicate that the regular Syrian army has for months been trying to turn the area of the Damascus District into a trap for the FSA. In the last few months the strategy of destroying the infrastructure that aids the FSA has been expanded and it is very clear now that the towns of Eastern Ghouta and its satellite towns that stretch all the way from Deir Al Asafir, all the way to Harasta have turned into virtual ghost towns. These areas have been turned into strong defence lines by the elite Republican Guards and the Fourth Brigade who are heavily bunkered in and can maneuver at liberty as the risk of civilian casualties doesn’t exist.

Seems to be that the plan is to use this chain of ghost towns as a gauntlet or alleyway that the FSA have to fight through before getting into Damascus city. As always these large troop movements by the rebels are the exact opposite of what a guerrilla force should be doing. Based on the previous offensives in Damascus and Aleppo, don't see any reason why this one will end different.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Dec 2 2012 21:14 utc | 5

War crimes, of the type which were adjudicated in Nürnberg and Tokyo, don't generally apply to Americans, the two atom bombs being the most noteworthy example. War itself is a crime, but there are limits applied to others as to what is considered acceptable.

Recently, only Africans have been subjected to International Criminal Court investigations, to residents of: the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Uganda; the Central African Republic; Darfur, Sudan; the Republic of Kenya; the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 2 2012 21:43 utc | 6

It is a feature, Brian, nothing exceptional

this here is the Independent on IRA connections with drugs in Ireland from 2006 - just to prove my point.

And this here is published by WINEP but I think what they are saying in this case is valid

Terrorist organizations have chosen to participate in the narcotics market for several reasons. State sponsorship of terrorism is declining, and the Department of Treasury, Central Intelligence Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and FBI have done a very good job at identifying private donors and disrupting the flows of terror financing. The United States has worked with its allies and significantly disrupted al-Qaeda's ability to communicate with their cells and nodes around the globe. Partly for this reason, al-Qaeda has shifted from a corporate to a franchise leadership model in recent years.

Terrorist groups, therefore, are increasingly in need of new sources of funds. The drug business fills this need perfectly. The UN estimates that the international drug trade generates $322 billion per year in revenue, making drugs by far the most lucrative illicit activity. According to the UN, revenues from other types of illicit transnational activity, such as arms trafficking and alien smuggling, are small by comparison. Drugs provide many different avenues of revenue, including the taxing of farmers and local cartels, and the provision of security for all aspects of production, trade, and distribution. Terror organizations do not, in general, require massive sums of money for their operations, but must finance training, infrastructure needs, equipping their members, bribing local officials, recruiting, and logistics. The al-Qaeda or affiliate cell that carried out the Madrid train bombing funded that operation in almost its entirety through the sale of illicit drugs.

There are many similarities between a terrorist organization and a global drug cartel. Both oppose nation-state sovereignty, function best in ungoverned spaces, depend on mutual shadow facilitators, have no regard for human rights, rely on the hallmarks of organized crime such as corruption, intimidation, and violence, and are highly sophisticated organizations that operate with the latest technology

Of course, there are also many similarities between a terrorist organization, a drug cartel and the CIA ...

Posted by: somebody | Dec 2 2012 21:45 utc | 7

Some beautiful people for the weekend.

Posted by: hans | Dec 2 2012 22:28 utc | 8

The US Iran sanctions on Iran were also sanctions on Europe. Peugeot, which was selling half a million autos annually in Iran, supposedly pulled out of that country. Due to the loss of the Iran market, and the decline in the EU economy, the #2 EU automaker is in big financial trouble. . .

from Financial Times, Nov 30
Peugeot struggles to shift gears

The French government pledged €7bn of guarantees to fortify Banque PSA Finance, the carmaker’s in-house bank, and fend off an expected rating downgrade to “junk” status which would Peugeot a total of €18bn. Brussels will have to approve the aid package, as it is part of a broader restructuring in which it will cut 8,000 jobs and close a plant.

. . .and now the anti-Iran rabble-rouser of United Against Nuclear Iran, probably funded by you-know-who, has ID'd Peugeot as a sanctions violator., Nov 29
Peugeot continues to play games with Iran sanctions

Peugeot currently continues to play games with Iran sanctions, UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran U.S. group) Communications Director Nathan Carleton told Trend, commenting on Peugeot still producing its cars in Iran. According to Carleton, since March 2012 more than 100,000 Peugeot vehicles have been produced in Iran.

"We are concerned with Peugeot's business in Iran. While Peugeot has claimed at times to have suspended shipments to Iran, numerous reports show that parts are still arriving there and automobiles still being produced," he said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 3 2012 0:26 utc | 9

It happens to me that I read some articles which have one thing in common: self-aggrandizing and cowardice of U.S. military by government media and ruling class. The governing class need heroes and in that purpose Steven Spielberg comes handy.

"How Petraeus Created the Myth of His Success"

In November 2004, about 200 insurgents attacked in Mosul, and the police force about which Petraeus had boasted to Congressional delegations disappeared, as Reuters reported November 20, 2004. Three thousand two hundred of the city's 4,000 policemen deserted simultaneously from seven police stations. The insurgents made off with hundreds of weapons and radios, thousands of police uniforms and as many as 50 police cars.

I am not a fan of Gareth Porter, I am just curious what would happen in case that this alleged affair remained uncovered?

"General Failure"

On June 13, 1944, a few days after the 90th Infantry Division went into action against the Germans in Normandy under the command of Brigadier General Jay MacKelvie, MacKelvie’s superior officer, Major General J. Lawton Collins, went on foot to check on his men. “We could locate no regimental or battalion headquarters,” he recalled with dismay. “No shelling was going on, nor any fighting that we could observe.” This was an ominous sign, as the Battle of Normandy was far from decided, and the Wehrmacht was still trying to push the Americans, British, and Canadians, who had landed a week earlier, back into the sea.

Just a day earlier, the 90th’s assistant division commander, Brigadier General “Hanging Sam” Williams, had also been looking for the leader of his green division. He’d found MacKelvie sheltering from enemy fire, huddled in a drainage ditch along the base of a hedgerow. “Goddamn it, General, you can’t lead this division hiding in that goddamn hole,” Williams shouted. “Go back to the [command post]. Get the hell out of that hole and go to your vehicle. Walk to it, or you’ll have this goddamn division wading in the English Channel.” The message did not take. The division remained bogged down, veering close to passivity.

American troops were fighting to stay alive—no small feat in that summer’s bloody combat. One infantry company in the 90th began a day in July with 142 men and finished it with 32. Its battalion commander walked around babbling “I killed K Company, I killed K Company.” Later that summer, one of the 90th’s battalions, with 265 soldiers, surrendered to a German patrol of 50 men and two tanks. In six weeks of small advances, the division would use up all its infantrymen, requesting replacements of more than 100 percent.

Finally, there is study (controversial) made by chief U.S. Army combat historian during World War II S.L.A. Marshall, named Men Under Fire, where he claim that the majority of U.S. infantry soldiers in WWII never fired their weapons. True or not, it is rather a pathetic picture of combat accomplishment of the Western military forces. I'm alway laughing on French's military accomplishment, overall.

95% of the German soldiers who died in WWII are killed fighting the Red Army.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Dec 3 2012 1:23 utc | 10

The good, the bad and the ugly
from the truth-out link

After the debacle in Mosul, Petraeus' successor, Gen. Carter Ham, told Reuters the police had been thoroughly infiltrated by the insurgents.

General Ham has been in the news recently
Washington Times, Oct 29
The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

General Ham replaced General William "Kip" Ward as CG AFRICOM.

from NBC News, Nov 13

A four-star general who formerly led the U.S. Africa Command has been demoted after accusations that he spent thousands of dollars on lavish travel, NBC News reported. A senior defense official told NBC News that Gen. William "Kip" Ward was stripped of a star, and will be allowed to retire as a three-star lieutenant general.

According to a Defense Department Inspector General’s Report released in August, Ward took an 11-day trip to Washington and Atlanta, costing $129,000, in which only three days of the trip were official business. The military charged that Ward extended trips seven times for personal reasons and claimed and received reimbursement for expenses. Ward was also accused of improperly bringing his wife along on government-paid trips — one of those included a seven-day mission to Bermuda — and her unauthorized use of armored vehicles.

Of course Ham is the best of the lot -- it figures.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 3 2012 2:13 utc | 11


"this here is the Independent on IRA connections with drugs in Ireland from 2006"

The IRA maintained close, but very covert connections with Mossad.

"Of course, there are also many similarities between a terrorist organization, a drug cartel and the CIA ..."

And the Mossad, who are one and the same with the Jewish mafia, and have been from inception.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 3 2012 2:20 utc | 12

Regarding the Israeli Iron Dome System: "There are few demonstrable
examples of incoming rockets intercepted by Iron Dome and showing the sort of telltale damage that would be obvious if they have been blasted by the spray of rod-like pellets from an Iron Dome’s warhead," according to Tesla missile systems expert Richard Lloyd.

The credibility of the US government and its plutocrat owned media is just about reaching its lower limit...

Posted by: JohnH | Dec 3 2012 3:31 utc | 13

Iron Dome production is profits for an Israeli company. The western media is overwhelmingly loyal zionists. How could Iron Dome not have a 90% success ratio as the media and the Israeli government claim? The better the success ratio, the more American tax monies Israel can extort for more Iron Dome batteries.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 3 2012 5:04 utc | 14

US set to establish new spy network as big as CIA: Report

"The Pentagon has embarked on an ambitious plan to establish an overseas espionage network which is expected to incorporate a colossal structure of operatives as big as the CIA, a report says.

According to the US officials, the new scenario has been devised to transform the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) into a spy service more focused than the CIA on military aspects, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Based on the planned structure, the DIA is expected to recruit an unprecedented number of 1,600 clandestine operatives called “collectors” across the world over the next five years.

The DIA operatives will be trained by the CIA and cooperate with the US Joint Special Operations Command, but they will receive their espionage assignments from the Department of Defense.

“This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA… This is a major adjustment for national security,” said DIA Director Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn at a recent conference in which he outlined the transformations without mentioning the details."

Great, two CIAs! That will leave the CIA a lot more free to carry out the tasks Mossad assigns it. Like escorting drug mafia shipments, helping out with human, and human organ, trafficking, keeping tabs on Americans (especially anti-zionist Americans), providing the leadership and enforcers for "color revolutions", and so on. The DIA can take over the specifically military security and intelligence aspects.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 3 2012 5:11 utc | 15

The Codification of Tyranny: US Government Can Still “Black Bag” Any American

"The Senate passed the much ballyhooed Feinstein-Lee amendment last night, which supposedly partially nullifies the provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowing for Americans to be kidnapped by the government and disappeared without any charge or due process. Senator Rand Paul put out a press release declaring victory. But as Congressman Justin Amash points out, the wording of the amendment effectively codifies tyranny:"

The USA continues on its path to be officially more like Israel.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 3 2012 6:26 utc | 16

The never-ending stream of Bullshit that was "Occupy"

To the Precinct Station: How theory met practice …and drove it absolutely crazy

A while later I happened to watch an online video of an Occupy panel discussion held at a bookstore in New York; at some point in the recording, a panelist objected to the way protesters had of saying they were “speaking for themselves” rather than acknowledging that they were part of a group. Another one of the panelists was moved to utter this riposte:

What I would note, is that people can only speak for themselves, that the self would be under erasure there, in that the self is then held into question, as any poststructuralist thought leading through anarchism would push you towards. . . . I would agree, an individualism that our society has definitely had inscribed upon it and continues to inscribe upon itself, “I can only speak for myself,” the “only” is operative there, and of course these spaces are being opened up . . .

My heart dropped like a broken elevator. As soon as I heard this long, desperate stream of pseudointellectual gibberish, I knew instantly that this thing was doomed. . . . .

There’s nothing wrong with college students and grad students taking to the streets, of course. Society needs to hear from them. When tuition prices hit stratospheric levels, when recent grads routinely carry a hundred grand in debt, and when people studying for a PhD are exploited shamelessly, they damn well ought to be protesting. They should be shutting the system down. They should be screaming for price controls. Just look at what happened earlier this year in Quebec, where a huge part of the population came out in support of student groups demanding affordable higher education: the protesters actually won. They got what they wanted. Social protest secured academic opportunity.

What I object to is the opposite: high-powered academic disputation as a model for social protest. Why does the subject of Occupy so often inspire its admirers to reach for their most elevated jargonese? Why would certain Occupiers break from the action to participate in panel discussions? Why did others choose to share their protest recollections in the pages of American Ethnologist and their protest sympathies in the Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies? Why would the author of an (admittedly very interesting) article about drum circles feel the need to suggest that he is contributing to “scholarly literature”? Why would a pamphlet clearly intended as a sort of Common Sense for the age of Occupy be filled with declarations such as this:

Our point of attack here is the dominant forms of subjectivity produced in the context of the current social and political crisis. We engage four primary subjective figures—the indebted, the mediatized, the securitized, and the represented—all of which are impoverished and their powers for social action are masked or mystified.

Movements of revolt and rebellion, we find, provide us the means not only to refuse the repressive regimes under which these subjective figures suffer but also to invert these subjectivities in figures of power.

And dear god why, after only a few months of occupying Zuccotti Park, did Occupiers feel they needed to launch their own journal of academic theory? A journal that then proceeded to fill its pages with impenetrable essays seemingly written to demonstrate, one more time, the Arctic futility of theory-speak?

Is this how you build a mass movement? By persistently choosing the opposite of plain speech?"

Posted by: ONS | Dec 3 2012 9:00 utc | 17

the strange behaviour of the fundamentalists is the thing..the idea of fundamentalism is to go back to the fundamentals.....which with salafism consists of murder terrorism extortion rape looting theft lying etc

Posted by: brian | Dec 3 2012 10:32 utc | 18

Firstly, Susan Rice's face at the UN when the Palestinians were celebrating was priceless.

Secondly, the Friends of Syria meeting in Tokyo came and went largely unnoticed. Compare this with the media orgy that accompanied the first meet some months ago. A bit odd I thought.

Meanwhile, the Russians have been busy in talks with the Syrian internal opposition (the NCC), who themselves are now ready to negotiate with the Syrian Government and base a settlement on the Geneva Agreement. However, given that a number of countries have hastily decided that the new external Syrian National Coalition is the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, does this mean that they consider the NCC to be illegitimate?

The Russians are backing an alternative opposition movement to the US and its obedient allies - one that calls for a stop to the violence and start of negotiations. Compare and contrast with the movement that the West is backing, which calls for arms and pre-conditions for peace.

The internal and external opposition meet in Rome this month in an attempt to unite, where each side will try to sway the other into adopting their chosen approach. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

And will the rebels and jihadists fit into this if the NCC prevail?

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Dec 3 2012 11:03 utc | 19

the strange behaviour of the fundamentalists is the thing..the idea of fundamentalism is to go back to the fundamentals.....which with salafism consists of murder terrorism extortion rape looting theft lying etc

Very true of fundamentalist evangelicals in the US.

Posted by: alexno | Dec 3 2012 11:26 utc | 20

The Democratic Party in the US has moved steadily rightward** in recent decades. Witness the conviviality with which Dem luminaries communed with the racist fascist Israeli leadership at the Saban forum in Washington, DC last weekend.

(** Dem support for LGBT rights is the only exception to its reactionary trend.)

Posted by: Watson | Dec 3 2012 13:50 utc | 21

Eretz Zen
I've translated the OTV report about Hariri's involvement in arms smuggling into Syria and the killing of the Lebanese Salafi terrorists by Syrian Army ambush... feel free to share with English speakers:

Posted by: brian | Dec 3 2012 13:55 utc | 22

@ neretva'43 #9 where you wondered

Finally, there is study (controversial) made by chief U.S. Army combat historian during World War II S.L.A. Marshall, named Men Under Fire, where he claim that the majority of U.S. infantry soldiers in WWII never fired their weapons.

From the back cover of the book by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (Psychologist teaching at West point) titled On Killing"

In World War II, only 15 to 20 percent of the combat infantry were willing to fire their rifles, in Korea about 50%, in Vietnam, the figure rose to more than 90%

Posted by: erichwwk | Dec 3 2012 14:41 utc | 23

Re. Thomas Rick's article "General Favor" in the Atlantic, I am appalled at the apparent focus of the "efficiency" of US Generals, and the total evasion (it seems to me, i just skimmed it) of whether or not it was/is acceptable for US soldiers to kill for corporate profit in the first place.

Thank God for Oliver Stone, who recognizes that one must get thge past narrative right before one can move forward in the future.

Posted by: erichwwk | Dec 3 2012 15:02 utc | 24

Wish I could edit "past posts" (why not?), so I could combine this with my previous post.

Articles such as this clarify for me why Ricks feels "Fox news is a propaganda arm of the Republican Party". He seems to me to be reluctant to pursue the larger story of the role of the CIA in Libya, before, during, and after the "uprising"

Posted by: erichwwk | Dec 3 2012 15:07 utc | 25

About three weeks ago, Washington's Blog had a decent overview of many of the Banghazi issues.

The "official" report on Gen. Ham was here.

Needless to say I am glad Don Bacon is still on that, and perhaps is including Rear Adm. Charles M. Gaouette , and other recently "retired" military commanders in his investigations.

Posted by: erichwwk | Dec 3 2012 15:23 utc | 26

And over the weekend the Washington Post reported on the DIA

The project is aimed at transforming the Defense Intelligence Agency, which has been dominated for the past decade by the demands of two wars, into a spy service focused on emerging threats and more closely aligned with the CIA and elite military commando units.

When the expansion is complete, the DIA is expected to have as many as 1,600 “collectors” in positions around the world, an unprecedented total for an agency whose presence abroad numbered in the triple digits in recent years.

The total includes military attachés and others who do not work undercover. But U.S. officials said the growth will be driven over a five-year period by the deployment of a new generation of clandestine operatives. They will be trained by the CIA and often work with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, but they will get their spying assignments from the Department of Defense.


The sharp increase in DIA undercover operatives is part of a far-reaching trend: a convergence of the military and intelligence agencies that has blurred their once-distinct missions, capabilities and even their leadership ranks.

Through its drone program, the CIA now accounts for a majority of lethal U.S. operations outside the Afghan war zone. At the same time, the Pentagon’s plan to create what it calls the Defense Clandestine Service, or DCS, reflects the military’s latest and largest foray into secret intelligence work.

Is the US attempting to move its killing capability COMPLETELY out of sight and oversight of the public? Is War becoming totally private, as has been the case in other security/police states?

Posted by: erichwwk | Dec 3 2012 15:33 utc | 27


See also the link I posted in 14 on that DIA move. The Australians have also expanded their spying:

Australian surveillance ‘out of control’: 20% increase in 1 year

I suspect all of the Israeli-American colonies have done likewise without it being reported in the occupied media. The fascists fear real democracy (as opposed to their banana republic imposed sort) more than anything else.

Posted by: вот так | Dec 3 2012 15:55 utc | 28

I've found some evidence of Tel Aviv and Teheran sharing files on the holocaust. It's worth a look here.

Posted by: Martin Trueman | Dec 3 2012 16:42 utc | 29

On Iron Dome, even Israel admits that fifteen percent of the cheap & crude Hamas back-yard rockets got by its fifty-thousand dollar missiles to hit occupied areas, and this was true from the first day to the last. We can assume that Israel is over-estimating its success, but in any case this was the reason that Israel went for the ceasefire (plus there may have been concern with Hezbollah's more capable rockets).

So it doesn't look good for Iron Dome, despite what SecDef Panetta says. (He should listen to his own words.)

“I’m very proud that our two countries cooperated so closely to field the Iron Dome anti-rocket system,” Panetta said, noting the system performed remarkably well during the rocket onslaught. “It intercepted more than 400 rockets bound for Israeli population centers, for a roughly 85 percent success rate overall,” he said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 3 2012 16:48 utc | 30

The new DIA network won't be any more of an "espionage" or "spy" network than the CIA is -- even less in fact. They will be hunter-killers in the worldwide war on (of) terror. There is a huge need currently in Africa, among other places, and neither the CIA nor conventional forces are able to address the need.

"The project was triggered by a classified study by the director of national intelligence last year that concluded that key Pentagon intelligence priorities were falling into gaps created by the DIA’s heavy focus on battlefield issues and CIA’s extensive workload."

"Intelligence" in CIA-speak has always included a larger operations component than whatever spying it did. Benghazi has highlighted this, as well as CIA incompetence (no doubt because of its "extensive workload").

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 3 2012 16:56 utc | 31

Chicago, Chicago that toddling town

Inner City Press has an interesting hit job on Ertharin Cousin, the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme. Partial summary follows:
Sources and documents obtained by Inner City Press show WFP Executive Director Cousin asking for an increase of nearly €24,000 euros for her housing allowance, up to €160,000 per year.

WFP staff furnished an itinerary to Inner City Press on Cousin's recent trip to spend thanksgiving at home in her hometown of Chicago, stay at a nice hotel, attend a homecoming reception, and speak at the International Law Committee -- none of which has anything remotely to do with WFP’s work of responding to emergencies and eliminating world hunger."

According to ICP, Cousin was a major Obama administration appointee, and the adminstration often speaks at the UN in New York against pay increases for staff, and about "interns flying business class."

It is not clear how that is applied to the above, or to the Cousin-proposed $20 million package of "golden parachutes" for WFP staff (in paragraph 227 of the Management Plan) regardless of their performance, as e-mailed out by Ruth Grove, Acting Director of WFP's Human Resources Division.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 3 2012 17:13 utc | 32

The CIA now accounts for a majority of lethal U.S. operations outside the Afghan war zone. That will change with the new DIA network of "collectors" hah. “This is not a marginal adjustment for DIA,” the agency’s director, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, said at a recent conference, during which he outlined the changes but did not describe them in detail. “This is a major adjustment for national security.”

Among the Pentagon’s top intelligence priorities, officials said, are Islamist militant groups in Africa, weapons transfers by North Korea and Iran, and military modernization in China.

Also in Pakistan--
Long War Journal, Nov 29
U.S. Drones Kill Three ‘Militants’ in First Strike in Pakistan in More Than a Month.

US intelligence officials involved in the drone program would not comment on the reasons for the long pause in strikes. One intelligence official contacted by The Long War Journal said that "it certainly wasn't due to a lack of targets. Pakistan is a target-rich environment. We're only scratching at the surface, hitting them in the tribal areas, while the country remains infested with al Qaeda and their allies."

In other words we ain't seen nuttin' yet. There are no discernible limits to the US killing spree. They won't be killing Chinese, probably, but much of the world, and increasingly so, has 'terrorists' and 'militants' that the Pentagon, with its virtually unlimited budget, will focus on. And it'll all be secret, or as much as possible.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 3 2012 17:44 utc | 33

On the REAL Obama from Counterpunch:

Posted by: ben | Dec 3 2012 19:52 utc | 34

Another log on the fire for militarizing foreign hit jobs.

Fox News, Dec 3

U.S. agents on assignment in Mexico, where they are helping the local authorities go after violent drug cartels, are not allowed to carry weapons for their own protection [don't believe it], a situation that one lawmaker says could turn into “another Benghazi.”

It looks like Benghazi will be hyped as the second coming of 9/11. Turn an intelligence failure as an excuse for military activity -- that's the ticket.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 3 2012 20:06 utc | 35

at 16 re. Occupy.

Now I haven’t kept up with it really, so some grains of salt, a distant view.

Occupy ppl are white middle class, not terribly young. (In the main...) They are sorta stuck in 60’s protests forms and are very ‘edjucated’ and ‘academic’ and can’t, even refuse to, get onto a common platform. Their problem is that they are Democrats but won’t or can’t challenge the Dem party, and don’t have any of the old bones to latch onto. Identity politics, for ex.

So they have been going for ‘community efforts’ and the like. For ex. saving ppl from Sandy in NY and their new sortie, buying up debt and forgiving it (which one could discuss for 3 pages), but, like, helping out the little man.
In this way, they are roughly the same - with their own cultural slant - as e.g. the Catholics in France (who under the radar are very active and efficient, generally not acknowledged), and the Muslim Brotherhood in various places. In the community, helping out, networking, saving widows and the homeless, etc.

Problem: this a-political stance can have no impact in the USA. It is self-serving, in the sense that the ‘charity’ aspect legitimizes a ‘movement’ which isn’t one. Moreover lacking a religious appeal - or, better, strong supra-ordinal humanist values from any ‘religion’ or ‘tradition’ - the endavour is empty (as compared to the Catholics or MB.)

I’m jaundiced but Occupy irritates me no end. In a way, I think, they serve a purpose they don’t themselves perceive: i.e. to channel opposition into mainstream memes, to capt some of the ‘young’, etc.

No opposition from the ‘left’ is possible in the US today...

top of goog on buying up debt, from the Nation:

Posted by: Noirette | Dec 3 2012 20:32 utc | 36

@36, I don't despise anyone who faces up to the police whatever their complexion or lack of "a platform".

Posted by: ruralito | Dec 3 2012 20:47 utc | 37

news report: The news that all of Britain has been waiting for — Will and Kate are pregnant! — is more than just a boon for the baby-mad media; it's a reassuring symbol of continuity for the monarchy and, by extension, the United Kingdom itself. Girl or boy, it means a future sovereign for the British throne is on the way. It could be the first time in 1,000 years of English history that a reigning monarch, great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, will be alive at the same time as three generations of her future sovereign heirs. In effect, her already stable Windsor dynasty is bolstered again. David Cameron says he is delighted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting a child and he is sure they will be "absolutely brilliant parents".

Absolutely brilliant? Must be the German genes. wiki -- Upon hearing that his cousin had changed the name of the British royal house [from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha] to Windsor [reaction to WWI], German Emperor Wilhelm II remarked jokingly that he planned to see Shakespeare's play "The Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha", a play on the title of Shakespeare's work The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 4 2012 2:32 utc | 38

@ Noirette 36
I enjoyed your analysis on Occupy (and charity) and such. I just got another solicitation from Father Joe's Village and St. Vincent de Paul Village. I've donated to them in the past (motorcycle, trailer and money) because it all goes to them -- no middleman -- and they do lots of good. No politics involved, no movement, nor religion even (I'm not).

It just makes me feel good to give to them. That's what charity is, a selfish feel-good exercise. That's okay. No impact in the USA? No problem. All impact should be local. So I guess I recognize your irritation but I don't trouble myself sharing it. Please don't be irritated "no end." You've got a good heart. Find yourself a charity or two and let them Occupy people do their thing. Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 4 2012 2:51 utc | 39

whoa! another one...

Posted by: brian | Dec 4 2012 8:05 utc | 40

Richard Armitage
*We’re not neutral when our ally is a victim of coercion or aggression or intimidation,*

Posted by: denk | Dec 5 2012 16:37 utc | 41

The US claim is that Iran is the world's primary state sponsor of terrorism. But how can that be? There are no Iranians on any of the terrorist lists that the US publishes.

And now there is this. The new Global Terrorism Index is out.
Report: Iraq and Afghanistan account for 35% of last decade's terrorist attacks. The ten countries most affected by terrorism in 2011 are: Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Thailand, Russia and Philippines. Note that five of the top six were instigated by -- Iran? No, by the U.S. None by Iran.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 5 2012 22:54 utc | 42

Richard Armitage
*“We’re not neutral when our ally is a victim of coercion or aggression or intimidation* [sic]

wtf , it wasnt china who committed a *forced penetration* on japan u know.
*The question is, can they oppose it?* :-(

Posted by: denk | Dec 7 2012 9:47 utc | 43

from one of atimes many resident neocons

Dennis O'Connell
*If China wants resources in the future, it is a lot easier to buy them then to try and take them at the point of a gun. I hope China will realize that before they begin to march down the road to war. *

[banned by atimes]

Posted by: denk | Dec 7 2012 16:33 utc | 44

not all asians are fooled by fukus

but nowhere is safe from the slimy hand of fukus

*Why is the NED which is funded entirely by the fukus junta playing this game in Malaysia when the Malaysian government especially in the last few years has gone out of its way to foster closer ties with the US?*

[u could've asked the same question about iraq, libya, syria

Posted by: denk | Dec 11 2012 15:57 utc | 45

*“Some analysts warn that the U.S. plan may further destabilize
a region that faces volatile territorial disputes, competition for
resources and growing nationalism*

really, we need the war street journal to tell us that ?
hell, it hasnt seen a war it doesnt like...u mean they dont know
what uncle scam do for a living ?

all in a day's work for the modern day crassus............

Re-*igniting* “Cold War

*igniting* the conflict bet philippines n china

*Rekindling* China-Japan Conflict

while we toil in the fields, sweat in factories slog in offices,
fukusans spend their *work* day looking for *sparks*
this is their wet dream...
* ethnic nationalism could split China with the right spark. *

george carlin
*What the US produces in abundance is bullshit and bombs. It
can't produce a toaster worth shit, it can't furnish 80 million of its
citizens with adequate health care, it can't keep all of its citizens
productively employed, but it sure can bomb the shit out of other
countries and it sure can pump out bullshit to justify it*

actually , fukus could've fashioned any number of kickass
appliances, but somewhere along the line, it decided that making
toasters is for third world peasants, fukusans are meant for for
better things........robbing nations, *kicking the ass* of those third
world peasants.

Posted by: denk | Dec 12 2012 9:42 utc | 46

*Imagine if the U.S. state of Hawaii passed a law allowing harbor police to board and seize foreign boats operating up to 1,000 km (600 miles) from Honolulu*

reuter sleeping on the job as usual
...they have the cheek to ban me too !!

Posted by: denk | Dec 14 2012 4:45 utc | 47

The comments to this entry are closed.