28 January 2006

view from the trough ..... 

‘Dallas – Oilfield services conglomerate Halliburton Co. swung to a profit in its fourth quarter on robust sales and increased rig activity, and called last year the best in its 86-year history.

The income reversed a loss from a year earlier for Houston-based Halliburton, the company once led by Vice President Dick Cheney. Its KBR unit has become known for its support work for troops stationed in the Middle East.’

Halliburton Swings To $1.1 Billion Profit

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social responsibility ..... 

‘San Francisco - It’s been nearly 17 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil along the Alaska coast in one of the country’s worst environmental disasters, and a jury’s $5 billion judgment against the company is still tied up in the courts.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s appeal of that punishment was scheduled to be heard for the third time Friday afternoon in a federal appeals court in San Francisco.’

Exxon Back In Court Over 1989 Valdez Spill Fine

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our killing fields ..... 

‘Saddam was a wicked tyrant, yet he was our wicked tyrant, and so not a word was uttered about his war crimes and crimes against humanity, and especially muted to our ears and made blind to our eyes was his use of American WMD technology against both Iranians and Kurds. He was our evildoer, just like so many before and after him, from all corners of the globe, from Marcos to Suharto to Pinochet to Batista to Mobutu, all dictators whose hands were made bloody by the support and encouragement America’s government engendered. Saddam maintained power in large part thanks to American generosity and financing, much the same as dozens of US supported dictators have for decades. It was only when he was no longer needed to further the interests of America that he became expendable. It was when his character exceeded his allotted power, when his ego thought itself capable of more than he could handle that he went from ally shaking hands with Donald Rumsfeld to dictator and tyrant used to manipulate the fears of bed-wetting Americans.
Once expendable, Saddam became, like all once-favoured despots and freedom fighters whose usefulness has expired, a bogeyman used to captivate the minds of American citizens. Almost overnight Saddam became the reincarnation of Hitler, a dictator that prevented “freedom and democracy” from his people, a madman that had attacked his neighbour Kuwait, even though his neighbour was siphoning oil away from Iraqi fields and even though Kuwait had once been claimed by the peoples and lands of modern day Iraq, taken away from them by British interests at the turn of the 20th century and made a sovereign nation ruled by British supported monarchs. The machines of propaganda had been turned on and miraculously, Saddam’s use of WMD was shouted for the world to hear, images of rotting Kurdish corpses used to turn friend into foe, his moustache spawning fear and insecurity in the minds of America’s citizens. The merciless engine of propaganda had been turned on.’

Oil, Simply Oil

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the usual gunboat diplomacy ..... 

‘New Delhi - The US ambassador to India said Wednesday that a nuclear deal between India and the United States could “die” if New Delhi supports Iran during a U.N. atomic watchdog agency meeting. The State Department said the envoy was speaking for himself. (emphasis added)

A week before the International Atomic Energy Agency meets to discuss Iran’s nuclear program, US Ambassador David Mulford said that if India does not vote to refer Tehran to the UN Security Council, it would be “devastating” to the deal currently before the US Congress.’

US Backs Off Envoy’s Threat To India

(Given that the main criteria for appointment as an American Ambassador are a friendship with the President & a history of substantial donations to his Party, who do we think he would be speaking for?)

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the old hypocritical double standard trick ..... 

‘So Bush is saying that even though elections are democracy and democracy is good and powerful, it has produced unacceptable results in this case, and so the resulting Hamas government will lack the legitimacy necessary to allow the United States to deal with it or go forward in any peace process.

Bush's double standard is clear in his diction, since he was perfectly happy to deal with Israel's Likud Party, which is dedicated to the destruction of the budding Palestinian state, and which used the Israeli military and security services for its party platform in destroying the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority throughout the early years of this century.

As Orwell reminded us in "Animal Farm," some are more equal than others.’

How Do You Like Your Democracy Now, Mr. Bush?

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27 January 2006

democracy can be a damned nuisance ..... 

The Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections has thrown the parties in the faltering peace process into a real spin. Even more so given the fact that the US illegally tried to pre-empt the election outcome in favour of Fatah (U.S. Spent $1.9 Million to Aid Fatah in Palestinian Elections).

But the “surprise” result once again underscored the inability of the US & its allies – the phoney champions of “freedom & democracy” - to truly understand the dynamic forces at work in the region, whilst their shrill, alarmist reactions to the election outcome rudely highlighted the fact that they were caught entirely unprepared to deal with the new situation.

Reflecting a need to buy time for their analysts to workout what it all means, whilst appearing to remain in control, the hypocritical crusaders for freedom fell back on the tried & proven tactic of noble chest-beating, outright lies & large dollops of hyperbole.

George Bush led the way by declaring: "I don't see how you can be a partner in peace if you advocate the destruction of a country as a part of your platform," he told a White House press conference (Bush Demands Renunciation Of Violence And Recognition Of Israel).

Condoleezza Rice echoed her master’s empty rhetoric by proclaiming: "Anyone who wants to govern and do so with the support of the international community has got to be committed to a two-state solution and must be committed to the right of Israel to exist, must be committed to the renunciation of violence." (Bush Demands Renunciation Of Violence And Recognition Of Israel)

Meanwhile, de-facto US Ambassador for Australia, John Howard, chimed-in with this: "So far as Australia is concerned, we cannot have a meaningful relationship with a government that continues to support and promote suicide bombing in Israel and the destruction of the Jewish state," he said (Leaders Urged To Accept Hamas Government).

Of course the “white hats” (the good guys) made no mention of the fact that the “black hats” (the evildoers) had already dropped the destruction of Israel from their manifesto prior to the election (Hamas drops call for destruction of Israel from manifesto) & nor did they make mention of the fact that Hamas had declared a ceasefire (“tahdia”) on their terrorist operations in March, 2005, in-line with their decision to pursue the very electoral process championed by the west.

And in making their loud demands of Hamas, the posturing princes of the “coalition of the willing” quietly & conveniently ignore the reality of Palestine, not mentioning the fact that the Palestinian parliament & government lack the authority & rights their counterparts have in sovereign states.

The Palestinian “government” has no control over the external & internal borders that Israel draws between the various Palestinian districts, to the point where they are cut off from each other.

Sixty percent of West Bank land, the primary physical resource of the Palestinian people, has been under total Israeli military control since 1967 & has been fraudulently deemed “state land” by Israel, thereby allowing it to claim that it does not misappropriate private land, whilst doing exactly the opposite. No Palestinian government can do with that land what Israel does: sow & plant; build; develop; maintain.

Israel controls the water sources from its territory & in effect sets quotas for the Palestinians.

Israel's control of the Palestinian population registry & freedom of movement means that it intervenes in personal decisions like family ties, place of residence, work & study.

Through its control of the external & internal borders, Israel also determines how the Palestinian economy will look - the rate of unemployment, the salary cap, the types of economic activity, the location of the factories.

And, notwithstanding the initiatives already taken by Hamas to underwrite its commitment to the western-sponsored electoral process & notwithstanding the US-backed military control exercised by Israel over Palestine, Israel, Washington & their marionette allies continue to condemn the organization as terrorists.

Whilst Hamas has already taken tentative steps to achieve political legitimacy, there will be little point in their continuing that process if Israel refuses to engage them in constructive discussions in pursuit of the peace process & the ultimate achievement of self-determination by the Palestinian people.

Quite to the contrary, continued condemnation in the face of a legitimate electoral victory will only serve to strengthen the cynicism of the Palestinians towards the west, making the task of governing & the achievement of lasting peace even harder for Hamas to manage.

We should not forget the historical Palestinian experience of first British & then American duplicity & betrayal visited on them over the past 100 years: they won’t.

We should not forget that whilst Bush, Blair & Howard continuously seek to justify in part their illegal invasion of Iraq on the basis that she ignored UN resolutions, whilst Israel has ignored many more such resolutions with impunity, simply by dint of US & British hypocrisy & their UN veto power.

We should not forget that Palestine has been subjected to brutal military occupation for 40 years. The Palestinians have experienced first hand the military might of Israel's superpower-funded F16s, tanks & Apache helicopter gunships & to expect Hamas to lay down its arms in the face of this ongoing military occupation is a pipedream.

Indeed, the Palestinian people fervently believe that they have a legitimate right to engage in armed resistance against the Israeli military occupation & International Law provides a firm basis for that belief: UN General Assembly Resolution 33/24 of December 1978 recognizes “the legitimacy of the struggle of people’s for independence, territorial integrity, national unity & liberation from colonial domination & foreign occupation by all means available, particularly armed struggle.”

Meanwhile, the arch debasers of true freedom & democracy continue to unashamedly parade their hypocrisy in denouncing Hamas, whilst pursuing kidnappings, secret renditions, torture, targeted assassinations, military attacks on civilian populations & other terrorist tactics, wherever & whenever the whim strikes them.

For the US & its acolytes to suggest that the choice for peace in the Middle East is dependant on Hamas agreeing to disarm is as deceitful & dishonest as the claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction or that the illegal war of aggression waged against Iraq was pursued to “liberate” the Iraqi people.

Hamas & most of the world is capable of recognizing & understanding that there is no difference between democratically elected governments employing terrorist tactics & terrorist groups forming democratically elected governments.

Whilst Hamas can jump through as many hoops as the world might demand, nothing will change until such time as Israel, the US & their allies, including Australia, acknowledge that same reality & demonstrate a willingness to support & pursue genuine negotiations for a just peace in the Middle East.

Democracy may be fine but it’s a damned nuisance when the result does not serve your interests.

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26 January 2006

paying the piper ..... 

‘The Bush administration is bracing for impeachment hearings in Congress.

"A coalition in Congress is being formed to support impeachment," an administration source said.

Sources said a prelude to the impeachment process could begin with hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee in February. They said the hearings would focus on the secret electronic surveillance program and whether Mr. Bush violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Administration sources said the charges are expected to include false reports to Congress as well as Mr. Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to engage in electronic surveillance inside the United States without a court warrant. This included the monitoring of overseas telephone calls and e-mail traffic to and from people living in the United States without requisite permission from a secret court.’

Impeachment Hearings: The White House Prepares For The Worst

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retreat into darkness ..... 

‘This column stands foursquare with the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, when he warns that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. We know, as does the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, that this statement is an incontrovertible fact, a matter of scientific certainty. And how can we and the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, be so sure that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large?

Because these attacks will be instigated at the order of the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense.

This astonishing admission was buried deep in a story which was itself submerged by mounds of gray newsprint and glossy underwear ads in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times. There – in an article by military analyst William Arkin, detailing the vast expansion of the secret armies being massed by the former Nixon bureaucrat now lording it over the Pentagon – came the revelation of Rumsfeld's plan to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception."

According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization – the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" – will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.’

Into The Dark: The Pentagon Plan To Foment Terrorism

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24 January 2006


It has been over three years since I met her, spoke to her, but not a single day has gone by that I haven't thought of her. I don't even know if she is still alive, but I doubt it. Her name was Alena.

In July of 2002 I found myself in hospital in Perth after a rather silly accident let to severe burns. She was in the bed opposite from me in a 4 bed ward. Alena was 32, a teacher in her home country of Bosnia, the mother of 2 children who had already died from the same causes that were killing her. Alena was dieing from radiation poisoning, the result of picking up and removing pellets of depleted uranium from a school yard to make it safer for the children.

Those pellet were the ramains of bombs that were dropped on her school by an American plane during
the war in Bosnia in the 90's, and these pellets kill and maim long after the war is over.

When she told me her story I wept. When she told me of the burns and the cancers that ate up her childrens bodies, I wept. When she told of the thousands of babies being born with horrifying defects, the result of one or both parents exposer to these same pellets, I died a bit inside.

This had been done to her people, to her county, in my name.

I could only beg her forgiveness in the name of those good Americans who had never, and would never condone the use of a weapon which will continue to maim and kill for thousands of years.

I have not met any of the Iraqi People who are now painfully following the people of Croatia into the pit of mass death and birth defects brought on by the use of this same depleted uranium during the first gulf war, but I have seen the photos and the documentaries. I have not yet spoken to any of the American military veterans who are now suffering with the cancers and the devastating rise in birth defects in their children since their return, but I have seen their pictures and read their stories.

I have spoken to dozens of Americans who not only have never heard these reports or seen these children but who deny that America would do such a terrible thing and therefore America's enemies are lying about this.

"All of that talk about depleted uranium causing cancer and stuff is cock and bull spread by liberals like you to undermine the moral of the troops" one man said to me in an IRC chat room. "That's unpatriotic and proves that you don't support the troops."

"Out of the 580,400 soldiers who served in GW1 (the first Gulf War), of them, 11,000 are now dead! By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on Permanent Medical Disability. This astounding number of 'Disabled Vets’ means that a decade later, 56% of those soldiers who served have some form of permanent medical problems!" ~~ Arthur N. Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York writing in Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter No. 169

And this while the Bush administration is cutting back services to disabled veterans by slashing VA funds. Tell me again who it is that doesn't support the troops?

But what of the people of Iraq? Already 200,000 or more civilians have been killed, most of them women and children and the elderly. Already tens of thousands have been maimed by bombs and gunfire, and now by the specter of a rise in cancers in children that is staggering!

uruknet reports that:

"Iraqi and visiting doctors, and a number of news reports, have reported that birth defects and cancers in Iraqi children have increased five- to 10-fold since the 1991 Gulf War and continue to increase sharply, to over 30-fold in some areas in southern Iraq. Currently, more than 50 percent of Iraqi cancer patients are children under the age of 5, up from 13 percent. Children are especially vulnerable because they tend to play in areas that are heavily polluted by depleted uranium."

Photos of many of these children, taken by Dr. Jenan Hassan tell a very graphic story, but be warned, do not view these photos while eating your lunch.

The deliberate and calculated use of "Depleted" Uranium (DU) as a weapon is a totally willful act of Genocide. It is the ultimate "weapon of mass destruction"

"Forget about Avian (bird) flu. The threat of it becoming a pandemic is more a political scare tactic and potential bonanza for drug company profits and its major shareholders' net worth (including Gilead Sciences, the developer of the Tamiflu drug and its former Chairman and major shareholder Donald Rumsfeld) than a likely public health crisis - unless you live around infected chickens or take an unproven safe immunization shot. There are much more other likely killer bacterial and viral threats than Avian that get little attention. Don't worry about possible or unlikely threats. Worry about real ones. Bacteria and viruses untreatable by anti-biotics are good examples. So is global warming and many others. But, there's possibly one threat that tops all others both in gravity and because it's been deliberately concealed from the public - never discussed, explained or had any action taken to remediate it. It's the global threat from the toxic effects of depleted uranium (DU), and like global warming, DU has the potential to destroy all planetary life. How can something so potentially destructive be hidden and ignored and why?"


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23 January 2006

just luuuv that amerikan hypocrisy ..... 

‘Venezuela is planning a "buying spree" for military equipment that goes beyond the country's legitimate needs, the State Department said Friday.

In recent days, the United States has sought to block proposed sales of military planes and other equipment to Venezuela by Spain and Brazil.

The transactions are part of what "we would consider an outsized military build-up in Venezuela," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.’

US: Venezuela Overspending on Military

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redefining terrorism ..... 

‘The demonstration seemed harmless enough. Late on a June afternoon in 2004, a motley group of about 10 peace activists showed up outside the Houston headquarters of Halliburton, the giant military contractor once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. They were there to protest the corporation's supposed "war profiteering." The demonstrators wore papier-mache masks and handed out free peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches to Halliburton employees as they left work. The idea, according to organizer Scott Parkin, was to call attention to allegations that the company was overcharging on a food contract for troops in Iraq. "It was tongue-in-street political theater," Parkin says.

But that's not how the Pentagon saw it. To U.S. Army analysts at the top-secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the peanut-butter protest was regarded as a potential threat to national security. Created three years ago by the Defense Department, CIFA's role is "force protection" - tracking threats and terrorist plots against military installations and personnel inside the United States. In May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy Defense secretary, authorized a fact-gathering operation code-named TALON - short for Threat and Local Observation Notice - that would collect "raw information" about "suspicious incidents." The data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon's "terrorism threat warning process," according to an internal Pentagon memo.’

The Other Big Brother

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