21 July 2004

This Land is Your Land 

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19 July 2004

How we got it so wrong in Iraq  

From Information Clearing House

Sunday, July 18, 2004 "Times Union" -- Earlier this year, I testified before two investigative bodies -- the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Butler Commission -- responsible for probing the massive failure of, respectively, the American and British intelligence services to properly assess the status of Iraq's ethereal weapons of mass destruction programs. The alleged existence of those programs was the foundation of the justification for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The Senate committee issued its report July 9; the Butler Commission did the same on Wednesday. Both are harshly critical, with the primary focus of blame falling on the analytical arms of both nations' intelligence services, which are accused of grossly exaggerating and misrepresenting available data on Iraq's WMD capability. This lapse was real, and the negative impact on the integrity of the free world's most prominent intelligence services -- the Central Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence Agency in the United States, and Great Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, or MI-6, and Defense Intelligence Staff -- will take years to ascertain, and even more time to repair.

Both the Senate committee and the Butler Commission appear to take pains to underscore their shared findings that the failures of intelligence regarding Iraq's missing WMD rest largely with the analysts and intelligence collection managers, on both sides of the Atlantic, who forgot that their job as intelligence professionals was not to tell their bosses what they wanted to hear, but rather what the facts were, regardless of the political consequences.

Pointing a critical finger at these analysts and managers is fair; limiting the scope of criticism to these failures is not. Both President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair seem to be given a free pass by these investigations, which purport to have found no direct evidence of efforts by either the White House or 10 Downing Street to "cook" the intelligence on Iraq's WMD.

As I testified before both panels, looking for such a direct link was likely to prove futile. The issue, I noted, was much more complicated, involving years of advocacy in both the United States and Great Britain for regime change in Baghdad that had permeated all levels of government, corrupting formulation of sound policy with a "group think" conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Anything that could facilitate his removal became accepted, regardless of its veracity.

This "group think" approach can be traced to early 1995, when MI-6, working with the CIA's London station, put forward Iyad Allawi, now Iraq's prime minister, but then the head of an expatriate opposition movement known as the Iraqi National Alliance, as a viable vehicle for overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

Throughout 1995 and into the early summer of 1996, the CIA and MI-6 worked with Allawi's alliance to cobble together a coup d'etat from within Saddam's inner circle. Saddam's security services uncovered the plot and liquidated those involved.

At the same time the coup attempt was being planned, United Nations weapons inspectors were making remarkable progress in accounting for Iraq's weapons programs. In July 1995, about the same time the CIA and MI-6 embraced Allawi's alliance, the Iraqi government, under pressure from the U.N. inspectors, finally disclosed its biological weapons program.

In August 1995, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, defected to Jordan, and told the U.N., CIA and MI-6 that all of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed in the summer of 1991 under his direct orders. The Iraqi government, in response to Hussein Kamal's defection, turned over hundreds of thousands of hitherto undisclosed documents about their proscribed WMD programs, confirming data already known to the U.N. inspectors, and filling in many gaps.

While the U.N. was not in a position to verify total compliance by Iraq regarding its obligation to disarm, these dramatic events, combined with Iraq's cooperation in establishing the most intrusive, technologically advanced on-site inspection regime in the history of arms control, gave the U.N. confidence that 90 to 95 percent of Iraq's WMD could be verifiably accounted for, and that in the face of effective monitoring inspections, the likelihood of the unaccounted-for WMD remaining in viable form was slim.

The effort to disarm Iraq was shifting from a search for hidden capability to a less threatening accounting problem. For advocates of regime change who needed the specter of a defiant (and dangerous) Saddam, this was not acceptable.

The attempted 1996 coup, and subsequent regime change activities, were not undertaken by renegade intelligence operatives, but rather as an extension of official (albeit secret) policy objectives approved by then-President Clinton and Blair, and made known to their respective legislative oversight bodies.

Both the Senate committee and the Butler Commission are heavily populated by personnel who were party to implementation of the regime change policy. Both are aware of efforts undertaken by their respective intelligence services to use the U.N. weapons inspection process not as a vehicle of disarmament, but as a tool for intelligence collection supportive of regime change. Those activities were not mandated by the Security Council and destroyed the integrity of the inspection-led disarmament effort.

The unwillingness of the American and British governments to capitalize on the dramatic breakthroughs regarding the disarmament of Iraq between July 1995 and July 1996 only underscores the reality that, when it came to the fate of Saddam's government, the outcome had been preordained. There was never an intention to allow a finding of Iraqi compliance concerning its disarmament obligation, even if one was warranted. Saddam was to be removed from power, and WMD were always viewed by the policymakers as the excuse for doing so.

The failure of either the Senate committee or the Butler Commission to recognize the role that the policy of regime change had in corrupting the analytical efforts of U.S. and British intelligence services means that not only will it be more difficult to achieve meaningful reform in these services, but more importantly, the general public will continue to remain largely ignorant of the true scope of failure regarding Iraq policy.

For representative democracies like the United States and Great Britain, with service members currently operating in harm's way inside Iraq, this is unacceptable.

Copyright 1996-2004, Capital Newspapers Division

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Radiation in Iraq equals 250,000 Nagasaki bombs 

Special Report

By Bob Nichols
Online Journal Contributing Writer

July 13, 2004—As a writer I do not have a set of words to describe what 142 degrees in the shade is like. I've seen 120 degrees in Phoenix and 110 degrees in the spa's sauna I use. One hundred forty-two degrees leaves me speechless. Try to imagine 142 D temperature while wearing a helmet, long sleeve shirt, long pants, a bulletproof vest, boots, and carrying a 70-pound pack.

By contrast the Inuit of Alaska and Canada are said to have 37 words to precisely talk about different kinds of snow.

So, since the temperature is heating up in Iraq it seemed like a good time to float this story to different Internet sites and news publications. There was one story in 2003 of a 19-year old British soldier whose military job was to work in a British tank. In Iraq. In the summer. Word is, from London, that he forgot to drink enough water and he literally cooked in his tank.

But, this story is not about the temperature in Iraq. You can bet, though, the weather will be really important for those Americans unfortunate enough to still be in Iraq this summer.

This story is about American weapons built with depleted uranium components for the business end of things. Just about all American bullets, tank shells, missiles, dumb bombs, smart bombs, 500 and 2,000-pound bombs, cruise missiles, and anything else engineered to help our side in the war of us against them has depleted uranium in it. Lots of depleted uranium.

In the case of a cruise missile, as much as 800 pounds of the stuff. This article is about how much radioactive depleted uranium our guys, representing us, the citizens of the United States, let fly in Iraq. Turns out they used about 4,000,000 pounds of the stuff, give or take, according to the Pentagon and the United Nations. That is a bunch.

Now, most people have no idea how much Four Million Pounds of anything is, much less of depleted uranium oxide dust (UOD), which this stuff turns into when it is shot or exploded. Suffice it to say it is about equal to 1,333 cars that weigh 3,000 pounds apiece. That is a lot of cars; but we can imagine what a parking lot with 1,333 is like. The point is this was and is an industrial strength operation. It is still going on, too.

No sir-ee, putting Four Million Pounds of Radioactive Uranium Dust (RUD) on the ground in Iraq was a definitely "on-purpose" kind of thing. It was not "just an accident." We, the citizens of the United States, through our kids in the Army, did this on purpose.

When the depleted uranium bullets, missiles, or bombs hit something or explode most of the radioactive uranium turns instantly into very, very small dust particles, too fine to even see (they call it: uranium oxide, that's the really bad stuff). When US troops or Iraqis breathe even a tiny amount into their lungs, as little as one gram, it is the same as getting an X-Ray every hour for the rest of their shortened life.

The depleted uranium cannot be removed, there is no treatment, there is no cure. The depleted uranium will long outlast the veterans' and the Iraqis' bodies though; for, you see, it lasts virtually forever.

But, it gets worse. Seems an admiral who is the former chief of the naval staff of India wanted to know how much radiation this represented. He also wanted to express the amount in a figure that the world, especially the non-American world, could easily understand.

The admiral decided to figure out how many Nagasaki plutonium bombs it would take to include the equivalent of the total amount of radiation deployed in Iraq in 2003 in the Four Million Pounds of depleted uranium.

The admiral also wanted to figure out how much radiation the United States Military Forces have deployed in the last five American wars, the so-called Five Nuclear Radiation Wars.

That is a simple enough task for somebody like the naval chief of staff for a country that is a member of the Nuclear Club. Using the Nagasaki bomb for the measuring stick is a particularly gruesome twist, though. For those of you in the States who do not know it, United States military forces dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan at the close of World War II. The rest of the world remembers that.

One atom bomb was dropped by Americans on the city of Hiroshima, the other bomb on the city of Nagasaki three days later. About 170,000 to 250,000 people were vaporized or incinerated immediately. It was a really big deal.

It is a measuring stick that plays very well in the rest of the world; but, not very well on American Fox News (Fair & Balanced)© channel or the rest of the Fox-like American media. The Department of Energy still lists the Hiroshima and Nagasaki detonations as "tests".

The admiral released the data months ago at a scientific conference in India. This article is the first report of the data in the United States. It will first be released on the Internet.

The admiral in India calculated the amount of radiation in the Nagasaki bomb and compared it with the number in the 4,000,000 pounds of depleted uranium left in Iraq from the 2003 war. Now, believe me, it is a lot more complex than that; but, that is essentially what the experts in India did.

How many Nagasaki bombs equal the radiation in the 2003 Iraq war? Answer: about 250,000 Nagasaki bombs.

How many Nagasaki bombs equal the radiation in the last Five American Nuclear Radiation Wars? Answer: about 400,000 Nagasaki bombs.

Who would do something like this?

We would. The only people in the history of the world to engage in nuclear wars are Americans, citizens of the United States. Allegedly, the Germans and Japanese of WWII also wanted to engage in nuclear wars, except the American military beat them to the draw, so to speak.

Respected academic scholars could debate forever whether or not Herr Hitler, Fuhrer of Germany, would have deployed uranium munitions in the Sudetenland if the weapons had been available. Certainly the Germans knew just as much about uranium wars as we did at the time. It seems doubtful that Adolph Hitler would have ordered the use of uranium munitions there because the Sudetenland was so close to the Fatherland, Nazi Germany.

An American general named Leslie Groves was in charge of the bomb making operation called The Manhattan Project. In 1943 The War Department knew exactly what uranium bullets and bombs were good for.

If the nuclear weapons did not detonate in Japan, the use of uranium bullets and bombs were the fall back position. It was not 'til Ronald Reagan was president in 1981 did the re-named Defense Department resurrect the deadly radioactive uranium bullets, shells, bombs, and missiles. No wonder his popular nick-name was Ronnie Ray-Gun.

The American military knew the symptoms of radiation poisoning in 1943, too; starting with the irritated sore throat through to an agonizing death from being cooked from the inside out.

President [sic] Bush promised to invade and attack many countries in the 2003 State of the Union speech. I believe the man. For some reason, some misguided Americans do not believe him, or think he was "exaggerating." The rest of the world has every reason to believe him and fear him, though.

Not to worry, Americans, the president [sic] has plenty of raw material for radioactive uranium munitions left. There are more than 77,000 tons stored at the 103 nuclear waste plants and a stunning 1.5 billion pounds at the several nuclear weapons labs and related facilities in the US.

Each nuke waste generating plant makes another 250 pounds of radioactive material a day for radioactive bullets, shells, bombs, and missiles. Not to put too fine a point on it; but that is enough for 288 more gloriously successful campaigns like the 2003 Nuclear Radiation War in Iraq. Who's next?

Every year about this time the southern winds leave a fine desert sand on the windshields of cars parked outside in Africa then Continental Europe and Britain. Soon this sand dust will carry a surprise. Thanks to the Americans. Thanks to us. We did this to the world. And, we wonder why they hate and despise us so.

These depleted uranium weapons' indiscriminate killing effect gives a whole new meaning to the age old term: cannon fodder. In Iraq, what goes around, comes around. If not the depleted uranium munitions themselves, the depleted uranium dust will be in the bodies of our returning armed forces, time bombs slowly ticking away the lives of the gullible and the ignorant with their very own personal internal radiation source, the cannon fodder of the 21st Century American Nuclear Radiation Wars.

A lot of people have done everything they can think of to stop these nuclear wars. Even more specifically to stop the use of depleted uranium in munitions and shut down the nuclear power plants. We have tried and failed for years. Why don't you give it a try? Can't hurt anything! Write what steps you would take to turn this situation around. Contact me at: bobnichols@cox.net.

Copyright 2004, Bob Nichols. All rights reserved. Permission for reposting is granted provided the complete text and attribution are kept intact.

Bob Nichols writes in Oklahoma City and is a contributing writer for LiberalSlant, Democratic Underground, Online Journal, AmericaHeldHostage, and other online publications. Mr. Nichols is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer and other print publications. He is a member of CASE—Citizens' Action for Safe Energy, and president of the Carrie Dickerson Foundation. CASE has successfully killed two serious, well funded attempts to build nuclear power plants in Oklahoma and several attempts to site what is now known as the "Yucca Mountain Reactor Dump" in Oklahoma. All these efforts to build nuclear facilities have failed. CASE won every time.

The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of Online Journal.
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