Thursday, June 30, 2005

There is no hope for humankind

For owners who don't want it to look like they're driving an unnecessary gas-guzzler, a little splash signals that [their SUV] spends time tackling the back country.

"Spray-On Mud is an urban camouflage designed to give the impression that you are a serious off-roader," he said.


Dowse said he can barely keep up with Internet sales of the product at $14.50 a quart.

"We're selling it from Japan to New York," he said. "It's also getting very, very big in Germany."



....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Plame Game update

Time Inc. said Thursday it would comply with a court order to deliver the notes of a reporter threatened with jail in the investigation of the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan is threatening to jail Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times for contempt for refusing to disclose their sources.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the reporters' appeal and the grand jury investigating the leak expires in October. The reporters, if in jail, would be freed at that time.

  Guardian article

But no one responsible for giving the information to the reporters - and by the way, these aren't the reporters who printed the information - will be going to jail. You can bet your buns on that one. And this is unfortunate, because, like Joe Wilson, I was looking forward to the day when Karl Rove would be "frog marched from the White House in handcuffs."

Another great idea

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30 (Reuters) - The next road you travel -- and pay a toll to use -- could be privately owned.

Looking for ways to finance highway projects without hitting the public trough, the U.S. Congress appears set to pass a proposal to encourage private ownership of new toll roads.

  Reuters article

Wake up, America.

Or maybe it's already too late.

Ellen Danning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit who has written on privatization, said private companies are not necessarily more efficient at running roads, and their tolls amount to a regressive tax on highway building.

A better solution to public underfunding of the road system may be to roll back tax cuts that are squeezing the federal budget, Danning said.

"One of the things to ask yourself is, why doesn't the government have the money to spend on the infrastructure that we need?" she said.
Gee, I wonder.

Canada will pose no threat

Canada is to impose restrictions on the export of prescription drugs to US citizens, who pay less for them abroad than they do at home.

The US has the highest drug prices in the world, leading many citizens to order their supplies from Canada.

Canadian Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said his country could no longer serve as a discount "drug-store" for the US.

  BBC article


Cancer research

Even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer over a person's lifetime, a National Academy of Sciences panel concluded. It rejected some scientists' arguments that tiny doses are harmless or may in fact be beneficial.

The findings, disclosed in a report Wednesday, could influence the maximum radiation levels that are allowed at abandoned reactors and other nuclear sites and raises warnings about excessive exposure to radiation for medical purposes such as repeated whole-body CT scans.


Even common X-rays pose some risk of adverse health effects, the scientists found, although the panel said there was not enough information available to accurately estimate the cancer risk from X-rays. Nevertheless, the report said, there is evidence that per unit of absorbed radiation, X-rays may be more dangerous than other radiation.

The panel also said that approximately one person out of 1,000 would develop cancer from exposure to the amount of radiation from a single, average whole body CT-scan.

  WaPo article

Kinda makes radiation therapy for cancer seem, well.....

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Brace yourselves, Iranians

Two leading figures in the 1979 seizure of hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran dismissed on Thursday Americans’ claims the Iranian president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a role in the incident.

Iranian veterans strongly denied on Thursday that Mr. Ahmadinejad participated in the 444-day hostage drama that resulted in breaking diplomatic ties between Tehran and Washington.


"Mr. Ahmadinejad was never one of students of followers of the path of imam that took the spy den (U.S. embassy). He was never there", said Mirdamadi.

"Those who say he was one of the students are making a mistake. Even last night I was shown a picture but the person in the picture had little resemblance to him".

"I think that it is the picture which has led to the mistake. As I said he was never there. He was never among us even when we were deliberating over the issue," he added.


In an interview with the Washington Times, three of the Americans who were held hostage in 1979 claimed that Ahmadinejad was a key player in the seizure.

"He was one of the top two or three leaders," said retired Army Col. Charles Scott, a former hostage. "The new president of Iran is a terrorist."


Bombs away!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Revelation 13:18

King James Version:
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

New World Version:
Here is where wisdom comes in: Let the one that has intelligence calculate the number of the wild beast, for it is a man's number; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six.

New International Version:
This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.
Proponents of duality and destruction would prefer to pin the tail on the donkey, naming a specific person as some sort of 'evil doer' as indicated by past behavior. Scripturally we are told it is the number of knowledge and wisdom... indicating a science-based logical approach... 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons in our single carbon atom... carbon-based creatures that we are in this realm of Creation.


The Carbon atom.

666: the number of man.

Carbon-based creatures that we are.

Just in case you may need it one day soon.

Center for Constitutional Rights Action Alert: 4th of July Protests

Join us to make this Fourth of July about the values and patriotism Americans really believe in: help shut down Guantánamo and put an end to torture, rendition and unlawful detention. This July 4th, a diverse coalition of individuals and organizations including Eve Ensler, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Gloria Steinem, the Culture Project, United for Peace and Justice, Code Pink and Not in Our Name are asking people across the United States to join the call to shut down the Guantánamo prison camp and demand an immediate independent investigation into the widespread allegations of abuse taking place there.

Join us as we gather across the country to stage rallies, readings, and other activities in our communities. We will be gathering signatures for a petition to Congress, and following up on Tuesday, July 5th with a massive telephone and online campaign to members of Congress to call for an end to torture and the closing of all offshore, illegal detention centers.

Here’s how you can take part:

Join us in New York City on the Fourth of July to tell the Bush Administration to shut down Guantánamo. For more details click here.

Click here to write a letter to your representatives telling them to shut down Guantánamo and provide fair hearings for the detainees.

Click here to put on a reading of the play, Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom and be part of a nationwide series from theaters to community centers to a living room near you.

Click here to donate to CCR to help us continue the fight in the courtrooms and on the streets to put an end to the Bush administration’s policies of torture, unlawful detention and rendition.

Guantánamo has become a world-wide symbol for the current Administration's arrogant disregard of basic human rights. In the past weeks, world leaders including Presidents Carter and Clinton have joined leading human rights groups in calling for the closing of Guantánamo and other illegal prison facilities around the globe. Countless others have joined the call for an immediate independent investigation and/or special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the numerous allegations of torture and abuse taking place at Guantánamo and other facilities. Torture is not the American way, and we as concerned members of the community must make a stand to take back our country and the values it was founded upon over 200 years ago.

This Independence Day, American flags declaring: "Torture Is Immoral and Unpatriotic, Shut down Guantánamo" will be distributed across the country and displayed in a show of support for the democratic values outlined in our United States Constitution. Ordinary citizens are mobilizing to read from testimonials of Guantánamo detainees, their families, and their lawyers this July 4th in a show of support for the laws under which this country was founded.

These July 4 & 5 actions are just the beginning of a growing movement - Join Us, Help Shut Down Guantánamo! Help spread word and forward this email to your friends, family and colleagues and bring this action to your community. Over the holiday weekend, do one of the actions listed above, and take a step in the name of democracy and freedom!

Fliers, the petition, and the graphic for the "Torture Is Immoral and Unpatriotic, Shut down Guantánamo" American Flag, are available for download at the Guantánamo Action Center:

Ron Daniels
Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights

Bandar Bush: It's official

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the US Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has resigned after more than 20 years in the post.

The embassy in Washington has sought to play down rumours of his departure saying merely that he is on holiday.

But Saudi officials have confirmed the persistent speculation that Prince Bandar has tendered his resignation.

  BBC article

On supporting our troops

I say, just go check it out.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Billmon on Buttie's "speech"

With only a few interesting twists. I'm going to let others parse the recycled evasions, half-truths and downright lies in Bush's speech. (160,000 "trained and equipped" Iraqi forces??? That ain't true even in Shrub's parallel universe, much less ours.) I've been doing this kind of thing for more than two years now, and I'm tired.

I'll also dispense with the long, detailed analysis of whether the speech will help Bush or not. The New York minute version: It buys him a favorable news cycle and a week, maybe two, of extreme lapdog obedience from the corporate media. It could move the polls his way by a couple of points. But after a month, and another 40 or 50 dead GIs, nobody will remember a word of it, not even G.W.

But I do want to take a longer minute to point out a subtle, and at times bizarre, shift in the propaganda rhetoric -- one that, as predicted, appears to set the stage (or at least leaves the door open) for further negotiations with some of the bad guys. It starts with this line:
Iraq is the latest battlefield in this war. Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women, and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. (emphasis added.)
Many of them?? So what murderous ideology do the rest of them follow? Utilitarianism? This use of an adjective that's at least several terrorists short of "all" or "every" is echoed in this line:
Some of the violence you see in Iraq is being carried out by ruthless killers who are converging on Iraq to fight the advance of peace and freedom. (emphasis added)

There's more. And I'd say he's right on the money, since there was recently some press coverage and WH scurrying about our negotiations with terrorists.

Keeping those priorities straight

The House of Representatives voted yesterday to give themselves a cost-of-living raise. Congratulations, lawmakers!


This makes the eighth time Congress has voted to increase its own pay since 1997; they, however, have voted down every attempt to give minimum wage earners a cost of living raise since 1997. Today, the real value of the minimum wage is $3.50 below what it was in 1968.

  Think Progress post

Reason for invasion, number whatever

Before the war, Bush claimed we needed to attack Iraq to PREVENT it from becoming a terrorist training ground. Here’s what he said:
Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground, so that a Saddam Hussein could use his shadowy group of people to attack his enemy and leave no fingerprint behind. [Bush, 11/4/02]
We don’t have to imagine any longer. Bush’s miscalculations in his handling of Iraq have unified the terrorists and have allowed Iraqi territory to become the terrorist training ground that the extremists desired.

Time Magazine Reported the “goal” of the militants in a July 2004 article:
A “Time investigation of the insurgency today — based on meetings with insurgents, tribal leaders, religious clerics and U.S. intelligence officials — reveals that the militants are turning the resistance into an international jihadist movement. … Their goal now, say the militants interviewed, is broader than simply forcing the U.S. to leave. They want to transform Iraq into what Afghanistan was in the 1980s: a training ground for young jihadists who will form the next wave of recruits for al-Qaeda and like-minded groups.”
Nearly a year later and with little headway having been made against the insurgents, the CIA recently reported the results:
“A new classified assessment by the Central Intelligence Agency says Iraq may prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda’s early days, because it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat.”

  Think Progress report

Now I understand

TNR's Michael Crowley gives the gist of e-mails to and from Jack Abramoff: "A rich Washington lobbyist apparently schemed to use money from (American) Indian tribes to buy paramilitary equipment from Russian oil executives and send it to Israeli settlers in the West Bank. What could be simpler?"

  Cursor post

Iraqi police open fire on protestors

Jun. 28, 2005 - Police opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators in the southern Iraqi city of Samawa on Tuesday wounding seven protesters, including one man who was shot in the head, witnesses and hospital staff said.

Four policemen were also injured by stones, doctors said.

Nearly 2,000 unemployed Iraqis were demonstrating in central Samawa because they had not been given jobs in the police in Samawa, 270 km (170 miles) south of Baghdad.

Protesters threw stones and police opened fire, first with warning shots and then shots aimed into the crowd, Reuters reporter Hamid Fadhil said from the scene.

Reuters photographer Mohammed Amin said he saw four demonstrators wounded, one of them hit by a bullet to the head.


Foreign troops, apparently from British or Australian units which operate in the area of southern Iraq, observed the violence from the roof of a local authority building.

There was no sign of Japanese troops, 550 of whom operate from a base in Samawa, conducting civil reconstruction work.

  ABC News article

WIIIAI clarifies:
Today some unemployed Iraqis who had survived the often lethal process of standing in line to apply to join the police in Samawa held a demonstration because they were not then hired, and were fired on by those who had been hired.
The world is better off without Saddam Hussein.


In 1999, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for not setting a timetable for exiting Kosovo, and yet he refuses to apply the same standard to his war.

George W. Bush, 4/9/99:
“Victory means exit strategy, and it’s important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is.”
And on the specific need for a timetable, here’s what Bush said then and what he says now:

George W. Bush, 6/5/99
“I think it’s also important for the president to lay out a timetable as to how long they will be involved and when they will be withdrawn.”
[ed. note: article originally ran in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on 6/5/99]


George W. Bush, 6/24/05:
“It doesn’t make any sense to have a timetable. You know, if you give a timetable, you’re — you’re conceding too much to the enemy.”

  Think Progress post

If we can't "render" them...

...we'll just have to keep them ourselves. Out at sea.
The United Nations says it has learned of serious allegations that the US is secretly detaining terrorism suspects, notably on American military ships.

The special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, said the claims were rumours at this stage, but urged the US to co-operate with an investigation.

He said the UN wants lists of the places of detention and those held.

  BBC article

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Butthead's "speech"

Under protective cover of a group of captive soldiers, Buttie pulled out one of his worn-out old speeches and gave it all over again.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Helicopter down in Afghanistan

A large U.S. military helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon while carrying 17 American troops to reinforce a counterterrorism mission in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. officials confirmed. "Initial reports indicate the crash may have been caused by hostile fire," the military said in a statement this morning.

  WaPo article

Yeah, I'd say there's a good chance of that.
Afghan officials said the CH-47 Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket while flying over Konar province, near the Pakistani border. A purported spokesman for the Taliban Islamic militia asserted responsibility for the attack.


The incident, the first time a U.S. military helicopter in Afghanistan has been reported shot down since Operation Anaconda in early 2002, underscored the continuing danger to U.S. and Afghan troops from armed anti-government groups, especially the Taliban.


Tuesday's incident was the second crash of a Chinook in Afghanistan in the last three months. On April 6, a Chinook crashed during a dust storm, killing 15 troops and three American civilians in the deadliest military air accident since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.


"There's still a lot of fighting in Afghanistan," said a senior U.S. officer. "The American people shouldn't be surprised we're continuing to take casualties."

Perhaps the senior U.S. officer should be telling that to the asshats in the White House.

The American people shouldn't be surprised, but their "leaders" and their "free press" keep telling them everything is really going quite well.

Apparently, the UN knows differently.
Earlier Tuesday, roadside bombings killed five Afghan policemen in Konar province. One bomb exploded on a road near Asadabad, about 120 miles east of Kabul, killing a district police chief and his two sons and wounding seven officers. Several rockets also landed near a U.N.-Afghan election commission office in Asadabad, causing no casualties.


Jean Arnault, the U.N. special representative for Afghanistan, told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that worsening security conditions had negatively affected election preparations and that military operations were not enough to counteract Taliban efforts to destabilize the country.

And maybe a word to Karzai would also be helpful.
A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, Jawad Ludin, told reporters Tuesday in Kabul, the capital, that anti-government militias were "very feeble" when compared with the increasing capability of Afghan security forces, the help from the international community and "the will of the Afghan people."

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Update 1:40pm:

All 17 U.S. troops aboard an American helicopter that crashed after being hit by ground fire in an anti-militant operation in Afghanistan are believed to have died, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

  Reuters article

Update 7/1/05: Unsurprisingly, there's more to the story than we were told.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Gringos in Panama

The US embassy is meddling with Panama's internal affairs. That is of course nothing new, but they now do it openly. El Panama America reports today that a high US embassy official, one Richard Saks, showed up unannounced at the headquarters of FRENADESSO, the coalition that is the main force behind the protests against the Social Security reforms of our rabiblanco government. Saks wanted to know the FRENADESSO position on the reforms, and also asked if the movement has any political aspirations.

Saks stated that he knew the version of the government and now wanted the version of FRENADESSO.

This is of course nonsense. FRENADESSO has been loudly voicing its version in the media and during marches and we don't think they are deaf at the US embassy. What is going on is that the protests may have been widely ignored by the international left-wing press because they think Torrijos is a social-democrat, but the gringos know better of course. They are trying to find out if Panama may go the same way as Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay. The US is losing ground in Latin America and the last thing they need is for Canal Country to become "Chavezed."

  Noriegaville article

In stark contrast to the Bush Bubble tonight

Seymour Hersh lives in reality.
Doug Henwood recently posted to his LBO Talk list a brief recap of a Seymour Hersh talk given in New York on the 16th. Apparently, Hersh said that:

*The country is being run by 8 or 9 people, in complete isolation from the rest of the government

*There's no grand plan in Iraq - the gang of 8 or 9 really believes its own propaganda about democratization -- he contrasted this with Kissinger, who, though perfectly willing to kill thousands, would have had some kind of grand oil deal in mind at the end of the carnage

*Cheney's in charge, and W's out of the loop

*They're going to bomb the shit out of Iran, but there aren't enough free ground troops to mount an invasion

*Cheney wants to run for president in '08

*Things are really really bad, though there's some hope for the '06 election

Then Hersh concluded by saying he was going home "to brood."

  Red State Son post

Aw, gee, another hypocritical, crooked Rethuglican congresscreep

Who'da thunk?
Earlier today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and his 2000 Senate campaign committee, Frist 2000, Inc.

The complaint alleges that the Frist 2000, Inc. failed to disclose a $1.44 million loan taken out jointly by Frist 2000, Inc. and by Frist’s 1994 campaign committee, Bill Frist for Senate, Inc., making it appear that Frist 2000, Inc. had significantly more money that it actually had.


The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) requires full disclosure of any loans taken out by campaign committees. Yet only the 1994 campaign committee, which had been largely dormant, disclosed the loan. The loan papers, which are attached to CREW’s complaint, are signed by Senator Frist personally on behalf of each of the campaign committees.

Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said “it appears that Senator Frist deliberately broke the law by failing to disclose the $1.44 million loan in Frist 2000, Inc.’s FEC filings. Senator Frist was clearly trying to hide the fact that his 2000 campaign was over a million dollars in debt. Given the large sum of money involved and the fact that the violation appears to have been knowing and willful, the FEC should refer this matter to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution.”

  Citizens for Ethics article

Like that'll happen.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Oil Woes - Part 2

CanadianAlien posted a comment to my oil woes post beginning with a quote from Wired:
Who needs "oil independence" - our friendly neighbor to the north is sitting on a black gold mine!

Alberta sits atop the biggest petroleum deposit outside the Arabian peninsula - as many as 300 billion recoverable barrels and another trillion-plus barrels that could one day be within reach using new retrieval methods.
I was going to make some wise crack about the need to invade Canada in the future, and Bob had this to say:
The Alberta oil sands are an ecological disaster to mine (probably far worse than ANWR drilling), and require huge amounts of energy to process. Worse, they require (and foul) huge amounts of fresh water, something much more vital than oil. While high oil prices may make some oil-sand processing economically feasible, much of those billions of barrels will forever remain unrecoverable since they will require more energy to extract than they contain.
But then, I guess we're not taking any chances...
For nearly two years now, Ottawa has been quietly negotiating a far-reaching military cooperation agreement, which allows the US Military to cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada's defense system is being discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).


Territorial control over Canada is part of Washington's geopolitical and military agenda as formulated in April 2002 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "Binational integration" of military command structures is also contemplated alongside a major revamping in the areas of immigration, law enforcement and intelligence.

  Global Research article

Invasion probably won't be necessary.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

1,000 4,000 words


Voicemails from an MP

Hello Kevin,

This is Leonard Clark calling from somewhere in Baghdad Iraq. Kevin, I've been busy lately over here in Iraq as a Military Policeman and uh I finally found time to call. And I am hoping you alert folks home know why I am calling. Here is the reason.

I happen to have a chance to get on the internet and also read our news publication called "The Stars and Stripes" and see some various networks at the chow hall on the television.

What the leadership seems to be saying back home right now is basically "We are winning the war here we are not losing the war against these terrorists and that Mr. Kennedy and other congressman and senators such as Mr. Hagel from Nebraska and others are wrong. Well, I hate to tell you this. Mr. Hagel and Mr. Kennedy are right. We are losing this war. This is a quagmire. Let them not fool you. And Don't let them use our names, we soldiers as other evidence to say that we are not. Because almost every soldier I talk to you states that we are in a quagmire. That every soldier that dies now is a needless death. This shouldn't have happened. I am sure there are soldiers that would disagree. But I can tell you from this part of Iraq almost every soldier I have talked to including very conservative soldiers who are diehard Republicans. They have stated the same thing.

This is a quagmire.

  Veterans Against the Iraq War post

"At this point, you don't have any rights"

Cecilia Beaman is a 57-year-old grandmother, a principal at Pacific Middle School in Des Moines, and as of Sunday is also a suspected terrorist.


This past weekend she and several other chaperones took 37 middle school students to a Heritage Festival band competition in California. The trip included two days at Disneyland.

During the stay she made sandwiches for the kids and was careful to pack the knives she used to prepare those sandwiches in her checked luggage. She says she even alerted security screeners that the knives were in her checked bags and they told her that was OK.

But Beaman says she couldn't find a third knife. It was a 5 1/2 inch bread knife with a rounded tip and a serrated edge. She thought she might have lost or misplaced it during the trip.

On the trip home, screeners with the Transportation Security Administration at Los Angeles International Airport found it deep in the outside pocket of a carry-on cooler. Beaman apologized and told them it was a mistake.

"You've committed a felony," Beaman says a security screener announced. "And you're considered a terrorist."

Beaman says she was told her name would go on a terrorist watch-list and that she would have to pay a $500 fine.

"I'm a 57-year-old woman who is taking care of 37 kids," she told them. "I'm not gonna commit a terrorist act." Beaman says they took information from her Washington drivers license and confiscated and photographed the knife according to standard operating procedure.

She says screeners refused to give her paperwork or documentation of her violation, documentation of the pending fine, or a copy of the photograph of the knife.

"They said 'no' and they said it's a national security issue. And I said what about my constitutional rights? And they said 'not at this point ... you don't have any'."

  Underreported article

On Butthead's Iraqi "sovereignty anniversary" speech

Tonight [Bush] will use a captive audience of soldiers, who he commands, and who will be ordered to smile and cheer and shout hooahs at the appropriate points in this latest Karl Rove production, and I find that offensive. More than offensive, it is obscene.

I find it offensive that the very people he would send to death, disfigurement and despair in the service of this administration’s lengthening list of lies, are now required, – when they could be home tonight with the loved ones they have missed so much in the last two years – to serve as stage props so George W. Bush can add one more bit of cheerleading hype, one more publicity stunt, to his resume.


The Iraq Sovereignty Scam was a Bush election-year stunt. And tonight is a publicity stunt. It is an offensive publicity stunt, using our troops as his personal stage props. He couldn’t deliver this phony missive from the White House and leave these people alone to spend precious time with their families?


Bush will get up there tonight and say that this is the first anniversary of newly-won Iraqi sovereignty.

But sovereignty is defined as supreme and independent political authority. How can anyone make the claim of independence, when they live in the Green Zone surrounded by foreign troops and a occupation authority that has veto power over any political action, the ability to order any press closed, and the ability to arrest and indefinitely detain that country’s citizens without showing cause? How can any country be sovereign, when its entire security apparatus is under the control of a foreign military? There is no sovereignty in Iraq… any more than there was an al Qaeda connection or yellow cake uranium.

  Stan Goff post

Amen, brother Stan.

Update 1:00pm: The Rude Pundit comments:

Seriously, and, c'mon, really, what the fuck can Bush say tonight that's gonna make everyone who's turned so viciously on him suddenly think that the war in Iraq is just jim-holy-shit-dandy. All it's gonna be is the same bullshit we've heard from Rumsfeld and McClellan and the rest: me stop terrorism, we safer, no rape rooms, the Keystone Iraqi forces are growin', we will win, loss of life bad, insurgents be foreign killahs. And, hey, lick my balls, we're stayin' the course.

To return to our story of hot fluffy sex: Any reasonably sane woman would throw you the fuck out her life and maybe, for good measure, have you arrested. Would that America might react the same way to Bush’s arrogant propaganda moment.

(Is this an absurd analogy? No shit. Welcome to America in the 21st century. Motto: We’re absurd, you can shove a fish up your nose.)

Tomorrow: Well, the Rude Pundit Was Right About the Speech.

Downing Street Memos picking up speed

Raw Story is keeping track.

Raw Story also has the details of the bombings intended to force Saddam's hand and/or destroy his defensive capabilities. "Soften him up."
A U.S. general who commanded the U.S. allied air forces in Iraq has confirmed that the U.S. and Britain conducted a massive secret bombing campaign before the U.S. actually declared war on Iraq.



  Raw Story article

Experimental nuclear fusion reactor to be built in France

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is intended to show that nuclear fusion, which harnesses the same energy that heats the sun to generate electricity, can wean the world off pollution-producing fossil fuels.

Nuclear fusion produces no greenhouse gas emissions and only low levels of radioactive waste.

Competition for reactor was intense.

At stake are billions of dollars worth of research funding, construction and engineering contracts, and the creation of up to 100,000 new jobs.

Japan, the United States and South Korea wanted the facility built at Rokkasho in northern Japan.

Russia, China and the European Union wanted it at Cadarache, in southern France.


Some scientists have warned that both sites are in seismically active zones and could be prone to earth tremors.

  China Broadcast article

The 10-billion-euro ($12.18-billion) experimental reactor that should now begin taking shape in Cadarache, southern France, will seek to turn seawater into fuel by mimicking the way the sun produces energy.

But critics argue it could be at least 50 years before a commercially viable reactor is built, if at all.


Power has been harnessed from fusion in laboratories but scientists have so far been unable to build a commercially viable reactor, despite decades of research.

The 500 megawatt ITER reactor will use deuterium, extracted from seawater, as its major fuel and a giant electromagnetic ring to fuse atomic nuclei at extremely high temperatures.

One of the biggest challenges facing scientists is to build a reactor that can sustain temperatures of about 100 million Celsius (180 million F) for long enough to generate power.


The ITER project began in 1985 but the scientific challenges and wrangling between its partners over the site and financing have caused repeated delays.

  Reuters article

Monday, June 27, 2005

Madrid bombing investigation finished

Fifteen and a half months after the devastating attacks on the Madrid subway that killed 190 people, a 16-member Spanish parliamentary commission has come out with a 290-page report with two major conclusions.


The government ignored obvious warning signs that might have made it preventable and then it "manipulated" and "twisted" the information to pin the rap on ETA in order to salvage its own political fortunes.

45 and a half months after 9/11, the United States still has no such report -- and, basically, no such investigation (the 9/11 commission steadfastly refused to blame anyone) -- despite the wealth of evidence of incompetence (with regard to 9/11) and malfeasance (connecting Iraq to 9/11).

  Empire Notes post

Gingrich critical of the WH

Mr. Bush still so dominates politics in Washington that there is little open criticism of him, and few Republicans are willing to challenge the strategy of Mr. Rove and other top aides. But behind the scenes there is increasing grumbling about the White House's political style.


Even as they expressed continued support for Mr. Bush and his goals, influential Republicans said Karl Rove and the White House political operation have been slow to shift from campaign mode, with its base-energizing positions, to an approach that allows for more compromise and increases the probability of Mr. Bush signing legislation that directly addresses the everyday concerns of voters.

"The tone has been too much of a permanent campaign," said Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker. "When you're the minority, you need to fight. When you're the governing majority, you need to produce."


In discussing the White House's problems, Republicans cited a variety of assumptions and decisions that have not worked out as Mr. Bush and his team had planned. They said the administration may have overestimated how much of a mandate Mr. Bush had coming out of last year's campaign.


[T]hey said, Mr. Bush and his team are struggling with a problem they never had during the campaign: with no high-profile political opponent as a foil, and with Democrats refusing to put forward competing proposals on issues like Social Security, the president and his policies stand on their own.

  NY Times article

The White House dismissed suggestions that Mr. Bush and his team had lost their touch and were struggling. Nicolle Devenish, the White House communications director, said Mr. Bush and his aides had done "an amazing amount of outreach" to Capitol Hill; were sharpening his message on Iraq and the economy; and were making steady progress on Social Security, energy and trade legislation, and other issues.

"We're on the verge of getting a lot of stuff done," Ms. Devenish said.
Hysterical. On the verge of getting a lot of stuff done.

Scottie Boy was having a similar problem in the press gaggle on Friday:
MR. McCLELLAN: This is a critical period. The transitional government is moving forward on drafting a constitution. They are moving forward to prepare for an election for the Iraqi people to adopt that constitution. They are moving forward to hold elections for a permanent representative government.
They are moving forward. On the verge of getting a lot of stuff done.

Heads up, Idaho

The Bush administration is planning to resume the country's production of plutonium 238 for "national security" reasons, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The report quoted US officials as saying that the program would produce a total of 330 pounds of plutonium 238 over 30 years at the Idaho National Laboratory for a total cost of nearly 1.5 billion dollars.

Project managers declined to disclose any details about the program but said that most if not all of the new plutonium is intended for secret missions.


Plutonium 238 has no central role in nuclear weapons but was regularly used by the United States to make nuclear batteries thatcan work for years or decades to power satellites, planetary probes and spy devices.


According to the report, the United States stopped made plutonium 238 in the 1980s and instead relies on aging stockpiles or imports from Russia. But by agreement with Russia, Washington cannot use the imported material for military purposes.

With its domestic stockpile running low, Washington now wants to restart production by 2012 and have the first plutonium 238 available by 2013, the report quoted Frazier as saying. But in order to proceed with the plan, the Bush administration still haveto acquire congressional approval.

  Xinhuanet article

No problem, I'm sure.

"The real reason we're starting production is for national security," Timothy A. Frazier, head of radioisotope power systems at the Energy Department, said in a recent interview.

He vigorously denied that any of the classified missions would involve nuclear arms, satellites or weapons in space.

  NY Times article

I trust 'em.
"It's going to be a tough world in the next one or two decades, and this may be needed," said a senior federal scientist who helps the military plan space missions and spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the possibility that he would contradict federal policies. "Technologically, it makes sense."
Will Halliburton get the contract?
Plutonium 238 is hundreds of times more radioactive than the kind of plutonium used in nuclear arms, plutonium 239. Medical experts agree that inhaling even a speck poses a serious risk of lung cancer.


Early in the nuclear era, the government became fascinated by plutonium 238 and used it regularly to make nuclear batteries that worked for years or decades. Scores of them powered satellites, planetary probes and spy devices, at times with disastrous results.

In 1964, a rocket failure led to the destruction of a navigation satellite powered by plutonium 238, spreading radioactivity around the globe and starting a debate over the event's health effects.

In 1965, high in the Himalayas, an intelligence team caught in a blizzard lost a plutonium-powered device meant to spy on China. And in 1968, an errant weather satellite crashed into the Pacific, but federal teams managed to recover its plutonium battery intact from the Santa Barbara Channel, off California.

Yeah, well, it's a tough world out there, and no price is too great to pay to keep those terrorists away from the Americans they so want to kill.

It makes sense.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Oil woes

Right now, the price of a barrel of crude oil is flirting with $60 [and] a Chinese state-controlled oil company has made an $18.5 billion bid for the American oil firm, Unocal.


[In] the meantime, Exxon -- which just had the impunity to hire Philip Cooney after he was accused of doctoring government reports on climate change and resigned as chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality ("The cynical way to look at this," commented Kert Davies, U.S. research director for Greenpeace, "is that ExxonMobil has removed its sleeper cell from the White House and extracted him back to the mother ship.") -- has quietly issued a report, The Outlook for Energy: A 2030 View, predicting that the moment of "peak oil" is only a five-year hop-skip-and-a-pump away; "Oil Shockwave," a "war game" recently conducted by top ex-government officials in Washington, including two former directors of the CIA, found the United States "all but powerless to protect the American economy in the face of a catastrophic disruption of oil markets," which was all too easy for them to imagine ("The participants concluded almost unanimously that they must press the president to invest quickly in promising technologies to reduce dependence on overseas oil...")


And if you don't quite recognize the new look of this fast-shifting energy landscape, then how are you going to feel if the Age of Petroleum turns out to be drawing -- more rapidly than most people imagine -- to a close?

Well, hold your hats, folks. Below Michael Klare, an expert on "resource wars" and the author of the indispensable Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency, discusses a new bombshell book by oil industry insider Matthew Simmons, and his unsettling news that everything you've heard about those inexhaustible supplies of Saudi oil, which are supposed to keep the world floating for decades, simply isn't so.


Go read...

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Update: Posada Carriles - our own terrorist

Posada-Carriles made a critical mistake in his return to the shores of the U.S. of A. Most folks inclined to look a horse in the mouth won’t buy his claim about entering the states through Texas. It is almost certain he was delivered to the shores of Miami with the assistance of his benefactor, Santiago Alvarez, and a misguided shrimp boat captain who, prior to reaching U.S. soil, washed nearly ashore with his crew in public view off the coast of Mexico.

If only Posada-Carriles would have stuck with the Miami version of the story, instead of the tall Texas tale, he might be sitting in the catbird seat today, facing an immigration hearing in Miami. Instead, he’s now a jailbird in El Paso with the paw of the mighty U.S. government planted squarely on his soul.

How can this be? How is it that the U.S. government, which created this Frankenstein Posada-Carriles, is now seeking to cage the monster?


The White House is now confronted with a terrorist who has played for their team: Posada-Carriles -- and they don’t want too many of his dirty little secrets getting out in the sunshine, particularly in a Venezuelan court of all places.

But the Bush Administration, despite its deftness at making buzzards appear to be eagles, has been caught in a game of pickle. If they run toward the base called “asylum,” the world media currently focused on Posada-Carriles will surely tag them out. If they run toward the base called “extradition,” they can’t get around Venezuela’s claim on their CIA operative.

So what to do?


Posada Carriles put the spotlight on himself, in an act of egotistical stupidity, forcing the Bush Administration to swoop in and pick him up -- via U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) -- before he did even more damage to the Administration’s already putrid world image.

But the big question is why did they move Posada Carriles to El Paso, Texas?

If the Bush Administration really wanted him to be granted asylum, wouldn’t they have left him plead his immigration case in Miami, where he has the backing of the anti-Castro Cuban community and political machine? Instead, they arrested him the day after he granted an “exclusive” interview to the Miami Herald, flew him to the former Homestead Air Force Base in South Florida and then sent him directly to jail in El Paso.

Narco News decided to ask a number of high-ranking law-enforcement officials who have experience with immigration and intelligence-agency matters about this strategy. They agreed to share their views, if we would agree to keep their names confidential.

Following is their take on what is now happening to Posada-Carriles and why the recent postponement of his bond hearing comes as no surprise:

Read on at The NarcoSphere...

Business is booming

June 26, 2005:
BAGHDAD — Faced with a ballooning prison population, U.S. commanders in Iraq are building new detention facilities at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and Camp Bucca near the Kuwaiti border and are developing a third major prison, in northern Iraq.

The burgeoning number of detainees has also resulted in a lengthy delay in plans for the U.S. to transfer full control of Abu Ghraib to the Iraqi government.

Maj. Gen. William Brandenburg, who oversees U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, had planned to be out of Abu Ghraib by early spring. "I believed it until mid-December, but the numbers just weren't going that way," he said. "Business is booming."


The number of prisoners held by the U.S. in Iraq reached record levels this month before falling slightly. As of Saturday, the average prisoner total in June stood at 10,783, up from 7,837 in January and 5,435 in June 2004.

The two main U.S. Army-run prisons, Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, are operating near their maximum or "surge" emergency limits. On Saturday, the two prisons together held 10,178 inmates, with 1,630 detainees awaiting processing in different Army divisional and brigade headquarters.


The Army is expanding both sites and working on the third major prison, near Sulaymaniya, which would house up to 2,000 prisoners; the additions will increase the total U.S. long-term detention capability to more than 16,000 prisoners.


The expansion campaign will cost more than $50 million: $30 million for Camp Cropper, $12 million to expand Camp Bucca, $8 million to renovate Ft. Suse and less than $1 million for Abu Ghraib.


Let me guess....Halliburton gets the contract?

Gee - here I thought we were releasing prisoners and closing down Abu Ghraib.

May 2004:

"A new Iraq will also need a humane, well supervised prison system. Under Saddam Hussein, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values. America will fund the construction of a modern, maximum security prison. When that prison is completed, detainees at Abu Ghraib will be relocated. Then, with the approval of the Iraqi government, we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison, as a fitting symbol of Iraq's new beginning." -- George Bush


January 2004:
Iraq's U.S.-led administration will release 506 prisoners from detention camps, while simultaneously offering bounties for 30 more Iraqis wanted in the anti-American insurgency, officials said Tuesday.

Coalition officials said the releases - out of some 12,800 detainees - are aimed at fostering more goodwill and intelligence tips, which they said have surged in the three weeks since the capture of Saddam Hussein.


May 2004:
Last Friday, about 300 male prisoners were freed from Abu Ghraib, the first detainees to be released since the abuse scandal first broke. A further 475 are due to be released tomorrow, although it is not clear if any of the women will be among them. General Geoffery Miller, who is responsible for overhauling US military jails in Iraq, has promised to release 1,800 prisoners across Iraq "within 45 days". Some 2,000 are likely to remain behind bars, he says.


Well, whoopsie. We're back up to "surge emergency" limits now.

And nearly a year ago, I thought there would be some fallout about the children "detainees" and the women.
Sy Hersh, the journalist who broke the Abu Ghuraib prison torture scandal, told an American Civil Liberties Union audience that film exists of young Iraqi men at Abu Ghuraib being sodomized by US troops. He said, "The boys were sodomised with the cameras rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the boys shrieking. And this is your government at war."


The note claimed that US guards had been raping women detainees, who were, and are, in a small minority at Abu Ghraib. Several of the women were now pregnant, it added. The women had been forced to strip naked in front of men, it said. The note urged the Iraqi resistance to bomb the jail to spare the women further shame.


Late last year, Swadi, one of seven female lawyers now representing women detainees in Abu Ghraib, began to piece together a picture of systemic abuse and torture perpetrated by US guards against Iraqi women held in detention without charge. This was not only true of Abu Ghraib, she discovered, but was, as she put it, "happening all across Iraq".

In November last year, Swadi visited a woman detainee at a US military base at al-Kharkh, a former police compound in Baghdad. "She was the only woman who would talk about her case. She was crying. She told us she had been raped," Swadi says. "Several American soldiers had raped her. She had tried to fight them off and they had hurt her arm. She showed us the stitches. She told us, 'We have daughters and husbands. For God's sake don't tell anyone about this.'"


How do they keep the lid on these things?

And this will surprise the hell out of you...

House Ethics chairman violates ethics rules.
Rep. Doc Hastings, already under fire as chairman of the stalled House ethics committee, accepted a $7,800 trip to England in 2000 from a company he championed for a multibillion-dollar contract at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, records released by an advocacy group yesterday show.

In addition, other records released yesterday by a political Web site show that Hastings, a Republican from Pasco, did not file a required travel report for a 2004 trip to a resort on Stuart Island, B.C. That was paid for by another company also working at Hanford.

Hastings has been under fire for not scheduling hearings on ethics allegations against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.


Campaign for a Cleaner Congress, an advocacy group that says it is nonpartisan, released records yesterday from Hastings' personal disclosure statements that show he went to Edinburgh, Scotland, and Manchester, England, in 2000 as a guest of the firm BNFL.

He also received campaign contributions from BNFL and one of its employees.


Hastings declined to comment. His spokeswoman Jessica Gleason said the 2004 travel report had been completed, but apparently never reached the congressional records office. He will refile the report on Monday.


Hastings was named chairman of the ethics committee in February, after Republicans ousted their colleague Rep. Joel Hefley of Colorado. Hefley had led several investigations of previous allegations involving DeLay, resulting in three admonitions from the committee.

  Seattle Times article

Bandar Bush resigning?

Something's up. And, call me jaded, but I'm a little suspicious about the "health reasons" business.
Senior U.S. and Saudi officials as well as a senior member of the diplomatic community in Riyadh told NBC News that Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, had tendered his resignation to Crown Prince Abdullah in recent days. The resignation appears to be the result of continuing health problems for the 56-year-old envoy.

  MSNBC article

Senior U.S. and Saudi officials as well as a senior member of the diplomatic community in Riyadh told NBC News that Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, had tendered his resignation to Crown Prince Abdullah in recent days. The resignation appears to be the result of continuing health problems for the 56-year-old envoy.
Hell, Bandar, we all take Ambien here.
The sudden nature of the resignation as well as concerns about the king's health will almost certainly lead to an increase in the price of oil on Monday, said oil analyst John Kilduff of FIMAT, one of the world's largest oil traders.
What doesn't?

Taking the fight to Karl

LaBelle sends this link...

Click graphic

SOUND OFF, Soldiers!

Email to:
FightingLiberals at yahoo dot com

Note: You must include NAME, STREET ADDRESS, RANK and UNIT INFO (OR OTHER VERIFIABLE MILITARY INFO) for verification purposes. I will not publish or disclose that information, but I also will not publish without seeing it. This is to keep this site honest as is possible in the "internets" age. The choice to publish your thoughts is yours.

...and this excerpt from it:

Active Iraq Soldier: Karl, Come over _here_ and say that, Chickehawk... From the mailbag:

I'm writing you from [Location Withheld] Iraq, about 35 miles NW of Baghdad.. And I'm too tired to give Karl the verbal beating he deserves for his insults. I'm too tired because we're jsut a bit shorthanded over here, fighting his war for him. A war taht has made nearly every country in the world fear and distrust America, a war fought for a knowing lie dreamed up by Karl and his buddies, none of whom have ever heard a shot fired in anger, or helped pick up the parts of another human being after an IED blast.

I enlisted after the war beganm and after I'd gotten my degree. I could easily have stayed home and watched the war on TV, and Karl does. I do not support this war in the slightest, but I will not sit at home and lecture others on their insufficient patriotism when the nation is in need. I joined because I believe in giving back some measure of service and devotion to my country.

To hear a man like Karl insinuate that only conservatives are really patriotic is a knife in the back to every man and woman in Iraq who serves here. At least a third of us voted against Bush and pals. The number increases every day that we stay here, forced to make bricks without straw for months on end.

We've been here for 6 months. We're going to be here for at least 6 more. And next week we're moving to a more 'active' sector because the unit there is rotating home and the are is still too hot to entrust to the IA or IP, most of whom are still not fit to guard a traffic light, despite two years of efforts on our part. For some of us, this is our second tour through Iraq. My unit, [Withheld] was the tip of the spear in OIF I. At least half of us are combat veterans of a major battle and liberals. Can any of your gang say that, Karl?

Never insult me and my fellow liberals again, Karl. Watching a fat, hateful thing like you that has never faced any greater danger in your life than a long golf shot denigrate every liberal who has put on a uniform is more demoralizing than ten thousand speeches that uphold America's highest ideals from Sen. Biden or Byrd.

[Name Withheld]
A liberal father lost two sons in Iraq: Randi Rhodes audio: a man calls in to comment on Slimey Bottom's comments. "My sons went to get bin Laden and got sent to Iraq."

The next logical step

In a facist regime. I've been trying to avoid posting about this, but here - let's just get it over with:
President George W. Bush for life? Well, not really.

But Democrat Rep. Howard Berman would be willing to let presidents give it their best shot.

The Van Nuys congressman this week teamed up with a small group of lawmakers trying to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which limits presidents to two terms in office.

  Daily News article

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

In pictures

Click graphic

Regarding Haiti

Roger Noreiga's comments in the recent Pablo Bachelet article published in the Miami Herald maligns the people of Haiti peacefully advocating for President Aristide's return; is arbitrary and capricious and based on no evidence offered, and, is an example of Mr. Noreiga's continued systemic character assassination of, not only the poor in Haiti, but of officials from their Constitutionally elected government.


Mr. Noreiga, who, as a former Jesse Helms protégé, is known for his pathological hatred of President Aristide, not only accused the President of involvement in directing violence in Haiti, but implicated the entire Lavalas party as directly responsible for the insecurity and lawlessness. Noreiga told the Herald that: "Aristide and his camp are singularly responsible for most of the violence and for the concerted nature of the violence." Yet many human rights investigators have uniformly illustrated the current repression in Haiti was brought to Haiti because of Bush regime change, the Coup D'etat masterminded by Mr. Noreiga and the U.S. arms, funding and remobilizing of the bloody Haitian military to re-image them as the current "policeforce."


[Noriega's] statement was the strongest so far blaming Aristide for the violence that has rocked the country since his ouster early last year amid an armed uprising. In the past, Washington has blamed the violence more generally on Aristide's Lavalas Family Party.

The violence, which has increased significantly since September, is threatening to affect the Oct. 9 local elections and Nov. 13 legislative and presidential elections. Hundreds are estimated to have died in clashes involving armed gangs of Aristide supporters and foes and U.N. peacekeepers.
  Haiti Action article

More collective punishment

“Near the city of Buhrez, 5 kilometers south of Baquba, two Humvess of American soldiers were destroyed recently. American and Iraqi soldiers came to the city afterwards and cut all the phones, cut the water, cut medicine from arriving in the city and told them that until the people of the city bring the “terrorists” to them, the embargo will continue.”

The embargo has been in place now for one week now, and he continued:

“The Americans still won’t anyone or any medicines and supplies into Buhrez, nor will they allow any people in or out. Even the Al-Sadr followers who organized some help for the people in the city (water, food, medicine) are not being allowed into the city. Even journalists cannot enter to publish the news, and the situation there is so bad. The Americans keep asking for the people in the city to bring them the persons who were in charge of destroying the two Humvees on the other side of the city, but of course the people in the city don’t know who carried out the attack.”


On Haditha and Al-Qa’im, an Iraqi doctor sent me this email yesterday:

“Listen…we witnessed crimes in the west area of the country of what the bastards did in Haditha and Al-Qa’im. It was a crime, a really big crime we have witnessed and filmed in those places and recently also in Fallujah. We need big help in the western area of the country. Our doctors need urgent help there. Please, this is an URGENT humanitarian request from the hospitals in the west of the country. We have big proof on how the American troops destroyed one of our hospitals, how they burned the whole store of medication of the west area of Iraq and how they killed a patient in the ward…how they prevented us from helping the people in al-Qa’im. This is an URGENT Humanitarian request. The hospitals in the west of Iraq ask for urgent help…we are in a big humanitarian medical disaster…”

  Iraq Dispatches

They shoot reporters, don't they?

The newspaper has been translating various articles of mine into Turkish and running them, particularly those concerning the most recent Fallujah massacre. The report who was interviewing me today told me that the former American consulate here, Eric Edelman, asked the Prime Minister of Turkey to pressure his paper to not run so many of my stories.

“Why did he do this,” I asked him.

“Edelman said it was the wrong news,” he told me with a smile.

Turns out Edelman also asked that articles by Robert Fisk and Naomi Klein not be run so often in Yeni Safak either.

He smiled at me while he watched the wheels turning in my head before I smiled back and said, “That makes me very happy, it means I’m doing my job as a journalist.”

We laughed heartily together at this, as did everyone else at the table.

Reminds me of the obtuse hate mails I sometimes receive-confirmation that I am doing my job-they always make me smile.

So the American government is pressuring foreign countries to censor their news. Aside from the fact that this act is the height of arrogance by the United States, it makes it exceedingly clear why so many Americans who rely on the corporate media for their news continue to be so misinformed/un-informed about the goings on in Iraq. If the American government is attempting to censor the news in foreign countries, you can imagine what they are doing at home.

  Iraq Dispatches: Dahr Jamail post

More negotiations with terrorists

We've seen this before. Billmon has the current story.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Further proof of Progress in Iraq

Aside from the previous post's information about U.S. military forces murdering another reporter, Information Clearinghouse has a few good headlines.

Eight policemen, five Shiite poultry vendors killed in Iraq

Iraqi Police Find Eight Beheaded Bodies

Suicide Car Bomber Kills Six in Iraq

Iraqis Fear Era of Relentless Chaos, Cruelty

Iraqi oil workers lament lack of jobs

And an editorial:

We may now be only weeks away from a complete collapse of the Iraqi army and the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq in the face of overwhelming public pressure on Tony Blair.

That is a realistic projection based on the reports of two Washington Post reporters, whose dispatches from inside Iraqi Army units and U.S. units assigned to train and work with the Iraqi military have just been published.

What the Post reporters found was massive disenchantment on both sides: American forces bitterly disappointed with the Iraqi government forces, and Iraqi troops harboring similar feelings toward their American counterparts. Only a small percentage of all Iraqi troops are now estimated to be adequately trained to take over the defense of their country. Desertions are widespread.

More than 1,700 American men and women sent to Iraq have returned home in body bags thus far, and more than 7,000 have been critically wounded. War dead in total exceeds 25,000, including "collateral casualties." And the price tag for our military operations tops $200 billion - and counting.

Recent surveys in Iraq have shown that insurgents are overwhelmingly Iraqis, not foreign fighters. Few are associated with al-Qaida.

  Herald Dispatch article

Juan Cole has a further list.

And as for the U.S. military:
"According to the Pentagon, less than 1 per cent of the army has deserted from the Iraq war.

  CTV article

Apparently, that's 6,000 soldiers.

All's fair in love and war

You knew it would come to this.
Russia is prepared to use warplanes to destroy terrorist bases abroad, Air Force commander Vladimir Mikhailov was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"As for terrorists and our fighter jets, if we have high-precision weapons and know the whereabouts of a terrorist gang, why not smash it, even if it's outside Russia?" Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.


Mikhailov, on a visit to the Volga region town of Engels, said Russia's need to strike terrorist bases abroad was linked to aspects of U.S. foreign policy, but did not go into details.

  Information Clearinghouse article

No need. We know the details. Pre-emptive action. What's good for the goose.

Thank you once again, Dumbya, for the War on Terror. Just let us know the official date of the free-for-all option, so we can put it on our calendars.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Another reporter down

An Iraqi reporter working for an American news organization was shot and killed in Baghdad by U.S. troops after he apparently did not respond to a shouted signal from a military convoy, witnesses said. The military had no comment.

  Yahoo News article

Because actions speak louder than words.

He'll be "Anonymous" on my already lengthy list.

Getting better all the time

Progress in Iraq.
Baghdad airport has been closed indefinitely in a dispute over payment for security.

The British company that provides security to the airport, Global, has withdrawn its services in what it says is a contractual dispute.

Military flights, however, are not affected.

  BBC article

But of course.
It is understood that Global has not been paid by the Iraqi government for three months.

It is not clear whether there is any connection but the Iraqi transport ministry is frequently accused of corruption.

A former transport minister is wanted for questioning over the issue.

The Iraqi government is also notoriously unreliable about paying its own employees.

When the airport is open, several airlines provide commercial flights inside Iraq and to several neighbouring countries.

Because of the threat of missiles, planes execute a corkscrew manoeuvre on landing and take-off.

The airport highway is also one of the most frequently attacked roads in the country.

Kevin Benderman update

The latest we have heard is that Kevin's Court-Martial will begin on July 28.

Kevin received the recommendation of the Investigating Officer for the new Article 32 hearing (military equivalent of a pretrial hearing). He STRONGLY recommended dismissal of the "larceny" charge, citing the fact that it was an accounting error that was rampant throughout Ft. Stewart. But, the Army is going ahead with the larceny chage anyway.

As far as the other two charges, he recommended that they both go forward to General Court-Martial, but with qualifications on the Desertion charge.

  Benderman Defense Fund

Fight to Survive still down

Last post: December 2004


America is a nation that is infamous for protecting it’s interests, no matter where in the world they fall. Be it silencing the worker in Central or South America or freeing up a little oil here in the Middle East, the powers that be have us busy serving their interests while providing ample distraction from the realities of the situation.

Last word I received from hEkLe was to stay away from the site. Shit’s going down. They’re on to us. When I looked at the site for myself I saw that the last three posts had been pulled. I haven’t heard from him or The Heretic since. This was almost a week ago.

So, they’ve got us. One less problem now that this voice of free thought has been stamped out under the jackboot. Aren’t they so proud, strangling the hope of three soldiers. What the fuck, you know? I guess the voice of the soldier is that great a threat. But now, do they really expect us to stop? As long as we make it out, so do our stories...

I guess we’ll be taking a break for a little while. More soon. I hope.

Stop this war.


"As long as we make it out."

About the site, initiated September 2004:

Fight To Survive

this site is the mouthpiece for a group of soldiers who are fighting in a war they oppose for a president they didn't elect while the petrochemical complex turns the blood of their fallen comrades into oil

This website is privately operated and is designed to provide personal information, views and commentary about the authors experiences in Iraq and elsewhere. The images depicted and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author and contributors and not those of any agency of the United States Government, expressly including, but not limited to, the Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Army Reserve. The site is not designed, authorized, sanctioned, or affiliated, by or with, any agency of the United States Government, expressly including, but not limited to, the Department of Defense, the United States Army, or the United States Army Reserve. Users accept and agree to this disclaimer in the use of any information accessed in this website.

Bring 'em on!

"It is hard to be an American in Australia at the moment, it is really hard. It varies with different people, but you have to be quiet and try not to draw attention to yourself."

Australian-American Association state president Marylou Badeaux said anti-American sentiment had reached a climax over the war in Iraq.

She said attacks from the general public were mostly sedate – but had grown into open hostility at several Queensland universities. In some cases, US students and academics were being "persecuted" for merely having an American accent.

"They are taking it out on people who may or may not agree but just because they have an American accent, they are being persecuted," she said.


The Colorado-based Australearn organisation – which teaches "cultural adjustment" to US students before they come to Australia – started warning in January of attitudes towards Americans over Iraq.

Australearn's Australian director, Shelia Houston, said the briefings aimed to give American students "coping strategies" in the face of an attack.

She said some students suffered culture shock because of the belief that everyone loved Americans. "We are giving them the heads up that it is a bit more heated because of the war in Iraq," Ms Houston said.

  Sunday Times article

Everyone loves Americans. American students don't get out much, do they?

Well, it's a good eye opener. Glad they could witness.

And we thank you George Dubya. Because, if I'm not mistaken, Australia is an ally.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Oklahoma City Bombing, Torture stateside & the FBI

CNN recently reported that “the Justice Department is re-examining its investigation into the 1995 death of a federal prisoner that the victim’s family alleges was murder at the hands of the government.”

The victim was Kenneth Michael Trentadue. At 7 AM on August 21, 1995, officials from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s office arrived at the new Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center for the body of a man recently picked up for parole violation who allegedly was a suicide by hanging. The astonished state officials saw a body with scalp split to the skull in three places, throat slashed, and a body completely covered in blood, bruises and burns.


Dr. Fred B. Jordan, the Chief Medical Examiner of the state of Oklahoma, was stunned at the destruction of evidence by federal authorities and at the way federal officials blocked his office from carrying out required duties. In a memo to the file dated December 20, 1995, Dr. Jordan described his frustration over being stonewalled by top Department of Justice officials in Washington. He recorded that he confided to the Assistant U.S. Attorney in Oklahoma City that “I felt Mr. Trentadue had been abused and tortured.”

Two years later Dr. Jordan said on a Fox News Interview (July 3, 1997):

“I think it’s very likely he [Kenneth Trentadue] was murdered. I’m not able to prove it. I have temporarily classified the death as undetermined. You see a body covered with blood, removed from the room as Mr. Trentadue was, soaked in blood, covered with bruises, and you try to gain access to the scene and the government of the United States says no, you can’t.

“They [the federal government] continued to prohibit us from having access to the scene of his death, which is unheard of, until about five months later. When we went in [the cell] and luminoled, it lit up like a candle because blood was still present on the walls of the room after four or five months. But at that point we have no crime scene, so there are still questions about the death of Kenneth Trentadue that will never be answered because of the actions of the U.S. government.”
Dr. Jordan’s effort to do his job brought him under great pressure and harassment from federal authorities. Realizing his peril, on August 25, 1997, Dr. Jordan wrote to IRS Commissioner Margaret Richardson:
“The requirements of my job as chief Medical Examiner for the State of Oklahoma are currently bringing me into an uncomfortable juxtaposition with the United States Department of Justice. In order to protect myself from retribution, I would like information as to how to request a protective audit from your agency. By this, I simply mean a standard audit in order to avoid having your agency used to harass me as I proceed with my inquiries into a death that directly relates to the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City.”

It has always been a puzzle why a man picked up on a parole violation would be murdered in his cell by federal agents. Recently an explanation has turned up.

Kenneth Trentadue might have been a victim of mistaken identity. Misidentified as the missing John Doe, Tim McVeigh’s alleged accomplice in the Oklahoma City bombing, he might have been beaten and tortured in an effort to obtain a confession. The autopsy report shows Trentadue with a highly elevated caffeine level, amounts certainly not available to a person held in isolation.

High doses of caffeine are used to increase pain under torture.


A believer in the system, Jesse Trentadue [attorney and brother of the victim] has not given up. He has brought a Freedom of Information Act suit against the DOJ. Trentadue’s suit, rather than a rediscovery of integrity by the DOJ, probably explains the recent CNN report that the DOJ is reopening the case. By reopening a criminal investigation, the DOJ does not have to release the documents demanded by Trentadue’s civil suit.


More Trentadue case information
By late 1997, when Jesse Trentadue’s efforts to win a Justice Department investigation had still gone nowhere, he sued the federal government for intentional infliction of emotional distress. At first, Trentadue figured his brother had mouthed off to a prison guard and had been beaten to death. He believed FTC officials were simply covering for their guards. Later events made him suspect a deeper conspiracy.

Alden Gillis Baker, a fellow inmate, was a chief witness in the case. He swore in a deposition that he heard Trentadue scuffling with guards, then heard “a lot of beating going on” followed by moans. “I heard, like, sheets being ripped,” Baker added. But in August 2000, before he could appear in court, Baker himself was found hanging from the ceiling of his prison cell at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary.
  Orange County Weekly article

Kenneth Trentadue
with "self-inflicted wounds"
Ten years after the Oklahoma City bombing—years that have included crumbling towers and color-coded terror alerts—U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) says he wants to reopen the case of what was, at the time, the worst terrorist attack on American soil.

Four years after the execution of “lone-bomber” Timothy McVeigh, Rohrachacher wants to use his House Committee on International Relations to reopen the government’s long-closed investigation. He’s hinted that his suspicions involve formerly classified FBI files that suggest that the government knows more about the bombing than it has so far acknowledged, and that the FBI may be covering up the fact that the tragedy might have resulted from an FBI sting operation that got out of control.

“There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered,” Rohrabacher declared in a May 7 interview with Fox News. “And what bothers me is that the authorities just seem to be just so dedicated to keeping the book closed.”

Rohrabacher failed to respond to interview requests for this story, and his staff refused to comment—“Why don’t you get a real job,” said a Rohrabacher aide.

But Jesse Trentadue, a Utah lawyer who grew up in Westminster, claims Rohrabacher not only believes in a wider conspiracy but believes the FBI played a role in the bombing. Furthermore, he said, Rohrabacher’s suspicions involve the mysterious McVeigh accomplice, John Doe 2—a sketch of whom was released and then withdrawn by the FBI shortly after the bombing—and Trentadue’s brother, who died mysteriously inside his cell at the Federal Transfer Center (FTC) in Oklahoma City 10 years ago.


Trentadue says full release of the bureau’s files will prove the FBI knew about the Oklahoma City bombing in advance—and could have done something to stop it.

“This was a sting operation run amok; it went too far,” he says. “Those teletypes are smoking guns.”

On Jan. 28, Trentadue was visiting his mother in Westminster and took copies of the teletypes to Rohrabacher’s district headquarters. Just weeks later, Rohrabacher made the stunning announcement that he was reopening the Oklahoma City bombing investigation.

“Rohrabacher was alarmed,” Trentadue says. “He said, ‘If these things are real, they implicate the FBI and the government of the United States in the greatest act of terrorism in the 20th century.”
  Orange County Weekly article

Can't wait

When the power of traditional religion to suppress contrary viewpoints finally fails -- and given the increasing hysteria of the traditionalists, that could be sooner rather than later -- we may all be astounded to see what scientific heresies come to flower.
  comment at Rigorous Intuition
And this is not good, but makes a great deal of sense out of other things.
Until they changed the text, the Harry S Truman Lodge listed Cheney as “the highest ranking Freemason in American public service”.
  comment at Rigorous Intuition
Freemasons and Bonesmen running the country. All the way back to George Washington.

USA: Acid house

The cocaine metaphor is a common touchstone for critics of the administration. That might have been the poison of choice for the empty suit at the top, but it's not his administration, it's Cheney's, and cocaine doesn't make pharmacological sense of the bad trip he's sent us on. The White House is not a crack house, it's an acid house.


When was it, exactly, that we entered this altered reality? How long is it you've been shaking, sweating, and seeing things that shouldn't be there? The United States, in every tragic sense, is an altered state; an experimental subject of dark actors and mad doctors. How long before the Acid Empire, like Frank Olson before it, falls from a great height? (Coincidentally it was Cheney who, with Donald Rumsfeld, conspired in 1975 to cover-up the circumstances of Olson's state-induced, and LSD-assisted, death.)

  Rigorous Intuition post

And what's with Snidely Dick Whiplash Cheney saying that the insurgency in Iraq is in its last throes? He doesn't read, either, apparently. And I guess nobody's telling him anything, least of all that nobody remaining in their right mind in the entire 50 states believes that the situation in Iraq is improving.

What's in its "last throes" is the Dick Ticker.
Vice President Dick Cheney was taken to the cardiac unit of the Vail Valley Medical Center Friday. Contrary to Associated Press reports that he went to see orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steadman, at the Steadman Hawkins clinic for a knee injury, Vice President Cheney passed through the Steadman Hawkins clinic and the Colorado Mountain Medical Center to get to the cardiac unit to see Dr. Jack Eck and his team. The Vice President checked into the hospital under the name of Dr. Hoffman.

Posted June 24, 2005 10:06 PM
  The Huffington Post
VAIL -- Why is the White House still insisting that the only health issue Vice President Cheney dealt with today is an old football injury to his knee, visiting renowned orthopedist Dr. Richard Steadman? At the Vail Valley Institute dinner tonight, I kept asking what those in the know here knew. Little by little, here is the story I pieced together: After the Secret Service secured the Vail Valley Medical Center, including the parking lot, the Vice President arrived under his own power and checked in at the orthopedic center under the name “Dr. Hoffman”. He was immediately whisked to the adjacent cardiac unit, suffering from what was described to me as “an angina attack”. The security was so high that a Secret Service agent wouldn’t let an ER nurse out of the bathroom that she had gone into just before the Veep arrived. “Get back in there,” the agent told her. Confounded, she called her husband on her cell phone, telling him “something big” was going on. And indeed it was… but you wouldn’t know it from the White House. It appears that not only doesn’t the public deserve to know what is really going on in Iraq (“last throes”?) we don’t deserve to know what is going on with our Vice President’s health.
  The Huffington Post