Thursday, July 31, 2003.
Have you got three minutes. Because that's all you need to learn how to defeat the Republican Right. Just read through this handy guide and you'll have everything you need to successfully debunk right-wing propaganda. [more]
I give this proposal my highest recommendation: 'cheap labor conservatives'
- boffo. You see, this really is the heart of the matter, isn't it? Class war. Bone up and let loose. 'Cheap labor conservative'
- the key is in the repeat.
More evidence that Bush-Blair policies helps al Qaeda with recruitment
The United States is no longer just a nation. It is now a religion. Its soldiers have entered Iraq to liberate its people not only from their dictator, their oil and their sovereignty, but also from their darkness. As George Bush told his troops on the day he announced victory: "Wherever you go, you carry a message of hope - a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, "come out," and to those in darkness, "be free".'"
So American soldiers are no longer merely terrestrial combatants; they have become missionaries. They are no longer simply killing enemies; they are casting out demons. The people who reconstructed the faces of Uday and Qusay Hussein carelessly forgot to restore the pair of little horns on each brow, but the understanding that these were opponents from a different realm was transmitted nonetheless. Like all those who send missionaries abroad, the high priests of America cannot conceive that the infidels might resist through their own free will; if they refuse to convert, it is the work of the devil, in his current guise as the former dictator of Iraq.
If they show me a stone and I say a stone they will say a stone.
If they show me a tree and I say a tree they will say a tree.
But if they show me blood and I say blood they will say paint.
BAGHDAD — A Japanese reporter was manhandled and temporarily detained by U.S. soldiers Sunday for filming without their permission in an area of Baghdad where they were conducting raids, another reporter who accompanied him said.
Japan Press reporter Kazutaka Sato, 47, was put in a hold, thrown to the ground and kicked, sustaining injuries to his face and hands, according to Mika Yamamoto, 36, a Japan Press reporter who was with Sato at the time of the incident.
She said the two had been in the Mansur district of Baghdad filming the damage caused to civilians by the U.S. military when they had their cameras confiscated.
Must be part of that "democracy-building" that's going on over there . . .
Wednesday, July 30, 2003.
US media lets Bush off the hook but Bush is Bush so some interesting moments emerged: "The main lesson to emerge from the 50-minute session, the first since the invasion of Iraq four months ago, was how easily the chief executive evaded any serious damage - and how the reporters made it easy for him to do so.
The Bush on display was familiar: a bit macho, a bit matey and condescending. On occasion he flashed that unappealing smirk, or a spark of temper when a trusted aide was challenged. For a man who does not like being asked to explain himself, he looked relaxed and in command not only of his audience, but also (by his own unexacting standards) of the English language"
There were the usual odd breakdowns in brain-mouth co-ordination. "I will never assume the restraint and goodwill of dangerous enemies when lives of our citizens are at work," he proclaimed during a chest-beating passage about pursuing the war against terrorism. On occasion he moved his hands silently groping for words. But the ones he finally came up with more or less did the job.
As usual, reporters did not follow up each other's questions. At one point Mr Bush was pressed on the dodgy pre-war intelligence (and the even dodgier use made of it) about Saddam's supposed weapons' programmes. Predictably, he launched into an answer about how much better the world off was without Saddam Hussein.
The reporter pressed him but Mr Bush cut him off, calling the next question - which was about gay marriage. The President, as only to be expected, didn't think it was a good idea. The chance to pin him down was gone.
From then on it was downhill all the way. We saw the truculent Bush ("Since I'm in charge of the war on terror, we won't reveal source and methods," he said of his refusal to declassify 28 pages of the congressional report on the 11 September attacks). Then there was the carelessly dismissive Bush ("I didn't expect Thomas Jefferson to emerge in Iraq in a 90-day period," he said of the shambles there).
Steve Perry of Bush Wars
has whittled down the list
of Bush lies to a manageable forty.
See also: "The Emperor Has No Flight Suit
Tuesday, July 29, 2003.
Back to square one. This article from Asia Times speculates that Karzai, interim governor of Afghanistan is on his way out, because the US would prefer to see a Taliban-friendly government in the country.
You're either with us, or against us. Well, some of you, anyway.
The illegal trade in olive trees has flourished as Israeli contractors, supported by armed guards, clear Palestinian agricultural land where an 80-mile electronic fence is being built to seal off the West Bank.
Thousands of olive trees have been dug up to make way for the 150-ft wide barrier and security zone. Its route usually passes inside Palestinian territory, not along the old pre-1967 border, and thousands of Palestinian farmers say their livelihood is being taken away.
The olive tree is one of the main symbols of Palestine, and one of the region's most enduring and characteristic natural features
Sale of the olive trees emerged after the owner of a contracting company offered two reporters from a popular Israeli newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, 100 large olive trees for £150 each.
The reporters found one enormous tree, said to be 600 years old, on sale at an Israeli plant nursery for £3,500. They said the trade was conducted with the complicity of an official in the civil administration, the Israeli military government in the occupied territories.
Buried deep in this Washington Post story
Col. David Hogg, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, said tougher methods are being used to gather the intelligence. On Wednesday night, he said, his troops picked up the wife and daughter of an Iraqi lieutenant general. They left a note: "If you want your family released, turn yourself in." Such tactics are justified, he said, because, "It's an intelligence operation with detainees, and these people have info." They would have been released in due course, he added later.
The tactic worked. On Friday, Hogg said, the lieutenant general appeared at the front gate of the U.S. base and surrendered.
Well, as long as the tactic "works," it surely must be justified!
Wolfowitz: Simple Nutter, Nothing More
There's little point in overanalyzing the intellectual pedigree of the leaders of the Bushite
junta, and examining their motive beliefs. A rudimentary once-over of the prime avatar of Bushism, Paul Wolfowitz, shows that it's simple lunacy at base of this bebased agenda.
For instance, did you know that Saddam Hussein's Iraq - one of Ledeen's "crappy little countries" - is singly and solely responsible for every bad thing to befall the world's sole superpower since the first Gulf War? Wolfowitz does. On Meet the Press
He linked bin Laden to Iraq by saying that the al Qaeda leader first called for the death of Americans because they were stationed in Saudi Arabia to carry out flights over southern Iraq, as part of Washington's post-Gulf War policy. He went on to say that the killings of 19 Air Force personnel in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia and the 17 Navy sailors on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 would not have happened if the United States had not been engaged against Iraq.
Facing an enemy of such enormity, of course, one "must be prepared to act on less-than-perfect
intelligence in a world where the main threat is terror, even though information about terrorism is inherently murky." Which is to say, one must discard elementary military procedure such as properly identifying targets as enemies before directing fire. We must shoot first and suppress questions later.
And those questions, if ever aired, can be satisfactorily addressed not with factual answers, but with the suggestion of possibility, no matter how remote. Dementia now has this loon seeing WMDs, almost literally, beneath every bed. Witness the nutter on Meet the Press
"I flew over Baghdad, it's a city, I believe, as large as Los Angeles. You look at all those houses and realize that every basement might contain a huge lethal quantity of anthrax."
And these are just Wolofowitz's outbursts of this weekend past.
In the days of yore, anyone claiming that God told them to kill people
was rightfully institutionalized. Now such people steal state power and actually institutionalize
their mania. Ah, these great days of ever-expanding freedom!
Monday, July 28, 2003.
Taliban forces based in Pakistan are intensifying attacks on US and Afghan government forces. According to the top US general in Afghanistan, Taliban fighters and affiliated Islamic militants have divided eastern Afghanistan into three zones for launching attacks. Meanwhile, al Qaeda is offering bounties for killing or capturing US troops.
July has seen some of the heaviest fighting in Afghanistan since the US-led anti-terrorism coalition drove the Taliban from power in December 2001.
Update: Meanwhile, the Afghan people are getting it in the other end as well
Afghans are being terrorized routinely -- robbed, beaten, kidnapped and imprisoned -- by gunmen working for faction leaders, local authorities and high-ranking officials whom the United States helped bring to power, an international human rights group said in a report to be released Tuesday.
A damning bit:
Young girls and women have suffered disproportionately under the rule of Afghanistan's gunmen and warlords, the report says. Sexual assaults are so endemic that many are too afraid to walk to school or to leave home without wearing a burqa, making it impossible for them to enjoy the freedoms supposedly won with the fall of the repressive Taliban, the human rights group reported.
And I was wondering whatever happened to this guy
, not to mention this guy
The U.S. military plans a worldwide on-line futures market to help it predict events in the Middle East. Traders could bet on the likelihood of events ranging from the overthrow of a government to the collapse of an economy or the assassination of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The website is here
via The Agonist
Sunday, July 27, 2003.
* Liberation - Invasion.
Language is the unseen front
* Coalition - The U.S. and British invaders, plus some troops from rent-a-nations like Romania and Poland. In the past, "the coalition" would have been called imperial forces and mercenary auxiliaries.
* Dictator - A ruler you don't like, or who does not cooperate.
* Statesman - A cooperative dictator.
* Stability - when things go the way Uncle Sam likes, ie., the status quo.
* Instability - when things don't go the way Unc Sam wants, ie., when trouble-makers try to change the status quo.
* Iraq reconstruction - a process whereby big firms that contribute to the president's re-election campaign obtain contracts to rebuild the damage caused by U.S. bombing. [more]
, and I've believed for a while now that the number one thing anti-propagandists need to do now (or top of the list anyway) is set up a central clearinghouse for the deconstruction of official word lines--because when news outlets and the general unsuspecting unconsciously parrot their word lines, a majory victory for Karl Rove and his language-perverting cronies is already won. Do not repeat "re-election," because George Bush was never elected. Do not repeat "Iraq war" because it wasn't one; it was an invasion. Etc. To this end, Eric Margolis has moved the resistance along considerably. Use this guide as a key. And resist with your words, as well as your actions.
Also, I'd like to point out that even if I didn't have the slightest compassion for anyone else in the world other than myself and my immediate circle (i.e., a Republican), I would still loathe Karl Rove and his group for what they do to the English language on a daily basis. That ain't English, folks. That's English turned inside out with shackles on and a big, fat-assed hook lying hidden underneath. Eat their language uncritically and you are instantly zombified.
American Samizdat: We Fight Zombies.
I am writing to because we want your help. We have just broken what may become one of the biggest stories on the Internet and we want your assistance and attention.
To cut to the chase, Scoop has just revealed security holes in the U.S. Electoral system. The details follow below and are at the following two links? with pictures?.
Inside A U.S. Election Vote Counting Program
a link to the full 40,000 files from the Diebold ftp site
This story is extremely sensitive and potentially explosive. There can be no doubt whatsoever that powerful commercial interests will be acting swiftly to either put a lid on this story, neutralize it via misinformation or law suit. It is vital therefore that it receive as much exposure as possible as quickly as possible.
Here is what I am asking you to do.
If you are a columnist or reporter: Please either write about this yourself - perhaps linking to our source materials - or bring this to the attention of your editor(s) and attempt to get your news organisation to carry a matching or followup story. If you are a webmaster: Please either repost the stories linked below and included at the foot of this email, or post links to them. If you are a list owner: Please post an item on this to your list and encourage your list members to further distribute this story; If you are a programmer: Go look at the code and evaluate what is happening.
Look at this hack job. Is there doubt why conspiracy theories
about the death of Uday and Qusay proliferate on the Iraqi street?
Saturday, July 26, 2003.
. . . and he won't be appearing on Fox with Alan Colmes, either . . .
The Bush Wahabis demand arms money from a fucking Quaker! Un-fucking-believable.
A new low-water mark, for sure!
Friday, July 25, 2003.
A Christian lobbying group fighting the proposed importation of low-cost prescription drugs has received behind-the-scenes help from the drug industry, the latest example of pharmaceutical companies trying to influence Congress clandestinely.
The Traditional Values Coalition, which bills itself as a Christian advocacy group representing 43,000 churches, has mailed to the districts of several conservative House Republicans this sharply disputed warning: Legislation to allow the importation of U.S.-made pharmaceuticals from Canada and Europe might make RU-486, called the "abortion pill," as easy to get as aspirin.
The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) portrays its campaign as a moral fight for the "sanctity of life." Documents provided to The Washington Post, however, show that drug lobbyists played a key role in crafting its argument and in disseminating the information to lawmakers. Pharmaceutical companies oppose the legislation -- which would legalize the reimportation of U.S.-made prescription drugs that sell for less in Canada than in the United States -- not over abortion but because it would erode their profits.
A recent TVC letter sent to Congress was signed by the coalition's executive director, Andrea Sheldon Lafferty. It was originally drafted, however, by Tony Rudy, a lobbyist for pharmaceutical companies and a former top aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), computer records show. Lafferty also circulated a memo -- linking the legislation to RU-486's availability -- that was drafted by Bruce Kuhlik, a senior vice president at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a trade group funded by the nation's biggest pharmaceutical firms.
Thursday, July 24, 2003.
Qais al-Salman is just the sort of guy the US ambassador Paul Bremer and his dead-end assistants need now. He hated Saddam, fled Iraq in 1976, then returned after the "liberation" with a briefcase literally full of plans to help in the restoration of his country's infrastructure and water purification system.
He's an engineer who has worked in Africa, Asia and Europe. He is a Danish citizen. He speaks good English. He even likes America. Or did until 6 June this year.
That day he was travelling in Abu Nawas Street when his car came under American fire. He says he never saw a checkpoint. Bullets hit the tyres and his driver and another passenger ran for their lives. Qais al-Salman stood meekly beside the vehicle. He was carrying his Danish passport, Danish driving licence and medical records.
He was put in Tent B, a vast canvas room containing up to 130 prisoners. "There were different classes of people there," Qais al-Salman says. "There were people of high culture, doctors and university people, and there were the most dirty, animal people, thieves and criminals the like of which I never saw before.
"In the morning, I was taken for interrogation before an American military intelligence officer. I showed him letters involving me in US aid projects . He pinned a label on my shirt. It read, Suspected Assassin'."
Qais Al-Salman was given no water to wash in, and after trying to explain his innocence to a second interrogator, he went on hunger strike. No formal charges were made against him. There were no rules for the American jailers.
"Some soldiers drove me back to Baghdad after 33 days in that camp," Qais al-Salman says. "They dropped me in Rashid Street and gave me back my documents and Danish passport and they said, Sorry'."
Congressional joint inquiry report on 9/11 now available
Via the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
A declassified version of the congressional joint inquiry report on the September 11 terrorist attacks was released this afternoon following an arduous seven-month declassification process.
A copy of the 858 page document (in a large 6.5 MB PDF file) is posted here:
Of particular interest to Secrecy News readers may be the final Appendix on "Access Limitations Encountered by the Joint Inquiry."
It describes a number of documents or topical areas to which congressional investigators were denied access. These included the President's Daily Brief, reports on foreign liaison relationships, information on intelligence budget requests, and more. On other crucial topics, congressional access was limited or delayed. This Appendix appears at pages 834-858 of the report.
Another item of special interest is a newly released General Accounting Office (GAO) analysis of the October 2001 anthrax attacks. The December 2002 GAO assessment had been restricted as "Limited Official Use Only." It is now published at pages 808-822 of the report.
The report can also be downloaded here
, in different sections.
WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) -- The report of the joint congressional inquiry into the suicide hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001, to be published Thursday, reveals U.S. intelligence had no evidence that the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks, or that it had supported al-Qaida, United Press International has learned.
"The report shows there is no link between Iraq and 9-11," said a government official who has seen the report.
Former Democratic Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, who was a member of the joint congressional committee that produced the report, confirmed the official's statement.
Compare this to Dr. Hitchens holding forth on CNBC on July 23 [italics mine]:
Mr. HITCHENS: Actually, I have to correct you ...(unintelligible), David [Shaw, who mentioned the Administration's link of "al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein in the September 11th attack "], I'm sorry. The administration never said Saddam Hussein or the Ba'ath Party was behind the September 11th attack. There's been a long-standing...
Mr. SHAW: Oh, come on. Talked about the meeting, the alleged meeting in Prague?
Mr. HITCHENS: They never did say that. Just they said there was, as there has been, a long-standing relationship between al-Qaida and Saddam's intelligence sources.
Mr. HITCHENS: Oh, no, I couldn't agree with you more. I mean, I'll phrase it as if I disagree with David. I mean, there are other bad regimes in the world, but there aren't ones that have violated the Genocide Convention against their own people twice, with the Marsh Arabs and the Kurds, invaded two neighboring countries, fooled around with the non-proliferation treaty, to put it no higher and, I mean, a regular harbor for every terrorist group in the area, including al-Qaida.
The Rumsfield-Cheney axis has self-destructed right in front of our eyes, along with the once-proud Perle-Wolfowitz bund that is turning to wax. They somehow managed to blow it all, like a gang of kids on a looting spree, between January and July, or even less. It is genuinely incredible. The U.S. Treasury is empty, we are losing that stupid, fraudulent chickencrap War in Iraq, and every country in the world except a handful of Corrupt Brits despises us. We are losers, and that is the one unforgiveable sin in America.
Beyond that, we have lost the respect of the world and lost two disastrous wars in three years. Afghanistan is lost, Iraq is a permanent war Zone, our national Economy is crashing all around us, the Pentagon's "war strategy" has failed miserably, nobody has any money to spend, and our once-mighty U.S. America is paralyzed by Mutinies in Iraq and even Fort Bragg.
The American nation is in the worst condition I can remember in my lifetime, and our prospects for the immediate future are even worse. I am surprised and embarrassed to be a part of the first American generation to leave the country in far worse shape than it was when we first came into it. Our highway system is crumbling, our police are dishonest, our children are poor, our vaunted Social Security, once the envy of the world, has been looted and neglected and destroyed by the same gang of ignorant greed-crazed bastards who brought us Vietnam, Afghanistan, the disastrous Gaza Strip and ignominious defeat all over the world. [more]
Amnesty has said thousands are held in prisons run by U.S. troops. They include Abu Ghraib, one the most feared jails under Saddam, and Camp Cropper near Baghdad's airport.
The human rights group said it had received several reports of cases of detainees who have died in custody, "mostly as a result of shooting by members of the coalition forces." [more]
"We found some stunning, stunning flaws," said Aviel D. Rubin, technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, who led a team that examined the software from Diebold Election Systems, which has about 33,000 voting machines operating in the United States.
The systems, in which voters are given computer-chip-bearing smart cards to operate the machines, could be tricked by anyone with $100 worth of computer equipment, said Adam Stubblefield, a co-author of the paper.
"With what we found, practically anyone in the country — from a teenager on up — could produce these smart cards that could allow someone to vote as many times as they like," Mr. Stubblefield said. [more]
id = drmenlo
password = samizdat
Wednesday, July 23, 2003.
Many people have gotten involved in hacking together different .htaccess files and some include variants of the one we provided. As a result, there are areas all over with addresses and files, and also questions from users on how to restrict access.
We'd like to offer this area as a place where people can work together to develop legal methods that allow you the ability to restrict access from fair-use-infringing networks.
So the Bush admin gets revenge on Wilson by blowing his wife's cover--a treasonous offense if ever there was one, soldiers in Iraq who speak out about how much they can't stand 'Rummy' et. al are going to have their careers ended, yet UK scientist David Kelly who asserted that the Blair government had 'sexed up' it's Iraq dossier 'killed himself.' Here's a man who's in his fifties or sixties?, has been to Iraq before as a weapons inspector and allegedly was so good that Saddam hated him, and yet when he is asked questions by a panel of his own countrymen, he has a complete breakdown, walks into a nearby forest and slashes one wrist? Uh, no. Not buying it.
Going back to the Novak case, this is only further proof that we're dealing with a handful of people within the Bush admin who will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing to get what they want, and 'antiquated' ideals like democracy and freedom are nothing to them but handy buzzwords with which to mask their true intent. Truly despicable. They aren't fit to lead a Barbie tea party. Perhaps when we send 'em all to the Hague we can give them each a set of Legos in their cell and tell 'em to build themselves a new empire. Then the world would truly be a safer place. Even better, we could set up a cam in their cells and watch from all over the world as Monkeyboy throws temper tantrums, "Did you call my Daddy! Daddy always gets me out of these spots!" and Cheney rocks back and forth muttering to himself under his breath, while Rumsfeld paces and plots. Karl Rove sits on his bunk eating Mars bars, expressionless. Ashcroft hits his head against the wall for having 'thoughts' about that tight-assed guard who he is sure must work out.
Can you picture it?
The whole world would dance and sing. Visualize World Peace = Visualize the Cheney Gang Locked Up.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003.
As Matt Welch puts it
: To what lengths will venal U.S. politicians go to subsidize American farmers, punish consumers, and keep poor Third World countries poor? Why, they will redefine the word "catfish," just for starters.
Monday, July 21, 2003.
David Kelly was about to lead the British hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and had contacted former UN inspectors as recently as two weeks ago to sound them out about a new mission.
He was acting as the senior British scientific adviser to the Iraq Survey Group, the body set up by the US Government at the end of May to replace the United Nations weapons inspection regime.
Just 16 little words
, eh? What about the rest of the SOTU
John Dean takes a closer look and finds that the Niger fiasco "is merely indicative of larger problems, and troubling questions of potential and widespread criminality when taking the nation to war. It appears that not only the Niger uranium hoax, but most everything else that Bush said about Saddam Hussein's weapons was false, fabricated, exaggerated, or phony
Last fall, the administration repeatedly warned in public of the danger that an unprovoked Iraqi President Saddam Hussein might give chemical or biological weapons to terrorists.
"Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists," President Bush said in Cincinnati on Oct. 7. "Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints."
But declassified portions of a still-secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released Friday by the White House show that at the time of the president's speech the U.S. intelligence community judged that possibility to be unlikely. In fact, the NIE, which began circulating Oct. 2, shows the intelligence services were much more worried that Hussein might give weapons to al Qaeda terrorists if he were facing death or capture and his government was collapsing after a military attack by the United States.
The declassified sections of the NIE were offered by the White House to rebut allegations that the administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq's nuclear weapons program. The result, however, could be to raise more questions about whether the administration misrepresented the judgments of the intelligence services on another basis for going to war: the threat posed by Hussein as a source of weapons for terrorists.
The NIE's findings also raise concerns about the dangers posed by Hussein, who is believed to be in hiding, and the failure to find any of his alleged stocks of chemical and biological weapons. If such stocks exist, a hotly debated proposition, this is precisely the kind of dangerous situation the CIA and other intelligence services warned about last fall, administration officials said. A senior administration official said yesterday that the U.S. intelligence community does not know either "the extent to which Saddam Hussein has access or control" over the groups that are attacking U.S. forces, or the location of any possible hidden chemical or biological agents or weapons. Asked whether the former Iraqi leader would today use any chemical or biological weapons if he controlled them, the senior official said, "We would not put that past him to do whatever makes our lives miserable."
Saturday, July 19, 2003.
Accenture is the leading offshore beneficiary of government contracts whose main business is the privatization of government services, according to Lee Drutman of Citizen Works, a non-profit founded by Ralph Nader. Accenture has a troubling track record, a close business relationship with Dick Cheney's Halliburton, and 2500 partners - more than half are not U.S. citizens.
Since 2001 Accenture and Election.com have been strategic partners "to jointly deliver comprehensive election solutions to governments worldwide," according to their press release. Last month Accenture bought the public-sector election assets of Election.com, which suffered its own scandal this year when it was discovered that Osan Ltd, a firm of Saudi and other foreign investors, bought controlling interest in it. According to Mark Harrington of NewsDay.com, "Several shareholders of the company said they were surprised by the recent buyout and have asked for securities regulators to investigate."
Election.com has had other problems. In January 2003, during Canada's New Democratic Party leadership convention, the Canadian Broadcasting System reported, “Earl Hurd of Election.com said he believes someone used a "denial of service" program to disrupt the voting – paralyzing the central computer by bombarding it with a stream of data”…service was restored, then… "Toronto city councilor Jack Layton's victory on the first ballot surprised many, who had expected a second or even third round of voting before a leader was chosen from the pack of six candidates."
Looking at the entire war, there was much fanfare Thursday over the fact that the latest U.S. combat death this week pushed the official total to 148 -- finally topping the 147 figure for Gulf War 1. However, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, the total number of all U.S. deaths, combat and otherwise, in Iraq is actually 224.
See also: Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
, although I am loathe to repeat that word 'coalition' in this context, as it has been a term used absolutely misleadingly by U.S. propaganda forces. The American progit office's use of the word 'coalition' does two things: it gives the illusion that there are a ton of people fighting alongside U.S. troops in their 'heroic effort to liberate Iraq' (read: liberate Iraqi oil)--when, just by looking at this site you see only two columns of casualties: US and UK--and two, the word 'coalition' simultaneously harkens back to WWII, when the word 'coalition' was actually a good thing. Of course, the latter is no accident: all of the right-wing think tanks consistently pointed to WWII as justification leading up to this war in one way or another, because this would help sell their 'romantic' notion of war. (Of course, they never mentioned Vietnam.)
Funny, when it comes to overtime pay and big media regulation, right-wingers will claim that any law over fifty years old is 'hopelessly antiquated,' but when it comes to invading another country to steal their oil, justifying it with romantic allusions to a war which took place over half a century ago will do just fine.
Friday, July 18, 2003.
(first read Doc Menlo's post below for some context)
ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman says many soldiers he interviewed in Baghdad question why they're still there. Some openly criticized Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for delaying their return home.
According to the Washington Post, an operative from the White House decided to respond to Kofman's coverage by sending some personal details about him to well known U.S. Internet journalist Matt Drudge
Two facts were played up: first, he's openly gay, and second, he's Canadian. Critics slammed the attempt to use nationalism and homophobia to try to discredit an unflattering news report.
Also check out: Broken promise: Why I quit Iraq
"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world."
Via Aberrant News
Their title: "Pentagon may punish GIs who spoke out on TV" but the body of the article features this:
"It was the end of the world," said one officer Thursday. "It went all the way up to President Bush and back down again on top of us. At least six of us here will lose our careers."
Does that sound like 'may punish' to you?
Nearby, Pfc. Jason Ring stood next to his Humvee. "We liberated Iraq. Now the people here don't want us here, and guess what? We don't want to be here either," he said. "So why are we still here? Why don't they bring us home?"
Why don't they go home? You have only to scroll down on this page to partially see the answer to that: US soldiers are currently being paid by US tax money to guard Brown & Root--yes, the subsidiary of Cheney's company Halliburton which won the contract, I believe, without even putting in a bid. (Fielding bids before choosing a contractor strikes me as being a vaguely . . . capitalist idea, don't you think? And to forgo that process would be . . . what? You fill in the blank.)
There seems to be a certain theme here . . . when the US military invades Iraq they only guard one thing: the oil. After the invasion they only guard: the oil and all things oil-related including the US companies the Bush junta threw the rich plums to.
The 'yellowcake' lie is only one of many lies this admin has put out--but even at the root of this one one name keeps popping up: Cheney. And re: the link that A.Q. Jensen put on earlier?
daft or what?
In a 69-to-2 vote this week the state's General Assembly approved a bill to eliminate the post of state poet laureate entirely. The move comes in response to anger at comments Baraka made in a poem about 9/11, suggesting Israel knew about the attacks before they happened.
Two Newark assemblymen cast the lone dissenting votes. Baraka is a longtime resident of Newark, and was named the poet laureate of Newark Public Schools yesterday even as he was under attack in the capital of Trenton.
Soldiers say most of their work involves civilian contractor Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton Corp. The company has contracts to haul fuel, and 319th members are riding along as armed escorts.
"The main reason we're still here is to support Brown and Root," said Sgt. 1st Class David Uthe, 45, of Augusta.
. . .
"We don't understand what's going on. We've been here long enough. We did our mission." Sgt. Robert Curl, on waiting to return home. [more]
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, said today that documents turned over by the Commerce Department, under court order as a result of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as 2 charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, which are dated March 2001, are available on the Internet at: www.JudicialWatch.org.
Executive director and founder of the Center for Media and Democracy John Stuaber shares his thoughts on the 16-word lie scandal, and, more interestingly, beyond in a new book
and in a Guerilla News Network interview:
Exactly where this all is going to go, I think, is going to be answered in large part by the peace movement. And what I find interesting is that so far, the peace movement has sort of sat back on its haunches and seems to be somewhat in disarray and coalescing more around the political theme of 'anybody but Bush,' and hoping that somehow one of these Democratic candidates will pull a rabbit out of the hat and topple this dastardly regime a year from November. I think that is a strategy for losing...
I really think that the next move is up to the anti-war movement. It's all well and good to run virtual primaries and get excited about the former governor of Vermont or whomever, but no Democrat on a white horse with a tremendous cash disadvantage is going to topple this regime here in the U.S. I think - I am hoping in the months ahead as the scales fall from the eyes of the American public, we will be seeing a new peace and justice movement galvanizing and really leading a movement for democratic regime change here in the U.S. But it's gonna take a mobilization at the grassroots and so far the peace movement still seems a little stunned. And hoping that just casting a flag for whatever Democrat manages to stumble forward is going to be enough, won't be enough.
Thursday, July 17, 2003.
Upload a File, Go to Prison
I saw the best peer-to-peer networks of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the cyberpunk networks at dawn looking for an angry file, angleheaded uploaders burning discs for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of all-consuming transnational corporate night...
This is an outrage -- the attempt to turn the most potentially democratic aspect of the Net into a heavily regulated commercial wasteland is a travesty. Will the youth who rolled over on Napster realize their error and release a torrent of rage? It's the only hope -- the older generations (those in the positions of power) just don't seem to understand the importance of what has been happening to P2P.
A new bill proposed in Congress on Wednesday would land a person in prison for five years and impose a fine of $250,000 for uploading a single file to a peer-to-peer network. The bill was introduced by Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.). They said the bill is designed to increase domestic and international enforcement of copyright laws. More specifically, the bill targets peer-to-peer file trading, an aide working for the congressmen said. The law is meant to keep up with changing technology.
Intelligence Dispute Festers as Iraq Victory Recedes
ABC's 'Good Morning America' showed soldiers from the Third Infantry Division in Iraq criticizing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and questioning their mission. Minnesota Public Radio this week quoted Mary Kewatt, the aunt of a soldier killed in Iraq, saying: 'President Bush made a comment a week ago, and he said 'bring it on.' Well, they brought it on, and now my nephew is dead.'
(short poll to read the article; via Daily Kos
In a new dispute over interpreting intelligence data, the CIA and other agencies objected vigorously to a Bush administration assessment of the threat of Syria's weapons of mass destruction that was to be presented Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
After the objections, the planned testimony by Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, a leading administration hawk, was delayed until September.
U.S. officials told Knight Ridder that Bolton was prepared to tell members of a House of Representatives International Relations subcommittee that Syria's development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons had progressed to such a point that they posed a threat to stability in the region.
The CIA and other intelligence agencies said that assessment was exaggerated.
Accusations are flying in Washington and London over the manipulation of prewar intelligence, with many Democrats in the United States and much of the British public now convinced that their respective governments pushed for a war in Iraq for reasons other than the “clear and present danger” Saddam Hussein’s regime allegedly represented. As these issues are increasingly politicized, it bears mentioning that most of the conflicts fought by both nations in the past century were preceded by distortions, propaganda and, in some cases, outright fabrications aimed at stoking public support for war.
“WHY, OF COURSE, the people don’t want to go to war. But, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.... All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
No, those are not the words of some Berkeley professor or Fabian socialist in Tony Blair’s party. That is a quote from Hermann Goering, the Nazi air marshal, during his interrogation at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. While the propaganda Goering referenced is far beyond anything perpetrated by a Western democracy since the 19th century, propaganda itself, dressed in more acceptable clothing, lives on.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003.
All Hail the National Security State
Thank God these outrages against liberty and the very idea of a transparent formalized legal code are only being visited upon Saddam-loving Islamofascist terrorist rag heads. They deserve it, right? If you can't prove their guilt in open court, relocate to a closed venue. Failing that, disappear 'em to Gitmo! From Newsday
Setting the stage for an unprecedented legal confrontation between national security and a defendant's fair-trial rights, the Justice Department yesterday formally refused to obey a federal judge's order to produce an al-Qaida terror suspect for questioning in the Zacarias Moussaoui case.
[U.S. District Judge Leonie] Brinkema earlier this year ordered that Moussaoui should be allowed to question [Ramsi] Binalshibh. Binalshibh has reportedly said Moussaoui wasn't part of the Sept. 11 plot. Prosecutors appealed, but the Fourth Circuit ruled last month that the appeal was premature.
Yesterday's filing sets the stage for Brinkema to impose sanctions on the government for noncompliance. Prosecutors yesterday conceded that she would probably dismiss the prosecution, but she could take lesser steps, such as limiting the evidence prosecutors can introduce or taking the death penalty out of the case.
At that point, the government is likely to appeal again. If it loses, experts say, Moussaoui will probably be transferred to a military tribunal for trial, or held without trial as an enemy combatant.
Cue the Instapundit freedom brigade
to sputter several screens of ill informed justification.
Saturday, July 12, 2003.
There was a picture on the front page of the New York Times on Tuesday, July 8. It showed several American soldiers in Iraq sitting in utter dejection as they were informed by their battalion commander that none of them were going home anytime soon, and no one knew exactly when they were going home at all. PFC Harrison Grimes sat in the center of this photo with his chin in his hand, staring at ground that was thousands of miles from his family and friends. A soldier caught in the picture just over PFC Grimes' shoulder had a look on his face that could break rocks.
212 of PFC Grimes' fellow soldiers have died in Iraq, and 1,044 more have been wounded. The war created chaos in the cities, and it seems clear now that very little in the way of preparation was made to address the fact that invasion leads to social bedlam, not to mention a lot of shooting. Last Sunday, CNN's Judy Woodruff showed a clip of a Sergeant Charles Pollard, who said, "All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks." [more]
Yes, it's not exactly as if there's a fair fight going on there, is there? When your back is turned, somebody walks up to you on a bridge and shoots your brains out. You're standing in the unbelievable heat fantasizing about going home and somebody snipes you from afar. You become a victim of the classic drive-by while manning a checkpoint. You lay in the sand bleeding to death while somewhere, the unelected leader of your country, fresh from watching war movies and having never been in a war situation himself--in fact, after having been AWOL for a year from the frickin' National Guard in Texas--chest puffed up with two beady eyes peering out from behind a face which doesn't see many books, says, "Bring 'em on." Meaning the aforementioned hidden snipers, the driveby shooters and the while your back is turned gangster-style killers--that's who he's talking to. Not 'bring it on' within a ring, where there are rules. No, bring on the indefensible attacks. Bring on the indefensible slaughtering of American troops. 'Cuz there's more soldiers where they came from. But mostly because that unelected shit-for-brains doesn't know jack shit about the real world. His pampers are pampered.
And the DLC doesn't want to bring this type of shit up? FUCK THE DLC. Or, you put it into more of a poetic semblance. But that's the basic sentiment, right? The DLC likes frickin' Lieberman? The DLC says let's not make waves? The DLC says let's play nice to this man who stole the election and lies to the American public and the world like the rest of us process oxygen? "Bush Lied and People Died." Repeat. Memorize. Tell your friends.
Assure a free and fair election in '04 and send that son of a bitch back to Texas where he belongs. No, wait--that would be an offense to fine Texans like Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower, Craig of BookNotes
, Bruce Sterling
and at least half of Austin, if not more . . . no, the only place Bush truly belongs is at the Hague. It's the follow-through swing: aim for unelection, then follow-through to Bush getting tried at the Hague. Imagine a just and better world, and then make it so!
They couldn't fire Amiri Baraka, so they did this instead.
Friday, July 11, 2003.
Check out today's Daily Kos:
"Have you no sense of decency, sir?" were the words Joseph Welch used to ruin Joe McCarthy, who went a witch hunt too far.
It is time for ALL Americans to ask the same question of the President and the men around him.
He lied to the American people to get them to endorse a war they would not have otherwise.
To say we are glad to be rid of Saddam is to be besides the point. This Administration made certain claims about matters vital to national security. None of which involved dead Shia or democracy in Iraq. There are 250 dead, 1,000 wounded, some crippled for life, behind our invasion. The same invasion which makes it impossible to intervene in Liberia or any other crisis which may arise. The same that offers only poverty to the Iraqis and a distant hope of self government.
An adminstration so inept that is unable to live up to the duties of the Occupying Power in Iraq while now begging the Allies we so casually disdained in starting this war. Suddenly we now need old Europe to help us control the Iraqi beasties. They just won't have a nice, docile colony for us and seek to express themselves. It's time to bring back the days of Mad Dogs and Englishmen and disciplining the wog.
They were told this is what would happen. Only Ken Pollack, who people still, unaccountably cut slack for, said differently. Every other Iraq expert, every one, said this adventure would end badly. Anthony Cordesman, a former Army officer, said without planning for the peace, disaster would strike. Former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, a man who lost his leg in combat, was humiliated by Rummy and the PNAC gang for telling the truth.
Bush and his men are liars. Inept, bad liars. Men who told transparent lies. Who slandered others, from Scott Ritter to Hans Blix, because they did not share their world view and delivered what is apparently the truth.
But unlike blowjobs, or even Watergate, Bush's lies are far, far worse. Because he lied about war and 1250 families will live with that lie forever.
Based on biases and lies, starting with the trickster Chalabi, who needs to be dragged before a US Senate or House committee under penalty of perjury, to tell the truth, Americans were sent to die in the Iraqi desert. Because lies were the only way he could get his war.
Thursday, July 10, 2003.
Condi Rice said "Maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the Agency , but no one in our circles knew that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery.”"
Senior administration officials tell CBS News the President’s mistaken claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa was included in his State of the Union address -- despite objections from the CIA.
What did they know and when did they know it?
Before the speech was delivered, the portions dealing with Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were checked with the CIA for accuracy, reports CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin .
CIA officials warned members of the President’s National Security Council staff the intelligence was not good enough to make the flat statement Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa.
The White House officials responded that a paper issued by the British government contained the unequivocal assertion: “Iraq has ... sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” As long as the statement was attributed to British Intelligence, the White House officials argued, it would be factually accurate. The CIA officials dropped their objections and that’s how it was delivered. ...
Los Angeles radio station KRLA, a Christian broadcaster, has suspended Michael Savage's show after his firing from MSNBC. Savage is also on thin ice in Portland and Boston. Savage claims he was setup and that his comments were the result of a prank call set up by "unknown interests" to ruin his television career
. And from the Adcocate
According to a report in The Boston Globe, Bob Foster, a California man who regularly makes prank calls, has been identified as the individual who elicited Savage's ill-fated MSNBC response. In a brief interview yesterday Foster said his call had nothing to do with gay issues but noted that "if he's making those kind of comments, those aren't right."
Is this a victory for the left, or is it just publicity for Savage?
by Rick Fisk, LibertyForum
(Author's note: In the interest of disclosure, I am the inventor of a bio-metric authentication system that is, in one embodiment, designed to enhance payment systems. As such, my invention might end up being used to enhance the technology of companies I mention in this article and I may have already or will soon approach these same companies to market this technology.)
Tuesday, July 08, 2003.
Liberating the Orphans
Remember when US forces "liberated" more than 100 children from an Iraqi prison
last April? It turns out that the prison was really an orphanage
Goree Island, Senegal - US President George Bush made an eloquent speech but did not win many friends during his brief visit to Goree Island off Senegal on Tuesday.
"We are very angry. We didn't even see him," said Fatou N'diaye, a necklace seller watching dignitaries file past to return to the mainland at the end of Bush's tour.
N'diaye and other residents of Goree, site of a famous slave trading station, said they had been taken to a football ground on the other side of the quaint island at 6am and told to wait there until Bush had departed, around midday.
. . .
"It's slavery all over again," fumed one father-of-four, who did not want to give his name. "It's humiliating. The island was deserted."
. . .
"We understand that you have to have security measures, since September 11, but to dump us in another place...? We had to leave at 6am I didn't have time to bathe, and the bread did not arrive," the father-of-four said.
"We were shut up like sheep," said 15-year-old Mamadou.
Many residents compared Bush's hour-long visit unfavourably to the island tour by former President Bill Clinton in 1998.
"When Clinton came, he shook hands, people danced," said former Mayor Urbain Alexandre Diagne. [more]
Thanx for all the concern re: the disappearance of Libertythink.com. I wish I had thought of posting an announcement over here earlier. Duh.
Anyway, we are in the process of hosting the site on our own server locally, however, this has taken much longer than expected. We hope to be up and running within the next week, and don't worry, they'll be plenty of timely content. We may not be publishing, but the posting continues.
New art from Joe Sacco, artist and reporter behind Palestine
. Really interesting stuff, transporting comic journalism.
On paper, Haroe is slated for oblivion. A U.S.-backed peace plan calls on Israel to immediately tear down all such Jewish settlement outposts erected since March 2001 in the Palestinian territories.
But a tour through miles of golden hills and olive groves reveals that the West Bank is gaining rather than losing outposts. Israel's scattered efforts to raze renegade homesteads have only succeeded in inspiring a contrary construction spurt.
The tally stands at nine destroyed, 10 or 11 built, according to Dror Etkes, a Peace Now activist who takes almost daily settlement-counting jaunts into the West Bank.
"Construction freeze, eh?" he snorted.
Begg's father, Azmat, insists his son is not a terrorist. Ironically, Begg, who owned a bookshop in Birmingham, spent his formative years at a Jewish school and still has many Jewish friends. According to Azmat, a retired bank manager, his son was moved by the plight of the Afghani people and in 2001 travelled to Kabul with his family to start a school for basic education and provide water pumps.
When the allied attack on Afghanistan began in October 2001, Begg and his family moved to Islamabad in Pakistan for safety. It was there that he was seized in January 2002 by Pakistani police and CIA officers, bundled into a back of a car and taken back to Kabul, where he was held in a windowless cellar at Bagram airbase for nearly a year. His family insist it's a case of mistaken identity. Intelligence agents targeted Begg because his name appears on a photo-copy of a money transfer found in an al-Qaeda training camp.
Begg maintains his innocence in his letters home, saying: 'I believe that there has been a gross violation of my human rights, particularly to that right of freedom and innocence until proven guilty. After all this time I still don't know what crime I am supposed to have committed, for which not only I, but my wife and children should continually suffer for as a result.
I'm not familiar with this publication, and haven't been able to verify this story anywhere else--if it turns out not to be true I will delete it immediately. Since this publication just published the aforementioned U.S. election scandal story, which I do believe, I am temporarily giving it the benefit of the doubt.
it turns out this story is not true. Thanks to Jason Lubyk of New World Disorder
for finding this out for me while I was at work this morning and unable to access the net. He also gives me these 2 additional links to further contextualize this online truth gaffe: the original plane crash story
and a right wing rag's refutation of the Katherine Harris-is-dead-from-said-airplane story
Immediately I wanted to delete this post, but Jason recommended that I keep it up and give the additional links as an example of an internet rumor, in this case one that turned out to be false.
Further, I would like to point out that the Scoop down in New Zealand does itself a great disservice by rushing to print this Katherine Harris item--especially when they just published the article on the 2002 American election scam. Now, the latter is a great story--and if I were to put that into print, I wouldn't be adding any doubts to my credibility as I let that one go on about and find it's legs. It's much more important to credibly spread the word about the possible takeover of the US election system than it is to claim the 'scoop' on the supposed accidental death of a minor GOP operative.
See also: Bigger Than Watergate!
The first step to Regime Change 2004 is assuring that there is a free and fair election in the United States. Of course, the mind-coaxed masses will automatically issue back, unconsciously, while they sip their 100 oz. soft drink whilst running over small children in their SUVs: "conspiracy theory" . . . well, you know better right? 'Conspiracy theory' has just become an empty-headed slur to be put up on the overloaded and thus irrevelant shelf with 'politically-correct.' The minute I hear anyone use either of those terms I know it's time to give up any chance I have of opening up an immediate channel of communication--by this time, it will take a fair bit of deprogramming to be able to converse with them on a level I am comfortable with.
But back to the stolen U.S. elections of 2000 and 2002--they were both separate fixes with a ton of differences but in both cases I have no doubt that at least in certain places, the fix was in. The first step to regaining or creating a democracy in America? Arguably this would be to assure that we Americans are assured a free and fair election. Or, perhaps the first step is informing the masses about how exactly their corporate media is put together, and how few decision-makers are actually making the decisions about everything they see and hear, and how, for instance, these handful of corporate media giants in America paid for FCC Chairman Michael Powell and his two fellow GOP FCC board member's plethora of trips recently--which can arguably be looked at with cynicism seeing as how those very same FCC members were soon to be voting on an issue very dear to their bill-footer's hearts--namely, deregulation. And then, once the people are aware of the corporate media system and it's stranglehold on the American public (World: seriously, the American public may seem dumb, and many times I myself curse them to no end, but to give them some credit, they are on the receiving end of the most magnificent media system ever invented, and if you were in a field and suddenly a great big spaceship descended upon ya with a thousand groovy lights beaming out all over the place, you'd be dazzled too) then maybe they would be more a) aware of the stolen election of 2002 and more educated about the details of the stolen election of 2000 (i.e.: I was watching the posters over at Fark recently banter about the stolen election of 2000, and not one of them knew that the State of Florida settled the case brought on by the NAACP re: throwing the blacks off the roles [read: obvious admission of guilt, thus 'stolen election' not debatable just on the fact of that case alone], not to mention the excellent reporting by Greg Palast on the subject, etc., etc.) . . . but in any case step one or step two or step three--it's in the Top Ten anyway! Take Back or Create Democracy in America! Assure a Free and Fair Election!!!
And you can start by reading the above articles.
And spreading the word, thanks.
Monday, July 07, 2003.
Cable news channel MSNBC on Monday fired Michael Savage after the controversial talk show host wished AIDS on a caller whom he dismissed as "one of the sodomites."
Saturday's episode of "The Savage Nation," his 15th since the program's debut in March, featured Savage discussing air travel with callers.
One caller began discussing his experiences, and after an unintelligible part of the call, Savage asked him "So are you one of those sodomists?"
When the caller said, "Yes I am," Savage, reclining in a chair with his arms folded and wearing dark sunglasses, responded, "Oh, you're one of the sodomites! You should only get AIDS and die, you pig!" in a clip of the show hosted on the Web site of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
• Number of U.S. citizens indicted by a federal grand jury for al Qaeda–related activities: 5.
• Number of immigrants detained after 9/11 — some up to eight months: 762.
• Number of people arrested by the LAPD’s anti-terrorism bureau since 9/11: 75.
• Number of convicted al Qaeda members: 0.
• Number of people the Justice Department charged with terrorism in the first two months of 2003: 56.
• After a Philadelphia Inquirer investigation, the number of those cases that were found to have nothing to do with terrorism: 41.
• Number of cases that involved Latinos using phony Social Security numbers: 28.
Sunday, July 06, 2003.
More than 23 million acres of the world's forests - enough to cover the whole of Scotland - are disappearing each year because of logging, mining and land clearance for agriculture.
The scale of deforestation is so great that some countries, such as Indonesia, could lose entire rainforests in the next 10 years. The appetite for wood for furniture, floors and building in Europe and North America is shrinking the world's forests at a rate of 2.4 per cent every 10 years, official figures show.
“There are a lot of checks and balances in this system,” one Pentagon spokesman told The Times. Asked what those checks and balances were, the official cited the review of the President’s decision by Mr Wolfowitz.
Asked if there were any other checks and balances other than that, the official replied: “No, sir.” [more]
Saturday, July 05, 2003.
Dennis Miller is probably already at the feet of Rove: "Massuh, please tell me now how I'm a gonna go about responding to this man, suh? This Mailer man, suh? I mean, I got all the references up hee-ah [motions to head], but in what context shall I array them, suh? I mean, uh, what tack to take?"
"Hm," sez Rove. "Well now, we'll have to attack him, of course. Attack him personally. Make jokes about how you'd rather read a thousand page tome on his geriatric sex life, that sort of thing. And tell him if that doesn't work, you'll set Gloria Steinem on his ass. 'Now that the fish finally decided she needed a bicycle, she soon found out that she needed more than one to make up for all that lost time.'"
Miller is on his back, giggling hysterically. "It makes fun of Mailer and those nutty feminists all at the same time--oh, brilliant, suh. I'll fit a reference to some obscure philosopher in there somewhere, suh."
"Ok, now, funnyman," Rove sez, taking the cigar out of his mouth and giving it an elongated eyeful. "Time for another historical White House re-enactment . . . "
A former British intelligence chief criticizes Blair for misuse of intelligence in Iraq WMD claims
Also there are new claims that Iraq destroyed its WMD in the mid90s
In case you haven't seen this yet, go to google.com
, type in 'weapons of mass destruction' without the quotes, then push "I'm Feeling Lucky."
"Sadly, the threat of criticism is still with us," Bush told members of Congress during a 2 p.m. televised address. "We thought we had defeated criticism with our successes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We thought we had struck at its very heart with the broad discretionary powers of the USA Patriot Act. And we thought that the ratings victory of Fox News, America's News Channel, might signal the beginning of a lasting peace with the media. Yet, despite all this, criticism abounds." [more]
the usa is an interesting country.
there is martha stewart. martha stewart is the hyacinth bucket of north america.
martha stewart has published hundreds of thousands of words about how to dust and
how to vaccuum. she has written reams about the fine points of
selecting antique bed and table linens. martha stewart has big legal difficulties
around her financial portfolio because even though she worked in the stock market
industry, she was apparently unable to grasp the fine points of ethical behavior.
nevertheless she has many many admirers and an incomparable victim-script:
she was not quite as unethical as mr enron, who is a white male. MORE ->
Friday, July 04, 2003.
The one world political leader more embarassing than Bush
How can the US build public support in Iraq?
Two Middle Eastern specialists at the Library of Congress say the answer lies in little-known plans by the celebrated American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for rebuilding Baghdad into a glittering capital of Islamic culture like the one that once dazzled the world.
"However designers chose to interpret America's manly ideals, whether the stubborn outlaw or the fresh-faced Midwesterner, it was clear they had American power on their minds. Bernhard Willhelm put his buff models in camouflage and war paint and sent them around a cartoon training course — popping off balloons instead of ammo."
Thursday, July 03, 2003.
The Israeli Government has confiscated large swaths of Palestinian land in the West Bank this week - for the purpose, Palestinians allege, of building settlements - in flagrant breach of commitments under the US-led road map to peace.
On Wednesday an Israeli official and soldiers were marking out olive groves and other ground outside the villages of Beit Eksa and Beit Souriq, north of Jerusalem.
"State land. Entry prohibited," read a sign erected on village land in the name of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, the Israeli body that oversees military rule in the West Bank. The Palestinians say the Israelis plan to build settlements to link two Jewish towns built on land seized from the Arab villages in the 1980s. The accusation would fit with Israeli plans for a "greater Jerusalem".
One Palestinian cabinet minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said Israeli President Ariel Sharon was using the military's withdrawal from Bethlehem, and Gaza earlier in the week, as a cover for land seizures. "The road map says they should stop the confiscation of land, they should stop the demolition of homes, but all the Israelis do is talk of the difficult decisions they have to make," Mr Rabbo said.
That was my initial reaction to Fukuyama. Then, a few weeks ago, I thought about him again, while attempting to determine the reason why I wanted to pack all of the Democratic presidential candidates into a missile and shoot them into space.
What I ultimately came up with was this: Here we are, in a world that is completely and utterly insane–where giant fast-food companies spend fortunes researching the responses of three- and four-year-olds in order to exploit them, where billions of dollars are pissed away every day on shitty movies like Finding Nemo while schools are going down to the four-day week, and where the average New Yorker sees three or four thousand ads a day, most of which tell him he’s fat and impotent and a Nissan is a better buy than his wife–and these candidates are up there tinkering, talking about a balanced budget and repealing tax cuts. There isn’t a guy among them who even hints at anything like horror before our fatuous, commercial lives.
The Democrats, just like the vapid artists that Fukuyama correctly predicted would dominate our lives, don’t want to be anything other than better caretakers for that museum of human history. They don’t try to imagine a fundamentally better world, because they actually believe that there isn’t one. They’re buffoons straight out of Voltaire, running on a platform of "Our mild improvements to this best of all possible worlds."
Here's a rich one: the Bully Boys are suspending aid to countries in the International Criminal Court who will not promise not to prosecute American citizens, like Americans are above the law?
Excerpt: "The Bush administration has underlined its refusal to co- operate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) by suspending military aid worth almost $50m(£30m) to 35 countries that have refused to promise not to prosecute American citizens. Its behaviour was condemned as that of 'schoolyard bullies'."
Wednesday, July 02, 2003.
BEIT HANOUN, GAZA STRIP – Faisal Shawwa, Palestinian olive grower and US citizen, is a man in search of compensation.
In late May, Israeli bulldozers plowed under 1,524 of his five-year-old olive trees - leaving a lone tree standing. The Israelis also destroyed an automated well and the irrigation system that delivered water to the trees. "It's not for security, it's just hate," Mr. Shawwa says. He plans to sue the Israeli government.
He and some other businesspeople in this northern Gaza town are stunned by what they are finding in the wake of the Israeli military's withdrawal: industrial buildings flattened, machinery ripped apart, trees uprooted.
"It's an earthquake," says the Palestinian Authority's governor for Gaza, Mohammed al-Qudwa, standing amid the remains of what was once the territory's largest floor-tile factory. "This is the destruction of the economic infrastructure of the Palestinian people;it's not for security reasons," he adds, citing the Israeli rationale for the demolition of trees and buildings.
ISRAEL & PALESTINE: The occupation is killing us all
Perspecitves from Israelis and Palestinians opposed to occupation and terrorism.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003.
Take part in the First Annual Weekly Standard
/Project for a New American Century cruise and spend 8 imperial days/7 unilateral nights aboard the USS Benevolent Hegemon