21 January 2006

why iran is next ..... 

‘The Iranian government has finally developed the ultimate "nuclear" weapon that can swiftly destroy the financial system underpinning the American Empire. That weapon is the Iranian Oil Bourse slated to open in March 2006. It will be based on a euro-oil-trading mechanism that naturally implies payment for oil in Euro.

In economic terms, this represents a much greater threat to the hegemony of the dollar than Saddam's, because it will allow anyone willing either to buy or to sell oil for Euro to transact on the exchange, thus circumventing the U.S. dollar altogether. If so, then it is likely that almost everyone will eagerly adopt this euro oil system:’

The Proposed Iranian Oil Bourse

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on the foibles of rulers ..... 

‘A big crisis occurs when the schemes of multiple rulers create an impasse. It’s as if a knot of ropes connects them all. They are all swimming in a strong sea trying to save themselves, but the connecting ropes make this very difficult.

They are pulling and hauling in all directions. They find themselves in grave danger. They feel under time pressure to act, or else they may drown or lose out. This reduces their rationality.

Their personalities and memories, ideas and interests, hate, greed, anger, pride and other affections and emotions influenced how they got into this mess and now they unduly influence how they are trying to get out.

Some rulers may still have cards up their sleeves, like a knife to cut themselves loose, and they continue scheming, trying to win. Others may think they can still win and they keep struggling.’

When Rulers Err

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living on illusions ..... 

‘My message to you is about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how to end them... Our situation, thank God, is only getting better and better, while your situation is the opposite.

But I plan to speak about the repeated errors your President Bush has committed in comments on the results of your polls that show that an overwhelming majority of you want the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. But he [Bush] has opposed this wish and said that withdrawing troops sends the wrong message to opponents, that it is better to fight them [Bin Laden's followers] on their land than them fighting us [Americans] on our land. I can reply to these errors by saying that war in Iraq is raging with no let-up, and operations in Afghanistan are escalating in our favour, thank God, and Pentagon figures show the number of your dead and wounded is increasing not to mention the massive material losses...

The reality shows that war against America and its allies has not been limited to Iraq as he [Bush] claims ... The proof of that is the explosions you have seen in the capitals of the European nations who are in this aggressive coalition. The delay in similar operations happening in America has not been because of failure to break through your security measures. The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your homes the minute they are through [with preparations]...

We don't mind offering you a long-term truce on fair conditions that we adhere to. We are a nation that God has forbidden to lie and cheat. So both sides can enjoy security and stability under this truce so we can build Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been destroyed in this war. There is no shame in this solution, which prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars.’

Osama bin Laden: Is It Him?

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we don't deal with terrorists ..... 

‘Asked about Rubaie's charges, a Pentagon spokesman would not comment directly on whether contacts were being pursued with Sunnis associated with the insurgency.

"It's my understanding that the coalition is involved in reaching out to influential community leaders across Iraq to address legitimate concerns of the people and to urge people to participate in a peaceful political process," said Bryan Whitman.

"I can tell you that we do not engage with (Abu Musab al-) Zarqawi or al-Qaeda in Iraq, pro-Saddamists, criminals, foreign fighters - that is not the type of engagement that we're talking about," he said.

But on whether there have been contacts with other insurgents, he said, "It depends on how you characterize or categorize people."’

Iraqi Criticizes Secret US Contacts With Insurgents

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down the slippery slide we go ..... 

‘The UK government is secretly trying to stifle attempts by MPs to find out what it knows about CIA "torture flights" and privately admits that people captured by British forces could have been sent illegally to interrogation centres. A hidden strategy aimed at suppressing a debate about rendition - the US practice of transporting detainees to secret centres where they are at risk of being tortured - is revealed in a briefing paper sent by the Foreign Office to No 10.’

Torture Flights: What No 10 Knew And Tried To Cover Up

(The leaked briefing paper can be read here Rendition)

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20 January 2006

the meaning of victory ..... 

‘It is undoubtedly, Osama bin Laden's one real victory. If no "apostate" Arab regime has fallen under al-Qaeda's blows, if its attacks wound democracies without really threatening them, it is America that has vacillated in its moral and legal certitudes. Through the apocalyptic dimension of his struggle, the great conductor of international jihadism has succeeded in making George W. Bush lose his cool, in dragging him into a dark and tormented terrain. And the controversy over torture and CIA black sites has inflicted collateral damage in Washington and in the world.

At the same time, the French Army finds itself shaken up by the "Mahé Affair," named after a prisoner sordidly murdered by a patrol in Ivory Coast. Of course, the two subjects are not of similar scale. On the one hand, a repressive system implemented by politico-military actors whilst, on the other, a blunder committed by a few individuals. But in both cases, non-conventional conflicts destabilized those who were supposed to contain them. And awoke the spectre - always waiting in ambush - of dirty war.’

The Invariable Degeneration of Non-Conventional Conflicts

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maybe the russians could help ..... 

‘Britain’s planned troop deployment to Afghanistan is in chaos due to internal wrangling within NATO and what is perceived as the government's reluctance to commit itself to another risky military adventure.

Although Britain is due to take over command in the south of Afghanistan in May, military commanders are still waiting for news of how many troops will be sent and what they will be doing when they arrive.

The situation has been complicated by requests from the United States for British forces to be involved in operations against al-Qaeda remnants along the Pakistan border, and by uncertainty over the participation of Dutch troops in the deployment. But military sources also say that the government has been prevaricating over how many British troops should be sent to Afghanistan because it is worried that another deployment may prove unpopular with the public. ‘

Frontline Fighters Or Peace-Keepers?

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a pimp called security ..... 

‘Britain has long been replaced by the United States as the world’s civilizing Santa. But aside from the Big Stick years of Presidents McKinley and the first Roosevelt, who left no natives unturned in the Philippines and South of the Border, it should be said that American imperialism had a decidedly Wilsonian bend for most of the 20 th century. It was too busy saving the world rather than conquering it (except, again, South of the Border, where American presidents have never been able to resist the impulse to act like Teddy Roosevelt gunslinging in his wildlife preserves). When the Soviet Union fell, it looked as if America ’s job as world’s sheriff was done. Finally, the West’s trillions could be invested in something more constructive than missiles and fearmongers’ dividends. Sure enough, Pentagon budgets quit sprawling under Bill Clinton.

Conservatives panicked. For lack of war’s distortions on national purpose - the phonier the war, the greater the distortions - peace tends to rouse social consciences, and with them police truncheons (on labor in the 1920s, blacks in the 50s, students and women in the 60s, anti-globalists in the 90s). Peace isn’t good for certain trades, imperial power and aimless leadership among them. For all his personal foibles, Gladstone was a great leader and reformer, and a critic of Britain ’s colonial brutality under Benjamin Disraeli.

Our streetwalker for democracy has none of Gladstone ’s qualities and all of Disraeli’s defects. Until the latter days of 2001 President Bush’s skeletal talents for peacetime democracy were creaking out of the closet and down the ravine of opinion polls. He was a Hoover in the making (the president or the vacuum, your pick). Osama bin Laden to the rescue. His one-hit wonder on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon did wonders for a presidency looking for salvation. And the most imperial presidency in the nation’s history was off on its wolves’ hunt, with democracy for a battle flag.’

Imperial Mongering from Gladstone to ‘King George’

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just another poke in the eye ..... 

‘The CIA’s recent botched attempt to kill al Qaeda’s number two man, Ayman Zawahiri, in Pakistan illustrates why the Bush administration’s overly aggressive “war on terror” actually motivates terrorists to attack the United States. Certainly, capturing or killing the brains behind al Qaeda is an important goal. Unfortunately, in the U.S. method of warfare - which unduly emphasizes attrition, heavy firepower and sophisticated weaponry, even against guerrillas and terrorists - the technology of killing has outstripped the quality of human intelligence needed to hit the correct targets. The CIA’s unmanned Predator drone fired missiles that killed many Pakistani civilians, including women and children, but apparently not Zawahiri.’

“War on Terror” Continues to Create Terrorists

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19 January 2006

butchering the blind lady ..... 

Evidence, witnesses, lawyers, juries, judges, the truth . . . what frightful nuisances they are

‘Tony Blair likes to throw in impressive references to Hobbes when he is addressing questions of social justice and the law. But what he really prefers is the kind of talk the man in the street can understand. Like - what’s wrong with the law today?

Here’s an example: let’s say someone spits at an old lady. The police catch him, but because it takes time and resources to prosecute, and the only result in the end will be a fine, they don’t bother to pursue it. Or as Mr Blair puts it: “The result is the police don’t think it worth it, and it doesn’t happen.” (This is his story, not mine.)’

Your Right To A Fair Trial? Whatever

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a real box office hit ..... 

‘Last week, at the annual meeting of the American Economic Assn., we presented a new estimate for the likely cost of the war in Iraq. We suggested that the final bill will be much higher than previously reckoned — between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, depending primarily on how much longer our troops stay. Putting that into perspective, the highest-grossing movie of all time, "Titanic," earned $1.8 billion worldwide — about half the cost the U.S. incurs in Iraq every week.

Like the iceberg that hit the Titanic, the full costs of the war are still largely hidden below the surface. Our calculations include not just the money for combat operations but also the costs the government will have to pay for years to come. These include lifetime healthcare and disability benefits for returning veterans and special round-the-clock medical attention for many of the 16,300 Americans who already have been seriously wounded. We also count the increased cost of replacing military hardware because the war is using up equipment at three to five times the peacetime rate. In addition, the military must pay large reenlistment bonuses and offer higher benefits to reenlist reluctant soldiers. On top of this, because we finance the war by borrowing more money (mostly from abroad), there is a rising interest cost on the extra debt.’

War's Stunning Price Tag

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18 January 2006

CCTV cameras, identity cards, phone taps — our liberty is at risk from this lust to control society

‘Rousseau gave the first modern warning. In 1762 he published his Social Contract, which contains the famous statement: “Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.” H.G. Wells gave a similar warning in 1895 in The Time Machine. For modern readers, the two great novels are Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, published in 1932, the year before Hitler came to power; and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949. Rousseau was attacking the archaic tyrannies that had lasted into his age; he underrated the dangers of the scientific future. Wells, Huxley, and Orwell had seen the early development of the scientific age in which we live; they raised the alarm.’

Someone To Watch Over You

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the knackery beckons ...... 

‘No matter what you think of George W. Bush, he is staking out his claim as a bona fide Horseman of the Apocalypse.

With his Hand of Hell in Iraq already yielding countless dead, $200 billion wasted and a global war against Islam well on its way to Armageddon, Bush has definitively established his ability to wreck unparalleled disaster on a global scale with zero positive outcome.

By drowning New Orleans and turning its alleged rebuilding plan into a sinkhole of corruption and disarray, he has shown he can lay waste to an entire American city.

And now he is visiting disease and death on tens of millions of our elderly and ill with a botched Medicare/Medicaid drug plan that has plunged the nation's pharmacies into total chaos while driving the states even closer to bankruptcy. As you read this, millions of Americans are without medications that may be life-sustaining because of what Bush has done to "improve" their pharmaceutical plan.’

Not Happy George

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duh ..... 

"I can say unequivocally that we have gotten information through this program that would not otherwise have been available," General Hayden said.

FBI Complained of NSA Spying on Innocent Americans

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we must disenthrall ourselves ..... 

‘The writer Umberto Eco, in a 1995 essay titled "Ur-Fascism," delineated several core elements that have existed in one form or another in every fascist state in history: "Parliamentary democracy is by definition rotten, because it does not represent the voice of the people, which is that of the sublime leader. Doctrine outstrips reason, and science is always suspect. The national identity is provided by the nation's enemies. Argument is tantamount to treason. Perpetually at war, the state must govern with the instruments of fear. Citizens do not act; they play the supporting role of 'the people' in the grand opera that is the state."’

The New Fascism

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